Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Don't Think You're Ready...

...for this jelly.

Fish, that is. 

I realize this post is about four months overdue, but it takes time to properly wish a princess "Happy Birthday".  And my phone held these pictures hostage for awhile. 

This summer, for her sixth birthday, Sarah requested a Mermaid-princess-theater-rockstar-hangout party.  With minions.  

Hmmmmm. 

I was kind of at a loss, to say the least.  But, then I taught a unit on ocean animals the last week of school and we ended the year with a pirate party, complete with shark attack photo booth. 
We named him Fluffy.
The kids adopted him for their very own
and so we took the Under the Sea theme and ran with it. 

Though Fluffy is my pride and joy, I got a leeetle carried away making these jellyfish guys for decoration.
These guys were supposed to crisscross overhead on the patio, a la Finding Nemo, but, alas, it threatened rain the entire morning before the party, so I kept them indoors. 
From Will's and my Jaws t-shirts, to the shark bite wreath welcoming guests at the front door,
the party had a decidedly toothy bent.
The rain held off, though, and we filled up the inflatable pool, slipped on swimsuits, and took the party outside. 

There are basically no good pictures of party action, because the photographer and the cruise director were one and the same: ME. 
Activities included splashing in the pool,
trampolining with pool noodles, and a no-handed donut-eating contest.
I don't have the donut-eating contest on film, but the kids had a blast trying to eat like fish on a line.  The setup was easy: I tied some twine between two trees and threaded donuts on it.  The kids lined up across from their chosen donut, and ate as fast as possible before it hit the ground.
Birthday girl.
 There was also a photo booth of the princess-y kind, ready for some goofy fun.
 We needed a little somethin' for the ladies, so a mermaid photo prop made from a tri-fold presentation poster board did the trick.

While most of the guests braved the water or the trampoline,
others enjoyed the little shark-themed corn hole game I whipped up about 2 hours before party time.
I was so shocked this idea actually panned out! 
Yet another tri-fold board made an appearance, this time cut on a slant and secured with duct tape to raise it off the ground.
 And so, Feed the Chum to Fluffy was born.
Oh, you need bean bags in a jiffy?
Just gather some beans or rice, a roll of duct tape, and some zipper sandwich bags.
Voila!

The party ended with blue-iced cupcakes topped with drink umbrellas, shark fins, and Teddy Grahams
As simple as the decor, the setup, and the food were, a good time was had by all! 
My best girl rang in year 7 in style, and we can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store!

Friday, October 10, 2014

7 Months (And Some Change)

Is it just me, or do these Teddy milestone posts keep getting further and further apart?  I guess it's just the season of life that our family is in, but it's like we're sprinting.

Uphill.

For 26.2 miles.

Anyway, Teddy is a big part of what's keeping us busy, and he's been a busy dude this past month himself. 
Sleep has been touch and go this past month, but it has gotten steadily better than the vortex of snot and pain that we were dealing with in August.

Our little bear has been doing some growing, but he's still on the pocket-sized end of the height and weight charts, and we're okay with that.  If you plant corn, you're not going to get pumpkins, right?  And neither Mike nor I are exactly giants.
So what does Mr. Teddy like these days?  Let's take a look.

Turn-ons: 
  • Table food (we share a plate of eggs every morning, and he gets rowdy waiting for his lunch and dinner)
  • Grabbing plates and bowls off the table and dumping them in laps; grabbing spoons on their way to his mouth
  • Baths/pouring water
  • Speaking his mind 
  • Big brother's and sister's Pez dispensers - they're an especially good chew
  • Army crawling 
  • His Kevin the Bird softie
  • Taking off his pants without using his hands 
  • Escaping.
Who? Me?
Teddy's repeated escape attempts have earned him the alias "Houdini" and a one-way
ticket to the maximum security wing of the Big House, aka: the exersaucer.
Another new phenomenon around is the arch.  No, not the Gateway to the West.  We're talking about a signature Teddy move used whenever he's being put somewhere he doesn't want to be.  As an inmate with multiple escape attempts and a penchant for log-rolling his way off of elevated surfaces, the Bear has been relegated to solitary confinement or the floor.  But he doesn't want to just sit quietly on the floor with a Mumm-Mumm or a toy.  Nope.  So, he arches his back and stiffens his legs as straight as a board, very suddenly, I might add, becoming quite slippery and hard to handle.  What this accomplishes, I'm not sure, but his silent protests are increasingly frustrating to the parental units.

