Easter Photo Shoot

It’s the week before Easter, and I decided I would break out the camera and dust of my 50mm lens (I usually use my 28mm lens because it’s better for life with movement photos).  I didn’t have a ton of creative ideas for what I wanted to do for the pictures, but I wanted to get pictures of them dressed nice with their basket.  Here’s the lowdown on their Easter attire:

Parker and Mason:

OshKosh Button Down shirts- sale rack from Target, Calvin Klein easy zip ties-Macys (definitely recommend this easy-to-tighten style!), White Ralph Lauren Polo shorts-Macys, OshKosh grey lace-up loafer shoes-Target

Sienna:

Rare Editions Brand Dress- Given to us by a friend, and Smart Fit white leather buckle shoes- All4kids Consignment

I prefer to take seasonal photos prior to the actual holiday.  That way among the fun, I don’t get distracted about trying to get the perfect shot, and I’m able to enjoy the holiday itself.  Over this next week, the kids will be attending three Easter Egg hunts between playdates, school and Easter.  We’re working on incorporating the true meaning of Easter among all the fun, too.  Last night I read Parker the story of Jesus’ death.  Tonight we cover the resurrection.  It was nice to have a deep discussion with him about this important topic that is so crucial to our belief in Jesus as our savior.  It’s been great learning about Christ’ crucifixion through the eyes of a four year old!  The questions and curiosity has given me a great reminder of what he did for us that day on the cross!  We’re waiting to discuss the details of Easter with Mason.  I just don’t feel like he’s old enough to understand in great detail.

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Sending abundant Easter blessings to you and your family!

 

She’s a walking, talking machine!

Sienna has really sprouted over the past few months. She took her first steps right around Thanksgiving and ever since then, she’s been slowly refining her skills. We had a neighbor over a few months back and Sienna was in a cheerful mood, and took her first four to six steps in a row. It was so fun to see the excitement on her face of her big accomplishment! She’s SO proud of herself!  The past few weeks she’s been showing off her new skills and we’ve been having so much fun seeing her do her little “side step” that she likes to do.  I love the sweet uniqueness she has, and in no hurry to do milestones on anyone else’s timeline but her own!

Not only have her physical milestones been taking off, but her verbal milestones have as well. I feel like now instead of her just babbling words, she’s actually trying her best to say things that mean certain things. What a victory and blessing that is! I just love to hear her sweet voice! As of now, she calls me Mama, Dan, Dada (the obvious) and Parker BuBu and Mason MaeMae! I haven’t been as great with sign language as I was with the boys, so she hasn’t picked up any of that yet, but it is fun seeing her little personality shine as she learns to communicate in her own way.

Kinsey Farms Visit

We’ve been going to Kinsey farms for the past few years and last year we took our holiday pictures there.  I love looking back on photos the same time last year to see how much the boys have changed.  Our family has grown so much in a year!

This year, since I’ve taken a photog class and got my new 30mm camera lens, I thought I’d try my hand at some photography, all while enjoying our visit with the animals, and picking out pumpkins.  The boys had a blast and it was a memorable outing with a nice new fall chill in the air to put us in the fall spirit. Since I’m 37 weeks pregnant and prior to knowing the gender, I nick-named the baby “baby pumpkin”.  A Mama bump picture with a pumpkin was definitely in order!

Here are a few of my favorites.

Parker and Mason’s First Day of School

Today was Parker and Mason’s first day of school at St. Aidan’s MMO/Preschool. Parker went into the two year old class since his birthday misses the cut-off for the three year old class, and Mason went into the MMO (Mother’s Morning Out) 18-24 month program that Parker was in last year.

Mason looked like someone beat him up, sporting a black eye from a fall last Friday, as well as a few bumps and bruises from, well… just being a toddler I suppose.  The photos below  weren’t the best either (the worst possible back lighting in the house) so it didn’t make that shiner look any nicer.  When we got to school, he walked right into his classroom and started playing, but did cry when I left.  When I came to pick up, she assured me that he only cried for about 10 seconds, just as I was leaving, and then he warmed up very quickly.  They said he was very happy and chatty all morning.  I was so worried when I left that he would be upset the whole time, but apparently, he did great!  I was so happy to see him when I came to pick him up.  Mason was so involved in pointing out things on a book, and had his back to me, that he didn’t even care that I arrived.  He just kept showing me things in his book, chatting to me in his own language.  It was so sweet, and it warmed my heart to know that he was so comfortable there and enjoyed himself!

