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  • Harper, 5, and Max, 2

    Halfway into being 5 and 2, it feels like a year of transitions for Harper and Max. We're pretty much out of the baby years (a world without diapers, what?!) and Harper is about to start kindergarten in the fall. Max went from looking like this:

    to this, in just a few short months.

    I joke that he is basically a feral child because he is always covered in a combination of dirt, snot and food. And because we're in love with his curls, we stopped cutting his hair. So it's always a floppy mess. 

    He's also always going at full speed, but doesn't have much control. So he's covered in scrapes and bruises most of the time. He's had his share of fat lips and a bloody nose recently. But he just gets right back up and keeps going. 

    His personality bounces between being super sweet and screaming. 

    I remember Harper being extra adorable as a 2-year-old and he's starting to enter that phase. I am REALLY grateful to finally be past the stage where he just runs away from me at full speed into various kinds of oncoming danger. If we yell "red light!" he will stop now. 

    He's been going to the Clifbar daycare 3 days a week for most of the year, in the classroom next to Harper. The other two days he stays home with me. 


    Yes, we will take all the free Clif bars we can get!

    This was NOT the plan for this year, so it has been a big adjustment. His more affordable daycare fell through, so we have pinched every penny we could to make it with this scenario until Harper starts kindergarten. At that point, I am hoping to transition out of working at my retail jobs and into more teaching classes and making things. 

    Not surprisingly, we have been sick all.the.time - including Max getting hand, foot and mouth disease — so that has added another layer of difficulty to this year. 

    I am grateful for Max's sunny personality, though. His teachers say he is super sweet and pretty compliant at school. He still takes 2-hour naps for me, and he sometimes falls asleep at the lunch table at school. He's just a pretty relaxed little dude - unless you tell him he can't watch something on TV!

    He is absolutely Harper's little shadow. He copies everything she does (to her understandable annoyance) and follows her and her friends around at school. 

    As a result, he has started carrying a purse and wearing a lot of jewelry, which cracks me up.

    They do play together sometimes. There is a LOT of fighting over toys and tattling on each other. I can't blame Harper for being mad sometimes because, as the older one, she has to put up with a lot of his immature behavior. 

    They've had a few melt-your-heart moments. Mostly with her trying to help him do something. We took them to the beach recently, and although Max was tentative at first, they both loved the water.

    We also took them on a pretty good hike up Mt. Tamalpais, which we have been meaning to do for years. They both did really well with the physical part, and it was SO beautiful up there. But Harper fell a few times (she had the wrong shoes on) and so by the end she kept saying she never wanted to go on a hike again. 

    So we'll have to work on convincing her to do another hike, but I think in the long run it's good to expose them to the outdoors as much as possible. 

    We had a really fun time exploring this old building in Richmond called Winehaven. It's some kind of wine distribution center that looks like a castle and would make an amazing event venue. But it had kind of fallen into ruin, so the mayor is trying to bring it back. If you go up on the roof you get an amazing view of the bay and Marin. 

    Most of our outings still end with two kids passed out in the back seat! Mike's parents are coming in a couple of weeks and we are taking the whole family to Yosemite. So we'll see how they do with a longer trip with more car time (fingers crossed!). 

    Grammie came for a visit last month and she had such a good time bonding with Harper. I think Harper is finally old enough to show a real interest in a lot of different things, so they can play together in a whole new way. 

    Harper is in full-on princess mode most of the time now. It's a princess-Barbie-mermaid world. And even though I have an eyeroll for that stuff sometimes, I can also relate to it. I was a 5-year-old girl once. So I actually find it more fun to play with her now. 

    She wants to grow her hair long so she can have all kinds of pigtails and braids and such. I can't get enough of the little dash of freckles on her nose that comes out in the summer. 

    She did gymnastics at school and really liked it. We want to get her in swimming lessons this summer. She's starting to have more trepidation about doing things right, especially when it comes to sports. But I think once she starts something she gets into it. 

    She has constant questions about how the world works now. Which I both love and find exhausting. I can't be surprised that she's a curious person, though!

