Little Luke Likes Lights

Posted in Kids on December 4th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thought I would post a quick little update about our youngest child who is growing so quickly that I don’t know if we can call him our “new addition” any longer!  Luke James is almost 2 months old, and among his likes are being held, listening to music, and looking at lights.  He’s been especially impressed by the colorful lights on the Christmas tree.  These things are common favorites among many almost-2-month-olds, but Luke is a very special baby – he has been able to hold his head up for a few weeks and is extremely alert for a baby his age.  His VERY FAVORITE thing to do in the whole world is to be held like this while his little hands open and close and his eyes bulge as he takes in the world around him:

Luke doesn’t sleep well at night, but we aren’t really surprised because none of our 5 kids were very good sleepers as babies.  But Luke doesn’t sleep much during the day, either – he takes about one good nap per day about 3-4 days per week.  And by “good nap” I mean him sleeping for over an hour without waking up.  Actually, I thought of the perfect way to describe Luke the other day: he is an intense baby.  He wants what he wants when he wants it, and he’s not shy about asking.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that he is a disagreeable baby, and he is very smiley.  He’s just very demanding, and since he is always awake…  well, you can understand why my free time is down to almost none and the blog posts from me remain infrequent.  Especially because he demands to have 100% of the available attention, whether it’s eye contact while playing with him or using both hands to feed him – he is not a fan of a multi-tasking parent.

He’s already able to play – he loves looking into the eyes of people who play with him, and he especially likes to exchange baby talk with “goo” being his favorite word.  He loves when his sisters and brother play with him, but it’s hard to tell if he has a favorite yet.  Christopher is 3 and Luke’s only brother, but he doesn’t play with him often – it seems like Christopher is afraid of hurting Luke, and he also seems shy about talking to him or playing with him.  Disney likes to hold Luke (she’s 5), but she loses interest in a matter of minutes.  Taylor is almost 12, and she enjoys Luke’s cuteness, but she is too busy with a life of her own to spend a lot of time with her baby brother.  Sammie stands out as the remarkable sibling.  7-year-old Sammie just adores her baby brother; she’s always asking to hold him, and she doesn’t soon grow tired of it.  She plays with Luke, asks how he’s doing, expresses interest in his activities, misses him when she’s gone, and loves seeing cute pictures of him.  I’m looking forward to watching their special bond strengthen even further as they grow up together.  His brother and sisters love their baby brother in their own ways, and any time Luke does something new, he is crowded by an admiring entourage that can rival that of most celebrities.

Luke also really likes baths.  He smiles like crazy the whole time he’s in the bath; he’ll even throw out a couple of “goo”s and “gaa”s and doesn’t seem to notice that he sounds different when his ears are under water.

Luke is also the tie-breaker in our family – we have 3 brown-eyed people and 3 blue-eyed people.  Two months old is too early to tell what color a baby’s eyes will be, so right now we don’t know which “side” will win.  It’s interesting also that our 2 blue-eyed kids are left-handed while our 2 brown-eyed kids are right-handed.  Will Luke be a tie-breaker in only the eye color category or will he break the mold and be a blue-eyed righty or a brown-eyed lefty?

Even with his intensity, Luke is a wonderful baby and it’s been nothing but a pleasure so far to get to know him as his personality develops – I wouldn’t change any part of him or anything about him, no matter how far behind on stay-at-home-mommy-work I am!  Here he is wearing the adorable camouflage hoodie someone got him – it’s so cute!  And here’s an interesting bit of culture clash for you – where I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, Luke would wear this and we’d be trendy.  Here in the woods of rural Northwest Ohio, I put the camo hoodie on Luke, and we heard no fewer than FIVE comments about hunting and him being a little woodsman  🙂

Let It Snow… Well, Just For Tonight

Posted in Everyday Life on January 7th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I am glad to be home.  I’ve got a nice warm cup of coffee next to me as I sit at my computer…  but don’t let my facade of relaxation fool you.  I’ve already changed 3 dirty diapers and broken up 4 squabbles in the past hour since I’ve been home, with more of both sure to come.  But my errands today went even worse – one of those days where most things, even the littlest things, are going wrong – too many things to list, and I’m exhausted.

