Dear Otis- 4 Years!

Dear Otis-

Today you turned 4 years old. To use a favorite Otis phrase “what the what?!!!”

You are morphing into a big kid in front of our very eyes. From week to week, and even day to day, the amount of growth you show is astonishing. A few weeks ago you used scissors two handed to make one snip. This week you came up with the idea to decorate for your party with ninja drawings and cut them out all on your own (Dad drew this one, but the cutting job is 100% you). Fun fact- you draw and eat right handed, but you cut left handed. Your dad is a bit ambidextrous so I think you get that from him.

A few months ago your art work was squiggles and circles and now you draw ninjas and rainbows and balloons and all sorts of cool stuff.

You are a perfectionist and will often go through multiple sheets of paper and grunts before you accomplish what you want. Full disclosure- I’ve heard you mutter “damn it” when your hand doesn’t go where your brain wants it to on the paper. Your patience with activities and other people is phenomenal, but you are still learning to be patient with yourself.

We’ve given you a lot more independence in the last few months and you’ve thrived with this freedom. You used to be nervous about climbing on the playground. I thought you were scared, but I now understand that you were afraid to fail. Ever since I started working out with Baby Boot Camp you’ve become a climbing fiend. I’m next to the playground, but not on the playground with you and not watching your every move. This has allowed you to experiment on your own. You are so proud of your newfound climbing skills and seeing you proud of yourself has absolutely fed my soul.

You have just recently started to enjoy playing by yourself. You create fantasy worlds with your legos and action heroes and will even CHOOSE to go to your room and play on your own (not just do it when we ask you to). You came to work with me the other day and entertained yourself for 4 hours without a screen! You didn’t even want to leave when it was time to go home. Again, this is a big kid morph that seemed to happen overnight.

You transitioned from daycare to preschool this month. It was hard to close the Tia y Tio chapter of your life. They’ve been such incredible influences for you.

But you were ready to transition. We had 3 days of tears at drop off and now you look forward to school and seeing your new best buddy, Bodhi. Here are some shots from the first week of school. Some might notice that you’re a bit of a ham.

Your ability to navigate relationships astounds me. You understand when someone needs a hug and you offer it. You understand that Lucy is still learning things that you already know. You exhibit such patience with her when she messes with your stuff and such enthusiasm when she learns new things that you mastered years a go. “Good job Lucy” is a frequent phrase from your mouth. She is so lucky to have a big brother like you!

This ability to understand relationships also means that you are quite good at pushing people’s buttons when you want to and quite good at playing your parents. We’re on to you and see through most of your shenanigans, but your tactics have definitely gotten more cunning.

You love to dance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY4Eq1hoBY8

You love the water.

You love pizza night at Pinky’s, trips to the comic book store with dad, and your current favorite movie is Toy Story.

You are one of my very favorite people to hang out with! You make me laugh constantly and you fill me with pride on a daily basis. I love you 4 year old Otis!

Love,

Mom

P.S. You had an amazing bday today- NINJA PARTY and gifts of legos, arts and crafts, transformers, and a scooter!

An obstacle course courtesy of Dad’s ingenuity and creative talent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhY-jwROeNY

Nerf archery aimed at bad guy ninja balloons.

A rousing game of Sensei says lead by Uncle Toothpaste (Greg to most).

And, of course, cupcakes!

Happy Birthday Oats!

Vay-cay-shun

Unless you count a work related trip to Portland in 2012 or 36 hour Sonoma County trips during both pregnancies, Brad and I have not had a true vacation since our Kauai honeymoon in 2009. Don’t get me wrong, there have been lovely trips to Virginia and Lake Tahoe in between, but they have revolved around visiting with family. Vacation for the sake of vacation; vacation for the sake of seeing new sights; vacation for the sake of doing whatever we want whenever we want took a 9 year hiatus. I’d also venture to say that this was our very first vacation from parenthood. Long story short- the last 4 days have been glorious!

We chose Seattle for a few reasons

  • We could fly from Santa Rosa airport which means from our front door to the gate is 45 minutes (yes that includes long term parking and the most pleasant security process ever)
  • We like the Pacific Northwest vibe

We are even more glad we chose Seattle after our visit!

