Friday, November 1, 2013

It rained on my Halloween parade. (Yes, just mine.)

Here's the thing. I love Halloween. I love it! I love that anything is possible, and that trick-or-treat becomes a walking display of creativity and imagination. It's not about flaunting how many gifts got passed or how fancy your house is. Halloween is just fun. And ya know what? We dealt with crappy, cold, rainy weather last year. Two years in a row puts me in a foul mood. 
But, it was just me. Everyone else had a blast!
(Everyone but James, that is. But I expected him to wear a costume, and that'll tick anybody off.)
So, here's a rundown of our Halloween 2013!
First, the punkins. We created and carved with some great friends ("like we allllllllllllllways do," as one Kindergarten participant said). That's Elliott's on the left, Patrick's hybrid of carving and Mr. Potato Head pirate on the right, and little James in the middle. Ohhhhh, maybe NEXT year we'll carve yours, buddy?  :[] 

Don't even try to say Elliott was a vampire. Clearly he was Count Dracula, which he kept pronouncing "Dra-CU-la" and then would get mad that 1. You thought he was just a lowly vampire, and 2. He said it wrong again.

As you well know, it can be hard to get willing volunteers when you vant to suck someone's blood, so in a stroke of genius, he doubled as a Red Cross Volunteer! (Ahhh, I love Halloween! The bucket says, "GIVE BLOOD. (or candy)"

Don't even tell me you aren't in love with King Patrick. The one-size-fits-most crown instantly fell like a necklace, so I pulled out the wig he wore as a Mad Scientist a couple of years back. It beefed up his head to keep the crown on and looked ridiculous (in a ridiculously adorable kinda way). It was itchy, and he hated it, but he toughed it out for Mom's unbearable love of this holiday. What a trooper!
It's possible he was motivated by his bucket, although I really think he would've been happy with gold pieces OR sugary treats. They're both tops in his book.  
The boys begged to go out on their own this year, and, well. WHO ARE WE to stand in the way of their budding independence?! Especially when it's cold, windy and raining! OK, boys. You win!
So, that left Pete and me home to drink wine, pass out candy to the revelers and wrestle James into Thee Cutest Costume He Couldn't Stand--

He's an owl! This here head would've made a world of difference, but there was just no. way. he was agreeing to it. (I wasn't joking about two adults wrestling a beast of a baby into this getup!)

James relaxed when he could get outside--only losers stay inside during the coolest outdoor party--and the rain helped his hair blend right into the costume. teehee!
I can't even tell you how many people guessed he was a turkey! They're laughing WITH you, kiddo. Swear! 
There was all kinds of talk about postponing trick-or-treat to avoid the storms, but you know what? These boys were completely undeterred! Just LOOK at Patrick, returning home after only lapping our own street. He's 103 percent happy!

Can you SEE how wet his shirt is?? I was so ticked at the weather gods, but Patrick was GOOD.
Elliott, too! I mean, I know he still has his angry eyebrows on, but other than that, he's GOOD!
Then, as soon as we realized our neighbor's house was not on fire and that the kind firefighters were instead rolling around the 'hood, handing out candy to even-more-elated kids, the night got better still!
The boys got right back to their sorting, trading and consuming, bouncing around the house with jittery, sugary happiness. At one point, James tried to get in on the serious candy sort business, but Elliott quickly shooed him away with a, "James, no! This is my life's work! ...OK, I guess it's my night's work..., but NO!"

Poor kid.

Your parents don't carve your runt pumpkin. They squeezed you into some padded turkey. AND your brothers won't even give you a pity piece of candy! How about a bag of pretzels, huh? Does THAT help?
Happy Crappy Halloween 2013, everybody!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Feelin' groovy


Slow down, you move too fast,
You got to make the morning last.

And also, Mama is so excited, she can't get you in focus fast enough!

He's finally WALKING!!!

