Posted in Elliott, Family

Elliott is 4 ever young!


Elliott is turning 4.

4!

A two year tumultuous infertility journey has somehow rapidly shifted gears into a four year adventure that has led us here.

Now nearly 4 – our boy – is his own person blossoming with his own thoughts, beliefs, and a timid but certain voice.

He’s still a thumb sucker – there is certainly no denying that – but regardless, somewhere in the last year, he has morphed into a mini man.

Elliott has spent the last nine months learning and growing expansively in a local Preschool program. At the time of enrollment, he was completely uninterested in anything scholastic. We knew he needed a program like this to get him ‘school ready’ and the exposure to the whole ‘small fish in a big pond’ phenomenon, as well as the socialization with peers he really needed.

Spending the last nine months facilitating this transition has been joyously rewarding. He still has difficulty recalling the daily events to report about it at the dinner table, but hearing him tell me about the friends (most of whom still remain nameless) he played with all day is just enough to ignite the heartstrings. Pre-preschool he was social – yet shy, intelligent – but hesitant to try, curious – but cautious, so our in home childcare situation was really holding him back from experiencing life the way its intended. He needed that push so-to-speak to force him to take responsibility in this integral learning phase. And so, this journey began. He has mastered his color identification, he can identify and mostly spell and write his name, he struggles with the alphabet but there is marked improvement. He plays blocks, and does crafts, and is friendly with the kids in his class. Just the other day, we were making a quick errand run through Walmart, and as I thoughtlessly rushed my son down the aisles, he was calling after me “Mom… mommy!” When I finally caught wind of this and turned to see, he was pointing out a school friend, the pair of them so excited to find a friend in-the-wild, neither of them able to recall each others names. It was exciting none-the-less, and neither of them wanted anything more than to remind their mothers that they know people outside of their family dynamic. It was just the sweetest thing to witness, and in that moment I kneelt to the floor and held my nearly-four-year-old  in a deep embrace and told him how proud  I was that he was building friendships with these kids.

His teaching/learning journey has always been a struggle; he was slow to talk, hesitant to walk, he resists sitting in quiet study <Where he shines is on the physical experiences of life hands-on, tactile play, and the arts, and sports.> Do I wish he could just learn with ease? Sure! Would I change a single thing about him? Absolutely not!

Elliott loves bumble bee (as in the yellow Camaro that transforms into a robot), he is obsessed with everything superhero, and we get a daily dose of hero dramatics every single day (aren’t we lucky!). He is into planes, and trains, and automobiles, and now that he has been provided with a kid-leveled bookshelf you can find him curled up with a book just about anywhere. His love for hockey has remained unchallenged, though, he has expanded his love to pretty much all sports and remains active outside (or in) day-in and day-out.

Elliott doesn’t want to turn 4.

He has resolved to stay 3 because it’s his favorite number, or so he says.

I can’t blame him, I am not so fond of him turning 4 either, it’s one of those difficult transitional ages, he will suddenly be swept into the responsibility of the educational system, and miss out on all the 1:1 time he got with family. That’s a tough transition for any age.

At home, this past year he has been such an admirable big brother. He is thoughtful and  encouraging with every interaction he has with Oliver. His only fault is that he worries to much about his reckless counterpart. We honestly couldn’t have asked for a better mentor as a big brother. He is everything we wanted and more. Some mornings the kids wake on their own, and without even coming in to wake us, they get straight to business together cooking a breakfast on their little wooden kitchen set all the while chatting together like old comrades. It’s just the bees knees!

If there is anything we are most excited about in this past year, as far as milestones go, its that Elliott is a swimmer now. There was no lack of effort on his part, he hustled hard. It isn’t so much that he succeeded that we are so excited, although that is certainly a bonus, but that he worked so tirelessly to achieve it. He fought about as hard as his little body could fight to get here, and earned the reward to swim 6-10 feet without a life jacket because he developed that skill from the ground up.

If you were to ask Elliott now what he thinks of himself he would tell you that he is Smart, and brave, and nice. These are how he chooses to define himself at this ripe old age of 4, and I am one proud mama, that those are the only qualities that matter.

