Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Season of the Poppy

The Season of the Poppy is nigh.  We've been checking off lots of things on our gradually decreasing list all along the way (it's nice to be able to reuse so many things, unlike last time when we had to get most things for the first time), and the nursery has come together nicely.  At just over a week from the expected due date, it won't be long before our little one stops her abundant squirming and joins us on the outside, and we're excited to see her.  I'm pretty sure that The Boy is even looking forward to meeting the "baby" he keeps hearing about.  He's been pointing out the ultrasound photo and Mommy's growing bump as time has gone by (at times imitating her body language to quite amusing effect), and though he might not grasp exactly what's about to happen, there's every reason to think he'll take to her right away.  We're definitely to the any-day-now phase, though we're thinking she'll probably hang tight until around her due date, just because things seem to be working out a little more normally this time than when The Boy was born.  Following in her big brother's footsteps, The Poppy decided in just the last few weeks to go all breech on us, even though we had seen many times that she was in just the right position (unlike The Boy, who we were TOLD was in the right position, but it turned out probably never really was).  But we waited and tried a couple of things, and for whatever reason, likely because it just felt more natural, a few days later she turned right back down and nestled in for the last of her cozy little time inside.  A couple more appointments confirmed that she's where she should be, and probably will stay there since she's bigger now and has a little less room to move.
Anyway, that's about it, just a quick little post of anticipation before our little family gets a plus-one.  I can already tell she's really active but also really sweet.  It's amazing how much you can feel like you know someone before even meeting them (and yet, then still be completely taken by surprise when you finally do).  I can't wait. XD

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Valentimes 2015, and 21 Months

Once when I was a kid my dad insisted that it was Valentimes Day, when I knew perfectly well that it wasn't, and that he knew good and well that it wasn't, well-educated as he was and is, but nevertheless he had me going for quite a while.  Oh, Dad.

Anyway, we had a lovely Valentine's Day.  Our attention is rather occupied these days by the impending arrival of The Poppy, but we still were able to celebrate our love for each other a little bit.  It's nice that it was on a Saturday this year, because I could spend the whole day doting on my love and occupying The Boy so the pregnant mommy can take it easier than she does on a workday.  We started out by heading out, just us guys, to pick up some supplies.  He helped me pick some flowers and chocolates, and then we grabbed Mommy's favorite breakfast burritos on the way home for some breakfast in bed.
Such a good messenger... And Mommy was still (almost!) in bed when we returned home with the goods.
We surprised her with little treats and presents throughout the day, including this little number for The Poppy's nursery that arrived JUST in time.
They're harder to find these days than one might think.
We had a fun and delicious time at our traditional family-couples sushi dinner party at my sister's house, where we brought sticky rice (of course) and an amazing cake The Wife made.  We didn't get to have a super fancy date (yet), and we didn't even get a chance to watch our traditional Disney movie together, but we'll get around to those things once the schedule allows it, and in the meantime we were glad to be able to be together and get ready for our upcoming addition.  Too well do I remember the Valentine's Day we spent some 1000 miles away from each other, that dreadful February of 2009, and ever since we were reunited I've never taken our togetherness for granted again.  The webcam was fun and all, but in-person is of course SO much better, and (so far...) we haven't even had to spend a single night apart (especially as last month's business trip was canceled at the more or less last minute).  I do so love that lady of mine.

OH, and there was this surprise that I did a few days early as part of a 30 day art challenge.  I call it The Wife: An Ode To Motherhood.  At first I almost didn't include The Boy, but then what was I thinking?!?  The point is to recognize and celebrate this woman and the wonderful mother she has been and is and continues to be, so he had to be in there.  Happy Valentine's Day, Wife!  You are my forever love.

