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.
Here is a sampling of Sloane’s photos she took with her new camera.
She is really enjoyed posing her toys and is also working on different perspectives.
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.
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.
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!
We sure do love this girl, half a decade and counting!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
This little guy is so sweet. He has started giving these great hugs where he really squeezes your neck. He likes to follow it up with a wet kiss on the cheek as well. Soren adores his sister and they mostly play very well together. She tries to carry him often and will sometimes read him books when he asks. He has started a bit of the ‘mine’ phase so sharing is challenging these days.
We celebrated his birthday four times! First we had a shared birthday with Nini before she left with Papa 2 for Europe. Then we celebrated with G and Pa on their visit. The next weekend we had friends over the celebrate, finishing with a cupcake on his actual birthday. He has his own scooter now! Thanks Nini and Papa 2. And his own tool kit- Thanks G and Pa. We’ve gotten good use out of both already. Scooter rides in the sun and hammering nails into boards in the garage on rainy days.
Other big steps is that Soren started daycare 2 days a week at Clark College where Sloane goes. The first day, he was fine with Adam saying goodbye until he figured it out. Since then, drop offs have been very sad but his days have been good. He is in the same room that Sloane was in when she started with the same teacher. It is very helpful to be familiar with it all.
Soren has had major developments with language skills. He repeats and remembers so many words. Rach brought watermelon to his party and the next two days he asked for it with a very close approximation to watermelon. We’ve started giving him gluten and dairy and it seems to be going well. Noodle is a new favorite food and word!
Soren is also quite a character. He loves his headphones! He wore them during our travels to NH, not connected most of the time. Soren likes to wear Sloane’s headband with the ends in his ears which looks so uncomfortable. His new favorite song is Hakuna Mata from the first Lion King. He calls it “tata” and it is actually the only song he asks for. It is getting a bit old but he loves it so much, we endure.
We had a gap in child care before Soren started daycare and Nini and Papa 2 were out of the country. My parents came for just over a week to help. It was the start of their big 4 week western US adventure. When my parents come, I make a list of projects to do. And what a list it was this year! We, I mean my dad, accomplished so much. Finished some of the exterior painting, replaced our terrible bathroom faucets, and painting our hall closet doors. It is so nice to have G’s help with watching the kids and Pa’s help with projects.
The kids really enjoyed spending time with G and Pa. They went on walks around the neighborhood. Walking was better for everyone as scooter and bike rides end up being closer to runs for the adults now.
Pa brought out two new paintings he did for the kids- elephants from our zoo for Sloane and sheep for Soren. They are beautiful and have amazing colors. Soren does insist his painting is of goats though. I asked Sloane if we could hang them in the living room and she said she wanted them in their rooms. Guess I have to commission my own set for the living room.
The last night they were here we ran errands before dinner. We dropped Pa off at Trader Joe’s and waited for him. When he left the store, we drove over and I started yelling “Pa, Pa!” while going to pick him up to make the kids laugh. It has become a a running joke and Soren will just start yelling ‘Pa!” to make us laugh.
We traveled to New England this August and had a the perfect time- nice visits, nice weather, and good food (aka lobster!). The first night we stayed in Wilton with my parents and our friends the Wades came to visit. They have recently moved from Portland OR to Portland ME. Our children are close in age and we all enjoyed catching up, picking blueberries, and playing around.
We headed up the our family camp in Vermont for three nights after that. It was very relaxing- playing in the water and going on kayak rides. Jesse made Sloane a whole school set up with paper and played for hours with her. Soren enjoyed kicking a ball around the yard and pretending to paddle the kayak. One night around the fire, I gave him too much chocolate as he kept asking for it as ‘cha-cha’ and I wasn’t paying attention. He was up until almost 10 that night- telling us our names, pointing and naming the ceiling, light, and wall.
Adam and my dad took the kids on a motor boat ride around the lake the first night. The second night, my dad was teaching Sloane to cast the kid rod on the dock. I went out to take some pictures and the dock started to tip, and then didn’t stop tipping. After some screaming and a scare that the fish hook was in Sloane’s eye, we all ended up unharmed in the water. Though the same cannot be said for my parents’ nice camera that was around my neck and subsequently in the water.
Back in Wilton, we had lobsters and steamers. Sloane had some lobster and declared it the yummiest thing she had ever eaten. Soren ate almost 5 steamers. We played in the kiddie pool and Sloane got to chasing Jesse with a glass of water. Jesse did good evasive moves while not spilling her drink.
How did this girl turn 4 1/2? She is a non-stop gab fest with a mix of imaginary character, made up songs, and drama. The other day Sloane made up characters for us based on Clifford the big red dog. She was Emily Elizabeth (actually from the book), I was the big sister Martha (Sloane’s imagination), Soren was the little brother Coco (imagination) , her doll was the baby sister Ginger (imagination), and we had two dogs Emma and Clifford. She does get exasperated with me especially. Another mom told me they talk about tone in their house and that is exactly what I need to start pointing out to Sloane, before we get a teenager rolling her eyes at us. Because I never did anything like rolling my eyes…….
In the past few weeks, her big accomplishment is riding a pedal bike. These days kids mostly ride strider bikes starting at a young age and then don’t need training wheels. Sloane was more enamored with her scooter and did not use her strider much until about 2 months ago. We were given a hand-me-down pedal bike and after a couple pretty hairy attempts at riding, we bought the training wheels. Pedaling, braking, steering, watching out for cars, and avoiding curbs is an amazing amount to coordinate. We are so proud of her determination. Today, she chanted ‘I think I can, I think I can’ as she road up a hill. She is riding like a champ now and we are close to being able to ride our bikes along with her.
Sloane is also turning into quite a good helper. The other day she asked me if we could mop. With the angle she holds the mop, it sprays about 15 feet away! But I’ll take the help. She is also excellent at tearing the spines of collard greens and peeling garlic.
As far as big sisters go, Sloane has to reach a pretty high bar with Jesse and Darby as role models. So far, Sloane is amazing. She is very patient when Soren is not understanding taking turns. She will stop him from getting into something or somewhere he shouldn’t be. Sometimes this means holding him back by his hair, but I appreciate the sentiment. He loves it when she picks him up and most recently they have tried piggy back rides (requiring adult help!). Sloane continues to use the cutest terms of endearment with Soren, such as bubba and bugga-boo.
Here are some pics from this spring and I promise more will come soon of this summer.