Monday, December 23, 2013

Kiddo Updates

Six years ago at this time, we were waiting for our first child to arrive.  Alexander Cole made his appearance on the day after Christmas; what a special Christmas present!  Life has been a whirlwind since then, with busy days, crazy days, fun days, and plenty of memories made.  We are so amazing blessed to have these three, sweet, wonderful gifts from God! 

36C  64C

I used to do a pretty good job of regular posts  about who our children are, what they love, and really highlighting their personalities.  I haven’t done a great job in the past year or two of updating in this way, and it’s about time that I make an effort to do so!  So, along with sharing their Christmas photos, I’ll share a little about WHO our kiddos are at 6, 4, and 2.  (I may come back and edit this post; it’s been written over the past 1.5 weeks, and I just am not sure I have everything here that I want to have in this post.  It’s hard to get it all out of my brain & on to the screen.  So as things pop into my head, I will try to add to this post.)

Jensyn Kate
2 years, 8 months


Oh, this sweet little one…what a JOY and a blessing it is to have a little girl in our family! 

She very obviously has two big brothers, as she has no fear, enjoys playing with trains and cars, knows the names of all the Mario Kart characters, and can be pretty tough when she needs to be.  She can SCREAM to get her way or to keep her brothers from bothering her.

She is also very much a girl, though, and we love it!  She loves to sit and color with markers or crayons.  She loves pink.  She loves sparkly.  She loves dressing in tutus and rainbows.  She loves to have her hair in pigtails or choose the perfect hair bow to match her outfit.  (Although, I must admit that HER definition of ‘match’ and my definition of ‘match’ aren’t always the same!)

She has the craziest hair!  When it’s damp, it has beautiful ringlets.  When it’s dry, it’s frizzy and flyaway and WILD!  I have to spray it with water & scrunch it with a little gel to get it to cooperate.  This works for about half the day.  And then she takes a nap.    And then…YIKES!  Eventually it will be better, but we’re going through quite the crazy hair phase right now.

She loves her baby dolls.  She takes a baby doll almost everywhere she goes.  Lately, she’s been wrapping them in a blanket before we go anywhere.  She says, “My baby needs to be warm and cozy!”

She is completely fascinated with princesses.  She currently has an obsession with Cinderella and Princess Sofia.  If you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she’ll usually tell you that she is going to be a princess.

Yes, she is speaking in full sentences…and paragraphs…and non-stop!  She is able to communicate pretty much anything she wants us to know.

One of her favorite phrases right now is, “Isn’t that funny?”  I hear it all throughout the day.    I also hear, “Max pushed me!” quite a lot, too.  I’m not sure if she’s a tattle-tale or if Max is really pushing her that often.

Although she is a big talker, she also is very quiet around people she doesn’t know so well.  Unless you live in our house, you probably wouldn’t realize what a big talker she is!  At church or out & about, she tends to be a little shy at times.

Up until very recently, she has been a GREAT eater at mealtimes.  Lately, though, she’s developed a big sweet tooth.  She will try to eat as little as possible at mealtime, hoping to eat more snacks later.  We’re buckling down now, giving her small portions at dinner time, but insisting she eat everything on her plate before leaving the table.  It’s a lesson in obedience more than anything, and it’s making for some long mealtimes!

She loves to dance and sing.  She can’t stay in her seat through a whole meal, no matter how hard we try.  At some point in the meal, she’s standing in her chair, dancing and spinning and singing…or falling off of her chair because she’s dancing and spinning on it…

She recently ‘accidentally’ participated in the children’s choir at our church.  (I know, I know…how does this happen by accident?!)  The Love Notes Choir (kdg – 5th grade) were singing a song during the church service.  They practiced before church, and I accidentally left Jensyn in the worship center during practice.  I went back to get her when I realized it, and found she was standing on the stage practicing with the kids.   The director told me to just leave her, as Jensyn obviously was enjoying herself.  (She knew all the words to the song, as we’ve been listening to that CD in the car for months!)  When the church service began and the children went to sit in the front row, Jensyn followed Alex right up there.  She climbed right up in the lap of one of the leaders, and there she sat.  She REFUSED to come back to our seat with me, so they said to just let her participate.  She did.  She stood up front with the ‘big kids’, and she sang every word.

