Monday, April 28, 2008

Go Down Swingin'

We recently took a trip to a nearby playground when I was home with the boys. We had a good time, and I certainly burned off some much-needed calories chasing Connor all around the area. But I would particularly like to say:

1) Thank you to the boy Cameron met under one of the slides. He was hiding, and Cameron shyly went over to him and said, "Can I hide with you?" The boy shrugged his shoulders and said, "Ummm...okay." Cameron was his shadow from that point forward, running all over the grounds and stopping every few minutes to shriek and hide from "the bad guys." When we were leaving, I met his mom and told her how sweet her son was to allow Cameron to play with him, especially because he was a few years older than my son. She laughed and said, "I'm glad he is being nice to someone. I set up a playdate with his friends and he's been hiding from them since the minute we got here."

2) A shout-out to the nice grandparents I met while running back and forth between pushing Connor on the toddler swings and Cameron on the regular swings. They were taking turns pushing their adorably quiet, petite grandson next to us while my animated Connor yelled play-by-play descriptions of everything he saw: "Dat's a red coat!" "Dere's a ball!" "Mama, we're swingin'!" After further small talk, I asked how old their grandson was. Just had a birthday? Huh, Connor, too. Just turned two? Hey, Connor, too. On March 29th? Seriously? Connor, too! The couple was just as surprised as I was that these boys were exactly the same age. But here's the kicker; as we were leaving the swings, they mentioned it was a shame they didn't have a pen or paper to write down my name and number for their daughter...(wait for it)...named KRISTIN! No, I am not kidding!

3) And lastly, I would like to thank anyone who chooses to create a playground. But may I suggest, in the future, that you consider the parents of toddlers the next time your blueprints get a green light? I almost lost a fight to that playground equipment since it was only meant for people less than three feet tall to run under. Ouch!

Connor peeks around to look for his brother

Then he spies him above his head

Hi, Mama!

Cameron, before meeting his playmate

In case you were wondering if Connor had a good time, click on the video below. You'll have to let me know what you think because I really couldn't tell... (wink, wink).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

For the Love of Gemma and Pop

Today marks the 40th Anniversary of Gemma and Pop!

You both joke that "they said it would never last," but your children knew it would. We hope to be the proud example of loving parents for our boys that you have been to your boys. Hope you are having a great getaway, and we look forward to celebrating many, many more anniversaries with you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stuck Up

And you thought you were having a bad hair day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Smarty Pants!

So, I either have really smart friends (and relatives), or my quizzes are just way too easy (which is contrary to popular belief around my students). Kristen, Sarah, Gemma, Kelly, and Kristin, you were ALL right in that Cameron is "painting" his toenails (with a red Blue's Clues crayon, for you sticklers).

When I asked him what he was doing, he said, "I'm making my toenails red so I can be just like you, Mommy." Sigh.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

This Little Piggy

Take a guess...what do you think my sweet peanut is doing in this picture?

All those with the right answer will receive effusive praise right on this very blog!

So guess away!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Clearing the Fog in My Blog

It has recently come to my attention that readers of this blog's comments may be just a tad bit confused, and I need to clear things up. Some people may believe that I am making some rather strange observations about my own children in the comments section, but the truth is, there are several similar names popping up here. So, some introductions seem to be in order.

Hi, I'm Kristin. You might remember me from such blogs as...ummm, well, this one. You probably know who I am since you are visiting my blog. So, let's move on. But I am not to be confused with ...

Kristin, who has her own very nice blog, and just happens to have a really great name, parents with really great spelling skills, and who also lives in the same great state I do. She is not to be confused with...

Kristen, who is a terrific friend of mine from work, has registered for a blog but doesn't have one yet (is that pressure enough?), and also has a great name (although the spelling is questionable). And none of us are to be confused with...

Peanuts and Pumpkins, who used to have a blog with a great title (Peanuts and Pumkins without the second "p"), but who has now changed the name to A Day in the Life.

Now that we have made all of the proper introductions, carry on. :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

When Good Easter Baskets Go Bad

Guess what happens when Easter baskets are left out too long and go unattended?

I am still finding green Easter basket "grass" all over our house.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Portrait Preview

We had the boys' annual birthday portraits taken a few weeks ago. We usually take them to a great independent professional photographer, but with having two children and twice as many portraits that I would (of course) not be able to leave the studio without, the total cost is a bit out of our budget right now. So, we settled on commercial mall photography.* (Luckily, the photographer there this time was helpful, knowledgeable, and had an actual degree in photography! That made a definite difference!) And because they are pictures of my children, naturally, I love them regardless of their artistic merit. This is a collage of the many faces of my little men. Let me know what you think!

*However, if my amazing photographer bloggie friends Kelly or MckMama are ever in the area, you are instantly hired!

