15 December 2013

Jude Lately

In a nutshell, Jude's crib became a thing of the past in October, and by the end of October naps pretty much also went the way of the world.  I am saying this at the beginning of this little session of recording Jude's latest stuff, because don't we all want bad news first?  Not that this is bad new for anyone but me….

He doesn't do quiet time, either.  I have no problem sleep training babies, but he looks so incredibly hurt and heartbroken when I try to put him in there, I know in my gut that it's not worth it.  Sometimes he'll fall asleep in the car, but he's on to me and if we happen to be driving around and I look back at him, sometimes he'll meet me glance and say, "I'm awake!!!" 

I won't mince words, it is extremely exhausting and hard to be ON 12 hours straight, every single day.  Like when I had a full time job outside the home I could reasonably expect to use the ladies' room and take a lunch break undisturbed, right?  That skips me over every single day!  Last week my brain and body were wiped out by about 2:30.  Graham was napping and I didn't know how I was going to last until bedtime.  I put on a show, set out his Duplos and coloring books and said, "I'm going to lie down for a little bit.  You can snuggle with me or play or watch a show if you want."  "Ok, mommy!"  But HRH Jude would just do a cannonball on me every few minutes.

We are working on a solution here….

Anyway, there's good news: Jude is turning GOLDEN.  I'd been looking forward to having a 3 year old, because Elizabeth's 3 year olds and some others I've known have just been wonderful.  Sweet, communicative, funny, clever little friends.  Then a few months ago a whole bunch of people on Instagram shut that down saying 2 year olds are the best and 3 year olds are terrible.  BUT: I can see it, he is going to be the good kind of 3 year old.  Jude rarely throws tantrums anymore.  He is the most enthusiastic and cheerful person.  He gives hugs and kisses all day long.  He says the funniest things, and the fact that he's saying things at all (even though it's part of why I miss the naps -- he jabbers my ear off!) is so fantastic.  He loves to color in his coloring books, draw on the back patio with chalk, play his "Letter School" game on the iPad, teach Graham the ways of the world, etc. etc. etc.

Time for some bullet points because I feel like it:
  • He loves to help me make "pancaycaykes" (pancakes).
  • He requests my banana bread, and it flatters me so I often oblige.
  • He loves to say "I did it!" for anything and everything he was involved with.
  • He gave me a flower from the back yard the other day and I was making a big deal about it and went to give the flower a kiss and he said urgently, "Don't eat it, mommy!"
  • He no longer screams and tries to abandon ship when I pour water over his head in the bath.
  • He's obsessed with day and night -- when we moved him to his big boy bed, he wanted to start the day anywhere from 4am on.  We had to explain to him ad nauseum that if it's dark outside, you can't get out of bed.  It really penetrated deep, because he talks about it ALL THE TIME.  
  • We got his hair cut a couple of weeks ago because it was starting to look like Bozo the Clown.  Every previous haircut has been a real battle, but this time he sat there with a deer-in-headlights expression.  So cute.
  • He's happy to sit in Sacrament Meeting during church, as long as he's got a coloring book and maybe some milk.  So now of course Graham has to kick it up a notch and yep, that's right, I'm clocking time in the hallway and foyer again.  Blech -- when will I be able to enjoy 3 hours of church again?
  • He came up to me the other day with a toy wrench and started "fixing" my hair.
Other than getting possessive of his toys with Graham, like screaming when Graham even starts to head his direction because Graham is surely scheming to destroy his latest Duplos creation (when Graham could not have cared less), he's growing out of so much of his toddler angst, and is a happy, loving, devoted little boy.  He makes us laugh and fills up our little hearts.  

02 December 2013

Graham: 10 Months

He is more rascally every day.

His hair is getting curly.

He is climbing up to standing and holding onto things.

He and Jude look at each other, open their mouths wide, and just yell "AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH" at the top of their lungs.  I've said it before, I'll say it again, my ears hurt by the end of the day!  I try my best to redirect their attention, but even so, the volume is often a little more than I can handle.

He is constantly needing to eat.

He is also constantly smiling and squealing.

One thing I love about this age is how they talk to themselves.  He'll pick up an enticing object, and as he babbles "Da da da da" he'll go from a normal talking voice to a whisper and back again while he figures it out.  Like he's Indiana Jones entering a Mayan cave or something.  So charming.

