Tuesday, December 10, 2013

About the Boy

Will is nearly 18 weeks old. Eighteen weeks! How is that even possible? 

I was looking through some old photos the other day and realized that he is suffering woefully from Neglected Second Child Syndrome; I have probably three times as many photos of Harper by the time she was his age. Not to make excuses, but it is tougher to take the camera out when you're constantly chasing and/or cleaning up after someone. Fortunately for us, Will is so easy-going I cling to the hope that he'll never care that he has gotten less attention than his sister did. Hopefully.

Anyway, here is my attempt at equalizing things.







He's babbling up a storm these days, making N's and B's and G's and K's and, his new favorite, H's. Harper and he make "zombie growls" at each other and then he laughs and laughs like she's the funniest thing in the world. He's also grabbing his feet all the time and working on his abs by sitting up in his car seat. I think he'll be sitting on his own in no time. Where is the time going? 

Also, Harper made me a Play-Doh heart yesterday. That kid can be so sweet. I am such a lucky mommy!






Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgivingkah 2013

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! We were lucky enough to have Brad's brother here with us this year. He drove out all the way from Colorado to meet his niece and nephew for the first time. Needless to say, it has been way too long since we've seen him, so it was great to have him here and catch up. And Harper and Will really loved getting to know their Uncle Ben.

Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin

Ben's trip was delayed due to scheduling and one nasty storm so he got in a couple of days late, which worked out just fine for us. We ended up celebrating Thanksgiving (or The Great Feast of Starch, as its known around here) on Saturday instead of Thursday. Then we had all day Sunday to spend at Honeymoon Island. Of course, I was compelled to take pictures for posterity.    

 Uncle Ben

Harper loved playing with Ben.

Making a sand cave for the dinosaurs (naturally).

Brothers

Trying to look natural (doesn't Ben just look like a bigger, hairier version of Brad?).

Harper chased...

... and chased...

 ... and chased the gulls.

We finally got her to sit still for a minute.

Ben is a little stiff in front of the camera. 

It didn't help that Brad was doing his impersonation of a high-fashion photographer and saying things like, "Be sad.... sadder... so sad. Yes, that's it! Now you're a tiger! Growl, human tiger!"

Of course, Brad hates having his picture taken, too. I think it's a Booker-thing (except for Harper, who LOVES having her picture taken, proving the rule).

After all the beach fun and photos Harper got to run around on the playground with Brad and Ben while Will and I took a break.

On Monday Brad went back to work so Harper and I took Ben and Will to the Florida Aquarium. It is Harper's absolute favorite place in the entire world, and it was the first time that both Ben and Will had been to an aquarium, so it was an extra special trip.  

Obligatory shot in front of The Ray.

With both of the kids.

I love this one.

Monday and Tuesday Ben was out at the farm with Brad doing guy stuff (which I imagine to be eating battered things, driving farm equipment, wrestling, and talking about killing things with their bare hands). Brad desperately needed to do guy stuff. Ben ended his tour d'Tampa by getting lost and, in true Booker form, risked his life driving around the ghetto for about an hour before coming to his senses and calling to get directions. No visit to Tampa is complete without risking one's life.

Anyway, the week went much too quickly and now Ben is making his way back to Colorado. Thank you so much for visiting, Ben. Let's make sure we do it again before another five years pass!      

Thursday, November 21, 2013

15 Weeks Old

Will is growing at the speed of light. Not only has he been rolling over but he's also teething and enjoying his bouncer, which gives me a couple of minutes of free time a day. 

video
Our happy, sweet boy.

Can you believe how much he's grown?! We got the bouncer for Harper when she was about Will's age. Seeing him in it makes me a little nostalgic.

Here's a picture of Harper in the bouncer the day we brought it home. 


Sometimes I think Will looks like a miniaturized, more masculine version of Harper (all Booker) and sometimes I think he looks more like a Bauer. What do you think?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Come Back

You know when someone says something that really irritates you but you can’t think of the perfect response at the time? Well, for once, I did! And, I was brave enough to actually say it!

This morning we decided to go to Dinosaur World (Dinosaur World!) so I packed up the kids and we headed out. When we got there Will needed a feed so I decided to nurse him at the picnic tables by the playground so Harper could keep busy while we were immobile.

