Thursday, December 29, 2011

Benjamin in a big boy bed!

I didn't get a chance to take a picture... but tonight is Benjamin's first night in his big boy bed!  It was not really my dream to have both boys in toddler beds before the age of 2, but what can you do when they can both climb out but not back in?

Benjamin learned to get out of the crib at Eric's parents' house, and has been able to translate his skills to his home crib.  Last night we heard crying, and Eric went up to investigate and found Benjamin sitting next to Asher in Asher's bed, crying because he couldn't get back to his own bed.

Tonight my parents came by and Eric and my dad quickly and efficiently took off the front of Benjamin's crib.  We then went up as a family to show Benjamin his new bed.  His face lit up!  He was grinning from ear to ear and jumped right up and then lay down like he was ready to go to sleep.  You could see he was so happy to have a bed like Asher does.

I dreaded putting him down to bed, worrying that it would be like the transition with Asher.  I worried for nothing- Benjamin lay down and snuggled up with his blankets, and I didn't hear a peep.  Asher, on the other hand, leapt out of his bed and was banging at the door before I could even get to the top of the stairs (4 feet away).  You would think it was Asher's first night in the bed, not Benjamin!

I am proud of Benjamin for making the transition so easily.  He used to have a lot of trouble falling asleep at night, but he is now an easy sleeper and will sleep straight through without a peep til 7 am.  What a sweet boy!
My sweet Benjamin.  Who on earth could he be imitating?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011!

Today we celebrated Christmas with Eric's family in Maine.  We really started celebrating on the 23rd with a party with Eric's mom's side of the family, though.  We went to Eric's brother's house and ate lots of dessert while the kids enjoyed themselves.  The boys took a bath with their cousin Kiptyn.  I think Kiptyn was kind of surprised, since he usually gets to take baths alone.  Their bath time ended when Benjamin caught sight of a toy shark and flipped out.  Asher promptly picked the shark up and gave it kisses on the mouth!
Three cousins in the tub
Christmas Eve we had another party, this one at Eric's grandparents, with Eric's dad's side of the family.  The boys got to see Santa, which was not really a big hit.  Despite the fact that it was their second night up past bedtime, their moods were good and they had fun with their cousins.
The tree on Christmas Eve
My Christmas gift from Eric was to sleep in.  I slept past 8, and then we got started on opening our stockings and the gifts from Eric's grandparents.  Benjamin got the idea of "stocking" and started putting it on like a sock!
Forget the gifts, I have a sock!

The boys in their Christmas pajamas with their Christmas sippies
opening their stockings with daddy
Later in the day their cousins came over for dinner and to open the rest of their gifts.  The boys seemed kind of overwhelmed about what to open and play with, so we got a little of this:
"That's my box!"
The boys got a ton of nice gifts, and more toys than we know what to do with.  Eric and I also got numerous nice things, including two cookbooks I have wanted for a while, new sheets and towels, and new pajamas for me!

Benjamin's favorite new toy
The boys definitely seemed hyped up by playing with their cousins.  Sleep took a turn for the worse, and Asher was up past 10 crying, and then Benjamin was up at 11:30, crying.  Then Benjamin woke for the day at 6:30.  Eric and I are a little tired!  We go home tomorrow, with a stop in Cambridge to see my grandparents and pick up my sister.  It will be nice to be back in our own house, but it will feel quiet and lonely after all the time celebrating with family.

I started this blog entry last night, but the internet decided it was done for the night before I was.  So today is also Benjamin and Asher's 21 month birthday.  Only 3 months until my angels are 2... I can't believe it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Hanukkah!

Last night we had Hanukkah with my parents, and Aunt Jane and Uncle Ed.  The boys stayed up until I was home from work to light the menorah with us, but I don't think that worked so well for them.
Cutest zombie ever
Bear in his bear-jamas on Grandpa Nick's shoulders
Aunt Jane lighting the menorah
Playing with the little people Hanukkah set
The boys got a set of wooden blocks for the first night.  I got a big gift- a new laptop!  I am writing this on my brand new MacBook Air.  It is wonderful!  My old laptop was running out of memory, the case was broken all over, and the boys had relieved it of the shift key, so it was time to let it go.  I love my new computer!