He started clapping last week and it's the cutest thing.

Ear ache #2 hit today, and it's pretty discouraging.  He loves the water so much, I don't want him to need tubes like Juju.  While taking a bath he'll dive around the tub, rolling and swishing around like a fat fish, so completely happy!  He also practically does snow angels in the sand at the park -- he and Jude have a zeal for life that I find completely admirable.  :)

Graham has been so easy going, but there have been a few moments of temper flaring that have caught me off guard and are kind of funny.  I was trying to change his diaper and in true crawling infant fashion, he was trying to escape.  I had him pinned down in a way and after struggling and griping for a bit he balled his hands into little squishy fists and punched his tummy and grunted as loud as he could three times, "UHH!!"  He was so sick of it and so mad.  Again, I had to laugh!  My mom says it's good -- everyone needs to have their limits and a little fire in em.  Just as long as he doesn't do that every time I tell him to pick up his dirty socks off the floor in a few years.

Please tell me that his 1st birthday isn't just 2 months away.

17 November 2013

Girls' Weekend

I was a lucky duck and in late September, I went on a "Girls' Weekend".  My friends Lisa, Amber, Sarah and I spent (almost) a weekend at Sarah's in-laws' beach-side condo in San Clemente.

We got there Friday night, went to dinner, and then back at the condo stayed up late applying face masks and eating the best chocolate chip cookies, dough prepared for us by Sarah's husband Dave.  Seriously?  This family set us up.  Anyway then I slept like a rock and slept in.  We lazed about.  We debated a few activities and ended up within spitting distance of my house: The Mission Viejo Mall.  Then we got our nails did and went back to the condo for more laziness.  By the end of the evening we were all sitting on the balcony, and instead of staring at the beautiful Pacific that was before us, we were on our phones looking at old archived pictures of our kids.  Lots of declarations of "oh I can't believe how small he was!" were heard.  

I was still nursing so I went home Saturday night.  It was great to get away, and great to see my 3 babies again.  I never knew how much I would appreciate the time away until I had it.  I love my kids, but a day without anyone throwing a tantrum or demanding I fill up a sippy RIGHTAWAYWHY ISN'TITALREADYFULLIASKEDYOUONESECONDAGO or throwing up on me was kinda nice. Plus I love my girlfriends.  They make me laugh, don't judge me, encourage me, etc. so obviously I'm a lucky girl.  

05 November 2013


Kids wake up at 5:45 (we blame setting the clocks back).
Try to get them back to sleep.
Give up.
The boys jump on mom and dad's bed and give a few snuggles (at least the boys are ecstatically joyful in the morning).
Jeff goes running.
Lower Graham's crib to the lowest level.
Jeff comes back, gets ready for work.
Graham's got a stinky bum to change.
Jeff goes to work.
I go running with the boys in the BOB.
Graham falls asleep in the stroller, move him to his crib once we're home.
Take a shower while Jude destroys my bedroom (way more fun than the iPad).
Get dressed and put on some mascara.
Read books and build things with Jude and his Duplos.
Jude wants snacks.
Graham wakes up.
Speech therapy.
On the way to speech therapy Jude tells me about fire trucks and counts to ten "one two free nine ten six!"
Jude falls asleep in the car on the way home from Speech (Hallelujah!!!)
Giddily and gingerly remove Jude from his car seat to put him in his bed. 
He wakes up right as I'm closing his curtains.  
I say "goodnight!" and escape.
He does not fall back to sleep as I'd hoped.
I let him cry for a few minutes but I need to go get groceries anyway so I open the door to his room.
He says matter-of-factly, "I'm sad."
Getting out of a nap makes him happy.
We go to 2 grocery stores.
Jude wants to eat and buy everything he sees.
Get all the ingredients for chicken noodle soup for the Woods because they just had Baby Luke.
Get home.
Jude is throwing a tantrum because we did not go to Kids Club at the gym (little does he know I froze my pass).
Realize I forgot the egg for the noodles.
Text neighbor. 
She's got an egg.
I make dinner while the boys play so well together I wish I could sit down with them.
Graham goes down for his afternoon nap despite the fact that Jude bypasses the gate, follows me upstairs and is making explosion noises.
Jude and I play chase and watch a snippet of Cars before it's time to take dinner to the Woods'. 
Wake up Graham, load it all up in the car.
Graham blows out his diaper on the way to the Woods'.
Jude tells me Amber has pretty hair and he loves her.
Get to the Woods'.
Visit with them for a bit.
Go to the pediatrician so Jude can get his flu shot.
Jude doesn't even flinch over the shot.
Go home.
Eat dinner.
Brush teeth.
30 minutes of Cars.
Shut down Jude's attempts at negotiating bedtime.
Put Jude's clean sheets on his bed while the boys try to dissemble the vacuum.
Read bedtime books.
Family prayer minus Jeff who's working late.
Night night songs.
I love yous.
I eat 2 cookies.
I want more cookies.
I polish off the last couple bites of Jude's dinner.
Start working on the stuff I'm doing 3-10 hours a week for my friend's mom's non-profit.
Take a break to go over the day's happenings because I'm wondering why I'm wiped out.
The End.

