Wednesday, June 25, 2014

29 Things I Love About my Love

In honor of Chris' 29th birthday (gosh we're old...) I thought I'd take a sec to write down 29 of my favorite things about Chris (because, you know, he's my favorite :) ):

1. He's funny.  Super duper funny.  He has the best sense of humor and there is not a day that goes by that he doesn't make me laugh about something.  I just love that.

2. He always rinses his lunch dishes when he's done so he doesn't bring home stinky dishes.  Simple but thoughtful.

3. He seriously LOVES being a daddy.  He is so dedicated to his boys.  And he just adores spending time with them.  As I write this, he's currently out at a baseball game with Cole.  Just for fun, a nice father/son outing.  While at the end of the day, I often beg to get out of the house for some alone time, Chris comes right in from work and voluntarily gets down on the floor to play with our boys.

4. He always compliments my (horrendous) cooking.  And eats it.

5. He works so hard for our family.  A full time job plus a couple nights a week on call at the hospital. 

6. He is a loyal friend.  Two of his best friends have literally been his best friends for years and years (one since he was six, the other since he was 15).

7. He calls his parents - frequently, not just on their birthdays.

8. Speaking of birthdays, he's one of the few men I know who actually remembers people's birthdays.

9.  He always thinks of something fun for us to do as a family.

10.  He blows through a honey-do list like nobody's business.  I love walking through the house and seeing little reminders of all the things he's accomplished for me.

11.  He makes phone calls for me.  I hate hate hate talking on the phone, so I really appreciate his willingness to make calls.

12. He's a total dog person - we are kindred spirits.

13. He's never afraid to apologize when he's in the wrong.

14.  He takes care of me.  Last year, he was concerned about a mole on my arm - I totally brushed it off, but he insisted I go get it checked out.  Fortunately for me, since it turned out to be pre-cancerous and needed removed.  It wasn't the first time he pushed me to take care of myself medically and I'm so grateful for those boosts.

15. Even when it takes twice as long, he's always willing to have Cole along with him for fixing things and running errands.  And his patience is seriously unending with all of Cole's "help".

16.  He fixes my computer.  All the time.

17.  He takes care of the boys every Saturday morning so that I can take a nap.  I would seriously have married him for this reason ALONE.

18. He kills all the spiders for me.

19. We have the same taste in movies.

20. He can sing every single Disney song from every single Disney movie PERFECTLY.  He's super musical and I love to hear him singing all day long.

21. He's big on spending time with people.  He'd rather have experiences with family than anything else.

22. He is, without a doubt, the MOST easy-going person I've ever met.  He goes with the flow, he rarely complains, and the only thing that ever gets him upset is snoring when he's trying to fall asleep.  Literally.  He could be dealing with the most difficult person or situation and it won't faze him in the least.

23. He is incredibly talented with construction and home improvement.  I love that whenever we need something fixed, he can do it all on his own.

24. He is the most loving husband. 

25. He's super active and loves to share that with all of us in the family.  He'd so much rather get off the couch and go ride bikes, play at the park, or do a round of golf as a family than sit in front of his computer or the TV.

26.  He's intelligent.  When there's something he doesn't know much about, he'll take the time to read up on it to form a well-read opinion.  When there's something we are discussing (often related to child development) he'll listen to my opinion and the research I have to support what I think we should do, and then he'll read the research and we can come to a conclusion together. 

27. He's FUN!  So much of the time, I'll look at him wrestling and laughing with Cole and Chase on the bed, or making funny faces in the grocery store, or playing some sort of strange game they made up at the spur of the moment - and I think, I never would have thought to make every little thing so much fun! 

28.  He's ambitious, always thinking of the future with his career and our family.  But not so ambitious that he'll neglect us in favor of moving on up.

29.  He always, always, always puts his family first. 

Happy Birthday, my love!  I'm so very happy you were born :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


This afternoon, after I heard a VERY loud thump from upstairs:

"Cole, what are you doing?"


