Two boys with very different personalities

I can’t write things down quick enough these days. A little boy on the verge of turning four and a baby on the brink of 18-month do-it-myself-ness. That’s a lot of new things each day. Things that make us laugh, shake our head, or sigh in exasperation. They are each going to push us in different ways. Where one will be easy, the other will be hard. We’ve already seen this and it only seems to be amplified each day. I think one might be glass half full while the other is half empty. And they will probably switch opinions based on the situation. Their bond is growing stronger every day, but we haven’t been quick enough to document it.

Quinten, the bouncer. 

He recently decided that he likes to sit on people and bounce up and down. I found this out the hard way. He climbed on my stomach when I was laying on the floor. Wrigley has also found out the hard way, usually when he’s fast asleep. Quinten thinks it’s funny to 1. sit on the dog, and 2. bounce on him. Wrigley doesn’t agree with this logic. Quinten took it a step further this weekend. He sat on Maximus while he was on the floor. And when he started bouncing up and down, Maximus started giggling. That made Quinten giggle and the next thing we knew they were rolling around on the floor. There have also been a handful of times when Quinten plopped down on Maximus’ lap and no one screamed or pushed the other. Did it actually happen if there’s no photographic evidence?

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Building up their immune system together at the doctor office.

 

Maximus, the toy giver.

This one doesn’t happen very often. It’s usually the opposite of sharing, but I asked Maximus to get Quinten a car to play with and he worked really hard to find him a toy. He wanted to find the right toy, which wasn’t in the house. We usually have to break up tantrums after they both fight over the same toy. This time Maximus willingly went to find a toy before he started playing with one that we both knew Quinten would want. Progress. Major progress. And much less screaming.

 

Quinten, the spinner. 

Another new trick that he pulled out last week. Spinning in circles. It’s as fast as a 16-month-old can do it, but it’s pretty funny. Luckily, no injuries have been sustained yet. However, since he doesn’t understand when we tell him to move or stop, I suspect this won’t last too long. He spins around a few times and then bobs and weaves a bit before falling to the ground and laughing. What’s funnier than watching a baby sway across the floor? Of course he doesn’t usually do it just once.

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Evening snuggles

 

Maximus, the imaginer.

His mind is always going. Always remembering and always plotting. Always looking to the next thing. Every night we go through a list a questions. “Mommy, what are we going to do after we get up? And then what? And then what? What next?” He got up from his nap yesterday and showed me some blocks he had put together, “Look Mommy! This is the shooter guy.” Sure. He likes making up songs, too. Those are usually too random for me to remember. Yesterday he sang a song about the Easter bunny. “Eeee-aster bunny. Eeee-aster bunny….” My mom brain took over and I can’t remember the rest, but it was something about the Easter bunny bringing eggs and shoes and sunglasses.

 

Quinten, the professional walker. 

Besides spinning in circles, he’s also a master at running. If you need a good laugh, come to my house. His cheeks jiggle when he runs and his little chubby legs carry him much faster than you’d ever imagine. He also has his sights set on where he’s going. There’s no changing that direction unless you pick him up, but beware of the moving limbs! He spent a little time practicing walking backwards in our living room. The look on his face was absolutely priceless. He gave us the side-eye as he  s l o w l y  started walking backwards. As he got more confident, he started grinning.

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The worker and his boss.

 

Brothers, the supporters.

Since Quinten is learning a lot of new things, we all clap for him a lot. When he puts his drink back on his tray (instead of throwing it on the floor), we all cheer for him. Sometimes when we aren’t next to him, Maximus cheers for him when he uses his fork and spoon or puts his drink down. Quinten loves the support! Quinten recently clapped at me for putting him into his carseat. I’m told the day before he “helped” Bryan with the snaps and then clapped. Whatever, I still did a good job! 😉 Maximus has been into walking OVER cracks when we go on walks. (Also, walking and not sitting in the stroller.) “We have to step over the cracks, Mommy.” Last night, Bryan and Maximus were jumping over the cracks. After a few lessons and a few successes, I looked down at Quinten and saw him clapping at them. He did it a few more times before they realized he was clapping for them.

