3.5

 

Dear Jack,

You are 3 ½, and you’ve gone through some big changes since turning three. At the time of your birthday, you had been going to preschool, half day, for almost two months. But in September you started preschool 3 days a week, for full days. I spent a lot of time worrying about this transition and wondering if I was doing the right thing, signing you up for three full days. Of course, I should not have worried so much because you transitioned well, and your summer preschool camp really helped your transition, I think! You probably have more fun at school than you do at home a lot of the time. Your teacher Mrs. Jean is wonderful.

The only downside is that you nap at preschool. NAP! Seriously? You stopped napping for me last February. The only way I could get you to sleep during the day was drive you in the car. Then preschool comes and…boom… you nap 1 ½ hours almost every time. You don’t always fall asleep right away (according to teacher notes), but you still end up napping! Even if you nap just 40 minutes, your bedtime changes from about 7:15 PM to 9:40 PM because you don’t get tired until that much later.

You love, love to count anything and everything and are able to count above 20 now. You also love to name all of the letters in the alphabet. You can spell out your name now, too.  I’m sure our nightly reading sessions have helped you with some of this, but I also think going to preschool has helped so much, and you know what? TV shows these days can be pretty educational. Not all screen time is bad, in my opinion.

I still lie next to you until you fall asleep (I can’t remember when this even started), so the late bedtime makes the nights feel long. Because preschool is every other day, and you won’t nap for me, it means that you feel exhausted, especially in the afternoons, the days you are home with me from staying up so late the night before. And you wake up at around the same time each morning, no matter the time you go to bed. The cycle of it can feel exhausting for both of us, but I definitely believe the benefits of preschool far outweigh the nap aspect. But I’ll admit, this nap business has been challenging!

We also started a new semester of PCC classes. We are taking two classes: one for 2-4 year olds with Angela, and one for 3 year olds with Gia. Both of these teachers were new to me at the beginning of the year, and I like both of them. Gia told me that she has noticed that you are very self-motivated and don’t let distractions get to you like some kids. She said this is the quality of a good student. And if you don’t happen to be a good student, that is OK, but I thought what she said was interesting.  Gia talked about how you can’t teach self-motivation—something she thinks you have. She said she thinks you will be ready for kindergarten as a young 5. I’m still not sure, but it is nice to get affirmation that it will be OK if that is the case. I remember when you were 2, and in Judy’s PCC class, and she was so impressed with your ability to construct a long sentence. I didn’t even know to feel proud until she told me! Anyway, I’ve really appreciated your PCC teachers and the chance I get to be in class with you.

You still love to play with all of your friends, even if it takes a while for you to warm up, and it usually does, which is OK! You talk about Addie, Rhett, Ezra, Royal, Avery, Riley, Whit, Harper, and Liv, to name a few. And now you have a preschool class full of friends such as Kei and Harrison. You’ve mentioned all the kids in your class at some point and even kids in other classes.

The biggest difference this year from previous years taking PCC is that friends matter to you more this year. Luckily, both of our classes are with your bud Riley! You’ve taken great leaps in this area because you no longer have to stay by my side and like playing with other kids. It’s been an interesting year because each class has its own social dynamic, and in one of the classes you like to do your own thing at certain times, but at other times love playing with one or more kids. I appreciate that you are able to withdraw from a situation when you feel overwhelmed, even if you don’t realize that is why you are doing it. I’ve noticed that you tend to be reserved in situations with a lot of people and action, just like me. Sometimes you have a hard time even greeting good friends when they yell excitedly at you. I’m trying to teach you the difference between being rude versus letting someone know you need time on your own before you start to play. Three is an interesting age for emotions because actions take precedent over processing feelings—and there are a lot of feelings you don’t understand yet!

And yes, there are so many feelings, and a lot of them are directed at Cooper. You’ve had to adjust to a lot this year, especially as Cooper has grown more mobile and can physically get into your toys. There is a lot of stuff to share. You test all the boundaries with Cooper (pinching him on the cheek, grabbing a toy from him), and do not always stop when we tell you to. You also ask about Cooper all the time, and always include him when you talk about our family. The other day you thought I had left Cooper in the car (he was safely in the house), and you said “What about Cooper! He’s still in the car.” I realize you care a lot about him!

