Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve 2007

We had a fun-filled family New Year's Eve. First we went rolling skating with some of the boys' friends. A local rink had a kids party from 1-4 pm. The kids got a soda and pizza or hot dog, skating, five tokens, noise makers, hats, and balloons from a countdown and balloon drop. We all had a great time. The boys were tired from the skating and we had a relaxing evening.

First we had some dinner - scrambled egg sandwiches! Sean's choice! Then we snuggled up and watched Rudolph's Shiny New Year. You have to love Happy with his big ears! Then the boys went running around inside and out with hats and noisemakers while yelling, "Happy New Year!" Sean then added, "I love to be naked." I have no idea what that has to do with New Years Eve. Maybe Mardi Gras but not New Year's Eve. I wonder if any neighbors heard? They probably thought that some crazy drunk people were about three hours early for midnight!

They were also screaming Happy New Year at cars that drove by. Justin was watching them closely and looking at them like they were crazy! I guess he was taking it all in for next year when he can really play along with them. He did really like the plastic hats and tried to play them like a drum. Brian and Sean thought that it was funny to put a big hat on Justin and have it cover his eyes. He didn't think that it was so funny. He tried hard to get it off and flailed his arms and kicked his legs like crazy.

The boys wanted their Dad to have a sleepover with them and sleep in their room. He agreed, which I probably wouldn't have done. This points out one of the major differences between moms and dads. And the kicker is that he slept on the floor! If the boys had managed to talk/guilt me into sleeping over in their room, there is no way that they would be in beds and I would be on the floor! I guess Sean would be on the floor because there is no way I would sleep on the top bunk either! Yea for dads - but so glad I'm a mom!

Brian with his toothless smile

goofy grin
baby new year
Sean loved the nosie makers
Brian's hat was alittle big
dancing the night away
silly boys
hats make good drums
Who turned out the lights?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy Juice

Like I have said, Justin isn't really into table food yet. Part of it is him and part of it is me not wanting to give up the nursing sessions. I would probably have to cut out a feeding to make him hungry and more receptive to foods. But he is sleeping ten to eleven hours at night and going about four hours between feedings during the day with two long naps and a few shorter ones. I guess I am going by the old saying - 'if it ain't broke don't try to fix it'- or something like that.

So, he is still nursing six times a day. And he nurses so differently than Brian and Sean did. They took their time and nursed slower for longer sessions. Justin is a quick eater and gets down to business quickly and efficiently. He only spends about three or four minutes on each side - his older brothers were about ten minutes on each side. So, he eats in about half the time that they did. Maybe he knows he has older brothers and that we had stuff to get done. Or maybe his just really nosy since there is always so much going on in our house. So, thanks for picking up on that Justin!

These pictures are a discreet one of him nursing and some of how happy and dazed he looks after. We call it the happy juice face - he looks almost like he has had too much to drink! He is just so happy and content. I love that he looks to me for nourishment and comfort. I look at how much he has grown and it is amazing to know it is all from me. I am not one of those people that think that breastfeeding is the answer to it all - it is just my choice and I am so happy to be able to nurse him and to have nursed Brian and Sean. It is a lot of work and a huge commitment. But, to me well worth the sacrifice.

Justin nursing
the 'happy juice' face
dazed silly smiles
love that face

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Hippo Towel

Justin had a bath tonight and I had to get a few pictures of him in his Hippo towel. He looked so cute and was happy for the first few pictures, then he had enough and let me know it! When he gets mad or excited, he waves his arms and legs like crazy and 'hits' whomever is closest to him. There is something about are really clean, sweet smelling baby wrapped in a towel. It is almost irresistible!
cute baby
blue eyes
getting upset

Friday, December 28, 2007

One of a Kind

Sean's favorite thing to say lately is, "Do you know what I am thinking?" The funny thing is that he doesn't wait for an answer, he tells you his answer right away. He does this if he wants to do something fun, I guess it is his try at being suspenseful. So, he will ask Brian, "Do you know what I'm thinking?" and then yell, "Play-dough!" or "TV!" or "Moon Sand!" or "Candy!"

Brian, of course, just stares at him. Stares at him with his jaw dropped open and his eyes rolling in his head. I think Brian spends a lot of time trying to figure out what in the world is going on inside that head of Sean's. Actually, I think that most people that know Sean spend some time trying to figure out what makes him tick. But not me, I have already learned that it is a complete waste of my precious time. Time that I don't have enough of without trying to get into the inner workings of Sean's mind. Because just when I think I have his thoughts deciphered, he does something else and just crushes my theory.

