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!