Friday, July 31, 2009

More July Moments (in Video)...

In addition to some pictures, we also have some little video clips of the boys from July. Enjoy...

The boys have an uncanny ability to amuse themselves with the most simple things. Here is a moment that Wes and Jared share dropping a small crotchet doilies through the handle of the freezer. Who knew this was so hysterical.....

video

Some more fun with the freezer! If they really worked together, I am confident they could get into the ice cream. Guess what Daddy baby proofed the next day? ...

video

The boys have three wooden puzzles that each have three large pieces. There is an 'easy' puzzle in the bunch that has a circle, triangle and square piece. By far, these are the easiest pieces to slide into place. For a while, the boys would fight over this puzzle and the circle piece specifically because they knew it was the easiest to solve. However, they are getting better and better at the harder puzzle pieces. I enjoy watching these little minds work and the excitement when they figure something out. I just love their determination!!! Here is Drew and Wes working one of the harder puzzles with the sheep and rooster pieces. Check out Drew's excitement...... great stuff.....

video

Spinning, spinning, spinning.... need I say more...

video

We were inspired by the Hoglund family to use our Little People figures in a new and exciting way. Daddy loves to suction these to the boys' bellies, faces, legs, arms, etc. Here is a little video of Daddy and the boys....

video

With three toddlers, we should really have cameras mounted throughout the house so we can catch every silly, funny and memorable thing the boys do. It's exciting when we actually catch these moments to see them interacting and most importantly to hear those giggles.... there is just nothing better.

Take care,

More July Moments (in Pictures)

July was a month full of summer heat, fun, laughter and change. The boys turned 15 months old, officially kicked the binkie habit, started to eat off of plates, removed the last baby gate in our living room, finished Ft. Darnell and we made one really big decision! Whew.... I just have to pause for a second when I think about everything we accomplished over the past month.

The month was a great month and there are several pictures that did not make it into any other post during the month. So, this post is dedicated to these July moments.....

One afternoon, Wesley decided he wanted to start collecting his toys. One by one, he started picking up toys and bringing them to this basket. He did this for quite a while as you can see....

He filled the basket up with all of his favorites...
The end tables continued to be our nemeses during the month. The appeal of these cool glass tables....
We had a baby gate attached to this table to limit the boys movement under the table and also to keep our electrical cords separated from the boys. Well, with their new found mobility we continued to find the boys trapped like this....
As the boys had the power to get behind the baby gate, we opted to remove it and let the boys roam. This area became the most interesting place to be in the entire house.....
Jared finally gets his opportunity to touch the lamp without getting in trouble for being on the table. As our little engineer, he loves to try and figure out how something works. He is quite intrigued by the light bulb. This picture was taken just moments before he actually knocked the lamp over....
Soon enough, you boys will be pushing the mower!! Until then, it is very interesting to watch someone else mow the lawn...
Our new thing is to sit on the couch underneath the cushions....
Check out these muscles....
My little gymnast...
Brothers just chillin....
I guess it is time to break out the door knob protectors....
It is simple moments like this that take my breath away! Andrew was playing with one of these balls on the couch. Jared grabbed the other one and climbed on the couch to play with him. They started playing with each other. Not just brothers but friends....
On this day, I looked over to see Wesley leaning over the ball popper and playing with other toys within his reach. He was not crying or fussing but....
His arm was actually stuck inside of the ball popper...
Oh Sweet Baby J...
Andrew - do you have the another case of the chickenpox? Or is that just a chicken on your head? Daddy enjoys sticking these little people and animals to the boys faces, tummies and other body parts. The boys love it!
On this day, I was working from home and trying to keep three toddlers from harming themselves. It's these days that are the most exhausting. After the boys were in bed, I crashed on the couch. I was awakened by my wonderful husband with the kitchen cleaned and all I had to do was crawl into bed. I was so appreciative of him as it was technically my day to take care of the kitchen duties. Little did I know when I checked the camera the next morning, I would find a picture of me snoozing with my eldest son also catching some zzzzz's....
At the start of this post, I mentioned that we made a big decision that would impact our family. Well, here it is.... Since I returned to work when the boys were 13 weeks old, Mike and I have been working alternate days so one of us was always here with the boys. I worked from home on Monday and Friday and in the office Tuesday to Thursday. Mike worked Friday through Monday. This arrangement was a great one for us for a while. However, we have decided that it is time for a change. The boys are so much fun that we would like to enjoy the boys together as a mother AND father. To accomplish this, we have decided that Mike will become a Stay at Home Dad. We are excited about the opportunity to do things together as a family on weekends!!! So, stay tuned for some more exciting adventures to come for Team Darnell.

