Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Author

Since David discovered the joys of writing, his works have been rather prolific.  I think we've almost gone through a whole pack of computer paper and of course each drawing is precious and he wants to keep them all.  I had a sudden inspiration as I stared at the growing pile and considered hiding his colored pencils and instead handed him an extra blank moleskin journal I had on hand.  

I just wanted him to have something to keep all of his drawings contained, but he did me one better and announced that it was his "chapter book" and we needed to fill it up with his stories.  He dictates the stories to me to write down (usually hilarious!) and then he illustrates them.  Since he has pretty much completely given up napping, we've been using that time to work on his book which has been good for him I think.  He has desperately needed some special time of his own with my undivided attention--well as long as the baby is napping anyway.   

When I was younger and working as a nanny I used to do this with my little four year old charge all the time so I'm surprised that I didn't think of it first.  It's funny how much better I was at taking care of kids when I got to go back to my own house afterwards and get a full nights sleep....

He is so excited about his "chapter book" that he begs to take it everywhere to show pretty much anyone who will pay attention.  He's so proud of himself!

PS these are the best colored pencils ever for early writers! They're short with a bit of a triangle grip (so they don't roll away!) and they color beautifully--I'm pretty sure I'm going to chuck out our sad Crayola ones since no one wants to use them anymore after experiencing these lovelies :)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Weekend in Fabric and Wood....and PVC Pipe.....

We had a pretty productive first-weekend-alone-without-family-since-the-baby-arrived.  

I'm not sure if it's just postpartum hormones or the fact that I finally feel like I have energy again, but on Saturday morning I had a sudden and uncontrollable desire to go yard sale-ing so we spent the day driving around the yacht club side of town with the windows down.  Needless to say, we felt super fancy....and I scored some great stuff--super cheap baskets for Easter and baby toy storage, a picture frame to add the little man to our wall-o-pictures and some ridiculously nice pinch pleated curtains for $5 which were clearly custom made.  I currently have one panel of the new curtains and one panel of my old green curtains hanging up in the living room since I can't decide between the two.  It's an interesting look but I think I should probably choose one or the other before the baptism and following party next weekend lest we become the mismatched curtain talk of the base.

I also swung by a local fabric store that I've wanted to visit since we moved here but couldn't because I always have little boys in tow who--shocker--don't particularly want to go with mommy to the fabric store for no apparent reason and with no goal in mind.  They happened to be having a ridiculous sale going on and two trailers in the back with tons of bolts of high end upholstery fabric in every color/pattern imaginable all for three dollars a yard.

When I got home I realized that I am a super boring fabric picker outer.  Hello, my name's Cristina and if I'm not buying beige fabric I'm buying blue.

We also made our weekly trip to the riverfront with our trusty red wagon to check for washed up treasures and found this two hundred pound beauty.....

I call it landscaping with nature treasures.

And since we were working on the back yard I figured why not go crazy and put in a rope swing while we were at it?  Technically we aren't supposed to attach anything to the trees here on base but no one seems to be abiding by the child play structure rules around here so we aren't either....come to think of it, there are probably rules about dragging giant logs from the river into the yard too.....

And since we had to go to Lowe's to get rope anyway I figured we should grab some flowers.....

.....and some PVC pipe to attach to the other giant log we dragged in from the river.  I saw an idea for making a similar contraption here.  Chris and the boys assembled ours this afternoon.  It took a lot of tweaking and finagling to get the pipes lined up right so things, you know, poured down and didn't stick, but that's part of the fun of building things with dad!  Now, the boys are having a lot of fun dumping sand, rocks and water through their version.


Of course little man was on scene to supervise all of the projects that he is yet too young to enjoy......

Looking at this picture, I'm hoping my hair didn't look this sad at mass this morning......oh well, here's some cute scrunched up baby face to distract from my hair disaster.......

the end.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mother of the Year

Have you ever sent your preschooler to "rest time" with some paper and a colored pencil only to find out upon his reemergence that he has apparently taught himself to write his own name from memory with no help from you whatsoever?  No, just me?

I had no idea he could do this.  I've never once sat down and tried to teach him to write his letters or even to copy anything.  I don't know if that means that I'm a horrible parent or that my laid back preschool at home program consisting mostly of sending the boys outside to play in the dirt--i.e. nature study--and giving them free access to all their art materials (except for the paint--I'm not crazy) is really working for him.

Now if he'll just teach himself to read we'll be all set :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ingenious Valentine's Day Crafting

Okay, ingenious is probably a bit of a stretch.   

On Valentine's Day morning, after David sent the flowers on the kitchen table flying, but before I had completely given up the will to parent and parked the kids in front of a movie (thereby lasting a whopping zero days in our family's Lenton resolution to stop watching television) I found myself picking up the pile of petals left in the wake of the disaster and having a Valentine's inspiration--well probably more of a pinspiration since I was really just remembering several similar crafts I'd seen on Pinterest.......Anyway--I had petals, I had some laminating sheets and I had some string so we got busy..........

It was David's idea to make butterflies.....his turned out a little more special than mine--he said it was because he was making his into crazy butterflies.......

I know, I know, you're wondering how on earth I can find time for such mind blowing craftiness with a newborn in the house?  Well, I'll tell you my secret--first you have to have someone staying with you that likes to cook and clean and entertain your other children (thanks grandma!) and second you need to have a baby that pretty much does this all day......

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Brotherly Love

Henry:  "Mom!  If you squeeze the baby it makes noises!"--cue maniacal Henry laugh.......

