Today is Milo’s first day of kindergarten! I dropped him off just before 9 this morning, and don’t go back to get him until 3:30!!! That is one long day for this little guy. I think he’s going to love it, though.
Earlier this week, Milo came home with the much-anticipated Sophia, his preschool class mascot. She came with a bag of clothes and a notebook full of pictures of friends who had taken her places before- one of Sophia on a swing, one of her making cupcakes, another of Sophia in her pajamas with a different friend, watching a movie.
Milo has taken such good care of her; changing her clothes, setting her up on the couch under a blanket with a friend, sharing books with her, even tucking her in at night in a doll cradle beside his bed. And of course, he wanted to take her on a real adventure, so we chose the Magic House. I let him know ahead of time that Sophia was his responsibility, that I would be carrying Emil on my back, a camera, and my bag, and would also need a hand free (imagine!). And so, with a little brainstorming, we fashioned a wrap out of an old swaddling blanket for Milo to carry Sophia on his back, baby-style.
Oliver needed a baby too.
So the three of us, each with a baby strapped to our backs, conquered the Magic House- climbing, exploring, sliding, and building. And I must say (if they choose to be), these boys will be fantastic papas some day.
A few of you have asked for some good book recommendations for kids, and since we do a whole lot of reading around here, especially during the winter months, I thought I would share a few of our current favorites.
- Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
- Tubby by Leslie Patricelli
- Dear Zoo (which we don’t own but always check out from the library because it is so great) by Rod Campbell
- Sticks (Emil is currently obsessed with this book… I have no idea)
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury & Michael Rosen
Books for Preschoolers and Early Grade Schoolers:
- Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts
- The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
- Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel
- I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
- The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman
- Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle
- Stick Man by Julia Donaldson
- Oliver Finds His Way by Phyllis Root
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day by Richard Scarry
- First The Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
- Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothman
- Sixty Impossible Things Before Lunch by Harriet Russell (Andrew’s favorite too!)
- Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
- An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton
- Emil and The Detectives by Erich Kastner
- Anything by Roald Dahl: The Witches, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: here is a box set!
Really, I could go on and on. Children’s books are some of my favorite things. Having kids just gives me a good excuse to read them! What are your top 3 children’s books?
We spent the weekend feeling the roller coaster of emotions I assume most families felt after hearing about the horrible school shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Friday, Andrew came home visibly shaken. I felt numb all day. But Friday night it hit me. I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, but every time I closed my eyes, all I could see were the grief-stricken faces of the victims’ parents. I thought about what I was doing that morning, at the very moment this horrific event was happening. I was getting the boys ready for school. I was sending them out there into the world, barely hugging them good-bye, because it was just another day. What if that were the last time I had seen them? I closed my eyes and all I could think was what are they doing now? They won’t be sleeping for days… I lay awake until well past 1 am and had vivid dreams until I woke up sad and scared.
Senseless acts like these make me want to gather up my family and run for the hills. I want to keep them safe and away from all danger and hurt. And it dawned on me; becoming a mother has made me open and vulnerable. There are three pieces of my heart completely exposed and separate from me… I cannot keep them with me, nor should I. Such is the conundrum of parenthood.
I don’t know the answer to these horrific events that seem to be occurring more frequently (are they, or am I just more aware of them now?), but my heart goes out to everyone who lost a child, friend, sister, brother, or parent during this tragedy. I will also never understand (despite people’s attempts to help me understand) the attraction people have to keeping weapons in their homes. Why does it seem like there are guns everywhere now?! There. I said it. And though I have much more to say on the topic, I will keep it at that.
There were a lot more hugs around here as we attempted to keep things normal for our boys who are too young to comprehend what had happened. Some day they will be old enough to understand, to be afraid and confused. But for now, they are so innocent. So we did what we had planned to do this weekend: visit Santa, share loaves of homemade chocolate chip pumpkin bread with neighbors, and play lots of music together.
How are you holding up during this rough event? Those of you with older children, how do you broach this impossible topic? I have no idea what I would say if our boys were older and had questions…
Sending love and appreciation to all of our readers and their families.
