Monday, September 12, 2016

First days

I thought it would be wise to get these pictures up before they have been in school for a month.

Annie has officially started kindergarten. She's thrilled with the prospect of learning to read and do math, but for now, her favorite classes are art and recess (and sometimes music, depending on the day). Considering the fact she now does jumping jacks and burpees before dinner, I would say gym class is influencing her as well. 

These are our "be cool-try not to freak out" faces
Apparently the "cheese face" is genetic.

Annie was the best big sister walking John into his new preschool.
Time progression of the backpack. On the left was her first day at preschool when she was 3. The right is on her way to kindergarten.
John was nervous until he realized he got a second breakfast and it was breakfast PIZZA (which I am not sure how that is different from regular pizza, but I don't ask questions).

We are settling into the new routine nicely. The kids go back and forth between waking up at 5:30 in the morning, or us having to wake them up at 7. I will try to be better about posting as we embark on this new adventure (and since I have been recently told people actually still read this thing...Hi Gaddy!).

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Muffin-2.5 years

Hooo, buddy. You are 2.5 years old now. You are in size 4-5T clothing and are full of energy. We recently weaned you off your binkie (you called it your see-see) and you have been non-stop talking ever since. Though the talking has mainly been about superheroes and play fighting. There are some days I yearn for my snuggly binkie baby who doesn't attack me with swords and sticks.

You are tons of fun to be around and, like your sister, are genuinely funny. You two love each other hard and I hope you will always look out for each other as you do now.
You have more hair than any human I have ever seen. I originally thought you just had a big head, but after reassessing, I think you have a slightly above-average sized head with an impossible amount of hair.
You love tools and to help. Every time you see me or your Dad walking somewhere, you say "Help you?" and are always willing to carry something or operate hand tools in a questionable manner.
You are over your fears of rides and loud noises. Now you seem to prefer loud noises and are often the source of them. You rode rides probably not appropriate for a 2.5 year old, but thanks to your size, you got past the carnies and seemed to enjoy yourself.

You are a picky eater. Somehow even pickier than your sister. We call you "the muffin" or "muffinator" because muffins are your food of choice, though really any carb/bread will do. There is no doubt you are my child.
To me, you are the cutest boy human alive.

Twenty years from now I want to remember how you say "of course" any time someone asks you a yes/no question ("John, can you come here?" Of course!), how you say "oh Right!" any time someone tells you something you feel might be even somewhat obvious, how you LOVE ninja turtles and superheroes even though you have only seen brief snippets on TV, how you wake up and immediately demand breakfast (preferably in muffin form), and how much you love your Dad, but how you are warming up to me every day. I love your sweet face and your "hulk hugs" and am so thankful every day I get to be your mom.

I love you, sweet boy,

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


She fell out of bed on Saturday night. It was about 11pm and I had just dozed off after downing some Benadryl to help with a nasty bug bite on my leg. I didn't think it was anything major until I saw her blood soaked pillowcase. Stifled screams to Rick to wake up and meet me in the bathroom to assess the damage. There was no discussion, this would require stitches, it was just a matter of where.

Options are limited at 11 on a Saturday night and nothing will rouse you from a Benadryl haze like a blood-soaked 5 year old. So off to the hospital Annie and I raced while John slept through the whole thing and Rick was left behind for CSI cleanup efforts (apparently "how to get blood stains out" was googled before we were even out of the driveway).

We arrived at the hospital and Annie knew stitches were likely on the agenda and was inconsolable, verging on going into shock. Strong drugs were administered to ease the pain, but probably more so to ease her heart, which was really scared. Once those kicked in, she was totally fine. Stitches are a breeze when you can't feel your face. A week without swimming in the hot St. Louis summer is a worse fate than the stitches themselves. But we will make it through.

And now I can cross "stitches" off my list of mandatory parenting experiences. While I knew it would like happen eventually, I really can't believe it was Annie and not John.  


Dear Annie,
You turned five a week ago today (when I first started this post, now it's over a month). It still seems odd to me because I can feel the weight of your baby body in my arms and occasionally get a hint of your baby morning breath as I carry you down the stairs in the morning. But, you are moving further and further away from being my baby. You no longer have baby fat, your legs have muscles and your arms are strong. But you still have a slight lisp with your "s" and "th" sounds, and for this I am eternally thankful, because it makes you still seem just a little bit little.

