Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ellie with Hannah, her new love
Ellie and Daddy!

Asleep in the canoe. Unbelievable.

Kayaking and canoeing (pre-sleep)

Nathan playing with Pop Pop's trains

Ellie and the Elephant

Family photo

Walking Hannah with Uncle Brian

Family picnic - my favorite day

Brothers cutting turkey

Nathan on the ropes course

Ropes course!

I guess since it is Christmas, I should update the blog with Thanksgiving activities....: ) Plus I am trapped at Nathan and Ellie's preschool for the day while a painter paints the speech therapy rooms. SO, I have plenty of time to work on my "to do" list, which includes the blog.
We had the chance to go to Orlando twice in two weeks - once for Thanksgiving and then two weeks later for my friend Mark's wedding. So the kids got lots of fun GG and Pop Pop time. I have to say that I enjoyed the warmer weather too...walking around in shorts, kayaking, picnicking, etc. is not so bad when it is 30 degrees where you came from!
GG suggested a trip to the Sanford Zoo, which, as it turns out, is really well designed for kids and has a kids' ropes course! SO, Scott, Nathan, and I went back to the Zoo without Ellie (not designed for 2 year olds, unfortunately), and Nathan did the ropes course. He LOVED it and did so well! And it was not easy either. Scott and I had a teary eyed moment of witnessing how empowered and self confident our son felt and just how proud he was of himself....it was amazing to witness. He was a little bit scared and the ropes course was "tricky" (his words) but he never gave up and went all the way through - it took an hour! He loved it so much that on our second trip to Orlando we went back. And he still talks about it.

We also went for a kayak/canoe ride and picnic at Wekiva Springs park. So fun to be on the water....except for the screaming two year old between me and GG yelling "let me go" because of her life jacket. Finally popped a pacifier in her mouth and next thing you know, she fell asleep in the boat! Craziness. Stayed asleep for the remainder of the boat ride and through our picnic...hilarious. When she is tired, she's tired, I suppose.
It was great to spend time with Uncle Brian and Aunt Maryanne too, who are expecting their first baby boy in March. It will be nice to have a cousin around though I am sad that they live so far away! We always have fun when we spend time with them. And it was nice to hang out with them knowing that this is their last few months of quiet and relaxing....next time we hang out we'll get to share in the experience of tending to kids all the time! : )
Not only was it fun to hang out with Uncle Brian and Aunt Maryanne, but they brought their dog Hannah with them and boy did the kids LOVE Hannah, Ellie especially. Ellie is a true animal lover. Really cool. Both of them did well walking her and playing with her and there was no biting or other incident on either side (Hannah or Ellie). After a few days, Hannah started hiding from the kids because I don't think the poor girl has had that much activity in her life. The kids really missed her when they left. Hannah probably slept for a week.
Trains, playground, gingerbread house, cars...lots of fun was had at GG and Pop Pop's house. It was a nice Thanksgiving all together in Orlando.

Monday, November 1, 2010

October Fun!

Almost concussion recovery after neighborhood Halloween party

Great Falls near our house

GQ pose - no joke, he asked me to take his picture posing like this

Shadow family - very cool!

Getting a soccer medal

Halloween party with his class at school

Boo at the Zoo

Iron Man!

Minnie Mouse!

