Sunday, January 23, 2011

Treasures in the Attic

In high school I was so reluctant to get rid of my 'stuff'. I kept everything; math notes, drafts of essays, text books, letters from friends in which we discuss what we should eat for lunch. Some really silly stuff. But tonight I came home with many many treasures for my children. I cam home with 2 big boxes of books. All my favorites from when I was a child; "Velveteen Rabbit" and "Sweet Valley Twins". I am hoping that my avid readers will enjoy these for a few months and save my pocket book a little.

I also found my old Cabbage Patch Dolls; well, my 2 and one of my sisters. My mother tried to tell me I couldn't take it since it belonged to Allyson, but I reminded her that Allyson wasn't making much use of it in the attic. When Allyson has her own little girl we will pass these treasured dolls onto her. I remember going to the grocery store and making a playpen out of the shopping cart for our dolls. We would do the same thing in the trunk of our station wagon. We would spend Saturdays going garage sale hunting (read: bored out of our minds since we were young children). We would bring along our dolls to entertain ourselves, back before there were nifty hand-held electronics.

But my two most treasured finds were dresses that my sister and I wore when we were babies. I just adore the red one that I wore when I was about one year old. And my mother made us matching sister dresses. We could only find Allyson's from when she was an infant and it fits Eleanor perfectly.

We found a few other hand made items; a clown costume and a Christmas dress. I tried squeezing Lainy Ann into the Christmas dress and although it fit in the length, the body was too slim. I guess that is proof positive that she gets her body-type from her daddy. But she gets her good taste in dolls from me. She is adoring her new old Cabbage Patch Dolls.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Two Months


My dear Ellie Belly is 2 months old. I can't believe it. On the one hand she is getting so big; weighing in at 13 1/2 lbs and 22 inches long. She is growing out of 0-3 month clothing and will be in size 3 diapers next week. On the other hand I feel like she has been part of our family forever. The kids love having her as part of our family. We haven't had any of the normal issues of regression or jealousy. They all want to love on her, sing to her and play with her, but do a great job of respecting boundaries (and keeping her safe).

She has been smiling for about 2 weeks now and is ahead of the curve for holding her head up and putting weight on her legs. They all seem like such silly accomplishments, but I have waited (semi) patiently for each child to accomplish them. Eleanor already is trying to keep up with her siblings. I am happy to wait for her to roll over as long as possible. I'm enjoying putting her on the couch and not worrying about her.

Its been so great having a 5th child. Its so relaxing and fun. When Lainy Ann was born I was too worried about 'doing it right' to really enjoy anything. It was the same for Connor and William too. Alexander was my first 'fun baby'. But now Eleanor is a 'fun baby girl' which adds a whole dimension - clothes and accessories! Yup. I am playing dress up with my baby. And I am enjoying it. Just my luck, by the time she is 2 years old she will start asserting her opinion on what she should wear.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Skating for a Belt Loop


Scouts has been really fun for our whole family. It has a pretty strong 'at home' component. Caskey and I firmly believe in exposing our kids to as many experiences as possible. So the challenge of belt loops has been a great one for our family. It is essentially a to-do list of fun activities for the whole family. About a month ago we found we had a free weekend so we organized Art Belt Loop day with another family. We visited a museum, did a few art projects and 4 hours later we had tons of fun with friends and Connor had a Belt Loop and Pin. This week, since the kids are still out of school, we conquered the Roller Skating Belt Loop.


Conquering is exactly the correct word. The other mother who came along on our adventure was a little apprehensive about the injury aspect of skating and wanted to wrap her kids in bubble wrap. My issue was taking all the kids along and helping them all at the same time. In the end poor Alexander went to preschool (and was happy to do so) while I took the other 4 kids skating. Eleanor knew her job and stayed sleeping for most of the skate session so I could help the other kids.

But initially the skating started out much like ice skating with Lainy Ann did 3 years ago. She whined and complained and was terrified of falling. Lots of screaming and proclaiming she couldn't do it. She tried giving up 20 feet into it, but I told her she had to go all the way around the rink at least once. Connor was a trooper, he figured out how to hold onto the wall and pull himself along the whole way around. William was content to have one hand on the wall and the other hand in mine.

I was pretty impressed after one trip around the rink Connor was on his own. He wanted nothing to do with me and he just kept practicing and trying harder and letting go of the wall more often. Lainy Ann practiced on the carpet for an hour after that and then made her way back onto the rink and did great - she was a lot more confident. William and I just kept going around in circles. He really liked holding my hand and slowed down considerably when he was on his own. He never complained and he just kept on going. But near the end even he was skating on his own (if you don't count the wall).

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The kids, of course, are already talking about getting a pair of roller skates and going back. At $50 for a 3 hour session for the four of us I'm not too enthused to go back anytime soon . . . at least not until William needs his belt loop.

Potty Training Version 4

I had grand plans when I found out I was pregnant with Ellie. I thought for sure I would be able to potty train Alexander before Eleanor arrived, after all, this would be our biggest gap between children at 27 months apart. Since the other kids started showing potty interest at about 20ish months and were all trained by 28 months - add to that his "I'm a big boy" attitude. Well . . . . I figured it would be easy-peasy to get Alexander trained.

NOPE! Just like all the Dickson children they are bound and determined to do what they want when they want. He showed a bit of interest but couldn't stay dry for more than 15 minutes. So I gave up the challenge for the summer and figured the example of the other kids in his class would be enough. I told the preschool teacher I was on board and would follow through at home with any training that was happening at school. September came and went, then so did October. Each time he was asked to sit on the potty he had an emphatic NO!. There was no real reason to push since I would be having a baby any day, so he got off easy once again.

But 2 days before Christmas break and our road trip to Oregon he decided to start peeing in the potty. Can you believe the timing?! At home I half-heartedly asked him to use the potty and rewarded with candy each time, but I was not pushing the issue. I did not need a 2 year old in underwear as we attempted to drive 1,000 miles north in one day. The next morning he woke up and stood to pee in his tiny training potty. His aim was a little off so he stopped peeing adjusted his body and continued to pee. That's when I knew he had been fooling us all along with his cute dimpled and adamant "no!" - this child had bladder control.

Over Christmas break and vacation it was more of the same - not really pushing the issue, but anytime he asked to use the potty we let him and rewarded his success with candy. On his 2nd day back at preschool he stayed dry the entire day. He wore a diaper, took it off himself to potty and then had a teacher put it back on again. I still wasn't ready to take the plunge of chasing around a potty training toddler and tending to the needs of a nursing newborn. So on Saturday it was more of the same. By the the end of the day I realized he was still wearing the same diaper, he had peed all day long and some times he even went in on his own accord to use the potty.

Seems like we will be breaking out the underwear soon and I will have a potty trained little man by Easter!