Five Months: James

James turned five months while we were on the mainland. It was a long day because while we were there, he suddenly decided his car seat was the worst thing ever. Something about the car seats (yes, two different car seats) we borrowed just didn’t sit well with him (ha) and he spent a lot of time screaming, which made pretty much every one in the car want to scream. So on the 1st we loaded up the car at 3am when he woke up to eat. It took him 20 minutes of crying but he did manage to fall back asleep and we were able to drive up to Seattle in peace. DSCN3602 So five months. He took his first plane ride and was a champ, just like his big sister. He nursed a lot and took a lot of cat naps and we arrived in Portland pretty rested and ready to meet the family. DSCN3603 He is incredibly happy and I have a lot of people telling me how lucky I am. And he is so very happy. All it takes is one happy look from anyone and this kid breaks out into the biggest grin. His eyes are still blue and his hair is still dark brown and doesn’t seem to be growing at the rate that Stella’s was. He is wearing 6-9 month clothing and I have to remind myself that he’s only 5 months old because Stella was crawling and clapping and waving when she was this size. DSCN3607Bed time, though, is when he turns into a bit of a screamer. It’s such an effort to get him down to sleep and by the time I gently place him in the crib and tip toe out of his room, I’m so exhausted that I just want to crawl into bed too. He’s pretty inconsistent with sleeping through the night. We’ll get one or two nights of 10 or 12 hours and I’ll think Yes! He figured it out just like Stella! And then the next week he’ll be up at random intervals. We didn’t have to sleep train Stella but it looks like this kid is going to need it.

He has mastered the back to belly roll, and has managed the belly to back a few times but it’s not consistent. He’s working on sitting up but we still have to keep an eye on him so that we can quickly catch him before he falls on any hard surface. DSCN3609 He is drooling like crazy but there are no teeth that seem to be coming anytime soon. Just drool that we’ll have to endure for a long time, it seems. He chews on everything he can get his hands on, including any hands he can grab! Anything that comes near his reach he grabs for and it goes straight to his mouth. We have so many teething toys from when Stella was a baby that she wasn’t interested in but now they’re finally getting some use. It makes me a little scared for when his teeth actually come in because, again, Stella didn’t have any problems with teeth. DSCN3611 Nothing is safe from his grasp, if it’s in his reach. If Stella sits anywhere near him, he grabs quickly for her hair. While we were on our trip, he managed to break a necklace I was wearing. Lesson learned: no more jewelry. DSCN3614He is basically the opposite of Stella in so many ways and Wes and I find ourselves having to learn what works for him, and that’s hard. But just like his big sister, his smile is contagious and his laugh is one of my favorite sounds. I love the way he curls into my body when I’m nursing him and the way he reaches for my hand and the way his face lights up when he sees me. We’re figuring all of this out together and he’s teaching me to be patient in new ways.

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A Day At The Children’s Museum

Even though Wendy’s house is huge and full of toys, we decided that we needed to get out and explore. So Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we decided to check out the Children’s Museum.  Sierra had school, so it was just Stella and Aspen. 

Pretty much every photo has at least one of them (usually Stella) as just a blur. Getting toddlers to hold still for a photo is incredibly difficult.


There was a crocodile at the front where you could practice brushing teeth. Grama sat in the chair and Stella got a little scared. “No, Grama, no,” she kept saying. It wasn’t until we were on our way out of the museum that she wanted to try actually brushing the teeth. DSCN3309 DSCN3313

Next up, the vet. Aspen was trusting enough to let Uncle Wes put her in the cone of shame and let us take pictures of her. Stella, not so much. She preferred climbing into the kennels and washing the animals. DSCN3321 DSCN3324 DSCN3325 DSCN3330

There was an entire area filled with these plastic scraps where you could sweep, dig, and pour through pipes. Wes was kind enough to help the girls pick up the scraps and put them in the bag.

This is the only shot we got where they were both looking at the camera and not blinking.DSCN3340 DSCN3346

Posing on the train. Aspen is only 8 months older than Stella, but those 8 months mean that she can be placed on the train and trusted not to jump or fall off while you take a quick picture. Meanwhile, Stella’s already over the train and ready for something else.
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So we headed into the water room, where she was promptly splashed by one of the displays. It took a lot of coaxing from Dad to get her interested in the water features again. DSCN3358

Into the theater!


This kid in the striped shirt was cracking me up. I almost cropped him out but then I remembered that he kept photo bombing us and asking to take his picture. Aspen was a horse and Stella a giraffe.



When it was time to leave, Stella did not want to take off her costume. I don’t blame her.


