The Magical, Disappearing Summer

This is rather awkward. I’ve meant to post, honest, but we’ve been having too much fun summering hard to worry about new posts or formatting photos or eating healthy dinners. Suddenly its July and I’m convinced the last few months have gone by at twice the normal speed.

In May we road tripped to Disney (another full post coming about that!) and celebrated Brian’s 30th birthday while we were there. Brian and I celebrated our 8th anniversary, I took a trip to Savannah with some of my dearest friends, and Teddy ended up in the hospital with RSV. By the time he got out and we felt sufficiently recovered, it was Memorial Day weekend when we did lots of yard work and my sister got engaged!

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Enjoying one of Savannah’s many parks with my travel buddies
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We watched *so much* Nemo at the hospital
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The benefit of having a room on the 6th floor is that you have an amazing view of all the vrooms and gucks driving around
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Ben’s favorite part of shopping for plans was the hot dog truck in front of the greenhouse!
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Putting Ben to work
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She said yes so we’re planning on an October wedding

In June I turned 30, we took a short beach vacation to Ludington (potentially a full post here too) so we could enjoy Lake Michigan and attend my cousin’s wedding, Ben had an amazing dentist appointment, we enjoyed our back yard oasis as much as possible, and Teddy went back to the hospital with RSV again. We have an action plan now so there’s less of a chance that Teddy will have to be admitted to the hospital again this summer. I’d really prefer it to be never!

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Teddy hates the sand with the fire of 1000 suns but he’s all about playgrounds
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T had a big break through in June when he discovered that he does indeed like the baby pool
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Babies in the pool
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Teddy was more intensely sick for a longer time than in May so we have lots of droopy baby pictures
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Look, Ma! No Oxygen! Teddy did really well maintaining his oxygen level while he was awake but needed O2 while sleeping for several days

 

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The downside of being in the hospital, other than the bills and feeling like a caged animal, was we had to miss a friend’s wedding. The upside was that since we already arranged childcare, Brian got to come with us!

July started with a bang (both literally and figuratively). We host my extended family for brunch on the 4th so we spent a few days cleaning and landscaping before going all-in on celebrating the US’s independence. Brian built a play house into the bottom of the boys’ swing set, we finally hung some pictures and projects inside the house, and we’ve made nearly weekly trips to the local farmer’s market.

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Ben is so thrilled to have a house with a doorbell
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Mmmmm. Michigan strawberries
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Independence Day parade
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This was T’s first parade as a toddler and he loved all the trucks and loud things

What do you have going on for the rest of the summer? We have more short trips, wedding planning, house projects, and large road trips to look forward to in the rest of July and in August. Maybe we’ll catch up again in September?

Pending Post: Disney Recap

We went on vacation! We drove to Orlando for nearly two weeks of (mostly) computer-free family time. Once I pry photos away from Brian, I’ll write up a proper recap post. 

For now, I’ll leave you with these:

Tiny Teddy

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How big is Teddy? Sooooo big! Kinda

Teddy had his 18 month well-child doctor visit this morning. I wasn’t at all surprised to discover that Teddy is a really small kid. He’s 20 lb 10 oz (8th %), 31.75″ (25th %), with a giant 19.25″ (87th %) head. He’s shy and hesitant to meet new people but hitting all the important milestones, learning new words all the time, likes reading, roughhousing, and snuggling.

In fact, Teddy was so overwhelmed by having to meet with the pediatrician this morning that after his exam, when the doctor and I were chatting about our London trip and Teddy’s development, Teddy curled up against my chest and fell asleep. That was a new experience for me! At least I don’t have to worry about Teddy being too friendly with strangers unlike Ben, who thinks everyone is a new best friend.

 

Meet Me Monday: Obsessed

Good morning! Did the past weekend go by far too fast for you too? We got snow on Saturday which made the whole weekend feel weird. Snow shouldn’t happen in April!

Today’s Meet Me Monday question is, “What is something you’re obsessed with?”

