Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Happy 9th Anniversary

I was going through my phone and deleting unnecessary pics and videos (yes, I'm that girl that has a 64GB phone and is running out of space), and I came across some photos I took during my 9th anniversary celebration. It dawned on me that I never blogged about it, so this seemed like as good a time as any to do that. The kicker is that our anniversary was back in June. Haha, I know, we're closer to the next anniversary than we are to the one I'm about to discuss. Oh well!  It was a fun night and I like to document our "travel" so here goes.

We arranged for my sister to watch our boys overnight so we could have a quick "vacation" within our own city. We booked a room at the Omni Dallas under a Retreat to Romance package. It included a bottle of Chandon, a box of chocolates, a rose, a happy anniversary card, and $100 credit at one of their restaurants. That was perfect because we were planning to eat on-site at Bob's Steak & Chop House anyway.

Omni offers you the option of checking in online ahead of time, so when we arrived, our keys and welcome letter were already waiting for us next to the reception area. After quickly grabbing those, we headed straight to the elevators without having to wait in line or speak to a receptionist. When we got to our room, all our amenities were on display and ready for consumption.

While sparkling wine and chocolates are certainly enough to warrant one's attention, I had a hard time pulling myself away from the view. The floor to ceiling windows allowed us to take in a breathtaking perspective of the city we call home.

Another cool feature of the room was the caliber of the bathroom. I mean, how can you not feel fancy when you're watching TV inside your mirror?

After relaxing for a few minutes and enjoying our sparkling wine, we headed down to Bob's for dinner.  You wouldn't think a vegetarian would enjoy a steakhouse, but there were a decent amount of appetizers, salads, and sides available for my consumption. Our waitress was nice enough to bring us both a free glass of champagne after we told her it was our anniversary.  It was a great dinner, but there was still one more stop on the agenda! I love seeing our city at night, especially from up high, so we stopped by Five Sixty for dessert. I actually don't recommend going there just for dessert, based on this experience, but the views helped make up for it. (They were out of our first choices, and what we ended up with seemed mass-produced and not fresh). The elevator ride up to the top is always fun, not to mention the rotating view you get while dining.


At the time, this get-away was much needed, even if it was only for a day. We are so lucky to have family nearby to help watch our kids so we can still enjoy each other's company. I had a wonderful 9th anniversary and I'm pretty excited to think about what our 10th has in store. Before I can even start planning that trip though, I'll be headed to NYC in March and Washington, DC in April. Girls, hit your hallelujahs, because we are back on the travel train!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

For Comparison Purposes

It's natural to compare your kids against each other. Meezy and I are often making comments like, "Dutch didn't do that at Jude's age" or "Jude has way less hair than Dutch did," etc. Having kids also means you become more forgetful though, so it's super helpful to have pictures and written notes to refer to! Every time my boys go to the pediatrician for their well visits, they get their height and weight measured and I'm told what percentile they're in. I've got those stats recorded from birth to age 1 for both of them at this point, so I thought it would be interesting to compare.

Here are their measurements and percentiles for height:

                                                         Jude                                 Dutch
Birth                                       20.50"       78%                20.75"         75-90% (gave me a range)

2 weeks                                  20.75"       50%                21.75"         97%

2 months                                23.25"       55%                23.25"         75%

4 months                                25.75"       74%                25.50"         75%

6 months                                26.25"       50%                26.25"         50%  

9 months                                28.75"       70%                27.50"         25%

12 months                              29.75"       50%                29.00"         30%

It's cool to see that they measured the same height at 2 months and 6 months, and then it appears that Jude started growing at a faster rate from that point forward.

Here are their measurements and percentiles for weight:

                                                     Jude                                          Dutch
Birth                            7 lbs. 13 oz        51%                 9 lbs.  10 oz        >95%

2 weeks                       8 lbs.   5 oz        50%                10 lbs.   3 oz          97%

2 months                    12 lbs.  9 oz         75%                14 lbs.   1 oz         97%

4 months                    15 lbs.  8 oz         53%                15 lbs.  13 oz        75%

6 months                    17 lbs. 11 oz        60%                17 lbs.   9 oz         50%

9 months                    19 lbs.  8 oz         30%                19 lbs.  12 oz        45%

12 months                  21 lbs.  9 oz         30%                21 lbs.  12 oz        40%

Yes, you read that correctly. I delivered a monster Dutch baby. If Jude hadn't been born 3 weeks premature, I'm sure he would've been pushing 9 pounds. How interesting is it that their starting weight was nearly 2 pounds different, yet by 4 months they weighed about the same and have stayed consistent at the milestones since?

