Long Meddow Days

Longmeadow has an annual festival with bounce houses (sadly, Natalie felt like she was too old for them this year!), carnival-type food, trinket vendors (ugh – she did buy $5 slime though)… and bands.  Daddy McFaddy made his debut – starting with some Justin Timerblake and moving onto Elvis and many other musicians. It was an eclectic mix.  Some of Elliott’s kinder friends joined for the celebration too!  My fav parts:

  • Natalie looking adoringly at her dad while he rocked out.  She is a Daddy’s girl.
  • Jordan calling to Elliott for some help on some words during Viva Las Vegas.
  • Conor being okay with me dancing him on my lap
  • Lala’s high energy – she makes a great groupie!

Daddy McFaddy and the Meatballs (my suggestion for an addition to the band name) will hopefully play again next year….. looking for fellow musicians to join in.

 

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Happy 4.5 Months, Conor!

So…. Conor’s 4-month mark was right in the midst of that busy baptism/first communion/recital weekend, so I postponed his 4-month check-up.  (This was due to the vaccinations – who wants a crabby/fussy/tired baby with guests in town?  I made the mistake of having Natalie’s 2nd month appt the day before we had a bunch of family in for Natalie’s baptism.)  And, then I had to postpone his doc appt b/c Jordan was out of town.  So, finally, the update.

I finally got to meet this Lala character that my brother and sister told me so much about – she’s a legend and I can see why!

Weight: 20 lbs, 2 oz. (Funny story – the nurse put him on the scale and had the first measure at 10 lbs and then was going up with the 2nd one, one lb. at a time…. she made it all the way up to 10 + 10 lbs and then finally gave up, moved the first measure to 20 lbs and added on the 2 oz. more.)  Of course, he’s in the 98th+ percentile.  This compares to Natalie at 16.5 lbs (although much shorter) and Elliott at 18.5 lbs (90-95th percentile b/c apparently I hadn’t been giving the sitter enough food for him).  You should check out Elliott’s 4-month milestone update – http://linvilleusa.com/2013/07/happy-4-months-elliott/ –  and Elliott’s 4-month weigh-in post – http://linvilleusa.com/2013/07/e/.
Height: 28 inches (vs. Elliott’s 26.5 inches)
Head Circumference: Off the charts

Why does my mom “save time” by not buttoning all my snaps? How embarrassing.

Milestones: He can do a quarter-turn rollover, which is what his sister was doing at this age, although Elliott could do a full rollover.  He babbles a ton – as Becky says, sounds like heaven on Earth.  He is drooling a ton – I can see a little bit of white through his bottom gums.  He’s giggled a couple times – mostly when he is tickled under his chin or you do a raspberry on his belly.  He is quick to smile.

Disposition: Pretty happy boy!  Sometimes, he wakes up and just babbles in his crib.  His car rides are mostly just around town, like dropping his siblings off at school, but he does a good job.  Now that its nicer, we’ve gone on a few walks in his stroller.

Fun activities: He likes his activity play mat and toys / towels / loveys he can easily grab. He’s not sure quite what to make of the stand-up play gym.  He loves to look at himself in the mirror and be held up bouncing on your legs.  When he wants to chill out, he likes to be in his rock ‘n play and look at the gel things on the back window (the holiday / spring ones that Grandma always sends).  He likes to actively kick in the bathtub.  And, of course, he loves just to be in the mix with Natalie and Elliott – they play with him very differently and he watches very different types of play between the two of them.

Books: We read a lot of Five Little Lady Bugs, That’s Not my Dinosaur, Belly Button Book and Spot Bakes a Cake.  (Not too long and easy to hold)

Schedule: Three naps a day.  He isn’t up for any more than 2 hours at a time and sometimes sleeps for up to 3 hours.  If he’s not up by 8am, I wake him up to start the day and then he’ll nap by 9:30.  Today, he was up on his own around 7:40am and yawning by 9:05am (so I put him down and he missed 9:30 mass).  He probably wakes up about once at night – sometimes I feed him, other times I send in Jordan.

A common question I get is: How is life with three kids? My co-worker always answers this question with, “It’s just more crazy.”  And truth be told, its my oldest who gives me a run for my money, as she continues to test out her independence.  It’s very busy – definitely, less time for blog updates, not working out everyday, less work in evenings / weekends which leaves me perpetually feeling behind since I’m also working an 80% schedule – but it’s working (knock on wood).  I do feel very lucky to have three healthy, smart, beautiful, (mostly) kind kids… and a very involved husband.

