Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Aiden Paul - 2 and a 1/2

Halfway to 3!  So hard to believe, but what's even harder to believe is how much Aiden has changed this past year.  A year ago we were getting ready to add Audrey to our family and Aiden was just a baby.  He was 18 months old and had no idea how much his world would be rocked.  The transition from an only child has been hard on our sweet boy.  To say he is doted on is an understatement and he definitely has felt the necessary shift that happens when another baby is born.  But, despite the struggles, he loves his baby sister and is genuinely excited that she is growing up and becoming more of a "kid."

I recently wrote about Aiden's antics.  His new favorite thing to do is run, specifically away from me when we are out in public.  It terrifies me and I now understand why people use those backpack leashes.  Hopefully we get this under control VERY quickly.

Along with the terrible two challenges, Aiden is a blast to be around right now.  He plays pretend and makes jokes.  He hides things from me (the remote is his favorite), chases Audrey around and says everything is "so fun!"  He loves "Hot Dog" (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) still and of course Thomas.  He's also recently enjoyed 101 Dalmations and Alvin and the Chipmunks.  I love to watch him play.  He puts together his alphabet puzzle, fills his train and diggers with "things" from around the house and builds very large cars with his blocks.  He's become much more confident with his body, climbing up playsets and zipping down slides.  This is a big change from even just a few weeks ago.  The life of a two year old...each hour is totally different from the last.

It amazes me daily how Aiden's become a little sponge.  He repeats things we say (including dammit, whoops) and remembers things we tell him.  He can count to 15 on his own and loves to count things in general. He says, "How many (fill in the blank) there is?" One of the many sayings I don't want to correct because it's so dang cute.  He also likes to ask silly questions and then answer, "nooooo!"  Like..."Do giraffes fly up in the sky?  Nooooooo!"  I love that we can have conversations now!

I look at this sweet face and wonder where time has gone.  Luckily, he still loves to be held and cuddled and still insists I hold his hand while he falls asleep.  I try to not dwell on the stages we've left behind and enjoy Aiden how he is right now.  And I know there is even more fun to come.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Day Out with Thomas

Aiden's first love was trains.  While he has since moved on to loving all things with wheels, he always comes back to choo-choo's, especially Thomas.  When I first heard about a Day Out with Thomas last year, I knew he was probably too young to really get it, so I've waited a long (actually it went VERY quickly) year to get to take him.  His reaction wasn't exactly what I'd hoped for, but it wasn't unexpected.  He was excited to see trains and ride one, but the actual Thomas scared him quite a bit.  He keeps talking about how he rode "Tommy" though, so I know deep down, his little heart is still fluttering.  Audrey enjoyed it too and it was a great day spent as a family.  I'm already looking forward to next year :).

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Textual Relationships

If you remember waaaaay back to this post, then you may recall that one of my goals for this year was to spend more time with my friends.  Since having kids, as usually happens, friendships have changed and I don't see nearly as much of them as I would like.  There are many reasons - different schedules, different parts of town, having to prioritize your time - but despite that, it's still a difficult transition when you become a parent.

I remember the same thing happening as we all started seriously dating and marrying.  The inevitable arguments over choosing to hang out with the boyfriend over the friend.  And then the babies come and your time is split even more.  And of course, I remember thinking...I will never ditch a girlfriend for  a guy!  And...I will never cancel on friends because my kid has a cold!  Well, I have and I probably will again.  We all do it.  That doesn't mean we love our friends any less.

So back to trying to spend more time with these girls.  It's hard.  Everyone is busy and everyone also wants to spend time with their kids, spouses and family.  So what do we do?  Well, for the past several years...we've texted.  Is it ideal?  No.  Is it better or even the same as getting together face to face?  Definitely not.  BUT, we can still talk.  We still know a good amount of each other's day to day lives and the conversation is almost daily.

