Wednesday, December 4, 2013

17 Months!

Well, at least I'm remembering to do some Matthew updates every now and then ;)

Mostly I just want to record all his words.  The last month, his vocabulary has really taken off.

At 17 months he:

  • can say: mama (but still doesn't call me mama), mommy, daddy, bubba, shoes, cat (followed by "meow"), kitty, dog, Sadie (shee dee), baby, duck, truck, car, up, uh oh, no, hot, ow, ouch, milk (guck), binkie (ginkie), wow, whoa, Jake (oh my...), ahoy (OH my...), go, wheee, please (pea), he asks "what's that?" and "where is it?"... and probably a few more I'm forgetting.  He's parroting a lot now and will often repeat what you've said.  
  • He used to shove his finger up his nose and said "ni" but he doesn't seem to want to do that anymore. He can point to head, ear, eye & mouth and knows where his belly button is (and enjoys poking it)
  • he LOVES to play.  he makes the "bbbbbbbbppp" noise when pushing around cars.  He loves to swing, slide & run.  He takes particular joy in annoying his older brother every opportunity he can.
  • he's wearing 18-24 month clothes and a size 6 shoe.  he detests his hat but likes his scarf and no longer head butts me when I put his coat on.
  • bath time remains a favorite as does teeth brushing.  I scheduled his first dentist appointment for the spring, so we'll see how that goes.  ;)
  • he loves to read and enjoys exploring the library as quick as he can.  
  • he signs more, all done, milk, water & please & waves when you say "night night!" and blows kisses when it's time to leave
  • is very anti veggie.  if you offer him veggies, he will refuse.  he will inspect every bite on his fork before putting it in his mouth and if you manage to sneak a bite of veggies in with his regular bite, he'll spit it all out, pick through it and throw the veggies on the floor.  He does like smoothies, though, so I make him one loaded with veggies at least once a week.
This little boy is no push over and has a sassy temper.  We went out to eat the other night and he'd brought along two cars (one of each hand, you know) and was happily pushing them around the table and through the tunnel made by our order number sign while Nick & Ben got drinks, straws & napkins.  Ben came to the table and asked if he could play with a car, so I said sure and handed him one.  I think any one within a 5 mile radius heard the angry scream from Matthew (very long too and turned his whole face red).  

These boys fight like demons and don't have very many heart warming tender moments.  They play but it often feels a bit mean spirited on Ben's part (sure, Matthew laughs at first when Ben whacks him in the face with a pillow, but I know Ben and I know he isn't doing it to make Matthew laugh - he's doing it to see how long he can get away with it before I make him stop).  Matthew gives as good as he gets and will not sit back and take it when Ben's mean.  Hopefully these two grow to more friendly play and less competition for attention cuz this mama is exhausted with that game.

He's a sweet little cuddler and loves to be picked up and lay his head on your shoulder.  His favorite songs are the ABC's and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and is usually calmed very quickly by either singing the ABCs to him or counting softly to 5.  He sleeps a solid 12 hours at night and generally does about 2 hours for nap during the nap.  It's so lovely.  I can usually get at least 1.5 hours of time to myself during the day as Ben's quiet time (not always napping) occurs at the same time as Matthew's nap.  Heaven.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Matthew's 14 Months!

Wow so I'm not even going to bother apologizing for my SERIOUS lack of blogging.

But I do feel terribly that I'm letting life zip by in super duper fast forward and I'm not nearly documenting Matthew's life in a way that I'll remember.  Other than random Facebook posts.  Sadly, he is completely a victim of 2nd child syndrome and over scheduled mama.

I love our crazy busy life.

Matthew's 14.5 months old at the time of this post.  At this point in his life he is:

  • He has 6.5 teeth (one of his molars is half way through, the rest of them are slowing making their way up through the gums)
  • says a few words: cracker (which means anything food or milk), cat, dog, duck, daddy (which means Nick and various other things that he points to and says "daddy"), and uh oh.  he refuses to say mama. 
  • he only signs his version of "all done" - he won't seem to pick up more, please, milk or thank you.  
  • he's wearing 12-18 month clothes and a size 5 shoe
He's a delightful baby.  Truly.  He loves to cuddle and is super sweet.  And sassy.  :)  He screams a bloody murder scream when he wants something (typically food) or isn't getting his way.  He slaps his legs when angry (a trick he learned from Ben) and he thinks when mommy says no to putting bark dust in his mouth, that means scoop it up faster and shove it in in large handfuls.

