Friday, October 5, 2012

Just a quick baby video

Not that she's much of a baby anymore! Ellie at 19 months is walking, running, jumping, talking, and lots of fun!

video

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The napping baby

Ellie is asleep in her crib (can you hear the angels singing too?) and I'm between semesters, so I thought I would catch you up on our family! I know I haven't posted in 6 months but it seemed like time to try to resurrect this blog. There has been some guilt-tripping about it lately and about how no one gets to see the pictures of my kids or hear about how they're doing. Unless, of course, they're on Facebook and read about them everyday. Ahem.

Our family has grown again! You might recall that we had Nietzsche put to sleep on Valentine's Day 2011. He was 11 1/2 and could no longer go up and down stairs. It was devastating and we miss him every day. His brother, Caesar, was really lonely. They were littermates and had always been together. In January, for my birthday, we got a new beagle named Austin. He's nuts. He is the sweetest little (and I do mean little, he's only 20 lbs as opposed to Caesar's almost 70) dog but man, he can chew through anything. He's very clever and wants to play all the time. It's strange having a dog with lots of energy around again! He likes to sleep on the bed with us and we often find that he has slowly and stealthily wormed his way up between us by the time morning comes.

Jason started a new law firm in February. The first two weeks, he got three clients. "That would be a good rate," he said. "If I can get three clients every two weeks, I'll have about 70 a year." Then his marketing started working and he got 24 clients the first month. What a surprise--but a good one! He's been working hard and it is really nice to see him fulfilled professionally again. He's also been able to keep up with the family and managed to do all of that with Ellie home all but one day a week. It's been really special to see the bond that they have together. Jason's been really busy with the boys' soccer, as well. Now that the season's over, I'm sure we'll find other ways to spend that time.

 Patrick underwent some major changes in the last six months! He'd been growing his hair for four years and decided to donate it to Pantene's program in which they make wigs for cancer patients. You can see his hair on the left, right before our wonderful hair stylist Royer cut it. (FWIW, Royer almost cried. He loves Patrick's hair. He's done every haircut Patrick has ever had. If it hadn't been for a donation, I almost think he would have refused to cut it.) Anyway, now he looks like this:

It took me a week to get used to it--I'd look at him and think "Who is that?" He got it cut right after his 8th birthday. He wants to grow and donate it again. It looks so much lighter when it's long.

Patrick is just about done with second grade. He has less than a week remaining! He's gone through some struggles this year but all is turning out really, really well. He is an incredible kid. Aside from being sweet and kind and an awesome son and brother, he's also super smart. His teacher says she's never had another student in such a high reading group (mind you, she hasn't been teaching for long but we'll still take it). It can be challenging to find age-appropriate books for Patrick that still keep his interest. He's in the regular gifted program as well as the gifted math program, which is culled from the regular gifted program for extra math challenges. He and his partner won the second-grade math competition! They went down in the first round of the whole school competition but they were up against fifth-graders. In soccer, Patrick's coach really praised how much Patrick "gets it" with regards to moving the ball around, and how aware he is of where people are on the field. He scored a couple of goals this season and had some incredible defensive plays! He just finished his first year of Hebrew school on Tuesdays and can recognize all the Hebrew letters and vowels, and read some simple words. We are really proud of how well he's done.

Melkamu is, in a word, amazing. He has one of the most incredibly sweet personalities I've ever met. He has grown tremendously in the past bit and since he was already tall, that's saying something. I've taken to moving clothes that Patrick has outgrown directly into Melkamu's drawers. At 5 1/2, he's about 3 inches shorter than Patrick at 8 1/2. He's kind and smart and friendly, and obviously quite handsome. Last week, he finished up pre-K and is incredibly excited about going to kindergarten in August. His teachers told me that out of the fifteen boys in the class (out of 23 kids--yikes!), he was one of the few that really listened and followed directions well, though he could be swayed into some mischief sometimes ;-) He's now recognizing most of his letters, can write his name and count most of the way to 100, and I think he's starting to recognize some simple words also. For the life of me, I can't figure out how he's growing so well when it feels like he never eats. Breakfast is usually good. Lunch is good 2/3 of the time. Dinner is good maybe two nights a week. He's a bit on the picky side.

