Saturday, December 7, 2013

No More Binkie

I am thrilled to report that we are officially a binkie-free family.

When Ian was 1, we had to take the binkie away from him because it was actually disrupting his night time sleep.  He would wake up, need it, not be able to find it and commence a screaming fest.  So bye bye binkie at 1 year.

Sammy didn't have that same issue.  She used the binkie to take naps and to go to bed at night, but once she was asleep, she wasn't bothered if she woke and didn't have the binkie.  So we weren't in any rush to take it away from her because it was so soothing for her.  But she is getting older and I was starting to have visions of a 6 year old girl still attached to her binkie.  So I promised myself that I would take away the binkie when she turned 3 in April.

But at school this week, Sammy transitioned from the Twos room to the Preschool room.  And the new teacher didn't know that she slept with a binkie.  And she got her to sleep (with some fussing and crying) without the binkie.  When I picked her up that night and the teacher told me, I knew it was my chance.  So we took the binkie away for Sammy's night time sleep too.  I told Sammy that there were too many babies in the world and not enough binkies and because she was a big girl, she didn't need the binkies anymore and we had to send her binkies to the needy babies.  She didn't buy my story and cried.  But we stuck to our guns.

So the first night, it took her 17 minutes to get to sleep with constant crying during that time.  She also woke 2x in the middle of the night crying.  The second night, it took her 20 minutes to get to sleep, but she wasn't crying constantly.  She would be quiet for many minutes and then call out for me.  So I soothed her but told her it was bedtime.  And she fell asleep and slept through the night.  And then the third night, she called out for me once and was done and slept through the night.

It really is amazing how adaptable children are.  Sammy has been using a binkie for 2 years and 8 months.  And in 3 days, she broke the habit.  I'm so happy it wasn't worse than that.  My heart broke a little bit on that first day when she was crying for it.  But I'm so proud of her and more importantly, she's really proud of herself because after all, big girls don't need binkies.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

8 Nights of Celebration

Happy Hanukkah!  We lit the candles for every single night and ended up giving the kids a total of 16 presents.  They loved all of it.  My favorite part?  Eating latkes with cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving!  It was Thanksgivika!

In the picture below, Sammy is posing in the "new" hat we found in the closet (which was made by Nana last year) with the big wooden dreidel.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Hanukah!

Happy Hanukah!  It's crazy that we're celebrating the first night of Hanukah the day before Thanksgiving!  I'm looking forward to latkes and turkey tomorrow!

Tonight the kids each got a sticker book as a present.  Ian got one with all the Avengers in it.  And Sammy got a Disney princess sticker book.  I guess they're living up to certain gender stereotypes but I had two very happy kiddos!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Potty Training Success for Sammy

I'm happy to report that Sammy is officially potty-trained at the age of 2 years, 7 months.  She has been consistently peeing in the potty with very few accidents.  And, for the last 5 days in a row, she's pooped in the potty.  And we didn't have to lurk and spy on her to make sure she wasn't squatting and pooping in her pants.  She actually said that she needed to poop on the potty.  And she did!  We're so proud of her and she's so proud of herself.  Smiles all around!

I feel like we've been in some sort of potty training mode for Sammy for so long now.  Daycare started putting her on the toilet very early and so at 18 months, she was sometimes peeing in the potty.  But it's been on and off since then and we certainly didn't have any consistency.  And she CLEARLY did not get the pooping thing.  But I think the long haul is over.  She gets it now and I am psyched that we only need diapers/pull ups for nap time (although often she wakes up completely dry) and night time sleeps.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013 - Goodbye Nana

Today was an extremely sad day for our family.  My husband's grandma, our warm-hearted and loving Nana, passed away.  Despite the fact that she was 90 years old, I didn't expect her to go so suddenly.  She had been having heart issues and was in and out of the hospital over the past 2 weeks.  But they had put in a pace maker and I had just assumed she would come out of it fine (just like she has quickly come out of other hospitalizations in the past).  But she slid downhill quickly.  Luckily, my husband was able to be with her in her final moments and was with her when she died.  She knew he was there and I think that's comforting to him.

