Monday, January 28, 2013

Timmy at 18 months

Timmy is turning out to be a smart little monkey.  He has figured out safety locks on the cabinets.  We've got a whole arsenal of toxic goodies under the kitchen sink.  I just put one of those plastic things that goes across the knobs on that cabinet, and hopefully that will work.  Even better would be if I take the really yucky stuff out of there and find a really high spot for it.  I think that's what I'll do.
People ask where Timmy got his dimples, and actually it's me.  They've kind of gone away over the years as I lost my baby fat.  I was thrilled to see them reappear on my Timsy's face.
Here I am in 1984 with my brother Scotty.  The quality of this photo isn't so great, but  see the dimples?
He is still into putting things together and taking them apart; putting things in and taking them out.  He loves to throw trash away.  Thank goodness he hasn't figured out the lock on the trash can lid, so I get to observe everything he throws away.

He wants to be included in everything the girls are doing.  It can be tricky trying to balance their desires for more crafts and art projects with his desires to climb up on the table and wreak havoc with all the materials.  I try to get him into his chair and then I give him just enough of the thing that they're doing to keep him content.  Sometimes it works.  Often it works for only about 10 minutes and then I have to keep appeasing him with other things so he isn't just crying in his chair.  It is no fun to do anything when Timmy is sitting there crying.  I've been wanting to get out one of Delaney's crafts that she got for Christmas -- rocks and acrylic paint -- but I'm too scared to get out anything that's not washable.  Unfortunately for her, there's no getting away from Timmy.  We could do it during afternoon nap and then only poor Annie gets left out.  Her attention span is only a little longer than Timmy's right now anyway.
His vocabulary hasn't changed much.  He says and signs "more."  He also said "ca-con" (popcorn) this month.  When his sisters say, "Yay!" he does too.  But he's still mostly in the grunting and pointing stage, and he definitely hasn't put together any sentences.  I mentioned in my Day in the Life that we'd started using signs.  Those are helping alleviate the frustration when he's trying to let me know what he wants.  I seem to remember Annie's speech really took off after the 18-month point so maybe that will happen with Timmy.

He's such a determined little man, and sometimes I wish I didn't have to give him any boundaries.  He wants to do it all.  He swings his little arms angrily at me several times a day when I tell him no or take something away that he's not supposed to have.  If he could he would say, "Bad mama!"  "Mean mama!"  I am a meanie.  I'm like, 'Sorry kid, it's not my job to keep you happy.  It's to keep you ALIVE!'
I took him for a checkup today, and he is 24.7 pounds and 32.3 inches.  He is still growing right along his curve, and he's about average compared to his peers.

He is a huge flirt.  Whenever we are out and about he always tries to catch the eye of any random adult because he knows they will smile and say hi.  We were in line at the post office once and he walked around to the side of the man right in front of us and just stood there staring up at him and smiling.  He was like, 'I know you want to look down and notice me.  Aren't I adorable?'  Just today at the health clinic, he was making eyes at a woman who looked to be middle-age, and she laughed and said, "He's going to be a heartbreaker."  Then with a sigh she turned to me and said, "Enjoy these days, every minute of them, even when you want to tear your hair out.  It goes by so fast!"  Yeah I know, I know..:)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

One worn down mama

It has been a hard couple of weeks and I am ready for better days to get here.  I had assumed that when Tim deployed, I would adjust to his going away just by being busy with all the kids' stuff, exercise, and all the usual stuff I do to run this household.  Instead the second half of January has been spent battling sickness.  First there was the bug that struck the weekend right before he left.  Then a few days later, there was the one that Annie was just coming down with at the end of my Day in the Life post.  I had no idea that day what I was in for.  I think it was flu, although I never confirmed that with a doctor (and yes, we all had a flu shot this year).  It was a week of fever, chills, body aches, fatigue, headache and cough, mostly for Annie and me.  I'm positive I've never been so sick.  Fortunately, Delaney and Timmy only got a touch of it and had a fever for one day and runny noses.

It is hard to parent little kids.  It is hard to parent little kids alone.  It is hard to parent little kids alone and sick.  There is no day off ever.  They need to be fed, they need their butts wiped, they need to be bathed, they need to be kept from killing each other.  There was one morning that I just sat at the kitchen table with my head in my hands and thought, 'How in the world am I going to get through this day?'  The good thing is that during the couple of days when everybody was feeling bad, the kids did not misbehave.  We all just lay around in a heap for the most part.  Then we all started to get better, but I continued to have sore throat and a hacking cough that was triggered just by talking.  All day long, I heard, "Mama."  "Mama!"  "Ma-MA!"  And it was so frustrating.  The days seemed endless.

