Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Going on 4

In just three short months, my first baby will be 4!

Lucas continues to fill us with joy. He amazes us with his academic and athletic abilities. His sense of humor is always changing and cracking us up. He is a very thoughtful big brother and friend. He is growing in faith and in virtue. It is truly rewarding to reflect on his growth and accomplishments.

He misbehaves much like any three year old - seeking limits, and sometimes even when limit is known, choosing to cross the line anyway. He becomes frustrated when he can't do something, especially when trying to learn something new. He sometimes forgets his manners, doesn't want to share, and forgets that his little brother is still only 1! Once in a while he throws a big ol' temper tantrum, but they are becoming fewer and farther between. Our days are certainly filled with ups and downs, but I would expect them to be.

Lucas is showing more interest in praying and learning about the faith. He has the Sign of the Cross, Grace Before Meals, and Angel of God memorized. He likes praying before bed and thanking God for silly things like his fan. But he also remembers to pray for people we know who are hurt or sick.

In our "preschool at home" he is working on identifying all of his uppercase letters and numbers 0-10. He has about 3/4 of each down pat and still needs some work on the rest. We're trying lowercase letters too, but they have been harder for him. He is starting to exhibit some pre-reading skills like moving his finger along words in books and asking what it says in certain parts of the text. We're working on counting to 20 and other basic math concepts. He has forgotten the difference between a pentagon, hexagon, and octagon, and we need to learn the quadrilaterals again too. We spend a lot of time on music and art, and while less skill-based, we also talk about science, history, and religion. Our children's library is ever-growing.

Lucas is always improving his athletic skills, and he never tires of playing basketball, soccer, baseball, football, tennis, golf, and whatever else he makes up. Some of the things he's improved on lately include catching (still needs a lot of work - the one athletic skill he just can't get down! frustrating to him and to us!), balancing and hopping on one foot (he can go at least 5 hops), dribbling a basketball (need more work on this too), hitting a slow pitched baseball (he's decent), and throwing very hard, very far, and very accurately - it's really quite impressive and is often commented on by grown men.

Oct 18, 2012
3 1/2
He continues to love music and finished his fifth semester of Kindermusik last week. He really came out of his shell compared to a year ago and was a great example to the younger kids in his class (including little brother). Nearly every week this semester he chose clapping for his movement in the opening song; he was still a little bit shy and liked to stick with a comfortable routine. Some weeks he sang along to a lot of the songs, and other weeks I think he enjoyed taking it all in like the littler ones. He still wanted me to hold him during some of the dances, which was fun but tiring. My favorite part of class with him is rest time because he is still my little baby for a few minutes. He is supposed to start the independent class without me next month, but we are waiting to see if enough students enroll.

One small accomplishment is that last week he stopped wearing a Pull Up to bed. He was waking up with it wet less and less, and I couldn't even remember the last time it happened. When we ran out, we didn't buy more and decided to give it a try. So far, so good! He doesn't wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, so we just have to make sure he goes right before bed. He can pull his pants and underwear up and down and goes to the bathroom by himself, but still needs us to help wipe. He is a little resistant to getting his own shirts on and off (he has done it, but still wants us to), and we are still putting his socks and shoes on too (he takes them off though). He has tried, but he has a hard time getting all his toes in and then gets frustrated. I think part of it is that he sees how much "attention" Tyler gets by us dressing him and changing his diaper all the time, and I think he is holding out on a few things that will make him much more independent from us. It's okay with me most of the time, but when we're in a hurry it would be nice if he could get himself dressed and ready to go.

Some of the other things Lucas enjoys are painting, baking, playing outside, reading books especially before bed, watching movies, playing board games like Candy Land and Connect Four, and using our iPods to play games. He and Tyler like to turn on the sink and play in the water. They also enjoyed playing in the snow around Christmas, and we hope we get a few more good snows this winter. He sometimes tells me he wants to stay home all day, but he likes going to Moms Group, Bible Study, and playing at Rainbow Play Systems and Franciscan Center. He is so much more independent than just six months ago, running off with his friends or by himself to play. He really likes being around other kids, and adults too, but he still has a shy and sensitive side. I know he is smart, happy, and will thrive in a good environment, and we need to discern where that will be when it comes time for kindergarten.

