Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ben is THREE!

Dear Ben,
Wow, you are THREE! In the months leading up to your birthday I couldn't wrap my head around the idea. But when the big day came, it totally seemed right. You are so three. And from the constant chatter and lightning-fast mood swings to picky eating and a what-can-I-climb on/jump off/run to-next attitude, you are our most favorite three-year-old in the world.

This has been a year of enormous changes for you. You switched from a crib to a bed, became a big brother, moved to a new house the next week, stopped full-time school to stay home, changed part-time preschools twice, gave up diapers for the potty, made new friends, and as of your birthday, quit sucking your thumb! That is quite a list. I mean, just typing it gave me a little panic attack! Each one of these events happened after a lot of thought, worry, prayer, anxiety, discussion, etc. And you have floored us again and again by handling each one like the brave, happy, independent and easy-going guy that you are. (must've been the prayer part) I am personally inspired by your ability to accept and embrace change. Except for when it comes to changing the TV channel! "Turn dat mowmershul off!" (you think that anything on TV that isn't a cartoon is a commercial)

Activities and things you love:
helping in the kitchen
riding your bike
watching Diego, Dora, Mickey Mouse, Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train and any (cartoon) movie - especially Toy Story
cuddling with Mommy
wearing costumes
talking about, pretending to be, playing with superheros
tattoos and stickers
running fast
talking to family on the computer (but seeing them in person is way better!)
wrestling with Daddy
doting on Katie Beth
praying at the table: "Dank you Dod, for our food, Aaaamen!"
playing with other, especially older, kids
collecting things
reading books
eating cereal, cake, cookies, almonds, peanuts, yogurt

Activities/things you do not love:
getting your hair brushed
watching Handy Manny
answering a lot of questions, ie: "Don't talk to me, Mommy. Just drive." (To which I told you that wasn't a nice thing to say to Mommy. So you corrected yourself: "Just drive please.")
having to sit at the table until you at least try everything on your plate
praying at bedtime
getting left out
learning your alphabet
wearing a coat
Katie Beth pulling your hair and poking your eyeballs
washing your hair

It's so hard to remember all the things you do and say that make us smile. A few months ago, I wrote down a few:
  • A sentence that hurts this grammar girl's heart: "My see him car!"
  • When I find you sulking in your room after being reprimanded. "My sad, Mommy."
  • "Maaaammmyyy, I ready to get uh-up!" Sung to me each morning and after nap, in increasing decibels until I walk into your room. Then followed by, "It daytibe! It not yate anymore!"
  • Randomly one time, "My think you're so handsome Mommy."
  • Told me to get out of the bathroom during a recent bath. I told you that wasn't a nice thing to say to Mommy. So you said, in your sweetest voice, "Get out of here, feese, ma'am?"
  • Say "Fenfess" or "Pincess" for our last name
  • When I comb your hair to the side, you push it straight down to the front and say "no, yike dis. I need to yook yike Ben!"

You are so funny - sometimes on purpose, but a lot of times not. And you truly are talking up a storm at most hours of the day. And usually we're able to get the general gist of what you're saying! It helps to have context in mind and to be listening in person - phone conversations are not very successful. Although you love to call people! But there are lots of letters that are still getting reversed or replaced, which can lead to some misunderstandings. For example: "corn" is pronounced with a "p" instead of "c". Sooo, one day you'll be able to imagine how hard it is to not laugh when you tell us how much you like corn, want more of it, or don't like it anymore. Then there was the school art project where you painted an ear of corn and exclaimed when I picked you up that you "made corn!" ...but with a "p" of course. [nervous laughter to other parents]

You continue to be a sensitive boy; as mentioned above, even a small reprimand will sometimes induce a sulking session and time outs and taking away privileges seem to still do the trick. But you are not one to shy away from an all-out tantrum if you deem the situation appropriate. Like, picking you up from school early, making you wear a coat, not letting you eat cake before naptime or other atrocities we inflict on you.

We have certainly seen a fair share of these meltdowns this year, and I say pre-emptive prayers for patience daily...and then multiple times throughout. But thus is the life of a three-year-old, and we will take it! I feel like I'm leaving so much out. Like how smart you are. You have an elephant's memory and the creativity of an...uh...well, obviously more than me! Bottom line for all the stuff left unsaid - You are healthy. You are happy. You are my sweet, smart boy. And we are so thankful. Happy birthday Ben!

I love you,
photography by Michelle McKibben

And for your viewing pleasure, here is a quick slideshow of the birthday festivities, which while very small, were very fun!

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

January Junction

That's the name of the town in one of those oldie Christmas specials, and I always thought they just named it that to give the month of January a little ego boost. The festiveness and excitement of December is a hard act to follow, and the freezing rain, grey skies and new year's resolutions you try to keep just make you wish winter would pack up and move out already (words from my sister in her 70-degree California temps today).

Here in Chattanooga, we've finally thawed out...the snow is gone, my car is parked back in the garage instead of across the street where I'd have to hike down our glazed-over, crazy-steep driveway to get to it, Ben's gone to Mothers' Day Out both days this week, and the grocery stores have milk again!

But despite being housebound last week, we made the most of it. Ben went back out to play, wearing a coat this time, and had to be bribed inside with hot cocoa after almost 20 minutes.

