Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween!

This Halloween was so much fun for the kids. Avery has been talking/asking/nagging about it for over a month. Thankfully he was still young enough to not mind having to wear the costume I bought him - an astronaut. Next year I don't think I'll be able to get away with it. Avery was already talking about being Spiderman. Of course.

Avery was so cute. He was quite anxious to get out and start Trick-or-Treating. I have no idea how he knows the unwritten code of waiting until dark to start the Halloween trek, but we were finishing dinner and he looked outside and said "It's getting dark. We can go Trick-or-Treating now!"

Of course I am super excited to have an ally in this autumn holiday, not to mention someone else to put pressure on Pat to decorate early (I'm working on the Christmas spin-off to this at the moment). He was a trooper. Ashley and I took Avery around the neighbourhood for almost an hour. Not bad for a three year old. He CLEANED up too. People loved him. They were giving him handfuls of candy and one lady gave him part of her decoration because Avery told her he liked it. At the end of it, Avery was left dazed and confused and I had the pleasure of carrying all 35lbs of him home. What a workout! It took away any guilt I might have had for eating some of Avery's goods.

Elliott wasn't quite old enough for the full Hallowe'en experience. He was dressed as a little stinker - aka a skunk (scent, thankfully, not included) . We took him to a couple of houses and he seemed to have fun. He does love his sweets; the Carter sweet-tooth has been passed on to both of my children. Pat said that Elliott enjoyed helping to hand out (and eat I am sure) candy to the 15 children that came to our house last night.

Next year will be really fun for both of the children, I think. And, I must admit, I think it's most fun for me, watching my children enjoy a holiday I have loved forever.

Happy Hallowe'en!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's Been a Long Time....

Wow. It's been a while.
I meant to write, really I did.
But, you know...
Ah...you've heard all of the excuses before, so let's just get down to business shall we?

Obviously, A LOT has happened since I last posted. I don't even know where to start.

Elliott has grown about three feet. Not really, but he's grown quite a bit. He's walking and talking like nobody's business. Well, his walking is much better than his talking... but new words keep coming all of the time. He's in the 95th% for height and he's moved all the way up to the 25th-50th% for weight. Elliott still eats like a machine, so I can't believe he's not more of a porker. I wish I knew how he did it.

Avery started a new daycare. It's really close to our house and it's located in the school where he'll be starting JK next year. He's settled in really well and has made many new friends. Of course, he hasn't forgotten his best buddy James. In fact James came over today for a playdate (with Truman and Oliver) and they all got into the Hallowe'en spirit. The boys decorated some haunted gingerbread houses. SCARY! You want to know what was really scary? My dining room floor after the kids were finished. The kids had a great time and it was really lovely to see how well all of them got along.

Avery is participating in basketball and gymnastics this season. He loves them both and is really excelling in basketball. I am so happy they are actually teaching the kids techniques, which is a big change from his soccer classes last year.

Elliott has sprung a mouthful of teeth. He popped out about 4 within two weeks - all molars. He's still got quite a few to go, but it must be nice for him to be able to chew things properly!

Elliott has a girlfriend, Sabine. The teachers tell us that the two of them spend a lot of time staring into each other's eyes. Too much. Avery tells me his girlfriend is Nicholas. I'm not surprised.

It was a quick, but fun summer. We were so delighted to have Pat's family here with us for quite some time. It started with a visit from KK, Poppy and Aunt Leighlow. Aunt B joined us from BC as well. Then, while Poppy went on a cross-country trip with Uncle Jim, we got to see KK and Aunt B for almost an entire month! Consider us spoiled rotten. The only downside to a visit like that is saying good-bye. It just seemed weird to not have them around. But they'll be coming back soon... we'll get back to that later.

So far this fall we've been on our annual apple picking trip. This year we tried something new - Carl Laidlaw Orchards. This place rocked. First of all, it was much cheaper than Chudleighs. It was also way less busy than Chudleighs and you get to do cool things like bake your own pies! The kids went nuts for it. I highly recommend it. Oh, also, it's just on the border of Mississauga/Brampton, so it was so much closer for us too.

