Category / Just Us Stuff

Ten.

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Photo cred: April & August Photography

It’s been an entire decade since we exchanged vows, walked up the aisle, and started married life together in a little apartment in Des Moines, a city we had moved to just the month before. Married life has been nothing short of grand, and this city we love is a big piece of that joy.

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As we celebrate both a decade of marriage and a decade of life in Des Moines, we continue to live in the moment and our life goals are ever evolving. I’m proud of what we have embarked on, both as individuals and as a couple, these first ten years. I so look forward to what the next ten bring. Cheers to more adventures!

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In the spirit of anniversaries, I compiled a little playlist. It’s nothing overly lovey-dovey, just a collection of songs that bring on some anniversary vibes and have degrees of meaning to the two of us over the past decade.

Decade Spotify Playlist | www.lifeinyellow.com

Happy anniversary to the handier, more patient, more tech-savvy, in general COOLER half of this duo of which I’m lucky to be a part. <3

Crew Does Two — The Second Quarter

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Now that Crew is two, I’ve scaled back to quarterly, rather than monthly, updates on everything from growth to preferences to all the (mostly) fun little quirks of his personality. Much has happened in the last three months!

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So much growing up has happened from two and a quarter to two and a half! You potty-trained like a rockstar, the baby gates were finally uninstalled (not that we really USE them anymore, but they had been a great way to corral you and keep you out of the contractors’ way in the basement!) — and most recently, you’ve moved out of the crib, and your nursery, to a big kid room with a “big boy bed” that you are ridiculously proud of. The first couple weeks, you wouldn’t wander out, and you still stay put at bedtime and through the night, but when you wake up, you’ve started to get out and either play on your own, or come find us. All new levels of independence for you!

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You became fascinated by the fact that boys stand up and girls sit down to potty, and you’re all about babies in tummies (pregnancy) and the idea that your baby pictures are actually YOU and that you were once in my tummy. It kills me that you look at baby pics of yourself and say “awww he’s so cute!” ha!

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We are outside all the time — bike riding, gator driving, chalk drawing, water table playing, bug hunting — you name it. It’s been a great change of pace to take the energy and messes outside on a regular basis. It’s been fun to strike out on some “adventures!” around town exploring new parks and sights downtown, since you’re so much more capable this summer than last when it comes to climbing, balancing, etc.

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It seems almost irrelevant now to update on your language — you’re just full-blown talking, in complete sentences, and constantly working new words into your vocabulary. Just the other day you slipped “usually” into a sentence, in a semi-correct sense 🙂 In general it’s just lots and lots (and lots) of questions. “Mommy, what are you doing?” “Member? Member we go to the zoo?” “What’s that thing up there?” “Why?” “I hear something…what is that?”

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You are listening to every word and have a memory I’m downright jealous of. You’re also pretty good at holding your own in a debate. The one time you tried to get out of bed at bedtime (about a week after you moved to the big kid bed and I’d taken the crib apart that day), I talked to you over the monitor and said, “Crew, lay down and close your eyes, if you get up again you have to sleep in the crib.” To which you stared right into the monitor camera, frowned in consideration and said, “No Mom, you took the crib down.” Crew — 1. Mom — 0.

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Other sounds bytes we hear…

“It’s not nighttime yet. Nighttime is later.” (stalling for bedtime)

“I wake up and we go to the park.” (your concept of things happening in the future, although you’ve just recently started saying “in a few minutes” and “tomorrow”)

“You’re okay, Mom/Dad” (when you feel guilty for running into one of us with something — on the hour of every day!)

“I need a kiss and a hug!” (before leaving you with the sitter, or at school, or before I leave home for work)

“Mom I’m coming to play with you! We can share! We can take turns!” (you’re alllll about someone to play with, and the encouragement to take turns and share is pretty highly motivated by the fact that YOU want a turn at something) 😉

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You aren’t a bit shy, and are quick to wave to a stranger or introduce yourself to someone new. I’m constantly thinking about how to lead you to be friendly and trusting, but smart with a healthy dose of wary. (I’m constantly asking friends with kids how they teach stranger danger to a kiddo who asks random people in Costco to hold him?!)

