Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Life Lately

4th of July

My last post here on the blog was June 18th. Really? JUNE 18th! It is August for pete's sake!! So, here I am. I have no profound thoughts. No new recipes to share. I have LOTS of amazing photos here on my computer, but of course I want to share the stories, the BEST of the photos, the edited versions and I just can't seem to find the time to sort through the pictures, to write the stories, to gather my thoughts. 

We've been busy. We've been really busy. With what? I don't know exactly. Life, I guess.

We fill our weekends with family gatherings, fun little activities in our town, afternoons up at the family lakehouse, day trips for family reunions, visits to my parents house, and lots of other little adventures, but the truth is life itself is an adventure, as mundane as it can sometimes seem. 

Gavin is almost 5 years old! Well, he is between four and a half and five, so he's older than four and a half and that makes him nearly five! How on EARTH did my baby get to be so big? Really. I mean, I know it's cliche to say that, but I honest to goodness feel like I was JUST joyfully creating pregnancy announcements to announce my pregnancy with him to my siblings and best friends. Could that really have been over five years ago? Where did the time go? Life has been hectic and crazy and wild, but it's also been good and blessed. Parenting seems to be harder on Cliff than on me and I honestly think it's because he's an only child and didn't have to share as a kid. He didn't ever have to put anyone else first or figure out how to compromise or adapt to someone else's plan. He somehow managed to master that in our marraige, but in parenting it's a bit harder for him. He really misses time to himself (although I think he gets a lot of it) and he is challenged by the normal stubbornness and strong will of our kids. Yes, kids (plural). Addison is keeping right up with Gavin on the strong will!

Gavin will be starting Pre-K in just a few weeks and it's so weird to me. He went to preschool this past year, so Pre-K shouldn't feel all that different, but I think the schedule is part of what throws me off. Preschool was three half-days a week. I do remember it feeling like a big step, but we LOVED his teacher. We still love her and I so hope that she can continue to be part of Gavin's life in some way or another. The church where Gavin went to preschool offers 4K (similar to Pre-K, it's like kindergarten for 4 year-olds), preschool and childcare, but no elementary school. Both kids go to daycare there, but the 4K schedule there won't work very well for us this year, so this fall Gavin will be changing schools. He'll be going to Pre-K at a new school, with a new teacher, new friends, etc. I know I should be excited about that, but I'm actually kind of sad about it. It's the end of an era. He has entered the school years. We are lucky that we found a program that runs all day, three days a week, which also happen to be the three days per week that I work. So, while I am at work, Gavin will be at school and Addison will be at daycare. For now anyway, we'll still have our two "stay-home" days each week. This will hopefully be a good transition year for Gavin. He'll be transitioning to "all day", but it will only be for three days, so I think it'll be okay. I'm already thinking ahead though to next year, when he'll be gone all five days... I won't have him home with me on my days off. I'm already a bit sad about that. I will so miss him.

He is growing... when the cousins are all together he plays with the big kids instead of the little kids. There was a seven year gap between Gavin and the next older cousin, but he leaps right across that gap and chooses the kids that are all 7+ years older instead of the ones who are a year or two younger. He tells me that he doesn't like baby things. He likes Batman, Transformers, Spiderman, and Ninjago. He likes to play wresting, fighting, ninjas, video-games and war. He is attached to my iPad and although we try to limit his iPad time to 30 minutes a day, it is the first thing he asks for when he wakes up in the morning. His favorite things to play are MineCraft and Dragon Vale, although he just recently started playing Daniel Tiger learning games again. Go figure! He does still love to collect bugs, play in the sand (although he won't admit to that one) and even play with his play kitchen. He believes he is not a little boy. He doesn't want his hair cut, because "it isn't cool" - he wants a mohawk. He wants tie shoes, even though he can't tie them, because "velcro is for little kids". He chooses his own clothes in the morning and wants to wear jeans and a character t-shirt. No cute little plaid shorts and polos for this kid! He won't even wear the trendy little graphic shark or sting-ray print t-shirts that I got for him with coordinating plaid board-shorts. If it doesn't have ninjas or a superhero on it, he doesn't want to wear it. If I DO convince him to put shorts on instead of jeans then he wants to wear only athletic shorts with long black socks. What happened? When did he become anti-little boy? He doesn't like me to kiss him. When he is hurt, he pushes me away. He rolls his eyes and says "duu-uh!" to me. He's 48" tall and weighs 46 lbs. He's tall enough to go on big-kid rides. I actually received a school supply list for him that had "notebooks" on it. Really? A notebook? That means he'll be writing... writing more than just his name. I love seeing who he is becoming. I love who he is becoming. I love how creative and motivated and tough and adventurous and crazy silly and unique he his. 

