Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

I am so tired, I think I'll finish this tomorrow- but wanted to think tonight about some of the things I'm thankful for.

Most of all- family.  Not just my loving husband and 3 wonderful children, but of course my parents, who put us all up for three months at their house with minimal complaint, and who are always generous with their time and love.  Even if we don't get to see them as much, Eric's parents are also a big part of our lives, and we are lucky to have a memere and pepere who so adore their grandchildren. We're also fortunate to be so close to my aunt Jane and uncle Ed, who love my kids (almost) as much as their own grandchildren.  And I'm glad that my sister is mostly living in this country, and sees a lot of us- and that the kids love her, too.
Asher and his planet Earth

I am thankful that both Eric and I are employed, and that we like our jobs and do work that we find meaningful and fulfilling.  I love where I work and the people I work with, and appreciate everyday the fact that I was able to purse a doctorate and a career that I plan to enjoy for many years.

I am thankful for our health.  Despite runny noses from September through April and a stomach bug here and there, we are all extremely healthy and well.
Benjamin and his globe
I've also been thinking about how thankful I am for all of our friends.  We have developed a great group of friends, who have been supportive and helpful through this year.  When we moved into our new house, they helped us move.  They brought us dinners, gave us hand-me-down clothes, babysat during funerals and brought food to shivas.  It makes such a difference in our lives to have this kind of support and social interaction.  I love watching our kids grow up together, and the boys look forward to seeing and playing with their friends.
half of our Thanksgiving table
our table from the other direction
Beautiful Charlotte with my cousin Susannah
her holiday dress
I'm also thankful everyday for the little things that we take for granted that I know aren't a given- a roof over our heads in a warm house with a comfortable bed; more food than we can eat and the money to pay for it; clean running water; a safe and friendly neighborhood; good schools with interested teachers.

Everyday I'm thankful for a multitude of things.  I feel lucky everyday- how did I end up with such a wonderful life?  We aren't rich, we don't travel the world or even get to take many date nights, but it's a good life, filled with love, family and friends.  We approach everything with excitement and interest, and that makes our life bigger and better.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Charlotte: 11 months old

watching Papa Nick leave

I really can't believe that one month from now, my baby girl turns ONE.  How did this year go by so fast?  How did my last baby get so big?

Height and Weight:
I think Charlotte's about 24 lbs now, which is more than her brothers weighed at 15 months.

Clothing size:
Charlotte's still in size 12 months or 12-18 month clothing.  I have found myself shopping more for her- I think to myself, "oh, baby clothes are so inexpensive!" and then I remember that she'll wear the clothes for a maximum of 3 months, so I'm really not getting all that much value for my dollar.  But she looks so cute in everything!

Charlotte can raise her arms up and say "Da!" for ta-da.  She signs "more" not just for more, but really for eat.  I've tried to teach her "eat," but she's not using it.  She's babbling a fair amount, but still only says her version of "kitty" as a word.  She's clapped a few times, too.  She's also starting to understand some of what we say and respond to it.  She can babble "ma," "da," "ya," "ta."

Charlotte now has 4 teeth in, and at least 1 more on its way.  She's been great about teething, thank goodness!

She thinks she's the same age as her brothers and will try to do anything that they're doing.  She lacks some of their fine motor skills and coordination though!
Helping make Papa Nick's mocha

helping taste Papa Nick's mocha

Outings and Adventures:
Still no big trips.  I guess we slow down in the winter!  We did go with Meema to the aquarium on Monday; other than that, we haven't done much new.  Charlotte had her first Halloween, and her first day of school- I started her one day a week at the JCC with her brothers.  So far, it seems they are taking great care of her, and she does well there.

Charlotte is taking 1 nap a day right now- I feel like a terrible mommy because we were always home at 9 am and 1 pm for the boys' naps, but poor Charlotte gets dragged around wherever they need to go.  She is taking 1 good nap a day most days, and then about 11-12 hours at night.  She's STILL not sleeping through the night.  Most nights she wakes up only once, but last night it was 3 times.  I'm so tired when that happens!  Her bedtime is 7:30 pm, and she usually wakes up around 7 am.

Charlotte eats 3 meals a day and some snacks, as well as nursing about 4 times a day.  She often nurses for shorter periods of time.  She drinks water from a sippy, and the one day she is at school she gets 2% milk, but doesn't drink much of it.

