Six Months

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Yesterday Levi turned six months old.  He celebrated by having green beans and rice cereal for dinner, taking a couple wobbly moves forward while crawling and snuggling with this mother when she arrived home from work.  Sounds like a perfect day!  I just love it when he buries his head in my shoulder and hair.  Or when I wrap his arms around my neck and he snuggles in and stays there.  He is so precious.

Oh, and the crawling?  We are days away from that happening people.  He’s been up on his hands and knees for weeks.  Last week he started moving a knee forward and then face planting.  Last night in an effort to get to Annika and a toy he moved each of his knees forward and one hand and then face planted.  Yikes!  A mobile baby!  I think it’s time to think about baby gates on the stairs.  I also need to get an empty plastic tote out of the basement so Annika can put all her Barbie things (small shoes and such) in the plastic tote when she’s not playing with them.  We don’t need any babies trying to eat Barbie shoes!  Annika already knows to pick up her Polly Pockets when she’s done playing with them.

Wednesday night it was wear your Halloween costume to dance class night.  It was the first time all three kids had their costumes on at the same time.  We are a geeky family.  As such, our kids are dressing up as Princess Leia, Darth Vader and Yoda this year.  The Star Wars theme was entirely Annika and James’ idea but of course they wouldn’t even know who those characters were if Kris had not watched all six Star Wars movies with them.  He’s infected them all with his love of Star Wars.  I will admit they are awfully cute all dressed up, especially Annika in her “bun” wig.  We even purchased a red light saber (that even lights up!) for James.  Why red?  Well, because Darth Vader’s light saber is red, silly.  A blue or green light saber just wouldn’t do!  I took a picture of them and of course I’ll take more on Sunday.  My kids are so cute!

We got the kids’ school pictures back this week.  Annika has a silly grin in her pictures.  We’ll ask her if she wants to retake them and if she doesn’t I’m 100% OK with that.  It’s a classic Annika grin and I think I have a very similar picture of me from when I was about her age.  I’ll have to dig that out and compare.  We also received two packets of picture for James.  We couldn’t figure out why they sent home two packets until I pulled all the pictures out last night and compared.  In one set he has his shirt on backwards and you can see the outline of his tag!  They must have caught that, put his shirt on correctly and re-took some of the pictures.  I laughed so hard when I saw that!  Then I brought them downstairs, reminded Kris that he is in charge of the children, even if they can do some things themselves and asked him to identify the difference between the two pictures.  He caught it, grinned and said “So what if his shirt is on backwards. “  Ha!  Earlier this week when I came home James had his shirt on backwards then too.  Obviously Kris is sending James to his room to get dressed, James is doing so and Kris isn’t checking anything.  Clearly it’s not a big deal – just funny!

We have Five Pumpkins on Our Porch

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We’ve had so much fun lately!  We’ve done so many fun activities.  It started a week ago Saturday with a trip to the local pumpkin patch.  We went with our neighbors Andrew and Katie and their daughter, Isla along with Krystle and Pierce.  Andrew and Kris were both wearing their infants in their baby bjorn carriers.  It was pretty cute and of course we had to take a picture of that.  Then we all did some quick family pictures before the tractor and wagon ride were ready for us.  Annika was a little scared of the wagon ride.  She asked me if it was scary and if she had done it before.  I assured her that it would be fun and we all climbed on board.  Of course it was fun and she was fine and worried over nothing.  Once we got out to the field of pumpkins the kids had a great time running to each pumpkin and deciding if it was the one they wanted or not.  They also had a great time “ewwing” at all the mushy, broken or otherwise undesirable pumpkins left in the field.  Oh, and they were constantly tripping over the pumpkin vines too.  At least it was dry out there so we didn’t get all muddy like we did last year!  We picked a couple pumpkins as did the others and then hopped back on the wagon.  The kids really liked picking out their pumpkins.  Annika picked out a teeny tiny one for herself.  She thinks it’s so cute!

