Monday, December 5, 2016

The Big Update

Hey y'all!  It's been a while, and there is plenty to catch you up on in life here in Georgia.  You know I love my lists, so let's start this up!

1. We're having another little boy in the spring!  When I met JP, I wasn't even sure if I wanted kids, and yet here I am with a third in my belly.  I'm telling you, just looking at him makes my ovaries want more babies.  We're really excited about a new addition, and it's so cool to go through this pregnancy with August totally aware of what's happening.  At three and a half, he's capable of understanding that there is a baby growing inside my belly, and is also very concerned that the baby is not wearing pants.  So- clearly worried about the important things.
I'll have to cover how different these three pregnancies have felt, or more like how differently I've reacted to each, in another post.  It's been eye-opening to feel what a woman's body is capable of.

2. We've bought a new house!  It's closer to the Diego family, only 15 minutes from our current address.  The new digs are on a larger piece of property (nearly 3x more 'yard' than what we currently own), so our boys will have plenty of space to wander and explore, plus we are across the street from where JP used to play while growing up.  A big part of his initial attraction to the house is the nostalgia that comes with it; our boys will get to wade in the creek behind his parents' house, explore the woods near his aunt's yard, and the house actually used to belong to JP's friends.  He knows where the light switches lead!
This was a really difficult decision for us to make, not least of which is the timing of everything.  Our new baby is due in mid-April, and there are some house renovations that have to happen before we move in.  That means we will most likely move in March, and welcome a new family member within weeks.  Our boys are so young, and JP and I know how much change that is to take for adults, much less little boys.  It feels too good an opportunity to pass up, though, so we will deal with the crazy for a while for the long-term pay off.

3. I've actually been able to read some books this year!  There were so many great titles released in 2016, and a few of my favorites were: Commonwealth by Anne Patchett, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (not released this year, but SO GOOD!), Balanced and Barefoot by Angela Hanscom (great parenting book about raising your kids with unrestricted outdoor play), My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, The Forgetting Time  by Sharon Guskin, and, of course, Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda.  Michael Chabon's latest is on my nightstand, and I can't wait to dig my teeth into his fictionalized account of his late grandfather's life.

4. This year's holiday playlist has been updated to include some Pentatonix, Hanson, Jackson 5, and Dolly Parton.  Do you have any favorites to play around this time of year?

That seems as good a place as any to press pause.  I'll do a little Thanksgiving recap next week; my lovely sister and her sweet family made the trek up here to celebrate with us!
xoxo A

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Our Week in Photos

 Oh man, we have had lots of early mornings around here lately.  Luckily, my boys have great smiles and are happy if there are trucks around.

A mall closeby is having a LEGO exhibit of American monuments; how cool is this Liberty Bell?!

A pensive little dude at the park last weekend.
Is there anything cuter than a baby in stripes and denim?

Cupcakes at a birthday party.  How great is that wall behind him with the pink frosting?

2 is a really, really fun age!

My modus operandi these days is just buy any clothing with a machine on it.  August will wear it.

Bash is almost done being confined to the stroller at the playground.  The little man wants to move!

Do you see this kid making a Vulcan 'Live long and prosper' sign with his hand?!  Totally unintentional!

A dear friend from college was passing through this week, and I got to sneak a long lunch with her and her fun, very sweet, gorgeous daughter!  We haven't seen each other in 7 years, so we had a great time catching up while watching the kids play.  August was so happy to have a girl keeping up with him!

Bash is all about pulling up on anything he possibly can: our legs, furniture, bathtub ledges, Mia.  His tenacity is really admirable!

Abbi's Happy Things

I just picked up this tank in the navy blue shade, and am deeply in love.  It's perfectly cut on top, and the hem adds just the right amount of coverage without being too long.  And it's on sale!

My man Ryan Adams covered T. Swift's 1989, and his version of 'Bad Blood' is way better than the original.  And shoutout to my sister-in-law, who turned me onto Andra Day.   'Rise Up' is so, so good!

Hein brought Rosie Revere, Engineer for the kids on her last visit, and I have yet to read it to August without tearing up.  It's a really wonderful story about a young girl who hides her handmade gizmos until her Great-great-aunt Rosie (the Riveter) tells her that failures are not the end of a story.  The  line, 'Before it crashed, Rosie, before flew!' gets me.  I promise it's not a sad story!  I just think of how scared of failure I was as a kid, and love that message of 'keep on keeping on' for kids.

