Boy Mom: Paper hearts

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

One of my almost three year old boy's favorite activities is using his little scissors to cut paper into tiny bits that fly everywhere making impossible messes that I continue to find days later.  So one day recently, I attempted to hone that love for cutting into an actual skill and had him start to practice cutting things in straight lines and along curved dotted lines.

After a few pretty solid tries, I folded a paper in half and dotted out the half of a heart for him to cut along.  He concentrated with all his little boy mind and surprisingly cut pretty closely to the dots.



After he had cut the all the way around the half a heart:

Me:  "Open it, baby!  It's like a surprise"

Grey:  "Open it?"

Me:  "Yes!  What did you make?"

Grey (with honest delight & pride):  "Aha!  A butt-crack!"


not yet one.

Monday, January 28, 2013


We were at a local basketball game last week and after the game, we let the kids run (Grey) and wobble confidently (Gem) all over the court before heading home.  Someone pointed at Gemma to tell me that she's beautiful and , 'how old is she?  About one, right?"  I said thank you and that, 'yes, almost, she'll be one next month.'  A few minutes later, Gemma hobbled over to me and lifted her arms and I scooped her up and kissed her squishy, soft cheek.  I smiled and thought, 'nope, she's not yet one.'



not yet one.

ugh, one.  one is such a small number, the smallest of them all and yet it feels painfully grown in the same blink. Her first birthday is one that marks new and 'approved' activities like drinking milk and from a cup - no more bubba for you, biggie girl.  And gives her access to things like honey and peanut butter which have been hidden away from her in her first  year.

I feel like I'm standing with my back to the door of One, pushing against it to hold off all the one-ness that will soon make its way onto our girl.  When those One doors open, it reveals a sliding-board to toddlerhood that the farther along she slides, the quicker she'll go - learning to run, then speak real words, then stringing those words into sentences until before too long she's holding conversations with me, the deli guy at the grocery store, and her stuffed animals.  I will turn back to look through those exit only doors and long for the days of her grinning baby cheeks.

But...

Gemmi is not yet one.  We still sit together for long periods of time not speaking or making sounds, but engaging in meaningful conversations through our facial expressions and the toys we hand back and forth to each other.


She is not yet one.  She will let me hold her for as long as I could care to want.  If I have the time to hold her, she'll take it.  Rarely yet does she struggle against my hug or try to squirm away.  She is content to sit in my arms and pull at my hair and give me one trillion open mouth kisses.  She wraps her little arms around my neck and holds onto my shirt with her tiny fists.

She is not yet one.  She is still easily distracted when I need her to be, like when her brother decides he needs to play with that same toy right now.  Gem is happy enough to be given a shoe in place of that toy and act as though it is just as fun.  Smacking kisses to each other is a game that can stretch on for minutes when I need to occupy her while I finish up a task.

She is not yet one.  Gemma doesn't care about princesses or pink or dolls or dress up.  She plays with cars and arrows and babies and silk scarves without bias.  She joyously waddles after the dogs and is happy to chase or play with her brother in any game he chooses.


But I can see that it is coming; her exit out of babyhood.  I see glimmers of the toddler and the girl she will someday be and it is both beautiful and terrifying.


We introduced her to silverware a few weeks ago and let her try a spoon out and she had surprising accuracy with it.  It was like watching her baby petals pull back to reveal a little girl and it was such a small moment but one that was both heartbreaking and proud.


Or this afternoon when I picked her out of her crib after her nap and she smiled that sweet smile at me.  Then she smacked her lips together which prompted me to say, "You want a kissa, Gemmi?"  To which she leaned her sweet little open mouth to my lips and in that sweet, tender moment I saw my daughter as a toddler who knew what she wanted and how to ask for it. 'Oh no,' I thought, 'she's growing older with each nap.'

Oh, Gemmi girl, maybe someday you will grow up to be a big sap like your mumma or maybe you won't.    But it is crushing me to see how you are already growing too fast.  One whole year already.  how, my darling, how?  Like sand slipping through our fingers, our precious girl.  Like sand.


