Happy Camper

I’ll admit it, as a kid, I despised, loathed, HATED camping.  It was pretty much the worst thing my parents could do to me.  Maybe second only to cross country skiing (I’ll save that story for another day).  The bugs, and the being dirty, and the squatting to pee.  *shudder*  I have very vivid memories of feeling rocks burrow their way into my back as I lay on the cold, hard ground, counting the seconds until it was time to wake up and go home.  (Melodramatic, much?  Ha.  I was a teenager… what do you expect?)

And yet, now that I have some kiddos of my own, when Joel suggested we take the boys camping, I immediately jumped at the chance to subject them to the same torture my parents had inflicted upon me expose them to the wonders of nature.

The weekend prior to our camping adventure, Joel and I did a little Set Up the Tent dry run, which really proved to be helpful in allowing us to set up the tent on actual camping day without A) Wyatt running around and on top of and inside the tent the entire time and B) knocking Calvin to the ground. And hey, a giant bag of marshmallows turns out to be exactly the right thing to keep a toddler happily occupied.  So, there we were, winning at life, enjoying the weather and the lake and our picnic lunch.  We magically convinced the kiddos to nap, taught Wyatt how to pee on a tree (I’ll give the credit to Joel on this one), made dinner over the fire and ate s’mores.  (side note: Wyatt seriously kept asking, ‘some more what?’ no matter how many times we explained that no, that’s just what they’re called:  ‘Do I want some more WHAT?’)

And then we turned in for the night.  Aaaaaaannndddd, cue worst night sleeping in a tent ever.  Seriously.  I wanted to go back and find my wimpy. whiney teenager self who whimpered and cried because, ‘camping is so haaaarrrrddd’ and tell her to shut it.  Because well, one, it was cold!  So so so cold, and we had not prepared for that.  And, before you even ask, yes, we had sleeping bags, and no we couldn’t use them properly because I was sleeping with Cal in my bed and I was afraid of smothering him the entire night, so I lay there most of the night shivering and covering his freezing hands and ears and making sure his face didn’t suffocate in the blankets.  And, all night long I wanted to cry and kept thinking, no way in hell are we staying another night, I am FREEZING.  But, then came morning and sweet Wyatt popped his head up and looked so dang adorable and Calvin started laughing at his awesome older brother and I shut my trap.  I turned to Joel and said, “Well, morning is nice.  We can stay another night if you want to.”   And, darling that he is, he said, “No way.  I’m not doing that again.”

So, we ate and we packed and we drove home.  But, believe it or not, I want to do it again.  Just maybe with a pair of socks next time.

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Life As Of Late

Life with two boys is amazing and hilarious and wild and awesome.  Wyatt is 2.5 going on 30.  He loves a good book and will read for hours in his room.  He’s a chatterbox and a knowledge addict.  His favorite question is “why?” and he bounces back and forth between loving and hating his new brother.

Things you’ll hear around our place these days:

In the mornings: “Daddy, can we go get a latte?”

If Calvin fusses or cries: “Mommy, can you go feed Calvin?”

At the playground: “Dammit, that girl’s on the swing!”

When he’s ready for the bedtime routine to end: “Ummm, can you go sleep in your own bed?”

He runs at all times, usually shouting “Hey!  I know…” before beginning some new adventure.

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Calvin is hilarious and feisty. He hates when I talk, read, eat, breathe while I am nursing him. He loves to be the center of attention (wrong birth order kiddo!), and talks A LOT. He’s already hard at work keeping up with his brother and lights up when Wyatt walks into the room. Just today he started laughing deep belly laughs. He is BIG and strong and a total momma’s boy.

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It’s busy and loud and out of control over here. Read: exactly as it should be.

Belly Series III

So, where was I? Oh yeah, it was the middle of summer and I was spending all my time with Wyatt and I was blogging and winning at life. (Does writing 3 blogs in 4 months count as blogging?  Don’t answer that, it’s my blog and I can pretend if I want to).

