Monday, November 30, 2015

Big Ben!

Big news coming out of the Malnar house tonight! Benjamin has gone from being our smallest baby at birth to our biggest baby by 2 months! He surpassed linebacker Andrew!

He had his two month check-up today and here are his official stats:

Weight: 15 lbs, 1 oz (92nd percentile) -- Andrew was 14 lbs, 4 oz and Jackson was 12 lbs, 1 oz at each of their 2 month check ups!
  
Height: 25 inches (99th percentile)

Head Circumference: 39 cm (35th percentile) -- I'm not sure this measurement is correct though, because the tape looked a little low on the back of his head to me and I had already corrected the nurse once when she had it over his ear...

Somewhat ironically, this article popped up on my Facebook newsfeed today...10 Things Moms of Chubby Babies Know to Be True. Just perfect! 

So yes, this is what 2 months of round-the-clock-on-demand-feedings looks like. =) And to all of our relatives who I told that Benjamin is wearing 6 month size clothes...I'm so sorry. He will likely be in 9 month by Christmas! 


In addition to being big, he's altogether perfectly healthy for which we are so grateful!

His favorite part of the visit was checking out that handsome baby in the mirror.

Praise the Lord for another healthy, happy, growing boy!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thankful

We continued our November tradition of every evening at dinner time taking some time to share those things we were most thankful for. We wrote them on our leaves and hung them from our mantle. What a wonderful collection of blessings! Here's a sample of our thankfulness: 

Benjamin is currently a pretty simple guy. 

Andrew was thankful for God and Gracie every single night, but we pushed a little and found a few more things he was thankful for:



For the first time Jackson got to write his own leaves! How precious is that 5 year old handwriting?
Ms. Loke (his teacher), Gracie, Jesus & my cousins

Justin and I, as reflected on our leaves, are overwhelmingly thankful for one another and our three precious blessings who fill our lives with so much joy.



Jackson has been learning about the traditional first Thanksgiving at school. And he was so proud of his (completely stereotypical) Native American costume he made and asked me to take a picture of him in it. I bit my tongue when he told me about the Pilgrims and Native Americans living together in harmony. If I "re-educated" him with the reality, knowing Jackson, he would go to school and tell his teacher that his mommy said she was wrong. (*Note to self: Find some good books about Thanksgiving and non-stereotyped Native American tribes and people before next year.) In any case, I can tell how hard he worked on his costume and am proud of him for that!

We headed to the Cabin in the Woods on Tuesday evening to spend Thanksgiving with my family. As we were pulling out of our neighborhood, Andrew asks "Are we almost there?" Perhaps he was just a little bit eager to see Grammy and Pop!

On Wednesday, we got outdoors and enjoyed the fall weather with a nature scavenger hunt while it was still nice outside since rain was headed our way. 

The boys happily followed Pop around as he pointed out deer tracks, big ant hills and evidence of other critters.

Ben is not quite interested in the wildlife yet, but he enjoyed the fresh air!

Later that evening Matt and MaryAnn arrived and they got to meet Ben for the first time!

Sweet Ben got a bath in the sink to get spruced up for the next day's festivities! So much chub. Isn't he delicious?

And it was a very happy first Thanksgiving for this little turkey (and everyone else too)! We all ate too much and thoroughly enjoyed one another's company.


My heart overflows with gratitude for the blessing of our little family!


 What a great crew to spend my favorite holiday with!


Back to Reality

My heart is heavy tonight. Tonight I am setting my alarm for work for the first time in months and preparing my heart to leave this boy tomorrow morning. It's just part-time until January when I go back full time and Justin will be with him when I'm at work for now. These are the lines I'm repeating over and over: "It's just half a day", "It will be good for him to get some time to bond with his dad" and "I love my job". But I'm still crushed. This process doesn't get easier, even though it's my third time...in fact I think it gets harder. I know now exactly how much I miss out on and just how quickly they grow. I'm praying the morning goes quickly and I know it will make those afternoon snuggles that much sweeter....


Monday, November 23, 2015

Benjamin is 2 Months!

Another month has flown by and wowza this boy is growing fast!!

Benjamin moved into size 2 diapers around seven weeks and 6 month size clothes shortly thereafter. That onesie he's wearing for these pictures? 9 month size. He has his official 2 month appointment on Monday, but I'm guessing he will be close to 15 pounds at his weigh-in. He's a chunk! 


He still will not take a pacifier, but we keep trying. He will take it and like it maybe one out of ten times we try. And more concerning is that he seems to have similar feelings about bottles. I go back to work part-time next week though so it will very soon not be optional. Prayers for daddy as he helps him learn this important skill. It would be such a shame for him to lose all of that delightful chub before he reaches his full round potential!

Benjamin is a big mama's boy. He has such a sweet personality for me but no one else. He is quite feisty. When he decides he's unhappy he goes from sweet cooing to all out wailing in a matter of seconds. There's not much in between for him. 

Things he loves:
  • Mommy
  • Boobies
  • Getting his diaper changed
  • His ribbon mobile
  • Snuggling with mom in the Ergo
  • Baths
Things he hates:
  • Bottles
  • Pacifiers
  • Nursing under a cover
  • Riding in the car
  • Getting out of the bath


He's starting to smile and "talk" more and more. We've even heard a few giggles.

