Wednesday, February 12, 2014

One and a half

Sabien is 18 months old. He is a sweet, busy little guy. He has a friendly, smiley demeanor that make people just love him as a good natured boy.

He also fiercely tantrums when his desires or thwarted. He sometimes takes to the full-body on the floor despair, but is usually quick to recover. He has strong desires and can generally make them known, though they cannot always be met to satisfaction.

And he really is the smallest of boys now. Babyness has faded in many ways, and I often see him doing things and remark at how much of a little kid he is. He is still quite young, not as verbal as he would like to be, but he's becoming so much more sophisticated at understanding and expressing his needs and thoughts. It surprises me occasionally to realize that he doesn't have full comprehension of particulars like "under" the toy is "under" the chair. He'll look on it, next to it, etc. But generally he seems to understand most everything and be able to follow most commands.

He has started inviting us to play with him in various ways. His current favorite game is pretending that there are wild polar bears around that we have to go hide from. He looks at me, puts his hands up, fingers curled to a claw and says "grrrrr" followed by a gasp of surprise while looking into the distance.

The proper response to this is to gasp and say in hurried, quiet tone, "Oh no. Are there bears around?" to which he replies "yes!". "Do we need to hide?" "ya!". "Wesley, there are bears!" and we all run hurriedly into the back bedroom, close the door, and jump under the sheet, hiding.

We huddle under the sheet with Sabien and Wesley growling and howling noises of the polar bears and wolves that join them. Eventually, they quiet, or we realize that they are friendly bears because we hear them laughing, and we exit our hiding place. Sabien initiates this game every couple of hours.

His other favorite thing is to bring a little Playmobile guy on  his horse and offer it to me. He has one for himself, and we gallop them across the room to wherever he points.

And, perhaps above all, Sabien has a love of books. He brings books to me constantly. He likes books that feature animals, particularly ducks, dogs, and horses. His favorites include Duck at the Door, Berenstein Bears and the Shaggy Little Pony, Chugga Chugga Choo Choo, Big Book of Animals/Words (he likes making all the animal sounds), and The Great Railway Adventures book series, though he really only likes looking at the dog in that one.

He loves to sit and point at the different things. Make noses for the different characters. Page through the books. Some books he sits through and follows along page by page, and some he has favorite pages that he flips to, flips back to, peruses, and likes to read in a back and forth fashion. An increasing number of books are read front to back on repeat in the past month.

Trucks & Trains
Sabien both copies Wesley and tries to join in his truck/car play, and he initiates his own play. He will often go to the back room and come back with various train engines and train cars. He lines them up and has gotten good at connecting the trains and pulling them without tipping over the traincars. He loves to put little guys in his cars and drive them around. He gets frustrated if they done fit properly, but in general he can get them set in there successfully.

Sabien loves to play with balls and he has for a really long time. He will happily get a ball and just throw it around and chase it on his own. He does the same with little acorns in the park. It is a joyful game full of happy little squeaks. When he loses track of it he says, "oh! oh!" in a high pitched voice and looks around.

Drawing & Stickers
Sabien loves to color and draw. We keep a big clipboard out for him and he often picks up a rogue crayon or pen and starts coloring. Sabien is Sooooooo into stickers. He just loves them. We have a huge sticker book that Aunt Lisa gave Wesley awhile ago, and Sabien just coats himself in stickers every day. He especially loves sticking them to the top of his hair and to his face. I think he likes the way it feels to put them on and peel them off. He also likes to put one sticker on each finger.

Hide and Seek


Sabien's language is taking off, and he's getting some words occasionally that have the end sound intact, as well as adding new words of multiple syllables. The way he says "TurTle" is so adorable. He has many words that other people may not recognize, but now I know, and some of which are clear.

Words: mama, dada, wes, jess (jesse), baba(all of his grandparents+oma), byebye, nuh-nuh (another, used both to mean another and again/repeat), mahh (max featured in Duck at the Door),

Animals/Sounds: He is so good at making animal sounds. It is so fun. Dog, cat, cow, chicken, duck, bear/lion/tiger growl, parrot squack, bird tweet, fish swishy noise, sheep, goat, horse, snake sssss, bee bzzzzz, train choo choo, and more.

He is increasingly speaking in staccato sentences. "Dada. ByeBye. Vrrrrmmm". (daddy went to work in the car). "baba. woof woof." Thinking about Grandma & Grandpa's Dog (often).