There was one thing I could be grateful for even on the worst days: the routine that we established a long time ago for our kids.  It was my salvation.  I could always count on a two-hour rest in the middle of the day, and an early bedtime.  On Monday night I put them in bed just a little earlier than usual, and by 7, every single light was off and I was in bed too.  Then it was up bright and early at 6 to wait in the freezing cold for a bus that was 35 minutes late .. but at least I'd had lots of rest even if I couldn't sleep all that well.

Over the past few days I've gotten a lot better health-wise, but I still feel so challenged.  These kids are giving me a run for my money.  Delaney breaks down and cries over things like I didn't park in "our spot" in the church parking lot.  She dissolves into tears and calls me a "bad mama" or "mean mama" every time I issue a decision she does not agree with.  And I also realize that she is coping in her own little kid way with her dad leaving.  I am constantly having to referee all their little fights, and my patience is wearing thin.  I repeat myself over and over again about the same old stuff, like we don't drop our jackets on the floor when we come in the door; we don't waste food, if you ask for it eat it; Annie, stop teasing your brother;  It's not time to eat again, we just had breakfast.  I felt like such an ogre when I told them they couldn't have their after dinner treat because they hadn't cleaned the playroom in the allotted time.  And trust me, they'd had plenty of time, they had chosen not to take me seriously.  Delaney was very upset about that.  I hate seeing her cry, especially when I know that it's always the little things we have to look forward to, that make our days good.  But you know what I hate more?  Not being able to maintain any kind of order and discipline in this house.

I think a big part of the problem is all the extra time we've been spending in the house together due to sickness and/or colder weather.  I am hoping for a return to normalcy with this coming week and a more manageable level of parenting stress.  It's going to be a new week, and soon after, a new month, better than this one.  I'm counting on it because right now I am one worn down mama.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day in the Life: Winter 2013

It is time again for Navigating the Mothership's quarterly Day in the Life roundup, in which I take the opportunity to share with anyone patient enough to read, all the minutiae that make up a typical day in my world.  (And I get to stalk other people's days and that's fun too.:)

Today is Friday, January 18.

6 a.m. My alarm goes off.  I remember that Delaney has no school today and I'm so relieved to be able to turn off my alarm and go back to sleep instead of coaxing an increasingly sluggish little girl out of bed.  Gradually over the course of several months, Delaney has gone from waking up before Mr. Clock... to rolling out of bed as soon as I walk in and turn on the light.. to where she is now, moaning and groaning and curling in a ball when I try to wake her up.  Ugh.  If there's one good thing about the holiday weekend, it's not having to deal with that for four mornings.

7:23 a.m.  I hear, "Mama, Timmy's awake, can we go talk to him?"  I say, "OK, go ahead."  Then I hear, "Mama, Mama, there's a huge waterbug here!"  I say groggily, "It won't hurt you, sweetie, I'll take care of it when I get up."  Just a few more minutes..

7:30 a.m. Delaney tells me that she took care of the bug herself and it's outside now.  Good.  That's two of those things in our house in the last two days.  I don't like that.

7:33 a.m. I finally head over to Timmy's room, get him out of bed, nurse him, and change his diaper.  He's not happy about the diaper change, and he cries and tries to wiggle away.  Then I realize he's really wet and his PJs are wet too.  He gets really mad when I go to take his PJs off and he tries to hit me.  It is so exhausting having to wrestle a baby first thing in the morning!

7:40 a.m. Getting into Delaney's BOB books makes him feel better.  But those books are not very sturdy and Delaney and I happen to like them a lot.  So I put them up and he cries again.  Sorry, Timmy.
7:45 a.m. Time for breakfast.  Delaney's going to get her own.  Uh-oh.  We have no more instant oatmeal packets.  I will have to try making oatmeal another way that I've been meaning to try anyway.  I get out the big container of oats, some brown sugar, cinnamon, and get some water boiling.  I put Timmy in his chair and boy, oh boy, he's not happy about that either.  Delaney gives him some Cheerios to have while he waits for his oatmeal.  He tosses them off his tray while he cries.  When Delaney sees that I'm putting brown sugar in the oatmeal, it looks more appealing to her than her Honey Nut Cheerios, and she asks me to make her some too.
8:10 a.m. At long last the oatmeal is ready.  Delaney and Timmy like it.  Annie and I don't.  I don't like the texture or the flavor.  Yuck.  Then I remember I still have pancakes from 'breakfast for dinner' last night.  I give some to the kids too.  It's still not much of a breakfast, but it's enough for now.  I'll probably have something else in an hour or two.

