Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rafael the Artist!

I have so many posts to catch up on - including a Valentine's post. For now I'll just post a few very impressive photos of Rafi's latest art work. I was lying on Raf's bunk one morning and Raf, before school, started to draw his family. I think he did a lovely job. He's not yet drawn his 'people' on paper - just on the white board and more recently his chalkboard, so I'm having to take photos of whatever he draws. 


Friday, February 22, 2013

oh, boys!

It's been a very hectic week with not a lot of time for blogging. Poor Charlie has had pneumonia - though he's feeling so much better now. Alas, his sleep is horrible at the moment, as it has been since Christmas. It's not unusual for me to be up at least once every hour - often more - throughout the night. Since he's better he's been waking up for long stretches during the night. It's so exhausting. I'm finding it difficult to be functional at work, but we're hoping things get better soon. Charlie was such a super sleeper up until Christmas.

Through all the sickness and lack of sleep, though, Charlie is just such a happy and content baby. May this continue...

Rafi had a good week, too. Of course he's been struck down with another head cold but he's mostly fine and being his funny self. He has such a funny turn of expression - just like his papa. When we're eating dinner he says to his nana, "Nana, are you going to join us?", and tells us a lot that he loves us "sooooo much". He also frustratingly declares that "Sammy doesn't listen to me!", and sweetly says to me, "no problem, mummy", when I ask him to do something (though not always!). He also enjoys trying to negotiate with us - "just 5 more minutes", or "later I can".

He's such good company.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The One Toy Rule

One of our anxieties, as I assume with most parents is how the first kid will react to having a new sibling to contend with. Our boy wonder has had all our attention and bed for over three years and he has liked it enormously - and with horror stories of older siblings attacking their new siblings flashing through our minds - we have kept a close eye on their daily interactions. Though we can report it has gone as well as we'd hoped - with no major incidents of note. Raf did for a few weeks do a sort of pinching action all over Charlie (never actually pinching), whilst going 'jiber-jib' which was funny to watch, with Charlie nonplussed by the brotherly attention. Rafi will at times get over-bearing with kisses and hugs but he is easily re-directed and will do it gently until the next neck-hug! So it's been a relief and a credit to Rafi as we are stretched in time and energy to meet their respective needs. A new development which is obviously Rafi trying to exert his brotherly authority over wee Charlie is seemingly a 'one toy rule.' It usually involves Charlie usually on the floor surrounded by a few toys such as a rattle and other similar toys - until Rafi comes over and states that Charlie can only have one toy at a time and promptly puts the other toys away or hangs onto them. Upon asking why can't Charlie have more toys and 'poor Charlie' Rafi will earnestly state that Charlie can only have 'one toy at a time!' It's happened quite a few times and we still find it funny - especially when you consider that Rafi is usually saying this rule whilst surrounded by an explosion of trains, Legos, cars and books. Again sweet Charlie is usually nonplussed by it all - perhaps that will change in the next year or so??