 

For all the crazy, hectic, loud moments at our house, there are just as many sweet, quiet, loving moments. From two boys who love to give hugs and kisses to two hyped up little people running through my house. We seem to see and feel it all these days. Looking at life through the eyes of children is definitely the place to be!

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The closest to a picture of them sitting together.

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A birthday surprise

My birthday was over a week ago, but I’m just now finding time to sit down with my blog. Maybe I should have wished for a little better time management or priorities at night, then I’d have some more time to write. But I didn’t and I don’t. Some day…

I kind of feel like a birthday snob this year. I traveled (for work) leading up to my birthday and had multiple birthday desserts! If you’re eating out anyway, this is the way to go – free meals with special desserts!

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My birthday was on a Friday and I’m in love with that kind of birthday. I used to love any kind of weekend birthday, but this year I found that a Friday one is even better. I took vacation and didn’t have to care for anyone else. ALL DAY. It was the best! I did kind of overbook myself, but it was all in the name of pampering so it was still a great day. I went back to sleep after the boys left, had lunch with my husband (ended up being free because the waitress was slow getting our drinks), got a hair cut, had a chiropractor adjustment, got my free birthday Starbucks (that I’ve gotten a few times), and got a mani/pedi with a friend.

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Then said friend took me out of town for dinner. I thought we were meeting up with another friend. It turns out we were meeting up with many friends! We walked into one of my favorite restaurants, around the corner we went, and 10 beautiful faces smiled and said, “SURPRISE!” I’ve never had a surprise party and it was great! I was completely surprised and felt so special. As special as any birthday girl should! 🙂

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Dinner was delicious and the company was great. I randomly see all these girls, but it’s not very often that we’re all together for something. It made me feel extra special that they all came out! The weather was supposed to get bad that night so we didn’t stick around for drinks after dinner, but that’s ok. After all, 31 isn’t exactly 21. 😉

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For a year that I thought was just going to be another day, it turned out to be an unexpectedly wonderful day! I’m so thankful to have such wonderful friends in my life. Ones that make my day extra special. As a perpetual activity planner, it was pretty cool to have someone plan a surprise for me!

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YOU have the power to love or hurt someone

Do you ever feel like you’re alone on a deserted island? Yah, me either. Except, really I do sometimes. The brain is an interesting thing. A person can appear to be completely surrounded by people, but inside they feel completely alone in the world. I haven’t quite figured out what sparks these feelings, but I do know they aren’t fun to experience. This is going to sound hypocritical but here it is. I have a social life, but I don’t have a social life. Clear as mud, right? What I mean is, I have friends. I have friends who I hang out with … sometimes. That’s where the no social life part comes from. We’re pretty busy between home and work. There isn’t much extra time to have a social life. Even though there isn’t much time, I do have some friends that mean a lot to me.

Back to that deserted island phenomenon. Every once in a while something happens in one of my friendships and it makes me reel backwards and wonder why I put myself out there. Vulnerability is a scary thing. I’m usually pretty guarded, but sometimes things sneak past me. It’s usually when I least expect it and really sends my brain spinning. I’m kind of stubborn (maybe I should delete kind of) so I dwell on things and probably turn them into the worst case. Either way, it sucks to get hurt. When that happens, I always feel sorry for myself and sulk for a little bit. Then I pick myself back up and vow to not let it happen again. Instead, I’ll focus on my husband and my boys. Who needs friends anyway? Well, this girl does. I can pretend that I don’t, but I do. So I fake it until I’ve moved on and forgotten about it. It’s an ok formula. I don’t think I can eliminate the feeling sad part, so there’s not much to change about this process.

Suck as it may, there are also times where friends rally around you. Either as a team or individually. If you’re really lucky, that happens right after you’ve felt your heart smashed. It’s always a good reminder of why it’s worth it to put yourself out there. It’s a reminder that a special friendship can be worth the struggle to stay connected. Having someone do something nice for me always reminds me that it’s not all about me. I wish I always thought like this, but I’m human and I tend to forget. It may be all about me in my head, but on the outside no one else knows what is going on. They deserve to be special, too. They deserve to have their hearts protected and not hurt.

