September 10, 2013

Audia is FIVE!

It seems crazy to say, but our sweet little munchkin is now FIVE years old! It is simultaneously impossible to imagine our life without her and so hard to believe that she is five already. Where does the time go? Seriously. We had her birthday party on her birthday this year, and Audia chose a My Little Pony theme this year. It seemed that everyone had a lot of fun, and Audia is already talking about how she can't wait to have a party next year :-)

Audia, you are growing up to be such an amazing person. You are still the biggest sweetheart. Compassionate, caring, helpful, and considerate are some of your key traits. You love to help your family and friends, and especially your little brother. Though you do get annoyed with him some of the time, most of the time you love to play with him and he with you! You are also willful, determined, curious, creative, affectionate, and silly. Making up songs and stories is one of your favorite things to do, and something you are really good at. I am always amazed at the songs that you sing off the top of your head....almost always about love, friends, and family. Your interests range from drawing to gymnastics to reading to dancing to building things with legos and blocks. You've started to learn how to read in the past month or so, and are easily reading three and four-letter words these days. Your favorite characters and toys are My Little Pony, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sofia the First, Transformers Rescue Bots, and the Care Bears.
I am so proud of you, my sweet girl.

I love you more than anything in the whole wide world!

State Fair 2013

Due to the crazy nature of this year's summer, and also due to the ridiculously hot (mid-90's with 75% humidity?!) weather, we didn't make it to the fair this year as a whole family. Chris and I got to spend a couple of hours there kid-free before the Depeche Mode concert (which was awesome!) and then the kids and I went with my parents on the very last day of the fair. Chris didn't join us because he was in Vegas celebrating his friend B's 40th birthday.
Here are a few photos from the last day:


The cottage 2013

We were lucky enough to have two seperate week-long vacations at the cottage this summer. The first trip, my parents joined us up there for a couple of days, and we also got to see our good friends, E & D, who spend a week every summer up at a lake just a few minutes away. The second trip we got to spend time with Chris' mom and Cooper. Both trips we had amazing weather, with only one or two overcast days total out of 16!
We were also very lucky to be able to use the new pontoon that Chris' family purchased this year! We were able to spend so much more time out on the water as a family. The cottage is always enjoyable, but it made it so much easier to get out fishing with the kids in tow :-) Hooray for the new pontoon!!
Audia had a lot of fun catching frogs, a turtle, a lizard, and a bunch of fish! Callen's favorite thing to do, all day, every day, was play in the sand. We had such a great time, it makes me sad to know we likely won't be getting back up there until next year.
Here are a handful of photos from our trip.

June 27, 2013

Callen's 2 Year Appointment

Callen has never been a fan of the doctor. Probably because he's never been a fan of people he doesn't know very well talking to him, let alone touching him or sticking things in his ears. So all week, I've been playing doctor with him, talking to him about what Dr. S would do, and even going as far as to buy a special set of pull-back cars and telling him that he could have them after his appointment IF he was good and let Dr. S look him over. The preparation (and bribery) seemed to work, and while initially he was resistent to letting her get too close to him, instead of screaming bloody murder like he has the past four or five visits, he did warm up to her and let her measure and examine him. Yay! Thankfully there were no shots today, either, so I am hopeful that his next visit will go just as smoothly.

Cal is healthy as can be, on track with his vocab and motor skills, and, as expected, GIANT for his age. At 31 lbs (80th %ile) and 37.75" tall (off the chart,) he is in the 13th %ile for BMI (which they start keeping track of at 2 years) and is the size of the "average 3 and 1/2 year old boy." Doc even went as far as to say that she had to keep reminding herself of his age when she was asking him questions; to just look at him she said she was expecting him to speak in clear, full sentences. She also said that his height has the potential to cause problems for him for the next couple of years because people that don't know him will expect so much more from him socially and verbally than he is capable of. But he is healthy and happy and to me, that is all that matters!

