Gregory 2.5 Month Letter

Gregory and AJ hugging 2013

Lovin on your brother

Gregory with makeup on 2013

Raiding Momma’s makeup bag

Gregory Thomas the Train face

Pure joy and excitement over Thomas!

Gregory sweeping with Dadda

Like Father like Son

Gregory reading to Roger 2013

Reading stories to Roger

Gregory in glasses

Trying on some glasses– future nerd alert!

Cooking up a storm

Cooking up a storm

Enthralled with the tiger

Enthralled with the tiger

cuddling brothers

Morning Thomas the Tank Engine cuddles

Gregory asleep in carseat April 2013

You love to sleep in the car!

Gregory eating in highchair, March 2013

So enthusiastic about food!

Gregory playing with trains

Playing with trains

Dear Gregory,

You are a little over 2.5 years old. There are so many things that we love about you, that it takes Mommy a few days to compile it all!

The biggest thing we want to remember about this stage of life with you is your extremely joyful spirit. We asked your Uncle David what he thought of you, and the first thing he said was, “He makes me want to be a happier person! He’s always so cheerful!”. And it’s true– you are enthusiastic, over-the-top excited, and want to giggle hysterically about everything. You greet the members of your family with sheer and utter joy, and you love to interact and sing/dance with people. You have a special “Happy Dance” that you break into whenever you are especially exuberant about something and just can’t contain yourself.

You talk ALL the time. We love the way you talk to yourself about what you’re doing, saying,”YEAH” in reply to all of your little suggestions. You will reiterate the days’ events for us in a sweet little voice, remembering little details that even we’d forgotten. Our favorite sayings of yours: “Thank-oo Mama!” (high voice), “What issit?” (pointing to all sorts of stuff), “Cookie for cookoopoofs!” (thanks David!).

You also are having trouble pronouncing a few words, making it sound (at times) like you are screaming obscenities, especially the F word. You have caused your Momma more than few embarrassing moments in public!

Your funniest conversations occur when you’re playing with your Thomas trains. You re-enact all of the little TV episodes you’ve seen, chastising engines, making them best friends, telling them to be patient, etc…You play with your trains around 70% of your waking day. We received a train table from a friend, and you LOVE it!

The other thing you love to play is church. You use the kitchen cabinets are your “Royal Doors”, take cups and put a cloth over them to simulate “cuh-moon-un”, sing Alleluiahs all over the house at the top of your lungs, and hold books high in the air as though you’re reading scripture. You use hangers as your “censor” and have a special technique that no one else can master (although you stubbornly try to instruct us!). You have a funny little way of crossing yourself that looks like you beating your chest– super cute!

Two more things you are obsessed with– windshield wipers (Dadda turns them on in the car on random so that we can hear you squeal in delight!), and helping Mamma sweep. You also pretend to cook with your new pots and pans from ikea. You describe all of the funny concoctions you are making, like “Oranges soup!”.

You seem to be obsessed with whatever sport is currently on TV, probably because your dad is always watching a game or two. You watch intently, then mimic their mannerisms exactly. For example, you grab Momma’s softball glove, pretend you’re on a pitching mound, look left then right, pretend to throw to first, then raise a leg and throw it. Your batting stance has also gotten a lot better because you’ve been watching hitters pivot as they swing!

When you are shooting hoops with Dadda outside, you say tons of hilarious things like, “That’s MONEY right there!” when he makes it, or “AIRBALL!” when he doesn’t. You usually are super encouraging, saying things like, “Wow Dadda good shot!”. You love to point out the free throw line and the 3 point line. A few times, the ball has almost hit you and you’ve looked at Dadda and said, “woah! SCARED!”. This is the first time we’d ever heard you mention being scared when we’re not referencing the “roller coaster” from Happy Hollows!

You LOVE to sing. Your cutest renditions right now are “Old MacDonald” (you love to name all the animals!), Patty Cake, and Happy Birthday (you carry a “cake” around the house and pretend to blow out candles, complete with the “underwater” Cone version). You also like it when we sing to you, and you have a specific order of bedtime songs that you make us follow everytime– “You Are My Sunshine”, “O Theotokos”, “Close Your Eyes”, “O Gladsome Light”, and the tuck-in song, “The Eyes of All”. Whenever music is on, you automatically start swaying your hips to the beat and break into some HILARIOUS dance moves!