Did you know the cozy coupe was double-decker?
I have gifts for the boys for every night of the holiday (and more), as well as gifts from my parents.  Tomorrow we leave for Maine and of course they will probably be spoiled rotten there, too.  I am excited for the holiday, and to get time with all 3 of my guys.  Work has been kind of crazy the past few weeks-- for the two weeks prior to this I had many no-shows and cancellations, and then this week I can't even seem to cram everyone in.  Maybe they are worried about what they'll do without me for two weeks?

In any case, we are enjoying celebrating, giving gifts, cooking and eating, and seeing family and friends.  On Saturday we hosted a big brunch for our friends and had a completely packed house.  I love hosting, and it was great to have our friends and their children over.

And while I am grateful for all the material goods, I am reminded that I have something that money can't buy- my family.  This time of year, I think often of December 2009, when I was placed on bed rest.  I can still remember the anxiety I felt around the possibility of pre-term labor and losing my boys.  When I look at them now, so big and healthy, I know I didn't even imagine it being this good.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

sweet moments

Benjamin and mommy

Benjamin seems to be getting ahead of the curve on the "Terrible Twos."  He is nowhere near terrible, but he is beginning to exercise his independence and there are certain things that he insists he do by himself.  He has to buckle the booster for himself, and put the tray on; he likes to open and close the gate on the stairs; and put his food on his tray when he eats.  If he doesn't get to do things for himself, he has a tantrum.  They're usually not so bad.  He just lowers himself to the floor, cries, and kicks his legs up and down at the same time.  I deal with them by saying "night night!" and walking away, which usually puts an end to it.

Today after nap, he would not stop crying (yes, he needed more nap but no luck there).  Asher was on my lap, and Eric brought Benjamin over next to us on the couch.  Benjamin buried his face in the couch and cried.  Eric asked Asher how to make Benjamin feel better, and Asher leaned over, gave him a hug and kiss, and patted his back and head.  It was so unbelievably sweet to see him care for his brother like that, and wonderful to know that my boys already have some empathy.
Big Bear
Benjamin and his bear

Benjamin has also started to take care of a toy bear.  He hugs it, feeds it milk, and sometimes feeds it food.  They don't have any dolls yet, but I think they're getting one for Hanukkah. I am glad that these little monkeys also have a sensitive side.

Monday, December 12, 2011

weekend without daddy

This past weekend, Eric went to Maine to visit his parents, and I was home with the boys for 3 full days and 3 full nights.  For the most part, we had a wonderful weekend, and had our time filled with play dates and new experiences.  The only tough part has been lack of sleep- Asher's not doing so well, and neither am I!

On Friday afternoon we went to a "family fun center" to meet a friend.  There was a huge climbing structure, with tunnels and slides all kinds of fun things, but the boys quickly lost interest in it.  Instead, they wanted to "play" arcade games:

No doubt that my boys are boys- anything that resembles a car or a scooter gets their attention.

Saturday morning we went to the Please Touch Museum.  The museum was great, and we only saw some of it!  Now we're thinking about getting our own membership, since it is so close to us and will provide hours and hours of indoor entertainment this winter.  The boys had their first carousel ride:
Serious Asher
Brave Benjamin
Benjamin loved the carousel so much that he cried when it was over.  Then he threw a fit when I took him off his horse.  All the people waiting to ride definitely thought that was interesting.

Saturday afternoon the boys decided it was time for a nap boycott.  I was so tired that I texted Eric, "time to come home now!"  But we all pulled it together and went to our friend Hannah's birthday party at Little Gym.

The boys do Gymboree and love the playing and climbing, but the Little Gym had much more gymnastic-type equipment, and they went nuts for it!  Asher was interested in hanging from the uneven bars and lifting his legs up.  He is such a beast!  We might do Little Gym when our Gymboree membership runs out since they both seem to like the physical challenge.  The party was a great time, and ended with pizza (which they wouldn't eat) and cake (which they did).
Benjamin on the bars with his friend Maddie
Icing-faced Asher
By the time the boys were in bed, all I wanted for dinner was a glass of wine.  And cake, and ice cream.

