Sunday, February 14, 2016

Some Bot-y is One!

It's appropriate that I'm writing Lincoln's one-year update on Valentine's Day because it was one year ago that we got to spend our first official overnight and full day with him at the hospital in their weird hotel-like room. I can still feel the joy and relief I experienced that night one year ago when I finally felt like he was really ours. I just love this little guy so much.
In the last month he's learned some new tricks. He started pulling himself up onto furniture.
Which evolved into his interest in redecorating his room.
Which evolved into him standing just so every time we put him down for a nap. 
We had a nice month of Lincoln on a sleep strike due to his newly found ability to stand up in his crib (and inability to get himself back down) and one nasty month of growing basically all of his teeth at the same time.

Every nap and bedtime was spent laying Lincoln down, hearing him screech as soon as I walked out of the room, hearing him stand up in his crib, so I would go back in, see him standing in the position above, same corner, same hands longingly outstretched, to which I would lay him back down, rinse, repeat.

Not only was he REFUSING to go down for sleep without an hour long up and down battle, he was also waking up at least once a night...but for a straight hour and a half.

It was a struggle, but I finally feel like his sleep is regulating itself again...until the next batch of teeth comes in anyway!

Lincoln's favorite things are Legos and the dishwasher. The sound of Legos clinking or the dishwasher opening is quickly followed by the sound of a little Lincoln scurrying across the floor towards the fun.
Here's Lincoln's one-year picture!
And here's the crabbier version because I'm sure one day we'll all want to remember what he looked like when he was ticked as a baby.
Here's the weirdo baby version just in case future us is interested in that as well.
Here's the middle-child-needs-some-attention-too shot.

Here's what Linker's up to:

  • Up to 50th percentile on all his stats. He was just barely under 20 pounds at his 1-year check-up. 
  • Size 3 diapers.
  • Still fits most of his 12-month clothes but is venturing into 18-month.
  • Says Dada, Mama (conveniently learned this one during our month of sleep battling), "Up High" (Jeff always plays the high-five game: up high, down low, in the middle, too slow with the older boys and Lincoln has caught on.), baba, books, hi.
  • He loves to wave hello and goodbye.
  • He is a major cuddle bug! If anyone is laying on the ground, he views it as an invitation to snuggle attack. I workout in the mornings while Lincoln crawls around. At the end of most of my workouts, there is an ab section, where I lay on the ground. Lincoln always gleefully books it over to me as soon as I hit the ground, then he perfectly lines himself up against my chest, sucks his thumb and happily snuggle-supports me through the end of my workout. 
  • Along with his love for snuggling, he is completely content to sit in my lap. He is my first child to just be content to BE. Eli and Carson were always crazies and would never sit still, but Lincoln prefers to be plopped in my lap with his head on my chest over anywhere else. 
  • Even though he's a major snuggler, he's not a needy snuggler yet. He prefers to be held and cuddled, but he's happy to roam and explore. He's really into cruising along furniture and checking out every nook and cranny in our house.
  • HE CAN GO UP AND DOWN STAIRS! Our baby gate broke with Carson, so we were stressing over not having a gate for Lincoln. We just practiced stairs with him for a couple of days and he picked it right up. He can now confidently go up and down stairs. He loves the freedom of being able to get around to check out what everyone's up to.
  • Takes two 1 1/2 hour naps a day. In bed at 7:00, wakes up between 6-7. 
  • He thinks his older brothers are hilarious. I was looking at old pictures the other day and he squealed every time Carson or Eli popped up on the screen. 
  • He's a major mama's boy which I am LOVING because I know it will be short lived. I love my little Linker Lou. He's so sweet, happy, friendly, smiley, and fun. He's a dream!

Eli and Carson helped me pick out what cake to make for Lincoln's birthday. We decided on a robot cake. It was fun to make!
Eli is our biggest birthday fan. He loves people's birthdays. Mostly because his birthday is last and with each birthday that passes, he realizes it's one birthday closer to his, but still, the excitement was there.

We went to the aquarium on Lincoln's birthday with my friend Leslie. We should note here that Lincoln's birthday is the same week as mine, and we remember how the older boys were on my birthday...

