Tuesday, March 29, 2011

happy birthday levi!

Levi then

Levi now
Levi is 1!!!!

The last year has gone by so quickly, and though I loved cuddling with little, tiny newborn Levi, I am very excited to have almost-toddler Levi storming around the house and making us laugh at every turn.

The day before, Levi had his 1 year check-up. He's 21 lbs 9 oz which is 25-50th %ile for weight and 28-30 in tall (...I forget...) which is about 75 %ile for height, and he certainly looks long and lean right now compared with a few months ago. After the doctor, we brought cupcakes- which Anna also helped me make- to our playgroup.

Anna made this card for Levi. It says, "Happy Birthday Levi" and she wrote many of the letters all by herself, and the others I held her hand while we made them

Anna drew the picture on the front. It's a pink spiral birthday cake with yellow candles and red sprinkles. There's also a little balloon just left of center.

We kept things relatively simple (aside from way too much baking for one day) for Levi's actual birthday. I hung up our "happy birthday" banner and Anna helped me wrap up Levi's presents. Grandma Ruth sent some adorable clothes and PJs and fun helicopter (which is teaching us how to take turns...) and then I bought a few kinds of puffs. It looked like quite the pile and Anna was very excited to have a party.

Birthday morning

Birthday afternoon

Birthday evening

The beloved helicopter

Our cake was the cake from this recipe with Ina Garten's soul-healing peanut butter frosting. It's definitely ranks in the top 10 cakes I've ever eaten. I gush over every piece, and I'm not even really a cake person!

Once Sam came home, we ate dinner, sang, and opened some presents. Anna got some PJ's too and loves them. They're her new running clothes, which, if you've read the last few posts, you know is quite a big deal. Levi loved his cake, though he was much more tidy with than Anna was on her first birthday. Still, we can't eat the left overs in front of him without him yelling and reaching for it.

Levi loved his froggy card

Levi has always been and continues to be a very happy boy. He loves to play with toys and take things out of their containers. He laughs all the time, especially at his sister. He plays pat-a-cake, and peek-a-boo all by himself now. He'll pull absolutely anything over his eyes and then pull it away to hear us say, "Where's Levi? Peek-a-boo!" He's a speedy crawler, but can't stop squealing with delight when we pull out the walker. He loves to chase after Anna, cars, balls, and Mommy. He loves to clap and give high-fives. Levi loves tickles and cuddles and gets lots of both. But the thing Levi is known for at church, playgroup, and what people comment on wherever we go is how happy and easy-going he is. He is a wonderful, peaceful boy to have around and I can't wait to see him learn and grow during this next year.

Happy Birthday Levi! We love you!

Friday, March 25, 2011

why it takes so long to do anything with kids

After Anna's friends leave our house after Joy School, I say, "Let's eat lunch and then make Levi's birthday cake." It's 11:30. I pick up Levi to put him in the high chair and notice a stink. I change his diaper while Anna jumps on the mattress on the floor. We head back to the kitchen. 11:40. Anna helps make her lunch by getting handfuls of crackers and raisins while I cut some circles and squares of cheese. Levi is protesting by this point, so I give him a handful of cheerios and when I turn around, Anna is using the knife to cut her cheese bits in half.

Anna takes her lunch to her seat while I microwave some peas and cut up some carrots for something healthy for the kids to eat. Levi has finished the cheerios and I give him a drink of milk. The peas finish and I give half to each kid. I put the carrots in the microwave. I open a cup of yogurt to eat something for myself, but Levi has finished his peas and is yelling again. I give him some dried fruit. The carrots finish cooking. I give half to Anna and chop a few more into smaller bites for Levi. 11:55. Anna whispers, "I need to go potty!"

I tell Anna to go and give the carrots to Levi. He tries a few, but keeps spitting them out (they're still too big) and swiping them off his tray. Anna runs back in the kitchen without any pants. "I need the little potty, Mom. I can't use the big potty. I'm too little." So I put the training seat on the big potty, but Anna cries and fights and says she wants the little potty on the floor. She gets her thumb caught under the seat and hurts it. We cuddle till she calms down and can go retrieve the other half of the little potty (which we'd used as a stool during joy school). I get her seated on the little potty and go back to a yelling Levi in the kitchen. 12:10.