A lot of babies have entered our lives over the last few months. On Avery's birthday, little baby Nolan was born - Congratulations Kristina and Andrew. We actually had the pleasure of meeting him this week. He sure is sweet. Baby Lily arrived on October 1st... late as always :) She is one good looking baby already. Be nice to your parents Lily, they are the best - Congratulations Kim & Craig! Some more babies will be coming in the future as well... and all I can say is thank goodness I don't have to deal with newborns anymore! Ha! No, they are lovely, but I definitely like my life with my older children. They are little people now and watching them problem solve and make connections on their own - well, it just makes mamma proud.

As I said, I am sure I missed a lot of stuff, since it's been so long. A lot of stuff will be happening soon too. The out-laws are coming in for a November visit, along with Aunt Leighlow, Aunt B, Uncle Jim and Couzint Rob. It's like a late Thanksgiving/Early Christmas Family Get together and it's bound to be a blast.

Until then...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder...

That, and ONLY that, is the reason I haven't posted since March.

In my defense, during the last two (eek, almost three) months, the O'Brien clan was combating illness after illness, I was studying for an exam (I passed my Red Seal certification - yay me!), Elliott started daycare (more on this later) and I returned to work (the opposite of yay me).

So, let's go back a little bit - was it February, was it March? Who can remember, really? My little baby Elliott began attending daycare with his brother. I thought it was going to be horrible. I thought he would be the worst to transition. On his very first day I met Ashley for coffee. I fully expected a pick up call from the daycare before I could finish my cup. We sat and chatted for a *looong time and still nothing. I went to get some groceries, anxiously checking to see if my cellphone had run out of battery. It wasn't until he woke up from his afternoon nap that he was cranky enough for them to ask me to pick him up. By day three, he was staying the entire day. Elliott absolutely blew me away with how quickly he managed to be comfortable at daycare... which once again proved to me that it's the parents who have a harder time adjusting to the changes that happen with their children.

I'm pretty sure Elliott's sprouted a few more teeth since the last post. I mean, he only has six - but it seems to be enough for him to eat almost everything. And, believe me, this kid eats almost EVERYTHING. He literally eats more than me; when we eat pizza, I eat two slices and he eats three. Seriously. And, he's still a bean pole.

Something that's been helping him burn through those calories is his new found skill - walking!!!! Elliott is finally walking. Not always, but he's definitely doing it. Last weekend, Elliott and I were sitting in the kitchen playing and all of a sudden he stood up and walked over to me. Just like that. When he was ready. It's a good reminder to me that I shouldn't try to push him when he's not ready. I tried many times to help him walk when he clearly wasn't interested. I should have just trusted that he would walk when he was comfortable. And he did.

Avery has also had his fair share of changes going on. He is officially potty trained, for at least a couple of months now. It's great. He loves being a big boy - especially when he pees in the urinal like daddy. Yep. I can only imagine how funny that must look. It hasn't been too difficult of a process. We still use pull-ups at night and I feel as though that will be the real challenge. Especially since he drinks a lot of fluids in the evening.

We are so excited that a spot opened up in the daycare at the school Avery will attend one day. He will be starting there on July 1st - so another dreaded transition is in the midst. We went to the open house a couple of weeks ago. Avery LOVED it and cried when we had to leave. The next morning, Avery asked if he was going to his new school. When we told him no, he asked why not. So, that was a positive sign. Today we attended a Fun Fair at the school and Avery wanted to go into his classroom. Another positive sign. I am just not sure he realizes that his friends and teachers will not be going with him. Hopefully the transition will, once again, be easier than I expect. Even if it's not, I just have to remind myself that all of these stages pass quickly.

