Friday, December 28, 2012

Update Time!

Now that the semester is over for school for me, it's been easy to catch up on other stuff, like reading some books I have been wanting to read, and of course catching up here! 

Connor and Merasia are turning 4 in a week and a half. It doesn't seem possible! I feel like we just celebrated their Elmo themed 3rd birthday yesterday! Birthday plans are all set and final preparations are in full swing! The plates, cups, and other supplies are here, waiting to be used. The cake is ordered, and the place we are doing the party is reserved. Invitations went out yesterday to their friends and teachers at daycare, and we already have quite the list of confirmed guests! I finished their birthday banner last night and I am SO excited for it! As sad as it makes me that they are turning another year older and growing up, I still get excited over birthday planning and thinking of their reactions on their special day. 

They are thriving at preschool and daycare. They are social butterflies and make friends so easily, which I love seeing in them because I never had that trait as a child or a teenager. Their language has taken off and they come up with something new every day. The other night Merasia said to me, "I have a vagina like you, mama!" It's cute, and of course I chuckled when she said it to me, but it also made me proud. We have worked hard at teaching Connor and Merasia the proper names of their body parts, even their sexual body parts. We feel very strongly that it's important they know proper names and not slang terms to identify private parts for the sake of conversation, and in the occurence that a friend or someone else was to try and touch them inappropriately, they will be able to tell that friend to stop, and tell a trusted adult. Opening up the doors of sexual communication very early on leads to very positive outcomes later, and of course that is what we want. Merasia is able to tell us her vagina or butt hurts, and that Connor, Mason, and daddy have a penis and her and mommy have a vagina. She is also able to explain that babies grow in a mommy's belly and are born from a mommy's vagina. Of course she doesn't have the understanding to understand further than that yet, as that comes with age and maturity, but she understands this much, and that's not anything to be ashamed against or keep from her. I was watching an episode of Dr. Phil a few weeks ago and it was all about talking to your children about sex. It mentioned that the time to start talking to them about sex or body parts with proper terms is from birth. I strongly believe in this and not talking about it or not letting the children bathe together because we are afraid of them seeing each other's body parts or even touching them out of curiosity only makes them grow up ashamed  of sexuality and their body parts and that only has disastrous results.

This photo was taken at daycare. They had just made cookies and were so cute and excited! Their teacher snapped this picture and emailed it to me. Love!

ANYWAY! Connor and Merasia are learning so much more about the world around them every day. They have full length conversations with us and with each other and listening to them or talking with them is just so much fun and interesting. They learn things all on their own and it amazes me!

Connor is a very, very big helper! He LOVES to help us cook dinner, especially when he sees daddy cooking. He just loves to help daddy with everything he can. We had a big snow storm yesterday and he was helping me shovel last night and clean off the cars, and was outside much longer than me, helping daddy finish up shoveling and snow clean up. 

Mason loves to wake Connor up in the morning, and while Merasia sometimes gets grumpy when she doesn't wake up on her own, Connor loves seeing his little brother next to his bed every morning. He smiles, rubs Mason's head or hand, kisses him, and says hi. It's so sweet! Mason definitely loves Connor, and loves playing with him and following him around. 

Merasia is a very good mommy helper too, in different ways. She is ALL about her babies. I think she's practicing for when the new baby is born, and I know she is going to be my biggest helper when that time finally comes! She helps with diaper changes with Mason and practices changing diapers on her dolls. She is a marvelous little mommy! Her and Connor often play house where one of them is the baby and one of them is the mommy or daddy, and I love listening to them do this because it's so sweet and funny to hear them say some of the same things I have said to them or Mason, and to see what they are going to come out with next. They have such creative little minds, and I always look forward to what they will say, do, ask, or play next. 

Through all of the good and funny moments though, there are challenges. Both Connor and Merasia have their own attitudes and are not afraid to express them from time to time. Of course they know better, but every child goes through that stage or has bad days and needs to test our limits.They definitely have moments of fighting with each other but those are getting better and time outs are getting easier as they listen and obey when we tell them to much more than they used to, and are very, very good at saying sorry to each other if they need to, or to me or Frank. They usually say sorry without us telling them to, which makes me proud.

