I have a 3 year post for Riley to do, birthday photos to share, and a 17 month update just around the corner for little Jacky Boy, but I thought I'd do a little June re-cap! Mark's mom has been in town, the kids have been having fun, and there are just so many pictures I haven't shared! So first... a typical evening in the Bartlett household:
The sand pit is always always a hit. And Jackson will play happily in it for about 10 minutes before he remembers that he likes to shove fistfuls of sand in his mouth, and then it's time to get out. But they pretty happily move on to the trampoline!
Jackson used to hate going on the trampoline with Riley because she would jump so high and he would get bounced around, and he wasn't a huge fan of that. Now he loves it! He runs around and she chases him and jumps and he bounces all around and thinks it's so funny!
Eventually, somehow, we manage to drag these outdoor babies inside for a bath... bath is a bit hit-or-miss every night. Some nights it goes off without a hitch, everyone is happy and nice to each other, other nights someone ends up crying... normally the battle is over washing a certain little girl's hair....
Oh also? I made this video of little 3 year old Riley, too late at night to figure out how to embed it: https://vimeo.com/68893324
Up next: our trips to the Berkeley Children's Museum and Six Flags!!!
Slowly chipping away at Riley's 3rd year album.... I like to have them completed and ordered and in my hands by her 3rd birthday, which means I better keep working! I'm actually not THAT far behind, surprisingly. I also realized I never shared the family photos we had done in February, so this will kill 2 birds with one stone. Although, since it's Riley's album, obviously these pictures are pretty heavily Riley-focused.
I'm at almost 100 pages... still over a month to go... it's gonna be a long book!!
While I do like sharing cute stories and pictures on this blog, one of the main reasons for this blog is to document my kids' lives, and to record things I probably won't remember 10 years down the road. Things my kids might wonder, things I might want to look back and read about, and lately I have not done a very good job of that!
Life lately has been... interesting. Riley is 2 years and 9 months, Jack is 13 months (approximately). Jackson has sort of turned into a crazy obsessed mama's boy... if I am anywhere in the vicinity, he wants to be with me... Or he wants me down on the floor sitting right next to him and playing with him. I can't even go get a drink or snack or use the bathroom without him crying and chasing after me. He gets in to EVERYTHING. He hates sitting in his high chair (unless being fed sausages). He throws big tantrums when he doesn't get what he wants. But the hardest thing is that when I'm home with him, he just does not want me out of his sight. I love that he loves me so much, but it makes the day pretty challenging!
And Riley? Well, I'm not sure what's happening with her, but she has been OFF the past week or so. She has had more meltdowns than ever before. She has started being MEAN to her brother. Hitting him, pushing him, kicking him, throwing toys at him. It's like all of a sudden she snapped and her patience with him ran out. I'm pretty sure this new aggression of hers and Jackson's super needy behavior are directly related. Jackson wants me with him constantly, and Riley has definitely noticed. Is this an excuse for her to hurt him? No. Of course not. But it's clear to me she's pretty unsettled lately. The crazy thing is, she will be so nice to him and give him hugs and kisses and share her toys and play right with him, and then all of sudden she will snap and lash out at him. At the moment I feel like I can't leave the two of them unattended even for a minute because she may really hurt him! This has NEVER been a problem up until now, so something funny is going on in that little mind of hers.
Take this toy computer, for example.... most of the time Riley lets Jackson pay along with her... smash they keys, crawl on top of it, do whatever he wants. And then all of sudden she will just snap and shove him over and keep shoving him until I rescue him. No forms of discipline have really been working, there have only been two things that I've found to work... it seems that Riley needs to just let off some aggression sometimes, and her outlet happens to be her brother. One day I told her that if she felt mad, that she should take some of her foam blocks and smash them into the ground and yell "I'm soo mad!" instead of hitting or pushing. And she did it all day long! And then she was calm after she did it! I don't know if it's going to be a good long term solution, but we shall see!
Jackson is a crazy little monkey lately. With a temper! He LOVES to be outside. And he loves to climb up the stairs. If he can't do those things, he will throw a big old tantrum. He also loves putting things in and out of containers, and will do this for quite some time! And he ADORES swimming. He would live in the swimming pool if he could! But boy should you hear him scream when he has to get out!
