September 28, 2010

The first days of preschool

First Day of Preschool

Jack's been in preschool for more than two weeks now. I did have to wear sunglasses on the first day we dropped him off . . . to hide the tear-filled eyes.

I have lots of thoughts about preschool, but I won't share them all here. I will say that his first few days were rough . . . he didn't mind being dropped off and seemed excited in the mornings to get there. But when I picked him up, he started crying the minute the car door closed and told me he didn't want to go back. I was totally bewildered. I would ask what he did at school and he'd say, "Nothing." I know that sounds typical of a three-year-old boy, but it's WAY out of character for him. In the summer, if I'd ask what he did that day, I'd get a play by play of every minute.

I guess he was just adjusting, because he's much happier about going now and will talk to me about his day on the way home (or drive is about 25 minutes each way). His teacher is very nice and he seems to really like her, so I'm happy about that.

September, 2010

September 27, 2010

Favorite Books GIVEAWAY: How I Became a Pirate

How I Became a Pirate is another one of our favorite books. A little boy tells about the day that he was chosen to join a group of pirates. He has lots of fun as a pirate until evening, when he realizes that there are no bedtime stories or goodnight kisses and begins to miss home.

Again, we want one of our favorite books to become one of yours! Leave a comment and I'll choose a winner on Friday, October 1. Only one entry per person.

September, 2010

September 26, 2010

Dear Bennett, Month 12

Dear Ben,

I'm not sure I've ever mentioned this before, but when you were born, the umbilical cord was wrapped around your neck. It sounds scary, and it probably was, but I had no idea. I remember a brief moment when the doctor said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, stop pushing." But it only seemed to last for a few seconds, before we started up again and you were in my arms.

Your dad told me later what had happened, and because I was completely unaware, it was very low-drama. For that, I am grateful.

Bennett's first month

But on Thursday, as I thought about that day, minute by minute in my head, it all came back to me. And suddenly I was choking back tears as I thought about how fortunate I am to have such a healthy happy little boy. I thank God every single day for you, Ben.

At the Zoo

You make me so happy. I spent much of this year battling depression, but seeing you and holding you was like therapy. Your smile melted stress away and your deep chuckle made me smile every time. I can't imagine life without you.

At the Zoo

Now that you're a year old, I can officially call you a toddler. You love to play outside and hate to see your Dad and brother outside without you. You let us know when you're ready to play outside by bringing us a pair of shoes, anyone's shoes, and sitting down to wait for us to put them on. If we don't oblige, you'll work to put them on yourself. You aren't all that successful at that yet.

September, 2010

You love to climb and really don't seem that affected when you fall off things. That fearlessness means we need to pay careful attention to protect you from being too brave. You're getting better at crawling down stairs and off of chairs on your own, which is making life a little bit easier. You try so hard to jump . . . you want to be just like Jack. You bend your knees and squat down and pop up with such intensity that for a second I almost think that you'll actually do it. But you haven't been able to leave the ground quite yet. You'll get it soon enough . . . you're almost there!

August 2010

You are such a capable little boy. You follow our instructions. You can say so many words. You're finding new skills every day. I'm incredibly proud of you, Ben. You're my youngest, but you're still my first and my only Bennett. Even with everything I learned about myself and about parenting from your brother, you still teach me something new every day.


September 22, 2010

5 minutes of kite flying

Jack got a kite for his birthday back in June, and spent all summer begging us to fly it. Finally, over Labor Day weekend, we took him to do just that.

They got it put together and up in the air and about 2 minutes into it, Jack got bored and asked to go to the playground. It was fun while it lasted . . .

Kite flying

Kite flying

September 21, 2010

The fast lane

Life is moving faster than I can handle right now. Between work and other work and the boys and new things going on, I feel like I'm on a runaway train and I'm not sure how to stop it.

I'm going with my sister to the Oprah show on Friday (set your tivos . . . it's gonna be a good one). I think her interview is actually going to be aired on the show. This means I have to leave on Thursday . . . which is Ben's birthday. I can't begin to describe how I'm feeling about that. Kyle keeps reminding me that Ben won't know the difference, but I just feel like I'm letting him down somehow.

It's insane, I know, because I've put so much time and effort into his party on Sunday. But his actual date of birth . . . the day that means so much to me and will always mean so much to me every year . . . I'm going to miss that time with him. Even as I type this, I'm contemplating bringing Kyle and the boys so we can all be together. But Jack has school on Friday morning, so probably not.

We're going to continue our annual tradition of picking out pumpkins on the night before his birthday . . . a tradition that we started last year without knowing it. I'm looking forward to that.

I gave Ben his last bottle tonight.* Kyle made it and held it out to him and Ben burst into tears and walked away. When Kyle handed the bottle to me, however, Ben ran right over and climbed into my arms. It's so good to know that he's enjoyed these times as much as I do. And we'll continue to have our evening cuddle times, even without the bottle.

I know I'm making too big a deal over this, but I feel like it symbolizes the end of his "baby-hood" more than anything else. There's a distinct possibility that it's the last time I'll ever give one of my babies a bottle. Ugh. My heart aches a little.