I tried to keep it together for the kids because they're really too young to understand what happened to Nana.  They just know that they won't see her again and that "she died".  My husband loves Halloween and is normally the one to take the kids trick or treating.  But understandably, he didn't feel up to it tonight.  So I took the kids around the block with some other neighborhood kids.  They had a blast and Sammy really raked in the candy.  At 2.5 years old, she knew she could take the candy offered to her.  But she had no inhibitions about grabbing one, two, three and even four pieces at a time.  So she ended up with WAY more candy than Ian (who apparently understood social conventions a bit more).  I ended up putting some of her candy in Ian's bowl so that he wouldn't get bummed by it.  Here is my bumble bee transformer (this is what he asked to be) and my princess (she asked to be one).

And here's what our front stoop looked like.  This year, we added a skeleton in the lawn, which you can't really see in the picture.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fall Fun and Halloween Prep 2013

We can't let autumn go by without a little leaf jumping fun!

In preparation for Halloween, we also carved pumpkins.  

As usual, my husband did one easy one and one complicated one.  I made fun of him for the complicated one because I wasn't sure the time he spent on it was worth it, given how it turned out.  But once we put a candle in, it was awesome.  One, Two Pumpkins...ah ah ah!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Tonight, after I picked up the kids from daycare, I took Ian to get his hair cut.  When we got into the car after the hair cut, we saw the most unbelievable rainbow from the parking lot.  It was so massive that I couldn't capture the entire rainbow with one picture.  It was SO bright.  I don't think I've ever seen anything like it before.  Here's the proof, taken with my iPhone 4:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Apple Picking - Tougas Family Farm

Today, we went apple picking at Tougas Family Farm.  We had the day off for Columbus Day and absolutely gorgeous weather!  It was really quite warm out and we didn't even wear our jackets.  The farm was fantastic - they had a little animal petting zone, as well as a kids play area.  And of course, there were a lot of apples to choose from.  I was disappointed with the Fuji apples - I think it was already too late in the season for them.  But the Macouns were unbelievably amazing (so sweet and crunchy!) so we picked a lot of those.  We also picked up some pumpkins at the very end.  Here are some pics:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Potty Training Disaster

We tried to potty train Sammy over the last 2 weeks.  She's not even 2.5 years old yet, but she was peeing on the potty consistently whenever we put her on it.  We had our ups (there were multiple days where she had no accidents), but we also had our downs.  At the end of the second week, I picked her up from daycare and discovered that she'd had 3 accidents.  I was disappointed because I figured she'd have made more progress after 2 weeks.  We then went to the park where she pooped in her underpants.  I was *so* mad at her (since this was the second night in a row where she pooped herself).  She's only a little girl and doesn't deserve for me to be so mad at her.  And I didn't want to be so mad at her.  But I couldn't help myself.  So we quit potty training.  I want to enjoy my time with my happy little girl and not scream at her.  She doesn't understand.  So today we went back to diapers and had a much nicer day.  We'll try again in a couple of months.  I'll wait until she's ready.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Sammy's hair has finally started to come in and grow and tonight she let us give her some pigtails.  And, of course, Ian wanted some too.  They were so cute - jumping around and laughing about their hair.  I'm so glad they stayed still long enough for me to snap these photos.  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

No Training Wheels for Ian

We first took the training wheels off Ian's bike on April 24, 2013.  This was the result:

Although he was perfectly capable of riding without the training wheels, I guess he didn't love it or it scared him too much because after that, he didn't want to ride his bike.  I begged my husband to put the training wheels back on so that we could enjoy the rest of spring and summer.  Reluctantly, he agreed to do so.  

Now, roughly 6 months later, we tried again and we had great success:

Hooray Ian!  Now if you could just stop panicking and screaming at me, we'll be golden.  :-)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Turning the Corner

I don't want to jinx myself.  But in the last 2 weeks, Ian has changed from a tantrumming, screaming, hard-to-manage child to a well-behaved child who shares with his sister (mostly) and entertains himself with his Thomas Trains or Batman toys.  I don't know whether he just figured out the "correct" behavior or just reached a magic age (4 years, 2 months) where the tantrums stopped.  Or maybe it's because we implemented the 1-2-3 Magic parenting program by Dr. Thomas Phelan (which our pediatrician recommended after my cry out for parenting help).

