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August 09, 2014

Arthur: months 6 and 7

This summer has been flying by so fast - Arthur turned 7 months old yesterday! He's grown so much over the past 2 months. Here are his stats from his 6 month appointment:

Height: 27.5 inches
Weight: 16 lbs 6 oz

(For those keeping track, he's 1/2 inch taller and nearly 1 pound heavier than Elmer was at 6 months).

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We started working on solid foods about a month ago and he's gotten really good already! He eats 3 meals a day with us at the table and still has a few bottle/nursing sessions for snacks and before bed. So far he likes rice cereal and multigrain cereal, yogurt, applesauce, sweet potatoes, carrots and avocados. He wasn't sure about bananas at first, but they're finally growing on him. He wants to feed himself so badly and gets frustrated when he can't get his hands to cooperate. Just like his brother before him, we've discovered that a dill pickle spear is the perfect gnawing food to keep him occupied while we finish getting dinner ready! He'll gnaw all the pulp and seeds off, happy as a clam!

Eating solid foods!

A Tale of Two Pickles: Pickle 2-gnaw gnaw gnaw (better than a teething biscuit!)

In other news, Arthur is on the move! He started chasing Maggie around the living room a little over a week ago, and now no place is safe! He's not crawling exactly, but he can pull himself all over the house. He likes to get up on his hands and knees, and even up on all fours, but he hasn't figured out how to coordinate everything just yet. It won't be long though!

Morning workout: chasing Maggie! The Cap'n is so patient!

He is very good at entertaining himself - we can leave him on the floor with some toys, and he'll happily grab them, inspect them, chew and drool. He especially likes any toy that Elmer is playing with. He loves to watch Elmer and always likes to be near his big brother.
Arthur held office hours for small group consultations.

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Arthur also started clapping his hands together last weekend. He loves to clap and he loves the attention he gets when we get excited about it!

This week we said goodbye to the baby bathtub and starting taking regular baths. Needless to day, Elmer wanted to join in the fun, so now they take baths together!

After some stupid crap at work, it's nice to come home to these guys!

Arthur's also getting much better at sleeping at night. Now he only wakes up once or twice. We are all sleeping a lot better because of it!

Sooo sleepy! 5Aug14

July 21, 2014

Elmer at 30 months

Today, Elmer is 2 1/2 years old! He is growing into such a big boy, it's amazing to see how much he's changed in just the past 6 months.

He's getting much more independent. He can eat by himself pretty well, though I admit I get impatient and still shovel food into his mouth if he's taking too much time. He can climb into his booster seat by himself, and snap the straps. He's been eating at the table lately and seems to really like that. He can climb into the bathtub by himself, and he's starting to insist on fastening his own clothes, though he still needs a lot of help with that.
Fun with Shampoo 9Jul14

We've started pushing him to use the toilet a lot more. We picked out some real underwear a week ago and he does pretty well with it as long as we're just home. Every time he uses the toilet, he gets to pick a mystery treat - we have them in plastic Easter eggs in a basket. Each egg has some mint M&Ms and a sticker or a small toy, like an alphabet magnet, a bouncy ball, a balloon. He gets pretty excited to pick out an egg and announces that it "Probly has 3 M Ms in't."

A boy and his dump truck. 27/28Jun14

His vocabulary grows enormously all the time, and he's getting a lot better at communicating more complex ideas. I love coming home from work and getting him to tell me about his day - it's always interesting to hear what he wants to share. Sometimes I need some interpretation from Father, especially if they did something out of the ordinary. We still have a hard time with pronouns - Elmer refers to himself in the third person all the time. I never realized how difficult a concept pronouns are - how do you correct that? Here's a typical exchange:
Elmer: "Elmer Arthur sit with Mama. Arthur no touch you."
Me: "Yes, you and Arthur are sitting with me. You should say 'I don't want Arthur to touch me.'"
Elmer: "Arthur no touch me."
It's all so confusing!
Elmer requested this photo

Elmer loves to sing, and have us sing with him. Some of his favorite songs include "Three Blind Mice," "Puff the Magic Dragon," "Bibbity Bobbity Boo," and "I've Been Working on the Railroad." We sing when we eat, we sing in the bath, and he always wants one of us to sing before nap and bed. Sometimes he sings to himself.

