Left Behind

This post could have been written many times over this last year, but every time I’ve felt it creep up in my throat, I’ve pushed it right back down again. I don’t really know how to write it without sounding full of moping self-pity. At times, it also strikes me as very hypocritical. So – every time – I stifle my own feelings and tell myself basically to suck it up, stop feeling this way and be happy for everyone else.

That’s not realistic though. Nor healthy. So here it is:

I am feeling awfully left behind these days.

It seems the 7-year-itch (give or take a year) has struck our friends hard. It started with my friend, Kim, who decided in the middle of last year that she wanted to resign from work to stay home with her adorable baby boy. Then my good friend, Sherryl – a.k.a. my brain in another body – also decided to forego an engineer’s life and stay home with her kids. That happened in August.

Next up were Brian and Michelle, who – with Graham’s best bud Charlie, moved eastward to Atlanta when Michelle got a fantastic job opportunity. With that went hopes for our long-term plan of someday having Craig and Susan move down and having a substantial family unit for our boys to grow up with nearby. Serious mourning came with that change. And serious doubts about our being able to stay here for the long term. We never wanted to live far away from family.

Next up, Jaime – my best friend here, found a job closer to family in California and snapped it up. She and her husband left about a month ago now with their two little ones. Our friends, Tom and Andrea – who live closest to us, just found a house out in the country and are moving out of our neighboring community. And finally, this afternoon, we are attending yet another good-bye party for our friend Catherine, who is moving to Boise as she and her husband found new jobs.

If you’re counting – that’s six families that have made major life changes this year. At least Tom and Andrea will still be at work with me. Everyone else are varying levels of gone. And I can’t lie – it’s left a gaping hole. Life – in so many ways – is not like it was a year ago.

I come back to the beginning of this post, though, and say that this is all very self-pitying. I’m aware of that, at least. And I don’t feel like this all the time. It’s been fun to root everyone on in their successes and new adventures. I enjoy seeing updates on Facebook and hearing about it first-hand over the phone.

Also, we’ve been enjoying our own changes, haven’t we? Although we haven’t gone anywhere in the physical sense, we’ve had a major addition to our little family. Acclimating to life with our little Reid (and as a family of 4) has been an adventure in and of itself!

Still, there are times lately when I feel a little like Beth March from Little Women. She said in one of her final scenes:

“… I’ve missed you so. Why does everyone want to go away? I love being home. But I don’t like being left behind.”

I really couldn’t have said it better myself.

Spring Headlines

Obviously, I’ve fallen short for an effort to capture full-detail stories, but here are my best attempt at some headlines from the last couple of weeks!

Graham Contends for Title of Best Big Bro EVAH

My heart catches in my throat so much these days because Graham just, time and time again, bends over backward to love on his little Reid. In fact, G even goes so far as to call him “my baby”. If I pick up Graham from school early for a doc’s appointment or a swim class or something, he’ll worry aloud halfway to our destination about the status of his absent brother.

“Reid is in the baby class, Mommy? … Daddy’s picking up Reid? … Where is Reid? … Is Reid in the baby class at school?”

And so on and so forth.

Graham tells me what Reid does or doesn’t need when he’s crying – insisting that he knows Reid better than I do. This weekend when Reid started fussing, without a word, Graham got up, got Reid’s pacifier stuck it in his mouth, held it in long enough for Reid to get ahold of it, then got Reid’s little bunny [to be introduced later this entry] and gave it to him to snuggle. My heart stopped in the best way possible. 😉

Andy Celebrates his 30th Birthday – Again!

I made the traditional frosted angelfood birthday cake complete with the traditional 3-candle salute. 😉 (Past, present and future!) We all sang “Happy Birthday” – except Reid, who toasted Andy’s birthday in his own way: by guzzling down 6-ounces of milk.

There were presents too – clothes, tools, gym membership (HINT HINT… j/k. actually just trying to gift my husband some de-stressing time) and a new picture frame from the boys complete with a print of their latest sitting.

Graham was amped about there being an ACTUAL (read: not made up) birthday in the house, and Reid, well, Reid did what Reid does best…

… sat there looking completely adorable.

Happy 31st, Baby!

Spring is in the Air

The boys had their annual Bonnet Parade and Easter Egg Hunt at school on March 22nd. It’s a tradition there to have the kids make spring-themed hats and parade around school showing off their efforts.

The weather was very cold outside, so the administration decided to keep kids indoors this year. We entered the school and the first thing we saw was Reid’s face through the window of his baby class wearing this little number:

O.M.G.

