Sunday, February 24, 2013

Snow Day

Last Saturday, we got our first (probably only?) "big" snow of the season (meaning that we accumulated about 1/2 inch of snow).  We were driving to my parents' house that day to see Grandma and Grandad a bit, and we suddenly realized that it was really snowing hard.  It snowed for a solid 8 hours, sometimes the really big, slow, beautiful snowflakes.  Unfortunately, the ground was too warm, so it melted almost as soon as it fell.  If it had been colder, I think we would have accumulated a really good covering of snow.  Here is our front yard in the middle of the day.

We bundled up all the kids to go play in the snow for a while.  It was nice to have an excuse to put Evelyn in her ridiculously warm winter suit (thanks to Brian and Mary for the adorable snow wear).

 She reminds me of the little brother in the movie A Christmas Story.  "I can't move my arms!"

Vivienne and Miles really enjoyed playing in the snow with Daddy.  Vivienne particularly enjoyed sporting her snow boots.  The big kids and Daddy threw snow balls and even made a little family of snow people (5 in total, of course).  It literally took all the snow in our yard to create those snowmen.  I was surprised that the kids lasted so long outside, considering how cold it was.  They were out there for about an hour.

After a romp in the snow with Daddy, they came in for some homemade hot chocolate to warm them up.  It was really fun to see the kids get to play in the snow for the first time. 

Evelyn is 7 Months Old!

Our littlest Valentine just turned 7 months old.  She has changed so much over the past month.  She is able to easily sit up on her own for long periods of time.  She still occasionally falls over, but she can sit up without assistance for a very long time. Yesterday, she was holding onto the play gym with her hands, and I let go of her and she just stood there for quite a few seconds before her legs collapsed.  She is still a long way from standing on her own, though.

Evelyn is really starting to enjoy spending time on her stomach more and exploring movement on the ground.  She doesn't get as much of an opportunity to have "floor time" as her brother and sister did, because she is so frequently being toted around to story times at the library and parks and other adventures.  She spends a great deal of time snuggled up against me in the Ergo carrier.

She doesn't do anything close to crawling yet, but she seems more interested in figuring out how to move from one spot to another.  She rolls around and spins herself in circles on her tummy, but she isn't yet to the "rocking on her hands and knees" point.

She has deliciously fat cheeks, pudgy toes, Michelin man legs, long eyelashes, dark eyebrows and a wonderful head of hair.  She looks so completely different from Miles and Vivienne.  In fact, all of our children have different skin tones, hair color and eye color.

Evelyn has always been a very relaxed baby, and that still continues.  She rarely fusses, and when she does, it's a very mellow "Hello, mom... don't forget I'm here" kind of complaining cry (versus the colicky screams that her brother used to give us when he was a baby).  In that way, she is much more like her sister from a temperament standpoint.  She is easily soothed.

Evie never really had much of an issue with spit up, and these days we have retired the burp cloths because the spit up is so rare.  It's nice not to have to worry about my shirts anymore.

Evelyn doesn't have any teeth yet, and we're guessing that they may be coming soon.  But if having children has taught us anything, it has taught us that they will keep us guessing.

Happy 7 month birthday, beautiful brown-eyed girl!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I find it amusing that Miles' first spelling word is "stop."  He frequently says,"Stop!  S-T-O-P.  Stop!  S goes 'ssssss'.  Stop!"

Maybe he has learned that one so well because he hears me say that word so often.  Or maybe he thinks his name is "Stop."  Stop Fox.  It has a nice ring to it.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Sing-Alongs and Dance Parties

This family loves music.  I am thrilled to see that Miles and Vivienne seem to really enjoy music.  We get it in many forms - at library story times, watching TV (they especially love the Laurie Berkner Band video on Netflix), while we're driving in the van, and on Sunday mornings at church.

The kids are good singers (for two-year-olds), and they often know all the words and have fairly good pitch.  Miles seems to have a particular love for dancing and singing.  Tonight, before bed, Jason and Grandma and Grandad and I were singing songs to the kids.  Miles loves to make special requests and have us all sing along with him. 

We also love to dance.  We often go to library story times at least once a week, and the kids love it.  Miles has learned all the hand motions and hip shakes and will often perform them exactly on cue with the songs.  And he doesn't just do the motions - he does them with lots and lots of enthusiasm and a huge grin on his face.

Dancing has become a frequent way for the family to blow off some steam and get our extra energy (also known as "shaking one's sillies out").  It is not uncommon to see us dancing along to the Laurie Berkner Band in the family room or having a dance party in the play room to the music on the computer (Call Me Maybe is a current favorite).  The kids also love it when I play their favorite songs in the van, and we all bee-bop along, bobbing our heads and waving our arms in the air.  I'm sure other drivers think I have lost my mind, but it's worth it to see the huge smiles on the kids faces.

Luckily, Evelyn isn't old enough yet to be embarrassed by all of this.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Baby Led Weaning

With Evelyn, we are handling the introduction of solids much differently than we did Miles and Vivienne.  With the twins, we were always focused on getting them to eat more and grow, because they were somewhat small (though the doctors never had any concern about this whatsoever).  In retrospect, I think we were more concerned about it than we need to be.  We introduced homemade baby food around 8 months, if I remember correctly.

Evelyn is just over 6 months old, and she seems very interested in food.  She has had a small amount of baby food from a spoon and has eaten some regular food from our forks and spoons while we're eating.

