Thursday, March 23, 2017

So Much

Boy has it been a crazy week. I mean year. I mean...what?! Three years?! It's been three years since the last post? Yea, that sounds about right.

Here's the super quick catch-up:
Everyone is older. Like, everyone. Patrick is now 8 1/2, Madelyn turned 7 last month and Angie and I are three years older than the last time I posted (you do the math). It's been an amazing 3 years with more memories and adventures made and had than I could ever write about. Patrick and Madelyn have been taking Tae Kwon Do and just received their Deputy Level I Black Belt  They're both doing amazing in school and Angie and I are lucky enough to hear nothing but wonderful things from their teachers about their attitudes, behavior and abilities. It would be near impossible to ask for anything more as a parent.

A post shared by Angie Flowers (@angieflowers) on
And the BIGGEST news is...drum roll... I'm changing the name of the blog. Well, I guess that's secondary to the reason I'm changing the name. On November 22, 2016, we welcomed our incredible little boy Samuel Pollock Flowers.

And that's really the reason I wanted to start up the ol' Blogomatic 5000 again. Angie and I have found ourselves referencing the blog countless times over the last few months with Samuel. When P and M were born, this was where we kept the most detailed track of everything from weight and length to major milestones to favorite foods. It was a sort of digital baby book and we've loved having it. We wanted to be able to do that same thing with Samuel. Even if all we're able to pull off right now is a quick once-a-month post to highlight major milestones for all three kids and post a few pictures, we want to do that so years from now we can look back and have quick access to more than just a picture or video. The extra context that we're able to put around those things with the blog has been invaluable to us.

It's also been fun for the older two kids to look back with us now that they can read and understand what the blog even is. They've loved watching the videos and seeing old pictures and hearing about what they were like as babies and little kids.

So, in an effort to time-capsule what's happened thus far with Samuel, here are the (literal) bullet points:
  • Samuel Pollock, born November 22, 2016 at 7:41 AM. 7 lbs. 9oz. and 20 inches long.
  • Sam stayed breach for all but about 3 days of the pregnancy which was a (not) fun and (definitely) new-to-us little twist on pregnancy and birth. Angie, of course, handled the whole thing like a champ.
  • Sam rolled over front-to-back on New Year's day and almost has rolling back-to-front happening. It seems to be tricky for him because...
  • Sam is currently in the 100th percentile for height, 85th percentile for weight and 30th percentile for head size :) 
  • Samuel is truly one of the happiest babies I've ever seen. He will literally go days without actually crying and just make some general fussy sounds when he's hungry or tired. He started sleeping in 5-6 hour stretches when he was four days old and (knock on much knocking on wood) has only gotten better from there.
  • Patrick and Madelyn have been AMAZING as older siblings. When you've had almost 7 years to get used to it just being two kids, I can only imagine it's a big change for them when there's suddenly a new little one pulling our attention and keeping us from doing certain things with them. But they've handled it incredibly well so far and we couldn't be prouder. They love Samuel beyond measure, have been so good with him and such a huge help to Angie and me.

I could write 10,000 more words but I won't right now. Welcome to the family Samuel. You are extremely loved.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Madelyn Turned Four (Several Months Ago)

I'm WAY behind on this (seeing as how it's Patrick's birthday tomorrow) but our baby girl turned four years old back in February. Here are a few things to note about Madelyn at four...

She is the silliest. Still. As she matures in every other way, her humor matures as well and it's hilarious to watch. She'll do anything for a joke and knows exactly what to say or do to make people laugh. She still turns it on especially heavy if she feels she's about to be in trouble for something :)

Example: Madelyn thinks whoopee cushions are hilarious (they are). So, for Christmas this last year she told me she wanted to get one for Angie, told Angie she wanted to get one for me and told us each separately that she wanted to get one for Patrick. Really, she just wanted to amass as many cushions for herself as she could. Once we figured out her game, we bought her a bunch for Christmas and she thought it was great. Here she is in her brand new Belle Dress...falling into a pile of whoopee slow motion:

The many faces of Madelyn Claire

 She mispronounces a few words and it's the cutest. I'm not even trying to correct them. Just like nobody goes to college in diapers so we didn't pressure the potty training thing; nobody goes to college saying "skuhbetty" instead of spaghetti. These are a few of my favorites:

Spaghetti = skuhbetty
Eyelashes = ash-lies
Nail Polish = paint nolish (my favorite)
Bananas = Bee-annas (sadly, this one is no longer mispronounced)
If I see any of you trying to correct her on these, I will tackle you.