Sunday, February 10, 2013


As Alex mentioned that we did survive the great winter storm of 2013, with no loss of power or sanity! Whilst we are all feeling a bit of cabin fever - though digging out today prior to the plowman coming this afternoon in brilliant blue skies helped those feelings lessen. Also a bit of snowshoeing meant we got some more fresh air. We are not great winter people - though we try to see the beauty in these days whilst counting down the days to warmer times with no ice/snow/cold to contend with. Indeed we are nearly through the worst winter months for another year - and as we have noted in earlier posts - with illness and many other things 2013 hasn't been great so far - with the exception of Rafi and Charlie - and while both have been ill for seemingly most of the last five weeks - continue to make trying times a whole lot better. Indeed, moments of fun with the boys put everything into a few regular things I've done with both of them...which despite trying moments are also great moments to experience with them, especially Raf at his age as his world gets bigger... Bat Bikes For the last few weeks - Rafi and I (and recently with Charlie in tow) have headed off to the local recreation center for 'open gym' for the under fives. There is a bouncy castle type thing, toys of all descriptions and at the far end an area for small bikes (peddles on the wheels deal). Usually Raf hasn't been too interested in the bikes though recently he has been more interested in the 'bat bike.' It's black, got buttons to press and stands out in contrast to the lighter colored ones which he hasn't shown any interest in. Previous weeks he has had this bike as much as he wanted - alas last week it was a point of contention with another little boy who was older, bigger and with friends. So for the majority of the time we were there - it was back and forth, trying to appease both boys as especially the older boy was trying to boss the situation - his Dad was over the other end with his younger son and was seemingly oblivious to the argy-bargy (English term), that I was trying to manage whilst trying to occupy Charlie who was not too happy at this point!! There were tears, slumps to the floor, pushing, offers to give the bike back then riding off, whilst I was trying to explain the concept of sharing mostly to Raf - who was dealing with it well as time went by. The other boy's Dad came over once - and shook his head and then went away again - not really helping as I was counting down the minutes and wishing they could possibly invest in a second or third 'bat bike' since other kids also joined in towards the end!! Oh boy! Library Every Saturday - Rafi and I head to the local library for about an hour after he has finished his gym class. Rafi loves to be read too - and having a new library over the last year (our old town didn't have one), has been great. It also has a train table with Thomas trains - which occupies Rafi's attention nearly all the time. I usually pick the books to read - since Rafi will randomly pick ones close to him with 'this one!' He does look at the fish, bash on an old type writer, manhandle a large soft toy penguin but it's the trains that he will spend most of his time with. As with the bikes - other little boys also gravitate to the table and depending on the week - it can go smoothly or need intervention. A certain CJ aged about six is into trains like Raf but seemingly doesn't like the reality of Rafi being so close and determined to play - and this can lead to much frustration for CJ. Rafi is usually unaware that his love of trains is driving someone else bonkers! The other boys Dad tries to help the situation with 'sharing' comments though that usually means CJ getting upset with his Dad and despite efforts to turn things around they usually leave under a cloud. Raf will usually be the last kid there - reluctant but happy to leave so the librarian can go home for lunch... Goodnight everyone!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Snow Days!

We've survived the historic North Eastern storm... just! We're still snowed in, though we have hopes that someone will plow us out tonight or tomorrow morning. We were sort of taken by surprise as we don't have TV so we weren't watching the news and the weather warnings. Via Facebook(!) we learned that snow was heading our way and that it was a bit of a doozie but, still, pretty shocked that we have over 2 feet of snow, even more in Portland.

On Friday I had lots of meetings planned and despite the snow and slick conditions the college wasn't going to be shutting until 12pm. Thankfully all of my meetings were cancelled so I stayed at home all day, except for a quite trip to the supermarket. I'd been up since 1:30am with a very poorly Charlie so I was very happy that I didn't have to go anywhere.

Here's a happy looking Charlie - despite his cold and cough, and here's his big brother taking a photo. As Raf snaps his picture he always says, 'cheese'!

Later that morning, and still in pajamas, the boys made some yummy applesauce bread. Raf loved that his brother was able to help for a bit. 

Raf didn't nap and so it was a long afternoon. After lunch the snow started to really come down and after midnight we were enjoying full blizzard conditions. Every time I woke up I was amazed that we still had power as we fully expected to lose it.

This morning I managed to exercise for the first time in a week. Charlie slept much better, too, so it was already a better day. Indeed we still had power despite the storm that was still raging.

After a nice lunch Charlie and I enjoyed a very nice nap... over two hours! Poor Rich tried to take Raf for a nap but, alas, there wasn't much kipping.

 When Charlie woke up, though, we started to work on Raf's valentine cards for his classmates. We had a lot of fun doing them but we have a long way to go until they're all finished!

One of Raf's favourite games with Nana is to play 'Rafi in the Box'! Unfortunately it involves tipping his train tracks all over the floor first, but it's worth the clean-up.

Charlie got into the game, too :)

And as a special snowday treat, Raf got to enjoy some Christmas pudding nana had brought over for Christmas. He was so excited to have some again. Yummy.

Tomorrow we hope to escape from the house... fingers crossed the plow guy shows up.