You are bright and happy and so, so, so incredibly sweet. You are aware of everything and everyone around you. If there is a child that is unattended, you immediately start looking for their mommy. If someone is crying, you try your best to take care of them and right any perceived wrong. You are funny and generous and wise and generally all the things I have always prayed you would be.

You are what teachers would call "active". No sitting still for long periods of time. I still haven't mastered sit down dinners with you, but we do our best. Mostly, you spend dinner tending to John's random needs, which is also very sweet. You are a wonderful big sister. You love to hold your brother's hand and were delighted the first time he said "I yuh you, Ahnnnie" (I love you, Annie). You cry when he is punished in any way (mostly when we have to take away his beloved Ninja Turtles toothbrush/sword) and always do your best to keep him out of trouble. You have even veered off from your interest in princesses to take part in his superhero play from time to time.

You are a true people person. Even strangers will remark on how happy and friendly you are and in an odd development, they will occasionally give you things for free. It has become not unusual for you to get a free dessert at a restaurant or, as was in the case in Miami, for the bartender (yes, we were sitting at a bar, don't judge, but it was a daiquiri bar, so it hardly counts) to hand you an entire bowl of strawberries when he noticed you were eating everyone else's.

You are John still share a room and your beds are about 18 inches apart. And while you talk of wanting your own room, I know you love being close to him. Every night we play "Princesses and Superheroes" where someone has a princess or superhero in their head and the others try to guess which one. You still love to have your back tickled and are an aggressive snuggler. You are afraid there's a monster in your closet and don't like us to close the door to your room when you sleep, but often blame it on John needing the extra light.

Twenty years from now I want to remember how you say "Is I'm" instead of "Am I", how you optimistically ask for candy every morning, how you love to draw and play with play-doh, how there's no hiding anything from you any more and you want us to "tell me the truth, really", how you always refer to God with female pronouns, how you just now started playing with your Barbies and love throwing parties for them and getting your new Barbie house just right, only for John to wreck it. And though I get frustrated when you say you need me for things that I know in my heart you can really do on your own, I need to remember that there will come a time when you don't call out for me any more. Regardless of if it is today or thirty years from now, I will all ways come when you need me.

I love you, sweet girl,

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

No Laughing Matter

We participated in an Easter Egg Hunt this past Saturday to try to prep the kids for the real deal. Annie, the Official Pre-K ambassador of Webster Groves, was flitting about most of the time, chatting with her friends she's made from her various preschools. John stayed close and was more interested in his Ninja Turtles basket than the eggs. I got to go on his hunt with him and found myself getting a little too into the competitive nature of the 0-2 year old group. I only knocked one child down (questionable if she should be in there to begin with, since she could hardly walk...rookies) and I think John enjoyed it when I threw him over my shoulder and headed for the area of heaviest egg concentrations.

It's fine.

This is the only photo I have of Annie. She was being coached by Rick, who also told her to run for the area of highest egg concentrations.

So proud of his haul. I can't get over this face.

It appears the egg hunt sponsor (who shall remain nameless) is either backed by dentists, or has no regard for children's teeth, thought it was good to fill every.single.egg with either Laffy Taffy, Now-or-laters, or that ancient bubble gum that rips your mouth apart. Arguably all the most difficult candies to chew, other than perhaps Sugar Daddies. They probably ruled those out because they wouldn't fit in an egg.

Where was I? Oh yes. The candy. Once the kids realized they couldn't really digest the candy, we started reading the jokes on the Laffy Taffy wrappers. It was all in good fun until Annie dropped this truth bomb on us:

R: Why did the skeleton go to the movie by himself?
Annie: Because he's lonely.
Wide eyed, blank stares exchanged between myself and Rick
(real answer: Because he had NO BODY to go with him...get it??)

So we rode home in silence after that, grieving for the lonely skeleton and unchewable candy. Other than that, it was a great time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Neglect of John

Oh baby John. You poor thing. Pretty much every thing your sister did was documented on this blog. I think I even documented the very first real tear she shed. Then you came along, and she got older, and well...blah. I am sorry. And the events described in this post happened almost five weeks ago. I know.


And I swear your lack of a real first hair cut wasn't because we were not tending to your basic hygiene needs, you just have such awesome hair and I never wanted to cut it. And I was also worried that no matter where we went, they would judge me for wanting to keep your hair long, so I trimmed it myself and we made our way through the days.

