Sunday, November 16, 2014

Electronics Hiatus

I feel pretty, oh so pretty!


I don't have many pictures, but still wanted you to see this pretty baby. Aunt Tami made this pretty little outfit. Wish I had a better back drop :)

Peter has been working hard at trying to sit up. He's still not laughing or reaching for things, but he does like sitting in his Bumbo more, and also in his walker (I went ahead and left that spit up there, just to prove a point).


This week Zack brought me a bracelet to wear. I recognized it as one that I keep in my jewelry box...inside my pj drawer...up high in my chest of drawers. Yikes! I walked into my room and found my hamper pushed up in front of my dresser (apparently hampers make good step-stools). And my jewelry box sitting on the floor. The lid was shut. Zack said, "I already cleaned it up!" Sure enough, the floor was clean. But just as I imagined, the contents of the box were a total wreck.

Later that same day I walked into the laundry room and found him sitting on top of our washer (which is on top of a little step, so pretty high) sorting out our battery basket, taking flashlights apart and testing their batteries!

He's three!!

He likes to get up on the counter and make tea or coffee. He likes to get into my makeup drawer and play with hair clips, chapstick, etc., etc.

But, sort of, this is great! A while back he was following me around asking to play on my phone. Or watch a video. All-the-time!

We (that is, Tim and I) hit an electronics wall a couple weeks ago. We took a week off--no wii, no phone games, no Minecraft. It was hard. There were tears. But after one week, the kids had started playing actual games again. And playing puzzles.

Then we decided to take off the month of November. This week the kids drew and traced pictures like crazy. For the first time ever I found someone laying on the couch and reading. For fun. It was so thrilling to see!

Then a couple days ago William stumbled onto this you tube channel: The King of Random. This guy has made all these videos of how to make all kinds of things--like little "guns" made out of popsicle sticks and matches. (Grandpa, I think you would be entertained by this guy. You might even be inspired!) Well, William got to work making some things. Not surprisingly, he is really good at following directions, and working with his hands. I'm so proud of the hard, careful, persistent work he has done. I would love to get a video to show you. Today, all the other big boys (including Tim) got into it, too.

This no-electronics thing has been challenging (I've lost one of my keep-them-busy-tools!) but rewarding!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

"Spitter Peted!"


We are settling into a rhythm here in boy-ville. We made it to church again today, and the boys are plugging along in school. We haven't taken any more camping trips, but we did go to a neighborhood Halloween party (pictured above) and made our first trip to the lake as a family. Once again, it's been so long since I blogged that my pictures have accumulated and seem out of date...but I can't just skip them, now can I? :)

I love these: I took the the boys (minus Trevor, who was on his way to Washington D.C. with Mom and Dad) to an antique car show at Landmark Park. It was such a bonus to see that they had inflatable jumping toys!




Being super-cute (and perhaps wearing a Dora bandage on your face) has it's advantages. At the show the owner of the motorcycles let Zack sit on several of them, and even cranked one up and revved it for him!



Peter is growing like a weed. I think he is around 16 pounds by now. He eats and sleeps great.


For the record, I will say that he is a spitter. I'd heard of babies that spit up a lot, but never had the honor of growing one myself. Boy oh Boy. One of the boys had one of those word blunders lately and announced that, "Spitter Peted." There's a name for that kind of slip, isn't there?

Peter spits a hundred times a day, I'm sure. I decided to make you a pie chart to express his very fine spitting abilities...

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 5.27.30 PM

"Dabs" refers to the little spits that just dribble down his chin onto his (ever-present) bib. To clean these spits, just use the edge of the bib, or a nearby rag. These he does every few minutes, all day long.

"Splashes" refer to his medium-sized spits. These spurt out way bigger, and get on his clothes, and often my clothes, or on whichever lucky person is holding him, and then splat onto the floor, or pool on the couch. Or perhaps he's in his bouncy seat--then the spit runs far past his bib, down his past his lap and pools in the seat. These require a fair amount of wiping. Everyone is left soggy, but given time, it dries up. These he usually does at least 3 or so times after every feeding. I will absolutely need to wash all the cushion covers and get the carpets cleaned once he is done with this soggy season.

The "Total Outfit Changes" is rather self explanatory. These spits are SO gigantic and forceful that they drench us both. No amount of wiping our clothes is sufficient to salvage them. This happens at least once a day, and sometimes up to 5 times a day.

One day I took him shopping. After driving to the store, I pulled his carseat out of the car and as I did so he did a huge spit that not only got us both wet, but also splashed all down the seat of the car, onto the running board, and all over the parking lot.

It's just astonishing how much he can lose, and yet be happy and gain weight. How I can continue to be astonished when it happens daily, I don't know, but each time he does a "wipe" or larger, I still exclaim out loud. I'd love to take it calmly, but I haven't learned to yet. :)

Here's a classic "Splash." What you don't see is the towel I'm holding between my knees to mop us up. This was our first picture of our Christmas card photo shoot. Nice.


*Experts say that as long as Baby is happy and is gaining weight, spitting is not a worry.*

Other than his off-putting digestive manners, Peter is a sweet and friendly baby. He loves attention and will talk your ear off if you give him encouragement. We love him so much.


