Wednesday, July 30, 2008

'Vegetable' and 'Thank you'

I've noticed that although our crew is picking up quite a bit of Spanish they do seem to be struggling with one word in particular - 'por favor' or 'please' for you gringos.

When I listen more closely Lily tends to say 'Veg-e-table' or 'Begh-e-ble' for 'por favor'. Must sound the same to her.

Will says a myriad of things in place of 'por favor' including 'bor -ee-bor' and 'pop-i-cal' (also used for popsicle). I guess any three syllable word will do.

It appears Evan says something most similar like 'bor-ba-bor' and 'bor-bee-bor'

On the bright side they all have 'gracias' nailed.

I've got to get this on video.

Walk it Out

Evan's You Tube video picks for all you hip hop tots out there....

Tubbies Walk it Out

Happy Feet Walks it Out

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Splish splash at Zilker

I took the boys to Zilker's water park the other day for some relief from the Austin heat.

Like ducks on a pond...

Apple juice tastes go000000od.

Mom, Me and Memo

I discovered this old photo I love of me and my mom GG. I think Will looks the most like me at this age out of our four. Oh, and check out my mom's cool owl, do you still have that somewhere??

Will aka 'Memo' 15 months

Friday, July 25, 2008

Boys Room

photos from The House that A_M Built via Camillia at Home via Barnes Vanze, wheh!

Side note: I've started a separate design blog Studio Freas to have a landing spot for my decorating and design ideas. But I couldn't resist adding these photos of this beautiful boys attic room for you moms out there, and well, it's crunch time and I need your input.

Our upstairs will have this converted attic look. These sloped walls are not unsimilar to our new triplet room, although our back wall is long will hold three beds (toddler beds initially) and we have two windows above. We won't have all those built-ins and lovely wood detailing, but it isn't it nice?

The carpet is great too, it would be fun for the kids to play with trucks and cars and be more forgiving than the neutral wool sisal I selected. However, since this is in a 6000 sq foot Virginia 'farmhouse' something tells me this is not inexpensive. And for those of you who do not know us in real life, our home is more of a 'cozy' cottage. I don't mean to mislead with the fabulous images I post from my dream houses.

Here is a peak into my latest ideas for our boys room. I need to decide this week so I can order curtains and select paint/flooring. I love this stuff, but designing an entire house is making me nuts. Some rooms can long as I can pick the paint now but I at least need a start.

Option 1:

For curtains, I am drawn to this Rodeo fabric from Golding. David is starting to give in to my nagging come around to the idea. It's mostly boy but does have a cowgirl in there - see her sitting on the fence? and just a snippet of the red cactus flowers on ther left. This fabric would give me a way to bring in some nice color, texture and interest.

Here's another view of this fabric in a bedroom. It has a very different look when shown in full, not so 'themey' looking as long as I don't add bandanas and ropes :)

I'd like to paint the walls a similar shade to the background of this fabric like shown in this photo(something like F&B skylight), with a darker blue trim (say F&B parma grey). I just take my paint chips to my local paint store and they can match.

For bed skirts perhaps something like this PB chambray in Red for their toddler beds below. We can use their cream sheets and blankets, but I'd like to get them crib sized comforters and pillows. Something simple and neutral for this option.

Option 2:

These quilts (on sale now at PB) and striped curtains, light blue walls. this may even go with that carpet I like in the first photos.

Option 3:

Go with a similar carpet to the first pics and find some patchwork quilts and striped curtains (see peaking out from the right).

Need help. Your input appreciated.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Toddler Speak

This is a follow up post to my previous 'changes' post. I didn't capture how much their language has changed recently. They are much better at telling us what they are thinking. This is huge - it's great to know what they want or need in stead of guessing.

