Monday, March 28, 2011

19 Months Old

Here it is two days late even though I started this post on time for once. Ah well and on to the update:

Josh, you have knocked out one more month and getting closer to two with every day! I was told yesterday morning after church, "Your boy is mean." Apparently, dear Earl who speaks whatever is on his mind, saw you slap your sister. Now, I am not going to deny that you have a fiery little temper at times but what Earl didn't see is how sweet you are 99% of the time. Also, I think know that the hitting is out of frustration and have no doubt that things will improve as you can better communicate your feelings. Unfortunately, such behavior and the need to throw food/spoons/cups at meals has landed you in timeout this month. While you are not a fan, your sister relishes the fact that she is not the one in timeout.

At 19 months, you are working on at least three teeth and probably four. I wish they would hurry up and break through because as swollen as your gums are, they have to hurt. I am leaning towards placing the blame for your lack of desire to eat on teething and hope that once the teeth pop, you will eat better again. The whole teething business is also making you a little irritable at times so come on teeth!

Progress reports were given out last week at school and I just had to laugh when I saw yours. Other than a few checks for behaviors that are observable on a daily or weekly basis, there was nothing else on the report except a note that read "Josh didn't feel like testing this time." Apparently, Mrs. Brandy, Mrs. Michelle, and Ms. Colleen were all encouraging you to throw a ball while you just stood there and grinned at them. Emma has always wanted to please everybody but it seems clear that you are going to do things when you want to do them and how you want to do them!

You are picking up new words and trying to repeat different words that you hear but not necessarily using them on a regular basis. Of course you do have Emma to do all the talking for you so there doesn't seem to be a big rush! I have noticed you trying to sing songs complete with the hand movements that you learn at school and this morning I will swear that you said "A, B, C, D" while Emma was singing the ABC's. You continue to be a major monkey see, monkey do with everything! For example, if Emma is practicing her dance steps, you will try to copy her or if Daddy knocks on the table, you will knock on the table. You continue to be a total little ham and you know it. You also learned how to give a fist bump.

After a rough start with the first swim lesson, you have really come to enjoy getting in the pool. I will attribute that primarily to watching Emma in her class and seeing how much fun she is having. You also love to get in there and splash me or dump water on me. I think you are going to have a blast in the pool this summer! All in all, it has been a great 19th month and we look forward to seeing what you come up with next!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shout Out to Uncle Paul!

I know this blog is 99.9999% devoted to Emma and Josh but since it is my blog, I want to give a little time to Uncle Paul! Paul has been living in China off and on and full time since 2002 or thereabouts when he first went over there to teach English, which means that we pretty much never see him. Unfortunately, he has only met Emma once and never met Josh other than through Skype and those times are rare between the craziness of his life and the time difference. An article from 2008 describes a typical day in the life of Paul. It states "Schoenbachler is the main man in China for Baja Motorsports." Of course, Baja Motorsports is no more but he still works for the parent company. I love the description of him in the next sentence; "The lanky 30-year-old Arizona native studied Chinese in college and set up shop in this manufacturing city about three years ago." Poor boy just can't put on any weight as he is like to remind me.

It has recently come to my attention that Paul ran his first half marathon. While he claims that he was not trained properly, I am certain that he did great! Thankfully my Mom passed on some photos that Paul sent to her from the race that I can share because it is prerogative, right? Congratulations Paul on your half marathon and know that we miss you and hope to see you sometime soon!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Five Randoms about Josh

1. Has really developed a love of books. A couple of weeks ago, I would have said his favorite book is "Goodnight Moon". However, now I would have to go with Emma's Toddler Bible as the front runner. We have to read at least 4 or 5 Bible stories at bedtime each night. If Mommy reads them, he then has to get at least 1 from Daddy or vice versa.

2. Does a great impression of an elephant and has a new impression of a gorilla where he beats his chest with both hands balled up into little fists. We worked with him on the elephant but not sure where he got the gorilla.

3. Is a total little repeat especially if it is something Emma is doing although he will mimic other people as well. We often try to leverage his adoration for his sister into getting him to eat his veggies, which brings me to my next point.

4. Totally averse to veggies 99.9999% of the time. Help! We can sometimes get him to eat them if Emma also takes a bit but more often than not, she'll take a bite and then he'll just clap and cheer for her.

5. Is becoming Mr. Independent and becomes easily angered if he has something in mind like walking/climbing the stairs by himself and you carry him. Also, he is becoming increasingly frustrated by his inability to communicate at times, which usually ends up with him lashing out by hitting something nearby (usually me). Just two reminders that he is getting so BIG!

Five Randoms about Emma

1. Has an obsession with Daylight Savings Time and uses it as a go to excuse (along with my babies are having a rough night, keeping me awake, etc.) when she is laying in bed singing and talking instead of sleeping at night. Of course, the other night, she tried to pull the "I took a really good nap at daycare and I promise I'll take another one tomorrow." Seems she thought that was all the sleep she really needed!

2. Wants to know the meaning of everything and will break down words. For instance, using the word trophy as an example, she says "what does 'troph' mean" followed up by "what does 'y' mean?" I think we might need to start carrying around dictionaries with us.

