Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This is what sick looks like

We got the phone call last Monday that Isabella was too sick to stay at daycare (102 fever), so my mom picked her up and stayed with her until her Daddy could get her. Tuesday, I got a sub and stayed home with Aiden and Izzy all day and night (while Mr. Howard worked a night shift). I took the babies with me to work in the morning and Mr. Howard met me there to pick them up after his night shift. Thursday is Mr. Howard's day to stay home with them anyway. So it was nice, because they had 3.5 full days of cuddling and snuggles.

It just breaks my heart. So Sad.
 They would cry and cry and cry. I know you can't tell completely, but their eyes were so red and swollen. You know that achy feeling when you're sick where everything hurts? I imagine that's what the babies were feeling. They'd turn their heads and cry; they'd roll over in bed and cry; I'd pick them up under their arms and they'd cry.

We're not big acetaminophen users over here, but we went through two huge bottles of it to manage their fevers (3 days x 2 sick babies x every 4 hours = 36 doses). On an aside, have you seen the new Tylenol syringes? They have push-in syringes and they are soo much better than those stupid droppers. I never could get the dosage right on those things.
tylenol-infants-syringe | GoodyBlog
Is it just me or does anyone else like to act out their childhood fantasies of being Doogie Howser, while holding the bottle of Tylenol upside down in the air, tapping it with your fingernail, and drawing out the medicine with the syringe?!? What? You don't have to tap it with your fingernail? Okay, I just do that for effect.  I do fully realize that the Doogie Howser reference just seriously aged me.
Both babies just wanted to be held and occasionally making faces at them would temporarily relieve their crying. I made a LOT of faces over the course of the week.

Thankfully, cross your fingers, Connor, Daddy, and I have all escaped the sickness. Unfortunately, I just called my Mama though and she got it! I feel so bad!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Seven Months Old

Ahhh! Seven Months Old! Aiden just gets seriously more and more adorable by the day. Oh he just melts my stinkin heart!! I need to dig out the picture of Connor in this same outfit because I think they look more alike each minute. Aiden is trying really hard to sit up on his own and actually does pretty well with something slightly behind him. He loves his walker and likes to push himself backwards across the house. Of course, he likes it best if Connor pushes him and he goes along for the ride.
Izzy just gets more and more beautiful each day. Seriously! She is going to be a heartbreaker, but more so for her sparkling personality and strong work ethic. ;-) Izzy has really taken to using her hands and gains more control regularly. She also seems to be getting more control over her feet and LOVES to kick daddy.
Their Side-by-Side Photos:

These videos are just for me to keep as memories (and boy-oh-boy it is hard to hear my own annoying voice!)

First it's Aiden (in his seven month old outfit):

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thirty Weeks Old

Don't ask me how it's possible that they're so old. I have no idea where the time has gone. We had quite the eventful week with their first bad cold and fever (a little girl at daycare had to be hospitalized because she got it so bad). Mr. Howard transferred jobs and had quite the transition trying to figure out when to leave for work.
I am going to do a few more posts that have some of these photos in them because Aiden was making the cutest faces ever and I captured about 4 photos.  

They started holding hands in the teddy photo. It is so precious and it never gets old!
Stay tuned for their seven month post too!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Did I Enter the Twilight Zone?

It's only 7:44 and I am exhausted, so I have decided I will set a 10 minute limit for myself to just quickly get down some ideas and then I will go to bed. I wrote a facebook update about a two-day conference I went to and I just had to expand because it truly was the most odd conference/training I have ever been to. In the interest of time, I am going to bullet point the hilarity and weirdness of it all. I am also purposely not posting what conference it was, but I'd be happy to tell you privately if you so wish. Let me also say that this was a research-driven, educational conference I was attending. School districts sent representatives to the conference to come back to their sites and then train others.

