Friday, November 20, 2015

8 months... 2/3s...

I nearly hyperventilated as I feel like I JUST wrote about Luke being 7 months (but then I remembered that post was several weeks late...)

Side note: I feel like my blog posts used to be a bit more profound and now they feel a lot more detail-y. But that's life lately - in the details. But let me try to be more poetic.

Here's a good snapshot into life right now.

The beautiful flower. My friend Toy gave me this sweet, simple vase and I aspire to keep a flower in it. It has made me appreciate our year in France and our time in Seattle where markets abounded and I could have easily picked up one flower. I'm now settling for the small Gerber daisy bunches at Whole Foods and spreading them out in small vases. It feels important to make the effort to put beauty and order into our midst in whatever way I can and I've been getting lots of pleasure from my flowers.

Our blessing cube (best stocking stuffer ever, thanks Mom) and the kids' prayer cubes they made at church. I love watching them roll their cubes. Jack knows what each side says and keeps rolling until he gets the sentence starter he wants. Cora ignores what we say she rolls and says what she wants. Sometimes their prayers are super superficial and other times kind of profound.

My weekly calendar (or one of them) which I heavily rely on.

My computer - I have a love/hate relationship with technology at the moment. I use it a lot and find it useful and fun, but I also think it's sort of evil :(

Peeking out is one of Jack's writing projects (there are many). This one was especially cool to me as it is ten pages and is his science writing about a shell he was exploring at school. I tend to leave things out until we've all had a chance to look at them and he still wants to read this one to his daddy.

On to the main course: LUKE LATELY
Lutey-Lou at 8 months

    Luke has Jack's sensitive skin. Not sure what caused the face rash, but it has since cleared up.
  • In the week before 8 months, he both got his first tooth (bottom) and started to crawl!  J & C had teeth much sooner but started crawling at exactly this point. I predict he'll "follow in their footsteps" and start walking at 12-13 months.
The launch

Drooly Crawler
It's amazing how quickly things change once babies can crawl.  One week after beginning to crawl, Luke can move from room to room! We are so not baby proofed yet!
  • In the week after 8 months, he got his second tooth and started clapping his hands on cue. We do a lot of name chanting over here and so right now you often here "Lutey, clap your hands, Lutey clap your hands!"
  • He is happy to be partaking in meals with us and is getting better at actually eating. His favorite foods are still ones he can grip easily and gnaw the heck out of: broccoli, squash, and apples. He will love himself a warm vegetable, but be less enthusiastic the next day when it's cold. He still acts disgusted by foods on a spoon, with the occasional exception of applesauce.
  • He still sleeps 12 hours at night. He's a little more challenging to get down for naps in the last few days, due possibly to a cold and possibly to the fact that he can now turn himself around in the crib, grab both rails, look pitifully up at you, and cry out something like "why are you leaving me here?" Naps at day care continue to outright suck (30-40 minutes!!). I keep him home for his morning nap when I can (2.5-3 hours!)
  • He loves LEGOs :) We are now at phase 1-B of Luke on the move. Phase 1-A was singing our Luke Patrol song and making sure there was nothing dangerous within reach. Now that he's moving, we've declared the dining room a small-item-free-space. LEGOs (the chunky ones) aren't considered small items, so there are always LEGOs out for him to hunt down (and chew on).
  • Luke loves Jack and Cora :) Jack and Cora love Luke :) This is my balm for the vicious sibling rivalry that has cropped up between J&C. They frequently make the other cry and Jack is especially good at getting Cora to make the most grating whining sound, which ends up getting them both in trouble. But so far, Luke is like Switzerland (unless they are fighting over him.)
My goal is to give this kid more leisurely baths.  It's always quick-in-quick-out for him.

And he thinks they are the funnest thing ever :)

Luke at school with Ms. Larita, his doting teacher, and his lady friends.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

7 months (that's a touchdown and an extra point!)

