Tuesday, May 23, 2017

More About Bob: About 22 Months Old

Bobby is fast approaching two years old.  :(  Where does the time go?  He is a very meticulous little guy.  He loves to stack, line up, and organize things.  He frequently asks for toys in his highchair after his meal so that he can play there.  He loves dirt, but hates to be dirty with food on him or his tray.

I took just him one day to the girls' basketball practice when we had visitors to stay with the other boys at home.  I sat on the floor of the sidelines because they had pushed the bleachers in.  He sat right next to me, playing with his cars, the whole time.  Every once in a while he would lay down like this and play with the cars or just watch the kids play basketball.  Tough guy to keep up with, huh?  If anyone remembers Drew at this age (I was very pregnant already, by the way,) it was a very different story...polar opposite even.  Thank you, God, for this calm boy!

Bobby loves blocks now and will help his brothers build things.  He's really pretty careful about not breaking their Lego creations, and if he does break a piece off, he immediately brings it to someone to fix.  Another difference between him and Drew at this age.  Even Judah destroyed Legos at this age.  The wooden blocks are somewhat a different situation.  They knock their own creations down sometimes, and Bob has caught on quickly to that.

Bob's eating has actually improved.  I read/skimmed a book called The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution.  I was doubtful, but wanted to see if there was anything in there that I hadn't already tried or hadn't thought of.  There were not new ideas really in this book.  It is mostly the same old stuff you always hear.  Don't force a kid to eat.  Don't force them to clean their plate.  Don't make food emotional.  The one idea that I really liked was organizing your pantry where healthy foods are at kid level and all snacks and candy put away inside cabinets.  Bobby has just recently been introduced to candy and he quickly learned that it was on the top shelf in the pantry and every time he went into the pantry he would start saying, "Candy."  I reorganized my kitchen and pantry to have all our chips and candy in the corner cabinet of the kitchen that is hard to access anyway.  I put most of the snacks (like goldfish and cracker types) in closed tupperware on the top shelf in the pantry.  This has been a good change.

Another thing the book suggested was something I have done in the past with other kids when they were going through a picky phase...hiding vegetables inside things that look tasty.  I always try to sneak in carrots into my spaghetti sauce,  vegetables into my taco meat, and those kinds of things.  The end of the book had more recipes that I hadn't tried before.  So I tried a Garden Dip that was delicious to the adults only.  It had foods like avocados, spinach, and sour cream.  Flop.  I tried Banana and Black Bean Treasure Triangles which were in a flaky pastry.  They were also amazing, but...flop.  Bob wouldn't even taste these things.  Judah didn't want to taste them, but I talked him into trying them.  Without detailing all my failures, it went something like this:  Flop, flop, flop.  However, on the up side, Bobby has recently decided that green beans are a favorite, and he will actually eat the carrots now instead of sucking off all the hummus.  In addition to that big achievement, he is eating so nicely with a spoon and fork now.  He's always slow on the motor development, but he gets there eventually.  Next goal is conquering the stairs.

Drew and Bob are looking more alike these days.  I accidentally dressed the two of them in similar striped shirts.  

Fits when getting buckled into the van have started.  He has always loved to go places, but suddenly he wants to go, but doesn't want to be in the car seat.  I have to pin him down to buckle him and he is strong.  Just a phase, I am sure.

Bobby was all into books and then he just wasn't.  That used to be nearly the only thing we had out for him in the living room was a box of books to look through.  Lately I haven't had but a few out because he seemed all about the cars, trains, and motorcycle toys.  However, he is getting back that loving feeling for books.  Yay!

And just because he is cute to listen to...


I have another video that I'll get up soon of him singing.  His favorite songs right now are Fireflies and Moon, by Laurie Berkner.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

More visitors!

A couple days and a bunch of loads of laundry later, my mother-in-law, AKA Nanna arrived bringing Uncle James and his girlfriend with her.  Nanna had a nap and then immediately began doing puzzles with the children.  It is something they have come to expect.  The little ones associate it with her.  I can see inside Judah's little mind:  Nanna's here.  Must get puzzles.