Andy and I suffered an instant and simultaneous death-by-cuteness. Nothing like a baby wearing an enormous flower on his head, completely unaware that anything is not as it should be.

Graham shared a similar reaction.

The kid could NOT stop laughing at his little brother.

Like… could not stop. Ever. It kind of went like this:

“HahahAHhAhAha… Look at Reid!! Look at Reid!! HAhaHahaHAhAhah Look at Reid!!!!”

So funny. But it didn’t make for an easy group pic. This was the best we could get.

Graham’s visor, if you’re curious, has green tissue paper leaves on it with a fuzzy red and yellow caterpillar crawling on it. Super adorable. Not that you can tell. He’s too busy busting a gut at the sight of his baby brother.

Happy Easter!

Easter followed shortly thereafter.

I sang at church, making for a super crazy day. The Easter Bunny visited our house, leaving these baskets…

… and hiding the eggs we’d dyed the day before.

 

I swear Paas egg dye has gotten crazy better since we dyed eggs as kids. I also credit Pinterest for giving me an idea on how to give the eggs a bit of extra time to absorb some color:

Ombre eggs! This was essentially a practice in serial dilutions. Drop an egg in an inch of dye, and keep adding water at given increments until the egg is covered. Not that I care much for the fade-tastic trend, this was merely a way to keep anxious and impatient preschooler’s hands and mind occupied long enough to let the eggshells take up some dye. I think G did a really nice job!

So we hunted the Bunny’s eggs, ate some chocolate, got dressed and went to church, came home for naps, then proceeded to join up with friends at the Reeves’s annual Easter celebration.

Reid met all the little kiddos, but Mason was his favorite. :)

We hunted eggs there too!

Graham (bottom of the above picture) dominated – being well over a year older than everyone. He even got into a groove of cracking eggs open with one hand, taking the candy inside, then handing the empty egg shell to one of the little kids. (Don’t worry, we had him practice finding eggs and giving them – intact – to the toddlers too!)

Remember the little bunny from Reid’s Easter basket?

Reid LOVES him. I was shocked. I think the Easter Bunny got Graham and Reid matching bunnies just because he thought it was cute.

*ahem*

But apparently the Easter Bunny is smarter than I am, because Reid completely adores his rabbit. Arguably more than Graham loves his, but eh – too close to call. The bunnies were both hits for these little boys!

Miscellaneous Things Happen In Between Times

Apparently Reid is old enough for the Exersaucer now!

Or, as Graham calls it, the “Extra Sauce”. Reid loves himself a little ‘extra sauce’. I think he’s caught on a little quicker than Graham did. I have a very poor memory when it comes to, well, EVERYTHING relating to Graham’s babyhood, so maybe don’t take me at my word.

He grabs on to toys, spins them, bounces his legs, and spins in a slow circle as he explores what’s around him. Reid definitely prefers to be sitting (or standing?) upright. He is a man on the go and has no patience for laying about.

Somebody hold me, please.

The week of Andy’s birthday we caught Eric Clapton (and the Wallflowers – weird combo, no?) live at the American Airlines center. We had awesome seats and I think it *may* have been in my top 3 concerts ever. Seriously, that good.

We also saw Scott Weiland at the House of Blues the week following Clapton’s concert. It basically rated my worst concert experience, to date. Scott had two opening acts, one of which was actually really good but not our style (anybody a metalhead? anybody?) the other was more our style but.. yikes. Then Scott decided to make an appearance at 10:58 p.m. For those non-regular concert-goers – that’s actually SUPER late to start a headline act. Most are well finished by that hour, what with noise regulations in cities and whatnot. He appeared an HOUR AND A HALF after the second opening act left the stage.

Since we had a sitter, to whom we’d promised to be home by midnight, we had to leave the show at 11:30. It was just as well, though because, as one reviewer put it, he “then spent the next 70 minutes dismantling whatever legacy [Stone Temple Pilots] has left.”

Yikes x infinity

Lastly, Graham’s been trying out a couple of lessons. We started ice skating a few weeks ago:

I’m not sure if he likes skating or if he likes the suckers (okay, he likes the suckers) but he’s been catching on really well! Graham REALLY likes the idea of being able to skate like his daddy, but he’s not all that willing to put in the work needed to get there. I feel ya, buddy. Sometimes a guy just wants to be instantly good at something and not have to work so hard at it! Sometimes a girl does, too. 😉

He’s also gearing up for summer with swim lessons too!

He took to lessons this year like a fish to water (no pun intended). He is LOVING getting in the pool, and his teacher is really excited about his quick progress. Yay Graham!

