“Oh, I just can’t wait to go trick-or-treating…”

You have to sing that to the tune of “Oh, I just can’t wait to be king”, from The Lion King.  (Please.  Otherwise, my title doesn’t work, and I try really hard to make catchy titles and am incapable.) The reason you have to do that is because my boys dressed up as a lion and bird for Halloween.  Harrison has seen The Lion King once, and he still remembers Simba.  He said he wanted to be Simba for Halloween, but he had to be grown-up Simba so people didn’t think he was a lioness (obviously).  It just so happened Beckett was a bird since I got his costume on clearance after Halloween last year.  It worked.  Beckett became Zazu. And, I did just have to look that up.  Until now, I have just been saying, “Beckett is the bird from The Lion King.”.

While not one to spend much on Halloween costumes since the costume is typically worn for a very short amount of time, I was okay with $20 for the lion.  Harrison wore his Cookie Monster costume all. the. time.  I am slightly disappointed he only wore the bird wings I SEWED two or three times.  He had already worn the lion costume 3 times before Halloween.  Plus, Beckett got a huge kick out of Harrison being a lion and coming after him.  This allowed me time to accomplish things like making dinner or spraying a diaper.

Perhaps you saw these adorable photos of my boys floating around:

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Halloween day came, and it rained.  And rained.  I was starting to worry about trick-or-treating.  We decided that at the very least, we would let the boys put on their costumes and go to a few houses in our cul-de-sac and then do some fun stuff at home.  Before any of the action, we had to get some pictures. Notice that while both boys can smile, they appear incapable of smiling at the same time.  At least not while I am taking their picture.

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Fortunately, it was just misting when we headed out, so we did our entire street before heading back home.  It was just right for the boys.  Beckett wasn’t getting any of the candy, anyway, and Harrison was only getting a few pieces.  You would’ve thought we went all over the neighborhood, though. Since the weather was a bit crummy, there weren’t too many people out, so the boys were getting huge handfuls of candy.

Overall, Halloween was a success.  The boys had fun, and I enjoyed just seeing them in their costumes.  A little rain didn’t stop us from our treats.

Beckett

I was getting ready to write up another post about Harrison and our wonderful conversations, and I realized I rarely post about Beckett.  I think the last time may have been his birth.  He pops up in photos and other posts, but never a post devoted to him.

Here’s the thing. You have your first child, and you (well, me, and I’m guessing a lot of other moms) compare him to charts, books, and other children his age.  You ask other moms about their children (secretly taking mental notes about whether your child is doing the same thing or more), and you talk about your child (mostly to share, but also to brag).  I hope I don’t sound terrible.  I’m just being honest.  I am pretty sure I may have quizzed Harrison on his body part identification abilities after a play date.  In all seriousness, it can be very easy to get caught up in comparing your child. You worry about things.  Well, you do if you’re me.

Then you have another child.  For us, that was our sweet Beckett.

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From the moment he was born, he was different than Harrison. To start, he was over two pounds smaller.  Made for a happier mommy in terms of labour, but made for a worry-wart when it came to monitoring his growth.  He also had stomach issues and needed some extra TLC from us.  It was hard not to compare him to his older brother, but it was making things very hard for me to do so.  I had to learn to stop comparing and just focus on Beckett.  When I did that, I realized he may have had some stomach issues, and it may have made things a little more difficult, but he was healthy. Beckett was beautiful, and he was all we hoped for and more.   He still is.

Fast-forward 16 months (otherwise, you would have to read this in installments), and we are right here. Beckett continues to bring joy to our family.  He has untold love for his big brother, and it is the.best.thing.  I wish a picture could capture how he lights up when Harrison comes into a room.

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Beckett has always demonstrated this tenderness that is hard to describe. When his older brother is upset, he will stop what he’s doing and go give a hug and kiss.  He loves to check in on people and give random affection.  He will offer toys or stuffed animals to make other children happy.  This boy is going to make things happen with his extreme love for people.

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Beckett is a pleaser.  He seems to make a concerted effort to do what we ask and help out.  Things may not go exactly where they should, but he understands he needs to clean up and put away.  Shoes may not be perfectly placed, but he knows where they go.  If he sees me closing one door, he will walk around closing any other open doors.  His new thing is to go around pointing out any crumbs or mess on the floor and say, “Uh-oh!”.  Many times he will pick it up and throw it away.  A few times, he may have tried to eat it.  Just a few…

IMG_3431Beckett is very independent.  Sometimes I just watch him, amazed at his capabilities and ingenuity.  He was drinking out of an open cup at 9 months.  Before he was walking independently, he would push his walker until he was next to another object he could cruise along.  Instead of getting upset when his walker became stuck, he would finagle it until he could move it again. Nowadays, you can find me nervously awaiting what he’s going to climb next. If we blink, Beckett is in our room scaling our bed.  He is strong, and fast!

