Love Overflowing

Pictures

It’s that time of the year. Picture time. We were wanting to get fall/Emily’s birthday photos taken. I decided to try something a little different this time around. Instead of attempting to get photos done at Picture People, which let’s be honest here is a crap shoot, I decided to try out my friend Anastasia. She has taken pictures of several families that in our playgroup. She does a wonderful job. I love how she just kind of let’s the kids lead. She doesn’t expect them to “stand on the dot” or “place your arm on the tip of your ear while standing on your toes”.

We decided to try some outdoor shots down on Main Street. I have always wanted to have pictures taken down there because it is so beautiful. You have old buildings, the gazebo, and nooks and crannies galore. We even went across the street to the park so we were able to get a few picture at the train depot and by the train tracks (now the trail). Wonderful venue for having photos taken. I think we took Emily down there a few years back right after Thanksgiving to get some shots for our Christmas cards. BRRR!

Anastasia did a great job with the photos. Emily, as always, was a more than willing model. Always hamming it up for the camera. Zachary, on the other hand, was Zachary. He was very reserved with his smiles. Which is not like Zachary in real life. He is usually very smiley and funny. Not so when it comes to having pictures taken. Anastasia was able to get some really good shots of both kids. Go figure Zachary started to warm up and smile towards the end! She took so many great shots that I made a little slide show to share. I am not even including the entire shoot in the slide show. She did that good.

Thanks Ana!

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Pickin’ peaches

One of Emily’s super summer fun item was to pick peaches. I thought we would have to go to Eckerts to get this accomplished. I was pleasantly surprised when my playgroup had an event at a local farm where we could…drum roll….pick peaches! Who knew! I knew you could pick apples there in the fall but I wasn’t aware that they had peaches as well. Yay!

It’s a cute little farm on the edge of town. You keep driving and driving, thinking you have missed it but there it is. A little house and a little farm. They have a produce stand to sell their yummy pickings and a little greenhouse that they have toys for the kids to play with in the fall. New this year is the castle play equipment. It has swings, a slide and lots of fun. I think Zachary would have been content to play in there all day.

The very nice farmer squeezed, a very tight squeeze, all the mommas and kiddos in the back of a wagon and took us on a little “tour” of the farm. He showed us okra, tomatoes, peppers, apples, and more. Each kid got a little basket to fill with yummy peaches. Emily was quite the picky picker. She only wanted the best peaches off of the tree. So it took us a bit to fill up basket. I had to explain to her that every peach has “imperfections” and doesn’t look like the play kitchen food at home. Zachary thought it was cool that he could run up and down the rows of trees. He wasn’t really thrilled when he got squashed rotten peaches through the holes in his crocs. Gross.

After a ride back to the front, and a look at the apple trees, the kids played for a little more. Zachary got yet another lesson of why not to walk in front of a swing. He is a magnet for those things. Luckily, he fought the gravel and won this time. One of these times, knock on wood, he might not be so lucky. Poor kid. You think he would learn, as he does this all the time at home.  Maybe he’s trying to see how much air time he can get.

After getting him cleaned up, the kids and I picked some heirloom tomatoes. Yummy, juicy tomatoes. Unfortunately, our tomato plant at home didn’t survive long. We got some yummy goodness off of it but the hot summer just did it in. Emily and Zachary thought it was pretty cool that the tomato plants at the farm were taller than they were. Emily’s favorite type of tomato was the pink variety. They are a little sweeter than a typical tomato. But she didn’t care, she just liked the name. Imagine that. Emily liking something because it’s pink. We had yummy caprese salad for dinner that evening!

We had a really great time. Can’t wait for next month’s trip to the farm for apples. Emily is a little miffed that she won’t be able to go. She starts pre-kindergarten September 1 and goes half days Monday through Friday. It will just be me and Zachary. An adjustment for all!

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18 months old

Now that Zachary is almost 19 months, I think it is safe to talk about him turning a year and a half!

What a funny little guy! He is so full of energy and life. He is so animated and has some of the funniest expressions. I will look at him during dinner and he will make a certain face that sends me into laughter every time. And he feeds off my laughter and amusement. Zachary is a very loving little guy. He is one of the friendliest kids I have ever seen. He says “hi” to everyone. I sometimes think he would do a much better job than the Wal-mart greeters. His smile knocks the socks off of people’s feet.

