Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Hours









Shawn's on summer hours at work. Meaning his company gives him every-other-Friday off during the summer. How cool is that? Seeing as how his vacation days are few and precious, this is something we really look forward to in the summer months. We decided to "play tourist" in our own city this past Friday.

When we moved from WA my friend Jen gave us a very cool book called "Fodor's Around Denver with Kids." That book has been indispensable in helping us find fun things to do with our kiddos, well, around Denver, for the past 4 years. And as Holden gets bigger, the doors to "fun" are opening even wider. We opted to hit the "Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum." The museum was filled with airplanes, rocket ships, and all things flying-related. The boys were wowed by the enormity of the planes. But more than anything they wanted to play in the single pretend cockpit the museum offered. Shawn and I were both a bit surprised they didn't have more touch-and-feel exhibts at the museum. It was an expensive museum, more so than it should have been. The exhbits were amazing; had we not been with our children we probably would have enjoyed reading about every single artifact the museum offered. But space and flying appeal greatly to kids, and honestly they needed to cater to their audience a bit better. Everyone there was with a child. The boys really wanted to at least be able to look inside some of the cockpits, maybe try one out (not just a mock one). So after about an hour our kiddos pretty much lost interest and we ended up at a park for a picnic lunch. It was a fun way to spend the day with the kiddos and Daddy. Though I think we could have just visited our own local park for a picnic and daddy-playtime, and the boys would have been just as happy!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

First Ride

Remember when this kid first got this bike? It was just over a year ago. He went through several phases of being too scared to even ride it... with training wheels on. But the soft whisper that when he was five he might want to try it without training wheels was often in his ear. Not pushing, just suggesting. Once he proclaimed to me that he would not ride his bike sans-training wheels until he was forty years old! Imagine that! Well just this past week he started dropping hints that maybe he'd like to give the no-training wheels thing a try sometime. By Saturday he was practically begging to have a go at it. We were so proud of him for even wanting to try it. This child is brave only to a certain point, then stability rules. But he wanted to try it and by golly we were willing to give it a go!

Shawn and he removed his training wheels. Suited him up with helmet and knee and elbow pads. Gave him a quick pep talk. And they were off. Quickly they built up to the eventual letting go of the handlebars. He was excited and brave and beyond proud of himself. So were we! Within 15 minutes or so he was riding free, with Daddy trailing very close behind. I admit to a major lump in my throat at watching this big step unveil itself. Another constant reminder of how big my baby boy is getting. And what a spectacular child he continues to prove himself to be.
Training wheels removed
Pep talk from Daddy; safety gear in check.
A quick guided ride

Preparing to let go...
Major glee on his face -- he's doing it!
No help! Look at his concentration...
You're doing it! I love Shawn's face on this one!
A little fear passes across his face...
Check him OUT!
Total glee!
Awesomeness.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Daddio


See this guy? Yeah, that one. He's the guy on the playground who all the kids clamber and climb upon. He's the one making ALL the kids squeal with laughter and giggles - not just his own. He's the one who is thick in the middle of the ruckus having a ball alongside every other kid on the playground. He was made for this earth to be a Daddy. That much I know is true. When I first met him I knew pretty much right away he would be an incredible husband and partner. I didn't know what kind of Daddy he would be, but I had my suspicions he would be that guy. The guy all the kiddos want to run around with and play with and giggle with. The guy who also, at the end of the day, tucks in both of his boys with a story or three, a kiss and a hug, and one last giggle before the lights go out.

Happy Father's Day Daddio. You are so that guy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Early Morning Queries

Seeing as how I have a child who loves to wake up very, very early, and has since the day he was born (yeah, I'm talk'n about you Jackson), it isn't unusual for him to pad into our room at the crack of dawn with attempts at waking us up. As he has gotten older, he's actually taken to caring for himself in the early morning hours. He can go potty by himself (obviously). He can go downstairs, turn on PBS Kids or Playhouse Disney. If he has milk from the previous night in the fridge he can even get his own beverage. This surge of independence has made for much happier mornings in our house. Jackson gets to watch a little T.V., Shawn and I get to snooze a smidgen past 6am on the average morning. Holden rests peacefully until a more humane hour of 7:30-8am most mornings (thank you God for at least one child who sleeps late!!).