We have now begun to do baby led weaning.  Basically, baby led weaning is just introducing solid foods (in actual solid form, not mashed) and letting the baby set the pace for what and how she wants to eat.

The term "baby-led weaning" appears to be a point of confusion for a lot of people.  My rough understanding is that in Europe, "weaning" is the beginning of introducing solid foods.  In the US, "weaning" typically means ending breastfeeding.  "Baby-led weaning" is just an unassisted way to introduce solid foods.  I am definitely not weaning Evelyn in the American sense, and I hope to nurse her for a long time to come.  I'm just introducing solid foods in their whole form.  

So far, I would say that Evelyn is a fan.  This baby loves to eat (or at least play with her food), and she seems thrilled that she gets to join in on the eating experience when we are all sitting at the table.  When we don't give her something to chew on, she gets very frustrated and complains.

She has had bananas, carrots, sweet potato, broccoli, eggs and cheese and she seems to have liked all of them.

Baby led weaning gives babies the opportunity to explore color, taste and texture on their own, and allows them to decide how much to eat.  It also gives them some practice with their motor skills.  It was fun to watch Evelyn eat broccoli last night for the first time.

"Well, hello, broccoli.  I like you now, but I'm pretty sure I will reject you in about a year or so."

Buddies for Life

Wrinkly Nose

I love this wrinkly little nose.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Calf Path

From time to time, I like to post things that really get me thinking, like a message that I heard at church yesterday.  I hope that my kids will read some of these some day and that they will mean something to them.

Yesterday, Steve said,"God doesn't beat people over the head until they relent; He loves them until they see who they really are."  And he posted this poem on his blog:

The Calf Path
Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)

One day, through the primeval wood,
a calf walked home, as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail, as all calves do.

Since then three hundred years have fled,
And, I infer, the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tail.

The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way;
And then a wise bellwether sheep
Pursued the trail o'er vale and steep,
And  drew the flock behind him too,
As good bellwethers always do.

And from that day, o'er hill and glade,
Through those old woods a path was made,
And many men wound in and out,
And dodged and turned and bent about,
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because 'twas such a crooked path;
But still they followed- do not laugh-
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding wood-way stalked
Because he wobbled when he walked.

The forest path became a lane,
That bent and turned and turned again.
This crooked lane became a road,
What many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.

The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The road became a village street,
And this, before men were aware,
A city's crowded thoroughfare,
And soon the central street was this,
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half, 
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.

Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed that zigzag calf about,
And o'er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.
A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They follow still his crooked way,
And lose one hundred years a day,
For thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.

A moral lesson this might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach;
For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.
The follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.

They keep the path a scared groove,
Along which all their lives they move;
But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf!
Ah, many things this tale might teach-
But I am not ordained to preach.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I'm not sure where the kids first played hide-and-seek.  I think it was probably here at home with Daddy, but it could have been at their grandparents' house.

A note from Daddy: We first played hide-n-seek at home with Daddy.  It started as a game where the kids were running into the family room and I would jump out from behind the chair and surprise them.  It was a lot of fun watching them squeal with delight, turn around, run into the kitchen, turn around and run back into the family room to be "surprised" again.  One time I hid around the corner just before they came running into the family room.  They were a little confused why I wasn't there to greet them.  After a few seconds, I jumped out and surprised them.  They LOVED it and wanted more.  As the game evolved, I would hide farther and farther away from the original surprise spot.  Soon it turned into a full fledged game of hide-n-seek.  And they have been requesting it regularly ever since.

Lately, this is one of their favorite games, and I have to say that we think it is adorable.  They love to count, hide and try to find one another (and us).  Lately, Vivienne loves for Mommy or Daddy to hide with her while Miles does the counting and seeking.  Luckily, Miles is eager to oblige.  I guess that's one of the greatest benefits of having a twin - at least as a young child - that you have a built-in playmate with you all the time.

The "hiders" aren't incredibly discreet.  Vivienne will yell, "I'm over HERE!" while she is hiding.  Needless to say, this reveals her hiding spots rather quickly. 

We're loving that they are at an age where we can play simple games with them.  It's an incredible joy to hear them giggle and watch their little heads bobbing as they run.  We're halfway through them, but I don't think the two's are so terrible.

Beginning Potty Training

We have slowly begun to potty train Miles and Vivienne.  For a while now, we have had a couple of little potties in the downstairs bathroom.  The kids mainly just dragged them into the family room to play with them.  I know it sounds gross, but they had never really been used before.

Suddenly, Vivienne showed real interest in using the potties.  I started asking her if she wanted to use it, and she said that she did.  She has had a few days where she only wet her diaper during her naps, but most days she just uses it a handful of times.  Miles has just recently started using it a couple of times per day, too.  Each time they use it, they get a Skittle.  That seems to be a good incentive for them, but often they will refuse to use the potty for some reason.  I don't push it, because I feel that we should just wait for them to be ready for these types of things - makes it less painful for them and for us.  I know that they will be using the potty before they turn 18, so it will all work out in time.

We're hoping that they slowly start using the potty more and more, and we're looking forward to the day when we only have one child in cloth diapers (or even NO children in diapers, but that seems so far away).  In the meantime, I really don't mind washing them that much.  Using cloth diapers has been very manageable for us, and I'm so glad that we do it (for cost savings and the environment).

So we're making baby steps toward potty training.  No pun intended.