 

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Elliott, Family, Oliver

One of THOSE days!

Try as I might, I am having a difficult time filing this day as a great one in the old attic of childhood keepsakes.
Don’t get me wrong I’m thankful for any day spent with my family, but this one was particularly tough to endure.

Between the three-angers and the terrible twos we were sure to be met with our fair share of challenges, and one giant dose of our fair share did we indeed get!!

The whining, good God! The whining! The fighting; hitting, biting, pushing, WWE over toys and the “who who gets a first chance at the slide” woes. Then the meal time strikes, we are at an all time high of 3 missed meals today by the pair of ’em. And the tattle-taling, and the ‘oh woe is me’ over every favour or direction mom and dad ask.

The terrible twos are a fairly new concept to me since Elliott clearly soared though it with little resistance, but the oppositional defiance we get from Oliver over every-little-thing is enough to make up for the two of them combined. Like, I literally just watched him slide his hand over a patch of wet paint immediately following my firm direction not too. The whole while he made eye contact with me, I swear I saw them turn an evil green, and that cheeky grin. He absolutely thinks he is hilarious. (Le sigh)

We had more time outs today alone, then I think we’ve ever dished out in total before. Just one of those days that has your left questioning why you would ever consider having another child again.


And onto tomorrow!! Let’s pray for a better one!

Tight sqeeze!

Ella

Posted in Elliott, Oliver, Uncategorized

Mama Life Mastered

Another apology ahead; I have found myself slipping away from the blogging world because, well, not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve been totally rocking this mom thing.

My house has had a pretty substantial deep clean over the last few weeks, my boys and I have been active and enjoying the sweet summer sun, and overall, I think I finally have some semblance of a rhythm going on in this crazy life.

When it comes to activities, it can be daunting to think up creative ways to keep the kids interested without always dropping a C-note on overpriced theme park tickets, and museum tours. Lucky for me my boys are dirt worshipers and anything that requires shoeless feet and muddy hands keep them entertained all summer long.

My camera, which I thought needed some major TLC is miraculously healed, and we’ve been busy trekking it around our neighborhood for some good old fashioned local fun. My three year olds mind was completely blown when he realized I wasn’t just telling stories and our seven year old Lab, Sophie, does actually love swimming. Honestly, if you could have witnessed his amusement in that moment, your heart would have melted too.

Needless to say our adventures have left me speechless, unable to record in this journal my thoughts, because I have just been completely lost in my boys, and my family.

Just when I thought I couldn’t keep up the excitement while revisiting the same beaches and parks over-and-over, I came up with the brilliant idea of collecting rocks, that we would later paint on gloomy days – SERIOUSLY BRILLIANT – this same routine stop became a whole new adventure with a completely new agenda. Also, throwing rocks into the water is a favorite pastime for these two.

As they are growing bigger they are becoming daring and confident. Watching as they brave new playground feats is the source of all this mamas pride, oh and their outgoing social skills as they make friends (clearly a trait they inherit from their father) has me getting all wobbly in the knees!

On the ol’ Homestead, we’ve got things rocking there too, squeezing in time for all the chores when there is just too much house to handle has been a serious thorn in my side, but making it a priority once in a while, making no excuses on cleaning day, and rocking a killer soundtrack has got me owning it. It feels “So fresh and so clean, clean” (I dare you not to sing that!)

 

 

While, I’m out now, I have some finger prints that need some windex, and a quick park date to arrange.

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Elliott, Uncategorized

Success at the end of a day!

If you’re a parent, this is exactly how success is measured at the end of a day. Your child has spent all of his energy, has read a book with dad to wind-down, and is tucked cozily in bed.

Aside; Despite the appearance of monsters on his jammies, this particular set of nightwear will forever be known as robot jammies, because no one argues about clothing with a toddler! #itriedandlost

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Sleep – tight – Squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Elliott, Oliver

A few of their favorite things

Its important to me that I make a note of all the things my kids do and love, and that may some day frame who they are in as adults. I never want to forget what toys they were attached to, or how they preferred to sleep, and especially how they show their creativity and innovation, because I think those are the little key holes into the future, and I will one day be able to piece all of this together.

