Monday, March 31, 2014

a little ridiculousness

Today we had some moments of ridiculousness.  The morning started out pretty rough- we had to get out by 9 to get to the Monell Center, and I was taking all 3 kids, and Eric was on a phone meeting.  He has a phone meeting at 8:30 every Monday, and every Monday, some kind of shit hits the fan, and I end up looking like an incompetent mother.  One Monday, Asher hit me, and I had to carry him, screaming, up the stairs while I said, "That is completely unacceptable!" and everyone on his conference call heard me.  This morning, Asher and I were fighting over sweat pants and rather than engage, I went upstairs to brush my teeth.  So he sat at the bottom of the stairs and yelled up periodically, "Mommy! Mommy!" to interrupt Eric's meeting.

The kids were so whiny, at one point I told Asher, "Mommy isn't here right now."  He said, "Yes, you are, I see you!"  I said, "No, I'm not mommy, I'm Meema."  He said, "No, you're not.  You have boobs, and Meema doesn't have any boobs." So I told him that I'd have to talk to Meema about getting a better bra.

Then there was the big sweatpant blow-out. The boys are obsessed with wearing sweatpants, and I don't care if they wear them, but today it was a fight over who was going to wear which sweatpants.  Asher had already picked his sweatpants and put them on, and Benjamin rejected a pair that he said was the wrong size (they are all the same size), and I found a pair Benjamin would wear.  Well, Asher decided he wanted that pair.  So, in the process of me dressing Benjamin, Asher took his pants off, demanding Benjamin's pants.  We were already late, and Charlotte wasn't even dressed.  I thought I might lose it.  I told Asher he could either put his pants back on, or I would take him into town with no pants at all.  Since there was a time where I actually put Benjamin in his car seat without pants on (a different sweatpant fight), he knew I meant business and managed to dress himself.  I would have been the worst mommy in the world if I took my kid into the city with no pants on, but I knew he would dress himself again.

We finished our study at the Monell Center.  Charlotte was supposed to taste 4 different juices, but she refused.  She didn't roll on the floor and scream, but she wouldn't taste a single one.  She has such an attitude!

Last night the kids were also a little nuts- it has been tough, Asher had strep Friday into Saturday, and now Benjamin is under the weather.  Add to that the fact that it rained all weekend and various social plans were canceled, and everyone starts to lose it.  Yesterday we went to a party for our neighbors' son (his first birthday).  I got there late because Charlotte was napping and I never really felt like I was having fun.  We have a neighbor who seems to dislike me, I have no idea why, but she wouldn't even say hello to me, so that made me feel kind of self-conscious.  Eric left with Asher, and I was there with Benjamin and Charlotte.  We stayed to see the baby have his birthday cake, which he hated, and then he threw up everywhere.  Benjamin told me today, "When the baby threw up, it kind of ruined the party."  I totally agree.

Yesterday was just one of those washed-out days where everyone's mood was foul.  The big highlight for me was Asher's needing to poop during dinner, and while the rest of us sat at the table and ate, Asher yelled out from the bathroom, "I love you, mommy!"

Today the rain stopped and the sun came out.  We finished our study, Asher and Charlotte had great naps, and I got in a 5 mile run in perfect (well, slightly windy) weather.  I am hoping a good night's sleep restores our good moods, and that the sun is out again tomorrow.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday, Benjamin and Asher!

School birthday cupcakes
Today we celebrated my big boys' 4th birthday.  I can't believe it was 4 years ago that I became a mom.  I remember that first night in the hospital, I had such a hard time sleeping- every time I started to drop off, I would startle awake thinking, "I'm TWO somebodies' mommy!"  What a huge responsibility.  By some miracle, we have all managed to survive 4 entire years together, healthy and happy.
Enjoying the cupcakes- with Charlotte joining in behind them
I tried to make today as special as I could.  The boys had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, and then I went to their class to read a story (Slinky Malinki) to their class.  After the story, the boys got their birthday cupcakes and the class sang happy birthday to them.  I stayed while they ate cupcakes (and Charlotte got in on the action!), and then went home to get ready for work.

I left work early so we could all have dinner together.  The boys wanted noodles (what a surprise!), and Asher asked for Chinese.  Actually, first he asked for Japanese, I made a reservation, then he changed his mind because he was a little tired, and asked for Chinese.  Benjamin just wanted plain noodles, but ended up eating two helpings of chicken lo mein.

