Sunday, May 31, 2015

Touch -a- Truck!

In the name of full disclosure I did not go to touch-a-truck with the bigs and Daddy this year. I think I have PTSD from accomplishing such a feat last year in my very pregnant state. As you might expect, an activity designed for young children to touch real life machinery is a big hit around here...or so we thought it would be. Like everything else, when my children returned home all they could talk about was "the popcorn!, the bounce house, and the face painting". Mind you I make popcorn upon request, we own a bounce house of our very own, and I have been known to paint a few faces. *sigh* All that matters is that they had a great time!

The three biggest "truck-related" hits were a tow truck with the bed raised (so that they could run up and down repeated?!?! Clearly there were NO mothers there! haha), the book-mobile, and the limo!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

You are THREE!

Dear Benjamin,

I will start out this letter the way I always have, and always will, by telling you just how much I love you. Lily might get all the credit for making me a mommy but it is you, my darling, who will always get credit for showing me just how much more love my heart is capable of. From the moment you were born I have had to work hard to figure out how to give you what you need, but every single second of that work is worth it to me. Getting to know you, supporting and nurturing you, is one of my life's greatest joys.

My sweet boy, this has been a BIG year. This has been the year that you have gone from being my baby to my middle child. Your reaction to meeting your new tiny brother will stay in my heart forever. For you, it was love at first sight. I will never forget the way you looked in pure amazement at your tiny new brother. Despite the fact that we were all a little worried that you would be less than thrilled by having a baby join our family, you blew our minds with that big heart of yours. From the very first time you held Hugh (you were the first person other than Daddy and I to do so) you were so gentle and adoring. That adoration quickly turned to pride and you made sure to tell all of the nurses in the hospital that he was YOUR baby. Over the past year I have seen you struggle with jealous feelings from time to time, but way more often than not you are so incredibly generous and sweet with your brother. I don't want to rush things, believe me, but I also cannot wait to see what kind of trouble you two will stir up together!

Speaking of your siblings, there is another relationship that bears mentioning. Dude, you are such a little brother! Lily is so amazingly lucky that 90% of the time you are more than willing to let her boss you around. She is pretty fair, for a five year old, but that does not mean she doesn't take advantage of the fact that you are still a little smaller, a little slower, and a little less clever than she is. For the most part Daddy and I do not intervene, and the two of you do a great job sorting out your minor squabbles. You adore her, you miss her when she is at school, and even if it means giving in to her bossy ways you would rather play with her than without any day. She is your best friend and you are hers.

There are going to be a million times in your life when someone will refer to your "middle child status". I am certain that I could write a whole book about it myself. While some of the things said about those characteristically middle children are true for you (you hate to be alone, you pick up naughty habits from Lily and will pass them along to Hugh, and I never did blog about your first birthday party) there are plenty of things I can say about you that have nothing to do with your birth order. For example, you are generous to a fault, always have been. You will give away the last cracker in your cup without batting an eyelash. I have noticed lately that you often expect the same level of generosity in return but it is so hard to say no to you when you are being so sweet!

Unfortunately, you do have a few traits that are less than pleasant. You have a temper, and like me and your sister you yell when you get angry or frustrated. You are quick to get over things but your total lack of patience (combined with that temper) results in no less than 20 full blown tantrums a day. This past year you have logged more time in timeout than I care to admit to! While I have never had to drag you out of a store kicking and screaming I have turned my back to you while you flailed around on the ground in public (the National Zoo springs to mind) on more than one occasion. One of these days you will figure out that you NEVER get your way when you act like that...right!?! We affectionately call it Jekyll and Hyde of course because we never know which little boy we are going to get any given minute. Patience, this year we will work on patience.

When you are happy, my God are you a charmer. You have a way of reading people and your comedic timing is impeccable for a three year old! Of course the funniest word in the world is "butt"...such a little boy you are! The moment that you realize that you can get your way with a joke and a well timed smile is the moment the rest of us are all in some serious trouble. Your eyes are just beautiful and your eyelashes are to die for. The girls had better watch out if you ever figure out how to wink and smile at the same time! Your hair is the color of sun-kissed straw and your skin is soft and flawless. I am a little sorry to report that chances are you are not going to inherit your Daddy's height but if you ask him, Daddy will say that's's hard to find clothes that fit when you are 6'4" anyway.