This facial oil from Boots smells absolutely divine.  It's so much lighter than the Cetaphil I'd been using for my pregnancy and nursing dry skin, and JP comments on the scent every. single. night.  (You can also find it at Target.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Other Typist

This post is written almost exclusively for my wonderful Grandma in North Carolina, who suggested I read this book years ago.  I wrote it down on my 'To Read' list, and finally got around to it!  GINC, I do always take your suggestions to heart, though it takes me a while to get to them sometimes!  You did good with this one.  I had a very hard time putting it down at bedtime. 
At first glance, this novel appears to be about just another secretary working in NYC in the 1920s.  Rose is one of three typists who takes down the confessions of criminals at a precinct, and, though in her mid-20s, she is a stickler for the rules.  Her worldview is turned upside down when Odalie walks though the doors of her office to take over a fourth typist position.  Orally is everything Rose is not: glamorous, flirtatious, wealthy, and self-possesed.  The two strike up a friendship that threatens Rose's job, her lifestyle, and even her freedom.  
The last page of this book gave me chills.  It was so striking!  Although the foreshadowing can be a bit heavy-handed, I'll chalk it up to Rose being overly dramatic.  This book has a lot going for it: an unreliable narrator, the fertile setting of NYC at a time when women were becoming more liberated, the mystery of where Odalie actually came from.  Rindell wrote a great mystery.  A great book to snuggle up with on a fall day...

Friday, September 18, 2015

Our Week in Photos

 Last Friday, I had THE most handsome dates.  JP and I don't often brave the restaurant scene with the boys, but were feeling particularly courageous and were rewarded with good behavior from both kids!  Hooray!

 August legitimately tried to tell us that he hadn't eaten JP's toast with jam.  With this face.  Dude, we were not born yesterday.

The boys and I went on a lovely hike last Saturday afternoon, and August walked the last half mile!  I love watching him be active and explore our nature trails.

Bash was pretty content to watch from the stroller.
Sidenote: can you believe that little face?!  He is just so perfect.

Costco has double-seated carts, which is AMAZING for shopping with August and Bash together.  I put Bash in first, and his face seriously LIT UP when I strapped August in next to him.  Of course, I waited until we were inside the store to take a picture of them, but, trust me, Bash was the picture of excitement a mere moment before this was snapped.

The little man has discovered a love for dinosaurs, and this is his favorite thing at the playground.

 We ventured to a local fire station for a friend's birthday Thursday, and August was thrilled until the moment we got within 10 feet of the fire trucks.  At that point, he was all, 'I do NOT like fire trucks, and would prefer to cry over here on a bench, thanks.'  It was massively dramatic, although we were able to get him to put on a hat and wander around the firehouse with a huge buffer between him and any vehicles.
We then proceeded to Firehouse Subs for lunch with two double strollers, three toddlers, two babies, and three exhausted women.  The guys behind the counter were really psyched to see us.

This is my favorite new shirt!  I love birthday gifts!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bashy Boo!

Oh man, poor Bash is suffering from Second Child Syndrome like whoa.  His baby book isn't quite as up to date as August's was at this point, all of his clothes are hand me downs, and we are forever calling him August or Mia.  Which is crazy, because he's the cutest little man on his own!  The baby state is kind of exhausting and it's easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of his sleeping and eating routine, but when I take a step back, it is just awesome how much of his own person he embodies.
Could that sentence have been put any more awkwardly?

At seven months (!!), Bash is blowing me away with his independence.  Perhaps in an effort to keep up with the big kids he sees on a daily basis, and his own big brother, Bash is seriously on the move.  He's crawling, pulling himself to standing against whatever he can get his hands on, and is enamored of all the toys scattered around our house.  It's so cool that he's already in this stage of mobility; he's been working so hard for weeks, so his sense of accomplishment must be high to be here so early.
Oh, and Bash has his first tooth!  He cut it while on vacation in Florida, so that was super fun, but he loves to show it off with lots of big smiles and laughs for whoever will look at him.

We're on a very basic meal plan of breakfast and dinner purees.  So far he's liked everything we've put in front of him, though we have to feed him fast because the boy is impatient.  We shovel it in for five minutes, then give him a little water, and let him crawl around while the rest of us eat or start bath time.  He still nurses a few times a day, and he gets a couple of formula bottles throughout the day.  It works for us, and gives me a little more flexibility for our days.

