I finally got professional pictures taken of Andy. He was eight weeks when I got them taken. He is such a sweet baby. He started smiling at six weeks and has become a real pro at it. He has been sleeping 6-7 hours at night sense he turned six weeks as well. He loves to eat and is getting some serious fat roles. His cheeks are especially kissable. He needs to be burped many times a feeding, and he makes his brother very proud as his burps are extremely impressive.
I have been stewing for the past couple of months about how to get Caleb to pitch in a little better and to restrict his computer and video game time as well as the time he spends watching movies. He can be such a stinker about helping around the house or even doing what he is told. I have come up with a system that we have been using for about three weeks now, and it is going awesome so I thought I would share. He can choose whatever "chores" or responsibilities he wants to do. For example, in the morning I ask if he wants to make his bed or if he wants me to. If he does it he gets a bead if I do it he does not. I divvy out beads once a day in the afternoon for the past 24 hours or so. I was going to use the system for Cara too, but she doesn't need the structure as much as Caleb does and she doesn't seem to get it. Following is the list of ways that he can earn beads:
Morning: Dry Under-Ware Dressed by Self (Happily) Make Bed Fix Hair without Crying (Cara) Brush Teeth
Evening: Set Table Eat all food on Plate Brush Teeth Reverent during Scripture Study and Prayers Stay in Bed
Any Time Chores: Get mail Pick up Toys Vacuum Stairs Clear the Table Empty Dishwasher Put folded cloths away (Monday) Take out Garbage (Tuesday)
Enrichment: Reading Lesson Practice Writing (1 Page = 1 bead) Practice Piano (ten minutes = 1 bead)
I especially encourage the enrichment activities. He is making great progress learning Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the piano. Of course I have to sit right by him and help him to practice, but I found a good Preschool Piano curricumim online called Piano for Preschoolers. For his reading lesson I am using the book Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It isn't so easy, but I would recommend the book if you are wondering where to get started teaching your preschooler to read.
In exchange for beads Caleb gets privileges. Following are a list of rewards he can earn:
15 minutes of TV = one bead 1 Movie = 5 beads 15 minutes of Video or Computer Games = one bead Invite Friend Over/Go to Friends = 5 beads $1 = 10 beads
This system is helping me to be a more accountable mom and him to be a more productive kid. It is great!
Today Andy was blessed by his dad. It was a wonderful day filled with the spirit, family and food. Thanks to our families for their love and support.
Andy is such a fun happy baby. He is getting very close to smiling. He is not quite getting the curve of his lips, but he opens his mouth and smiles with his eyes. It is becoming easier for me to be a happy mommy too as he has slept seven hours each of the last two nights. He will be six weeks on Tuesday yet it feels like he has been a part of our family forever.
This is what happens when two year olds are left unattended. It was "the other event" of the day. Cara and her friend Dawson decided to clean out Caleb's closet. I didn't think it was a very full closet until I saw the entire contents laying on the floor. Cara even crawled across the very top shelf and pushed every last thing off. They were so thorough with the room that they even took off the mobil from Andy's crib. They left no item unturned.
Thanks to my mom for all of her work on the kids costumes. Caleb was Batman for the past two weeks. Grandma Iva made his costume, and he practically had it warn out by Halloween. He went to the preschool parade in his Batman costume and then when Grandma came to try the robin costume on him he decided to switch it up and spend the rest of the day as Robin.
Thanks to Connie for coming to get Cinderella ready for the ball. Connie always does such a great job with Cara's hair, and it makes Cara feel so special.
We did carve pumpkins, go to the pumpkin walk and all of that other Halloween junk, but the pictures are all on our phones. I haven't become quite technical enough to know how to get them off, but it has been a great month with the beautiful weather!
At only two weeks Caleb and Andy are dear brothers. We had only been home for a day when Andy was being fussy. Caleb insisted on holding him after Josh and I had tried our best to calm him. Caleb took him and Andy instantly calmed. I guess he just needed his brother.
Caleb does lots of bragging that he has a little brother. He spends time admiring him and wants to hold him whenever the chance arrises. The other day he told me that when Andy gets a little bigger he wont need to have friends over to play with any more because he will be able to play with his brother.
I was concerned that Caleb would be disappointed in having a "newborn" brother. He had such high expectations, but he seems to be totally satisfied with this little package he calls his brother.
