Monday, February 23, 2015


Guess who turned THREE while we were in California?  (A month ago; I'm slow.)  It was this guy!
 first thing on his birthday morning, saying "I'm thlee!"
Owen was so very excited for having his birthday in California.  There was much anticipation leading up to the trip... Owen's mantra was, "When we get to California it's going to be my birthday!"  We kept trying to explain that his birthday would be three days after flying day, but he wasn't having it.  "When we get to California it's going to be my birthday!"  Yes, buddy.  We shall celebrate you all week!
 When asked what he wanted for his birthday, his reply was "oatmeal for supper."  Anything else?  "Cake."  Are there any presents you have in mind?  "Three puzzles -- teenage mutant ninja turtles, star wars, and super mario bros."  So I ordered three puzzles on amazon and had them shipped to California Gram's and on his birthday morning they were in the hotel room waiting to be unwrapped.  He went straight to work.
 We had a nice little hotel breakfast of waffles and fruit.
 Then we went to California Gram's for the day.

Remembering Fruit Loops from a previous hotel stay, Owen couldn't survive his birthday without some.
We went out to the pool for a swim... in January, by the way.  Owen was hesitant at first.  We haven't swum (swam? swimmed?) here in months, so he had to ease his way in.  Maisy went right for it; she was trying to dive her way into the pool from the moment she saw it.
Some people -- the birthday boy in particular -- needed a little rest after the swimming and before the party, so we took the littles for a scenic drive.

And I wanted an iced coffee, so Ben pulled up to a Starbucks.  And I'm not sure I have ever been inside an actual Starbucks.  My first trip to the 'bucks had me laughing to myself like a lunatic because... One, I ran in thinking the five dollar bill in my pocket was going to buy coffee for two, and Two, because even though I was the only customer in sight the two male baristas followed every service protocol including loudly calling out my order when it was ready even though I was standing right there, and I was the only one standing right there.

O stayed asleep while we carried him inside, and truth be told he could have slept for the rest of the night, but we had to wake him for the long awaited birthday party!
He opened cards and presents in a bit of a daze, then slowly woke up and played with everything right away.
A sweet friend of Gram's gave him this Thomas bubble blower which served perfectly as party entertainment.
There's my love, drinking on lifeguard duty, and he deserves a post all his own because last week was actually his birthday!  But let's be honest, he won't get one because I am way behind here.  So, suffice to say: I love this guy and I love doing life with him.  We're not old yet, honey!  Many more birthdays to celebrate.
And I love doing life with this little guy also.  He's such a sweet person, usually just goes with the flow, Bobby's little parrot copying everything he says and does, always good for a hug or kiss fight.  We both cherish our "snuggle party" every night after silly time and book and story.  He lives these days for puzzles and play doh, Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  His play lightsaber and ninja weapon fighting is pretty hilarious; he reminds us of the leaked home video of George Michael Bluth (Arrested Development, people... if you don't know what I'm talking about then watch it.)  He loves to eat, especially breakfast, so much that for most of his two-dom he spent most of many mornings at the table asking for more and more food straight through 'til lunch.
And he is very excited to be three.  This might be one of the best birthday ages -- able to anticipate the joy of cake and presents, but not yet sucked in by greed; still thrilled by the simplest of things -- a floating balloon, candles lit, clouds of bubbles for popping, birthday cards with five dollar bills inside, construction paper signs taped to doors, and the question, "Wait, HOW old are you!?"
He's got a great sense of humor, this guy.  Every day he makes us laugh out loud and Ben and Bob and I will look at each other with knowing smiles -- Aren't we lucky to have such a funny boy in our family?
On the same day Owen turned three, Gram's friend Al turned ninety three.  Crazy to think what's in store for O's 93rd birthday... I like to think I'll be there with my head attached to a robot body.  Just kidding-- I stole that from Donna.  (Parks and Rec.  Come on, get with my tv references, people.)
We lit the cake up twice, because three year olds really like to blow out their candles, and because Bob wanted to capture the moment on his cell phone camera (he has inherited an old phone of Ben's and is stocking it up with photos and videos and although it bugs me to see him using a device it's pretty darn sweet how much he cherishes his memories).  And I said, "That's right Bob, in our family we're always up for a photo re-do!"
This serious furrowed brow expression, it's one of Owen's classics.  He can be so silly, he can be so serious, he can be so laid back.  He fits in perfectly, and we love him so much.

