Monday, December 31, 2012

Update on the Kids - part 2 - Theo

Somehow, my little man has been around for 10 months now. It's pretty amazing how much he has grown and how much his personality is starting to develop.
Some highlights:

  • After months of backing into things, he has learned his own "creative" method of crawling forward. He is now fully mobile and getting into everything, including Sophia's toys. Should be a really interesting next 6 months. 
  • He has 1.5 teeth (going on 4!) the bottom left tooth came through earlier this month, with the right one about to break any day now (poor guy). He is handling it like a trooper though. 
  • Food - there isn't anything he won't eat. While he's not great at actually feeding himself (he'll pick things up but generally just flings it) he has yet to refuse anything we've offered - from his packets of food through stuff off our plate. Avocado is one his favorites as well as Grandma's applesauce, yogurt, turkey, cheese, sweet potato, scrambled eggs, tzatki sauce and bread. 
  • Sounds - he makes lots of Dadada & mamamama and lights up when we come into the room. He also has quite a lot to "say" when he's in the mood. So very cute. 
  • Personality - he is coming into such a little personality. He makes eye contact very well and will smile at new people, then duck his head shyly when they start to talk to him. But he just bats those big blue eyes...He also is fully into playing - with his toys or Sophia's. He can sit and play by himself for quite some time. But he makes it known that he's unhappy if we leave him for a few moments to go to another room. At least now, with his mobility, he's able to follow along. 
  • He's pulling up on tables & chairs, though not able to get to standing just yet. 
  • Anything Sophia does is entertaining - the crazier, the better. He'll just laugh his butt off at her shenanigans...I'm in for it! 
Theo is by far the happiest, snuggliest little guy. He's easy going and still a great sleeper & eater. We're so lucky to get to see his smiling face every day!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Catching up on the kids - Part 1 - Sophia

I love quiet vacation time - it gives me a chance to write a full catch up on the kids.

First day of pre-school
Sophia is now well-ensconced into pre-school. I managed to miss the first week. When I signed up, I was under the impression it started in January (they run on the city school-schedule). My neighbor came up the Monday night after it started and asked how Sophia liked it. I promptly freaked out and then figured out how we'd get a new routine going starting the next morning. We haven't looked back since (well, maybe for one day, which she missed because of crazy snotty sickness, which she passed on to Theo - collateral damage of pre-school).

I think she likes it - she's making artwork, theoretically making some friends and has been reprimanded for trying to steal the Minnie Mouse doll seven (7) times in one day. (Yup - they check her backpack before she leaves every day...sigh.)

Her vocab is huge and she's big into the question phase now. It's really entertaining and not all that grating, yet. She has a cute way of asking that isn't just incessant why's...I pray the phrasing stays there, because just hearing the "why" will likely drive me batty!
She had her 3 year check up and got a clean bill of health - she's growing tall and gaining weight appropriately. The doctor is thrilled at the variety of foods she eats and that I manage to keep her seated for most of the meal.

We're working on taking the kids out more for meals so we can work on some restaurant etiquette. Little steps.
Here's her helping to feed Theo though - she's such a loving big sister.

 My little Ham:

That's the update for now. More to come again soon. 

The hardest week...

I've always felt like I had a pretty good balance when it came to working, kids, home and personal. And in general, I do. The busier I am, the more productive I feel and that I'm living.
But every now and then, that pace catches up to me and kicks my ass.

There was a week in early December where we were all just flat out - holiday time, work was busy with late nights, friends and family stuff. The usual end of year insanity. Throw in some new germs from pre-school, a teething baby and whatever else for a full dose of breakdown. Sick, in bed, and just down for the count for a full day.

Yup- it caught up to me. I was exhausted, feeling completely at my wits end, and probably all in all, not particularly pleasant to be around. I have always knew it was hard being a full-time working mom, but I felt like I had it easier than some - a phenomenal nanny, super supportive and helpful husband, great neighbors, flexible work time. And I do. But man oh man was I humbled.

There is not really a moral to this story. I will likely run head first into this again next year, as I always do, but hopefully I'll have a little more foresight and not over-schedule myself to the point of exhaustion. Maybe, just maybe I'll learn...

New Christmas Traditions

Christmas has always been a big tradition in my house. My grandmother's birthday is Christmas Day, and Christmas Eve has always been about family, food & traditions.

This was the first year that we decided to stay up in Boston for Christmas proper. But we still did our fair share of traveling...more on that later!

For Christmas, Dave was very involved in planning the traditions. We integrated a few from my family and a few from his with some additions of our own!
We got the tree early in December for maximum enjoyment. Here's Dave lugging it up the stairs.

