May 23, 2012

My Children Lately

Jax is almost two.  As a baby and early toddler he was so mellow and easy.  Now he has an opinion about things.  It seemed like around 20 months things started changing.  It seemed totally hormonal to me.  I can practically pinpoint the day things changed.  Now he sometimes hits *shocking, I know*.  I'll see the look of fire in his eyes and I shout to Ben, "Oh no, the devil's in him" because sometimes he grits his teeth and wants to hit for no reason.  He's just aggressive and physical, but doesn't know how to channel it yet.  We're working on it.  He only hits family members, though.  I guess that's a good thing?!?!  It's not like he'll hit some random kid for no reason.  Nothing like that.  Just little hits to Sadie.  My poor little Sadie.

 He's pretty talkative, has a long attention span, and is curious.  He seems to be scared of everything - ALL animals, some people, loud sounds, large vehicles, etc.  Usually we can coax him out of his nervousness wtih a little time and convincing.

He is a major copy cat and mimics nearly everything Sadie does.

Speaking of Sadie, he's in love with her.  They can't be separated, and he pretty much beckons to her every whim.  She thinks up games for them to play and then tells him what to do or where to stand or what to hold and he is perfectly obedient to her instructions.  They've got a really cute relationship.  He likes Moe and hugs him often but they don't play a lot together.  I have to watch him closely otherwise he'll sit on top of McKay or he'll go from hugging him one minute to hitting him the next.

He takes one late nap a day, and it's never easy to get him to fall asleep.  He is a fighter.  I think his mind is processing so much and he can't relax because he keeps asking me about things that we'd done that morning.  He's usually in bed by 9:15 PM - the latest of all the kids.  He still loves Ben and Ben usually does his bedtime routine while I get McKay down for the night.  Although, he is beginning to want me more often - that makes me happy.  Things really shifted during Ben's busy season when he was gone so much.  Now Jax wants me more often and Ben is starting to take a bigger role helping with McKay.

He's emotionally stable and calm for a boy.  He does enjoy being active and seems to be quite athletic.  His favorite toys are the tennis raquets, balls, and books.  His favorite shows are Barney and Blue's Clues.  His favorite foods are peaches, yogurt, and cheese sticks.  He is a major sweets addict.  He loves going to Mimi's house and really has a bond with my mom.  He's allergic to ants and mosquitoes and swells up when bitten.  He hates to have his face wet but loves to play with water.  He loves the piano and loves to sing songs.  I think he'll have Ben's musical abilities.  He's very fun to play with and has a fantastic laugh.  His laugh seems to have a paralyzing effect on him, though, because he usually laughs so hard he falls over and can't get up.  

We love him and think he's perfect even though he's not.  His innate goodness always shines through.  


McKay goes by Moe, Moey, MoJo, and MoMo.  He is cute, at least, we think so.  He has dark skin and piercing dark eyes.  His has a petite body but he's strong.  He has a very short attention span!  He wants lots of toys and a large variety of toys.  I worry I overstimulate him with so much stuff, but he's happiest when he's in toy chaos.  He wants to be held all day, every day.  Sometimes I can get short snippets of time when he's in his walker or eating a snack or making a mess.  Those are rare moments though.  He's very demanding and is very strong willed.  If he wants Sadie or Jax's toy there is NO deterring him.  He'll fight to the end to get what he wants and he won't let you forget it if he doesn't win.  

Overall, if he's being held, he's super cheerful and quite social.  He's by far the most social of our three children.  He knows how to charm and flirt already - I swear he does.  He is very smiley and energetic.  Much more high energy than the rest of the family, I think.

He has a mouthful of teeth and he's working on getting a few more.  Ben and I joke that he'll be a dentist because he teethed early and he's always prying our lips open and trying to look and feel in our mouths.

He is still nursing and does so quite often.  He doesn't love baby food but he does love crackers, cheerios, and baby snacks.  I've tried to wean him because he is a major biter but he hates bottles and formula.

He is definitely a mama's boy but he's getting more into Ben these last few months.  They always have fun playing together and he lights up now when Ben gets home.  He adores Sadie but is weary of Jax.  He doesn't mind animals but doesn't seem to really care for them either.

He takes usually two (sometimes still three) pretty short naps a day.  We aren't always consistent with times but if we're home he usually goes down around 10 and 2 and sleeps for about an hours each time.  It's nice that he's flexible but sometimes I feel badly that he's not as scheduled as the other two were.  He is a bit of a night owl and is usually awake until 8:45PM but sleeps in until about 8AM.  He still wakes often at night - usually every three hours.  We're hoping once this round of teething stops that we'll finally be able to get him to sleep through the night.  That would be so nice.

