Way too close for comfort

On Saturday, December 27, four boys from Zac's school and one graduate from his school were in a tragic accident. They were heading to the movies when they encountered terribly dense fog, and crashed head on into a pickup truck. One of the boys was killed, the other four were in critical condition; today two of the boys were upgraded to good condition. They are good kids, all in boy scouts together, working toward their eagle scout badges, good students. It's terribly sad.

Four of the boys are juniors at Zac's school (Zac is a freshman), he knew them to see them, but not close. The driver graduated from school last year, is attending college, and is the older brother of one of Zac's baseball teammates. We are friendly with his parents, and eerily enough, we have ran into them while out and about twice in the last week, including the day before the accident.

This is every parents' worst nightmare. Zac will be turning 15 in a month, his best bud will be turning 16 this summer and some of his friends are already driving. The days are approaching when he will be heading off with a friend, I don't think he'll be content staying home playing Wii with his mom and dad on Fri/Sat nights forever.

You'd think the 3rd kid would be a piece of cake

Well, I have kinda figured since Jax's birth day that he was going to be our "oddball" after he spent his first night in the NICU. He is definitely a fussier baby than Zac or Cassidy were, but not so much so that he ever fit the definition of "colic", but there definitely was a slight resemblance to colic.

Jaxon never liked a pacifier, Zac & Cassidy both loved the pacifier for about 4 months, then they were done with it. Jaxon is a thumb sucker (finger and whole hand, also).

The biggest difference between Jax and his older siblings is the one I have the most trouble with. Zac and Cassidy would fall asleep while eating or in the bouncy seat or the blessed swing. They then became little rag dolls that could easily be transferred to the crib for naptime/bedtime.

Jaxon does not fall asleep with the bottle (which experts say is a good thing, pffffft), endures the bouncy seat and never took to the swing. But to fall asleep, Jax wants to be rocked . . . and rocked . . . and rocked. And then you have to gingerly take him back to his room, transfer him to his crib, all the while holding your breath and praying that the dogs don't bark or Cassidy doesn't follow you down the hall, yelling loudly (a favorite past time). I can't tell you how many times one of us has taken him back to bed and come back to the living room 5 second later holding a wide-eyed, giggling little boy that woke up on the way into the crib, mumbling under our breath.

I have always enjoyed having my babies fall asleep in my arms and holding and nuzzling their head, cheeks, and neck. But this little booger is driving me nuts. Not only is he difficult to get to sleep, he cat naps.

So today, I rocked him for a decent amount of time, he still wasn't asleep. I knew he was ready for a nap so I put him to bed awake (GASP! I never attempted this with the older two til they were close to a year). He fussed for a bit, then was quiet. Then he started crying. As he seemed to be getting louder I thought, oh well, I tried. Upon entering his room, he was crying, but his eyes were closed. So I went to the crib and patted his bum for about a minute. He calmed down, never lifted his head, just layed peacefully, his eyes heavy. I backed away from the crib, watching closely, I could tell he was going to doze off. Just then, my little shadow came barrelling into the room yelling MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY. I quickly darted to block her entry and closed the door. Jax never even budged. I didn't hear another peep for about 40 mins, he didn't settle, I got him, he ate a bottle, fell right back to sleep and has slept for a couple hours.

The one plus to having another needy child when you have an infant is that I can't always go running when he starts to fuss and I've realized that if I give him some time, many times he falls back to sleep. I don't know when I'll try and put him down awake again, but I certainly won't be waiting til he's a year old like I did with Cassidy.

God Help her, Cassidy has my sense of style

Cassidy is always very quick to help me fold laundry, or more accurately WEAR laundry. For whatever reason she gravitates toward underwear, namely mine or Chuck's.

Today her ensemble consists of a lovely blue crocheted toilet paper cover (made by my Grandma and I just can't part with it, even tho it's cheesy) her "skirt" is a pair of Chuck's boxer briefs as is her chic scarf.

I imagine Jax is thinking "I'm never going to let my sister dress me!"

And here is just a picture of how we spend time in the morning. Jax loves his taggies, and here he is playing with his taggie ball and Cassidy is munching on her cereal and raisins.

So how do you decorate your tree?? (if you have one)

So here is our tree, it's decorated a little more than halfway, the ornaments along the bottom are stuffed or wooden Disney characters that we find scattered around the house. When we find them we put them back on the tree for little hands to remove later.

My tree has changed over the years, currently most of the ornaments fit into one of four categories.

The first category: Baby's 1st Christmas, I think there are 10 ornaments of this type.

The second category: Hockey ornaments, Zac has been playing hockey for almost 10 years and we have accumulated quite a few ornaments over the years.

The third category: Eeyore. I've been an Eeyore freak forever and Chuck and my mom have given me quite a few ornaments over the years.

The fourth category: Ornaments with specific meaning to someone in the house, whether it be an special ornament for a love oned passed on (including the four-legged variety), favorite cartoon characters, favorite sports teams.

