Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Phil's 30th Birthday

Phil turned 30th on March 21st. He was off for his birthday, the lucky dog, and got to spend the day at home with his boys. I had to head out to work that morning so the boys and I gave him his birthday present (a Little Giant ladder he had been coveting for a long time) and cards before I left. Philip was so excited for him to rip into that big box but a little confused and uninterested when he saw what the gift was. LOL. That is, until Phil took it out later to play with it and Philip discovered he could climb on it. Then it was cool again!

The day started off rainy and cloudy but by the time I got home we spent the afternoon it was beautiful out so we spent some time playing outside before heading out to dinner in town at Chili's. Phil and I each got chicken fajitas and the boys shared a chicken crispers kids meal. I love that they can share one meal and have it be plenty! I'll miss that when they're ordering everything off the menu when they're teenagers!

I spared Phil the torture of having strangers sing to him in exchange for going home and having Philip and I sing to him. We had homemade German chocolate cake and ice cream which the boys especially enjoyed.

It was a nice, quiet day at home with our family. I can't believe one of us is now in our 30s (and that my own birthday on 4/21 is less than a month away as a result). We met when we were both 5 years old. Hard to believe that was a quarter of a century ago! :-p

Happy Birthday to darling husband. I'm so looking forward to discovering what our 30s have in store for us together. <3

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Andrew @ 18 Months Old

Andrew turned 18 months old on 2/17. Halfway to two already. It's hard to believe he's already 18 months old and at the same time it's hard to believe he's only 18 months old. Mostly, because it feels like he's been here forever. He feels firmly entrenched in our family now; a full-fledged member. For the first year or so he was still a n00b we were trying to get used to. Now he's in the club. ;)

Andrew at 18 months is often mistaken by people who don't know us for at least two years old, if not older. He had his well child visit on the seventeenth and he's right around 70th percentile for both height and weight (33 inches and 27.5 pounds, respectively). So while's he's bigger than his brother was at this age, he's by no means gigantic. He's pretty advanced physically (he's walking, running, climbing, wrestling... eep), and he's pretty coordinated. He can already throw and kick a ball. He's also talking a lot. The pediatrician asked us if he has at least a dozen words yet and I told her he was starting to put short sentences together ("I want juice," etc). Maybe these things in combination with his slightly larger than average size are what make people think he's older.

Speaking of his size, we just moved him into size 24 month tops. The 18 month tops were getting too short and tight on him as he has a rather prominent little belly. He has room to grow in 24 months. The length of his 18 month pants is good but they're getting tight in the thighs (thanks daddy) and starting to get a little snug in the waist (he's got the "Surber belly" for sure). They're way too long though. So he's already throwing me for a loop with the clothing. I think he's also in a size 6 shoe. Philip's in an 8. At this rate, I'm wondering if before long Philip will be wearing Andrew's hand me downs!

As far as his speech goes, that continues to develop more and more each day. Right now, he's enjoying saying "no" in response to everything, something big brother has been coaching him on. Nice.  His list of new/newish words include: book, dog, juice, buddy, brother, bear, coco (cookie), car, Buzz (as in Lightyear), Nana, and "tea" which is his word for "pick  me up or put me down."

He's got all four of his first molars. Not even sure when that happened! In the past month he's been teathing like crazy. I think his total tooth count is up to 12. Speaking of teething, that's been different. With Philip, you barely noticed he was teething. Andrew is a different story. His sleep is affected. He cheeks turn bright red. He drools. And, oh yeah, he bites. The biting is getting better, I guess, but also getting pretty old. He's not biting so much out of curiosity and teething anymore as much as he is biting out of retaliation and frustration. This hasn't been a good thing for his brother who often bears the brunt of it. We're trying to work with him on it but that's going about as well as trying to put a one year old in time out (which we've only had marginal success with at this point).

He's really taken an interest in books lately. I just recently started a bedtime routine with him where we read a couple of books and I sing him the songs we sing to Philip at bedtime and then say his prayers. He loves looking at the books and will grab them at bedtime and hop into the chair ready to read. We sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star at night and he has just recently started trying to sing it himself during the day. He can say twinkle and star. It's really cute.