We averaged 3 record shops, 2 hummus menu items, and 2 breweries a day. If you know us at all, you know this is pretty much our ideal lifestyle.

Fremont brewery was Brad’s favorite beer-wise. Old Stove Brewery was our favorite taproom- can’t beat looking over the water while you sip.

Our favorite neighborhood was Fremont. So many quirky shops. We even found a cider tasting room, Schilling.

We loved that we could walk everywhere. According to the pedometer in Brad’s phone, we averaged 20,000 steps a day.

When we weren’t walking, we took ferries. Loved the ferry to Bainbridge Island! Great views and a fun spot to explore. Wine tasting in a comic book shop?! Yes please!
Brad tried to get some pics of me on the ferry . . .

We decided to stick with scenery shots.

We checked out Ballard Locks- pretty fascinating how they move all that water around.

We even got our Marvel fix at MoPOP!

It was such a treat to spend time just the TWO of us. Thank you Seattle.

P.S. The kids were well cared for by Grandma and Grandpa. We heard tales of water fights, tractor rides, zoo visits, and ninja warrior games. I believe there was only one accidental incident of baby throwing and said baby went unharmed. Both kids were returned to us freshly bathed and with suitcases of clean clothes. I believe our front walkway was even swept and who know what other chores they snuck in. 5 stars to the babysitters!

Summer Fun Part Two

Man do I love having both Saturdays and Sundays as a family! We’ve definitely been making the most of it.

The Beach

The Zoo

Not one, but two county fairs!

“Don’t worry Mr. Donnelly, I’ll have her home by 11.”

Howarth Park

Boys in a candy shop

Park fun

Not to mention the awesome times just chillin’ at our house . . .

Art mornings

Floor time

Kiddie pool

And Happy Hour

Happy Summer everyone!

Summer Fun Part One

Summer in the Moore family means that Becky has a “normal person” work schedule- Saturdays and Sundays off and less late nights. I won’t lie- my heart broke a little when Otis’ face lit up with joy the other night as he said “you mean we are going to eat dinner as a family?!!!”

Well, that we are. Family dinners and lots of together time on weekends.

Speaking of dinner, guess who decided to eat real food all of a sudden? Miss Lucy Goose! Her faves are zucchini fritters, scrambled eggs, and mac’ n cheese. Oh and she’s quite the fan of cow’s milk so we’ve moved on from Mama’s milk.

The Goose also decided to start crawling this week. She’s mobile. Aghhhhh! 😂

Otis continues to astound us with his vocabulary and conversation skills . . .

Dad-“want me to push you higher on the swing?” Otis- “No. I just want to sit and savor this moment.”

“Mom did you know that the wolf likes to blow houses down? He can’t blow really strong ones down like if they’re made of hard wood. He can only break cozy houses.”

Favorite words include magnificent, actually, vehicle, and cozy.

He’s also conquered his fear of climbing and now wants to climb everything in sight. I think this newfound bravery is due in large part to us going to my baby boot camp exercise classes. I do my workout and he plays with the other kids. It’s been interesting to see the growth and transformation that have come with him having a bit of independence. I think it’s easier to try and fail without someone hovering. I’ve noticed this happens with Lucy too- if I’m in the room she wants me to help her stand up, pick her up, etc. If I leave the room she figures it out on their own. This has been a good lesson for me and I’m now always trying to find the right balance- let them discover and experiment on their own without this leading to trips to the ER. 🤞🏻

But I digress . . . this post is about summer fun. We kicked the summer off with a one night camping trip. Our boot camp friends camped with us at the local KOA. Verdict-

  • super fun place for kids, even if it doesn’t feel like real camping- jump pillow, petting zoo, sweet playground
  • The work involved to prepare for camping warrants at minimum a 2 night stay
  • We need a bigger vehicle

The following weekend we checked out Morton’s Warm Springs in Glen Ellen. How did I not know about this place? One pool is only a foot deep. Another is 3 feet deep. It’s the perfect place for toddlers.

