Sunday, May 1, 2016

April Adventures

April began as roughly as March ended, but as I already mentioned, I was saved a bit by wonderful Grandparents. On the first day of April (a Friday) Rick and Carol came and picked up all three kids for an extra long weekend. Their cousin Parker was celebrating his 2nd birthday Sunday evening and we didn't want Rick and Carol or our kids to have to miss it, so Ben drove down Sunday afternoon and just brought the kids home first thing Monday morning. I'm sure they all had a blast playing with their cousins. I heard all about it for the next couple of days, but can't really remember any of the details because I was still in such a nausea fog. 

I was really nervous about my Dr appointment on the 5th (Tuesday). I honestly hadn't left the house (I'd barely left my bed) in at least two weeks. I really thought I'd have to call and tell them I was too sick to make it. The irony struck me. Thankfully, that Tuesday was also our election day. Had it just been the Presidential primary I could have sat it out (that's how bad this nausea was), but there was an important local ballot question in regard to Education funding and I just COULD NOT miss that one. So I went and fulfilled my civic duty as a reward for making it through my Dr appointment without running to the bathroom. 

That evening Reid lost his first tooth. The tooth fairy swapped it out for a dollar when he was fast asleep. Childhood is so magical. And fleeting. 

My real test of survival came two days later when my kid's swim lessons resumed. Ugh, it took a lot of effort, focus, and rule breaking, but I got through it. The rule breaking? I parked in the 5 min area and I took in a Sprite. I know, I'm a real rebel, but I was totally prepped to tell anyone my risky behavior was better than the alternative (and I did look for other parking, but only the farthest of far spaces were left). 

We still spent a lot of time watching TV. It is evident in the amount of couch pictures I took this month. We're going to break the habit with a screen free week starting tomorrow (it's actually national screen free week, just FYI). 

Reid's been making lots of fun hats each week at school. The first week of April they learned about pets, so naturally he came home with a parrot hat. He also knew how to squawk and copy. He was pretty convinced parrots are really great pets. 

It was also perfect prep for his day in the Rainforest! Rick and Carol drove up again that Friday afternoon and took the kids for a fun weekend away. On Saturday they ate at the Rainforest Cafe, an experience even I've never had! What lucky kids. They still keep talking about it, and they played rainforest for days afterword. 

Nell wasn't so sure about the rain and rolling thunder special effects. Silly girl. 

They came home that Sunday evening, just a few minutes before my mom arrived from Utah. The kids actually got to have dinner with 3 of their 4 grandparents. It was pretty exciting! 

Before they'd left for the weekend I'd started to suspect Coraline had another ear infection, but as usual I just played the wait and see game. By mid-morning Monday I was pretty convinced, and fortunately my pediatrician was able to see her within an hour or two. Unfortunately, this meant I had to brave leaving the house again. The worst part about going out in public was not being able to have my spit cup with me (yes, spit cup is exactly what it sounds like). I was sitting in that office with a mouth hyper producing saliva when I dug in my diaper bag for some sort of relief, only to find those M&Ms tucked into a back pocket. It was such a saving grace. So not only do my in-laws take amazing care of my kids, they even spoil me! They are amazing, aren't they? I just had to snap a photo of my bag stuffed full of goodies. There was absolutely no food in there when we gave it to them on Friday. 

My mom also got busy spoiling both me and my kids. She tackled the fridge that had been on my to do list for weeks. I knew it needed a cleaning but could have never handled the smells! Oh the pregnancy smells. She also took Ben and the kids out to eat and then to the grocery store for a big shopping trip. She bought us the Good Dinosaur and some M&Ms so we had an awesome movie night on Tuesday after baths. I love M&Ms and popcorn. Such a delicious treat! I even enjoyed some myself. It was heavenly.

My kids each had a couple bowls polished off before we were ten minutes into the movie. Nell didn't really watch the movie much, she was more interested in playing with Grandma and Daddy. But Reid was totally into it, and we had to watch it again the next day. It's a cute movie and has all the things I appreciate in a kid's movie: nothing crude or violent and no more than two "oh no! will they make it?" moments. I very much dislike movies that drag on either the conflict or the resolution. I really appreciate that The Good Dinosaur is concise about both. It almost surprised me. There had to be another catch, another ten minutes, it can't really end when I'm ready for it to end, can it?