Luke at 7 Months

Jack made the football reference to Luke's age :)

We are savoring this baby. He's both the baby that would make you want to have babies forever (if they are this sweet and easy) but also the baby to make you want to stop having babies, because how could you top him :)

Wait, what's his name?

If you ask Jacob, "Lutey!" "Lutey-lou," "Big Lou," "Chubby"

If you ask me, "My precious Lukie," "My preciousest Lutey," "Lukie Tukie," ... "Chubby"

Cora knows the child as "Chubby Bubby" or "Chubby." She'll call him that anywhere without blinking an eye.

Jack is the one most likely to call him Luke!

What's he up to these days?

A little light reading

Hello Gorgeous

Weighing in at 19 lbs 9 oz, our littlest chubbiest baby :)

Some coyness?

No, just about to fall over :)
He loves to sit in his high chair and slap his hands on the tray. He loves the noise and it's obvious he feels like such a big boy.

He likes taking part in meals.  Here he is with a carrot with dill.

He likes to push up on all fours and rock back and forth. He can rotate around like a clock dial but can't really go forward.

He lights up when he sees any of his family and he'll laugh at his brother and sister if he's in the right mood.

:) :| :(

He can sit up!

He likes to chew on things.

He loves to suck his thumb.

He spits up and spits up and spits up. I generally feel pretty gross by the end of the day.


Ms. Larita, his teacher, refers to his nursing sessions as his main course. In the last week, I feel like we are starting to make some progress in the table foods arena. He's gone from 100% breastfed to maybe 96% breastfed?

It takes a lot of effort to introduce solids! On the mornings when we all need to be out of the house by 7:40, it's a big deal to put Luke in the high chair and know he's basically going to need a bath before leaving the house. It's also a challenge when he's ready for bed at 6:00 and we're not yet ready to eat dinner. But we're working on it. We try to offer him foods twice daily, but at least once.

The biggest hits have been pear slices, broccoli, squash, pizza crusts at Pizza Domenica, and banana. We've tried some purees and oatmeal, but he's not the biggest fan of swallowing. He prefers to eat by sucking so he loves to suck on a broccoli stalk or a chunk of banana. He also likes something he can gnaw like a semi soft pear slice that breaks down in his mouth.

Your baby doesn't sleep?

Don't call us, call Luke. He holds the secrets, but whatever they are the baby sleeps 12 hours a night no matter what time he goes to bed. He was also sick this month and that didn't affect his sleep either. 102 fever? Incredibly stuffy? No problem. 12 hours of sleep.

His ideal day would be:

6:15 wake, nurse
7:00 eat breakfast
7:45 nurse
8:00 nap
11:00 wake, nurse
12:00 eat lunch
1:00 nurse, nap
3:00 wake, nurse
6:00 nurse, goodnight!

Playing with the ladies (not sleeping) at school
Overall, he's still not taking great naps at daycare (many morning naps lasting only 30-45 minutes - ahhh!!), though hope was restored to me when he took two 2-hr naps last week at school. My solution is to make sure at least one day a week he's able to take his full morning nap at home.

And I still wake him for a 10:00 feeding every few nights, either because his last feeding was early, I feel my supply might need a boost, OR because I just miss him and want to snuggle. As soon as I bring him into our room, Jacob can't help but come over for a snuggle too and then I feel like Luke is the luckiest guy in the world as he gets some nice warm milk in a quiet room with both of his parents snuggled in close. He's just so incredibly loved.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Cora's Turn

I wrote some Jack vignettes a few weeks back. And then there was Luke's 6 month post. It was actually Cora who was inspiring me to want to capture what the kids are each up to these days, but...the few free moments I've had recently happened to be ones where the child was KILLING me and my desire to expound on her sweetness was being squashed :)

My special baking helper :)
But then we had this weekend. And it was so sweet! We spent two days mainly just the two of us. And I have been enjoying her so much. She is something to be enjoyed, I tell you. But, she will also undo your sanity. As Jacob says, "she lives at the extremes" and there were several months where it seemed like an equal split. Half the time, she was just so winsome and precious and the other half of the time we were all wanting to scream. (She would actually be screaming; we would usually (usually) just want to scream.)

