Friday, April 18, 2014


Elliot just added one new "word" to his repertoire: All done! Sounds more like "Ahh-dahh" but hey, that totally counts ;)

Frequent, daily words:
Car (Cahhhh) - over and over and over and over allllll day
Hot (Haaa) - with a very concerned look on his face
Yum! (Ummm!)

Just a few times:
Cracker (cah-cah)
Hi (Hahh!)
Hello? (Hehh-oh?) - when picking up a toy phone
Water (dahh-dahh) - just a few times yesterday

And today:
All done (Ahh-dahh)

Yes, I realize it's not much for a boy who will be two in just over three months (wow! when did that happen?), and there's still no Mama or Dadda, but we'll still celebrate every new little word, and encourage him to keep going!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's Finally Spring!

Glad we enjoyed the beautiful weather yesterday because it's raining cats and dogs today!

First, we did school on the deck... moments before the umbrella got sucked up by the wind and blew into the yard!

Followed by an unplanned lesson in Economics at a local Homeschool Flea Market, where local moms sold curriculum, clothes, toys, etc. - and where my kids decided to sell homemade rubberband bracelets (Lily) and random household junk (Jacob). 

Watching their innate selling tactics in action was eye-opening for me. Lily came prepared with homemade signs, her wallet, and a firm selling price. Jacob came prepared to make as much as possible by going table to table, asking anyone would listen if they would pay, say, $10 for an old pen, or $2 for his (nearly-broken) dollar store toy. The boy had NO FEAR. 

Next time we buy a car, we're totally taking him with us.

In the end, he spent all the money he made on snacks other kids were selling, and Lily - who only sold one bracelet (there was fierce competition) and gave another one away - spent her money on one snack and a cool magnetic pattern game. 

Then they played on the adjoining playground for a long, long time - it's so hard to leave when they're making homeschool friends we can actually meet up with during the week! - and I almost passed out (I exaggerate not) from dehydration by the time we finally left. Lesson learned: always bring water, even when you're only planning to be out for an hour, because on a beautiful day, when the kids are being wonderful, it could easily turn into four. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Stats from Elliot's 18-Month Visit

February 20, 2014 (almost 19 months)
Weight: 22lb 14.5oz (28th%)
Length: 30.5" (2nd%)
Head Circumference: 49.5"
Weight/Height Ration: 68th%

So glad little buddy is gaining weight! Not sure why he's so short - waiting for Ryan's tall genes to start kicking in here! His weight to height ratio is GREAT, and after all that "failure to thrive" nonsense in his first year, his weight is very solidly back on the chart. Praise the Lord!

As with the last visit, the biggest concern was his speech. Or lack thereof. I think he is officially our slowest speaker. (Sam was officially our EARLIEST speaker...and hasn't stopped since.) Both Jacob and Lily were also speech delayed, and both were seen by Early Intervention, with a prognosis that they were just slow...or lazy. Only EI probably phrased it better ;)

Dr. Craig said most babies are expected to say about 50 words by the time they're 2, but with Elliot's late start, she said she'd be happy if he's saying 20, so long as he is also putting at least two words together. We shall see.

We talked again abut his possible allergy to fried egg whites - he's fine with baked eggs, since they're cooked at a higher temperature. She said we have to wait until he's 3 to test any further ourselves, although if we wanted to take him to an allergist, they could test him there. I wish our insurance was better so I could try that out! But for now...we wait. Better than the last doc who told me if I really couldn't wait to test out egg whites once more, make sure I do it in the parking lot of the ER!

I told her about his stubborn and persistent nature - which she just attributed to him being 1 1/2, but Mama knows better. He most certainly started having very strong opinions much, much earlier than any of the other kids. His persistent nature (remember the part about him being born 12 minutes after we arrived at the hospital?) is mirrored in his sisters - definitely not in his brother, Jacob the Quitter.

I mentioned his few signs: all done and up/down (both are very frequent), milk and more (infrequent/inconsistent, though we have seen them unprompted a handful of times). He points a lot, though oftentimes when you give him what he's pointing at, that's not what he wants at all, so we keep trying until we realize maybe he just likes pointing - who knows!