June 25, 2013

Moments to remember

Tonight was my turn to put Audia to bed. (Chris and I take turns every night with the kids.) After Jammies, teeth brushing, potty, and books come songs, then snuggling and telling her good things to dream about. When I sing, I sing three songs. The first is 'Once Upon a Time' from the Broadway musical version of Peter Pan. The second song rotates between a few different favorites including 'La La Lu,' 'Goodnight My Angel' (Billy Joel,) and 'I Have Never Loved Someone' by My Brightest Diamond. The third song is always 'Twinkle twinkle little star.' The past month or so, the second song default has become 'La La Lu.' But tonight I decided to mix it up and sing 'I Have Never Loved Someone' instead. When I started singing it, Audia snuggled in closer to me and I could feel her smiling. And when I got to the part that says "When you grow to be Queen or Clown or Pauper...." She said to me, "I'll never be any of those things, mommy. I'll always be your sweetheart even when I'm an adult." I told her that she can be whatever she wants to be and be my sweetheart at the same time, then finished the song and the rest of bedtime. Moments like that are so fleeting, but the types of moments that make everything else melt away. They are the moments I want to bottle up and relive when we're having a rough day and not getting along so well. We had a very long day of cleaning and errand running....the type of day where too much menial stuff was planned and there was very little quality time spent. The type of day that I try to avoid, but sometimes just have to trudge through even though I'd rather be doing a million other things instead. But it is so refreshing to know that even though today was not filled with fun things and quality family time, my sweet daughter still would rather be my sweetheart for the rest of her life than a Queen. :-)

June 10, 2013

Now You Are Two.....

Callen on the day he was born
Callen at 1 year
Callen at 2 years

Dear Callen,
Today you are 2! And what an amazing 2 years it has been, getting to know you! You, my son, are the sweetest of sweet boys. You brighten our lives so much with your sweet smiles, your snuggly cuddles, and your amazingly silly personality. You love to poke fun, to tease and trick, to do whatever you can to make us laugh. Lately you've started pointing and saying "Hey!" when someone does something like tickle you. It makes my heart melt every time.

Over the past few weeks, it feels like you have exploded verbally. You are saying so many words now, and stringing 5-6 words together at a time, completing thoughts and sentences! It feels to me like this has just happened over night. You also will repeat what other people say, with a question inflection in your voice like you are verifying that what you heard was correct. You understand so much!

You are still (and will always be, I am sure,) OBSESSED with wheels. You LOVE vehicles of all shapes and sizes, but the bigger the better it seems these days. We switched your car seat to be forward facing a few months ago, due to your height, and you love being able to see forward! Any time you see a bus, you'll tell me, "Mama! A Bus!" and if you see a big semi or any sort of out-of-the-ordinary vehicle (a garbage truck, construction vehicles, etc) you let out a loud, "Wooowwww!" that 9 times out of 10 makes me jump.

Another thing you love to do is play with water! Whenever daddy gets home from work, you want to stand on a chair and play at the sink while he makes dinner. You also love baths, showers, the lake, and the water tables that we have here and the one at grandma and grandpa's house.

Other favorite things of yours are the mall (many mornings when we get up you ask, "Mall day?"), play kitchens (you could pretend cook for hours!), looking at photos of nails on my phone (you frequently want to sit in my lap and look through my instagram pics of nail art) and Fievel.

But your most favorite thing is your sister. You love and look up to your sister in a way that makes this mommy's heart melt into a puddle on the floor. Sure, you have moments where you get tired of her directing your play, or times where you don't want to share, but you always want to know where she is and what she's doing. You also always want to get one of anything you might get from me or daddy, be it a snack or a drink or a dessert...whatever...for Audia. I know you don't know it yet, but you are so, so, so lucky to have such an amazingly patient and loving big sister. Audia loves you so much, Callen. She is always looking out for you, and worrying about you, and frequentlygoes out of her way to make sure that you are happy and having fun.

Personality-wise you are, these days, much more shy than your sister has ever been. You like the people that you know, and you do warm up eventually to people that you sense are "safe," but it always takes a little while for you to warm up to even the people you see regularly. You are very considerate, it seems....either that or you really see the benefit of having a clean play space. I frequently see you picking up toys and putting them away (in the right places!) all on your own! Mommy loves this....please keep it up and try to teach your sister to do the same ;-) You also love to bring people things of theirs if you see they are without them. You are constantly bringing daddy and me our phones or our beverages.

You fill our lives with such love, such light, and so many smiles. It sounds corny but you really do complete our family and make it whole. I feel like there is a perfect balance among the four of us; it is not always apparent or in it's best form, but it is there more often than not. I love you so very much, and I am so proud of you, and so excited to see what you will do, my handsome TWO year old!


Callen's 2nd Birthday Party

Callen's birthday is tomorrow. I can and can not believe it. Unfortunately his annual well check isn't until later this month so I don't know exact stats, but I can say that he is in 2T clothing only because it is just barely long enough but still *kind of* hugs his waist. I'm still constantly pulling up his pants and wishing that they were longer. Tall and skinny is an understatement. He is almost as tall as some of our 3 year old play date friends. No joke. No idea where he gets that height from....(*eye roll*)

Anyhoo! We had a smaller party for Callen this year due to his shyness around people he doesn't know very well. My parents were gracious enough to host it at their house; their beautiful and spacious back yard is one of the kids (and our!) favorite places to play and lounge, and luckily the weather held out long enough for us to have our party! It ended up being a really nice day weather-wise, cloudy and in the mid-70's.

