Saturday, February 25, 2012

Corinna's first night at the table

Corinna first night at the table by jbellis


Corinna enjoyed the noodles until I gave her a strawberry. Then that was all she would eat.

Fighting over the old-fashioned lawn mower

Monday, February 20, 2012

Three poops, five baths

I don't write much about poop anymore. Not because our younger two children poop less than the older ones, but because the older ones set the bar pretty high. Not that Corinna grabbing handfuls of her poop during a diaper change isn't entertaining, but we've already done that. (Besides, an impartial third party would probably say that me yelling for Rachel to come immobilize her hands to keep her from smearing it all over, while I finish cleaning the other end, is actually the most entertaining part of that.)

We start off this afternoon with Rachel handing me Corinna and lying down for a nap. Corinna decided that this was her cue to poop so hard that it came up her front all the way to her chest. No problem for an experienced dad. I start the bathwater, then disturb Rachel to get a new outfit. I've got the new diaper, the onesie, the pants, the towel, and I scrub Corinna off in the tub. When she's all clean I let her splash in the water for a minute. She looks up at me, grins, and lets fly again. I snatch her out of the water as the brown cloud spreads out.

Corinna gets her second bath in ten minutes, in the sink. I drain the bathtub and have Matthew clean it with Clorox wipes. He is not amused.

Fast forward to tonight. Isaac is bathed and has his night-time diaper on under his pajamas. I'm talking with Rachel and Christine in the family room. Isaac runs in and babbles something at me. It doesn't really register. He babbles again, urgently. I still don't understand what he's saying, but I look at him and see that his pants are missing. "Tu as fait caca?" [Did you poop?] Isaac nods and runs back to the bathroom. As he does I see a brown clod of poop stuck to his thigh. "Rachel," I announce, "this one's yours."

Rachel accepts that as fair, and follows our son. "It's all over!" she yells. "Oh, no! What did you do to the toilet!?"

It's a two-person job. So as I'm on my hands and knees cleaning up his tracks with Clorox wipes (indispensable in this household, I'm afraid), and Rachel has Isaac with his legs in the air in the bathtub, spraying him down with the shower attachment, she laughs and tells me, "Who would have thought that the fruit of our love would be so unromantic?"

I didn't mention that Isaac's first bath was due to having discovered Matthew's valentines day candy stash, and spreading flavored sugar from the dipping sticks all over his bed. The bed was green and so was the bathwater when I was done scrubbing. This was also the source of his third bath: poop cleaned up, we set to changing the sheets so we could bed him down for the night. Isaac enthusiastically wrapped himself in the blanket... which turned out to have the largest reservoir of sugar left in it.

Now it is quiet. Isaac usually fights bedtime tooth and nail but perhaps tonight he senses that mom and dad have had enough.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Odds and Ends in February

 Here is Melissa receiving her Pioneer Pride award at the special breakfast at the school.  That's my girl!

Getting some Little Big Planet in before Brian returned to Washington.

 Valentine's bouquet!  Gorgeous!

Isaac dilly-dallied and had exhausted his parent's patience at dinner time.  We told him he could eat or not, but dinner was coming to a close and there would be no dessert for boys who didn't eat.  Isaac wasn't still inclined to eat and just sat there glowering.  Melissa took pity on him and fed him bites of food.  "Here Isaac, eat.  It's tasty!  You don't want to miss dessert!"  Isaac liked the attention, ate, and got dessert.

He has a very nice sister.

  Jonathan at work.

Last Wednesday afternoon, I had one of those halcyon, perfect moments.  It started as I waited for Matthew and Melissa after school.  I watched them holding hands (not typical) and just laughing and joking happily as they walked down the sidewalk together.  (Usually Matthew will hold Melissa's hand to help her cross the street, but promptly discards it after crossing.) It gives me great hope that they will grow up to be friends and not rivals. 

Then when she got home, Melissa pushed Isaac on the ride-on toy all over the house to both of their amusement. 

Corinna got excited and joined in the fun.  She followed them all over the house and squealed and giggled whenever she "caught" them.

Then Melissa gave her a turn on the the toy.

Friday evening I went to the women's conference in Austin with President Julie Beck speaking.  She was very inspiring.  It was a wonderful way to end a great week.

 Aunt Christine is visiting us.  The kids saw her bouncing on the exercise ball and thought that looked like fun.  She is a good sport.

She said YES!

Brian is engaged!*

We get a new sister and aunt in June and we are so excited!

Isaac claimed her as part of the family right after he met her, so naturally they had to make it official. 

Here we are at Fogo de Chao, a delicious Brazilian steakhouse, with one of the servers who remembered Brian from last time and chatted him up in Portuguese.

Corinna liked the cheese bread. 
And the happy couple.

Congratulations!  We are so happy for you!

*He proposed just before he left to WA, so this post is a little late.

Little troublemaker

Mobile and into mischief.

Not only can she get from place to place (and quickly!), she's pulling herself up to standing and cruising the furniture now. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

This morning Matthew and Melissa were giddy with the prospect of Valentine's treats later at their class parties. 

