Saturday, October 30, 2010

Prelude to Halloween


Yesterday was Halloween madness at the elementary school.  Not really.  But we did keep quite busy.

Tate and I started the day by attending the Friday Flag (assembly).  Then we popped into Casey’s class party.  It was the mellowest room of second graders I may have ever seen.  I don’t know if that’s a testament to classroom management, student personality or a combination of the two.  The calmness of the kids didn’t dampen the fun they had, though:


Casey’s class had a series of activities the kids rotated through, including a spider pretzel/cracker and a popcorn hand:

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Marcie’s class also had a series of stations, including a mummy wrap, candy corn bingo, a bat flying game, cookie decorating, and pin the nose on the pumpkin.  Marcie was quite a bit more camera shy than Casey (though adamant that I make an appearance):


After school, we all rested (especially Tate, who was too excited during all the school festivities to even think about napping during his regular nap time).  Then the kids got into their costumes (only kindergarten wears costumes at school- and then only during the party time) and we headed out to the annual Boogie Bash, which parents had been setting up all day.  It’s essentially a Halloween faire, with a couple bouncy activities, a lot of booths, a spooky forest (playground) a House of Horrors and plenty of snacks and treats for everyone. 

We were too busy running after our bigger kids (or helping run their class booth) to capture any photos at the Boogie Bash, but here’s a preview of the costumes, which have a bit more that go into them, but we’re saving those finishing touches for Halloween.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Future

One of my favorite things about being home is the rich conversation I get to share with the kids after school. I get to make sure they spend the time they are supposed to on homework, without copying. I get to make sure they actually read out loud (and to celebrate when they finish their first chapter book all by themself, like Casey did last week). I get to sneak to the classroom right after school to ask the teacher a quick question about something fishy. I get more of the best of them. And I like that.

Yesterday, during snack time after school, Casey was entertaining Tate (as usual). This typically involves a lot of high-pitched noise-making and dancing around. It kills me to ask them to stop because Tate clearly enjoys it-- and loves joining in with his own high-pitched noise-making and laughter. Casey turned to me, somberly, after he'd finished making himself a PB&J and said:

"Mom, this is what I'm going to do when I grow up. I'm going to make sandwiches."
"That's great Casey," I replied.
"Yep. I'm going to make all the little kids happy by making them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And I'm going to be a spy."
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah. I'm going to be a spy when I'm 19. And then, when I'm 23, I'm going to become a sandwich maker. And I'm going to take care of my wife and Tate."
"You're going to have a wife when you're 23?"
"Uh huh. And we're going to take care of Tate. 'Cause you'll be too old by then."

I looked up at him at this point (I was feeding Tate). "How old do you think I'm going to be when you're 23, Casey?" I asked.
"Hmm. I don't know. But when Tate is 7, I'm going to take care of him."
"Casey, you know Dad and I will still be around when Tate is 7. We won't be dead."
"But you'll be old."
"Well, I hate to disappoint you, Casey, but when Tate is 7, Dad and I will only be 43."
"Oh," Casey responded. "Well, maybe I'll wait to get married until I'm 30 then."

And off he skipped (yes, skipped) to do homework.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tate Turns One


I decided to document Tate’s extraordinary first birthday (ha ha).  It started with a diaper change



and a little play time before breakfast (banana cream pie yogurt and a 6 oz. bottle of whole milk (no formula!)).


We said good-bye to Jason as he went off to work, and we played some more.

IMG_3364 IMG_3368 Then I popped Tate into the car and we zoomed off to the grocery store, where Tate helped me shop.

IMG_3371 Back at home, Tate had his first taste of baby food meet—Vegetable Beef.  And he gobbled it up.


After eating, Tate and his full tummy headed for a nap.  But it didn’t last very long because his very loud siblings woke him up when they got home from school.  We were able to snap this photo:



And then get a couple shots of him playing, too:

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When the kids ate their snacks, Tate showed them how much he enjoys food-pirating, and he convinced Casey to share his cheese:



That didn’t stop Tate from gobbling up his dinner—chicken noodle casserole like the rest of the family and some baby food, too.  He didn’t love the baby food.  But he enjoyed my cooking!  After dinner, we sang happy birthday over chocolate chip muffins, and then the kids (literally) tore through birthday presents.


Finally it was time for Tate’s bath:


Then we played for a while (you can tell Jason dressed him if you look closely), until he spit up all over my pants (I left that in there for a dose of realism).  Like I said, he didn’t really like the baby food (no casserole in there, if you must know). 


