A Month’s Worth of Memories

I am probably the only toddler mother in the world today who is actually loving Daylight Savings. It just so happened that for the last month my kids started slipping into a very embarrassingly late schedule. We’re talking, still awake (in their beds) at 9:30 pm and sleeping in til 8:45/9am.

Henry wouldn’t nap til 3 ish and I had to wake him up before 5 if I didn’t want him up even later (yep, later than 9. Told you it was embarrassing). So we are actually more normal for a young family now – the boys were asleep at 8 last night, and up at 7:45 this morning. Thank you, Fall Back! (my heartfelt sympathies for any mama’s reading who were roused at 5 this morning! sorry about the gloat :/).

Our October has been a long, exhausting and amusing blur. So in this lazy post, I am just going through my pictures and captioning them with short explanations, for the sake of my failing memory.

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Will’s class went to a pumpkin patch in the beginning of the month to pick their own pumpkins (or “pumpins”, as Henry so ghettoly says). Please note my son’s hands down his pants and his redheaded BFF Liam’s scowl in the back. 4 year old field trip for the win!

It was really fun though. Will loved every minute…

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While Henry, who woke up on the wrong side of bed, felt like this…

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That angry little face! I want to eat his cheeks. He’s like the proverbial little girl, who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead and when she was good, she was very very good, and when she was bad she was horrid. 😉 His bad moods are doozies, but when he looks like this how can you really take it seriously. I ask you.

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And besides I couldn’t mind dealing with a cranky two year old all morning when I had this shining little face reminding me why I was doing it…

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He just gets sweeter every day.

This is a typical scene in our home…IMG_7216

Will’s drawings get more and more imaginative and clear. Mostly of whales eating people – he is very into Jonah right now. Also Noah and the Ark. I am sensing a budding fellow ocean-obsessor. We were driving to preschool the other morning and Will asked me something about God destroying the earth in Noah. I said, “Well, you know He hated to do that – but the people got so bad and they wouldn’t repent, so He had to wipe it clean.”  Will said thoughtfully, “But when the people repent, He changes His mind, like in Jonah.”

That was sweet to hear. Most of the time, mind you, he is very whiny about saying prayers and going to Church. My wild Henry is the one who actually is deeply interested in Jesus and reminds us to pray before meals each time, clasping his hands together and twinkling his little eyes until we notice.

However, another recent triumph with my firstborn has been getting him more attached to Daddy. He is an emphatic mama’s boy. The biggest help lately has been the little Lego kits. Jason is perfect for sitting patiently and quietly letting Will figure it out in the evenings.

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Therefore, our 4 year old is building “age 6 and up” Legos! Geniusssss.

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I thought this was also a great example of his creativity…

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“I made a bed for Ruffy!” (ok so the stuff toy’s name is NOT a great example of Will’s creativity. But the bed idea – all on his own – pretty good).

Soooo on to the next bunch of pictures… all snapshots of our three weeks stint of Jason traveling Mon-Fri. We escaped several evenings to the Mall. It helps this extrovert feel less lonely.

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We were also lucky to be able to go visit my friend who is more like a sister, Camille, to eat at her house for dinner. That was fun. And my brother and his wife had us over another evening. That is all the love language a tired single parenting mom needs!

And of course, on really cold and dismal nights, there is always Chikfila (or as Henry says, “Uh Lay!” every time we drive past one. First building my children learn to recognize by Pavlovian sight).

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The three of us were good company for each other though. I hate when my husband is gone – he is the orderly, patient, gentle, stable, and most forgiving better half of the two of us, for sure… But I was so comforted just being able to hang out with my little guys. I said to Jason as we drove home from Church on Sunday – I am so grateful that we are somehow, with all our mistakes as parents, managing to raise little people who are genuinely enjoyable to be around. That’s the best.

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^random pic I snapped at Harris Teeter – they were being so hilarious they were cracking the cashier up too. Or maybeeee it was the nerdy parent taking the pic that made him LOL. whatevs!

