Saturday, November 8, 2014

Let's Get Talking

John had his first speech therapy session this past week, and it went great. His therapist is so sweet and he warmed up to her really fast. She was able to get him to purposefully make the "b" and "m" sounds (we still have to work on exactly how he uses his mouth to produce these sounds, but still!).

He has made the "m" sound before. But I had only ever heard it when he said "mama," and that only ever happened when he was upset (except this past Wednesday when he said "mama" when I asked and without being upset - miracle). He also said the "b" sound when he was about a year old to say "bye bye." But that only lasted a few weeks before the "b" sound disappeared from his speech entirely. Until Thursday when his speech therapist helped him make the sound again!

I'm so excited that John is able to receive this help. And for the extra guidance for Will and me for how we can help John learn to talk. We now know a little bit more about exactly what's wrong (most significantly, he doesn't have any fine motor control with his mouth - he's only making wide, sweeping motions to produce sounds which is similar to what a 6-9 month old would do). And we're learning ways to help him develop these fine motor skills.
Watch out, world! This little guy is going to be talking up a storm before you know it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Talker and His Brothers

For the sake of preservation I give you a post of conversations with Joseph, one conversation with John and some pictures thrown in for good measure.

While in a stand-off with John waiting for him to eat his broccoli I see Joseph encouraging him to eat his broccoli. I look away for about 60 seconds, look back and see all his broccoli gone. I ask Joseph, "did he eat his broccoli or did you eat his broccoli?" to which he responds "I help him." 

While playing in the back yard:
Joseph: I got four a dem!
Me: Four of what?
I look over and see he is picking up rabbit poop pellets.

During lunch one day:
Joseph: (to himself while on the floor picking up a noodle) Please sit up.
Joseph: (to himself while getting back on the chair) I will not please sit up.

Shortly after having me put a band-aid on his finger because it hurt (no idea why):
Me: Joseph, would you like some stickers?
Joseph: Well, I have a band aid, so I'll jus take da stickers.
Me: Ok. (hand him some stickers)
*60 seconds later after walking into the living room and back into the kitchen*
Joseph: Well, I have a band aid, so I don't need deese stickers.
Me: Ok, just put them on the counter if you don't want them.
*20 seconds later sulking into the living room*

Joseph: Well, I have a band aid, so I'm jus gonna way down.

The morning after Halloween:
Joseph: I want to pway wiff my bag.
Me: Ok, just let me take the candy out first.
Joseph: (as I'm putting all the candy in a bowl) Akshawe, I jus want da bow.
Me: So, you just want the candy?
Joseph: Yea. I jus want da candy.

"Braking weaves" with daddy.
While Will is changing John's diaper:
Will: Can you say "da da da"?
John: Da da da! (giggles)
Will: Can you say "ma ma ma"?
John: Da da! (giggles)
Will: Can you say "la la la"?
John: (incoherent jibberish) (giggles)
Will: Ah well, we'll let the state take care of you.
Speech therapy starts tomorrow :)

Watch out Tiger, they're coming for you.
I will say that John has the "d" and the "s" sound down pat. Pretty much all of his words are made from those two sounds. Here's what he can say and any explanation trying to make clear what we hear, which is hard considering some of the sounds he makes. If only I knew how to write phonetically :)
"ish" = fish, trash
"dis"(said really quickly/slurred together) = this
"da" = that
"s" (it sounds more like "uhs" but the "uh" is hardly heard) = yes (usually with a head nod)
"a da" = all done (but he only says this in response to me asking if he's all done)
"da da" = da da (daddy)
"ma ma" = ma ma (mommy, but only on occasion and only when he's crying/upset)

He won cutest voter on the block :)
Driving to the polling station:
Me: We're going to go vote then go to Safeway then go home to have lunch with daddy.
Joseph: We're going to a boat?
Me: No, we're going to vvvvote.
Jospeh: Oh! We're going to boat!

As we're walking into the polling station:
Me: See? We're going to vvvote. We're going to pick who we want to be in our government.
Joseph: OOOOooohhhh, we're going to boooooaaaaat.
Me: No, vvvvvvote. Like vvvvvery and vvvvvvvvictory!
Joseph: Oh! Wike bery and bictory!

