Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas and New Year's

After all the lead-up to Christmas it is always hard to believe it has come and gone.  There are lots of things I hope to remember about this year. . . .

This was, of course, Eric's first Christmas (much as we were hoping he'd be born in time for Dec. 25 last year!).  It was so sweet to see his reaction to the all the trees and lights. 

 He also really loved our Elf!  Every day I pointed him out to Eric, and Eric always gave him a big smile as he reached out to . . . TOUCH HIM!  The Elf had to stay up high to avoid losing his magic :)


We weren't too sure how things would go with a toddler and a Christmas tree in the house, but Eric has done pretty well . . . and all the breakable ornaments are also up pretty high!
Some of the presents didn't do so well, though--Eric opened the first of his presents before Christmas . . . with his TEETH!  He has seven very sharp ones, and by the time he was finished with the gift, it looked as though a dog had attacked it :)

But there was nothing nicer than cuddling with this little guy!

On Christmas Eve we started a new tradition of walking around the lake.  It was a great way for the kids to get out some of their extra energy and excitement.

(All four of them could almost balance with Daddy on the teeter-totter. . . . Maybe next year!)

Christmas morning was filled with all their favorites--lots of Lego for Ben


and for the girls it was mostly about Frozen, especially Anna and Elsa--in their various sizes and outfits.

Of course there were some new PJs, too :)

Later that evening we went to Grandma and Grandpa's (and Peeta's ...), and the next day we got together with all of the family at Auntie Tina's house for Mom's turkey dinner.

A week later it was time for New Year's.  We had Grandma and Grandpa come over for Chinese food, which took 2 1/2 hours to arrive because the restaurant was so busy!

The kids were really excited to stay up until midnight--they all made it except Alaina, who fell asleep less than five minutes before the clock struck twelve!

We spent New Year's Day exploring Science World.

Now all that's left to do is take down the tree and put everything away until next time!  I'm already looking forward to it. . . . :)

A Jedi

Janae and Alaina have an electronic toy that sometimes asks, "Do you dream of being a princess?"

Tonight Eric was walking around holding a lightsaber, and he came across the toy.

Ben looked at his brother and jokingly said, "Do you dream of being a princess?"

Speaking for Eric I said, "I dream of being a Jedi."

Ben added, "or a Sith."

Then Eric--speaking more clearly than ever before in his life--said, "a Jedi."

He really did!

So his first words, in order, are:

Sorry, Ben :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Another Frozen Fan

I'm pretty sure Eric was a fan of the movie Frozen before he was even born--we went to see it twice when he was in my tummy, and the girls got the soundtrack for Christmas just days before he arrived.

Lately I have noticed that this soundtrack works like magic to calm our little guy down when he gets fussy in the van.  

But it was last night that I saw the full extent of Eric's love for the film and its songs. 

Janae and Alaina hadn't watched Frozen for several weeks but chose it yesterday as their show.

Every time a song came on, Eric got really quiet and still--he stopped what he was doing and then looked up at the TV, as if to say, "I KNOW this!"

Finally, when "Let it Go" came on, I noticed Eric was trying to sing along, especially joining in on the "O" each time Elsa said, "Let it go" (and we all know she says it quite a few times!).

He did the same thing when the song played again during the end credits.  He was really concentrating and looked pretty proud of himself :)

Which means Eric's first words very well might be "let it go".... possibly followed by "the cold never bothered me anyway"?  We'll see!



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In Plain View

I am testing the theory that the best place to hide something is in plain view :). 

Alaina caught wind that I'd already done some Christmas shopping and has been searching in the closets.  Little does she know that the plain old brown box on top of the washing machine is my new hiding spot.....

I honestly don't think she would ever look there!

Eric's First Flu

On Saturday, October 25, Eric came down with his first stomach flu.  He woke up feeling fine, had lunch, then started throwing up.  He couldn't keep anything down the rest of the day or night and was fading in and out of sleep.

At about 2 a.m., while I was looking in our health guide book once again to see if I'd missed anything, I realized that while I'd been reading in a section about vomiting in babies, there was another section about severe vomiting that better described what Eric had been experiencing.  It also said that after 4 hours of this a baby Eric's age should be seen by a doctor.

Eric had been sick for closer to 14 hours, so I decided to take him to the hospital.

The nurse in emergency told me about a "miracle" anti-nausea medicine that we could give Eric and have him cured within 15 minutes.

But four hours after having the medicine Eric was still not able to keep any fluids down.  He was looking more and more dehydrated with dry lips and a sunken soft spot.

The pediatrician came in and suggested we hook Eric up to an IV and admit him to the hospital.  It was so sad to see Eric's little hand threaded with a needle and hooked up to a drip.

The next two days Eric spent most of his time sleeping in a hospital room. 

He woke up screaming if I tried to put him into the clunky metal hospital bed, but he was content to lie on the cot they'd given me to sleep on, or to be held.  Whenever Eric tried nursing or taking the electrolyte solution he would throw up again, and we'd be back to waiting an hour and then trying once more.

Finally on Tuesday night our little guy wanted to drink again, and he was able to keep his milk down.  He started acting much more like himself--showing interest in the toys that had been brought in and trying to walk around with his IV pole attached.

The doctor had us stay another night, just to be sure everything was okay.  It was harder to keep Eric's IV in after he started feeling better--nurses had to re-set it twice because he'd pulled it partially out. 
One of these times IV fluid was dripping out one end and his blood out the other.  I looked down and saw blood flowing up the tube where I'd previously only seen clear fluid flowing down--I panicked and called the nurse, then started heading out of our room to go down the hall . . . with blood dripping all over the floor after us!  Luckily the nurse met us and fixed everything.