Brian had to work most of the week, but he took off Friday and went on a mini road trip with his brother and his brother's girlfriend, Julia.  Nanna stayed with me to get in more time with her grandchildren.  On Friday at lunch while the boys were at kindergarten we went and had a nice lunch at one of my favorite restaurants around here.  Brian and I have been here several times and never been seated in the wine cellar before.  We always comment on how cool it would be to sit down there.  We wondered if you had to ask or what.  Well, we were seated down in the cellar which turned out to be just as cool as we thought.  I immediately took pictures of us and messaged them to Brian to gloat...in a jocular way, of course.

This display was right behind Isaac's seat.
There was a set menu with about four or five choices for the main course.  Each meal came with Lentil soup and a small dessert.  We all chose either schnitzel or sausages.  It was delicious as always.  I really loved the potatoes and the soup the best in spite of it all being wonderful.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Hut

Our village hangout in the summer is only open on Sundays.  It is a collection of huts with a small menu, a playground, some picnic tables, and some bathrooms.  I'll have to take better pictures of it next time we go.  If we are home on Sunday afternoons, then we always go to up to the hut.  The walk is somewhat long because we have to walk all the way down our steep hill and then back up the other big hill that I see the horses on out my kitchen window.  I can almost see the hut from our windows, but for the trees in the way.  So one might think it is a short walk, but it's a decent walk away.

Brian's godson (and the rest of his family) can with us to the hut the day after our Pilgrimage to Otterberg.  The girls were not in the mood for more sausage and kraut so they stayed home with a sleeping Bobby.  It was a lovely and restful afternoon.  We had beers, brats, and frikadelle (a kind of breaded meat patty) and chatted about all sorts of things.  I embarrassed myself pretty good when I made an off the cuff comment about how I am a sleep Natzi with babies in an entirely too loud voice.  My face proceeded to turn ten shades of red.  References to Hitler or Natzis is something us Americans are normally careful to avoid.  

Judah had insisted on wearing a superhero costume to the hut.  He came over a few times to take care of the baby in his gentle manner.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Easter: Ready or not, here I come!

Oops!  It looks like a left this post out of its order.  I was trying to at least keep things in order with all these late posts, but I missed this one.  This was from the middle of when my uncle was here visiting.  We took Sunday off from all the sight-seeing to have a relaxing day with family and friends.

My Easter gifts all kind of didn't work out so I had to run out one night during Holy Week and throw some baskets together last minute.  I had these grand plans about making each child a canvas with a decorative quote from a book they love or reminds me of them.  I had the best of intentions and bought the canvases from Amazon before Lent.  However, what I didn't think about was how much of the time of Lent I was going to be out of the country.  I was here only 2 weeks of Lent and one of those we had visitors.  So, I'll shoot for Christmas for those to be completed.  

Easter Baskets on Sunday Morning just before rushing out the door to Mass

When we first arrived at Mass, Bob had pooped out of his diaper and on his pants.  Luckily, I had a spare pair of sweat pants in my bag.  I had been lazy about keep extra clothes since we don't need them often, but I've been trying to redouble my efforts.  A few months back, Bobby threw up in the carseat and had to wear Drew's undershirt (that I actually took off his body for this purpose) and a pair of the Baby Leggings (I always keep those in the van during the winter) because I had nothing else in my bag or van.

After Mass were Easter egg hunts and a brunch.  The Easter egg hunts were all separated into age groups.  They were rattling off where each age should go to during the announcements after mass, but I couldn't keep up.  All except Bob and Judah were in different age groups.  I leaned over to the big kids and told them I hopes they were listening.  I only caught where the youngest three were supposed to go.  Brian went with Drew, I went with Bob and Judah, and the big three were on their own.  As a result, I only have pictures of the youngest three during the hunt.

Drew's age group

Judah and Bobby hunting.  Bob was a rock star with his egg hunting.  He was out there and had grabbed three eggs before Judah even was on the move.

But he quickly slowed down and started watching other kiddies find eggs.  One boy's dad was telling him to go get some particular egg.  Bobby beat him to it, but I made him give it to the little boy.

He made up for his slow start.

Bobby and his friend were having a silent conversation.

