Sunday, January 31, 2016

At the Car Wash

A really fun, and highly anticipated activity for our boys is to go to the car wash! Interestingly, at Andrew's age I was terrified of the car wash but they love it! (If I'm honest my blood pressure still rises a bit when going through the car wash.)

They especially love the DIY vacuums! It's win-win...they enjoy it AND they are small so they can fit in all the nooks and crannies. Jackson is particularly thorough and really does a great job!

Thanks for the nice, clean car boys!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

This Little Piggy

This little piggy went to the market...

This little piggy stayed home...

This little piggy had roast beef...

This little piggy had none...

This little piggy cried whee whee whee whee all the way home!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Benjamin is 4 Months

This happy little guy is 4 months old!

He continues to be my easiest baby for his monthly photo shoot! The only hard part is picking which pictures to use because he is so smiley and adorable in every one! We've also started hearing lots of giggles and a few belly laughs. He's really ticklish, especially under his armpits. 

Month 4 has been a big month of transition for us. With mom and dad back to work full-time, Ben started daycare. It's been a bit of a rough transition for all of us. The first week was really tough, with Ben refusing all bottles and wanting to be held pretty much constantly (like he was at home, of course). Week 2 was better and he even started taking a pacifier! Amazing! One evening at the end of the week we put him in his swing (which he never liked before starting daycare) and he drifted off to sleep. Crazy! So all positive strides until he got sick with a pretty nasty cold. He spent the next two weeks again refusing his bottles and was pretty grumpy with all the congestion and such. He is better now though, so fingers crossed that he decides a full belly is better than holding out for mom!
Who is this pacifier sucking, swing sleeping baby and what did they do with our Ben??

Month 4 is always a big leap developmentally, when they seem to jump from infant to baby. Once he could roll proficiently, we had to ditch the swaddle blanket which made me so sad because it helped him sleep so well. After a bit of a sleeping setback, he's now sleeping pretty well in his little crib in our room, sans swaddle. He usually goes to bed around 8:30 and sleeps in his bed until 2 or so when he wakes up, and I rouse just enough to put him in bed with us. Happily snuggled up with mom, he nurses and we all happily co-sleep for the next few hours. On the weekends, he will sleep in with us until 8:30 or so, and on weekdays I have to wake him up to get ready for school. He's grumpy at first but is happy by the time we are getting him dressed.

I fear he is going to be another precocious baby when it comes to physical developmental milestones. He's following very closely in big brother Andrew's footsteps when it comes to rolling over (both ways and with ease), sitting up (can do an unassisted tripod sit for a few seconds at a time), and scooting (working really hard on this...lots of "swimming" and sometimes gets enough traction to inchworm forward). He prefers being on his tummy now, so he's getting lots of practice at these pre-crawling activities. You may remember that Andrew crawled proficiently at 6 months and took his first steps before he was 9 months old, so we probably only have about 2 more months until sweet Ben is getting into everything.

His fine motor skills are developing as well. He can grab toys with purpose and bring them to his mouth with ease. He's figured out how to grab his little jiggle bird that hangs on his carseat, yank on its leg, let go and watch it jiggle back up.

At 4 months Benjamin LOVES his feet!

In fact, I'm pretty sure he could sit up straight if he wasn't so eager to grab his feet and put them in his mouth!

Things Ben loves at 4 months:

  • Mommy
  • Being held, but only when facing OUT, and preferably on mom's him
  • Mirrors--looking at that handsome boy never gets old!
  • Shoving his whole fist in his mouth or whatever toy he can grab
  • Interactive songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider and Head and Shoulders Knees and Toes
  • Baths (but not getting dressed after bath--that's the worst.thing.ever.)

He had his 4 month well check right on schedule so we have official stats!
Weight- 17 lbs even (79th percentile)
Height- 26.75 inches (97th percentile)
Head circumference- 42 cm (60th percentile)

So he continues to be a big boy, despite his fasting at daycare and being sick for the better part of the month. I think he has actually lost some weight over the past 3 weeks...I miss his rolls! But he's still my biggest baby, at half a pound and 1.75 inches bigger than Andrew at 4 months, and nearly two pounds and 1.25 inches bigger than Jackson!

He's in a size 3 diaper and mostly 9 month clothes.
Showing off his sitting up skills at the doctor.
All of our boys at 4 months. I think he favors Andrew from the nose down, and Jackson from the eyes up. Except he's still so bald! And the hair he does have is lighter than either of his brothers at this age. 

Happy 4 months, precious Benjamin! You bring so much joy to our family!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sunset on South Padre

Our 2nd day in South Padre was even colder than the first. I think it was in the 50s in the morning with a cold wind blowing. Obviously, the beach was out but we wanted to enjoy the island and see some more sights. So we went geocaching! (If you're not familiar...Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.) 

We had been talking about taking the boys geocaching for a while now, so this provided the perfect opportunity. Geocaching is about the thrill of the hunt...

The excitement of finding the treasure...

But the best part is spending quality time together and enjoying nature!

Later after naps (and more legos for Jackson), we went on our last adventure, a dolphin watching boat excursion!
This is another sand sculpture!
See, they really do love each other!

We boarded the boat and tried our best to stay warm!

The sunshine helped, and pretty soon we started seeing dolphins! Lots of them! There were a couple of pods and they swam right up to the boat. It was very cool and definitely a highlight of the trip!