Take care,

Monday, July 27, 2009

We are civilized!

I decided to take a risk and yesterday, I delivered breakfast on PLATES!! Yes, that is right... PLATES!!! At breakfast, the boys were given their pancakes, sausage and strawberries on their own individual plates. They were a bit surprised and confused which gave me a few seconds to snap a few photos before I had to man my post in preparation for plate tossing to commence.

Here is the before picture....
And here is the after....
We did it!!! We ate our breakfast off of plates and we did not even toss the plates!!! When I gave the boys their sippy cups, they all tried to set them on the plates. They all showed some interest in the plate once they were finishing their food and started to slide them around. I would hold the plate and say "we don't play with our plate." It seemed to work... for now.

I was prepared for a bigger mess but it was a much cleaner meal as most (key word most) of the food remained on the plate. Sorry Murray!

Since things went so well for breakfast, I tried this again at lunch with our peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, banana and carrots.
It was a success!! I immediately called Daddy to share the good news and asked him to pick up some plastic plates on his way home from work so we did not burn a pack of paper plates in a week.

The biggest challenge so far of the plate experiment is the speed at which each of the boys eat. Wesley eats like he has not seen food in over a month! He is a speed eater and then immediately wants more, more, more. It is so hard to believe he is our skinny mini. Then we have Andrew who is a steady eater. He does not race but starts right away and eats steady until he finishes two helpings. And then, we have Jared. Jared eats like a restaurant critic that is savoring every bite. He takes a bite, takes a break, takes a bite and then takes another break to look around. Sometimes, he even sits watching his brothers eat for a few minutes before he even starts. With this, Wesley and Andrew are usually done (with two helpings) before Jared is even half way done. Everyone stays at the table until everyone is done so Andrew and Wes get to wait and watch Jared eat. Before plates, we could scoot the food right in front of Jared and prevent stealing from baby on left and right. Now with plates, the boys can reach Jared's plate so we get to play plate defense for Jared.

As I write about this, I thought I would share a video that Daddy took last week to show you a little about what I am describing. Here is the scene at snack with Jared's last bite of graham cracker. Andrew is the hand on the left and Wes is on the right. Please note that Jared is in no hurray....

video

I am so pleased that the boys are now eating off plates. It is very nice to prepare three plates and then pass them out instead of portioning food out as we progress through the meal. Next steps.... forks and spoons!!

Take care,

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Another Relaxing Sunday!

Since the boys started walking and even prior to that, they boys have been in continuous motion unless strapped into some seat or sleeping in their cribs. The boys would play, walk, run and climb continuously from the second they got up until the second they were put down for nap and in the afternoon it was the same.

Recently, I have noticed that their play and movement has been becoming increasingly more purposeful and the number of moments where they are sitting still is starting to increase. Their ability to play with a toy or keep their attention on an activity is clearly increasing. In addition, Sunday seems to be the day for relaxing. They have been 'sleeping in' on Sundays and then spending some time just lounging around. Seriously, the boys have been known to sleep until about 9am on a Sunday morning (that's approx 13.5 hours of sleep). I love it!!

I fully believe that this relaxed atmosphere is a direct reflection of Saturday and Sunday being our major days outside. So when we are inside, we are ready to crash.

Here are some of the pics from the boys "veggin' out" on the couch today....
This laying on the couch went on for about 15 minutes. While the boys kept changing positions, they were still laying down or "pretending" to lay down. Jared and Andrew (on the ottoman) were also spooning and giggling during the entire thing... ah, brotherly love....
Jared rubbing Andrew's hair and tossing his leg over him... serious spooning..
Ok, maybe Jared is taking this a little too far but Andrew does not seem to mind...
All three guys laying on the couch....
Andrew takes over as the spooner and Jared as the spoonee.....
On this day, Wesley started this break by climbing up on the couch and laying down. Andrew and Jared saw him laying down and climbed up there to copy him. This is pretty typical of how things are going these days... Wesley leads and the others follow.

I don't care how it happens, I just appreciate any moments of calm in our busy busy days.
Take care,

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What is in beefaroni?

The boys have really like any kind of pasta so we decided to try some Chef Boyardee Beefaroni with the boys. This started as a lunch that was not intended to be very eventful. The boys happily slopped up their Beefaroni and enjoyed it very much. Their faces ended up with the same sloppy pattern and I had to grab the camera and snap a few pictures. Please excuse Jared's 'gesture' but enjoy the sloppy Beefaroni faces...

