Three Things

July 11th, 2015

Every day it seems my boys are changing, growing. They learn new things, say new words, become more independent. In an effort to freeze time, here are three things I’m currently loving about each one.

The way Kai gets down the stairs. He’s so careful about it. He lays on his tummy and then cautiously slides down. We think it’s cute because he starts laying down and backing up at least two feet before the stairs even start – he’s like a backward inch worm – but he’s got it down.

The way Kai gives kisses. If you ask for a kiss, he’ll force his whole face into yours with a wide open mouth.

The way Kai talks. He repeats everything. EVERYTHING. I love it when he says “Mama” when I leave the room, or when he knows daddy is coming home and he shouts “Daa-ee” from the top of the stairs. He says blueberry and broccoli, brother, truck, and ball. But the best is when you ask him what a puppy says, and he says “ruff, ruff!”

And Zayn, he’s learning so much. He’s memorized his name, our names, age, address, birthday, and we’re working on his phone number (that’s a tricky one). He says his favorite color, food, and teacher when asked. It cracks us up. Multiple times a day we’ll go through the list of everything, and we love how he responds so matter-of-fact. (Like duh, of course his favorite food is doughnuts.) He seriously is the best.

I love Zayn’s love for breakfast. He wakes up demanding “bresses” and once it’s made he says “BYE Mama” or “BYE Daddy” out of fear we may ask him for some. And even if we do, he’ll share with us, because he’s just that nice.

Zayn’s walk. Which is more like a run, a gallop even. He hops with each step and his head is always down, his arms up to his side. You can’t help but smile every time he runs off. With a walk like that, you got to know this kid is going places. (And he’s taking his brother with him.)

What We’ve Been Up To

July 8th, 2015

Kai, at his one-year checkup: “And Zayn, the needle was THIS big and I barely even cried.” (29.75in, 20lbs 12 oz.)  |  Birks – I’ve succumbed to the Berkeley stereotype.

Always lots of silliness when Grammy and Tata come to town.  |  Sick and STILL the happiest boy in the family.

Kai turned 13 months. We celebrated by ordering him a birth certificate. Ha!  |  Peaceful morning.

Breakfast.  |  Lunch.

I’m going to be really, really, really sad when my baby stops nursing.  |  Cookies and coffee.

Kai eats blueberries for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and dessert.

Dad knows how to make his boys happy.  |  Sharing is caring.

What We’ve Been Up To – Arizona Edition

June 9th, 2015

We took a two-week Summer vacation to Arizona this June, and boy was it HOT. If we were outside we were in the water, nude, or both – but the boys enjoyed every minute of it.

School’s out for the Summer!  |  104+ degrees. Can’t blame him.

Kai meets Ken, Ken meets Kai.  |  I finally found the key to getting Kai to eat – his own spoon.

Popsicles after every meal.

And I meant every meal.  |  Slip-n-slide. That face. The best.

Zayn Goes to Preschool

April 28th, 2015

Zayn started preschool this month. School. Like I drop him off at 8:30am and he goes to PE, speech therapy, does circle time, eats cafeteria food for lunch, and brings home homework kind of school. The real deal. But he’s only three-years-old you say! I know. I can’t handle it either.

We prepped him for the first day by telling him about all the fun he was going to have (mostly what he was going to eat), bought him a bite-sized green backpack and filled it with lots of comforting things (like treats and his favorite Train book), and then headed up the hill for day one. The first day was perfect – Zayn ran in, found the trains, and got right to work. When I picked him up he RAN to me with a huge grin and was SO excited to see me. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so loved. I asked him over and over again what he did that day, but he refused to tell me. And then finally, a few hours later, Zayn said “That was so fun, wash the hands.” and “That was so fun bathroom noisy.” The highlight of Zayn’s day? Not recess, not the turkey burger he ate for lunch – the bathroom.