Parker did great, too.  Of course, he’s used to going to school and even has the same lead teacher Ms. Amanda that he had last year! He loves her so much, and has warmed up pretty quickly to Ms. Linda, the assistant teacher as well.  He can sometimes be apprehensive about having someone else take him to the potty that he doesn’t know very well, but Ms. Linda took him three times during the day, where he pee’d and pooped, so he did great! That’s my boy!   He was so happy to see me when I came to pick him up and immediately got up from story time and ran to my arms to give me a big super hug.  He was excited to tell me about his fun day that he had, and I was thrilled that he enjoyed himself too!

The Status On My PMS

Life gets busy, but each day I see little things in each of our little PMS (Parker, Mason, and Sienna)  that I would like to document.  So, here is the first episode of The Status On My PMS

Parker:

Boy, are you just the chatter box!  I know it’s all a good thing, but seriously… we need to learn some manners with this talking business because it’s wearing Mama out!  Every time I’m in convo with Daddy or trying to listen to an important part of the nightly news, there it is again… a trailing of verbal expression from “Mommy, my placemat is dirty, get me the mickey one?..Mommy, I need my milk! Mommy, where did Daddy go?  Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy, look at that car on TV” Mommy, it’s looking HOT outside.. Mommy, what are we doing today?” Sometimes I admit that it tips my patience near the tipping point.  I know that he’s just a verbal and social being who loves to chat, but we’ll have to start working on some boundaries on when it is appropriate and how not to interrupt when adults are talking.

I LOVE how sweet and verbal he is in public to strangers though, always saying Hi to random people and offering to open their door via automatic button at the gym.  He’s really turned a corner with leaving places and very rarely has a tantrum.  He typically just waves goodbye and says as a matter-of-factly “I’m going home!”.  I love that! It was a long time coming after all of the nightmares we had leaving places in the past, but as everyone promised, he grew out of that stage, thank you LORD!  He’s doing great with the potty training too, showing me that he is the big confident boy that I remind him of.  He’s great about waking up in the morning to let us know that he needs to go potty since he’s not in pull-ups, but does have the occasional accident in his bed if he oversleeps.  It’s not enough to warrent putting him back in pull-ups though since more often than not, he wakes up in time.  We’ve added a little clock in his room that glows at 7am when it’s time to get up.  That has helped tremendously with previous issues of him not going back to bed if he woke up around 6am to potty, and thought it was time to start his day.  Now he knows to go back to his room and either stay in his bed and go back to sleep, or play quietly until the light on the clock turns green, and then he can come in our room and watch a little curious george and play with toys while Mommy gets going for the day.

He gets fussy about wanting to do everything himself, which can be a challenge when we’re in a hurry, but I try to give as much as I can feel confident, secure, and in control as much as possible.  Of course, also to avert his evil twin from emerging.  The current things that are off limits: Flushing the toilet, closing ANY door, getting into his chair or carseat, pressing the elevator button, getting out of the car, and going up and down the stairs… just to name a few.  If we try to help him or rush him by helping him with any of those things, it insights a riot!  Mr. Independence is his surname.

One of Parker’s favorite times of the day is story time before bed.  He LOVES picking out books and having me read to him.  We used to make bedtime routine such a long process, with singing, and reading etc. but now we’re pretty much just down to bath, teeth brushing, short program on TV (while I put Mason to bed), story time, potty time, prayers and bedtime.  He’s always taken well to his routines and I think enjoys the predictability of it.

He loves playing with his brother Mason.  He still has times where he snatches toys, but when I see it happen, he’s typically cooperative about sharing them and taking turns.  Their absolute favorite joint activity is “pillow mountain” and he and Mason have a blast taking turns running into the pile of pillows on the floor and giggling up a storm.  They also have fun doing dance parties, which we typically do a few times a week while I’m folding clothes and the boys are listening to music and playing with toys.  Fun times!