Both Connor and Merasia LOVE to sing, dance, play house, cook, clean, bake, play with their dress up clothes and shoes, play with playdoh, build with blocks, help sort laundry, put laundry in the washer, switch it to the dryer, and put clean laundry in the hamper for me to fold, play with cars, play in the snow or do anything outside, watch movies (rarely!), go on outings with mommy and daddy, and so much more! They love Mason to death, and though they all fight over toys or other little things at times, or they beat each other up at other times, they love each other and I love that Frank and I are responsible for bringing them together as siblings and watching them grow up together and share the bond that they all have as sister and brothers.

Some of my favorite times of the night are when we are all home, dinner has been eaten, I'm cleaning up from dinner, and all 3 kids are playing, laughing, screaming, and rough-housing with daddy. I love the sound of their laughter and happiness filling up our home and they love their daddy so much, and it makes me so happy to see them so happy to be playing with him and just being with him.

Of course they feed and do just about everything else all by themselves, and drink from regular cups. They have drank from regular big girl and big boy cups since they were a year old or a little over a year old, but now with Mason here, they still drink more from their sippy cups than from a real big girl or big boy cup, just because Mason always wants a cup like them when he sees it, and he isn't as good yet at drinking from a real cup and not making a mess like they are. It's easier to avoid Mason's meltdowns or the fights if all 3 kids just have a sippy cup right now, at least when Mason is awake to see. ;) 

Mason amazes me every single day. He has developed a lot faster than the twins ever did, but that was due a lot to their ears and hearing issues they had at the time, whereas Mason doesn't have those issues, or at least not as bad as the twins did.

He says everything and anything! He will repeat everything someone says or does. He can count to 3, sing some songs he has learned at daycare or that he has heard on the radio or from his sister and brother, and is a big cuddle bug! Every morning I sit on the floor to change his diaper and get him dressed, and he always leans over to give me a hug and says "mama!" Every time myself or Frank walks through the door, he runs to us and gives us a big hug. Even if Frank just stepped outside for a few minutes and then comes back in, Mason acts like he hasn't seen us all day! He loves to give hugs and kisses to anyone and everyone, and loves to say "love you!" 

His favorite cartoon to watch is Mickey Mouse, and that's his favorite "friend." He can say Mickey, but he calls him "Nah-Nah." It's just his nickname for Mickey! He has lots of Mickey toys and clothes and gets so excited every time he sees Mickey anywhere. Sometimes when he is over tired or in a cranky mood, Mickey is the only thing that can make him happy again. He asks us for his Mickey's that he keeps in his crib and always kisses and hugs them. 

He knows the sounds that dogs, cat, cows, horses, monkey's, ducks, birds, and some other animals makes and will tell you if you ask him. He loves to act like a dog too, and crawl around with his tongue out, making dog noises. He is very good at telling everyone what he wants, by asking for his milk, a snack, or even a diaper if he needs one. He has been interested in the potty for a while now, and likes to ask us if he can use it and sit on it, even if he doesn't go. A Mickey Mouse potty is definitely on the list for his birthday in a couple of months! 

If he is not in the mood to be bothered by his brother or sister, he will yell at them or tell them to "go away." He is out of the biting stage, although he did bite Merasia one day a few weeks ago, because he got overly frustrated but it was the first time in many months and has not happened since, so it was just a time when he was too frustrated to do anything else. 

Mason is a very sensitive baby. He knows if he hurts someone and it makes him sad, so he will give hugs and say sorry to them. At night time he goes around to Connor, Merasia, and daddy and gives them each a hug and kiss, says night night and love you, and then follows me into his room and waits for me to put him in his crib and tuck him in for the night. 

He LOVES to eat and is not very picky with snacks or meals. He also LOVES his milk! His hair is finally getting long enough where it will need to be cut again. His hair grows SO fast so the last time we got it cut, we made sure they cut it a good deal shorter than in the past, so that it wouldn't be long again in a week or two. It worked, because it has been several months and it's just barely crawling into his eyes a tiny bit. I love when his hair gets long though because it gets curly in the back and SO cute! I won't be running to get it cut anytime soon, but in a month or two it will probably be due.

