Thursday, December 3, 2009

Honest and Candid

Sometimes I wish I could get honest and candid with my writing on here sometimes, but I'm reluctant to turn this into more of an online diary. I know I'd regret many of the things I'd be honest and candid about, as much of what irks me or frustrates me - and fuels the want to vent - are also things that I just need to work through independently. They're likely best left unsaid for various reasons as well. And I'm not sure why sometimes there are moments that there seem to be more things that irk me than not, but unless I decide otherwise, I'll just have to work them out in my head for now.

I do want to mention two peculiar things that came about since my last post:

1) Isaiah pooped in the potty!! (I can't believe that is something I'm so proud to note, but it's progress. He totally didn't mean to, it was happening before he knew it, but he was so happy that we reacted so positively that I'm hoping it happens again soon! Oh that I have to go through potty training two more times...)

2) After claiming my boys to be amazing (which they still are), two of them had two consecutive bad days immediately following that post. I should have knocked on wood.

Anyhow, back to my distraction - my boys - from the things that are troubling me! Must be since I'm soon to turn 30... yikes! I'll blog about THAT later!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bragging Rights

Okay, so I'm certain every parent feels they have bragging rights about their children, but I have to claim my children to be absolutely amazing. They are gems. I am by no means taking full responsibility for their awesomeness - they are by nature wonderful kids - but I do think Greg and I have worked hard to help mould them, shaping at least the right direction. We are not perfect, nor is our parenting. We work on it every day. We acknowledge our shortcomings and work to improve. One step forward, two steps back most times. Yet our kids are great.

What brings this "I-feel-the-need-to-brag" moment about? Well, we went on a shopping trip to Birch Run, MI this past weekend, and numerous times we were given compliments regarding how well behaved our children were. And they really are. They are quiet and polite, well-mannered and calm. Not to say they don't have their moments - Isaiah and Braylon each fall victim to emotional reaction like their mom in the form of a temper tantrum, and sometimes it does happen in public. But they are for the most part exceptionally well behaved. I can take all three grocery shopping with no hesitation, and again when I did so today I had several people comment about what good boys they were being.

Of course much of it is nature - they were born good children, it is in their blood (thankfully they haven't seemed to have acquired some of our not-so-favourable characteristics). But I don't necessarily believe we were lucky to be blessed with good children, as many note, at least not entirely. I firmly believe we've had our hand in it too (so I suppose in a way I am bragging for a moment about Greg and I as well...). Though I often feel like a failure in a way, especially when I give in to an emotional response to their behaviour. Or in particular how Isaiah is still not fully potty trained; I have those moments questioning my ability to help him. Why can't I get my child to poo in the toilet? What is wrong with me as a parent? What am I doing wrong?

But then I also have those moments that I am proud of what I am doing. My boys often sleep all together. They play with one another so well. They rarely hit or punch, unless provoked. They are gentle and loving souls, in different ways. I am very blessed, and thankful for being so.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Letters to Santa

Our town's Santa Claus parade was this past Saturday and during the parade the post collects letters to Santa (rather than mailing). So the boys and I (yes, mostly me) sat down to write their letters to Santa a few days before the parade. I sort of wanted to highlight what they're each like right now, so they're not your typical letter to Santa. Anyhow, I'll post them regardless!

Dear Santa, November 20, 2009

My name is Caleb and this is my first Christmas (I am only 2 ½ months old, afterall)! I am very excited because my big brothers, Isaiah and Braylon, have told me all about it! Plus, I am becoming more alert with each passing day, taking in the world around me, so I am looking forward to seeing what the Christmas season is all about. I know I’ll get to spend the holidays with my loving family, and that is what is most important.

