Monday, October 27, 2008

My (quirky) Little Guy

John Michael is such a sunny little guy, but he does have his moments.

First, the fun stuff.
He's thinking about crawling and definitely creeping. He keeps getting up on his knees only to go headfirst into the floor. Got to get those hands up, too little guy! I tried to get the girls to demonstrate crawling to him but they seem to have forgotten what crawling is.
He's very interested in everything around him (good except for those times when you are trying to get food in him). We went to storytime at the library last Friday and he was on the floor on his belly looking around. Then he actually turned his head toward the book and it kept his attention. He even put his head down and almost fell asleep ... but of course, there was too much going on for that. But he did fall asleep while I was carrying him just before we left the library. That's the first time he has done that in several months. It was very sweet!

Now, on to the quirky stuff.
Over the last few weeks, John Michael has started to pound his right fist upward and into things. This is okay when you are holding him in your lap (your upper arm gets pummeled), but the quirky part of this habit is that he also does it when he is nursing. When he is nursing so his right arm is free, he starts this and ends up whacking himself in the head. Does that stop him?? No, he just keeps right on hitting his little head. I made Mike come and watch it the other day - we were both just watching him & laughing. I can hold his arm and that will make him stop but once I let go, he usually starts again. Needless to say, it's not really conducive to the whole nursing to sleep thing that we've been doing in the past!

The newest habit - this was just tonight that he started this and it was right before I got him to sleep for the night. He had his mouth closed and started making all sorts of goofy mouth noises. Okay, it's hard to explain. If he keeps it up, I'll have to get a video of it. Maybe we can get a video of the head whacking, too. I'm sure that's just the kind of thing he'll want to see when he is a teenager!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wizard of Oz

For those of you who might not have heard, we have a family Halloween costume theme planned - the Wizard of Oz. JM has a cute lion suit (hopefully it won'tbe too warm), Gracie will be Dorothy, Clara is super cute in her wicked witch outfit, Mike's the tin man, and I'm dressing as the scarecrow. Okay, this will only happen if I manage to get all the costumes ready (the kids are mostly done), even with Mike out of town all week!

So once we had the plan for the Halloween costumes (I picked two of them up at the big kid's consignment sale that I love - JBF!), I started thinking it would be a good idea for the girls to actually watch The Wizard of Oz. But I remembered it as being a pretty scary movie and Mike concurred. I also talked to my friend, Laura, whose daughter (Beth) is also going to dress as Dorothy this year. Laura also thought the movie would be too scary for Beth (who is 4.5), but then she found out that Beth had seen it on Grandma's house and loved it.

So I still wasn't sold on the idea of the girls watching the Wizard of Oz, but I thought I might let them try it. I tried to have the library get us the Muppet's Wizard of Oz but it didn't look like that was going to happen before Halloween. We went to the library on Friday morning and there on the shelf was the original Wizard of Oz. I decided it must be fate & we checked it out. Gracie woke up with a fever on Saturday, so it was a great time to try it out. Also, Clara was out with Daddy at the store & we were worried about her and the tornado scene (she inherited her mommy's weather scaredy cat genes).

Well... apparently our generation was scared to death by the Wizard of Oz, but it is entrancing & not scary to our kids! Gracie loved it and Clara came home from the store, sat down on the couch & pretty much didn't move until it was over. Then she watched it two more times later that day (okay, so that's an awfully lot of tv for one day, but I was off enjoying a day of scrapbooking and Mike was managing all three!).

So, Beauty and the Beast ... scary! Finding Nemo ... scary! Monsters, Inc. ... scary! But Wizard of Oz with its monkeys, munchkins, wicked witches, and the great oz is just dandy.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Day Out With Thomas

Uncle Jamie, Alex, Clara, Daddy, John Michael & Gracie

What a day at Thomas the Train! Gracie woke up that morning & declared that her wish had come true, "this is the happiest day of my life!" Wow! And we hadn't even left the house yet!!

But they did have a blast. Alex, Clara, & Gracie were smiley all day! We got to Rusk around 1:30 (the Wrabls had about as long as a drive up from Houston as we did from Burleson, so it worked out to be a great location) and left around 6:30. It made for a long day, but everyone had lots of fun. I imagine we will hear lots of begging to go again next year.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Clara, John Michael & I got to spend Wednesday morning at Country Critters, or "Crunchy" Critters if Clara tells the tale! Clara & Gracie had gone last year and had a good time, so Clara got to go this year while Gracie got to have an extra long day at school & go to "stay & play" (which she loves!) Clara keeps referring to it as our "field trip" because Gracie had a field trip with her class to a different pumpkin patch a few weeks ago.

