Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Of Addison

Can't do one without the other.

Sunday afternoon someone dropped off a business card advertising their landscaping services. I gave it to Addison to play with and told him it was a ticket. He immediately concocted a whole scenario in which he was traveling by train to Edinburgh. I asked him why he was going there and he told me "to study". "To study what?" I asked. "My thesis," he replied, or "fesis" as he puts it. Hmmm...a little too close to another scatological word I know. I think Trey has doomed this kid to a future in academia.

Addison asked me yesterday if Daddy was an architect (my dad is an architect). "No," I said, "He's an historian." Clearly that meant nothing to him. Later on I overheard him repeat to Trey, "Daddy, you're not an architect. You're hu-story," which tickled Trey no end.

While walking from our car to church Sunday morning, Addison said to me, "Mom, I want to go to London." He kills me with the constant talk about the UK. I want to go, too, kid. "You do?" I asked, "What was your favorite thing about London?" Without skipping a beat he replied, "The aquarium!" I have often wondered if he will remember our time abroad. Now I have no doubt.

Of Davis

I've amassed a laundry list of adorable things Davis is saying and doing these days. This little half pint is hilarious. I could sit all day and tell you about the nuances of his personality. He's a tease and an imp, definitely an instigator, but his heart is huge and full of love and his smile is 1000 watts.

Davis has a super, mega attachment to my dad. Without a doubt, he is Davis's favorite person in the whole world right now, and I can only imagine it's because he plays with him all the time, all the games and toys he wants. He'll chase him around the dining room table until he's ready to collapse or play repeated rounds of Duck-Duck-Goose. Davis has lately started coming up to my dad and saying, "Gemme, Papa! Gemme!" and then running away in the hope of a grand chase, which reminds me that yesterday the boys were chasing each other Tom and Jerry style. They've been watching Tom and Jerry cartoons lately on their DVD player, and Addison said to Davis, "Davis, I'm Tom and you're Jerry. I'm going to chase you." Davis seemed pleased as punch to participate and high-tailed it around the dining room while, Addison on all fours, attempted to keep up. Somehow tiny Jerry ended up catching Tom.

He's taken to calling Evie "beebee gull" probably because he hears me calling her baby girl. He'll come over to her swing and in the sweetest little baby voice say, "Hey, beebee gull," while he gently strokes her head. His devotion and fascination with his little sister only grows by the day and completely blows me away. Addison barely had any notice for him for about the first 6 months of his life. He, on the other hand, seems to have already found a new kindred spirit. She seems pretty smitten with him too.

For the past week Davis has been fighting a mild cold which seems to have slightly affected his normally voracious appetite. Last night, however, he seemed to be making up for lost time and calories. I made lasagna, both boys' favorite. He ate seconds and thirds of what he calls "yon yon" and then nearly ate his weight in steamed broccoli. I love the way this kid eats. It continues to amaze me how he started out so tiny at the 2nd percentile for weight and then over the past year plus he has slowly but steadily crept up in the charts when most kids are plateauing. He is now nearing the 50th percentile for weight?!?

Davis is an avid reader. Between long bouts of playing with his cars and trains, he'll grab a pile of books, find a quiet corner on the couch, and contentedly flip through the pages. He has a particular soft spot for Beatrix Potter. My parents gave Addison a gift set of her first 12 books for his second Christmas, and they are just the perfect little size for a 2 year old. He calls Peter "naughty rabbit".

He calls taxis, "Tacky cars," which transliterates to something like tocky cars. Davis seems to have abandoned the American short "a" in Addison or Daddy for the Aberdonian "a". He calls his brother "Oddy" and his father "Doddy". Apparently, you can take the kid out of Aberdeen, but you can't take Aberdeen out of the kid. Hey, he is an Aberdonian by birth as proved by the certificate he received from the Lord Provost.

We've been working with both boys on not interrupting (a huge pet peeve of mine). Davis has somehow gotten it into his head that if he says, "Scu me, Mom!" at the top of his lungs it's not interrupting. OK, we're going to have to work on that some more.

Oh, and whenever Evie sneezes, he'll yell across the room, "Bedu, Evie!" Like I said, very attentive.