On a completely different note, I wanted to share some pictures from back in August that I never got to post. I've spent so much time taking/processing other people's pictures over the last two months, that I haven't had much time for ours. C'est la vie. Here are all of our August pictures.

The Back Yard Pool

The Back Yard Pool

August 2010

August 2010

*Just a note: I don't have any hard and fast feelings about babies needing to be done with the bottle at a year old. We can just tell that he really doesn't need it any more and I know it'll be a harder transition for me than it will be for him. If he showed any resistance at all, I'd have no problem continuing it. And certainly if breastfeeding had lasted longer than 9 months for us, I'd probably continue nursing him . I just wanted to clarify, lest I've ever made it seem like I was judging anyone who continued the bottle past age one or that I had some sort of issue with that.

September 18, 2010

Dear Jack, Month 39

Dear Jack,

You started school this week. It's been rough. You're fine when you're dropped off, but on Monday and Wednesday you cried as soon as the car door closed in the pick up line. You don't tell us much, which is weird, because you've never been short on words. I don't know if this is just your way of trying to adjust or if there's something wrong. Maybe you're just tired. Your teacher says everything seems fine, and Friday was much better.

Backyard sports

I ask you each day who you've played with and both Monday and Wednesday you responded, "Just by myself." I don't know if that's true or if you just don't want to talk, or if you don't remember, but it makes me a little bit sad every time. Your teacher assured me that you play with the other kids and get along well with them, but I can't help but wonder. I didn't think this would be true, but I really want you to fit in with your classmates. I mean, I didn't want you to be an outcast or anything, but I just didn't think I'd be as worried about you making friends as I do about how you're treating people and what you're learning.

August 2010

While I do want you to fit in and make friends, you've got a long 14 or so years of schooling ahead of you. And when I look at high school students who "fit in" the most and what they have to do to get there, I think that maybe I'd rather you not. I know, I know . . . it's only preschool. I'm being neurotic. Right now all you have to do to fit in is to play nicely. And I want that for you.

August, 2010

We've entered this new stage. Even though you sometimes still call me Mama or Mommy, I've become mostly, "Mom." You sit on my lap less than you used to. You cuddle for shorter periods of time than you did before. I've known this was coming, but it doesn't make it any easier. When I call you my baby, you're quick to correct me.

August 2010

You're my big boy. You're my favorite 3-year-old ever. I love you!


As heard during "nap" time Friday afternoon

Me: Jack, why did you do that?

Jack: I was disobeying you.

Me: Why?

Jack: I was just pretending.

Me: Pretending to disobey me?

Jack: Pretending to be the Israelites.

September 17, 2010


Wow . . . I have not written a single post since I posted the giveaway. I need to get on that.

Anyway . . . here's the winning entry:

I have your address Joy . . . it's on its way!

If you didn't win, you can purchase The Remarkable Farkle McBride for yourself! You won't be disappointed!

I'll post another soon, so check back!

September 13, 2010

Favorite Books GIVEAWAY: The Remarkable Farkle McBride

Jack received The Remarkable Farkle McBride for his birthday in June and it's become a favorite for all of us! It's about a little boy, a prodigy, who starting at 3 years old masters an instrument in every section of the orchestra, but quickly tires of each of them.

The Incredible Farkle McBride

The lyrical nature of the text makes it so fun to read! Each instrument's sound is spelled out (the flute went rootle-ee, tootle-ee, tootle-ee too, with all of the winds at his side . . .).

Also, it rhymes. And I love kids' books that rhyme.

Part two of this post is a giveaway. Let me explain . . .

Whenever I've linked to a book from my blog, I've always used my amazon associates account. I get credit for anyone who clicks on the link and actually buys the book. Until a week or two ago, I hadn't checked my account. Ever. And guess what?! You guys were really buying the books I recommended last spring! I'm flattered.

What should I do with that money? It's not a massive amount, but its enough to do something fun! So, I plan on giving away every book that I recommend here until the money runs dry! And because I don't get very many entries for giveaways, you have an excellent chance of winning each time.

This week, I'll be giving one copy of this book (The Remarkable Farkle McBride) to a lucky winner. It'll be shipped from directly to your house! Even if you don't have kids, it would make a great gift or something to save for when you do have kids.

Only one entry per person . . . just leave a comment with your name and a way to contact you. I'll draw a name on Friday, September 17 and will contact the winner to get a shipping address.

And if you don't win . . . just come back here and click on the link to buy the book, thus adding to the pot for future book giveaways. It's nice how that works out, huh?

One last thing . . . if you're reading this on facebook, you need to click to my blog to enter. Facebook comments don't count.

September 12, 2010

The night before preschool

Jack starts preschool tomorrow and our conversation at bedtime tonight went something like this:

Jack: School starts tomorrow.

Me: Yes, it does.

Jack: So today's the last day of summer, huh?

Me: Um yeah, I guess so . . . who told you that?

Jack: No one. So, what if there's a 'mergency when I'm at school?