This past year your speech has exploded, just like the pediatrician predicted it would, and it is hard to remember a time when their wasn't an endless string of sentences pouring out of your mouth all day long. Your motor skills have also improved and you can hit a ball off the the tee, pedal a trike, and kick a soccer ball with the best of them. For Christmas Santa brought you and Lily a motorized dune buggy for the yard. Kid, you drive that thing with such precision and ease! I'm pretty sure you are a better driver than most 15 year olds with a learners permit. You are obsessed with trucks and trains and your all time favorite activity is constructing elaborate railways in the playroom that would put some civil engineers to shame. You still have a love of books and an endless attention span for being read to. "Dragons Love Tacos" and "Little Blue Truck" are two of your current favorites.

I've always said it, with nothing but love, but when I survive your baby and toddler years it will have been the greatest accomplishment of my life. You challenge me every single day to be the best mother I can be. You also reward me every single day with a love so great that sometimes I feel like my heart can't possible keep it all in. Today when you threw your arms around my neck and said, "I love you, best Mommy" I know that you meant every word.

To the moon buddy, to the moon.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

You are FIVE!

Dear Lily,

It doesn't seem possible that we have lived in the "dream house" for a whole year, but here we are celebrating your 5th birthday! This year we really did it up for birthday week extravaganza and trust me, you deserved every single second of the celebrating! I know I say this every year but Lil, you are seriously the bees knees. Hands down the coolest chick I have ever known, and I can't believe that you are mine!

We had another big year around here, full of changes, most notably you became a big sister for the second time. We knew that you would love your new brother and I wasn't worried at all that you would be upset upon his arrival. Just as expected you greeted your tiny brother with a kiss and a pat on the head as if he had always been a part of your life. In those early days you were helpful and kind and as time has gone by you have continued to show an almost infinite amount of patience when it comes to the baby. I can literally count on one hand the number of times you have lost your temper "waiting your turn" when I have been too busy with your brothers. It certainly doesn't hurt that you are so independent and a lot of time you will figure out how to get what you want/need all on your own. (Plus, Daddy is almost always willing to hook a sister up!)

The things you can do all on your own, you amaze me. Most of the time you are happy to let Daddy or me do things for you (because we are already doing them for Ben), but you are more than capable of getting yourself a cup of water, buckling your own car seat, brushing your teeth, and helping with chores like laundry and clearing the table. You love to pick out your own clothes and get yourself dressed. Most of the time your outfits are reasonable, but sometimes you need a little coaching. Specifically you currently insist that socks with summer dresses and sneakers "looks perfect", I beg to differ. I get it though, you are conflicted. It's tough to climb a tree in a dress but impossible to do it without sneakers! Your standard uniform is a tshirt, skort/skirt, with leggings underneath. I imagine you will wear a sundress every single day this summer just like you did last year. You are still a total girlie girl and although you say you like "all the colors in the rainbow", pink and purple are still your actual favorites. Since we are talking clothes here let me take a second to tell you just how beautiful you are.

Your hair is so soft and fine with stunning highlights. I have learned to tame the perfect storm of cowlicks into a sweet little "side pony" that you wear almost every day (with a bow of course). Your nose and cheeks have become slightly more freckled and your eye color seems to change with your mood, or the of those two. At least once per day you take my breath away with a bashful smile or an innocent giggle. A few weeks ago you had a nasty fall that left your front teeth bruised and gray. I will admit that Daddy and I were both a little vain about the situation at first. The important thing is that the teeth are not going to fall out before they are ready, and they are not hurting. No matter what, I will always think you are the most beautiful girl in the world. You can always just learn to smile with your mouth closed...I'm joking! You have taken the whole thing in stride, including the trip to the dentist. Like I said, coolest chick I know.

Most of the time your maturity and independence are great assets to you, but of course they come with their share of downfalls. You like to have things a certain way. Details matter to you, sometimes too much. You tend to get very upset if you request something (like a pink plate) and all we have clean are green ones. You like to get your own way when it comes to where we all sit at the dinner table and which "pets" we get to play with. I, in particular, take some responsibility for this and try very hard not to diminish these feeling but it is also my job to teach you a little perspective...something we can work on together for the next fifty years, ok?

