Thursday, March 31, 2016

June's 2nd Birthday

Another long overdue post, but I'm hoping to use Lucy and Hank's spring break to get myself caught up! I'm realizing how draining and time consuming school days are!! Despite the fact that the kids are being taken care of for part of the day while they are at school, I think the getting ready, commute time, and homework time involved with school/preschool doesn't actually make the time the kids are away worth it! Hopefully once all three are in school I feel differently, but for now, I'm enjoying this spring break with all three kids home and no place we HAVE to be. 
Here are a few shots from the morning of June's 2nd birthday.  This year, for multiple reasons, we decided to just do a little family party with the 5 of us.  Birthdays are a hard time for me here in Akron because they are a reminder of the distance we have from our families. June is at the age where she doesn't necessarily have "friends" to have over, but with her birthday being just after Christmas, it also didn't make sense to have any family out here to celebrate.  We had fun celebrating together and one of the things I love about being in Akron is the closeness the 5 of us have developed... but I do still miss being close to our family and friends in Indy. 
So for June's big day we started with sprinkle pancakes (a tradition of ours!) and a few celebratory decorations and presents. Then when Ben got home we went to chuck e. cheese for dinner and some fun.  As soon as we got there June pointed to Chuck E. and said - "bear scares me mama, bear scares me"... haha... I guess I should have taken into account that the giant mouse singing and dancing on stage would scare my little 2 year old.  Whoops! She eventually warmed up though and of course Lucy and Hank had a blast running around playing, so all in all it was a success.
We had small group that night - and it just so happened that 3 other kids had their birthday that week and 5 kids total had their birthday in January, so we had a cake for everyone to celebrate! Our life group is BIG so having cake with all the littles was quite a feat... but we enjoyed celebrating with our church "family".

I'm going to combine this post with an update on June as well. June at 2 is quite the little firecracker! She is a spunky, hilarious, bossy, and lovable little sweetheart.  This girl knows what she wants and she is not afraid to go after it.  And I think because for so long the older two kids had to cater to her (out of neccesity when she was a baby), she's learned to manipulate them into giving her whatever she wants.  She pretty much rules the roost.  The tricky part is that she's so darn cute when she's doing it, that we usually let her get away with anything! I have a feeling she's always going to be my baby. :)

Height: 2'10" (58%) Weight: 27lb 8oz (59%)

We are still working on molding this little lady though! Time outs seem to work pretty well with June.  She is the most defiant when it comes to telling her to do (or not do) something, but she also happens to be the quickest to turn around once we start counting or actually put her in time out.  She is always quick to say "no momma!" but just as quick to say "ok momma, sorry momma".  Overall she is a pretty easy kid and our biggest battles are typically regarding not snacking all day, doing something I ask her to do, and hitting her brother/sister.
June is a pretty good eater - she will try just about anything and seems to eat pretty good at most meals.  She loves food off of my plate the most (it seems), but this often means she will eat a salad loaded with veggies, meat and a light dressing.  I'm shocked (and a little angry she is stilling my food!) but ultimately love that she is getting all of that good food in!! She typically spends most meals sitting in Ben or my lap.  It's not ideal, but it's also not something that I'm too worried about because I know she will eventually stop.  If Lucy had tried to do this at meal time, I would have definitely been reading books and talking to friends about how to get her to stop... it's funny how things change with your third kid! I know this time will go fast and so I don't bother sweating the small stuff.
Sleep is great, as usual.  June has always been a great sleeper and this past year that continued.  She still loves sleeping with her paci and a couple blankis. Luckily she mostly keeps her paci to her crib, but she does love her pacis A LOT. She is a much later sleeper than the other two, typically going to bed between 8:30-9pm and sleeping in until 8-8:30am and takes a nap around 1:30/2pm... I find I push her a little later so we can do more stuff during the day, but she has no problem going with the flow.  She has missed a few naps here and there, and seems to do fine with that also.  Not that I think she is anywhere near giving up a nap, but she does seem to be pretty flexible. 
She is still in a crib, but her latest trick has been climbing in and out of the crib, so I think her crib days will be over soon.  She does seem to love her crib and does really well in it, so I'm not eager to move her, but we do need to make the plunge at some point.  She now regularly comes all the way out of her room and downstairs after her naps - it's pretty cute.  The first time she came down on her own it kind of shocked me, I couldn't believe she was standing right behind me!
At 2 June loves reading, dancing, running around outside (or inside!), jumping on the trampling, playing with Hank and Lucy, (really doing whatever Hank and Lucy are doing, she adores them), getting into trouble (by dumping, drawing, or destroying), snuggling, and playing with babies.  In fitting with her opinionated personality, she also loves picking foods out of the fridge or pantry, picking out her outfits (which usually includes 1 of 3 t-shirts that she likes to wear), and doing things "all by herself".
We love you June bug!! You are the perfect addition to our family and you bring all of us more joy than we could ever imagine. Our family is more full, more fun and all together better with you in it.