Anyway, back to my story:
I got bigger and more tired while Wyatt got bigger and more energized. Then, I got bigger and went back to work. Then, I got bigger and went on maternity leave. Then, I got bigger and Wyatt and I became attached at the hip.  Then, our miraculous Calvin was born.

And now, I have tons and tons of time to get everything in my life done, including blogging!   Hahahaha. I’m kidding.  I can’t even remember the last time I showered.  (What day is it, anyway?)

I do, however, have a few minutes right now in which I can pretend to be a blogger again and post some pictures from the last 9 months.  Ladies and gentleman, I give you Belly Series 3:

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Wyatt: Bringing Us Joy Since 2012

“I’m TWO!” said Wyatt, before holding up his hands to demonstrate this fact using his fingers (he held up all ten). When I asked him what he’d like for breakfast he said, “Birthday cake!” He ran and splashed and squealed and hugged his cousins and giggled until he couldn’t giggle anymore. He smiled when I showed him his Elmo cake, and when I asked him to pick out two candles to put on the cake, he grabbed one and immediately tried to eat it.

Tonight as I put him to bed, he turned to me, lifted my shirt, rubbed my belly, and said, “I love my baby.”

He’s the sweetest, kindest, most amazing person in the world. And, just like that, he’s a two year old.

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Summer

It’s that time of year again: Summer vacation. When every day is the weekend and I get to spend all of it with this guy:

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This guy, who won’t leave the house without either his sunglasses or his necklace (still trying to get photographic evidence of his fondness for costume jewelry).

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This guy, who learned that splash pads and fountains are exhilarating.

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This guy, who is a mustache growing, tank top wearing, lady killer.

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This guy, who wakes up every morning yelling, “Mommy Leah!!!”

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This guy, who tries his hardest to get out of trouble by repeatedly asking, “What did Mommy say?”

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This guy, who sits in my lap every day and yells, “Mommy hilarious!  I LOVE you Mommy!”

Best summer ever.

When the cat’s away, the mice will play

A few weeks back Joel was out of town and left me and the little mister to our own devices.  First order of business:  Ride the subway train.

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Then, consume as much sand as possible:

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Next we tried our hand at being a cashier…

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And, a bus driver.

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Finally, we went to the park:

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But mostly, we just missed Daddy:

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Mother’s Day

The day Wyatt ran up to me, and with no prompting or guidance of any kind, looked me right in the eyes and said, “I love you Mommy!!”

The day Wyatt ran and grabbed a book and when I asked him if he wanted Daddy to read it said, “No! Mommy read it!”

The day we took Wyatt to The Cloisters and held hands as we ran the entire way there.

The day I took this adorable picture and realized for the one millionth time how lucky I am.

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Cloisters23 Weeks/ 20 Months

Marshmallow Peeps, Egg Dying, and other Easter briefs

-Wyatt learned two new vocabulary words this Easter season: Marshallow Peep and Chocolate Bunny

-Egg Dying is the least exciting Easter activity in the world when you’re a year and a half.

-Finally being old enough to keep up with your older cousin on the playground is pretty much the best thing in the world.

-An Easter Egg hunt with a 3 year old and a 1.5 year old is a great study in patience and sharing.

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Nightmare on 34th Street

There we were, standing in a line that wrapped around the block. Childless passerby stared and some even leaned in with a, “What’s this line for?” Well, it’s December 22 and EVERY person in this line is holding a baby. Santa. The line is for Santa. Obvi. And then, one such passerby responded by leaning in even closer, looking directly at Wyatt and proclaiming, “Santa’s overrated.”

Oh no he didn’t.

Santa is exactly, perfectly rated. He is the stuff Christmas dreams are made of. Obviously, since my child is 15 months old, I mean the stuff MY dreams are made of.

Last Christmas Wyatt was 3.5 months old. He was still trying to hold up his own head and was a master at the enormous diaper blow out. And Christmas with him was AWESOME. Just so super amazingly awesome. We showed him the Christmas tree and the lights. We helped him open presents and we took him to see Santa. And it was only about 1000x times more amazing than the Christmas when I was super worried Santa couldn’t find us at Grandma’s house in Ohio, but HE DID!!!

