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.