Having three little kids has proven to be exciting, hilarious, challenging, exhausting, and moving all at once. Having kids close in age seems to instill a bond in them that is unparalleled. They do not remember an existence without brothers. They always have a playmate, and learn how to empathize and compromise early on. I also think they know they have someone to turn to and count on, other than their parents, which can be a really good thing because, you know, we parents won’t be around forever. Well, there’s that and then the teenage years when we are embarrassing our kids just by being who we are. I guess at least they have someone to roll their eyes with.
But the major drawback I see in having kids so close in age is that chaos seems to reign all at once, where all little ones need their mama at the same time and (in their minds at least) in equally urgent ways, and someone always has to be set aside. Obviously the most life-threatening situation takes precedence over, say, wanting mama to finish that story we started two hours ago. Too many times that story never gets finished, and then I feel horrible because it’s usually Milo, sitting patiently on the couch, waiting and wanting and missing his mama-time, but not complaining about it because he somehow understands. But ugh. My heart just aches writing about it!
But it’s not only Milo. Oliver is still such a snuggly little guy, needing a lot of affection and hugs and of course wants more lap-time. At which point Emil runs over crying and whining (and occasionally hitting Oliver over the head with a toy frying pan) for me to nurse him. And no, it doesn’t work trying to hold both at the same time. It’s quite the predicament.
But something nice has happened recently. With the two older boys in preschool every morning until 11:45, Emil and I get some one-on-one time. And though it’s not always relax-time (this is key errand-running time since I only have one kid with me), it certainly is fun. We even met up with friends for breakfast this week, which we rarely do anymore. And then, after I pick up the boys from preschool and feed all three of them lunch, it is Emil’s nap time. So I get one-on-two time with Milo and Oliver. We can snuggle and watch a couple episodes of The Magic School Bus (have you seen this show? Such a cool cartoon about science on YouTube!) and read stories to our heart’s delight. It has become a really nice routine. When Emil wakes up, we take the opportunity to get outside and get some fresh air before dinnertime- a long walk to the library, a jaunt to the playground, even just tooling around in the back yard.
I see that it will get so much easier in so many ways. They will all eventually sleep through the night. The physicality of near-constant breastfeeding and baby-wearing will end (and I’m sure I will miss it). The boys will play even more independently and someday be big enough to ride their bikes to the playground a block away with no adults. Then… what will I do with myself? Ah… the possibilities are endless.
Yesterday was picture day at Milo & Oliver’s preschool. So, of course, bow ties. Then Andrew came downstairs and yes, another bow tie! Pretty fancy, no? Now I’m interested in the hilarity of the actual school photos, because no amount of combing or brushing will tame those manes. Should be pretty funny… which is exactly what a school picture should be!
On Milo: shirt: Crewcuts (on sale last year); bow tie: same- out of stock; jeans: Tea Collection (on sale at City Sprouts in the summer– I’m telling you, buying out of season is the way to go!); shoes: Crewcuts (on sale last year)
On Andrew: shirt: JCrew; cardigan: JCrew (ah-em, also on sale); bow tie: Forage (a father’s day present)- sold out, but I love this one by Fox and Brie; trousers: Banana Republic; sneakers: Tretorn (on sale, of course)
Whew! How’s that for a linked-up post?!
Ready for another season of Dress That Prof? I know I am! Though it might be difficult to produce outfits that are not duplicates of last year since Andrew really doesn’t need any new clothes… we’ll do our best to be creative.
Navy cardigan: JCrew (on sale right now plus an additional 30% off– the best way to buy clothing, I think!)
Shirt: JCrew (sold out, but find similar here)
Slim-fit jeans: JCrew (find similar here)
Boots: Timberland Boot Company (sorry, also sold out but these are similar and very sturdy tough-guy boots!)
P.s.– Forgot to post this last week: two eager young men on their first (Oliver’s first EVER) day of preschool (do you think he’s excited?)! Happy Wednesday!
The hot air balloon glow and festival was this weekend, but you wouldn’t know it from the looks of us! We had a very lazy weekend after Milo and Oliver’s first week of preschool. We stuck around home and had a lot of down time, especially after Oliver was up all Saturday night and Andrew somehow hurt his back (that’s what happens when you get old). Sunday morning it was obvious that Oliver had contracted his very first preschool illness. Just a cold– a snotty nose perfect for wiping into long bangs.
