Monday, May 26, 2014

We are 2!

At 2 years old these 6 kiddos are full of energy!  They are on the go all day long between sliding, push toys, puzzles, blocks, Mickey Mouse, books, coloring, bubbles, running outside, looking for ducks/airplanes/dogs on our walks, and eating constantly.  Lucky for me they take a glorious 3 hour nap in the middle of the day (sleep training = da bomb).  They also go to bed at 7:30pm and wake up at 7:00am.

They have 5 scheduled eating times- breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner.  I have started to become slightly less rigid in the snacks as they're learning to communicate.  If we're out somewhere they'll often skip a snack because they're too busy.  When it's snack time at home and someone says they don't want it right then they can continue to play.  When they ask for food or drink in between meals, I'll give them their water and a few raisins to hold them over.  By the way, they are all obsessed with raisins right now!  I have trained them to sit down on the floor if they want to eat raisins, so it's a common sight in my kitchen to see 5 little people sitting in a huddle on the floor for raisins.  I've also trained them to bring me their cups when they're done instead of dropping them around the house.  Their favorite foods right now are pancakes, egg casserole, eggos, muffins, quesadillas, PBJ, sweet potatoes, parmesan tilapia, hot dog, avocado, pasta, anything mexican, beans, pizza, raisins, bananas, grapes, blueberries, yogurt, oatmeal, cheerios, crackers, and of course anything sweet I allow them to have.

Some things they all enjoy right now... playing outside, bubbles, water tables, our mini roller coasters, sandbox, freely running about, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Blue's Clues, Bubble Guppies, Elmo, music/singing/dancing, toy vacuums/mowers/strollers, play food and kitchen, blocks, sliding, puzzles, books, going to our neighbor friend's house, "hiding" and "seeking", pretending to give you something then quickly pulling away, coloring, and playing chase.

Now let's break it down.

Andrew Noah

27 lb 15 oz   34 in
size 2T clothes, size 5 diapers, size 6 shoe

Andrew is by far the tallest and can open drawers, reach the edge of the counters, and tries to open doors.  He still loves trucks, planes, and cars.  He's great at puzzles and shape sorters and building.  He loves running around outside, throwing sand, splashing water, and looking for planes.  He's been surprising me with more new words lately- usually labeling food.  He's recently gotten into "hiding" (squatting behind stuff) and pretending to share or give hugs then backing away laughing.  He really enjoys brushing his teeth and started the trend of the boys holding their own toothbrushes the entire bath time.  He also loves to squeal obnoxiously loud and high pitched when he's excited.  He is still the bully of the group, often snatching toys from others, and he is the time out mat's frequent flyer.  Andrew not only looks like his Daddy, but he also loves to lounge like his Daddy.  Now he even climbs in the big chairs to rest alone or read books.

Benjamin Luke

27 lb 12 oz 32 in
size 2T clothes, size 5 diapers, size 5-5.5 shoe

Ben is constantly on the go.  He loves to run- be it in the hallway, in the backyard, or around the kitchen island.  Often he's going so fast he gets clumsy; last week he had 2 black eyes and a gash down his face from falling 3 separate times.  Today he earned a goose egg and bloody nose.  Ben loves books, listening to stories, and swaying back and forth to music.  He's a great thrower.  Fortunately for me, as much as he likes to throw he also enjoys helping pick up.  He's the best one at stacking.  He still makes tons of silly faces and sounds; as of late he's started singing in "doh's" and "oh's"- so cute/hilarious at the same time!  Ben continues to savor his last bite of food.  He has recently gotten into dressing up with shoes and bracelets.  

Caroline Grace

23 lb 12 oz  32.5 in 
size 2T clothes, size 4/5 diapers, size 4.5-5 shoe

Moody and temperamental: words recently used by a friend to describe this girl.  Just like Lauren: what my dad always says about her.  But I turned out ok right?  When someone new is around she is sweet as pie and just as shy.  Tired and hungry she is a terror.  Her cry is deafening- but does make Leah smile.  But I have learned that giving her a minute in time out to calm down does wonders for her.  She loves books and being read to- especially books about numbers, colors, and letters.  She receptively knows every.single. item. in her favorite books.  She picks up on motions to songs and on TV shows right away and remembers them.  She's a good helper when she wants to be and is still a Mommy's girl.  She can be pretty silly too and loves dogs so much it's hard for her to contain her excitement.  She loves to color and build blocks, often clapping for herself for a job well done.  She's definitely my water baby- bathtub, pool, splash pad- can't get her out.  If she's hiding behind a curtain she's probably pooping.  