In the buffet line with friends

I think this was our best attempt at a family picture outside our friend's house before lunch.
The only other thing we did that day was go over to our friend's house for a late lunch and another Easter egg hunt.  The moms had stuffed the eggs, and the dads were in charge of the hiding.  I brought a new dish that I was a little nervous about, but it turned out super good...at least the adults liked it.  I had pantry limitations, as well as allergies, to consider.  So I made Cracked Out Cheesy Grits that I found on Pinterest.

Brian with his godson on Easter
He is risen!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Pilgrimage in Our Area: Otterberg Basillica

The next morning after the play, we had to split up.  It was Saturday morning and the boys had baseball and t-ball games.  At the same time our guests needed a ride to the train station downtown.  Immediately following that was a pilgrimage in a village not too far from our own.  Brian took the boys, Isaac and Drew, to their games and took Judah along for the ride.  I took our friends to the train station and the girls and Bobby came along to go straight to the pilgrimage site for Mass.

It was going to be tight to get to the church in time for Mass after the train station.  Unfortunately, I had been told there was a big easy parking lot right next to the church, so I had not looked ahead for van parking.  This was kind of true in the end, but when we drove up to the church we couldn't find the parking lot at all.  I circled the main part of the village three times before finally deciding to park in a lot up above the church.  this just made getting down to the church difficult and by the time we walked in the door, people were going up for Communion.

After the Mass was a tour of the old Cistercian monastery.  The unique thing about this church is that it started as a Catholic church and then was split by a wall into a Protestant and Catholic church in one.  At some point they took the wall down, but they still use the church for both denominations.  The church is a traditional "t" shape design.  The long part of the "t" is where the Protestants sit and the short parts of the t are where the Catholics sit.  the dividing wall was right after the cross on the "t" so that you were left with an "l" for the Protestants and a"+" without the bottom part sticking out for the Ctaholics. The altar is a square so the priest can face any direction he needs to.  The lecturn/podium swivels now to face the Protestant pews or the Catholic pews.  It is really so different.

And I was a huge photo failure this time.  I was wearing Bob most of the time and he kept moving so all my pictures were blurry.  None of my pictures turned out except for these two.  Below is a picture of the cool door knob.  This was for the old Catholic entrance. It's a snail.  The door knob for the Protestant entrance was a fish.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Bobby: saying sentences and asking to go to time-out *edited*

Bobby is changing a lot right now.  Since getting back from our trip to Texas, he is much faster to warm up to people.  He still has his shy moments when he will curl up into me when someone he doesn't know well speaks to him, but if given a little bit of time he has been warming up to most people rather quickly.

He copies everything his brothers do and a lot of what they say.  He is saying sentences and phrases all the time now.  Some of my favorite phrases are: 

Watch this, Mom
Show Mom
I did it
Ready to go

Since Texas he has also started hitting his siblings.  I tried first just correcting the behavior verbally and having hi apologize and give a hug to the victim.  However, it started escalating, and so I started time out for him.  I wasn't sure how this was going to go, but he is a master at the time out.  

We have a small entry way that doesn't get used much and it has doors on either side.  I declared it the Time Out Room when we first moved in.  I don't know if I've mentioned it on here before.  I need a room with a door on the main level to be able to easily remove children periodically so that we can maintain the peace that we strive for in our family.  I had a mini pack-n-play in there at some point because Judah had trouble staying put.  For now though, Bobby is sitting in the little chair in there and not trying to get out.  After the first day of using the time outs, he would point to the room if we walked by it and say, "Time out."  I have a little short exchange we go through after time out is over when someone has hit that I have used since Hannah was little.  

I say, "We don't hit.  What did God make your hands for?"  He answers "To love."  He already has this response memorized, and he has added a sweet caress of my face when he says it to show loving hands.  Then he has to go apologize and give a hug with his loving hands.

*Another thing he's been doing is answering any rhetorical question I ask him with either, "Isaac" or "Isaac did it."  Who put all these toys here?  Isaac.  Who is supposed to be watching you?  Isaac.  Who made this mess?  Isaac did it.  It is really funny, and I suppose that it says something about our family.  Maybe everyone blames Isaac all the time.  Maybe it really is more often Isaac who does things around here. Not sure.  Isaac's been trying to turn it around and ask him questions like, "Who do you love the most?"  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Drama Club Play

Our visitors were still here when it came time for Genevieve and Isaac's Drama Club production of a funny, mixed up fairy tale story.  The two oldest children in the B family came with us to watch the play.  It was a very short play and was followed by a home-school talent show.  

