Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Sloane placing the star on...it's her year. Kids peeking out the window...hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa on his drive through the neighborhood.

Cort is especially happy to have his Nanna visiting.
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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

the joy of snow

I just wanted to share this moment with all of you. Here's where I am today; I'm on the couch nursing the sweetest little baby on the planet, watching all the snowful joy of my 3 big kids. Imagine the wonder of our Earth if you're two and you wake up one day and snow is falling from the sky...turning your backyard white. Begin to stir out of bed at 8:45...glance out the window. Screech with joy at the sight of big fat snowflakes flying all over the place. Shovel oatmeal in your mouth as fast as you can so that your mom will let you get on your snowsuits. Jackson, in a total frenzy of excitement rips the zipper pull right off his too small snowsuit of last year. Mom makes a grumpy Marge Simpson noise because Jackson is so like his Dad. I extend the straps on the too-small snowsuit as much as I can and carefully pull up the no pull zipper. He runs for his winter coat and tears the entire zipper apparatus off the coat so that it is inclosable. Grrrrrrrrr. Can I wear my fleece instead, Mom?

Finally, he's able to catch up to his two sisters and get outside. I throw on a coat, snap some pictures and run back inside to the warmth to see where Cort has rolled to. Swipe him up and snuggle in on the couch to watch the show. At this moment I do know that there is no better place in the world to be. I'm sure in a couple days I'll be so tired of the extra 30 minutes it takes for us to find all the necessary gloves and accessories this requires but for now I'm just so happy with the total wonder of winter's first snow.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fall times four

yeah, yeah, it's been a while. camera was broken (yes...again! one might think my baby sock as a camera case idea ineffective. one who learns from their mistakes.) Anyhow...new camera is here and it's lovely. And Nannou is here and she's lovely. Boppy is here and he's...um....funny.

No blogging because my day is spent removing the entire batch of halloween sticky goo from Billie's hair when her idea for a crown went very very wrong. Today just after I finished hiding the marker Sloane had used to decorate her hands and feet...I had to start cleaning the lazy boy recliner. It's really pretty ugly as it is...but I guess it's worse with blue scribbles all over the seat and arm rests.
Billie has worn a compass around her neck for 9 days straight and is still in love with her halloween dress even though all the other (normal) kids are wearing their shirts with little snowmen embroidery's decorations.
Jackson is SO pissed at Sloane and her CONSTANT disruption of everything he's interested in and working on but wonderfully kind and happy for the other 3 minutes a day.
Cort is a joy...though no longer a silent one. He TALKS and SQUAWKS all the time. It might be disruptive if it was ever quiet enough to hear him. I know it's loud because we experience one hour of quiet each week in church and as soon as the music stops we can all hear Cort making his own music of eeee...aaaa....aghhhh....ooooooooo.. (mostly vowel sounds). It's not crying but it's noisy. He happily watches everything from his spot on the couch or his blankie on the floor and smiles and gets himself as involved as he can.
Also, leaves are fun.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

That's just sick

We've been sick around here. Too sick to knit...which, as my friend said, "Too sick to knit? That's like dead."
We have pictures of it because sometimes I get my camera out to take a picture of something cute that is NOT Sloane but she insists that I take her picture as well and these are the results of that. Moments I think most parents might rather forget. Yes, this is what happens when you don't wear a bib and you wear the splatter of your day proudly. Because...when else are you allowed to have chocolate pudding AND blue popsicles AND pink lollipops? That shirt tells a whole story in itself. What happens to homeschooling when people get sick? Well, we learn a lot. We've learned that we most certainly can get by on eating a million apples and survive with nothing for dinner but tombstone pizza 3 nights in a row. And I've learned just how out of control laundry can get when you're in the middle of a season change (so we have tank tops out with the sweaters) and you let it pile up for a couple weeks. Not a very fun lesson to learn I have to say.
Also, there's a new toileteer at our house, which happened despite all my efforts to continue diapers for just a little longer.

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I have no idea how Billie and Jackson have managed to stay well through all of this but they've been to Kings Dominion and Chuck E Cheese with Grampa Les and Nanna Carrie. Yesterday I FINALLY felt well enough (guilty) to take the whole gang over to the library for storytime in the rain! So, I think we're coming back to life here.
Billie really stepped up to the plate and as I was sleeping upstairs I heard her call up "Jackson...breakfast is ready!" I wondered what she was doing and promptly resumed snoring. A while later when I came down she had Sloane on the stool at the sink helping her wash hands "Now do this hand, Sloane. Good!" and a breakfast of buttered toast ("I couldn't open the jam jar and Jackson couldn't either") had been served to all. Plates and everything. So, that's impressive.
Just to whine a bit here: I was SO SICK! like, i take about 5 tylenol a year because i'm really not into taking medication and i had about 5 years worth of tylenol in 4 days. Of course, because we can't just have one malady at at time...the painters came that day. Painting twice in one year? Oh yes, that's us. First the inside, now the outside. I thought it would be no biggie because it's the outside. But we had to have all the windows in the house open while like 8 strange men banged, scraped and sanded the old crusty paint off. So, I had to keep all the kids in the basement just to keep an eye on everyone and when we finally emerged there was a nice layer of white dust covering EVERYTHING in the house. Like, the water glasses on the table had a coating of white dust over them and it was EVERYWHERE. Not so pleasant on the sore throat- the white dustiness. I won't even go into the day I cried in the doctors office.
So, that's what we've been up to. Cort has the BLUEST eyes in the world and he's really REALLY tall.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Fall times

