*This was supposed to be posted over a week ago. Two kids, man.
Cooper’s been here for almost seven weeks now, which is hard to believe. There have definitely been a number of challenges that come with having two kids, but I can honestly say it’s also been such a sweet time for our family. I know I would definitely have a different tone if I did not have Brandon’s help this past month and a half. His paternity leave has been a lifesaver for our family.
One of the hardest parts about two kids has been entertaining Jack All. Day. Long. Jack is going through a stage (or is it personality?) where he wants constant attention and people to “play with me!” nonstop. Luckily Brandon (I do not know how he keeps up) has the energy to play with him constantly. And Jack is starting a preschool summer camp next week (we are hoping he doesn’t get kicked out because of his current lack of consistency with toilet training – I think we are getting close!), but I digress. The camp is in the morning for a few hours, and hopefully it is just what we need in order to have some breaks and downtime at home! Side note: How does having one infant feel so much more manageable the second time around when your toddler is gone for a few hours?! Perspective, I guess! Because I remember one infant felt so overwhelming the first time around.
Anyway, these days Jack goes from being such a fun and sweet big brother to a huge challenge – all in a matter of minutes. Potty training combined with always doing the opposite of what I ask combined with “no” and “why” and needing constant attention make these days feel difficult. And honestly, Brandon deals with most of Jack’s outbursts right now and I still feel overwhelmed by it.
Cooper has been such a chill baby. His biggest issue has been how gassy he gets, especially at night. He makes such loud grunting noises at night that it makes it hard for us to sleep – poor little guy. This aside, he is a pretty easy going little one. He’s even smiling these days! People ask if he is like Jack, and at this point the biggest differences I see are in their looks. Cooper did not look like Jack when he was born. He is very fair (I know we all are in this family, but Cooper is even fairer than everyone else!) and has a different facial structure. We’ll see. Maybe they will look more alike as they get older, but right now, where Cooper gets his look is still a mystery.
I’m trying to relish these early days with Cooper and Jack when we are all together most days. I know it will be gone in what feels like an instant when I look back on this time. And I will probably miss the sweet times and forget about many of the challenges.
It’s fitting that I’m finally getting around to posting this video on Mother’s Day. Sarah has proven to be the best mom one can ask for and we are so blessed to now welcome into our family Cooper Taylor Moe Butcher. Sarah carried this tank of a baby to 41 weeks and boy did he make the most of that time to grow as he came in at an impressive 9lbs 6oz and 22″ long. We delivered at UCLA Hospital with the UCLA Midwives who were an incredible group of women to work with. Jack has been a great older brother with the only natural moments of jealousy over the attention he now has to share. There’s a whole lot to share including plenty of pictures but I wanted to try and get this up today because this great addition is only here thanks to the nurturing, love, and hard work Sarah put in over the last 9 months. We’re stoked to have Cooper here and us Butcher boys have so much love for Sarah today and everyday.
Real Talk: The night before Easter 2018 was rough. Jack decided during week 39 of my pregnancy to start waking up and crying in the middle of the night, which he had not done for months. Kids do seem to sense when change is coming (the constant little brother talk, crib in our room, and other baby stuff does make it somewhat obvious, but kids they get it!), so in that way I can’t blame him at all. This just added a little wrench in things right before a huge change. The night before Easter, Brandon and I were both up checking on Jack and sitting with him in his room for a very long time. The night before this Jack had also been up so on Easter morning I felt less than rested and a little stressed about our sleeping situation and how it was about to get much more difficult with a newborn. However, Easter day turned out to be the pick-me-up we all needed.
I’ve always loved Easter and the hope that it brings to our lives in this broken world: There is hope in the midst of pain. There is grace in the midst of minor and major mistakes. And there are so many questions left unanswered in this world. This is OK.
To celebrate Northland Village Church had its annual Easter beignet truck and coffee. The sun was out and shining, Beau gave a stellar sermon, and Jack loved playing with friends and painting Easter eggs. After church I enjoyed time out with Bryce at Olive and June where we got a manicure and pedicure (indulgent on Easter, I know!) and then we headed to the Butcher (elder) household to eat dinner. First, there was cookie decorating (Bryce could have won an aware for her cookies) and delicious cocktails (mocktail for me) to sip on and enjoy. We also did our annual Easter egg and basket hunt at the Butchers. Dinner was, of course, very tasty. Here are some pictures, if you would like to see.
We finally got Jack baptized! It was something I had been looking into doing for a long time, but it took me a while to act on. I thought morning would be an ideal time. Our church usually meets in the afternoon, so when church was scheduled for a morning on a day in early March, I decided this might be the perfect time. Turns out Uncle Ned was already going to be in town for the Tough Mudder (which sadly got cancelled because of the rain that weekend), and my mom was going to be in town that weekend for a get together with her friends. It seemed like perfect timing. My dad was free to make the drive down as well and all of Brandon’s immediate family members were available. We definitely missed Ben and Megan!