His sleep routine has been pretty rough for the last few weeks, but I see some improvement this week.  He goes down at about 7, wakes up for a couple of pacifier adjustments, eats at 5ish, then sleeps again until 730am.  August's sleep has been broken up as well, so JP and I are kind of in that zombie parenting state lately.  Baby sleep is always in flux, so we just shrug and know it's apt to change again soon.
I didn't really think having two kids would be so doable and gratifying.  We have rough moments, but 80% of our days are really lovely and sprinkled with heart-eye moments.  Bash always looks around for August when he wakes up in his crib, and, if big brother is in there, his eyes just light up.  When I'm holding him in a store or playground, he'll look at me with these beautiful, soft eyes and touch my cheek.  We just adore him.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Station Eleven

Something about this time around with a new baby has been hitting me differently; there are two of them, yet I have had way more time and inclination for reading!  With August, it was about SIX MONTHS before I was able to follow a book to its conclusion, whereas I had several books done within Bash's first few weeks.  I'm trying to make a conscious effort to not check my phone an hour before going to sleep (and, when I'm feeling super virtuous, I leave it to charge upstairs while hanging with JP when the kids are finally in bed), and am not poring over our baby books for answers to the teeniest questions this time.  More time for fiction is always a plus!

My most recent favorite read has been Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel.  You know I love my post-apocolyptic novels set in the near future, and this one is even better because there are no zombies in it!  Mandel's story follows Kirsten, a 23-year-old woman who performs in the Traveling Symphony, moving from settlement to settlement in a world devastated by a pandemic.  The Georgia Flu (country, not state) decimated the world's population, and the Symphony lives by the creed, 'Because survival is insufficient.'  Kirsten and her pack perform Shakespeare and play Beethoven concertos for small camps around the Great Lakes.  Woven throughout this plot is Kirsten's backstory, which involves the wildly successful Arthur Leander, his wife, and best friend. 

It's a tightly-written book that left me feeling unsettled- in the best way.  It's magical to be transported by an idea that feels dangerously plausible; poor JP was reminded several times of our emergency plan, and I'm still feeling the urge to stock our basement with extra canned goods and blankets so that we'll be prepared for an event like the one in Station Eleven.  Mandel dives into what's worth saving in life, what luck and hard work really provide for us, and the ties that bind us all.  

Monday, August 10, 2015

Making it Look Easy

I've been debating writing a post on this, because it's a bit of a mixed bag for me.  A few friends have mentioned in passing, 'You make having two kids look so easy!' or 'What a perfect life you have!' and it's meant as a compliment.  I should say, it seems like it's meant as a compliment.  And, while I see the kind place they're coming from and know it's in no way meant as a jab at me, those words fill me with a sense of dread.

I have a two-year-old, so this sight of him on the ground in tears is pretty much a given at least a few times a week.  Sometimes a few times a day.  Generally, though, people don't want to see pictures of that.
And it's not always a private show just for me.  August had a meltdown at the GA Aquarium when I told him we had to go home.

There was a several-week stretch when Bash would only nap while nursing next to me.  Which meant, on top of not sleeping when the baby sleeps, I either dealt with a fussy baby or a fussy toddler who wanted my undivided attention (currently being eaten up by said sleeping baby).  That's an exhausting time that my playground group didn't get to witness.

And, as much as I adore August, he's not really great with knowing people's pain thresholds.  He's really good at clocking my head with his while sitting in my lap for story times.  Don't even get me started on how much laundry is being done in this house; between a toddler trying to feed himself drippy yogurt and a baby spitting up like its his job (which, I guess it kind of is), it's rare that we each go through only one outfit a day.

Then there's the guilt.  August can quote passages from several Disney and Pixar films, at the young age of 2, and Bash loves to stare at the TV screen.  But how else am I supposed to get time to prep dinner or let the dog out?

Don't misunderstand me: I LOVE my kids, my husband, my life in general.  I appreciate that I can stay home and that we can afford to have me do it.  I am incredibly lucky to be married to a man who puts his family before pretty much everything.  (Except Spanish futbol, but that's another conversation entirely.)  Being a stay at home mom is the best fit for us at this stage; I didn't have a full-fledged career when I had August, so didn't have anything I was passionately looking forward to returning to after a maternity leave.