I baked two separate cakes- one chocolate and one yellow- since the boys each wanted something different.  Then I cut Benjamin a big slice of his yellow cake, and he didn't eat it!  But everyone else enjoyed it.  Charlotte liked the cake, the ice cream, and the peanut m&ms.  Asher blew out all 5 of his candles in one breath.  I'm not sure he even paused to make a wish.

My next posts will be all about the boys at 4 years old- I want to make sure they each get their own and that I take the time to be thorough.

It gave me such pleasure today to spoil my boys and to see them so happy.  They loved their gifts, the attention, and all the sweets.  They are such wonderful boys, and such joys to have in my life.  4 years ago today, my life changed forever, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Charlotte: 15 months old

trying on the headband I got her
 It's been a while since I gave my girl her own post, so here is an update on Charlotte and all of her many achievements.

Charlotte's personality is really starting to come out.  She is silly, funny, spunky, and full of attitude.  She never got the message that she's only 1, and her brothers are almost 4, and so she is constantly trying to keep up with them and imitate them.
Milestone: 1st selfie
Charlotte is walking and running, tries to jump with 2 feet, and tries to climb up and down stairs without crawling/sitting down.  She can climb up the ladder on a small slide and slide down on her own.  Her fine motor skills are also improving- she can hold a crayon and scribble, and feeds herself with a fork and spoon (hit or miss on how much gets in her mouth, though...).

She's not talking much... for some reason she says "Dada" for everything.  Anytime I say a word and ask her to repeat, she says, "dada."  She says her version of kitty, boot, more, dada, mm hmm (mm mmm is her way), and uh oh (uh ah).  She will imitate sounds if I look her in the eye and make them, but then she laughs at me like she knows I'm being an idiot.  Her receptive language is excellent, though.  She always knows exactly what is going on, and responds to commands or questions- when I say, "Charlotte, time to eat!" she will go to her booster seat, or bring me specific objects if I ask for them.  She also gives hugs and kisses, and blows kisses, too.  So deliciously sweet.
"I wonder what the limit is on this one..."
Charlotte is social and friendly.  She will look around a room and make eye contact and smile at everyone.  If we all start laughing at something in conversation, she will join in, even if she has no idea what we were talking about.  In public, she has no problem approaching strangers and smiling and laughing with them.
Wearing her new pink boots at Target
She is stunningly beautiful (in my opinion!).  I can't get over the fact that Eric and I managed to create something so gorgeous.  Of course I feel that way about the boys, too, but I am feeling it all over again with her.  I love her almond-shaped eyes, her big smile, her solid little tush.

She is doing well with her 1 day a week at preschool.  All the teachers rave about how much they adore her, and her information sheet always says "happy and playful" at the end of the day.  She gets a little sad when I leave her there, but is always playing happily when we come to get her.  She is independent and probably loves the arts and crafts she gets to do, and eating at the table like a big girl.

Charlotte has gotten more picky about food- she won't eat every single thing I put in front of her anymore.  She loves fruit, especially blackberries and strawberries, but will eat pretty much any fruit. She's not a huge fan of bananas, though.  She also likes avocado, black beans, sweet potato, asparagus, carrots, broccoli, string beans, and peas.  Like her brothers, she is not a huge fan of meat.  We could absolutely go vegetarian in this house if it weren't for Eric.  She likes cheese, hummus, eggs, and any carb there is.  She still nurses 3-5 times a day, but I can tell my supply has dropped, and the time spent nursing is very short.  It's ok if she is ready to move on.  Eric doesn't want me to nurse her until she is 2, and I expect we'll stop before then anyway, but I am having a hard time imagining myself cutting her off.

Charlotte's most difficult trait- she is not a great sleeper.  I never got her on a good nap schedule, since she is dragged around with her brothers most days, but she STILL doesn't sleep through the night.  We have done nothing to "train" her, and I continue to nurse her in the middle of the night if she wakes up, perpetuating our problem.  Every time we say we are going to train her, she sleeps through the night, and we don't do it... and then she regresses.  I am tired everyday, but totally used to it.  I highly recommend: Trader Joe's French Roast coffee (already ground, it is a gray bag with white writing) and Bobbi Brown under-eye corrector and concealer (2 separate products).  With these things, I give a good impression of being awake and alive.
Goofy Benjamin giving the cozy coupe a detailing
Time is passing too quickly for me.  There are many day-to-day complaints in being a mom of 3 young children, but it is also so much fun.  There are so many hugs, so many kisses, so many moments of joy and pleasure.  Charlotte is our last- and I am lucky she's the one I got!  I love her, and I love being her mom.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Birthday, Papa Nick!