Girlie, our new guinea pig

Visit from GG, post-soccer

Silly Ellie

Ellie and Nathan

To complete the last posting, Nathan has another funny word to remember..."spill." Which means pour. As in "Daddy spilled me some milk." VERY CUTE. Heard it this morning.
Anyway, October has been really fun. Visits from GG, beautiful weather, a new guinea pig, and LOTS of Halloween...seemed like Halloween was the holiday that kept on giving, but at least we got good use out of the costumes!
I noticed I didn't post pictures last time so maybe I'll do a picture posting this time - there are lots of good ones. Kids are doing well. Since we need more time to figure out the dog that will work for our family (and our allergies), we opted for a guinea pig. I say "we" but it feels a lot like "me" so we now have Girlie added to our family, a poor, formerly terrified guinea pig who has fit in quite nicely in our family and who is really cute and loud. Nathan has done a good job of being a diligent pet owner and likes to get Girlie out for a "run" each day and play with her and give her treats. Hence Girlie loves Nathan. Ellie, on the other hand, is a Girlie grabber (by the neck, the foot, the fur, etc.) so Girlie pretty much shrieks in terror when Ellie comes around. Ellie has the best of intentions but just is not quite "pet ready" at this point.
Gymnastics is going better now that Daddy has been in charge of Ellie the past few weeks. On a good day, she is awesome, and really loves it. Even responds with "genastics" when I ask her what she wants to do each day. She is still the girl of NO but I still love her to pieces.
This year we went to "Boo at the Zoo" again at the National Zoo which was a lot of fun. Ellie got the hang of "trick or treat" pretty quickly and both kids had fun running around in the dark, seeing the animals and the costumes. They were so good and we look forward to it again next year. A Halloween tradition. Then it was Halloween party at Nathan's school, "Trunk or Treat" at church, neighborhood party (where Nathan fell 5 feet off a jousting bouncy and potentially had a concussion!), then trick or treating with the neighbors. Grandpa and Grandma have been here to share in the fun too! The boys left us in the dust this year since Nathan has REALLY gotten the hang of trick or treating so the "girls," Ellie and Alina with me and Janel made it to a few houses. The girls were super cute and if the term best friends can apply to 2 year olds, it is happening in our neighborhood. Alina and Ellie shriek with delight when they see each other, play nicely for hours, smile and giggle constantly, and ask about each other when they are not together. It is the most adorable thing to witness. I wish the teachers at Ellie's school who say she is "quite aggressive" could see her with Alina and they would change their opinion. Ellie is also in LOVE with her brother. Constantly asking "where Nate?" "what Nate doing?" and giggling like we have never heard except when she is witnessing her brother do something funny and/or silly. And Nathan loves to perform for her. Nathan is also quite protective of his sister. Sure they have their moments but it is so cool to see the love between siblings.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cute words

I don't want to forget to write this down, but don't have an "official" blog entry to post...just want to share Nathan's cute phrases before he moves on and doesn't say them anymore.

"Drinky" equals thirsty
"Comfy" describes pants and food (i.e. medium rare steak in the middle is called comfy steak because he likes how it is all comfy in the middle. Often says he likes comfy foods)
"Inside through" instead of inside out, this is what he says

Also - how could we ever forget this, but just in case "ba ba" which is code name for blankie. There is never only one, however....right now he is sleeping with probably 12 of them. So cute. Won't be cute if he is 18 and still hanging on to his ba ba's but right now it is cute. His friend Alexander the other day I think felt left out because he doesn't have any blankies and took one of Nathan's and put it in his mouth and chewed on it. I think he was trying to figure out what the mystique was...the look on his face was priceless and I tried to hide how funny I thought it was...Nate about had a heart attack.

Had a wonderful fall day today. Breakfast out at Pancake House, trip to the playground and farmer's market, got household stuff done, went to swimming, ate pizza dinner outside and took a walk around the neighborhood. It was pretty much a perfect day. AAAH.

Monday, September 27, 2010

No No No No No!

No is a frequent refrain at our house these days. "No, no want it" "No, no eat" "No, no do it." It goes on and on. And to add to it is "I be mad." It is a pleasant experience to hear your kid say no on an ever frequent basis (NOT). Ellie comes from a place of "no" for some reason so we are working on ways around that. This month, the month of her second birthday, has brought with it some "terrible two's" though I think we were doing some pretty "terrible ones" prior to September, some time-outs, and lots and lots of deep breathing (on mine and Scott's part). The trouble is, Ellie is so darn cute, so darn smart ,and so darn stubborn, you can't help but smile in spite of all the no's.

Ellie continues to confound us all in many ways. She now loves playing the ipad (hello...I don't think I even touched a computer until I was 8, but that was way back in the 1800's....). She plays "monkey game" with fervor...which includes a matching game which takes her all of 1 minute to master, colors, numbers, letters, shapes (which is different), etc. She flies through the games as if they are easy as pie asking for a "high-five" upon successfully completing one. It is amazing. Puzzles are another easy task for her...she can master any puzzle in minutes, with little hesitation on where the pieces go, even if she's never seen it before. She also loves books and we find her in her room recreating the stories that we've read to her at bedtime with specific details, even if we have only read the book once. Amazing, amazing. Now, ask her what color something is and she'll say "green" without fail. Scott thinks she might be colorblind....