And Tate was fast asleep within minutes.  What a busy day!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Birthday and Welcome Home, Tate!

I can hardly believe Tate is one. I mean, it’s not like a full year with him has passed, of course. But still. One. Wow. Tate is such a survivor.

In honor of his birthday, we had a Baby Open House this past weekend. Of course I got sick right before. And of course I realized after the fact all the people we should have invited but didn’t. But Tate won’t know the difference. What he will know is that we made him his own story poster (to explain to our visitors how Tate came to be part of our family).


And he’ll know that lots of people came by to wish him a happy birthday and to welcome him home. He’ll be told how he experienced his first bouncy house


and that had his his very own, homemade birthday cake.


He’ll know that lots of kids gathered around to sing him happy birthday.

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And of course we’ll tell him how we thought he’d really like his specially prepared chocolate pumpkin cake at first, but quickly discovered that he didn’t really like all the attention it was bringing him.

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Most of all, though, Tate will know—at least from the pictures—how so many people loved him from the moment they set eyes on him—us included.

Welcome home, little guy . . . we love you!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finally a Picture (albeit fuzzy)

He's already pulling himself up. He's a little wobbly, but considering he's only holding on to one of my hands, after pulling himself up all by himself, that's not too shabby. I'm so amazed at how quickly he's progressing-- two weeks ago, this wasn't something he could do. . .

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

High Fives, Waving and Handshakes

I remember now why I posted so frequently when the kidlets were young. Every day is something new!

Yesterday, for example, Tate ate about half his "garden vegetables." And then stopped. At first I couldn't figure out. Yeah, the color was gross. But that's par for the course with baby food. So I finally read the label more closely. Peas, spinach and carrots. We've already established he won't eat the former and will eat the latter. And apparently the added spinach couldn't sway him to swallow the food. Can't say I blame him, really.

Tate is continuing to delight us. He now readily high-fives people, shakes fingers. And today he even attempted to wave at someone!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Doctor Visit and First Sleepover

Tate saw our other pediatrician today. Diagnosis is urticaria. In other words the hives are likely a virus. Apparently there was a bout going around this summer that lasted 6 weeks. So we're in a holding pattern for another month.

He's in the 5th percentile for length and just under the 5th for weight. But he's eating up a storm and we've been given the go-ahead to let him eat and eat and eat. And to switch to cow's milk.

Our other big event of the day is that Marcie had an impromptu sleepover tonight:

There was some movie-watching (High School Musical 2, to be specific):

And some nail-polishing (a different color on each fingernail and toe nail):

And then, around 9:30 or so- almost 40 minutes after they asked to go to bed, and 20 minutes after I finished reading the third bedtime story, they fell asleep:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On Food and Dinner Conversations

Tate has an appetite. This, I think, is a good thing. And the food piracy has begun. For the past two mornings, he has crawled after me and Jason and essentially insisted we share our breakfast food with him. Yesterday it was yogurt. Today it was Life cereal. And spoons full of milk. He bounced up and down and let us know how pleased he was with his pirating successfully. Mind you, he gets plenty. In addition to the 7 ounces he eats right after he wakes up, he gets a fruit, a vegetable and oatmeal a couple hours later. Then another bottle about a half hour after that. But I'm happy he's eating.

Marcie's been having some food issues of her own. Two mornings ago it was gum-in-the-hair and quick wash in the sink before school to get the oil out. This morning it was yogurt. All over her long hair. Once again, she found herself standing on a chair next to the kitchen sink mere minutes before the morning ride arrived. I guess I should insist she pull back her hair before she eats. But it's never been a problem before.

One neat thing about being home with the kids and picking them up after school is that they talk to me. Seriously. I get to hear who they had a spat with, what they did in school. I get to know what they like and don't like. I get more of their good hours. And when I asked them, yesterday when they announced boredom because there was no video gaming and no TV, if they missed playing with other kids at ESS (after school care), their unequivocal answer was NO. This tells me we have made the right decision. I know it'll be a stretch, but it'll be good for them in the long run.

And that brings me to dinner. We had an early dinner last night and so Jason wasn't home yet. As I scooped food into Tate's mouth, Casey told me they'd learned about how mammals nurse at school. And I said people were humans and lots of babies nurse. But then I realized most of our family bottle-fed their kids and so I couldn't really give an example-- except for one family friend. Casey thought it was pretty gross.

Then Marcie asked if Tate was cut out of his birthmom's tummy or if he came from down there (she pointed with emphasis at her private parts with both hands). I told her the truth-- I didn't know. And she asked about her cousin Kai (cut out) and then Casey (from "down there"-- though I used the correct terminology). Marcie wanted to know if it hurt a lot. Yes, I told her. It did. But Angie was very brave.