Favorite food:
She is already getting more picky!  She used to like bananas and now won't touch them.  She will eat, without fail, scrambled eggs, blueberries, strawberries, and yogurt.  She likes Cheerios, string cheese (cut up small), most vegetables, and even liked spicy Indian butter chicken.  I need to feed her a more varied diet, so that she doesn't end up like her brothers- picky and bland eaters.

Favorite person:
Again, it is hard to tell.  She expresses real and genuine pleasure at pretty much all family members- her daddy and of course her big brothers, as well as Meema and Papa Nick.  She has started having stranger anxiety, and doesn't like to be left with people who she doesn't know.  The boys never really had this, so it is all new to me!

Her favorite not-person is her Kitty Cat.  She sleeps with him every night and every nap, and has taken to carrying him around the house as her buddy.  She sucks her thumb and rubs his tail or legs to soothe herself.  She is really too cute with him.

Charlotte has become such a fun and important part of our family and our lives.  I can't believe that 1 year ago, she wasn't even here yet.  I also can't believe what great work Eric and I did in making this little lady.

She has just started doing what Eric calls her "happy feet," a kind of dance where she moves her feet up and down in happiness or excitement.  Ridiculously cute.  She also has started blowing on her food to cool it off, even if it isn't hot food (an imitation of me).  I love how much the boys love her, too- they are always asking after her, trying to take care of her and share with her.

We are hoping to move home this weekend, and I'm eager to live in our house the way we want to live.  I can't wait to really settle into our home.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

oedipus schmoedipus

Back before we had kids, Eric read (and enjoyed) the Book of Jewish Humor.  In it, there is a joke where a Jewish mommy takes her son to a psychologist to find out what is wrong with him.  The doctor tells her that her son has an Oedipal complex.  The mom says, "Oedipus, shmoedipus, as long as he loves his mother!"  As a Jewish mommy myself, this is funny because it's true- whatever else happens, as long as my boys still love me, everything is ok.

We might be a little bit in the Oedipal stage- perhaps combined with the anal stage- with Asher and his potty training.  We haven't been pushing him, but he shows no interest in going.  He loves sweets, and I have told him that if he pees and poops on the potty, he'll get candy- but that isn't motivation enough.

Asher can't seem to articulate to us what the problem might be.  At first he said he was scared because the toilet was too deep, but he still won't sit on a little kid potty, either.  And he's watched Benjamin use all kinds of potties without any problem.

Tonight I told Benjamin that he was my baby.  (As I type this, I realize that it's crazy that I call my almost 4 year old sons "babies," and heaven only knows what psychological damage I am inflicting by doing this.)  Asher quickly said, "He's not your baby.  He wears underwear."  So I think maybe that is our answer- that Asher doesn't want to get out of diapers because he wants to stay my baby.  I've told him over and over that he'll always be my baby- as evidenced by the fact that he is STILL my baby after I gave birth to another baby.

Now I have to figure out a way to get him to use the potty while letting him know that he is absolutely still my baby.  I think we are taking away his diapers after we're back in our house (hopefully 1 week from today), so we will see what happens. I refuse to have power plays or tears or hysterics or UTIs, I just can't handle that, so I don't know how far I'll go.  Wish me luck with my little Oedipus!

cute things my kids said (or did)

a perk to living at Meema and Papa Nick's- story time on a weekday

I'm making sure that I take time to appreciate all the wonderful things my kids say or do these days.  I spend way too much time getting caught up in anxiety over things that I can't control, so I try to balance it with taking moments to appreciate all the special things in my life.  I love the way the kids are right now- I wish I could just freeze time.

Tonight I made 5.5 lbs of brisket- half of which is for our neighbors, who just had their 2nd baby last night.  Congratulations to them!  We were sitting down and eating the other half, and Asher asked me, "Who learned you how to cook?"  I said, "Meema did."  And he said, "yeah, and now you cook really really good!"  I told him that was one of the best compliments I've ever gotten.

At bedtime I was giving Asher some snuggles, and he told me he needed some more kisses.  I love being asked for snuggles and kisses.  I love giving kisses; I love the smell of their hair and skin and the feeling of their warm little bodies curled into mine.  I'm so glad they still love getting them.

Benjamin is very affectionate toward Charlotte, too.  He always gives her hugs and kisses.  Tonight the boys were hugging/wrestling, and then they had to go and include Charlotte.  It was very thoughtful, but she maybe wasn't as big a fan as they were.

In the mornings, we all pile into Eric's and my bed for snuggles.  One morning the boys came in, and Charlotte was already there.  Rather than run in and give me hugs, they both rushed in and hugged her, and she squealed with delight to see them.  It just makes me happy to have my children love each other so much.