She loves music.  She loves to sit and look at a stack of books, making up her own stories and telling them aloud as she turns the pages.  She loves for us to read to her while she snuggles on our laps.  Her favorite books are Dora and Cinderella books, and she knows EXACTLY where to find the at our library.

She still loves sleep, and she still ASKS me for naps or bedtime on occasion.  We’re starting to see a little defiance for naptime as she is starting to realize that life continues for everyone else while she is napping.   She usually sleeps for 11 – 12 hours at night, and naps are still typically 2 – 3 hours.

At naptime and bedtime, she has a routine.  Mommy or Daddy (we take turns) snuggle together with Jensyn on her bed for a story, we say a prayer together, and then she lays down while Mommy or Daddy sing two songs.  It’s always the same two songs:  “I Love You Lord” and “Jesus Loves Me”.  It’s a very special treat when she sings along on occasion, and Keith and I both just love those sweet moments.

Waking up happens on JENSYN’S schedule.  If you hear her in the morning, she does NOT want you to get her out of bed.  She wants to stay in bed, look at books, and sing to herself until she’s ready to ‘face the day’.  If you go in her room, she will look at you and say, “Go away!  I not ready to be up yet!”

She still LOVES her pink bunny pillow pet.  She calls it “Piwwow”.  (I know, quite the creative name, ha ha!)  She sleeps with it for naps and bedtime.  She carries it around the house all day.  She runs to it for comfort when she is upset or scared.  She would like to take Pillow everywhere she goes, but we’re slowly trying to wean her of that.

She was VERY interested in potty training a few months back.  Of course, this time frame included our Disney trip, so Jensyn & I probably visited every bathroom at Disney World at her request.  She did GREAT for a few weeks after we came home, and I honestly thought she’d be trained in a few days because she had almost no accidents for a while.  Now the novelty has worn off.  It was becoming a bit of a fight, and she was having lots of accidents, so I’ve backed off a bit.  I still ask her to try throughout the day, but I’m not pushing hard.  We’ll try again in a few months.

Her favorite friend right now is Sophie.  Sophie is two, just a few months younger than Jensyn.  I recently got Jensyn some new socks from The Children’s Place website during their Cyber Monday sale.  When the package arrived in the mail, Jensyn helped me open it.  As soon as the package was opened, she grabbed a pair of socks from the package and shouted out, “JUST LIKE SOPHIE’S!!!!!!!!”   I must admit that I don’t think I have ever paid that much attention to another person’s socks.  Ever.  But Jensyn?  I think she could tell you everything Sophie has worn in her presence :)

On a related note, I’ll shorten a long story and just say that I said something to Alex about marrying Sophie some day.  (Not that we plan on it; I was just using it as an example…)  Jensyn heard me saying this and SCREAMED!   “NO, Awex CAN’T mawwy Sophie!  *I* will mawwy Sophie!”  Oh, was she angry!  She sure does love her Sophie!

Another of Jensyn’s great loves in life right now is BABIES.  The real, live variety.  It’s too bad we feel our family is complete, as this little girl would make an excellent big sister!  She points out the babies everywhere we go.  She loves to see babies, pat their heads, touch their toes, hug and kiss them…   Her favorite thing about our homeschool co-op is the time she spends in nursery with the babies.

I mentioned that she loves to color.  I didn’t elaborate, though.  Oh, that girl can sit for endless lengths of time with a few crayons or markers!  ANY paper is HERS.  She has decorated our Christmas card envelopes when I’m not looking.  She has decorated our bills and important mail.  She colors on any paper she can find.  And in her mind, it’s all “Boo-tiful”!  

She loves to COLOR with glue sticks.  Yes, color with them.  The kind that goes on purple and dries clear is her favorite.  I have to hide the glue sticks.  I also have to hide the scissors lately.  Alex caught her sitting on the couch with safety scissors and her bathing suit the other day while I was switching laundry from the washer and dryer.  Sigh.  I’m all for cutting practice.  I’d just prefer that she NOT use her bathing suit.  I’m thinking all scissors will need to be kept under lock and key soon…

Oh, this girl.  We love her SO VERY MUCH.  She keeps us laughing.  She keeps us on our toes.  She keeps us smiling.  She is just so very precious, and we are blessed to have sweet Jensyn in our family.  We love you, Jensyn!

