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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Kid Comparison at almost 5 Months...

People are constantly asking us who Henley looks more like, Hayes or Greyson and my answer seems to be different depending on the day. 
I think, if I had to choose, I'd say Greyson. Something about their coloring and their smiley eyes (Hayes' have always been more doe-shaped), but then sometimes I'll look at Henley and feel like I'm looking at Hayes as a baby all over again. 
Greyson, 5 months
Hayes, 5 months...
She's currently sporting quite the hairstyle, nice and short blonde hair on the sides, big 'ole bald patch in the back (she has the saddest pile of hair in her crib where her head lays - she literally is shedding more than Greta these days) and pokey rooster ginger mohawk going down the center. But she's rockin' it and could not be any cuter in our eyes.
Here's a comparison of all three kids around the same age...
 Can you guess who's who? (obviously the floral romper is a little bit of a giveaway!)


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Currently...

Totally stealing this from one of my favorite blogs (which I tend to do often - steal things - but at least I'm honest about where they're coming from!). Here's a snapshot into my mind as of late...

Making: root beer floats for the boys this past weekend - it was their first time having them and they loved it. And who wouldn't? A big 'ole scoop of full fat vanilla ice cream enveloped in sweet, spiced root beer... I should have made one for myself!
Cooking: Really trying to make good on my new years resolution to cook a new recipe every week. Some weeks are better than others.
Sunday night (which has somehow become burger night during the summer), I made a homemade version of the famous LA Father's Office burger (and it was delish, if I do say so myself).
Last night, I made a light lemony cappellini using a recipe from Delish 2015.
And later this week, I'm going to make a new fave brussels recipe for the second time in 2 weeks and try out the fancy cauliflower recipe from Mad Hungry.
Drinking: Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew. Obsessed is an understatement.
Reading: Not much of anything lately (just so tired at night!), but want to pick up a good book for our trip to the Cape in a couple of weeks. I loved this blog post by author Victoria Fedden so much, I'm wondering if I would find her book equally as hilarious.
Wanting: a  new wardrobe. So tired of my (tired) clothes and after 5 years being pregnant on and off, my closet is in major need of a makeover.
Looking: at our pool. My new favorite place to sit at home is with my feet up on our lounge chaise. One click of a button retracts our awning, giving us shade when the sun is stifling and sun when the urge to tan strikes. I almost feel like I'm on vacation...
Playing: Pandora round the clock.
Eating: this delicious peach crumble I made - it's restaurant quality excellent.
Wishing: that I could freeze time.
Enjoying: our nightly family hot tub (after Baby Henry goes to sleep), sometimes with cocktails and apps, sometimes without. New favorite part of the day.
Loving: our new turf. It is amazing how much less yelling and more patience you have towards your kids when they have the freedom to roam outside and after being without a backyard for almost an entire year, we couldn't appreciate it more. We also splurged and put the turf in the front and it has made the Cohen Cabana look 10 times better.
Needing: to start working out more. I did my first Cardio Barre class in almost a year last weekend and forgot how much I loved it. I've barely been able to walk since (in a good way!), but it's gotten me motivated to get back to some sort of work-out regime. Think I'll give Class Pass a go and see how much I use it; it seems right up my alley.
Smelling: sunscreen on the kiddos - they smell like vacation ;-)
Feeling: a little nervous for next year - kinder for Hayes, pre-school for Greyson. Lots of changes and I'm freaking out a little that they're growing so quickly!
Wearing: DVF simple black skirt, classic grey tee from The Gap and a strappy Steve Madden chunky heel. My wardrobe is slightly limited due still nursing the babe and having to pump a couple times a day at work, so I'm restricted to mainly jeans and tees or skirts and tees when I'm feeling fancy!
Following: middleclassfancy on instagram. You're welcome.
Reminiscing: about our date night last weekend at Cassia. The food was to.die.for, especially their chickpea curry dip with grilled naan.
Bookmarking: anything to do with family friendly activities and restaurants in Austin. We're going in August with friends (there will be 8 adults and 9 kids under one roof - lordy!) and I'm starting to look into plans. Any recos, send my way!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Around here lately...

So I obviously failed miserably at my '52' weekly series this year. 4 or 5 into them, baby girl came unexpectedly and then life got the best of me and my eternity leave from work pretty much became an eternity leave from this blog as well.

