Sunday, May 14, 2017

Spring Happenings

I took Quin to an Easter Egg hunt and carnival at a church on D Street. Michael stayed home with sick Ammon.  It was the maiden voyage of my new cargo bike. Quin was already kind of grumpy before we left. I had a hard time getting him dressed. 
At the carnival Quin got a black sword balloon and he looked at some Pygmy goats and baby chicks. 
He really enjoyed the bounce house and had a hard time coming out when his turn was over. 

He missed the Easter egg hunt for his age group because he was having a tantrum about leaving the bounce house. Then he decided to look at the chicks and goats some more and I wasn't going to fight him. 

He got to ride a pony but he got pretty impatient and consequently disregulated during the 20 minute wait in line. So he just screamed the entire 30 second ride. I made him do it and I held his hand and stayed close to him. He spoke positively about the experience once it was over but I'm not sure if forcing him to ride the pony was the right thing. 

At the end they let kids who missed their age group join in the last egg hunt. I hurriedly brought Quin over there but he just stood at the start line and cried while the other kids hunted for eggs. Some kind adults took pity on him and gave him a handful of eggs when the hunt was over. 

I'm sorry for all the times I disappointed you mom, by having tears and tantrums at events that were supposed to make me happy. I wonder how often we do this sort of thing to Heavenly Father. Dragging our feet, complaining about the wait, and then crying because what he has provided isn't "good enough" as if we even deserved it in the first place. 

Easter morning at our house was a more pleasant experience. I got these "resurrection eggs" that have symbols of parts of the Easter story that kids can look at while you read the bible story. For example, there is a chalice for the part about the sacrament. 
Easter family photo
It has gotten to the point/Quin is old enough where we need to actually decide what family traditions we want for holidays. When I was growing up my siblings and I hid Easter egg clues that lead to a hidden basket. I decided to take it up a notch by having the clue be a scripture that needed to be deciphered. One of the clues was Luke 5:24 "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house." The egg was hidden on the couch :) It was great showing our kids to look in the scriptures for answers.
 It took Ammon 30 seconds to demolish this creme egg.

 Quin got a toy tool set and Ammon got some duplo construction vehicles to add to our growing collection.

Quin used his new hammer as a prop for a Fix it Felix Jr costume
I love Easter!

On Earth Day the boys and I walked in the "Procession of Species" parade. People dress up as animals and march in a parade downtown. Quin was in the wrong parade with him superman costume on, but I guess Superman is a different species.
Then we split a gyro at a Greek restaurant.
And then shared a cup of gelato at an Italian cafe. Quin was really happy to sit In the loft above the cafe.
Then we walked to the park. We didn't realize that the March for science gathering was happening there. I have never seen so many kids on a playground! On the way we met a giant Lego guy. 

We had a great day! I'm looking forward to these kinds of outings with my parents when they move back.

We had about 4,000 weeks of rain and when the sun finally emerged we had a lot of fun outside. Quin enjoys the push mower.

The library had special a May 4th event. Quin was really impressed by Chewbacca and Dark Nader.

I took the kids to "pet day" at OSU. It was basically a dog fest with some exhibits of reptiles and a petting zoo. I was really excited to take Quin to the petting zoo. He has been asking to go to the zoo for some time. When we first walked in to the reptile exhibit in the vet school he saw this skeleton.

He was so interested in the skeleton he didn't want to look at anything else.
He didn't want to touch any of the reptiles. I made him touch the tortoise because IT'S A TORTOISE you've gotta touch it! I was impressed even though Quin wasn't. He did like the giant bullfrog I guess.
They had a room full of animal skeletons at the vet school. Quin was so intrigued! He kept pointing at them and asking me questions and trying to touch them. There were skeletons of a horse, cow, llama, goat, chicken, duck, cat, beaver.... the list goes on!
Cow skeleton
They also had brains and hearts in jars to look at. He was most impressed by a plastic model of a chicken bisection. He kept asking me what the plastic organs were as he took it apart and I guess I need to brush up on my chicken anatomy, because I was struggling! I did my best drawing from my experience gutting chickens as a kid and my knowledge of the human body. I don't think he's ever been so fascinated by anything in his life than that room of skeletons. At home the next day he even drew bones on himself to make himself a skeleton while I wasn't watching:
He was really proud of himself and exclaimed "I colored the bones!"
Anyway, back at pet day, I talked him into leaving the skeleton room so we could see the live animals at the petting zoo. We had to wait 20 minutes for the petting zoo to re-open. While we waited we got to watch a vet student do "surgery" on a stuffed animal.
Quin giving his stuffed elephant a shot
She used tweezers to pull a jolly rancher out of a hole in the elephant's ear and then sutured it up and put a band aid on it. Then we got to take it home! :)
Quin also tried fake fishing. He was really good at reeling in the fishing line. That was all he wanted to do. He didn't want to bother getting the fish on the magnetic hook first.
We finally got in to the petting zoo! I was so excited! I tried to get him to hold a bunny on his lap but he didn't want anything to do with that. He looked at the miniature ponies from a distance and then ran the opposite direction into a field. So the petting zoo was a bust. You never can tell with kids.