He loves to climb and slide at the park.  He loves swinging and jumping.  He loves annoying his brother.  :)  He does not love eating meals.  He must inspect every bite before it goes in his mouth and if you attempt to hide a bite of veggies behind his bite of dinner, he'll spit the whole mouthful out, pick out the veggies and only eat the dinner.  He likes to drink milk and have snacks (mainly: crackers, grapes, oranges, bananas, applesauce (or any smoothie style drink), yogurt, bread, etc). He thinks bath time is really great and wiggles a happy dance when you show him his toothbrush.  He's not a fan of "no." 

We're working on doing just one nap a day.  For the past 2 days, I've put him down around noon and he's slept til after 2:00.  It's really nice.  He sleeps a solid 12 hours at night - ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT.  No waking.  It's HEAVEN.  Ben still wakes up once or so a night several nights a week.  Having a kiddo that gets that night time sleep is for SLEEPING is amazing.  :)

He's still nursing, but at most 3 times a day.  He nurses for around 3 minutes each time (some times much less and some times not at all - he'll either slap me away or sign all done) generally before each nap (but now we're down to one nap, so I guess he just nurses twice a day) and then again before bed.  Very rarely will he express an interest in nursing any other time.  This is all baby led and I'm happy with the pace he's setting.  So pleased nursing was smoother waters this time around.

So that's it for Matthew at 14 months.  I'm so very excited for Christmas this year!  A 17 month old and a 4 year old - what a magical time it'll be at our home!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Kids Say...

too long for a FB status & a memory I want to keep forever:

Yesterday evening at bed time, Ben & I had cuddles and a song and then I left the room while Nick & Ben had their cuddles & song (a nightly tradition).  When Nick was done, he came out and said Ben was asking for more mommy cuddles, so I went back in and was cuddling/tickling Ben.  He got a little crazy and kicked at me, which was my signal that silly time was done and it was bed time.  Slightly annoyed at being nearly kicked in the face, I said "good night" rather curtly, covered him up with his blanket and left the room.

Cue the hysterics.

Cue the theatrical crying.

Several moments passed and his door opened and a sobbing Ben rushed into the living room and launched himself at Nick.

"What's going on, Ben?"

(in a hysterical, sobbing voice): "Mommy said good night!"

to which Nick tried to smother a laugh and said "oh my goodness!  she said "good night"???  is that all??"

and Ben launched into a few more tears and blurted out "then she put the blanket on me!"

and Nick couldn't hold it back anymore "she said good night and tucked you in??  what a mean mommy!"

oh, that kid.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Grilled Hawaiian Teriyaki Burgers with baked beans & sweet potato wedges

Photo via Skinny Taste
Tuesday: Anniversary Dinner!  Happy 8th anniversary to us! :)

Wednesday: Bacon-Wrapped Teriyaki Chicken Skewers with rice pilaf & a green salad
Photo via Our Best Bites
Thursday: Stuffed Shells with green beans & garlic toast

Friday: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Soup

Saturday: Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki with white rice & steamed broccoli
Photo via Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen
Sunday: Matthew's 1st Birthday Party!!!


I honestly had no idea how many Teriyaki style dishes I'd planned for this week til I started typing them out.  Apparently the family menu planner (moi) is craving teriyaki.  Oh, somebody, PLEASE bring me some Oshio Teriyaki from Enumclaw?  'Scuse me, I gotta go wipe the drool off my chin now... ;)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Busy Bag Swap

I got together with some ladies in my mommy group and put together a busy bag swap.  I think it was a great success and wanted to share what we did!

I looked around online for some general ideas on how to host one and these are the guidelines I came up with.  I think if you're part of a large group, or just have a big network of friends, to limit the number of players in your swap.  We did a quiet book page exchange last fall with over 20 people.  It was way too much work.  I limited ours to 10.

What's a busy bag?
A busy bag is a ziploc bag containing an activity for your child to enjoy either with you or on their own. It is a form of creative occupation. It may be educational or may not.  These can be great for keeping little hands and bodies occupied at the restaurant, in church, on road trips, when you need 10 minutes to get dinner prepped... ;) There's endless ideas for a busy bag activity, Pinterest & Google will be your best source of inspiration.

