Friday, April 27, 2012

Crouching TJ, Hidden Jojo

It's not often that Jojo gets the upper hand when it comes to rough housing with TJ. However, back at Easter, Uncle Pat joined forces with the little bro and helped him "chase" Thomas. I wish you could hear Jojo's giggling more on the video; I'll have to take another one. Any time we help him "get" TJ, he gets this big grin, this deep chuckle, and you can tell that he is just having a ball. And, I just love watching Jojo's little legs "run" as Pat glides him around the room.As an added bonus, in the middle there's a clip of Ed and Pat putting on their own Cirque du Soleil show with the boys.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Waterpark Weekend

We met up with old A-B friends from St. Louis and Columbus recently for a waterpark weekend. Our original meeting point idea, Indianapolis, didn't pan out, so we ended up at Abe Martin State Park, about an hour south of Indy. Besides the longer trip, we had a great time! The lodge was hidden deep in a gorgeous forest, had little cabins we could stay in, and had indoor activities--crucial for a mid-April get together. Inside the lodge was a zero depth pool, perfect for little kids, and a cool water slide. Hopefully we'll make it a yearly tradition and the weather will cooperate more and we can try a hike next year to enjoy the actual park and not just the pool!
Between the three families, we had kids ages 5.5, 4, 3, 15 months, 8 months and 4 months, so we had our hands full.

The three big kids. They had a ball playing together.

 Blair and her son Rowan

 Mo juggles two babies in the pool

Me on the water slide with TJ. He even went down twice by himself! And this is how I know he's growing up. In the pool again Sunday morning, I kept asking him if he wanted to go on the slide (because I really wanted to--it was fun!). He kept saying no. Then Cooper (who is 5) suggested that they should go on the slide. Thomas jumped up and ran after him. Mom is no longer the coolest person in his world. :(
We contemplated going to the restaurant in the lodge but decided that with six kids, ordering pizza and eating on the picnic table outside our cabin was a better idea!

Mo got her kids squirt bottles. Molly spent some time washing cars.

After we put the kids to bed, the adults chilled outside, catching up and drinking beer. We could see TJ, our nocturnal kid, shining his headlight through the window of our cabin.
Our cabin had two beds--a double and a single, a small desk, a bathroom, and a mini fridge and microwave. Thomas (the button king) was obsessed with the microwave. He started keeping his "treasures" in it--a pair of big boy undies, a carrot helicopter Easter toy, and the bar of soap from the bathroom. He was also fascinated by the bar of soap--in his world, soap only comes in liquid form. He stored the soap in the microwave and ran to retrieve it each time he needed to wash his hands.

 Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny. Since we all had small kids, we were up early and the waterpark didn't open until 10. We spent the morning at the park's swing set--so nice to be outside!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Potty Stealth

And our potty training saga continues. The latest, and in my mind, funniest story, happened last night.

But first, overall, here's where we are: we set the timer for 45 minutes at a pop and make him try when it goes off. He's so trained to hear timers now that he comments on them at the grocery store, etc.: "Mommy! Timer!" Of course, he sometimes refuses to try when the timer dings, which leads to wailing and gnashing of teeth, and often wet pants 5 minutes later. So it's not about the going, it's about the power struggle.
The #2 situation is a little messier (pun intended). We haven't had a lot of success yet. His favorite time to go is 10 minutes after we've put him to bed. To combat that, Ed point him to bed naked one night, which worked, but we have not had fairly consistent success here as we have with #1. Oh, and whoever catches him after he has pooped in his pants gets told, "Shhh....don't tell Daddy/Mommy." Kid, we don't have to tell them. They can smell you.

So back to last night. We put him to bed after a long, fun day of play with Dustin and Kelly and Abbey. He hadn't pooped. We put him in practice pants (pull-ups) and told him to let us know if he needed to go poop. About 30 minutes later, Ed sees him at the foot of the stairs, naked from the waist down. Based on his prior history of poop finger painting, this does NOT look good. Ed takes him back upstairs, asking where his poop is, and fearing the worst. I'll let the conversation speak for itself.
Ed: "Where's your poopoo, TJ?"
TJ: "In the toilet."
Ed: "Did you make poopoos on the potty, TJ?"
TJ: "Nope. In my practice pants."
Ed: "Where are you practice pants?"
TJ: "In there." (points to the diaper genie)
Ed, noticing wipes strewn all over the bedroom: "What did you use the wipes for, TJ?"
TJ: "To clean my butt."

Ha ha ha ha ha!

He knows he's going to get in trouble for pooping in his diaper, so he tries to clean up the evidence himself. I have to say that even though it's not the desired outcome, it's a giant leap forward from the days of finger painting...

After Ed puts him back to bed (with new practice pants and a short lecture), the four of us are laughing and talking about how Thomas is sort of scary smart--that's a lot of conniving for a 3-year-old. Even if he doesn't always do it, he clearly gets the potty training concept.