So far I have been a very good, sweet baby – I am very calm and quiet. I know my mom is busy with my two older brothers who are both toddlers (and therefore sometimes demanding of her time and energy), so I like to be as easy to care for as possible. Even though I am the youngest of three boys, though, my mom remembers to spend special time with me, and I love when she cuddles me tight. Daddy does too, especially on Sundays when he’s watching football. We have some great naps together, snuggled close. I’ve also been fortunate to have things of my own already, and what hand-me-downs I’ve been given have been worn well by my brothers before me, so I’m pretty lucky! I know there are far less fortunate children out there than to be the third of three boys, so I am going to give away all my clothes and toys once I am done using and playing with them.

I am growing every day, so I’ll likely be a little different come Christmas. Lately, I have been becoming very aware of my environment and like to smile in reaction to noises and familiar faces/voices. I love when my brothers remember to talk to me and when mommy is close-by. In fact, I am rather content to be simply placed in a room full of people; that in of itself is often enough to entertain me! I do, however, like to interact with my toys – my flailing arms are starting to show some sense of coordination when reaching for toys above me in my gym or dangling from the arch on my chair. As far as physical growth goes, I’ve had a very strong neck from birth, early able to hold my head up steady. I have gone through a serious bout of infant acne and am trying to beat cradle cap as I write, as heading into the winter season my skin is sensitive to the dry conditions. As a result, I’ve lost some of my locks since birth, but I’ve still a head full of hair! I love to sleep on my side, when not swaddled tightly, so that helps!

Anyway, Santa, I am looking forward to the holidays this year. Good luck finishing up with your list making toys in the workshop at the North Pole! Merry Christmas!

Love, Caleb (age 2 ½ months)

Dear Santa, November 20, 2009

My name is Braylon and I am almost 2 years old! I am writing to you this year as a middle brother, becoming a big brother to Caleb this past fall. My mommy says I am doing such a great job as a big brother. I love to hold my little baby brother, and I always remember to be gentle and loving with him. I adore planting kisses on his forehead, and I can’t wait for him to grow bigger so he can play with Isaiah and me. My older brother Isaiah is my best friend – I idolize him, I really look up to him. We play so well together, and I always want to do what he’s doing.

But sometimes I like my own things too. My favourite things to do are to play hockey and kick the ball around. This winter I am looking forward to getting out on the ice to learn how to skate. As you can tell, I prefer to be active – I’m not really into watching cartoons or reading books. I also enjoy playing cars with Isaiah. We have quite a few to play with, especially when we are rewarded for going potty well. I’m already trying potty since Isaiah is still being trained. I am a really good brother. I share well – whenever Isaiah wants something I am playing with, I give it to him willingly, even though he seldom returns the favour – and I just like to have fun. I am a very good little boy with a gentle soul and a happy, carefree spirit.

In fact, I’m getting so big. Mommy and daddy took my soother away for good a few weeks ago, and I hardly put up a fight. I’m also developing in terms of language – my words are really coming along. Even if no one else knows what I am saying, sometimes the intonation of what I intend to say is enough for my parents to understand. I can even sing along to children’s songs, without actually saying a single word, and my parents know which song I am trying to sing! I am a very good eater, except when I notice my brother has stopped eating and then sometimes I follow suit. And I really enjoy watching mommy cook supper or bake treats – I’m always asking to go up on the counter to help (or supervise). I love to cuddle still, even though I have my own comfort toy – a black lab fittingly called Raider. My brother Isaiah has one he calls Bailey! Together we love animals, especially feeding the ducks (I go nuts for ducks!). You could say I have my own quirks too, like how I always end up taking my socks off soon after mommy has dressed me in the morning; I like to be barefoot and free. Or how I am a very hesitant little boy – take, for instance, that I can climb up and down stairs, but I prefer to do so on my bum. I just like to be cautious! And even though I can be stubborn, I am full of personality. I love to ham it up, and just enjoy life! I am looking forward to turning two in the new year, and even though I am a late bloomer in some regards (like my teeth cutting in – I still only have 6 fully through), I have come a long way! But I am even more excited about Christmas first, so bring on the snow and festive spirit! I can’t wait to make some holiday memories this winter, Santa! I hope you’re just as excited making all the toys in your workshop for the good little boys and girls!

