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.}