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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Childhood: This is Three

Although it seems like he's been there for years already, Greyson officially turns four today. He's spent the last month asking me every morning if today was his birthday, counting down the sleeps to his special day. When I tell him no, it's not his birthday yet, he knowingly nods and says, "oh right, I'll know it's my birthday when I walk into the kitchen and see the giant 4 balloon." (Grant and I literally created a calendar invite to remind ourselves to get that balloon, that's how important it is!).

I just re-read my letter to Grey Grey from last year, tears in my eyes, nostalgically remembering all of the things I'd forgotten and thinking how much he's changed and how much he's really stayed the same since this time last year. 

He's can be a tough one; he's been by far our most challenging child (although Henley's giving him a run for his money lately!), but in a way, that makes him all the more endearing. It's hard to believe that a relationship I have with a three year old could define myself as a mother as much as it has, but Greyson has taught me the most about myself and my beliefs on parenting, and {I hope!} has made me a better parent as a result. 

One of my lowest parenting moments was earlier this year. I'd had a particularly hard day home alone with the kids and they really broke me down. Greyson was seriously testing me and it got to the point where I actually tried to spank him (over his clothes on his bottom as I threw him back into his bed that he'd tried to escape from for the umpteenth time). The boys were laughing at me hysterically, I was crying and screaming and after I put them to bed, the first thing I did was download a meditation app. It was that bad. When Grant got home that night, I remember sitting at the dinner table with him, crying about how I felt like I was doing a bad job at parenting him. Not a bad job at parenting in general, but a lousy job parenting Greyson. 

That night was a turning point for me. Not only did it re-enforce the fact that spanking is not a form of discipline I feel is effective (they were literally LAUGHING at me! And I felt TERRIBLE!), but I realized in that moment that every child really is different and in order to have the relationship I want to have with each of my kids, I have to treat them (and discipline them) that way.

Anyways, this post isn't supposed to be about my worst parenting moments, or discipline even. But I think that night is worth mentioning as it makes me realize how much we (Greyson, me and our relationship) has grown since it happened. And my different take on how I dealt with Greyson's challenges after that night has allowed him to be the "spirited" beast he is without me feeling like I'm holding him back.

So Grey Grey, this is three:

You are the most brutally honest person I know, which makes compliments from you all the more special. Your response when I used to tell you I loved you was, "I don't love you." And when I'd tell you that hurt my feelings, you'd matter of factly say, "I don't care. It's the truth." Luckily, we've moved beyond that stage; you don't tell me you don't love me anymore and sometimes you'll even let me give you a smooch (although very rarely on the lips!). Your highest form of complimenting someone is when you tell them, "I like your shirt" or "I like your pajamas", which you do often, especially when you're procrastinating going to bed. You'll sneak out of your room and when we start to yell at you to go back to bed, you'll put your arms out for a hug and say, "Mommy, I like your pants!". Gets us every time! When we ask you if you're going to have a good day today, you say, "Maybe I will, maybe I won't." You change clothing more than anyone; you frequently have twice the amount of laundry in the hamper as Hayes does. And I hate to say it, but your fashion sense is terrible. You insist on dressing yourself in mismatching clothes, wearing t-shirts I would like to use as paint smocks and black knee socks with two different shoes. But you own it and sport your fashion choices with a confidence I wish I had. You wore a Captain America costume that was already pretty snug for last year's Halloween everyday this year for a good couple of months. You insist on wearing your flip flops on the wrong feet. You love temporary tattoos and will put stamps and markers all over your arms and face - we're sure you are going to be our tatted-up child when you get older. You call your nails "hangnails". You are a very picky eater, refusing to eat any meat besides chicken nuggets, fish sticks and hotdogs. You know you don't like meat and told Daddy one time, "I'm not a carnival {carnivore}". You love rice - it's probably your favorite food. And bananas, apples and pears, which you'll eat anytime. You are so stubborn, refusing to even try something if you don't want it, insisting, "I tried it with Nini once", even when we know you haven't. There were many meals in your third year of life that went untouched, many untouched meals followed by bananas and no dessert, which was okay because you "didn't want dessert tonight anyways." You know what you want and aren't afraid to be assertive about getting it. At night, you would sometimes (but rarely compared to your brother) come into our room and climb into bed with us in the middle of the night. After a few hours, you'd often get up and take yourself back to your room because you were uncomfortable. It amazed me that a three year old had the maturity to do that. You are smart; you remember everything and know how to use that to your advantage. You are terrible at keeping secrets. Whenever you want to tell us a secret, you say, "Can I ask you a secret?". When you think someone is lying, you insist they're "telling tall tales." You are very animated when you speak, moving your head and holding your hands out to emphasize your point. You are super energetic, literally running as fast as you can from place to place. You still enjoy being carried though, often when it's most inconvenient for your mom and dad and boy do you make a fuss when we physically can't lift you in that moment. You fall asleep everywhere; you definitely get that from your mom. You love to go on runs with Daddy because you know it's a chance for you to close your eyes for 20 minutes. You started at a new pre-school this year and they have a nap on the daily schedule; you're frequently one of the only kids who naps - and it makes putting you down at night extra difficult! You just love your sleep though. You sleep with one stuffed toy, a plush Ironman Nini bought you that you called Captain Cuddles. You refused to sleep with a sheet and had to have the pillow that matched the duvet cover. When you're well rested and when you don't have to poo, you're such a joy to be around. If you aren't either of those things, watch out! We often joke that when you're at the North Pole, you're the best but your journey to the South can happen quickly without warning. High highs and low lows; I try not to define you with that statement but it really describes you to a tee. You played soccer all of this year and started to get bored, choosing to do karate (because you "like to fight") in the winter. You acclimated seamlessly to your new pre-school and although you didn't seem to care that much about friends, you seemed to play most with a little boy named William who was the younger brother of one of Hayes' friends. When asked who your best friend is, you respond without hesitation: William and Daddy. You don't seem to show too much interest in the academic part of pre-school and although you love the idea of homework, you don't put in all that much effort into it, quickly exclaiming, "I don't know how to do that" and giving up on the task at hand. We often joke that you have a girlfriend named Henrietta (an actual girl in your class) but you aren't shy about voicing your opinion that girls are GROSS, even going so far as not wanting any of them to be invited to your birthday party. You love Power Rangers, superheroes and Rescue Bots. For Halloween, you were a dinosaur and the red Power Ranger. Your favorite movie this year was Moana; you can sing all of the words to every song and can't help but act it out when you hear it playing. You are quite the video game addict, constantly downloading new apps on our phones and playing for as long as we'll let you. You are all BOY, constantly having dirt under your fingernails and wiping boogers in gross places. You want to be a ninja when you get older. You idolize Hayes and his friends; they'll still bully you but you fight back and honestly, I'm more worried about some of them than I am you! You do your darndest to keep up with Hayes, often seen running full force beside him while he rides his bike (and doing a pretty good job at keeping up!) You and Hayes go at it sometimes, which is expected, but you also sometimes butt heads with Henley, which always surprises us a little. For the most part though, you get along with both of them and are a good big brother to Henley. And boy are you tough. I know you're really hurt when you cry; for the most part, you get up, dust yourself off and swing punches full force at whomever has wronged you. To snap you out of it when you got hurt, Daddy would often say, "you're a tough boy!" and you'd growl at us, showing your muscles. Between your personality and your fashion sense, you exuded a confidence I admired and as I've said in past letters to you, I know this determination and independent spirit will take you far.

Greyson walked into our room bright and early this morning and when I whispered, "Is that a four year old I see?", he touched his chest and mused, "I don't feel any bigger."

I asked him to come closer and patted his head. "Oh you're definitely bigger," I said.
"And wait, is that a mustache I see growing on your face?".

He reached for the area above his mouth and gave me his smiley eyes, before climbing into bed for a birthday snuggle.

Tonight, we're opening the rest of his family gifts (he's already torn into GG & Pops and Aunt Wee Wee and Uncle Ryan's), then we're going to Shake Shack for dinner (birthday boy's choice) and having homemade sprinkle cake. And we'll continue the celebration this weekend at his birthday party, the first he's had since he turned one (although when I asked him if he wanted a party or if he wanted to do something special like go to Disney, he said, "I just want to go to Toys R Us." Ha!). 

Happy birthday, Grey Grey!
Our love for you grows stronger every day and I can't wait to see what 4 has in store!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Highs & Lows...

3 Highs:

1. A fun weekend getaway to Scottsdale with just Hayes where we were able to spend time with Nana and Papa, Aunt Wee Wee and Ryan and "Baby Mia", as Henley's taken to calling her.

2. Realizing that my business trip next week to the Bay Area won't fall on Greyson's birthday.

3. Volunteering at Hayzey's school yesterday morning. I'm getting to know the kids in my group and they're becoming more manageable - plus I was so impressed with Hayes, who seems to be the star in the group (in his mama's eyes at least!).

3 Lows:

1. A lingering headache that wouldn't go away.

2. A difficult week with a teething Henley, who's experiencing ALL of the emotions lately.

3. Having to have a talk with Hayes about being respectful to other adults.

Best Thing I Ate This Week...