I gather all the carrots off his tray and the floor and put them in the food mill, which has a stuck blade that needs to be fiddled with before it will work. I grind up the carrots. Anna runs in with poopy toilet paper in her hands. "I'm wiping from front to back!" Back to the bathroom (with the food mill still in my hand, for some reason) where I wipe off Anna's hands and bum. Anna dumps out the little potty cup, but the wipes got stuck to the bottom and fall on the floor. I clean that up, washed my hands, and tell Anna to do the same, using soap.

I return to the kitchen (12:22) and mix the mashed carrots with some applesauce and begin feeding Levi, while taking a few bites of my now-room-temperature yogurt. I hear a crash in the bathroom. I go in to find the sink filled with water and the toothbrush holder floating in it. I open the sink drain and ask Anna if she has used soap yet. "Nope" I leave her with the soap and return to Levi. I get through about half my yogurt and his food when I hear Anna say, "Dry your hands and turn out the light." SUCCESSS!!!

Anna comes running in and asks, "Can I get my favorite treat please?" One fruit snack and two M&M's somehow became her potty reward (called "my favorite treat." From Signing Time, maybe?), and I'm not ready to give it up yet because this is the first week we've had without accidents and with Anna telling me she needs to go. "Let me give Levi one more bite." Anna waits expectantly in front of the pantry. "They're up there, Mom." I give her the fruit snacks and M&M's and let her pick out which colors she wants. She, amazingly, puts them away on a lower shelf and I wonder if I can trust her to leave them there and get her own treats after potty. We'll see....

I finish feeding Levi and finish my yogurt. I ask Anna if she's done with her lunch. She is and I tell her to let me and Levi eat the rest of it. Levi eats about seven goldfish and a square inch of cheddar while I polish off three raisins, about a dozen carrot bites, and half a cheese stick. Anna puts her milk and Levi's bottle in the fridge for later. I put the dishes in the dishwasher and Anna fills up the soap. I wash both kids' hands and faces. It's 12:45.

Levi has another poopy diaper. Anna asks me to read her a story. Green eggs and ham. We play with blocks. The cake! I nearly forgot. 1:05. An hour before nap time. Plenty of time! I start buttering the pans and tell Anna to get out the sugar. I trace around the pan on some parchment paper and hear a shaking sound. I see Anna with her hand in the nonpareils. "Please take your hand out and put them away." Anna pulls her hand out fast and sprinkles fly all over the kitchen. "Are you going to clean it up, Mom?" I tell Anna that it's her mess and she should help me by holding the dust pan. I try sweeping them, but they just roll all over. I tell Anna we need to use the vacuum and she hides in the laundry closet. I consider making her use the vacuum to clean up her mess, but that would just be cruel. 1:19. I vacuum up most of the sprinkles and open the laundry closet to get in there. Anna sprints to my bedroom and shuts the door. I finish vacuuming and put it away. "Anna, I'm done with the vacuum, lets make the cake!....Anna! Anna? Where are you?" I wander into her room, the bathroom, and remember she's in my room.

I open the door. "Mom, can you wash my hands?" Anna has climbed on a box and squirted my lotion all over her hands and rubbed it all over the top of our very dusty bookcase. I sit on the bed laughing until I scoop Anna up and take her to the sink. I wash her hands and get back to prepping the pans. I ask Anna to get out the kitchen scissors to cut the parchment paper. She gets out the ice cream scoop. I cut the parchment with the other scissors sitting on the counter while Anna sings, "If you're happy and you know it hammer the door!" *BAM* *BAM* I realize we need to move to the next step in the instructions. It's 1:35.

