Oct + Nov

cutest. ever.

I wish I could say that amazing & exciting things have been keeping us busy, but instead it’s been a steady flow of regular life with 2 littles + holiday stuff. Maybe that’s why I’m at a loss for any sort of descriptive title to this post…

Here’s my attempt at an update (note: I’m 100% sure that plenty will be left out, but here’s what I got):

  • Ann Arbor visits, some with kids, some without. Mostly boring because of estate business.
  • Family trip to Lake Geneva WI! Not to be confused with ‘vacation,’ since Joey was there for a conference, and toting 2 small kids to a hotel in a seasonal town during the off-season was anything but refreshing. But we survived, and had some fun times, too.
  • Halloween! Trick-or-treating fun in WI and also at home. The boys were both ridiculously adorable dinosaurs…thank you Pinterest.
  • Ear infections/snotty  noses/coughing/fevers galore. Cold season is upon us, and boy does it suck. For everyone.
  • School play: Oscar’s school put on a ‘production’ of Stone Soup on a Friday morning/midday in Nov. It was crazy cute, and they even made and served a version of stone soup to everyone for lunch. Yes, I filmed the entire thing with my phone.
  • Thanksgiving Feast! We attending the annual Thanksgiving potluck at Archie’s school, and it was only a little weird for Oscar to be back now that he goes somewhere else.
  • Thanksgiving: we hosted my dad, Barb, Molly, Jason, and baby (toddler) Leo. We had a great time with family, loads of food, and only 1 visit to the hospital (scary cough for Archie turned into O2 level monitoring…spoiler: he was fine). Yes, everyone was sick.

I think that does it. Maybe. We also had family photos taken, and are in the throes of holiday gift/travel/card planning. Add that to work and the twice daily antibiotic, ear drop, and nebulizer administration to various members of our household (mainly Archie), and I’m just hoping we come out on the other side only slightly scathed. As an apology for being such a slacker in this space, enjoy the photos below (and don’t miss what’s probably my favorite video ever…to date):

older photo sent to us by archie's teacher

older photo sent to us by archie’s teacher

another throwback from school (thank goodness for teachers who share photos!)

another throwback from school (thank goodness for teachers who share photos!)

pre-halloween costume try-on dancing

pre-halloween costume try-on dancing

clearly the cutest trick-or-treaters EVER

clearly the cutest trick-or-treaters EVER

[*Pro tip: click on the below leaf-blower photo for animation :) ]

way better than actually blowing leaves

way better than actually blowing leaves

look mama...i gots a stick!

look mama…i gots a stick!

someone may be practicing writing his own name (!!!)

someone may be practicing writing his own name (!!!)

modeling an awesome turkey hat made in school

modeling an awesome turkey hat made in school

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The scene: a birthday party for one of Monk’s classmates at Monkey Joe’s (picture a giant warehouse full of bounce houses and screaming children).

The players: a very squirmy and eager-to-be-put-down Archie, and me–finally ready to give in and allow a few minutes of floor time.

Mama sets Archie down, he eagerly toddles not but a few steps forward, and WHAM! A 4 or 5 year old kid running at full speed fully (and accidentally) bodyslams my little dude. He whirls around and hits the floor…face first and hard. My stomach drops and heart breaks as I pick him up, sobbing inconsolably.

The results? 1.) A mouth full of blood, thanks to… 2.) a torn maxillary frenum; and 3.) a horribly guilty-feeling mama who can’t stop picturing the awful moment of the hit.*

So, yeah. This independence stuff sometimes doesn’t work out so well.**

* Why the guilt? Although I’m usually not big on feeling guilty when random things happen (yay for character building, right?!), I truly felt like this was my fault. It was a busy area, and I remember thinking as I went to set him down that it probably wasn’t the best place to do that…

** For the record, after some fumbling around with paper towels, a check on things in the bathroom with daddy, and some public (but necessary) breast feeding, Archie bounced right back. By the time we got home it was like nothing had happened, and my (retired dentist) dad confirmed that the injury is both common and nothing to be worried about.

