Saturday, October 31, 2009

Playing dress-up

Last Sunday the teenagers were dressing up in costumes to go around "trick-or-treating" for canned goods in the area around our church. At the last minute I decided we should join in. I'd really planned to pretty much skip dressing up this year because they just don't really care and it just seemed like too much money/effort (what a spoil-sport, I know). So instead, I just rummaged in their closets and threw together something they could have fun with. And it was a good thing that I went that route, because they LOVED dressing up...for about 15 minutes.


May I present...
A beautiful princess protected by her knight in shining armor
and wooed by a country music artist:


A challenge to a dual or a consipiracy to escape ANOTHER photo shoot?



Either way, this is one HAPPY princess!





We had fun being with the teenagers while they collected can goods. It sure was a work-0ut for me, pushing 3 babies in a double stroller. Wowzers. They all LOVED it, though. Can't you tell?

(please ignore the fact that a certain country music singer forgot to have his momma wipe his face after enjoying his pizza!)


I sure love spontaneous (and free) fun!

ABL

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One by one- Princess Lou

I can't believe our princess is 4-months-old! Its her turn for a little update...
First, the question I know you all can't WAIT to have answered...Why "Lou"? I have no idea. Her nickname/blog name came very naturally. She's just been her name-Lou from day one. Not sure why. Just flows.
We went for her 4 month check up last Monday. She was just over 13lbs and 24 1/2 inches with a rather large noggin. She's just a little string bean, long and lean.

She can rollover now, but can only go from back to stomach and it makes her pretty mad that she can't get onto her back. She LOVES her pacifier and her soft blanket luvy. She pulls the luvy up over her head to go to sleep like a real diva (don't worry, I take it off of her face after she is asleep). She also LOVES to be in the sling on my hip and she LOVES to wear bows (ok, maybe that is momma's love, but she doesn't seem to mind). She could really care less about toys for the most part, preferring to just be in the middle of the floor watching her brothers play. She is easily the most laid-back at this age of any of our three children. Sometimes I think she is fake, she is so easy. She is also very alert, observant, and happy. All her brothers have to do is smile in her direction and she breaks into giggles. She giggles at everything (and nothing) all the time. I sure love this baby girl.


Watch her grow...


One month


Two months


Three months



Four months

This "four month" one is my favorite. This is a true Lou smile, the one we see ALL the time, and she is in her classic pose...the flying princess. This four-month-old thinks she is going somewhere. She gets on her belly and arches her back and moves those arms and legs like she can propel herself forward. I have a feeling she will be crawling much earlier than the boys. I also love this photo, though, because she is laying on a quilt made by my Grandmomma, snuggling her favorite luvy and has on a diaper cover given to her by one of my dearest friends.

Ok, and since you asked nicely...just a few more of my favorites.

She rarely gets mad, but when she does she is D-R-A-M-A-T-I-C. The queen of pout.


This was her first pedicure (sort of).


Girl's best friend...a monkey? She gets in her carseat and just starts giggling at this orange friend. So funny!She absolutely LOVED her first tastes of cereal. She made a huge mess with it, mostly because she figured out how to make bubbles with it and because she likes to put her toes in her mouth. Probably should have used the tray on the highchair. Ah well, it was way more fun that way!
...and lastly... those baby blue eyes. How can you resist those gorgeous eyes? Her Daddy says its impossible (and her momma is inclined to agree)!

We're only beginning to get to know this sweet girl and couldn't possibly be any more in love with her! I can't wait to see her personality continue to develop.


ABL

Monday, October 26, 2009

Makeover My Monday

*This post could alternatively be titled "preserving Monday's sanity" (or Mommy's sanity), but the abbreviation has a few too many connotations/inferences that I am not willing to admit to. I much prefer the 'M' alliteration, don't you?


I work part-time outside of our home, Tuesday-Thursday. So I am home with the cherubs four days out of the week. But for some reason, it is always Mondays that get us. As previously mentioned, I've learned that if I don't have a plan the boys come up with one (see picture to left...don't be fooled into thinking that is a hug). It just seems like there are more battles, more messes, more tears, more tantrums, more TROUBLE on Mondays. Maybe it is because RRL has been home to help all weekend and we are missing him on Mondays. Maybe it is because I feel overwhelmed trying to get the house cleaned up after a busy weekend and get us all ready for the week of work/school/babysitters house. Maybe its because my kids just have the Monday blues. Whatever causes it, I'm definitely willing to take ownership for the fact that Mondays are rough (my attitude, my patience, my attention to what really matters) and I've decided to do something about it. Something small yet intentional.



I've started "Makeover my Monday" plans. Today, and for the previous two Mondays, I just tried to plan ahead for an activity or craft for the boys that is something we don't usually do or haven't done before. In the morning while we get our chores done, I talk to them about what we are going to do. This buys me a little time to get the laundry going, clean up the kitchen or tidy up around the house while they get excited. Then we do our "project" (as KJ likes to call it) when Lou goes down for a nap.
1) The first week we made our first ever (but definitely not last) couch/sheet fort to:
hide in,
read stories in
and play flashlight games in


...and as a bonus, invited a friend over to make and decorate cookies.