They were mildly better on Lincoln's birthday. Eli was actually great. Stayed right by me through the aquarium and generally listened to me when I asked him to do something. Carson was a crazy man. There's something in Carson's brain that says, "Hey. Let's run in the opposite direction of mom as fast as we can and ignore all of her frantic screams to get my attention."

There were at least 3 different instances where I completely lost Carson for more than 5 minutes. That was fun. I think his problem is that he has to check EVERYTHING out before he can commit to what he wants to do. Since we had never been there before, everything was new and interesting and had his attention and he was wrapped up in seeing all he could at his own speed whether we were with him or not. It was a touch crazy.

And don't even get me started about the 15 minutes we spent waiting for the sharks to be fed. Followed by the 15 more minutes of listening to some guy tell us useless information about sharks while we continued to wait for the sharks to get their lunch. Followed by everyone around us abruptly leaving. Followed by me and Leslie looking at each other and saying, "Wait. Did they feed the sharks?" Ending with the employee announcing, yes, the sharks had been fed and we somehow managed to miss the whole thing. Ha!
It was fun. I love going somewhere fun for birthdays as an excuse to get to do something we don't usually do. It was great to meet up with Leslie and see our kids running around together.
Of course we couldn't get together without a selfie. It should be noted that this was taken after I had safely strapped my runaway into his carseat where I knew he couldn't escape.
After Jeff got home from work, it was time for cake! I was reading through some past blog posts the other day and laughing about how Eli and Carson's personalities were so evident when they were babies, but we just didn't know them well enough to recognize their quirks. It's funny to see them get bigger and see that their personalities have always been the same.

If I were to guess a funny trait about Lincoln that will linger on throughout his childhood, it would be his quick hands. He cracks me up! He's like a tiger. He sits quietly. Locks his eyes on what he wants, but waits for the right opportunity. Then when he knows what he wants is within reach, he strikes. And he's fast! I first noticed this when he was taking a bath and I held a cup in front of him. He struck it out of my hands so fast, and he had great aim. This became a game we now play all the time in the bath. He still surprises me with his precision and speed.

Then on his birthday, I put his cake in front of him. There was a sucker on the top of the robot's head which was juuuuuuuuuuust barely in Lincoln's reach. The moment it was close enough, Lincoln swiped it and had it in his mouth before I could do anything about it. It was so funny!

We've started calling him quick hands. I feel like he's going to be the type of kid who is always quietly getting into trouble and getting away with it. We'll see if I'm right! Until then, I think he'd make a pretty good basketball player, so I'll try to channel his abilities in that direction before he learns how to use his powers against me.

He was also a fan of the oreo on his cake.
Grandma and Grandpa Excell were able to video chat with us while we opened Lincoln's presents which was super fun!

Carson COULD NOT help himself from ripping open every one of Lincoln's presents. Lincoln didn't mind.

It was a fun first birthday for our littlest man. Lincoln brings so much joy, peace and giggles to our family. He oozes with sweetness. He's exactly what our family needed and I'm so glad he's ours!

Sunday, February 07, 2016

It's Great to Be 28...

My birthday was on a Monday this year which was less than awesome. Other than the fact that Eli had school in the morning and Carson went to preschool, so I took advantage of my one-on-one time with Lincoln to do a little photoshoot for his 1-year pictures. 

Would you like to hear about my birthday? Can I just tell you that January is officially dubbed my children's most restless, stir crazy month. They are done being cooped up. They are constantly screaming at each other. We are in a major winter funk. Reaching our low point...on my birthday.

The day was off to a promising start. Jeff let me sleep in. When I woke up, I found the boys had put balloons all around the house and hung our "Happy Birthday" sign. I had just enough time to get a workout in before I had to take Carson to school. Lincoln was cute and went right to sleep for me in the morning. 

Carson came home. He sweetly looked at me. He walked over to my birthday sign. And swiftly ripped it in three places. Then he smiled at me again and said in an innocent, calm voice that directly contrasted his actions, "Mom. I broke your birthday sign." Like it was his present to me. Thanks, bud.

Then he wandered around the house saying things like, "Mom. I'm going to pop all your balloons." "Mom. I got your makeup." "Mom. I'm trying to ruin your life one deceivingly sweet remark at a time."

