Six squares

For Henry’s birthday we got a few temporary Star Wars tattoos. He added a BB8 and a stormtrooper to each of his forearms and ran about believing in the magic of birthday parties and saving the rebel army. This morning his little tattoos were starting to rub off evidence of a good time and the morning after his soirée. Disappointed the pictures were not permanent, we chatted a little bit about tattoos and what they are and why people get them.

Henry knew his Uncle Andy had tattoos and we tried to remember them all and their meaning together. Then he exclaimed, “you have triangles.” And I do. In the way way back of the highlander I said that, “I waited until I was a grown-up to decide if I wanted something on my body forever and ever. I chose three little triangles because they represent you, Owen, and daddy. And you three are the most important humans to me in the whole world.” Thinking quietly Henry said for his fifth birthday he would like to get six squares for his six ladies: mommy, Mema, Mom-mom, Alyza, Bella, and daisy. That is just about the cutest thing ever.

Henry Adam: Four Years Old

Happiest day to my little guy for making the FOURTH trip around the sun!!!  Looking back over the year in photos, it blows my mind how blessed we are to have you in our lives. You came into this world, slowly, methodically, and chubby and you have turned into the most curious little tinkering boy. Every morning you turn the knob to our bedroom door and, carrying your little Maggie dog, you ask, “Can I come and cuddle you?” And my heart nearly explodes every. single. time. Your smile and your laugh are contagious and you love to tell jokes to make others burst out laughing alongside you. You are mischievous in all the right ways and the best friend and brother to your Owen. School this year was an utter blast. Everyday at pick-up you would exclaim, “I had such a GOOD day!” and show off the stamps you received from Mrs. C for listening or being a helper or just for being a kickass little kid. There were travels this year to California and Maryland to see the nation’s capitol and lots of visits with family and friends and then there was your epic first trip to Disney World! Your favorite toys are transformers and legos because you love to take apart something and build it back up or configure it differently and you are always excited to try a new food or meet a new friend. I often think about how I want to live my life more like the way you lives your: curious, playful, non-judgmental, in the moment, and with magic in your eyes! Happy Birthday, Henry you our everything to us love ~ Mom and Dad

Toddlers, Babies & Parents say funny things

Much of the day of mommyhood is processing and responding to funny, sweet, and weird phrases, conversations and requests from Henry and Owen. So many of these parenting gems have been lost to the abyss of noise that is forever constant from sunrise to sunset, but every now and then, I have enough mental clarity to recall from my working memories those little sillies and jot them down for posterity. And then add to this an assortment of the many socially acceptable behaviors we try to encourage and discourage the boys from doing in an attempt to socialize them to the cultural norms they are a part of.

From the parents:

No, you can’t lick your brother

Don’t touch your butthole or you will get pink eye

Eating a cake pop off the floor of Starbucks is yucky

Did you pee pee on the couch? Where should we go to the bathroom?

Buster doesn’t want you to ride on him

From the babies & toddlers:

Let’s play pretend tiger. What is that? It is when I roar at you and then you scream and then say wait you are just pretend.

Baby in thereas Owen points to my boob

I have an idea, how about I eat my dinner and then we go to CVS for a new toy?

Can we play hide the ball? I will hide it first….okay ready Owen runs over to the hidden spot and points to where the ball is. No, Owen stop it, be more fun.

Ce Ce Ja Ja? Puppy Ja Ja? Santa Pajamas or Puppy Pajamas what Owen wants to wear all day everyday.

Can we just do dinner and a show? Trying to have dinner small talk and Henry would prefer to do otherwise. Ha Ha nice try kid!

Hands mommy Hands! Any time we ride in the car, Owen gets his shoes off and slides his socks onto his hands. His proudest moment.

