Sunday, August 31, 2014

Joanna

When I was a teacher, I had a student named Joanna.  She was a sweet, quiet little thing, with the most gorgeous long and thick auburn hair.  She wasn't a particular stand out in any way: she was smack in the middle academically, quiet enough in class to not draw my ire, yet not so quiet that I questioned whether she was learning.  She was sweet and kind but didn't go out of her way to help anyone out.  So, she was one of those students that normally would sort of slip through the radar, not super memorable.

Except for one thing.

Joanna wanted to learn how to jump rope.  Her very first day of school, she quietly observed some older girls jumping rope.  "Teacher?" she asked. "What are they doing?"  I showed her where the jump ropes were kept and watched her patiently arrange her hands and feet just right for the rest of my recess duty.

The next day was the same, and the next.  Day after day, week after week, without a single break in her routine, Joanna practiced jumping rope.  She wasn't very coordinated, she had to work really hard to make the smallest advance in skill.  One whole week was dedicated to just holding the rope correctly.  The next two she worked on swinging it so it would go over her head. 

Rain or shine, Joanna practiced and practiced.  As I watched her day in and day out, I noticed a few things.  She never strayed from her goal.  Most kids flitted from slide to swings to balls to jump ropes, but not Joanna - she was ONLY for jump rope.  She also never grew frustrated.  After one particularly grueling recess in which she was trying desperately to time her jump just right to make it over the rope, she kept tripping.  She fell.  She practiced the entire recess without being successful once.  But the next recess, she was happily right back out there, cheerful smile and attitude intact.

She never, ever gave up.  She was persistent to her goal.

By the end of the year, of course, Joanna was the best jump roper in the school. She even taught herself to Double Dutch.  Kids of all ages would stop their play to watch her jump rope.

I remember thinking at the time, "When I have children, I want to teach them that.  The persistence, the amazing positive attitude, the inner drive to succeed at something no matter how difficult it is."

I hope I'm succeeding.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Goodbye Summer!

Since the appearance of our amazing blow-up waterslide, we offered to host a lovely Goodbye Summer party with our friends.

Of course, the waterslide was the star of show - the kids had an insane amount of fun and I'm pretty sure all parents involved were pleased with how well all the kids slept that night!

Cole helping bake pumpkin spice brownies before the party - his complete confidence in his ability to bake is pretty inspiring:

 
 
 All going up the ladder...
 Splash!
 
 
 
 
 Ten points for style, Ben!
 
 
 
 
 
 And of course, the biggest kid of them all took a turn:
Great times with amazing friends, as always!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Waterslide!

Grammy and Papa came over last weekend and brought this amazing blow up waterslide for Cole to play on!

You guys, I totally should have taken a video of the first time Cole went down the slide.  It was, in a word, perfection.  The HUGEST, most adorable full body belly laugh!  He had SO MUCH fun!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 SO MUCH JOY!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Perfect summer activity!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Baby Belly Laughs

Baby belly laughs are my favorite.  Seriously, I dare you to not smile:
 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Morning at the Park

A lovely morning at the park with my boys:
"Why you take so many pictures, mama?"
 
 
 
 
 
 The BIG slide! My little boy is growing up!
 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

taking stock

Making : plans. lots of plans.  not much time for anything else right now!
Cooking : tons of my freezer meals, since our freezer broke down and a bunch of stuff defrosted :(
Drinking : wine, of course! and ice water
Reading: two books: "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandburg, and "Me Before You" by JoJo Meyers.  Both excellent and thought-provoking.
Wanting: more time.  more "me" time. more time for leisurely showers, more time for naps, and more time to craft, sew, photograph, read, and blog
Looking: at beautiful photography, hoping to get inspired
Playing: with my babies.  all day, every day. :)
Wasting: food.  see above freezer breakdown.
Sewing: reusable snack baggies and Cole's Halloween costume
Wishing: for time to simultaneously speed up (so Chase will sleep better) and slow down (because my babies are growing up!)
Enjoying: fresh produce from the Farmer's Market
Waiting: with great anticipation and excitement for Cole to start preschool in two weeks!
Liking: Chloe snuggled next to me, like she is every evening.
Wondering: if I’ll ever feel as though I'm not way behind on everything
Loving: my family.
Hoping: for fall temperatures to arrive sooner rather than later.  I love fall.
Needing: new shoes for Cole. again. kid goes through shoes like I go through chocolate.
Smelling: the pumpkin spice candle I lit. see above re fall.
Wearing: tennis shoes, in an effort to get some chores done today.
Noticing: I desperately need to vacuum.
Knowing: that when it comes to children, the days are long but the years are short.
Thinking: perhaps we've turned a corner with Chase's sleep, and maybe he'll start having some better nights.
Feeling: tired.  always so very tired.
Opening: way too many tabs in my internet browser.  I'm a multi-tasker.

