Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Not So Baby Boy

I am having a hard time with the format of this post because I am in Michigan and it's not working right. Anyway, here are some pictures and an update about Ezie. Hopefully it works this time. 








These three photos show the growth between November, January, and July.




I can't believe my baby boy is going to be 22 months old! It's just about every morning J and I wake up and see this pile of blanket and boy sprawled across the bed and it appears that his limbs have become longer over night and his sturdy little body is covering more ground with each passing day. We marvel out loud about how big he's gotten. J said yesterday that he does not remember the other two being that large at that age and I said "Yes they were. He is about to be two years old! It just feels like he should still be our little baby so it seems impossible." I think it's also that fact that I would usually be pregnant right now. When Z was this age I was expecting SJ and with SJ I would have just found out that I was pregnant with Ezie. The fact that we are delaying the next pregnancy because of our current life status (underemployed, living an apartment, going to school full time) is something that's hasn't gone unnoticed in my mind. I am not upset about it, but it's a new family dynamic for us and it's going to be a while before our little fellow has to give up the complimentary title of baby.

As far as what he has been up to lately, his favorite song to sing to is "Apples and Bananas". His favorite show is where he learned that song and it's called Baby Genius. And let me sarcastically tell you it is a real Emmy winner. He loves sweets just like his mama, but besides that his favorite food is probably eggs. He loves to buckle clasps that can be found on highchairs, shopping carts, and car seats. He can't undo them, but boy does he love the satisfaction of snapping them into place!

The most frustrating thing about him at this stage is his aggressive tendencies. He has always been a biter. Now add to that hitting, throwing, and spitting and you've got yourself a real bruiser I've googled my options on correcting this behavior. I'll let you know how that goes. Sigh. The cutest thing about this stage is his sweet little voice. I just love hearing him talk. He is really into possessives right now. Mommy's keys. Me'me's phone. SJ's shoes. Daddy's car.  He knows what things are and who they belong to and he will tell you all about it.

One other milestone I need to report for this stage is his first haircut. I know for some it wouldn't even count because I just trimmed his bangs, but when I clipped a piece that messy mop on top of his head it become baby book official in my opinion. It's funny because Z had his first hair cut on his 2nd birthday and SJ was right around her 4th birthday. I wanted to wait until Ezie was two, but his hair was constantly covering his eyes. I thought to myself You can be stubborn and wait until he is a nice even two to get his bangs out of his line of sight or you can cut his bangs and give him the gift of vision right now. and that is how the 21 month haircut was born.

He does get mistaken for a little girl now and then. Especially since some people think Ezra can be a girl name, but I don't worry about it. He is a cutie pie for sure and I treasure these final months of him being a one year old.



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Quick Week 6 Wrap Up

I never shared my weekly summery for last week and now this week is almost over. I don't want to get backed up so let's see we activities we did to keep our summer swinging.

1. Slip N Slide



My niece turned 4 last week and there was a lovely cook out where some of my favorite people got together to celebrate the sweetheart that E is.


I am going to call her E on the blog. That is what SJ calls her, and it sticks with my trend of using initials.

 Besides the usual birthday festivities, the kids also had fun jumping on the trampoline, splashing in the kiddie pool, and slipping and sliding, down the hill!


2. Popcorn on the stove

We don't have a microwave. The one we owned in Texas was a built in with a vent-a-hood over the stove so that stayed with the house when we sold it. I don't miss it though. We started out the first 4 years of our marriage in an apartment without a microwave, so it reminds me of simpler times. One of my favorite things to do with the kids is pop popcorn over the stove. It really takes the whole popping experience to another level. I am not sure if the video will work, but if you haven't tried Jiffy pop then you need to! 

video


3. New Friends

I met blogger Lauren in real life at the world's longest yard sale last year. After she read how nervous I was about surviving the summer she kindly invited us over to her place for a play date. Z had already left for his trip with the grandparents, but SJ and Ezie are the same ages as Lauren's children so it worked out perfectly! Aren't they adorable?



4. Chores

At this rate I don't know if I will ever do the long overdue blog post about our chore system, but for now I'll share a quick summery of how it works since it is a great boredom buster. I know a lot of people are against allowances and getting paid to do housework and I get that, but this is what we do to help teach skill sets that I think will be important later in life. Starting at age 5 (just Z for now) we have chores and we have responsibilities. A responsibility is making your bed, putting your dirty clothes in the bin, and cleaning up things you got out. For our purposes at this time, a chore is something like setting the table, putting everyones shoes in what we call the shoe cube, helping clean out the car, folding/sorting clothes etc.

