Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!  My husband did a great job carving some pumpkins and our front door looked super cool.

Here's my fireman.

My little kitty.  She had super cute ears and a little boa to wear too, but she wanted NOTHING to do with the accessories.

While my husband took Ian trick or treating, Sammy and I held down the fort giving out candy.  We sat on our front stoop and had lots of fun.  She never fail to make me smile.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I'm totally behind on my posts, but at least I can post some pics of the fun we had with leaves in our yard:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Smart Kiddos

I had parent-teacher conferences for Ian and Sammy yesterday.  I know, it's a bit ridiculous to have conferences for a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old.  But the school was offering it to all parents and I decided to take advantage of it to learn a bit more about how my kids fared for the 10 hours per day they were being cared for by someone other than me and my husband.

I met with Ian's teacher first.  She immediately talked about how unbelievably smart he is.  Of course, that made me very proud.  I know he is smart, but it's nice to hear it validated by someone who is around lots of kids all day.

We talked a lot about what to do when Ian gets "stuck" - if he's tired or hungry or generally being crabby, he gets very upset when he doesn't get what he wants.  And it's hard to get him out of that state of being.  As an example, when I picked him up from school the other day, he got annoyed that I was there because he was just about to play with blocks and I interrupted his fun plans.  So he whined about that for a while until we passed the BBQ truck on the way home and then he whined about how he wanted BBQ for dinner and that we never stop and crab...crab...crab.  And once we got home, it morphed into the fact that he wanted to watch TV and I didn't let him and cry...cry...cry.  The teacher thinks he's seeking attention and right now, the way he knows how to get attention is to be whiny and annoying and throw tantrums because hey, it gets him attention.  We have to think of ways to get him to seek positive attention instead of negative attention.  So I've got some ideas and hopefully we'll find something that works.  In general, he's been acting a lot better, but it's truly hard when he gets stuck.  It requires a lot of patience to deal with and even on good days, my bowl isn't chock full of patience.

On the positive side, he knows the sound that each letter makes and has started sounding out some words.  He told us all the other day that W or "Double You" starts with "D".  I started to tell him that no, "W" didn't start with "D" but then thought about how it sounded and was shocked to realize he was right!  Apparently, he is grasping this skill very early.  It will be very interesting to watch his development.  He really wants to learn how to read and so if he's motivated, I bet he'll get it early.

My big boy is also wearing undies to bed now instead of pull ups.  He's been dry every morning for over 1 month and consistently wakes up once or twice to pee in the middle of the night.  It amazes me that he can do this at such an early age, but hey, I'll take it.  He's never been one of those kids that sleeps like the dead.  We are never able to transfer him sleeping out of a car seat and into bed.  He always wakes up.  So I guess it's not surprising that a full bladder wakes him up.

Lastly, I'm also so proud of how Ian is doing socially.  He is not a shy kid and will start chatting with anyone who wants to engage him.  He's eager to talk to new people.  Last night, I brought both kids to the doctor for flu shots and while we were waiting in line, he was chatting with a woman in the waiting area.  I checked in on him and asked him if he was "socializing."  He said "No, mommy, I'm talking to this lady!"  That, of course, made everyone who heard laugh.

And Sammy is doing GREAT!  I think she's going to give her big brother a run for his money.  When I asked her teacher if she seemed to be developing normally, he said they she absolutely was and if anything, she was ahead of her classmates.  He said that she's starting to pick up their routines and without being asked, she will go sit down when it's circle time.  He laughed and said it was making their lives easier because instead of the teachers having to herd the kids, they can just say "hey everyone, go sit next to Sammy."

She's not quite 18 months old yet and already communicates so well.  I can't even begin to count the number of words she knows.  Her pronunciation isn't perfect, but it's pretty easy to understand what she's talking about or what she wants.  She knows where most of her body parts are and will say mouth, nose, ear, and eye.  She knows some animal names (like kitty, doggie, owl and fish) but will make the sounds that many other animals make (like hoo hoo, meow, woof and baaaa).  I have to remember to record her "meow" because it is so freakin' adorable and I need to be able to listen to that when she's off in college.

