Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Life Lately

Holidays and the weekends get most of the spotlight around here because our everyday routine isn't nearly as exciting, but every now and then I like to give a little glimpse so one day we can look back and remember what this season of our lives was like. Especially since I'm not getting nearly enough sleep to remember anything these days. 

Currently Declan takes two naps a day, one late morning and one late afternoon. While he's napping Ez and I like to play match with his Cars cards, do puzzles, read books, or he'll sit next to me and color and do stickers while I work on my computer. Sometimes I sneak in a 30-40 minute treadmill workout while Ez watches Monster Jam and reenacts all the jumps and crashes with his own trucks. FYI - El Toro Loco is his favorite because smoke comes out of the nose. 

At any given time of day you can find one or both boys playing in the front window. They both love watching all the action going on outside, from construction trucks and buses to fire trucks and motorcycles. Whenever we hear sirens Ez runs to me screaming "I hear sirens! Let's go!" and we both run to the window to try and catch a glimpse of a fire truck or ambulance while Ez informs me that "they have to go put out a fire." This really is the most fun age.

Several times a month we like to take the train downtown to meet my sister for lunch. When the weather is nice, which is most of the time, we grab an outdoor table so Ez can watch the airplanes flying low overhead. Any day that involves planes and trains and aunt time is a good day.

We are lucky enough to live really close to a park which we try to hit up before the big kids are out of school. Now that Declan is mobile it's gotten a whole lot more fun and also more terrifying. I run a lot of interference between him and openings that he could fall down. That kid is a fast crawler. He'll put his head down like a little charging bull and you just know he's up to no good. But nothing guarantees a good stretch of sleep like climbing slides repeatedly, so the park is our bff.

Saturdays are for soccer. Ez has gone to three practices so far and he loves it. I asked him just yesterday if he likes it and after a really long pause he agreed that he does. I guess he just had to consider it from all angles. Declan and I love cheering him on too:

Other random things that Ez and Declan get way too much enjoyment out of include: loading the laundry, bath time, running/crawling circles around the couch, the hotdog dance, wrestling with each other, and causing mischief as soon as our backs are turned.

So that's what our day to day looks like around here lately. A little bit of chaos, lots of messes, plenty of snuggles, and someone constantly asking for a snack or needing a new diaper. It's definitely not the most relaxing stage, but it really is the most fun. Both boys are so curious, silly, and interactive. Watching them play together and seeing them connect the dots and learn new things daily is my favorite part of this journey.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter 2016

Happy Easter! I probably say this every year, but this Easter was the best ever. Ez was so into all the festive stuff, from painting the Easter bunny (aka, the eggs) to hunting them over and over and over until we eventually bribed him to stop with some chocolate covered Oreos and then told a little lie about how the Easter bunny collected all the eggs and took them back home with him. 

We painted eggs on Saturday and Ez was especially fond of throwing the eggs into the dye from about a foot away, which means lots of splatter all over my whitish sweater. Probably not the best color choice in hindsight. He got so excited seeing the eggs change colors though, so it was worth it. After two dozen eggs he wasn't ready to call it quits so we dyed them all again. Declan spent half the time sleeping and half the time practicing walking, apparently trying to get in egg hunting shape.

On Easter morning we hid half a dozen plastic eggs filled with candy around the house. The first one was right outside Ez's bedroom door, and when he opened it up and saw it he kept saying "oh wow! An egg!" The little egg trail led to their baskets, where Ez kept exclaiming oh wow! over and over. He hardly ever says wow so that alone made the whole day worthwhile. Declan immediately wanted everything in Ez's basket and was trying to chew threw the wrappers as soon as our backs were turned. Of course.

After brunch we headed over to my parent's house for more egg hunting and dinner. Since we don't really have much of a yard I told Ez the Easter bunny would hide the eggs we painted at the grandparent's house. The Bunny spoiled them big time with new outfits, more baskets, and treats. We ate lots of yummy food watched a little bit of The Good Dinosaur and, of course, hunted for eggs. It was all great until the sugar crash hit big time and we called it a night. You know it was a good time when the next day I tell Ez we need to go to the store and he says "No. We need to go to Grampa's!"

If you made it this far, congrats! That was a lot of pictures to scroll through. Now that Easter is over there's a little lull in holidays, but that's ok because that means birthday season has officially begun over here. Ez's is in May, Declan in June, and Joe and I in July. Whew. 

Hope you all had an amazing Easter weekend as well! In case you don't feel like I documented the day enough, I'm going to leave you with a short video, which is sadly all of Ez because I had a major mom fail moment and only recorded Declan in that super fast timelapse mode. Sad face. Sorry Dec!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy 9 Months Declan!