I know everyone believes their kids are adorable, and rightfully so. But Zachary just has a presence about him that just stops traffic. He is cute and charming. I probably won’t like that combination when he is a teenager. The server at the bowling alley recently made the comment that he was going to be a heart breaker when he’s older. I can’t imagine him being 4, let alone 16. I don’t/can’t think that far ahead. Not only is he cute but he’s also very open with his love. Just today, he walked up to the neighbor and gave her a hug. While it is super cute, it also scares me in a way. There is no “stranger danger” there.

I used to think that he didn’t like me all that much. I remember talking to my friend Stephanie about how he preferred Stephen to help him with stuff and didn’t really want much to do with me. Those days, for better or for worse, are long gone. We are stuck on the “mommy channel”. It’s not highly amusing when he and Emily fight over who gets to sit on my lap or who has my attention. That boy loves his family fiercely. He calls for “Daddy” first thing in the morning, “Mommy” when he needs something and “Gaga” all day long. He calls Emily “sis-er”. It’s super cute. I have been trying to teach him to answer the question “What’s your name?” with “Zachy”. He says it when the mood strikes him. That’s another thing. The little guy is STUBBORN!! And he has a temper. He hasn’t had a full-blown temper tantrum yet but he has tried to swing at me a few times when he was mad. He wants what he wants, when he wants it. He wants his toys, Emily’s toys and everything in the kitchen.

A few tidbits about Zachary:

  • Picky, picky eater. He won’t touch a vegetable with a ten foot pole. He is currently on an anti-fruit kick. Not too long ago, the kid HAD to have a banana every day. Now he won’t touch it. Meat- won’t eat. Mac and cheese- only large noodles. Prefers McAlisters Deli. Grilled cheese is on again/off again. Stuff he never falls out of love with: yogurt, cottage cheese and corn Chex. And cookies.
  • He can spot a Dierbergs, Sams or Schnucks from the highway. He yells out “cookie!!!!!!!” Bad, bad cookie sample habit.
  • He is a climber and a gymnast.
  • He loves Yo Gabba Gabba. He will ask to watch “Gabba” but only sit for the opening of the show. He LOVES the music. On a long, loud car ride home, I played the Yo Gabba soundtrack and he quieted down and was able to make it home without totally losing his mind.
  • He loves cars and dogs. He still calls dogs “bark, bark” and will point them out.
  • He is learning his animals sounds. Today he pointed up to a monkey in his closet and said “ah, ah, ah”.  He can also say “bark” and “meow”
  • He is learning more and more words. I really need to start a list of them. He surprised me the other day with sandal. Took me a minute to figure out what he was saying but it’s sandal. He brings me my shoes, saying sandal, when he wants to leave.
  • He loves to be outside. He doesn’t care if it is 110. It’s been hard the past few weeks with it being so hot outside. Poor kid has been cooped up.
  • He has shown a tiny interest in potty training. I am not sure how to proceed. He will lift his shirt up and walk to the potty. Especially when we are outside of the house, he wants you to take him to the bathroom, take off his diaper and put him on the toilet. He has not actually gone in the potty but has definitely shown an interest. I do think 18 months is way too young but I don’t want to not put him on the potty when he is showing some interest.

I could write a book on my baby boy. I love that child dearly, with all of my heart. He drives me absolutely mad at times but I wouldn’t change a thing. I used to think that people were nuts when they said “I can’t keep my house clean. My child follows behind me, destroying everything. ” I have eaten my words. I will try to pick up toys throughout the day but it is futile. The child will come behind me and pull out more toys than I put away. I give up. I pick up toys after he goes down for a nap and after he goes to bed. So if you ever come to my house during the day, you will find trucks and blocks all over the floor. I’d pick them up but it’s just not worth it. So just watch where you step.

 

18 month stats:

25.8 pounds (50%)
34 inches long (91%)
Head 48.2cm (63%)
size 7 shoes
18 months clothing. 24 months if it’s a one piece.

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Sibling love

I looked in the rearview mirror the other day and I saw a sweet sight.

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He really was happy, even if he doesn’t look like it in the picture. This is what I hear:

Emily: “Zachary, do you love your big sister?