So those are the fun things we've done. Here is the cute stuff I have seen them do:

Likes to bang toys together and on stuff.
Favorite toy is an orange prescription bottle that has popcorn seeds in it.
Favorite song is "Midnight City" by M83. I play it in the car when he is fussy and it works like magic to calm him down. Usually.
He loves the dishwasher. He makes a b-line for it whenever it is open and starts unloading it; whether or not it's clean.
He really likes popsicles in spite of the coldness. He is eating all kinds of solid food. Tonight he had some salmon.
New favorite TV show is PJ masks. A bit obnoxious to me, but there are far worse kids shows out there.
Favorite song is "If I Had You" by Adam Lambert.
Refers to techno music as "exercise music"
Made up a song about "old McDonald had a cookie" with a "yum yum here and a yum yum there"
When there are a lot of something he says that there are 40. I showed him the pellets in the pellet stove and he exclaimed "there's 40 pellets!" There were more than 40.
When I went to pick him up from his friend Wesley's house he apparently had a really good time because when he saw me he said "uuuh... no" with the perfect inflection.
Has been expressing himself through his wardrobe lately and only wants to wear a superhero costume with blue rain boots.
His favorite superman costume was dirty, so he said he was "naked superman."

Quin doesn't take naps very often. The only places he naps are the car seat and this red chair when he's watching TV. He sleeps in really awkward positions.

Recently I read "the little red hen" to Quin for the first time. It was one of my favorite books when I was learning how to read. After reading it he wanted to bake a yellow cake, so we did. He helped a lot! He cut the stick of butter in half, poured in the ingredients I measured, and of course, helped me eat it. This is his happy face:
On our way to the car from Ben and Amanda's house Quin tripped on a scooter and fell down a concrete step. It was a pretty fantastic fall. He screamed until he was buckled in and then calmly asked "what is that?" Pointing to his skinned knee. I told him it was a skinned knee just like the letter d in Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. When we got home I put band aids on him and read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. He was delighted to be like patched up "f" and kept saying "I'm patched up Quin!" He really likes his band aids and points them out often. Books are awesome!!!
I got really frustrated and started crying one afternoon when the boys were sick and Ammon wouldn't let me put him down or sleep (turns out he had an ear infection). Quin came and sat by me and said "it's okay momma." and gave me a big hug. While he was hugging me he said "I'll give you a hug if you want." Then he told me to take a calm breath. At that moment I could see why this strategy that I often employ doesn't always work for Quin. I was really frustrated and did not want to take a calm breath. I asked him to show me how because I forgot. He modeled it for me. I copied him and actually did feel a little better, although I still wasn't sure if I would make it to bedtime. I was so impressed by his empathy. He also sometimes gives Ammon hugs when he is crying. If he doesn't give him a hug he'll say something like "the baby is sad." Even today when he saw me crying he said in a concerned voice "are you happy momma?" When I said "no I feel sad" he replied "help momma feel better."
I've really been struggling lately with depression. I've had it since I was a teenager and this is the lowest I've felt in a long time. I think it was triggered by being in a new area and not feeling like I have made strong connections and having to do 11+ hour parenting shifts with Michael's long commute. It's probably my fault that I don't have friends. We've been staying home a lot with the boys being sick, basically since February, with small intervals of being healthy. My parents are in the process of buying a house just East of Lebanon and I'm so excited to have their companionship and support.
On the bright side, we have callings in our ward! Michael is the Second Counselor in the Bishopric and I'm the ward pianist/organist and I accepted the assignment of assistant ward camp director for young womens camp. I'm still learning the ropes on the organ so I've just play the piano in sacrament meeting for now. I  tried to bring the kids with me to practice the organ during the week, but that didn't work. They took turns crying and it was hard to keep Quin from banging on the piano while I was across the room at the organ. Somehow I need to get over to the church more without the kids.