Merry Christmas!

Love, Braylon (age 21 ½ months)
Dear Santa, November 20, 2009
My name is Isaiah and I am three years old. I am already very excited for Christmas this year with my growing family. I am now big brother to Caleb, my baby brother, and Braylon too, who is only 14 months younger than me. He and I are the best of friends and I am looking forward to Caleb growing up so he can play with us. I am an excellent big brother. I am very gentle and loving with Caleb, and I’ve been a big help to mommy when she asks me to talk to him, trying to make him laugh, or put his soother back in when it slips out. He is such a sweet little boy. My little brother Braylon is the best! Sometimes I forget to play nicely with him, mostly because I used to be the only one vying for attention and I could play with everything by myself as I wanted. I can be very stubborn, and terribly independent, but I am becoming better at sharing and letting Braylon have a turn. At least I now always have a playmate!

My favourite things to play with are cars (especially Lightning McQueen), Thomas the Train, Little People, and animals. I have a vivid imagination; I am really good at making up stories for my toys, especially my animals, taking inspiration from the cartoons I watch, like Little Bear and Franklin. And I love watching cartoons! My mom says I am extremely bright and articulate, and most people find me well spoken for having just turned three. I also really enjoy reading and the school (pre-K books) my mom does with me. I know my numbers from 1 through 10, my ABCs, my colours and shapes, and I can also connect/circle objects and determine which is the smallest or largest. I love colouring (my favourite colour is red) and my motor skills are developing quickly since I can now colour much closer to the lines! I have an excellent memory as well. Sometimes I amaze my parents with the things I remember! I’m excited to actually go to “my” school next fall, not just because I like to learn but because I love playing outside on the equipment too! I really like the new set in town that my mom takes me to sometimes. Actually, I love being outdoors, riding my tricycle or helping daddy with work!

This Christmas will be my fourth, so I’m beginning to remember what it’s all about. I’ve already wondered if I’ve heard the bells of your sleigh, Santa, and I’ve been asking mommy and daddy about you and the North Pole (I’m very inquisitive at my age). I can’t wait for the holidays! Merry Christmas, Santa – say hi to Mrs. Claus and the reindeer for me, especially Rudolph!

Love, Isaiah (age 3)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Hallowe'en!

So I am well aware that Hallowe'en has long since passed - decorations are down in exchange for Christmas ones (and not only at the stores), the candy stash has been raided and depleted, and people have posted many a blog about various subjects since their own Hallowe'en post. But we're a little behind in the blogging world at this house, so I'm just now getting to posting my Hallowe'en pics (or possibly not - Caleb is starting to fuss, Braylon is spilling juice and Isaiah is needing to poop on the potty as I type so I'm back and forth).
Anyhow, Hallowe'en was a busy day for us. We took all three boys to the Backyardigans concert at Centennial Hall in London in the early afternoon. They were glued to the show the entire first half, poised motionless on my lap, one boy on each knee, clutching Tyrone and Tasha tightly in their hands, with an almost hypnotic trance effect with the characters dancing and singing on stage. The second half was not quite the same, but only because I had to nurse Caleb at intermission so their focus was interrupted. Anyhow, they both enjoyed the show tremendously - it was amazing to feel the energy surge through their bodies when the show began with them on my lap! And it was somewhat nostalgic as well because my mom used to take us to concerts when we were young - Raffi and Fred Penner, so not quite the same colourful entertainment, but a concert nonetheless!
Here they are coming on stage:
And toward the end of the show (post-climax of the storyline):
And the boys watching intently on my lap:
Immediately afterwards, we began our trek of visiting family and friends to show off our boys! It is completely exhausting to travel from house to house, unloading for 10 minutes just to pack them back up in the car seats once again, but a lot of our family and friends look forward to seeing them. And we did make it home to trick or treat up and down our street quickly as well as hand out candy to the last of the ghosts and goblins.
Here are our three characters dressed up:
Isaiah was a tiger, roaring at the door with hands outspread beside his face (for some type of added ferocity, I suppose).
Braylon was a spider (and the bulkiness came to help when he kept tripping down the street trying to keep in pace with his excited older brother who caught on to trick-or-treating fairly quickly, and was in a race to ring the next doorbell).
Caleb was a giraffe, though few saw his costume as he was bundled in the car seat for much of the day.
And here are two of the four pumpkins we (or might I correct, Greg) carved for our porch (we used templates to stencil the image on before cutting it out - except for the one we carved Rebelo in). Thank goodness we carved them before the actual day, since our day was so busy. They turned out fantastic, I think, and I can't wait to see what the boys pick next year! The kids on our street were amazed at the "artist" and come Hallowe'en we saw lots more pumpkins at our neighbours' houses that had templates used to carve haunted houses, ghosts, cats, bats, etc.!
Hallowe'en evening Greg and I managed to get out as well. We were originally going to a stag and doe in town, but despite Hallowe'en being Greg's favourite holiday of the year, we didn't get a costume together for either of us. That and Greg didn't want to go in the end, but since we'd already babysitters lined up (thanks Dad & Carol), we went to a movie instead... our first night out since Caleb was born. We saw "Couples Retreat" - a good laugh! And that was our day. Looking forward to the next holiday - Christmas - which tends to span a month or two around here once we get all the gatherings in. And I'll hopefully get to blogging more about the growing boys and our daily adventures at some point... cross your fingers!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Caleb's Photoshoot