    She doesn't seem worried about going to kindergarten, even though it will mean making a whole different friend group. She's scheduled to go to the school that's closest to our house, but at least so far I don't know anyone else who will be in her class. We've become good friends with the parents of some of her friends, so hopefully we can all still stay in touch. 

    They both sleep through the night unless there is something unusual going on. Like Max had a long stretch of waking up once, but I think it was because he was sick a few times. We had talked about putting them both in the same room, but ultimately decided not to. Harper actually goes to sleep about an hour earlier than Max, although I think that will change as they get older. 

    She's in a very silly phase. Lots of dancing and fart jokes and made-up songs. 

    They both had huge growth spurts recently where I had to clean out their clothes and go up a size. They don't have much baby chub left! I can't really tell if they will be tall as adults. And though it seems like they are losing their blond hair as they get older, we still get many, many comments on it! I guess it's because it's a noticeable thing for strangers to talk about? Anyway, I found this old photo of Mike and it totally proves where the hair comes from. 

    Next up for Max is potty training. We were actually going to do it over Memorial Day weekend, but we had 3 parties to go to, so it didn't seem like the right time. I think he is ready and I don't want to miss the window. We're planning to do the same method (Oh Crap potty training book) as we did with Harper, since it worked so well. 

    Harper has a big transition coming up, but she's always handled those well. I think we're the ones that will struggle with her becoming a school-age kid. 

    I know I will shed a few tears at her preschool graduation next week. I'm so proud and of her bravery and inspired by her on a daily basis!

  • 6 months

    Half a year, wow.

    As Mike and I were putting Harper in her high chair for the first time and removing the car seat attachment from her stroller, we both sort of looked at each other like "I can't believe this is happening." Six months definitely feels like a time of transition. Onto sitting up, rolling over, solid foods. And while I certainly don't have any desire to return to the stress of her early babyhood, I feel a little bit like I'm not ready to move on yet. But she is, so we move on.

    This month we learned that Harper can roll over. But luckily for me she doesn't have much interest in it. It's great to see her pushing up and sitting up more, though she's still pretty tippy.

    Still no teeth. I think I can see the bottom two right under the surface of her gums, so they'll probably pop through soon.

    We've had fun figuring out what makes her giggle. Sometimes it's a barrage of kisses, sometimes clapping, sometimes her toy dog.

    Though she has a million toys, her favorite objects seem to be everyday things, especially crinkly wrappers or empty water bottles.


    This is what you call excellent parenting. 

    If five months was the month of upheaval, six months has been one of leveling out. We did some sleep training, which got her back to almost sleeping through the night. With travel and what seems like a growth spurt, she still wakes up one extra time most nights, but we can live with that. It's funny what constitutes a good night's sleep nowadays.

    This month has given me some perspective on last month. Basically I know now that I am not a person who can live on long-term sleep deprivation and stay sane. I have to do some things to take care of myself so that I can be a good mom. There has been a lot of discussion on my moms email group about nurturing relationships while you have young children, and it's been nice to read the suggestions for that too. I think we're getting closer to a point of comfort in leaving Harper a little longer with someone else.

    When I am finally (relatively) well-rested, I can really enjoy the time we get to spend together. These are days full of bouncing, jingling, drooling, chewing, babbling, giggling, eating and sleeping. They are full of ups and downs — bored to tears of the same toys one minute, stressed with a screamer the next minute. But I still can't imagine being anywhere else than with my girl as she grows up.

    The other day I found this photo of her from when she was really little.

    I couldn't believe how much darker her hair was then. It's gone through every color — light brown, red, auburn — and now it's sort of strawberry blond.

    She's cute as a button and such a charmer. I can't wait to see what the next month will bring.

  • 7 months

    The seventh month has definitely been our best one so far with Harper. The other day we ran into this couple at the UPS store who had a 2-month-old baby and I was reminded of how different Harper is now than she was at that age, and how much easier our lives are now that she's a little older.

    She is so curious and interactive. She has a smile for everyone, so we are constantly stopping everywhere we go so she can make eyes at someone at the next table, behind us in line, etc. She has completely taken down the invisible walls that go up between strangers here.

    She is an instant conversation starter. I never realized how many other people had babies! We always used to joke that it seemed like more people had dogs. Actually, I think that is a recordable fact in SF, but still.