We call the above June's "Guido" face - since she looks like a little mafia person, strong-arming others to give her whatever she wants.  We love our little Guido.

A few pictures from our Chuck E Cheese celebration...

 And cake with our small group!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hank 4 Year Old Post

Weight: 41lbs (85%)
Height: 3' 5" (79%)

This is WAY late - but better late than never!!! Hank at 4 years old is really blossoming.  Hank can definitely be our most challenging kid, but since turning 4, he has really started to mature.  Hank is a very kind, loving, sweet little boy but there were lots of times during his 3rd year of life that the sweet side was extremely hard to see! Lately I feel like we've been seeing more and more of the loving side of him... 4 has definitely brought on some good times!

Hank is a super athletic, energetic boy as well. Usually during a day you will see him jumping on the couch, jumping on the trampoline, riding his bike, running around the house or jumping on the bed.  He loves to work out with me or go on runs with Ben and is just overall a very athletic little boy.  We often get comments on how much a crazy monkey he is - excelling at doing the monkey bars, doing tricks on his bike, or doing flips on the trampoline we call him our little American Ninja Warrior.

Hank started preschool this past year and has really been growing academically as well. He is close to recognizing all of his letters, and we are working on getting some of the sounds.  He has also been mastering writing his name and has become more adept at some of the preschool "skills" - cutting, coloring, counting, etc. I wouldn't say school is his favorite thing, but overall I think he is happy there.  Compared with Lucy, most school days Hank isn't really eager to go, and when I pick him up he doesn't have many good things to report, but I do think he is learning and growing there.  I'm hoping next year will give him a bit more of a challenge and fun as he will be taking pre-k classes.

This past year Hank did soccer and gymnastics.  I felt like gymnastics was right up his alley, since his is such a little ninja, but his reports back from class were always - "I want to do real gymnastics" or "they wouldn't let me do flips".  As I watched him, he always seemed to be having fun and seemed to really excel at the skills, but I was torn if he really loved it since he never had many good things to say about it.

This is often how Hank seems to report on things though... Wherever he goes, when we pick him up and ask him if he had fun, he usually shares a lot of the negative.  This might be something we need to work with him in the future. So far, it's just been interesting to observe his reactions to different situations.
Hank is still my most sensitive kid.  He has the biggest highs but also has the biggest lows and seems to experience his emotions to the greatest degrees.  One example of this is when he can't find me or doens't know where I am (which is typically in the basement doing laundry) he will panic and freak out, crying and screaming for me.  I've learned to make sure I tell Hank where I'm going if I'm moving around, but I definitely still forget and this seems to happen about once a week.

Sleep at night has been going really well.  Hank sleeps through the night almost all the time and has pretty much given up napping since he gave up sucking his thumb right around his 4th birthday. Every once in a while he will take a nap, but it is pretty rare.  At night he typically sleeps around 8:30pm-7:30am (ish).  We were ready for the naps to go when they did as Hank was taking forever to fall asleep at night, so taking his thumb away overall helped him sleep better at night.
Speaking of getting rid of his thumb - Hank has been taking it like a champ! He gave up the thumb no problem, and was ready to do it.  We had prepped him about it for a while and I think that helped. Right around his 4th birthday we told him we were going to paint his thumb with yucky nail polish and that pretty much did the trick! The nail polish tastes so nasty that Hank is never tempted to suck his thumb... when it is on.  I will say, we are now 4 months in and I continue having to paint his thumb.  Despite going over a month without sucking his thumb, I've found that once the paint wears off he slowly starts mindlessly sucking his thumb, despite reminders to stop.  So I've continued to paint his thumb every 2 weeks or so, and that seems to reset things.  Not sure when that will stop, but so far it's been working well for us.
Time outs continue to be our main way of enforcing rules with Hank and it seems to work well.  He still gets in trouble a little more frequently than the girls, but he does seem to be learning and responding positively to our instruction.  And honestly since hitting 4 he seems to be really calming down and following instructions so much better.  There have been several times when Hank has come up to me asking how he can help me and doing whatever I ask without complaint.  He is turning into a very helpful young man!

We love you so much Hank.  You are the best snuggler and always ask for mom to snuggle you on the couch if we haven't had a chance to during the day. You often tell me how much you love me and crack me up all the time with your goofiness. You are the best wrestler in our house and always make sure we have a few tickle fights a day.  You are so sweet to your sisters, especially June - we love watching you as her big brother, playing with her, laughing with her, and knowing your limits with her.  And you've become such a great playmate for Lucy, using your imaginations to make believe with her, build with her, and run around with her.  We are so thankful to have you as our son Hank, we love you!!!