Turn-offs: 
  • Socks (seriously, people, what is the point of putting socks on a baby? There is no contouring, no curves for the elastic to grab ahold of.  It's just cankle with a Hobbit foot stuck on it.);
  • Actually being a baby: this guy is beside himself because he can't hang with the big kids yet. He wants to get down and wrestle with them, chase them, and play with chew their toys.  I have heard Mr. T actually try to jump in whatever raucous yelling match with them in his own language. 
  • His carseat.  We spent 5 hours on Tuesday driving home from St. Louis, and Teddy's been refusing to get in it ever since, even busting an Arch yesterday morning before leaving the doctor's office.
  • Milk.  The big guy would rather have what we're having, please and thank you. 
Oh, Teddy.  You've become a total pain just like the rest of us, and we love you for it!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sleep, Interrupted

Yep.  My mythical creature finally turned into a real baby.  You know, the kind who goes through teething, a cold, and a growth spurt back-to-back-to-back.  
Oh, and did I mention that this all went down in the first three weeks of school?  

Things are getting a wee bit better, but sleep is still the top priority.  
It's the rabbit and I'm the (slow, arthritic) greyhound.

Anyhoo, Teddy turned six months old this past week,
 marking the end of a very busy month for my little bear.  
He started school and solid foods, and popped two teeth!
 He was also baptized over Labor Day weekend.

Yes, he's very busy these days.

Mostly our little Grabby McGrabberson is trying to get his fat fists on anything he possibly can.  From pizza to Legos, earlobes to Hot Wheels, nothing escapes his notice or his attempts at possession.
 My favorite necklace and not a few books have fallen victim to this guys' destructive side. 

 But, he keeps us laughing, so we keep him around.
 He totally feels like a stud in his new high chair, and his range with green beans is impressive to say the least.
 We don't go to the doc until next week, so I don't have any stats for you of the technical variety.  
But, I will say that our Mighty Mite is outgrowing his stuff at a decent clip.  It's kind of put us in a bind, though, 'cause I really don't want to buy a whole bunch of warm-weather stuff for the next month and a half. For now, he'll just have to rock the camel-toe (I'm sorry I just wrote that), 
until this unholy summer skedaddles and the temps cool down from 147 degrees to, like, 70. 
Messy hair, don't care.


 Yummy baby feet.
I'm not ashamed to say that these little Hobbit feet have spent an inordinate amount of time being kissed by me.
 So, what else has been going on with this guy?  
Well, he loves me the most. (Yay!) I try not to think about the fact that there will come a time, all too soon, that I will either be a target or a fixture, like a lamp or something. 

Likes: Kicking. Nonstop.  

video
He also really likes finger food.  Mum-mums are a hit, but Big Bro had to show him how to eat them first.
T gains a certain amount of satisfaction from pulling his siblings' hair and scratching their eyeballs out.  His signature move with Will is to grab his big brother's hair when he's leaned over to kiss and annoy him for the 85th time in five minutes, thusly turning the tables and trapping Will in his vise-like grip.

There's not much this boy doesn't like.  Unless you count sleeping in.  Or really just sleeping.  It might be a typical third child thing, but he's not too keen on being left out of the fun, either. 
Well, I guess that does it.  
I love this pic because this is exactly the pose his big sister has slept in for the better part of her lifetime.

Here's bonus video of Mr. T doing what boys do best.
And that's makin' some noise!
video

Keep a weather-eye out for more than one post this month.  
Between grant-writing, Daisy scouting, and lesson-planning, I make no promises.
But, it could happen. Maybe. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Five Months


 This happiest of boys is just now five months old.  The funny thing is, I can't remember life without him. 
 He hasn't been measured or weighed lately, so I don't have any stats of that nature.  He's growing like a weed, and well he should be, since he's eating like a horse. 

