Sunday, November 30, 2008

Slides and a snowman

This was a week of slides. New slides. BIG slides. Starting with the slide at the indoor playground in a nearby church and continuing on to the Children's Museum where Fintan and I conquered every slide in the place. Often, on the biggest slides, Fintan made terrified whimpering sounds the whole way down. Then the first word out of his mouth at the bottom was always: "Again"! We couldn't stop laughing.

At the children's museum, we caught one of the sliding experiences on tape. Here I avoid taking out one toddler only to take out my own:

video

And today was another day of fun. We woke up to the first snowfall of the year and while Coen took a little nap, the rest of us built a snowman with sticky, perfect snowman snow:

video

Then, this afternoon Pat took Fintan to see "Bolt", the first movie he's been to since he was a tiny baby. Here he was back then, seeing "Flicka" right before Halloween 2006:

Fintan's first halloween 087

I wish Pat had taken the camera today. Fintan sat in his own seat (part of the time) and held his own popcorn container between his legs. Pat said his hand could hardly make the journey from the container to his mouth he was so enthralled by the big screen. And the first word out of his mouth when the credits rolled?

You guessed it:

"Again!"

Hopefully we will have another week like this "Again!" soon.

(Poor little Coen wasn't feeling his best this week due to a persistent cough and very little sleep, so we will feature him in his own special blog post soon, when he's *hopefully* feeling all better. Here's what he has to say about that:)

And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, let me give thanks for my family, my friends and my life as a whole. I'm a lucky gal.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A conversation

I was telling Pat about an old lady who lived across the street from my family when I was a little girl. She had a lamp with a bowl attached that was always filled with candy and she made little stockings full of treats to give to us when we came to sing Christmas carols for her. Her name was Bee.

"She was ninety-two and her husband was ninety-one," I said.

"Wow, that's cool."

"Isn't it? I hope that's us someday. Except you'll be a hundred."

"Yeah. But I won't look a day over ninety."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cheap date

Fintan gives me the same answer every time I ask him what he would like Santa Claus to bring him for Christmas this year:

A candy cane!

I think Santa can totally do that.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Things to remember....things I will miss.

Playing "spot the Coen" with Fintan when I carry him down the stairs in the morning or after naptime.

Holding Coen's warm, squishy body close and breathing him in (after which he might lean over and begin sucking noisily on my cheek).

Bossy Coen. Not sad Coen, I hate it when he's really sad, but bossy Coen cracks me up. I love when he fake coughs to get his point across and when he bellows. Oh! I could bottle his bellows.

Two little fuzzy, round boy heads side by side, snuggled close when Fintan loves on his brother. Neither of my boys have a full head of hair yet and it just makes me choke up to think it won't always be so.

Coen's gummy smile. I miss Fintan's already.

Fintan singing. Any song. I wish he would do it for the camera. I will miss that little voice so much. I believe there will be pining in the future for just one song in his toddler voice.

Both boys' sturdy little bodies. Round and firm in Fintan's case, rolly and squishy in Coen's, but strong and proud in both.

How I will miss these teeny tiny men when they grow up.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A momentous day for Coen

Coen has discovered that he has nethers! Actually he found both his wee wee and his left foot today. His right foot is yet to be discovered, but you can only cover so much territory with teeny tiny hands.

Way to go little man!

Now where are my 10,000 men?

This morning Fintan put on his bicycle helmet and announced, "I'm the Grand Old Duke of York".

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

From a tree

Tonight while both boys were having a bath and I was shampooing Coen's hair, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that Fintan was holding something small and brown in one hand. Afraid of what it might be I immediately stopped soaping and turned toward him to have a closer look.

Me: Fintan what is that?
Fintan: It's a hickory dickory nut.
Me: (Taking it and seeing that it is, indeed, a hickory nut hull) Well where did that come from?
Fintan: From a tree.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Star phone

Tonight while changing Fintan's diaper in preparation for bedtime he grabbed a large silver star that Pat brought home from work and held it up to his ear.