Here's a video of her saying skuhbetty:

She is IN LOVE with dance. We signed her up for dance lessons last year and she's gone every Wednesday since, only missing one week because of strep throat. She dances to everything that resembles music and is constantly moving. She even dances differently for different styles of music (I still haven't figured out how to dance properly to one style of music). Her ballet teacher bumped her up to the older class within the first few weeks and then put her front-and-center at her recital. For as fidgety and distracted as she tends to be most of the time, she immediately focuses and centers herself the second dance starts. She listens to every word the teacher says and tries really hard to follow her directions. We're extremely proud of how hard she's worked in class and are really happy that she's stuck with it and enjoys it.

We'll have more about her recital later but here's a short video from her dress rehearsal...

She is fearless. For a little girl who's had her share of bumps and bruises, you'd have no idea by watching her tackle life on a day-to-day basis. The other evening, Angie was making dinner and Madelyn came near the oven to help her out. Angie warned her of the heat and asked that she step back. Maddy got a little upset and Angie said something to the affect of "we don't want you to burn your hand again sweetie" to which Madelyn replied "Yea, but even though I burned my hand, I'm still alive, so I'm fine!" That seems to be her attitude towards life: whatever doesn't kill her only makes her stronger. She'll jump from any height, pick up any bug or animal we find and I've seen her straight-arm a kid more than once if they get too rough. Just a couple weeks ago we were at the beach with the Suskays and went crabbing one night. We came across some fisherman who had just caught a few small lemon sharks. There was a big group gathered around them and when one of the fisherman asked if anyone wanted to hold a shark Madelyn immediately made her way to the front and held out her hands to hold it!

Holding a salamander at the cabin
Underneath all her fearlessness and toughness, she is the sweetest girl I've ever met. She seems to really just love people and want to help everyone and make everyone happy. She'll frequently stop playing to pause for a hug and an "I love you" and says some of the sweetest, most genuine night-time prayers I've ever heard. Even though she plays in the mud and helps Patrick search for bugs all day, she changes dresses at least half-a-dozen times while doing it and makes sure all her princesses are well taken care of.

Speaking of Patrick, Madelyn is still in love with her older brother and looks up to him in every way. Like any sibling, she enjoys the occasional teasing and argues with him from time to time but he's pretty much her whole world. They're getting old enough that they have their own conversations and relationship completely independent of Angie and me and it's really neat to see. Madelyn just moved up to the Pre-K class at school at the beginning of summer and has a teacher that Patrick had a couple years ago. One morning while I was packing their school bags I heard her in the other room asking him questions about her class and what to expect on her first day because she was a little nervous. It was so sweet hearing her ask his advice and him give her honest answers that really did seem to help calm her fears. I know he didn't realize how much it meant to her but I could hear in her voice how relieved she was to have someone to talk to and take her seriously. We're thankful every day that they have each other and really love and respect each other. Remind us of that when they're 13 and 14 and are working as a team against us :)

As always, I could write a book about Madelyn and still have more to say. She makes us laugh (and have mini-heart attacks) every single day. We love watching her grow up and are so happy to be her parents. Madelyn, you make us so so happy. We love you angel!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Camping Trip!