He loves Finding Nemo and Toy Story. Disney Pixar continues to get more and more of our money. It's so cute hearing him say Nemo. It comes out "me-mo." The boys have DVD players in the car (Andrew's still not a happy traveler) and he always gets sad when Nemo turns off and cries out "No, Me-mo!"). He loves movies and television in general, as awful as that sounds. I know he watches more tv than he should, but I find that's really hard to avoid when you have an older child and, seriously, I need to get dinner made in the evening. The AAP can kiss it on that one; he has better verbal skills than some preschoolers I know. Alas, he also loves that wretched little brat Caillou just as much as his brother does so we hear a lot of his whining voice in our house these days.

He's very attached to mommy, although that's nothing new. I think it's a little late for the typical separation anxiety period, but he's definitely got a lot of that going on. It's at the point where I don't know if it's better to sneak away when I have to go out for work, or say goodbye and deal with the tears. I think either way he cries but it's even more sad now that he cries out "mommy" when he wants me. Especially at night.

He loves playing outside with his brother and he's absolutely fearless, tackling the big slide on the swing set and already trying to climb the rope ladder. So different from Philip, who's just starting to get really comfortable with those things himself. He's well on his way to full-blown dare devil status. And he's a runner. Where Philip would always stay close by at that age (and still does), Andrew likes to test his boundaries (and our speed). Thinking a fence is going to be a necessity and soon! He also loves bathtime and water in general. He did great in the pool last year and I'm excited for warm weather so he can get some more time in the water this year (another way in which he's so different from Philip, who still cries almost every time he has to have his hair washed).  He loves to splash and hardly flinches when he gets water in his face (even going so far as to blow bubbles in the tub--not something we're encouraging!).

He's also a total mess-maker. Philip was such a neat and tidy eater. I always marveled at how having a self-feeding toddler was nothing like the way it was portrayed on tv. With Philip, a crumb was rarely out of place. With Andrew, I'm pretty sure our high chair will be destined for the curb by the time he's through wreaking meal time havoc upon it. We've totally given up on putting the cushioned cover on it. It's just not worth it. He also loves to go into the playroom and pull out everything he can find and dump it onto the floor, just to watch it pile up. Good times.

He's still a helper though and will help put toys away and throw things in the garbage if we ask him to. One of his favorite things to do is throw away his dirty diapers. The downside to this is he's also thrown a lot of things away that weren't garbage! Some of them rescued in time, others we suspect not.

He still eats and sleep great. Most days he eats more (and faster) than Philip at meal time and he sleeps all night. He still doesn't nap as long as I'd like. Most days it's only an hour. How I miss Philip's two two hour naps at that age! The boys usually take their nap at the same time with Andrew waking up first so it's nice to get an hour of alone time with him before Philip wakes up.

He (along with Philip) are still rear-facing in the car. :) He had a brief period of not wanting to be strapped into the seat but that's not all that new with him. He seems like he might outgrow his seat sooner than Philip though (in height and weight) which means I'm sure I'll need to buy a new seat for him to stay rear-facing in eventually. Whoohoo! ;)

Less than six months until his second birthday. I've already begun setting aside ideas for both boys as their parties are two weeks apart. I have several ideas in mind for Andrew so I need to get busy narrowing them down. The big 2 will be here before I know it!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Valentine's Day

Our family's Valentine's gifts

I'm not big on turning minor holidays into big gift-giving events, but I love Valentine's Day and I think it's a nice excuse to spoil the one(s) you love, just a little. So I did. :)
Ready to rip into their gifts

Very excited to discover the Clifford stuffed animal he had been eyeing at Target

Andrew got Curious George and the Curious George movie with Will Ferrel and Drew Barrymore

The next day was Philip's Valentine's day party at school. Phil was working so I took Andrew to be a part of the festivities. He was so excited to be there and to be included. He loves going to Philip's classroom.
Enjoying a cookie

Add caption

One of my three handsome valentines :)

Excited to receive his first valentines from his classmates

Heart art

Getting some guidance from Mrs. Allen

P was the letter of the week!