For decorations, we put on lights (and by we, I mean Dave) and then each night the kids would pick out an ornament and hang it. Mostly, Sophia picked out two and for about 20 minutes we had to convince her they needed to be hung and weren't toys. Theo got to "hang" a few of them. 
The end goal was that Santa finishes all the decorations on Christmas Eve. 

Next, we did our letter writing to Santa. Santa brings 3 gifts to each child. All Sophia wanted from Santa were new bunnies for her barn. The rest are Mom & Dad gifts. Sophia had a lot of fun writing her letter. We hung it on the door for Santa to see (after all, he's knows when you're sleeping...) Next year, I'll probably get my stuff together to actually "mail" it. 

Then came Christmas Eve. With my parents up here, we had the morning to run around doing errands and such. It was weird, because for my entire life, my Dad and I would wait in line at Lucibello's pastry shop in New Haven - we usually got there at 7am for an 8:30am opening. I didn't have that kind of go-to place this year and I was afraid, even if I did frequent one of the local pastry places, the experience would be distorted and not match up to my childhood memories. 
I did, however, go at 3pm with my Dad to Modern Pastry in Medford (after calling/visiting 3-4 other places in search of our beloved Sfogliatelle pastry. Sadly, everyone was sold out. We waited in line for two so-so cannoli's. But it was still good father-daughter bonding time. 

Next came the viewing of the Christmas lights. (Sorry, it's a shot from the Boston Herald and I don't know those people.) The street behind our house has amazing lights, so we took Nana & PopPop up there for the full experience. 

These amazing people at this house actually put up Mickey & Minnie lights just for Sophia, because she got to know them through their Halloween decorations. They're awesome.  
 Now came the most important - the food portion of the evening. Tradition was always to eat the "7 fishes" - My mom was a master at getting them all (or variations of) into the meal. Over the years, it got trimmed down to not quite 7. But this year, I did my best. The menu included:

  • Scallops (wrapped in Bacon - a tribute to my Grams, who let this be the only meat on this evening because she really liked bacon)
  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Clams on a half shell
  • Baked Stuffed Lobster (with shrimp stuffing) 
  • Grilled Sesame Tuna
  • Champagne - not a fish, but a great tradition

Not bad. We were too tired for dessert and had too much decorating left.

But first, we had to write our note to Santa and leave cookies & carrots:

After the notes were written, food was eaten and little ones sleeping, the four of us (My parents, Dave & I) finished decorating the tree and then hung a "magical fireplace" (courtesy of Dave printing at work which adhered to the wall for Santa to come out of to leave presents) and put out all the presents (which we had also just finished wrapping) 
Couldn't wait to see Sophia's eyes Christmas morning. We stumbled into bed before midnight. 

Thankfully, they all slept in (as did we) for a late start on Christmas morning. Here's Theo: 

And here's the Christmas morning scene:
 The newspaper is for Santa's boot tracks, complete with fireplace ash. It was even a bit of a white Christmas too!

Sophia was so overwhelmed she could barely comprehend what was going on. I have a video of the whole thing, but sadly, way too big for the site.

Finally, present opening commenced.
We opened, ate a brunch and stayed in our jammies for the rest of the day. Not a bad start for a tradition-ful day at all.

Merry Christmas!! Can't wait to build on the traditions each year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas at Nana & Pop Pop's

The start of the present opening at Nana & Pop Pop's house
Christmas 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Moments of adoration

Sophia knows how to press my buttons - whether they are all intentional or just a fact of being 3 years old - is besides the point. 
The good news is, the frustrations are far outweighed by the tender, sentimental moments of watching her grow, learn and blossom into a little girl. 

Top 5 things currently that make me smile: 
5) Watching her comb her dad's hair tonight and telling him that "he looks beautiful now" in a very serious voice. 
4) How she won't let Dave or I leave the house without taking our "ice cream" with us to work.
3) How she lines up her animals in different formation surrounding her barn. (note: these are not all traditional farm animals, so seeing who gets to hang with who is rather Noah's Ark-ish)
2) Having her help me make salad with me and actually learning how to properly (with my hand guiding) use a knife. (and testing out the different veggies we put in!)
1) Reading with her. A favorite book is "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats. Tonight, she was able to identify almost all the letters in the title & author's name. Absolutely amazing and fascinating to watch the cognitive development. And it just makes me so proud. 

Baa Baa Black Sheep

A quick video from Sophia - her rendition of "Baa Baa Black Sheep"

Friday, November 23, 2012

My amazing three year old

Some how, some way, my amazing, incredible, sweet (and sometimes patience-trying) Sophia has turned 3 years. 1,096 days old. I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. Maybe a lot of the stuff in between has faded a little, but every day we are making new memories.

