Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Celebrating Daddy

Our favorite guy had a birthday this weekend, and we had so much fun celebrating him. 

The boys kicked off their weekend with some quality time at the Lowe's kids' workshop making Hulk! And yes, Andrew wore that sticker on his head the whole time. 

That evening, we went out for Mexican food. In addition to celebrating the birthday boy, Justin and I started Whole30 today, so we definitely enjoyed indulging while we could!

I made breakfast and then Jackson and Andrew could hardly wait to give Daddy his present. They "helped" me wrap it and then carried it downstairs. As we were coming down the stairs (before Justin could even hold the gift, much less unwrap it), Andrew proudly announced what his present was. So much for surprises! (not that there are many surprises anyway in the world of shared bank accounts, but still, we lost even the pretense of a surprise!)

It's a FitBit! I do think that Jackson and Andrew were more excited about daddy's gift than he was!

We had a busy day of errands, but ended with a home-cooked meal and Justin's request, a lemon bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Sooooo good!

Happy birthday to the man who loves us all so well!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Benjamin is 11 Months!

The calendar says it's so but my heart is failing to accept that sweet Benjamin is 11 months old! Our precious little is only one month until one and I'm not ready!

Ready or not, mama, this boy is growing more toddler-like by the day. He is constantly on the move and has begun to throw some very toddler-esque fits when we try to hold him back.

Of course, the big update this month is that he's walking!

He's not yet a full-time walker, usually taking just a few steps at a time. I've seen as many as 6 consecutive steps. But his first instinct now is to walk and he will take a few steps before stumbling and crawling the rest of the way. He can also pull up to a stand with out having to hold onto something. 

He has started growing more communicative both with words and gestures. He says "mama" very proficiently and often! He tries to mimic other words and sounds. He's also started picking up some signs. He picked up "more" pretty quickly which was a welcome change from shrieks, though currently his version looks more like he's clapping his hands. We've also been working on "all done", again to replace the shrieking. He hasn't quite applied it to the eating situation, but today I rocked him to sleep and snuggled with him for a while before putting him in his bed. As soon as I put him in his bed, he woke up, sat straight up and signed "all done!" quite triumphantly, Funny boy! He's started trying to wave bye bye and is working on blowing kisses.

He drank his last bottle this month. His teachers reported that he was refusing them, opting instead for his breastmilk in his sippy cup with his meals. So now he's drinking all of his milk at school that way, giving us a few less things to wash but one more symbol of babyhood left behind. On the weekends though, he is still nursing about 5 times a day. He continues to be a great eater as long as he can feed himself. He refuses anything given to him on a spoon. He has 6 teeth, 4 on top and 2 on bottom.

On his 11 month day, he finally slept through the night! We put him to bed at 8 and he didn't wake until I got him up at 5:45 to nurse before I had to start my day! Go Benny!

You better believe I am soaking up these last, fleeting days of his babyhood.
Happy 11 months precious Benny!

All three boys at 11 months. I think he continues to favor Jackson.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

First Day of School 2016

After a fun summer full of weeks spent with grandparents, vacation, splash days, and lots of field trips, it was time for the first day of school again. 

Jackson said getting to play on the big kid playground at school was what excited him most about first grade. He says that he wants to be a Principal when he grows up. 

Andrew moved up to the next class (Sunshine) as well, and is officially starting preschool this year! I asked him what he wants to be when he grows up, and without missing a beat he said "An Astronomer!" I asked him what an astronomer does and he said "Studies the stars and planets!" with a tone that said "duh, mom, don't you know?" Smarty pants three year old!

I think all three boys are going to have a wonderful year!

Jackson got dropped off first. His teacher was smart and greeted each child at the door to the class and walked them in, which cleverly thwarted any lingering parents! He eagerly waited his turn...

...and snapped a quick picture with mom!

Wait, brother wants in the picture too! No tears this year for any of us!

He strode confidently into his classroom without a glance back and we were quickly on our way to drop-off number two! Andrew ran into school with his normal bravado and energy.

He was very excited about going into his new classroom!

Our little Hobbit quickly made himself at home in his new classroom and sat down to dig into his second breakfast. =)

Good luck boys! Have a wonderful year!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

One Last Hurrah (and Yeehaw!)

All of the boys had the day off on Friday, so we had planned to go to the Franklin Drive Thru Safari as our last, end of summer hurrah. But when Jackson's allergist appointment unexpectedly lasted 4 hours and he was so wiped out afterwards, we decided to postpone until Saturday morning. So after back-to-school haircuts on Saturday morning for all the boys, we made the short drive to Franklin to check out the animals. 

Y'all...it was so much fun. We laughed so much and everyone had a really great time!

There were so many animals, and they were all SO excited to see us!

Part of the fun of this activity is just the novelty. I mean, where else can you pose for a selfie with a zebra? We were all big fans of the zebras!

The ostriches and emus on the other hand...not so much. Bless their hearts....I'm sure they are very nice animals too, but their pecking is a bit...forceful and they just look creepy!

Tell me that's not terrifying! This video just makes me laugh so hard.

Sweet Benjamin equally enjoyed the animals and getting to ride in the front seat!

There were so many giggles, happy squeals and shrieks of excitement! We had a blast observing and interacting with all of the creatures, big and small!

