Friday, March 30, 2012

Super Mom

Some days everything goes wrong.  Some days everything goes right.  

This morning was one of the "everything goes right" kind of days.  I had decided totally last minute to take all three boys (solo) to NCSU's farm animal days.  The last time we went there was 3/17/11.  One day before Maverick was born.  Read about it here

Remembering that it gets SUPER crowded early, I decided my goal would be to get there before it officially opened at 9 a.m.  Boy, did that trick work!  There is usually a line so long that I wouldn't even bother waiting for to have the boys sit in the tractors.  We had our pick.  They tried them all!

Since the farm isn't stroller friendly, in my opinion, Maverick rode in the K'tan.  Normally I would have opted for the Ergo, but I had lent it to a friend.  This worked out fine and didn't hurt my back.  

Photo credit: Chandler

This year, they had "cow milking" and both boys enjoyed this and the free coloring book that came along with it.  

Here's Brighton holding a chick.  I have a picture of Chandler holding one too, of course from my phone.  It was hard enough coordinating this event without lugging the big camera.  This was definitely a highlight for the boys.  

The very best part was the free ice cream at the end.  I even let Maverick have some.  Normally he doesn't get sweets (other than his first b-day cake) so he was loving the few bites I let him have.  We had seen and done everything by about 9:45 a.m. and headed for the car.  The crowds were ROLLING in by that time and I was just smiling.

Since I was on a roll, and it wasn't even 10 o'clock I was wondering how I would spend the rest of the morning until naptime.  Maverick normally naps in the morning, but we were obviously skipping today.  I knew I needed something to pass the time and keep him happy.  Since we were so close, we headed to Pullen.  What a fun time!  I happened to have one mum-mum cracker in the diaper bag and combined with some local applesauce from the cafe, it made lunch for Maverick.  The boys and I had a few things from the cafe as well.

 We took a walk around the lake and the one thing I really miss since they changed Pullen is the picnic tables near the water.  I hope they put some more in soon!

What a great day.  Here's hoping the afternoon is just as good.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Big Potty

I know the blog has been rather Maverick-heavy lately, but with all the changes going on with him, it's hard not to want to document it all.  I just wanted to take some time today to say how proud I have been lately of Brighton.  

Potty-training here is not my favorite aspect of parenting.  We have great successes in some areas and in others, not so much.  Brighton can be so grown up and big in some ways, but in other ways he likes to be the "baby"  I guess that's a middle child for you!

Brighton has been potty trained for some time now, but has been lacking confidence in one area, and that's using a regular-size potty.  The little potty is great when you are first learning, but at some point you need to graduate to the regular ones.  Obviously I was ready for this much sooner than Brighton and it lead to much frustration (on my part).  

I think it was around December when I put the little potty up in the attic and said Brighton had to use the big potty for BMs.  We have a potty seat and a step stool, so I think it should be fine.  Well, after 3 months of accidents, pull-ups, and much aggravation, I decided to try a sticker chart with a reward of new underwear for 7 BMs in the big potty.  The sticker chart was up for one week before a single sticker was placed on the poop side.  I put a pee side just so he could do that, and it was filled up in one day as he had mastered that months, maybe a year?!? or so earlier.  One day it just clicked and the big potty was no longer scary.  He finally did a BM in the potty!  We were so proud.  Then it seemed he would go on demand.  If he wanted something (dessert, etc...) I would say, when you go poop on the big potty you can have it.  Would you not believe that he would then proceed to run to the potty and go?!?  It didn't matter when the last BM was that he had, he would just go.

It's been several weeks now, and he uses the big potty just fine now.  He is even using it at school and when we go to parks, etc....This makes it SO MUCH easier than always having to carry a little potty around with you.  He's still a little leery of the automatic flush ones, but we're working on that :)

Way to go, Brighton!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's just like winning the Lottery!

My dear sweet Chandler,

Your fifth birthday is rapidly approaching and before I know it I will no longer have a preschooler in my house.  That's right you'll be going to Kindergarten in the Fall.  I'm so excited for you and for what this change means for our family.  You are growing up and I get the privilege to be here and guide you along the way.  

I just want you to know that God has a plan for you, and has had one for you all of your life.  He will never leave you or forsake you and it is our duty as your parents to help you reach your potential and uncover God's plan for your life.