I'm curious to see how tall my boys end up being, since we have so much height in our families. I've honestly been surprised up to this point that they are in the low percentiles for height. Maybe they'll hit some growth spurts along the way and blow the percentages out of the water. Guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Jude's First Year

With Dutch, I was blogging on a monthly basis. With Jude, we're going to settle for yearly. Sorry, it just is what it is once you have two kids. I did at least take pictures of him each month and record his progress in monthly notes, even if I couldn't find the time to post them here. As such, I'll jam everything into one post and we'll call it a full review of Year Number 1!

Month 1

Oh my gosh, I can't even remember him when he was this little. I also find this picture funny because Dutch was nearly 2 pounds heavier at this point. During month 1, Jude wore newborn sized clothes because 0-3 month clothes were too big. I had nothing of that size because Dutch was so big at birth, so I actually had to go out and buy newborn onesies. Jude liked to suck on his fingers and nap a ton during the day. He liked sleeping on his side and we often let him sleep in his bouncer placed on our bed most nights. He usually fell asleep more easily while being held, so we did whatever we had to do to ensure we got some sleep too!  Jude was usually very uncomfortable after eating, especially at night. He would spit up a lot and was gassy. He was quite noisy with grunting when he was uncomfortable. 

Month 2

Jude began growing out of his newborn clothes at this point. He experienced some growth spurts and we increased the frequency of his feedings. He would sometimes get frantic when he felt hungry. Sometimes the best way to get him to sleep was to hold him in the recliner in his room. That way we got a little sleep too!  He liked to do a deep sleep in the morning from around 8am to 10am. He still spit up a ton and grunted a lot. He began focusing and looking at us more, and the smiling started. 

Month 3

Jude got RSV and cradle cap this month and he was a sad sight. On the plus side, he began spitting up a little less and doing more cooing. He loved when Dutch interacted with him and he began reaching for things more often. He would immediately fall asleep when we got in the car and patting him on the back would help calm him down when he was upset. The first time he slept for 5 hours straight overnight was during this month, at about 12 weeks. (It happened while he was in his swing). 

Month 4

This month, Jude started daycare. He would take short naps there, in a bouncer or on a playmat, and then would take a long nap after school, followed by a feeding session, and then another long nap. Apparently he played so hard all day up there that he wore himself out by evening! His sleep schedule overnight was awful though - he often woke up in the midnight, 3am, and 5am hours. Then he pretty much woke up hourly until 8 or 9am when we'd start the day. Sometimes his 5am wake up was just a cooing session. He started having lots of "conversations" with himself this month. When laid on the ground, he would roll to his side. He did his first roll from back to stomach this month, at 14 weeks.

Month 5

By this month, Jude had started sleeping in his crib a little bit, but only when on his belly. He still maintained a horrible sleep schedule overnight, with a 2-3 hour nap upon first being put to bed around 9pm, followed by waking every 1-2 hours after. His teachers at daycare often commented about how mellow he was and his lack of crying. He chewed on his fingers a lot and the drooling was excessive. He liked to grab his toes, play with the toys draped across his car seat, and maintain eye contact with us for a long time. He rolled from stomach to back at 19 weeks. He tried rice cereal for the first time this month, at 22 weeks. One time Dutch roared at him as a joke, and he made the saddest face and started wailing. He also cried a couple times upon hearing his older brother cry. 

Month 6

This month had a lot of activity. He got his first and second tooth and started trying a lot of pureed foods. He liked to kick his legs a lot, especially when his diaper was being changed. He liked to hold his own bottle and could sit up without assistance. He finally started sleeping in longer periods, with a schedule that looked like this usually: sleep from 9pm-12am, feeding, sleep from 12:30am - 4am, feeding, sleep from 4:30am - 8am. One night he slept for 6 hours straight. 