We've been back at the museums, Jackson knitted a blankie for Cort (on Bille's lap). Cort smiles at Daddy. Hammock time for the boys and a rare shot of me doing (because i also do fun things with the kids, though you would never know it from looking through our photo albums...)

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Monday, September 24, 2007

writing letters

didja get that? Jackson has taken to writing letters. Here's one: Bile kan i rit yir bik...no, he hasn't learned turkish yet...that's English that SOME people might spell it like Billie, can I ride your bike? but it's pretty brilliant for him to figure this all out. His first letter to her said
Billie STOP BEIN MIN- you can figure that out if you know that sometimes I makes an 'ee' sound. He said he wrote her a letter "because that way she couldn't interrupt me".
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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Gobble, gobble, gobble

Guess what! Cort is SO smiley. It's very cute and we're all peering over him with odd sounds and ridiculous faces the minute he wakes up to get a chance to see that sweet smile. The picture shows more of a spazed out 'you-people-seem-very-very-tall' look and doesn't convey the ultimate cuteness we experience in person. other news: We're moving to Turkey! Yeah, I know...that's supercool. Billie is a Brownie, Cort is a rock star, we climbed on The Awakening on the Potomac River and had a picnic this morning.
Everything is confirmed for us going to Ankara, Turkey sometime early next year (no dates yet). Bill has had a good/boring time in the general training classes so far. i STILL can't find a blog of foreign service homeschoolers so that will be something new to figure out. i am VERY happy we're doing this for now, it would be hard on Billie if she'd just started school in Sept, stopped in Dec. moved to a new country in Jan and had to start over again with a new teacher/class/environment where everyone else involved already had the routine down pat.
Also, the first grade CAT test we need to take at the end of the year, to like, prove that she's not just letting her brain atrophy while sitting around eating twinkies all day. That CAT test is so eeeeeeeeeeasy- Billie could have passed it if we'd given it to her last year; Jackson could pass it tomorrow with a decent score.
I can either feel happy that my kids are pretty smart or concerned that the standard is so low...

Sloane would get high marks in stubbornness and also excels at 'testing the limits'. Which, apparently, means that you don't have to listen when I say 'no' the first time...when Mom gets up and stops what she's currently doing (knitting or eating)...then and only then is when you close Cort's diaper cream lid/stop making long distance calls by hitting the redial button on the cordless phone/instantly cease drawing in our beloved Babar books and hide the marker you were using under your dress. Getting up is like, SUCH a pain!

Billie has totally embraced Girl Scout- goodness. We got the books, read the 'Girl Scout Promise' all with the "promise to be honest and fair...considerate...blah...blah...blah" all the things i'm constantly badgering her to be. But then she DID IT! she was like the KINDEST KID EVER (almost as good as Suzanne) for a couple days. It's worn off a lot but not completely and Jackson is quick to remind her when she slips into a selfish proclamation of "Why I should always be allowed to keep everything to myself and never ever have to share. Ever." Jackson says "Billie, you're a BROWNIE!!" the technique doesn't always bring about instant results but she will usually find a nicer voice to state her case and throw in some reasons why this is actually beneficial for Jackson: "That way, if you don't have any of your own toys...you won't have to move them when move to Turkey."

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Cort was a catapillar

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Nerd worlds collide

Billie wanted to wear a princess gown to the RennFest, which works because everyone there is in a princess gown. Jackson wants to dress up too. But weapons are not permitted and who wants to be a knight if you can't carry around a sword? That's just wearing a helmet on a hot day. In fact, his entire 'knight outfit' consists of one sword and one shield. So...um...he decided to explore some other costume options. Billie got herself on stage in a performance but Jackson stole the show.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

