Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Recent Goings On (when we aren't traveling or hiking!)

Isaac started up baseball practice again with one sunny nice practice, one rained out practice and another rained out game, and a practice that was sunny at the beginning and started raining, snowing, and sleeting in the middle but they kept on going.  All the other fields cleared and they kept on going.  The three little boys and I had a picnic dinner in the back of the van since the back row seats are currently out.  Isaac was not dressed for the sudden switch in weather.  He toughed it out on the field, but 3 yards from the van broke down in tears because his hands hurt so badly and he was soaking wet and freezing.  Poor guy!  I guess I should have pulled him out early.  He is only seven, this isn't the minors or anything.  

Picnic dinner during the nice, sunny practice

Drew adores Isaac, and Judah adores Drew and Isaac.  He gets lots of love.
 Bobby had his first fever (not counting from shots) this week. He went to bed and felt ever so slightly warm after throwing up his green beans.  He throws up when he gags and the only thing that caught my attention there was that the food was a stage 2 baby food that he usually tolerates quite easily.  Brian was feeding him dinner though and he has a tendency to do bigger and faster bites than I do.  I was suspicious, but not sure.  Sure enough he was red faced and hot when he woke up at 2:30am.  I never quite got him back to sleep in his bed that night for more than just 30 minutes.  So I ended up giving up and laying on the big bed with him and he fell asleep on me.  However, I couldn't sleep because if I moved to get comfortable he woke up and he had to start all over again.  Luckily, after a hard night and a hard day, he was much better the next night and woke up fever free the next morning.

Bobby fell asleep in my room on the bed with me after waking early from his afternoon nap.  The afternoon nap is really my only chance of getting a nap if I need one, so when he woke up as soon as I got everyone settled and laid down I consoled myself with cuddling with him while watching an episode of  Call the Midwife.  

Isaac's First Communion is going to be in Florence after all.  Details and time is scheduled.  Both his godfather and our friend, the Abbot of San Mineato, will be there.  We are so excited!  His banner is complete and we are going to go to confession again this week in final preparation.  He is reading the Blessed Imelda book this week too.

Drew asked us the other day. "If the world is round, why don't we ever feel like we are upside down?"  He has always been a question asker, but his questions had been much more scientific in nature lately.  He is also choosing a lot of nonfiction picture books for bedtime stories, like books on the ocean, geology, and constellations.  I love science, so I'm happy about that.

Went to a Mexican food place because I needed some even if it wasn't going to be exactly authentic.  It was pretty good considering how far we are from Mexico, and it was better than New York's version of Mexican food.
Judah is much better this week than last week when he lived in our timeout room.  Our favorite thing about Judah right now is when he says, "Gelbe Sak."  His lips stick out and it sounds adorable.  The Gelbe Sak is the German word for the yellow sack for recycled plastics and aluminum.

I have been taking the boys to story time every week.  If any kid interjects a comment about the book, Judah seconds the motion.  If when reading about bees, somebody says, "Oh, I don't like bees!"  Judah shouts out, "Me neither!  I don't like bees!"  It's quite cute to me, but I am not so sure the librarian finds it as cute as I do.  Drew only shouts out contrary comments like when the librarian asks if they want to sing the song again he says, "No!"  I am certain the librarian doesn't think that is cute.  I secretly find it humorous, but I tell him to keep his comments to himself.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Science Project Pets

Germany is known for their plethora of snails, and large ones at that!  So when I saw science projects involving keeping and observing snails, I thought this would be the perfect project for us.  I did not realize how dirty these things could be.  They go through our lettuce scraps like crazy and leave poop and slime all over the mini aquarium they are living in.  I can't keep it clean, so they will be returning to the wild when we are thoroughly knowledgeable about all things snail. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

ThingamaBOB: 9 month old!

Guess who surprised me...

He's scooting!

Remember this is the kid that learned to roll only a month ago.  That's the last thing I expected, but it's still slow going so no major baby proofing just yet.  He can scoot on his bottom or on his tummy on the hard floors by pulling himself forward with his hands.  He can scoot a little on the rugs as well, but it is much much slower.  So at least we have somewhere we can leave him and know he won't get very far.  He is just starting rocking on his hands and knees, but usually one leg is folded under when he does this.  He's also able to stand holding onto something, but he can not pull up to standing yet.

My Bobby got another tooth, his third one, the top right one poked through on his 9 month birthday.  Let the teeth grinding begin.

He's babbling a lot of sounds, now adding "nanana" and "bababa."  We are working on a couple of signs, clapping, and waving, but no progress on that front yet.

Two front bottom teeth


Bobby is a good eater as long as the food is thin and smooth with no bumps, chunks, or anything.  If we give him anything thicker, bumpier, or whatever, he gags and throws up.  Not spit up, but actual forceful vomiting.  This is super frustrating because I like to make my own baby food and I don't usually strain it.  So I've been buying it.  German baby food is almost exclusively potato based.   Potatoes almost always end in disaster.  They are hard to thin out enough for him.  Sometimes you'll think everything is going great, and then he gags on the last bite and up comes the whole dinner.  All the things I normally feed my babies mashed up, like hummus, bananas, potatoes, and avocados, are too thick for him unless I blend it up with a lot of water.

He does like the mesh feeder where I can put fruits and veggies so that he can chew on them and get the juice out.  I am still giving him 4-6 bites of baby prunes at each meal to keep his constipation at bay.  It seems to be working well.

