Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter

We made it home from the beach in time for Joseph's baseball practice and game, Time of Jesus Dinner, and Easter.

At time of Jesus Dinner, Abigail has commandeered the entire bowl of olives for herself
We had a nice Easter Dinner with Marc's family on Saturday night before John & Gwen headed back to New Jersey. Sunday morning, our little family had lemon poppyseed muffins and read the Resurrection story before heading downtown to see the Cherry Blossoms. They were not blooming yet, so we had a nice peaceful drive around the monuments. The children looked adorable for church, but I didn't manage to get a picture of them. You'll just have to trust me on how cute they looked! After church we had our Time of Jesus Dinner--in our pajamas!


March 30-31, 2013

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Beach

We arrived home from St. Louis, sent Joseph to school for one day, then headed to the Outer Banks for his spring break. Aunt Joyce, Uncle Dave, and Missy hosted us for almost a whole week! Marc's brother John and his family were also there so it was like a mini family reunion.

Uncle Dave walked with us to the beach to look for shells. He played raquetball with Joseph and went swimming and hot tubbing. Aunt Joyce read National Geographic magazines to Joseph--and they discussed. And I will forever have this memory of Joseph and Abigail sitting listening with rapt attention for almost an hour as Aunt Joyce told them the story of Gone with the Wind and showed pictures from a coffee table book with Hollywood photos. Aunt Joyce also held our little smiley Anna a lot.

Abigail and Joseph playing together on the top bunk in the kids' room

Hot tubbing at the rec center
Missy reading a bedtime story to Abigail. Missy was so great to us during our trip, as always.

On our hike, Abigail stopped to make noodles, aka pine needles
The kids had fun looking for shells and crabs on the beach. Abigail lined up the crabs she found and said, "Here is mommy, daddy, Joseph, Abigail. Now I need Anna" and went off in search of a crab to complete her little family.



Aunt Joyce and Uncle Dave opened their outdoor pool! So even though it was in the 50s, the outdoor pool was warm and toasty. I took this picture from the third floor deck looking down at these guys.


After the pool, it was hot tub on the porch time. Abigail and Lucy had fun standing at the side splashing with just their arms in.

Joseph enjoyed raquetball. Missy and Uncle Dave are always fun to play with.



Missy put together a really fun Easter Egg hunt for the kids. Abigail didn't want to just keep finding egg after egg. When she found an egg, she wanted to sit down and see (and eat) what was in each egg.

We took a day trip to Roanoke Island where we visited the site where they tell the story of the lost colony of Roanoke (with a very violent video in the NPS visitor's center).

In the summer, there is an outdoor theater production about the Lost Colony.




We also found a brand new visitors center for the Fish and Wildlife Services. They had fantastic educational exhibits to explore.

Family time during traffic jam for an hour

March 24-29, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Photo Shoot

Sometimes when I go to my mom's house, I get the best photos of my kids, the best sleep out of my kids, and usually they hit developmental milestones. This time I got two out of three:  these cute photos and Anna rolled over for the first time (3/12/13).  Their sleep; however, was worse than ever. Can't win 'em all, I guess!





March 2013

My man

While we were in Missouri, Marc worked (I'm appreciative!) And slept uninterrupted nights (I'm jealous!) And took an 87 mile bikeride in the rain (I'm amazed!)

Friday, March 15, 2013

The fun never stops

There was so much going on during our time in St. Louis.

We loved seeing a demonstration and show at Bob Kramer's Marionnettes, where even Anna was entranced and smiling throughout the show. It was amazing how little it had changed from my memories as a girl.



Grandpa took the kids fishing--in the freezing cold!

It was so fun introducing Anna to my family. She charmed them with smiles and was her good-natured self. I enjoyed having time to just hold her--she loves just sitting in my lap watching all the fun go on aroudn her.

Joanna with her cute kiddos--Ellie and Carter

My cuties--Anna was also there, just not in this picture

Grandpa and Grandma with John & Catherine


A ferry ride across the Mississippi River

Lunch at the Finn Inn in Grafton, Illinois

Haircuts for Abigail and me

Frozen custard on the first day of spring (with snow flurries outside)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

St. Louis outings

Despite the freezing cold weather, we did all kinds of fun activities while we were in St. Louis

Multiple trips to the St. Louis Science Center. The Discovery Room is a favorite part:

Abigail and the aquarium
 "Radiant" is how Grandpa describes Abigail. She is just a little joyful soul, who flits around spreading happiness. She almost always has a smile and something cute pops out of her mouth.


