Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Happy TWO Years, Miss Beans!

Well, here we are. Rounding out Lyla's second birthday.

I sit here sort of speechless. Trying to take in the fact that I have a two year old.

Life has been so busy, with today being no exception, that I haven't really let that soak in. Until this exact moment.

Although last night, just as we began the tuck-into-bed process {and yes, it is exactly that - a process}, a wave of nostalgia, excitement, and a twinge of sadness came over me. I realized that as I kissed my little bean to sleep, she would wake up a two year old. Another birthday. Another year passed. Wasn't I just in the delivery room a few weeks ago?

Someone make it stop!

But I really am so excited to begin our new adventure into Two-ville. With the exception of the horrifying tantrum now and again, I have so enjoyed the toddler stage. And I can't wait for it to continue. Lyla is so curious, eager to learn, stubborn, quirky, gentle, deliberate, hilarious, and full of life.

And there are so many adorable things that have made quite the impression on my sappy, old, mama heart. But a few I really want to remember...

- I love her wild & crazy bed head in the mornings. No really. It's out of control.

- I love how she labels everything she comes in contact with: "Lyla's shoes, Mommy's hair, Sammy's food, Callaway's house..."

- I love how she stops every so often while eating to wipe her hands and mouth on a napkin.

- I love how the moment we get in the car she asks for "strap please" - the carseat strap that she has completely rubbed into a fuzzy nub while sucking her thumb on the drive home from daycare.

- I love bedtime...when I get the most love {and so does the "baby belly"}. I get eskimo kisses, butterfly kisses, and "real" night night kisses. But the hugs, oh the hugs tight around my neck are what really get me.

- I love how she mispronounces things. Like her "r's":  "bood" (for bird), "gwapes" (for grapes) and "boothday" (for birthday). Or how she says "Bots" (for Pops) and "Gams" (for Grams).

- I love how she gets modest or bashful in certain situations. Like when we ask her how old she is, she turns away, then gets a huge smirk on her face, and after a few seconds boldly proclaims "TWOOOO". Or when we tell her to say bye-bye to a friend, she won't do it at that exact moment, but then the whole ride home she says "Bye-bye Breckyn" and then the whole next week asks to go to "Breckyn's house".

- I love, love, love how she yells "Shoo fly" when she sees a bug of any kind. And lately, we've graduated to a simple "Shoo"!

I mean.

And to celebrate all the sweet cuteness that is our two year old, we started off her birthday with a little bit of extra pizazz to our morning routine. And by pizazz, I mean we put a few balloons in Lyla's room and woke her up by singing "Happy Birthday". {Listen. The kid is NOT a morning person. And  Tuesday's are our early days because she goes all the way across town to GiGi's house.} But she sure loved the balloons once she realized they were for her birthday.

Then, mom and dad went to work. Boo.

But once 5:00 hit, we picked up our birthday girl and celebrated with after-work drinks, birthday cheers included. A local brew for dad, water for pregnant mom, and milk for the birthday girl. When we asked if she wanted pizza or a burrito for her birthday dinner, Lyla excitedly announced "pizzarito"! {She didn't seem too disappointed when she simply got pizza. No "rito".}

And finally, Ly's very favorite part of her birthday: "cuh-cakes". She was a little apprehensive of the "HOT" candles at first, but then, she whipped out the smirk. 

And when the smirk comes out, you know it's time to party. 

And party we did.

Happy birthday to my most favorite girl in the whole wide world. We love you!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Double the Trouble

So, let's talk about this whole having another child thing for a moment, shall we?

We are going to have children. As in plural. As in more than one.

And that has always been the plan. We've always pictured two kiddos running around - a perfectly packaged little family of four. 

And because I *sort of* know what to expect this time around, I feel more relaxed, at ease, and excited for our #2 to arrive. Which is completely out of character for me. I am that crazy lady who plans out specific to-do lists in 20 minute intervals beginning the moment I walk in the door from work in the evenings. Then add having a baby in the mix, and my nesting instinct goes into hyper-vacuuming-dusting-organizing overdrive. 

