Has it really been a month?!?

Soccer photo

More like six weeks!  I haven’t posted at all for May – I don’t think I’ve ever missed an entire month since I started this blog.  Since this is my “journal”, I feel obligated to at least mention where some of the last month has gone…

Isaac recital

Isaac has just completed second grade.  He has also finished his soccer season with lots of improvement in his soccer skills and attitude (for the most part).  He’s doing GREAT playing the piano, and genuinely enjoys playing.  Everyone but Mark (who was horribly sick with food poisoning) went to hear him play in his spring recital.  Even my dad was here at the time, which was a blessing since he was able to help with Ben during the recital.  Ben and Nate were big fans of  Isaac and his classmates; both enjoyed the music, but were a little loud and had to be escorted to the back of the concert hall!

Jonny's sixth birthday

Tonight we all went to see Jonathan in his kindergarten concert which was so cute and very entertaining.  Jonny turned six on Saturday, and we had a great birthday celebration at home, and one of his friends from school was able to spend the night.  He has come a long way since he started kindergarten – he is reading very well, and his behavior in class is much better than when he first started.  Jonny and I put together a time capsule of his kindergarten year as part of a class assignment, and I really enjoyed doing that with him.

Ben at dinner

Benjamin is doing great, still has healthy and happy as always. He turned three at the end of April, and we celebrated by going to the beautiful Hershey Gardens for a walk and some photos.  After that, we went out for dinner.  Ben had a great time being out with the family.

Hershey Gardens

We still struggle from time to time with getting him to leave his MIC-KEY button alone, so these days we usually have him in overalls or an ace wrap over his belly.   We’re still working on oral feeds.  For about a month we took a break and didn’t really push the issue at all, partly because I felt it was turing into a power struggle of sorts. We restarted in the last week or two, and there have been good signs of progress.  Ben has actually started opening his mouth for the spoon, has been mouthing toys and objects more, and has been willing to take tastes of foods or drinks that other people are having.  I am cautiously optimistic, and hope that this new curiousity about food continues.  I hope he realizes what he’s been missing out on!

Nate dedication

Nathaniel is 10 months old, and growing by leaps and bounds.  We had his baby dedication on Mother’s Day.  He definitely outweighs Ben, and this week he officially has surpassed Ben with his gross motor skills.  He now crawls forward (after a month of crawling backwards and getting stuck in tiny corners), and can now pull to stand.  He is such a social boy and isn’t happy unless someone is either holding him or helping him to stand.  He loves Ben’s therapy sessions and seems to think they’re for him…Mark is constantly having to corral him during therapy.  He now shuns baby food, and loves to eat whatever we’re eating.

Let’s see – what else…

Graduation

My dad stayed with us for a few weeks in May.  The yard never looked so good, and he helped out immensely with the dishes and the boys.  I’m afraid he spoiled Nate terribly!  😉  My sister Aliyah graduated from college.  The ceremony was outdoors, and we all attended, and then all went out to eat afterwards.

Mark and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary at the end of May, and my awesome sister- and brother-in-law watched the kids for us so we could have a rare evening out (we went to a restaurant called “Eleven” in Pittsburgh.  The food was amazing!)  What an awesome gift.

Anniversary dinner

Well, let’s hope I do better with blogging this month.

Snippets…

isaac-soccer-3

isaac-soccer-2

On Saturday, Isaac scored his very first goal since he started playing in the AYSO Under-10 division!   He really has been making a good effort, even though it has not been easy for him.  We were so proud, and so was he!

jonny-soccer

On Tuesday the weather finally cooperated and Jonathan actually got to play soccer!  He was so excited since his last two games were rained out.  He did great, had a blast, and scored a few goals.  When someone asked him if his team won, he replied, “There’s no winner.”  I’m glad that he enjoys the game at this stage without needing to keep score.  And we were thrilled that he was able to burn off some of that extra energy.