"No, tell me what you are doing!"


Yu-huh.  That's usually a good sign that you shouldn't be doing what you're doing.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Interview with Cole

Seriously, one of my favorite things to do EVER is ask Cole questions.  Any chance I get to have a little peek into the workings of his busy little mind, I jump on! So I thought a little interview might be a peek for all you to see his thoughts too. :)

What is your name? Cole
How old are you? 4
Where do you live? in Central Point
What's your address? (address)
Who do you live with?  Mom, Chase, Nala, Chloe, and Dad
Do you know my name? Mom and Mandy
How old am I?  29
How much do I weigh? 13 pounds I think
What's my favorite thing to do?  talk to Auntie Meg and Gram
What's something I do not like to do? climb trees (?????)
What's something I like to eat?  instant breakfast
What's something I like to drink?  milk and water
What's something you like to do with me? laundry
What's Dad’s name? Chris
How old is Dad?  29
How much does Dad weigh? 13 pounds
What's his favorite thing to do? is play with me!
What's something he does not like to do? He does not like to climb trees (again, ???)
What's his favorite thing to eat? He likes to eat broccoli (haha! running joke in our family) and pesto pasta and chicken.  And spaghetti too.
What does he like to drink? milk and water
I like it when...he plays with me
I love it when... Mom or Dad cooks
My favorite food to eat is .... pesto pasta and spaghetti
I don’t like to eat ... broccoli
My favorite place to eat is... Olive Garden and Thai Bistro
I like to order shells, those shells that they have.  I eat everything they serve me. Panang curry.  I can't even pick, I just can eat them all!
My favorite color is... pink and blue.
What makes me happy? Spending time with Mama!
What makes me sad? When Dani took the swings away last night and we argued.
What I’m afraid of is... snow bears.
What is my favorite thing to do? play in boxes
If I could go anywhere, I’d go... I can't pick, I like all of the places we go to. I can't even pick.
My favorite holiday is... um, I don't know, I like ALL of the holidays.
My favorite toy is... my horsey and my pushing toy thing.
My favorite animal is... I like cats and dogs.
My favorite book is... all of my library books. My magazines.
My favorite song is.... Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
My favorite game is... Trouble. Also Go Fish
When I grow up I want to be... an airplane flyer and a jet flyer and a helicopter flyer.
I love... YOU! and I love Nala and Chloe and Chase.  And Dad.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Only Chase

It's one of my favorite times of the day: nursing Chase in the peaceful and quiet moments after he wakes for the day.

He always nurses slowly during these times, popping off frequently to smile his gummy grin or to study my face intently.  He alternates between waving his chubby little fists around, occasionally trying to get his hand to my face; and holding tightly to the collar of my shirt, his starfish fingers gripping tightly.

I feel guilty, sometimes, that we only rarely have these quiet, uninterrupted moments.  So much of my time spent with Chase is punctuated by loud noises from Cole, reading to Cole, barking dogs, running feet, and trying to protect him from being kissed and played with to death by Cole. (Cole is an enthusiastic big brother.)  Most of the time, Chase does not have my undivided attention.

So I savor even more those precious moments of being able to focus completely on Chase, and remember how important it is for both of my children to know how much we value individual time with each of them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Father's Day (a little late)

Last weekend, we had the opportunity to meet up with some old friends at a dear friend's wedding.  A couple people wanted to know how the transition to big brother went for Cole - "Any jealousy issues or anything?"

I know things could still change (after all, Chase has only been here five months), but I'm thrilled to say that we haven't had a single incidence of sibling rivalry or jealousy.  Cole has been nothing but an incredible big brother, supportive and loving and ever so patient with the demanding needs of a newborn.

And I know exactly why: it's because of his daddy.