Sabien has a stuffed animal dog (woof woof) that he often asks after. For awhile he was carrying it on all of our walks, but now he has started saying "shhhhh" when we leave which means that doggie is going to stay home and sleep. Often when this happens, though, we'll get down the block and he REALLY wants doggie, too, so we often try to bring him along anyway. He asks for him during book time, and often brings him to meals (as Wesley brings his chosen friends to meals).

Wesley is a great comfort when we go out. Sabien has adjusted to being left with Grandma and/or Uncle Jesse/Aunt Lisa. Generally when we get ready to go, he just says a confident "byebye!"

Sabien still nurses for comfort, often.

Sabien is a busy guy. He practices his running and speed at night all across the living room. He loves to wrestle with anyone who will. He is a total climber, as we knew from his first "cruises" around the furniture when he was trying to foot up to climb before he could even walk unassisted. He continues that trend. He runs up the sidewalk and around the park.

But he also falls. He does not always estimate his limits very well. Either that, or he's more tired at some moments than he ought to be. He falls into walls during his wild running. He slips off of chairs and zonks his head. He slips on seemingly nothing, sometimes. He falls on the sidewalk almost always if he's on a big walk (we have taken to just playing in Wickersham instead of sidewalk walks). It makes me nervous to have such a bold adventurer sometimes.

He is both amazingly coordinated (kicking and throwing balls, parrying with swords) and amazingly unaware or uncoordinated at other moments. He knocks over at least one water glass a day, it seems. Age appropriate, I think. Plus, he's trying to run with his big brother, but I'm not sure how much that is actually the cause of it. He pushes his boundaries, tests them, and often surpasses them by a bit more than is comfortable. He is a trooper, though. He recovers from falls, offers his head for a sweet kiss, and continues on with happy spirits, generally.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

31 years old

I am a thirty-something. In my thirties. No longer a thirty-year-old. That seems like a bigger step in some ways than 30. Not at the threshold, but past it, securely in the next decade.

I look around myself, and I see a shift. Things are, perhaps, getting a bit easier. I remind myself of that statement on the days when the boys take turns screaming and throwing themselves and random objects around the house. However, on the whole, things have smoothed.

It has been an intense year, but I foresee a lot of transition and fun for us in the coming year. It's hard to believe that by my next birthday we'll have a 4.5 year old and a 2.5 year old. That will be very different. They are really quite adorably brotherly kids running around so much of the time these days. And, I can leave the house, usually, without any crying or even without a blink of the eye. Just simple hugs, kisses, and "Bubye"s. It offers some openness.

I was thoroughly celebrated on my birthday. My birthday was a Monday, so I actually got an entire birthday weekend, plus then a celebration on Tuesday. WOW!

A sushi date with Casey on Friday night brought back memories of our first sushi date 11 years ago when I turned 20. We had Indian Food Lunch Buffet on Sunday. The boys gobbled it, as did we.  Solo time and met a friend on my actual birthday evening after a somewhat bumpy day with the boys. That was lovely.

Then on Tuesday, I thought I was going to dinner with Patricia, Donald, Jesse & Lisa and our family and who should appear but EVERYONE! It was such a total and wonderful surprise at the yummy restaurant to have friend after friend appear. The bummer was that then Patricia and Donald couldn't make it due to a cold. The event certainly was a wonderful treat, and wow that people had coordinated it for me was so special!

I felt glowing with love and so full of appreciation for all of our wonderful community that surrounds us. And I was so surprised! I would have underestimated just how extra special it felt to be unexpectedly surprised with so much love and celebration. And sneaky thoughtfulness on the part of Casey and my extended family. It was wonderful. I have been walking around all day feeling so warm and happy from it.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Three and a half

Sweet Wesley is now 3.5 years old.

I baked him a cake because he asked for one when I told him it was his half birthday. I figured, "why not?". It delighted him, and he delighted all of us by how gleeful he was for his special day.

"Sabien, did you remember that today is my special day. It's my birthday!"

He has increased his love for singing and his ability to recite songs. He also makes up songs of his own. "Bulky item truck coming up the road, crossing the train tracks, bulky item truuuuuuck". He loves to tell people about his favorite songs. They are:

Monkey and the Locomotive (by David Rawlings Machine)
Life's Railway to Heaven (by The Amazing Rhythm Aces)
Canyonero (from The Simpsons tv show)

Social Know-how
His mastery of social banter makes us smile. At Uncle Jesse's birthday, they were out there building a fire. Wes had gone inside for awhile, and from a distance I saw him walk up to a few people sitting around the fire....
      Wes: So....that fire's really goin now, huh?