I should pause here and explain my stance on nursing covers. I own two, but I don’t always use them. If I feel like using them, I do- like if it’s chilly out or if it’s too bright for Will or if I don’t want to deal with ogling onlookers. But there are times I don’t use them- like on a hot and humid Florida day like today (covering up a baby on a day like today would be tantamount to child abuse, in my opinion). On those days I try to be as stealthy as possible, but it is what it is. (I would also like to point out that, if the baby is actually nursing, the baby is covering all of “the goods,” and all anyone has a view of is the back of their sweet little head.)

So there we were, Harper running and climbing and swinging while I was minding my own business nursing Will in the Great Out-Of-Doors. There was a school group there, too, eating lunch, so I had positioned myself so that my back was towards them, and I had the stroller situated so that the view of me from the playground was partially obstructed but I could still see over the top of it to watch Harper, when a group of two families sat down directly across from me at the next table. The kids (four of them ages maybe nine to twelve) were all sitting with their back towards me and their parents were across the table, facing me.

Then the kids started telling jokes which got progressively more off-color. Their parents were going back and forth between chatting with each other and snickering at the punch lines, which only emboldened the kids. The situation culminated when one of the kids told a terribly racist joke, which made whole group, child and parent alike, howl with laughter.
   
I was dumbfounded, and as I glanced at one of the chortling fathers we made eye contact briefly and it was clear by his expression he had just figured out what I was doing there. I immediately looked away but it was too late.

“Hey!” he barked, obviously heated, “What you’re doing there… cover yourself up, for God’s sake! No one wants to see that kind of thing!”

“Well,” I answered (probably a little self-righteously), “I’d rather not hear what I just heard, but I also believe in the Freedom of Speech. Luckily, the Law protects both of us.”

I guess the ruckus got the attention of a couple of the teachers who were sitting behind me, and I heard one of them say, “Amen, sister!” and start to laugh under her breath. Then the man’s wife hushed him and they started packing up to leave. When I got up a few minutes later the same teacher gave me a sly “thumbs up.” And that was the end of it.

It’s so strange how just a few, simple, perfectly timed words can turn a situation completely around.


Here are some photos we took during the rest of our day, after the high wore off. 

Harper wore her brand new T. Rex baking cupcakes T-shirt (thanks, Crystal and Jeff!!).
  






   
 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Projects

Those of you who have been following along know that I have been preoccupied with getting family photos lately; the White Whale of which being an actual picture of Brad, Harper, Will and me together, at the same time. It seems ridiculous but we literally did not have a single photo of the four of us together.

A couple of weeks ago we had planned a trip to Dinosaur World to cap Harper's birthday weekend. Brad's parents were still in town so they came along and so did our friends the MacWherters. Even the dogs were in tow! (Dinosaur World allows dogs, how cool is that?)


Dinosaur World!

Dinosaur World!

Dinosaur World!

I had it all planned out so that we could finally get a family photo, but, once we got there, was heartbroken to find I'd forgotten to pack the camera. Luckily, Narelle stepped in and saved the day with her smart phone (yay Narelle!) and we were able to get everyone to stand still in close proximity for three entire minutes, which produced the following results...  
  




... so now I have photographic proof that I have a family. Take that, naysayers!

The other big thing I was working on last week was a Mesozoic playmat for Harper's dinosaurs. It was supposed to be a birthday gift but time really got away from me what with the newborn and house guests and all, so it was finished a little later than I'd hoped. No matter, she loved it anyway. She has played with it every day since its unveiling and twice I have gone into her room in the morning to find her cuddled up with it in bed. I am so pleased it was a hit!  

I finished a few details after this was taken but you get the jist. 

The big news around here has been Will's increasing mobility. He has literally been able to roll over on his side since he was born (he rolled over on the warming table in the Labor and Delivery Suite seconds after delivery, much to the nurses' astonishment), but hadn't rolled on to his belly yet. That is, until about two weeks ago. 

