Category: Growing Boys

New year, who dis?

Hello, it’s been a while! Like more than a full year without any meaningful updates. Turns out a lot happened in 2019!

Team Richards circa fall 2019

Brian hosted 3 digital conferences that went very well and gave him some things to learn and improve upon. We’re gearing up for an even busier 2020 for WPSessions. He was also able to take some time away from work and start on a massive (mostly) DIY renovation in our basement that will ultimately give us 2 more bedrooms (Brian’s office and Ben’s bedroom), another bathroom, finished pantry and laundry spaces, and an additional common room (Ben calls it his video game room). We are all looking forward to enjoying those spaces! You can follow along with that process on Instagram.

I started working part-time as a community coordinator at Pantheon in late May. This took a lot of adjusting as a family (especially the times I’m traveling) but it has been 100% worth it. I’m a better mom when I’m not home with the kids all the time and have thoroughly enjoyed polishing up skills I haven’t used in a while (and learning loads of new ones as well). In more personal news, I set out in January 2019 to lose the weight my body insisted on keeping around since Link was born. I lost 25 lbs over 5 months and have (mostly) stayed at my goal size since June. I lost 2 pants sizes and feel much better in my own skin.

Always reading

Ben is 7 now and in first grade. He’s a fantastic reader and excels at most things in school. We’re working on listening and obeying directions the first time he’s instructed. He is very creative and loves crafting and making all sorts of projects. He reads chapter books in a single sitting but still enjoys snuggling up at bedtime to have one of his parents read to him. He is an incredible helper around the house and is always up for reading to Lincoln.

Teddy on his bike with a mask is exactly what 2019 was like for him

Teddy is 5 and in his second year of preschool. He has figured out his letters and letter sounds and is very close to beginning to read. He is still into super heroes and cannot decide if Batman or Spider-Man is his favorite so our house is filled with clothes, toys and books featuring both. Teddy has an extraordinary attention span and can contentedly play with sets of toys for longer than any kid I know. He is very much the middle brother and likes to poke at Ben until he gets an explosive reaction. We are working on using kind words and actions in ALL circumstances. Teddy is a character but which character he is varies from hour to hour.

Link has an incredible sense of humor for a toddler

Lincoln is 19 months old and has probably seen the most change in the last year. Not surprising given his stage in life! Link spends his time at home with me or, when I’m working, our in-home nanny. He had the hardest transition when I went back to work because he has always been my special boy and there is no substitute for his mama. He took a while to start talking but new words have been popping up all over the place this past month. My favorite is “CA-doo” for avocado. Lincoln signs often and picks up new ones quickly. His receptive language skills are off the charts and often gets frustrated when he cannot communicate a response to something we’ve said. Lincoln LOVES to read and will take any opportunity to sit with a bigger person to read one of his favorites. He’s incredibly social and says hi to everyone he sees. A request for a fist-bump or high-five sends him in an endless loop of bumps and fives to all in the room.

No promises that I’ll share a ton this year but perhaps you can plan on more than one post in 2020!

Peace out!

Back to the Future

Oh, hey.

It’s been a while.

This happened.

This meaning the birth of our third boy, Lincoln Charles, back at the end of May. We’re all in love and he seems pretty smitten too.

This also happened.

Ben is now 6 and a total big kid. His birthday post is currently drafted so expect that to come soon or at least before his 18th birthday.

And then there was this.

Teddy is 4 and started preschool in the fall. There are two whole mornings each week that it’s just me and the baby. It’s weird but 100% ok. I also have a birthday post for him and have another 14 years before he turns 18. It might get posted soon.

So here’s to the end of 2018! I hope to blog more in 2019 but I’ve said that before. If you want to keep up with our circus, I’m way more active on Instagram.

Happy 5th Birthday, Ben!

What is your name?
Ben

How old are you?
4 and a half, ssss five!

What is your favorite color?
Every color

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A grown up

What is your favorite food?
Watermelon or chips and cheese and beans

Who do you like to play with?
Ruth!

What is your favorite book?
It Looked Like Spilt Milk 

What is your favorite animal?
Kitties! And puppies!

