Friday, November 30, 2012

Dear Keaton: 3 years / 3.5 years / Going on 4 years

Dear Keaton,

It is the end of November 2012 and I am just now sitting down to write your 3-year letter.  This has been on my to-do list for almost an entire year as you turned three in December 2011.  At first my list said “write Keaton’s 3-year letter” then it was “write Keaton’s 3 - 3 ½ year letter” now it says “3 - 3 ½ - going on 4”. Like so much during 2012, I’ve considered skipping this all together and picking back up at age four, but when I really let that thought sink in, I feel so guilty. I just can’t do that. Even if I’m late, I have to do something to document this year. 

3-yr photo by
CaSondra Shim Photography

I can’t talk about you at age three without mentioning The Fire.  We were less than three weeks from your third birthday when those alarms started blaring and woke us all out of a dead sleep.  I really wasn’t thinking straight when I let you stand in the neighbor’s window and watch as flames started shooting through the roof, as you were at a prime age for remembering it all.  Your brother was by your side, but out of the two of you, you are the only one that remembers it.  It’s been a difficult year as the fire left you with night terrors, remembering things you lost in the “fire house”, and having an aversion to fire fighters.  We’ve tried explaining to you several times that its water that comes through their hoses, not fire, but you are still convinced that the fireman came to burn our house down.  We’ll continue to work on this and I know someday you will understand. 

Photo by CaSondra Shim Photography

We were in the midst of planning your third birthday party when the fire occurred and while plans had to change a little, your one birthday party at our house turned into two birthday parties at Busha’s and Mimi’s, the theme went on as planned: tractors.  At age three you loved everything tractors.  I think they are what have developed your deep love for the color green.  Neither of these things has changed.  Tractors are still your favorite toy to play with; you even chose a tractor theme for your first room in our new house.  And if we don’t give you the green cup at dinner, green sucker at the bank, green shirt in the morning, we usually hear about it.

Photos by CaSondra Shim Photography

I don’t want to complain too much about “hearing about it” though.  I think my favorite thing about age three is the explosion in terms of communication.  I remember this starting around 2 ½ and I can distinctively recall a ride in the car, you in the back seat jabbering nonstop to me.  And I remember thinking as we turned in the gas station, wow, this, this having an actual full-fledged conversation with my child, this is really cool.  By age three not only could you tell us what you wanted, but you could tell us how you felt.  I am frus-ter-ated, you’d say. 

Photo by CaSondra Shim Photography

Of course, like all ages, with the good comes the…..we’ll call it difficult.  I clearly remember one day early spring making the statement “Age three is trying to kill us.” While two was difficult because of tantrums and fits, three gave us a run for our money because of your desire to push the boundaries and want everything your way.  There was many a fight about what you wore to Busha’s in the morning or what order we did things while getting ready.  And of course as you inch closer to four and just as your Dad and I have started to finally figure out what is worth fighting over and what to let go, the challenges have started to change.  I suppose this is why parents think every age is difficult, because just as we start to get you, you go and grow up just a bit more.

Photo by CaSondra Shim Photography

Shortly after you turned three years old I asked you a set of questions, 20 questions that I plan on asking you each year on your birthday. Rereading these tonight with your Dad we both found ourselves shaking our heads, yes, yes, that’s Keaton.

            What is your favorite color?   Green
            What is your favorite toy?   Machines & tractors
            What is your favorite fruit?   Pickles!
            What is your favorite tv show?   Mickey Mouse Clubhouse & favorite movie is Rio
            What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?   Pretzels
            What is your favorite outfit?   Dump truck shirt
            What is your favorite game?   Candy Land
            What is your favorite snack?   Pretzels
            What is your favorite animal?  Deer
            What is your favorite song?   Sexy and I know it!
            What is your favorite book?   Machine books
            Who is your best friend?   Jackson & Hutton is your best bud
            What is your favorite cereal?   *goes to pantry – wait a sec, I’ll show you* Cheerios
            What is your favorite thing to do outside?   Pull the work wagon
            What is your favorite holiday?   Easter
            What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Tractor blankie, truck blankie, 
                    machine blankie, and choo choo blankie
            What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  No answer, I think you were 
                    getting tired of this.
            What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  No answer.
            What do you want to be when you grow up?  A builder and a farmer

As I type these out I find myself shaking my head again.  The blankies.  Oh, your blankies.  You have no less than three blankies with you every night.  And each time anyone in our family receives a new one, you immediately claim it as your own.  Sweet boy, you are a blanket hoarder.  You love to read books and at age three always asked for your “big machine book! Big machine book!”  You had just started getting into cartoons and I have to admit, I was happy your fell in love with Mickey Mouse.  Of course your “shows” have branched out a bit since last year, but if Mickey is an option more times than not, you’ll still choose it.   You didn’t mention trains on your list of toys, but while we lived in the duplex you and your Dad would build some mean tracks, having them travel all over the main living area.  It doesn’t surprise me that you say you want to be a builder and a farmer, this summer we spent many days at the house (jobsite, as you called it) and you and Hutton would pound away with your hammers and play with your tape measures, right along side Daddy and Papa.