Zayn’s second and third and fourth day? A mess. Zayn cried and repeated – “Hold you Mama!” and “Maybe go home and see Daddy.” I learned to just drop him off and run. This continued until Zayn discovered Teacher Hala. Zayn LOVES Teacher Hala. He goes to bed at night asking to see “Teacher Ha-wah” in the morning, he mentions her several times a day, and now, when I drop him off for school he runs right to Teacher Hala’s arms. And don’t you know that Teacher Hala loves Zayn just as much.

We can now say that Zayn looks forward to school in the morning. It’s like a treat. “Go nigh night, and tomorrow we go to school.” He used to do an angry grunt every time we mentioned school, now it’s this big reward. I love that he loves school, and I love that he is so loved at school. As a mom, it feels nice to be able to drop your child off for the day knowing that other people truly care about them. And it’s not just his teachers, it’s everyone at his school. I’ll walk Zayn through the courtyard and other teachers will come up to us – “Hi Zayn!” It shocks me every time, because I haven’t met half of the staff at Zayn’s school, but they all know my son. My Zayn. He makes me so proud.

12 Months

April 14th, 2015

We welcomed our 29 inches, 21 pounds, brown-eyed, blonde-haired, feisty ONE-year-old baby boy to the doughnut eating club today. And gosh, that went by fast. Exactly one year ago Zayn and I were on our weekly cookie date when Kai abruptly interrupted (remember that?), and he’s kept us on our toes ever since. Seriously.

One-year-old Kai is a ball of energy. He’s surpassed the bear crawl and realized that walking is much more efficient. He knows how to play the drums, twirl his hands in circles when we sing the “Wheels on the Bus”, wave “bye-bye”, clap his hands, and how to say “ball.” He loves balls. We have this huge orange ball and we’ll tell Kai to go get it and he’ll come wobbling back, huge ball in hand while repeating “baa, baa.” It’s cute. He loves the toy car at the park and even knows how to steer it so it doesn’t run off the curb, and I’ve even seen him fighting other kids to get in it. His favorite foods are blackberries, pancakes, and quesadillas, and after today, I’m thinking doughnuts will be added to that long list. He likes to share his food (I think he learned that from Zayn), but isn’t a very good toy-sharer. He always insists on playing with whatever toy Zayn currently has – which has caused us quite some turmoil. I’ll hear Zayn screaming from his bedroom – “Mama, hold you Kai. Kai go down the stairs.” And I’ll come in to see Zayn frantically forcing an unwanted toy on Kai, which of course Kai refuses, because he wants the bus. Zayn’s bus.

One-year-old Kai now knows how to sleep from 6:30pm to 12am (if we’re lucky). We’ve sleep trained him for the first half of the night, but he still wakes up in our bed, at 6am, sometimes 4am. Dad is usually awake at that hour though, so the two of them get some quality bonding time. He is still quite the crier and from 4 o’clock in the afternoon onward he insists on being held. Because of this we are out of the house by 9am everyday, we limit our restaurant choices to those that have outdoor seating, and we take up to three baths a day because Kai loves his baths. But don’t think we don’t like this boy. We love his cheesy smile, the way he nuzzles his head into our chests to be cuddled, the way he loves his brother, and his bubbly belly laugh when we tickle him. One year ago this boy completed our family, and it’s hard to even remember what life was like without him. Maybe quieter? But what fun is quiet anyways?

Happy, happy birthday my baby boy.  Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.  And don’t you ever forget that.

What We’ve Been Up To

April 13th, 2015

Beach days are the best days.

The firetruck showed up at the doughnut shop. Zayn’s doing his happy dance.  |  I bribed him with an M&M to let me clip his nails. I still had to put him in a headlock, and he still got the M&M. Zayn wins. Again.

“I get some protein?”  |  Never thought I’d have to worry so much about the sun, and then I had a blonde boy.

Zayn and Woody. Best pals.  |  Naked s’mores. Zayn’s all about the Arizona life.

Post swim snack.  |  Babbai made us take a sunset hike in the Arizona heat. We survived. We may have even liked it.

Smiles all around for these three.

California needs to step up its car wash game.  |  Cousin love.