"Take a picture of me with my smoothie's funny"

Just spot on small talk.
Also he knows how to be funny to lighten the mood or to cheer people up.

Motor Abilities
He is a balance biking king. He can pedal bike, though hasn't been able to get started on his own. He prefers to strider. He loves to run...his legs look so long now striding out in a full run, but he's still just a little guy upon second glance. He can hop on one foot. He can trace letters pretty well now.

He now is at least equally interested in trains as he is in trucks. I was curious to see how the shift away from heavy machinery might happen. He still loves his trucks, but there are other interests (such as planes and trains) that are creeping in, too.

He has a new interest in numbers and counting. He spontaneously counts things in daily life, and he exclaims, "I know, let's count to see how many there are!" at any given moment.

He loves letters and reading words. He's getting more capable of blending and knowing some of the trickier letter sounds ("Y" at the end of the word sounding like "ee", the silent "e" at the end of the word, the bossy "e" at the end of the word that changes a vowel sound, etc). He looooves to play words with his little guys and trucks, and so do I.

Wes and Sabien are learning how to play more now that Sabien has higher motor and impulse control. It helps their days together go much more smoothly. They can play cooperatively, particularly with gross motor games like hide-and-seek, chase, running around, towing each other out of holes, etc.

They can have conversations, and Wesley is enjoying the communication and is exerting more effort in getting Sabien to talk back (which Sabien loves to do, of course).

They take naps together in the double jogger most days. They are looking pretty cute together as two little kids these days.

Wesley says he's "A Two Railed Train" on most days. He reminds me a few times a day, "I'm a two railed train, and I'm going to be a two railed train until we go to Southern California and until we visit the train at Old Time Sacramento". These are things he considers to mean "for a very long time". If he sees another truck, he'll say, "I'm a tow truck, and I'm going to be a tow truck" and often says he will be a tow truck until he's four or five or something quite long. He likes to be referred to then as "my little two railed train", etc. It's pretty adorable.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sabien - Month 11

Sabien is 11 months old today.

He is a busy guy. Fairly confident on his feet, he waddles with his wide spread, chubby leg gait throughout our house. He shakes his arms up in the air as he does it. He works on speed and squeals with glee. He is now an established walker and can walk nearly as quickly as he can crawl. He truly toddles, and it is the kind of adorable that makes you laugh out loud it is so funny and cute.

He is a happy little guy most of the time. Content to explore the house on his own and happy to follow his brother around as much as possible. He loves to push trucks and trains around making "vrrrrrm" sounds. He flies his planes through the air "wwwoooossshh". Most animals are either fierce lion sounds "grroorrr" or what seems to be a cross between a kitty and a cow "meeeoooo" except fish which are "sssssshhhsssh".

He all of a sudden is patient with books. At the beginning of the month, he would only bat the book away or swipe at it and close it up. By the end, he is taking his favorite books off of the bookshelf and sitting with them, asking us to read them (by calling out loudly for our attention as he holds it). His favorites are books that involve textures and flaps that he can touch and open.

Sabien is full of sweet smiles and sweetness. His big soft belly, bald head, and chubby little legs give him quite the baby look, but he's getting so much more capable! He has little interest in being fed by us and prefers finger food or using his own spoon. However, spoon skills are not very effective. He does get some bites in, but prefers finger food. He does love spoons, though. They are his current security objects. At most times of the day, he will be walking around with either a spoon or a small ball in his hand. He loves balls, throwing, and catch. He also continues to love to climb anything and everything he can manage.

He loves song and music and dancing. He gives strangers many smiles and then flirts shyly into my chest, only to call out to them a few seconds later and repeat the scenario again. However, being in my arms is not quite as perfect a spot for him as it was a month ago. He is a boy on the move who does not want to be hemmed in. He wants to walk around and explore, unless he's tired, in which case he is happy to zonk out in a stroller or car seat (yipppee!).

He hasn't yet learned to be gentle in all capacities, though his improved care of books does signal a shift. We are working on being gentle the plants in the garden. Hopefully that will translate to gentleness to humans, too. It's a hard concept to realize that you can bang the spoon on objects, but not on people's heads, or that hair is not indeed for pulling.

We had a doctor's appointment this month and he's about 83-85 percentile for height and weight. A proportionate, big little guy.

I can hardly believe he'll be a year old next month.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


It's not totally unheard of, I suppose, but I was surprised when it rained for a few days straight. We took full advantage of it. Puddle jumping!

It is no longer raining. In fact it has been 95+ degrees for days. I'm not complaining. We have air conditioning, and we harvested our first ripe tomato from the garden today. Thanks to the heat, I am sure. Yum yum! Wes gobbled it up immediately after picking it. He shared a bite, and it was amazing.

