Happy Halloween!

I know the cow, the bug, and the cheerleader were cute, but I couldn't resist with all the hand-me-down options! Enjoy Kate the Butterfly and Kate the Ballerina!

Happy (Rainy) Halloween!!



Collin cracks me up. Not because he's a joker, but because he can state the obvious and point out the reality in such a simple way that it's comical! He contemplates the world around him, questions everything, looks at all angles, and remembers everything! He has tons of fun - and in its midst, he's constantly taking opportunity to learn. When I see a pumpkin, I see an orange, round, vegetable. Collin also sees an orange, round vegetable, but immediately notes that it does not have chlorphyll, has an orange pigment, is a sign that it's autum, and can be carved into a Jack-o-Latern.

Collin loves to be outdoors ~ he loves riding his bike, running around, climbing things. He recently saw G&G J's backyard and attempted to cover the entire yard, inch by inch, with leaves - then he pulled them into a pile for jumping! What boyhood fun! He's also driven for success. Satisfied that he'd learned to shoot hoops from our front door to the hoop, Collin is now tackling the shots one step up the stairs at a time. He can only move up another step if he's shot three from the lower step. He's up to step 4. : )
Owen is Collin's best friend. He absolutely loves to spend time with his brother, and fortunately has had lots of opportunity since Owen graduated to the Transition Preschool class because Collin is also a natural leader. Collin is a teacher's assistant in Owen's class about once a week, where he gets to lead "Circle Time," reading the kids a story (hilarious since it's all by Collin's memory or imagination), leading the kids in song, or encouraging physical activity such as through "Simon Says." He's also been allowed to lead them in crafts and "tutor" them in sign language and independent skills, such as buttoning their shirts, putting on their shoes, etc. The teachers are thrilled with his participation ~ especially because he loves it! He tells me about it every night! And what he loves even more than the opportunity to "be in charge" as he puts it, is when the kids learn or follow his directions! "Mommy, Owen's potty training now!" "Mommy, I taught Owen how to put his shoes on the right feet, and he's DOING it!" "Mommy, I told him to use his good words, and he did so I gave it to him!" "Mommy, I showed Owen the sign for ___ and he knows it now!" "Mommy, Owen's making good choices!!" "Isn't that GREAT!?!" ; )
Collin spent his first four years scribbling and drawing circles and lines. Then he turned four, and his skill multiplied! Above: Crab (without something to copy or instruct him) Below: Horse (with the help of a step-by-step drawing book)The pic above features a lion, the horse, a parrot, a whale, and Collin's name backwards 9/08.

Collin and I are participating in a reading program, designed to test kids' comprehension and listening skills. After each page, I ask him one or two questions specific to the content of the page. I am shocked by how well he responds. I often diverge into many more questions and open discussion with him because he's calculated the story and applied it to his own life.

For example, two days ago we read "Today I Feel Silly." There was a line where the narrator says something about his family being weird (Mom dyed her hair orange; dad shaved his beard.") So we started talking about weird things. Then I asked, Do you think our family is weird [stupid question!]: "Well, I love daddy, but you're kinda weird." [Oh, Come On!!] Then Kate, who was with us, started sucking on Collin's toe (which made him laugh hysterically!) and he said, "Actually, Kate is weird too! And I kinda love weird too!" [LOL - I kinda love weird, too, Collin!]

Then there was a page about feeling lonely, and I asked, Do you ever feel lonely? Collin: "Well, sometimes, but not really. I have my Katie and Owie - they are my buddies."

What makes you happy? "Playing with Kate [who had just tried to eat his toe, you'll remember] and helping with jobs."

What makes you grumpy? "When I can't do something." Like when it's too hard? "No, that I can do. (pause) Like when you say I can't play Wii. But I'm learning to be patient, Mommy, and say 'maybe later.'"

One thing I am amazed at is that Collin hardly ever answers anything with just a yes or a no. He thinks everything through and he explains it to you in a followup sentence.

Another fun thing is hearing Collin's mathematical analysis emerge. For example, when I told him that there were six pieces of sausage and asked how many he could have, he said - without hesitation - "Owen can have three, and I'll have three." (Note that he was not looking at the sausages; he did the division in his head.) Owen: "No, I want four!" Collin (matter of factly): "Then I'd only have two. So you can have three."

Like I said, simple. Comical! I love you, Collin!!

10.28.08: The O Sweater

I was wearing a striped sweater today, and Owen walked up to me and pointed towards my chest at a purple stripe. "Mama, you got an 'O' for 'Owie'!"

I looked down, expecting to see a circle of spit up or a stray sticker. Nothing. "What, Owen?"

He traced his finger around my back to my shoulder blade, along the purple stripe. "You have an 'O' for 'Owie'!"

Then he stepped back and looked me up and down. He burst into a grin and literally jumped with glee, clapping: "LOTS of 'Os' for 'Owie'!"

I love you, Owen, and I will think of you everytime I wear 'Os for Owie'!

Two and Three Quarters

Owen is a hoot! He's suddenly also VERY independent - "No, I can do it!" He's dressing himself, undressing himself, getting his own water, brushing his own teeth, reading his own stories, calling his own shots. Although very much a younger brother, adoring and learning from and forever pleasing Collin, he's coming into his own and taking a stand outside of that box. It's suddenly, "I don't want to." or "Let's do it MY way." or "MY turn first!" (And interesting, Collin is so enthused by Owen's new growth and accomplishments, he supports Owen's independence and is more than willing to meet Owen half way ~ most of the time.) Owen is learning his colors, counting to 20 (often missing only one or two numbers), and learning his letters. His favorite letter: O of course! It's a wonderful letter because it's a zero, a circle, and an O!