Mason LOVES LOVES LOVES to dance and sing! He will dance to just about anything and recently learned how to "shake his booty." We got this on video and it's the cutest thing! 

He also loves to play outside in any kind of weather, color, paint, ride his new tricycle Santa got for him, play and build with his blocks, read books, play with cars, and help clean and cook. 

He also understands that mommy will be having a baby soon, in his own way. He touches my belly and says "baby" and then touches his own belly and says the same thing, and even touches daddy's belly and says it too. He is SO funny and has the best sense of humor! He knows what to do to get a laugh out of people and is a little ham! 

Mason is our sweet, affectionate, loving, funny little guy, and I'm a little sad that soon, he won't be the baby of the house anymore. But, secretly, he will always be mommy's baby. ;)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas this year! Our Christmas celebrations started off on Christmas Eve when Frank's sister, her partner, and Frank's mom came to our home to give the kids their Christmas gifts. The kids were SO excited to see auntie and see what goodies she got for them!

Connor got a "computer" which is actually more like a kid's toy ipad that teaches various things, a Spider Man t shirt that talks, and a bulldozer toy that makes various noises from auntie, and a cool remote controlled truck from grandma Cindy. Merasia got a Barbie "computer" which is just like her brother's, it's like a kid's toy ipad, and she LOVES LOVES LOVES it! She has been asking for a computer since after I went shopping for her and I told her maybe Santa would bring her one, so thankfully she finally got it! She also got a shirt and legging set, and a pretty black dress from auntie, and a barbie from grandma Cindy. Mason got his first tool box with tools included, and a Mickey Mouse outfit from auntie, and a cool car from grandma Cindy. As soon as Mason opened his Mickey Mouse outfit, he pointed to Mickey and said "Nah-Nah!" That's his nickname for Mickey, and it's the cutest thing EVER!! They were very happy with their goodies!

Mommy and daddy got spoiled with a beautiful brand new comforter set for our bed which we put on that night and is OH SO COZY! ;-)

Later that night before we went to bed, Connor and Merasia left out some cookies and milk for Santa, and each of them left him a little note too. 

They were so proud of their notes! Merasia said hers said "Santa, eat these cookies and eat the milk and leave presents." Connor said his note said, "Santa, eat these cookies in my house and drink milk." Their imaginations are adorable! 

Imagine their surprise the next morning when they saw that the cookies had been eaten and the milk was gone...and that Santa even left them a note back!

When we got the kids in bed, hubs and I set out all of the presents under the tree. Or, rather, we helped Santa do it... ;)

We were just as excited to wake up the next morning as the kids were! We set our alarm for 6 a.m. and got up to have some coffee and wake up by ourselves for a few minutes. Around 6:30 we woke Mason up and took him into Connor and Merasia's room to wake them up, because we wanted to have all 3 kids come out together and see all of the presents, and I wanted to get pictures of them first coming out and seeing everything. 

It didn't take them long to realize what was going on and wake up! Merasia instantly saw the Dora wrapping paper and knew those presents were for her, and Connor knew the Spider Man wrapping paper was just for him! Mason saw his tricycle and ran right to it to try it out!

The kids had TONS and TONS of fun opening their gifts! Merasia was the first to start opening and the first to be done. She ripped through each one, got excited over everything, then set it to the side and went to grab a new gift. Connor took his time picking a gift to open but didn't take too long to open everything and get excited over it all. Mason was alllllll about his tricycle! At one point he even loaded a few wrapped gifts into the back and got on it to drive away, waving and saying "Byyyye!!" to us! We had to stop him and have him sit down to actually open his presents! 