Grammy snuggled Ben in for a nice nap before Ben woke up and decided he needed a snack. So add "On the front of a boat during a dolphin watching excursion" to my list of strange places I've breastfed a baby!

 Sweet Andrew enjoyed his snuggles too!

Kisses for Daddy!
 Jackson LOVED the dolphins! He is still talking about it.

It was a sunset cruise and the sun didn't disappoint, though most of us only got a glimpse of this because it was just too darn cold on the outside of the boat after the sun went down.
A very Texas sunset!
The next morning, we had to head home, but not before we got a commemorative family picture. Well done fellow tourist who snapped our picture!

And this picture pretty much sums up how we all felt about the drive home...

Thank you Grammy and Pop for sharing your beach adventure with us! We had a wonderful time visiting you and exploring South Padre!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

South Padre Day 1

As luck would have it, a big cold front blew in on Friday night all the way down to south Texas. So while our view of the beach was beautiful from our condo windows, it was a bit too chilly to enjoy, at least until it warmed up a bit in the afternoon. So Saturday morning we decided to head to Turtle, Inc., a sea turtle rescue facility. 

While we got ready that morning, two little superheroes managed to get along for a little while...

The boys posed for a picture for us in front of this sand sculpture sea turtle creation. Yes, it is really sand! These creations were all over the island (you'll see a few more in our pictures). Apparently they are semi-permanent, with some of the sculptures having been on display to the public for over 2 years. Very cool!

The turtles were so neat! Some, like Allison pictured below, are permanent residents. Allison lost all but one flipper in a predator attack, but they devised a prosthesis to allow her to swim. If her prosthesis falls off though, she can't swim to the surface to breathe so she would die. She has a life guard on duty by her tank the whole time she is swimming to ensure she stays safe, and when the center is closed, she stays in a shallow pool where she can swim to the surface without her prosthesis. Most of their residents though are in various stages of rehabilitation and will be released when they are ready.Very cool work they are doing here!

The boys enjoyed watching Jerry swim and have his snack!

Aren't these the cutest turtles you've ever seen?

Ben enjoyed riding in his stroller, sitting up like a big boy and taking everything in. Andrew loved pushing him around!

 After the sea turtles, we went by the SPI visitor's center to pick up some brochures to decide what we wanted to do next. Here are some more sand castles. Extremely impressive!

We went back to the condo for lunch and naps. This was mine and Ben's view from the balcony during our nap. Not too shabby, right?

This guy is the only one who didn't take a nap in the whole house. Instead he put together about 6 different lego vehicles. By himself. For two hours. Who is this big kid?

After nap, it was about as warm as it was going to get for our whole visit so we took the boys down to the beach. Grammy and Ben came down to the beach but didn't last very long. I stayed out with them but was wrapped up in a towel. Do you think these two minded that it was cold? Not a bit. Not surprisingly, we had the beach to ourselves and it was beautiful! 

Here's a quick video I took of them enjoying the beach. 

They were doing some dirt work on the beach and large machinery paraded by a couple of times. A little boy's dream come true!
The boys loved their beach time but they didn't resist too much when the sun started going down and we suggested heading back to the condo for a warm bath! 

And when you're 4 months old and on vacation, you get to take a bath in the kitchen sink. Precious boy with his bubble mohawk!

Grammy snuggles are the best! What a fun day!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

South Padre or Bust!

My mom has decided that she's not going to go outside until the temperature is above her age. So she and my dad made the trek from East Texas to join the throngs of other retirees (who, from the looks of the parking lot, are largely from Minnesota, Michigan, Canada, etc) to "snowbird" this winter in South Padre.  =)

They were nice enough to invite us to enjoy their beach condo with them over the long MLK weekend, so how could we refuse? 

So we set off on Friday morning for the 6.5 hour drive, knowing that with baby Ben in tow, we might need more stops. The older two were happy as can be to watch ALL THE MOVIES, and Ben did ok. 

We planned a long lunch break in Corpus Christi. Justin and I have never been to Corpus, even though it's a city of historical importance for Justin's family. His great great grandfather, Benito Grande, was a prominent member of the Mexican-American community in Corpus Christi, and the home he built for his family has been preserved and is part of the Heritage Park there. 

So while I fed Ben his lunch, the big boys stretched their legs exploring the downtown marina area. They saw lots of boats, pelicans, and even the Selena memorial. Then they found some giant ship anchors and pretended to be baby sloths. 

After lunch, we went to Heritage Park to see the Grande House. This is Justin's mother's father's mother's father's home (did you follow all of that?) Jackson was annoyed that we were making another stop and pouted...he was ready to get to the beach! But Andrew and Benjamin humored their Daddy as he walked in the steps of his ancestors. It wasn't until we were standing there that we realized we had actually named Benjamin Thomas after two ancestors--his great great great grandfather (Benito Grande) and Ben Grande's grandson, Thomas Cherry. Pretty cool, huh?!

After 3 more hours in the car we finally made it to the beach, just before sunset! And could the sky have been any prettier? It looked like a Bob Ross painting! (Side note: Justin and I are obsessed with Bob Ross. Sometimes after a particularly stressful day we will turn on an episode of The Joy of Painting and are instantly soothed by his calm voice and descriptions of the happy little trees. We are so weird.)

Ben's first trip to the beach!

Jackson and Andrew didn't seem to care that the water was about 60 degrees (though their teeth were chattering a bit when we dragged them inside!)

As an added bonus, that evening we got to help Pop celebrate his just one-day-belated birthday!

All of our South Padre adventures are coming up!