  • We were given worry dolls (little tiny dolls) and we had to name our worries out loud and then tell them to a partner. We then spent another 20 minutes decorating coffee mugs with the answers to our fears. We were told that it helps with schizophrenia and disturbed thoughts. (I somehow missed the connection between me as a teacher and schizophrenia...)
  • The first day, we had a 8 hour training and only 20 minutes (I am NOT kidding) was spent doing the thing we came to learn. The rest of the 7 hours 40 minutes was getting us to feel empowered by telling us weird, inappropriate stories.
  • Such stories included telling us one of the instructor's IQ; one of the instructors telling us she could "smell a drunk" and "knew if they had cats" immediately upon entering an elevator with someone; telling us she used to be a Roman Catholic, but now she was a pentecostal - because she "discovered the truth" and then invited her pastor up to introduce himself; one instructor telling us his political beliefs; one told us that her mom was leukemia free and that prayer works; one told us that the other day in church a homeless man was sitting in the pews and when another woman was making disparaging remarks, our instructor walked over and talked to her. Again, what does that have to do with this training? It was literally as if whenever a thought occurred to either of them, they just blurted it out randomly.
  • They led us in prayer before we ate lunch the first day.
  • He discussed this game for a good amount of the presentation over the course of the two days and then never told us how to play it or gave us any info on how to do it (although, I do know that if I were to play it, I will save kids from "drug trafficking, sex trade...and the Taliban")
  • They regularly said "Oh yeah, those instructions in the packet we gave you were wrong...You need to add a step in..." or "Oh. Sorry. We use those terms interchangeably, but they are the same thing..."
  • They KEPT saying over and over and over about how it was scientifically proven that if we implemented the program, we would see a 14% improvement in our test scores. Then day 2 when someone asked if the instructors had a video of it in action because she was having a hard time visualizing it, they said that it had only been done in an academic lab setting, which is why they didn't have any videos. Ummmm? Then how do you know I'll get a 14% improvement?
  • She cried several times throughout the presentation at random times. It was uncomfortable and weird. One time was when she was giving a man who came to show us a 3D video (that had nothing to do with what we came to learn) a recycled aluminum can pin to wear. She also talked to us several times about re-purposing and how we should buy re-purposed art (like telephone wire bracelets) which she also sold at lunch the second day.
  • We had to break down the tables, chairs, etc. at the end of each day because they were having church service in the room.
  • It was the most unorganized, non-linear, "let me NOT tell you how to actually do this program" type of training I have ever been to. Ever. But what was funny was that they kept saying over and over that we HAD to follow the PROTOCOL exactly or we wouldn't get results. Ummm....what protocol?!?
Alright, I have exceeded my 10 minute limit and could go on for days. So, I will leave you with that. Just for pure entertainment value, it was seriously hilarious. The silver lining is that I got to know a new teacher at my school and I'm excited we both could share in the experience!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

An Angel

My brother's girlfriend, an amazing woman, lost her Mama on Tuesday night to melanoma that had metastasized in her brain. She fought so incredibly hard and while I never had the pleasure of meeting her, I did have the pleasure of knowing her daughter. And if her daughter turned out as confident, loving, giving, and nurturing as she is, I can only imagine what her mama was like.

I never know what to say, but of one thing I am certain. Heaven gained a beautiful angel and earth lost a beautiful soul way too soon. I pray so much that she has found Cole and wrapped him in her arms. I would be honored if she loves on him for me until I can get there. If you would all take a moment to say a prayer for their family, I am sure it would mean a lot.

Here are some ways you can prevent melanoma from www. melanoma.org

Check Your Skin

Research has shown that patients, not doctors, are most likely to spot a melanoma. This data reinforces the importance of thoroughly checking your skin each month. Early detection could save your life.

The MRF has created an awareness piece aimed at educating the public on the importance of self skin exams. You can view the Who is Most Likely to Spot Your Melanoma? mirrored booklet.

The ABCDE's of melanoma should be followed as guidelines and ANY suspicious mole or lesion should be brought to the immediate attention of a dermatologist. This is especially true if you notice any changes in a mole or lesion, including (but not limited to): bleeding, itching, and changes in color or size. The "Ugly Duckling" theory can also be applied - look for spots that are new, changing, unusual or different from other spots on your body.