 This guy has been working on some big things this last month.  
Like sitting up all by his big self.
Oh, and does anybody know of a market for earwax or drool?
Between Sarah and Teddy, we could make a killing.
Teddy burns through about 5 bibs a day, but he hasn't popped a tooth so far.  

Even though the kids were a little disappointed initially to find out that we were having a human instead of a puppy, the way this guy chews on EVERYTHING, it's kind of like we do. 

Sarah and I have learned to wear our hair back since those fat fists grab at any stray strand in his orbit.  Watch out: he steals noses too.

Though Teddy is a laid-back, go-with-the-flow kinda guy, he's no doormat.  You mess with his food, sleep routine, or fail to change a dirty diaper, and he will let you know.

Like his siblings, my T likes to talk.  In addition to coos and grunts, he's got a whole retinue of sounds ranging from squeaks to growls. 

Unfortunately, little dude inherited my legs and my gourd-shaped noggin.  But they look good on him.

So, what does he like?

Music: "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" is his favorite lullaby, but he loves to do a little "If You're Happy and You Know It" as well.

Toys: he loves his grape chew-toy and his banana teether, and he's wild about his exersaucer.  Until he's not.

Food:  Mostly milk, but he's trying some big-boy foods.  Rice cereal is out, but bananas straight out of the peel are in.  He's super-interested in what we're eating, and last night he snuck a lick of my French fry.

Play:  Teddy loves to splash in the water!  We've taken him to the pool a few times and he's splashed in our paddling pool at home.  During bathtime, he stretches out his feet to kick his feet in the water.

Hand-holding:  If Will is a champion hugger, his little brother is a gold-medalist in holding hands. When he's in the car, when he's eating, or when he's snuggling down for bedtime, Big T likes to wrap his chubby fingers around any hand that's available.  And that's A-Okay with me. 

I present Exhibit A for your perusal. 
Teddy takes his first swim in a pickup truck turned into a pool. 
So, let's talk about turn-offs.  There aren't too many, but my wee man has strong opinions just the same.
  • That sun hat.  Hates it.
  • Rice cereal.  So much hate.
  • Smacking himself in the face with a toy.  Rage and hate.
And...
That's about all the time I have for this.
I have to get back to snuggling this sweet baby.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

35 and Pregnant


Here's how pregnancy usually works around here:  Mike changes jobs, I change OB's,
 and whammo! I find myself with child.  
Typically, we're going through a few major life changes at the time as well, 
just to make things interesting. 

This pregnancy was no different, except for this time around my OB/GYN is Bette Midler.  

And I turned 35 in the middle of it. 

Now, I know there are people who, like, plan their families and stick to a timeline.  

There are also people who still think 30 is old. 

I don't fall into either of those categories, but my (former) OB does, at least about the latter.  

No sooner do I get decked out in the paper towel at the confirmation appointment, than she starts dropping "Advanced Maternal Age" bombs like the Enola Gay. 

Whatever.  I have bigger fish to fry, like a full-time job and graduate night classes to finish.  But, the fun doesn't end with her looking at me like I'm a naughty child.  

"Well, your eggs are old," I'm told, "We need to schedule an appointment with the Crypt Keeper  expired eggs specialist."

 I'm cool with it because it means I get an extra ultrasound, so we put it on the schedule,
 and I walk out through the casting call for Teen Mom/waiting room. 
(Hmmm... I'm the high-risk one?) 

Fast-forward 2 weeks, and I'm back in a doctor's office, but this time we're going to talk about how my eggs are expired and my ovaries are wilted.  

Or something.  

First up is the ultrasound, and I see my little seahorse just a-bouncin' around in there, blissfully unaware of us.  By the way, why are ultrasound techs so darn cool?  We had a grand time discussing third children, surprises, and career changes 
until it was time to wipe the goo off and meet with the MD.

