Friday, February 29, 2008

More puzzling.

Gabe seriously loves the United States puzzle that he got for his birthday (thank you Tantie Jamie!). Tuesday he did the puzzle three times and he's done it at least once a day since then. He has fallen in love with certain states. Washington but not for the reason you think. It has a picture of apples on it and he says "that's where Applebee's is", Applebee's is his favorite restaurant. And Oregon because "that's where Daddy is", yes Daddy has been in Oregon a lot lately. And Arizona "that's where I want to go on vacation next" he says. And for some reason Maine "that's where the beach is". The puzzle piece for Maine has a lighthouse on the sand so naturally, that's where the beach is. Tuesday he also broke out into spontaneous laughter while washing his hands and said "it sure is funny to see all the silly places I haven't been yet". I haven't timed him yet but he can whip this puzzle out in minutes. This one is a 51 piece large floor puzzle. He also got another puzzle for his birthday, a Thomas picture, that is 60 pieces and he's pretty quick at that one too. Where to next I wonder? We've looked at bigger puzzles but the pictures are uninteresting even for us so we keep looking.

Gabe has been tremendously helpful and sweet this last week, even more than normal which I didn't think was possible because he is generally helpful and very sweet. When I ask him if he can do something for me he jumps up and chirps "of course!", he hasn't been arguing at all, he cracks up laughing even more than normal and the other day I gave him a juice box at lunch (a rare treat) and I caught him holding it for Zion to take a drink. Zion herself has been particularly sweet but at the same time she has been practicing some new tantrum techniques and boy is she good! Most of the time she's so over the top that I just have to laugh at her. Of course, everything about Zion is over the top so I wouldn't expect anything less. I caught her playing with the cat tree the other day, soon she will be climbing the darn thing.

I pretty much only have a cough left of my cold and that is good and bad. Good because I am feeling better but bad because I'm still exhausted and can't catch my breath. That means that those symptoms are pregnancy related not cold related and will be with me for a while still. Oh well, it was bound to happen and I actually have felt really good this pregnancy so I can't really complain. One good thing to look forward to is that tomorrow is the start of March. Which means that when people ask when I'm due and I say April they might not tell me how huge I look. They don't need to know that it's the end of April and that I still have around 7 weeks left, almost two months not one. What they don't know won't hurt me.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Gabe's Birthday Party

A picture says a thousand words so I'm not going to write that much about Gabe's party. There is a picture slide show on the right. He had a great time with a few select friends (his best friends according to him, Isaac, Abby and Michael) and family. His favorite gifts were the flashlight, the Bertie and Thomas racing toy and the games. He had a great time blowing out his candles - one at a time, concentrating very hard on each. It was a very special day - and it was sunny and warm! We actually got to open some windows and let the kids play outside for a while. Perfect!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Gabe is four!

I know, I'm technically a day late, Gabe turned four yesterday. Too bad his poor mommy was sick as a dog. So sick that Rob stayed home from work to help out with the kids. We are so lucky he has a job that he can do in part from home. Gabe did get to help me frost the cupcakes we made the night before which he got to take to class. After school he and I took an unexpected nap after which we headed to his favorite restaurant, Applebee's where he got a free meal and a free Sundae. We also let him open a few presents there, we got him Silly Billy (one of the Thomas and Friends trains), a chef's hat and apron for when he helps me in the kitchen (he loves to help with eggs especially), and the Clifford version of Uno. He has been a game freak lately, begging us to play a board game with him many times a day. We play with him a lot but we don't have a lot of age appropriate games for him. Sometimes we just try to modify one of our games to his level. He really likes my version of Showdown Yahtzee.

Today he had his four year well-check. He is just about 40" tall and 35 pounds. A string bean like his Dad. The doctor asked how he was doing on milestones like if he knows numbers. I was like "um, Gabe has known his numbers, letters, shapes, and colors since he was one." I didn't think anything of it at the time but now that I'm around other kids his age more I am realizing that he is a bit ahead of the game. So no problems in that area. At the time we were discussing that Gabe was shimmying up the exam table with his little bare hinney sticking out of his gown and the doctor commented that his physical milestones appear to be on target as well. :)

Saturday is his birthday party and he is excited to have friends over for that. There is one boy from his preschool especially who Gabe wanted to invite and it's so neat to see him so excited about making the invitation personally. I hope to have some pictures to post of his party and I hope that I will be feeling well enough to do it soon.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Joy and silliness!

