Monday, June 25, 2012

Away Together.

We're lucky enough to live near most of our family members.  We see them more than many people get to see their loved ones on a regular basis, but there's still something special about escaping your daily lives and going on an adventure as a group.  Even if that adventure is only 2 hours away in Omaha.  Trust me, with three littles under three years old it was all the excitement we could handle :)

We absorbed uninterrupted time in each others company, indulged in good food, had some great conversations and relaxed.  It was so nice to just be away.  Together.

 The kids really enjoyed the train.  Max was very intrigued by the map.  He tried to guide us around and would say "This way guys!"  He was intent on seeing the giraffes and zebras.  And since navigating this zoo is a million times easier than the KC zoo we were able to see everything.


The little grocery store was the biggest hit with Max and Annabelle.  It was so cute to see how they pick up on how to shop from observing us. Max picked out the things that I usually get from the store and inspected the produce closely.  He even waited patiently in the check out line.
 They had a special Wizard of Oz exhibit while we were there...which we got kicked out of.  Apparently that was an extra cost.  Oops!
Max loved the yellow brick road.  He also noticed that the scare crow's hat had fallen off and decided he should help him out.

 Everyone pitched in and we had some delicious meals.  It was nice to feed the kiddos and get them in bed and then enjoy an "adult" dinner on the deck.


 Bedtime books were always required of course.

We celebrated Uncle Michael's birthday with an ice cream cake since we wouldn't get to see him on his actual birthday.

 This cute little park was around the corner from our house.  The boys (big and little) had so much fun playing.  Even Momma got a spin on the merry-go-round.  Uncle Mike taught Max how to do the "airplane" on the swings.  It was a huge hit....until he face planted in the gravel.  I was proud to see him get right back on after I brushed him off and wiped a few tears.

We paid respects to some of our relatives who were buried near Omaha.  Henry Meyer is my great-great (-great?) grandfather.  His last name was Meyer...the 's' was added to his son's name in grade school to differentiate him from another "Meyer" in class.  That's how our family name became Meyers.

This giant slide in downtown Omaha was a blast.  The boys went down with Uncle Michael.  Max would've gone down the slide 100 times if we let him.

Max loved playing "waiter".  He'd ask "What you like?" and every once in awhile he'd shake his head and say "No have that."  Uncle Michael tried to order spaghetti and Max refused to ask the chef if they'd make an exception for his request :)  He'd scribble down our orders then run to the kitchen to fill up waters and deliver them back to his customers.  Then he'd bring over plates and ask "You like it?"  Boobo picked up the tab for everyone's food and Max earned a few dollars!

I love to see my loves love each other :)  So sweet.

We had a great and memorable trip.  Can't wait for next year...

Friday, June 15, 2012

You've Gotta Go Through It

If I complained about all of the difficult parts of being a parent.  The challenging stages.  Eager to put potty training, teething and discipline behind me in exchange for the next phase, then I'd effectively be saying I don't really enjoy parenting at all.  That's what being a parent is.  I think of it as a challenge.  Constant creative problem solving.  And a chance to hone my shrewd negotiating skills for when I return to the professional world one day.   (Seriously, some of the most grueling and intense negotiations I've ever been party to have happened within the walls of my 2-year-old's bedroom.)

Even still, there are some moments I just want to put behind me. For instance, Max had a rough day on Wednesday.  Full on freak-out, meltdown prior to nap.  We had a long morning outdoors.  I knew he was tired.  I was tired.   It was  an ugly scene but I managed to get him into his bed (he was pulling the ever-infuriating "limp noodle" routine).  I was frustrated and he could tell.  Which made him fight me more.  It was brutal and draining.

When he woke up 3 hours later (thank you Lord) he was so sweet.  The moment I poked my head in his bedroom door he gave me a sheepish smile and said "Momma, I gonna be a nice boy".  It broke my heart.  I worried that he thought my love was contingent on how he behaved.  I hugged him and said "I will love you no matter what kind of boy you are."  I told him "Sometimes we get frustrated and angry, but we've just got to get through it.".  To which he perked up and said, "Can't go over it!  Can't go under it! You gotta go fwewww it!".  My heart skipped a beat and I said, "Yes, exactly like in "Going on a Bear Hunt".  And even though I've read that book hundreds of times I found a new meaning in its words. can't go over it, you can't go under've got to go through it. There's no easy way out and certainly no chicken exit.

Max cuddled with me in his big chair and we had our first heart-to-heart. We talked about how things make us feel and why we get angry and sad.  I kept telling him that mommy loves him forever and always even if she talks louder than she needs to sometimes.  And he said "I know momma".  The connection I felt with him at that moment felt like a stepping stone to the next level of our mother/son relationship.  I will never forget it and how a few sweet, simple words from my toddler gave me a new perspective on parenting.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Good (I didn't say easy) Life

Look at these faces...

You want to give them everything don't you?  ..... New toys?  Sugar packets?  A car when they turn 16? 

The list goes on and on. 

My first instinct is to give them everything they could possibly want. But my (and Billy's) job in actuality is to give them what they need. 

Unconditional love and acceptance, guidance and the tools to function in this world.

I saw this quote on Pinterest and I wanted to frame it. 
This is one of the main guiding principles Billy and I have in our approach to parenting, but we had never really seen it put so succinctly.

Dear Max and Sullivan,

Just because we have the means to give you something doesn't mean you'll receive it on a silver platter.  These are our promises to you as you grow up....

1) You will help contribute to the things you want because we know from experience it feels much more gratifying to do so.  Helping to buy your own car will give you pride.   Participating in funding your education will give you appreciation.  But don't worry, we will always give you a strong foundation to build on.