I love you more today than I did yesterday.  And I will keep loving you a little more and more and more for all the days and years that will just keep coming at you.  But for now, I am clinging to this little baby girl who still smells so sweet and needs only to see a smile on my face to cause a smile on hers.

You are not yet one, my angel.
not yet.
at least not for a little while longer.

breathing through your nose

Thursday, January 24, 2013

...is something we wish we could be grateful for right now.  we have been a house full of sickos this past week.  B and I have been feeling kind of off the last few weeks and then our whole house got slammed this week.  It started in Greyson (as it usually does) on Monday night and swept through every person in our house - ending with me today with the worst I've felt all winter.  Runny noses, sinus congestion, dizzy, headaches, other various aches and pains.  bleh.  bleh. bleh.

when I was feeling a little sorry for myself, I happened to luckily read this beautiful post by Emily at Simple little home (guest posting at Rhythm of the home) and took a deep sigh (through my mouth as my nose is fully clogged) and thought, 'hmm, that's certainly a better way to look at this situation.'

We've been snuggling and lounging without guilt and without so much as glancing at the clock to feel bad about all the things we could be doing or the games we could be playing.  We pile up blankets and pillows on our already comfortable couch to make it even more cozy and we let it just swallow us up whole - sometimes all of us on the same couch all tangled in a mess of sweatpants and blankets and hankies and pillows.



We've invented games to make children feel better (like racing to see who can finish their medicine dispenser faster and calling saline spray our "nose water fountain").  We've been eating soup at least once a day and guzzling orange juice like its pure sunshine.  We dab noses with hankies and then generously smear Aquaphor underneath them and on our cheeks.  All of us looking at each other with our sunken eyes and dry, red noses; we are a family simultaneously swapping germs and attempting to overcome them.


In a few days, we'll be over this little hump and go back to hustling and bustling around - cursing the clock for how quickly the time passes and tossing the kids in timeout without second chances.  Moving through the day taking our healthy, able bodies fully for granted.  But not this week, because we all are feeling a little shitty and somehow that makes us a little more patient and snuggly.

Hope you are all healthy and well.
and if not, drink some liquid and lay on the couch!

Boy Mom: when a fish dies

Friday, January 18, 2013

Our fish died when Greyson was 2 and a half during naptime and we waited until the kids woke up to be able to talk to Grey about death for the first time that he'd be able to understand.

Me:  Grey, honey, we have to tell you something.

Grey:  Okay, Mummie.

Me:  Daddy's fish have died.
(show's Grey the dead fish in an empty bowl)
.
Me:  You see how they aren't in the water anymore.  They won't be living in our fish tank now.

I rub the side of his head and scratch his back lovingly.

Me:  We are going to bury them* so they can go to heaven.  That's where God and Jesus live, so we can pray when we want to talk to them too.

Grey continues to stare silently at the fish in the bowl.

Me:  It's a little sad because they were part of our family and we'll miss them but they made us happy and we can still talk about and remember them.

Grey continues to stare silently at the fish.

Me:  Honey, do you want to ask us anything?

Grey (with an excited look in his eye and mischievous grin on his face):  Mum, touch his eye!

Me:  [harrumph]

Grey:  What?  He won't bite you, he's dead.





*because these fish were 7 years old, they were so big that we literally could not flush them.  We really did bury them.

The 5 days of Christmas or how the Studers celebrated the holiday

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Because we are so blessed and because our children are so lucky, we got to celebrate 5 days of Christmas.  That's right, I said five.

(please feel free to sing to the appropriate tune)...
On the first day of Christmas (Saturday, December 22), our lucky family got to spend it...visiting with our family.

we visited with Gigi's brother; our Uncle Joe & Aunt Ginger.  In a matter of 45 minutes, we had attempted to fly a remote helicopter, built & played in a tent in the basement, blew bubbles with a large fan, fed a cat outside, shoveled the driveway (for fun!), opened gifts, ate candy, and climbed into the attic.  The kids had a blast and we're thinking that maybe Uncle Joe & Aunt Ging need to be on the babysitting agenda asap because it was so much fun that Grey is still talking about it.  (hi Aunt Ginger!  We're not kidding!)






