Monday, January 18, 2010

Wain



The weather in our neck of the woods has been a balmy 34 the last few days so the snow and ice (remnants from the previous few snow storms) that has coated our driveway has finally started to melt. I was out there Saturday, plastic shovel in hand, trying to chip away at the 1/2 inch thick sheet of ice near the top of the driveway. The boys thought it was great - Mama was playing in the snow! They both grabbed shovels and began racing around the driveway. A little too fast for Wes, however. Remember that sheet of ice I mentioned? He ran across it, wiped out and was lying on his back under the eave of the garage. And remember how I said it was 34? Above freezing? So the snow is melting? As the drips from the melting snow on the roof plummeted down, Wes began waiving his hands in front of his face saying "Wain, wain. No wain."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Juggling

This morning I brought the children to church by myself. Once I'm there it's almost like a break as I drop off the little ones in the nursery and the bigger one at Sunday school then head off for my own Sunday morning class. The struggle lies in getting there and then getting back home.

One of the many things Jack has learned at preschool is how to put on his own coat, hat and mittens, a feat worthy of the cost of tuition right there. Wes and Elise still need A LOT of help, however. In a busy narthex with a myriad of adults and children milling around, it is a juggling act to bundle up the little kids while keeping track of all three of them, ensuring one doesn't wander away with some other family. We can usually successfully leave with our three children fully bundled. I don't think this morning was a particularly good performance, however, because Elise licked Wesley's face a couple times and her hair got stuck in Wesley's zipper. In the chaos all I could do was laugh. We did manage to get to the car (all of us) and home in one piece, it just took a little longer than normal.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hooked on Phonics


Have you ever had your name pronounced incorrectly? I know my husband is answering with a resounding "yes."

Both Rebecca and Beckie are pretty straight forward, but I have had my fair share of people take liberty with my nickname. I don't mean the endearing kind. I mean the Andrew to Andy or Thomas to Tom kind. At work, I am strictly Rebecca. I always introduce myself as Rebecca, the name by my office door says Rebecca and my business cards (all of them, I checked) say, you guessed it, Rebecca. Yet, I still get Beckie (not so unusual since outside of work that's how I'm known) or Becca (although a beautiful alternative, I am not a Becca) on a pretty regular basis. While not exactly my preference, the nicknames are usually pronounced correctly.

In situations where the mispronunciation is obvious or happens so frequently you start spelling your name phonetically, the solution is obvious, right? Just correctly restate your name, ensure the mispronouncing culprit gets it and moves on. But what about when it's subtle?

I know a lot of Andreas that have this problem. Is the emphasis on the "An" or the "drea"? I think our daughter is going to struggle with this her whole life. Her name is Elise. Pronounced "ee-leese." People call her "uh-leese" all the time. I think both names are beautiful. It's just that, well, we named our daughter "ee-leese." So what do you do when it's subtle? Do you simply pronounce it correctly in hopes that the subtlety will not be lost? Or do you emphasise the subtle difference and risk complete annihilation the next time? And what do I do for my daughter before she can say anything herself? Or am I just being too picky?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Either Way I Think We're Safe

Since I don't have any siblings I don't really understand the incessant need siblings have to press each others buttons, though I did expect it at some point with my own children. I just didn't think it would be so early.

For the last couple months, Jack and Wes have been arguing about what sound a fire truck makes. You can hear both versions below:

video

Both boys love to "rescue" people so when there is an emergency help is promptly on the way. We just don't know what it will sound like when it's coming.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Girl and her Doll Ball

The night after Elise was born I was scouring the internet for the perfect welcome-to-the-world gift. You see, all of our children get a gift from us (besides life, I mean) when they're born. Jack got a big softer-than-anything-in-the-world bear before we even knew he existed. Wes's Rodney reindeer was sitting comfortably in the crib weeks before he arrived. But no special toy had been acquired for our sweet baby girl. Not for lack of effort. We just hadn't found that one perfect gift yet.