I have seen a few changes in his speech and as he has begun to be more verbal, he’s developed a little bit of a stutter.  I’ve heard it is normal, but sometimes when he’s tired or excited he stutters so much that he’s out of breath.  It makes me wonder if that is normal or not.  Here’s a clip of us that I took today, and you can notice some slight stuttering, but not too bad.

Mason:

I can’t believe how much my baby has turned into a toddler these last few months.  Mason can easily say 50+ words and is so very smart and verbal.  Parker seemed to hit this milestone a little later, although Parker knew quite a bit, just couldn’t say it.  Mason has pretty much skipped the sign language, although he still does it sometimes in combo with speaking.  He never ceases with his “PLEASE” when he wants food, a refill on water, a dab of powder on his nose when I’m putting on make-up… or food of any kind from a stranger.  He’s gutsy in that way, but ever so cute in the process. He’s pretty outgoing in his personality, but definitely has to warm up to new environments and new people.  In playgroup for instance, he’ll go and play on his own, but will stick around me for a little while first and scope everything out before diving in.  He’s meets new people with the same amount of regard and typically just needs to warm up to strangers first, but then has no problem chatting them up and playing with them.

I’ve also noticed that although he takes some regard with new people and places, he’s a brave and gutsy little toddler.  He LOVES to climb.  He’s constantly trying to climb on tables and chairs,  tubs, and anything within waist height of him that gets him up high.  If he falls, he’s so brave… he may whimper for a second, but only if it’s a really big fall.  Otherwise, he just gets right back up and tries again.  He probably hurts some part of his body about once a week by bumping into something or tripping and falling or climbing.  The boy is a rough house. He definitely keeps us on our toes, though with all the climbing.  I went upstairs today to grab some socks, and he had stepped up on our lego bin and helped himself on top of the toy bin.  I came back to see him lopsided across the toys holding on for dear life.  I helped him get his foot unstuck, then I snapped a pic as he sat on the edge of the toy basket.  A daring one he is!

He’s been getting used to being left at the gym and with other people like the babysitter.  It used to really bother him, but as he’s gotten older, I can see that it has gotten much easier.  He’s been fine with the babysitter putting him down at night, and doesn’t put up a fight at all! He still is a bit of a Mama’s boy, and if I’m not around, and he’s in a grumpy mood, no one seems to do the trick except for me.  I love that so much about him, especially since it’s so different from how Parker was since he was one to be pretty open to any and everyone.  I do however, worry a little bit about how he will be when Sienna comes along because I want him to know that I’m not replacing him at all.  He’ll always be my baby Mae Mae no matter what! Neither Parker or Mason are/were ones that enjoy being held and rocked a whole lot, but Mason is a bit more tolerant of it.  Especially so when there’s a storm out and he’s scared, or needs a reassuring hug during a firework show, like last month.  He enjoys showing love by giving kisses, blowing kisses, and giving hugs, and that will never get old.  I love my Mason hugs and kisses!

He’s still growing by leaps and bounds, being within five pounds of his older brother.  He’s started to get a little pickier with his eating, and tends to skip over or toss aside the veggies while he eats, the same thing Parker started to do at this age.  I don’t make any special meals though, and he still gets his typical foods which is usually fruit and whole grain waffles or yogurt in the morning, sandwich (either peanut butter and jelly or turkey and cheese) coupled with fruit or carrots and then dinner which is usually chicken, fish, or some protein coupled with rice or noodles and I always offer a veggie. He’s over the 95th% for height and weight, so he’s certainly growing and thriving!

Sienna:

I’m six and a half months pregnant with Sienna, and so far it’s been a pretty good pregnancy.  I just had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and I’m up seven pounds for the pregnancy, which they say is really good, but it would be even better if I was at an ideal weight prior to the pregnancy.  I was reading Boston Baby Mama’s blog and I loved her post about what she loves and hates about being pregnant, that I decided I’d share my thoughts on the matter.