It's been tricky juggling the kids at church since we're both on the stand, but we're lucky that there are a lot of really nice people who step in to watch the kids for us. The first Sunday Jon and Susan came and we were really happy to have them there to take care of the kids. Apparently they had a rough time. Quin colored all over the back of the pew with dry erase marker and Ammon splashed in the sacrament tray. Afterwards Susan said "we're bad at this!" I think they are good at it because they stayed calm and handled the situation well.

This blog post is way too long. I need to stop. Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Move and March Madness

We moved!

We're renting a wonderful home from my parents. It has an amazing backyard that I am so excited to use (if it ever stops raining).  I love Lebanon! It's the perfect size for me. Has just enough of everything we could need while having short lines and scant traffic. Every week we aren't sick we enjoy story time at the library, a playgroup at the church, and a music makers class at the church. Everyone seems so friendly in this town and it's so easy to find places when we go somewhere new.

We bough a car last month. Same make, model, and year as our other car; just a different color. I had been feeling really trapped. Even though Lebanon is pretty small it was too difficult to bike everywhere I needed to go with all the rain and I couldn't visit family or get to the doctor if there was an emergency (which happened and contributed to the speed of the purchase).

Here are the wonderful things I want to remember that my boys have been up to lately:

Ammon learned how to crawl and has an unusual way of doing it. He moves his arms as you might expect but he plants his right foot flat on the ground and drags the left one under him. His left pant leg gets dirtier than the right.
Ammon often has toys hanging out of his mouth. He has started to pull himself up and loves to stand. Quin thinks it's really funny when the baby is standing up.

Ammon LOVES baths. Being put in the tub instantly soothes him if he's grumpy or tired, even if there's no water in it. As soon as he hears the water turn on he starts kicking his feet trying to splash. His favorite toy is a yellow cup that we use in the bath to rinse hair. He will choose that cup over any other toy it seems. He tends to prefer playing with things that aren't toys. Toilet paper tubes, spoons, cords on daddy's computer, and especially paper. He is a book eater! His favorite toys that are actually toys seem to be legos. Also, EVERYTHING. He is such a jolly little guy with a ready smile and enthusiasm for life. He's is such a delight and pleasure to have around and we are so lucky to have him as part of our little family.

When he's in a stroller or shopping cart he happily kicks his legs most of the time. It almost looks like he's propelling it Flinstone-style.

 Ammon likes to watch me eat and tries to share his food with me by holding it up to my mouth. He can crawl up to us when he's in distress or needs a hug, which is really useful. It makes Michael really happy when Ammon crawls up to him.

Reading up on how to be a superhero
Quin's current obsessions are monster trucks and superheroes. He wears a cape and a mask almost everywhere we go. 100 times a day he says "I love monster trucks. Do you love monster trucks, momma? They are so amazing" and "Look at this giant monster truck!" while holding up his monster truck toy for me to admire. His favorite song is the "Blippi Monster Truck Song." He constantly asks me to sing it.

Any truck with big enough tires is a monster truck to Quin and he points them out excitedly during walks and in parking lots. 
He likes to identify the parts of machines. He points out the cab, tires, and engine of our car (although he usually gets the location of the engine wrong).

The superhero fascination is actually kind of handy for me. If I say "superman, I need your help!" he is always eager to find out how he can save the day. And after he helps he repeats "I saved the day!" He saves the day by putting diapers in the garbage, dirty dishes in the sink, and giving toys to Ammon. We all had a stomach bug and Quin wanted to climb on me while I was laying on the couch. I really wanted to be left alone so I said "please don't climb on me. If you want you can kiss me right here" and pointed to my forehead. He kissed my head and jumped up and down saying "I saved the day da kiss your head!"

His favorite primary song is "I am a Child of God." He calls it "I am a Child in God." It's his bedtime song, so I've literally sang it almost every day of his life. He likes to hear me play it on the piano and will sing along. When I get done playing he climbs up on the bench and tires to immitate what I do on the piano, including trying to use the pedal and singing while he plays. I put the pedal on a yoga block so he could reach it from the bench. I love it when he makes up words to songs.