I know I said before that it was too late for baby sign language with Timmy, but lately I've found myself using signs anyway.  He loves them.  We do "more", "drink," "juice," and "all done", among others.  Some of the signs are ones I use out of old habit from when the girls were babies, like "bath" and "milk."  I still don't know if it serves much purpose since he should be talking soon anyway, but he responds enthusiastically to them and  remembers them.  So I've been breaking out my whole repertoire.  It's fun.  I've also heard that they aid language development in kids who are already talking.  This morning he's trying to make the "juice" sign, sweeping his index finger in the air instead of his pinkie.
8:10 to 9 a.m. Annie heads upstairs after she's done eating, but Delaney, Timmy and I stay at the table for a long time.  Timmy stays because he can't go anywhere unless we let him out.  I stay and drink my coffee.  Delaney stays because she is enjoying herself.  She flips through an old notebook that she has appropriated from the office.  She finds our Christmas list and asks what it is.  "Uh.."  I see that her name and those of her siblings are listed.  "Those are people that Daddy and I were thinking about at Christmas time."  She goes through the list name by name.  Then she asks me if owls are nocturnal.  I know she knows they are, so I say, "No, they're not.  I see them out and about all day long."  Then she decides to write a book.  The title is I Can See the World.  It is a favorite theme of hers.  There is also a drawing hanging in the playroom with "I can see the world" written on it.  She asks me to staple it for her, and I do.
9 to 10 a.m. It is a slow morning.  There is a lot of TV-watching going on up in the playroom.  There is a lot of me having trouble getting motivated.  I get so much more done on a typical weekday morning than I'm getting done now.  Having nowhere to go until 11 is making me lazy and unmotivated.  I manage to get the dishwasher emptied, my bed made, and some laundry put away, but I am unfocused.  I warn the kids that my friend Kelly may decide to cancel the CrossFit Kids workout at the park today because the ground will probably be wet from all the rain we got last night.  I start thinking of a plan B, maybe a trip to the Dollar Store?  I text Kelly asking if we're still on, and to my surprise we are!

10 to 10:45 a.m  Time to get ready to go.  I wish I could fast forward through this part.  I feel too lazy to brush all their teeth, fix their hair, get everybody dressed, and throw together a picnic lunch.  I've had the whole morning to get all of this done, but waited till the last possible minute.  Finally we leave for the park.

10:55 a.m. We're the first to arrive.  It is cold today, the coldest day we've had in awhile.  
11:00 a.m. Everyone else arrives and it's time to start wearing some kids out for afternoon nap.
12 p.m. It is very windy, very cold, but everybody has had fun.  Now the kids -- mostly my kids -- are falling apart fast and it's time to get home.  I tell the girls we're going to have our picnic lunch in the kitchen.  I can't imagine eating in this wind.  I promise them hot chocolate with lunch, thank Kelly, and we're on our way.

12:15 to 3:30 p.m. I get the kids home and start tossing food on the table as fast as I can.  Once they finish their lunch and hot chocolate, I read them a story and get Annie and Timmy down for naps around 1.  Delaney goes up to the playroom and I can hear her chitchatting as she plays probably with the frog and lizard "family" she's been favoring lately.  I fix my own lunch, eat it quickly, and then settle down to enjoy naptime.  I read, take a 20-minute power nap, read some more and make some tea.  I realize that I have a really good life.
3:30 p.m. Annie is awake and hungry.  I notice how pink her cheeks are, and remember that she has had a cough since yesterday.  I feel her and she's warm.  Oh no, Annie.  At least she has an appetite.  She finishes the toast I make her for a snack, and aside from the cough and being tired, she doesn't seem uncomfortable.
3:45 p.m. I take a few minutes before Timmy gets up to get the pizza ready.  It is a cinch since all I had to do was pull the dough and sauce out of the freezer the day before.  But what's this?  No shredded mozzarella at all?  Oh, man.  I've got a little bit of fresh mozzarella left from the stuffed shells Tim made a few days ago (was that really just a few days ago?).  I hope that will just be enough.  It will have to just be enough because there's no way I'm taking these kids to a store right now!  I'm running out of a lot of our staples but with the exception of short trips for fresh produce, I'm trying to make do with what we have until I go to the commissary on Tuesday.  It's getting to be pretty bare but nothing is going to waste.  I'm using up the last of our fresh veggies in a black bean soup I'm making tomorrow.  (I won't know until tomorrow that I'm out of black beans too, and again I'll have to improvise.)  It's a bumpy transition to me being in charge of the groceries again.  Tim is good at keeping the cupboards and fridge full of our favorite things.

