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.

Here is our new little guy…

Nathaniel was born on 7/22/08 at 11:52am by C-section.  After lying in a head-down oblique position for 2 weeks, he promptly flipped over to be in a head-up breech position on the morning of his birth, when I went into labor on my own.  He weighed 8 lb 8.7 oz and was 21 1/2 inches long.

He and I are both doing fine, but I feel very sore.  We came home today, and the brothers are all excited.

I always think of Ben as small, but he looks so HUGE next to Nate!  I am sure Nate will catch up to Ben soon.  I hope they’ll be good friends.

I’ll be off work for the next few weeks recuperating and reconnecting with Mark and the kids.  For the next several days, Mark has brought my computer downstairs and made me a bed on the couch.   I must say that the recovery period for a c-section seems a lot longer than for a regular birth…I hope I feel like my old self soon!

Happy 5th Birthday, Jonny!

I can’t believe my chubby little baby is such a big boy who will be starting kindergarten in the fall!

Jonny has grown a lot this year. He just LOVES soccer. He’s good too, probaby because he practices with Isaac’s Under-8 team! He’s learning to read and he loves to draw and color, and of course, play video games. He loves to do whatever Isaac is doing, and he loves to bother Ben. He is always the first one to volunteer to help clean up, fetch a diaper, water the plants or bring the newspaper into the house.

He is definitely the most attention-seeking of our kids so far…

Happy Birthday Jonny!

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

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

Happy Birthday Jonny!

Happy birthday Jonny 

Yesterday Jonny turned four.  How time flies!  Unfortunately, I forgot to rearrange my work schedule, and things were busier than usual at the office, so I came home rather late.  😦

The older boys didn’t seem to mind too much, and they greeted me enthusiastically at the door.  They were so excited.  I actually was impressed at how patient they were, waiting until late evening before cake, ice cream, or presents!   Mark was making bake and shark for dinner when I arrived.   Dinner was delicious – the fish was seasoned nicely, even if some of the bakes were a little charred.  😉

Then we opened presents.  The funniest part of the evening was when Isaac gave Jonny his present.  He said, “Jonny, I bought this for both of us!”  So now the truth comes out!

Presents 1Presents 2

Then we had cake and ice cream.  The cake was a homemade chocolate box cake (I baked it, Aliyah decorated it).  Thank goodness Jonny isn’t yet at the age where he wants an expensive store-bought cake!  Ben had a little ice cream, really enjoyed it, and gave us some big, runny smilies.  🙂

Yummy ice cream 

The only problem with having birthday festivities late on a weeknight is that little boys don’t want to go to bed and leave behind brand-new, just-opened toys!  I’ll have to plan better for next year.

Here is a video of Ben playing his toy piano.  He has just realized that he can make some really cool sounds with it. 

The quality is lousy because I used our still camera to make the video.  Our video camera makes mini-DVD’s, and I haven’t figured out how to turn those into something I can post online.  Besides, the DVD player on this laptop doesn’t work anymore.  Time for a new computer, don’t you think?  Mark says we should get a Mac.  Any suggestions?

First Tooth!

Ben’s First ToothBen in Exersaucer

Happy Memorial Day! 

Ben has been chewing on his fingers for a couple of weeks now.  Mark noticed that he’s been working on a tooth, and guess what!  Saturday morning it poked through!  Lately, Ben has been his usual good-natured, content self, so if it weren’t for the chewing we’d have never noticed.  He is almost 13 months old, so I suppose kids who have CdLS must get their teeth a little later than typical kids do.  Isaac was 5 months old when he got his first tooth, and Jonny was around 10 months old.  I guess we need to buy Ben a toothbrush!

The above photos show Ben fast asleep in his brand new Exersaucer.  He is tolerating it for longer periods now, and it does help to strengthen his trunk muscles.  We have to pad the seat with a blanket or a soft toy because he is so small that he tends to accidentally smash his face into the toys in front of him when he gets tired or frustrated and pitches forward.

He is also starting to be mobile!  That is, he wiggles and turns to both sides (not all the way over on his tummy yet), and somehow manages to move himself away from where you put him.  Recently, I’ve been putting him on his back on a blanket on the living room floor, and 15 minutes later I’ve come back to find that he is no longer on the blanket.  He seems to really enjoy moving around, even if it’s not exactly purposeful movement at this point.

He is doing MUCH better with grasping and pulling at toys, and I think he’s realizing that he can have more fun with them that way.  His Auntie Aliyah bought him a rag doll with long red yarn hair to pull, and he loves pulling on a fuschia Koosh ball someone got him from the dollar store.  He is also doing much better with “tummy time”. 

We are back on track with his tube feeds now that he has recovered from his bout of strep.  We have decided to transition him a little more slowly from infant formula to Nutren Jr than before.  We also have restarted his oral feeds which we had stopped for a few days when he wasn’t feeling well.

We recently got him some new ear molds for his hearing aids – a sure sign he is growing!  His hair is also growing – I’ve had to give it a trim this weekend. 

It really does seem that Ben’s development occurs in fits and starts.  He seems to go months without doing anything new, then at other times it seems that he gains a couple new skills all at once.  I suppose that’s just the way it’s going to be…we are glad for ANY progress he makes and never take anything for granted.

Boys at Memorial Day parade 

Here’s a picture of the boys this morning at our local Memorial Day parade.  It was quite enjoyable, even though it rained.  Isaac was sorry that it was only 15 minutes long, while Jonny kept asking when we could go home.  Ben sat in his stroller and enjoyed the outing.  He’s such a good baby boy.

Ben at Memorial Day parade