Sunday, March 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby

Today is my husband's birthday!!   

I woke up this morning and he had made me breakfast.  The reason for this is that he gets up at the crack of dawn when it's practically still dark out.  His internal clock just won't ever let him sleep past 5:00am.  (I am SO the opposite of that!)  So, since he's always up first, he likes to make us all breakfast, no matter what day of the year it is.

Once we all got out of bed and ate breakfast, we got on our bikes and went for a long bike ride.  We rode to the store and got popsicles (it's hot today!) and then we rode home, ate lunch, and Rich was out the door to meet up with some neighborhood friends of his to go mountain bike riding on the trails near our home.  So he won't be home until about 5pm.  And then he and I will go out to dinner to celebrate his birthday.

The photo above is a rare sight -- Rich actually RESTING.  It just rarely happens.  His motto has always been, "I'll rest when I'm dead."  (again, SO the opposite of me!) 

Happy Birthday, Baby!  We all love you so much!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

TWENTY -- months, that is

Twenty months old today.  Where, or where, is the time going??!!  Oh my gosh, my baby is getting so big.  My baby.....will soon be my Big Girl, in her own Big Girl bed, wearing Big Girl underwear and all that.  I'm thinking we will start potty training this summer...and guess what?  No one will be in diapers anymore once that happns.  How about that.  Do you know I've been changing diapers every. single. day. since Alex was born?  Since October 1999.  (I had a couple years' break because Afton #3 and Alex #4 are 4 years apart)  So yes, my baby is getting older and I'm going to miss having a "baby" around.  What will it be like not to have a baby on my hip?  Of course, Rich is hoping for a #10.... but so far, that's not happening. So who knows, maybe Aria will be the  "IT" that everyone keeps asking about.  I just don't know.  It's all good, either way.

Okay, so here are a few things about Aria:

Well, for one... she weighs just 25 pounds.  She's a light weight compared to Andrew at her age.  But then again, he's a tank.  Aria is very tall and lanky.  I think she's going to be as tall as me one day (I'm 5' 9" on a good day)

Aria has never been to the doctor. She's never really been sick that I can remember, so I've never had to take her in.  She was born at home, and my midwife gave her the well-baby check a couple days afterwards (in my bedroom!) and so Aria has never been to a doctor's office.

Right now when we say, "Where's Ari?"  she will come running into the room, pointing at her chest and saying, "Right here!  Right here!"

At 20 months she still nurses at night and sometimes in the day for comfort.  She calls "them" her "mommy-num-nums"

Right now her crib is alongside our bed, and it's filled with clean clothes and laundry and such.  She never -- never -- sleeps in it.  In fact, if I even set her in it just for a second, she screams bloody-murder and is, quite frankly, very insulted that I dare put her into "the jail".   Instead, our bed is Aria's bed.  Or should I say her bed is our bed?  Hmmmm.   And I'm not really complaining.  I love snuggling up next to her each night. 

Aria can say her name perfectly:  "Ar-eee-ya!" 

For some reason, she HATES being put into her carseat.  I mean, she will start screaming as soon as she feels me scooping her up to put her in.  I can't understand it.  Out of all the kids, she is the one who has the BEST carseat.  We have the Recaro carseat, and boy is it plush and comfortable.  I don't know if she just doesn't like rear-facing when she sees all the other kids' carseats are forward facing... or what her deal is, but she hates being put into that thing.  Once she's in it, though, she's fine.  As a matter of fact, she almost always falls asleep as soon as she gets into it.  I can't figure her out.

I can always tell when Aria falls asleep in the car...because she snores!  Loudly.  She doesn't snore in bed.  She only snores when she's in her carseat.

When she hears the garage door opening, she looks at me and exclaims, "Oh! Dada!" and runs through the kitchen to the garage excited to see her daddy.  He will scoop her up, and she will bury her head into his neck and will wrap her arms around him and pats his back.  He will say, "How's my Butter Butt?"  and she will lift her head, turn to look for me, and then she points to me and looks at Rich and she says, "MaMa!" (She always has to point me out for some reason, as if to say, "That's my mom, over there.")

And of course she does and says sooooo many other things.  But I don't want to write a book here.  So I'll end this post now, and just sum it up by saying that Aria makes me so happy, and I'm just enjoying her so much :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Computer Games

When I was young, having a sleep-over was the BIG thing.   I used to sleep at my best friend's house, and she at mine, almost every Friday or Saturday night.

Alex has just recently gotton into the "sleep-over" thing.  The other weekend, he had two of his best friends over for the night.  And this is what they did.
All. Night. Long.

You know what I love about this photo?  I love that even though Alex is ten years old,  and even though his best buddies are sitting right next to him and he's playing big-boy-computer games 'cause he's cool like that...he still has his "special blankie" sitting right there on his lap.  Never too old or too cool for your special blankie, I suppose:)

Computer games.  They have taken over the world.  Well, at least at our house.  It's addicting, let me tell you.  When they are "in" the game...there's no coming out willingly.  You have to drag them out.  A bomb could go off in the house and there they would still sit, eyes glued to the screen, fingers flying, mouth slightly agape. 