Henry Adam: Two Years

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Two years ago, a tiny (well not really) little naked boy lay on my chest and I met my son. He was so sweet, soft, fresh, and cried loudly for quite a number of those first minutes. I knew him and didn’t know him at all in that moment, but I loved him instantly and held him tightly while the room buzzed around us. Henry made me a mom, he made David a dad, and he made us a family. We left the hospital a few days later excited  by and deeply frightened of the new level of responsibility that commenced. While the first days and weeks and months were a blur of diapers, nursing sessions, and naps, they were beautiful and I love looking back on those memories. I wish so often to go back to those moments to cuddle him longer and smell his newness again.

Henry is now 731 days old  (2016 is a leap year!) and each one of those days was filled with laughs, adventures, tears, and playfulness. Each day I am reminded to let things go, put down the to-do list, and to just live in the moment, to get down on the ground and dig holes with my bare hands, and to just see the world a little more lightheartedly. When I caught myself saying “don’t go into the stream with your shoes on,” I had to pause and think, does it really matter if his sneakers are wet? And let him charge into the water to play and let his toes wrinkle. The days may be long at times but the years are short and savoring Henry’s childhood is my joy. This past year has brought about tremendous growth and development in Henry’s personality! His independence is growing by leaps and bounds. He wants to dress himself, feed himself, and climb in and out and over everything. He beams with pride when he accomplishes something like finishing a puzzle and claps with glee when we tell him how proud we are of him. Yes, he has tantrums and yes there are a lot of “no’s” but these do not take away from his sweetness. They are glimpses into the young boy he is growing into and I love the many sides of him.

Talking non-stop everyday and trying to copy songs on the radio fills our car. He loves to sing along to Adele, One Call Away by Charlie Puth, and Lost Boy by Ruth B. He delights in making us laugh and tries so hard to be a little clown. He is an observer of social settings and waits to let his hair down. But, once he does, he gives of himself openly and fully. It is a trait I hope he continues to nourish. He loves his little brother and constantly asks “What Owen doing?” and rushes in to kiss him or caress his head (we are still working on sharing toys with him, haha). Before bed he sings the ABC song while snuggling his Maggie Dog and rolling back and forth under his blue crochet blanket. Trucks are probably his favorite toys. Garbage trucks, cement mixers, bulldozers, and pick-up trucks entertain him for hours. He grabs his teddy bear and dances around the house when it is family dance party time. When he spies a puzzle, he plops down and gets to work. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and Henry loves to eat almost anything except carbs. While he is not a fan of macaroni and cheese or pizza, he loves his broccoli, chicken, berries, avocado, steak, yogurt, fruit leather, and eggs. When he feeds me cheerios, my heart melts as we sit side by side on the couch. When I shout, “Emergency Henry a blow out,” he drops his toys and runs to grab me a diaper for Owen. He is super cautious. Little hills and slides at the playground require some handholding before he will go it alone, and he is a stroller kid preferring to lounge with his sippy cup while being pushed around.  A little chef in the making, Henry sits with me in the kitchen during dinner prep and runs away stealing a pot to “cook” up a storm in his playroom. Henry wants so badly to communicate in full and complete sentences and if a word escapes him he makes up a gibberish filler and smiles ear to ear. After naptime, he needs a snack and cuddle because he is a bit of a crank but who could say no to all of his hugs? He calls himself peanut and Owen nugget and gathers books by the armful. He could read all day long and has a bin of books for the car that he gobbles right up.

Everyone says “Oooo the terrible twos” when I say Henry’s milestone birthday is upon us, but I am not nervous for this year. I cannot wait for it! I cannot wait to watch him play more and more with David and to take little adventures with his daddy. I cannot wait for him to play with his brother and to protect him and teach him. I cannot wait to see what he finds fascinating, what he wants to do, and who he continues to become. I hope he continues to build friendships, connects with others, remains curious, playful, independent, empathetic, excited, inquisitive, and seeks love, knowledge, and experiences with others around him. I want all the good things in life for him but also know that as he continues to grow he will need to learn how to confront, cope, and rebound from the things that happen in life that aren’t so great. But being this little kiddo’s mommy is the best role in life and I am so lucky and blessed to have it. He makes David and me want to be better, stronger, and healthier so we don’t miss a beat with him. Gosh, we love him!! He is full of mischief and his side smile proves it. It is going to be quite a year this year two, terrible or not, here we come!

