Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mother's Day, Trucks and Cousin Love

I don't have anything specific to post about but lots of cute pictures of my kids on my phone, so this is just randomness/what we've been up to lately.

Summer is soooo close. 12 full school days left and two half days but who's counting? I'm so ready to hang out with these guys 24/7. SO SO READY.

Family selfie game strong
We are teaching summer school, but that's only the month of July so as of 11:55 on June 13, WE. ARE.DONE. (but again who's counting?). I don't know if it's these fun ages or the warm weather or the imminent arrival of summer, but saying goodbye to the boys each morning has been extra hard for me lately. On further reflection, it's probably the warm weather, because summer is not quite imminent enough yet for my taste and I say the same thing about how much fun this is about literally every age so far.

This is how I feel when the alarm goes off for work every day.

Not to brag, but, I have literally the perfect summer coming up. I have 3 different kinds of trips planned.

  • The Poconos: our first ever family vacation!
  • Dominican Republic: wedding/romantic trip with a big group of friends and NO KIDS
  • D.C.: girl's spa weekend yaassss

As you can see, I have the trifecta of one example of each type of trip, to make for the ideal travel situation. We are also aiming to head to Rochester to see my family at some point. My sister, brother in law, niece and nephew came to visit this past weekend and seeing all the cousins together was absolute heaven. CUTEST EVER.

Everyone except Royce is now asking for each other (and I'm sure Royce is too, he just can't verbalize it). Dalton was obsessed with Harrison, who's four and a half. He just followed him around and copied everything he did. Adorable.

LOVE these four so so much.

We went to the zoo with them. Did anyone know the zoo serves beer and wine? We sure didn't. Game changer, right there.

It's really hard to get a picture of tiny children and baby animals where everyone is actually looking and has their eyes open and isn't eating. Impossible, you might say.

I think we live in the best city in America, parent wise. About ten miles from our house, there's an annual "Big Truck Show", where just about every kind of truck and boat parks for a few hours and the kids can climb in and "drive" and beep the horn, turn the lights on and off, etc. This is Dalton's DisneyWorld. He's a cheap date, which works out well for him, having teachers for parents and all. This year, it was kind of grey/rainy/cold during the event. It seemed to keep a lot of people away, so most trucks had little to no line, and Dalton got to try a ton of them. His favorite was the fire boat.

Splashing in puddles.

Royce was less impressed.
Fire boat anchor

I love the little hat and vest!

He was too busy being amazed to smile.

We also celebrated Mother's Day, as people do. Last year, I was in the hospital and Royce was about 36 hours old. While that was certainly special in it's own way, I was excited to get to go out for an actual, non- hospital cafeteria brunch this year. I actually begged my doctor to release me in time to be home for Mother's Day last year - as they were prepping me for surgery - at 6:30pm the Friday night before. She was like ummm well that's doubtful and maybe you should just go ahead and have the baby and then we can reassess? And then everyone laughed at me Sunday morning when I still required a full grown man just to walk me to the bathroom.

Anyway, as much as I love snuggling up with a brand new fresh baby, this year was more fun for the whole family. We did brunch with our good friends, who have two little boys as well. Their oldest is just 9 days younger than Dalton, and their baby is five months. The place we went, Iron Rooster, is our new favorite restaurant. Everything on the menu is delicious, they have a nice little playground attached to the restaurant so you can actually enjoy yourself instead of dealing with your kids going nuts trying to sit and wait for their food, and they have homemade pop tarts which are out of this world.

He was a little excited.

His face when he thinks someone is trying to take his food.
Playground! It even has the nice soft rubber floor!

It was a beautiful day, so after brunch/naps we just played outside.

Utter focus. 
We got frozen pizza for dinner. #winning. Dalton was completely obsessed with the reusable ice cubes my dad got us.
Other than that, just currently pushing through hump day, trying to make it to Memorial Day weekend. This is the first full school I've worked in the past 3 years, and it sure is rough not having that sweet (waaay too short) maternity leave break. We don't really have any big plans this weekend, probably just some playdates and grilling and sleeping in, which is clearly living my best life.

Further randomness: I feel I want to write more focused, topic driven posts. I like the photo dump for my own personal files, but it's not really "writing", and since I'm not sure I'm getting around to writing that novel in my spare time anytime in the next few years, this is all I got. If anyone is even still reading, please feel free to share topic ideas! 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Royce's First Birthday

Just like that, year one for baby #2 is a wrap! (Might be time to update my blog header?)