Leah Michelle

17 lb 12.5 oz   29 in
size 12-18 mo clothes, size 4 diaper, size 4 shoe

She's lost several pounds in the last few months so her GI and dietitian have put her on a higher calorie food to get her weight up.  So far, so good.  We think the loss is due to the decrease in amount of food given with an increase in activity level.  Leah has really been doing well lately (besides the weight thing).  Her vomiting is generally in the evening only with some mucousy coughs in the morning.  She's done weight bearing standing for up to 30 seconds and does more through her arms too.  She's eaten a full teaspoon of several foods and is becoming quite tolerant of having food put in her mouth.  She's reaching and grasping with both hands and trying so hard to completely roll over.  She still loves singing and counting and VeggieTales.  She is generally very happy and always wins best behavior when we're in public.  

Allison Kate

18 lb 2 oz   30.5 in
size 12-18 mo clothes, size 4 diaper, size 4 shoe

She's now the official failure to thrive one.  It's so strange to me how they all eat about the same amount of food yet there's a vast difference in weight.  So, I'll be giving her some Boost or Pediasure to pump up her calories.  She's currently a raisin lover and asks for them  She's typically a good helper too (anything to be praised) and is still a tattle tale with her "uh-oh" patrol.  For whatever reason this girl refuses to express words on command.  She knows everything receptively, but will only mouth words and sign them when asked.  I have caught her saying words on her own while playing.  She loves her great grandmother and the feeling is mutual (we're talking super spoiled here).  She's the girly girl of the bunch liking her shoes and accessories and being cute.  She still enjoys coloring and books and being carried around.  She's turned into the cautious scaredy cat of the group- whether it's new people or a new toy.  Her latest thing is grabbing a single finger and pulling adults around.  

Levi Thomas

21 lb 3 oz   30 in
size 12-18 mo clothes, size 4 diaper, size 4 shoe

Levi is happy as long as he has his guitar or his vacuum or his swiffer mop.  He even earned himself a busted lip and bloody nose chasing after the real vacuum.  He spends at least 30 minutes a day watching himself play guitar in the oven reflection or window or mirror or anything reflective.  He loves to fling himself on you for a hug and smile with his super cute little teeth.  And laugh.  And make silly faces.  He's starting to get more patience for things like books, puzzles, and coloring.  The others can sit and do those activities for 30 minutes or so.  Lately he's been the best eater- slow and steady.  He's busted out quite a few new words recently.  He loves to run around outside with his elbow pumping and play in the water or chase bubbles.  He's got some moves too! He watches over his favorite toys to keep them away from Andrew (usual thief).  As a neighbor friend often says, "there's a lot of might in that little body".

And there you have it... The Perkins Pack at 2 years old!  

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Birthday Celebrations!

The Pack's real birthday fell on a Wednesday.  With Dave at work and Leah busy with therapies, there wasn't too much hoopla going on that day.  They did get yummy cinnamon rolls (Allison ate so many she threw up) for breakfast and some very special chocolate covered Oreos for dessert!  The Oreos came from a baker in New Jersey (Sweet Temptations) who saw me on LIVE with Kelly and Michael; she sent them just for their birthday.  I ate Leah's on her behalf and it was amazing!  They also received a few gifts from family on their actual birthday which I missed in pictures.  But what I did get in pictures is each kid with me just like on their 1st birthday (to be shown in next post).  I'm thinking it could be an annual tradition :)

Andrew, Caroline, Ben eating Oreos

Levi and Allison eating Oreos

Leah posing with her Oreo
The big birthday party was the following Saturday.  Although we cut the guest list in half from last year, it was still a pretty big party.  My goal was to tone it down a bit from last year and I feel we achieved just that.  What helped the most was whenever anyone offered to help with the party I gave them a job.  By the end of it, I didn't have to do very much :)  Everyone pulled through with their parts for a very successful party!

We found a great location at a close-by neighborhood's rec center.  The building was the perfect size and had access to playgrounds, splash pads, open field, and sand volleyball!  I loved that I didn't have to plan any activities during the party.  The theme was A Very Hungry Caterpillar and it turned out really cute!!  There were caterpillars everywhere thanks to my BFF from college's sister.  She made 95% of the decorations and did a phenomenal job!  A fellow high order multiples mom (she has quads and they were next door to us in the NICU) made their birthday shirts.  I sent her a picture of what I liked and she replicated it perfectly!  (Check out her Etsy shop here)  All the food served corresponded with what the caterpillar ate throughout the story, and  the favors were bags of M&Ms labelled "Caterpillar Food".   Everyone had a good time, especially the kids.  They were worn out from running around chasing bubbles in the field.  OH, and they ate a ton of cookies!

Cake Table

A Very Hungry Caterpillar in Pictures

Each kid had their own caterpillar with pictures of themselves throughout the last year


Dave and Levi

Allison and Andrew sneaking cookies

Time to eat!

Leah slept through most of the party.  I was forced to eat her cupcake.

Wanna bite?

Look who woke up just in time to go home!