Occasionally he does still come into our room with a query or a request. He still occasionally begs one of us to get up and play with him (usually Daddy, ha ha!). He will ask for breakfast if he is especially hungry. He may ask when we plan to get up and join him in his early morning frivolity. But the early morning questions are often random and unexpected. Earlier this week I slowly opened my eyes to discover him hovering over my head, waiting for me to wake. "Hey buddy..." I said, sleepily. His reply: "Mommy, is a carrot a fruit or a vegetable?" "Veggie" I replied wearily, noticing the clock stated it was still quite early in the 6:00 hour. "OK" he replied and off he went. And that was it. Just curious about which food group carrots fell into. You know, the typical question that comes to one at that early hour of the morning. Bless him.

Monday, June 15, 2009

You Ought to Break Him of That Habit

As a new mom, and a neurotic one at that, I fretted a great deal about doing "the right things" as a mom. I really felt like if I followed all the rules I would be a great success at this mothering thing. I sort of live my life that way -- follow the rules, do your very best, success will come. That mantra served me well. Until I became a mother. The rules tangled around my head and made me just a touch crazy: Avoid binkies. Don't offer a bottle until you have nursed for at least 3 weeks solid. Never rock your baby to sleep. Never nurse your baby to sleep. Don't let your baby sleep in the swing! Wearing your baby (in a sling) will only make him more dependent on you. OK, that last one cracked me up because 1) Jackson LOVED the sling, and 2) um, he was a baby, he was SUPPOSED to be dependent on me. But I really did try very hard to stick to all the rules, because I wanted to be a good mother. But they really did make me crazy. I was so worried about doing the right things I didn't listen to my instincts. I mean, my instincts have served me pretty well over the years, too, ya know?! Not sure why I let them all fly out the window when honestly, that's when I needed them the most.

Eventually, I suppose, I let a lot of things slide. My boys, neither one, liked the binky, so no problem there. I offered bottles to both of my children in the first few days of life -- Jackson out of sheer frustration about the whole nursing thing, and Holden because I learned from Jackson that the bottle did not interfere with nursing -- and in the end they both were good nursers. I let Holden nap in the swing. I used my sling constantly with both children. I found nursing my babies to sleep calming to mommy and to child. I eventually, trusted those instincts. And you know, each of my boys is vastly different from the other, and yet they had the same mama following the same set of "rules." Go figure.

It has been a long, long time since I rocked my eldest "baby" to sleep. I felt, early on, that I had to avoid that "trap" and trained him to fall asleep on his own. I was super proud of my baby who could put himself to sleep (though it took a long, long time to get to that point); but in looking back I have to wonder what the rush was? Why did it matter? Was I really worried about the idea that I would be rocking a 10 year old to sleep if I didn't wean him from it early on? I suppose I was. Again, I am a rule follower. But with my second I never fought his love of rocking before bed. Sometimes he wanted it / needed it, sometimes he did not. And now, at the ripe old age of 32 months, he still asks for me to rock him before I put him into his bed at night. He snuggles down into my arms, resting his head on my shoulder, and the day melts away into the calm and quiet of that single, lovely moment between me and my babe. And I love it, treasure it, adore it. It is one of my favorite moments of the day. I'm not sure when I'll break him of that habit, but I'm not in any rush to follow that rule.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Day at the Park

As I mentioned yesterday, we are jump-starting summer as best we can. Earlier this past week we enjoyed an impromptu playdate at the park with our playgroup buddies - Aiden, Andrew, Charleigh-Jo & mama-Gidget; Charlotte, Lily, Trip & mama-Carissa. These kids are awesome, and I love them to pieces. I am so, so, so fortunate to have found such awesome friends when I moved to Colorado. I don't know what I would do without them in my life. Love you guys!! xo

Holden, Andrew, Aiden, Jackson, Lily, Tripp
5! Charlotte, Jackson & Aiden
CUPCAKES!

