Jack's First Soccer Team

Starting at the end of August, Jack played on his first real soccer team.  Uncle Todd graciously agreed to coach them so Jack, Lily, her dance friend Charlotte and Charlotte's twin brother Sullivan could all play together.  They played 3-on-3 with no goalie on a small field with small goals through the City of O'Fallon.  Jack LOVED it!  The first week he was a little timid, but got more and more aggressive as the weeks went on.  He ended up scoring quite a few goals, some for the other team, but most for his team.  We loved watching him play and get better each week.


Jack, Charlotte & Sullivan

Go Team! (or something like that)

End of game hand shake
At the last game they each received a medal and their very own soccer ball.  Jack was so proud of both!

I even managed to get a few of his goals on video!  He is #10:
We can't wait to start his indoor league this weekend with many of the same kids and a few new ones.  Thank goodness for Uncle Coach Todd!

Family Pictures

In September we got family pictures taken.  We've been bouncing around with photographers and this time we used Cindy Sitarski, who is a coworker of our friend Kate's.  She is an occupational therapist by trade but takes pictures (very well!) on the side.  We learned later that she went to high school with Jason's sister and also knows my cousin Julie.  Small world!

She got some great pictures of each of the boys and, even more impressively, of the two of them together!  We are happy with the family shots as well.  All in all, money well spent!!


Charlie at 2 Years

Here's Charlie in a nutshell: silly, sweet and LOUD. Our little man loves to demonstrate his dominant vocal chords any chance he gets.  He's a screamer.  Whether he's having fun, getting mad (usually at his brother) or just for the heck of it, the kid loves to scream.

He also suddenly has a huge vocabulary and surprises us all the time with new words he knows. He's speaking in several word sentences, which impressed our Parents as Teachers lady when she visited a month or so ago.  He had said a few words to her when, about 15 minutes into her visit, he looked at her, pointed at Jack and said "Dat pay soccer ball.  Mommy pay soccer ball.  I pay soccer ball too."  She said "OK then, he's speaking in sentences...."

His pronunciation isn't quite perfect yet, so there are still times that we don't understand him, but I'd say we get most of it.  Here are some of our favorite things he says:
"Tittle Me Daddy" (tickle)
"Bop Mommy" (stop, if I'm aggravating him)
"Oh Man" (he came back from our Seneca Lake saying this, so clearly he learned from Parker)
"Go Cardinals" and "Go Yadi"
"Dat" (that's how he pronounces Jack)
"Watch Me Peoples!"
"Uh Oh Bettio" (spaghetti-o)

Our big shot recently learned to count and can count up to 14.  Sometimes he misses a number or two in there, but often he gets it right.  My favorite is when we play hide and seek and he says "One, Doo, Bee, Boor, Bise.  Not!  Mum!"  Demonstration:
Charlie knows his colors and is especially fond of yeyow.  Good thing since his big brother already has staked a claim on all things blue.  Charlie's already figured this out and when he sees a blue cup, plate, balloon, anything, he says "Dat's XXX" so we know that one is for Jack.

The week after Charlie's birthday party we decided it was time to say bye-bye to his boppy (pacifier).  He only used it for naps and bedtime, but it was the first thing he'd ask for when we'd walk into his room at night: "boppy?  loveys?" so we weren't sure how the transition would go.  We took it away on a Monday night cold turkey and just explained to him that he was a big boy now and his boppy went bye bye.  He cried at bedtime for about a week and a half and now we're back to normal, easy bedtimes again.  I have to say, that was easier than I expected since we had waited so long to take it away (we took Jack's away when he turned one).