4 p.m. Timmy's finally up too, and after I change him and turn him loose he beckons me to come up to the playroom with him.  I take a few minutes to play with my boy.
He can take it apart.. 
.. and put it back together!  Isn't he brilliant?
4:30 p.m. I have the pizza ready early because I want to start movie night at 5 or a little after.  Without all the cheese our pizza normally has, it is a very light pizza.  Before the night is over I will have eaten nearly all of it myself.
4:45 p.m. We sit down to eat.  Annie doesn't eat much and soon goes upstairs to lie down on the Elmo couch.  Poor Annie.  While the rest of us are still eating, we get a surprise.  Ring, ring, who could it be?
Tim is still at his last stop somewhere that ends in "stan" en route to Afghanistan.  We talk for a few minutes about this and that, and at some point in the conversation I start cracking up.  Tim says, "What?"  I say, "I have to chuckle because we look like Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head on FaceTime."  Our faces are giant ovals that take up the whole screen.  Tim thinks it's kind of funny too, or maybe he's just amused at me being amused.
He took this screen shot not even knowing I was doing "Day in the Life" today.  How handy.
We have gotten to hear from Tim three out of the four days he's been gone, and that has been great.  He tells me that  I might not be hearing from him this often in the future, and I understand that.  I take what I can get.  That phone is an appendage and I am always ready for a call.  Tim is looking forward to getting to his final destination where he'll be busy and have a routine.  Being transient is getting old.  Except for a nagging cough and sniffle, he is feeling well.

5:30 p.m. The kids have been bathed and are in their pajamas.  Time for the movie.  Tonight's showing is The Lion King 1 1/2, something I recorded on Disney Junior. I pop some popcorn and Timmy is so excited to hear it popping.  He says, "Ca-cawn!  Ca-cawn!" and he points eagerly at the microwave when it beeps.  I know he's going to make a mess out of it but I am happy to give him a cup of his own.  And of course, they  each get a jellybean.  Day 4 of this deployment done!

The kitchen is still messy but I resist the urge to clean it up while the movie's on.  I sit down and try to enjoy it with them -- as much as I can since one after another of them is constantly asking for something.  
6:45 p.m. The movie is over.  I brush their teeth and tuck the girls into bed first.  I know I won't be getting any trouble from them tonight because Annie crawls into bed as soon as her teeth are brushed.  Then I change Timmy one last time and nurse him before putting him to bed too.

7:05 to 7:45 p.m.  I've got some things to do before I can call it a night.  I put a load of laundry in the washer to soak.  I start loading the dishwasher and clearing the table and after that I'll -- what's this I hear?  Ring, ring.  It's Tim again.  Twice in one day!  I talk to him while I walk outside to check the mail.  He says, "What's that behind you?"  Very funny.  We talk for a few minutes, and then he wants to try Skype because he thinks the microphone on my phone is messed up.  After a few minutes on Skype he wants to try FaceTime again.  It's too bad my microphone isn't working well because with FaceTime the picture is so much better than Skype and it's so much more convenient and handy too.  He tells me to use the compressed air to clean out the charger port of my phone.  Maybe it helps a little.  It is an old phone, but I would hate to have to get a new iPhone while he's gone and have to set it up myself.  After we hang up it's back to cleaning up the kitchen, sweeping the floor, and picking up the living room.  