3. Thinks she has a baby in her belly and when she is full, she'll say that her baby doesn't want any more or if she is hungry, she'll say her baby wants ... fill in the blank. She also talks about her baby kicking and punching her. *This all stems from her early morning chats with Mrs. Linda at school who is expecting a baby girl in May.

4. Is convinced that she can swim all by herself (see previous post). With her determination, I would say that it won't be long before she can!

5. Sometimes finds it hard being the big sister and being restricted from certain activities because Josh is too little to try said activity since Josh WILL try it if he witnesses his big sister doing it first.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Swim Lessons - The 2011 Edition

Emma was so excited when I came home in early February and announced that I had signed her up for swim lessons and that this year, she would be taking the class all by herself. That excitement reigned up until a week before her first class at which point she started saying she didn't want to go by herself and wanted Mommy or Daddy in the water with her. We reassured her that her teacher would be watching over it and come the day of the first class, we didn't hear anything about needing Brad or I with her in the water. In fact, as soon as we got to the pool, she could not wait to get started. The first class, Ms. Regina, the instructor, didn't bother to look at her class list and somehow got it into her head that Emma's name was Maggie. She called her Maggie for the entire class even though Emma tried to tell her on more than one occasion "I'm Emma." In the class that Emma is taking, they use a lot of flotation devices and the teacher takes them out one at a time. Overall, the first class went well but I wasn't sure how well it would go especially after seeing her try to hold herself up on the step and kick; it wasn't pretty.

Week two was cancelled due to a last minute commitment by Ms. Regina so fast forward to week three. Oh yeah, remember how I wasn't so sure about the lessons after watching Emma try to kick about one sentence ago. Hello kicker, Emma was all the sudden a champ. Not only that but every time Ms. Regina took her out, Emma was overheard to say "I can do it by myself" and while she was very sure of herself, in fact, there was quite a bit she could do by herself. In one case, they used the pool noodle as a "pony" and Emma was kicking and moving those arms without being supported for a short stint. She also got brave enough by the end of the class to duck her head under water and watch out when you strap on the flotation belt. Emma was all over the pool once she got that on. I should note that Ms. Regina actually checked the roster so Emma was no longer Maggie.

The make-up for week two was the following day and Emma spent a lot of time demonstrating how she could put her head under water when it wasn't her turn. She also used the kickboard without being held for a short distance. At the end of class, they had some races with everybody wearing flotation devices. Emma and the five year old boy in the class are the only two who can "swim" by themselves with the belts on so they would race to a toy. Let me just say that Emma was right with him the whole time and was a little frustrated that she never actually got the toy but he did have the advantage of two years and longer arms. Overall, swim lessons are going very well ad we'll see where we can get Emma by the end of the summer.

Now for Josh, the parent/child class is right after Emma's class and right about naptime, which was definitely a strike against us. However, we decided to give it a go and the first week, Brad planned to take the class with him. Week one did not go well. As soon as they hit the water, the screaming and crying ensued. Brad tried everything to turn that frown upside down and get him used to the water but to no avail and we called it quit after about 10 minutes. Last week as soon as we walked onto the pool deck for Emma's class, Josh started fussing but he calmed down and watched Emma intently. After Emma's class, Josh and I hit the water and more tears. However, this time, I decided to see if we could get past the crying and have a little fun. Approximately one lifetime or more like 10 minutes later, Josh quieted down and we joined in the fun. Dare I say, the little guy actually had fun. When it came time to try to show them how to climb out of the pool and then jump back in, he didn't run away and jumped or slid back in so finally, success.

On Sunday, Josh was actually excited to get into the water after Emma's class and there was no crying. You know it was bad the previous two class when not only the teacher but the other parents remarked about how much better he was doing and no crying. We'll see what this week holds but I am hopeful we have turned a corner and will be ready for the neighborhood pool to open this summer!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Week in Review

Since I don't specify a specific week, I guess I could choose any point in time. However, I will spare you the ho hum of our normal weekly routine and just flash back to last week. The previous week kicked off with an early start so we could get downtown for the Little Rock half marathon. It was my first running of the half in five years and while my main goal was to finish, I would be lying if I said I didn't want to finish in approximately the same time as my first half six years ago. Brad, Emma and Josh braved the cold to cheer me on and it gave me such a boost to see them around miles 1, 6, 8, and 13. I started off pretty well but definitely started slowing down around mile 9. However, I persevered and ended up with an official finishing time that was one second faster than 2005. Now that I have one under my belt, I know that I can get under two hours again so that is the goal for next year and yes, I am already talking about next year.

Almost there...that is the only reason I can explain any smile!

Trying to stay warm with two members of my cheering squad after the race!