So, I kind of have two toddlers now, except not, since the small one is not toddling yet (although he did take 3 steps on his birthday!), and more importantly, I will consider him a baby forever and ever.

Royce, in his endless consideration for others, was born on a Friday, so we got to celebrate on his actual birthday (Saturday, for the calendar challenged). I tried to have a moment with him Friday night before I put him in his crib, being all "next time I see you, you will be ONE!". Royce is ALL business at bedtime so he was having none of it. This kid loves his sleep and I think it goes without saying how much his parents love this particular characteristic. 

I went to my friend's house to drink wine and eat tacos to avoid a whole emotional "my baby's growing up!" thing. Wine has never let me down here. 

We generally make up for our apathy towards decorations/planning/pinteresting in making sure we serve our guests amazing food. Eric planned to smoke brisket, but really, it was a team effort.

Applying the rub
Dalton and I also made these funfetti cupcakes (highly recommend them). He was obsessed and just clutched the sprinkles and asked over and over if it was time to put them in yet.

He takes his baking very seriously.

When Royce woke up on his big day, he had the nerve to act like it was just any other day. However, I finally got my wish of nursing on my kid's first birthday! Dumb, I know, but when the goal is a year, you want to make it a YEAR, not 11 months and 3 weeks, not naming names. After that, like every morning, he immediately went down to Dalton's room to pound on the door and try to wake him up.

While waiting for Dalton to finish up his beauty sleep, we took Royce's final monthly picture. He had no interest in sitting for it.
He's come a long way.

But still looked adorable!
After breakfast, we FaceTimed with my sister, BIL, niece and nephew and Royce waved for the first time!

While he napped, I went out to a local artisan craft boutique called "Dollar Tree" to procure decorations and stopped by a nearby designer marker called "Aldi" for appetizers. Once again, it was procrastination for the win, because unfortunately a few of our tiny guests ended up getting sick and having to cancel, so of course I felt bad for them but glad we didn't end up with massive amounts of extra food.

I desperately wanted a picture of Royce in his adorable birthday onesie and party hat.

He...did not want this. 

Dalton was more for it.
We ended up just having three of my best friends and their families over, and it was just perfect. None of the kids were overwhelmed, they all played really nicely together, and we just got to relax and hang out with a few of our favorite people and celebrate Royce turning one. 

It didn't hurt that we had some of the world's most adorable guests in attendance (all little boys! #boymom fo life).

It kind of crossed my mind that Dalton could get jealous, but I really doubted it because, although he is 2, he is his mother's son and isn't much for attention on him. He's been talking about Royce's birthday and singing Happy Birthday to Royce for at least two months and was so excited for presents and balloons and cake.

I had to hook him up with the one thing he was most excited for - blowing out candles. All day he was saying "and then we get candles and do fire?".

In absolute heaven.
My BFF Casi made Dalton's smash cake, and she made another amazing one for Royce!


Royce fussed a little during Happy Birthday, because he was in his high chair and wasn't eating, but once he saw his cake he was all excited.

"What is this strange thing?"

Adorable frosting covered face photo montage coming.

Pure concentration.

My sister made this beautiful sign.

Terrible picture, great sign.
Plus my friend Liz took pictures with her fancy camera, even though she was here on her own with a 4 month old and 2.5 year old! Have I mentioned I have amazing and talented people in my life?

We didn't do much in the way of gifts, because, he's one, but our friends spoiled him of course. We took Dalton to the store to pick a gift out for Royce, and he picked out this fire truck that shoots balls out and they are both obsessed with it. Dalton is doing pretty good with understanding that it's Royce's and he has to ask him to share. He's definitely in for a rude awakening though one of these days when Royce learns to talk and/or fight back.

I'm still in total disbelief that he's one, just like every mother ever on every kid's birthday ever. #basic

He's just such a sweet little guy and I love this age with him where he's so fascinated by everything, constantly on the move, climbing everywhere he can and just picking up every item in sight to examine it carefully. He's super independent, but just recently has started getting really excited to see me. When I pick him up at daycare, he's usually in his high chair and he goes crazy trying to get out and get to me. He's also understanding more and more and imitating what we do or sounds we make, so we can play games with him. He goes CRAZY with hysterical laughter when we chase him while he's crawling away. He's already really into vehicle toys and his one "word" is  his own version of "vroom" while he pushes his cars and trucks around. He also gives the most amazing kisses! He leans right in for it! I could probably go on and on for five more paragraphs so, insert trite statement about how awesome my kid is.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

From #2under2 to #1and2

A year ago, I was super pregnant and terrified of taking on a newborn in addition to my one year old. Two under two. Two kids under the age of two. It has a nice hashtag and ring to brag about how much of a supermom I was.