    People always say, "oh she is such a happy baby!" and I love that. Sure, we have our dramatic moments, but mostly she is a pudgy, giggly, adorable little goofball.

    We started feeding her more solid foods this month. She hasn't had a reaction to anything so far, so we just keep introducing new things. She loves getting pieces of fruit in a mesh baggie because she gets to feed herself. She likes carrots, avocados and bananas.

    We've started giving her bits of our food at restaurants, so she's already had Chinese and Indian (the non-spicy stuff). It's nice that she can sit on our laps or in a high chair at restaurants so we can at least attempt to eat at the same time.

    She still doesn't show much interest in crawling, but she can sit up really well and lean over to reach for things. She is super grabby — for my hair, my glasses, whatever is on the table in front of her, or her favorite thing, paper. She's not allowed to chew on napkins because she eats them!

    Her legs are super strong and she loves to stand with our help. I don't think she's far from standing by herself with something to balance on.

    The big change this month is that she got her first teeth. One bottom tooth popped through and then the other. Pretty soon she will have that ridiculously adorable two-bottom-teeth grin.

    We had a couple rough nights when the teething seemed to really bother her, but generally it has not been too bad. I picked up some homeopathic remedies at Pharmaca, and the teething tablets seem to help a lot.

    After feeling stretched super thin and longing for some family help and closeness the past few months, I've finally started to feel a little more comfortable on our own. The gloomy summer days (weird, I know) have passed and now each day when the fog clears it feels like we have our little piece of paradise here.

    We've starting putting Harper in the stroller and exploring our neighborhood more — we're always bumping into our neighbors strolling their kids around. It feels more like home than it ever has. And when we look around at our beautiful bay views dotted with sailboats, the cute park down the street, our neighborhood food truck gathering, the pool where she'll probably take her first swimming lessons, it seems like not such a bad place for her to grow up. At least for a while.

  • 8 months

    Harper is 8 months old now, and that means one thing — she's 2/3 of the way to being a year old! I know I shouldn't be thinking about that already, but I can't help it. She's changing so fast now, and the months are flying by. 

    There was one week this month when it seemed like she changed more than she ever had. All the sudden she had her third tooth, she was saying "ma-ma-ma" and getting halfway to crawling. She had never shown any interest in crawling and then all the sudden she was not where I put her! 

    She's now figured out how to get up on all fours, but hasn't quite gotten the moving forward part. Half of me is urging her on. The other half is hoping she takes her sweet time figuring it out. 

    This month it finally felt like some kind of weight had lifted. There was just an ease that had never been there before.

    We had some hard days when she was teething and some nights when our good sleeping schedule got completely out of whack. But we know how to recover now. And I think I've been able to realize when to give myself a break so I can be a better mom. 

    This month my stress was about work. The orders picked up and I had to get ready for a craft show. It wasn't always easy to fit in that much work, but I managed to do it, and it felt good. 

    Harper is still full of smiles for strangers. She is pretty good at entertaining herself for short amounts of time. One week she was cracking me up staring at her hands.

    I love that we are able to play games now. We can interact with her in new ways and get a response. Her giggles are so infectious. 

    She is starting to scare me a little bit with her newfound mobility. We had to lower the crib and start putting her on the floor instead of on furniture. 

    Our biggest battle is over items to chew on. She wants absolutely anything that is not a toy. She loves cell phones and remotes and cords and yarns. 

    It seems like whatever is most dangerous is what she wants to play with or put in her mouth. 

    Foodwise, I think she has eaten pretty much everything we eat now with no ill effects. But she takes a few bites and then loses interest.

    I guess we are just following her lead and when she's ready she'll eat more. She is able to feed herself things that she can hold in her hand, which is pretty cool (especially for the dogs). 

    Her baby chub is so freakin' cute. She just has a cascade of rolls on her arms and legs. 

    For all those rolls she is still really strong. She can jump for days in her jumperoo. I love how happy it makes her. 

    And if we help her she can start picking up her legs to walk. 

    The next month will only get busier with work, so it will be a challenge to watch her as she gets more mobile. But I cherish this time, especially now that I realize it is sailing by. 