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from 1 to 2

Everyone always says, “Going from one to two is the hardest” and…

They are right!

Of course most of the time being a family of four is just beautiful and magical. When Henry cuddles up to his brother or kisses his forehead or does “tummy time” with little Owen, my heart just explodes. When I am tucking Henry into bed and holding Owen in my lap for story time, I could stay in that moment forever.

The hardest part is the random times in the day when you just don’t have enough hands: Henry wants a cuddle or a snack while Owen is nursing. I keep telling myself it has only been three weeks and  not to get too worried about this dilemma. It will settle itself and we will find our family rhythm, but I just wish I had two more hands so I could be all things to both boys and then I wish I had one more set of hands so I could fold laundry and roast vegetables, haha!

It is amazing how these two boys come from the same momma and daddy and yet are already very different (I think). Henry is pale and Owen olive. Henry is slender and Owen rotund. Henry is sensitive and Owen seems to be made of tough stuff. Comparison is the fastest way to unhappiness, no? Yet, I promise that my comparison of the two little dudes in my life will stop here because I just want to savor and love and observe their unique personalities and see what paths they take in life (but, I am sure that desire to compare will show up from time to time).

What might be the hardest part of all is that Owen doesn’t speak. It has been a LONG time since we had a little one in the house who wasn’t babbling about all day. I just want to know Owen more and hear what his little voice is like, but we will have to be patient for a few months until we get a glimpse of that personality and see what kind of songbird this child is. Until then, when I hear “The Sound of Silence” on the radio by Disturbed, I imagine that that deep husky voice is Owen’s.

So while this period is full of unknowns and curiosities, it is also full of quiet moments (though brief), lots of cuddles, and lots of learning on this mommy’s part on how to develop and hone in on my patience and living in the moment.

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Potty Training Chronicles: Day 2 & 3

We are now three days into our “potty training.” It is going much better than I expected it to. Day 2 Henry and I stayed home and while this was the hardest part for me, he seemed to not mind at all. He played and played and told me when he wanted to use the facilities. The only issue I had was with the looming inevitable: how do we transfer this outside? It was “easy” to stay home and have the little dude run around the house bottomless and then hop on and off the potty as needed, but how do you tackle the world!?!  It felt very daunting on Day 2 and so even though every inch of my skin crawled to do something outside and to go somewhere fun with the little one, my fear held me back. It also helped that it was rainy outside and really where could I go? By the end of the second day, Henry had “mastered” shouting “poopie!” and running from whatever toy or craft we were in the midst of to the potty. It was hilariously cute. There was only 1 accident on day two because we got really involved into a puzzle and were working with color groupings and you know sometimes when you get TOO into something you just pee yourself, no?

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Day 3 was going to be the true test! We had registered for an Egg Hunt in the neighboring town. Could we go? Should we skip and shelter at home during this potty training storm? David and I went back and forth and finally decided “Hey, if he has an accident it is okay, accidents happen and it’s totally fine if this potty training experience is just the first of many attempts.” So we packed up our things and headed to the hunt. Henry used the potty before we left and while hunting for eggs, I asked him if he needed to and he said yes! WHAT? Where do I go? I raced him (as fast as my preggo body could) to the bathroom and Ta da he did it! Henry ate some snacks at the church and then we headed home. Upon arrival he did the potty again! Okay, MAYBE he really was ready for this. Of course during naps and at nighttime he wears a diaper because we don’t expect him to be able to hold it while he sleeps but I am really excited about having had our first venture out of doors! Hopefully as we head back to work this week, we can keep the momentum going even though we know that the arrival of baby 2 might bring about a big regression in this potty business, it is fine. We are trying to stay as casual about it as we can and just trying to follow Henry’s lead.  And, yes we might be using a little ice cream to reward this awesome work!

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