Full costume at the park
Quin frequently asks "what is it called?" and "what is that?" I can tell the left hemisphere of his brain is kicking into gear with all these questions. I'll have to keep reminding myself of that when I feel annoyed with the constant "what's that? but why? what are you doing?" questions that are sure to increase in the next few years.

Ammon was bothering Quin at one point. After hearing lots of "no, baby!" and screaming from Quin I came out of the bathroom to find Quin had set up a DIY baby gate around himself so Ammon wouldn't touch him. I was so impressed and proud of his critical thinking and problem solving skills!
When Quin doesn't want to do something he sometimes runs upstairs and flops down on the bed saying "go to sleep" or "take a nap!" to try to avoid it. A pretty clever strategy but it doesn't always work.

When I was changing Ammon's diaper Quin exclaimed "Thank you da take care of da baby Momma. You are so much helper!"
Unprompted, random things I hear from Quin throughout the day: "I'm so pwowd of you, Momma!" "It's okay, Momma." "What's wrong Momma?" "How your days going?" "What a doing, Momma?" and "I wuv you, Momma!" He wraps his arms around me with the last one.

Quin is so loving and affectionate. I can tell Ammon is learning by his example. He already knows how to hug back with his arms and often gives us wet open-mouthed kisses.

February Fun

Quin loves opening packages. He calls everything a "surprise." While I was in the shower he had a blast opening some "surprise packages" that turned out to be feminine hygiene products :/

I ordered the original Wallace and Gromit shorts with my Christmas money. When the package arrived, Quin was really excited to open it. He exclaimed: "Thank you so much!" He loves the part where Wallace is riding the motorcycle with the sheep. He wanted to eat some cheese like Wallace so we had a picnic in the living room while we watched A Grand Day Out. Ammon joined us and really enjoyed crushing the leftover crackers and muffin. 

 Quin translations and quotes:
"I don't bathroom!" = I don't want to put on my bathrobe
"Give you up!" = pick me up. I usually Rick Roll him back
"It's dark in da air" = It's dark in here
"So souwicious" = so delicious
 "Batman Biel bike" = a ride on batmobile toy
"I bloke dat" = I broke that. He says it with confidence and no shame.
"spicy saurus" = Spinosaurus. He can identify a surprising number of dinosaurs.
"nudicycle" = motorcycle
When I ask "are you a girl or a boy?" He enthusiastically says "girl!" He thinks it's funny.
At the Dr. a medical assistant smiled at Quin and said "Hi! How are you?" In a level tone Quin responded with "Paw Patrol." I guess he saw some Paw Patrol stickers a minute before?
I took Quin to the dollar store to spend some of his birthday money and I think that was a mistake. He is constantly begging to go back and buy more junk. After saying "no" repeatedly he said "I've an idea. Let's go to the toy store! Hooray!"
Quin likes to take care of his baby brother. The other day he was trying to take Ammon away while I was nursing him, saying "take care of Ammon! Turn wif Ammon" He always points it out if Ammon is sitting in his high chair without cheerios on the tray. "Baby da eat some cheerios?" He will sometimes spontaneously give him toys and snuggles. Ammon has a shrill happy sound that he makes when he is tired. It makes Quin laugh and Quin says "that's so squeaky!." Ammon is always so happy when he sees Quin for the first time in the morning or after a nap. 
"reading" to Ammon

Super boys

Quin likes to identify the parts of Ammon's face

Quin says "oh no" at inappropriate times. Like when he decides to go into the bathroom he says "oh no, the bathroom." Or when he's happy to see someone he says "oh no, it's momma!" He also says "that's terrible!" when there's nothing terrible happening. It cracks us up.

Quin got really interested in spelling lately. I would like to thank Blippi for this awesomeness. Quin can spell his name, Blippi, cat, and zoo. He likes to read the letters on things, like billboards and cereal boxes (o-a-t-s, cheerios!). It was funny when he read the letters on Ammon's shirt "h-u-n-k." He loves to arrange the fridge magnets into words. This was from before we started working on spelling his name:
Now he can arrange the letters into "Q-u-i-n."
Ammon cut his first tooth around January 15th. He is working on a couple more currently and is not happy unless he has something to put in his mouth and chew on. His babbling is more complex and adorable and he can roll, pivot, get on his hands and knees and rock, and will be crawling any second.
He likes to be on his side so he can grab toys easier and see what Quin is doing. We call it his "picture by the pool pose." It's funny when he puts his hand on his hip and looks over at us like he's posing for a magazine cover. He spends a lot of his time in this pose! 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Salt Lake City Trip

