A Preschool Thanksgiving

^^ She thought she was so funny...but her teacher made her uncover her eyes. For a minute there I was getting flashbacks to Connor being the little drummer boy with his eyes closed!

^^ What Isla was thankful for on their thankful tree at school. And I'm told that she truly said beautiful three times...haha!

^^ She ate all the whipped cream off her pie, then went back and asked for seconds of whipped cream. 

I'm pretty sure 95% of the time, wherever we are, people are always like, "Who's child is that?!" about how my kids act. But, you know what, I fiercely believe in letting them be independent little thinkers and also in letting them be children. Sure that can embarrass at times. But it also reminds me that I really don't need to care so much. I too once was an unabashed whipped cream lover. And I'm constantly told that Isla's fiery spirit comes from me. So yeah. 

I don't know how I wondered there, but I did. Anyway. Isla had her thanksgiving feast at school on Wednesday. I always eat this kind of thing up. The song singing. The sitting in tiny chairs around tables. The homemade crafts. I dig it all. And I was not disappointed. Isla did an excellent job singing both songs...and even looked at us and smiled when singing about family...the type of thing I totally eat up. It was a good time. 

After having been on the preschool scene for four years now, I am feeling a bit sad about how all these little things are the last one for a few years. Sure I am excited for new things with the kids, but it's also a little sad to know I will be leaving behind something very regular in my life...and that's exactly what preschool has been for me. Wow, it's not even halfway through the school year and I'm already getting all sad and mushy about it ending! That has to be some sort of record. 

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Connor: Making smores by the fire in the first fire in our new house. 

Isla: She was super into decorating the tree this year and I totally loved it. The decorations make me all sorts of excited, so I was thrilled to watch her get just as excited. 

Callum: This kid had a big week. He started crawling (in a weird way, but boy does he move!) and another tooth is cutting. I guess I'll be nice about how awful his nights were! 

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016." 

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The Annual Christmas Card Challenge

I can't believe that the FOURTH year of my christmas card challenge is upon us. I love sending and receiving christmas cards. I love displaying cards and notes from friends and family near and far. I love how with a simple card, I can reminisce on fun times I had with those people. I love hearing how people are doing and watching their kids grow from year to year. It is because of all this, that I started the christmas card challenge. It's a fun way for me to bring a little cheer to the "christmas card" season.

Once again, the categories will remain the same:

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

Believe it or not, the first card to arrive category has already been secured. One of my friends is super on her game and it arrived last week. It put a huge smile on my face and reminded me that I need to go search out my christmas card holder and figure out where I am going to hang it in the new house.

Again this year, I will be giving out a bag of Bean Counter Coffee Roasters coffee to the winner. How it works is, after Christmas, I will choose a winner from each category, then use a random number generator to pick the winner.

If you want to join in the fun, but don't have my address, feel free to email me at jgrimbleby(at)gmail.com and I will tell you where to send it. And if you are looking for some inspiration, here are the winners in years past - 2015, 2014 and 2013. I will say, I still love the trend of doing little updates of each kid on the back of the card...hint, hint.

Now I have yet to get on my game and choose a christmas card for us this year. I am thinking it NEEDS to happen this week. I like getting them out early(ish). And this year I don't have a baby to use as an excuse ;)

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Connor {7 years}

One of my hopes when I take milestone pictures of my kids, is to capture their personalities at that exact moment. These days, Connor is generally reluctant to be in front of the camera. He does it if I ask, but that is about it. Even when he is doing something cute or funny and he sees me go for my phone, he will yell, "don't take my picture!" and stop whatever he is doing. I know all that is part of the process of growing up and becoming more aware. But I also like to document to remember. 

I would say Connor has a lot of the classic first born traits. He is a rule follower through and through. Outside of the home, he really doesn't want to let people down and tries following all the rules. We hear this a lot from his teachers. He is very social. He definitely likes being around people all the time. He is getting better and better at playing alone, but being with friends (or other kids in general) is definitely his thing. He is a boy of routine. In fact, he sits at the same table at lunch, in the same spot, every day, regardless of who is sitting at that table. He tells me of eating with total strangers rather than friends because he wants to always sit at that table. 