Christmas 2011
Photo by CaSondra Shim Photography

 At your 3-year check up you weighed in at 33 lbs 9.6 oz (61.73%) and were 3 feet 3.75 inches tall (85.90%).  You continue to be such a hard worker.  Hauling sticks, loading wood, dusting, washing windows, you really like to do it all.  You are very sensitive and are showing tendencies of being a perfectionist.  You still prefer to be outside rather than in. You have a wonderful connection with each and every one of your grandparents, and that makes me so happy. You love your brother even though you two spend so much time fighting.  At 18 months and 3 yrs old, we could not leave you two alone for more than 10 seconds (I am not joking) without you being at each other’s throats.  It was exhausting, if I’m being honest.  But you know what?  One “I yove you” out of you and all of that was forgotten.

3-yr photo by
CaSondra Shim Photography

I yove you too, Buddy.  So, so much.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dear Nolan: 6 Months

Dear Nolan,

At the beginning of November you turned six months old.  I am having a hard time accepting just how quickly this year is going.  I’m in the midst of planning your biggest brother’s fourth birthday party and along the way I’ve found a couple of things to bookmark for yours and when I realize I’ll be starting to plan your first birthday in just a few more months, it makes me a little sad.  These baby years, they just go too fast in my opinion.

This has been a really great month.  You continue to be such a happy-go-lucky little guy and really just a joy to be around.  At the beginning of the month we took you three boys to a Christmas concert with Papa and Busha.  They had bought the tickets for us because we all thought your big brothers would enjoy it; there is lots of singing and dancing by a local family. When we walked in there was a large crowd and one of the Grandma’s looked at you and asked me if you were going to the concert.  Yes, I told her.  I guess I never thought that you shouldn’t go; you have two big brothers at home so noise is not a problem for you and you are usually quite content as long as someone is holding you.  We weren’t wrong in taking you, but we were wrong in which of you boys would like it the most.  Keaton fell asleep half way though and Hutt did a little playing on the ground when he got antsy.  But you?  You stood up on my lap and danced the whole show through.  You loved it!  From behind me I heard the people say, wow, he sure is a happy guy!

Last month you discovered your toes, and those little toes still make you happy, but this month, This Month! you found your thumb. This is a Big Deal for us; you are our first thumb sucker.  Like your older brother, Hutton, you don’t like nuks, so we haven’t had anything to help soothe you when you are upset.  But now, you just stick that thumb in your mouth and suck until you calm down.  I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about this at first, worried about dental problems in your future, but Busha says this is a good thing and so I’m going with that.  Besides, it has led to a big development in another department…

 Sleeping.  I’m always a little nervous to say this out loud but….shhhh…youputyourselftosleep and sleepinyourcribmostofthenight.  That’s right, you put yourself to sleep.  I cannot believe I’m saying this about one of my children.  After your two big brothers I never saw this in my future.  We can lay you down and hand you your lion, Larry the Lion, turn on your lullabies and you snuggle with Larry and chatter a bit and then you find your thumb, roll yourself on your side or tummy and just….go to sleep.  It’s really amazing and has earned you “Easiest Child” status.  We are so very thankful for this development.  Of course there are nights it doesn’t go as easy, but for the most part you are a charm at bed time.

At six months you weight about 14 ½ pounds.  You wear 3-6 month clothes and size 2 diapers and still drink 4 ounce bottles.  You just celebrated your first Halloween, where you and your brothers were all Lumberjacks. And those brothers of yours, they call you Rollin’ Nolan. You are working on sitting by yourself and love, love, love bath time. You like to pet the dog but don’t like it when she licks you.  If we’ve left you in your exersaucer too long you let us know but flinging yourself around angrily and pound your fists.  It’s kind of cute.  You are always happy when we get you out of your crib, even if we wake you up mid-sleep.  I’ve never seen a baby so smiley when woken in the middle of his nap.  Your smile is still a killer; it’s hard to be in a bad mood with you around. I look forward to so many more months with you.

I love you so much,

Thursday, November 22, 2012

We're Thankful For...

Our loving and supportive family

A home to share this meal

Bears and coyotes


Larry the Lion and Sophie the Giraffe

But mostly, I think we're thankful that we are here. Together. Safe.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

And the Winner is....


The boys, in correct order were:

A. Keaton
B. Hutton
C. Nolan

Tanya, I'll get you your gift card sometime this weekend! Enjoy your Pumpkin Spice Latte :)

So, because I'm a total nerd, I've written all the guesses down and run some stats....let's review...

* Of 10 total guesses, only two people (20%) got all three correct.  Tanya & Kira, congrats!

*The most correctly guessed baby was Hutton, with 7 correct guesses.

* Hutton was followed by Keaton, with 5 correct guesses.

* The most often confused baby was Nolan, with the only people correctly identifying him being Tanya & Kira.

* The most often mixed up babies were Keaton & Nolan (5 people mixed them up)

* The second most often mixed up babies were Hutton & Nolan (3 people mixed them up)

* No one mixed up Keaton & Hutton

* I find this very interesting and I think it supports my theory that Nolan is a mix between the two.