Lily will repeat anything you say but here are some of the things they all say unprompted.
  • They ask for certain shows in the morning - usually 'tubbies' or 'thomas'.
  • They say 'shoe off', 'shirt off', 'diaper off' - given the choice they prefer to be nude.
  • They ask for 'breakfast', 'more fruit', popsicle 'pok-eh-cal or pok-eh-do' or 'no want it'.
  • They like to play chase and say 'ya voy' which is kind of like 'I'm coming (to get you)' in Spanish.
  • When in bed they babble to each other. One of their favorite things to say is 'dino' back and forth - I don't know why. Maybe it is 'night night' in triplet speak.
  • They are all learning their manners but especially Will. We get a lot of 'tank -u' and 'gracias' from him. They say please too 'peese' and 'por favor' but it comes out more like 'bor-buh-bor'.
  • They now say 'timeout' and 'settle down'
  • Last night Lily was making her doll walk and saying 'baby camina', 'baby camina' which is 'baby walk' in Spanish.
  • They like the alphabet song and know a smattering of the letters, more than I posted before. They will rattle off different letters like O-P, I-K, Y-Z, and 'now I know my'. Lily is fond of 'W', I think she finds it impressive. Will likes to say O-P and can identify 'Y'
  • They say 'potty' and I think I forgot to post it but Lily used the potty for the first time a few weeks ago - and not again since.
  • updated with one more, how could i forget - we have also gotten our first 'i love you's - melts your heart

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Curtain Rods, Drapery and Blinds - Oh My!

All those windows I was so excited about....they need curtains or other covering. So I'm now measuring and figuring and calculating and need to find fabric and blinds. It's a lot to do.

Once this project is finished I'll never want to move.

Thomas, He's the Cheeky One

Look what David picked up this weekend! We found this Thomas the train table with tons of wood tracks and accessories and over a dozen trains on our local Craigslist for less than the price of a new table. We still need to get the 'Thomas' train and some of the other main trains because the seller couldn't part with those but what a great deal.

The kids have been spending lots of time playing with their new trains. I often hear Will in the playroom saying 'choo choo' while pushing the trains around the track. And these days we watch a lot of Thomas & Friends in the mornings and sing & dance to the Thomas songs.

The nice set up David created above didn't last long with the trio so we've simplified the tracks to make one long loop around the table and put most of the accesssories away for when they are bigger. Btw - the boys were still sleeping when I snapped these photos of Lily and David.

Holden likes the trains but prefers to play with our cat Max through the window.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dining Room

I've ordered this dining room table from cottage home main stained in a dark brown (still need to pick out a minwax color). David was set on a round table and after hours of Internet searching I think I found one that will work.

Now I'm trying to select a chandelier and these are the top contenders.

Option1: from Circa

Option 2: from Currey and Co.

I don't think I'm going to worry about ordering chairs quite yet, seeing how I can't even keep chairs in my dining room yet without my toddlers moving them around and climbing on the table. But theoretically I like this one below from Wisteria recovered in a family friendly wipeable fabric like faux ostrich or something from Sunbrella.


The bad behavior has been escalating and it must come to an end.

My most pressing problem is that Lily has begun biting Evan. It's bad, real bad. He has three scars on his back and one on each arm. When she bites, she bites hard, breaking skin even through the shirt. We had a few some biting challenges early on. But that was different and short lived. Will occasionally bit but not necessarily maliciously, he would be snuggling up and then 'ow'. But we would tell him 'no biting' and pretty soon it passed.

They have a lot of fun together and often play well, but they also hit or throw toys at each other when they get mad and it has got to stop. Will has a calmer temperment and the least likely to get in trouble although he will see the others getting attention for bad behavior and he will cautiously step in to do the same.

They are much better when outdoors but it has been extremely hot. We have been forced to spend more time indoors where is harder to keep them entertained and out of trouble. Aside from getting bored, there are just so many things off limits inside - No jumping off the sofa, no playing with the stove, dishwasher or dryer, no climbing on chairs, no climbing on the TV console, no throwing food, no pulling on the blinds, no moving get the idea - that we are constantly having to distract or say 'no'.