And just as quickly as I found myself in the middle of the conversation it was over. Marcie announced she was going to have six kids and they would all have bunk beds. Casey told me he was going to have three kids-- but not one at a time like our family. He is going to "put three babies in his wife's tummy at the same time," like his friend Robbie. "It's going to be triplets!"

From all of this I take that the kids like having siblings, are happy to have Tate home with us, and are generally adjusting to outnumbering me and Jason quite well. I really couldn't ask for more.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Gum in the Hair

When Marcie woke up this morning with a chunk of bubblegum in her hair- just above her shoulder, I gulped awfully hard. I couldn't get it out of all the hair-- and enough was entangled that I was worried she'd be getting a major haircut today.

Luckily, informed me that you can use oil to get the gum out.

And heck if it wasn't right! A couple handfuls of olive oil and 20 minutes later Marcie's hair was gum-free and her head was under the kitchen sink. We got it all washed mere moments before her morning ride to school rang the doorbell.

Thank goodness for the Internet!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Food, Glorious Food

So we have, at long last, introduced Tate to solid foods. He hadn't really been eating any when we met him, so we're sticking to stage 1 foods until his physical exam on the 15th. So far, he loves oatmeal (recommended to us in lieu of rice cereal), pears, apples, bananas and sweet potatoes. He is not a fan of peas. And by "not a fan," I mean that he flips his tongue out of his mouth the moment the peas hit and spews peas down the front of himself. Then sticks a hand in his mouth to clear out the full palate of peas. It's, well, messy. And he's not exactly a neat eater in the first place.

The good news is that all the solid food- on top of the formula- appears to be helping him sleep at night. I can't call it a pattern yet, but for the past three nights he went to sleep at 8pm and slept until at least 4:00 am (it might have been 4:45 am, actually- I was pretty tired when he woke me up). Yesterday and the day before he slept in until 6:30am, so I even had time to shower before he woke. That was nice. (As a side note- I love our Summer video baby monitor-- I love that when I hear him fuss, I can take a peak at what he's doing and determine from his body language if he'll put himself back to sleep.)

We've actually been taking walks, too. This is trickier. He tends to fall asleep in the last 5-10 minutes of the walk, no matter how long the walk is. I've been letting him cat nap for about 20-30 minutes, then waking him because I am being super, super conscientious about his schedule. Until I'm convinced he's over the jet lag and on a schedule, I don't want to mess with the schedule.

He's still smiley and bouncy. He can now pull himself to standing and give high-fives. The hives haven't subsided yet-- but otherwise he seems to be feeling pretty good.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Seriously Jet-Lagged and Other Assorted Tales

So if you missed it, you can read the play-by-play of our trip to China to adopt Tate at But now that we're home and I can access blogger again, I'm back to blogging here. If I can figure out how to transport my wordpress posts from China into this blog, I'll do that (and if you know how, feel free to email me the directions!).

We've been back from China for about a week. And Tate's been a trooper and a charmer. We had a physical exam scheduled for yesterday, but ended up at the doctor on Monday because he had some pesky hives that would not disappear and I feared an allergy to his formula, his main source of nutrition. It turned out that:

1. he did, indeed, have a staph infection on his head (which has cleared up nicely)
2. we will treat him as allergic to keflex/ceclor (which we didn't finish the cycle of because of the hives) until he's older
3. he is probably not allergic to dairy or his formula
4. the hives are probably his body fighting a virus (as is the swollen gland at the base of his head)
5. he has two ear infections

Despite his hives and ear infections, he's been relatively smiley and playful.

Unfortunately that mostly happens in the middle of the night or when we are in public. And these days, I'm essentially living from nap to nap. I'm not kidding.

Last night Tate went down at 8:00 pm, then woke up at 1:00 am. I fed him again at 3:00 am because he seemed so hungry (he was), and he went back to sleep until around 5:00 am. This was definite improvement over the previous night, when he woke up at midnight, then went right back down, but was up again at 2:00 am until 4:30 am, and he was joined by Casey who woke up at 4:00 am. You get the point.

So we're working on the jet lag. He needs complete darkness to fall asleep, which leaves us one of the bathrooms or the laundry room. Because the big kids need the hall light on to fall asleep, we have to be creative about making Tate's room dark-- and he zooms right in on the infrared dots on the baby monitor camera. I finally turned it off until he fell asleep last night.

I know, I know-- you want to see pictures. Well then head on over to