Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pictures at home from June

This month has just flown by and I can't believe we're just about a 1/3 of the way through summer already.  How does that happen, and why can't it happen in February rather than June?  

This photo is altogether ridiculous, no?  Not posed at all, Gus just climbed up there to sit by Louie and then when I went to take a cute picture he did some goofy rubbing of Louie's head and of course refused to move the cup of milk from his mouth. (Seriously his cup of milk is like another body part, it is ALWAYS THERE... I'm a little concerned about what this means for potty training.) 

Louie will be six months old this weekend.  Half a year already.  I mean honestly!  In honor of this half a year milestone, I will be leaving him for a whole weekend in the middle of July.  I'm just now starting to come to terms with this fact and am starting to obsess a little.  I'm so excited for a weekend with my girlfriends, but of course a little nervous to leave these boys on their own.  I didn't leave Gus overnight until he was 18 months old... because the idea caused me to panic, but Louie is such a different baby.  It'll be FINE.  Right?  Right!  

Louie also sprouted two teeth this month, which made me quite happy because maybe his horrible sleeping at night from about four months old on has been for a legitimate reason!  And just after these two teeth popped up, he slept through the night for the first time, a feat Gus has managed probably fifteen times in his whole 33 months of life.

Sleeping all the way through the night was of course just that one time, however the sleep thing overall has been a bit better.  On good days it's one to two wake-ups per night...I can deal with that.

One sleep-related frustration happening though is that Louie is now rolling onto his tummy like a mad man, pretty much every chance he gets.  That means that when I put him in the pack-n-play to sleep, he often rolls onto his stomach and then doesn't know what to do with himself.  He hasn't quite figured out how to roll the other way, so he's stuck, and he doesn't appear to know or want to learn how to put himself to sleep on his tummy.

That puts us into a predicament.  I watch his antics on the video monitor and find myself  unsure of what  to do and when to intervene.  Usually I don't go in there until he's actually getting upset, but it's frustrating, because these hi-jinks are making the process of getting him to sleep take much longer, and often times I've just fed him, so when I do go in there he's spit up massive amounts all over and I have to change the sheet.

It's also contributing to shorter naps and middle of the night frustrations.  Where as before he would often wake up momentarily and lay there awake for a bit, (sometimes quiet and other times cooing and talking to himself), and then put himself back to sleep, now he sometimes will wake up after like a half hour and roll to his tummy, end then be all, "Okay Mom!  Nap's over!"

I'm pretty confident this is a phase that will fix itself when he learns to roll from tummy to back, but for now... it's really freaking annoying.

Gus benefits from the fact that his mother is nursing his brother and consequently is ALWAYS HUNGRY and prone to impulse buys at the grocery store.  Here he is eating a Vanilla Wafer cookie.  Super random, yes, and I bought a huge bulk box of them at Costco?  What is wrong with me?

I'm loving how sweet these two are together.  Louie just adores his big brother, like truly can not get enough of him.  And Gus loves to make Louie laugh, which has come especially handy on long car trips where things are getting dicey with the little one.  Gus can usually perk him up a bit and even turn things around when Louie's about to lose it.    

Who doesn't wear snorkel gear in a 10 foot round pool?

Crazy drool... proof of a teething baby.

A blurry photo, but it's just oh so sweet.  

No, we do not take very good care of our lawn.  It is about 1/3 grass and 2/3 weeds.  Maybe someday I'll care enough to fertilize and kill weeds and all that, but not during this current stage of life.  

Okay, this picture was taken last Friday after my failed attempt to start potty training Gus (notice the diaper?).  Oh boy.  We went diaper-free upon him waking up... and that was a doozy of a morning.  After going through four pairs of underwear before 11:00 AM (plus an accident when he was in his swimsuit outside running through the sprinkler), I gave up.  Right before that he was sitting on the potty for a half hour because he had to go #2 and I KNEW IT, and he just wouldn't go.  So when Louie woke up from his nap and I knew he would want to nurse (and he refuses to nurse with Gus in the room), I put a diaper on him quick before I went to get his brother.  

I came back ten minutes later and sure enough.  #2 in his diaper.  Little rascal.  

I'm declaring that he is not ready.  He's showing some signs of being ready, but then there are others that indicate he's totally not (like refusing to help undress himself at all, and not ever actually initiating going to the potty himself).  