What's a busy bag swap? 
It's 10 mamas creating 10 busy bags of the same kind, compiling them all together, and each receiving 10 different busy bags for their kids.

The success of this swap depends on the success of each member. The end goal of 10 different activities for each kid is only possible so long as each mom creates 10 bags of the same activities.

The RSVP's were locked 3 weeks in advance.  This ensured that everyone was given enough time to complete their bags. We also asked that plenty of notice was given if you needed to cancel (however, we understand emergencies do happen - if you weren't able to come on the meet up day, we can still arrange to swap your bags.  Preferably this should be done prior to the swap day so that those attending the event can leave with the bags they're expecting.)

Each activity needs to fit within 1 gallon sized zip top bag, should be clearly labeled on the outside of the bag with the activity name and any instructions for completing the activity need to be included within.  For simplicity let's keep all activities on the preschool (or easier) level.  The goal is for the kids to be able to do the activity with minimal parental help.

For my activity, I opted to do an alphabet match.  I created my board by cutting cardstock to 9x9 and drew a grid (spacing 1.75" on one side and 1.5" inches on the other, to make my grid 5x6 - bottom row just contains the Z) and wrote the letters in with Sharpie.  Then I took a single sided DIY laminating sheet and laminated the front side.  Inside each bag, I included a full set of magnet letters (purchased at Walmart for 97 cents each) and an index card with the following instructions:

  • Match the letters - either randomly or searching to put them in alphabetical order (for older kids)
  • By groups - by colors (all the yellow letters, then green, etc); by vowels; by consonants, etc
  • Spell simple words: childs name, 3 letter words like cat, dog, hit, zig, etc.
For more fun, you can put the grid & letters on a cookie sheet - this will help the letters from sliding off the grid as they're placed.

Our exchange was a great success!  Here are the bags I ended up with:
  • Pom pom sorting into a spice jar: sensory exploration for younger kids, task by color for older kids
  • Popsicle stick puzzles: arrange popsicle sticks to reveal the completed puzzle (numbered for smaller kids)
  • Cardboard rubbings: designs with hot glue on cardboard, used with a piece of paper & a crayon to create a scene on paper
  • Felt Shapes: cut outs provided with blank "canvas" felt sheet for children to create different pictures
  • color matching: paint chips & clothes pins (match the colored clothes pin with the correct colored paint chip - chip divided in half with English & Spanish color names)
  • bead stringing: beads & pipe cleaners (sensory exploration & fine motor skill building for younger kids, match beads to correct pipe cleaner by color for older kids)
  • lacing cards: craft foam cut into shapes with holes punched around the edges. this mama also included a lacing card of each child's first initial. 
  • Mosaic tile board - shapes drawn onto card stock with corresponding craft foam shapes.  use the shapes to create the puzzle on the board.
  • Stickers, pen & notebook: a super simple activity that has (so far) been my 3 year old's favorite. 
I've shown Ben 4 so far - mine when it was done, the lacing cards, the mosaic tile boards & the stickers with notebook.  He did mine start to finish and was done with in 5 minutes.  He said the mosaic puzzle was too hard and didn't want to play with it.  He was super into the lacing cards, but had done a similar activity at preschool and so it didn't take him long to complete the task.  He LOVED the stickers, pen & notebook.  He sat right down and played with that for a good 15-20 minutes: choosing the stickers to go in his book, making pictures with his pen & crayons, etc.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Binkie: Revisited

Just about a month ago, I posted about how our family had a "dirty little secret" regarding a certain preschool aged child and a pacifier.

Once the binkie was returned, the naps came back.  Better sleep came back.  Improved moods (for every one) came back.

Unfortunately, Ben's habit of chewing on his pacifier also came back.  Last Wednesday or so, I discovered he'd nearly chewed through the pacifier nipple and it was barely hanging on.  Sad faced, I told him I couldn't let him use it for bed time - if that piece came off while he was sleeping, it could choke & really hurt him.  He was, obviously, upset.  I ended up breaking the tip off and giving him the broken bink.  He instantly stuck it in his mouth and tried to suck.  No good.  I told him he was welcome to keep it as long as he wanted.  And he did.  He kept it on his nightstand for a few days but didn't really need it.

