Tuesday, October 24, 2017

2017 SBL Part 3 | Summer Wrap-up!

It’s funny, when I’m melting alive and cursing the hot summer temps, it often feels like it’s never going to be fall, and then summer ends and I look back on all we did amazed at how quickly it came and went. This summer was a 30 year record-breaking HOT one in New Mexico, (as I’ve mentioned about 47 times), but gosh was it one that we’ll never forget! Not only was this our little guys first summer as a part of our family, but we managed to accomplish the impossible! We pulled off the out of town road trip + lake trip + camping trip, and that’s just amazing! This is what I refer to as the Summer Trinity and Georgia and I have only pulled it off a few times in our 11 summers together. I’m sure it helped that we were home on mat leave most of the summer, but we were home with a newborn and just having two kids is a game changer, for sure. The fact that we didn’t let this keep us from getting outside surprised even me, a self-proclaimed recovering helicopter mom who hardly left the house when Gracie was a baby. It’s just amazing how much more chill parents are with the second born. It was also our gal’s last summer before starting elementary school, so we had to make it just a bit more special for her too!    
Go to the Lake | Happy 4th of July!

Having grown up on the lake my entire childhood, it’s one of my absolute favorite places to be and I’m always so sad when we go through the summer not making it down for a visit! With this being Will’s first summer, my mom scheduled our trip down south for the 4th of July way back in March, before the baby was even born. She wanted to make sure to celebrate Will’s first Independence Day with all of us and knew that we would likely get invited to a few different events, so she locked us down early, lol! Nani then surprised us by renting a big pontoon boat so that we could all be on the water together and not have to take groups of 4-5 out on the water at a time, like we do on her and my step-dad’s boat. It was such a great surprise and totally made our trip. :)

Having the pontoon for the weekend was so awesome that Georgia and I are currently pricing used pontoons because we want one soooo bad! I’m thinking it may be more of a summer 2019 goal, but just like with the new camper, the more we talk about it, envision having one and save, the more likely we’ll be happy pontoon owners one of these days! Between the big boat, our giant water raft, a few Jet Skis and wakeboards, we spent 90% of our days on the water and had such a blast.

Look at this tiny water baby! Will was just 3 months old for our lake trip and it’s crazy to see how much bigger he is at 6.5 months old. You don’t realize how fast they grow when you see your kiddos every day, but video like this shows you just how much they change in such a short time! Our little fish. 

Baby boy did great on our trip down and Grace was the most excited little helper ever. Even with the heat and the 6-hour round trip drive in the truck, he mostly slept while Gracie ate way too many snacks and played on her Kindle. I was worried about the sun because our gal burns so quickly and both kiddos have the same skin tone, so we decided to keep the baby out of the direct sun, even on the boat, while still putting hats and sun block on him all weekend and guess what? He got a little bit of a heat rash on day two, but didn’t end up getting burned! Gracie and I weren’t so lucky though… Both me and the bean LOVE spending sun up to sun down playing in the lake, so even with hats on our heads and sun block reapplied every time we would get out for food and water, we both totally over-baked.

This visit was extra cute because it was the first that Gracie wanted to hang out with her friends in the water and not follow me around. They played with water guns, ate all their meals together and had a blast watching fireworks. Grace stayed up way later than she has on past trips, which we agreed to as she’s our almost-six-year-old big sister gal, we needed to just let her have fun and having fun meant staying up until 10:30pm and she was so stoked about it. We celebrated a few birthdays during our extended weekend, did a little shopping at the marina, G grilled her heart out and I took about a million pictures of our 3-month-old water baby and his adorable big sis. These two, I just can’t get enough of them!