Month 7

This month he tried lots of new foods, but was quite fussy from teething. One night we gave him Tylenol for the discomfort and he ended up sleeping for 9 hours straight! Most nights he would sleep for 3-3.5 hours straight before waking up and wanting to be fed. While in his crib, he began pressing the button on his noisemaker to entertain himself. He learned that being unbuckled from his car seat meant he was getting out, so he started leaning forward and reaching for us every time the process started. He would typically have 5.5oz bottles every 3 hours during the day. 

Month 8

This month we had a few nights in a row of 7-9 hour sleeps, but then he went back to his usual horrible sleep pattern. He started crawling this month and as you can see from the picture, loved to pull himself up to a standing position. One day when I picked him up from daycare, he recognized me from afar and smiled and started crawling quickly towards me. He liked scrunching up his face, grabbing for everything, babbling, blowing rasperries, curling his tongue, and saying "da da da." He showed signs of 4 top teeth coming in. He loved it when we'd hold his arms and let him practice walking.

Month 9

Lots of new foods were tried this month as he stopped nursing completely. He loved taking baths with his brother (still does) and took his first trip to the beach. He continued to pull himself up to a standing position on anything that would support him and preferred to be standing up whenever playing with toys. He loved to clap and was generally happy and smiling all the time. Chewing was his number one activity this month as he chewed on rubber bracelets, medicine dispensers, and Dutch's toy cars every opportunity he got. 

Month 10

This month was when his mischievous side came out in full effect. He would love grabbing my necklace every time I held him, liked pulling clothes out of boxes in the closet, liked crawling towards the dog's water bowl, would crawl straight towards the tub if we left the bathroom door open, always tried to go after the TV and internet cables if we didn't block his access, and began to smile at us anytime we sternly told him NO. He occasionally would do spells of yelling just to hear his own voice and developed a fake laugh. This month he said what sounded like "ma-ma" for the first time. If he was tired and one of us left the room, he would begin to cry, and if I came into a room that he was in and didn't immediately go over to him, he would get upset. 

 Month 11

From the picture you can see that the big news this month was his first unassisted steps, at 47 weeks. His sleep schedule improved and he made it many nights without waking up for a bottle. Most mornings he wouldn't cry upon waking, but instead would just stand up in his crib, happy, waiting for us to come get him. If he was holding a toy while we were changing his outfit, he knew to switch it to the other hand while we put a sleeve over each arm. He constantly would try and steal my phone to chew on it. He also knew that throwing his sippy cup off his high chair or out of his car seat was annoying to us, but would do it anyway. He liked to lean over and put his head and hands on the ground and pretend to do head stands. 

  Month 12

His walking became more consistent this month and he transitioned to whole milk. He also tried eggs for the first time and liked them. His tongue was always out when he wasn't eating everything in sight. He learned to put things inside other things, like a toy into a bucket. He always woke up very hungry and didn't like wearing a bib. If someone left a door open, he made a beeline for it. He loved playing in his clothes hamper and pulling all the clothes out. He loved it when Dutch would act silly to make him laugh. 

As little sleep as we got this year, we still had a SUPER year! Dutch loved being a big brother and it's only going to get better as Jude is able to play with him more. For Jude's first birthday, we brought out the ball pit that we had given Dutch on his first birthday. It went over quite well!  

He also got to try a cake for the first time, and he was quite unsure about it. We basically had to force him to put some of the frosting in his mouth. We tried to show him that he was allowed to squeeze and play with the cake, but we ended up just doing it for him. I think he preferred the spoon over the actual dessert. Oh well!  I guess he won't be a sweets boy.

Thanks for making our family complete, Jude. Cheers to many more wonderful years together.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

San Diego Trip New Years 2015

My nephew is in the Navy, stationed in Virginia, but he has spent some time over the past couple of years in San Diego for training. When it came time to pick a location for his wedding celebration, he and his wife chose San Diego because of its awesome year-round weather and breathtaking views. My nephew doesn't get a lot of time off, so they planned their celebration around the New Years holiday. Since for most guests it was a destination wedding (her family is on the east coast and his family is in the South), the timing was helpful.

