Opening toys

This morning I opened the gifts my aunt Libbie sent the boys. It’s like taking a mini-IQ test (or the perceptual motor part, anyway) before your first cup of coffee. There is an insane amount of packaging to weed through before you can get the pieces out. I had to :

Un-tape the outer box from the inner box

Slide the inner box out

Un-do about 6 twisty ties

Pull the tabs off the twisty ties

Pull the twisty ties out of the toy

Pull off the plastic case surrounding the toy

And – FINALLY – liberate the toy from the inner box.

And then do it again to get the figure out

And then do it again with the other toy.

All while two very eager boys hung onto my arms begging (or fussing) to play with the toy, which I would happily let them do if I could just GET IT OUT OF THE BOX.

The boys love their new toys and I got to work out my frustration on the bubble wrap.


September 30, 2008. the boys. 1 comment.

Grandpa’s birthday

We celebrated Grandpa’s birthday over the weekend. The weather was nice enough we could sit out on the screened porch. The boys had a good time hanging out with the family, playing with toys, and making ridiculous faces. You’ll see what I mean.

David with Aunt Susie

David with Aunt Susie

Nana with the boys

Nana with the boys

David, Grandpa, and Mommy

David, Grandpa, and Mommy

Matthew's monkey face

Matthew's monkey face

Junior Birdmen

Junior Birdmen

Adoring fans

Adoring fans

Matthew put the candles on the cake

Matthew put the candles on the cake

September 30, 2008. family. 1 comment.


Where is Matthew? Is he behind the chair? Is he under the kitchen table? Is he in the pack-n-play?

Hmm….. If I follow the sound of the giggling I might be able to find him.

Aha! Under the coffee table.

September 28, 2008. Matthew. Leave a comment.


We are avid swingers in our house. Steven and I do swing dancing, but the boys prefer the more relaxed method of swinging on Nana’s swing set.

Matthew tried out the “big boy” seat on Monday.

David is having more fun than he lets on.

Here is the difference between the boys. Matthew could have lived in a swing when he was a baby. Some days, we were mighty tempted to let him. The night he was up at 2 am wailing and we realized he had finally gotten too heavy for the swing I cried right along with him. David, on the other hand, would have nothing to do with his swing, which made me cry even more.

September 27, 2008. the boys. Leave a comment.


David likes to check out the cabinets. So far he has discovered such age-appropriate toys as my hair dryer, the pyrex bowls, and his brothers (open) bottle of vitamins. When I talked to our pediatrician about David’s furniture walking and overall curiousity she made sure we had the number for poison control handy. Clearly she knows something about adventuresome babies.

Step 1 - Open unlocked cabinet

Step 1 - Open unlocked cabinet

Step 2 - Throw all contents on floor.

Step 2 - Throw all contents on floor.

Step 3 - Check back of cabinet for sharp objects which may be "hidden."

Step 3 - Check back of cabinet for sharp objects and other toys.

September 26, 2008. David. Leave a comment.

Letting Go

After weeks of cruising around holding onto the furniture and holding our hands to walk across the room, David has finally taken a few unassisted steps. It’s a big deal for a baby, and for his parents as well.

In a move that he will repeat thousands of times in his life, David has let go of the safe, the familiar, the comforting, and struck out for the unknown, wobbling toward whatever lies ahead, reaching out for something new to grasp.

I have to resist the temptation to hang on. It’s not my job, after all. My job is to guide, support, and encourage. To hold his hand while he is learning, reassure him that he is ready, and then let go.

September 25, 2008. David. 2 comments.

Home Depot Park

We had play group at the park behind Home Depot today. It has an actual name, but we never use it and I don’t know what it is.

Anyway, we met up in this beautiful, crisp, September weather and ran around for a few hours. I got a few shots of the kids playing, but toddlers aren’t very cooperative about posing for pictures. Toddlers aren’t very cooperative for much, actually, but that is another post.

Matthew and Own played on the bleachers.

David toddled over to see what they were looking at. Bugs, mostly, and some dirt. Great stuff if you are into that.

Christina played with Matthew on the baseball diamond. And when I say “played” I mean “rolled around in the dirt.”