To wrap up, here are some of the cute, funny, and witty things Lucas has said lately. I could probably record something he says every single day!

-After seeing his two sets of twin cousins at the same time (6 months and 3 months), he told me, "I want two babies, or maybe four," and that when he is 5 he will take care of them. (Dec 10)

-Teaching Lucas the Glory Be "...as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be --- " "Oh! Grandpa has a Shelby!" (Dec 16)

-Late Christmas night, after two days of festivities and sugar and not enough sleep: "Merry Christmas to my Jesus who protects me from dangerous monster trees!"

-Commentary during Tarzan: "Does Tarzan have a belly button? Why isn't he wearing any clothes? They shot a needle at the big gorilla! I think he's dead forever. If nobody can fix him, that means he's dead forever. Why does God make bad guys?" (Jan 5) (He thinks about this a lot. Whenever something bad happens, he asks why God makes bad guys, and I have to explain it all over again. God makes everyone to be good, but some people make choices that are bad.)

-After referring to his friend Lucy as Luce, he decided that he is on close enough terms with Jesus to call him Jeez. "Actually, I call him Jeez." (Jan 17)

He also has a really good memory. There is a Glad trash bag commercial that shows Mt. Rainier in the background, and I told him that is where Grammy in Washington lives. Now every time the commercial comes on he says, "That is where Grammy in Washington lives!"

Our sweet baby is growing up. He can go from "all boy" - playing active and full contact games with Daddy - to begging me to lay with him in bed until he falls asleep in a split second. He wants to dig in the dirt, but he also wants to listen to lullabies. I love everything about him.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Boys

I'm enjoying my new blog a lot, but I'm glad I never deleted this one. It has occured to me a few times lately that I'm not doing as good of a job recording the cute and funny things my boys say and do. Their toddlerhood is going by fast, and I'm going to try to write a little about them on this blog again.

Tonight, Lucas was having his pre-bedtime meltdown because he only wants me to put him to bed, and I was going to put Tyler to bed tonight. In the midst of his crying and pleading, he said, "This broke my heart!" Where in the world did he get that? I really don't know. Yesterday we read one of our Thanksgiving books and talked about a lot of things we are thankful for. Then we made a turkey by tracing his hand. I asked him what he was thankful for so I could write it on the four feathers. He said chicken, God, Mommy, and Steve. He doesn't call him Steve in person, just when he's talking about him sometimes. Also, he's asking why all the time now, over and over. He's 3 1/2 now so I guess this was going to happen eventually! Thankfully he accepts the answer that there is not always a reason why.

Tyler is saying so many new words in the past week! He has finally perfected mama, and now we're working on animal sounds a lot. Today he also said diaper and puppy. Steve has been getting him to say no-no. He is obsessed with blowing on hot coffee, lit candles, and anything on the stove, in the oven, or just out of the microwave. (This comes from Hot Cross Buns at music class.) He loves turning on his sound machine to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and swaying back and forth to it, mostly his head. He is really into dancing, trying to jump, reading books, and a magnetic fishing puzzle. Can't believe he's going to be 18 months in another week!

Last night I put up a height chart in Lucas's bedroom and measured both the boys. Lucas is over 39 inches and Tyler is around 31 1/2. They are growing up and having so much fun together (when they're not fighting, which happens its fair share).

We had a fun fall, lots of playing outside and went to two apple orchards, two soccer games, and a football game. Corey's wedding was at the end of September, my parents and Ashley visited us in October, and Daniel is coming up for all of next week. The boys love being around family.