Ellie's transition to a bed was MUCH easier than Nate's, I think in part due to the fact that she can't turn the knob to her bedroom door. Nathan had a handle on the door and it was so easy for him to escape, that was part of the problem. We have had some protests, some sleeping on the floor, some middle of the night wake-ups, but overall she has done really well and the transition was smooth.

Now we are tackling preschool and gymnastics. Ellie goes to a mom's day out class on Mondays and is known as the "aggressive" one at school. She pushes, hits, and does whatever she can to assert her dominance. She is not malicious...just an alpha female showing everyone who's boss. The teachers remind us each week to work on this with her and I struggle between recognizing that we don't want a pusher and hitter, and also realizing that I like the fact that she's independent and doesn't take any BS from anyone...some of this stuff brings me to smile, I have to honestly admit. But we are working on it....

Gymnastics is a whole 'nother story. Whew. What an exhausting event. Scott and I found (who am I kidding...I found) a gymnastics class at 4:00 on Sundays for both Nathan and Ellie and signed up immediately. Ellie's tot class requires parental participation. Our original vision was to alternate Sundays so each of us would get some quality time with kids while the other could get stuff done at home/have some alone time. But I wanted the four of us to go the first week to check it out. Ellie had other plans for us. While Nathan jaunted happily away to his class (he asked EVERY DAY when his gymnastics class was and I think out of everything he does, gymnastics is his favorite), Ellie screamed and tantrumed so many times we lost count and Scott and I BOTH had to participate in her tot class to keep her under control. Let's just say the class involved a lot of chasing Ellie, trying to get her back in line, trying to get her to "be patient and wait her turn," and time-out. Needless to say, Scott and I were more exhausted than Ellie by the end of it and I was ready to give up. I have to say that Ellie really did LIKE the gymnastics class and was very good at the activities. What she did not like was ANYONE telling her when or what to do....But given that it was her first structured class, we are going to stick with it, though our visions of one parent taking a break might be dashed for the moment. Oh this child is going to wear us out. And I say that with a smile.

Ellie's birthday was wonderful. It was a beautiful day and we had about 40 people - neighbors and friends - come to help celebrate. Ellie was the perfect hostess and mingled and smiled and loved all of it. The birthday cake befuddled her a bit in that she sat in her chair and tried to blow the candles out from afar so Scott had to help her with that.

Ellie's 2 year checkup was great as well. I feel like we are on a better path with her immune system in that she has fought off two bad colds without having to go to the doctor so that is a relief. She was 35 inches tall (80th percentile), 30 3/4 pounds (90th percentile) and her head was 19 1/2 inches (95th percentile). No issues to report other than her really bad eating habits but in spite of not wanting to eat much and when she eats , she is very picky, you can see where her weight is, so the doctor was not concerned....I think given her smarts, we are going to wait on the potty training and getting rid of the pacifier. I need a few more drinks before then. The good news is that she responded to her first time out pretty readily...only took three tries to keep her there for the full two minutes. I think she has seen her brother so many times that she knew exactly what to do and that mom and dad were not kidding around. A relief. Also of note, in spite of her toughness, she is quite sensitive, so when someone gets mad at her, it produces an immediate and irresistible pout face...also produced when there are "scary" parts in movies...we are a bit concerned about Halloween, but maybe we don't even need to go since Ellie's latest comment was "no trick or treat." : )

Nathan is doing well and back at school 4 days a week. He is also excelling at swimming lessons, learning soccer, and tennis. We have taken a break from speech therapy after much encouragement from the therapist that he was doing fine, so we'll see how the year goes. He has turned into quite a mommy clinger which we hope is temporary...very sensitive, easily gives up...a little bit of a personality transformation. He learned to ride his bike all by himself a couple of weeks ago, but has not tried again due to fear of falling...we are hoping that soon he'll try again. He can't wait for winter so he can go skiing again, and we are working to learn his letters. He knows 17 of the letters of the alphabet currently and learns a new letter every couple of days. It is very cool.

