Soren is 2.5!

This goof troop turned 2.5 on 3/23. We swear he woke up from his nap that day a half an inch taller and speaking about 30 more words.

He loves singing and will often tell us to stop singing because he is singing. Soren loves the Puffin Rock theme song, Little Drummer Boy, Stompy the Bear, Frozen 2 sound track, and Seasame street songs, especially C is for Cookie.

Soren is a bit of a dare devil- from jumping off furniture to riding his scooter super fast. His new trick is to squat while steering down a hill on his scooter. He also likes to look over his shoulder while running away, giving us a sly, mischievous look.

He is also super silly, just like his big sister. Here he is pretending to sneeze- not what we need him doing during this pandemic, but luckily we are just staying home right now.

Soren does have a quiet side, though that is mostly when he is having a poop in his diaper! But he does love reading books and kids magazines. He has a great memory and can recite many of his favorites, including Curious George (a 8 book set, Thanks Auntie Rach!) and The Bear Snores On.

He loves his family! Tonight he gave me the biggest hug around my neck, emphasizing it with a ‘snap, I got you’ as he hugged me. Sloane and Soren play well together. Unless one of them takes the other’s favorite thing (which changes hour to hour), because then there are lots of tears and MINE being yelled out. Did I mention they are both boisterous and opinionated? Who would have thought Adam and I would have loud kids who knew what they wanted!?!

Sloane’s writing and drawing

Completely on her own, Sloane wrote this note and told me it was for her bedroom door. It says ‘Sloane, Yes Molly, No Soren.’ We are in for a long haul with these two growing up! She did recently decide to take this down and replaced it with Yes Soren, which is nice in our new reality of every one home most of the time.

Sloane has always loved stories. Most of the time, Adam and I have been reading or telling her stories over the years. For the past year she has taken to dictating stories to us to write in a notebook or on paper for her. Most recently, she has taken to drawing on multiple pages and then narrating the story for us to transcribe onto the pages. Last week in the middle of pretending she was a pilot who flew me to Africa, she grabbed a few pieces of paper and assured me she would use both pages. When she finished, she asked me to tape them together and write out the story for her. I will type out the text after each picture because my handwriting is terrible especially when trying to keep up with her dictation.

This book is call The African Safari Adventure written and illustrated by Sloane Bramble.

Molly and Sloane, one day they went on Safari. They saw some lions, some zebras. Molly was scared when she saw the lions. But Sloane held her hand and they both got braver.

And they saw some elephants. And the elephants went ‘wwrrrr’ And Sloane giggled.

And then they saw a monkey and a lion. And they had some fun with the lion and the monkey. They drank some lion lemonade and they drank some monkey lemonade. and they are some pie.

And then they saw the giraffe who had a really long neck. Molly and Sloane got to take a ride on it. And they had some fun. And then they had some giraffe pie. And then their trip was done.

The end, Sloane Molly, To share with the family.

I personally think the elephant drawing is amazing!

What a March!

On 3/14 we had a snow fall. It was a bit of a surprise when we woke on Saturday morning. The kids loved it and we had a nice morning playing around. We were able to use the sled I bought in November. I thought I had jinxed us for no snow because I prepared by having a sled ahead of time but March 2020 is not following any rules.

The snow was mostly gone by the evening. But some neighbors rolled huge snow balls in the park so we were able to visit some snow for a couple more days.

And then 3/20, six days after the snow, this is what the kids did on the deck before dinner.

Adam and I are not working due to COVID-19, so we are home with the kids. Things are going pretty well even with the stress and uncertainty of this time. The kids are taking everything with amazing flexibility and understanding. We divide our time between long walks in our neighborhood and watching tiny goat visits videos from the Oregon Zoo. Oh and this happens sometimes.

Let see what April can shovel on us!

Sloane’s pre-K performance

Every March, Sloane’s pre-K class does a performance. The children make up their own characters, which have to be from their imaginations not from a book or movie. Needless to say there were a few ‘ice queens’ this year since Frozen 2 came out in the fall. When my mom was visiting, we went shopping at the resale shop for a princess dress because that was Sloane’s idea for a character. The dress she selected had roses on it so she decided she was the Rose Princess.

The day of the show Sloane and I had dinner just the two of us at Burgerville (her favorite) and then went back to her classroom to get ready. Adam met us there and it was fun to see Sloane getting so excited with her friends. I bit my tongue and let her do whatever she wanted for make up. The end result was less polished than I would have done, but totally 100% Sloane. Note the gold lips and general mouth area, along with asymmetrical gems on her face.

Fueling up for the show
Izola, Emma, Penny, and Sloane

Sloane’s teacher, Terry, reads through the story that the children have come up with together. They are in little groups that come out together and sometimes do a little action or just wave. Sloane was going to shoot roses but she was so excited she just waved to us. The performance ended with one of her classmate pretending to play guitar and every one dancing.