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Conor’s Baptism

Conor David was baptized on May 10th!  We were so lucky that Fr. CJ was able to do a Friday afternoon baptism, so that Nana, Pop, Grandma, Grandpa Dave (godfather), Becky, Cameron, Natalie (godmother), Elliott, Jordan and I could all be there. It was a perfect and intimate ceremony.  When I first asked my dad to be the godfather, he said “Are you sure they let old men do that?”  I explained that he would be paired with Natalie (who technically isn’t quite old enough to be a godmother – you’re supposed to be confirmed first), who could take over when he was legit “too old.”  Plus, we figured if you averaged their ages – (62 + 8) / 2 = 35 years, which is perfect.

Conor was a dream during his baptism of course.  No crying.  Just taking it all in.  He wore the slip of the baptismal gown that Natalie and Elliott wore and Nana made.  At more than 4 months and a big baby to start, there was no way he was fitting in that original gown!  Nana will stitch in his name.

There were way more cute stories to go with this weekend, but it was almost 2 weeks ago, so I’m forgetting.  I’m struggling to keep my head above water!

My Aunt Becky is baby crazy!

Oof. Who’s the jumbo baby now?

I could use a snack

Whose dress is longer – mine or my sister’s?

Um, I have a question!

Why is my mom posing like a superhero?

One-on-two time with my parents! Yippee! This never happens

Why am I at church on a Friday?

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The Day of Natalie

For anything this girl loses in her birthday being so close to Christmas (not much – as we tend to go above and beyond and spread out the celebration), she made up for on Saturday, May 11th.  She had her First Holy Communion in the morning (where she crowned Mary) and her 4th dance recital (of her 5th year of dancing) in the afternoon.  We were lucky to have Nana, Pop, Grandma, Grandpa, Becky (godmother) and Cameron fly in.

(Isn’t she gorgeous?!? She is wearing a special bracelet from Nana, a birthstone cross necklace from Grandma, and my wedding tiara!)

(Oh my goodness – I’m so lucky to be the mom of these kids!)

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Dragons are Nocturnal

Elliott: “Mom, did you know that dragons are nocturnal, like bats?  I’m brushing Cinder’s teeth right now for the morning.  He is 3.  His birthday is Oct. 12.  He goes to bed at 9:55 a.m.”

Me: “Oh, that’s right when you go to specials, huh?  You go to PE and he goes to bed.”

“Yes, I have Dog-Dog put him to bed since we’re the same age.  And, Cinder has a day off of preschool in order to check out the kindergarten classrooms tomorrow.  I’m asking Dog-Dog to bring him.  He will be back at 10:00 p.m.”

“Okay, I’ll leave the door unlocked for them.”

“Okay.”

 

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Prayer from Elliott

“Dear God and Jesus,

Please have my mom be a better wrestler.  Amen.”

– Elliott, in the middle of a wrestling match with me, he lays down, closes his eyes and says this prayer.

(What a trip!  The ways kids will find to insult you.)

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Cute March Pics

Cute pics

Our little hero smiling….

the defender of the universe (mini VOltron) smiling

 

O Christmas tree standing to Conor’s left side so he practiced looking left (C always looks and sleeps right)

After an early spring walk

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Conference Time

I may have blogged about this before, but it sure is a pleasure to go to parent-teacher conferences when your kids are so amazing.  Here are some highlights:

Natalie

  • “Sweetest, nicest student who works so hard and cares about everyone”
  • “a great friend”
  • “Takes great pride in her work and sentence structure”
  • “Put a lot of thought into her reflection sheet”.  In her own reflection sheet, she talked about her strengths in reading and writing (because she adds a lot of detail).
  • “Neat hand writing”
  • Top speller in the class
  • In her WIN (what I need) block, she gets to do extension activities because she is beyond grade level… right now, she is working on creative writing and math challenges
  • In math and reading assessments, she went from “above average” in fall to “well above average” in spring.  I think she scored at the 88th percentile in math and 96th in reading
  • The only thing that Natalie needs to work on is being more confident in herself at school and presenting that confidence in a school setting.  (Don’t tell her that I wrote this on the blog.)

