Sunday, September 15, 2013

Zachary: 8 Months

Note we had to have Ryan hold the sign. Otherwise, you just wanted to tear it up. 

Dearest Zachary,

You turned 8 months today. And a busy month it has been! You are coming into your own for sure and developing more and more of a personality every day. You remain a determined, happy, at times easily frustrated, and joyful little boy who loves his family, and most of all his big brother.

This month you learned to wave bye-bye and to say "Ma-Ma." You still don't crawl, but you're so darn close. But despite how close you are, Daddy and I are both fairly convinced that you're not gonna crawl because you would much prefer to stand and walk. You can pull up by yourself (when you manage to roll or scoot yourself close enough to something onto which you can pull up) and you love to walk around while Mommy or Daddy hold your hands. The other day you stood unsupported for about 4 seconds and you're learning to fall safely onto your bum when you lose your balance.

But to be honest, none of us are particularly eager for you to become mobile. You are a very determined (read: stubborn) little guy, and when you want to grab something, it is very difficult to stop you. The things you can most often be found reaching for are the remote, Mommy's cell phone, or Ryan's toys. Keeping you out of things you're not supposed to touch is difficult enough at this point. It will become near impossible once you can move on your own. Though Ryan doesn't realize it, he may be the most effected when you can move. Suddenly all his toys will be fair game. I think I see a cage in your future! (Hah. Just kidding. Sorta.)

You eat like a champ. You pick up and eat (to name a few things) puffs, cheerios, strawberries, meatballs, pasta, mandarin oranges, avocado, and black beans (you LOVE black beans!) all by yourself. You can use a straw and you slurp up Daddy's special green smoothies (with spinach and flax seed) like there is no tomorrow. You still love to nurse but during the day you are eating real food more and more and nursing less and less (I wish the same was true at night!).

Ryan remains your most favorite person in the world. Well, maybe a close second to Mama. But if Ryan produced milk, he would DEFINITELY be your favorite! Ryan makes you laugh like no one else and when he's not around you look for him. You almost never cry, but on Ryan's first day of pre-school, you spent much of the morning whining/fussing and looking around confused. I think you missed him and were wondering when he was. You love him very much. And he loves you, too. You and Ryan now thoroughly enjoy taking baths together. One night recently you were really tired so you got out of your bath rather quickly. We expected Ryan to stay in for a while and play. But after just a few minutes he said, "Dada, it's lonely in here without my bruddah. I wanna get out." It is one of life's greatest joys to watch the two of you interact with each other. Ryan gets the biggest belly laughs out of you, and those truly, truly are contagious.

You're also a very observant little boy. You clearly are taking in a lot about the world, and once you can really talk, I expect you'll have a lot to say. One such sign of your intense observation is what you do anytime someone gives you a cloth, a napkin, or a paper towel. You immediately start "cleaning" the floor or table with it. You don't eat it. Nope, you clean. You're a man after my own heart. Of course, after cleaning for  a bit you then may tear it into a bunch of pieces and try to eat it. But first, you clean. You've generally gotten better about not eating everything. I can let you play with the sand box without you shoveling it into your mouth (though, you do occasionally try to sneak a taste). But you understand the phrase "not for your mouth" and when I say it you typically stop what you're doing, look at me and smirk. You're smart, and funny, and you bring so very much joy to our lives. We can't imagine life without you!

Happy 8th-Month day, Zachary!



In addition to all the every day fun we have around here, this month also included your first ever Orioles' game. Ryan had to wait until he was 3 1/2 years old to go to a Big League game. But, being the second kiddo, you got to go when you were only 7 1/2 MONTHS! The joys of being the second :) Pop-Pop joined us and we had a blast. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

One of Many 1st Days....

Dear Ryan,

Tomorrow is your very first day of school. You'll be going to pre-school two days a week this year, and I could not be more excited for you. I hope this is the beginning of a love of school and a love of learning. But more than anything, this year, I just hope you have fun, and come to view school as a happy, good place to be. As far as I am concerned, those are the goals of pre-school.

But, in three-year old terms, tonight I told you I want you to do three things at school:
1. Have fun.
2. Be a good friend.
3. Learn new things.

If you do each of those things, and I have no doubt that you will, then you'll be making Daddy and I so very proud. I know you're excited, but I can also tell you're a little nervous. But you have nothing to be nervous about. I know you'll do great! I can't wait to see how you blossom this year. Its going to be a great year!

