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November 21, 2014

Week of Nov. 16

Well, I've thought about posting all week, but just never got around to it. So, here's the roundup:

Sunday: We went over to my in-laws for dinner, which we haven't done for a long time. I'm thankful to have such a great mother and father in law. I want to bring Elmer and Arthur over to their place more often. I have fond memories of considering my grandma's house my home away from home, and I'd love for my boys to develop memories of Grammie and Grampa Perry's home.

Monday: Oh! I worked from home all day on Monday (which was nice in and of itself), and the city has been paving the streets in our neighborhood. They did our street on Monday, and Elmer was in hog heaven watching the pavers out his bedroom window. I was very thankful, not only because it was fun watching Elmer be so enthralled, but also because these streets were in pretty bad condition and they are SO nice and smooth now!
Misc November

Tuesday, I was grateful for our bible study group. We've been meeting every Tuesday for a couple of years now, and we've all grown very close. There are very few people I feel as comfortable being my whole self with - we help each other, we talk about our struggles and celebrate our successes. I look forward to our Tuesday nights together!

Wednesday was the Marimba Pachanga party! I took the boys to the concert and we all had a great time! Arthur was cranky on the way there, but as soon as he heard the music and saw the instruments, he started clapping and laughing. Elmer had a great time dancing with Suzy and Gramma Maughan. I love the marimba ensemble! Even if I can't play with them any more, I can still go and enjoy singing and dancing!

Thursday was just a normal day for me, and I was pretty thankful for that. I got some good work done at work, had a nice evening with dinner, bath, and bed with the boys, cleaned the bathrooms, pickled some cucumber, and read a book. Days like that are great!

Today, I took the day off. We'd planned to go camping, but decided it was too chilly to take the boys overnight even around here (lows are in the high 40s, which wouldn't be bad for us, but Elmer has yet to actually sleep IN his sleeping bag). So we went to Boyce Thompson Arboretum and had a picnic lunch and a bit of a hike. It was nice to take a day trip, and I was thankful for the beautiful day!

November 15, 2014

AzLA MPLA Conference

I attended the joint Arizona Library Association/Mountain Plains Library Asiciation Conference Wednesday through Friday this week. I wasn't involved in the conference planning at all, which still feels a little strange. Once a conference committee co-chair always a co-chair, I guess.

Anyway, I had a great time! I got to see not only my AzLA friends from around the state, but also my MPLA buddies who escaped the sudden winter weather in their home states to enjoy the sunny warmth of Fountain Hills in mid-November! I'm grateful for all the fun, intelligent, and passionate people I talked to this week who are a big part of why I love my job!

I also got to hear some great speakers: Bob Boze Bell spun a great yarn about his childhood and love of the history of the West, Lee Rainie of Pew talked about how important and beloved libraries are in their communities and the challenges that lie ahead, and Connie Willis told how books change lives and always will, and reminded me of how much I love to read. I'm thankful for the opportunity to hear inspiring speakers that recharge my professional batteries and fill me with hope and new ideas.

Finally, I'm thankful that my library encourages and supports my attendance at conferences. I know how lucky I am to have the ability to take time away from the office and have my registration paid for so that I can make these wonderful connections with people and ideas.

And today, I'm thankful to have a lazy day at home, because it was a long week!

November 11, 2014

Arthur is 10 months old!

It's so funny to think how vividly I remember this time last year - being pregnant, counting down the weeks (only 8 to go!) until Arthur was due. And here we are now - this big boy who wants to walk so badly, who eats more than his brother sometimes, who talks and laughs and cries, and who loves to snuggle.

I didn't know we had a dog! 13Oct14

This past month was full of adventure as we all enjoyed cooler weather. We went to the Arizona State Fair (more fair pictures):
AZ State Fair 18Oct14

AZ State Fair 18Oct14

We've gone on some lovely bike rides and played at the park.
Fun Saturday morning! 25Oct14

Fun Saturday morning! 25Oct14

We went trick or treating on Halloween! We got one more use out of our Winnie the Pooh costume for Arthur, and Elmer was a robot. The two of them went trick or treating to a few houses in our neighborhood, and then Arthur went to bed. We let Elmer stay up as long as he wanted to hand out candy and hang out with us. We had a fire in our firepit outside, and were hanging out with some friends. About 8:30, Elmer started saying "Go home", so I figured he was ready for bed. Both boys slept in a little the next morning.
Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

(More Halloween pictures here)

Since our last post, Arthur has slept pretty much all night most of the month, except for waking up early this last week. I think we're out of that again, though - this morning he slept until Elmer woke him up at 5:30. I keep thinking that someday, maybe in the next couple of months, we might actually get to sleep until 6 on a regular basis again. I dream big, I know.