Kamu is an awesome brother for both Patrick and Eleanor. He and Patrick play together every day. Right now, he's waiting for Patrick to get home because quite frankly, being home with Mama is boring! He and Patrick play all around the neighborhood and it's rare to find them inside on a sunny afternoon. They helped me plant bean seeds last week, turned the front garden patch, and are going to be planting their own little plots out there later this week. I'm expecting that they're each going to keep quite busy this summer. We're joining a pool and I know that we'll be there a lot. I'm sure Kamu's swimming will be awesome by the end of the summer!

And now we get to the Wiggle Worm, little Ellie bean. My sweet, challenging, beautiful little spitfire of a girl. As you might remember, Eleanor has been a handful from the beginning.* She doesn't really sleep much, she never took a bottle, she is something of a picky eater, and she's incredibly smart. Her first word was around 4-5 months and was "Na", or "Nurse me NOW, lady!" She now has a distinct vocabulary of over a dozen words and seems to be adding new ones everyday. We hear "Num-num!" which means she wants food but doesn't want to nurse. "Uh oh" is another favorite. "Tatick" is Patrick, and "Damu" is Kamu. She says yes and no and up and down and Mama and Dada (it's rapidly morphing from Dada to Daddy) and dog and brother and a bunch of other things. She'll let you know right away if there's something she wants, and you'd better get it for her quickly! Oh, and she'll let you know if you don't or how she feels if you say no. We've already entered the tantrum-phase. They're pretty short-lived so far. On a sweet note, she hugs and kisses all the time and loves to laugh and giggle. Bathtime is one of her favorite times of the day. More splashing = more giggling and fun! She loves, loves, loves her baby dolls. "Ahbay" is her word for baby and there is usually one within a few feet of her.

Eleanor is never one to sit still when she can climb onto or into something (she's in the cereal cabinet in the picture here. Naturally, she had already removed all the cereal and rice). She stood at 8 months and now, if you come to our house, you're likely to find her standing on the coffee table or a chair or the fireplace. She knows how to safely climb up and down stairs. She started walking independently shortly after her first birthday and is trying desperately to run and jump now. Although she never took a baby bottle, she's mastered sippy cups, sports bottles, and straws already. Her favorite food remains black beans, and her ideal meal is black beans, strawberries, and some sort of bread. Yogurt is also good. She's meh on eggs and meats and cheeses. Peanut butter is a staple--she loves it. Unfortunately, she's never been a big fan of trying new foods and is iffy on a lot of vegetables. She still sleeps with us but has taken two naps in her Pack N Play in the last week! It's astounding how much she has learned to do already.

This is absurdly long already, so I'll just say that things are going well for me. It's been a very busy time lately but time does seem to be like that more often than not. I'll try to blog this summer and keep you up to date on the antics of the Morrey kids!

* FWIW, when people see me with all three kids and say "You have your hands full!" I always reply with "That's just how I like them." Because I do.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaBloPoMo 2: The quick fail

Wow, it didn't take me long to fall off the bandwagon on NaBloPoMo, did it? I thought about posting twice yesterday. The first time I was at work and my brain was on rapidfire, trying to find ways to avoid grading a set of tests--but I quashed that little thought and got the tests done. The second time I was at home, but it was late and I wanted to get a stew into the crockpot for us to eat for dinner tonight since I knew I wouldn't have time in the morning. I admit that I decided that we needed to eat more than I needed to blog at that moment, but I also figured that I'd blog after I finished putting the stew together. Then Ellie woke up and that was that.

But here I am. I refuse to give up and at some point, I will do an extra post to make up for it.

So much has happened with Ellie in the last few weeks. She got her first two teeth within 3 days of each other--they're the bottom middle ones and she is adorable. I'm very grateful that she's not a chomper while nursing. She doesn't show them off very often but they're well above the gums now. She's also this.close to crawling. She gets up on all fours as often as possible and rocks back and forth, but hasn't figured out forward movement yet (though she does sometimes end up going backwards). I also appreciate that she waited until a normal age to start crawling. She's been able to sit for a while, and also get herself onto her stomach without falling, but now she's trying to get herself from her stomach into a seated position. She hasn't managed it yet but it's coming. She can also stand on her own for brief periods as long as you give her some back support. I'm just astounded at how strong she is.