I think I'm in trouble.......

Friday, February 15, 2013

Two Weeks....Almost

We went in for John Michael's two week appointment this morning, to which I say--really?  He is getting so big, I just want to spend all my time snuggling him before this sweet, sleep all day newborn phase is over.

He's already 9 lbs 8 oz which I think is pretty impressive since he was down in the 7 lb range at his two day visit.

Are you ready for his first mamarazzi attack?  Brace yourself.

Are you impressed with my baby photography skills?  I have about fifty blurry pictures to go along with these in-focus ones......

I fully intended to learn how to take my camera out of auto and become a real grown up photographer before the little man arrived.  I even searched out and found the perfect book to teach me everything I need to know.  I never did work up the energy to go through it and teach myself while I was pregnant though, and every time I opened it up I fell into such a confused muddle I would put it away for a better time--because now that I have an actual baby I'll have so much more time to learn......I think what I need is for someone to just sit down and teach me how to work my camera *hint* *hint* aunt Kate who needs to come to Florida for a visit......

Monday, February 11, 2013

When Daddy's Home

Sand tables will be flooded and castles will be built.

Moles will be found and examined.

And best of all, little boys will have their daddy there to build whatever their little imaginations dream up.  In this case I believe it began as a "machine to chop down grass and scoop up poop" but in the end turned out to be a train and/or boat with movable brake levers and/or oars--depending on who's driving.  Oh, and also a bit of a teeter totter.

I love that I have a husband who will stop what he's doing (and disassemble his beloved raccoon platform to provide spare wood) just so that he could work together with our boys on a project that might not have seemed very important but gave them such a sense of pride and accomplishment in a job well done.    

I'm sure one day this little man will be only too happy to join in with his brothers on similar adventures with daddy.  In the meantime he's content to just sit outside with his pensive face on.

And his regular old adorable face.....

It's been so wonderful to have Chris home on paternity leave.  I keep thinking that adding a third little one into the picture hasn't made things more difficult at all.....then I remember that I've only been taking care of the baby while Chris handles everything else--playing with the children, bringing me water, making me take my vitamins and pain meds, and taking the baby in the morning so I can sleep an extra couple of hours.  That all ends tomorrow, so......I wouldn't turn down any prayers you may want to send my way.......mostly for the safety of the baby once his brothers don't have dad around all day to distract them from their quest to find out who can shake the bouncer seat the most vigorously while the baby's asleep in it.......


It's fun to film the children when they don't realize that you're watching them.  I wish he was this thorough when cleaning up after himself inside the house........

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Little Cuteness....A Little Complaining....

I know, I know.....I should be taking more pictures of the little man, but who has time for pictures when you're so busy snuggling and smelling that sweet new baby smell? 

Isn't he precious?   He's always sucking in his little chin like that :)  

While I've been convalescing on the couch I've spent my time ever so prudently and have managed to go on a TV bender watching all four seasons of Lark Rise to Candleford while other people took care of the older boys/house cleaning/cooking/etc......don't judge me, my uterus still hurts........

Would you allow me to be indignant about something everyone else has long since gotten over being indignant about?  I guess that's the problem with being at least two years behind in all things television related.  For some reason Chris didn't share my love of this show, which is pretty much the British equivalent of Little House on the Prairie, so he isn't interested in listening to me vent.

Apparently the show was canceled in the fourth season and the loose ends were tied up quickly and really rather poorly in a mere half season.  There were disappearing characters--really, what happened to Nan?  And actors that left the show to pursue bigger and better things leaving giant holes in our hearts, come on Bates, Downton Abbey is fine and all but you were Laura's pa, er....pawr.......clearly I can't spell "pa" with and English accent......There should be some kind of rule about making really good shows and then getting rid of them before actually finishing telling their story.

I know little man, it's too horrible to even think about any more......

Once I watched the final episode I almost broke down in tears at the awfulness of it all.....of course that could also have been my postpartum hormones rearing up.

Well, my lovely mother-in-law got me a copy of the book the series was based on so maybe that will give me some kind of closure.........Did anyone else watch this series, or am I not only woefully behind the television times but also incredible uncool?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Bit of a Birth Story

We are happy to announce that little John Michael finally made his appearance in the world early Saturday morning!

Like 3:22 am early :)

I ended up not doing the epidural this go round and it really wasn't that bad at all...until I hit eight centimeters that is, at which point I wanted to die.  Luckily for me my body knew exactly how much pain I can actually tolerate--which apparently is not too terribly much--and it was only fifteen minutes and five contractions from wanting to die to holding my precious little bundle in my arms.  I informed the doctors that I needed to push, they told me to wait, I disregarded their wishes and calmly let them know that I would be delivering my baby right then regardless of whether or not they were ready....or I screamed at them to "get.him.out!"'s hard to remember exactly.........

Really the whole delivery was perfect and everything went according to plan until I heard the words that no mom who has just delivered a baby without the benefits of an epidural in place wants to hear......"wow, these pieces of your placenta are really adhered to the top of your uterus...."  I'm not sure if I'll be brave enough to risk another delivery without an epidural just to ensure that I never have to experience the joys of another manual placental extraction ever, ever, ever again.

He was worth it though.

Everyone wants to know if he looks more like David or more like Henry.  This is clearly a trick question since they were pretty much indistinguishable from each other at birth aside from their hair.  I think little John is following in his big brothers' footsteps and joined their club of look-a-like babies.  
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