The level of excitement and sense of accomplishment are so high, I'm actually convinced I've never had a kid or witnessed his first steps before. Elliott and Patrick WHO? Right??! Maybe it's just that I've never before lugged a medicine ball around, waiting for it to sprout legs and move on its own.
At any rate, we are feelin' very groovy indeed!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Itty bitty baby

James is worried.
He's heard about the prevailing parental "wisdom" that says it's unhealthy to compare kids.
Here's the thing: He just wants to save you the trouble.
Spoiler alert! My baby's bigger than your baby!  :P
We went to the pediatrician today, and well, you know how this is gonna go. James is a handful of days into his 15th month and he weighs nearly 30 pounds. I mean, ho-lee mother of giant babies! (That's me!) Twenty-nine pounds, four ounces. That's nearly two pounds for every month of life. (By that weight rate, I should be a svelte 814 pounds. Back to the kitchen I go!)
The silly nurse tried to say he was 32.5 inches long, but as the doc said, "I don't think he's shrinking." (He was 33 inches at the one-year check-up.)
If you're tracking his stats at home, he's been off the top of the growth charts since his ninth month. So, basically, I don't know what set of curves you've been marking.
Oh, and if you thought I'd have walking news with this post, you're gonna hafta wait a little longer. Coordinating the limbs of a giant in an upright manner is actually an engineering feat we've yet to master.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Everybody be cool

We have three bipeds!
First, let's back up a few days.
As you know, school started. When we all survived and even emerged unscathed, we went out to celebrate--
And so far, so good! Elliott's only complaint is that real homework has yet to begin. Patrick's one gripe is that I give him too much food for lunch and snack time.
(Anyone else hear the voice over from A Christmas Story saying, "Every family has a kid who won't eat."?)
Anyway. Two big boys in school all the live-long day gives James and me plenty o' play time.
One game he loves is Fakeout. It can be with food or toys, but it goes like this: With sincerity, he extends his arm..., and then rips the offering right back. Or shovels into his mouth, if there's any chance it might be edible. That's it! It always looks so sweet to start, though...
But the child can't play Indian giver ALL day, so he's been working on... (drumroll, please): STANDING!
Ohhhhhhhhh yeah.
He'll be 15 months in a couple of days, and that's been the magical walking age for our boys... so hang right on the edge of your seat...! Maybe, just maybe, a big skill announcement will be coming soon!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Exploring first-day emotions

In case you hadn't heard, a little thing called SCHOOL has started!
Emotions this morning were, uhhh, mixed.
First up, Elliott:
I feel funny talking about it, so there's a good chance you don't know his big news: He's a grade skipper. Yes. By peer comparison, he was young before and now..., he's younger. But dangit if this kid wasn't clamoring to start fourth grade the day after second grade ended! His world domination plans include working very hard in fourth grade and then seeing if he can skip fifth.
(Please pray for me.)
Next up, Patrick:

I call this morning's portrait, "Ready but Reticent."
I could SWEAR I bought clothes that were appropriately sized, but here he is, the poor little peanut, swimming in back-to-school gear.
Really, I know he's going to be great in first grade! He reads slowly, but like a patient little champ, and his fine motor and math skills are really coming along. He also scored big when his close buddy, his fiance-to-be and his beloved Kindergarten teacher jumped to first grade with him. (Line forms here to love Paddy, people!)
So, here they are, our big boys with their very different personalities, on School Day No. 1!  

James, as you might guess, is thrilled to have mom all to himself and, just on the other side of the glass/prison bars of Hell, he was more than happy to grant a little extra photo time this a.m. "Mamaaaa! You said it was just the two of us all day, and you've been out there 14 seconds already!!"
See that? He recovered!
(These two photos are actually from the other day, but I didn't want to end on that tortured soul above.)
Mr. Jamie James is far from school-age, but his girth might fool the average preschool teacher. He's a hefty 28 pounds, crawls like his diaper's on fire and only takes a step when he thinks you're still holding his hands. (He promptly drops to the floor once he gets wise to the trick.) He'll be 15 months at the end of August, when we'll head on over to that doc's office to see if we can't break her scale.
P.S. Pete--who's not pictured, even though HE just had HIS first day of school!--can probably relate to every one of the emotions listed here.
Here's to a GREAT 2013-14, everybody! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Patrick's post

Today, I only have one kid. Today, Patrick is SIX!!!
Gosh, I love this kid. From the very first moments in the hospital, Pete and I marveled at this calm, happy and tiny(!) baby. (That's brand-new, not-quite-7-pound Patrick, back in 2-double-0-7.)

We don't know if he'll always be the runt of our litter...
Just look how I could almost get my hands all the way around his chest only a few short years ago!