We did have a very scary experience during our visit that showed us both that there’s a reason we don’t take our eyes off our kids and never let them run off and play unsupervised, regardless of who they’re with… On the 4th of July, we began lighting fireworks once it started getting dark out. Grace wanted to be able to run around with her buds, so we let her play in-between our camper and my mom’s camper, which was directly in front of ours. About an hour into the evening, when it was still dusk out, I noticed a man walk right through the center of our camp and he gave me the total creeps. Not only did he violate camping etiquette by stomping through our groups’ campsite, but also something about his presence demanded my attention. He was very tall and slender and while he only looked to be 30 something, he had completely white hair, looking almost albino and had a totally removed/blank look on his face that made the hair on my arms stand up. It was right after this that I went to get Grace and let her know it was getting too dark and she needed to play in front of our camp where I could watch her more closely, even though G had been checking on them playing behind us just about every 10 minutes or so. Grace was bummed that I ended the fun but it was time to eat anyway, so she grabbed some food and we had dinner.
About an hour and a half later, the park rangers came to our camp to let us know that there was a situation about a mile down the beach where a man reportedly attempted to kidnap a 4-year-old little girl from her campsite pulling her by the hand and nearly making off with her before being confronted by the little girl’s uncle and then running away into the dark brush. They told us that they had not yet located the man but that he was described as being tall, very thin, looked to be about 40 years old and had platinum white hair. They told us that while they were certain he’d fled and were still searching, we needed to keep our children close. I about died. I literally felt my entire body go numb like all the blood had been drained from me all at once. When I watched that guy who perfectly fit the Rangers description, every mama instinct I had screamed that he was dangerous and it turned out, I was right.
In all of my 35 years of visiting different lakes in the state and in the 50+ years that my mom has spent every summer at the lake, never had we experienced anything like this and it scared the shit out of everyone. It broke my heart to know that there are monsters out there who come to places they know have lots of children, with the sole intention of hurting them. It also reaffirmed that for all the crap Georgia and I get for being helicopter moms, that’s not something that is going to change anytime soon, because we live in a dangerous world full of a lot of sick people and it’s our job as parents to protect our littles, 24/7, 365.

Thankfully, this happened on our last night at the lake so it didn’t cast a dark shadow on the entire weekend, but was so alarming at the same time and left us feeling very uneasy. We spent our last morning enjoying a big breakfast, playing a bit more in the water and packing up our camp. G somehow managed to maintain her exclusive pumping the entire time we were out there, even though we were without electricity most of the time, in the desert and outdoors, which made me so proud of her! Her dedication to exclusively pumping for our little guy regardless of location or circumstance for 5.5 months was so inspiring to me! She’s a super mom!
Go Camping up North | Labor Day with Friends

We started a tradition a little over 10 years ago to camp every year in August or for Labor Day in September with Grace and Will’s amazing Guncles. When Grace was just 3 months old, we took her on her first camping trip and it’s something the bean looks soooo forward to each year as the summer draws to an end and it’s literally all she talks about in the weeks leading up to our annual outing. She has her lifejacket, fishing pole, flashlight and bug spray in a special cabinet in the camper and our gal has become such a camping pro that she no longer even needs our help getting all situated when we set up camp. At the age of 5, she knows where her snacks are to feed herself in-between meals. She knows not to go anywhere near the river without us and her lifejacket and she knows where all her games are, so basically she’s completely self sufficient and only needs us to cook for her and tuck her in at night! My big girl. 

Because my wife is basically the Hispanic MacGyver, she has all sorts of camping gadgets and somehow finds reasons to buy more each year, so setting up outside is always her job while I get things organized indoors. Now that we have the new camper, my life setting up is so much easier and I’m just LOVING it! No more cranking up the roof of the pop-up. We don’t have to spend an hour leveling the damn thing, often times in the dark and because we no longer have to completely empty it between trips, I don’t have to load it back up with all our stuff or do much organizing now… But don’t tell Georgia because she still thinks I’m hard at work in there while she sets up outside, when really I’m just enjoying a beer while watching our flat screen TV! I know – I’m an evil genius!

For baby boy’s first camping trip up north, uncle A and uncle B joined us along with a few of their family members who also share the property. We also had our friends C & L and their son come down as well as a bunch of friends who live in the area. There was so much food and we didn’t even have to catch fish this time because our fellow campers were pulling them in like a bunch of professionals! Gracie still loves to “fish” having no idea that there isn’t a real hook on the end of her line, so even though the fish were handed over to us, we still took her out “fishing” and she had a great time!