We've started doing a few things with Riley lately that I'm really liking! I rearranged her drawers in her room so that her bottom drawer is full of options for her clothes for the day. She picks out her own undies, pants, skirts, tops, everything, and gets dressed by herself. She needs help getting her t-shirt on, but everything else she does by herself (including taking PJs off). She LOVES being able to go upstairs and get dressed all by herself! She has also decided she needs privacy when she's using the toilet. If I linger, she promptly tells me to leave her alone. :)
One downside of her getting easily undressed by herself... she is frequently naked...
I am so so excited for this fabulous spring/summer weather that we've been getting. We could spend hours and hours outside. We're in the process of getting the backyard perfectly baby friendly... we've got a trampoline, slide, sandpit, Riley's veggie garden, a little kiddie table/bench, water table, outdoor rug for kids to play on, and pretty soon we're going to get a big shade. And Aunt Jennie may have bought Riley something huge and ridiculous (of the water toy/pool variety) so that will be making an appearance out there shortly!
Not sure if this moments before Jacky Boy got the big shove... I'm hoping not...
Gosh I look at this picture and her cute little fake cheesy smiley angel face and I just want to go and snuggle with her in bed. And I think how can she go from the most fun, silly, smart and happy little monkey to the screaming crying mess of tears that won't listen to me? The DRAMA of an almost 3 year old, I tell you.
We've got a lot on our plates at the moment in the Bartlett house, trying to balance new jobs, sick babies, crazy babies, and lack of sleep. But man there are some fun times!!! Can't wait until Aunt Jennie gets into town next weekend, and then.... DISNEYLAND soon after that!!! Riley's mind is going to be blown when we get to Disneyland. This guy will like it too, I'm sure. :)
The end of long jumbled post!
One day last weekend, the weather was so nice, we bundled up the little ones and hopped in the car and over to the playground. Grandma and Grandpa were both there, which meant I could take some pictures! Riley could spend hours and hours at the playground. Jackson probably could too, but gets easily distracted by the bark and dirt and all the things he could potentially shove in his mouth. But he sure does enjoy a good swing!
Especially when he has a Grandpa to play with. My dad would pretend to get hit in the mouth by Jackson's foot and sent Jack and Riley into fits of hysterical laughter. See for yourself..
Then it was Riley's turn to "kick" Grandpa.
I am so so excited the weather is getting so good! My children are definitely outdoor babies, they just LOVE to be outside. Doing anything really, as long as it's outside! Play grounds, parks, swimming, walks, anything!
Riley has become quite the little climber these days... She plays on the "little kids" playground for a bit, then decides she wants to venture over to the big kid playground, where she climbs up on all the big girl stuff and gives her mama an anxiety attack, because she most certainly does NOT need any help!
Jack, on the other hand, still needs some assistance. :)
You may notice Jack has mismatched socks. I, instead, notice that YAY he is wearing socks! The boy always always pulls of his socks, so I think it's a huge accomplishment that he even has any on! We'll work on the matching part later...
..I might feel all caught up. I might have an evening to just sit back, relax, and watch TV. But that day, is not today. :) My husband is out of town again for the next week, and he is pestering me about blog posts and pictures of his babies since he doesn't get to see them for a while, so I'm trying to oblige. :)
And also, I've done such a bad job at blogging lately, and it makes me sad because I love going back to my old posts and reading about all the things the little ones were doing or saying, and what I was thinking, and all about our adventures, even if they were seemingly boring daily activities. I mean I have tons of photos, and I have their yearly books, but I can't fit EVERYTHING in those (although I sure do try!). So I'm going to try and be better, for my own sake. :)
Jackson is turning into such a little boy, and he is getting to be easier and easier, and more go with the flow. I have sort of forced him into taking only one nap a day, so that he and Ri nap at the same time, and he now takes one big THREE HOUR nap!! Hooray!!
He's not walking, but boy oh boy can he climb! He can climb all the way up the slide, up steps, up onto things he shouldn't... He loves putting his cars up and down the slide, and up and down his car ramp we got him for his birthday.