Dr. Joseph checking out some x-rays

Another really fun outing was Purina Farms, where we got to take a tractor ride, visit the baby animals in the Spring Village, and watch the dog show (twice because the kids loved it so much).


The highlight for Joseph was getting to dance Gangnam Style on the field with dozens of other children at the beginning of the show.

Look for Joseph in middle left, wearing white and navy striped shirt and jeans!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Missouri

I took Joseph our of school for this trip to Missouri. My sister Joanna was going to be there for her kids' spring break, which does not coincide with Joseph's. I decided just to take him anyway. It was really great to be there with them. I'm so glad I risked another letter from the school telling me we have too many absences.
Joseph and Ellie are the first grade cousins. They read Dr. Suess' Green Eggs and Ham one morning and Grandma made green eggs for them.
Abigail and Carter playing with the dollhouses in Grandma's closet. Abigail was very happy to be old enough to join this big kid tradition.

We also celebrated Aunt Joanna's birthday by going to Kitaro Japanese steakhouse. Very fun--and Joanna did a great birthday dance (which I will keep my promise not to post the video I took) during the drums and singing.

Abigail's third bowl of soup!

It really is fun to see the chef cook the food on a blazing fire, but it can be a little scary for a two-year-old. She actually did okay with the blazing fire, but she lost it when the chef started flipping shrimp into people's mouths.  Abigail watched as he tossed out shrimp and Grandma, Aunt Joanna, Joseph, etc. tried to catch it. All of a sudden she started sobbing, hysterically. I took her in the other room--checking to see if she'd bitten her tongue or hurt herself. When she finally calmed enough that I could get her to speak she told me she didn't want him to throw a shrimp in her mouth.  I explained that she could choose; each person could choose and the chef would listen.  Poor child was so scared!

Anna was with us, too. All of the waitresses from the other room gathered and were admiring Anna. We get that a lot. Cute, Gerber baby.

March 12, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

More Birthday Fun

Joseph wanted to go to Missouri for his birthday this year. So after some flight changes due to a much anticipated, but never arriving snowstorm, we made it to St. Louis.

Grandma & Grandpa had a big family birthday party for Joseph. What a crowd--we counted over seventeen people. Grandparents, aunts & uncles, and cousins galore!

Grandma made this special Lightning McQueen cake for Joseph--topped with real toy cars (that he has since carried in his backpack everywhere he goes).




After dinner, cake, and presents...GAME TIME!  What a fun celebration of our Joseph! Thank you Grandma!
March 11, 2013

P.S. You might notice that Joseph is not wearing his glasses. He broke them on our first day there. He and Abigail also both got strep throat. It was quite a trip!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Four Months



Anna is the picture of baby perfection! She is happy and sweet, she loves to smile. She holds tight to my finger while she nurses. She is even a snuggler--she will let me just sit and hold her in the rocking chair as we watch the world go on around us.  Her whole face lights up when she smiles.  I think she even has some dimples, but hard to tell with those delicious cheeks!

Anna is a major spit-up baby. Basically, I've decided to forget burp cloths and just consider my clothes the cloth because it seems she always hits my clothes no matter how many other cloths I'm using.  Luckily, it doesn't seem like her tummy is upset, though.

She is following suit of her siblings in the sleep department (or maybe just my terrible sleep teaching). At any rate, she wakes every couple hours all night, only to be soothed by nursing back to sleep.  Tomorrow we are headed to Missouri (her first plane trip!) and I'm hoping that our previous successes with sleep at my mom's house will continue this time! 

Anna has also outgrown swaddling. We still try, but she can break free so it doesn't work too well. She is also almost rolling over--back to front. She leans her head back and halfway turns her body over. Tonight will be her last night in the bassinet. She's done a few hours here and there in the crib, but after we return from our trip, she will definitely be too big for the bassinet (she really is already, to tell the truth). 

Anna is a joy for all of us. Joseph adores her and is sad that he has to spend so much time at school away from Anna. Abigail also adores her. She doesn't seem jealous at all, but just really loves being a big sister--bringing a clean diaper, annoucing that Anna has spit up, singing Anna a song, making her smile, and saying hi to her. 

Anna rewards us all with smiles and giggles, and sometimes full-on laughs. She is ticklish and likes to have us play with her. It is fun to just sit and smile and hold her--snuggling her round, soft face. 