A Canadian Thanksgiving spread at Casa Mailloux last weekend. And a couple of delicious leftover turkey sammies I made myself for my next two meals!

Weekend Plans:

Party in the city where the heat is on - we're going to Miami! Grant and I are headed there for a work trip (Nissan's Heisman Tour is at the Miami/ND game) that we've spun into a birthday trip for Grant/10 year anniversary trip/first (and maybe only!) time we've been able to convince Grant's parents to watch our three monkeys for longer than 24 hours. We have fun dinner plans, are staying in a friend's beachfront hotel that has a relaxing pool and besides the game, (which is a big one, Canes are back baby!), we'll hit up some of our favorite spots and enjoy a grown up weekend sans the kiddos. 

We told the boys to be extra good but there's a decent chance Nini and Pa will never offer to do this again, so we're going to enjoy every moment!

Have a good one!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Halloween Hangover...

Have I told you how much I love Halloween as a parent?
Second to Christmas (duh), it's by far the most fun holiday with kids. The costumes, the decorations, the candy - what's not to love?!
Our Halloween festivities began last Friday at my office Halloween party. My office goes all out every year and throws a really sweet event for all of the kids of the people who work here. They set up a bouncy castle, spin cotton candy, have a cookie decorating station and a train that runs through the office (and gets a little crazy with the 360s outside). Throw in a trick or treat parade and it's a kid's dream come true. It's always been one of the boys' favorite days of the year and I have to admit, it's one of mine too.
scary faces..
serious faces (Greyson looking at Hayes kills me in this picture)..
Halloween continued on Saturday with the annual Fall Festival at our pre-school, Green Beginning. That event always reminds me how much I love that school and the community of parents and kids that go there - it really is the best. They do a fun trunk or treat, have various activities for the kids to do and it finishes off with a teacher's performance and huge dance party for everyone to partake in (which is so cute with all of the kids in costume). 
 (his little wave - I die!)
Yesterday, on actual Halloween, we kicked off the day with a parade at school, which both boys participated in, followed by a Halloween potluck for Greyson's class. And then trick or treating last night of course - we had some friends over, the boys tore through the street like bats out of hell, Henley brought up the rear at a snail's pace (she insisted on walking the whole time and it literally took us about 30 minutes to walk up and down our one street!) and we finished it off with pizza and Halloween candy while answering the door for our trick or treaters. 
A farmer and her pig...
she kills me...
We ended the night with tummy aches (I told Hayes that meant he had done Halloween right), full baskets of candy (half of which we sent overseas to our troops) and the excitement that today is November, which means it's Grant and Greyson's birthday month, Thanksgiving and basically Christmas, which really is THE most wonderful time of the year!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Highs & Lows...

3 Highs:

1. Resuming the normal schedule (our nanny was back from vacation and healthy - hallelujah!) and finding that I was happy to be back at work!

2. A Starbucks date with Hayes to practice his vocabulary. 

3. Scoring a coveted reservation at a trendy new pizza restaurant, Pizzana, thanks to Grant's cousin, who is a host there.

3 Lows:

1. Finding my patience running low with the kiddos this week. I was on my own for a couple nights while G was in Idaho and found myself yelling at them a bit more than I would have liked.

2. Boiling hot temps outside (like, over 100 degrees). I like the heat, but 100 in late October is a little out of control, not to mention it makes doing anything with three small children outside just unbearable!

3. Dealing with an allergic reaction on my ring finger. Ever since I was pregnant with Henley, I seem to be allergic - just on my left hand - to my wedding rings. It got really irritated last weekend and I haven't been able to wear my wedding rings all week.

Best Thing I Ate This Week...

Some delicious bread made with heirloom wheat (whatever that is!) from Lodge Bread. It was absurdly expensive for a side of bread ($4 - what?!) but it really was incredible, especially slathered in some butter sprinkled with maldon sea salt.

Weekend Plans:

We have a busy weekend planned, filled with Halloween festivities, kicking off this afternoon with the boys' favorite day of the year, my office Halloween party. 
Tonight, we're going to the aforementioned Pizzana with some friends.
Saturday, I'm planning on squeezing in a Cardio Barre class while G and the kids watch the Canes game (we're pretty good this year so it's a hell of a lot more exciting to watch. Unfortunately, this also means that my superstitious husband insists on having the exact same meal every Saturday so our winning streak continues...), then in the afternoon, we have one of my favorite events of the year, the Green Beginning Fall Festival. No plans Saturday night and will spend Sunday recovering from all of the activity!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Chi-town with Grey Grey...