And it’s snowing, which made everything I did today more difficult.  It depends upon the news outlet of choice; the radio says we are to get 2-4″ of snow today with another possible inch tomorrow.  I am also a fan of weather.com, who says my area is due for a possible 3-5″ today, and another 1-3″ at night.  Basically the same forecast, but I know they weren’t exaggerating this time – there are already at least 3″ of snow on the ground.  I know because I had to trudge through it, both on foot and in the car.  The roads are terrible, but walking is a breeze thanks to the boots I got a few months ago.  Well, it would be a breeze if it weren’t for all the little ones I have to bundle and re-bundle and lift out of the car at every stop.  I had so many stops to make and was so sick of the snow today that I decided to not go to the library and pick up the second Harry Potter book.  I know, it sounds great to be snowed in with a good book, especially because hubby is working all night, but it’s difficult to imagine that I will achieve any kid-less time.  I just couldn’t bring myself to make that extra stop, especially when the day’s other errands had already gone so awry.  Some of it was just plain bad luck and some had to do with the fact that all 4 kids – well, ok, 3 of them, but I’m not mentioning any names –  have been terribly behaved lately.

In what has turned into a ranting blog post of complaints, where was I?
My husband had a major issue with his work in December, so he needs to work basically whenever he’s awake to get our family back on track.  I lost my other best friend in this house in December, and it feels kind of lonely when the people you hang out with all day do nothing but poop, cry, or argue, sometimes all doing all 3 things at once.  And I started today on such a good note; where on earth would I be right now if I hadn’t?  I stayed positive this morning while I cleaned the poop out of the bathtub, and I even smiled when my son pooped again on the floor and slid on it like it was a banana peel – disgusting, that’s obvious, but you have to admit that it makes for a humorous mental picture (no one was hurt, unless you count my bathroom floor).

The trip to Walmart today went surprisingly well, even though I didn’t leave myself enough time for lunch.  But then the kids lost it as I was loading the groceries into the car, and between the yelling and the snow, I realized I was not really IN the drive-thru at McDonald’s – I was kind of taking up the drive-thru lane AND the drive-past lane simultaneously.  It was too late for me to move over, at least not until the car in front of me moved, and sure enough, there came someone squeezing past me…  I turned my head, ready for the dirty look I knew I was about to receive, and the driver did not disappoint.  He glared at me, and that’s when I saw it was a county sheriff, and I sank low in my seat – how embarrassing.  And great – I feel sorry for the other red vans that get pulled over if this guy is looking to get revenge on me; he looked awfully perturbed at my ignorance.

So then I get home, and my little boy has fallen asleep (only took 15 minutes of crying in the car), so I put him in his crib and venture back out into the snowstorm because I  forgot milk – a morning requirement in this house o’ kids.  But because it was today, and because anything that could go wrong was going wrong (remember that I’ve left out still most of the gory details), the first store I check is completely out of milk.  So I go to another place, and they do have milk, but there I run into an acquaintance with whom I am forced to make chit-chat.  Normally, I’d be ok because I like most people I meet, but there are a select few (usually those afflicted with P.A.S.) who really get on my nerves.   Enter this guy, today, one of “those days”.  But I’m nice, I’m still in a positive mood, I’ve got my milk, and I’m on my way home.  When I slide into my driveway (reminding me it has to be shoveled later), I want to sit at my computer with my cup of coffee and relax, but I decide instead to play a game of Dora Candyland with my 3-year-old because it’s something we can’t do when her brother is around and wreaking havoc.  No sooner do we get out the Candyland than her brother wakes up – great, so all I accomplished during his nap today was getting milk!  No “me” time and worse yet, no quality one-on-one time with my daughter – just errands, UGH!

Well enough ranting for now, let’s just say that I did end up with my cup of coffee and my quiet time.  But if you think the kids relented and gave me this on their own, you should read more of my blog posts because that is SO not the case.  My husband had to take a break from work and spend it with the kids.  So now it’s my turn, and my quiet time is over.  But let it snow – we don’t have anywhere to be because Girl Scouts was canceled this evening due to snow.  Maybe we can counteract some of today’s unpleasantness by spending some quality family time together tonight while we’re snowed in….  but please, not another day off school for the kids – after today, I don’t think I could handle a snow day!

