Saturday, July 19, 2014

hollis at 18 months.

my baby turned one and a half on the fourth of july, but i wanted to do a little photo shoot of him separate from the festivities, so justin brought him outside for a few minutes this morning and snagged some shots.

this kid is too much right now. he is hilarious and busy and an absolute joy. he is obsessed with emme - most mornings, she is the first person he asks for when he wakes up (right after nursing, of course). when i pick him up from school, he sees me then immediately starts pointing in the direction of her classroom and saying her name. he also loves his dogs and can often be found with his head and arms around one of their backs. he's into trucks and balls and trains and bugs - all that fun boy stuff - and it cracks me up to hear him in random parts of the house "vroom"ing his cars on whatever he can find that makes the most noise (the a/c grate is a favorite). he loves to brush his teeth and be outside especially in water at any possible occasion.

he is trying to run on his squat little chublet legs and is a huge fan of our family dance parties. he can be a little mimic, especially with ek, and his version of whatever any of us are doing is always super charming. he's picking up what seems like 3 words a day right now and i have lost track of how many words he says now. he knows most animals (certainly by sound, but most by name too), his body parts, his family members, truck, boat, tractor, airplane, pick a vehicle, really. he is also starting to string a couple words together, although mostly his sentences are "bye bye ______". his first sentence, several weeks ago now, was "bye bye turtle" and this has expanded into bye bye boat, bye bye diaper, bye bye dada, etc etc. he also does the typical stuff like mama up! and that kind of thing.

i brought him to the pediatrician on the 9th and his measurements were the following:
height: 31.5" - 25%
weight: 25.5lbs - 40%

apparently they don't measure their heads at the 18 month appointment anymore, but i am fairly sure he's still rocking 99% on that front. love my short, scrawny, big-headed children.

hollis is much pickier than emme was at this age, but is still a decent eater. i'm still nursing him and he would probably want to do that much more frequently, but i mostly limit it to twice a day. his favorite foods are toast, 'nana, and french fries. my, how things change with the second child! he's also pretty good about eating protein most of the time - chicken, ground meat, cheese, eggs, some fish. he loves berries and plums and cherries. veggies are tough with him these days, and he is not one to try something he's never seen before. he'll eat carrots and sweet potatoes, but i would love it if he would deign to eat a green vegetable ever. he is also super picky about sweets - case in point the fourth of july ice cream and a recent brownie incident that enraged him. ha.

sleep is getting better, though still not consistently wonderful. we moved him to a floor bed (finally), which i will totally do from day one if we have a third child. i have a pool noodle under the crib sheet on either side of his mattress, so he's all snug and secure, and he loves being able to get into and out of his bed by himself. he's making it until 5:30 or 6 most nights, sometimes even later. and on nights when he's up in the 4s, he will usually go back down once he's in bed with us. it's not a great habit, but at least we all get a couple more hours of zzz's.

we really love this kid and all his expressions and opinions. i love how much he makes each person in our family feel super special.

more of the fourth.

after grabbing breakfast tacos and resting, friday afternoon we headed out to lakeway for a party at one of justin's co-worker's house. he and his family are currently living in his dad's gigantic house near the lake while his parents are living in california for a few years for work. bonus for us, because their house (and especially their pool) is amazing. the kids were in the water for no less than four hours - no exaggeration. there was barbecue and a bunch of other yummy sides, but my kidlets were primarily interested in eating the cheetos. and the fruit skewers, but those don't make hilarious photos the way that cheez on kid faces does.

a few highlights: hollis's hair/face every time i applied and reapplied sunscreen. i try to rub it in better, but he just isn't having it.

we finally left around 9 or 9:30 and h passed out in the car within seconds. emme stayed up the whole drive home and we got to see fireworks around the city which was awesome. when we got home, i made grilled cheese hummus sandwiches for the three of us after putting hollis down and then ek sat on my lap while daddy set off a few mild fireworks. seriously a great day.

check out that view! hollis loved sitting up in the summer sauna pool and looking out at the boats and birds.

there's some video of the two of them bouncing and playing on this thing. i was sure one of them would fly off and crack a tooth, but all skull bones remained intact that day.

mr. alex (justin's friend) introduced emme to water guns. no comment.

saturday and sunday were fun but a little bit more mellow. emme is lately obsessed with wearing my shoes and dresses and/or her dance costume at all times. this was breakfast saturday morning.

sunday the bode family came over and we grilled burgers and dogs and let the kids play. our kids are the exact same space apart - i was 7 weeks pregnant with each of my respective children when both of their boys came home from the hospital. hudson is such a sweetie to emme and they just cuddled up on the couch watching a movie for a little while after playing for a loooong time outside.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


justin has been out of town this week for work, so the kids and i have been keepin it real at home. it's been a surprisingly fun and easy week, even though there's been lots of busy-ness.

