Thursday, December 31, 2009

First Word

Photo courtesy of Guest Blogger


I thought he'd been trying to say it. But today I am SURE he said it.

"All done."

Except that it sounded more like "A-da."

But I know he meant All Done because the word was accompanied with the hand motion/sign for All Done and he gave me a BIG smile when I repeated it back to him.

Never mind that he was All Done with his Lucky Charms. I know! I came home from the gym to discover that he was feeding himself, which is great. I thought he was feeding himself his organic spinach puffs. But upon closer inspection, I discovered that he was feeding himself Lucky Charms, given to him by my husband. When I questioned him about giving the child sugary cereal, he defended his decision by telling me that he didn't give the baby any of the charms.

Oh, ok.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And a partridge in a pear tree . . .



Or, as the song goes for us:

And a hawk on a telephone wire . . .

WARNING: icky carcass photo below. Read with caution.

Lots of excitement here on Christmas Eve morning! There was a hawk outside (who knew there would be a hawk in such an urban environment?!) who killed its prey and was sitting on a telephone pole eating its catch! This was most exciting, especially for my boys. It was like a National Geographic episode right outside in our alley!

I went out to investigate and thought it looked like Mr. Hawk was devouring a squirrel. And sure enough, he was! How do I know for sure? Because my neighbor, God bless her, was taking out her garbage and didn't know that Mr. Hawk was enjoying a meal about 10 feet overhead. She deposited her trash and turned around to go back inside and Mr. Hawk dropped the squirrel carcass and it landed just inches from my neighbor. Thankfully, the carcass landed on the ground and not on my neighbor!

The carcass, although icky, was also kind of cool. I won't go into details, for obvious reasons.


The best thing about this? I think Mr. Hawk ate the squirrel that lives in our yard and torments Emma mercilessly. The same squirrel who eats our jack-o-lanterns. The same squirrel who kept stealing my tomatoes from the vine. The same squirrel who chewed holes in our trash can lids and would scare the crap out of me when he'd pop out of the lid and leap over my head. The same squirrel who chewed holes in our trampoline cover.

A very nice Christmas present for the Langans, to be rid of pesky Mr. Squirrel.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas, Continued

Christmas was a blast, we had tons of friends, family, fun and food. We had 21 people here for Christmas Eve and 17 of them (including the 7 Langans) spent the night. Christmas morning was C-R-A-Z-Y with 5 kids and 2 babies but everyone had a superdy-duper fun time.

I always get the kids matching Christmas jammies. They open them on Christmas Eve before going to bed. Unfortunately, I did not get any photos of the kids all together in their matching jams. This photo was taken right after the boys woke up on Christmas morning (see how tired they look?) They are sitting in front of the heater, waiting for all the grandparents to come downstairs to begin opening gifts.


My 8 year old with her baby brother. (No matching jammies for him, they didn't come in infant sizes. However, he is wearing Baby's First Christmas jammies.) He still has an orange glow to his skin from all those sweet potatoes!


All the kids are waiting for the cue to run to the tree to begin opening gifts. Notice how my son is literally holding back my nephew!


My niece, Maeve (rhymes with wave) on Christmas morning. The babies were enjoying laying on the floor, holding hands and waving at each other.


My 6 year old with one of his favorite gifts: a Star Wars Lego of some kind.


My oldest, wearing every gift of clothing that she received.


Some Christmas-love between me and my 4 year old. I'm wearing jingle bell earrings that were given to me by my 8 year old daughter.


I'm not sure when this photo was taken but I thought it was a great photo because the lights are sort of blurred behind my daughter. She took this photo of herself, by spinning around in a circle while taking the photo. (I got a new camera for Christmas -- this photo was taken with the new camera -- and I need to figure out how to use it. Once I get it figured out, I should have some great photos to post. Hopefully. I'm not sure if I have an eye for photography or not.)


My nephew, Liam, on Christmas night. He looks absolutely exhausted and I love that he has food smeared on his face as well as on his sweater.

Monday, December 28, 2009

O Come All Ye Faithful

Our church held a Christmas Pageant on Christmas Eve and my four oldest children participated.

