Merry Christmas!

Christmas Isaac and Jon

I hope everyone had as enjoyable and relaxing Christmas as we did! Our older two boys were so excited, and couldn’t wait until it was time to go downstairs and open some presents (we told them they had to wait until 8 am, and they were actually very patient). Santa was far more generous than he should have been.

Christmas Ben sleeping

Ben, on the other hand, couldn’t be bothered and slept until the only presents left under the tree were his! Of course, his brothers helped him unwrap them.

Christmas Ben awake

Here are Jonny and Isaac in their brand new Legend of Zelda t-shirts. I wonder where Santa found those? Santa brought Isaac a brand new Nintendo DS, and Jonny got an awesome VTech kids’ digital camera (which Santa found at a great price).

Christmas Zelda Shirts

Best of all, Isaac missing two front teeth finally started growing in just in time for Christmas!   He is eagerly looking forward to eating corn on the cob again this summer!

Christmas front teeth

Dreaming of Trinidad…

 Icy tree

…because it’s so cold here!  We’ve been plagued with ice recently.

Icy tree 2

I bet the weather is beautiful in Trinidad.

Icy grass

All the same, we braved the bad weather this weekend, and the boys got to take a picture with Santa.  Unfortunately, this Santa didn’t ask them what they wanted for Christmas (he must have read Isaac’s recent first grade class assignment), but so far Isaac hasn’t said anything about wanting to see Santa again.  I suppose he figures he’s already written a letter.

Boys with Santa

Christmas Card Photos!

Good pic 2

We are Christmas card procrastinators. It’s a week before Christmas and we haven’t sent ANY out yet (although we’ve received many, thanks to our CdLS family!) So last week we decided to get the boys dressed up for our annual Christmas photo, since we are too cheap to go to an actual studio.

Maybe it’s a good thing we don’t go to a real studio; the older boys are squirmy subjects and it would be a waste of money! Poor Ben had quite enough after awhile…

Outtake 1Outtake 2

Outtake 4

Outtake 3Outtake 5

Ben was exhausted by the end of our photo shoot. He even looks like he’s still frowning in his sleep!

Tired Benji

“18 month” Well Child Check

18 mo wcc Jonny gameboy
Last week we had Ben’s 18 month well child visit, even though he is technically 19 months old.  Jonny accompanied us to the visit, happily occupied as usual by his Gameboy.

Ben is just over 15 lbs now, and continues to be very healthy.  He has global developmental delays, and his motor skills are just about at the 5 or 6 month level.  We reviewed his therapies: he gets physical therapy once a week, speech therapy once every other week and occupational therapy twice a week.   Ben is still on a mixture of Nutren Junior and infant formula; this transition has definitely gone a lot slower than we anticipated.

This visit was fairly routine – I think this is the first time we didn’t have much to say, which is a good thing.  Ben got his 2nd hepatitis A shot and his 2nd Synagis.  We next see the pediatrician in 3 months mainly to track his growth and adjust his tube feeds if necessary.

I wanted Ben to see the developmental pediatrician at the university hospital where he gets all his specialty care.  We weren’t able to get him in, mainly because their practice is full, and partly because they deal mostly with kids who have ADHD and autism, and they assumed that we wanted Ben to be seen there for behavior management (which of course isn’t the case…yet).  However, the clinical psychologist from her office who helps with developing educational goals is willing to see him – we’ll probably make an appointment for that in another year or so.  This is one of the more frustrating things about living in such a rural area – sometimes it’s difficult to get the appropriate care for Ben within a reasonable distance from home.   I suppose we’ll have to travel to Philadelphia or Baltimore to see a developmental pediatrician if we need one in the future.

First Piano Recital

Isaac’s Recital

Last night was Isaac’s first ever piano recital. He started taking piano lessons this fall, and has been doing very well. (He enjoys his lessons, but prefers to spend hours at home playing music from “The Legend of Zelda” video game series.) He’s been preparing for this recital for weeks, and had even memorized his pieces.

We all went to see him, including Auntie Aliyah, since the recital took place at her college. Isaac got all dressed up in his shirt and tie, but unfortunately his only pair of dress pants was ruined in a washing machine-marker accident, so he had to wear his convertible cargo pants. Jonny wanted to wear a shirt and tie too when he saw what Isaac was wearing. We actually got there early and sat near the front. Lots of other kids and parents were there – I think 20 kids performed in all.

Isaac playing piano

Isaac did great. He went up on stage in front of all those people, played his music on the 9 foot Steinway without missing any notes, and bowed at the end. We were very proud of him, especially me, since even now I would have been horrified to be up on stage by myself. Ben enjoyed the music and slept for most of the recital. Jonny became a little restless and had to be cautioned a few times with the sternest whispers I could muster, but overall behaved OK.

One of the priests from the local Catholic church also started piano lessons with Isaac this fall. He also performed at the recital last night with the kids. He made lots of mistakes as he plinked out the single notes of the simple melody he was supposed to play. He finished, smiled and bowed, obviously enjoying himself, and high-fived one of the other students as he took his seat. It was so funny, but so neat! His performance was definitely one of the highlights of the evening.

Boys at recital 2

We had cookies and punch afterward, and we came home. I can’t wait until the next recital, as long as I’m not the one performing!

Guess who finally goes in the pool?

Jonny pool

Jonny, that’s who!  This semester he did great during his preschool swimming lessons.  Mark got in the pool with him for the first month or so, while the nice ladies at the YMCA childcare took care of Ben (who was never there long enough to require his tube feeds).  Since then, he’s been getting into the pool with his teachers and the rest of his class.  Mark usually  attends the sessions, but no longer gets in the pool with him.  He’s definitely not one of the more daring kids, but he’s come a long way!  We are so proud of him.

Jonny and Ben in crib

Jonny still loves to bother Ben.  He will often get into Ben’s crib, no matter how many times we tell him not to!  Ben usually doesn’t mind unless Jonny doesn’t leave his little arm alone (like in the photo above – I think Ben was getting tired of all the extra attention).  Occasionally I’ll find all 3 boys in the crib at the same time.

Lately Jonny has been more interested in pretending and playing quietly with his toys.  Mark has been thrilled!  This morning he asked for Legos, and all week he’s been playing with his knights and castles.

Jonny Legos Jonny castle

Jonny is becoming such a big boy!

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More Christmas Tree Photos…

As I mentioned before, we went out and got a Christmas tree on Saturday afternoon. We picked out a beauty, and for some reason Mark had a really difficult time cutting it down. That reason became clear once we got it home. It was huge! It didn’t seem quite so big in the field, but it barely fit in our house! The top was almost touching the ceiling! Mark needed a ladder to put the angel and the lights on it.

Tall tree

We finally got around to decorating it late Sunday evening, even though Isaac and Jonny were begging to get started before Daddy put the lights on the tree.

As usual, we let Isaac and Jonny put on the unbreakable ornaments on the bottom, while Mark and I put the glass ornaments on the top. Every year we buy a new ornament for the tree – something symbolic of the year that is ending. This year we got little soccer ball ornaments and put the boys’ photos in their soccer uniforms in the middle. We always have such a good time reminiscing about past years’ ornaments, especially those from each boy’s first Christmas. We also have an amusing assortment of ornaments the boys have made over the years in preschool and daycare.

Jonny decoratingIsaac decorating

Here’s our Christmas tree with its eclectic collection of ornaments. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Decorated tree