Saturday, February 27, 2010

When We Did Things

Okay, this post is mostly for me, so I can have a place to keep all the dates of when the kids hit their big milestones because I certainly can’t REMEMBER them! And it might entertain you readers too, especially if you have children who are younger than mine. Some milestones we hit early, some late, and some right on time. This is a post that will be updated as new milestones are hit, so I plan to put a link to it in the sidebar. Enjoy!

Slept all night: R at 2 months, J and Z at 3, and T at almost 6 months

Kicked the pacie habit: R at 4 months, the boys at 16 months

Sat up: R at 6 months, J and Z at 7 months, T at 8 months

Sat up on own: J at 9 months, the rest at 10 months

First tooth: J and R at 6 months, Z at 7, T at 8

Crawled: J and T at 9 months, Z and R at 10

Walked for real: R right after 12 months, Z at 13 months, J at 14 months, T at 15 months

Food: The kids started eating cereal at 4 months, table food at 9 months, sippy cups at 11 months, and had their very last bottles just after 12 months

Words: dada was the first word for each of them, they said the word long before they said it with purposeful meaning. I didn’t start keeping track of words with meaning until they were 16 months old, at which point they all got credit for dada as their first word with meaning. At 16 months their vocabulary was limited to 2-4 words depending on the child. They didn’t reach 50 words until they were 22 months old.

Potty trained: R was day trained by 3 years, 3 months and fully trained by 3 years, 8 months. T was day trained by 3 years, 4 months and fully trained by 3 years, 4 months. J was day trained by 3 years, 7 months.

Should I add any other milestones?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hidden Sleepers

Last night before we went to bed, Jim went in to check on the kids. When he got to Jonathan's bed, he was not surprised to discover that it was empty. As I've mentioned before, Jonathan likes to sleep in the floor. A quick glance at both sides of the bed revealed Jonathan was not readily visible. Jim figured he had scooted up UNDER the bed, so he crouched down and looked there too. Not this side...not the other side...not under Zachary's bed either...where is he?!? At this point, Jim's starting to freak out a little. Where could Jonathan be? He scans the rest of the Jonathan. The closet door is shut, so he can't be in there. The bedroom door was shut, so he couldn't have gotten out. Everything about the room is in order, and all the other kids are accounted for. Where could he be?

And then he found him, curled up with his blanket, sleeping peacefully, all mixed up in a pile of stuffed animals so that you could barely see him.

Little goober!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Kindness of Stranges

Back in my former pre-child life, I taught high school English. I hope that doesn't come as too much of a surprise! Regularly, as the bell would ring and my students would stream from the classroom, I would call after them, "Go make the world a better place!" And I can easily picture myself saying the same thing to my children each day when I send them off into the world.

But what does it exactly mean? What do I expect from my children, from my students, from myself? I'll tell you...not much! Not because my expectations are low, but because I don't think it takes much to make the world a better place. If you bring joy to one person in the course of your day, then you HAVE made the world a better place.

I bring all this up because I want to tell you about two experiences recently where strangers have done something completely random for no other reason than to bring a smile to my children's faces, which in turn brings a smile to mine.

First...the garbagemen! My kids LOVE to watch the garbage truck come, love to see the men hoist the trash cans into the air and dump all the trash into the back of their big truck, love to watch the men ride off hanging onto the back of the truck. And every now and then, the men will notice my kids, four eager, excited faces pressed against a window. On the days that the men notice, they'll WAVE! My kids will come running to me all shouting about how the garbagemen waved to them! It makes their day! It's a simple gesture by strangers that brings utter joy to my children.