Luke fielded some ground balls.

Pop pop (Luke’s grandfather) decided a bigger ball was a better bet.

David spent his seventh inning stretch like any good baseball fan should – with a cup full of his favorite beverage.

September 24, 2008. the boys. 1 comment.

The First Time

At the suggestion of a fellow mom, I wrote an anecdote based on a “first time.” Hope you enjoy!

Matthew - June 2005

Matthew - June 2005

The first time I gave Matthew a bath was quite an education. My mother-in-law was staying with us to help out. Steven had gone back to work, having taken all his time off while we were in the hospital trying to get well enough to come home. So there I was, unexpectedly the mother of a preemie trying to conquer our first aquatic endeavor.

I did what any well-educated, suburban mother does (especially one who had just left her decade-long career as a teacher). I read the book. I read through the section on bathing in my handy “What to Expect” new mother’s bible. I assembled all the supplies – wash cloth, towel, cotton ball for the face, gentle baby soap, clean but used baby tub, dry diaper, clean sleeper for post bath dressing. I carefully arranged my work station. The tub fit in the sink with wash cloth, cotton ball, and soap bottle nearby. The towel, diaper, and sleeper were on the pack and play, at the ready. And the book – the most necessary item, was propped up on the counter. Phew! Ready for our first bath.

God bless her, my mother-in-law didn’t laugh at me. She didn’t roll her eyes or make snide comments about my (in)ability to bathe a baby. She patiently waited while I got all the right stuff, checked and re-checked my book, and finally, undressed the baby.

We had timed it carefully, mid-afternoon around a sleep time, but not so late that he would be cranky, after a feeding so he wouldn’t be hungry. I was so set.

I was so stupid.

The first thing that sweet baby did when his naked little butt hit the water was poop. It ran out of him and immediately dispersed in the tub. Before we could even finish shrieking about a tub full of poop his little penis went rigid and he peed in a beautiful arc all across the kitchen, hitting the tile back splash and the spice rack. “You get the baby, I’ll get the tub!” ordered my mother-in-law, laughing at our predicament. I had to run with the wet baby across the kitchen to get to his towel, where I dried him while she emptied, cleaned, and re-filled the tub. “Well!” I huffed, “that was NOT in the book!”

I learned a lot during that first bath. I learned some practical things, like put the towel next to you, not across the room. I learned that my mother-in-law is an incredibly patient and helpful woman. But really, it was the first lesson of many in my on-going tutorial “Parenting Your Children.” The books have their place, and I still read them, but they can’t really tell me how it’s all going to work out. Patience, experience, humor, support, a well-stocked wine fridge, these are all necessary elements in getting through life at home with my boys. Each day I start with the same prayer, “Lord, please help me be the best mother I can be today.” Sometimes that mother is pretty cool. Sometimes that mother is cleaning pee off her jar of oregano.

September 23, 2008. Matthew. 2 comments.


I read the page wrong. Here are David’s updated stats

Height – 27 3/4 in.  (3 %)

Weight – 19 lbs, 1 oz. (5 %)

Head circ. – 45 1/2 cm. (24 %)

Math was never my strong suit, I know, but READING shouldn’t have been a problem. I chalk it up to bad penmanship on the part of the nurse.

September 22, 2008. David. Leave a comment.

12 Month Stat’s

Took David to the doctor this morning for his 12 month check-up. Here’s the scoop:

Weight – 19 lbs, 1 oz (50 %)

Height – 27 3/4 in. (30 %)

Head Circumference – 45 1/2 in. (24 %)

The good news is that he is growing well and has achieved all the appropriate develomental milestones. The bad news is, there is no easy answer for his chronic eczema. The ugly news is that we tried to get some blood work done to test for common pediatric allergies, which took 3 people 15 minutes and two sticks before we all agreed to call it quits. David called it quits about 2 minutes in. The poor kid was sweaty and still hiccuping sobs when he finally fell asleep on the car ride home.

David – age, one year, and ready to take on the world!

Just for comparison’s sake, here is Matthew on his first birthday.

September 22, 2008. David. 1 comment.

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