Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Slice of Bryce (#17): Eight Months!!!

Well, Bryce's eighth month came and went over our Christmas break.

Lots of updates for the B-Man this month...

1. Let's just go ahead and get the one negative update out of the way first. Before the holidays, as I noted in his seven month update, we were on quite a roll with sleeping through the night. But our travel has gotten him off-schedule a bit, which has led to him waking up around 11:30p for a late-night snack, and then sleeping in until 8:30a or 9a (since there was no Mommy alarm to wake him and get him ready for school). We're back home for the foreseeable future, though, so I'm hoping being back to school and having to wake up at 7a each day will get us back on track.

2. We've continued with Size 2 baby foods, and I've tried throwing in a few "real" solids (Gerber puffs, mashed potatoes, banana pieces). He loves the pureed foods, but still gags on the real stuff. So we'll keep working on it. Slowly, since I'm not interested in cleaning up baby puke on a regular basis.

3. Speaking of regurgitation, we're still waiting for that blessed day when the spitting just miraculously disappears. I feel like it happened about this time with the girls (i.e., when they started moving/crawling around). But still no end in sight for Bryce.

4. My latest nickname for B is Buggy. Dale is not supportive. I guess it doesn't sound manly enough for him. But until he comes up with something that rolls off my tongue better, Buggy it is.

5. B has a bit of an army crawl going. I haven't yet gotten it on video, but I need to soon, as I have a feeling he's going to lift that belly off the ground and take off in a "normal" crawl any day now. But even with the army crawl, you can rest assured that if he wants something, he's going to get to it.

6. Bryce also loves to stand up. If you're playing with him and have him standing in front of you and need to sit him down for a break, he will straighten his legs, arch his back, and refuse to sit, meaning that you pretty much have to lay him down on the ground. If you really want him to sit, you literally have to bend his knees for him by holding his calves and pushing down on his thighs. Pretty amusing. He's still not pulling himself up into a standing position, but I have a feeling that's on the horizon. Judging from his current attitude, once he can stand himself up, he might never sit down again.

7. We're still stuck on two teeth. I've been thinking that his teeth are coming in much more slowly than the girls', but I just checked the blog for Macie's tooth chart, and it turns out that she didn't get her third tooth until she was 8 months and 2 days old. So I guess B is not as far behind as I originally thought. Phew.

8. The kid is ALWAYS smiling, and most of the time it's with his mouth wide open. I'm pretty sure he's the happiest baby of my three. Maybe it's because he has two big sisters to entertain him, which they are almost always willing to do. Ivie's at the age now where she constantly wants to hold him. She will just plop down on the ground and scoop him up and onto her lap. Generally, it's right after he's eaten, and it doesn't take much shaking and bouncing around for him to spit up all over her, himself, the floor, and the toy-of-the-moment. But she isn't deterred and is right back at it after we get them all cleaned up. She and Macie are both wonderful big sisters. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't trade their brother for anything. Except maybe more dolls for their new dollhouse.

9. Lastly, the older Bryce gets, the more pictures I seem to take to document the month. But the smiles remain consistent. My sweet baby boy.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas in Missouri, 2011

It seems as though each time we travel to Missouri, I pull my camera out less and less. The hustle and bustle of our time there just doesn't lend itself well to snapping photos. I did get a few treasured shots, though, that I want to share here. Namely, a photo of Granny and Papa with all of their great-grandkids (minus Bryce, who had JUST fallen asleep for a long overdue nap on Nina's lap in a quieter area of the house)...

...and a shot of Nina and Papa's 8 grandchildren.

Since I did snap a few other good shots, I'll just include them in this post as well.

Though I don't have the pictures to prove it, our Christmas trip to Missouri was wonderful! The girls had a blast playing with their cousins, and Bryce couldn't get enough of all the attention and action around him. And us adults? Well, suffice it to say that there's nothing better than time with family.

Buddy the Elf

We finally jumped on the Elf on the Shelf bandwagon this year. Ivie pretty much guilted us into it by talking about how much she wished she had an elf like Riddle, who belongs to the Devers. She kept seeing Danny's pictures of all the silly things that Riddle was doing in the mornings at their house, and the sad look on her face when she would talk about us not having an elf was too much for us to bear. We're suckers and we know it.

So the night before we left for Missouri, I ran to Barnes and Noble and bought the Herman family elf, which we later named "Buddy". Not very creative, I know, but it's certainly better than Dale's suggestion of "Rameses the Elf". In some areas of our lives, sweetheart, we have to separate from our beloved Tar Heels...