While I (understandably, since I'm the milk machine) have taken over the majority of daily care of Chase, Chris has slowly transitioned to spending more and more time with Cole.  The minute he arrives home, Cole is attached to his hip.  They do errands together.  They play outside, riding bikes and throwing balls around with the neighborhood kids.  Chris has started taking Cole to swimming lessons every week.  They take a long, leisurely bath together almost every night.  And - my favorite - Chris has started tucking Cole in for the night.  Occasionally I'll read him a story and tuck him in, but then Cole always asks for Daddy to come in.  They'll play together in his darkened bedroom, free from distractions, completely uninterrupted time.  Cole always leads the play and Daddy is always the star attraction. Oftentimes, Chris uses the time while they are playing to talk with Cole about his day, or to help him problem-solve an issue that cropped up. 

I couldn't love it more.  I love that Chris is paving the way at a young age to keep the lines of communication open.  I love that they have official "scheduled" time together to converse and hang out.  I love that Chris is demonstrating by example how important daddies are to kids, how parenting does not just belong to the mom.  I love that Chris is supporting Cole's imaginative play by not directing or "showing", but just letting Cole take the lead.  I love that he is giving Cole long stretches of time free from electronic distractions, so Cole fully feels his importance in our lives.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I couldn't imagine a better, more patient, more caring, and more loving father.  I would feel nothing but pure joy if our boys grew up to be exactly like their daddy. 

Happy Father's Day (a little late), my love.  You rock.

Family Fun Center!

For Father's Day, Chris requested we take our little family to our local Family Fun Center for some miniature golf and go-karts:

 Chris demonstrating Chase's love of gnawing on the carrier:
 I love his look of pure concentration...lining up his ball to the hole:
 And the go-karts! So fun! (Chris told me later he wasn't sure who was having more fun, Cole or me!)
A perfect afternoon with my fun boys! :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Chatty Boys

These brothers and their adorable relationship make me SO happy!

Chase just adores Cole - I can see a lifelong idolization brewing!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I have to admit, I don't think there is any worse occupation out there for receiving all sorts of critical judgment than being a parent. 

I'm not sure why.  You'd think being thrown head first into this overwhelming, thankless job called parenting, we would all bond together and support each other.  You'd think we'd pat each other on the back, lift each other up.

Nope.  Instead, we have judgment.  We have criticism.  We have pointing fingers and mommy wars.

A friend posted a parenting link on Facebook, and another sweet mama friend commented on it.  "I worry that you more experienced mamas are secretly judging my parenting." 

Now, this particular mama friend is the sweetest, patient, most kind and loving parent I've ever met.  Every single interaction with her son is respectful and patient.  She truly has nothing to fear of being judged as lacking in the parental department - yet she still occasionally feels this way.

Here's the thing.  I've got some radical parenting ideas.  Zero screen time, no spanking or time outs, no praise, never ever directing Cole's play... a lot of these things make people in contact with me roll their eyes or show their disagreement in some other way.  Yes, its different.  Yes, its unusual.  Does that mean I'm judging you for parenting different than we do?  Nope.  This sort of parenting WORKS for us.  It fits in with our personal beliefs of respectful parenting, of "Do unto others", of tolerance, independence, and fostering creativity.  Maybe your values are different. 

I like to compare parenting styles to religion.  My personal beliefs about religion are tolerance:  MY beliefs don't have to be YOUR beliefs.  There's more than one right answer.  I think the big picture is more important and valuable than getting hung up on the details.  The same goes with parenting.  Let's look at the big picture - there's more than one way to raise an amazing child. 

Let's lift each other up in the long-haul marathon that is parenting, instead of tearing each other down.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


yesterday, I went upstairs to put Chase down for his nap

a process than can take anywhere from five minutes to forty five minutes

Cole is usually involved in playing on his own, eating a snack, or otherwise entertained happily downstairs while I take care of Chase

sometimes I feel a little nervous - and guilty - having him bouncing around downstairs...but what other choice do I have?

but yesterday, he proved to me once again how far just a little trust and responsibility will go.