  • 9 months

    This month's post is a little late due to our Midwest trip (more about that later). But this month has been so busy I hardly remember what happened anyway. I know Harper went through a lot of developmental changes.

    At the beginning of the month she was a cheerful, easygoing baby. I had one blissful week where it seemed like I could put her down and she would entertain herself while I got my work done. I had more work than usual, so it came in handy.

    But as the month progressed she became more fussy and clingy, always wanting my attention and to be carried around. That is so hard when I'm staring down a huge to-do list! But I think I realized it was important to give her the extra attention while she was having a tough time. Her two top teeth started to show underneath her gums and although they haven't popped through, I think they have contributed to her moods.


    Her hair has thickened and grown into a delightful little swoop.

    She's also made some rapid changes in her mobility and communication. She went from barely being able to pick up her legs while we practiced walking to racing down the hallways while one of us barely supports her. Our poor backs are killing us, but it's a lot of fun. 

    She can also stand up for several minutes while balancing on something, sometimes with just one hand. I don't think it will be long before she starts trying to stand up all on her own.


    Who needs a walker when you have a pouf?

    Still no crawling, but maybe it just won't happen. She's certainly improved her reach. One time we were at the grocery store and she reached out her arm and knocked a whole bunch of boxes off a shelf. Needless to say we've amped up our babyproofing. 

    She had started to attempt waving last month, but this month she figured it out. Now all you have to do is say "hi" and she waves. She also figured out clapping (so adorable) and high-fiving. She looooves to bang on things, so anything that makes a clapping sound is fun for her. 

    We had a lot of fun dressing her up as Princess Leia for Halloween.

    We took her to a moms group gathering where we got to put her together with about 15 other babies. That was total cute overload. 

    Speaking of cute overload, her new bathtub is super adorable. How could I resist that?

    Oh, I almost forgot another development this month. She has become cuddly again.

    Although she is pretty squirmy most of the time, she will cuddle up to you when she's sleepy. She's started falling asleep in our arms for naps or before bedtime. 

    That could be part of the reason she's also started protesting her naps like crazy. I think she doesn't want to be alone in her crib, so she often cries even when I know she's tired. That has been rough. Do I give comfort or discipline?

    I still struggle with that, but this past week has been better. As I now know very well, having a baby is a total roller coaster and sometimes you just don't know the answers. 

    Harper is just as social as ever. She is constantly looking around for people to communicate with. I'm glad she is such a smiley outgoing baby. Though it's definitely different from my personality, I love to see her developing into her own little self. 

    Another change this month: girlfriend is hungry! She not only eats bits of what we eat, she can suck down whole packages of baby food, plus several milk feedings a day. I think she is moving so much that she is constantly burning energy.

    And since she shows no signs of slowing down I think she will just eat more and more. I've figured out how to make my own baby food, so that's been fun. Pretty much all of her 9-month outfits are smudged with food stains, but oh well. 

    I am also relieved to say that Harper is a really good traveler. We took her on two 3+ hour flights to Kansas, plus two 3.5 hour drives to Iowa and she was a champ through all of it. Plus we added 2 more time changes right after daylight savings. We have another trip coming up in December, so I hope she's good then too.

  • Max, 1 month

    I'm a little late posting this, but I'm going on 5 weeks of poor sleep, so I think I can be forgiven.

    Mr. Max just had his 1 month doctor's appointment. He was 10 pounds 12 ounces and 22.5 inches long, so I think it's safe to say he is growing well. He's already gotten a cold from Harper, so I guess with a toddler around his immune system will be getting tested often. Props to whoever invented the snot sucker!

    Max eats like a champ, though we've had some breastfeeding challenges. I saw a lactation consultant (and can we just take a moment to THANK GOD these people exist) and with practice and time, we got through our issues. Honestly, the fact that I had to pump extra bottles was kind of nice because then other people could feed him while I slept.

    Also, thanks Obama for the free breast pump!

    While the past month has been pretty stressful and sleepless at times, it was nothing like Harper's overwhelming first month. There is a definite ease with the second baby, and it helps that he is pretty happy and loves to cuddle.