Ever since he started rolling over he's been practicing non-stop. The other day I was folding laundry on our bed while he was busy rolling over again and again. I stopped what I was doing to get it on camera, but, after ten minutes, I realized that my attempts to video it were futile. All I was able to record was him toying with me (but what a cute smile!).

video


Of course, I eventually gave up and, after having my back towards him to put the camera on the dresser, turned back to find him on his belly smiling. Such is life.

I'll get it on camera eventually.    

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Belated Birthday

So Harper's birthday (AKA Birthday Weekend 2013) was nearly a month ago and I'm just now getting around to do the post. It's not entirely my fault, though. There was a camera incident that involved several key photos of the day mysteriously disappearing, so I had to gather photos from everyone who had a camera that day (which was no small feat). Then, of course, the photos all reappeared in tact on my camera. We desperately need a new camera.

I wracked my brains trying to come up with a special place to hold the party this year, but in the end we opted for affordable and easy and decided on Kate Jackson Park for the second year in a row. The kids played at the playground (again), then we had pizza and cake (again), and finished up with the fountains (again).  Why change a winning formula, I always say. Anyway, when it was all said and done it was a pretty fun day.

I was too busy feeding Will off and on every twenty minutes or so (growth spurt) to take pictures so I handed the camera off to Balaji who passed it around amongst the guests. I was pleasantly surprised when I got home and saw what people had gotten photos of.

Ava D. was a lean, mean, climbing machine.

The birthday girl, getting a little help from a friend.

Neighbor Robin brought her two boys, Shane and Elijah, who were having too much fun to stand still long enough for a picture.

I think the Aglaves were a little overwhelmed by all the action at first.

Will and me during a brief, fleeting nursing respite.

I would just like to point out that Kevin looks like such a dad in this picture.

THE CAKE! When I asked Harper what kind of cake she wanted she was unwavering: a chocolate dinosaur cake with blue chocolate frosting. Again, I opted for simple here and ordered a plain cake from a bakery which we then decorated. The pond was cream cheese frosting and the dirt was crumbled cookies. It was surprisingly tasty, and refreshingly easy. Plus the kids went crazy for it.

The lighting of the candle.

It was nearly impossible to keep all their tiny, grabby hands off of the cake until after the candle was blown out.

"Happy birthday to you!..."

Make a wish! (Notice Taneshka "helping" from the upper left.)

Cutting and passing out the cake was a huge undertaking.

Look! Tara and Grayson were there, too! 

Of their own doing, the girls all sat at one table while the boys sat at another (those are the boys wrestling in the background).

Miss Manners would have been very proud of Ava D... 

... while Zoe and Harper were keepin' it real.

Ava T. immediately went in to a post-cake, sugar induced mania, which resulted in copious and vigorous hugs for all.

After cake it was off to the fountains for a little water fun.

Harper and Zoe shakin' it up... 

... and gettin' down.

See the little girl on the far left? It was her birthday, too. However, instead of a modest, unassuming party like ours, hers was a garish catered event with linens, floral arrangements, a puppet show and hors d'oeuvres served on trays by hired staff in uniform. I'm not saying they were showing off to cover up some substantial shortcoming, but infer what you will.

Will was exhausted by the melee. 

Even our fantastic sitter stopped by for a while.

Hot mamas!

Although we requested people not bring gifts this year, a couple of families were too generous to resist, so the following day, after going to Dinosaur World (fingers crossed, those photos will follow) we opened the gifts from the non-compliant and the grandparents. (Bonus: it gave us an excuse to eat more cake!)   

Opening one of Nana and Pa's gifts.

Pretty handmade hair bows from the Drwiegas! 

Reptiles and Amphibians from Grandma and Grandpa quickly became a bedtime staple.

The weekend was so action-packed we never even got around to the Triceratops pinata we had planned to break at the party, so I called ahead and got special permission to bring it along on the following Wednesday to Harper's Little Amigos toddler Spanish class. The kids had a great time with the pinata and snatching the candy up.

The candy disappeared within a matter of seconds.

Cute Fiona, who had to miss Harper's party because of a fever, and Senora Erika, Harper's favorite teacher. (Notice Harper savoring her lollipop in the background. That kid is a nut for a lollipop.) 

So far, three years old is three times the adventure. Happy birthday, Harper!