Thursday, August 29, 2013

Baby Plum the Great!

Baby Plum's real name rhymes with great. We often call him "Baby Plum the Great." He loves it.
He's also decided that he likes holding poor Slappy. She doesn't love it, but I'm glad that at least one of the boys is taking an interest in the cats. I've been trying to teach him how to pet her more lovingly. Wally's still too heavy for him to hold.
Here he is kind of goofing off for the camera. He's really starting to talk a lot now. I like when he tells me the things that he finds funny. Sometimes I don't completely understand, but he's very good at repeating himself until I do understand.
Preschool starts next week! He seemed excited, until we went to open house. He went into super-shy mode, and wouldn't really talk to his teacher. I tried to get him to, but he wanted to set the play table in the classroom. I had no idea what he was doing until we were picking up. Then I realized that he had set several places at the table, and had even pulled up a high chair. Sweet, sweet little helper boy.
Last week we went to the first high school football game of the season. Little Elvis kept saying he was going to meet his friend there. (He didn't. I didn't think his friend would be there.) Since Little Elvis was going to meet a friend, Baby Plum decided he had to meet someone, too. He said he was going to meet his speech teacher there. I told her about that, and she thought that was sweet. It's true. He is.... usually.

And, he's starting to understand the whole "shadow" thing from another perspective. Cheese Puff is just now starting to follow Baby Plum around. It's cute. Just like it was when Baby Plum followed Little Elvis.

We're getting closer to his birthday, and he's very excited about that. I ended up buying several Lion King cake toppers on ebay. I got the best deal I could, and got most of the characters he wanted. I didn't get Rafiki, though. Baby Plum wanted that baboon, though. So, I have an artist friend who is going to paint a small gray ape figure that I had from some safari play set. She's great, so I think he'll probably look better than the others.

I have an idea for party favors, but I'm uncertain about it. I will not suggest parties based on old movies again.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Our little ham

Little Elvis still loves to entertain. Since his last play went so well, we let him audition for another one yesterday afternoon. He did so well! And I will admit that I am biased.

These pictures are funny poses that he wanted to do. He was very Austin Powers or Zoolander with some of them.
While we were waiting for everyone to fill out their forms to audition, I tried to get my antsy boy to look at the script they had given us. I am not much of a coach or backstage mom. I mainly wanted to make sure he could read some of the more difficult words, like pasteurize, and tell him what they meant. My directions were to be loud, and if he gets a sentence with a question mark to ask a question. If he gets one with an exclamation point, be louder. That's all I've got.

He went up with the first group. He's still one of the youngest, but he was loud and read his line well. At least he did, when he realized it was his turn. He kind of got bored, and turned around a few times. After the first read through, the kids were going to do it again. The director asked if they knew what pasteurize meant, and then explained. When she was finished, he told her that his mommy had already told him that. He also informed her that curds and whey was cottage cheese, and that's his brother's favorite food. Little Elvis is a know it all.
Then it was time to sing. They all had to sing "Happy Birthday." I wish they had a choice. He would have picked, "You give love a bad name" by Bon Jovi. Since he didn't get to choose, he decided to rock "Happy Birthday." By that, I mean he literally made it a rock song. He played his air guitar and sang in a very rock n roll style. It was funny and cute. One mom asked if we practiced it that way. No. I would have told him not to, and it was great that he did it. This child has no fear in front of an audience.
He got to go back up and read for another part twice. For that part, he figured out that he was supposed to whisper, and asked the director if he could whisper. She told him what a stage whisper was. He did the stage whisper, and then he "acted" out the other parts by exclaiming loudly, since there were exclamation points! (I don't think he really needed me to tell him to do that. He naturally exclaims everything anyway.)

I thought he did a great job, and he had fun. They are supposed to post the cast list, but I've not been able to find it. The good thing about these shows is that every kid that tries out gets a part. I tried for several plays when I was little and sometimes didn't get any parts. It's nice that all the kids who put forth the effort get a chance.

He did tell me yesterday that there's a boy in his class who has been mean to him. The boy apparently says Little Elvis is too small for the first grade. This boy must be a giant, because Little Elvis is definitely average height for a 1st grader. He's not the smallest in his class. I told him to tell the boy a joke the next time he tries to make fun of him. Maybe he won't be mean if Little Elvis makes him laugh. Apparently, I gave this same advice last year. He said it didn't work. But he didn't really follow my directions. The little boy who was being mean said something mean, and instead of telling a joke, Little Elvis did a funny dance. I can picture this. I'm sure that the other little boy had no idea how to react. The good news is that they are friends this year. I told Little Elvis to stick with jokes this time, and not dances. I'm trying to push this one on him: When is the best time to go to the dentist? Tooth-hurty! HA! I love that one.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

18 months old!