Addison is growing and changing too. Thankfully, she isn't saying "duu-uh!" yet. Well, not intentionally anyway. She says duh, duh but I think it means Daddy. She is eight and a half months old. She JUST got her first tooth. July 30th there was a little sharp edge in her gums, but nothing visible yet. It showed up just barely on July 31st. I could see it if I really looked hard, but it's still not really very visible. I can feel it with my finger. Just one tooth, her bottom left front tooth. She gets up on her hands and knees now and scoots backwards, but has yet to make significant forward crawling motion. She does move her knees and just this morning moved her arms forward too, but didn't really manage to relocate her body forward. I'm really in no hurry for that. We aren't ready for that yet. We aren't in the baby-proofing mode yet. Still seems far away. We have coins and buttons laying around on end-tables and countertops, dog hair and dinner crumbs hiding in the corners, and with Gavin's room in the basement now, we have a stair-gate that stays open instead of closed. When Gavin was little we had a custom-made gate installed with a lock and it stayed closed and locked at all times until about a year ago. Now that the basement is finished and Gavin sleeps down there, we've been leaving the gate open. We can't trust that all three of us will remember to close the gate every time we pass through and the latch isn't very child-friendly so Gavin can't open or close the latch the way it is. So, the gate needs updating. We need some self-closing hinges and an automatic latch with an easy release that Gavin can operate without our help. We've been looking at options and have found some, but have really had trouble finding something made for an indoor date - the majority of what we've found are for big driveway gates or cattle gates or something. I think the springs on those hinges would close our gate so fast and hard it would smack us in the butt and send us flying down the stairs! 

It's nearly time for Addison's nine-month well-baby check-up and I am still looking at her six-month stats in amazement at how much she has grown. At six months she was 17 lbs, 9 oz (73%), 27" long (86%), and her head was 44.5cm (95%) in circumference. Yes, my kids have big heads. They both do and they have since they were born. Believe me, I can attest to it! At 6 months old, Addison had JUST started sitting up. It literally coincided almost exactly with her 6-month birthday. Now at eight months, she can go from sitting to laying and back to sitting and on to her hands and knees and back to sitting again... and she likes to pull herself up and stand if you give her your fingers, but she doesn't realize yet that she needs to keep holding on or she'll fall. She is incredibly smiley and generally a very happy baby, but has JUST started clinging to me a bit - literally this weekend. If I hand her off to someone, she now turns around immediately and reaches for me. She cries when I walk out of a room or if someone else is holding her and she hears my voice. She still doesn't sleep worth a darn and I'm still not willing to make her cry it out. She wakes 2-3 times still each night and cries until I pick her up and nurse her. Gavin was such a good sleeper as a baby (and still is) that I just wasn't prepared for this! I wasn't prepared to still be getting up to nurse the baby three times a night at nearly nine months old! I think that if she would accept a bottle, I could get a good 4-8 ounces in her before bed and she'd probably sleep longer, but the girl still. will. not. take. a. bottle!!! I hear all of the people saying "Oh, I bet she would if she gets hungry enough!" Yes, I am sure she would... But I'm not trying to wean her. I want to keep breastfeeding her, I just want her to also accept a bottle when we need her to. For some reason, she won't do both. I don't know why I feel like I keep having to defend my decision not to starve her into taking the bottle. I just find that I keep feeling that way.