Bedtimes and Naptimes

Naptimes are at 9:15/45am and 1:30/2pm.  He dropped the third nap for the most part this month.  I do still give it to him if he's having a rough day with super short naps.  The length of his naps is what is so bad.  He'll go to sleep when I put him down, but many times he only sleeps for 25-45 minutes.  That did not bother me much when he was younger because he was just so happy and easy going when he was awake, but this month has brought on the "Cling-onto Mommy" phase which has been harder for me.  He is suddenly not enjoying his exersaucer anymore, or his swing.  If he'll go in one of them, it is only until he hears my voice or sees me walk by.  He does eventually get too exhausted and sleep for longer, but usually after many days of me wondering how he can hold out so long for a decent nap.  Rarely, does he ever take two naps in one day longer than 45 minutes.  Genevieve was a bad napper too.  During her babyhood and Bobby's we have had the most inconsistent schedule.  I think that's the common link, but who knows really?

Bedtime is going great now.  He is finally sleeping on his tummy all the time.  His bedtime is at 7:45/8pm.  I am trying to move that up to 7:30pm, but it seems just when I get close to that we are out late and I have to start over moving it gradually up.  I am still doing the dreamfeed at 10:15/10:30pm.  He sleeps until 6/6:30am most days, but has had a few bouts of early wakings in the 5am hour.

He still likes the touch and feel big books the best.  As soon as I start to sing the Hail Mary, he starts closing his eyes and rubbing/grabbing his ear.  He sleeps in a sleepsack which he seems to like.

Blows lots of raspberries!
I love those dimples!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Construction Across the Street

The neighbors have been doing some serious remodeling.  Today there was a little tractor out there doing some work.  Judah quite enjoyed watching from our kitchen counter.

Judah has been the epitome of a two year old this week with all kinds of disobedience and fits.  I sure do hope next week brings my cheerful little man back.  I'm not a fan of this behavior.  It makes it very hard for anything to get accomplished around here.

Monday, April 18, 2016

An Aunt Again!

My brother and sister-in-law had their first baby.  They received his quilt just in time.  Turner was born on April 12th, the day before his due date.  It is killing me not to be there!

My two nephews, my sister's big boy and my brother's baby boy.  My mom and dad now have six grandsons and only two granddaughters.
He's doing great, and so are his wonderful parents!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Guess who's going to kindergarten!!!!

 Oh yeah, baby!  We found him a spot.  We should really give all the credit to God for putting that idea in Brian's head to just stop by this one kindergarten one last time to see if they'd put him on the waiting list at the neighboring village kindergarten.  This was after Brian and Drew drove around to something like eight other kindergartens and were rejected at all of them.

A student had just left, and they said he can start in May!  Praise God!  This is really a huge blessing for me and the whole family. Poor Drew is bored to tears most days.  He's even asking to do schoolwork and has made huge progress in learning to read all because he is bored and tells me I can pick anything for him to do.  I am hoping and praying he adjusts quickly and with minimal stress despite the language barrier.  It will really help us get our schoolwork done at home too without the distraction for Isaac and the fighting with the two year old over all things stupid.  And Judah may be able to join him soon.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

D.E.A.R.: Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

I found out about Beverly Cleary's birthday and celebrating it by Dropping Everything and Reading on the Read Aloud Revival Podcast.  Here is the link to Sarah MacKenzie's post about it.

When I mentioned this idea to the kids they jumped at the chance to read instead of do schoolwork.  I was getting questions like, "So can we read all day and not do any schoolwork at all?"  

"Do we even have to come out of our rooms?"  

"Can't we skip piano lessons and read instead?"

"Do we have to stop reading to eat?"

I agreed to let them only do piano lessons and the subjects they were behind in (due to the great big move,) and then they could read as much as they could with the caveat that they still had to eat meals.  And that's what they did.  I barely saw the girls the rest of the day.  I read some of Henry Huggins (by Beverly Cleary!) to the little boys in the afternoon since all their buddies were still being recluses in their rooms with books.  I think Hannah read 3.5 books that day.  

Drew even participated.  He is doing the How to Teach your Kids to Read in 100 Easy Lessons book that has worked for three kids before him.  He's doing really so much better than I expected.

Here I am reading Henry Huggins to the little ones.

Notice the cup on the head.

They are a wiggly bunch!

Genna's Happy Place

Hannah's Happy Place
Isaac likes to read his history book out loud to his brothers lately.  Drew is always bored these days and will listen to anything Isaac will read to him.  Judah is just a little shadow and will go along with whatever the big boys want to do.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Our First Culinary Hike

This was our first Kulinarische Wonderung, AKA culinary hike.  We drove an hour to get to it.  You basically walk on a prepared hike, wondering from tent to tent eating food and drinking wine.  It sounded super exciting to me.  I love food after all.  However, it was so very uphill.  We had a great time, but, oh, we were sore by the time this weekend of walking was over.  I got the added pleasure of carrying around 20 extra pounds of cuteness.  Who needs weights when you could have one of these cuties to carry around.

As usual, Bobby was an excellent travel companion.  Drew asked if we were almost done when we hadn't even reached the first tent yet.  When he was shown the hill we were about to climb, he asked if we could carry him.  Ha!  After he was turned down by both daddy and mommy, he didn't complain or ask again the rest of the time.  He is really doing great with all this walking.

Judah took the stroller and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The big kids had a good time and walked like champs.  They got to get a card to have stamped along the way and then received a prize at the end when they turned in the cards.  It was candy and a bouncy ball for the young hikers.

Vineyards surrounded us all along the way.

There was a bouncy castle at one stop.

There was a castle at one of the stops with a food tent set up right in the walls.

We've got another one of these culinary hikes coming up soon in a village extraordinarily close to our house.