Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Picture Wednesday

Finn at 10 weeks old!
This week Finn gave me a very sweet present: seven hours of continuous sleep. He goes to sleep at 9-9:30 every night and doesn't wake up until 4-4:30 when he eats, and then he goes back to sleep until seven. It's amazing what a difference it makes. Oh continuous sleep, how I've missed you.
Finn is such a sweetie. Very generous with his smiles and is starting to coo and chat with us when he's awake and happy. I forgot how sweet those baby noises are. I just love them. He had a couple of days of unexplained screaming fits this week but I think that's passed now. He's very patient with all the shuffling around here and even recovered quickly when big brother accidentally smacked him hard in the head with a book this week. Love our little guy.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Picture Wednesday

I'm a bit behind on Picture Wednesday so here's the last 3! I can't believe little Finn is 9 weeks old already. In the last week he's been giving us a bit longer stretches at night. We usually get one good 5-6 hour stretch, which is wonderful! Poor boy has been a bit under the weather lately. He just has a stuffy nose and the poor kid is just making the loudest snorting noises all night long. The rest of the day he seems to be fine. I hope it goes away soon. Otherwise finding a pediatrician out here will have to be moved to the top of my list.
Also of note the last few weeks, Finn became a super chubby, squishy little boy. It's awesome. He has the most delicious cheeks and his thighs are amazing.
Finn at 7 weeks old

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shuffle

We've been in a bit of a shuffle for the past two weeks. We left Houston 2 weeks ago and came on a whirlwind house hunting trip in Denver. We looked in a few areas and decided we liked the area really close to my Aunt Nancy's house best. Hope she doesn't mind having us live close by! Aunt Nancy and her fam were gracious enough to be our home base as we sped around down looking at just about every house in our price range. She got out a whole bunch of little boy toys and watched Tate most of the day for us. He was in heaven with all the new toys and big boy cousins to play with too! It was torture coming back to the hotel every night. Luckily, Glenn had a new game on his phone to keep him entertained.
My mom flew out the next day to help with the boys and she spent some time seeing houses with us too. It was nice to have her opinion since all the houses were starting to blur...and look a little disappointing at that point. We just can't afford near as much here as we did in Houston. I knew that was the case, but it was still a little disappointing.

The last day we found two good options in our range. One was a foreclosure with a killer price which, upon further investigation, we found already had 5 offers on it. The other was a really cute house with lots of personality and little details. It's nothing like my home in Houston, but it felt the best by far of our options here. We decided to think on it and see it when we got back to town.

The next day the little boys and I flew to Utah with my mom to spend a week with my family while Glenn flew to Houston and supervised the movers packing up our house. He was such a trooper and insisted that the boys and I get out of town while it was all being packed. It would have been super stressful to be there, juggling the kiddos, and watching all our things being packed away.

We spent a great week in Utah with my family. Aubry brought the girls over a lot and Tate and Mya were instant buddies. They played all day together without any issues at all. We could hear them giggling and laughing at each other down stairs all day long. This is "exercising". They did a lot of "exercising".

Playing/hiding in the teepee was another fav. Tate called it the DVD for the first half of the week. "Let's go play in the DVD, Mya!"

It was wonderful. He was just SO happy every time she came over. It was a very relaxing week. We did a little shopping. Mom showed us this darling vintage toy store. I wanted to buy absolutely everything...but I didn't. We had a fun Valentine's day complete with delicious cookies from Flour Girls and Dough Boys. Mmmm, so good!We went out to lunch, made yummy dinners at home, had a little birthday evening for Tate, and took a trip to Cabellas. Tate loved the huge fish. There's so much to see at Cabellas. The kiddos have a really good time. This time Grampa took Tate to the shooting gallery. Turns out Tate really likes the shooting gallery.

Mya, on the other hand, was not so sure about all the loud noises and crazy things moving around. Lucky for me, I had fruit snacks which meant I got to be the favorite aunt for a minute and some snugs to boot!

I love watching my family with my little boys. Of course, I love to see my family and have great conversations with them while I'm home. But I also love to see them play with my kids. Grampa told Tate some great bed time stories. He makes up the best stories. Always has. Nanna played marbles and cars with them. And of course, there were plenty of snuggles to be had. Auntie Mallo came down from Logan for the weekend to hang with us and got in her fair share of snugs too. It was a wonderful week and went way too fast, as always.

Last Sunday we flew back to Denver. It was my first time flying with both kids by myself and I'm happy to report that it went very smoothly. It was a crazy short flight and both boys were very well-behaved.

We got moved in to our corporate apartment (pictures to come), and then went house hunting again yesterday because Glenn had the day off. Aunt Nanc watched the boys again (THANKS NANCY!) and we looked at a bunch of houses, including our favorite from last week. We had just a couple of options we felt good about, but we ended up putting an offer on our favorite that night. They countered yesterday and now we're under contract! SO fast. I'm still reeling from adjusting to having 2 kiddos, and now we're in a new city, new apartment, and buying a new house. It's nuts.