Sloane, the rose princess and her friend Pearl, the heart love princess

This is her 3rd and final year doing the pre-K performance. And next year, it will likely be Soren’s turn!


Alphabet song by Soren

This from December but was too good not to share now. He really loves singing and does great with his alphabet now. In the past couple weeks, his vocabulary has exploded. He jabbered for over 15 minutes in his crib before falling asleep last week, telling me about Silky (a character from a show) drinking water and it was funny, and that sometimes Silky drank juice. Adam and I are approaching a time that we are not going to be able to get an word in between Sloane and Soren.

Sloane the photographer

Here is a sampling of Sloane’s photos she took with her new camera.

Working on selfies

She is really enjoyed posing her toys and is also working on different perspectives.

Preset frames make for a dark commentary on Frozen 2

She took the camera to zoolights. Though she got some nice shots, she was a bit of a road block for the groups of people trying to walk. I am surprised we didn’t lose her that night (or Soren, as you can see him dashing through the picture below).

I think the best part of her having a camera is that she makes every one happy and they smile so big.

Christmas 2019

The picture above is actually the best picture of the four of us over Christmas

We were home in Vancouver this year for Christmas. Leading up to the big day, we were able to do some festive activities leading up to it. We felt a bit of the crunch with Thanksgiving being late this year and Sloane’s birthday sandwiched in there. We went to the Grotto to see the lights and hear Bennett’s choir on Sloane’s birthday. We also went to the Festival of lights at Portland International Raceway. Both kids got to sit on my lap going through the lights which made it their favorite Christmas activity.

We also got to make cookies, which this year Soren and I could eat! Sloane and I made some sugar cookies with Bennett and Rach on a nice quiet afternoon. Then we made peanut butter krinkles (my personal favorite) with the kids in the evening. They had some great feedback, see video.

We had 9 fun filled days with every one in town. Dim Sum was had by most, crazy indoor scooters were ridden at green meadows, and SO MUCH FOOD was eaten. The cousins played so well together. Soren really took to Ellie and wanted to sit in her lap most of the time. Max was so sweet and caring with both kids. Zander was very understanding about compromising for the younger kids needs.

Christmas morning was super fun. All the kids had matching pajamas and looked ridiculously cute. Through the whirlwind of present openings, there were lots of big hits with the kids. Sloane loved her Anna and Elsa doll. A Kristoff doll came with them, but he is second fiddle and is often the thing she will allow Soren to play with. Soren loved his gold fish crackers from his stockings. The big hit was the leaf blower Morgan gave him. He loves it and calls it his vacuum. It came with ear and eye protection, a fav for Soren.

We also had a couple video chats with our New Hampshire family. Sloane and Soren were so happy to see them. We also opened presents with them on video chat and though choas was prominent, it was fun. Sloane got a camera from G and P and just wait for the amazing Sloane photo journal post coming soon.

We went to zoo lights on the 26th. It was my first time and my biggest regret is not dressing the kids in white hats to make sure I could find them in the crowds! We got to see three of the elephants eating in the indoor pavilion and the mountain goats sleeping on little ledges like white puff balls. They also had a couple real reindeer, in addition to millions of lights.

We got tickets to see Matilda at a children’s theater in Portland. Paula, Adam, and I took Ellie, Max, Zander, and Sloane. It was so much fun and geared maybe just slightly too old for Sloane. I was sure she was going to ask to leave at intermission, but she rallied and enjoyed it. Having the big cousins there helped. We met a couple cast members after, including the 17 year old who played Matilda. She was very sweet even when Sloane got super shy.

For New Year’s Eve, we relaxed and had a quiet night. eating beefalo steaks and green beans. We watched the new Grinch from Netflix that is super good. (We watched on Christmas day before dinner which helped keep tempers at bay for the hour delay!). We are hoping for a happy healthy 2020; with more sleep and more travels than we got in 2019.


Sloane is 5 years old!

5 years old in our house is also referred to by Sloane as the kindergarten age. She has been looking forward to being 5 for a while now. Every one has been saying that it is a big birthday and it sure seems that way. She really looks like a girl now with all her toddler smoosh melting away. Her hair is very long with curls at the end still. Almost all of her pronunciation is on point, though she still says breafthkist for breakfast.

Sloane has been killing lately with how sharp she is! We will be trying to avoid saying a certain word so Soren won’t hear or something we are waiting to tell her. We can’t spell words because she figures that out immediately, so we will just say the first two letters. And she figures that out now too! She is starting to pick out some words in books now. She has so many books memorized that she ‘reads’ out loud to us. I think the memorization is actually more challenging that reading! Sloane has been doing great with her letters and this year wrote the ‘thank you’ and ‘Sloane’ parts of her birthday thank you cards.

Sloane is quite dramatic, which is entertaining at some times and annoying at others. She will make up songs and rhythms that are quite funny. She makes up crazy dances and tumbling moves. She also feels big emotions and makes sure we know it (and if you knew me as a child, this should sound familiar….).