Fintan: "I hear something."
Me: "What do you hear?"
Fintan: "Santa Claus!"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New blog

Well, I'm so bloggy now that I went ahead and started a new one. I wanted a place to store odds and ends: activities, recipes, tips, tricks, and flops. Most of it is going to be fairly obvious to everyone but me. That's why I needed to have a more concrete place to store the stuff than the seive I call my brain. If you'd like to check it out, here it is.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Magic

After Fintan finished his dinner tonight I left him strapped in his booster seat and ran upstairs to quickly get things ready for bath time (lay out the towels, get the baby bath in the tub, grab pajamas for both boys and start the water warming). When I came back down just minutes later to get them both I noticed that Fintan had somehow managed to move himself, his booster and the chair it's attached to two feet to the right and turn it sideways.

I asked "How did you do that?!"

His answer: "Magic."

I looked at Coen next, but he wasn't telling. Boys.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Keep praying

Just wanted to share with those offering prayers: Dante started his treatment today! So that's good news. The bad news is that a doctor who is a bigwig in the Neuroblastoma world basically told his mom that Dante isn't the ideal candidate for the therapy and gave her a hard time about doing it. He made her feel like it would be unsuccessful and possibly painful. But her only other alternative is to take her baby home and stop fighting.... :(

"Trooper" Dante, is very strong and his own doctor, (who has a heart and) who knows him best, still recommends the therapy for him.


So they're going forward with it and right now Dante could use your prayers more than ever. If any of you are churchgoers and could pass the word on to your congregations for prayers I would be very grateful.

Potato head

Fintan has a hand-me-down Mr. Potato Head that has been sitting in a closet awaiting a time when we needed a distraction. Today we definitely needed one. I dumped out all of the pieces and let him go to work on his own. Right away he gathered up all of the arms he could find and started sticking them in random holes. I had to fight the urge to show him how to do it "properly" and just let him do what he liked, after all it was "distraction time" not "learning time". But after he had the head studded with a variety of arms he held it up to show it to me and said: "It's the itsy bitsy spider potato head". Ha! I guess it WAS learning time. For Mommy anyway.

I just adore that boy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just saying

Fintan is sick again. :( I'm grateful. I'm grateful. I'm grateful that he just has a cold. And diarrhea. I really am. But darn it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A plea for prayers

I have mentioned to some of you that there is a little boy that's Fintan's age who has been fighting Neuroblastoma for about a year now. His name is Dante. He is such a special kid. A funny kid. A kid that is so loved by his parents and by so many of us. For a while there it looked liked he'd beaten the cancer, he is so strong. But now it's back and it's everywhere. One of the bones in his back just broke because of it. His left eye is swollen shut because of a tumor behind it. But the kid just keeps smiling. Right now Dante has one last chance for treatment, it's called MiBG therapy. But his lungs aren't working properly and his doctors aren't sure if it is pneumonia or the cancer that is causing the problem. If his lungs grow any worse in the next four days then they can't treat him at all. They will be out of options.

He's barely two years old, Mamas. :(

Please pray for him. Even if you don't ever pray, please, please pray for him.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

This video makes me laugh

It's better without sound. Be patient.

video

Are you superstitious?

Do you believe in Fate? Karma? Jinxes? Bad luck? I've almost got Pat convinced that all those things are real. How else do you explain it when you make a comment like: "Wow, Coen went down so easily tonight! He hasn't woken up once!" And before you can even draw your breath from speaking those words you hear "WAAAAAH!"?

Or how do you explain the fact that if I rave about how wonderful life is I know I'd better pull out an umbrella real quick because, darn tootin', the sh#% is just about to hit the fan...or the rug...or the roller coaster.

As I said in my previous post, Fintan's antibiotic has really wreaked havoc with his bowels. Well, this morning, while I was getting our stuff together to go to the Indianapolis Museum of Art with the boys, I guess he had an explosion up his back. Fintan reached around and, of course, found it. I was actually in the kitchen right about then with these thoughts running through my mind: "Wow, this "no show" thing is really working out well! I mean, not a peep out of him. He's playing so well by himself and hasn't even ASKED to watch one. All it took was a little creativity on my part... (yes, THAT thought is, I believe, the thought that thwapped Fate upside the head and made her decide to put this smug little Mama in her place)...and a little preparation and blah blah blah. Well, it turned out that his fun had nothing to do with MY creativity and everything to do with HIS. He took what he found on his back and decorated the house with it. There were dollops on the wood floor, smears on the roller coaster, skid marks on the rug, fingerprints on his pants... and, oh, what a surprise when mommy was ready to go!