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Up Above the World So High…

heart attackSee that neon green shirt at the very tippy top? Yes, that’s my three year old boy, proudly (and probably nervously) gripping highest of high ropes. My heart beats faster just looking at this photo. Did he ask for help getting down? Did he tell me once that he was scared? Nope. This kid didn’t so much as bat an eye on the way up, or on the way down. His mama, on the other hand, may not have taken a single breath until his feet were firmly planted back on the woodchips, though.

This was taken a couple of weeks ago, but I haven’t posted it anywhere else, and I hesitated to post it here, for the slight fear of someone calling CPS. I was standing and chatting with the father of another boy in his class as a few of us had gathered at the park for a playdate, and he clearly thought I was completely nuts for allowing this. Honestly, had I not had his brother strapped to the front of me I might have at least tried to climb with him as a spotter.

Here’s the thing, though: I know my kid. I watched every single move he made on that structure. He climbed carefully, looking for and testing each hand- and foot-hold. He didn’t pay attention to any of the other kids who were jostling the ropes around him–he was determined and focused. Once he was there, he looked just a little bit unsure of what to do next. I asked if he needed help, and he said no. He then very slowly started to back himself down. My heart stopped each time his little foot reached out behind him and found nothing but air, but every time that happened he adjusted his grip, shifted his weight, and patiently probed until his toe caught rope. And his look when he hit the ground? Priceless. That kid was so proud of himself. Beaming from ear to ear. I gave him a high-five and gently suggested that he try out some of the other equipment, giving my stomach a chance to un-knot.

No, not every kid will or should be allowed to do something like this. And there may be plenty of times that Monk won’t or shouldn’t be allowed to do something similar. But provided the conditions are right, I have to say that letting your kid take chances and exercise his abilities (by himself) is completely awesome.

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Archie Turned 1!!!

12 months!Two weeks post-actual birthday, and nearly 1 week post-party, and I’m finally ready to document the completion of my baby boy’s first year of life. Unexpectedly, I’m finding that time passed during my 2nd boy’s first year much like it did for my 1st: at a simultaneous snail’s pace and breakneck speed. Knowing how quickly babyhood disappears, I did my best to stop, appreciate, and soak up Archie’s. But motherhood is tricky, and no matter how hard you try it all still feels like a blur.

balloon!Our little dude is getting bigger (stats to come after this Friday’s well-check), and more teeth are working their way through. He’s taken his first steps, and although he continues to practice daily, crawling is still his preferred mode of transportation. He’s ridiculously fast, and has energy for days. A friend recently asked me if Archie is more wiggly than Oscar was, and I responded that in terms of intensity and energy, Archie is more everything than Oscar was.

He’s still crazy happy, and wants to be with people all the time. He laughs constantly and at everything, especially his big brother. He LOVES to play peekaboo, and wants to be in control of whatever he’s doing. Reading books with him is a lesson in collaboration: he points at the pictures, ‘talks,’ wants to turn the pages himself (usually before you’re ready), and will try to grab the book out of your hand repeatedly. His docile, laid-back attitude has given way to a much more active, assertive, and outgoing personality. He knows what he wants, goes for it, and lets you know if you’re in the way. He’s also just as loving as his brother, and will speed crawl over to me when I enter a room, beaming from ear to ear, just to jump into my lap for hugs and snuggles.

babycakesWe had his party at our house the Saturday afternoon following his birthday. Papa, Grandma Barbara, Aunt Molly, Uncle Jason, and cousin Leo all came down from Michigan. We also had our friend Anne and her twins Graham and Finn (Oscar’s buddies) join the fun. There were no planned activities aside from eating, opening presents, and visiting.