And of course, P is for Philip! Mrs. Edwards joked with Philip when she saw his picture that now they wouldn't have to pin him on the bulletin board after all. :)

Andrew joined story time. He decided to have another snack while he listened.

Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. Allen's Preschool Class

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Philip's First Report Card

Yesterday, we received Philip's first ever report card from his first year at preschool. :) Big proud mommy moment here. Now, he's only in school three mornings per week, and there are no actual grades here, just a formal, written way to let us know how he's doing. Nonetheless, I was so psyched to get it.

Our sweet boy is doing great in preschool and it's made such an impact on his social and emotional growth and development. We've noticed big, positive changes in him, just since September. The best part is that he always tells us how much he likes school and has fun there. How I would love for him to carry that attitude with him through his college years!

His gross motor skills see are a work in progress, but I wonder if he may have just been having an off day when they tested him on some of those things. He's been able to kick, catch, and bounce a ball for a long time now. He really does have no idea to gallop but, as my dad joked, that's okay, he still has months to practice before the Kentucky Derby. Ha! ;)

Also, he can count as high as 13. Wondering if he just got a case of the sillies and stopped at four during the evaluation. (I'm not so much defending his intelligence here as I am clarifying this information for my future self who will I'm sure one day believe he really could only count to four at three and a half years old. ;)

Over all I am just so pleased and tickled by his progress. I hope all of his report cards bring me such joy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tiny Talker

I wanted to take a few minutes and dedicate a post to Andrew's expanding vocabulary. I can't say he's talking yet, but he's saying so many new words, I can't even make a comprehensive list. He's even trying to say whole phrases which is so cute and hilarious at the same time. For example, he's been saying "juice" for a while. He always refers to milk as juice. When he wants milk he makes this mumbling sound that we swear has to be him trying to say "I want." It really does sound like it (to us anyway). So he'll kind of mumble/slur the "I want" sound and the pop "juice" at the end of it.

He always likes to ask for help. It took me forever to figure out what he was saying because one day he just started saying "hut" all the time. I thought he meant hit or hurt so I just kept asking him what he wanted and he in turn would get really frustrated. We had no clue for many days what he was getting at. Finally, one day I had a moment of genius and figured out he was trying to say "help." I felt really proud of myself for unlocking the code. Smooth sailing ever since.

Other words he's recently picked up include: dog, trying to say "Lola" (more like wah-wah), mommy (sweetest word ever), daddy, brother, ball, papa, no (he just figured this one out--with accompanying head shake, no less!), and more (he just added this to his repertoire today!).

It also sounds like he's trying to say "this is" but it comes out more like "dis." Like, when we were outside earlier playing, he went up to Lola and he says "Dis wah-wah," or he'll say "Dis daddy" when picking up the remote control or Phil's phone. lol.

Okay, so maybe he is talking, he's just not a fluent conversationalist yet. ;) I'm sure there are some other things he's saying now, I just can't think of them. I swear though it feels like every day he says something we've never heard. He makes learning to speak look so effortless! I'll have to post some video of one of our conversations soon.

ETA: He just got up from his nap and reminded me he can say "Pooh" and "stuck." :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Weekend in Virginia Beach

This past weekend we packed up half of our house and braved the three hour drive to Virginia Beach to visit Greg, Tessa, and their latest addition to the family, Callan Marie. After having to cancel our plans to visit two of three times since Callan was born this past September, we were relieved and excited to arrive at our departure day with all of us in good health. Phil's parents had been staying at our house sine Tuesday so we all left, more or less together, on Friday afternoon after Philip got home from preschool. The drive was long (for three hours) and uneventful, and markedly odd, as Phil's parents beat us there by what seemed to be half an hour despite the fact that they barely had a head start on us upon leaving our house. Certain they were at least a solid half an hour behind us when we pulled into G&T's neighborhood, my eyes about bugged out of my head when I saw their little red Hyundai parked in the driveway. Still not sure how that happened.

Once the shock of their apparent Houdini act wore off, it was time to get my hands on that sweet little baby!

We spent the rest of Friday getting settled in and enjoyed a lovely steak dinner that Greg prepared for all of us. Afterwards, we put the kiddos to bed and Greg, Tessa, Phil, and Doug settled in for a lively game of Pictionary. I opted to be antisocial and watch Water for Elephants on my Kindle Fire from the comfort of the living room. I'm not a huge board game fan, though I did enjoy sitting in to laugh at some of the drawings.