    This time I know he will cry for no apparent reason, wake at all times of night, and expel every bodily fluid. Because that's what newborns do. Accepting those challenges has made it a lot easier to appreciate the good things. I think I spent most of the first week just staring at Max and feeling weepy. Both because he's wonderful and because it felt instantly like our family was complete. I just felt really lucky that so many of the things I wanted in life came to be.

    Harper continues to be great with him. She's a little rough at times, but she just wants to help. She asks to hold him a lot, which totally melts my heart.

    While Harper was kind of an odd baby in the sense of not minding being cold and always wanting to be outside, Max likes to be super warm and he wants to be held all the time. Sometimes that's hard, but at least he is willing to be worn in a carrier. He just passes out and makes these contented little noises.

    He's already trying hard to hold his head up, and he occasionally smiles. Once I put him on his activity mat and he darn near rolled over. He's a strong little guy!

    Mike's parents were here for a few days when he was like 2 weeks old, and that was really nice. Since they had another grandson born the day before Max, they are really soaking up the grandbaby time.

    Max had a lot of baby acne in the beginning, but now it's starting to clear up and he's starting to chub out.

    He is bigger than Harper was, but oh my gosh they look so similar. I look back at pictures of her and I can't tell who's who. It's amazing. I'm wondering if that will continue. He's already getting that strawberry blond colored hair that she got.

    As much as I've gotten used to my middle-of-the-night feedings with episodes of Felicity in the background (how is it I never watched that?), I am hoping that in the next month Max will start sleeping longer stretches and we can all catch up on sleep a little. Our shift system for nights has been great, but I think we're ready for the next phase.

    And here's hoping that this little cuddlebug takes long naps when he finally gets on a schedule. And he will be getting on a schedule!

  • Harper at 3

    I think this photo pretty much sums up what it's like to have a "threenager." Harper is bossy, demanding, temperamental, and a little cray sometimes. But she bounces between that and sweet, cuddly, creative, curious and so many other interesting qualities that it's hard for me to say that three is as bad as I feared it might be.

    Honestly it seems like having a baby brother has made her a little easier to communicate with because she can't demand all of our attention all the time. And she wants to be more independent so she likes helping with him.

    Sometimes she goes, "baby Max is so cute!"

    For example, she always wants to bring the Boppy pillow to whoever is holding Max. She's a little aggressive with putting in his pacifier, but it's cute that she wants to give it to him.

    She's also been playing with her dolls more, trying to imitate what we're doing.

    This picture just slays me.

    When Mike's parents were here, she interacted with them in a way I'd never seen before. Where before she had been hesitant to play with people she doesn't see very often, she made an instant connection with them.

    She let both of them read her books, which strangely, she doesn't do often. Her version of reading is to turn the pages before you can get a line out. But I do think that will change as she is able to sit still longer.

    She LOVED the Christmas tree when we had it. She kept asking to go see it, and then she would name every ornament.

    She got a giant floor puzzle for Christmas, which got her really into the idea of doing puzzles. Now she's got at least one going at all times.

    It's hard for me to deal with the "toy soup" she creates daily in our living room, but it takes a lot of toys to keep this girl entertained. Her current favorites are her finger puppets (she is constantly singing this finger family song where each finger is a member of the family), and her Peppa Pig figurines.

    She's starting to have a much bigger imagination. She play cooks us meals and she does the most adorable routine where her Ernie doll goes to sleep, then wakes up, brushes his teeth and has breakfast.

    She's still a great eater and will try most foods, even if she prefers her favorites.

    Of course I am biased, but I think she gets more beautiful every day.

    Her hair is turning darker, but I think it will still get sun-bleached in the warmer months.

    She is in the process of moving up to the 3-year-old class at her daycare, and I think that will be good for her. She's had a lot of shyness with kids her age, but I see her opening up much more on the playground now.

    Seeing Max as a baby now, reminds me of how quickly these years pass (even though as they say, the days are very long). So I am really trying to take the tantrums in stride and just go with the roller coaster that is life with little ones. Before you know it, Harper will be a teenager for real, and I'll wish for those 3-year-old cuddles.