Maxwell Corbin
4 years, 3 months

8C   7C

Maxwell.  You can just see the mischief and energy in his eyes, can’t you?  He is so full of life! 

Max is our most outgoing child.  He’s the one who will walk up to a total stranger in the grocery store and start a conversation.   He loves to say hi to people.  He loves to GO places and DO things.  He has the most pleasant personality, and he’s fun to be around.

He also has more energy than I’ve ever had in my entire life.  He is go, go, go, go, GO!   Sometimes he forgets to slow down, take it easy, and be gentle on the people around him.  He means well, but he gets so caught up in energy and excitement that he ends up crashing into the people around him.

Keith was just talking last night about how Max plays hard, runs hard, works hard, laughs hard, cries hard, loves hard, sleeps hard…whatever Max is doing, he does it to the fullest.  While his energy may overwhelm us at time, you sure can’t fault a kid for putting his ALL into everything he does.  This may turn out to be one of his best character traits!

This same child who wrestles, runs, jumps, and plays can also be the most snuggly child around.  Each morning when he wakes up, he climbs in bed with me, curls up in my arms, and just snuggles.  It’s like his ‘recharge’.  I will cherish those snuggles until he outgrows them.  I can think of no better way to start my day than to have my sweet little boy snuggled up against me.

Going back to the ‘sleeps hard’ part, Max stopped napping during the summer.  He could probably still use a nap from time to time, as he occasionally gets a little whiny/sad after dinner time.  But bedtime is really easy when a kiddo is super tired, so that’s a bonus!  If we’re in the car in the late afternoon, Max is usually asleep within minutes.  If we are home, he does all right.  He usually takes a ‘quiet time’ to watch a show on Roku each afternoon, but he rarely falls asleep.

Max challenges us a lot.  He hears his middle name more often than the other two kiddos.  It’s mainly based on his exuberance for life.  He just can’t hold back, and it leads to trouble.   I try, really try, to point out when he’s done something very well.  I try to high five, hug, or reward his good behaviors.  Earlier this week, he had a GREAT day.  I didn’t scold him once the whole day.  After his bath, all snuggled in his jammies, I told him that I was impressed with how hard he hard tried and how well he had behaved.  I gave him a big hug and a high five, and his eyes just LIT UP with happiness.  He was so proud of himself!

Don’t worry- every single day ends with hugs, kisses, and “I love you”!  I also randomly hand out hugs, kisses, and “I love you”s throughout each day.  He knows that our love isn’t dependent on his behavior, but still, it’s always good to hear that you’ve been good and your parents are proud of you for working so hard at that good behavior!

Max is a pretty good eater.  Often he is s-l-o-w, and he will occasionally pitch a random fit about a dinner that he doesn’t want to eat.  Overall, though, he’s coming around and getting past that finicky phase.  He can pick out a chunk of onion in just about anything.  Keith convinced him to try some grilled onion the other day, though.  We told him that onion turns sweet when you cook it.  Max actually liked it!  Success!!

Max’s favorite color is green.  Dark green, to be precise.  He likes a green straw in his cup.  He likes to use a dark green crayon to do any papers during his school time.    When he didn’t get a green bowl at dinner the other night, he got very upset.  (Yikes!)  Greeny-greeny-green, he sometimes says, when you ask him his favorite color! 

He is very attached to his fleece Chicago Bear blanket that I made for Alex when he was a toddler.  It’s now been passed down to Max, and he carried that blanket around the house all throughout the day.  It’s not really a security thing like Jensyn’s pillow; he just really likes the blanket.  Although it’s not a large blanket, he asks me to spread that little blanket across the top of him each night when I put him in bed. 

He recently started speech therapy at the local elementary school.  He’s enjoying it!  He’d been there twice for an assessment and IEP meeting, so he’d met the teacher and seen the classroom.  When I dropped him off for his first session, he didn’t hesitate for even a moment.  He jumped out of the car, ran to meet his teacher at the door, and never looked back.  Since that was my first time dropping off a child at school, I was at least hoping for a little hug or a backward glance.  Nope.  No fear.  Only excitement!  He’s our brave boy!