He's a good sleeper just like his brother.  He generally goes to sleep by about 8:00, sometimes a little earlier or later.  He takes a good afternoon nap, but not quite as long as Jack; usually about 1.5 to 2 hours.  On the weekends if we're running around in the mornings he almost always falls asleep in the car for a nice little cat nap, which usually doesn't mess up his afternoon nap.  At my parents' house during the week, a lot of times if he sits still too long during the 10 o'clock hour, he'll fall asleep.  Doesn't matter where he is: on the couch, floor, wherever.  They wake him up after 20 minutes or so to make sure he still takes a nice afternoon nap.  Charlie wakes up earlier than Jack (by 7:00 at the latest, but usually closer to 6:30) and hasn't quite figured out that weekends are for sleeping in, much to Mommy's dismay.
Asleep on the way to Jack's soccer game, upside down sunglasses and all
On the potty front, you'll recall from here that he started showing interest awhile ago.  We haven't pushed it, but occasionally he asks to sit on the potty.  For the past month or so whenever he sits on the potty he's able to squeeze out some pee pee.  One night Jack and I sat with him in the bathroom and all three of us cheered each time he squeezed out a few little droplets.  Boy was Charlie proud.  One night about two months ago, Charlie sat on the kiddo potty while Jack was going potty on the big one pre-bath.  He sat and sat and sat and finally I basically made him get up to get in the bath.  Much to my surprise (and displeasure - cleaning those things out is no fun!) he had gone poo poo and pee pee in there!  It hasn't occurred again since, but he's taking baby steps in the right direction for sure.

Charlie does a new thing that we love.  It started when he did something naughty, and he would give me this sweet and innocent look with long, dramatic blinks and a big smile.  I'm telling you it's impossible to keep a straight face when he's doing it, so now it's become something we ask him to do all the time, "Charlie, show me your eyes."  Caught a little demonstration on video a few times recently.  Note:  Charlie is in full-fledged narcissism-mode and won't let me video him unless he can see the screen, so my videos are all very off-centered these days since I have nothing to look through.  Hopefully this phase passes quickly so my videography can improve...
Charlie loves to do the actions to all the kids songs: Happy and You Know It, the Wheels on the Bus, Ring Around the Rosie, Itsy Bitsy Spider, the Hokey Pokey, etc.  I've been struggling to get him on video due to his camera shyness, but I got a little snippet the other night.  This one also displays his tendency to watch and do and/or laugh at whatever his big brother does.  He's definitely a little copy cat, as most second children are!
He doesn't generally sing along; he just does the motions.  I do hear him every once in awhile singing to himself though (he stops if he realizes you're paying attention), and it's usually Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Old MacDonald Had a Farm.

Charlie transitioned to the Turtle room at school the week of his birthday.  His new teachers, Ms Jill and Ms Malorie are great and he has really great days there still.  However, we are still, five weeks later, struggling with drop offs.  We went from a quick hug, kiss and goodbye to now tears every morning where I have to hand him over to a teacher and leave the room.  They say he stops as soon as I'm out of ear shot, so that's a good thing, but that still doesn't make it any easier on Mommy.  The last few weeks he's started getting upset as soon as we pass the turnoff to get to Grandma and Grandpa Lang's house.  He will whine and cry the rest of the way to school and then break down when it's time for me to leave his classroom.  Hopefully we'll get past this soon!

At Charlie's two-year check-up, he weighed 30 lbs (73%) and was 36" tall (86%).  He's on the bigger side of the charts, but not as big as Jack was at his age (35 lbs and 36.5" tall).  He was on track with everything the doctor asked about him: climbing stairs, throwing and kicking a ball, hopping, and I can't remember what else.  This boy is going to be another athlete we think - he's really in to playing baseball right now and has a pretty good right arm.

We are getting a little glimpse of the terrible twos - poor child is doomed with two stubborn parents, which really shows in his personality.  When he wants something, he wants it.  He's had his fair share of timeouts already either for not listening, for whining or for hitting at his brother.  All in all though, he's a happy, goofy, lovey little guy.  I love this age because they are still so snuggly but are learning so much and becoming independent too.

Jack at 4 Years

I'm overdue for an update on our boys and their skills and likes/dislikes.  Since Jack turned four over two months ago, I thought I'd start with him.  Our big guy is growing up so fast.  He is a very bright little guy and he is excelling at school.  He is the oldest in his class (and will be his whole life) so he is well ahead of the others at this point, for example: he can spell and write his full name (and does so each morning when we arrive at school) while some of the other kids are just learning what letter their name starts with, and he knows the sounds that all the letters make whereas the other kids are just starting to piece that together.  Luckily his teachers have recognized this and have pledged to give him more challenging activities.

He loves going to school and his teachers Miss Erin and Miss Marcie are great.  He has lots of little buddies in his class, but is also the first to volunteer to go into the pre-K class next door for a bit when they need to even out their ratios.  The teachers in both classrooms are constantly telling me what a happy, smiley guy he always is.  While I wouldn't use the word always, I'd agree with them most of the time.