What I won’t miss about being pregnant:

  • The first thing I can think of is having my sleep interrupted several times a night by my full bladder.  I try to skip drinking water an hour or so before bed for this reason, but I love drinking my water, and I get so thirsty at night.
  • Not being able to sleep on my belly.  That is one of the first things I do after labor once it’s time for me to really get some rest.  Roll on the stomach, one leg up froggy style, and my arms around a pillow.  That’s just how I roll.
  • Drinking myself into a coma.  Okay… not really, but you know what I mean.  I like to get my drink on from time to time.  What Mom of young kids doesn’t?
  • Having to toast my deli sandwiches in fear of listeria, having to watch my seafood intake and no raw sushi.  This girl loves some salmon, tuna, sushi and turkey sandwiches.  I really have to make an effort to watch my intake while I’m pregnant and that gets pretty annoying.  I eat turkey sandwich meat and Salmon the most, so they are the biggest culprits.
  • Feeling helpless when I want to do a billion things at once, but can’t.  I hate asking or bugging the husband to lift heavy things for me… I know, sounds like a “perk” of being preggers, but for me it just seems like something that has to “wait” instead of something that I can just “do”.  I had all these large items and boxes to bring down from the attic, but had to wait until Dan was back from a business trip to help me instead of just doing it myself like I normally would.  Not too steady on my toes with a bump.
  • Not being able to work out as hard.  It doesn’t bother me when I’m working out on the elliptical, or pulling the wagon along the loop, or walking a lot in general, but I sure feel it when the pelvic girdle pain starts to kick in later.
  • Getting the nosey questions from people about personal decisions like: delivery, induction, breastfeeding, co-sleeping and the like.  Unless you’re a close friend, it’s no business of yours, and no soon-to-be new Mom needs a guilt trip on her plans for bringing baby into the world, or what to do once they’re here.  Save it for your doula.

What I love and will miss about being pregnant

  • Feeling like I don’t need to suck in or hide my round belly.  Now, this doesn’t really apply to the first 4-5 months since I typically just look overweight since I have a really inset belly button that makes it look like I have two jelly rolls up until I’m about six months pregnant, but generally speaking, I love it once I have a “noticeably” round buddah belly.  I just feel less subconscious about my weight as weird as that seems.  It’s like “oh, she’s supposed to be fat…she’s pregnant”  Instead of “oh, she could stand to lose 10 pounds or 20…”
  • Feeling her move inside me.  It’s a gentle reminder of the miracle that is going on, and I love how it makes me feel like her protector and that no one can be with her yet except for me.  Our special bonding time.
  • The celebrating of a new life.  Who doesn’t like a party?  I’ll miss the celebrating with baby showers and family and friends, although there will be many new opportunities to celebrate once she gets here with birthday parties and the like.
  • The attention of being pregnant is nice, too.  Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love attention?  It’s a great convo starter by any nosey bi-standard who is eyeing my bump at the grocery store or park, and those who know me know that I am not shy about bragging that I have two little boys and that I have a girl on the way.  It’s just icing on the cake and gives me warm and fuzzies inside to talk about it.  I do get a few eyebrow raises when I tell them the ages of my boys (almost 3 and 16months) but I guess that is to be expected since I am borderline certified cra-zay.
  • Preparing for the arrival.  I love talking about the excitement of what will she look like, what will life be like, what are we doing for her nursery, how will the boys take to the new addition…etc. It’s just exciting to get to talk about these things with Dan and friends and family when preparing for a baby. Nothing beats the anticipation of holding her, feeding her, and snuggling her.

So, that’s the status on my kiddos! Stay tuned for more evolving news on them as they grow and thrive!

Mason’s First Haircut!

Oh how I LOVE LOVE LOVED Mason’s sweet curly hair.  But seriously, that mane was OUT OF CONTROL.  Especially with the humidity, it would have a mind of it’s own.  So, we decided it was time.  It was time for my baby boy to get his first hair cut.

*Sigh* They just grow up too fast!

Here’s some pics of my baby boy, being transformed into a big boy… *tear*

Of course, my oldest cutie, Parker got his hair trimmed too.  They boy’s hair grows like a weed! Check out Parker’s first haircut at just five months old!

Brain Dump

It’s been a while since I’ve done a good brain dump, to clear out all the thoughts that have been on my heart and mind to write about.  So, here it goes in no particular order.