So I'm done for now.  We'll try again in a few weeks, or a month.  Actually I'm really not willing to commit to any specific date at this point, the horror is too fresh.  So... someday, we'll try again.  

Ahhh potty training, I've barely even dipped my toe in the waters and I already HATE YOU.

Look how pretty!  Our grass may be hideous but our gardens and perennials are looking pretty good!  (Though note to future self: don't ever plant asters in the window boxes again, just... not working.)

The more and more I learn about plants, the more I think they are pretty awesome.  Dan planted just a small little morning glory annual in the ground below that trellis less than a month ago, and it has been really cool to watch it climb the trellis.  Every day it's bigger and doing new things.  

You know you're getting old when watching plants grow starts to thrill you, huh?

Here's Dan's twelve thousandth attempt to teach Gus how to peddle, this time by actually tying his feet to the peddles.    

Gus had other ideas.  "Daddy you ride it!!"

And later... "Daddy build something with Thomas legos?!  Please Daddy?  Please?"

We're both suckers for when he says please, even though playing with these stupid mega blocks ALWAYS ends in hysterics and tears because they fall apart so easily.   

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An Afternoon at the Beach

We spend a lot of time on the weekends running errands.  

I know, it sounds super lame, but the weeks are so hectic and we're all so tired, so we end up leaving errands like grocery shopping and trips to Costco and Target for the weekend.  And then there are also those household tasks that suck up a lot of time, like mowing the lawn and weeding the gardens, or laundry... yeah.  I often wonder where people get the time and energy for all the fun stuff I see them doing (on Facebook or Twitter) on the weekends.  Probably, they just manage their time better than we do, and its likely they get up and start doing things right away in the mornings rather than rolling out of bed when the kids force them to, and then lounging around in jammies wasting an hour of time reading the paper and making eggs and drinking coffee.

So I've got this running list in my head of all the fun summer things here in the cities that I want to do with the kids, but then the weekend comes and we have all these other more practical things to do and just taking into account the timing that is necessary when dealing with nap times, and the preparing and the packing of milk and snacks and sun screen and two different sized diapers... 

A lot of times it just sounds so overwhelming, especially when it involves driving to another part of the city, so instead... we go for a walk to the park.  Same old neighborhood park.  Same old stroller.  Maybe we'll stop for ice cream on the way home.  

All this to say, unless we have made plans ahead of time with friends or family, items on this running list of fun things to do never seem to get checked off.  

This annoys me.  And it's on me, I'm not blaming anyone else.  I annoy myself.

This weekend we ran all our errands on Saturday.  We hit up the little local farmer's market in the morning after Louie's nap, the baby and I enjoyed a glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade and picked out some snap peas and red potatoes, while Dan went across the street with Gus to the City Hall where they were having an open house... with a bouncy castle and slide!  
Wooooo!  (The child was excited, and bonus!  It totally wore him out and he was quite calm and easy-going during the rest of our errands.)

Then it was off to Costco.  Then home for lunch & nap.  During the boys' naps I went to Cub and finished our grocery shopping.  

Seriously, three different places in one day for produce and groceries?  I am becoming MY MOTHER.  (I kid Mom, I kid.)

Sunday was spent enjoying our family, with no to-do's, no distractions.  It was quite nice.  We had breakfast with my parents at the new neighborhood place that opened up down the road a few weeks ago, and spent the rest of the morning in the back yard.  

Then after naps we went to the beach!  FINALLY!  I have been talking about going to a beach here in the city FOREVER.    

We went to the Theodore Wirth beach, which is nice and close for us, and wasn't too busy.  There's a park there as well, and a pretty great boardwalk that surrounds the swimming area.  Gus was a little hesitant to get too far into the lake at first, but ended up walking out until the water was up to his shoulders, as long as I was holding his hand he was brave.  Too cute.  He even practiced some kicking and scooping with the kick board, showing off his swimming lessons skills.   

It was a perfect beach day for babies, not too hot or humid.  

Next time we will have to plan ahead and invite some friends, because 2 kids + 2 adults means we're both child rearing pretty much the whole time on our own.  Gus doesn't stay in one place for very long when there aren't any other kids to play with, so Dan had to follow him all over the place while I hung out with Louie.  Then we'd switch.  Baby Louie loved sitting on the shore though, feet in the sand, splashing the water.  It was his first time in a lake, but alas, I was too occupied and wet to manage a photo.