me-and-ben

Ben has had a few trips to our friendly tertiary care center.  He has been picking and pulling at his MIC-KEY button, so last week we saw his g-tube nurse.  We have determined that the tube size is appropriate, but we think he has a mild yeast infection at the site.  We are treating him with some Mycolog ointment, but I’m not so sure it’s doing much good…he succeeded at PULLING OUT HIS MIC-KEY BUTTON for the very first time a couple days ago.  For now we’re continuing the ointment and keeping his belly bound with an ACE wrap.  Poor Ben.  I hope he stops messing with it so he doesn’t have to sweat all summer.

Today we went to  have Ben’s hearing aids adjusted.  He got new molds, and I told the tech about the severe feedback (whistling) we were getting.  She had a neat device which actually was able to cancel most of the feedback (I’m not exactly sure how it works), but Ben will finally be able to wear his hearing aids again.

little-boys-soccer-game

Lately, Nate has been doing lots of new things.  He has begun teething, rolling over very well in both directions (finally catching up to big brother Ben with his motor skills), trying to crawl on hands and knees and really wants to learn how to pull to stand.  He has been learning how to feed himself and has been scarfing down those little Gerber fruit puffs like lightning.  But he has also been sooo needy these days and cries if you just stand up…before you even have a chance to leave the room!  He really loves Ben and enjoys playing with Ben’s face, hair, arms, feet, etc.  Ben usually tries to roll out of the way, but this week he really seems to be noticing Nate and interacting directly with him for the first time.

big-brother-little-brother

BTW, Mark found these neat shirts for the little boys at Toys ‘R’ Us to help everyone see that they are not twins.

ben-and-nate-hockey-stick

Ben turns three tomorrow, and Nate is 9 months old.  Right now Nate officially outweighs Ben.

I suppose it won’t be long before they won’t seem like twins anymore.

Spring Soccer

isaac-soccer

I love watching the big boys play soccer!

Isaac is on one of our local AYSO Under-10 teams, and Mark is coaching.  They’ve had two games so far.   Jonny still plays on the Under-6 team but hasn’t had a game yet.  So far, the cold, rainy April weather hasn’t been cooperating too well with practice days or Jonny’ s soccer games.

double-stroller

However, the weather was gorgeous on Saturday, and it was nice to get everyone out for a little fresh air and sunshine.  I loaded Ben and Nate and all their paraphernalia into their double stroller.  Both little boys were fighting colds and Nate wasn’t in the happiest mood.  Ben, however, loves being outside.

natey-soccer-game

Jonathan was all set with his Gameboy and a snack.

jonny-soccer-game

It was a little difficult watching three kids under 6 without help (since Mark was coaching), but it was still fun.  Nate got fed up sitting in the stroller and wanted to be held.   Jonny also wanted to sit on my lap along with the baby, and predictably had to go to the bathroom during the game, but he eventually found a friend to play with on the sidelines.  Ben, good little guy that he is,  fell asleep shortly after the game started and slept for hours.

soccer-sleeping-ben

To my surprise, all the kids (except for Ben who was sleeping with the stroller canopy up) got mild sunburns.  I never thought the sun would be strong enough for that!  I’ll be sure to take sunscreen to future soccer games.

I’m really ready for a whole week of warm sunny weather!

What a difference a week makes!

We actually had our first frost of the season last night.

A little more than a week ago we were having the most beautiful sunny fall weather.  On that Saturday we went to Isaac’s soccer game.  It was a glorious day; bright and sunny but not too hot.  Ben had a grand time rolling around on a beach towel on the ground.

Jonny alternated between playing with his gameboy, eating those yucky fruit rollups (we don’t buy these often because they are so sticky and messy and bad for kids’ teeth!), entertaining Ben, pulling off Nate’s socks, and playing with the other litte kids whose older siblings were on the soccer field.

Isaac’s team lost as usual, however he DID make a good defensive play that resulted in a goal for his team.  He was very proud of himself.