7:45 p.m.  I'm done!  Time to relax and call it a night.  The first thing I do is open the fridge.  Most of Tim's favorite beers are still there.  They're from the Samuel Adams winter collection.  He did not get to drink any of them right  before he left because he was sick.  I'm going to do my part and finish them off myself.  Did you know beer has an expiration?  I can not allow that to happen.  Old Fezziwig Ale is calling my name.  Old Fezziwig it is, then.  I take a sip, wrinkle my nose and regret not picking one of my favorites instead.  But now I have to finish it.  I take small sips.
8 to 11 p.m.  I turn on the TV mostly for background noise.  Betty White's Off Their Rockers comes on.  I watch here and there for a minute and then say to myself, 'Of course, old people talking about sex is always hilarious.  Why didn't anybody ever think of that before?'  I check email and Facebook for the umpteenth time.  I work on this post.  I check on Annie a couple times.  She's coughing a lot and she's still feverish so I give her a dose of Little Colds.  I bring her the water she asks for.  I stroke her forehead and cheeks and give her a kiss before I leave.  I stay up later than I really want to because I want to make sure she's OK before I turn in.  I hope she wakes up better.

11 p.m. I check on Annie one last time.  She is sleeping peacefully.  The house is quiet and still.  I turn off all the lights, start the dishwasher and head to bed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Here we go again.:(

Tim has left for Afghanistan.  We've had months to get ready for this, but it still seems unreal.  I remember last time it felt that way too.  He leaves such a huge hole in our life when he goes away.  I see his truck in the driveway, his clothes in the hamper, his favorite beer in the fridge, and I can't believe it will be seven months before he walks through the door again.

Our last weekend together was thoroughly sucktastic.  It was sunny and 80 degrees, but one by one everyone but me caught a stomach bug.  It was puke, puke, and more puke.  The kids got the light 24-hours or less version.  Timmy got off lightest of all with a bout of throwing up and malaise that lasted maybe five hours total, and he was fine when he got up from his nap.   Tim got hit hard.  He spent Friday night throwing up every hour on the hour.  He spent Saturday motionless on the couch with aches and a fever.  We didn't have our usual date night in.  Instead I decided to take the kids to Subway, and Tim came along because he was briefly feeling better.  But then he sat there looking like death warmed over while I scarfed down my food as fast as I could so we could get back home.  Sunday I took the kids to Mass alone and made crappy French toast for dinner.  Sunday night he rejoined the land of the living and we both commiserated about a wasted weekend.  At least we still had Monday to look forward to before he would leave that night.  He went in to work for a little while Monday morning, got home and collapsed on the couch again, complaining that he just "couldn't shake the ache".

At this point I just wanted to start screaming.  It was so unfair.  I found myself using a short tone with the kids, frustrated with the huge messes they were creating in the kitchen and the constant requests for food, drink, help peeling the backing off of stickers, arguments and crying over every last little thing.  I missed Tim, whose company I had gotten to enjoy only for a few hours the night before, and who would really, really be leaving in a matter of hours.  He hardly uttered a word all morning besides, "Ugh, I'm tired."  I felt so lonely already.

At around noon he partially got out of his funk, got his appetite back and had lunch, and moved to an upright position on the couch.  By 4, he was working on one last delicious dinner of stuffed shells for us all to eat.  A better wife would have insisted on making it herself, but he really wanted to do it.  I cleaned up afterward.

It was so hard to see him go.  My heart ached watching him say goodnight and goodbye to the kids.  I had trouble falling asleep even though I was exhausted from waiting until midnight for his ride to come get him.  Every time I found myself awake and alert I prayed, Please keep him well, keep him safe and bring him back home to us.
Annie was saying, "Stay.  Stay."

I'll try to be as kind to these kids as I possibly can as we adjust to Tim's departure.  I'll try to take a laid-back approach to getting through these first hard days.  It will involve some messy crafts, movie nights, trips to the park, a little bit of fast food, and probably a lot more time spent with noses in electronic devices than ought be allowed.  At some point soon, I will pull myself out of this funk and move on.  I will get through this one day at a time like I did last time.  The hardest day was yesterday, and it will get better.

Once again, weekends and holidays go back to being useless.  When I saw that this coming weekend is a four-day holiday weekend, I thought, 'Isn't that dandy?'  I have no idea what I'm going to do with all these kids for a four-day weekend.