Despite your tendency to be a micromanager your little brothers adore you, most of the time. I know that sometimes you just want all of the crayons to yourself, but most of the time you are pretty grateful to have Ben hanging off your arm. Together you build elaborate forts and train track systems, you play pets and act out all sorts of dolly drama. This past winter one of your favorite games to play was "beach" and you and Ben would run around for hours upstairs in your bathing suits! Every night for the past year you have slept in the "boys' room" and for the past several months you and Ben have chosen to sleep together in the top bunk. There is hardly enough room for one kid up there, let alone two, with all of the stuffies you insist on sleeping with, but you both find a way to snuggle in every night. This has been the year of the "beanie boo" and you have added at least 10 new members to our family since Christmas. For the record good old Heartly is still top dog! You also still have your blankie, but you are much less attached to it than you used to be and most days it stays in the bed all day.

You really are a saint for spending as much time with Ben as you do, he can be a bit much. On the contrary your little Hugh is "the best baby ever" and you make sure he knows it. Never, not even one time have you ever said something unkind about him. It is ironic that the worst thing you have ever done (literally the meanest thing you have ever done) was to hit Hugh in the car one day after losing your temper with me. You were devastated and so ashamed. After a lengthy time out (for both of us) you were so apologetic and to this day you have never directed your temper at the baby for any reason. You have always been so willing to give both of your brothers your unconditional love and attention. They will be better men because they have a sister like you.

This next year will be another year of big changes as you start kindergarten in the fall. Girl, you are so brilliant. I pray every day that you are always surrounded by people who will help you grow and nurture your love of learning. Daddy and I are already feeling such trepidation that school will somehow change your sweet spirit. You will inevitably be faced with social situations that will leave you questioning your kind tendencies. Just the other day you were introduced to the idea that if someone says something to you with "fingers crossed" that means they can go back on their word or were "just joking". That was a tough one for Daddy and me to explain, why you shouldn't do it, when it was ok, and why you shouldn't take it to heart when someone does it to you. Needless to say we are not looking forward to many many more of those conversations as we thrust you out of the nest. YOU will be great and are so ready for kindergarten, Mommy and Daddy could just use twenty more years or so to warm up to the idea.

Lily, you always rise to meet our high expectations and make us so proud. (Listen to me, you can ride a bike without training wheels, I promise!)

I can't imagine a single day without you. Just when I think I couldn't possibly love you any more you throw me a perfectly timed wink and I fall even deeper. I'll go ahead and say it again, coolest chick I know. You seem so grown up and at the same time so little. I wish more than ever that I could freeze time and just stay here with you for a little longer. Tonight when you wrap your arms around me for my "kiss, hug, big squeeze, snuggle and a cuddle" I will thank God for the millionth time that you are mine.

I love you coo coo girl.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The year of running

To properly introduce this post we have to take the way back machine all the way back to this past December.

About a week before Christmas I got an email for a 5K road race being hosted by the local high school track program. Matt and I are both "alumnus" of said program and the girls coach is the same man that I ran for way back in the day. We both like to support the team and needed something to keep us motivated to keep running as the temperatures outside continued to drop. A few days and a few freezing cold runs later I suggested to Matt that we should sign up for another winter race in February to keep us on track...and before I knew it "The Year of Running" was all laid out. 

The premise is pretty simple, run a road race every month for the year 2015. We set a few guidelines (we both have to register for the same race, the races have to be in Maine, and at least one needs to be a 10K or longer). The remainder of this post will serve as a recap of our races so far. Going forward I would love to write up each race in it's own post. I also have another post drafted with the more specific training details that I will get posted in the near future.

Frozen 5K - Sunday January 11th, 2015
On January 5th our first race of the year, "The Frozen 5K" snowed out! Perfect. Luckily, rather than cancel the race the organizers moved it to the 11th. Having an extra week to get in a few runs was not such a bad thing! The 11th was our 12 year "dating anniversary" so it seemed fitting that we would start out on a year long goal together on the anniversary of where it all began! My mom came over and watched all three kids and Matt and I headed over to the high school. We had agreed pre-race that Matt would run his own race as opposed to running together. About fifty-five people turned out, it was relaxed and friendly, and the temperature was a balmy 24 degrees. I realized after we had pulled into the parking lot that I did not bring my earbuds, oops. So I ran the race to the sound of my own huffing and puffing. Aside from that Matt and I were both really happy with the race and our times.

Matt 26:03 (23rd overall)   April 28:28 (32nd overall)

Luv Me 5K - Saturday February 14th, 2015
Since we already had our January race on the calendar I set my sights on finding a February race...which was surprisingly sort of difficult. Turns out not a whole lot of people attend outdoor races in Maine during the coldest month of the year, go figure. Since our options were limited we decided on a race in Rockport, which is about two hours away, on Valentine's Day. I decided that I really wasn't ready to be away from the baby for an overnight so Matt happily agreed to push Hugh in the jogger. We booked a room at the host hotel, made arrangements for the bigs to sleep at my parents', and ordered a weather shield for the jogger! 