Arthur is still very independent. He wants to feed himself, so we have started fixing meals that consist mostly of finger foods: lots of bread and toast, pickled carrots, pickles, bananas, apples, roasted veggies (he particularly loves Father's roasted broccoli), dates, cheese, pancakes, waffles, and eggs. We had to buy him his own water bottle because he gets so mad when everyone else is drinking from a water bottle but not him. Elmer insisted I buy a matching bottle, so my boys both have a dinosaur Camelbak bottle.
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Both boys love being outside - they play in the sandbox and poke around the yard. Arthur is getting really adept at navigating around. He bear-walks on the sidewalk because he doesn't like his feet and knees dragging when he crawls. He can climb into and out of the sandbox by himself. And he loves to stand and cruise around the wall or the wagon. He's getting really good at standing on his own - soon he won't need to hold on to anything, and he'll be walking before we know it!

Arthur 1Nov14

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Veteran's Day

Today I'm thankful for all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in our armed forces. I admit that I have some complicated feelings about this holiday - for all the lip service given to veterans by our politicians during campaigning, we as a nation continue to systematically treat veterans with contempt and neglect. The top search results for Veteran's Day today bring up lots of articles about the freebies and deals available to veterans today. Yet throughout the rest of the year, they struggle for decent health care, both physical and mental. They struggle to be employed, they struggle for schooling, they struggle to make lives for themselves and their families. While I may not always agree with our military actions, and I believe too much of our nation's budget is spent on defense, I wish nothing but the best for those who have been sent in harm's way by our government. I pray for them and their families. May those who are deployed return to us safely, and may all who are safely home be blessed with health and happiness.

November 10, 2014

Sunday/Monday

Yesterday was a little rough - Arthur was waking up at 4 or 4:30 in the morning a lot last week, so we have all been sleep-deprived and cranky, and yesterday was no exception. But after church, I decided to cancel our usual visit with my parents and head home for lunch and (hopefully) an early nap. I was so glad I did - the boys were both still pretty cheerful for lunch and went to their rooms for naps without protest. Even though Elmer didn't sleep, he was happy and quiet reading in his room. And Chris and I got naps too! I love weekend naps!

Elmer is making all sorts of fun and interesting emotional and cognitive leaps. He's recently started doing more pretending, and with prompting will tell a story he makes up. Or he will spontaneously decide to give Arthur a hug and kiss (he did this morning - my heart melted). Tonight, after he was in bed and I was singing our bedtime songs, he said "Elmer's happy." I told him I was happy he was happy, and gave him a kiss goodnight. I tried to give him a hug too, but he said "NO HUUUUUGGGG!" so that was right out tonight. But anyway, I am thankful that Elmer was happy tonight, and I love that he's starting to say how he feels.

November 08, 2014

Thursday through Saturday

Just because I haven't done a post every day doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about it. So here are my thankful thoughts for the rest of this week.

On Thursday, I stepped on the scale and it said I was back at my pre-pregnancy weight. Pre-Elmer pregnancy weight, a weight I haven't seen in 3 years. While I haven't been really stressed about my weight, it's nice to start getting my body back.

On Friday, hey...it's Friday! We were able to play a game of Descent for the first time in maybe 2 months!

Today, I'm thankful for good friends, a good dinner, and some great mariachi music on my block!

November 05, 2014

A month of thanks

Yesterday I decided it would be fun to try to post every day this month about things that I'm grateful for. I'm not going to let the fact that it is November 5 stop me, although I suppose I could just post 5 things today. Really, that wouldn't be hard. I love the holiday season - I love Halloween, I love Thanksgiving, and I love Christmas - but I also like to savor each holiday for what they are. For Halloween, I enjoyed planning out Elmer and Arthur's costumes, and having a fun night with friends and family. And now that Thanksgiving is coming up, I'm going to count my many blessings and share them with the internet.

