Thursday, June 22, 2017

Our Dreamy Topsail Vacation

When you plan a vacation and you've got four littles, the youngest of whom is a toddler, you go into it cautiously hopeful. You hope for decent weather, but if it rains half the time it's not the end of the world. You hope the toddler sleeps, but you know he has a spotty record so you have to be ready to gut out some rough nights and focus on the fun days. When you read your cousin's harrowing story about a vacation bug, you hope and pray for no sicknesses. But if it happens it will last a day or two and everything will be great afterward. You hope the place you're staying in is at least nicer than this. The goal is to come out of it with enough good memories to outweigh any bad, and that's always been true in the end. Cautiously hopeful, that's how you need to be.

What you don't dare to hope for is that the stars will all align, the baby will sleep every night and nap every day, the sun will shine all the time, and everything will be perfect. But that's what happened on our trip to Topsail, NC last week. 

We sat out in the sun watching the kids play, and didn't sweat because it never got hotter than mid-80s, and there was a gentle breeze. I had to be really be on top of sunscreen application because it's too easy to burn when it feels that nice in the sun.
They spent hours catching little fish, digging little pools for them, and then moving the pools as the tide came in or out.
Can you tell Delaney and Jaden apart? I couldn't half the time.
We boogeyboarded.
We took walks at sunset and had drinks on the back deck looking out at the ocean. I had to wear a sweatshirt a lot of times in the evening because it got chilly, and I LOVED that. 
We had toddler dance parties in the living room.
The kids had lots of quality cousin time and sleepovers.
We flew kites.
My mom, sisters and sister-in-law got away for a ladies' lunch. So much fun. A new tradition is born! 
We had many family photo sessions at sunset. 
Not everyone was happy about it.

Go figure she wanted to be in the picture with the boys. LOL.
It's not a werefolf. It's Delaney with all her hair blowing in her face.
This was just the break from reality we needed before we had to start getting the house ready for movers (Okinawa!!!!!!). Every day we were there I would take a look around and thank God for the gift of another amazing day with this wonderful family of ours.

Massachusetts family, we're coming for you next!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Joey: 18 Months

A few days ago there was a dispute between Delaney and Timmy over a fidget spinner. Timmy had bought two from Amazon and had given one to her. Then he had lost the one he'd kept and tried to say that the one he'd given Delaney was also his because he'd paid for it. It was time for a lesson in what happens when you give something to somebody. After dadsplaining it all, Tim then said to Timmy, "Now I'm asking you, whose fidget spinner is this? There's only one answer." Without missing a beat, Joey called "Miiine!" and reached out his plump little hand to grab it. We all died. Then he threw back his head and laughed at all of us laughing, as if to say, "I know I'm hilarious."
He still says just one word at a time, and he's adding more to his vocabulary all the time: go, ball,  bah (bath), home, boat, Joe and no are a few that come off the top of my head. He tries to say his sisters' names too. He says "Annie" and "Nay-nee" for Delaney. I haven't heard him try "Timmy" or make the "t" sound at all. Sometimes if I ask him a question he'll say "know" instead of "don't know." He still likes to use his own made up sign I call gimme -- extending his arm from the elbow repeatedly in the direction of whatever he wants. By the end of our beach vacation, his 22-month-old cousin Elise starting doing gimme too! She saw it was working for him.
I know a great way to distract him from having a toddler meltdown: ask him to do something for me. He will literally be in the midst of crying and having a fit, but if I ask him to "throw this sock in the hamper" he will stop in his tracks, look confused for a second, then change gears and be at my service. It's amazing. Same goes for "put this back", "put it away", and "throw it away". He's better at it than the other kids!
It's been nice having the Big 3 done with school, because he was getting bored to death of hanging out with me. He just couldn't stand seeing me trying to get things done around the house. So sometimes I'd stop and get down to his level and do things with him, but I know it was never enough as far as he was concerned. One thing he likes is looking at books together. He doesn't have the attention span to listen to me read the whole way through, but he loves flipping through books and looking at the pictures and listening to me read or talk about what's going on. Our favorite is Little Blue Truck. He can't get enough of looking at the pictures of the truck stuck in mud and pointing at the animals and making their sounds. They like to read with him and entertain him in all kinds of ways.
He loves to point at all the different kinds of vehicles we see in books and in real life. No matter what we tell him they are, he calls them all "cah!" It's the Worcester in him.

He needs some outdoor time every day. He gets stir crazy inside. I would hate to spend a real winter with him, but we won't need to worry about that for the foreseeable future. By the time we do, he'll be old enough to bundle up and push out the door.
His horrible haircut is mostly grown out by now, thank goodness. There will be no more scissor haircuts from Mama.

I took him to the doctor today and he weighs 23 pounds and is 30.7 inches tall. He's a peanut at only the 13th percentile for weight and 10th for height, but he's growing well. He is still wearing mostly size 12-18 in clothes and size 4 diapers. He's sleeping solidly (most of the time) from 7 p.m to 6 a.m. and taking one afternoon nap lasting a little longer now that the other kids are with us all day: about 1.5 to 2 hours. He slept well on the last two trips we've taken, first to my Mom and Dad's and then to a beach house in NC, and that gives me some hope and encouragement for the crazy summer ahead. He still wakes up from his nap in a terrible mood, but we can turn that around with a snack and an activity. We just dropped the morning nursing session, so now we nurse before his afternoon nap and before he goes to bed at night.

Toddlerhood really agrees with Joe; he is cuter than ever, and I am going to gobble him up one of these days.