April 24, 2014

Max: Three Months

It's hard to believe that my smallest (ok, not so small but you know what I mean) has hit the three month mark already. I will never get used to this time flying thing. But here we are! The three month mark as of the 14th, and while I feel like it has been so long since he came into the world, it also feels like just yesterday at the same time.

First off, the stats. We happened to have to go to the pediatrician right around his three month birthday, and I have a whopper, guys. He weighed in at 17 lbs, 7 oz. At THREE MONTHS. He's also hovering right around 26" long. All in all, he's a big baby, but a proportionate one. He's grown about six inches since birth and gained almost 10 pounds during that time. We are easily in six month clothing and quickly staring at 9 month clothing. It's bananas.

We continue to have side effects to the RSV that he caught when he was two weeks old, and it's the reason why we were at the pediatrician last week. If you're not familiar with RSV, essentially it's a giant pain in the ass. While we have had no re-occurrence of it since infancy, it is making our life difficult, especially with a toddler around. While it make take Lucas and I a day or two to get over a cold, it has taken Max up near a month at times to recover from the same virus. And because the RSV damaged his lungs a bit, breathing is sometimes an issue (although not near fatal or to the point where hospitalization is necessary) it does pose a problem when he is in the height of his colds. We visit the pediatrician frequently, because essentially any time a cold strikes and his breathing becomes labored, his lungs need to be checked to make sure everything is ok, and a re-test for RSV is conducted (an easy swab in the nose). It has ALWAYS come back just a basic cold virus since the initial diagnoses, which is huge, but at the same time, it's been hard on him, essentially being sick his entire life.

We were told that it would be a tough first year, and even without a cold, Max has experienced some breathing issues & wheezing. We've become good friends with our nebulizer, and this relationship will likely continue in the coming months. With the end of cold and flu season however, and the onset of the warmer weather, we are hoping that we are through the worst and can venture out more often as a family, doing things aside from running errands. We have been overly cautious about where we take him due to the risk of getting colds, but things are starting to look up, which means our self-imposed caution is nearing the end until next winter, where we will likely take it easy again, just to be safe.

Aside from all of that, Max has been, and continues to be, one of the HAPPIEST babies I have ever met. He smiles and talks more than his big brother did at that age, and has the quirkiest little laugh. He loves to be touched, swaddled, man-handled and rolled around; doing so is the quickest way to bring a smile to his face. He has never once cried during bath time and babbles away when he is naked. Max is strong, but lazy at the same time. He is getting better at standing when assisted by us, but lays there and puts zero effort into tummy time (despite having EXCELLENT head control otherwise!) I have a feeling that he will be just like his big brother, and will do things on his own terms, when he's ready to do so. He isn't the greatest day sleeper, taking maybe one solid three-hour nap a day with a few cat naps here and there, but he regularly sleeps in 10-hour stretches at night. He eats like a champ (30-35 oz a day) and is truly a complete joy. He LOVES his brother, so much, and lights up every time Lucas comes in close. Adjusting to life with two has been a challenge, but Max makes it easier than it could be.

April 1, 2014

Lucas Turns Two

My oh my. How times flies.

It feels like just yesterday that we were celebrating Lucas's very first birthday. I feel like this second year of his life has gone by so much quicker than his first; we had so many life changes in his second year that most likely added to it, but quick it went, nonetheless!

We celebrated his birthday with a few close friends in the area. We didn't quite do the blowout that we did last year, but still had a really nice time with those closest to us. We cooked out on the grill, had some cupcakes & friends came & went at their leisure. All in all, it was a great afternoon spent with some lovely people. Lucas had a great time & is still loving every gift that was given to him. Books have been read numerous times and trucks have gotten plenty dirty, not to mention all the cars (his favorite) that were received. We even got to facetime with Momo (grandma!) earlier in the day! 

We started the day off with a trip to the Botanical Gardens with some friends. It was a beautiful day, and a great way to spend a couple of hours. Lucas ran around with Marshall while I snapped some family photos for our friends in between. Anywhere that Lucas can have free reign of his surroundings is a wonderful experience for him, because he is definitely the kid that will take off running when you aren't looking. He LOVES the outdoors, much like his daddy, so was in total bliss while we were there. Afterwards, we grabbed some lunch downtown and then headed home for nap time & party preparation. Once guests started to arrive, it was a bit of a whirlwind, but everybody seemed to enjoy themselves. Marshall grilled out back while the kids ran around and played in the dirt, while the mama's hung out inside & tended to the babies present. All in all, it was a truly wonderful afternoon.

It's so hard to believe that my little baby really isn't a little baby anymore. He has grown into such a wonderful little boy, who changes every single day. He is unbelievably smart, and Marshall & I are amazed at the things he picks up on a daily basis. He is rough & tumble when he wants to play, but isn't afraid of his more sensitive moments when he just wants to sit on the couch and snuggle. He is passionate about the things that he likes, loves fiercely and even at two years old, is completely fearless of life around him. As a mom, this both terrifies me & makes me insanely proud, knowing that I already have a little boy who will try just about anything. He gets this trait from his father (most definitely not from me) and I couldn't be happier about it. It makes me hover a little often from time to time, and we have had more than our fair share of bumps, bruises, scrapes & tears. But in a instant, he is back up and running, terrifying me of whatever will happen next. He is insanely funny, cracking us up on a daily basis. At times, he reminds me of my brother, and I wonder if a little of him snuck into Lucas in the process. It has been an absolute joy watching him grow so much this past year, seeing what kind of little person he is turning into.