Before the baptism took place, Beau walked us through the process. We also happily found out that Rex, a retired pastor that Beau used to work with was available to baptize Jack. It was happening!
It rained hard the days before Jack’s baptism. However, on the day of, although cooler weather, it was a beautiful, clear sunny day. (Side note: The baptism took place outside and Rex was able to use the extra water on the ground from the rain as an illustration in the baptism). Scott Unger, who also helped guided us through the process, was the elder present on stage for the baptism. Beau played and led us in singing some great songs. Then Rex took over for the baptism. Jen Buck gave a great sermon after the baptism as well. I love that a woman was represented as a leader on this day. We are so thankful for our family and friends for making this day possible!
It’s incredible to know someone that is 101 let alone that it’s my grandfather, Dara. He’s been living in an assisted living home for almost 1 year now and you could argue that his health has only improved since moving in. He’s a notorious flirt with an incredibly sharp memory who loves to share stories (some taller than others) of his past with any open ear. He loves being around his family and on his birthday we did just that by getting the Willoughby clan together to share in some requested Panda Express and cake.
The evening was a blast with everyone in good spirits and the kids slowly warmed up and began to run the show. Keegan did her part by counting all the way to 101 for everyone and then at the end Jack orchestrated a solo singing show in which he constantly reminded people to sit down, would only allow himself to sing, and then after each song he would yell out triumphantly “another song!” Hits included The Wheels on the Bus, Jesus Loves Me, He’s Got The Whole World in his Arms, Baby Beluga, and more.
We also watched a video where my cousin Blake had her drama students read adages from Dara’s book, which had him in tears by the end, while my Dad sat there wondering where these kids got these sayings from until someone finally explained to him it was Dara’s book. Lastly Dara finished the evening off with a great little toast that included Marxie who passed away one year ago and then he actually gave all the grand kids an extremely generous gift.
Here’s to hopefully doing this all again next year !
2 ½ – This was supposed to be published at the end of January or beginning of February 2018
Either your dad or I get you from your room when you call out to us in the morning. As soon as you get into our bed, you crawl to my side and press your cheek up against mine. Sometimes you look me directly in the eyes and give me a huge grin; sometimes you keep your eyes closed and breath peacefully. I can smell your baby breath and skin. It’s one of my very favorite times of day with you. You love to give me hugs and kisses.
You can drive me crazy during the day, and at the very same time you are my favorite thing about every day. At the most random moments you declare, “you are my best friend Mommy!” You kiss me on the lips through the holes in the tunnel on the playground. You get so excited about “Croix!” AKA the sparkly water drink La Croix. You constantly ask “member when…” and genuinely want to know if I do remember. Just this morning you dropped your bowl purposely on the ground and it made a loud noise. Your dad and I expressed our displeasure and you replied, “It’s music!”
Most of the time you hate when I get you dressed every morning. I’ve decided I need to recruit your dad to help me. You also like to run freely down the sidewalk, and it isn’t easy chasing you while pregnant. Speaking of the upcoming arrival of your little brother, you like to touch my stomach and talk to your brother. You also point to my chest and announce to everyone that the baby is going to eat from there. You talk about teaching your brother to eat the foods you do, roll over, walk, and crawl. His arrival is definitely going to be an adjustment for you, but I’m glad you are excited right now.
I get as excited about trucks as you do now! I know the specific names of excavators, backhoes flatbeds, and bulldozers. I also get excited when I’m with you and I see a garbage truck (still “bugga” to you) going down the street. We are getting work done on our street and you love to watch and observe all of the trucks coming and going.
Mimi helped me think of all of your Jack-ism quotes, which I also have to add:
“I wunna if…”
“I ha a great idea!!!”
“Das a great idea!!!”
“I lub you”
“Don’t talk (to another person)!”
“(It’s) Not “PET the goats, you FEED the goats!!!”
“No, don do dat! ”
I’m trying to soak up these last months with just you. You will always be my little baby—now toddler—who made me a mom.
I love you!
Sadly Christmas has come and gone and with it my camera was broken while we were out at the Enchanted Forest at Descanso Garden. I certainly miss it as it does make me want to take more photos as opposed to just snapping random moments which I do with the iPhone. Before it broke we did get to introduce Jack to an Advent Calendar which he loved and which we used frequently to help prevent meltdowns. He also was very sad when we tried to teach him about the advent candles which he really wanted to just be Happy Birthday candles which he’d get to blow out. The Enchanted Forest was super cool and Jack had way more fun then we expected, which may have been helped by giving him some of Sarah’s hot chocolate. The rest of the holidays were pretty stellar and included lots of time with family and close friends. You’ll have to use you imagination for what those photos may have looked like. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a new camera soon and get photos back up on the site. Also I thought I overheard Sarah might make a brief blog appearance to appease her fan base soon, but we will have to wait to see.