I always try to do something a little out of the ordinary and fun for birthdays. Since Jeff was at work all day, I took it upon myself to invite me and the boys over to my mom's house for a throw-it-yourself birthday party. I was insistent on Olive Garden, which meant I had to pick it up on my way down...with all three boys.

I have a tendency to put a little too much trust in my abilities to contain three boys in a public establishment. "We can do it!" I told myself. "It's a to-go order! We'll be in and out and on our way!"

I picked Eli up from school. Back story -- Eli had just convinced himself Jeff's tablet is actually HIS tablet because his friend at school has a tablet, so he felt like taking ownership of the family tablet was the only thing to make his life "fair." (He's big on everything being fair these days.)

As he left for school, he laid the tablet on the counter and said, "Mom. Watch my tablet for me while I'm at school." Okay, Eli. Got it. 

As I picked Eli up from school, first thing he said was, "Mom. I didn't tell anyone it was your birthday, and did you watch my tablet for me?"
"Yes, Eli. I did watch DAD'S tablet while you were gone." I replied. Then I went on, "Okay boys, here's the deal. We're going to go to grandma's house to eat Olive Garden! Doesn't that sound fun?!?"
Eli immediately grew frantic, "DID YOU GET MY TABLET?!?"
"No. I left it at home. We don't need it at grandma's house."
"I NEEEEEEEEEEDDDDD MY TABLET!!!" ...on repeat for 15 straight minutes until we reached Olive Garden.

As we were getting off the freeway, Eli's anger shifted, "Wait. Why are we getting off the freeway? This isn't where grandma lives!"
"I know. We have to go to Olive Garden to get our food."
"NooooooOOOOOOooooOOOOO! You said we were going to EAT Olive Garden. Not that we had to GO TO Olive Garden! Waaaaahhhh waahhh wahhhh wwaaaaaaahhhhh."

Then Eli and I had a back-and-forth about how he needed to come in with me. To which he jumped out of the car and ran in the opposite direction of where we needed to go. Lincoln and Carson were calm and under control. We eventually all regrouped and shuffled into the store...

Where the baton was passed from Eli to Carson.

I had prepped them over Eli's screaming on the way down to stay RIGHT next to me. To be nice and not scream. To patiently sit in the chairs to wait for our food. Carson was right on track. Following all my directions. We were actually doing better than expected, even with Eli's tablet tantrum.

The food took a few minutes to come out to us which is where we derailed. As the cashier informed me it would be a few minutes for our food, Carson took the opportunity to run around the restaurant like a complete lunatic shouting, "BOO!" at LITERALLY every single person sitting at a table while putting his hands up like claws and growling.

I chased him for half a second before realizing I had little choice but to ride his tirade out. He made it back, and in the same proud, happy voice as his, "I broke your birthday sign, Mom," he proudly exclaimed, "I scared all the people, Mom!" Oh yay.

It was hilarious and infuriating all at the same time. 

Then we went to my mom's house where the boys fought over Legos because, "Carson took the Lego I was GOING to use."
"Were you actually using it?" I asked.
"No. It was in the box. But I saw it and I was GOING to use it! It's MINE!"

We made our way back home without incident, where my friend came over to bring me some candies. I laid the candy down just as the boys came down to check out our company. They snatched the candy up, ran up to their rooms with it, found scissors, opened the bag, and opened at least 6 individually wrapped chocolates all in a matter of 60 seconds. 

So that was my birthday! Jeff did get me a new phone which somewhat made up for the lunacy of my offspring.
You can see the lack of trust I have for Eli holding a lighter after our day.
The Sunday before my birthday was my grandma's birthday dinner. I snagged the two cutest pictures of my boys that make it hard to believe all their birthday shenanigans.
Don't be deceived. 

As we were loading everyone up to go to this party, I was like, "It's my birthday month! It's my birthday month!" while I was putting Lincoln into his carseat. It was only then I realized, "Hey! It's YOUR birthday month too!" I am still in denial he was born in January.