Sunday we had fewer plans, which was good.  We did some grocery shopping, and then were headed to Latkepalooza when our friends called to say it was sold out.  We ended up going to the playground and getting frozen yogurt instead.  The boys' spoon skills are much better with frozen yogurt than they are with oatmeal!

By dinner, the boys were pretty much exhausted.  Asher didn't want to eat- I offered him brisket and noodles- until I brought out the broccoli.  He and Benjamin put away the broccoli like it was going out of style!  We finished dinner and I rushed the boys off to bed, and they were asleep long before their daddy got home.

I am so happy to have Eric home again.  I think we all missed him, and I'm glad we have the holidays coming up, where we can all be together.

Friday, December 2, 2011

let the shopping begin!

Today the boys went with me on my annual spend-too-much-at-Target trip.  Unfortunately, they were not in their best moods, and ended up getting pretty crabby before I managed to look for everything I needed.  I guess they were helpful in preventing me from overspending!  Similarly, they were helpful in preventing me from overeating on Thanksgiving (or at any meal I have with them).

Anyway, the trip started out as a good time.  Here are the boys with gift bags on their heads as hats.
While we were doing this and laughing, two little boys came up to say hello to them, and told me I have cool babies.  I thought that was sweet.  Then they asked if they could get in the cart with them, and I had to tell them no, but I'm glad we look like a fun family to be a part of!

The trip pretty much went downhill from there, and ended with my carrying Benjamin so that he could push the cart, and Asher busting out of the straps.  I then had to chase both boys down to get Asher back in the cart (in the basket part, not the part with the seat belts, but it's better than him getting run over in the parking lot), and carry Benjamin out in my arms.  I had been planning to stop for food for dinner on our way home, but decided no way I was going to wrestle them out and back in their car seats again.

I am very thankful for online shopping, and especially for sites that offer free shipping.  If I had to take the boys on all my trips, no one would get anything!  I am hoping for a good night's sleep tonight and better moods tomorrow.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving and 20 months old

The guys in their super-cute Thanksgiving outfits, waiting for mama to get ready.

Last night as I was falling asleep I realized- it was the boys' 20 month birthday and I had totally forgotten!  I guess we are getting to the age where fewer things change month to month.

We had a lovely and fairly quiet Thanksgiving.  For the first time in many, many years none of my grandparents came for Thanksgiving.  Some of my family is living overseas, in Israel and Kazakhstan, so they didn't come, either.  In the past we've had 25 or more people at the table, but this year we only had 15, including Benjamin and Asher.
15 people still require 2 turkeys
Smoked turkey, which Eric made

Eric and I were worried, because the boys didn't really nap during the day, and we planned to keep them up past their normal bedtime to be with the family, but they both were in great moods, and so much fun.  Benjamin adored the turkey, and double-fisted it.  They were a little more picky about the other foods, and had so much fun playing with their cousins that they didn't even want dessert.
Handsome Benjamin
Asher being a goofball
Benjamin on the rocking horse
The boys had a great time and stayed in good moods the entire evening.  They got to bed around 9, which is two hours later than their normal bed time.  I had that eternal hope that a late bedtime would result in a late wake time, but no such luck-- they were up at 6:45!

The rest of the weekend was fairly low-key.  I saw my sister and my cousin, got exercise, and on Friday night Eric and I went out to dinner with another couple, which was a lot of fun.

Benjamin getting ready to zip-line
Asher getting on the zip-line
On Saturday morning the boys and I got hair cuts.  I didn't really want to cut Asher's beautiful blond curls, but his hair was getting long in the back.  Both boys were perfectly behaved for their hair cuts.

In the afternoon we went over to my aunt and uncle's, where my uncle had built a zip-line for my little cousins to play on while they visited.  We managed to get Benjamin to take a ride on it, but Asher wouldn't stay on the seat.  Then I wanted a ride on it, which I did.  Unfortunately, the zip-line was built for people who weigh about 50 pounds, and I weigh more than that, so I ended up with my butt on the ground in the middle of it!  It was fun anyway, and it gave the family something to laugh at.

