Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Day 2012

November 1980

At six years old, it was so exciting to take a walk in the evening with my parents. Even better, we were walking to my school for something I couldn’t understand, but knew was exciting. Instead of meeting classmates and their families in my classroom and getting cookies in the cafeteria at the end, we all lined up on the ramp leading into the cafeteria, just like at lunchtime…but with mom and dad. I can always remember them chatting with people they knew, mostly about politics or talking as if I couldn’t hear them about me “just going through a stage.” As if my current behavior were something requiring sheepish explaining that they just had to grin and bear momentarily. (I understand this better as a parent, but ouch!)

My anticipation would grow as we waited outside, matched only by my boredom when I was told to stop using the railing as a gymnastics bar. As we finally made our way inside, it felt like a sacred place. Unlike the friendly chatter outside, once we walked through the doorway, all was hushed and formal. It felt as if I should be wearing a velvet bric-a-brac party dress and black patent leather Mary Janes instead of my skating dress with sneakers from my afternoon practice. Getting a glimpse of those blue curtained polling booths always gave me a little thrill. What was in there? It looked like a secret little hideout. I was quickly corrected that it wasn’t and “get yourself up off that floor, young lady!” Once my parents obtained their ballots, I got to go into the polling booth with one of them. Or, for lack of clear memory, maybe I hopped from one to another. What I do clearly remember, is that I got to vote! I remember being instructed how to carefully place the marker, and pull the handle to punch the ballot. How important and grown up I felt! I scarcely remember the walk home. Likely by then I was cold and tired, and ready for a bath and bedtime. But the thrill of deviating from our evening routine, and the anticipation of participating in something so significant never left me.

The next morning during Carpet Time in class, Ms. Christiansen showed us the chart of 39 men who had been selected to hold our country’s highest position. She then told us that Ronald Reagan would be the 40th President of the United States. That moment is indelibly etched in my memory.

I have later memories of sitting at my grandparents’ house on Election Night. The television would be on so Grandma could see the returns. We would be sitting on the couch behind a tv tray, in the midst of a fierce Aggravation tournament. Grandpa would be out, volunteering as a poll worker. All these bits of memory come together as an instilled responsibility to participate in this system.

Present Day

Four years ago, I took Hayden and Logan to the polls, waited in line with two bored and rambunctious children, then let them take turns punching the ballot for me. Honestly, it’s a nice change from them punching each other. That January, they heard President Obama’s speech at school, then again at home with us. They shared that excitement that something so amazing had happened. Today, they don’t remember any of that.

This morning we all rose about an hour earlier than usual. It’s Election Day! Despite the early hour, everyone was up, dressed and fed in record time. I had my moments last night when I thought maybe it would be better to just go on my own. It would be so much easier. They are going to be bored and be a total nuisance in line. I was correct about all of that…except one thing. It wouldn’t be better. This morning I took my oldest sons to the heart of our democracy, our local polling place. We arrived a little after 7:00am. Despite the early hour, there was already a line, and they were excited to see our neighbor, with one of her sons, toward the front of the line. I’d love to tell you that my kids behaved beautifully, calm and patient for the 15 minutes or so that we waited. I’d love to tell you all about their engaged interest as I filled them in on interesting information about our election system, propositions, and respect for people with differing opinions. I’d love to tell you all that. The truth is, they were a total pain in the ass. The only thing while waiting in line that truly got their attention were the foul-mouthed middle school kids, on campus and ready to start their day.

As we entered the auditorium, suddenly, their behavior completely changed. A calmness and interest in what we were doing took the place of body checking and mocking each other. As we were asked to clarify our address, they were quick to speak up. When I had to sign my name in the book, they were filled with wonder that I was on The Official List. Of course, it goes without saying that getting to work the ballot voting machine was the highlight. They nicely took turns, carefully following my instructions as to which selection to mark. They even examined the ballot at the end, concerned that it wasn’t completely filled out. Maybe we missed something! I told them that there could be more things to vote on, so this time it didn’t use all the columns on the ballot. They proudly took their stickers and we headed out the door. The moment we hit the sidewalk, the shoving, tripping and madness ensued. While we waited endlessly to get out of the parking lot they antagonized the crap out of each other. Business as usual. I guess the interior of the polling site still feels sacred, even without the blue curtains.

