Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nighttime Routine

Some of the most darling moments of our day happen while putting the boys to bed.   Although my mantra leading up to that magical hour is usually "Keep Calm...It's Almost Bedtime"...once we're there I don't want to let them go.   They're so sleepy and snuggly (and clean!) after their bath.  I just want to hold them close and smell the tops of their heads.
I guess it has something to do with the day winding down and the routine of getting ready for bed that makes them as sweet as pie this time of the evening...
I went to start the bath water and came back to our room to find the boys laying quietly together.  Max was saying, "Shhh...I've got you sweet baby..." and patting Sullivan's back.  Sully just had a content little smile on his face.  My heart melted into a puddle on the floor.  As soon as they caught me spying they just giggled and squeezed each other tighter.
This is not to say that our bedtime is a completely serene experience each night.  Generally, Billy and I switch back and forth between the boys rooms a hundred times. Chasing naked bottoms down the hall and trying to get squirmy legs into footy pajamas once they're out of the bath.  


Max likes to brush Sullivan's hair for him.   Followed by kisses and hug and a "Good job, baby!" for standing still.
Max has really shown Sullivan the ropes with regard to tactics that delay getting pj's on.  In this photo Max snuck him into the closet and instructed him to "cover his eyes".  Sully clearly ruined the plan here by not following the last instruction.
 Next we have to get teeth brushed and negotiate with Max on the number of books we'll read.  And then tear Sullivan's room apart to find one (just ONE!) of the 14 pacifiers we know exist in this house.
More tactics to delay getting pajamas on.  They know I really don't like to interrupt them when they're playing so well together...
But soon the lights are dimmed and we turn on our nighttime music.  Max tells me elaborate stories about pirates and tigers as we sit in his big chair together (this boy's mouth and imagination never stop). Sullivan lays his head on my shoulder and holds onto my arms like there's no one he'd rather have holding him.  I think to myself that this is what life is all about. 
Dear Max and Sullivan, when I finally lay you down in your beds I draw circles on your backs and recite the "Little Boat" poem.  Max, I've done this every night since you were six months old and Sullivan since you were born.  I hope one day you'll say this poem to your children as they nod off to sleep.  And that you'll look at them and know the kind of love that I feel for you.
My whole heart,
The Little Boat
Little boat, no bigger than your hand.
Out on the ocean, far away from land.
Take the little sail down.
Light the little light.
This is the way...
To the garden...
In the night.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tuesdays (and Thursdays) with Sully

I've always been someone who loves consistency and routine.  Those words are generally synonymous with boring, but they give me a sense of peace.  And keep me from acting like a disorganized crazy person on a daily basis.  Even when there's no schedule I like a general plan

So now that Max is back in "school" twice a week we have a much better sense of structure than we did over the summer.  Our days seem more purposeful.  I also have much more on my plate this time of year.  Which, counter-intuitively, makes me a thousand times more productive.  If I have a board meeting, a class party to plan and errands to run...I'll get everything done.  If the only thing on my to-do list is one measly basket of laundry to fold...it will sit in its sad little basket for two+ days.

Anyway, with this new weekly schedule I get to enjoy more one-on-one time with Sullivan.  He's increasingly curious and is so receptive to new things lately.   I try to make good use of the time we have alone when I'm able to give him 100% of my attention.

So after we drop Max off in his classroom...
"Bye, Max!"  He's not even aware we're still there.  Too busy with the morning's welcome activity of sorting dinosaurs by color.
...we head home so Sullivan can take his morning nap.  But when he wakes up our only goal is F U N!

On Tuesdays they day is ours.  We usually do an activity at home followed by a little outing prior to picking up Max in the afternoon.

Cheerios Book is a favorite activity.  Aunt Jenni gave Sully this awesome book for his birthday and he loves it!  He places all the Cheerios in the book where they belong...with much concentration.
But he mostly just likes eating the Cheerios...

I love attempting outings that make most people question my sanity.  ("You have a one year old at a museum??")  However, I've found that kids do much better than you expect in most circumstances.  And sometimes they don't.  Eh, what can you do?  Smile apologetically and move on.  Sullivan is the best date ever, though. He lets me linger in the exhibits and is even a great conversationalist over lunch on the museum grounds.
"Mom.  That is a giant birdie.  Shall I point at it over and over just to be sure you see what I'm seeing?"
Pic A: Sullivan in Shuttlecock shock.                                                         Pic B: Totally over it.
Sometimes we do nothing other than play with my sunglasses.  This child loves shades.  It gives him such a sassy little attitude as exhibited in the photos below...

Other days we color...

