Memorial Day Weekend

We had a nice long Memorial Day weekend.  The highlight was the 2nd Annual Memorial Day Fish Fry, which we hosted Sunday at our house.  Jason fried all the fish (mostly crappie) that he and his friends have caught over the past several months, and it was yummy!

The weather turned out pretty nice.  It was actually 93ish degrees, but there was a nice breeze so it didn't feel so bad.  We also had a blow-up pool for the kids, a water table for the babies, an industrial fan and plenty of shade via borrowed pop-up tents.

Observe the fun through pictures:
Addison Asher & Jack cruisin'

Maggie, Connor & Aiden Neu and Mia & Lily Knichel

Ethan Asher, Tyson Mincher & Charlie

From the back in their festive wear

Nathan Mincher, cousin Lily & Jack

Addi & Jack eating

Jack pulling his ladies, Zoey Kuehler & Addi

Dapper Guy

Grandpa Lang pulling Jack & Addi

Intense washers with a peanut gallery observing

Tyson, Charlie & Nathan

Jack playing washers

Grandma Lang & Jack
Impromptu cup holder creation for the washers players

End of night snuggles: Addi, Lily & Jack
Lily & Jack


Tooth and Hair

Well, I was right in my 8 month post....Charlie's first tooth was on its way.  In fact, he woke up the very next morning (a week ago Saturday) and it had popped through.  He's now sporting a toothless one-tooth grin; his bottom right tooth to be exact (the same one that came in first for Jack about 2-3 weeks later than Jack's first tooth).  I tried to capture a picture of the little nub tonight to no ado.  Here are my attempts:

 I'll snap one eventually, but until then you'll just have to take my word for it.

And for my second topic of the night: Charlie's hair.  I've been meaning to post about this for months, but finally remembered to take some pictures the other day.  Our poor little guy is still blessed with a lovely bald patch on the back of his head.  I'm bewildered because although I still put him on his back initially for sleep, he never stays that way for long, preferring to sleep on his tummy, and during his waking hours he is almost always sitting up.  Why the heck won't his hair grow back??  And then, to further accentuate the bare spot, the hair on either side seems to be coming in extra thick.
Top view; normal baby hair

Looks normal from front

Baldy McGee with a plethora of hair on either side of the patch
 I know patience is the name of the game; it just seems like it should have filled in by now!


Jack is 2 3/4!

Jack is 3/4th of the way through his third year and getting smarter and smarter every day.  It seems like every day he's saying something that impresses us and/or makes us laugh.