But oddly enough there is an element of peace in not knowing the sex of this babe. Yes you heard me correctly. It’s sort of like the pressure of all the planning and nursery decorating and perfect baby-outfit-hunting has been taken away with not knowing if we’re having a boy or a girl. I can just focus on living and growing a baby. {And arranging then rearranging every closet and cabinet in the house}. 


It's still difficult for me to picture having two littles. Two. That's double how many kiddos grew up in my household. I'm an only, just me. So I don't fully comprehend the sibling relationship {and personally feel that I'm missing out}, and I don't relate to having to have mom and dad divide share their attention with another.

But these same reasons are exactly why I did not want to have an only child: it's lonely, and you have a much harder time not getting your way. And Lyla has reached the age where she's starting to show signs of "only child syndrome". Girlfriend needs a sibling because 1. she could use a playmate and 2. the world revolves around her and only her… just ask her grandparents. 

So it is time for another.

But, even though I'm thrilled to be expanding and completing our family, I'm not quite sure how to grasp the idea of two. Two whom I love equally. Two whom my attention must be shared. How will that work? I know every parent goes through this before having a second. And many decide to keep sharing the love with more and more children after that. But it's a concept I simply cannot grasp at the moment.

Because I l.o.v.e. Lyla. Like, a lot.

So much that I honest-to-goodness felt like I was doing something naughty when we went to our first OB appointment for babe #2 at 8 weeks. I felt like I was cheating on my first born. 

And although I am absolutely obsessed with the newborn phase, and pretty much every phase thereafter, the thought of dusting off all the baby stuff throws my head into a tailspin  the bottles, the pacifiers, the blankets, the burpcloths. Or all the laundry and onesie changes from spit up and blowouts. Or forgetting how to interact with other adults because life is now defined by your new boss(es). Or completely losing your brain because you seemingly have more to remember than any other human. Or, dear heavens, the feeling that you'll never ever ever sleep again.

All of this while also caring for a toddler.

Oh, the thought of wrangling a newbie and a needy toddler. At the grocery store, in a parking lot, or while I'm making dinner. Or what about nursing while your toddler is crying because you're "ignoring" her and being responsible enough to adequetely feed two, meanwhile trying to remember to feed yourself. And mercy me, the thought of coordinating nap schedules - what a nightmare. Logistically, can someone draw out a blueprint for me?

But of course it will all work itself out. And I want to enjoy all of those moments, no matter how sleep deprived or challenging. Luckily, I've had a group of friends to pave the way in how to survive with two. {Although, they make it seem suspiciously easy.}

And in terms of "sharing the love", it's something I know I won't understand until it happens. A lot like parenthood in general. You just have no idea that much happiness exists. You're truly clueless before baby. And off-the-charts surprised by the amount of love that exists when your babe enters the world.

And thanks to some wise words spoken by a good friend, I find myself repeating my new mantra, "Your love isn't divided between two, it's simply doubled".

I really like the sound of that.

Because if the joy that Lyla brings to our lives is doubled? 

Well then. Stick a fork in me. I’m done. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

23 Months: Pure Delight

These are your last few weeks as a one year old. 

On a normal occasion, I’d be looking back at old pictures, reading the past year’s blog posts, and sitting in a puddle of sentiment and happy tears. I’m a sap. And I love memories. And although I’ve done some looking back, I’ve been so over-scheduled and pregnant that I barely remember things like switching over the laundry after it’s been sitting for 3 days. Plus, we’ve been doing plenty of living-in-the-moment, saying yes to every summer-fun proposition that’s come our way, and making plenty of new memories. Just the three of us. Which leaves zero time to get misty-eyed over my growing toddler, let alone work on a big girl room, a birthday party or a nursery. 