Art by O
Almost every picture Owen has drawn in the lst two months has features a spider with innumerable legs!

Owen loves to make others laugh, especially his sister. He'll do something, then get down on his hands and knees in front of her and ask: "Was that funny?" or "Did you like that?" He is also teaching her to wrestle. He'll gentle get on all fours over her and proclaim: "I tackled ya!" Then laugh, roll over and lay flat on the ground next to her and coach: "Now you get me!"

Owen is officially potty-training and went poo in the potty for the first time Sunday night - the moment we'd been waiting for! Yeah, Owen!! We're taking the diapers off this weekend and hoping for all undies by Monday!

Jump Around Brothers

Owen is the only 2 year old I've ever met who can dribble a basketball and make a basket 50% of the time. He loves all sports and practices at every opportunity. He started soccer this season, and runs out onto the court with such energy, it's moving! He runs full force, his hair bouncing and flying from side to side. Although he's the littlest and youngest on the field (because we fudged a bit - you're supposed to be 3 or 4 yrs), he makes up for size and age in confidence, skill, and joy. He loves every minute! And he scored a goal the very first game!

Owen and Collin's First Soccer Game of the Season (Owen has the ball - that's Collin right in front of him.)

Six and a Half Months

Good Morning!

Good Night!

Kate's First Artwork 9/08

Bathtime with her Brothers

Big Girl Dimples!

Kate is growing so much! She's a babbler, a crawler, and a dare devil! She tackles the boys; she pulls up on everything; she attempts to take steps! (She also earned her first bruise yesterday doing so!) She loves to eat rice cereal, carrots, and sweet potatoes and poo-poos green mush! Give her a real pea any day - frozen is best! She loves to smile and is ticklish on her collarbone, her back, and under her chin. She giggles, but doesn't laugh often - her brothers crack her up more than anything else! She's patient and sweet and enjoys a good snuggle. She can sit through a court hearing and entertain at a meeting. She blows raspberries, says da-da, ba-ba, bla and duh. She sleeps all night long and can fall asleep on her own. She just learned to stand in her crib - and got "stuck" a few nights - but has mastered her sleep once again. She grabs everything in her reach. She loves to be naked. She is independent and happy and proud. We love you, Kate!


Super Family

It's a bird! It's a plane! No - IT'S SUPERCOLLIN AND SUPEROWEN!!

Whenever you need a laugh, a bit of mischief, and someone to right your day - call on my super heroes! ... and their trusty COW:



Down on the Farm 2008

How Tall this Fall? Friday we headed to StoneyRidge for our family's Annual Harvest Festival ~ only this year we went with Collin's whole class! We had a fantastic time! This is by far my favorite annual family day of every year ~ it's full of adventure, it's outdoors, it has yummy (and healthy!) eats, and it inspires the biggest smiles and greatest mischief!
The Blossom preschool kids (+Owen) and their teachers: Miss Emily, Miss Amanda, and Miss Shawna:
My CowKids:Exploring the Farm is always an adventure! This year we gathered pumpkins, ran the aisles of apples, eating at least two apples each (four if you're a "chomper" like Collin and I are - thanks for the new nickname, Collin!), learned about the bees brought in to pollinate the pumpkin flowers and increase the crop, fed the goats and birds, and enjoyed a picnic lunch!
This is Collin and his "girlfriend" Emma S. - notice that even at age four, mom and dad are holding their other hands! J/K! (sort of)
Owen and the Donkey shared a special bond!
Collin pulled the cord and sent food up in a tin can to the goats waiting patiently at the top of the post!

Balancing Acts:The apples in the orchard - hand-picked out of the trees - are the best:
Owen gets himself into the cutest poses! Believe it or not, not one of these is staged:

Making Moves

She'd been rolling and scooting and practicing yoga ~ loving every minute! Now she has even more motions to enjoy! Friday evening, just before bed, at 6 1/2 months old, Kate inched forward on all fours! By Saturday afternoon, she was traversing four and five feet at a time. By Sunday afternoon, she was crawling everywhere! She even started crawling to furniture and trying to pull herself up! So it really came as no surprise this morning when I went into her bedroom and found the happiest, most gleeful baby ~ standing in her crib!! What a weekend! And the best part ~ she is SOOO proud of herself! This picture was taken just a moment ago: Kate crawled across our office to the stroller and pulled up onto her knees. She'd have gone up onto her little feet I'm certain but the back of the stroller was down, and she kept bonking her head! Congratulations, Katelyn!


Team Names

Collin and Owen started soccer yesterday (and had a blast!), and the team had to pick its name at the end of the first practice. Around the circle, everyone shouted out their idea for the team name: Dinosaurs, Jedis, Eagles, etc. In the car, Collin had been convinced "Pirates" would be the perfect team name, so he and Owen strategised to take advantage of their numbers - two votes for Pirates automatically! UNTIL Collin was asked his suggestion:

Collin: "Lettuce."
The Coach and I: "What?!"
Collin: "Lettuce. It's a type of salad."

And Jedi Pirates they shall be!


Meeting Baby Alyse

Kate and Bailey

Alyse - 5 Weeks
Kate is absolutely enthralled with her new friend! She's never met a baby younger and smaller than she!
Kate is 4 months older than Alyse. We are so thrilled that we've had these two girls so close together in age!!
Alyse - 8 pounds something; Kate 15 pounds something