Monday, December 15, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Here's Sawyer with Daddy - he's a twin of Baby Kevin!Enjoying morning play time with big sisters...
...and clearly finished with big sister play time
Friday, November 14, 2008
We now had kites in our possession; however, the weather was now even colder than usual - cloudy and in the 40s. Determined, we arranged for Kevin to come home from work early to take advantage of a windy, but not freezing day. Reiley, having poured over a treasury of Spot stories (by Eric Hill) from the library, which included a tale of Spot flying a kite, was thrilled for the chance to fly a kite. She was also mildly concerned that our kite would get stuck in a tree (which was Spot's fate), and unlike Spot, we wouldn't have a talking, top-hat wearing kangaroo to jump up and save our kite from the tree. We promised we would hold on tight to the kite.
We packed all the kids and my mom (GrandMar to the kids) into the van and set off for our local elementary school down the street with a big soccer field perfect for kite-flying. Kevin spent a nerve-wracking 5 minutes trying to launch the kite. Kevin and Reiley share similar frustration tolerances, and I could sense their anxiety escalating simultaneously. "Is the kite ever going to fly high in the sky, Mom??"
The kite rode on the wind for about 20 minutes, which gave everyone a chance to hold it and watch it, and for parents to attempt artsy photos.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The girls were SO excited when his umbilical cord stump fell off and they were able to take a bath with him. He was very calm in the bath and tolerated Reiley's thorough washing of him, and Ainsley's attempts to drag him out of the bathtub so that she could sit in it (yes, Ainsley is experiencing some middle-child angst right now; Mommy is trying to give her lots of Ainsley-alone snuggle time).
I think that he looks especially beefy in this picture. His face is really starting to fill out, but his legs are still super-skinny, which looks hilarious sticking out from his huge cloth diaper.
Reiley and Sawyer have some special snuggle time whenever he's awake. She'll hold him for 20 minutes at a time, stroking him and filling him in on what's going on in the world (Obama's presidential win, the weather, where we are going to go during the day, etc.) It's one of those sweet scenes that warms a mother's heart (and makes my eyes well up with big, post-partum tears).
Ainsley's favorite Sawyer game is anything that involves sitting or laying by him. She'll quickly dump Baby Jesus to save a spot on her lap for Baby Sawyer. Unfortunately, she also tries to roll Baby Sawyer off in the same way. We're working on that one!
We'll keep you posted, and will hopefully get more Sawyer eyes-open pictures as he has more awake hours during the day.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
The girls are completely in love with Sawyer and are squabbling over who gets to hold him and how long. We came home on Saturday and are settling in to our new routines. He's figured out that night is a time for sleeping - so we are getting much less tired! Fortunately, the girls are still sleeping well and up to their usual antics. We're having fun welcoming Sawyer into our family!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Maybe it's because I'm approaching my due date and am feeling overly emotional about everything, but I've been having some Mom guilt that lots of posts have addressing Reiley's new adventures and thoughts. Perhaps Ainsley's been slighted. So I've dedicated this post to showcasing Ainsley.
Her passion in life right now is pretend play, typically focusing around her baby - Baby Jesus. Yes, that's right, the infant Lord lives in our house and is Ainsley's constant companion (except at night-time and nap, he's just too exciting). Meet Baby Jesus in this clip. Where does she say Baby Jesus lives? Galilee. We only figured this out because she would spontaneously exclaim, "Galilee!" One day she followed it up with, "Baby Jesus, lives there." I guess Reiley's current interest in reading multitudes of Bible tales has added to Ainsley's Bible trivia.
Singing is another one of her faves. She makes up songs about things she eats, where she's going , rocks baby Jesus to sleep, and opens the hymn book at mass and invents little diddies. This often happens during times of silence, which gets a few glances. But if she's singing Jesus her own invented song - what am I going to do? I'm sure God doesn't mind. Here she's trying to sing "The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor" for any of you familiar with it.
