Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Birthday Party Weekend

Hello, friends! I'm glad to see I still have a *few* readers of this blog out there :) I've noticed that blogging has an important trait for me right now. It's a physical rest (which I need, chasing around 2 children is exhausting) but feels like I'm doing something other than just strolling Facebook. My time on FB was down a LOT last week (mainly because I'm tracking it using an app called Moment) and I want to keep that up. The first few days I used it I was spending over an hour a day on Facebook and I'm down to about 20 minutes. That feels like the right amount for checking in with actual friends, but not scrolling through people I don't care about and/or seeing the same post several times. 

It was a birthday party weekend here in our house. Normally I would never RSVP yes for 3 birthday parties in one weekend, but they were all ones we really wanted to attend and actually, it was pretty fun! First on Saturday we headed down to my best friend's daughter's 3rd birthday. We had to arrive a little early in order to fit in the 2 parties but it ended up being nice because the boys had a chance to play with her kids for awhile on their own and we got to chat/help finish the set up. 

On Sunday we had a party for one of Max's friend's from school. I have a love/hate relationship with those parties since I don't know the other parents well, and I typically can't bring Jack so it feels like special time with Max being kind of wasted. BUT, I know it's important for his relationships to go and he loves it so I try to say yes when it makes sense. Yesterday was the ideal party because it was at a park, so Jack could easily come along and Eric was able to plow through a bunch of house stuff while we were gone, so that was perfect. I heard on the Best of Both Worlds podcast... or was it on Happier? (I'm currently obsessed with both) that the more often you see people the closer you feel to them (apparently this is true even if you didn't really like each other at first, fun fact) and that seems to be true in this case. The more often I attend these parties, the more I enjoy going and talking with the other parents there. I am definitely the type of person who makes friends with people/feels closer to them the more often we see each other so, I just need to put in the time, I guess. 

This week I am going to try to focus on healthy(ish) eating, a couple of walks, 2 solid workouts and less than 30 minutes per day of Facebook. I'm also in process of figuring out how I can start having Max help make his own lunch- I'll let you know if that starts to happen.  

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Self Improvement Updates

One of the reasons I miss blogging was that I feel like it was a public-ish way to keep track of goals and things I was thinking about. Since having kids I've had a lot less time to think about goals and a lot less control of them actually happening but I've still accomplished a couple of small things along the way. 

I still keep up pretty well with planning/calendar stuff. I'm currently using a bullet journal but I already purchased a Get to Work Book for next school year because that system was working super well for me at work before I had Jack. In case you are wondering my bullet journal is the least fancy thing ever. On one side of the page I have a "To Do" list for the week, on the bottom some weeks I'll write meal plans and work outs, some weeks I don't. On the right side of the page I have more of a weekly calendar. I also use Google Calendar for appointments etc since this journal really only goes a week at a time.

Healthy Living
A couple of things I'd like to work on right now are healthy eating and exercise. I'm aiming extremely low because these are two areas that have been SO much harder than I thought they would be when I had kids. I've consistently maintained 2x a week of strength training for years now so I feel like that's pretty solid. Eric and I do an upper body work out on Sundays, alternating chest and triceps one week and back and biceps the next (Eric does the thing we don't do on Sunday later in the week, I do not). Then, on Wednesday or Thursday I'll do a leg workout. These both take under 20 minutes and work well because they can be done in my house, mostly with my kids running around in the basement with me/us. I also do a lot of walks, though I don't think walking with Max quite counts as a workout. My goal for this spring is to do at least 1 walk with Jack per week that is either a partial run OR over 2 miles (likely both). Two miles doesn't sound like much but it's hard to do in my small neighborhood without going down a GIANT hill, and once I go down that it's become less of a leisurely walk and more of an actual work out (that will likely be a bit longer than 2 miles) so that's my reason for picking that number. Basically I need to motivate myself to go down the hill, even if I reward myself with Starbucks passion tea on some of those days.

On the healthy eating front my issue is being at home all day. I've gotten myself in a bad habit of having chips (currently obsessed with Trader Joe's sweet potato chips) at lunch every day. I would never do this if I was at work because I'd feel like everyone was judging me for eating chips every day lol. So, I'm going to try for chips only 2x per week now. I hid them in the guest room closet so that I can't go back for them during nap time without waking Jack up. Ha.