Because the weather has been so beautiful, we've tried to take advantage of it.  Today we went to the zoo (the 3rd weekend in a row that the boys have been!).  They seem to like the children's zoo the most, and even seem to recognize it when we're close.  They love petting and grooming the goats and sheep.
Benjamin grooming the goat
Asher grooming the goat
Asher was very affectionate with the goats, and even went to give one goat a kiss on the lips!  Good thing I'm not a major germophobe.  After the petting zoo, we went to wash hands, and the boys knew exactly what to do.  I am not sure who likes the zoo more, the boys or their parents.  I love seeing the animals, and the big cats are much more active now that the weather is cooler.

Overall, we have had a wonderful, if sleep-deprived, weekend.  The boys get cranky when they're not well-rested, and we had some tantrums this weekend.  It reminded me how lucky I am to have two children with easy-going temperaments!  Even their tantrums were short and relatively painless.  Just like their parents, those children need their sleep!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

1st trip without the boys

This past weekend I went away, no husband, no children.  I went to visit my sister up in Boston.  Approaching the trip, I had mixed feelings.  I was eager to visit her, to have a girls' weekend, and to go back to a city that I love; but I worried about how much I would miss the boys, and how Eric would handle a full weekend alone with them.  Fortunately, everyone had a great weekend, both at home and away!

I left early on Saturday morning, and Eric and the boys drove me to the airport.  I flew up to Boston, and it was such an easy trip.  Not too many people at the airport, the flight left on time and arrived early, and the weather was perfect.  My sister picked me up and we went to breakfast at Hi-Rise, which was where I was working At the time when Eric and I met and started dating.  The managers there are the same ones from when I worked there, so it's always nice to catch up.  We ate a lot of food, and then visited my mom's parents, who were happy to see us.

After visiting the family, we did some shopping in Harvard Square, but didn't have much luck finding anything.  There aren't many stores left there; when I was younger there were a lot of stores we loved to visit, like Wordsworth Books, and they are now gone.

We went back to my sister's house and then went out for a long jog around Somerville and Medford, where she lives and goes to school.  I saw her school campus, and some of the restaurants around, and the neighborhood.  It's a cute area, with a lot to do.

Then we hung out until it was time for dinner, at Rendezvous in Central Square.  We had a nice time just the two girls, and ate a lot of food (what's new?).  My sister forced me to stop in at a party after dinner, even though it was after 10 pm and therefore my bedtime.  I managed an hour, though!  And then we went home to go to bed, and I couldn't sleep.  Every time I started to fall asleep, I would start to think about my little boys at home in their pj's and how I hadn't kissed them goodnight and wouldn't be there when they woke up.

Eventually I managed to fall asleep, and then I slept until 9 am!  I can't remember the last time I slept that late, but it was very nice.  We made a huge brunch with her roommates, one of her roommate's parents, the downstairs neighbor, and my friend Cass.  That lasted a while, and when it was over, Elana and I decided to go ride bikes.

Let me say that I have not really ridden a bike since we lived in Texas, and we left there in 1997.  I don't own a bike, or a helmet, or anything.  But it was nice weather, and I thought it might be fun.  There's a bike share at her school, and so we rented a bike for me.  Turns out that the bike wasn't really in tip-top shape- the seat wouldn't stay in one place, so it tilted up and down and swiveled side to side while I rode.    We didn't end up getting very far, because on top of the bike not being great, I was not a great bike rider.  At one point, my sister rode between a line of parked cars and a line of cars waiting at a red light, and I tried to follow, got nervous, and attempted to jump off the bike, which led to me lying on the ground with the bike on top of me.  The guy in the car next to me rolled his window down and asked if I was ok... I assured him that I was fine, but out of practice.  Oy!

We stopped for a hot dog and curly fries at Spike's, which started in Providence, mere yards from my freshman dorm, and was a staple of my late, drunken nights in college.

Then we made a mad dash to Flour Bakery, because their cookbook is my current obsession.  That is another post in and of itself, because I could go on forever about the recipes in there.  I got a brownie for Eric, and a half-sandwich and cookie for myself.  I had the brownie in one bag, and the sandwich and cookie in another, and the brownie weighed more!  It was very rich and delicious.

After that, it was pretty much time to go on.  I probably could have continued eating for another week, but I had to leave.  I had another uneventful and efficient flight home, and got home around 10 pm on Sunday night.

