Monday, September 26, 2016

#twoundertwo no more

In just two short years, we went from this:

to this:

How? I'll never know.

I got a lot of sweet messages wishing him a happy birthday, and, more importantly, two asking me what my new hashtag would be. Something else I don't know. #twoundertwo #cantuseitanymore

I'm not sure why, but Dalton turning two hit me harder than when he turned one. Maybe because I was pregnant when he turned one, so I knew I was going to get to do it all over again? Now, they are just both growing so quickly, and as much as I love it, it's going too fast. Said every mom ever. I cried every time I thought of it all week. 

I'm still trying to comprehend how my tiny little 6 pound, 14 oz bundle of baby joy is now more than 27 pounds of toddler. Turning one is a huge milestone, but they are undoubtedly still babies, even at 12 months. At two, Dalton is officially a walking, talking, hilarious tiny person, full of jokes, kisses, and opinions. Not a baby by any stretch of the imagination. 

It does turn out that even at the mature age of 2, kids still don't really get the idea of "a birthday coming up", or at least, mine didn't. Probably because he's too young to have any concept of time. We'd originally planned on having a birthday party, because that's just what you do. Then my friend mentioned she wasn't having a second birthday party for her son, and I was like GENIUS. I never even thought of that. Dalton doesn't care, hates people, and I'm lazy AF. Not having a party fit into that framework perfectly. 

On Dalton's actual birthday, we had balloons waiting outside his door for him when he woke up, and he was SO excited. He was marching them all around the house and just thrilled beyond belief.

After work, he helped me bake Funfetti cupcakes, and then we had those for dinner #goodparenting. 


He loved having us sing happy birthday to him and definitely understood that he was getting special attention. The boys usually go to bed around the same time, but Royce was really tired and ended up going down early, and we let Dalton stay up a little late (his birthday was on a Friday so he could sleep in the next day, who doesn't love that?). It was perfect - we got some extra playtime with just the three of us and were able to focus all our attention on the birthday boy. 

Saturday, the four of us went downtown for the Baltimore Book Festival. I'm actually just mentioning that to show off this picture of me in my prepregnancy jeans with  my new haircut.

Since I fit into my jeans, I immediately stuffed my face with Shake Shack.
Also on Saturday, my stepfather came to visit! Dalton was so excited to see his grandpa and was squealing like crazy as soon as he pulled up.

On Sunday, we met up with friends for a playdate at the pumpkin farm (when editing, I realized I originally typed "pumpin" farm...yikes). 

Is there anything sexier than a man pushing a double stroller?

We went for the first time when Dalton was 3 weeks old, and Eric has been impatiently waiting for the moment when Dalton was actually old enough to enjoy all the activities.

The huge slide. 

He was fine going down with us, until his friend went by herself, and then we were dead to him.

Maybe he wasn't so sure about it?

The tire climbing thing. 
This kid loves tunnels.
Loving life in the stroller, as usual. 

I got a workout pushing the stroller up the hills. 
Getting all of our mommy group together is kind of a big deal, I'm so appreciative all these ladies came out so Dalton could celebrate his birthday with his little besties! (Sorry my hair is hiding Emma in this pic!).

My kids were both busy on eating #typical.

We took 17,000 hayride pictures, and Dalton is intently staring at the view in all of them. 

To review - all the kids had a crap load of fun, I didn't have to clean my house before or after, I prepared zero food, I have beautiful non-iPhone pictures for my blog (thanks Vince!) and frosting wasn't smeared on every possible surface in my home. WINNING. 

I need new hashtag suggestions.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I'm attempting a post-partum race!

Way, way back in the day, I used to use this blog to document athletic endeavors. I ran marathon after marathon, and even did things like 50 mile races and half ironman triathlons (well, just one of those). Obviously, things have changed just a bit in my life, and I no longer have any inclination to spend hours upon hours devoted to training each week.

However, I am still interested in staying in shape, losing the baby weight, and, to be really cliche, to have "me" time. That love of running - it's still there. Now, I consider a 2 mile run to be a sufficient workout for the day. The old me would have thought that was a waste of time, not worth dirtying running clothes. That version of me doesn't exist anymore, and any exercise I can get in for the day, a ten minute video, a walk with the stroller, it all counts.

Even parachute time at Gymboree.

Around the time Royce was born, something amazing happened. While the main reason I dropped off the running train over the past few years was that I was busy being pregnant and having babies, that wasn't the only thing. My running buddies, Lily and Jackie, both moved out of state for work. These girls got me through a half ironman, ultra marathons, and even the completely, utterly insane mistake I made called the GORUCK challenge.