Happy third birthday, Oboe!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

traveling outnumbered

I saw a little something on the internet a while ago like, "Check out these awesome parents who flew with their baby and gave everyone on the plane goodie bags as a pre-apology for any inconvenience!"  Well, after flying with our three young children recently I declare: that is absolutely ridiculous and please don't ever do it.  People with babies are people too and we've got just as much right to fly as anyone else.  Babies cry when they are uncomfortable and after hours trapped in a plane, we're all uncomfortable.  The babies just say what the rest of us are too mature to.  And if anyone should be getting a goodie bag, it should be the person(s) calming the precious little ones, not the person(s) hearing a little crying breaking through the roar of the plane or feeling a little kicking on their seat.  Besides, everyone has headphones these days and the flight attendants even pass them around for free so really there is nothing to complain about.  Forget the goodie bags; the surrounding passengers should be buying you drinks.

I'm speaking all hypothetically here because obviously our kids are angels and we were constantly flooded with compliments on how cute and well behaved they were.  That sounds like sarcasm but honestly, they couldn't have been better troopers.  Our cross-country flight had a little tv with shows and video games in the back of every head rest which meant that our device deprived boys were all set for the duration, despite some six hours or so of extra waiting on the tarmac for wing de-icing and valve unsticking and luggage moving and passenger deplaning and re-planing and whatnot.  Maisy was a little more perturbed, but not too badly and nothing a few strolls down the aisle couldn't fix, and like I said, she was just vocalizing what the rest of us were thinking.  And since we didn't take off from Newark until after bedtime, all the kids slept through the majority of the six hour flight, and I even got to watch two movies in their entirety -- Alexander and the Terrible Something Day with Steve Carell and Blended with Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore -- and I loved them both.
 a quick self-timer family photo at Albany International
 ah, pay phones!
 this moment reminded me of taking baby bob to jamaica
 settling into plane #1
 i'm pretty sure this whole touch screen on the back of everyone's head thing has already been discontinued
 sleeping from newark to la
for the last hour of the trip I had to hold owen's body up with my leg; my bum was more than a little sore after this flight

The way home, though lacking in personal screens, was much quicker and easier.  Owen and Maisy require some entertaining but Bob could sit in one place for an entire day with his blankie and a pile of books so for him it was nothing out of the norm.  Probably the most ridiculous moment of flying for me was changing Owen's diaper in the airplane bathroom... he barely fit on that tiny table and had to lay with his legs sticking straight up the entire time, his giant three year old poop smelled like something had died in his diaper, and frankly I'm surprised we didn't get ejected from the plane.  But we survived!  And on each leg of the journey we met awesome people who went out of their way to tell us how marvelous our kids were and what a great job we were doing with them.  And even one lady who offered to hold the baby while we gathered up our things.

 they didn't have enough energy to walk through the airport on the last day; they could only move if we told them to RUN!
 waiting for takeoff
 cutest traveling companions ever
checking out the scenery
 flying is just plain crazy amazing.
 big bro buckling up little bro while my arms were occupied...
 making sure this little one kept snoozing.
 back in Albany...
 waiting for dad to dig the car out of the snow and come pick us up
(one still moment... mostly they were running and leaping off this bench)

That middle bit in between the flying days -- the part where we got to spend ten days visiting Ben's family in California where it's warm and sunny and beach weather and I didn't have to cook every dinner or wash any dishes -- was amazing.  It warms the heart to see extended family loving on your kiddos.  And have I mentioned that it wasn't snowing?  I asked everyone what was their favorite part of the trip... Owen said having cake at his birthday party; Bob said riding bikes to the beach; Ben said seeing his Gram and the rest of his family and watching the boys playing just like he did there when he was little.  My highlight?  I think... walking down the steps to the beach and wading in the waves and watching the boys run and Maisy shovel sand with her starfish hand and just soaking up every last drop of the sunset before climbing back up the cliff.

Just a few (well, my definition of a few) favorite photos... (I shall return with more!)
 um, yeah-- this was one of the cutest moments ever
 checking out the pier
my most cherished photo from the trip
 a fun birthday gift
 chocolate cupcake cake!
 two teeth!
 hashtag no filter!
 bubble party!
 these two and their deep deep love.
best buds.
Ben told me to put his initials after every photo that he took, which I didn't.  But I will give him credit for this last one, which I love.  I loved this moment, this moment shared with my daughter-- surveying this earth, feeling the sand on our feet and the sun on our faces, just breathing in this beautiful life.  I want so badly to get this right -- why does raising a daughter feel even more significant than raising a son? -- even if none of us really gets it all right.  It's a long road, this mother-daughter relationship deal, and surely I'll take some wrong turns, but planting our feet in the sand, sifting the surf with our toes, watching the waves in all their golden glory-- this feels like a good place to start.
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