But Jacob and I both think we are turning a corner. (So now it's not 50-50, it's like 80-20?  75-25?) I remember some incidents when Jack was 3 and change when we felt really tested, so I think it's a natural stage of the 3 year old experience.

But screaming, refusal to sleep, and willfulness aside, I'm just so in love with this sweet girl and I ENJOY her so much. Why?

  • She's so genuinely excited about life. You know when adults mimic excitement? Well, that's just Cora about anything that interests her. All mouth agape, hands on cheeks, head nodding to underscore! I couldn't love these moments more.
  • I love, love, love the way she talks. She doesn't say "we", she says "our."  As in "Our going to read books now, okay?" She doesn't say "they," she says "them." As in "Them need to stop driving so fast!" Why would I ever correct such consistently cute grammar?
  • She can take a year to make a point. When she's got an adult's attention, she will oftentimes make lots of clucks and sighs and "um guys" and slit her eyes to the side and take forever to make a point. It's cute.
  • When I spend time with her, I'm usually chuckling because she's just amusing. She's expressive and funny and witty and imaginative and interesting and it's fun just to watch her.
  • I feel so lucky to have her, my little girl. Playing with her is different than with Jack. She's bossy (he is too) but the games are different and it's always inventive and evolving. She perches on the table in the dollhouse and says "Guys, here's what our going to do next." She likes to fix my hair and every time introduces a new tool (a wooden person, a plastic telephone). If you suggest an adjustment to the game, expect to hear "No" unless it's a REALLY good idea.
  • She shares with me, usually without hesitation.I like this about her nature.
  • She's silly. She has learned to be goofy from her daddy.
  • She's smart. Her smartness is so street smart, so emotionally aware. She notices when you are sad and probes to find out why. She'll later reference these moments too. I love how aware she is of feelings.
  • She's freakishly attached to small things. There are no less than 250 small things in her room (buttons, jewels, coins, rocks, shells, broken things). She organizes them. Lines them up. Puts them in jars. We step on them. We've been counting down the days until we have a small baby on the loose. For now, we alter Jack's (and thus Cora's) favorite show Paw Patrol's theme song to be "Luke Patrol, Luke Patrol, be there on the double!" to make them help us make sure the floor around Luke is safe whenever he is put down. Since he can't really move yet, this is working for now.
She is currently sleeping on her floor - long story
If she could only stop her Groundhog's Day routine of EVERY NIGHT acting like going to bed is this new, hugely inconvenient, intolerable request we are making of her, then we'd be good.

Love you Towa-Wowa, Cora-bell :)

Jack LOVES to read. I was worried it was too much to hope for a second passionate reader, but I was wrong - she loves her books too!

I bribed them to hold hands. I wish they were normally this sweet to each other!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Halfway to One!

We celebrate fractions over here.  Jack is now 5 3/4, Cora is 3 1/4, and Luke is "a half."

1. Happiness

Luke is a "joy baby" as his teacher says.  He radiates happiness, as in give him a smile and he'll squirm with happiness back :)

Luke wakes up happy.  He doesn't cry in the morning.  I'll often walk in to find him already awake just lying on his back waiting patiently for attention.  Other mornings, I'll wake to find the hall light on and Jack up reading books.  Luke's light is also sometimes on. If Jack hears him, he'll turn on his light and give him a few toys.  I like these self-sufficient boys!

2. What makes Luke unhappy

Being tired. When he's tired, he's tired and he pretty much only wants to be held (which he hopes means you are moving toward putting him in bed.)  