Phone Use
I downloaded the "Moment" app on my phone to see how much I was using my phone in a day. It's not good. Not good at all. Some screen time is okay. I love checking in with friends throughout the day on Marco Polo. I use a calendar and daily to do list on my phone. But, I need to cut the random scrolling a lot. I have to think about how I'm going to do this. Send any tips my way. I'm a moderator so getting rid of Facebook won't work, ha ha. I know part of this is a life season because again, when I go back to work I just simply can't spend as much time on my phone and currently my phone is a good tool for connection.

What are some things you are currently working on? How much time do you think you spend on your phone per day?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Family Dates

Lately I've just been kind of missing blogging, so here I am. No idea if this will be a thing. Maybe it will.
You know how the busier you are, the more you get done? Or is that just me? I keep feeling like I'm wasting too much time on social media and need other things to occupy my mind. But at night even reading sometimes feels like too much energy. So, I decided I was going to do the #100dayproject and write every day. Which I've mostly been doing even if some days it's just a few minutes of writing. But, I feel so unmotivated to write for only myself. Thus, today I'm here. I suppose I may still be writing for myself here, ha. 
I've also been thinking maybe I should make it 100 Days of doing something for myself. Scrolling on Facebook doesn't count. I could write, work out, paint my nails... I probably wouldn't count reading since I already do that every day. I need something to motivate me to work out more. I've been averaging 2 days a week for years now. I don't count walking, but maybe I could make walks longer and then count them. I wonder if Jack would approve of that? I'm feeling very aware of my return to work in a few months and I have some things on my list to accomplish before that happens (both work related, and not). But a mix between "too much" time and children who never let me accomplish anything with any actual regularity make it so difficult.

One of my "goals" this year was to do one date (Eric and I) and one family date (us + kids) per month. We got off to a very rough start in January with a failed attempt to go bowling (the wait was 3 hours) so after that we decided we would bundle up and do outdoor dates to avoid overly crowded and germy locations. My original plan was to incorporate doing something fun with a restaurant, and that has happened some, but not all, of the times. Eric and I are on track to have at least one date a month (sometimes more!)... though we haven't had one yet in April so I need to get on that!

Here are the "family dates" that have been successful this year. Our first was to the outdoor ice skating rink in town:

In early February we managed to bundle up on a very cold day and go to the Great Meadow Wildlife Refuge in Concord. There is a small tower to climb, and the boys love to just throw rocks into water wherever we are. 

Following the wildlife refuge we headed to one of our favorite breweries: Battle Road Brew House in Maynard which we discovered last summer. 

We spent the rest of February in Florida, which I'm hoping to blog about soon. But in March we had to bundle again, this time to walk around Walden Pond. With all the wind we got that month, there was quite a lot of climbing over fallen trees but it was a beautiful day and a lot of fun exercise. 

A lot of sledding also happened in March, but I'm not sure if it's really considered a family date if all you have to do is step out your back door, ha ha.

I'm looking forward to the nicer weather because that always means easier planning for family adventures. But, it also has a be a bit more intentional since we tend to be a lot busier in the spring and summer months. Hope we can keep up once a month dates! 

What are your favorite family date ideas? If you are local, send recommendations my way- or even if you aren't, you never know when we will want to go on a trip ;) 

Also, shout out to my sister Caroline who fixed my blog so it doesn't have any crazy photobucket error messages anymore.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Jack: 1 Year!

I'm a little late but I couldn't let the 1 year time pass without documenting what Jack has been up to. I am trying to figure out how I'm going to document my kids in the future. I make photo books, but I want to have a place I write things down too. It seems like the electronic method works well for me, but I also worry as they get older I won't want to write things so publicly. I enjoy sharing with friends and family, and I doubt anyone else is reading at this point but I don't like the idea that anyone could at any time... even in 20 years ha ha. So, if you know of any fun computer based ways to document, please share!

Jack turned 1 on November 22, 2017. It's hard to remember exactly what he was doing at that time, so I'll just talk about him now, which is pretty similar.