While I had a wonderful weekend away, and a great time with my sister, it was hard to come home.  I was happy to see all 3 of my boys again, but I found our routine hard on Monday and Tuesday.  It's hard to believe that 2 days away would throw me off so much, but it did.  Eric said he thought that the boys had missed me-- at one point Asher was at the front door crying out "Ma!  Ma!" but on Monday I didn't notice any major excitement in seeing me.  I gave them extra kisses anyway, because I needed them.

Next up it's Eric's turn.  I'm not sure what exactly he'll do, but we're talking about him taking a week long (or 10 day) meditation retreat.  He had wanted to do that when I was pregnant, but when I was put on bed rest, all his plans went on hold so that he could babysit me.  The trip is long overdue for him!

I don't have anymore trips away from the boys planned, but I would love it if Eric and I went somewhere this spring or summer.  We'll see...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Benjamin's early intervention evaluation

Benjamin the fashion icon
A couple of weeks ago Benjamin had an evaluation with early intervention to see if he qualified for services to help him learn to talk.  The end result is that, despite the fact that he doesn't really talk, he does not qualify for services.

It was interesting to watch the evaluation.  We had Asher evaluated in November of 2010, when he was a little under 8 months old, and it was completely different with an 18 month old.  At 8 months I was impressed with Asher's physical abilities, but there wasn't much else the team could look at.  With an 18 month old, the number and variety of skills they look at is so much greater!  

The evaluator sat with Benjamin on the floor and played with a variety of toys.  While the boys and I play a lot, I have never specifically watched to see what skills they had.  Benjamin was able to do everything the evaluator needed him to after watching her do it just once.  He stacked things, fit shapes into a cube, and put sticks in small holes.  The evaluator watched him eat his lunch and said he ate in a very "mature" way.  He watches our mouths when we talk, and makes eye contact.  The evaluator said he shows that he has all the elements he needs to talk, and that it will likely start soon.

It was a great opportunity for me to really focus on Benjamin and all his skills.  His fine motor skills seem very good, and he is clearly curious and a quick learner.  He still isn't talking much, he will occasionally say "hello" and "more."  He says "daddy" a lot, and he says "no," but not always at the appropriate time!  Sometimes he and Asher seem to be babbling a great deal, and sometimes they seem silent.  I still worry about them.  I notice other kids their age saying a lot more.  

In the meantime, Asher will be getting a speech teacher, so whatever she does with him, we will do with both of them.  I am hoping things happen soon!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

my sheep in their jeep
Maybe I should say unhappy halloween?  Judging from the looks on their faces, I would say this isn't their favorite holiday.

However, they let me put their costumes on them- including the hats!- and didn't rip off the fur or the hats.  They let us cart them around to some neighbors' houses to say hello.  I can't ask for anything more at this age!

I gave them a snickers to share, which they seemed to love the taste of.  Unfortunately, Asher didn't chew it well and started to cough, and I knew I was about to see that snickers bar again.  My mom and I caught the start of it in our hands, and while we were inside washing our hands, my dad got the rest of it in his hands. Anything to save the white sheep costume!

Otherwise the night was uneventful.  We had our neighbors over to share dinner and our candy.  We had Halloween with them two years ago when I was pregnant, then last year took a picture of our boys with their then 4-day old son!  This year my boys were both running circles and their son was crawling and pulling up all over the house.
an attempt to pose all 3 boys. only 2 out of 3 cooperated.
want some candy?
I can't believe I came up with an idea, and made their costumes.  I don't consider myself especially creative, or crafty, so I am impressed.  Of course, big thank yous to my mom and mother-in-law for helping with crafty ideas and some sewing, and Eric for making the jeep grill and headlights.  Overall, a good Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

19 months, and boo at the zoo

beep beep! sheep in a jeep!

Oh my goodness, 19 months!  We have been having a lot of fun.  This past weekend, we had a visit from Eric's mom, which was great except for the trip to the E.R.

