Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rock on!

I got this e-mail from Mat just now. And my first thought was to post it on the blog. 98% of the content on the blogs comes from me. I'm not complaining. I love blogging. And as a control freak, I'm pretty sure it would drive me nuts to visit the blog and see Mat had posted something random. But Mat has different experiences with the boys and a different perspective on them, so I do get a little sad sometimes that we're not preserving his side of things.

This is a perfect example:

So, remember that I told you about that day when Bray was an infant and I was home with him (he was sick) and we grooved out to White Zombie on VH1 Classic? I found the video here:

http://www.vh1classic.com/view/artist/1024/85248/White_Zombie/Thunder_Kiss_65/index.jhtml

With all the color and motion you can see why he was so darn transfixed and smiley when he saw it. This is why I love White Zombie, they are metal but also groovy and totally trippy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Naughty, naughty Braeden

I'm back to thinking about combining the blogs...I know, is anyone NOT sick of hearing me go back and forth over this? I'm certainly getting sick of thinking about it...

Anyway, I've always said that I've loved every age Braeden has been. And it's still true, I love having a four-year-old. There are so many amazing, adorable, wonderful things Braeden can do. He's a loving big brother who wants to take part in Gage's upbringing. He is funny. Hysterical, in fact. He's so smart. And perceptive. He's loving, adventurous, timid at times, carefree, charming, rough-and-tumble, and loud.

He's also stubborn. It's not a bad thing...I certainly respect him for it. How could I not? He comes by it honestly from both his parents. :) But, oh my, is it annoying! And troublesome. We're lucky that he has more good days than bad ones at school. But those bad days? They're really bad! He got in trouble earlier this week for playing under the table at lunch, talking back to his teachers, and playing in the bathroom while his friends were in there. That was just one day! He lost his Hess truck dump truck for that. He also lost his after-dinner treat and cartoon time.

At home he gets into trouble for not listening, for yelling when we ask him to do something he doesn't want to do, for talking back, and for a litany of little things. The other day I went into our downstairs bathroom and noticed little bits of toilet paper floating in the heating vent. He had ripped up toilet paper and dropped it down the vent. When the heat ran, the little bits floated. Clever, certainly. Naughty, definitely. Mat had noticed it the week before but thought it was accidental. Mat was mad enough to spit when we realized it was a game he was playing.

People always talk about the terrible twos. Honestly, two was nothing. A walk in the park. As he got closer to three, that's when we started seeing deliberate naughtiness. And now he can be downright bratty. Again, he comes by that honestly. Mat can attest. I'm a brat. :) But I'm pretty sure our house is only big enough for one brat, and as the mommy I lay claim to that distinction.

The upside to all this naughtiness is that when it's over he is genuinely contrite. He will apologize so sweetly and explain that he will be super-polite the next day at school. What does that mean? Always say please and thank you. His apologies always come with a hug, and he gets very upset if you don't acknowledge his efforts.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Naughty, naughty Gagey

I've been a bad blogger of late. Slap my hand. Say no in your most forceful voice. And definitely move me away from the temptation. Oh wait, that's the exact same approach we've taken a thousand times in the last few weeks with Gage. That kid is trouble. He's a terror. But he is so damn cute while he's being so damn naughty.

One of his most favorite things to do is to push the open/close button on the DVD player. He pushes the button, the tray pops out, he looks at me and laughs. And toddles away as quickly as he can while I jump up from the couch to close the tray all the while saying no, Gage. Sometimes Braeden jumps up to do this for me (cute, huh?), sometimes it's Mat who is in the room with him. Either way, as soon as we sit back down, he goes back to the DVD player to do it again. We spend a lot of time trying to redirect his naughty energy towards something acceptable. It's not like he doesn't have any toys!!

Gage is also into our kitchen garbage can. It's got a swing-top lid. At first he just liked to push the lid and watch it swing. Then he started sticking his hands in the can. After that he started trying to take trash out of the can. Nasty. And the latest thing? He throws things away. The other day he threw away a plastic pear from Braeden's play food set. Braeden did the exact same thing when he was that age. MeMa had to buy a second play phone because Bray threw the first one away and we didn't catch it.