Tool Man

Posted in Kids on December 1st, 2009 and tagged , , , , , ,

My almost 17-month-old son has started using “tools”.  When we put up the Christmas decorations, he started pulling chairs away from the table, pushing them over to the bookcase to try to climb and get at the nativity.  Yesterday, he took down a wall hanging and began to use the hanger rod as a spoon for his mashed potatoes.  When I told my dad about this mischief, he said that this behavior seems pretty smart.  Yeah, I replied, smart like a chimpanzee!  I really don’t remember the girls doing so much climbing, tool-using, or just general sabotage!

And another thing about little boys – the parental chasing.  I always see moms chasing their little boys; running after them around the store, the zoo, wherever – and nine times out of ten, the kid being chased by the parent is a boy.  I had a little boy almost a year and a half ago, and I’ve been wondering when my turn would come.  Yesterday I got my answer.  While I was getting my little boy dressed, he said an emphatic “NO!”, then turned around and ran from me.  He dove under the dining room table, where I had to drag him out, kicking and screaming.  So yeah, the chasing of little boys by their parents begins shortly after they learn to walk.

Ah, the toddler days again – feels like it’s been awhile, probably because the toddler in our family before our son was Disney, who is an almost perfectly behaved child.  We often joke that Disney is D.A.R.Y.L. – remember that movie from the 80’s about a boy who is actually a robot?  And she is a quick learner!  We’ve been doing “sight words” with our Kindergartener Sammie, which are flash cards with words on them, like “orange”, “the”, “purple”, “my”, “I”, etc.  Disney, who just turned 3, has been picking up the sight words as we practice with Sammie!  She knows all the ones I listed above and is also starting to work on letter recognition – 3 years old is pretty early to start reading!  I just feel badly for Sammie, who has her own gifts but is also very competitive by nature – it might be difficult for her to see her little sister learning certain things faster than herself.

But the point is, Disney’s toddler stage was barely noticable, which is probably why her little brother seems like more than a handful – and I hate to tell myself this, but I think this is just the beginning!!

Cuteness To Get You Through The Weekend

Posted in Kids on June 13th, 2009 and tagged , , , , ,

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Above is a picture of our second oldest, 5-year-old Sammie and her almost 1-year-old brother Christopher.  He is the only boy in our family, and also the only sibling with which Sammie doesn’t fight.  It seems like the natives (kids) have been restless lately.  Our oldest, Taylor, it back to her snotty tween “I’m-better-than-everyone-else-so-why-do-they-get-more-than-me” attitude, so she is constantly yelling at and fighting with her sisters.  Disney is 2 and has  been really sensitive, demanding, and impatient lately.  Needless to say, our house has been very loud as of late.  But in between  the arguments, the kids still find time to be cute.  Here is a picture of Disney actually sharing the activity table with her baby brother (whose looks seemingly aged months after he got his new haircut):

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Toy Culling

Posted in Kids on December 20th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A few weeks ago, our kids were chronically misbehaving.  Our oldest, a tween, was sassing back and saying “no” too much, her younger sister (the “spirited” one) was throwing lots of tantrums and trying to cause trouble with her sisters, and our youngest daughter was constantly upset and insecure about the continuous chaos in the house.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, so one day while the oldest kids were at school and the younger ones were sleeping, my husband took off work for an afternoon of “toy culling”.  This is a drastic discipline measure we only use in emergency situations.  It is time-consuming and intensive labor for the parents, but well worth it, at least in our house.

Toy culling consists of us going into the girls’ room (the three oldest girls share one big room, and our baby boy isn’t yet old enough to cause trouble) and taking out every toy.  We leave the tv, computer with educational games, books, and the clothes and board games in the closet.  Everything else goes – dressup clothes, doll clothes, dolls, stuffed animals, all the little miscellaneous toys that can really junk up a child’s room quickly, etc.  If you have lots of time, you can sort it all by what you want to keep and organize the rest, but we are very busy people and so we just took all their junk and put it in our son’s room for now.  He’s a baby who wakes in the night so he’s still in our room.  When it’s time to move him into his room, we’ll have to clean it out obviously, but for now it was a means to an end of the horrible behavior of the girls.  We leave the board games, and they know that they take one out and put it away when they’re done, just like the books that are left.  If the rules aren’t followed, anything that’s left on the floor in subsequent days gets culled.  You need to check their room everyday, and it’s imperitive that you follow through with rule-enforcing.  And for some reason, this process really works.  I don’t know what it is…  Perhaps a feng shui effect where the much more pleasant ambience of the room and the mucho extra space is what leads to the kids being in better moods and hence, less trouble and more obedient.  It could be the fact that there are less toys over which to fight.  Maybe they’re happier not having it constantly hanging over their heads that they’re going to have to clean their room.  But I don’t care what the reason is, the toy culling has worked wonderfully the 3-5 times we’ve had to set aside a chunk of time to do it.  My kids are now putting their dirty laundry in the hampers that are provided, and their trash is going into garbage cans.  Also, their room is staying clean, and I don’t have to worry about it staying that way because they don’t have anything with which to mess it up!  And, as the behavior improves, they can earn their toys back – you don’t have to spend money to get them any special reward PLUS the kids feel senses of accomplishment = WIN/WIN.  Toy culling proves that less is more, and it helps put a damper on the sense of entitlement that can cloud the good attitude of even a generally well-behaved child.

