Saturday, April 28, 2012

Whining, poop and puke, oh my!

6 months old growth picture.
It's been one of those weeks that feels like the kids have been whining, pooping or puking. I'm not sure if a bug or virus of some kind has rooted itself in my house, or if it's just a case of the crabbies, but it's been a long week. I really shouldn't complain too much because the week has also been filled with a lot of really fun (and some new!) stuff, too.

The week started with my baby turning 6 months old. I cannot believe he's halfway through his first year of life! To celebrate this milestone we started solid food. I mixed some rice cereal with breast milk and fed it to a somewhat confused Ashton. He really didn't seem to know how to feel about it. He didn't like or hate it. He was ambivalent. Mostly, he just spit it right back out. I also put some breast milk into a sippy cup to try and introduce the concept of drinking mommy's milk another way other than straight from the tap. Since he refuses to take a bottle, I'm really hoping this method will work and allow me some extended time away from him occasionally.  I continued to feed Ash cereal throughout the week, but it wasn't until supper tonight that he actually grasped the concept of swallowing it. He ate quite a few spoonfuls. Midway through the week I introduced a Baby Mum Mum, which for those of you who aren't familiar, are a quickly dissolving cracker. He gnawed on it like it was the best thing that ever touched his gums. I'm looking forward to incorporating more baby and finger foods as the weeks go on, but it does make me a titch sad that my baby is rapidly becoming less of a baby by the day.

Early Tuesday morning when I was nursing Ashton back to sleep, he projectile vomited all over. Excuse the graphic nature, but there was so much puke that it made an actual splooshing sound when it hit the carpet. Nothing like being vomited on at 4 am. I am still not quite sure the cause of it or the random low grade fevers throughout the week (rice cereal, sickness, teething, something I ate), but Ashton definitely has not been himself all week. We enjoyed a few cuddling sessions--a rarity since he learned to put himself to sleep a few months ago.

2 1/2 years old growth picture.
Spencer also was not quite himself all week either. He switched from laughing and playing to cranky and volatile without warning. It was meltdown after meltdown, where every little thing set him off and nothing could make him happy. The worst of the worst came on Friday. Every Friday morning we attend an ECFE class for two year olds. The formula of the class allows for free play at the beginning before all the parents and kids gather for circle time. Free play always has its issues with kids butting heads and having difficulties with sharing and communicating. It's bound to happen with a class full of 2 year olds. But Friday proved to be too much for Spencer. We were there no more than 15 minutes before we had to pack up and leave. He just could not handle it. Having issues controlling his impulses for whatever reason, he hit and screamed and cried and pitched the biggest award-winning public tantrum of his life. I decided to pull him out of the situation and we went home, where the tantrums continued. He even decided he didn't need to take a nap and would not stay in his bed. Finally after an hour and a half of going back in his room to put him back to bed, removing books and toys from his room, and even making a phone call to his daddy to have "a talk" about being a good boy, I turned his toddler daybed around to stimulate a crib. Once trapped inside, he did finally take a nap.

I'm hoping next week is the beginning of a brand new, sunshine-smiling Mahlke household!!

Cuddling with my boys Saturday on a cold, rainy morning.
On a bright note, my sweet, sweet husband took it upon himself to arrange a night out for me. He contacted one of my best friends to see if she'd meet me for some drinks Friday night. Dave said I needed a night out. Indeed I did!! One drink turned into a few too many, and we didn't leave the bar until midnight, but it was exactly what I needed. I had a great time. Thanks, Ann!!! And thank you to my thoughtful husband for making it happen. Both Ann and I were confused why we never thought to do something like that ourselves.

I make the week sound like it was a big ball of stress and crabbiness when really it was a pretty good week, but often times the bad parts stick out the most. So let's sweep the ugly parts of the week away and dish about the good.