Following a nice run to start the day, it was time to come home so I could finish packing for my trip to Washington D.C. It had been approximately two years since I had been to a conference and it was the first time that I had been away from Josh. In addition to spending my days at the conference, I was lucky enough to get to spend one evening with Rebecca, Dave and Lily and hang out with Jane and John a couple of nights who were kind enough to let me stay at their place. I also attended Slipper Camp with Jane one morning, which entailed "running" up the hill at the National Zoo with stops along the way for some leg, arm, and ab exercises. I did get away one afternoon for a trip to the Holocaust museum. While it was nice to get away for the conference, it was even better to be home and I was certainly greeted by two excited kids on Thursday evening. Josh generally smiles big but I don't think I have ever seen a bigger smile on his face. What a welcome!

We rounded out the week with swim lessons but I think those deserve a post in their own and of course, the time change. Thankfully I think that Emma and Josh are adjusting well to the time change although Emma doesn't like the idea that she has to go to bed when it is light out. There you have, one week in review!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dance, Dance, Dance!

I am sure that I have mentioned it previously but Emma started dance class last fall and loves it! In a typical class, they start with tap, move on to ballet and round things out with some tumbling. Emma practices her dance moves all the time and likes to "teach" Brad and I the different steps. Since I am still in catch up mode, Emma had her first recital in December. Her class danced to the Alvin & the Chipmunks Christmas Song. The recital was held in the auditorium at UALR and it was standing room only with all the family and friends of the dancers. We weren't really sure how Emma would react being on stage in front of a large audience but suffice it to say, the girl was born to perform. After her first "hula hoop", which drew large applause and laughter from the audience, a large smile spread across Emma's face and she started playing to the crowd. While I am a proud Mom, I am not exaggerating the fact that the audience was clapping for Emma because it was basically her and one other little girl who were really dancing. The others were a little awestruck but that is not surprising since they are 2-3 years old. We were so proud of our little dancer and would have been if she had not moved one little bit. Afterwards, Brad presented her with her first roses! Next recital is in June and Emma cannot wait!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Josh is 18 Months Old!

We headed off to the doctor yesterday morning for Josh's 18 month check-up. He weighed in at 28 lbs (76th percentile) and was 33 1/2 inches long (82nd percentile). He is getting so big and will show you just how big if you ask. Also, if you ask to see his belly or just say the word belly within earshot, you'll get an eyeful. I asked his teacher Ms. Brandy how often they see his belly on a daily basis and her response was "all the time." Josh did manage to get out of one vaccination yesterday thanks to a fever but the doctor said it was not a big one and could be put off until his 2 year check-up. As I am sure that you are on the edge of your seats waiting to hear what else the little man has been up to the past month, without further ado, some highlights:

- We were having some trouble with squirrels eating all the bird food so Josh has learned to help chase them away by yelling "No No" and shaking his arm at them. The word "no" just entered his vocabulary last month and let's just say that it isn't only the squirrels that are at the receiving end of a "no".

- On the flip side, we do hear a fair share of "yeah" for yes when we ask him questions especially if we ask if he wants to go outside.

- He loves to say "bye bye" and wave when he is leaving or if somebody else is leaving. Like everything else though, this occurs only when he feels like it and not necessarily when prompted.

- When he says "Emma", it usually comes out as "Em-MA!" with a huge emphasis and increase in volume on the second syllable.

- He does a great impression of an elephant.

- Is extremely silly!

- Unlike Emma, Josh hasn't always been into books but he has definitely started to come around this month and without a doubt, Goodnight Moon, is his favorite book!

- Josh is so caring towards his sister. Mind you, he still likes to rile her up by stealing her toys but if she is hurt or not feeling well, he gets so concerned. Earlier in the month, Emma was a bit under the weather so while she was laying on the couch, Josh came over and patted her on the arm and said "OK" several times. Of course, he then tried to steal her blanket but he does care!

- The little guy is so good about putting his shoes away after we take them off. He has obviously watched closely to see where Brad or myself store them so he now picks them up and walks them over. Yesterday afternoon, I went looking for my shoes and wouldn't you know, Josh had picked them up and put them away for me where his shoes go. Josh is also very good about throwing trash away although he did take it a little too far when he picked up my empty water cup and decided to throw that away. Maybe he is trying to tell us we have too many plastic cups!

- He is all boy and has an inner burning need to bang and/or throw EVERYTHING! He is also so loud, which I don't necessarily want to attribute to being a boy thing but compared to Emma, he is loud. Of course, that may be the only way to get in a word over his talkative big sis. Thankfully the hitting in fits of anger seem to be decreasing somewhat. If he hits, I always tell him I want to see nice hands, which I had demonstrated by showing him how to gently pat my head. Now, if he hits and I ask for nice hands, he always needs to touch my head. It is pretty cute (not the hitting).

- Speaking of talking, Josh has definitely increased his vocabulary this month although some of it, you have to know the context or be around him enough to know the association but he is definitely trying and he is definitely trying to repeat words as well. When we were playing the other day, I caught him and said "gotcha." He immediately repeated "gotcha" as clear as day and then on the way home yesterday, Emma was talking about the light turning green and he was back there saying "geen, geen."

- He loves dogs but only from a distance like on the TV.

I could probably go on forever but those are some of the highlights. It was definitely another big month for Josh and I can't believe that we are already halfway through his second year!