I'm adjusting slowly to this place. I want to get my feet underneath me before we move out of the city. There are so many cool things we can explore while we live right in the middle of Denver and I don't want to miss any of it. We bought a double stroller yesterday so that will help my confidence getting out with two littles, I hope.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dear Tate,

Three. Three years ago today you came into our family. Another year gone. Another birthday. Another year you've grown bigger, better, and further from the tiny baby you once were. Your dad and I look at you all the time and comment how big you've grown. This year in particular. All of a sudden you're no longer a baby or a toddler, you're a little boy. A darling, smart, sweet little boy.

Your dad and I are constantly amazed by you, Tate. You have an amazing little mind and we love to listen to the sweet things you say and figure out how your little head works. You love books and memorize very quickly. We check out books from the library once every few weeks and you have them memorized and quote passages throughout the day after reading them just a few times. You love Curious George books and other books about animals but you'll listen to any book we'll read to you. You also love movies. Toy Story and Cars are favorites of course. You also love the Peter Pan musical and your latest favorite is African Cats. You love to watch it and name all the animals as they appear on the screen. You chatter to yourself or to whoever will listen all day long. Constantly quoting movies or books, or just making up stories as you play with your toys. Your little voice just melts my heart. It still sounds like my little baby boy. So small, sweet, and tender. Your lisp is so precious. I realize there will come a day when we may have to help you get rid of it...but not now. I just love it. It makes all the sweet things you say sound even more sweet. Your laugh is just as infectious as it's always been. Your Nanna described it today as "pure joy", which sounds exactly right. Your smile lights up your whole face, just like your dad's does. It's a wonderful trait.

You have a great imagination that's just beginning to show itself. You can play with a few toys by yourself all day long. Your favorite toys right now are trains, cars, and all sorts of tractors. The toys talk to each other and act out funny situations. You've also begun to pretend to be characters yourself. Sometimes you're animals, and then Dad and I are the mom and dad of the same animal. Sometimes you're a character from a book or a movie. It's always so fun to watch and play along with just to see how far you take it.

You and I have spent a lot of time this year playing together. We've done just about everything there is to do in Houston, parks, swimming pools, outdoor movies, NASA, the aquarium. But your favorite by far was going to the zoo. You absolutely love animals. You know all their names and the noises they make. We went there together a lot. Probably every other week. And it never got old for you. Your favorites varied. One week it would be the elephants, then the chimpanzees or the giraffes. The little aquarium with the sting rays and jelly fish was always a favorite. Now that we're moving, the zoo is one of the things I'll miss most. Being able to live so close to the Houston Zoo and visit so often was such a cool opportunity and I'm glad we were able to give it to you.

You love music and are always happier when there's music playing in the car or house. You don't sing as much as you used to. You don't love to perform anymore. Sometimes you'll sing to yourself, but rarely on demand anymore. I love the nights when we put you to bed and you stay up singing to yourself in your bed for an hour or more. Your Dad and I just sit downstairs and listen to your sweet voice.

This year you've grown to really love being around other kids. You're a VERY friendly little boy. Often times we'll go to the park, doctor's office, bank, grocery store, wherever, and you'll just start up a conversation with someone, anyone you come across. You'll introduce yourself, ask their name, and then inform me, "Mom, I'm talking to my friend!" I love that about you and hope it continues to be a part of your personality. You're so confident right now and so sure that anyone you meet wants to be your friend. They do buddy. And if they don't, they're missing out. You're the coolest little boy around. You had some fun little friends in Houston and I'm sad we had to leave them and start over again. You'll probably adjust just fine. It will probably be yet another situation where you adjust and recover easily and I ache and worry on your behalf long after you're over it. That's just my job I suppose. Over-worrying about everything that could possibly hurt my little boy. Luckily, most of my worrying over you is unfounded. You adjust well to just about everything life could throw at you.

You're a very well-behaved little boy, Tate. You've just begun, the last few months, to throw some little fits when you don't get your way. Some days you're a little tender and cry pretty easily but you also recover quickly. You certainly can be stubborn when you want to but you're usually willing to make a compromise. You're pretty good at sharing toys with other kiddos and get along well with kids on play dates. You want everyone to be happy and if there's anything you can do to make them happy, you do it. When someone's crying (me, for example), you run to them and give them a hug then stand back and wait for your sweet snugs to work their magic. Your hugs do make me happy Tate. And I hope you'll always give them as freely as you do now!

