Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ruby at 17 Months

"Reading" on her own.  In recent days, we've seen her make herself cozy with several books within reach, sitting quietly as she thumbs through each and every one.

Playing with Bubba, one of Drew's favorite stuffed friends. 

Eating Cap'n Crunch, both peanut butter and berry varieties.  I made the "mistake" of giving her a few along with her Cheerios...there's no going back.

Wearing spring dresses from Target.  We haven't exactly has the spring-y-est of weather yet, but I've broken into her spring wardrobe as much as I can because I couldn't stand to stare at these just hanging in her closet anymore!  They're even more adorable on. ;)

Learning how to tickle.  And boy is she good!

Working on using a spoon.  She's interested, at times, to do it herself, but usually she'll still dig in with her hands.

Other new developments... 

Teeth!  In the last couple months, four new teeth have appeared, including her first molar.  She has coped with it really well so far.  She has had a few fussy nights when she'll squirm and cry 3-4 times, sometimes requiring some cuddling and rocking and other times just needing her pacifier.  And now that I mention that, it occurs to me that she has been wanting her paci more than usual throughout the day, as well.

And, she has learned how to climb up onto things; namely, the desk chair in the boys' room, and the shorter stools we have in the basement.  She tries to get herself up onto the couch, but has to resort to "asking" for some assistance.  And of course she doesn't climb up to sit down - she climbs up to stand up.  Obviously.

I think I've shared a few times about how vocal Ruby is.  She makes a lot of noise. ;)  Because Reed required speech therapy when he was little, I admit I'm a little hyper-vigilant about Ruby's word count.  I don't even know where she "should" be in this department (so hard to remember from when the boys were little!) but if she'll be able to talk with real words as much as she mumbles and grumbles and points and moves, then whoa baby!  This girl is gonna have a lot to say!  So far she says (consistently) "Mom" "Daddy" "Urray!" (which is "Murray" from Sesame Street) "Bubba" (see above) "hi" and "ba!" (with gusto and a wave for "bye") and "yah" (for "yes" or "yeah").  I'll say certain things with a certain intonation or use a sing-song voice, and she'll mimic the sound, occasionally catching a few letter sounds, too (like "all done" and "night night").  And she continues to work on her animal noises: "ooo" (moo) "ack" (quack) "aaah" (baa).

She's revealing more and more of her little personality.  Let's just say she's a bit spunky!  Sassy and sweet and so, so funny.  This girl - I like her a lot.  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Break & Easter Sunday

Leading up to spring break, I knew I had to have a plan.  I'm slowly learning what works, and what doesn't, when it comes to caring for and managing my three sweet ones; the trouble is, that as they grow and change, what worked at one time no longer does and a new plan needs to be hatched.  

I feel like I sound a bit like a broken record as I express, in general, how difficult this ride can be.  The truth is, we're in a bit of a challenging stage right now as we deal with mental/emotional issues with our oldest son, behavioral issues with our younger son, and incoming toddlerhood with the "baby".  And honestly, I have been feeling a little bit weary lately at this stage in the game of my stay-at-home motherhood (perhaps a post for a different day, but for now let's just say that there are days when I'm just tired of the same ol' hum-drum of my everyday).  Therefore, adjusting to what is not the norm (having the boys home from school for 10 straight days) can be a challenge.  It upends my hum-drum everyday, which is good, but it destroys any kind of routine I normally have, which can throw me for a loop.  Also, the kids are all very different with different wants and interests and are all at very different stages, so it requires a lot of juggling and managing and problem solving as I try to care for all three of them.

I am learning, though, that if I 1) have a loose and flexible plan in place ahead of time, and 2) have very low expectations for what I will get accomplished, our time together can be pretty darn awesome.

So the loose and flexible plan for spring break was to get out of the house and do something every morning, Monday through Friday.  Go to the park, Dow Gardens, library, a different park, etc before lunch and then return home so Ruby can have her nap and the boys can both play their video games and have some quiet reading time.  

Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate as much as I had hoped.  With the exception of Monday, when it was sunny and warmish, the rest of the week was the pits.  Lower temps than I would've liked - or rather, lower than ideal to spend copious amounts of time outdoors - and rain or the threat of rain an awful lot.  Oh!  And even some snow!  On the plus side, the boys entertained themselves a lot in basement with their Legos (mostly Drew) and the gazillions of other toys (Reed) we have.  Ruby loved to be down there too, and is really quite good at entertaining herself or checking in on her boys every so often.  