Dear Declan,

You are such a bright, snuggly, mischievous little boy. You have what can only be described as dogged determination. You literally get a little bulldog look on your face when you're going after something you want. Like grandma's cat or brother's toys or the cable cords. You, your daddy, and your brother all share that trait, and I know it will take you far in life, but for now it makes you what we lovingly call "a handful". For such a little boy you have a big sense of fairness, and you are not afraid to speak up if you're not getting your fair share. Mostly this means you want to be fed if anyone in front of you is eating. But it also means you want whatever toys Ez is playing with. You want your snuggles if you see Ez getting some, or even daddy, for that matter. It's only fair, after all.

I think we have firmly entered toddler territory. I've seen you take a few tentative half steps, but you're so sly and quick that I almost feel like I was imagining it. Or maybe I just wish I was because the thought of another toddler in the house makes my head spin. You've really stepped up your communication game this past month. At first I thought "baba" was just mindless babbling, but when you started waving your empty bottle at me while screaming baba until I refilled it I changed my mind. You also say mamama, which I'm just going to assume means mama. You give the sloppiest little kisses and wave hello on command and clap for yourself, usually when you're doing something you're not supposed to. When you get sleepy you like to crawl into my lap, get right in my face, and yell all kinds of jibberish at me like you're mad that I let you get tired. Then you wear yourself out and face plant into my chest. For a nine month old you're pretty independent. You've branched off from following your brother around all day (though you still love that too) and you'll go off on your own, completely content to chew on and smash your toys.

Update: You officially took your first steps! Right after we got home from the store you were trying to make a break for the garage door and took a good four or five steps before falling. Way to go! One day before you turned nine months. 

You're a little water baby and nothing excites you more than hearing the bathwater running. You sprint crawl to the tub, stand up, and try to dive in headfirst. Once you're in the water nothing is safe within a ten foot radius. Ez taught you how to splash and you think it's the coolest thing ever. If Ez is in the tub without you then you're right there next to him, egging him on, pounding on the sides of the tub, grabbing his toys out of the water then throwing them back in. You come away just as soaked as he is when it's all done.

You can hear the fridge or dishwasher open from a mile away, and before we blink you're right there at our side trying to crawl inside the fridge, going straight for whatever's breakable, or pulling dishes and silverware out of the dishwasher. I can only imagine how magical and enchanting these things must seem to you.

As far as toys go, you love playing catch, chewing on books, and getting your hands on big bro's cars and trucks. Anything that makes noise is automatically a win in your book, and one day when you have kids of your own you'll understand the restraint it took for your daddy not to break every single one of those toys.

A few of your other favorite things include stroller rides and trips to the park, where you crawl all over the playground, slide down the slides, and attempt climbing back up them. Mickey Mouse never fails to grab your attention, and you've even started bouncing along to the hotdog dance. You think your daddy is the funniest person in the whole world.

When it comes to eating, you will put anything and everything in your mouth, but you spit everything back out, including food. We've tried baby led weaning (which basically means you get to eat our scraps), and we've tried purees, and while you'll happily try it all, you rarely swallow any of it. Your favorite thing seems to be spoonfuls of fruit & veggie smoothies. As of last month you're completely weaned. While Ez didn't wean himself till he was almost two, you got teeth and started biting, and that was that.

Your list of dislikes is pretty short. So far you hate sleeping through the night and empty bottles. And you hate when we do the finger sweep to get whatever you're not supposed to be chewing out of your mouth. To that I say: Stop eating non-food stuff! Nobody likes that.

You've officially been outside mommy as long as you were in and in three short months we'll be celebrating your first birthday! We love you more than you'll ever know baby boy.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring Photos

I had this crazy idea that I would try and get some photos of Ez and Declan together. Maybe even both of them smiling at the camera at the same time. But between Declan's need to chew on everything he can get his hands on, Ez's bipolar threenager antics, and my lack of the five sets of hands I actually need, no amount of bribery was going to make that happen. 

Even though I didn't get that magical perfect shot I think these photos do a good job of showing Ez's new emerging personality, which changes on the daily. While we were taking these photos he switched back and forth between total ham and flat out rebellion. I'm constantly surprised by how little boy he seems lately. Like when he says long complete sentences and even uses a little bit of slang. Hearing "hey mommy, want to play monster trucks with me?" in his sweet little voice never fails to melt my heart. 