Nathan's latest obsession is Iron Man and Transformers. Hilarious. He also loves Scooby Doo. Scott can relate to all this, but I cannot, but I get the impression it is typical boy stuff. We have lots of Scooby Doo books, Iron man books, Transformer books...he can't get enough. He is going to be Iron Man for Halloween but has already worn the costume so much he ripped it so we had to take it to be repaired today. He and our neighbor Alexander are very close friends and spend a lot of time playing "good guys" together (no one wants to be the bad guy). Nathan is still the sweetest, most responsive, good kid imaginable and a joy to be around for the most part. With the added benefit that he is an excellent eater and goes to bed without issue. : ) I love 4 1/2....

So that's the news for now. Contemplated getting a puppy lately (since I would love to have another baby but that seems infinitely more complicated) but my allergies caused us a setback. I sneezed all the way home after petting a goldendoodle and I am quite upset about it. We will revisit the dog idea later, I suppose. I really hope we will be able to incorporate one into our family.
Ellie zonked out after her party
Hugging her baby doll

Cute Ellie wearing her Dora backpack, surrounded by presents. What nice friends!

Ellie and friends having snacks at her party.

Cute birthday girl!

Jumping with Daddy (one of my favorite pictures)

Daddy being silly...I love that about him (we all do). Note that I tried to do this and I skinned my knee...note to self...do not attempt things that have an age limit of 7

Mommy and her baby girl

Ellie's birthday cake! Princesses

Ellie's princess moonbounce...it was awesome

Monday, August 23, 2010

Eastern Shore Vacation

The Evans boys...getting ready to kayak
Beautiful sunsets

Enjoying the fruits of his labor

Vacation house 2010 - awesome

Sailing on the Nathan of Dorchester

Just got back from a wonderful week in Cambridge, MD (for the second time) with the Evanses...celebrating Geri and Lee's 40th wedding anniversary with them, Brian and Maryanne, and the kids. I can only hope that Scott and I are as blessed to be married as long and still enjoy each other as much as they do. So far, so good, but we've got 36 years to go....
It was a great week, with lots of crabbing (Nathan's obsession has not gone away but boy does it keep him busy...), kayaking, swimming, and some relaxing time for everyone. Hard to believe that a week has come and gone so quickly.

Big transition yesterday was Ellie's first night in a "big girl bed." On our trip, she began to climb out of her pack n play and I hoped against hope that she would stay in her crib once we got home but my hopes were dashed at 2am Sunday morning when I heard a loud thunk and a knock at her door...So off we went to Babies R Us yesterday for bed rails and last night was first night in her new bed. So sad...I really didn't want to transition her this early because we had all sorts of problems with Nate from doing so, but we really didn't have a choice. I cannot believe she is going to be two in a matter of weeks and that time is passing so quickly by. I have a feeling we will have lots more transitions coming up after we survive the bed transition. The main one will be time out for the first time. However, Scott and I will need to be armed with lots of energy and some alcohol to survive that one. I am not looking forward to it. While Nathan seems to at some point believe and comply with his parents knowing more than him, Ellie does not buy into that philosophy and no matter of cajoling, bribing, or bait and switch can convince her to do anything that she doesn't want to do. Sigh. Tiring but sometimes I secretly love it.

The bed transition went well for the most part last night. She came out a few times and certainly expressed her displeasure at the whole idea of being in a different bed but after about 15 minutes of fussing, gave up and climbed into her bed and went to sleep until 6:30. I can only hope tonight will go as well.

Ellie on the whole is still amazing to me. She talks in multiple word sentences, her favorite word is "why?" (which Nathan thank goodness did not start asking until he turned 4), she can count, say her letters, sing every song on her Music Together CD, knows every line from Toy Story 1 and 2, is a picky eater (but not picky for the same things...she changes her mind every day), has an infectious smile and laugh, and is just generally fascinating to watch. Both of my children amaze me every day and I just love the things that come out of their mouth and seeing the world through their eyes.