Connor is all about Star Wars these days. He could tell you more Start Wars facts than you care to know. He made a lego layout one day where he made all his own episodes, naming each episode and creating characters. He also likes dressing up like the characters. Another thing he really enjoys is playing games. Battleship, Monopoly, Clue Jr, Hangman...the list goes on. He still really enjoys books and is very good at reading these days. In fact, he said his favorite birthday present was the brick bible (a lego picture bible) we got him. Connor also loves writing stories and drawing pictures to go along with those stories. 

This little interview will probably be the best way to get a little insight into Connor at seven years old: 

What's your full name? Connor
How old are you? 7
How tall are you? I don't know
What color are your eyes? Blue
What color is your hair? Brown 
What day of the week is it? Monday

What is your favorite...
    color - blue
    food - ramen noodles and my favorite bread (locally sourced sourdough bread)
    drink - apple juice, I mean icee
    ice cream - vanilla
    toy - all of them
    book - the brick bible
    song - get down (from church)
    tv show - my little pony
    movie - star wars
    thing to do - play with toys, watch tv, eat, get presents, playing with friends, having sleepovers, playing with my cousin Tanner
    game - monopoly and battleship
    sport - baseball
    animal - trex

Who is your best friend? Tanner (his cousin)

Three things that make you special:
    1. I'm good at batting
    2. I have a lot of toys
    3. I was born in Scotland

^^ I love the genuine smile on his face in this jumping picture

In case you want to take a walk down memory lane with Connor, here are his updates from years past - 6 years5 years4 years3 years2 years1 year and 6 months. And here was Connor's interview from last year

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Connor: He turned seven this past week...and looks so incredibly grown up in this photo. He had so much fun celebrating with his friends (mom doesn't rate so high all the time anymore). 

Isla: The girl who considers dressing in all pink and purple matching, who busts out in free dance in the middle of a ballet routine and who is constantly referred to by others as a "free spirit". 

Callum: Still content just chilling on the floor. Though he has managed to scoot backwards across the room a couple times now. Progress. 

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016." 

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Happy Weekend

We had Connor's birthday, including class and friend/family party, this week and he had minimum days all week. After going to my sister in law's baby shower Saturday morning, I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend...well as relaxing as it can be with three kids around! 

Some random things from this week:

These Obama/Biden meme's have been entertaining me too much. 

An interesting perspective on how social media affects us. Hint, too much of it actually makes us feel more lonely. 

I took the leap and started Christmas shopping, yet haven't gotten Callum a first birthday gift yet. 

Abandoned places fascinate me. I particularly enjoyed the beautiful subway station in New York City on this list

Some good things to think about when the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season gets the best of us. 

We got our family pictures back. Now to go through them and get to making our Christmas cards! 

Have a great weekend! 

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Three Kids

I feel like since having Callum, I get asked a lot about life with three kids. I don't think many inquired about one or two. But the leap to three does seem big, daunting in fact. Moms at school will come up and admit they are thinking about a third and ask how it's going. I've had the conversation at birthday parties, at the park, at school pick up. I've even had the conversation with other moms of three...which I feel like the consensus is that third kid is just something special and to definitely do it.

When I was pregnant, people used to always comment about how Isla was going to be the "little mama". Knowing her personality, I knew that wasn't going to be true. In fact, after Callum was born, though she enjoyed him, she wasn't super interested in him. Now days, she manhandles him like crazy. She calls it playing...but when she is practically sitting on the poor kid's head, I don't really consider that playing, and even consider manhandling putting it nicely! But, 11 months in and there has yet to be any fighting between the older two and Callum. Now I am a realist, so I know the fighting will come. But the fighting between Connor and Isla started much younger, so it is nice to not have it happening yet. Of course, I think because he is so much younger no competetion has started yet.