Practice Safe Sun

Approximately 65 percent of melanomas—the most deadly form of skin cancer and one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States—are attributed to ultraviolet (UV) exposure from sunlight or artificial sources such as tanning beds.
Although melanoma may develop in parts of your body that are not exposed to the sun, the Melanoma Research Foundation recommends the following sun safety practices for all skin types to help prevent melanoma and other skin cancers:

Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin—even on cloudy days—year-round.
  • Be sure to use a sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Look for ingredients in your sunscreen such as titanium dioxide and mexoryl, which block UVA rays better.
  • Use enough sunscreen. To protect your entire body, use approximately an ounce of sunscreen (about a full shot glass) and apply it at least 20 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Re-apply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating, even if the bottle says it’s waterproof or long lasting.
  • Remember, wearing sunscreen is not a blank check for spending unlimited time in the sun. Sunscreen is just one component of sun safety.
  1. Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
  2. Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  3. Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
  4. Do not burn. Severe sunburns, especially during childhood, increase your risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancer. Just one blistering sunburn can double your chances of developing melanoma later in life.
  5. Avoid intentional tanning and indoor tanning beds. Current research indicates there is no way to get a tan through ultraviolet exposure without increasing the risk for skin cancer.
  6. Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that includes vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun.
  7. Be aware of medications that can increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs have the ability to make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What I'm Loving

Yes. It's Tuesday. But since I'm home and that rarely happens during the week, I thought I'd celebrate in the midst of snotty noses, tons of tears, and droppers full of acetaminophen.

I am loving my adorable husband and all the time we're spending together reading The Five Love Languages at night in bed. We're both exhausted and it'd be easy to crawl into bed and pass out, but we're making an effort to spend quiet time together every night connecting. I am learning so much about marriage, love, and most of all Mr. Howard. I wish I had actually read the book before I was even married...or even before I was dating anyone. I would have been so much better so much earlier. It also has opened my eyes to how I communicate love to my kids and even friends!


I am loving my adorable kids. I think that goes without saying, though. I know I've said this before and I think it a million times a day, but we are blessed. Our lives have changed so tremendously and there are moments when it is hard to recognize our house, the words coming out of my mouth regularly (you know, things like "Let's go on the potty like a big boy!"), my to-do lists, and grocery lists. But it is a miraculous blessing; of that I am certain.
(Photos from our Sunday)
(Yes I dressed Aiden and Isabella and left Connor in his pajamas. I got tired.)

I am loving the black pull-over I stole from Mr. Howard's closet. It is perfect for a "My Kids are Sick, so I Stayed Home with Them" day. I am wondering how appropriate it will look when I head out to my work meeting this afternoon wearing it and jeans...notice I use the words "wonder" and "when" because I have no plans to change.

I am loving that I am about to drink my second cup of coffee (I NEVER drink two cups). I actually had to make a whole new pot of coffee because I threw away the left over from the first pot. I am also loving the mug that my little sis in my sorority gave me for Valentine's Day about eight years ago. It still makes me smile thinking about my Tri Delta sisters. I wish someone would record "Mmm Mmm my sisters," so I could listen to it. Is there such a thing as ordering it on CD?
I am loving taking time to think about all that I'm loving. There is something to be said about celebrating the little and big things and taking time to voice them out loud. I heard a quote that struck me a few months ago, "What if you woke up only with what you thanked God for the day before?" I have lived by that the past few months and lay in bed being so thankful. It is hard to be in a sour mood on only a few hours of sleep when you go to bed thinking about everything in your life that is wonderful.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Foods, Couch Cuddles, Fevers, and Adorable Kiddos

I feel so guilty. I used to hear other moms say how much harder it was to get things done with more kids and I imagined it, but until you live it - it really is just infinitely unbelievable! Even I surprise myself with how little I get done. One thing I've been feeling soo guilty about is solids with the twins. With Connor we started solids and were pretty consistent - rice cereal for lunch or dinner, and then stage 1 foods, and 2, and so on.