What is your favorite song?
Friends are Family

What makes you laugh?
When people tickle me

What do you like to do with your family?
Play Lego with everybody

What does Daddy do for work?
I don’t know

What does Mommy do for work?
Post Status 

What is your favorite movie?
Brainiac Batman

What is your favorite show?
Miraculous Ladybug

What is your favorite thing to do outside?
Swing

Where do you like to go on vacation?
Disney World

Happy birthday to my favorite biggest boy!

Happy Halloween 2016

One of my favorite parts of parenting is introducing our boys to family traditions that date back to when we were little and trick or treating on Halloween is one of my favorites (possibly because I’ve always loved dressing up).

We kicked off our Halloween celebrations by bringing Ben and Teddy to my dad’s office on Friday afternoon to go trick or treating around the office building. It’s a big company with lots of stops but it works great for the little monsters and superheroes with short legs because there isn’t too much walking.

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I felt a little bit like we were herding cats! Every time I tried to direct Ben and Teddy one direction, one would split down another hall or even start going back where we came from!

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Ben is an old pro at trick or treating but Teddy wasn’t too sure at first. It only took a few stops before he was grabbing treats with both hands while quietly chanting, “One, pick one.”

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In just an hour, the boys got more candy than they could carry. They were exhausted from all the running and Ben took his first nap in many months on the drive home!

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Instead of carving pumpkins, which takes a whole lot more parental involvement at this age, we broke out my collection of acrylic paint and let the boys go to town on their tiny pumpkins. They are incredibly proud of their creations.

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For the first time in five years, Halloween wasn’t cold, wet, and miserable! We joke that costumes in Michigan are designed to fit over a snow suit and since I remember many times having to wear a winter coat and hat under my costume, that is a real threat. Happily, we had dry weather in the mid 50s this year. After a quick dinner of pumpkin shaped pizza (Papa Murphy’s for the win!), we met up with friends and headed out into the neighborhood.

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Ben wore his costume the whole time, everyone got treats they were excited about, and Teddy has a newfound, deep love of carrying things around in his Elmo “buckick.” I think we can call Halloween 2016 a success!

Teddy is 2!

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Theodore John, age 2 years and a few hours

I’m pretty sure Teddy was this little squish yesterday and I blinked and now he’s 2!

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Theodore John only minutes old

Teddy has a whole lot of personality in a tiny body. He’s barely out of 18 month clothes but 24 month/2T are far too big yet. He’s 2 ft 7.5 inches tall (3rd percentile) and weight 22 lb 3 oz (1st %). He may be small but he is a bundle of jokes, sweet gestures, and funny words.

Teddy loves fruit snacks (we call them fruit candies because that’s what they really are), cookies, crackers, freeze dried yogurt drops, dried mango and raisins, yogurt, scrambled eggs, cupcakes and muffins, toast, grilled cheese and tomato soup, pizza, pancakes, sausage, bacon, hot dogs, roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, waffles, and any candy he can see. Basically, he likes all the typical toddler foods but few of the healthy ones. It feels like he got picky far earlier than Ben so we’ve been working on breaking that habit now rather than let him rule over dinner like a tiny dictator.

Teddy loves cars and trucks more than Ben ever has. He’s been making vroom noises since he was 8 months old and will sit and play cars for ages. He also loves things that aren’t toys, like empty children’s vitamin bottles and a PS3 controller. I’ve given up taking away his “mote” at bed anymore because of the meltdown associated with having to leave the controller behind! He’s Ben’s biggest fan and will follow him anywhere. Ben is fairly tolerant of having a little brother with him constantly and loves to have a playmate. They wrestle, play pretend restaurant or kitchen, watch shows, make piles of all the pillows in the house, and play Duplos or little Legos with Brian downstairs. When Ben and Teddy are not best friends, they are worst enemies, like most siblings. Teddy will do anything if it means he can go for a walk in the wagon or stroller and has quickly adapted to accompanying Brian to drop Ben off at school.

