Weekend Edition: Pumpkins and Backpacks

We visited the pumpkin patch last weekend. Wes’ company sponsored a family day when the farm was holding a 5k fun run. Of course the night before Wes had to go into work and when he got home around 3am James woke up. We scrambled out of bed just in time to grab coffee and muffins at Starbucks before getting to the farm.

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Oh, what is that fancy thing? Just something my husband helped build.

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This is about half way through the run and, yes, James is in the stroller but apparently didn’t fit in the frame.

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After the run (ha. we actually walked), we picked out some pumpkins. Unfortunately, we won’t be carving them because they rot in about 30 minutes here in Hawaii.

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I sat James on a pumpkin and then asked Stella to sit down, so naturally she picked the pumpkin right in front of him.
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Of course we had to get Stella in the tractor wheel. It was ridiculously hot so we didn’t stay long because Wes and I were both pretty exhausted and being out in the sun with a baby who can’t yet wear sunscreen is pretty miserable.
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Sunday morning Wes suggested an easy hike at Makapu’u Lighthouse. Now that James has pretty good head control he can ride in the backpack so I agreed. We started getting everything ready and Stella and Tsunami were both so excited. Stella kept trying to climb into her backpack. I had to keep explaining that we had to drive to the hike. “Okay. Sounds good,” she would say before attempting to climb in and breaking down in tears when we would put her in it. IMG_8844 DSCN3001 DSCN3004

Poor Tsnizz was so hot out there. We bought her a vest that is supposed to keep her cool but that’s a relative term here in Hawaii.

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Of course Stella wanted to walk once we got going. But just moments after getting out of the backpack she begged to get back in. “Foot hurts. Foot hurts.”

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By the time we got to the top, James was passed out. There was a nice breeze up there, though, so Tsunami stood at the lookout trying to cool down. We finally had to pull her back so that other people could enjoy the view. DSCN3018 DSCN3019

Stella decided to walk again but this time she wanted to hold Tsunami’s leash. Downhill probably wasn’t the best place to allow this, but we did. Tsunami pulled her down and it was back in the backpack for Stella. DSCN3022 IMG_8847

We finished the hike with minimal crying and enjoyed a fairly relaxing day at home despite the fact that Stella did not nap. It’s our own fault for waking her up to eat lunch and then realizing that the restaurant we wanted to go to changed their dog policy. Perhaps no nap explains why she decided to crawl around with the bumbo on her butt like a snail. DSC_7493 DSC_7494

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Keeping the Doctor Away

I brought my DSLR camera out last week and Stella has been asking for pictures with it pretty much non-stop. I gave her an apple to eat and told her I would help her take pictures but once I started snapping her eating the apple, she kept asking for more. She’d take a bite, I’d snap the photo, she’d look at it and request “Nother one” as she took her spot next to the couch. I didn’t mind one bit.DSC_7418 DSC_7419 DSC_7420 DSC_7421 DSC_7422 DSC_7423 DSC_7424 DSC_7425 DSC_7426 DSC_7427 DSC_7428 DSC_7429 DSC_7430 DSC_7431

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Good Night

Now that we have two kids, we’ve had to split up bed time duties. James is ready for bath and bed at six and will not let Wes hold him or rock him to sleep. So I give James his bath and then Stella’s ready for hers. Wes doesn’t get a lot of time with her during the week, so this bedtime process is good for both of them. And, yes, for me because as I’m rocking James I get to listen to their conversations. Some of them make me laugh and some of them are so sweet that I want to cry.

Here’s a few snippets I get to hear:
“No singing, Daddy.”
“Get Daddy’s hair wet.”
She has a hooded towel that a dear friend. Add for her and I get to see her run from the bathroom to her bedroom with her towel flying behind her like a cape.
“Have some floss.”
“Read this book right now.” Lately her favorite bedtime book is Because Your Daddy Loves You. She knows it by heart and will fill in some of the spots if Wes stops reading.
“Let me stretch.” She likes to jump off the bed into Wes’ arms after story time and needs to stretch “like Gymboreenastics” before jumping.
And, my favorite, “I love you, too.” She says this with her fingers already in her mouth as he’s turning off the light so it’s muffled and it’s one of the highlights of my day.

I want to sneak in and take pictures but I know it’ll ruin the moment so I have to settle for writing them down so that I remember this stage. Like all the ones that came before, I know this one will pass too quickly.

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Blue Angels Fun

The Blue Angels were in tow a few weekends ago so we decided to check it out. I don’t remember going to many air shows when I was a kid, but Wes loved them. He wanted to be a Blue Angel pilot and wrote them a letter when he was a little boy. One of the pilots wrote back and the framed letter hung in his room until his parents turned it into the guest bedroom after we got married. He was pretty excited about taking Stella to see them fly.
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We get a lot of air traffic over our apartment so Stella can point out jets, so we prepped her for the week before to get her ready and excited about seeing the show. IMG_8502

First, we ordered another pair of ear muffs to protect the kids’ ears. Safety first. DSCN2664

We decided to pay extra to get into VIP seating with shade because the show was on asphalt and it was approximately one million degrees that day with no wind because this summer has been miserable (even though it wasn’t technically summer) with heat. It was well wort the cost because as soon as we packed up our stroller, I noticed the tire was flat. Not much we could do about it at that point so James and I enjoyed the shade while Wes and Stella checked out the rest of the attractions.