We started using Dave Ramsey's financial peace junior kit almost 2 years ago (inconsistently at times) and I have been very happy with how it's worked out. Z does 3 chores a day at the going rate of about 25 cents each. We only do weekdays so ends up being about 4 dollars a week (IF he even earns that) and 1 dollar goes to offering. In other words we are not breaking the bank and it's often spent on things we would have ended up getting anyway like a book from the school book fair, a new app to play on a road trip, or his halloween costume. It's going to be different for everyone, but we can't afford to do much right now which is a valuable lesson in itself.



Here he is counting up money while learning about the value of each coin.

I really, REALLY hope I will expound on this topic more when I have a chance because I have had so many people inquire about it, but that's the gist of what we've been doing for our family so far.

5. Dress up

My kids love to dress up and we have a box full of costumes that I'll pull out for fun year round, but every July we have a special tradition of dressing up like a cow at Chic Fil A. Here are a couple pictures of my herd!





This was my 5th year to participate and one of my favorite parts was seeing my little niece wear the cow dress SJ wore 5 years ago on for her first cow day!



Every year I get more and more excited about this event!

6. Travel

Last Saturday we traveled by plane to Vermont. Well, actually, we took a plane from Cincinnati, then had a quick layover in Detroit, and then Albany New York as a final destination where we rented a car and finally ended up in good ol' VT. SJ gets excited about all aspects of travel from the moving sidewalk, to the indoor train, and the take off and landing of the plane ride. 

She's got her ticket in hand.
Buckled up and ready for take off! 

She loves pulling her suitcase around like all the other passengers on the jet bridge. So cute! 

Granted these photos were of the trip there. The trip back was not so pleasant, but we won't go into that. Believe it or not we are gearing up for a trip to Michigan next week. For that trip we'll be driving, and it's less than half the time that it would take for our normal trek to Texas so I'm not worried. It should be a really great time. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Happy Place


I feel overwhelming blessed to announce that I am in my happy place and I will be here a couple more days.

I call Vermont my happy place because it's always been my favorite state, and one time when I was in college I had a friend who was a counciling major who tried to work some of her psychotherapy voodoo on me. As I laid on the busted up vintage couch of her apartment, which may or may not have been a step up from the dorm room, she asked me to close my eyes and go to my happy place. So I imagined myself breathing in the cool mountain air of my grandparents land. Both of my parents grew up in Vermont and still have family there so we visited quite a few times throughout my childhood. My favorite memories were of petting the farm animals, hiking to the creek, eating a variety of fresh berries off the bushes, and swinging from the rafters of the barn into a pile of hay. I could go on to share so many stories; skiing, maple candies, an abundance of the world renowned autumn leaves, but I'm going to stop because I really don't have time to carry on like this! The point is I'm here and it's just as beautiful as I left it 10 years ago. It's been such a delight to watch Ezie and SJ enjoy some of the same experiences I did so long ago. Z wasn't able to make the trip because he's too busy traveling in style to North Dokota in his grandparents RV. I was hoping to check in sooner, but computer time and wi fi are scarce so I'll just give you a few brief phone photos to show what I've been up to the past couple days.
  Layover in Detroit

 Ezra was good on the plane. He mostly slept. I pray we will be so fortunate on the way back.

This decal was on the door entering the pizza joint we ate at. Ah, good ol' Vermont. I love this hippy state!



This is a terrible photo considering I brought my "real" camera, but for now check out the chickens, gardens, and cabin in the woods. My dream home. 


The kids had fun with the old tractor until SJ and another little boy got stung by some bees. They are fine now though. 


Berry picking as I mentioned already, is a favorite pastime of mine. I could sit there an eat fresh raspberries all day. This is the life! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fun For the Fourth

Keeping with my summer progress reports I am delighted to share that we had an exciting week full of family, fireworks, fun, and festivities. Here were the boredom busters for last week.

1.  Family

This week was FULL of family. We visited my aunt that lives out in the country at the beginning of the week.

We also spent a good deal of time with the cousins that live about an hour from us so that was a real treat.



Lastly, we had family, including J's parents, come from Texas.



2. Games

Amongst all of socializing and stimuli the kids have had this past week there were some quieter moments tucked in there as well. One night we just hung out and played games. Classic children games like the one that spins around a bunch fish opening and closing their mouths while you try to catch them, or dilapidated game of candy land where every single card has been bent, bitten, or torn, but you can still make where you are supposed to move your gingerbread man so that's all that matters. The adults even played one of my favorite card games called Hand and Foot. My team won by the way. Just sayin'.

