10 Months / 2 Years, 9 Months

I think it's safe to say the dust is still settling in the bedroom shake-up. We've decided that since we don't actually need the top bunk right now we're going to take it back off. Henry and Silas' room is not very big and the tall bunk beds kind of tower over everything making the room feel like submarine sleeping quarters. Plus, although the fact that the upper bunk is lower than a normal bunked is great in the event of an unexpected fall, it lends itself to lots of bumped heads by mom and dad. So, hopefully tonight we'll take it back off and stow it away in the basement.

Both kiddos are pretty square with sleeping through the night, but, they've been engaging in all kinds of antics before finally falling asleep (Henry) or after an initial wake-up. JT said that two nights ago he had been listening to Henry chatter away but somehow something just wasnt right. He went in to check and Henry was out of bed standing next to Silas' crib trying to fix his jungle crib toy that had fallen over. Last night i got home in time to put both boys to bed. When Henry was getting in bed he told me that "baby might cry again." I told him that if Silas did cry Henry could talk to him or sing to him. Bad idea. Again we were greeted by Henry chattering and then squeals of laughter by Silas. It took awhile to settle them back down and then they were out for the night.

So, we're going to keep at this room-sharing thing. I know it will work itself out in the end but every night is an adventure.

Quick Silas update, JT said that while i was gone Silas is trying to pull up on anything and everything. He's not been successfull yet, but it's always nice to see signs of forward progress in the little ones :)



So, my last post showed Henry marching around in his underwear playing the kazoo-- quite well i might add. The video missing some key details however-- like how his skin glistens like an oiled pig because not five minutes before the video was shot he dug his hand in an over-sized jar of aquaphor, an emerged from the bathroom saying "i didn't get much" in a very guilty voice.

This video should help explain just how much heavy cream we had to spread around the family that night.


Back-up Childcare

One thing about having little kids, is the need for someone to have a flexible work schedule. Thankfully JT and i both can usually adapt our work schedule depending on what arises. This flexibility was put into practice today while our daycare provider had to be unexpectedly closed. I guess they found a gas leak at the house next door yesterday and the gas had to be shut off to houses on both sides of the house with the leak. No gas means no heat and no heat means no kids. So, JT stayed home this morning while i worked and then i took over until they (thankfully) both went down for a nap 2 hours ago. I'm expecting them to wake-up anytime, but JT should be home in another 1/2 hour or so which means i will easily get a full day's work in.

It doesn't always happen, but Silas often takes an afternoon nap that at least partially overlaps with Henry's. I think that we're moving more and more to Silas taking naps by the clock which should mean a solid chunk of naptime for both of them in the afternoon. Henry fights his nap a little more now, and can often be heard singing and chattering to himself long after he's in bed, but once he's asleep he generally sleeps the full two hours, so i don't think we're going to be phasing out the afternoon nap anytime soon.

This past week Henry seemed to really be struggling with falling asleep at night. He'd often call out to us after having been in bed an hour or more only to tell us that he didn't know how to fall asleep. Last night that didn't happen so i'm hoping it was either a very short phase, or that it coincided with old Ralph being gone for the weekend. That's right folks. We left old Ralph at Brenda's over the long holiday weekend. On accident for sure, but we didn't know what to expect the first night. Henry wasn't really too phased by it once we explained that his job was to keep Ms. Brenda warm for the weekend and that Mr. Frog was staying in bed with Henry to keep *him* warm. He didn't make a fuss really but he did take 1+ hours to fall asleep each night Ralph was gone. We'll see over the next few weeks if this is a new development or Ralph-related.

Speaking of new developments, right now we're planning to move Silas downstairs this weekend into Henry's room. It was always the plan to have them share a room, but we've been waiting until Silas' sleep habits improved and he wasn't breastfeeding anymore. I think we've by and large taken care of both of those issues so we're going to bite the bullet this weekend.