She's been talking for two months or so. Just a few words and she doesn't say them often, but they clearly have meaning. She says Mama, Dada, na (for nurse), and broh (for brother). Jason and I think she's working on da (for dog) and also heh-oh (for hello). The last one sounds a lot like uh-oh and I thought that was what she was saying for a long time but she didn't seem to care when I would repeat it back to her. When I say "hello!" after she makes that sound, she gets all excited.

The boys are just enthralled with Ellie. We chose to have another child because Jason and I wanted another child, but watching Patrick and Melkamu with their little sister is just as close as it gets to perfect happiness. They are sweet with her, always wanting to make her happy and smile. Patrick loves to hold her and Melkamu loves to make faces to make her laugh. They are excellent at trying to make her happy if we're in the car and she's crying, and she loves them more than anyone else in the world. We wanted our children to be close to one another and it's so wonderful to see them caring so much about each other.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oh no, it's time for NaBloPoMo!!!

I've been particularly slack about writing this year and so I'm making the committment, for the third year in a row, to do National Blog Posting Month. Every day in November, I pledge to post something on my blog. I am, as always, taking suggestions for what you'd like me to write about.

The year has been a year of transitions. Having a third child in general is pretty easy--a lot easier than I was expecting it to be. Ellie as a third child is challenging. She's got SUCH a strong personality. She's amazingly sweet and lovable but never, ever stops. Anything. I have to hold her legs still while she nurses and even so, she's windmilling her arms around when I do that. She flat-out refuses a bottle or sippy cup of pumped milk while I'm gone, which means she nurses most of the night. The idea of her sleeping through the night is laughable. Co-sleeping is saving my sanity.

I'm still sane. Shut up.

The boys are great. Melkamu is thriving in pre-K and loves it. He's learning to write and all sorts of other things, and he loves his class and teachers. He'll be 5 in less than 3 weeks and has been eagerly anticipating his birthday party (which isn't even scheduled yet) for months and months. Patrick is doing well in second grade. He's in the regular gifted program and also the separate math gifted program, and those are keeping him challenged. That's been a problem for him in the past--he doesn't like to fail and so he'll only do things he already knows how to do--but he's really starting to step up and try new things, and be persistent in figuring them out! We're thrilled. They're playing with robots and doing programming in the gifted program and it sounds like lots of fun!

Jason's been in transition all year with regards to jobs. First, his job ended in February. Then he had a temp job in South Carolina from June through July. Then he had a temp job here for three weeks in October. He's starting a new temp job here mid-month. He likes the variety of the document review, which is great, and there's a lot of flexibility with it, so it's actually working out well for us. If it were a steady job, it would be perfect for him. But the temp jobs are doing well enough for us and we're maintaining.

Caesar is in transition--we think. At his annual appointment in July, we were told that he has a splenic tumor and only had 1-3 months to live if it was cancerous. There was an 80% chance that it was cancerous. We elected not to have it removed and biopsied because at his age (he turned 12 last month), it just seemed like unnecessary pain and trauma for him without much gain. He's at the top end of his expected lifespan anyway. So we figured we'd just love on him and make him as comfortable as possible. He started getting skinny and we were watching for signs of pain or discomfort, knowing that we'd have to bring him in if that happened.

He's doing fine. We started feeding him a bit more and he plumped right back up. He doesn't seem in pain at all. He seems completely normal. Maybe he lucked out and has a benign tumor and we'll get to have him around for years to come! (I hope, I hope.)

Anyway, it's required a constant shift around here to stay balanced this year and that killed me for writing blogs. But I'm going to make the committment that BOTH OF MY READERS will find new posts every day this month. And there will be pictures. Lots of pictures.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My baby amuses me

Or..."No one believes how hard Ellie fights sleep".

Seriously, people don't believe us when we say she doesn't nap.  They think she probably naps but a little less than other babies, or a little less regularly.  But it's true:

Ellie. Almost. Never. Naps.