The camping highchair that G’s mom gave us for our baby shower has been the most amazing thing and has come in handy so many times this summer! We’re able to strap William in safely, attach one to two umbrellas that come with it completely shading him from the sun and it’s been perfect for feeding our boy. The best part is that when he gets tired of us holding him in the carrier or tired of being passed from person to person, we can pop him in there, strap him in and he'll sit happily for 30 minutes to an hour, people watching and smiling away. Thanks Gaga and Papa!
We decided to only go up for two days for this first trip and it was the perfect amount of time. We made S’mores, listened to music by the fire, did a little hiking, had a fish fry and played in the river and when we were tired, we cuddled up all together in our big bed or Gracie’s bunk beds and just relaxed. It was such a great getaway and Mama can’t wait to go again!

My sweet and adventurous babies! There aren't many hand-me-downs that they can share, so when I do come across one, it makes my heart so happy!
Adios summer 2017! Thank you for being so good to us.

30 adventures down - 0 to go!
Make S’mores
Go Camping
Have a Water Fight
Light Fireworks
Go Fishing
Go on a Boat Ride
Go to the Lake
Have a Family Bowling Day
Stay in a cabin
Have a Sleepover
Have a Picnic
Cook Out with Friends
Go Swimming 
Have a Family BBQ
Start Soccer Camp
Visit the Botanical Gardens
Order Room Service
Grow a Butterfly Garden
Eclipse Watching
Brother’s 1st Visit to the Movies!
Ride the Train
Plant a Summer Garden
Visit the Natural History Museum
Go to the Zoo
Visit the Aquarium
Will’s 1st LGBT Pride
Sleep in a Tent
Go to a Baseball Game
Movie Date with Mama
Take a Ton of Pictures

To read our 2017 Summer Bucket List, Part I – click here.

To read our 2017 Summer Bucket List, Part 2 – click here.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Be still, my heart!

Look at this absolutely gorgeous smarty-pants of mine! The Bean's Kindergarten pictures came in this month and my heart just about exploded when she handed them to us. I feel like I can see the teenage, grown-up Gracie for the first time in these photos and that feeling brings both happy and sad tears to my eyes. I'm just so proud of this little love. She is the most amazing friend to all her buds, always showing such compassion with them and with us. She is our helper with her little brother and has such patience with him even though he absorbs so much of the attention that used to belong to only her. I'm guessing this is one of the reasons Will is 100% obsessed with sister. 

I'm just so thankful that I get to be her Mama. 
Love you, Bubba.   

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Happy Half-Birthday, Baby Boy!

“Parents actually celebrate half-birthdays? Are you being serious? That’s ridiculous!”
– Kristin, 2016 ;)

I have every intention of sharing a picture-heavy blog post about our main man turning 6 months old, however I could not wait to share these pictures from his half-birthday photoshoot, because – LOOK! I mean really, how is this kid so damn cute? #icanteven

I know what you’re thinking because I used to think the same thing… a photoshoot for turning six months old, get real. So, I’m just going to own this and say, YES! Celebrating half-birthdays is a thing and it’s more precious than a box full of puppies! I wanted to have this sweet boy’s pictures taken for his oh-so-special half-birthday and I’m here to tell you that it was worth every penny! Every single penny. :)

I knew I wanted to celebrate Will turning 6 months old since before he was even born! I say, “I” because even Georgia thought I was crazy for wanting to make a big deal of it, at first. As we were preparing for Will’s arrival, I had lots of time to reflect on motherhood; how it would change with baby #2 and memories of what our experience was like when Gracie was a tiny baby. As I thought about all this stuff, the same thing kept coming to the forefront of my mind, and that is – that babies don’t keep, so you must savor every moment! I look at Gracie and can’t believe that in just 5 months, we’ll have a 6-year-old! I can still remember every bit of her sweet baby-ness and while we certainly made mistakes as new first time parents, one thing that we did right and that I’ll never regret was that we celebrated and photographed EVERYTHING! We had holiday photos taken of our family every fall and still do. We had professional pictures taken of the Bean for every birthday, ages one to four. We dressed our gal up and drove her to the studio for Halloween photos, 3 years in a row and guess what? We’re still completely in love with every single one of those memories captured in time and if our home were to burn down today, those photos are what I would grab on my way out the door. To me, they are worth more than gold.

