Sunday, January 21, 2018

Currently (15 Months & 3.5 Years)

A snapshot of our lives with Declan (15 months) and Marshall (just over 3.5 years), two months into our new adventure in Silicon Valley...

Rain! We've all purchased new rain gear, and our boys don't quite understand why we can't ALWAYS go outside. It's funny: In LA, we tried to spend a lot of time outside, but the boys didn't necessarily beg to go out, and they didn't argue when it was time to come back in the house. Now, though, it's all about being "out!" (as Declan declares loudly each day). Luckily, we have our backyard, our front yard, and a very close park to choose from when we do have decent enough weather.

Also, babies in rain gear...need I say more?

 So now we spend a LOT of time outside.

We found a local trail for walks, and our double stroller is logging quite a few miles this winter!

Our little independent three-year-old is testing out how far he can run away from us. This scene is pretty common nowadays.

We are eagerly exploring new neighborhoods and trying out new restaurants. One thing I love about the Bay Area is that each small city has its own downtown, and most of them are adorable main street areas with cute shops, fun restaurants, and good people watching. It's nice to have a Place To Go on days we just need to get out of the house!

But we find plenty to do around the house too. Lots of "Mommy, play with me!" and shrieks (playing? arguing? who can tell?) and giggles. It's chaotic and fun and exhausting.

During the day, Marshall goes to a new preschool, and I stay home with Declan. Marshall LOVES his new school, teachers, and friends, and we think it's a great fit for him. We were nervous about the transition for him, especially since we loved his old school so much, but it's all gone better than we could have hoped. Of course, we have seen some elements of adjusting--more tantrums than usual, some defiance here and there--but we think Marshall is taking this whole move really well overall and are so proud of his resilience.

At three and a half years, Marshall is a hardcore rule-follower (and rule-maker: if there isn't a rule, or  if he doesn't like the rule, he'll create a new one!). He still loves books more than anything, and his favorite toys are those that involve building--Legos, blocks, anything. He's growing into his big brother role and struggles with how to interact with Declan. I get it. Declan's too little to join in many of Marshall's favorite things, and when they do play together Declan tends to "destroy" (Marshall's word) whatever Marshall is building. But mealtimes are so fun, and they are starting to share inside jokes and love to get reactions out of each other. I see some major shenanigans in our future! Three is a tough age for all of us: daily battles for Marshall to get dressed and out the door for school, high emotions all the time, struggles around being so little and yet feeling more independence. Terry and I are doing our best to help him through it, and he's doing a great job of reminding us that he's still our sweet, hilarious, curious, observant little boy.

15-month-old Declan is bursting with energy and isn't much for sitting still. He is slooooowly starting to show some interest in books, but he seems to enjoy the act of choosing a book, bringing it to us, sitting in our laps, and opening the book more than the whole reading thing (who has time for that when I can just pick out a different one and start all over?). He still loves to eat and takes some good naps now, along with sleeping all the way through the night a few times a week (hallelujah!). I wonder if he misses day care, since he loves people and would probably enjoy being around other voices and faces, but I really am enjoying our time together, however long it lasts. So I do my best to get us out of the house a lot, and hopefully next month we can check out some baby gym classes to let him hang out with other people.

Declan and I spend our days in a mix of fun outings and adventures geared toward him (walks, parks, the local children's museum) and chores and errands that I sprinkle in (I've checked out every Trader Joe's and Target in a 10-mile radius). He's at a fun age right now: he's walking really solidly so he can play on most play structures at parks, and we can mix up our outings with the stroller or letting him walk. He's also talking a lot more now, with maybe 30-50 words he uses consistently. He recently started saying "happy," but he doesn't really use it in any context, so there are times he just randomly starts saying "happy...happy..." over and over while sitting in his car seat or toddling around the house. Needless to say, it's adorable.

(at the library--he has no idea what to do here, but he sure looked confident sitting there!)

This weekend, we officially weaned Declan completely from breastfeeding. He's been down to one feeding per day for a while now, and I figured it was time to make the jump. I think he'll adjust pretty quickly, but I'm sad to see those days end. Luckily, my experience with Marshall showed me that our relationship will continue to evolve, and I know that Declan and I have lots of fun in store! Still, I'll miss those quiet moments, just me and him (or sometimes, me, him, and a certain big brother squeezing onto the chair because he wants to hear the story I'm reading to Dec). I feel so blessed to have had a positive breastfeeding experience with both boys, and I truly cherished that time. Now we're officially into toddlerhood and ready for whatever it brings!

And hopefully it'll bring more adventures like this weekend's outing to Muir Woods! We had a chilly, crisp day, a little mud, and lots of TALL trees!

These ages are so fun, but they certainly have their share of challenges. The bickering comes and goes, but I have noticed that the loving moments are becoming more frequent. We're starting to see a friendship blossom, and I look forward to days when they'll actually play together for more than a few minutes!

 Terry and I are so lucky to get to enjoy these sweet little boys and to enjoy these young years. I hope these quick posts will help me remember what it was like to be in the midst of it all.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Christmas 2017

Christmas 2017 wraps up today with New Year's Day, and we are all feeling refreshed after so much time together during this break. Christmas was a bit hectic this year, since we were still (and are still) settling into our new home in the Bay Area. But we got to enjoy the holiday through the eyes of a 3.5-year-old and a 15-month-old. It was awesome. Here are some photos documenting our awesome holiday.

Declan had a blast with the boxes, naturally.

We found time to make (last-minute) Christmas cookies for Santa. It was ridiculously messy but we all kept our patience and made some tasty treats.

Christmas morning, the boys were ready to go! Santa visited (we don't have a fireplace, but we do have a chimney, so Santa made it work) and gave Marshall what he asked for ("a robot that turns into a car," which turned out to be a K'Nex set so Marshall can turn the pieces into whatever he wants!). He gave Declan pajamas, which will likely motivate Declan to learn to speak by the time he makes his request next year.

We spent Christmas evening and night at my parents' house, which is obviously much closer now. It was a treat to be such a short drive away after 14 years (!!!!) of being so far.

(PopPop with Declan and our nephew Colby)


PopPop with the twins

Back at home, we had a full week together, home and relaxed. Walks in our new neighborhood, long mornings in our pajamas playing at home until we all got cabin fever and then found an excuse to go outside. 

And date nights! THREE of them!

The boys' first trip to the city!

Exploring new parks :-) 

This guy loves animals

Lots of house organizing and decorating. 

I hope time will show that this week is the one where our little boys became friends. They have coexisted, tolerated each other, bonded a bit over the last 14+ months, but this week they truly turned a corner. Suddenly, they are buddies. Marshall is talking about Declan like they are best friends. The two of them are suddenly interacting and playing together. The bickering has significantly reduced. And the result is an abundance of adorable moments.

On New Year's Eve, the boys went to bed at their usual times, and Terry and I enjoyed a quiet evening together. 2018 will be the year we become acquainted with the Bay Area, the year our boys turn 4 and 2, the year we transition through a whole bunch of changes.

Ultimately, the time I spend with this family makes me happier than I thought possible, and with them I can handle any challenges or unexpected circumstances that come our way. Here's to another incredible year!