Love always,


Sunday, September 1, 2013

No Where But Here

Matt and I sometimes muse about living places besides the DC Metro area where we live. Of course, the first place we always consider is Boston. It is where we went to school, where we fell in love, and where we have many fond memories. We would love to take our kids regularly to BC Football games  and have them grow up loving the city we love so much.

We think about moving to Canada at times. 1 year maternity leave, true universal healthcare, federally subsidized daycare, less humidity: It all sounds pretty tempting.

We think of cities where the cost of loving is much lower, Indianapolis comes to mind, as good friends just moved there. Where we could own our "dream home" for hardly a penny more than we paid for our current, tiny, townhouse. Where we just wouldn't have to worry about money as much.

We think of exciting and new places where we've never visited: the Pacific Northwest, Colorado...or places we have visited and loved: San Francisco, San Antonio, etc.

And then, we have impromptu family dinners at my parents house. Where my children are surrounded by love, by their grandparents, their cousins, their aunts and uncles. Tonight we had one such dinner. My mom called us in the afternoon and invited us, we had no other plans, so we were able to go. My oldest brother and his family came as well. Mark and Catharine couldn't make it, but that was OK because we live close enough that we know we'll see them soon. Dinner was relaxed and fun, filled with little kid jokes, grown up humor that went over the kids' heads, my six year old niece trying to teach me the cup game, and lots of laughter and love.

On the way home, Ryan said, "That was so fun.  I just love Caitlin and Julia. But I like it best when EVERYONE is all together: Neenee, Poppop, Auntie Cindy, Uncle John, Caitlin and Julia, AND   Auntie Catharine, and Uncle Mark."

Me too, Buddy. And that is why we will probably never live anywhere else but where we live. All those tempting perks of other places can never compare to having our children grow up surrounded by impromptu family dinners, birthday parties nearly every month, fun outings, play dates, and so much love. Nothing compares to that.

A True Natural

My husband just left for the grocery store. That might not sound like much, but it is Sunday morning, at 8:30 a.m. and he is out grocery shopping for our family...with our two kids. Yes, that's right, he just left the house, to do all the grocery shopping for the week with a 3 1/2 year old and a 7 month old. Yeah, he's pretty much Super Man in my book.

Matt did not enter into fatherhood with any experience what-so-ever. He never grew up around babies. He only babysit a few times growing up and that was always for older, school aged kids. Until our first son was born, Matt had been the youngest member of his family. Not just his immediate family, but including all cousins. He really didn't have much experience with babies or young kids at all.

This might make some spouses a little nervous to start a family. But, I never was. I knew Matt to be a patient, kind, gentle, loving man, and I knew he would make an amazing father. He has certainly proven me right.

Matt has jumped right in, in every sense of the word since our kids were born. He changed Ryan's (and Zach's) first diapers in the hospital. He got up late at night with Ryan as much as I did when he was a newborn. (He didn't have to get up much with Zach because, well, neither did I! He just slept). He plays games and colors pictures, and lets the boys use him as a jungle gym on the floor. He is fun, and enthusiastic, and so loving towards our boys. I am pretty sure he is Ryan's favorite person in the whole world. He is a hands on Dad, and  I couldn't imagine parenting without him.

Just like I'm not a perfect Mom, he's not a perfect Dad. I recently questioned whether I would be more patient if I worked more. Part of what helped reassure me that working more wouldn't necessarily change my patience is when Matt said, "Kristen, I work all day, and I still get impatient at the same things that make you impatient." He helped me realize that yes, part of parenting a toddler is frustrating, mind-numbing, and impatience inducing. He's honest and affirming of me in my role as a mother, even in my imperfections. And I hope he knows, that despite his own imperfections, that he is an amazing Dad, and Husband. (This post is about Matt as a Dad, but I have to at least briefly mention that Matt does the dishes after dinner every night, does the laundry more often than I do, takes care of the trash/recycling, and yes, of course, does the grocery shopping. He makes me a better Mother, by being such an wonderful, involved husband).


So, as I sit here in my eerily quiet house, by myself (the only time each week that I am alone in the house) I am spending my time writing about a wonderful man, father, and husband. He is one of the greatest gifts in my life, and I am so lucky he's mine. I love you, Matt!

The Cam Fam has been Published on:

Scary Mommy