Saturday, April 27, 2013

benjamin and asher's 3rd birthday party

I re-read my notes from last year, which said, "keep it simple." I was so proud of myself for keeping this in mind as I planned- order pizzas, make a big cake instead of cupcakes.  I didn't do much decorating, or have a theme, or make silly (but delicious) cake pops for favors.

And what a perfect day we had for the party!  Sunny with a high in the low 70s!

But we had to wake the boys from their nap, and they were dragging.  Asher definitely seemed under the weather, so he wasn't having nearly as much fun as he did last year.

Charlotte's first time in a swing
She fell asleep
3 of us going down the 40' wooden slide
It was fun!

Waiting for cake
"Happy Birthday to you..."
Trying to blow out candles
And that is it for pictures, because as I was cutting the cake for the other party-goers, my mom said, "Asher looks like he's going to throw up..."  and a short minute later, he did.  Fortunately Eric swung him to the garbage can and there was no muss, no fuss.  But some of our guests pretty much leapt up and left the party.  I can't say I blame them!  He tried to throw up one more time when we got home, but then after Advil and a bath he rebounded and was asking for crackers.  I did give him some, and they seem to have stayed down, so I have my fingers crossed it wasn't anything serious.  What perfect timing my love bug has!

Birthdays this year haven't been great- Pierrette's funeral on my dad's birthday, Passover for the boys' actual birthday, my grandmother dying on Eric's birthday, and now vomit at the birthday party.  Good thing we get to try again next year.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Charlotte: 4 months old

tummy time for a tired girl

"Don't forget you want my picture, too!" (and yes, that is chocolate all over his face)
Charlotte with Daddy on his birthday

Charlotte's 4 month update:
Height and Weight: We have our doctor's appointment on Thursday, but at our research appointment at the Monell Center 2 weeks ago, she was 16 lbs.  I wouldn't be surprised if she's 17 lbs by our appointment.  This is to say: she is a solid chunk of love bug!  She has rolls all up her legs and boy, are they delicious. I get great pleasure from nibbling on them!

Clothing size: She's into 6 months clothes from Carter's and 6-12 months clothes from Old Navy and Gap.  She has a ton of adorable summer stuff- rompers, dresses with bloomers- that I can't wait to get her in.  We had a few days of spring/summer-like weather last week and I got all excited, but now it's cold again.

She's wearing size 3 diapers!

Milestones: No major milestones this month- she is still rolling front to back, and working on back to front.  She loves to pick things up and put them in her mouth (already!).  She drools a ton, but no teeth in there yet.  She is becoming a champion thumbsucker, like her big brother.  She is so cute when she does it, because she fans the rest of her hand out over her entire face.  She started to enjoy Sophie the giraffe, and we brought down the Jumperoo for her to play in.

Outings and Adventures: Charlotte's first trip to Maine!  Our trip went well, and she is a seasoned traveler.  We've been bowling again, back to the zoo, and yesterday she ran a 5k with me in the city.

Routine/Schedule: We still don't have a schedule.  At this point, I am not sure what to do- when the boys are home, we usually spend the morning doing an activity that they like to do and that will tire them out for an afternoon nap.  She'll take cat naps, but she is now aware of what's going on around her, so she doesn't just sleep through all the commotion.  I am trying to figure out what her natural bedtime is- she had been staying up with me til about 9 or so but lately that has not been working.  Tonight she was asleep by 8, so we'll aim for that again tomorrow.  I remember the boys falling into a schedule around 5 months, so that is my hope for Charlotte, too.

She still breastfeeds on demand, probably 8-10 times a day.  She may be going through a growth spurt right now, because she is eating a little more at feedings than she was a week or so ago.  You'd think with all this nursing that I'd have lost all the baby weight, but I haven't.

Favorite food: Her only food- breast milk!  She is starting to watch me eat and it's possible she'll be interested in food soon.  I am not sure that I'll make all those purees I made for the boys- I might just overcook veggies and things for her, and let her feed herself.

Favorite person: She's not so picky!  Charlotte has a smile ready for everyone, and no stranger anxiety yet.  Of course she loves me, since I breastfeed her, but she also loves her daddy, her big brothers, her Meema and Papa Nick, and her aunts and uncles.  And they all love her.

ETA: at her 4 month appointment on April 25, Charlotte weighed 17 lbs, 1.5 oz (91st percentile) and was 25 1/2" long (83rd percentile).

Saturday, April 20, 2013

all over the place

I am not sure what to say- it has been a very difficult week.  After my grandmother passed away on Friday, I got word on Saturday morning that a former client of mine had also died on Friday, most likely a suicide.  I just felt like I couldn't bear it, it was too much sadness all at once.