This Christmas Wyatt is awed by the tree and the lights and the ornaments. He walks into the living room and proudly points to the star, proclaiming, “Stahh.” He takes ornaments off the tree and kisses them. (And, his fondness for pickles resulted in an unfortunate glass pickle ornament getting a giant bite taken out of it…).

So, yes, there we stood, waiting to place our sweet son in Santa’s welcoming arms. I had Wyatt laughing up a storm in line and I knew this was going to be such a delightful experience.

And now it’s time to share the results:
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Wyatt HATED Santa. No, hated is probably the wrong word. He was terrified. Just completely, utterly terrified of the sweetest, jolliest man on Earth. So terrified that when I took Wyatt to the bathroom to change an enormous blowout (at least some things never change) he refused to let go of me when I tried to lay him on the changing table. His arms clenched so tightly around my neck I had to just lay there on the table with him while he held me.

Let’s take a side-by-side look at the difference a year can make:

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Seriously buddy? The creepiest Santa of all time has you sitting there chill as can be. And, sweet Father Christmas turns you into a hysterical mess.

(Did I mention the second Wyatt began screaming in sheer terror EVERY OTHER PARENT IN THE ROOM BURST OUT IN HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER. Not even kidding.)

Well, Santa wasn’t a big hit this year, but, because Wyatt was so terrified, he spent most of the night crying and refused to sleep without me or Joel in the room with him. So, even though it’s been ages, much to my delight Wyatt revived the old Family Bed, and he and I snuggled all night.

All in all, I’d say it was a complete success.

The Family That Poohs Together…

I kept calling this Halloween Wyatt’s first Halloween… even though he technically went trick-or-treating last year (see below).

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But, this was the first year he could walk and he could carry a little bag to put his candy in and we could parade him down the street, earning as many admiring stares and pieces of candy as possible (all of which were more for us than for him… okay, ALL of it was for us). So, we did it. Joel donned his ever ready Pooh costume, I broke out my Piglet monstrosity, and we forced Wyatt into joining our cult:
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photo-3“Help me” – Wyatt

We made dreams come true this Halloween.  Seriously. I cried. I cried big fat tears, and not just because Wyatt scored enough candy to fill my belly that night. No, I cried because this year everything felt right.

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Best Halloween Ever.

Working For The Weekend

In case you didn’t know: I’m back at work. Wah wah wah. Even though I have abandoned Wyatt for the world of work, he doesn’t hold it against me. Instead, because he’s just the coolest, sweetest, most amazing kid, he hugs me and kisses me and shows me about a million things from the minute I walk in the door until he falls asleep at night. And, then there are the weekends. Beautiful, blessed weekends when Wyatt and I get up early and go to the park to watch the dogs run and play. When Wyatt sits in my lap and points to every airplane that flies over head. When Wyatt hugs me tight as the dogs run over to us. When Wyatt waves and yells “hi!” to every passing human (and canine). When there is nothing else in the world except my sweet family and the beautiful place we live.

Montgomery15 Weeks/13 Months

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To Wyatt, On Your First Birthday

