James at 3.5 Years

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Another late update.

James was 3 and a half in early September and in true middle child fashion, his update never happened. Sorry buddy, but from one middle child to another, you’ll get used to it.

Dear James,

My little baby boy.

You are feisty, you are loud, you are devastatingly handsome, and you are wild and crazy. You couldn’t be more different from your sister at this age.

Your true loves include trucks, trains, Star Wars, MagnaTiles, Iron Man, selfies, riding your bike, the police, swimming, wrestling, Legos, and pretending to shoot things. You love peanut butter, jelly, rice cakes, cereal, and little other food. You love “cozy pants” and refuse to wear any pants that have buttons on them. I fight you on this, but I get it, no one loves an elastic waistband more than your mom. You fight with Reese daily, but when she gets home from school you light up. You are doing so well with your new little sister. I know you notice the extra time I have to spend with June, but you never direct your frustrations at her. You are only jealous that she gets to wake up in the night to eat.

You continue to be my biggest challenge in the parenting department. Sorry son, but it’s true, we usually go to battle an average of three times a day. The terrible two’s have reappeared as the threatening threes (as in me threatening you 24/7, and you threatening my sanity.) You are the sweetest boy ever about 75% of the time, but the other 25% of the time you will cut a b. You regularly tell me that you are never playing with me again, throw toys, stomp your feet, melt to the floor and turn to rubber, and then minutes later reappear asking for some crackers. I usually avoid taking you to places like the mall and the grocery store because you are getting bigger and stronger and I’m not sure how much longer I will be able to throw you over my shoulder and get the hell out of there when the need arises. The need usually arises.

You go to the school twice a week from 9-1 PM and it is everything to you. You love getting your backpack and your lunch box and going off to school just like Reese. Despite said behavior at home, you are an angel at school.

You would take a nap everyday if we had time for it. You love your midday snoozes and you still love to cuddle with your mamma. Lately you have been waking up scared in the middle of the night but your Dad can usually get you right back down. Going to sleep at night is another story. We put you and Reese to bed around 7/7:30 and for the next hour (sometimes more), you can be found laying in the hallway, busting into Reese’s room and being a general annoyance, calling to Andrew and I for water, hugs, tuck-ins, complaining of phantom injuries, etc. Oftentimes you appear in the living room doorway because, “I just had to tell you something.” “Something” is usually an arbitrary question about Star Wars, or a request to borrow our phones.

We are so proud of your kindness to other kids and your fierce independence. We love seeing you in your element at swim class, and watching you race on your bike like a maniac. We know you will be a wonderful big brother, and hopefully will become a little less of the stereotypical “little brother.”

We love you sweet James, more than you will ever know.

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Last Day of Nursery School

On the last day of nursery school the same photobomber from the first day was still wreaking havoc on our photo taking.

Reese officially finished nursery school in mid June and it was bittersweet to say goodbye to her lovely little school. James will start there two days a week next year, so we aren’t leaving it completely but Reese loved everything about her school so much and I know she misses it. She is as pumped as ever for full day kindergarten next year, and Andrew and I are excited to see her in this new phase in her life, even if I will miss my little helper every day. Can someone take James all day instead? Just kidding Jamers.

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2016 Christmas Card Outtakes

DSC_0122This was all about 5 months ago, but better late than never I suppose.

A good lesson we learned this year is, don’t give your kids green lollipops BEFORE you are done taking photos. Their mouths and the surrounding areas will inevitably turn green and they will end up looking like the Hulk, and in James’ case, acting like the Hulk as well. We promised them lollipops if they cooperated. James did not pretend to cooperate, not even for a second, so we gave him the lollipop early, then tried to TAKE THE LOLLIPOP AWAY, and make him pose for more photos. Thus, tantrums ensued and we can only blame ourselves.

Here are our Christmas card outtakes.

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Reese at Five, James at Three Years

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Our little people are now three and five. There is nothing baby about them at all, and they both get mad when I say they will always be my babies. But they will.