Second...the firefighters. Unlike the waving garbagemen, this is a one-time experience, as we don't regularly have firetrucks cruising our neighborhood. A few weeks ago, a house up the street must have called 911 for something because a fire truck, ambulance, and police car all showed up at their house. It was nighttime and the blinds in the living room were still open, so my kids were attracted to the window by the flashing lights visible at the top of the hill. Their excitement over the fire truck drew me from the kitchen to check it out myself, and after realizing how many vehicles were up there, I called Jim too, and we all stood at the window watching. Bunch of nosey neighbors that we are! We even drew the blinds up so the kids could see better. Well, whatever the emergency was, it wasn't a fire, so after a bit, the fire truck turned off its lights and started to leave. The easiest way for it to turn around was to come down and take a turn about our cul-de-sac. Well, in doing that, the driver noticed my kids (again the eager, excited faces pressed against the window) and not only turned the lights back on, but also ran the siren for just a minute, just long enough to make the turn and bring utter delight to my children!

Neither of these stories involves any grand gestures, no planning, no money. They are simply acts of kindness by strangers who took the time to notice a few small children and put a smile on their faces. They didn't have to do what they did. We would never have known the difference. But they took a moment out of their busy lives, in the midst of doing their jobs, to do something nice.

May God bless the people who make this world a better place!

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Beautiful Ballerina Dancer

Reagan loves to pretend she’s a ballerina. I mean LOVES it!!! She’s never had a lesson and doesn’t know a thing about ballet, but that doesn’t seem to matter one bit! She is always asking us if we want to see her “beautiful ballerina dance” and then shooting off in twirling, joyous abandon. One night recently she put on a show for us, and Daddy managed to snap several shots of it. We have video too, of Reagan demonstrating “The Ballerina Stomp,” a dance she made up and named herself, but when I tried to upload it, it didn’t work. I’ll definitely try again soon!

Enjoy Reagan and her beautiful ballerina dance!

DSC_0192 DSC_0194










May you all have a beautiful dancer in your lives!

And somebody get this girl some ballet shoes!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Send the Love

A little Valentine’s love from us to YOU!



In the past, the kids have really not known what to do with Valentine’s Day. It’s not as easy a holiday for them to wrap their little minds around. This year it has made a little more sense to them, but still Reagan has complained throughout the day that she wants her valentines. I’ve tried to explain that she already has them, but she doesn’t believe me. She has some idea in her head that she has picked up from TV or a book or school, and whatever it is, we aren't meeting her V-day expectations!

As in the years past, I made the kids’ Valentine cards (See HERE for last year, I don’t seem to have taken pictures of previous years. Perhaps this isn’t as much of a tradition as I thought!). I’m not sure how many more years this little tradition will last! I got this idea from a craft activity in Parents magazine and adapted it to incorporate the kids’ initials, which are sewn onto the hearts with red yarn. I think I like them more than the kids do! They would probably prefer something flashier, with lots of colors and glitter. Oh, well!


I also upset Zachary earlier when I said I had a treat for them from Bud and KayKay, but when I brought it out, the treat was stuffed animals and not candy. Apparently, “treat” = “candy”! I didn’t know this! So he was not excited at all about the stuffed animals. Luckily, there were also puzzles, so he stopped crying to get one of those!

Jim surprised me this morning with some chocolate-covered goodies and TWO bouquets of flowers! Not to mention a card with the most beautiful hand-written note. Truly it brought me to tears! Tears of love and joy! I love him so much!

So far, it’s been a great day! I know the rest of it will be too! Lots of love! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Zachary’s Defense

In my previous post about the kids’ New Developments, I feel like I may have given a false impression of Zachary’s abilities. True, he can’t make a Z, and I haven’t seen him draw any recognizable pictures, BUT he counts better than any of the other kids and recognizes more letters and numbers than they do. He can identify nearly every letter in the alphabet, and blows us away with how quickly he figures out simple computer and video games. His fine motor skills may not be as developed as his siblings’, but he is no intellectual slacker!

I just needed to allay some mommy-guilt! Thank you!

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Developments

I’ve been delighted by the kids’ developing writing and artistic skills lately. With the exception of Zachary, they are getting pretty good at the first initials. Thomas and Jonathan got the T and J pretty early.


Reagan’s early R’s looked like circles with legs, but within the last couple of weeks, she has really improved and is now making truly recognizable R’s. Very exciting!