You’ve also become a great big brother. You constantly bring toys for Baby Wee, and even when you have a moment of selfishness and take something away from him, you immediately try to replace it with something else. You’ve established a “screech-call” together that keeps you both giggling hysterically as you yell it back and forth in the mornings. Last night, we heard Anthony in the other room crying. When we ran into investigate, you told us that you’d taken the ball away from Wee because it was “too small” and he wasn’t supposed to have it. You seemed concerned, like you really wanted to care for your brother’s safety!

Before bed, you love to wrestle wildly with Dadda, then give big open mouth smooches to everyone (Dadda has to remind you to close your lips! ew!), then ride piggy back upstairs to bed. You also still use a “die-die” (pacifier), but we’re working on that 🙂

You are super affectionate. You sign “I Love You!” to people all the time now, and it’s just the cutest thing ever.

When you don’t like something, you’re very clear about it. For example, when you don’t want to wear a particular pair of shoes, you cry over and over again that they’re “too big! too big” even though the opposite it usually true. It’s just your way of saying you don’t like them. You STILL don’t like swings, and you only occasionally like slides. Now that we’ve started counting to three before giving you a spanking or time-out, you’re very obedient 90% of the time. Everyone’s noticed how much more cooperative you are. Sometimes, as we’re counting, you sit there staring at us, and when we get to three, you end with a shout, “NO SPANKING!”.

You LOVE animals. You get a huge kick out of the deer that come to roost on our lawn, and watch them at the window for hours. You also love the zoo! We’ve taken you to the Sacramento Zoo, the San Francisco Zoo (last summer), our small Charles Paddock zoo (1-2x/month), and Happy Hollows (more of an amusement park).

This last March, you got a new toddler bed. You took to it right away without any transition period. Since you did start waking up super early as a result, we got you an “OK TO WAKE” owl, which you love to show off to everyone (also, as a result, when we ask you what owls say, you reply, “Hoo-hoo”, then sing a little song, just like your owl!). You have a recurring nightmare that you’ve pooped all over the bed, so I often have to convince you that you’re completely dry in the mornings 🙂

Last but not least, you had your first Easter Egg/Pascha celebration this year! You love eating all the food, and we are still slowly making our way through your Pascha candy (occasionally you get one as a treat). You have a cute rendition of “Christ is Risen”, wherein you combine the last three lines of the song into one 🙂

Some of your best sayings/conversations:

Me: Thomas and Percy are best friends!
Gregory: Yeah.
Me: Who’s your best friend?
Gregory: Me! I’M my best friend!
Me: “Gregory, why can’t you play with Thomas trains.”
Gregory: “I was NAWty.”
Me: “How were you naughty?”
Gregory: “I got time-out.”
Me: “Yes you did. How were you naughty? What did you do to Baby Wee?”
Gregory: “I took him out. On the carpet.”
Real conversation I just overheard from Gregory: “There’s a bat and a ball! Gregory plays baseball! Homerun! Yay for Gregory! There’s the ball again! The ball is soft. Poopy is soft. Eeeewy poopy. Don’t hit poopy.”
Gregory keeps telling the ice cubes in his cup to “take a bath!”. Seriously, could my kid get any cuter?
 I told G that Dadda was picking up a surprise from MissTracy, and now he’s running around frantically looking in every box he can find, saying, “Surprise in there? Surprise in there? It’s a Toby car, I jus know it!”
Me:” Who loves you, Gregory?”
Gregory: “Nana, Awntee Em, Awntee Brookie, Unk-ul Ray Ray…”
Whenever I ask Gregory to do something, he responds with, “Okay, jus-a-minute. Be pash-unt.” So polite in his procrastination. Just like his Momma.
Gregory Singing: “A-B-C-D-S-I-J, Apples and Oranges, Kisses for Roger!”

We love you a ton, Gregory. You are turning into the little boy we’d always dreamed about!

Love, Momma

Gregory 26 Months

I just found this letter, written but not published! And now, here we are 4 months later! Where has the time gone?

Reading this has reminded me of why I do these letters– in just a few short months, I’d almost forgotten about a lot of these things! It brings me such joy to remember them, because he’s already outgrown so much.

