Callum {3 years}

Likes: playing with his brother & sister's toys, jumping off anything, popsicles, cars & tractors, shooting people with nerf guns, hitting people with swords
Dislikes: getting his clothes changed, the dentist, being told no, having to sit in a shopping cart

talks in sentences
Can count up to 17
sings his abc's
knows his first and last name

This kid can be so sweet and adorable, I can eat him up. Yet, he can be oh-so ornery! I guess that is three. Talking up a storm, yet wanting to keep up with the big kids...though not having the same smarts as the big kids, so shooting people in the face with a nerf gun is seen as totally acceptable. 

Some of Callum's current favorites are hot wheels, Super Wings, and playing anything that involves throwing something or hitting someone with something. He loves reading, well being read to. Some of his favorite books are No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, The Wheels on the Bus and Little Blue Truck.

Callum is probably our most adventurous eater. He will eat pretty much anything. And the kid loves salad!!! He also has a sweet tooth and is constantly requesting candy...or helping himself to a popsicle in the freezer! Which, that reminded me why I put a lock on the freezer when the other kids were little. He loves yogurt and I just recently discovered he loves eggnog. He doesn't really like milk, so will choose water over milk at dinner every night. 

We took the side off his crib a couple months ago and he is doing great with that. In fact, it's pretty convenient because now if he wakes at night, he just comes in our room and climbs in bed. I keep meaning to set up a twin bed for him, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe this weekend. 

Callum doesn't like being contained in anything or by anyone. He doesn't want to ride in a shopping cart and will beg to be out. "I hold your hand!" Then when you let him out, he refuses to hold your hand! He is a bit of a running risk and being so pregnant, that is sometimes hard to deal with. He also thinks its funny to jump and kick you when walking while holding your hand. Yeah, I am sure I look just as much like a train wreck out in public with him and my big belly as you are imagining! 

Callum loves his mama so much and definitely is most attached to me. He says to me often, "I hold you", which means he wants to be held. He always wants to hold my hand, even when he is sleeping. If he is watching tv, he wants me to sit with him, which really means he pretty much wants to sit on top of me. It's all really sweet and I tend to eat it up. 

So there you have it, Callum in all his glory at three.

In case you want to look back, here are a couple of my favorite updates on Callum - one year...and eating his cake!, 7 months (he was just such a smiley baby!) and 1 week (because newborn baby goodness, of course).

And here was Connor and Isla at three. Connor and Callum are wearing the same shirt for their three year photos. 

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8 Years Later

There is an indoor winter gardens in Aberdeen, Scotland that we visited while there in July. We used to live just up the street from it and I would frequently walk around in it with Connor during those cold winter months. It was warm and gave me a place to get out of the house to. While there, I made Connor take a picture in a spot that I knew I had taken many pictures of him over our time living there. Of course, when we got home I couldn't find any of the pictures. So much for being good at organizing photos! 

The other day I got an itch to finish the kids baby books, since I was ordering updated family photos for our frames in our living room...nesting affects every aspect of life! While going through pictures, I stumbled across a random file that only had a few pictures in it. Well, it had pictures of Connor standing in the exact spot I took his picture this summer. Sure, no one but me can tell the pictures were taken at the same spot, given the angle, but it still made me happy to have a little comparison. And I got a chuckle out of the fact that, completely unplanned, he was wearing a red shirt in both photos. 

So there you have it, Connor standing in the same spot eight years later. A place that holds so many memories for me of that early time of motherhood. A place where Connor and I learned and grew together so much. A place where fellow women, who I hardly knew at the time, came along side of me and helped me so much in those early days. A place that will forever hold a special spot in my heart.

Wow, that got sappy fast!

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28 Weeks

I am actually doing good posting this, this time. I am still in my 28th week, even if at the end. 

I don't feel like I have anything too exciting to report. Things are just humming along around here. I am measuring right on schedule. I am still feeling fine, though don't like bending over much anymore.  I am still having that dang gag reflux and can't wait for that one to go away. I also have something that Ian and I jokingly call IBS - itchy back syndrome. My back seems to itch all the time, especially if I am leaning up against anything, like a chair or in bed. I am mostly avoiding chicken, as it doesn't sound good to me. This happened in my other pregnancies as well, but it isn't as strong of an aversion as it was in the past. 

I am getting the urge to prepare for baby. I got out all the gender neutral baby clothes and washed them this week. I actually have way less than I remember. It's mostly white onesies. But I am guessing that is because I have some newborn boy and girl stuff I kept, but I haven't gone looking for that yet. I've started a mental list of things I would like to get for the baby before it arrives. Most of it is frivolous and unnecessary, but still stuff I would like. But I do need the obvious and necessary too, like those teeny tiny newborn diapers and such. I want to make a mobile for over the crib. I think I am going to repurpose the one I made for Callum when I was pregnant with him. I still really like it, but the older kids broke it a while ago, pulling on it. I think I am going to hang it in a circle this time. 