I made 2 cakes, just like I did for Oscar 2 years ago: a larger 2-layer cake for the guests, and a small version for the birthday boy (created using a biscuit cutter to remove a small circle from each layer to assemble into a miniature 2 layer cake). I used the same recipe for this cake as I did for Oscar’s 3rd birthday cupcakes, and–as always–added sprinkles to the batter to mimic funfetti. We went easy for the rest of the meal, ordering a couple pounds of pulled pork from an excellent nearby BBQ place, skewering veggies for the grill, and pairing with baked beans and homemade cornbread. Decorations were simple, too: sunflowers cut from the garden, the sparkly birthday banner, a photo garland using Archie’s monthly photos and mini clothespins, and a bunch of balloons.

par-tayA close-up of one of the photo garlands, showing Archie’s 1st 6 months:

craftyAfter stuffing ourselves silly we took a break to digest, then came back for cake. Documentation of the obligatory cake-smash:

cake face

what?!After cake comes presents, of course. (It should be noted that our invitations specifically said ‘No Presents,’ but we knew some folks would probably ignore this. We were correct.) Archie had a lot of help with this part…

yay, presents!After presents the adults visited some more, while the kids destroyed the play room (as one should following an influx of new toys).

So that’s it. Onward into our baby’s 2nd year…

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It Takes A Village

fast forwardToday was a big day for our little dudes. In addition to Archie hitting the big o-n-e, Oscar had his first day at a new school. The photo we took of him at 17 months starting at his last Montessori school is one of my all-time favorites, and so clearly I needed to document today in a similar fashion. (I’d have preferred to have him in the same place and pose, but you know…3 year olds. I’m lucky I got any pictures.)

The new school is small, and has only 1 classroom for 3-6 year old children–hence why Archie cannot attend, even once he’s graduated to the toddler classroom. It has a parent community that’s well-established, organized, and highly involved. The school has animals: a rabbit, a tortoise, and chickens (!!), and a garden. It also has a fully equipped outdoor classroom–this was the kicker for us. Our outdoor-loving, energetic boy will be able to spend as much time outside as he wants, during any season of the year, provided there isn’t lighting and thunder. There are plenty of Montessori works outside, so that the kids who spend the majority of their time in the outdoor classroom aren’t experiencing one long day of recess.

I’ll be doing drop-off for both boys, while Joey will pick Oscar up on his way home from work and I’ll get Archie. This morning we arrived for car line on time, and the lead teacher who’d just done a home visit with us last Saturday retrieved Oscar from the car with a huge smile. He was timid and acting shy, but didn’t have any trouble joining her to go inside. And the verdict upon arriving home? Success! According to Joey his teacher reported back that he’d had a great first day and is one of the most loving kids she’s seen. The most information I got from him was that he’d played outside all day long, and liked the rope swing the best. He also told me during bedtime that he likes his new school, and isn’t scared anymore. Heart: melted.

Why did Oscar switch schools? We love his old school–clearly, since Archie is still there–but there were a few things about his classroom that weren’t ideal for him or for us. When we began exploring Montessori options around town we found relatively few, but stumbled upon the school he’s attending now. There were just too many things about it that clicked with us as a family and with his personality, and it allowed for Joey to assist with pick-ups (more alone time with daddy is always good). It’ll be an adjustment for everyone, since it means a lot more time in the car for me in the mornings, and for Joey’s commute home. We’ll eventually find the best routes and get into a groove. For now we’re excited about meeting new people and becoming involved in this new community–and hooray for chickens!

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To My Baby Boy

my baby


Today marks your 1st birthday. By this time last year you were nearly 3 hours old–you arrived first thing in the morning, 11 days before your due date. I guess you were in a hurry to get here and join our little family. I hope we’ve lived up to your expectations, and made it worth your trouble.

Hurrying seems to be your thing these days. You like to hurry wherever you go, and watching you crawl on all fours as fast as your little butt can take you toward whatever it is you’ve decided you need is a true lesson in determination. Just yesterday I watched you crawl with all your might toward the microwave…as usual you were focusing so hard on getting there quickly and had your little head down as you motored away, and ran right into Daddy’s legs. It didn’t phase you, though. You always just look for a way around, and then complain loudly when we pick you up from the floor and plop you on our hips (a vain attempt at keeping you out of trouble).