Our main challenge with Luke is that he's the world's best sleeper if you will follow his sleepy cues and put him to rest in a quiet place.  For five days in a row this month, he slept for about 6 hours of naps over the day.  But most other days, at day care, on busy Landry family days, on our Nashville trip, he's taken cat naps and shown that he doesn't fall asleep well when it's noisy, exciting, and not in his bed.  This means that he's often ready for bed quite early (like even 6:00 or 5:30) because he's not getting the sleep he needs during the daytime.

We're troubleshooting over here, but luckily, see item #1 - he's still a very happy guy.

3. Diet

I proudly offer exhibit A to show how my baby loves him some breast milk!  The evidence is in the thighs :)

We are two weeks in to offering other foods.  Just like Jack and Cora, the first people food we offered Luke was sweet potatoes.  We are going to mainly go the Baby Led Weaning route and offer Luke foods similar to what the rest of the family is eating (rather than making purees.)  The thought is that it will empower him to continue to control his own intake and determine how much he wants to eat at each meal.

He had roasted sweet potato wedges (plain - not even any olive oil) on day one and roasted squash wedges on day two.  The next few days were busy and Luke didn't get any big people offerings.  Then we took him on a grand adventure to Nashville which expedited his foray into the culinary world.  But I think he was too young for the excitement as everything we gave him (a biscuit from the Loveless Cafe, cheese grits from Biscuit Love (if you are ever in Nashville, GO HERE!), hummus from Epice), he couldn't seem to figure out how to get off his tongue.  The food would just sit there while he made horrified faces :)  And then eventually he spit it back up - usually on us :)  He did seem to enjoy the blackberry that came with my dessert.  He likes to suck, but is not yet sure what to do with food in his mouth.  I well remember how this eating thing takes TIME!
I think that is broccoli on your head Luke :)

4. Personality


5. Stats

19 lbs 3 oz at 6 months
He's our smallest baby at 6 months as silly as that sounds :)

He has his big brother's fairness and sensitive skin. He has his sister's precious little nose and mouth. He has my blue eyes (something he also shares with Jack and Cora.)

He has his own perfect round head, his own yet-to-be-determined hair color, and his very own one-of-a-kind chunky thighs :)

This has been a busy, busy season so it was SO nice to reconnect with Luke (and Jacob) on a four day getaway trip to Nashville.  As the third child, I feel like Luke gets put in a chair, plopped on the floor, forgotten about, etc. and so it was nice to focus in on him over those four days.  He's so easy to enjoy.  He didn't seem to want to miss a minute of the trip, hardly napping, but still managing to be very sweet :)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

For me, some things to remember

If I'm a really lucky person, one day Jacob and I'll be old and living together in a nursing home and spend our days rereading our family blog reliving the "good ole days" :)

So, this post is purely for me.  Almost through week three of three kids at three locations and a 36 hour knock-out round with mastitis, I'm pausing to note a few things of late.  Today, I focus on Jack.

- He's so persistent.  He will negotiate with you until you will do anything to make him stop talking.  He's very smart that way.
- He's intensely focused. Jack has had a love of firetrucks from before he could appropriately say that word.  He spent 3 Halloweens as a firefighter.  His interests have evolved as he's aged.  He wants to know about real fires and he's been especially interested in the Great Chicago Fire, with several books currently checked out on the topic.  We also have Fire Disaster and Disasters: Natural and Man-made Catastrophes through the Centuries in the house.

It all starts so innocently and then you find you have a child who is becoming more and more fascinated with the darker side of rescues: the danger, the potential death. He is so curious about the events of September 11th.  He found an In Memoriam DVD Jacob's mom bought years back and he's always asked questions since he saw a firefighter on the cover.  We've always said that this was a sad story and a movie he couldn't watch until he was older.  Well, when you let your child flip through books like Fire Disaster he ends up asking questions about all kinds of events.  He has the basic facts of 9/11 and he pleads to learn more. And we just keep saying no but he wears us down for small details.  Man, this parenting thing is hard!