You would never guess they actually enjoyed this trip to the zoo.

Then I sort of breezed through it. At least that's how I remember it. Not because of my stellar parenting skills, but I just lucked out and got the world's easiest newborn. Sure, newborns can be a lot of hands on labor, constant diaper changes and round the clock feeding and all that, but one awesome thing about Royce, and all newborns is THEY STAY WHERE YOU PUT THEM.

Now (and for the past few months)...not so much.

This guy goes to wherever the food is. 
I'm not quite there yet best educated guess is that having a one year and a two year old is going to be more challenging than having two under two. The other day I ran into Royce's room to get a diaper and left the boys in the kitchen (and it's on the same floor so I was legit gone for seconds) and I came out to Dalton balancing on the baby bouncer (we had it out when our friend visited with her tiny baby!) to successfully reach a pair of scissors, and Royce had went into the bathroom, dumped the trash can, and was happily working on eating the contents. These boys are nuts! And they aren't even joining forces to cause mischief yet!

Royce isn't walking yet, and parents usually say there's no rush for that, but I am excited for it! He crawls and cruises wherever he wants to go, so he's already got more than enough mobility to cause all sorts of trouble and get into everything. Poor guy now does this crazy bear crawl all over the playground and I'm always worried about his little knees or hands getting scraped up and he's always just standing and bouncing and looking longingly at something and I just want him to be able to walk to it! He has now taken a single step a few times but still drops and crawls if there's nothing to cruise on.

Got up and down from here solo.

One extremely obvious thing that JUST occurred to me is that the two of them are going to have a whole relationship that I'm not a part of, probably sooner rather than later. It's a DUH moment but at this point, I'm always there facilitating things between them so it blew my mind a bit one day when Dalton started talking to Royce in the car instead of to me. Another time I went to grab something in another room, Royce started fussing and I heard Dalton saying "it's ok, mommy will be right back". BE STILL MY HEART.

I think I can kind of handle life if I continue with my plan of prioritizing my kids and not getting fired and letting everything else go to hell in a handbasket. Cleaning, gift giving, following through on commitments, generally being a productive member of society - those are all out. I can't deal with those.

Two kids still feels decently manageable since we both have the same schedule and can usually divide and "conquer". I was feeling really guilty about not devoting enough time to Royce recently. I think going forward, I'm going to attempt to be more deliberate about making sure I spend one on one time with each kid, at least occasionally. 

Over spring break, I got to take Royce to the baby room at Storyville (our local library's children's museum). There are so many cool places designed specifically for babies around here, but toddlers around allowed because they wreck shit, so Royce never gets to experience them!

Loved it!
Even though Dalton loves having his brother involved in everything and always asks for him "Royce see it too? Can Royce eat this? Royce come too?", it's still nice to have some time with just the two of us, even just doing something simple like baking cookies together while Royce naps. 

He insisted on carrying them to the car. Look at that focus!
Royce is still nursing before bed and when he wakes up. This makes me really happy because Dalton quit on his own by this point (about a week and a half before his first birthday). Royce is still into it and spits out his paci and enthusiastically leans in when we get in position first thing in the morning. I'm usually in the habit of scrolling through social media while he nurses but lately I've been just sitting quietly and enjoying the rare snuggles with my little daredevil, since he's usually too busy to sit quietly on my lap.

My parents came to visit to celebrate Royce's birthday a little early this past weekend. Of course that was wonderful, but the most important part was that Eric and I got to go on a date night! This is kind of a big deal, since the last time we did such a thing, it was for our good friends Lily and Jeff's wedding. They just celebrated their first anniversary. Their wedding was a ton of fun, but one thing that always makes things even a little more fun is when you aren't pregnant and can just leave your baby at home and get your body all to yourself, if you catch  my drift. 

Even better, it was a friend date night, at a Bull and Oyster Roast (a popular fundraiser around here). 

It's really, really rare I get to hang out with these gorgeous ladies without hearing "mommy!" all the time. And as much as that is music to my ears (truth, that's a non sarcastic statement), I think we can all agree that occasionally getting to finish a sentence, much less a conversation, without it is nice, to say the least.

I had a ton of anxiety the first time we ever went on a date night when Dalton was a baby. This time - I was good to go. I've come a long way!

Pure beauty.
In closing, Royce's big day is Saturday! As always, things will be understated with no theme and minimal preparation. All I know is I can't wait to see that little face covered in frosting!