Speaking of the kitchen, Gage considers our cabinets, pantry, and fridge his playground. The second you open the pantry or fridge door, you can count on him to come toddling as fast as he can. He usually succeeds in getting into the pantry, although sometimes I try to get in and out fast enough to avoid this. Usually that means I end up knocking him down on his bottom. And it almost always results in crying. We spend a lot of time picking him up mere seconds before he reaches his desired goal. To solve the cabinets issue, we, and by that I mean Mat, installed more magnetic locks in the kitchen. And before you think we don't let him have any fun, we left the tupperware drawer unlocked. Plus all those baby toys we have lying around!

But to get back to my original point...why haven't I been blogging? Because I've been knitting. I watch Grey's Anatomy and knit. I knit at work during lunch. I watch cartoons with Braeden and knit. Braeden, by the way, totally gets the knitting. He knows that the light in the living room has to stay on if I'm knitting. When he goes in to watch cartoons, he pauses by the light switch and asks if I'm going to knit. If the answer is no, he turns off the light because the TV is bright enough. (his logic, not mine) He's also my model when I knit. After the class I took, I pulled out some old, cheap yarn I bought while we lived in Ithaca. I used it to practice-knit a couple hats and a scarf to donate. Since they were for kids, Braeden was the perfect size to model. Yesterday he tried on a baby hat I knit for a high school friend who's pregnant. It didn't matter to him that it didn't fit. And this morning he gave me this perfectly wonderful smile when I showed off the hat I knit for myself. I find his support very sweet. Not at all surprising, though. He's always very interested in the things I do--cooking, sewing, nursing--and he finds some way to be involved. Knitting is just the next thing.

I've been thinking a lot about what it is I like about knitting. I love that it's portable and that I can do it in front of the TV, while watching the boys play, in the car (while Mat drives), waiting for the doctor, etc. So much more convenient than sewing. I'm also amazed at the finished product. From yarn and sticks, I can make a scarf, a hat, wristwarmers, whatever. Knitting is all about patterns, counting, and logic. I really, really like that. It's repetitive but not necessarily mindless. And when you do stop paying attention, you screw up. But those mistakes are fixable, if not by me than by someone at my local yarn store (lys) or mom (if I'm in Rhinebeck). I like finding a pattern then finding a yarn that will work. Or choosing a yarn then finding the right pattern. And trying new yarns or new techniques. And I really love having a finished project I can wear. And I really love ravelry. It combines the internet, message boards, technology, and good old-fashioned knitting and I just love that! A colleague of mine knits, and through ravelry and facebook I learned that someone who was in grad school with Mat knits. I love making those connections, and I really love seeing everyone else's projects. Very inspiring.

Anyway, enough about knitting. I've got pictures at home that I need to post. I'll try to tear myself away from my needles long enough to post a few.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Our favorite game

I don't know about you but I reread my own blog posts all the time. All.the.time. I can't help it. Today I was looking back at posts around the time Braeden turned one. I was looking to see when he started talking (late March, early April). And I found this post about playing "Where's Braeden?"


Now it's three years later and we're still playing the same game! He'll hide under a blanket or in the fort he's made out of couch cushions. "Mommy. Say where's Braeden." And I say it while looking for him in bizarre places.

Is he in the freezer? Noooo. Is he in the cabinet under the sink? Noooo. Is he under the entertainment center? Noooo. I give up. Where's Braeden?

And that's when he pops out of wherever he was hiding. Did I mention he giggles the whole time??

So much fun.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fours

We've got a gate at the top of our stairs that we keep closed at night. I'm pretty sure Braeden sleepwalks, or at the very least is very, very slow to wake up. Even though he's great on the stairs, I worry he'll sleepwalk and fall down them or not be quite awake enough to navigate them. And the gate is our last line of defense. When he messes around at night and gets out of bed 10 times, the worst he can do is turn the light on upstairs and stand at the gate. He's contained. The same is true in the morning. When he wakes up, Mat and I still have a few minutes to get ourselves together before we have to deal with him or Gage.

Not anymore.

Saturday morning Mat woke up with a start which woke me up with a start. Braeden was standing quietly next to the bed staring at Mat. It was just like that night in Charleston. I wonder how long he stood there before we woke up...