Merasia got a bag of Princess hair supplies that consisted of a pretend curling iron, curlers, hair straightener, lip stick, perfume, hair brush, and blow dryer. She also got a beautiful Cinderella dress up dress, matching Cinderella dress up shoes, small "Dora and me" figurines, a Princess cash register, Princess roller skates with knee pads, Doc McStuffin's doctor kit and supplies, a new baby that crawls, moves, and talks to her (it even cries when you put it down sometimes!), a Cinderella doll, and in her stocking she got a small slinky, Princess sunglasses (her other ones broke a few days before Christmas!), Dora hair clips, and a plastic candy cane filled with M&M's. 

Connor got a John Deere tractor with a bucket on the end that he can really use in the sandbox this year but he looooves sleeping and playing with that thing right now! He also got an army car that actually flips around and climbs walls, a small Thomas the Train set building with two trains and a conductor, a tool box with a variety of tools, a playdoh "candy factory" set, another different Thomas the Train set with some legos to build around the train that was included, a "power drill" with goggles, Spider Man roller skates and knee pads, a BIG parking garage/race track with a few new match box cars, and in his stocking he also got a slinky, a small Spider Man figurine with a Spider Man car, and a plastic candy cane filled with M&M's.

Mason got his Cars tricycle, a Mickey Mouse stuffed animal, a cool big jeep/truck to push around and play with, his own doctor's kit, a "Little People" car wash/parking garage, a big bag of blocks, a mini tool set (I didn't know he was getting a tool box and tools the day before from auntie!), and in his stocking he got a small Mickey figurine with a car, a smaller Mickey and Goofy figurine set, a small slinky, and a plastic candy cane of M&M's. 

Everyone keeps asking us what their favorite gift was, but they don't have a favorite...they love EVERYTHING they got!!

The have been playing with everything since Christmas morning non stop!

Connor checking out his tools:

Merasia wanted her Cinderella dress and shoes on right away, and cradled her new baby. Then she asked me to open her Cinderella doll for her and asked her baby "You want to see your baby sister?" SO cute!

Goofy boys playing on Mason's tricycle together:

Trying out her roller skates with her new dress on from Auntie:

The boys testing out the parking garage/race track:

Giving Mickey kisses!

Trying out his roller skates:

Putting toys in the back of his tricycle and driving away!

LOVE this face!!:

These pictures are really out of order, but you get the idea! ;)

After presents were unwrapped and toys taken out of boxes and the mess cleaned up, it was time for monkey bread, a family tradition for Christmas morning breakfast!

One of my favorite memories of Chrismtas morning from living at home (with my adoptive family) is hearing "Blue Christmas" by Elvis blaring from downstairs at 5 in the morning, and the sounds of my mama bustling around making Monkey Bread. Eventually my sisters and I would get out of bed and head down, and there were all of the presents and goodies, and we'd sit around, opening gifts and munching on Monkey Bread and orange juice. I wanted to carry on this tradition with my children when I had them some day, and that is just what we have done every year that they have been with us. I want them to have special memories of holidays together, especially Christmas as it's truly one of the most special, family oriented holidays full of love and laughter and memories.

The rest of Christmas day was spent at home. The kids played and played, hubs started homemade beef stew in the crock pot for dinner that night, and I got some things done in the house. By that afternoon the Christmas decorations were down and packed away and the tree was un-decorated, taken down, and in the dumpster. I was ready to get my house and space back, and get back to "normal." I cleaned out Mason's closet in his room, re organized some things in there, and moved the glider out to the living room where the tree had been since that is where it will be when the baby is born in May or June. The next day when the kids were all at daycare, I did heavy duty cleaning and organizing in their room, and moved a few toys from the twin's room into Mason's room to clear up room in both areas. It has been a very productive few days!

Next up: Connor and Merasia's 4th birthday! Birthday invitations were handed out at daycare this morning, and they were sent home early due to the heavy snow storm we have today. 

Oh, and one more fun fact....I felt the baby kick my hand for the first time this afternoon! Well, he/she kicked and punched me, because I felt it at the same time with each hand at both sides of my stomach. I have been feeling this baby move on the inside for many weeks now, but this is the first time I have put my hand on my belly and been able to feel a kick or movement, so it's very exciting! I am in my 17th week, and greatly looking forward to meeting this little one!

How was your Christmas and family festivities? Feel free to share! I'd love to hear about them! :)