Jack loves to be out and about and watch everything happening around him. He loves to go for walks and happily sits in the stroller for long periods of time (unlike his brother!) His favorite kind of walk is when Max is standing on the stroller and he can watch him, but he will happily watch anything else going on. If he is in a crabby mood at home, going out and doing basically anything is the cure for him. Even at home, he is pretty easy. He can be clingy and like to be held some days, but mostly since learning how to crawl he has been happy to explore the house, take everything out of cabinets, unroll all of the toilet paper and systematically destroy all of Max's organization ;) 

Speaking of the brothers, they still get along reasonably well. Max still likes to take toys away from Jack and he gets mad most of the time, though sometimes he lets it slide. Jack is entertained by Max and could probably watch him all day. My favorite is when one of them laughs and then the other laughs and then the laughing goes back and forth. This happened for awhile the other day except they were both making fake farting noises and laughing. That's when I really knew I had 2 boys!

Jack has really slow played the walking thing. He took his first steps around 13 months, and a week or so later started really walking around. Just in this last week or so (13.5 months) he has decided to use walking to actually get around at least about half of the time. He is a bit wobbly, but he is really into it and even picks up things while he is walking and throws a basketball into the basketball hoop. Of course I'm already imagining he will be into sports when he gets older... who knows if I'll be right. His process of learning to walk was different than Max's. Jack learned to stand first and was doing that for quite awhile before he gained the courage to take a few steps. Now that he is walking, he is pretty confident about it. Just this morning he climbed up on Max's trampoline and started jumping on it. That didn't take long!

Jack continues to love listening to books. He will now pick up a book he likes and bring it over to me and say "eh?" which I interpret to mean, "read?" He loves some of his old favorites the Mirror Me book, Dear Zoo and some new favorites including a book I made for him with his favorite people in it, a touchy feely animal book, the Dada book and the Mama book. He is even willing to sit through some of Max's books sometimes. 

Jack's first birthday party was a lot of fun! We invited his grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousin. Max helped make the decorations and the cake. He handed out all the party hats, opened all of Jack's presents and helped blow out the candles. Max loves other people's birthdays even more than his own, so he was super happy about the whole thing. It seemed like Jack was too! He didn't mind at all when we sang "Happy Birthday!" I guess he's ready for his second year of life! 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Jack: 11 Months

11 months?! Seriously cannot believe this guy will be a year old in a few weeks. It's funny, I remember thinking Max was so grown up at this age and so much like a "kid," but Jack doesn't seem grown up at all compared to the almost 4 year old Max. Perspective, I guess!

Jack continues to be on the move, pulling up on everything, standing up by himself (until he notices, and then he wants to sit down), crawling everywhere. He is starting to enjoy the neighborhood park, where he can climb up the stairs and slide down the slide by himself. Jack doesn't really want to slide down the slide normally, but going on his stomach is SO much fun! He also likes to go up the slide, particularly our indoor slide which he can climb up himself without socks. He also likes the swings too!

Also outside, Jack enjoys going for walks. He is happy to ride in the stroller (especially if Max is standing on back of the stroller) and also in the baby carrier. Recently he has had to wear his winter hat for a couple of walks and he doesn't seem too bothered by it. Crossing my fingers now this lasts all winter!

Inside the house Jack has some new interests too. His current obsession is playing "catch," which basically involves rolling the ball back and forth. He will even do it with Max, which is the cutest thing to watch.

Jack also enjoys helping with household chores including pulling wet clothes out of the washer and throwing them on the floor, climbing into the dishwasher and emptying the cabinets (what? you didn't know this was something that needed to be done?)

Though he throws a lot of food on the floor, he also enjoys helping "clean" it up by crawling around and eating things from the floor.

I've probably said this before because it seems to increase every month, but he is really starting to love books now. He continues to love his "Mirror Me" book (it's a Baby Einstein book with mirrors and animals in it!) If he's upset about something, I can simply pull that book out and he will smile and get super happy. He also enjoys reading: The I Love You Book and Doggy Kisses 123- both by Todd Parr, Llama Llama Trick or Treat, and Moo Ba La La La. 

Things Jack is not a fan of include: gates of all kind, mom and dad leaving the room or going upstairs without him, when someone is eating and it's not him, being tired and/or sick. 

The toughest part of this month was Jack's nursing strike/biting phase. That was not fun, especially for me. I had to exclusively pump for almost a week while we waited out that phase. I'm not sure what actually ended it, but I did stop giving him a bottle and only a cup so maybe that was it? Or maybe it was nothing, because baby :) He still bites me on occasion but at least he also eats, so we are aiming high over here. He also bit Max the other day because he was not letting him ring a bell on their firehouse and bit Caroline for no reason at all. We got off pretty easy with Max who wasn't a big biter so I'm sure that's something we will be dealing with this time! 

