Friday, December 31, 2010

2010

Avery has grown and matured a lot this year. She has reached the ripe old age of 4 and has decided that she likes it and doesn't want to get any older yet. Her birthday is in February so I have been asking her what she wants to do for her 5th birthday party, but she says that she doesn't want to be five!

In her old age (!) she has become more aware of her physical limitations, but seems to have absolutely no doubt (for better or worse) that she will be able to do everything she wants to do when she grows up. She knows where her shunt is and that she needs to keep magnets away from it, but last time we went to see her neurosurgeon (October), she was trying to convince us that the doctor had to look at Brogan's shunt first. She wouldn't believe me that he didn't have one too. She still doesn't like to tell us if she has headaches, but she is getting better at telling us where it hurts when she's hurting. Most of the time at home she uses the bathroom all by herself, and sometimes I don't even know about it until she comes and finds me to tell me that she just used the potty and washed her hands all by herself! She also uses the bathroom all by herself at school (they have child-sized one), and she even started using the toilet at church all by herself a couple of months ago, which actually amazes and baffles me because it's a full size toilet with no potty seat.

She has grown a lot this year in confidence, and will strike up conversations and initiate play with other children when we're out in public. She has become a little mommy, as most oldest girls seem to be, and I often have to remind her that I am Brogan's mommy, not her, although she likes to argue with me about that! She adores Oliver and loves to talk to him in the soft, high pitched tone that grownups use with babies as she explains the world to him. She likes to teach both of her brothers and cheers for them when they achieve something new. She and Brogan have their daily little spats and disagreements, but they do love each other very much, and when another little boy hit Brogan at the Christmas party a few weeks ago, Avery spent the next 3 or 4 minutes telling him off and defending her brother.

Avery has made a lot of progress in her reading and writing. Most of her artwork these days is signed with the phrase "Avery loves Mom [and] Dad" :) She is using upper and lower case letters, and reads almost all of the sight words. She is excited to be able to read books by herself (which she says she be able to do when she is 5) and recently she's been saying "I'm going to read this book in my head by myself" Her penmanship in general has improved so much!! At the beginning of the year her pictures of people consisted of two dot eyes with a dot for the nose and another for the mouth, and maybe a rough circle around the face. Now eyes have irises and pupils, noses have nostrils, ears have ear canals, and more and more details are added all the time. She can draw squares, rectangles, circles and triangles. She can write all of her numbers, although 5s are still a little frustrating for her, and her 8s looks sort of funny :)

More and more, she is her Daddy's daughter when is comes to food! With her CP, she is much more prone to constipation than most of us, so we talk to her about the importance of eating lots of healthy, fibre-rich foods. Just this week I was eating a marshmallow snowman, and when I asked her if she wanted some she said "No, it's not healthy." That being said, she does love chocolate. She's also grown to appreciate other sweet things, like fruit rollups and fruit snacks, which she never liked before. Also, string cheese is currently one of her favourite snacks. In fact, it would probably be her choice almost every time. This may be partly because she can open the fridge, open the drawer, pull out a string cheese and open the package all by herself. She loves to be independent! She used to hate string cheese... :) She is getting much better about trying new foods, and most of the time she will at least try something before she decides she doesn't like it :)

She is happy and funny and an absolute joy to have around. She's started telling 'knock knock' jokes, and while they don't always make sense, they're always hilarious, and even if they're not she makes me laugh by rolling around in hysterics over her own silly joke! She loves to laugh, and she also has the funniest fake laugh I've ever seen! She loves to dance, she loves to do artwork, and she loves to play games with her Daddy, who is always coming up with the most fun games which are also good for her and/or educational. She loves talking about getting married, and often "marries" Gabe, Brogan and/or me, because "we love each other" :) Getting married usually involves castles and balls and crowns and dancing :) She still says that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up.



Brogan is quite the bundle of energy! He is defiant, boisterous, affectionate, enthusiastic, and absolutely determined. He lives his life with passion. When he likes something, he loves it, when he dislikes something, he loathes it! When he is happy, his joy is contagious, when he is sad he is absolutely heartbroken. He loves cars, trains, juice, chocolate, bugs, bare feet, glitter, playing in water, running, jumping, children, hugs, kisses, chasing, racing. Did I mention trains and cars?? His favourite movies/shows are Cars, Toy Story (all of them, but especially 3 since we just got it for Christmas), and Thomas and Friends. His vocabulary is improving. He hates having his hair washed, teeth brushed, face cleaned, and nails cut. He likes to run when you tell him to stop. He likes to "shoot" us with his finger, and then revive us with a kiss :) He is just about done with his day time nap, although some days he still collapses at 4 or 5pm and we have to fight to keep him up to bed time. He is still the world's worst sleeper, waking up at least once a night, usually twice, sometimes three times. He no longer suffers from night terrors, although they did last longer than Avery's - Avery stopped having them when she was about 12 months old, Brogan had them until 18 months or so.