My first thought was that we had forgotten to close the gate. Mat asked how he had gotten down the stairs, and Braeden said he opened the gate. We were both shocked. Braeden told us that's what fours do. Fours open gates and come downstairs. (Fours is day care speak. Braeden must hear it a lot now that they've combined all the fours together in one big room with two teachers.)

We put Braeden in bed between us, but he didn't want to lie there quietly or fall back asleep. Instead he went upstairs and woke Gage up. Nice, huh?

Sunday morning he did the same thing again. But instead of going up to wake Gage up, he played "quietly" in the living room which woke Gage up. It was 7:15 both mornings, but seriously. Sleeping in would kill him??!!

Boys in PJs

When we leave Rhinebeck at the end of a visit, Mat sets the alarm for 3AM. He always gets up first and drives the first leg of the trip. Actually, on the last few trips he's done ALL the driving. I get up next and the only thing keeping me going is the knowledge that I'll be able to go back to sleep once we're in the car. Then it's time to get the boys and my parents up. Mom and Dad usually hang out with the boys while Mat and I pack up the last remaining things. They feed the boys some cereal, maybe some fruit, and give them a little drink. I'm always a little surprised at how smiley they are that early in the morning. Maybe they know they'll be sleeping again very soon, too. :)


I just love that Braeden is holding Gage's hand!

These Christmas PJs were a present from Nanny. The snowmen on Braeden's shirt are kind of fuzzy and very soft. I love touching them. And those are reindeer on Gage's fuzzy sleeper.

Thanks, mom, for sending the picture! I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the pictures you took.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Good times

I posted a fantastic Braeden video tonight. Cool, right? As if that weren't enough, I've also got a really sweet video of Gage to post. Wow! How lucky can someone get?!


Gage has learned how to climb the stairs. He doesn't go very high, just a few steps really, but he LOVES to sit up there and play with the shoes on the stairs.

I shot this video just before bath time a couple nights ago. He is just the happiest, sweetest, easiest baby around.

And just look at those feet! Don't they look delicious??

My oh my!

Sometimes I'm amazed at the things Braeden says. I'm sure every parent feels that way about their kids at some point or another. This year Braeden has memorized the story 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. He doesn't have it perfect, but it's a LONG story. And he is only four.

So, without further ado, here's Braeden!


One of my favorite parts is his Santa voice. You'll see.

All of us


Mom decided this was the year we had a picture of all of us together on Christmas. Mat figured out the timer thing in no time, so we all got into position on the couch. It didn't turn out too badly, right?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Iron update

The nurse called at the end of the day yesterday to give us the results of Gage's CBC. His iron level dropped since the last test in September. The doctor has decided to put him on a different iron supplement to see if that will bring it up. Mat picked it up this morning, and we'll start giving it to him with dinner tonight. I hope it mixes well into applesauce...that's what we had to do with his last round of antibiotics over Christmas.

And in a month we go back for a follow-up CBC to check if this medicine is working. Fingers crossed, okay?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Christmas pics

Finally, right?

We gave Braeden the bike the week before Christmas since we certainly weren't going to drive it all the way to NY and back. He was sooo excited to see it in the garage! His first ride wasn't great but he's definitely gotten the hang of it!




Here he is on his first ride!




Christmas in Rhinebeck.




My Christmas ham!


Doesn't Gage look like an old man? My mom loves to pull his little pants up so high...I couldn't help but laugh when I looked over and saw that. Then I quickly told her to pull them down a little!


In the picture before you can see Braeden handing his new Christmas combine to Gage. And look how happy it made him!


Walking!


Getting ready to go outside in the snow.


Braeden loved crunching in the snow. The boots mom bought were perfect! It had rained then the temp dropped enough to freeze everything. It made the top of the snow crunchy; Braeden was light enough that he could walk on top of the snow while dad and I broke through.


The sledding story is great! Dad bought the sled, and everyone really wanted Braeden to love sledding. There's a hill in their backyard that some of the neighbor kids use. It's a little rocky and has a bunch of trees. We went about halfway up, and Braeden and I sat on the sled. It was his first time on a sled, and my first time in A LOT of years! Instead of smashing into a tree, we popped off the sled. Braeden's mitten came off and he decided sledding wasn't for him. He refused to go down the hill again. Instead dad offered to pull him around using a rope.


