Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sick Zane and his care providers

My poor little Zane was so tired and listless today at church, nothing at all like his usual perky, 100% busy-boy self.  He doesn't have a fever, but he obviously doesn't feel well.  I enjoyed the 3 straight hours of sleepy church snuggles but Van was not so much a fan, as evidenced by several hours of him attempting to kick Zane in the face. Unfortunately, between his foot and Zane's face is my belly (AKA "Everyone's favorite pillow.")  So it was also pretty much three straight hours of contractions. Also, hauling both those boys around just about broke this pregnant lady's back. We were all really ready to be done by the end of church.

This little sad guy.  Awwww.

Fortunately, I had plenty of help once we got home.  As we all know, Zoe LOVES to serve people, and nothing thrills her more than having an invalid around the house. I deposited Zane on the living room couch directly from the car, and she immediately started clucking and cooing and tucking and loving the sad little man.  She shared all her most beloved toys and brought him everything he could possibly want or need. Skipping around the house with joy over his misfortune, she trilled and sang and squealed about "how many serves I can do for Zane today!"
The queen of "serves"! He really looks appreciative, eh? 

Happy big sister tenderly asked him what he might like to eat, and then went to the kitchen to fix a sandwich to his precise specifications (ham and cheese with mayonnaise, plus a top) without any motherly guidance or help. To my surprise, she even got him ushed from the couch up into his seat at the table and though he's hardly eaten since yesterday he cheerfully munched half her sandwich before he gave up and headed back to his snuggle spot.

I commended her on her kindness toward her sick brother and thanked her for her help.  

Jed, never one to enjoy someone else's validation, broke in loudly "Well, it wasn't just her!" 

"Oh, really?" I replied

"Um, yeah."  Pause for thinking.

"I helped too. I noticed he was talking really soft and I told him to talk louder."

I must have looked skeptical because he added "I mean, it was REALLY soft, Mom, like a sick person!" (insert imitation of what was obviously to him a pathetic sick person mumble.)

I asked, "Do you think that made him feel better?"


"That wasn't the only thing I did.  I also whacked  him in the knee with a broken hanger."

Isn't Zane lucky that there's at least one female sibling in our family?  Because gosh, when I feel lousy I always wish I had a big brother to whack me back into health with a hanger. 

(Although now that I think of it, I think my mother would probably consider this a perfectly valid form of healing, especially if it involved being whacked while cleaning a chicken coop. Maybe Jed's inability to be sympathetic to the ill comes from his Granny's side...)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kid Stats!

 Kids had their annual checkup.  Here are their stats!

 Cute skinny girl. 

Crazy Zany.  The doc must have commented twenty times on "how much more of a talker this third one is than your others!"  But only because Zane practically shouted his way through the whole hour and a half of appointments. This little boy is a big happy humdinger.

Baby Van also had a checkup.  Everything looks and sounds great! Can't wait for this baby boy!  Zane hugs and kisses and bangs and shouts at my my belly a thousand times a day, so I imagine Van is absolutely terrified of emerging from his protective womb and won't arrive until Halloween.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Toothbrush trouble

Scene 1: Michael enters bathroom and screams in horror as he sees Zane, completely naked, grinning hugely as he waves Michael's toothbrush over the open toilet. Apparently the electric toothbrush is dancing. There is no clear evidence of contamination, but the circumstances were such as to necessitate a full sanitization of all objects and children involved.

Scene 2: Two days later, Zane walks into my bedroom, singing a happy tune.  I look up to see he is (again) completely naked and cheerfully singing "I clean my bum, my bum so clean!"  I realize he is scrubbing his cute little bum with his big brother's electric toothbrush. There are some sort of bubbles involved. Toothbrush is promptly confiscated before persnickety Jed realizes the nightmarish nature of the infraction.

Zane's 3rd birthday party!

Everyone gathered to celebrate BIG ZANY! Zane's best friend cousin Hallie, accompanied by family, was in attendance.
Baby Scarlett was excited for the party, too!

 First order of business, get the kids decorating the cake!  Everyone stripped down to their undies and got a knife.  I made a big batch of red (ish...) fluffy frosting and made some eyeballs with the intent that the kids could make an Elmo cake for Zane.  We let the kids go at it, and with plenty of red dye, skittles, and eyeballs, this is what they proudly presented:
What IS this thing?!
 It's so ugly it makes Scarlett cry.  And the rest of us laugh until tears.

Next... presents!

Zane in his fantastic Super-Guy costume from Auntie Lisa.
 Most kissable Super-Guy ever!  Oh my gosh I can't resist his manly charms!