We all really enjoyed our week with Grandma. The kids couldn't wait to see her each morning. They were so excited when they'd hear her start to come up the stairs. They also just loved having her around to watch them play. That's universal, right? All kids love an audience. They loved telling her made up stories or having her read them their stories each night before bed. They loved playing in the basement while she and I sat around and talked. They were always begging her to stop cleaning and come watch them build something with their Lego's.

They were over the moon when Grandma got to come to swimming lessons and watch their last day of class (for Nell anyway, and it was Reid's last day with other students). It was the day they did the safety training -- which didn't start well for Reid. As usual, he'd jumped in the pool to play a little before class started, so when his teacher asked him to get out and come into a private room he lost his mind. It was so frustrating, but I also felt for him, at least a little. As he sobbed about not wanting to leave he said "but my grandma came from Utah and I want to make her proud." Oh buddy, if only he understood that throwing fits will never make anyone proud. Sigh. It was the worst fit I've seen him throw in, well; a really long time. I can't really think of any worse ones, but I know all three-year-olds throw fits like he did -- it's just that he's five.

Ten minutes into the class, when he finally pulled himself together, and he was totally fine, he jumped into the deep end with nothing but a big smile on his face. It was as if nothing had happened. Later, back in the regular 3 ft pool, he had a blast pretending like he was drowning. He and his classmate each took turns trying to save each other. It was pretty cute to watch. Most importantly, he apologized to his teacher. Before they went into the deep end he came over to get his goggles from me and I told him he needed to apologize for his behavior. He told me Miss Chelsea was too busy teaching class, but promised he'd do it at some point. When she came over to give me his report card I asked if he had apologized and she smiled and assured me he had. His behavior was a little bit redeemed by the fact that he could muster up an apology without me over his shoulder coaxing him. Actually, if I had to guess he's probably better at apologies when I'm not around. He knew his behavior was rotten, and once he was calmed he knew how to make it right. Even adults have moments like that, right?

Nell's class is always fun to watch. She's so happy and so animated the entire time she's with Miss Jamie. I still can't believe how much she has improved since the class began. The above photo series shows her jumping in to retrieve the toy she'd thrown across the pool, swimming after it, and then returning it to the wall. She did all of it with no help (unless you count the float belt). Before lessons we could hardly get her in the water. She had no interest in swimming. Now she's a regular old fish. 

This video is from Reid's last day of lessons, on Friday, when he is the only kid in his class. He'd actually done three front crawl strokes pretty flawlessly before I began recording. I tried to get him to repeat it with the same success but failed. His greatest strength is definitely his floating. The boy is a floater! He has to swim five yards independently before he moves up a level, so he'll probably take the class again once or twice this summer. I really want him to be comfortable swimming independently soon. His teacher did tell me most kids his age can't get the right arm movement for the front crawl, so she thinks his performance is totally normal/average.

I was not feeling well that morning and it was so nice that I could leave my girls with my mom and just take Reid. I think he needed the one on one time anyway. On the ride home he sang me a sweet song he made up on the spot. It was all about how much he loves me and how we're best friends. As we walked to the van he told me he thinks we were made for each other, "and Daddy and Nell were made for each other too." He can be such a tender boy sometimes.

About halfway through my mom's stay I started feeling like I had enough energy to finally be productive. So I cleaned the bathroom and vacuumed and did a few other little chores. But I pushed myself too hard when I went out with them one evening. Other than the 24 hours following that, I really wasn't that sick during my mom's stay. Kind of ironic, but it was still so nice to have her here. Plus, it gave me the boost I needed to get back into my routine when she left. I wasn't starting out way behind in laundry or cleaning because she'd done so much of it for me! It was great to start off the next week feeling a little better and knowing I wasn't swamped with housework.

One night when we tucked Nell into bed she told us she was going to sneak away to Grandma's house. She really wanted to go back to Utah with my mom, but we finally convinced her she could wait until Reid was out of school and we'd all go together in just a couple of months. My favorite Nell and Grandma story took place one evening after everyone was in bed and Ben was out playing raquetball. My mom had called my dad to chat and she decided to call for her kitties. My mom has a very distinct "Here kitty, kitty, kitty" voice and when I heard it through the walls I thought "how strange, I've never heard my neighbor call her cat like my mom does." But about a second into that thought I realized it was my mom, shouting for her kitties through the phone! I also began to hear Nell crying. She came out of her room frightened that she'd just heard a terrible witch noise. I was confused for a bit, and then realized my mom's cat call sounded like a witch cackle to Nell! Seeing true fear in her eyes, I realized the only thing that would settle her was going down to my mom's room and hearing "here kitty, kitty, kitty" straight from the source. The three of us laid in bed together for a minute and snuggled and giggled. It was a special little moment, even if I came up stairs and immediately began vomiting.