Now before you go and think that I believe this counts as spending time with them, I definitely don't. I would still love to establish a monthly get together or really an anytime get together!  But it's better than nothing.  I can have a conversation with my best friend about the books we're reading or quickly ask for an opinion on an outfit.  We can reminisce with an old picture or share funny stories about our kids.  It's not ideal, but it may be the best we can do right now.

I'm not checking this goal off quite yet because I know I can do better.  There may be hurdles, jobs, kids, moves and life in general.  But these people knew me when I wore birkenstocks and overalls (oh wait, these are in again??), when I partied too much in college and when all I wanted was the right guy to come into my life.  They were there for me then and they'll continue to be there, because that's what true friends do.  And even if our relationship is mainly textual right now, it truly is better than nothing.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Tears over Peanut Butter

I cry a lot.  Happy, sad, excited, of my many nicknames in college was "The Crier." I am admittedly an emotional person and I just can't hold back the tears most of the time.  But something strange made me tear up today.  Something unexpected and it brought with it a little perspective.

Along with being emotional, I am a worrier.  I have trouble sleeping and am often kept awake by random worries that I have little or no control over.  One of the things I often worry about is ensuring my kids have a happy childhood.  Obviously most (or probably all) parents share this concern but it is constantly on my mind.  I want them to look back on their childhood and smile and I also want it to lay the groundwork for a happy and fulfilling adulthood.

I think one of the reasons I worry about this is due to my own childhood.  It had it's ups, downs and worries and I think it's normal for parents to want to try and avoid the downs and worries for their own kids.  But then I took a few minutes and tried to recall my first childhood memories.  I was at the gym on a treadmill, so I was in much need of distraction.  Here are a few of the moments that popped into my head...

Sneaking into my uncle's room at our house to watch movies on his big TV (the kind that sat on the floor).

Riding bikes.  Riding around our apartment complex, riding with my cousins around the school parking lot.

Playing dress up with my cousin.  They had the BEST "olden times" dress up clothes.

Playing "Sound of Music" with my grandma.  I would climb on the furniture while she sang "Climb Every Mountain."

Singing with my mom, especially at Christmas time.

And if you haven't had the same lightbulb moment yet that I did, let me fill you in.  All of these memories are happy.  Beyond that, they are filled with love, laughter and absolutely nothing flashy.  Not a single dime was spent and we weren't even anywhere besides the homes of my loved ones.  Of course I remember the tough times too, but they were absolutely not the first ones that came to mind.

So back to this morning and that random, tearful moment.  This happened...

I made Aiden peanut butter bread for breakfast, his favorite.  I instinctively traced a heart onto it with the end of the knife.  It wasn't until after looking at it that I remembered.  My grandma and mom did this for me.  I used to eat this all of the time, and there was always a heart.  Simple and they probably didn't even think much of it.  But I remember it and it made me smile every time.  And guess what?  When I gave it to Aiden, he smiled.  And said his favorite current tagline..."it's so fun!"

So maybe I need to stop worrying and start drawing more hearts.  I have a feeling my kids are going to remember those more than the flashy stuff anyway.   And I probably will too.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Aiden's Antics

This should have been a series of posts a long time ago.  But, since Aiden's language and vocabulary have really exploded these past few weeks, I wanted to make sure and document some of the unbelievably cute things he says and does.  Are they sometimes annoying, frustrating and borderline misbehaving?  Of course.  But I know there will be a time in the not so distant future when I will long to have just one more day of two year old Aiden.  And this way, I can come back and read this post :).  So here are a few of Aiden's recent antics...

His trucks.  They go everywhere with him and now in a designated "digger backpack" thanks to a not so detail oriented mommy who ordered the wrong size backpack for pre-school.  Monogramming = no returning.  But oh well, it's super cute and he loves it.  He knows the names of each truck and my favorite is when he says "excavator."  This is his favorite...the backhoe. 