We discipline with timeouts but we haven't been that consistent and it's not working. It's time to get tough and we have instituted new rules.
  • We now have a clear place for timeout, two minutes in chair in the corner, rather than just putting them in the playroom by themselves.
  • 'No warning' timeouts for any kind of violence. One bite or one hit and they are in timeout for two minutes.
  • Lesser infractions like throwing food and climbing on furniture get one warning and then time out.
  • When we put them in timeout we look them in the eyes and tell them in most simple language why they are going in time out. When we take them out we repeat why they were in time out and ask them to acknowledge ('no biting' ).

Lily went in time out three times until she would say 'no biting' after a time when she bit Evan on the back so hard it broke the skin through his shirt and left top and bottom bite marks. Maybe I was too tough making her stay until she acknowledged no biting, but we are desparate for her to stop. I wanted her to give him a kiss and say sorry but she refused, although he was quick to forgive and give her a kiss instead.

Meanwhile we are trying harder to keep them entertained and distracted so that trouble doesn't have a chance to start.

I also talked to Carmen this morning about our rules so we can all be on the same page. I'm optimistic that if we stick to our rules we will see improvement. We have to do better.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Evan insisted on wearing his new Keens to bed. I think he is happy to have colorful shoes. His old Keens were brown and he was always trying to wear Lily or Will's aqua or red shoes which were unfortunately too small for him.
Oh, I hear baby. No nap for me.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Family Photos

photos by Scott Stater


photo by Scott Stater

The kids seem to be changing dramatically these days as they approach their second birthday.

Their vocabulary has probably doubled in the last couple of weeks and Lily started speaking sentences or phrases, like 'this is baby's' when she hands me his bottle and 'see you later'. She told the boys to 'settle down' when they were jumping on the sofa last night.

Some of the words they say are 'blueberry', 'vitamin' and 'vegetable'. They can say all their names now and they call Will 'memo' and Evan 'Eba'.

Lily knows her numbers in least to cinco but Carmen says that she knows all ten. They all know one-two-three in English. Lily knows ABCD - E, although half the time it comes out ABCB-E. Will says A-B. I'll ask Evan later. I haven't been pushing this, but they learn a lot from Sesame Street in the morning. Lily has learned the most because she shows interest in it so I work with her more. The boys are a bit more 'kinetic' as Jenny would say and are more likely to be running around than talking and practicing with us.

Speaking of shows, we have been watching Sesame Street in the morning which I think is a great program. In the afternoon or evenings they watch Thomas the Train and he is a bit hit. We like to dance to a couple of the Thomas songs like 'Strength'. I find myself humming it during the day. When Sesame came on one day this week. Lily said, 'No, Thomas' so we watched that instead. We also just discovered Teletubbies which is mesmerising and they get a big kick out of the weird sun with a baby's face.

The way they mimic everything we do is a humorous reminder to the things we do. Last night they were walking around with wet wipes 'washing' the windows and walls. Lily told the boys yesterday to 'settle down' when they were jumping on the sofa.

And their pretend play is kicking into high gear. Lily is getting more into her dolls, wanting to put diapers on them, bath them, dress them to shoes, feed them bottles and put them to bed.

I've already mentioned numerous times that Lily and Evan can climb out of the crib, they now can also climb over the fence.

Security Breach

Lily can get out of her crib despite the crib tent. I found her in Will's crib after nap yesterday.

Head Bump

The kids do this funny thing where they stand put their foreheads together. They will stand like that for a few seconds. I haven't been able to catch all three on camera yet but here is a snapshot of Will and Lily.

Bye Bye GG

All good things must come to and end. After a long nice visit, grandma GG had to go back home to Florida. I'm sure she needs lots of rest to recover from her extended trip. And maybe she would like to have breakfast without three toddlers wanting a bite.

The kids were really sad when she left. She has been with us for a couple months and was part of their daily lives and they have a lot of fun with her. They still tell her night night each evening before they go to bed.

GG teaching the kids how to walk on an old oak in Blanco, not too far from San Marcos where my mom grew up.

Tackling GG.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Holden Six Months

photo by Scott Stater

Holden will be six months old this friday. He is the cutest little thing. I'm a bit sad that our baby days are numbered.

