Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

What a growth spurt looks like in our house... observe below (and repeat many times!)

drinking up some of the pumped milk because mommy can't keep up with the demand!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Milestone Musings

Evan: 1 day old

In March 2010, I gave birth to what I thought was going to be my last baby. He was handsome right from the start and I told many people that we were going to be best buddies. My words exactly, "I've never met a Pisces I didn't like!"

And how true it has turned out to be. Evan Jacob was my calm after the storm. With his older siblings being quite high-needs infants and toddlers, he was, by contrast, just as relaxed and laid back as a baby could be. He fit right in and made it seem like no big thing to expand our family from 2 kids to 3.  He was a champ at being a baby and then becoming a toddler. He was about 8 months old when I found out that I was pregnant again. We'd survived having two kids very close in age before, but not quite this close. One of our biggest concerns was how Evan would be affected. It seemed unfair to push him out of babyhood and into big-brotherhood so quickly, is often not fair, right?

So here we are 18 months after Evan's arrival and has my prediction proved true? Yup - we're BFF's for sure! And, the kicker ~ the icing on the cake.... I'm 99% sure he's going to be left-handed too (just like his mommy). See, it was fate which brought us together...

After being around for a full year and a half, Evan has certainly come into his own in many ways. First of all, I'm certain the boy is part ape (he must get it from his dad's side of the family)! He can climb and hang from just about anything he can reach; the backyard, with all it's fun equipment is now danger zone #1...

Speaking of danger, and catastrophe, he has certainly earned his nickname: "Evan the Destroyer." Just about anything you can put away, he can get out. If you treasure it, he'll break it. It's his specialty!! And here's the evidence of some of his early work...

Evan the Destroyer: he can dish it out as often as you can clean it up!

 He's cultivating that sensitive side by blowing kisses on demand. Occasionally, I get the random kiss without even having to ask. He's the easiest kid ever as far as bedtime goes. Read him a book, turn out the light and he points to the crib as if to say, "I don't need that extra cuddle - just put me in there..." But on the rare occasion where I do get to be the one to put him to bed, I tell him that Mommy needs an extra snuggle and he's happy to oblige. Bonus: he sleeps 12 hours at night and another 3 hours at naptime!

He'll eat just about anything we feed him. I was concerned when he mostly gave up on breastfeeding around 7 months or so...I thought we might end up with another picky eater. My fears were unfounded, however. Apparently breastmilk became yesterday's news when he decided that table food was all he was interested in. There were so many days when I'd make myself lunch and he'd "steal" it from me by refusing to eat his own and gobbling up the nibbles I would give to him off my plate. It warms my heart to see him scarf down his broccoli before anything else. He can use a fork really well. And a spoon?...well, he's got lots of time to practice before kindergarten! Oh - and he loves ketchup! He really is his father's son.

Did I get into the sticker book? What stickers?

He is TOTALLY enamored with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He typically refuses to sit and instead stands directly in front of the TV, eyes glued to the screen and participating in the show as much as he can. Despite being a very good listener (generally speaking) and understanding most of what we say to him, his motivation to use spoken words seems to be low. He's been very good at communicating what he wants with signing or pointing or bringing objects to us and so it hasn't been too problematic. Recently, we've been working a lot harder to make him try to use the actual words and so he's made a bit of progress in the last few weeks. He's always said, "more" but now he's adding in word-approximations for many different things on a weekly basis. Today, I swear he said, "purple" while watching Mickey. Well, maybe it was more like, "urple" but I knew what he meant!

Just how does Evan feel about being a big brother now? I'd have to say that 12 weeks into the experience, he's doing better than he did initially! At first, it was a big adjustment because he was used to Mommy being his almost-sole-caretaker. Once Mommy was busy with the new baby, Daddy's role became more significant and he wasn't a big fan of this. There have been many occasions where Levi was on my lap while I was feeding him and Evan would come over and "shoo" the baby with his hand wave. It was adorable, but I felt bad because I know he wanted Mommy's lap and attention to himself.

In the last few weeks, the older kids have started school and so our days have slowed down a bit. I've been able to focus more attention on Evan while Levi is napping or just hanging out. We're coloring and blowing bubbles and experimenting with Play Doh. We don't get outside as much as I'd like, but we'll get there...even if it's not until mid-Fall. I'm very excited to see how he likes winter and snow on the ground since he wasn't able to experience much this past year!
MwaHaHa! I've got you now, little brother...

He's started to interact with Levi a bit more than before. Unfortunately those interactions tend to go something like this:

Evan: (points at Levi)
Me: Baby. Baby Levi
Evan: (points at Levi's ear)
Me: Ear. Baby Levi's ear. Do you have ears, Evan? Where are your ears?
Evan: (points to his own ear) "Eh!"
Me: (starts to get excited about our little group activity)
Evan: Bam! (pokes Levi in the eye)
Me: Ack! (shushing and attempting to calm Levi). We have to be careful, Evan. We don't want to hurt the baby...
Evan: (thinking: that's right kid ~ I'm in charge here)(Wanders away to find the remote so he can put in his 30 millionth request of the morning for Mickey.)