This week I have rediscovered my love of food. For many pregnant women this happens after their first trimester, but having been sick most of my pregnancy and especially sick my first and third trimesters I am just now discovering how much I love food. This afternoon when I should have been taking a nap, my kids were gone to the Circus in SLC with Josh and Andy was napping, I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I have been reading that many people loose their appetite after giving birth, but yesterday I ate an entire 12 inch Subway Sandwich. I don't think I have ever done that in my life. I would like to think that Andy is sucking all of these calories off of me, but that would really be wishful thinking. Although he too must be a Kirk because he seems to be obsessed with food himself. Let's have three cheers for having an appetite. It feels so good to return to my good old friend, food.
Beautiful baby Andrew Owen Kirk (Andy) arrived to our family today (September 23, 2008) at 2:56 PM. He weighed 8 lbs 2 oz. He has a little blonde hair (unlike Caleb and Cara who had tons of long black hair.) I was started at 8:30 this morning, at 37 and 1/2 weeks because of high blood pressure. I had to be treated with at least five hours of antibiotics so the nurses tried to keep things slow. When the five hours of antibiotics had passes we discovered that he was posterior so I was stuck at a six for over an hour. He flipped by himself and within a few minutes he was ready to be born. Delivery went smoothly and quickly. Unfortunately they had a few concerns, mostly his low glucose, so after we held him for an hour he was taken to nic-u for a couple of hours for observation. It almost drove me crazy waiting in my room not knowing what was going on. He is doing great now! It is fun to have a newborn.
The kids came and saw him as soon as he got to the room.
He does lots of grunting and talking. Caleb especially loved holding him.
I am sure that Cara will be a great little helper. She likes to be the mommy and will certainly make a good second mommy to Andy.
I will be out of the hospital on Thursday morning hopefully ready to be the mother of three. Thanks to my mom for taking the kids while I am recovering.
This summer we have had the opportunity to go to weddings in Montana for cousins on both sides of Josh's family. Josh has just six cousins on the Kirk side and five cousins on the Lee side of his family so big events like weddings don't come around often. Even though I am extremely pregnant and uncomfortable we decided to make the long trip to Helena Montana in July and to Billings Montana in August. Annie and Jessica both had beautiful weddings, and it was wonderful to see family. The best part was for Great Grandma Alice and Great Grandpa Arnold and Grandma Betty to see the kids. They and Ethan, Josh's sister April's boy, are their only Great Grand Children on either side of the family.
This is Betty and Arnold (Josh's Mom's Parents) with the Great Grands. Sadly this is the first time they have met Cara. I think it was about time!
Here is a picture of the kids with Grandma Alice (Josh's Dad's Mom). It was her first time to see Cara too, and I don't think she had seen Caleb sense he was a new born. I guess there are no longer any questions why we couldn't miss the weddings this summer.
There was a beautiful pond at Jessica's wedding. Cara and Ethen, had a great time playing at the side of the pond. Caleb disappeared for the evening as he found some cute flower girl to play with.
The Kirks even got a family picture. We are pictured from left to right Carrie, Josh, Gabe, Christina, Sara, April and on the front, Caleb, Lonn, Sharon, Ethen, and Cara.
We made the trip to Billings a four day weekend over Labor Day. One highlight for Caleb was riding the horses at Doug and Kathy's (Josh's uncle). They have a therapeutic riding program for children with disabilities in Billings. My kids have never been so safe riding horses. They loved all of the attention.
On the way home we detoured through Bear Tooth Pass one of the top 10 most scenic drives in America and ended up on top of the world.
We spent a night in Yellowstone. The kids loved seeing the the wildlife.
Caleb was terrified of the geysers and bubbling pools and kept his distance from the water falls as well. Of course he talks like he was brave, but he sure gets scared.
The weather was chili, but we had a good time.
Of course we cut through Jackson on our senic drive home and had to stop for the classic picture at the elk horn arches.
It was nice to get my swolen ankles home, but it was also great to spend some quality time as a family. The kids were so cute and fun. Cara would cover her head with her blanket and sing herself to sleep when she was ready for a car nap. If she didn't have a big brother who tackles her I don't think she would ever cry. She is such a happy person and brings me more joy than I could imagine. Caleb almost talked our ears off for all of those hours in the car. He has so many questions and observations. He loves to talk to strangers and wont stop until I make him. It is wonderful to have Josh's help and suport. I am so grateful for my family!
Now that I am settled and getting back into the routine of life I am wondering if I can make it two more months before having this baby. Yesterday I hit the "I can't do this any more" wall. Josh just looks at me in bewilderment and questions what choice I have. Our dear friends gave us their crib and it is now set up in "the boys room." Caleb is looking forward to the new baby too. Lately, in anticipation of the baby's arrival Caleb has told me the following:
"When Andy is born he is going to have to run and go poop in the potty."
"When is Andy going to crawl out?"