So, be nice to people. Think about other people’s feelings before you do or say something. Remember that you can easily hurt someone with a word or an action. I hope that I’m not a hypocrite and I hope that I haven’t been too focused on myself to not think about others. Those special people in my life really mean a lot to me and I hope that I don’t ever make them feel less than wonderful.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t me who got kissed by Donnie Wahlberg

I grew up in the 80s and 90s, which doesn’t feel like it was that long ago. Although the calendar tells me otherwise. When I look around, the world is much different from what it was back then. For example, had I looked on Twitter before the concert, I would have known what to expect. In this case, the element of surprise was very much worth it! When they announced that Boys II Men and 98 degrees would be playing too, I couldn’t believe it. It was my childhood on steroids!

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The concert blew my mind. Our seats were way too high up and the Target Center in Minneapolis only had two monitors for the whole place (that’s ridiculous), but it was still amazing! I could sum it up as dance moves from the 90s mixed with a lot of sex appeal. I saw more pelvic thrusting in those four hours, well, than maybe my whole life combined. It was a lot of thrusting! There was also a lot of men taking their shirts off. You can only imagine how an auditorium full of women react when jackets come off or shirts get ripped off. There was a lot of screaming! I may or may not have kind of lost my voice that night. And one lucky fan was kissed by Donnie Wahlberg. I can only wish it had been me, but he wasn’t going to climb all the way up to the top to find me! I have never seen anything like that in my life. This poor woman was soooo close to him as he leaned down to sing to her. She kept mouthing, “come on” as the crowd went wild (wishing it was them) and he kept getting closer to her face. Then, he DID IT! I hope her friends got that on camera!

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Speaking of friends, I had a blast with mine! It’s been a while since I planned something, but I took it on headfirst. I also informed them that I would be the photographer for the weekend. I’m happy they went a long with it! I don’t feel like any of us take enough pictures and I got a lot of good ones this weekend. (New mission!)

I’m having a hard time finding adequate words to express how much I enjoyed the concert. It was a mix of nostalgic childhood memories combined with a grown up world. It is up there as one of the best nights of my life! That may have a little to do with my current situation at home, but mostly to do with the bands that shaped my childhood. As an adult, I could buy tickets and go to concerts. It’s just not something that I do. That makes this concert that much more special. It was a really fun night out with good friends and a concert that slammed me in the face as music that I was so passionate about growing up. I couldn’t have picked a better activity for my first night away from Quinten!

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Date Night

We haven’t gone on too many dates since having kids. It’s all part of the deal and for the most part we’re ok with that. Do we really want to get out sometimes, yes. Are we able to, sometimes. We have had to miss all kinds of fun things because of our kids and that’s ok, too. We try to do other stuff at home to make up for the one-on-one time that we miss out on. We go on walks, we watch the sunset from our deck after the boys have gone to bed, we watch tv series after the boys have gone to bed, and we try to do things together during nap time. (To be honest, that last one rarely happens. We just tried to wash the cars but Quinten woke up and joined us outside. Then, Maximus watched from the window and eventually came outside. So, neither took a nap today.)

Last week we had a very last-minute date night. With zero kids and we drove out-of-town! During a previous date night (where we were working), we bought tickets to Fleetwood Mac. It was a charity auction so we got four tickets. Bryan is the musician in the family and loves all things music. I had a softball game the night of the concert so I told him he could take friends. He ended up not being able to find anyone to go so he was going to skip the concert. The morning of I asked my mom if she could babysit until really late, on a work night. She willingly accepted the chance to see the boys. Then, I had to find a sub for my softball game. Thankfully, I was able to find one. As luck would have it, one of my friends had her mother-in-law in town and we found one more sub for the softball game. In a matter of hours, we went from a normal ol’ night on Leger Lane, to having a double-date out-of-town!

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We didn’t realize how much we needed a night out. We left our babies in very capable hands and didn’t look back. 😉 We had a drink and appetizers before the concert. Then, I finally got to have a Daiquri at the concert. I’ve been craving a frozen drink for the last year! It was delicious. Oh, and the concert was good, too. 😉 They played for at least two hours. How they do it, is beyond me. I was really tired the next day, but it was nice to get out of the house for a few hours and enjoy the beautiful evening with my husband and friends!