She also enjoys narrating and storytelling. When Kevin gets dressed for work in the morning, she coaches him on the next steps. "Put Daddy's white shirt on. Get Daddy's belt on. Socks! Shoes!" On sleep-deprived days, this is very helpful. Here's a clip of her telling you about how the chicken at Prairie Day bit her.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Reiley has a yearly tradition of sitting in an apple tree. She's very interested in climbing trees (or at least attempting it) right now, so her typical fear of heights was forgotten.
Eating ice cream at the "country store" is always a big hit, typically cited by Reiley as more important that the actual apple-picking. This year's wagon ride and tree-sitting must have very exciting because they were rated as "the favorite thing I did at the apple farm" this year.
On Sunday we made a trip out to the Missouri prairie for "Prairie Day". Reiley was psyched because she loves Little House on the Prairie books, and there were going to have "a REAL covered wagon!!" We had to take the shot that all parents take at the wooden stick-your-face-through-a-hole-and-smile cutouts. Reiley is playing the part of over-worked prairie girl fairly well, and Ainsley as the boy reminded me of all the wooden cut-outs that I made MY little sister look through. "Look, Meg, you can pretend to be the boy!"
The girls (Ainsley especially) had a lot of fun petting the sheep. Though Ainsley extrapolated "OK to touch sheep" to also mean "OK to stick fingers in chicken cage", and received a quick snip. She was more shocked than hurt, but Ainsley has been telling us the story since the incident, "The red chicken...bit me...NO chicken!" Prairie Day was much more walking than I had anticipated, and the weather was fairly humid, so we were getting hot, tired, and sticky near the end. This felt AWESOME as a hugely pregnant lady lugging around too-tired toddler. When the girls and I were walking toward the shuttle while Kevin took a bathroom break, I heard a grandma-aged woman say, "Look at that poor pregnant lady, carrying around that baby." Two minutes later, a woman passes me as I'm carrying Ainsley and holding Reiley's hand, and said "Oh my gosh, you seriously have your hands full - do you need help?" Perhaps I'll have to post a separate blog entry about how people feel they have liberty to say anything to a pregnant woman. I was just trying to walk to the freakin' bus, people! Give a tired, sweaty pregnant lady a break!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Soccer season has begun! Reiley is playing soccer for the first time on our parish's co-ed 4-year-old soccer team, and Kevin is one of the coaches. I'm liking it because all of the coaches are focused on the kids learning through small-group, fun exercises, with a few team scrimmages at the end of the season.
The temperature was in the 80s during the first practice, and we wondered how typically heat-resistant Reiley was going to feel about the sweating, and the heavy soccer shinguards and socks.
Reiley was also the second-youngest kid on the team, so you never know what the experience will be like with the "bigger" kids. The team sat in a line on their balls, and counted off into four groups. Reiley was in a group with three boys and one other girl (who turned out to be the one kid younger than Reiley). Reiley had a great time - split between playing with the boys and trying to console the other girl who was clearly not comfortable with the whole team sports thing (as evidenced by a nearly continuous stream of tears). At one point, Kevin was trying to encourage the other girl to join in the "Simon Says" game, and Reiley said, "Dad, it's ok if she doesn't want to do it right now. She'll start when she's ready."
By the end of practice, Reiley was ecstatic.
Reiley: "Dad, I had fun with you and Coach Tim and Coach Mike and Coach Eric, too, but I need a shower when we get home because I'm very sweaty."
Kevin: "You're right, soccer makes you sweaty. Some of the other kids told me they were getting sweaty and thirsty, too."
Reiley: "Yeah, but even though I was thirsty, I didn't say that. I just KEPT PLAYING until the coaches said it was time for a break."
Reiley also said her favorite friend from practice was a girl named Lindsey. Kevin didn't remember a Lindsey playing so he asked Reiley which girl she was. "Dad, do you remember that girl with a blue and yellow flowery dress and flowery sandals? That was Lindsey."
