Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ice Cream

I have been in a longterm, committed & satisfying relationship for the past fifteen years...with ice cream. We have been best buddies since I was a teenager. I remember telling someone in college that I rarely went a whole day without a bowl of ice cream. That has remained true through past ten years since college. My nightly bowl of ice cream was rarely-broken ritual until about three months ago. When Lydia was just a few weeks old, she began to get very gassy and fussy shortly after feeding. Since the same thing had happened with Caleb, I immediately tried cutting out unprocessed dairy and limiting my other dairy. With Caleb, I only had to do this for a few weeks and then I could eat dairy in moderation.

Not so with Lydia. Initially, she improved within a few days from my diet restriction and was back to her pretty chill newborn self. A few weeks later, I tried eating a bowl of ice cream again. The next day was full of weeping and gnashing of teeth, and I vowed to give it a whole month before attempting even a bite of unprocessed dairy. I tried again after another month, and the result was exactly the same. And this time I ate less than half a bowl! I don't drink milk anyway, I can live without yogurt, and I don't mind limiting my cheese to a moderate amount, but this ice cream thing is killing me! I joke with my best friend that it has actually been ice cream keeping me thin all these years: that nightly treat satisfied my sweet tooth and kept me from munching on junk throughout the day. Now, since I constantly crave ice cream, I have been carrying an extra ten pounds of junk-snacking ever since Lydia was born. I'm finally working that off at the gym, but I still seriously miss my nightly ice cream.

Lydia will be four months old next Monday, and I may give it another try, but only if we don't have any big plans the next day. I have a feeling that dairy will not be a daily part of my life again until she is weaned, and it may not be a part of her life for years after that.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's Official

For the past three days, Lydia has found her thumb and sucked on it every time I've put her down for a nap. I did my best to get her to take a pacifier, but she's found her own way to self-sooth. Nothing we can do about it now, but I hear it is TOUGH to help a kid break this habit later on.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Movie Theater

The boys and I saw our first movie in a movie theater together last week while Mimi was here to keep Lydia at home. (Caleb went to a theater with Marcus three years ago on a Daddy/Son thing at church, but he was barely two and doesn't remember it.) This time, we saw Madagascar II for $1 each at a very nice theater not far from our house. Both boys were mesmerized the whole time. Caleb didn't even want to get up to go to the bathroom when I took Ethan to go. We were sitting with friends, so I let him stay. Ethan was impressed with the screen size when we walked in, exclaiming, "That TV is even bigger than you, Mommy!" I love that I am the go-to comparison for large items :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Super Ethan

As I've mentioned before, Ethan loves his costumes. He is frequently recieving rewards and consequences in the form of getting to wear (or not getting to wear) a specific costume. Lately, his favorite reward is getting to wear a costume out, like to the library or the grocery store or whatever. The first time he asked to do this, the conversation went like this:

Ethan: If I clean up all of these toys super fast and not whining at all, can I wear my superman clothes to the cookie store (Publix)?

Me: Yes, you can, son, if you do it without whining.

Ethan: Oh yay! All the people at the store will point and look at me and say "Look, a little Superman! Isn't he cute!" and they will think I am so cute and like me very much!

And that is exactly what happens. This little dude sure knows how to attract the attention he craves!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mimi's Visit

Mimi was able to spend a week-and-a-half visiting our family this summer! She timed her visit to coordinate with Marcus studying for his medical boards (which he took on Thursday!), so she could help with the kids while he was tied up 24/7. It was really nice to have her here: three different times, she kept Lydia at home while the boys and I enjoyed baby-free outings: blueberry-picking, a dollar movie at the theater, and swimming at the Rec Center. It was so fun to have some "Mommy & the boys" time again. I was very thankful to have her help out with Lydia like that.

Mimi got to enjoy some special one-on-one time with Caleb, too, while she was here. She unlocked the door to his heart by bringing a huge suitcase of brand new Scholastic books, most of which he'd never read before. He and Mimi read book after book after book together up in her room. He already misses going upstairs when Mommy is busy to ask Mimi to read to him. He is somewhat consoled by the fact that Mimi left us a big pile of her wonderful new books to borrow.

This also happened to be a week of several new firsts for me. We've stayed home a lot since Lydia was born, but I ventured out by myself with all three kids several times this week: a puppet show at the library, the rec center for a workout (I think getting all three kids there and settled in childcare was half the workout!), and to the grocery store (for the second time). I also took all three to a VBS program and to the McWane Center, though Mimi came along for those two outings.

At the end of her visit, we even had time to work in a little grown-up fun: the night after Marcus took his boards, we met our BFF's for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and then spent the rest of the evening visiting at their house. Mimi scored with the best baby-sitting job ever for her first time to keep all three kids: she arrived home from shopping with Aunt Wendi a little after 7:00 pm, and we had already put all 3 kids to bed! We love overnight babysitters (i.e. family in town) because once the kids are asleep, we don't feel guilty about staying out as late as we want to.

