Friday, June 27, 2014

Wisconsin Boy

Nathaniel kept trying to grab Ben's beer tonight.  Silly boy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Slip 'N Slide

Natalie gave Amelia a slip 'n slide for her birthday this year, and the girls were anxious to try it out.  With all the rain and thunderstorms we've been having, we didn't get a chance to set it up until late last week.  It took a while for Amelia to remember how to play with a slip'n slide, but she figured it out!

Megan, on the other hand, didn't quite get the hang of it.  I think that she didn't want to get her face wet, and she seemed a little worried about sliding too fast.  So mostly she ended up sitting on her knees and pushing herself along with her hand.  Or just sitting in one spot enjoying the spray!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Nathaniel is seven months old!

I feel like I say this every month, but I can't believe Nathaniel is seven months old already!  So, what's new with him this month?  Well, he's discovered that he loves to bounce in his jumparoo.  We weren't surprised that he loves this, since his favorite thing ever is to be bounced up and down on someone's lap.

He also likes to play in his exersaucer, which we finally got out a week ago.  Nathaniel particularly likes the car that spins around in the first photo, which used to be one of Megan's favorite toys also.  When he plays in the exersaucer, he usually puts his weight on his legs so that he's standing.  He's a strong boy!

Nathaniel loves to swing in his baby swing on our new playset, and he especially likes it when one of his sisters pushes him.  It has been a little warm and muggy lately, and the mosquitos have come out rather viciously, so he hasn't spent a huge amount of time outside recently.  I tried dipping his feet in the girls' sprinkler, but he wanted nothing to do with that!

Nathaniel is still not very interested in eating baby food purees.  We gave him mashed potatoes last week, just to see if he is "allergic" like Megan.  He was not a fan, as you can see in the photo below!  I gave him squash for dinner tonight, and he actually opened his mouth like he was eager to eat it; he ended up eating about a half a container, which is more than he's ever eaten in the past.  He spit out quite a lot of it, but it seemed less intentional than previous attempts.  He definitely needed a bath afterwards, though.

Nathaniel is showing interest in trying to army crawl around, although he doesn't make any progress yet.  But at least he's smiling for tummy time and not screaming!  He still sleeps primarily on his back, and he does still scoot on his head/heels so that his bald spot is still there.  And speaking of heads, his hair is starting to grow back in, it looks to be about the same color as the girls' hair. 

 He is starting to sit up on his own, although he can't sit for very long yet before he topples over.

The girls like to help him sit up.  Amelia is particularly good at catching him when he starts to fall over. 

Megan would rather play with Nathaniel where she can see his face. She gets in his crib after naptime and "reads" him books - it is so cute!  She also loves to entertain him when he is getting his diaper changed, or when he is fussing in the pack-n-play while I'm washing my hands.  She brings him toys, plays peek-a-boo, and wants to hold him like a baby, although he thinks he's too big for that already!  Megan is a very helpful big sister!

Nathaniel still tries to put everything in his mouth, including his blanket.  Today at dinner, he grabbed a pancake off my plate and put it in his mouth.  I let him lick it and mouth it for a little bit until he ended up breaking off a piece, and then I had to fish it out of his mouth. 

And of course, Nathaniel still likes to suck his thumb.  His eyes are still mostly blue, although I think I can see a little brown starting to creep in around the pupil.

He generally does NOT sleep through the night, or at least what I would consider through the night.  The last few nights, he's fussed a lot at bedtime, and he's been waking up somewhere between 12:30 and 3am, so I hope that's a short-lived stage.  Normally, he goes to bed very easily, and sleeps well until sometime around 5am, then he'll go back to sleep and wake up for good around 7.  Of course, the few nights that he has slept all the way through are the nights that one (or both) of the girls has been up due to thunderstorms, strange noises or wetting the bed.  Last week was particularly challenging, with thunderstorms almost every night, the tornado siren going off around midnight, and I tried (unsuccessfully) to get the girls to give up wearing Pull-ups.  I am very tired this week.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy Birthday, Amelia!