Halloween was fun. Lucas was a doctor, and Tyler was a dinosaur. They were both really into trick-or-treating. Tyler would bang on the door until someone came. It was cold but they had a really good time.

Lots more I want to remember about this fall... need to start a notebook to jot things down that they say and do!

Friday, August 17, 2012

7 Quick Takes 8.17.12

1) It has been a glorious week of... staying at home. Really, this has been one of my favorite weeks of the summer, and we've done nothing special. After being in Minnesota for over three weeks, followed by camping four days later, followed by an overnight trip to Des Moines two days after that, staying at home has never felt so good.

2) And believe it or not, the boys were (for the most part) well behaved. I'm pretty sure they had been missing their toys. And maybe TV.

3) Steve said something that made my heart melt. I can't even remember his exact words, but it was along the lines of "It doesn't matter what they think." We were discussing some choices we are making as a couple and if/why some other people in our lives might not agree with them or understand them. But it turns out, when you're married, and you're allowing God into your marriage, no one else's opinon matters. Thanks, honey!

4) I can't believe it's been four years since I realized I was pregnant with Lucas. I've been a mom for four years, and I couldn't imagine my life any other way.

5) As of this morning, I had not been to the grocery store in a week. That is huge for me. I could stop in a grocery store every day. Then we ran out of milk and bananas, and I figured I should restock before the boys withered away.

6) On Monday, Lucas is starting some preschool at home. Letter A, Adam and Eve, and apples, here we come.

7) Little Tyler is a stinker and we can't get him to walk. He does, however, enjoy saying wigga-wigga over and over.

Now go read some Quick Takes with more substance over at Conversion Diary.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Kid Pics

Because I haven't posted many in a while, and there are some cute stories to go along with them.

After dinner last night, Lucas wanted to play outside but I had already put Tyler in his pajamas. So, Lucas informed me that he was going for a run and he would be back. He then proceeded to do about ten laps around the yard. (PS This is what our new grass looks like - spotty but really not much worse looking than our dead grass in the front yard. We will replant at the end of the month.)

Tyler's perch. He likes to sit on the second step, drop his toys, and then try to reach them without getting down. He can't do it, but he tries anyway. Doesn't he look like such a big boy in his 18 month jammies?!

Tyler interpreted puddle jumping as puddle sitting. But they had fun. (Rain boots were not the greatest investment, since it has only rained about four times since April!)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

On Competition, Confidence, and Friends

I've always been a little bit competitive. Not crazy competitive in an outward way, but deep inside of me. I'm not sure how or when it started, or if maybe it's just a matter of genetics. In any case, it has done me some good over the years - success in school, music, sports, teaching, coaching, volunteering, parenting... I always want to do my best, and really, the best. But it has also done me a lot of harm. My area of least confidence is, well, myself. My self-worth. My relationships. My sense of acceptance and belonging and being needed. And when you're a competitive person but not a confident person, it hurts deep inside when you feel like you've failed.

I've had a few good friendships over the years. True, deep, really good friendships that I'm very grateful for. Yet over all my years in school, I yearned to be just a little bit more in the "in group," not just someone they were nice to (which was better than how they treated most), but actually part of the group. Then in college, the same. I went back and forth about joining a sorority - a built in group of friends, but what if they were already so close to each other that I didn't really fit in? Fear kept me away. And it continued in my years of teaching, where teacher cliques are just as bad as the 8th grade girls. I was married and pregnant, and most of them were singles in the big city. Just a different life, but still I felt alone, and sad.

So that brings me here, to the present day. Sure I have friends, acquaintances mostly, women I know from various groups - women who've been tremendously welcoming and sweet to me. But do I have a tight-knit group of friends to whom I can confide anything, giggle with late at night, get together with for no real reason - and here's the key - without feeling competitive? No, I don't have that yet. I feel like it's still a game, trying to impress each other with our knowledge, our parenting styles, our styles in general, our number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers, our connections in the area, our kids' accomplishments, our busy-ness, our holiness, and all kinds of other things that shouldn't really matter. Maybe it's just me that feels this way because I'm still the relative newbie to the area. But maybe the rest of them feel the same and no one ever says it, for fear that they will be the odd woman out.