Ten cousins. AND there’s even one on the way.

The kids were getting out of hand, had to fly in the nanny.  |  What Arizona Summers are all about.

It’s pretty hard to find an ice cream shop that’s open at 10am, but got to keep the post-haircut tradition alive.  |  Zayn’s the best sharer I know. Even when lemon pistachio doughnuts are involved.

Easter brunch.  |  Easter hike.

He insisted on dragging his snack around with him while we shopped. Can’t say no to that face.  |  Running off the loaf of olive bread we devoured at the farmers’ market.

Waiting for an oil change. Do you know how hard it is to keep this squirmy one entertained?  |  These sand castles aren’t going to build themselves.

Disneyland

March 19th, 2015

We did it. We bit the bullet. We’ve officially entered the world of Disney. We now know about FastPasses, ride wait times, and the “Magical Hour.” We know about $4 pineapple slices and Mickey Mouse shaped sandwiches. We’ve tasted the cinnamon and sugar laden fried churros, and I’m almost positive no other churro will ever compare. And we’ve witnessed the 3 o’clock Disneyland meltdown – where every toddler in the park is screaming because their parents thought it a good idea to wait in line for Autopia, rather than go back to the hotel to take a nap. We’ve been bitten by the Disney bug, and I’m pretty sure there is no going back.

Since we stayed at one of the Disneyland hotels, we got to enter the park an hour early for the “Magical Hour.” And you know why they call it magical? Because no one else is there. In that first hour we went on every ride we planned to go on and then some. Zayn was in heaven. His favorite – the Mad Hatter Teacups. He kept asking Daddy to go “Faster and faster.” And when he got off he ran to me with a full-teeth smile and a happy bounce to his step. The best.

Kai’s favorite part of the day was lunch. We found an all you can eat BBQ joint hidden in Frontierland and had ourselves a healthy feast. Kai loved the ribs so much that he kept stealing Zayn’s.

Like all the other parents out there, we decided to forgo naptime. Lucky enough, Zayn fell asleep in the stroller for a good two hours while Kai made friends around Toontown. And please note Zayn’s Woody doll. Mohammad bought him for Zayn the night before in Downtown Disney, and Woody never left Zayn’s side the entire day. How cute is that?

And of course, there was the ice cream from Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor. The boys shared a massive scoop of mint chip in a chocolate dipped waffle cone while we waited for the Disneyland parade to march down Main Street.

The parade was probably my most favorite part of the day (and we almost skipped it!). Zayn waved to all the characters passing by and loved the music. (He also loves his daddy.)

We saw lots of characters, and Zayn walked right up to Goofy and gave him a huge hug. He wasn’t even afraid.

That night, when we got back to the hotel both the boys were high on happiness. They could not stop giggling even though it was hours past their bedtimes (and even after we turned out the lights, and Dad was snoring, the giggles still persisted). I’m pretty sure both their dreams that night were filled with smells of fresh churros, spinning tea cups, juicy ribs, and catchy Disney music. And because of this, we now know why they call it the happiest place on earth. You were good Disneyland. Real good.

11 Months

March 14th, 2015

I’m dying a little inside that I’m already writing this post. 11 months. In 31 days my baby will be ONE. No really, someone please tell me, where does the time go? It feels like just yesterday that we were bringing him home, burping him, swaddling him to sleep. Remember his horrible 24-hour cry? I’ve nearly forgotten. Oh Kai, you put us through some long nights.

At 11 months Kai loves, LOVES his brother’s toy grocery cart. He finds it in the closet, pushes it out, and tears around the house. He’s scuffed up all our baseboards with that thing, but he’s having so much fun that I don’t even care. At 11 months Kai stands. Stands in the middle of the room, with no support, and attempts to walk. We never even taught him, or coerced him, he’s just determined. He loves the window in Zayn’s room, and gets up on Zayn’s stool and looks out for minutes on end. He’s almost learned how to get himself down our stairs, and still plays on them morning until night. At 11 months Kai likes to hoard all his food in his mouth (mainly grapes), and then hours later I’ll find the skins of them around the house. He’s nearly as big as his big brother now, and he knows it. He tackles Zayn, pulls on his shirts, and when Zayn takes off running Kai holds on for dear life. Just picture it – Zayn running and not-able-to-walk-yet Kai holding on and running behind him. It’s hilarious.