McKay is still an army crawler and has been for months.  I don't think he'll ever do a  normal crawl.  He's pulling up on everything and always wants to stand and try to walk.  Ben works with him and tries to teach him how to walk; I'm always in fear he'll fall and plopping him back on his bottom.  He doesn't like that. Ben says he can stand for 5 - 10 seconds unassisted.  He's probably still months away from walking and he's definitely feeling frustrated about his limitations.

Little Moe loves to be outdoors and especially wants to get down and crawl through the grass and sand when we're out and about - yuck.  He has a real need to explore and pick things apart.  He pulls my books off my bookshelf and every toy out of drawers.  He's also loud and loves to bang things together and scream and talk.  My parents brought back two rattles from a cruise to Mexico and he loves to find them, hold one in each hand, shake them hard, and scream his lungs out.  I think of it as his war cry.  It's crazy but it sure makes him happy.

He's got a lot of passion, energy, and determination.  

He is starting to make vocal sounds like mama, baba, and nana (nurse).  He's also said a few words like 'ball' and 'bye bye' but he's not consistent in using them.  He loves to wave and says bye bye as he does.  McKay is also known for his head bob - it's hard to describe but he wiggles his head and most of his body side to side.  His other new trick is blowing kisses.  He loves for us to ask him to do things - wave, blow kisses, say mama, side to side, etc.  He loves to perform and beams with pride when he does.

 We all marvel at his bronze beauty and gregarious personality.


Oh Sadie.  Sadie, Sadie, Sadie.  How could I ever describe Sadie?   

She can be a challenge and is sometimes emotional.  Especially when she's tired. Example, taken two seconds apart:

It's always a roller coaster ride with our little Sadester.  You're just never sure what her mood will be.  She has high highs but low lows.  A few months ago I was truly at the end of my rope with her.  She's been improving now, though.  Do you want to know what's made the difference?  Bribery.  

Here was a typical conversation between she and I:
Me: Sadie, can you please get dressed?
Her: No
Me: Sadie, PLEASE get dressed now.  I'm not asking. I'm telling you to.
Her: No, I don't want to.
Me: Sadie, you can't wear your PJs all day, you need to get dressed, now come on.
*She runs away laughing and hiding and I have to pin her down and fight with her to get dressed.  She's laughing all the while and I'm frustrated as can be.

Now this is how it goes:
Me: Sadie, can you please get dressed?
Her: No.
Me: Do you want to go to the park?
Her: Yes
Me; Then get dressed.
*She gets dressed.

Everything is like that.  She won't do anything unless she knows there's something in it for her.  If she won't leave the park I have to tell her all the yummy things we're having for lunch when we get home.  When she won't get off the trampoline and come inside so I can nurse McKay I have to tell her she can watch a show when she comes in.  When she refuses to get buckled in her seat then I have to tell her that she can play with playdough when we get home if she's obedient.  EVERYTHING requires convincing her.  We fought for months because I think she should just obey for obedience sake.  However, I was unbelievably frustrated with her and she was spending absurd amounts of time in timeout, so I finally caught on that she would cooperate if she knew there was something fun up ahead.  So, although I don't love having to sell her on the idea of what I want her to do it's really restored the peace between us and she's quite reasonable lately. Is this bad parenting?  Probably.

So, although she had been quite difficult, I feel like the bribery tool has broken the defiant streak and now she's pretty good.  I do need to coach her a lot and review rules before we go places, but she really listens and responds when she knows what's expected of her.  In fact I often hear her telling Jax things like, "We can't do fun things unless we leave happily Jax" or "Jax, remember the rule......?"  

She has a healthy appetite but is limited to certain foods - cheese, milk, yogurt, fruits and bread.  She is still quite petite weighing in at 28 or 29 lbs.  She's very strong and quite muscular.  I'm pretty jealous of her little abs that she's developed from her trampoline jumping.  She still has her baby cheeks and wide, happy smile. Her eyes are like a hazel, I guess.  I think she looks like a blend of Christy and Cliffie.  Beautiful!

She is super affectionate and is always asking to be held or cuddled.  She comes up to me a lot lately and says randomly, "I sure do love you mommy" or "You're a really good mommy and I'm proud of you."  Things like that.  I have to say, she is a very polite child and is great at saying thank you, no thank you, please, you're welcome, I'm proud of you, and good job.

I'm pretty sure I'm her most favorite person in the world *grin*.  She had been rejecting Ben and my mom over the last few months, during the defiant stage, but she's back to liking them and craving their attention and affection.  She warms up quickly to kids but is slow to trust adults.  

