Saturday, April 25, 2015

Catching up

I realize that I have once again been deficient in posting.  Here are some recent events:

I turned 35. The day itself was pretty uneventful, but it ended nicely with a big dinner out with my parents and Eric.  We ate a lot of good food and laughed and enjoyed each other's company.  Then I managed to drag out the birthday celebrations a little by taking the following Friday to do a girls' day of shopping with my mom, and next week I'm going out with my girl friends for dinner.  Eric gave me a groupon for Botox for my birthday, and I got my first injections on Monday.  I am pretty sure it is working, which is nice. I feel younger already.

Eric turned 35. To celebrate his birthday he bought himself some new cycling shoes and enjoyed a bike ride with his friends in beautiful weather while I took the kids to the Cherry Blossom Festival.  He took the boys for their first race in a series of "Healthy Kids Running Club" races, and then we grilled outside and ate cake- I had made Eric a yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and my mom made me a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

We had a visit from Eric's parents, who brought our nieces with them.  The girls are so independent and helpful, and it's always fun to have them. Our kids adore them!  With them, we got beautiful weather both days.  Saturday we took a picnic lunch to Chanticleer and toured the gardens, just enjoying being outside in the warm sun after our long winter.  Saturday night we grilled and ate outside, and then on Sunday I went to the zoo with Eric's mom and all of the kids.

Selfie by the water table
Asher and Taylor
showing off blossoms
Another Mommy-Charlotte selfie
The most memorable part of our zoo trip was lunch- a goose came over and got extra-interested in the kids' rice krispie treats.  I wasn't watching closely, but there was a scream from Charlotte, and she said, "It pecked me!"  She said it pecked her tummy, but one of the boys said it was her finger.  She was crying and clinging to me like a little monkey, when all of a sudden, I heard a crash- Asher had climbed into the stroller, which was on a hill with the diaper bag on its back, and the whole thing came crashing down.  Asher just sat there, stunned, Charlotte kept screaming and crying, Asher started to cry, and Pat and I just burst out laughing.
Myah and Charlotte wore matching shirts and got lots of compliments
The 5 kids by the bears
Eric and his dad stayed home and worked on our garden.  Poor garden only gets attention from Steve, and he hadn't been in a year! I am eager to see what bulbs he planted for me when they come up this summer.

We have tried to make the most of whatever good weather we get. This week turned cold again, and it seems like spring has frozen.  Spring is so late this year- it is the end of April and the trees do not yet have leaves; the azaleas aren't even close.  At least spring paused while all the cherry blossoms are out, so we've had an extra week to appreciate them (that is really looking for the silver lining- what I'm really thinking is- COME ON, I DON'T WANT TO WEAR MY WINTER COAT AT THE END OF APRIL!).

On Monday we had friends over for lunch, and what had been a rainy day turned sunny.  We put on boots and stomped in puddles, and the kids ended up going on a worm-hunting mission.
Puddle jumping
Worm hunting
Friday I took the kids to the Please Touch museum.  They played nicely together- having 3 kids makes every trip an adventure with friends, which I love.  The boys tried on different costumes:
Post man
Construction workers
I will leave it to you to guess which of these careers my stereotypical Jewish-mommy self finds acceptable...

The kids had fun playing at home today. No matter how fast we try to clean up, they are working against us.  They got into the box of winter gear that had not yet made it to the attic.
Trying on winter hats
"Meow! I'm a kitty cat!"
We had friends over for dinner tonight, which is always fun. We put the kids in one room and ignore them while we drink wine in the dining room.  So nice.  I made baked ziti and cookie bars, which was great because I had no prep work or cooking when our guests were here.  Tomorrow we have family day- a weekend day with all 5 of us and no major obligations.  Time is flying by so fast- in one week I have the Broad Street Run again, which I am really looking forward to.  I just love that feeling of crossing the finish line!

Monday, April 13, 2015

5 year well visit

Today the big boys had their 5 year well visit, and their first visit at their new pediatrician. Here are their stats:

Asher: 43.5 lbs (69th percentile); 42.75" tall (45th percentile).  Last year he was 36.8 lbs and 40.25", so he gained almost 7 lbs and grew 2.5".

Benjamin: 40.5 lbs (48th percentile); 42.5" tall (34th percentile).  Last year he was 34.3 lbs and 39.25", so he gained 6 lbs and grew 3 inches, and the doctor was pleased.

It's funny to me that their weight percentiles are higher than their height percentiles because they both seem thin to me- but they are healthy heights and weights and clearly growing, which feels good.

The nurse checked their hearing and vision.  Both boys chose to read the letter chart rather than the pictures/shapes chart and knew all their letters.  Plus they could see, which is the most important part!

Benjamin went first, and any time he paused to read a letter or focus, Asher kept whispering the answers to him! I had to take him into another room.

We discussed all our concerns, which are fortunately very few.  Asher's torticollis, which she thinks might just be what it is; Benjamin's speech, which she thinks will improve when he gets to kindergarten; Asher's thumb sucking, which she said we could start trying to prevent but that whatever damage has been done will cost us big $$$ at the orthodontist anyway.  She asked about their socializing, their eating habits, sleep habits, and physical activity.  At the end they got their MMR shots and neither one cried for even a second, despite expressing anxiety that the shots would hurt.

The doctor pronounced them perfectly healthy, and told me that they are really great kids.  I am truly so happy that every year we have so few concerns and that every year they grow bigger and stronger.  I have been thinking, as I started drafting their 5 year-old blog entries, that they have such consistent and wonderful personalities.  I know problems can develop at any point, but so far, they are just plain great kids, and I am so fortunate.