Sleep was actually fine.  I suggested he try sucking his thumb, if he needed to.  He tried it a few times but wasn't super into it.

But then he was.

And now he often pops his thumb into his mouth when he's feeling sleepy or in need of some sort of comfort.  The thumb goes in and the other hand reaches up to the top of his head to play with his hair.

I'm actually totally okay with this and don't plan to make a deal about it - EVER.  I sucked my thumb way longer than I should have, and I think part of that was due to how much my family tried to get me to stop.  The harder they tried, the harder I resisted.  Thumb sucking is his deal.  I don't have to provide it.  I don't have to buy it or replace it.  I don't have to look for it in the middle of the night.  I don't have to look for it when it gets set someplace odd after waking.  I don't have to set rules about when it can be used (and I won't).

And there's no jealousy over why Matthew gets one and can he have one of Matthew's?

I'll take it as a win.

terrible cell phone/Instagram pic

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Menu Plan Monday.

Menu Plan Monday at Org Junkie!

Monday: Crock Pot Mexican Corn & Bean Soup with corn bread
Photo via Weelicious
This actually didn't turn out super tasty.  We ended up getting something else to eat and this landed in my freezer.  I plan to reheat this at some point and increase the number of spices.  1 tsp each of chili powder & cumin for the entire pot of soup was totally insufficient.

Tuesday: Tortellini Skewers, garlic bread & salad

Photo via Caramel Potatoes
I'd made these before to bring to bunco, but this time I just put everything in a big bowl and it was like a pasta salad.

Wednesday: Chicken Rollatini Stuffed with  Zucchini and Mozzarella, with fresh green beans (cooked stove top with garlic, butter & bacon)
Photo via Skinny Taste
Amazingly delicious.

Thursday: Cheesy Skillet Pasta with Meat Sauce, dinner rolls & steamed veggies
Cheesy Skillet Pasta with Meat Sauce recipe on
Photo via Family Fresh Cooking
Friday-Sunday: we're out of town for the weekend!  Whoop!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken with rice & corn on the cob
Tuesday: Broccoli & Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes with salad & rice pilaf
Wednesday: Rigatoni Bake with Zucchini Tots & salad
Thursday: Spicy Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayo, sweet potato fries & salad
Friday: Kebabs, foil packet potatoes, rice pilaf & salad
Saturday: Taco Salad
Sunday: Quick & Easy Pasta Primavera

Our menu this week was SO yummy - I didn't realize how many recipes came from Skinny Taste til I copied in all the links.  What an amazing site, I'm so glad I found it for healthy menu inspirations!!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Durango: Part 3

So, part one was about our drive to Moab.

Part two was about our trip through Arches.

Finally diving into our actual visit in Durango.  

We stayed in a beautiful "cabin" in Durango (I say "cabin" because while it was rustic, there was nothing rough about this place).  A friend of Tara's family graciously invited her and her extended family to stay, so we had a destination vacation, nestled in the mountains with a humongous herd of elk nearby for company.

elk in the backyard - this is just a tiny fraction, the total herd was in the hundred's
We had tons of family time:

Ben & Shea

Matthew, Shea, Ben & Ruby (and part of me ha ha)

Ben, Nana & Matthew

Ben & Ruby playing some random game with Nemo and/or Dori

Matthew & Ruby

probably the last time these two can pull this off ;)

Ruby, Matthew, me & Ben

movie night: Beauty & the Beast (while Tara & I sung obnoxiously along to every song...I may have also mouthed all the dialogue...)

Ruby, Ben & Shea

Ben, Ruby, Shea & Matthew

Shea & Matthew
We played in the snow:

snowman building
grandad & Ben
spent the rest of the adventure in the car while he napped ;)

We went 4 wheeling:

and the saga shall continue in another post.  that's a lot o' photos right there.  ;)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Preschool Assessment

Last time Ben had one of these assessments at school (they do them in the fall & the spring), he was in the younger class, of older 2's and younger 3's.

Since he's moved up to the 3's & 4's class, his assessment is a bit different.  I'm interested to see how it compares to fall, since he'll be in the same class for both assessment's.