But you would think that being a stay at home mom has basically lobotomized me that way some parties and dinners go.  Because I don't work outside the home, it's as though I couldn't possibly have anything to contribute to a conversation; an IRS employee has more clout at an event than I do.  There have been more occasions than I'd care to mention which have led to me relegated to a corner, sipping wine by myself, while other people talk about their careers.  I have stuff to talk about, too!  I've read fascinating books, watched thought-provoking films and TV shows, am up on current events!  That's got to be way more interesting than talking about tax brackets and business plans, right?

So much of my life is awesome and we have a lot of laughs and smiles.  These boys are 65% an absolute joy, and 35% thoroughly exhausting and frustrating.  I have a lot of help, though, and should be totally upfront about that.  Since he was 16 months old, August has been in some sort of daycare/preschool/summer camp situation a couple mornings a week so I can get time with just one kid, and we have people who clean our house once a week.  We also have a mother-in-law who watched the boys every so often, and a great babysitter for date nights.  THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT.  These people have been worth their weight in gold.  So it really does take a village to make one person's job look 'easy'.

This 'picture perfect life' is more complex and interesting than that title would lead you to believe.  When I really dig down, my issue is that, if this is what easy and perfect look like, why do I have so many frustrating encounters with people who aren't parents or stay at home parents?  Am I allowed to vent about my kids' bad sleeping habits, or will that pop the bubble?  If I admit to struggling more days of the week than not, will I get the brush-off?  And, even when things aren't picture perfect, am I allowed to still enjoy it?  One of my favorite pictures of the boys so far (nearly six months into brotherhood) is this one of August very gingerly pulling a booger out of Bash's nose.  Gross?  Yes.  Endearing and gentle?  Absolutely.  

Friday, August 7, 2015

Our Week in Photos

 Bash is so happy to get loving from his aunts!

One of my favorite visitors to the house is always Haley.  She stopped in last weekend, and we took her for a morning out on the town!  Well, actually just to a railway museum in Duluth, where we rode a mini 1950s train around a couple of times.  She wore Bash the whole time; what a lovely gesture!  He was very well entertained.

Mia got some loving, too.

 And August tried on his handmade superhero cape from Auntie Haley!  It really made that castle building go so much more smoothly ;)

 This little man and his smiles.  I just love watching him develop.

August missed his nap one afternoon, so made up for it by sleeping in the stroller on a Trader Joe's run a few hours later.  He never sleeps in the stroller!  This was so awesome!

 We checked out some fire trucks one evening, and August couldn't have been happier to be held by his papa while looking at them.  It doesn't take much some days.

Just two cool guys, hanging out at city hall.

 Bash has been eating solids!  While he sits in the high chair, August kind of titters around him, climbing on the rungs, playing with his toys, and holding Bash's hand.  It's pretty precious.

 I love how Bash fell asleep during one of our morning runs this week.  Doesn't it look like he's posing for a boy band portrait?

This little Italian chef has been hanging out in our dining room (I don't really know where to put him, so it's as good a place as any), and August has decided that they're friends.  I came around the corner Thursday afternoon and he was hugging it out.  Nice kid. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Our Week in Photos

 I am always so happy to spend time with this strong, funny, kind woman.  Did I mention that she knows the best places to eat in Tallahassee?  We hit up this place for snowballs- shaved ice filled with soft serve and topped with flavored syrups and sweetened condensed milk.  YESSSS.

On Monday, August, Bash, and I hit up the GA Aquarium with another friend and her two children.  The six of us lasted nearly 2 hours, after which we all stumbled back to our cars in an exhausted haze.  Toddlers and babies and crowded spaces are such a great combination.

Lest you think the two older boys are the only ones who like to build things, here is photographic proof that Bash is also into castles.

On a Wednesday morning with no plans, I took my boys to one of our favorite paths, and left the stroller in the car, i.e. August had to walk.  We did a 1.5 mile loop, and he was (generally) a trooper!  We got to cool off/play with trucks in this little creek, which made the older kid very happy.

Bash was in the Ergo carrier, and seemed so content just gazing at the trees surrounding us and listen to me sing every so often.  He is such a chill kid sometimes.
And he's basically all cheeks these days!

Starting the truck obsession young!

Every so often, August just spontaneously 'hugs' Bash.  We never make him give kisses or hugs (even to us), so it's really sweet to see that he just veers toward being affectionate.  These boys are so entertaining to hang out with each day.

Bash has recently discovered his feet!  And socks!  Who knew the very best toys are already attached to us?!