As the years go by, it's like peeling the layers off an onion.  We all learn a little bit more about who you are and what you can do.  You are already developing a heart for God and that makes a momma so proud.  I hope you will always continue to grow in your faith and share Christ's love for others.  

Several years ago, a friend who had children older than me told me she had been praying about where to send her oldest to Kindergarten.  I thought to myself, why is that something you need to pray about? Little did I know that I would be about to embark on one of the biggest tests of my faith to date.  While doing some reading about "raising boys" I was enlightened to the fact that my clear-cut path of public schools, might not be the best choice for you and for our family.  I needed to do more research about what our options were.  I didn't think private school would be something we could afford, and I certainly didn't want to homeschool.  What was left?

After researching every option we had, I felt God had a clear plan for our family and all I needed to do was to have faith in him and he would provide what we needed.  We essentially had four options: public school, 2 charter schools, and homeschooling.  I prayed over these choices for months.  I read my Bible, and I prayed more.  I asked for God to clearly shut the door to schools that were not right for us and to open the doors that were.  After months of waiting for an answer, I knew today would bring a clear answer to where we were meant to go.

We had narrowed down our choices to two schools; one charter, and homeschooling.  We asked that if it was God's plan to have us attend a charter school that he would provide that seat.  The charter school that we felt was the best fit for Chandler and our family is a Montessori school.  There were over 350 applications for about 33 seats.  It would appear the odds were stacked against us.  Well, God clearly had Chandler's number because they called out his name.  I attended the lottery and couldn't believe how God had answered our prayers.  We feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity for Chandler and for our family.

Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you"

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Maverick!

Wow!  We made it.  My little guy is finally one.  This year has gone by slow, but so fast.  The days (and nights sometimes) are slow and you wonder if you will make it, but before you can blink, your baby turns one.  Here's my Birthday boy:

There have been so many changes to Maverick this past month.  He is truly leaving baby-hood far behind and becoming a little boy.  Maverick has started to pull up and crawl in the week before his birthday.  It has taken quite some time, but now he is off!  He has so much to find and explore in our house and it's only going to get worse (for me).  He is so proud of himself when he crawls over to something he wants and gets it.  It is very cute to see.

He is also waving and clapping.  It seems like everything happens all at once.  He doesn't do much babbling, but the pediatrician isn't concerned since he does make eye-contact and is very much a people person.  He likes to communicate in screams and short bursts of screaming.  Can make for quite the loud dinner time.

He is definitely my little peanut.  He is 19 lbs, 9 oz (8%) and 28.5" (15%) but has a 47 cm (75%) head!

Maverick is starting to give up his morning nap, but now that he's been crawling a few days, he seems to be getting tired out and will take it still.  Crawling in the crib is also a fun place to explore rather than nap, and occasionally the swaddling wrap has been torn off as he explores.  

He really loves his brothers and hopefully they will continue to be sweet to him as he now crawls over and takes their toys, ruins their buildings and creations.  

Maverick is a good eater, but hasn't really mastered the sippy cup.  I hate cups with straws because of the cleaning, but I may need to try a new kind.  He WILL NOT hold his cup and will only drink if you hold it for him.  Hopefully we can work on this because he needs some extra fluid to keep things moving (if you know what I mean!)

In keeping with family tradition, we always eat for dinner on the baby's first Birthday the last thing that I ate before giving birth.  This was not a tradition I meant to start and only realized it when we sat down to eat dinner on Brighton's first Birthday (our second child)  Luckily, I had eaten something dinner worthy and not PB&J.  We had quesadillas and Maverick loved it!  

Maverick, you are a wonderful gift from God and the perfect addition to our family.  We can't wait to see how you grow and change into a toddler as you approach mommy's favorite age of "two".

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Party!

We had Maverick's First Birthday Party today, on St. Patrick's Day.  We had green as the theme and it was a beautiful day for a party.  We had the house spic and span and the only reason people came inside was to get food or use the potty.  That's okay though....I loved having it outside!  Here's Daddy with the Birthday boy before all the guests arrived.  

Maverick was in a pretty good mood throughout his party even with not much of a nap beforehand.  With his new found crawling freedom, the crib is a fun place to explore at nap time.  We even managed to get in a nice family picture before the chaos started.  

All the kiddos enjoyed an early dinner and sat at a few tables outside.  Here are our boys with The Namey Girls enjoying their ham sandwiches, fruit, veggies, cheese and crackers.  We appreciate all the family and friends that came over to help us celebrate this special day.  It wouldn't be the same without all of you!

