Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Declan's SUPER Second Birthday

This year Declan's 2nd birthday serendipitously landed on a Saturday! So, we celebrated with a party on his actual birthday! But we'll get to the party details in a minute. 
We started the day with a room full of balloons so that Declan knew that this was a special day. Declan and Daddy had a ridiculously good time punching all of them!

Next, some monkey bread! I was originally going to keep monkey bread as our traditional Christmas morning breakfast, but thought it would serve us better as our all around Special Occasion breakfast!
Present opening time! I think Dec was more into the Cars wrapping paper than finding out what was inside!
 His favorite presents were a bubble lawn mower and wooden fruit that he can slice. Actually he loves this fruit! He'll play with it for well over a half an hour on his own! He especially loves slicing it, giving it to someone, and watching as they pretend eat it. It just cracks him up!
The only bummer about Dec's birthday is he wasn't feeling all that hot. It was his third day of fighting a nasty cold. But, his being sick did allow us to put him down for a nap at 12:30 instead of 1:30 (something that usually would be impossible). So he was well rested and seemed to be feeling better for his birthday party at 3:00.
Onto the party details! I think it was around Christmas time that I decided we should have his birthday party at the YMCA. My reasoning was two-fold; 1) it is his favorite place to play, and 2) knowing I would be in the last month of my pregnancy - I thought it would be a pretty easy party to plan (and I was right!). The only problem I ran into was that the minimum age for birthday parties at the YMCA was 3. Mmmm...what to do? I know, become an obnoxious mother and beg! Yes, I stooped this low. It took me a month, but I finally coerced the nice people at the YMCA to let us party! So here are some of the fun details of Declan's Superhero party at the YMCA:
The invites I bought from ETSY (have I mentioned how much I LOVE this website??). I mean seriously, aren't these the cutest? And, so inexpensive!
My first thought with a superhero party was one must have capes as a party favor! But, after pricing them out and weighing how much the kids would actually use them, I went with bouncy balls instead. :) Easier and more practical. I still love the cape idea though, and if the kiddos were a little older, I might have sprung for them.The cool thing about the bouncy balls is that the kids could use them during the party at the Y and then take them home.
Another cool thing about the bouncy balls was having them in our house a few days before the party. Our upstairs hallway felt like a ball pit. And we made sure to take full advantage of this!
I put up a few decorations, made some cupcakes and voila - party time!
Declan was dressed to impress for his superhero party in this awesome superhero shirt I picked up from Baby Gap. The cape Velcros on the back, so Dec wasn't even aware that he was wearing it!
And finally all of Dec's super friends having a super time!
My favorite memories from the party were watching the dads interact with the kids. Some dads didn't even need their child as an excuse to have fun! Case-in-point: Uncle Mike!
And also singing to Declan. Instead of doing it the traditional way, everyone came together at the end of play time and sat in a "bubble" under the parachute to sing happy birthday. The funny part is that the minute everyone started singing Declan scooted his little behind out of the bubble and watched from a safe distance. I held up the material so he could still see everyone. My mom snapped this picture of him watching the singing. Although you can't really tell from the picture, the look on his face was priceless!
What a great day!I can't believe my baby is already 2. Of course I am kind of sad and kind of happy at the same time. I have a feeling that we have a very fun year ahead of us!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Stressful Non-Stress Test

This morning at my doctor's appointment Dr. Gerber was teasing me saying that my chart was too clean. She said no one goes through their entire pregnancy without a problem! I swear she jinxed me! As she was listening to the heart beat she said she heard a fluctuation and that it was probably nothing, but they wanted to do a non-stress test to be sure. Hmmm...one little problem with this. Of course I had Declan with me this morning, and he was already having a terrible two moment in the doctor's office. Last week they were running late and we were stuck in the little room for about 40 minutes and he was a complete angel. He spent most of the time drawing and playing with cars. This week we were in the room 5 minutes and it was a lot of work keeping him occupied. Sometimes it's just luck of the draw. The thought of staying there another half hour hooked up to a machine was not exactly my idea of a good time. What's a mom to do?
So, they hooked me up to the machine and I laid their unable to do a thing as my little boy terrorized the small room we were stuck in for a half hour. The snacks the nice nurse brought him were thrown all over the floor, he was screaming, trying to pull the wires out of the machine, throwing things...it was awful! Really, it is so rare that he acts like this, but he just kept escalating. It just wasn't his day. All I could do was watch and apologize profusely. In addition, during this time I had the worst Braxton Hicks I have ever felt (I'm sure due to the stress of watching my little one act like a monster). Lovely! The good news is that Baby H is absolutely fine - not a thing to worry about.
I was going to take a picture with my phone of this wonderful experience, but I was so upset I didn't. Looking back it is a moment I can laugh about (now that it is over!). Let's hope things go a little bit smoother next week!