This week I had a parent/teacher conference for Jack.  I had one when he was in the toddler room too, but it was mostly just looking at the portfolio they've made for him (they add a page each month with a picture and something new, like "Jack is crawling" or "Jack loves to hug his friends").  This time it was a full-fledged conference.  Jack's teacher, Ms Lauren, came prepared with pages and pages of notes and examples.  She walked through several different areas: cognitive, relationships, physical, emotional, literacy, etc.  Overall she said that he's a bright little guy and is meeting or exceeding expectations in every area for his age group.  Here are some of the examples that Ms Lauren gave me:
  • Jack has become a leader, not just a follower.  She said he often has his own ideas of what to play or pretend and the other kids will follow and do what he does.
  • She said he sticks with something until he's completed it; most of the other kids kind of come and go while they're doing crafts, for example, but he stays until he's finished.
  • Quick learner: she said one day they were wearing construction vests and he asked for help getting his buttoned.  She explained to him how to do it and he tried and tried until he got it buttoned on his own. Then a little while later his friend Grier needed help, so he buttoned hers too.
  • Sorting: when they play with peg puzzles or other similar activities, Jack sorts all the blue together and all the yellow together or puts all the same shapes on the same board.  Ms Lauren said next she wants to work with him on simple patterns (i.e. blue, yellow, blue, yellow)
  • She said he's doing great on the physical, athletic stuff; she said "you obviously work with him a lot on that at home."  Oh yes, that is how he spend most evenings - usually playing baseball.
  • Jack does great with his counting and can count up to 20 (sometimes with a skipped number or two in the teens).  Ms Lauren pointed out that he can also look at a few objects and say how many are there without having to count them.  I had to tell her that Grandpa Lang has been specifically working on that skill with him.
  • She said she was surprised the other day when another slightly older student was spelling her name and Ms Lauren asked Jack to spell his and he did.  I told her that's because of the stool we have in the bathroom with his name on it (thanks Waldrops!) - every time he sits to go potty, we point to the letters and spell his name.
  • She said there are two levels of pretending: the first step is when a child uses an object for its actual purpose (i.e. uses a toy phone to pretend to talk) and the second step is when they use something totally different and pretend it's something else, using their imagination.  She said he demonstrates this more advanced play often.
  • Jack does great with the routines they have in their classroom.  For example, when they are finished eating lunch, they get up, throw their plate away, then go back and get their cup and throw that away.  She said she never has to remind Jack to do it.  AND they recently added another step to the routine: pushing their chair in.  Ms Lauren said Jack picked up on it right away and is one of the few.  In fact, he regularly pushes the other kids' chairs in too when they forget.
  • Jack is doing great with pulling up and down his pants/underpants, so that's a good step towards independence.
Obviously it was a great parent/teacher conference; I left there beaming with pride over my big boy.  They gave me the portfolio they've been compiling since he started at the center in February 2010 because they are switching to an online system.  The new system will notify us each time a new "observation" on Jack is entered, which they expect to be 2 times/week/child.  Looking forward to it!
 Other items of note:
  • Jack is still hooked on his loveys, particularly "blue" and "white."  He sleeps with them (of course) and takes them to Grandma and Grandpa Lang's to sleep as well.  If we could just hold him to that, I'd be happy, but he also carries them around the house and often brings them in the car when we go places.  I think he's getting a little old for that, but since we're still mastering the potty training, we're going to wait a bit before we enforce an "only in bed" rule for the precious loveys.
  • Speaking of the potty, Jack is still doing great.  He had his first accident at school this morning (after two weeks of wearing underpants - not too shabby!).  His teacher said he was running to the bathroom while peeing, so he knew what he needed to do, he just waited too long.  He's also had a couple more poo poo accidents in the evenings while we're at home, so that's no fun.  Jason taught him to stand up to pee last weekend (using a stool since he's just barely too short) and he loves it.  He actually can do the whole process without assistance: pull pants down, lift toilet seat, do his business, flush, etc.  He leans forward and holds onto the top of the open toilet seat so that his aim is right in the middle of the toilet, so he surprisingly doesn't make a huge mess.
  • As I mentioned above, we are on another hard core baseball kick.  That is ALL the little guy wants to do.  We either pitch to him or he pitches to us, or we play catch with him.  He's still working on catching with his glove, but his hitting just continues to improve.  This week Grandpa bought some bases, so when I picked him up Thursday they were playing baseball and running the bases.  Fun!
  • Jack's new favorite movie is Toy Story 3 and he asks to watch it nearly every night.  We oblige many nights, but only for 10-15 minutes before it's time to start the bedtime routine, which some nights can take quite some time around here.
  • He's still competing for the master staller of the year award, but we did find one method that helps about 90% of the time: we race!  When we're getting in the car, he races Charlie to his car seat.  When it's time for bed, we race him to the radio (first one there gets to turn it on).  Turns out the kid likes to win, so if you threaten him with "I'm going to do X faster than you" it almost always lights a fire under his little stalling tush.
  • He still loves his baby brother, but is starting to really test the boundaries with him.  We catch him pulling on Charlie's arm or pushing his leg, sometimes to the point where Charlie gets mad.  He also struggles at times to share with him, ripping toys right out of his hand, but then other times he goes out of his way to make sure Charlie has toys to play with.  We'll get there with lots of practice and reminders.
Certificate on the last day of soccer
That's our boy.  Only three more months until his big third birthday.


8 Months!

Charlie turned eight months old on Wednesday.  Unfortunately he celebrated by being sick.  He felt warm Monday night and by Tuesday at lunch had a high fever (103 degrees).  I took him to the doctor who said there is a virus going around that is basically just a 2-3 day fever and a runny nose (his only other symptom), so it could be that.  He said it may also be an ear infection, but he wasn't sure because there was wax blocking the view of his right ear.  He tried to clean it out to get a better look, but our boy was mad with a capital M, so he gave up.  He gave us amoxicillin just in case that ear is in fact infected.  Tuesday overnight Charlie was burning up and running a fever of 103.4.  We called pediatrician's exchange just to be sure and they said just wait it out unless his fever creeps up to 105.  Luckily, it did not.  The fever came and went all day Wednesday but by that evening it was gone.  Thursday Charlie seemed to feel a little better, but was still not himself, struggling to eat and go to sleep.  Day care tells me that today he was happy as can be (aside from not taking his bottles well), and he went to bed just fine tonight, SO I think we're getting closer to normal.  Phew!

