Tuesday, May 31, 2011

too busy to take pictures

We had a very busy holiday weekend.  In general, Eric doesn't like when I overbook his weekends, but he made it through this one without a complaint!

Ever since Eric completed the new table for our deck, we have been inviting friends over and entertaining almost daily.  Friday night we hosted my parents, my cousin's husband, and a family friend for dinner outside.

Saturday afternoon we were invited to a friend's condo complex to swim in the pool.  Last year the pool was not a big hit with either of the boys, but I figured that since they love their baths so much, they would love the pool this year.  Not so much.  Both boys yanked their feet up from the water as if they were being burned, and Benjamin cried.  I managed to get Asher in, and standing up, since it was a baby pool.  He looked so proud of himself, standing there and smiling, and then next thing I knew, he had toppled over and was face-down in the water!  I was right next to him so I pulled him out immediately, and he cried right away, but it really gave me a small panic attack.  We did go back in, with him on my lap, and he was able to enjoy himself a little, but Benjamin never really got in.

Saturday night we had another family friend (and my parents, again!) for a dinner of ribs and corn bread on our deck.  Then on Sunday I went out to brunch with my girl friends, then went with a friend who is expecting to check out baby equipment at Babies r Us.  After the boys got up from their naps we went to another family friend's pool and attempted swimming again!  While I was at Babies r Us, I had picked up little floats for the boys to ride in, in the hopes that we won't have any more face-first incidents.  Again, I managed to get Asher in, although he did protest a fair amount.  Benjamin wouldn't even put a toe in, and instead ran laps around the pool.

Sunday night we hosted a barbecue to celebrate my good friend's engagement.  We hosted my friend, her fiance, and another couple who are mutual friends.  It was a really lovely evening, except for the part where Eric broke 3 champagne glasses on the deck!  We celebrated my friend and her fiance, and also the anticipation of our mutual friends' adoption.  Eric and I let our friends borrow our baby swing, which I was sad to see go, thinking of how many times my little boys had been rocked in it, and just how big they are now.

On Monday morning we had brunch with yet another family friend, and met their brand-new baby boy.  He was so tiny and sleepy!  Benjamin was so cute with the baby- when my mom held the baby and patted him on the back, Benjamin reached up and patted the baby, too.  He seemed fascinated by the baby, and you could tell he didn't really see the baby as another small human being.  The boys ran circles around the big yard, and then we went home for naps.  The boys napped a long time, I think all the running tired them out!  It makes me wish we had more space, when we are home we simply run laps around the dining room table, and it gets old fast.

Monday afternoon Eric blew up the inflatable wading pool I had picked up at Babies r Us.  We then had another friend and her two little girls over for the inaugural swim.  Yet again I managed to get Asher in, but no luck with Benjamin!  I am hoping he warms up to the idea of swimming soon, because I love the water and want to enjoy splashing and playing with my little guys.

Today it was back to work, which was not so fun.  It seemed like my clients were slow to realize that today was Tuesday, not Monday, and I had a lot of cancellations and got to leave work early- in time to come home and chase my boys around the dining room table before bed.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

14 months

I cannot believe that my boys are 14 months old!  They are continuing to learn and change each day.  I noticed that they are starting to imitate my behaviors- they have tried to feed me their food and make me drink their sippy cups.  Tonight Benjamin tried to brush my teeth with his toothbrush, and he thought it was hysterical!
Dinner on our deck, at our new table- Eric built it all by himself!
Benjamin has been adventurous: he has walked (and then run) across the bridge on the play equipment at the play ground, and has been climbing on the slide at my mom's house, and tonight at our house.  He is a very quick learner, and with each time he climbed up the slide he got better and faster at it.  Asher is a little more cautious, but after he sees Benjamin do something a few times, he generally wants a crack at it.
Benjamin, a big boy on the slide all by himself

Asher trying out the slide after Benjamin showed him how it's done
Asher's new favorite thing is to take the phone, press all the buttons, and then wait for the "phone is off the hook" signal to start-- and then he starts dancing.  His dancing looks kind of like the "running man," he stays in one place and stomps his feet up and down.  Benjamin thinks this is soooo funny (because Benjamin loves physical humor), and they both have a good time.  What gets me is that we have a ton of musical toys, play music for them through our computers and TV, and he likes the phone the best.  So now I call the phone "Asher's iPod."