I have no remorse that I dropped them off late to school today. I feel proud to have them with me for something so important. I want them to be a part of this, and feel a connection and sense of belonging when the returns come in and we find out who won and what passed. And someday, I want them to reflect on their first conscious recollection of Election Day, and take my grandchildren with them to vote.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Besides the kids..what’s new?

Pets! We now have three. This is a solely Marlo-led endeavor, with kid backup. Back in November 2009, my beloved Conan disappeared shortly after my discovery of the Nocturnal Racoon Bandit. I have missed him terribly since, my sweet, fierce Sir Snugs-a-Lot that terrorized countless family members and guests, yet never so much as scratched a child. That next January, our affectionate Voodoo, who endeared herself even to non-catlovers, passed away at home, while we played a boardgame a few feet away. The loss of these elderly cats was deep and painful. For years, Fillip and I had said that once the cats were gone, we would get a dog. Fillip  took some convincing, but given how often Fillip works at night, I wanted the comfort of knowing a canine companion was watching over us while he was out.

Last January the boys and I headed over to the animal shelter to get them their very first dog. We chose to meet two dogs in the designated area. One was a Boston terrier type, super cute and friendly. The other one was Doris. The kids' overwhelming choice was Doris, and so begins the saga of my Least Favorite Pet Ever That Has Grown On Me Over Time. For the record, I want to make it clear that although I take full responsibility for bringing her home, I take NO responsibility for her name. I blame Fillip for that.

Doris had a tough transition into our household. Although Fillip fell in love the very first evening she convalesced from her spay surgery in his lap, within a few days she was overly rambunctious, digging holes, chewing anything she could and just driving me crazy. She would playfully nip the boys running around, and not so playfully nip our guests. She immediately took ownership of our property and family. Within a couple days she had hopped the back fence, yet stayed in the front yard eagerly awaiting our return, while defending the property from previously friendly neighbors out walking their own dogs. She is quite trainable when we spend the time.The official story from the shelter was that her owners surrendered her because they moved. Clearly, there is more to it than that. She is very sensitive to loud noises, and wouldn't even go out in the yard if the bug zapper was on. She would just cower. Someone hurt her, which is so sad.  Initially, her only saving grace was her gentleness with baby Sutton. He crawled over to take a toy she was playing with, making me very anxious. She simply let him have it, then gently grabbed the other end with her teeth, slowly pulling it back and forth in a nurturing version of Tug-O-War. The kids can take her food while she is eating, climb on her and play rough with her, without the slightest sign of aggression. Despite all the aggravation she had caused, I decided she could stay.

Now she is easy to have around, with few problems. Sometimes she barks too much or gets in the trash, but overall has melded into the family. We enjoy most of her antics, my favorite being her frequent groaning. I swear, she lies down on her bed like an 80 year old man, rather than a spry three year old dog. She loves going for walks, and especially loves going for a run when I skate with the Sutton in the stroller, and the older boys on bikes. Sometimes she plays with a dog down the street. They sound loud and aggressive, but have a great time! The boys love her and I enjoy snuggling up on the couch with her. When they are all grown up, this is the childhood dog they will remember, I hope fondly.

Although we had always said this would be the Decade of a Dog, it turns out I am really a cat person. I’ve missed those cats terribly, and find myself mesmerized by the friendly neighborhood cats. As I mentioned here, I decided it was time to add a feline to the family. This sweet cat that showed up didn’t work out for us. He is being fostered down the street and often comes to visit. I still find myself completely drawn to him, but just can’t handle his bad habits in our house. In February, we adopted a new cat from the animal shelter. There were two 6-month old kittens who had been found together. One looked like a snowshoe and the other a caramel black and grey tabby with white socks. The snowshoe seemed a bit reserved, so we adopted the tabby. Although he seemed like an average sized kitten at the time, he quickly bloomed into a gorgeous, fluffy beast of a cat. At about a year old, we suspect he has some Maine Coon in him, and know that he is one cool cat. We named him Perry, because when we got him he would make a funny sound like the character on Phineas and Ferb. Also, like those characters, we often find ourselves going “Where’s Perry?” Perry the Catypus is a very independent soul who will contentedly tolerate some cuddling, but isn’t a lap cat. Howevre, he does love to snuggle up with Hayden up on the top bunk bed. He spends a great deal of time outdoors, showing up in the late evening for bedtime. Our bedtime..not his. While we try to sleep, he plays energetically all night. Doris sleeps in our bedroom with the door closed because the sound of the two of them frolicking all night was just too much. Perry loves to stalk Doris in the backyard and spring out at us when we walk across the front yard. He’s very spunky and sweet.