Sometimes when I'm trying to get out the door in the morning to get Avery onto the school bus, Brogan runs to bar the door because he doesn't want Avery to leave. He loves her, but still hasn't quite figured out how to be gentle with his affection. When he tries to hug her Avery usually thinks he's trying to wrestle with her! He pronounces Avery "Waywee". He calls himself "Bogin" and he says "Hi" to every single person we see :) He introduces himself to random people by thumping his chest and announcing, " Ah Bogin". He usually then proceeds with "Ah Mom ah Waywee. Ah Dad ah beebee" which means something along the lines of "This is my Mom and Avery, and this is my Daddy and this is my baby." He is starting to say Oliver's name now too, and it is pronounced "Owah". Most of the time, though, he still refers to him as "beebee".

As I already mentioned, Brogan is very affectionate. He loves babies, and when he sees one he crouches down and calls them "Cooooot!" with a big smile on his face! He needs me to give him about a billion hugs a day (Mom? Mommy??? Hug!!) When he hurts himself, he usually feels better as soon as I've kissed him where it hurt :) He loves Avery too, but sometimes he'll stand and watch her playing for a while, then walk over, clip her on the head for no reason and then run away. Sometimes in the middle of the night when he wakes up, he needs lots and lots of big hugs :) And when I put him to bed in the evening he points to all the different places where he wants me to kiss him (Eyes, ears, cheeks, etc) before I'm allowed to leave :)



This time last year we had only just found out that I was pregnant, and now Oliver is already more than a quarter of the way through his first year of life! He remains the most sweet natured little boy I've ever known! He is so content and calm. Yes, he cries sometimes, but only when he's hungry or lonely. He is generally happy so long as he can see me, so I keep a nice soft pad up on the floor in the dining room so that when I'm working in the kitchen he can lie there and watch me, and that is all he needs to be happy! He keeps a close eye on me while I work, and every time I look at him he smiles or laughs :) Of all my children, he seems to really appreciate the beauty of being comfortable and warm in bed. Every time I put him in bed, he seems to be so happy as I wrap him up in his nice warm blanket and put his pacifier in his mouth. I can almost see him thinking "Ahhhh yes, this feels goooood!", and it makes me wish someone would do that for me too :) I've always thought that naps are wasted on little ones since they don't appreciate what a beautiful thing a nap is, but Oliver loves sleeping! He's had two or three nights when he's slept for 9 hours straight, but most of the time he sleeps from about 7pm-1 or 2am, and then til 3 or 4am, then sleeps til 7 or 8am. And he is so sweet, he just wakes up because he's hungry, so I feed him, change his diaper and put him back in bed, and he goes straight back to sleep, easy as pie :) He is big enough to enjoy his little exersaucer for 5 or 10 minutes at a time, and is starting to grab at toys and things that look interesting. Sometimes now when I get him out of bed, he wraps his little arms half way around my neck as I carry him downstairs and it makes me melt. He has the softest, most kissable cheeks ever and sometimes when I start kissing them I justcan't stop! He loves it when we sing to him - his face just lights up and he watches and listens joyfully. He is ticklish almost everywhere, and it is super easy to make him laugh (unless he's tired and wants to go to bed, of course). In the past week or too he has started getting upset if someone he doesn't know holds him. He examines their face, realises it's not me or Gabe, and bursts into tears! But he calms right back down again when I take him back :) Makes me feel loved, that's for sure :D

And thus ends the hardest post to write every year! Well, no, it's not difficult to write because I could talk about my children all day, it's difficult to post because I don't feel as if I've finished. How could I feel as if I've finished when there's so much more that is amazing about each one of them?? But this will have to do.

Happy New Year to all of you! Here's to an excellent 2011, may all the surprises it contains be good ones :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Day!

Brogan wandered into our room at about 6am and lay quietly in our bed for about 2 seconds. Avery had had a bad dream during the night so she was sleeping on a pad on our floor, and when Brogan started making noise she woke up and said "Brogan!! You're waking me up! I need to sleep!" Then I asked her what day it was, and her tone of voice changed completely as she whispered "Christmas!!!" Then she found her "stocking" (I couldn't find them, so we used pillowcases!) filled with presents at the end of her bed, and she didn't mind so much being awake :)
We opened all our stockings in our bed, as tradition dictates :)
Then we went downstairs and ate our delicious breakfast :) And yes, both Avery and Brogan chose Froot Loops...what is is about bright colours that makes children think it tastes better? :)

After breakfast it was time to open the "tree" presents :) The first thing Brogan opened was a package of cars from his Grandma...and that was all he needed :)

Avery got down to serious present opening business :)
Brogan played with his cars :)
Oliver opened his present...