Once we were done eating and taking some pictures, the real fun began. I started my attempts to clean the boys. I started with their hands and it hit me.... they are STAINED!!! This Beefaroni has incredible staining power. Their hands, faces, bibs, the table, the seats, the bowl and even a beach ball that was under the table was completely stained. I scrubbed and scrubbed but there was no use, this Beefaroni has left it's mark on everything. I even immediately soaked the bibs in hot hot water for about 2 hours and no luck, they were stained forever. While I knew that Chef Boyardee was not the healthiest option, I am confident that something that stains skin like this should not be consumed into the body.

After the day passed, I thought we had this Beefaroni staining behind us. Well, little did I know it was really "BEHIND" us. Yes, it is a fact, this Beefaroni still has staining power on the way OUT!! I could not believe that when changing diapers the next day, the boys bottoms were all stained and it even caused irritation on all three bottoms.

I am in awe of the power of beefaroni! All I have to say is, wow!

Take care,

Friday, July 24, 2009

Jumpin', Jumpin' and some more Jumpin'

A few days ago, I posted about how the boys run to their nursery with ease when we say "It's bedtime." This following video may show a little bit of the reality of why they enjoy this room. Before the boys actually fall asleep, they spend a few minutes 'playing' in their cribs. I wish I could say 'playing quietly' in their cribs but that is not really the case.

I took this video after I put the boys in their cribs before their nap. They are clearly tired or I am tired from watching this. For a moment, they are even in unison. Isn't synchronized trampolining an Olympic sport? Maybe this is our calling....

video

I guess I am not going to be able to sell these cribs as "gently" used. They usually only jump for a couple minutes and then one by one they are lay down to sleep. We can also tell they are waking up as they one by one start jumping again.

Take care,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

15 Month Check-up & Binkie Free!!!

We had our 15 month check-up today and the boys were perfect little angels. In the picture above, they are reading their books and waiting patiently for their names to be called. Poor Jared, his book doesn't even have pages!

The boys are all very healthy. The only trouble for us right now is Andrew's persistent diaper rash and his overall sensitive skin. We were given two different prescriptions for him. Other than this, we received a clean bill of health. The boys are still developmentally on target and are continuing to grow very well.

Our updated stats are:
Andrew
Height - 32.5" - 85th Percentile
Weight - 26 lbs 4oz- 74th Percentile
Head Circumference - 46 cm - 20th Percentile

Jared
Height - 33" - 92nd Percentile
Weight - 24lb 14oz - 55th Percentile
Head Circumference - 48.8 cm - 90th Percentile

Wesley
Height - 32.5"- 85th Percentile
Weight - 23lb 12oz - 35th Percentile
Head Circumference - 47 cm - 45th Percentile

So, our heights continue to climb up the growth chart for percentiles. Also, the boys may have been born a month early but these percentiles are based on their actual ages not adjusted.

The boys got two shots each and were super stars. They only cried during the shot and were all easily comforted. Our next appointment is at 18 months.

Andrew has been the only one that continued to use a binkie (pacifier). Jared and Wes stopped using around 8 weeks but Andrew continued to use one at nap, bedtime and some rare outings when he would get fussy. We have been only giving him his binkie once he is in his crib. Over the past week, we noticed that he was not asking for it but we were just giving it out of habit. On the way home from the pediatrician, we decided to put him down for nap without his binkie. I returned to work and Daddy was home with him for nap. I was so excited to hear that he went to sleep with no problem!!! We put him to bed that night without his binkie and he also went to sleep without any problem. As such, we are 100% binkie free!!

I was starting to worry about how we would transition him off of it and to my wonderful surprise, he did it himself. We are so very proud of him!!!

It is sad to see that symbol of 'babyhood' leave us because this means we are growing up and not looking back. However, I am so proud to clear the house, car and diaper bag of binkies. It is amazing how those things seem to multiply and you find them everywhere.

Wow, the boys are 15 months old and rapidly moving on to be a year and a half old. Uh oh, I guess that means 2 is right around the corner, woo hoo! It feels like I am going to blink and the boys will be 6'5" teenagers and I will be literally 'working for food.'

Take care,

Monday, July 20, 2009

Turn Your Back for a Second and....

Sigh...

We have 95% baby proofed the full area where the boys roam and play. We have intentionally left very few things that are "no, don't touch items." We (mostly me) want to leave a few items so the boys start to learn that there are some things they are not allowed to do and they start to learn some behaviors have consequences. The glass end tables are the main "no, don't touch" item. We correct the boys once they touch the tables. We have been (slowly) making a break through or so we thought.