My 4 year old as a Wise Man. He's the one on the right. He kept insisting that he was a KING, NOT a Wise Man because, "Did you see that I was wearing GOLD, mom? GOLD! Gold is for kings!"


My 6 year old son and 8 year old daughter as Joseph & Mary:


My oldest, the angel:




Mary and the Wise Man.


Joseph:


All four kids together after the pageant:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowy Saturday

With so much snow, what's a kid to do?



Bake cookies!
Play in the snow!
Go swimming?



Yep, swimming. Our pool has been empty since before the baby was born (it needed a new liner) so my husband spent the day installing the liner and filling the pool. The good thing is that the kids had a blast using it the pool as a slip 'n slide (until the water level rose too much) but the bad news was that we had no hot water for most of the day. (I was not too happy about this when I came home from the gym soaked with sweat and found out that I had to take a cold shower!)

A snowy Saturday leads to a shoveling Sunday. Now the digging out begins. No need for the gym today because there's hours worth of shoveling just outside my door!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Stats Are In

I had the baby to the pediatrician today for his 6 month well-visit.

Height: 27.5 inches
Weight: 17 pounds

Contrast this with my oldest daughter on her 1st birthday:

Height: 28.5 inches
Weight: 17.5 pounds

Yep, he's almost as big at 6 months as she was at 12 months.

We have tall genes and small genes on both sides of the family. I guess my oldest daughter got the small genes and my youngest son got the tall ones.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tree Farm

All photos courtesy of Guest Blogger

Self portrait by Guest Blogger


We went to the tree farm yesterday to get our Christmas tree. The ground was covered in snow so there was a festive feeling of Christmas in the air. The ground was fairly muddy in spots, but that just added to the fun (and the laundry). The farm is huge with rolling hills and acres and acres of trees. The West Chester Railroad Santa Express passes by the farm so it adds to the fun to see the old fashioned train go by and hear the toot-toot of the whistle.





My 4 year old loves to help his daddy with any manly task: drills, screwdrivers, sanding, painting, plumbing, etc. The Christmas tree was no exception; he helped to cut it down.

Really, my 4 year old LOVES helping. If a toy runs out of batteries, he goes to the basement, opens my husband's tool chest, chooses the appropriate screwdriver and replaces the batteries. And THEN he returns the screwdriver to the toolbox!

He watches Spice Up My Kitchen with me because he likes when the host works on the kitchen's plumbing and electrical. In the older episodes, they show how to cut and solder pipes and run electrical. However, the more recent episodes do not show these details (because really, most people watching the show are probably women who are really just interested in the cabinets and countertops). But my son noticed and asked why they don't show the "man working" and I explained that it's just not very interesting to most people and he said, "Well it is interesting to me!"

I am envisioning him cutting down the tree solo by the time he's 12.



First Christmas tree experience!


My 6 year old is turning into a mini man -- pulling the trolley with the tree!


The (almost) finished product:


I think Guest Blogger has a knack for getting the boys to look like they are enjoying their photo session.


Self portrait in front of the tree (although you can't really tell that the tree is in the background):

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Follow Yonder Star

My husband dressed as a Wise Man, following yonder star (or yonder float, as the case may be):


Last night was our town's annual Christmas Parade. My husband (Wise Man) and four oldest kids (3 shepherds, 1 sheep) were part of the parade. A dear friend of mine offered to come and sit at our house while the baby slept so that I could go to the parade and see the fam. (Thank you, thank you, thank you, EC!!!)

The float:


Unfortunately, I did not get many pictures. First of all, one the shepherds forgot her glasses so I had to run alongside the float in order to pass her glasses to her. Secondly, the parade was moving so quickly that I could barely get a photo of the float and could not even get my husband to stop and pose for a picture.

But a great time was had by all. The weather was perfect and so was the company. And to be out past 7pm without a baby (for the first time since he was born!) was refreshing.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Weigh More, Not Less



You may have to click on the above photo (to enlarge) to understand what this post is about.