3. Water Table


There are a few different places I have been to that offer these water stations where the kids wear little aprons to keep dry while their hands get to splash, pour, and play in the water. This particular water table is at the Cincinnati Children's museum and it's a hit every time!



4. Camping


Because the grandparents came in their new RV they rented a camp site to stay at while in the area.



Z and SJ got to spend the night with them and we had campfire where we roasted hot dogs and smores, we hiked and saw wildlife. We did all the fun stuff that comes with camping minus sleeping without electricity.



5. Fireworks


We had a BLAST at the church's 4th of July party.



The fireworks were great, but it doesn't have to be an activity limited to the 4th. One of the things that's great about this season is that you can easily find sparklers and poppers for sale and use them for entertainment throughout the summer. That's what we've done.

6. Beach



We spent a lot of time at East Fork beach which is where the family was camping. It wasn't the pretty blue water with gorgeous white sand, but it was still an enjoyable and relaxing time for sure.




I am pleased with how the summer is starting to pick up the pace and I can't wait for what comes next.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Independence!

I love the 4th of July, it is such an uplifting, lively holiday. On Sunday we all wore red, white, and blue. It was a last minute thing. Since we made the effort to coordinate I asked my sister in law if she could snap a quick picture of us. Ezie was literally asleep in this photo and we had a slew of unattractive vehicles (like my own) in a very bland looking parking lot behind us. I still loved the photo though, as we have very few of all 5 of us. So I learned how to photoshop around strands of hair so that I could tweak the background, then I made some color adjustments, added the text, and BAM- I've practically got a personalized greeting card now.

Here are some throwbacks to other times that we wore patriotic colors. 

2010

2011

From our family to yours, HAPPY 4th of July!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

One Month Down

We have officially made it to the second month of summer! I don't have much to share about our fourth week in the season of heat. Here are a few activities we've implemented in these first 4 weeks in the season of heat:

1. Educational youtube videos

I mentioned we are working on all the 50 states capitols. Z and I just about have them mastered. For that we use the clip from Animaniacs called "Wakko's 50 State Capitols" and we are also trying to learn some spanish along the way this summer and one of the videos that all three kids seem to benefit from is De Todos Colores. It's about 12 minutes of pictures with the spanish word spoken out loud and it's all on youtube.

2. Coloring



I know this is such a simple and obvious boredom buster, but there is something to be said of this simple activity.



My mom gives us these rolls of paper that they throw away at Delta and the backs of them are blank so they just doodle all the live long day on that stuff.



Well, not all day. That would be nice if they did, but it's fun while it lasts. What would have been trash has brought hours of entertainment at our home.




3. Toy Rotation



When I was pregnant with my first we felt like we were grown ups and we needed life insurance. The guy that handled our case offered advice that meant nothing to me at the time, but now I see it as mommy magic. It's toy rotation. When they see all their toys all the time it's like they don't see them at all, but if you take them away and pull them out periodically and then suddenly it's like they are discovered in a new light.



Before summer began I went through the big bin of toys in our home and I threw some stuff away and sorted out what was left. That means cars go with cars, super heroes are in another category, and all the potato head pieces are together at last. Toys are kind of like food. Who wants to eat a bunch of left over muffins, eggs, pizza, salad, and ice-cream all mixed up and put on a plate like a casserole? But separate it and put them in their prospective meals and that's appealing. It has been nice to pull out a set of dominos or trains to keep them busy for a while whereas before they were just sitting in the bottom of a big plastic tub. For the record the room has since become mostly a hodge podge of toys that probably hold support groups at night to deal with their rejection, but I plan to get back to a rotation again it really did help when I needed a moment of peace.

4. Visiting far away friends
The summer is a great time to see those friends that don't live nearby. We drove about an hour away last week to visit some of our favorite playmates and sadly I took no photos.

5. Bubbles
The joy of bubbles need no explanation, but sometimes you don't have any bubbles. Or what about when you spilled your jar or lost your wand? Well, my friends, the fun does not have to stop.



I pinned this idea a long time ago and it came in handy last week. All you need is some straws, dish soap, water, and tape.



They had a ton of fun with this one.

6. Celebrating Birthdays

Last week we celebrated my birthday and the Z and SJ made this lovely cake (with assistance).


We were also invited to one of SJ's classmates birthday parties. You can imagine their excitement at this place.


We have another party next week. Hooray for summer birthdays!