My boys are growing up faster than ever. Carmine got his first report card this week - a preschool report card, but still! And most of the time I feel like Gabe is already a teenager, he's gotten so good at arguing with us, and being fresh, and rolling his eyes. And when he's not acting totally immature, he really likes to take charge and be the 'big kid,' and is very proud that he can now pour his own cereal and milk - and I've even been giving him lessons on how to use the washing machine. He's gotta start earning his keep around here!
Dante still mostly acts like the 8-year-old he almost is, but he definitely has his moments, too, and I'd never be able to keep track of the number of times he says "DUDE!" every day.
We enjoyed a magnificent fall, with a few cold days, but many more warmer than usual days, and we took full advantage, getting everyone outside as much as possible. There was plenty of plain old playing out in the yard, but we got out and about for a family hike, and a few trips to the playground, and Carmine and I still hit the beach at least a few times a week.
Sometimes he brings his scooter, and other times we just walk - on the sidewalk or on the sand. He even discovered that he can ride his scooter on the sand when it's low tide. And when we walk along the sidewalk, he stops to talk to every random stranger we pass. We will never have to worry about his ability to make friends.
I am determined to keep them playing outside after school as long as it's not completely frigid, and there have been some afternoons when I've had to really bundle up to stay out there with them, but it's so good to see them getting all that activity after being in school all day.
When the temps were warmer, there were even a few days that they were out there playing in the rain - because when it's 60 degrees in November, you play outside, even if it means getting a little wet.
Thanks to a great Groupon deal, we also took our first trip to the indoor rock climbing gym in town, and had an awesome time! There wasn't a lot that Carmine could do, but he still managed to have fun, and Gabe and Dante definitely enjoyed it - it's something I'm sure we'll do again at some point, because I loved it, too!
One other highlight of the fall was the Sox winning the World Series. Gabe and Dante are finally starting to get interested in baseball, so they'd wake up every morning asking if the Sox had won the previous night's game, and they're starting to learn some of the player's names. I love that they're getting into it now, and when it seemed pretty certain that the win was going to happen, we woke them up so they could see the last three outs of the game. It was a nice moment to share with them.
I was so tempted to go up to Boston for the parade, but the reality of doing something like that with three small children was just too overwhelming. We watched some of it on TV, though, and it made me so happy to see all the celebrating and happiness on Boylston Street.
More recently, we headed down to Hartford for Lego Kids Fest, and it was every bit as amazing as we all anticipated it would be. We were there for just over 4 hours, and every second of those 4 hours was filled with Legomania. The boys were in heaven!
Aside from all the activities, they're just up to their usual shenanigans. When I went away for a weekend with my friends last month, Dante was smart enough to know that he should take that opportunity to wear a shirt that I've told him he's not allowed to wear out of the house because it's so stained. (I haven't thrown it out because it's one of his favorites, but made it clear that it was an at-home shirt only).
He knew that Dad either wouldn't notice or wouldn't care that it was stained, and he'd get away with wearing it - and he was right. Dad did take a few pictures of them that weekend, though, so Dante was busted!
The holiday season has all three of them pretty excited, but Dante most of all. He is literally bouncing off the walls, and on the furniture, and everywhere he goes. He bounces, he runs, he jumps, he dances, and he's a walking sound-effects machine. It's INSANE! I knew we were in trouble when he walked into our room, fully dressed, at 4:45am on Thanksgiving.
Carmine is fully immersed in all things Christmas and Santa, too. He's even been perusing the toy catalogs with Gabe and Dante, and pointing out to me all the things he wants.
He's also perfecting the art of arguing with me about everything - a skill he's picked up from his big brothers. And one night at dinner, he asked me for more of something and I told him there wasn't any more, and he insisted that there was. And when I continued to tell him that there wasn't, he looked at me and said "Stop arguing with me."
Another time he walked into the garage, looked at all the toys scattered around, pointed at it and said "This is a disaster!" I guess he is listening to everything I say. And listening carefully to his brothers, too, judging by the new phrase he's picked up recently - "It wasn't my fault."
Last year he went through a phase where he wore his Batman cape everywhere for a few weeks. This year it was his fleece bathrobe. He was seen out and about with his robe on, and I just went with it, because some battles aren't worth fighting.
Being in school is helping him refine some of his funny little toddler-isms, but I'm glad that it hasn't 'fixed' all of them. I love when he misspeaks in his adorable little voice. Some of his Carmine-speak: bullzoder instead of bulldozer; soared when he means to say sore; tehgar instead of guitar; playdid instead of played; juice apple instead of apple juice; singing Jingle Bells as "Jingle bells, jingle all the way, there was a horse and a sleigh."
And when he said something particularly adorable the other day, I laughed and said "Carmine, do you have any idea how cute you are?" In reply, he held his hand up to his forehead (as if measuring his height), and said "This cute!"
He's going through a bit of a mommy phase at the moment, and has even gone so far as to tell Scott "I don't like you." I know that Scott knows not to take it personally, but it's stil gotta hurt a little. This too shall pass, though, and I think the best thing for us to do is not make too big a deal out of it.
The house is decked out for Christmas, and we're getting the tree this weekend, and doing the same Advent calendar we did last year, where we have a special activity for each day.
A lot of the ones from last year are there again - making gingerbread houses, decorating sugar cookies, donating toys to the toy drive, decorating the mini-trees in their rooms - but I tried to add a few new ones, too. One that I'm most looking forward to is next week, when I'm going to take them for a drive in their PJs after dinner to check out Christmas lights.
It's a crazy time of year, and Dante's expression in this photo is pretty illustrative of what our house feels like most days (me included).
But the crazy is part of the fun, and when they're not being completely insane, they're pretty darn adorable - so the crazy is worth it.