Here I think maybe he looks like my Grandpa Wilkins...What do you think?


Zack still enjoys Peter. I started Peter on brown rice to help him sleep better, and Zack likes to help feed him. Here they are on our trip to the lake...


Zack enjoys all the brothers, and likes to wrestle and snuggle with them.


This is a strange picture. Trevor likes to keep an eye on his start chart app on the iPod. There had been a solar eclipse coming, and the day it came we loaded up in the car and drove up to Westgate Park where the trees wouldn't obstruct our view. We made some little homemade viewing devices to try to see the eclipse. They didn't work, really, so that was too bad, but it was still a good adventure.





Monday, October 13, 2014

Camping at Blue Springs State Park -or- How To Take A Camping Trip In Less Than 24 Hours

We are crazy. I know we are crazy because we went camping last weekend. With a potty-trained-ish toddler, and a seven week old baby. And three other kids. And two tired parents. C-R-A-Z-Y. But fun!


Here's my advise for your less-than-24-hour camping experience--in 10 easy tips.

Tip #1) Wait to start packing until after lunch. (Any earlier, and you might make a list of what to bring, which is counter-productive for a short trip.)

#2) Have your kids help pack. (This is very important. It ensures that neither the father nor the mother has a clear idea of what they are taking on the trip. This is crutial for tip #5)

#3) Bring a baby. (Enough said. However, if possible, bringing a baby that is a heavy spitter-upper is even better. Only bring 5 bibs.)

#4) Bring a nearly potty trained toddler. (4 extra undies should do the trick. And 2 emergency diapers. Yep.)

#5) Do not bring bug spray. (If you had that you might stay longer, and that is not the goal.)

#6) Arrive at the campsite at dinner time. (That way you will hustle more when you set up camp, and be extra hungry for dinner.)

#7) Do not bring water. And...

#8) Bring lots of sugary drinks. (This is very important for getting the most out of tip #4. Sugar is said to move the that will help you keep your camping trip short.)

#9) Go when the weather is nice and warm. (Or slightly hot. It will help motivate you when it's time to pack up.)

#10) Choose a campsite that is less than an hour from home. (By far my best tip.)

SO--even though I followed all my own tips, we still had a great time--that is, after I made an emergency run for bug spray.

Peter, Zack, and I stayed in the tent most of the evening while the guys made dinner.


The big kids were totally entertained by the many grasshoppers they found. They took tons of pictures of them.


There's at least 4 in this picture. I think they had rounded up 7 or so by the end of dinner?


Still was doing some bug swatting even with the spray...


We had a good night...truly amazing with such a tent-full of kids. Here's a good-morning picture.



This is my favorite picture of all...Tim using Grandpa's cookware. A million thanks, Grandpa, for setting us up. Tim is my dream husband--cooking breakfast over the campfire. And good-looking to boot.


They weren't sour dough pancakes, but they were Gluten Free and tasty.



Peter obliged us by sleeping through breakfast. (that's a picture of him sleeping in his cradle in the tent.)


The kids had a good time with their hatchets out in the woods. (I know...scary. But with 5 boys, what am I going to do?) We may have come home with poison ivy...the jury's still out on that.


Tim took the boys to swim in the fresh spring--68 degrees year round! Brrrr... Peter and I stayed home and napped.




It was a great first trip with 5 kids for us. I think if we wait another month we'll have a good shot at a really pleasant time. Really made me miss you, Mom and Dad, and Grandma and Grandpa. Thanks for all the precious memories of camping growing up.

Zack's Birthday

Zack is 3 years old today! He has been waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting....for his birthday. ALL YEAR LONG. His birthday is LAST, according to him. I can't count how many birthdays we have celebrated--sang the birthday song and blown out candles--since he started looking for his birthday. But it is finally here, and he had a great day!

Last night we celebrated at Sharon's house. He had a good time getting ready: he helped make his cake, and also helped make a humongous pan of red jello.


Most of the sprinkles wound up Right Here.


We took the cake to Sharon's and put on the candles. I think candles are the main attraction about birthdays for Zack, and this was a Very Important event...the candle arranging.



Everyone helped.


And it turned out great.


Such a sweet picture of Zack and Mary Grace...


If you haven't already, notice the Minion shirt (a favorite) and the cape tied around his neck. He wears it all day, every day. Even to the store.


He actually blew the candles out before we started to sing, and we had to relight them. He was so eager :)


Today we had Gluten Free donut holes for breakfast, and then Zack went out for the morning with Sharon. When he got home he opened presents. He got lots of fun toys.


He got his first lego set...


...and had no lack of helpers to get it built.


The boys did a really good job of letting Zack do the work "by Self". He was pretty pleased.


We watched his new Super Friends dvd...


He's super into super heroes. The Superman on the right is the new one. He sat and just gazed at them for awhile.


He requested corn dogs for dinner, and Tim made some awesome jello stars that were Super Hero worthy.


Zack was singing about the jello stars. They were so pretty and tasty.


He had such a great day. If you ask him how old he is, he'll tell you he's three. But then he'll tell you he's actually five. :)