Riley is still my little energetic crazy kid. And she is SUPER fun. I totally love getting to hang out with her all day and listening to all the cool things she has to say. I love listening to her ask WHY a million times a day. How she comes up with scenarios and answers, how she reasons, how just crazy goofy she is. I adore two year olds, tantrums and all. :)
She is missing her daddy a lot, and tells me every day "Mama I'm so sad because I lost my daddy." When I ask her where he is, she says, "In New Zealand, that's across the ocean" and I ask her how she would get there and she says, "I could row row row my boat or I can go in an airplane!!" She was NOT happy she didn't get to go on an airplane with her daddy!!
We implemented a sticker chart to encourage certain behaviors we'd like to see... if she gets 10 stickers, she gets prizes (like this Periwinkle toy from TinkerBell). So far, it has worked. like. a. charm. If only I had known that all I needed to get her to fall asleep on her own was a few stickers.... sheesh I would have done this ages ago!!
Riley, Jackson and I have a good routine in the mornings when daddy is away. We wake up, eat breakfast, and then play play play. We alternate between the lounge, the playroom, and then upstairs. And you know what has provided HOURS of fun lately?? THIS box.
Riley is so proud that she can draw circles and ovals and then count how many she has done. This was her "spaceship" that she decorated all by herself.
And Jackson? Well, he just tries to chew on the box (and the markers), and would actually much rather play with this shape sorter. He loves this thing, just like Riley used to!!!
I've got lots of super cute playground photos to share, but hopefully those will come tomorrow. Since I'm husband-less I need to get as much sleep as possible to keep up with these two monkeys!!!
This month FLEW by. Hard to believe Christmas has already come and gone!!! December is definitely one of my favorite months of the year, and this year was no different. We do lots of fun holiday things, lots of holiday traditions. We hung all the ornaments on the trees, with "help" from the little ones. Riley was really into it this year, and Jackson just wanted to eat the ornaments and pull them OFF the tree.
December is the season for holiday cards, and I wasn't organized enough to book family portraits for ourselves this fall, so I attempted to do them myself. I swear it must be the photographer's curse, to have children that just do not want to cooperate for family photos. And of course, despite finally getting a photo and ordering my cards on time... I still haven't sent them out. So you may get one in January or so.
But hey, at least my kids looked cute, right? Riley put that headband on herself and refused to take it off, which is why it's practically backwards, but that's alright. Gives her outfit a little character.
We made sugar cookies and decorated gingerbread houses, which really mean Riley ate all the sprinkles and candies while I tried to make things look pretty. But it was still fun, and very very messy!!
We had Christmas-themed movie nights and read stories in front of the Christmas tree. We read all kinds of Christmas books and talked about Santa and reindeer and elves, and all things Christmas-related.
Christmas trees are magical things to babies. The lights, the texture, the ornaments... and Christmas trees with trains around them? Even better.
I really really wanted ONE picture of my two little ones sitting next to each other in front of the tree. Oh man I had to work so hard for it, now that Jackson doesn't sit still for a minute, and Riley is just a wild woman! This might have been the best one I got!!
Since Riley loved Christmas lights so much, we decided to take her and Jackson to this special street in Alameda with tons and tons of amazing Christmas lights. I thought it would be better to get out and walk so we could see them all up close and personal, but it was a little cold and I think Riley probably would have liked it better being in the car. But it was still pretty awesome!
A few other highlights leading up to Christmas (actual Christmas photos have yet to be uploaded and edited...)
Jackson trying to attack the trains around the Christmas tree... kid can move at lightning speeds!
Riley's very first present she got to open from her Aunt Jennie. Her very own Minnie Mouse power wheels.
And? Her very first haircut. She didn't even flinch, probably because Elmo was on and she got to sit in a cool car chair. Mark practically forced me to take her to get her haircut, but I must say it looks pretty darn cute, and it's even MORE curly now!
We had a fabulous Christmas, full of lots of family, presents, food, and pictures!!! Coming soon, I hope! Happy Holidays, friends and family!!!
Ooooookay, so... it's been a while. So sit back, relax, this is going to be a long one!!