He also likes to quote from books or poems. Certain phrases will set him off - for example, if you say "Boom!" he'll say "Mr. Brown is a wonder!" from Mr. Brown can Moo, Can You? If you don't know where it's coming from, it can be pretty strange to have a conversation. Luckily, we nearly have all of his books memorized because all this boy wants to do is read! It's hands down his favorite activity, and he would probably sit and read all day if we would do it with him. His favorite book of all time is Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever, which he calls "The Clock Book." He also loves lots of Dr. Seuss books, The Little Engine Who Could, Beatrix Potter's stories, and too many other books to list.
Nice outside

Of course we have some struggles with discipline and the usual toddler drama, but Elmer is very well behaved in general. It's hard to be strict when he knows he's misbehaved, looks up at you with those big eyes and says "Forry!"
Morning in the Sandbox

One of my favorite developments is his displays of affection. He'll come over and lean into my legs or want to hold my hand or cuddle in the chair with a book. I love giving "Big hug, little hug, kiss" when I'm leaving for work, and giving kisses good night. Elmer is such a sweet little boy - we love him so much!
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Flashback: Tarl and Charlee's wedding

I have about 3 posts to write, but I got distracted tonight because I just got a bunch of pictures from my brother's wedding back in January. This was Arthur's first public event - on January 17, he was just 9 days old! Tarl and Charlee had a lovely outdoor wedding, and Elmer was photobombing everywhere! Luckily, he accidentally matched the wedding party, so it all worked out. Here are a few of my favorite photos.

Mr. & Mrs. Tarl Maughan

Meeting her newest Grandson

Rawk on!

Our family!

Tarl & Charlee's wedding

Tarl & Charlee's wedding

Tarl & Charlee's wedding

I love how giddily happy they both look! What a great wedding!

June 29, 2014

Arthur's 5 months!

I know he'll be 6 months in just a couple of weeks, but I want to make sure I keep up with each month! Arthur is growing so fast! Since my last update, here are all the cool things he's doing:

  • Rolls back to front, front to back, and all around - I never know where he'll be in the crib each morning.
  • Getting better at sitting by himself - he can balance all on his own for a few seconds, and sit really well with just a little support.
  • He can stand leaning against the couch or holding onto our hands!
  • He's started eating a little solid food - he'll take a few spoonfuls of cereal and is really interested in trying more.
  • He's so much more interested in grabbing things! You can put a toy in front of him and he will focus on it, grab it, inspect it closely, then cram it in his mouth. He likes reaching for anything he can grab!
Morning exercises! 17June14


He just loves playing with Elmer! He wants to be wherever his big brother is and no one can make him smile like Elmer can!
Ready for summer! #Arthur #Elmer 3June14

He has the best giggle! Check out this little video!
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He's also starting to settle into our preferred nap times - he takes two short naps in the morning, but his afternoon nap is developing quite nicely where he'll nap at the same time as Elmer. Mama and Father both like having a good chunk of quiet time in the afternoon - we need a nap too! He's also getting much better at sleeping at night - he typically only wakes up once or twice during the night.

Arthur 4June14

He's really a talker, too - I don't remember Elmer being this noisy! He has lots of things to say and makes sure that the whole house can hear him!

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6 months, here we come!
Arthur being as cute as can be. I love Saturdays!



Cabin Trip!

This year, for our anniversary, we wanted to spend a weekend with just the four of us up in our favorite summer getaway - Earl Park Lake. We rented the same cabin we stayed in last summer, so we knew just what to expect, and that was really nice!
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Elmer and Arthur both did so well at the cabin! Elmer was big enough to go up and down the ladder to the loft like a little monkey! He did slip once, which scared him a little bit, but Mama's involuntary shriek scared him a lot. He wasn't hurt at all, but he was a bit hesitant to go up the ladder on his own after that. I need to work on controlling those reactions!