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Reesie turned five on November 29th and we celebrated with her favorite sushi roll, fried ice cream, and a party at the YMCA a few days later.

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My dearest Reese, there was a time when the Happy Birthday song brought you to tears but this year you reveled in it. You weren’t even mad when I dropped your birthday cake on my lap on the way to the party and we served a leaning, lopsided, chocolate mess, half of which was smeared across the front of my jeans.

You still love art and can spend hours coloring in your room. You like your alone time, and you are like me in that way. Some days you ask to go to rest time so you can have some time to yourself. Your kindness is what I am most proud of. You get along with everyone, and I have never seen you being mean to another child (not counting your brother of course.) I can see the hurt on your face when other kids are being left out or not treated fairly. You are ULTRA sensitive, which is frustrating for me at times, but you do you. The other day after a particularly rough afternoon for me, I didn’t say a word in the car on the way home from the YMCA. I felt like I needed 5 minutes of silence and if I didn’t get it, I would explode. You started to cry and said that you know I’m sad and when I’m sad you feel sad. My heart officially melted and then we all went and got munchkins.

You take swimming lessons and gymnastics classes once a week.  You have come so far in swimming. You can swim up and down the pool without your floatie and you jump in the deep end like it’s no thang. You like gymnastics but complain that it makes you hot and tired. Spoken like a true athlete.

You are in school Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can write all of your letters and numbers, your full name, and some short words. You love reading books and have memorized many of your favorites. You love The Magic School Bus, Shimmer and Shine (ugh), Batman, Legos, and dress up.

You are helpful and can do so much by yourself now. You help me everyday and are learning the hard lesson that because James is younger, and has bigger, louder tantrums (in public) he often gets what he wants. Ok, he always gets what he wants.

You are not shy, which I love. You talk to anyone you meet and tell them all about where we are going, who we saw yesterday, and exactly what mom said when she spilled the coffee this morning. One Sunday morning when I was away and your dad took you to church, you turned to the family behind you and said, “My mom’s at a bachelorette party.”

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James turned three on March 5th and had cake and ice cream with his grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles.

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Dear Jamesie, you still love trains, trucks and cars. Trains especially, and riding the commuter rail with your dad is a favorite activity. You are obsessed with puzzles. You love cheese. Your best friends are Reese’s friends and their siblings, all of whom happen to be girls. Whenever we show up for a playdate, the girls say “The boy is here! Run!” Poor you. This will all change one day, I promise.

You now sleep in a “big boy bed”, you are almost completely potty trained, and you talk nonstop, but I feel like you never get a chance to finish your thoughts because someone who will remain nameless, (Reese), is always cutting you off. You take swimming lessons with me on Wednesdays which you love. You are a great swimmer but just need to work on following the teacher’s directions, or any directions for that matter.

The terrible two’s have segued into the even more terrible threes, and you are constantly challenging me. You are a runner. You run away at any opportunity you have. There are few opportunities though because I walk around holding onto you by the hood of your coat, as if it is a leash. When I don’t have a free hand your sister takes over as hood holder. I don’t know what I’ll do when the weather changes.

You are a cuddler and I hope that never changes. I hope that you never stop saying “bathing soup” (bathing suit), and I hope that you hold on to a little bit of that mischievousness as you get older. Just a little bit though.

Happy third birthday my sweet little hellion.

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First Public Parental Shaming

Today was the first time I was publicly shamed for my parenting. Maybe I should consider myself lucky since I have gone five years without this happening, but right now, the rage is still real.

We were at 11:30 mass this morning with Reese and James, and to us, it was just a normal Sunday. James had dropped his train about 317 times and had asked for us to pick it up 317 times. Maybe the 5th time he asked us, the elderly woman in front of us turned around, looked at James and said, “whisper! whisper!” in a semi-aggressive tone. Andrew and I looked at each other. This was just the beginning of it all and we were already pissed.