We once swam, biked, and ran 70.3 miles. HOW. 

When they left, so did a lot of my motivation. THEY ARE BOTH BACK!!!

Makeovers and facials - once in awhile we hang out and do non sweaty activities.

Here's how it went down. The very first weekend I ran with Jackie after she returned to Baltimore, she was training for a marathon. I intended to run 3-4 miles with her. Four miles would have been the most I had ran since having Royce. The first leg of her run was 3.5 miles out and back (for a total of 7, for those of you fellow non-mathematicians like me). I figured I'd just hold on as long as I could. Somehow, I made it the whole 7 miles, and what's more, I didn't feel like I wanted to keel over at the end. This was a HILLY route too, Loch Raven reservoir, known  throughout Baltimore for being frighteningly steep.

I was really surprised I was able to hang on for 7 miles, so I began toying with the idea of running the Baltimore Half Marathon, on October 15. It was about two months away at the time. I decided if I could do 8 the following weekend, I could probably "train" in time and make it through the race. The next weekend, Lily was kind enough to join me for 8 miles, I survived, and signed up for the race that night. Training was officially "on".

Side note - I also signed up for the Baltimore Half Marathon last year, but then downgraded to the 5k since I was 8 weeks pregnant and had annoying nonstop nausea when the race rolled around. This year - it's ON. I hope.

Much like my intense running days, my days of following a training plan are over as well, or at least on hiatus. I decided I would keep adding one mile to my long run each week until I hit ten, which I did. Now I'm "tapering", or whatever, so I ran 7 this past weekend. As for the rest of the week, my goal has been at least 3 other runs, of at least two miles each, and I've been successful with that. I'm also getting in one non running workout each week. My current favorite is a Barre 3 video. It destroys me. SO. TOUGH.

I've had a few people ask if I'll be pumping and running since a picture of a woman doing that during a half marathon went viral this week. Um, no. I'll just pump or nurse before and after the race, and during the race, I'll just focus on, I don't know, maybe running?

While I'm excited for the race, I'm also really doubting my sanity, since training comes at the expense of sleep, and I'm no longer a spring chicken. I'm TIRED.

This guy...sleeps like a baby.

On Sunday, after a fun morning of attending a Wegmans grand opening and then big truck day at the zoo, I had great intentions of grocery shopping and catching up on housework during naptime.

The funny part about this picture is that I caught it while Dalton was yelling "NO".

Which would have worked out great, since the boys took an extra long nap, AT THE SAME TIME. This never happens. I accomplished one thing during that nap, and that was also taking a nap. It was absolutely glorious. Until I woke up Monday morning, it was pouring rain, and I had a sink full of dishes, no clean clothes, no clean bottles, and no food. So...I guess it's safe to say I'm still attempting to figure out the whole work/motherhood/half marathon training balance. I'll work on that. If I can stay awake.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Literature helping me raise my toddler

After nearly 5 glorious months, I now have less than two more weeks to use the #twoundertwo hashtag. I won't even know what to do with myself. I'm about to have a two year old. Unbelievable.

And his little brother is now four months old. I know it's the most basic thing I can possibly say, but where does the time go? There's a reason every single mom says it all. the. time. Because it flies by.

Chillin with daddy

He's even big enough to sit in the stroller like a big boy now! No infant seat (for walks)!

This is how he insisted on eating lunch while Royce was napping - with a picture of his brother.

Once upon a time, nearly two years ago, I had a baby. Like all new moms, I thought caring for a baby was SO. HARD. And now...I have a toddler. And a baby. And now caring for the baby seems SO. EASY.

It's hard in the sense that the baby requires middle of the night feedings, he's on his own schedule that none of us are privy to (read: we are never on time to anything), and he kind of sucks at communicating his needs. However, I recently realized that I put very little mental energy into parenting him. Feed, change, make a few goofy faces, sing some songs, put him to sleep. It can be time consuming, but I can do a lot of it while scrolling through my Instagram feed.

Now toddlerhood - that's a horse of a different color. No middle of the night feedings and he's on a predictable routine, but he really only sucks slightly less at communicating his needs. Which is odd, because he's incredibly clear when it comes to communicating his wants. Tons of mental energy goes in to deciphering, entertaining, teaching, and attempting to thwart tantrums (and let's get real, that last one is where most of it goes).

