Sunday, October 30, 2016

Grandparents in Town!

Chris's parents made a pitstop to see us on their way home from their vacation in Hawaii last weekend. People traveling from Australia, Alaska and Hawaii say they find stopping in California helpful in readjusting to the time change. Something to keep in mind if you travel! We'd love to see you!

We had two days to spend together and I think we did a good job of making the most of it. For starters, it was the first time Papa had met Stephen so he spent the first 30 minutes holding the baby while I tried to convince William not to be scared or shy of seeing his grandparents! He had been so excited to see them and then when I let them in he ran to his room crying. (I remember doing this when I was a kid too . . .) But soon enough, he let Nana play with him and then shortly after that he was happy to show Papa his toys too. And then he was up on his lap reading books!

We had dinner together on Friday night and on Saturday they joined me at the picnic after the Walk for Life. I had planned to go shopping with Sheryl after the walk, but I was pretty wiped out so I took a nap instead. Chris took his mom on a hike up Bernal Hill.

On Sunday we met at church and then Sheryl came home with me to help get the boys down for naps and Bob stayed behind with Chris who had to attend a congregational meeting. That afternoon we all went to the park to play (but really just so I could get some photos!).

I absolutely love that they come and visit us twice (at least!) a year! I love that we get to share meals together and have really great conversations. I love that they can see our boys grow (Stephen had more than doubled his weight since Sheryl last held him!) and speak into their lives. I appreciate their speaking into our lives as well. They have so much wisdom to share and I just eat it up! I was really encouraged by their visit.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

2016 Walk For Life: Goals Met, Friends Made

Thanks to everyone who helped me reach my fundraising goal this year! We raised $550 for Alpha Pregnancy Center. And all participants combined raised over $12,000!

The walk was great. My team was small, just four of us and a little boy. (I didn't bring William and Stephen because it gets to be a long morning and I wanted to focus on leading the team and being a photographer). We walked a little over two miles total delivering a couple of packages to one family who has been blessed by Alpha this year.

The whole family was home. A little 7 year-old girl and a boy nearly 18 months. They were getting ready to go to a harvest festival at a nearby school so the boy was dressed up as spiderman and the girl a princess. They entire family was all smiles. I could tell they loved Alpha and they loved this special delivery. We prayed with them and asked the Lord of Heaven and Earth to provide stable employment for the father and health and provision for all four of them.

I had signed up to be a team leader which means I was suppose to recruit five walkers to join me. I asked a lot of mom friends, at least the ones I thought might be interested but all were out of town or busy that weekend. Only one said she'd come. I was so thankful! She was a new friend and I didn't know her well so when she came I was thrilled. We had nearly two hours to talk and get to know each other (and the other two members of my team who had signed up without a team).

After delivering the gifts, we hiked up a hill to a park where everyone was gathering for a picnic. At the park, our families joined us and our boys played really well together! I'm hoping we can arrange for us all to play again soon!

Thanks again for partnering with me in this year's walk! Looking forward to doing it again next year!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Baby B2: Five Months Old

This month really snuck up on me. It wasn't until I had to write the date for work that I realized Stephen had become a five month old. Time keeps on going and life keeps on being lived.

He didn't have a check-up this month so I don't have any new stats for you but he is growing I can tell you that! This weekend I unpacked all of the 6-month clothing and packed away the 3-month wardrobe. Between the hand-me downs from William and my nephew Alexander and the gifts we received, he has enough clothes in this size to last a year! Seriously! So many cute and adorable clothes!

We brought out the bumbo seat the other day and Stephen is a pro. I didn't even realize he was ready for sitting but he totally is. It's great to give him another angle to see the world from - instead of just laying on the floor. Tummy time still means "roll over time." He doesn't like being left alone for too long. He will play with his toys much longer if you are near him or he can see you. He loves his Sofie giraffe teething toy and his mobile which he can actually reach and dismantle and stick in his mouth!

Sleep is still a struggle. A real struggle. His naps are way too short to be restorative, lasting 20 - 40 minutes. Sometimes we can get him to fall back asleep but not often. I should say Chris can get him back to sleep, I can't. And you would think that if he doesn't nap well during the day that he surely would sleep well at night --but nope. Babies don't work that way. He is still waking up 4 times a night. We've talked about sleep training but I'm honestly too tired to put up with it. I don't have the energy to be consistent.

Feedings are interesting. He seems to prefer the bottle most of the time, although I still offer to nurse several times a day. And then sometimes he really just wants to nurse and will refuse the bottle all together. I cannot win. I end up pumping a lot even though I'm home with him.

This month we went on a little adventure to Roaring Railroad in Felton CA for William's birthday. It was a special Day Out with Thomas event. Stephen did really great most of the day. I was really thankful. I'm so glad he enjoys being in a carrier now!

Chris and I tried something new this month for our date. (Yes, we only get one a month.) Instead of going out at night when we are both so tired and miss out on the opportunity to sleep, we hired a sitter for a Saturday morning date. I was a little nervous because this meant both kids would be awake which is something I still have a hard time managing. But the boys did fantastic and the sitter survived just fine. It worked out well for us too because we had a break from the kids and got to go to bed early! (the downside was that the previous night was terrible so we were exhausted on our date, but you can't win at everything . . . )

Stephen loves his big brother and smiles nearly every time William walks into his line of sight. The other day I overheard sweet giggles as William played with him. It's really great to see them interact already! I can't wait for more!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Day Out with Thomas

This weekend, we packed up our boys and drove to Felton CA. It was a surprise trip for William -- a Day out with Thomas the Train! The Roaring Railroad company operates trains which take you through the red wood forest to Santa Cruz and does special events like this with Thomas and Percy engines a couple of times a year.