My goodness Maine is beautiful! We were so happy to drive up the coast and take in the scenery from our amazing hotel balcony. The morning of the race was absolutely frigid, about 15 degrees, but we were all dressed for it so I wasn't too phased. Hugh was possibly a tad overdressed considering he was a little red in the face before we even started. 

The course was super flat at the start, downhill in the middle, and then a gradual uphill all the way back to the finish. I would have run the course more aggressively at the start had I known there were no major hills to climb on the way back. Matt ran just behind me pushing a sleeping Hugh for the first half of the race and then put a little distance between us toward the end. Overall I was really happy with how I ran and I felt really good at the finish! If we were to do this race (or any overnight really) again we would have gotten up early and driven to the hotel on race day, then stayed race night in the hotel. It would have been nice to use the pool and relax after the race instead of taking a short shower and then immediately getting in the car to go pick up the bigs. 

(the results online cannot be correct because Matt finished ahead of me and my runkeeper app had us about a minute faster but below are the "official" results)

Matt (pushing the jogger) 29:40
April 29:39

Irish Road Rover 5K - Sunday March 1st, 2015

After the February race we only had two weeks to get ready for our March race. This time we ran a large race in Portland called the "Irish Road Rover". Matt, me, and 747 of our closest friends turned out for this race on Sunday March 1st. Portland races are fun because of the big crowds. The bar that hosted the race had a live band playing in the street. The weather was gray and it felt like it might start snowing any minute but the temperature hung right around 30 degrees and I was comfortable. As Matt and I made our way to the start we again agreed to "run our own race". I am small and in a big crowd of runners it is easy for me to maneuver quickly away from the start line crunch. Matt tends to get a slower start with his long stride being constantly interrupted by the crowd. After the first minute or so I saw him pass me and I settled into a comfortable pace 9:20. This particular race is a down and back...up a giant flipping hill. Munjoy Hill spans about a half mile as you climb about 100 ft. The views at the top are some of the best in Portland and totally worth the pain, especially when you know the last mile of the course is all downhill!

Again, Matt and I were both really happy we did this one. It was the hardest course we had run up to that point which made our PRs that much sweeter.

Matt - 25:42 (229 overall)  April - 28:08 (342 overall)

Care 4 Kids 5K Sunday April 12, 2015

Onto April! We signed up for a race on my birthday, April 12th. This was the greatest amount of time we had given ourselves between any two races. With Lily's birthday and Easter having just passed and our "epic family road trip" only a few days away we were feeling a little stressed about squeezing this one in. The race we chose was in a near by coastal town with some pretty amazing beach views. Matt's mom and dad met us at the race and watched the bigs while we ran, and my sister, who was still up from DC, stayed home with Youkie. The weather could not have been better, the course was super flat, and I was feeling really mellow. Matt and I had been really good about sticking to our training plan (more on that in a later post) so I knew I was ready to run a fast race. For the first time ever, partially because there were only about 100 people there, Matt and I positioned ourselves at the front of the pack. There was a running club all dressed in matching uniforms and as we started and I singled out a girl that I thought I could stick with. She was running a little faster than I wanted to, but my goal was to just maintain the gap. This strategy worked until after the first 1.5 miles, when she started to slow waaaaay down. I was feeling great, a little panicked that I was running so fast, but as soon as I got out of my own head...I just cruised to the finish! I felt a little sick to my stomach when I finished, which was not helped by the total fear that I would vomit in front of my in-laws and my kids! I walked around alone for a few minutes until it passed. Matt and I looked around and we thought there was a fair chance that I had finished first in my age group! The kids were excited to see if I would get a ribbon, so we hung around for the awards. As it turned out I finished 2nd in my age group (16th overall) so I did not get an award, but I was still really proud! Matt finished 10th overall and was also second in his age group!

