Monday, April 26, 2010

Oh no!

Somehow, in posting the 8 month post, I accidentally deleted Max’s 7 month post.  I don’t suppose anyone saved that post for any odd reason – grandparents?  Please?  can you rescue me?  I’m so mad at myself! :(

8 Months

Hey Little Bug,

Know what I like best about you?  Your quick smile!  You so readily smile for just about anyone, and your grins are absolutely contagious.  A smile on your face brightens my day!
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When we’re out shopping or eating in a restaurant, some stranger almost always comments on your bright smile.  I have a feeling you’re going to be more social than your big brother!

Alex had a quiet personality, absorbing everything around him with a serious face.  You have wide eyes, taking it all in with a smile on your face.  It will be interesting to see how your personality takes shape as you grow, sweet boy.  (Not that you’re allowed to grow anymore!)

You’re very much a Mama’s boy right now.  Everyone else can have smiles, and they might even be allowed to hold you for a while…but before long, those little arms are held out or you are leaning over to get back to your mommy.  (And, truth be told, I love it!  Before long, you’ll be off & running, and Mama won’t be so important to you.  I’ll soak it up while it lasts!)

You love to check out new things – jewelry, hair, textures, toys – you love to get your hands on all of it.  Your mouth, too, of course!

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You’ve decided that Puffs are THE GREATEST!  I love to watch you pick up Puffs, bring them to your mouth, and then forget to let go!  It takes you forever to get a Puff in your mouth, but thankfully, you have a big brother who LOVES to help you eat them (as long as he can eat a few, too…)! 

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You like to try very small bits of what Mama is eating.  Some days you like baby food; some days you don’t.  If it’s green, chances are you won’t allow more than two spoonfuls into your mouth.  If it’s orange, it stands a pretty good chance of making it in.  If it’s pear or apple-based…yum!  We’ll have to try teething biscuits soon & see how you do with those.

Cups are still not a big hit, but you love to sample your brother’s cup & see what he’s drinking.  You also love to teethe on the spout.

Speaking of teeth, you still have the same two bottom teeth.  That’s all.  There’s no sign of any new teeth poking through any time soon, and that’s fine by me!  (Your favorite teething ring is fingers, ouch!)

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You’ve been doing a lot of this at dinnertime lately.  Perhaps you should take a slightly longer afternoon nap, as 6 PM isn’t bedtime! April2010 218 You’re up around 7 AM, nap for about an hour each morning, and then for about 2 hours each afternoon.  I love that your nap usually coincides with Alex’s nap, giving Mama an hour to herself while Alex sleeps.  Since you’re still up once (sometimes twice…) a night, it’s nice to get a little “downtime” during the day!

Bathtime starts between 7/7:30, depending on…well…our activities or Mama’s mood! ;)  You’re in bed by about 8 PM every night.  We just switched you to sitting up on your own in the big tub with Alex – no more baby seat!  I think both you & Alex are enjoying that!

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Your first experience with swimming didn’t go over so well.  It turns out you do NOT like getting that lukewarm water on your legs, and it takes you a long time to get used to it.  You looked awfully cute, though…

April2010 224 You love to explore toys…you love to play with this V-tech toy that you got for Christmas…you love just digging through the basket of random baby toys in the playroom…and you absolutely adore playing with the little plastic discs from Arby’s that we keep by your highchair!

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You got to meet Sara this month.  I think you liked her :)

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You stayed in a hotel for the first time, when we took a family trip to Key Lime Cove.  If I remember correctly, you slept far better than your brother did on his first hotel stay.  You didn’t like the thin pack n play mattress, though.  You’d be asleep in my arms, but the second I laid you in the travel bed, you’d just scream!  On the night we returned home, I laid you in your crib, and you spread out your arms, gave a big contented sigh, and went right to sleep. April2010 299

You’re still not crawling.  You still don’t use rolling as a method of getting where you want to go.  Really, you’re just content to stay where you are.  You play quietly on your own, but you definitely enjoy when someone sits to play with you! April2010 301 You’re patient, but you have your limits.  Eventually, you get bored with where you’re at, you demand some attention, and you just want to be held and loved.  And since you’re such a sweetie, I’m usually happy to oblige! ;)

Evenings are still somewhat cranky times.  You’re tired, you have to make it through dinner, and you are sooo ready for bed by the time bath time is over….which is when Daddy spends a little time with you while Mama gets Alex in bed.  Daddy doesn’t see your happy, babbling cute side very often…and it’s a shame.  

We love you SO much, Maxwell!  I know I say it all too often, but we are BLESSED to have you in our family.