It was a...birthday! We'll try again next year. :)

Sunday, Snow Day, Sick Day

This sassy dude became a Sunbeam this year! 
It was a welcome change. He has been over the nursery scene for quite a while, so he was anxious to move on up. I have received many compliments about how good both my boys have been in primary over the last few weeks. Does my heart proud!

We've been making weekly visits to my couch-ridden mother to keep her company after her recent foot surgery. While my sister and I cooked her dinner, she entertained our children. Fair trade if you ask me!

Eli bought himself a Lego set with some of his Christmas money. I was so proud of him! He ambitiously followed the instructions and figured out how to build it all by himself. After one time putting it together, he disassembled the whole thing and rebuilt it from memory. This kid has a stroke of genius in him!

While at Grandma's house, the boys spelled out a love note to Grandpa.

We have entered the homework battle. People. This is an annoying battle, and I'm only 6 months in. Occasionally homework is put off until Thursday night, and that's when Jeff steps in to get down to business with much more patience for the assignments and the attitude than I have left.

We have had some issues with lack of respect in our house. The boys actively refuse to do anything Jeff and I ask them to do. They are sassy most of the time. They are whiney. We are in a funk. A funk that happens every winter, but a funk that I refuse to accept!

Last Sunday, the boys were a nightmare getting ready for church and were throwing major attitude all through Sacrament Meeting. We usually watch a movie with the boys on Sunday evening, so we threatened to take away the movie several times which was only met with sass and snarls.

I waited until we got home from church to announce that not only had they lost their Sunday movie, they lost all screen time for the whole week in an attempt to reboot the respect and happiness in our house.

Instead of a movie night, we had a game night which was super fun. We played war.

We arm wrestled, we taught the boys how to play Connect 4, and we ended with Pictionary. It was a much needed evening of family bonding that got our screen free week off to a great start.

The boys sometimes step in to feed Lincoln if they see him helplessly sitting in his chair without food for too long.

Eli didn't have school on Monday. We were invited to a snow party by one of our friends! I told the boys about it before I realized Jeff didn't work that day. I decided we would stay home with Jeff instead of going to the party, but the boys woke up Monday morning at 7:00, got their snow clothes on immediately, and were eager to say so long to Jeff to make it to their snow party.

Between five moms, we rounded up a lot of kids for the party!

The excitement of the day wore Carson right out. He fell asleep almost instantly on the way home. I can't remember the last time he fell asleep in the car!

It ended up working great that we had somewhere to go because Jeff was busy at home fixing our garbage disposal and dishwasher. Many a Youtube video later, he figured out all of our problems. He's the fix-it-up king.

Lincoln does this new thing where he wipes his hands in his hair every time he eats. One evening he got a little piece of pizza stuck on his head. It managed to stay there for a solid 3 minutes, leaving the boys giggling with delight every second it remained.

There we were. Four days into our week without screen time. Things were going better than planned. The boys were being much nicer to each other and much nicer to me and Jeff. They were sweet, kind, and more respectful. And then disaster struck.

We got sick.

I was caught between trying to stick to my disciplining and trying to keep a house full of sickos at bay which was mildly torturous. The boys weaseled their way onto my computer to Google pictures of characters so they could build those characters out of Legos. That lasted the majority of our first screen-free sick day morning.

Then they got creative and made a snowman out of their train tracks.

Somehow we survived the first sick day sans screens. I had high hopes our sickness would quickly pass and we'd diligently make it through the end of our screen free week. Lincoln had other plans.

On the night leading into sick day number 2, Lincoln was awake from 11PM-3AM. Then he was up about every hour after that. I was teetering on the edge of full-blown sickness, but the lack of sleep took everything out of me, kicking me into survival mode on Friday.

We made it to 9:30 when Lincoln got really crabby and I was sure he'd go down for a nice, long nap after being up all night. I put Lincoln down. He went right down. Then I put a movie on for the boys so I could sneak away for a nap.

Ten minutes into the movie, Lincoln started crying. After many attempts to get him to succumb to sleep, he refused. I broke our screen free week so I could get a nap and then I didn't even get one because Lincoln didn't go down for a nap until after lunch! Grrr!

Luckily we survived our sick, sleepless, screen-free week and are all well and happy once again!