Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My wild and crazy boys

Reid is definitely on the move lately. And he is not content with just crawling. Luckily, he has his older brother to show him lots of fun things he could be doing, like jumping on a trampoline or riding a powerwheels quad.

Over the last week or so, Reid has become much more adventurous, and, therefore, much more accident prone. He crawls through the end tables in the living room and falls on his face as he comes out on the other side. He pulls himself up onto the treadmill in the basement and then falls on his face when he crawls down. He pulls himself up on his knees and then falls over and bonks his head on the floor or whatever toy happens to be in the way. There is lots of falling. He does recover like a champ most of the time.

So today, I realized that our baby is really well on his way to being a toddler.  He's been climbing up on the trampoline while Jack jumps for about a week, so that should have been a clue. But today, Jack finished riding around on the powerwheels quad and left it a few feet away from Reid. Reid made a beeline for the quad, and then pulled himself up to standing holding onto the handlebars. He looked at me like "Come on Mom, just help me get the rest of the way up. I've gotten this far!" So I did. And Jack came over and helped with the rest. They had quite a good time riding back and forth across the basement for about 15 minutes. And if you have ever watched my children play, you know 15 minutes is like an hour in regular people time.


So now we need to invest in that child-protection foam stuff you put on all of the sharp-cornered furniture. That, and maybe a helmet or two.


I have too many fun things to write about today to keep it short and focused. So here's my second story. My friend Mary and I took our boys to the Discovery Center Museum in Rockford. It was pretty fantastic, to say the least, and you should check it out if you get the chance. We stayed and played for a full three hours, and the boys would have loved to stay longer if the Museum didn't close then (and if we weren't so hungry and tired!).

I felt so proud and excited when we found the television news studio, and Jack was excited about it. He and his friends pretended to do the weather and played Batman thanks to fun green screen technology. I  sat Reid at the news desk and pretended to do the news. The museum had lots of science exhibits that were amazing. But the journalist in me loved our few minutes back in the newsroom.




Monday, August 20, 2012

Not sleeping and bike riding

Why do my children hate sleep?

Let me start off by saying, yes, I have read the sleep books. I love "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." I've got "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" on my bedside stand next to HSH. I've read tons of blogs and internet postings with tips. But my children hate sleep, and I can't seem to figure out how to get them to do it.

Jack gave up naps a while ago. I'm sure I wrote something about it. It drove me crazy that he needed sleep and wouldn't take a nap. He's gotten better though. He doesn't seem to need the sleep anymore. He's a much happier kid in the afternoon/evening even without a nap.

Reid has decided to take on Jack's nap aversion now. He's only 9 months old though. Jack waited until he was 4 to really give up naps. I'm hoping this is just a phase.

Reid sleeps pretty well at night. Sometimes he has trouble falling asleep, but usually he falls asleep while nursing, then I put him down and he sleeps the rest of the night. I try the same routine for naps, but it just doesn't work the same way.

This all started about two weeks ago, when the illnesses hit our home. I thought that was the reason for the sleep changes. But now that we're all better, he's still not napping.

Today, he fell asleep in the car on the way home from dropping off Jack at school. It's a five minute car ride. I did stop at Startbuck's, so let's say he slept for about 10-15 minutes (there was a line at the drive-thru). He wouldn't go back to sleep once we got home. I even tried to play with him for a half an hour before I put him back down. Screaming, that's about it.

Then, he started to fall asleep in his highchair at lunch. So I calmly took him out of the seat and as carefully and quickly as I could, took him up to his room to put him in his bed. He slept for 15-20 minutes, then woke up screaming. We went to the basement and played with Jack. He got tired again around 2:45. So again, I took him upstairs to his room, went through the routine, and he slept for about 30 minutes. Woke up screaming again. We went to the library.

Tonight, at bedtime, he was so overtired that he wouldn't nurse. So we sang a few songs, he squirmed and cried. I kissed him and put him in his crib. He cried for about 5 minutes, and then finally went to sleep.

I have to figure this out before we all go crazy. At this point, I'm hoping a week of me being strict about napping opportunities at home (not in the car) will get him back on track. Keep your fingers crossed.

In other unrelated news, Jack is riding a two-wheeler (with training wheels). A few weekends ago, we stopped by a bike store, and Jack tried out a few bikes and lots of bells. We figured out a 16-inch yellow bike was his heart's desire. It was ridiculously expensive at the bike store, so we looked to Craigslist instead. And what do you know, we found one – for $30. The boys and I made a trip to the zoo and picked up the bike from the Craigslister near Brookfield. And now, my big boy has an awesome big boy bike.