And just a week later marked The Boy's last three-month mark before hitting another big birthday (The Wife posted a fun and photoful post just yesterday here).  He's growing like crazy and looks less like a baby and more like a little kid every single day, which continually blows my mind.  He's much more independent and strong-willed, but he's still sweet and (sometimes) snuggly and always amusing.  His appetite comes and goes, even when it comes to his usually favorite things (like bananas and avocados), but he'll always be glad to have bread anything, sometimes to the point of spurning absolutely everything else.  He looooooves going outside, even when it's nippy (not that this miserable excuse for a winter has given us much reason to hunker down anyway), and is getting better at resigning himself to coming inside after a fun walk to see the horses down the street or jumping on the trampoline or going down -- or, more preferred, up -- the slide.  His vocabulary is exploding, and it has a lot to do with how well and how much he mimics what he hears.  We were just driving in the car and talking about something, when he repeats, "Ooohhhh, maaaaan!", much to our delight.  He sometimes mutters little "prayers" while we're blessing the food and he likes to jump in while reading books with the parts he knows.  He's learning that he's much more likely to get what he wants if he says, "PeeeeeeeeEESE?" and he's pretty good at thank you too.  He sometimes wakes up pretty early, but he's always glad to just sit and play in his crib for a while until we get up and fetch him, and he's always glad to see us.  He always gives a nice, "Bye!" or "Sya!" (See ya) when I head down to work, and he always rushes to the top of the stairs when he hears me heading home at the end of the day.  Few things give me greater delight as I'm heading to the store or coming home from a run than looking up at the windows and seeing my boy peeking down at me and waving with a huge smile on his face, and his mommy sitting beside him.

Time for some Instapictures!
The Boy knows BCEs when he sees 'em.
Riveted!  And rightly so. (Also, Goodnight Moon.)
It's amazing to see him discover totally everyday things.
Such a good one!  He was a bit of a snuggly duckling this morning.
He prefers the original too, I think.
It still doesn't feel like a Disney movie, but he liked all the go-karts.
Aaaaand THE END!  It was quite a year.  Also, he started crying the instant LIG started.  Make of that what you will.
Coloring!!!  He loves it.  At this point he knew green and purple, but by now he knows just about all the major ones (though he still sometimes struggles with red for some reason).
Many thanks to Baby Einstein for making haircuts an easier and more pleasant experience for everyone involved. (And also for helping him get through the occasional rough morning.)
Free day at the zoo!  It has changed a lot in the last 20 years.
I thiiiink this might be a little above your reading level at present, son.
These stickers provided days of entertainment as he passed them from one canvas to another.
He's loving the out of doors these days!  He wouldn't take those mittens off all day, and recently his snow boots have been given the same treatment.
The static hair on the trampoline makes me laugh every single time.
Ummmm, wherrrre did this come from??
We're starting to get to that point, with two weeks until our family changes forever, where we are realizing that we'll never have this time to spend with just him, which is just something that we haven't thought about that much in the rush of everything that's been happening.  We've had so many good times, and I know for sure we'll have even more once The Poppy shows herself, but we'll never be a family of three again, and it's a big change, so we're trying to take in every detail and spend as much individual time with The Boy as we can for now.  I know he won't really realize how much things have changed right away, and he won't really remember being an only child that much, but it's still something to think about.  (Then again, things changed forever when HE came along, and even before that when we were married, and every phase has been better than the last, so there's no reason to expect anything different from this one.)  He gladly points to Mommy's tummy when asked where the baby is and loves spending time in the nursery with his old toys, and we're sure he'll be a most splendid big bro.
Happy 21, Boy! It's so crazy that he's just that close to turning two... We love our little man.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Farewell To 2014, Hello To 2015