I think I first read about the method in a parenting column in the newspaper.  I’m not sure which expert gets the credit, but I do know that I highly recommend toy culling!  And oh yes, early December is a perfect time to do this – makes room for the burst of new things they might receive for the holidays!

Baby Diary

Posted in Kids on December 5th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The first year of life for children is full of constant development and changes – babies do new things every single day.  Realizing this, I decided to make a diary for each of my kids about their first year.  I would write in it from time to time to summarize all of their many changes, hoping some day they’ll enjoy reading them.  I was writing in my son’s Baby Diary the other day when it occurred to me that I should share it on my blog; especially since he’s been very crabby lately and it’s been really difficult for me to write blog posts with him in my arms.  He was born on July 11, 2008.

Christopher’s Diary:

7/16/08 – went to dr. checkup for your slight jaundice.  dr. said everything looked good and you weigh 7 lbs. 11 oz.
7/17/08 – Actually, since it was the 12:01 showing, it’s actually the 18th…  but your  first movie in the theater was the Dark Knight.  You barely stirred and did drink a bottle during the movie.  You didn’t make a peep.
7/19/08 – You attended your first stage play, the Music Man.  You were very good, except you pooped early in the show and were crabby and had to be taken out, but only for a few mins. so you could get your diaper changed
7/20/08 – umbilical cord stump falls off – you are 9 days old.
8/11/08 – You had your one month check-up today!  Everything looks good; you weigh 9 lbs. 14 oz. and are 22 in. long.  Your head circumference is 38.3 cm.  You didn’t cry at all while getting weighed and measured.
8/13/08 – You smiled at Mommy!
9/3/08 – In the past week, you’ve started “talking” back to me!  You smile really big when I smile at you and give you a big HI, and you smile at me every time you see me when you wake up.  When you were born, you could hardly see any lashes, but now your eyelashes are getting long and beautiful!  Your eyes are still a bright beautiful blue!
9/5/08 – You laughed for the first time – long and loud.  And it was during Daddy’s funny play, The Nerd.  You laughed at the part where they’re playing the ‘I’m going on a trip’ game.  I don’t know if you heard the other people laughing or it was just a coincidence, but it was SO cute!
9/12/08 – Today you had your 2 month dr appt.  You are 12 lbs 9 oz and 23.25 inches long.  Your head circumference is 44.5 cm.  You fussed a little as they were examining you, but you didn’t cry.  The dr said you have dry skin and we have to watch your ears to make sure formula isn’t going in there.
9/22/08 – For about a week now, you seem to recognize your bottle.  You’ll get extra excited when you see it and open your mouth.  Your big sister Disney calls you “Beeber”.  Your big sister Sammie loves to hold you and is always asking questions about newborn babies.  She calls them “born” babies.
10/16/08 – You are 3 months old, and you are starting to play with toys.  The other day I saw you “discovering” your hands, and ever since you’ve been grabbing things.  You know how to put your fist in your mouth.  You’re still spitting up a lot.  Not as much at a time as Disney did when she was a baby, but many times throughout the day.
11/5/08 – You’ve been playing with toys for awhile now; you can grab things and you try to draw them into your mouth.  You love making g sounds – ga, goo, ggg.  You are still a very happy little guy and smile at everyone, making their days!
12/4/08 – Time flies and you are almost 5 months old!  Disney used to call you Beeber, and the name stuck, so we call you that sometimes.  Disney now calls you Kipper.  You’ve had some crabby days, but most of the time, you’re still very smiley.  You’ve been experimenting with vocalizations and you LOVE to stand!  You do not bend at the waist!  We tried the tot wheels (walker) for the first time the other day, and you like it for short periods of time since you just hang in there – your feet don’t touch the floor yet.  Most of the time, you’re pretty good about sleeping at night, usually waking up only once.  But you also have bad nights where you won’t let Daddy sleep!  You like baths, and you’re really starting to like toys.  You play with the busybox on your crib, and try to eat EVERYTHING!  You might be teething because you try to knaw on everything.  You’ve been trying cereal and if your gums seem really sore, Mommy and Daddy have been giving you a treat – a dab of peanut butter on your pacifier.  You LOVE it!  You found your feet a few weeks ago, and you were trying to get your toes in your mouth.  We are excited to take you to see Santa pretty soon!