Two words that describe Zion to a "t' (among others). While Gabe was down and out (really, really down) Zion kept up all our spirits with her usual joy and silliness. I updated the POW (picture of the week) with a photo I got out of shear luck. Zion had just put on Gabe's sweater and could not contain her excitement. She really is a girl, absolutely loves to play dress up. This is now one of my favorite pictures of her, it totally captures her spirit and how she careens through life exuding smiles and happiness. Then there are these.

Zion can be pretty silly at meals. I caught her with her spoon in her mouth like a dog would carry a stick. She also likes to push her high chair back (we don't use the tray but she sits in the chair at the table with us) and then puts her feet up on the table. She sits there with her feet up like an old man in a recliner. Then she can't figure out why she can't reach her food anymore. More silliness.

One of her new favorite sillinesses (I'm sure that's a word) is to lift her shirt and tickle her own belly at random times. No one even need be there, I've seen her do this with no one else around. Sometimes she laughs so hard at herself she doubles over. I've probably contributed to this activity because her belly is one of my favorite things, too. Now we all just need to learn to love our own bodies that much and we'd all be much better off.

While this isn't a silly photo I felt I needed to add it on for the cuteness factor. Brother and sister working side by side, both so serious. Zion has no idea how to play the games on the laptop and in fact the one she was using had dead batteries (they were both birthday gifts for Gabe last year). Shortly after this was taken she shut the top and banged it on the table. When it's working she just likes to push the buttons to make noises.

Well that's pretty much us for the last week. Gabe did not get to go to his first Valentine's Day party or to AWANA's that night. He did seem well enough on Valentine's Day that we kept our schedule (my women's Bible study, Rob and I got to go to lunch and then we all went to church later for a Valentine's Couples Dessert with the kids in the nursery). But since then he's been a little down again and is still maintaining a temperature of about 100, sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more. We're praying for us all to be better for this week since it's his birthday on Wednesday and his party on Saturday. Until later!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Winter of Sickness

That is what this season has become known as and it actually started in the Fall. Last October both Zion and Gabe were sick (I can't even remember if it hit me and Rob) and I remember Zion's cough lasting about a month. I remember because we skipped her one-year vaccines because of it. I think we managed to get through Thanksgiving and Christmas OK but then come January here we are at it again. A month ago Zion got sick quickly followed up by me and Gabe while Rob was in Guam. Everytime I think we are over it the darn thing changes and someone will get sick all over again only with different symptoms. None of us have actually been fully recovered before getting sick it kind of just morphs into something new.

Poor Gabe is the unlucky recipient of the recent morph. Yesterday and today he has been battled a really terrible cough, a runny nose that has left his face raw from kleenex and a fever. He has really been out of it. Last night he woke up crying so many times wanting to know why the cough won't stop or why his nose is still runny or telling me that he's lonely (at least that is easy to fix, just leave Maisy the cat in his room to cuddle with) and it's just so sad.

It's also sad that I had to stay home from a MOPS steering committee meeting today, I REALLY needed to get out of the house. Tomorrow we are going to play Gabe's school and AWANA's meeting by ear. We'll see how he is when he wakes up. But Thursday is Valentine's Day! I have a special event with my women's Bible study that morning and Rob is actually going to be home! He is supposed to get back from Oregon tomorrow night. We have plans for a nice lunch and the couple's Valentine's dessert at our church - kid free. But all of those activities depend on the sketchy health of our kids. So if you read this in time send up a prayer that we'll all be fit as fiddles come Thursday so we can have a bit of fun both as a family and Rob and I as a couple. We really need it for as much time as we've spent apart and/or sick this year.

On a happier note (and I know I keep saying this but it's been little by little) I really think that Zion is all the way back to herself. Not just eking her way back, but actually, honestly back to herself. This means that she is both mischievous and hilarious and sweetly concerned for Gabe, patting his back when he coughs, all at once. She has also started signing "bird" which is adorable and "saying" prayers at mealtimes. Let's hope she doesn't come down with something new!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Gabe is Puzzling