2) Last week we decorated pumpkins using things we could find around the house (construction paper, stickers, markers)
Note: I can neither confirm nor deny whether Cbug
colored on his face with brown marker during this
little project.


Aren't the final results just the cutest things you have ever seen? KJ declares them to be "BEEEAUTIFUL pumpkins". I concur.
3) This week we played with dried beans. We measured them, dug for buried treasure (which may or may not have been candy left from last Easter), and made roads for racecars. For the big finale we used the beans inside of paper plates as noise makers and had a dance party (see video below).


Thanks to Kendra V for the idea of digging for things in the beans. The funny thing about the "treasure dig" was that they were having so much fun, they found and re-buried the candy about 12 times before even thinking to ask if they could eat it. And we definitely covered our noise-makers in stickers. Mostly I like involving stickers in every project just to get to hear Cbug say "steeeeeeekers"
over and over. So cute!

video
This Monday "mission" is definitely still a work-in-process but has already been successful, I think, at giving the boys some time on Monday with my undivided attention (or at least a little less divided). Its been a learning process to figure out the timing to make it happen, what are reasonable expectations for their attention span, etc. It really hasn't been so much about the what we do, as much as just that I have a plan and am intentional about spending some Monday time with them.

I would love to hear your ideas of things to do. I would prefer it to be something we can do in our home, with few supplies, and age appropriate for a nearly 2 year-old and a 3 1/2 year-old. Share your ideas, then when we try it I'll share pictures and let everyone else know how it goes. I've also been posting a facebook status on Sundays saying what we'll be doing on Monday so if anyone else needs "a plan" you can use ours or maybe get an idea of your own. Hope that helps if there is anyone else out there needing "An Extreme Monday Makeover". Hopefully it will also hold me accountable to having a plan ahead of time.

Let me know your ideas!

ABL

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A story of a boy and his blanket

Kj really likes his "blankies" but he is not nearly as attached to them as is Cbug to his. Oh my, he loves this blanket and its constant companion, blue bear. He's pretty good about limiting his time with them to sleepy time, but also requests them when he is hurt or upset.
Which is why it was nearly disasterous when we found it like this...


...an unfortunate meeting with a green highlighter. It wasn't so much that we were concerned about the appearance of the blanket. Its already looking pretty worn. The problem was more that he also drools while he sleeps so when we let him keep it during nap time he woke up with a green spot on his cheek. This clearly could not continue.

This was going to require some over-night soaking so we miraculously convinced Cbug to accept one of his sister's silky blankets- same fabric, just pink. Then we soaked it over-night to try to get all of the green dye out. It turned three sink-fulls of water completely green just rinsing it out. When Cbug woke up this morning the blanket was in the dryer. He saw it. For a short time he was fine just telling McQueen about it, but then he'd had enough.
So, even though it was still slightly damp, Daddy reunited the friends, good as new (well, as good as a well worn but clean blanket can be).
The boy and his blanket...
...and Cbugs "Linus-status" was restored.
Shew. That was close.
ABL

Friday, October 23, 2009

One by One- Cbug

Last week, I did an update on our oldest son, KJ.
Now, for a bit about Cbug.

Oh boy, oh boy. How do I even put into words how hilarious, busy, snuggley, charming, sneaky, loving and mischievous our middle child is? I guess you just have to know him to know the amazingness that is Cbug. He is a rule tester (unlike his rule-follower big brother) but is also quick to say "sorry" and give hugs. We're realized in the last couple of months that our middle son is more keenly aware that he is being disobedient than we gave him credit for. We're having to really crack down on obeying with him. It is definitelytough not to laugh sometimes, though! Here are some recent pictures and thoughts about our stinker.

I've referred to Cbug as a "bull in a china closet". He is a daredevil, goes fast and furious, is busy constantly, and thinks about the consequences LATER (if ever). On one such occasion this summer (just a week before his sister's arrival), he tried to climb up onto our bed. In the process, the bridge of his nose had an unfortunate meeting with the bed railing resulting in 3 stitches. Does this keep him from climbing now? Oh, no. I've found him on top of my desk, on the dining room table, in the bathtub (not during bathtime), in the window sill, on the bathroom counter,etc...and that is just at our house. He jumped off of diving boards this summer and we have to watch him like a HAWK around water. At the retreat this fall he just took off running toward the lake. I have no doubt that if he had gotten there first he would have been in the water.
Cbug is growing and growing and growing! Really, it is amazing to me to see how different he is just in the last few months.
These pictures were taken on his
<---FIRST
and
LAST -->
days in the nursery at church with one of his favorite people to snuggle!




If you follow us on facebook where we post a lot of pictures, you'll see lots of photos of KJ and baby sister together and lots of Cbug by himself. This is for two reasons.
1) Cbug marches to his own drum. While he loves playing with his big brother, he often prefers to just wander around by himself. For example, to the left, he was at the splash park. There were definitely other kids (and adults) there, but he was just enjoying the water, dancing, splashing and having a big time by himself.
2) Cbug gets cropped out of a lot of sibling pictures. TERRIBLE...I KNOW. But usually he puts a toy on his head, makes a funny face, dives out of the shot, etc. For example...last week I was taking pics of the kiddos on the front porch. KJ was holding Lou so it was a super fast "photo shoot". These are the faces of Cbug in that VERY short period of time. In the end, I got a really cute (cropped) picture of KJ with his sister...and these faces of Cbug.