Oh, and did I mention Kai had a mini-concussion that sent us to TWO hospitals with an ambulance ride in-between? Oh I didn’t? Well let me tell ya. Stair-loving Kai fell down our stairs and proceeded to throw up 12+ times in the matter of 4 hours. Short story – he’s fine. Long story – we didn’t get home until 4am. Kai-Bear, just keeping us on our toes. But boy do we love him so.

What We’ve Been Up To

March 6th, 2015

We take a lot of baths around here.  |  Kai never skips leg day.

Dad and Zayn finally convinced me to go hiking. They were pretty happy about it.

“One mo time.” Every time.  |  We couldn’t wait for Summer.

Eagerly awaiting swim lessons.  |  His favorite books are the Instagrams of his life. They’re my favorite too.

His favorite place to sleep: on Mom. His second: on Mom’s bed.

On our drive home from the Aviation Museum, Zayn saw a plane in the sky – “Plane where you goin?” he asked. I hope he always stays this curious.

It rained for like two days. It was a hard two days for us outside lovers.  |  Watching for buses and eating pan dulce. The life.

Working on Kai’s tan. (He turned into a lobster. Oops!)  |  Bookworm.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever picture either of these to be mine, but don’t think I’d have it any other way.

Life finds a way.  |  Shark bait. Ruuuuuun!

Some days we take three-hour naps. Some days we don’t nap at all.  |  Dad and Zayn made Cookie Monster cupcakes. (Nailed it!) Zayn’s still talking about them.

Off to the races.

He thinks he’s a boss too.  |  Picnic lunches are the best lunches.

They’re the ones at the very top, in the yellow car, laughing and taking selfies together. Oh the fun they have.  |  Dad’s enjoying the view, Zayn just wants back on the fast rides.

Swim Lessons

February 20th, 2015

We’ve finally signed Zayn up for swim lessons. I keep feeling like we are so late in the game, and then I realize we don’t live in Arizona anymore and it’s quite okay that my three-year-old is not winning blue ribbons in the back-stroke. (But he will be soon, don’t worry.) We found this neat program for children with special needs at our local YMCA, and Zayn and his friend get their very own swim-instructor. Sweet, right?

Twice a week we pack up our dinner and head down to the pool. I’m not sure Zayn actually knows it’s swim lessons, or that he even cares, he’s just happy to be in the water. “I get in there, I get in there!” he repeats as soon as we show up. I’ve quickly learned that we have to show up exactly one-minute (and no more) before class starts or else I’ll have a screaming toddler on my hands. Most of the other children are screaming to get out of the pool, mine’s screaming to get in. He’s fearless*.

Once in the water Zayn has his own agenda. He sits on the steps, plays with the watering pot, and splashes up water with his hands and feet. He could care less that the poor instructor is trying desperately to get his attention – Coach Phillip sings, makes jokes, pretends to be Zayn’s favorite movie characters – but Zayn is in his own little water world. Coach Phillip will take him out for a swim around the pool and Zayn demands to be back “uppa-stairs” (on the stairs) where he’s content. And at Zayn’s last swim lessons the coach made the small mistake in asking Zayn and his friend to get their “ice cream scoops out” and go scooping for ice cream. Zayn didn’t hear anything but “ice cream” and cried for “ife-weam” the remainder of the lesson. That didn’t end well.

Dad, Kai, and I have fun watching our little fish swimming from the sidelines, and we can’t wait until he’s swimming laps in the big pool.

And you better believe I bribed him with a cookie for these pictures. That suit. Those crocks. That belly. I could eat him up.

*Aaaand, right after I wrote up this post, we went to swim lessons, and guess what? Zayn REFUSED to get in the water. Who knew?