I had read about it a year a go and kept watching for tickets to be available. We were out of town during Thomas's appearance in July, so we had to get in on the Halloween themed tour this month instead. But that was okay because it we could say it was part of his Birthday celebration!

The train station was awesome. They had so much for the kids to do other than just the train ride so William was entertained the whole time.

These mini Thomas trains captured his attention for most of the morning. We had to pry him away to see the real Thomas! When he first saw the real thing, I don't think he believed it was real! He just stared and then a slow smile crept on to his face. 

 And Percy! He loved that Percy was there too!

They had a lot of play areas including this barn with hay bails and an old wagon! William loved climbing over everything.

Then it was time to board the train. The conductor even said "All Aboard" which made William laugh! The train car had bench type seating along the sides and a canopy on top. The sides were open so we could see the redwoods as we passed through the forest. The ride was beautiful! And the sun came peaked through the trees giving it the most spectacular look. For the children's event, the ride only lasted 30 minutes or so. (The non themed ride would last more than an hour.)

William watched the trees go by with great excitement and was sad when the ride was over. He exclaimed "I want to do it again!" Stephen was well behaved for the most part but tired near the half way point and fell asleep just as we returned to the station.

The whole family is on the train!
Guess my selfies need a little work...

After the ride, we played some more and had lunch. Then we got to see Sir Topham Hatt! The man in charge of the Island of Sodor (where Thomas lives). William was so excited he turned shy! I was glad we were able to get in on this meeting because when we told William where we were going that morning he said "And Sir Topham Hatt will be there!" I was glad I could make good on that promise!

Going on outings like this and watching your child light up with such joy and fascination is so worth it. His love for Thomas has come from books, puzzles and toys. He remembers all the names of the trains and the places they go. He remembers what Thomas learns and can retell the stories perfectly. To see the famous train in person was just too cool! This was his first train ride and something I'm so glad we could do as a family. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Toddler Boy: Three Years Old

My firstborn turned three today. He's crossing the bridge from toddler to preschooler; it seems like he'll be in high school tomorrow. Already showing signs of pulling away and growing independence. Defying our directions and shouting "No!" in protest to nearly everything we say.

The last six months seem like a blur to me in regards to his growth and changing. He still talks all of the time, but now asking more questions and seeking real answers. He remembers everything we say which is sometimes troubling! He sounds like such a big boy when he talks - using bigger words, complete sentences and everything. But then he is still such a little boy emotionally. Especially before naps and bedtime, if he is just a little too tired, there is a meltdown with big tears and loud cries, reminding me that this big boy of mine still needs his rest and still needs to feel secure in his mama's arms.

His play has gotten a lot more advanced too. Did I tell you? He plays by himself now? Seemingly overnight, it just happened. One day I saw him play for five minutes by himself, the next it was 20! A big contributor that has been preschool.

Last month we registered him for a private preschool (aka daycare so I could work and take care of Stephen without loosing my mind, will write more on this later). Its everyday from 8 a.m. - noon. Then he comes home to nap and has the afternoon at home with us. He transitioned well at the beginning but now is showing some signs of testing his limits and independence.

He still loves construction. He plays with his diggers and dump trucks nearly every day. At preschool he plays in the dirt all morning long with trucks or cars or shovels and buckets. But he also likes coloring and using scissors and glue when I have my craft stuff out. We don't get to play basketball as much these days but he still likes it.  One afternoon while Stephen napped we played catch with a little football for a long time. I was surprised how long he kept at it! I have noticed overall, his attention span has increased for the things he enjoys doing. He no longer runs from one thing to the next every few minutes. He really likes water play, we don't get to do that much at home other than "doing the dishes" and bath time. But bath time has become a nice way to keep him entertained while I do some baby related things.

He loves being a big brother, but is still figuring out what that really means. His favorite thing to do is hug the baby, but sometimes there are urges to scratch or kick him. It seems like there is some sort of basic need to touch Stephen all the time . . .

He has a few really great friends who seem to play well with him. Preschool has also opened the door for making new friends which has been fun to hear about. It is a little strange to hear stories about people I don't yet know and hear about his day that I wasn't a part of.

He sleeps really well, sometimes waking up too early (before 6 a.m.) or comes out of his room at night to request some more attention, but over all, he is awesome. Naps are great too, typically 2-3 hours every afternoon if I keep him on schedule!

William is still a picky eater. As I've made some changes to our diet this summer, William has often voiced his dislike for nearly everything on his plate. But, if you read him a book while he eats, he will oblige anyway. We have kept him away from a lot of sweets up until recently. This summer he let us know that he likes cupcakes, popsicles, cookies and ice cream.

We had two birthday celebrations for him. One when Grandma came to visit a couple of weeks ago and one today at the park with just a couple friends. He had a donut cake for one and an applesauce cup cake for the other. Yes candles can go on anything!

I hope to do a real photo shoot with my big-guy someday soon. It just didn't happen today!
Update: Measurements are in! William is 39 inches tall and 35 pounds - 80% on both charts.