Yes, I do believe in jinxes, bad luck, karma and most of all, I believe in my dear friend Fate. Oh, yes, and the Universe too. I did call the Universe's attention to myself in my last post, after all. But I hearby absolve you of any wrongdoing, oh Universe. Please forget I exist now, okay? And I mean that in a GOOD way, please.



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My two at the zoo

The boys and I went to the zoo this afternoon. This gorgeous weather has been such a gift! That gift and Coen's recent pacifier acceptance are what made this post possible. :)

First we stopped to pet the sharks, but they weren't in the mood to be petted so we just made some ripples. (I can't believe Fintan can reach the water all by himself now!):


Then we saw a walrus do several tricks and get rewarded with fish. That was a highlight.


Later we saw a curly horned thingamabob up close for the first time:


And then we saw elephants. (Well, I saw elephants more than they did, because I had to turn them away from the elephants in order to take their picture).


Fintan was thrilled to be at the zoo and Coen was just a happy little guy the whole time. Not even a peep out of him, even though he was long overdue for a nap. Then, this happened:

And I had one of those feelings, like, "I can do this. I can be a mom of two!"

It was another perfect day from start to finish. And, I'm thrilled to add, not one single show was shown in our house today.

All that silver lining had me just waiting for the cloud to appear. (I know, I'm SUCH a pessimist) Well, appear it did on the way home. Fintan's antibiotic for his ear infection has...let's say...loosened things up in his nethers. And those things came out in the car on the way home. No diaper could contain them. His new carseat is soiled. His pants have seen much better days. But with all those yards of silver lining just waiting around that cloud was eclipsed before it ever appeared. THANK YOU UNIVERSE!!!

The evidence

He did it!

Today Fintan was eating lunch and Coen was on the floor in front of him doing tummy time. I was fixing my own lunch and Fintan said "I want Coen to do tummy time".

I said "he is doing tummy time, sweetie."

Fintan said, "I want Coen to do tummy time right now!"

I said "Did he roll over?"

And Fintan said "yes!"

So I came running over, and he HAD, so we had a celebration. He's now done it several times both ways! :)

I think his lucky socks made the difference:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Operation No Show

I don't know how many times a day I hear the phrase "I want to watch a show, Mommy!", but it's a LOT! Since Coen was born, shows have been distraction numero uno at our house and Fintan has watched WAY too many of them. Hours a day is not an overstatement. I've been too brain-fried to think of other activities to occupy the time that I spend nursing Coen and bouncing Coen and trying to put Coen down for naps and so I've turned on shows to limit the scream fests that result from less mommy time. But not today! I'm implementing "Operation No Show" at my house.

Last night before bed I looked through two books "The Toddler Busy Book" and "Baby Play" and took notes to get ideas for easy things to distract Fintan in a good way and interact more with Coen. A lot of the ideas in the toddler book were simple things I'd always planned to do or had done before but not for a long time. It was great reminder of how easy fun can be. The baby book, I was happy to see, just reinforced a lot of the things I was already doing with Coen (singing, nursery rhymes, dancing with him, etc.) so that made me feel good, too. But I want to do more of it!

So, first thing this morning I took the two orange chairs we have in our great room and set them back to back a few feet from each other and draped a sheet over them. Fintan immediately came running to see what was up. It was so adorable. He crawled right in and started playing. Then a few minutes later he reached out and dragged one of his baskets of books under there with him and began to "read" to himself. He played there until we were all ready to head out to the park this morning and then when we got home he played in there while I made his lunch (something that lately has required a show every time). When he finished his lunch and Coen needed attention I found Fintan a few of his "tools" and told him that his secret club house looked like it needed a bit of work. That occupied him until I could put Coen down and read Fintan his naptime books.