Kids day at the park!

A few weeks ago Maximus and some friends went to a kids day at the park. It was national park day, or national kids day at the park. I don’t know. I just know that our community sponsored a park day and they had all kinds of cool things to do. It was a good mix of younger and older kid activities. We skipped the face painting {the line was LOOONG} and bike riding {but they gave out free bike helmets. Darn!}. We did some older kid activities like hoola hoops, basketball, and tennis. All of which are hilarious when you see three two-year olds doing them.

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We started out with some frisbee tossing. As you can see, it wasn’t very difficult and Bryan was able to continue leisurely drinking his coffee. 🙂

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Then we read a story and counted the animals.

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We all ate some free lunch! The best food was the blueberries, even Quinten tried smashing them with his chubby feet.

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The boys played some frisbee golf.

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The boys played tennis and I think all of them cried when their turn was over. 🙂

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We ended our park day with some playground time. This was one of my favorite pictures! It was a long run, but they did pretty good. I think we had a couple of tumbles on the way, but nothing was stopping them from the big, big slide!

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Quinten got to “enjoy” some sun. Rather, I think we both enjoyed not having our bodies pressed up against each other anymore since it was a very warm day and he sweats a lot when it’s not hot and humid.

All day cook-a-thon

Last weekend I joined two friends and we had an all day cook-a-thon. One of my friends organized the whole event. She picked the menu, bought the food and containers, prepped her house, and took charge! To put it simply, it was awesome! My monthly to-do list had me making four freezer meals in November and four meals in December. This all day cook-a-thon had me knocking 10 meals out of the way in one day and I had help doing it!

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We started {bright and early} at 9 am and I arrived with a toddler in tow. Our day lasted a little longer than our blog template said, but I take some of that credit blame. Being 8 months pregnant, with a toddler to watch, really slows the pace down. I was definitely the weak link. I think I only prepared one of the meals myself. I spent a lot of time peeling and chopping during the preparation. Then I spent a lot of time putting the meals into containers. All necessary jobs, but also perfect for a pregnant woman to sit down and do. 🙂

We used this blog for our inspiration. We made 32 meals, had extra noodles for a few additional meals, and spent less than $10 per meal. Our organizer shopped the sales and generics as much as possible and I know she did a fabulous job. Our meal prices did include the containers to store them in so that added a little more cost. The uncertainty of meat prices also affects the price per meal. The total price spent was about 1/3 of our family monthly grocery bill. That’s right on track for 10 meals, but I think my family will get more than 10 meals out of the food. With 2 1/2 people eating, a 9×13 pan of lasagna will easily be two meals, if not more. So, my family will make these meals stretch a lot further than some others may. And that means I spent 1/3 of my monthly budget on 2/3 of the monthly meals! I’m looking forward to the budget savings in December and January!

My family hasn’t eaten any of the meals yet, but they sure did smell good when we were making them! Here’s the part I didn’t like…I spent all day cooking {helping} and then didn’t have a plan for supper that night! If I wasn’t about to have a baby, we would have eaten one of the meals. But, with the impending life upset, I know it’s much easier to stop and pick up a Papa John’s pizza now instead of using up one of the precious meals.

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My friends and I agreed to doing another cook-a-thon sometime this winter. We may focus more on crockpot meals the next time. {Unless we absolutely love these 10 meals and don’t think our family can live without us making them again.} Besides making life a little easier for our families, we’re trying to find new, wholesome meals. For instance, none of us had ever made tater tot casserole per her recipe. I made it clear that adding sour cream to the mixture was the most amazing thing I’d ever heard and that my meal better not have any less than the required amount! 🙂 Needless to say, I’m really excited to try some of these meals!

Now that I have more than enough meals made, I may take a day and spend some time making breakfast freezer meals. I remember waking up each morning feeling more hungry than I ever was during pregnancy. Those nursing calories really leave you famished! I’d also like a holiday baking day, but I know that I’m making my expectations a little too high with the amount of time remaining before this little baby shows up!

Have you done a cook-a-thon? What menu do you use?