4!

image3 *Post written in July 2019

Dear Jack,

You are four years old! This is truly bittersweet for me. My little baby boy is 4 years old. You have done so much this year. You have only a few weeks left in Mrs. Jean’s class (Room 7 Forever!). I feel like it was yesterday that I was going to back to school night. I started a new job in June so you started school 5 days a week. You talk about all the kids in your class, and you even talk about your new teacher and room, which will start in September.

You:

-are basically riding a bike with no training wheels, and you got a bike for your birthday.

-finished PCC classes for good.

-will start sleeping in a bunk bed soon—the hope is that Cooper will join you in a year or so

-love “small” Legos. Ever since you got some as a party favor, you love expanding your collection

-love swimming but still need to get a few more lessons in

-like to hit pitches from Dad or Mom

-have fun laughing with Cooper, although the window of laughing to crying is small

-take time to warm up in big groups of people

-still love playing with Addie, Ezra, Riley, Harper, Liv, Whit, Kei, and Harrison

-don’t need diapers at night

-love transformers

-come in our room most nights and sleep on a mattress on the floor

-love helping dad with the garden

-got to go to Disneyland and California Adventure…again!

 

The lows are low, but the highs are high with a 4-year-old. And each day you surprise me with your perspective and ideas. It’s definitely a wild ride.

 

We love you, Jack!

Cooper is ONE!

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*Post was written a month ago when Cooper actually turned one.

Dear Cooper,

You are ONE! This is simultaneously easy to believe and also shocking. Where did this year go? It seems like yesterday I was holding a sweet newborn in my arms.

In this past month, you’ve started babbling more and more. You think you’re talking and you will say “mama” and “dada” but it’s hard to tell if you are attaching meaning to these words. One day, I swear you are, and the next it seems like you aren’t. JoJo and Butcheq think you might have said, “doggy” and someone else thought they heard you say, “Jack” meaningfully, but I’m still not sure if you have said your first meaningful word, and that’s OK with me.

You cruise all over. You stand without holding on to anything at times. Every day it seems like you are getting closer to walking, but it still could be a month or two, I think. You crawl so fast it is hard to catch you. You don’t like to sit still, ever. Even when you are eating you try to climb out of your high chair. Your one-year photo was the hardest to take, yet. This makes sense because you hate sitting still. We took it at a tricky time of day, too. It was getting close to dinnertime and Butcheq and I were both a little warn out from our respective days, so we may not have given it our 100 percent, but we got something! I’m impressed we made it this far with the photos and were able to capture anything! You also have such a strong grip; it is hard to get objects from you. I can’t believe how strong you are.

You are a little bit pickier now with food. But this only means that one day you might throw something down, and the next day you eat it. Also, maybe more teeth will help you eat more? Your 4 incisors have all basically poked through, right around your first birthday. For weeks I’ve thought that they were coming and they are just now showing up. You still breastfeed at about 4x a day (wake up, before both naps, and when you go to sleep) but don’t initiate it on your own. You are able to go down for a nap or sleep without breast feeding, which is nice. You also usually don’t fall asleep breast feeding which makes it easier to put you down other times.

You enjoy the park so much now. You like climbing on the structures and going down the slides. You like to swing and crawl in the sand. You like to eat the sand. You don’t seem to learn how bad it tastes because you do it every time!

Butcheq is your favorite person right now. I only birthed you, breastfeed you, and pumped for almost a year for you! But seriously, I don’t mind at all. Whenever Dad is in the room, you reach out to him, crawl to him, or point to him.

Sometimes you still wake up in the middle of the night, but overall your sleep is pretty good, and you still nap so well.

You and Jack can sort of play together now. Ha! This might be a leap, but you guys seem to enjoy each other. Don’t get me wrong, Jack verges between fun play partner and a I-will-protect-all-my-toys big brother as well as roughhouse those that get in the way, but your enjoyment of each other shows through too! You two laugh together a lot. Jack makes sure you sit literally right next to him at meals, and sometimes this turns into a stressful thing, but he really wants to interact with you, and you with him. You take baths together now and you are starting to be buds, kind of, I hope! I mean, it’s like one step forward, two steps back, but hey, I will take it!