Maverick enjoyed his first taste of sugar throughly!

He dug right into his smash cake and was the only one of my boys that truly required a bath afterwards!  Later on, I took off the crown and he decided to wear some of the green icing in his hair.  He even managed to get some all over Brighton and in his hair too.  

We all had a wonderful time and can't believe how fast this first year has gone by.  I'm so excited to see what the next year in Maverick's life will bring.  Many changes ahead, that's for sure!

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's about time!

Maverick can crawl!

With the big day just two days away, and his party tomorrow, Maverick finally decided that tonight was the night.  He has been so, so close for what seems like forever.  Derek and I were debating what would be motivating enough for him to crawl after and I thought about Chandler's party favor horn.  Maverick had already gotten ahold of it once and ripped it to pieces (with much whining and pouting from Chandler) but with some scotch tape we were able to fix it.

The video here is crawling attempt # 2, so you can see at the start he was a little "over it" but he quickly showed he can do it and now it won't be long before he's all over the place.

Today was a really fun day for all of us.  Derek took off from work to help with Maverick's 1-year pictures and to get things ready for the party tomorrow.  It was so fun to see Maverick get his pictures done with our photographer and it brought back so many memories of Chandler and Brighton.  I really can't believe my baby is one!  We always have the boys' pictures done with blue balloons and Derek had to drive to four different stores to get them filled with Helium.  Apparently there is a shortage?!?

I wanted some of our own pictures with the balloons and Derek got this great shot.

He also took some without the balloons so we'd have some for comparison to one of my favorite shots of Chandler.  Can you tell they are brothers?

Lastly, I had to include one of all my three boys.  We love using our neighbor's yard for flowers pictures.  His yard is amazing.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The $12, 7 Hour Cake

Behold, in my refrigerator sits the $12, 7 hour (roughly) cake.  Now I say $12 not because that's what the ingredients cost, but what I had to pay my "mother's helper" so I could even attempt to complete such a masterpiece during normal waking hours and take care of 3 kids.

This is my grandmother's wedding cake recipe and it's been a while since I made it.  I'm happy with how it came out, but I need to make some "notes" so that next time I have even better results.

  1. This is a wedding cake recipe.  Be sure to use at least 5-6 8" cake pans.  When you use only 4, like I did the cake will rise up so much and form a crispy, muffin-like top. 
  2. Allow the cream cheese to sit out longer before creaming it with the milk and pudding to get a smoother texture.  
  3. Do not make/refrigerate butter cream icing until you are ready to frost.
  4. Do not take any short-cuts like spraying the extra pan you grabbed at the last minute with Pam instead of greasing it, lining it with wax paper, re-greasing it, and then lightly flouring it.  The cake will stick to the bottom and you will be mad!
I'll have to take some more pictures to get a better view of the top.  There is a 4-Leaf clover on top that is made out of edible sugar paper.  I can't believe my baby will be one in only 3 days!

As a side note, please notice the small penguin at the bottom right corner.  There is a story to her and I'll have to post another time.  Luckily today is Thursday which means T-ball and dinner at Earth Fare because I'm exhausted.  The Birthday Boy has woken up early from his nap and is crying so my time is up!  Bye!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Can't Cut the Curls!

So it seems with each baby I want them to remain a "baby" for as long as possible.  Both Chandler and Brighton had their first haircut before they turned one.  Not Maverick.  I just can't bear to cut off my baby's curls.  Can you blame me?  
He is so stinking cute!

When viewed from the front, you can see some "whispies" left behind.  Not sure how much longer Derek will let me keep it growing.  
Probably until the first person comments on what a pretty girl I have ;)

Here's a sneak peak of Maverick's Smash Cake courtesy of Harris Teeter.  All 3 of my boys have enjoyed these and I just can't wait to see what Maverick does.  I'm predicting a big mess!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Forward

Wow!  Has daylight savings time begun already?  We are so glad spring is here (almost) and it was time to get some new shoes.  It seems like electric blue is the new color and Mommy, Chandler, & Brighton all got new shoes today.  Funny thing is, Mommy got Adidas, Chandler got New Balance, and Brighton got Nike, but all in the same shade of blue.