Caleb: "When Andy is born I am going to teach him how to walk." Me: "When he is born he will be really little so you will have to wait until he gets bigger to teach him." Caleb: "Don't worry, I will teach him gently."
"My baby brother isn't going to cry because he is a boy."
I think we are in for an adventure if I can make it through these next few months.
Of all of the things I should be doing to recover from being gone for a week blogging is not one of them, but I just can't resist posting a few pictures and journaling about the trip we just returned from. It was amazing! We hope to do it again someday and hope that our friends will be able to do it too so while I can still remember where we went, here is my best attempt to journal the experience.
On Thursday the 24th of July we took a redeye flight to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. We began the trip with our friends Shawn and Lisa and spent two nights in St. Thomas. Unfortunately we lost our camera after the first few days so our pictures in St. Thomas are currently limited, but we had a great time. We ate some of the best food we have ever tasted at Glady's Cafe, Cuzzin's Caribbean Restaurant, and Hook, Line, and Sinker. We stayed at a quant little bed and breakfast called the Green Iguana. I couldn't believe all of the Iguana's we saw all over the island. They were so big I would almost call them dragons.
The first night we enjoyed the sunset on Magen's Bay.
We toured the Island in our cute little Jeep Wrangler.
We saw some fantastic views of the Virgin Islands from the mountaintops. It is amazing how close together the islands are. At any given time on the trip you could see islands in every direction.
While in St. Thomas we snorkeled at Coki Beach, which is where Josh and I learned that 45 minutes in the sun without sunscreen is way too long. Needless to say I applied 50 sunscreen over every exposed part of my body at least twice a day for the rest of the trip. We sang Karaoke on Saturday night at Iggies Beach Bar.
We learned to appreciate the price of groceries here in the states as we shopped for provisions on the boat. For a gallon of milk it was $8 just to give you an idea. One thing we don't get here in Utah is fresh mango's and banana's growing on the wayside which we took occasion to pick and eat. It is ironic that Josh would work to get a banana sense he doesn't even like them, but I think it was the adventure he liked.
We also found coconuts off of a beach. Josh put his determination to work and got this one husked and amazingly it even tasted awesome.
We attended the small branch on Sunday morning and were total inspired by the faith of the saints on the island. Following church we loaded our catamaran, The Moon Shadow, for five nights of sailing. Just in case you don't know what a catamaran is following is a picture of ours. Ours is 42 feet sailboat (with two motors if you don't want to sail). Ours slept 10 and we had it almost maxed out with three other couples (our long time friends Dave and Erica, Shawn and Lisa, and Spencer and Amy) and our skipper, Daniel. Sunday afternoon we left St. Thomas for our first destination on St. John.
On our way to Leinster Bay, where we anchored the first night, our Skipper/Caption Daniel stopped at his favorite Lobster hole and caught us an all you can eat fresh lobster dinner. The size of these lobsters would put any Maine lobster I have ever seen to shame. They were unbelievably large. You can see in this picture that they spanned almost the entire dingy.
Having Daniel as our Caption proved to be a highlight of the trip. His expertise of the islands was impressive. He has been a skipper for nine years. Also, being the son of two scientist, having grown up in the Virgin Islands, exploring the islands with his parents on weekends, he knew the in's and out's of every stop. He also has a master’s degree in marine biology. Snorkeling with him was like entering an underwater petting zoo. We snorkeled almost every day and he would bring up creatures of the sea that we would have never seen. We saw sharks on occasion and he took the opportunity to pull on their tail so that we could see them swim away. He taught us the difference between "good" and "bad" jelly fish. We even gained the courage to pet the "good" ones, but always preferred not to run into them by surprise.
Unfortunately, none of us had an underwater camera to capture the snorkeling experience, but take my word for it - it was the best I have ever experienced.
Monday morning before leaving Leinster Bay we went on a hike and explored an old sugar mill. It was fascinating and beautiful. We picked fresh key lime's for the trip and some other local fruit that Dave called Gobstoppers and the rest of us referred to as snot covered balls, natives call them genips. (They don't taste bad, and they don't taste good, it is the texture that got most of us.)
Sugar Mill Picture to be added shortly.
We spent the afternoon at a beautiful white sand beach at Sandy Cay. Everyone, except me, enjoyed an intense game of ultimate Frisbee. I enjoyed bobbing weightlessly in the water while they ran their legs off on the beach. Then Daniel taught us a beach game of his childhood, NASCAR Racing. It is played by creating a track in the sand with obstacles. Then you use a round nut and flick it through the track. Dave was the winner by a landslide. You can see our well designed track in the picture below.
