Thursday, October 1, 2015

Monticello and Jamestown

This trip was somewhat last minute.  I was wanting to take the kids to Monticello when Brian was working in Richmond all summer, but you know I was growing a mammoth baby and was just too tired to do it.  So we planned a trip to Charlottesville and Jamestown to hit two more sites we have lived near for 5 years and never taken the time to go see.  I am glad we did.  Bobby is in an angel baby stage right now.  He doesn't sleep a lot during the day like Drew, but he more than makes up for it with his glorious nights.  On top of that, he is just a chilled baby right now.  I lay him down and literally forget he's there sometimes.  Our chaotic life just surrounds him and yet he doesn't make a peep.  

Anyway, I read a couple Thomas Jefferson books to the kids in the van on the way to review the main details of his life and such.  (We also listened to Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean which is a really good read.  Brian was shushing me so he wouldn't miss any of the story.)  SO when we got to Monticello and were escorted by a tour guide, the kids were really excited to see things that had been mentioned or pictured in the books we read.  I was very proud that they could answer so many of the guide's questions.  It was worth the trip for me to see them learning and remembering while having fun.  Judah rode in the Ergo on Brian and Bobby was wrapped on me.  Drew was excellent!  I was so proud of him for being quiet and not touching or leaning on anything.  He's are rambunctious one, you know!  He even surprised me by recalling a few details from the book about Thomas Jefferson.  Sometimes I wonder if he is hoodwinking us and he really knows a lot more than he's letting on.

This is the back of the house which is the most impressive view and the one that is on the nickle.  Look at my stair step children!  I love them so much!

The gardens were beautiful.  This is the vegetable garden.

This is the vineyard and the amazing view.

In the basement, Drew hopped into this and said, "Look, I'm in a picture frame."

The discovery Center had really awesome block sets to play with to build your own "Monticello."

It also had a copy machine that he invented for the kids to tinker with.  They got to actually write with the pen and see the other one move at the same time and make a copy of what they were writing.  The only trouble was that the "copy" pen would not lift up when the real pen did.

Hannah wrote a little note to a friend.

After leaving Monticello, we drove to Richmond and had dinner at a pub that had a gourmet food truck night.  There were a dozen food trucks to choose from.  We got the kids gelato as a special treat after they ate pizza and wings.  Brian had some kind of fancy tacos and I went to get this quinoa bowl, but was distracted by this bowl of gourmet mac-n-cheese.  A guy eating it told me that he comes up there on food truck night just for that dish.  I caved and got it.  Everything was delicious.

Then we drove the last hour to our hotel and got everyone baths.  After the two littlest ones were tucked in, I read to the other kids a book about Jamestown.  It's a biography type book but written a little bit more interestingly.  The hotel had two rooms with doors and a fold out sofa.  The girls slept in one room with Judah in a pack-n-play, Brian and I were int he other room with Bobby in his Moses basket.  Isaac and Drew were on the fold out sofa.

The next day we were headed out to Jamestown.  I read aloud more of our book on the way.  First we stopped at the Jamestown Park which was free and the kids did a scavenger hunt while we looked around at the museums and the old Jamestown Fort.  They each earned a prize, Jamestown bags, at the end.  

Then we drove to the Jamestown visitor center where we had to pay for entry.  It turns out it was a special homeschool day.  However, for a myriad of reasons the cost for the homeschool tour was more than the cost of the entry to the center.  We just did the regular entry tickets.  We saw the reproductions of the Indian village, the three ships, and the fort.  Drew was not so great this time.  He was tired and cranky.  We mainly had problems on the ships.  It was misty/raining on and off all day and the decks were wet.  He was running around and kept darting off with the older two (Hannah stays with us most of the time, but Genna and Isaac like to explore.)  In hindsight I should have just made them all stay with me and Brian, but at the time had a sleeping baby wrapped on my chest and was trying to catch Drew.  After a few attempts to get him to stay with me and giving him way more chances than I normally do, I removed him from the ships and he had to sit in the stroller with me while everyone else finished up the ship tour.  Oh, that boy!

Jamestown Monument

We went to Olive Garden for dinner before heading back to the hotel per my and Hannah's request.  My husband hates chain restaurants, but he sacrificed for me seeing as we are about to move out of the country and make an Olive Garden visit impossible for a good while.  I was hoping for a relaxing dinner, but was foiled by a sweet (but noisy) toddler.  It wasn't our toddler either which may be what you are thinking.  Nope, he was sitting at a table next to us.  It was not just ocassionally either.  That little boy pretty much screeched right around his pacifier constantly the whole dinner.  AND our waiter was really slow.  It was a lesson in patience, charity, and love all wrapped into that one screechy child for both Brian and I who have little tolerance for screaming.  I kept thinking of all the articles I've read lately about being pro-life, not just pro-birth.  We are called to love these babies even as they grow into tiny (and then not so tiny) humans.  None of these babies we are praying for and fighting for their chance at life will be born perfect.  They are going to grow up and run into you at the grocery store and yell in public.  They are going to cry when they can't have the candy at the check out line, and, yes, one day they are going to cut you off on the road or maybe even flip you off.  We are called to love them, pray for them, and fight for them just as much as we did when they were in utero.