Just like KJ, Cbug LOVES his siblings! He adores his big brother (especially when they are wrestling) and these days is quite a shadow of him. He also loves being a BIG brother. His carseat is right beside his sister's in the van and because she faces the back they can see each other. I'll often hear him get so excited and yell "SMILE" because he is pleased he made her smile at him. In the picture to the right he was reading to her and telling her the sounds the animals make. This kid has some AMAZING animal sounds. Monkey, sheep, crocodile, cow, horse, pig, rooster and cat are some of my favorites!
Cbug does everything BIG. Best of all he LAUGHS big....about everything. I love to hear his deep hearty laugh. What a JOY our Cbug is! He brings new adventures everyday and lots and lots of FUN!




And finally...a video. This video amazes me for a couple of reasons. First, because this is one of the only things C will sit still to do. There are a couple of others (loves crafts and stories) but they are few and far between. And second because this puzzle is HARD (i mean, for a toddler...i won't talk about whether it is hard for mom). The pieces are only slightly different shapes and there is nothing to designate which order they go in. The first time I saw him do this I was truly amazed. But then again, I'm the mom!! As an added bonus, you get to hear his adorable deep voice and his 3-year-old brothers not-so-adorable tantrum!

video

Oh how I love this little boy!!

ABL

Monday, October 19, 2009

One by One- KJ

To get back into the swing of things, I'm going to update on each kiddo, one by one. Then I'll try to get back to just blogging about the day by day. I know that thrills you to no end, especially after the glimpse at our day-to-day you got in that highly entertaining Texas Macaroni post.


So, here we go. Oldest to youngest.

KJ (3 1/2-years-old)
Here are a few of my favorite summer pics and some info on our oldest son.



Potty training, oh potty training. It may kill me.
I really don't have anything encouraging
to say on this topic.
So...moving on...

Just a funny story. One day, at the height of potty training frustration, I lost my cool and said "KJ, only animals squat in the corner to poop instead of using the potty" (I know, I regret it) to which KJ replied "Can I be a monkey?". Nice.






The rock wall.
KJ LOVES rock-climbing and several of the parks in our area have great walls at the playgrounds. Now, KJ has his very own in our backyard. He thinks it is the coolest. He also LOVED helping his Daddy put it together.




















One of KJs favorite things to do is read. He has several books completely memorized and loves to read to others. Here he is reading "Go Dog Go" to his Great-Grandmomma when we visited her this summer. Other favorites include "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" and "The Cat in the Hat".







Fun in the sun is right up KJ's ally. From the summer foods like popsicles and watermelon, to summer fun like the splash park and swimming pool, he LIVES for summer.


He's also quite the ham. To the right, he was eating his lunch under his towel because he was FREEZING (it was probably 100 degrees outside).






Another favorite thing about this summer was lots of time with family. Since I was off on maternity leave we got to spend an entire month with my family. A highlight was time we spent with Uncle M, who is currently living in my grandparents old house. I loved getting to watch KJ do some of the things I treasured in childhood, working in the garden and riding the tractor. SO FUN!!


KJ takes his role as Big Brother very seriously. He is a protector and informer (doesn't that sound nicer than tattle-tale). We've been working with the boys on sticking together and watching out for each other when we are in public (I need all the help I can get). I say "We stick together because we are..." and they say "TEAM LEWIS". Its funny, but also effective.






KJ started school in September. Nothing ever suited him better than going to school. He LOVES to learn. I know I am biased, but this is one sharp little cookie so I'm glad he's getting some attention and challenge at school.
Recently, he went with a friend who is in graduate school for speech path to do some mock-testing. No shocker, his verbal skills tested well above his age. When you combine his advanced verbal skills with his small stature people are always amazed at the way he talks (usually thinking he's even younger than he is). It is so funny to see their reactions to things he says.

His "smarts" are also the source for many battles at our house these days. He can rationalize ANYTHING and always has an answer. If he doesn't know the answer, he'll make one up. For example, when I cut my foot open on his matchbox car on the ground and said to him "KJ, we really need to work on putting toys back where they go" and he responded "Or, you could work on stepping over them". Thats pretty standard for how our conversations go. But we are working on being respectful, obeying on the first time, and not arguing. Sometimes its tough not to just laugh, though.

And finally, a real treat if you made it to this point.
Two videos of some of my favorite things about KJ.
The first is him singing to his sister. Love the choice of song
combined with his sweetest lullaby voice!
video
and the second is him telling Cbug a joke.
I LOVE that KJ loves to tell jokes, but Cbugs reaction is really
what makes this hilarious and they do it OVER AND OVER AND OVER!
video
Joke translation:
Q: Why does the golfer wear two pairs of pants?
A: In case he gets a hole-in-one.

That's the latest happenings with our big kid. He's a joy!

ABL