Is it just us, or do all parents get themselves into ridiculously painful situations like the one below...

We find it difficult not to let these cute little rascals crawl all over us, but that little muffin of cuteness can bounce on one's stomach or neck with amazing force. Laughing all the's harder to extract oneself than an outside observer might suspect.

They really wrestle and tumble and chase each other, too. Are we setting the example? I don't know, but refereeing their physicality with one another is a full time job these days. Boundaries and safety and respect for bodies and babies not knowing how to be gentle and sibling jealousy traveling both ways and over the top excitement with limited coordination create some complex situations.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


If I don't just post something, I never will. The thought of updating on everything from the past months when we were without computer is overwhelming, so I will just post something. Here it is...

Wesley will turn three next month. The following month Sabien will turn one. They are getting so much bigger. Sabien is walking and has a number of words words (five+ mama, dada, wesley, brother, bird, airplane, vrrrrrmm, whoooosh) . Welsey's comprehension and subtle understanding of the world continues to amaze me.

They love each other and miss one another when they are separated. They are also wildly jealous of attention the other one receives. This results in a lot of chaos in our house. 

Looking back over the pictures from the past few months, the sweetness is, as always, what shines through. It is an odd therapeutic practice for me to do this blog. When I feel like a break from it all, sometimes what I really need is perspective. Seeing our lives in our pictures offers me a new vantage point.





We love them...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Family Vacation to Paradise

We just returned from a wonderful vacation in Kauai. We visited Grandpa Pizz and Gram. The weather was warm, the beaches were beautiful, the avocados were plentiful, and we had a very successful family vacation.

The airplane rides were long but went pretty smoothly. The trip was a breeze. They struggled a bit more on the return flight, largely because we had so much turbulence that I couldn't give Sabien a break in the carrier. But, it went fine. Wesley absolutely loved the airport and "jumbo jet" experience. It was adorable how much he loved to talk about it. "I really love flying on this jumbo jet", etc. We were prepared with a bag full of new books and toys wrapped up as little gifts. He was content for most of the travel.

Though family vacations still require a lot of work, I found Kauai to be about as relaxing as it gets. I loved walking through the shallows of the beach as Sabien slept in the carrier, I loved snorkeling, I loved watching Wesley busy in the water and sand. I so enjoyed the breathtaking views and the lushness of the island.

I mean, this is the view from their patio...

Lynn and Linda were such gracious hosts as they just went with the flow as we took over their house for a week--toys every whichway, four hour naps in the middle of the day, all kinds of wildness. But most importantly, it was so sweet to see them with the boys. Though Sabien is in a bit of a clingy phase (serious understatement), he gave them many huge smiles and had some great playtime with Gram and Grandpa.

Wesley had some homesickness, but had such a good trip. He would miss home especially around bedtime, probably because that is when his routine and his bed and things are most closely missed. We all like our own beds, I suppose. Even his protests are adorable..."I don't want to be in this house with the fans (referring to ceiling fans), I want to be back in our frame house with the heater and no fans".

But, for the most part, he had a blast. He loved his front loader and roller that Gram got for him.

He loved the beach. He loved digging and pushing his trucks around in the sand. He loved wading in the water with his fishing net catching leaves and trying to catch fish.

He and Casey and Grandpa went on kayak rides two mornings (once in the river and once in the ocean). Wesley just looooves being on boats, so this was a smash hit.

We were able to settle in and find a bit of a rhythm. There is a convenient swim area only 5 minutes from the house with a kiddie pool blocked off. This was ideal (short car ride, shallow water with no waves, snorkeling larger area for adults). We went there most mornings and some afternoons. The two days we tried to go on longer trips weren't quite as successful--Wes got tired and had a hard time. But we still had great meals out and fun beach time during those trips, too.

I loved the vacation. I felt like I was able to get some distance from the minutia that sometimes takes over. Even though there were plenty of times when both boys needed me and were vying for my attention, it was wonderful to have an extra set or two or three of hands to help all day and night.

Also, the time difference was amazing. Sabien was in bed by 6:30 and Wes by 7:30 which left us with so much free adult time to hang out and enjoy relaxation together. Despite valiant efforts, I have never been able to get the kids in bed that early here. Sabien goes to sleep earlier than Wesley did at this age, but Wesley still has a later bedtime than many kids. It was a special treat to spend the extra time with Casey and Lynn and Linda.

There was so much cuteness and fun...