I am interested in a fair number of things but incredibly passionate about very few. The closest I could come to a full-blown obsession is my feelings about Disney World. As long as I can remember, I’ve loved Disney music and movies and since our marriage almost 8 (whaaaaat?!) years ago, Brian and I have vacationed at Disney World in Florida every year. Each vacation has looked different; we’ve had short, long, on-property, off-property, extended family, just the two of us, indulgent, and thrifty trips over the years.

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Two-year-old Benny meeting his hero, Buzz Lightyear. He still talks about it!

Our trips look so much different now than they did before we had kids but we’re thrilled to introduce our love of Disney to our offspring. Ben is already looking forward to going back in May.

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(Low Res, my apologies) Our 2015 Disney vacation family portrait. We get our photo taken in the same place every year and I love that the photos show our family growing from just the two of us, to being pregnant with Ben and Teddy and now the boys as they get bigger.

How about you? Do you share my Disney infatuation? Do you love reading? Collecting stamps? What is your obsession?

Meet Me Monday: Destress

We’ve made it to another Monday!

Today’s Meet Me Monday question is: What do you do to destress?

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There’s nothing as calming for me to close the shades a little and crawling into bed to enjoy the silence

I recently learned that I’m an ISFJ personality type and like most introverted people, I need to withdraw to recharge and destress, which is a little hard to do with my little guys running around the house. When there’s another adult around to watch the boys, I like to hide in my room. Just 30 minutes of laying on my bed and reading or playing with my phone is enough to give me a boost to make it through the day.

How about you? What do you do to relax and get rid of stress?

Meet Me Monday: Funny Video

As an exercise to prompt myself to write more often, I’m going to start posting answers to conversation starter like questions every Monday. If you feel inspired, join on in by commenting or posting on your own site!

This week’s question: What was the last funny video you watched? 

I watched this video of Morgan Freeman doing a dramatic reading of the lyrics to Justin Beiber’s “Love Yourself” earlier this week and was giggling to myself the whole time. Enjoy!

Teddy Toddler Tantrums

Our Teddy is almost 18 months and has discovered that he can throw a fit. He’s really good at it too; most times the only thing I can do about them is to carefully lower his tiny, rigid body to the floor and wait for him to start sobbing over something tiny and insignificant. 

He had tantrum after tantrum for a solid hour this morning so I decided we needed a hard reset. I plopped him in his crib with toys, books, and all the comfort items he might need if he spontaneously decided to take a nap. I put a favorite Baby Einstein on my laptop across the room and crept into the bathroom for a shower.

Teddy needed some downtime

Shout out to all the parents who have already done resorted to their backup strategies to make it through the day!

Our Favorite Board Books

Reading has always been one of my favorite pastimes and we wanted to do what we could foster a love of books and reading in our boys from an early age. Our boys LOVE books so we read a lot of the same books over and over and over. These are the board books that have passed both the baby/toddler test and the parent test.

Touch and Feel Books

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Clockwise: Home, Puppy, Pat the Bunny, Animals, Curious George at the Zoo

The Unique

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Pantone Colors: This was both boys first favorite book

Sandra Boynton

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Sandra Boynton’s books are funny, witty, and rhyme without being annoying. We’d really recommend any of her books! Other favorites include The Going-to-Bed Book and Doggies.
Clockwise: Blue Hat, Green Hat, But Not the Hippopotamus, Hippos Go Berserk, A to Z, Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs

The Classics

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Clockwise: Goodnight Moon, The Napping House, The Runaway Bunny

Babylit Board Books

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If you are a fan of classic books, you owe it to the children in your life to read these together. The books cover colors, animals, counting, a simplified version of the classic stories, flowers, emotions, and sounds. The illustrations are adorable too! There are so many more Babylit books than what we have. I have Huckleberry Finn, The Secret Garden, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on my wish list!
Clockwise: Moby Dick, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, Dracula

February Update

It’s hard to believe it has been a month since I last posted.

Where did the time go?!