This past weekend brought a one night getaway for Brad and I. His band played in Bolinas, a little coastal hidden gem. I tagged along and grandma had a sleepover with the kids. Grandma got raspberries and “I love yous” at bedtime. Otis had a salami sandwich for dinner followed by salami for dessert. Brad and I stayed up til 2am (yes- we are very cool and impressive) and slept in until 9:30. Everybody won!

We returned refreshed (albeit nursing headaches) and took a fun family walk to the park and tacos.

The crazy thing is that this weekend is only half over. This regular person weekend business is pretty cool. I’m going to take a cue from Otis and savor every moment of this summer!

Dear Lucy- 12 Months

Dear Lucy-

You are One!!! This month you became a pro at going from butt to belly. You learned to slither in a full circle on your tummy. And you now sleep soundly on your stomach. With all of this tummy time, we thought you were on your way to crawling for sure (check out your rhythmic butt moves) . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlkckUyUdTs

However, crawling is no longer on your your to do list. You have clearly decided to apply all of your brain power to walking. You want to hold our hands and pull up to standing every second we’ll allow it. You are even able to balance with only one hand and you can teeter for a second or two unassisted. We hold your paws and you march proudly with high steps around the room, cackling as you go. You are beyond delighted with this new skill.

Becoming an upright being has definitely been your focus this month, but you’ve also thrown in a few other new skills.When I say “where’s your belly?” you pat your tummy vigorously. Your pincher grasp has become quite refined, so much so that you grab any crumb or piece of dirt on the floor that the roomba has missed and proudly show it to me. You have also learned to share. You’ve created a game out of handing us your toys.

We threw you a pretty sweet party for your birthday. Guests included Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Toothpaste, Aunt Megan, Piper, Julia, Olivia, Abby, Frankie, and Allie. Aunt Jen and Mateo even flew up from San Diego to attend.

I assigned Aunt Jen the task of finding a Bday outfit for you and she nailed it!

Dad and I set up a ball pit and water table for the party. And I had fun making some photo displays.

We got you a sandbox for your birthday. You are pretty jazzed about it!

Otis helped me make the cupcakes. In typical Lucy fashion, you refused to eat any of it, but loved making a huge mess out of your cupcake.

I had so much fun celebrating you! You mean so much to us Lucy Girl. You are such a happy, flirty, stubborn, sassy little thing. I asked Dad to describe you in 3 words and he said “Happy Lightning Bolt.” I think that describes you perfectly. You are fierce and full of energy and you’ve struck our hearts with your charm. I love you Goose!

Love,

Mom

Dear Lucy- 11 Months

Dear Lucy-

This month has been so much fun, especially compared to the fever and snot filled month that preceded it! This month you have become a curious little explorer.

You are exploring language. We are hearing lots of “amamama” and “adadada” and we are pretty sure that you know one of them refers to me and the other to Dad. You also shake your head “no” when you don’t want something. Usually that something is food. While you’ve definitely increased your intake of puréed food, you eat begrudgingly. Food must enter your mouth via spoon. You have zero interest in putting anything into your mouth yourself. The good news is that along with food, gravel, bark, legos, etc. stay out of your mouth. This comes in handy at boot camp. You play in the grass or gravel while I work out. You even have a boot camp buddy.

While items do not end up in your mouth, you definitely get your hands on everything. You’ve tried to pull dishes off the table. You get mad when an object gets confiscated. And you are no longer a mere observer to our morning games of Trouble. You want to get your hands on those little pieces so bad!

You are not crawling yet, but you’ve mastered the butt to stomach maneuver so you are making progress.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6Nb3OMivjA

You scoot backwards as well, but that only seems to frustrate you.

I think you really want to be on the move, but haven’t figured the coordination out yet. You love to get in your bouncer and wiggle like crazy.

You continue to adore your brother and the feeling is mutual.

You remain toothless, although I feel like you’ve got a bunch ready to pop through. You sleep through the night, but rarely nap for long. You smile constantly and chuckle often. I’m tearing up as I write this because I just love you so so much and I can’t believe how much you complete our family!