Dearest Gregory,

Goodness me, you’ve grown so much in the past couple of months! It’s as though you took the whole baby-to-toddler thing seriously!
Gregory sweet face 11:12

You are super serious about any task you set your mind to. We joke that you have a mild case of OCD, because when you’re involved with something, whether it be coloring or shooting hoops in the living room, you are NOT to be dissuaded until you feel like you’ve done it JUST right.

Within just a few weeks, you went from 1-3 word phrases, to full on sentences and paragraphs. Instead of, “down!” you say, “Momma, peez get down now?” or, “No, I dunno wan a kiss kiss!” You remember what foods you like and request them specifically. Your favorites right now are “Yow-goot!”, “Sawbull ies” (strawberries), and “Back-a-deez!” (Mac and Cheese– you say this one so fast and full of excitement that it’s hard for others to understand).

You also made the huge jump towards knowing all of your letters and colors! We point to objects all over the house and say, “What color is this?” You repeat, “Whaa col-s’-dis?”, then you pause, thinking, and then you usually get it right! The difference between blue and green is still pretty hard, but you consistently get “back”, “pink”, “red”, “lellow” and “owange” right! Your aunts and uncles have been confusing you by throwing things like, “Teal” and “magenta” in there too.

You love to sing songs, and you have the sweetest little boy voice. Your favorites right now are, of course, Christmas songs. You stand at attention in front of the tree and sing, “Oh Kee-mas tree, oh Kee-mas tree, Luh-luh yuh banches!”. You sing “Happy Birthday” to random people, and every night you command mommy to “Sing SONG! SING Gegg-oly song! Sun-shine song!” (Mommy sings “You are My Sunshine” and uses your name in it). You also sing, “Spawn-bob, Squaw-pants!” over and over, since this is the only TV show you watch (we’ve tried others, you just don’t like anything else!).

Gregory piano playing 11:12

You love to play pretend with musical instruments. Nana bought you a recorder, and you actually figured out how to blow it AND play it, all by yourself! You sit down at the piano and get super serious about playing the keys, often singing along at the top of your voice. One of your fingers got a nasty blister on it from strumming Dadda’s guitar a little too roughly!

Your bedtime routine is super cute and touching. You go around to everyone in the house, saying, “Night night! Kiss lips!” (we had to make a distinction between tongue-kisses and lips-kisses, because things were getting pretty messy!). You often add a, “Luv Yoooo!” in at the end.
Gregory Bath 12-12

When you get hurt, you instantly want someone to come and, “Kiss an’ make bettuh”. Mommy will kiss the “boo-boo”, and then you say, “Again?” over and over, until Mommy has given you at least a dozen kisses. You also return the favor when someone else gets an owie!

Gregory fingers in A's mouth 12:12

You intensely dislike Anthony’s crying. In your weaker moments, you yell, “NO CRYING! WEE! NO CRYING!” with almost a growl. When we remind you to be gentle and say things nicely, you get sing-songy and softly say, “No crying, Wee! S’ okay! No crying, Buh-buh-bear!” You get super possessive when he touches your things, but you often hunt for the “bes-toy” and bring him something nice to suck on play with.

Lately, you are also very good at remembering things that we say and bringing them up later. If Mommy tells you we are going home to eat dinner, and forget to mention it for over an hour (it takes mommy and daddy a long time to mobilize and get home sometimes!), you will say, “Num-num? Din-uh?” the moment we pull in the driveway. This memory of yours is especially sharp when it comes to Basketball games and Mac n Cheese!

You are not potty-trained yet, but you do sit on your potty then pretend to pat yourself with a baby wipe. You often point to your diaper and say, “Poo-poo!” giving us a bit of a head start with changing you. We’re sure that when you set your mind to being potty trained, we’ll know. All in good time, right? 🙂

We love to play imaginative games with you, asking ridiculous questions (like, “do giraffes live in trees?). You tilt your head to one side, think about it, then say, “Nawwww!” in the cutest little voice. Lately, you’ve begun making up your own and saying, “Naww!” before we even have a chance to answer.

One last thing– you LOVE to watch videos of yourself! If you hear a video coming from Momma’s phone or laptop (usually when she’s uploading), you sprint on over and beg to watch it, over and over. You giggle hysterically when you see yourself, and oftentimes you preemptively say the exact things that you do on the video!