Then I happened upon a well known blog and on said blog a little doll was being given away. The doll was ADORABLE and the absolute perfect most special gift we could have ever found for our little Elise. Well, almost. It was way out of the never-specifically-determined-but-intuitively-known price range. But, oh...I, I mean, she needed one of those dolls. To make a long story not quite so long, we ended up getting her one of the dolls as a combined gift for her birth and first birthday.

We were so excited to give her her first baby doll. I imagined her snuggling it, dragging it with her as she scooted all over the house, sleeping with it, never letting it leave her side.

Instead, the baby doll is often left lying alone on the floor after I've tired of forcing Elise to play with it,



while Elise "snuggles" with her blue spikey ball.



Sigh. I guess that's one of the dangers of having two big brothers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jumping Jack

To say that Jack has a lot of energy would be an understatement. Though I'm sure the same thing could be said about most four-year-old boys. In an effort to burn off some of his energy so he'd take a nap (words cannot express how precious nap time is), I thought maybe he could do some jumping jacks. It never ceases to make me pause in wonder at just how many things one must teach a child. I don't remember anyone ever teaching me how to do jumping jacks, but surely someone did because physically innovative and gifted I am not so I know I didn't just make them up.

Here is Jack's first attempt at jumping jacks:


video

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Best Things About Yesterday

  1. The shouts of joyful excitement coming from the back seat when we saw three snowmobilers in the ditch (don't worry, that's where they were supposed to be)
  2. Hearing Elise giggle and seeing her eyes light up as she caught on to a "game" I started while playing doll house with her
  3. This from Wesley: "Hehe, bu-bow" as he pointed to the enormous snot bubble coming from his left nostril
  4. Seeing Jack spinning in circles as Abba's Dancing Queen was playing

Breaking the Ice

The kids got a new game. It's called "Don't Break the Ice," but their selective hearing omits the "don't."



They try as hard as they can to break the ice and make the poor red, skating bear fall through that ice.



The their poor non-red, non-skating mother has to try to put the ice back together before they knock it out again or the littlest one tries to eat it. (Just to be clear, it's not real ice; it's plastic. That's why eating it is a problem).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay

Elise got a Busy Ball Popper for Christmas.



She likes to feel...




the wind in her face.




To a one-year-old...




it's hilarious.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Catching Up

After busy Christmas and New Year celebrations, I have a lot of catching up to do. So I'll apologize in advance for the lack of timeliness evident here (two weeks late isn't that bad is it?).

After what turned out to be a snowy, but very relaxed, Christmas eve celebration, we started the Christmas festivities at home with finally discovering what was in our stockings. I say "finally" because the gifts had been in there for a few days. Since we don't pretend that Santa visits our house* we don't actually have to wait until the kids go to bed on Christmas eve to try to cram stuff in the stockings. So the lumps and bumps were very intriguing to at least one of the youngsters in our house.

After stockings, we were off to Sean's parents' home. After consuming more than we should have of our traditional Christmas breakfast, Jack had no more patience for sitting around. It was time to play. The train track pictured below was a sitting-below-the-stockings-because-it-wouldn't-fit-inside gift that we carted along on our travels that day. Whoever (yours truly) thought this track was a good purchase was wrong. Looks cool, yes. Who wouldn't love a train that spirals down curve after curve of wooden track? However, unless it's just glued together, as Jack suggested, it constantly has to be fixed. Add to that an almost-one-year-old that loves to do anything her brothers are doing and it's a recipe for disaster.



Luckily we started opening gifts shortly after the track was set up so we avoided any real big meltdowns. The kids received a joint gift this year. Getting them all to participate in opening it was a challenge. As was getting them all in one picture. I thought children were supposed to be cooperative (okay I really don't think that, but I can dream right?). Represented below in multiple pictures was the Radio Flyer wagon opening event.