Friday, February 8, 2013


We've finally made the blog private. I've been meaning to do this for many reasons, not least because I am not especially careful about disclosing very identifiable parts of our lives. I'm also struggling to find any semblance of balance in my life, at the moment, especially between work and parenting. For example, I've been up since 1:30am with Charlie and now I have to get ready to go to work, and when I walk through the door in the evening I have a baby and a preschooler requiring attention and I'm doing that as I'm attempting to get dinner on the table and do another million things at once, and well, it is difficult and I don't always do it with a lot of grace.

I know that we'll lose lots of readers as many people read on their google feeds so we'll see how this goes.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Big Boy Wonder

I am not very disciplined when it comes to putting Rafi to bed. Mostly this is something that Rich does but occasionally I will try - and now Charlie is here I try to get both of them to sleep at the same time. I'm not very disciplined in that I give in to Rafi's desire to chit-chat even when the hour is late... very late. Last night I was really desperate to go to bed with Charlie but Raf was still awake, so up we went and I was there with two boys - wide awake - sort of chomping at the bit to get to sleep.

Well, three hours later we were finally all asleep (at least for an hour). It must have been quite comical (if you weren't me) watching my terrible attempts to lull to lala land the children. I was nursing Charlie with my back to Rafi, and Rafi always insists on hugging my arm, which involves some serious agility on my part. 

The mistake I always make, though, is to engage with Raf's night-chat. It is always rather random. Last night he said he's like two mamas. I asked what the other one would be like (see the mistake?) and he said that she'd have orange eyes. He then said that a second Rafi would have red eyes, which are his favourite. He then asked me why I had to go to work (a question I often ask myself - especially this week which has been quite misery-making), and when I explained I had to earn some money he asked why. Mind you this was around 2 and a half hours past his bed time so I should know better, but instead I explained that we need money to buy food, heat and to live in our house. Raf then listed a host of things: bread, cereal, jam, apples, and on and on - that we needed to buy, and he also pointed out that we needed money for his money box. 

He's really growing up. All of a sudden he wants to go to the toilet all on his own (though goodness knows how we are going to get him to poop on the toilet), he's cleaning up all of his toys before he gets out another toy to play with, he's bargaining with us (just 5 more minutes... that's it!). Tonight he and nana were playing a game of jack in the box. He emptied his train box and got in, put on the lid, and jumped out like a big Jack! When my mum suggested the game he went and got himself a jacket from the cupboard thinking that it was involved in a game with such a name.

He's also been quite the helper around the house. He loves to 'fold' up his clothes and put them away, he carries the clothes basket to the washer, loads it up, pushes the buttons, and helps loads the dryer. This time last year we were still quite worried about his speech but he's come on in such leaps and bounds this past few months. Indeed yesterday, for the first time, he drew people that actually resembled people - with a stick body and all! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Couch Time

Rafi is still very poorly, at the moment, but he's still in good spirits. Charlie is feeling much better and last night slept really well. Unfortunately I have mastitis, which really is the pits, and it led to a night of being up with body aches, chills, and fever. Poor Rich was up with Rafi, so no one really was able to take advantage of Charlie's good night. Today I came home mid-afternoon and me and the boys were a fine lot sitting on the couch with our fevers, coughs, and body aches.

I took these photos a couple of days ago during another cuddle on the couch session. Raf loves it when Charlie pulls his hair! He also loves to hold Charlie's hand. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013


We love having the boys in bed with us. Raf is really a little boy who likes company and a lot of cuddles at night, and Charlie seems to be that way, too. It doesn't make for a great night's sleep if both boys are poorly, and since Christmas it has been difficult to string much sleep together. We've just welcomed our third virus into the house since Christmas, so this weekend Charlie was back to waking up every hour. Bless his heart. He doesn't wake up crying, but taps me on my arm until I wake up. 

It's definitely worth the sleep deprivation, and I do think that I likely get a lot more sleep sleeping with the boys as wake-ups are usually brief. And, really, how could you not love waking up to smiles and kisses and hugs.

This afternoon we enjoyed a very, very rare family nap. Rafi very, very rarely sleeps in the house so after a very awful few weeks of sleep, it was lovely to get in a cheeky, if short, nap in.