So, as you can see, we’ve been keeping quite busy around our house! The weather is, well, not trying to become spring-like at ALL. It’s been cold and rainy around here.

Graham’s been totally digging wearing his raincoat to school. (“It has dinosaurs on it!! RAWR!”) And Reid’s been managing to keep warm too!

In sorta related news: If you know of anyone whose kid has a larger-than-life noggin and needs to keep warm during brisky spring or fall weather (I think you need something warmer for winter) – I officially recommend L’ovedbaby’s Cute Cap knit hats. Reid’s been wearing the 3-6 month size since he was about 2 months old. They have been lifesavers in this unseasonably cold spring!

Today is better, the boys are off to school in short outfits, so progress is being made. I’ll be back on this week to post about Reid’s 4 Month doctor’s checkup and The Ear Infection that Does Not End. Another post for another time. Thanks for sticking with me for such a long entry!

This, That & the Other

I was going through my iPhone photos tonight and realized that a lot has gone on in the past month that I haven’t really talked all that much about. Here are some snippets.

Crosby, Stills & Nash

I Facebooked about this, but earlier this month I got to go see one of my parents’ favorite bands of all time. I grew up on the harmonies doled out by this three (with or without Young), and it was absolutely thrilling to see them in person.

Know what I found out? David Crosby is funny. Favorite little monologue of his:

“You know, people call us a political band… I’m not sure why. We mostly write love songs. But, while I’m at it, I’ll give you one political opinion. :::applause::: Just one…

I don’t think that when our forefathers were writing the Constitution that they  intended for the guy with the biggest T.V. budget to get the keys to the kingdom… :::roaring cheers from the crowd:::

… I wrote a love song about that.”

I’m sure I’m not doing it justice, but the line was perfectly timed. You’ll have to take my word for it.

Toddler Happenings

I haven’t really had a ton of time/energy to write about Graham’s development, but folks – we have seen such an improvement in behavior and decline in primitive toddler rage as Graham’s verbal development has really taken hold. We don’t count words in sentences anymore – the kid talks in short paragraphs now. I love this age.

Graham wants to do everything that we do. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that the kid loves his guitar (yes, that’s a ukelele). I have never seen a kid so young with the kind of strumming action Graham has. He’s definitely been watching his father. Granted, he doesn’t always default to holding the guitar like this (hence the picture moment), but it’s amazing to see how much he picks up on. He sings into drumsticks like they’re microphones. He even told his Daddy yesterday that he would really like some drums like Brobee [the Yo Gabba Gabba character] plays on T.V.

With the changes in his vocabulary has come a certain change in awareness. In talking about the arrival of this enigmatic “Baby Brother” of his, he’s realized that there are things for babies and there are things for big boys. We actually haven’t pushed that concept too hard – trying not to force him into more responsibility than he’s ready for – but he’s drawn some of his own conclusions.

One of those realizations was that baby brother was going to wear diapers. And that he… also wore diapers. But, he pointed out, Graham is not a baby. That one sat for a few days and then – bam – sudden renewed interest in the potty and all things “underwear pants”. He went to school in undies today and stayed in them all day. Not the same pair, mind you, but there’s progress being made here. :)

Andrea’s Baby Shower

My friends and I threw another friend a baby shower this weekend. I mentioned it in my last post. She’s just about 30 weeks along with her first, a boy. Jaime and I ‘catered’ the event. It’s so fun to cook and yet… there’s rarely time to do it with any sort of real dedication with the kids (Jaime has twins).

We went really SUPER big on the menu, then slowwwwly pared back to sanity. This is the spread we ended up with.

Stuffed French toast casserole, yogurt & berry parfaits, caprese skewers, three kinds of crostini (goat cheese & fig, apricot & manchego, goat cheese & basalmic tomato), veggies, pita chips and hummus. All said, we unwittingly made a 100% vegetarian menu. We didn’t really set out to, but were pretty darn pleased with ourselves after the fact given our guest of honor is vegetarian. 😉

Ooh… and check these puppies out.

Speaking of things we don’t have time to do but still did anyway – Jaime and her mom made these adorable and AMAZINGLY delicious cupcakes. One set are Black Forest cupcakes and the other set are Vanilla Caramel. :::dies::: They were off the charts delicious.

——-

So that’s kind of what we’ve been up to lately. Just squeezing in this and that. This weekend Craig and Susan are coming down to visit and we’re getting new carpet on Friday. It’s things like my unabashed excitement over carpet that tell me I’m not in my 20s anymore. Just saying.