After Uncle Joey's house, we headed to my parents' house (Abba & Chum) to celebrate the holiday with them, my sisters, and their boys.  One of my favorite Christmas moments is when the local fire department rides around my parents' township with their lights flashing to alert families & kids to come out to the road to meet Santa - who just happens to be in the back of the fire/ER truck.  The magic and excitement of seeing those lights and rushing to get shoes and jackets on in time to go see Santa makes my heart well up.  I really love it and was all kinds of momma-choked up watching my kids get so excited by it.  


We enjoyed a delicious Christmas dinner, played Christmas-themed games (which proved Tasha & I know an astonishing amount of Christmas carols), and spent the evening opening gifts, drinking wine, and having a fierce fooseball tournament.






So, I guess this is a good time as any to inform all of my non-family/close friend readers (that don't already know this firsthand) that we have a situation right now that Grey is sort of obsessed with weapons.  We do a whole lot of talking about how we a) don't shoot people, b) we don't shoot in the face,  c) guns are dangerous,  d) swords are dangerous, e) we don't hit too hard, etc, etc, etc, etc.  So, in any case - after all that, Grey does know that we (as in his Daddy, Grandpaps, and uncles) shoot animals - mainly bucks & bears.  So when you see pictures (like a lot of them) that look like the one below, please don't be alarmed - Grey asked demanded the necessary:  "Daddy, be a buck!" beforehand.


I honestly need to follow up my "You might be married to a Redneck" post with "You might be raising a Redneck" post.  Is it the sweetest thing ever that my husband (and all men in our lives) oblige - or the redneckiest thing?  Jury's still out.  





And because my husband is bar-none the handsomest, most thoughtful fella around; he went into cahoots with my Mom to get me an ice cream cake celebrating the fact that my blog hit the 2million pageviews mark.  (thank you to all of my readers!)  But seriously, he's the best because he really is...but also because the cake was reese's cup ice cream cake.  Grey and I practically ate the whole thing ourselves.

I had already swiped a finger into the icing before this pic - I have a problem.


Then the babies were very sleepy and it was time to trek out full bellies and vehicle - full of loving, thoughtful gifts back home to get some rest for our next day of Christmas.


On the second day of Christmas (Sunday, December 23), my lucky family got to spend it.....visiting with more family.

We headed up to Brandon grandma's (Mimi) house for dinner with our aunts, uncles, and cousins.  We enjoyed another great meal (wearing loose pants is a requirement during Christmas season, seriously.) and then spent the afternoon up to our necks in wrapping paper - cause nobody does Christmas gifts like Mimi does for the grandkids.  







All of Mimi's grand and great-grandkids were there to celebrate except for our cousin Cara who is currently stationed in WA with the army.  As part of Mimi's Christmas gift, we brought our iPad and got Cara on the line to be able to spend part of the day with us.  We even got a pic of Mimi with all of her grandkids at once.  



Santa even made a last minute drop-off delivery for the kids in Mimi's breezeway with giant stuffed animals for each of the kids.  Grey was determined to spot a glimpse of him out the door - but alas, Santa was here and gone before we could catch sight of him!

And then we loaded up our sleepy kids and our full bellies and got into our vehicle - full of loving, thoughtful gifts back home to get some rest for our next day of Christmas.

On the third day of Christmas (Monday, December 24), my lucky family got to spend it with....even more time with family!  

B had to work on Christmas eve morning, so the kids and I did our best to get through the day without (hardly any) time outs and kept our grubby paws off of the Christmas cookies we'd been collecting from our previous days of Christmas.  Then we were off to Christmas eve Mass only to squeeze into the very last pew (because we cannot get out the door on time...ever) and attempt to endure our children very ungracefully and unquietly sit through the Christmas pageant and mass.  Oh, it was pretty painful and I was terribly embarrassed the whole time.  Thankfully, it's called the "children's mass" for a reason since there were 7-8 other parents bopping up and down in the vestibule of the church trying to quiet their own gremlin children.  