If you listen at the beginning you can hear Braeden ordering my dad to go slowly! So cute.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Annual check-ups

This morning the boys had their annual check-ups. I like being able to take them together, but it was also a little chaotic. I felt a little bit like I was being pulled in opposite directions. Braeden is such a ham...he has to show the doctor and nurse different things and ask questions while they're in the middle of checking Gage or talking to me about something. It was hard to have a conversation longer than a couple minutes. Fortunately both are in good health and developing normally, so there really wasn't much to discuss. And luckily for me, both our doctor and her nurse have seemingly unending patience. And it was also great that Mat was able to be there to help.

The differences between our two kids were so SO obvious during the appointment. Gage was quiet and calm throughout. He laid patiently on the table while she looked in his ears and mouth, listened to his heart and lungs, and prodded at his tummy. He never made a peep when the tech came in to draw blood (more on this later). The only fuss he made was during the shots but even then he quieted down as soon as I picked him up. Braeden, on the other hand, never stopped moving and seldom stopped talking! He hid in the fort in the corner behind the exam table. He jumped up and down. He climbed onto the table, laid down for 30 seconds then popped back up and climbed off the table. He played with the tongue depressors the doctor gave him. He asked for water. He wanted a baby toy from the diaper bag. He vroomed his bulldozer around on the floor. And he interrupted us a hundred times to announce something, to ask a question, to sit on my lap, or to hug his baby brother. He was like a force of nature in constant motion and at full volume. A whirling dervish like the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes. That kid lives large all the time. It's amazing to watch. And tiring. And frustrating (sometimes). And humorous (almost all the time).

My favorite part was when he pointed to the jar of long q-tips. He told the nurse they were pokey sticks. (This is one of his favorite terms for all things stick-like...stirrers for coffee, actual sticks, toothpicks, skewers.) She agreed they were pokey sticks. Then he said, "Actually, they're q-tips." Why, yes. Actually they are q-tips. :)

Anyway, both kids are fine. Braeden jumped (literally) onto the scale. He weighs 37 pounds which puts him in the 50th percentile. He's 41 inches tall, or almost 3 1/2 feet tall, and also in the 50th percentile for height. Gage weighs 17 lbs 6 oz and is 29 inches long. His head circumference is 18 1/4 inches putting him in the 50th percentile. He's in the 25th percentile for length and still below the curve, or in the 3rd percentile, for weight. We're still mapping on that same curve from the nine-month appointment.

Time to compare stats...At Braeden's twelve-month check-up he weighed 22 lbs 3 oz and was 29 1/4 inches long. He was in the 50th percentile for both weight and length. Well. It is what it is.

The doctor wasn't concerned about Gage's weight. She made a point of saying several times that he looks great and he's certainly hitting all the appropriate developmental milestones. She seemed a little surprised to see him walking so well, maybe it's the upside to being so little. Less mass to carry around and a shorter distance to the ground should he fall!

Braeden had to read the eye chart (shapes instead of letters or numbers, although he could certainly do both) and had to wear earphones for a hearing test. He flat-out refused to put the earphones on at first. I was able to convince him to put them on, and he played along for a few minutes, but ultimately didn't finish the test. He really, really hated the earphones.

Following up on the low hemoglobin from the nine-month appointment, Gage needed to have blood drawn for a CBC and lead level check. He never made a peep. Then he had three shots including the chicken pox vaccine. He cried until I picked him up. And then we were done. Braeden will need shots at the five-year appointment. The nurse explained he needs shots for school and he could get them now or next year. Braeden wisely chose to wait. :)

$50 later we were on our way to the day care.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The last few days of 2008

I have lots of pictures (at home), so this picture-less post will have to do for now.

I actually have a really cute story to share. I wish I had a video camera surgically attached to my hand. One that was always charged up and ready to go. Because then I could capture the adorable moments that happen in between the whining, crying, and mess-making that goes on at our house.