I don't mean it's hard in a bad way, not at all. I freaking love these ages. Dalton is this walking, talking, funny, sweet little PERSON. He actually makes jokes, like does things on purpose to be funny. I think I cry laughing on a daily basis. He runs up to us and gives us hugs and kisses, and loves to tickle his little brother and hold his hand. Royce is just the happiest baby ever. The other day, he laughed for the first time! There is truly no sound in this world as beautiful as a baby laugh. His face lights up with a huge smile when he sees me (and, ok, other people too). He can grab toys with just a little help, looks up when he hears our voices, and is just generally on his way to becoming a real little person.

When I say it's hard, I mean it's confusing, and a lot of responsibility, and I'm constantly doubting myself. AKA, it's parenting. Toddlers are inherently assholes. It's not their fault, they don't know any better. I can only speak for my own toddler, and say that he's probably the sweetest, kindest, most good-natured person I've ever met. But he's also currently an asshole, because he's too little to have fully grasped social norms or appropriate behavior yet. Here's the terrifying part: we have to teach him those things. Give me middle of the night feedings over that any day. (J/K, I get both.)


In the interest of teaching my toddler not to be an asshole and not losing my own mind or becoming an alcoholic in the process, I turned to literature. There's plenty out there, but nobody has time to read all of them. Obviously, kids don't come with manuals, so no book is going to be a quick fix or work 100% of the time. Personally though, I don't have a clue what I'm doing, so I'll take anything that even slightly nudges my kid in the non asshole direction.

I did what I always do, and just let my trusted mom friends tell me what to do. The verdict? 123 Magic. 

The premise: when your toddler starts acting a fool, he gets 3 chances to shape up or it's time out for that little asshole. Time outs aren't any sort of revolutionary discipline, but the eye opening part for me was to just STFU about it. I tend to have a real verbal diarrhea problem and would spout all sorts of nonsense about why what he did was dangerous or not nice or whatever and try to explain all this stuff. Based on the book, we've just been doing the counting and time outs if needed and saving the teachable moments for more appropriate times when he's (potentially?) able to take it in. We've only been doing it about a week, but so far, so good. Will report back in 16 years on whether or not he's a drain on society.

Hard to imagine such a thing though.

As I've mentioned on here many times, I'm a huge proponent of The Happiest Baby on the Block. Naturally, I read The Happiest Toddler on the Block last summer, when Dalton was about 9 or 10 months old. The book claimed that you could start that young, and while I was skeptical, we started using the language.

The premise: validate your kid's feelings with super simple language before doing or saying anything else to deescalate potential tantrums. As this blog very clearly illustrates, I don't know how to make a long story short, so the more books I can read with experts reminding me to shut my mouth, the better. There's a lot more to it with strategies to encourage good behavior and stuff, but, no one likes spoilers. I kind of forgot all about it since it had been so long since I read it, but recently I started to notice that using the language did seem to help Dalton calm down when I felt sure a tantrum was on the way.

He even allows face touching now. 

(I was going to link to the books on amazon, but I don't do affiliate links because I'm too lazy to learn how and I figure anyone who reads this knows how to use amazon or their local library.)

This summer, I was on maternity leave, which seemed like a great time to plan ahead and learn about the inevitable - potty training. Now, I certainly had no intention of doing such a thing with a new baby around, because I'm not insane. But, unfortunately, it seems we are going to have to tackle this at some point, so I checked Oh Crap! Potty training out of the library.

I've never had such a visceral dislike of an author so instantly. In fact, I didn't even know such a thing was possible, but the pied piper of poop really rubbed me the wrong way, and I couldn't figure out why. She seemed pretty slanted toward stay at home moms in most of her suggestions, but that's a common problem I've found in parenting books. She seemed a bit full of herself, which was annoying, but not enough to discount the book. She kept mentioning her one son in all of her anecdotes, and I wondered why she never mentioned any of her other children. She was also REALLY obsessed with watching your kid nonstop with no breaks or distractions while they are potty training, which seemed unrealistic. I finally looked up her website.

She has ONE child. No. You don't get to be a parenting expert with one kid. Dr. Sears has EIGHT. I don't know how many Dr. Karp has, but he figured out how to calm my babies so I'll just pretend he has ten because he's a genius. You need at least five who are productive adult members of society before I will even consider listening to your advice. Back to the library it went. I have a pretty big distraction from watching Dalton potty train when the time comes, and his name is Royce.


That said, we do want to try the 3 day bootcamp because my sister and a bunch of friends who know what they're doing said to. Date: TBD, will likely be kept top secret until I feel confident I didn't mess it up.

Taking any and all suggestions on: toddler literature, potty training, inexpensive box wine that still tastes great.