9 Mos, 3 weeks/ 2 Years, 9 Months

I think we made full-use of our three-day weekend, even though the temperature is about as cold as it generally gets here. Saturday Kerala's Nanny, Ellen, watched Kerala, Silas and Henry over at our house while we went to a party. Splitting the babysitter was certainly economical, and you know you have a keeper when the babysitter is disappointed that one of the kiddos (that would be Silas) was already asleep by the time we left.

Henry did some painting this weekend at his easel-- although we had to temporarily relocate it upstairs because the basement is absolutely freezing at this point. He's getting in to making his little masterpieces, and we realized we needed some new painting supplies-- i bought his paints before he was born and the brushes he uses are all cast-offs from my past crafts projects.

Although Henry had fun grocery shopping with his dad, i think the highlight of the weekend was a trip to the children's museum on Monday with Silas and Kerala and all the parents. Henry got to drive a boo-boo truck, a bus, go grocery shopping and pay for his purchases, catch salamanders in a stream, dig for dinosaur bones, and use the public potty four times while we were out. He had a blast. My only concern is that he now associates pretend play with "museums." I'm planning on taking him on Saturday to an exhibit on maps at the Field museum. He loves maps and he sounded excited about going but the Field museum is a little quieter and more hands-off than the children's museum, so we'll see how it goes.

Silas is having a monumental week. He's continuing to hone his sleeping through the night skills and he stopped breast-feeding. We had been winding down since the New Year, but this week he stopped completely. I'm a little sad, but like with Henry, it's been a pretty gradual process so it wasn't too emotional. Of course, now that we're on formula full-time i have to make it to costco at some point today or else that's going to be our "date-night" outing.


9 Months, 2 Weeks/ 2 Years, 8 Months

Henry has been asking a lot about the weather (why is it cold, why can't you see the weather, where does the snow come from) and i've been talking about wind and weather coming down from the arctic where it's very cold. He wants to go there (preferably right now or at the very least after nap tomorrow) but instead i persuaded him that it might be a good idea to read some books about the arctic first to see what it's really like. So, we're off to the library after i pick the boys up from school to see if we can find some good children's books on the North Pole.

Potty-training continues apace. I should say, that we're both doing a good job which means that Henry hasn't had an accident in quite awhile and JT and i have been keeping him in underwear and "reminding" him to visit the bathroom every 30 minutes. Personally this has been the hardest part. I guess i didn't realize that beyond any "training" Henry was initiating, that I had to be ready to rally Henry to use the bathroom every time i turned around. I actually think that now that he's in kind of a rhythm, we might be able to relax our time frame to every 45 minutes-- don't want to get brazen of course. He's been in underwear all day since the holidays though (we've even tackled outings and public toilets) and we seem to be going strong. I know lots of people who describe potty training as something that occurs in a span of a few days-- i personally witnessed friends' kids that did just that. Henry however, has taken a more gradual approach. At no point did he resist potty training, it just wasn't front of mind unless you reminded him.


Silas Sleep Bulletin

I've spared you some of the gory details, but after being on a wild sleep roller coaster with Silas over the past 6 months, we finally knuckled down and "sleep trained" little Silas. If you've been glancing at "Silas Wake-Ups" box you might have noticed a recent string of un-interrupted nights of sleep. After we got past possibly the very worst night of my life, Silas has just slept well.

His night wakings were increasing in frequency and duration and he was proving averse to going back to sleep. It was like dealing with a drug-resistant strain of baby sleep virus. We knew that after the New Year we were going to work on sleep training but had purposefully put it off until we were back home from our New Year's trip to Michigan. While in Michigan we were all sleeping in one room and we were away from home which were not ideal conditions under which to begin the process.

Unfortunately it was also really hard for anyone to get to sleep if Silas was getting up 4-5 times a night and not going back to sleep. So, start the training we did. The first night wasn't too bad-- i think he cried off and on for about 45 minutes and then slept through the rest of the night. The second night however, was potentially the worst night truly of my life.* He cried off and on for 3 hours (until 2 in the morning) at which point i finally picked him up and held him and got him to calm down enough to go to sleep.