Some nights you will wake up and come sleep on a mattress in our room. At first, we would come lie down next to you in your room, but now it can be easier to have you sleep in ours. We may start to work on phasing this out.

You love riding your scooter at the park. It is one of your very favorite things to do. I believe you were doing this six months ago, but it still remains a favorite activity. You are showing more interest in your balance bike these days, so we are hoping to get you on it more. And of course, you love riding in your seat on the back of Butcheq’s bike. Now, Cooper and I are able to join as well because I have a seat for Cooper on my bike.

There is so much to say, but I will end with the relationship you have with your grandparents. It is so very sweet. You love them all so much and talk about them unprompted all the time. I am so glad for this. The love you show them and they you is one of the best gifts.

And now Jack(isms):

-Adding an o to our names, “Dad-o” and “Mom-o”

-“Girl” becomes “Grill” so he might say, “There are four grills in my class.”

-“Bible Adventures” is a class Jack takes at school and it becomes “Bible Benchers”

-“Paw Patrol” becomes “Paw-ah-Troll”

“Living Room” becomes “Libbing Room”

Basically all v sounds make a b sound

Update as of 1/30/19 – I spilled a little of a spice I was cooking with in the kitchen the other day. Jack was helping me cook. He loves to do this. Butcheq was really the pioneer in cooking with Jack and being patient about all things with him. Anyway, after the spill Jack looked at me and said, “It’s OK, Mom. Accidents happen.” I about died right there on the spot. This kid!

 

Love,

Mom

 

9 Months of Cooper

Dear Cooper,

You are nine months old! You’ve been out here in the world now as long as I was pregnant with you. How can that be?

You:

-Enjoyed your first Christmas, I think! You are still at the age where you are happy to be held by most anyone (although sometimes you will cry when I walk away) so Christmas time was fun because you got to hang out and be held by so many family members.

-Love to eat. Like seriously love, love it more with each passing day. If you see someone eating food and are not able to eat it, you burst into tears. You probably eat more than Jack does at this point. And you, luckily, still take a bottle and love to nurse.

-Got one more bottom tooth, bringing your total to seven. Your teeth seem to come in pairs so we keep waiting for the eighth one.

-Still seem to have a cold. We took you to the doctor a week ago and they said not to worry, but this cold is lingering and it’s making me take a break from my plans to sleep train…again! But I’m thinking we will start soon because you are waking up about 3x a night now.

-Continue to nap like a champ for the most part. I’m not complaining.

-Move around so, so fast and want to do so constantly! You like to be down on the ground, ON THE MOVE. You like to put everything in your mouth. You love to pull up on to everything.

-You and Jack want to play with all the same toys! I mean, I knew sibling rivalry would start at some point, but I didn’t realize the desire to have the same toys would start so early! You still adore Jack even though he consistently takes toys away from you and pinches your cheeks. You love when he gets in your face and makes silly sounds; he cracks you up so much.

-Are adorable and love to smile and laugh.

 

I:

-Felt like we had a great Christmas that involved a staycation in December. We made it to Santa Barbara before Christmas to celebrate with the Taylor clan and I saw some friends. Then we did Christmas Eve at the Rosses, Christmas morning at our house, another Christmas morning/mid-dayish at the Butchers, and later a dinner at the Butchers.

Enjoyed Christmas break overall, and we all had a week of downtime where we hung out with friends and took it easy. At first, I worried a bit that we should be doing more with our days off, but ultimately I really liked our time. I felt ready for Christmas to be over when we took down all the decorations, which never happens, so I think the staycation was good! We also had fun celebrating the New Year. We had the Hoppers and Wammacks over for dinner on New Year’s Eve, and except for a brief incident where the fan on our stove caught fire (we put out), everything went off without a hitch! The next day we met neighbors and saw the tail end of the Rose Parade.

-Am trying to revamp my closet a bit and get rid of some stuff there and around the house. It’s a slow process, though!

-Have been swimming a little tiny bit since January. It’s not a lot, but it is more than December! I’m hoping to implement early morning walks with Cooper as well once I sleep train him again

-Have private practice in the back of my mind, but talk myself out of it constantly. I still really enjoy my current position.

