Monday, July 30, 2012

The Parkinsons Visit NE Ohio

Our home served as Parkinson Family Central Command this weekend as Grandma Laura, Grandpa Dave and Auntie Haley arrived. The Parkinsons Columbus came up for a nice gathering on Sunday along with the Great Grandparents Mullen. Lincoln loves the attention, Lydia enjoys being a princess in the middle of everything, and Henry was demonstrating his newfound comfort among new people.
Jenn's cooking and food prep has been on full display, too.

Bathtime has been a zoo lately, as all three kids get in the big tub. Jenn is the off-the-field referee while I work on the field. And at the end, we have a little owl, a little dragon, and a little lion that run around the house!
And in fashion that has become somewhat typical, just as soon as we think we have the house in order, something happens. First it was the furnace, then it was the air conditioner, and now it seems to be the water heater & the fence at the same time. The joys of home-ownership! Note to all fence shoppers everywhere: NEVER INSTALL A PINE FENCE!!! They're crap! The base of two adjacent posts have been chewed by carpenter bees and have rotted all the way through. This, combined with the general ratty appearance of the rest of the fence, and the crappiness of many of the fence pieces... it's time for a cedar fence.

Friday, July 27, 2012

New Lens!

A number of things have happened since our last post, so this is a bit of a hit-the-high-points catch-up.
Last Sunday Jenn went to spend some of our Gym-Bucks while I occupied the kids at First & Main. I took bubbles to keep them busy, and that lasted about three minutes. Lydia spilled her's as soon as we got there, Henry was kind of into them, and Lincoln wanted to stand too close to me. Anyway... after that, L & L decided to run around the small square area, and Lydia has no fear of wandering too far away.
Henry's big doctor's visit was this past Wednesday. He was evaluated on his progress (very good and really only lagging in the language department) and his health (nothing is a problem). We were supposed to meet with Dr. Degeorge, a psychologist, to talk about Henry, but because he's doing very well, we spent the time with him talking about us as parents for him. All in all, it was a very productive, positive time.

Jenn has kept the Play Date Agenda going with friends from church. On Monday of this week they all decorated their own cookies. Imagine what Lydia thought of that!

Jenn gave me an early Anniversary & Birthday present: a Canon 10-22mm lens! I'm so pumped to use a real, good wide-angle lens with the kids!
Also, Jenn is in full meal-planning mode as we get ready for Grandma Laura, Grandpa Dave & Auntie Haley's visit this weekend!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Visit From Windy City Friends

Jenn has been in research mode lately, and the most recent topic has been: Play Sets! That's right. It's become such an intense bit of research that she actually told me last night she... you're going to want to be sitting down for this...

She actually told me that she thought about...

Are you sure you're ready?

Okay, okay. She told me that she thought about... writing a blog post... about her experience! That's right! So if you see a research oriented post about how to design a play set with a current crop of a 4-year-old plus two sub-2-year-olds, but quickly growing kids, Jenn will be the author.

Much of what was above was written, of course, with tongue in cheek. Trust me, no husband ever had a wife as good as Jenn at gathering all of the available information, assimilating it in her mind, and coming up with an A+ plan. So we'll see how things shake out as the season progresses.

On another subject, our friends from our cruise, Pete & Mo (along with their daughter, Erin) stopped by while they were in town over the past weekend for a bridal shower. You know how sometimes you'll meet new people when you're away from home, and you hit it off, and you say something like, "We should get together again sometime," but you both know you'll probably not ever meet up again? Well Pete & Mo aren't those people! And Jenn and I are already mentally planning a weekent trip to the Magnificent Mile so we can crash at their place and visit Chicago.

Here are some kid photos...

Lydia's vocabular continues to explode, and it's also very clear that she listens to everything around her. For instance, Lincoln and I were kidding around as we were climbing out of the car, and I started a lyric from Superchick's Rock What You Got. "You were born to rock..." And before Lincoln cold finish it, Lydia blurted out, "'side soul," (her shortened version of "... inside your soul." Jenn and I looked at each other and shared a good laugh.

Lincoln and I have enjoyed playing with his cars on a little road mat that he and Jenn put together. Twice in the last week we've stayed up "a little late" to play with them, and each time just before bed Lincoln says, "I like playing cars with you, Dad." Wow. I'm glad I've got time to spend with him like that.

Henry is also getting pretty good and following commands. Of course there are many times when he doesn't follow commands simply because he's a toddler, but he and I have a routine before bedtime where he picks out his own diaper, then he brushes his teeth (after I brush them and he cries... still working on that one), then he carries his toothbrush back to the sink, then he gets is Dog and brings it over to the reading chair. He has a look on his face as though he knows he's accomplishing something, and he's screaming out for attachment, acceptance and love, so seeing my face when he's being such a good little boy about stuff like that helps build his confidence, I'm sure. And then in the morning, he picks out his diaper, and then takes his old, rolled-up diaper and throws it down to the bottom of the stairs for me so I can take it out to the garage. Since I've been giving him little "tasks" to do, he's been much less fussy about wanting to be picked up right away and more interested in doing something together.