 And last to blow out the candles.

Maybe we need a little help from big brother.
Happy birthday 3 year old boy!

This little man brings so much good cheer into our family.  I call him my "Happy Boy" and he has very much adopted that moniker.  I often ask him "What are you doing down there in the basement, Zane?" and he'll answer "I just bein' a happy guy, Mom!"  He is rarely, so rarely, fussy, needy, or cranky. Zane can entertain himself for seemingly infinite lengths of time, singing to himself, telling himself long stories complete with sound effects, apparently hilarious because he laughs at his own jokes mid-narrative.

After a summer in the sun, usually in a state of total undress (can't keep clothes on this kid for any length of time!), Zane is one honey-brown little boy, with blonde-highlighted sticky-up hair and a permanent look of exuberant surprise.  He runs on strong sturdy legs and clenched chubby fists and a scowl of focused determination. Did I mention his feet are huge?  He grew out of his size 11s this week... so now he and Zoe wear the same size!

To the confusion of randomly approached unfamiliar adults, he proudly announces that his name is ZANY and that really fits him quite well.  He is one crazy, noisy, busy kid.  He really didn't start talking in earnest until about 2/3 of the way through his second year, and now he is making up for lost time. A constant stream of near-shouting narrative and exclamation fills our home from dawn until dusk, punctuated occasionally by impressively formed sound effects.  

Zane's favorite toy is a plastic hammer.  He is rarely found without one of his hammers to "do my work!"  Except maybe when he's outside, and then he's always got a stick or two clutched in each hand, brandished and banged with wild, noisy, joyful abandon.

Zane knows the last word to every phrase of our Declaration of Independence memorization. All the other words, he points out often, can be easily replaced by his favorite fill-in words "What-ay-what-ay-self-evident!"

In the last month, Zane has started coming up to me, climbing into my lap, and throwing his arms around my neck.  Nose to nose he declares "I love you, Mommy!  I love you! I kiss you Mommy!" and then he peppers me with delicious, sticky boy kisses.

He also love love loves his "Baby Van." At the grocery store, he will often walk up to passing old ladies and shout, pointing to my belly "DIS MY BABY VAN!!  HE COME OUT SOMEDAY! Uh-HUH!" He pets and kisses and shouts at my belly all the day long.  I can't wait for him to meet his baby brother.

Whenever he leaves my presence, Zane cheerily shouts to me his travel intentions "I goin' downstairs Mom! I'll be back soon, Mom!  See ya later, Mom! Bye, Mom!"  Yes, this happens nearly every time he leaves the room, and I never tire of hearing him.  See ya later, Zany. Happy Birthday!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I Am Pregnant

In case you didn't pick up on this earlier, I am pregnant.
Here is me at 33 weeks.  My belly is gigantic, still measuring about two weeks big, but I feel grateful this last few months I have been feeling great.  I haven't gained too much weight, probably thanks to daily swimming controlling the swelling this summer, thank you neighborhood pools! I am generally sleeping better this time around than any of my other pregnancies, too, for which I am very, very grateful. 

All of my kids have had distinctive personalities in the womb.  Little Van is no exception. This is the squirmiest baby ever.  He moves and wiggles and kicks and punches constantly!  I love it! At his 20wk ultrasound the tech kept laughing because she couldn't get a shot of his head.  She said she had never had a baby so wiggly that she literally couldn't get a lock on him, it took about a dozen tries.  So it sounds like I'm going to be a very busy mom in about a year.

All the kids are NUTS about Baby Van! Especially Zane.  He probably talks about the baby thirty times a day, and is constantly running up to hug and kiss my belly. Zoe already has vast plans about how she will be babysitting once the baby comes.  Jed is excited to share a room with the baby once he is grown enough.

And a gratuitous matching shot because we are so cute together.

Zoe's Birthday

We had a quiet at-home Sunday party on Zoe's actual birthday.  At her request, we made a fluffy pink princess cake.  She helped decorate it and couldn't stop squealing and gazing joyfully at it all evening.
 Blow out the candles, Zoe!
 And of course licking off the princess.
Since we didn't have any family available that evening, Zoe was totally on board with having our friends the Woods and their two boys over for her very feminine party.  Because she is the coolest kid ever.
A giant pile of presents ready to be opened.
Jed had been shopping garage sales for weeks and weeks to get Zoe just the perfect gift.  He spied this little stuffed white unicorn, which Zoe is insanely wonderfully crazy over. Jed is just like his dad, he is an AWESOME gift giver.  He earns all his own money for chores and spends a ton of time looking for just the right thing that will make his sister or brother happy.  He is such a cool kid!  And look at Zoe's happy face!
I bought Zoe puppies.  
 She liked them!