I don’t want to get too far into ramblings about what you’ve been doing and progress on milestones, since the ‘official’ 1 year post will be coming up soon. I just need to wash your brand new ‘1’ shirt and do our final (*sob*) monthly photoshoot with the number 12. Sometime in between working and preparing for your party this weekend, of course. I just wanted to be sure to jot down here, for posterity, the fact that I couldn’t be more proud to be your mama. Your daddy and I fall in love with you more every day, as you gift us with your laughter, sweetness, courage, tenacity, and joy. I can’t believe that a year has already passed since you rushed out to meet us, while a part of me feels like I’ve known you forever.

I love you so much, Archie, and am so grateful that I get to be your mama. Happy Birthday, baby boy.

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Sunscreen, Sugar & Trains (aka ‘Sticky Fun at the State Fair’)

train trioIt’s that time of year again...eatwaytoomuchsugarwalkuntilyourfeethurtgethotandsticky time. Known to some as the Indiana State Fair.

Last year the Wallaces opted not to go. My being on the verge of giving birth made walking around a crowded midway in 100+ degree temps sound less than appealing. And let’s not even speculate on how pregnancy might pair with the smells of this wholesome event: farm animal mingled with fried food mingled with everyone else’s sweaty bodies. Yum. This year, though? I found myself alone at home for a whopping 4 days with 2 antsy boys as Joey soaked up knowledge at a conference in Idaho. Sweat, sunscreen, and fried butter, you say? Sure! Anything to get out of the house!

We started the morning by driving north–despite the fairgrounds being located not but a few minutes’ drive south of us–to catch the Fair Train with some friends of ours. Clearly a good choice when traveling with a 3 year old boy. The cuteness of Monk and his buddies above should be evidence enough.

Then we walked. And walked. And visited at least 2 separate Fair potties. We made it through the ridiculously adorable Little Hands on the Farm, and then watched a somewhat ambiguously homosexual* pirate troupe perform tricks on a trampoline and in a water tank. Monk rode a tiny train ride in Kiddie Land while I fretted over how hot Archie might be in my Ergo and struggled to find a patch of shade to wallow in. We then noticed that somehow almost 3 hours had passed, and were 30 minutes away from the departure of the next Fair Train (with the subsequent one departing no sooner than 2 hours after that). We quickly grabbed some soft serve ice cream and made our way back to the train platform.

On the way home Monk was bouncing off the seats, Archie was making his best attempts at putting his mouth on anything dirty (everything), and I was questioning my sanity at choosing this particular outing. Miraculously everyone made it home in one piece and awake, and I promptly shoved them into bed for naps the second we’d all washed our hands. Exhausted, hot, and sore, at that point I was able to decide that yes, we’d had fun. And yes, we might have to go back with Daddy…I still need to sample whatever this Pineapple Whip thing is that I keep reading about.

*I say this with all the love in my heart, since they were completely entertaining and supremely endearing. That, and I happened to be viewing the show with two of our favorite friends, who happen to be lesbians, and who got a huge kick out of marveling at the amount of gay innuendo going on during a show full of kids at a State Fair smack in the middle of the fairly conservative Midwest. So good.

obviously the cutest cow at the fair this year. (also? good lord...SO MANY photo op cutout boards EVERYWHERE)

obviously the cutest cow at the fair this year. (also? good lord…SO MANY photo op cutout boards EVERYWHERE)

farmer Oscar gets a hand from our buddy Ms. Lynn

farmer Oscar gets a hand from our buddy Ms. Lynn

so. much. spandex.

so. much. spandex.

taking a quick pause to pet a baby cow

taking a quick pause to pet a baby cow

tiny train!

tiny train!

PS: Before everyone bitches at me about how there are no photos of Archie here…I want you to attempt taking 2 kids aged 3 and 1 to a State Fair by yourself. The secret is to wear the baby on your person (I heart my Ergo), which means capturing the baby requires going the selfie route. I ran out the door that morning without so much as brushing my hair, so there was no way in hell I was about to capture that sweaty mess.




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