Brogan played with his cars :)
Every now and then we tried to get him to open his other presents, but he just wasn't interested :) The only ones he wanted to open were all the other cars that Santa had put under the tree :)
But then.....we pulled out the big guns....

I love how at first he was worried about Thomas running over the precious cars :)

My favourite part of this one is when he watches Thomas turn and notices that he's facing another car, so he runs over, rescues the car, and hides behind Daddy :D

Time for some marching...

Brogan got a train whistle from Santa too
Avery opening her beautiful blanket from Grandma :) After she admired it, she sighed and said, "...but I'm not big enough for knitting..."

We got Avery a Super Why board game. They both love super why, and I like it because it actually teaches them something. I think it's the reason that Brogan recognised and said several letters of the alphabet before he could even say more than a few words...!

Brogan's frog blanket :)

Then there was a noise downstairs......
This train set was a HIT!!! Especially with Brogan! He was pretty much physically attached to it for the rest of the day! Well, for the next several days..and nights!

The post-present opening chaos in the front room :) hehe
Oliver trying out Brogan's frog blanket...soft and cozy :)
Oh, the cuteness :)
We had woken up to a wonderful unexpected White Christmas (it wasn't supposed to snow until the afternoon), so after a lot of playing with the new toys, and talking to Grandma, Aunt Evey and Uncle Naeem on the phone for a couple of minutes, Avery was ready to go and play in the snow in her new snow bib!
Only Gabe and Avery know what this... creation is, but Avery named it Frosty :)



Snow angel
And where was Brogan during all of this outside fun???
...why, playing with the train track, of course!!!
(Me looking in through the family room window)

The excitement soon became just too much and the little ones were exhausted! So we calmed things down a little and watched Toy Story 3 (a present from Santa) while we waited for dinner to finish cooking.

Brogan couldn't part with his beloved new train even to watch the movie, so he snuggled up with it :)
Then, it was dinner time!
We had planned to get together with some dear friends for Christmas dinner, but they had to cancel because most of them had come down with a horrible stomach bug (We're glad you're feeling better, Doroughs!), so if that ham looks like it enormous for our little family, that's because it is!

The excitement was all overwhelming for my sweet boy - it was hilarious to watch him falling asleep as he ate his garlic bread!
After dinner the children tried out their new bath toys (whistles, drum and xylophone -very fun!) and got changed into fresh pajamas. Then Brogan played with the trains some more (surprise surprise!)
...while Daddy introduced Avery to the Wii!
All in all it was a pretty perfect day! Although poor Brogan's heart almost broke when he had to part with the train track for the night, even though both Thomas and the new Leap Frog train went to bed with him! Avery said it was the best Christmas EVER!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

One!

Christmas Eve!
The little ones at our house each got to open their Christmas Eve present tonight - New PJs!

I tried to pick just one of these photos to post, but I couldn't....

...I just liked all of them :)

Avery loved the candy canes on hers, and Brogan loved his new Thomas PJs so much that when I changed his diaper before bed he cried and cried and begged me to put his Thomas pants back on!!

After sitting for photos, the next thing to do was obviously a few laps around the front room :)
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By the time Daddy got home from work, the children had already brushed their teeth and washed their hands and were all ready for bed. So we read the story of Christ's birth in Luke, The Night Before Christmas and then Jingle Bell-ed to bed :)

Merry Christmas!!
I'm so excited :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Two!

Visiting Santa
...and a Christmas Shiner....

Santa came to the the history museum in Roanoke this week, and we went to see him! When we got there he was already busy telling stories and singing songs to all the children. When Avery saw him, she froze, her eyes widened and a big smile spread across her face! Then she whispered "It's Santa!" in amazement! She was wearing her santa hat, but when I suggested that we try to get a bit closer, she said "But I don't want Santa to see me because he might think I look silly with my hat...", so I suggested she take it off, and she said "Yes, so he can see my pretty hair!"

When it was finally our turn to sit with Santa, Avery walked up and, without even saying hello, started with "I want a soccer ball, and a baseball" and continued with a list of different balls as we were helping her sit down :)

Santa was very sweet and jolly, and he listened to everything that Avery had to say, and didn't seem to be offended that Brogan felt that there were more interesting things to do than to sit with Santa and have his photo taken :(



Avery really liked this old dolls house. It was very detailed, the paned windows even opened and closed! (Not that we would know that because we didn't touch it, of course...!)
Santa's helper gave out mini candy canes to all the children, and Brogan "shared" his with a couple of the moving polar bears...

Brogan did this to his eye yesterday. His first black eye, and it was self-inflicted. Well, the play table did it to him when he fell off the couch onto it.....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Three!

Family Photos
All of us :)

My beautiful girl

Cheeky Brogan

Sweet Oliver

He's an angel.
What can I say?
These are the four people in the world who I love more than I could ever have thought possible!
And they're cute to boot :)