It's supposed to be just seven months this time.  We can do this.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My latest home decor idea courtesy of Pinterest

One day I will wish I hadn't posted any pictures, but I am compelled to anyway.  In my never-ending quest for a way to make our mantel acceptable to me, I came across moss-covered monograms and decided that might be just what that picket fence up there needs.  As soon as the wreath from Christmas came down, I would have my very own mossy monogram to hang up in its place.  I found my 14-inch tall wooden letter B on Amazon. (Thank goodness for the Amazon gift card I got for Christmas, because otherwise none of us is allowed to be spending money on such frivolities in January.)  I used ridiculously expensive peel-and-stick moss from Michael's that I bought a couple months ago.  I've waited a long time for this!  I also ordered burlap ribbon, thinking that's what I'd use to hang it there.  But when it arrived, I realized it would blend right into the wood.  The scrap of green ribbon I used instead works better.
It doesn't look as great as I thought it would, but I'm not sure why.  That mantel is just crazy.  I want a normal mantel with a wall over it instead of a cave.  But this will do for another year-and-a-half.  I figured that the monogram could stay, and I could change everything else out as needed with the seasons.  I'm never sure what to do in January, but I love pine cones all year long, and there is an abundance of them where we live.

One day I will just roll my eyes at all of this.  My house will always look perfect in a relaxed, I-didn't-have-to-try sort of way, my taste will be impeccable, and I will have no more need for Pinterest.

I keep reminding myself that it wasn't all that long ago that we lived in base housing in Quantico, and Tim didn't even want to take pictures out of boxes, everything was beige and empty, and looked like a college apartment more so than a place where a family lives.  We've come a long way.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Timmy at 17 months

Timmy is a bright, curious, affectionate, and funny little boy.  He observes everything we do, and he files away every little thing so he can try it himself.  I love the way he "blows his nose," putting the tissue to his face, squinching up his nose, and making loud sniffing and snorting noises.

He's become more attached to his "Lovey" this month.  He's treating it like Annie used to, wanting to carry it around with him wherever he goes.  Whenever he reaches for it, he pops his thumb in his mouth simultaneously.  It's funny how similar he is to Annie with that habit.  Annie would grab her Lovey and sort of suck the inside of her mouth to soothe herself.  I try to hide Lovey at bathtime because he'll cry during the whole bath and refuse to sit in the tub because I won't let him take his soft, fuzzy friend with him.  Silly boy.

He gives us lots of hugs and kisses when he's in the mood.  Sometimes he just wants to sit in my lap, and I love the way he relaxes against me and lets me hold him for a few minutes.  There's nothing in the world like holding a soft, squishy little boy close.
He's acquired a few new words this month, some of them only in the last couple weeks:
Na-na (banana)
My favorite was while we were in Massachusetts when I called to him and Annie, "Who wants to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house?"  I heard, "Me!" from Annie, and a second little voice call out, "Me!" and I thought, 'Was that Timmy?'  Then Annie said, "Mommy, Timmy said, 'Me!'"  The girls think it's amazing when Timmy says a word.  Really, we all do.  I said to them once, "Timmy will say more and more things, and then one day he'll be talking just like you."  Delaney said, "Yeah, he'll be saying sentences."
Most of the time he still communicates with lots of wordless exclamations, pointing, and wide eyes as he waits for us to understand.  Sometimes I know what he means, and other times I say, "Mister, you've got to use some words."  I wish I hadn't been too lazy to teach him signs.  We'll be sitting down to eat and he'll point at the table, saying "uh," and I pick up one thing, saying, "You want this?"  No.  "This?"  No.  I've heard people say it's not too late to start signing, but it feels too late to bother.

It's a little tougher to change his clothes and diapers because he gets mad when I try to hold him still.  Sometimes I need to hold him still for a couple minutes because he does some really messy poos.  It's understandable that he doesn't want to lie there and allow me to wipe him so many times.  These poos need to start solidifying!

He hasn't been eating all that great lately.  Bananas and raisins are the only things that he can be relied on to eat all the time.  Sometimes he'll put things in his mouth and spit them out.  He chews apples into a thousand pieces and then lets them fall out of his mouth. Sometimes he will brush things off his tongue while saying, "Ah.."  He does like pickles, which is strange because I know I didn't like them until I was around 20.  Usually he just wants a couple bites, not the whole thing.
He tries to run now and it is so funny watching his feet move so fast while the rest of his body tries to keep up.  His arms don't swing with any rhythm, they just go this way and that.  He careens around the house, missing doorways and corners by a hair.  He falls down often and gets up and takes off again.

He follows simple instructions like "throw that in the trash",  "put that in the toy bin", or "go get your truck."

Sometimes he'll say "Mama" or "Dada," and we'll answer, "Bud-dy!" again and again.

We love our happy-go-lucky little guy.