He had his six month check up early, they let us fit it in last week when I took all the kids to the doctor for their bad colds.


  • Weight 18 lbs 6 oz (50%)
  • Height 25 3/4 inches (25%) this is the same height as Evan and his six months
  • Head 44 cm

The doctor was surprised to hear that not only is Holden rolling over as expected by six months, he is sitting unassisted and crawling and has been for a few weeks now.

The other day I was bathing the trio in my bath which is near the family room. Holden crawled all the way over to check on us.

Holden is also beginning to pull him self up to standing so we had to lower his crib this week to keep him from toppling out.

He is still as happy as ever and the picture above captures the grin he gives freely. Every morning when he wakes up in our bed he smiles bright and starts cooing and squealing. He is irresistable.

photo by Scott Stater

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dreaming of Decor

The house project is plugging along and our completion date is in less than two months. Unless we want a great but empty home, It's time to get going on ordering a few furnishings.

I love the modern and a little bit bohemian look to this living room, by Tia Zoldan in her own home. It is layered, casual and comfortable, easy not forced. But why is it never really that easy to do?


All the kids got hit with a nasy bug this week, runny noses, croupy cough and fever, even Holden. We had been healthy for a while and I though we were through the bug season.

They really feel rotten. I took Will to the doctor yesterday because his breathing was a bit labored. He was wheezing a bit and having slight retractions in his chest from working too hard to breathe. The doctor prescribed nebulizer treatments for him. We did one right away in the office which was quite traumatic but did seem to help a bit. It was really sad. He had a high fever and was scared from the moment we got in the patient room. I had to hold him down while he cried desparately 'mommy, mommy...daddy'.

I didn't give him another treatment last night because he seemed to be breating ok and I didn't want to traumatize him unneccessarily. Will had this same issue at Christmas time when they all got that lingering respiratory illness. The doctor has mentioned athsma but is not diagnosing him with that yet. We will wait and see but I hope not.

Meanwhile we are not getting much sleep. Thank goodness David is back in town. He was gone an extra night than expected because of weather delays. He was able to do most of the night duty last night which was a big relief for me. Even Holden has been up screaming. Poor thing, I think he gets scared when he can't breath well through his nose. He have him sleeping at an incline to help the drainage but he is still having trouble.

At times like this we are just trying to get through the day.

Monday, July 07, 2008

House Status

Shingles - check
Stonework - check
AC - check
Plumbing - check
Electrical - in progress
Inspections/Dry wall - next week

The stone work turned out beautifully. We were able to salvage the original house stone from a rockwall in our back yard for the new second floor. It looks like it has always been there.

Four years ago we moved into this house. One day I was musing that wouldn't it be nice if we had the stone that was removed from the back of the house when it was remodeled in the early 90's. Almost a year later we realized that the rock removed from the back of the house was indeed in our yard in the form of a low garden wall.

What a nice find. Thanks to the previous owners the old stone was able to be reclaimed and is now part of the house again.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

We kicked off the day with our annual neighborhood parade (decorations provided by GG). Last year the kids were just babies and I was pregnant with Holden. This year the kids are now toddlers and Holden made the caboose to our train. Lily was able to wear her 4th of July dress one more time.

The big kids enjoyed the post parade festivities. Here is Evan fishing for treasure with Dad.

Will with a big grin.

And taking juice break on a cool old radio flyer tricycle. Lily participated in the bean bag toss and made her first throw through the target a few feet away!

Holden got some cuddling from our neighbor Melanie.

In the afternoon Will and Evan headed to Grammy and Papa's house for their first sleep over.

While my mom, David, Lily, Holden and I went to our friend's Ranch for the day.

Lily spend most of the day swiming and exploring. David taught her how to blow bubbles under water.

My mom spent some quality time with her dear friend Sandy.

We enjoyed some delicious barbeque at dusk. One the way home we passed through several small towns and caught bits of their firework displays on the horizon. Driving past downtown Austin we had a great view of our fireworks and even caught the last 10 minutes from the bleachers in our own park.