Yes. I am aware we have got to get our acts together and start saying NO. To pretty much everything from here on out. But fun is so hard to say no to!!!

However, this past month is absolutely worth gushing over. It was probably the best month we’ve had to date with you. Ever. And I really mean that. 

You have been an absolute joy. Just consistently delightful all the time. We first noticed it on vacation, when admittedly, I was prepared for daily fussiness and tantrums. But you were an angel, with not even one meltdown all week long. And if I’m honest, you’ve always been a bit of a fusser - anytime you feel discomfort of any kind. We’ve dealt with our fair share of intolerance and cry fits. But for the past month, we’ve experienced nothing but giggles, lots of love-giving, and lots of happy. No fussing. No meltdowns. You've become such a little buddy. 

I’m not exactly sure what changed. It could be the fact that *fingers crossed* you’re past your every-three-weeks of sickness since January. Or that you finally cut 6 of your hardest teeth at once. Or simply that you’re almost two, you’re more confident in your abilities, and your tolerance level is improving. 

Regardless of the reason, we have had lots of sweet and memorable moments.

- We've concluded long ago that you're not a morning person. So it always takes awhile for us to wake you. But every morning, before your eyes are open or before you are even fully awake, you start naming every one of your stuffed animals, "Ellie, Zebra, Britt, Giraffe, Val, Elliot, Baby Emma..." Either that, or you start naming every object you can think of. You and I recently went to the lake and slept in a room with others. I warned everyone to be prepared for an early wake up call to you naming things in the room. Sure enough, at 6 am, "blue light, fan, baby's bed, Lyla's bed, blanket, Mama's hair, Lyla's knees...

- You have really turned into such a little mama. You are loving baby dolls and stuffed animals more than ever, and I'm really hoping this nurturing instinct sticks around when your little bro/sis arrives. You were head over heels in love with Baby Emma on our trip to Rhode Island, and you've started calling your baby at home Baby Emma. And you love to set up all your babies, make sure each of them are fed, and then you kiss them and rock them at random. Talk about heart bursts. 

-  No has been the most popular word in our household as of late. "Lyla, can Mama have a kiss?" No. "Lyla, eat your green beans." No. "Lyla, it's time for a bath?" No. But then, you'll shock our socks off and surprise us with an unsolicited hug and kiss...or better yet, a "Yuuuv YOU!"

 I'll take 200 no's for 1 love you any day, my dear. 

- If "no" is the most popular word lately, "boobies" is a close second. You are absolutely obsessed. It all started when you saw me get out of the shower a few months ago and asked what "those" were. So, I told you "Mama's boobies". You decided to repeat it out of nowhere on the plane a few weeks ago. And by repeat, I mean you pointed and shouted as loudly as you could MAMA'S BOOBIES. And Gabe and I made the mistake of laughing. Now, you are completely intrigued and point out that everyone has them: "Dad's boobies. GiGi's boobies. Pops' boobies." But you find it most important to matter-of-factly tell everyone about it in public places, especially Target. I simply nod my head and say, "that's right" and duck into a corner. 

- You will not go to bed without saying your ABC's. In fact, one night, Dad and I read you story after story and finally told you it was time for bed. Tears began to well up in your eyes, and then you began to cry pretty hard. We asked what was wrong and you couldn't get out an answer. Finally, I realized you were looking up at a favorite book of yours, and I asked, "Oh, did you want to say your ABC's?" You immediately stopped crying and in the sweetest, softest little voice said, "Yeah. AB's." Dad and I obviously caved. 

- Speaking of ABC's, I'm not sure how or when you learned actually them, but you know every single letter of the alphabet. For the longest time you would say "M" for  "N" and "W" and would have a hard time with "Q, X, and Y". But out of nowhere, you suddenly knew them all. And most of the time, instead of saying "L", you yell "LYLA", or after seeing an "S" you yell "NAKE" {for snake. because you can't pronounce "s" when it's at the beginning of a word}. So cute. You also know your colors, shapes, and a few numbers. You're at such a fun, spongey age. I love it!