King of his castle
I realize 20 minutes in the snow isn't really that long, but when your snowboots are rainboots, your mittens are soaking and your second layer out of three is your Buzz Lightyear costume, it is!

Snowball ambush on Zoe!

We thought Zoe was a good sport about it, but back inside later, I caught her telling Katie Beth all about it.
KB: "No way, girlfriend. He did wha-at?!"
Zoe: "Yeah, brother just straight up pegged me. And that snowball stung, yo."

(Cabin fever drives a person to do weird things, like make up a slang conversation between your dog and baby.)

We did have a visitor one morning - Austin came to play!
Ben included him in what had become our daily ritual, watching the snow fall while drinking hot cocoa.

Other than those two diversions, the three of us pretty much had a week-long sit in at the house. (As mentioned before, the snow didn't slow Tyler down, and he was able to get lots of office work done when patients cancelled.)

We had to mix things up a bit, so I brought in the wheeled toys.
I think this will have to be on the front of her Sweet 16 party invitation.

I took a picture of Ben taking a picture of Katie Beth on his $3 Cars flip phone that I grabbed in the check-out line as a last-minute stocking stuffer.
And it's one of his favorite of all the presents.

The week definitely allowed for more brother/sister bonding, and it was nice to see them taking an interest in the other's hobbies.

playing trains
(And yes, KB is pulling up! And falling down. Stressful times.)

having tea parties
Our in-house barista serves hot cocoa and tea, but not coffee.
"my no yike foffee"
But he does like playing pretend. 2011 will be the year of the pretend kitchen, mark my words!

And we all played a lot of hockey.
Katie Beth setting up to block the shot - but you should see her on offense!

Listening to a naptime story...
Honestly, the affection they have for each other is something I never imagined but treasure so much. I know I will have to remind them how much they love each other one day, but right now, it's written all over their faces.

Ours too.

Snow, hot cocoa, movies, baking, that I really think about it, all in all, we enjoyed our week of uber-togetherness. And January was a happy place once again.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowed in and bundled up

We woke up on Monday morning to find that the weather predictions had been right - they may have actually been conservative in their forecast of six inches of snow...our ruler in the driveway read EIGHT!

Holy snowfall Batman!
(Guess what his favorite pj's are)

Ben said, "It yooks yike Tismas out dhere!"
"But where's Santa?"

A few pics of our winter wonderland:
birdbath from our front porch

stone retaining wall in backyard - the big lump is Ben's sandbox, and you can see the outline of the steps that go up the yard.

looking down our street.
Anyone else expect to see a horse-drawn carriage coming through?

Ben refused to wear his coat. For a while I towed a hard line about it, and there were tears and I thought he might miss playing in the biggest snow he's ever seen (including his trips to Canada). Finally we compromised and he got to go outside for a few minutes without it, but did not get to have hot cocoa when he came in...although I did end up offering warm apple cider because he was really cold!

But for those few minutes, he had a blast scooping up the snow, chasing Zoe around and helping Daddy scrape off his car.
Because, if you're Tyler, a winter storm that shuts down the whole city is just a personal invitation to put the four-wheel drive to good use!

Later that morning, we enjoyed the snow in a different way - by making ice cream! I found a quick and easy recipe here, and it actually was very yummy!
Katie Beth missed all the action while she took a nap, but it was much needed as she's been dealing with teething and a fever virus all weekend.
sweet snowflake

so the Christmas posts are coming as a few of those issues are resolved. Got to love the ol' shut-the-computer-down-and-restart technique to make things happen!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Technical difficulties

They are abounding lately and preventing me from uploading bazillions of pictures from our Christmas adventures. That may not bother anyone but me, but the more time that goes by, the more my "mommy brain" forgets, and I so want to document all the little things that made our holidays memorable this year. Here's the holdup:

First, all my Nashville pictures are on my mom's camera. In Nashville. The few I do have that I've loaded to iPhoto are not showing up in my Mac folders when I try to post them to Blogger or Facebook. I've "searched for updates" in iPhoto, shut it down and luck. Anyone had this happen and know the solution?

Second, as I, I mean Katie Beth, mentioned previously, we have a crawler on our hands now. "Technical difficulties" seems a fitting phrase. It's technically difficult for my eyes to be on anything else than this busy little body that would like to haphazardly explore the brick fireplace or french-kiss Zoe's tennis ball. What about naptime, you ask? That brings me to...

Thirdly, with all this newfound mobility, and teething I suspect, my usually good and routine sleeper has little time or patience for naps longer than 40 minutes or so. Just enough time for Mommy to shower, give Ben some QT or start thinking of being productive...then she is ready to roll. literally.

Oh and then there is all the stuff I'm supposed to be doing for the practice. That baby has been sorely neglected (by me, not Tyler - he's working so hard) for the last couple of months, and with exciting things like new contests and office renovations to announce, I'm trying to dedicate more time to that little thing that's paying the bills!

But...mostly, it's the first thing. So any advice is greatly appreciated! I do have pictures from Amanda to share, but then the difficulty mainly lies in my second and third points. Here are a couple, just so this post has more of a point than me making excuses!

KB meeting cousins Elena and Kalyssa for the first many cousins, only one baby to hold!

The boys
Ben might just idolize Caleb and Luke, and they couldn't be more patient or inclusive with him. Three pretty cool of whom was perfectly happy in his borrowed pink snowboots, thank you.