Jack is constantly making us laugh (either on purpose or by accident) and not a day passes that Jason and I don't smile at each other over his head over something he's said.  The things that come out of his mouth are just too funny.  Today's example: while we were driving he said "Mom, did you know that some people don't use their blinkers?"  I said "yes," and he said (in his best disappointed voice) "it's such a shame."  Where does he get this stuff??

He can count to 100 these days and is getting soooo close to starting to read.  He can sound out words with minimal assistance.  He knows the months of the year and the days of the week and loves to do puzzles and play with his Legos.  One favorite is our USA puzzle, and he always saves New York for last since that's where Aunt Kelly, Uncle Greg and Parker live.

At his doctor visit last month, Jack answered all the questions the doctor asked him (counting, colors, shapes, etc) with no problem.  He weighed in at 42 lbs (86%) and was 43" tall (92%).

Jack loves to pick on his little brother, but they are also really starting to have fun together.  Quite often they go downstairs to play together and we can hear them laughing their little heads off (with a little bit of yelling mixed in).  They are definitely becoming little buddies!

We still have a great sleeper on our hands.  He takes about a 3 hour nap on the weekends and at Grandma and Grandpa's house during the week; it's a little shorter at school.  I don't see him dropping the nap anytime soon.  He goes to bed at about 9:00 most nights, unless we're hanging out with friends on the weekends and he stays up later.  Bedtime is generally pretty easy.  After a going potty and brushing his teeth, we usually read a couple books and that's that.  That's not to say he hasn't mastered the art of stalling (one more drink of water!, I need socks please!).  Sometimes we go in to check on him and he's sleeping soundly but without his shirt which I always get a kick out of.  He ditched the night time pull-up probably 6-8 months ago and since then he has occasional accidents at night but they seem to be less and less frequent.

Jack had his 3rd dentist visit a couple weeks ago and he was a pretty good boy. I had to let him lay on top of me like we did the first time, but he let Grandma clean his teeth.  The breakthrough was that he actually let the dentist check his teeth this time without me having to hold him down.  Big guy!

Here's a video of Jack counting the other day:
And the boys being silly (Jack watched the play back of this on the computer just now and cracked up watching himself)...
That's our big four-year old in a (rather long) nutshell.  We can't get enough of this guy!


Charlie's 2nd Birthday Party

For Charlie's 2nd birthday party I decided to do an alphabet theme.  I quickly learned in searching pinterest for ideas that 'ABC Party' has a totally different meaning.  Apparently people have 'Anything But Clothes' parties where they come dressed in bubble wrap, curtains, etc.  Not exactly what I had in mind for my 2 year-old, so I started referring to is as alphabet party instead.

We invited the regular crew of our immediate family, a few friends and our neighbors, and got really lucky with beautiful weather once again.  We didn't really do any alphabet activities; I just used the theme in decorating and favors.

 I printed these flash cards for free from here, which worked out nicely.  I sent them to Jack's school after the party so they can get more use.
 I made labels for the food (P is for Potatoes, C is for Corn) for which I got made fun of but I secretly think people enjoyed knowing what kind meat they were getting (P is for pork and B is for brisket!).

For the favors I ordered these little coloring books that were personalized throughout the book (i.e., "Charlie, did you know Alligator starts with A?").  They were cuter than I expected.  I also got these alphabet stencil rulers and a little sticky pad of paper with the first letter of their names.  I wrapped them in craft paper and stuck a label on it (C is for Charlie; A is for Addison, etc).

NOW, on to the good stuff: the party.  Charlie had a great time with all of his friends.  I got shirts made for both Jack and Charlie (what is my obsession with personalized shirts?!?) from this shop on etsy.com.

Levi & Drake hanging out in a laundry basket - brilliant move by Chrissy!

Grandpa Clayton with Charlie and Mia

Getting ready to watch gift opening: Hayden, Addi, Zoey, Reghan & Lily

The Tonys from next door
He was so funny during presents getting very enthusiastic as he opened each gift and shouting "DANK DO" after every one.

These videos captured it nicely:

He was pretty shy during cake, but enjoyed eating it!
I bought a chocolate mold and use the colored melting chocolates from Michael's the make these letters.
 Charlie's signature 'I'm being shy' move: one finger in the mouth...

And a video.  Still not sure how to blow out candles.  Uncle Todd to the rescue!

Another successful birthday party in the books!!