We had a birthday party for Amelia on the Saturday before her birthday, and it was CRAZY MAD CHAOS.  She wanted to have a Frozen dinner and a movie-watching party, so we invited all the girls from her class and Natalie & Noah to come to our house from 4 - 7pm.  Amazingly, all the kids but one RSVPd and attended, which meant we had 11 kids at the party.  Thank goodness Becky and Brian came to help out!  The girls and I had a fun time decorating our house to look like winter:

Everyone who came inside thought the snowflakes were so much fun!  I didn't get a photo of the snowflakes the girls cut, but they each enjoyed cutting a few, too.  While everyone was arriving, the girls colored Frozen pictures while listening to the music from Frozen.  I think that was my favorite part of the whole party - 10 little kids sitting quietly and coloring, and then bursting into song - IN UNISON - to sing along with "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"  Brian said it reminded him of teaching elementary school music, but I thought it was amazing!

Amelia's favorite part of the party was the treasure hunt where the kids had to fill in the missing words from Frozen song lyrics.  The prizes at the end were Elsa crowns that Ben printed.  We also played Pin the Nose on Olaf:

and Do You Want to Build a Snowman:

and Anna/Elsa (think Red Light/Green Light).  This was especially crazy since most of the kids cheated, and the few who didn't (Natalie, Noah and Kennedy) were starting to get upset about it.  So we switched places and Becky and I did the moving and freezing while the kids all yelled out either Anna or Elsa.  They thought that was hugely fun.

From left to right, that's Aubrey, Kennedy, Aashi, Noah, Emma, Braenna, Aubrey, Amelia, Gwen, Natalie and Megan.  Then we had dinner and tried to watch the movie, but most kids ended up watching for only 10 minutes before they decided they wanted to go play on the playset or climb on the bunkbeds.  So we gave up on the movie and played outside.  And then we had cake:

The girls were all amazed by the Elsa doll cake, and had to come around to the end of the table to see it.  I think it turned out really cute.

It was 6 layers tall, and they barely ate 1/3 of it.  I cut teeny, tiny pieces, the smallest I could possibly cut, and at least half the kids weren't interested in finishing their cake.  I will point out, though, that Amelia, Megan, Natalie and Noah did stay and finish all their cake.  Then Amelia opened presents:

Amelia got a few sets of Legos, which she was super excited about, a Frozen shirt (which she has worn twice already), a slip and slide (which it has not been warm enough to use yet) two Rainbow Looms (which we took back because she already has one), and a few other things.  She was very excited to get a gift card to Target, once she realized what it was, and along with the money from one Rainbow Loom return, she picked out a pink and sparkly silver stuffed animal kitty purse, another set of Legos, a little girl Barbie doll, and a Disney Princess notebook for herself and one for Megan.  She had a lot of fun shopping and taking her time deciding what to buy.

Lessons Learned:
  • make sure Becky and Brian come to all kids parties.  In fact, see if Becky and Brian will just run the next party all by themselves.  I think being an experienced teacher must help when dealing with huge amounts of crazy kids.
  • kids will not watch a movie during a birthday party, even when they would sit and watch the movie 19 times in a row normally
  • do NOT schedule a party for longer than two hours for any reason at all
  • do NOT start to frost the cake four hours before the party starts, just in case you have a not-done dome-shaped cake disaster and have to start baking cakes again 3 1/2 hours before the party starts, because that is very stressful
  • have something low key for the kids to do as soon as they arrive, because one kid will show up ten minutes early (why?) and one kid will inevitably show up 50 minutes late (again, why?)
  • do the treasure hunt as early as possible so the kids don't find the clues while they are rampaging through your house and move them
  • do not do any small fiddly craft projects, even if your own kids can handle them perfectly well
  • somehow, 11 kids didn't even finish an entire large cheese pizza, and every kid wanted no sauce, even though they all claimed to like sauce.
  • I have amazingly nice, quiet, well-behaved children.  And so do Becky & Brian.  That is not normal.
  • Kids are very excited to get gift cards; some of her guests even said "Oooo!  I wish I would get a gift card for my birthday!" so if you are stressing about getting a present at the last minute, just get a gift card.  Kids will love it.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Amelia's last day of kindergarten

