*Well, I thought it was about time to update on my three babies. And yes, I still refer to them all as 'baby'...and probably will forever! Little Caleb is not so little anymore. As you can see above, he is turning in to quite the chubbers. Love it. He fits right in with his brother and sister.
*Before he was born, Ethan and I talked about how it'd be fun if Caleb was more of a mix of us, and we definitely got that. He has dimples and blue eyes like Benjamin, and dark hair and a round face like Anna. Sometimes I see Caleb and I think he looks so much like Ben-Ben's baby pictures, and sometimes he will look just like Anna's. So fun getting to know him.
*We've been talking about nicknames for Caleb, and nothing really seems to work. I call him Caleb J. a lot, and Ethan occasionally does too. We also call him "little fatty" and "chubby McChubbs" on a pretty regular basis. Oh, and Ethan sometimes calls him "Clob," but I always tell him to stop. And he always tells me to stop when I call him "Jonesy". hehe. Other than that, no nicknames. (Anna and Ben-Ben both had/have lots of different things we call them...maybe it'll come with a little more time...you just can't force this kind of thing. :)
*He is definitely a more high maintenance baby than my other two, for obvious reasons. He is considered a "high risk" baby because of his Chronic Lung Disease. (That is what he was officially diagnosed with, leaving the hospital. But again, it is something he can grow out of with time...or it may "become" asthma.) He is seeing a pediatrician that I love, Dr. Cindy Anderson. He still has some breathing issues. He is getting enough oxygen, and his lungs look pretty good, but he just has to work hard to breath - retractions, wheezing, grunting, etc. Caleb's doctor recently put him on a 5 day course of steroids, and also breathing treatments given through a nebulizer a few times a day to be taken indefinitely. The steroids were ROUGH! The most common side affects are sleeplessness, upset stomach, increased appetite, and irritability. Seriously?! Yeah, poor Caleb (and poor me!) had those symptoms for sure, but we are done now, and he's getting back to normal. Caleb seems to like the mist of the breathing treatments, and often gets super smiley during that time. Oh, Dr. Anderson also recommends Caleb see a Pulmonary Pediatric Specialist, and the closest one is in Grand Rapids. So, we will be taking a little trip down state within the next month.
*We've been laying low since Caleb has been home. He's only been to Doctor appointments (of which he's had plenty!) and to Chuck and Melissa's house a handful of times, and no where else. We're very careful about washing hands and germs in general, because if he gets sick, it could turn into another bad lung infection and send him back to the hospital. So far, so good. Another challenging thing about the babers is, because of Caleb's breathing troubles and a tongue-tie, he takes FOREVER to eat. He eats about every three hours during the day, but it takes between 30 to 60 minutes to feed him. At this age, Anna and Benjamin could pound one down in 5-10 minutes. With the long feedings, the occasional fussiness (normal stuff, and side affects from various medications), giving breathing treatments, and with all of the doctor appointments, my mom has been such a lifesaver when she's available to help occupy Benjamin (and Anna too, when she's home from school). Ben-Ben and Anna are so lucky to have her for a Gramma....and, honestly, they've also been watching more movies than normal with all the busy-ness of the baby. We'll get back to normal soon, right?! I have had plenty of opportunities when I have all three to myself, and it's doable, but I am so blessed to have my mom around to help, and other family (my dad LOVES feeding Caleb bottles, which is super sweet, and very helpful...and just this past Sunday Melissa babysat Caleb so Ethan and I could go to church together). So, yes, such blessings and help which is very appreciated, especially with Ethan gone doing clinicals much of the time.
*Okay, just a few more things about Caleb. He does not like to be swaddled. Crazy! We were big in to swaddling with the other two, but Caleb is just not in to it. He's also pretty hit and miss with a binky. It's interesting getting to know this new baby, and see what works and what doesn't with him. One good thing, something he shares in common with his two siblings, is that he is a great sleeper. Well, he could use some improvement during the day...he's a little sporadic when the other two were a little more scheduled, but he is consistently a good, little sleeper at night. He goes longer between feedings at night, and sleeps soundly. Yay!
