Friday, March 28, 2014

Joyous Mason Turns Three

This has been saved in draft form for months now and there are a million things I want to add, but at almost four months late I think it's about time I posted this! Mason's 3rd birthday was on 12/3/2013.

We blinked and Mason turned three! His first three years have flown by and been a whirlwind of fun. We are so happy to be his parents and can barely remember life before him. He has grown up so much this year and gained the awesome new role of big brother. He is such an incredible brother to Harrison and seems so big to Sean and I in comparison.

Mason loves, or should I say, is obsessed with, the color blue. If he knows something exists in blue, he will have nothing else. For example, I bought him a three-pack of blue forks. Do you think he'll eat with any other fork? Nope. Or at a birthday party one time, he was totally fine with his party favor that had green sunglasses inside. But when he saw that someone else got one with blue sunglasses, World War III broke out. He wears blue tops with blue jeans, blue underwear, blue socks and blue shoes. We just bought him a pair of blue shorts and some new blue shirts, and he picked out some turquoise jeans for himself. It's also mine and Sean's favorite color, but even I'm getting a little tired of it! I know this phase will soon pass though and I remind myself how charming it is.

Other things Mason loves: trucks of all kinds, legos, books, drawing/painting, stickers/stamps, cartoons, running around outside, playing in sand, climbing trees, riding his scooter, playing with friends, trolling the neighborhood in the afternoon looking for friends outside to play with, school, puzzles, working with tools (especially with Sean in the garage), music, the Perot museum, going to parks, riding trolleys, driving Sean's truck, building forts to play/read in, playing make believe witches and dragons, and of course, baby brother "Parrison".

Mason does NOT love: being told what to do, being told "no", getting dressed/brushing hair, vegetables, getting out of the bath, and this one has subsided, but he did have a pretty torrid love/hate relationship with owls for a while.

He is potty trained except, and this is a big caveat, except for #2. He wears undies all day, and brings me a diaper when he needs to go #2. We are so close, but not quite there. I'm researching new approaches we can take with him on this! He loves to stay busy and still naps everyday, except on school days when he has quiet time at home instead. If he went down after school, he'd take forever to fall asleep, and then sleep until 5:00 and fight bedtime so I just took it out unless he seems like he really needs it. He sleeps anywhere from 10-12 hours at night, depending on when he falls asleep. He's up at 7:00 no matter what.

Mason has become very curious and inquisitive in his fourth year. He asks questions all day long and will talk your ear off. We're very patient with him as we know his mind is going a million miles a minute and growing with each day. He is quite funny and loves to make people laugh. He's still very outgoing, inclusive, and has never met a stranger. He's polite to adults, and generally very kind to kids as well. He can also be very, very, rowdy. His volume seems to be permanently set on high and his batteries never run out. Lately not a day goes by when he doesn't get in some sort of trouble, but we're staying consistent with our discipline knowing that what we teach him now will shape who he becomes as a man.

We were very pleased with everything we talked to his teacher about in his parent/teacher conference this year. He's right where or ahead of where he should be and is doing great in his preschool environment. His teacher picked one word to describe each of her students and gave Mason the word "Joyous". We couldn't agree with this more and just love our joyous boy to pieces!

Fun fact: Mason turned 3 on December 3, 2013, weighing 33 lbs., and standing at 3' 3" tall!

Below is a set of questions I asked Mason about his favorites, followed by some pictures from his birthday parties. I want to ask the same questions over the years and see how they change. Some of his answers are pretty adorable and comical! We had a family party at home the weekend before his birthday, and had a weekday construction party with his friends at Preston Hollow Park. We lucked out with the weather as a crazy ice storm hit Dallas the next day!

Favorite color: Blue (duh)
Favorite toy: choo choo trains
Favorite TV show: Jake and the Neverland Pirates
Favorite thing to eat: parfaits
Favorite thing to wear: Jake PJ's
Favorite game: trucks and playing mad witches
Favorite creative activity: stickers & stamps
Favorite animal: cow (surprised me that he didn't say Hazel, our dog)
Favorite song: dinosaur song (something they sing at school), and All Aboard the Choo Choo Train
Best friend: Hud and Harrison from school, and Jeff
Favorite thing to do outside: play in the sand
Favorite drink: milk
Favorite holiday: birthdays
Favorite thing to sleep with: Bert
What do you want to be when you grow up: Garbage Man
What's your favorite thing to do with Harrison: play with him
What do you love about yourself: choo choo trains
What do you dream about: scary witches (this concerns me a little!)
What's your favorite thing to do with Daddy: work
What's your favorite thing to do with Mommy: play
What's your favorite thing to do at school: eat snack and play

Happy 3rd Birthday, Buddy!