There was one day when we thought she'd had a great napping day. She napped for about 90 minutes and we were thrilled.  Of course, she did those total of 90 minutes in 5 separate sessions, none of which were longer than 25 minutes.  Generally, she'll sleep for a total of 30 minutes a day.

Did I mention she still doesn't sleep through the night?  'Cause she doesn't.

To be honest, it really doesn't bother me that she doesn't sleep through the night.  She'll sleep in her pack n play in our bedroom for a few hours, then I'll get up and go into her room with her.  We'll nurse and co-sleep the rest of the night.  It doesn't feel burdensome and I know that it's limited in time, so I'm enjoying the extra cuddling time. 

But this video?  That's what she does.  And just so you know, she never did fully fall asleep in there.  When I took her out, she acted as though she'd never been tired at all.  She stayed up until 7:00, then slept for 10 minutes, then woke back up.

Her total napping time today (in 2 sessions) between 7:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.?  Less than 30 minutes.

Watch and be amazed ;-)


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

5-minute post

Just a few things because I'm going to bed in a few minutes but it's been a while since I've posted.

My brother came to visit last week.  It was great.  He hadn't made it down here since Patrick was just under a year old (though we've seen him when we go to NY) and it was so nice to have him visit.  The kids just loved having him here.  Well, Ellie took a couple of days to warm up but the boys had a blast playing soccer and reading and generally being insane with Uncle Sean.

My camera's flash card is missing.  I am freaked out because my regular laptop has already died and ALL of my digital pictures are on it.  I know those can be saved, so those don't worry me too much, but every baby picture of Ellie since about 3 months on is on that flash card and I have no idea what happened to it.  I'm about to conduct a completely throrough search that involves moving major pieces of furniture and/or appliances as necessary until it's found.

Melkamu loves loves loves pre-K so far.  He gets to play with his friends everyday again (he's been out of daycare since shortly before Ellie was born) and is so proud to have little homework assignments to do.  Yesterday he got to fill in a page all about himself and he drew pictures of our family, glued on wooden beads, and wrote his own name.  It's awesome to see how much he loves school already!

Ellie's decided that moving is fun.  She actually decided it months ago when she started rolling but now she log-rolls, wiggles, army crawls, and squiggles until she gets where she wants to go.  It's surprising how fast she can move when she wants!  Today, for the very first time, I watched her pushing herself up as high as she could on her arms and also trying to raise her bottom at the same time.  Since she can get her knees under herself and push already, once she manages to get her bottom up with her arms also, she'll be off and crawling.  I hope I'm not off on my crawling estimate of 7 1/2 months but I'll be surprised if she's not crawling by then.

OK, bedtime!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Awesome things about being a parent...

1. Indoctrinating your children to be the next generation of fans to your favorite sports teams! Oh yeah, they're all wearing their Dolphins shirts! Are you ready for some football???

(And yes, they all also have Red Sox shirts.  They may also get Falcons shirts.  They will not, however, be getting Braves shirts.  I grew up too much of a Mets fan for that.)

2. Seeing your oldest child so excited to start second grade, and to know he's off to a really good start! Patrick has a new teacher who seems great so far.  We're hoping for a great year for him and know that he's going to learn a ton!

3. Watching your middle child write his first words on his own, without any help from Mama or Daddy! Melkamu's really wanted to learn to write for the last few weeks.  We've been trying really hard not to push him until he was ready but, like he often does, he decided he wanted to do it and is figuring it out.  He's been working on the letters of his name and has that pretty well--needs a little help but can write it entirely himself.  Today, though, he was watching Elmo's World on Sesame Street and, after the intro was over, he went and got a piece of paper and a crayon.  He wrote the "ELO" part and then asked me what it said.  I knew where he was going with it and said "If you put in an M, it will say ELMO."  And he did!  I could not be prouder of how much he is learning lately, and can only imagine how he will blossom when he starts Pre-K in 10 days.

4. Realizing your youngest child can sit on her own for 20 seconds or more at a time!  Ellie's been pushing up so high on her arms and I knew she could hold herself up with minimal help but I discovered today that she really doesn't even need the minimal help as much as I thought she did.  I am constantly astounded by how strong my daughter has become!

It's been a good week for us, in case you couldn't tell :-)