31 January 2011

AZ Wrap Up

When we visit Arizona, we don't necessarily go out of the house much or fill our days with typical vacation outings. There are still naps and meals and routines and boys to take care of. Long gone are the days of sitting out by the pool all day long. But when it is January, it is just so nice to have the option to go outside instead of being cooped up in the house.

While our visits to the desert may not be the same as vacations we took before we had children, they are pure bliss to me now. Because of grandparents who are so eager to entertain the boys, I get to do things that I don't usually squeeze in. I went to a few yoga classes at (in my opinion) the best studio ever. I visited with one of my best friends. Every afternoon when the boys' naps overlapped, I sat out in the sun and made my way through a photography book I've been dying to read. Instead of cooking meals, I got down on the floor and built towers with Nash while Blake serenaded us on the piano. I worked on Nash's scrapbook in the evenings instead of doing household chores. It was a perfect escape from reality.

The boys enjoyed activities that they don't usually get to do this time of year as well.

They filled buckets with rocks. There isn't a lot of grass filling yards in the desert. Did they care? Nope.


Did Nash try to eat the rocks? Yep.

We went to the park almost every day.

We took a bike ride.

And when I say "we," I mean my dad pulled Blake in the cart while I lagged behind because my ears were ringing from the cold rushing wind. It's Arizona, but it's not that warm early in the morning in January. I concocted makeshift ear muffs from my cardigan.

Blake fed the ducks with Grandpa.


The biggest highlight of all was going in the pool. Splashing around never gets old for these two.






Our getaway just wasn't long enough. Reality hit hard when I flew back home to the snow, alone with the boys. It was worth it to stay a few days longer than Troy did, but I am not eager to fly solo any time soon. It could have been worse I suppose, but with Nash practicing his nonstop blood curdling scream (he found his voice a few days ago), we had a few too many dirty looks sent our way. Thank goodness we only had to plug our ears for an hour and fifteen minutes. 

Our little paradise was fun while it lasted. I was in desperate need of some R&R. I feel like I've been going nonstop since the beginning of December. Now I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle the growing number of projects on my to-do list. Busy-mode is definitely my comfort zone; it's just nice to take a break from the chaos every once and a while.


23 January 2011

Hand-Me-Down Mom

When I was pregnant with my second child, I worried how we would make room for him.

I worried that he'd interfere with the little life we had built with our first son. It almost felt as if we were betraying Blake.

In fact, when I went in to the hospital for Nash's birth, my biggest worry was Blake. Would he be okay without us? Would he be confused by this new person in the house? How would he react to seeing me in the hospital? How would he feel about his new baby brother? How could we make sure he still felt really, truly loved while we were tending to the endless needs of a newborn?

I never thought that what would actually happen was that I would sometimes feel bitter towards Blake for not allowing me to be the kind of mother to Nash that I was to him.

When it was "just Blake," I would plop myself down on the floor and spend time with him, one-on-one, uninterrupted. We'd play ball, we'd read books, we'd laugh and tickle and sing and play.

When it was "just Blake," bath time was unhurried, fun, and even educational. I would play games with him, pop bubbles, and narrate everything that I was doing (just as the parenting books told me I should).

When it was "just Blake," meal times were calm and simple and organized. I'd prepare healthy meals for him, with lots of variety, and I'd take the time to feed him (or help him feed himself).

When it was "just Blake," time in the car was quality time. I would talk to him, responding to his coos and gurgles at first, then his words, and eventually reiterate his well-developed sentences.

Now, I am bombarded by the squeals of two very happy boys. They both want to play with Mama. They both want attention. And inevitably, Blake wins. He is bigger. He is louder. He is demanding. So when I plop down on the floor to play, it is usually Blake that commandeers the whole thing. He is the one who dictates what game we play. Nash just ends up following along.

Bath time now usually consists of trying to keep Nash off of "Blake's side" of the bathtub, and trying to get the baby done and out of there as quickly as possible so a war does not break out over the toys floating around.

Meals now are whatever we can scrounge together, and Nash is often on his own, which means that more of the spaghetti ends up in his lap than in his mouth.

And car rides are now spent listening to Blake's opinions about every location we pass and his memories associated with each place. Nash either sits quietly listening or shrieks repeatedly, trying to get his share of the attention.

When it was "just Blake," he didn't have to share me. He had me all to himself.

All the time.

Nash has to share me.

All the time.

Granted, Nash doesn't seem to mind. He seems happy just to be with us, hanging out, being included. He's so easy-going, so easily pleased, that it makes me feel even worse.

There is almost never undivided attention for "just him." Sometimes, in fact, I feel like there is nothing that is Just His.

All of Nash's belongings have been hand-me-downs from Blake. Car Seat. Highchair. Stroller. Clothing. Shoes. Toys. Play Mats. Bibs. Sippy Cups. There has been nothing of great importance that I can say has been all his own, just for Nash.