That's about all the excitement for this update that I've got for you. Well, unless you care to know that I passed my glucose test with flying colors, so I don't have to stop raiding the kids halloween candy stash anytime soon. Or that my appointments are now 4 weeks apart, instead of 6. And I am supposed to fill out and return my birth plan at my next appointment. My plan is to just write in huge letters across it, "All I want is a nice nurse!" Seriously, a good nurse makes all the difference! But, no more ultrasounds or anything exciting like that for me. Just waiting and letting this little one grow. 

In case you want to compare, here I am at 28 weeks pregnant with Callum, at 28 weeks with Isla, and 27 weeks pregnant with Connor. My belly with Connor was definitely smaller than with the others! 

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Decorating for Christmas

Isla helped me decorate for Christmas over the weekend and it really was a fun time. Connor was watching Home Alone and Callum was napping. With a Christmas movie in the background, we decorated. She really wanted to take the lead on the tree and did most of the decorating. She was so excited. It just melted my mama heart. I've decorated in years past by myself, so it's fun to have someone that gets just as excited about the decorations (if not more so) helping out. 

I definitely don't decorate as much as I did pre-kids...of course I was also working at Pottery Barn at the time and had that influence as well. There's no elaborate table decorations, as once I had kids, I realized how those annoying things have to either be moved every meal or get things spilled on them every meal. Practicality won out and the table now remains clear. Though I did add garland and lights to our stairs this year and that makes me insanely happy. But honestly, twinkle lights anywhere make me insanely happy. I am obviously easily pleased. I think it has to do with it being grey out and getting dark earlier that the burst of light in various places around the house is just appreciated. 

We put the Christmas tree in the corner of the living room this year, rather than front and center in the front window. Sure, there isn't magic in the window, but it really makes navigating our living room easier! It also gave the tree more space, as it wasn't having to be crammed up against a window so it wouldn't be so far in the room. All that to say, I am enjoying the set up this year. 

Now to get on with the Christmas shopping and wrapping. I was talking with someone the other day that had their shopping all done AND all wrapped. I am a bit behind over here, still trying to figure out exactly what I will get everyone. I find doing three presents each (wear, play, read), which we have done for years, makes me think longer about what I am going to buy each kid, as I want each present to really count and have meaning. But I am getting there, slowly but surely. I have never been out on Christmas Eve still shopping, so I am not too worried. It all comes together somehow. 

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Connor {9 years}

There is just something about your first born. I feel like both of us have grown so much together over the years. Not to mention, Connor is just so sweet with his mama. He still holds my hand all the time and freely gives me hugs.

Connor is such a tender hearted and sweet boy, yet also loves to shoot you at close range with his nerf guns. He loves reading and devours books in a matter of hours. He definitely prefers realistic books and funny books to make believe. He has read a lot of history books, as well as all the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and Captain Underpants. He enjoys playing with cars and going on drives with his dad. He also enjoys picking fights with his sister and brother ;) He has such an imagination as well. The things he comes up with never cease to blow my mind. Especially his ideas for making money. He has sold everything from comic books he has written, to paper airplanes. And his latest invention is an arcade game made out of a box that he operates and charges 50 cents for.

Connor also has a love for Harry Potter, which makes this mama's heart happy, as I too love it. We have read through the first three books together, reading them as the illustrated versions come out. But he has gone back and read the first two by himself as well. We have watched the first four movies together as well and he is ready for the fifth.

Connor has really expanded his palate over the past year and I have been very impressed. He loves all sorts of kinds of seafood. We make shrimp at home, but he loves going out for poke bowl and eating the raw fish. He has even gotten to the point where he will eat more and more of the meals I cook without them having to be modified, like he will now eat things with sauce and has even eaten some of the soups I have made this fall. He is just more and more willing to try things.  I am really proud of him and it gives me hope for our other picky eater.

Connor recently started taking showers in the morning before school. It was all his idea and I have to say, it just feels so grown up! There is just so little I have to remind him to do these days and it feels weird.

Connor prefers to be home over being out and about. He likes battling me and Ian at tetherball. He also enjoys playing various board games. Though the thing you can find him doing the most is curled up with a book.

Now for a little interview with Connor:

What is your favorite:
     color - red
     food - ahi tuna
     drink - root beer
     ice cream - cookies n cream
     toy - nerf guns
     book - Diary of a Wimpy Kid
     song - all the songs from the movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid
     tv show - The Andy Griffith Show
     movie - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
     thing to do - watch Harry Potter
     game - clue
     sport - soccer
     animal - leopard shark

Who is your best friend? Nixon
What do you like doing with your friends? have nerf wars
Where did you meet Nixon? I don't know, where did I? His house?