We spent the weekend mourning, and remembering, my grandma.  There were parts that were nice- my sister and I went on a long jog, I got to see cousins, family, and friends who I don't see often, and there was a lot of food at all times.  But we also cried, and I went to bed with a headache from crying every night.

The hard part now is seeing my grandpa.  He keeps saying, "I'll be with her soon" and "I'm not long for this world."  For his sake, I hope he is not around for long- he seems so sad and lonely.  Understandably; he lost his wife of 69 years.  He doesn't really have much to live for.  Of course I will miss him when he is gone, but when I look at him, the spark is gone from his eyes.  I truly cannot imagine how he feels, given how bereft everyone else feels.

We're trying to get back to our lives.  I'm grateful for my children, because they keep me busy with day-to-day activities, and remind me of how wonderful life can be.  They are sweet, perfect miracles.  And that's life- my grandmother gave life to my mother, who gave life to me, so I could give it to my children.  Now we have to carry out her legacy.

Here are the things I hope we carry on:
and many more, but those are the few that first come to mind.  I hope that in my life, and in my children's lives, we are as happy and fulfilled as she was.

In terms of moving on, I am getting ready to run a 10 mile race in 2 weeks.  I am really not sure how I'll do it, or if I'll actually finish, but we'll see.  Today I ran a 5k with Charlotte in the stroller, and I ran every mile under 10 minutes.  I know this isn't particularly fast for people who are real runners, but a 10-minute mile is about as good as I get, and to do it with a baby in a stroller is an accomplishment for me.

We have the boys' birthday party next weekend, for which I've done about zero planning.  No plates/cups/napkins, no decorations, nothing.  I will, of course, bake them cake, and I figure if I order pizza, no one will care about anything else.

Throughout this past week, I've felt so lucky to have the friends and family we have.  So many people turned up for the funeral and to sit shiva.  We were given more food than we could eat.  People were generous with their time and with their gifts.  There were phone calls and cards.  I know I have a great family, and I rely on them a great deal, but now I know we have friends we can rely on as well.

I know this post was all over the place, but so is my mind.  Charlotte turns 4 months old tomorrow, so there will be more, and happier, things to think about.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Goodbye, Grandma Sonia

My grandma Sonia died today.  She was 88.  She died in bed, with my grandpa, her husband of 69 years, holding her hand, and my mom and dad, aunt and uncle next to her.

What a loss.  In some ways, I have already mourned her.  As she faded away, she was less and less the grandmother I knew most of my life, and the woman I want to remember.  But up to the end, she was loving and generous to her core.  The last thing she did this morning was to sign a check to start Charlotte's college fund.

I took the boys to visit Sonia and David on Monday afternoon.  We'd been at a playground near their residence, and Asher asked to visit.  My first response was to say no, because I was hot and sweaty.  But Asher wouldn't take no for an answer, and asked again.  So I said yes.  Thank goodness.  Grandma was up and alert, lying on the couch in her living room.  She was clearly happy to see the kids.  She told me she'd attend Charlotte's baby naming, which was to be later this month.  I hugged her goodbye and gave her a kiss and a squeeze of the hand before we left.  I really thought I'd see her again.  I'm glad that Asher pushed us to visit, and that my last memory of my grandmother is a pleasant and happy one.

I'm sad my children won't know her the way I did.  I'm sad that she and Charlotte had so little time together.  I imagine that they would have been close, just as Sonia and I were.  It is the cycle of life, that Charlotte should grow and thrive as her great-grandparents age and pass away.

My poor grandfather looked so forlorn when I saw him tonight.  I cannot imagine him sleeping alone in the double bed that they shared for the entirety of their marriage- from a time when couples still slept in separate twin beds until a time when couples slept in one bed of increasing size.  They were each others' constant companion.  The night I took Grandpa David to the ER in October, she called me several times to check on him, even though I delivered him home by midnight.  And when I got there, she was still sitting up, waiting for him.  What will he do without Grandma to wait for him?  It is impossible to imagine one of them without the other.

How lucky I am to have known, and had such a wonderful relationship with, my grandmother.  And I'm happy that she met all 3 of my children.  I will miss her so much.  I still can't believe she's truly gone- she was fine on Monday, fine this morning, and now I'll never see her again.  She meant so much to so many, and will be missed by us all.

Monday, April 8, 2013

3 year well visit

I took the boys for their 3 year well visit on Friday (and Charlotte came, too).

It seems like they are as healthy as can be, which is reassuring.  Asher weighed 32.8 lbs and was 37.5 inches tall.  Benjamin weighed 30.2 lbs and was 36.5 inches tall.  I am slightly concerned about Benjamin's low weight, but the doctor said he's still on the charts (about 40%).  I guess he's just small!