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I love that you’re still a bit of a mama’s boy, and are so affectionate toward the people in your world. You throw sporadic hugs around your babysitter, dance up and down waiting for Mimi to pull into the driveway, and if I lay down with you for a minute to help you settle down for a nap/bedtime, you quietly rub my arm or my back (often asking me to rub yours in return ha!), and your kisses lately are pretty agressive 😉 You grab both sides of our faces to pull us in!

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I swear you remember every page of every book — you can recite key words/phrases on each page correctly. We’ve started to play the few games we’ve found for the age 2-3 crowd (Memory, Orchard, Cootie, etc). You’re so good about keeping track of whose turn it is and love to exclaim, “we’re all playing!”

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You nail right versus left MOST of the time, can accurately count to ten, although getting to twenty often repeats a number at least once. You have a whole repertoire of songs and sing all. the. time. often substituting words from whatever activity you’re doing at the moment…”Old McDonald had a waffle…” etc. 🙂

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You finally let us get a pair of flip flops on you (the cutest) but otherwise to Mom’s delight you are still super laid back about whatever I want you to wear (I’m thanking my lucky stars for each day this continues…). In general, you love jammies and would prefer to stay in them all day. Often when it’s time to get dressed, no matter what it is, you whine that you want to keep your “jammy pants” on.

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When you’re lost in thought or observing other kids, you either have your tongue out or your hands clasped behind your back. You love to cook, assist with any project, and while in general I think you’re pretty easy going and you have yet to throw a tantrum just to throw one, you DO go zero to sixty on the frustrated scale if we do something for you you know (or think) you can do yourself. I actively build in extra time now for everything because to KEEP my happy kid happy, we need the extra minute here and there for you to put on your own shoes, climb into your own carseat, etc. “I DID IT!” is a daily phrase in our house, as is “No Mom back up”, “Dad I got it!”, and several other variations on these Mr. Independence sayings. And God help the person who flushes the toilet for you. #rageblackout

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In early June, you moved up from the toddlers room at school to the “transition” room (as in transition to pre-school!!). We instantly noticed some new words/phrases as you hung with some new older kids. It’s officially “Mom and Dad” now — no mommy and daddy — and “oh my GOODNESS!” is your new dramatic exclamation. There were tears over missing your old teacher, but otherwise you are thriving in the older room with curriculum that’s more challenging for you. You’ll start to learn a little Spanish, have to follow directions like walking in a line, and do more activities around learning your letters. It makes my heart swell with pride to hear the reports that when a friend is hurt or crying, you share a toy or try to give them a hug. Compassion will get you everywhere, sweet boy.

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You’re a SMIDGE less picky of an eater than when I last blogged an update, but still definitely particular. You continue to hate any kind of noodle, but you finally realized you like peanut butter again, and you’re much more daring about trying a quick taste of just about anything new — although much of the time you still instantly tell us “I don’t like it.” I reflect a lot on how we started you on solids by pureeing everything — I think I’d take a different approach if I had it to do over. Aside from one or two fruits, you’re just now working up the courage to BITE into the ones aren’t in the form of applesauce/smoothie/etc.

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There are probably a million more little things I could think of on any given day to note here. And on the hour, you say something funny that I want to jot down in my memory forever. I can’t believe we’re already here, at two and a half. You’ve been here forever and yet time continues to fly.

As we get further from two and closer to three, stick with us as we try and navigate your need to do everything on your own. Keep needing us for other stuff. Continue to love fiercely with that oh-so-big heart of yours. Don’t stop your constant jumping and grinning. Carry on with your questions and never stop learning about your world. And more than anything, know how much we always love you, crazy kid of ours.

Love, 
Mom (but always Mommy)

Crew Does Two — The First Quarter

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com  Now that Crew is two, I’ve scaled back to quarterly, rather than monthly, updates on everything from growth to preferences to all the (mostly) fun little quirks of his personality. Much has happened in his first quarter-year as a two-year-old!

It’s April and you’ve been two for a quarter of a year already! Most traces of “baby” are long gone and you are a super talkative and energetic little boy.