Matt - 24:29  April - 27:43

Portland Sea Dogs Mother's Day 5K

This brings us to May (finally)! What better day to run a race in May than Mother's Day?! Of all of the races we have done so far I was the most excited about this one. Partially because I knew it would have a huge crowd and partially because the finish line was inside The Portland Sea Dogs' stadium, Hadlock Field. Seriously, getting to cross home fun is that!?! The morning of the race was a little hectic. We got up around 6:30. I nursed the baby and pumped a bottle for him to have later. We had a little breakfast and gave the kids a bowl of cereal. We left the house at 7:45, dropped the big kids off with Matt's parents (Mimi made them a killer breakfast! And then they brought the kids in town for the race) and Mr. Hugh off with my parents. Knowing that there was going to be a big crowd I was all antsy in the pantsy to find parking and get to the start area. We ran into a few people we went to high school with, which was super fun. As we were chatting I heard a snap and just like that my ponytail fell! Are you kidding me, 5 minutes until the start of the race and my hair elastic broke!? I started desperately searching the wrists of every single woman near by. Luckily there were a lot of people making their way to the pace markers, and I stopped a group of sweet looking high school girls to ask them to hook a mama up! Thankfully the girl I approached happily gave me her extra...seriously made my day! Matt and I positioned ourselves at the front of the 9min/mile pack. Given that there were almost two thousand people there, the race was chipped so I wasn't really all that concerned about my start position. Additionally, I had just run 8.5 miles two days before and my plan was to take it sort of easy. Matt and I jogged along together for about a half mile before he decided he was going to go on ahead. I was feeling great and running just over a 9min/mile pace. I decided I would pick it up a little just to see how I would feel. It was HOT, but the crowds were good and the other runners around me were all having a good time. After we passed the 1.5 mile mark I knew I was making pretty good time. Finishing inside Hadlock was just as much fun as I thought it would be! The older couple in front of me stopped and walked across the finish line hand in hand! While their gesture was very sweet, it cost me a PR, haha. I am totally just kidding, jogging along with my husband at the start of the race cost both of us a PR as a matter of fact. They gave out flowers to the moms at the finish, and seeing my kids beaming at me as we met up was the best feeling!

Matt - 24:37 (19/58 in his age group)    April - 27:43 (48/217 in my age group)

So here we are, runners. We think about running, we talk about running, we read about get the idea. Up next we are running the Sea Dog Father's Day 5k in June.

This is a thing, I am a running mom.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday Ben!!

Let the month of celebrating go out with a bang! In celebration of Ben's big day Matt and I blew up forty green balloons at 11pm! We hung streamers and filled the playroom with the balloons knowing that Ben would be the first one up in the morning. As expected at 5:55 am on April 30th a small boy filled the whole house with cheers and joy ,"today IS my birthday?!?!"

After breakfast and a few gifts from family that were not going to be able to make it to his party we set out for a day all about B-E-N! We dropped off Lily and Hugh (thanks AGAIN, Mimi!) and went out to lunch guessed it, Red Robin! Unlike Lily, Ben did not think that having the staff sing was all that exciting. That didn't stop him from chowing down on his very own ice cream sunday. After lunch we headed across the street where they are currently building a new strip mall. This is seriously the coolest construction site I have ever seen. They have every kind of truck at work that you could imagine. Ben and I had actually already stopped there earlier in the week to watch the trucks but he was excited to do it again. While I ran into Walmart for a few last minute party supplies the boys marveled over the bulldozers and steamrollers. I came out of the store to find that Ben had been given an amazing gift! His very own hardhat. The crew was so amazing and really made his day. 

After the excitement of the construction trucks we again visited the mall for a spin on the carousel. We picked up Lily and Hugh from Mimi's and made it home just in time for naps! After dinner we had birthday brownies and spent the rest of the night playing with balloons. 

On Friday morning Matt took Lily to school and then we gave Ben his birthday gift from us...50 new pieces of train track, o-m-g! The three of us spent over an hour setting up and playing trains.  

On Sunday afternoon we had a family birthday party complete with cake, presents, and a perfect day for the bounce house!

Happy 3rd Birthday Bengi, to the moon buddy. To the moon! 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday Lily!

When it comes to birthdays, I like to go big! That is not to say I spend a lot of money on an elaborate party or expensive gifts. As a matter of fact we like for the kids to think of their party as their "big gift" and then get them a few small things that they have had their eye on. Going big around here means lots of small treats, surprises, and special privileges.

For her birthday this year my eldest requested a "princess party" and that is exactly what she got (thank you pinterest for making my daughter's dreams come true...I took full credit for each and every detail!)

This year was particularly crazy because Lily's birthday fell on a Friday (Aunt Kate flew in from DC that day), her "kid" party was Saturday, and Easter was Sunday. There was a LOT of cake!