Elliott

  • “Elliott makes us smile everyday”
  • “He is respectful and smart.  He makes the classroom safe for all students.”
  • “He puts his whole self into his work”
  • “He is so empathetic – remember the wrinkled heart activity”
  • Likes a variety of activities in choice time – art, stacking cups, blocks.  He has a lot of interests and a lot of friends
  • He wrote his whole story independently – great job in phonetic spelling and taking a risk on tough words (e.g. straight to the hospital)
  • Strong on comprehension
  • Elliott made this amazing portfolio, showcasing his growth since the start of the school year.  Math is beyond a favorite activity – he is well beyond grade level.  His teachers stopped him at counting at 200, but one of his proudest moments is that he has counted up to 1,375.  He really could do everything he needed to do – can graph, can independently sort words, can read all the word wall words.  He is reading at grade level.  The reading still hasn’t “clicked” for him – he needs to work hard at decoding, but we are working on it.
  • He wrote and illustrated the sweetest story about going to the hospital to meet Conor (see below).
  • He recognizes that he needs to continue working on his speech and he sees the speech therapist 3x/week at school.  And we’re doing work at home on it too.  (Don’t tell him that I wrote this on the blog.)

Elliott’s Story

Hapy Day (Happy Day)

As soon as I lit sool, I wet shrat to the hasdl.  (As soon as I left school, I went straight to the hospital.)

Nanu pot the cor and we wet in to the hasdl.  (Nana parked the car and we went into the hospital.)

I hodi Conor and I opin u prezit frum Conor. (I held Conor and I opened a present from Conor.)

I fil hape that Conor is in my famuly. (I feel happy that Conor is in my family.)

 

We are so lucky to have great teachers for our kids.  Seriously, teachers do God’s work.  We trust them with the most important people in the world to us and its amazing how much they learn together.  I especially love how caring Mrs. Brydges (Elliott’s first grade teacher) is.  She also uses centers to engage kids in the learning.  I like how Ms. Anderson (Natalie’s 2nd grade teacher) uses the workshop model in math, so its a lot of hands-on learning too.  I’m very proud that my sister Becky is an awesome 4th grade teacher – I’ve seen her teach, so I can attest to that.  Her students are so lucky to have her too.

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Lucky Irish

Grandma was here for an early St. Patrick’s day celebration, while Jordan had a work trip to Orlando.  She read The Circus Ship (about animals being shipwrecked on an island in Maine) to both Elliott’s and Natalie’s classes.  (See picture below  – it was the last school day before St. Patrick’s Day.) Isn’t Elliott’s bow tie the best? (A Grandma gift!)Here’s a pic of the world’s cutest little leprechaun (once again, purchase credit to Grandma)

Jordan and I ran in our 4th Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day race.  I thought it was pretty impressive that I was running <10 weeks post-partum, but I was upstaged by Irish Elvis here.  We both ran our slowest 10k ever…. it was one of the most enjoyable.  He had a mini speaker, playing Elvis tunes on repeat.  And throughout the race, I heard cheers of “The King is Alive!,” “Elvis is in the house,” “Elvis has left the building,” “Where are your blue suede shoes?”

Happy St Patrick’s Day!!!!

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Happy 6th Birthday, Elliott!!!

Happy 6th Birthday, Elliott!!!

Food was a focal point of the birthday celebration.  Per Elliott’s request…. pancakes for breakfast, sausage for dinner and S’mores milkshake for dessert!  He and I came up with the base – vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge swirl, mini marshmallows and graham cracker pieces.  Natalie took it to another level with her suggestion of whip cream topped with a girl scout s’mores cookie.  She may have a future at a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop…. or maybe they will go into business together for a E&N Ice Cream Shoppee!

Another theme to this birthday celebration was Voltron, the defender of the universe.  If you are a regular blog reader, you may remember that he got the Voltron lego set from Nana and Pop at Christmas, and he finished the 2,000+ piece, 16+ years and older set in less than 6 days.  I was able to find matching Voltron t-shirts for Jordan and Elliott; they don’t make Voltron onesies, so I made my own.  Maybe I have a future in baby clothing design.  He also got a Voltron plastic toy, black lion plastic toy and two Voltron books (Shiro the black lion and Keith the red lion), so he was hyped up right before bed.  I’m sure the sugar didn’t help.