  • Max: 2 months

    I'm almost a month late posting this, so I guess that tells you what kind of month it's been. Max has been doing really well, but we've been working on some improvements to the house and Mike was gone for a few days for work, so we've been really busy.

    Thankfully auntie Megan was here for a few days. She is so good with Max.

    Harper has also been playing with Max a lot. She likes to lay in the bed and pretend to be him. He loves to watch her.

    Right around 10 weeks, Max started getting really fussy. I wasn't sure why, but then I remembered that Harper also had a really difficult time around then. It's a "wonder week" with lots of brain development, so that makes sleep and everything else more intense. He also got another cold, poor thing, so I'm sure that didn't feel good.

    One thing that has been great about this month is all the smiles. Those baby grins are just the best.

    We've had fun dressing him in all his little outfits, too. He has quite the wardrobe!

    Sometimes he outgrows things after only wearing them once, so we have to keep rotating in new things. I've had the hardest time finding socks that fit him, so now he is in a 6-12 month sock. He still likes to be cozy warm all the time.

    Sleep also got better this month. I was starting to get pretty fried from all the night feedings, but he has been going longer and longer stretches. Similar to Harper at this age, he sleeps most of the night until an early morning feeding. Sometimes there's a second one. Once he even slept the whole night!

    Naps have been a lot tougher. He will take a long nap, thank goodness. But most of the time we have to resort to wearing him in the carrier. My neck got so strained at one point I could barely move it, so I have been trying not to rely on that too much. But it's hard. Trying to put him to sleep in his crib does not work at all.

    I shouldn't say he doesn't nap outside the carrier. It's more of a battle to keep him asleep. I'm just trying to take that one day at a time. He still seems a little young for a strict routine.

    This month he's been trying really hard to get his hand in his mouth. Two cheers for self soothing!

    He also seems a lot more alert and interested in toys. We have what seems like millions, so we're trying to keep him entertained. Bath time has gotten a lot better, too.

    We've got him in cloth diapers, although they don't fit as well after going through another kid. I'm willing to deal with it though after seeing how much money we spent on diapers, sheesh!

    I'm looking forward to Max being able to sit up better and maybe hang out in the jumper or some of the other toys we have. He is doing more every day, and it's fun to watch.

    I pulled out the only KU onesie I have because he needs to cheer for the Jayhawks. So far it's working!

  • Max, 5 and 6 months

    OK, get ready for cute overload because I have SO MANY good pics of my kids this summer.

    I can't believe Max is 6 months old, but it's true. Here he is at 5 months.

    And then at 6 months.

    He is still our Mr. Smiley Guy.

    If you tickle him or do a high-pitched sneeze, he has the cutest giggle.

    He's had a pretty big couple of weeks. First, we started him on solid foods.

    I decided to skip the rice cereal this time and just do purees.

    Then he got two teeth! So we've also given him some mum-mums and crusty bread to chew on.

    Obviously the Bumbo is getting a lot of use since he's still a little tippy.

    He loves playing with Tupperware containers and various other things that are not toys.

    I have even put him in a laundry basket with some toys, since it is sort of like a mini playpen.

    Other times I kind of prop him up in the Boppy so I can play with him.

    The teething has definitely affected his sleep, although I would still say he is a much more consistent sleeper than Harper was at his age.

    Occasionally he takes a long nap, but his are usually only half an hour. So I am struggling to get much of anything done during the days I'm home with him. But I feel like the alternative is having him sleep less at night, and I don't want that either.

    He has also become really grabby and interested in rolling or lurching for things, so I really have to watch him closely.

    He likes to grab his feet, and he can get his toes in his mouth.

    He still has really bad cradle cap, so sometimes I put lotion on his head and it makes his hair stick up.

    He was 18.5 pounds at his last appointment and pretty tall.

    I'm looking forward to what the next few months will bring. Before we know it he will be walking and talking!

    Harper has been a handful and a half, but she is also progressing so much.

    Her teachers tell us she has completely come out of her shell at daycare, and now she plays with other groups of kids, no problem.

    She tells me about her day now, and has gotten a lot better at asking for what she needs.

    What's hard is that she has both an immense amount of energy and a LOT of feelings.