  • He has mastered recognition of all his ABC's
  • He can count to 15
  • He has mastered all his shapes (circle, oval, square, triangle, rectangle, diamond, star & heart)
  • He recognizes all the colors but needs help with gray.
  • He's mastered his opposites
  • He can identify all visible parts of his body
Note from the teacher: Ben is able to ID all the letters in the alphabet, basic colors and shapes   He is still working on his numbers 1-10.  He knows opposites & body parts.

He only needs one area of work with his large motor skills, and that's hopping on one foot.  Otherwise, he's mastered:
  • running with control over speed and direction
  • jumping over obstacles & landing on two feet
  • climbing up and down equipment with ease (thanks, Tumble Time!)
  • moves body creatively to music (that's probably my favorite ever)
  • is willing to exercise (dude, when is this child ever NOT willing to exercise?  he is on the move from wake to sleep)
  • jumping on two feet
  • galloping
  • throwing a ball (he's got a great arm)
  • catching a ball (in my opinion - this still needs work)
  • bouncing a ball
Note from the teacher: Be is great at large motor activities, he is able to run, jump, dance & gallop.  He needs a little more work with hopping.  He is able to throw, catch & bounce a ball.
showing off those gross motor skills :)

His fine motor skills are a mix of mastered and working on:
  • using art materials to create
  • showing hand preference (he's right handed)
  • using table utensils skillfully (though he won't at home, he prefers to use his hands)
  • paint & paste neatly
  • making attempts to put on own coat/jacket
  • stacking more than 4 blocks
Working on:
  • using scissors properly
  • cutting in a straight line
  • beginning to draw human figures
  • copying horizontal/diagonal/vertical lines
Note from the teacher: Ben is able to paint & paste neatly.  He is able to put on his own jacket and stack blocks.  He is working on drawing, writing & using scissors.

fine motor skills - thanks daddy! :)

His language skills are great.  He speaks in complete sentences, speaks clearly, takes part in conversations with others, expresses needs & wants clearly... according to their assessment, he needs work on dictating description of drawings (I'm actually not sure what this means) and showing an interest in books.  I strongly, firmly, 100% disagree with that last one.  Ben is a HUGE fan of books.  His room is LITTERED with books that he's read/looked at and has so many memorized, he basically reads by himself.

Note from the teacher: Ben is a terrific vocabulary!  He is getting better and better and using words with his teachers and his peers.

Seems we've done some back sliding on sharing & taking turns.  I wonder if some of this is simply age or if competition from an increasingly mobile little brother plays a factor.

He's mastered:
  • Shows respect & rights of others property
  • is polite/courteous to others
  • helps classmates clean up
  • can attend to bathroom needs by himself
  • separates from parents with ease (HOORAY!)
  • seeks out other children to play with (favorite friends are Dayton, Noah & Cooper)
  • Smiles & seems happy much of the time
  • works/plays cooperatively with other children
  • seeks help when needed
Working on:
  • sharing materials
  • taking turns
  • keeping hands to himself
  • listening while others speak/tell a story
  • expressing anger in words rather than actions
Note from the teacher: Ben has very strong self help skills.  He is able to attend all his bathroom needs.  He is able to help clean up after playtime.  We are working on sharing and taking turns.

And her overall comments:
Ben is a very happy boy who likes to pay with lego's and cars.  He is really learning quickly and settling in to this class.  We are really working on keeping hands on his body and listening during circle time.  We will continue to offer him more challenges and support learning.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Durango: Part 2

So, picking up where I left off on part 1 of our adventure, we got up on Sunday and checked out of our hotel.  We stayed right in Moab, so the drive to Arches National Park was pretty quick.  I'd been before, but I was 15 and obnoxious and I really don't remember any of it. 

Arches National Park

Nick & Ben, on the way up to one of the window arches
they made it! :)
so amazing
me and ma' boys 
this little guy was so very excited to be allowed to climb on all the really cool rocks
hot footing it back to the car with a now hysterical Matthew - he was clearly due for a nap.
As much fun as he had climbing on the rocks, this is pretty much how he enjoyed the rest of the park
sleep, baby, sleep

What a cool park.  If you're ever in the area, I really suggest you go in.  Nick & I would love to go back, either by ourselves or when the boys are a little older and nap times no longer need to be scheduled in.  :)

Part 3 will come eventually.  ;)