Fast forward to this only does TJ pee in his pants twice (adding to twice yesterday, so four times and lots of laundry this weekend), when Ed asks him to pick up his shoes, he can't find them, even though he's practically stepping on them. We may be taking back that "super smart" label. And investing in pull-up stock.

edited to add: One more bit of potty humor: The other night TJ successfully pooped on the potty for me. He's looking at it proudly, and says what sounds like, "that's a he** of a poop!" I panicked, wondering who he'd heard that word from, because with the exception of about 2-weeks-worth of a different swear word he heard and repeated over and over last summer, we've been fairly good about keeping those words away from his ears. I asked him to repeat it. He was saying that it's a "hill" of a poop! (Insert mental image here). Whew.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


...and more!
Some pictures of diaper playtime. 

One way to keep Jojo out of the big boy toys is to sit on the toy box. 

Take down #1!

Take down #2!

Playing blocks together: stack and whack!

 The guys hanging out in the circle chair

Future guitar player

Nothing like a box--who needs toys?

The ultimate nap spot! Josiah has a lot of affection for the fuzzy lion.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Josiah is 8 months!

And oh-so-mobile! He is always standing these days, pulling up on anything and everything. He's also become interested in the stairs--time to get the baby gates out! He motors around the house, crawling after all three of us and continues to take TJ's "love" with good humor, most of the time. And he's still a redhead!

Thomas wanted in on the fun. A small wrestling match ensued. 
I'm really looking forward to when they're more evenly matched!

 I can't believe how much he's growing. I've pulled out the next size of clothes from TJ for him. These jeans are 12-18 months, but they fit him quite well. What a big boy--where did our little baby go?!

 Love this picture! He's not as concerned about grass as TJ was at this age.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I don't have any table pictures, besides of the centerpiece and cake, but we had a delicious dinner and a relaxed Easter evening dinner with great company. It was fun having my cousin and her family there, and I think the boys enjoyed playing together. TJ didn't get a nap and I think was getting a cold, so he was a bit crabby, but Vince and Jojo enjoyed playing together!
So fun to play in the curtains!

 I used Pinterest for inspiration to find some Easter decorating ideas. The centerpiece below is proof of what I think everyone knows, but often forgets. Just because you see some great/cute idea really well done on Pinterest doesn't mean that your recreation of it will be equally professional-looking.

This is what I tried to recreate. This is what I did create. 

My cup holding the flowers inside the glass vase shows, I don't have enough peeps to cover the entire vase, the peeps are squished and stretched...Sigh. But, if you don't know what it was supposed to look like, it's still pretty cute! 
Mom made the little chocolate nests you see in the foreground by request, as a tribute to Easter tables from my childhood. 

 Thomas hunting for his eggs Easter morning.

 The boys in their cute little Easter Sunday polo shirts, with and without bunny ears.


How cute is this? 
 And this? The ears fit his waist better than his head, and he couldn't pull them off from here!

Remember how I said that TJ was crabby? He "went to bed" while we were eating Easter dinner, and then reappeared later, only to fall asleep with Ed on the couch. (This was about 6:30. Poor kid!)

Grammy and Buppa with the boys

 Jenn and Pat, and...wait, what's that? That cute little bump under Jenn's sweater? That would be Baby E, who will hatch in mid September! Hooray!

 Our family of four

Jojo is just one of the guys, watching the Masters. :)

Dyeing Eggs & Egg Fight

Egg dyeing was less messy this year. TJ did a great job!

 Mmm...eggs. These white ones taste pretty good!

 Mine, all mine!

Look, my hands aren't that dirty!

Fun to have another generation in the egg fight. In addition to mom, dad, Jenn and Pat coming for the weekend, my cousin Andrea, her husband Nick and their almost 3-year-old Vince came for Easter dinner on Saturday. We let the boys smash eggs. 
(For the uninitiated, to have an egg fight, everyone takes a (hardboiled) egg. You pick partners and smash your eggs together. Whoever has the egg that didn't crack from the bang-up moves onto the next round. You keep picking partners and smashing eggs until only one person, the winner, is left. Fun stuff! )

 Jenn and Pat smash eggs

 Dad won this year, with the yellow egg he's holding.

Pure Michigan in Person

We kicked off our Easter weekend with a little exploring--specifically the dunes by Lake Michigan and South Haven. The coastline on the east side of Lake Michigan is so different from that of Wisconsin and Illinois. And I have to say, so much prettier! We hiked up a large dune at Van Buren State Park, which felt larger than it probably was because I was carrying Jojo on my back and Ed was giving TJ a piggy back. It wasn't terribly warm, but it was a gorgeous afternoon! Then we headed up to South Haven and tried out a great Mexican restaurant. The best part? The Lake is only 35 minutes from our house!

 Talking to daddy

Playing with someone else's sand castle on top of the dune

I love jumping/running down sand dunes. Always have, ever since a church youth group trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes when I was in high school. The last time we visited sand dunes, in the Outer Banks 3.5 years ago, I was pregnant and didn't get to jump much. I tried to show TJ how to do it. I admit I was really hoping he'd get running so fast that he'd roll down the hill. That didn't happen, so I helped him out a bit.