    We took a trip to the petrified forest in Calistoga, and without a nap that day she whined/cried/yelled the whole ride home.

    So I'm a little nervous about traveling with two little kids for a whole week, but I think the key is not trying to do too much. And snacks. So many snacks.

    She calls this her swimming costume. 

    Harper started playing soccer at school and I think she would like swimming lessons too. Although I think she would be really great at tumbling.

    Toddler lunch of champions. 

    She has a great sense of style (hat tip to Grammie!) and she is an amazing artist. I love seeing her creativity shine through.

    There are still a lot of kids activities in the Bay Area that we need to explore, so hopefully we'll get to do some of those things soon. We're still finding our new rhythm without Grammie and with me working 2 days a week, but we're getting the hang of it.

    More pictures soon of Max's finished room and our solar panels!

    *I also wanted to mention that you can follow me on Instagram. I wish I had more time to blog, but since I don't I try to at least keep the photos coming.

  • Max 7-9 months and Harper 3.5

    I had to take this picture to document the fact that prior to this I had left him sitting on the floor on the other side of the room. Apparently he can pull himself to standing and push his little play table several feet.

    At 9 months, Max is doing a lot of the same things Harper was at that age.

    Yup, that was Harper!

    He can balance standing up as long as he's holding onto something.

    He really likes to be walked around the house. He doesn't quite crawl, but he seems close to crab crawling with one leg out the way Harper did.

    For a while I had him rigged up in the Jenny Jump Up so that he could stand at the table, but he already doesn't need it.

    We learned the hard way that you can't leave him on a couch or bed anymore. He will totally roll off (head first, of course).

    7 months.

    8 months.

    It seems strange to say, but the last 3 months have been much harder than the previous 3. I think it's mostly because of teeth. Max has 6 now, and every time he gets a new one, he is miserable and sleepless.

    That picture pretty much sums up how I've felt lately — tiiired.

    Then a few weeks ago, we all got sick, but Max got it the worst. He had a fever for like 4 days, and he couldn't sleep for being so stuffed up. And we just could not get his sleep on track after that.

    He was so tired he fell asleep playing with toys.

    Fortunately, we accomplished a couple of things after that. We got a second car (an electric Leaf!) and I found a daycare for Max. I'm not sure if it's related to his daycare provider or not, but he's been sleeping most of the night ever since.

    So we have our happy Max back, and it's great.

    The biggest thing that happened over the last 3 months, though, was our vacation to Portland and Seattle. Traveling with two little kids was tough, but they did great on their flights.

    The hardest part was lugging around all the stuff (stroller, 2 carseats, luggage, diaper bag, etc.). And then traveling between the two cities, which took WAY longer than we had anticipated.

    We did get some family photos, which was nice.

    This one, from a Portland breakfast spot, is my favorite.

    This one kind of sums up the chaos of our trip.

    We stayed at Air BnBs, which worked out great. Plus, I got two blissful days of wandering around Portland while the kids had free daycare from Mike's conference.

    Still dreaming about Blue Star Donuts.

    We took a break for a mall carousel.

    Max loves playing in the grass.

    One of the best things we got to do was meet up with an old friend from Kansas and ride on her family's boat. They took us around Lake Union in Seattle, which was just unbelievably beautiful.

    Harper was a little scared, but she did great.

    We tried to do the public market in Seattle, but it was too crazy crowded.

    Instead we headed to Discovery Park for a hike.

    This picture is so Harper — all dirt and shin bruises.

    On our last day we took the kids to Alki Beach and we got some great photos of them playing in the sand together.

    They still get along really well. These pictures of them with Harper's Soccer Shots headband crack me up.

    Grammie came to visit for a couple weeks, which was so nice.

    We are planning TWO trips to visit family for the holidays, so it will be fun to see everyone we've missed.

    I've been super busy and stressed from all the knitting orders that have come in, but it's kind of par for the course.

    My boss is opening another store in Breckenridge, so I am making a whole bunch of items for that.

    We did have a nice respite at a local beach we found. There are so few really quiet places around, so we'll have to remember this one.