You are the perfect addition to our little family. We seriously all adore you. Your cheeks, laugh, chub, love of food, movement, and hugs.

Happy Birthday, Cooper! We are all so happy you are here!

Love,

Mom

11 Months of Cooper!

Cooper you are 11 months old!

 

You:

-Started to stand from a seated position without holding onto anything, just for a second or two, literally the day you turned 11 months

-Have eight teeth, but we can see 9 and 10 coming in (the canines)

-Got your first haircut at the Shaggy Monkey in South Pasadena

-Stopped taking your bottle and use a sippy cup now. Bottle, you were nice while you lasted!

-Don’t cry for an extended period of time in the middle of night often, but will when something is bothering you

-Want every single toy your brother has

-Keep getting faster at crawling and never want to sit still

-Are obsessed with eating bread, but throw some other types of food to the ground when you don’t want them

-Show more signs of separation anxiety when I leave for work

-Are looking more and more like me!

-Still sleep pretty well. You wake up very occasionally in the night and need me, and sometimes you cry before going to bed, but not often

-Still love that morning AND afternoon nap

 

I:

-Am pretty obsessed with the time change and light in the evening

-Am swimming in the evenings somewhat often. It’s happening!

-Am still reading Brothers K. I love it, but it sure seems to be taking me a long time to read

-Am feeling so thankful for family and all the ways they love me

-Am thankful for overall positive news about a family members’ health—the unknown in health situations is a scary thing

-Am thankful that God is bigger than all the things I do not understand about this world. It all just seems so depressing sometimes.

-Am trying to be thankful for uncertainty and the ways I can grow from it, not always fun

-Am trying to improve my communication with loved ones. It’s harder than I think at times.

-Am thankful for nights out with friends

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10 Months of Cooper

Dear Cooper,

You are 10 months old!

You:

-Finally got that 8th tooth.

-Are sleeping a lot better because I sleep trained you again, and it is mostly working. You were waking up around 10, 12, 2, and 4 every night, but now you can almost always put yourself back to sleep on your own. You still wake up a lot around 4 AM, and usually sound a bit unsettled for a while, but thankfully you are not crying.

-Love to raise one and sometimes both of your arms when music is on so you can “dance.” You seriously love music.

-Have another cold and cough. Does it ever end?

-Will sometimes stand up and let go of whatever you are holding very briefly.

-Are still obsessed with eating

-Have done well with babysitters that are not your grandmas while I’m at work but have had to be brought back to us from church care. It seems like if you are not as familiar with your environment it makes separation anxiety worse, which makes sense. You do have people preferences but are able to go to someone new or not as familiar for a time.

-Rarely stop moving. You have periods where you will stay in the pack, but I don’t use it nearly as much now.

-Still put most everything in your mouth, maybe a little less than before?

-Still want every single toy your brother plays with but put up with him yelling in your face daily.

I:

-Did some biking at the very end of January before all the rain, and it was so fun! However, since then I have not been exercising much at all. Swimming has not been going well either.

-Went to Griffith Park with the Fischers and was reminded how much I love the observatory.

-Learned a lot about baking bread this past month. Jo taught me her method, and I want to a class with Jo, Chris, Bryce, and Nick on making different kinds of pizza dough

-Had a few girls nights out. One at The Raymond with Hilary and Lauren and one at Otono with Katie and Andi.

-Took Jack to a bunch of birthday parties this past month, which was even enjoyable for me too.

-Felt cooped up because of the rain on one too many occasions. Rain and kids don’t mix.

-Finished two books, one for book club, and attended book club.

-Visited Santa Barbara for a few days, and it was great to see my parents.

-Had Brandon’s cousin Jon and his wife Michelle stay with us for two nights. It was fun to be able to hang out with them after the kids went to bed.

-Still feel pretty tired most days, but I think it is and will get better?Cooper 10 months

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!