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The show was at Pearl Harbor/Hickam, which is right next to the airport. So the three shows took six hours because they had to stop airport traffic for the duration of the demonstrations. It was a long and crazy expensive day and even though we had fun, I’m not entirely sure we’ll go next year unless they hold it at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base again.

IMG_8505We have a friend in the Coast Guard and whenever we see an orange helicopter I tell Stella that Gunnar’s daddy works on one. She loves pointing them out now. “Oh, helicopter! Like Gunnar’s daddy.” So this was a fun treat to see the helicopter up close.

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She told Wes that she wants to be a pilot when she grows up and she’s been sticking with it since the show. IMG_8402

Wes loves to take these family photos. Well, he will in 20 years or so when he has these memories to look back on. We spent a lot of time under the shade while we waited for the main show. DSCN2685

Finally, the Blue Angels! Unfortunately, by this time we’d been at the air show for six hours with no nap and Stella was over it. She lost all ability to sit still and watch the jets fly for more than 30 seconds. And she was hell bent on trying to eat the orange ear plugs that we’d brought with us. She would not believe that they weren’t candy. I was carrying James in the Ergo, trying to keep him comfortable and covered because it was so hot. I actually got a slight burn on my arm just from watching this last demonstration.
IMG_8413We left as soon as the show ended and this is what Stella looked like when we finally made it back to the car. The parking situation was a mess and we ended up maneuvering our way through the parking lot because the line to get out was just ridiculous. It seemed like no one knew how to empty a parking lot. We made it out in 25 minutes, but had friends who were sitting there for nearly two hours. Stella woke up for the ride home and kept saying, “Blue Angels fun,” so we know she had a good time. The next day we were able to see them from our front yard and she told all the neighbors about seeing them the day before.

 

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Three Months: James

At 2 1/2 months, he was 24.5 inches and 14 pounds 5 ounces. A big boy. We had brunch with a few of Wes’ coworkers and one asked how old James was and when I told her she did a double take. Like, this boy is entirely to large to be only 2 1/2 months old. He’s wearing pajamas that Stella wore until she was 8 months old, and there is no way that he’ll last that long in them. That just means there’s more to love, though. Just like his sister and dad, he’s got a big head. I don’t think it looks disproportionate to the rest of his body, though.

 

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This month he had his first round of vaccines. Stella kindly went first to show him that shots were nothing to be afraid of. He definitely screamed, but calmed down as soon as I nursed him. I was hoping that he would sleep for the rest of the day like Stella did when she had her 2-month shots, but he was wide awake. At least he was in good spirits, though.

 

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He’s been smiling a lot – actual smiles directed at me and Wes and Stella. The first few weeks of having an infant are incredibly rough because they don’t recognize you. Every morning before he could smile, I just got a blank stare. I feed you and love you and clothe you and you don’t even know who I am, I would sometimes think. But now he does. He smiles at me when I get him from his crib and throughout the day when I look at him and make whatever funny noise he’s into that day. He’s even smiling with his eyes and that makes some of those harder moments a little bit easier to handle. DSCN2700

He’s (don’t hate me and knock on all the wood) consistently sleeping through the night, though it still takes a lot of effort to actually get him to sleep. We’re working towards getting him to put himself to sleep, but for now I try to enjoy these nursing and cuddling sessions because I know they’ll be gone before I know it. He’s really close to finding a finger (or two) or thumb to comfort himself with. DSCN2701

Poor second kid doesn’t get nearly enough day time sleep because I just don’t have the time to devote to getting him to stay asleep. It’s been so hot here that the rock n’ play is pretty much off limits during the day, and naps on me don’t last more than 20 minutes. I wouldn’t mind more nap time snuggles, but I think we’ll all be happier when he starts taking regular naps in his crib.

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His big thing this month was rolling from his back to his belly. He wasn’t too happy about finding himself on his belly, but such is life. He managed to do it twice in one day so Wes got to see it, too. DSCN2706

Stella still mostly enjoys having a baby brother. Every once in a while she tells me to set him down or hand him off to Wes so that she can sit in my lap, but for the most part she likes to hold his hand while we all snuggle on the couch. And if I forget to let her help me change his diaper, I have to start it all over again so that she can undo the tabs. We still do a lot of activities and he gets dragged along to all of them. DSCN2707

Yes, it’s going quickly. And yes, it’s a little sad to know that all these firsts are also lasts, but I can’t wait for him to move around and interact with us more. I know Stella will be over the moon excited about having someone to play with.