We felt especially lucky to have Grandpa Mustache and Uncle Brent come in from Chicago, and Great Auntie Sharon come down from northern MN just for Callen's party. Nana had an art show in IL and couldn't get away, but we look forward to seeing her later this summer!

We did a vehicle theme due to Cal's complete obsession with wheels. I designed the invitations myself using images of various vehicles I found on the web; quick mask quickly became one of my favorite tools in photoshop! lol. I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking.

Being bashful as the guests start to arrive
Audia and Grandpa Mustache

Audia and Uncle Brent

Cal and his truck from Audia

The kiddos

Definitely impressed by the Cars toys!

Opening gifts

Workbench from Nana and Grandpa Mustache

All the kiddos

Hugs for Auntie Sharon

June 6, 2013

Summer is "here"!

You know, if you can really call it summer when it's 55 degrees and raining most of the time. But, school is out and the craziness of May is over, so it's summer to me!

Munchkin's last week of school was the week of Memorial Day. She had "Spring Sing" on Wednesday, which is a concert the kids put on for all the parents/family who wants to watch. She really is such a performer; she loved being in front of a crowd and kept smiling and waving at us the whole concert. Friday was the official last day. She was pretty sad to leave, and has already talked a few times about wishing school could start again sooner. I'm trying to keep our weeks busy, and she'll be starting Gymnastics with a friend next week, so hopefully that will help her to feel like it's not such a total drag to be home with Mom and Brother all the time :-)

Audia and her teacher, Miss Lacey

Audia's birthday is one week past the cutoff for starting Kindergarten in 2013 so she will have one more year of Preschool before moving to the "Big Kid School." I go back and forth about being disappointed and glad that this is the case; on the one hand I feel like she is ready for "real" school but on the other I look forward to having an extra year with her only in school part time, and I can also see benefits later (ie High School) with her being one of the oldest in her class. Not to mention being older when she goes off to college, should she so chose.

Cal's turning 2 next week, and we have his birthday party this weekend. He as just exploded verbally in the past couple of weeks, and is also testing us much more by trying to assert his independence in anything and everything. Thankfully he is still a good sleeper, even though it is taking him longer to go to sleep at night. My good eater has all but disappeared, though, and most days I feel lucky to get him to eat anything at all. Then he'll have a day where he'll eat anything you put in front of him. I have to keep reminding myself that he will eat when he's hungry. It's certainly not like he's not growing....the kid is as tall as some three year olds!

This summer should be a fun one. We have two trips to the cottage planned, as well as many play dates on the books already. And I am second shooting weddings most weekends, which I am really enjoying!

March 20, 2013

Wow! It's been a while. That seems to be how journaling goes for me, though. I kept journals starting in middle school, all the way until I was 20 or 21 and the frequency of my writing always seemed to ebb and flow.

The kids are doing great. Audia is officially 4 and a half this month, and we had her last parent teacher conference a couple of weeks ago. Miss Lacey had nothing but good things to say about Audia, including that she is one of the most advanced in the class both academically and socially. Her favorite area in the class room is the free art area, she's very eager to help both her teachers and classmates, and she has multiple friends of both genders.
In other news, Munchkin is still huge into superheroes, specifically Iron Man and the Silver Surfer these days. She's become a much pickier eater, though it's pretty mood-based so she will be fine with something one day and not want it at all the next. Thankfully we haven't entered "I'll only eat Kraft mac and cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, or hot dogs" territory. And while of course she and Cal have their moments of sibling rivalry, all-in-all she is a wonderful big sister, regularly playing with him, checking on him, reading to him, and just generally including him in what she's doing. Cal is one lucky guy, that's for sure!

Cal is 21 months now and a whopping 30 pounds. I'm not sure of his height but I do know that while he is a 2T for length, he is still in 18 months for width. He is still sweet as can be, loving to snuggle and cuddle and give kisses and hugs and whispering "I love you." But despite his inherent sweetness, Callen is definitely entering 'terrible twos' territory lately with regular displays of independence and defiance. He throws tantrums in a way that Audia never did, throwing himself on the floor, kicking and screaming when something really sets him off. His favorite word these days is "STOP!" which sounds more like "DOP!" He is still HUGE into wheels, which I have a feeling will never ever change. His favorite vehicles are buses, which he loves to watch through our living room window. He also love nails. The first thing he wants to do when he wakes up in the morning is go down stairs to the living room and sit in my lap to look at nails on my phone. He'll hand me my phone and say "Nails! Nails, mommy!" So we'll flip through instagram photos of manicures, and he'll double tap the ones he likes to "heart" them. He adores and looks up to his big sister in a way that melts my heart. He wants to do whatever she's doing, and I am so grateful that she embraces that (most of the time.) They are so lucky to have each other!

