Friday, October 28, 2011

Terrible or Terrific

Josh turned two this week.  Celebrations included:
- A visit from Grandma and Grandpa
- The customary crown from school,
- Cupcakes, presents, and a family picture at home
- Over the weekend, we'll get to celebrate with Nana and Papa and have a "littles only" party for some of Josh's friends.

Josh's two favorite things: Dogs and Airplanes. He points them out with gusto.  Other favorites are books about dogs, books about airplanes, his new doggy sticker book, airplane toys, etc.  Okay, he also loves music, dancing, mimicking faces, from silly to surprised, snuggling with mom (and dad when mom's not nearby), watching and playing sports, and helping - anything to make him feel like a big kid.

We have had a pretty substantial explosion of words over the last couple months.  We still need the secret decoder ring to figure out most of what he's saying, but Josh is starting to embrace words over point and grunt. When you repeat what  he was trying to say, he'll give you this huge, proud nod of the head. He's stringing words together in short phrases, though generally all we can hear are the vowel sounds. Last night, Owen had him saying I Love You to each person in our family: "I OH OO A-DEE" "I OH OO Ma-A" "I OH OO Ow-ee."  We love his cute "S" that sounds more like a jumbled "sch," and he generally talks like his mouth is full of marbles.  We'll continue to keep an eye on the speech, but for now, we're happy that he's trying to talk and practicing a variety of sounds.

Josh is clearly on the lighter side of eating.  A bite here, a bite there, and he's happy to be done.  The winner foods are pretty limited - pasta, meatballs, salmon, fruit, and SWEETS.  Other than ice cream and frosting, Josh's favorite food, by far, is sliced cheddar cheese. As soon as he gets one slice of it, all other foods are off the table, and we spend the rest of the meal responding to, "Mo Cheesche Peasche!"

Josh is incredibly physical.  It's pretty clear that he thinks he's 4 years old.  He loves to run, jump, wrestle, and spin. He assumes he can do everything that Owen can do and has been hanging out on the "preschool side" of school for about 3 months. He is trying very hard to ride the strider bike he inherited when Owen got his pedal bike in July. When we've been at the gymnastics center for open gym lately, Josh jumps in the pit, swings on the ropes, hangs from the bars, and jumps on the trampoline with all the older kids.He loves to climb, wrestle, jump, and spin. He is always on the move and working those big muscles.  He's also started to challenge us by winding up for a fully body smack when he's frustrated, so we're starting to employ more time-outs and consequences. I can tell that one of our long term parenting jobs will be to make sure Josh is getting enough of the wiggles out, so he can focus in school or wherever. For his birthday, we got him a balance board and pair of kid stilts.  Both a little beyond his age, but not his desire, or, in the case of the balance board, ability!

Josh's sleep has improved GREATLY from that rough first year. He's generally agreeable going to bed.  Most nights, he sleeps from 7:30/8 until 6:30ish, but he goes through spells (like these past few weeks) where we end up in his room rubbing his back once or twice a night.  We keep blaming it on his teeth, as his canines have been trying to break through for about 4 months.

While Josh is full of the energy and enthusiasm and physical skill of a 4-year-old, he is still lagging well behind in the growth department.  At 24 months, he is hovering around 21 pounds and fits quite nicely in 12 month pants and 18 month shirts.  His face is growing out of the baby look, so we aren't getting so many questions about "how old is your baby," but I am conscious that as we move over the mountains, he's going to be the smallest kiddo in his new school.

Josh is working hard to exert his independence.  He wants to climb in and out of the car, do his own car seat buckles, brush his own teeth, choose his own clothes, cut his own food, etc, etc, etc.  "I Do It!" is the new favorite phrase, along with "Mine!" and "No!"  There's no doubt he is TWO YEARS OLD.

Josh is a strong emotion kid.  High highs and low lows.  When he gets frustrated, he is inconsolable and we are learning to just let him work it out because there's usually not a way to reason him back to happy.  But when he's happy, he is quick to smile and share his contagious laughter. I has been a fast two years (and at times two long years), but two years that are unimaginable without our sweet Joshua Todd!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In the Weeds

As I looked ahead at the events on the calendar in September, I put my eye on the Costume Swap as the "just make it to... " marker. Unfortunately, the work crazy of September only got worse in October and it turns out that the Costume Swap was the least of our insanity. On top of my standard workload, my work team picked up two new assignments that need to be done by the end of the year, I found myself on the schedule for THREE professional conferences this month (thankfully 2 in Bend), and I need to squeeze in a 2 day training in Portland. It's all great opportunities, but sometimes even a pile of good can be overwhelming.

Scott's work is no more busy than usual - the standard 50 hour work week, but he's been trying to ramp up his bike training the Big Fat Tour this weekend. His training got temporarily sidelined by a busted elbow that thankfully has healed in time for him to embark on 150 miles of trail over the next 3 days. Throw in one 3am wake up for a fishing trip (no bites) and a few day trips to Portland for work, and we have a few weeks where it looks like we will just be ships passing in the night.

In the midst of all that, we started the month suddenly wrestling with some challenging decisions regarding both our work situations that have major implications for our whole family. While the situations are not totally unexpected, the magnitude seems larger than we had anticipated and it's certainly an unwelcome TIME to be figuring this all out.

We are in the weeds.

I have had more than my standard share of weepy moments these last few weeks. But even in the weeds, life keeps marching. And that means that the rhythms of our weeks bring us back to playgroup, book club, dinners with friends, and laughter over beer. In each of those encounters, I'm reminded how blessed we are to have the people around us providing wise council, encouragement, and simply a listening ear.

My new "just make it to..." date is Halloween. We should have more certainty by then, but for now we wrestle and wonder and hope and pray and try to trust.... and get up tomorrow to do it all over again.

The Results and Fall Festival

Costume Swap was a great success. Especially for a first year even that got planned by two people who did NOT have the time to pull it together. Between Shannon being in the first trimester of a pregnancy and my insane work schedule these days, the swap really snuck up on us. But, we pulled it together, found some great sponsors, and managed enough media contacts to pull in a decent turn out.
In my mind, the biggest success was that everybody that donated a costume to the swap was able to find a new costume for their kids. One mother brought 5 beautiful costumes to donate on Friday night and found adorable, matching fairy princess dresses, complete with hairbands and flower wands for her two daughters the next day. We watched our own green dragon costume be chosen by a little boy, who proceeded to wear it around Fall Festival for the next TWO HOURS. My own boys walked away with a red devil (so appropriate for a nearly 2 year old Josh!) and a purple king robe that put the biggest smile on Owen's face.

In the end, we will be able to donate about $200 to FAN, and that's a bonus in my book!

Our booth happened to be right between the bouncy houses and the pony rides. Owen was sooooo excited to ride the ponies, and after patiently waiting for everything to get set up, he was rewarded with one of the first rides of the day.

Next year, the biggest change would be to find more volunteers to hang out at the booth. Shannon ended up being there most of the day Saturday and by 3:00 she.was.done. With more volunteers, we could have kept the booth opened longer and probably sold 10-20 more costumes on Saturday evening. Maybe even had the booth open for Sunday as well. But, we were able to sell the remaining costumes to a local consignment shop and add the money to our donation to FAN.