My Kids

Posted in Kids on September 26th, 2008 and tagged , , , , ,

Everywhere we go, I get the comment, “You must have your hands full.”  Since I usually only have my younger two with me while the older two are in school, people have no idea how right they are!  Here are some recent pictures of my angels – they grow so fast and this is for relatives and people who haven’t seen them in awhile:

Christopher is a Cubs fan, of course!

Good thing I checked on Christopher during his “tummy time” – this is what I found and he wasn’t even making a peep!

Disney loves her Homer doll even though she calls him “SpongeBob”

Here are all 4 of them together: Disney is almost 2, Sammie is 4, Taylor is 8, and Christopher is 2½ months

Christopher doesn’t have the hang of holding his own bottle yet

Everyone says Sammie and Disney look like twins, years apart.  Sammie really wanted us to take this picture
of them holding her Samantha sign – no one had the heart to tell her it was backwards

The Question Phase – Already?

Posted in Kids on September 26th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , ,

My daughter Disney is not yet 2 and has already entered the question phase – a time of life when a child asks questions about anything and everything.  It seems a little early for this; I don’t seem to remember her two older sisters entering the question phase until about 3½ or 4 years old.  Heck, at Disney’s age Samantha was busy painting with poop!

But as we know, all kids are different (thank goodness for that because we already have a Sammie), and so we welcome Disney’s transition into the question phase.  Since it’s just beginning, she doesn’t yet ask questions about how things work, but rather about where her favorite people are.  It’s really cute since she gets this little inquisitive look on her face and because she’s not even 2 yet, her questions aren’t very well formed.  We know what she means though, and try to answer the best we can.  Some of her favorite questions are:  “What Daddy doin’?”  “Where Taywer (translation: big sister Taylor) go?”  “What Sammie doin’?”

I guess most of her questions do revolve around the whereabouts of her loved ones…  an example of her super-sweet nature.  Disney truly cares about other people and she is such a sweet little girl – always saying please and thank you even when it’s not expected of her.  So this isn’t a full example of the questions phase – that title will be reserved for the sometimes difficult-to-answer questions that revolve around “why”?  Like…  Why is the sky blue?  Why does Sammie get more candy than I do?  Why can’t we have a kitty?  Why do I have to go to school?  Why is Mommy’s hair turning gray?

Disney’s inquisitive face:

It’s Amazing How Different They Are…

Posted in Kids on August 12th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , ,

I think that “It’s amazing how different they are” is something that you hear many people say when they’re talking about their kids, and I’m no exception.  My two oldest daughters have the most contrasting behaviors between each other; it’s probably because my youngest two don’t have fully developed personalities yet, so it’s hard to say about which siblings differ the most from each other.  But here is the example that made me reflect upon this:

Tonight the kids were given glow sticks to play with.  The glow sticks came with a plastic wheel.  Our eldest, Taylor, who is 8, used her wheel to make a flower out of her glowsticks.  Really, it was quite creative and also pretty cool-looking and beautiful.  Her 4-year-old sister, Sammie, put her plastic wheel on her face and used it to make funny faces.  Both creative, but Taylor’s idea was so much…  well, it was a better idea, let’s be honest.  And you might be saying, well, that’s the difference between 8 and 4.  A perfectly logical response, but if you knew my girls, this wouldn’t surprise you, and I’m not convinced that it’s their age difference more than their personalities.  Taylor is much more artistic while Sammie is a clown.  We love them both equally of course, but it’s really fun to note their variety.  It’s amazing how different they are…