Today was Amelia's last day of kindergarten.  Here's how she felt about school being over for the summer:

She loves her teacher, Mrs. Tews, so much that she was devastated that kindergarten was over and that she wouldn't see Mrs. Tews again.  She wrote and colored this card for Mrs. Tews all by herself:

When Megan, Nate and I picked her up at the cafeteria this morning, she cried and cried about missing Mrs. Tews. She stopped crying long enough to take a photo with Mrs. Tews, so that we can put it in her photo album and she can look at it all summer long, but she started up again when we had to walk away.  Only the threat of going home to take a nap made her stop crying.

Megan declined to have her photo taken on her last day of preschool, but she did create this card for her teachers and dictated the words to me (don't you love all the tears?):

After school today, the girls chose to go eat lunch at McDonalds and play at the mall.  They got past their sadness and were happy to play and eat ice cream:

Now they are enjoying their reading and snack tent in the backyard:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Nathaniel eats applesauce

I thought maybe Nathaniel would be more receptive to eating applesauce, so I tried that on Monday.  Here's his reaction:

 In the second photo, he is smiling, but if you look closely, you should be able to see the applesauce still sitting there in his mouth.  That's right!  He's pulling a David!  He'd let the applesauce sit there for a minute or so, before finally pushing it out of his mouth.  He ended up swallowing some of it eventually, but it was slow going.

I fed him squash at dinner yesterday, and he actually ate a few bites without spitting them out or keeping them in his mouth for a long time.  So I don't know if he just likes squash, or if he is getting the hang of this whole eating thing. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Evening at Olbrich

We went to Olbrich Botanic Gardens on Sunday evening; it was the perfect time to go because the weather was beautiful, it wasn't too sunny, and there was hardly anybody there.  The girls LOVE exploring all the paths, and we generally let them pick which direction they want to go.  This trip, they were excited about naming all the different places that we saw.  Here is Black Ripple Pond:

It's one of our favorite places in the garden, a small pond surrounded by a curly weeping willow.  We also visited The Spinny Thing (a garden kaleidoscope), The Tower (self-explanatory) and Dirty Brown Water (a pond in the rock garden with clear water but brown dirt on the bottom).  It's a good thing they aren't in charge of naming attractions!  They enjoyed The Stage this trip, where they put on a dance recital:

Some of the climbing roses had started blooming in the rose garden, and they were just beautiful.

We also saw all different kinds of peonies, baptisia, wisteria, iris and lots of purple and white perennials.

Nathaniel rode in the stroller the entire time, and he didn't fuss at all.  He fell asleep towards the end of our visit.

The girls were sad that we had to leave, and they asked if we could come back the next day.  We didn't have a chance to go back on Monday, but maybe we'll go again this weekend.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sweet Potatoes

Does Nathaniel like sweet potatoes better than oatmeal?

Well, he didn't gag on every single bite, so that's a big improvement.  But he figured out how to intentionally spit out each bite, so I'm not sure how much actually got swallowed.  He definitely looked a lot happier while he was eating, so at least he's moving in the right direction.  Needless to say, he got a bath after lunch today.  And so did the bumbo chair.  I think he really looks like Ben in the first photo below.

It's 2:30 in the morning right now, and Amelia is up with a bad sore throat and a fever.  So I'm watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with her while waiting for the Advil to kick in.  I guess we'll take her to urgent care as soon as it opens to see if she has strep again.  Poor girl.