February 5, 2013

Ten Years of Being 'Home'

Ten years. In some ways it feels impossible that it's been that long, and in others it feels like it's been much longer. Ten years ago I took a leap of faith and decided to meet in person a guy who I had met online. We had only emailed back and forth a handful of times, and I remember feeling extremely fed up with life in general. "Life in general" back then at the what now seems like EXTREMELY young age of 20, meant my romantic life, which of course was all that really mattered. There were only one or two guys in any of my college classes that were remotely interesting to me and they were either taken or not really my type. So when this 'Hot or Not' guy invited me (and any friends who I cared to bring along) to meet him and a group of his friends for bowling, I decided to stuff my inherent shyness and go for it. I remember walking into the bowling alley with my college roomie and BFF, Shaunie, and seeing Chris stand up a few lanes away. There was a feeling of relief; not only was he just as handsome in person as he was in his hot or not picture (YES. Hot or Not. I know. Who the heck meets their future spouse on Well, I did,) but he had the same genuinely friendly vibe that I had detected in his emails. He came up, gave me a hug, introduced himself to Shaunie, and walked us over to his group of friends to introduce us to them as well. Shaunie and I didn't stay long, maybe a half hour or so. But it was long enough for us to both agree upon leaving, that they were a group of people we could see ourselves hanging out with again in the future.

I felt at home with Chris pretty much immediately. We had a level of comfort that I've found in most other relationships takes months or years to develop. A genuine, strong friendship has been at the heart of our relationship since day one. The first couple of years had their ups and downs; we broke up and got back together a couple of times. But we always remained friends. That friendship wasn't something that I think either of us was willing to let go of. It's the kind of friendship that spans a lifetime. And while our lifestyles have changed (we've replaced numerous camping and fishing trips with numerous diaper changes and trips to the pediatrician,) our friendship has not. We still enjoy just being together. We still make eachother laugh and think, we still support and advise eachother. We still talk. We still text and IM eachother midday just to say "hi." and "I love you." We still dream together of the things we'll do and places we'll see. And I am still so incredibly grateful for that leap of faith I took 10 years ago today. Because it really was the first day of the rest of my life. And I couldn't be any more lucky to have such and incredible man to share that life with.

Below are a few photos from the first year we were dating. Man, we look young, don't we??

January 9, 2013

My Social Butterfly

I took munchkin to the doctor today to have a rash looked at (we're still waiting on test results to find out if it's strep or, more likely, just a virus.) Since it was a same-day appointment, we ended up waiting around in the waiting room for a good forty minutes before getting to go into an exam room. The waiting room at our pediatrician's office is pretty small; there are maybe 30 chairs total, a fish tank, a few tables, and a tv mounted to the wall. The room is small enough that you can always see anyone else in the waiting room, which was heaven for a social butterfly like Audia.
I've always known that Audia was a friendly kid, but seeing her in action today was a lot of fun for me. I would even go as far as to say that it was a bit of an eye-opener. It's pretty rare that I get to really watch and hear her interact with kids she doesn't know; when we're at a playgound or play area at the mall, it's not like I'm following around behind her the whole time. She does her own thing, and I keep an eye from a distance. Being able to sit back and watch her do her thing, while being able to hear her the whole time was a treat.
There were a handful of kids who went through while we were waiting, none older than 6 or 7, I would guess. And every kid that came in, she walked right up and said a friendly "hi!" to. She helped a younger boy, maybe 2 or 3 years old, take off his jacket while his mom filled out a form. She showed another little girl who was 18 months ("She's the same age as my brother, Callen!" She told her mom,) the fish in the tank, naming each one's color. And she asked a girl, about a year older than her, about Kindergarten. I was so impressed, not only by her outgoing-ness (as I was, and still am, pretty shy with strangers,) but by her ability to adapt her interactions based on the age of the child she was interacting with. A lot of kids her age like to talk about themselves, and don't get me wrong, Audia loves to tell people all about her brother and Spiderman and her My Little Ponies. But the majority of her interactions with these other kids were about them, not her, and it was a bit of an eye-opener. Maybe even a little peek into her future. I only hope that she'll maintain her outgoing nature while also gaining a healthy understanding of "stranger danger." I hope that no bullies or bad experiences with other kids will squelch her brave, social nature. And I cannot wait to see what she does with her interest in and empathy towards others. Keep flying, my girl! I can't wait to see where the wind takes you!