*I love this boy! I love these pictures that say so much about him. Ben-Ben is a happy guy, that loves to play and be silly. He also loves to cook, and even cracks eggs himself! And the last picture shows that Benjamin loves his big sister. I know I've said it many times before, but I love overhearing them play together, and observe all the creative, fun ideas they come up with together. My little Ben-Ben is turning in to such a sweetie. I think that the things that made him "harder" for us than Anna peaked around his second birthday, and it's just gotten easier and easier with Ben-Ben since then. I really wouldn't describe him as having the "terrible two's." He can be a little mischievous, and he is definitely stubborn at times. But, he is so much easier to talk to, and explain things to, so I think that helps him to avoid tantrums, and other "unfavorable" behavior that is often thought typical of two year olds. And it's just his sweet personality. :)
*I'm not saying he's perfect, but I've just been reflecting how easier he keeps getting. And, I know it's not just me...he's been getting positive feedback from other mom's at play groups/play dates, from his nursery leader, and from Ethan...who has a different perspective since he's gone for big chunks of time. hehe. We've especially noticed improvement during sacrament meeting. Before we moved here last July, Ben-Ben would hardly be in the meeting room at all. He was just too noisy, and would also run out on his own. Now, he still has trouble whispering and staying occupied for the full time, but his behavior has improved greatly. When we do occasionally need to take him out, we bring him to a room that we call the "time out room," so then he wants to be good so he can go back into the meeting. Oh, and downstate we were always late to church, so we wouldn't get there until about 30 minutes into the meeting (shame on us). For whatever reason, we are always on time now, so that means Ben-Ben is being pretty well behaved for the FULL hour and 10 minutes. Yay Benjamin! There is still room for improvement (could he just learn how to whisper already?!), but I'm so happy with the progress he's made. Okay, back to my main point . . . I, the completely biased mommy, :) think all of this is especially impressive because Ben-Ben has had a lot of major events happen in his life lately: Daddy gone on different schedules, new living arrangements, all the drama of my hospital stay and Caleb's birth, transitioning out of naps, a new time consuming baby brother with health issues (who he is so sweet to!)...and Benjamin is the type that thrives on routine and structure. So good job handling everything, Little Man! Even though his world has been pretty crazy lately, Benjamin Bear is still such a sweetness! Love him!
*Like I said, I really think that Ben's ability to communicate so well has really helped him in so many ways. I knew he just wanted to be understood! :) And boy, can he get his point across. Ben-Ben is such a good, little talker. I wrote down a sentence he said to Anna the other day. It's a long one, but that's not out of the ordinary for him....I just happened to take a second to write it down so I wouldn't forget. Anna and Ben were taking turns pushing each other around on a toy car. It was Anna's turn, and she said, "My turn, Ben." Benjamin replied, "I can't push you right now, Anna, because, because I have to put on hand 'satizer first." He's only two, people! And he says everything so clearly. The only word he didn't pronounce right was 'sanitizer', but he's since fixed it. I wish I had more time in the day to write down the impressive things he says. But, unfortunately, I don't. Sometimes when someone says something, Ben-Ben will ask, "What does _______ mean?" And then, sure enough, within the next day or so, you will hear Benjamin use that new word or phrase or idea correctly. Such. A. Smartie.
*Again, thanks to my sweet momma, Benjamin and I have had the chance to start going back to a few play dates, MOMs Club stuff, the library, and to just run errands together. We really stay in A LOT since Caleb has come home, but it's pretty unrealistic for a two year old to never go anywhere until the spring. I think he'd go crazy. Since Anna gets to go to school everyday, I try to arrange it with my mom so at least a few times a week, Ben-Ben and I get to go out for an hour or so. Thanks, mom! I love alone time with my little guy. It helps me appreciate him more, and recognize his strengths. And it's just fun! Also, sometimes in the evening, if everyone is just going crazy from being inside, either my mom or I will take Anna and Ben to the library, or the Dome, or to a place with a play area, and let them get out their energy, while the other stays home with the baby. WE CAN'T WAIT FOR SPRING!!! :) Even Benjamin is getting anxious for warm weather. When we were driving by the Lake the other day he said, "I like to play in the sand at the beach. Do you remember, momma? But it's too cold now." And he said the last sentence with a bit of melancholy in his voice. Too true.