The boys celebrated their first Christmases as newborns. It was quite a different experience for Elise. At 11 1/2 months she was able to fully explore every new item put in front of her. She bored quickly of actually opening the gifts, but loved playing with all the new toys whether they were hers or not, much to the dismay of her brothers. Here are a few pictures of baby girl's first Christmas. Please don't be alarmed by the second picture. I assure you that Sean was in complete control and it only looks like Elise is about to fall on her head.









Looks like she had fun, huh?

*Perhaps a topic for another day

Bring on the Pink

You know what they say about the third (and maybe the second too) child: they never get the same attention that is lavished on the first. For the most part I don't think that is the case with our third child as she DEMANDS her fair share of attention. However, I do have to admit to depriving her of her deserved place in the spotlight because I am belated in wishing her a happy birthday in blog world.

In my defense, it does seem a bit too soon to be wishing her a happy 1st birthday. In fact, I'm not sure this is actually our daughter. Our daughter is a tiny baby. She's delicate, fragile and still very much in need of her Mommy. This baby toddler isn't tiny at all (more on that later). She's tough, she holds her own with her brothers, she lets her opinions be known and she's needing her Mommy less and less each day.



Yes, I guess our little Elise is growing up and really did celebrate her 1st birthday this past weekend complete with friends, family, girly gifts and...CAKE!



She enjoyed the cake. And maybe would have enjoyed the ice cream if it hadn't been so cold. Not being able to feed yourself with a spoon definitely changes the experience of eating ice cream and her poor little hands got so cold that they hurt.

Friends and family abounded (is "abounded" a word?). Thank you to all who attended and to all those who couldn't attend but sent happy birthday wishes. It is such a blessing to know how much Elise is loved. The "friends" portion of the guests consisted of boys...lots and lots and lots of boys. I thought it would be fun to get pink (is there any other color for a girl's 1st birthday?) party hats for all the kids to wear, but decided to hold off until Elise could appreciate the humor. I can't wait to see 7 little boys running around in pink party hats.

And the gifts were girly. Until very recently most of the toys Elise played with were "boy toys." Her truck sounds rank right up there with the best of 'em and she loves to play parking garage. She was able to add to our abundant car collection, but her car is pink. Dolls, pink and glitter (much to Sean's dismay as he abhors glitter) were all over and Elise (and maybe Elise's mom too) enjoyed every girly second of it.



We closed our very fun extended weekend with a trip to the doctor for a 1-year check. I am happy to report that, for the first time ever, Elise is in a higher percentile for height than weight. While her weight has fluctuated between the 96th and 99th percentiles for most of her life, her height hasn't been quite that extreme. Until now. She is a long and not-so-lean 32 inches (only 4 inches shorter than her 2-year-old brother) - the 99th percentile. She's still in the 98th percentile for weight, but if she's anything like her brothers, she'll start to come down over the next year.

The poor girl got 4 shots (ouch!) and cried harder with each consecutive poke. After the doctor we hit the zoo and, with no morning nap, 4 shots and all that crying, Elise spent most of the time resting in the stroller with her beloved plug and blankie.

We are so excited for the changes the next year holds for our baby girl and we can't wait for all the PINK to come.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What Else Could It Be But a Happy New Year?

Disgusted and utterly frustrated by trying to come up with a creative post title, I settled on the above.

Anyhoo...

I'm afraid to make any official resolutions because when (notice I said "when" and not "if") I break them, I usually feel immense guilt and question my integrity. Therefore, I am not making any resolutions this year in hopes of keeping my integrity in one piece. I will, however, list all the things I would perhaps like to do this year with the explicit disclaimer that this list in no way binds me to any real commitment.

  1. Make plans with friends and/or family at least three weekends out of every month
  2. Lose the baby, baby, baby weight and then get back on the diet I was on before baby number one
  3. Commit to do devotions with my wonderful husband
  4. Be more consistent doing weekly preschool activities with the boys
  5. Memorize one new Bible verse each week
Five should be enough to keep me busy, though I should probably list at least five more. But since this will likely be a source of guilt in the coming months I'll stop with these and start making plans to follow through.

Here's to 2010!