My (second) little man works hard and perseveres.  Of course he gets upset. After all, he’s a toddler.  But, he sticks with things.  I took a video of him doing his stacking rings a few weeks ago, and I smile every time I hear his little “ha” when he figures it out.  Beckett is very proud of himself for his accomplishments.  Sometimes, he claps for himself, but often it’s a little smile, and then he moves on.  I get such joy just watching him do things.

All of this to say that I see so much more now that I’m just observing Beckett in his environment, rather than occupying myself with what he should be doing and comparing him to Harrison at the same age.  The truth is that there are probably things Harrison did that Beckett doesn’t do, and there are probably things Beckett does that Harrison didn’t do.  I don’t think any more or less of my boys for these things. They are individuals.  IMG_3673 It’s been a whirlwind 16-months! Once again, I find myself wondering where the time went.  I don’t feel like I’m missing things, though. Even though I may not know what day (or month) Beckett uttered his first word or got his first tooth, I do know which tooth came in first, and which word he said. I also know that I love how he says, “Mah-muh!” and smiles as he runs toward me to kiss me.  Such a sweet boy.

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Mr. Independent

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Beckett has always been one to want to figure things out on his own. I think some of it is a “second child” thing. We can’t focus as much attention on him as we did on Harrison when he was a baby/toddler. At times, I feel a little guilty, but other times I see him doing things that we didn’t let Harrison attempt at this age because we were worried about a mess or injury. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if we let Beckett roam the house without supervision. It’s more along the lines of us letting him try to figure things out instead of immediately rushing to his aid. You should see him maneuver his walker out of a corner.

Beside being a second child, I truly believe enrolling Harrison in Montessori a year ago has changed our parenting approach. It may sound silly, but I don’t know if we gave Harrison enough credit (and we probably still don’t). For example, we didn’t even think about giving Harrison an open cup when he was Beckett’s age because we were worried about spills and possibly broken glasses. We didn’t give his motor skills enough credit. We didn’t give Harrison enough credit. We were probably afraid of letting Harrison fail.

We gave Beckett an open cup at 8 – or 9-months, after I got inspired reading this blog. We helped him guide the cup to his mouth the first few go arounds, but he instinctively knew what to do. Beckett loved this independence. He became excited when he saw us filling his cup with water. Now, we just give Beckett his drink right along with his food at meal time. Such a little man.

One of Beckett’s new favorite activities is climbing up the stairs. Again, he attempted this a month ago, and we may or may not have accidentally freaked him out about it by telling him that wasn’t safe. Oops. Well, after recently visiting a friend who was excited to let her daughter demonstrate her new found skill, I realized our mistake. We had squelched Beckett’s independence in that moment. Not on purpose. We wanted him to be safe, but it’s not as if we couldn’t have stayed a safe distance behind while he explored climbing the stairs. It ended up as one of those things he seemed unsure of initially, and then (1 day later) he was zooming over to the stairs when we said it was time to go upstairs, and now we’re rushing to make sure we are behind him. I love the smile on his face while he’s doing something on his own. Especially something he’s just figured out.

I honestly just love watching Beckett enjoy life, and that’s really what he’s doing. He enjoys just being here, and it’s awesome!

*This is likely the first of many posts addressing how I feel incorporating a Montessori approach has changed our family for the better. 

A Birthday Fit for a {Little} Man

Well, Beckett’s birthday was three weeks ago, but I’m just getting back into this blogging thing (remember), so better late than never. Many of you probably already saw pictures from Beckett’s birthday, and may have gathered there was a theme to it. We went with a “Little Man” theme. Yes, that seems to be the trend right now, but that’s not why we did it. See, we have always referred to our boys as our little men. Harrison was, and still is, our first “little man”, and Beckett followed suit. Although, he mostly goes by “Beckett Bear” (not sure exactly why). It was only fitting Beckett’s first birthday would have a little man theme, and I can’t help that lots of people are doing it. I am thankful for all the inspiration out there. No point in reinventing the wheel.

While I purchased some items (mostly food), I used a lot of what we had or free printables that were out there. As our guests arrived, they were greeted at the door with this awesome sign I found via Mama Miss. I actually didn’t take a photo of this, but it looked pretty similar to her image. I didn’t tie any ribbon on mine, though, and I used a bigger embroidery hoop to make it more substantial on our front door.

As everyone came into the house, we had David’s home office set up to receive Beckett’s gifts. We did this for Harrison’s birthday, too. It makes it nice to keep the gifts “out of the way”. It wasn’t an issue for Beckett because he just turned one, and he isn’t concerned with all of that, but once you hit toddler age, it’s nice to have a place to put gifts that isn’t the center of attention. We just closed the doors at Harrison’s party until it was time to open gifts.