After we'd hidden Buddy in several places each morning at my parents' and then again upon our return to North Carolina, Ivie made an off-handed comment to Dale that changed Buddy's life forever. She said, "Daddy, Buddy just isn't as funny as Riddle. He doesn't do silly things like Riddle does."

Telling Dale he's not funny is like telling Macie she can't have dessert.

So I took to the internet to try to step up our game a bit (because we're not very creative on our own). And, just as Buddy's time with us comes to an end (today was his last morning with us before reporting back to Santa and staying at the North Pole until next Christmas season), Buddy turned it around and made the girls laugh.

Here was his pose yesterday morning:

Who doesn't love a nice bubble bath?!?

And here was this morning's:

I think last night's dinner at Los Portales must have gotten to him.

Ivie questioned the appearance of the random toy bathtub and toilet. We didn't offer up any ideas, but she ultimately said, "I wonder if Buddy brought those to go in our Barbie Dream House?" (the main item on her Christmas list).

You know, Iv, you're pretty smart for a 5 year-old.

Buddy, Dale and I will spend the next 11 months coming up with "fun" things that you can do when you return next December. We promise that you'll give Riddle a run for his money...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ivie's 5th Birthday Party Photo Book

It's December, which means that Ivie's 5th birthday party was over 8 months ago. What is it that people say? Better late than never? Yeah, I totally agree with that sentiment.

And I'll take this moment to tout briefly the enhancements that Shutterfly has made to their book-making process. The "embellishments" and the ability to customize the picture sizes and placements? LOVE. Now I just need a coupon code for an 8x8 hard cover book. Anyone?

Click here to view this photo book larger

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Random Act of Kindness

I feel like it's been sooooo long since I've gotten on here and just told a story. But this one? This one is definitely worth the time it will take to write...

First, a little background.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but Dale and I have a reward/punishment system that we started several months ago with the girls. It's a marble system, in which they each have their own jar, and, when they do something particularly "good" (like asking politely for help, instead of whining for it), they are rewarded with a marble. And when they misbehave (like not listening, or saying "NO!" when Dale or I ask them to do something), they get a marble taken away.

Anyway, since this is still a fairly new initiative in our house, we've tossed around a few different ideas about what they can do with their marbles when their jars fill up, which seems to happen a bit more quickly with Ivie than with Macie. I think it's because, well, Macie is THREE and has the attitude to match (although we've seen some signs lately of her growing up a bit!). But to give you one example of how Ivie has "spent" her marbles (each one is worth 10 cents), she used $10 worth to purchase a new leotard for gymnastics (because she couldn't decide which of the two she wanted, and I told her I was only buying one).

Fast-forward to last week. On Wednesday afternoons, I pick up Ivie and a friend of hers after (half-day) Kindergarten at 1p. They decided this past week that they wanted to go to Barnes & Noble and browse/read some books. Before leaving the store, I let them both pick out one of the $4 paperback books to take home. They were beyond thrilled, so it was $8 well-spent.

Their excitement sparked an idea in me, so, that Saturday, I suggested to Dale and the girls that these $4 books might be a wonderful (and educational, and space-saving, you get the picture) way to spend their marbles. They both bought in, so we spent some time counting their marbles to find out how many books they could each buy. It turned out that Ivie was 3 shy of 40 marbles (or $4.00, one book's worth), and Macie was 1 shy of 120 marbles (or $12.00, three books' worth).

By Sunday after church and lunch, they had both successfully earned the necessary remaining marbles (it's amazing how positively sweet they can be when they're striving for something!) to head to the store. So we did.

And this is where the "real" story begins.

When we arrived, Ivie led us up to the children's section of the store. Right at the top of the escalator, there was a table of children's holiday books. On it, I spotted "Llama Llama Holiday Drama", which is the latest story in Macie's current favorite series (others that we own are "Llama Llama Mad at Mama" and "Llama Llama Red Pajama"). When I saw the book, I exclaimed to Macie, "Look, Mac, there's a Christmas "Llama Llama" book! I wonder if you have enough money to buy it! Let me check..." As I opened the book to find the cost, I noticed a lady standing close by, perusing books on the other side of the stand, and we exchanged "knowing Mom" smiles as she overheard my conversation with Macie.

When I discovered that the book was $18, I said to Macie, "Oh, sorry, Mac. This book is $18. You only have $12, so you don't have enough. Maybe if Ivie wants to "go in" with you, you can put your money together and have enough to buy this book!". Macie looked expectantly at Ivie, but, sadly, Iv wasn't interested, as she was already headed over to the $4 books to pick out her own. Macie expressed a bit of sadness, but quickly got over it and moved on. We all followed Ivie over to the cheaper paperback book section, and the girls excitedly picked through the various books, trying to decide which ones to choose.

