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Monday, November 23, 2015

Greyson's Birthday Celebration

In lieu of a big birthday bash for our tiny two year old, we decided to keep it small and simple and celebrate with just the family + Nini and Pa. Greyson doesn't exactly have a lot of friends yet (sorry, but it's true!) and since we don't have a house to entertain at currently, our options were limited.
Opening pressies in the morning - Hayes picked the winners, a Mickey Mouse fire truck and ball ;-)
Donuts for breakfast...
There's a place nearby called Duff's Cake Mix that I've been dying to try ever since it opened. The concept is simple - you go there and decorate cakes and cupcakes, which you can then eat. Duff is apparently some big Food Network pastry chef, even though he looks like the kind of creature you'd run into at a Cave Creek biker bar. I've looked into going there with Hayes before on one of our Monday afternoon dates, but the packages were always pretty pricey and required decorating like a dozen cupcakes so we've never gone. 

I found a gilt city a few months ago for a half a dozen cupcake package and quickly called to make a reservation for the 15th. And it was perfect - 6 cupcakes (we chose a combo of marble and funfetti) that you get to decorate with frosting, toppings and fondant of your choice. It kept the boys busy for an hour and felt like a festive thing to do for the birthday boy.

We followed it up with dinner at a local pizza joint and it really was the perfect celebration for our little guy.

Happy birthday Greyson, we love you!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Happy Birthday Grey Grey!

 It's Grey Grey's birthday today and our little guy has turned the big 2. Crazy to think he's only that age - Grant and I often find ourselves forgetting just how young he is due to his seriously advanced communication skills. Sadly, I think this means we often expect more out of him and sometimes forget what sort of expectations are realistic when it comes to the emotions and irrationalities of a two year old. It's also hard when he has an older brother for us to compare him to - an older brother who has been through and come out of the tougher phases and is (whether knowingly or not) turning up the charm and making himself seem extra sweet and easygoing in comparison to his not so mellow little bro ;-/

But I digress! Today is all about Grey, who reluctantly came into this world a whole week late on a very early Friday morning in November two years ago. He has since filled our lives with nonstop action and character and enures that there is never a dull moment around the Cohen Kibbutz!
So, Greyson, this is childhood: one:

To say you were a handful would be the understatement of the century. You rarely sat still, constantly on the move, exploring new things, getting into whatever it is you knew you weren't supposed to get into and making it your life mission to get underneath your older brother's skin. Your favorite person in the whole world was Daddy and you followed him around like a shadow when he was home, insisting on him doing anything and everything for you. Everything Daddy watched on TV (always sports) was "GAMEDAY!", which you would say with such enthusiasm and fervor, I could see literally see the pride radiating from your dad's face. You felt lots of big, big emotions as you approached your second birthday and really let them flow multiple times a day. You were kind of like a ticking time bomb, one never knew when you're going to go off so we would do the best we could to make you happy and let you have your way (within reason, of course!). You were very independent when you wanted to be, constantly insisting, "No, I'm got it!". But you also liked to be apart of the action, whether it was dragging your stool into the kitchen to "see what mama's doing" when I was cooking, or helping us brush our teeth in the morning, you didn't like to be left out and made damn well sure no one forgot about you! When people came and went from our apartment, you and Hayes liked to walk them to the elevator to send them off,  fighting over who got to push the outside and inside buttons and insisting on big hugs and two hand kisses before the elevator door closed. At that point, you'd stick your face right up to the crack and yell, "See you later, poo poo face!". You were quite the jokester and knew how to get a laugh from a crowd, constantly saying bad words like 'shit' and pulling down your pants. When you were doing something you weren't supposed to be doing (which felt like all the time!), you'd get a funny look in your eye that you'd direct towards the person you were with, using the nonverbal cue as if to say, "I'm doing this, what are you going to do about it?". You could climb any play structure at the park and were the most athletic two year old I'd ever met. You'd kick a ball around a field and yell, "Soccer Shots! Soccer Shots!". The only time you'd sit still was to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, which you were obsessed with. You also had an incredible vocabulary and by the end of your first year, you were using prepositions and conjugating verbs as if you'd been speaking for years. You called milk, 'nowk'. You loved cookies, cake and lollipops - basically anything sweet - requesting them everyday when I got home from work, before I even had a chance to put my bag down. You loved to play with water - the bathroom looked like a warzone by the time you were done with your tub, which you'd insist on adding cold water to the entire time you were in it (Hayes had started requesting you take separate tubs because he was so cold in the one he shared with you!). You were quite shy when you were around people you didn't know, especially at classes that had kids the same age as you. You'd stick right by our side and participate very little in group activities. But when you were with Hayes or even solo with us, you were in your element, wild and crazy and about as outgoing as you could be. You were a great sleeper and a good eater - your favorite foods were the usual two year old preferences: pizza, mac and cheese, quesadillas. You'd also eat a lot of fruit. At night, when we put you to bed, you'd insist on multiple hugs from both Daddy and me - you liked to use it as a stall tactic and we were happy to oblige. You were constantly testing your limits and pushing your boundaries, especially when it came to Hayes, who was the victim of your tormenting on a daily basis. But whenever you would hurt him or see that he was sad, you'd run to the freezer and get him some ice to make it all better. Your favorite thing to do was to pretend to drive cars, insisting on starting the engine every time we went anywhere before reluctantly getting into your carseat. You were bursting with personality and although you were absolutely exhausting, you were also hilarious to watch and it was fascinating to see how much you were picking up from everyone around you. You were strong, both in physical and mental strength and I had no doubt in my mind that your determination would take you far in life. 