This year we have been very impressed with Sloane’s physical strength and capacity. Since this summer, she has been running so well. She loves playing tag and chase.

We were talking the other day about what she wanted to be when she was grown-up. Her American girl doll wants to be the first girl on Mars so this lead us to this conversation. Sloane said she did not want to be an astronaut. She said she wants to be a mommy, like me. I asked if she wanted to be anything else, like I was a mom but also a chiropractor. She said she wanted to be a chiropractor like me and work with me at the same office. Except for Wednesdays. When I asked what happens on Wednesdays, she said that I will be watching her kids on Wednesdays so she’ll work alone that day! Wednesdays are the day Nini and Papa 2 watch Sloane and Soren, so obviously that is the day I will watch her kids

Sloane is also an excellent friend and big sister. After her birthday party where we had 20 people in at our house, my friend texted to say she was impressed how Sloane included all her friends in the play and activity. Sloane and Soren adore each other. He has taken to calling her sister and will call for her outside her bedroom. She will cry if he gets hurt and is crying. There are a few hits back and forth, but everyone needs a few bruises growing up!

Quietly reading together

We sure do love this girl, half a decade and counting!

October 2019

We made a trip to the pumpkin patch in early October this year. We went on a Sunday morning close to opening. I figured this would be the perfect time because Vancouver has so many churches, the patch would be quiet. I was wrong and it was crazy. We ran into a friend of Sloane’s from ballet class and running around with a friend really made it a fun day.

Darby came for a visit and ran the Portland marathon! We were so proud of her and amazed she still had energy to play with the kids like the amazing aunt she always is for them.

We have been having some great scooter rides, enjoying the leaves and the nice weather!

Halloween was super fun this year. Soren wore a wolf costume that was Ellie’s back in the day. He loved to howl and was pretty adorable. Sloane wanted to be Ash from Sing just like she was last year. Again she was super cute. We went around the block with our neighbors and it reminded me of trick or treating with Hannah when I was little. It was sweet to see how excited the kids get when they are all together. Soren totally got the hang of trick or treating but seemed to be prejudice against any candy that wasn’t in an orange wrapper. He would walk away from the door and hand any other colors to Adam.

When we got home, we took over for Bill handing out candy. This was a big hit with Soren and Sloane. Soren kept saying ‘They coming, they coming” when he saw groups walking on the sidewalk. Overall, a successful Halloween!

TEC

I realize the top picture and the start of the post is going to seem scary, so I want to start off by saying Soren is doing great. We just had a little health issue that I wanted to document.

At Soren’s two year appointment on 9/27, they did a toe prick blood draw to check lead levels and for anemia. Soren’s levels for anemia were low twice, so they ordered a blood draw. We found out the following Monday that it was not the typical anemia- iron deficiency anemia. He had a low red blood cell count with perfect iron levels. Our pediatrician corresponded with pediatric hematology and ordered another set of labs for one week after the first. This confirmed his red blood cells were low and not increasing.

Looking a little pale and taking a rest in tumbling class

On 10/7, we were seen by pediatric hematology at Randell Children’s Hospital. They confirmed that the diagnosis is transient erythrocytopenia of childhood. The best word in this diagnosis is transient! Once it is caught, it takes 2-8 weeks to resolve. The doctor assured us this was a typical presentation- after a virus (can be mild- like his runny nose from starting day care) and is caught from a screening or from noticing the child is pale. The virus stops his bone marrow from making just red blood cells. The treatment is primarily watch and wait. We were scheduled for twice a week blood draws to check is hemoglobin levels along with his immature red blood cell count to see when he starts making his own red blood cells. The staff was amazing- caring for how to make the blood draws comfortable for him and answering all our questions.

The hospital floor had great play room and toys

On 10/15, we went in for a draw and his levels had dropped again. The doctor could hear a gallop in his heart and recommended a blood transfusion. Luckily, Paula was available and she came to get Sloane. Adam and I spent the day with Soren in the day treatment area of the hospital. They couldn’t get an IV started so we waited about 2 hours for the IV team. Once the IV was in, it took 3 hours to transfuse the blood. Soren was such a champ! We let him watch as much TV as he wanted- which was Secret Life of Pets and Zootopia, both animated animal movies that he loved. After the transfusion, his lips looked more pink and he had more energy.

Amazing to have music therapy stop by the room
Adam also enjoyed the two movies
Orange San Pellegrino + an egg shaker= happy kiddo

One week later at a follow-up, he’s labs were better and we were cleared for two weeks for the next visit. On 11/5, his labs were awesome- hemaglobin higher than right after the transfusion and he was producing new blood cells at 2.5 times the average rate, meaning his body was making up the difference. And we are released- no more appointments needed! The doctor told me he was going to miss seeing Soren because he has such a sweet personality. It was nice to hear but I am glad we don’t have to go back!