These past 6 months really have been the fastest 6 months ever! It’s like one minute you’re cuddling this teenie tiny baby who can’t hold their own head up, and then suddenly they’re eating food at the dinner table, rolling over, laughing and grabbing everything in sight.

 Will started showing signs of sitting up on his own around mid-September and we just couldn’t believe it! Once we knew that he was almost there, I started practicing with him a little bit every evening and he quickly realized that if he toppled over, Mama would catch him, so that became a fun game for him. He would be sitting up like a champ and then he’d throw himself over with the biggest smile on his face. It was so stinkin’ cute but I also didn’t want him to continue doing this for fear that he would hurt himself if we weren't there to catch him! I ended up laying out some soft blankets and let the kiddo topple over a few times without a mama rescue. Suddenly his sitting started getting better, but I promise he face planted into about 2 inches of softness and didn't hurt his precious little face! By the time our half-birthday session rolled around, this cutie of ours could sit up, unassisted for about 15-20 seconds at a time! Our big strong boy! We were so proud of him.

Our photographer, who’s totally amazing and the same photog who captured Will’s newborn photos was the person we hired to capture his half-birthday pics. I say she’s amazing and I truly mean it, for so many reasons! M listens to what we want with our family photos, she’s incredibly gentle with our babies and between the extra-long sessions and the awesome photo sets she creates for us, she’s spent HOURS creating beautiful pictures of our kiddos and I just can't thank her enough. M will be the gal to take Sonnie Bear’s Cake Smash/1st birthday pics when he turns one and I’m just so happy that she was referred to us back in January and will continue to capture the special moments in the lives for years to come!

Happy half-birthday to our joyful little guy! You bring me, Mommy and Gracie so much happiness and I promise you that your mamas will forever celebrate the little things in your life. This is just the beginning! Xo, Mama

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

5 Months of William

Ok Sonnie, I have a secret to tell you… Today is your half-birthday! (Ekkkkk!) This means that Mama is waaaaayyy late posting about you at 5 months old… but since I started writing this letter to you several weeks ago, Mama’s still going to post it, ok? Ok. Glad we cleared that up!

You, my little stinker, appeared to have hit a growth spurt in month five because you suddenly grew out of so much of your adorable outfits faster than we could have you wear lots of them! Like, I’m talking stuff with tags packed away that were never worn. Mama tried to have you sport a few favorites even though they clearly didn’t fit, but when I could see your ankles and wrists, I knew it just wasn’t going to happen, haha! You’re our super lean green bean measuring above average in height but only around the 17th percentile for weight. Translation, you’re the opposite of sister bear at this age – long and skinny and I must say, you are the happiest skinny as a green bean baby who ever lived! Like seriously, the happiest! You’re eating baby cereal; your baby eczema is finally doing better and your hair is growing back. You adore your big sis and seem to be more aware of her presence now, because you laugh even more at her crazy antics than ever before. You still love to cuddle and have become a co-sleeper with mommy and me, jumping in bed with us every morning at around 4am to snuggle up. Most mornings, you fall right back to sleep and we could easily put you back in your bed, but we love to cuddle too, so we keep you sandwiched between us until the house wakes up. Morning time in our “big bed” continues to be the best part of our day, with you and sister all wrapped up watching cartoons while Mavie lies near our feet. Mommy and I often smile at one another during this cuddle time as if to say without words, can you believe this is our life! Honestly son, we can’t believe it and we have you and sister bear to thank for that. Little moments like our morning cuddles are everything to us!

