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. :)

(At Least) 12 Books in 12 Months

In the spirit of making promises to myself I hope I don't break, this year I promise to myself that I will read at least one book every month. That's probably nothing compared to what some people read, but last year I think I read one book total, so this is a big step up for me. It's not like one of those resolutions you make that forces you to do something you hate so you drop it by mid-February either like going to the gym or daily flossing (not that I don't do those things... sometimes...), I actually love to read, always have. And seeing as my wonderful husband gifted me with not one, but two Kindles for Christmas (be jealous), I have no excuse not to read the heck out of some books. My most awesomely awesome friend Laura at Tide and Thyme so graciously shared many fantastic books with me via her own Kindle and I now have tons of great, free-to-me literature at my fingertips.

I'm giving myself an overly ambitious start to the New Year too by reading two books at the same time.

The first is Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen which I am enjoying immensely. I'm about halfway through it now. I picked it out because I want to see the movie and I always read the book first as there's no point in doing it the other way around, and because I was able to borrow it for three through the Amazon lending library. Yay Amazon!

The second is Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling, or Kelly Kapoor from The Office, as I previously knew her, exclusively. I was intrigued with this book when I saw it hit bookshelves awhile ago, but I was hesitant to purcahse it as I'm cheap like that and I don't like having a lot of books laying around I'll never read again. On top of that, our library is more or less lame and rarely ever has anything that wasn't donated by a 90 year old lady in its collections (okay, that's not entirely true or fair but I'm all too often disappointed when I bother to check their catalog for something I want to read) and I have a better chance of winning the lottery than this book showing up there. Kaling's humor is right up my ally and I can relate to many of her stories about growing up. She sounds like someone with whom I would be fast friends and she's now my new favorite Office character because of this book. Okay, maybe second... I can't deny my love for Andrew Bernard.

Next month, I'm thinking I might stick to one (long) book and tackle Stephen King's 11.23.63, A Novel, which is a fictitious story surrounding the events of the assasination of John. F. Kennedy. I've never read a King book before and this one sounds like it will fascinate me more than it will terrorize me, so I think I will give it a go in February.

***UPDATE: I finished Water for Elephants on 1/3/2012. Off to a strong start! ***

New Year, New Blog.

I love New Year's Day. Whereas New Year's Eve always leaves me tired and cranky that I feel obligated to stay up later than I want to watch people I don't know watch a big illuminate ball slide down a poll, New Year's Day feels full of hope and possibility. A clean slate and a fresh start.

I have a bunch of resolutions good intentions for this year but the one I'll be most disappointed with myself if don't follow through on is my Photo 365 Project. Except, 2012 is a leap year so it's a Photo 366 Project. 2011 was basically a fail for me with this blog for several reasons (namely a lack of motivation and energy), but I'm hoping to do better in 2012 with it. Maybe with a weekly recap instead of only blogging when something blog-worthy happens (which, from the looks of things around here, isn't very often!). That might be a nice change.

Additionally, I really want to be in the habit of taking at least one photo every day. I think I probably already do that given my recent receipt of my beloved (and sometimes hated) iPhone. The trick will be photographing something interesting enough other than yet another picture of my kids playing in the living room (gotta love winter!). The boys are getting big fast and time continues to move at a break-neck pace despite my desperate pleas for it to SLOW THE F DOWN ALREADY. With any luck, my Photo 366 blog will help me to take time to reflect on each day that passes and memorialize it in some little way so that when I look back on 2012 three hundred and sixty-four days from now, it won't look like such a blur.

Here's hopin'.

**Also, I should add that I've decided to make this blog private. If you want to continue reading it, contact me via comment or through whatever other means you know me by, and leave me your email that you use to log into Blogger. Thanks! ***