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Dear Wyatt,

You aren’t a baby anymore.  It’s been a long time coming, I know.  There have been plenty of hints along the way:  When you started sleeping exclusively in your crib (not even snuggling during nap time!); when the twins came home and I held those wobbly headed, snorting little bundles of joy, as you chased (read: tormented) Sofia; when you became a bonafide kid who actually plays with other kids.  My baby isn’t a baby.  I know everything I’m about to say is totally cliche, but seriously, cliches are cliches for a reason.  They are true and must be repeated. This past year has just flown by! I could have sworn it was just yesterday that you came into this world and changed our lives forever.  When did you become a big boy?  As I held those tiny little cousins of yours in my arms, you ran around the room like a maniac, hugging my legs, pulling my dress over your head, calling out “mama.”  Whoa.  A year ago you were the tiniest little in my arms, today you’re something else.  (I’m a real boy!).  You’re a full time walker, part time mischief maker.  You only recently became someone who understands humor.  As you know, your Daddy’s laugh is incredible.  It’s reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh in it’s sweetness, but it also booms, filling the whole room with laughter.  Now, whenever Daddy laughs, you break out in the most hilarious, fake laugh I’ve ever heard.  It sounds exactly like this:  Hah – Hah – Hah – Hah (pause) Hah – Hah – Hah – Hah.  You’re a ham.  You all of a sudden decided you’re old enough to hang with the big kids.  You chase them around (they mostly hate it), you “talk” to the cats whenever you see them (this mostly means yelling loudly in their faces), and your eyes practically bug out of your head when you get the opportunity to touch them.  And, in the last three days you have become opinionated and willful.  You point deliberately at objects you desire (especially at nap time – when you’d rather play with your toys than take a nap), making demands and shaking your head vigorously when we mistakenly grab the wrong object.  We’ve been trying (to no avail) to teach you to say please (in sign language) when you want something – I swear you would rather cut off your own hand than follow this simple request.  But, at the same time, you go over to my many jars of tea (a place you love to play, but just aren’t allowed to) and stand there, saying, “no, no, no” before running off on some other exploration.  You give endless hugs, thoroughly enjoy being the center of attention, and are our pride and joy.

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I have been asked so many times this past year if parenting is what I expected.  I often struggle to answer this question.  It’s too difficult to explain how one can never, ever prepare for how life will change when that baby is born.  I thought I knew how much love I would have for you, this tiny little human that I made. But, I was so wrong.  Wyatt, you bring me more joy than I ever, in a million trillion years, could ever have guessed.  You make me happy, always – even when you make me frustrated. All I want to do is hold you and kiss you and hold you some more.  Your presence in our lives is exactly, perfectly as it should be, and at the same time, has expanded my heart a godzillian times more than I thought possible.  I love you Wyatt.  I am proud to call you my son. I have loved you since I knew you were in my belly, since the first time I laid eyes on you, since the first time you smiled at me, since you sat in my lap this morning as I read you a book.  I can’t imagine life without you.

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Happy birthday, Son.

 
Love,

Mama

Totally Insaney

The question of the day is this: Can you believe it’s already almost been a year?  The short answer: No!  H no.  Not even a little bit.  The long answer is a little more complicated.  Wyatt is eleven months old.  ELEVEN months!  That is both an eternity and the shortest amount of time in the world – depending on where you’re standing.

Right now I’d have to say Wyatt is the best person in the entire world.  He smiles all day long.  He laughs deep belly laughs like it’s going out of style.  He is determined and interested and curious.  He walks with purpose.  Most of the time this means standing up, looking at me, then running from the room, giggling uncontrollably.  I know this means he wants me to follow.  Of course, I comply, and as I chase him he laughs and shrieks.  Then he runs into the corner, turns and leaps into my arms, laughing all the while.  He’s a champion Peek-A-Boo player, he laughs uncontrollably when his mama dances, and when he wakes up in his crib he stands up, holds his hands above his head, and shouts “Mama!”  He points to the baby when we ask, he sings when his daddy plays the piano, and the other day he said “basketball” (I swear!).  Had enough yet?  I can go on forever.  How has it only been eleven months?  How has it already been eleven months?  It’s insane.  Don’t even get me started on Clementine.  It’s almost been three years since our red headed beauty entered the world, folks.  THREE YEARS!  Who knows where the time goes?

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Of course I know these past eleven months have given Wyatt the time to develop these skills and grow into the charmingly handsome, attention seeking baby model that he is. And yet, to say that it has almost been a year. That is ridiculous. No way that much time has passed already. No way I’m going to blink and discover that Wyatt is a grown man. These eleven months were so wonderful and so good, and just too, too fast. And, these past three years… in these past three years our little family of two turned into the family we are today.

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This is our family, three years in the making.

It’s time for Eckroths. And we’re zany to the max. So just sit back and relax. You’ll laugh ’til you collapse. We’re Eckroths. (See below).

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