So, as with all of my children, I booked a "newborn" photoshoot for Caleb... My photographer, Kim, does amazing work, but I must admit I'm disappointed that I never seem to get all the shots in I want and I tend to be left wishing we had more time to try a few more poses on my list. That, and it's incredibly difficult, it seems, to schedule a session with her. Not her fault entirely, by any means, as Greg works long hours in addition to commuting, and her weekends are booked up, on top of the fact that each of our families have other commitments in our schedules. And so with her wanting to have natural light to work with, our timing is limited.

We did manage to squeeze in a few hours one evening this past week (we're getting an additional hour next weekend to try a few more, especially since Braylon refused to cooperate whatsoever so we've absolutely none of him alone). I'm excited to see what she did capture, but she's planning to wait until we finish the session to do up our cd. She did send me a "teaser" that I couldn't resist sharing, though, so I'm thankful for that (and that it turned out so well). However, I'm not certain she captured our typical "angel wing" pose - which I really want because we've the other two boys in that pose hanging on the wall up the stairs and I'd wanted to add Caleb to the mix. So I'm hoping we can redo that pose when we meet again. However, Caleb's infantile acne has worsened dreadfully, so although she was able to photoshop my arms out from underneath him in the above cocoon picture, I doubt she'd be able to photoshop his face! And, as he's now almost 6 weeks and therefore awake far more often than asleep in the day, I'm not sure we'll be able to get him sleeping for that one hour to be able to do the poses I wanted to in our original session (when he didn't sleep at all, and so some of the poses wouldn't work).

I suppose I should just let happen what will happen, but for some reason I just can't give up complete control! It's just like the other day - when she originally sent me the photo, actually - when I realized that somehow in the process of switching Blackberry phones and uploading data to redownload on the new phone, my phone pictures got lost. I seriously got upset. Just as I would if my house caught fire. I would be absolutely devastated to lose the pictures in my house. They serve as captured memories of moments, many pivotal, that are already faded, some lost, in my aging mind. It helps now to have digital, yes, but there are situations (like with the phone) that you still manage to lose them. Or forget which ones are backed up.

Anyhow, I'd meant simply to share a stunning photo, so I think it best I leave this post at that. I think my sons are truly beautiful babies, and I am blessed to have such amazing kids. I need to be thankful (and cognizant of that gratefulness) more often!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Third Time's a...

...I'd really love to say charm, honestly. And although my labour was far quicker this go around, I can't say it was any easier the third time. In fact, Caleb had to be coerced into the world, as he was comfy and snug in the womb with no sign of vacating the premises (despite many attempts to evict him...).