Likes: playing catch, listening to books, following his brother, climbing up and down stairs, laundry, naming all of the animals on the wall in his room (or should I say, having me name all the animals in his room while he touches each one), walks, the park, food, biting everything and everyone.
Dislikes: gates
Sleep: On a good day? 8pm to 7am overnight and then 2 naps an hour to hour and a half long. Lately? Random middle of the night or early morning screamfests and short naps. I think it's teething followed by a cold, but who really knows with babies?
Eating: 4x a day nursing, 4ish times a day eating solid food, still loves most food but also in the throw food on the ground phase. Current favorite foods include curry, bread with guac or peanut butter (not together, ha), crackers with peanut butter, raspberries, apples, peas, oatmeal.

Be back in a few weeks for a ONE YEAR post. Can't believe it!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Jack: 9 and 10 Months

The months are flying by around here and I'm a little behind on documenting the months of Jack! 

Jack turned 9 months on August 22nd, measuring in at 27 inches (only 15th percentile!) and 19 lbs, 3 oz. Despite his love of food, he is still a little guy! 9 months was a big turning point for Jack because he began crawling around 8 1/2 months. Jack LOVES to move and that has made him (and his parents) a LOT happier because he doesn't have to wait for us to pick him up and walk around with him all day long. 

During his 9th month, he enjoyed his first trip to Nantucket and another first trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He was a big fan of both trips, enjoying the ferry ride, visiting the Cisco Brewery (where he had to take a nap in a towel, ha) and swimming in the hotel pool in NH. He loves swimming as long as the water is warm!

Jack turned 10 months on September 22nd. This month he discovered climbing, up stairs, up slides, into cabinets, basically anywhere that it's possible to climb, he will. Jack is extremely unimpressed with the gate that we put at the bottom of the stairs. He cries hysterically when he notices it, especially if I try to run upstairs for some reason and close the gate.

This is great news for him since his number 1 life goal is to be able to do everything his brother can do, so each new thing he can learn leads him closer to that goal!

It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. We love Jack. It's so much fun taking him anywhere because he loves being out and about and looking at everything. He is obsessed with drinking water, particularly if he can get his hands on one of our cups. He likes to take a sip and then say, "ahhhhh" as though it was the most delicious water he's ever had. I've tried very hard to get this on video, but he continues to know when he is being recorded and refuses to perform. 

Sleep: sleeping about 8pm to 7am, 2 naps per day at 9am and 1:30-2pm. Every few weeks his sleep will be interrupted I think due to teeth, but of course it's always a guessing game. He already has 8 teeth  and got his teeth much sooner and faster than Max. They also seem to bother him more. Or I'm getting better at decoding baby issues, also possible. 
Eat: Nursing 4x per day, eating solid food 3-4 times a day. Loves all fruit especially peaches, strawberries and raspberries. Still enjoys pickles. Unfortunately, still seems to be bothered by dairy.
Likes: eating, crawling, climbing, when you help him go down the stairs, watching his brother, the pool filled with balls in the playroom, swings, sliding down the slide on his belly...
Dislikes: getting new teeth, when mom or dad leaves the room, the gate at the bottom of the stairs...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Jack: 8 Months + Max: 3.5 Years

Max had a half birthday the other day and Jack just turned 8 months so it's time for a post! We are having a pretty great summer over here, at least when I can get past the fact that everything takes way longer than it should, requires way more crap than it should and involves way more patience than it should, ha!

Jack had another big month- officially crawling around everywhere, mostly army crawling but that kid is fast I'll tell ya! Not surprisingly, crawling seems to have made him happier because now he can move around everywhere and steal all of Max's toys. Max is not amused about the toy stealing but he isn't holding a grudge and seems to love Jack more and more every day. But he will grab his toys back every time.

Jack is interested in EVERYTHING, he wants to touch everything and put everything in his mouth. While he is interested in toys (particularly Max's toys), he also really enjoys cords, red solo cups and our fireplace (obviously not on). He still watches everything Max does and loves if Max (or anyone else really) is being silly. Jack is not yet interested in books, other than eating them... which is always fun. There is literally no food he will not try (and enjoy). So far I think his favorites food is pickles, which is so funny because I have always hated pickles and give Eric mine, now Eric has competition.