His eyelashes keep growing. Now they are longer than mine! His eye color is still a question mark. His eyes are lighter than brown-eyed Andrew's were at two months but darker than blue-eyed Jackson's were. Maybe he will end up with hazel eyes like his mama?

Just this week he has started to bat at the toys on his baby gym. 

He loves his baths but lately I've spent a lot of the time just trying to get him to stay seated in his little tub. He's constantly trying to stand on those strong legs.

He's a happy baby in the Ergo. If he's fighting sleep, I'll snuggle him in, make a few laps around the house and he is out. Thank goodness for the Ergo.

As he's grown sturdier he enjoys the exuberant affection of his big brothers more and more!

And he's now taken his place at the kitchen table during dinner!

He seems to be enjoying it!

All three of my boys at 2 months. Benjamin still favors Jackson a bit more but he really has his own look!

Happy two months sweet boy!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lasers Ready!

Jackson has been struggling a bit with completing his work at school. It's not at all an issue of him struggling with the academic content--he's excelling in that regard--he is just slow and easily distracted when it comes to completing worksheets, etc. Given that he's a young 5, I think it's just a maturity issue and...let's be honest, worksheets are boring. Regardless, we have strategized a plan with Jackson's teacher to provide him with a bit more visual accountability for his behavior during the day and it seems to be working! He was working towards an incentive and on Friday he nailed it! Yay Jackson! The carrot dangling in front of him was a round of laser tag, so on Saturday we held up our end of the bargain and were off to Grand Station.

Jackson is an old pro at laser tag thanks to all of his field trips with his preschool this summer. He basically quoted the introductory video to us. He was in his element and ready to dominate!

Andrew though was a newbie. He wasn't so sure about the heavy vest but he was delighted about the laser gun!

Jackson was adorably chivalrous during the game. He and I were running around together for a while and he jumped between me and another player and shouted "DON'T YOU SHOOT MY  MOMMY!!!" Justin got the high score on our team and let's just say the rest of us...didn't. =) But everyone had fun!

While we were playing laser tag, Benjamin got to hang out with Nana who came into town to hang out with us a few days. How precious is his little bear hat???

Someone had given me a $5 gift card for the adjoining arcade and we maybe made that last all of 10 minutes. We learned that skeeball requires an underhanded rolling technique that our boys just have not developed yet and it's surprisingly hard to let someone win at air hockey.


After our gift card ran out, the boys spent their 29 tickets on two bouncy balls and two plastic frogs, all of which have already been lost under the couch or forgotten, but for about an hour, they were the most precious treasures they had ever owned.

Happy Campers

The Malnars embarked on our first camping trip on Friday night. Ok, so maybe "trip" is a bit of an overstatement. We went camping in our back yard! It was all the fun of camping without the stress of packing the car, stressing about forgetting something, etc...and best of all, at the end of the night, Benjamin and I were able to go inside and sleep in a real bed while the big boys roughed it! 

With daylight fading quickly, Justin hustled to get the tent and fire pit set up.


I attempted to entertain the boys with glow sticks. This was supposed to be a fun glow in the dark ring toss game (the glow sticks were the ring toss pole and the necklaces were the rings). But that dissolved quickly and the sticks just became swords. Of course.

And the following is what happens when you say "Hug your brother and smile for me!"

Camping makes you hungry so the next activity was weenie roasting!


And smores! Incidentally, I'm the only one who actually likes smores. Andrew likes them in theory but in practice only eats a bite or two but manages to get sticky marshmallow over every part of his body. Jackson likes his with just the chocolate and graham cracker. Justin thinks they are just ok.

After smores, Andrew told us scary ghost stories. Not really, but this picture is a little frightening!

After smores, we went on a nature walk to hunt for wild animals. We did see one bunny! And some neighbors out walking their dogs. =)


The beauty of backyard camping is that next everyone got to go inside, put on warm jammies, brush their teeth, wash all the smores off their faces, and go potty before heading into the tent for the night! Once inside the tent, we read lots of stories by the light of the flashlight, sang some songs and lots of snuggling was enjoyed by all. After I retired to the house, Jackson reported that it was fun sleeping in the tent and they heard crickets chirping all night (as well as the neighbors' dogs barking and motorcycles and the train whistle.) In the middle of the night it even started raining. What an adventure!


I'm sure real camping trips are in our future, but for now backyard camping is perfect. Precious memories with these little boys!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hip Hip Hooray!

Over the weekend we got to shower this pretty mama-to-be and help her, along with my brother Marc, get ready to welcome my newest nephew who will be arriving very soon!





The occasion was Benjamin's first opportunity to meet Aunt Ali, Uncle Marc, and cousins Annabelle and Breelie.

He's very excited to meet his cousin bestie, Leo! They will only be about 10 weeks apart and I'm sure will get into all sorts of trouble together in the years to come!

Aunt Melly was also reunited with Ben who she hasn't seen since he was a tiny 3 day old pipsqueak! Pipsqueak no more!

We are excited to meet you, Leo!