Ben was loving my grandmother's hat

I'm always told "the days are long, but the years are short".  No kidding!  I can't believe how quickly time flew between the 1st and 2nd birthdays.  I know it's not going to slow down either.  I will say I am loving my little toddlers.  It is a blast watching them learn and discover new things.  Yes, there are rough times and testing limits, but I'm thinking so far I like this stage way more than baby stage.  We'll see what I think in a year :)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

2-year-old Photo Shoot

Since we hadn't taken real professional photos of the kids and family since their 1st birthday, I decided the 2nd birthday would be worth the effort.  As luck would have it, my talented neighbor friend Lisa Holloway offered to do the shoot for us!  She picked a great location at a local park.  We attempted the group shots first before they completely lost interest.  We plopped them in their chairs, handed out blocks and cookies, ran out of view, and Lisa snapped and clicked as fast as the camera could go!  Somehow we ended up with some great shots!
Ben, Leah, Levi, Alli, Andrew, Caroline

Alli, Levi, Leah, Ben, Caroline, Andrew

Best Family Shot

Best Family Outtake

Dave and Andrew
Next up were the individual shots.  I stayed with each kiddo to entertain them as she tried to take their picture while the other adults chased around the rest of the kids.  After the outfit change, Lisa chased after the kids with her camera.  One time she just grabbed an arm and clicked away when they looked at her!








Serious Leah


Happy Leah

Giggly Girl Alli


I want a cookie! 

Thanks- Levi

I am just in love with the pictures!  There are so many good ones it's hard to pick my favorites (obviously).  And we had a blast at the shoot!  If you're in the Houston area, please check out Lisa for your photography needs- if she can handle our crew, she can do any family!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Events in April

San Jacinto Day Parade
For the 2nd year in a row, we participated in West Columbia's San Jacinto Day Parade!  West Columbia is the teeny town my grandparents live in.  I think they might be the only town to really do up San Jacinto Day-considering I had never heard of it until last year.  But, I also took Louisiana history and missed out on all things Texas.  Any who, back to the parade.  This year we increased our walking group size by quite a few!  We had the 8 of us, my grandmother, great aunt, mom, brother, future sister-in-law, 2 cousins, fabulous friend, and the kiddos' ECI teacher who happens to be from West Columbia.  We were decked out in our red, white, and blue for Texas and the old ladies decorated the stroller up all fancy.  We had a great time walking and waving and even earned the "Best Walking Group" award!  Not sure who our competition was in the small parade, but we'll take it :)  We have determined that next year we'll have to outdo ourselves with candy and maybe even t-shirts.

Leah ready for the parade!

This year Easter happened to fall on the same weekend as the San Jacinto Day festivities.  So, we combined the celebrations into one momentous occasion.  Following the parade, we headed back to my grandmother's house for egg hunts and good eats.  I had to have an annoying mom moment and make the kids change from their parade outfits (red, white, and blue) to their Easter outfits.  I just really wanted the Easter pictures to be in their Easter outfits.  I mean, that's totally understandable right?

Once everyone was changed we headed out to the backyard to find eggs.  The kids really enjoyed it!  They liked picking them up and putting them in baskets (didn't matter whose was whose) and opening them.  We did not fill them with anything this year.  Maybe next year the Easter Bunny will be nicer :)  After most of the eggs were collected and we attempted some crazy family photos, we went inside to eat.  The kids gobbled up lunch while the adults ate in shifts.  We played a little bit then headed back home as the exhausted toddler meltdowns started in.  All in all a very busy day but also great fun!
Andrew helping Leah fill her basket

The winning family picture


Levi stuck in his basket

Allison and her great grandmother

Caroline and her great grandpa

I totally love their Easter baskets!!  I took the plain white baskets we received after they were born (Easter themed gift baskets), gave them to my aunt, and she worked her magic to create these Pottery Barn-like masterpieces.  Brilliant!

March for Babies
At the end of April we participated in the March of Dimes March for Babies.  Last year it was rained out, so I wanted us to complete it this year.  We walked as part of a subgroup for Texas Children's Hospital along with my mom and some good friends.  The walk is 5 miles long.  The kids started getting restless past the half way point (no surprise there), but luckily all the snacks I packed kept them occupied enough to cross the finish line.  We only lost one shoe and one straw along the way.  Not too shabby.

Following the walk, the TCH tent had a hot dog/hamburger lunch for team members.  It's the closest we've come to restaurant style eating.  They really didn't do too bad!  The bigs were able to sit in chairs and eat off the table, but the little ones had to sit in someone's lap to reach the food.  I was impressed for a first time experience.

Although it was a tiring event, it was well worth it to raise money (THANK YOU to those who donated!) and awareness for such a wonderful organization!  Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of us, but all those random strangers walking by us did- maybe one good pic will pop up online somewhere :)