*Anna loves her dance class. We were able to go to an open house they had, and I loved being able to watch her "perform." She listened and followed directions so well. And when there were a few moments of down time, Anna was always dancing around, and bowing to everyone. hehe. I overheard other parents mention how adorable she was. (They didn't know I was her mommy. :) I can't wait for her recital in the spring! Needless to say, Anna is super excited for it too. She's such a little performer. I really want to get her involved in some kind of theatre group next year. The world needs to see her. :)
*I feel like I don't have as much to write about Anna, but I'm not sure why. I guess, maybe it's because she goes to school everyday. I'm happy that she gets to go have fun, and learn great things, and make good friends, and play at school, but it also makes me a little sad that she's having all these experiences that I'm not a part of. And she's only gone for 3 1/2 hours everyday! Too bad I don't have the patience for homeschooling...maybe later. :) Tonight when I was tucking the kids in to bed, Anna told me, "Olivia, um, she's my friend at school, and we really like Hannah Montana." When I told her I thought that funny, she replied very seriously, "It's true. We're grown up girls, mom. And we're cool." Okay, I laughed out loud after she said that. And, just as I suspected, when I asked her who Hannah Montana was, she couldn't quite tell me. (I knew she'd never watched or listened to her at home.) I told her she was a singer, who was actually named Miley Cyrus, and maybe we could see if the library had a CD of her music, or a DVD of her singing. Is her music even appropriate for five year old girls!? :) And so it has begun...Anna is such an original, I hope she doesn't get sucked in to what everybody else likes "just because it's cool." Hannah Montana...psha!
*What else about my sweets? She is probably the best big sister any little brother could ask for. Anna has been great at occupying Benjamin lately, and thinking of fun things for them to pretend since I've been super busy with the bambino. Oh, a cute story. Yesterday after Anna got home from school, she was already bundled up, so we let her stay outside to play and explore for a while. We'd look out the window every so often to check on her. Well, she got stuck in the lilac tree/bush in my parent's front yard. Her foot was twisted between two branches and she couldn't get it out, and was laying in the snow. Anna told us that she said a prayer to Heavenly Father that He would help her, and that she wouldn't have to stay out all night, stuck in the tree. Precious! My mom saw her, after probably less than five minutes had passed, and she "rescued" Anna. I thought it was sweet how calm she was about all of it, and how much faith she had in Heavenly Father, AND that she thought the worst case scenario was that she'd be out all night long. As if we wouldn't notice she was gone until morning! That made me laugh out loud. What a sweetie!
*Okay, last thing about Anna. She is still obsessed with the Fancy Nancy books, and always wants to be super fancy. One of the Fancy Nancy books we recently checked out from the library was about poetry. Nancy was explaining that she likes to get inspiration for poetry by taking a nice, relaxing bath with candles, and bubbles, and soft music playing. Anna begged me to let her take a fancy, relaxing bath, and I told her she could on the weekend. Ethan actually helped her set it up, and she even wanted snacks! How adorable. I love that I have a little girl I can do all that fun stuff with. . . not that I took a bath with her, but nails and hair and all things "fancy."
Well, this post turned out so, incredibly lengthy. But how else am I supposed to remember all of this stuff about my kids?! (I already have a pretty bad memory...yikes!) And I needed to take some time to reflect on the positive...the last two days were a little rough. I am so blessed to be the mommy of my three sweet potatoes. It does get hard and overwhelming for me at times, but I love my kids, and I am lucky that they love me back, and stay so patient with me. Anna, Benjamin, Caleb . . . my sweet, precious hijos!