We spent that night at White Bay on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands and headed off Tuesday morning for Guana Island where Josh and Shawn scuba dove and the rest of us snorkeled.
We ended that day at Spanish Town of Virgin Gorda where we filled our water storage and got a few provisions. Up to this point we had not even been around other people. We had been eating on the catamaran and sticking too secluded island gems.
Wednesday morning we were just a stones throw from The Baths, which was a highlight of the trip for some of us. Daniel was up making us a pancake breakfast before dawn and we were to the baths by about 6:30 in the morning. We left at about 10:00 just as people began to arrive. It was awesome to be there by ourselves. The baths are a geographical phenomenon where house size granite boulders come up to the sea creating beautiful pools. As always Daniel showed us things we would have never found on our own. He took us to a spot where we could jump from a bolder into the ocean and then swim under a tiny hole in the rocks. I was going to abstain from this activity as Daniel joked I may have plugged the small hole that you would swim though to get back onto the trail. I did prove him wrong by swimming through to see everyone jump, but I didn't feel a need to jump myself.
There were some tight squeezes for my big belly, but I was able to participate in everything at the baths except a hike that I understand was so scary jumping from bolder to bolder that I probably would not have liked it anyway. There is just no way for pictures to do justice to how big or how beautiful this place was.
It was worth the time spent sailing to see the Baths!
After leaving The Baths we set sail for Norman Island where we had one of our two meals off of the boat. We went to Willy T's a floating ship for burgers. It was a fun atmosphere, and a few of us jumped off the second floor of the ship into the bay. The awesome part of Norman Island and a highlight for me was snorkeling in and around the caves that inspired Robert Lewis Stevenson’s, Treasure Island. The snorkeling was unbelievable and the fish flocked to the bread and granola bars we brought with us.
Our final full day of sailing took us from Norman Island to Honeymoon Beach on St. John via the Indians and, against the council of Daniel, Trunk Bay. (Trunk Bay was beautiful but much more crowded than the other bays we had been too which is why Daniel advised against it.) We did capture some beautiful pictures at Trunk Bay. You can see our catamaran in the background.
The Indian's were the best snorkeling spot of all for some with breathtaking rock walls covered with coral and only accessible via boat. Staying at Honeymoon Beach we were a short dingy ride from Cruise Bay where we had dinner at the Lime Inn.
Nothing Like nine adults in a little overloaded dingy. The poor thing got us around.
Friday morning some of the group went for one last snorkel run while the rest of us took a last opportunity to sleep in. (We woke up early every other morning.) We returned our catamaran to CYOA (Choose Your Own Adventure) Charters by 10:00 in the morning ate in St. Thomas and prepared for a very long trip home.
Each day we had time on the boat while we were sailing. Some people had to concentrate to avoid getting sick, but others of us found great ways to entertain ourselves.
The more adventursome found that they could get a huge lift from the waves as they jumpped on the tramp on the front of the boat.
Each night we mixed drinks (virgin of course) while we played cards and visited. We were surprised by how early it gets dark, but it was fun to socialize on the boat after dark. As you can see inside the boat was small for Josh, but he coped well.
What can I say; it was the trip of a lifetime! If you are interested in seeing a map of where we went and different pictures you can go to Erica's blog at http://ericalow.blogspot.com/. I love her perspective.
Caleb and Cara went to kid heaven this week while Josh and I enjoyed a piece of paradise in the Virgin Islands. The kids spent most of the week at my parents with their cousins (Cathie’s kids, Colter, Emi, and Corbin). They also spent a few days at Cathie’s house causing her all kinds of stress. She says that five kids five and under are to many!! Thanks so much to my mom, Cathie, and Connie for tending!
Last week was the Famous Preston Night Rodeo so the kids got to enjoy three nights of parade, carnival, and on Friday night Grandma and Grandpa even took them to the rodeo. Anticipating seeing the “bunking” bulls has been the highlight of July for Caleb. He loved it and has been playing “bunking” bulls ever sense. Unfortunately among the kids he is always the bull, but he sure knows how to buck people off.
Gratefully, Cathie is good about pulling out the camera and capturing the moment. Following are a few of my favorite photos from while we were gone.
My mom got a new truck, and Caleb thought it was the greatest thing ever to ride in the back. The kids all love it.
The kids got to ride the horses. I am certain that my dad would have never allowed us to go in sandles or bare foot, but I guess the grandkids can get away with anything.
Cara got decked out for the rodeo. I think she makes a fine cow girl especially when Aunt Connie curls her hair.
Of course you can't go to the farm during hay season without doing a little old fashion work!
When you are four and five hauling hay takes some super powers.
With all of that work and fun a cookout is always welcome!