They are not talking at all yet, which of course worries me a little.  We had Early Intervention here on Monday for Asher's 6 month evaluation.  His torticollis is much better, although he still tilts his head to the right at times, especially when he is tired.  Now our bigger concern is that he walks on his tip-toes.  Note to parents: don't google things.  The possibilities that come up with "walking on tip-toes" are not good.  EI doesn't think we need to worry about the serious stuff (cerebral palsy, autism), but that he should learn to walk using his whole foot.  Next up: a referral for physical therapy.  But as far as the not-talking goes, they said not to worry.  The boys definitely communicate, they babble, and make a variety of sounds.  We were told to imitate their babbles, which we were already doing, but given they are both boys (and boys learn to talk a little later than girls), we don't need to worry just yet.
14 month old Benjamin
14 month old Asher, pouring his milk on himself
I also finally got their bloodwork done.  We were asked to do it when they were 9 months old, since we live in an older home and there is a possibility that we have some lead paint in the house, but then we switched pediatricians.  The new doctor gave me a prescription for bloodwork at their 12 month visit, and I didn't do it, because I just couldn't stand to go.  But I called the doctor about Benjamin's nap boycotts, and they told me to schedule an appointment... and get the bloodwork done ASAP.  Today the doctor called to say that both boys' hemoglobin was low, so I have to give them an iron supplement.  Being a mommy is very consuming!  There is a lot to handle, and sometimes it is hard to cram all their appointments and things into the two days of the week I'm not working.

In the end, the complaints are few and the joys are many.  Not a day goes by where I don't pause and remember how lucky I am, and how grateful I am to have two healthy and beautiful children.  14 months old, and the time is just flying.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

our photo shoot

Here are some pictures from our photo shoot the other week.  I am really happy with the way they turned out, and think my guys (including Eric!) look adorable!  Eric was reluctant to do it, but I am so glad we did.  We now have a beautiful collection of pictures of our family, and a great way to remember how fun and vivacious our boys were at this stage of their lives.

I forgot to say- all the photos were taken by Jessica Kripp, and I think her rates were very affordable.  I would highly recommend her!

Our family
Asher being Asher
Asher and his daddy
Benjamin and his mommy
The brothers, actually sitting still... what a rare occurrence!
Their faces say it all
Three generations

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

some recent photos

Enjoying watermelon
A very tired Benjamin- at the start of the nap boycotts
Hi. I'm cute.
Watching the rain fall- no playing at the playground today!
I am sorry for the lack of posts- we've been enjoying a lovely visit from my aunt, Sharon.  I will have to post more about it, but I wanted to share some cute pictures.

The boys love spring and summer foods-- watermelon is always a hit, and Benjamin has started to eat corn from the cob.  His face lit up when he first tried it, so now I give him his own cobs to eat.  They also love asparagus, which is good except for the stinky pee it gives them!  I have found we are spending waaaay more on food now than we previously did.  In part it is the fact that we are now feeding 4, rather than 2, but it is also because I am far more conscientious about having fresh (or frozen, really) fruits and vegetables in the house.  I have always loved fruit and vegetables, but Eric is less enthusiastic, so at times I would survive with apples, oranges and bananas if I wasn't doing much food shopping.  Now I want the boys to have a variety, so I am constantly buying strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, mango, peas, asparagus, broccoli, and bananas.  I do try to cook foods that we can all eat together, and the boys do seem to have an interest in different flavors and spices, which makes me happy.

This weekend our friends are visiting from New York- we haven't seen them since New Years and are very excited to have some time to hang out and catch up!  And the weather will finally improve, so hopefully we will take lots of walks outside, and have them lend a hand in chasing babies at the playground.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers' Day!

I am thinking about two different directions for a post for today.  First, what it means to be a mother, and just how much motherhood has changed me and my perspective on life.  Second, how I celebrated my 2nd mothers' day as a mommy!

I have been thinking recently about just how much I have changed since becoming a parent.  My priorities and what I value have shifted immensely.  There is a quote that goes something like, "to become a parent is to have your heart walk around outside your body," and it is true.  Since having my boys, I find that my focus has shifted from myself to them; I think of them and their needs before I think of my own.  I worry about things I would never have worried about before.  When I hear the news, things hit me harder-- the person who was injured or died was someone's child, too.  I cannot fathom how awful it would be if my children were hurt, or worse.  I would rather die a thousand times over than have something happen to them, and while I am often a big exaggerator, that is not an exaggeration.  I worry for the day that they will be beyond my protection and left open to their own judgment.  I want to warn them, please, don't do anything to endanger your perfect little body or healthy life.  Don't risk what I have worked so hard to give you.

I can't think of anything that I wouldn't sacrifice for my boys.  And those feelings have come naturally to me.  Of course I have thought of myself as a "nurturer" before this (I think most therapists do), but all of my care-taking instincts are magnified with my children.  In looking at my own relationship with my children, I have become more aware of other mothers and their children, and have become aware that not all mothers respond to parenthood this way.  It's not necessarily natural to feel this way, and not everyone has "maternal instincts."

I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to become a mother.  Mothers' day makes me aware of all the women who become mothers but aren't ready, and those women who are ready but have not yet been able to realize that dream.  I don't know if it is because I had a more difficult road to motherhood than most, but I find motherhood a privilege and an honor.