We're keeping it low-key today, celebrating the big birthday with some family and trying to do things that will make the birthday boy happy (read: no car time!). We started the day off with donuts and pressie opening (Hayes raided the Mickey Mouse section of Toys R Us a few weeks ago, picking out the perfect presents for his little bro). The boys will spend the afternoon decorating some cupcakes at a local cake place and then everyone is going to dinner at a local pizza joint.
Happy birthday, Grey Grey! We love you so much!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Halloween 2015

This year was one of the best Halloweens yet, with both boys understanding what the awesome holiday is all about and embracing it big time. 

It seemed as if it went on forever, mostly because we started celebrating way back at the beginning of October when we were at my parents' house in Scottsdale. But every time those little plastic buckets would start to run low on Halloween candy, there was a new Halloween event that replenished the supply ;-)

Hayes, of course was a police officer (duh!) so Greyson was, naturally, a convict on the loose, which actually fit their little personalities just perfectly. 

We kicked off the official festivities with my office Halloween party on Thursday, also known as Hayes' favorite day of the year when he gets to come see me at work. I'm pretty sure he thinks my office always has a bouncy castle on the basketball court, cotton candy machine and a train that takes you around the agency - and I'll let him be none the wiser!

On actual Halloween, we started off the trick-or-treating on our new street since the houses there seem to go all out with the decorations (total opposite to Livonia where our one trick-or-treater in our entire 4 years of living there was an arranged affair with our neighbor where we gave him the Dove chocolates you'd find in your grandmother's purse as they were apparently kosher!). We met some of our neighbors, who were so friendly and welcoming and who got us even more excited to move in in a couple of months.

We then headed to a friend from school's house who had quite the Halloween crew over - about 5 families from our pre-school, which resulted in about 12 kids. They got a bouncy castle and after trick-or-treating, the kids ran wild while the grown-ups caught up over wine and pizza. The boys had a ball and it was really the perfect Halloween ;-)

We've officially welcomed November around our house with Christmas jammies on and the fire a blazing. This is my absolute favorite time of year and I'm counting down the days until Thanksgiving, when I can start playing Christmas carols and indulging in the holiday spirit!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

thirty one / fifty two

Hayes and his teacher Stacey at their pre-school Fall Festival...
Hayes, age 4: ...We are basically living with a full-blown police officer these days. He wears his uniform all the time, lounging around the house, out to brunch and dinner. Last weekend, he made Grant go out and buy him a tie so he could wear that when his uniform was taking a rest. He's obsessed with the color blue and asks us questions all day about police officers - what do they do on their day off? Do they like chocolate milk? Do they have blue eyes? Do they sleep in their underwear? 
When we went to our go-to Mexican joint at the Farmer's Market last week for dinner, Grant ordered the boys a chicken quesadilla, which Hayes was none-too-pleased with when he found out it wasn't his standard cheese. Grant explained that this was a special quesadilla that was filled with protein - something police officers ate to give them energy on the job. After hearing that, not only did he gobble up his "quesadilla with protein", but on Monday, when him and Nini went there for dinner, he requested the same thing. I'm thinking I could for sure be using this tactic in my favor for a variety of things I'd like Hayes to do ;-)

Greyson in his happy place, driving the ambulance at Zimmer Museum...
Greyson, age 23 months: ...We are continuing to be challenged on the regular with Mr. Independent, as I like to call him, trying to stay patient and understanding of his big two-year old emotions. He's particularly attached to Grant these days, which I think is probably a good thing with the bean en route and all. I had the pleasure of spending the whole day with him one-on-one on Monday while Hayes was at school and then with Nini for the afternoon and it was like being with a different child. So lucky to be able to have that solo time with both boys as the time with them is entirely different when they aren't competing for attention.