Me: They'll call me and I'll rush right there.

Jack: What if a police officer gives you a ticket?

Me: For what?

Jack: For rushing.

Me: I'll tell him I'm on my way to an emergency.

Jack: Oh. Will you pray for me before I go to school tomorrow?

Me: Sure. And I probably won't stop for the next 15 years or so.

September 8, 2010

Ben is 11 months old

Eleven Months Old

Oh, gosh . . . the last monthly update. Keep it together, Sara.

I don't really know what to say other than, "He's growing fast." On Saturday, he discovered that he can walk backwards, and it was so funny to watch him take steps, and then stop to look behind him to see how far he had gone. Last night, we practiced crawling down the stairs backwards, and he got the hang of it pretty quick. I'm not about to let him do it alone, though.

We're preparing for no bottles in a couple of weeks here and are down to one bottle a day starting today. I think of everything that comes with turning a year old, that might be the thing that makes me most emotional. Ever since I stopped nursing at the end of June, I've been giving him his bottle at night and I really love those times. When he's done, he just lays his head on me and sucks his thumb for a while before I finish getting him ready for bed. We don't get much time just the two of us.

He's learning new words like crazy. The ones he says most often on his own (without repeating us) are bread, book, Jack, dada, bath, ball, all done, bottle, woof woof (whenever he sees a dog, of course), cup, and bite. Every so often he throws "ma ma" in there, but not as often as "dada." He knows the signs for more, cup, thank you and please. I've been teaching him where his nose and ears are and he's pointed to those a couple of times on his own when I've asked. I've also tried teaching him to hold up one finger when I asks how old he is, and he's only done that once or twice on his own, too. Jack gets very annoyed when we do this because he isn't actually one yet.

I think "bite" might be my favorite because when he sees us snacking he says, "Bite?" in the sweetest little inquiring voice. And when he's signing please at the same time? We don't stand a chance at telling him no. If it's something he can have, we usually give in.

Besides the words he knows, he babbles incoherently all the time. He still has a deep throaty voice and raspy little chuckle.

Over the last week, he's suddenly become less picky about what he eats and it thrills me. He's pretty much consumed anything we put in front of him, and his appetite has grown tremendously. It's a relief.

September 7, 2010

In 15 minutes or less . . .

  • Over the weekend, we took Jack to fly a kite. He got it for his birthday and had asked about once a week for the last 3 months if he could go fly it. He was interested for all of five minutes.

  • FALL TV! I'm so ready for new episodes of my favorites. My tivo is empty. I need to start working on my line up.

  • As our new mini van has come up in conversation, the question that comes up every time is "So, are you making room for another?" or "Are you making an announcement?" Another child? Um, no. No child on the way. No plans of another child on the way. Thanks for asking. Also, I'm never wearing these jeans again.

  • Over the weekend I made a practice batch of cookies and cake pops for Ben's birthday party. I should really leave ALL baked goods to a professional.

  • There are aisles and aisles of Christmas decorations at Michaels. I also saw one aisle at Target. We're barely into September! I know, I know . . . I complain about this every year. It's not that I don't like Christmas, and I'm not one of the people who is strict about confining Christmas between Thanksgiving and the New Year. I just don't like to feel rushed.

  • When Ben sees us eating, he gives us the sign for "more" and says "Bite? Bite?" It's adorable.

  • If I could choose any show that I'd like to return to television, it would be Studio 60. It was canceled FAR too soon.

  • While it seems too soon for Christmas decorations, I wish we could just skip over the Halloween decorations. I love pumpkins and artificial fall leaves, but the creepy stuff just bothers me.

September 4, 2010

Riding the Roller Coaster . . .

. . . an emotional one, that is.

It hit me over the weekend that Ben will be one in less than three weeks. In fact, had he come on the day that I had my false alarm, he would already be one! I keep thinking about how, in a few short weeks, our home will be bottle-free. We'll have a toddler and a preschooler, but no baby. On Thursday, I was cleaning my office at camp, and found a tiny little diaper from when Ben was still small enough to come to work with my every day. I can't believe he ever fit in it. And now, he's (literally) running in circles and saying new words every day.

Yes, this year was one of the hardest of my life, but I'm still finding myself wanting to do it over again. I think about the missed opportunities and the fact that Ben will never be three weeks old or 3 weeks old or 3 months old again and the tears flow.

And then there's Jack . . . I just sat and watched him play today, marveling at the fact that he was once small enough to nap on my lap. There was a time in which he couldn't ask us more questions that we can count, and he didn't say "Hey Mom, Can I . . . " 10,000 times a day. And now he's this little boy. This huge 3-year-old. And he's heading to preschool in less than 2 weeks.

I'm ready for him to go . . . he needs to be out of the house, to meet new friends and to learn the social etiquette that he will in a classroom setting. And I need for someone else to answer a few of the 3 million questions he asks every day (no, Jack, I don't know why they didn't call north "south" and call south "north"). Still, I'm fighting something deep down inside of me that just wants to keep him home and never let him leave.

These days are precious.