And just looky here. Riley isn't that big. Patrick's just always been the Peanut!
Anyway, as I was saying before I interrupted myself with old photos: We don't know if he'll always be the runt of our litter, but he is a lover.

You see, Patrick has a betrothed.

He's asked all about who takes whose last name, and how old do you really have to be to get married, etc. Normal Kindergarten questions most every kid asks.

If you're a loyal reader, you might remember his first love from a few years back (Click it. It's worth a re-read: Of course, SHE's long gone. And while he has asked a certain number of young ladies for their hands in marriage since then, he's extra-stuck on his current love.

I can see your skepticism through my magical computer screen, so here's proof:
I know you can't really read it, and it doesn't make a ton of sense, but it's a small map with written instructions. "How to get to the bathroom" from various locations in our house. "To [girlfriend], Love, Patrick."
He asks frequently when she might be coming over. (No dice yet, but I'll keep you posted.)
Wedding plans aside, it hasn't always been butterflies and hearts with this one.
Oy. This was my boy, Paddy--let's see--in August 2011. An innocent trip-and-fall on asphalt with blood-y consequences. Ugh. What a day that was! As I recall, this fateful day in a Children's Urgent Care, was when a doctor handed Elliott her phone to play a new game (Angry Birds!), so he'd wouldn't see his brother got numbing shots and stitches in his face.

Ugh again.

It was just a month or two after that when Pete had to take Patrick to the ER in the middle of the night. His croupy cough had gotten so bad, he could barely breathe, and we were past the point of a steamy shower or brisk fresh air. I will never forget hearing his footsteps when he should've been in bed. He was jogging in tiny circles, frantic, because he couldn't breathe enough to cry or call for help.
Ugh, ugh, ugh. I paced the kitchen floor, anxious for Pete's updates.

And of course, everything turned out fine.

Until just a short month later, when I had to make an appointment with a pediatric neurologist--a horrible specialty, in my opinion. Patrick's wonderful preschool teachers helped us understand that he didn't just get the shakes for a piece of chocolate; there was something more going on, and it was affecting his fine motor skills.

Patrick was diagnosed with a Benign Essential Tremor, a condition he'll have the rest of his life. At that point, he scored so poorly on basic fine motor tests, he qualified for occupational therapy (both within school and private sessions).

It seems WILD to me that this photo here was from this past fall 2012. See his caveman grip? That was his norm WAY past the point of normal kid development.

But, my goodness, what an amazing year of growth this child has had! The OT intervention successfully "rewired his brain," and Patrick is doing as well or better than his peer group in all kinds of areas! He just rocks.
He's still just skin, bones and smiles, but he's also just about ready to earn his yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do! (Hot damn! More photos and info on that soon!)
We're mighty proud of this happy, dimple-face kid, and think you should probably join us in wishing him Thee Best Sixth Birthday Ever!
(He's camouflaged pretty well today, but try to keep an eye out for him, 'kay?)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Denial is futile

Somehow the big guy is almost not a (giant) baby anymore. Eleven months?? Insanity!

In spite of what this here photo tells you, he's actually starting to thin out. I think. I don't know. Maybe I take that back...

Sleep (especially naps!) became a crazy struggle in his 10th month. I repeated, like a mantra, This child is too young to only have one nap. I will keep fighting! He is not giving up a second nap yet! In response, I'd find James doing ANYTHING but resting. For example, teeth filing, cribside--
But then guess what! The big lug finally figured out how to CRAWL and tada!--guess who is WIPED from his physical exertion for BOTH naps AND bedtime every day! Wahooooo!
In other news, Elliott turned 27.  
Just kidding. He got his First Communion! AND he did a reading!
It was wild and tear-jerking to ponder what a grown-up step he was about to take... and how young he still is--
His big moment--

I have a pattern of stressing on and around these major life events, but we DID manage a pretty decent family photo to mark the occasion-- 
And just because a friend suggested I had some sort of special powers, I threw together some outtakes. I'm, like, 99.3% perfect, but I'm only half-magical in my coordination powers. (Seriously. How many people can turn fully around when a camera's pointing at them? And what's Elliott doing in the bottom right? I know, I know. Top right is already in a frame. And yes, you can have a copy!)
One last thing: GOOD GRIEF. Patrick turns 6 in two weeks!!! (I promise to write about him then, dang middle kid!)