This week, I finally started putting together a scrapbook for Nash. I figured that since his first birthday is next week, I should probably get one started considering that Blake's baby book was already overflowing when he was this age. I printed Nash's pictures and they filled up about 25 pages. Out of curiosity, I counted the pages in Blake's baby book. Not surprisingly, Blake's book contained double the amount of pages. Troy thought that sounded about right, and that our next child would probably only have about 10 pages worth of documentation.

I know that with each successive child, there is less and less Mama to go around. But it doesn't make me feel any better. Because my heart is just as full of love for Nash as it is for Blake, regardless of how much stuff, documentation, or undivided attention I give to him.

I realize that there are pros and cons to everything. I realize that, sometimes, by giving your first child your undivided attention, he can grow up to be more difficult and high maintenance. I know that second (or third or fourth) babies can grow up to be more resilient, more easy-going, and tougher. They can learn to make the best of what is available to them. I see that already in Nash. And I wonder often if this is all actually good for him.

But it still frustrates and saddens me that by being the second child, Nash often gets a hurried, exhausted, multi-tasking mother; another hand-me-down. 


20 January 2011

From Snowmen to Palm Trees

Around the end of January October, I start to get really tired of the cold weather. I just really want all of the snow to melt. So, I was incredibly happy when we went from this:


To this:

Troy wanted to attend an event here in the desert and I jumped on board immediately with his plan. 




The boys weren't opposed to the location change either. We'll soak up any sunshine we can get before we go home to a few more months of winter.


11 January 2011

Triumphant

Troy came up with several pick up lines for Nash to use when he is older about filling the hole in his heart.

Thankfully, he won't get to use them, because that hole is now repaired. 

Nash's surgery for his Patent Ductus Arteriosis went really well. The recovery has been a little more difficult, but we are sure that this resilient boy will bounce back to himself in no time.

We are so grateful for modern medicine and excellent doctors. We thank our lucky stars every day that we live near such a phenomenal children's hospital.

We have felt so much love and support from our loved ones and others that we barely know throughout this process. We have really felt the power of prayer for our sweet little baby, and we can't thank you enough for remembering our small family.


10 January 2011

Pending Surgery

Nash goes in tomorrow for his heart surgery (read more here).


We are gearing up for a long couple of days at the hospital. We are incredibly grateful for all of the kind thoughts and prayers that have been sent our way.

(I also realized that I never did an 11 month post for Nash - so I stuck it in where it should have gone back here. And yes, he is finally crawling - go check out the video (mom) if you are interested.)


07 January 2011

Eve 2011

Each year, I set expectations for New Year's Eve to be exciting and set apart from other nights. I always end up disappointed when we inevitably do the same things that we do all the time. We eat, we put the kids to bed, we watch a movie, we stay up a little later than usual, blah, blah, boring.

So, this year, I really wanted to make our New Year's Eve celebration memorable and distinguishable from the monotony of every other night. We joined together with the Tanners and Sanders (cousins) to par-tay. The evening was ushered in with three types of cheese fondue which in my opinion is the greatest meal ever. We finished off the chocolate course just before the clock struck midnight.

For entertainment, I created a photo booth with handmade props. It was simple to put together; a fabric backdrop, painted old frames, decorated masks, and some creative relatives. Tricia helped me with the final touches and we shot away. (Please excuse the shadows - the lighting wasn't the best and I was trying to get used to a lens I borrowed while mine was being repaired from a slip-on-ice tragedy back in December.)

















I was thoroughly satisfied when the evening turned out to be both memorable and distinguishable, and I think we may have started a new tradition.


06 January 2011

Snowed In

Ironically, the day that we had all planned on getting out of the cabin for various activities, we woke up to this:

There was no way we were getting out. The snow plow didn't even come until the early evening because the freeway was shut down all day.
I love the way the snow even stuck to the icicles and the stones lining the garage.

I am not the hugest fan of snow and voluntarily participating in activities that cause coldness, but who could resist the opportunity to play in this much snow? I am still in disbelief at how much snow there was.

The boys shoveled out a few paths for us to trudge through.

And Blake was pretty much on cloud nine when Jacob dug him a tunnel to crawl in.



We bundled up Nash as well so that he could have his first real blizzard experience.



It was short lived. It turned out that being wrapped up in pounds of too-big snow gear and being hit constantly in the face with snowflakes didn't make him the happiest.

Until the guys dug him a hole to sit in.

Then he was all smiles.

Playing in the snow was right up there for Blake with going in the jacuzzi.

Except when he face-planted right into it.

It was nothing a little ride on the sled chariot couldn't fix.

We found the perfect size hill in the backyard to dig out a sledding path.

And took off!