He is doing a lot of babbling and laughing these days. He says ba ba, da da and most recently ma ma! Unlike his brother who LOVED (and still loves) being thrown up in the air, he gives a skeptical look whenever Eric tries. He likes the car more than his brother did at this age, but he is still not a good person to bring on a road trip. He doesn't sleep for that long in the car even if it's nap time (I think because he prefers to sleep on his tummy) and when he wakes up he will only give between 15 and 30 minutes or so before he starts to yell. Just like his brother, music helps, especially 90s rap and hip hop. Don't ask how we discovered this ;)

Likes: crawling, blowing raspberries, eating everything

Dislikes: when I'm in the room but someone else is holding him, staying still (especially if the car stops moving in traffic or at a red light)

Eating: at least 2 solid food meals a day (usually 1 fed to him and 1-2 he feeds himself), nursing 4-5 times a day ish... I don't really know since he's not really on a schedule

Sleeping: 8pm bedtime, wakes up around 7-7:30... sometimes sleeps through, sometimes cries randomly during the night...I really have no idea what this child is thinking half the time. Starting to transition down to 2 naps per day, one at about 9am and the other at about 1-2pm, most naps around 1-2 hours long.

See how happy this guy is at restaurants?

Jack's big brother Max is a pretty different kid than he was a year ago- or even six months ago! Unless tired or hungry, he handles transitions pretty well now. I think I went through about a month this spring where I typed a picture schedule for him on my phone, and eventually he just didn't even ask for it anymore but would leave the house without a big fight. Thankfully! Another huge change is how social and interested in other kids he has become! Yesterday we took him to a museum and there was a small, dark room with probably 10 loud kids in it. He went right in and was laughing and playing along with all of them. Hard to believe he's the same kid who told me last summer at library storytime, "there are too many kids here, let's go home!" A combination of these two changes made his first day at camp last week a smooth one. He will only go 2 or 3 days this summer but we just wanted him to remember the routine of school/camp so September isn't too hard!

But don't worry, not everything has changed with Max! He still loves ice cream and books, walks on his tip toes and owns every truck he could ever need. He loves to "fix" things, do puzzles (yay!) and go on adventures. Every night he asks, "where are we going to go tomorrow?" He is still unbelievably sweet and unbelievably stubborn, all at once.

His love for adventure seems to extend to amusement park rides. His current favorite is the ferris wheel that he got to ride at the town carnival. I don't think he's been on a ride he didn't love. He has become a bit more cautious about swimming. He doesn't want to jump in anymore and he requires a bit of pushing to actually put his head underwater. He also is a little hesitant about animals- he refused to touch a lobster on our boat ride the other day and he will only pet a dog with some prompting. He's interested in them though!

He still brings a ridiculous number of items to bed with him and sometimes even sleeps cuddling up with his helicopter ;)

He learned how to open the gate from his room so we took it off a month or so ago. Now he comes downstairs every morning with a new story that he has usually made up. He continues to love routine, especially his beloved 3 story bedtime routine, followed by hugs, pretending to be pillows and "sleeping together" for 5 minutes... though lately 5 minutes has changed each time from 1 minute to 100 minutes to the made up time of "twenty boohaken" minutes. Then, we stand at the door (or one of us depending on who is doing bedtime), he takes a sip of his water and hugs his doggies. Then Eric says, "see you tomorrow!" and he says "tomorrow is a home day!" and then we either say it is or "it might be a school day." Since it's summer now, he says "where are we going to go tomorrow?" and we usually tell him if we have a plan yet. Good times at our house between 7 and 8pm!

I could really go on forever about Max because he has such a personality these days. He has so many interests and fascinating things that he says, half the time we don't even know where he comes up with it. Yesterday I came downstairs and he randomly complimented my shirt. He is obsessed with states and says his favorite state is Texas and second favorite state is Maine. We will likely still be changing his diaper when he is 16. He has been interested in letters and numbers for over a year now, but he's now asking me what words say. He is SO enthusiastic about everything and that just makes it SO much fun to do things with him. He's possessive of his toys. He can be wild and crazy but he still really needs his down time- watching tv, reading books and playing by himself. He loves big kids. He is ALWAYS thinking.

Alright, that's enough for now. Can you tell I love these kids?