-Have had fun getting together with friends recently, including a long overdue cousin date with Courtney. Courtney’s first is due in June, and I was able to give her a bunch of baby stuff and talk about pregnancy/newborn stuff. We went to lunch and got our nails done. Thank you Butcheq for holding down the fort!

-Am shocked at how many kid birthday parties we have in the coming month, one every weekend.

-Am totally excited to ride my new bike and take family bike rides!

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Hosting Baby Sprinkles in 2018

I meant to add some events that happened in 2018 before the new year, but that didn’t happen. But here we are in 2019, and I’m sharing some photos from two baby girl sprinkles Andi and I threw. The decorations were basically the same for each because the showers didn’t overlap socially. The first was in March of 2018 for our friend Katie. It was the bigger one, and I had hoped to have most of it in our yard, but it happened to rain that day. Our street was also completely crazy because it was getting paved, so I was worried about parking, but it all worked out. Katie’s best friend, Linda, helped Andi and I throw the shower too, and it came together well, I think! I didn’t get to edit these pictures because my computer is maybe the slowest computer on earth and keeps freezing every time I do anything, but I’ll post photos anyways, even if the quality is not great. Also, yes, Katie and I were only about three weeks apart in our due dates but I look like I’m 2-3 months ahead of her! I guess being 5′ 10” helps Katie look less pregnant. Side note: Both our babies ended up being over 9 pounds.

Then in July 2018 Andi and I threw a smaller sprinkle for our friend Emily. It was perfect because we had our planning down. It was too hot to have the shower outside in July so I was glad I got to do a trial run of an all indoor shower in March. If anyone needs Andi and I to host another baby girl sprinkle, we’re more than ready! I mean I think we could even make a few adjustments for a baby boy sprinkle or gender neutral sprinkle–just letting all of the 2 readers of our blog know!

8 Months of Cooper

Dear Cooper,

You are 8 months old. You are on the move and still have the sweetest baby smell. Your smile lights up the room. This sounds cheesy, I know, but it’s true. And I’m your mom so I can say these things! Also, you are already quite devout. We caught you praying in your 8 month photo shoot. Take a look after the update.

Cooper:

-Loves to crawl all around the house—no more army crawling—and get into all things that are dangerous: wires, the fire place, our plant stands, Christmas tree branches, to name a few. . . never a dull moment

-Had great first Thanksgiving celebrations in Pasadena and Thousand Oaks, and then a trip to Santa Barbara.

-Naps like a champ at home, but sleep training has only worked in increments. He caught on for a while, and then we went on a trip and we had some room switching around; then Cooper got a cold. We know he can make it through the night though! He also allows people other than me to put him down for a nap and down for the night, so that is a plus! The middle of the night is a different story–mom only! He doesn’t nap as well in the pack anymore, but I will take what I can get!

-Loves to eat his solids. Carbs are a new favorite and he’s now had egg, both scrambled and hard boiled. A new trick is that he is easily distracted by eating Cheerios!

-Still loves putting anything and everything in his mouth, and no new teeth this month (6 total for now!).

-Babbles constantly and almost sounds like he is saying something.

-Puts up with a brother that hugs quite aggressively and sometimes takes his toys away. At the same time, his brother loves making sure our whole family will be present together; Jack does not want to leave Cooper out!

-Finds Christmas lights exciting and came with us to get our tree, the Christmas Tree Lane lighting, and Descanso Garden’s enchanted Forrest light viewing.

-Still takes a bottle! Thank goodness.

I:

-Have had a great time this holiday season. I’m never as organized as I want to be, but I feel good about a lot of the activities we have done. Some things may not happen, though, and I’m not sure if cookie-making is going to make it this year! Honestly, I don’t need the extra sugar this year! And every year I say I’m going to buy an awesome nativity set, and it doesn’t happen. Also, I still haven’t finished my Christmas shopping, but I have done a good amount of it. I got a few great items at the Renegade Craft Fair and Amazon has helped too.

-Am trying to initiate more get-togethers with friends. The holidays make schedules more hectic but this will continue to be a goal into the New Year. I feel like Brandon and I have gotten out more lately on our own, which has been great.

-Have fallen off the workout train. I was swimming three times a week when my parents were in town and doing a few workout videos the month before, but life has gotten in the way, and I don’t have my parents in town to babysit anymore. I’m determined to get back on track.