We celebrated the big day with friends and family, and of course, a fabulous Mickey Mouse cake (and Mickey's clubhouse themed birthday!)

The day started off with our yearly tradition of hanging and examining the banner of the year's pictures.

Nana & Pop Pop came up for reading and playtime before the party began. 

Then, the party started. Here's Sophia& Frances - both born on November 7th. 
Wow - have they grown from last year. 

And of course, the customary shake down from Dad.

 Snuggle time from Grandma:

A little dance party!

And finally - birthday cake time.

Happy Birthday my big girl!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

8 months of Theo

Hard to believe that the little guy has been around for 8 months (more now that I actually write this.)
Theo is rapidly becoming "not so little" each and every day.

His helmet is really helping round out his head - at his last check up, he's around 95% (he started at 102% and the goal is 92%). Hoping we'll be at our mark around the new year. Recent growth spurts have really helped the cause.

He and Sophia have been interacting even more. It's generally around him go after some of her toys on the floor, which displeases her greatly, but we're working on the sharing thing.
In terms of his mobility, he is fully locked crawling in reverse. He can pitch himself forward from a sitting position to all fours, but isn't quite sure what to do from that point. He also quite enjoys sitting and pulling up on things, so we'll see.

Food wise, he's eating like a champ. Still doing 5 feedings, plus 3 solid meals a day. We do a mix of purees (I gave up the notion of making all his food. He gets much better variety and tastier stuff thanks to my new best friends at Plum Organics!) He also love eating cooked egg yolks, advocado, yogurt and eyeballs anything and everything we're eating. Pieces of bread and cheese are making their way on his list. Not quite there with the pincer grasp yet.

Sleep is still going well. He's such an all around happy baby - nap times (2 naps each day usually) are easy and bed time is a solid routine, which includes a bath every night because of the helmet. I couldn't ask for anything more in that department. Well, maybe if he slept in until 6 more regularly. The 5:30/5:45 is rough some days.

I'm so lucky to have this wonderful, amazing son. His personality is really starting to show - he's thoughtful, smiley when you give him just a little attention, but completely content in his own land. He adores his sister and thumps happily when I walk into his room to get him up from sleeping or when I come home from work. The joy on his face is priceless and unconditional love. He's my happy little man.

Next check up is in December with the pediatrician, but he is clearly a happy, healthy, growing little boy!

Hurricane Potty Training

I've always envied those moms who said "Oh, potty training took us the weekend" or "She just 'Got' it" or, as some of my more militant friends went the "He's 2. We trained. That's what we do" route.
For Sophia, I knew it would come. I wanted it to happen. We had the seat, bought the M&Ms but couldn't really connect all the pieces.

Admittedly, some parts of parental laziness clearly played a role - I had no desire to sit inside all day on a perfectly gorgeous Saturday to train when we could be outside running around.  At the end of the summer, I signed her up for a town program that required kids to be potty trained, with the hair brained idea I could make it happen in 2 weeks.  Ha...good thing they gave a refund.

So around came Hurricane Sandy. Stuck inside all day. What a better time to give it a go. And magically (and I choose that word precisely because that's what I attribute all the stars aligning) it worked. After running around for an hour or two with no pants, out came the "Mama, I have to go potty." To the potty she went and it worked. So she got a load of praise, two M&Ms - red & brown, and stamps for her "Potty Chart" (aka a lame piece of paper with a grid drawn on it taped to the wall). Bam, another time before bed. This is pretty cool.

It's been a week now, with only 1 accident (completely attributable to parental rushing out the door) and even managed to get comfy with #2. We've switched to pull ups for sleeping times. Hopefully, this continues as well as it is going.
I'm so proud of my little girl - of the smile on her face after success.

Hooray and sigh... My toddler is officially a little girl.

Minnies & Mickeys & Giraffes - Oh My!

I've been a little neglectful on the posts lately, but I think of that as a good thing, as we've been living life and doing a ton of activities.

Halloween was last week and Sophia had been looking forward to it for weeks. She was definitely into this year, dressing up as Minnie Mouse (much to the chagrin of her father, as he believes Halloween is all about being scary! The only scary thing on her was the bruise on her forehead from falling at the park the day prior.)
 We went over to Charlestown - they have a big parade at the Monument and the whole town (and invaders like us) turns out. The weather was good this year, so there were probably close to 2,000 people parading and trick or treating. Here's Minnie in action:

 And of course, Theo celebrated his first Halloween. Sophia was desperate to have him dress up as Mickey, but sadly (for her) I had already acquired the giraffe costume, so a giraffe he was. He seemed pretty pleased with the warmth factor. :) And once Sophia got a hold of some candy, she had forgotten all about it.