We took the kids on a camping trip last year on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year. It topped out at 103 degrees and left us all very sweaty and sticky (thank God for cool lakes nearby). This year, we were determined not to make that mistake again so a couple months ago we planned a camping trip with my sister, Katie, and her wonderful family for the end of October. As luck would have it, a cold front came through and the lows for the weekend ended up being in the 30s. (Not like now, a week later, where the weather is PERFECT and the lows are in the 50s). With two three year olds and a five year old, we weren't sure how it was going to work out but we decided to go ahead with the plan and hope for the best. And I'm really glad we did :)

The trip was a ton of fun. We met the Beans for breakfast then caravanned to DeSoto Falls Campground. The camp sites were your basic no-electricity sites: picnic bench, flat area for a tent and a fire pit. We picked a nice spot (based almost entirely on how much sun was currently shining on it) and setup the Beans' "tent hotel." The kids "helped" for a few minutes but as soon as the first tent was up, they dropped the helping game and went on to more enjoyable activities.

That was also around this time we realized that in trying to decide whether we should bring firewood from home or buy it on the way, we had done neither and therefore had nothing to build a fire with. The boys were immediately tasked with gathering firewood for the weekend before we all froze.

After we got the fire started, cooked our lunch and warmed up a little, we headed to the falls. It's only a 3/4 mile hike to the upper falls but with as much as the kids ran back and forth on the trail, it was probably more like 7,000 miles. But it was well worth the hike. The trail and falls are beautiful at this time of year.

The kids trying to keep each other warm on the hike back.
 One thing that was special about this trip was that Patrick is old enough to help with some of the camp site "chores" that had to happen. Any time Brandon and I had to go scavenge for firewood, Patrick jumped at the chance to come with us. He'd help us carry wood back, or sometimes (don't tell the moms) hold the hatchet for us while we sawed wood or carried the bigger logs. He was very proud of being "one of the guys" and it was awesome to have some bonding time with him. Here's a picture of him using a knife for the first time (with my help, of course) to make our hot dog/marshmallow roasting sticks. I made sure to tell him what my Grandfather (who carved professionally) always told us when we were kids: "Never put the meat in front of the blade."

The night went surprisingly well for how cold it was (... at least, for most of the group. Katie and Angie might disagree.) We all stayed right by the fire roasting marshmallows and chatting until it was bed time. Then we bundled the kids up, shoved them way down in their sleeping bags and hoped for the best. It helped that they were exhausted from the busy day, but they all slept AMAZING the whole night.

In the morning we collected more firewood (surprise!), Brandon made eggs and bacon for breakfast and we even managed to have some coffee.

All in all, it was a great weekend. We were all so proud of the kids for sticking it out through the freezing cold weather and being great sports. They had so much fun playing together and we had a fun time watching them and getting to hang out with Katie and Brandon. Our kids have been talking about camping again sometime soon ever since we got home. I'm all for soon as it warms up a little bit :)

Even when they're too tired to walk, they still want to hold hands.
You can check out more pictures from the weekend by clicking right here or looking at the slideshow below.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Patrick Turned Five! (several months ago)

Let's just get it out of the way: I'm the worst. My first born turned five years old back in July and I haven't blogged since JUNE! And even that blog was about Madelyn's birthday back in FEBRUARY! Part of it is that we've been busy. Tons of stuff going on, out of town almost every weekend for awhile and weekends in town have been even busier. The other part is that between Facebook, Instagram, texting and Twitter, we're able to keep family pretty up to date with what's going on and the blog hasn't had as much use. But, still no excuse for the lack of a birthday post. So onto the post we go...

Patrick's birthday landed during beach week this year so we didn't have our usual themed birthday party where everybody was present and his friends were there. Instead, he got to celebrate his birthday about forty different times over several months. He didn't seem to mind :)

It started on his actual birthday in Ocean Isle where we had an ocean/pirate themed party for him. While the kids rested the afternoon of his birthday, we went out and buried his presents in the sand on the beach then drew a treasure map on his birthday card. When the kids woke up, we got them in pirate gear and headed out for the hunt.