In any case, I don't feel that closeness yet. I hope I will someday. And not just for myself, but for our family. I want to have couples and families who we can be our complete honest selves around. I want to celebrate with them in joy and cry with them in sorrow. I want to pray for them, and I want them to pray for us too. I want us to be a baby's godparents someday, and I want my kids to have wonderful role models. I think these families are out there.

Going beyond the surface is vulnerable. Building an intimate friendship takes time and patience. Being completely honest also means being completely humble. It can be scary, and it might not work out with everyone you meet. The question is, who is willing to take the first step? Am I?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Quick Takes 7.27.12

1) We got home from our 24 day vacation on Monday. It was wonderful. Here's the last picture of the trip, right before we left.

2) Thanks to watering our newly planted yard so much, my garden is awesome. I have 21 tomatoes on one plant and 14 on another. My zucchini plants overtook my peas, but that's okay as long as I can make a few zucchini breads. (Sidenote: it was a terrible summer to have your inground pool removed and try to grow a new lawn. Record heat and sun is much more conducive to swimming than growing grass.)

3) I am almost done writing our plans for doing three year old preschool at home this year. Three year olds don't actually need that much school, but having a written plan makes me feel more accountable for how we spend our days at home.

4) Next, a question I've been pondering after a conversation a couple days ago, in which someone else was described as a nice person and I was essentially not. What is a nice person? What is a good person? If you could only be described by one of those words, which would you rather it be? (I understand that in many cases they coexist, but I'd still rather be known as a good person than a nice person. People can fake being nice.)

5) I am having my annual health problem. I am typically a healthy person with no ongoing medications or conditions, but about once a year I end up having to go to the doctor for something I've never experienced before. This time it was tightness and pain in my back and chest that had been going on since the middle of our vacation. Turns out it is mild asthma that can come and go at different points in your life. I have an inhaler and go back in two weeks to reevaluate. I tend to imagine worst case scenarios, and asthma is much better than a pulmonary embolism (which I had a false positive for three years ago). Phew.

6) Tyler is so close to walking. He can stand without holding onto anything, but he will only take a step or two if we trick him into it, and then he promptly sits down and crawls the rest of the way. His poor knees would be so much happier if he would just walk.

7) Next week I'm taking the boys over the Des Moines for two days while my dad works at a job there. My grandparents are planning on coming too. As long as it stays below 100 we should have a fun time exploring some new places.

Okay, sorry these are long but I have one more:
8) On Wednesday, after playing outside in 100 degree heat, Lucas got a little grumpy. I sent him to the recliner in his room to read a book (not a punishment, just what we do when he needs to cool down - literally, this time!). One hour later I checked on him and found this, with no book in sight.

Go read more Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Start of Something Great

The Mighty Mississippi, that is.

Earlier this week we visited Itasca State Park, about 10 miles north of my parents' house. The name Itasca is derived from the Latin veritas caput, meaning "true head" of the river. At the park, you learn the history of a Native American named Ozawindib leading explorer Henry Schoolcraft to the headwaters of the river in 1832. In 1891, the park was formed and preserved from the logging industry.

Lake Itasca emptying into the Mississippi River
Today the park is over 32,000 acres of mostly untouched wilderness. You can see Native American burial mounds and log cabins built by some of the first settlers, camp, hike, bicycle, canoe, learn about the science and history of Itasca at the visitor centers, and walk across the start of the Mississippi River, about 20 feet wide and only a couple feet deep at its source. There is something really neat about being in a place so important to the geology, ecology, and economy of the midwest, the start of the Mississippi River's 2,552 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. If you are ever in Minnesota, I highly recommend taking a day to visit Itasca.

July 17, 2012