When Meezy and I heard the plan, we were definitely excited to go. Then we started thinking about the ramifications of taking a 3 year old and 1 year old on a 3-hour flight, to stay in an unusual place for 3 nights, over the New Years Eve holiday, to attend a wedding where the reception would probably stretch into the late night. That sounded pretty awful, actually, and meant one or both of us would have to miss many of the activities planned during the trip to deal with cranky kids. We were conflicted on what to do until my parents swooped in and saved the day! They graciously offered to watch the boys for us so Meezy and I could take the trip by ourselves. What a relief!

Our trip started off well because we were eligible for first class upgrades, but were in position 7 and 8 on the upgrade list. Luckily there were 8 seats available, so we just squeaked in! What a difference it makes on a long flight to have so much extra room, a private bathroom, meal service, and consistent drink service. We arrived in San Diego on New Years Eve, so we checked into our hotel (Hilton San Diego Bayfront) and then met up with my sister and her husband for a late lunch. The hotel was super close to the Gas Lamp district, so it was convenient for walking to everything. Later that day we met up with the wedding group at El Camino for drinks and late-night snacks. The plan was to celebrate the new year there, but this tired, jet-lagged mama couldn't hang! My teenage nephews planned to stay there until 10:30pm and then take an Uber back to their hotel, but the restaurant security wanted to kick them out a little after 10 due to their age. That seemed like the perfect opportunity for me and Meezy to escort them back to their hotel to make sure they made it safely, and then continue on to ours and call it a night. I have no embarrassment for falling asleep before midnight! That sort of thing just doesn't matter much anymore once you're old and have kids!  At least I got a couple of good photo ops from that night:

The next morning Meezy and I woke up and went for a run along the bay. The views were beautiful and the temperature was perfect for running comfortably. After we got ourselves cleaned up, we met my sister and her husband for lunch at the Pier Cafe. From there we took the ferry to Coronado Island. My brother-in-law had the fabulous idea to rent a 4-person surrey and pedal it around the island. For some reason we all agreed and departed on our journey with high expectations of fun. At a minimum, we would at least get some more fantastic views.

Even though there were two steering wheels up front, Meezy's was really a dummy wheel, so my brother-in-law was the navigator and ultimately in charge of where we went! My sister and I in the back seat were able to have a slight influence on the plans if we just stopped pedaling! Lol. That came in handy when we found ourselves needing to cross two very busy streets clearly marked on the map as ones we weren't supposed to be on! When the guys would urge us to start pedaling, but we saw cars fast approaching, we would dig in and refuse to go because we could see impending doom. Luckily we were able to find small breaks in the traffic, where we all agreed to go for it, and successfully made it! It was stressful in the moment, but pretty hilarious when looking back. We also encountered a hill at one point that was just too steep for us! Walking the surrey up made much more sense. Needless to say we returned it to the rental shop about 35 minutes into our hour-long rental. We'd had enough fun!

We left Coronado and got freshened up to meet a couple of friends for dinner. They live in Dallas near us, but just happened to be vacationing in San Diego at the same time we were. We went to Roy's San Diego Waterfront and had a great time catching up. We called it a night after that and I was pleasantly surprised to check my Apple Watch and find that I had taken nearly 18,000 steps and covered about 9 miles over the course of the day. Not too shabby while on "vacation."

The next day was wedding day - yay! The ceremony took place in Centennial Park on Coronado Island at 3:30pm. The backdrop was A.MAZE.ING.

Everything about the ceremony was fantastic and they definitely stayed true to who they are as a couple. I'm so happy for them and loved being there to celebrate. The reception was held back in San Diego at the El Cortez Don Room. What a beautiful venue!  They threw a great party and I'm pretty sure everyone in attendance had an awesome time. I especially thought the table settings were super cute - little champagne bottles with your name on them and a picture to denote your meal selection:

Yes, they actually had champagne in them!

My pictures don't do the experience justice, so feel free to check out this album of pictures their photographer uploaded. It's just an abridged version of all the ones taken that day, but it gives you a good overview!

Lastly - since we didn't rent a car in San Diego, we relied on car services. My friend sent me a link to try Lyft (similar to Uber) and it really worked out well for us. I think we used it probably 8 times over 4 days. It was very affordable and we always got a car and got to our destination in a reasonable amount of time. If you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend it. Use this link to get up to $50 in free ride credit.