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12:47 PM

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Gabriel...almost 3...You learned how to swing on your stomach last night. We had a bonfire and you started swinging. Giggles. Giggles. You didn't want to come in last night.  

I called you into the kitchen (you were trying to open the slider). After no response, I called again. You came running in..."Oh, mom I sorry. I try to listen. I try to be a good boy. I was erking (working)."
Love you little man.




Gianna...almost 1...You took five steps to me on Wednesday. I can't wait, little lady. I can't wait. The piano bench partially thwarts your attempts to climb stairs. You discovered my coreopsis in the flower beds last night. Your greedy yellow flower loving hands/mouth couldn't get enough. They are completely bare now. 

...one of those moments...

11:11 AM

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As a mom, most of my days are relatively consistent. 
Wake up, feed kids, cloth kids, clean, nap/play, feed kids, nap/clean, cook, bathe...repeat.

Sometimes, the sweet moments of motherhood get lost in the shuffle.

The other day, my mother-in-law was talking to Gabe on the phone. I overheard her say "you are such a big boy." He was so quick to respond, "No, I not a big boy. I a baby. I mom's baby."

I constantly call him my "sweet baby boy."
(I do tell him his is such a big young man, too).

There are very few remnants of my babe left. He is all go all the time.

The only time I can hardly catch those still moments are the few seconds I pick him up after his nap. If I sneak in (without Gianna), I can steal about ten seconds of just him. His sighs. His smell. His sweet little body in my arms.

I had tried to concoct a way to capture a picture of that moment. Maybe, I could use the tripod, sneak in with a timer....maybe it would work. I knew that plan would be an epic fail.

As luck would have it, the kids slept late yesterday, and Steve was home early. I asked him if he would please take a picture of me holding him.

My heart almost explodes with this moment.

Love.
This moment? I live for this.
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4:37 AM

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 gabe...almost 3...You drew your first picture this week. We finally retired your beloved cowboy boots this week. Not to worry, you are currently kicking around in an old pair of your cousins (size 8!! when did that happen). We have a pair coming soon. You are starting to sit and read books by yourself. Adorable.

gianna...11 mo...I love how you wrinkle your nose after you give someone your killer smile. Gabe and I made you that skirt during a morning nap. You are starting to babble in sentences. It is really quite adorable as you get such a look of conviction. I love how you pull your hair when you nurse. I can put you to sleep almost instantly, but scratching your head.
...

...first picture...

11:01 AM

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We try and meet Steve for lunch once a week....we do fairly well for a few weeks and then...we don't.

Today, we met him for lunch. It happened to be a coworker's birthday. They were passing around a birthday card to sign. Gabe is someone of a celebrity there, as he is the only little kid who ever comes to say hi. He refers to Steve's coworkers as "the guys." They all try desperately to get him to say hi or their name. Week after week. Nothing.

"I am too shy."

This week, we handed him the card. I told him to draw a person for the smiley face. He proceeded to draw the two reaaaaally long lines and out popped a little foot. I told him needed arms. He drew one straight out (right side) and one "up in the sky."

We then asked him to draw a school bus. I think it is fantastic (I know.......). He drew the windows with people, a bumper and a wheel. The rest of the works of art are less than identifiable. I believe the one on the bottom is  a plane. Regardless, that is the first time his "draw me a" objects have looked like anything!
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...Weekend Recap...

11:14 AM

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We had a fantastic and simple weekend at home. After our brutal 9 mile run, we did the typical waffle/coffee routine. We spent a lot of time on the patio so the kids could splash around in the kiddie pool. The heat was pretty overwhelming this weekend.

He said he didn't want to get in, so contently played outside for quite a while. Eventually, he came to his senses ;).

 When it was too warm, we spent time working on the never ending door installation. We have moved on to the closet doors. However, as with every renovation project, you always uncover more. When we removed the doors, we found that the walls are actually wallpapered (GRRRRR) and just painted over (double GRRRRRRR). We decided to just continue forward and tackle that project (wall paper removal? new drywall??), maybe in 67200 days. The entryway, stairs, and bedrooms are all wallpapered. We did our best to match the door casing to the previous casing. However, there are a few spots where you can see the wall paper edge. I haven't decided how to deal with it yet. 

The old closet doors are the generic sliding hollow panel. However, they just notched the bottom of the door to allow it to close over the baseboard. So...we removed the doors, and now we have to redo all of the baseboards RIGHT NOW (or maybe it will just look super classy for a few months) so that the doors close. One things after another.

News flash.......renovations with both kids up is like trying to brush your teeth while eating oreos. ;). We aren't as fast completion wise, but we do having a blast, though.
 ...


...Our PA trip...