- You have started to notice boys. I kid you not. Anytime you see boys, no matter the age, you say "Hiiii boys" in a thick southern accent. We were at the grocery store the other day when a few teenage boys were walking down the aisle. You looked at them, smiled, and said "Hiiiya boys". They laughed, and so when we kept going you said, "Byyye boys." Lord help us now. 

"Cheers" is also one of your favorite things. One guess as to who taught you that. 

- You did something recently that made me tear up instantly. You had been pointing to my belly and saying "baby belly" off and on all day, then you'd lift up your shirt, poke out your stomach and say "baby belly". But out of nowhere, you walked over to my belly, patted it, and made your zebra lovie kiss the "baby belly". 

I can't. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New England Vacay

No matter how wonderful the vacation, it is always such a relief to come home. To get back to your own bed and to step back into a routine. 

Especially when you've been gone all but two weekends all summer.

But regardless of the gradual intensity of my need and appreciation for home while I'm away, I still crave the exploration and adventure of a getaway. Even if it's just a quick jaunt to a neighboring town or a day trip to see friends.

A couple weeks ago, we finally ended our summer travel ventures with a bang, {with the exception of recently committing to going on two more quick weekend trips} as we took Lyla on her second visit to our home away from home - Rhode Island.

Oh my, how traveling with a toddler looks so different from traveling with an infant. Both stages bring their own set of challenges, but traveling with a toddler is like anticipating the potential for the catastrophe that may or may not occur after a bomb threat. There's lots of breath holding and ridiculous entertainment antics.

But quite honestly, we were pleasantly surprised. Especially under the circumstances: 8 hours of travel; including two flights, a two hour layover and a one hour drive; all in the middle of the night; with a child who doesn't sleep while traveling. We only had one meltdown. Though completely warranted, the melt-down had me sweating bullets and on my knees praying that the plane would just open up and spit me out into the dark, night sky. Where it was safe. Without a screaming toddler and death glares from those who were trying to sleep as it was 1:30 in the morning.

But you know something? My poor *almost* two year old wanted to sleep too. She just couldn't. And after 20 minutes of body contortions, kicking, screaming, and crying, she finally looked at Gabe and I with tears in her eyes and begged "HELP PLEASE". And then she passed out. Right on my pregnant belly. For the last 15 minutes of the flight.

And then we did not have one more outburst or toddler tantrum the rest of the entire trip or flight home. She was a perfect angel. I guess she got it completely out of her system.

Which made this just the kind of trip we needed. We got to see old friends, meet new babies, spend time at the beach and the lake, ate a sinful amount of New England fare, and visited every one of our favorite local places (including the best coffee shops in the country).

It was the perfect "last getaway" for our family of three.

We got to soak up lots of quality family time. The kind of time that you just don't get at home during the hubbub of everyday.

 Our most favorite coffee shop of all time. 

And a whole lot of friend time...{This is what we would call a baby boom}.

 So weird she's the awkward big kid photo bomb. :(

I've never seen Ly so obsessed with a little. She still wakes up asking for "Baaaby Emma"

Jamestown, Rhode Island

Despite a day where the wind resembled that of Kansas and the ocean water dropped to subarctic temperatures, we still managed to have a delightful day at the beach. I was also reminded how I much prefer Pacific beaches...however a beach is still a beach. And no beach day would be complete without lobster rolls and clam cakes.

We hit up some of our favorite local spots and restaurants. And can I just say? I'm not sure I've ever, ever been to a place with cuisine as fabulous as that in RI. Who knew, right? 

I'd say it was love at first sip for Lyla and Del's Lemonade.

And just so Ly could have more water time, we got to spend the day at our friends' who live right on a private lake.

Hard to believe we will add family member #4 to the annual New England vacay next year.

And we can only hope the next one is a fantastic car/plane sleeper. {Please babe #2, I beg of you.}