Love,

Mom

A 4 Egg Hunt Easter

You know life is good when you get not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 Easter Egg Hunts in a week!

Hunt #1 was brought to you by the Petaluma Mothers Club and a very brave Grandma. I had to be at work for our Spring Performances and Brad was not into the idea of a huge crowd with tiny children, but Grandma decided to take both kids to the event. The brave trio had a blast, though Grandma did confess that this is not a feat she would attempt solo in the future.

Hunt #2 was brought to you by my 6th grade ballet students. They heard I missed the PMC egg hunt so they put together a hunt for Otis in the ballet studio. Add in a confetti toss at the cast party and it made for a pretty cool afternoon!

Hunt #3 was brought to you by Baby Boot Camp. This is an exercise group where Moms can work out with their kids in tow. Otis, Lucy, and I love Boot Camp! We had a fun play date and egg hunt after our Thursday workout.

Hunt #4 was brought to you by Brad and I, but inspired by my childhood. Growing up, my mom always did an egg hunt that involved clues to get you from egg to egg. Apparently she got this idea from my Frosty Grandma, meaning that Otis and Lucy are at least the 3rd generation of kids in our family to tackle these fun hunts. This year my folks babysat the kids on Easter Eve and Brad and I enjoyed a “working” dinner date to create the clues (there were 10 in all).

It was a hit!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8iatWtSnac

Happy Easter Everyone!

Dear Lucy- 10 Months

Dear Lucy-

I’ve been threatening to write “Dear 10 Month Lucy, you were sick. The end.” In truth, your main accomplishment this month was strengthening your immune system. For a second child that didn’t have her first cold until 8.5 months, you have sure made up for lost time. This was a 2 fever month complete with roseola, pink eye, and a suspiciously croupy cough. And you also wounded your face with your own fingernail (which I had just clipped). As I write this, you are totally healthy so I’ve got my fingers crossed that we are in for a long stint of good health.

D2AC1DAE-8D92-4418-BECF-04E5B41310FC.jpegDespite being sick so much, you did accomplish a lot this month.

Your babbling is starting to sound like words. You reach and grab for everything. You are eating purées like a champ now. You still don’t want anything that doesn’t come on a spoon, but you are up to two servings of real food a day so I’ll take it.

You play peekaboo, or as they say at daycare “donde esta Lucy?”

And, drum roll please . . . . YOU SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT! Yup- for a solid 11 hours you stay in your crib without eating. Not sure if it was just the timing or our new strategy, but once I started coming to you when you cried and saying “you’re ok” and NOT feeding you, you threw in the towel and decided to sleep. Thank you!

You still don’t have any interest in moving independently, but that’s ok. I think you are putting your brain power into your vocabulary of sounds.

I love you Goosey Girl!

Mom

Dear Lucy- 9 Months

Dear Lucy-

3 days ago you turned 9 months. I’ve been dying to write to you all week, but life delayed me. I thought I’d tell you what an average day for 9 month Lucy is like.

You wake up around 6:30am and I try to feed you in my bed. Being the non-morning person that I am, I let you play in my bed for a bit while Dad showers and I attempt to catch a few more zzzzs. You usually decide to play “hold mom’s chin” or “examine mom’s hair” which means we are officially up for the day.

You are so happy in the morning! You’ll sit on your blanket and play with your toys while the rest of us consume cereal and coffee (you’re right- Otis does not drink coffee). You LOVE toys right now and especially love to clap them together to make noise. You are pretty rhythmic. You have also mastered hand clapping this month.

After breakfast Otis and I usually join you on the floor. You watch us play board games and we try to get you to scoot around on your belly. So far you’ve only managed to scoot backwards an inch at a time.

Depending on the day we might move on to bathtime.

If I’m lucky, Otis will babysit you while I shower. Here you guys are playing a “game” he made up called Computer.

On Mondays we head to music class

On Tuesdays and Thursdays we often go to boot camp where I work out and you either sleep or watch me. I think I inspired you to do sit ups!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rEAMT9tHts

Some mornings we get in a park visit.