Nathan is an engineer at this point, fascinated with how things work. The lights are on and off constantly and he follows Scott around anytime there is "fixing" to be done, trying to figure out how to do it. Such a big boy now...he loves to dress himself (not necessarily in what I would dress him in, but not a battle I care enough about to fight)...particularly in "fast" shorts, can do so much by himself, is an awesome swimmer, and is a real helper around the house and with his sister. He is really sensitive and I constantly worry that someone someday will take advantage of that, but has such great energy and a good heart and is a joy to be around. 4 is a great age. Recently he has figured out how to work the ipad and a leapster adventurer that we gave him...pretty much without any guidance or direction from us. We are working on letters and numbers and can't wait to see what 4 days of school will bring in terms of learning and growing. He is taking a hiatus from speech therapy which is thrilling but concerning for me more than him, I think...I liked the comfort of the support that the therapy provided...but he is doing so well that I guess it is the natural next step. Occupational therapy will continue but I don't think for long...he is growing into himself and is a really good boy. Right now he is a real mama's boy which has been an adjustment...very clingy and like having an extra body part sometimes, but I know it won't last forever so I am enjoying it while I can. Two weeks ago he had two cavities filled - such a trooper. Much drama going on at the dentist's office but my little kid is in and out in 20 minutes, without a tear. I have noticed that he does so well at doctors and I think the reason is a) we are not afraid or make a big deal out of it and b) we explain things thoroughly to him so he knows what to expect. It is just such a nice thing not to have to deal with drama, fear, and panic at the dentist or doctor as I witness it with everyone else. Granted, things could change, but for now I am so proud and enjoying it.
Summer has been relatively busy. Nathan has kept occupied with tennis, swimming and various camps at his school and Arlington County. He is always running into the classroom with nary a goodbye so I take that as a good sign that he likes it. Right now we have two weeks off until school starts and I think it is going to be difficult to keep him entertained. Lots of playdates with the neighbors and swimming should help.
Here are some pictures to enjoy of our trip to MD.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Breaking news....Nathan turns 4!

Easter photo of the family
Mommy and her kids

Mommy and her "big boy"

Easter Egg hunt at home

NEW BIKE! Nice boots.

Cute Nathan

Bunk bed!

Climbing the ladder for the first time

Daddy (and Pop Pop not pictured) assembling bunkbed

Ellie flowers

Blowing out the candles

Birthday boy!

