Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No Turkey

A couple of days before Thanksgiving, I was lucky enough to be able to join Will's class for a Family School Partnership Day at a nearby bowling alley. Now the idea of taking young kids to the bowling alley might seem daunting to you, but not to these teachers! They are bound and determined to expose their students to as many ins and outs of life as possible, and just because you're in a wheelchair or have a disability doesn't mean you have to sit on the sidelines.

So Will and I joined the 4 other students from his class, 5 of their parents, 1 teacher and 2 teachers aides for a couple of frames of bowling. Anyone who has ever played me in Tock knows that I get a little competitive, so I was looking forward to helping Will beat the pants off of his classmates. Unfortunately, Will appears to have gotten the gene for horrible bowler from me. Too bad he doesn't take after Nate... they could have gotten matching bowling team jackets.

It took Will a little while to get used to the noise of the bowling alley. He enjoyed pushing the ball down the metal guide to send the ball careening down the lane. But when it wasn't our turn, Will let me know that he wasn't in the mood to be patient! If he could speak, he would have loudly encouraged everyone to pay attention and hurry up and go when it's your turn already! Even with the gutter rails and a metal guide for the bowling ball, Will and I managed to only bowl a 74. Definitely room for improvement. We might have to practice a bit on the Wii with Nate before we go bowling next time... I can't imagine his excitement when he bowls his first turkey.

Monday, November 22, 2010

When no one's looking

We took our Christmas card photos this past weekend in Greensboro with my cousin Stephanie. We got a lot of wonderful shots (yay!) and are excited to share our smiles and joy in card form with loved ones this holiday season.

Although it didn't make the cut as this year's Christmas card, I felt particularly drawn to the photo below. In taking photos with little kids, you expect that there will be a lot of photos where at least one of your subjects isn't looking at the camera. But somehow we managed to get this one... where not one of us is looking at the camera. And that doesn't seem to matter. Take a look at the expressions on our faces! We're smiling, serene, oblivious... enamored. Sometimes looking at the camera just isn't that important in telling a family's story and reminding us all of the true meaning of Christmas.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Baby Yoga

We recently learned that Matthew is a master of baby yoga. We're not quite certain who taught the kid these skills, but one thing's for sure - he's going to be one limber 7 month old in a few days!

Corpse pose

Sphinx pose

Downward facing dog

Happy baby pose (what an appropriate name!)
Cow pose
Heisman pose

Namaste. Have a great weekend! And don't forget to vote for Matthew in this month's Gerber baby contest. You can vote every day for the rest of November!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chaos paused

Life with three kids is understandably chaotic. For some reason, the morning is the most chaotic time of all. For a glimpse into our life now that we have returned to a two working parent family:

Shower 1, Shower 2
Feed Matt
Make bed
Wake up Will and Luke
Unhook Will from feeding pump
Convince Luke to get out of bed
Make boys beds
Change Will's diaper
Convince Luke to use the potty
Get Will dressed
Get Matt dressed
Turn on Weather Channel
Convince Luke to take off pajamas
Brush Will's teeth
Change Will's diaper again
Convince Luke that Cars underoos are just as cool as Nemo underoos
Get self dressed
Fight Luke into clothes
Take cleansing breath
Step over Otis
Fight Luke to brush his teeth
Fight Luke to wear his orthotics and shoes
Roll eyes
Turn off Weather Channel
Move gate from top of stairs
Move party downstairs
Give Will medicine
Sit Will in chair
Sit Matt in swing
Get Otis outside to do his thing
Feed Otis
Water Otis
Water plants
Give Luke orange juice
Give Luke breakfast
Hope he eats it
Pack bottles and food for Matt
Pack bottle, Pediasure, food, cereal, orthotics, and socks for Will
Look at pile of paperwork that needs to go back to schools
Write check for Will's book fair selections
Sign Luke's permission slip for a buddy program
Fill out Matt's diaper rash cream authorization form
Put finishing touches on Will's decorated paper turkey
Look for bus
Put bags by front door
Look for bus
Let Otis outside again
Pack Nate lunch
Pack Amanda lunch
Pack all pump parts
Put Luke on bus watch duty
Look for bus because Luke has walked away
We should commemorate Nate's first day back to work
Gather all in kitchen
Find camera