With the twins, we have done solids about 3 times (and they're almost 7 months). It's just hard to fit it in regularly (and yet, ironically, I have time to take a million and five photos of them...priorities, right?). We're trying to get a little better about giving them food when we feed Connor dinner, but this means that Mr. Howard and I don't get to sit and eat (maybe that will help with my desire to lose about...100 pounds...alright I'm being a slight drama queen, but really!)
Don't they just look like they LOVE food?!?
Yeah. They actually hate it.
These were taken Sunday. It's kinda ridiculous how adorable they are!
I have been having fun in Photoshop and downloaded a few fun actions to brighten the color in my photos. I had some fun with these couch pictures.
Yep. This is what I do when I'm home by myself with the kids. I dress them up and take photos.
The babies NEVER fall asleep in our arms. And Saturday night I had two babies fall asleep on me in ONE night!

First it was Aiden...
And then it was Isabella...
At the time I thought it was so sweet. Now I realize it was because they were getting sick. Poor babies!

Today I got a phone call at about 10am from daycare saying Isabella had a 102 fever and we had to come get her. My mom, very sweetly, went and picked her up and then Mr. Howard left work early to snuggle with her. Then at 4pm, we got a second call telling us that Aiden also had a 102 fever. 
I'm pretty impressed that we made it 7 months without either baby getting a fever, but my heart just breaks for their little achy bodies, runny noses, and congested chests.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Twenty-Nine Weeks Old

Aiden and Isabella are both in 3 month and 3-6 month clothes. They are both still in size 1 diapers. They aren't sitting yet at all, but Connor REALLY struggled with this too. He was walking before he would sit unassisted. They both sit on the couch and in their bumbos. They both put objects in their mouths regularly and pass objects from hand to hand. They both giggle and love being tickled, although Isabella seems more ticklish and squeels; while Aiden finds things more funny (hiccuping, running towards him, making faces). They both are so in love with Connor! Aiden seems to be comforted a bit more by me than Mr. Howard (Aiden loves to be walked and rocked and bounced, which, happens to be my specialty), but Isabella is totally a Daddy's Girl. If he's in the room, you can bet that her eyes will be glued to him (and oh, it just melts my heart!).



Aiden's Cheeks! Oh! I have never seen a baby with such adorable cheeks. Oh dear. And when he smiles his big precious, all encompassing gummy smile, I turn into a 90 year old woman - in all but the voice - springing over to him saying, "Oh I could just pinch your cheeks!"

Isabella has the most beautiful eyes. They just have a sparkle to them and she squints them in such a way when her daddy is around. My heart just melts when she bats her eyes and looks up at us - just wanting to soak in every word we're saying to her, every gesture we're making, and every smile we flash at her.


Can you tell how obsessed we are with our kids?!? I just really think we make such cute babies!!
I'm trying not to worry or compare, but all my friends with babies the same age (and even younger) have kiddos who are achieving more milestones than Aiden and Izzy. I know they were a month premature and that drastically affects things, but I just want all to be well in their world. I know I have a few blogging friends with twins. Are you experiencing this at all?

P.S My darling hubby did these photos this week (wasn't that sweet?!?) while I was starting bathtime with Connor. And oops...he took the teddy bear photograph sideways. Honestly I think I'm going to re-do it today portrait style. Is that obsessive compulsive? I just want to be able to put all the photos up for their first birthday. Hi! My name is Mrs. Howard and I am a picture control freak.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I'm going to get deep here for a moment

We finally watched I Don't Know How She Does It and seriously if you take out the out-of-town travel, subtract out the boss who is in love with her, and add in an extra baby, two dogs, and pre-school - that is so our lives right now. I love the part about the list because HONESTLY it's sooo how it works in my brain.
I also love the scene where Sarah Jessica's character is talking to her mother-in-law who says, "If you weren't working, don't you think your two-year-old might be talking by now!?" To me, it speaks perfectly to the double standard we still have for working dads and working moms.

 It also, deep down in a place where I never tell any of my friends this because they would tell me I'm crazy, perfectly represents those thoughts in my head. Anytime something goes wrong or I feel inferior by an amazing stay-at-home mama, or I worry about a developmental milestone, I go there. I think about how me working might contribute to this huge problem in 10 years. Ten years from now, Connor will be saying to his 6th grade teacher, "Yeah. My mom was working and never had time to read to me. That's why I'm failing school." Flash forward a few years past that and it'll be "My mom was working...and so I never graduated high school." And finally to his partner, "Yeah. My mom worked. I never really knew love and I don't know that I ever want to get married."