A few minutes later, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the woman with whom I'd exchanged smiles earlier. She whispered to me, so that the girls couldn't hear, "Excuse me. I have a daughter, too. Would it be okay with you if I did something nice for yours? I have a $20 Barnes & Noble gift card I would like to give you so that you can buy her that book she's wanting."

I wish I could tell you, verbatim, how the rest of our conversation went. Actually, no, I don't. Because I'm pretty sure I sounded like a bumbling idiot. I was so floored by her kindness that it was all I could do to fight back tears and try to develop a coherent response. But (I think!) I managed to thank her profusely and tell her that what I would really like her to do was to find another small child to surprise with the gift card. I explained that my husband and I are blessed with enough money to buy books for our daughters, and that the discussion she had heard about "not having enough money" for the Llama Llama book was our effort to teach Macie the value of money and working hard to earn it.

I think the lady could tell that I was about to cry, so she, mercifully, smiled and walked away. Dale, out of earshot of our conversation but intrigued by the odd look on my face, wandered over. I couldn't even make it through the story. Right in the middle of Barnes & Noble, I cried. Overwhelming kindness will do that to you, apparently.

As adults in this broken world, we see a lot of unthinkable, horrifying, repulsive acts that destroy other people physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But yesterday, in that 30 seconds, my faith in humankind was renewed. Thank you, God, for the gift of that woman.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Facebook: November, 2011

November 2 at 9:26pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
It's going to be a while before I will be able to open the fridge without anticipating a song from the annoying Hallmark Talking Ghost. #myhusbandlovestodecorate

November 3 at 9:06pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
This weekend, our clocks "fall back" an hour. For some people (those without small children), it means an extra hour of sleep. For me, it just means that the clock on the wall in our bedroom will once again display the correct time. #Ireallyamthatlazy

November 6 at 8:06am

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Everyone "doin' their own thing" this morning...

November 8 at 6:23am

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
I've completely lost my voice. Should be an interesting day at work.

November 9 at 7:09am

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
It appears that Bryce's new goal is to blow out as many diapers as possible. My overworked washing machine thinks he's ready to "go pro".

November 10 at 9:24am

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
This morning, during rush hour, a doe successfully crossed Hwy 15-501 at full speed, without breaking stride, and without affecting the heavily-flowing traffic. Impressive, but not surprising. She is female, after all. ;-)

November 10 at 7:07pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Look who's VERY proud to be sitting like a big boy!

November 13 at 1:28pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
A rare picture of all 3 kiddos, enjoying the beautiful fall weather!

November 15 at 12:54pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Bologna sandwich and Doritos. Takes me back to my high school days when it was my lunch literally every day. Still SO GOOD.

November 15 at 5:12pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Ivie's contribution to her class "If I Were President" compilation.

November 15 at 10:29pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
So I get home from a work dinner and go in to check on my sleeping girls. I find Macie Pull-Up-less and manage to get one on her without her even stirring. #canyousaytired?

November 16 at 5:34pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
"Washing bottles isn't that annoying." (Repeat until you start to believe it.)

November 18 at 8:14am

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Ready for a fun day with his friends and Miss Linda!

November 19 at 3:41pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
How I found B after his 2-hour nap.

November 19 at 4:41pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Matching outerwear is overrated.

November 20 at 3:46pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Clearly enjoying his first Carolina basketball game.

November 20 at 6:14pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Lesson of the Day: Pay attention to decor at restaurants. Because your kids sure do.

November 21 at 11:49am

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Iv at her Thanksgiving Feast, ready to sing songs for the parents!

November 23 at 11:38am

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Iv was quick to point out the blue and orange (my favorite pair of colors) butterflies sitting together in the Butterfly Conservatory.

November 24 at 1:18pm

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

November 24 at 1:58pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Lovin' that Grandma's here visiting!

November 25 at 7:07pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Making herself at home at Sweet Frog.

November 26 at 6:51am

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Love waking up to gun shots in the woods behind our house. NOT.

November 26 at 11:46am

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Just finished our Christmas card. I think it's my favorite one ever!

November 26 at 12:31pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Ready for the game. Go HEELS!!!

November 26 at 6:13pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
It wouldn't be the Blue Zone without ice cream...

November 28 at 7:06am

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Why is it that the kids choose the first day back to school/work after the holiday to want to sleep in?!?

November 30 at 1:44pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
Reading at Barnes & Noble

November 30 at 4:23pm

Amy Schaeperkoetter Herman
The girls just walked past each other at Gymnastics (they're in different classes) and broke into a spontaneous hug. Nice to see that they occasionally love each other.