Monday, January 31, 2011

Conversations With Peter

Being the fourth of eight children, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert on middle children. Because of this, I've been extra sensitive to my little Peter these days. At breakfast, Benjamin will usually start reading the cereal box labels, expertly pointing out how many "G's" of sugar, fat, fiber and protein each one has. Peter, who idolizes his big brother, has started mimicking him, "reading" the labels and making up numbers, like "Sugar: three G. Fat: zero G!" We laugh, and he smiles, knowing that he's the funny one. Nora is babbling a lot these days, and so without thinking, I often babble back. Peter has picked up on the attention she seems to get for her nonsensical verbiage, and will revert to a babyish "Ga, ga!" when we ask him to repeat a verse of scripture at night. He still uses a pacifier, and although I know I should probably limit its' use to bedtime only, I haven't had the heart. It's not easy being a middle child at the ripe old age of two. 

During meals, he'll often make a silly face, then laugh and say "My funny!" which of course means, "I'm funny!" And he is, but he has also been at  a very trying stage, which is why I have been putting off writing this post for weeks. Potty training has come to a halt, mostly because I'm lazy. It's hard trying to figure it out all over again! With Benjamin, it was all about being a "big boy," and you could incentivize him with sticker charts and prizes. With Peter...well, the sticker chart is still empty, and those light-up Buzz Lightyear shoes that he so desperately wants to earn are still at the store. It's a whole new ballgame, and I'm totally unfamiliar with the rules. 

Bedtime and nap times have also gotten increasingly more difficult. He and Benjamin have been sharing a room for a while now, but we're hitting a new dynamic as Benjamin desperately wants to sleep, and Peter does everything he can to bug his brother and keep the action going. Screaming, knocking over furniture, ripping things off the wall, jumping in Benjamin's name it. But there are also many times when he melts my heart with his sweetness. So I thought I'd capture a little of his personality in a questionnaire.  

What’s your name? Peter.
How old are you? One. (holds up three fingers.) No, two. 
Are you handsome? No, cool! 

What color is your hair? Darth Maul.
What’s your favorite color? Red.
What’s your favorite Animal? Giraffe. I like giraffes- we talk!
Do you like elephants? No! They’re scary elephants! I don’t talk to elephants.
What’s your favorite thing to eat? Soup. (we’re currently eating chili) Beef.
What’s your favorite thing to drink? Water.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside? Leaves! My play with them! 
Where is your favorite place to go? Zoo.
Are you scared of the dinosaur at the Science Center? Yeah, nope. It’s not.
What is your favorite book? Robot Zot. We talk to Robot Zot!
What is your favorite movie? Teletubbies.
What is your favorite Teletubby? Red one. Po!
What is your favorite letter? Q.
What is your favorite song? I am a Child of God.
What is your favorite thing to wear? Clothes and pants. 
Do you like clean clothes? Yeah! Nice a’ cozy!
Who’s your friend? Mommy! I like Alex. I like Mason. He’s a GOOD friend!
What do you want to be when you grown up? Pumpkin Eater! 
What is your favorite toy? Batman Legos (He lusts after this certain Trio set at Target)

What's your favorite car? Dark. Black.

What is your favorite truck? Purple one. Mine like dump trucks!

What are your favorite shoes? Buzz Lightyear. (the shoes he wants to earn by going potty)
Are you learning how to go potty? (unenthusiastic nod)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

PIckles and a Project

"Pickles was a young cat. 
His paws were big. 
And he wished to do big things 
with them."
from "The Fire Cat" by Esther Averill.
I think Benjamin was probably less then a year old when Grandma gave him this book. She wrote in it that he was a lot like Pickles, who wanted to do big things. It still very aptly describes him. We've been talking with him a little about kindergarten next year. We asked him what he thought kindergarten should be like, and he told us that he wants it to be "challenging." No pressure, Mom! So I've been looking at magnet schools, charter schools, half-day, whole-day, Montessori as "homeschool," and even a few private schools as options.  I have no idea what we'll end up doing. I have no real problem going the pubic-school route- that's what I did as a kid. But it has made me stop and think a little about things...if he's so serious about his education, perhaps I should be too. Even if it is just kindergarten.