Back when I had more blogging power (and time), I used to post a grateful list of 3 things every day. This time, I'm going to try for one - but a post every day is the challenge.

So - on to 5 things to be grateful for so far in November:

  1. It suddenly got cool! I had to start wearing socks and shoes for my bike ride to work, and we can have the windows open most of the day for some fresh air!
  2. Cool air means busting out the sweaters (okay, I know we still had a high of 80 today, but it still gets cool in my office).
  3. Yesterday, Arthur woke up at 4 AM and fussed until 5, when I finally gave up trying to sleep and went in to check on him. After nursing a bit, he fell back asleep, and amazingly, Elmer had slept through all the ruckus. At least, so I thought. After I left their room, I went to the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee, and then Elmer came out. He looked so cute and sleepy in his fleece footies. We got some juice and got to spend some time snuggling and reading like we did before Arthur was born. I really appreciated that little bit of time we had to spend with one another. I love having Arthur, but I do sometimes miss being able to focus my attention on one kid.
  4. Similarly, Arthur woke up early again today, and I got up with him at 5:15. This time, Elmer really did sleep through everything, including nursing Arthur, changing his diaper, and getting him dressed. Chris was able to sleep through it too, so Arthur and I had some quiet time with just us and the cats this morning. It was nice to have some quiet snuggles and play on a quiet morning.
  5. Finally, I just made some granola and I have a pumpkin pie in the oven. My house smells AMAZING!

October 11, 2014

Arthur is 9 months old

Another eventful month for our growing boy! We visited the pediatrician last week, so here are the updated stats:
  • Height: 29.5 inches
  • Weight: 19 lbs 10 oz
  • Head circ: 18 inches
  • (Here's Elmer's 9 month post, for comparison)
He got his Hepatitis B vaccine and first flu shot, sported a Captain America bandage, and was ready to go home for lunch and a nap after that.

9 months old! 8Oct14

Since last month, Arthur has mastered crawling, and he is FAST! We have to pick the cat food dishes up off the floor if he's awake, because he goes straight for them if he sees them. He also loves to pull himself up to standing on anything and can balance with one hand. He cruises around the living room holding himself up on the furniture. He can't quite reach to go from the couch to the chair, but he's trying. He likes nothing better than walking around with us holding his hands - too bad we can't do that all the time!

New phone = new camera! 20Sept14

This month was a bit challenging for all of us, because Arthur was transitioning from needing to nurse at night to sleeping all night. We had a few rough weeks while we were all figuring out what we needed to do in order to sleep - Arthur was keeping everyone awake! We finally decided to stop responding at night, and there were a few nights where Arthur cried quite a bit and was pretty cranky with us for leaving him in his crib. But he's slept the past 5 nights in a row without waking up at all, so we're hopeful we're entering a new era of sleep, sweet sleep! And Arthur's great at napping during the day - he still takes a good 60-90 minute nap in the morning and 2 to 2 1/2 hours in the afternoon.

A Day in the Life: 21Sept14

Eating is becoming a lot  more fun, since Arthur is getting really good at trying new foods. He really wants to feed himself and often gets fussy if we're feeding him boring ol' cereal because he thinks he should be in charge of the spoon! This month we've expanded to eating bread with butter or jam, bananas (he's finally decided they're okay), cheese, pickled carrots, chicken salad, oatmeal with yogurt and applesauce, pancakes, waffles, pot pie, shepherd's pie, roasted vegetables (he LOVES roasted broccoli and carrots and that's the only way he'll accept potatoes), and squash. We're trying not to cringe as he smears food all over his face, but he loves eating with all of us!

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Blueberry waffles! Yum! 4Oct14

October is one of my favorite months, and the last couple of weeks have been just beautiful! It's so fun to start spending more time outside, especially now that Arthur can play and doesn't spend all his time trying to shove grass in his mouth!

Afternoon shenanigans

Afternoon shenanigans

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We have lots of fun activities planned over the next few weeks: going to the Arizona State Fair, the Desert Botanical Gardens Harvest Festival, and Halloween! It's nice to be able to do more things together as a family!