So I'll spare the gory details - we women all have our labour/delivery stories - but I had to be induced in order to deliver Caleb, which was an altogether different, and might I add intense, experience. I was rather overdue by that point, though I'm not entirely certain of how many days since the doctors never really agreed on a "due date" per se. And so after only 5.5 hours of labour, including the time I was induced and the drug took effect, Caleb Cameron Rebelo finally entered this world!
Caleb weighed in at 8 lbs. 7 oz., 20 inches in length - the middle weight and length of my three boys. He was close to being born on 09/09/09, but neither of us were willing to wait another day at that point! He's been home now for 10 days, and this morning I took him to the Well Baby Clinic to weigh him and he's up to 8 lbs. 12.5 oz., which is great because he left on the 10th at 7 lbs. 13 oz. So as far as feeding, he's doing well. He's not the greatest nurser - mostly in terms of latching - but we're making progress, and he's the most content of the three, going usually 3.5-4 hours between feedings. His nights are getting slightly better, though we've a long way to go before I see solid sleep again, that I know! (What is the trick, Juliana?!)
The older two absolutely adore him - they're constantly wanting to kiss him and hold him. They love to lie down beside him, and are the first to inform me when he's awake, as they're desperate for another playmate. So far they haven't been too possessive of mommy, and in fact they've been incredibly understanding of mommy's need to attend to Caleb's needs first. KNOCK ON WOOD! They seem, so far, to be proud big brothers.
As for handling three, so far it hasn't been that bad. We've not had to adjust our routine too much, since Caleb mostly eats and sleeps during the day, save for a few moments of wakefulness spread throughout the day. He's been a fantastic baby so far, and though I know it will be harder as he grows older, particularly in a few months' time, I'm very blessed to have such wonderful children. I know I said I'd be disappointed if I never had a little girl, but I wouldn't trade my three boys for anything - they are the most precious things in the world.
Looking forward to sharing the next steps of our lives with three children under three (for awhile, at least...). Hope you enjoy reading the snippets of our adventures!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Backyardigans Story

On the long weekend of September we decided to take the boys to Storybook Gardens (which Isaiah called Backyardigans Story all day - likely confused because he's already pretty excited to attend the Backyardigans concert in October). We'd been meaning to go all summer, but many of our plans never materialized - we always seem to get busy doing nothing really. Anyhow, we ended up going with Stacey and her boys, Mateo and Sebastian, and our cousins: Janice and Shorty and their daughter Jasmine, too, which made for a better experience for the boys, I think!

Storybook hasn't really changed much over the years, as I haven't been there since my own childhood. The play equipment is much advanced, and the kids took advantage of the great day to play on three different sets. Both of them are fairly skilled at climbing and sliding, but it was a full time job trying to follow them around and make sure they were safe, particularly as the park was rather busy. Braylon and Isaiah both loved the slides, and climbing the different levels.
As for the animals, the boys were pretty excited to see the different "attractions" - though I'd say the variety and numbers aren't by any means impressive, even for a toddler. Braylon has a fascination for ducks right now, so he was the first to notice them all wading in the mucky water. The peacocks were a hit too, as were the three seals (even though they never did surface on the rocks for a good picture).
The new feature - the splash pad - was of far greater interest, especially as it was a hot day. Well, that is for all the kids except Braylon. He's very cautious by nature, so he was reluctant to be convinced of its advantages. Daddy tried to coax him in, and got pretty wet in the process, but Braylon wanted none of the unexpected sprays. Eventually he was entertained in a "limited spray" area, but Isaiah and his cousins were running around through the water all afternoon!
The boys are, thankfully, relatively easy to please as well. Even though Braylon wanted nothing to do with the water, he was easily entertained in the stroller. He finds the smallest things hilarious, and his laugh is something I wish I could bottle and store for years. It is the most adorable sound. I kept him busy in the shade (since I was 11 days overdue at that point), tickling him and whatnot. He is such a ham!
Isaiah was thankfully easily coerced out of his wet clothes since he has a genuine affection for his cousin Jasmine, and wanted to dote on her for awhile. So that allowed us to get ready to finish the route through the park...
...which we finished off with the typical picture with Humpty Dumpty.
Afterward we took them over for a train ride, which of course was a favourite too. The boys were first in line, watching intently as the train made its way round the course, anxious for it to return and pick them up. Both of them were happy to ride 'round the park, except of course when Braylon caught sight of the geese (which he still calls ducks too, since we go to the conservation area on a regular basis to feed the ducks here, where there are both ducks and geese). At that point, he wanted off that train to chase the geese (which always makes me incredibly nervous because I don't trust geese at all...).
This is Braylon exclaiming repeatedly, "Duckies, duckies, duckies!" and then chasing after them!
All in all it was a great day, and the boys were happy to get out of our normal every day routine. Hopefully now that Caleb has arrived (which I'll blog about soon, I promise) we can still get out and do things, as the boys really enjoy new adventures!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Swimming Lessons