We’ve been working hard on lots of things around here, including keeping our sanity through the Michigan late winter. This year has been particularly mild though (as I write this, the sun is shining and it’s a balmy 50 degrees) so it is easier to endure.

I still owe you all a post on our trip to London at the end of January for the A Day of Rest conference and a few days of site seeing. I have some scanning to do before I have enough pictures to post so know for now that post is in the works.

Note to self: Go find the functioning scanner

Teddy started walking while we were out of the country, of course, and just before our pediatrician’s 16 month deadline before we’d need to seek professional intervention. One day he took 5 steps on his own and the next day he was practically running around my parents’ house. Typical of Teddy, he was waiting until he was sure he was ready.

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Our Teddy Bear action figure with his remote and Wii wheel accessories
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Teddy is more of a climber than Ben has ever been

Just like most skills that Teddy has learned, his teeth are taking their sweet time. Ben always cut 3 or 4 teeth at a time but Teddy gets one slow tooth, has a week off, then gets one more slooooooow tooth. It looks like he is cutting both of his top one year molars right now so hopefully those will be in soon and Teddy will become less of a drama queen again. He learned to throw full toddler-sized tantrums too and exercises his right to throw one daily.

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Our Little Mouseketeer

Teddy is talking much more too. His words include mama, dada, Nene (Benny), kkkkk (kitty), fffft (hot aka coffee), mo (more), baba (his burp cloth), da (down), bah (ball), chhhhh (cheese), and kawkaw (cracker). He has perfected the signs to accompany many of his words and also regularly signs please, drink, water, and milk. He adorably will wrap his arms around our legs and left one leg to indicate he wants to be picked up (never arms raised, for some reason).

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Stealing a sip of Mommy’s fffft

Ben is so, so, so, so ready for school and it’s killing him that it is so far away still. It’s especially hard because I registered him for preschool (afternoons but first on the waitlist for mornings) at the beginning of February and he can see the kids playing at the school from our house. He tells me often, “I’m BIG so I can go to school now.” He craves more stimulation than what hanging out at home with mom can provide and often asks to go play at someone’s house or “go somewhere.” He never has any answers of with whom to play or where to go but he’s ready to have a big kid routine. I’ve started donating plasma and our local donation center has a locked, supervised kids play area and he’s already chomping at the bit to go play while I “give my blood to the sick people.”

Also of note is that he finally chewed a hole in his last pacifier and, with plenty of warning, that got thrown away and he’s now pacifier free! It was a rough few days and I don’t think he’s taken a nap since we took it away at the beginning of February but he still sleeps well at night.

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Ben loves any excuse to stop by his new school, even if it is just to pick up paperwork

To (hopefully) protect my lose grasp on sanity, we’ve been talking through days of the week and working on a preschool friendly way to mark the passage of time. He has a calendar that we write important events in and he helps count the number of sleeps we have until the next event. He is doing a great job at counting to 10 and number recognition but the alphabet is still rather mystifying to him. He’s got “B” down and we’re working on recognizing and writing “E” and “N” so he’ll be able to write his name soon. He’s made pretty good progress with our really casual approach to pre-pre-preschool. He has a super short attention span and seems to struggle with creative drawing so we’re slowly trying to make some progress on those skills too.

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Picking up letters and numbers with chopsticks

How is potty training going? Two REALLY BIG thumbs up! I can only recall one accident in the last month and that was because he got distracted by toys instead of heading straight to the potty chair to do his business. He’s self-initiating all trips to the chair (that we leave in his room), stays dry overnight, and takes himself to the potty chair without a parent in the morning. We ended up using pull ups for about 3 weeks before feeling comfortable going without. We are really proud of him!

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Ben set up a toy store with all the toys from the toy box

Upcoming excitement for the Richards family includes a trip to Atlanta for Brian to speak at a WordCamp (and for the boys and I to spend lots of time playing with friends) and hopefully a long and slightly overdue family trip to Orlando and, of course, Disney World!