On our "field trip" we got to do lots of fun things - pet goats and sheep, ride a "train" (cars pulled behind a lawn mower, have a hay ride (no hay - good for me - just a large wagon pulled by a John Deere tractor), play in several bounce houses, get a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, go through a maze and listen to a Halloween story while enjoying cookies and juice. And all the while, John Michael stayed awake. Okay, he did try to sleep, but it was rather windy and there was just sooo much going on!

For some reason, the kids thought the maze was just a blast. I think they spent longer going in and out of there then they did in the bounce houses. They would all run in together and then be so proud when they came out the other end. And if someone got lost, they would run back and get them.

Clara says her favorite part was the pumpkin patch. She loved picking her pumpkin and then really loved holding JM for pictures. I think she would have taken pictures all afternoon! But alas, the cold front was moving in. We actually saw it coming up the hill toward the farm, bringing a big cloud of white dust from the drilling pad site that was just down the road. The temperature must have dropped about 20 degress once the wind blew through. A friend and I were standing near our cars (with our kids) when we saw a big cloud. We screamed to the kids to get in the car and just all made it in before the white cloud & cold overtook us.

It was a fun day! With Gracie at school, it is fun to have a chance to be out with just Clara. She is a much calmer, more cautious little girl (who actually gets in less trouble and listens better) when she doesn't have her big sister around. It's amazing to see how grown-up she can be on her own!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Day at the Museums with Alex!

Since nothing too exciting happened today (John Michael ate more avocado & loved it, Gracie fell of the tike bike & hurt herself, and Clara walked thru really slick, yucky mud in her new white tennis shoes), I thought I would write about a day from about a month ago!

About the only good thing about Hurricane Ike was that it gave us a chance to see Aunt Julia & Cousin Alex (Uncle Jamie had headed back to check on the house & start cleanup in the yard)! Alex had his tonsils out the Tuesday before Ike hit, which made their stay in Dallas not so fun and also kept us from visiting as much as we would have liked. He wasn't supposed to get too riled up & if you have never seen Alex & Clara together, well ... it certainly wouldn't have fit with the doctor's orders.

We decided to get together and go to the Kimball museum to see the impressionist exhibit and then if all went well, go to the Modern (right across the street) for lunch. The girls have some touch & feel art books and lots of the pictures in the exhibit are in their books so I thought it would be neat for them to see the real thing. I think Gracie really enjoyed it & I am hoping to take Clara back sometime while Gracie is in school and let her look again. It was a lot to take in & John Michael wasn't the super happy baby he usually is so that was kind of tough.

Anyhow, we saw the exhibit and then went out to the sculpture/rock garden which I'm sure the kids thought was lots more fun. They played a few rounds of hide and seek and then we moved on to lunch at the Modern. It was definitely time for some food - the kiddos started fighting about who would be the "line leader" we convinced them they should take turns, but thank goodness it wasn't a long walk. The best thing about lunch was the outdoor seating. There is a large grassy area with "trees" in the distance. They are actually large sculptures, so the kiddos got to explore some more art while we were waiting for our lunch.

The oddest thing about our museum exhibit was several reactions we had to our children's behavior. Now of course, Julia & I are a bit prejudiced since they are our children, but I think overall we have very well behaved children. And when they are not well behaved, we attend to it and remove them from the situation, or try and resolve the problem. Well, apparently at the Kimball a docent gave Julia a hard time about John Michael trying out his voice. (He likes to kind of sing/shriek). Mind you, there were many other babies at the exhibit & John Michael wasn't being that loud. She ended up leaving the exhibit area & when we asked two other museum employees if there was a problem with children, both assured us there was not & looked perplexed as to why there would be a problem. The second odd thing happened at the Modern Museum. The three big kids (Alex, Clara and Gracie) were sitting on a bench which was super wide (4 feet?). Clara decided to lie down on the bench & had her feet on it. I was just getting ready to tell her to sit up when a docent came over. She didn't actually say anything to me, but nodded her head when I told Clara that we didn't need to have our feet on a place that people sit. Then she proceeded to stand about 2 feet away from the bench & watch the kids. Never mind that at the next bench a much older girl (8 - 10 year old) was lying all over a bench & being loud. Who knows why our kids seemed to be targeted that day, but it certainly didn't make you feel to welcomed. And overall, they were all very good at the museums!

Anyhow, we had a grand time looking at the art. But the best time of all was had at the Modern playing in the outdoor sculpture. Check out the video below, it will give you a taste of what they did for probably 20 minutes or so!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Still Catching Up . . .

So, I started this blog to try & keep everyone up to date on what was going on in our lives. I'm hoping that will still work out well, but I feel like I should take some time to catch everyone up to present day.

John Michael - at 6 months old, he weighs 17lb, 2 ounces. He's 26" long and can't wait until he can get moving! He can roll right now & almost get up on his knees. One of his favorite tricks is to try and grab the carpet and pull himself forward. Doesn't work very well, but he is persistent. He loves to be on the floor playing with toys. Just yesterday afternoon Gracie & Clara were fighting over who got to play with him. Both of them wanted to be the only sister playing with him & there were almost tears! But I got Clara interested in helping make lunch & promised her a turn later. Who would have thought a little brother would be so popular!