A few weeks ago, I took Grey Grey on a special trip to Chicago to see his new cousin 
and our new niece, Miss Mila Victoria.
I was so excited to take him and spend some one on one time with the little guy; being the middle child, he doesn't get a whole lot of that and I'm trying to be conscious of that for each of our kids, but especially him since he's almost always with his younger sister or older brother. 
And it was so cute to see how excited he was too, asking me every morning if today was the day we were going to Chicago to Aunt Wee Wee's house. 
I think it was also nice for Grant to have some solo time with "the Hs", which he of course made look completely effortless (I don't know how he does that!). It's not often that it's me who's going out of town while he holds down the fort and I think we were both kind of excited to have that role reversal (although side note, I was feeling anxious the entire time I was gone and I've realized it was because I wasn't with my whole family and because we had disrupted the routine. I've never suffered from anxiety before but have noticed a few times this year, I've had that lingering nervous feeling and that seems to be the common thread. But, I digress!)
We were gone for 3 days, 3 nights, so it felt like a nice long trip. And since baby Mila is still a sleepy newborn, we were able to do quite a bit while we were there: apple picking, a few dinners out (including to this pizzeria, which was tres buono) and a trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo (amazing zoo - and free! Unheard of!), to name a few. We also go to hang out with my best friend and her family, which was so fun (especially seeing the adorable crush her 4 year old had on Greyson - who, of course, was completely oblivious). 
apple picking with Uncle Ryan...
getting a boost for the perfect apple...
love connection...
The icing on the cake was getting to spend time with my sister and her new babe, who is so tiny and so stinking cute (although it was a good reminder as to how tiring and insane those first few weeks with a new baby can be, if we were ever considering having a fourth!).
I mean, just look at that face! 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Highs & Lows...

  Apologies for the radio silence as of late! Our nanny was on vacation for almost 2 weeks (!!) and it's challenging to find time to check in when you're doing the stay-at-home mom thing full-time, plus attempting to work from home in the few hours the kids allow. Jumping back in with some highs and lows and promise to post some fun stuff next week, including a recap of our trip to see our new adorable niece, Mila.
3 Highs this Week:

1. Taking Greyson to a field trip to the Eco-Station. It was fun to meet some of his new friends and their parents and made me feel more in the loop with his pre-school.
2. Watching the kids faces when they discovered that they had been Booed by some friends. {Basically, it's a modern day chain letter where you have to surprise two houses with Halloween treats, then the person who's booed keeps it going by surprising two other houses and so on. So fun!}

3. Locking down the picnic area we were coveting for Greyson's 4th birthday party.

3 Lows this Week:

 1. Discovering that an old friend from college passed away last week due to complications from a discectomy. Although we had lost touch over the years, I haven't been able to stop thinking about him since finding out... he was only 37 and leaves behind a wife and son. Just heartbroken about it.
 
2. Some very early morning wake ups from Henley (pre-6am - ugh!). But silver lining is I also got to start my days with some serious toddler snuggles ;-)

3. Missing Henley's first field trip to the pumpkin patch. Luckily Grant and Colisha could take her and there be many more to come, but I still wish I could have gone.

Best Thing I Ate This Week:

I took a stab at making Grant's famous eggplant parm and I have to say, it was a delicious batch. So delicious, our nanny ate all of the leftovers!

Weekend Plans

No real plans except a date night at Rosaline tomorrow night. We may hit up a Fall festival on Sunday to keep these kids busy, but otherwise no real plans, which I am absolutely fine with!
Hope you all have a good one!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

3 Highs & 3 Lows...


3 Highs this Week:

1. Celebrating the other GG's 95th birthday at our Sunday night family dinner.

2. A yummy lunch date with Grant at Sugarfish.
3. A nice visit with my sister and brother-in-law. Aunt V earned some solid props on Wednesday when she filled in for our nanny, who's on vacation and took on kid duty solo.
3 Lows this Week:
1. Obviously, the lowest low was waking up on Monday morning to the news of what happened in Vegas. This deserves it's own post, but I'm just feeling so helpless about what is going on in our country and the lax gun laws that are contributing to making these massacres part of our everyday lives. If you haven't seen Jimmy Kimmel's monologue from Monday night, it's worth a watch/read.
2. Tom Petty passing away. We almost went to his concert last week at the Hollywood Bowl, but decided not to at the last minute. Feeling serious regrets about that one!
3. Having to clean poop out of the bathtub after Henley did her business while Aunt V was on bath duty ;-(
Best Thing I Ate This Week:

Everything I ate at Sugarfish. That place is seriously delish.
Weekend Plans 

Greyson and I are headed to Chicago to visit Wee Wee and Ryan and to meet the newest member of the fam, baby Mila. And while I'm sad to leave G and "the H's", I'm looking forward to some one-on-one time with my middle little!