I took Isaac to his classroom this morning which was festively decorated.  As soon as we got there he broke down in tears.  Ms. Diane told him about the cookies they would decorate and the party.  I gave him a big hug and kiss, smiled, told him to have a good time, and walked out. 

Then I teared up in the car.

I know he'll have a good time after he gets over the initial sadness. 

I will go to Matthew's party later this afternoon because he still wants me there (aww), and I was with Melissa's class for Christmas.  Also, there will be a chocolate fountain with fresh strawberries in his class.

First day of Preschool

IMAG0862 by jbellis
IMAG0862, a photo by jbellis on Flickr.

'Course we forgot the good camera in the car! Ms. Diane is showing Isaac the morning routine.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Although I started the ball rolling back in September, Isaac just began the special ed preschool on Thursday, the day following the ARD meeting (Admission Review Dismissal Meeting).  I confess, I am pretty nervous about him starting; he is still very little.  He is in a class with a speech therapist, an early childhood development teacher, and an assistant.  He will also participate in regular classes like PE and music.  The class size is very small.

The assessment team determined that Isaac qualified for the full 20 hours of preschool a week (4 hours a day) primarily due to the severity of his speech delay, but we are starting him at just 10 hours to ease him into the classroom setting and increasing the hours as long as he is happy and doing well.

I've had a lot of mixed feelings about all of this.  Ordinarily, I think 3 year-olds are too young to start a formal preschool, and they really can get all they need at home with their parents, playgroups, and outings.  I joined mother's preschool co-opts with Matthew and Melissa when they were 3 and we had a lot of fun doing that together. I will miss doing that with Isaac. 

Isaac, on the other hand, needs more specialize help than we know how to provide.  His inability to communicate has caused a lot of frustration and tantrums.  It is also holding him back socially and cognitively, I believe.  Speech therapy twice a week has helped, and he has made great strides, but he does need more.  When I talked with his private speech therapist, she wholeheartedly agreed with the school's recommendations. He will continue working with his private therapist twice a week.

Sooo, the first two days seemed to have gone very well.  His teacher reports that his is happy and is adjusting well.  When I leave him in the mornings he is a bit concerned, but no tears, and when I picked him up later, he is very happy to see me.  He also is just dying to ride the school buses that bring the later kids and tried to climb aboard.  I have to practically drag him away and promise him good things his coming later his way to divert his attention.  Perhaps he will ride them in the mornings, and then eventually afternoons, depending upon what transportation says the pick up time will be...

Ha!  And I was concerned about him being afraid of the buses!

I think, hope, and pray we made the right decision with this little guy.  He is different that his big siblings and the things he needs are different.  Right from the very start this small fellow has overturned our previous ideas, and rocked our world.  

Oh, how he tries our patience constantly, increases the love in our home, and, I believe, makes us better people. I love the little man fiercely, deeply, and passionately.

His three year old expressions of joy and affection melt all of our hearts.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Welcome Gabriella!

We have a new niece born today! 

David and Dielha are the proud parents of all 7 lbs 3 ozs of delightful baby girl!  She was born with the assistance of a midwife and doula, and mom and baby are doing well.  Can't wait to see pictures!  That will make 4 cousins born within 9 months of each other.  Family reunions will be so much fun.  Welcome, welcome little one! 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

family pictures 2012

A second call from the principal's office

I received a message on my phone from the school.  Oh. Crumb.  The vice principal said, "I have Melissa here in my office, Melissa can you tell your parents why you are here?"  Uh oh, I thought, not again!

"I got a pioneer pride award!" 


Here's the back story:  The week before she and a special-needs girl accidentally collided on the playground.  The other girl thought it was on purpose and took it personally.  She started scratching and attacking Melissa.  I received a call from the school nurse, Melissa was quite frightened, but not seriously injured.  That is the last I heard of it until, Melissa decided to befriend the girl.  She introduced her to her circle of friends, they played together, and Melissa was kind to her. The aid assigned to the other child noticed what was going on and nominated her for an award.  Melissa said it was a bit scary at first, but then she had fun.

That's my girl!  She has a big heart and is a friend to everyone. 

Uncle Brian

Uncle Brian has been in town the last month!  While here, we celebrated his birthday and have had fun hanging out together.  The kids think he is the greatest thing since PB&J.  Uncle Brian has a friend, Kirsti, with whom Isaac is quite taken.  By all indications, Brian is quite taken with her too!  We've enjoyed the opportunity to get to know her, and hopefully haven't scared her away with our nuttiness. 

Both of them watched the kids while Jonathan and I went to a concert one evening.  It was fabulous to be on a date again.  We've decided that we should do that more often.  Corinna, on the other hand, was in a full throttle meltdown towards the end of the evening so we'll have to see...  Uncle Brian took her for a drive to soothe her; he was a good sport about it all. 

Jonathan just got back from a trip to Belgium, and Brian stayed with us to help out while Jonathan was gone.  It was nice to have an extra set of hands.  I have to say, it is just fun to be with him.  We laugh at the same things and enjoy well-worn stories and games.  He has an impish, teasing personality that compliments mine, and I am very glad to have him as my brother and friend. 

 He will be leaving in a few days, and I will really miss him.