Round 2 of Patrick's birthday was spent with Grandma and Grandpa and crew at Tellus Museum. If you've never been there, you should go. It's awesome. They've got so much cool stuff to do and see. Here are the kids with a couple of their favorite dinos...

We then spent a weekend in Hilton Head with the Beans! (More pictures to come unrelated to the birthday.)

First day on the beach with cousin Carson!
We also went out to dinner for Patrick's birthday with our great friends, the Barkers to Steak & Shake (Patrick's choice. He loves that place.) For some reason I don't have any pictures from that evening. But you'll have to take my word for it that we all had a great time :)

It's hard to believe our little guy is five already. I know people say it all the time but it really does seem like just the other day we were driving to the hospital, waiting to meet our new son. We had no idea what he would be like. What he would sound like. What his mannerisms would be. Five years later, we still learn more about him every day and he teaches us more about life every day. He's an amazing little boy who constantly keeps us laughing and learning. Patrick, we love you more than you'll ever know. Thank you for being such a good son, brother and person.

For Patrick's fifth birthday video I thought I'd do something a little different. The video is only 26 seconds long but it takes a look back at all of Patrick's birthday so far. It was really fun to put together and relive the last five years...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pixies and Pirates

(Update: new link to new pictures at the bottom of the post! Thanks Aunt Mandie!)

Back in February, our Madelyn turned three years old. I'm not sure how that happened since I specifically asked her not to do that and to just stay two a little bit longer; but, she's got a strong will and went ahead with the birthday anyway. As usual, we had a small celebration for her at the house where we gave her a few gifts, she got to pick dinner and we had a small cake. Then we had a bigger party with friends and family and, of course, a theme.

Madelyn's main gift this year was her new big girl bed. She had been dreaming about it for months and wanted it to be pink with a big pink canopy "like a princess has." Angie found the perfect sized pink bed on Craigslist and we found a canopy that looked like something a three year old's impression of a princess might like. Needless to say, she was VERY happy to find it in our living room when she came down from nap...

We brought it up to her room, hung the canopy and let her put some fairy stickers on the wall and she was ready to go.

First night in her bed!
For Madelyn's big party, she wanted a (surprise) fairy theme. And probably at the suggestion of her brother, she later added that she might want "some pirate fings too." So, we went with a Pixies and Pirates theme and everyone was happy. Angie, as usual, went all out on the themed food, games and decorations with help from Meme and Grandma and we even got a package full of pirate goodies in the mail from our friends Piper and Beckett Finn who live in NC. The kids seemed like they had a lot of fun and I know we had a great time. Rather than explain too much about it, I'll just put up the video and link to the picture gallery. The song is Audrey Assad's "Ought to Be."

And here's a slideshow of the pictures from her birthday at our house and the friend/family party. Or you can go right to the gallery by clicking this bad boy. UPDATE: Aunt Mandie has a whole album of pictures as well you can treat your eyes to right here.

Happy birthday my sweet girl! You bring so much joy to our lives!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Adventures of Pokey the Swordfish

It's kind of amazing what a great father does each day, isn't it? He breezes in the house in the evening, leaving all work stress at the door and is totally present, trying to fit in eight hours of quality time into the twenty minutes before dinner. He's tackled and tickled by little people before he can even get inside the house. He's listening to how my day went and answering questions about dinosaurs and space and pirates and watching a ballet recital/rock concert all at the same time. He helps with dinner and puts the wash into the dryer as he changes out of his work shirt while simultaneously playing, "Hey, hey, you crazy!" [monster game]. He's spraying for aunts, watering the garden, pushing the kids on swings. He serves as DJ and professional kid-spinner for the after dinner dance party and referee for the many mini-battles during bath and story time. And with kisses and hugs and prayers its bedtime. A whirlwind of an evening, every evening. But somehow he makes it magical. And for that we love him even more.

Just one of the many reasons I love this man - the bedtime stories he tells the kids. It's no wonder they love him as much as they do.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Frog Story

A couple months ago, I got this picture from Angie while I was at work in a text that said "We found a frog in the back yard and he's going to be our pet!"