I am thankful I have those thoughts, no matter how crazy, because it keeps me doing my best. Oprah would always say, "When you know better, you do better." And I want to know better. I know some friends have basically told me that I'm crazy thinking so much about Aiden and Isabella's first birthday and whether or not I should give them two invitations or one. And that's just it. I don't want to be perfect. I know I can't. I know that there will be something I do wrong and something some day my kids will be telling their spouses that their mom did and how it has majorly impacted them in some way. That's the reality. I just want to make sure that as a mom, and a WORKING one at that (so one who is not there for every milestone, every fall, every hug, and every celebration), that I do the best job that I can do...that I consciously consider the outcome of as many decisions as I can...and that I do my best to do right by my kids. Because, at the end of the day, being a mom is my most important, and cherished, responsibility.

Because some day, these precious cuties will be more than just babies in photographs. They will be grown ups, out in the world. They will be driving amongst you; they will be working amongst you; and even more importantly, some day they will be raising more children of their own.

 If I fail as a mom, I have failed the world.

 And so, I do the best I can to make the best decisions. And that's what's so amazing about our world. Because whether or not I work, or stay home, or work from home, all of us moms are doing the same important work - and we're all, hopefully, doing the best we can.

Last night, I was listening to Sara Haze's music and these lyrics struck a chord:
"I don't want to be her. I just want to be little old me... I feel lovely just the way that I am... I need that to be enough... Because it's enough for me... Am I supposed to be give up everything that I am?... I am lovely just the way that I am."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pinterest

For those of you not on pinterest, I HIGHLY recommend it! Highly! It can be a time suck, but honestly it's just like everything - it is what you make of it.
But what you will LOVE about it is the virtual online sort of "Favorite Places." You can pin anything on the Internet anywhere and then you'll have it. It has seriously revolutionized party planning - because you can pin a cake from one website and then pin table cloths from another and balloons from another and have one central picture board. It, I'm sure, has also revolutionized house decorating for the same reason. I've included a screen print of what I see when I log in. I've only just begun, but it is amazing!!


Last night I was laying in bed thinking about how I can better manage all the babies' diagnoses, medical info, etc. and it occurred to me I could pin the websites that I have found the most useful information. Then I'd have links to all the really great websites in one central location (right now, I've been saving emails with all the links). And Yes, I really do lay in bed thinking about organization and such. It's a curse. I also keep a post-it pad by my bed for all the things I think about and think about and think about... or shoot out of bed, thinking "OH!!! I need to photocopy that worksheet for tomorrow's class!!"

I know a lot of people have been hesitant to jump into it because it can be a "time suck," but honestly, if you don't use it as such - it won't become that. And really, saving stuff in a favorites places is always risky (I've had computers crash, favorites disappear etc.)

I did pin something personal, so if you want to repin it and add it to your own "Twin Ideas," feel free. Just click on the photo below and it will allow you to repin it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Christmas Plates

For Connor's first Christmas in 2009, we went to a pottery place where we picked out a Christmas plate and painted it as a family. We stamped the plate with his footprints to remember how tiny he was. When we had the twins we knew we wanted them to have their own plates, but we weren't sure if we wanted to get three matching plates so they could all put them out for Santa or whether or not we wanted different ones. At the end of December, we took the babies to continue our "First Christmas Plate" Tradition. Connor stayed with my mom, Debbie, Nathan, and Erin.

Isabella, Mama, & Aiden
 Daddy painting the plates
 We took turns painting and holding babies. We tried the whole holding a baby AND painting thing and it didn't work out so well.
 Well the plates were done about two weeks ago and Mr. Howard and I kept trying to get out there (it's about a 40 minute drive from our house), but we finally did it this weekend. First we let each baby model his/her plate!
Isabella and her Christmas Tree Chips and Salsa Plate:
 Aiden and his Gingerbread Platter
 And then close-ups of each plate:

Connor "made" an adorable Santa plate in 2009, which you can see HERE. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Twenty-Eight Weeks Old

On January 8th we put the babies in their nursery in separate cribs for the first time. While I did a HAPPY DANCE that Mr. Howard and I got our room back (we slept with them in our room for the first six-months - which is also what we did with Connor), I was heartbroken to put them in separate cribs. I asked for advice from my Mothers of Multiples group, though, and almost unanimously they said that one of the reasons they were having trouble sleeping might be because they were still sharing a crib. And what do you know? The very first night we separated them, they almost slept the whole night through.