You started the year off with more swimming lessons with Dad and began gymnastics with me…both much-needed activities to burn some energy on days you aren’t at school and while the weather was still cold and crummy out. You’ve gotten so comfortable floating on your back in the water, and can finally jump with both feet leaving the ground in sync, as opposed to the gallop you started with.

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

A couple fun outings included some ventures to Tot Town, an under-five indoor play session through a local community center, and a trip to the Botanical Garden downtown. Your favorite part was the automatic doors as opposed to the actual gardens but it was a great spot to let you run around and explore in what felt like an outdoor space, but without the need for all the winter gear.

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In February we headed south for some much-needed family R+R time. You loved some daily splashes in the pool, the sand, and just the ability to be outside! It was so nice for all of us to get out of the frigid Iowa temps and soak up a little Vitamin D. You had your best flights yet – your first with your own seat and we experienced firsthand the little wonder of the CARES harness. (I have to go on a side note for anyone traveling with a kiddo up to 40 pounds…using this allowed us the lightest travel we’ve had since Crew arrived – so liberating! And each flight, the attendants mentioned that it’s THE safest way for a small child to fly!)

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Your attention span has grown by leaps and bounds — you stay engaged in conversations about a single topic and string along multiple thoughts about the same thing, and can follow along much more with movies and storylines (as long as you have the freedom to roam around the room and play AS you watch). Your language has absolutely exploded since turning two. Words like “probably” and “maybe” have crept into sentences and you actually use them correctly. Some of my favorite things you say right now are “hmm, I dunno…“, “oh shoot!“, and “I hold Mommy” (even though it’s the other way around, I will never correct this one!) <3

You refer to yourself in the first person most of the time anymore, although you still refer to us in the third. “I go upstairs, get big dump truck, come back downstairs. Mommy comin?” Yes, somewhere along the way, “dada” and “mama” got replaced with “Daddy” and “Mommy“. I say it every day — slow down, time!

crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You have your frustrated moments, like any two-year-old, and wanting to do things yourself but still needing assistance is a hot button. It has certainly taught ME patience, and to plan on an extra few minutes to leave the house as you get your jacket on! (Sometimes I swoop in from behind you and help with a sleeve, then jump back and excitedly applaud that you did it yourself, so you won’t notice I helped – ha!!) The more you realize there are OPTIONS available in day-to-day life, you more you are annoyed when the options are not available choices for you. No, we can’t have fruit snacks for breakfast. No, we can’t stop and play at that park right now — we’re headed to school. For the most part, you recover quickly and can be led to think about something else. You’re working really hard on asking, not crying or whining, for something, and stopping to “listen” (you always point to your ears) to what we are asking you to do.

You are counting, counting, counting. You can count to ten without error, then it gets a little spottier “nine…ten…eleven…twelve…fifteen…NINE!” You sing your ABC song at about 90% accuracy, and you are obsessed with a couple of puzzle apps we put on the iPad. I swear I can SEE your brain working and you are so proud when you finish one — even if no one is nearby I hear you say, “Good JOB Crew!“. As much as you love the devices, you will drop them in a heartbeat if we ask you to come play something “real” with us. Mom and Dad still win — I wonder for how much longer?! 😉

You continue to be an awesome sleeper – bed around 8, up around 7 and still logging 2.5 to 3 hour naps after lunch. You’ve figured out fruit snacks are the bomb, you only want pouches if they have a banana prominently displayed on the packaging, and you love pretzels, chips, corn, mandarin oranges,  anything cinnamon/spice flavored (grahams, muffins, etc.) and m&ms (“nom-a-nom-a-noms“). Of course, the donut obsession continues — the only thing you love more than those is a garbage truck!

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You constantly have an “owie” (make believe most of the time or the TINIEST scratch becomes a major deal) and you need all.the.band-aids. to show anyone who will pay attention to you, while pouting and saying “oh no, I have owie…poor Crew“. You’re showing more interest in the potty and have had several “successes” so far. I’ll be honest, we’ve waited a bit to potty train just out of laziness/busyness on our part, and also because I was waiting to hear when you would move up to the next room at school (which also impacts your routine and your “normal”). Now that we know that won’t be happening until early summer, I think it will be full steam ahead with this bathroom business.