Long pause

Zachary: “I don’t.”

Huh?!? Surely, I thought, he didn’t just say that. Then Emily yells “He said ‘I don’t’!!!!!!!” Yep. I must have heard it right if Emily heard it.

And then she smacks his arm. Wonder why he said that?

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When no one is watching

The kids went outside to play today while I was cleaning up lunch. This is what I saw:

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They do love each other! It’s sweet moments like these that make my heart swell with love. She is feeding him jello by the way.

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15 months and counting!

Guess I should talk about Zachary turning 15 months before he gets any older!

Stats:

24 pounds (43%)
32 1/2 in (Although I am pretty sure the measurement was not accurate as I measured him at 33 inches. There was a Sanford Brown student taking measurements the day we had his appointment.) (88%)
46% for head circumference

The biggest change from 12 to 15 months was walking. Now I should say running. It still strikes me as odd to see Zachary just walking around the house, aimlessly. He is always, always on the go. Always climbing, opening drawers, pulling stuff out of cabinets. Basically driving me nuts, but in a good way. Zachary is also obsessed with closing doors. Door must be closed, whether it’s the back door or the doors to our armoire in our bedroom.

We went through a phase of separation anxiety recently, thankfully short-lived. He didn’t want me to leave him. With Grandma, he was fine. He could only make it 15 minutes in the gym. But we kept trying and he is ok with Mommy leaving now and has fun. He enjoys being around other children even though it is parallel play still.

Zachary loves his books and really enjoys the library. We went to our first set of library programs for his age recently. He wasn’t sure about the whole thing at first but now he really enjoys them. Every time we go to the library he makes a bee-line towards the activity room. Zachary is like a sponge, soaking up so much that he comes in contact with. He has learned so many new words recently. Surprisingly enough, I haven’t taken the time to figure out what all he says. He did combine words recently. “Bye, Jew-ie”. Super cute! His favorite words are “bark, bark”. I am starting to realize that he uses those words for other animals, not just dogs. Birds, cats, you name it. We need to work on that.

Zachary is also the most picky eater I have ever met. It really doesn’t shock me that he is so skinny. The kid just doesn’t eat much. No chicken, beef, pork. And vegetables….. Ha! Wouldn’t touch those with a ten foot pole. What makes it even more frustrating is that one day he will love something and the next day he won’t touch it. I try to make him eat what we eat (within reason) but it’s hard. I can’t send him to bed without dinner. He’s just not old enough to understand that. So he eats a lot of scrambled eggs, lunch meat and grilled cheese. Fruit. Fruit he will eat all day long. I am just beside myself on figuring out how to get this kid to eat and eat healthy.

Zachary really is a sweet, sweet boy. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He is very intense, sweet and loving. He loves to give what I call drive by huggings. He kisses by turning his cheek toward you so you can kiss it. Zachary is a little snuggle bug really. Give him a book, a sleep sack, his blankie (which he calls “babby” just like his sister. Babby is probably “blanket” to him.), a lap and call it a day.

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Going on a hunt…

‘Tis the season for the bunny and egg hunts! It’s always so much fun for me to see the kids scramble after little plastic eggs. Emily is at the age still where she isn’t concerned with the number of eggs that she gets. She just wants to enjoy the hunt and excitement of seeing what is in the egg.  Zachary….Well, this is his first egg hunt season. He was a little overwhelmed at the first egg hunt we went to. I don’t think it was the hunt itself as much as the sheer number of kids there. He has been going through a little separation anxiety so he was a little clingy. He didn’t want me to put him down for quite some time so that made picking up eggs a little difficult.

Our first egg hunt was with our amazing playgroup. The amazing hunt organizer stuffed over 400 eggs for the kids to hunt and spread them out over a large field in the park. My hat is off to her because I can only imagine how much time she spent stuffing, closing and hiding. She did an amazing job! Thanks Ana! Besides the egg hunt, there was food. Lots and lots of food. Our group sure knows how to eat! This shindig was a lot of fun! Zachary eventually warmed up to the whole thing and had fun. He actually got down and played at some point. Emily even got to dye some eggs! She had a blast of course!

