Saturday, November 18, 2017

Toddler B2: 18 Months

When I look at my little boy, I can't quite get over the fact that he isn't a baby anymore. I look at him and I stand in awe that we survived his first year -- a little shocked that it doesn't feel so hard anymore, shocked that that phase actually did pass, shocked that he is actually so handsome, so sweet, and silly and great. I love noticing these things about him now, but also feel a sadness that I didn't see all of those things at the beginning. (I don't talk about my depression much at all, but that is really how it felt... letting the difficult things block my vision of who my baby is.)

Once he learned to walk (and even before that) around 4 months ago, he became a super-active baby. Walking, climbing, falling, sliding, swinging. He tried to jump now but hasn't made it off the ground yet. He is all about exploring and fitting in with the big kids, especially William. The things he plays are so much more involved than what William was doing at this stage and it has everything to do with watching his older brother play. Of course, William doesn't really enjoy having his toys taken or played with when he wants them so the sibling fights have already begun!

Beach day. He loves the sand but took a break to go exploring.

Playground fun = risk taking

 Stephen loves to watching the garbage trucks drive by (every day), play "garbage truck" with William and even helps Chris take out the trash. In fact, I am fairly certain that his first word was "trsh." He also loves to play with trucks and blocks. There was one morning that it was just me and Stephen and I just watched him build block towers over and over again and knock them down or try to sit on them. It was a really sweet thing to sit back and see. And just like his older brother, he loves basketball. He has been shooting hoops on our little basket for months. And if he is in a bad mood, you can almost always turn it around with a little "game."

"Big Truck Day" was a blast. They sat in a garbage truck, fire truck, digger, street sweeper and a mobile crane. 

A few other activities he seems to enjoy are: drawing, painting (paper and his body), water play/baths and sandboxes.

He isn't very verbal yet, but makes plenty of sounds for us to see he really wants to communicate. He has gotten pretty good at using sign language to indicate: eat, milk, more, all done, please and thank you. He does say a few words that we can make out: Mama, juice (oosh), and shoes (soos).

Playing at the zoo. yes, we got to wear shorts and short sleeves to the zoo this fall!

And shortly after his birthday, he finally started to show an interest in books! That was a big relief because William loves reading and it was hard to keep Stephen entertained during stories. But now, both boys will join me on the recliner and we'll read book after book after book. His favorites are currently:
Opposites (by Sandra Boynton)
The Going to Bed Book (by Sandra Boynton
Moo, Baa, La, La, La (by Sandra Boynton)
 . . . all Sandra Boynton Books
Giraffes Can't Dance (by Giles Andreae)
My First Trucks (DK books)
San Francisco ABC's (by Gus D'Angelo)
Olivia (Falconer)
Global Babies
123 to the Zoo by Eric Carle
and Biscuit Wins a Prize (by Alyssa Satin Capucilli) 
He will probably love all Biscuit books because they are about a dog and he just loves dogs.

He has also started to make a few animal sounds: 
 - dogs were the first one but that sounded more like a monkey (ooh, ooh!)
 - monkeys came next (ooh-ooh)
 - Lions (RRR)
 - Elephant (Bluuuu or Euuuuuu)
 - Cow (MMMM)

He dropped his morning nap a lot earlier than I would have liked, but now he naps one good afternoon nap at the same time as William. This usually goes alright and we all feel better afterwards. Stephen is an early riser often getting up before the sun which means we have plenty of time to play, eat and get dressed before Dad goes to work. 

Last month he got his first haircut. It took a few days to get 
used to his new look. Thankfully, it looks like some curls are coming back!

Stephen is dairy-intolerant but handles everything else pretty well. His favorites are grapes, green beans, pasta, hummus and goat milk. He will usually eat most vegetables offered to him at least once . . the rest might end up on the floor unless it's sweet potato. If he doesn't seem to want to eat his dinner I will sometimes make him a green smoothy which he will gulp down with excitement. I've also started making green popsicles because he favors frozen foods right now (I do spy some teeth coming!) This is awesome because then William wants one too (and we all know William doesn't eat produce much at all!)

I love my darling little boy and love watching him develop and grow. He brings me so much joy right now and I'm so grateful I get to stay home and don't have to juggle a job anymore. These days are precious.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

My Style Story

A few months ago, our MOPS group had a stylist come in and share some tips on how to find your own style. It got me thinking a lot because I've always struggled with finding a style I like and I could claim as my own. If I think through my past and how my clothes have changed over the years I've come to realize that I never really claimed anything my own since the 5th grade. I found a few memories especially humorous so I thought would share!

I have a vivid memory of my cousin Mary showing me how to roll my jeans. I must have been 6-7 years old at the time. We were sitting on the stairs and she showed me and her sister and then helped us do our own. I rolled my jeans every day after that. (I just found out this is actually called "pegging.") And then stirrup pants came into my closet and I hated the straight leg look after having my jeans so tight/tapered and I really didn't like the elastic being under my foot so I started wrapping the stirrup around my ankle and covering it up with my socks. I really don't remember seeing anyone else do this and if I get my hands on my old photographs I am pretty sure I am the only one who did this. And then in 4th and 5th grade I started pinning my jeans. I don't remember if my cousins showed this to me or not. I know one of my classmates did this too and I remember him being teased later for it. Thankfully they had forgotten that I did it too. I don't remember seeing this anywhere else . . . I even tried googling it and got nothing! I have vivid memories of being overly frustrated that I couldn't get the pin into my jeans so my mom had to help me; she couldn't get them tight enough so I cried until we got it right. Geez. 