A couple of weeks ago Gabe pulled out one of his puzzles, he loves puzzles, especially ones with trains. The puzzle that he pulled out was a Thomas puzzle and his biggest at 36 pieces (I think). I noticed a little while after he pulled it out that he had picked one corner piece out and was doing the puzzle down one side, then over one, up that row, then one over... I realized that if he was having to give himself new challenges with his old puzzles (not that that's bad) that it was time to get some new puzzles. So we went out last weekend and picked him up a new 60 piece John Deere puzzle at Walmart (heck, only $3.96). At first he said it was hard (compared to the other ones which he's had memorized for a while it probably was a bit) but after a little of reminding of some puzzle making tips he persisted and completed his new puzzle. He's very happy and I need to get some more new puzzles. He was also very excited that some of the tractors had faces. That's his favorite because then he can give them voices and pretend with them. If you are playing with Gabe and try to give a voice to a toy that doesn't have a face prepare to be corrected. According to Gabe only toys with faces can talk. Makes sense I guess.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Conversations with Zion

Last night I was in the kitchen and I heard Zion come up behind me and say "Mama!" so I turned to see her holding a piece to one of Gabe's train set. I ask "what, Honey (or Baby or Sissy or whatever)" and she responds "wha' shish?" (what's this?). I answer "a bridge" to which she says "dah" (thanks) and turns and walks away. I was talking to Rob on the phone (he's still in Oregon) and said "I think I just had my first real conversation with Zion". I mean we babble all the time and she signs and I respond or I'll ask her something and she'll respond but this was an actual back and forth conversation that she initiated. For some reason this interaction stuck out to me. I'm really going to have to pay more attention to what she says. I think I am dismissing a lot for "babble" what is actually meaningful words.

That being said, I need to add "moo" and "hat" to her list of words. She has really enjoyed bringing me "Are You My Mother" and "The Cat In The Hat Comes Back" lately and her favorite parts are when the bird meets the cow (she always points and says "moo") and just about any page of the other because she has become obsessed with hats and the cat is always wearing one.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Zion, Sweet and Wild

Gabe dominated my last post or two so I thought I would concentrate on Zion today. My inspiration came from a very sweet moment with her brother today. Gabe wanted to be on my lap but he just doesn't realize how big he is these days and first he drops a book (corner down of course) right onto the soft top of my foot. Then he gets squirmy and tries to turn around and whacks me in the face so I made him get down for a bit (a pregnant mommy can only take so much abuse before needing a short break). This made him very, very sad and he knelt down and cried. Zion went over and patted his back and leaned over so she could look into his face, earnestly trying to make him feel better. She is such a sweety. The funny thing is that she's just as likely to smack him on the head as soon as he's done weeping as anything else. She is equal amounts of rough and tumble and princess, tomboy and girly girl. One minute she's driving Gabe's trains around tooting "woo woo" and the next minute she's got her purse on her arm and is walking around totally full of herself.

She is still not totally herself. She still has a runny nose and a wicked, rough cough but in between her emotional sick-baby outbursts she is more herself than not. Today after one particularly bad screaming jag (it turns out she wanted her snack and milk on my lap NOT in her highchair - who knew) I turned a Signing Time video on for Gabe. As soon as she heard the theme song she started cracking up laughing and flipping her little hands about to sign the song along with Rachel, the shows' hostess. When she is excited by something she just starts laughing and can't seem to stop. Take for instance bath time. She loves it. Mmmm, no. That's not a strong enough word. Anytime we step in the kids' bathroom she runs for the tub and tries to get in. If we actually start running the water she can hardly stand still while we get her undressed. Then when she is actually placed in the tub with the water she laughs so hysterically she's bent over and she just keeps laughing and laughing. Then the splashing begins. Even better is when Gabe and Zion get to share a bath. Twice the splashing and laughing. The laughter only ends when she sees me get her towel. Tonight as soon as I laid the towel on the mat outside the tub she starting hustling for the far corner of the tub in a futile attempt to escape my reach. Poor sad, wet baby still gets plucked out of the water with her little chubby legs kicking in anger. Little does she know that I actually appreciate her little fit since it helps shake the water off. :) She screams like she just emerged from the womb, all wrapped up in her thick purple hooded towel (a gift from a lady at our church) until my frantic drying starts to tickle and it's over as suddenly as it starts. Then she's all grins again. Yep, sweet and wild. That's my girl.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Gabe's Haircut

I know, I know, it was long overdue. Poor kid. I treat his hair much like my own, waffling between prefering something short and something long (which is actually less of a preference and more laziness in actually getting it cut). But his superfine hair gets so crazy, it always looks uncombed. It gets to be so ratted in the back from sleeping and sitting in his carseat. Nothing I can do makes it look nice. Then again, when he's had short cuts in the past I thought it made him look a little startled. Anyway, I'm making a short story long. Here's the before and after pics (I didn't get a before of the back.)

