Friday, August 21, 2015

Transitions and Milestones

Since turning three, the cribs are gone.  The pen is gone.  Little potties are here.  MILESTONES!  

The first big transition was switching from cribs to toddler beds about a month before the 3rd birthday.  Difference between girls and boys: once in toddler beds the girls go to bed with no issue and stay there all night and the boys party it up until they crash.  From kicking the walls, breaking a bed (too much jumping), pinning Ben under a mattress, locking Ben in the closet, climbing anything they can, emptying clothes bins all over the floor, to conspiring on how to get out of the room (it's childproofed locked from the inside), I never know what I'll find when I go in their room.  Over time, it's gotten slightly better, but the "frat parties" continue.  Also, the new thing is, when the girls wake up (always before the boys) they'll go in the boys room to get them up too.  Not cool girls.  Not cool.
One time after nap they walked out like this.  They were fully clothed when I put them to nap.

Sweet sisters can share toddler beds if they want to

The freedom of no pen transition was much smoother and I like having my living room back!  At first they weren't sure what to do with the open space, but got over that real quick.  Dance parties, ring around the rosie, chase, obstacle courses, car race tracks have all filled up that space at one time or another.  

On the other hand, potty training is the WORST.  I'll repeat that one- WORST.  Sometime I feel like the whole house smells like pee.  We started training all 5 at once and after a week I was at my wit's end.  Put Leaky Levi (he earned that one) back in diapers.  Fortunately Caroline, Andrew, and Ben started catching on and their pretty good now.  Still random accidents, but not bad.  Allison is some sort of camel child and doesn't go.  So, she can pull off that she's trained, but she's really not.  We restarted Levi a few weeks ago and miraculously he caught on quickly and is at the same level as the others.  Since none of the traditional training methods were really going to be feasible for me, I made up my own.  Started out rewarding for dry pants every few minutes and expanding to every 30 minutes and they got bigger rewards for using the potty.  Once they got the hang of dryness, only going potty was rewarded.  The week I restarted Levi I had sticker charts for everyone hoping to stir up some friendly sibling competition.  They really took to those quickly and it helped Levi a great deal, but poor camel Allison only had 1 sticker while everyone else had completed theirs.  Still works in progress, but we're heading in the right direction.  And on a positive note, we haven't had any poop paintings in quite some time and the boys have learned to "point it down".  As one of my boys has said, "Mommy, don't hold down my penis!" You can't make this stuff up.  

Friday, August 14, 2015


In light of the new school year about to begin (and School Part 2 being posted), a little catch up needs to happen.  The transition into school started a few (if 6 is a few) months ago.  I started calling around local Mother's Day Out programs to narrow down which ones I wanted to visit (i.e. which ones gave decent sibling discounts).  I got it down to 4, but one program told me they couldn't get all of my kids in on the same days of the week, so they were out.  Honestly they were all great programs, different, but good in their own ways.  The one we chose gave us the best financial deal, but also, it's Christian based and they seemed genuinely excited about my kids attending, and word of mouth reviews have all been positive :)  On top of all that good stuff, they let me bring the kids to recess time a few times this past spring to get them used to coming.  We got to play, meet some of the kids and teachers, and see the classrooms!  I mean, how awesome is that?!  AND they're still genuinely excited we're attending in the fall :)

On the public school side of things, evaluations began a couple of months prior to their 3rd birthday. I had them all either tested or screened.  With no surprise, Leah qualified for half day PPCD (Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities) and Caroline and Levi qualified for walk-in speech class.  They all began the week after they turned 3.  I was nervous about Leah starting school and regressing due to an overwhelming schedule and new experiences, but she ROCKED it!  She did fall asleep during the first day, but after that she did great and continued to work hard and progress in her therapies at home.  She rides the bus which is so wonderful for me, and the others LOVE meeting the bus at our driveway and full out cheer for Leah and the bus driver.  Our driver must feel like a celebrity when she gets to our house.  One day she even let us all get on the bus to see what Leah does!  The others thought that was so cool.  

First Day!

Awesome inflatable chair for circle time

Caroline and Levi really enjoyed speech class and made quite a bit of progress in the short time before summer! The other kids enjoyed eating snacks and walking the school grounds while we waited.  I feel like so many at the school know us and we don't really go there yet.  

Visiting Leah's class
On Leah's field day, her teacher let me bring all the kids along and participate with the class- bounce house and popsicles.  My kids think school is awesome.  We truly had a great introduction to school last May and I'm praying the new school year goes just as well.  A lot of transitions are about to happen!

Friday, August 7, 2015

We are THREE-nagers?!

The 3's.  Oh, how I love you and hate you all at once.  They are learning new things constantly and talking so much ( I keep a notebook of funny sayings), playing together, being more independent in self help skills and play, and generally easier and more fun to take places and do things with.  Then they are also potty training, whining, tantruming, fighting, talking constantly, and being more independent.  Fun, yet challenging to say the least.  All you people who warned me that the 3's are hard were SPOT. ON. As their pediatrician said, "They don't call them threenagers for nothing."  

One thing that's started to stand out with my little threenagers are the PERSONALITIES!  Here's my somewhat brief summary of each one at this current time (3 years, 3 mo):


Mini Dave, sensitive, scaredy cat, likes to please (most of the time), concerned where everyone is and what they're doing, inquisitive, loves cars and trucks and trains and planes, puzzles, swimming, bubbles, jumping.  Andrew quotables…
"You're tall" "No, I'm Andrew"
"Mommy I went potty I get a treat." "Not this time" "I want my teetee back."
"I want to go up high" (on the highway)
"How about juice?" "no." "How about yes?"
"Pop is a good boy"
"Hey Daddy, you're not Mommy."