My oldest daughter is a petite little thing and used to visit a nutritionist to help her gain weight. She drinks whole milk (with heavy whipping cream added to it) and eats anything that is packed with calories: peanut butter, sour cream, avocados, etc. Unlike most of America, she thinks the goal in life is to GAIN weight and cannot understand why I am excited when I lose weight (baby weight, ugh).

Anyway, her favorite cereal is Special K (I know, seriously! This kid LIKES healthy foods!) I cracked up when I was putting the box away this morning and saw that she took it upon herself to edit the text on the back of the box to reflect that one should weigh more, not less.

Oh to live in such a world.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quiet Owl



My 4 year old had a Native American celebration last week at school. His Native American name is Quiet Owl. I guess that says something about his nature, especially when you consider that his older brother was named Wild Cheetah.

My other reason for posting these pictures is to show you our new(ish) kitchen. My husband refinished the floors this weekend and then we painted the walls.



Here's a picture of the kitchen before we refreshed it:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

First Haircut



I know it might seem a bit early to be cutting his hair, but I have a thing about straggly baby hair. I don't mind if other people's kids have straggly hair; I just get tired of looking at my own kid's straggly hair day in/day out.

As I was trying to take his picture, he kept getting inundated with love from his siblings and Emma. This poor kid never gets a minute to himself (except when he's asleep).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

J is for Jester



The letter of the week (in preschool) is J which is why my son is wearing a jester hat.

As I sat in the car today (with a sick kid and a sleeping baby whist another kid was in the dentist's chair), bored out of my mind, kicking myself for leaving my reading materials at home even though I had them in my hand when I was walking out the door, I came up with an acrostic poem for JESTER that pretty much sums up my day/week/month.

J is for Jester
E is for Everyone is sick
S is for Strep
T is for Tired
E is for Ear infection
R is for Ready for the germs to go away

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Contract

My oldest daughter loves to hold and sing and coo at her baby brother. But when she's had enough, she's ready to hand him back to me. Except that sometimes I'm not ready to take him. Maybe I'm cooking dinner or checking email or ironing sheets. (Ha, threw that last one in there for laughs.) So I tell her to put him down. But she won't. She doesn't want him to cry. It's more than that -- she doesn't want to be the one responsible for causing him to cry (by putting him down). So we've developed a system: when she's ready, she hands him back to me and then I put him down. That way, if he starts to fuss, she doesn't fell guilty about being the one who put him down.

But during the summer (before the system was in place) she was very frustrated with me for not taking him and frustrated at herself for not putting him down. So she typed-up a contract and presented it to me. I was laughing so hard that I thought I might start to cry. I printed it out and put it in her baby book. I'm cutting/pasting it below. I'm not changing anything (except for the names). I'm including it, typos and all.

The contraket

If I hold [the baby] I have the right to give him back to you. On any a kason. If you are making breakfast, doing make- up or on Face Book chating, or E- mail or any thing eles.
When I say take [him] please take him.

From,

[daughter's name]


What do you think? Could she have a future as an attorney?

Monday, November 9, 2009

For Grampy



My dad was concerned that the Langans were becoming Eagles fans, so he bought this outfit to remind us that we should be rooting for the Steelers. (Personally, I always root for the Steelers.) The best thing about this outfit (besides being a Steeler outfit) is that it's the same color as sweet potatoes!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys, Part I



And I've got three of 'em.

And although I did not blog much during the summer (oh, you know, kinda busy changing diapers, nursing, cooking, doing laundry, all on about 2 hours worth of sleep) I tucked away some summer memories to share with you when I could think straight (i.e., getting regular sleep).

My boys. Ages 4 & 6. They were pretty much left to their own devices this summer. We didn't make it to the pool once; we didn't have many playdates; we didn't even venture out of the house unless it was into the yard. What's a boy to do? Well it turns out that a little bit of benign neglect is a good thing. (Check back for Part II on when benign neglect is a bad thing. But for now we will focus on the positive.)

My boys pretty much entertained themselves this summer. I don't think they minded being homebound. Afterall, they have a plethora of toys; a trampoline, a treehouse, bikes, baseballs, etc. Enough to keep them busy.

