Friday, September 14, 2012

Elizabeth at 7 months

I just realized I had this in drafts and never posted it. Seeing as how Elizabeth turned 8 months old yesterday, I thought I should toss it up before her 8 mo. pictures!

Elizabeth is 17 pounds, 7.5 ounces, so she's gained a pound in the last month. She spiked a fever two weekends ago and was diagnosed with a viral sore throat. All she wanted to do for a few days was be held on someone's chest and it was pretty sad. She perked up mid-week and was in fine social form for our friends Neilam and Jen, who flew in from California to spend Labor Day weekend.

She loves to stand and is a crawling maniac!

Stairs! These are awesome!

Ben "helping" to feed her

Trying to grab my food at Arthur Bryant's (who can blame her?)

Hanging out with Jen

She is doing pretty well with baby food and seems to be catching on to the use of a sippy cup for water. We started giving her some puffs (little cereal-like things that melt in your mouth) and she is still confused about what to do with them.

Her Opa was singing a German clapping song to her on Monday and she started clapping by herself. She is really proud of this and got so excited about it the other day that she nearly tipped herself over backward.

Elizabeth is crawling like crazy and is working on pulling herself up to a standing position. She enjoys standing at her activity table and even slowly cruised around it last night.

Fun night at the Royals

This year we signed Ben up for the Royals' kids' club, The Blue Crew. They get some Royals swag and coupons. Last week they also sent out a set of 4 free tickets to tonight's game against the Angels. We had a bit of a rocky outing last time because Ben decided that everything was too loud, even though he'd been fine at previous games. We ended up spending most of the game walking around with him in the kids' area in the outfield where it's a little quieter. As we were leaving we saw another family whose preschool-aged daughter was wearing noise-blocking earphones and we stopped them for a recommendation. We ordered a pair from Amazon and Ben wore them for part of the game tonight and did great. He was able to take them off for a while in the middle of the game and tolerate the crowd noise fine, and then put them back on at times if the fireworks went off for a home run.

When we first got to the stadium and were walking down the concourse, I saw Slugger, the Royals' mascot and pointed him out to Ben. Ben got so excited he started jumping up and down. Slugger came over and patted him on the head and we followed him to the autograph signing, where Ben also got to meet the mascots (Sasquatch & bird) of two minor-league affiliates.

It was a perfect night for a ballgame and it was also Buck Night, so we sat at picnic tables in the outfield and had our $1 hot dogs, then walked around the Outfield Experience.

Dave & Ben at the George Brett statue

Emily, Elizabeth & Ben in front of the fountains. The kids did not want to look toward the camera since it was the opposite direction from the cool fountains!

Dancing to "Friends in Low Places" during the 6th inning

We left at the top of the 8th inning as it was way past the kids' bedtimes. Ben left saying, "We should come back again!" After we left, the Royals promptly blew their lead and lost 9-7. But it was still a lovely evening!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ben at 3 1/2 (ish)

I interviewed Ben about his favorite things right now and here's what he had to say:

Favorite color: green last week, blue this week
Favorite letter: R (He told me this spontaneously. I'm not sure why he has a favorite letter.)
Favorite number: 3
Favorite thing to play: baseball*
Favorite player: Eric Hosmer
Favorite food: "Nothing!" (Bald-faced lie! He doesn't really like a lot of vegetables or scrambled eggs, but will eat most other things, including almost any fruit and a variety of ethnic foods.)
Favorite songs: "Pop Fly" and "Obsessed With Trucks" by Justin Roberts (ridiculously catchy kids' music) & "The Wind" by the Zac Brown Band (country). His favorites playlist on my iPod also includes the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes' punk version of the 60s song "Who Put the Bomp," Ben Folds, Sesame Street, Arcade Fire, Nickel Creek and Jimmy Buffett (we've taught him the "Fins" moves!). 
Favorite TV show: PBS' "Sid The Science Kid"

*"Here are the rules of baseball:

1) You have to stay on the field.
2) Don't leave the field.
3) You're doing it wrong; swing the bat like this."

- as stated by Ben during an improvised living room baseball game.

He would've played baseball with Papa all day if we'd let him!

Reading the lovely A Sick Day for Amos McGee to Elizabeth & cousin Gwen

Ben loves talking to Elizabeth but thinks it must be done at high volume and an octave higher than his regular speaking voice. He's making slow progress talking to her in actual words instead of just screeching vowel sounds at her. He gets excited when he makes her smile but is also quick to point out whenever she gets near one of his toys and looks like she might try gnawing on it.

Ben showing his "muscles up high"

His favorite home activity lately has been baseball/football/soccer games in the living room. Sometimes he'll ask us to play with him and sometimes we'll be instructed to sit in the chairs and watch. The games are almost always accompanied by his play-by-play and typically involve his friends from school and some of our other friends scoring or not scoring goals. Ben wouldn't actually talk to our friends' five-year-old daughter Ava when we sat with them at the KC Ethnic Enrichment Festival, but he has talked about her a lot since then and her imaginary twin has played in many living room soccer games. Same with my college roommates' children that he spent time with on our trip to Ohio. We hear a lot of "Jackson kicks a goal past Evelyn! Elli gets the ball and throws it to Gideon!"

Ben seems to be doing well at school. They gave us the option of moving him up to pre-K this month when some of the pre-K kids graduated to kindergarten, but after talking with his teachers, we decided to keep him in the 3's until December. With his late birthday, he'll already be in the pre-k classroom for a year and a half, and although he would be fine cognitively, he could use a little more time in the 3's to grow socially and emotionally and be ready for more focused learning. He is in a phase where he's stand-offish with new people, visitors, or even family members he sees regularly, but after a while he usually warms up and chats their ears off.

He is enjoying the extra phonics program which is done a few times a week in small groups. They send home little listening exercises we can do with him and he enjoys that. A friend who has slightly older kids also pointed me to Bedtime Math, which has a daily story problem adapted for three different age groups (preschool, K-1, 2nd +). We've done a few at the dinner table or in the evenings and Ben seems to be interested. It's a nice way to slip in a little math and critical thinking and gives us something new to talk about. We also got him a notebook to use as his "observation journal" like in "Sid the Science Kid" and he is starting to ask more questions about why things happen, which is really cool.

Loves playing with his trucks and cars. I believe the fire truck was towing the airplane.

Ben still loves building with his Legos, running his Matchbox cars, and pretending to cook. His Opa found a bunch of Dave's and Jeff's Matchbox collection, so he is in hog heaven playing with them. He has an excellent memory, which means you have to be very careful what you tell him and also makes it tricky at times to figure out what he's asking about. It could be something major you told him two minutes ago or it could be a minor thing from two weeks ago! It is fascinating (and sometimes scary!) to see his brain working and the new things he comes up with to ask.