The last couple of day's of my mom's visit were wonderfully warm -- especially for April. We spent a lot of time sitting on the back porch, watching the kids play. One evening Ben started a fire, per the kids request, but it was too hot for any of us to even enjoy. The kids wouldn't go near it. He roasted some hot dogs and made us some s'mores. It was a great way to spend Grandma's last evening at our house.

He also decided to go give the compost a good stir. After a long winter he did find some nice rich soil, but he also found four baby mice. The kids loved it, naturally! Reid even hauled the bucket they'd been loaded into over to the faucet for their drowning. My mom, always the animal lover, had to take a couple of pictures and ewe and awe over their cuteness. In the bottom of that bucket, minutes away from their death, they were pretty cute. But I'm not so sure about composting anymore. Naturally, Reid told his entire class that eventful story when they learned about composting this last week. I'm sure preschool is full of lots of fun stories!

Along with composting, they learned all about reduce, reuse, recycle. As if my kids need any encouragement when it comes to reusing boxes. Who doesn't watch TV in boxes? This week really up-ed his desire to create strange toys out of our recycling bin. I was actually becoming quite annoyed with his new found rummaging habits. But he did make a pretty cool minecraft monster one afternoon. And it was his favorite toy for the entire week. Trash is only in the eye of the beholder, I guess.  

Coraline has been pretty insistent on feeding herself. She fights me for her spoon and sometimes she wins. It turns out she did have another ear infection, and it is the one that broke the camel's back. As soon as the next one hits she has to have tubes. We took her to a specialist to make sure no permanent damage has been done. They can't test hearing in each of the separate ears at her age, but the two together are just fine. Also, there is no scar tissue, so it was all mostly good news. If she never has an ear ache again it will all be good news, but at the rate she is going, that is not likely.

This last Thursday (today is Sunday) we took all three of the kids to the YMCA pool nearest us (not the one where they took lessons). It has a walk in entry, splash pad area, and winding slide. Before Reid started his lessons I told him my goal was for him to go down the slide by himself, so naturally he wanted to try it. Since he hasn't actually passed the class we had Ben stand to the side at the bottom to pull him out of the current and help him get to calm water. He went twice and came out with a big smile both times. I think we were all pretty proud.

I took Nell down the slide twice and we shouted things like "Girl Power!" and "Girls Rock, Yohoo!" the whole way down. She was all giggles and pretty convinced that meant she had to go down with me and not daddy. I finally told her daddy can yell girl power too and I heard her shout it from the top of the slide when they raced down together. I love my little girl power girl.

Last month Reid earned a free ticket to a game for the local minor league baseball team. It was a reading program, and he earned a couple different things every other week. Things like mascot tattoos, stickers, and a hot dog and soda at the game. We purchased a ticket for Ben, and the two of them were ready for a boys night out. Nell was obviously heartbroken. Next year we will be sure to get her a ticket as well. I had to make it up to her by throwing a princess tea party. We enjoyed a pink frosted butterfly brownie (from our local bakery) and some pink ("tea") lemonade. We also watched the first bit of Frozen before switching over to Mulan II. She dressed up, of course, and we ended the evening snuggling in my bed. When Ben came home and took her out she sleepishly said "Goodnight Mama," and my heart melted a little. She also said "Goodnight Daddy" when Ben laid her in bed, but she was really asleep for the whole thing. She is our most active sleeper.

The boys enjoyed the game as well. Well, that might not be true. Reid enjoyed the hot dog and special out-of-school time with friends, and Ben enjoyed a night with his boy. I don't think either of them enjoyed the actual game.

He's got a hot dog and some lemonade, a night out with daddy, and two of his favorite friends (B and J), that's one happy boy!

And on the last day of April, baby learned how to take selfies while sitting on top of my phone! Cute little baby!

Oh, and here are some cute photos Ben snapped of her earlier in the month. She can be so particular about things, and for a few days she was really particular about wearing her snow pants like a cape. Silly girl. 

1 comment:

Pa said...

Cute pix, cute stories. Loved watching Reid swim...

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