Given the lengths I went to in convincing Fillip to get Doris and Perry, it was kind of understood that our pet populace was full up. Then, a friend of mine posted adorable pics of a tiny kitten she had found that needed a home. He was eating from a bottle and had leftover milk on those little chin whiskers..so cute! When Fillip came home that afternoon, I greeted him with “I’m off to get Sutton, and a friend is dropping of a kitten in 15 minutes. Bye!” In protest Fillip was quite sullen during the dropoff. However, he immediately took to this sweet, tiny grey and black tabby. For all his blustery, gruffness, Fillip can’t resist a baby anything. He said “Give him to me..I get to bond with this one!” So, we now have our adorable, Silly Billy. Hayden has nicknamed him Bilbo, like the hobbit. He is super energetic, and oh so sweet. He still has a strong need to nurse, and will kneed and suckle his stuffed raccoon for an hour or more every night. If he gets too wound up, we just give him his raccoon to calm him. Sometimes, I catch him doing the same to a very content Doris. He loves to snuggle and is very gentle.He will play with anything he can find, much to the delight of the boys. He also likes to sleep with the kids when they go to bed. When I go for one last tucking in before I hit the sack, I often find Baby Sutton and Baby Billy snoozing away together. Logan usually builds a little nest of pillows and stuffed animals on his bed, including Billy's raccoon. I think the sound of Billy's purring and sucking lulls my non-stop Logan to sleep.

All three pets romp and play together, much to our amusement. Doris seems very happy to have playmates and the cats don’t seem to care that she is a 60 lb dog. She is more gentle with tiny Billy than Perry is, but Billy holds his own. They are all very tolerant of well meaning, if not so careful children. The kids are pretty good about caring for all of them, from feeding and watering to cleaning up after them. We certainly didn’t need any more beings in our house, yet I am so glad our animal family is there as well.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sutton at 2 Years Old

Sutton is by far our two-est one. Someone handed him the Being Two Years Old Manual, and he decided to write the updated version. He is into everything! Each time he steals something (which is constantly) and we ask for it back, he runs away. When we get close enough to grab it, he throws it out of reach. Not a big deal when he has a hair tie. Not a good idea with the tv remote or my camera or a glass or…..

He moved to his big boy bed a couple months ago when he started climbing out of his crib. He hasn’t stopped climbing out since then! Rarely do we get a full night’s sleep. Around 2 or 3am each morning, he crawls into bed with us. It’s super sweet…until the kicking begins. Yet, I love to wake to that sweet little face next to me on the pillow. After weeks of this, I am a walking zombie. It’s not uncommon for me to wake squished between Sutton and Logan. So, I’ve had to become the mean mommy once again. When Sutton comes in while it is still dark, I tell him to go back to his room and get in his bed. Once he has, I will go tuck him in. He will usually stay until dawn, which is a huge improvement! After daylight breaks, I will usually let him snuggle up until my alarm goes off a few minutes later. This morning however, he returned triumphantly, heralding in the day with the announcement “I went pee pee!” Yes, this is good news, BUT it meant instead of the usual warm snuggle and hitting the snooze button, I had to get right up to get the bare bottomed Button a new diaper, wash his hands and get him his earned treat. Yeah, potty training is great, blah blah blah. Although he is potty training, it is far from consistent. The desire for treats and praise is there, but he doesn’t yet recognize that it isn’t an On Demand feature of his body. He will sit there getting frustrated, banging on his privates yelling “PEE PEE!” Kinda cute and sad all at once.