Baby Love: 36 Weeks

How Far Along: 36 weeks - ah, the last month! Such an exciting time...such an uncomfortable time!
Size of Baby: She now weighs almost 6 pounds (like a crenshaw melon) and is more than 18 1/2 inches long.
Total Weight Gain: 25 lbs and feeling every pound of it!
Maternity Clothes: I'm over my maternity jeans. They are officially done! I am now strictly wearing dresses and dresses combined with stretchy pants. It's all about comfort these days.
Gender: XY 
Movement: Lot's of hiccups and her foot found my rib again.
Sleep: Sleeping pretty good. Although a couple of mornings this week I woke up at 4:30 am because of some nasty leg cramps - ugh! I never had these during my pregnancy with Declan. So weird! the bright side of this is that I've used the time to myself to complete some online photography tutorials and am learning some pretty cool things.
Food Cravings: I feel so full all of the time. Food is hit and miss. Although I did indulge in Declan's birthday cupcakes this weekend - of course!!
What I Miss: Running around with Declan. I used to go down the slide with him at the playground and actually attempted it the other day. It didn't feel so hot so I had to stop. Poor guy wanted me to slide with him again so bad. He kept saying "up" and pointing to the slide. It broke my heart to tell him no.
Symptoms: Braxton Hicks are so common I forgot what it's like not to have them. Also, new to my list - leg cramps.
Best Moments This Week:
  • Declan's birthday party (post about this coming up). He had such a good time! 
  • Having my mom here - especially in the evenings when I am feeling worn out. She baths Declan and I relax - heaven! Also because of her I was able to do so many errands (trying to get ahead for the next couple of months) This included a glorious trip to Costco by myself! We are now all stocked up in preparation for the baby. It was so nice walking up and down the aisles able to actually think instead of running around like a mad woman trying to get in and out as quickly as possible.
  • Seeing Uncle Jeff and Aunt Emily for Dec's birthday. It has been awhile since we got to visit - it was so good catching up!
  • At our doctor's appointment I received confirmation that she is still head down - good girl! And, I also passed my strep B test. Everything is looking good and on track!
  • This was a big week for presents in the mail for the little one. All great surprises! We received a gorgeous hand knitted blanket and some stuffed animals from a good family friend, a cool picture frame and some adorable clothes from my Aunt and Uncle in Colorado, and I got a super-cute new diaper bag from some out of state girl friends! I'm stoked! I love getting surprises in the mail!

What I Am Looking Forward To: Wrapping things up this month. I am going to try to:
  • Work ahead at least one month (no paid maternity leave this time!)
  • Complete some serious Spring cleaning (I'm talking cleaning out cupboards and such)
  • Schedule as many fun play dates for Declan as possible!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Tribute Two You

A tiny little bundle, you arrived two years ago today,
And changed our lives in the most significant way.

You used to grab our fingers with your balled up little fists
Now those hands give dad high five, clap, and draw without assist.

As a baby your legs kicked aimlessly through the air,
Today they help you dance, jump, and climb up and down the stairs.

Those brilliant lips used to make the cutest little baby sounds,
Now your jibber-jabber and attempts to talk do nothing less than astound.

We've seen you change and grow over the past two years,
Although some things remained constant from the beginning it appears.

Your ability to laugh and have fun were apparent from the start,
You've always loved to touch hair and give affection, melting my heart.

This year moved more quickly than the last,
Filled with many memories and milestones, making each moment a blast.

You learned to walk, flew in an airplane, and were even in a parade;
We picked apples, you rode a pony, and moved to a your big boy bed, not the least bit afraid!

Getting to know your boyish personality has filled our days with many smiles,
Cars, airplanes, trains and wrestling with dad are past times you find worthwhile.

For a little person, your love of life seems so big,

All of our play dates and adventures are certainly fun,
But it is the small moments with you that I truly cherish little one.

Like the first time you made the kissing noise while planting one on my cheek,
Or your spontaneous hugs when coloring together are oh, so sweet!

Although you're very physical, you also show a scholastic side.
Your love of books, ability to identify shapes and match colors all give me pride.

Tomorrow we'll begin the adventures of year three,
The thought of watching you grow makes me incredibly happy.

It's difficult to put into words just how wonderful you are. 
I am honored to be your mother, my sweet shining star.

Each memory of you I hold very near and dear;
I can't wait to see what you have in store for us during your third year!

Happy SECOND birthday my Little Love!

Friday, March 25, 2011

24 Months

My sweet, what an incredible month we have had! I think the most defining part of this month is how much you have opened up. You are "talking" so much. I cannot believe what a difference it has made in your courage. You used to be so timid around adults, now it seems that everyone is your immediate friend (even perfect strangers). Everywhere we go, you walk up to people and start jabbering away with lots of hand gestures. It's like you have so much to say, and the world MUST listen! We LOVE it. Can't get enough of it! It is adorable to watch. BUT, with all of this talking comes more confidence. We are starting to see some strong opinions from you. Lately we are hearing the word "no" a lot - always said with such emphasis and often in combination with a tantrum. Most the time I find it funny...sometimes not so much! 
Your dad and I love watching you grow and getting to know the wonderful person you are. We are looking forward to next month and an exciting third year with you!  You truly fill our days with small moments that give our hearts so much joy. 
What You Love:
  • Jumping - you are always jumping - on your bed, on the ground - everywhere. It's like you discovered you can do it and now don't want to stop!
  • Talking - we still don't know what you're saying most of the time, but by the expressions on your face, we can tell it is important!
  • Throwing away trash. You like doing this so much that often you throw away our napkins before we are finished using them!
  • Goofing around with dad
  • Dancing! You are a dancing fool - you don't even need music to bust out your awesome moves. At random times the hands go up in the air and you start to twirl!
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches are high on your food list lately.
Growing Up:
  • Your apprehension around new adults seems to be subsiding quite a bit.  I first noticed it one day at the YMCA. A group of moms were lifting the parachute up and down while their little ones ran under it. You walked right over to the parachute, grabbed the sides and started lifting it up and down with the moms. This is definitely something you would not have attempted even a month ago!

  •  Farm animal sounds - you are starting to say them now! When we ask you what a cow says, you say "moo," and a dog, "ruff". This was a very exciting discovery for your dad and I! We are working on sheep and pig.
  • Your vocabulary is slowly expanding. Some new words/expressions this month are "nooooo" (a favorite), "no way" (my favorite),  "wheel", Shamu - sounds like "amoo" (this is from reading a book with a picture of Shamu in it), "on", "uh-oh", "adi" for again, and "my" for mine. You also say "way" for whale and call airplanes "zooms".
  • You are now 34" tall! This means we can go on a lot more of the rides at Legoland - and you are actually starting to enjoy some (although not all) of them!
  • Hiding - I have seen you do this a few times prior to this month, but lately you seemed to have kicked it up a notch. Especially if you don't want to go down for your nap. While I'm getting your room ready, you go off and hide - either in the corner behind the door or behind your curtain. When I pull the curtain back or look behind the door and say your name, you just keep your head down. I think you think that if you don't see me, I can't see you. It cracks me up every time!

Favorite Moment: This is a great one! I only wish I had video of it instead of pictures. Last Sunday night we went over to cousin Lily's and cousin Ella's for pizza. It was near the end of the night - we were kind of wrapping things up, when uncle Mike turned on some dance music. Lily immediately started dancing. It took you a minute or so and then there was no stopping you! Jumping, twirling, clapping - on the chairs, on the floor, everywhere! For 20 minutes you and Lily had serious dance fever! The two of you were in your own world. It was awesome! I will never forget the pure joy on your face!

 We LOVE you bug! Happy 2nd Birthday tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Signs of Spring

I love Spring! Never mind that the clouds are gathering as I write this or that yahoo weather says it is supposed to rain the next 5 days (ugh!). I love the newness of everything, the smells, the bright pink flowers along the freeway, and I especially love that my baby (soon to be babies) are both Spring babies. One of my favorite things to do in the Spring is eat lunch outside with Declan. I read a book while he runs around. About every 5 -10 minutes he runs over to me and gives my big belly a hug and a kiss. It is the cutest darn thing. I think the reason that he is extra affectionate during our backyard lunch dates is because I usually let him run around naked! Because really, if you can't run around naked at age 2, when can you?