As busy as little ants.

They became fascinated with ants. My 6 year old spent lots of time examining anthills using a magnifying glass (and also just watching, sans magnifying glass.) He thought it would be great to have his own anthill so he attempted to gather ants and place them in his bellybutton so that he could have his own ant farm, 24/7. He was pretty successful at gathering but not-so-successful at getting the ants to stay in his bellybutton. He kept at it though, trying for about 20 minutes but those darn ants would just march right out of his bellybutton. So he came to me for help. I then had to explain to him that although his bellybutton seemed like a good home, the ants would prefer their anthill. He's very much interested in animal "habitats" so I explained that ants have their own habitat and they do not live inside bellybuttons and I explained that they need to gather food and store it in the anthill, etc.

(Tangent. Speaking of habitats. We went to the Baltimore Aquarium one day in August. [I know I just said we didn't go anywhere but this was the ONE day that we ventured out of the house.] My 6 year old was fascinated with the electric eel but was concerned that the habitat was too small for such a big eel. He was so concerned that it was keeping him awake at night. He kept trying to figure out if maybe the aquarium workers could move the eel to a different tank. So then he was worried that maybe the fish in the new tank would be enemies of the eel so I had to google eels and sharks and puffer fish to find out if they would be compatible and could possibly share a habitat. This went on for a couple weeks and then he seemed to lose interest. However, he asked me about the eel again YESTERDAY and wants to write a letter the aquarium about it! Except he asked me to write it since he is still learning his letters.)

Tangent over.

So after discovering that ants preferred anthills and not bellybuttons, my boys decided they would experiment with ant habitats. (I had no idea that they were doing this until afterwards.) They took some ants from the anthill in the front of house and deposited them into the anthill in the back of the house. And vice versa. They came to me later and told me this and I (probably) overreacted. I freaked out a little bit (sleep deprivation will make you do strange things) and told them that they can't move ants from one anthill to another, and that the original ants would attack the new ants, and how could they do this, and what if you separated a momma ant from her baby ants, and those poor baby ants looking for their momma who is probably dead now! They were looking at each other with raised eyebrows, as if they both knew I was crazy but maybe I didn't know myself.

It did cross my mind (at the time) that maybe I shouldn't worry about ants getting dumped into foreign anthills. There are far greater injustices in this world and the boys didn't realize that they were doing anything wrong by messing with mother nature. I'm gonna blame my reaction on hormones and lack of sleep. A new mom can get weepy over just about anything, including defenseless ants.

P.S. The picture of my 4 year old dressed as a hula dancer has nothing to do with this blog posting. I put it there because postings are always more interesting when accompanied by a photo.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

From Orange to Purple



Now that he has a tooth, he is not at all interested in baby food. He wants to chomp and mash food with his gums. It's been challenging trying to find food for him to eat that will satisfy his urge to chomp without choking him.

Frozen blueberries seem to be a hit. My fingers are stained purple from popping them into his mouth. I am sure his face will eventually get stained as well. (As you can see in the photo, his face is still very orange from the sweet potatoes.)

My baby is growing up!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Baby of the Family

When I had just four children, I worked really hard at not "babying" the youngest.  I think I did a pretty good job at not babying him.  He tries really hard to keep up with his older siblings and was thrilled to be a Big Brudder so that he wouldn't have to be the youngest anymore.

But now we have another baby.  And as hard as I try not to baby him, there are four older siblings who just love to baby him.  At the slightest whimper, one or more kids will run to his side to see what's wrong or what he needs.  Many-a-nap has been interrupted because he'll make a noise in his sleep and one of his siblings will immediately go into his room to get him up, thinking he's signaling that nap time is over.  (I'm really trying to get them to come to me first before just going in and getting him up from his nap.  Because when an 8 year old decides that nap time is over, it is usually not time for the nap to be over.)