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You LOVE babies and several of your buddies have new siblings. You actually announced at school that “Crew having a baby” after one of your classmates welcomed a new brother — I definitely caught some raised eyebrows my direction! Sorry but it’s just the three of us, buddy!

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You understand the concept of presents much more now (every boring Amazon box or paper towel delivery via UPS is met with you exclaiming “Oh! Mayyyyybe presents?!“). You’re pretty happy to just open up anything, present or not, but it still cracks me up you don’t give up hope that everything will be for you. You get the idea of the Easter Bunny coming far more than you understood Santa just a few months ago. Every couple days you ask about your basket and if the eggs are still empty.

You did turn into an alter ego of yourself for about ten days mid-March. You were whiny and clingy and didn’t want to eat anything (even your favorites) and would cry about everything, even stuff that didn’t make any sense. We ended up in the ER (your first visit) one night when you had a sudden, severe attack of Croup, and went home after a nebulizer treatment and some steroids that helped you recover quickly. But even after that was addressed, the whininess continued, and we were back in the doctor’s office to be sure you didn’t have an ear infection or something else we hadn’t thought of. In the back of our minds the whole time, we thought this COULD be teeth, but kept checking and didn’t see anything. But sure enough, a couple days ago, 3 of 4 molars have popped through. Teeth never bothered you much to this point but wowza, this last round tested all of us!

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You’re still a bit of a mama’s boy and I love that for about 90 uninterrupted seconds every morning, I get all the hugs and smiles and snuggles — before you promptly ask to turn on garbage trucks (YouTube) and eat some breakfast. You think Dad can fix ANYTHING and if something’s broken, I’ve noticed you never bring it to me for help ha! With Dad working in the basement more lately, you are constantly asking me what he’s doing, telling me what he’s making, or asking to go “check on Daddy“. You love your little family and that makes my heart swell.

I can’t believe the next time I get one of these posts pulled together you will be halfway to three already. I couldn’t pick a favorite phase in your short little life so far, but this talking, loving, learning phase, with all its frustrations but ALL its discoveries and enthusiasm, is ranking pretty high on the charts. Love, love, love you, Crew Man!

Crew is TWO!

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And just like that, you’re two.

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Our smart, silly, raised-eyebrows-and-mischeivously-grinning guy who loves to dance, hug, give kisses while grabbing both sides of our faces, LEAPS from his seat when he hears the garbage truck outside, and points to the floor telling us to “sit DOWN right HERE!” when you want us to play with you..has officially been on the planet and at the center of our world for two whole years.

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This is the focused face that gets up close to my nose, then breaks into a grin and says “Hi!” first thing in the morning 🙂 You are such a lover and have always been fiercely expressive about showing it. I hope that never changes!

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And this is the cheeseball performer grin we get when you know he have an audience in the palm of your hand. I love that you’ve never been shy, thrive on the energy of people, and find joy in expressing yourself — talking, dancing, pretending, creating.

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I’m relishing the days when all bad moods can be solved with a sucker, you love to nuzzle noses with us, and your sing song voice is rattling off every thought you have, all day long.

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Your sentences are getting longer, and your thoughts string together more and more. The passion for diggers and garbage trucks is unwavering. You’ve become obsessed with the Minions, the only movie you will actually sit and watch for upwards of a half hour at a time before you get the wiggles.

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You continue to be an amazing sleeper — 11 to 12 hours at night and a 3.5 hour nap most afternoons, but a typical toddler when it comes to eating. Some days we literally serve you the same thing at every meal, or multiple days in a row. Thankfully, you still love pouches of fruit and veggie purees, and you’re an avid milk drinker. Throw in a multivitamin and we’ll get through this picky stage!

You clocked in at just under 26 pounds and 34 inches tall at your two-year appointment. You handled your last immunization for a while like a champ and I did a little mom-beaming when everyone (doc, nurse, lab nurse and admin) ALL commented separately how brave and friendly and go-with-the-flow you are…coming from an office of professionals who see kids all day long (and probably a lot of meltdowns) this made me so proud of your laid-back temperament!