We flew to Salt Lake City for Uncle Jason and Aunt Isa's wedding. A week before the trip I was telling Quin that we were going to ride on an airplane. He calmly responded "no, I'm going to ride on a spaceship." After talking about it some more he decided he would ride on an airplane if it was red and blue.
We woke up to find it snowing, the first time it has done that in Springfield this year. It was very slippery getting to the airport. We counted 7 cars and 2 trucks on the side of the road on I5. Some of them were in ditches. We had to drive pretty slow during the first part to keep from sliding around. I was worried we were going to be late since we were going 40 instead of 65 for several miles.  
When we finally parked and got all our gear out Quin had a blast riding the shuttle from the parking lot to the airport. He jumped up on the shuttle and picked out our seats.
Check in and security were surprisingly fast for towing along 2 little kids. We got a window seat at our gate and it was fun watching the airplanes taxi in to the gate. Quin was impressed by the vehicles that transport luggage to the airplanes. He told me he wants to drive the tractor when he grows up. I think he also wants to fly an airplane.
Quin and Ammon both did really well on the plane ride.

Here's Quin enjoying an escalator ride. He had a hard time leaving the airport when we got to SLC because he wanted to keep riding the "excavator." 

Quin really liked the cats at Aunt Velvet's house. He followed them around saying "hi kitty. Meow" over and over. He wasn't too crazy about Harold at first but he warmed up to him and pet him.

Quin was really impressed with the snow. He got to play on a slipplery trampoline at Uncle Keith's house and Aunt Velvet's house.

So much fun to play with Uncle Curtis!

He was okay. He slipped a lot on that trampoline and just got up again. He started screaming after he took his gloves off, against my insistence that he keep them on, and fell in the snow. His hands got so cold!
Quin was really impressed by the dwarf goats at Uncle Keith's house. He kept saying "hi goat. nice goat." He thought the goat hutch was pretty cool and climbed in a few times. Uncle Keith pulled us in a sled behind a 4 wheeler. It was really exciting and kind on terrifying!

We also enjoyed saying hi to Velvet's chickens.

Quin loved the Christus statue. He kept wanting to go back to it and "see Jesus."

 It was really cold at temple square. Quin liked seeing the temple up close. Mom and I attended Isa's endowment. Michael tried to come but didn't make it in time so he went with my dad to hang out at Jason and Isa's new apartment.

 Uncle Jason is so much fun!!!
Quin really liked Jason's long board. He called it a "keyboard." He liked standing on it and jumping but his favorite was when Grandma Dodge pushed him around the kitchen.

Jason and Isa's wedding was so beautiful! I was so happy to see the pure joy on my brother's face. I've never seen Jason so happy. It was so sweet to be with my eternal family in the temple. The greatest peace and happiness I have ever felt has been in sealing rooms while the sealing ordinances to bind families together forever were being performed.

Waiting for the bride after the wedding.
Ring ceremony complete with viking ring exchange on the tips of swords

The reception was SO MUCH FUN!!! Music and dancing and amazing food and awesome people to hang out with. Quin had a really good time dancing. I sewed bow ties for the boys so they would match and look awesome in pictures. However, church clothes were forgotten in the stress of transporting kids back and forth from Velvet's and getting to and from the temple. He's still cute in sweat pants and rain boots.
Ammon got passed around a lot. I think he enjoyed it.

Uncle Keith groovin' with Ammon
On Sunday we had a birthday party for my mom. It was so nice to have a family reunion with Dodge people! We found out Mike and Brenda were on the same flight as us so they took me and Ammon to the airport while Michael and Quin dropped off the rental car. Mike and Brenda helped us a lot at the airports. We had a lot of stuff to carry!
When we finally got back to Oregon it was late, we were exhausted, and we were so disappointed to find our car encased in ice.
The road was really slippery and it was hard to even walk there. It took about 45 minutes to get the ice off and then we drove very VERY slowly through the parking lot and through Portland. We got home around 1 AM.

The next day we were happy to see there was still some snow in our backyard. Quin had a really good time playing in it.

We miss our Utah and New Hampshire peeps and look forward to our next visit!