Where's Greyson?
Oh, there he is!
The Bean, 22 weeks: ...Baby is the size of a spaghetti squash this week, which I thought was huge (especially if you saw the size of the spaghetti squash we're having for dinner tonight - Grant basically needed a machete to cut through it!), until I looked ahead and saw that next week, it's going to be the size of a mango (huh?). We had our 3D anatomy scan last week and the little thing is pretty photogenic, if I do say so myself! 

Major boy vibes on my part, but friends and family seem to be split down the middle.

Esther: ...It's been a few weeks since I posted any photos of the progress so I snapped some the other day when we were there. 

Fireplaces are in... this one is in the living room.
H standing in front of the laundry room...
View from the kitchen to the family room. We'll have built-ins around the fireplace in here...
Our glorious Western Sliders. The ones on the left open all the way to the left and the ones on the right all the way to the right...
Another view of the living room fireplace and windows...
Hallway... To the right of where Hayes is running will be built-in storage...
Very large front door, which will be painted black.
Exterior shot...
Silly boys ;-)
The insulation is all in now so next up is the dry-wall. Our doors have arrived, including the back sliders that we splurged on that open up the entire family room to the backyard. Everything looks great and we're so excited to see it coming all together.
Target date to close is January 11th, 2016 so fingers crossed El Nino stays away for another few months so we can finish up with no hiccups. That'll give us about 6 weeks to get moved in and ready before baby arrives (yikes!).

We've got a weekend of fun Halloween festivities planned for Officer Hayes and his little convict, Greyson starting with Hayes' favorite day of the year tomorrow, my office Halloween party. For actual Halloween, we'll be going to a friend's house with a bunch of other families and taking Greyson on his very first trick or treat, which I'm sure he'll absolutely love.

Cops and Robbers, Halloween 2015
 Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Desert Weekend Recap...

It's taken me awhile to gather all of the photos taken from various places from our Mailloux family reunion in the desert a few weeks ago, so apologies for the tardy post, but let's go back in time to our Canadian Thanksgiving get-together and take a look, shall we?
The Mailloux cousins, in birth order: Hank, 5; Hayes, 4; Gus, 3; Greyson, 23 months; June, 10 months; Dylan, 10 months.
My family is spread all over the country; a sister and her family (including my nephews and nieces) all the way on the East coast in D.C.; a sister and brother-in-law who've just celebrated one year of wedded bliss in the windy city of Chicago; parents who live the semi-retired life in the blazing desert of Scottsdale, AZ and yours truly on the West coast in the land of LaLa. We went from a core family of 5 to {currently} 14 and counting, so getting everyone together in the same place is no small feat. Since in-laws and far too many children are now involved in holiday gatherings, we decided to pick a weekend once a year to convene as a family - and Canadian Thanksgiving, which falls on Columbus Day weekend every year seemed to be a natural fit.
The "boys'" table...
This year, my dad had a boys' weekend planned to a football game over Columbus Day so we celebrated a tad early the weekend before and all 12 of us descended upon my parents' home to shack up and spend some QT together.
Snug as a bug in a rug!
Ladies who lounge...
And although it was madness, especially for my poor parents who aren't used to the chaos that comes with 6 kids under the age of 6, it was such a nice weekend and I was so happy to be able to spend some time with my sisters and their hubbies and get some loving in on my little babes, who I don't get to see nearly enough. Not to mention how much fun the kiddos had together - it was basically like having a friend over for 3 days straight, in a new environment, with new toys - the kids were just slightly excited ;-)

My parents went all out and arranged for all sorts of fun activities to do with the kids. From pumpkin carving, to a Halloween treasure hunt complete with choice of costumes for both the kids and adults, to a delicious Canadian Thanksgiving spread, we were well taken care of and the kids had a blast.
The angry convict...
Police Officer Hayes finding some loot...
Just silliness....
Side note, the last time I wore this costume, it was to a Halloween party in high school that Grant wasn't allowed to go to b/c he was on some sort of school arrest for doing something naughty on a school trip (this was pre-our love connection but I was obviously already keeping tabs on the new guy who had caught my eye). Happy to see it still fits 17 years later and when I'm pregnant, to boot!
I think we all agree that it was a little hectic for my parents to host everyone so we may consider renting a house next year in some neutral territory, but we are truly thankful to them for providing the digs this year and hope the dust has settled at Casa Mailloux since we left!
Uncle Grant reading the boys their final bedtime story about Little Critter going to the dentist. I'm still cursing the author for writing about how when you have cavities, you have to get scary shots to numb your gums. Hayes tells me everyday now how he never wants to go to the dentist again - although it is a good tactic to get him to be thorough in his tooth-brushing!
Hard to believe that the next time we have plans to all be in the same place (July, 2016 in Cape Cod), the bean will be alive and there will be a grand total of 15 extended-Mailloux family members. Never a dull moment around here!