Love ya bunches,


P.S. – Just for the record, you’ve not been napping well for the past few days, which has made you cranky in the evenings…and we’ve had to give you an early evening nap, which means you’re up later at night.  No rest for the weary parents here!  Your afternoon nap is about an hour, and last night you were awake from 11:15  PM – 1:15 AM.  Mama woke you at 7:30 AM, hoping to get you back on track today.  You’ve now been sleeping for an hour and forty five minutes, so maybe we’re getting back to normal?  A mama can hope!


Belated, random snapshots of Easter at the grandparents’ houses :)

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tot School – 27 Months

Alex has a cold, and he’s been going back and forth between overly-energetic and g-r-o-u-c-h-y.  Tot School was not on his agenda this week.  When I asked him to pick an activity from his shelf one morning, Alex (rather angrily…) replied, “Mom, I will run away from Tot School!”  (This is my normally cooperative, usually sweet child.  Whoa.)

So much for cute little fish, paper bowl crab, and a paper plate aquarium scene.  He wanted nothing to do with it.  So, I went with the flow…and hope that next week will be a bit better!

Early in the week, Alex chose to sit & sort his chips by color.  (The little colored containers came from an Easter egg decorating kit, but they just screamed out to me, “Save me for Tot School!”)  Alex kept saying, “I will choose (color name) next.”  Then he’d pick up that color and put it in the correct cup.April2010 310

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He grudgingly matched fish and numbers…the fish are from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  We checked out a Winnie The Pooh Counting DVD from the library, and he’s enjoyed watching that a few times. 

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He hopped like a frog.  By choice.  For a long time.  At least it kept him busy, right? And his diaper matched his animal of choice…

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He tolerated the Five Little Fish activity from Childcareland.

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He “read” Swimmy to himself.  Never mind he’d never heard the story before.  He refused to let me read it, and insisted he’d tell himself the story.  He did let me read Curious George Goes to the Aquarium, which we picked up at the library...and read the same ten books that we read together over and over every week.  I’m glad he loves books, and I know the importance of repetition! 

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He spent a LOT of time with his Melissa & Doug hinges puzzle.  Note the change of clothes…it was played with every day this week!

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He worked on the tractor sticker book that he cutely conned his Grandma P into buying for him.  (Naughty boy!  He walked right up to her in Borders and said, “Grandma, I need this!”  Thank you, Grandma.)

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I helped him find the right stickers, and he…uh…put them in the right (?!) places.

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We also spent a LOT of time watching the backhoe putting in the septic at the new house across the street, driving his toy tractor around the front yard, push-mowing the front porch with his lawn mower, and playing in the driveway with his neighbor friend, Calvin, who stopped by one morning.

Next week is supposed to be P is for Pizza.  I’m sure that I saved a post that was on a Tot School blog a while back, but it’s gone AWOL.  If you posted a pizza week in the past few months, or if you remember who did, could you PLEASE let me know?  I’d really appreciate it!

Friday, April 23, 2010

I “base-ing”, Mom.

I thought I’d squeeze in a quick phone call after dinner on Thursday night…when Keith wasn’t home. Uh, what was I thinking?!

Alex was in a MOOD, and I knew he’d scream if I stopped him. I didn’t really want to do that in the middle of a somewhat-important phone call, so I stood nearby and let it happen.April2010 331

While I talked, Alex used the leftovers from dinner and a bowl of soapy water to concoct some sort of marvelous recipe which he then fed to the front of his shirt.

Then he proceeded to use the spatula like a baseball bat, flinging a wet brownie batter/ barbecue sauce/ mashed potato/ soap bubble concoction all around the kitchen. There are splatters on my refrigerator to prove this. He had a big grin on his face, and he said, “I base-ing, Mom!”. (“Base-ing” is Alex-speak for playing baseball.)

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Notice the tails of his onesie hanging out of his shirt? I didn’t. And I wondered why everyone was doing a double-take and grinning at him in the grocery store before dinner. Now I know…

If you’d had any random thoughts of giving me the Mother of the Year award, take it back. ;)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day 2010

Just like the past 2 years, here’s the annual Earth Day post…most of you won’t care; this is really just for me to remember what we do! :)

If you’re curious, here’s what I wrote in 2009 and 2008. It’s not very exciting, so don’t feel some pressing need to go check out those posts, ha ha!

