Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mondays with Drew and Ben

Jackson has Cub Scouts on Monday nights, so he and daddy typically go do that together. That means most Monday nights I get the little boys all to myself! Since scouts starts at 6:30, we have a quick dinner as soon as we get home which leaves us a whole hour after dinner to do something fun together. I try to make sure we do something kid-led and/or maybe a little special because Jackson is usually getting to do all sorts of fun activities that he comes home raving about and Andrew feels a bit left out. It's become one of my favorite nights each week!

Park time is a favorite for both boys! 

We also go on lots of scooter rides, and Andrew loves exploring new streets we haven't trekked down before.

Sometimes we stop to look at planes flying by too!

Play dough is a big hit with both of my littles!

Andrew always makes me a birthday cake, sticks a "candle" in it and sings to me. Every single time. =)

A recent favorite activity for Ben is playing in the sensory bins! This has truly been the gift that keeps on giving!

Sometimes we just play in the playroom and act silly.

Perhaps their favorite night so far (and one that made Jackson very jealous) was when we went to get some fro yo!

My favorite part of Monday nights is that I always get extra snuggles, hugs, kisses and "I love you mommys"!

See, Mondays are not so bad!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Adventures in Bike Riding

Jackson and Andrew both got new bikes last year for Christmas. The intent was that Jackson would quickly learn to ride it as a two wheeler, but after a few failed attempts early on, he lost any interest he had in the bike. We could only entice him to try for maybe 5 minutes at a time and he would get discouraged and give up. Flash forward a year...

Last Sunday, a neighborhood friend met us at the park and rode up on his two wheeler bike. You could see the flicker of motivation spark in Jackson. So on Saturday, I suggested we try that bike again and Jackson agreed. He insisted on putting on all of his protective gear to give him some confidence. Whatever it takes, right?!

Let's do this!

So here's a fun fact: no one taught me how to ride a bike...I taught myself when I was 4. Having three older siblings, the desire to learn was strong and the neighbor boy across the street who was a little older than me could already ride a two wheeler. I was definitely not going to get left behind! As soon as my feet could reach the pedals, I borrowed the neighbor kid's bike (because my bike still had training wheels) and taught myself to ride in his driveway. 

So...I was a little clueless when it came to teaching someone else. Thankfully I saw that one episode of Full House where Michelle learns to ride a bike about 12 times, so I felt semi-prepared. I gave it my best effort, and as it turns out, Jackson didn't need much help. He was ready, on his own terms, in his own time. 

In just a few tries, he was doing it by himself!

And just like that, he was off! (Cue the sappy music...his whole little life flashing before my eyes...yes, all of that.)

Just about 30 minutes later, he was doing amazing!

Not to be outdone, Andrew gave it a try. He got frustrated pretty quickly, but I suspect he will see how much faster Jackson can go now and quickly decide he doesn't want to get left behind either.

By the next day, Jackson only needed a little help getting started but otherwise was riding like an old pro.

So stinking proud of this kid!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Benjamin is 17 Months!

Precious boy Ben is 17 months, just a month shy of one and a half!

The biggest development this month has been his language skills! We are certainly witnessing the language explosion and it's so fun! He parrots frequently, and if I say "Ben can you say ______?" He will usually make an attempt at repeating it back. Unprompted, he probably says about 40 words now, if you include all of the animal noises he can make, which is a lot! He's also begun to say two word phrases like "Hi Mama!" Here's Ben sharing just a few of his words with us:

All those words mean we are entering such a fun stage with Benjamin. As he grows more expressive by the day, we are constantly gaining new insights into his personality, likes and dislikes. He's also become such a fun companion. Previously, conversations with Ben were fairly one-sided. He was certainly attentive, and you could tell he was absorbing everything you were saying, but there wasn't much back in response. Boy has that changed! I took him to the grocery store today and as I typically do, I narrated about everything I was putting in the cart. He chatted right back at me, repeating most of the words, and demanding to hold/immediately eat others (nana! NANA!)

He is an excellent problem-solver. Today, he wanted his paci that was in the middle of his crib (he was outside of it). His little arms weren't quite long enough to reach it. After trying to squeeze through to get it and realizing he couldn't, he went to his toy box, got out a toy wrench, went back to his bed with the wrench in hand extending his reach just enough, and raked the paci right out! Genius baby! One of his favorite toys is a bear with all the different fasteners on it, and every day he snags Jackson's backpack off of the hook so he can play with the zipper and plastic buckle. Like most toddlers though, he certainly likes causing destruction too though with favorite activities also including knocking down block towers, raking all of the magnets off of the fridge and throwing his food onto the floor when he is "all done!"