That's what our little, not quite so relaxing (AKA Brian was on the edge of his seat,) had me thinking.  Every time it got hard for me to take, I thought, "I love that little boy.  His mother is doing her best."  I can only hope others will one day offer me and my children the same love if I am in a similar situation.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Smiles, Donuts, and a Chuckle

Bobby smiles in response to you talking to him or smiling at him a lot more often now.  I caught a few on camera this last week.

After Bath Smiles

Hannah took these pictures.

Judah got to have his very first donut while we were on our mini vacation.  He still can't have a lot of them because they have milk products on top of the donut, but he can have plain cake donuts.  I was super excited, and it was kind of a let down.  He didn't even finish it!  What kind of person doesn't finish their donut unless you're on a diet or something?  I was definitely more excited than he was, but if we'd have had to tell him he had to eat cereal while everyone else had a donut he wouldn't have been too happy, I am sure.

Bobby is still doing the little chuckles or giggles, but no huge laughs yet.  It's pretty much adorable.

Right before I took this, he was chuckling at Hannah.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Well Check in Triplicate

I got a phone call right before we were headed out to our appointment and I just knew it was the appointment lady trying to reschedule.  When I heard her voice, I said, "Oh no!  Please, don't tell me you're cancelling our three appointments," while adding in my head, "Because I just woke up all the kids and got everyone ready to go."  She explained that they were having a little problem with the A?C working too well.  It was very cold inside.  I asked exactly how cold we're talking...40's, 50's.  She said 60's, and I said,  "We'll bring sweaters.  See you there."

I got approximately five, "Are they all yours?" questions, not counting the one lady's double and triple checking to make sure I understood the question.  "You mean all of them?  You're not babysitting for anyone?"  No, no.  I understand what you are asking.  

The kids behaved nicely.  Judah didn't have any immunizations, but I had told him he would be getting shots and a treat afterwards.  Drew had been super worried about the shots and he had to get two.  Bobby, of course, had a ton of them.  While we were in the immunizations waiting room, Judah was begging for a shot and Drew was begging not to make him get any shots.  It was quite the entertainment for the other patients.  Hannah held Bobby (because he had fallen asleep on me) while I took Drew in for his shots.  Genna pushed Judah around in the Bobby's stroller, and Isaac came in to read to Drew to help distract him.  Drew had asked him to do that.  I was very proud of my sweeties for all helping out with the younger ones.  Drew was over it quickly and I bought them all Sonic slushies for being so good (since there is a relatively new Sonic up near the doctor and that is my favorite place ever!)  Bobby had a rough day, sleeping most of the day, but waking up screaming randomly.  I was wearing him in my linen wrap most of the day since we were at co-op and then the fair.

Everyone is in excellent health.  Here are the stats...

Robert Cecil weighed in at 14 lbs even  (91%) and measured 24" (83%) with a head circumference of 40cm (48%.)

Judah weighed in at 29.4 lbs (63%) and measured 34.4" (42%) with a whopping head circumference of 51cm (94%) which means he's got a big head on a regular sized body like Genna did.

Drewy weighed in at 40.3 lbs (81%) and measured 43.3" (97%.)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A fair is a veritable smorgasbord orgasbord orgasbord...

Look, the county fair had a truckload special.  $50 per car with unlimited rides for all inside.  I own a twelve passenger van.  I have this learned behavior (from my husband) to be cheap frugal.  I couldn't pass it up.  Despite the fact that I have a two month old, a two year old, and a four year old.  Despite the fact that my husband would be at work and not be able to come.  Despite the fact that we had three well checks for those aforementioned children that morning where immunizations were given out like fortune cookies at a Chinese restaurant.

I obviously didn't think this through, folks.  I went with two friends after co-op (Oh yeah, we had co-op that day too.) and without them I'm not sure how I would have gotten back to my car beast of a van.  Come to think of it, without them Judah might still be stuck in the fun house, unable to climb the rope or find his way back out today and Drew might still be jumping his heart out on the bouncy house.  Obviously, I did not. think. this. through.

So there were three moms with thirteen kids.  We were a little outnumbered that's all.

Here's some of our crew waiting to slide down the tractor slide.

Judah sliding down

I'll take you for a ride on my big green tractor.

Judah is turned around looking for me in the red boat.  A friend's daughter was watching out for him.  I couldn't ride anything because of Bobby being wrapped on my chest.

Drew's in the front of this red boat having a blast.
We split into two groups so that the bigger kids could go on rides that they wanted to go on, but the younger ones weren't tall enough or brave enough for.  I sent Judah into a fun house that had a crazy climbing part that I hadn't noticed at first.  My friend had to go in and rescue him and her own son.