We had a round of sicknesses to welcome the new cooler temps. Will is a quiet, pitiful little angel who, even when he is awake with a fever in the middle of the night, won’t wake me up. I have to just happen to hear him tossing and turning to come to his rescue. Henry is dramatic. And gave me a dramatic scare two nights (that Jason was gone) by spiking a fever of 103 in the middle of the night. It came down right away with a cool cloth and changing his clothes both times, but still was so startling to go check on him and feel him burning up.

We visited my family (together with Jason) one weekend. It was a laid-back visit, where our only plans were to have dinner with our favorite priest (Fr. Newman) while my mom put the kids down on Saturday night, and just visit with my parents. It was one of those humble, quiet visits that made sneakily beautiful memories that have you thinking back and saying, “that was so great!”

Like watching my little guys explore the woods around my parents house, where Moses and Chi and I pioneered hundreds of little trails for our epic Capture the Flag games and sundry adventures…

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It was one of those deeply satisfying life-moments that have you circling back to old days while whole-heartedly loving the new ones.

We came home to our neighborhood all ablaze with fall glory…

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And just in time to get ready for Halloween!

Will’s preschool of course did the whole prek parade thing.

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Will however did not sing at all back in the classroom, he just made weird faces, giggled, and waved at me the whole time.

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I planned a rather last-minute and totally hap-hazard halloween party with my friend Hannah, who lives just one street over from me, and who has been a comforting friend to have, since her husband is an ob/gyn in residency, so she oh-so-totally gets the little hardships I’ve had with Jason in busy season slash traveling. Except I really don’t know how she handles her husband on a month night shifts, with her toddler boys, by herself, and all of her family in Texas! Way harder than what I occasionally have to sacrifice!

She’s always down for a crazy last-minute adventure. We decided to text as many neighbor moms as we had numbers for, and just tell them they could come with a snack to share and we would have a few games for the kids after naps and before trick or treating.

My ambition to do this was all mostly because Will had been asking me for weeks if we could do the game “Bobbing For Apples” on Halloween, which he must have seen on one of his little kid shows. My sister Zizi (who is currently badassing her first year out of high school as an au pair in FRANCE) made this very keen observation about Will in one of her emails:

“It cracks me up how much Will loves stereotypical things. Like ones you would find in a children story book. Teddy bears on the bed. Halloween parties with “dunking for apples” etc. It is adorable!!”

Nailed it!

Just look at his faces:

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LOL. And Henry carbo-loading in the corner in prep for his big Trick or Treat K…

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However, I am sad to report that Will was disappointed by Bobbing for Apples. Aren’t we all? The image in his head was not lived up to by the reality. He was disturbed by the way it chokes you and gets slimy water all up your nose.

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Andddd back to Henry. Just fuelin’ up.

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We had 5 families show up, total, which was so awesome and crazy cause when we first moved in to the neighborhood, I remember it was a few days before Halloween (and Will was 9 months old!)… and I was so excited to have trick or treaters in my very first house… and NOBODY came. There just weren’t that many young families; its a neighborhood that is slowly but surely transitioning from the “last homes” of retirees to the first homes of new parents.

This year was the best yet! SO many kids out. And so many houses ready for the trick or treaters! Will was so into it, and Henry was eager to hop out of the stroller at each house and follow Will to the door. Moses and Maddy joined us, which is always more fun when you have someone to drink beer with as you go from house to house ;). And my sister Cela, who is a Freshman in college, came at the end with 5 of her buddies from school, to enjoy the cuteness of my kids in their costumes and eat some non-caf food. And crack us all up with their Monsters Inc costumes (Cela was Celia Welia, complete with crazy braids all over her head and everything).

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I couldn’t quite wrap my head around how just last year, Henry rode around contentedly in the Ergo carrier on my back. And here he was now, taking a big fistful of candy and a big breath to say “Hhhh-APPY How-ween!!” to each neighbor.

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Will was typically cautious and polite, taking one piece for himself and one for Henry, having to be cajoled to take more. And when Henry would just go for it (again, typically), Will would say “That’s enough for Henry!!!” with great concern. Jason caught Henry trying to eat a piece of candy without taking off the wrapper. And his bucket contains many wrappers since he kept dipping into it on his long journey.

So yes – it has been a full month! And, at the end of the longest day, I just love being around these two. For all their faults and frustrations, they are so much fun to throw parties for and have adventures with.

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