Yep, her best friend was the six-year-old big sister who was watching practice from next to the water bottle bench.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Ainsley checking the soil saturation levels. (A very technical project than resulted in her little body caked with mud)
Thursday, August 21, 2008
She's seemed to have come to terms with Mr. Banks' character development throughout the movie, and now she's turned her interest to Mrs. Banks. Prompted by questions about why the kids have a nanny, I tried to give an age-appropriate summary of the Women's Suffrage Movement, and Mrs. Banks ("The Mommy's") excitement about getting women the vote. Being pro-woman and pro-political involvement myself, I was stressing the importance of the Mommy's involvement by saying, "That's an important job, too". Reiley replied, "But that is not the MOST important job, Mom. I think the most important job is being a mommy, because kids' jobs are are to play and learn. And they need a grown-up, like their Mom or Dad, to help them do that."
Whoa - four-year-olds don't worry about the political or social ramifications of their opinions. While various women could jump all over this statement and land on one ideological side or the other, I silenced that part of my brain and heard what my daughter was implicitly saying:
Thanks for being there for me, Mom. I think you are important.
In that moment, it became very clear to me what I have been grappling with these several years that I started working very part-time from home to stay home with my kids. My kids don't look at me as woman with advanced degree and student loans she's still paying off stalling her career by working part-time and unsure of when she'll ever re-enter the full-time work force. Who do I think the people that have this opinion are? Does it matter what society's expectations for "women like me" are? Over the years, I've turned my back on those messages to find out what I really want for my family and my children, and things have become more and more clear. As many of you know, the world of motherhood isn't always valued by society, and doesn't come with a lot of tangible pay-offs and promotions like the business world. Little fleeting moments like these are illuminating and validating.
Thanks, Reiley, for putting things in perspective so simply. I stay at home with my children for my children. Not to make a political or feminist statement or stand in judgement of others. I'm here to just be there for them, and it was incredible to feel truly appreciated.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
What is it about upwardly moving water that is so exciting for kids?? I am amazed at how my girls can be so grumpy and antagonistic in the air-conditioned house, and once you take them outside into the scorching heat and turn on the sprinkler, the rage melts away. Seriously, the look of careless abandon on Reiley's face cracks me up - it's just fast-moving water! Though the fact that she loves it so much is exciting to me, because she refused to touch any water spraying from a sprinkler until last summer.
Ainsley also got mentally lost inside some type of waterworld wonderland while we were there. I imagine her mind playing a trippy Beatles-esque song (Sprinkler Park Forever to the tune of Strawberry Fields Forever) as she pads along the sprinkler park.
I felt happily full of burrito in the summer scorcher, Daddy felt slightly drunk (only kidding :-)), and the kids were enthralled with the water. I think we have a new plan for every Sunday afternoon in August.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
We also had some big discussions about David and Goliath. "Did David actually kill Goliath??" Which every Children's bible and story book of course says that "the giant fell over". When Mommy reported that I thought that he was indeed killed, she paused for a long time. I said "What do you think about that?" "I think that seems very mean; why did they want to fight each other?" After some attempts at explaining war over land and geopolitics in the past and present, I was amazed at the clear thinking of a child. She said, "Why didn't they just talk about why they each wanted to live there?" Hmmm, great question.
I grappled with how to explain to her that many parents teach their children to use words rather than force to settle their disagreements. However, many adults and our own government might make a single attempt with words, then use whatever force necessary to take what they want. Ainsley interrupted my train of thought - impatient to read another book. I realized my only answer was, "I don't really know why they didn't make that choice."
Monday, July 14, 2008
After Kevin's car almost died, we did a lot of car research. What we soon came to realize is that the hard truth is that if you have more than two kids and would like to take them somewhere without moving a seat a million times to get them in and out AND would like decent trunk space, you get a minivan. After an evening of mourning, we did more research and choosing. The final selection was a 2008 Honda Odyssey (minus the cool stuff like DVD players and Bluetooth, and other assorted features that seemed like a joke to us after driving cars made in 1997 and 1999).
After two weeks of driving it, I unabashedly am proclaiming my love for my minivan. I love the sunglasses holder directly above the rear view mirror. I live for the smooth handling and gentle zoom of the engine. I love the dual air conditioners so that I don't have to hear my children complain about the summer heat. I love the captain chairs that slide back and forth so that my short lady arms can still reach Ainsley when she drops everything out of her chair. I love the huge trunk that I keep my double stroller in and still have room for groceries. I love riding high above other drivers and feel like giving other minivan mom drivers an air high-five for minivans. I find any excuse to drive it somewhere. It is a sad, sad truth - but wonderful at the same time.