He loves to play Mario Kart on the Wii or Sonic on our PS2.  He loves to play Hello Kitty Café on my Kindle.  He loves to zoom Hot Wheels all over the floor, and he is beginning to get imaginative in his Lego creations.  We don’t have many Legos yet, but he’s been playing with our small collection a lot in the past two weeks.

Although he was terribly frightened of the dinosaurs at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum last winter, he claims to LOVE dinosaurs this year.  He doesn’t want to know all the facts, but he does love to play with his toy dinosaurs.  For Christmas, he BEGGED to get the ginormous Jagger The Dinosaur for Christmas.  (Thankfully, I caught this as an Amazon Deal of the Day; I hope he loves it, as it wasn’t a cheap gift!!)  He’s reminded me of how much he wants this dinosaur just about every day for the past month!  I can’t wait to see his reaction on Christmas morning!

He is maturing, growing taller (some of his 4T pants are too short on him already!), and becoming quite a neat little boy.  He definitely needs lots of guiding and correcting, but his is really a fun, loving child. 

He keeps up hopping, he keeps us laughing, and he keeps us snuggling him and enjoying his little boy sweetness.  We’re so thrilled and blessed to call him our son!  We love you, Maxwell!

Alexander Cole
6 Years Old (in a few days…)


Goodness, he has grown so much.  That sweet, tiny 6 pound bundle that kept us sleepless for MONTHS ON END is growing into quite the big boy. 

He is, for the most part, a mature, responsible boy.  He is a big helper, has a kind heart, and wants to be a helper to the people around him.   He loves to be the one to feed the dog, set the table, grab something for mommy, help daddy with projects, etc.  I think it makes him feel very special to be the big helper.

I’d call him our introvert.  He much prefers being home to being out and about.   Even if he is somewhere fun, he still looks forward to returning home.  (I can totally relate!)  He is gradually losing some of that little boy shyness, and he is learning to make conversation with the people at church.  He’s coming out of his shell enough to run and ask someone a question, to go and get his own food during our Wednesday night dinners at church, etc.

He has a good sense of humor, and he loves to make us laugh will the funny things he says.  He has a witty/sarcastic sense of humor at times, and he has really caught us off guard and had me really laughing.  I wish I could think of one of his little comments right now, but I’m coming up empty.

Until recently, Alex always said his favorite color was purple.  In the past weeks, he has added blue and red to that list.  Now, in the past few days, he has changed his mind on a daily basis.  He doesn’t want to have the same favorite color as anyone else.

He likes things ‘just so’.  He does his school work in a ‘just so’ way.  He has to do things correctly or not do them at all.  He just likes to be precise about the things he does.  He remembers little organizational details that I am likely to forget.  (It is SO opposite of me, but probably a lot like his daddy!) Each morning when he gets up, he arranges his animals, pillows, and blankets exactly how he’ll want them when he goes to bed that night.  He leaves his slippers set ‘just so’ at the bottom of the bunk bed ladder so he can slide them on his feet if he gets up in the night. 

He sleeps with three stuffed animals right now.  (I hope you’re not old enough to be embarrassed by Mommy sharing this, Alex!)  He has a Build-a-Bear named “Beary”, a Build-A-Bear dog named “Spreckles”, and a Beanie Baby bird…named…uh….it’s brown.  But I can’t remember its name off-hand.  Uh-oh!  I’ll have to ask Alex and come back to this later!

Both boys like to listen to a story CD each night as they are falling asleep.  Alex really enjoys the Life At The Pond stories.  It doesn’t always work, but the CDs are a good encouragement to lay still in bed without talking to one another while they drift off to sleep.

Alex also loves to play Wii or PlayStation.  I think his favorites are the same as Max – Mario Kart or Sonic.  They are limited in how long they can play.  Most days, I don’t let them turn it on until after 4 PM, and they have to stop when Daddy gets home at 5 PM. 

When he’s not allowed to play video games, Alex loves to pretend that HE is Sonic.  He’s very animated, making vrooming noises and zooming around the house.  It’s really pretty funny to watch him and Max pretending to be Sonic and Tails!

He is very proud of how well he is able to read.  He is still hesitant to read books with too many words on the page; I think he gets overwhelmed.  Even so, it is hard to stump him on sounding out a word.  He can read well beyond the phonics that we have covered!  (This is why we’re taking a little break – I just want him to gain confidence in reading books before we continue to work on more phonics skills.) 