Friday, August 22, 2014

How We're Doing

How we're doing with life right now: Cole is four years, two months old and Chase is six and a half months old.

Cole:

Winning:
  • Being a FUN, fantastic little person!  I'm not sure it gets any better than Cole as a four year old.  This age is just seriously so much fun. Every day Cole has a new and interesting question, comment, or perspective.  Our days are full of thoughtful questions and I have so much fun discussing ideas with him!  Every time we read a book, Cole asks what a word means and it's the best thing to hear him later use it in a sentence.  He comes up with some really adorable phrases: "MOM, I'M SO HUNGRY, MY TUMMY IS EMPTY EXCEPT FOR GAS AND CRUMBS.  JUST GAS AND CRUMBS IN MY TUMMY." (from "The Lorax").
  • Being the sweetest, kindest, most loving big brother in the world.  I can't believe how smoothly the transition from only child to big brother has been for Cole.  I was fully prepared for some rough patches - jealousy, anger, resentment - but it has been 99% smooth sailing.  Cole is the first one to play with Chase, to run to him if he's fussing, to play with him, talk to him, and dote on him in every possible way.  The best part?  All his interactions with him are completely genuine.  Not the type "look at how sweet I'm being", but truly loving playing with his baby brother.  It's pretty much my favorite thing ever.



Working on:
  • Staying focused on a task.  Our slow dreamer boy.  His amazing ability to be super focused on project or book can sometimes backfire when he needs to do mundane things like get ready for bed.  Mostly we combat this problem by just giving him TONS of time to do "must do" tasks (like 45 minutes to brush his teeth, pee, and get pajamas on for bed) but sometimes we just don't have that kind of time built in.  But it's a learning experience and he's getting there.
  • Giving Chase some space.  Cole is so, so loving.  But his particular brand of loving can be a little...um...overwhelming.  Think in-your-face saying "CHASE! CHASE! I WUV YOU! HI CHASE! I WOV YOU CHASE! HI! I'M YOUR BIG BROTHER COLE! I WUV YOU CHASE! HI CHASE! HI!!!!" about a thousand times a day.  Chase honestly doesn't usually mind, but I'd really like for him to eventually be able to entertain himself to some extent, so we'll see if we can help Cole practice some restraint every once in a while.



Chase:

Winning:
  • Being sweet and funny and adorable.  He is just a ball of squishy adorableness.  I find myself hugging and snuggling and loving on this cutie pie a hundred times a day.  He's fun and smiley and oh so patient with all of Cole's lovings. 
  • SLEEPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I never ever ever thought I would say this.  Ever.  But finally, oh finally, we can file "sleeping" under winning.  I know we'll have setbacks...but I am so so glad that after months of incredible sleeplessness, our little mister has turned a corner and is doing so much better.  Thank God, because I was seriously ready to quit and/or revolt.
  • Being in a routine.  We are finally getting a pretty good routine down, and I love knowing when I can schedule play dates and doctor's appointments without interfering with his naps.

Working on:
  • Entertaining himself.  It's pretty much a hit-or-miss with Chase in regards to entertaining himself.  He's either really really awesome at it (upwards of 30 mins of playing on his own) or really really awful (the SECOND I put him down he starts to screech his extreme displeasure).  Sometimes, I really wish I didn't have to perfect my ability to do all things (tie shoes, blow dry my hair, make dinner, etc) with one hand because he absolutely refuses to be put down.  I'm not super stressed about it (the beauty of a second child, pretty much nothing other than sleep deprivation stresses you out), I know he'll get there eventually and I'll be sitting around feeling entirely useless and unnecessary because he'll be so busy exploring.  I'm pretty sure his frustration stems from his desperate desire to crawl and move around to keep up with Big Brother.  Give it two months, little buddy...in the meantime, I'll be over here babyproofing.

  • um, nursing.  Little Man has sort of fallen off the nursing wagon in the past few weeks.  It's just that the world is just so INTERESTING, he doesn't want to be facing me breastfeeding.  So a typical nursing session is he sucks once or twice, pops off to look around, latches back on for a few sucks, then hears a noise and turns to look (WITHOUT latching off - OUCH!), then sucks once or twice, then pops off for a minute or two to be entertained by Cole's antics... he's just not too interested in nursing.  Again, I'm not worried - he'll come back when he really needs it.  I trust that he'll eat when he's hungry!
All in all, life is going great as a family of four! We have our rough times and occasionally still try to figure out the timing of things and balancing everyone's needs, but mostly life is smooth and the kids are happy!


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