Wednesday morning we were discharged--Eric and I were both happy to be home!  Eric had a little round Superman Band-Aid where his IV had been ... I saw him sitting quietly and looking at it a few times and wondered if he was contemplating all that had happened--then realized that babies really only live in the present and he was probably just marvelling that he finally had his own sticker, rather than just one from Janae's collection :)
After a few days, Eric was back to all his favorite activities:



picking up his big brother and sisters from school,
walking around the lake,
composing (okay--he is not actually composing, just banging on the piano keys, but you get the picture!).

He is back to being our little guy who is always up to something--and we couldn't be happier :)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Always Up to Something?

When Eric was only a few months old, I was looking through baby boy clothes on a clearance rack at one of our favorite over-priced stores at the mall (I love when there's an extra 60 percent off!).

After much deliberation, I settled on a few items, including a cute Paddington Bear T-shirt, size 6-12 months. 

Somehow it wasn't until I got home from the store that I saw the back of the shirt.

I was noticing that under the picture of Paddington it said "Paddington at th" . . . so I turned the shirt over and saw the rest of the line: "e wheel."  But that wasn't all.  In large block letters the back of the shirt also said, "HE'S ALWAYS UP TO SOMETHING."  Ugh. How could I not have seen THAT?

I'm not a big fan of large sayings on shirts, and this one seemed particularly obnoxious.  But the shirt was on sale, and the front was really cute.

I hung it up in my closet to think a little more.

Then, as we all know, Eric grew.  Pretty soon his little 3-6 month T's were too short, and I started to think about what I had in the next size up. 

One day I took out the Paddington shirt, removed the tag, and committed to it.  After all, I was usually holding Eric, and the back of the shirt wouldn't really show.

But--of course--it was the first thing anyone noticed when they saw Eric in the shirt.

And people started to tease me, saying, "He's always up to something!" whenever Eric had it on.

So, now that Eric is a couple of months older, . . . let's just say the shirt is starting to fit better than ever.

It seems particularly appropriate when Eric is helping himself to Janae's sticker collection, while wearing Alaina's hairband.

or when he is hanging onto the lamp post while grabbing a magazine.

It also works quite well when he is crawling behind the rocking chair to unload our bookshelf.

Or teaching himself to walk before he is even nine months old (13 steps unassisted is his new record).

Yes, it seems little Eric is always up to something. 

I know what you're probably thinking, "Get rid of that shirt!" 

But I've already tried that. . . .


No matter what he is wearing, he is "always up to something!"


What about no shirt at all . . . just stick with sleepers?  That'll teach him to lie down and act like a baby!

But no. . . .

I guess Eric was destined for that Paddington shirt!  Like most babies his age, he is always getting into something, except during those few peaceful moments . . .

when he goes to sleep.  Probably dreaming about what to get up to next :)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Finally . . . Kindergarten!

Well, school started up again this week, and our three kids were ready.

Alaina, particularly, was REALLY excited to go, since she was starting kindergarten.  But the first day of kindergarten is not like the first day of other grades, at least not here. 

The little five year olds meet in the  gym with their parents for an orientation, then a scavenger hunt around the school.  They get to SEE the teachers and other kids, but they don't get to stay.

Then over the next few days the teachers meet individually with the children and their parents.  They get to SEE the classroom, their spot in the cloak room, their name tag at the table, etc., but they don't get to stay and do any learning.

Every day this week Alaina asked, "Do I get to go to kindergarten today?"

Finally, on Friday she got to be dropped off with her brother and sister!

Alaina looked so small and sweet waiting outside the door with her line . . . in the rain, of course!

She had a wonderful time and came out with lots of stories to share.

But as much as she is going to love kindergarten, we are sure going to miss her at home :)


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Something Like School ....

While the rest of North America has enjoyed a couple of weeks, now, of back to school, we have been waiting for a teachers' strike to be resolved.

Some might wonder what we've been doing during this extra time off.

Well, like most moms I thought I'd try to do some sort of home school with my little ones to get them back into a routine and to ensure that they didn't fall behind with their learning.

This quickly fell apart on September 3. Being a former English teacher, I created a short writing assignment for each child, then--when Eric went down for his mid-morning nap--I sat Ben, Janae, and Alaina down at the table to get them started.

One of the above-mentioned individuals ripped up the assignment, threw it on the floor and declared--at a volume that made things clear not only to me but to our entire neighborhood--that she was on home school strike. 

Although things settled as the day went on, at bedtime my little fire cracker told me she would be making her strike signs and picketing in the morning.

So . . . another week off wouldn't hurt them, would it?

Later in the week I let the children know that our home learning would recommence the following Monday, with a revised curriculum.

Fast forward through another week of job action.

A few days ago I had to take Alaina in to a health clinic, and the nurse asked my children what they had been doing during the teachers' strike.

I held my breath and waited for them to report that they had been staying in their PJs and playing all day every day, but the comments went a different direction.

Ben said, "We're doing something kind of like school, at home."
Nurse: "What kinds of things have you been learning?"

(I once again took a deep breath and braced myself for the worst.)

Ben: We've been learning times tables and playing some math games.

Then Janae: "We've mostly been doing Shakespeare."


Even I had to admit that it didn't sound too bad!  We've come a long way in two weeks :)

So, what HAVE we been doing?

A few trips to the library,

a few math games,


(not a lot of hair brushing, obviously!).

We took a field trip to a local historical site,


built with Lego,

did a lot of reading,

and, YES, a little Shakespeare.

Janae has, in fact, memorized Sonnet #18!

There was, however, no sitting at the table doing worksheets. 

It has got to the point where we have a good routine of learning, helping with chores, and free time.

And this morning we heard that REAL SCHOOL could start up again as early as Monday.

So, you might wonder, will we continue with our "something like school at home"?

Uh . . . NO.