last night, i had a happy hour with the director of my MBA program who is leaving austin, so i had to hire a sitter for the kidlets. they love miss crystal, so it was kind of like a special treat for them. after school i brought them to phil's for a quick dinner and some playtime on the playground. hollis and i were wrapping up dinner and ek had gone back to the playground when i heard her freaking out. i look around the corner and she had climbed up into this spinny tulip thing. it started spinning and she couldn't get out (it wasn't going super fast, but i can understand why she was flipped). was hilarious to me, so before rescuing her i ran back to the table to grab my phone and snap a pic. i love this girl. of course, after she was out, hollis was insistent upon getting in there. he loved it - he kept throwing his head back and cackling. awesome.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

fourth of july week (the day of).

this is going to be all out of order because my posts are contingent upon my camera uploads (downloads?) and we all know how awesome i am at that. 

fourth of july week was one of the best weeks ever. the kids and i got home from houston on monday and went to meet justin at work. it was his end of quarter and Q2 is their biggest one, so he was going to have to work super late (he ended up getting home around 1am). we had dinner as a family near his office, then got to let the kids romp for a little while and meet lots of his coworkers. funny. 

at this point i'll skip to friday. there was a parade in our neighborhood (lots of the austin 'hoods do them, but we didn't know and had never participated in one) that started right around the corner and moseyed up to the elementary school. it was unbelievably cute. kids, dogs, adults, wagons, strollers - everyone and everything decked out in red white & blue. i'm not typically the most overtly patriotic person out there, but we got into and will go even more buckwild next year. super cute. 

my mom had gotten the kids cute july 4 outfits and they were excited to wear them and hop into their wagon. their wagon also happens to be red & blue, so it was perfectly designed for the occasion.
i had taken ek to the dollar store the day before to get some stuff to decorate their wagon with and they were completely sold out of all gear. crazy. we made do with a few super old decos i had lying around from previous fourths. it was not my finest crafting hour by a long shot, but hollis enjoyed eating the paper glitter star, and emme enjoyed bossing hollis around regarding the eating of said glitter stars.

once we at the school, there was ice cream and breakfast tacos and general fun. unfortunately, it was only one breakfast taco per family (totally understandable) and that just didn't cut it for this crew, so we headed out after about an hour of merriment.

hollis refused to even taste the ice cream, which was homemade and incredible. he not only refused, but cried weird kid.

Friday, July 11, 2014

one week in.

i'm trying hard to process through what is most important to me/our family when it comes to our kids. the easy answer is everything - i want everything for them. if i have to be away from them all day every day, i want them to be in an environment that nurtures them. i want them to have opportunities to learn at their own speed, in their own style. i want them to be inspired and filled with awe and wonder for learning and discovering. i want them to be with peers and caretakers who love and support them and make them feel free to be their authentic selves. it seems like a lot of that might be lofty or touchy-feely or whatever, but i think all of those things are important.

i also want them to learn practical life skills. it's one of the primary reasons we chose a montessori environment for them. i believe that my kids will learn to read, whether they're 4 or they're 7, but i think a foundation of grace and courtesy and independence are super important and need to be established really early on.

so. we're five days in to their new school, which is a "montessori" school, and the best way i can describe it is that it's not a montessori school, it's a daycare. and i don't mean that in a disparaging way, i'm just having a hard time.

there are a few tenets that we've established at our house that aren't overly rigid or crazy (i don't think), but that are pretty important to our family's values. we don't really watch tv during the week, as a general rule. emme didn't watch tv at all to speak of until she was two. it's harder with hollis, but there is very very limited screen time at our house. i just think my kids will eventually learn how to play on an ipad and they'll learn who elmo is and all of that regardless of anything else. so i don't make an active effort to expose them to those things; instead, we read lots of books, spend time outside, cook together, that sort of thing. as a working mom, i have a couple of hours with my kids on work days and that's IT. i don't want 30 minutes of it monopolized by dora the explorer. and again...i am not disparaging anyone whose kidlets watch tv nonstop. my working mom guilt is pretty intense and this is one way i assuage it.

another thing is a limit to treats. so, things like pizza, sweets, processed foods as much as possible, all of that...are limited at our house. there are still WAY more treats than i'd like to have in a perfect universe, but the point is that it's at my discretion.

anyway. a couple of things have gone down this week that have upset me and i'm just trying to keep a level head and not jump to any conclusions.

the first is that there's a tv in the classroom. in every classroom. including hollis's. this was something that wasn't indicated or mentioned during the school tour. i noticed emme's on day one and was told it was only used "10-15 minutes a day before nap while the area is being prepared for nap, and only educational programming". i bit my tongue even though i take issue with that on so many levels. on wednesday, i took hollis to his 18-month doctor's appointment. when i dropped him back off around 11:40, all the little 18-month to 2 year-olds were sitting on the floor staring up at a tv screen. um, what? even if i can bite my tongue about my 3.5 year old, the APA says no screens for kids under two, period. this should not be happening in a school or daycare environment, and especially not in a place touting a "montessori" title. i called the director and tried to nicely express my concern. i said i would much rather have my kids prepare the nap area (again with that whole practical life thing we're supposed to be jointly instilling) or be read to than have them stuck in front of a screen. the director said she would talk to the teachers, so i am just assuming nothing is happening.

the next thing is hollis. he's struggling SO much with this change. i honestly think he would be struggling with any change, but this is next level. i don't love his lead teacher - she is not warm or loving with him. the work in his classroom is crappy and not deliberate at all. another time i walked in, the teacher was sitting on a chair playing a CD for the kids. not singing or clapping or giving them instruments to work with or anything. just having them sit and be quiet and listen to a recorded song. she's made several unsavory comments about our cloth diapering and this morning she picked hollis (while he was crying) up by his forearms and moved his body. i don't love any of that.

there are some other minor things too that i won't get into right now because i have to stop overthinking everything. i don't know what i'm going to do, but i just wanted to record everything because that's what this whole blogging thing is for. sigh.