We had a couple of the boys' friends connect with us during the week, which gave both Drew and Reed some fun things to do and preventing any of us from getting bored.  On Tuesday, Reed's friend Caleb invited him over to play.  I dropped him off around 10 that morning, they went to lunch at McDonald's and then played in the PlayPlace until about 3:00.  Caleb's mom is some kind of superhero.  Three hours at McDonald's?!?!  Whoa.  But it works for six year olds and Reed had an awesome time!  Then, on Thursday, they invited Reed to go see the movie Home.  Perfect.  

So when Reed went to Caleb's on Tuesday, Drew asked if he could have a friend over at our house.  Sure, I said, so Thomas came over after lunch to play.  Then Drew went to Thomas's house Wednesday afternoon to practice catching and hitting (they're on the same Little League team) and spent a couple hours there doing those sorts of things.

Wednesday morning was chilly but the sun was shining so we took advantage and spent some time outside.  We met up with some friends to go to the Butterfly House at Dow Gardens.  It's an annual event...and the boys don't love it.  It's hot and humid inside the green house and they aren't wild about butterflies fluttering by their faces, threatening to land on them.  But for the sake of learning and becoming one with nature and making the boys do what they don't want to do...we go anyway. ;)  And everything is always more fun with friends, so it was a win/win, even if Drew and Reed didn't think so.

 The big guy found Reed irresistible.

The church offices were closed on Good Friday, so I took advantage of Brad being home and planned to complete the one project I had in mind for the week with him there:  egg dyeing.

Ruby loved it.  She kept looking for more eggs to plop into the water!   

On Easter Sunday we woke up to snow dusting the ground.  Grrrrr.  {A little sunshine goes a long way, let me tell ya!}  It was cold and wet and so not what I had in mind for the holiday!  We did what we could with what Mother Nature dealt us, which didn't at all phase the boys, but prevented Ruby from getting involved in the egg hunting (she's not running around in the mud with her new dress and sandals on!) and therefore kept me from getting many photos.  Bummer.


All in all, break was pretty great.  It was a great warm-up for summer as well as a wonderful reminder to myself how awesome my kids are.  And how fun my job really is.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Before having a family, I'm sure I had thoughts about what it would be like.  What I wanted it to be like.  What TV told me it would be like.  What my own experiences growing up had shown me it could be like.  I'm sure I imagined the traditions we would have or the things we would do or the places we would go.  I'm quite certain I had high hopes and unrealistic ideals and lofty plans for how perfect and wonderful and yes-this-is-all-I-imagined-it-would-be that my life with a family would be like.

I can't recall now any of the specifics of those imaginings.  As any parent knows, I've learned that some of my dreams were a bit over-the-top...because, you know, kids and balance and responsibility and motherhood and reality.  Because no one tells you, while you're dreaming away, that parenthood is every kind of wonderful... but WOW is it hard.

But for whatever I thought it would be like, there was a moment today where I breathed in deep and saw that this - this is everything I dreamed it would be.

We're on day eight of spring break, which translated means I've had eight straight days at home with all three kids.  To be clear, this isn't a bad thing - not in the least - but it can be a challenging thing.  Thankfully and wonderfully, we've had a pretty great week (more to come on that) and today was really a pretty typical Saturday for us.  Errands, library visit, lunch, nap for Ruby, family movie at home, pizza picnic, video games, and bed.

It was during Ruby's nap that I had this moment - a moment of clarity.  This.  Basketball was on TV and Brad was both watching it and working on taxes.  Drew was deep into one of his new library books, and Reed was hopping between books and coloring and playing and back to books again.  I, too, had picked up some books for myself at the library (making myself a reader again) and instead of running throughout the house working on some chore that was begging to be done, I sat.  And read.  And I looked around me.  And yes.  This.  This is it.

It was common.  Nothing fancy or sophisticated or planned or over-the-top.  It was peaceful.  I felt content and happy and full.

And in that little moment, I discovered all that I ever hoped I'd find.