In non-kid-related news, look what I found! Isn't it gorgeous? Just kidding...but for $25, I thought it would be perfect to rip apart. I intend to learn how to reupholster furniture this year, and this is going to be my guinea pig.
And I even happened to have 5 yards (the perfect amount) of green ticking stripe Pottery Barn fabric that I bought off eBay over a year ago. My upholstery book should be coming in the mail tomorrow. I'm crazy scared and excited about this project. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Half a Year Old!

It's hard to believe that just six months ago, this smily, giggly, bright-eyed little girl was just a tiny 7 lb. 5  oz. infant. Now she's 16 lb. 1 oz. (49%), 25.75 in. long (44%), and brimming with personality.

Nora's Six Month Progression Shot
We've sort of started solid foods, although she generally just gives us the stink face when we attempt to spoon mush into her mouth. I'm pretty sure she knows what she's missing out on, and is insulted by baby food.
Newborn Nora

On New Years Eve, it was especially warm (we had a tornado skim just south of us) so we went to the park. I thought she would love the swing, but her expressions just fluctuated from concerned to indifferent as it went up and down. I just assumed she would love it as much as the boys, who could have both swung for hours as babies if I let them (Peter still can). 

One of Nora's favorite things to do these days, besides being held and wiggling out of our arms, is to bounce in her Johnny Jump-Up. I don't remember either of my boys enjoying this as much as she does. It's really cute. 
Nora checking herself out on the computer screen. 
Nora is also really into babies, which is very different from my boys. She loves her own reflection, and goes crazy when she sees a baby doll. I was playing around with Photo Booth on my iMac the other day, and caught this one of her looking at her own image.

 Of course Benjamin and Peter thought it was pretty hilarious too. Quality indoor entertainment!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tuscaloosa and Chattanooga

I've always loved dreaming about new places to live. Even as a kid, I wondered why we stayed in the same house and never moved. On our first date, I remember really connecting with Paul when we discussed our dreams to live internationally and do humanitarian aid work somewhere. Somehow, six and a half years after that chat, I have my doubts as to whether that will ever happen.
I like where we live, don't get me wrong, but I still get those urges to pick up and go somewhere and just start fresh. And seriously, it's been almost four years since I've even seen an ocean...but who's counting?
So last night, Paul and I were checking out this quiz that finds the ideal spots in the U.S. where you'd be the happiest. It asks all sorts of questions from climate preferences to ideology and hobbies. Paul and I took our quizzes separately, just to be sure we were answering truthfully, and interestingly enough, 9 out of the 24 spots it listed for each of us were the same. In no particular order, the nine in common were:

St. George, UT
Tacoma, WA
Olympia, WA
Kent, WA
Bellingham, WA
Billings, MT
Seattle, WA
Provo-Orem, UT
Ft. Collins, CO

See any interesting trends? I have this suspicion that neither one of us are cut out to be mid-westerners. The rest of Paul's were mostly in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain states, but the rest of mine...
...were all in the Southern States, and I mean the DEEP South. Deep as in Biloxi, Mississippi and Savannah Georgia. Weird. It must have been me itching to get out of this cold, cold winter that landed me there. :) Maybe I should start faking a Southern accent. 

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Beautiful Things

Today, like most free day-Tuesdays, we visited the Butterfly House. I was secretly hoping they would still have the cute felt butterfly ornaments in their gift shop that I spotted last month, but didn't really expect they would. I was too cheap to justify buying one last month, but oh happy day, they had a few left- and at 75% off! So I grabbed three. Seriously, how cute are these? 
But as cute as those are, I happen to think my baby is definitely cuter. I was surprised the other day while I was out, when someone actually asked if she was a girl because she was "too beautiful to be a boy." The reason this was odd is that she was wearing Peter's BLUE fuzzy suit that he wore when he was a baby. Yeah, all girl, this one!
And I have no shame putting her in silly frilly bonnets these days (on the off chance that she's not wearing a fuzzy blue suit). 
I had the hardest time getting any decent pictures in the Butterfly House today- it was really, really humid in there. It felt so nice!  
 And this picture was taken shortly after Peter fell into the pond that is in the center of the butterfly atrium, completely soaking the right side of his pants. Funny how the laundry room that was completely cleaned out yesterday is now full of muddy coats and mittens and wet pants. Oh, well! I wouldn't trade my messy, boisterous little boys for anything- even cute butterflies and bonnets!