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Your pacifier and security blanket are a package deal — if you want one, you want them both, NOW. It’s your only vice, and you’ve regressed a bit in terms of wanting them during the day, not just to go to bed. We’re trying to encourage that the paci just stays in the crib, but you aren’t a fan of that idea. We are picking our battles and after talking with a couple different peds, there doesn’t seem to be a huge reason to force the stopping of the habit. So we may just let it roll for now.

With two years under our belts now, we’ve learned that parenting is a series of screw-ups and forgiving yourself, coupled with pats on your own back for little successes here and there that the rest of the world would probably not even notice. It’s all a learning curve and changes by the week it seems and I’m thankful to your dad for being such a fantastic partner in all of this. Through it all, we couldn’t have asked for a sweeter soul to guide us through this adventure of being “mom” and “dad”. We love you Crew Man, and are so, SO excited to embark on your third year. It’s going to be a fun one!

home for the holidays (part 4)

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I’m so grateful we got a headstart on the decorations this year, got our baking done a couple weeks ago, and thanks to good old Amazon Prime, our gifts arrived in plenty of time to wrap, leaving the last couple nights to soak up the anticipation of the holiday.

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The gifts moved to their rightful place under the tree, and the advent calendar hung empty.

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Our wreath was filled with family and friends’ faces.

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Crew was enjoying playing with a couple new (early) gifts from friends.

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I loved just walking around the house the last couple days, taking note of all the little Crew infusions that make up Christmas for us this year.

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Per our tradition, a freshly-bathed Crew came down to admire the tree one final time in his jammies, and I grabbed a couple (more mobile this year!) shots.

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Off to bed he went, so Santa could come…

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I won’t rub it in, but one of our best gifts is the ongoing gift of a child who (somewhat) sleeps in. Around 8am, our buddy came down to start Christmas!

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Shortly after this, I put my camera down the rest of the day, to just enjoy and partake. With no real present-unwrapping since his birthday (almost) a year ago, it took a few gifts to understand the concept of opening, but as he gained momentum, the squeals and “oh my gosh!” chants became more intense and the paper-ripping skills improved 😉

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Today we’re enjoying a still-in-our-jammies day at home, running loads through the dishwasher, unboxing and building a couple of our gifts, and packing some of the decorations away. It’s calm and content, and kind of amazing to have such an entertained little guy while we play with our own new stuff!

Merry Christmas to you and yours. Wishing you safe travels home if you’re headed that way, peaceful and content last days in 2016, and an oh-so-happy new year. 

Crew: 23 months

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It’s your last month as a one-year-old and you haven’t slowed down a bit! Here’s what you’ve been up to the better part of November.

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You are definitely working on some molars, which has resulted in some extra-picky eating (nothing you have to chew too much) and lots of whiney, clingy meltdowns as you get more tired throughout the day. The ibuprofen is flowing here, for sure. Your earlier teeth never seemed to bother you much, or we’d notice for maybe a day, but this has been a solid week or so of you being uncomfortable. Poor guy!

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You won’t have an official weigh-in until your two-year appointment, but you recently climbed on our bathroom scale to the tune of about 26 pounds. You’re in size 7 shoes, 18-24 month bottoms and mostly 2T tops (short legs, long torso!). You are becoming more and more aware of, and vocal about, your – ahem – bodily functions. We are in no rush to potty train but after your birthday, we may give it a test-run. You willingly sit on the potty at school and are definitely interested. You also love to announce your burps and toots — even though they’re loud enough we usually hear them anyway. 😉

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You spent a day with Papa and Mimi at their house so we could go to what became THE Iowa game of the season. It was the first time someone else had put you to bed somewhere other than home, and I honestly wasn’t sure how it would go (more out of stress for them, not you!) but now that we know you can totally handle it, we’re dreaming of destinations for a trip away just us…no offense. 😉 It’s so interesting to see how something that made you nervous even a couple months ago (going to sleep somewhere out of the norm, even with us there) can be a totally different experience with just a few more weeks of growth.

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You’re obsessed with the moon. You have one in your room on the wall that you love to click on and off, but it’s no substitute for the real deal, which thanks to Daylight Savings, we can now spot at the end of the day when I pick you up from school, and every night before bed. We read Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me at LEAST once a day. You’ve stopped calling it a “moon ball” and out of nowhere started saying “full moon”. Not sure if this came from the book or talking about it at school?