  • We’ve begun  to get the ball rolling for Sienna’s nursery.  We haven’t done a lot since Mason is still occupying the room.  We’re not ready to make the transition for Mason to move in with Parker just yet, but we’ve begun ordering some things anyway.  We found a great deal on a rug on Overstock.com that we went ahead and snatched up.  I think it’s pretty cute. 
  • We also decided on “COLLECTION B” for baby Sienna’s quilt (from the choices in previous post.  I just thought “COLLECTION” A lacked the pizazz that I really wanted for her room, and was just playing it too safe.
  • We paid off our Lexus SUV this week! Sounds like something silly to be excited about, but I am really proud of us that we no longer have a car payments at all (we bought our honda accord outright).  We got the car when Parker was around 10 months old.  Look how cute he was then.  We bought the Lexus with a six year warranty, so now we have a little more security while we ride out the remainder of the car’s life.  I still really love this SUV, and it’s comfortable, and practical, with a little style and best of all… it’s PAID OFF! Woohoo!
  • It’s officially “summer break” and Parker is out of school. We’ve been staying busy with the two play groups that we frequent.  It’s been fun meeting new faces in a playgroup that Sarah started, and getting to know them and their cute little kiddos.  The boys have been having a blast too,  and have enjoyed the social time. Here’s us at the Spray ground at Riverside park this week.  I’m on the left in the white sun dress, looking like a giant per usual, sporting my chonky babe Mason on the hip and baby bump in the middle.  My boys are also on the far left in the bottom photos. I love all the cute babies!

  • Last Friday night I joined a few friends and had an awesome girls night.  No it wasn’t the typical “Let’s out and have dinner” kind of girl’s night (although I love those!).  It was a “Let’s drink a little too much and dance” kind of girls night.  Of course, with me being preggers, I couldn’t get my drink on (and who doesn’t love a volunteer DD?), but I definitely love to dance, and dancing is what I did.  Even with a little belly bump and it being the first year out of my twenties, I decided to give it a whirl.  I wanted to support my friend who recently decided to call off her wedding, and this happened to be the night that she was supposed to get married.  She had never been to a club before, so it was a fun experience for her.  The six of us had a blast, and none of us held back.  There was a stage at Opera night club in the center, and every one of us got up there in our high heels and wedges, and tore up the stage.  It was a great time with some great gals, no drama, nothing crazy, just some hot Mamas having fun and dancing the night away. 
  • I took Mason in for his 15 month Dr’s appointment today.  He is a beast! He’s 29lbs (only two pounds less than his older brother who is two and a half) which puts him in the 95th percentile.  I asked if I should be concerned with his growing stature, and she said absolutely not.  He’s also 95th for height too, so he’s proportional.  I feed him 3x a day with 2 snacks, he just LOVES to eat!  He’s not very picky, but can be weird about things you wouldn’t think, like hot dogs, and needs food before his milk (otherwise the sippy cup is thrown) and doesn’t love the consistency of rice.  Otherwise, he loves green beans and most veggies.  He also loves exercise and playtime and he’s not a fan of just being an observer in the stroller.  So, I think he’s in great health and gets plenty of nutritious foods and activity.  I’m thinking over the next six months he’ll start to lean out, but will also be big in stature like my side of the family.
  • I’ve started to hit the gym again.  Wohoo!  Since Mason is officially down to one nap, it’s easier to take both boys to the gym and have them enjoy play time without feeling overly tired.  Mason still isn’t in love with being left, but he’s been warming up to it! There are only a few tears when I drop him off, and he’s fine by the time I take Parker to the potty and leave for my work out.  Baby steps of progress!    It’s been somewhat of a challenge just getting used to Mason’s personality since he is so different from Parker.  He’s so sensitive to being left that it breaks my heart.  I’ve enjoyed doing 30 mins of cardio and some weight training.  Taking advantage of my energy in the second trimester before I get too big!
  • There was something else that really broke my heart this week.  I found out some horrible news Monday night.  There was a friend of mine that I worked with when I used to wait tables at Perkins named Arvin. He brought so much happiness to the workplace.  He was a cook behind the lines, but not only that, he was a source of happiness and laughter throughout our shift always bringing smiles to our face, and just a kind good-hearted person.  He was full of so much positivity and being around him just put you in a good mood.  I ran into him again on facebook a few years ago and we started following each other’s posts and status updates. I found out that he had a young son, and within the last year or so, had a daughter.  Recently, he was preparing for his upcoming nuptials to his fiance Paula and even had a Pinterest board that showed off some of his ideas for the wedding.  He was so excited about getting the napkins in that had their names on it.  One of his lasts FB posts was of him joking around about how broke he would be after the wedding, but that they would be having a blast enjoying their big day.  Their wedding with their kids and family alongside, was set for early August.  Sadly, that won’t be happening, because tragically, Arvin died June 4th from a car wreck.  As the news article states in the local paper, his body was recovered the next morning after his family had reported him missing (when he never came home from work).  He was in his vehicle which had veered into a nearby creek after over correcting (possibly to miss an animal in the road).  He was not the type to drink heavily, so they aren’t suspecting alcohol to be a factor in his death.  He landed in the creek, and wasn’t able to get out.   I’m someone who hasn’t encountered a lot of death in my life.  My dear Nanny (my Mom’s Mother) died of breast cancer in her 50s, but other than that, I’ve never had anyone close to me die.  This is somewhat of a new feeling.  It is just so tragic and my heart breaks for his family.  He was such a sweet person, and gave the best “bear hugs”.  He will be sorely missed!  It just reminds me to hug my boys and husband every day and tell them I love them, because you just never know what life will bring!
  • I’m so excited to be visiting my friend Catie who lives in Chicago in July.  I’ve been to many cities, but I’ve never been to Chicago, so I’m really looking forward to exploring the city with her.  I went to Interior Design school with Catie, and she was my partner in crime the whole way through until we graduated.  She was also in our wedding, and she’s a sweet and dear friend of mine that I don’t get to see enough of.  We’ll be staying at the Palmer House, which I’ve heard great things about, and we plan to visit all the local attractions including doing the architectural tour.  I’m so excited!
  • I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with the hubby celebrating Father’s Day.  He’s had a rough last week or so since his Crohn’s has been flaring up and giving him trouble again, but he’s always strong and pulls through.  He’s been traveling a lot and sacrificing a lot for the family, and I’m excited to celebrate him, and all the wonderful things he does for us each and every day.  I made him this mixbook for Father’s day (I gave it to him early) and he loved it! Father’s Day Mixbook