The kiddos are all doing great, endlessly entertaining us every day with the things that come out of their mouth and their latest behavior -isms. My heart literally bursts with love and pride one moment and anger and annoyance the next, but such is life with three under five. Thankfully it's a lot more of the former than the latter and I often find myself looking at those little faces and musing over how it is that I'm lucky enough to be called their mama.
Meet the newest member of our family, Donn the Swan...
Hayes, 5 years... He is like a little fish in the water now that we have our swimming pool (and a prime candidate for the dreaded green hair towheads often experience as a result of the chlorine!). He LOVES to swim, especially when Grant or I will join him in there. He won't tolerate a wet bathing suit, so there are multiple outfit changes every day. When he's not swimming, he's playing in his pretend 'Spy HQ', a large empty box that contained our outdoor furniture that I'm frankly scared to throw away for fear of WWIII breaking out upon the discovery of it being missing. He's been a great big brother lately, especially this past weekend when we were on Operation Potty Train Greyson - although I suspect his encouraging and supportive nature was more due to the desire to pick out his treats that he somehow convinced us he deserved every time his brother went potty ("I'll have a marshmallow and blue m&m this time, please!") vs. him really wanting Greyson to succeed ;-)
Greyson, 2.5 years... We said goodbye to diapers this past weekend and our little dude did pretty well with the whole thing! Prior to this weekend, he had peed in the potty exactly one time so we had very low expectations but by noon on Friday, he had a chart full of batman stickers, a belly full of various treats and a desire to change his underwear akin to an indecisive woman picking out a dress for a first date. We are so proud of him and hope the enthusiasm continues. He's yet to poop on the potty and did have an accident at camp today since he was so adamant about not going in the toilets at school, but we'll get there! This was a big one on the Cohen Fam Summer Bucket List - potty training - check!
And speaking of camp, today was the first day we left Greyson at school on his own and he did great! He and Hayes will go to camp 3 days a week for the next two weeks, which will hopefully help ease the little guy into the idea that he'll be left there on his own next year. He wasn't keen on leaving his lunch box in his cubby so when I left him this morning, he was still clutching onto that, but he didn't have a care in the world that I was leaving him and I'm sure he's been in heaven all day being able to hang out with Hayes and the big boys. Mama on the other hand was a surprisingly sad as I walked back to my car, knowing that leaving my underroo wearing toddler there solo today just means he's getting bigger. How is this all happening so quickly?!
Henley, 4 months... Still just the best, my little squidge, along for the ride and wearing the cutest summer threads while doing it. May Gray and June Gloom are finally cute phrases of the past so I'm able to dress the little munchkin in the plethora of adorable summer outfits her cousins have bequeathed her. She's super drooly, loves her tub more than anything in the world and knows how to ham it up for the camera. We just love her so damn much and honestly can't remember what life was like without her.
 
Our backyard is almost complete, but enough so that we've been able to enjoy the warm weather poolside for the past few weeks. Our skin is bronzed, the boys are exhausted at the end of the day and we're so happy there's a safe place for them to roam around outside again - it really is key to have that space when you have a couple of energetic boys living in your house. So far, Summer has been good to us and we're looking forward to the rest of it ;-)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Kinder, here we come!

Our baby boy graduated from preschool last week and it sure was bittersweet for this Mama.
On one hand, I'm so excited for him to start his new journey to kindergarten, and I think he's ready too. He loved his DK (Developmental Kindergarten - an afternoon program that basically gets them ready for the real thing) and our pre-school does a really good job in mentally preparing the kids for what's next. Over the last couple of weeks, he's seemed to be less nervous and more curious about next year, asking me what time school starts, whether he'll bring a lunch and why he has to go every day when I don't go to work every day (fair enough!).

On the other hand, his preschool graduation signifies the end of a chapter that I'm not quite ready to be finished with. The big bad world of Kindergarten scares me and even though I think Hayes is, I'm not ready for it! I love our little pre-school cocoon; I've come to know and love the kids (and parents) who have been in Hayes' class for the last 3 years. 
Everyone knows I'm not big on change and this is a big one!

But alas, time marches forward and we have no choice but to go right along with it. And thankfully I have two more littles to put through pre-school so we don't have to say goodbye to our pre-school fam-i-ly quite yet ;-)

The graduation ceremony was adorable. All of the kiddos walked down the aisle, donning their homemade caps and green handkerchiefs. They had practiced A LOT, with daily rehearsals leading up to the big event. Hayes was super excited, although I think he was a little nervous when he got up on the stage in front of the 60+ parents, grandparents and siblings that had assembled to watch. I actually thought he was going to cry at one point, but luckily he didn't, leaving that up to his sobbing mother in the crowd instead. The school anticipated this, giving little packages of kleenex away alongside the programs - those definitely came in handy!
I swear, he was happy to be there!
Grant was able to capture most of the ceremony on camera, which I'm posting here for your viewing pleasure.





Afterwards, we took Hayes and Greyson to McDonalds - graduates choice - for a celebratory meal (and side note, I hadn't been to a Mickey D's in forever and they are FANCY now! Faux wood floors, digital menus and our meal was even brought to us at our table!) 
So excited to finally be at the "McDonalds with the play structure"...
Anyways, it was a really nice day and we are super proud of our graduate. 
Go Hayes!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Henley James Cohen: Superstar!