My only real concern in this visit was Benjamin's speech.  She said since we met our deductible and it would be free, we should go and have his hearing tested.  If his hearing is fine, which I suspect it is, we can wait til he's 4 to worry about his enunciation.

The boys got really antsy in the exam room as the doctor asked me all the developmental questions.  She asked me if they have behavioral problems, and I said, other than toy-throwing, and Benjamin biting Asher a few times, they don't.  Of course, right after I said that, Asher started knocking his head against the wall and saying, "Head-butt! Head-butt!"  Oy.  They learned that at school, I swear.
Asher on the way home from Maine, protesting with his Easter bucket

The doctor's office used to give out lollipops, but recently outlawed them for health reasons.  The boys were disappointed, because they have a small obsession with lollipops, so I told them that if they were good listeners at the doctor, we could go out for pizza and ice cream for lunch.  So they were (mostly), and we did.  They used to not like pizza, and now they love it.  And they have always loved ice cream. They behaved well (other than the head-butting and a little mistreatment of a baby doll), so we had a fun lunch of pizza and frozen yogurt with their play group friends.

Charlotte needed to come to the appointment because she has a yeast infection on her neck that we're having trouble getting rid of.  I took her Monday afternoon last week and got an ointment, which didn't help in any way.  Finally, on Friday, we were prescribed an anti-fungal powder, which has helped immediately.  What a relief to me, it made me sick to my stomach to see her skin raw and oozing.

I am writing this post as all 3 of my little ones take good, long naps.  The boys were exhausted after an early wake up and a birthday party, and Asher crossed over into hysteria.  I told him if he didn't nap, I would eat his treat from the birthday party.  He was into bed and out like a light in no time!  Charlotte is really a good sleeper, she is happy to be put in her co-sleeper and suck her thumb.  She can settle herself to sleep without trouble.  Today I put her down in a short-sleeved onesie and pants- seeing her bare arm was a surprise, and I realized that I haven't seen her arms bare, outside of bath time, in her entire life. I am really, really looking forward to warmer weather and skimpier clothes!  She's so beautiful and I want to see and touch her soft skin.

Monday, April 1, 2013

trip to Maine (and lots of pictures)

We just got back from a long weekend in Maine- Charlotte's first trip North, and her first visit to her cousins and great-grandparents up there.  The boys had so much fun with their cousins and grandparents.  It was hard to leave, and Asher spent the first 2.5 hours of the trip home asking to go back to Memere and Pepere's.

We drove up on Thursday and made good time.  All 3 children were wonderful in the car- Charlotte mostly slept, the boys talked to us, read books, watched some tv on our phones, or just looked out the window.  We made it all the way to Massachusetts before we stopped for a late lunch.  After that, no more stops, and we got to Eric's parents' at 4 pm.  The boys and Charlotte slept well at Memere and Pepere's, which always makes for a nice vacation!

On Friday, we went with Memere to Portland to the children's museum there.  It's much smaller than the Please Touch Museum here, but the boys found a few things to do and enjoyed themselves.  Here they are "fishing:"
And here I am with Charlotte, after an emergency snack break:
Friday night we went out for seafood, and I had a special Passover lobster.  Then we went out for ice cream!  The boys' abilities to eat ice cream cones have increased since last summer, and they devoured their cones with very little mess.  Asher chooses vanilla, he says "that my favorite!"  Benjamin initially said vanilla, but then changed his mind to chocolate.

Saturday morning we went over to their cousins' house and they played in the bouncey house in the basement. They had so much fun!  If we ever do our basement (which we plan to, but it's far down the list of home improvement projects) we'll get one for our house.
Bouncing Bear
Cousin Kiptyn.  Something reminds me of Benjamin, but I'm not sure what.
Flying with Myah
Benjamin in action
beautiful cousin Taylor
Saturday night we had an Easter egg hunt inside (because they still have 3 feet of snow, or more, piled up) and an early Easter dinner with the whole family.  There are 13 of us! 6 adults and 7 children, and my sister-in-law wants at least 1 more.  We ran out of chairs and space at the dining room table!

Memere made cupcakes for the boys' birthday, and the boys helped frost them.
Benjamin adding sprinkles
On Sunday I got in a run, and then we visited Eric's grandparents.  Grampa was thrilled to meet his youngest great-grandchild.  Charlotte is the first biological great-granddaughter after 9 great-grandsons, so she is a big surprise to everyone!  Here is Charlotte with her great-grandpa:
Then we ate a rushed lunch and got on the road to come home.  We all ate enough sugar and dessert to last us a week, but boy, was it fun!

Here are some other pictures from the past week:
Birthday chocolate roll with Meema
Charlotte's first time in a dress
my 3 loves in Charlotte's crib
Benjamin reading his truck book to Charlotte
At the zoo this morning with their friend Lily