But when I noticed you started to cock your head back to see past/under your long bangs, I realized we should probably bring in a professional, lest your sweet baby spine develop a reverse hunch and we spend countless hours trying to reverse damage that could have been avoided by a single haircut.

To quell my fears regarding the judgment of your long hair, I choose a fairly progressive (read: hippy) place to get your hair cut. It was fully equipped with a wide array of earth-friendly toys and a breast milk donation box. Yes, that's a thing. I knew we were in the right spot when the hair dresser promptly strapped her 10 month old to her back before setting you up for the cut. It was impressive.

Aunt Shisha (Liza) came with us for moral support, and I am so thankful she did, or we would have no pictures of the event.

Pre-cut. Cautious, but comforted by the tools/trucks you are hoarding.

Note the tartan plaid wrap around the hair-cutter. That's holding her baby onto her back. No judgment about John's hair length here. He's free to be whatever he wants to be.

Ruh-roh. You realized there's a strange woman with a child strapped to her back holding a sharp object by your neck. Fear is probably a reasonable response.

Mom to the rescue! Or at least to hold him still while the remainder of the cut was rushed through.
I should also add here, this is when I realized you were warmer than normal and had a diaper full of poop. So, not ideal hair cutting conditions. You went on to develop a full blown fever later that night.
Finished product.

So, despite some emotional and physical hurdles, we both survived your first "real" haircut. And they left enough hair so you still look like my little man. And thankfully, it appears your super hero powers are still intact.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Baby John is Two, aka, THE RECKONING

Dear Baby John,
Yes. I still call you Baby John. I will call you that until the end of time because you are just that. My baby.

You aren't really a baby any more. According to your stats at the doctor yesterday (height 37.75 inches and 34 pounds), you are the size of a 3.5 year old. You still love "baby" things like your cow lovie Mimi, and your binkie, which you call "see-see" or "he-see". Your Dad is hot to trot to get you to ditch the binkie, but I am holding on to these last little baby items for dear life.

You are such a spectacular kid. You are both quiet and sweet, but also loud and crazy. When your sister would pick on you when you were small, we would warn her there would come a time when you would be bigger and be able to fight back. Well, that day has come. You are no longer afraid to grab her hair and throw alarmingly heavy toy cars at her.
Your aim is impressive.

You appear to be left-handed. You love the movies Cars and Planes. You will flex and yell "VROOOM! Ka-CHOW!" (Lightening McQueen's tag line) and like to call yourself "Keen", short for Lightening McQueen. You love Nilla Wafers, bananas, meatballs, and fish sticks. You are a questionable sleeper and I am sure one of these days you will shake the cold you have seemingly had since birth.

You are all boy.

You love Captain America, though you have never, to my knowledge, seen a TV show or movie with this character. I think you just seem to know he's very manly. You love tools and trucks and cars and heavy equipment. You are a real man's man at the ripe age of 2.

You are very charming and have pretty much every person in this family wrapped around your finger. You cry when Annie is hurt because it makes you sad to see her sad. You cuddle up and touch the side of my face when you think I am sad or mad. Your favorite place is on your Dad's lap.

You two love to take baths together, but when I say it is getting CRAZY, that's an understatement. How there is any water left in the tub at the end of each bathing session is beyond me. Wine consumption is up on bath nights.

This face. Ugh.

It is not uncommon to walk in and find you two snuggling and holding hands. Lord, please let them stay this close forever. I understand there will be a few breaks when they are teenagers and want to kill each other, but for now, they are truly best buds. Except for when there's throwing of cars and pulling of hair....but nothing's perfect.

You are so wonderfully weird and fun. I love every day we have with you.

And your Dad. Oh how you love your Dad. He's the only one allowed to put you to bed at night or retrieve you in the morning. He's your go-to guy for all things parenting, and he loves it so much. Now, were I a more sensitive person, I might get my feelings hurt by you yelling "NO! Gaga!" (your word for "dad" right now) at me when I come in to check on you when you are crying in the night. Or when you yank your hand away when you realize it's my hand you are holding and not your dad's. But no worries, my little man. I know your Dad is awesome and I know, or hope, there comes a time when you are looking for your mom just as much. And when you do, I will be right there.

I love you, sweet boy. Happy birthday.