I love the 1-2-3 program.  According to the book I read, we had been doing everything wrong with Ian.  We were over-explaining and over-lecturing and trying to use logic to get him to behave correctly.  But he is not a little adult (despite his smart and mature conversational ability).  He is a 4 year old child.  So instead of yelling and screaming at (and sometimes, spanking) Ian, we now just calmly give him a 1 count when he is doing something that we've asked him to stop doing.  If he continues with the bad behavior, he gets a 2 count.  Upon reaching a 3 count, he ends up locked in his room (because he refuses to stay in time-out willingly).  After 3 days of having to lock him in his room, we haven't had to reach "3" at all.  He gets it.  He does NOT want to be locked in his room.  It has been an amazing transformation for us.  I have always loved my son but now I actually enjoy spending time with him.

Of course, just as Ian is getting a bit easier to handle, Sammy is starting to exhibit her terrible twos.  It's manageable (and kind of funny actually), but hopefully it won't be a long-lasting phase.  Luckily, she doesn't tantrum.  But she is pretty whiny and demanding.  She's still using a binkie, but as of now, she only uses it when she's in her crib for a nap or at nighttime.  That's progress, since we used to give it to her when she asked for it as she got tired at night.

As my high school biology teacher used to say, "We're getting there, folks!"

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Spring Photos

Here are the formal spring photos the kids took at school.  They're not super awesome, but they're decent shots, especially of Ian.  Sammy was apparently crying hysterically before Ian came in to take photos with her and so she's looking a little weepy/out-of-it in the photos.  But this is definitely better than the fall, when we got no pictures of her at all because she didn't want to take them.

I can't believe how big they are getting.  I was looking at Ian last night (as he ran around naked after his quick shower to wash the pollen off his head and body) and he was looking lanky, like a little boy instead of a toddler.  

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sammy and Ian's Stats at 2 and 4

I took Sammy and Ian to their well-baby doctor's visits today.  They are both doing great.  Here are their stats:

Sammy (2 years old)
Height:  36 inches (94.17%)
Weight:  25 pounds 6.4 ounces (32.69%)

I know her teachers said she was tall but I didn't realize she was this tall!  According to my mom, at 2 years old, I was 35 inches and 24 pounds 2 ounces.  So she's roughly 1 inch taller and 1 pound heavier than I was at her age.  I wonder if this means she will be taller than me.  We'll see!

Ian (4 years old)
Height:  42.5 inches (87.59%)
Weight:  39 pounds, 3.2 ounces (72.79%)

I now know why I can't lift Ian easily!  He's a big boy now!  According to my mom, at 4 years old, my brother David was 40.5 inches and 34 pounds.  It's an interesting comparison and I think it's so cool that my mom kept her little book of stats.

Sammy still had the tubes in her ears, which I was extremely thankful for.  We went an entire year without an ear infection.  Ian passed his sight and hearing test with flying colors.   So far so good on his eyes - I'm expecting him to need glasses at some point, since my vision is so absolutely terrible.  But my husband has almost perfect vision, so who knows.

I have more to say about Ian's behavior, but that will be for another post.  For now, I'm very thankful to have such healthy and robust children.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sammy is 2!

Two years ago, my little Sammy entered this world. Happy Birthday to my sweet, beautiful and happy little girl!  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ian is 4!

My baby boy turned 4 today.  We had a really fun birthday party for him at Kids.Street in Need.ham.  I think that he (and Sammy) and all of his friends had a blast.

Here's the video evidence:

And some pictures:

Starting to line up for a group photo:

The silly face picture:

Spiderman cake!
We got this from BJs and not only was it wonderfully decorated but it tasted awesome!  
Check out the cool Spiderman candles I found on the Internet.