So, I’m still aiming for that tricky blend between frugal & environmentally friendly. Here’s where we’re at this year, and it’s not much different from last year…

Baby Soaps: I could SURE use some help in this category! Oh, my poor eczema-covered children. :( Burt’s Bees is good for Alex, but the boys bathe together, and it makes Max break out. We’re experimenting. It seems like Aveeno is all right (but not totally natural), Gentle Naturals is so-so (and not entirely natural, despite the name), and I just bought a new one to try…can’t remember what it’s called, but it’s much more natural!). This is definitely not a category for being frugal – not when my boys are blotchy and uncomfortable :( I tried coconut oil as a moisturizer, but it didn’t make a difference. I’m trying to avoid desonide/steroid cream, but sometimes that’s all that will work. If anyone has any suggestions that don’t cost an arm & a leg, let me know!

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Cloth Diapers – Bum Genius 3.0s would be my favorite, except the velcro is wearing out, and Alex can “escape” from his diapers. My second favorite is the Bum Genius Flip diaper. These are snap diapers, not quite as “user-friendly”, but still plenty easy to use...and cheaper! I’m probably using cloth at 7 out of 10 diaper changes right now. (We have yet to buy an expensive disposable swim diaper. Old, unstuffed FuzziBunz snap-on diapers are perfect for this!)

Cloth Wipes – Absolutely love them! Dr. Brewer (our pediatrician) even gave us some new ones as a gift when Max was born. How sweet is that? I use them as baby wipes (of course…), but we also use them as baby washcloths, mini spit rags, and extra-soft nose wiping cloths. (, search for Kate Danzer/Eli’s Wipe-Es)

Dishsoaps: Palmolive Free & Clear, 7th Generation, or Meijer Naturals

Laundry Detergent: Planet detergent for diapers, Purex Natural or Arm & Hammer Essentials for clothes (and Arm & Hammer dryer sheets)

General Cleaning: Still LOVING Advanage cleaner – thank you, Deb! That stuff can clean just about anything from countertops to windows to carpet stains! (Although Windex does a MUCH better job on getting hairspray spots off of bathroom mirrors…)They just had some sales that scored me some free 7th Generation and Greenworks products, so I have some of those in the cabinet, too.

Toilet: Clorox Greenworks or (if we’re out) a quick squirt of cheap shampoo or bodywash that I’ve picked up for free at CVS.

Paper Towels: I try to use our cloth towels as much as possible, but some things just require a paper towel…and it’s usually CVS recycled paper towels. (Meijer stopped carrying Sunrise)

Paper Plates & Ziploc Bags: We have paper plates in the house….for crafts. Other than that, paper plates are for themed birthday parties! If I can get Ziploc bags for dirt-cheap, I’ll buy some & use them sparingly. If we don’t have any, well…that’s what Rubbermaid & Tupperware are for!

Gardening - I may try planting tomatoes again this year for Alex’s sake, as I know he’d love to help water & pick tomatoes. I’m so pathetic at it, though. He’ll have to be the gardener of the family if anything’s going to grow here! ;)

Recycling – We switched garbage services this year, so now we have to bring our recycling to the recycling center on our own. It’s kind of neat, as it gives Alex a way to see where our recycling goes. I usually procrastinate & let the recycling pile up until it fills the ENTIRE back of my vehicle! Bad habits are hard to break ;) Hopefully Alex will be big enough next year for recycled art projects! I soooo look forward to that!

Still trying to incorporate two things into every day, but not always succeeding:

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”


"The greenest products are the ones you don't buy."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Key Lime Cove

Keith’s work load has been…well…OVERload lately.  With 9 hours days and an hour commute each way, he’s only able to see the boys for about 2 hours each day…including dinner & bathtime.  What fun is that?

He’s been saying for a while that we need to get away.  We finally did it, and we’re so glad!  I found a sub for our commitments at church, Keith arranged to work a half day on Friday, Grandma & Papa took our dog, and there just happened to be a few empty rooms left at Key Lime Cove.April2010 243

Honestly, EVERYTHING fell into place this weekend.  We had NO traffic issues…even with driving through Chicago, where there’s always a delay.  The boys were angels in the car.  Our room was ready when we arrived earlier than scheduled.  They had toddler bedrails to hold wriggly Alex in the big bed.  Alex had a coupon for a free kid’s meal at Rainforest Cafe – where we planned to eat - handed to him unexpectedly.  Really, everything about this weekend was as close to perfect as it gets with 2 small children. (Other than running out of baby wipes.  Don’t ask.)

Both boys slept decently at night.  Alex kept popping his head up over the rails when we put him to bed.  He was excited about the big bed, about sleeping in the same room as Mommy & Daddy, and just having a hard time winding down.  Max didn’t care for sleeping on the thin mattress of the pack n play, so he had to be “re-settled” a few times each night, but there were no screams or sleepless nights. 