Climbing.  He now likes to climb the bookcase in his room, chain link fences and apparently table tops.  When I discovered him like this and asked him what he was doing, he said, "Flying an airplane and eating breakfast!"  Naturally.

Farmer everything.  This is his farmer hat.  The way he says "traaaaactor" is adorable.  Probably a phase, but I like this one.

Hiding things, especially food related things.  I find cheerios in dump trucks.  And today, I was feeling lucky and left Aiden with a spoon of peanut butter and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while Audrey napped so I could take a quick shower.  This is where I finally found the spoon an hour later while making lunch...

Aiden quotes...

"Damnit."  Yes, I accidentally taught him this one.  Let's just say there was a poop situation with Audrey.

"No biting, Audrey!"  This usually comes right after he's pushed her over and yes, she bit him.

In response to a question instead of saying no, he says, "Not!"  Every time this happens I'm reminded of the  popularity of this word in the 80's and the hot pink oversized t-shirt I owned (and wore pretty much everyday) with NOT printed on the front.  Clearly Aiden is just as cool as I was.

Oh there are so many more and of course I can't think of them when I sit down to type.  I'll do a 2.5 year post soon and try to add more then.  Until then, I'm sure our dirt loving, choo-choo saying boy will keep us on our toes.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Health Update: The Big 4-0

40 down!  Woohoo!  About 40 more to go, but it seems very attainable at this point.  I don’t go by the scale exactly and am not entirely trying to reach a specific weight, but I do have an overall number goal in mind.  One day I’ll share the numbers with you, not ready to do that quite yet.  People are always shocked when they find out how much I weigh, they tend to think it’s a lot less.  Don’t forget that I am six feet tall and have a larger build, so if I weighed 150 pounds, I would look very unhealthy.  My goal in this process is health and it feels so good to be achieving that. 

Since I’ve hit this milestone I decided it would be good to think about what has helped get me to this point.  I’m still struggling with some things (sugar intake and lack of sleep especially), but overall I’ve settled into this healthy lifestyle quite well, with the help of my arsenal of tools.

1. MyFitnessPal App: I’ve talked about this app before, but it really has made a huge difference for me.  It keeps me accountable, helps me make smart food choices and is free!  Of course you have to be disciplined enough to use it, but I’d say I keep up with it 95% of the time.
2. My trainer:  I’ve worked with Ted for 5 months now.  We spend 30 minutes, twice a week.  He’s good about reminding me where I started and how far I’ve come.  He’s also good at pushing me, something I don’t think I would do if I only worked out by myself.  Our workouts are never the same and he has actually taken the time to get to know my goals and me.  I’m going to be transitioning to a different schedule in September.  I’ll work out with him once a week and then have several options to attend small group training sessions.  There are also a few classes I enjoy.  I’m hoping to work out a good schedule that works with Aiden’s preschool days and Audrey’s nap time. 
3. Andrew.  He is my biggest supporter and cheerleader.  He makes comments on a daily basis that make me feel great and has been on board with using part of our very tight budget toward training.  I know he will love me no matter what I look like, but he is incredibly happy to see me healthy and happy and that’s a great feeling.
4. Time.  To say I’ve taken time off of work to focus on my health isn’t exactly an overstatement.  Of course I am off mainly to be home with the kids, but with having to have open-heart surgery last January, this time has also been about my health.  It has been a true gift to have this time and I don’t know how I’d do this without it.  I have so much admiration (and amazement) for moms who take on these goals while also working full time.  They are my heroes.
5. Me.  I’m starting to get more comments from people, complimenting my weight loss.  It feels great, but I often downplay it.  A few weeks ago this scenario played out with a friend, but this time he quickly put me in check.  After I shrugged off having lost 30 pounds, he said…”you realize that’s a small child.”  I never thought of it that way, but it’s actually about how much Aiden weighs.  So now I’ve lost more than Aiden.  That’s an accomplishment and I deserve to pat myself on the back for it. 