Getting warmed up by Daddy.

First night in his Big Boy Bed!
One of his absolute favorite things to do at home is dance. Well, demand to dance. He knows which button on the keyboard launches the music program. This is first thing he wants to do every day. He will come over to us with an excited grin, say "Dace!" and give a little dancing bounce. Too cute! He also sings along to the songs most often heard on our playlist. Sure, Sexy Back isn't the most appropriate song for a 2 year old to sing, but it sure is cute when he throws his hands in the air and yells "Yeah!" on cue. He now sings songs on his own, which is unbelievably cute. He mostly sings Row Your Boat and Bear is Now Asleep, complete with hand motions. This last one is from his Spring Program. In December, I called him the Unhappiest Elf Ever, as he stood on stage looking sadly stoic. In May, he had such a great time, he wanted to do it again!

Enjoying cocoa on his 2nd birthday.
His language has exploded and he says new words every day. It’s amazing what he comes up with that we didn’t realize he knew. He gives the sweetest hugs and kisses and greets me with the most amazing amount of enthusiasm when I get home every evening. He seems to enjoy being at preschool, but lately has been sad being dropped off. He cries often, but when I peek in 2 minutes later he is happily playing. Trying to get him used to me sending off happily without the long drawn out tour of his classroom, then tears, I now kiss and snuggle him at the door, rather than coming into the school. It seems to be improving, and today he gave me a sweet kiss, then ran off to play.

 Every night we read Go Dog Go and Goodnight Moon. He LOVES Go Dog Go, and it has become an interactive story together. The older boys pipe in as well, making it fun family time. “The dogs go to sleep. They will sleep (all together now!) ALL NIGHT!” As always, story time is one of my favorite parts of the day. When we read any book, he points to different letters and calls them by name, so I’ve decided he is a genius. He wants to do everything we are doing. Although he volunteers to help the most, I’m not sure he’s the biggest helper! He loves to help us cook, cracking eggs (quite well!) and mixing things together. He helps feed the dog and empty the lint trap in the dryer. Oh, and pillage anything he can! He’s absolutely delicious.

Little mensch all dressed up at the family reunion.

I know I'm cute.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Logan At Nearly 7 Years Old

Logan is a constant rainbow of emotions. He can brighten a rainy day with his smile and twinkly eyes, yet send storm clouds to the Sahara on a moment’s notice. Scratch that…no notice given! He vacillates between uber helpful, and mulishly stubborn. He remains so sweet and vulnerable despite his quick and volatile temper. There is no halfway with this kid. He’s an Act Before He Thinks little guy, yet so incredibly observant and astute. His bright blue eyes seem to glow…often with mischief. Logan loves to test people’s patience and certainly won’t be winning the World’s Greatest Listener Award. Yet he is unbelievably endearing to everyone who knows him.

Logan has also enjoyed summer camp, acquiring that golden tan genetically straight from Fillip. He loooooves the ladies, and has several girl friends that he enjoys playing with. Just this morning the counselor he chats about constantly told me he is her “#1 Camper!” I believe it, little charmer! On our many beach trips he has proven absolutely fearless in rock climbing and boogie boarding. I watched him get dunked under by waves repeatedly, coming to shore with a whoop and a grin!

Logan adores Sutton, although he can be a bit overwhelming. Every night he invites his little brother to join the Snuggle Club on his bed, and see if Sutton wants to sleep with him. Most nights he goes to sleep with a kitten nestled in his bed, snuggled into his nest of pillows, blankets and stuffed animals. It’s still fairly common for him to climb into bed with me to snuggle during the night. I can usually predict this, when I think he is going to need more physical contact that he didn’t get during the day. He still regularly comes over requesting a hug and kiss. He is very verbal about his emotions and what he needs. It’s a great thing as it gives us much opportunity to address anything that is bothering him, while nurturing those things that make him feel so good.