Isaac was one of the four little pigs and Genevieve was Snow White's understudy and a Jedi.  Snow White did make it to the play so she was only needed as the Jedi.  

As we are walking out the door to go to the play, Isaac tells me that he was supposed to wear pink.  This is the first I have heard of that, and I have asked many times if there is anything else they are supposed to do or have to prepare for this day.  Turns out he didn't tell me because he didn't want to wear pink.  Whah, whah.  Luckily, I thought immediately of the reversible cape that I made Genna years ago that was solid pink on one side.  He claimed he would not wear it, but I said he has to bring it and we would see.  

All I know is that he took it backstage and he wore it in the play.  Then a week later he told me that drama was not his thing.  When I pressed for a reason, he said that he didn't want to have to play a pig again or wear pink and he couldn't be sure that wouldn't happen again.  Okay, well that's that then.

Isaac and his pig co-stars are in the Little Pig's house while Snow White talks to them.

Isaac is the pig in the pink cape.  

Genevieve is the Jedi.

The cast didn't quite line up in the middle, and, as a consequence, Isaac and several other members of the cast were behind the curtain for their bow.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Turning Beds Over Fast

My uncle and his wife left on a Thursday morning and as soon as I got back from the airport and ate lunch, I had to turn around and go to a different (super close) airport to pick up our next guests.  They were only stopping by on their way through to Rome, so it was a short visit.

The B family has four children and so we filled our house with the beautiful sound of happy children as they ran off to play.  That night the kids all ate "kid food" and then the littlest ones went off to bed.  The older kids stayed up to watch movies while the adults went out to dinner.

The next day, Brian had to work and I took the kids to the Kusel castle that I had taken my uncle to.  It is a great place for kids.  They LOVE to climb on all the walls and rocks.  On top of that, there is a restaurant and a playground and so it can't be beat.

Can you spot all ten?  A couple blend into the rocks.

On more than one occasion my heart skipped a beat as my precious babies climbed up to the windows of some of the ruins.  I was not alone.  I guess mothers are just worriers when it comes to their kids safety.

A lot of trust is happening on the ground behind this camera.  Those windows have no panes and there's quite a drop on the other side.

His superhero poses always look a little like Popeye because he squints one eye when he does them.


Bobby, one day you are going to think this picture of you is amazing.  You played in a sandbox in a castle!
You won't remember it, but you had a pretty sweet babyhood deal in Europe going.

I also love that my boy who will freak out if his hands or tray get dirty during a meal will lay on his belly in the sand.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Rhine River Tour

The kids were playing while we were waiting for the boat.  Drew and Isaac ran off and Judah started to follow, but he stopped, turned, and said to me, "Mom, can you watch Bob a minute?"  It was the sweetest thing ever.  I had not even asked him (or anyone) to watch Bobby.  I was standing right there watching them all, and yet he thought to make sure his brother was being taken care of before he ran off to follow the big boys (who, by the way, never once thought about making sure their baby brothers were okay before running off.)  Melting my heart is what my Judah is good at.

This was the last day before my uncle and his wife left for the states.  They really wanted to do a Rhine River Cruise.  Brian had to work that day, so the four boys and I played tour guide and took them over to the river.  It was a chilly and windy day, unfortunately.  We had only one time constraint and that was to get home so the two oldest boys could make 6pm baseball practice.  I thought that would be no problem, but it turned out to be quite tight.  We had to end up doing the river cruise one way and the train back because the boat on the way back would have made us late for practice.  

The boat left out of Bingen/Rudesheim and we got off at St. Goar.  A friend had recommended a wine shop to stop in.  They know the man that runs it and said he was super wonderful and gives tastings.  It was the first place we saw off the boat and so we popped our heads in.  He was all that they had said and more.  He gave us samples of his peach brandy, an ice wine, and a chocolate brandy.  He brought out toys for the kids to play with while we shopped.  Plus, he even prayed with us before we left, giving us all holy cards and travel prayer boxes when he found out that we were Catholic.

After lunch we caught the train back and drove home to get ready for baseball.  A great last day, even if it was cold.