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We went on some nice walks around the area and down by the lake, and even hiked all the way around once. Elmer made it almost half-way around by himself, and then we put him in the carrier on Chris's back. I had Arthur in a carrier as well - he napped most of the hike, but woke up when we took a little break.
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Chris did a little fishing, we all took a few naps, and in general just enjoyed the lake. The temperature was just perfect.
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We went up a little earlier in the year than we have in the past, which meant that it was too early for rain. Next year, we'll have to wait until a little later in the summer so we can have some monsoons!

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Full set of pictures here.

Arthur's Baptism

On June 1, Arthur was baptized at St. Mark's by our interim rector Father Way. Both of our families were able to attend, so we took up a good amount of real estate at the church.

All the fam

We are so blessed to have the church family we do at St. Mark's. We receive so much love and support from them - I love that our boys will have such a community as they grow. One of the church members brought this cake to welcome our newest little Christian!
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It was a special day for all of us, and we were so happy to share it with our family! Here are some of my favorite pictures, but the whole set is here.

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Elmer's helping

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Peekaboo

June 16, 2014

Elmer's Tune

When Elmer was just a few days old, one of the musicians in one of Chris's groups told us about the song "Elmer's Tune", made famous by the Glen Miller band. We learned the song, and I sang it to him almost every night as part of our bedtime routine for almost 2 years. I don't sing it every night now, because he asks for different songs, and sometimes he wants Father to sing instead, but it is still a common request.

Now we mix it up and I alternate "Elmer" and "Arthur" for whose tune it is- at Elmer's insistence.

A few weeks ago, he asked for "Arthur's Tune" and proceeded to sing along with me. He sang almost all the words correctly (and some of them are doozies for a 2 year old!). I was so surprised, and he was so cute, that I giggled my way through the song. He giggled too, and I can't really fault him for being out of tune. He's obviously learning the song just fine!

I think my proud mama heart just grew a few sizes larger - what a sweet experience singing this song together!




May 15, 2014

On Friendship

I quit Facebook in June 2011, and Google Plus...I don't know, maybe last summer? My reasons were varied: dislike of business practices and privacy issues, time wasting potential, etc. But I think one of the primary driving force of my self-imposed exile was the increasingly superficial interactions with people I genuinely cared about. Facebook had managed to distill friendship to whomever "likes" a post or photo; your BFFs were defined by those who could exert themselves enough to actually leave a comment.

I've been thinking a lot about what friendship means, and why I feel so isolated. I refuse to rejoin Facebook because I resent the fact that if you are not on Facebook, you no longer exist. I don't believe relationships should just be defined by how easy it is to broadcast a thought or emotion to your hundreds of friends. Where is the meaning in that? How does that actually foster a connection, make it grow? Does it make me a better friend if I know what you ate for lunch, or whether you like Mondays, or type a 140-character comment about that video you posted? But it seems to me that this is what friendship means to people now - and no one wants anything more. We can all sit safely at our computers or on our phones, in our own homes, and not actually have to see people in person, or struggle with the reality that true friendships are like marriages and require work and compromise and meaningful communication.

I thought, by leaving social networks, that I could preserve my relationships with the people I really wanted to stay in touch with, leaving the distraction of hundreds of Facebook friends behind. I thought there was no reason that email and phone calls couldn't serve just as well. I was wrong.

Part of that has to do with the fact that I realized that, within my circle of distant friends, I was the one who initiated contact. It was I who organized group chats, scheduled online game nights, and planned in-person visits. In this time period I've been pregnant 3 times, have had 2 babies, and I am tired and busy with small children. It was hard for me to be always be the Instigator, and I thought that maybe my friends would take up the slack if I just let go. I was wrong.

That's been hard for me, because I feel that says I cared more about the relationship than they did. That the friendship wasn't as reciprocal as I'd always thought. Perhaps we were friends because it was convenient, or because I did the work, not because of genuine affection and love. And this starts a chain reaction, doesn't it? They don't reach out, for whatever reason, and I don't reach out because I am insecure and resentful. Do they not miss my presence? What do they think, if they think of me at all?

I struggle, too, because I believe you should be the friend you want your friends to be, and I admit that I haven't made much of an effort to reconnect with those I feel most isolated from. I know that I am not blameless. But now enough time and space has passed that I don't know what to say or do. How can I express disappointment that they didn't come to me when I needed them to, when I never asked? I tell myself to be understanding - I know people get busy and time slips away before you know it. But I can't help but feel that there's been enough time for someone else to take the initiative if they wanted, and the fact of the matter is no one has because no one has wanted to.