04 November 2013

Graham: 9 Months

He likes to yell in a happy way. (!)

He began crawling a few weeks ago, and is pleased as punch with the freedom.  Jude had to learn to keep his most prized possessions off the floor.

He is into everything, but this is less stressful the 2nd time around.  He also, unlike infant Jude, has a live-in buddy to play with, thus making "stuff" in the house less enticing most of the time.

He's swatting, jabbering "dadada mamama bababa", pulling himself up on things, putting all objects into his mouth, attacking us, chewing on our faces, and loving everything.

Cutting his first 2 teeth has turned him into a drool machine.  I change his saturated bibs about 5 times a day.  
A note about his drool soaked outfit in these pictures: I had been thinking about how much I wished my grandparents had been alive to meet my kids.  They would've had a ball.  Then I went to the mall because Graham's been growing at a faster rate than Jude did, so a lot of the clothes I'd saved for Graham weren't seasonally aligned.  (Or, since Graham's currently the size Jude was as a 1 year old, and Jude beat TO SMITHEREENS most of his clothes from that point on, I only have church clothes and pajamas left for Graham.  You would not believe how much Jude wore his clothes to pulverization death.  That kid plays hard.)
Anyway I was in Baby Gap hoping for a couple of sale items to keep Graham clothed and the first thing I saw was this one piece thing that says "Lucky Duck"with a cute non-cheesy duck on it.  If you knew my Grandmother you know she would always say "You are a lucky…." and it was your job to finish "duck!"  I felt like the fact that there was one on clearance in Graham's size, plus another one to grow into, it was surely Merial McOmber's doing from the other side.  I snatched them up and he wears it all the time (he's already in the larger one). I think every time I pull it over his head and snap it up she's giving her great-grandson a tight hug.

 He doesn't realize it, but he has shown Jude he can fight back a bit.  Graham loves to grab hair, and when he goes for Jude's, Jude shrinks and covers his head with his hands and shrieks/whimpers, "NO GAMMY NO!!!" All the while Graham has this completely innocent, elated look on his face.  The scenario makes me laugh, and then I reassure Jude that Graham isn't trying to hurt him.  

I can't keep him full.  

He's a big spitter-upper.  I weaned him about a month ago.  A few weeks ago he was spitting up all day.  The doc says he's fine, still gaining weight and no acid reflux or anything, he's just "spitty."   We switched formula and it helps a little, but I do A LOT of laundry.  My poor overworked washing machine and dryer and my poor laundry baskets that are constantly full of folded and unfolded clothes.

Anyway, Graham makes us feel like a million bucks every day.  I still get emotional talking about what a blessing he is.  We.  Love.  Him.  