The next day we took our time getting read, had breakfast, put Andrew and Callan down for naps, and headed out for some shopping around town and lunch at Shorebreak. Afterwards, we attempted to visit a local park that Greg has been raving about for months, only to find it packed to the gills with people enjoying the beautiful weather, and stripped of the crown jewel Greg so desperately wanted us to see: a gigantic castle-themed wooden playground. Apparently they recently removed it an installed a fancy-schmancy standard metal play ground set that was overrun with kids when we got there. We opted to pack the kids back into the cars and try the much more modest playground in Greg and Tessa's neighborhood instead. To our relief, it was empty, and the boys (little and not so little) had a great time running around and playing there.

That evening saw an easier go at bedtimes for the boys and another rousing game of Pictionary for the board game fanatics. Phil and Tessa were eager for a rematch after losing to Greg and Doug who, for the record, were cheating, so I can understand the need to have another go at it. Phil and Tessa claimed their victory over that cheaters that night and all was once again right with the world. I finished watching my movie while the showdown was going on. Love my Kindle Fire! Also, loved Water for Elephants. Not as good as the book, as expected, but I could have muted the darn thing and watched Robert Pattinson for two hours and I would have been equally satisfied (even more lovely in human form, that man).

The next morning Philip actually slept until 8 am which was remarkable considering the room was daylight-bright around 6. Apparently Andrew did not sleep quite so late but Phil's parents got up with him and we were none the wiser. A nice treat!

After breakfast, Greg gave Philip his Christmas present from him and Tessa, and the boys all went outside to play with it.

Andrew took his nap around the same time and once he was up we started the always daunting project of cleaning up our mess and packing up the van. The 48 hours we were there went by in the blink of an eye. I can't believe it had been a full year (to the date!) that we had been there for a visit. Pretty sad considering how close we are to each other and how rarely we see one another. Hopefully that will start to change soon.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Role Reversal

I still maintain that, despite the hardships that come along with having two in diapers, having the boys two years apart was a blessing for many reasons. In the beginning, the most evident positive to having them so close in age was the fact that Philip was more or less oblivious and/or unphased by his new brother's arrival. Probably because he was practically a baby himself and his world wasn't all that big at the time. Regardless, the (only) smooth thing about our transition from one to two was how go-with-the-flow Philip was from day one. He's relished the big brother roll from the start... up until recently that is.

Whereas our youngest has been clammoring to be as big as Big Brother, as fast as possible, our eldest has recently decided that being a baby is where it's at! I know this is a pretty normal thing for older siblings to go through, but it caught me off guard, nonetheless. I was expecting this kind of regression in the beginning; not a year and a half into the game.

It's not as bad as it could be, thankfully. He's not at the point of intentionally wetting his pants or refusing to sleep in his bed, thank goodness. He's just doing a lot of baby talk and immitating Andrew with gesturing for things and making baby noises. He's also insisted lately that he can't walk and needs to be carried, even requesting to be held like a baby and rocked to sleep. Not entirely bad things, though. I have recently gotten into the habit of reminding myself that Philip is still only three years old, even if he is older than Andrew, and that I need to make sure I keep my expectations of him consistent with his young age. It can be so easy to expect more and more from the older sib as they naturally become more independent and eager to help!

So I have enjoyed some parts of this stage he's in. I like that he wants me to rock with him in the chair and sing him songs at night, a habit we had gotten away from in recent months. I know all too well that the time for cuddles and songs will soon be gone completely and I'll be begging for hugs! May as well enjoy this competition for my attention and affection while it lasts. :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Rewind

It was a busy and eventful year that went by too soon and with too few updates to this blog from me. Hopefully this little recap brings things more or less up to speed!

January: Philip was obsessed with Toy Story and his Toy Story toys, especially Jessie. We bought our van. We took a trip to Virginia Beach to celebrate Christmas with Phil's family and Greg and Tessa announced they were pregnant. Andrew turned five months old, started rolling and we started giving him solids. The boys really started to interact with each other. We moved Andrew to the convertible car seat in a (failed) attempt to make him happier in the car. We had our first big snow of the year. Philip started thinking Andrew was more fun. Phil and I both got miserably sick.