Anna has decided that she prefers being outward facing in the Bjorn, technically a little earlier than I'm supposed to do that. But, I think she is bored facing inward. If fussy and I turn her outward, she immediately cheers and begins soaking up all around her (and of course, as another social baby, smiling at everyone around her and making friends). We've started taking Anna on some outings this month, and she seems quite content. She cat naps in the car, and will still conk out in the Bjorn (which I love--nothing like a sweet baby sleeping on you).

She still has her chubby cheeks, that almost look like they will drip right off her face! So, so cute. She's growing, too. I've gone through and cleared out the 0-3 month clothing and pulled out the 3-6 months ones!  I guess we'll start putting her in "outfits" and not just sleepers. Truth is, I'm a sucker for a baby in a snuggly sleeper.

We love our Anna.

March 9, 2013

Friday, March 08, 2013

Building Museum


On one of Joseph's days off for parent-teacher conference, we went back to the National Building Museum since we had missed the exhibits when Grandma and Grandpa were in town. We went to the Building Zone as well as the "Play Work Build" exhibit--and the kids had a ball.




There was also a motion sensored video wall that Abigail loved running in front of--and squealing, and jumping. Constant motion, that girl. Also constant chatter. She struck up a conversation with one of the staff members--telling her all about "Taco Tuesday."

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Allergic!

I got to take an ambulance ride. All the neighbors were wondering what was up with the new family.  I had an allergic reaction, and the Kaiser nurse insisted I take an ambulance. She said, "I can hear you have a baby in the background. This is life threatening and you need to be there to raise that baby." Yikes, okay. I'll take the ambulance. Thanks to Aunt Rachel for dropping everything to come over and watch the kids (Joseph was later disappointed he slept through all of the excitement).

After a visit to an allergist and specialized testing, we still don't know what caused it. I've got an epi pen now, just in case.

Here I am in the ER. My whole face--and throat were swelling! It took days for all of the swelling to entirely go down.

 March 3, 2013

Monday, March 04, 2013

Seven-Year-Old Celebrations

Joseph turned 7!  He was thrilled to make frosted sugar cookies to take to his class. The "7" on each cookie was enough to just make him burst with excitement, and elicit a huge hug and, "Mom, thank you sooooo much. You are the best mom ever!"  It is fun to make your kids happy--luckily, sometimes it doesn't take much.                                              


 Joseph danced in delight at the birthday decorations awaiting him when he awoke, courtesy of Aunt Rachel and Aunt Elizabeth.




School celebration:  Dad, Mom, Abigail & Anna all converged on Joseph's 1st grade classroom for singing and cookies.



Birthday Dinner at our house with special guests: Grandma Donna, Grandpa Lincoln, Aunt Rachel, and Aunt Elizabeth






We went around the table and each said something we love about Joseph. He was positively glowing by the end. This might be my all time favorite tradition.  There are so many things to love about Joseph. One of which is that seven-years-old is not too old to spontaneously climb on my lap, give me a hug, ask me to lay by him at night, or want to be around me all the time.


The birthday cake:  a dirt cake in a dump truck. He was especially pleased with the gummy worms on top.


Abigail belting out "Happy Birthday" to her best big brother!

What a great day!

This seven-year-old loves his baseball team this spring. He is on the Rays team this year, and the boys have improved significantly since last year's tee-ball season. I mean, they don't all run after the ball regardless of their position.  When the coach promised an ice cream party if they made a double play, I thought it was a fun dream. But they did it!!! I'm not sure they got a single out last season! And this year, a double play!

I was dropping him off for school on "Sports Day," when he got to wear his jersey and hat to school, and it was raining. I looked out the car window and watched him cradle his Rays hat in his arms so it wouldn't get wet. No matter about his head.

Joseph will play baseball with any willing partner and will play basketball for hours by himself in the driveway with the Little Tykes hoop, which is surprising really useful for his age.

He loves to be with Anna, sometimes doing his homework on the floor by her--which she, as an incredibly social baby, loves.  He also is a great big brother to Abigail. He loves to tease her and make her squeal (and I'm afraid she enjoys the squealing and chasing around the house too). But he also would do do anything to help her.  One day, she needed something, and I was nursing Anna. She turned to Joseph and sincerely asked him to help her. He did and then came over to me and told me in a surprised voice how much she really needed and trusted him. It was sweet--and more powerful than what I'd been trying to tell him.

He also loves to read--and usually has four books going at once. He doesn't like doing math homework, and he has some big complaints about school. But, he does well and has lots of friends. At parent teacher conferences the week of his birthday, his teacher thanked me for sharing him with her. I'm glad she understands how lucky she is! We are all so lucky to have Joseph in our lives.

March 4, 2013