He's taking to it pretty well too. He likes to ride it up and down the driveway. The hills in our neighborhood are a little too much yet. But I'm sure he'll get there soon. He loves using the coaster brakes to make it stop and skid. And when it's rainy outside, he's just as happy riding around daddy's side of the garage in circles.

Here are some pics from today's riding





Sunday, August 19, 2012

Am I missing something?

Tonight is a very strange night for me. For the first time in 13 years, I am not going to an Institute Day at Wheeling High School tomorrow. I haven't been procrastinating creating lesson plans. I haven't been feverishly buying Uniball pens and hiding the colored ones so no one steals them. I haven't been worrying about who my new students will be. It's been lovely, to say the least.

But I am feeling a little sad tonight. Part of that is because Steve left for a business trip this afternoon. I miss him already. But I think a bigger part of my sadness is that I will not be starting another school year with my friends at WHS. I love the people I work with at WHS. Our experiences together have been an incredible influence on who I have become since I started working there. And I think by not going to school tomorrow, I might miss out on something.

I hate missing out on anything. Part of the reason I went into and enjoy journalism so much was my love of knowing "things." I love to be "in the know." I often pride myself on knowing the back story of whatever is happening now. As a journalist, you make your living by figuring out the stories. And I have always enjoyed the stories. Just thinking about missing out on the daily stories of WHS brings a tear to my eye. I won't get to meet the new people in the building and learn their stories. I won't get to hear all of the funny stories from everyone's summer.

On the other hand, if I were going to school tomorrow, I'd be missing out on the stories Jack, Reid and Steve are living. And they create some pretty awesome stories. I love meeting Jack's new friends at school and hearing about his day. I love watching Reid laugh when he watches Jack. I love hearing about Steve's work day. I love going to the park with our friends from the Moms group and hearing the funny things other people's kids do.

I guess, when it comes down to it, I'll always be missing something. Physics dictates that I cannot be everywhere at once. So it's all about what I choose to miss. It's not an easy choice. But I think for now, I'm in the right place. As much as I miss my experiences at Wheeling, I think the person I am becoming while I stay at home with my family has some pretty incredible possibilities.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jack's first day of PreK

Yesterday was Jack's first day of PreK at Sleepy Hollow. It's his last year of preschool, which is a little crazy to think about. He's going every day this fall, which will be more like his routine when he was in daycare or at Little Wildcats.

He had a nice first day. He insisted on bringing his new pencil sharpener. He told me he didn't get to use it though since they didn't have to write anything. He was a little disappointed that they didn't get to go outside and play. He liked his breakfast though. He told me he had a cupcake. He had a blueberry muffin :). He didn't remember his friends' names, but that doesn't surprise me. He often feins forgetfulness when he is done talking about a topic.We celebrated the first day with a trip to the Sugar Hills Bakery for some cake pops. Yum!

I decided to put a good Pinterest idea into practice. As we got ready to leave, I grabbed my camera and took a bunch of photos in front of the garage door. I figure that will be easy to do each year, so we can watch how he grows. I also asked him about his favorite things, so I added that text to one of the photos. This could be fun as he gets older! Hopefully he will continue to play along!

PreK photo

And just for fun, here are a bunch of those photos as well as a couple I took the other day as I was getting ready to take Reid's 9 month shots.






Monday, August 13, 2012

The best summer ever

Normally, the post I write at this time of year laments the passing summer and starts hyping up my new organizational techniques for the upcoming school year. However, I'm not teaching this school year, so instead, this post is going to be a reflection of my amazement at how much we did this summer.

To be honest, I feel like we have done Phineas and Ferb proud. If you count summer as starting Memorial Day weekend, here's the list:
2 vacations - Michigan and Florida
1 soccer class - once a week for three weeks
1 swim lesson class - four times a week for two weeks
2 trips to Santa's Village
3 weddings
2 berry-picking trips
3 birthday parties
2 trips to the zoo
Too many trips to the pool to count
At least 5 trips to the library
And countless miscellaneous meetups/playdates with lots of our friends and family!

This list doesn't include the 3 science experiments we did thanks to the emails from the Museum of Science and Industry, or the number of forts we built in the basement. It's hard to keep track of it all!

It's a little bit of a bummer that we are ending our summer with illness. Last week, Jack had some 24-hour stomach bug, and then on Friday/Saturday, Reid developed the Hand-Foot-Mouth virus. So we are spending our last week quarantining ourselves so we don't pass anything on to anyone else. In the grand scheme of things, 1 bummer week out of the 11 and a half we had of summer seems pretty excellent to me!