He is excited to begin 2nd grade, and be back at school with his friends. Although we have had a fun Summer Break, he misses the friends has hasn’t seen these last several weeks. A few months ago Logan got severely injured at school. After showing off in a tree, the branch broke, causing him to crash face first into the asphalt. All this happened (putting on a show for his friends, swinging around, crashing and bleeding)…without an adult noticing. Later in the hospital he  told me "I told my friend Jack that I could jump out of the tree and land on my feet. And I did! Then I landed on my face." His friends ran for help. The result was a broken nose and severe concussion. Although extensive neurological sci-fi testing shows everything is ok, he still gets frequent headaches, and I still feel queasy every time I remember those horrible hours of watching him limp, gray and unable to stay conscious. Fortunately, his sparkle returned quickly, but I feel bad that he has to deal with these headaches.

Logan still loves to cook, and recently I set him loose with some halved avocados and a pantry, and he made the yummiest guacamole! I was concerned about the over use of lime juice, but that tang was right on in our chicken tacos. Far be it for me to worry about that again… or hassle myself making the guacamole! It’s accomplishments like that which he feels so great about and give us an opportunity to highlight his many positive talents.

Logan continues to be such a brilliant, joyful light in our house. That little sensitive soul has us all charmed.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Family Update - Hayden

Obviously, it’s been awhile since I posted! Since I’ve missed several birthdays and a hundred anecdotes, I will just start in the now.

Hayden at 8 years old-

Hayden is so grown up, I can’t even believe it. Physically, he is starting to get lanky with feet that won’t quit. He’s incredibly handsome with a charming smile, and a fun dry wit. He loves sports, electing to go to Sports Camp instead of the regular day camp this year. Making lanyards apparently just didn’t interest him. Fortunately, his counselor realized that on the very first day. He’s enjoyed playing soccer or baseball every day, seems to be improving his foosball skills, and is picking up some choice language from the mixed age group. At home he has been enjoying watching a ton of Olympic sports and LOVES to play Skylanders whenever he is allowed.

We are very big on everyone having responsibilities, and working as a team. Hayden could use some improvement in the Help Around the House category. Asking him to do anything is SO ANNOYING to him. We’ve tried to convince him that Eye Rolling is not an Olympic sport. However, he seems to think that if he keeps it up, maybe he can compete in the 2020 Olympic Games by bringing back Demonstration Sports. It could go on the schedule right after they bring back Pigeon Racing.

He continues to be a doting big brother to Sutton, even volunteering to take him potty. If Sutton goes in the potty, they both get treats! He really looks after his littlest brother and they have a very strong bond. His relationship with Logan is much more up and down. Much of the time they play great together. Much of the time Hayden can be quite a bully to Logan. Although, just yesterday, they went to Disneyland with camp. They each had $20 to spend. After lunch, Hayden found some personalized key chains. There was a Logan one and a Hayden one. Sweet kid bought the one for Logan, saying “I haven’t been treating him so great lately, and I thought he would like it.” Kvelling! They really do love each other, despite the frequent bickering. When Logan got hurt at school a few months ago, Hayden spent a very anxious afternoon waiting for us to get home from the hospital, just so he could see for himself how Logan was doing. Another day, Logan literally fell on his face walking out the door. Hayden was in a panic, and so upset that his brother was hurt. He doesn’t express a lot, but he loves his brothers.

Hayden remains a rather cautious and introspective kid. He keeps his emotions close to the chest, so we listen very closely when he lets them out. His time on the beach can vary from playing with Logan gleefully, to sitting quietly reading a book. He’s become more adventurous, playing in the waves and boogie boarding this summer. He is so eager to begin 3rd grade, although I suspect that will fade quickly once he needs to start getting up a bit earlier for school. School begins next week, and he is eager to see his friends every day, start learning new things and have homework again. Strangely, he hasn’t done all that much reading this summer, but that will change quickly once school begins. I’m still constantly amazed at how quickly he reads and how much he retains. Recently at a birthday party:

Logan- “Hayden, how many chapters in the 7th Harry Potter book?”

Hayden- “Thirty six and and epilogue.”

I haven’t looked it up, but I’d be willing to bet money he’s right.