Also, on the topic of monster trucks, I'm constantly surprised by how much I currently know about every type of vehicle ever made. This is crazy to say but I actually watched the Daytona 500 and found out that I liked it just a teensy tiny bit. Mainly just the crashes and the last four laps, but that's a huge step for me as a boy mom. Clearly these kids are molding me as much as I'm molding them. Probably more.

Not to be outdone, Declan is just as much a force to be reckoned with. He loves a raucous good time and he thinks all of Ez's tantrums are actually just a great big celebration that he immediately wants to join, happily screaming his head off with the best of em. Having a three year old for a brother, you can't really blame him for thinking yelling and screaming is just the normal way to communicate.

Joe asked the other day if I still feel like one of them is constantly getting jipped, something I struggled with right after Declan was born, and while it's true that they each get less of my attention than they would as an only child I honestly think they're both so lucky to have each other. Now that I see them wrestling and chasing each other and playing side by side while having little jibberish conversations I couldn't imagine it any other way.

Ez has definitely become more assertive than he was pre-Declan. You're probably thinking that's just a nice way of saying he bullies his little brother, and it is, but I notice it in other areas of his life too and it's nice to see him come out of shell. 

And I doubt Declan will ever take any crap from anyone because he can already hold his own against Ez. He knows if Ez is hogging all the good toys and he's not scared to give Ez's curls a little yank to let him know what's up.  

Just like all our other "failed" photo shoots, I think these pictures pretty much sum up our current season of life refereeing two curious, strong-willed, goofy little boys. At the end of the day we're just happy if nobody broke any bones or major household appliances. To say they keep us on our toes is an understatement, but then they go to sleep and here I am staring at their sweet little smiles and thinking back on all the funny things Ez said and the cute things Declan did and thinking how I kinda want to snuggle my little bunnies one more time. Ha! Fooled ya. I actually just want sleep ;)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Easter Baskets & Other Eastery Goodness

Slowly but surely we've been adding little Easter touches around the house. Does anyone else feel like Easter snuck up on us this year? Maybe because it's in March instead of April. The Target dollar spot had all kinds of cute wooden signs and the bunny banner. I remember I used to head straight to the women's clothing section when I went to Target. Then I got pregnant and started bypassing that for the baby clothes. And now it's the dollar spot that gets me every time. It's just impossible to go to Target for necessities and not come away with a little something extra. I'd apologize to Joe, but he's usually in the men's clothing section while I'm in the dollar spot. 

The grandparents sent some Easter gifts, including that adorable Eeyore dressed as the Easter bunny (above), some window clings, and a fun bunny target. I created a little Easter reading corner for the boys, which lasted for precisely 2.5 minutes after Declan woke up from his nap. Nothing is safe from that boy. He has a fascination with transporting books all over the house using this weird scooting method, where he puts his hands on the book and slides forward until he's kind of planking, and then he crawls a few paces, and repeats. It's probably a great ab workout. Ez is very well-versed on Declan's destructiveness and any time I hand him something he immediately sets it up high and says, "put it where brother can't eat it." Good looking out, kid. 

I posted all these cute Easter craft ideas, and then true to form I never planned any of them out. Well, except for the bunny and carrot footprint (you can see it above that bunny target). That's really more a craft to humor mommy though because they both hate getting paint on their feet. Yesterday Ez asked to color so I did the easiest thing possible and cut some plain white paper into egg shapes and let him go at it with some paint. Technically I tried to be even lazier, and just gave him crayons and a Mickey Mouse Easter coloring book, but he insisted he wanted to color with the "other colors", whatever that means, and the paint seemed to satisfy him. 

And now onto the Easter baskets. I'm linking up with Whitney, Crystal, Chrissy, and lots of fun moms for an Easter basket reveal. I already posted my Easter basket inspiration about a month ago and I actually managed to stick pretty close to the plan. 

Here's what Declan is getting for his very first basket:  
// lamb // book // Easter rattle // bath toys //
I went with the dino theme for Ez:
// stuffed dino // book // dino monster truck // See's chocolates // Peeps bunny // coloring book // dino toys //
Ez has been really into dinosaurs lately, and he actually found that stuffed dino all on his own at Barnes & Noble after I had already found it online, so I'm really excited to give it to him on Easter. The little dino toys were from the dollar section at Toys R Us. And of course I had to go to See's for the chocolates, because they're the best. 

Our Easter plan is to do a mini plastic egg hunt around the house in the morning and then go to my parent's house for lunch and an outdoor egg hunt. We'll probably decorate eggs this Friday or Saturday. What do you and your family have planned this weekend?