Holden
Drew
Aiden

Jackson
(wow, can you see how pale this kid is??
Is it obvious he's been sick for like the past 6 weeks???)
Lily
Charlotte
Charleigh-Jo
So grown-up...
um, yeah, someone's gotta push the strollers...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Butterfly Pavilion

We are trying our best to get our summer jump started a bit. We all ended up sick at one time or another in the past two weeks - 4 trips to the Dr, 1 trip to the ER, 5 trips to the pharmacy, lots of sleepless night, and an entire week of Shawn's sick leave used up. Then of course we were, and still are, coping with the sudden loss of our dear Aunt (thank you for your kind emails and posts). But as one knows, time stops not for little boys. So I have tried this week to get them back into the swing of things. Jackson starts real school in less than 2 months, so we have a lot to fit in over the next 8 weeks (including a big trip to Texas!). This week we managed 2 playdates with our amazing playgroup friends (I'm not sure what I would do without those amazing friends - they have lifted me up a great deal in the past few weeks), a much needed trip to the library, back into gymnastics for Jack, and we even fit in a very fun impromptu trip to the Butterfly Pavilion just North of Denver. We had always wanted to visit this unique little museum but never found the time to do so. A cancelled appointment left our Wednesday morning wide open and away we went. It WAS a long journey, but it was so worth it.

The museum is small - just 3 exhibit areas, but perfect for our little guys. They had an entire room dedicated to bugs, spiders and all things creepy-crawly. So much fun for my Spiderman-obsessed little men. Another small area was dedicated to all things swimmy -- including the opportunity for the boys to pet a Horseshoe Crab and a couple of Starfish as well. And finally, the pièce de résistance - the Butterflies themselves. This area was a huge greenhouse filled with the lushest of flora and fauna, and of course thousands upon thousands of the most beautiful, gorgeous butterflies you could ever imagine. Every shape and color and size was represented. Both Holden and I even had one land on us for a quick visit. The boys were absolutely mesmerized by the fluttery little friends, and honestly, so was I. It was a perfectly lovely way for us to spend our morning.... (that is until my eldest got mad about something and wacked me on the head with a rubber snake while I was driving and while he was strapped into his carseat...the day was kind of shot after that...but that is a story for another day...).









Sunday, June 07, 2009

Remembering a Beautiful Life

Friday evening our family lost a part of what made us a family. Aunt Janis lost her brief yet very courageous fight against cancer. And with her loss our hearts are broken, saddened, and profoundly changed. Janis was married to my mother in law's brother, Al, and thus she became my aunt when I married Shawn. She welcomed me immediately with warmth and love and never strayed from that kindness that so made her who she was. She gave with such unselfishness and such love, always from her heart. She made us all laugh, and she always laughed with us. She made all things beautiful - her home, her garden, her meals, her life. She loved our boys wholeheartedly -- even when Jackson went through a period of being extremely bashful around her and Uncle Al. She loved them. She loved us. And we loved her.

I have dozens of memories of Janis reaching out in kindness. Even before I really "knew" her she made me feel a part of this family. I remember her beautiful smile all throughout our wedding -- beaming as if if were her own son marrying that day. I remember her calling me a few months after our miscarriage, just to check on me -- a sentiment that still sits snugly in my heart and gives me comfort. When we moved to Colorado 4 years ago Al and Janis became an even larger part of our lives -- they lived so close, and we had such fun times with them. They were a part of our holidays and birthdays and every day celebrations. She brought picnics to me and the boys when I was muddling through those first months as a mother of two. She took us to the zoo when Shawn was away with Al on a business trip. She made peanut butter and jelly crepes for the boys, just this past Easter, knowing seafood crepes would not be to their liking. Her kindness to us reached on and on, and we will never, ever forget her or how she made this world a more beautiful place. Shawn and I will always keep her in our hearts, and do all we can to keep her in our boys' hearts as well. I pray we can accomplish that. And I pray for peace for her life partner and true love, Al, to find his peace in time as well. Her stay on this earth was far too short, and she was taken from us far too quickly and far too soon. She will be missed, beyond words. We love you Aunt Janis, and will miss you.

Holden and Aunt Janis, January 2007

Janis, Jackson and Al - Christmas 2008

the water that feels it may drown us...

I thought this was beautiful, from Lisa, my oldest friend in the world...

That water you speak of will start to get shallower, and your toes will touch the bottom in time.