Smile

After I posted yesterday about Evie's smiles, I decided to try to capture one on video as proof positive. I can almost always elicit one if I hold her about a foot from my face, smile myself, and sweet talk her. Sure enough, I got one right away.

video

I'm still learning the nuances of this new camera, including its videoing ability. I probably zoomed a little too close, which is way it's a wee bit blurry. Sorry about that. The sound quality leaves our previous camera in the dust, not to mention the crispness of the image and the ability to actually zoom in and out while filming. We used to have to have to physically get closer or further away if we wanted that effect before. How primitive.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Yellow

I have the strains of Coldplay's Yellow drifting through my head these days. The coming of spring certainly seems to favor that particular color. Forsythia, daffodils, dandelions. It's a veritable feast for the eyes and a particular new camera in my possession.




And a little Growing Experiment update - Day 12 - the sweet peas are coming along beautifully, but not to be outdone, the lavender (blue bucket on the right) has four delicate sprouts.

Rub a Dub Dub

For her three week birthday, here's a little video tribute to our T-Tiny, as Trey has started calling her. T, short for Teeny, of course. I have started calling her Jelly Bean because it sounds like Genevie. Ah, the nicknames have begun. As I was uploading this video of Evie getting a bath in the sink, my memory jogged and I began searching through past posts for videos of Davis getting a bath. Remember the roasting tin days here and here? Davis meandered by as I wistfully viewed the footage and he was as entranced with the little man in the roasting pan as I. Imagine being so small you could fit perfectly into the bathroom sink or a dish intended to cook poultry.

video

This girl amazes me with her mad skeelz. Since the day she was born, she's been able to hold her head up with better strength and stability than most babies a couple months older. She has been smiling, mainly at me, since Day 3, although I have yet to capture it on film or video. Crazy, huh? Please don't tell me it's just gas because it has not been followed by a chorus of toots. And the crowning achievement are her persistent efforts to suck on her fingers as evidenced by this clip. Clearly a genius.

Friday, March 27, 2009

First Pictures

How did we manage with 4 mega pixels for so long? Here are the first few exploratory photos I've taken with the new camera.

This blanket was hand-embroidered by a friend of mine who just herself had a baby this Wednesday (Happy Birthday, baby Lachlann!). His gift from me is featured at the bottom of this post.

A little grumpy upon first waking up from his nap. Nothing that some quality car and train time can't solve though.

His eyes are still enormous.

My first attempt at socks (picture taken with the old camera).

And a matching hat.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Camera on the Fritz

I took some darling pictures this morning of Davis with his baby sister only to discover that our four year old camera has finally decided to call it quits. Yes, it still technically works, but as you can see from these photos, without the flash the image is replete with parallel lines. The focus was very touchy as well and meant many good pictures were too blurry to use. Argh! The only thing I could think of doing to somehow salvage them was turn them black and white. It gave them a newspaper-look which made the lines less offensive. We're off to Best Buy today to finally buy a new camera.

But before we run out the door, I have to leave you with a funny story about Davis from yesterday. On our way out of the hospital a man in a white lab coat, presumably a physician, passed us in the hallway. Davis pointed to the man and very matter-of-factly said, "Doc Oc!" To you non-Marvel fans out there, that's Doctor Octopus, one of Spiderman's enemies. Not sure what made him think of that infamous villain as this man didn't have multiple mechanical arms. Maybe just the white coat or his impressive size? Regardless, glad the man didn't overhear or at least pretended not to understand.




A Sleeping Baby







A few of my favorites from the photo shoot. The rest are in the album.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

If At First You Don't Succeed...

...try, try again. So goes the old, if a bit tired, saying. Today was, indeed, a new day with new challenges, but after yesterday's defeats, I felt energized to face them head on. Genevie's hearing test was scheduled for 1:00 this afternoon at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden (where I was born, incidentally). If the prospect of venturing out with three small children for a test which requires a sleeping baby didn't inspire enough terror, add to the mix Camden, ranked the most dangerous city in the US in 2004 and 2005, and that ought to do it. Although I attended University there for four years, the idea of traipsing my three offspring through the city wasn't high on my to-do list.

But I prayed and prayed all morning that God would be with us every step of the way, and He was. I somehow managed to get us all bathed, dressed, and fed, throw dinner in the crock pot, and whisk out the door on time. I found street parking and miraculously had just enough silver to feed the meter. Evie stayed asleep the entire appointment, and both boys behaved themselves beautifully even eliciting a couple of compliments on their good behavior, which helped a tad to soothe my wounded spirit from yesterday. Best of all, Evie passed her hearing test. Evidently whatever debris or fluid had prevented her from passing two weeks ago had cleared out, and she was given a clean bill of hearing health along with a little sticker for her baby book. On the way home, I stopped at Dunkin' Donuts to reward the boys for their excellent behavior.