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The streamers were so easy to make, and I loved how they turned out. Here’s the tutorial I used. I put some in the kitchen, too, but I think it might have had an even cooler effect if I’d hung them all here. I was even thinking an ombre effect would be awesome. I did this the morning of Beckett’s party, though, so I didn’t have that kind of time.

Here they are in the kitchen. Hi, Dad!

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The party really happened in the living room and kitchen. Although, I think if the food was in the entry way, that’s where everyone would’ve been. Seriously, my mom and mother-in-law made some delicious dips that were the hit of the party. Next time, I will just serve their dips with vegetable and crackers. I’m not joking.

While I do sometimes wish I had a kitchen I could close a door on when we have guests and I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I do love the open concept of our home. It makes it that much warmer and inviting. Nothing like your close family coming together to celebrate one of your children’s birthdays and enjoying good food and conversation. It truly was a celebration of life and the importance of family.

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You can see in the living room pictures, that we had some decorations in there, too. We made that chalkboard frame before Harrison’s birthday, so all we had to do was write a birthday message to Beckett. I just purchased pom-pom fringe at Jo Ann’s to decorate the frame. The tie banner had some of David’s old ties on it along with some pictures of Beckett over the past year. The pictures are from a cool site called Prinstagram. I ordered them before Valentine’s Day along with some mini albums they make. I love to do little things like that to draw people in and get to talking about different events. Always makes for good conversation.

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Another thing we did for Beckett’s birthday that we did for Harrison’s birthday was a photo album of pictures over the past year. This is a great way for us to commemorate Beckett’s past year, but it also served as a means for our guests to write birthday wishes for Beckett. I think this will mean so much to him when he’s older, and I love looking back after things have settled down from party mayhem and reading all the notes people left. I ordered this one from MyPublisher because I had a voucher from Living Social. They pop up all the time!

Here’s a few more detail shots. I made the straw bottles with empty bottles, straws I already had, and mustache stickers from the Dollar Spot at Target over Valentine’s. The plastic cups have washi tape on them that I already on hand. While I thought these made for a nice touch, most people just drank from a bottle (root beer or beer), and I didn’t need to do this. Oh well. I enjoyed it.

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The cake bunting I made with a free printable from here. I debated making a mustache-shaped cake or topping the cake with mustaches, but in the end, I didn’t want to go overboard with the theme, and decided a simple bunting atop the cake was the way to go.

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The cake was just for Beckett, but big brother got some, too. I mean, how could we resist that face?

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We didn’t leave our guests out (and we wanted a treat, too). I baked French donuts and donut holes and coated them with cinnamon and sugar. I normally don’t serve my donuts in paper liners, but this was to keep everyone’s hands from touching every donut when they chose what they wanted.

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David helped me add the details to the root beer. I didn’t want to serve “soda” because I knew Harrison would want some. I also liked the idea of having beer for adults and “beer” for the kids. Harrison kept telling everyone he got to have a beer. I’m sure his teachers didn’t take him too seriously the following week at school.

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I made this banner with plain chipboard pennants. I made one completely from “scratch” for Harrison’s first birthday, and I decided it was worth a few extra dollars to not have to cut all the triangles out this time. I was pleased with the result.

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We didn’t leave Truman out for such an important occasion. He was the only one who took the bow tie seriously.

DSC_0067I won’t go into a run down of Beckett’s gifts, but I did want to share a gift Harrison gave him. He picked this out with Grandpa at a flea market. When I asked him why he chose a piano, Harrison told me, “I know Beckett likes music, and he will like the noise it makes.”. It was a winner.

DSC_0080Beckett’s party didn’t coincide with his actual birthday (that was a few days later), so we kept our family gifts until then. We still celebrated, but we just kept things low-key. There was cake, of course. What’s a birthday without cake?!

Beckett’s Birth Story

“This is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside-down. And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, to tell you how I became a mom of two boys and lost all my hair…” Can’t you just hear the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air busting it out right now? Maybe I added that last part in. And, maybe, I am embellishing just a little bit.

Beckett’s birth story is an interesting one. As I mentioned here and here, it was already a difficult pregnancy compared to my pregnancy with Harrison. I was already scheduled for an induction on April 4, a little less than a week before Beckett’s due date of April 10. Well, during my 38-week appointment, my blood pressure read high, I mean really high (for me). It was 147/98 or something in that range. I knew it would be high because I was feeling funny: headache, queasy, “floaters” on the wall at times. That prompted my doctor to order a blood sample and a 24-hour urine analysis (fun times). That was Wednesday. On Thursday, we had dinner at David’s sister’s house with her and my mother-in-law. Again, I was feeling really tired and my calves were feeling pretty tight. I lay on her couch, and David’s mother recommended I take my blood pressure. She had brought a cuff with her knowing I’d had some high readings recently. It was high again. We waited 10 minutes after I lay down some more and re-read it. High again. I called the doctor’s emergency line, and when she called me back, she told me to check-in to the hospital.