Me and the boys (and all our CRAP... Dan could not believe the amount of crap I packed for a few hours at the beach).  And yeah, I'm in my one-piece mom suit.  Ahh well.  I am a mom, I suppose, and I've got the stretch-marks and two adorable blonde boys to show for it.

Hideous picture of me, Louie was about reaching his end, and Gus has a mouth full of chips.  Dan looks pretty dreamy though, if I do say so myself. (Rawrr!)  And it's not often we manage a photo of all four of us together, so it's a keeper.

See Minne the Lake Creature out there?  I tried to point it out to Gus but I don't think he was paying attention to me.  I guess SNACKS!!! are much more thrilling to a hungry two year old than a cool lake monster.  Whatevs.

It was seriously... so great.  This kid just had such a blast.  Like, big bright eyes, beaming, running all over the place, chirping from the back seat in the car on the way home, "Mommy I had fun at the beach!"  When we were leaving, he was waving goodbye and yelling in his sweet voice, "Bye beach!  Bye park!  Bye wash your feet!"  (That last goodbye referring to the little outdoor shower thing for rinsing off that he was obsessed with.)  I was so happy that this outing wasn't one of those times where we come home thinking, "Thank God that's over, soooo not worth all the effort."  

It was worth it.  As cheesy as it sounds, it was everything I had hoped it would be.  

Thursday, June 07, 2012


This is the last week that the boys will spend their days with their grandmas while I'm working.  It's a little crazy to think of, because aside from the three months of my maternity leave with Louie, and a few random bouts of sickness and vacations, my mom and my mother-in-law have watched Gus every single week since he was just a squishy little 12 week old baldie.  And now he's 2 years and 9 months, so that's 119 weeks of grandma time for my little guy.  (Yeah, I did just add all that up, I'm ridiculous.)


I am pretty sure my mom and mother-in-law know how much we appreciate this huge gift they gave us, but I still feel like I can't say enough how blessed we are to have had such loving, trusted caretakers for our children.  Not that they won't continue to be loving caretakers for our children, but after today, well, it'll be different for sure.

So I'm excited about what's next, but with big changes like this, there will always be nerves, and always be a little sadness.

I know Gus will be excited next week when I wake him up on Tuesday and tell him he's going to Michelle's house.  I also know that it will pull at my heartstrings a bit when he's inevitably confused the next day and is asking to go to Grandma "Norstrum's" to play with Abby and Tim's "Harold the Helicopter".

But this is a really good change.  I know the boys will benefit from a more consistent routine, and I just know, plain and simple, that we can't go on forever like we have over the last few months.  It's not feasible, long term, to ask these women to keep watching both boys.  My mom spends basically her only day off every week caring for my kids, and my mother-in-law has her own crew to contend with, and my lovely little niece, who when combined with my two squirrels, require an extra set of great grandma or great auntie hands on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For two months since I've gone back to work it's sort of been survival mode, and of course, just when it starts to feel like routine, just when it seems as if things have started to work themselves out (i.e. Gus is consistently napping and the grandmas have figured out some of Louie's quirks), we're going in a new direction.

Ahhh well. That's life isn't it?  Also I tend to put on my rose-colored glasses when looking back at things, so I forget about how much longer Dan's and my commutes are when we have to drive the kids to his mom's in the morning, and I forget about Gus's refusal to eat much more than moo-jr's and milk most days, or about his immediate demands for Thomas episodes when I drop him off at my mom's, or the fact that it is a full-time job keeping him from pushing or hitting or kicking my poor little abused niece.   

It's been a crazy, fun-filled, ride, and I can't believe how quickly the time has gone, though the days have often been long I'm sure for these women.  So I'm excited to give them a break, one that I know they would never ask for, and let them get back to their own lives.

With that, here are some fun pictures of life in these parts over the last month.

In early May we took Gus bowling for the first time.  The non-profit board I'm on was having a fundraiser so my whole family came out for the cause.  More likely, they came, and donated, because I told them to.  :)  I envisioned how much fun it would be to bring Gus bowling for the first time, but it ended up being much more exhausting and stressful than we bargained for.  The timing of the fundraiser was bad, smack dab in the middle of nap time, and immediately following church and lunch celebrating my niece's baptism.  So when you combine a rascally toddler with a morning church service, then lunch at my sister-in-laws where he has lots of bad ideas that involve being very aggressive with his cousins, no nap, and the over-stimulation of a loud bowling alley... yeah.  What you get is two hours of chasing and managing and tantrums over not wanting to wait his turn to bowl.