The cake tasted better than it looked! It was my first attempt at making frosting from scratch.

BeBe, Papa, and Great-Grandma

The Gadeks! Brian, Jen, Matthew and Madison

The intense stares from Sean and I in the bottom picture make me laugh

Clockwise from top left: Birthday breakfast, at his three year check-up, out for burgers on his birthday (his choice), and him saying sayonara to two!
Construction Party Decorations

My boys at the party

 Party guests

Time to eat! Bottom left is Mason getting excited in the car on the way there and bottom right is Harrison cooing at my grandma.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Harrison - Six Months

It's very hard for me to believe that Harrison is already six months old! Whoever is pushing the fast forward button on our lives can go ahead and press pause now. I know to some people you'd say he's only six months, but his half year of life has flown by so fast I'm already struggling to remember everything! 

Harrison is an absolute doll, and will charm your socks off. He soulful eyes get comments from strangers daily, and his flawless skin feels like silk. He is a laid-back, happy camper, who is easily amused, especially by his charismatic big brother. It takes no effort to get a smile or laugh out of him, and when he and Mason are laughing at the same time, it's the sweetest noise I've ever heard. He is on a great schedule, and is sleeping and eating wonderfully. He's a tiny fella, but strong as they come. He rolls all around and started sitting up straight last week, but topples over after a minute or so. He puts everything in his mouth, and if he can't find anything to put in there, he grabs his feet and puts them in there! He's nursing well, takes a bottle of formula at night, and has enjoyed starting solid foods this month. So far he's tried banana, apples, peas, rice cereal, and avocado. I made butternut squash for him tonight and we'll try that tomorrow!

He had a week-long bout with a stomach bug, but thankfully that has passed. Other than a couple of nights of discomfort from that, he's been sleeping 11-12 hours a night since he was about 4 1/2 months old. He naps twice a day for 1 1/2 - 2 hours each time, and still usually catches a 15-30 minute catnap in the middle of the day. He has the best big brother in the world and they love playing together! We're out of the woods of adjusting to a new baby, and life is pretty good right now.

His stats: 
Weight: 13 lbs., 8 oz. (<5%)
Length: 25 1/2" (10%)
Head: 17" (30%)

Our daily schedule:
7:00: wake and nurse
7:15: play in the master bedroom while Mason watches cartoons and Sean gets ready for work
8:00: breakfast for all (he eats food once a day at this time)
8:30: playtime with Mommy & Mason
9:00: nap
10:30/11: wake and nurse
11:30: head out for whatever activity we have planned that day
1:00: catnap (some days)
1:30/2: nurse
2:30: nap
4:30 wake and nurse
4:45-6:45: play around the house - now that the weather is nice, we spend a lot of time outdoors
6:45: bath
7:00: bottle, nurse, then bed

He's still swaddled pretty tightly at night. We've tried to move to a more freeing sleep sack, but he seems to prefer the swaddle. Whatever it takes for him (and us!) to get a good nights sleep!

This boy is really something special and we're so lucky to call him ours. We love you, Harrison!

Trying peas for the first time
At his 6 month check-up. He loved playing with the paper on the table!
Happy boy

Swinging at the park and festive on St. Patty's!

Brotherly love

Spring Break 2014

When our boys are school age, we may travel during Spring Break, but for now I enjoy making the most of the week around town and doing something exciting every day. This year I challenged myself to not spend more than $50 on kids activities for the week and I'm happy to say it was a success! Here's what we did:

Monday - Klyde Warren Park with Shelly and Hutcheson
Parking, $3
Ice Cream, $7
Total Spent: $10
I packed our lunches and this day could have been free if I had parked at Sean's office building instead of a meter and if the fun parent didn't surprise us with a visit and trip to the ice cream truck. Turned out even better this way though and we were so happy that Sean could join us for a bit! The weather was perfect and we had a blast. It was a great way to start off our week!

I remembered to bring a change of clothes for Mason, but forgot to bring something for him to play in the water in so he ran around in his undies! Harrison hung out in the Bjorn for a while before catching a snooze in the stroller.

He loved climbing on this! In the bottom left picture he had spotted a trolley driving by.

Surprise visit from Daddy means shirtless ice cream! 