She loves animals and shows no hesitation or fear around them.  She'll approach any living thing and Ben and I need to remind her to keep her distance sometimes.  She also loves babies and frequently says, "Oh he's so cute" or "Oh she's so precious" or "Wow, she is gorgeous!"

She has dropped her nap but still takes one occasionally and has 'quiet time' every day.  She is a cinch to get asleep and usually goes down around 8:30PM.

Her favorite activities are playing in the shower, jumping on the trampoline, watching shows (she's a TV junkie; I really have to limit her), going to the park, playing with play dough, pushing her stroller, or riding her bike (trike).  When we go to the park she just loves to run.  She runs, run, and run.  Her stamina is amazing!

She is a fabulous sister.  She loves her brothers so much and is really good to play with them.  Everyone told me she would be my little helper.  She's not in the way I expected  like helping clean up or grab a diaper for me or throw away a diaper - she just looks at me when I ask her to do those things and says, "No, you do it."  AHHH!  However, she is very helpful about keeping her brothers entertained and happy.  So that's great!

Sadie has a tremendous amount of compassion and gets very upset when she sees someone else upset or treated unkindly. She has a tender spirit and is not in the least bit aggressive.  She went through a brief hitting stage just after McKay was born but quickly grew out of it.  If someone hits her or yells at her (usually Jax, sadly) she just gets emotional and wants to be held.  She rarely retaliates.

She is extremely observant and likes to watch activities for a while before she'll join in.  She enjoys being social and makes friends quickly and easily. She is especially good at instigating games on the playground like chase or building a sandcastle or something like that.  She has a cheerful, sweet, girly disposition.  She has such a good heart.  Ben and I always say she really wants to do right.  In some ways I'm amazed by her goodness and her ability to love and forgive.  There isn't a spiteful, aggressive, hateful bone in her body.

Sadie is my greatest joy and best teacher.  She's not always the easiest child to parent but she radiates happiness and goodness.  She has a real gift at bringing joy to others.  I love her.  Heaven only knows how much I love her.

And that's a little about what the kids are like lately.

Imagine they're all beaming with smiles and looking at the camera - that's what I do :)

May 20, 2012

Picture-Filled Weekend

I've taken well over 1000 pictures since Thursday.

On Thursday I had a photo shoot with family friends:

Ben took off work Friday.  We've had temple trips the last three Saturdays and this past Saturday Ben had a camp out with the young men.  He's the new YMs President - FYI, much more doable for us.  Anyways, that means it's been four Saturdays of no down time or relaxing naps or deep cleans.  So, for my mental sanity, he took of Friday so we could have a family day.  We went to the pool and did chores and took naps and then he left for the campout around 4PM.

Still learning to swim.  She's close but still doesn't quite have it down.

Jax fell asleep like this after his shower.  The pool really wore him out.
 Ben was still gone Saturday morning and into early afternoon with the YM.  He mowed the lawn when he got home and then Sadie and I did a little shopping and ran errands.  That evening I did a photo shoot with the Cricchios.

While editing their pictures last night I realized it has been so long since I've done nicer, posed portraits of my kids.  So tonight we went back to the same spots and I *tried* to get some good pictures.  They weren't in the most cooperative mood.  I got decent individual pictures but never achieved a great sibling picture.  Oh well, I'll have to try again sometime :)  I'm saving the good pictures for a different post.  Here are a few though:

 Sibling picture outtakes:

One other noteworthy bit of news is that we made it all the way through Sacrament meeting today without having to leave.  That was nice. 

So, there you have it: our weekend.  

We have a busy month up ahead.  My parents are in Hawaii so we're going to go have a staycation at their house at the end of this week May 24 - 28th.  Christy just had her baby (Madeleine Josephine) so McKay and I are going to go to Utah to visit and hopefully help from May 29th through June 2nd.  Then we're going to the Keys with the Meyers Fam from June 6th - 9th.  And P.S. Sarah is going to take our family pictures while down there and I'm quite excited for that photo shoot.  I just hope the kids will be happy and cooperative.  Jax's birthday is the 16th of June, Father's Day is the day after that, and Mike's birthday is the day after that.  Should be fun.

May 17, 2012

Port Richey Waterfront Park

Yes McKay, do you have a question?

Why do kids love to eat mulch?

They thought they saw a shark.  

Cricchio and Addison.

Jenny and Emerose.

Sadie, Andrew, Jocie, and Jax.  Jax's shoes were too tight so I had to take them off - FYI.

There was a man catching fish with a net and he let the kids look at and touch them.  

Love their looks of concentration!

The fish kept jumping and they would squeal with laughter.

Impromptu lunch consisting of the snacks we had in our cars.

He enjoyed his lunch, especially the fishy crackers and Gerber cookies from Cricchio.

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