We told Alex about the trip on Thursday, and he was very excited about “go to watuhpahk and swim in vewwy wome watuh”.  I think it was everything he expected! :)April2010 225

Max’s smile is misleading.  He hated the water at first.  He allowed no part of himself to get wet, and he screamed if he did.  It got better, but he still took a long time to get used to that wet stuff! April2010 224They have a great kids play room just outside the water park entrance.  Both boys had fun in here!
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Alex drove his tractors along the rock walls in the water park…we were just relaxing & watching the wave pool at this time.

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We kept breakfast and lunch cheap by eating poptarts and pb & j (well, jelly & raisin “ladybug sandwiches” for Alex) in our hotel room.  April2010 250

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Daddy got the most smiles out of Max in the kiddy pools.  It sure took a LONG time to get Max used to that water!

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My friend Sara lives in Wisconsin, only about 35 minutes from Key Lime Cove.  (She & I used to teach at the same school, and she still teaches there.)  I called her to see if she could come join us for a while, and she spent Saturday afternoon & evening with us.  It was so good to catch up with her…and to hear Alex say “Miss Sewwa”.

Keith took off for a bit to hit the grown-up slides.  Later, Sara & I left Keith with both kids while we went on a couple of waterslides.  I’m sure her highlight of the trip was going backwards down the toilet bowl slide, ha ha! ;) 

After 2 slides, I could hear Max just SCREAMING. (Pretty bad when you can hear him from the other side of the incredibly noisy park!)  Walking back to Keith, I saw that he had a sleeping Alex in one arm & a screaming Max in the other.  Poor Daddy!

This was the picture about 15 minutes later – 2 little boys taking their naps while Mama & Daddy let the waves of the wavepool splash our feet.  Oh, and don’t let Keith’s smile fool you – his arm is entirely numb and he’s not having any fun.  Really.April2010 260(One thing about last minute trips – you suddenly discover that your bathing suit – which you haven’t worn since 2008 – does NOT fit after having a second child.  You’re left with only one option – wear your maternity suit.  Oops!)

At 3 PM, they offered make your own sundaes for free, so we all enjoyed some yummy ice cream! April2010 264

Back in our room – Sara and the boys hanging out…

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We headed to Gurnee Mills for dinner at Rainforest Cafe.  Before dinner, we popped over to Serpent Safari to look at their animals.  Here’s Alex checking out the snakes…

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Guess there was no place to mention – there was a Serpent Safari booth at the hotel, and Alex got to pet an albino python on Friday night.  He was so excited; he went running back to Daddy & Max saying, “I touch snake!”  (It would have cost $8 for a picture, and it just wasn’t worth it.)  He got a free kids meal at Rainforest Cafe for being brave enough to touch the snake!

Here we are at Rainforest Cafe.  He’s making faces at Sara.  (Sara, who saved the day by rearranging our table to fit Max’s stroller in the crowded restaurant.  Thank you, Sara!)  Daddy took Alex around the restaurant to check out all the animals.  Alex wasn’t quite as impressed as I thought he’d be, but he still seemed to have fun. 

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We wandered the mall for a little while, ending up at Bass Pro Shop where Alex had to check out the “foh weewuhs” (four wheelers)..and the boats and the fishies, too.  April2010 278 April2010 280

After saying goodbye to Sara, we splurged on ice cream before bed.  Ice cream twice in one day?  Yep, it’s vacation!April2010 294Alex was totally amazed by our digital room safe.  He played with this thing all through the weekend. April2010 295

a snuggly moment for Daddy & Max

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Alex started off very hesitantly going down the kiddy waterslides with one parent at the top to get him started, and another parent at the bottom to catch him.  By Sunday morning, he was running independently to the top and landing on his own two feet at the bottom.  True to his hesitant nature in groups, though, he almost always let all the other kids go first before he’d slide down. 

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We found a nearby church with an 11 AM service, so we visited a new church on Sunday (after one last quick trip to the water park).  I think we all enjoyed it!  When I got called out to feed Max, I peeked in on Alex in his classroom.  I’d been a little concerned that he’d be scared in a new place, but he loved it!  (It probably didn’t hurt that they had a train table in the 2 year old classroom!) He was happily listening to a Bible story, and then he willingly sat down at the table for a snack and craft.  He proudly held his little boat while he slept on the way home.

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Even with 2 small children, it was a worthwhile trip!  I admit, having Sara around made it easier…we’re grateful!  I invited her because I really wanted to see her, simple as that.  But I’m very thankful that she was able to lend a hand with the boys, too. Thanks, Sara!  It was great to see you!

I have 2 videos, but the post won’t load with the videos.  I’ll try posting those separately…