 The theme of most of her gifts, however, was her BIG gift, which was a complete rearranging of our bedrooms and now she gets the top bunk in a room with Zane. Jed and I found a bunch of darling pillows for her bed.  Her Great-grandma Janete sent her some super cute girly Minnie-mouse sheets.  The pillows were a HUGE HUGE hit.  I am pleased to say that I think I spent three dollars on Zoe's birthday this year.  Thank you garage sales.
 This is actually a sweet little book for Baby Van, sent from Granny Zo'An, but everyone loved it so much already.

 A baby doll from Granny and Poppa.  Zoe squealed "She has brown eyes just like me!!!" when she opened her up.  She named her baby Isabelle and carts her around everywhere.
 I didn't get photos, but Zoe also got a darling "first princess" Belle doll from her Auntie Lisa and she has been so happy with these two new dollies! This little girl has a strong maternal streak and it makes her mommy proud.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Five-year-old Zoe Ann Stanfill

 This beautiful creature is my five-year-old daughter.  My long, honey-skinned, strong minded joyful runner.  Her sunny, affectionate personality hasn't changed at all since she was this happy little flower:
She still emerges from her room every morning with a leap and a grin, a hug for her mom, a little "newborn" baby of some variety cradled tenderly in her arms.  This girl overflows with love and care for other people.  She revels in the strength and capability of her strong, lithe body.  She runs and jumps and rides and swims and embraces every bit of her self.  She makes and keeps friends as easily as breathing. Whenever she runs, she laughs and squeals with joy. She reads little books with gusto, sleeps deeply, strewn across her bed, and sings her heart out all day long.  She overflows with passionate emotion for everything in her life, and in the best way.
Probably my favorite part of Zoe, though, is that she self-identifies as a person who serves others.  She LOVES to help.  Everyone. Any time. Eagerly, with total enjoyment of the act. Just this afternoon she crept up to me on the bed, eyes alight, grin pasted on cheek to cheek.  "Guess what, Mom!"  What Zoe?  "Look behind those towels, and you will see I did a SERVE!"  Sure enough, she had sorted out my laundry and folded my washcloths while I wasn't looking.  
She has an eye for service opportunities.  She gets her brother toys, she carries dishes over to the table, she hugs people who are sad, she befriends children who are lonely, she rubs tired feet and backs, she helps cook dinner, she cleans up other people's messes and unlatches little brother from his car seat.  If you ever deprive her of an anticipated act of service, watch out, because you will have a storm of tears on your hands. She tells me every day the ten thousand ways she has already planned to serve mom and her new brother after the baby is born. This girl frankly loves to serve. When you ask her, she will tell you outright "I am like Jesus because I do serves!"
I've never met a woman full of so much love as my little Zoe Ann.  There are no words for the feelings of joy and pride and honor I have to be her mother.  She is a truly remarkable person.

 Happy birthday, special girl.

Monday, August 11, 2014


Zoe's BIG bubble party

This year, since we didn't go to Montana for the month of July like we usually do, Zoe got to have her first "friends" birthday party.  Talk about excitement!  We settled on a "slip 'n slide and bubbles" theme.  All the girls wore their swimsuits and the whole party was in the backyard.

As has become customary, we had a birthday pan"CAKE" breakfast with all her friends.  Everyone gets a candle and enough insanely sugary toppings to make any child's heart beat faster. "WHAT?!  I get CHOCOLATE SAUCE on my pancake?!"  
 This was the first time we've ever filled up our ginormous picnic table.  I guess Michael did know what he was doing when he made it like 10 feet long.
 Then opening presents with "hot potato."
 Happy birthday girl with chocolate mouth wearing her "champion" swimsuit.
 Big belly mom with giant 2yo brother.
 I expected the slip 'n slide to be the hit of the party, but I have to say the giant bubbles were a HUGE success!  Look at these monsters Savannah was making!
 I had to make more and more bubble wands because all the kids wanted in on the fun. The little ones just enjoyed chasing them around and popping them.
 Look what Jed caught!
I love these simple birthday parties. I like morning parties, I like pancakes, I like kids outside, I liked that there was practically zero cleanup and that all the little ones went home with giant smiles on their faces. Zoe declared it the "best birthday party EVER, Mom!" Success!