This year has been a full one for our family. You've been subjected to a lot of big changes and you've handled them like a champ. We moved from our apartment into a house. A house you loved with your own toy room. It was like heaven for you. I was pretty sick while I was pregnant with Finn and you were very patient with slow days when I felt gross. Then little Finn came into our lives just 2 months ago and you've been a darling big brother to him. You love to touch him, hug him, point out each of his tiny parts, and give him his binky when he cries. He loves you already. He seems to know that you're going to be his favorite in the house. He looks for you and smiles when he hears your voice. I know you two will be great friends and I'm excited for him to grow up so you can play together.

Now we're in the middle of another crazy transition. Today we're at Nanna's house playing with family and in two days we move into our apartment in Denver where we'll live while looking for another new house. You don't really understand yet how different our lives will be now. You don't understand that we've left Texas and we might not be going back. We've left the only home you've ever known, but it's a good move for our family. I know you'll love Denver and we'll have tons of fun new adventures together.

Tate, I love you. You're my first baby and your birthdays are extra special for me. Not only because I get to celebrate another year with you, but also because it marks the day I became a mother. The best role I've ever played, the best job I've ever had, the greatest thing I've ever done. And it all started today, three years ago when I met you, my boy, and my life changed forever. I adore you. You and your little brother just own my heart. I find such joy in your accomplishments and things that make you happy and I ache when you hurt. I just dread the time when you will leave me all day and go to school. I feel so lucky to be able to spend all day with you and will be jealous of your teachers when they get to see you more hours of the day than I. It's crazy how completely you little boys take over our lives. Even when your dad and I go out we're noticing buses, construction vehicles, police cars and such that we would point out to you if you were with us. You're a wonderful little boy, my Tate. We're very blessed to be your parents and we'll do our best to raise you to know how smart and amazing you are. The world is yours, my Tate.
Happy birthday.
Love,
Mom

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Finn's day

We blessed little Finn on February 5th, our last Sunday in Houston. It was weird having a big day for our little man without any family nearby. Luckily we have some great friends in Houston and it was pretty sweet to see all those priesthood holders around my little baby. People whose families we've grown close to and are there for us when we need them. The church is wonderful that way.

Glenn gave Finn a sweet blessing and Finn was very well-behaved. He told Finn that he brings a spirit of peace and love into our home, which is absolutely true. Another part that stuck out in my mind was when Glenn said that his physical strength would be a great asset to him in life. That made me wonder what our little babe will be doing with his life. So many possibilities. It's fun to imagine what that might mean.
After church we took a few pictures in front of our beautiful home. Finn was very sweet through church but it was cold outside and taking pictures outside was not his idea of a good time. He probably wasn't very comfortable either. His ever-increasing neck circumference made it a pretty tight squeeze to get that top button done up. But mean mom insisted on a little bow tie! Luckily big brother Tate is always there to kiss him better when he gets cranky!

I love this one. I'm just happy to be here...aaaaand both my boys are crying. Ahhhh motherhood.


Seriously, my boys are so handsome.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tate's day

Tate's turns three in a couple of weeks but Glenn thought it would be nice for him to have a party here with his friends before we leave. I didn't have any desire to plan a party right now, but Glenn wanted to and he did a great job. He decided to throw him an African animal party.
He planned tons of fun games, got prizes, and enlisted the help of a few of the dads. It was amazing and Tate loved every minute. It was way more fun than last year because Tate actually understood the activities and really enjoyed playing. We may have gone a bit overboard with the actual number of activities planned...but given their attention span for each activity, it all went pretty fast.
We started the party with a little "safari". Finding tiny plastic animals we hid around the room. Then played "musical chairs" with animal pictures on the floor and Lion King music playing in the background.
Everyone got an animal nose as a prize. The kiddos loved them less than we did.Next came the big event. Glenn wanted the party to be like going to the zoo and visiting different animal exhibits. He recruited some of the dads to be the animals and planned games around each exhibit. It was hilarious.
The first exhibit was a fish tank in the bath tub where the kids caught little fish and rubber duckies with a net.
Next was an elephant exhibit. Glenn was the elephant. And the game was to put peanut butter m&m's in his trunk. Because that's what this elephant liked to eat. The kids loved it. They were intimidated by the elephant's trumpeting noises for just a second and then couldn't get enough of shoving candy down his trunk. So, so funny.The next room was a rhino, courtesy of Ken Johnson. And the game was a ring toss on his horn. And then a few of the kids got brave and started to climb on the wild beast for a ride.
Lastly, we found a cheetah, (Dan Purdie) who had lost his spots and the kids went around the room gathering them and sticking them back on the cheetah. Another huge hit.
Then they threw parachute animals, which was one of their prizes, off the gang plank. And then of course there was a lion pinata. Lion cupcakes with candles for the birthday cake. Tate could hardly wait to blow them out. He saw them coming and started smiling and blowing immediately. We need to work on blowing them out from the side, however, as he's bound to end up sans eyebrows if this blowing position continues. His friends, and our friends, are the best. They all gave him such thoughtful presents. Things he loves and could not wait to play with when he woke up from his nap and every morning since as well.
After cake and presents we had a showing of Tate's latest favorite movie, "African Cats". We bought it when Nanna was visiting and have watched it many, many times since. He can't get enough and has started being different animals, acting out scenes, and quoting the narrator. Hilarious. It was funny watching him view it with friends. He could not stop talking, telling everyone who each animal was ("That's Sita, she has baby cheetah cubs." "That's Fang, he's the daddy lion.").
A very full and very fun party planned and executed entirely by my honey. Thanks, honey. Tate absolutely loved every second. He would have been happy with much much less, but it was so fun to see his sweet face loving every surprise.
I'm glad we threw a party and our boy had such a fun morning with all his friends before we leave.
After his nap we made a quick trip the zoo one last time. We've made so many great memories at the zoo here. It's a wonderful zoo and it was sad to go for the last time. Tate was just as excited to go as always. Running to each exhibit and telling us which animals he would like to see next and what they were likely to be doing. What a lucky little boy.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The one where I talk about my feelings....