I'm playing catch up a little bit now that I'm back at work and wanted to finally share the amazing photos we had taken of our sweet baby girl, by the very talented Diana Henderson.
Diana took photos of Grey Grey (click here) when he was a babe and I so wish I had known about her when Hayes was born. She simply is the best.
She comes armed with props galore; backdrops, floordrops, diaper covers, headbands, chairs, mini-beds - you name it, the woman has it. She's amazing with kids of all ages, getting finicky toddlers to laugh at the precise right moment (using none other than a fart machine of all things - I'm telling you, the woman thinks of everything!), aiming her space heater and using the most gentle touch to make your sleepy newborn comfortable and mold them into the perfect position. She doesn't pull any of that BS photographers like to pull, where you only get five 5x7 images for an astronomical fee - the total includes everything she takes, in addition to some retouched photos (but honestly, I had a hard time choosing any photos that even needed retouching). 
My absolute fave shot - we're gonna hang this one in the hallway between the kiddos rooms.
Anyways, I can't sing her praises enough, but I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. So happy we have these to look back on for years to come. I'm totally obsessed.
We wanted to incorporate some of our favorite things in our new house so this one was taken in our master bath. We actually didn't use a whole lot of floor drops, opting instead to use our wood floors.
Grey Grey not so sure...
Whenever I tell people Henley has two older brothers, they all have the same reaction. Future boyfriends better watch out!
One of our dining room chairs...
It is really challenging to get a pre-schooler and toddler to cooperate in a photo shoot.
This kid smiles more in her sleep than anyone I've ever met...


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Tomorrow, I'll do better...

To say Greyson has been a challenge lately would be an understatement. 
Our little Grey Grey, who stubbornly came into this world a week late on his own terms, has always been opinionated and determined and destined to go far in life because he won't be putting up with the shit people will try and throw his way.

Mix that with a heavy dose of the 'terrible twos' and you've got yourself quite the combination. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is a struggle with that one. He says no just to not say yes. He wants whatever he can't have. Even after given choices about everything, he freaks out and wants the opposite of what he's chosen. It's a constant battle, constant negotiation, constant fight and sometimes I end my days just feeling so down about the relationship I feel like I have with him lately.

I don't want to be that parent who's constantly yelling, constantly saying no, constantly fighting with my kids. I don't want to feel as though I frequently need my own time out in order to stop myself from physically hurting him, grabbing him a bit too hard (to which he usually laughs, making it all the more infuriating!). It's tough and it sucks and I can't wait for this trying phase to be over with (and am praying it's not a personality trait that'll stick around forever!).

Lately it's been hard. I have to remind myself to take a deep breath and to visit the well of patience that's constantly running dry. 

Some days are better than others. When he's on his own without Hayes, for instance, it's like being with a different kid. Hayes somehow brings out the worst in him - well they really bring out the worst in each other, constantly fighting and clawing at each others throats these days. 
And on the flip side, he is the most hilarious two year old I've ever met with a personality that literally explodes out of his body, which is awesome to be around. High highs and low lows with that one.

Anyways, I came across this article a few weeks ago on the interwebs and loved it. It's a good read that reminds parents that tomorrow is a new day, full of possibility. I needed to read it and I can't tell you how much I relate to the author in this current moment.

Tomorrow I will try to do better. 
Tomorrow I will continue to remind myself that he's two. Tomorrow I will try and keep my cool, relax a little and indulge in some messy toddler time. Tomorrow I will remember that one day, I'll miss his insistence on having us change him into three different pairs of pajamas before he goes down for his nap and let him painstakingly go through every single sippy cup before choosing the first option I gave him. 
And tonight, I'll pour myself a large glass of wine and have comfort in knowing that there's someone else out there going through the same infuriating phase I am! 

Two year olds... ay yai yai.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Bucket List: Outdoor Movie

LA does these amazing outdoor screenings of movies during the summer months at a variety of places. They're usually older classic movies (we've taken Hayes to screenings of The Sandlot and Karate Kid in the past) and you just go with some lawn chairs and blankets and set up shop on the grass, enjoying food from the food trucks while you watch the movie under the stars. 
Snuggling under the blanket watching the movie...
On Saturday night, we took the boys over to our local park for an outdoor screening of The Sandlot. This one was a little smaller than the ones we've attended in the past, with everything being sponsored by local business (read: free for attendees). We had very little expectations for Greyson to be able to sit through the flick, but because it was free and literally 2 minutes from our house, we didn't care too much about everyone sitting down and watching the movie. It was really the experience of it all that we were hoping to enjoy.
Grey helping himself to his 100th red vine while Hayes waited for his third helping of cotton candy. Responsible parenting at it's finest!
We got a sitter for Angel Baby (thanks to Grant's cousin, Mackenzie!) and picked up yummy burritos and quesadillas en route. There was cotton candy, popcorn, hot chocolate and buckets of red vines that the boys treated like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Hayes literally had a tummy ache when he went to bed that night and I had visions of projectile vomit a la the Steve Martin movie Parenthood happening, although thankfully it did not.

The boys maybe sat through half of the movie, then spent the last half running around the park and watching from the bleachers by the baseball field. It was a little chilly, but such a fun and unique to LA thing to do. And this one was especially fun because it was a lot smaller than others we've been to so it really made us feel like we were at a neighborhood event at our local park.
Bucket list item: Go to an Outdoor Movie - check!