* For the record, Collin was tired when he looked at these but he mixed up Keaton & Nolan.  He thought Hutton was the easiest because of his eyes.  Of the three, I think Keaton is the easiest because of his round head.

There you have it!  Maybe we'll play again at 9 months, where I think they will all start to get easier.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Name That Baby! (Thanksgiving guessing game)

The Halloween decorations finally made there way to a tote and into the storage room. I used to have a lot of "fall" decorations and even some things that would come out just for Thanksgiving, but for now we are using some gourds and squash to get us through the remainder of the season. I did see a set of Pilgrims when Tanya and Amanda and I were on our girls trip, it was a funny story at the time, and I haven't told them this, but I've been thinking about those Pilgrims ever since. If they hadn't been so expensive and in a town several away, I'd probably drive myself back over there to get them.  As it is I keep wondering if they'd be on sale after Thanksgiving and if a trip should be in order.

The point of this is, I don't have anything to give away for a Thanksgiving guessing game.  BUT.  When I saw these pictures I knew one was in order. So instead of playing for a Thanksgiving decoration, we're going to play for a Starbucks gift card.  Here's the catch: the gift card has to be used on a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  I know you're going to be tempted to skip ahead and get a Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha - hell, I'd be tempted too - but there are only a few days left in this season, we need to soak in it. I wish I could get the gift card to you before Thanksgiving because I know my mind too changes to All Christmas All The Time the day after, but of course, as is my life lately, I'm running late.

The big boys liked their Exersaucer so much that when it came time to get one for Nolan we didn't even look around, I just repurchased the same thing.  And he loves it too.  I was uploading pictures the other day and when I saw the ones of him in his bouncer I thought, ooooh, I have similar ones of the big boys.  I can't say this about much, I won't have comparable pictures in the same clothes or even with the same blankets or toys, but we do have the exersaucer.  

I thought these were all very obvious who was who, but when I showed them to Collin last night he looked at me and said "they are all different?"  So I'm interested to see how easy it is for you guys.  We have Baby A. Baby B. and Baby C.  Can you put the boys in order?  Guessing will close at 10 pm tonight.  The first one to guess the correct order wins a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Soooo.....Name That Baby!




Thursday, November 15, 2012

anatomy of a lumberjack photo shoot

For this, here, Lumberjack Photo Shoot we have found ourselves three mighty lumberjacks.  A Big Lumberjack (BgLJ), Medium Lumberjack (MLJ), and a Baby Lumberjack (BL). 

As is proper, before beginning a Lumberjack Photo Shoot, one (MLJ) must find a tree...

...and take a chop at it.

Never mind that his axe is backwards.

Okay, now we may begin.

The first step in a Lumberjack Photo Shoot is to precariously prop a BLJ in a Bumbo, in a tree.

Second, place a BgLJ on a tree that has fallen and warn him against slipping off.

Okay, now that your BgLJ is steady and your BLJ is secure, the MLJ may join the crowd.

Everyone look here and say, Cheese!

Alright, now get down before you fall!

Let's try this again.  Everyone say, Cheese!

Or swing your axes.  Whatever.

Okay, say Lumberjaaaaaack!

How about your mean face.  Give us a Lumberjack growl.

Oh, yeah, you look more like pirates. Let's try something different.

BLJ says: Can I get out of this thing?

I think it's about time for a scene change.

How about a big lumberjack saw.  Because this looks safe.

For this scene, let's place the BLJ in front of a log and have the BgLJ and MLJ hold the saw on said log. 

Opps! It kinda looks like they are about ready to saw the Baby.

Aaaaaaand, this appears to be heading downhill fast.

BLJ says: Hey! Adults in this family, do you not see these lumberjacks are yielding a large saw, DIRECTLY BEHIND ME??!!

BLJ: Oh look, a shoe!

BLJ: No seriously.  This is so dumb.

Okay Lumberjacks! *clap, clap* Get your axes!  Let's all sit together on the log.

Ooooor, make a Lumberjack Train.  That works to. Choo chooooo.

What?  What's the matter?  We're almost done here.

Lets just all sit down on the log again...

Okay, look here and say Cheese!

Cheese!  Cheese! Guys, give me a cheese!

Oh, for God's sake, this is heading downhill again.

Aaaaand, we've lost one.

Okay, one more time, let's try this again.

Aaaaand, we've lost another.

BJL: This is ridiculous.

BJL: Hey guys!  Little help here?  I'm stuck.  In a Bumbo.

BLJ: Oh Thank God, at least someone is responsible around here.

BLJ: Wait!  Wait! What are you doing? Why are you marching?  This is no damn parade.  Get me out of this thing!


Oh boy, the BLJ is dropping F bombs, time to wrap this up.

What?  What's the matter?  Oh, you don't want to go inside?

Oh, don't worry BgLJ, in just a few days we get to go trick-or-treating.

And that's a wrap folks.  

A day in the life of a lumberjack. See you next time.