That said, I was ready to be spoiled a little for mothers' day!  I asked Eric to get up with the boys at 7, and I slept in til 8 (ha, slept in, hahaha).  Eric made a delicious brunch for my mom and me (and dad, and the boys): scrambled eggs with roasted asparagus and parmesan cheese, homemade cinnamon rolls, fruit salad, and mimosas.  Then when the boys went down for afternoon naps, my mom and I went out and did some shopping.  I actually found things to buy, unlike on my unsuccessful birthday trip a month ago, and got some new clothes.

Unfortunately, both Benjamin and Asher are sick today.  First Asher had a fever, then Benjamin.  They were cranky, and whiney, and clingy.  We nursed many more times today than we have in a while, but it seemed to bring them comfort, and I figure the extra antibodies and fluids can't hurt, either.  I guess that was just another reminder that I'm two somebodies' mama, and it feels so good to have my arms be the place they feel better.

Happy Mothers' Day to all the mamas out there-- to my grandmothers, aunts, mother-in-law, and of course my own mom, who has taught me so much about what it means to be a mother.  Happy Mothers' Day to all the moms-to-be, who are eagerly anticipating holding their own babies in their arms, and to all the women who have chosen not to have children of their own, but to mother and mentor the children of others.  And I am thinking of all the women who want so badly to become mothers, and here's hoping that this is your year.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What an oversight!

On their 13 month birthday, in their red wagon
I realized that I didn't make a dedicated post to the boys' 13 month birthday!  That was almost a week ago, and I still can't believe that my little ones are 13 months.  They are certainly turning into little boys, they're not so much babies anymore.
A seriously adorable Benjamin

They are both full-on walkers now.  They walk everywhere, and even run (especially if they're being chased).  This has certainly led to all kinds of new fun and excitement for them both.  One morning, Asher jumped up mid-diaper change with his striped pajamas flapping off him like a cape, picked up two maracas, and paraded around the downstairs naked.  Benjamin, who appears to have a propensity for physical humor and slapstick, was in hysterics.  In general, Asher acts like a goofball, and Benjamin laughs hysterically.
The goofball after he climbed into the toy chest
Asher is a little bit of a beast, and in the past couple of days I have noticed him tackling Benjamin if Benjamin has something Asher wants.  Benjamin seems very good-natured about it and just moves on to another toy (which is of course what Asher wants, too, as soon as Benjamin is interested in it).

I have definitely noticed the boys, Asher especially, developing a little bit of addy-tood (that's the way you say attitude in Philly!)-- Asher loves racing away with something as you ask for it back, and he always turns his head the other way when you try to wipe his nose or his face after meals.  Asher also wants what he wants when he wants it, and can be a bit of a drama king if he doesn't get his way.  A few times I have put him down after holding him and he has crumpled into tears on the floor, and then banged his forehead on the floor for emphasis.  The head-banging really gets to me, but I am trying to manage his breakdowns by verbally soothing him, because I am just not able to pick him up at every moment.

Benjamin is very easy-going during the day, or his waking hours, and then becomes completely stubborn at nap times or bed times, as I previously mentioned.  He has also started biting me when he nurses, which I am not sure how to handle.  It's very painful, but I am not ready to wean, and don't feel right weaning Benjamin but continuing to nurse Asher.
Feeding themselves yogurt... 2 seconds later and I had 2 bowls of yogurt on the floor

I worry a little because they don't have any words yet.  They babble, and can say "dada" and "mama," but not directed at Eric or myself.  Their babbling has certainly gotten more enthusiastic, and they also imitate each other.  It is so much fun to listen to them imitate each other while they talk nonsense.  Tonight at dinner they reached across the space between their chairs, held hands, and said "Ahhhhh, ahhhhhhhh..." It is impossible to describe how much they fill me with happiness at moments like that.
The Bear on a tear with tissue paper from a gift

We have been busy with play dates, parties, and time at the park.  The babies in our play group are all turning one, so over the next few months we will have many first birthdays to attend!  With the weather so nice, we try to make time to go for walks or jogs or to the park.  On Saturday I jogged (with the jog stroller and the guys) to our nearest shopping area and the boys accompanied me from store to store.  In general they were very well behaved, but by the end of the trip they lost it-- too much being strapped down in the stroller!
Tonight's game of "wave the pajama"

On Sunday we had professional pictures taken at a nearby college.  We have only seen about 15 of them as a preview, but they turned out wonderfully, and I am very excited to see the rest.  Once we get them, I will post some here.  I am so glad we did it, because the boys are so adorable right now, and I know I will love having these memories.

Our days are exciting, and it is clear that both of our guys enjoy exploring and learning.  They are so busy at the park and at home, playing and climbing, and running.  I love how full of personality they are, and while I am completely exhausted at the end of the day, I can't imagine our lives any other way.