I wonder if this is the path all my friendships are doomed to follow. That's probably an exaggeration...isn't it?

It feels strange to let decades-long relationships die without some form of closure, and I guess that's what this post is for me. These are thoughts I've held on to for a long time. Maybe my blog isn't the best place to talk about these things, but I needed to write it out, to send it out into the wild. And my blog is like the wild now, since it's not in the closed garden of a social network, pushing its way into streams to catch your attention. Over time, this place has been visited less, since no one has blogs anymore unless they're on Tumblr. My statistics tell me that people visit here to read about the time I made steel-cut oatmeal pancakes unless I've specifically notified people about a new post. I don't expect anyone to read this (unless you have accidentally wandered here in search of the steel-cut oatmeal pancakes - yes, yes, they're here). I'm not expecting anything from anyone - I just wanted to rant and get some thoughts off my chest that have lingered for way too long.

Comments are closed on this one.

April 30, 2014

Arthur's 16 weeks old!

I'm not going to make excuses. I've been back at work for the past 4 weeks and it's been an adjustment for all of us. I enjoy my job, my boys, and my life, but I admit that by the end of the day, after the kids are in bed and I have 2 hours to myself before I need to go to bed, writing a blog post just isn't always my top priority.

That said, I can't tell you how many times I've looked back at what I wrote about Elmer's first few months, just out of curiosity and nostalgia, so I am trying to do the same for Arthur. So it may not be every month, or every 4 weeks, but I'm going to post something!

King Arthur the Adorable. 6April14

And there really is lots to say! Arthur has grown so much in the past few weeks! He giggles and coos and generally has a lot to say. He likes to contribute to conversations and really doesn't like being left out. His majesty definitely feels he should be at the center of everything.

Check me out!

This past week, Arthur started rolling over from back to front. You can't put him down without him just flipping right over. Now, most of the time when he wakes up at night, I find him on his belly, fussing. Needless to say, I am a lot more careful where I leave him, now that he's rolling all over the place. And I haven't been putting him on his formerly-loved playmat since he just flips onto his tummy and looks around.

Rolling over! 24Apr14

Rolling over! 24Apr14

Here's a day in the life of Arthur: wake up in the morning between 5:30-6 and be super happy! Arthur loves mornings! He gets tired after breakfast, though, so goes back down for a morning nap right before I leave for work at 7:30. Then he wakes up again around 9 then usually takes another little nap at 11ish. The afternoon is still pretty rocky for naps. We'd like him to sleep from 1-2ish until 4 like Elmer does, but he is not in favor of this plan. He has a hard time sleeping for more than 45 minutes in the afternoon, even though he is clearly still tired. He'll work that out soon, I hope. After 4, though, Arthur is pretty easy-going again. He starts to get pretty fussy as we finish up our dinner, but then he takes a bath at 5:30, nurses a bit and goes right to sleep at 6. Currently, I wake him up to nurse about 9, then move him from the bassinet to the crib in Elmer's room. The past few weeks, he's been waking up between 11-1, and then again between 2-4. Luckily, he nurses and goes right back to sleep, so I'm usually only up with him for 15-20 minutes.

Nap time.

He still really loves his bath! I just had to start keeping his little tub in the big bathtub because he likes to kick and splash water all over the place!

Bath time at the Perry's!

Arthur hadn't had much experience with bottles before I went back to work. We tried to start introducing a regular bottle in the last few weeks before I went back, but he was very resistant. He was pretty snobbish about it for the first few days when he was just home with Father, but now he's eating from the bottle like a champ.

Arthur's 15 weeks old!

Elmer is his favorite person - he just loves to watch and see what his big brother is up to! When he hears Elmer, he always looks around for him, and the two of them will look at each other and start giggling. I anticipate much mischief from the pair of them in another couple of years.

Last day of maternity leave! 2April14

I can't believe our little sweet baby is nearly 4 months old!

16 weeks old! 30Apr14