I remember being SO frustrated with Ian before he was 20 months because I could NOT communicate with him and he would get so upset that I didn't understand what he wanted.  With Sammy, that is not an issue.  When we ask if she's hungry or wants to sleep, she says "yeah".  She will push food away and say "no" when she is done eating.  She says "out" when she wants to get out of her chair and "up" when she wants to be picked up.  She adores reading books (just like her brother) and will sit and read with us for very long periods of time.  I can't wait to see how she continues to develop.

Man, I love my kids!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bar Mitzvah Celebration

This past weekend, we traveled to Baltimore to attend my oldest nephew's bar mitzvah.  I was worried about the trip for a variety of reasons.  First, we haven't traveled much with two children and the last time we traveled by plane, Sammy was less than 1 year old, much more malleable and a lot less mobile.  Second, I wasn't sure how we would all handle sleeping in the same room.  Third, my brother goes to a conservative temple and they had a strict rule against electronics/anything with batteries during the ceremony.  My god, what was I going to do with the kids for over 3 hours of ceremony!?

But I am happy to report that it was a FANTASTIC trip.  The hardest part, honestly, was packing for the trip.  I hate packing for myself, let alone also making sure we had the right clothes, shoes and snacks for the kids.  Sammy and Ian were great on the plane.  I felt bad because I had promised Ian that he could look out the window but it turns out we were in the VERY last row of the plane, which had no window seat!  Luckily, he wasn't too upset and we had a very nice flight attendant who talked to him and gave him extra animal crackers.  As a reward for being incredibly well-behaved, Ian got to sit in the cockpit when we got off the plane.  Here he is, so proud to be sitting where the pilot sits!

As for sleeping in the same room with the kids, it turned out to be totally fine.  It was a little tricky getting Ian to go to sleep while we were still in the room.  He wanted to chat.  But we told him it was bedtime, turned out all the lights and pretended to go to sleep ourselves.  He thought it was really great that he had an entire queen-sized bed to himself (although despite the little body in the big bed, he still managed to fall out of bed one night!).

And as figuring out what we would do in the temple for 3 hours without our electronic gadgets, that worked out fine too.  Ian played with his cousins and some action figures.  And I did a lot of walking up and down the aisles with Sammy, which was nice because I got to show her off.  Everyone thought she was deliciously cute in her dress.

Here are the kids in their dress up clothes:

The bar mitzvah ceremony itself was a doozie - it was very long and ran even longer than expected!  It was close to 1 pm before we had lunch - good thing I had given the kids lots of snacks before then!  Sammy had a little lunch and then her little body couldn't hang on anymore.  She fell asleep in my arms and I set her down to change her diaper before we went back to the hotel for a real nap.   Here's the photo evidence:

The rest of the weekend was just so much fun (despite the fact that the kids look so serious in this picture).

My brother's wife had great dinners planned on both Friday and Saturday nights.  And the kids had a blast at their house.  They have this super awesome swing and Ian LOVED LOVED LOVED it (despite the fact that he hasn't, in the past, been a kid who likes swings).  And of course, his grandpa Hoopie was there to keep him safe and swing him.

And Sammy also wanted in on the action:

And man, it was so nice to be with my siblings.  With my sister in Florida, my brother in Maryland and me in Massachusetts and all of us having 2 kids, it's very rare that we're all in the same place at the same time. I think the last time we did it was in Cancun, Mexico (when I was pregnant with Sammy).  I wish we could do it more often.

And the trip back was great.  This time, Ian DID have a window seat, which he enjoyed a lot.  Here the kids are, sharing Ian's seat and hamming it up in front of the camera:

And when Ian went to the potty, Sammy was quick to steal his seat and read up on important airplane safety information:

So overall, I think I'm much less nervous about traveling now.  The kids are so much more adaptable than I ever give them credit for.  And they were really well-behaved.  I was really happy with how they acted on the plane.  Granted, it's a short flight from Boston to Baltimore, but they could have screamed the entire time.  Instead, we chatted, read books and ate snacks and smiled a lot.  I couldn't have asked for a better weekend.  Night night!