I really want to write this out before it turns to February.  The Wife also posted a great Christmas post here, and also here.
Christmas!  It was wonderful.  I was able to take advantage of two full weeks of vacation time/holidays off, and we made the most of our it (not like last year when I lost some of my vacation days due to miscalculation on my part...).  We went to the dinosaur museum and enjoyed some very well-timed snowfalls, saw Into the Woods (YES) and The Hobbit part 17 (NO), rewatched the Lord of the Rings movies (YES), watched a LOT of The Amazing Race (yes AND no), finished our Year of Disney Animation Marathon, took the train up to Temple Square to see the lights and visit some friends, and generally enjoyed being together.  So the big day finally came upon us.  We had a great time with my family on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, but also having our first Christmas at our new place.  The Boy was suitably pleased with the festivities, and over time gradually stopped pulling ornaments and beads off the tree (o, Glamdring!).  We made sure to spread out his presents throughout the day, and even the week in some cases, to maximize the excitement for each and every thing.  The Fisher-Price garage was the biggest hit, and one of The Wife's handed-down stuffed animals has been pretty well-loved too.  We both felt like we hadn't thought of anything nice or creative to give each other, but of course we were both surprised and delighted, even with things we were expecting (some long-lost Disney piano books, new running shoes, some great new music to listen to for me, new pillows, knitting supplies, the latest Just Dance, a mini food processor for her, and new phones all around!  Our bill was just cut by 2/3).  We missed Julie's family, but we were glad we had just been able to spend a nice long Thanksgiving with them, and talked and webcammed with them to fill the void, and let them get their Bobo-fix.
It turned out to be a perfect night for it.  We'll go on weeknights ever more.  And maybe not take the train.  But if we do, not miss the train.
So many saurs!  Also a good day to go, I think people were still in school.
"CaaaAAAARrrrrr!"
"SnoooOOOOoooow!"
Yeah, we can totally rock this look.
Then of course with the New Year came the now-annual Epic Shave and a Haircut, which The Boy thought was hilarious.  Our new ward was all a dither about the new look, and I missed it more than I usually do, but it's a nice change (though odd to shed the winter coat just as January starts), and it's already growing back in.
And now here we are in January.  2014 turned out to be a busy but really great year.  We actually took the plunge and made the move from renting to owning, I switched from conducting adults (after years, mind you) to conducting children (a change I gladly welcome), our boy grew more than we could have expected, and our girl magically appeared and continually makes her presence known.  Her checkups have been going really well and she's healthy and seems very active, and looks like she really is in the right position (not just the doctor pretending she's in the right position...) and in general it's a good way to be as we're making our way through the third trimester.  We definitely started to realize that our time as a family of three is fast coming to an end, so we want to enjoy it as much as we can before our eagerly-anticipated Poppy* arrives and turns our life and family blessedly on its head.

Whatever happens, this wife of mine are in it together.  It's interesting how we've been married for over five years.  We remember when we used to say things like, "won't it be weird when we can say we've been married for five years??"  Well, it is and it isn't.  Now we say that about ten years, but that will be upon us before we realize it too.  I was scheduled to take a business trip this week, but it didn't really turn out, which is just as well, since now we don't have to break our record of never having spent a night apart.  2015 is off to a pretty promising start so far.

Ooh, mushy stuff.  I guess we ARE leading into February after all.

* No, that's not her name.  We call her The Poppy (a la The Speck of olde), originating when we learned she was hanging around, and was at that time the size of a poppy seed.  Just hang tight, The Name will be revealed before long.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas 2014

Happy Christmas, everyone!

(Seriously, that kid's face??  Forget about it.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Annual Christmas Eve Journal Write 2014

Many years ago my sister initiated a tradition where everyone takes a minute during our sibling sleepover to write in their journal on Christmas Eve.  It was a good way to make sure we wrote at least once a year, and it also helped to pass the time while we were getting ready to (not) fall fast asleep.  Anyway, I don't really have that much to say right now, since I wrote just a little while ago, but I wanted to put something down anyway.

Wow, Christmas really sneaked up on me this year, though I guess it always does seem to suddenly be here after a long year of waiting.  But a lot has happened this year, and it's made the time seem to go by pretty quickly, which is both exciting and not so, because there's a lot of great stuff coming up, but there are also some things that I just can't believe are passing by so quickly.  I am amazed every day at how this little boy of ours is growing up and not being a baby anymore.  I was holding one of my 4-month old twin nephews tonight and I can barely remember when The Boy was that small.  It's good that he's growing and learning, and he's such a joy every day that I can't really say I'm sad about him changing and becoming his own person, but at the same time I already miss him. ANYway, it's Christmas Eve, and it's going to be really fun tomorrow to see him react a little more to Christmas and all that that entails.  Last year was fun but he didn't really get what was going on since he was so little, so it will be fun to see how this year is different.  We've tried to impress upon him, at this young age, the real reason for the season, and he's actually really good at recognizing Jesus in Nativity scenes and paintings, so I think that's pretty good (and it's not that he really gets the other aspect of Christmas anyway, though I'm sure he'll figure something's up tomorrow morning when new playthings appear before his eyes... though we definitely tried not to go overboard, though it's proven harder than we expected).  I've always loved Christmastime, and I've always been really happy to take time now and then to think about what we're actually celebrating, but sitting with my wife and little boy (and of course The Poppy in utero) as I tear up in front of Mickey's Christmas Carol, or watching him (gently) pull the ornaments and (not so gently) the beads off the tree and point out the star on top, or hearing him make the animal sounds and point out the "baby!" as we watch The Nativity makes it mean something fresh and new that I've don't remember ever really having experienced.  Jesus was born and lived on this earth, and The Wife and I have a sacred duty and wonderful opportunity to share that glorious knowledge with this sweet and innocent and darling little boy, so he can grow up with the same sweet assurance and hope for the future that we had as children (not to mention the magic and symbolism of Santa Claus).  So yes, Christmas is new all over again, though I don't have quite as much trouble falling asleep these days as I used to.