Ben has always been one to act first and learn lessons after the fact. Teddy is exactly the opposite. He will wait as long as it takes to study something before moving forward. He didn’t roll, crawl, or walk until later than normal but excelled at all of them right away. He has incredible fine motor skills and will carefully play with small figurines, setting up tiny tea parties so the animals can have a ‘nack. His patience as a tiny person amazes me and nothing illustrates how different our boys are than when asking for help. I attempted to teach Ben how to sign for help before he could speak but he refused to use it. He was capable but preferred throwing a toy or falling to the floor in anguish instead of asking for assistance. Teddy, however, is an expert, even without being prompted. “Hep peas” was one of his first two word phrases and the one that gets the most use. It never fails to amaze me when Teddy walks into the room where I am, hands me something, asks for hep, and responds with “gink oo” (or thank you for those who don’t speak Teds).

Teddy’s vocabulary has exploded in the last few months. He has words for just about everything but our favorites are guckle = buckle, moois = moose (which is pretty much every animal that isn’t a puppy, duck, or horse). He loves to take care of his baby doll, ask for snacks, drink (water, juice, milk), and tell us no at any possible opportunity. Asking him questions almost always generates a “yup” in response except for diaper changes and naps: “No map! No poop!” He loves his kitties: Skints (Squints) and Mogee (Mowgli). He’s been working on names for grandparents and has so far come up with Gramommy for Grammy and Memaw for Grandma.

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Teddy is, and always has been, very loud

We’ve been able to control his breathing through two colds with his steroid inhalers so we shouldn’t need to return to the hospital anytime soon. I still get jumpy when I see his nose start to drip because I know a nasty cough isn’t far behind. Thankfully, he puts up with the inhalers fairly well at this point.

Happy birthday Teddy bear! We are so thankful that you’re our #4!

Ben is 4!

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The Birthday Boy

In the tradition we started last year, I asked Ben some birthday questions this morning. He did so much better focusing this year and had answers for almost everything. It is really fun to see how much he’s matured since his birthday last year (check out that post here).

What is your name?
Benny-Boy maybe?

How old are you?
I am 4!

What is your favorite color?
Green and blue

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Play-doh is always a huge hit

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Um, 5?

What is your favorite food?
Hot dogs!

Who do you like to play with?
Mowgli [our cat]… and Daddy

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“My own little Legos!”

What is your favorite book?
Woody and Buzz, my present

What is your favorite animal?
Sheep

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Jake Duplos!

What is your favorite song?
Everything is Awesome!

What makes you laugh?
Tickles

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The only thing Ben asked for was a basketball hoop – on repeat – and his reaction was exactly what we had hoped for

What do you like to do with your family?
Go play at the playground and give my family kisses

What does Daddy do for work?
Play. I don’t know what he does

What does Mommy do for work?
Post Status!

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Birthday jealousy is real and alive in our house today! Little brother is having a hard time waiting until his birthday in 2 weeks

What is your favorite movie?
Everything is Awesome movie, the Lego Movie!

What is your favorite show?
Disney Shorts

What is your favorite thing to do outside?
Swim and play in the sprinkler

Where do you like to go on vacation?
To the pool and splash pad [Florida]

Happy birthday, Benny-Boy!

Ben’s first day of school

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Today was Ben’s first day of school – ever – and he could hardly wait to leave the house. When we went to his open house last week, he was quiet, withdrawn, and told me that he didn’t want to make friends with the other kids. Today he marched into his class after greeting his teacher without any fear at all. He turned and gave me a hug at the last second to say, “I’ll miss you when you’re gone,” but happily went to play playdough. I think he’ll do just fine.bens-first-day-1035 bens-first-day-1041 bens-first-day-1050

Tiny Teddy

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How big is Teddy? Sooooo big! Kinda

Teddy had his 18 month well-child doctor visit this morning. I wasn’t at all surprised to discover that Teddy is a really small kid. He’s 20 lb 10 oz (8th %), 31.75″ (25th %), with a giant 19.25″ (87th %) head. He’s shy and hesitant to meet new people but hitting all the important milestones, learning new words all the time, likes reading, roughhousing, and snuggling.

In fact, Teddy was so overwhelmed by having to meet with the pediatrician this morning that after his exam, when the doctor and I were chatting about our London trip and Teddy’s development, Teddy curled up against my chest and fell asleep. That was a new experience for me! At least I don’t have to worry about Teddy being too friendly with strangers unlike Ben, who thinks everyone is a new best friend.