After picking our pumpkins we hurried down to Minneapolis so we could go to the Augsburg homecoming football game.  We made it there by half time which was perfect – we didn’t have to pay to watch the second half!  Ha.  It was a packed house and we ended up standing by Papa near one of the end zones.  It didn’t take long for the kids to grow restless so I took them across the street to the park while Kris and his dad stayed to watch the end of the game.  The kids found some sticks to play with and a park bench and ended up “drumming” and singing for a while.  After the game was over we went to the block party where we had brats and some drinks and the kids made friends with some other kids and one huge balloon.  Who doesn’t love hitting a giant balloon into the air over and over?  Kris was able to see some old friends too.  It was a nice afternoon.

Last Monday I left work a bit early and went to Annika’s school so I could be there for her “Harvest Party.”  They don’t celebrate Halloween in her school and this was the alternate celebration.  The kids made spiders with oreo cookies and twizzlers as a snack and then played Bingo.  Of course in true school fashion, every kid left with a prize.  Can’t leave anyone out!  Annika did win the third game of Bingo though and was so excited to yell out Bingo as loudly as she could.  I was glad to see she was so comfortable (and not shy) to do that.

Last Tuesday was another fun day!  This time it was James’ turn for a field trip.  I went with him.  It was his first time riding on a big yellow bus which he thought very cool.  We got to see cows and calves and ponies and kittens and dogs and chickens and goats at the farm.  Oh, and a bunny!  James said his favorite was the chickens.  I think that’s because he got to actually go into the chicken coop to look for eggs.  They got a string cheese and an ice cream sandwich for a snack.  I’m sure that was a highlight too.  Most kids had a parent with them.  One little girl named Jamie didn’t though so I was in charge of James and Jamie for the day.  The two had fun sitting next to each other on the bus and tromping all over the farm together.  Jamie wasn’t shy about going off on her own though so I had to really keep an eye on her!  It’s not like she was going to go far but I didn’t want anything to happen to her while she was on my watch.

Last week was MEA break (or whatever it’s called these days) so Annika and James didn’t have school Wednesday through Friday.  Friday Kris brought the kids down to Minneapolis to have lunch with me.  I brought my friend Lisa with us.  I rarely eat lunch out anymore, instead bringing one from home each day, so this was a special treat for me to have a yummy lunch and get to see my kids!  We put Levi in a high chair at the table with us for the first time.  He’s such a big boy!  He got bored there quickly though and spent most of the lunch on my lap.  He was hungry and wanted some food so I gave him some avocado from my guacamole.  He loved it!  I didn’t want to give him anything chunky or any onions or tomatoes so I had to be careful and he would get so mad between bites.  More Mama!  Faster!  That was his second food after peas.  He’s since added sweet potatoes to his arsenal of foods.  He’s been a big fan of all three.  Can you believe he turns six months old on Thursday!?!  Six months!!!

Yesterday I got the kids all dressed up and had their pictures taken.  It was for Levi’s six month birthday, Annika’s six year birthday and then a Christmas picture.  All three kids did so well!  Levi sat up on his own (he can do that now!) for some cute pictures.  And he laid on his belly for some and I held him up standing for a couple.  He would give out his adorable smile for all of them.  Next Annika came in for hers while Krystle changed Levi into his Christmas outfit.  I was a little worried how Annika would do because sometimes she puts on her shy self and won’t break out of it.  Not this time though!  She smiled and laughed and we got some absolutely gorgeous shots of her.  I was so proud.  And I told her that too with lots of hugs and kisses.  I can’t wait to get those pictures of her!  Then I had all three kids in there for some group shots.  We got a couple really cute ones there too.  My kids are so cute!  I picked out a cute Christmas card featuring the kids that I’m excited to send out this year.

The only downer the past week is Levi’s cold.  Either he has the longest cold ever (we’re going on a month now of the stuffy, runny nose) or his teeth are giving us all a run for our money.  We’re pulling out all the stops now to help the poor baby breathe and sleep at night.  Last night we put saline drops in his nose, put a vaporizer outlet in his room, had him sleep upright in his carseat, put a cool mist humidifier on his room and a small space heater to combat the cold temps in his room.  He had a decent night.  He didn’t get up to eat until 3am with only one small peep around 9pm.  Then he was up again at 6am.  I almost felt decent this morning.  Of course if I had gone to sleep before midnight then I really would have.  This was much better than the every 1.5 -2 hours he’s done the last couple weeks though.  I am barely human right now.  I’d really just like some sleep.  I took a two hour nap yesterday while Levi napped and I could have used another one today.  As it is, I’m watching the Vikes/Packers game so I probably won’t be getting to bed early tonight either.  5:30am wake up call comes pretty early if you ask me!