I almost felt a little guilty.  Afterall, these were other parents' children.  Shouldn't I make them get up, go outside and play?  You know, for a little fresh air and exercise?

Well, wait a minute.  All three of these boys were doing this earlier that day:

(that's Alex as the goalie!)

And then after the game, I took them to the park and they did this:

So I guess a little of this......

isn't going to kill them, right?  or turn their minds into mush?  Afterall, the games are interactive, and quite challenging, if you ask me.  I think we had it pretty easy with Ms. Pacman.  Eating a bunch of dots is nothing compared to the challenges you are up against in the games they play today.   They take quite a bit of skill and computer knowledge.  And quick thinking, and quick fingers.  So I'm not going to beat myself up about it.  It's okay, if there is a balance.

But then I see this.....

little Andrew who is just three years old!

And worse yet, this!

Et tu, Aria?  Okay, this is a bit much.  But she only "plays" when she can grab one and run with it.  Then she plops down and just copies what she sees them doing.  She has no idea what she's doing.

Well, at least I don't think she does!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Random Photos around the House

Aria and her Daddy.  For some reason, Rich has always called Aria "Butter Butt".  Don't ask me why, because I don't know.  He has called her this since the day she was born.  But lately, he has been shortening it to just "Butter".  It's Butter this, and Butter that....but when he comes home, he always says, "Where's my Butter Butt??"  and she hears that and comes running.

Avery and Aislynn.  It's so nice when they play together like this instead of fighting.  (yes, my kids do fight from time to time!)


Our dining room table when there is no clutter or laundry on it.  This is such a rare occurance that I had to take a picture!

Simply exhausted!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Heaven has a new angel today ....

My heart is heavy today.  Although it's my son's seventh birthday and I am celebrating him, in the back of my mind I am thinking of another family who kissed their baby girl good-bye today.  Little Layla Grace lost her battle with cancer this morning.  She was only two years old.  Her suffering is over, and now she is at peace.  But her family will miss her so much.  Please pray for them!


Adam John (aka "A.J." ) is seven years old today!  Here is a recent photo of him in his Notre Dame baseball uniform, which is his current team.  In fact, he's at a game right now.  (I'm home baking his birthday cake and wrapping gifts for his party tonight) 

 A.J. is #6 in our family.   His actual due date was 03/03/03 -- I was SO hoping that I would go into labor on that day!  What a cool birthday, I thought...all 3's.  But instead he was late and was born on the 9th.   And so his birthday is 03/09/03 which is still a very cool birthday :)  

A.J. was my first 10 pound baby, weighing in at 10 pounds 6 ounces and 22 inches at his birth.  (Aria one-upt him, though, at 10 pounds 7 ounces!)  A.J. is the ONLY one who has my eyes.  Out of NINE children he is the only one with blue eyes!  He is proud of gives us a special bond :)   I love my A.J. so much!

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Boys

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a mommy.  When I was little, I had a lot of baby dolls.    I played "mommy" all the time.  Some girls were into Barbies, but I never was.  I was all about the baby dolls.  I had all kinds of dolls.  The ones I remember most: 

  • I had a Baby Alive that would eat, and then poop.  She was fun for about a day.

  • I also had a Baby Come Back, and she was this blond little cutie that would actually walk, make a U turn, and come right back to you.  I named her Chrissy and she was my absolute favoite. She had short blond hair and blue eyes.  

  • I also had Connie, who was a doll with long, darn brown hair and brown eyes...who had a permanent crown on her head with a pump-like thing that made her leg kick out.  She was a ballerina doll and for the life of me I can't remember her proper title.  Oh well. 
Those two were my very favorite, Chrissy and Connie, and I had them for years.  (Chrissy I named after Chrissy Snow from Three's Company.) 

Anyway, I never had a boy doll (did they even make boy baby dolls back then?  If so, I sure don't remember any.)   And I grew up with just one sister.  And my mom grew up with just one sister.  And well, there were no boys or men in my immediate family, since my parents divorced and my dad was never around, and I hardly knew my grandfathers.  So...GIRLS were all I knew.  And so I assumed that when I had kids, they would be girls. 

Well....these are certainly not girls.  These are my BOYS!  And I must say, I am still a bit surprised that I have four sons.  I just never imagined it.  But I LOVE it so much!  I just love being the mama of boys!  And since I also have five girls, I can do a bit of comparing.  My boys are so different from my girls.

1)  My boys are super sweet on their mom.  Yep, I am their sun.  They love their father, sure...but it's me they run to when they are hurt.  It's me they search out in a crowd when they are looking for a comforting face. It's me who they come to hug and kiss good-night.  It's me who they tell their troubles or worries to.  I am their nurturer, and they just need me in a way that melts my heart.