Cheese Puff turns the big 18 months today. I spent most of this week thinking he had a doctor's appointment today, but it's tomorrow. He's stuffy, cranky and coughing. We're going to tough it out until tomorrow, but I wish his appointment had been today.
These are pictures from throughout the month. I'm not positive if I've posted them before or not. We took all of the boys to the play area at the mall before school started back. I took a few pictures, and this is the only one that's not super fuzzy.
Later that day we had his favorite food for supper. He loves corn! Especially corn on the cob. And he does a great job with it. He usually gets fed before the rest of us. His practice with corn on the cob is to work on his corn cob with gusto, and then demand our new corn cobs in exchange for his mostly eaten corn cobs.
He helped me do laundry the other day. He was very helpful.
He pulled out all of the dirty clothes for me, and jumped into the dirty clothes hamper.
He thought it was great fun.
Little Elvis did this when he was about this age, and it freaked him out! He bawled. Cheese Puff thought it was the most fun thing in the world.
He and Little Elvis were goofing off for the camera the other day. I like his little grin there.
This is how he looks most of  the time now. The paci, or dadi, is becoming a permanent fixture on his face. He loves it. He calls it dadi, when he wants it, and when he wants to give it back to me, he calls it mama. I have no idea what that means.
He likes to drive the sewing table, just like Baby Plum.
He's tired of the pictures at this point, I guess.

Cheese Puff still shocks us with his vocabulary. And he's a very outgoing, friendly (for the most part) little boy. He will yell, "Hi" and "Bye" to people in cars driving past us on walks. Or people driving past us in parking lots. Or people just walking around. He doesn't have to know you. But he needs to give you a proper greeting.

When he's tired of something, or some place, he'll say, "Bye bye!" That's my signal that I've spent too much time visiting, and he wants to get home.

His song repertoire has grown. He now sings "Twinkle, twinkle, little star," the alphabet song, Happy Birthday, and the choruses of songs he hears on the radio, or that he hears his older brothers singing. He's got a good ear, and picks up melodies pretty quickly. Bob has decided that he will be the singer. I told him that will be tough, since Little Elvis will most certainly (it could change, but I doubt it) not want to practice any instruments and will want the center of attention. If Bob gets his brother band wish, then Cheese Puff might get stuck playing an instrument and singing harmonies.

This baby is still a big snuggle muffin. He loves hugs, cuddles, and kisses (although he wipes them off now to be funny.) I need to stress here that he loves those from his parents. If his brothers, mainly Little Elvis, try to hug, or get in his face, then he screams and yells and hits.

Hitting is getting to be a big problem for us. When I correct him after he hits at me or his brothers, he bawls. Just bawls. He's a whole lot more like Little Elvis with that. Baby Plum could care less if he was getting scolded.

Baby Plum, who I thought might be napping was not. He's destroyed his bedroom by pulling a lot of stuff out of his closet, and has hurt his big toe.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Performing with Daddy

Bob got a chance to do his weather performance last week at our local Chick Fil A. The boys were as excited as he was.
Cheese Puff didn't want to leave Daddy's side once the music started. He wanted to stand in front of Daddy and dance.
He wasn't the only boy who wanted to help Daddy....
Baby Plum brought his toy electric guitar and played along with his daddy. You have to kind of lean in to see that. He's playing and Cheese Puff is dancing.

But wait? Isn't there another boy? Aren't there three? Why yes. There are. What was Little Elvis doing?
Running around like a chicken with his head cut off and screaming. He was super wild. I ended up taking all 3 boys home early (including a screaming Baby Plum.) But it was still fun. And it was a good chance for Bob to get his name out there.

Baby Plum's speech teacher was there, and she was shocked by how outgoing our shy boy was. We've decided that his daddy gave him confidence. She had her daughter with her, and her daughter has already talked to her principal about Bob performing at her school. Yay!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What I did on my summer vacation

Bob (Meredith's husband) here with another rare post. I went back to work today (I teach at a local community college) and, as I sat through the customary first day professional development sessions, I couldn't help but reflect on what a great summer it has been. First of all, let me say that I'm very lucky to be in the teaching profession. Apart from teaching an online class this summer, I've been home with my family since mid-May. Not many other jobs allow for such a break.

I got to spend a lot of time with the boys, plus I was able to knock out a lot of projects around the home. I've already described the construction of "Shed-zilla". I put in new gutter guards on the house and installed gutters on the new shed. I also got some practice in drywall patching in fixing our dining room ceiling as well as pulling out some old-timey radiant heaters (toasters in the walls -- unsightly safety hazards when little boys are around) from our bedrooms. I installed another solar tube, this time in the kitchen (I put one in our master bathroom about a year and a half ago -- I love these things). Once the solar tube was in, Mere and I tackled the (it turns out) major job of resurfacing the kitchen ceiling. YouTube videos make the removal of textured ceilings look so easy (just spray with water and scrape). Not so with ours -- scrape, sand and kick up a tremendous amount of dust, then spread joint compound over the whole thing and try to spread as smoothly as possible . . . it was a bear of a project (good thing Little Elvis was already back in school by the time we tackled this one).