I came downstairs from a particularly grueling time trying to get Chase asleep - bleary eyed from listening to him cry for over half an hour before this one nap.  Cole was running around happily outside, swinging on his swing and chasing the dogs.  I looked around and noticed: books were stacked neatly and put away in their baskets.  A huge mess of cars and airplanes that had been on the playroom floor for days was picked up.  Crayons, markers, and paper that had covered Cole's little table were put away.  Pillows plumped up and put on the sofa.  Blankets folded. Dishes into the sink. 

not only his mess, but little day-to-day messes, things I usually pick up and put away and clean during naptime and bedtime - it was all cleaned up.  Everything was spotless.

I've never been a stickler for clean up.  If Cole's working on a project or playing particularly hard with some toys, it's no big deal to leave it out.  I've never asked Cole to do any "chores".

I was beyond touched.  This little, thoughtful gesture - this unasked for favor just when I needed it most - THIS is what my sweet boy is made of.  I am constantly blown away by the generosity of spirit Cole demonstrates on a daily basis.  Not asking for recognition, not in search of thanks and approval, but just doing something kind for someone he loves.

what a reward for giving him space, giving him a chance, and most of all trusting him.

I'm pretty sure I want to be like my son when I grow up.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Double Trouble

Almost every time I'm out with my boys, someone comments to me:

"Two boys! Wow, I'll bet you have your hands full!"

Yup.  Yup, I do, I always answer.

With two boys in the house, there's a lot of noise.  I mean A LOT.

There's a lot of screeching and screaming and wailing (from the baby boy) and a lot of shouting and yelling and stomping feet as loud as humanely possible (from the big boy).

There's a lot of energy output.  My boys do everything, hard.  They play hard.  They sleep hard.  They eat hard.  Sometimes I get exhausted just watching them.  There's a lot of passion for life, for living, for doing everything possible in life as soon as possible.  Cole spends most of his day trying to cram as much activity into the day as physically possible.  Chase is always moving, always wanting to be held or sat up.

There's a lot of eating.  Chris and I joke that instead of saving for our boys' college educations, we should be saving for groceries when they're teenagers.  They seriously eat SO much.  Cole often eats more in one meal than I do in an entire day. Chase isn't even on solid food yet, but I can tell by the slightly desperate way he nurses (GULP GULP) that he's going to match his brother for appetite.  I literally can't even imagine how much food we are going to go through in this house.


It's a good thing they are so sweet and wonderful.  I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Birthday Boy!

Dear Cole,

Oh my darling.  My darling boy.  Four years old, you are today.  Four years you've been in our lives.

Often nowadays you ask questions about people and events that took place before you were born.  You ask about Daddy's and my wedding, or about my job before I was a mama.  I'll tell you that it happened before you were born, and you get a slightly puzzled look on your face and ask, "Was I in your uterus like Baby Chase was?"

"Nope, it was even before that!" 

 "But where was I?"

"You hadn't come along yet!"

You literally cannot imagine a world without you.  And most days, little man, your daddy and I feel the same way.  We cannot imagine our world without you, sweet boy.  You bring so much joy and happiness to everyone you meet.  You are sweet and thoughtful and mature.  You are quick to laugh and play - and you are juuuuust rambunctious enough to keep from being a little old grump. 

This past year has been a year of changes.  We've had some changes in our close friendships, which you have handled with admirable aplomb.  We've moved and settled into a new house and new neighborhood, with neighborhood friendships developing.  And, of course, you've become a big brother.  I'm so proud of you, son, watching your daily interactions with Chase as you protect him and love him.  You've grown and matured in ways I couldn't have ever imagined.

Daddy, Chase and I love you more than anything, darling boy.  Keep being your beautiful, awesome self.  We're so glad you've been in our lives for four years!

Love, Mama

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Auntie Meg with Chase

Chase loved spending some time with his Auntie Meg:

PS Am I the only mama out there who gets weird urges to munch on their baby's chubby little thighs?! I mean, just look at those rolls! So munchable!
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