We make the cake with only moderate amounts of flour and cocoa being flung on the walls and counter. Anna cracks the eggs all by herself. I thank her for her help and tell her to play while I finish with the pans. I butter, paper, butter again, and flour each pan. I pour in the batter and stick it in the oven. 2:10 I go to find Anna. She's in my bathroom, standing on the toilet with a bottle of lotion in her hands. A guilty look and quick smile. "Can you put soap on my hands, Mommy?" This time I don't laugh (thankfully she couldn't figure out how to unlock the pump). I take her to her room and we have a talk about how I'm happy to share my things but she needs to ask first. Levi comes in and starts nuzzling us. He smells again. I change his diaper. We jump on the bed a bit longer, take some birthday pictures, and I put the kids down for their naps, only half an hour late.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

winter hike

Last Saturday we took a little hike in the Acton Town Forest behind our apartments. It was a beautiful day and Anna loved jumping off the snow covered boulders and snapping dead twigs. Even Levi finally enjoyed himself on the snow since it was packed down enough to crawl on.

And THANK YOU! Grandma Ruth for the "fuzzy coat." Anna loves it and wears it all the time. She especially loves putting the hood up and putting her hands inside the satin-y pockets and strutting around the house.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

the funk, the haze, a general malaise

Depression? I certainly don't think so. I've been through that before, and this is not that bad. I've just got this general feeling of discontent. Like somethings not quite right and I can't tell what it is. I'm certain spring and getting outside will help assuage this feeling.

In the meantime, I've spent lots of time counting my blessings, trying to stay on the sunny side. When I get in a funk, I have trouble sleeping so I have lots of time to think... (...hazy, sleep-deprived thoughts). My kids are healthy, cute, happy, and love to learn. They love each other. They love me. Sam's working hard and does all he can to help at home. I've got good books and food. I'm healthy. I've got opportunities to grow and stretch and learn that keep my mind and spirit active. When I think of these things I am truly, humbly, so so grateful to God who makes them so.

When pangs of lonliness hit today, I called a dear, dear friend and almost-grandmother to my children. It brought me out of the slump for a few hours. And my various creations keep my hands busy and give me little jolts of accomplishment.

Still, there's always that something pushing its way in, elbowing out my patience and goodwill and inviting in all sorts of doubt and selfishness, pulling me in the wrong directions.

So, I guess this is just to say, I'm trudging, and pulling back, and hopefully I'll find some solid ground soon.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

anna cosby's 30 second shred

I recently bought this workout video for $1 on Amazon. Anna joined me in exercising to it one morning and afterward, we made our own little workout video. Pull on your sweats, get a bottle of water, and enjoy! (Hand weights are optional, though not recommended as you might hurt yourself if you try to mimic the instructor's form...)

P.S. Anna is wearing her "running shoes" that I mentioned here that were given to us in a bag of hand-me-down boy clothes for Levi. She also has to pull up her pants so they make shorts whenever she runs or exercises since shorts are the proper exercise attire.

P.P.S. We are so grateful to have this $50 thrift store couch that our kids can eat on, build forts on, and use as a trampoline. This winter has been brutal and having a little rumpus on the couch has saved us from going crazy many a time.

Friday, March 04, 2011

we love to celebrate love

A little late, but the kids were too cute not to share these pictures. In case you can't tell, I love celebrating Valentine's Day because it's just another excuse to tell the people you love that you love them, and do things that make them feel special. And that always makes for a great day.

Anna's "pink breakfast." There was toast cut into one big heart (with strawberry jam) and two little hearts (with nutella and pink sprinkles), strawberry yogurt, strawberries and blueberries, and some strawberry milk (in a pretty cup, with a lady bug charm-- thanks Susan!)

This was a huge hit. I cannot count the number of times we have had pink breakfasts in the month since Valentine's Day.

I told Anna to show me the Valentine she was holding and this is what I got. She's getting so goofy and makes me laugh all the time. The baggie is filled with Teddy Grahams and has a tag that says "BEAR HUGS! from Anna and Levi." We brought them to play group for all our friends there and then she brought them to Joy School. Thank you Family Fun!

Looking dapper for Valentine's Day!

Anna and I made chocolate covered strawberries for Daddy after she came home from her Joy School party. She was a pro and I stopped hovering and started taking pictures after her first two strawberries turned out perfectly.

I decorated Sam's car with some hearts with messages on them while he was showering, and taped some valentines inside Anna's door for her. Sam had his Harvard interview that afternoon, so we didn't do anything big, but I made this pizza (oh. my. goodness. That is some darn good pizza) for dinner, and we had these smoothies for dessert. Sam brought me flowers that were beautiful and lasted forever.