As far as travel, we took several family trips -- to Memphis to visit the zoo and the Pink Palace museum, the 2 older boys and I made our first (outside of our own backyard) camping trip, a Chattanooga trip where we rode a train and visited the aquarium and science museum, as well as weekend trips to my in-laws' cabin. I also made a solo trip to attend an astronomy conference in San Jose which, despite an ear infection and bad case of bronchitis, was tremendously beneficial. In addition to our own travels, my dad again made the pilgrimage from Harrisburg, PA to spend a week that was capped off by "Cow Appreciation Day" at Chik-Fil-A.

The moral of this whole story -- children spell love "T-I-M-E" and I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with mine this summer. The highlights were innumerable but possibly best encapsulated in this little vignette. About two weeks ago, we were all working in the yard, putting some new plants in the flowerbeds. Baby Plum (our natural helper, but not-so-natural hugger) was standing next to me as I knelt down to fill up a bucket of water. Without any prompting, he put his arm around me and said, "You're my best friend." A moment, and a summer, that I'll never forget.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A different vacation pov

My mom took lots of vacation photos as well. She sent me some.
Cheese Puff loves hot dogs. He doesn't like buns, but he decided to try one out while were on vacation. He wasn't very impressed.
All three boys posing with a Mr. Potato Head costume. The restaurant had a scary looking guy wearing the costume, so I'm glad my mom cut the scary head off in this photo.

And all three boys are kind of looking in the same direction! Yay!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Vacation pictures!

It's taken me a while, but here are the pictures from our vacation.

We headed out on Thursday morning, and stopped at a cool little restaurant for lunch. My mom found the restaurant, and knew by the name that Little Elvis and Baby Plum would love it. It was called 50 Taters.
The restaurant had a cool car couch.
Why can't they all look at the camera at the same time?
Baby Plum had to strike a pose with the pink flamingo in the ladies bathroom. He went with me, and saw one of his favorite birds, so of course we had to go back and get the camera. I cut off part of the flamingo's beak in the first shot.
He posed again. Baby Plum's working on saying his "L"s. He says yuh instead of luh. He calls it the the fyuhmingo. It's cute. Little Elvis had the same problem.
All of the boys loved the hotel rooms Cheese Puff found the smallest spot in our room, and set up camp.
Cheese!!

We got to ride on an actual train that morning, and go through a tunnel and watch the train turn around on a spinning train thingy that's really huge. It was neat, and one of the conductors looked like Santa. I told Little Elvis that was his summer job while the elves were building toys.
We took the boys to a special shark spectacular at the aquarium. We got to watch an IMAX film about great white sharks, go through the aquarium, and eat special shark ice cream!
And pose with a real life teenager dressed as a walking shark. The boys were impressed. Little Elvis and Cheese Puff both had shark shirts that they got to wear.
Baby Plum passed out during the IMAX film. I guess great white sharks aren't all that scary.
We were able to transfer him to Cheese Puff's stroller for a bit before we got into the aquarium.
All of my boys inside a shark tank.
Little Elvis and Cheese Puff were enjoying some cool marine life.
The next day I dressed the boys in their special trouble shirts that Gram got them.
This was a very fun photo session. Little Elvis was offended by something, and Cheese Puff wanted to sit down.
I got two of them looking at the camera.
We tried again in a brick canoe. My grandmother says the boys don't look anything like each other. Especially not Little Elvis and Baby Plum. I disagree. I think they look more like each other every day. Cheese Puff's eye color will be different, but I think he'll end up being as handsome as his two older brothers.
The boys were all pretty good, and we were really proud of them.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Fun in the rain

We don't often get good rains around here. We get good storms. The boys can't play outside in storms. But when we have a good rain? I have to let them play outside.
This good rain happened while Bob was out of town. We were all tired. Ok. I was really tired. The boys weren't so bad, even Cheese Puff seemed ok, and he's the reason I was so tired. He decided not to sleep one night. Who needs that?
Baby Plum had to ride his tricycle in the rain.
Little Elvis was late to the game. He was inside fussing about us being outside while he was inside.... fussing. It's a vicious cycle.
But once he got outside in the rain, all of the fusses were gone. Yay for the good rain.
Cheese Puff is busting a move in the background here. I love it.
I thought the trampoline would be lots more fun in the rain.
The older boys tried it for a while, but I had to beg them to get down. Why?
This one couldn't stand on the slippery trampoline and I couldn't let him jump. He was so upset.
But these guys weren't easy to convince. They did eventually get down. How we love good rains. Today we had a good storm. Thankfully, it was during nap/school time. No one demanded to go out and play in the lightning.