A couple other things I wrote down to tell her:
  • He loves playing hide-and-seek - no better thrill than being sought and then jumping out with an incoherent yet loudly excited, "Bjhdjf a jasdfj!" (Here I am!)
  • He is a good helper. "Elliot, can you pick that up for me? Elliot, put that back! Elliot, can you put your toys away?" Except of course when he doesn't want to listen. See that part about him being stubborn, above. One of his favorite games with Lily is taking the toilet plunger out of the bathroom (a no-no), finding Lily, and happily obliging her cheerful, "Elliot, can you put that back, please?"
  • He loves cars. He sleeps with cars, carries them around ALL DAY, throws them, drives them everywhere (sound effects included), rolls them down the ramps Jacob builds him, and shrieks like a Nazgul when he can't reach one, has one taken away, or can't find the one he's looking for. Not that we always know which one he's looking for. See that part about him not speaking, above.
  • Lastly, he LOVES his siblings. LOVES with the most emphasis possible. And it is very, very mutual. Lily delights in taking care of him, and Jacob has no greater joy than entertaining him and making him giggle. This stage where Elliot is endlessly entertaining to the kids is wonderful. They think everything he does is hysterical, and he is more than happy to put on a little show. I am also looking forward to Elliot being a little older so the boys can really PLAY together - they are going to be thick as thieves, those two. Samantha is still up in the air about her little brother. One day she likes him, another day they just bother each other. He pulls her hair, she knocks him over. At 3 1/2, she doesn't have the maturity to realize that he is treated differently because he is a BABY, not a threat. She gets mad and yells when he does a snatch-and-run with her toys (which is of course why he always does it), while Jake and Lily just roll their eyes and laugh, "Oh, Elliot!" and gently take it back (or more likely let him keep it - spoilers!). 
Overall, Elliot is a sweet little boy. He is silly and serious all at once, with some new-found charm mixed in. He is thoughtful and smart, though not very communicative. Half the time, I don't know what he wants, because he hasn't figured out an alternate way to tell me - or maybe I'm just not that good at reading babies...even after four of them.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Nutcracker

This afternoon, despite the snowstorm, we took a family class trip to see the Nutcracker, performed by the excellent NJ Ballet.

(photo from the NJ Ballet website)

Lily's favorite part of the show was the two hot pink ballerinas.
"I couldn't take my eyes off them!"

Jacob's favorite part was "the guy who did all of the flips!" (the Russian dancer).

Lily and Jacob with one of the mice during intermission.

Jillian with one of the Nutcracker's soldiers.

Kacki giving the kids a visual tour of the orchestra pit.

Jacob was very excited to notice the balcony and requested we sit there next time. Sounds good!

We have been studying Tchaikovsky for the last month or so in school, focusing mainly on the Nutcracker. We've read the The Nutcracker Ballet (many, many times), listened to the CD , watched the movie on Netflix, and even acted it out in our living room.

On the way home this afternoon, Ryan asked, "So now that we've done the ballet thing, we're done with it, right?" Hmmm guess ballet is not his cup of tea!

Great resources:


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful, Part 2

There's not much cuter or sweeter than five-year-old boys.

When I asked him who met the Pilgrims on shore, he shouted, "Indiana Jones!"

On the way to Thanksgiving lunch today, he prayed for us to have a safe trip and to make sure we DON'T CRASH.

One of my favorite treats is sneaking in a nap with Jacob. This doesn't happen often because there are three other little people in need of supervision during naptime. 

But when there's another grown-up in the house and I get to snuggle with my sweet boy - and listen to all his sound effects while driving cars around on my bed until he slowly settles in to sleep - I couldn't be a happier Mama. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


This evening, I am thankful for this little stinker. 

The one who walks up to every, single person in church and makes them admire her fancy braids. 

Who LOVES to help in the kitchen - especially when Daddy is making apple pie. 

Who gets a kick out of adorning herself with stickers. 

Who is the stubbornest kid we've had (yet), but consistently charms the socks off of everyone she meets. 

And whose sweet face has been my lock screen since the day I got my phone. 

No plans to change it any time soon. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reading Time with Hayden

Every other Thursday, we get together with Angela for reading time and preschool time. The days leading up to reading time, Lily and Jacob get very excited choosing and practicing reading the books they're going to share with Hayden. These times together are a great exercise not only in reading aloud, but in preparing, taking turns, and listening quietly. It's something we always look forward to!

Late October:

One of Lily's favorites right now: There's a Wocket in My Pocket! 

Jacob usually picks one of the BOB Books he's read lately.
(Looks like Hayden and Lily are enjoying it!)

It's fun to be ONE!

While I'm grinning from ear-to-ear watching the oldest three reading to each other, Angela guides Sam and Abigail in a preschool lesson - usually about whatever Abigail is learning that week. Samantha is always more than happy to join in! This time, they were working on the letter E.

Samantha and Abigail making elephant ears

Cute Abigail displaying not only the elephant ears, but the trunk, too!

Sneaking in a little Bible verse memory time.

Lily very much wanted to make her own set of elephant ears. She LOVES crafts! I love how she worked super hard on the first ear, then realized, "That takes way too long!" and quickly filled in the second ear with any old color just to get it done - hah! 

Early November:


Jacob chose another one of his BOB Books

(I loooove the little bare legs)

(Can my kids be any closer to Hayden? Haha)

Sam and Abigail (and Abigail's doll) working hard on their number 4 project.


Sneaking in some more Bible verse memory time...

And reading time should always end with delicious smoothies!

Late November:

Jacob shared one of our favorites, Sheep in a Jeep (with much assistance from his sister).

Lily read Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude, followed by In One Ear, Out the Other (twice - there was oh so much giggling!)

Then it was time for a WORM HUNT! Yes, totally unrelated, but hey, they really wanted to...and it sounded like a fun adventure!

(So many little heads gathered around one big bucket...LOVE IT)

There were no worms to be found (too cold?), but we did happen upon one snail shell - and the most exciting find of the day, a garter snake!

(Angela desperately waiting for her loan guy to call her back - she closed on her first house the next morning. CONGRATULATIONS!!)