Not quite how benches work, but, again, I can’t blame her. IMG_9426DSCN3365

Face painting! We drew a few shapes on our cheeks and then mustaches for Movember. And yes, we rocked those things all day. At lunch I actually got a compliment on my mustache as I was walking to the bathroom. DSCN3369


DSCN3381A little clay making. Stella and Aspen were more interested in the brushes that you use to join pieces together, but we still had to a good time. Wes made a man. I made this sweet love seat. Doesn’t it look comfy?

James is finally happy after eating. While I was painting  faces, he was trying to latch on to Grandma Candee’s face! 

IMG_9418 IMG_9417 IMG_9419 IMG_9422 IMG_9423Our last stop inside was the Wizard of Oz room. Aspen and Stella took a look at all the displays and then proceeded to jump off of this one for about 15 minutes. “Last one,” and “One more time,” Stella kept saying. We clearly need to keep working on what those phrases actually mean.


Outside there was a maze and some shrub art. The girls ran through the maze for a while, looking at each other through various doors between aisles. And then we all agreed it was time for lunch. IMG_9431 Grama Tina was fighting a cold, which we picked up (or possibly gave to her from Wes?) and are still fighting it. She looked like she needed a nap after our full day at the museum.IMG_9429 IMG_9440

I let Stella use my red lipgloss and then we took about a million slefies to keep her entertained while we waited for food. The rest of the trip she kept saying, “Stella needs red lips.” IMG_9446And then nap time on the way home. We tried everything to keep her awake on the drive back to Wendy’s, but it was no use. She was too tired. Luckily, Wes managed to make a transfer to bed and she was able to take a long nap and let us rest too!

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Very Merry Christmas

Every year, we celebrate Christmas with my family during our Thanksgiving trip because traveling to/from Hawaii for Christmas is stupid expensive so we don’t get to see our families. We started drawing names a few years ago to make things a little easier. This year we celebrated Sunday morning before Thanksgiving. I realized this afternoon that I can’t post a lot of the pictures because that morning Stella refused to put her pajamas on after waking up, and I’m not posting pictures of my kid in her underwear.


James discovered the front window a few days earlier and loved looking out. He also enjoyed drooling all over everything. Also, can you believe this kid is only five months old?


Some cookies for Christmas. They’re healthy because they have oatmeal in them. Trust me, the science checks out.


Stella got a matching shirt and it took Wes most of the day to realize that they said “Importland” instead of “Important”. And this was when he dressed them in the outfits!

Steve and Coop got Stella this shirt for her first Christmas as well. Her shirt said she’d be a professional bowler. I hope they both make a lot of money doing what they love.


I drew Coop’s name this year and started her off with a little succulent that she could replant. Portland is full of little shops with small things that you don’t need but once you step foot in, you want it all. I had to stop myself from buying pretty much every notebook I came across.


A few days before Christmas, coop finally sent me a link to what she wanted: a (bike) riding jacket for her work commute. It came in blue and pink and she said blue because she hates pink, and it’s sort of a running joke that Wes and I can never remember that she’s allergic to chocolate and hates pink. So I thought it would be hilarious if I bought her the pink jacket and told her Stella picked it out and just really thought she needed pink instead of blue.


You guys, the look on her face was the best. She was trying to sort of keep it together since I told her Stella picked it out, all the while plotting on how to return it. I had actually purchased the blue one and was going to hold off on telling her, but I couldn’t wait. She just looked too bummed (and angry)about the whole situation so I quickly grabbed the blue jacket from the bedroom before she could strike me from the wedding guest list. Even after, though, she didn’t think it was as funny as the rest of us did.


Much happier with blue. And my mom’s surprised look there is because she’s in awe of how the sleeves just zip off and turn into a shrug, which would be prefect for a nice dinner.




After presents Wes ran off to get a much-needed hair cut and to return the pink jacket. Stella put on her new frog rain boots, new pink rain jacket and a head band I bought for working out – this kid is not afraid to take chances on fashion –  and went with Coop and Monty to the park down the street. I don’t have a lot of experience dressing kids in cold weather, so we just put on as many layers as possible and hoped for the best. IMG_9340

The park was pretty amazing and it had me wishing we lived near something like it. Dogs were allowed off-leash and the play area for the kids was full of fun stuff, like this xylaphone. IMG_9350

And also this slide that we went down about 100 times. Stella’s butt was probably freezing but she didn’t want to stop. “One more time,” and “Last one,” she kept saying. She clearly doesn’t understand what either of those statements mean, though, because she just kept going back for more.


Back at home we made some hot chocolate to try to warm her up, but she wasn’t too interested. DSCN3221

The snuggles were much more effective at warming her up. IMG_9357

She fell asleep like this and then my mom took her to the bedroom to take a nap with her. We foolishly did not put a pull-up on her because she’d been waking up dry from her naps. Grandma paid for that mistake by getting peed on when they woke up! 