Parker’s Last Day of School

This post is way overdue.  We left for Destin shortly after Parker’s last day of school (the second week of May), so I didn’t have time to post this.  We were very happy with Parker’s teachers this year.  Even with two teacher transitions, it all went very smooth, and I grew to really enjoy chatting with the teachers each week.

For their last day, there was a picnic party of sorts with fun activities for the kiddos, coupled with a hotdog lunch.  Parker and Mason both enjoyed the activities.  They wore me out since Mason was adamant about walking and being involved, and Parker had a mind of his own wandering around to all the activities.  They had some water activities, pony rides, a bounce house, and some other little games.  The boys had a great time.  Parker enjoyed seeing his little friends for the last time before Summer, too.

Parker with his first teacher Ms. Ceci (above)


Get ’em bathed and send ’em to bed

Our busy, but most fun time of the day is when we get the kiddos ready for bed.  We usually eat dinner around 6, watch the evening news at 6:30, then head upstairs for some scrub a dub dub, then a bedtime show for Parker while I’m putting Mason to bed, and then it’s Parker’s turn.  We recently weaned Mason from milk before bedtime.  He now gets milk at dinner, and goes straight to teeth brushing after being put in his jammies, and then gets a few stories and songs before lights out.  Parker LOVES story time, and if I’m done with Mason and his “show” is still on when I come back to get him, he usually asks to go read books right away.  I love it too.  It’s the special alone time that I get with both of the boys that I enjoy.  Here’s some pictures from the last few nights that I’ve captured from our evening.

Mason was in a bit of a grumpy mood this night.  I think he was teething since he kept his finger in his mouth quite a bit.