I will miss the warm weather.  I can’t wait for next June!

Adjusting

This was my first week back to work after a too-short 8-week maternity leave.  Work is OK, but it certainly has been a challenge adjusting to life as a working mom of four.   And of course, Mark is adjusting to being the primary caregiver of four young boys!  We used to have a fairly predictable routine, but all that has changed with Nate’s birth and Jonny starting kindergarten.  The kids are having a little trouble adjusting to this new life too this week.

Isaac is doing great in second grade so far.  He is a good, obedient student, and we never have to worry about his behavior at school.  He seems to enjoy his class, his friends, and he seems to like his new teacher.  He and his friends play with these Bakugan figures at recess (apparently it’s the new cool toy for second graders), and he is always pestering us to buy more of them.

Isaac is playing AYSO soccer, and moved up to the under-10 team this fall.  He’s not too happy about the change, because the game has suddenly become more challenging.  He says he wants to quit the team, but of course we told him that he can’t until this fall season is over.  We have tried to remind him that he felt the same way when he started the under-8 team two years ago, and by the end of the second year he was really enjoying the game.

Jonny started all-day kindergarten, and it has definitely been a huge adjustment for him, since his preschool last year was just three mornings a week, and was decidedly unstructured.  Jonny is an active, gregarious child, so his teacher is already having issues with him talking in class when he shouldn’t be.  Poor Jonny.  I really want him to enjoy school, and I don’t want him to be labelled as a problem child in kindergarten.  Maybe we should have waited another year before starting school.  We’ll give it a month or two and see how he does.  I suppose we can always pull him out of kindergarten if it doesn’t work out.

Jonny is also playing soccer this fall, and he’s having a BLAST!

Ben and Nate are adjusting to each other.  They’ve been hanging out in their double stroller during soccer games and practice…

Adjusting isn’t always fun.  I can’t wait until we settle into a good NEW routine.

The Last Soccer Game and a New Camera

Mark likes to save up to buy big things. He has this peculiar desire to sock money away from each paycheck in an envelope somewhere without telling me, so that it doesn’t get depleted as part of the “general household fund”. I have not really known what to think about this strange habit. However, since January he has been putting money away to buy a new camera for me! He didn’t say anything about the money until a couple weeks ago. I was quite surprised, especially since he’d already managed to save enough to buy a rather nice camera.

So we went to our local camera store. I now have a Nikon D60 which came with two lenses. I absolutely LOVE it, but most of the controls are still intimidating. It came with a couple of instructional DVDs, but I am ashamed to admit that I fell asleep within 5 minutes of the first one, not because it was boring, but because I’m always tired these days.

I took it to Isaac’s last soccer practice and game to try it out. We had lots of bright, sunny, HOT days this week!

Jonny likes to think he’s one of the “big kids”. The big kids have been great to him all season and let him practice with them.

Isaac’s team did well for their last soccer game. The temperature was in the 90’s, and fortunately some kind soul lent us an umbrella for shade.  It didn’t take long for the kids to get tired, but they all played hard.

Ben was fussy and irritable because of the heat. He finally fell asleep halfway through the game, poor guy.  I think he needs to visit Trinidad to get used to hot weather!

Even with the heat, I am kind of sad that soccer is over until the fall.

Why do these boys look so proud?

It’s because they scored their first goals of the soccer season! Isaac actually scored his first goal ever!!! They were both so excited and proud of themselves.

Both older boys play in our local AYSO league. Jonny is on an under-6 team, while Isaac plays under-8. I think the AYSO is cool because ALL the kids on the team get to play every game regardless of ability. This year, Mark has been coaching Isaac’s under-8 team, and he has enjoyed that too.

I love going to soccer games and cheering for all the kids.

Ben loves being outside, as long as it’s not rainy or cold. And who knows? Maybe he’ll play soccer one day too.

🙂