We are beyond happy that the sensitive skin issues you’ve had for most of these past 5 months seem to finally have cleared up! Poor little dude, you’ve had such a hard time since you were around 3 weeks old. First you developed baby acne, which quickly covered your entire body and not just your face like it does with most babies. Mommy and I thought it would never go away, but then about 6 weeks later, it finally cleared up. Right around this time you developed cradle cap and lost all your beautiful hair. This was hardest on mama because I loved your hair. You were bald up until month 3, when a little peach fuzz started coming in, which made us so happy. Around the same time that your hair fell out, we started noticing some red patches of skin on your arms and the back of your legs and in no time you had dry patches, irritation, breaks in your skin and were basically covered from head to toe in a rash, 24/7. I asked about it at your 3-month visit, but was told that you were just adjusting to life outside the womb. When it got worse and again your doc said it was nothing to worry about, I did a little research, decided you had baby eczema and began treating it accordingly. This was finally confirmed a month later, which broke my heart because we could have acted sooner and prevented so much discomfort for you had we just trusted our intuition. I guess the good thing is that at least we now know how to properly care for your skin and it’s looking 100% better! Yay!    

---> 5 Month Stats <---

Weight: 14.7 pounds
Height: 26 inches tall

During your most recent wellness check-up, the nurse taking your measurements wrote down that you were 26 inches, even though I watched you get measured and you were clearly 27 inches. I didn’t say anything because it wasn’t a big deal, but for record keeping purposes (you’re really 27 inches)! This visit was hilarious because it solidified the fact that you and your pediatrician are legit besties! Dr. J has told us before that you’re her favorite baby and I swear she spends about an hour visiting with us every time we come in, but I’ve never been more convinced of her love for you as I was following this appointment. I mean, just look at these pictures!

Month FIVE highlights!

* You LOVE to eat! I’m talking 3 servings of organic baby cereal per day in addition to your regular bottles. Mama made you food for the first time a few weeks ago and you love it now, but for most of month 5, you were all about the baby cereal.

* For the first time ever, you seem to have an awareness of “strangers” and you don’t want anyone holding you unless you know who they are. If we hand you off to someone you don’t know, you’ll turn your head and won’t take your eyes off us until you’re back in our arms. Is it bad that it makes me feel are warm and special when you do this? It’s like I can see in your eyes how much you want to be back with us and it makes Mommy and me feel so loved. Sometimes you’ll even cry for us!

* You’ve started to notice other babies at play dates and will roll in their direction to examine their faces, even reaching out to touch them if they’re close enough. I noticed this several times at your most recent baby hangout because your baby buds were all pretty fussy and you spent your time watching them cry as you tried grabbing onto their clothing and meanwhile they didn’t look over at you once, haha!

* You LOVE your Jumper! Sister was nice enough to let you have the one she had as a baby and you are obsessed with it. Mommy and I love that we can sit you in there and you will grab at the hanging toys, bounce to your heart delight and babble for 30-45 minutes! It gives us the chance to get all sorts of things done – God bless it!

* Your new favorite hobby is to watch sister sing and thankfully she pretty much sings all day long! She’ll put on little performances for you and has your undivided attention the entire time. One thing that always calms you when you’re fussy is when we sing, “You Are My Sunshine” and when you’re upset and sister sings it, you stop crying instantly! It’s amazing!

* You are teething like crazy, you little drool machine! You chew on everything, including us and have to wear a bib 24/7 or we end up having to change your top 3-5 times in one day! Thankfully your mamas are obsessed with bandana bibs and you have about a million, so we're more than happy to coordinate them with what you’re wearing everyday. :)

* Mama gave you your first hair cut! It was decided that your baby comb over looked way too much like Trumps horrible hair and we just couldn’t have that, so we cut it off! One day Mama sat you in sisters pink Boppy and very carefully trimmed the random, super long hairs you had and left you looking so very handsome! Everyone loved your new look!

And more pictures, of course! A few from the work picnic we went to where you were the star of the event and a few pictures of you and sister bear, because you two are the most beautiful babies who ever lived!

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