On Friday Matt and I asked Mimi to watch the boys so that we could spend the afternoon with the birthday girl. I made Hello Kitty frosted sugar cookies for her class and they gave her a small gift so she was already having the best day of her life when we arrived at school to pick her up. We then headed to Red Robin for lunch. She got a kick out of being sung to by the staff but the highlight (possibly of the whole weekend) was when I gave her two quarters for the crane game that they have in the lobby. Like all kids, she is totally enamored of this giant flashing waste of money game that is bound to leave her brokenhearted. Even though I knew the risk was high, for the first time ever we said "yes" to giving it a try. Wouldn't you know it, Matt managed to hook not one (incredibly cheap and terribly ugly) toy from the bin but TWO! Somebody get that guy a Klondike! It gets even more amazing, one was pink and one was blue. Lily was THRILLED and immediately wanted to give one to Ben. It was amazing! We had planned to go to a movie but at the last minute Lily said she didn't really want to go. What she did want to do...go to the mall to ride the carousel and then hit up the craft store. You got it babe. After our afternoon of randomness we went back to Mimi's for pizza, cake, and presents. 

Mimi made Lily a beautiful dollhouse for her Barbies! She also received a few other gifts that she had specifically said she wanted (Puppy surprise and a Disney palace pet).

On Saturday I hosted a "Princess Party" for Lily and five of her friends. It was a "drop off" party and in my opinion a total success. My sister and I made all of the decorations, Matt made the table and chairs, and the girls had a great time painting suncatchers and decorating their own cupcakes. We did face paint and party games. The highlight of the party was making "princess putty" (slime made with borax and elmers glue). So much fun!!

Say YAY for birthdays! I love you coo coo girl. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Hugh - 10 Months!

As expected April was so crazy busy that the task of writing Hugh's 9 month post fell very far down the to-do list. I have six posts drafted as a matter of fact just from last month alone. We all know that the only way anyone other than me is going to read those posts is if I do some sort of daily post "challenge". So here it goes, a post a day, every day, from now until June 21st. Lord knows I have the material and I can make the time...I think.

Enough about the business of blogging and onto the adorable baby!

TEN months, oh my gosh...does it get any better?? On a daily basis I vow not to eat him whole...and just barely keep my word. This little person owns me. I love all of my children equally and unconditionally obviously but this one doesn't talk back yet and is therefore my choice for a three legged race. Hugh and I spend a lot of time together. Matt and the bigs do their thing and we do ours, which mostly involves Hugh doing everything in his power to maintain physical contact with me. He is particularly fond of sitting in my lap and scaling my body so that he may bury his face in my neck. I do not hate that last part. Our days are so so easy. That is not to say that my day is always easy, but when it comes to this baby, I really can't believe that I deserve such a blessing.

Likes: (Everything because the world is so wonderful) I feel like I should change this list, but the top five really have remained unchanged: Mommy, being held, nursing, being tickled, having a fresh diaper, paci, pulling up to stand, being naked, tomato crunchies, riding in the car, the circle of neglect, snuggles, army crawling, the TV, attention from Ben and Lily, pulling hair, baths, Ben's toys, cords, the dog water bowl, remotes and iPhones. I did not change a single thing above from two months ago but I will add, ALL FOOD!

Dislikes: Being told no, having unsafe things taken away, not being permitted to splash in the dog water bowl. Again unchanged from two months ago. I suppose I should add that while Hugh likes to pull up he is not a fan of standing on his little chicken legs, nor has he figured out how to sit back down. I know it is just a ploy to get me to pick him up...and it still works every time.

Nicknames: Youkie, Youkie-pie, Hoo, Hughtiepie

Milestones: Army crawling/crawling hybrid, five teeth total (without so much as a whimper), a million new foods, pulling up, waving bye bye (this is also accompanied by a loud "AYE" which I would almost call his first word even though he has been saying "mama" and "dada" indiscriminately for weeks), head tilting to get attention (we say awww), trying to blow kisses!

Feeding: For some reason we have had a harder time getting into a meal routine with our third bambino. Poor guy. I will totally admit that for a few weeks after he started on solids, feeding him an actual meal or two during the day was usually an afterthought. More than once on our road trip we realized late in that day that Hugh had not eaten lunch! That is not to say he wasn't pounding bottles of breast milk (special shout out to Lily for assisting with so many of those bottles in the back seat!) so I know he wasn't going hungry, but still, geez! I am happy to report that once we were settled in at home again, yet another new routine has formed.