His hair got tousled a bit before taking the picture, it is actually even in the front and looks better in real life. At least it's under control and he won't get upset when it's time to comb his hair anymore.

On another note, Gabe was very excited for school today. It is his week to bring snack and to be the "special helper" in class. Yesterday we made his favorite snack mix. His favorite because he gets to help me make it, he loves to help in the kitchen. In class he gets to wear a badge saying that he is the special helper and get to help the teacher. He loves that! Almost every week he asks if he gets to be the helper. So not only does he get to be helper this week but he gets to do it with a snazzy new haircut. Zion's response to unruly hair is to steal Daddy's hat.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A Tale of Two Messes

We chose to have a quiet weekend at home since Rob had to leave for work again tonight. He left a little while ago for Oregon (hopefully he won't have a problem with snow since it started about an hour before he left) and will be back Friday. Yep, just in time for him to leave for his Reserve weekend and we expect that he'll have to leave again on Tuesday for a three day trip to North Carolina. Needless to say, I'm not exactly thrilled that he will be gone for almost the next two weeks solid not to mention that if he does go on the last trip he'll get back very late on Valentine's Day and will be missing the couple's Valentine's Day Dessert at our church. :(

So, in light of the quietness at home and looking to find humor in something, I think I'll write a bit about Gabe and his phobia of messes. We knew pretty early on that Gabe had issues with mess. He wouldn't eat things that left his hands messy and didn't like to get dirty when he played. When he was a couple months shy of turning two we bought him a Jo Jo's Circus video for Christmas. We were celebrating the holiday at my sister's house so we set him up by himself in the family room to watch the video while we all visited in the living room. After about ten minutes we heard him scream - loud! I ran in there along with my sister to find him seemingly terrified to the point of visibly shaking, when I picked him up he clung to me like a little monkey. A terrified little monkey. We could not figure out what had happened but he would not finish watching the video. Later when we watched it at home I thought that he was afraid of the show because a pie throwing machine throws a pie right at the viewer. I thought he didn't like something coming right at him. It wasn't until months later that I figured out that he was terrified because the pie throwing machine goes crazy and throws pies all over Jo Jo's school room making a HUGE mess. To this day he still talks about the pie throwing machine making a mess in a very disapproving fashion.

Fast forward a few months after Christmas. Gabe is 2 1/2 and we are at my baby shower shortly before Zion is born. My sister hosted so we are once again at her house and my younger niece had just had her birthday party there. Jessa's birthday cake had had a toy car on it that Gabe was playing with. At one point my sister took it from him and drove it around on her leg to make him giggle. What she didn't realize was that it had a bit of frosting still left on it so that it left a trail behind. When Gabe saw that he turned white (yes, he actually turned WHITE) and took a step backyard to distance himself, his eyes got huge and his face was scared! Very quickly I picked him up and assured him that it was OK while my sister frantically cleaned off her pants. We're lucky that he didn't pass out. Whew! That was a close one!

While Gabe is getting better about messes, he no longer picks up his sippy cup with closed fists if it gets messy at meals and he will touch food that makes his hands messy (though he doesn't like to) and doesn't faint at the sight of frosting, he isn't completely over his phobia. A few months ago we were once again at my sister's house (he is actually afraid of messes outside of my sister's house as well) and Gabe, Jamie and I were hanging out around her kitchen table when my brother walked through carrying a paint gun. Gabe asked what it was and we explained that it's a toy that makes a mess - kind of like the pie throwing machine. Gabe stopped what he was doing, looked up and in a hushed, disbelieving voice whispered "No." Yes, Gabe, there really is a mess making machine.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Playing School

Gabe and his friend Isaac are sitting at the kitchen table finishing their breakfast. One of them suddenly has the idea to "play school" so I ask them how they will do that. My immediate thoughts went to getting out the crayons and workbooks but I had forgotten that these are boys. Granted Gabe is not at all a boy's boy, he does not like getting dirty for instance, but apparently he is boy enough. His response had nothing to do with playing teacher and student, Isaac's and his intention was to manipulate my living room furniture and with a number of blankets to "build" a school. I should have known. My living room will never be the same.