A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to go to Hawaii with my parents and my sister and her husband. It was definitely a much needed vacation, although I'm not sure vacation ever really has the same meaning once you have kids!!!
A 5 hour flight should seem like nothing after multiple 14 hour plane adventures, but man was it challenging! Now, I say that, but really both kids were pretty darn good, just Riley was a LOT of work to entertain!! She's so go-go-go that 5 hours on a plane in the middle of the day is torture to her! But we survived and landed in Hawaii, ready for fun!
So we stayed in a condo, which was nice because both kids could have their own room... only downside was, Riley's room had 2 single beds, which were set up in a way that you couldn't just put them together, but there was only like 2 feet between them.... so I basically stuffed that space with pillows and blankets and turned it into a HUGE bed. Bigger than any bed she's slept in. And wouldn't it figure, that she would fall out of that bed not once but TWICE in the middle of the night. Talk about giving your mama a heart attack, nothing worse than hearing a huge THUD followed by screams at 2am! But she recovered quickly and we were ready to start our days in Hawaii!
Now, one thing I totally did not expect? Riley was terrified of the ocean. Not really the ocean per se, but more the waves. She's been around then ocean and water plenty of times in New Zealand, but the beach was smaller where we were in Hawaii, and the waves were pretty loud, and for some reason she was terrified! I was totally perplexed! She loved the pool, loved swimming, was alright sitting in the sand FAR away from the water, but was NOT happy to sit near the water, and wanted to be carried at all times!
Jackson, on the other hand, was totally not bothered by the sand or ocean... He was pretty much happy most of the time. The tricky thing with vacation with the little ones is balancing doing fun things and playing outside with everyone getting enough rest and sleep. One day we planned a trip out to the aquarium (more on that in a minute), and there was a miniature golf place right next to it, so we decided to give it a try.
Riley loved it for the first 10 minutes, then got pretty bored and just wanted to go on the bumper boats. So I spent the next 30 minutes trying to convince her it was a good idea to wait until everyone else was ready before going on the boats. 30 minutes is a LONG time in toddler world, let me tell you.
Jack was well past due for a nap, and FINALLY fell asleep thanks to Grandpa who walked and walked and walked him around until he was out. And Riley continued to make it impossible for anyone else to play golf...
Riley is so funny, we told her we were going mini golfing, and she says. "Mini golf? Oh! Not MICKEY golf, just MINNIE golf!" Such a little goofball, that one. :) Can you tell she has Minnie Mouse on the brain?
These pictures of Jackson below are before his skin started to freak out. The kid has very sensitive skin, and does not do well in the Hawaii climate. His eczema was pretty bad, and at one point his forehead was all rashy and red. He also does not do well in the heat, and our condo had no air conditioning, so sleep was a bit of an issue for him during this trip, but you never would have known it during the day, he was a pretty happy little dude!
The boy LOVES to jump. And jump. And jump some more.
Only minimal amounts of sand were consumed while he was sitting there, surprisingly!
This is Riley's GET ME AWAY FROM THE WAVES face.... just before full blown meltdown.
All I wanted was one photo of the two kids together on the beach. Riley was too scared, so we cheated. It think Jennie is holding Jack, and my mom is holding Riley. And we got buildings in the background instead of beach. But they are sort of on the sand, so whatevs.
Jacky boy was not yet crawling, but he was so so so close (don't you worry, he is full blown crawling now, there's no stopping him!) It's probably a good thing he wasn't crawling, since now he doesn't stay still for more than 2 seconds! These two bottom pictures show just how awesome my kids' hair is... Jackson's little fluffy mohawk and Riley's ringlets.
We made it to the aquarium and of course, Riley LOVED it. She loves all the fish and the ocean animals, so she was in heaven. We could have stayed there for a very long time!
It has taken me so long to go through all these photos, and the ones in here a just small selection from the first few days of our trip! I have so many more cute ones to go through and sort, PLUS today this little cutie patootie turns TEN months old, so I have an update coming for him too!
So more Hawaii photos, some videos, and a 10 month update coming soon!
Okay so.. costumes. I was totally indecisive, I couldn't pick costumes for the little ones to save my life. So finally, last minute, I decided Jack was going to be a monkey (because he's my little monkey) and I let Riley browse online and pick her own costume. And she picked a PINK POODLE, all by herself.