What is your favorite thing about school? I have the nicest teacher in the whole universe
What do you enjoy learning the most? math
What do you like to do on the playground? play tetherball 
Who do you play with at school? everyone who plays tetherball

What is your favorite thing about yourself? That I was born in Scotland

Three things that makes you special:
     1. How good I can read
     2. I was born in Scotland
     3. That I'm the oldest kid in my family

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Hide That Turkey!

It must be a first grade tradition to "hide" a turkey. Connor did it in first grade and now Isla is doing it. I tried finding photographic proof of Connor's hidden turkey and couldn't find pictures anywhere. Given I know I take loads of photos, I am guessing it is among the thousands and thousands of photos that I didn't sort though on my old laptop...hence the reason the laptop is sitting in a drawer a year later, still waiting for me to deal with all those photos. And by thousands of photos, I am talking like 40,000 photos. Such a daunting task and the reason the laptop is sitting in a drawer. But back to Isla and her hidden turkey.

When she brought home this project, I came up with an idea that I personally found brilliant. I told her we could dress the turkey up like her. We could print out a picture and make a face mask out of her face to go on the turkey. Even Connor said, "How come you didn't have these good ideas when I was in first grade?" But Isla didn't like it. She had other plans. She wanted to disguise her turkey behind a Christmas tree. And since I'm not the one in school, I let her do what she wanted. 

I am convinced the kids think the best part of any school project is going to hobby lobby. It's the best part for them and usually the most stressful for me, haha! They have a vision and I am trying to help them realize their vision without spending a small fortune. Besides having to talk Isla out of buying 32 packages of small ornaments, the trip to the store was actually pretty drama free. So was disguising the turkey. I will actually file it down as one of our easier and least stressful school projects to date. And Isla was really proud of it, which is what really matters. 

Isla was so excited to take her turkey to school this morning. But, it wasn't just excitement about her turkey. She told me, "I am so excited to see everyone's turkeys mom. I just know they all will be great!" I like her enthusiasm and positivity. 

Now here's to hoping they don't do a class vote on the best hidden turkey this year. Because, well, that truly caused some drama in my life two years ago. 

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The 6th Annual Christmas Card Challenge

Having already received our first Christmas card in the mail, I thought now was a good time to announce the 6th annual Christmas card challenge. Thanksgiving snuck up on a lot of us last year and is early again this year, so I thought the early reminder to get a card made (and capitalize on those Black Friday card deals!) would be good for all. 

This contest was born out of my love of Christmas cards. Well, not just Christmas cards, but any holiday card. We've even gotten some New Year's cards, which I think is fun because it makes the card season last even longer! I get so excited in this season to check my mail every day. I love seeing smiling faces of those I love on cards, I love the handwritten notes, I love the updates, I love the lush beautiful cards, I love the funny ones. I just love it all. 

The categories for cards will remain the same again this year, but I also have a fun little prize for anyone that is local, so be sure to keep reading! As a refresher, here are the categories:

     * first card to arrive
     * best handwritten note
     * best photo(s)
     * best update
     * best overall

The first card to arrive spot has already been snagged by someone who was obviously on top of their game. And being on top of their game helped me, as it reminded me to get to work on my own card. 

In the spirit of supporting my hubby, and supporting a local small business, I will be giving a bag of Bean Counter Coffee Roasters coffee to the winner. How it works is, after the New Year, I will choose a winner from each categories, then use a random number generator to pick the winner of the coffee. Now, for you locals, I have a separate prize. Also in the spirit of supporting a local small business, I will be giving away a month subscription (February) to Alchemy Bread. If you've never heard of her, go check her out. Her bread is AMAZING. If you win, you have to agree to pick up your bread once a week (either on Tuesday or Thursday) in downtown Modesto on 12th Street. You also have to be willing to provide your phone number for the subscription. You really want to be willing to do this because, guys, it's soup season and this bread is like no other. Your mind WILL BE BLOWN. And if you're not willing, I know plenty of people that would be, so...

If you want to join in the fun, but don't have my address, feel free to email me at jgrimbleby(at) and I will provide an address to send it. And you need not be shy, I have had many people participate in the card challenge that aren't my close pals. And, guess what? Some have won categories! And, each one of their cards put a smile on my face because I LOVE CARDS.

If you are looking for some inspiration, here are the winners in years past - 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. Just a little tip, funny cards are totally my jam, as are anything that makes your card stick out from the crowd. That could be a different shape, a different colored envelope, or perhaps forgetting to change your last name on your card, so it says the wrong name! 

Now get to work on your cards! Remember, Black Friday and cyber Monday are always great times to score great deals on cards and is normally the time I order them every year. And, what's nice is you can have them all designed and ready to go ahead of time and just purchase them when the good deal comes around. 

I'm excited for my mailbox to start filling with cards! 

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