We’ve also recently had our first recognizable drawings! Granted, the drawings of a three-year-old are a little on the creepy side, but I’m okay with it because I know they aren’t intentionally creepy. Smiling faces will come soon enough!

DSC_0252 This is Reagan’s drawing of Daddy. The black blob above his head is a hat. He has mittens on his hands. Below is another Reagan picture, slightly more recent, and slightly less creepy.


This yellow guy is Thomas’ production. Not quite as creepy as Reagan’s, but then he also doesn’t have a mouth!


Being sort of artistic myself, I’m fascinated by these early drawings! I can’t wait to see how they continue to develop!

Zachary has not yet demonstrated much skill in either writing or drawing. Partly I think he has little interest in these activities. It’s hard to write and drive a train at the same time. Also, the Z is a difficult letter, and he is easily frustrated. And it doesn’t help that he’s left-handed. At least, he appears to be. He consistently holds writing utensils with his left hand. Oh, well. He’s only three. I’m not worried!


In addition to writing and drawing, Jonathan is improving his building skills. As you can see in the above picture, he’s experimenting with mixed media and refuses to be held back by his small stature!

And although it really has nothing to do with any sort of new cognitive development, Jim and I are delighted that the kids are beginning to familiarize themselves with the characters from Star Wars! They are always running up to us with a figurine in hand, asking whether they have a good guy or a bad guy! Love it!


Bring On the Gold!


Thanks to the stuffed animals we received from our Canadian friends back in the summer of 2008 (Thanks again, Matt and Luanne!), we have been ready for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics for a good long time! Finally, they have arrived, and we are ready! Can’t you tell by the kids’ excited faces in the above picture? Unfortunately, it’s not that great a picture of the Olympic mascots…and the moose, by the way, is not actually a mascot. He’s just very Canadian! Also unfortunate, the kids aren’t smiling about the Olympics. They don’t even know what the Olympics are. At least not yet! They’re just excited about the fun new picture pose! Seriously! Sometimes it doesn’t take much to amuse those sweeties!

So right now, the Olympics are on, the kids are asleep, and I’m excited!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Crazy Snow Days

I’m a Southern girl. I live in the South and always have, so I know that anything I have to say about snow is likely to be snickered at by those of you who don’t live in the South. But FOR HERE this has been a crazy, snowy winter! Most winters we get ONE snowfall with accumulation that MIGHT be around past lunchtime if we’re lucky! And this usually happens in MARCH!

But THIS year, we've already had THREE significant snowfalls! And it’s been so cold that the snow sticks around for DAYS! We’ve probably had more snow this winter than in the last ten years combined!

At least it gives us an opportunity for some great pictures!


This year the kids are all about snow angels! So cute!

DSC_0176 One day I took the kids out to play in the snow by myself. It was so cold, we didn’t stay out very long. In fact, I’m sure it took twice as long for me to get them all ready as we were actually outside! I took very few pictures that day, so I made them pose for this one after we came in.



DSC_0246 Reagan-she was having fun! Really!



DSC_0249 Zachary


There are SOME things that don’t work well in the snow!

DSC_0262 Easily the most snow our house has ever seen! (I know, snicker away!)



DSC_0275 Thomas-Yes, he’s sitting on top off a bush!




DSC_0310 The kids also enjoyed throwing snowballs into the creek, but it made us nervous, so Jim drew a line in the snow for them to stand behind!



We hope you guys enjoyed all your snow days too! Personally, now I’m ready for SPRING!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Book Love

I love books! This is probably no surprise to any of you! And as a book lover/English teacher with both bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English, I pride myself on being pretty well-read. So when my book-loving friend Becky had a post recently about books that had won the Pulitzer for fiction, and she listed the six Pulitzer prize-winning books she had read, I HAD to check out the list myself to see how many I had read! I expected to discover that I had read more than her. I mean, I was an ENGLISH MAJOR! She was a music major! All those extra books I had to read in college should count for something here, right?