*i will say that emme is responding quite well, mainly because her class size is so much smaller. she was also in a situation at her old school where there was a lot of mean talk between the kids and she really internalized that stuff, so i think it's good for her to be away from that.

parenting is hard.


justin picked up the kids today.

"you have to hold hands in the parking lot little buggy".

such a sweet big sis.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic honey glaze.

omgoodness i made some delicious brussels sprouts last night. i love brussels. i know this is not the most common opinion, but if my three year-old will eat them, i think these are worth sharing. 

i wish i had taken a picture because they were pretty, too, but i'm an atrocious food photographer (which is depressing considering how much i love food), and i didn't want to post a picture that didn't do them justice. 

so, a recipe!

- 2 lbs brussels sprouts, washed and cut in half
- kosher salt
- 4-6 tbsp coconut oil
- 1-2 tbsp local honey
- 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (i used this fig-infused vinegar we bought in florida and it was pretty legit)

preheat your oven to 400. throw your brussels in a bowl and salt them. in a separate small bowl whisk all the other ingredients together, then dump it all over your brussels. get your hands dirty and coat them all generously. add some more coconut oil or another small batch of the glaze if you think your veggies aren't coated liberally enough. you won't be sorry. 

lay those bad boys out levelly on a baking sheet. i like to use foil because i don't use cooking spray because i *may* be crazy. pop them in the oven for 18 minutes. toss them, then back in the oven for 8-12 more minutes, or to the desired magical golden brown-ness you seek. 

you're welcome.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


the last weekend in june, i picked up the kids early from their last day of school and we hit the road to meet up with my parents in houston. justin had end of quarter stuff at work, and we had the following week off, so it seemed like a good time to have a mini-vacation. 

it was a fantastic weekend - definitely the best travel-with-kids experience i've had with the two of them. we got there friday afternoon and my parents were stuck in a flash flood in lake charles, so the littles and i took a run over to this giant waterfall thing by our hotel. loved that. then we hit up the lobby cocktail hour reception for "blubby" water and many, many snacks while waiting for kk and jj to arrive. we let ek stay up pretty late every night, but lil bro was done and went easily to bed on his nap mat on the floor each evening. 

saturday we headed to the houston zoo, which was fabulous. i love that zoo. we saw an albino alligator (hollis makes the chomping motion on his belly with his hand and says "chomp!" as his alligator sound. it's awesome.), tons of snakes, giraffes (one of which was super close and we got to see its purple tongue eating leaves - emme was SO excited), big cats, bears, apes, and elephants (including a baby elephant named duncan and a mama elephant getting a bath). emme got ice cream and hollis got french fries, so they were pretty much in heaven. naps that afternoon weren't great (and were non-existent for h after his 7 minute car nap), but they held it together during the evening and we played with zoo toys in the hotel and ate take-out. fun.

please note my dad's head peeking over the top. he's a goof.

my parents told ek she could pick a toy at the gift shop, so of course she selected a mermaid. initially she gathered three mermaids because she "needed to take them home to show daddy".

one of the kids' favorite things were the hotel swans. there were two in the fountains in the atrium area, and the hotel manager let the kids feed them lettuce. it was really sweet. hollis called them ducks and emme called them geese, but i figure it's all just nomenclature - haha.

of course emme's "cozy little nest" is portable - this was the pile she made in the hotel room.

on sunday, we headed out to the butterfly garden and it was SO cool. you walk through a museum area first where they have hundreds of butterflies and moths emerging from their cocoons/chrysalises and other insect and spider info. i particularly enjoyed the 6-inch giant hissing cockroach display. not.

once you're through the museum, you walk into this big atrium area with butterflies everywhere. it was really pretty and so neat to see them fluttering all over the place.

the last stop at the butterfly place is another little museum-like area. the kids loved chasing the butterfly shadows on the walls, as did kk.

after a swim then a nap on sunday, we headed to pearland to visit some friends. emme and amelia played really well together, especially when they discovered their mutual love of thumb-sucking and tinkerbell. patrick grilled burgers and dogs and it was just so nice to hang with great friends. i wish we all lived closer/saw each other more.

and that was it! we headed home monday after breakfast. we love our time with kk and jj and i'm so grateful the kids have such a wonderful relationship with them. i didn't really get any great pictures, but hollis and jj were like two little peas in a pod the whole weekend. hollis is still (a week and a half later) asking for jj frequently.

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