Avery's third birthday is rapidly approaching - two weeks today to be exact. We are so excited that Granny KK and Poppy Ray will be here to celebrate with us. That makes two for two this year (they were here to celebrate E's 1st with us!) - which is sooo awesome and lucky for us. Avery has been talking about his Spiderman cake since Elliott's birthday, so the pressure is on for me to produce something worthy. However, Avery's tastes are questionable at best, so I am not too concerned.

I am sure there are a million other stories and developments I am missing in this post. It's been a busy few months and we are still trying to fully settle into our new routines. I am proud to say that we have managed well so far and I can only hope that it will get easier with more practice. So until the next time...

*Please note that this was not a remark on our conversation being boring, as Ashley and I seem to be able to talk for an eternity, with never really feeling as though time has passed. It was rather meant to illustrate that we stayed in Starbucks for so long, even teenagers would've complained we were loitering.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Under Siege

The O'Brien household has been under siege for just over a week. The culprit? A nasty gastro virus that has been hitting up children all across the city. A few weeks ago, the Topolski clan had to undergo the same battle.
Pat and I thought we escaped, unscathed, since we felt fine until the weekend. But, lo and behold, Sunday afternoon brought the wrath to us, just as the children were getting back to normal...
...well, almost normal. Last night, poor Avery woke up screaming, complaining about some eye pain. We noticed his eyes were pink earlier in the day and we've seen enough pink eye to know what was a brew'n. We gave him drops, which normally have his eyes back to normal in a day. However, this was no ordinary case of pink eye. He woke up in the morning, again screaming about eye pain and this time his eye was swollen and couldn't open. Straight to emerg the O'Brien's went. Thank goodness it's just up the street. It turns out he just caught a really nasty case of pink eye. One that is highly contagious. One that he passed on to his mother. Oh yeah - we are a hideous bunch right now. Avery was a star at the hospital. Even though he was scared, he let the doctor examine him without fussing. This was no easy feat, since the exam included having iodine drops to check for scratching on his cornea. We have some new drops (for both of us) and while I still look quite scary, Avery's eyes are looking much better.

You may be wondering what we have been doing to keep busy while on lock down for 72 hours. Well, if you are Elliott you try as hard as you can to climb the stairs. It is his favourite thing to do. And he is soooo good at it, climbing almost as quickly as Avery. And if you think that having a bout of gastro issues would interfere with Elliott eating, you'd be dead wrong. Through this whole ordeal, E kept up with his insane levels of consumption. Yet, still, he looks as if he's not gained any weight. His exam isn't until March 28th, so we have to wait until the end of the month to find out that magic number.

The other thing we like to do is put our ill children to work. Child labourers don't get sick days, come on. We woke up Sunday morning to a beautiful white blanket of snow. It was a shock to us since it had been raining all day Saturday. Avery wanted to go outside right away to shovel. He loves it... so how could we stand in his way. In fact, he begged to go outside and shovel today, even though there hadn't been any new snowfall. So, we went in the backyard and shoveled random piles of snow. This was followed by a session of bubble blowing on our porch. I can only imagine what the internal dialogue of my neighbor was when he peaked out of his back door and saw us. It made Avery incredibly happy though, which isn't always an easy feat with a sick child.

Avery will be spending tomorrow at home with me again; he is still too contagious to go back to daycare. So, I am going to take Avery to see his first movie in the theatre - Gnomeo and Juliette. I think we'll make a stop at the Bulk Barn beforehand for some treats. I figure we have to make his first movie experience memorable!
Lastly, I have to mention that my little baby Elliott is turning one in a mere ten days. I really can not believe it. I thoroughly enjoyed our year together and while he still seems like such a baby to me, it's amazing to see how far he's come from that delicate little infant who weighed in under 7lbs. I can not wait to see what this next year has in store for him. If it's anything similar to Avery's second year in life, it will be nothing short of amazing.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Cheri Amour

Since Valentine's Day is quickly approaching, I thought it was the perfect time to talk about my sweet loves...Avery and Elliott. Of course, Pat as well, but this blog is strictly PG!