Tuesday - Dallas Arboretum with BeBe and Madison
Parking, Entry, and Children's Garden Access: FREE with my mom's membership

I packed our lunches again today and met up with my mom and niece, Madison, for the annual Dallas Blooms festival at the arboretum. This is the most stunning collection of flowers and apparently we weren't the only ones who wanted to see it. The place was PACKED! We got there right around opening and it was already busy, but  by the time we left the overflow parking was full and the line to get in wrapped around the entrance. We still had a blast taking in all the beauty and playing in the new Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden. That place is awesome and filled with fun, educational galleries for the children. We can't wait to go back and explore more - there was no way we could have seen it all in once visit!

My boys love their cousin Madison!

Wednesday - Perot Museum of Nature & Science with BeBe and Madison, and lunch at El Fenix with Papa
Parking: $3
Entry: Free with our membership
Lunch: Free for me - thanks, Dad, for joining us for lunch and picking up the tab!

We knew the weather was going to turn colder and windy this day, so we picked an indoor option. Again, I wasn't the only fool with this idea. The place was so crowded that it was hardly any fun. Throw that in with several tantrums from Mason and I was just a tad bit stressed. What really annoys me is that we're members and can go at anytime, so why I chose to go during the cold day on Spring Break maddens me! Madison had never been though so at least she got to experience it for the first time. Sean works close to there and popped in while we were playing in the children's area. I love how he  meets up with us when he can - he did this during Spring Break last year as well and I know it means a lot to Mason (and me!). After the museum Sean headed back to work and the rest of us walked across the street to El Fenix for some welcomed Mexican food and a mid-day margarita!

Mason went home with my mom that afternoon to spend the night with my parents. This gave me a break, and allowed for some quality time with Harrison. Our night and Thursday morning were such a breeze that Sean and I laughed at the fact that we ever thought having just one child was challenging!

Thursday - Day at home for Harrison and day at BeBe & Papa's for Mason
Cost: FREE!

It was so nice to have a slow morning around the house. We gave Harrison his first try at peas in the morning and snapped some pictures that are super similar to Mason's first food experience (see below). Then, while Harrison napped, I was able to sip coffee, watch TV, catch up on the computer, shower, and clean the house! Again, how did I ever think life with one child was hard? :) I ran some errands with Harrison after his nap and was able to knock out 5 spots in 45 minutes. Then Sean met us for lunch before I headed to my parents house to pick up Mason. I timed my arrival with Mason's nap, so I could hang out for a bit with my mom. My sister ended up coming over and my dad came home early from work and I enjoyed sitting on the patio with them while both boys napped. I decided to give myself a little Spring Break, too, and indulged in some cake and wine with my mom while we chatted outside. When the boys woke, Mason made cookies with my mom and then my dad took us out to dinner at the yummy Fish Shack in East Plano. Sean used this opportunity to work a little later than usual and then surprised us with a day off on Friday! We all went to bed happy that night.

Ice cream, jake activity book, cookie making, smiles, and nap at BeBe & Papa's!

Harrison at lunch with Daddy, laughing with Aunt Jen-Jen, hanging with Papa, and a special treat for BeBe & Mommy!

Mason on top, Harrison on bottom. Definitely brothers!

Friday - Caruth Park with the Hunters, and Chicken Scratch with the Huffstutters
Lunch: Free with Chick-Fil-A coupon
Dinner: I'm not counting this as a Spring Break expense, as we typically go out for a family dinner every Friday anyway!

Sean loves seeing Mason play with his friends and was excited to be able to join us at the park with Amanda and her daughters Kennedy and Chloe. While Harrison napped in the morning, Sean and Mason took Hazel for a walk and I packed lunches for Sean and me. We picked up CFA for Kennedy and Mason and then headed to the park. Sean entertained the big kids at the park while Amanda and I were able to chat and watch the babies. Then we headed home for naps all around, before heading out to Chicken Scratch for dinner with the Huffstutters. It's an awesome, outdoor restaurant with fried chicken, picnic tables, play areas for the kids, and The Foundry next door with yummy drinks. We didn't stay late enough for the live music but they have bands every Friday and Saturday night. Mason started and ended the week with one of his best buds, Hutcheson, and we all had a great time on a beautiful Friday night.

Climbing at Caruth Park

Fun at the park. I love the prom pose from Mason & Kennedy on the top!

Hanging around at Chicken Scratch

I adore this picture of Sean and Harrison on the left. On the right everyone is enjoying the homemade lime and papaya popsicles.

Well, that's our Spring Break in a nutshell! Not only did I come in under budget, but I only spent $13 on activities for the kids - 1/4 of the budget I had set for myself! We had a busy, but fun, week and I'm looking forward to more fun outdoor activities now that we're about to enter Texas' good weather season.