Elliott ~ 2.5 yrs

  • Thumb-sucking. All day every day.
  • His Lego Hard hat. He wears this consistently, before winter hats, We had to fight to leave this hat a home -we eventually gave up- and he wore it EVERYWHERE. Living in a relatively small town, I’m surprised people didn’t recognize him as “that kid…”
  • Hats in general. Wears one pretty much 24/7.
  • Lego. Currently he is into building a two story three car garage, with upper loft man cave for all his hard hat wearing Lego men (which he calls Tom and daddy). We do this everyday!
  • He prefers painting over coloring. He will not participate in finger painting, but has really refined his motor skills with brushes.
  • Television. We do not have cable, so he watches what he asks for on command. He absolutely lives for the Might Ducks trilogy, but also like Zooboomafoo, Bob the builder, Dinotrux, and Veggie Tales. He also really enjoyed the Polar Express and Frosty the snowman at Christmas time. He almost always chooses real-people over cartoons.
  • Construction vehicles. Everything about them. He wont count, identify colors, or say the alphabet, but he can name all the different vehicles without hesitation.
  • Playing the his collection of necklaces and bracelets in mommies jewelry box. He has his very own set of kids bangles, and necklaces.
  • His baby. He has a miniature bassinet beside his bed, and his baby has to be tucked in there every night when he goes to bed. He doesn’t bother with it ,much through the day, however from time-to-time he brings it downstairs and he eats meals at the table with us.
  • Hockey! Anything to do with hockey. He loves hockey cards, hockey jerseys, watching from his bedroom window as the neighborhood kids play outside, He has his own stick and gloves, and has learned to handle the stick really well. He is limited to hockey outside and plays in the catwalk beside our house. Inside, he will use kitchen utensils and a plush soccer ball for an adaptation of hockey.
  • Aden and Anais Dream blankets. They are soft and luxurious so I cant really blame him. We keep one on the couch for movies, and one in the car during the winter if they are not there, he will hunt them down and put them there.
  • A vintage Playskool wooden ride on Giraffe that I found at a yard sale for $5. We have had an assortment of ride on toys come and go in the house, but that is always his go-to.
  • Apple Tea. Obviously! Of course there isn’t such a thing as apple tea served in our home (although I really should go find one) rather Apple tea is just want he has decided to call all beverages after a thanksgiving treat of apple cider, ONE TIME!
  • Pasta. Cleans his plate, always!
  • Pretty much any fruit imaginable, and vegetables for that matter. Though Avocado is probably #1.
  • Birthdays. He can’t get enough. He only started to realize the hype of birthdays after his 2nd. He understood that with birthdays came “Happy cake”. Like, who cares about the presents anyway? Then after a slew of birthday invites from then to now, he has become obsessed with the idea.
  • Books. He never turns down the opportunity to read with, well, anyone. He also enjoys leafing through them on his own after they have been read.
  • Boots. Just cause, Puddles!
  • He would have you believe otherwise, but He actually loves tickles. Right time and place.
  • Mirrored play. If mom sews, Elliott will find objects to mimic mom. If dads working on the car or with tools in the house, Elliott is behind him with his toy version. There are always electrical outlets being adjusted with screwdrivers around here.
  • Elmo calls app. Elmo face times often, sometimes as a wake-up call. Sometimes from a temper tantrum distractor, other times to encourage him to eat his meal. Works every time.
  • Jammies. Why not?
  • Baths. Especially the special occasions he gets to bathe in mommy and daddies big tub.
  • Being behind the camera with his vintage fisher price toy camera. He does not like having his photos taken though.
  • Surprises and being scared.
  • Face-timing.