Birthday boy, with his new dinosaur towel, loving his musical birthday card

Superman cake, made by GG with love

Ellie flowers 2


Nate bowling

Sigh. Haven't posted since December! Where does the time go? It is a beautiful sunny spring day and I am sitting outside amongst the azaleas working and listening to birds chirp. The snow from my last post seems like an eternity ago....
Lots has happened since the last post, in the Evans household. Ellie is now 19 months old, Nathan is 4, spring has sprung, work is crazy, and life is generally hectic and good. Life was so hectic as a matter of fact, that I totally forgot Ellie's 15 month check-up. When I made the appointment for 18 month they said "oh, she didn't have her 15 month shots..." WOOPS. Not that Ellie was too upset about it, but still....so she got 4 shots at her 18 month which did NOT make her happy. The worst part about it (besides having to hold her down) was that she really loved going to the doctor until that happened and two days later I had to take her back because she had croup (one of the WORST experiences ever, may I say) and she was so freaked out seeing the nurse that gave her the shots again that she was literally trying to crawl into my clothes and hide. I felt so bad...typically you don't have to see these people two days after they stab you....Needless to say that winter for poor Ellie went by in a blur of being sick all the time. If there is such a thing as a frequent patient card for the doctor, we would have earned significant points. Poor thing just seemed to catch every bug that came in the house, most that her brother brought home. I have been vomited on now more than I care to recall (seems our Ellie has a sensitive stomach...in 4 years Nathan has vomited twice) and been up all night rocking a coughing, feverish baby girl more times than I can count. The croup, however, really was the worst. Her breathing got so bad that I laid on the floor next to her bed so I could make sure she was still breathing (not very comfortable by the way). That cough took a while to get over! Thank goodness and knock on wood that she is well now and I think being outside away from all the germy indoor playgrounds has really helped. I am a big believer in fresh air.
In terms of development, Ellie is talking a lot - saying sentences, many words, counting, alphabet, singing. She is quite bossy. For example, the other night when I was putting her to bed she said "rock," so I sat in her rocking chair, then "sing dance me" (dance with me is her favorite song right now), then when that was done "sunshine"(you are my sunshine)....it is funny. I am happy that she can express herself and is easily understood by all, but constantly amazed at her level of intelligence and ability to communicate. According to the pediatrician at her 18 month appt., her verbal ability is that of a 2 year old at this point. Now if we can just get rid of the pacifier and bottle....
Also good news is that we got Ellie into Nathan's preschool beginning January 2011. She will be in the 2 1/2 year old program (a little early given that she'll be 2 years 4 months) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I think it will be fun for her to go to school with her big brother and she'll get a kick out of it. In assessing whether she was ready or not, the pediatrician joked that "of course she is ready" but she might get frustrated because she is more advanced than the other kids in the class....I guess we'll see!
We are really enjoying our little girl and can't believe how much she has grown and changed.
Nathan, at 4, is doing great too! He got into school 4 days a week in the mornings next year which will be a challenge for his non-morning person mommy to get organized and out the door, but I think he'll benefit from the transition which will prepare him for kindergarten. He also, as a morning student, gets to stay for "lunch bunch" which is an extra hour with kids to play and interact.
At Nathan's 4 year old checkup, he also got 4 shots (poor kid). He was so brave and rationalizing everything (again, my very smart and mature 4 year old who coincidentally loves the doctor) about how "it will hurt a little bit but then I be all better." The nurse took advantage of his maturity and after giving him the first two shots took WAY TOO LONG before giving him the last two and gave him too much time to think about it and as a result panic. So Scott had to hold him down and he was hysterical. At his checkup he weighed 42 pounds and was 43 inches, maintaining his place in the 90th percentile for height and weight. He is doing so well with speech and occupational therapy and has really advanced. It is likely he will discontinue the occupational therapy and reduce the amount of speech therapy next year - again, we feel so blessed to have found this school and the wonderful impact it has had on Nathan. He is just blossoming. He had a fantastic birthday (a little over the top in retrospect)...got a new bicycle (16 inch, much to my panic), and a new bunkbed! He really loves both - currently he wants to ride bicycles all day long and loves sleeping in the top bunk of his bed. His new phrase is "I can do it mommy, I 4" For example, he can now brush his teeth by himself, get dressed by himself, etc. You will see from the birthday pics that his favorite shoes are boots of any sort, I think because he can put them on so easily. He is so much fun to be around now, goes to sleep most of the time without argument, and is still a happy, energetic kid.
We had GG and Pop Pop up for Nathan's actual birthday and Easter which was fun and then had a party for his classmates and neighbors the following weekend (April 10th). Rented another moonbounce which seems to be a hit for the kids - the party was for four hours and people were still here afterward....Nathan was a real trooper though he did have moments where he said "we done yet?" I think it was friend overload. The "theme" was transformers, though I put that in quotes because he didn't really know what a transformer was, but just liked the invitations at Target. He picked out Tinkerbell invitations too, rationalizing that the girls would like Tinkerbell invitations and the boys would like Transformer....that's my boy! Sensitive. Bad news about Easter, birthday, and a birthday party was now any time a box comes in the house, Nathan says "that for me?" and promptly cries if it is not....how do you train your kids to not be so selfish? We need some help with that one. Hard not to spoil them, though, but I want both of them to recognize that not everyone has all they have.
Life is good here in suburbia. Scott has started up again with yard work when he is not working. He is also coaching Arlington Youth lacrosse again, which he loves. My work has gotten more hectic than I would like and it is interfering with my kids time...hoping to find a better balance with that soon. Nathan is currently taking gymnastics and tennis as well as two music classes and swimming lessons on Saturdays with our neighbor Alexander. We got into the local swim and tennis club, Chesterbrook, so will start going there this summer. I am really excited to be able to go to the pool with the kids and hang out with the neighbors, who all belong there too. I remember many good times at my club when I was younger....
In a couple of weeks we head to Atlanta for vacation to see Grandma and Grandpa Wilson. Very excited - haven't been there since last May since we hosted the holidays here. Uncle David and Aunt Lauren just left after a short visit and we had a blast - my brother really embraced being an uncle and was so good with the kids. Hopefully they'll send me some of their pictures so I can post them.
Life is good, can't complain, esp. as I sit here outside on a sunny day with two healthy happy kids and a great husband. Now if I could just be more diligent about updating this blog....