24 Weeks

How Far Along: 24 Weeks 

Baby’s the size of: An ear of corn
Total Weight Gain: 20 pounds
Gender: It’s a boy!
Best Moment this week: Andy and I got to watch our nephew Charlie this weekend. A little crazy (okay a lot crazy) in the evening, because I had two boys (ages 2 and 2.5) who were stir crazy after having been cooped up in the house due to rain. Did I mention that Andy had to rehearse that night for a benefit concert the next day? I had to somehow clean up after dinner, keep two knuckleheads entertained and then get them wound down for bed. BUT, Charlie was an angel. Graham, on the other hand – a handful. Can’t fault the kid too much because he was clearly so insanely excited that his buddy was here for an overnight. :)
Maternity Clothes: Loving dresses and skirts. I think this is mostly because I don’t have to hike a belly panel up under my armpits like I do with pants. But, as the belly gets bigger, maternity pants are starting to fit better.
Movement: Got my first ‘sharp’ movement this week. Not sure how else to put it. Not painful, I mean, but obvious that there was a tiny elbow or tiny heel exploring the side of my belly. Last night, I told Graham – who is increasingly interested about this “Little Brother” concept – last night that Little Brother was kicking me inside my belly. Graham thought that was completely silly, shook his head and said, “Nooo” through a big toothy grin.
Sleep: Hit or miss.
Cravings: Uh, cookies? Gonna have to curb that one, I’m afraid. Wish carrots and hummus sounded better. :)
Symptoms: Again, still in the 2nd trimester honeymoon period. Feeling great. Feels good to be active and move around. I get tired and winded a little quicker, but nothing to write home about.
What I miss: Stooping down for a running hug from Graham without falling over upon impact. One would think a couple of times would teach me to just keep standing, but no. 😉
What I’m looking forward to:  I’ve got a group of girls at work and myself planning a baby shower for my friend Andrea. Shower is this weekend! Jaime and I are catering. I’m also in charge of a game that I thought of once upon a time. Here’s the gist:

Diaper Bag Search

Stock a diaper bag as you would have with any – oh – 3 month old infant.

Ideas: burp cloths, bottles, formula container or nursing cover, extra clothes, changing pad, wipes, diapers, plastic bags for yucky clothes, bibs, favorite toys…

Then plant 3 items in the bag that you need “Mom” (a.k.a. the person playing the game) to find.

Ideas: car keys, pacifier, sunglasses, wallet, lovey blanket

Time “Mom” with a stopwatch to see how long it takes her to find produce all three items.

Fastest time wins!

To add complexity: Have “Mom” hold a baby in one hand and do the bag search one-handed!

This is perfect for a competitive crowd. I won’t tell you if we fit in this category, but someone did exclaim in a planning meeting yesterday that we could use their daughter’s artist easel as a leaderboard. Oh, and if you plan on doing this ever, we decided to let me mill around with the stopwatch and let people do this during the social time in the beginning. That way we don’t have to be forced to watch 20 people do this over and over and over. 😉

And, without further ado, Hump day, Bump day!

Friends and Family

Well, what a great weekend!  Graham even agreed – he woke up in the best mood ever this morning, ready for whatever I might have planned today. (Too bad school was the only thing on the menu!)

Saturday, after Graham’s nap, we took off for Jaime and Jeremy’s to hang out with them along with their 6-month-old twins, Mason and Maylee. Graham was a little out of sorts at first – wanting to sit in Daddy’s lap if Andy was holding one of the babies or snatching toys away from the babies, which he mostly did if the babies were taking an interest in the toys we’d brought from home.

All in all though, we just hung out and caught up. Got a little adult conversation in with a side of parental commiseration. So necessary, you guys.

Sunday we had an awesome treat. My cousin, Courtney, was in town for a conference, and she was able to break away to come hang with us in the evening.  So, on Sunday afternoon, we drove down to Dallas, picked her up and took her out to dinner.

Graham was WAY on his best behavior, happily playing, snacking and chattering all the way through dinner.  He was feeling so polite that  he had every intention of merely ignoring the poopy diaper he’d managed to cook up at some point during the dinner.  Andy noticed it when we’d left the restaurant and changed him in the back of the car.  After we were all back in the car, I asked Courtney if I needed to roll down the windows – it didn’t smell to me, but I feel like my nose isn’t as sensitive to child smells as it used to be. For the record, Courtney never said it *didn’t* smell, all she’d say was, “Oh, I’ve had to spend time with our pre-K kids, I’m used to everything at this point.” What a trooper!

So good to see this one again. Did I mention she’s getting married in a couple of months?  We get to go hang in a couple of months again, but in July we’ll get to see the whole cousin crew. I can’t wait. :)