Jack still hasn't had to realize that some people want to hurt other people.  At least with his fire disaster interests, he's mostly learning about natural disasters and unfortunate accidents.  With his knowledge of 9/11, he knows that two planes crashed into the World Trade Centers, but he's never even asked why the planes crashed.  I think he just assumes it was an accident.

I love to learn about real events too, so he comes about his interests honestly, but I also want to protect his innocence for as long as I can.

What a piece of work this kid is.  In his first 12 days of Kindergarten, we've heard all of the below:

  • "I'm a super reader."  "How do you know?" I ask. "Because my nose is buried in my book."
  • After drinking chocolate milk on the first day, we told Jack he should drink only white milk since chocolate milk has a lot of sugar.  We only had to say it once and Jack has been clearly instructing the milk-passer-outers that he'll be having no more of that chocolate milk :) I love that he's health conscious for his own sake.
  • He nonchalantly comments that one of the rules is to love your teachers, but "I mean I already do" :)
  • When asked to draw something about his family, he drew the twin towers on fire.  (Chin drops to my lap.) But no, no Mom do not be concerned, see, remember that was what happened on your first day of college, so, see that was something about my family...
  • On that note, he also was asked to draw what was in his heart.  While thankfully, I don't think he shared this drawing with the class, his heart had the Titanic, the twin towers, and the 2009 Australian brush fires, because those were all sad things and that was what was in his heart.  Just imagine the looks on Jacob's and my faces when he recounted that part of his day!?!
  • He's always happy to share what he had for lunch or snack, in detail.  He's eating the school lunch provided by Revolution Foods. We are generally pleased with the healthier fare offered at his school, though, I still stand by my controversial stance that goldfish, animal crackers, graham crackers, etc. really serve no healthful purpose as a children's snack.  I love that Jack's school has parents signing up for the daily morning snack and has specifically asked for these to be healthy and, ideally, fruits/veggies.
  • He pulled out his class snack calendar and was able to read almost every student's name based on probably having seem them written in his class, his knowledge of first letter sounds, and, because he's obviously gotten to know all of these new friends.  This last piece makes me happy.
  • He's staying two days for an extra hour for soccer and it made me smile to see him running around in the gym at 4:45 today with such a happy look on his face :)

I love this one-of-a-kind rascal.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

My 5 month olds

Here they are:




This is such a sweet stage.  Nice and sturdy, super loving and interactive, immobile :)  All our babies were 19 lbs at 5 months, so lots of squishy sweetness :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Why I know you'll do great in Kindergarten

You are kind.

I'm always trying to think of conversation starters at dinner, so tonight, I asked "What is one kind thing you did and what is one kind thing someone did for you today?" ... "Jacob?"  While Jacob was talking, I saw a light flash in Jack's eyes and he jumped in "When I saw someone crying at school, I was thinking about asking them to sit by me, but both spots by me were already taken."  I love that he had this impulse. (Jacob did add, "well, were the spots by that kid taken?" ) I also really love that the conversation we had last week about "what would you do if you saw someone feeling sad" flashed through his mind in a real life moment out in the world.  

You are curious.

All the words that come to mind when asked to describe you are synonyms with curious.  You just plain love to learn.  We have 8 books out from the library on the Great Chicago Fire; we have requests in for books about astronauts.  You hear about something, you want to know more, and you track down the info (i.e. you hound us relentlessly until we read it/look it up/request it.)  You love "why."  You know you are going to learn to read this year and I'm so excited to see the power this gives you.

You are ready.

With you at Kindergarten today, I felt oddly at peace.  I know you will encounter many situations and new experiences out in the world, but I trust the little person you are becoming and I know you are ready to try, to fail, to learn, to succeed, to grow.

It's not all sunshine and roses.  You can be so erratic, but there is so much goodness in you and, as a former teacher, I would have loved having a Jack in my class :)