Charlotte is also seeking out hugs now.  She loves to snuggle animals- the cats, stuffed animals, maybe a pillow.  She is giving hugs and comes to us for comfort.  She's so independent that I only realized how little she needed me before after she started looking for me!

Last night we had dinner at our friends' house, and the kids just had a great time.  They ripped all the cushions off the couch and jumped on them, they got musical instruments and had an impromptu parade.  Our friends' older daughter told us she was having the best time ever- or second only to the time her cousins came to visit.  It's such a pleasure to watch my children have fun the way I remember having fun as a child.
cute until they fought over it

Ok- so I wrote that first part on Sunday.  Now it's Thursday.  Tuesday morning at 3:30, Asher woke up vomiting, which he continued to do every 45 minutes til 7:30 am.  His top concerns were:
-If I'm sick, I can't go to school and see my friends.
-I don't want the kitty to come near me because I don't want him to get the tummy bug.

Today he was helping around the house, and I thanked him.  He said, "I like doing things to help people who need help!"  That's my boy!

Benjamin got sick on Wednesday night, and stayed home from school today.  He was pretty much better around breakfast time, but he seemed lethargic and I thought he could use a day of rest.  He and Daddy ended up having a great day together, which was really special.  Benjamin is very clever- he has a way of figuring out how things are working and doing it by himself.  I think my dad is pleased he has an engineer's mind.  He and my dad play a game where my dad is the "crane" and lifts Benjamin up and moves him around according to Benjamin's orders.  The other night they were taking out trash, and Benjamin asked my dad to lift him up, move him over, and move him down... into the recycling bin!  Fortunately my dad stopped following orders before Benjamin was in the trash.

Monday, November 4, 2013

beautiful weather, beautiful children

I have been terrible at taking pictures lately, so when the weather and leaves were absolutely perfect on Friday, I took the good camera out and took some pictures of the kids at the playground down the street from my parents'.

the walk there
little lady
more trees
the boys playing
all 3 little ones
Benjamin and Papa Nick walking home
I'm really a terrible photographer.  Either that or we have a lousy camera, but I think it's the former. I wish I knew more what I was doing- it is disappointing to find that I cannot capture the beauty of everything around me.  These photos don't do justice to the vivid colors of the trees, or the gorgeous faces on my kids.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

Unfortunately, I forgot the camera last night!  The kids were super cute, of course.  Things that made this Halloween typically Whitten:
1) I forgot the camera
2) The boys both picked out fireman costumes at Costco for Halloween.  For one month, leading up to Halloween, they told me they were going to be firemen every time I asked.  The week prior to Halloween, they started singing a different tune, and on Halloween day, they decided they were definitely going to be a monkey and a lion- same as last year.  I now have 2 never-used fireman costumes to sell, if anyone is interested.
3) Charlotte's hand-me-down costume, which Eric told me fit her, was WAY too small:
Pink leggings and tiger-stripe socks, because she pulled off her bunny feet
 She was a rabbit:

She also hated the hat/ears, so she ripped them off moments after this.  The ripping was actually pretty funny.

It turned out to be a good night, weather-wise.  It was nice and warm!  We met up with our friends for a pizza dinner and then hit the street.  Once it was dark, it was really a picture-perfect Halloween- warm air, kids and families everywhere, neighbors chatting, leaves falling.

Big kids in costumes

The younger siblings

Bear monkey
 Also funny- Asher and his friend Maddie have a little thing going.  Whenever she comes over to visit us, Asher asks Maddie to come up to his room.  Last night, when we went to put on costumes, Maddie asked where Asher went.  As a joke, Maddie's daddy told her "He's with another girl."  Maddie thought for a second, and then said, "Who is she????"  Not to worry, his heart is still with Maddie.
Maddie (Doc McStuffins) and Asher (monkey) holding hands
I feel terrible that I have no pictures of Benjamin, especially since he was his usual super-cute self.  The boys really had a great time trick-or-treating and I think were pretty polite- saying "Trick or Treat!" and "Thank you!" at people's houses.

I had to go home early, because Charlotte was tired.  We were a few blocks from our car, and I began walking back.  2 blocks into our walk, I looked back and saw this:

100% passed out, asleep.  Someone partied too hard on Halloween!

Now, on to candy-stealing.  Top of my list: Kit-Kats, which Asher calls "kitty cat" bars.