Monday, May 27, 2013

The Party!

I thought his party deserved its own post.  I love birthdays!  I think a birthday is a day that one gets to feel like the most special person in the world.  My parents always made me feel important and loved on my birthdays.  The things that stick out to me are not the presents...only the boom box I got with a New Kids on the Block tape sticks out to me, from my 10th birthday.  Instead, it was the little things, homemade cakes, friends, camping out in the yard, and generally feeling VERY important and special. I always want my children to feel this way, and so birthdays are kind of a big deal here.  Last year we did not do much for his big day, so I thought this year we throw a proper party.  When Kinley was born, she gifted Caleb with some construction toys that were a big hit, and there the theme was born.  I looked up ideas on pinterest, shopped at Home Depot, and planned, planned, planned.  We got invites out pretty early...forgetting that his party would fall on Memorial Day weekend.  Oops.  His party was not on his actual birthday, so on that day we went to a fun bookstore with animals running around and I let him pick out a book and a stuffed animal.  Many people were not able to make it, however, many did show up and it was a wonderful day!  Thankfully the rain held out so we were even able to be outside for a while as well.  We are so thankful to have such wonderful family and friends that all made one little boy feel very loved and very special!

I was/am very proud of this cake...completely home made, and delicious!

Three generations (Great Grandparents, Daddy, Caleb)

Family photo, the best we could do


Actual Birthday at the bookstore

Almost 3...big boy!

Birthday boy

Picking out his loot...and the choice he made

Reading at the store

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Three Years...

Dear Caleb,

You are now three years old.  The past few years have been a blur, going so quickly I can hardly believe it.  You are now, you.  You have your own thoughts, your own ideas, and you are now definitely your own person.  It has been so fun to see how much you have grown up lately.  It also makes me a bit sad because my little baby is no longer so little.  I just want you to know that no longer how big you get you will always be my first baby.  The moment your sister was born I realized you were a big boy.  You felt heavier, you looked older, because our life changed, my views of you changed too.  I know you are more capable, more independent, and more amazing each day.

You are so smart, and have such a passion for learning.  You ask me questions about things and have a general curiosity about the world around you.  You know all of your letters (upper and lowercase), and are very interested in the sounds letters make, and how the letters together are words.  You can identify some familiar words like your name and the names of all of our family members.  I predict that you will be an early reader because you are so interested and love books so much.  You can read familiar stories to yourself, and love to be read to.  Speaking of familiar, you also make up words to tunes you are familiar with, like "row, row, row, your boat" will become something totally different.  You also like to be silly when singing, like mixing up the letters when singing your abc's.  You can identify the numbers 1-10, and can count as many items correctly.

I have loved seeing your imagination grow, especially lately.  You have begun to create scenarios in your play.  The other day you made me pretend to be your daycare provider and all of your instruments were the kids at daycare. Your memory amazes me these days as well, you remember places we have been, things that have happened even weeks ago, names of people you have met even just once or twice, favorite books almost word for word, and you can remember and answer questions about favorite shows or movies.  You have always been a very verbal child, one who had more words at 18 months than I could count, but now you and I have conversations...true verbal exchanges.  You understand more, you make me laugh, and you are a lot of fun to talk to!

Your sense of humor is becoming more and more apparent, and you are quite the silly boy.  You are also very sensitive.  You do not like it if I am upset at you, and due to this, I am rarely mad at you since you usually do what you can to avoid it.  If I am upset at you, you will often cry out, "I need my mommy".  I would expect that you would not want me if I was the one upset, however, it seems that you need to know that I still love you even when I am mad.  Luckily, I am rarely mad.  You also are very concerned about how I am feeling, asking me, "Mom are you happy?".  You usually ask me when I am clearly not happy.  I always want to be honest, so I let you know how I am feeling.  The other day I went upstairs to find a mess you had made.  I yelled downstairs to tell you that you needed to come clean up your mess.  As you were playing, you said to yourself with a sigh, "uh, mom is mad at me."  When you came upstairs to clean up your mess you looked at me and said, "mom, I'm mad at you too." I asked why, and you replied, "cause you made a mess on the counter."  Funny boy.  I'll be sure to clean up after myself next time.

Here are some other Caleb-isms from this past week:

While running around naked, with just one sock on, "I'm just missing my pants and shirt and other sock!"

While checking on the muffins in the oven, "They're talking to me!"

As I was preparing dinner, his sister was sleeping and he was making sure we were all quiet.  After a minute of silence I hear a loud, "Mom!"  I say, "what?"  He responds quickly, "Shhh, be quiet, Kinley's sleeping".  Tricky boy.

While talking about potty training I said, "I wish you would wear underwear."  He responded, "I wish I would wear a starfish."

"I hear Buzz Lightyear and Woody!"  I respond, "where are they?"  He replies, "In the refrigerator, cooking!"

"Open your hand, look at your nails (I polished them), they are beautiful...I want to eat your thumb!"

I could go on and on about all the things that I love about you sweet boy.  You made me a mom, and I am so grateful to get to hold that title for you every day of my life.  It has been the best job I have ever had and could ever hope to have.  I love every minute, and look forward to all the minutes I get with you as your mom, your biggest fan, and your greatest admirer.  Happy Birthday sweet boy!