2)  My boys are very loud, rowdy, destructive and competitive.  No matter how hard I try to calm them down, they will sit still for only a second and then start up again with the rough-housing.  They RUN top-speed down the stairs and give me a heart attack at the sound of that. I always think someone is falling! They jump on their beds when they think I am not looking.  They race their bikes with each other even though we are just going on a leisurly family bike ride.  It's always a race with them. A race to the bathroom, a race to their bedroom, a race to finish their drink first, etc.   They take things apart just to see how they work, or simply just to see if they can take it apart.  They grab anything and pretend it's a sword.  They are always thumping each other on the head, on the butt -- anywhere they can get to -- just to get someone to chase them (again with the running!)   And my girls do none of these things. 

3)  My boys will get mad at each other, have a few words or slug it out, and then play with each other the next minute as if nothing happened.  My girls would NEVER do that!  If my girls argue, there's usually tears, and then they won't speak for a day or two.  Drama with the girls...but never with the boys.

4)  My boys have a lot of friends that they play with.  None of these friends have the title of BEST FRIEND.  There are no BFF's or letters to each other, or photos of them with their friends in frames on their dressers.  There is no drama with their friends.  They all play together in a group, and if someone is not playing nice or something, there isn't a big deal about it.  They all just keep playing, and then they will all play again the next day.  Even with the one kid that is a pain.  He is simply part of the group, like a crazy cousin or uncle in a family.  Just accepted, warts and all.  They might mutter, " comes Brian...." and roll their eyes,  because everyone knows that Brian is hard to get along with, or cries easily, or bugs them or teases them, or whatever...but they accept him and hang out with him, and he just is who he is and he's still part of the gang.  I like that about boys.  It's so not that way with girls!

5)  In my opinion, boys are a lot harder when they are younger.  Because they are super active and destructive and always on the go, go, go! (at least, my boys are)  Then they are easy when they are older, because they don't whine, don't pout, they get over things easily, they can be corrected and then be happy again the next minute, and they generally don't give you a lot of drama.  I think girls are the opposite of that.  My girls are super easy as babies and younger girls.  They play quietly, they don't destroy things or take things apart.  But then as they get around 11, 12 and into their teen years they are much harder.  They are moody, they pout, they can be crabby for no apparent reason, they will hold a grudge for days, and there can be a lot of drama with their sisters and friends.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Child Labor

In our household, we start  'em young with the chores.

We learn to pay close attention to detail.
(Oh! I missed a spot.)

We learn that sometimes things are easier when you've got a helper!
Nothing beats a little teamwork.

And we learn that helping out actually feels good and is in itself its own reward.
(What? You mean I'm not getting paid for this?!!)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Snow Day

Over President's Day Weekend we drove up to our local mountains and spent the day playing in the snow.  Avery was especially excited to go because all of last year she asked to go, and we just never were able to find a day to go.  And before we knew it, the snow had melted.  So we promised her that this year FOR SURE we would get her to the snow.  And so...we did!
Here she is sledding down the hill -- look at that smile/scream on her face.  Pure enjoyment, wouldn't you say? 
It was Aria's first time in the snow.  She didn't know what to make of all that cold stuff!  She mostly toddled around after me, whining  "Mommmmm....Mommmmm"  (she calls me "mom" not mama or mommy)
Aria with her biggest brother holding her :)
And taking her down the hill... which she didn't like too much at all.  Oh well.  Maybe next year.
Audriana only went down the hill once -- she didn't like getting all cold and wet! 
And then there's me...who went down as many times as I could.  Here I am with Andrew (see his little red cap?)  and you can't tell from the photo, but we were going pretty darn fast.  And at the end of the hill there was this huge mound of packed snow...and it didn't feel to good when you crashed into it.  Usually either Rich or Tony was down at the bottom to "catch" those of us who were incoming.  But sometimes...they missed. 
Aislynn had so much fun.  She couldn't get enough of the sledding.  Next time we need to bring more sleds because we only had two sleds and a Boogie Board to go down the hill with...and with a family our size, it makes for a lot of waiting around.
Alex on the Boogie Board...which turned out to be the best thing to ride on the snow.  We would go down head first, and then push our hand out to make it spin in a 360.  SO MUCH FUN!  I think we are just going to bring a bunch of these things with us next time!
A.J. poses for the picture while sledding on the Boogie Board :)
Andrew had a complete blast that day.  This little blue saucer-sled was the only thing he would go down the hill in.  I guess he felt safe because it was more suited for his size, I don't know...but he sure had fun on that thing!
Of course sledding wasn't all they did - the boys took time out to make snowballs and throw them at each other's heads.  Even though I told them not to do that because they would get wet and cold, they still did it.  Of course.  Boys!
Tony looks for his next victim.....
Making snowballs.

Sometimes I think it would be neat to live in an area where it snows.  Like Minnesota.  Or Maine.  Or New York.  Living in southern California all my life, sometimes I think I missed out on the "real" winters.  On the other hand, it's nice knowing that I can visit the snow for a day and then just drive down the hill and be home where it's warm again.  It only takes us about an hour and a half to get up to the snow from where we live.  I like that.  We drive an 90 minutes and we are in the snow.... 7 minutes and we are at the ocean....  2 hours and we are in the desert.  Yep, I kinda like where we live!