The haul of candy was good and was divided out after we got home (and Sophia was asleep). Pile for her, small pile of the 2 or 3 things Dave could actually eat and a pile to go to work (i.e. the rest). After all, her birthday was coming up, so there would be plenty of treats for all! 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Seven Months of Theo

I'm averaging about one post a month of real topic. I actually bought Theo a baby book at the end of the summer and am making an attempt to fill in the really important stuff, but I still find logging most everything here works even better.

Summer has ended which results in us being around Somerville a bit more than usual, though we seem to always be on the move. As Theo is still napping 2x each day (one morning, for about 90 minutes and one afternoon for 2-3 hours) coupled with Sophia's afternoon nap, we have limited get out time on the weekends. Often, we'll divide and conquer between Dave & I with one taking one child out while the other is home cleaning/napping. And I am much more relaxed about Theo missing a morning nap or catching it in the car then I was with Sophia. Ahh, the second child.

Theo is growing leaps and bounds. He is loving his solid foods, eating a whole variety of things. I've also thrown in the towel on making all his food for him. I just don't have the time and frankly, he is getting far better variety with the yummy Happy baby pouches I'm getting. I can't wait for the "Gobble Gobble" pouch at Thanksgiving!

His new acquisition this month was a helmet to help reshape his flat head. Being such a great sleeper, he managed to squish the back of his head flat. So, for the next 4-6 months, he'll be done a dapper, green, animal looking helmet!

I have to say, the transition has been fairly painless. He accommodated to it in no time. Occasionally, I'll hear him play with the velcro on the side at night, but it hasn't affected any of his sleep or growth. And it merely directs his growing head painlessly, rather than the concept of orthodontics (which is all I could relate to) by moving bones already in place. 
We have a great therapist who we see for checkups every 10 days or so. She's confident he'll do great and go from 102% (where he started - think shaped like a football, longer side to side) to around 92% (meaning front to back is longer than side to side.) As of our 1 month check-in, he was at 99%. 

Other excitement - he sits up on his like a champ now. The helmet is great for those occasional times he topples over, though the sound might be a bit more disturbing...

He is also quite comfy standing while holding on to his Zany Zoo and even let his hands go this week briefly. He definitely is not pulling up yet. 

On the crawling front, he is motoring around doing 360's and backing himself into corners. He's definitely working on putting it all together to go forward. It's really great to watch. I'm not sure if Sophia will know what hit her when it does happen! For now, she's happy to help him with Tummy time (whether he wants it or not :) 

For now, the two of them are good buddies, with him laughing at her shenanigans. I'm so screwed when they're teenagers!

Sleep is still good - he goes down like a champ around 7:15p and sleeps (generally) till at least 5:30a. The days he sleeps till 6a are godsends and 6:30a is a dream that happens every week-10days. I really have no complaints though. My little man is getting so big!

Pumpkin Painting

I'm not the artsy crafty type. I want to be, I have great ideas, but bringing them to fruition is another thing. Sophia, like most toddlers absolutely adores paints and crayons and anything colorful and messy. Our nanny Lidiana is amazing with what the two of them come up with and I am forever thankful (in so many ways!) for her.

But a tradition in my house was always painting pumpkins (I was too chicken of the goo and seeds inside to carve mine). I was inspired the other day to pick up some mini pumpkins so Sophia & I could have a painting party one night after dinner. It was a blast. Check out the shots below:

The artist pondering her options: 

Hmm, I wonder how this tastes??

It's coming together!

Martha's Vineyard Adventure

I had only been to Martha's Vineyard once as a kid and Dave goes yearly for a sailing race. Having heard such great things about it, but not wanting to deal with summer crowd, we figured a September Sunday would be the perfect time to bring the kids & bikes and adventure around the island.

Despite an early morning of almost missing the ferry out of Woods Hole (happily, there was one 10 minutes after the one we meant to be on!) we were off.

Sophia hanging out on the rails:

 Theo getting a snuggle from Dad:

Sophia is ready to go on the back of my bike:

Theo enjoying his first restaurant lunch:

 My "shy" daughter...

More yummy lunch:

Theo was a little taxed, so naptime on a bench at the Edgartown Yacht Club: (anything less would be uncivilized!)

My favorite - daddy/daughter time looking out at Chappy:

Now it was time for Sophia to nap. She generally narrates non-stop on the back of my bike. When we were heading back to OB from Edgardtown, I realized it had gotten quiet. She conked out and, very unlike her normal M.O. stayed asleep long after we stopped moving.

So, we took a picture together outside the Carousel. (So rare for both of us to be in a shot!)

But alas, Sophia rallied for a ride on the oldest carousel in America:

Dad & Theo couldn't miss out!

Theo's ready to board the Ferry home (and his ride for the day)

Family fun at the end of the day. What a great trip!