Sunday, January 08, 2012


It's no secret that ever since losing Conan and Voodoo I've desperately missed them. Although it was painfully sad to see Voodoo pass away, it's been particularly hard to have lost Conan, because we don't know what happened to him. I've dreamt of him coming home, see cats around the neighborhood that resemble him, and just miss him terribly.

I've wanted to get a kitten for quite awhile now, and Fillip has been the uncharacteristically practical-minded one opposing a new cat. However, by yesterday I'd had enough of living without any cats, as it was the first time ever that I'd been without one, so I took a stand. Yesterday I said I was going to get a cat. We went over all the reasons why that wasn't a good idea, and although they are all valid, I said I wanted to get one anyway. After Fillip left for work, the kids and I went to buy supplies for bringing home a new kitten- litter box, food, toys, etc... Then we went over the East Valley Animal Shelter. They didn't have what we wanted, so after lunch and naps we headed out again to the West Valley Animal Shelter. I almost brought home a 3 yr old Bengal mix, but just wasn't sure she was the right fit. She was understandably nervous, but unpredictable. Despite the tears in Hayden's eyes, we left without a new cat. I was feeling rather silly for having bought supplies for a new cat, when we had no cat.

After we all got home we ordered pizza. As Fillip was paying the delivery guy, I heard him trying to shoe something out of the way. In our house that could be anything, but he sounded really insistent and surprised. After a few tries, a cat insisted on coming right in! He walked in, looked around and started purring. Of course, 3 little kids immediately descended with loud voices, fast movement and some tail pulling. This cat didn't even flinch. When I picked him up he just melted into me. Within 10 minutes he had made himself right at home, even sprawling out in the middle of the floor while we got the kids situated for dinner. I immediately noticed his uncanny resemblence to Conan, but we thought he was a kitten (about 9 mos old) because he is so little, not to mention skin and bones.

By late last night I'd nearly convinced myself that Conan had returned to us after over 2 yrs missing. I can't even describe how much they look alike with few variations that are subtle and could be explained by 2 yrs of aging and being on the streets. Not to mention, I know this cat, and he knows me. It seems weird, but he just knew I needed a cat and showed up. I figured that since he was obviously so comfortable in the house, insistent on coming in and wanting to be close to us, how could it not be Conan, as far fetched as that would be? Of course the odds of a cat who was nearly 16 yrs old when he disappeared over 2 years ago surviving this long, then returning home is pretty low...it could happen, right?

So, today I took him to the vet to have him checked out and see if I could verify who he is. Well, he is Conan...but reincarnated in another cat. As crazy as it was, I had been so thrilled to be reunited with that beloved pet, that I balled like a baby in the vet's office at the very logical news that this is a different cat. It was like saying goodbye all over again. However, it is probably best that this isn't Conan. Having an 18 yr old cat would mean potentially high vet bills, possibly a messy illness and passing to deal with...and another goodbye.

This little guy chose our family for some reason beyond my understanding, but we are absolutely floored that he is here. He is so sweet, goodnatured with the kids, completely comfortable here and already a part of this family. He and Doris are still working on an uneasy truce, but they are fine as long as she doesn't get her nose too close to his. The vet says he is 7-8 yrs old. I declined the full bloodwork panel (and add'l $145 on the bill) figuring we'll fatten him up a bit, then see how he seems. So far, he is very calm, sleeps a lot, but also wanders around to be near us and seems to be eating and drinking well. He uses the box no problem. I can't help but see him as another cat, but I think that will change as we learn more of his personality and give him a name. 

Sometimes life happens in ways we just can't explain, but that's what makes it so amazing.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Sutton!

We can't believe that Sutton is already 1 year old! This year has gone by in a flash. Sutton has spent this last year charming each and every one of us. His big brothers are constantly entertaining him, carrying him around, playing with him....waking him, etc.... Some days they hop on in the crib with him! He equally adores them and we aren't sure, but he might already say a form of  "brother." Fillip is convinced he also says Dada with meaning, along with a couple other words, but I'm not quite sure.