There are still times during these days where he enters his Needy Cycle, and he has the ability to spiral downward pretty quickly, especially if Lydia is having A Moment at the same time. It's difficult to know when to cut slack because of his overall situation and when to use those moments as teaching and instructive moments. (For instance, when everyone is going upstairs for bath time, and all three kids are at the bottom of the stairs ready to go up, and Henry runs away fussing. Is that an adoption/security thing, or is that a toddler being a toddler, because Lydia has those moments, too.) Thankfully, work has been busy, but not so busy that I'm not able to leave and get home right on time to pick up some of the slack for Jenn.

There are times where he seems to play with the other kids well, other times where he plays by himself well, other times when he's fussy and wants undivided attention, and other times where he's content to simply sit on my lap and take in what's going on around us.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Marker Fun

Yesterday Jenn stretched out some drawing paper on the kitchen table and gave the kids some markers and crayons.
Lincoln continues to enjoy playing with his big blocks and building things. Each day we can see more and more imagination coming through.
Jenn has been scheduling play-dates out the wahzoo. Twice in the last week they've gone to the Akron Zoo with friends.

Jenn & Extended Family have been looking at swingset options to add to our back yard. Jenn made the mistake of visitng Cedar Works and viewing their outdoor options. Trust me, it's the story of our life together. Anyway, today Jenn was talking with Lincoln about swingsets and asking him what he'd like in a swingset.

Lincoln: I like Mrs. Ucker's swing set.

Jenn: What do you like about Mrs. Ucker's swing set?

Lincoln: I'd argue for the swing underneath the treehouse part.

Jenn: Is there anything you've seen on any other swing sets that you'd like?

Lincoln (gesturing): I'd like a slide that goes way down and then comes back up again before it goes down again. And...

... and on he went. It became clear to Jenn that Lincoln has a whole swingset design in his head that he just needs to get out on paper. I'm not sure how we'll tease it all out, and then if we'd be able do meet any of those expectations once they're out, but wow! his mind is full of ideas.

And our waterheater isn't working. Cold showers stink.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hair Cut!

Blogging has been difficult lately.

For starters, I've been really busy with Grandpa Doug and the rest of the Gates/Hopwood gang taking off for Stony Lake this week. We at the Clinic went months without seeing a foreign body surgery case, and even longer without seeing one that needed cut after hours, but guess what happened on Monday? That's right. Goldendoodle. Underwear. Ileum. I love those surgeries, but it made for a long day.

I couldn't believe my ears, though, when I got home and learned that Jenn had taken all three kids to The Ledges in the afternoon, and that... wait for it... they were all very good throughout the day. GASP!!! Amazing!

It's good to have those times, because the tougher times are taxing. Henry is a different boy around me compared with how he is around Jenn. His relationship with her hasn't changed much since the beginning. He's been attached to her from the beginning and she's often his preference. He's more comfortable in general, but he still saves his "very needy" moments for Jenn. When she's playing mom to a four year old and two toddlers, more neediness is tough.
Henry got his first haircut today, and he exceeded my expectations. He sat on my lap, sucked his fingers for only a short time, and didn't cry. Here's the do...
Henry's adjustment overall to this point has been very good. He's learning (emphasis on learning) to eat with a spoon. We're still working on the fork. I can't get him out of the bath tub now, and he pours water on his own face. He is helpful with getting dressed. This morning was the first time I picked him up out of his crib and had him lean against me in hug-like fashion. He was great with the big crowd last Friday of Gates-Gates-Hopwoods, even showing some personality at the dinner table. He's showing good comfort with wrestling behavior with Lincoln and Lydia. He's enjoying the sandbox. He's not fussing and crying when he sees us approach the pantry on a consistent basis. He's sucking on his fingers less during the day. He's interactinve in the car.

Lincoln continues to be a good big brother to Henry. In fact, at bedtime this evening, I said, "Lincoln, you're being a very, very good big brother to Henry. The only times you had any slip-ups today were with Lydia. If you would treat Lydia like you treat Henry, your days would be FANTASTIC!" To which he replied, "I'm nicer to Henry because I like Henry better than Lydia." Oy. I responded, "You still need to behave like a good big brother to Lydia, and I know by watching how you are with Henry that you know how to be a good big brother." This is probably only a foreshadowing of things to come.

There are still some instances where Henry wants us to behave in a certain way or do a certain thing and if we don't do it on his time schedule (like right *now*, he gets upset. Sounds like a 19-month-old to me! Here's the anatomy of a cry. What's going on here is this: he enjoys pushing Lydia's borrowed (thanks Uckers!) tricycle around, and every now and then he wants to sit on it, but he can't yet climb on it himself. His metamorphosis of facial expressions speaks for itself...

For those who have remembered us in their prayers, we are grateful. I'm not sure how families, particularly families with toddlers (plural), get through these times without supernatural intervention. We certainly need and are continually seeking the LORD's presence on a daily basis.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Help in the Kitchen

Just some photos this time. I'll write more later.

For starters, I'm nominating this photo for "Cute Photo of the Month." Lydia "helped" me cut up the banana for our lunch-time smooties.
In these next three photos, the kids are playing in the new "tent" that Jenn and Licoln got on their day out together. In the bottom photo of the three, Lydia is shooting the Batman discs at her new brother. She's definitely the alpha of the two.

Here's some "modeling" shots of Lydia...

Jenn and Lincoln made some cupcakes...

Independence Day attire...

Mr. Potato Head isn't getting old...