I don’t have any pictures of the second hunt. It was just Daddy and Zachary. Unfortunately, it has rained the day prior to the hunt. Hunt day was wet and chilly. Zachary enjoyed some donuts and playtime with Daddy before they slip, slided in the mud.

The next egg hunt was held down the street from our house! It was our subdivision’s annual egg hunt. Always a great time! They have tons and tons of eggs for the kids to hunt so there are no fighting. They even have an area roped off for the 3 and under crowd. Emily got her first “painting”. She has never had her face or hand painted, if you can believe that!

Both kids had lots of fun. Zachary was finally getting into the whole hunting thing and picked up some eggs to put into his basket. The kids then got to pick some attendance prizes. I love that Emily isn’t about the biggest. most expensive. She was happy with a little stuffed bunny and a paddle ball. Zachary got a car in an egg and was more impressed with the egg. Got to love the innocence. Soon enough it will be about bigger and better. I am enjoying it while I can.

Luckily, the weather has been pretty nice for the past week or so. We have been able to get out and enjoy. I love spring!

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Little man with an attitude

Not even 15 months and Zachary has an attitude! He’s lucky he’s so cute……

This is what I got the other morning when I was telling him to stop making his milk squirt out of his cup:

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Survived

Emily’s spring break is this week. I had nothing planned ahead and was just going to go with the flow. The weather was predicted to be amazing for the first part of the week so, on the fly, I decided on Sunday night that we would head to the zoo Monday morning. .  Just me, Emily and Zachary. Myself, a 4 year old and a one year old. I was the only adult. Catch that? You are probably thinking that I must have been out of my mind. I, myself, have doubted my sanity a couple of times.

Actually, the day was perfect. The kids woke up in a good mood and entertained themselves during breakfast while I packed a picnic lunch for us. We made it out of the house and to the zoo before 9 am and all the crowds arrived. We didn’t have a plan of attack and just hit things as we saw them. Emily told me that her “must see” animals were the flamingos and the elephants so we tried to see them early on to reduce some complaining. Zach did great as well as Emily. I am always amazed at how well she does at the zoo not being in a stroller. I was getting tired of walking so I knew she had to be!

After seeing quite a few animals, Emily wanted to stop at the Penguin Cove. I share this story more in detail but I am still laughing about it. Let me preface this story by saying that we don’t normally stop at the penguins when we go to the zoo. I never really understood why. Emily made it crystal clear! We walked just inside the doors when she demanded to go back outside. It stunk. There was no way she was going to walk through with that smell. She was so adamant about it that I couldn’t help but laugh. Zachary didn’t seem to care either way.

Here’s my super woman story. It was me and two kids at the zoo. We managed to ride the carousel both kids on an animal for most of the ride. And we managed to take a ride on the train. That might not seem like a super feat but I managed to get both kids on the train and fold up the stroller so it could ride with us. And I was holding Zachary for about 20 minutes. We picked a really bad stop to get on at but Emily was determined to get on the train at that station. I really didn’t think that it would take us 4 or 5 trains to get a seat. We really weren’t that far back in line. I thought we would be on the second train and fold up the stroller so we could make a quick board. Wrong. Two seats emptied. That’s it. There was NO. WAY. Zachary was going back into the stroller at that point.

After we rode the train for a few stops, we stopped for fuel. Food that is. I found some picnic tables that were off to the side and let Zachary get out. He was so happy to stretch his legs out and walk around. It still catches me off guard to see him walking around. He fell several times but he enjoyed the heck out of himself.

So the three of us survived a trip to the zoo alone. It can be done. I am pretty proud of myself and both kids. They did great and made it fairly easy for me. I am determined to get more use out of our zoo membership this year. Last year I think we made it once. But in my defense, I was in a cast from early April to mid June and then it was so stinking hot! Plus I had an infant. No excuses this year. I am going to wear that card out!

And of course I forgot my camera in the car so all I have are my iPhone pictures.

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Natural lighting

I read an article last week on using natural lighting with photos. I have a plain ol’ point and shoot but I LOVE taking pictures. There are so many different functions with my camera that I will never know how to correctly use them all. I would love to eventually get a DSLR  but in the meantime I am always looking for ways to take great pictures. I don’t know why I haven’t done more with natural lighting because I LOVED the way these turned out. I just popped Zachary in the highchair during snack time and started snapping away.

 

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