And just look at this little monkey boy...
While Jackson was asleep, we took Riley trick-or-treating around the local shops with tons of other kids. She was stopped multiple times by random people who wanted to take her picture, she was that cute.
Once we got back, we had some time to kill, which we spent playing on the trampoline. Look at his hair!!!
And that hair too...
And then finally, we were ready to go trick-or-treating... or at least, dressed and ready, we needed to take about a million pictures first.
Now, we only made it to ONE house trick-or-treating. And I didn't take any pictures. But we had fun, Riley was pretty excited about being given lots of candy, even if it mysteriously disappeared after she went to bed that night... :) Happy Halloween babies!!
It's no secret, I absolutely love holidays. Halloween is no exception. And every year, the street that I grew up on throws a little pumpkin carving party up at the top of the court. We were able to go last year, and this time we introduced Jackson to the neighbors of the court!
Riley was obsessed with these steps. She wanted to jump up and down them, and just hang out up there rather than join the party. We thought we'd get a cute picture of Riley and Jackson together up there... well, let's just say it wasn't our finest parenting moment, and Jackson had his first "face meets pavement" moment. The crazy thing is, Mark was RIGHT there, like practically holding him, but got distracted for half a second and Jack lunged forward. Mark caught him juuuuust as his nose hit the ground, so he didn't get hit hard, but he definitely got scared and was bleeding. He only cried for a few minutes, and yep, we both felt awful.
Baby in recovery mode. Owie.
Riley was decked out in her Halloween attire, complete with skull necklaces. Oh yes, we love to be festive during the holidays.
Annnnnnd back to the steps. Over. And over. And over again.
Her Grandpa told her to jump down the step and yell "TA DA!!!!"... and so she did.
We finally convinced her to come and help with the pumpkin carving, which she sort of enjoyed. And yes, that is my 2 year old with a knife. :/ Mark is a trusting man, having his fingers so close to that little carving knife...
She wasn't totally thrilled about having her hands actually touching the pumpkin. But she liked helping to push out the pieces that Mark cut out for her, she's holding the nose below...
Then of course we had to get a picture of the final product. This time on a softer surface for poor Jacky Boy. TA DA!
By the way, in case you were wondering, it took like 20 minutes to corral Riley and get her to JUST. SIT. STILL. for a photo with her pumpkin and her brother. And then she was off. And Jack was shoving grass in his mouth. Fairly typical.
I was able to get her back by bribing her with candy corn I think...but of course, Jackson discovered her necklaces, and an hope of getting two munchkins looking at the camera was lost.
Next up... Halloween costume pictures!! Coming... eventually?
My parents got Riley a trampoline. A BIG one. And it is by far her most favorite thing at the moment.
And she knows that if she wants to go out and jump, she needs clothes, shoes, and sunscreen. So she goes and rounds up something to wear, puts her shoes on, and asks us to put sunblock on her, and she's outside and jumping around in no time flat. Jackson thinks the trampoline is pretty cool too.
I have many many photo shoots lined up in the next few weeks, so Riley and my mom were my test subjects at a few new spots I was looking into...
Isn't she just the best most cooperative little model ever??
And of course, like every other person with kids in the month of October, we visited the pumpkin patch. Now, I will say, I didn't plan the visit very well. We went midday- right when Riley was probably going to be getting very tired. Of course she perked up right as soon as we got there and the man asked her if she wanted to get IN the cage with the baby chickens. Ummm, yes, yes she did.
From the chickens, we moved on to the pigs, goats, and rabbits. Big fan...
Jackson, on the other hand, was more interested in trying to eat the hay.
Look at my big little boy in his blue hat. And he looooves his Aunt Jennie too.
I had to put a blanket down on the ground to take pictures of Jack because he was frantically trying to get everything he could into his mouth.
Including the pumpkins...
I wanted ONE, just ONE picture of my two kids together, sitting nicely, at the pumpkin patch. This was the best I got. And that photo required a LOT of effort.
But I consider the trip a success... not TOO many tears, and we left with one HUGE pumpkin!