A few more stats on JM - he's got 2 bottom teeth that are about halfway in, he's eating two meals a day (seems to like everything so far- avocado is the latest treat at dinner time and he really seems to like that!), and he loves to sleep on his belly now. Although he still seems to think it is important for Mommy to get up and feed him a few times a night... trying to talk him out of that ...

Clara - at 3 years old, she weighs 40 lbs! And yes, she still wants to be carried sometimes. Clara is really enjoying having Gracie at school three mornings a week so that she can get some quiet time with Mama. It's amazing to see the difference when she has time to play by herself. This morning she used some really neat blocks she got from Mimi & Pap for her birthday and created a "playset" with different areas based on the different shapes of the blocks and then told me a story about the fairy princess on the playset.

Gracie - at 5 years old, she weighs 39 lbs! We call her Skinny Minny. At least for this family! She seems to be all legs and they keep on stretching. She tells us that she stretches every night so she can grow longer. Gracie loves her school. She is going to pre-K at Holy Cross Christian Academy for 3 hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. She says her favorite parts are recess and chapel. If I'm lucky, I get to hear a snippet or two about school each afternoon when she comes home. Doesn't seem to do much good to ask questions, but if you are patient the information seems to trickle out. One thing that she does report on daily is how the other kids did in school that day. They use a stoplight system for discipline & she always tells us if any of the other kids go to yellow or *horrors* red! She has always stayed on green, of course!

Mike & I - hmmmm - not reporting ages or weights here. Although I can report weight loss - I have been doing Weight Watchers since June. I've lost almost 15 lbs! Yay! I still have more to lose, but I am planning to be at my goal weight by next summer and am looking forward to some new clothes. Mike has been great about supporting me. I started going to a Zumba class (think dancing turned into an aerobic sport) on Wednesday nights. That means he has to walk in the door from work and I leave half an hour later & he is stuck with 3 kiddos to feed and bathe (or at least start bathing) over the next hour and a half.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

John Michael's Baptism

Right after the blessing with holy water . . .

So I'm just now getting around to writing about it, but we had John Michael's baptism done on October 4. It was up in Amarillo and was very nice. I know I didn't get a chance to let everyone know we were doing the baptism that weekend, but we ended up scheduling it pretty quickly. We were so happy that it worked out to have it up there. Mike's parents are John Michael's godparents and with Virginia's knee surgery coming up, we didn't know when it would be possible for them to come to Fort Worth. So we had the baptism at St. Hyacinth's. It was a private baptism on Saturday morning & then we were all able to go out to lunch afterward. John Michael was apparently worn out by all the festivities. He slept through lunch and then later that afternoon took a long (almost 3 hour!) nap & missed church that night. The girls were great at the baptism (and Msgr. was good to let them stand were they could see so well) and also at church that night. I was impressed that they could do so well after such a long day. Clara even said church was "quick, quick." And yes, it is quick, quick when you fall asleep in Mommy's lap as soon as the homily starts & sleep for a good 20 minutes!

So, our littlest one is now baptized. Mike wants to add that it's not clear in the video, but be sure and look for the point at which the halo appears!

Below are pictures of Sarah holding her little cousin and Uncle Dave holding John Michael!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Happiest Clown on Earth!

Gracie's Pre-K class at Holy Cross had a circus last Wednesday. She chose to be a clown. Mrs. Brannon wanted all the kids to get a chance to be up in front of the parents and perform. A few of the kiddos were a little nervous, but not Gracie. She seems to love being in front of an audience. Clara, John Michael & I got to come and watch. Clara enjoyed the show & got to eat popcorn (which she actually decided to try and liked!) and cotton candy (which she also liked - Gracie did not!).

One of the really funny things about Gracie's "performance" was that she started imitating what the other child who was a clown was doing. He could do cartwheels & would get a round of applause for each one. Well, Gracie can't do cartwheels, but she sure thought she should try for that applause. Later she told me she was doing flips. Check out the video & you can see for yourself!

The First One!

Well, I am starting this blog in the hopes that it will make life easier for me. Easier in the sense that I will be able to communicate with a bunch of you at one time & post pictures for everyone to see instead of trying to keep up with sending out e-mails. There are always so many little stories, events, discoveries about the kids that I want to share, but there never seems to be the time! I think I will send out an e-mail and some pictures, plan out what I want to say & then never get around to it. So.... we'll see if I am able to post on here. Hopefully so! I think it will be lots of fun. And you all can tell me what you think, too.

Okay - it's already making my life easier. While I was working on this, Mike got little JM asleep and into bed for the night. Woohoo! Way to go, Daddy.