Lest you be deceived and think it was all peaches and cream, I won't end there. Genevie proceeded to barf up everything when we got home after I nursed her. Davis's patience had worn out and he threw a mini tantrum when I told him it was naptime, and I followed suit when I discovered the chocolate icing from his doughnut which he had rubbed into his hair. So, as you can see, no one's perfect, especially me, but today we made a little progress. I learned that I will survive with three children, and I can actually enjoy them although motherhood is not for the faint of heart.

A dear friend of mine from Aberdeen sent me a note the other day with wise words which I have continued to ponder. I leave you with them in the hope that they minister to you as well wherever you find yourself in life:

"...motherhood is one of the highest callings and I hope you would know peace. Peace that you do not need to be supermum and that our high standards are sometimes unattainable and that doesn't mean we are bad mums!...I love this phase of life and yet small children I find means life is fragile -- wonderful one day, difficult the next. At times life feels so sweet at times so relentless!"

These pictures are from the photo shoot Sarah did this past Sunday for Evie's birth announcement. I'll be posting more soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A New Day

Today was one of those days I wish I could erase. I shouted too much, disciplined too little, lost my patience over and over again. My children -- scratch that -- the boys were disobedient, difficult, provocative (the baby was an angel). They seemed to sense the vulnerability of the new circumstances, the first day on our own, and preyed upon it, and I, rather than rising above, was more than ready to engage. On days like this when I feel about as low as a mother can, a cruel mix of failure and defeat, there is only one place to turn...above. After a good cry (love those post-partum hormones), a long chat with Trey about life, and some much needed time praying, I feel more like a real person again.

And then it's time to linger over photos of happier moments when my rugrats are a pleasure, which they are much more of the time than not. C'mon...look at that mischievous face. How could you not love that child?

Tomorrow is a new day.

And as a little gift from heaven, this evening while I finished cleaning up from dinner, I saw the first hint of green in the sweet peas bucket.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Babes

I couldn't do all that blogging today without including some recent photos of Genevie. Stay tuned this week because Sarah did an awesome photo shoot with her yesterday for the birth announcements, and I can't wait to share them with you as well.

Sporting the upside-down daisy hat.

Chillin' in the Boppy.

A little cross-eyed action as she works hard to get those fingers in her mouth. I don't remember the boys going cross-eyed so much, but it sure is hilarious.

I'm a huge sucker for the sleeping baby on Daddy's chest picture.

And a quick update from my doctor's visit today. He removed the packing, which was virtually painless since it's healed up so much. I just know that your prayers made all the difference. Sunday I really started to feel true relief and stopped needing pain killers. Apparently, the wound is healing well and I just need to go back next week to have it checked one last time. It's at times like these that I think about all those people around the world who suffer through what are actually minor ailments that sometimes end up killing them for lack of simple antibiotics or availability of medical intervention. Praise God for modern medicine!

The Growing Experiment

Last year it was herbs. This year it's sweet peas and lavender. I'm always trying to grow things, and although my thumb is probably more seasick than spring green, I'm the eternal optimist. Addison helped me plant the seeds last Wednesday, and I'm sorry to report that so far nothing. Hmmmm...I'll keep you posted.

After our planting efforts.

Against my better judgment I allowed Addison to take a couple of pictures. He miraculously came up with this little beauty.

Spring at the Park

For the past few days we've been basking in milder temperatures under cheerful blue skies full of the promise of spring, so on Saturday after a busy day of chores my mom suggested we take the boys to the park for some much needed time out-of-doors. It was wonderful to get out and it brought back a flood of memories from almost exactly a year ago in Aberdeen when we had a day just like Saturday, cool and crisp but breathing the hope of warmer days ahead, and I had taken the boys to the train park around the corner from our house and snapped some pictures. Today I had to go back to that entry in the blog from April 1, 2008 and reminisce over the pictures and the sweet video of my then-not-even-walking-but-ever-cheerful Davis. How much has changed in just one year!

Addison seems to have finally lost all fear of playground equipment. I don't have to coax him down the slide any longer. He is eager to experience it.

Davis is fearless and needs no coaxing. You can't tell from this photo, but he is well above my head, which I'm sure Trey would never have permitted had he been there. Ever the protective Dad.

Addison wanted to try the monkey bars for the first time. He didn't get very far. Just hung from the one bar and then said, "I'm ready to get down now, Mom."

Happy D.