She is smiley and giggly and as much as I hate being woken from a deep sleep and getting out of  bed, I love being her Momma and I love that I can comfort her and that she craves that closeness. Before I know it, she'll be walking and talking and I will miss these days. These nights of cuddles in the moonlight, these nights of barely keeping my eyes open, looking down on her content little face, eyes closed, sleeping comfortably and just suckling every few minutes to let me know she's not ready to be finished, even though she's sleeping. 

Life is good. We have overtired meltdowns when bedtimes get too late and crazy messes when little boys try doing things on their own and refusing help, and we have testing and pushing limits and testing some more and smart-mouthing and discovering who we all are, and this is all part of growing. It's part of kids growing up and it's part of parents growing our parenting skills and experience. I have a few regrets about how we've handled certain things and know we could have done better, but I know that we are all learning together. Would we really be any better at this with more experience. Each kid is so different that I just can't imagine we'd learn all that much that is applicable from one to the next.

One of my best friends just told me that her sister's kids who are near the ages of my kids, both sleep 12 hours at night. She said it so kindly and almost sympatheticaly. I think it went like this... "I really don't want to rub it in, but Patty's kids both go to bed at 8:30 at night and sleep until 8:30 in the morning" or something like that. She has one that is about a year and a half younger than Gavin and one that is a few months younger than Addison. Really? Really? I am so happy for her. I am. I just look forward to the day that I get the same luxury. I look forward to the day Addison decides to sleep. or take a bottle. or both. Yes... both. 

Right now I'm fighting a sinus infection. Yay, I know. Seems that when you don't get any sleep, your body can't seem to fight off the common cold and it turns into something ickier. Yes, ickier. More icky. Whatever. We've really had our share of viruses this year. It could be the fact that both Cliff and I work in a hospital... where sick people come... or it could be that the kids are both in a daycare center, or it could be that we aren't sleeping, or it could be all of the above. We've had colds, coughs, Strep, sinus infections, RSV, you name it.    

What a summer it's been! Amid the colds and coughs, we've kept busy. It's already August. In June, I took the kids and drove down to Fairmont, Minnesota for a family reunion. Gavin spent hours playing the playground at the park and swimming in the lake and playing in the sand. In July, we celebrated the fourth of July with family in town, then celebrated our town's festival with a tractor pull, cheese curds, a parade. etc. At the end of July, I spent a few days "up north" near Brainerd, Minnesota at Breezy Point Resort with my family. It was a snug little 'vacation' where 21 of my nearest and dearest family members shared a three bedroom cabin and one of those bedrooms is actually just a loft with two twin beds in it. I, however, can not complain because I am one of very few who got to sleep in an actual bed in an actual bedroom. We had a lot of fun. It's no vacation, but it is awesome. I have lots of pictures of that to sort through and share here. Then here and there we've been up at the family lake house just an hour north of home. Lots of beach time there, mostly Gavin playing in the water and the sand! At home we've managed to put up a 12' diameter ring-top pool and have loved playing in it, as well as playing in the little tiny blow-up kiddie pool. Both have their purposes and both are fun on a hot day, or even a cold night! I've had to wrap Gavin up in a blanket, blue-lipped and teeth chattering, more than once! Gavin has been getting really good on his dirt bike and enjoys riding it around the farm with Cliff on his mini-bike. The two of them race eachother all around the yard and the farm and have been having so much fun. Cliff has been busy helping his parents since his Dad is recovering from heart surgery and has also been trying to keep up with the farm equipment maintenance since he has officially taken over the farm this year. We've been trying to keep up with yard work, but struggling. The laundry piles up and the dishes pile up and the dog goes out when the cat comes in, but we're living life and doing our best to make the most of these crazy days. It all goes by so fast!   

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