Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Amanda's Wedding and Fall is Here!

Some highlights from the beginning of fall...

It started with a bang with a trip to LA for Amanda and Duncan's wedding! 

Such a fun group of bridesmaids (some missing here!)

I had the pleasure of joining Amanda when she chose her dress, and I still could not believe how gorgeous it was on the wedding day!

We love these two!

Amanda and I have been friends for more than 12 years, and I felt so honored to stand with her on this perfect day. She and Duncan are an amazing couple, and I absolutely love how wonderful they are together!

Bonus: We got a night away from the kids in downtown LA!

Fall is for...
Baking pumpkin muffins with one of my favorite little sous chefs

Buying supplies at the hardware store to make our own little Halloween sign.

And choosing new decorations together <3

The sign was a family effort: the boys helped paint it black, I wrote the words, and Daddy drew the spider!

Hiking and holding hands

And hiding :-) 


Gorgeous colors (hooray for Nor Cal!)

Terry took Dec to a new park!

Soccer season! Marshall joined his first sports team with our friends Winnie and Brian's kid Keston (miraculously, our kids are only 3 months apart and appear to really like hanging out together!).

Declan isn't quite ready.

Cooler weather! YAY!

Visits from our favorite cousins <3 <3 <3 They are 18 months now!!!

Snuggles and reading



Also, of course: Declan's birthday! I had to work on his big day, but I got home a tiny bit early, and Terry's parents were in town so they hung out with the little dude most of the day. When I got home, he asked to go for a walk, so we enjoyed a little mama-and-son time. We walked by the park and I taught him how to blow a dandelion!

It was one of those sweet moments I won't soon forget.

Marshall kills me with this "camera" smile. He looks so old!
(Proud of his Legos--he builds these complex sets in an hour all by himself!)

Declan got some Play-Doh for his birthday, along with an awesome food truck, some incredible books (StuckThe Adventures of Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend; Rocket Science for Babies), and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVDs (we are loving those! Marshall is really not into TV or movies, so we're grateful when he finds something he likes; Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Tumble Leaf are our two favorites!).

Marshall "bought" Declan a Minnie Mouse spoon and fork set. <3

We gave Dec a Farmer's Market stand as part of his birthday gift. 

CAKE!!! We went with Smitten Kitchen's spice cake (similar here) from her Everyday cookbook, and it was delicious. Declan kept saying, "Blew out candles!" Because he did, that sweet two-year-old.

Of course, we had to find a new pumpkin patch this year in our new hometown! We found a perfect little farm about 20 minutes away, and we couldn't believe how inexpensive the pumpkins were. We are used to paying $15-20 per pumpkin in LA! Gammie and Grandpa joined us for pumpkin picking and a train ride.

I love seeing these boys cuddling:

Perhaps our biggest event this fall is Declan's transition to his new school, which is actually Marshall's school! For three months we endured double drop-off and double pickup and I am so thrilled to have them together. It's going well so far, two days in!

We've also managed to squeeze in some extra walks lately. I hope we can keep it up--these fall colors are heavenly.

Even if our walks end like this...

Crazy boys! 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Declan turns TWO!

Dear Declan,

Happy second birthday to our wonderful baby boy! Two years of your perfect smile, your adorable voice, your sweet baby chunk, your bulging belly, your stunning eyes, your hilarious mannerisms, your contemplative expressions. We have been so thankful for every second of your presence, and I am so grateful to be your mama.

And my, how you've grown!

October 2017 - just turned one!

September 2018 - almost two!

This year was a BIG year for all of us. Right after your first birthday, we found out about Daddy's job offer and couldn't turn it down. We packed up and headed to the Bay Area, and I really struggled during that first month, juggling an emotional three-year-old, a can't-figure-out-if-two-naps-or-one-nap-is-better one-year-old, and my own emotions about the move. But we made it through, and Marshall started preschool, so you and I got some wonderful quality time together. I will forever be grateful for those months of time with just you!

You are constantly teaching me how to be a better mom and a better person. I love listening to your laugh and silly games, but I also catch you in moments of thought and feel as though you are so wise and calm. We love your energy--at times upbeat, relaxed, excited, and meditative. 