I guess that's all for this year.  It's late and we're watching the First Presidency Christmas Devotional while I write this (the music is always my favorite part), and then we'll get ready for bed and let Santa Claus do his thing.  Speaking of Santa Claus, I feel like I should mention that we watched this new TV program last night.  I'm a big fan of the musical, so it was really fun to see the music adapted into a new but somehow still classic Christmas special:

It's not perfect, but I really enjoyed it, on an animation level, and of course a musical one.  I've thought for the last few years that they should make a movie of the musical version (based on the movie, of course), but it always seemed so unlikely.  Well, this is just about the next best thing!  Maybe even better.

Okay, that's it! Jesus was born! He still lives! God bless us, every one!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 (inc. 18 Months)

Well, The Boy has reached a year and a half.  He's such a big fellow, and he's funny and smart and adorable and a joy to all.

We were glad to spend Thanksgiving in MO with The Wife's family.  We usually go there for Christmas, so it was fun to be there for the November happenings and fun times instead, and it worked out great because we stayed until a few days into December, so we had a little taste of Christmastime there too.  (And can I take a second to say that I can't believe the difference in airline prices from one day to the next?  Come on.)  Our journey there was as perfect as can be, even though, or maybe because, we took a very early flight.  We were in St. Louis by early afternoon, after The Boy had a short nap on the airplane, and then we booked it south before the shenanigans at Ferguson grew to be too out of hand.
I wish I could travel in my jammies (The Wife wants the world to know she wasn't on her phone for longer than a moment here, that's just when the picture happened to be taken).
This boy loves a tiger.  We need one of these bad boys at OUR local library.
He was impressed with my latest batch of BCE.  He had a taste and was not disappointed.
We had a fun race on Thanksgiving morning.  I didn't know if there was one, but Marci looked it up, a few of us coughed up the fee (how did we used to pay for a race every month?), and it was a great time.  It was a cold morning, but once we were on our way we warmed up.  I hadn't done a 10K in a nice long while, so it was good to do another one (hopefully in preparation for some longer races next year?...).  We all three of us beat our personal goals -- I came in at 46:49, 7:33/mile, fourth overall and first in my division.  Not my best 10K, but my first in a few years, and a better pace than I've been running lately, so I'll take it!
Fun Thanksgiving Day race group!  The boys did the 10K, the girl did the 5K, and the kids were part of the cheering section.
We spent a great two weeks eating great food, watching movies, going on outings, enjoying family we don't get to see often enough.  It was so fun for The Boy to have so much attention from such willing and ready cousins and aunts and uncle and grandparents.  Every single thing the cousins did was hilarious to him, which was of course hilarious to them too.
A cool dude on his way to the zoo.  Note the truck and tractor, recent discoveries that he was unwilling to relinquish.  This is also the longest he has allowed those shades to sit on his face!
And then we made our way home, which was always a sad thing after a fun visit, but we had a good solid two weeks of vacation, and we had a lot of Just Dance, a lot of pie, and a lot of family fun time.  The flight back wasn't quite as delicious, mostly because of the four-hour layover and the 40-minute nap, but he was still quite a good little boy almost the entire time.
And now here we are at 18 months!  It seems crazy that he's already halfway to another year old (two??  Stop it).  He's going through some interesting phases at present.  He has close to a dozen teeth, those molars coming in pretty quickly, and his appetite is shifting a little bit too.  He still loves a banana at any moment, and always wants an avocado, even if it's just in his hand while shopping at the grocery store.  He eats mostly what we're eating, though he's a little pickier than he used to be (it also largely depends on his mood).  A few weeks ago he decided he just hated that high chair and refused to be calm or eat unless seated at the table.  So a booster seat was in order, and now he's happy as can be to feed himself at the table like his parents.  He usually folds him arms for prayers, though that's hit-or-miss these days, especially when he sees food on the table.  He's very active, a little tornado like usual, and he loves reading -- we really just need to get our own copy of Marla Frazee's Roller Coaster, we're keeping it from all the local libraries for more than our share.  His vocabulary has basically doubled in the last few weeks, and he's much better at recognizing things in books and in the real world and making connections and associations.  He clearly discerns the difference between cars, trucks and tractors, he's getting much more consistent about mommy, daddy, nana, papa, auntie and uncle, he's still doing his animal sounds, and also starting to say a lot of their names (tiger and duck are popular), and he's really good about things like hot, cold, in, out, up, down, and even saying things like, Uh-oh!  Tada!  I love you!  It was also probably helpful to be around his toddler cousin so much over Thanksgiving, because I think he was able to relate to someone closer to his size a little more and mimic her talking, even to the point of doing a couple of short sentences (Hi, kitty!).  Interestingly he's stopped doing some of his tricks as consistently, but I think that's just because he doesn't want to more than because he dropped the skill.  He'll still wave and blow kisses, often adding bye-bye.