-Am feeling good about finishing another semester of teaching with a baby and preschooler. Also, Jack finished another semester of PCC and his first whole semester of preschool (actually this Friday is the last day of preschool—I can’t wait for his Christmas show). We did all of this with A LOT of help.

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7 Months

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Dear Cooper,

You are seven months old! And we love you so! You got your four front teeth, seemingly in a two week(ish) span. However, I suspect that they were bothering you for a bit because your naps and night sleep went downhill for a bit. After you got your teeth, we started sleep training—hoping that you would have a break from teething for a while. Overall, I have positive things to say about sleep training and the method we used (you definitely don’t cry as hard as Jack did—poor thing!) but the jury is still out. It’s only been a week. One thing that has been nice is that you have never seemed to have a problem falling asleep on your own. It’s always been the middle of the night that proves a challenge. You love your thumb and are comforted by using your sleep sack as a blanket. This has been helpful.

Mimi and Grandpa were in town this past month and so you got to spend a lot more time with them than usual. Mimi watched you while Dad and I were at work. They both watched you and Jack when Dad and I went out on some date nights, when I went to swim laps, and when I needed to rest. I think we both enjoyed our extra time with them. You seem to be napping better and hopefully will continue to do so for JoJo when she starts watching you once a week again.

You are able to push into a seated position and not wobble as much now. A couple of times you even pushed to a stand, but you don’t do this often. You still do your army crawl, but you often get up on your knees and hands and rock back and forth—as if you want to try and crawl that way. You don’t really like to sit in the mamaRoo anymore or the bouncer that you enjoyed so much a month or two ago. You like to be on the move instead! You also don’t really like any of your baby toys; you much prefer spoons, bowls, and water bottles.

You started solid foods very gradually, baby-led weaning style at six months. Your fist food was avocado. You’ve had sweet potato, carrot, broccoli, cooked egg yolk, banana, and toast. You still mostly make a mess and hardly get anything in your mouth, but you are really enjoying the process of eating.

You also smile and laugh all the time. And Jack is still your favorite subject. We put you in the swing for the first time in October and you loved it. You are also still pretty happy to go in the pack, which is very nice when you attend Jack’s PCC class with me or I have errands to run. You definitely prefer to look out at the world instead of be positioned in towards me.

We love interacting with you and watching you interact with the world!

Love,

Mom

Halloween 2018

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No one was more excited than me when I realized that I would be able to commit the cardinal sin of Halloween costumes: I wore my Wonder Woman costume two years in a row. Proudly.

It all started when Jack told me he wanted to be Spider-Man for Halloween. At that time, I had no idea he really knew anything about Spider-Man—apparently, I was wrong! I also remembered that we had a batman onesie for Cooper (although we ended up buying a new one–a size up–the day of Halloween). Around this time, a coworker of mine mentioned he had an adult-sized Robin costume someone could borrow. Minutes later I secured it for Brandon. Of course, Wonder Woman fit perfectly into our superhero theme (yes, we had a superhero theme last year, but everyone else was someone different except for me). And the rest is history.

Halloween day started out with a parade and sing-a-long at Jack’s preschool. My parents, JoJo, and Brandon got to see the whole thing. While I had to work, I was able to see the parade.

That night, my parents (who have been in town for a month!) got to see us all dressed up and help with some pictures. They also got to watch Jack go to a few houses early on as we walked to Hilary and Baker’s house, our neighbors. We met up with their family and the Gillans for some snacks and pictures before we set off for the evening together. We only ended up on one street, but it turned out to be the perfect amount of time and candy. Jack had a lot of fun going door-to-door with Harper, and he also had an adorable little photo shoot with Liv. After trick-or-treating, we parted ways with the other families to go have dinner at Tomato Pie, something we had done Jack’s first year trick-or-treating. We even made it back home by seven.

One other fun thing to mention is that Jack got to dress up and do a small scale of trick-or-treating at his PCC classes on the Tuesday and Thursday before and after Halloween this year. He also loved wearing his Spider-Man costume around the house all of October. As you can see, Jack had been looking forward to Halloween for a while and so it was such a treat (unintentional dad Halloween pun) to experience the actual day with him.

Now, he’s already asking about Santa Claus… time slow down!