For two weeks during the month of August the boys, along with their cousins Mateo and Jasmine, were in swimming lessons for 1/2 an hour each day. They really enjoyed the time in the pool, save for having to do things on their backs or with a life jacket, and I didn't even mind having to sport a maternity bathing suit for 2 weeks straight since by that time summer had finally arrived (though it has long since vanished). And although by the end it had become somewhat repetitive by nature (singing the same songs in a circle, rocketship glides, starfish floats, etc.), that's what practicing skills is like (so they'd best get used to it since daddy expects all three to be professional hockey players!). Anyhow, just thought I'd post a few pictures of their time in the pool (hopefully we'll have our own one day, but for now we've signed them up for lessons again next summer).
Here they are on day one, "painting" their bodies with water in order to ease them into the pool (which most days was refreshing since we lucked out with warm weather):
Of course we couldn't help but capture some back work (Braylon nearly ripped my earrings out each time, he dreaded back starfish float):
Isaiah didn't mind the life jacket so much, though by the second week he wasn't fond of having to swim with the instructor as he'd long since learned mommy was in the pool with Braylon and he should have a chance with mommy too:
Both boys loved jumping in off the side, quite possibly Braylon's favourite thing to do. He would leap like nothing and if you didn't help him back up quickly to jump in again, you'd better watch out! Here are a few pics of them jumping:
And we played a few familiar games, such as drip-drip-drop:
Overall it was worth the money we paid for them to just get in and used to the pool, beginning to learn the basics. It will be hard to practice in our inflatable pool with 1' of water, but hopefully by next year we'll notice a difference when we get them in swimming!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Play equipment

This summer, the boys have been obsessed with play equipment. It's been nice to get them outside to enjoy the equipment we (and many of our family and friends helped) purchased for them in our backyard, but they've also been able to use some town equipment sets too - here in Strathroy as well as in Grand Bend.

Braylon favours swinging, though he quickly mastered climbing the stairs so as to go down the slide. Isaiah learned quickly from the neighbour girls how to do things the "big kids" do, like climb up the slide barefoot. He's a master of the rock wall and has little fear of steep slides. We'll have to keep an eye on him! Both of them thoroughly enjoy spending time in the sandbox too, though I can't say I prefer when the majority of the time is spent there simply because they're very dirty boys when they're done playing, and if you know me you know I'm a neat freak. Anyhow, I thought I'd post a few pictures of them sliding and swinging - they had a playdate with their cousins yesterday on our equipment but I haven't loaded the pictures we took.

Here's Braylon ready for take-off down the slide at Strathroy's new equipment:

And big brother Isaiah is starting to show interest in the "activities" on the equipment there:

Isaiah is launching off down the slide on our equipment:

As Braylon follows suit:

Playing together in the sandbox:

Isaiah is quick to pick up what the big kids are doing:

Teeter-tottering together:

Going down the twirly slide: