Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's 2011!

So, where was I?  Oh, that’s right...September 30th...oops.  Is it really 2011 already?  What happened? Oh yeah, I remember...I enjoyed my life.  That is not to say that I don’t enjoy writing.  Believe you me, in the past 3 months the desire to pick up pen and paper, uhum, start typing, has manifested itself pretty much daily.  Why haven’t I?  Let’s see...

There is work (and all that that entails: grading speeches, reading, plowing & suffering through outlines that are written in English that sometimes can hardly be called ‘English’, listening to excuses that really aren’t creative and so on).  I will leave it at that.

The boys are absolutely delicious.

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I cannot get enough of them and I absolutely love love love every minute with them.  (Except when they are whiny, demanding and don't let me cook).

6 days after I last wrote, on October 5, Ryder started crawling.  My life as I knew it was over.  Bye bye to plopping him down with a toy and being able to go make some tea.  No, nothing of that anymore.  Mr. The Explorer went everywhere and was in to everything.  Especially into those things that Kai is playing with.  And vice versa.  Need I explain?  With Ryder’s ability to crawl, brotherly rivalry had started as well.

My parents came out from Europe for a month to celebrate their 35th anniversary.  We went to San Diego and had some family time.  Visited Sea World, the Wild Animal Park, the harbor, and in short: had tons of fun.  Seeing Opa & Oma enjoy the boys was such treat.  With them in living in Europe and us living here in SoCal they really only get to see them twice a year, when they visit.  It was the first time they saw Ryder after their visit in February when he was born.  They had some time to bond and of course, Kai LOVED having Opa and Oma around.  He has been asking about them practically every day after they left; very sweet, but sad at the same time.  The little man just doesn’t understand why he cannot see them, just like he goes over to our friends’ places to go spend time with them.  Yes, we Skype, but his attention span isn’t long in front of the computer.  It’s about connection for him.  If the connection isn’t there it isn’t “real”.  Though he understands Dutch, he doesn’t speak it much, so he can’t connect through the computer.

And then...(drum roll please)...what seemed like the impossible, happened...Kai is potty trained!  The day that we were at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego, he decided that it was of the utmost importance to share with every one (including those who didn’t want to hear about this) that, if “Kai sit on the potty, he get MMS” – which translates to M&M’S.  Seriously.  Every.Single.Person.  So, when we got home, I asked him if he wanted to sit on the potty.  And the rest is history.  He was potty trained 3 days later, although it took me a bit longer to be convinced.  He has only had 3 accidents since the beginning of the training.  Did pretty much everything by himself.  It was awesome.  I guess they were right (whoever ‘they’ might be) when they said “he will do it when he’s ready”.

On another note, on October 27, I became a US citizen with about 5,000 other people in the same room.  Yes, that’s right: 5,000.  Oh yeah,’s a monthly event.  Seriously, no kiddin’!  Anyways, after having had my green card since we got married, I finally applied for my US citizenship, so now I am the proud owner of 2 passports.  Dual citizenship.  Pretty cool huh?

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Then there was Halloween.  Ah, the beloved holiday in our neighborhood.  When we moved in, the house was a heavy fixer-upper.  And read: HEAVY.  We fixed most of it up, except the front yard.  It just hasn’t been a priority, but it does allow us every year to go all out with Halloween and turn our front yard into a haunted cemetery / maze / heart stopper / scream inducer.  And oh, what fun it is!!  Every year we have a group of friends who come and help out and every year we do something different.  The thing that remains the same is the idea of the maze and the fact that you’ll be scared crazy.  Wonderful.  People come from other neighborhoods to trick-or-treat in our street, just for that.  But hey, no pressure to make it fun again :-0 

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It was wonderful.  Let’s just say that we had people rolling over the sidewalk laughing (resulting from being scared), others lost their wigs as they practically jumped out of their skin, screams echoed through the neighborhood.  Fun times.  Fun times.


Before we started our haunted ‘house’, we took Kai (and Ryder) trick-or-treating.  For the first year, he really enjoyed it, however the fun was short-lived;  a few days into November, he had forgotten all about his candy.  I think I still have his basket with candy in the closet here.

A few days after Halloween, my friend had her beautiful baby girl Haven.  She is absolutely precious.  Sweet and tiny and perfect.  It seriously makes me want to have another baby, though I swear that Mother Nature makes you forget the sleepless nights, or at least how they felt, and the fatigue exhaustion.

At the beginning of November David and I were invited to a wedding of our neighbors’ daughter.  I don’t remember when the last time was that he and I went out on a date together, let alone, when we were able to dress up.  Wait, yes, the last time I wore an evening gown was for the wedding of our neighbors’ other daughter, 2 years ago.  2 years ago...I do have a life you know.  Just not one that involves dressing up much.  Nevertheless, it was great to go out, all dolled up and pretty. 

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We had so much fun.  I’d almost say “they have to get married more often.”  Wait, that sounds wrong.

Kai started his co-op preschool class.  With a group of mommy friends we have started a co-op preschool.  Awesome!  One morning a week, the kids have class from 10-12.  It’s great.  Every class has the same structure, but around a different theme.  A class is taught by 1 mom, 1 direct assistant and 2 moms are around to wrangle, clean up and help out where ever needed.  Kai absolutely loves it.  He is so proud of all the art that he brings home and every time he sees it hanging on the fridge he announces that it is something he made with his friends at school.

I hardly dare to write this (as I fear I may jinx it), but it truly seems like Kai has left the terrible two’s behind him.  Now that he is better able to communicate he seems so much more relaxed.  Maybe his mood and state of being is affected by me being more relaxed, but I am certainly more relaxed because he is in so much better spirits.  He is loving, gives hugs and kisses spontaneously, gets really excited about things, loves having conversations, is a lot more inquisitive , shares his toys better, is more accepting towards Ryder, has fewer tantrums (don’t remember the last time he had one), helps out a lot, and I can go on.  It’s almost like I have a new toddler.  And I am LOVING it.  The simple “Good Morning MOMMY!!!!!” when he wakes up and comes running in to give me a big hug and kiss in the morning is just heart warming and it made up for the fact that Ryder was getting up at 5am.  Yes, 5am. Pretty much every single day.  That was one of those details that wasn’t working out so well for mama.

Leading up to Christmas, Kai and I were busy with Holiday arts & crafts projects.  It was so much fun and we both LOVED doing it.  It was definitely the beginning of some serious family traditions and childhood memories.  One night, after Ryder went down, I asked him if he wanted to make the gift for his god-daddy that we had been talking about.  “YES Mommy, YES!  Let’s DO IT!!!  Kai make a present for god-daddy Michael!”  We had a blast.  I stripped him down to his T-shirt and underwear and half an hour of laugher later, the present was done, he was covered in paint, and ready to get into the bath.  Snuggles, milk and a story followed and that was our evening.  A precious memory was created.

Ryder is doing great.  He cut his 3rd and 4th teeth a couple of weeks before Christmas.  He started crawling on October 5, 4 days after he turned 8 months, walked behind his shopping cart on Thanksgiving morning and started walking for real on December 16, at 10 1/2 months.

He is absolutely loving it and is motoring through the home like there is no stopping.  The fascinating thing is that after he started walking, he started sleeping better.  Coincidence?  Hmmm...  In pretty much everything, Kai is his example and he (Ryder) is hard at work catching up with the 2 years that he lacks behind.  He is loving his solids.  When Kai was his age, I made organic home made baby food.  Everything home made, as organic as it came.  With Ryder, I simply do not have to energy to do that, so at 9 months I decided it was time for him to start eating table foods.  I was sick and tired of spending small fortunes on jarred baby food that smelled (and tasted) like card board.  So, he’s eating table foods with us.  Occasionally I will puree things, but most of the time, I just give him small pieces to feed himself.  He loves broccoli, cauliflower, meat balls, chicken, fish, cheese, yogurt and pasta.  Fruits are winners as well and Mama cannot be happier.

Just to get an idea of the size of this boy, at 9 months (that was in November) Ryder:

  • weighed 25.5 lbs.
  • measured 31"
  • wore size 5 diaper
  • wore size 18 month clothes
Yep, I make big babies, and oh my goodness are they cute.

In December we often went out for walks around the neighborhood.  The leaves had turned beautiful colors and after the rain we had one weekend, they had started falling.  We live on a street with deciduous trees, but unfortunately we don’t have any in our yard.  They start next door.  One of our neighbors across the street had been so sweet to rake all the leaves together in 1 big pile.  1 big pile that was waiting for an almost-3-year-old toddler.  1 big pile that lent itself PERFECTLY for some good Fall fun.
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When Ryder was 9 months old he signed for the first time.  He is seriously suffering from the 2nd-child-syndrome; I started signing with Kai right out the gate, I only recently started it with Ryder, not even being very consistent.  After only a few times of signing ‘All Done”, imagine my surprise tonight when this happened:

I wasn’t sure if this was waving or signing, but given his response to the food, I think he was trying to make a point.  Pretty cool huh?  Ryder is just an amazing little man.  He is such a happy and content baby. 

I am just enjoying my boys so much.  They are a delight and I just want to spend every minute that I can with them.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have a break some times, but even after 2 hours of me-time, I cannot wait to return home, see those big smiles and twinkly eyes and give those boys the biggest hug and smother them with kisses.  These days, when they are awake, I spend my time with them.  The other work has to wait until they are asleep, resulting in just less time to do the other things that I would enjoy doing, such as reading, watching TV, or...writing.  Nevertheless, this year I am making some changes.  While still spending as much time with my 2 monkeys, I am planning on setting aside 1 evening per week to write, 1 evening to read, 1 evening to spend on arts and crafts projects / hobbies and 1 evening for date night with the hubby.  Yes, that leaves me 3 other nights, which I am sure, I will be able to fill in without any problems.

Christmas was a great day.  We spent the day relaxing, being a family and it was AWESOME.  The kids took pretty much the whole day to open their gifts: they would open one, play with it for an hour, then open another one and play with that for a while. 

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We actually ended up opening the stocking gifts on New Year’s Day!  How’s that for some stretching?!?!  David and I watched our traditional “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  Every Christmas we watch this.  Every Christmas it gets to us.  Such a beautiful movie, such a heartwarming story.  Truly inspiring.  New Year’s Eve was spent with neighbors and friends playing games, laughing, eating and drinking.  Can’t be much better than that, can it?

The New Year has started and it feels like I’m starting with a clean slate.  It’s a great feeling.  I feel energized, motivated, enthusiastic and happy and I’m excited and looking forward to making this year an amazing year.  So many new experiences await us, so many memories are going to be made.  The mere thought if that is inspiring and exhilarating.  May 2011 truly be everyone’s Best Year Yet! 



Lisa said...

Cute post. Loved it. Thanks for sharing.

PB Rippey said...

What a wonderful post, M! Such a pleasure to read. Happy New year!

TV's Take said...

Welcome back! The boys have surely grown and you and your husband look amazing together.

Emily - faliLV said...

Welcome back! I just spent time reading and getting caught up - I can't believe you have a 1 and a 3 yo now!

You look awesome!!

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