With my dad at my wedding

Happy Birthday to the best dad and grandfather anyone could ask for!  My dad is the most giving, generous person I know.  He will do anything for anyone and never utter a word of complaint.  When my sister and I were in college, he would drive back and forth to get us for vacations and bring us back to school again.  It was a pretty big deal that he would drive up to Providence and back in a day for me, but even bigger that he would do it for my sister, who went to school in Atlanta!

Papa Nick is always happy to see us, especially the kids.  And they feel the same about him- all 3 kids go running toward him when they see him, and they love to hug and be with him.  He is so patient with them.

Here are some special memories I have of my dad:
A few times, when I was little, I would go to work with my dad when he was working late at night.  I remember sleeping under his desk in his office while he worked.  I also remember him giving me pink bubble gum with a liquid center while I was there.  I loved it then, but now... YUCK.

He is a terrible cook, or really no cook at all, but he invented a special kind of grilled cheese that he made in the microwave, propped up on two straws.  It was kind of soggy, but I remember eating it and even asking for it more than once.

I think that my mom, who was home with us all week long, used to make my dad take us on the weekends.  I remember trips to the hardware store, where I got to pick out reflective letters and numbers, and trips out to his various offices. I remember the big mainframe computer room at his office, and the smell of electricity in there. I thought that pretty much anything we did with him was fun, and I never remember feeling like we were a chore or a burden to him.

Once, when the microwave was still pretty new in our house, my mom microwaved an egg (whole, in the shell).  It exploded, and my dad was cleaning out the microwave and said, "Haha, microwave! The yolk's on you!"  My dad is famous for his puns.

When I was a kid and asked for tapes of my own music to listen to, he copied all of the Beatles albums off of vinyl and on to cassette.  So while other kids my age were dying for the New Kids on the Block, I had pictures of John, Paul, George and Ringo over my bed- thanks to my dad.

When I was on bed rest with the boys, my dad always brought me fresh flowers so I would have something pretty to look at in the room.  

My dad is the official driver in our family- he has a little bit of a lead foot, but he is a very safe driver.  Our family rule is, if you drive, you pick the music, so we always end up listening to his choice.  He has about a million and one "favorite" songs, so one was always coming on, and he would get excited, driving down the road and playing the drum on the steering wheel.

Car rides were always a good time for conversation.  My dad and I have had many heart-to-hearts in the car, and I've always felt comfortable being open and honest with him.  He has always treated me with respect; never babied me or over-protected me as I grew, and now treats me like I'm a responsible adult.  His ability to see me as a separate person, with my own strengths and shortcomings, allowed me to develop.  I never felt he had an agenda for me, and he has always expressed his pride in my achievements and helped me grow from my failures.

My dad provided a wonderful life for us, in beautiful homes, with big opportunities.  He spoiled me, and still does (he still takes my car in for service for me!).  Today my dad said, "I'm a very lucky man, to have this family."  Part of it might be luck, but most of it is him- he has created and maintained a loving culture and atmosphere in our family.  He's affectionate, caring, generous, and kind.  He treated us that way, and we treat him the same in return.  And now, as a parent, I treat my children the way he treated me.  So when he sees them being great kids, that's because of him.  He might feel lucky to have us in his life, but we are the lucky ones, to have him in ours.

Happy Birthday, Papa Nick!  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Sunny Saturday

Today was a sunny, spring-like day.  When the weather is good, my mood matches, so I had a very nice day.

We had a birthday party in the morning- all you can eat frozen yogurt, and music for the little ones.  My friend took a candid photo of me with the kids that I am in love with:
I just feel like the luckiest mommy.  Look at those beautiful children!

We came home and were going to rush through lunch and go down for naps, but our neighbors were out, so the kids played in the yard before they ate.
Asher tucked himself in for a good nap, and Daddy and Benjamin went to take my car through the car wash, and then Benjamin fell asleep.  Of course Charlotte isn't a fan of sleeping, she woke up before Benjamin even got home!  She and I went on a little jog (about 3.6 miles), and then to Trader Joe's.  Charlotte was determined to get a container of hazelnut biscotti, she kept putting them in the cart, and at one point even handed them to the cashier!  After putting them back several times, and paying for my (non-biscotti) food, I went to wheel the cart out and noticed them tucked in next to her on the seat.  What a sneak!