The boys really enjoyed this roller slide.

The late afternoon sun in early spring.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Charlie and Lola

For the boys' birthdays their Auntie Sarah gave them each a DVD and a book of the BBC television characters Charlie and Lola. Not having a TV in Aberdeen, I never really familiarized myself much with British programming. Somehow it took us returning to the US to learn about this gem. My sister had encountered the show during her time in Oxford 5 years ago and thought that the boys would really enjoy it. The first time I popped it in, I decided to stick around and watch just to see what it was all about.

Besides the adorable British accents, which just make me smile on the inside, the title characters are rare examples of what you hope your children will behave like when you're not around. Charlie and Lola, or Chollie and Lolo as Davis calls them, embark on many adventures together, which include guessing Charlie's upcoming birthday surprise and enticing Lola to embrace new and varied food choices for dinner. Charlie is caring and kind, always looking out for the best interest of his little sister. Lola is sweet and innocent without being bratty and obnoxious. Far from the sacchariney fakeness you might then expect, their genuine love for one another presents an admirable model for young viewers, one that has surprised me and given me hope that some decent children's programming still exists.

They remind me of my two boys, who have become increasingly attached at the hip. The other day when Addison went out with some friends for the afternoon, Davis hardly knew what to do with himself and seemed more than a little lost. He was distressed at the empty seat next to him in the car and couldn't settle for his nap until my mom lay down on Addison's bed. It warms my heart to see this tight bond and reminds me of my own with my sister.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Update on Me

Truth be told it's been a rough week. The surgeon diagnosed the cyst as a pilonidal cyst. He lanced it in his office under local anesthetic and packed the wound to help the infection drain. On the car ride home, the anesthetic began to wear off and I was in tremendous pain. I ended up in tears on the couch, the only bearable position I could find, and when it was time to feed the baby, Trey had to lift me off because I was in too much pain to manage myself. I even had to stand to breastfeed because sitting was too painful. I finally broke down and took a mega dose of Ibuprofen because Tylenol just wasn't giving me any relief.

Each day, the pain has gotten a little better. The terrible pressure from the infection is just about completely gone, in part due to the lancing and the antibiotics. The site of the wound, however, is another matter. It is very tender to the touch and burned so much the first few times we changed the dressing that I thought I was going to pass out, and I have a fairly high pain threshold. I go back Monday to have the packing removed and the cyst reassessed. There is a possibility that it will need to be surgically removed. I find myself really dreading this visit, so I covet your prayers. I'm going to ask the surgeon if he can give me a topical anesthetic before he even gives me the local because I'm so skittish about the pain right now.

Figures that the most painful medical issue following Genevie's birth would have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Street View

I discovered the most amazing thing yesterday on a friend's blog. OK, maybe I'm just really behind the times, but I had no idea that Google had one-upped its satellite view of your street to now include a 360° view of the front of your house and block. I immediately checked our old address in Aberdeen, and my heart skipped a beat when I saw my beloved orchid in the front window. Zoom in and you'll see its glorious whiteness too. Using my powers of deduction, the panoramic shot was probably taken sometime in July or August 2008 after the speed bumps came to Orchard Road, which this blog entry puts around late June, but before we moved in late August when I gave one of my friends the orchid for safe keeping.

I know it probably sounds really silly, but seeing our old home so unexpectedly up-close and personal took my breath away. I just stared in awe at the image. Technology is amazing.


View Larger Map

And here is our current home (address is not accurate).

Happy Spring

Photo courtesy of Trey's uber photo-talented supervisor, Nick Thompson. You can check out his other amazing photos in and around Aberdeen (and New Zealand) on flickr at Nick in exsilio.

I guess the old saying does come from somewhere -- in like a lion, out like a lamb. This morning when I got up, it was snowing. It's obviously not cold enough for anything to stick, but for about an hour with the flakes swirling down pretty hard, you would've sworn we were in the dead of winter and not ushering in the first day of spring. I'm unfazed, however. The crocuses are in full bloom around the base of the birch tree out front, and we're averaging more temperatures in the 50s. Spring is definitely here.

I've been meaning to post this video for a while now. It was taken two days before Genevie was born, the weekend we enjoyed temperatures in the 70s. While out running some errands, Trey got the boys a football (American, not European), and we spent some time that afternoon throwing it around. You get to see me sporting my belly as well as enjoy the cheerful chirping of birds in the background. Maybe not a particularly funny or overly noteworthy video. Just a slice of life in the Holloway house.

video