And tomorrow starts another week and another school day.  Annika will be excited to go back.  She always tells me on weekends that she wishes it was a weekday so she could go to school.  I’m glad she likes it so much!  Tuesday is my second PTO meeting.  This time we’re having a presentation by the school lunch staff which I’m really interested to hear.

Conferences and Leapster and Peas

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Tuesday Kris and I had Annika’s first school conference of the year.  It was a good meeting with her teacher.  Annika is doing well in class, getting along with her classmates and picking up all the new material easily.  Her reading skills are on track, probably a little ahead and her math skills are above the rest.  Super yay!  It was noted that Annika likes to shut down and say “I don’t know” when presented with a question that she doesn’t immediately know the answer to.  If you press her a little bit and give her time to think about it she will more often than not come up with the right answer.  Her teacher is going to keep pressing her to not immediately shut down but to give herself a minute to think and then respond.  Kris and I think that’s fantastic.  It was also noted that Annika is very methodical with her work.  She takes her time to make sure everything is done according to the directions and doesn’t rush to be the first one done.  Yay for my girl!  And she is a Rules Follower and will give the other kids an “evil eye” if they don’t follow the classroom rules like no blurting, etc.  That is totally Annika!  If I tell her to do something and she resists I’ll often tell her “Well, that’s just the rule” and then she’ll reluctantly but willingly oblige.  Hee!  Anyway, I’m so proud of my daughter.  She is wicked smart (and that was backed up by her teacher!) and also so sweet and kind.

James has a new passion – the Leapster.  He has been playing it non stop in recent weeks.  Want to know where James is?  Is James being a little too quiet?  You’ll more than likely find him curled up on the couch, recliner or his bed playing any of the many Leapster games we have.  It’s getting to the point that I may have to implement a daily time limit for the Leapster!  I want him to go run around and play and use his imagination too!  He can’t only do word and math games and puzzles!  (OK, they’re not all bad but still – go exercise and play too!)  Last night he was playing while wearing the hood of his sweatshirt up so just his cute little face full of concentration was peaking out.  It was so cute!

Last night Levi moved on to his third food.  He’s had rice cereal and then oatmeal and last night we introduced his first vegetable – peas.  And he loved them!  He ate about 2/3 of the bowl before he was done.  He leaned forward and opened his mouth and I couldn’t shovel them in fast enough for a while!  Of course there was green goo everywhere when we were done but such is life when feeding an infant.  We’ll continue with this current menu for a few days and then we’ll introduce sweet potatoes next.  My baby will be six months old in less than two weeks.  Time is flying by with him!


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I added new pictures last night.  Um, 458 new pictures and videos.  That should keep you busy for a while.  They are from 8-15 to 10-8.

Friday night we went to Krystle and Pierce’s house for a party.  A very important party.  A party where we would learn the sex of Krystle and Pierce’s baby.  It was SO MUCH FUN!  We had to wear pink if we thought the baby was going to be a girl and a boy if we thought it was going to be a boy.  Can you guess what Annika wore?  Head to toe pink.  Seriously.  The rest of us in our family?  Blue.  Guess which one of us was right?  Annika!  Krystle and Pierce are going to have a baby girl!!!  I am so excited for them!  And Annika is too.  Like really, really excited for them.  :)   I was already scoping out cute girl things at Target and Kohl’s last night and am dreaming of all the cute things I get to buy now “for the baby!”  Heh.  I’ve already handed over the girl clothes I had stored in the basement – everything from newborn to 4T!  They should have a good base going for clothing!  It was really hard though to give up those clothes.  Some of them just bring me back to those early days of mommyhood.  I can pictures Annika, my first baby,  wearing them.  Me holding her and nursing her and cuddling her in those clothes.  Man, it goes so fast.  But I am excited to see my niece wear them too.  And I kept some of my favorite and most sentimental.  I just couldn’t let them all go.