Thank goodness for Andrew. While I generally take the night shift tending to the alternate wake-up sessions between Emil and Oliver (that’s right, our three-year-old still wakes up at least once a night, more often two or three), Andrew faithfully rises with the boys every. single. morning so that I can sleep in a bit. He also took all of these pictures. Pretty cool papa, huh?
Oh, and that cool papa has also been fiddling a bit with the look of our blog… what do you think?
My favorite picture of the bunch
We are slowly settling into a schedule around here. The big boys go to preschool every day from 9 – 11:45 while I chase Emil around and try to protect him from bodily harm (his newest trick? Standing on the wheels of Oliver’s tricycle and letting go to see if he can balance…). Then lunch, then Emil’s nap while the boys (and I) have quiet time with stories and the occasional video, then we go to a playground or the library when Emil wakes up. Then dinner, baths, stories, and bed.
The weather is growing cooler and we had a pot of chili cooking all day Sunday. The house smelled amazing. We have our windows open and have to cuddle up with warm socks and blankets in the morning… oh, man I love this time of year.
Look for a yummy cheesecake pumpkin bread recipe tomorrow, and have a great Monday!
Talkin’ about school stuff
Today I was reminded of a fact that I learn and relearn every year when spring is around the corner. It is a fact that is a bit embarrassing. I am a grown up person with grown up responsibilities, after all. For my entire demeanor to be so dependent on the weather seems almost juvenile to me. Like, oh, boo-boo. The skies are gray and it’s cold outside and wet and crappy. So what. Get ahold of yourself and look on the bright side.
Only, I can’t.
I generally cannot stand being inside all day, and neither can anyone in my immediate family. This can be a wonderful thing (like during spring, summer, and fall, when we are outside for a good 12 hours a day) or a very very bad thing (winter blues x 4… or 5?). I guess it’s not all that bad. We entertain ourselves and each other well enough. But it always feels like just getting by. Waiting for the weather to shift. Because once we are back outside, perspective comes rushing back. OH!!! This is what happiness feels like! Hooray!
I mean, Oliver is GALLOPING, for goodness sake. All because of a little sunshine! Well, and because he is Oliver.
At Emil’s 6-month check-up, I patiently nodded as the RN suggested that my exclusively-breastfed baby might need vitamin D supplements because “most breastfed babies don’t get enough vitamin D from breast milk alone.” But I think she doesn’t know us. She doesn’t know that I push Oliver and Emil in the stroller facing the sunshine (or in the carrier- even MORE sunshine!) the entire walk to Milo’s preschool, then back again every day. She doesn’t know that if I don’t do this I will slip into a deep dark sunlight-deprived depression… oh, she doesn’t know. This is one kid who will not develop rickets, for heavens sake.
This was a good day. This was the same day Emil received the old quadra-shot craziness added onto the old rotovirus cocktail which seems to make him shut out the rest of the world for the next few hours and sleep peacefully in the stroller for two entire hours… even as the wind tried to blow him away down the sidewalk without us and I ran after him like a maniac in cowboy boots and a dress while Milo and Oliver stood, mouths agape, still as stones and just as helpful. Even as our door blew open and Proudie escaped, running down the street quite the opposite way, and around the corner before we even knew she was gone. Yep. It was still a good day.
We picked up pizza at the corner pizza place on our way back from collecting Milo from preschool. We ate most of it while walking almost comically slowly back home. A shuffle of a walk, really. A bite of pizza, a stop to look at a branch. Watching the construction vehicles. Talking to the mail carrier and Milo commenting on her new hairstyle (!) and pointing at “Dr. Claw” in the sky.
And by the time we got home, it was mostly eaten and little boys lost interest in such boring things as filling their bellies, and found much more important things to do…
… like swinging from the trees and drawing chalk footprint pathways leading “miles and miles” or so it seemed.
But no matter the miles, these pathways always, in sunshine or gray skies, lead back here.