Henry's worst night clocked in at 1 hour 40 minutes, but he was all scream from the first second you laid him down. Silas is more fuss, whine, cry a little, quiet down and just sound mad (ba, ba, ba, ba) then start fussing and crying so more, a little screaming, quiet down, repeat. It's like because he's more mild-mannered he has more energy to extend his stubbornness. So, i figured that this sleep training was actually going to be worse with Silas than it was with Henry.

But thankfully we made it through the horrible night and since then it's been almost all smooth sailing. Last weekend he woke up both nights for about 10-20 minutes and then went back to sleep on his own. All this sleeping has us thinking that before too much longer Silas will be moving downstairs into the room with Henry. The only thing holding me back is that Silas still nurses in the morning and it's a lot easier to take care of that upstairs than downstairs will Henry will then be guaranteed to wake up shouting "i want to help you make coffee!"

*i'm thinking the only other contender would be the time JT and i got lost in the woods at night trying to re-find our tent (without a source of light). After JT almost stumbled off a cliff we decided to lay down and sleep right there on the ground. It was fall in the Shenandoah so we had on light cotton sweaters and shorts, which even with the newspapers we were using as a blanket, was still the coldest, most horrible night i've ever had. I guess at least with sleep training i was warm.


New features and focus for 2008

I'm trying out a few new items on the blog for 2008. Although most readers are primarily interested in Henry and Silas' schenanigans, i get some benefit out of reporting on our family et al. Dovetailing with resolutions for the new year, i've posted two new features-- the "over budget" and "workout goals" items.

JT and i are generally regarded as smart managers of our money. And, i generally like to think we're prudent fiscal managers that live below our means. That said, things got a little out of control this year as we made less and less time to discuss and manage our finances.

One new thing we're testing is a regular (we're starting with bi-weekly)financial check-in where we discuss our budget vs. actual report, make joint decisions about bigger purchases, and decide on necesarry budget revisions. I think that by staying in closer contact with our spending habits we'll be more aware of our money and spend less on stuff that's forgettable-- at least that's the hope.

Anytime we go over budget (primarily on stuff that we could do something about, i.e. housewares, clothing, eating out, etc.) i'll log it. I've put this and my next item fairly far down in the list so that if you just want to concentrate on Henry and Silas' cute pictures you don't have to be offended by money woes.

As is most of America, i'm currently working on weight-loss goals. In my defense i re-committed to losing the last 10 lbs. of this pregnancy weight before the holidays and i've managed to lose 5 of it already-- thank you very much. I'm mostly attacking my weight through consistent and intensified exercise, so i'll be logging my workouts on the site. For anyone looking for additional weight-loss tactics, here are my "rules:"
-no alchohol on weeknights
-only coffe and water to drink
-using a salad plate for all meals
-if i indulge it's a drink or dessert, not both
-must eat breakfast with protein, before 10 am

To tide you over for more child-related news-- here's a video clip to gnosh on...


Temporary Thaw

I know it won't last but boy have we enjoyed the past two days of 50 degree temperatures. Yesterday JT bbqd, Henry got to play with his bubble machine and go for a bike ride-- all without being bundled completely up. I like being warm, but more than that i like not having to stuff little squirmy bodies into coats, snowsuits, hats, mittens and boots. I hate, hate to say it, but i can't wait for spring!

Henry had a super fun return to gym class tonight. You could tell that no one had been in two weeks and there were a lot of normally well-behaved kids that were going haywire. Henry did really, really well at listening while we were at gym and i was super proud of him. Especially because Silas was in my arms most of the time we were there. Typically Silas stays home with JT on gym nights, but tonight JT had a late meeting so off to class Silas went. He had a pretty good time but he was getting tired and the little ones are so active that i couldn't just put him down very much.