Last night near the end of dinner Gage started to get a little fussy. Braeden stepped right in to fix it. He started laughing a silly laugh, and that made Gage smile. Then he talked in a funny voice, and Gage smiled even bigger. Then he made a funny face and blew air at Gage, and Gage started to laugh. Braeden went through a series of things, each more ridiculous than the one before, and Gage laughed at all of them. Mat and I were laughing too. I can't put into words how good I felt watching this exchange. How proud I felt that my little boy (Braeden won't know I called him that) knew immediately that he should step in to help take care of his baby brother. And seeing how happy it made Braeden to be the one to cheer up Gage was the icing on the cake. It was a little slice of heaven at our dinner table!

Tuesday we took the kids to day care. Mat washed my car, then we went to the local Subaru dealer to look at cars. I wanted to downsize from my small SUV to something with better gas mileage that drove like a car. I loved the look of the new Impreza hatchback and was really looking forward to driving one. Unfortunately they look a lot better than they drive! I had a WRX when I lived in Ithaca. It was beautiful (okay, actually it was a little strange looking but that's what made it so beautiful). I knew I liked Subarus, but I guess what I liked was MY WRX not all Subarus. I still think the car is cuter than cute, but I got it out of my system with one small test drive. The sales guy was a bit of a doofus (with the worst comb-forward I've ever seen in person!). He tried to get me into a series of cars that I had no interest in like a Forester (hello! why would I trade in one smallish SUV for another??) and a Volkswagen Rabbit. The Rabbit was adorable, but tiny. I sat in it, though, and remembered all the things I loved about Volkswagens. I had two in Ithaca before the WRX. The sales guy went inside to run numbers on the Subaru, and then I saw it.

A Jetta. A perfectly adorable, silver, Jetta. The Jetta was cheaper than the Subie, bigger, with a bigger trunk, and better gas mileage numbers. He ran the numbers on it, too, but I couldn't make up my mind. Not between the Subie and the Jetta but between trading in my Outlander and keeping it for longer. Lately I've been realizing that I like things the way they are. Not necessarily that everything is perfect in my life, but that I'm happier to leave them alone than I am to switch things up and go through the hassle. Maybe I'm fine with change...I'm just lazy. Whatever.

We left the dealership with no new car and went home. Mat was no help in making a decision. He actually wanted me to decide for myself. Can you believe it?? That night I made a pro/con list. I won't share it with you because it's a little embarrassing. It helped a little. Maybe it was sleeping on it that helped. I don't know. All I do know is that the sales guy called Wednesday morning and I told him yes. :)

We picked up the Jetta at 1:30 that day. And it's adorable. It's a 5-speed manual. Silver with an obnoxious black pinstripe. Who out there likes pinstripes on cars? It's the base model, the S, but it comes with a slate of really cool features that make me smile. Like heated seats! I have always wanted heated seats on a car. I hate the feeling of that dry hot air blowing on my face, drying out my lips and eyes. I never would have paid extra for the heated seats in NC (NY definitely), but they come standard. The car has an auxiliary jack for my iPod so I can get rid of the lame iRiver and the even lamer iTrip that play your iPod through the radio. There's a button to pop the trunk on the clicker...I love that! There's one-touch up and down windows on the driver's side. It's really the little things with me that make all the difference!

I'll have to get some pictures of the car to post. When I picked Braeden up from day care that day he told me my new car was pretty. So I knew I had made the right choice. :)

After I picked him up Wednesday, I took him to see the Tale of Despereaux. It's the first movie he's seen in the theater! I was a little nervous but figured what's the worst that could happen. And he was great! He ate whoppers (aka chocolate balls) and some of my popcorn. He was a little too light for the seat so it popped closed on him the first time he climbed into it. But I helped hold it open for him, and he sat on my lap for part of the movie. He didn't mind the dark, or the huge screen, or that the movie was obnoxiously loud.

Braeden's favorite part was the magical vegetable guy who helps make the soup and helps Despereaux save the day. This is Boldo.


The movie was really very good. It had a lot more plot than I was expecting from a kid's movie. I don't think Braeden followed all of it, but he got that there was a princess to save from bad rats. And he got that Despereaux was a hero. I had fun figuring out who was voicing each of the different characters. I didn't figure out that Stanley Tucci was Boldo until I went looking for the picture. Boldo has a French accent, so it wasn't as easy as some of the other characters.

Anyway, I was glad to take him and glad that he had such a good time and made it through the whole movie.