Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A little change of scenery...

I don't know about you but I hate taking my boys to the same parks over and over. They get bored and I get bored. Plus, when we're all together as a family, Jon enjoys going places where we can walk around or hike somewhere together, rather than just sitting on a bench watching them play. (Me...I'm fine to just sit and watch!) I suggested this pedestrian bridge and the Chinese Memorial Garden since we were going downtown anyway to visit Jon's grandma who's been in the hospital for several days. The boys had been cooped up all day so I said we needed to give them a chance to run before we attempted a quiet and calm visit in the hospital! It ended up being a great spot to let some energy out (and to get some great pics!).
In case you decide to go, we spent a lot of time looking for a parking spot on the West side of the river (the downtown side) but couldn't find anything (it was a Friday night). We drove across to the East side and there was a whole empty parking lot right next to the bridge and gardens.
So what's your lesser known favorite park or place to walk or hike?? Please share! We never mind driving a little ways for a fun spot!
(PS. Thanks, Emily, I remembered the Chinese Gardens from a post of yours a long time ago!)

Monday, July 30, 2012

5 months.

Channing is 5 months old now. He seems to be growing into his sweet but sensitive personality. He startles easily (he constantly jumped at loud noises when he was in the womb- much more than Bennett or Dawson ever did) and loves to be held but he's generally happy all the time. And boy is he laid back. I remember around 8 weeks, Bennett was always pushing on his little legs and loved to "stand up" when you held him on your lap and I always considered him pretty laid-back. Channing still doesn't even really do that! He rolls over easily to his back now but that's it. And boy, am I thankful. It has always been impossible to keep up with Bennett and Dawson. They're constantly touching, grabbing, knocking over, ripping apart, throwing and just generally destroying everything they come in contact with. So if Channing decides to be a little more restrained, I will be delighted.
I have no clue how much he weighs right now. We missed his 4 month appt because our pediatrician left her office and we had to find a new one. Bennett's Kindergarten checkup was the top priority and I don't start vaccinations until they're 6 months old so I just decided to skip the 4 month checkup to make life a little easier.
He's just about too long for this basinet now so we'll be forced to switch the boys around (Dawson to the new bunkbeds in Bennett's room and Channing to the crib).
Here's his current room--our closet. He's such a sound sleeper, we can leave the door wide open at night and I don't hear him at all. I love when he wakes up and peeks his little head up:
 Good morning, Sunshine!

 Where should we go today, Channing? Let's plot a route....
 Don't show Mom. She might follow us...
 Geez, Channing, hog all the toys, why don't ya?
When my sister, Claire comes over, I make her take pictures of us:
Early morning kisses (or it could have been the evening. Who knows. Sometimes the jammies never get changed):
  I had to take advantage of Dawson feeling cooperative. I love looking at these faces all day!: 
If Bennett is in the same room as Channing, they're touching:
Squeaky clean buns:  

4 months. 3 months. 2 months. 1 month.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Snapshots of Summer

Sorry for the lack of blogs lately. We've been busy doing fun things here and there. And when we're not busy doing fun things, we're just busy doing life with three boys. A few weeks ago, we took a trip up to Minneapolis. We needed to get bunkbeds for the boys at IKEA. (No, we still haven't switched Dawson over yet.) We decided to take Bennett with us and leave Dawson and Channing with Judie (my first full day away from Channing!). As any parent knows, it's always so wonderful to have some quality one on one time with one of your kids. Not to mention, it was the best feeling ever to be on a mini road trip and not have any interruptions! (Thank you iPad). We let Bennett play in Smaland at IKEA while we shopped (shopping is a relative term when I'm with Jon. More like, get in, identify target, grab and get out. We had no trouble getting back to retrieve Bennett from Smaland at our required time 45 minutes later. The first couple times I went to IKEA with Jon it resulted in bad moods on both our ends. Now I have much more realistic expectations of what an IKEA trip with my hubby is going to be like and I've learned to accept that!)BUT, we did want to have some fun while we were up there so we surprised Bennett and headed over to the Mall of America's amusement park. We told him he could pick one ride and he decided on this huge 3 story ropes course. It ended being a great choice since you could spend as much time up there as you wanted, rather than a roller coaster that's over in 90 seconds. It was only $6 per person and it was so much fun!
That's a terrible picture but you can get a little idea of it. The big cross beams are just the supports. We walked across the wobbly rope bridges and skinny little balance beams, wearing a harness that was attached to a rope that you just pulled along as you walked (and that was the only thing to hold onto). Bennett was definitely the youngest kid we saw up there and he was so brave! Even people below us were pointing at him and smiling. I'll never forget his little feet in bright orange Crocs (they loaned you Crocs if you didn't have proper footwear) shuffling across, little by little, with sheer determination on his face. The guy who went over the rules beforehand told us only one person was allowed on the bridges at a time so Bennett did the first few all by himself (it was scary!!). Finally an employee told us we could walk across right with him since he was so small. I wish you were allowed to have cameras up there! We were so proud of him. Then you got to slide down this huge slide on a potato sack a few times. It was well worth the money!
We walked through the Lego store before heading home but had to carry a crying Bennett out of the store. Not because we wouldn't buy him something but because he couldn't play a video game on one of the computers in there. Six hours of iPad in the car that day just wasn't enough. :)
With Lego Woody (pre-meltdown):
This summer I've tried to find lots of little activities for them to do at home. Its stressfull to go out and do too much with all three still. Fingerpainting on the deck:

We went to a fair in some small Iowa town one day while Jon's uncle was in town. It was pretty much a bomb since they didn't have any rides there and only one food truck! But hey, the kids had fun and that's all that matters. It was one of the insanely hot days we had so we were literally the only ones there besides all the animal hands and farm kids.

All the farm kids were soaking each other with hoses. We were trying to get Bennett and his cousin, Caleb, in on the action:

My parents came up recently to watch my youngest sister, Claire, perform in RENT at the Des Moines Playhouse (check out her write up in the paper! The next Amy Adams...). The show was great, by the way, and she was definitely worthy of her starring role!  The kids' highlight of any Grandad visit: wrestle-time and reading. 

We finally got around to using the popsicle mold I picked up at the Target dollar spot. We just chopped up some strawberries and poured lemonade in there. Yum!

We had a preview of what life will be like when Bennett goes to Kindergarten (in a little over 2 WEEKS!!! AH!). He went to VBS at our church last week and was gone from 8am to 12:30 from Monday through Friday, thanks to a friend who drove both ways (she lives near us and was volunteering there anyway. It was wonderful!). The house was so calm and quiet and I got more done this week than I have since Channing was born. Those little errands that seem so overwhelming with three kids. But only two?? Load 'em up! Gitter done! Not to say I won't miss that curly-haired cutie when he's away all day. I really will. But I can hardly fathom how easy my life is about to get. I mean, really, I just had my third kid and I'm about to be back down to two for most of the week again! I can't wrap my head around it.
VBS was a big step for him. We're at a satellite location for this huge church but he went to the main location for VBS with a couple thousand other kids. He didn't have any friends there with him. He takes after his momma--large crowds of people, without a single familiar face is definitely anxiety inducing. At the end of the first two days, he cried. And that night he started crying again, telling me he didn't want to go back. I knew he liked it because he told me about the funny stories they were hearing. He was just nervous and scared. I talked to Jon on the phone (he was out of town) and he said, "He doesn't need to go back if he doesn't want to. Don't force him to go". I got off the phone and thought through it for a while then talked to Bennett about it. (And yes, selfishly, wanted him to go back to have the break!) We talked about how sometimes its important to be brave in certain situations and I talked to him about how this was good practice for Kindergarten and how to try and learn another kid's name and make a friend. I talked to him about when I was a little girl and moved to a brand new school several times and had to be brave and make new friends, even though I was shy too. We prayed for courage and bravery. He went back the next day and he was totally fine. I mean, not even a hint of nervousness. I actually found out some other friends of ours were there in a different group and even told him he could switch to their group if he wanted to but he decided on his own to stay in his original group! I was SO proud of him. Moments like those are amazing to witness as a mom. I could have given him the easy way out and kept him comfortable but sometimes our babies need a little nudge out of the nest. There are so many times in life that require us to step out of our comfort zones and I was thankful for his first big lesson in this area and the confidence he recieved from it. It was a huge blessing to me to witness his success. Not to mention, he learned a ton while he was there and got a better grasp on how big his God is! A big week of growth, emotionally and spiritually.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Town-town Tes Moines

That's what Dawson calls Downtown Des Moines. We go to these waterways to play a couple times every summer and its the best spot ever--as long as you have a bucket for every kid. Otherwise there will be non-stop fighting. I've learned my lesson and this time I brought enough buckets for my boys, my two nieces and an extra in case a strange kid showed up to steal one (which usually happens). My sister Claire got to meet us down there since she's working at the Starbucks on this block (Woo-hoo! Free drinks! I told her this is the best sister perk since Bethany worked at J.Crew! I mean...no, of course she never abused her employee priviliges and let her sisters buy stuff with her discount. Who would do such a thing?)
 Quinn and Piper brought their mermaid barbies, which they named, Jessica and Darlene. Naturally.

They were probably telling each other jokes about some bodily function but they sure looked adorable doing it: 

Flashback to the downtown waterways in 2010 and from my sister's POV.