I realized the other day that this kid (see, I'm not referring to him as The Baby) has not one, not two, but THREE vices.  How can a baby have a vice?  Well, he sucks his thumb, uses a pacifier AND uses a "lovey".  (Sometimes he tries to suck his thumb while using his pacifier, which is pretty funny to watch.)  I can't possibly have both items with me at all times (thankfully I don't have to worry about packing his thumb into the diaper bag).  So I'm trying to leave the pacifier and lovey in his crib so that he gets used to having those items at nap time and bedtime only.  BUT he has siblings who think it is so-very-cute to watch him cuddle his lovey.  So this lovey (who is affectionately called both Lamb Chop and Pork Chop, named by my older children) is rarely in the crib.  

If anyone reading this has ever had a child with an attachment to a toy or blanket, you know that it can be difficult to wash the item, let alone deal with the fall-out should said item get lost.  So I decided I must purchase a few more loveys. BUT the lovey he loves was given to us six years ago when my first son was born.  (And yes, it's been hanging around the house for six years but has never been loved so it was in good shape.)  Fortunately, the manufacturing tag was still on the lovey so I was able to locate the company that produces loveys by combing the internet.  And I managed to find two more loveys.  So now I have one in the crib at all times and have a back-up should we lose one or need throw the lovey into the washer.

And I promise, no matter what, to never throw away his lovey. Even if he shoves it under his bed when he is five and it gets caught in the vacuum cleaner and gets ripped to shreds. I solemnly swear to repair the lovey and not blame him for "putting it away" under his bed. Because a five year really does think that it's put away if she can't see it. And a five year does not know that her Be Bear (I called him Be Bear because "he be my bear) could get caught in the vacuum. And a five year old does not know that her mom would throw away her most prized possession. And a five year old turns into a 39 year old who has issues and thus buys multiple loveys should one of them caught in the vacuum cleaner.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Great Pumpkin Part II

An update on The Great Pumpkin. I thought for sure the gig would be up when he went into school and told his teacher that the seeds she gave him grew into pumpkins. But she didn't.

Whew. 

He told me the other day, "Mom. I is still waitin' on one punkin'. One of the seeds hasn't growed into a punkin' yet." 

There is no way I am going to locate that one seed and recreate the Great Pumpkin patch. I told him that sometimes seeds just don't grow. I was secretly patting myself on the back for finding all (but one) of his seedlings! It was especially difficult because it had rained a lot of leaves had started to fall so I really couldn't tell where he had planted his pumpkins. And who knows? Maybe the seeds will take root and he'll have pumpkins next year?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Great Wolf Lodge



Revisited.

Long time blog readers will recall our 2007 trip to GWL. (Also, my husband took the kids in January of this year -- a day trip. I didn't go because I was pregnant and unable to use the water slides.)

Everyone had fun, except for me. I think the highlight for me was getting a People Magazine and a cup of coffee at Starbucks. I am not joking. Remind me to NEVER plan an overnight again until the baby is at least 1 year old. Trying to share a room with 4 kids and a sleeping infant was not easy. The baby is used to sleeping in his own room, in his crib. It was not a good night's sleep for anyone for all of us to be in the same room.

Would you believe that there is not a diaper changing station ANYWHERE, at all, in the ENTIRE facility?! This is, afterall, a family resort. Babies are part of the family.

Secondly, you had to take the elevator if you were pushing a stroller. No ramps to get from place to place. The elevators were REALLY slow and crowded and it seems that no one took the stairs. Why people would choose to wait 3-5 minutes for an elevator when they could take the stairs in about 30 seconds is beyond me. So I was stuck trying to maneuver the stroller on/off a crowded elevator. Continually.

It's not like I can take a baby into the waterpark. I mean, I COULD. But why? So I didn't even get into my bathing suit. I spent the whole time either in the room OR (once we had checked out) trying to find a place to sit to feed him and change his diaper. Which brings me to my next point. They charge you an arm and a leg to get into the place. If you stay for one night, you get a 48 hour waterpark pass. This means that you can use the waterpark the day you arrive as well as the day you check out. SOUNDS like a good idea. But this means that for most of the day, people are sitting around the lobby either waiting for their room to be ready OR they check-out and sit around waiting for their kids to finish at the waterpark so they can go home. As a result, there is no where to sit because people literally sit in the same seat for HOURS. I know this because I had to try and find a seat to feed the baby. After circling like a vulture, I finally swooped down onto the couch in front of the fireplace. Only to lose my spot when I went in search of a diaper changing station (which was non-existent). After that, I had another 3 hours to kill so I ended up sitting on the hearth of the stone fireplace because it was the ONLY seat in the whole place. (And later I lost my hearth seat when I got my cup of coffee.) There are a gazillion rooms at GWL but not much common space and nothing else if you're not using the waterpark.