We had a lot of fun with the letter P. A few weeks ago Spencer collected a bunch of pine cones with Grandma Amy. I couldn't resist using them for a few projects. Luckily Monday was a nice day that allowed us some time outside to discover some non-traditional ways of painting. We dipped the pine cones in paint and then threw them at the easel. Spencer loved this, of course. We also dipped the pine cones in some water and rolled them down the driveway, demonstrating a creative way to paint pavement. We used a traditional paint brush with water on the driveway as well.

Tuesday we had a play date at the park with some new friends. Then Daddy met us after work for a picnic.

Wednesday we played balloon ping pong with paddles I made out of Popsicle sticks and paper plates. It was a good concept that Spencer loved, but you really need to use high quality paper plates instead of the cheap ones from the dollar store. We also had a packed lunch in the family room.

The highlight of our week was when Aunt Hopey paid us an overnight visit on Wednesday. We played outside until Daddy got off work. Then we headed to the mall for a yummy meal at HuHot before Dave took the boys and allowed my sister and I some girl time. We enjoyed pampering ourselves with some pedicures. And then later once the boys were in bed, we drank some wine and chatted the night away.

We ended the week hosting a dinner with Grandpa Dave and Barb. And then we had a realization that our lives must be a bit lame when they left to go dancing at a bar and we couldn't get our jammies on fast enough to enjoy a movie at home.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A lazy week

We had a lazy week since another pesky bug/virus visited our house. That meant no letter projects and a lot of cuddling. Monday Spencer had a fever and was very, very crabby. We snuggled on the couch all morning watching Mickey Mouse and Cars. By the afternoon he seemed to be back to his old playful self. We had a few days reprieve before it hit Ashton. Thursday morning Ash puked everywhere, including all over me. I had him naked on the changing table cleaning him up when it came out the other end. Once he was cleaned up and dressed, he puked some more. Luckily, he did not have a fever and he was feeling much better by the afternoon as well. Unlike his older brother, though, he can be miserable without showing any signs of not feeling well. It's his easygoing personality. Spencer is like his daddy where he needs lots of love and attention when he is sick.

Tuesday we had a busy morning when our new living room furniture was finally delivered and our new TV was mounted on the wall. We've been having fun transforming our once haphazardly thrown together living room into a "grown up room." We have a few final touches to do (and, yes, one does involve some paint on the walls eventually for those of you who have expressed concern about our painfully white walls) before the transformation is complete, but it already looks much better. Although we do like our new matching furniture set, we'd also like to thank those of you who have donated your used stuff over the years! (A special thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Smith for all their "special" pieces. We took turns saying good-bye to the rocking chair that got a lot of midnight miles with a colicky Spencer. It might not have been the prettiest chair, but it sure was functional!)
To make room for the new furniture, we put away the much neglected swing.
Here is Ash enjoying one last swing.
The only other highlight of the week was our "outside school" on Wednesday. Spencer refers to the ECFE program Last Child In The Woods as "outside school." This week we met at a Wildlife Refuge for another nature walk. We had lots of fun and even brought a souvenir home with us via Spencer's blonde head: a deer tick. YUCK!!! Nothing like a creepy crawly teeny tiny bug to send shivers down your spine the entire night.

Even though we didn't do any formal projects this week, we did enjoy some past ones. We played a round of our family matching game from the letter M week. It was so cute watching Spencer name off family members. If he couldn't remember a name, he'd simply say, "that's my cousin." I was impressed on how many family members he could name, even remembering the names of all the grandmas (Grandma Keeha, Grandma Amy, etc). We also played with the lacing beads from our letter L week. Spencer had more fun playing with the long piece of yarn, though, and used it to tow his cars that got stuck in the mud. He even toted the yarn and a car to supper at Pizza Hut. Hopefully next week we'll be back on track because I have a lot of fun ideas for the letter P.

More random pictures from the week:
Ash is getting better at sitting up by himself. He can do it for 15-20 seconds before toppling over.
Gotta start somewhere, right?
Fishing at Grandpa Dave's a few weeks ago.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Big changes, oh my!