Over the years I have collected enough ornaments to fill three trees, and every year I get pickier and pickier about what I put on the tree. I have saved the ornaments Zac has made over the years, ones that haven't fallen apart. And I will give them to him one day, and I will do this with the little ones too.

Our tree is an artificial one, the critters in the house used to bring the live ones crashing to the floor, so we bagged that. It is prelit and fiber optic, so no need for garland and tinsel.

And if you noticed, I don't have the typical star or angel at the top of the tree, I have a teddy bear, he's holding a red and green balloon and a couple presents. My mom gave me this tree topper 19 years ago, for my first Christmas after Chuck & I bought our first house. I have been looking for a new tree topper, but I still want something unique, like a penguin.


Chuck and the peanuts.

Our Holiday Family Photo Shoot

And here we go!! Instead of traversing the mobs of shoppers on Black Friday, I decided to dress my kids in their Christmas outfits and attempt to get a couple good shots to use on our Christmas cards. I waited til Jaxon was fresh from his nap, dressed him and THEN wrestle with the toddler. As a typical toddler, you just never know what mood she will be in when you want to get her dressed. Some days she's sweet as pie and I get her dressed in a minute, other days she's a little Tasmanian Devil and it's a wrestling match.

Below are some of my favorite shots.

After getting Jax plopped in his box, Zac sat down next to him and then we just let Cassidy roam about a bit. I didn't want to rush it because she is not at all interested in "posing".

Here are my boys!!

Cassidy and her big brother, she absolutely worships him and loves when he takes the time to play (rough house) with her. She loves to listen to music, so Zac has been getting her to listen to his favorite music. Whenever she hears "Let it Rock" by Kevin Rudolf and Lil' Wayne she yells for Zac to come and dance with her.

Here are our little peanuts in the box together.

And here are the pictures I picked for our card.

Snow Fun

Here's our little snowbunny. She was so excited to get out in the snow. We had been outside the previous evening when it was snowing. She was looking up at the lights in the parking lot and giggling as it was hitting her face. Notice in the above picture she had her mittens on.

This little girl is truly after her Daddy's heart. Shoveling already. Heck, we have to promise the moon for Zac to lift up a shovel (ok, not really, but it seems like it at times). Notice in the above pictures, the mittens have been TOSSED.

Of course, being my stubborn child, she was not interested in her "baby" sled (seen in the background) she wanted to ride on the big sled, with her big brother. Now we only had about half an inch of snow, so the only sledding was down the driveway.

Weeeeeee! So we were only outside about 15 minutes. It was too cold and windy, the windchill was in the single digits and since she refused to keep her mittens on, Cassidy and I went back inside while Daddy & Zac shoveled. Jax was snoozing in his nice, toasty warm crib the whole time.

Santa Plus my Three

Thank Goodness for big brothers!!!
We've been chatting about Santa for a couple weeks with Cassidy, and she was all smiles and excited at the "thought" of Santa, but as many parents have found out over the years, the idea of Santa and Santa in books and on TV are all wonderfully joyful moments in a toddlers mind.

Then there is actually meeting Santa, touching Santa, and heaven forbid, sitting on Santa's lap.

As we stood in line, all smiles and talked about seeing Santa, sitting on his lap, Cassidy jibbered jabbered away, she saw him walking through the mall to his "living room", smiled and waved. She watched the family in front of us go visit Santa. The little girl (probably about 4) was giving Santa her pacifiers, she had a baggie full of them, in exchange for her Xmas presents. However, when it came time for that little boy and girl to sit on Santa's lap, they just about strangled their poor mom. Cassidy didn't seem to notice the terror in their eyes, luckily, they didn't scream or cry, just clung to their mom.

Then it was our turn, I had Jaxon, Zac had Cassidy. She was all smiles and waved to him, but at the first movement of Zac attempting to hand her off to the Jolly Old Guy, her hands wrapped around Zac's neck in a vice-like grip. We had planned for this problem and Zac happily sat next to Saint Nick and I handed Santa Jaxon. Jaxon was happy and content as he had a full belly and just woke from a short snooze.

I don't know how many teenage boys wouldn't think twice of sitting with Santa with his little sister and brother. But Zac never balked at the idea. I'm sure many teenagers would be mortified at the thought.

My two little peanuts

For whatever reason, the expression on Cassidy's face just makes me giggle every time I look at this picture.

Here's out little guy, he likes to sit and watch everything that's going on. Of course, he lights up whenever Cassidy takes the time to pay attention to him.

Here are my two little peanuts with Cassidy's penguin, we are trying to get her to accept Penguin as her lovey because her other lovey is a crocheted blanket that is falling apart and is just gross cause she's chewed on the ends. It has started to unravel a couple times and I've knotted it, but I don't think it will last as long as a lovey should. So we've been lugging Penguin everywhere we go and take it out of the crib and leave the blankey in the crib. It's working a bit, so we'll have to wait and see if we have success. The reason we picked the Penguin is that it's from Build a Bear and I can go get another one (or two) made so we have backups.