Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Budding Baker and Babbler

One thing I am thankful for is Quin gives us lots of positive encouragement. When I finish something he might say "good job momma!" or "nice" He came down the stairs one afternoon and when he saw me he exclaimed "It's momma! Yay momma!"

A fine centerpiece
 He says "happy momma?" when he can see that I'm upset or unhappy. He wants his happy momma back! When daddy gets upset Quin says "see momma?" Meaning he wants to be with momma.
Quin could tell I was getting frustrated when I couldn't find something in the pantry. He came up to me and asked "what's wrong, momma?" I instantly felt better :) Later daddy got soap in his eye and Quin noticed daddy was in pain. He quietly asked "you okay?"
Sometimes when Ammon is crying Quin says "Ammon sad."

 And now for some pictures:

Sharing his numbers with Ammon

Quin loves to do puzzles, Ammon loves to watch Quin. It works out great!
Ammon loves the Johnny Jump up. When Quin notices he is in it he'll go over there and bounce him,  spin him around, or push him like it's a swing at the park. It requires supervision and intervention when its too fast or rough, but I'm so happy he likes to take care of his little brother.
Ammon also loves the "aquarium." So glad I kept this from when Quin was a baby!

Also enjoys this play mat

So does Quin. Ammon doesn't mind. He just likes to watch whatever Quin is doing.

Ammon kept and eye on us while we colored with chalk outside
 For Halloween Ammon was Squirt from finding Nemo and Quin was superman. He made a pretty good man of steel. He tripped and fell on his face and got back up without a fuss and kept on trick or treating!

Dapper lil' chap

Some nicknames I have for Ammon:
  • chipper chap, when he's happy
  • grumpkin, when he's not
  • hungry bungry when he's hungry
  • sunny bunches
  • my new favorite: man cub
 Grandpa Dodge calls him "Ammonater."

This has been our naptime routine lately. Ammon enjoys looking at the pictures.

Quin doesn't really take naps anymore, so it's more of a quiet time routine.

Quin recently got very interested in cooking after making cookies with me. Now when I ask him what he wants to do he says "help you cook."
My lovely dinner-making assistant

Chef/taste tester in training
 If you couldn't tell, Quin said "it's amazing" when he hugged that box of macaroni.

We've been working on saying "please" and "thank you." I gave him some food and he said "thank you" but I forgot to say "you're welcome." Quin reminded me what I needed to say :)

We went out for dinner at Chipotle and Quin was a handful. The toys that we cleverly brought with us weren't keeping him occupied as we tried to hastily finish our meals. Quin got away from us and ran behind the counter and into the kitchen. After that he kept saying "run away!" and darting towards the kitchen. Next time I think we'll get a babysitter.

Whenever I drink a glass of water while I'm holding Ammon he wigs out. He rears his head back and his eyes get really wide. I'm sure he's thinking "whoa! What is that interesting-looking object that's close to my face!?!?"
He's just starting to grasp and reach out for things. It's fun that he can (sort of) hold toys all by himself. He's at the stage of "ooooh, that thing's cool. How do I get it in my mouth?" A few times he's reached toward my water cup or my plate when I hold him at dinner. Pretty soon he'll be getting into things! If you put your face close enough while he's on the ground he'll reach up and grab it. Then he'll try to pull it towards his mouth! He especially loves daddy's nose.

Ammon loves to kick and splash in the tub and surprises himself with the noise.

He loves his feet and spends time examining them and trying to stick his toes in his mouth.

Quin's favorite song is Midnight City by M83. It used to be my favorite song too, but listening to it 354 times on repeat killed it for me. Quin asks to listen to it by saying "listen to cars song?" He called it "car show" at first and that was confusing. He sways from one foot to the other when it comes on. A few times he's tried to sing along with the high pitched synthesizer part.

And finally, a video with some cute baby babble:

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Diary of a Mom who tried Potty Training

Not sure why I'm recording this but it feels good to write it down and decompress from a stressful week.
So, we tried potty training. Michael took two days off so we would have a four day weekend. We gave it our all, even having him wear underwear to bed. Needless to say, Quin is back in diapers but we learned A LOT. Made a lot of mistakes, had some sparkling successes throughout. We'll try again in a few months.
The day before we started I heard him say "I'm not poopy..." And I was like "I'm not suspicious..." He was poopy.
Day one I started by getting out all of the underwear for Quin and throwing it like confetti saying "underwear!" It definitely got him excited about it! He loved choosing which ones to wear and went for the green pair that had drums on it. Our method was to watch him all day long and rush him to the potty if he started to pee. Once on the potty he got to pick out a sticker and put it on the toilet. I had planned to put the stickers on the potty seat but they wouldn't stick to it for some reason.
If he peed in the potty he got to pick a "surprise" from a paper bag that had dollar store party favors. I also put snacks or balloons in Easter eggs and called it a "surprise egg." That really motivated him but also frustrated him because he wanted one but couldn't get one .

We learned that Quin can really hold it. For HOURS. It was kinda freaky. He held it for over two hours despite drinking two capri suns and lots of water.

I learned that when a kid poops his underwear it's really not any worse than having to change a poopy cloth diaper. In fact, I just washed the poopy underwear with the diapers.

After day three we had him wear a pull up to bed. Getting up three times in the night to take care of the two year old in soggy sheets while the baby slept was not cool and NOT working. 

Wednesday was the worst. He kicked and screamed while I wrestled to put the underwear on and wouldn't stay on the toilet. He would cry "no pee! no potty!" if I put him on there and then have an accident a few minutes later. I decided Thursday we would go back to diapers. But, Thursday morning he asked to wear underwear so I we did underwear another day. No pee in the potty but only two accidents the whole day. I put a diaper on him for his nap and I'm pretty sure he did all of his peeing in that diaper and during his bath that night :/

Some memorable moments:
After I sucessfully went to the bathroom he raised his arms and said "good job momma!"
He told me he needed to go pee and when he realized he was about to go he gave me a huge grinn.

Sometimes he climbs up on the toilet and goes pee on his own before or after his bath in the evening, which is really exciting but as far as we have come in potty training.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Capes, lightsabers, and Legos, oh my!

I got out the superman costume for the first time today. I wasn't sure if he would like it. It's our plan for a Halloween costume for him but I felt bad making him dress up in whatever costume we already have and not something he wants to "be." But he's still too little to decide I guess and we don't really have money for clothes you wear only once a year.
The cape was a huge hit. He loves it! He ran around wielding his "lightsaber" (an empty green bubble tube) and even wanted to take a nap with his cape. He also insisted that all adults in the room also wear a cape. So Michael and I draped blankets over our shoulders and ran around with him.

I draped a burp rag across Ammon's back to he could have a "cape" too. Quin is definitely my son. When I was a kid my favorite thing in the world was playing dress up with my friends.

I finally got Quin a little basket ball of his own since he is so obsessed with the neighbor's. One evening he brought everyone a ball and said "here go, mama. Here go, daddy." He even found a little tiny ball for Ammon.

I have a bowl of almonds sitting next to the bed for midnight snacking. Quin grabbed a few one morning and made them jump around on my pillow singing "no no almonds jumping on da bed"
Quin sometimes sings "mr. Baby" to Ammon. He loves to hold and cuddle and lay on Ammon and likes to be touching him when he is near. He will scoot in close to Ammon while he's playing to make his back touch the baby. 
Ammon appears to be the easiest baby born to woman. He rarely cries, is easy to soothe, and loves to smile, babble, and initiate social contact. He sometimes does a wide mouth grin accompanied by a little gasp, copying what I do when he smiles at me.
He has developed an interest in his hands. He often examines and sucks on his knuckles. He is interested in his feet too but can only look at them when I hold them up, such as when I'm changing his diaper or holding him in front of a mirror.
Quin likes it when things are "on top of a mountain." He calls peaches with whipped cream "peaches on top of a mountain." Recently we went to a park with lots of big grassy hills nearby. Quin was hardly interested in the play structure at all. He just wanted to "go on top of a mountain" and run back down.  
Quin made up a version of the Humptey Dumptey song that goes like this: Quin Quin Quin Quin sat on a wall. Quin Quin Quin Quin had a great fall. Then he jumps off the coffee table.
Currently his favorite animals are dolphins. All large sea creatures are dolphins, including whales. The runner up for favorite animal appears to be elephants.  
Other favorites:
  • Space ships
  • Legos
  • Swords/lightsabers
  • TV show "My Magic Pet Morphle." I've heard him talk about this show in his sleep. 
  • Lift the flap books
  • Da baby (Ammon)
  • Cousins!
Quin found the lego x wing kit he got for Christmas and asked if we could put together the "puzzle." I was like "sure! I love legos. I don't really want to make dinner anyway." So I built the spaceship for him. I tried to involve him. I read the instructions out loud "step 1: get this grey piece." He even clicked a few of the pieces together for me. He walked around the living room saying "step 2: fly a spaceship" over and over. When it was finished he was so delighted! He even slept with it the first night

Quin with the "lego spaceship"
Unfortunately it became apparent that the 6-12 age recommendation is accurate. He is way too young for this toy. So many pieces got lost! The lego guy came with a helmet and a gun and he kept loosing them and then asking me to find "the bazooka" and "the guy's hat" in our speckled carpet. Sadly, the space ship went into time out. For 3 years. But it was fun to have Quin's two favorite things come together for a short time. 

It looks like he's falling, but this lego guy actually stayed on his head for a few minutes
Quin loves taking an "Ammon bath." He also asks me if Ammon can sleep with him during his nap and is always really frustrated when I say no.

Quin often is unimpressed by the dinners I make, but the night I made pot stickers his only response was "it's scary." He wouldn't even sit at the table. He usually just eats the green beans, olives, or cherry tomatoes on his plate. We don't have to tell him to eat his vegetables. That's all he eats! When he watches a TV show about phonics he always asks for an apple. A-a-apple. He has started to help himself to food in the fridge, which is both cool and really not cool because he leaves the door open half the time. We might need a fridge lock.

So far this blog has been aimed at cataloging cute memories of my kids. It's basically a lazy scrap book but it's also sort of turned into my journal. So I wanted to write about me a little bit. I've been trying to think about what makes me ME. I am not the same person I was before I gave birth to Quin. So who am I now? And do I even like my new self?
Here are some things I do know:
  • I love doing puzzles. The cardboard picture kind, keep those evil sudoku pages and rubix cubes AWAY
  • I enjoy long nature walks with people I want to get to know better. Being outside on a trail is a great way to relax and talk freely. 
  • Thrift stores are my happy place. I could spend hours browsing through a thrift store. 
  • I like music, but it's not "my life." I'm not obsessed with it, I just enjoy it. Not sure why I am so adamant about that. 
  • My deepest fear and greatest struggle is fear of failure. I worry I'll say something wrong, do something wrong, regret this later, I have to set up the new kitchen PERFECTLY the first time or my life will be over! I didn't realize this about myself at first, but looking back on my life I see that this fear of failure has caused a lot of problems and actually caused me to fail at some things. Ah, irony. 
  • Going along with the fear of failure is an intense fear of letting people down. I really care about the people in my life and want to be the best I can for them. I'm really sensitive about whether or not other people like me or think I'm doing well. Which is a dumb high school thing to have going on, but if I'm going to find out who I am I have to be honest with myself and accept everything that is me before I can make a change. 
  • I don't really like cats anymore. Shocking for anyone who knew me as a 10 year old. I used to have cat posters and figurines and stuffed animals covering my room. I'm okay with this. Cats are gross and very touchy and frustrating to be around. Maybe I just haven't found the right cat yet. Or maybe it's just that the cats in my life are always giving me dirty looks and pooping in my yard. 
Some other news that is not strictly kid-related: we really want to move. We love the duplex we are in, on the outside anyways, but we aren't crazy about the neighborhood. Loud trucks with blaring music in the middle of the night, people arguing and swearing outside our window at 11 PM, people swearing at their kids and kids swearing at each other. Constantly having to pick up the garbage people throw on our lawn/that floats into our backyard. Dangerous materials left behind at the playground, such as propane bottles with propane inside, broken glass, not to mention dried vomit in the baby swing. This is not the kind of place I want my sons to grow up. We are on the wait list for low-income housing but it will take a few months. We took Quin to look at the apartments before we applied to make sure we're not just moving from one bad spot to another. At both of them he was really impressed and said: "Oh wow! It's so wonderful!" They both remind me of Camas Commons but in different ways.

Well, that's all that's new around here. We're looking forward to seeing Michael's family and watching General Conference in two days!

Monday, September 12, 2016

A series of cute stories

We had an awesome family reunion last month. It was at a beach house-resort place called Harbor Villa, near Rockaway Beach. We got to go to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, ride to Garibaldi on the Pacific Coast scenic steam engine, hike Moutnt Neahkahnie, eat s'mores, and most of all: spend time with Grandma and Grandpa Dodge! We were so happy to see them. In addition, we were thrilled to meet Uncle Jason's lovely girlfriend, Isa. They are getting married in January! We are looking forward to riding on an airplane and getting to sight see in Salt Lake City. 
Here are some favorite photos from the reunion:

And now, back to normal life. Here are a few translations from Quintoneese into English:
"Beans" means grass. The first time I heard him call it that I had just vacuumed the whole house. He brought some grass in from outside, carried it upstairs in his fists, and happily shouted "beans!" as he threw them like confetti. On the freshly vacuumed carpet.
"Sausage" means Ranch dressing. We were very confused for a few dinners. 
"Pee dee does" is how he says tomatoes. 
He often asks for things by saying "some ...??" IE "some water?" "some CANDY?!?" It's cute. 
Also, he calls my iPhone "my phone" because that's what I call it. 
Quin enjoys spending time outside with the family and will often gather us to sit on the patio chairs. He especially likes it when we have popsicles or ice cream. If someone doesn't have a popsicle he will say "daddy popsicle?" He's so sweet to make sure everyone has one. He shares really well with adults, not so much with kids. 

Quin likes to enthusiastically say "hi" and will run through the list of family members. "Hi momma! Hi daddy! Hi baby!" Once during a magical family outdoor moment he listed everyone off and then said "hi Quin" to himself. He also says "hi" to things like cats, dogs, balls, cars, and the moon. 

Quin knows lots of songs and loves singing. Some of his favorites are:
  • Apples and bananas
  • If you're happy and you know it
  • Jesus wants me for a sunbeam (he says it "sunbean")
  •  Head shoulders knees and toes
  • Twinkle twinkle little star
  • The ABC song
  • Finger family (daddy finger where are you)
  • Johnny Johnny
  • 3 Little Kittens
  • The spaceship song (a song about riding on a space ship that I made up)
I sang to him a lot when he was a little but nowadays he freaks out most of the time when I sing. I've been trying to teach him to say "no singing please" so it doesn't hurt my feelings as much. :(
I read some Shel Silverstein poems to Quin recently. When we got to one about pancakes Quin got really excited and wanted to eat pancakes. I had nothing better to do, so we made pancakes together. I would measure and hand the spoon or cup to Quin to pour into the mixing bowl and we took turns stirring the batter. While the pancakes were cooking, Quin kept licking the batter off the whisk saying "yummy yummy pancakes!" (It was a vegan pancake recipe, since I was dairy free at that time. No raw eggs were ingested). 


The latest in fun has been taking a bath with these robot toys. There are slots to insert the arms and legs kind of like Mr. Potato head. Michael told Quin to "go get the leg" so they could bring it upstairs for a bath. Quin was a little confused. He walked over to me, paused for a minute, and then grabbed my leg. 
Quin has gotten more imaginative lately. He attached the head of a robot piece to an arm and giggled as he called it a "lollipop." He found the PVC elbow joints for a DIY project Michael has been working on and put one on his arm and said something like "I'm a robot! Is so cool!!!"   

I told him to smile for the picture and he made this face
I love how little kids make their own fun. Quin made a game of putting these toy food pieces in a rain boot and taking them out again. It kept him busy for at least an hour. He is obsessed with the food pieces and is constantly asking me to draw ice cream, carrots, apples, bananas, grapes, and bread. I'm kind of relieved because he was asking me to draw animals and my drawings were pretty unconvincing. I never claimed to be an artist! He found one of my drawings of food and matched his food pieces with the corresponding drawing. It might not seem like much but I was pretty impressed. 
Quin also had a ton of fun playing with some brown paper sacks. He got a plastic sword (actually it might have been a vacuum cleaner attachment...) and hit the bags with it all around the house. Weird how little things like that are so much more fun than expensive toys. 
We made up a game called "squash." It's basically something for Quin to do while I'm nursing Ammon. Quin will climb up on the couch behind me and wedge himself between my back and the couch. Then I lean back on him and "squash" him. Quin really likes it when Ammon "squashes" him. I just press Ammon up against Quin and say "squash the brother!" I think this game is what made Quin really start to like Ammon. When Quin and Ammon take baths together Quin often helps wash Ammon. He loves getting a turn with the wash cloth to rub it on Ammon's hair. He will sometimes ask for a "turn" with Ammon, meaning he wants to hold him. It's more like a hug because Quin loses interest but it's sweet. Quin can sometimes get Ammon to stop crying just by looking at him or tickling him. 
Quin even rocked Ammon to sleep in the swing once. More often Quin wakes him up by patting him on the stomach or touching his face, though. Quin likes to turn on the "songs" for Ammon by pushing the music button on the swing. Ammon has smiled at Quin a few times and always looks at him really intently when he comes into view. 
Brother love!
Ammon has been smiling and cooing. He likes the monkeys that dangle from the baby swing and will coo at them. His favorite song is "Mr. Baby"(Mr. Bassman with different words). His face often lights up it a smile when I start singing it.  

Here are a bunch of cute pictures of Ammon:

It's like a bunk bed!

We were given a gorgeous framed Simon Dewey picture by a very generous friend. It's the one of Jesus holding a shepherd's crook looking over a flock of sheep. When Quin saw it for the first time he had just woken up from a nap. He excitedly ran over to it, pointed, and exclaimed "HIPPOS!" Apparently unshorn sheep look like hippos to Quin. He sat in front of the painting and looked at it for a really long time. Interestingly, Ammon really likes the painting too and will gaze at it for long periods of time if he's facing it.
The other day my mom called an we talked for a while on speaker phone. When she hung up Quin was really upset and said "again, grandma?!" So we called great grandma. When we hung up he said "again!" He might not say much but he loves talking to his grandmas.