2) The best things are born out of your own hard work. And as painful as it may be and as unfair as it will seem at times you will realize this is true one day.  Your father and I both had experience with this first hand.  Growing up, in our own separate worlds, we each worked multiple jobs, saved money for the things we wanted and missed out on some things that seemed important at that particular time in our lives.  We had wonderful parents and were given so much love and every opportunity anyone could ask for.  We look back and feel so lucky for the way our parent's raised us.
3) You will always have what you need.  We've been saving for your college for years already.  Truly, before your Dad and I were even married you had college plans set up under our names in anticipation of you in our lives.  Proof that I really do live up to the "crazy planner" title I've earned.  We also set a little aside for each of you every month with hopes of using it to help you buy a car, travel and perhaps study abroad one day.  These are things we want so much for you (and any future siblings), but we want you to play an active role in attaining these goals as well if they are paths you choose to pursue.

We think that following through with these promises will help you to lead a successful life.  To work hard and be thankful for all that you have.  Sometimes things will be challenging and frustrating.  Especially when others seem to have it much easier than you.  We want you to set your sights high and find pride in your accomplishments.  We hope you go after the things you want, whatever it may be, and never give up.   We believe in each of you so much.  And above all we just want you to be happy truly happy people.

All our love,
Mom & Dad

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Update: Sullivan at 10 months

Dear Sullivan,

All I can say is that this is all happening too fast.  I feel like my little baby is slipping away!  Seeing you move beyond the infant phase and progressing makes me feel powerless and proud at the same time.  This is something I'll need to make peace with though, my dear boy, because you show no signs of slowing down. 

This month you have found your opinion.   You formally object to having things taken from you now.  Up until recently you'd always selflessly give away any toy or snack your brother wanted, but now you grunt in frustration and try to grab it back.  Your little personality is really starting to develop and I have a feeling that I'll be playing the role of referee very soon. 

Your favorite game is rolling a ball back and forth.  I roll it to you, you roll it back...over and over and over.  You're getting good at throwing the ball as well.  You seem to be drawn to sports related things just like Max, but I'd have to say your main interest is in wheels.  Toy cars, trains and especially the wheels on Max's tricycle captivate you.  You push your toys back and forth while making a "car" sound.  It reminds me of your Uncle Michael when he was little :)

I'm not sure how, but rhythm and dancing are definitely in your bones.  We noticed your love for music early on when we'd dance with you to old records late at night.  It always soothed you immediately.  Many times I'll catch you grooving to background music that my ears hadn't even tuned in to.  Not only do you rock and bounce, but you twist back and forth and shake your head to the beat.

You're also starting to mimic us.  The other afternoon while I was talking on the phone I looked over at you and you had your cracker pressed against your ear.  Babbling, smiling and nodding.  Holy cuteness.  Now I pretend to call you (ring, ring!) and ask "Is Sullivan there?"'ll give me a giant smile and press your soggy cracker to the side of your head.  Oh geez, what am I going to do with you baby boy?  It's just too much.

I'm not sure why, but you've abandoned the cute little army crawl you've been doing for the past couple months.  You're up on all fours all the time now.  I didn't think you'd ever convert since the army crawl got you everywhere you needed to go expeditiously, but you're trying something new and I like to see that :).  You've been cruising around furniture too.  You'll courageously let go for a minute and balance.  It's hard to believe that last year at this time (which might as well have been yesterday) we were doing this and now I'm pretty sure you're gearing up to walk.  I'm desperately trying to cherish and soak up every moment. 

Watching you begin to make sense of the world around you and piece things together is a daily joy.  There is so much fun ahead of us and I think it will do me good to look forward rather than back :)

As always...
My whole heart,

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Real Life Moments: May

I take SO many pictures every week.  Most don't document any particular milestone or special occasion.  They're ones that might seem kind of boring, but when you put those little fragments of time together they tell our true story.  The one that is ordinary but important in its own way.  I call those fragments of time our real life moments.   

I'm going to try to compile some highlights of our "real life moments" at the end of each month on the blog to begin stitching together our little moments into something more tangible.  A whole greater than the sum of its parts.  Like a quilt of memories.  Here they are from the month of May...
All that's needed when you're a little boy living up warm days outdoors is a good pair of overalls.
Sullivan has mastered the art of pulling up on furniture.  He was so proud of himself the first time he was able to get his own toys out of the toy box.  And Max was equally beaming with pride as exhibited in the last photo...
Riding Max's roadster.  And Annabelle holding on for dear life :)

I swear I never saw one of these mega-cart contraptions in my future, but here we are!  There's even room for one more ;)
One day I dropped a bag of oranges on the floor in the kitchen.   They rolled everywhere, but I thought I got them all picked up.  Sullivan made off with one of them when I wasn't looking.  Again, he thinks he's so clever.  He thought it was such a prize.
This little friend is popular with both boys.  Max takes him for walks... does Sully.  He puts the string in his mouth and drags the gator behind him as he crawls around. 

Laziest SuperTarget shopper ever.
More shopping.  Momma needed new shoes!  Poor guy gets all the fun errands when brother is in school.
This child's hair grows so fast.  He's had more haircuts in the past two years than I have.
Playing tricks on little brother.
Loves to smell the flowers.   Max picked out all of the plants and is responsible for watering them every day.

One bite for the goose, one bite for me.
I found this hat while cleaning out his closet.  I had to get a pic before he officially out grew it (which I think he really already had :)
This sequence is poor photo quality, but the story it tells makes up for it.  Max loves to sit outside in his lounge chair.  I let him go in and out as he pleases, but Sullivan is stuck with me.  Poor Sullivan was banging on the the door and screeching.  Just as he gave up and started crawling away, Max finally noticed he was trying to get his attention. The third picture is Sully thoroughly annoyed with me and the situation.  Finally his big brother comes back in to play!
And that's what I call real. life. moments.