He definitely is not without his moments though. He is the pickiest eater, a mostly horrible sleeper & we are working through some normal toddler issues (I cannot tell you how many times a day I say the words "do not hit!")  But every day I look at him and think, where did my baby go. They grow too fast, these kids of ours. But while I miss the moments of him being small & tiny, I absolutely love & am very much looking forward to the future with him.

PCSing to Germany: Part One

Today is April 1st! Which means in THREE VERY SHORT MONTHS we will be on a flight for Germany. SO CRAZY.

Ok. So where are we in the whole international move process? Let's talk about this. Last August, when we decided on Germany & put in for these orders, July of 2014 seemed insanely far away. But here we are, three months away from hopping on a plane and all of a sudden, shit is getting very real, very quick. It is officially crunch time, and while three months might seem like a lot of time, when you are planning for an international move, I can promise you -- it is not.

So here is where we are at so far. Passports? Check. Sort of. We took the three boys in for their civilian passport applications a few weeks ago, and those were received in the mail to us this past week. I renewed mine a few years ago, so am good to go for a little while, however will probably have to renew while we are over there, if we stay longer than three years. No big deal. We received the birth certificates back in the mail just yesterday so next week, we will ALL go in and take care of our military passports. Why two sets of passports you ask? The military ones allow us to travel internationally on military orders. We will need these ones specifically to get to Germany/come home. This is really the only things they are good for. Marshall will most likely use his government passport much more than we ever will, but they are good to have regardless. The civilian ones are the ones that will let us have fun & travel travel travel!

The next HUGE thing we have to worry about (well, I have to worry about) is the purging of all of our crap. The first thing we tackled were clothes. Our space will be limited wherever we end up staying, and honestly, I don't want to transport a bunch of shit we don't need. My goal in the next month is to go through our house from top to bottom and essentially get rid of everything that we don't need. Or don't want. Or have never used. We have been in this house for almost eight years, which means there is a lot of accumulation. Needless to say, Goodwill is going to love us by the end of it all.

Next up - figuring out what we will take with us, and what gets left behind. The Army pays for us to have a storage facility, somewhere (I have no clue where just yet) to keep things here that we don't want to take with us, or aren't allowed to take with us. For instance, most of Marshall's tools will stay here. A) We really won't need them and B) most likely the Army won't transport them. We also own a lot of books, most of which have been read and are kept for sentimental value. Some will be brought with us, but most will be left behind. Everything else gets put into two categories -- household goods & unaccompanied baggage. 

What's the difference? Household goods is the shipment that we won't receive for about six weeks after we get to Germany (two months after it's picked up). This is things like all of our furniture. Photos. Whatever clothing we don't take in our suitcases. Large toys. Books. Things that, essentially, we won't need right away. Our unaccompanied baggage should arrive about two weeks after we do, if all goes well. This will be the stuff that we will need right away. Sheets. Pillows. Bath towels. Pots & pans. Games. A small television. Toys for the kids and other things to keep them busy. Essentially, things we can't live without once we are in our home.

It's a daunting task, one that I am mentally thinking about every day. I need to sit down and start making a list, and eventually, start the sorting process. Marshall is in charge of tackling the garage, deciding which of his stuff stays in storage and what goes, and with him being gone most of May because of a necessary class, our time is limited. Three months seems like a long time away, but our packers have already been scheduled and they come the first week of June. May is a wash because of Marshall being gone, leaving us just four short weeks to do a majority of the work necessary. In this time frame we also need to take care of any major checklist items for our house, ensuring that it is rental ready when we leave here. Our plan, once the movers come and ship out our stuff, is to head to Seattle for a while to say goodbye to friends & family before making the flight to Germany. So time is of the essence, and it feels a little overwhelming to manage, especially with two small kids constantly under foot.

So that's that. That is where we are at right now. My head is spinning just thinking of all we have to do but I know it will happen, because what choice do we have? None! Right now, this far out is all about organization. I am failing miserably at it right now, but in the coming weeks should have a good grasp on what is going, when it's going, and what's staying behind. And hopefully, a lot less crap in the process!

New Site Design!

Out with the old, in with the new. 

So I am telling myself at least. 

It had been a long time coming, but as you can see, I am working on a nice little overhaul to this space of mine. I wasn't loving the look (I never really did to begin with) and needed something more fresh. With our impending move to Germany (yay!) I thought now was a better time than ever. My hopes with this space is that with our new adventure, I will be sharing it with you. We have closed the chapter of trying to have kids & my involvement with the infertility world, and now am focused on this massive journey ahead of us. I wanted a place where my photos -- which I plan to take many more of -- will be a showcase, as well as my stories of living abroad. 

I still very much plan to write about parenting in a very honest way. That will not change. But it hopefully won't be the sole focus, either. I have such grand plans for this blog in the coming years and I hope you will stick around with me. 

There is still some work to be done, and you may continue to see some changes in the next week or so. Pages will be updated and other things moved around. But all in all, I am very happy with what has been created for me. 

Enjoy the new Bohemian Transplant.