You love, love, love to be a helper. Taking things to the trash, helping me cook, carrying laundry to the hamper — you are down for any task. At what age do kids suddenly view things as chores? Because I’m really liking this enthusiastic help, most of the time. 🙂 You’re also an epic backseat driver…“Mama — big truck comin’…oh! red light! ope! green light — go!” You particularly loved getting to help when Dad brought home a first Lego project for the two of you to build…and I’m so impressed with how carefully you’ve played with the finished product…for half-hour blocks at a time! #dadwin

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It hasn’t FELT like the holidays are approaching (it’s been so warm!) but that hasn’t stopped us from talking about snow and Christmas trees and Santa. We got out the Christmas books from last year and it’s been fun to have some fresh content to read! Your vocab is expanding all the time, and it’s been fun to add some seasonal words and meaning. It’s amazing to me how little minds can hear a word or phrase just once or twice and it sticks. Just the other day, your frustrated mom said “Come ON!” in the car to the traffic, and when we got home, you proceeded to recite my phrase over and over…for Dad. Cue the start of me watching what I say around you. 🙂

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You are getting your manners straight, using “please”, “thank you”, and “excuse me” in the right situations, when prompted, and sometimes without. You also say “uh oh, sorry” more to yourself than anyone when you drop something. Your sentences are getting longer all the time — I can think of several things you have said that are at least 4-5 words strung together (and that make sense!). The other night when we were talking about a babysitter coming over, you said in sequence, “Rachael comin? Mama go bye bye? No mom bye bye.” Your train of thought is getting easier to follow all the time.

And so we begin the Christmas season with you. I have lists of things big and small I want to do with you at this magical innocent age that seems to be just a blip on the radar before it’s gone. I’m glad we decorated early because it leaves the whole month to just relax and soak up the experiences with you. Soooo looking forward to this!

XOXO,
Mom

Crew: 22 months

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This month has been a busy one! Between my work schedule increasing a bit, participating in a weight loss challenge, your dad hooking us up with a new ride, and general fall/Halloween busy-ness, it feels like I blinked and it’s time to write another monthly post!

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You love shoes and when Mimi treated to you to a (few!) new pairs, we may as well have given you toys — you were obsessed with trying them all on and kept saying “new shoes! wow!” You’re a carbon copy of BOTH your parents ha!

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Now if you see me taking your picture, you’ll stop what you’re doing and say “cheeese” — not really smile ha, but you’ll say it — this must be something learned at school, I’ve never taught you that! To get a real smile in a picture on command, we’re much better off asking you to laugh, or as in this shot below, asking you to come get me — little stinker.

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You love to dance, laugh, play hide and seek, sing (your own made up lyrics), “ride” on everything and anything that will support your weight, be outside, give hugs and kisses, and “snuh” (snuggle) in as many blankets as you can get your hands on. Total Linus. You’re obsessed with donuts, love bath time, still like to ride in the stroller (hallelujah!) and are enjoying a whole new view after we faced your carseat forward this month. You got the biggest, silliest grin on your face when you discovered the new ride has a DVD player…but I think it will be Mom and Dad who love it most though on some upcoming road trips for the holidays.

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One of October’s adventures included a trip to the pumpkin patch. You weren’t too sure about the corn pool until I got in with you. The shot of you and Dad feeding the goats melts my heart. It’s too bad you guys don’t dig each other 😉

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You’re kind of obsessed with pumpkins and point them out on everyone’s doorsteps, in the stores, and in the handful of books we’ve been reading lately. You have a couple minis that you tote everywhere around the house.

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And speaking of Halloween…;)

I was convinced you’d be all in, or all out, but fortunately, you barely blinked as I put on your goggles and oxygen tank! 😉 You thought it was pretty awesome that Dad went as a shark. You lasted about three houses trick or treating, it was cold and dinnertime for you, so I’m glad we got out earlier in the day for a dress rehearsal to grab some shots.

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It’s been a particularly fun month with you, our little scuba diver. I’m loving these days with you and while they are flying by, I’m keenly aware of how actively I’m trying to soak up the minutes and memories. It’s been a great way to lead into the holiday seasons and all the traditions we can better involve you in this year. Bring on November!