Books are still a favorite and always insists on "more" as soon as we are done with the last. He cries when I tell him we are all done for the night. He likes us to sing to him too, and usually asks for more songs too! He is just about done nursing. We've been down to just once a day at bedtime since early January, but he's almost lost interest in that last one too. This will make him my earliest baby to wean by quite a bit! His brothers held on until 20 months and 28 months, respectively, only giving it up of their own accord shortly after I became pregnant with their younger sibling. (For the record I am definitely NOT pregnant!)

He takes at least one of his shoes and socks off every time we are in the car. Every. Single. Time. There are probably 6 single socks lost in the minivan because he takes it off and throws it who knows where.

He is undeniably a very loved little boy! When he wakes up in the morning happy, happy, happy, his brothers rush to him to give him morning hugs and kisses. 

We all adore you sweet, Benjamin! Happy 17 months!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sunshine and Slides

With more beautiful spring weather in the forecast for Saturday, we headed outdoors to enjoy it!

Our boys love a picnic lunch. Sandwiches always taste better in the sunshine, don't they?

After lunch, we headed to the playground. Just like at the water park, Benjamin loves to slide! And Jackson won the blue ribbon for sweetest big brother of the day!

Andrew's style with Ben on the slides is more in the style of a forceful shove rather than an encouraging push, so he got to slide solo. =)

3 precious brothers!

Benjamin was beaming the whole time we were at the park. He was getting to run around and explore like a big kid and he was just so proud of himself!

Where did our baby go??

Monday, February 20, 2017

3 Man Band

On Saturday morning we sent the boys upstairs to get their clothes to get dressed for the day. They returned (in various states of dress), not with clothes, but with musical instruments and were ready to put on a concert for us! So they climbed up on the "stage" and rocked out for a few minutes.

For the opening act, we had Benny shaking his maracas!

Then the headliners, the 3 Man Band!

Before the encore, the oldest band member took a quick break to get dressed. But then the show must go on!

Bravo, boys!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Valentine's Day

We have a lot of love to celebrate around here!

I bought a 6 pack of canvases in January (it was the only pack that had the size canvases I wanted), so I challenged myself to make a handprint/footprint art project each month. Here's February's. All the boys made their hand and footprint contribution. LOVE! (Literally)

We also prepped a whole lotta Valentine's for all the boys to share with their friends. Jackson picked Legos which made my design work easy since that was his birthday party theme. Not coincidentally his Valentines and party invitations look strikingly similar! Work smarter, not harder people!

Andrew insisted on kazoos again so that was easy since we did these a couple of years ago.

Benjamin was a little tougher because there aren't a whole lot of options when all your friends are 12-18 months old! One of his favorite snacks is squeezy applesauce (he goes into the pantry every time we leave the door open and tries to help himself to a pouch) so we figured his friends probably like them too.

We LOVE our teachers and couldn't leave them out so Justin and I dipped about 5 dozen chocolate covered strawberries. It was such a shame when one (or 7) didn't turn out quite right and had to be eaten immediately.

So this is what Valentine's Eve turns out looking like in our crazy house!

On Valentine's Day, my forever Valentine and I opted for a very quick and romantic lunch at the Sonic drive through so we could make it to Jackson's school to help with his class's Valentine's ice cream party.

After their ice cream they played a few fun games. Jackson's teacher is amazing and even came up with a couple of games that caused a room full of sugared-up first graders to fall almost silent. Afterall, it's hard to talk when you are focusing all of your effort on sucking up conversation hearts with a straw!

...or when you're playing Cupid and shooting q-tips out of your blow dart! So much fun!

Later that evening we got to celebrate with all the loves of our life at dinner.

Daddy loves Andrew and Andrew loves queso!

Benjamin's great love affair with queso began this night too. I feel the same way, Benny!

How lucky we are to have so much love to celebrate!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Punxsutawney Phil was so Wrong

That silly groundhog was so wrong. 6 more weeks of winter? I don't think we've even had 6 consecutive days of winter all season. And the weather here this weekend was positively springlike with highs in the 80s. Shorts and t-shirts in early February?! 

Going along with the warm weather and sunshine, we've been seeing all sorts of signs of spring around our yard. Jackson was excited to catch his first lizard in several months!

All the brothers were excited about Jackson's little friend.

They made him a little habitat in a bucket so they could show daddy when he got home. The lizard was either very content or traumatized, but he did stay in that uncovered bucket until they released him!

Oh yeah, and our roses are blooming! The bluebonnets are also days away from blooming as well.

Mr. Benjamin has been enjoying all of our outdoor time, especially since he discovered that he's now able to climb up to the fort. Consequently, our ventures outside are not nearly as relaxing for mom and dad now.

Ben is also following in his big brothers' adrenaline junkie footsteps, with Andrew leading the way. Andrew zooms him around on the plasma car while Ben squeals and laughs!

My beloved boots, sweaters, scarves and leggings are sadly collecting dust in the closet, but I guess an early spring isn't too bad. =)