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Before I Forget

Some days when Wes gets home all I want to do is cry because it feels like the entire day has been an uphill battle with a toddler who will not back down, or an infant who is just being an infant. After the kids are in bed some days I do cry and tell Wes I feel like the worst mother in the world. I’ve had a post in my draft folder for a few weeks talking about how hard being a parent is (and it is, and one day I’ll finish and post it), but for the last few days I’ve been feeling like one hell of a mama. Maybe I’m riding the high of my own mom being in town and helping out, but lately it feels like I’ve been just killing it at this parenthood gig.

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Yes, the days are long (but the years are short), but there is so much fun to be had in those days and we do as much of it as possible. We are busy bees and I love every dang second of it. Who would have thought that being a parent would be my favorite job of all? Certainly not me. IMG_8332.JPG

Tonight while I was giving James a bath Stella closed the door and said, “Bye bye. I love you so much.” And my heart soared because this is something I say to her all the time. She may not remember all of this when she’s older, but right now she does remember this and it makes me so happy. IMG_8324.JPG

IMG_8314.JPGSo before I forget to remember: I’m a damn good mama. I love these jokers so much. I know the thing among moms (and probably dads, but I don’t know because I don’t have those conversations) – and I’m guilty of this, too – is to talk about our short-comings and all the ways we fail on a daily basis and how we wish we could do xyz better. I’m trying to step away from that because it doesn’t do anyone any good. My kids don’t benefit from me feeling guilty. But they do benefit from me feeling like a kick-ass mom because then I act like one. Mamas, toot your own horns today: I rock. You rock. We all rock. The kids are alright, and so am I.

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Party Time

We had Stella’s birthday party over the weekend. It was in the same location as her first birthday party, a beach down the road from our apartment that our military friends were nice enough to help us rent. I arrived before Wes and Stella did and there was a bounce house set up for another party and I felt mildly guilty that I didn’t try harder to get one for Stella’s party. But the last time she was near one she was scared of it so I didn’t put that much effort into it. Plus, she’s two years old, the beach is plenty of entertainment for her. Of course, as soon as she walked up she pointed out the bounce house and asked to jump. Multiple times over the course of the afternoon parents had to run after a toddler attempting to get some jumping in. This is a good life lesson: there’s always a better party.
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Really, though, food and games and the water was plenty for a two-year olds birthday party. We walked down to the water before guests started showing up and she found a few shells and looked for fish. There are rocks there that break the waves and make it easy to just sit in the water and relax. There are a few spots where you can actually get in the water and at one point the waves knocked Stella over while she was more focused on the rocks than on the water (another good life lesson: never turn your back on the water). We’ve been doing ISR swim lessons with her and they paid of. She immediately flipped over and started to float and I was able to scoop her up before the next wave came up. It’s nice to see that the lessons are actually working!  DSCN2604

She picked this dress out this morning and instead of forcing her to wear something that I thought was more party appropriate (that is, one that maybe isn’t sized for a 12-month old) I let her wear this one. It matches her sunglasses, so I can understand why she wanted to wear it. Also, polka dots. She loves them. DSCN2606 DSCN2609 DSCN2613

She didn’t notice the cake at first and it wasn’t until just before we ate lunch that someone pointed it out to her. After that, all she wanted was cake. We were able to hold her off and get her to eat something that didn’t have sugar as the main ingredient. Once we opened this thing up it was a quick scramble to light the candle and sing before all the toddler hands made their way in for some icing. Stella tried to eat the caterpillar’s head and one of her friends snuck in a handful of frosting while Wes was looking the other way! You cannot trust kids around sugar is another good life lesson.
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Stella basically ate all of the frosting off of her cake before moving on to maple bacon potato chips. Perhaps I should stop feeling guilty about not getting a bounce house and feel guilty that Stella’s healthiest meal today was when she had two olives for breakfast. Nope, I actually don’t feel guilty about that. Parties were made for fun and cakes and missing naps and playing games.

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We managed to sneak in one photo of the three of us. James was being passed around to all the lovely mamas who need their baby fix. Sorry buddy, we’ll get more family photos when you stop trying to flop out of our arms all the time. DSCN2659 DSCN2660And what birthday is complete without presents? Certainly not a toddler party. This kid made out like a bandit and I think we may have to move just to fit all her new loot in! She got some really fun things, though, and we are so thankful to all of our friends who came out to help celebrate. I made Stella wait until Wes got home before opening gifts so she busied herself by making dresses out of the tissue paper. For a minute it seemed like I could maybe get away with telling her that was her gift, but then she realized there was stuff wrapped in the paper. Poor kid, though, wanted to open every gift as it came out and was so sad when we asked her to keep opening gifts. I feel like there’s got to be an easier, less tear-filled way to open birthday gifts, but I haven’t discovered it yet. She didn’t actually get to play with any of them because after running around all day and skipping her nap, she was ready for bed by 6pm. Don’t worry, they were still in the same pile she left them in when she woke up on Sunday morning. Our house looks like a toy bomb exploded, but she is one happy kid.

 

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