 

February Update

It’s hard to believe it has been a month since I last posted.

Where did the time go?!

We’ve been working hard on lots of things around here, including keeping our sanity through the Michigan late winter. This year has been particularly mild though (as I write this, the sun is shining and it’s a balmy 50 degrees) so it is easier to endure.

I still owe you all a post on our trip to London at the end of January for the A Day of Rest conference and a few days of site seeing. I have some scanning to do before I have enough pictures to post so know for now that post is in the works.

Note to self: Go find the functioning scanner

Teddy started walking while we were out of the country, of course, and just before our pediatrician’s 16 month deadline before we’d need to seek professional intervention. One day he took 5 steps on his own and the next day he was practically running around my parents’ house. Typical of Teddy, he was waiting until he was sure he was ready.

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Our Teddy Bear action figure with his remote and Wii wheel accessories
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Teddy is more of a climber than Ben has ever been

Just like most skills that Teddy has learned, his teeth are taking their sweet time. Ben always cut 3 or 4 teeth at a time but Teddy gets one slow tooth, has a week off, then gets one more slooooooow tooth. It looks like he is cutting both of his top one year molars right now so hopefully those will be in soon and Teddy will become less of a drama queen again. He learned to throw full toddler-sized tantrums too and exercises his right to throw one daily.

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Our Little Mouseketeer

Teddy is talking much more too. His words include mama, dada, Nene (Benny), kkkkk (kitty), fffft (hot aka coffee), mo (more), baba (his burp cloth), da (down), bah (ball), chhhhh (cheese), and kawkaw (cracker). He has perfected the signs to accompany many of his words and also regularly signs please, drink, water, and milk. He adorably will wrap his arms around our legs and left one leg to indicate he wants to be picked up (never arms raised, for some reason).

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Stealing a sip of Mommy’s fffft

Ben is so, so, so, so ready for school and it’s killing him that it is so far away still. It’s especially hard because I registered him for preschool (afternoons but first on the waitlist for mornings) at the beginning of February and he can see the kids playing at the school from our house. He tells me often, “I’m BIG so I can go to school now.” He craves more stimulation than what hanging out at home with mom can provide and often asks to go play at someone’s house or “go somewhere.” He never has any answers of with whom to play or where to go but he’s ready to have a big kid routine. I’ve started donating plasma and our local donation center has a locked, supervised kids play area and he’s already chomping at the bit to go play while I “give my blood to the sick people.”

Also of note is that he finally chewed a hole in his last pacifier and, with plenty of warning, that got thrown away and he’s now pacifier free! It was a rough few days and I don’t think he’s taken a nap since we took it away at the beginning of February but he still sleeps well at night.

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Ben loves any excuse to stop by his new school, even if it is just to pick up paperwork

To (hopefully) protect my lose grasp on sanity, we’ve been talking through days of the week and working on a preschool friendly way to mark the passage of time. He has a calendar that we write important events in and he helps count the number of sleeps we have until the next event. He is doing a great job at counting to 10 and number recognition but the alphabet is still rather mystifying to him. He’s got “B” down and we’re working on recognizing and writing “E” and “N” so he’ll be able to write his name soon. He’s made pretty good progress with our really casual approach to pre-pre-preschool. He has a super short attention span and seems to struggle with creative drawing so we’re slowly trying to make some progress on those skills too.

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Picking up letters and numbers with chopsticks

How is potty training going? Two REALLY BIG thumbs up! I can only recall one accident in the last month and that was because he got distracted by toys instead of heading straight to the potty chair to do his business. He’s self-initiating all trips to the chair (that we leave in his room), stays dry overnight, and takes himself to the potty chair without a parent in the morning. We ended up using pull ups for about 3 weeks before feeling comfortable going without. We are really proud of him!

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Ben set up a toy store with all the toys from the toy box

Upcoming excitement for the Richards family includes a trip to Atlanta for Brian to speak at a WordCamp (and for the boys and I to spend lots of time playing with friends) and hopefully a long and slightly overdue family trip to Orlando and, of course, Disney World!