Later we went outside to play for a few hours and when we came back in to make dinner he "worked" on his clubhouse some more! The appeal lasted all day. The few times it waned I tried another trick that was a variation on one I read in the toddler book. The author talked about having "busy boxes" with special things inside. I didn't have one of those, but I had a small, empty plastic spice container that I'd saved, thinking that Fintan might like to add it to his play kitchen items.


Well, when he started whining to me about shows I said that I had a special treat for him. I put one of his candy kisses from his Halloween bucket into the spice container and put the lid back on. Then I gave it to Fintan and told him to take it into his secret clubhouse to open it. He did that and then ate the treat while reading one of his books. It worked way better than just handing him a treat would have. I did that twice today and both times he ate the treat and then continued playing.

So a bedsheet and two pieces of Halloween candy got us through the day! Fintan watched only one 15 minute show all day. I consider that a success!

I do want to add that I don't think that letting kids watch tv is a sign of bad parenting. But I think that I was coming to rely on it too much and I wanted to nip the habit in the bud before it became too ingrained. The only reason I'm calling it "Operation No Show" is that I have a thing for rhyme and "Operation fewer shows" doesn't scan well. :) I know with the cooler weather arriving and not being able to go outside as much, we may have to pull out the "shows" more often, but I want to have a good list of fun activities on hand to try to keep it under control.

As for tomorrow, I think I'll try a new configuration of the clubhouse and see if that will renew the fun for another few hours. I also have a few other tricks up my sleeve.

I know that some of my friends who read this blog have new babies as well or second babies on the way, so maybe these ideas will help you ladies avoid the "too many shows trap", too! So I'll continue to post ideas as I try them and let you know how they go. Please share any fun, easy toddler activities that you've tried as well!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The most wonderful weekend

What a weekend! The weather was perfect, the kids were happy, we spent time with dear friends and all of us were in bed by 8:15 last night. Ahhhh! So we're all feeling refreshed after the sickness and grumpyness of last week.

I thought Halloween was going to be a bust this year. We were sad to miss a Halloween party on Thursday afternoon and another with our friends on Friday morning when we headed to the doctor's office (or as Fintan would say: doctors "offtist") instead. The doctor recommended no close contact with other toddlers (so no trick or treating with Zayden and Ivy) but said he didn't think us going trick-or-treating and being outside as a family would be a problem. And thank goodness because I can't remember ever experiencing a more lovely Halloween in my life.

Fintan had a blast. He would march right up to the doors to knock....


say "trick or treat" and then walk right inside when people opened their doors.


He'd even bypass the candy bowl. But then he tried candy corn for the first time...


When Daddy managed....
to open the package.
Ahhhh.....
a taste....
Yum!
Then he'd skip to the next house with a mouthful of candycorn. What could be better?


Coen spent most of the evening like this:


But then he woke up:
and then he REALLY woke up:


But by then we were almost back to the car. Next year will be YOUR year, Coen.

Saturday morning we went to breakfast (or. as Fintan would say, "breftast") with Alex, Jen and their daughter Sadie, and Ben and Jenny. The boys were SO good. Fintan just tucked into his meal (and mine...and Pat's too) after a long week with no appetite and Coen slept almost the entire time. It was the most pleasant breakfast we've had in months. Then we went to the park to play. Of course, we forgot the camera that morning.

Sunday afternoon our good friends Terry and Laura and their kids, Madison and Jacob--two of our favorite kids in the world, came to visit from Southern Indiana. Madison, who used to call Pat "your boy, Pat" to her daddy, is now almost as tall as I am! She and I just finished reading the same book series (Twilight) and had fun comparing notes on that. And Jacob, who used to do flips on his daddy's legs when he was Fintan's age (what feels like three weeks ago) is now a giant hockey player and a real sweetheart who played with Fintan the whole time they were here.

I only took a few pictures of the fun because my camera battery died, but this one was my favorite. They were decorating some pumpkin muffins I made (thanks for the recipe, Emily!) with orange drizzle and Fintan was "helping". We told them all to smile for the camera and this was what we got:



Let's get a little closer. Here's Jacob:
Here's Madison:


And here's Fintan:
A few minutes later he leaned over and without even picking it up, took a giant bite off of another muffin on Madison's plate. That's my boy!