05 October 2013

Mama mia

Having these babies of mine means that I know so well what it's like to have them drift off to sleep in my tired, jiggly arms. I get to be the person to seize the endless opportunities to pump them full of love and self-esteem, and I know their smells and their facial expressions.  I am around when Jude goes from having no interest in crayons and coloring books to choosing to sit at the table and scribble on page after page. Yesterday I saw Graham holding a binky in one hand, and a board book in the other, and then he figured out that if he bonked them together, it made a really cool noise, and then I watched him play his new game for a little while.  Because I have little kids, and am not done having them, I am trying to let it go when a fly comes in the house because Jude doesn't understand yet that you have to shut the door quickly on a hot day.  I have to accept that the house will just be a little messier than I want it to at certain points of the day.  Tonight I held Graham on my lap during dinner, and when I was reaching down to fetch his binky, he pulled my plate of rice and beans onto the floor.  It had been a long day and it's so dumb but I almost cried.  I'm so used to spit up.  Buuuut, if I leave the room for 30 seconds, when I come back in Jude yells, "Mommy herrrrr" and runs and jumps into my arms.  We have a family handshake.  Graham lets me squeeze him as tight as I please, and squish his ample cheeks against mine.  I have had so many times when I'm running errands with them and there's some breed of child-spun disaster, even when I prepare well, and I think to myself, "Can't I just do this ONE THING??????"*.  And then I vow to only ever grocery shop by myself at night forever more (this resolve never lasts).  When I cut my finger wide open the other day, my cute little 2 year old wouldn't stop talking about my owie and has given it about 20 kisses.  Today Jude was talking all about how "Chwist fwends" (Christ's friends) were speaking on tv for General Conference.  They just pull these things on me and it charms me more than anything.

It's so many good things and so many bad things and I love it.  I used to be cooler, but I think hunkering down with my babies makes my life awesome**.

Note: I did not pose these pictures at all.

* Whenever there's a meltdown amidst attempted productivity and I think to myself, "Can't I just do this ONE THING???" I then automatically hear Will Ferrell in my head from that SNL skit, "Can I just finish one damn story??"

** Last week Jude's Speech Therapist asked me after his session, "Who in your family says 'awesome'?  Jude was saying it non-stop today."  I laughed -- "My husband and I both do.  Everything is either awesome or crappy."  We need to start infusing some different adjectives.

02 October 2013

Jude's Words

Speech therapy has been so great for Jude.  I think his current contract is almost up, and if they don't renew it, I would be fine with that.  I really just wanted him to be able to mimic, and he's been doing that for a while now.  The rest will come in time.

Now that he's talking, he's also showing us we must be using a very chipper, sing-song tone with him a lot, because that's what he does back to us.

"Ready?  OK!"
"Good MOOORning!"
"Gammy CUTE!"
"Tha's REAwy HOT!"
"Oooone, two, free, four, five!"

I don't know when I started calling dirty diapers "stinky bums" but that's what they're called now.  We got him a stuffed animal (a monkey) when he was a wee baby, but he never really wanted to make it his constant companion.  Last week he saw a dog stuffed animal at the store and is IN LOVE with it.  He takes doggy everywhere, changes its stinky bums (trying to apply Desatin at times), and puts it down and wakes it up from about 94 naps a day.  We all must use quiet, nap conducive voices per Jude's instruction.

Whenever I have both boys in my arms or on my lap I say (more to myself than anything else) "Two buddies!"  Now whenever he's right next to Graham he says that, too, and when we finish with bath time he wants to go have "Two Buddies Time," wherein I lie them down next to each other on their towels in the hallway outside the kids' bathroom and put lotion on them.  *Sigh*

He used to call his green smoothies "soonies" but that has evolved to "foonies."  I have to say, it is so completely adorable to hear him talk about and ask for foonies and I hope he does not drop it any time soon.

Other cute mispronunciations or invented names:

*He has his friends La-Li (Violet) and Sheby (Shelby)
*I get those squeeze pouches of baby food for Graham and so all of a sudden Jude is in love with them all over again.  For whatever reason, he calls them "Huggies."
*Hallelujah: he doesn't ONLY want to watch Cars anymore, he also likes to watch The Incredibles.  To top off this amazing development, he pronounces it "Incebidoes" or "Cebidoes."
*Digger trucks are "gidders."

That's all I can think of at the moment -- this is a really great age.

30 September 2013

Graham: 8 Months

Spontaneous Graham Poetry:

Oh my big, fat chunk of Graham,
Since you were born the doth scram.
To me, your birth was yesterday,
But the crawling days aren't far away.
Stay sprightly and chipper, my dear son,
For you the fun has just begun.

I know, I know, talent beyond measure!

Graham loves to raise both arms in the air and then whack them simultaneously against his flexed tummy.  He does this about 100 times a day.  Sometimes I'd assume he was hurting himself?  He's just full of vigor and vim.

He weighs over 22 lbs!  My left arm often feels like it's going to fall off.