When we got in the car I told Grey that it was very disrespectful the way he was behaving and that it was Jesus's birthday.  And we were at Jesus's house and that ain't no way to behave at a birthday party for baby Jesus and we needed to say a prayer to say sorry.  Grey folded his hands and said, "Dear Jesus, I'm sorry I was bad for your birthday.  Amen."  Then he looked me square in the face and said, "I can get presents now."  #defeated



We headed home in time to meet both sets of grandparents for a little Christmas eve drink & snacks.  I had found two cute drink recipes from pinterest:  one for the grown ups (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) and one of for the kids (The Grinch).


  

The kids got to open one gift (jammies) and then were shipped to bed so Santa could come.  The grown-ups spent the rest of the night laughing and telling stories around the table before too late and Santa really would have to come.



And then...
On the fourth day of Christmas (December 25), my lucky family got to spend it...(big surprise!) with more time with family (and friends too!)

Since it was a long three days of Christmas and driving and playing prior to Christmas morning - I (very impatiently) resisted the urge to wake the kids up shouting on the top of my lungs, "It's Christmas, It's Christmas, wake up!"  (which is exactly what I have always done my whole life) because the kids really needed the sleep.  So I laid in bed and stared at the ceiling until finally we heard a the old familiar sounds of babies waking on the monitor.  

We spent the morning watching the kids light up in delight while opening gifts, shoving our faces with Christmas cookies, and become increasingly aware of our inability to fit into our clothes (oh, that last one was just me - cool).








Gemma's favorite gift is a toss up between her new silkie (Sarah's Silks Mini Playsilk) and the bubba she promptly guzzled down after opening gifts.


Greyson's favorite gift is a tie between his new bow & arrow set and his very own pack of 'green gum' from his stocking.



After a morning of excitement, we made our way to stop for a short visit at my Aunt Dar & Uncle Mike's house where my extended family was having Christmas dinner.  We got to visit with our cousins Adam&Lea (in from Baltimore), Michael (in from Pittsburgh), Kara (who was getting ready to study abroad in Ecuador - you can read about her current adventures in Quito here at her blog) and my Aunt Lisa who was fresh back from a long stay in Minnesota.  


Then we headed up to Pappy & Gigi's to fill our bellies up (once again) with a delicious meal, laugh and play, eat too many cookies, and open gifts.


tissues



sometimes Grey is the buck!


Then we all sang Happy Birthday to baby Jesus and happily stuffed our already full selves with cake.


And after no naps, and full bellies and a vehicle loaded with gifts - we made a final stop at our family friend's house as is tradition every Christmas, to finish the busy day with a few drinks and laughs.  Grey was 100% checked out (fast asleep on the couch) and Gemmi was happy to stay awake and hang with everyone.  She even got to spend some time with her future boyfriend Layne.  


And THEN we loaded up our sleepy kids and our full bellies and got into our vehicle - full of loving, thoughtful gifts back home to get some rest from Christmas.

Until..
The fifth day of Christmas (January 7th), my lucky family got to spend it....with (you guessed it) even more family.  

My kids are doubly blessed with Orthodox heritage on both sides of their family.  My late grandmother Irene (my middle namesake) was Serbian Orthodox.  And Brandon's Mom's family (Gigi) is Russian Orthodox.  So we get to celebrate one more day of Christmas every January 7th because of our families' heritage- which I love.

It also means that our decorations and Christmas tree has to hold out for a holiday that stretches from December 1-January 8.  Our tree just barely made it this year - 




'Orthodox Santa' dropped off a present each and joint present for the kids.  (Is it weird Grey was wearing the same jammies on both Christmas mornings? hah).  Grey got his favorite; more green gum!  Gemma got a box of ribbons and they got together the movie Brave (which we have since watched approximately 746 times).



Later on Orthodox Christmas, we visited with my Grandma's family for snacks and drinks (she was 1 of 14 kids!) and then met up with Pappy & Gigi for dinner to celebrate. 

It was a wonderful holiday season and we got more than we deserved in both delicious and abundant food & drink and also in beautiful and thoughtful gifts.  But there is no gift (or food for that matter) that can take the place of the time we had spending it with our family and friends.  Having our family and especially our kids surrounded by so much love and so many hugs and smiles is what Christmas means to us.