A Day in the Life: 21Sept14

September 11, 2014

Arthur is 8 months old!

It's been an eventful month for Arthur, he's been growing like crazy!

Oh, hi mama! 10Aug14

This month he:

  • has progressed from creeping to crawling almost all the time;
  • has cut 2 teeth (one is pretty well in, the other just broke the gums this past Tuesday) and I think there are more on the way;
  • pulls himself up to standing on anything he can grab (often Father's or Mama's legs);
  • chases Maggie relentlessly;
  • ditto chasing Elmer, who sometimes enjoys it and runs around giggling like crazy, but other times cries and says "Arthur no get you." Elmer is still learning his pronouns.
  • started eating baked goods, beans (mashed), cheerios, oatmeal, mashed peaches, mashed brussels sprouts, peanut butter, LOVED a beef stew made by Chris, and donuts;
  • graduated into the next size up for our cloth diapers, and is comfortably in 9-12 month onesies.
Arthur!

Arthur!

In mid-August we went camping. It was Arthur's 2nd time, and he really did pretty well. He and Elmer both LOVE the tent, and would probably be perfectly content to just roll around in there on our air mattress the entire time. We went up to Knoll Lake Campground up on the Mogollon Rim Road, which was just beautiful! However, we hit a great afternoon monsoon storm on our way to the campground. It was still raining as we set up camp, and we debated pulling stakes and heading back home, but the rain stopped shortly after we got everything set up so we were happy we stayed. The forest is just beautiful after a good rain! We just stayed for one night since we're still learning about camping with a toddler and infant, but we had a really nice time. It's definitely a learning process - Elmer needs to learn to sleep in his sleeping bag, we need to learn what's the best set up for Arthur in the tent, and Arthur - well, he needs to learn not to hog the bed! We're planning another one night trip later this month so we'll see how that goes.

Camping:Knoll Lake Campground Aug 15-16, 2014

Camping:Knoll Lake Campground Aug 15-16, 2014

Arthur loves being around Elmer so much! The two of them like to hang out in their room sometimes and just giggle and play with their toys. Naptime has gotten a little complicated this month, because now they'll keep each other awake the whole time if we try to put them in the room at the same time. We've found that putting Arthur down first and letting him fall asleep before bringing Elmer in improves the odds that napping will occur by 2:1. But these days, it's hard to take a picture of Arthur solo, because he's stuck to his brother's side like glue.

2 cool! 25Aug14

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Elmer & co-pilot Arthur

I love that my boys are enjoying one another! We definitely enjoy them both, even when one is teething and the other is...well....2.

Arthur's next doctor's appointment is next month, so we'll have updated stats for the 9 month post!

TGIF! 29Aug14


September 02, 2014

Bizarro Elmer

Our son is resident of Bizzaro World. Elmer has entered into a new stage of language development, where roughly 50% of the time he means exactly the opposite of what he says. Examples:

  • "Elmer not naked" - he is totally naked.
  • "Sauce not hot." - this is sriracha sauce.
  • "No juice." - he really does want juice.
This is especially fun (see, I can do it too!) since we've been working on potty training for the last several weeks. He wears underpants most of the time, and is pretty comfortable using the toilet when we put him on it. However, working with him on communicating his toilet necessities is complicated in Bizarro World:
  • "Elmer not pee." - usually means he needs to pee and is trying hold it, which is good. Best course of action is to place him on the toilet immediately.
  • "Elmer pee" - typically uttered as he is currently peeing. This is bad (unless he's on the toilet already).
  • "Elmer not poo." - could mean anything. He could be pooing at that moment. He might not need to poo at all.
  • "Elmer poo." - The deed is done. Best course is to go immediately to clean it up before he is a total mess.
My current strategy is if he volunteers any information about these bodily functions without being prompted, I immediately place him on the toilet no matter whether he said no or yes. If he answers "Elmer no pee" or "Elmer no poo" in response to a question, I try to give him the benefit of a doubt.

Bizarro Elmer is pretty fun most of the time, but I admit this phase is particularly challenging to work with in conjunction with potty training.