We finally had to lower his crib; he's getting gutsy in the movement department and is pushing up onto all 4s.  I was very sad about lowering his crib.

He and Jude are 2 peas in a pod, which is pretty awesome since Graham can't talk or walk.  I take solace in Graham's expedited growth knowing that the bigger he gets, the more the good times will roll for these "brudders".

A couple of weeks ago Graham became sturdy enough to really sit on his own.  7.5 months, the exact same age as Jude.

He loves to be tickled endlessly and a song will produce a million dollar smile.

Graham yells and yells and yells.  Jude will crinkle his nose and say, "Too loud, Gammy, too loud."  I laugh to myself because I am certain Graham learned allll about yelling from his mentor and elder brother Jude Man.

He is just all about loving and happiness, absolutely delicious.  He is a constant bright spot and we love and appreciate him every single day.

23 September 2013

Why We've Loved Summer 2013:

+ Beach days with pals -- we've actually gone so much it makes me feel like we're getting our money's worth (mas o menos) with California's hellish cost of living.
+ Breezes cooling off the house in the evening.
+ Hopping over to the pools.
+ Hopping over even more to the park.  Sunscreen was slathered, scooters brought along, moms sat under a tree on a blanket or stood in the shade of the park structure, and the kids were adorable.  Jude has really gotten gutsy and independent and the park is not a chore to me anymore (most days).  He doesn't need me to escort him up and down the structures like he used to, he goes up and down the ladders, steps, slides, and I just make sure he is playing nicely and not pushing anyone out of his way, and then I clap and get excited for him when he goes down the "wee" or slide.
+ Jude sleeping in just his diaper, and Graham sleeping in his sleeveless blanket-sleeping bag.

And now I'm ready to be done :).  Sand in my car, sand in the stroller, sand in the shoes.  Sweaty all the time and concerned about sunburns on the boys and Jude's ear tubes.  I'll be excited again about summer next time it rolls around, but for now I welcome the break.  Now Fall just needs to actually arrive.....

And now some mem'ries in photo version:

A hug for Dad after playing in a fountain at an outdoor mall.

Woop woop!

I'm sweating like a toasted cheeser!

Jude and his red scooter

Jude still has a belly button, FYI.


His idea to hold my hand while riding his scoot scoot to the park.  Swooooooooon

Plotting all sort of mischievous deeds, one can only assume.

Pizza party to kick off summer in the neighborhood. 
Love em both

Sometimes he holds my hand while I read him books.  Honestly, it fills my heart with immeasurable joy. 
Graham and Lyla's little brother Eli.  I think these two are going to have a great time together, but for now they just sort of grab each other's faces.

Graham, the sunburn possibilities on your porcelain skin scare me a little.

My turn to wear Jude's hat.  This hat got lost somewhere this summer.

2 Merzy feet and 1 Jeff foot

There's the omnipresent scooter + Beckham

As recent as last Christmas Jude would NE-VER have touched this slide with a 10 foot pole.  Now it's his oyster.

4th of July at Baby Beach

Mom -- LET ME OUT!

Shocker -- they found trucks on another blanket and stole them.

Apples and tomatoes on the counter

Getting to work lining up cars and trucks, OCD style

I love him.

I love him too.

We started solids, much to Graham's delight.

It was all we could do to keep him from climbing in through an open window.

Dance Central with Cam and Kacie

Meeting BFF and Cousin Rower

$1 smoothies at Jamba Juice.  I know being a kid can be rough, but really, I don't see any of it here.

Graham thinks Jude is 100% entertainment.  Jude could sneeze and it would have his little brother in hysterical, gleeful laughter.  They just love each other.

Thanks, summer!  You've been good to us!  Now it's time for "pumpkin everything" season.

11 September 2013

Sleepy Jude

Except for my nieces Julia and Sadie, I've never known any toddlers that look forward to sleep.  So I don't blame Jude for thinking he wants to party his entire life away.  I am not fooled, however, when he plays in his crib throughout nap time, because he then goes to bed at 6pm, and falls right to sleep, and every few days he will take an 18 hour nap, that is he goes down at 3 or 4pm and doesn't awaken till the sun rises again.  

So he still needs quite a few REM cycles.

But before I forget forever, here are a couple little tidbits about Juju related to sleep.