The mold was definitely destroyed after Sean; he is one of a kind. Not that Brian and Justin are not special too, but they are easier to figure out and act more like the average child. Sean just does and says things that are unique. He wears rain or snow boots all the time no matter the season or weather. He goes in the fridge to get a water bottle and in the process leaves Blankie in there. Then an hour later when we are tearing apart the house to find it, someone opens the fridge and finds Blankie. Sean laughs and says, "Oh Yea. He said he was hot so I left him in there." Makes perfect sense to him! Not so much sense to most other people.

He says, "What the..?" after opening each of his Christmas presents. He talks to Blankie like it is a real person. He calls Justin things like Bambooie and Juggy - and it is so cute that we catch ourselves calling the baby Juggy too! I think that at his next appointment that the doctor will ask me if Justin responds to his name. I will have to say, "Not really. But he does seem to turn his head when we say Juggy." Can you just see the look on the doctor's face now?

Sean thinks that socks can be on the 'wrong feet' like shoes. He likes to wear his clothes backwards. He doesn't seem to notice that his shoes are on the wrong feet - and doesn't care. He has gone all day with his underwear on sideways - a leg hole around his waist and the waist around one of his legs. How could this not be uncomfortable to him? He wants stitches in a different color for the next time - yellow and not blue. I guess those 30 stitches really made an impact on him! His idol is Sponge Bob. His eyes always reveal a mischievous sparkle.

On the other hand he has some qualities that I see in most kids. He wants cookies for breakfast. He argues with his brother. He spends his fair share of some days in time-out. He loves to joke and be silly. He runs for no reason. He loves to play outside. He has a contagious laugh. He throws temper tantrums and whines. He loves to play in the bath until his skin is wrinkled. He lives to laugh and love and be a kid. Sean just loves to be Sean!

Sean and Blankie

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Dog, A Baby, And A Cookie

Justin was enjoying one of his favorite teething biscuits and Roc decided to join him. Roc has learned that Justin drops food all the time and that he doesn't yell at him for stealing food like Brian and Sean do. Sometimes they forget and leave a snack on the floor while they get up to do something. They get so angry when they come back and their pop-tart was gone with one bite!

Like Brian and Sean, Justin will soon learn to throw things over the side to watch the dog eat them. Then he will learn to throw things and watch Roc jump up to catch the food - they still enjoy doing this! Roc has trained them well. And it didn't take Roc long to get back in the swing of things and realize that the spot under the high chair was prime real estate!

Justin has really started to notice Roc more and crawls over to him to try to pull on his ears and tail. Luckily, Roc is very forgiving, tolerant, and patient. He lets Justin droll on him until he has had enough and then gets up and walks away. If Justin follows, he usually goes upstairs or gets up on the couch to stay out of his reach. It won't be long before Justin is stealing his dog food and splashing in his water bowl.

The two of them were so cute looking at each other. Justin studying Roc. And Roc never taking his eyes off the biscuit. They were bonding. In the end Justin did drop the biscuit and crawl away. Roc's persistence paid off. Well, I guess it paid off if you consider a soggy, gooey teething biscuit as a good reward!

Justin picking up the biscuit he dropped
Roc's eyes are locked on the biscuit
who will blink first?

Christmas, Again

My mom was sick for Christmas and was nice enough to keep her germs to herself. We missed her on Christmas day, but it was nice to have presents a few days later too. Sean loved his presents and wanted to play right away. But the moon bounce kicking game didn't work right. At first I though he was doing it wrong but then I couldn't get it to work either. It said kick green and I did and then it said try again. What? Oh well.

Brian got a talking globe. It is really neat - it tells the countries, capitals, and even measures the distance between two points. Sean loves to find Madagascar since he likes the movie. It is an island off the south-east coast of Africa, if you didn't already know. They got a group gift - it was what I used to call Zim-Zam or what is known as tether ball. I forget what it is called now, but it is a ball tethered on a pole that you hit around and around.

the old 'zim-zam'

kind of what the boys got

My mom, in pure Grandmom fashion, decided that there was enough room for them to try it out in our living room. The boys just looked at me when she suggested that. The were on the edge of their seats to see what I would say. Even I had to bend the rules a bit, after all it was Grandmom and Christmas time. So, they were overjoyed when I let them break the no ball playing in the house rule!

Brian Jr. and I played first - it was a lot of fun. I didn't hold back much and he seemed a little surprised that I was better than him. A little more flimsy than I remember mine being - but it was the same idea. This one was almost all plastic and mine was mostly metal. Then my mom played Brian and finally Brian and Sean played each other. This is when it got a little out of control and I had to put a stop.