So my signs of Spring are a bare bottom (although I had to cut the bottom out of the picture since we are posting on the internet):
Green leaves are springing up on our favorite tree!
And, Declan and I are tickled that our blueberry bush not only survived the winter, but is actually producing fruit! I do not have much of a green thumb!
Happy Spring!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Baby Love: 35 Weeks

Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along: 35 weeks
Size of Baby: She's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (pick up a honeydew melon).
Total Weight Gain: 23.5
Maternity Clothes: I spent most of the week in summer dresses - oh so comfortable. Until this weekend when the rain made me put on my maternity jeans again. Ugh.
Gender: Sweet Little Petunia
Movement: Still kicking, but overall movement has definitely subsided. I felt her hiccup a couple of times this week.

Sleep: Sleeping like a baby. Plus Declan decided to give us a present on Saturday when he slept in until 8:45!
Food Cravings: Seem to be gravitating toward yogurt lately. I also loved the left over cake from celebrating GiGi's birthday on Friday night. Unfortunately I do not have control when cake is in my house.
What I Miss: Not much, just excited!
Symptoms: Good old Braxton Hicks still going strong. In fact one morning Declan and I were running some errands and I had to cut them short because the BH were so intense. This totally trips me out. When I was pregnant with Declan I didn't feel one contraction until the day I went into labor. 
Best Moment This Week: One night this week I stayed up way too late teaching myself how to create storyboards in photoshop. I was so pleased when one actually turned out! I might (and that is a strong might) create her birth announcement myself. Also, on Sunday I took a photography class - all about photographing children. I was in heaven!! 
What I Am Looking Forward To: Declan's birthday party this weekend! Also, I may purchase a double stroller this week. And, we have a doctor's appointment today! I think this is about the time I start going every week, although I am not sure.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Jibber-Jabber - Video

In the last month or so Declan has quickly overcome his apprehension around adults/strangers. Now, wherever we go he has to talk to everyone. Yesterday we were in a waiting room and Declan personally greeted everyone who walked through the door. I'm loving it! Below is a short clip of what we now hear constantly! 99% of the time we have no idea what he is saying, but I know whatever it is, it's important to him.
He's also learning his animal sounds. So far he knows that dogs say "ruff", and cows say "moo". Below is a video of him making the "moo" sound.

In the last couple of days his new favorite word has become "Noooooooo!" He used to say "ni" for no and shake his head. Now he says "Nooooo, nooooo, noooooooo" all of the time. It is really funny, and I hope to get it on video soon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Irish Men...

...are so handsome! We were supposed to go to a friend's for corned beef and cabbage tonight, but their little one is under the weather, so we made some quick adjustments to celebrate St. Paddy's Day. Instead I made Shepherd's Pie and Declan and I baked green cookies this afternoon. Below is a picture of the boys sharing a green treat!
All in all, it was a pretty good day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Friendly Fun

Declan and I always enjoy spending time with our good friends. Below are a few highlights of what we've been up to lately.

Loving Legoland, we went twice in one week!
Declan with Gracie Jo and Alex - he had such a good time chasing his two friends around this tree. 20 minutes of tree chasing allowed the moms to eat and eventually led to a spectacular afternoon nap (something this 8 1/2 month pregnant momma truly appreciates!).
And, Legoland again! This time with Micah. Today we realized that Declan is 34" tall and can actually go on quite a few rides! Major breakthrough in our world!
We had a great time at Ellie and Lola's 2nd birthday party. Declan especially loved the bounce house!
We made our usual stop at the YMCA. This time Tracy and Katie joined us! We are very excited about their recent move from Washington back to sunny SD! Look at that red hair!
We have even let dad in on some of our fun! We took him to the Flower Gardens and finally got to show him the YMCA! Big surprise - you boys spent most of the time in the foam pit!
Below are Cassidy and Declan at the Botanical Gardens. Although I think Cassidy has a crush on Adam - she asked him to go to dinner! Kids say the darndest things!
And Micah and Declan at the Bay enjoying our first "beach day" of 2011!
I hope Baby H likes to play because Declan and I aren't homebodies!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Baby Love: 34 Weeks

 Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along: 34 weeks
Size of Baby: Baby H now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (like your average cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long.
Total Weight Gain: 22 lbs
Maternity Clothes: I made a quick stop at Old Navy this week and bought a few summer dresses. I'm very excited about the prospect of ditching the maternity jeans ;)
Gender: Girl
Movement: She has created a habit of continually kicking my right rib.
Sleep: Sleeping great and appreciating every minute of it!
Food Cravings: Last weekend we went to the Flower Fields in Carlsbad. There was a fruit stand at the entrance. Spontaneously I bought a 10lb bag of seedless oranges for $4! They are the best oranges I have ever tasted and find myself eating at least one, sometimes two a day. Although I think this would be the case pregnant or not! Scrumptious!!
What I Miss: Easily carrying Declan and having more energy (especially in the afternoons).
Symptoms: Braxton Hicks and lower back pain on my right side. This same spot gave me a lot of trouble during Declan's birth and I fear we are headed in the same direction.
Best Moment This Week: Spending some relaxing mornings in the backyard with Declan (loving this spring - like weather)!
Also, I am part of a volunteer group planning an event called  Touch-A-Truck. I've been working since September trying to gain corporate sponsors (a task I thought would be easy, but quickly humbled me). I was beginning to feel like I wouldn't reach my goal, but a huge donation came in on Friday bringing me much relief and hope that I might finish this project before Baby H arrives!
What I Am Looking Forward To: Dressing Baby H in some of the adorable outfits she was given at my Celebrating Baby lunch ;) A quick preview:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Goodbye Big Blue

This week seemed to be filled with changes, the biggest was saying good bye to Adam's Big Blue truck.
With diesel prices sky high and the second little one on the way, it wasn't exactly the most practical car. So, on Wednesday we all reluctantly said good bye to Adam's baby (notice Declan in the bed of the truck) and welcomed a new car to the family. This is where we are a little weird - we bought another 4-runner! The main factor in this decision being the 3rd row of seats that come in the 2011. So, as hard as it was to say good-bye, it is certainly nice to have two family cars. I had to drive the truck a couple of times in the last few weeks and climbing in and out of that thing 8 months pregnant was not a pretty sight!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Project Nursery - Complete!

I have to say it has been fun decorating two kids rooms simultaneously! Especially because they are the opposite sex. We went all boy with Dec's room, and of course all girl with Baby H's room! The nursery used to look like this (when it was Declan's):
For Baby H, we kept the same furniture, but went a little less subtle with our color scheme:

The Details:
The Bedding - is very simple - just a white bumper and skirt with a "punch" colored line at the top, bottom, and ties. We have three different patterned sheets (in a blue, a pink, and a green) for the bed to add a little kick.
The Color - on the bedding website it is called "punch". It is a dark pink, but could almost be called coral. I absolutely LOVE it. The white dandelions on the wall are a set of vinyl decals that I got for a just $27! 

 Frills - Although her bedding isn't very frilly, I tried to add some girly details in the accessories. Like the ruffles on her drapes and the vintage picture frames.
DIY Project #1- Failure! - Way back when I was pregnant with Declan, before I knew if he was a boy or a girl, I saw this gorgeous butterfly mobile at Pottery Barn:
Of course when I first started decorating the room, I couldn't find it on the Pottery Barn website. No biggie, I'll make one! So, I coerced my mom into helping me and we began cutting out hundreds of butterflies, planning to string them during her February visit. This task sounds a lot easier than it actually was.
In the midst of cutting, I stumbled upon a new version of the butterfly mobile at Pottery Barn. After a quick call to my mom, we happily ditched the project and placed an order at PB. Ironically, after returning the DIY supplies, the PB mobile ended up being less expensive than the DIY. This seems to hold true for me in most DIY projects!
DIY Project #2 - Success! I don't really see how I could mess this one up! I took the lamp shade that was in Declan's room, bought a bunch of fake roses, busted out the glue gun and after two nap sessions had a beautiful, shabby chic lamp shade to add a little feminine texture to the room!

I still have a few more details to add to the room. Once she is born, I plan to add her prints (foot and hand) to the wall left of her window, fill the picture frames with her newborn pics, and I found the cutest letters for either her initials or the spelling of her first name (not sure which just yet). But for now, we are finished...and very excited about it!

Just 6 1/2 more weeks to go!!
A special thanks to Mimi for the bedding, curtains, mobile, and countless hours of butterfly cutting ;) I had a great time working on the room with you! XOXO
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