The funny story about this was that Mr. Howard told me he was going to be posting our huge accomplishment on facebook (his actual post was: The babies are spending their first night in the nursery and the wife and I have our bedroom to ourselves! What will we do with the silence?!?) and he whispered it to me. I whispered back something about how funny it was. And THEN we both realized we were WHISPERING FOR NO REASON. Haha! We had no babies in our bedroom, but we are so conditioned to whisper in our room at night.
I'll have you know that this week we took EXACTLY two photos (the one above and the one below). No outtakes this week! That is huge!!! 
Aiden is so trying to use his tummy muscles to pull himself up. He's nowhere near accomplishing it, but it's good he's trying! Isabella's little face is filling out and she's starting to have a more round face. Oh I just adore them soo much!!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cole's Name Gallery

I know I've mentioned this before, but I have a few new readers! I am a 7th grade English and History teacher. I also teach a Technology Elective to 7th-8th graders. Because of the technology elective, I am in the library (where our laptops are) every day. One day I was helping students figure out how to use google forms, when I bent down on my knees next to the student. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this book. First it caught my eye because it said, "How I was Adopted" and I just loved the idea of the book. And then I looked at the author.
I put the book back on the shelf and helped the student. I turned back because I wanted to read the book and see how adoption was handled, when I saw this: 
 And this one made me smile:
I took the photos and texted them to Mr. Howard with the words, "I miss him. But I'm glad I can smile about it!" He wrote back ":) Love you!!!!" 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

30 Months Old

Even though I don't take pictures of him in a chair each month and document his growth in a consistent way with a post dedicated to his age specifically, I feel pretty confident that he is very well documented through other posts. But 30 months old was something I just felt I had to document! I mean, 30 months?!?

Yesterday as I was leaving the house I said, "Goodbye My Handsome Boy!" and he responded, "Bye Pretty Mama!" I mean, seriously! I know that it was fed to him by my adorable husband, but it was still the most precious thing you could hear a 30 month old say!

He's still in size 2T and 18 month clothes (which is nice because we got a lot of use out of last year's winter stuff). He is wearing size 5 diapers. He honestly is soo close to being potty trained. As soon as we have the next big break I will do it. But now it just doesn't make sense because I would have to send him in to preschool every day. I need to do it when I can be home with him.

When we're home together on the weekends, we have a "Big Boy Underwear Only" policy (P.S. I did NOT institute the policy. My 30 month old did). Can I also just add that for all you mamas out there whose kids are older or younger and you're worried about potty training. One day it will seriously just click. If that day is when they're 3 or 18 months, don't stress. It has NOTHING to do with your Mama skills.
 I have heard (and I could be wrong about this) that for girls, talking "clicks" at around 18 months and for boys it "clicks" around 2. That is spot on with Connor. At 2, he suddenly woke up and decided that he wanted to talk in sentences. And it is insane to me that he is able to figure out the appropriate contexts for words. A couple days ago we were getting in the bathtub. He said, "Mama, Mater too?" meaning he wanted to take one of his cars from Cars in the tub. I said, "Sure we can take Mater to the tub." "Mama, Finn too?" Obviously we never explicitly taught him the "too" word, but just from hearing us say it, he started using it. I think language is just so magical.
He eats everything we eat. My heart goes out to all you Mamas who struggle with food and your toddlers. We did go through a period where he wanted what he wanted and had a few tantrums. I had a few "What Do I do?!?" Mama moments...and a few "do I give him waffles if that's all he'll eat?" moments.  But for the most part, we've been blessed (and I say blessed because I don't think it was anything we did). If we're eating steak for dinner, he eats steak. If we're eating sushi at a restaurant, he eats sushi at the restaurant. We don't make him separate meals. We may just adjust what we're eating slightly. For instance, last night we had shredded chicken burritos for dinner. Instead of making him a burrito, I made him a plate of shredded chicken, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and rice - mixed together and then heated up a tortilla for him to eat on the side. He still doesn't have the fine motor skills to hold a burrito, but I wanted to expose him to all the ingredients. We are also very conscientious of giving him things that we don't like. For instance, I hate oatmeal. Hate. Loathe. Detest. I have always wished I liked it. Connor eats it by the platefuls. Sometimes it's hard because Mr. Howard and I both don't eat it (which means we don't buy it), but I try to expose him to it at my mom's house or at a restaurant.