As usual, they got too competitive and started fighting. I think next time they can play it outside. Not that it will stop the fighting but I won't have to hear them or be close enough for them to try and get me to take sides - they will have to figure things out for themselves. Which is sometimes the best way. When they both come to me upset, I give them two options - put it away or stop playing it or work it out together so you can both be happy. Believe it or not, they usually find a compromise. Sean is younger and doesn't understand as much but Brian will usually give Sean a turn first or let him have his way in order to keep playing. Sean is more stubborn, either that or he doesn't know any better, but he will sometimes vote for putting away the toy and moving onto something else. Maybe it is becaue of his shorter attention span too?

Justin again slept through the presents and made the boys stand drooling over his presents. They looked like our dog when we are eating - just standing their licking their lips and leaking saliva all over the place, never once averting their gaze from the prize at hand. When Justin woke up, they again helped him open his presents. They were very excited by the Playskool Busy Ball Popper and have played with it more than he has.

Busy Ball Popper

Sean opening gifts

Brian opening gifts
Sean copying me
Brian playing tether ball
having a great time
no teeth

Justin trying to figure things out

Justin loves paper

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Baby Food - No Way!

And why would he ever want strained peas or pureed turkey? Because real food is so much better - especially Pumpkin Banana Mousse Pie! (see recipe below) I have tried everything - applesauce, pears, bananas, rice cereal, oatmeal, squash, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots - you name it, I have bought it. Justin wants nothing to do with any of it.

He does want 'real' food. He will go crazy for little pieces of bread, meatballs, and ham. He loves baked sweet potatoes, noodles, crackers, cookies, and bagels. I guess he is bypassing the baby food. I guess he thinks he has more that just two teeth. If he had more, I cannot imagine what his menu wold be like - steak and lobster. Well, maybe not lobster because I don't give the boys seafood until after they are three because of food allergies. So, no surf, only turf! He also loves the toddler foods - the puffs and wagon wheels and teething biscuits and toasts. I guess no one told him that he is not quite a toddler yet.

Maybe I just think that it is funny because Sean loved baby food. I was still feeding it to him when he was well over a year old. He ate plenty of table food too, but he enjoyed the jars and it was an easy way for me to see that he got all of his fruits and veggies. I have read about a cook book to teach you how to sneak fruits and veggies into you recipes. I might need this for Justin until he gets some more teeth. Any one need some baby food?

I guess it is also that he is older than a lot of babies starting out with solids. But I waited until six months with Brian and Sean, so that isn't it Maybe it is because he sees everyone else eating things that are different from him and he just wants to be part of the group. Maybe it has something to do with feeding himself. I hope he is not asserting his independence already! Who knows?

messy face
I really do have hair!
Look at my teeth!
Ouch! So, pulling hair does hurt.

Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart/Pie (from The Barefoot Contessa on The Food Network)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Crust (or buy a pre-made graham cracker pie shell like me)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs, about 14 crackers
1/3 cup sugar
14 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 lb. unsalted butter , melted (one stick)

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl and mix well. Pour into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake for ten minutes and then cool to room temperature.

1/2 cup half-and-half
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 tsp. kosher salt (I used regular salt)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 extra large egg yolks ( I didn't have extra large so used 4 large)
1 package (2 tsp.) unflavored gelatin
1 ripe banana finely mashed
1 tsp grated orange zest (didn't use)
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
2 tbsp. sugar

Heat that half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot - about 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl and then add some of the hot pumpkin mixture into the egg yolks to heat them. Then pour the egg- pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well. Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken. Stir constantly, you don't want the eggs to scramble. Remove from heat. Dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup of cold water. Add the dissolved gelatin, mashed banana or orange zest to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture and pour into the cooled tart/pie shell. Chill for at least two hours or overnight.

1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
orange zest

Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and whisk until you have firm peaks. Pipe or spoon decoratively onto the tart/pie and sprinkle with orange zest.

This recipe is work but so worth it. Like I said I didn't use the orange zest because I don't have the thing, maybe a 'zester'?, to 'zest' an orange. I also didn't make the tart and bought a pie shell. I have to admit that I didn't put the decoration on either - not enough time. And I did use the double boiler for the first pie but just used a pan on low heat for the second one. I am always looking for a short cut or two! Enjoy!

Another One Down

Brian's other front tooth came out tonight. It was the one on the middle right. He was eating a chocolate Santa and it just fell out. He spit out the tooth and the chocolate and Brian Sr had to find it and clean it up. He looks so different with no teeth in the middle. He has to bite everything with the side of his mouth and kind of tear it off.

We had such a busy day that he went to bed and forgot about his tooth. About twenty minutes later he came down the steps and told us that we forgot to put his tooth in his room for the Tooth Fairy. Oooops. I felt bad. Brian asked where his tooth was. I didn't know since I had been out when it happened. I guess I figured Brian Sr. had put it in his tooth case and didn't think much of it.