February: Andrew turned six months old and started sleeping through the night here and there. He got his first tooth and started on some fruits and veggies. Philip started really expressing an interest in helping us cook and bake. Andrew got his first hair cut. We introduced Philip to Play-Doh. Andrew started cruising around in the walker and bouncing in the jumperoo. We began our potty training efforts with Philip, which were mostly unsuccessful.

March: Philip had his first trip to the dentist. No tears or cavities! We sold my old Honda and bought the boys a kick-ass swing set. Philip turned two and a half. We continued introducing new fruits and veggies to Andrew who continued to be a great eater. Andrew started crawling. We weaned Philip off his nighttime bottle. We ditched the baby tub and started bathing the boys together. Philip climbed out of his crib for the first time so we took the side off of it to start the transition to a big boy bed, thus putting an end to our ability to sleep in for many years to come. Andrew got his second tooth.

April: In true Andrew style, he said goodbye to always having his bottom on the floor and started pulling up on things and standing with assistance. He continued to make strides towards consistent sleeping through the night. We took a trip to the Children's Museum of Richmond. We checked out the new playground at the W.A.R.F. for the first time. We started potty training efforts with Philip again this time with more success! We spent Easter with my mom and family at her house.

May: Andrew was baptised in our church. A lot of family came and we held a reception at our house afterwards. Virginia forgot about spring and went straight to summer. We brought out the kiddie pool and took the boys for a swim. Andrew LOVED it. Philip hated it. We took the boys to our towns annual Firemens' Parade. We took a trip to Colonial Beach. We went to Old House Vineyard with our neighbors for some wine and fishing for the boys. Philip officially daytime potty trained! We bought both of the boys twin sized beds. We took the crib down in Philip's room and set up his twin bed. We took the crib down in Andrew's room and set up Philip's crib.

June: Andrew started walking! We enrolled Philip in St. Luke's School's Summer camp program, OASIS. It was a tough transition for him in the beginning but by the end of the summer he was having a great time. I marked my three year anniversary with USIS. Phil bought Philip his first fishing poll and started taking the boys fishing at Mountain Run Lake, which Philip thought was great fun. Later in the month, we spent a week in Myrtle Beach at Phil's parents' house and had a great time going to the pool, to the beach, out to eat, shopping, and generally relaxing and enjoying our time away.

July: We took the boys to the Richmond Zoo and had a great time! We'll definitely be going back in 2012. We made a trip to Smith Mountain Lake to visit Phil's family, including the boys Great Grandpa and Mom-Mom who were visiting from Iowa. It was their third time seeing Philip and their first time meeting Andrew. So glad we made the trip! During that trip, Andrew took his first boat ride and we had our first stay in a hotel room as a family which was fun. Andrew really got the hang of self-feeding and started mostly eating table food. Phil had his two year anniversary with GMU. We went to Tessa's baby shower for baby Callan Marie. We took the boys to the Fauquier County Fair.

August: Andrew started trying to talk. We began the daunting task of cleaning out the basement. The boys took their first spin on a bicycle together.  Andrew turned one and we celebrated his birthday with lots of family and friends at Mountain Run Lake Park. We had an earthquake that shook the whole house for a good ten seconds and damaged a lot of historic building in Culpeper and surrounding areas. We finished the month off with a hurricane that ended up being just a lot of hype out our way. Philip had his first day as a preschooler at St. Luke's School and he did great!

September: Philip turned three! We scrapped our original plan to have his party at the park and instead held it at our house which ended up being a lucky move as it rained during the entire party! Nana and Papa treated the boys to their first ever trip to Chuck E. Cheese for Philip's birthday which Philip still talks about. They had a great time! I increased my working hours from twenty to thirty. Callan Marie was born on September 17 and we made the trip to Virginia Beach that day to see her. Philip continued to thrive in preschool!