And now I’m hoping that Carrie and Adam are having another boy (Brothers!  How sweet!) so I can give her all of Levi’s outgrown clothes and then be done hoarding childrens clothing forever! :)

By Twos

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Annika is learning to count by twos at school.  I hear a lot of 2, 4, 6, 8 at home these days.  Last night as I was washing her hair she started going B, D, F…she was trying to say the alphabet by twos.  She got pretty far before she got lost.  Go Annika!

Uno, Sitting, Cereal and Surgery

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The kids’ new favorite game is an old classic…Uno!  Annika received a deck of Uno cards for her birthday and we’ve been playing it almost every day since then.  It’s an easy enough game for Annika and James to play plus we can get through a game or two pretty fast which is nice for their relatively short attention spans.  So fun!  Although I have to admit that Annika isn’t the best sport.  She’s pretty competitive and doesn’t show the greatest sportsmanship when someone else wins or has something good happen to them.  We’re working on it.

Last week Wednesday Annika had her first field trip in Kindergarten.  It was to a local apple orchard and I signed up to be a chaperone.  For the 19 kids in her class, including her, there were 4 adults – the teacher, a teacher’s aide, me and another mom.  I had five little kids that I was in charge of for the afternoon, including Annika.  One little boy in my group took quite a liking to me and *had* to hold my hand the entire time we were out plus he had to sit by me on the bus too.  Annika kept giving me and him dirty looks the whole time on the bus.  She just did not like this other little boy getting attention from me.  When he grabbed my hand at the orchard she made sure to run up and grab the other one.  It was pretty cute to see my big girl get a little jealous over her mama.  Ah, she does love me!  We were only at the orchard for an hour or so and it was a pretty quick zoom through the place.  First was a barrel train ride, then a quick zip through the scarecrows before going on a tractor/wagon ride through the trees, off to pet some goats, pick out a pumpkin and two apples and then zoom, back on the bus.  Whew!  Once we were back at school I signed us out at the end of the day and we held hands all the way back to the truck.  It was a great afternoon spent with my girl.

Levi is getting closer to crawling!  Right now he’s scooting and rolling to whatever he sees that he wants.  He can also sit up now with minimal support.  Well, he can sit unsupported but he’s just as likely to topple over if he sees something that he wants.  And he’s also a big drooly monster.  Oh, there are copious amounts of drool!  He can soak his shirt in seconds.  Add to that a stuffy/runny nose and the poor kid just has to be teething.  No one else in the house has a cold but he’s had nasal problems for weeks now.  I know most doctors will tell you that a runny nose or low grade fever has nothing to do with teething but for little Levi it just must.  He’s constantly chewing on everything he can get in his mouth, he’s drooling like mad and he’s stuffed up.  I wonder when the first razor sharp tooth will poke through?

Levi is loving his rice cereal.  Last night I gave him some oatmeal cereal for the first time and he gobbled all of that up too.  We’ll do that for a week or two and then start him on some vegetables.  I bought some peas and sweet potatoes at the store for him.  He’s just going to love getting more solid foods.  Whenever he’s sitting on my lap while I’m eating he’s constantly trying to grab my plate or fork or whatever food is closest.  My baby is getting so big already! *sniff*

Friday Kris had surgery to remove his kidney stone.  It was a routine procedure without complications.  He spent the weekend on the couch recovering.  Annika and James spent the weekend at Nana and Papa’s house to also give Kris (and I) a break.  They were so excited to go that Annika hauled her suitcase out to the car, got in her carseat and buckled it all without saying good-bye to Kris and I.  You could say she was a little excited to go.  They both helped with chores in the barn and had lots and lots of fun as usual.  Kris is getting back to normal.  He’s still sore but hopefully that decreases a little more each day.  And I hope there’s no more kidney stones in his future!

James has his first field trip with preschool in two weeks.  I’m excited to go with him on his very first one!  So far he seems to be enjoying preschool still.  He brings home adorable art projects and I think he knows most, if not all, of his letters now.  He’s even learning all their sounds too so we can begin to sound out words.  I’m so proud of my big boy!