3 outta 4

I am SOO tempted to use this on our baby announcement...it may stand out among the other beautiful faces on your fridge door and make you snicker. But it's just too cruel- I'd have to include that in his baby photo album and then he'd grow up to be like angry like eminem and that wouldn't be worth all the giggles i'd get...would it? Eminem is pretty successful...
No, really I do want Cort to be happy, so I'll just post it here and use it as a launching pad to say that Cort is expressing Sloane's sentiment.
The honeymoon is over and she's MAD. I must say, it's still nothing near the havoc I thought this would cause for her, but she isn't totally pleased with Cort all the time anymore. She tells me "Cort is ALL DONE nursey!" And she isn't as interested in holding him as often.
It's clear now that she has been promoted to 'big kid' now that Cort is in the 'baby' position, which makes Jackson a double big brother and Billie is still ruler of the world. Sloane plays with the big kids now, on the big kid facilities and has even made it clear that she's ready to be potty trained. Which is, of course, a major inconvenience to me because a diaper can wait 3 minutes while we finish checking out of line at the library with our 47 books and "Mom, I have to use the bathroom" is a drop everything and RUN type thing for the first couple weeks. Ugh, like I want to do THAT with 4 kids. Not that we're EVER going to the library again...because today Sloane had a total fit ( laying on the floor and kicking complete with baby taradactyl screeches.)
um, yeah...so, that was NOT FUN and I had to be like "get out...locate the nearest exit...get out without checking out NOW...you can not check out that star wars book and no, not even the paper airplane one...do NOT collect $200...do not pay library fine...just drag screaming child out away from all these nice,quiet, library go-ers RIGHT NOW (while continuing to nurse Cort in the sling)). Sooooo....
That was my morning.
And I know I should have had this experience much earlier...I have been lucky enough to never have a full on uncontrolable tantrum in public before. Billie and Jackson were not much of the tantrum type. Whining and crying while in 'time out'; yes...screeching in a store; never happened. Until now. I have a sinking feeling that Sloane might make up for all that.
As for Cort, this picture is about the worst thing he's ever done. I DID hear him cry once in the van when he woke up hungry 10 minutes before we got home...but that's about it. Billie: the other day when we were doing 'lesson time' she said "Let's do the word problems Mom! Word problems are my favorite!!" (and she meant it). Jackson: super sweet and helpful, even when he's bad he's good because he goes right to time out (stomping up the stairs). 3 out of four ain't bad. that about sums it up 3 out of the 4 aren't bad.
Maybe one day i'll write about something other than Sloane...maybe when she's 30.
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Friday, August 17, 2007

Big news!

If you're thinking "Big news for the Solley family? pregnant...again?" that's not it. That would REALLY be something since Cort is just 3 weeks old. So...not pregnant...what's something else major that we do every couple years? If you guessed move to some far off land...you're correct.
You probably all know that we've hoped to work for the Foreign service for a long time. We're doing it, serious pay cut and all. Come visit us now because we'll be off to Botswana or Lisbon early next year! (You can come visit us then too, but you'll have to fly.)
We don't have any idea of our future destination but we should have at least some idea by October. As for right now, Cort is wonderful and Billie and Jackson are the colicky ones!!! They have been totally acting out and sorta rude for the last few days. It's an adjustment and they're used to waking up and getting like 3 fun activities each day with all the grandparent attention (spoiling). I think they need some kind of kid re-hab for when the grandparents leave...time for them to come down. But once they're back in their routines and we get back on track with some school time and reading time...i think (hope) they'll calm down and be back to their old silly selves.

I shouldn't post this without bragging about how amazing Bill is- he's super smart and has mad skills so that everyone wants to hire him...such a good breadwinner/best dad and provider/bike riding teacher/swim instructor/tickle wrestler/chili maker/infant on chest couch napper/arm wrestler/sore loser/husband in the universe.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sloane reigns supreme

Just to remind me that I have NO idea what my kids are thinking and NO ability to figure out what they'll do next...just in case I needed to remember that life is full of surprises Sloane has decided to embrace big-sister-ness. Of course, it's not big sisterhood to her as much as it is possessivehood, Cort is HERS and she does let me know when he needs something. It's much more exciting than the plastic baby version because Cort actually 'coos' and has moveable limbs so she can let me know when he needs 'nurse-y time' and she loves to do the 'wipes' part of the diaper change...not actually being of any help but if it keeps her happy...well, I'll go along with it.
And that about sums up our theme for the last two weeks: "wow! Sloane is happy...let's just let her do WHATEVER she wants and keep it this way." Each day we keep waiting for it all to fall apart but at 8:48pm tonight it will be two weeks and mostly happiness.
Billie and Jackson go back and forth between extreme highs and pathetic lows. The grandparent factor brings on a lot of the highs (think chuck-e-cheese and ratatouille) and fighting with each other (Jackson turns five and is no longer willing to follow blindly along
with Billie's rules and rationale...did that friends thing only work for 4 years?! yikes!)
accounts for the lows and SO MANY lost privileges. It's very possible Jackson will go the rest of the summer without another popsicle.
In any case, Cort is adorable and very easily going along with all our adventures.
He's been content to sling around the grocery store, park day, Glen Echo, the craft store,
the library and he sleeps well on his lambskin spot on the couch (DO NOT JUMP ON THE COUCH WHEN CORT IS THERE!!) while obnoxiously loud ring-around-the-rosey and castle games exist around him. He doesn't seem to mind the constant snuggling requests "can I hold Cort now?" and he's really just a good little guy.
So good that I'm hesitant to write this because once I'm convinced of something...it usually changes. Or maybe the theory was right and chaos reached it's peak at 3 children...4 is on the plateau? I guess we'll find out soon.

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