In May it was getting close to nap time and I don't remember what it was he did, but it was something naughty enough to warrant Time Out.  Usually he'd crash around in Time Out (which takes place in the Harry Potter closet under the stairs) and a couple of minutes later I'd go get him when he started calling, "Hi Mommy!  Hiiii, Mommy!" which is his way of starting fresh.  He still does that, like he's hit the reset button and wants to begin again with a greeting.  Cute.  

Anyway after a minute I realized it'd gone all quiet in there.  I was waiting for him to be ready to start fresh.  Another couple of minutes went by silently and I went to check on him.

I carried my little boy upstairs, gave him a big hug and kiss, and he continued his nap in his crib.  

Story #2:

A couple of months ago we were at the park with friends.  We all started packing up when it was getting close to nap time, and not surprisingly Jude was not excited about the prospect. As I walked to the car with my arms full of sand toys, Graham, my purse, keys, and a blanket for us moms to rest our bums on, Jude begrudgingly followed.  He was actually shuffling his feet and moping and whining.  I called back to him, "Jude, are you sleepy?"  With his chubby little cheeks framing his pout he answered, "Yeth."  I turned to look at him and just a second later it dawned on him, his fatal mistake.  He snapped out of the daze and defiantly corrected himself, "No!" but ah, the dye was cast.  I chuckled and loaded everything up in the car and then scooped him up to buckle him in.  He was totally giving me the stink eye but I was quite charmed by this whole thing.  As I buckled him in I asked with a huge smile, "Juju, can I have a kiss?"  And he said "NO."  He was caught, and he was not happy about it.  :)  It didn't matter though, because in any case he had been headed for a nap.  And of course he fell asleep immediately.

08 September 2013

31 -- or now I'm in my 30s.

30 felt, of course, like a fairly significant milestone, but I think from here on out the numbers will all feel very underwhelming until I hit 40.  Now I'm just "in my 30s".

BUT, I do still relish a birthday.  I love the birthday of any person I love, and I love my own birthday too.  Like bridal and baby showers, they have at times made me feel guilty or sheepish or like I'm on attention overload, but now they are a hoot and a holler.  I'm sure this is to do with being a mom and not having days off -- it's nice to have a day of "I'm the birthday girl.  That's right -- ME."

As it was, though, this year there was not a babysitter available in a 15 mile radius, and all my close friends were out of town, so I just dragged the boys along to do what I wanted to do and did not feel guilty a snitch.  And now I can't even remember all the details.  I do remember it started off with a favorite.  Now it's officially a tradition that Jeff whisks us all away and we go get breakfast at a local Panera-type place.  I get the vegetarian breakfast burrito.

Then Jeff went to work and I think my little boys and I went to the mall to cash in on some bday goods....and I just ran indulgent errands and went to Sonic and the park (which was for me in a way to keep Jude happy because a happy Jude means a happy me).  All day long people were texting me and asking what Jeff and I were doing that night.  I would always answer, "I don't know, but I hope it involves See's Bridge Mix and if it doesn't I'm going to go buy my own."  Well my darling husband waltzed in the door after work with a rectangular package in black and white checked wrapping and I knew he loved me and knows me like the back of his hand.  He asked if I wanted to go out to dinner with kids or stay in and get take out.  Hmmm -- after 0.1116 seconds of careful consideration I chose to skip the restaurant meltdowns and he went pick up Thai food.  We watched The Bourne Legacy on Apple TV and ate more than half the bridge mix.

And, as always, I milk my birthday some more with an Eaton celebration at my parents' house a few days later, and then a week after my bday when all my friends were free and/or back in town, we went to Nordstrom Cafe for one last hurrah.

This year I felt the love.  I wasn't pregnant and grumpy.  I have 3 wonderful boys that put an extra spring in my step.  I have a lot to be thankful for in life, and here's to another year of it!

Me and my besties at Nordstrom Cafe.

03 September 2013

Graham: 7 Months

Just like Jude did at 7 months, Graham has taken an eager interest in phones, remotes, and all other things he mustn't drool on or eat.  

He's still a very happy baby, but is now determined to get his little mitts on what he wants and fights those that restrain him, so taking him to a friend's birthday dinner last night was maybe a bad idea.  He didn't want any of the toys or the sippy I brought for him half as much as the salt and pepper shakers, forks, etc.  