He thought bowling was pretty fun, but it would have been much more fun for everyone with a nap and a quieter, less hectic bowling alley.  It was a great turn-out for the fundraiser, which meant we had six people bowling on our cramped lane and people milling about everywhere, and an over-tired but amped up 3-foot toddler that is very difficult to keep track of.  There were a few incidents when he got away and nearly ran out onto other lanes.

And there was one particular incident of extreme naughtiness that makes me laugh out loud every time I think about it.  A bunch of kids were playing arcade games and such and Gus was on one of his missions of exploration throughout the bowling alley, with Dan close on his heels.

Dan was like, "Who are these kids and where are they getting all this money for these ridiculously expensive arcade games?!"  Because seriously, each game was about $0.75 - $1.00.  Clearly we are old and crotchety.

So one particular kid was playing that impossible game with the metal claw where you try to pick out a stuffed animal that was probably made in China for $0.02.  And all stealth ninja like, Gus swoops in and presses the button that drops the claw.  The kid starts yelling, "That kid pressed the button, DAAAAD!  That kid pressed the button!" and Gus is so fast that by that time he is already half way across the bowling alley being chased down by his own father.

When Dan told me about this I asked if he went back and gave the kid some money, or at least apologized, and he said no.  No excuse even, other than the fact that he had his hands full keeping up with Gus.  We are TERRIBLE people.  We were so worn down by our child at this event that we didn't even care that this innocent 10 year old just got screwed out of a stuffed cat.  Instead we chuckled about it.  

Terrible people, I tell you.  Still, I don't feel all that bad, instead I giggle when I visualize it all going down.

Gus pretty much always has a cup in his mouth when I manage to take a picture of him and Louie together.  That's probably because drinking is the only time he stops moving.

Will is just one of the guys, clearly.  I love this picture, taken on Mother's Day at my sister-in-law's house where we had brunch.

He really loves his uncle James.

Also on Mother's Day, at my parents house in the afternoon.  Michelle and Ben played ladder-ball for like an hour, because they just kept on wiping the floor with their competitors...  that is until Ben started to lose on purpose because he was hungry, which ticked off his uuber-competitive wife.  :)

Louie with his Great-Grandpa Jack.

This thing is a back KILLER, but Gus had so much fun being pushed around all over the yard in it.

Baby blues and arm pit rolls.  Could this baby be anymore delicious?

I am going through a hair... thing.  A thing in that, I sort of hate it.  I am still losing it by the handful, so it's long and stringy and thin, and now I'm starting to see the regrowth and the situation is not pretty.  So until I decide to do something about it (want to mom-chop it but terrified of the inevitable regret!), rarely washing it and hats it is.

We're doing lots of tidying up in our yard and patio... planting perennials, picking out annuals for the window boxes, putting up a trellis to block the cave-like drop off between our garage and the next door neighbor's privacy fence.  I love summer.

We finally had enough of Gus's down and up and down and up at the table during meals.  Now he can only get down three times before he gets belted to the seat.  ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!  I swear, the child is trying to drive me crazy.

He does not like to be belted in, but it doesn't seem to discourage him from doing the up-down thing entirely, like I had hoped.

We're trying to be consistent about this, but sometimes I am just so tired, and I just don't care  Or I don't even want him to be sitting at the table with us because he's acting like such a fool, so we let him run off.

Ugh.  Consistency is hard!  (Whining voice.)

Finally, this little guy is sitting at the table with us during meals these days!  And he loves it!  I'm not really giving him anything to eat yet, he's just a little over 5 months old, but we have started putting a sippy cup with water on the tray for him to try to maneuver (and inevitably throw on the floor 5 million times), and a few times we've put some melon in one of those little mesh feeder things for him to gnaw on.  He loves that of course.

So this means I need to start thinking about making baby food again, blergh.  I actually sort of had fun doing it for Gus, but I'm feeling very unmotivated about the whole process of starting real food with poor little Louie.  Darn second child syndrome, strikes again.

Goodness he is cute.  This was the first time we put him in the high chair, and I filled the tray with water so he could splash around.  Loved it!  Also, he clearly gets a kick out of peek-a-boo with daddy.