Monday, April 7, 2008

My Peanut in Pictures

As I did with Connor, this is a look back at pictures of Cameron in the years before I began this blog in honor of his fifth birthday. Cameron was our much-anticipated first-born child and the first grandchild on both sides. We were so fortunate; everything about the pregnancy went well and according to our grand plan. I imagined a birth quite like those I had been watching for years on TLC's A Baby Story; maybe there wouldn't be the swell of violins at the most emotional moment, but regardless of the pain of birth, I just knew it would be beautiful. Hmmm. Well, our baby was beautiful, but the birth was far from it.

I went to the hospital on my own birthday around 5:00 am, and things were going well until many hours after our arrival when my doctor told me not to wait much longer if I wanted an epidural. I had decided I wanted to experience the contractions in all of their glory for a while, but by this point, I was convinced that I had enough memories to bring on the medication. Several hours and three epidurals later (yes, I said three, and no, you don't want details), I was still totally feeling those contractions. And my dilation stopped. So an intern "intervened" so that I would be able to begin pushing (no, you don't want details of that, either). After almost two hours of pushing and no progress (none!) I was told I would need a c-section. I had feared this, but I was exhausted, and Cameron's heart rate was in question, so we agreed. They told me I had to stop the urge to push. And that's when I felt the worst physical pain of my life. While I was pushing, I was working with the contractions, but not being able to push was a nightmare. Thankfully, we were finally able to see our beautiful boy (who, by the way, was lodged in my pelvis) on April 7th at 11:34 pm, weighing 8 pounds and 5 ounces.

Besides having jaundice (which Connor also had), all seemed to be going according to plan again. He was a good baby in the hospital, and I had many sweet, emotional moments just holding him. He was most certainly our dream come true.

I wish I could leave it at that. But, if I am being completely honest, the next several months were some of the hardest I have endured emotionally. My sweet little baby started non-stop crying and stopped sleeping. The only way I could get him to end the crying for a respite was to nurse him, and when he would finally settle down, he would nurse for hours. Yes, hours. When I would try to remove him, the crying began again. (And I bet you can guess what repercussions nursing for hours at a time did to my body.) I questioned all those things a new mommy lacking confidence does: What am I doing wrong? Why can't I settle my baby? and What if my baby doesn't love me? It sounds a bit silly now, but I really was a wreck. (And I have to add, my husband was, too.) We had multiple visits to the pediatrician and lactation consultant. Finally, after over a month of this, Cameron's doctor said nonchalantly, "Well, since this is one of the worst cases of colic I have seen in a while..." WAIT!!! Colic??? You're right, it was obvious. But remember, I was a brand new mommy. I wasn't trusting my instincts because I didn't even think that I could console my own baby. I wasn't about to self-diagnose, especially since he had been seen by several doctors and the lactation consultant numerous times by now for various reasons. No one had ever uttered the "c-word." I vividly remember my sigh of relief -- not that he had colic but that there was an answer. He told me it would be over by the time he was three months. Three months came and went with very little relief, but by around five months, he had made great strides. He still wasn't a sleeper, but he smiled and cooed, and the joy he brought began to completely outweigh all of those tears.

Three months old
(The photographer still reminds me that this was one of the toughest sessions she has ever done and how empathetic she felt towards me! But I do adore this picture.)
At six months
Whew! The colic is over and we are all glad for that!

Happy at seven months
(Watch out! That Gingerbread Man is gonna getcha!)
Daddy and Cameron celebrate at nine months

One Year Old

One Year Old
He had now became a boy who loved giggling, singing, and enjoyed riding in the car, although when the occasional crying jags occured, we still relied on our faithful Josh Groban CD (hence the songs you hear on this blog). We had lots of fun playing in our daylight basement and going for walks in our neighborhood.

Two Years OldAt two, we played many games and sang songs. Cameron loved watching Bear in the Big Blue House, Jay Jay the Jet Plane, and reading every book he could find. We had lots of rituals in our house, many of which revolved around Sesame Street music. And he was sleeping now without help! Hallelujah!
The above picture was taken a week before Cameron's third birthday and the day before I had Connor. We also have a loving picture of Cameron nestling up to my huge belly, which we love, but the world certainly does not need to see. :)
His big brotherly instincts really seemed to kick in right away. As an infant, Connor would respond to Cameron's voice almost immediately. Cameron would routinely sing, "If You're Happy and You Know It" whenever Baby Connor cried. He continues to look after him and helps him with his coat, toys, or finds him fun pictures to color.
At three, Cameron began preschool and LOVED it! He could only go three days a week, but at four, he could go all five days. He couldn't wait to be four!

Connor at one and Cameron at four

Their brotherly bond continues to grow. We can't wait until they can really play with each other. They do try now, and Cameron is usually awfully patient. Last Thanksgiving, Cameron's teacher asked each child to tell what he or she was most thankful for and draw a corresponding picture. Cameron's picture read: "I am so thankful for my baby brother." That one was a keeper!