Crap, bus is here
Coats on boys
Pick up bags
Boys on bus
Matt in carrier
Open garage
Amanda and Matt in van
Nate in car
Close garage
Drive away
Bam! and it isn't even 7:15a yet

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Job Eve

I have the excitement of announcing our second-most exciting news of the year... Nate's first day at his new job is Monday! After many months of applying for jobs, not hearing anything back for a long time, interviewing, not hearing anything back for a long time etc., we finally got the news that Nate would be rejoining the ranks of the working dad. Everything has moved very quickly since we heard the news, and now, New Job Eve is here!

This means, of course, that he is leaving the ranks of the stay-at-home dad, a title that he wasn't so sure he wanted at first, but one that has come to be very special to him. Nate has been able to easily attend end of year parties at school, pick up sick boys, go to many doctors appointments... and probably most definitively, he has been Matt's primary daytime care giver since I went back to work in June. This, on top of taking care of everything around the house while I was on bedrest earlier this year.

Matt's first day at Luke's day care will be tomorrow. We think he'll do really well since he is a very easy going, adaptable kid. The teachers there all know him because Nate has taken him in to drop off and pick up Luke over the past 7 months. So it should be alright... but of course that isn't going to stop me from dropping in at lunch to say hi, or Nate from picking him up a little early after his new employee orientation is over!

So if you have a chance, drop Nate an email wishing him a good first day at his new job.

As this challenging chapter of life comes to a close, I want to take this opportunity to thank my husband for his unwavering commitment to our family. Though changing diapers, grocery shopping, and shuttling kids around can quickly get old when you'd rather be putting your engineering degree to good use, Nate did a wonderful job of keeping everything together and keeping his cool. He never felt that he was above anything that needed to get done, and he successfully met each challenge. We have truly been partners through this time, and I feel so lucky to be married to him! Through the complexities of relocating to North Carolina, delivering Luke and Will prematurely, facing their many surgeries and obstacles, being on bedrest with Matthew, and balancing the lives and needs of 3 children, we have been side by side, hand in hand... I have a true partner and wonderful husband.

Nate, I am proud of you. I love you. Thank you for the sacrifices that you have made for our family. Thank you for the grace and selflessness that you have shown in the face of difficulty. Thank you for keeping your cool, thank you for your diligence to persevere, and thank you for having your priorities in the right place. Your mama did a good job! My hope is that our sons learn these skills from you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When the playpen's a-rockin...

Matthew's (almost) on the move! Over the past week, he has figured out how to get up on his hands and knees on his own. And although he doesn't move across the floor yet, it is only a matter of time. Lookout world, we have an almost-crawler! We haven't had two mobile kids yet, so these next couple of years could prove a bit challenging for us!

If you get the blog update via email, definitely check out www.ncslaviks.blogspot.com to view Matthew's latest video.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fall fun

We met our friends Rena and Steve at a cabin in Virginia recently for a weekend of outdoorsy fun with our combined 5 children in tow. That's 5 kids under the age of 4 for anyone who's keeping track of those things. Oy.

This is the second annual trek into the forest for hiking, playing, cooking, and hanging out. I'd like to say it is relaxing, but that would be a lie! But it is definitely fun. Our kids get along very well, so it makes getting together all the more special. Rena and I recalled during this trip that we were younger than Luke and her daughter Katelynn when she and I first met!

Last year, Rena and I were both pregnant with our Matthews, so we spent a lot of the weekend napping. We were all decidedly more active this trip! So below are some of our favorite pictures from the weekend. Can't wait to do it again next year!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Our little Halloweenies

We spent last weekend with Grammy and Papa, who joined us from New York to celebrate Luke and Will's 4th Halloween (and Matt's first). Halloween has gotten progressively better for us over the past 3 years, and I am happy to say that this year was much better than last year. We actually got to trick or treat! Well... SOME of us did...