But, I should have known better. Brian Sr. had it in a plastic bag and let Brian carry it around with him. What a rookie! Never put the tooth in something that can easily be lost and if you do, don't let the kid play with it. Because the kid will definitely misplace it!

Well, that is just what happened. So, here it was past bedtime and we are searching the house for a tooth in a baggie. It took about thirty minutes until we finally found it in the trash. Phew! I do know that the Tooth Fairy sees all like Santa, so if you lose the tooth that you lost or swallow it, she will still come.

The tooth was put in Brian's tooth holder and he took it upstairs and put it next to his bed. He won't put it under his pillow because it freaks him out that the Tooth Fairy gets that close to him. We are making progress though, because the first tooth he lost had to be placed in the bathroom next to his toothbrush. I guess he figured that was the next logical place for the Tooth Fairy to look. He said he was scared of her just 'poofing' into his room. I can't say that I blame him. I wouldn't sleep easy either if I thought that fairies and such could visit whenever they wanted.

Everyone, including me, kept telling him to lose his tooth by Christmas so they could sing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth." I think he purposely kept the tooth in until after Christmas so that no one would sing to him!

toothless smile
what a smile!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

We got our first Christmas present at 7:40 am - the time the boys slept until! I know a lot of people whose kids get up very early everyday and extra early on holidays. I cannot imagine starting Christmas at 5:30 am! Yikes!

The boys ran out of their rooms and rushed down the steps. They took a moment to lean over the banister to check out their stockings. Then Brian Jr. made a bee-line for the NFL football. That was he favorite gift and really the only thing he asked for on a consitant basis. He even ducked under the goal post to reach the football and then saw it a few minutes later! Talk about a one track mind!

Sean went right for the presents and started ripping through them. The first thing he opened was a new Blankie. I actually found the same one as his old Blankie on e-bay. This was one of the only things he really asked for too. He did also ask for an MP3 player from listening to his brother. I know he didn't even know what it was because he said if there are no MP3s that he will take an MP4 or and MP5! What a kid - so willing to compromise. Every time he opened a present he said, "What the...?" It was so funny - I was glad that he didn't finish the question with a choice four-letter-word!

Justin slept until 8:30 am. He missed the boys opening their presents and we missed him. But on the other hand it was nice to spend some time with Brian and Sean and focus all my attention on them for a change. Then Justin ate and we ate and the boys played for a bit. Justin goes back for a nap about an hour after he wakes up, so his presents had to wait. Brian and Sean were beside themselves seeing Justin's untouched presents under the tree. They couldn't understand going to down for a nap when there were presents to open!

Justin woke up again about 11:30 and Brian and Sean 'helped' him to open his gifts. At one time we had to ban Sean because he was just opening and not letting Jusitn help at all! Justin's favorite gift, by far, was the sports balls. He loved them even in the box. We tried to move them to the side so he could open his next present and he dove after them. He kept turing around and trying to get them and wasn't interested in opening anything else.

We went to my brother's for dinner and a good time was had by all. My nephew and nieces got a Wii and the kids, young and old, played most of the night and barely stopped for dinner! Thank goodness Brian and Sean didn't ask for it. They didn't even really know what it was until they played with their cousins.

All of us collapsed into bed - we were all so tired from the weeks heading up to Christmas - all the hard work, preparation, excitement, and anticipation - and it was all over in one short day!

the tree and goal post

peeking into stockingshappy BrianSean opening giftsopening some moreJustin getting helpthe sports ballshe likes the piggy too!Justin and Dad

Monday, December 24, 2007

Last Minute Shopping

I guess that even Justin is not immune to the pressures and has to resort to last minute shopping. Being the male that he is, he decided to forgo the stores for a little catalog shopping. I guess no one told him that even overnight shipping for $49.95 cannot be done on Christmas eve! Apparently he got the flavored catalog. Hey,maybe that is a solution to all the paper waste I get - especially this time of year. Make it flavored and feed it to the kids. Maybe a few pages taste like cheese and a few like ham and the covers like bread. Put them all together and you have lunch after you have finished your shopping! Yum!

I did get out to a few stores today. The whole family braved the mall and came back unscathed. I cannot believe that I forgot to get the kids to see Santa. Maybe it was because Brian and Sean saw him at school. Luckily Santa wasn't too busy and we didn't have to wait in line long.

Then we went to the annual family open house at Brian's brothers. The boys had fun with their cousins and everyone wanted to hold Justin. We got home and got the kids to bed by 9:30. There was plenty of time to spare because Santa was to arrive in our area sometime after midnight!

Justin 'reading'
hmmm, maybe a shirt
I need a better view
yep, that's good