Last Sunday we took him to Nursery for the first time, which has been the plan all along, but which didn't really hit me until that very morning, practically on the way to class.  We were so glad to see that he didn't make a peep of protest when we dropped him off, but I might have shed a tear or two.  He had a glowing report after, so we just hope this continues in the weeks and months to come.  I will also say that it was much more relaxing not to have to entertain him for those two hours, though I'll miss my Elders Quorum buddy.  And now we're heading in full speed ahead to Christmas time, and The Boy is already fascinated with the magical joys it's bringing.  We're determined to teach him who's who in the finger puppet Nativity on the shelf, and he's having a great time exploring the bottommost branches of our Christmas tree.

Picture time!
The Disney Indoctrination continues!
Snuggling with Mommy on a poorly afternoon.
He loved making various animal noises every time he saw the Beast.
This little tog zaum is so versatile!
Introducing him to my longest and truest Disney crush.

There is something so perfect about this picture.  He loved his Costa Vida dinner, that's for sure.  Straight to the tub!
There we go, much tidier.
Shakespeare on the savannah, Zero in hand.
Finally officially meeting his onetime ladylove.
Getting a little exercise while sightseeing in scenic Paris.
Go the distance!
That Toothless hat!  It's the best.
A little change from the usual weekend fare with General Conference.
He likes bananas, coconuts and grapes, that's why they call him Bobo of the Apes.
That crib hair wins.

It looks like he's a little more interested in the dinosaurs in hand than the ones on screen.  (Not that I blame him.)
Lawl, face of toast.
Llama face!  (We sure watched a lot of Disney movies over these three months.)
The littlest Survivor fan.
HEY DAD WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
A fun party at the magical land of trampolines, courtesy of our real estate agent.  This place is definitely something out of one of my favorite and most recurring childhood daydreams.
So what does ohana mean again?...
Lots of machines in a few of these more recent ones.
See what I mean about that versatile stool?
Cows say moo, sheep say baa.
Christmastime is pretty amazing at Costco.  He loved being flopped upon these.
He's over his fear of the rah-rah for sure now.
Meeting the Robinsons.
This boy already likes ribs as much as his daddy (or at least gnawing on the bones).  Lucky thing, I didn't acquire a taste for them until many years into my life.
Just doing a little ironing!  That face!!!
So there's the Insta-rundown.  I feel like I'm in this really weird stage right now because he's SO much fun at this age, learning so much so fast and being so cute and funny, but at the same time I miss him as a tiny baby, and I also can't wait until he's a little older and having even more conversations and learn even more.  I guess the moral of this story is to be grateful for each stage while we're in it, and we definitely have been.