Drew got accidentally poked in his eye by Isaac and his anger management problems surfaced.  When I tried to intervene, he turned on me.  He made a scene.  I had to sit down on the ground holding onto him until he was able to regain his composure.  He had another melt down when I told him that we had to move on from the bouncy house to a new ride.  He first ran back up the slide where he knew I couldn't reach him.  So I waited him out until he thought he was out of the woods and slid down the slide again.  I reach over and grabbed him (Remember I still have a baby strapped on my front!) and picked him up kicking and screaming.  I was getting looks!  I swear people thought I was kidnapping him until he started yelling, "Stop, Mom!"  It was ridiculous!  By this time it is way past dinner time and starting to get crowded from the after school/work crowd.  I am sure that had something to do with this, but still he can't get away with acting that way.  My other friend (You know the one who helped deliver Bobby?  As if she hadn't done enough for me, right?)  took Drew and helped calm him down so the other kids could finish up with their last few rides.  If he had been my first child, I promise you I would have thought I was a failure as a mother.  Thanks be to God, I learned with the first three that every kid has an embarrassing moment in public.  Most kids have many.  Drew is exceptional and has more than many.  I discipline him and strive for consistency just like with the rest of the children, but he takes a lot longer to learn his lessons.

On a brighter note, the kids had a wonderful time.  Isaac got to go on the Ferris Wheel which was his main goal.  Hannah played a game with her own money and won a prize while Genevieve went on the ride that has swings that swing way out as it rotates.  They all shared a funnel cake.  Then we had a long walk back to the cheap seats.  That's where they make you park your vehicle for the truck load sale.  Cheapest trip I'll ever take to the fair.  That's for sure!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Judah wants to be like the big boys.

Judah is very into using the potty right now.  I'm not quite sure if he's ready for actual potty training yet (or maybe I'm the one who's not ready,) but he is asking to go sometimes and is really putting pee and even a little bit of poop in the potty each time. He definitely knows what to do, but I'm not interested in doing this before our move at all.

We were watching the Republican debate with the big kids, and Judah was being silly.
He is also trying to dress himself, mostly unsuccessfully so far.  He wants to squeeze every ketchup bottle and shake every salt shaker himself.  He demands to climb into his own seat and try to buckle it all by himself.  Independence is nice, but at this stage it is so slow.  I have to make myself slow down and give him a chance for all the reasonable things because it is so much easier to do it myself.  How else will he learn?

He's been waking up a little earlier than usual lately, around 6am.  The other day Brian heard him and went in his room to try to lay on the big bed with him and catch a few more z's because Bobby and I were still sleeping.  Brian told me later that he was climbing all over him and getting books to look at, but at some point got really quiet.  Brian lifted his head to look at him.  Judah was crawling over to the door and stood up really quietly, put his hand on the door knob, and then looked at Brian to make sure he wasn't watching.  Well, he was watching; so he let go of the door knob.  Brian asked him what he was doing.  Judah replied, "I was sneaking to Mom's room."  Cutie!

He loves animals.  This is my uncle's dog.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Food Challenge Day!

Friday was Judah's first food challenge.  His allergy numbers didn't get worse so they recommended a food challenge with baked milk.  I was to bake these muffins with a specific recipe (which I remembered at 11pm the night before and mixed up the batch to bake in the morning) and bring them in fresh the morning of the challenge with a hungry Judah (no breakfast.)  We arrived at the hospital at 7:30am.  I was mistaken though and his appointment wasn't until 8:30am so I had a challenge of my own which was to keep him happy until he could get the promised muffins.  He was loudly (but politely at first) asking for a muffin every three seconds.  Some other patients were chuckling because he was asking so cute and I had to keep saying, "When we get in the office, you can have your muffin."  Ten minutes into that things started to dissolve into Hungry Toddler Meltdown City.  ever been there?  It's not a place you want to visit.  Trust me.  I tried distracting him.  After many failed attempts, he allowed me to hold him and walk around looking at all the pictures on the walls.  Bobby was asleep in the stroller, so he was no problem to stroll with us.

Once we finally signed the consent forms and were allowed to eat the muffin, it turned out he could only have a quarter of a muffin for the first 15 minutes.  Then he could have a half, wait fifteen minutes more, etc.  I started to panic thinking I'd be holding a hungry mad little boy, but he listened well to the doctor and waited really well.  He had to get his blood pressure taken each time to get his muffin, so that got him all excited each time.  Apparently, many kids get full and have to be talked into eating more, but not my hungry hippo.  We had to then wait for a total of four hours just to make sure he didn't have a reaction.

Did I mention Isaac and Judah got a haircut on Thursday by me?

He got bored of books and the few toys I brought and we busted out a pencil and old receipt.

After the first quarter he did start to tell me his mouth hurt which made me nervous, but he must have bit his tongue or something in his eagerness to eat that muffin because nothing happened and he was okay.  So he is now cleared to have small amounts of baked in milk AND things processed on equipment with milk.  YAY!  This opens up so much!

There were a couple of other food challenges going on at the same time.  One boy around the age of 10 was there doing a peanut challenge.  His doctor asked if he wanted to pick out a movie and the boy started to walk over to do that.  He got halfway there and turned to me to ask if my son would like to pick one out instead.  What an amazing young man!  It is so rare these days to see such thoughtful consideration for others in young people, and even in older people.  I thanked him, but declined the offer and told him to pick out whatever he wanted.  But it just made my day to see such kindness.

The morning wiped us both out and Judah was asleep before I pulled out of the parking spot.