Drumroll, please! This is the debut of Cameron's brand, spankin' new picture, taken just last week. (Side note: I apparently *really* like blue and yellow stripes.) When he was a baby, I wondered if Cameron was so acutely aware of his surroundings that his senses were overloaded which would cause much of his crying. I do think he is still very aware; he is a smart, witty, and funny boy who has a sensitive soul and a dramatic side. And we have no idea how we ever felt whole without him.

If you have read this far, thank you for helping us to honor the last five years of life with our Peanut. And to Cameron: How much does Mommy love you?

Is There Really a Way...

...that my first-born baby could be turning five today?

Happy 5th Birthday, Peanut Butter.

(I feel compelled to disclose that it may, in fact, be someone else's birthday today as well. She is neither five nor is the number five anywhere in her age. She is, however, writing this.)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Party Boys

As we did last year, we had the boys' birthday party together again this year. Their birthdays are only about a week apart, so it is the most convenient choice for everyone since many of our family members have a few hours to drive. This year, we chose to have the dinosaur-themed event at a place you might remember from a previous post, the Delaware Museum of Natural History. We all love it there, and they have a very cool kids' discovery room with a party room attached in the back. Some highlights of the pint-sized partiers:

The dinosaur cake with their picture
An added bonus to having the party at the museum was that a museum representative gave an animal presentation to the children (and the adults). The boys are laughing at the first animal, the frog, that hopped around in its box as they eagerly watched.
Cameron was less sure about the next creature, the millipede. One thing he was sure about:
"I don't want to touch it!"
Our little one was more fearless, and not only touched the snake...

... he was really happy about it!

The boys' friend, Lucas, (grandson of our super daycare provider and friend, Ann) pets a bearded dragon lizard.

Twin brothers, Bret and Brock, (and sons of our dear friends, Brandi and Bernie) were also very interested in the lizard.
Connor and Emma (daughter of our good friends Kristen and John) enjoyed watching the fish.

Time to blow out the candles!

Cameron received many gifts he had been wishing for!

Connor's gifts were just as generous!

We had a nice day with many of our family members, several of the boys' friends and ours. Thanks again to Pop and Pop Pop for chasing Connor (especially!) and Cameron around the museum when they became restless, to Gemma, Nana and Dick, Grandma, Aunt Kathy and Uncle Wayne for taking over clean-up duty in record time, and for all of your help in making the day special.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

My Pumpkin in Pictures

Since I began this blog in December, the photos I have offered of my little men have been limited to our recent activities. But since we are celebrating Connor's second birthday, I thought it would be nice to show my little pumpkin grow.

Connor's birth was unbelievably calm and peaceful. Perhaps this was because my first birthing experience was the exact opposite of my expectations, and I am quite the planner. I don't like unexpected surprises; I prefer to decide every nitty gritty detail in advance. In fact, Eric and I planned so well that Connor's due date was just the day before Cameron's birthday (which by the way, is also my birthday). So, while I was not thrilled to have to have a repeat c-section, I was thrilled that this time it would not be a surprise (more on Cameron's birth in a future post). And my little pumpkin knew it was time, too; when I got to the hospital, I began having powerful contractions, as if on cue. A few hours later, my 9 pound 3 ounce little boy was born. And he looked nothing like his older brother. It's funny -- when you have one child, you think, "Okay, this is what we make." Then you have a second, and you think, "No, wait! See that one over there? That's what we make, not this." But it was so much fun to recognize that we had two little boys who looked so different but carried traits of both of us inside.

I remember asking my mom to stay with us the first few days that we were home because we naively decided to try to begin our new family without any help when Cameron was born. Rookie mistake! So when we brought Connor home, imagine my surprise when the little bugger liked to sleep. I had heard of babies like that before, but having never had one myself, I questioned if a routinely sleeping baby wasn't just old wives' tale. He had a great disposition, was a good nurser, and he slept. A lot. We knew we were so blessed!

So, it was a shock to learn, when he was only eight weeks old, that my thriving and seemingly healthy pumpkin had to have immediate surgery for a condition called pyloric stenosis. He was such a great baby! How could anything be wrong?!? Fortunately, the surgery was a success and he began smiling just days later.

Connor has been a trooper in my eyes in many ways. Like I said, I am a planner. It seems as if Connor is in some ways an old soul who knows what his mommy can handle at any given moment. He spoke early at eight months (his first word was "kitty") but he waited to crawl until ten and only began walking at twenty months. While I was a bit worried, he waited until we had done our "babyproofing" to crawl and then conveniently walked at a family get-together.

And I can't forget to add how he and his brother adore one another. Sure, they swipe each other's toys, but Cameron is a super big brother, and Connor imitates everything Cameron does.

He has been an absolute joy who I can really only describe as my heart personified. These days, while his favorite sentence is "I don't want to" and he is starting to have frequent meltdowns, it is difficult to think of all he has brought to our lives these past two years without accompanying my reminiscing with tears and hope of all the happiness to come.

As I sing to you every night in the lullaby I wrote for you, Pumpkin, "You are my heart, my love, my joy, my baby boy."

Thanks to all of you for reading and celebrating one of the best blessings of our lives with us!