We had dinner with our neighbors- delicious food and good company.  They are going to move this June, and we will really miss them.

Today was good.  No big melt-downs, no potty accidents, just our family and friends and some beautiful sunny weather.  Our quiet life suits me just fine!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

a few cute pictures

Monday we had a day of lovely spring weather!  Maybe because of this, the kids were not too interested in napping, so we were able to have time at the playground without our coats on.  
Asher learning how to swing

Serious face
Benjamin in the swing
Charlotte and her best friend in the swing 
On the walk home, the boys went on their own up the hill.  I remember pushing them up that hill in their double snap n go when they were infants.  What big boys I have!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Charlotte's first haircut

I took Charlotte to get her first haircut yesterday.  What a love, she didn't complain at all!

Miss Channell (our hairdresser) just cleaned up the back and shaped Charlotte's hair into a cute little baby girl bob.  I can't believe that any offspring of mine has such fine, straight hair!  I always thought that if I had a girl, I wouldn't want her to have my hair (ok, I wouldn't want ANY child of mine, male or female, to get my hair) or my legs.  I am so relieved that none of my 3 kids ended up with my ridiculously kinky-curly hair, but I'm still surprised at how straight Charlotte's hair is- I don't know anything about hair like that!

I don't have an "after" picture, but she looks great.  She took it upon herself to help herself to a blue "cotton candy" lollipop after her haircut.  It was a sticky mess, and she was quite pleased with herself. If it is even possible, she gets cuter by the day!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Quick trip to Wellesley

Yesterday there was a memorial for my grandfather in Cambridge.  We had missed the memorial for my grandmother, which was held in June, so we made an effort to go to this one.

Friday night, Eric and I had tickets to see Mike Birbiglia here in Philadelphia, so we couldn't leave til Saturday morning.  We were on the road at 8:30, and hit no traffic going up.  I have to give it to my kids, they are excellent travelers!  We took our station wagon, instead of our mini van, so all 3 kids sat across the back seat, and Charlotte could look at her brothers.  They watched movies, looked out the window, snacked, talked to each other, and napped.

We got to my cousin William's house in Wellesley around 1:20.  Originally I had thought that we would try to go into Boston and do something really exciting, but instead we spent all afternoon hanging around the house, and it was great.  Asher and Benjamin both went outside and played with their cousins in the snow in the woods behind their house.  The boys were so independent and had so much fun with their cousins.

After time in the snow, all the kids came in, William built a fire, and I made hot chocolate for all the kids.
Asher, Daddy and cocoa

Hot chocolate and a roaring fire
We had a big dinner of turkey meatloaf and the boys even ate seconds!  Surprisingly, since the last 2 times we stayed there sleeping was a disaster, all 3 kids slept quite well.  Our little cousin, Lilah, told William that she likes playing with her boy cousins, but that the baby (Charlotte) she wasn't so sure about... because all she does is put things in her mouth and chew on them.

Sunday morning we had breakfast with our cousins and tried to get our act together, which meant we managed to leave by 10:30 am.  We went to Hi-Rise, which is the bakery where I was working 10 years ago at the time that I met Eric.  I hadn't been back in several years... and it was so surreal to go in and see all 3 of my beautiful children in the place where I worked when I was single, not sure if I'd ever find love.
my 3 angels with their snack

Asher in front of the counter

Benjamin attacking his rice krispie treat
10 years, 1 husband, 1 degree, and 3 children.  Not too shabby.

From there we went to lunch at my cousin Jess's, and then on to the memorial service.  Asher got upset that there weren't any toys there to play with, so Eric had to take the boys out for a walk to get them food (at this point, Asher had eaten 2 breakfasts, 1 snack, 1 lunch, and needed MORE food).  They didn't come back until the service was almost over.  My dad dealt with Charlotte most of the time, but I still had plenty of time chasing her around and missed some of every speech.

Then back in the car, and home again.  Eric went very fast, since we were promised it would be snowing.  Lucky for us, there was no traffic and no snow, and we made it home in 5 hours (including stops for gas and pee).  It was a lot of driving for not a lot of time, but it was a wonderful weekend seeing our family.  I missed my grandparents so much- ordinarily after something like that, we'd all go back to their place and sit around their library and talk about the event.  It was nice to remember them they way they were, in their prime, and it felt a little like going back in time, in a town with so many memories.  Very bittersweet.