Alex loves to read books to little ones.  I caught him a few weeks back, snuggled on the couch with the two year old girl we babysit, reading her a stack of board books.  He saw me when I started for the camera, or I would have LOVED to grab a video of that sweet, sweet moment.

He is such a sweet, loving, kind boy.  He is not perfect, nor do we expect him to be.  He does sometimes get frustrated or angry with his siblings.  He sometimes pushes or trips people out of anger.  (Just stating the truth, buddy!  Some day you might want to know this about yourself…)  He sometimes gets an attitude when things don’t go his way.  Overall, though, he is a wonderful boy!  He cares for others, asks about things that are important to them, and tries to lend a helping hand whenever he can.

He still LOVES when we have a chance to volunteer in the food pantry.  We haven’t been able to do much this fall, with homeschooling, babysitting, and now Max’s speech therapy falls at the same time/day we would be volunteering.  We’re trying to squeeze in some extra time in the pantry during Christmas vacation.  Alex just LOVES stocking shelves, helping to pack bags, and helping to carry bags out to the car.  He loves to be a helper, and he loves that we are blessing families in need.  I sure wish we were able to help in there more often!

Alex is allergic to peanuts, and he has struggled a bit with asthma in the past 1.5 years.  He has learned to be careful and to check labels before eating foods.  He knows how to independently use his inhaler now.  He’s a real trouper, even when he is feeling miserable with breathing trouble.  He is so responsible about these things, and it sometimes makes me sad that my 5 year old has had no choice but to learn to be so responsible about this rather than just being a little boy.

A few weeks ago, he went to a birthday party for a little boy in our homeschool co-op.  He was so excited!  He took FOREVER trying to select the ‘just right’ present at the store.  He wanted to help pick a gift bag, add the tissue paper, and make his own birthday card for Titus.   He was shy when we got to the party.  He was a little afraid to sit at the table with all the kids, as he only knew the birthday boy and one other friend from co-op.   He slowly warmed up, got involved in what the kids were doing,  and he enjoying playing the games. 

The birthday boy’s dad is a youth pastor, and he came up with some really crazy, fun games to play with all the children!  They were running and cheering and having a good ‘ol time all through the church hallways!  The party had a superhero theme, and one game involved throwing Nerf balls at the ‘bad guy’ (Titus’ dad) as he ran through the church.  Every time the “Bad Guy” was hit with a ball, he’d toss out some candy.  The kids would scramble to grab candy and add it to their treat bags.  It was hilariously fun to watch.

Poor Alex, though…he came back with only 5 pieces of candy in his bag and a disappointed look on his face.  I asked him why, and he said, “All the candy he was throwing out has peanuts in it.  These were the only ‘safe’ candies I could find.”

I am NOT criticizing the game – it was great fun!  I just feel so bad that my responsible little boy was disappointed by the game because he couldn’t collect those candies.  He went home with an almost empty candy bag simply because of an allergy.  He never complains about his peanut allergy, but once in a while, it can bring about big disappointments.  Still, Alex was THRILLED to be a part of this special birthday party, and he had a great time! 

(Wow…I didn’t meant for that allergy stuff to get so lengthy.  Whoops!)

He just finished up his first Christmas program at church.  It’s been interesting to watch him come out of his shell over the past few months, getting brave enough to sing and do the motions in front of an audience.  It’s fun watching him take JOY in the music and all that he is learning.  We went from a little boy who didn’t like going to Love Notes choir – and was terrified to sing in front of a group - in September to a little boy who was animated and enjoying himself as he sang in December!

He loves his church classes.  He loves his Sunday School class a LOT!  His teachers (Miss Imo and Miss Carol) make class so much fun, and he is learning through drama, play, and fun.  I am just thrilled with all he is learning & the fun that he’s having in that class.  Miss Imo gave me some printed pictures of their class Christmas play; I’ll have to try to scan and share those here soon.  (She actually filled their classroom with HAY to make it look like the stable for the month of December!!!)

We can’t believe it’s been 6 years, and it is amazing to us to watch our oldest growing and changing through the years.  We hope and pray that he will grow in the Lord more than he grows in any other way, and we pray this for him (and Max & Jensyn) every day.  Again, we are SO blessed to have this sweet boy in our family.  We love you, Alex!

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