I have a lot of feelings about Houston and Texas that I want to record before I leave. It's been a crazy ride the past few years. A ride that was not at all what I expected in a lot of ways. Our time in Austin was fun. My baby Tate was born there and Glenn attended an amazing graduate school. We met some good friends. Some life long friends. One of whom is moving to Denver too, in just a few months! Another good friend had her second boy just one day before Finn was born. We've spent a lot of time, day and night, texting and commiserating lately. They are such good friends.

Moving to Houston was exactly what I did not want. We spent a summer here while Glenn did an internship and, while I really tried to make the most of it, it was a very difficult experience. I did not want to move back here after that. But we did. And it wasn't all that bad. We met some wonderful people, found a home that we love, watched our sweet little Tate grow up, and had another beautiful little boy. We have truly made the most of our time here, taking advantage of every opportunity to get out and do things together. I'll miss our zoo. Getting a pass to the zoo was a GREAT decision and we absolutely got our money's worth. We spent many fun mornings and afternoons there and I only hope that Tate will have some memory of the good times we've spent there seeing all the amazing animals up close. We went to just about every museum down town, scoped out good neighborhoods for drives to see Christmas lights, went to the big rodeo, visited NASA, found fun new restaurants to try, went to parades and community festivals, ran our first half marathon together along the beach. Leaving here now, I have no regrets. Nothing else I wish I had done or seen. We've soaked up this area and had a blast doing so.

This week I've been feeling really nostalgic about Texas and my time here coming to an end. Counting down the days as they speed past. We've had so much to do in the little time since we found out we'd be moving that I feel like the time has gone even faster. And now I'm pretty sad that we're leaving and I don't know if we'll ever have occasion to come back. (It would be kinda funny if we're moved back here next year after all this!) Never in my wildest dreams when i was growing up would I have guessed I'd live in Texas. And now Texas will always hold a little special corner of my heart. It's where Glenn and I sort of got our start, away from family with only each other to rely on. It's where Glenn was diagnosed with cancer and we spent some scary times getting through it together. It's where we became a family. It's where our two little boys joined us and for that alone, Texas is a very special place to me.

There are things I will not miss, of course. I will not miss the soul-crushing summer heat, the gross bugs of every shape and size, the snakes and gators, the crime rate that I try not to think about so I don't get too freaked out, and the traffic. But overall I've been surprised how much I really like it here and I'll miss it. A lot.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Today my life is:

-Egg in a hole and orange juice.
- Sesame Street while I take a shower.
-Mystery smudges on my clothes.
-Not-so-mystery smudges on my clothes...can't decide which are more disconcerting.
-Toys scattered around the house, regardless of the fact that they've been picked up several times already.
-Deciding how much of little boy's pee on his pants or mine requires a change of pants and how much we can just let dry. (Do moms of girls get peed on regularly?)
-Digging out the light weight swaddling blankets because it's 80 degrees out and it's getting hot in here!
-A 6-week doctor appointment. (which involved a discussion about my headaches. The meds are helping immensely! As long as I take them I'm not in any pain anymore. It's wonderful!!! Hoping not to have to take them forever in order for the lack of pain to continue...)
- A flower arrangement and note from Glenn's boss saying thanks for being supportive of the move. So sweet.
-A nap attempt for all 3 of us. Alas, it was only an attempt today.
- Whining for no other reason than just to see what I'll do in response. It's one of those ornery boundary testing days. Love that.
-Looking forward to honey coming home from work. Spinach and Feta pizza for dinner tonight.
- Spending my time with these two and getting to kiss these little cheeks as much as I want.
All in all, a pretty good day.
Here's picture Wednesday. Little Finn, 6 weeks old!