The frog is the thing trying really hard to blend in with the stick.
Here's a better picture of him...

Knowing how much my kids (especially Patrick) are in love with all animals, I knew she wasn't kidding when she said the frog would be our pet. Because if the kids found then captured a frog and it didn't bite either of them or hiss or something, there's no way they're letting that thing go. His life was now theirs. I half-expected them to start throwing sticks into the frog's little habitat saying "It climbs the sticks when they are thrown in. It does this whenever it is told." (If you've never seen Silence of the Lambs, GO WATCH IT NOW. I can wait.)

Then, throughout the day, I got pictures like this one with captions like "Guess who's blasting off!"

And "Guess who's saving the town from a fire!"

"Guess who's going for a tractor ride!"

And so on...

 And so forth...

I fully expected the frog to be dead before I got home. But amazingly, he was alive and as happy as a frog is able to express.

Madelyn changes Disney Princess outfits pretty much every 20 minutes. I don't know which princess this is but she needs a bigger shirt if she's going to be role modeling for my daughter.
And so, we kept him. We found out that he was a grey tree frog and could climb pretty much anything in our house. He would jump from Patrick's shoulder onto the wall and then jump back onto the next person that walked by to hitch a ride somewhere else. It was all pretty cool.

One of Patrick's favorite things to do was race the frog up the wall. Patch was excited to have a climbing buddy and also excited to win every single time since his opponent has a slight size disadvantage and no idea he's even supposed to be racing.

 If it's hard to tell what's happening in that picture here's a video of Patrick climbing the door frame to get to the pull-up bar. As much as I wince every time he drops down, I'm glad he does that now rather than what he did before; which was climb to the top whether you were close by or not then start yelling for someone to come get him before he fell with about 2 seconds of warning. I learned I can run to the kitchen door from almost anywhere in the house in a very short amount of time when necessary.

We also had to feed the frog. We tried all kinds of stuff the first few days but he didn't eat any of it. Then we finally went to the pet store and got him some small live crickets and he went bananas for 'em. Sometimes we'd put the crickets in the habitat with him and let him "hunt" them (sit really still until a dumb-as-bricks cricket literally jumped onto his face) and sometimes the kids would feed them out of their hands. This is video of the first time they fed him from their hands. I LOVE how excited they get.

Here's a better angle. I also love how closely Madelyn pays attention to Angie talking about the frogs tongue at the end of this video.

And so it went for weeks. I REALLY thought the frog wasn't going to make it past the first week with how not-so-gentle the kids can be in their excitement to "play" with him. But they did great and the frog kept eating and drinking and doing all the other normal frog things frogs tend to do. Both kids tried sleeping with the frog in their room but they both kicked him out after the first time he croaked really loud after they had fallen asleep. His croak is loud enough when we hear him in our yard - when he's in the same room, it's pretty darn loud.

His piano playing, however, was magnificent.
Then one day, Patrick seemed to suddenly feel a little guilty about keeping the frog in our house. He talked to us about it on and off all day and we did our best to answer his questions but it just didn't sit right with him that we had taken the frog "out of the wild" (his words). A few days later, Patrick decided we should let the frog go. I was at work but Angie said Patrick was saying things like "he came from the wild, we should put him back in the wild. We didn't buy him from the pet store. He's not really ours. He should be with his family and friends." Angie assured him it was OK if he wanted to keep the frog but he had made up his little mind. Mr. Ribbits needed to be released.

So they took him out and Patrick cried as he let Mr. Ribbits go in the yard close to where they had found him. He kept saying things like "It's OK buddy. You'll find your friends and your family again. They'll be so happy to see you." crying the whole time. It was heartbreaking. But we were SO proud of Patch for making a tough decision, completely on his own, and going through with it even though it made him really upset.

That night, we heard the frog croaking in the back yard and Patrick started crying again but smiled and said "He sounds so happy!"

I love that kid.