After driving through the safari once, we took a break for a picnic lunch and to see some more animals. Andrew said his favorite animals were these guinea pigs! He would have stayed with them all day!

Look at our baby with this baby giraffe! I would bet they are about the same age!

We got back in the van and drove around the animal park once more. Benjamin got to drive this time! But...then he fell asleep at the wheel. Would you believe these pictures were all taken within about 10 minutes? Driving is exhausting!

What a fun day!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Allergy Testing--Round 3

You may remember that Jackson is allergic to peanuts. We hadn't seen the allergist since 2014 when his blood test showed significant improvement and promise of his body clearing the allergy. So we continued the wait and see approach and decided to retest in two years. About a month ago, we took him for follow-up testing and both the skin test and blood test showed promising results, so his doctor thought it would be time for an actual peanut challenge.

We brought him to the doctor on Friday, where they started with repeating the skin test.

Now this time, the skin test indicated a bit more of a reaction than was there a month ago. It is apparently not uncommon to see some variability in the results. His doctor said that if he had seen those results at the visit a month ago, he wouldn't necessarily have recommended the peanut challenge, but we could proceed if we wanted to. He explained that the skin test and blood test really only provide a range of probability as to whether or not someone will experience allergic symptoms, rather than a yes or no. The challenge also provides a somewhat quantifiable way of determining just how much his body can tolerate as well so that we know how vigilant we must be in avoiding exposure (for example, is one peanut going to cause anaphylaxis or should he just not be eating PB&J sandwiches?) So we decided to proceed with the challenge.

As it turns out, after spending four years telling someone that peanut butter is basically poison, it's somewhat difficult to convince him to eat it. According to Jackson, peanut butter tastes disgusting (can you imagine???) But after much drama, he ate one teaspoon and was doing fine. He said his stomach hurt a little, but with him it's hard to tell what's real and what's psychosomatic because his anxiety and fear often manifest as a stomach ache. The worst part was the boredom with all the waiting between rounds. He played on his tablet, we played hangman, and watched lots of funny cat videos.

The second phase was for him to eat a tablespoon of peanut butter. He refused to eat the straight peanut butter so they brought out the big guns. A Reeses Peanut Butter cup! I wish I could go to the doctor and eat a Reeses, but it wasn't so appealing to poor Jackson. He slooooooooowly ate half of it and was okay, but then he decided to just get it over with and ate the second half in one bite and promptly started vomiting. And sneezing. And all sorts of sick. And then he got super sleepy and all but passed out in his chair. Poor baby.

But as traumatic as this all was, there is good news! His results indicate a pretty high threshold in the world of food allergies. He ate basically 2 teaspoons without any kind of reaction. And when he did react, his body promptly voided the allergen and then 30 minutes later he was perfectly fine. He never showed any signs of respiratory trouble, hives, etc. The other good news is that peanut butter has a very distinctive taste...it's hard to mask in any way and Jackson doesn't like it. So if he were to encounter it in a cookie at a birthday party or something, I feel very confident that he would not eat enough to cause a serious reaction. We don't have to worry about trace amounts or incidental exposures. This is all very reassuring! We will still have an epi-pen, just in case, but his doctor said that our risk of having to ever use it is exceedingly low. And on the bright side, I can still steal all of the peanut butter candy out of his Halloween loot!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Weekend Recap

We kicked off our weekend on Friday night with a picnic in the living room while we watched the Olympics. The boys love what they call "snack dinner" and Justin and I love it because it requires absolutely no cooking. Simply gather a variety of crackers, cheese, deli meat, raw veggies, dips and some fruit and throw it on a tray. Dinner is served and everyone is happy!

On Saturday morning, the big boys went to Lowes for the kids workshop. The current series is The Avengers and on this morning, they made the Black Widow. Hey whatever gets them excited, right?

While the big boys were at Lowes, Ben and I went to Hob Lob for supplies for a project I was excited to tackle. I have hated the valance window treatments hanging in our loft area since we toured the house. But it's not an area I spend a ton of time in, the large window requires a custom size, and we haven't quite figured out what we want to do with the space. So I basically just let it go for three years. Then, I found a tutorial on my friend, Katy's blog for DIY window cornices. Perfect solution. So while Ben napped and the big boys played upstairs, I created these fabric cornices for the window with a $15 sheet of foam insulation, hot glue, fabric, and straight pins. The selling point for me was if/when we decide to do something different in the room, the fabric is easily replaceable (it is just pinned on) so I can swap it out for something else with really minimal effort and expense. I'm so pleased with how they turned out! And If you want to try this project for yourself, I still have enough foam board for about 8 more windows so let me know and I'll hook you up. =)

When Ben was awake, we were all encouraging him to practice his emerging walking skills! He took as many as 3 steps at a time this weekend. He's so close to taking off!

We ended the weekend with sweet brothers in matching pajamas. There is just simply nothing cuter!

We have two busy busy busy weeks ahead so this leisurely weekend was just what we needed!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Stroller Splashing

Our stroller was in desperate need of a good cleaning, so step one was to put it in the tub to soak overnight with some detergent and oxyclean. Step two was a good scrub down and rinse, which the big boys were more than happy to assist with.

They really did a very good job! They were very thorough!

"Hey Jackson, you missed a spot!"

Of course, you and I both know that cleaning the stroller was secondary to soaking your brother!

Thanks for the help, boys!