    This time with two little kids can be really brutal some days. But I also feel this sense of fulfillment I never have before. It's not perfect, but I have so many of the things I always wanted. And especially now that we have the house pretty much finished and I'm back to work, it's easier to appreciate it all.

    I love this picture. Oh, to be 3 again.

    As Harper gets closer to 4, I think she's calming down a little. She's learning how to spell and how to communicate better, and she says the most adorable things like, "mommy, you're my best friend."

    Harper's taking yoga and I bought a jogging stroller so I can run. Hopefully if Max keeps sleeping well we can all come out of the haze and feel normal again. I have some new products, including these adorable crowns.

    I should have more to share soon!

  • Harper, 4, and Max, 1

    It's been so long I hardly remember how to do this! I guess my absence tells you what's it's like to have two little kids. I really liked the part of blogging where I kept a record of my kids growing, though.

    At this age they have kind of flipped roles a bit. Harper can communicate well enough to follow directions and she goes to bed reliably at 7:30, then sleeps until 7:30 (sometimes even later!). She's still grappling with toddler emotions and SO MUCH ENERGY, but generally she's a lot more mature. I can't believe I'm going to be signing her up for kindergarten next summer.

    Mellow Max on the other hand has become quite a handful. I had forgotten about the 18-months-ish age, where they can walk, climb and generally get into trouble, but they can't really communicate yet. So if they want something and can't make it happen, they just whine or cry. He does take naps, but he stays up later than Harper and during these really bright summer months, he wakes up ready to party at 6:30.

    Max has figured out how to open the fridge and take things out. Poor guy is just hungry all.the.time. I can't even imagine how much he will eat as a teenager.

    Harper is getting a lot pickier about what foods she'll eat. She still tries a lot of things, but she wants mac 'n cheese and cereal, and if I make something with peppers and onions, she wants me to pick them out. They're both all about the chocolate ice cream.

    It is cute the way they play together now. Harper likes to help get Max set up in his high chair and sometimes she will even get him something he needs without being asked.

    The problem is that they fight about toys all the time. They always want what the other one has, even if they have no real interest in it. Luckily they have different enough interests and we have enough toys that they can usually find something else to do.

    Harper is still really into art projects and dressing up. We now have 3 cubbies and an overflowing bin of dress-up toys in her room.

    Her biggest love right now is Moana. I actually think it's a great movie, although I've seen it enough times to be a little over it. And of course she is always down to wear a princess dress to school over her clothes.

    Max is super into trains lately. He says "choo choo" when a bart train goes by - it's adorable. He also loves to build little things with Legos.

    It's interesting to see him developing language in kind of a different way than Harper. She didn't say as many words, but she would say them perfectly. He'll try more, even if it comes out all garbled. Sometimes he just kind of talks in gibberish and you're like, OK buddy. I have no idea what you want, but right on.

    Mike and I got a rare vacation when we turned his work trip to Vancouver into a long weekend without kids. My mom flew in from Kansas to watch them. It was so nice and over way too soon.

    Our next trip will be with the kids to Minnesota in September. We wanted to go back to Lutsen for our anniversary (Sept. 18) and we thought we could have some alone time and then some with the whole family. I can't believe we haven't been back there since the wedding almost 7 years ago.

    This stage of life is just tough. I think it was actually easier when Max was a baby. The not-sleeping part is super hard, but then their needs are pretty much limited to eating, sleeping and diaper changes. Now you have to be on all the time, and it's intense. Especially for an introvert who needs alone time to recharge. I think when they're old enough to have a little more independence it will be easier. But hey, no one does this because it's easy.

    Last week we finally got enough free time to take the kids on a bike ride in our neighborhood. It was really fun, and it was a little taste of the kind of outdoorsy things we can as a family, especially as they get older.

    I have Max in daycare 4 days a week now, and I am starting to work a lot more. I now work at 2 stores (1 in Sausalito and 1 in San Francisco). I'm doing some PR work for one store and organizing classes at the other. And now I'm branching out and trying to teach more classes. I think that is really where it's at for me. It's the perfect intersection of crafts, media and retail, it pays well, and there are a lot of opportunities to teach around here.

    I'm also trying to get back in shape, post-babies, so hopefully I'll get a minute to share about that soon.