After their appointment, we picked Charlotte up from school and the boys said hello to all of their friends on the playground.  Then we went out to lunch (no daddy, who has been swamped with work).  The kids all ordered their food and then actually ate it!  There was no trouble at the table, nothing but happy kids eating.  The waitress then complimented me on how well-behaved my kids were- we left favorable impressions all over town.

Of course, when Benjamin and Charlotte chose not to nap, behavior deteriorated.  There was an incident wherein Benjamin tried to pull Charlotte away from the table where he had his legos, and she pulled the table cloth with her, dumping all the legos all over the floor in little pieces.  Benjamin burst into tears!  Asher to the rescue- in under an hour, he had reassembled everything.

It was a satisfying day, to have medical confirmation that my kids are as healthy as they appear.  Not perfect, of course, but growing and learning and ready for kindergarten this fall.  It is still hard to believe that 5 years ago, they were squirmy little chicken-legged babies who I had to force feed every 3 hours around the clock.  Now they are big, strong, real people- not babies anymore.  Although, lucky me, Asher still asks for hugs and kisses and snuggles all the time.  Just today he said, "hugs and kisses are my two favorite things!" so I'll give them to him as long as he'll let me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Passover and Easter

This past weekend we celebrated spring with Passover (and an Easter egg hunt).

Our first seder was at Jane and Ed's house, and Jane had thoughtfully set the kids up with coloring books, crayons, and a bag full of stuffed toys to represent the 10 Plagues.  The boys were able to sit at the table and stay fairly engaged through the whole seder (which was, fortunately, short and sweet).

For the past few weeks, they have been singing, especially Benjamin, all the Passover songs.  Benjamin would sing the first question from the Four Questions nonstop, to the point where Charlotte began to sing it as well, because she is a parrot.  But of course, come seder time, he clammed right up.  Asher ended up singing it, with my help, while Benjamin ate parsley.  Yes, he would rather eat parsley than sing a question.  Asher sang all 4 questions with me, and then he sang the Hammer Song and Dayenu and the Frog Song in a beautiful, clear voice.  I was so proud of him!  To think that my boy who stood up and cried at his Hanukkah Show 2 years ago was now able to sing these songs to a table full of adults, all by himself- so wonderful.

Charlotte would have none of the seder and just played by herself in the playroom.  She also would have none of the food- she is getting more and more picky.

The second seder was at a friend from grad school's house.  We were 6 adults and 7 kids, which was chaotic but fun. Our hostess made favor bags with something to represent each of the 10 plagues, so there were many toys to play with and bubbles spilled.  The kids ate at one table and the adults at another, so we managed to get in a little bit of conversation while we ignored our children and the chaos they were creating.
The kids' table

Movie time so the grown ups can eat in peace
 On Sunday Eric went for a long bike ride, and I took the kids to Trader Joe's, which is a heartbreaking endeavor on Passover.  Asher was in tears asking for his favorite foods (crackers, Cheerios, pasta, waffles) while I denied him all of them.  And the free samples were cookies or cake. I spent a ton of money trying to make up for the fact that we can't eat our favorite foods.  Asher was also hungry all day long, because he is picky and won't eat things like fruit, yogurt, or cheese.

This is our first year keeping Passover all the way through inside and outside of our home.  In previous years, we would see Eric's parents for Easter in the middle of the week or have some event come up that we let stop our Passover-keeping.  The last time I kept Passover for myself was the year the boys were born!  But this year, we are home, and the kids are in school, where they're required to bring kosher-for-Passover lunches.  The boys are also old enough to understand what it means to keep Passover, and so it is important that we keep the tradition.  They've overall been great- Asher has accepted that his favorite foods are gone, and just keeps asking in a matter of fact way when we can go back to eating normal foods.  We keep Passover fairly loosely- no flour, but we don't worry about things like corn and legumes, which are not actually kosher for Passover but really don't bother me.

I have made an effort to meal plan all 3 meals a day so that we aren't caught with nothing to eat and no ideas of what to cook.  I have made some delicious food with very few, if any, substitutions- meatloaf made with matzoh meal; creamed spinach; roasted potatoes and vegetables; flourless chocolate cake.  Eric made a frittata for the kids while I was at work.  Tonight Eric offered Asher cookie butter ice cream and Asher said, "I can't have that, it has cookies with flour in it!"  So the boys have really caught on and are doing well with it.  I'm proud of all of us.  I initially thought I would lose weight since I can't eat cookies or crackers, but now I think I'm going to gain weight, because I'm always eating since I never feel full.  I am such a carb addict!

On Sunday afternoon we went to an Easter egg hunt at a friend's house.  The kids had a great time finding eggs and eating chocolate.  We only do Easter if we are with Eric's parents, but the boys know it is a time for candy, so they weren't going to miss out on the opportunity.
Charlotte and her basket
 Monday was perfect spring weather.  The kids went to school in the morning, and I ran errands and tried to be efficient.
Charlotte is wearing my dress from when I was a baby as a shirt.  She got tons of compliments.
 In the evening, we had our first dinner outside. The kids played outside every waking minute, the TV was never on, and I hid all the iPads and they've stopped asking for them.  Everyone's mood was so good.  I keep thinking we should live somewhere where we can be outside more than half the year, but Eric says we're not moving.
Dinner outside
I turn 35 on Friday, which has had me in a snit all week.  I know 35 isn't actually all that old, but it feels significant somehow.  I was going to put the kids in school and take a girls' day with my mom, but there's no school on Friday, so I will spend my birthday with my beloved children, which isn't all that bad, either.