James is 2.5 years old and doesn’t give a damn if you are supposed to be quiet somewhere.  At this point, I had actually thought he was having a pretty good day. Five minutes later, the woman turned around, and this is what she said, verbatim, while wagging her stupid old finger at us, “You need to teach him to be quiet at home, not here at church. I have four kids and they were always quiet in church and never acted like this.” Then she turned back around and we continued staring at her back, our mouths agape.

There was fire in my insides and I’m pretty sure I was shaking. I was mortified but would have also loved to punch her in her smug face.

I took James out of the church and spent the rest of the mass with him in the foyer, going over and over in my head what I wish I had said to that lady. “Well you were 20 minutes late to mass and didn’t even hear the gospel so your attendance today doesn’t even count you jerk!” or “I’m sure you remember exactly how your children behaved in church 90 years ago.” Take that! I had plenty of zingers, most of which probably can’t be mentioned here.

When we were getting ready to leave and I was zipping James’ coat up in the foyer, another elderly woman came up to me, put her palm on my cheek, and said, “He is a good little fellow, and you are doing a good job. She should probably just sit up in the front of the church next time.”

Thank you kind stranger! We needed that.

 

 

 

Election 2016

Just kidding! I am not touching that mess! This is about a post about Halloween.

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Reese decided last year that she wanted to be a mermaid for Halloween this year, and come October, she had not forgotten, so mermaid it was. James, who loves everything his sister does, also requested to be a mermaid for Halloween. Unfortunately for him we already had hand-me-down skeleton and superman outfits that were just his size. He was a skeleton for the trunk or treat at Reese’s school and superman for trick or treating in our neighborhood on Halloween night.

Both of them have the trick-or-treating thing down pat and I don’t think I have to worry about either of them ever being shy.

James learned quickly that mom and dad weren’t opening most treats until we got home, so when a neighbor would hand him a candy bar, he would often hand it back to them and ask, “can you open this?” He wasn’t trying to wait until he got home to get a bite. One house where no one answered he actually pressed his face against their window and yelled, “Hey! We want to get some candy!” I cringed and we all ran away.

Reese was in all her glory as a mermaid who also wears a fleece jacket. James has been asking to go trick-or-treating every day since, and Andrew and I have been eating all the Kit Kats we can get our hands on, so I would say it was a successful Halloween.

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Product Review: Simplest Home Cabinet and Drawer Baby Locks

We have a bin in our basement that is full of baby proofing crap; both used and unused. Doorknob covers, cabinet locks, plug covers, furniture corner covers, gates, we have it all. Andrew was kind of obsessed with baby proofing.

None of it worked great, much of it was cheap and flimsy and the kids eventually figured out how to crack them.

When we moved Reese out of her crib we needed some sort of child locks that would keep her dresser drawers shut. We were worried about her pulling them out and climbing in them, or just making a huge mess every night by emptying them, which she did a few times. We found some locks that could be installed on the inside of the drawer and then required a magnet for opening. They were a HUGE pain in the ass. The installation took forever, was extremely complicated, and we had to drill holes in our brand new dresser. Even once they were installed, sometimes I had to run the magnet over the drawer a couple of times before it actually unlocked it. It was a great idea, because it actually is childproof (as long as your kid doesn’t get a hold of a magnet), but I would never install those things on anything again.

A few months ago, I was contacted by a rep from Simplest Home and asked to review one of their baby proofing products. Because of our love/hate history with baby proofing stuff, and because lately James can pretty much get into anything he wants with ease, I was interested in what he was going to send.

And he sent me magnetic drawer locks! When I opened the package I was about to send it right back because I knew there was no way in hell I was going to talk Andrew into drilling these into another piece of our furniture. BUT, the first thing I saw on the package was, “No drilling required!” Woot.

These are awesome. We installed them in minutes and the kids can’t open the drawers (they also work on cabinets.) The package included a link to video installation directions, which we didn’t even have to use, but is always nice to have. Also, yes, you do need a magnet (they included two) to open the drawer/cabinet but if you lose the magnet that’s included, a normal refrigerator magnet also works so there really is no draw back to these locks.  Available on Amazon or on the Simplest Home website.