We had a whirlwind birthday weekend for Miss Reiley who turned four! Earlier in the week, I had my mom sobbing moment where I looked through all her old pictures and her baby book and wondered where the years have gone! I blamed it on pregnancy hormones, but I should really just accept the fact that I'm a huge sap, and the crying is unavoidable.
With tears out of the way, we geared up for two parties during the weekend. We had our "family" party on Saturday afternoon, which was a Reiley-chosen firefighting theme. She's been wanting to be a firefighter for about 3 months, and we rented a DVD from the library that told us all the aspects of becoming a firefighter. She memorized the prerequisites, and informed me that "Now that I'm four, that isn't that far away from 18, and that's when I can become a firefighter! I'll have to spend the night in the firehouse for a few nights, but then I'll come home." Here are the girls anxiously awaiting the cake.
We got her a Little Red Riding Hood cape, and it was worn for the rest of the party, and for days after. I've been working on my Wolf voice and Reiley's been pondering the ethics of the fairy tale. "That wasn't very nice for the hunter to kill the wolf; he could have made a different choice, Mom."
Ainsley is sporting the fire chief hat from the costume Reiley received. Reiley's been rescuing women, children and families from apartment building fires, with the help of Ainsley.
Reiley's "friend" party was Sunday morning, and she chose a construction theme. While she's semi-interested in construction vehicles, I think she ultimately made the choice because she saw a picture of an excavator cake in my Family Fun magazine and declared it the choice for her birthday. I completely understand making decisions based on food:-). Here's Reiley with her BFF Savannah blowing out the candles. Reiley and her buddies donned construction hats and dug in the sandbox to find paintbrushes, which they used to paint a cardboard box house. Then they pulled out some treats from the construction cone pinata and had some cake. Hot outside, and messy, but lots of fun!
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I knew I could look like one of those supermoms who actually has these kind of enriching activities all planned out and claim that this was my doing. But I won't lie - Curious George gives me a 30 minute break during Ainsley's nap, since most days Reiley doesn't nap anymore. So thank you, Curious George, for the break and for the fun with bones. Here's a video of Reiley talking about her "skeleton drawing". She really wanted me to put it on the blog.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
NEW BABY BOY!
We had our ultrasound last Friday and our new little boy is growing well. Reiley thought it was very interesting to see the ultrasound picture with an arrow pointing to his "private area". She declared in the ultrasound room that his name would be Elmo Nunu, to which Ainsley outstreched her arms and exclaimed "NuNu!". Despite the cute display, we will not be entering that into our list of name options. We're trying to find a way to let Reiley down easy. We're super ecited and I've already started stocking up on cute boy clothes!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
The class dress code called for a bun, which is a hilarious task with Reiley's hair. Like mine, it's incredibly thin, and currently cut in a chin-length bob. Here we are, trying to accomplish the task.
Armed with bobby pins and lots of hairspray, we succeeded in creating a makeshift bun. Reiley, posing as a "shy dancer" for you all. The Angelina Ballerina book series has become one of her favorites, so during this photo shoot, she wanted to pretend that she was Angelina, and I was the dance teacher taking pictures of everyone. I was honestly a little nervous, because this is the the first "no-parent-with-you" class that she's asked to do. Every other class-type separation we've attempted in the past has required a lot of preparation, and she just hasn't been ready for it. It was amazing to see what six months will do! We got there and she said "bye, Mom," and didn't look back! The dance studio has a two-way mirror where all of the parents can watch (which was nice, but also seemed kind of creepy). The class is her every dream, complete with tutu time, princess-crown wearing, dancing with ribbons, and this week, a reading of Angelina Ballerina. It's been fun to see her serious and concentrated look during warm-up, and the careless abandon with which she pretends to be a butterfly emerging from her cocoon. Here's a video. Don't be confused with the near-twin girl who is also dancing nearby. Reiley's the one on the far left, who comes toward the middle during the clip.