Inside our polling station (an elementary school):
Joseph: Wook, mom! A boat! (points to a picture of a boat on the wall)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Life with Three (Part 2)

I typed this beauty up a LONG time ago. Not sure why I never published it. Oh well. Hope you enjoy the pics of the boys anyway :)

Will's first day back to work I took all three boys to Toys R Us and bought a baby pool in the hopes that I'd be able to relax in the backyard while the older boys wore themselves out. They seemed to enjoy the pool well enough, but weren't quite as tired as I had hoped.
Joseph was a bit timid about getting in - he doesn't like getting messy.

Will indulged my request to go to Fuddrucker's a few many weekends age. The boys, of course, love the fact that they get to "play" with the arcade games after dinner.

John likes to wear Will's hat when Joseph and Will are wearing theirs. It's a little big, so I finally got him his own hat (picture will come eventually).

Joseph and John showing off.

We went to story time at the train station/museum a few weeks ago with some friends and a train went by right in the middle of story time. Naturally, all the kids had to go out to watch it go by.

While eating his ice cream from Chick-fil-a:
Me: Is it yummy?
Joseph: Mmhmm. And dewicious, too.

I look over at Joseph who is sitting in his Elmo chair on the couch (his usual perch for TV watching) - it's still only 10am. I ask what he's doing and he responds "I'm waiting for Mickey Mouse." Too bad for him I had already told him there would be no Mickey Mouse until the afternoon before his nap (when he typically gets his one show per day).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Life with Three (Part 1)

Will has been back to work for a week now. I knew I would need to keep us busy this week for my own sanity, and luckily the week has gone fairly smoothly.
I also recently got a new phone that a) takes reasonably good pictures and b) connects to the internet so I can upload them to Picasa. So, here are some recent pictures and a little rambling from me :)

I love this picture of John. A friend brought over chili for dinner one night and John loved it. This is him after dinner as happy as a clam.

Will took Joseph to a Frederick Keys baseball game for his birthday...without John. John was not pleased. I took this picture shortly after Will and Joseph left. Notice he's holding his shoes and a baseball hat indicating that he's ready to go to the game, too. Poor boy cried for a good 5 minutes before I gave him (diluted) apple juice to calm him down (worked like a charm).

Will's sister, Tiffany, came for a visit last week. We all really enjoyed visiting with her, and the boys loved having someone new to play with! Here's John with Aunt Tiffany at the National Air and Space Museum Annex (Joseph refused to be pictured for some reason).

Shortly after Joseph's birthday party John took a shorter than normal nap. So he was wandering around/playing downstairs trying to figure out what to do with himself while Joseph was sleeping. I had gotten the ice cream cake (from Joseph's birthday party) out to have a piece and left it on the counter. John found his way to the cake and drove the "noisy truck" right through it knocking it off the counter. Fun times in the Rayel household.

Joseph is absolutely in love with Michael. He frequently asks to hold Michael, and loves to tend to his needs or let me know what it is that (he perceives that) Michael needs. He's such a great big brother! :)

I was finally able to catch a picture of all three boys. Of course, none of them are looking at the camera, but I still love this picture.

I'll break here and end with a Joseph-ism (part 2 coming soon!).

I asked Joseph to go to the basement and clean up the mess he made earlier in the day. After returning from cleaning up the toys he declares "The job is done!"

Monday, June 23, 2014

Welcome Michael Benedict!

Michael Benedict made an early arrival on Sunday, June 22 at 2:23am. It's a good thing he came early because he managed to weigh in at a solid 8lbs 12oz and was 21.5inches long.

Will brought Joseph and John to meet their brother last night. They enjoyed meeting Michael, but were more impressed by the privacy curtain and all the buttons in the room.

Welcome baby Michael! We're so happy you're here!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Life Lately

It's officially summer for us. Joseph finished preschool for the year, and now I'm feeling like it's go time for baby. I've been feverishly rearranging furniture, organizing and purging stuff, and generally getting ready for baby. It seems everywhere I turn there's something else that needs to be done. Cest la life.

We finally moved John into Joseph's room, so now the nursery is ready for a little sprucing up before the bebe arrives (Soon? One can hope.)....although he won't sleep in there for the first couple months. Buuut, nobody said nesting was a rational thing.