You have a HUGE smile, and you love to be silly. Often you'll give us this irresistible grin and we can't help but laugh. You're also a cuddle bug and LOVE to be held. In recent weeks, in fact, you rarely let me put you down! I'm okay with it, big guy.

You have become an expert at imitating your big brother, especially when we'd prefer that you didn't. But your relationship with Marshall is really evolving, and I really enjoy watching the two of you figure out how to be brothers. Recently, you've started putting people's names at the end of questions and statements ("What you doing, Mama?" "Go get dressed, Dada"), and my favorite is when you talk to Marshall: "What is that, Marshall?" "Here you go, Marshall!" If you have something he wants, you almost always give it to him. 

Super brothers!

You two are figuring it out, but we have lots of moments of struggle too. Sometimes we let you guys work it out for yourselves, but other times we step in to help one or both of you remember how to use your words. It's tough!

Physically, this year was a huge year of development! Walking, running, climbing (even once trying to climb out of your crib and landing on the hardwood!), and gaining some pretty solid agility around playground equipment! You recently learned to gallop, and you do it around the house chanting, "gallop, gallop!" You are desperate to learn how to jump, though, and it's precious watching you try. You squat real low and then stand up suddenly and shout, "Jump!" Occasionally, one foot lifts off the ground. You can throw and kick pretty well, too! Mostly, I love watching you walk with that big belly sticking out!

Some other aspects of where you are right now:

Sleep has been good for a while now, with the occasional sleep regression (such as recent night wakings). You nap a solid two hours per day, and you generally sleep 7:30 pm to 6 am. You're still in a crib, for as long as you won't climb out!

Your language has exploded! You were a fairly early talker, but now you are speaking in multiple sentences. You are learning words at an alarming rate, and you have even memorized some Hamilton songs (super appropriate for a two-year-old). You have recently started asking some impressive questions, such as, "What zebra says?" If you want to make sure we hear you, you'll get up real close to us (inches from our faces) and repeat what you were saying. One of my favorite recent stories was when you kept interrupting Marshall as he was trying to tell a story. Finally, Marshall lost his patience and said, "Declan, it's my turn to talk now, you need to be quiet and let me talk." You got quiet, there was a pause, and then you leaned in suuuuuuuper close to Marshall's face (nose-to-nose) and said, "Talk, Marshall." 

A few of your favorite things: your "white blanket" (actually a gift from Jenn, given to us when I was pregnant with Marshall, but you slept with it one day for nap and haven't slept without it since!), 

reading reading reading (at your school, they told us every day how you pretty much spent all of free play in the library reading by yourself every day), 

exploring anything new, Mickey Mouse (we've rented some DVDs of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse from the library and you're a big fan!), 

Legos, playing in the play kitchen, running around after bath time, playing outside, basketball, and listening to music. 

Eating hasn't been the best lately. I wouldn't call you picky (yet), but you just don't seem to show a lot of interest in food right now. You had a bigger appetite when you were a big younger, and you eat a pretty good variety of foods, so I'm not too worried. We're still strict about only eating what's on the menu, so if you choose not to eat, you have to wait until the next meal, and often times it really seems like you're just not hungry, so we're trying to relax about it and just follow your cues (likely, teething and molars are playing a role here too!). 

You've been starting to help me in the kitchen lately! It's so fun to enjoy this stage with you, and Marshall still usually gets in on the action, too, so I'm having a blast baking and cooking with my two little chefs!

I feel as though you are more outwardly emotional than Marshall was at this age, and we've seen a few tantrums come our way. We've had a few extended periods (several days in a row, usually during times of high stress, transition, or travel) where you've just been super clingy and tough to please. We're doing our best to help you through those times and remembering how hard it is to be a toddler! Mostly, I use those days as excuses to cuddle you more often, and I'm not upset about it!

Declan, we love you so much and are so grateful for all that you add to our little family. You make every day brighter, and hearing your voice truly gives me a burst of joy, even at 5 am. I cannot wait to see what this year will bring, and I am so proud of the sweet baby boy you are. Thank you for being such a bright light in our lives!

Happy birthday, Dec!

Some fun posts;

Day in the Life: 18 Months and 3.5 Years
Declan: 18 Months (wow, what a difference 6 months makes!)