October was a busy month jam-packed with fall fun! We went to Carter Mountain in Charlottesville to pick apples. We went to the annual chili cook off at Old House Vineyard with friends. We took the boys to the mountains at Skyline Drive for a picnic and to take in the gorgeous changing leaves. Andrew took a spill and busted his forehead open on a wooden train box right about his eyebrow which sent me into hysterics and us to the ER where it was glued back together. We went to Cox Farms and spend an afternoon playing on slides, going through a corn maze, and taking an awesome hay ride, among other things. We picked out and carved pumpkins with the boys. I took the boys to St. Luke's Halloween movie and trick or treating. Phil, my mom, and I went to Philip's school for his fall festival party and hay ride. We took the boys trick-or-treating dressed up as Piglet and Tigger. Philip and Andrew both got hand, foot, and mouth disease, presumably from one of Philip's classmates. Hope we never have to deal with that again! 

November: We stayed home and made crafts with the kids while they were sick with HFM and Philip missed a week of school while he recovered. We went to see Philip perform some adorable songs in his Thanksgiving Chapel, our first ever "school play" type of experience with our kids! Philip did great singing his songs and we were so proud of him. Phil had to work on Thanksgiving so the boys and I spent the morning together watching the parade and then I drove us to Phil's aunts house in Fairfax for Thanksgiving dinner which we spent with most of Phil's family. Phil was able to get away from work for a little while and joined us for dinner which was really nice. He got off work a little bit early and came back to spend the rest of the evening with us.

December: We picked out our Christmas tree from Meadows Farms here in town after changing our minds about going to cut one down at a farm. Maybe next year! Philip enjoyed the Christmas tree so much this year. He loved helping us decorate it and Andrew left it alone for the most part which was pretty shocking! This year, we adopted our elf Clark, who came to stay with us from early December until Santa's arrival Christmas Eve. The boys loved coming downstairs and trying to find him every morning. Philip really got into Christmas traditions this year. Every morning he helped put an ornament on our Christmas tree Advent calendar that Phil's mom made for us a couple of years ago. He loved helping make and decorate Christmas cookies. I went to Philip's school to help him make a gingerbread house which was a lot of fun. About ten minutes into it he realized that eating icing was way more fun than decorating so mommy may have done more than her share of the work, but it was still a great time. The next week, Philip had his Christmas Chapel which was just adorable with all of the preschoolers dressed up like sweet little angels. Phil couldn't go with us, but I managed to juggle wrangling Andrew and video taping like the Super Mom I am. :) We went to DC to see the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. We talked all month long about what he was going to tell Santa he wanted for Christmas ("the shark toy" "for Winnie the Pooh and Piglet to come to my house" and the "Christmas cars" for Andrew. Still not sure what those were). When it was time to go see Santa, the boys didn't cry, but they weren't overly happy either. We got a family picture with Santa in an effort to just have one shot where no one was screaming. On Christmas Eve, my mom, her boyfriend Ernie, my sister, and her boyfriend John came out to our house to visit with the boys and exchange presents. The next morning both boys were super excited to see all of the things that Santa had left for them and they had a great time opening presents and playing with toys, especially their Thomas the Train table and train set that was waiting for them to discover in the play room. Soon after opening his gifts, poor Philip started feeling under the weather and by nap time he was crying and saying his ear hurt. He was pretty out of it most of the day and so we passed a quiet Christmas day at home as a family with Philip taking frequent rests on the couch and in my arms. The next day we took both boys to the doctor and they were both diagnosed with colds and Philip with a double ear infection, our first ever in this house. He got started on antibiotics and didn't complain about his ear hurting again, thankfully. My dad, Melanie, and Sergio came out the following Wednesday and we had a spaghetti dinner and celebrated Christmas with them at our house. We had a nice time opening presents and watching Christmas Vacation together. Phil had to work New Year's Eve day and we decided we weren't going to wear ourselves out unnecessarily staying up until midnight so we had our champagne and went to bed at the normal time. It was great waking up refresh and not exhausted from staying up too late and it was still 2012 when we got up in the morning, despite not staying up until midnight to welcome in the year!


2011 was good to us and I have a feeling 2012 will be even better! I can't wait to see what the year has in store for us and I look forward to making more memories with my sweet family. :)