Back to the price goughing. $2.50 for ONE doughnut? Come on. $80 for dinner? You MUST be kidding. We learned our lesson the first time. (Our first trip was in 2006, before I was blogging. Of the four times we've been, it was our best trip. Minus the price gouging, of course.) Not to mention that all the food available is fattening and highly processed. (Unless you spend $20 on a salad for dinner.) Starbucks oatmeal was the healthiest thing available in all of GWL.

They ran out of towels. On a Tuesday afternoon. SURELY they are busier on weekends and should have the laundry-thing figured out by now.

You get the idea. I could keep going but I think that's enough negativity for one day. I'm going to file memories of this trip in the Note To Self part of my brain to remind myself:
a) Not to travel with an infant again. Ever.
b) Not to return to GWL unless they are giving away rooms.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

First Tooth

The baby got his first tooth yesterday!!! No pictures to post though, the tooth is so small that you can't really see it unless you pry his mouth open.

Lots of milestones! Within 24 hours he moved from the baby tub to the bath ring; got his first tooth; moved from the infant car seat to a rear-facing convertible car seat AND had his first mini vacation. More to come on the vacay.

Monday, November 2, 2009

First Big-Boy Bath



My little baby has outgrown the baby tub and had his first bath in the bath ring. When I put him in he started to cry but after about 10 seconds he was all grins. His siblings cheered him on and helped to bathe him. The little guy gets a lot of love and attention from his brothers and sisters.

I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture or not but his skin has an orange hue. He will only eat sweet potatoes. For a while he'd eat a variety of pureed baby foods but for about 3 weeks now he has refused anything that is not sweet potatoes. I try to be sneaky and add other foods to the potatoes but I have to add them in small quantities so that the overwhelming taste of his food is sweet potato. He eats about 12 - 16 ounces of sweet potatoes every day -- he really is turning orange!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween

A good time was had by all. Everyone was healthy enough to participate in the festivities (a party and then trick-or-treat).

First, the party. Dorothy & the cutest cow ever.

The cow costume has been worn by each one of my children so of course I was not going to buck the trend and dress the baby in anything else. The funny thing about this costume, however, is that ALL of my other children wore this costume when they were 18 months old (+/-) !!!!! My husband was getting the baby ready and said, "This is NEVER going to fit!!! No way! It fit everyone else when they were toddlers!" I told him to just TRY it . . . and guess what?! It fits. He is a big, big boy. For a Langan, that is. Oh, and the costume used to "Moo" when you'd press the nose but the moo hasn't worked in quite a few years.

Paging Doctor Langan:

She had planned to be a farmer but changed her mind about 15 minutes before leaving for the party. She borrowed the stethoscope from Mr. Phil and a pulled a face mask out of the basement, and viola.

Dorothy, this time with Toto (instead of with a cow):


The Clone Troopers (and their super hero friends). One trooper pooped out after about 30 minutes of trick-or-treating but the other kept going until almost 8pm. Lots and lots and lots of candy in our house this morning.


Speaking of candy. A couple of my kids came home with Nerd Ropes. I had never seen them (or tasted them) before but they are my new favorite candy!!!! They are similar to a necklace. The rope part is made of something sticky, kind of like Swedish Fish (another favorite candy) and then the sticky part is rolled in Nerds. So, so, so yummy. I am on a quest to buy more.

A couple of kids got these freakishly cool eye patches while trick-or-treating. Ghoulish, don't you think?



Now that Halloween is over, official Christmas preparations have begun! (And I'm counting the days until Thanksgiving, my favorite meal of the year.)