Or we go on a nature walk.
Baby tree-huger.  Literally.  Also likes to examine flowers.
Sullivan is also a boy to the core.  Cars and pretend power tools provide serious entertainment.  I watch him in awe of the innate "boy-ness" of his personality. 

Did I mention that my dude loves shades??

On Thursdays we head to a momma/toddler music class for an hour after his morning nap.  He's always loved music and dancing so I decided he'd appreciate that over a class like Gymboree.  His favorite part of class is the other babies.  And the maracas.  This boy can rock the maracas.  He can also chuck them pretty forcefully across the room.  Anything that is even kind of round his fair game for throwing.  I'm afraid we're close to getting kicked out of class for this behavior.

After a fun hour of dancing, singing and playing music we sometimes have a little lunch date.
Seriously.  Sharing chips and salsa with the cutest guy in the whole restaurant.
On this particular morning Sullivan slept in so late I decided to skip his morning nap...and have a little breakfast at the french bistro across from Max's school after we dropped him off instead.  Sully and I ordered Quiche Lorraine and a baguette with Nutella.  He barely saved any for me!  My little piglet.

Sometimes we'll head to the zoo on a nice day.  Here we are during the morning bird feeding.  They literally swarm you.  I had birds on my head, on my arms...Billy would have freaked (slight bird-phobia).  I think I might have pushed Sullivan over the edge too.  He started out unsure of the whole thing but I kept encouraging him to get closer and closer.  As soon as the bird looked him in the eye and squawked loudly, it was all over...
"This is scary, mom!"
Sullivan, I cherish these days so much.  I soak up every bit of your sweet personality.  We have an easy way together.  Like our personalities are well matched.  It's funny to realize this when you're so young, but I can tell that we'll always have a quiet understanding.  I love you so much little man and look forward to many special days together.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Real Life Moments: September

September was a good month.  Max started school again (twice a week this year!) and we have established a bit of a better routine around here now that there is more of a weekly schedule.

We said goodbye to the last warm summer days and started gearing up for all the fall fun ahead.  September has always been one of my favorite months, even though there's nothing in particular to look forward to.  These happy days alone will do...

First Day of School:
Max was having a hard time smiling knowing Sullivan was so upset in the background. 
This is the pose he gave me after I said "Just act natural..." :)
The candid shot usually turns out best...
Max helped me glue letters on the vase and arrange the flowers for Ms. Annie's "First Day of School" teacher gift. We love his new teacher!
Living up the sandbox while the days are still warm.
Sand and water...what more can kids ask for on a nice day outdoors?

Maybe some sidewalk chalk...
FYI:  Two little boys require two MATCHING sippy cups and two SEPARATE buckets of chalk. These are the rules. Do not try to negotiate with them.
Max says he's "workin'".   Thanks Mimi and Pop Pop for the work bench!  Maybe there will be a handy Murray boy in the family after all! ;)
Watching Dad mow.  One of his favorite summer activities.

We took the boys to their first Royals game of the year late in the season.  Max is at such a fun age to take him to things like this. Seeing him with his glove and "binoculators" and clapping whenever the rest of the crowd did is just so adorable.  He couldn't take his eyes off the field or the Megatron.
As we left the game I suddenly realized that I hadn't even looked at the field.  I was just soaking in my boys enjoying the ball game.  Sullivan was mostly interested in the food...that was on the ground. And seeing what the seats tasted like.  He joined in on the clapping though.

Sullivan sitting with Uncle Matt and Aunt Een.

Max is my funny little guy.  He certainly is his own person...with lots of his own ideas...
Max went to the bathroom to wash his hands before lunch.  I went to check on him since he was taking a suspicious amount of time. He had decided to take off all his clothes and wash his hair with hand soap!  Good thing my camera is never far...:)
Max said he's practicing "for the snow to be here".  No look is cooler than snow boots paired with pajama shorts.
 And then there's this guy whose level of cuteness should not even be allowed...
He loves his Riff-Raffe the Giraffe.
Just crusin'.
 A little trip to Ottawa for Josh and Jocelyn's "local" wedding reception.
Godson and Godfather in gingham.
Too cool Max & Julia.
Aunt Een teaching Max fire safety.
Partying right past bedtime!  We were having too much fun listening to the band...
Back to board meetings.  Now that school is back in session our monthly ECLC board meetings have started up again.  It's always a race against time to finish business before they get to the bottom of the bag of toys!

Max thinks they're called "board meetings" because there's a white board in the room...
Max and Evey tend to their own important business and are oblivious to the meeting going on behind them :)
Lolli and I took the boys to see the "Bark, George!" puppet show.  They loved every minute of it...especially Sullivan much to my surprise.   We even got to make our own puppet at the end of the show!
That's about it for September!  So many wonderful real life memories.