Thursday, November 20, 2014

Colin update - 5 months old

Big news, Colin is 5 months and 5 days old today, and he rolled over! He rolled over from front to back today while we were playing on the floor. It took a little cheering from mom, but he figured out how to push himself up, lean to the right, and fall over. And he was so happy about it!

But that's not all this 5-month-old can do! He is using his hands really well lately to grab at just about anything within reach. This could be one of his favorite toys, like the teething keys or his toy car from the Nustras, or the skin just behind my ears or my hair. It's fun to watch him reach for things. Tonight at dinner, he made a grab for one of Jack's rengoli colorings.

Colin is also very social now. He smiles at just about everyone, but especially his family members. His face lights up when he sees Steve, and it makes everyone else who sees it smile too. He likes to laugh and giggle. And nothing makes him giggle more than Reid and Jack putting on a show for him. Colin will even look for Jack and Reid if he knows they are around.

Unfortunately, this newly social baby does not like to be alone, or left at ground level unless someone else is at ground level with him. He likes to be held, a lot. 

As for sleep, he's getting better. He has slept through the night on occasion (and by slept through the night, I mean from 10:30 until 5 a.m. or so). A good night is only waking 2 or 3 times to nurse. He is starting to go to sleep between 7 and 8 p.m. He'll usually fall asleep while we rock him and sing to him. We're not to the point of laying him down while drowsy, though. Social baby will look for you and cry until you return if you do that. And usually he wakes up for the day between 6:30 and 7. He's also getting better about naps. He's going down around 10 a.m. for a morning nap and then usually around 1:30 for another one. Occasionally there's a third nap after we pick up Jack from school too. 

Of course, there's always the fun little things you notice too. For instance, he farts like a grown man, according to Steve (although it's hard to disagree with this).  He is still spitting a lot too, but it's still improving. He doesn't spit up during his night feedings, which is nice. The spitting usually happens when he's excited and playing during the day. 

Well, he's on the move now, so we'll see what his sixth month will bring!

Reid is 3 years old!

Our little monkey has turned 3 this month. And wow, boy is he three!

I remember when Jack turned three and thought "The terrible twos are over, so what is this business?!?" So I was a little more prepared for the second-to-second mood changes and the meltdowns over seemingly meaningless events. Being prepared makes this stage slightly easier this time around since I now have the foresight that it will end.

Reid is an incredibly loving boy. Our favorite is when he wakes up happy and spends the morning telling all of us individually that he loves us and giving great big hugs. There are also many unprompted thank yous. For example, "Thank you, mom, for making me oatmeal." Or "Thank you, dad, for putting my socks on." It's very cute.

He has also become very independent. He likes to help in the kitchen when he can. He likes to push the buttons on the microwave or pour things into bowls. He can get dressed all by himself (and his clothes are where he can reach them, so he doesn't even need help getting them!). He is growing out of the stroller and would much rather scoot than sit and ride. Luckily, we can still bribe him into riding with snacks. This comes in handy when we are exploring London or going for long walks.

Reid is a budding artist, following his big brother Jack's footsteps. He loves to make letters, especially the letter "t". "Down and across," you can hear him narrating as he makes them in his notebook. One of his favorite television shows is a program called "Mister Maker" where the presenter makes all kinds of neat art from simple things like paper and glue. The artwork he crings home from school is pretty cool. He's made pictures of fireworks and poppies and owls and bears and hedgehogs. It's so fun to hear him talk about what he's made at school!

Another favorite activity is building with his Duplos. He loves to do this with Jack, although this can cause some friction as neither boy is very good at sharing blocks while building. They do play well together when playing pretend and dress-up. They build forts and hide from or fight monsters. Just the other day Reid saved Colin and me from several dinosaurs and dragons.

Reid also loves to be outside, and going to the park to play in the sand is a favorite destination. He likes to bring his tractors to the sand pit and drive them around or make big mounds of sand. I'm slowly getting over my aversion to sandy messes... slowly.

So that's our amazing little boy at age 3. We can't wait to see what this year will bring!

Monday, November 03, 2014


I was pretty nervous about Halloween this year. Everyone here kept telling me that we would be disappointed, Halloween is nothing like in America, etc. I was also worried that the boys wouldn't be into it since we didn't talk much about costumes until a week before.

As you can see in the photo above, costumes were not an issue. And we were not disappointed. Here's what we learned about Halloween in the UK.

1. It's still a pretty new concept to dress up and trick-or-treat, so no, not everyone participates. But those who do really know how to do it. Most people (from babies to adults) who dressed up wore scary costumes. Lots of witches, vampires, werewolves, zombies, blood, etc. I only saw one Iron Man and one Batman the whole day. I almost felt bad for my boys since they were dressed up as knights and a dragon and not something scarier.

2. Halloween is a one-day event. There wasn't a lot of build-up to Halloween here. We saw a few shops decorated during the week before, but that's about it. There were a few advertisements for candy and decorations here and there, but not much at all. The pub we went to, The Lamb, was decorated incredibly well, and they did it that day. So while people did go all out, it was for the day only. I saw many people putting out decorations and pumpkins in the late afternoon.

3. No one went trick-or-treating until after it was dark. I think the first trick-or-treaters we saw were around 5:30 and sunset is at 4:30 now. Most people were out between 6:30 and 8 p.m. It was awesome! My boys loved the fact that they were out walking the streets after dark. And they loved looking up for the stars almost as much as getting the candy.

4. You could tell which houses were participating by a lit pumpkin on their walk or in their window. No pumpkin, don't knock. So half the fun of trick-or-treating was finding and admiring the jack-o-lanterns. We even saw a carved watermelon/pineapple creation. The woman of the house explained she couldn't find a pumpkin anywhere, so she improvised. It was pretty cool.

5. Everyone on the streets was having a really fun time. The kids were all excited about finding houses with candy and reporting to others. And they loved explaining their costumes. It was a real community feel. One kid who came to our door even remembered us from the pub! And there were lots of people out. We went through over 100 pieces of candy. We haven't given out that much candy in all seven of the years we lived in West Dundee combined.

As much fun as we have had on Halloweens past, and we've had lots of fun with family and friends, I think we all enjoyed this halloween the most. I think the lack of build-up, the excitement of being out in the dark and knocking on doors with spooky pumpkins, and the infectious fun of the people in the community made this a Halloween to remember.