Talkative is an understatement, charms everyone he meets, know-it-all, demanding, bossy, silly, loves cars and trucks, jumping, climbing, swimming, running.  I could write a book of Ben quotables.
"Mommy you're too big to play." "Then what should I do?" "You go get drinks and snacks."
"Mommy that not nice!"
"I teetee over there.  Get paper towel.  Wipe it up.  I need new pants."
"Put it on my body" (referring to his new pants)
"What's wrong with Andrew? Maybe Levi can help him."
"I must be hungry" (said while eating)
"This one is the most medium."


Don't let the pink dress and sparkly pink shoes and pink EVERYTHING fool you- she can get her brothers in a headlock and wrestle them to the ground like nobody's business.  And she's the fastest and most likely to steal your toy and run away.  But she also says "I love you" the most and has the best please/thank you manners.  Independent, stubborn, and sweet.  Throws tantrums every new place we go.  Loves swimming and anything water related, coloring, napping, her princess dolls, playing outside, hiding in her room when too many people are here. Don't have any quotables from her since she just started putting sentences together, but she is first to let me know when someone's made a "big mess Mommy. Big mess."  


Little mother, rule follower, pitifully dramatic with any minuscule injury (i.e. fake limping when a scab started to come off), helper, honest, spots a sucker a mile away- to carry her of course, whines instead of talking with any chance, girly girl, loves cooking, art stuff, games, dancing, having nails painted, ring around the rosie, chase, having her picture taken and looking at pictures of herself. 
"I love looking at pictures of myself"
"Look at me I have princess legs."
"I kick my legs, it's great!"
"I cook too.  Need hat.  Need glove.  I say no apron!"
"I did it!  I be careful!" 


Sweet, silly, knows what he wants and will whine and tantrum to get it- even if you already gave it to him, can be clingy, loves to dance and sing, play his guitar, mop/sweep/vacuum, open and shut doors, water play, jump, run, pick out his own clothes (girls pick out the same thing everyday but he mixes it up). 
"Levi I see your hiney." "No Mommy it's a butt."
"There's Chick fil a. It good. Mmmm. Yummy in my tummy." (he's been there once)
singing any song he can remember words to- so cute!


Happy, determined, hard working, loves cuddling, music, hugs and kisses, being in the water, hearing siblings cry, giggling, Daddy's tickles, moving in her gait trainer, sensory play, her stander, iPad apps (of course).  She is much more vocal these days and has made lots of progress with using switches, her gait trainer, scooting around the floor, beginning to use her vision and movement for functional purposes, and even eating!  We've recently started using food play as she is willingly bringing her hand to her mouth and she's really enjoyed it- even the tiny bits of self feeding.  :)  The vomiting continues, but she's rocking everything else.

It's hard to believe these little people are 3 years old now.  I oh so often forget where we started (or maybe my brain just blocked out that whole first year).  What I do remember is thinking, "If we can make it to 3 things will be so different and all this baby stuff will be over. We'll know we can do this."  The time has flown, we've made it to 3, things are so different, the baby stuff is over, and we're doing this the best we can.  Wouldn't have it any other way- semi-controlled chaos and all!
All photos in this post are courtesy of Lisa Holloway Photography

Thursday, August 6, 2015

3rd Birthday Party!!

Approaching the 3rd birthday I knew this one would be the most fun yet (I know, they're only 3, but still.)  They had been to quite a few birthday parties and were getting excited that it would be THEIR birthday soon.  I wanted to keep the theme gender neutral and something that they all enjoy which quickly narrowed down to Bubble Guppies or Crayons/Art.  I went with Crayons because I thought it would be easier to pull off. :)  Let me back track.  That was the big party.  First we had to have a couple of smaller parties...

Started off with the Goodbye ECI/Happy 3rd Birthday party.  Ms.  Holly (ECI teacher) brought over balloons and cupcakes and a copy of Dr. Suess's Oh the Places You'll Go complete with the sweetest message to each of the kiddos written inside.  I plan to have as many teachers and therapists write notes in the book as I can get.  This party was so bittersweet as we miss seeing Ms. Holly every week!  

Actual birthday ice cream cake!
The next celebration was on their actual birthday.  Grandparents, my regular Thursday crew of helpers, and I gave our gifts complete with balloons and ice cream cake.  And I was even able to force them into taking the annual brown chair pictures!

Now on to the big party... 

Each kiddo had a crayon shirt in their color.  You know, because we've brainwashed them into liking "their color" the best.  They also had their own mini cake shaped like a crayon in their color.  Ms. Barb did a phenomenal job with their cake!  Super cute and super yummy! At the party we had butcher paper over the tables with crayons to decorate, balloons galore, face painting, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and a pinata.  The menu was colored foods: strawberries, cheese balls, cheese and cracker tray, veggies and dip, blue popcorn balls, and purple grapes.  Plus pigs in a blanket, ice cream, and cake for good measure.  A terrible storm rolled in the day of which completely spoiled the whole party in the park plan, but thankfully I had rented a large room with covered patio area, so the party went on and we all had a blast!  I'm already jotting down ideas for future parties :)  I'm all about the big party/simple theme.  No need to get extra crazy over here.

Now let's see if those crayon shirts still fit at Halloween for my pack of crayons costume idea… :)