After taking a few weeks off from our letter projects, we were back in the swing of things with the letter O. We started the week by pointing out everything around us that looked like Os, which is a lot. Eventually we browsed through some magazines to find Os, cut them out, and then glue them onto upper and lower case Os for our flashcard and also a piece of paper for a collage. Spencer's favorite Os from the magazine were Mickey Mouse's ears and the polka dots on Minnie's dress.

We also made octopuses out of a pair of old socks. (Thanks for the idea, Autumn!) First we colored the socks, where we practiced Os with markers. Then I cut 8 slits up the leg of the socks. Spencer stuffed them with plastic bags. And then I secured them with rubber bands. He really enjoyed playing with them since he loves anything to do with water. I love watching his imagination at play. I never even thought about using Ashton's activity gym, but he immediately splashed the octopus around the mat that looks like an ocean.

This week we also met up with some new friends that Ashton and I met at our baby class at the library. It is very nice meeting new friends to play with during the day, especially ones who can relate to my day-to-day celebrations and struggles. I definitely think it is just as important for the mothers who stay at home to have that socialization time as it is for the children. After playing at their house for a while, we headed to the Museum Art Museum for the monthly Toddler Tuesday.

Last time sleeping in his crib.
Putting together new bed.
The big event in our house this week was transitioning Spencer to his new "big boy bed." We thought it was time to say good-bye to the crib and hello to the toddler bed. For a few weeks we've been talking about his new bed to prepare him for the change. He was very excited! Once it was finally put together, he happily crawled in to test it out, and then proceeded to do a back somersault right back out of it. Apparently the weeks of explaining how there would not be a bar on the side anymore did not fully sink in until it wasn't there to catch his fall. After that he was a little afraid of the bed, but I made him crawl right back in, and then we practiced carefully crawling in and out.
Falling out!
A little scared after big fall.
OK, so this new bad is not so bad.
Snuggling in for the night.
We were a little scared to switch him to a toddler bed because we heard all the horror stories about good sleepers suddenly becoming terrible ones, finding all the excuses to crawl out of bed instead of falling asleep. With Ashton back to waking up multiple times a night, the last thing I wanted was two bad sleepers at once. Luckily, we haven't had too many issues with the transition (yet). Spencer stays in the bed at night and during naps and will fall right to sleep. But he has been waking up a few times at night screaming. We are not sure the cause of this because he seems fine, other than the fact that he's burning up, almost feverish. At first we thought it was the big twin-sized comforter he was covering up with, so we replaced that with his old crib blankets, but he still woke up a few times that night screaming and very hot to the touch. Dave wonders if he is having nightmares. Hopefully it is a stage that passes soon.

The highlight of my week was having a girls' night last night! My two best friends and I are extremely busy and very rarely get the opportunity to get together without kids and husbands. In fact, we had to schedule our date a month in advance. And it always seems on the rare occasions that we are able to get together, someone is pregnant or nursing. In this case, two are nursing and one is pregnant. And there always seems to be some sort of time constraint to work within. This time we had a three hour window to work with since Ash still won't take a bottle. So our outings are nothing too exciting, but it is still fun to get together and just chat without the interruptions of kids or husbands. And, mmmmmm, my Georgia peach margarita was very nummy!

If one night this week without kids was heavenly, imagine two! My husband and I are actually going on a date today. We are dropping the kids off at Grandma and Marmer's and going to a matinee. Dave is being a trooper and seeing The Hunger Games with me. I don't think he cares too much what the movie is; he is just excited to watch a movie some place other than in our family room.

More random pictures from the week:
Helping Daddy mow.
We spent a great portion of one afternoon playing with wipes. The packages were cars, trains, boats, planes, sidewalks, etc. My 2 year old has quite the imagination. Ash enjoyed the box.

Spenc and his friend.

After bath is the only time his hair lays flat!