Gregory, we couldn’t imagine life without you. You are one special little boy, and we want to keep you forever.

Love, Momma

Healthy Eating Goals

In 3.5 weeks, school will be over and summer will OFFICIALLY be here. Jesse and I are making our list of places to visit, projects to conquer, books to finish, etc. We will probably be visiting the beach 1-2x/week, seeing as we are only 20-30 minutes away.

You know what this means, right? Time to lose those last 5 pounds (no matter what weight one is, everyone has those “last 5” friendly ones that they want gone).

I give up super easy lately when it comes to healthy eating and working out. I didn’t used to, but then kids happened, and it became difficult juggling 2 crazy people, working part time, and keeping the house semi-clean– especially when I have to hose down the entire kitchen after the aforementioned crazy people eat a meal. I wish I could just strap them down and shovel the food into their mouths so they couldn’t smear it all over the tables, walls and floor, but, then, they’d be 40 years old with no ability to eat in front of people. So.

Ideally, I want to be back at my fighting weight of 125 pounds. But we’ll see. I am in love with icecream and cookies, so it might never happen. Anthony is 13 months old now and only nurses 3x/day, so I’m not worried about effecting milk supply anymore, finally!

I’ve made a few steps towards progress. I joined Jesse’s gym last month, but I’ve only been making it once or twice a week. That probably needs to change, right? (Side note: Jesse lost 10 pounds in the last 2 months, just by making healthier food choices and working out a few times/week. No starving or dieting, and that’s including the 2-3 pounds of muscle he’s been able to put on his arms and upper body….sigh. sometimes, I wish I were a dude.)

We eat fairly healthy for breakfast (99% of the time we make steel cut oats sweetened with blueberries), and since I make the meal plan, I’m able to ensure that our dinners are mostly protein and veggies. The boys don’t even know what “dessert” after dinner looks like, because we just don’t even go there. Gregory gets a cookie or a sweet treat maybe once a week.

But lunch. LUNCH.

Lunch is my nemesis. The hardest meal of the day. Why am I always so busy, even though I stay at home 3 days/week? Why don’t I ever plan ahead? I forget to eat until I am absolutely ravenous, and then I go all Mrs. Pacman on an entire box of mac and cheese in one sitting.

So I am targeting lunch. Hear that? Aiming one giant celery-stalk arrow at lunch. Change will happen.

Yesterday’s lunch was leftover chicken fingers and a protein bar. Not too bad. Not too great, though.

Today was better.

Chicken/almonds/raisins salad, plus an almond milk protein shake

Chicken/almonds/raisins salad, plus an almond milk protein shake

I’m currently enthralled with almond milk. It’s amazing stuff, guys, and it’s much cheaper than milk.

Does anyone want to form a “Healthy Eating” solidarity group with me? I find it so hard to keep motivated. Peer pressure helps, no?

Speaking of achievements, IT HAS BEEN 5.5 WEEKS SINCE MY LAST SIP OF SODA OR DIET COKE!!! I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without one. Turns out, all it took was a documentary on the long term side-effects of Diet Coke (brain seizures? brain tumors? gah!) to scare the **** out of me. It truly did. I went Diet Coke-free that day and haven’t had a relapse since!

Cheers! Let’s toast to a healthy week of eating!

Mother’s Day

This past weekend, we travelled up to Sacramento to visit Caitlin, our someday-to-be adopted daughter. I haven’t really blogged about it, but about 2 months ago, Caitlin left us to stay in a group home for a little while. She is making significant progress, however, and will hopefully return to us soon!

Until then, we are allowed to visit her as much as our schedule can afford. We decided that since every weekend until mid-June is packed, now was the time! We drove the 6 hours up on Saturday morning, only stopping one time for lunch. The boys were amazing– we couldn’t have asked for more. They slept the entire way!

In the afternoon, we picked Caitlin up for snacks at Jamba Juice, then played at the park. After a little while, we went to dinner at Panera Bread, where we ordered something like 30+ servings of mac and cheese 😉

All of my kiddos, together :)

All of my kiddos, together 🙂

After dinner, we dropped Caitlin back at her house, then drove 10 minutes to our hotel. Surprisingly, the boys did quite well sleeping in the same room as us! Gregory got his own queen-sized bed (he was facing a different way each time we checked on him!), and we put Anthony in a pack n play. We have a little trick for making it feel like his own room– tucking it against the wall/ac unit, and pulling the heavy hotel curtain around the sides! Blocks the light and keeps him from seeing us.