I'm led into an artificially "comfy" room to have a seat on the couch across from the cross-legged, grey-faced doc.  This guy is about as warm and fuzzy as Hannibal Lecter, with all the charm and sparkling wit of the Grinch.  The whole setup smacks of a psych evaluation 
(So, tell me about your secret stash of empty toilet paper rolls and glass jars, Mrs. Brown.), and my hackles are up.  
Crypt Keeper launches into a description of the various tests they can run on me and the baby, blah, blah, blah.  I take notes so I can report back to Mike, 
but all I'm thinking is, "None of this is going to change anything."

At the end of this little tete-a-tete, as I gather my things and say goodbye, Dr. Keeper gives me a probing look and says, "That's the first time I've seen you smile.  How are you feeling about this pregnancy?  I wonder if you might be a little depressed.  I could refer you to somebody..."

Oh, no he didn't.  I round on him and curse the fact that I don't wear earrings,
 'cause I'd be taking them off for a fight right about now.

The man met me 15 minutes ago and he has that kind of GALL?!

"No, I'm not depressed.  I guess your sunny bedside manner and the super-cheery, *light* topics we were discussing didn't really bring out my bubbly side.  
You want to know what I'm really like?  
Talk to your ultrasound technician.  We are done here."

I wish I had said exactly that.  
Mostly I tried not to stutter or tear up in rage 
(because I'm an angry crier) 
and just got out of there as fast as my Hoveround could go.

Thanks, doc, but I'll pass on your tests and consultations.  
You can keep your advice and your sour looks, and STOP CALLING ME OLD.


So, how am I going to wake my elderly self up in the night with a newborn? 

I guess I'll just have to sleep in my hearing aids and 
make sure my walker has brand new tennis balls.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

'Merica!

What an awesome long weekend we just had!

Based on our experiences this spring, expectations were pretty low.  I mean, at this point, if nobody goes to the hospital, then I'm pretty content.

But, the stars were aligned, the weather was ABSOLUTELY gorgeous, and Mike didn't work for three straight days. Translation: I actually had time to enjoy and be nice to my kids.

We kicked off the weekend with an end-of-session picnic on the lawn of Sarah's camp. 
Boys.
Why, Teddy, what big eyes you have!
In addition to performing camp songs (one of which was a song I learned when I was a camper), each team performed skits of their own creation. Now, Sarah told me that she was responsible for coming up with the idea for her team's skit, but I was a little skeptical.
But, after seeing her confidence and commitment to her role as Merliah the Mermaid, I'm thinking she was right on.  I also did NOT expect to see my girl so sure of herself on the microphone, but she seemed to be totally in her element. 

After the skits and ice cream sundaes, the night swimming s'more-making, and glamping camping got underway.

Groggy, tired, and sore, we woke up the next morning only to face round 2 of super summer festivities in the form of July 4th.  After everybody enjoyed some post-swimming naps, we were ready to carpe the diem out of this Independence Day!

Will enjoyed removing the training wheels from his bike and practicing riding in the grass.
Does it get more 'merican than this?

Homemade red, white, and blue sno-kones were a hit!  (Thanks, Aunt Sarah.)
My mom wanted pictures of the offspring in their flag tees, so we took a stab at that on full bellies.
Score! 
Nobody has blue lips, but that tattoo of Sarah's is a stubborn one.

Then, it was off to see the fireworks from atop a hill.
(Almost) perfect view of the city.
The obligatory hill-rolling commenced, with Will as the reigning champ.
I even rolled down the hill myself.

Teddy's pretty serious about his nighttime routine,
and this is his "quit dragging me around - I just need my bath and my crib" face.

Will settled into his fireworks-watching seat.
And so did Teddy and I.

Once the sun set,  glow sticks and necklaces were in order.
Turns out, Dollar Tree glow sticks break really easily.
In the spirit of "making lemonade", the kids gave themselves glow-in-the-dark face paint.


Teddy was pretty impressed with the fireworks display.
 
And we all tumbled back in the car tired, happy, and a little bit itchy from the hill-rolling.

I guess the days of my kids falling asleep with glow-sticks clutched in chubby fists are over, at least until Teddy's old enough to carry the torch.