So, in my younger years, I definitely had my own taste and "style" even if it was just me. I was comfortable and liked the way I dressed. It was the early 90s and I think that was basically the point of the "styles" at that time. Anything goes!

In junior high, I really started paying attention to what everyone else was wearing. I remember going to a birthday party the summer before 7th grade (it could have been 6th) and my friend showing me all of her new school clothes. I didn't have any of the brands she had! I left thinking I needed to spend more money on my clothes and begged my mom to take me shopping. She did and I spent a lot of birthday money on a pair of Girbaud jeans (size 5/6 short - special ordered). And the next year I bought some Z. Cavaricci jeans and a shirt. Remember when your clothes were just advertisements for the brand!? The Girbauds didn't fit anymore.

I tried so many different styles in high school. There were the long sweaters with belts and the pleather pants (mine were red!). I wore what the stores sold and tried to fit in. My mom bought me a pair of JNCO khakis which I wore but were honestly a little too wide for my taste! My junior year, me and my best friend had accidentally bought three shirts that were the same style and color! And twice at school we matched . . . not cool when you are 17.

In college I can't even remember what I wore . . . jeans and shirts probably. I wore a lot of turtle neck sweaters. I loved those. I also really loved flare jeans.

My wardrobe changed dramatically the year I was in Gambia and then again when I worked for Focus on the Family. Skirts were mandatory in both places! And I found myself really enjoying the dressing up part of my day . . . even if I found skirts that worked really well with polo shirts and t-shirts! I did a lot of polo-style shirts in my early twenties.

When I became a mom, I seriously only wore jeans and a solid color t-shirt or yoga pants and t-shirt. I worked from home and played on the floor with my baby. After 6 months all of my jeans had holes in them and my shirts were covered in milk and spit-up. I tried to go shopping and hated everything I tried on. I bought more jeans and more t-shirts . . . and one fun sweater. I also had foot issues so I had to wear athletic tennis shoes with special inserts. You know the saying, "shoes make the outfit?" Well, I automatically failed every single time I tried to wear anything else. Running shoes only go with running (which I can't do).

After Stephen was born, I had every hope of getting to nurse in public (William did bottles so I never had to). I went shopping for some new tops. They were colorful and blouse-like. I loved them. My mom also got me some cute dress pants and shoes so I could dress up for church/dates again! I ended up not nursing Stephen in public either (but I still had nice tops!)

And last month, I went out and did something I told myself I would never do. I bought skinny jeans. Why did I tell myself I would never buy them? Because they look like the pinned jeans I used to wear! I was so scared of going back to a look I had when I was 10. And I didn't think it would be around as long as it has been. I've had the same hesitation about big, round plastic framed glasses as well. As I reflected on this hesitation/fear, I wondered why . . . back when I was 8-10, I really loved that look, let's face it, I was a 80s/90s child and I rocked it back then. Why can't I rock it now?

I still don't know what my "style" is at the moment but I'm experimenting with a few things that are at least "in style" (or maybe they were in style last year. . .). I wear more than just jeans and a t-shirt now and that make me feel more put together. At this point, that might be enough!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fall Festivities with the Boys

I am more than a little behind when it comes to blogging. And I feel bad about it because Fall is one of my favorite seasons and the activities I do with my kids are cute and precious I really wanted to document them here and in "real time" for everyone's enjoyment (and my own archives). So my deep apologies for keeping you from seeing my kiddos dressed up for Halloween until now!

We visited the pumpkin patch during a lovely late afternoon as the sun was setting. We met up with a friend there (who we've been to this pumpkin patch with every single year!) The kids had fun picking out pumpkins, pushing the wagon and playing in the hay maze. I had fun taking one million hundred photos.

Two weeks before Halloween, William and Chris carved his pumpkin. He had been talking for days about how he was going to put stickers on it to make it look like Frankenstein, just like he did last year but then he saw his friend's pumpkin which had been carved and that immediately changed his mind. Chris was so patient and efficient in this project, I was really impressed and William loved watching (he felt the inside of the pumpkin exactly one time). I had all these ideas of pumpkin carving taking hours or a whole afternoon but I'm pretty sure Chris made it last all of 20 minutes. Ta-da! William proudly displayed this pumpkin in our hallway for exactly 8 days before I discovered that the bottom had rotten out and flies had found a new home. Eww! After surviving the biggest tantrum ever, we bought a second pumpkin. Whew! Seriously, now I know not to carve a pumpkin until the week of Halloween! We all learned something.

And finally, the day of Halloween arrived! William's little preschool did a parade of costumes and had a yummy potluck which we all dressed up for. Later after naps we went to our church where they had a Harvest Festival ---fun games and great prizes for all the little kids! And then we met up with friends for some actual trick-or-treating on Valencia street. (We just zipped in all the businesses and asked if they had any treats for the kids.) It was a fun filled day and William had a full bag of candy which we are trying to limit his access to.

William is Super Grover from Sesame Street!

Stephen is the cutest little, cuddly bunny I have ever seen. 

And I was Elmo (or at least my shirt was) 

It was a great month and I haven't even mentioned the trip to the beach, the decorations we made for our door or the finger face painting fiasco!