Then it’s off to Tia’s where you hang out with other babies while Dad and I work.

Dad picks you up and gets you home for dinner. Dinner is a work in progress. You aren’t super into real food, so we are attempting to show you how yummy it is. Maybe by next month you’ll be a connoisseur.

Around 6:30pm Dad gives you a bottle, reads you a book and puts you to bed. You usually wake up once during the night to eat. We’ve given up trying to break that habit after a few hour long cry sessions.

Then we do it all again the next day.

This month saw your first ride in a shopping cart (thanks Grandma) and your first use of a restaurant high chair.

You celebrated your first Valentine’s Day.

And I finally put you in your first ballerina outfit (I caved).

This month you’ve become a daredevil. Those who hold you must beware of spontaneous back bends and zigzag torso moves, both of which you find hilarious. You also find Dad, Otis, Grandma (she spends every Friday with you), and I hilarious. I’m so glad that life seems to tickle your fancy! Your joy inspires me!

I love you so much!

Mom

Dear Otis- 3.5 years

Dear Otis-

Boy has a lot happened in the last 6 months! I find myself having random moments of pure joy because I cannot imagine you having a personality more perfect for our family. You are a delicious mix of silly, sensitive, and stubborn.

Your attention span has grown by leaps and bounds. You love to sit and work on a puzzle or play games with us. You recently completed a 48 piece Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle puzzle entirely on your own! Favorite games include Yahtzee (kids version), Trouble, and Silly Street. You also continue to build LEGO creations sometimes following the step by step picture instructions.

You love words and are fascinated with letters. You write your name (circle, criss cross, line with a dot, squiggle) and then say “O-T-I-S. That spells Otis.” You point out those 4 letters in books and on signs. You ask us “Is that a letter or a number?” You remember every word you hear and I’m constantly flabbergasted by your vocabulary. “I think I damaged my vehicle Mom.” “Raisins are not appropriate for dogs.”

It was crazy to watch how, over night, counting went from reciting random words to quantifying objects (one to one correspondence for the child development majors out there). It constantly fascinates me to watch your brain grow.

You are not enrolled in pre-school yet because you are still learning so much at daycare. Tio taught you how to put your shoes on by yourself. Tia taught you to chew with your mouth closed. The other day I answered a question of yours with “mm hmm,” and you said “that isn’t good manners Mom. You should say yes please.” When I asked you where you learned that, you said from Tio. Speaking of- your manners are coming along quite nicely. We do have a sticker chart going because there are always things we can get better at. Right now you are working on listening the first time, being patient, and being brave.

Because you are still at Tia’s we decided to enroll you in a big kid class to help you gain confidence and get a little out of your comfort zone. You have soccer class on Sunday mornings and it’s for kids only- no parents on the field. It took 3 classes to get you out there on your own for the full class, but now you go out there no problem and seem to love it.

You also love going to my Baby Boot Camp workouts with me. To be honest, I’m burning the calories while you are chowing down on snacks, but you do join me for lots of the running and the occasional plank or bicep curl. I love that it’s getting us outside and moving in the morning!

You’ve unleashed your artistic side recently. Your dad and I often ask “where’s the camera?” You love to act out various emotions.

You continue to be social. You definitely prefer one on one to large groups. Eli still ranks high thanks to video chat. Ruby is your best bud at daycare. Abby Abby holds a special place in your heart. Ryland, Olivia, and Allie round out your Petaluma crew. And cousin Mateo is your FaceTime buddy.

Your relationship with Lucy leaves me speechless. You “babysit” her while I shower. You make her laugh no matter her mood. And you are so incredibly proud of everything she does. You adore her and the feeling is mutual!

You like to listen to Tom Waits on the record player and read comics with your dad.

You like to snuggle and do art projects with your mom.

You get excited for grandma day on Friday. You were a very energetic Ironman for Halloween.

You were quite the elf in training at Christmas.

Cheetahs are your favorite animal. You hate being barefoot. And show and tell is a highlight of your week. You are an intriguing, inspiring, effervescent boy that I love to pieces!

Love,

Mom