Now, I could’ve told you (if you’d asked) right then that a baby was not coming that night. However, David, who had already brought Harrison home to put him to bed, seemed to be thinking and hoping otherwise. I called him to tell him we needed to go to the hospital for some monitoring, and he packed the car with my labor and hospital bag. We were there for a couple of hours, and then home by 10:30. No baby. And I was glad. He needed to wait a little longer.

Well, remember here where I talked about my Valentine’s gift to David? He had written, “I love you because YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE OUR BABY! Oops. That wouldn’t come for a few more days.

So, fast forward to Monday, April 2. I had an early afternoon appointment with the perinatologist, so we asked David’s aunt if she could pick Harrison up from school and keep him for us. She suggested we go enjoy lunch together one last time before baby arrived, and we eagerly agreed. Good thing, too. Just as we were finishing lunch, I noticed I missed a call and message from my doctor. She said my urine analysis came back fine, but my blood sample came back, and she wanted me to call her.

The gist was that I needed to get to the hospital because she wanted to deliver our baby by that evening. I remember starting and re-starting phrases and sentences on the phone with her multiple times because I was not prepared to have this baby. Granted, he was scheduled for 2 days later, but that seemed like an eternity away at that moment. I recall asking if it was alright for David to go back to our house and get my things. They weren’t in the car, and don’t ask me why since we’d already been to the hospital once and I was on bed rest. We should’ve been more prepared. I wasn’t sure if she meant she wanted to deliver now or what. She explained that although she wanted Beckett to come that day, she wasn’t going to expedite the process beyond what we’d already discussed.

I pretty much had the same course of action that was taken with Harrison. I had tested positive for Strep B again (if you’re wondering, a positive or negative test the first time is no indication of what the results will be other times), so they had to run two courses of antibiotics. I got this awful pain in my right thumb and forearm from where the antibiotic ran. I do not remember that from last time. I was almost crying, so they had to turn the dosage down a little. They started the pitocin soon after the second course of antibiotics. I once again did not understand why they did this. It apparently was not because my contractions weren’t regular enough, but because I wasn’t feeling them strongly enough.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I was already 5 cm dilated when we got there. I was only about 65-70% effaced, though. With Harrison, I was 5 cm and 90% effaced when we arrived. Anyway, I remember around 4/4:30 the on-call doctor coming in and talking about breaking my water. I must have had this very confused and scared look on my face because she quickly said, let me check you first. I was then 6 cm dilated on my own, so after calling my doctor, she said they would wait until 6 pm or so. I was relieved because I just didn’t feel ready for Beckett to arrive. It didn’t seem right.

So, a couple of hours passed and the doctor came in to break my water. I was still not very effaced, so when she did it took a while and nothing much happened until 30 minutes or more later.

My parents arrived, followed shortly by my older brother and his fiancee. We exchanged some pleasantries while I breathed my way through contractions (which I’m still not convinced David or anyone else realized I was having; or, at least, the extent to which I was having them). After they left, the contractions became much more powerful and closer together. I asked the nurse how close together they were, and could we please turn off the Pitocin. She explained they were where we wanted them, 3 minutes apart. I said, “No, they are much closer than that.” She replied, “I mean from the start of one to the start of the next one.” Grr….

Around 8 pm, I said, “I need to push”. The nurse told me she would call my doctor. Yeah, um, I meant right then and now. I knew Beckett was coming. The nurse asked me if I could roll over (I was on my side), and I said I wasn’t sure. She said I needed to roll over, so she and David helped me. She took a look and exchanged some words with the doctor (do they think I can’t hear them?), who said, “I don’t think her doctor is going to make it.”. Nope. Beckett arrived at 8:05 pm. Whew! My doctor had told me she didn’t think I would have to push long with him, and she was right. I think I gave 3 long pushes, and he was out.

And he was beautiful. He was small and perfect. He was my 5 pound, 10 ounce, perfect little peanut. I don’t know his APGAR (probably perfect 🙂 ), but that was the furthest from my mind. I just wanted to hold him close and not let go.

Beckett was definitely a baby that has done “better out, than in”. He left the hospital at 5 pounds, 5 ounces, and was up 2 ounces a day later at his first doctor appointment. Three days later, he was up to 6 pounds. By 6 weeks, he was 8 pounds, 6.5 ounces, and at 8 weeks, he was 10 pounds, 9.7 ounces. I am such a proud mother, and am so blessed to have another healthy baby boy.