The 8 month photo shoot took place mid-fever but he still managed to shell out quite a few smiles.

 Let's see what's new with Charlie this month.  STILL no teeth, but I just know this is going to be the month (have I said that before??).  His bottom gums are practically see-through they are so white, so they've got to be popping through any second.

He's not quite mobile yet, but he can spin all around whether he is sitting or lying on his tummy.  He does some scooting, but doesn't do a ton of rolling.  He's not really getting up on all fours from the lying position, but he is getting close from the sitting position.  This video nicely demonstrates his current movement abilities.
He's also getting close to pulling up.  He especially likes to pull on Jack's train table so he can try for the various trains and tracks that are just barely out of his reach.  He can get his bottom off the ground, but hasn't quite gotten to his feet on his own yet.  However, this guy LOVES to stand and that's his preferred position if someone is helping him out.  He's getting more and more sturdy and can almost stand on his own while holding onto something (just can't get to that position on his own).  Here's a little step-by-step photo demonstration of what he can do on his own:
Reaching for something good

Almost up on his own!

Then he's stuck leaning forward into the table
Charlie's starting to experiment more with sounds and surprises even himself sometimes with the noises that come out.  He consistently says "dadadada" and "babababa."  Today his teacher said he was talking about Dada all day and I said "when are you going to start talking about Mama?"  The teacher said "I know, we were trying to get him to say mama since it's Mother's Day and all and he tried, but it came out 'nananana.'"  So I guess that's another consonant sound for him.  Just no M's.  I'll have to be patient.
 He also loves to squeal and squeak and blow raspberries and laugh.  He is really laughing a lot more these days, especially when Jack entertains him.  Quite often in the car Jack plays peek-a-boo or some other silly game with Charlie and they both just laugh and laugh.  I can't help but smile as I quietly watch them interact.  So fun.
 We're starting to experience some separation anxiety, especially when it comes to Mama.  He generally does fine when I drop him off at school and Grandma & Grandpas, but if we're just hanging out and I leave the room, he gets upset.  He also doesn't like it if I walk into a room after being gone for any stretch of time and don't pay attention to him right away.  His other new thing is playing shy when he meets people - he'll give a big smile then bury his head into my (or whoever's holding him at the time) shoulder.  It's really cute but I have no idea where babies pick up these mannerisms??
Charlie is starting to try new kinds of finger foods and he's getting very good at feeding himself.  He's mastered the puffs and the yogurt melts (those are his favorites), but we've also tried bits of noodles, sliced cheese, mandarin oranges and scrambled eggs.  I've heard that opinions have changed (again) and now most doctors recommend introducing the potential allergens earlier, which is why we gave the eggs a whirl.  He actually really liked them and was doing great feeding himself, but after a few bites, his chin turned red and splotchy so I took them away.  We'll try again soon - hopefully it was just a fluke.  This month we plan to really start branching out in the foods he's eating; the purees are getting a little boring for the little man.  He's had a few meats, but only in the form of store-bought baby food - so far I haven't made him any meat.
Tonight Charlie took his first bath in the big bathtub AND his first bath with his big brother.  Although this technically happened in his 9th month, I'm including it here because I think it's too cute and can't wait to share.

And finally, here's the monthly comparison.  Little man looks all grown up just from 7 months to 8 months, does he not??


Addi's Party

This weekend we celebrated Jack's BFF's 3rd birthday.  It was a fun party with a big group of friends.  The highlight was the bouncy house they borrowed from a friend.  The kids had a blast!!
Charlie's dapper outfit (hand-me-down from Cole Saneholtz  - thanks Sarah!)

Charlie and Ethan Asher

Austin Kuehler and Charlie

It was a Minnie Mouse theme so they tried on some ears

Addi (birthday girl!), Jack, Reghan Lade and Sloan Schneider

Jack, Addi and Nathan Mincher

Wrestle Mania in the bouncy house

This video is from the week before but just shows Jack and Addi being buddies.  They were watching a lightning storm and Addi was assuring Jack it wouldn't hurt him.  Love it.

More Soccer Coverage

Last Saturday we had our best photographer (Grandma Lang) come to soccer with us to get some more pictures and videos.  Think Jack's having any fun?

Coach Taylor told me "I really try not to pick favorites in my classes, but Jack's my favorite."  Awww, how could he not be???  We have one more week at Vetta before the session ends.  Then on June 2 we'll start a 6-week outdoor soccer session at the Renaud Spirit Center.  We've really enjoyed the class at Vetta, and I think it's one we'll sign up for again this fall/winter.