Avery started preschool a couple of weeks ago. I've heard from mothers and teachers that this transition is one of the worst for children. The first day was not great. He cried when Pat dropped him off, fell asleep at the lunch table and the only thing he talked about all evening was how he didn't want to go back to school. The next day, I was dreading what was to come. Little did I know that I would be met with a son who ignored me I went to pick him up because he wanted to stay at school. It took help from both teachers just to get him dressed. Even then I was left to carry both Avery and Elliott down the stairs because Av refused to come home. It's still a bit of a battle come home time. But, like I tell his teachers, I'd rather him hate leaving his friends than crying because he disliked school.

Elliott seems to be growing every week - not in terms of weight, but in is comprehension. One day it was clapping, the next he was waving and saying "ba ba" when Pat and Avery left for school. Still not interested in walking, he can crawl fast enough to keep Avery engaged in a game "Chase Big Brother Around the House." I've been trying to introduce more real food for him to eat, as I don't want him having any issues when he's at daycare. It can't be easy having just two teeth! At least he seems interested in whatever it is we're eating; this week he ate a whole bunch of my coconut lentil curry and tonight he enjoyed some homemade chicken fingers. Still, with all of this food, my slender little baby doesn't seem to packing on any pounds. I am telling you, I put tons of butter in and on almost everything he eats. I wish I had his metabolism.

Finally after a week of frigid temperatures and cabin feverish children, we were given a break with a balmy 2C day. We spent our day outside making snowmen and forts. Unfortunately, some hungry critter caught a whiff of Frosty's nose, grabbing the carrot and making a run for it. We'll know better for next time - only non edibles will be used.

While stuck indoors for the week, Avery and I spent much time making crafts - specifically, Valentine's Day crafts. We've made two cards for Daddy and about 5 posters that have a few hearts and a whole lot of glue on them. I've got to say, he's got a creative flare and I always try really hard to not worry about the mess that's going on while the magic happens.

The boys have also found a new favourite game - making a fort out of the couch cushions. Here are my two monkeys hanging out on a Saturday morning.

Well, I'm hoping the good weather continues as I've enjoyed our extended walks and not having our faces freeze off. And, we are heading to Ottawa soon for our friend Joel's wedding - so any extra warmth will be appreciated. This will be our first weekend away without ANY children. Avery will be staying with Troy, Misty and Braylon and Elliott will be spending the night with Nanny and Oopa. Yikes... now this is going to be interesting.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Did You Have a Ball on New Year's Eve?

Another Christmas has come and gone. This year was one of the best too. A house full of rowdy children, full of wonder and excitement upon seeing that Santa had finished the cookies and milk they left out for him the night before. What more could a parent ask for?

Avery and Truman get along so well and, with only a few hiccups, shared their toys like the best of friends. As soon as we got home from my parents house, Avery suggested "I wanna go Truman's house?" So, it's easy to see who Av's favourite person is. He is also an expert at mimicking everything Truman does (as demonstrated in the picture below). It really was a treat to watch them, however, I was hoping that Avery was a bit more of an independent thinker!

We had an extra special holiday this year since Pat was off from the 23rd until January 4th. Although our days have been filled with sickness. I guess you can't have everything. We tried to make the best of it and watched a lot of movies and went for many walks (not always as long as we'd normally attempt).

New Year's Eve was quiet and pleasant. We started off our morning with breakfast at Easy with the Kanas', who, at any given moment, will be the proud parents of one Baby Boy Kanas. We went shopping in the afternoon and picked up Avery a cool new pair of kicks (his choice). I was so embarrassed as his old shoes were sporting huge holes in the front. I can't believe my baby is in a size 9! I realize he's growing, but it's in these instances that I recognize he's not a baby anymore.