Bros before… wait, this is a 6-year-old bday caption. Guy time.

Wait, Conor is covering up my Voltron t-shirt! (real quote)

I love you Mom, but enough with the pictures – I haven’t barely even gotten to play legos. (real quote)

 

“Mom, I just have to do a set-up for Elliott’s birthday dinner; he’s going to love it.” – Natalie (She was write – it was one of his gratitudes at dinner)

The entire family got to be Royal Readers in his kindergarten classroom too!  He and another boy greeted us outside of the classroom and walked us in… to a line up of Kinder kids bowing.  Elliott led us to the reading circle, and I read The Good Egg (a recent book given to us by Grandma), which is about not stressing about being perfect.  (Advice that I’m just now realizing I should have taken tonight, as I rushed around tonight to clean up the house before the cleaning lady came, make sure the kids bathed before Jordan’s trip to NY tomorrow and executed a fun birthday celebration.)  Elliott also got to do show and tell… he showed a mini rhino rubber figurine from the Lincoln Park Zoo (in honor of the rhino King, also born in 2013 but weighing 80 lbs upon birth, not 9 lbs 15 oz), a picture of he and Lala, the lego red lion (in honor of two interests – legos and Voltron) and a gymnastics medal (to which Max proudly piped up that he was in that class with Elliott too).

We were the Royal Family (of Readers) in Mrs. Brydges’ Kindergarten class!

We are going to have an at-home birthday when the weather warms up, which will include a scavenger hunt that leads the boys to legos to make cars for a lego car race down the ramp Elliott and Dad are making.  And although we didn’t have any extended family in for his actual birthday, Elliott enjoyed celebrating a little early with Grandma this weekend.  And he got cards/emails/texts/presents from Florida (N&P, M&P), Illinois (JAC, even a neighbor from Grove St who has never met him), Wisconsin (G&G, Marxes), New York (sitter Gina), and Alaska (Aunt Leah).  And, I’m sure I’m missing some folks.

Elliott is about 50 lbs – we have a doctor’s appointment next month.  And here is a list of his favorites!

  • Foods: Sausage, hot dogs, peanut butter, peanuts and mangos, ice cream.  
  • Musician: ELVIS (to Dad’s delight).  His favorite song is Jailhouse Rocks; he also sings Viva Las Vegas (he lies to say Viga).  
  • Sports/Activities: Baseball, soccer, basketball, gymnastics and ninja class (your fav).  He’s also becoming a stronger swimmer – he can kick far while holding his breathe. 
  • Toys: Legos.  
  • Color: Red, followed by blue
  • Board Games: Clue Junior, Old Maid, Mermaid Game, Candy Land, Jenga, Sequence.  He’s moved from needing to play on my team with most of these to playing on his own this year!
  • Dinosaur: Velociraptor, followed by Stegosaurus and then T-rex
  • Transformer: Optimus Prime (same as last year)
  • Superhero: Batman (same as last year)
  • Stuffed Animals: Roro, Roro’s sister (a pink one that Conor gave him, per your request), Other Roro, Leopard, Dog Dog, a blue Velociraptor (that he made at Build a Bear with Nana and Pop).  +25 more
  • Animal: Rhino and bald eagle are tied, followed by the death stalker scorpion
  • Shows: Voltron and Captain Underpants.  
  • Books: Who would win?, Magic Treehouse, Shiro (a Voltron book from Grandma)
  • Word: Butt (Even in your writing and drawing at school, he finds ways to squeeze it in sideways or another sneaky way.  
  • Best Date: In the summer, Elliott and I took an all-day trip to a Dinosaur park in southern CT, where he took pictures with every one of the 35+ large dinosaur statues and played on the dinosaur playground.
  • Trip: He shared that our trip to Burlington, VT, (Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!) and Montreal (he loved the hike up Mount Real to see the cross). This was last April.
  • Subjects and School Update: Math, Science, Social Studies (e.g. countries), P.E, Technology
  • Planet: Earth, followed by Jupiter due to the Red Spot and the fact that Jupiter’s gravitational pull takes in a lot of asteroids, without which Earth would be destroyed (Editor’s note: I don’t know if this is true or not but he legit probably read it in a book and seems to make sense to me.)
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