Then:  4 days new

Now:  3 years old

Monday, May 13, 2013

Life Lessons

Life has been a blur the last couple of months, but some things have happened that I can definitely learn are some of the "lessons" I have learned.
  • Routine is key.  My kids have strict bedtimes, because they need it.  When their routine is off, they are off, and then I am off.  For example:  I thought it would be a good idea to bring Kinley along with me to a home party for cleaning products.  She usually goes to bed between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm, however, I thought "she's a baby, she can roll with it".  Wrong.  So wrong.  After about an hour of fussiness and being passed between very helpful friends, she finally fell asleep.  At that time I figured I'd better head out.  Party was still going, wine was just opened.  Parenthood.  Before children we were not routined.  Not at all.  Now we have a daily routine that works for us.  The skeleton of the routine is there...ensuring we are home for naps and that meals and bedtime happen on schedule.  When all this happens the rest flows well...we can get out of the house easily and without too many issues.  Another example of a routine gone bad:  We recently had Caleb's first dentist appointment and decided that we would take a trip to the mall to go on rides (his first time) as a reward for a job well done.  Well, it was fun.  We rode rides, we had a great time.  Then we thought we would get some ice cream.  It was of course on the very opposite side of the mall than we were on, so we had to go up some floors and walk a lot.  I could sense that Caleb was getting tired (Kinley was fine sleeping in the ergo), but thought we could make it.  We finally got to the ice cream place, ordered ours and his, and then tried to stop to give it to him.  He wanted nothing of the sort.  I forced him to take a bite, and he was not happy.  He wanted to hold it, just not eat it.  I figured we should walk back to the car.  On the way he started to get crabby and I got short with him.  Eric then said, "is it his fault he is crabby or ours because he has not napped and is tired?"  He was right.  I knew it too.  Fast forward about five seconds, and he fell asleep in the stroller.  We got him in the car and he fell asleep before we pulled out of the parking ramp.  He is almost three, and will probably continue to nap on schedule for a couple more years.  I suspect Kinley will be the same way.  We have just had to learn to adapt to them, and their need for routine. 
Just chillin' in the dentist chair

Loving rides!

  • Prepare for a disaster.  I should pack extra clothes for me, and for the kids.  I always remember an extra outfit for Kinley, and three times now in the past two months, I was the one who could have used an extra shirt.  I have been spit up on (massive amounts) these times and have had to continue on, stinking.  Argh.  And to add to that, I have also been peed on.  Joys of having a boy.  We have had one too many conversations about what is okay to pee on, and that people are not part of that.  I should note that I have never been intentionally peed on, always accidental.  Still not fun. 
  • Breathe.  Just breathe.  When I have a screaming toddler, and a screaming infant I am on damage control.  It is not fun.  So just breathe.
  • Limit distractions.  With all the nursing I have been doing, I have been on my phone a lot.  An additional factor is not having any grown ups to talk to during the day, every day.  I have now developed a bit of a facebook addiction.  I am now on a 12 step program to end it.  First step, deleting it from my phone and iPad.  It has been hard.  I am on the mend.  Not sure I am ready to quit cold turkey.  Actually, I tried for about three hours, and it was too soon.  Should I totally quit?  Is periodic facebook checking on the computer okay?  Time will tell I suppose.  I should note that my husband is a total enabler.  He says things like, "did you see what ___ posted?"  all the time.  Then I want to check, but I am limiting it.
  • Talk about it.  What am I referring to?  Anything.  But, especially life issues that seem overwhelming.  Lean on people.  Lean on friends.  Times can be tough, but it is a heck of a lot harder if you are tackling it on your own without support from people who love you.  And, in addition to that, make an effort to maintain those friendships.  Life gets crazy busy for everyone, but having good friends is uber incredibly necessary for you to not always feel like a "mom" and to sometimes feel more like yourself.  So get out of the house, and socialize.  This is something I need to do more of.
  • Go on dates.  Dates at home, and dates out an about.  Your marriage will be better for it.  This is something we do not do often enough, and is now a new priority of mine (ours) and it will hopefully help with the natural disconnect that happens when your bring a baby home or have young children.  
  • Go to the bathroom with the door closed, maybe even locked.  Take that 5 minutes to yourself.  The other day I went to the bathroom to do my business, and the door was open (rarely closed).  My husband proceeded to come to the door to talk to me, while holding a screaming baby, and with an upset toddler nearby.  I politely (I think) asked him to please move away from the door.  To please give me a minute to do my business, ALONE.  I would never do that to him...seriously?! So now, if I am not the only one home with the kids, I will sometimes close and lock the door.  Since when is a minute on the toilet or a five minute shower a break?  I guess since I had a child three years ago.  
  • Your children are always watching.  Always.  Don't behave in a way you would not want them too.  And watch what you say, cause they will repeat it right back to you.  Verbatim.  
  • Try not to be so hard on yourself.  Try.  This has been especially hard for me lately.  Mostly in regard to my body image, but this obviously applies to many other aspects of life and parenting.  In regards to my body image, I am not anywhere near the body I want, and realize that it will take time to get where I want to be.  However, nothing in my closet fits right, and a mama that does not feel good about herself is not a joy to be around.  So, today, I ventured to the mall...after almost aborting the mission due to a cranky baby, and bought myself some new clothes.  I got five items that are interchangeable and can be worn with each other.  They should all last beyond this body image issue, so that was a plus.  I am looking forward to wearing something new during Caleb's birthday party, and looking forward to having choices when leaving the house that make me feel better about how I am looking these days. 
  • Big tasks are much easier when broken down into smaller tasks.  This is more apparent to me lately when I no longer have any amount of time to do any task completely in one sitting.  I can barely get myself ready along with children in the morning.  How am I going to do this when I go back to work?  It's fine now when I can usually stay in my pajamas all day.  This applies to cleaning, projects, getting ready, blogging, etc.  I have always been a person that likes to finish a task from start to finish in one sitting.  However, now with two children this is impossible.  I have learned to break it up, prioritize, take shortcuts, and multi-task like a mo-fo.  One example is Caleb's birthday party.  I ordered invites and got them out in the mail.  Check.  I took a trip to home depot to get supplies (construction theme).  Check.  I went to the party store to order balloons and to get supplies.  Check.  Chose and ordered birthday gift (bike).  Check.  Things left to do:  cake, goodie bags, wrap presents, menu planning and buy food, and prepare the yard and activities.  I have been working on this party in small doses over a month.  It will all get done, and it will not be very stressful because I have done it over time.  Thankfully.  As for cleaning the house, well, that is a lost cause.  Same with laundry.  Never ever done.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Two months.