When Jude is not around and Graham gets to play with one of his ENGINE toys, he is absolutely gleeful; I think he knows he's getting away with something.

Which brings me to: Jude wasn't really interested in "things that go" at this age, he just wanted anything that was novel to him.  But Graham, being the Jude worshiper that he is, wants those trucks and choo-choos most.  I love having this house of engine loving boys -- it is so fun and new for me!

Graham sticks out his tongue when he's really excited about something.

His feet have a happy home in his mouth.

I went in to check on him in his crib this morning and with his eyes shut, still asleep, he was kicking his legs up in the air.

He chews and sucks on Jeff's face.

He's starting to wean himself. ?

He sat up for about 30 seconds today, but while I was grabbing my camera to take a picture he plunked over and was very sad about it.  

Graham Cam, you make life so good.

27 August 2013

Jude: Toddler of the World

I'm going to have to gush and say that Jude has been extra soft with me lately.  The older he gets, and the better he communicates, the more confident he is and able to reveal an overflow of details to his personality and enormous heart.

Graham always wakes up first, and I sprint to his room to get him before he awakens the hibernating bear.  If I am downstairs with Graham by the time Jude wakes up, Jeff gets him and I can hear them rustling about changing a diaper or whatever, and a few minutes later I hear at the top of the stairs, in the most chipper voice imaginable, "Hello, Mommy!" Then he jabbers all the way down the stairs about holding hands, coming, Daddy's awake, Baby Graham, Milk, Juice, Smoothies, trucks, his friends, wanting to go to Kids' Club (the gym), or Speech Therapy, or the beach, etc.  Jabber jabber jabber.  It's not all in complete sentences, it is very stream of consciousness, but ever so adorable.

He is very perky.  As I talk about what we're going to do that day, he'll insert very peppy exclamations of, "Yes, OKAY!!!"  Getting dressed is now very good news because he knows we can't leave the house without those pesky shirts and shorts on.  When I say, "let's go get dressed," he jumps into rambling about "Oh!  Shirt...fjaklsdkjfa..... I wanna... fjklad;fa.....shorts!" He shows great concern for Graham's clothing and binky too, which never gets old.

If we are playing anywhere outside and see a big truck coming or hear a plane up above, he runs over to me and holds my hand as we watch it go by -- I can't tell if he does this because he is so overjoyed he needs me to steady him, or if it's because he wants to share the experience with me.  Either way, it thrills my heart.

He hasn't been napping lately.  Buh.  He NEEDS this sleep he, 5/7 days a week, is not getting.  He never fights going into his crib, he just plays there for an hour or so until he starts calling me to collect him.  Then on a random day he crashes for a 4 hour nap.  I am not sure whether or not to do something about this.  I have been saying for over a year that his crib is about to break, but now it's REALLY about to break.  He also climbed out of it once last week, but never since.  I think a toddler bed is not far off, and I don't know if "Quiet Time" will be so kindly received outside of a crib.  The things I agonize over with my first child.

He wants to come everywhere with me, FLIPS OUT if I am not present for bedtime routines, says thanks or "geeks" for ANYTHING he is being given, and randomly apologizes to me throughout the day.  "Sorry, mommy!"  "Jude, you don't have to apologize, you did nothing wrong, sweetie!"  But then sometimes I swear he's apologizing for screaming and dumping out my bag in church a few weeks ago, or taking a big gulp of juice and then spitting it out on the floor on purpose the day before.

He is a little cleaning maniac.  I now have help cleaning up his toys.  The other day I was holding Graham on my hip and Jude's hand to go upstairs for nap/Quiet Time.  Graham spit up a little on the wood floor.  I was going to just clean it up when I got back downstairs, it's not like that doesn't happen 10 times a day, but Jude stopped in his tracks with a disgusted expression and refused to budge until I grabbed him a paper towel.  He wiped it up for about 3 minutes, making sure all traces were truly gone.  I'm hoping this is because I am such a STELLAR example of cleanliness ;).

I know there are other things I'm forgetting, but my tender-hearted maniac toddler is rocking my world for better and worse.  I don't know how I ever got along without him and his weedly ways.