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Portland So Far

Our flight was pretty uneventful, which is the best outcome when traveling alone with a toddler and an infant.IMG_9252.JPGI surprised Stella with a mermaid to help entertain her on the flight and gave it to her at the airport. It was a huge hit and she made sure to show her “little mermaid” everything.IMG_9248.JPGWe went to Starbucks twice to make sure we had enough snacks for the trip. I promised her she could have pumpkin bread and even though she had forgotten about it and picked popcorn I wasn’t about to test my luck on a six-hour flight.IMG_9251.JPGDon’t worry, she’s making sure the mermaid also gets something to eat before the flight
IMG_9250.JPGI tried to keep her busy with movies, coloring, and stickers but at a certain point we were all over the scrunched seating and tired from lack of sleep. Selfies to the rescue!IMG_9265.JPGWe finally touched down in Portland and made it to my brother’s house for a late dinner and then to bed. Unfortunately, we had a rough night of sleep caused by a lack of sleep all day. James woke up at 2am and 4am and when I tried to sneak out of our shared room at 5am, Stella woke up crying. By 6am she declared, “Stella’s all done sleeping.” I asked my parents to come over early to help entertain all of us.IMG_9266.JPGStella goes exploring with uncle Porter. She didn’t see the door the night before because it was so dark, so he took her on a total tour of house, including the basement which she decided wasn’t worth it after spying a stuffed (fake) ferret.IMG_9268.JPGJames got in some snuggle time with grandpa while Stella and I showered and got ready for the day. IMG_9271.JPGWe had to make a stop to get my rings sized and then checked out my parents new home on wheels. Tiny, but has all the necessities, including squirrels for Stella to our way to lunch it was finally sunny enough got sunglasses.IMG_9274.JPGAt this point I realized I needed an actual infant car seat for James so that he could sleep comfortably in the car and we could carry him around without waking him up. Luckily our friends had an extra one just a few minutes from where we were so we picked up and James slept through lunch and everyone was happy. IMG_9278.JPGWe had to stop at Target for night diapers and I went a little crazy in that cheap front section, which Hawaii does not have. Stella loved her new glasses and art supplies so it was with the six bucks I spent.IMG_9279.JPGLast night we had a much better night of sleep. Granted, I did have at least one kid in my bed from 4am on. But we didn’t actually wake up until 8am and today I feel fantastic. We managed to get some art time in before leaving the house.IMG_9282.JPGWe made it back home in time for Stella to have an actual nap and so far she’s nearly three hours into that nap and we’ve gotten to relax before dinner. And, of course, snuggle this kid.IMG_9290.JPGIMG_9286.JPGHopefully tonight we sleep just as well. Tomorrow Wes will fly in and Monday we move over to his sister’s house. We’re cold but happy to spend some time with family.

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In The Kitchen With Stella: Pumpkin Scones

Last year I made my first batch of pumpkin scones to help us get through our quarantine, which set off a pumpkin flavored obsession with Stella. She loved those things and when I introduced her to the pumpkin bread from Starbucks, they quickly became a favorite. She requested pumpkin bread a few days ago but I decided to make scones with her instead as our afternoon activity. Some days I have to come up with fun afternoon activities as a way for her to actually nap. As a bribe, scones aren’t the worst thing. She started out in her elephant apron, but then got distracted by other things. I got her attention when I brought out the pumpkin. I let her taste it and instead of spitting it out like I thought she would, she kept dipping the teaspoon in for more and saying, “That’s really yummy, Mama!” She kept busy for a little while spooning the remaining bit of pumpkin into a container, her mouth, and a little for Tsunami. We baked them up and then made an even bigger mess with the crumbs, which Tsunami was pretty happy about. I’m loving this new phase where she can mostly help me with things in the kitchen. I had to stop her a few times from eating all the spices because I guess she thought flour would taste better with a little baking powder and cinnamon.

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Halloween 2014

When it comes to Halloween, I’m not creative. I maybe could be if I put more thought into it but it seems like every year it creeps up on me until it’s too late to make any fancy costume. This year was no exception because having a two-year old and a 4-month old obviously doesn’t leave a lot of room for crafting. We picked out a Merida (from Brave, though this costume I’m almost positive is something Merida would never have worn but whatever) costume at Costco a few weeks before Halloween. I had intentions of making the rest of the family her bear brothers, but I got lazy and driving to a dozen different stores to find bear outfits for us was never going to happen. I also had plans to make a bow & arrow for Stella to carry around but, again, that didn’t happen. I’m actually okay with that, though, because Halloween morning I asked if she wanted to wear her costume to swim lessons. I thought it might get her more in the spirit of Halloween and a little excited about trick-or-treating. She seemed excited at first but when she realized that I she had to take off her Brave nightgown she refused. Instead she spent the day in her pajamas.