Jack starts back to school on Wednesday. I think he's pretty excited, although he doesn't talk about it too much. He enjoyed our back-to-school shopping trip last Friday. His favorite part was the shoe store. He is now the proud owner of Captain America gym shoes. We also had fun picking out folders and markers and other odds and ends to fulfill the school supply list. He actually had a nightmare the other night that we returned all of his school supplies. Poor guy! Don't worry, we still have them!

I couldn't abandon my annual organizational rehab completely. This end-of-summer, I'm focusing on activities for the boys. Our summer was easy. There was always a playdate or the pool. But now that the pool is closing and many of our friends are going back to school, I'd like to get some enrichment activities going on at home.

Plan number one: teach Reid sign language. Jack learned to sign a few things at this age at Bright Horizons. It definitely made things easier when we could communicate at least a little, and I'm hoping the same for Reid.

Plan number two: Since Reid and I will have weekday mornings just us, I'm going to look up developmental activities appropriate for his age. I already have a bunch of books, so this just means breaking them out and having a few new activities ready to go every couple of weeks.

Plan number three: I'm going to run. A bunch of us from the Moms and Tots Who Rock group have signed up for the Hot Chocolate 5K in November. After dropping Jack off at school, Reid and I are going to hit the path for a little 5K training.

Plan number four: Get Jack ready for kindergarten. I'm still missing the Little Wildcats program and the amazing things they do for kids. Steve and I agree, Jack was learning a ton there. Since our preschool here is only 2 and a half hours a day, I'd like to supplement to make sure he is challenged and ready to go for kindergarten next year. I've picked up a workbook to help with letters and numbers and writing. I also have a ton of materials and books to reference for ideas. And then there's my board on Pinterest and those awesome pins I find there. I plan to have a couple of activities for Jack to work on each week in the afternoons. We really need to work on his ability to be by himself, and I figure this might be a good way to work that in too.

And just to bask in the glory of summer once more in this post, here are some pictures. (They are in reverse chronological order, except for the last one, which I took today).














And this last one is a nice commentary on life at the Barrett house

Reid is 9 months old


Isn't he just too darn cute?

Unfortunately, he's tenth month isn't starting out so hot. Our normally very happy, smiley, easy-going baby is very uncomfortable. He is battling the icky hand-foot-mouth virus. (I know it is technically called disease, but that just sounds too gross, and really, it's just a virus). Luckily, he doesn't have too bad of a case. I took these pictures today, and you probably can't even tell in the photos that he has it. Now, if you changed his diaper, there'd be no doubt.

But let's recap the ninth month. Reid has learned how to crawl. He is very good at army crawling. He can crawl on his knees, but he's not as coordinated that way, so he only takes a few "steps" and then decides it's much faster the other way.

He has also started to pull himself up onto objects. For instance, the other day Steve caught him pulling up onto the bottom shelf of one of the end tables in the living room. Today, I caught him trying to pull himself up the stairs. Luckily, he was not as successful with the stairs. One of his favorite games lately is to pull himself up onto my stomach while I'm laying on the floor. Then he crawls over me to the other side. He's quite the acrobat.

He still cannot get into the sitting position by himself yet. But if you help him get there, he can get down pretty easily by himself. This has made bath time much easier!

Reid loves to play ball. This is a pretty recent development in the last week or so. If you sit him up and then sit across from him, he'll try to throw you the ball and enjoys catching it when you roll it to him. I can occupy him for quite a while with this game. And Jack will even play with him like this for a minute or two every once in a while. It gets entertaining when Reid gets excited and accidentally throws the ball behind himself. He usually figures where the ball went after a minute or so.

He's babbling like crazy. He says "da da da" a ton. I also hear about that from Steve :). Reid will also say "ma ma ma" and "ba ba ba" a lot too. A few times, I thought he has repeated "hi" when I've said it to him, but I'm sure I'm just wishful hearing. Reid loves to "talk" with us though.

As for food, he has started eating finger foods. We started with the puffs, and he picked that up pretty quickly. At my nephew's christening late last month, he went to town on some watermelon. He also seems to like cantaloupe and strawberries. This morning, he tried a little banana pancake. The HFM has made eating a challenge though, so he hasn't eaten much in the past few days. His poor throat is just too sore.

As for sleeping, he's getting better. Of course, the illness has wreaked havoc on that, but when he was well, he was sleeping from about 7 p.m. until about 6 or 6:30 a.m. He also consistently takes two naps, although they are each only about an hour.

I don't have his height and weight yet because his 9-month checkup is scheduled for August 27. So I'll add that to this post once we go to that appointment. In the meantime, he is wearing 12-month clothes.

So here's the stuff you are really reading this post for... the monkey and other pictures. Enjoy! We had lots of fun with the new lens this month!