Connor is such a good big brother. I absolutely, positively cannot imagine him not being one. To be able to see him interact with the babies, cements in my mind the reason we had more children. I know he would have led a full life if they hadn't been born, but I think his life will be so much more rich and happy with his baby sister and brother in it. I never in a million years could have imagined or guessed the sides of Connor that come out with Aiden and Isabella. Normally he is rambunctious and loud and all over the place. With Aiden and Izzy, he is patient, loving, kind, nurturing, soft, protective, and careful. He will walk over and touch one of their cheeks softly for no reason when no one is looking. He asks for them in the morning. He must kiss each one 15 times before bedtime. He includes them in his prayers. He shows them new things that he learns or makes. And all three of them will be here together long after Mr. Howard and I go to spend time with Cole and that makes my heart happy. So happy. If I feel one burden as a Mama, it is wanting so desperately to nurture the relationship of my children with each other. It's something I lay awake in bed thinking about and I pray that it will be the legacy I leave my children. Wow. Mom really taught us to love each other and be friends.

He is such a good sharer. Too good, in fact. It's why, I think, he has such a hard time understanding that some things are just the babies (like their bottles). He is always giving them his toys, getting clothes out of his closet to "change the babeeeeeez," and trying to pry open their mouths to put food. I attribute this way less to anything we did and way more to the fact that he was 6 weeks old when he started going to daycare. He learned REAL fast REALLY early that what's his is everyone's and vice versa. Of course at our house his toys have always been his, but for now he doesn't mind sharing (I also fully realize that they are only six-months-old and aren't in all his stuff yet. This could totally change when they are one and into all his Mater and CARS toys).

He is working on colors - right now he calls everything red or blue automatically. We sing the ABC's and he sings with us, but he is nowhere near knowing them by heart. We try to point out letters to him when we read or draw them in the bath, but again, he's nowhere near knowing them. The wonderful thing about being a teacher, is that I know that kids learn at different times. Some kids know their ABC's early and some don't. In the end, it's all a wash. Whether you learned to read at 2 or 6, it isn't when you learned, it's how much you enjoy it and how much you desire to learn more. Sometimes I have to remind myself of that fact though.

To think that 30 months ago (actually since it's the 14th and I know specifically what we were doing 30 months ago exactly) we were holding our precious boy in our arms taking his very first set of professional photos, in wonder and awe of the amazing boy we had just delivered - makes me remember how special and wonderful life is. We tried for about 15 months to conceive him and then were blessed with a magical pregnancy and even more special birth. I think, also, that experiencing infertility and the loss of a child has made us so much more appreciative of the tantrums and meltdowns and hugs and laughter. We are blessed. And our special boy, Connor James, was simply the beginning of our blessed journey...

And just because I can, here is us exactly 30 months ago:



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Date Night

My sister braved our household and volunteered to give us a night of babysitting! She actually bought us a gift card for Olive Garden as a Christmas present and it came with babysitting for a night. Talk about the perfect Christmas gift! Denny helped and did a great job!! Seriously anyone who braves watching all three kids is my personal hero!!
Mr. Howard and I before we left for dinner!

My sister and her neice:
 My sister and her baby neice and nephew - Connor was with Uncle Denny
 Denny and Connor
She's brave enough to volunteer again to let us go to a movie for Valentine's Day! Isn't that amazing! Don't you want her as your little sister?!? 

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