6:37 AM

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I already briefly wrote about our road trip to PA. I just wanted to include a few more details and some pictures.
After arriving at 4PM on Thursday, we spent the evening getting out our pent up energy and going to bed early. It wasn't the best night for either of you, but it was honestly the best first night in a new place. Gianna was up from about 1-3AM. Fortunately, we didn't have a time change to content with, so our normal 6AM wakeup wasn't too crazy.
Friday...Your cousins came over and we spent the day playing in the house and outside in the yard. Gabe wasn't too sure about trekking up and down the hill of the yard. He sat down on his butt to scoot, but I asked his cousin to show him how to go down a hill (in his defense, it is quite steep). He said, "Ok, come on Gave." They walked down the hill hand in hand.
Fortunately, my cousin had her phone with her ;).
Saturday...We spent the morning driving around Nana's old neighborhood. We drove to see where her parents each grew up, Papa's favorite fishing spot, her old high school etc. My cousin and family arrived around noon and we grilled and talked out on the patio until late into the evening.
Sunday...We went to Mass at a little church in Dallastown. Everyone was up once we got back and we made a brunch (baked Amish oatmeal with fresh sliced peaches). My cousin and his family left that afternoon. We spent most of the afternoon looking at old pictures.
Monday...My uncle coordinated a brunch with any relative that was available. Close to 30 people were able to make, including Aunt Florus (Papa's youngest sister, 94) and Aunt Erma (second youngest, 96). Aunt Erma hasn't aged one bit in three years. Her memory is as sharp as ever. Aunt Toni and I left after two hours and went to an antique store. I finally found a stand for the living room!!! Of course, it was in PA and we had to carefully pack the car for the return trip!! My other cousin and his family stayed until really late the night before we left. Oh, was it wonderful to hang out with them. I so wish we lived closer.
Tuesday...We didn't leave as soon as we had hoped, but were on the road for Harrisburg by 11AM. We met up with Nonna and Nonno and continued on until Michigan. Let's just say, no one was amused with our shouting nursery rhymes to pass the time ;). 9.5 hours later...you were nestled in your beds!!! You were so elated to see dad.
I was really glad we were able to see everyone. We attempted this same trip last summer and had two turn around four hours into the drive due to our newly purchased house being vandalized. I was sad Steve couldn't come this trip. Mostly, we all dearly missed my Aunt. We had hoped to see her again before she lost her battle with cancer. Though there were many tears shed, I do think she was happy we made it.
"Catching butterflies."

Early morning wakeup.

Pushing the tractor.



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10:59 AM

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gianna...11 mo...You are standing for longer periods unassisted. You actually took a few steps to Nana and to Uncle Steve. You have an affinity for the stairs. My goodness, you can sprint crawl there in 0.2 seconds.

gabe...2.5 yo...He started speaking in paragraphs yesterday. A light just went off and the sentences started flying. I love his little descriptions of what happened. You are really missing your "somebody" and "Nani" today. You grew an inch in the last two months. You are now 39" tall.

...ROAD TRIP...

11:25 AM

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The last month has been busy.
Steve was traveling for a conference, we spent time in Montana, we were home for a few days, and then the kids and I (+ my mom) drove to Pennsylvania.
 
Any sane person would have probably told us we were crazy....they were right.
My mom took a red eye and then a transportation service (aka limo) to our house at 430AM on last Thursday. She arrived at 545, just as Steve was leaving for work. We threw the final items in the car and waited for the kids to awaken. We were on the road by 7AM.
When I tell you the kids were perfect on the way out, I mean perfect. We stopped three times over the course of a 7.5 hour drive and made it in just under 9 hours.
There were tunnels. Something I am not that fond of....and weren't aware of!!! when we left.
 
We spent the next six days at my Uncle's house.
My goodness. The peaches. My mom used to tell us stories about amazing soft ball size peaches from her childhood. I believe her.
We spent every day with my cousin's wife and kids. I wish she lived closer.
We literally basked in the love and company of family.
They are the type of family that you can pick up right where you left off, even if it has been years.
On the way back, we rendezvoused with my grandparents, and continued on to Michigan. That part was the *crazy lady you have two kids!!* part. We survived.
Someone...maybe have cried/screamed all 9.5 hours home. If only it was me ;).
 
I have a few pointers for those contemplating long travel with toddlers:
 
travel early (right after wake up; eat breakfast in the car)
keep snacks in a small container - we used a fabric 12x12 small tote
keep toys in a small bag
mess free (ish) snacks
try to stop every three hours

 
Some toys that were beneficial:
jelly roll pan
crayons/washable markers
wipes
magnet letters/numbers
silly putty in a can (gabe played for 4 hours with it on the way out)
matchbox car
number and color flash cards
 
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...31|52...

5:16 AM

 gianna...11 mo... You started walking with a push walker this week. I love how your face lights up when you master something. You have an extreme fear of baths right now. You actually ate dinner last evening! 
gabe...2.5 yo...You know how to count on your fingers. After Gianna goes down for her morning nap, I give you a few options of what we can do: swing, sand box, color...Every day this week, you have asked to "we go work, mom." So, I am taking advantage of it. You scrubbed floors for the first time. You are a pretty efficient duster. We washed windows and still had time for your favorite thing, swing.
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