We started applauding and really cheering when they would start to touch the table and then sit back down on the couch. They caught onto this and they have started cheering for each other. There have been some back firing to this approach because the boys have connected touching the table then sitting with the cheering. So, they touch the table and then sit and cheer. Our next step will be to eliminate the table touching.

Well, just when you think you are making headway... you find the above scene! This took place on bath night. When bathing the boys alone, we bathe them in the tub and then diaper them one at a time and send them out of the bathroom. Once all three are out, I spend about 10 seconds taking down the shower curtain and drying the floor. On this evening, I walked out to find all three of them perched on the end table...... big sigh!

While I was not happy about this, they were too cute to not grab the camera, snap a pic and then express my displeasure with this behavior. Andrew is also battling a never ending diaper rash so he gets to air dry so yes, he is in da buff!

Ah, good times

Take care,

Sunday, July 19, 2009

It's Bedtime!

The core of our evening bedtime routine with the boys has been the same since the boys were about 5 weeks old. Sticking to this routine has truly paid off for us... so far! The boys have been wonderful sleepers and typically like to go to bed. The core of the routine is change diapers, rub down with lotion, jammies, milk and then bed. As the boys have gotten older, the routine has continued to evolve with their transitions from bottles to sippy cups, formula to milk and being carried to bed to now running to bed.

After we get the boys 'jammied up' we pass out their sippy cups and the boys are very close to being able to get them out of the fridge themselves. Once they are dressed, they all start signing milk very feverishly. Wes runs to the fridge and starts banging and tugging on the door. He knows where his milk is housed and he let's you know he is ready for milk.

The boys get to drink their milk for about 20 minutes and then we place them in the table and pass out toothbrushes. The boys brush their teeth for a few minutes and then "It's Bedtime." I take the boys out of the table one at a time and start saying "It's Bedtime." The boys know that when they hear "It's Bedtime," they run down the hallway to their room. The picture above is the boys eagerly awaiting entrance to their room. I have said this about many things but I am going to say it again.... I know this may not last forever but while it lasts, I love it!

Here is a little video of the boys running off to go to bed....

Note: Please ignore the scattered toys. I know I previously posted about picking them up while the boys were awake and I said I was TRYING to do this, it does not always happen. Ok, now enjoy the video...

video

I love Wes' little jig in front of the door. What is not included in the video is that once I join the boys at the end of the hall, all four of us do a little "It's Bedtime" jig and I typically do a drum roll on the door before we enter. The boys then burst into the room like wild men. They run straight to the bookcase and grab their book. Once they grab a book, I pick each one up and put him in his crib. I then read a story to them while they turn the pages of their own book. Once done, I collect books, pass out kisses, rub backs (if they are laying down) and walk out of the door. I started giving little back rubs if someone is laying down and Jared caught on QUICK!! When I walk to his crib, he literally drops onto his tummy in preparation for his back rub. Wes is also catching on now. Once I am out of the room, they will play for a few more minutes and then there is silence!

I love my little sleepers!

Take care,

Saturday, July 18, 2009

No space is safe... except the ceiling!

Well, the boys are growing bigger and taller everyday. What this means is that the safety zone of the kitchen counter is shrinking. The boys can now reach well up onto the counter and... they do! In this picture, he is standing on the floor... no toy box here. Now we have to make sure we scoot everything way back on the counter. They boys are also starting to put their toys up on the counter and then fuss to get them back... oh, silly boys!

As Grandma says, "On the ceiling, we have to hang everything on the ceiling!"

Take care,

Friday, July 17, 2009

Drawing!

We purchased some TaDoodles for the boys so they can start expressing their creativity. A TaDoodle is a round holder for crayons that the boys can hold with their full hand.

Daddy created some templates for the boys to use that had their names on the paper. It was fun to watch them draw but the seemed more excited about eating the crayons and tearing up the paper that was taped to the table.

Here are some pics of the boys and their art work....

When Grandma was visiting last weekend, she gave the boys their first drawing experience and pictures of their art work is below. Per Grandma, Jared took right to it and you can see his sweeping motion back and forth across the paper. Wes and Andrew needed a little more help to put crayon to paper. I think their art is just beautiful and we have it proudly displayed on the fridge.

Andrew's art created with Grandma... It's a city skyline! This is definitely a sign of someone very special...
Jared's art created with Grandma....It's a rainbow over a meadow! This is a sign of pure genius....
Wesley's art created with Grandma... It's a horse! This is a sign of a child with a true gift...

I can't believe how clear these pictures are for 15 month olds! It is going to be a challenge to keep these gifted children humble and grounded.

Take care,