This was a rare day where we actually had nothing planned.  It's nice to "plan" to have a day with no plans.  We started the morning at Daylight Donuts (certainly a treat) and then came back home in time for Maverick's morning nap.  After naps we headed out and went to a granite store to browse countertops, mom ran into Target to get a card, and then we went shoe shopping.

We grabbed a quick lunch and then stopped by the Vet's to get Katie's medicine and Party City to get balloons for Maverick's one-year pictures.  Then it was one more store to get shoes for mom before heading home for naps, round 2.

What a busy Saturday!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pullen Park

Today the weather was just gorgeous.  I decided on a whim to take the boys to a park for a picnic lunch.  I invited "Nanny" to come with us and on an additional whim, I decided to go to Pullen Park.  I had planned on going to one of the many parks we have nearby, but thought Pullen was worth the drive today.  Apparently, everybody else had the same idea.  The park was very crowded, but still nice.  We had to park at the pool and even though the hand-made sign said Pool Parking only, I conveniently ignored that.

Here's Chandler on the carousel (with Brighton in the background)

Maverick enjoyed his ride on the bunny.

I just thought this picture was cute of big brother interacting with little brother.  We played on the playground before having a picnic lunch and then riding the train.  On the way home from the park we picked up some cupcakes from Gigi's for my mom's birthday later today.

It was a very busy day as the big boys had their first T-ball practice of the season (they are signed up for two months).  We had a quick dinner at Earth Fare before heading to Mimi's to wish her a Happy Birthday and give her a cupcake.  What a fun day.

Happy Birthday Mimi!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chandler's Preschool Field Trip

Today Daddy stayed home so that Mommy could join Chandler on his first preschool field trip.  The class (and many of their moms and one dad) went to Blue Jay Point Park.  Chandler was super excited that his special friend (also a girl) named Ally in his class could ride in our van.  Ally's mom works in the morning so she was happy about this arrangement as well.  

I heard some very funny things being said in the back seat.

Ally:  Chandler, sometimes you just don't get it.  I think you try to be funny with me.
(later on)
Chandler:  Ally, have you decided about what I asked you yet?  If I'm a dentist when we grow up, will you be my wife?
Ally:  I'm not sure.

The class listened to a presentation about Frogs, Toads, and tadpoles.  It was amazing to me how well Chandler listened and followed directions.  He is definitely a "rule-follower".

Outside, the class broke into groups of four and took turns rotating through stations to view different things like tadpoles, newts, and other related animals.  After I dropped Chandler and Ally back at preschool, I found somebody out on a bike ride on our street:

I can't believe my littlest man will be one soon!  Time goes way too fast!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rainy Saturday

Man do we need a playroom!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Music to My Ears

We got our piano yesterday.  This piano was in my grandmother's house and it's the only piano I ever remember her having.  Apparently this was the last of many pianos that they owned.  I did not see her play it often, but occasionally around Christmastime.  I took a few lessons in college, but cannot play well at all.

Derek played as a child, and hopes to pick it back up.  That would be great.  He can then hopefully start our boys if they are interested until they surpass his knowledge and require a formal teacher.  Right now, I'm allowing the boys to play it with "gentle hands" and more importantly, clean hands.

**So I forgot to mention when I first typed this, that Chandler often says, "Let's join our hearts and our minds...." before he begins to play.  So sweet!  This is what our pastor says before we listen to the "centering piece" before worship service begins at church.

Based on the serial number, the piano dates to 1969.  Derek noticed writing (my grandmother's) on the keys on the inside of the piano.  It's hard to read in this picture, but to the far left it says "1st toning"  It could say "tuning" but the o/u is hard to distinguish.  Then there is the date "7/7/70"

The next key has "9/9/71" written on it.

There is no more writing.

So now I'm left wondering, has the piano not been tuned since 1971?  If so, why is that?  My grandmother was an excellent record keeper, leading me to believe that if she started this system of dating, she wouldn't have stopped.  When we have the piano tuned (after it acclimates to the house) I think I'll continue with her tradition of marking the keys.

Back to my if she only had the piano tuned twice, why was that?  When they bought the piano were two tunings included and so after that they stopped?  Was it not in their budget to have the piano tuned?  Did they think it didn't need it?  I do know that in later years, my grandmother would often say as I pecked out a tune with one finger....that piano really needs tuning, now doesn't it?

I hope this piano will bring our family many years of joy and "music to my ears"  Hopefully somebody will learn how to play it!