The boys have been keeping me quite busy. John's favorite activity lately is climbing up on the kitchen chairs and grabbing for stuff on the kitchen table and occasionally falling and hurting himself. So, "keep kitchen table clear of non-John-friendly things" has been high on my to-do list lately (drinks in glass cups in particular).

He also enjoys climbing on the coffee table, and can't wait to be able to climb on the couch (I'm sure that one is coming soon!).

Joseph keeps himself busy wearing his baseball hat and staying generally obsessed with all things baseball. Yesterday he had to put on a red shirt before heading to Will's softball game (which they ended up forfeiting, so Joseph and Will got to play a little baseball in the backyard).

And today this happened:

The glove was a new addition to his sleeping paraphernalia.

And while the two older boys are keeping me busy with their antics, the in-utero babe just keeps getting bigger (as in-utero babes are want to do). He's still a pretty calm little guy, but this is the first pregnancy where I've actually had to deal with swelling. I couldn't wear my rings by the end with Joseph, but this time I'm feeling the swelling - especially in my feet. Oh well, he should be here soon(ish).

(Sorry this is a little blurry. I guess that's just
what happens the 3rd time around.)

I again don't look nearly as enormous as I feel, but trust me - I'm quite large.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

32 weeks

After seeing this picture of myself I'm shocked at how not-hugely-enormous I look because I certainly feel it. I think I'd label myself as rather large, not a day over 36 weeks.

And for the record this pregnancy is starting to feel a lot like my pregnancy with Joseph. Baby is getting all up in my ribs, causing me (minimal) upper back pain and making me generally uncomfortable. But, so far, I don't think this guy is going to be quite as big as Joseph. My current guess is that he'll be born at 8lbs 7-8oz, and hopefully early, but that's really just because I want him to come early...can we say June baby??  :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

He Is Risen!

Happy Easter!

We enjoyed a relaxing day where we went to the 7:30am mass (in order to avoid crowds and meltdowns). After Palm Sunday mass we decided that the 7:30 am mass was our best bet for remaining in good spirits with the boys. It did mean us waking up earlier than usual and getting the boys up and fed earlier than usual, but John almost always wakes up in a good mood. And we prepped Joseph the night before explaining that we would be getting up early to go to mass. He seemed amenable and the morning went smoothly.

After mass we came home. The boys got to check out their Easter baskets and have an egg hunt while breakfast/brunch was in the oven. I also *tried* to get some pictures of the boys, but mostly failed at that (thanks to a very active 14-month-old).
Easter baskets
This was my attempt to get each of the boys to stand behind their basket.
Joseph loved all the stuff in his basket. John loved the grass.
"Wook 'a my eggs!"

This is the best picture I got of the two of them :)
Will even tried to help, but was only minimally successful.
After Easter baskets and the egg hunt we had a breakfast of quiche and cinnamon rolls. We then spent most of the day playing and relaxing with the boys. I also did a little prep work for dinner.
We had a couple friends (who also don't have family in town) over for Easter dinner.
We had a lovely dinner and the kids had a ball playing together.
After dinner I convinced all my boys to get back into their Easter best (minus shoes for all and jewelry for me) for a little family photo (as we now had someone to take our picture). It was, again, difficult to get a good one of all of us. But a couple of them turned out well.

I can't decide which one I like better - John is downright frowning in the first picture, but Joseph's arm is in the way in the second picture. If only I knew how to use photo shop :)

I hope you, too, had a blessed and holy Easter filled with people you love and lots of chocolate!

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's Spring!

We've been busy enjoying spring and watching the boys grow. Most of these stories and pictures are from a month or two ago. I have lots more to share - hopefully soon! - but I'll start with these. Enjoy :)

The first really nice day of spring. Yay for park days!
Joseph has been interested in money and where it comes from ever since a recent trip to the bank. These two conversations happened in the same night.

As Will walks in the door coming home from work.
Joseph: Hi, daddy! Where you been?
Will: At work.
Joseph: Why?
Will: To make money for the family.
Joseph: Ooooh! Wike mommy?