Given how my relationship with each of my brothers has changed so much over the years, I am interested to watch how these three's relationships evolve and change. As the middle child myself, I bounced around as to who I was closer two based on different life circumstances. Sibling relationships are such a complex and interesting thing.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium

We got an annual membership to the Monterey Bay Aquarium from Ian's parents for Christmas last year. Wanting to squeeze in one last trip before it expired, we decided Veteran's Day would be the perfect time to go. We don't normally spend the night, but decided to stay over there as well. Isla was particularly excited to go, as she was obsessed with the book Fancy Nancy Peanut Butter and Jellyfish that we check out from the library. She was particularly excited about bringing one of her stuffed animals, Rocco, to see the jellyfish. She literally talked to everyone about the trip when I told her we were going. It was fun to see her be so excited. 

This trip was also particularly fun because Connor would read all the plaques and be in awe about the facts he just read. It just seemed like those two were in more awe this time at the aquarium than in past visits and that made it particularly fun. Callum got in on the action too, getting to grab at fish and jellyfish through the glass. And him and I got to watch some large fish being fed, which was super fun...the two of us literally got our own little show as we stumbled upon them getting ready to feed some fish while I was trying to walk him to sleep. The worker explained everything to us and fed them right in front of us. Again, very cool. Callum also got to play in the water play in the toddler section. He really dug that and came out soaking wet. 

Our night didn't go so well, with Callum spiking a fever and Ian having to go to the store in the middle of the night for a thermometer and medicine. And four days on, the little guy is still pretty sick and miserable. But, we still had loads of fun at the aquarium before he got sick. 

It's funny how our last trip there, the drive didn't go so well. This time, we got home and Connor said, "We are home already?! That was fast." You just never know with kids and car trips!

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Callum {11 months}

Weight: 19 pounds, 10 ounces
Length: 29.5 inches

Likes: all food, being tickled, his grandparents little dog, going for walks in his stroller, paper, banging things together, sleeping in his swing
Dislikes: night time sleep, missing his nap, sleeping anywhere besides his swing or in the car, being hungry

Callum is still the content little boy. Though he is starting to get more picky about wanting to be held by people he knows. And held in general. If he isn't comfortable with a situation, he wants to be held. He happily takes in the world and loves going for walks...even tried eating a leaf that I didn't know about, that fell in his stroller while we were walking. He also quite enjoys being on the ground and playing with things like grass or the wheels on his stroller. And hair. Anyone's hair that gets close enough, he will grab. 

The big thing that happened this month is Callum moving out of our room and into his own room. After a few particularly difficult nights, I decided something had to be done. I really do think it has helped. Though, lets be honest, it wasn't a miracle worker. He still isn't sleeping through the night. But, more nights than not, he is now only waking once or twice and that's a HUGE improvement. He is still sleeping in his swing. He literally goes crazy if we try to put him in his crib. Like even if he is asleep, he will immediately wake. So, we are still working on that. If anyone would like to come help, feel free!

Food wise, Callum doesn't eat purees at all anymore. For the most part, we just throw him a bit of what is on our plates. Or I cut him up things like banana, avocado, sweet peppers, peas, etc. He does know how to drink out of a straw. But he doesn't consistently drink much out of a cup. He still prefers to nurse. And given that he is now 11 months old, I am going to have to start thinking about that changing, at least during the day a bit. 

Callum still isn't crawling, but he is moving around more. He started getting onto his knees from sitting, but generally immediately lays down on his belly. But don't be fooled, he can still get himself around a room if he truly wants something. He definitely scoots backward, which is the first step to crawling. He doesn't go from laying to sitting, but he has done it before "on accident" when he was mad a couple times, so I know he can do it. 

Callum does try to copy what we are saying. He definitely seems to now know that "mama" is me and says it over and over to me at times when he especially wants me...like in the middle of the night when he wakes up crying. He also says dada, baba and papa. And if he is in the right mood, will try to repeat any simple word you ask him to say, though often the word sounds much different! 

Callum is pretty go with the flow. I have to wake him from pretty much every nap he takes to pick someone up or take someone some place. I feel bad doing it and sometimes reap the consequences of it. But what else am I supposed to do? The nice thing is that he is pretty much content in any situation, so easy to take with me on the go. 

I can't believe this little guy of mine is almost a year old! The time has definitely gone fast. 

Just in case you care, Connor at 11 months and Isla at 11 months. And apparently Callum was my smallest baby at 11 months. It's probably because he only has 4 teeth and the other two had 7 at this point...I hear teeth weigh a lot ;)

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