First things first - carve jack-o-lanterns! Over the course of many trips to the pumpkin patch and many trips to the grocery store, we amassed 7 pumpkins of various size, color, shape and consistency. So with Grammy and Papa in the mix, we had one pumpkin for everyone. In theory? Perfect. In practice? Daddy carved a whole lotta pumpkins (I think 3 on his own -we weren't really going to trust anyone under the age of 4 with a knife). All the jack-o-lanterns were different but equally as fun!

Next came the actual dressing of children in costumes. Very easy with Matt and Will. I won't comment on dressing Luke in costume and you can draw your own assumptions. And yes, if you're keenly aware of our family's Halloween history, these are the same Will and Luke costumes from last year! They were a little big last year and barely got warn... so... I recycled.

After all costumes were finally on, we stepped out into the street. Luke was tentative at first about ringing door bells. Once he got the hang of that, he stayed kind of tentative with the actual saying of the words "trick or treat." Good thing for him he's cute and knew to hold open his candy bag. He couldn't wait to get to the next house.

Trick or treating wasn't so eventful or fun for Will or Matt. I don't know if it is Will's visual impairment, that he was tired, that he couldn't get up stairs to ring door bells or some other thing going on, but he was in a crabby mood the entire time. Thanks to Grammy for doing her best to tame the fireman beast! And Matt? Well, Matt was a very sleepy little skeleton.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

You want to know a Gerber baby, right?

I got so much positive feedback about Matthew's baby food photo from a couple of weeks ago that I decided to enter the photo in the October Gerber Baby Contest. The grand prize for winning is a spot in a Gerber advertisement and a $25,000 scholarship. What the heck.

So if you want to vote for Matthew, click this link: http://www.gerber.com/Photo/#/vote/. Then click the Search Photos button at the bottom of the page (underneath the block of baby photos). A search box pops up, and you can search by baby's first name and city (use Matthew, and then Raleigh). Then you'll see Matthew's smiling, green bean baby food covered face!

Vote for Matthew! Once you cast your ballot on the Gerber website, you'll get a confirmation email. Make sure you open that email and verify your vote, otherwise it won't be counted (I know... its more strict than the election you voted in just yesterday...).

You can vote multiple times if you feel so inclined (wink, wink) - the website says that one vote can be cast from one computer and email address per day. I know I've got to have some American Idol or DWTS vote soldiers out there! Voting is open through the first couple weeks of November.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A little ditty about Luke and William...

...two American twins doing the best they can. Those are the only John Cougar Mellencamp song lyrics I know, so I'm gonna stop now while I am ahead.

Luke received this harmonica (which he calls a Hannukah) last Christmas in his stocking. He couldn't have looked at it longer than 2 seconds before moving on to something else. I quickly stashed the harmonica for a later date.

I rotated toys about a week ago and the Hannukah resurfaced. "New" toys! Now Luke won't put it down. When we showed him how to use it, he was very capable of blowing into it and making some fun noises. He continued to find his melodies and Will proceeded to giggle. Non-stop. Will's giggling made Luke want to make him laugh more and more. So the Hannukah playing continued, as did the giggling. It was great. It never got old.

Nate quickly moved to get the camera, and recorded the below video of true twin magic. I don't know if the video can give you an idea of how in awe we were of this moment. From my vantage point, it seems as though typically developing twins start very early with their interaction. They can do things that make the other giggle, and when they start talking, they automatically understand each other.

We didn't really have this experience because Luke was the only one really moving and talking. So to experience some of those magical twin moments, we were literally reliant upon Luke's development. Since he is now able to understand compassion, and seems to get a lot of happiness out of interacting with other kids his age (he didn't really do this for a long time), it appears as though now might be our twin magic awakening. A little bit overdue, but all the more appreciated.