 

Cambria

Cambria (10 of 31)

Right before Brandon’s paternity leave ended, we took a trip sans Jack. Cooper was about 3 and a half months old, and we figured that this was as good a time as any to travel with a baby. He still could sleep in his car seat during outings and he didn’t yet have super set naptimes.

After some initial disagreements about where to go—we were originally going to go to San Diego and get a discount that did not come to fruition—we found a little hotel in Cambria and booked it a few weeks before our trip. The hotel, Cambria Beach Lodge, has a downscaled Palm Springs Ace Hotel vibe—without the amazing pool and awesome private porches. It turned out to be great for our trip. The rooms are small, most face the parking lot and do not have ocean views, but the hotel is right across the street from the beach. It is also walkable to most everything in Cambria.

Side note: The biggest added plus about Cambria was that most of the time we were there the weather was in the 60s, which was a VERY welcome change from 98 degree Pasadena. We wore sweaters, sweatshirts and pants! Seriously glorious after a burning hot July.

We headed up to Cambria from Santa Barbara on a Saturday morning. We happened to stop at Morro Bay Coffee Company on the way–a small quaint place to get a mid-morning snack and coffee.

Our next stop was Hearst Castle, which is on the way to Cambria. We didn’t book the tour in advance because it was more expensive that way, but were able to get into a tour (the Grand Rooms) and wait only a little over an hour for it to begin. Part of this time was spent watching an educational video about Hearst Castle, so it worked out well. Brandon had never been to Hearst Castle, and I had only gone once for Honor Society in Jr. High, so I didn’t remember much.

Once there, we took a shuttle from the visitor center to Hearst Castle, which is way up on the hill. The weather is significantly hotter as you climb the hill, and being at Hearst Castle was actually the one time during our trip when I was hot. I enjoyed the tour and I would like to do another (they offer a bunch of different ones) and see some other parts of the property.

After the tour, we drove to our hotel, checked in, and got settled. Luckily Cooper was able to nap on the go in the pack and stroller. We then walked about a mile to 927, a microbrewery in Cambria. It had a cool vibe, was small and kid friendly, and had good beers. Cooper slept part of the time in his car seat and also was happy to chill there—3 months is a good age to take babies everywhere!

For dinner that night we went to the Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill. This spot was recommended to us by someone who worked at 927; however, the food was just OK. The view was nice. It overlooked the water, but I wouldn’t go back because it lacked the uniqueness of a lot of other restaurants there and was not cheap.

What was awesome about going out to dinner both nights was that Cooper was able to sleep in his car seat most of the time so we could enjoy dinner and not worry about being out late.

The next morning we had breakfast in our hotel lobby. The breakfast was small but free: hard boiled eggs, bread, and fruit. It worked.  Then Cooper napped at the hotel. After this, we walked about two miles to go to Robin’s for lunch. The walks we took were always great because there is a path right by the beach to get to most places.  We learned that on the weekends (maybe just Sunday?) Robin’s doesn’t have their regular menu, but we enjoyed the brunch options.

After Robin’s we went to Seed and Soul, a cool coffee place to chat and get a drink. We then headed to Moonstone Cellars for wine tasting. This is the winery where we went to with the Wammacks and Hoppers two years ago. The Wammacks are members, and this winery does not disappoint! It had moved locations from a few years ago but is still in the same general vicinity and now has more room.  Again, Cooper did great, sleeping in the pack and stroller. He was happy to chill.

We came back to the hotel and were able to read on the hotel’s roof deck that overlooks the ocean. We also brought back a nice bottle of wine to drink.

That night we went to Sea Chest, a restaurant right by our hotel. This one we recommend. The only catch is they do not take reservations in advance, and you have to get there an hour or so before they open and stand in line to get one of the first spots. We didn’t know this but were still able to get in around 7:30. We went back to our hotel in between so it worked out. They also have a giant fire pit outside that you can wait at and a bar inside. One other issue is they don’t take cards, only cash. We totally recommend this place. The charm of the building, the food, and the views are all worth it.

The next morning we headed out fairly early to get back to Jack—this was our first time leaving him for two nights without either of us. We stopped at Highstreet Deli in SLO to get sandwiches for lunch.

Brandon and I agree it was a great amount of time to be away and take advantage of the infant stage.