12 August 2013

Utah Summer Trip 2013

My old pal Mr. Sandman has bailed on me tonight and for the past hour I have not been able to sleep.  Me!  Come ON!  For the past 6 months I have been achieving knocked-out-with-a-mag-light sleep in about 5 seconds.  I hadn't slept so well since my mission.  I feel like tonight's bout of insomnia is cruel because as it is, I still spend Jude's nap being fairly still to conserve all the energy so I can be the best mom I can to him while he's awake.  Anyway, since I've given up on sleep for a little while, I shall be productive in the record way.

At the end of June my cousin Kyle McOmber got married to Mackenzie!  So now her name is Mackenzie McOmber.  How awesome is that.  See?  It's not even a question.  I remember driving along in the AstroVan one day when I was in high school and I found out that Meredith is also a last name (I may have told this story on this blog before, can't remember now).  WHAT?!?!  "Mom!  What if I fall in love with a guy whose last name is MEREDITH???  What would I do??!!  I can't go by my middle name or something, I've always BEEN MEREDITH! It's who I AM!"  "Merzy?"  "Yeah?"  "Let's worry about that when it happens, ok?"  

Then a few years later I started hoping I'd fall in love with a guy with the last name Montgomery, because I thought "Meredith Montgomery" sounded quite spectacular, but of course I find myself quite lucky to have wound up with a beautiful classic like Hayes and didn't need any time to warm up to it.  

But back to Kyle and Mackenzie: Mackenzie McOmber.  Now how's that for alliteration (which I love).  

We piled into the car around noon, and drive we did.  I've decided I can stop cataloguing every moment of every road trip; they are all sort of terrible and fun in their own way, and Jude will probably never, ever, ever be thrilled about the "buckled" concept for the entire drive, but we always make it through having saved more money than if we'd flown, and alive.  All's well that ends well.  I'd forgotten that taking a long road trip while nursing is fraught with times when you need to stop but can't, and then when you can stop the baby might be sleeping, or not hungry, etc., but oh well.  We lived.

And so, here is a 3:30 a.m. presentation of UTAH: Summer 2013!

Almost there, Jude!  Almost there!  

Isn't Utah just beautiful???  I'm always so happy to come here, and I'm always so happy to return home to California, so I don't really know what to do about that.  I never want to leave either place.

Playing with Cousin L.  Jude was nicer to her than at Christmas, when he'd often greeted her with "NO NO NO!"

I can't handle all the love I have for this baby.

Uncle Robert giving a Rehearsal Dinner toast.  My mom quietly exclaimed, "He looks JUST like my Grandfather Lambert up there!" So I took a picture so she could show him later. 
I hadn't been to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in so long, and it was beautiful and great to get the weekend festivities started. 

Angie is so much fun to talk to -- Graham and I agree.

Cousin J

In heaven

Also in heaven

Ready for church!

He had 4 adults smiling at him in his high chair test drive, so he thought high chairs were great!

I loved this old Similac can!  I was looking for a pen and got side tracked freaking out about what the pens are kept in.  Jeff told me that they've used that as a pencil holder for as long as he can remember.  I weaned Jude at about 7 or 8 months and so I got to know Similac quite well a couple of years ago.

Love abounded at Paradise Cafe.  There could not be a sweeter picture.  My kids are so lucky!

And zee bride and groom!  The whole thing was beautiful.  The dinner, the sealing, the reception, I loved it all.  

Some of my girls. 
At the reception -- Jude couldn't quite handle waiting for his mum for a picture, but I love him for his rascally energy.

Mother's Lounge at church

Ah the Utah dry heat of summer.  We came in from some errands or something and Jude beelined over to the floor vent, and cooled his britches on the cool air.  Smart.  :)  I really do love dry heat -- it's strangely addicting.

And far too quickly it was time to turn right back around and drive home.  The silver lining was we got to stop in Provo for a couple of hours to visit with the Smith girls (now the Buskirk and Caffee girls).  Plus their dad, Kristina's husband, and all of the kids.  I should mention Kristina and Elise were visiting their parents who live in Provo, so the stars aligned for this visit.  We brought Diet Coke and M&Ms (these geniuses share our love of these staples), and they brought the Einstein's Bagels, the kids played, and we sat and talked and talked and didn't miss a beat.  

We can't wait to see them again!!

And then just like that we were home again.  I already miss it.