Okay, maybe he's not directly thinking those older brother thoughts yet. But I'm sure they're coming... and you can insert any number of devious, but seemingly innocent activities into this category. In fact I've got some great material for another blog post: sibling rivalry. Watch out for it!

Back to Evan: I have to say I'm very proud of him. He seems to be a naturally bright child, but also has a high level of determination. He was my first child to become a walker without reverting back to crawling for a period of time. Katelyn and Trevor seemed more hesistant to launch themselves into the vertical world, but Evan, in an effort to "run with the big dogs" never looked back despite the huge number of falls in those early days of walking. I hope his determination continues to push his desire for learning; I think he'll do great things!

And a blog post from me wouldn't be complete without stats. Love crunching those numbers!

Weight: 24.5 lbs (approximately 30th%)
Length: 33.75 inches (approximately 82nd%)
Head Circumference: 19 inches (approximately 65th%)

In the end, everytime I look back when my kids hit a milestone age, I'm always overwhelmed by how quickly the time has gone by. Like probably every parent before me, the days seem unending and yet the years pass far too soon. It was just a few weeks ago I put my second child on the bus for kindergarten and I'm sure that before I know it, Evan will be walking up those steps on the big yellow bus. Until then, I'm going to hold on tight and not let the rest of his toddlerhood get away from me. Oh yeah - and prepare for those terrible two's; I have a feeling I ain't seen nothin' yet!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Levi's First Smiles on Camera (one is blurry, but it was the best smile of the bunch, so I still had to include it)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Great Pennsylvania Flood of 2011

The weather this summer in Pennsylvania has been unpredictable and unprecidented in many ways. Since the beginning of the summer, we've experienced 3 major storms which have left as many as one-hundred thousand people without power for up to a week. We also experienced an earthquake which was centered in Virginia and now we're drowing in flood waters as the result of several days of heavy precipitation, beginning with Hurricane Irene and topped off by the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.

To date, 8 people and 2 bison (yes, from a local zoo) have lost their lives as a result of this most recent deluge. Water levels are expected to crest on Saturday morning at the highest level in 40 years and the second highest in recorded history!

Evacuations are taking place in the lower-elevation towns/cities and emergency personnel are risking their safety to rescue those who don't get out soon enough.

Personally, my family has had to endure over a week of days without electricity through all this activity. Earlier this summer, I was heavily pregnant and it was VERY hot and not fun at all. This last time, it was a little easier since Levi was no longer heating things up inside my body... but now we have to worry about keeping 2 school-aged children, a toddler and an infant comfortable, safe and happy. That's definitely easier said than done.

To prepare for whatever inconveniences lie ahead for us this weekend, I've scrubbed the bathtub and filled it with water. Unfortunately, this is our only bathtub in our only bathroom and so no one will be showering unless we have an opportunity to refill the tub immediately thereafter! I've also got several jugs of water and pots filled in the kitchen in case we end up needing drinking water. The supply of bottled water was rather depleted from earlier in the week and so it wasn't worth making a trip to the grocery store filled with desperate, supply-grabbing people. Hopefully I won't regret only making these minimal preparations if indeed we do lose power or water over the weekend.

The other issue is that Trevor's birthday party is scheduled for Sunday and I have no idea if anyone is even going to be able to make it, considering that half the roads in the general surrounding area are closed due to flooding. The poor kid has already waited almost 3 weeks past his birthday to have this party (end of summer birthdays are never easy); I can't imagine telling him it has to be rescheduled.

At this point, we'll have to cross our fingers and hope for the best. Occasionally, I'm checking facebook to be stunned by the video footage captured by people witnessing some crazy stuff first-hand. Mostly, I'm just hoping that my friends, family and neighbors stay dry and out of harm's way until all this craptastic weather is outta here!! Good luck to all!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Have a Good Laugh!

Wordless Wednesday...well, almost! there is audio - but it's good for a laugh or two!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Short and Sweet

I spend so much time on Facebook, keeping tabs on what's going on with friends and loved ones. (and letting them know what's going on with me). I like Facebook because it's easy to write a simple sentence and share the daily news with others....

On the other hand, I really enjoy getting to blog and having a chance to "write my essay" instead of just a sentence or two. But there are times when I'd like to share something short and sweet with my blog followers. Perhaps it's because I'm short on time (anyone with kids can relate to that, I'm sure) or maybe it's because what needs saying doesn't take long. Tonight I have just one thought I wanted to share...

I love my family, with every molecule of my being. That is all...