On our shopping trip, we also dropped by Old Navy to pick up Elliott a new pair of mittens. For some reason we are incapable of returning from any trip outside the house with both mittens. In fact, this was the third or fourth pair we were buying. Now, I know when I tell you the rest of the story you will say to yourself "you should sew them into his jacket with string." I really had meant to, but we went on our walk before I had the chance. Well, in typical fashion, we returned home with only one mitten. We were both so annoyed and we retraced our steps perfectly, intent on finding this lost mitten. No such luck. What a waste. I vowed then that Elliott would just have to wear mismatched mittens for the rest of the season - strictly out of principal.

Well, we have to give Chris big ups because this morning when we were all going out for coffee, he spotted Elliott's mitten against the curb. Sure, it wasn't the newest missing mitten and sure it was frozen and coated in mud. But Pat kicked at that thing until he could pry it from the frozen concrete. You'd better believe first thing after that mitten is washed I am sewing those bitches into Elliott's jacket.

Oh my. I almost forgot to mention that Elliott had his 9 month check up. It was the week of Christmas, so things were very hectic around here. Our little monkey weighed in at 18lbs 13oz and 29.5". Not bad! His doctor was pleased that his growth curve was back to where it should be, but insists that I still add butter to all of his meals. Oh, and to up his red meat intake. Honestly, Elliott lives the high-life. Poor E wasn't able to get his vaccination though, since he was a bit sick. I think I will wait a couple more days just to ensure it's gone before I take him back in. I am in no hurry to have my little one poked with a needle. Ah, the necessary evils of parenthood.

To everyone, we wish you a happy and healthy 2011! And, we hope you had a ball on New Year's Eve.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tell Me it's a Tooth!

About a week or so ago Elliott and I were strolling along outside. He opened his mouth and just like a scene from a movie, a ray of light beamed into his mouth revealing a little knob emerging from his gum. The moment passed so quickly that I questioned what it was that I saw. Was it really a tooth? Finally after 8 months of waiting and wondering, was Elliott finally getting his first chomper?
Now, the thing with my baby is he is not the most cooperative little fellow. I tried and tried again to view this small section of his mouth to no avail. I pressured family and friends to "get in there" so they could verify what I suspected to be lurking on his gum line. It took a lot of effort, but eventually we were able to determine that without a doubt, our Elliott was getting his first tooth. It couldn't come at a better time too. I am telling you, Elliott wants to eat real food. Don't get me wrong, it's not like he's unhappy with the purees he's getting. It's just that every time we eat, he eyes our food like a lion about to pounce on his prey. It's frightening really!

Speaking of food - we've had a great weekend, filled with lots of eating! On Saturday we went to Aunt Michele and Uncle Jerry's for brunch and a much anticipated playdate for Avery and Truman. It is so cute to see those two playing and how much Oliver wants to be in the mix. Michele made an amazing spread with the most delicious bacon I have ever had. Sunday, we had the Carter clan over for brunch, where I had to make that great maple bacon we had at Michele's the previous day! Avery was so excited for this get together; when he woke up this morning the first thing he said was "Riley?" Of course, in typical fashion, Avery was completely shy when everyone showed up...but he soon warmed up and had fun playing with the boys. We are so sad to say goodbye to Granny KK and Poppy Ray who fly back to South Carolina tomorrow. We hope they have a great flight!

Avery has become quite the photographer lately. I have been so impressed. He saw our small Canon Sureshot (which we no longer use) and asked to play with it. Within about five minutes, he had that thing mastered. I am not joking; he knew how to turn it on/off, change the mode from taking pictures to viewing them and how to zoom. I know some adults who can't even do that! I am actually going to have a couple of pics blown up and framed. The only problem is he now has his eyes set on our Rebel. We will have to make sure we always store it out of arms reach as there is no way we are letting him touch that!

Now that the Santa Claus parade has come and gone, the Christmas season is in full effect. I've already started training Avery, who watched The Grinch about ten times last week. Now all we need is some snow to solidify the feeling. What the hell am I saying?! I will be regretting that comment in about a month... but until then? Bring it on.