Nursing is still going strong, and I think it is safe to say that we will glide right to the one year mark, at which point I would normally push for a little mama-led-weaning. BUT the moment I think "this might my last baby" is the same moment that I think "I'll nurse him as long as he wants". Realistically it will be somewhere in between. My sweet baby currently nurses 5 times a day. All but one of those feedings is right before he goes to sleep. I do not nurse him to sleep, but I know there is a whole lot of soothing going on as we rock gently in the dark and he fills his little tummy.

Hugh wakes up around 6 am and nurses on one side, probably about 6 ounces, and goes back to bed. At 8:30 he is up for the morning, nurses on the other side and then goes to the high chair for cereal and toast. Ready for confession number 547 of this post, we give him peanut butter! I held off as long as I could, but once he got a taste of it from Ben's toast he was hooked. So far there isn't anything he is allergic or adverse to, so he gets ALL THE FOOD. Grilled cheese, hamburger, pasta, strawberries and tomato crunchies are his current favorites...but he doesn't flat out refuse anything. We have not given him "sweets" as I do like to wait for "baby's first birthday cake", but other than that we let him at least try everything we are eating. Lunch around noon is usually a banana and a cheese stick with a few handfuls of cheerios. Dinner at 4:55pm (on the dot) veggie puree mixed with baby oat cereal, and half a grilled cheese or pasta, plus whatever we are are having for dinner...sometimes pizza!

Sleeping: Really not a lot has changed in the sleep department. Hugh still sleeps through the night, nurses sort of early, and then goes back to bed for a few hours. He goes down for a morning nap at 10. For the past few days he has stretched this to two hours! After lunch we hang out until 2 and then he nurses and goes down for a nap. This one is usually only about an hour, which isn't enough. Everyone is much happier when this nap lasts until 4, but that really only happens once or twice a week. By 7pm he is begging to nurse and then it is "night night little prince". I go in and check on him when I go to bed and almost always he pokes his head up (totally a tummy sleeper), gives a sleepy smile, and then immediately goes back to sleep.  

Odds and Ends: With such an easy going dude around it is easy to take these sweet days for granted. Confession number 958, when Hugh cries for more than just a few minutes it irrationally irritates everyone in the whole house. Isn't that terrible!? He is so good natured that WE are spoiled rotten. Like "why is he making that sound, make it stop!!" irrational. As a result he is spoiled rotten because at first squawk someone will go to him, selfishly to spare our delicate ears from the terribleness of a baby crying. Birth order man...that stuff is no joke. (More on this is an upcoming post!)

Ben has taken a new interest in his little bro. Interest isn't even the right word, adoration maybe? I'm not sure that is the right word either...maybe just love. This is what love looks like.

We have made it to allergy season here in Maine and while "the literature" (as our pediatrician put it) states that kids under five do not have seasonal allergies, I beg to differ. It seems that I have passed my allergies on to all three of my poor kids. Hugh is snotty and his left eye is weepy. I have noticed lately that when the eye really gets to weeping the upper lid swells and it droops. It is not so droopy that I think it is affecting his vision, but you had better believe I googled the crap out of it and will bring it up at Hugh's next appointment. In the mean time he and I spend a lot of time inside playing with Ben's trains.

Hugh's mobility has sort of stalled. He was competently doing the "wounded soldier" at 8 months. Two months later, although I have seen him crawl on his knees on occasion, he is still happy to just drag his legs around behind him. Pulling up is hard work and very exciting (is that true?) but he is showing zero signs of moving his legs or even balancing on them. A lot of the time he is standing precariously on his tip toes! Don't get me wrong, I am in no rush!! I just would have guessed that he would be closer to walking by now.

Lastly, confession number 3928 of this post, we all think Hugh is going through a bit of a homely phase! Haha. Don't get me wrong, homely is a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e, but it is also hilarious. His new teeth are about six times too big for his face and lately his hair looks like that of a rabid cartoon character. Ben was almost 16 months before he needed a hair cut...I don't think Youkie will make it nearly that long. Combine the frighteningly large teeth and crazy hair with the snots and the droopy eye, and our little dude takes homely to a whole new (hilarious) level!

What I am trying to say, my darling Hugh, is that we literally couldn't love you more, and we will never love you less.

Up next: Here comes summer!!