Mimi didn't have it quite as easy her second time to keep all three kids, mostly because it was for more than a day! After pumping for weeks to store up enough milk for this trip, I was able to take an overnight trip with Marcus to Chattanooga, TN. Originally, it was supposed to be a little getaway/celebration for the completion of his medical boards test, but it turned out to be more of a job investigation trip. Marcus had interviewed with a group there a few weeks before, so we had dinner with two couples from the group and spent the rest of the time exploring Chattanooga as a possible place to live. Mimi did a great job taking care of all of our kids while we were gone. They didn't play favorites with her: they got her up during the night just like they do for us (Ethan wet the bed and Lydia woke up twice), and were up for the day before 6:00 am, just like they are for us. So Mimi was pretty tired when we arrived home Saturday night, but we had all had a good time overall, and we were very thankful for the break.

Thank you so much, Mimi, for giving up part of your summer to spend time with our little people!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blueberry Picking

This past weekend, we drove out to Bear Mountain Blueberry Farm to pick blueberries with some of our friends. (Lydia stayed home with Mimi and Daddy had to miss out because he was studying for his medical boards.) The boys and I did this two years ago, but both boys were too little to be very into it. This time was awesome: they both picked blueberries for over an hour and a half, and we ended up with a gallon and a half of delicious fresh blueberries! And that is not including all those we ate! Ethan ate more than he put in his bucket, but he still collected a decent pile. Caleb was a trooper: he was in full-focus picking mode the whole time, and every time I suggested that he slow down and eat some, he said, "I'll eat them in the car! I have to fill up my bucket now!" Hilarious. He did eat a ton on the 45-minute car ride home, and all throughout the rest of the day. When we got home, we proudly presented Daddy with a huge bowl of blueberries that he could "eat all right now" if he wanted to. Blueberries are normally an expensive accessory, never a full-course snack around here, so eating all the blueberries we wanted was a special treat for all of us. After that first day, I froze most of what was left to be used in blueberry muffins and blueberry pancakes and eaten with yogurt & granola during the coming weeks and months.

Friday, July 1, 2011

VBS (Times Two)

The boys finished up their second week of VBS yesterday. The first was at our church at the beginning of the month. The boys had a good time singing songs, playing games & doing crafts for three hours each morning. This was Ethan's first time to go to VBS, and he was excited to be a part of everything. I was surprised that he had some separation anxiety each day when I dropped him off. He is generally pretty ready to jump into something new, but I guess I am usually around when he is jumping in, so me leaving threw him for a loop. As long as I sat with him for the first few minutes, I was able to give him a quick hug goodbye and slip out before he got upset. This was actually my first year to not be a part of VBS. I've always been a crew leader, but Lydia was just too young to leave in the workers' childcare, so I opted out this year.

Caleb (who has never had a moment of separation anxiety in his entire life) marched right over to his group as soon as we arrived each morning. He has such a maturity about him at all things structured these days. He has a little "school boy" persona that takes over in settings like Bible class and VBS, and it is really cute. He seems to have learned how to put his silliness aside for learning, and that has come just in time for the start of kindergarten (which is only seven weeks away, yikes!). He got pretty involved in the singing and hand motions this year. We missed the program at Sunday morning church because that was the weekend we were in Gatlinburg, but I think this would have been the first year that he was really into the performance.

The second VBS the boys attended was at a large community church nearby. I was introduced to the church last summer by a good friend, and Caleb attended their VBS last year, as well. The boys both had a GREAT time at this VBS program. I'm not sure what they do, since the kids are dropped off at a checkpoint and I didn't even get to talk to the boys' group leaders until the last day, but whatever they are up to must be FUN. The boys chatter all the way home, tag-team telling the Bible story of the day and describing in detail the delicious and creative snacks that they were treated to. And they can't wait to go back the next day! Ironically, Ethan had an easier time with me leaving him there than at the church he was familiar with. I have a feeling that the aforementioned treats may have had something to do with it :)

The end-of-VBS program was last night. Caleb did a great job, singing and doing all of the hand motions. Unfortunately, his friend beside him thought it was more fun to poke Caleb, put his hand in front of Caleb's face, and all-in-all distract him in any way possible. Caleb handled it great for the first few minutes: he just moved out of the way over and over and kept singing. Eventually, it got to be too much for him and he responded a few times in kind. Thankfully, neither boy got upset and soon they both went back to singing appropriately. I was so proud of Caleb for being so into the program this time. His little face was so focused and his smile so huge and joyful at the end of each song. My little man really is growing up!

Ethan didn't have as smooth of an experience. (It was much more like Caleb's first little 3-year-old program.) He sang and did hand motions for a few minutes, but soon got bored and decided it would be more fun to try to climb on the huge speakers behind him. Fortunately, I was sitting on the front row and was able to jump out to the aisle and stop him just as the speaker started to tilt. I think I scared him with my frantic, "Stop!" and his little face just crumpled up. He asked if he could come sit with me, and I nodded my head. So he spend the rest of the program standing in the back with me (and Lydia), where he was much more comfortable singing the songs and doing the hand motions all by himself.