"This is mommy's vacuum..." "Oooooh! I see. How interesting."
At dinner:
Joseph: Daddy work at monies?
Will: Daddy works for money.
Joseph: Oooooh! Daddy works five money.
I'm a "fun mom"... on occasion.
See? So. Much. Fun!
I spent many months stressing about and planning for potty training. I had made minimal attempts to potty train Joseph in the past, but had been unsuccessful. With the arrival of baby #3 only months away I knew it was time to just bite the bullet and do it. To my great surprise and delight it went much smoother than I anticipated.
The first couple days Joseph was pretty upset that I wouldn't put a diaper on him. And at least one time he sat on the changing table crying for a diaper. But his requests for diapers waned, and by day 4 or 5 he was on board and was saying "we're all done wiff diapers, wight mommy?"
Within about a week Joseph wasn't having any accidents and often wakes up dry from both naps and night time sleep! Woohoo! I was a little wary of using treats to coax the potty training process along, but it definitely worked and he rarely asks for them anymore (only 2 weeks since we started).

John loves when I sweep. I think it's one of his favorite things to do - watch me sweep. He especially likes to squat over the dirt pile and search for treasures. I wish I had a picture of it, but every time it happens I'm - you know - sweeping...and trying to keep him from ingesting any of the dirt (although when there are legit pieces of food it's possible that I look away).
Breakfast with Grandpa.
One morning before preschool co-op I spilled half a box of Cheerios on the floor (one of the large boxes. No exaggeration.). Cheerios were everywhere. It was already a frantic morning. Joseph slept late and co-op mornings are already stressful enough trying to get everyone dressed and ready with lunches packed and out the door on time. And I believe I was teaching preschool this particular morning, so extra fun for the morning. It was one of those "of course this would happen this morning" moments. When it happened it was so surreal. I don't think I even got upset. I just looked at it and thought "mmhmm. There is no possible way this is getting cleaned up before we leave, so there's not reason to stress about it."
What did I do? I let John down from his booster seat and let him have at it. Breakfast? Taken care of.
I then went to get Joseph out of bed and let floor Cheerios be his breakfast, too. It actually bought me a little time to get lunches packed without the boys underfoot. Win for me :)
The boys were thrilled. A million Cheerios on the floor to sit in, play in and eat? So. Awesome.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Caught Off Guard

We've been having a trying time with Joseph lately. He's begun to "actively assert his will" - that's what we'll call it. It's been fairly exhausting emotionally for all involved. It's also been hard to find ways to go above and beyond to love him which he, of course, needs because he's been seeing a fair amount of discipline lately. But sometimes it's hard to love someone who's getting under your skin so much.

And then - then! - he comes out of nowhere and blows me away with his sweetness. This afternoon on my way from the van to our house (approximately 15 feet) I managed to trip - as in I skinned my foot, leg and knee. And it hurt. Joseph saw me trip. He asked what happened then asked in a very concerned voice "are you ok?" I told him I was fine and that I just got a boo, boo. He wanted to see it, so I showed him and he said "It's ok. I'll kiss it for you." Oh the sweetness! He was so concerned and so sure he could help me feel better. I let him kiss my leg when we got inside, and would you know it did start to feel better!

It was the perfect reminder of what a great kid he really is, and how important it is for me to remain patient with him.

And for those who are interested - the bump at 26 weeks (I'm 27 weeks now, but who's counting?).

Monday, March 10, 2014

The boys and the bump

Joseph's favorite word recently is "why?" I feel like it's a little early for that. For some reason I had it in my head that kids don't usually start in with incessant "why's?" until around age 4.

John has also started "talking" a bit more lately. He seems to actually be trying to pronounce some words, but still the only intelligible words he has so far are mama and dada. He can communicate his wants/needs for food though with arm reaches and head nods and shakes. He also has the sign for
"more" down pat.

Joseph just discovered shadows last night. It's really cute hearing him talk about shadows and point them out to Will as he's getting ready for bed. He is so intrigued by them - it's a great reminder for me of his sweet innocence.

Every night when we pray with Joseph we ask him who he'd like to pray for. Sometimes he lists off people. Other times he says he'd like to pray for "aryone" (everyone) (after he did this several nights in a row we asked him if there was anyone in particular he'd like to pray for). Now, more often than not, he says he'd like to pray for "aryone in ticuhwur" (everyone in particular). It always makes me giggle inside when he says this.

Aaaand, the bump.
23 weeks
I don't remember being (ahem, feeling) this big with Joseph and John, but the pictures tell a different story.
24 weeks with John
23 weeks with Joseph

Ok - maybe not with Joseph, but definitely about the same with John. No?