We decided to not carve pumpkins this year because they rot so quickly here. Instead I took out a few colors of paint and let Stella paint them. It turned into painting herself as well. I just let her have at it and got her bathed before we left for trick-or-treating.


Water delivery was Friday and these were still out while Stella was painting. She kept trying to ride on them. It took her a few times to get herself seated on them but then thought it was hilarious to be riding water. “Stella’s riding,” she’d say with a laugh. DSC_7534

Once she realized I was taking pictures,of her, she climbed off and ran over to look at them. “Again,” she would say as she ran back for another ride. This went on for quite a while, until I had been bitten by all the mosquitoes and decided to go inside.



After Wes got home, we headed to our friends’ neighborhood so the kids could trick-or-treat together. Stella was more interested in all of Jack’s toys and once again refused to wear her costume. Luckily, Jack found her gloves and handed them to her and once she put them on it was fairly easy to put the rest of the costume on. James wore a skeleton outfit that I found at the last minute in his 6-month clothing box. I think it was passed down from our friends in Puerto Rico and am grateful that James was able to dress up for his first Halloween even though I had nothing planned for him!


People have lately been saying that James looks like Wes but even though he doesn’t favor my side of the family as obviously as Stella does, I haven’t seen it. Until I looked back at this photo. DSCN3032

We had been working on saying “Trick or treat!” all day, and it worked. Stella and Jack were both able to knock on the doors and request their candy. After the first house, though, Stella just wanted to sit down and eat the candy. It was an uphill battle getting her to keep going when she already had candy in her bucket.

We managed a few more houses before both kids hit their bedtime wall. Fortunately, Wes had packed up the car before we left so we were able to make a quick getaway. James cried the entire way home and at one point Stella cried for me to “fix your baby” and after refusing a few times because I had no idea what could be wrong with her doll, I finally took it from her to find that she had turned the baby’s head around on her body and it was scaring her. A perfect way to end Halloween! DSCN3039

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Four Months: James


It’s fairly amazing how painfully slow the last weeks of pregnancy are compared to how quickly the first year goes by. This kid is four months old already. At this time last year I had just found out I was pregnant and was puking regularly. This year I get to snuggle the biggest four-month old ever. He is 16 pounds and 26 3/4″ long. For his half birthday we’re going to have to celebrate by getting him a bigger car seat. DSCN3052

But those chubby little thighs and cheeks are pretty adorable. The only problem with him being such a large infant (compared to Stella, anyway), is that I have to remind myself that he’s still only four months old. Every time I hold him and he flops, or he cries uncontrollably and I think, Dude, get it together I have to stop and mentally slap myself for thinking that a four-month old should be acting like a 10-month old. DSCN3056

He’s a mostly happy baby. Smiling and laughing and generally just being chill. Except for bedtime. When he has had enough of the day he will let you know in no uncertain terms that he is ready for bed and mama is the only one who can handle bedtime, apparently. Sometime Wes will try to rock him while I get a shower, but usually that only results in more crying and so James’ bedtime has been a little rough on both of us, for different reasons. I know he’ll get around to sleeping easier but for now I do what I can to get him down and thank my lucky stars that he sleeps through the night. We still have a few nights where he wakes up once but for the most part we get a solid night out of this kid. Yes, I know how incredibly lucky I am. I have to remind myself of that every night.


We are smack dab in the drooly stage and he should be wearing bibs wherever we go, but I keep forgetting. Even though we’re only a few years removed from this stage with Stella, it’s so hard to remember all the small details of what life was like with an infant. On particularly long days I just look to Stella and remind myself that this phase will be over before we can even get used to it. DSCN3060

James loves to stand and he’s got the body strength to support it. Any time I try to put him in a reclined position, including his car seat, he stretches his legs long and it takes some moving around to get him in there.DSCN3064

Stella clearly loves James but is also impatient for him to be able to play with her. There aren’t as many requests for me to set James down now, but she’s tried to pick him up on her own to play with him, an act that left them both screaming and scared after she managed to lift him a bit off the ground before losing her grip. DSCN3065

He is “talking” a lot now and I love to watch his facial expressions as he does. He’s found his feet and loves to suck on them, particularly the right one. I’ve gone in to get him out of bed and his little foot will be soaking wet. He’s also trying to suck on his fingers but can’t figure out which ones to use. I know it’s a pain to stop the finger sucking, but I love how it’s been able to soothe and comfort Stella and hope that it will be the same way for James.

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