My dear Kinley,

Has it seriously been two months?  It is incredible how much you have grown in such a short amount of time!  I am not sure how much you weigh, but, if your roly poly limbs and belly are any indication, I would guess you are at least 12 pounds.  We will find out if my guess is accurate very soon.  You are also getting so much stronger.  You are able to hold your head pretty steady and don't need a lot of support in that department much anymore.  You are starting to bear some weight on your legs and have been trying to move forward over your boppy pillow during tummy time.  Oh, tummy time.  You are not a fan, but will oblige me for a few minutes at a time a few times a day.  You do like to be held on my chest, so we get our tummy time in a lot that way.  You are nosey.  You like to see what is going on and are very attentive.  You are bright eyed and alert when you are awake, and you are awake much more often now.  It seems that you are starting to figure out your schedule, with longer awake times and more concentrated sleep during the day.  You and your brother are similar in how you like your routines, and do best when we adhere to them.  Before children, your dad and I were much more spontaneous, those days are long gone now.  We have learned to follow your routines, and understand that when we try to change them we will be dealing with unhappy children.  Knowing is half the battle.  You have done pretty well sleeping in various places when we are out and about and you are getting better at nursing on the go.  At night you are an excellent sleeper.  You sleep in about 6 hour intervals when we first lay you down, and after a change and nursing you usually sleep another 4-6 hours.  You still sleep in our bedroom, and I am not sure when that will change.  I am guessing before I go back to work I will consider moving you to your crib.

Over the last month we have stayed pretty busy.  We have gone out to eat, shopped, went to two baby showers, had a visit to the children's museum and the zoo, visited with your great aunt (dad's side), met your grandma (dad's mom), had a playdate, went with me to get a hair cut, spent time outside, went on a few walks, and had your first length of time with just your dad and brother when I went to dinner with a friend.  It is nice to get out, and you do well with all of these outings.  You are generally laid back and are happy as long as you have a clean diaper, a full belly, and plenty of love from mom and dad.

Spending time with Grandma

You have started drooling a lot more these days, and I wonder if teething is already beginning.  Oh boy.  Your hair has also started falling out a bit, and I can't tell what color your hair is going to settle on.  My suspicion is that you will have darker hair than your brother but we shall see.  My favorite new skill you have been showing is your gorgeous smile.  Your smile melts my heart, and you are not stingy with it.  You smile all the time now.  You have also started cooing, which is so much fun.  I love talking to you.  You engage in amazing eye contact, and it seems that you really recognize me these days.  You are able to track people when they walk by.  If you are upset, sometimes just talking to you will calm you, unless something is wrong like a dirty diaper or you are hungry.  As for hunger, that is one part of your day that I have not found a real routine.  That is the thing about breastfeeding I guess.  If all else fails, I try to feed you, and that usually works.  The problem is that there does not seem to be any real concrete time frame for feeding you.  During the day you eat often, anywhere from 1-3 hours apart.  I am sure this will all change when you go to daycare.  We have been practicing with bottles, and you do well with them.  We also are offering pacifiers to you in hopes that you do not begin to suck your thumb like your brother.  You are not able to keep it in your mouth well yet, often spitting it out.  You have started to bring your hands to your mouth and will suck on them.  You also are moving your arms in a more intentional way now, occasionally batting at toys or grabbing my hair.

You are truly a joy, and bring such happiness to our home.  Everyone that sees you smiles...and we all love you so much!

Love, Mom