 

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Oliver ~ 1 year

  • His Aden and Anais sucky blankets (we have a handful and leave them stashed everywhere).
  • Cell phones. Has no idea how to use it, except mimicking selfies by outstretching his arms and saying cheese. But if he doesn’t have a cell  in his hand the world has ended. (The baby monitor is an acceptable substitute, but don’t dare try to give him a toy version)
  • Baths. He is blowing water bubbles too now.
  • Bedtime bottles. Me thinks he’s going to be a tough one to break.
  • Walking. A boys got to take advantage of his new found talent.
  • Unraveling the paper products. Toilet paper, paper towel doesn’t matter as long as he can giggle at the aftermath.
  • Stairs. For the same reason he likes walking
  • Hellos and good byes. He has currently taken to leaning over the toilet and bidding adieu to the poopys and the pee-pees.
  • Thumb-sucking. Although not as much as his brother. He will ONLY suck thumb when tired/falling asleep and ONLY with his sucky blanket which he rubs on his face whilst sucking.
  • Kitchen cupboards and drawers. Anything he can reach needs to wander four feet from its intended home, and immediately dropped or thrown to the floor.
  • Water play. Splishing, splashing, and getting wet. Dog bowls included.
  • The broom, or other unusually large items that are awkward from him to maneuver which result in his frustration and a tantrum.
  • Peek-a-boo or hide-and-seek. Because discovering that one can completely disappear behind their fingertips is simply epic.
  • Rockabye Baby Cds. Particularly Michael Jackson – Asleep instantly!
  • Singing. Currently happy birthday and Row your boat.
  • Pasta, Bananas… eating in general. He is well known for tantruming if he isn’t eating, and shoveling the food in handfuls.
  • Being naked. Running freely.
  • Talking. Seriously, doesn’t stop.
  • Hugs. He check in with one about every two hours or so, he just thrives off of positive human contact.
  • Face-timing. Because. Cell phone!
  • Having his picture taken. “Chhee!!” (Cheese)
  • Laughing, smiling, and being the happiest baby overall.

 

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This!! This is what makes my heart smile, everyday!

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Elliott, Oliver

A Cuddle in Time

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Couldn’t you just die for the completely unsolicited cuddles your children provide?

My kids are not the overly clingy type, they like to be active, and that certainly can’t happen while glued to moms hip. There is business to be done people! Like building Lego garages, emptying the kitchen drawers, dumping the dogs water bowls, or feasting on kibble. Try as I may, its rare to get a sweet couch cuddle with my children, bribing them with movie cuddles included.

Elliott almost never gives me cuddles at all, he is big on personal space and actually refuses to share a bed, EVER!  I can actually only recall one night that we laid our heads on the same pillow in the last 2.5+ years of his life.

Oliver is far more cuddly, and will actually give me unannounced cuddles from time-to-time -particularly when tired, AND will actually take a snooze in my arms, albeit briefly.

But when the time comes, and my kids march out of nowhere to give me a kiss or a hug, I’m smitten. I feel the knee wobbling-heart racing-butterfly dancing-euphoria. That’s what parenting is all about!

Today, Elliott crawled atop my lap, blanket in tow, and sat for a whole Five minutes whilst watching Dinotrux. In your world that might not seem like a long time, but in mine it was a glorious moment that I had to record.

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Elliott

One of those days!

Have you ever found yourself watching your children play and realize “Holy shit! When did my kid grow up, and how in the world did I just miss it?” Today was one of those days! Elliott was playing Lego (megablox to be exact) and built a small structure with a retaining wall (basically just a train of pieces lined up) then he lined his men up parallel to this wall and opened each piece like a swinging door and passed each Lego man through. I stared at him in awe and made a mental note to never forget this moment. I also want to make note that he names his Lego men Daddy and Tom (aka Nom) because they wear construction hats and work gear. He is clearly very observant, and has a desire to mimic the men he adores the most in his life. 

I realized today for the umpteenth time that my son is growing up entirely too fast. 

Did I mention Elliott also thoroughly shaved his chin tonight in the bath with his plastic razor and foam bath soap. Seriously?!?! My boy was born living, learning, and growing beyond his years!!! 

My heart overflows! 

Thanks for listening, Tight squeeze!

Ella