WRONG!! In fact, not only have I not read more than Becky, I haven’t even read AS MANY as Becky! I can only claim five of the winners: The Grapes of Wrath, The Old Man and the Sea, The Yearling, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Beloved.

So, alas, Becky beats me at books again. Not that we’re competing, of course. Not really anyway. At this point, she’s more like literary inspiration! She has certainly inspired me to add a few more Pulitzers to my reading list!

I wonder how many Michelle has read?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Shave That Thing!

Another fun moment from January was Shaving Day! As you may remember from the picture of us in Memphis, Jim grew a beard in December. He had no intention of keeping it forever, though, so as soon as 2010 made its debut, it was time for the beard to make an exit. As promised, Jim let the kids help him shave!

DSC_0140 Reagan got to go first

DSC_0143 Thomas gets a turn

After everyone had a turn, Jim finished up. I was just getting used to the beard, so he almost didn’t look like himself without it!

DSC_0145 Reagan inspects that nice, soft face

I think growing the beard was fun for him, but it was beginning to drive him a little crazy. I would think it would be hard to get used to! The one drawback to shaving it: his face felt so much colder!

Company Coming

Well, company came, actually…but that didn’t make a very good title!

We started this new year off with a visit from Jim’s brother and his family. Yea! Cousins! We love getting to spend time with our cousins!

It wasn’t a long visit, but we enjoyed ringing in the New Year with Clay and Carey and seeing all the ways Tyler and Avery had grown since the last time we saw them. We celebrated Tyler’s 3rd birthday while there were here and got some great pics of him. It is so hard to get good shots of Tyler because he simply won’t be still long enough to catch him!



What a cutie!

And not to be outdone, Avery is super adorable too!

DSC_0071 Reagan had a blast having “baby” Avery around! Avery wasn’t always so sure about Reagan’s generous devotion, but I think they’ll have a lot of fun together when she gets a little older!

Tyler, however, was just their speed! The kids may not always have shared well, but at least they all like to play the same things! There was a pretty steady parade of cars and trucks through the house for most of the weekend!

There were also lots of new games to play! JonZReaTom received a Zippity game system as their Christmas present from Uncle Clay and fam, and Tyler got a Smart Cycle as a birthday present! All the kids really enjoyed these games! There were sad to lose the Smart Cycle when Tyler went home, but continue to enjoy their Zippity! It’s a perfect game system for their age!


All the boys!

DSC_0132 Jonathan, Zachary, Tyler, Avery, Reagan, Thomas

I don’t know what we’ll do when they outgrow the couch!

We also recently got to spend some time with our friends Josh and Cris and their kids, Carter and Kennedy. Carter is even harder to photograph than Tyler! Here’s the best I could do!


Kennedy was much more cooperative!

DSC_0157 Isn’t she just beautiful?

AND we also had Big Dinner in January! So we got to spend time with longtime friends Michelle and Judah and their kids, David and Abby! We haven’t gotten to see nearly as much of them since we started preschool and have really missed playing with them every week!

(BTW, Big Dinner is a holiday tradition Michelle and I started back in 2000. We were both married and decided we needed to be capable of putting together a holiday meal, in preparation for the day when we were responsible for such a thing. That day has yet to come, but we continue to cook Big Dinner together each year because it’s just fun! We no longer focus on traditional holiday fare, having successfully baked turkeys and hams, and all the fixins, but tend to try out new foods. Big Dinner is worth a post all to itself. Maybe I’ll write one someday!)

Unfortunately, I was so busy cooking that I only took two pictures the whole evening, and neither of them was very good.

January was a full month for company! And we loved every bit of it! Our home may not be big, but we can always make some room for friends and family! Love you all! Come visit again soon!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Start Them Out Early

I'm not one to brag or anything, but have I mentioned that I've taught Reagan to read already? I find that it's a great bonding experience for the two of us to read the same books and then talk about them. Currently, we are reading The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde.

My little bookworm!

Thanks, Jim, for snapping this adorable picture! I look forward to the days when the kids and I really can read the same books! Although, unfortunately, we probably won't all have the same taste in literature! Happy Monday all!