We’re coming up on fall and then winter, both the hardest times for me to avoid unhealthy temptations (hello pumpkin everything and comfort food).  It’s going to be about balance and moderation, and stepping up the workouts.  Summer is naturally a more active time, so it’s a good thing my kids (finally!!) like going to the gym.  Thank you all for the support…I’ll see you at 50!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Audrey Kay - 11 Months

There’s a saying that goes, “The days are long, but the years short.”  I’d like to amend that in honor of Audrey’s 11-month birthday to, “The nights are VERY long, but the years are short.”  Audrey hasn’t slept much this past month, which means neither have I.  Let’s just say it’s been great spending so much quality time together ;).  To her credit, she has had a busy month full of fun, learning and growing.  Her 8th tooth is (slowly) popping through and she is seriously considering the whole walking thing.  She took one step, on accident, the other day, so we’ll see if she reaches this milestone before her big b-day.  Audrey also went on her first vacation this month and made it clear that she loves the sand, sun and water but isn’t a fan of lifejackets or sleeping in an old crib in a hot room.  I am planning her birthday party and it’s so surreal as I felt like I was just planning Aiden’s, along with the big announcement that Audrey was on her way.  I’ve long since come to terms with the sleep deprivation that comes along with this season of life and while some days are tougher than others; I wouldn’t have it any other way.  So here’s a recap of Audrey at 11 months…hopefully this next month goes slower than the past 11.

Audrey Likes:
  • ·     Yelling (loudly!), this girl can scream
  • ·     Cruising and considering this whole walking thing
  • ·     Playing with Aiden – she likes to steal his toys and crawl away as fast as possible.  When he comes to get it, she drops it and runs.  I’m trying to get this on video, it’s pretty hilarious.  They’ve also started roughhousing, which makes me incredibly nervous, but makes them laugh uncontrollably.
  • ·     Eating!  Bottles, food, you name it.  She’s taking less formula during the day, but still wants some overnight.  I’ll probably need to address that at some point.  Her favorite foods are meat, cheese and pouches.
  • ·     Running away.  Seriously, we were at the bookstore the other day and she made it to the self help section before I could get her.  I pick her up and she just laughs.  This will be even more fun when she can run…and then there’s Aiden to remember…yikes.
  • ·     Mickey Mouse.  We watch our fair share of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Audrey will speed crawl from another room to do the “hotdog dance.”  Aiden likes to dance with her and of course Ollie and me have to join in too. 
  • ·     Bath time…she loves splashing with Aiden.  And she even tolerates when he “washes” her hair and dumps a cup full of water over her head. 
  • ·     Oh and just for memory’s sake…she weighs 25 pounds.  Not sure on length, but definitely tall.  She’s quickly catching up to Aiden!

Audrey Dislikes:
  • ·     Sleeping through the night (womp womp) and sleep in general hasn’t been great.  I think she’s trying to move to one nap, but I’m definitely going through one of those times when you feel clueless as a parent!
  • ·     Holding her own bottle/cup.  We are working on this because I am OVER bottles and formula and hope to get her on milk ASAP when she turns one. 
  • ·     Being confined.  She does okay for short periods of time but now gets restless in a cart, stroller, car seat, high chair…it’s really fun :).
  • ·     She doesn’t love the pool, much to my dismay.  Aiden isn’t a huge fan either but I’m trying to (gently) make them love it.  I’m sure they will someday, and it’s hard to take them anyway.  Audrey seems to like the same places as Aiden…the zoo, sandbox, bookstores. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about how Audrey is our last baby and to truly cherish all of these little moments and milestones.  Especially because of Aiden, I know there are so many wonderful experiences to look forward to with her, but I am struggling with letting go of my little baby.  I feel bad for her, because she is going to hear, “you’ll always be my baby,” A LOT.  (Mom, I apologize for getting annoyed every time you say this to me :).)  Happy 11 months baby girl, we love you with all of our hearts!