On Sunday we took the boys to "boo at the zoo," as an opportunity to get them in their costumes.  You may notice that Asher is in a fuzzy sheep shirt and Benjamin is in a plain white shirt.  That is because Benjamin wouldn't have anything to do with the fuzzy shirt, and the second I pulled the shirt over his head, he began pulling the fur off and throwing it on the ground.  You may also notice that Asher has a sheep hat on, and that Benjamin's head is bare.  That is because Benjamin refused to wear his hat, and kept ripping it off.  He did all the costume-tearing-apart in front of the long line of people waiting to board the shuttle to the zoo, and boy, did they get a laugh out of it.

uh oh! the jeep won't go!
sleepy sheep
Asher got a lot of compliments on his costume.  Unfortunately, the zoo was a zoo, and we didn't actually get to see many animals.  Daddy-Eric got tired of towing the "jeep" full of sheep, and I got overheated in my wintery clothes.  We didn't stay too long!
Bear-sheep and his mommy
Benja-sheep and his memere
While Eric's mom visited, she and Eric rented a carpet-cleaner and Eric shampooed all of our carpets.  No visit from memere would be complete without her leaving the house a little cleaner than when she arrived!
Memere with Asher in his Maine shirt
Serious Benjamin in his Maine shirt
Now the boys won't see Eric's parents until Christmas, which I know is hard for them, but will be here before we know it!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

1st ER visit

Smiling after the fear had passed
On Saturday, we were having a lovely visit with Memere.  At her request, we went to Ikea to look at all their wonderful organizational tools and furniture.  The boys loved playing in the kids' furniture section, and were jumping on the bed playing "night-night."
Asher on the bed, Benjamin beside him, and Daddy Eric coming through the wall
Benjamin mid-bed flop
Right after swiveling themselves dizzy on their desk chairs, Benjamin tripped over his feet and fell on the floor.  He started to cry, but I assumed he was just tired- they had not yet napped.  I picked him up, and he cried some more, but calmed down.  I was carrying him, and every time I shifted him he cried some more, which started to worry me.  Then when we got to the car and I went to change his diaper, he got hysterical.  I tried to see if he was hurt, but he was just crying and crying.  We strapped him in to the car seat, but was sitting stiffly, looking like something was definitely wrong.  I offered him a sippy of milk, and he only moved one arm to push it away.

So I said, "Something's wrong, let's go to the hospital!"  On the way to the hospital, I decided that he had suffered some serious injury and was paralyzed.  Unfortunately, I am not kidding and I actually am that crazy.  He wasn't moving his legs, or his arms.  When he was still, he wasn't crying, and actually fell asleep in the car.

I was losing it, asking Eric and my mother-in-law if they thought that he was paralyzed, and I started playing through scenarios in my head about how we would take care of him if he were paralyzed, and all kinds of terrible, awful things.  After about the 10th time I asked, I think Eric was ready to punch me.

At the hospital, I rushed in and stood there, panicking while other people registered.  When I told the woman at the desk what was wrong, I said I was worried because he wasn't moving his legs or his arm.  Well!  Apparently that is the way to get immediate attention at the ER!  I swear I never said "paralyzed" to them, but obviously the implication was bad enough.  We got a room, and nurses right away.  Eric took Asher and my mother-in-law home. Benjamin stayed snuggled on my lap the whole time, and was quiet unless anyone touched him.

It became apparent that he was only having trouble with his left arm.  I put some music on, and he was bouncing both legs to the music, and tapping my arm with his right hand.  Benjamin got his arm x-rayed, and he just screamed!  It was heartbreaking for me.  I held his hands and kissed his head.  He looked so small on the big x-ray table, and so vulnerable.

I started to suspect that maybe it was just his elbow out of the socket.  That happened to me all the time when I was little.  Benjamin only cried when someone moved his arm, and then was quiet when he was still.  I asked the x-ray tech if that might be it, and she said that often when that happens, it will pop back in when it's manipulated for the x-ray.  And wouldn't you know, just a few minutes after the x-ray, Benjamin perked right up and started moving his left arm, and even putting weight on it.  What a relief!  I went out to the nurses and told them that he seemed fine, and they got us on our way shortly after that.

It was exhausting to worry so much about him (even if a lot of the worry was self-inflicted).  I just feel lucky that it wasn't anything serious, and that we got such prompt treatment.  I hope we don't have to go back anytime soon, either!