This little guy is our first picky eater. He isn't even consistent about what he likes and doesn't like. For awhile cheese was the best, but now he won't even taste it. Also on the Loved It But Now Hate It List is cereal with fruit in it (although this morning he ate it with just cinammon), yogurt, and several other foods. Current faves are all fruit, especially strawberries and bananas. As soon as he sees the bananas in the shopping cart he goes crazy! Typically, I give him a "fruit pouch" with fruit puree in it to get him through the checkout line. Speaking of shopping carts - he usually gets to stand in the basket rather than strapped in the seat. He can wiggle out of most commercial buckles, and did quite the acrobat act from the seat to the  basket, head first at Trader Joes. A ...ahem....let's say well meaning lady told me "I always use the buckle. It's really helpful." I curtly told her he was buckled, which is why he was hanging there upside down, rather than falling all the way in. As Hayden would say "DUH!" As Logan would say "Mind yoh own business." Anyway......   Despite the shopping cart acrobatics, he flirts with everyone in the store, and is a very sly Secret Shopper...throwing stuff in and out of the cart.

Within a couple weeks of his birthday he cut his first two teeth, learned to walk, and got his first black eye. The black eye was related to the walking, but he's fine. Screamed more about applying ice than anything else. Teething has been rough for him, spiking a 102-103 F fever with each tooth for about 3 days. This comes replete with late night waking and daytime fussiness. So, our first normal kid, I suppose.

Despite my seeming whining, he is such a doll. In general, he just goes with the flow, goes to bed easily, hangs out around the house or whereever we are, and is a happy little sweetheart. He loves  to play in his room with us these days. He likes to lie on the ground and play "Steam Roller" or come running to me to throw himself into my arms again and again. My nose makes his ribs extremely ticklish and I love his giggle. His older brothers make him giggle just by being themselves. He also laughs when other people do with the cutest little "ha HA!" He's got a series of noises that we all repeat after him. Some silly, and some demanding, but all cute. The shriek isn't so cute. He is starting to follow simple directions with a few misunderstandings. When I told him to close the bathroom door he thought I said drawer. Very cute. When I tell him no, he will usually stop what he is doing, such as playing in the trashcans. However, he seems to think that "Thank you! Good listening!" actually means "Please, carry on with what you were doing." These days we have to keep the bathroom doors closed because he treats the toilets as his own personal birdbath. Eywww!! He and Doris the Dog seem to have a thing together. He loves her! She is very good with him, putting up with being poked, pulled, crawled on, stepped on, etc... When he takes the toy she is playing with, she plays a gentle Tug-O-War with him.

Suttton still takes 2 naps a day, but all three boys go to bed around the same time. Sutton sleeps the night until his brothers make enough of a ruckus in the morning to wake him up. He has always been extremely patient about getting to eat. Typically, I make sure the other boys have their breakfast and lunches packed before Sutton gets to nurse. Some days he get's some Cheerios to hold him over, but usually he just plays until I'm ready. He loves to snuggle, especially with Fillip. He doesn't like me to snuggle him much at bedtime, but as he is playing throughout the day, he will come over to be held for just a minute before getting back to playing. Although he has plenty of toys, he'd rather pillage cabinets, trash, his brothers' room, etc.... We should ask for cardboard boxes and wrapping paper only for his birthday!

Everyday I am so very thankful to be home with this little boy. Each day with him is full of overwhelming joy. He has brought even more love into this house, as each and every one of us love and adore him. I'm so proud of how Hayden and Logan treat him and have adjusted to a baby in the house. Although there were some rockier moments, overall they have been great. They are loving, fun and nurturing to him. They watch out for his safety, and sometimes overwhelm Sutton in trying to play with him. We are so very, very blessed to have these three amazing boys.

Sutton has had a fun first birthday. He had a cookie at breakfast, a chocolate muffin at lunch and icecream at dinner. He got pictures taken at the mall, rode a little train, played at school with his big brothers and friends, dinner at the mall, first carousel rides and rode the train again, as well as being carted around in a fire engine stroller. Mommy was happy because he kept his birthday crown on. :) We all had a great time together, and a very happy birthday boy.

I can't express how much I love my Sutton Button. What a lucky Mommy I am.