He is really mobile now. I think i've said that before but because he's still not crawling in the true sense of the word i still have this idea that he's not really getting around. That would definitely be false impression. On the wood floors he scoots on his bottom all over and is even exploring different rooms now. On carpet, he drags his entire body with his arms-- seemingly forgetting that he even has legs.

Kerla and Corey and Troy came over Sunday for pulled pork and Kerala and Silas were having tons of fun crawling everywhere and exploring all the toys and action. Henry got Troy to play basketball with him and Henry is getting pretty good and making some slam dunks-- especially since the goal is about as high as his head!


9 Months, 1 Week/ 2 Years, 8 Months

Now that i'm back and getting into my renewed groove i've had some time to remember the details of Henry and Silas over our Christmas and New Year Break. They actually both have some cool new developments so i'll try to catch you up on what is top of mind tonight.

In addition to inchworming all over the place (more and more quickly by the day), Silas has been babbling up a storm lately. He's very partial to ba ba ba. With just that one syllable, it's amazing what he can communicate using different tones and cadences. He's also working on his sign language skills. He's been doing the sign for milk for quite awhile now and in the past week has added "more" and waving "hello" or "good-bye" to his repertoire. Henry didn't really start signing back to us beyond a simple wave until closer to 15 months so this is awesome and really encouraging!

For some reason Silas was on a liquid fast over the break. The day most of my family arrived he barely took 4 ounces all day of either breast milk or formula. He got better from there but in general he was just not feeling his liquid intake. He would scarf down solids (even cereal made with the leftover formula) no problem, but spend more time playing with the bottle than eating. I was a little concerned, because but at his 9 month check-up he was 18 lbs. 4 oz. which is growing right along his 10-25% percentile curve. The Doctor seemed very pleased, especially with what she called "his advanced social skills." I of course am relieved that he was a good weight and not far enough behind in the crawling department to warrant physical therapy.

As a postscript, now that he's back at Brenda's, he's been taking three 8 oz. bottles a day and eating the same amount of solids. Go figure.

In addition to the wonderful visits with family, we all got some pretty amazing gifts. One of Henry's favorites is his new race track. I was able to capture a quick clip of Silas and Henry both loving it with my new toy-- a video camera. Keep an eye on Silas' feet.

Well, i now have accounts with tons of free video share sites but google video seems to be working for now. Please leave a comment if you visit and this video won't load so i can keep trouble-shooting!


Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful couple weeks of holidays and has enjoyed some time to rest and relax with the family. I know it's been quite awhile since i let you know what we were up to, so i'll try to hit the high points...

We thoroughly enjoyed hosting both JT and I's families for Christmas. Both boys were thoroughly spoiled with loads of wonderful Christmas gifts and more importantly, time and attention. Henry was excited to leave cookies for Santa and got into opening Christmas gifts pretty quickly. We're still sorting out all the toys and trying to figure out where to put everything, but Henry was so excited to get back to his "Christmas toys" when we got home today.

After all of our guests left last Thursday, we headed out ourselves the next morning to Michigan for a New Year's getaway. Corey and Troy have organized a group of about 16 people for the last several years to spend New Year's at a little "beach" town near Michigan City Indiana (except it's in Michigan). Three of us had kids so we were in the "quiet" house. The house next door was the communal "loud house." During nap time, the "quiet" house was aptly named, but the 2- two year olds and three 9-month olds kept things lively at all other times. It was a great way to spend the last few days of 2007. JT had fun cooking with another guy that's serious about cooking and BBQ, we played numerous games of hearts, and i even relearned boggle after a shaky start.

Henry and Rollie were fast friends as long as Rollie's new train set didn't come out. There were group baths aplenty and three babies with very different ways of motoring around. Silas started army crawling right around Christmas. I think army crawling is the "technical" term, but in actuality he looks more like he's an inchworm. Over New Year's he focused on scooting around on his bottom which is hysterical to watch-- especially because he's getting quick and always has a huge smile on his face when he's closing in on his target.