Sunday morning, we woke up early, checked out of our hotel, picked up Caitlin, and made it to church in downtown Sacramento (we were even early! Surprises!). Once we were done, we ate lunch at The Habit (such yummy burgers! ILOVEMEAT!!!!), then headed to the Sacramento zoo.

The giraffe came RIGHT up to the fence!

The giraffe came RIGHT up to the fence!

It was about a million degrees hot at the zoo, so although we had lots of water with us, we still headed straight to the nearest Jamba Juice for another “fix”. YUMMM.

After a tearful goodbye with Caitlin (we already miss her soo much!), Jesse and I headed home. We stopped at the Gilroy Outlets (love me some Gap Outlet! Bought some awesome skinny jeans!), and ate a Mother’s Day dinner at Mimi’s Cafe.

We are so exhausted, getting back at 11pm and then heading back into such a busy work week, but we are so glad we did it!

Glorious Pascha!

FINALLY, we made it to Pascha! I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed eating meat. I don’t think the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is in the cards for me, folks 🙂

Our celebration began at 11:30pm, Saturday night. That’s right– half an hour before midnight! The beginning of the service is always my favorite, because the church is so dark and solemn. The funeral hymns over the “tomb” are absolutely gorgeous.

This icon was just completed a month ago

This icon was just completed a month ago

Then, we all light our candles and walk three times around the church, singing this song:

Pascha 1

This is what Saint Sophia Church in LA (where Tom Hanks goes) looks like at this stage in the service...AMAZING!

This is what Saint Sophia Church in LA (where Tom Hanks goes) looks like at this stage in the service…UH-MAYZING!

When we come back in, it’s bright, the tomb is gone, and everyone sings at the top of their lungs for the next two hours! That’s right– we don’t get DONE with the service until around 2am!

Our church here in CA does things a little bit differently than our churches in TX and SoCal. Instead of having the big Paschal Feast in the wee hours of the morning, they plan the feast and party for after Agape Vespers the following afternoon.

This worked out well for us, since our 2 year old and 1 year old wouldn’t have done well with staying up past 3am…I’m pretty sure I would’ve spent the entire Pascha outside in the car with a howling kid/s. Instead, Jesse and I got to enjoy it by ourselves, actually getting to focus on everything going on.

We woke up around 10am this Sunday morning, ate a small breakfast (don’t want to ruin the feast!), then gave Gregory his Pascha basket.

His basket was full of chocolate and Thomas trains!

His basket was full of chocolate and Thomas trains! The shirt was a complete coincidence, but it works!

Then, we packed into the car around noon. The boys slept the entire way there, so at least they got a small afternoon nap.

Agape Vespers is an absolutely beautiful service, and it’s only 40 minutes long, so it’s perfect for visitors. We had around 30 new  faces there!

Family Pic 2013

Family Pic 2013

Right after the service, there was an Easter Egg hunt for the kids. Gregory was slower than the rest of the kids, but they started taking eggs out of their own baskets and hiding them super close to Gregory so that he could find them. I was really touched by that 🙂

Gregory's stash

Gregory’s stash

After the hunt, it was time to feast!!! SOO MUCH FOOD. I cannot stress this enough. We ate until we were beyond stuffed, then went back for more. There was beer and wine for everyone, along with coffee and smoothie punch.

And there was a separate dessert table. ‘Nuff said.

Pascha 2013 8

We almost felt bad for not bringing anything….until we saw how much food there already was! I think that even with all the visitors, we only got through 60% of it all!

AJ is a fan of stuffing large amounts of food into his mouth (he sorta skipped the babyfood stage). He doesn't choke-- too often!

AJ is a fan of stuffing large amounts of food into his mouth (he sorta skipped the babyfood stage). He doesn’t choke– too often!

Gregory was so stuffed, he had to sleep it off!

Gregory was so stuffed, he had to sleep it off!

It was a wonderful Pascha! Best holiday of the year!


I did it

Not my proudest moment. But I’m under a lot of stress, so give me a pass.

Read more hilarious ones here.

Funny screen shot