Friday, November 30, 2012

A Letter to My Boys

Oh, how I love you, kid. I know I say it every month, but you're just getting SO big. Every time I look at you, you seem taller, and every time you speak I hear new words or phrases I didn't know you knew, or that you hadn't been able to say properly before. You're braver, smarter, funnier and more independent every day.

You seem so grown up to me now that I sometimes forget about your sensitive nature. We started Elf on the Shelf this year (Spoiler: Mommy & Daddy move the elf every night), and the first night, "Fred Tootie Elfvans" (as you've named him) tore up a couple of your kleenexes and sat in the kleenex box in your room.  Your face dropped when you saw him and you said, "Why would he do that? Why is he mean to me?" It didn't even occur to me that you would have thought it was unkind instead of ornery, but I should have known.  It's a good lesson for me to constantly be aware to be sensitive with your sensitivity. You're more like your daddy that way and I need to remember that.
You stayed the night at Nana & Grandpa's house for the first time this month on a whim. We'd been over for a dinner and you were having fun and didn't want to leave. You asked if you could stay and they were more than happy to oblige. You had a good time, but woke up pretty early "missing Mommy." I think some snuggles from Grandpa made it all better.

We put the Christmas decorations up right after Thanksgiving and you're so excited already with the tree, and decorations, and the lights that I can't wait to spend the rest of this season with you. You studied every ornament as we put it up and wanted to help with everything. It makes Christmas that much more magical--thank you for that.

I love you more,

This has been a busy month for you, kiddo! I should have known as soon as I posted that last letter about you almost crawling, you'd be off at lightning speed. It wasn't two days later that you discovered how to move those chunky legs forward instead of backward, and since then, it's been a blur.  As soon as you could crawl toward our ottoman you started pulling up, and as soon as you got steady pulling up, you started cruising. I keep telling you to slow down, but all I get in response is an adorable two-toothed grin before you tear off in the direction of some dangerous object. (P.S. Mommy forgot how utterly terrifying this age is. Stop trying to kill yourself!)
You are in to everything now. Everything! If there's anything you shouldn't have laying on the floor or otherwise within your reach, that's the first object you power toward, glancing in our direction to see if we're watching. And if we are, you move that much faster. I think we may be in for some orneriness with you, sir.

And now that you can move freely on your own, you also LOUDLY let us know how much you hate it when we stop you from gouging your eyes out with one of your brother's pointy toys, or choking yourself on a small bouncy ball. As soon as we take the coveted possession away, you throw a little tantrum worthy of a toddler. Sorry kid, but we love you too much to let you harm yourself. We're trying to get better about making sure Gavin picks up his smaller toys, but it's near impossible. Fortunately, your generally happy nature helps you get over it quickly and you're still easily distracted by something else new and shiny.

You're also moving at lightning speed in the food department, too.  You're eating two meals a day now--oatmeal in the morning and fruits/veggies in the evening. We haven't found anything you don't like yet. Your list of foods now includes: carrots, apples, cauliflower, parsnips, avocado, pears, green beans, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and banana.
"Yay for food! I gotta keep up these chubs somehow."
This month, you also went on your very first plane ride. Multiple plane rides, actually. Two on the way to Texas to visit your Great-Grandma Green and two on the way back. You were a traveling pro, and elicited multiple comments from strangers about what a good air traveler you were. I've been telling everyone that since you went to Russia in utero last year, it must have set you up to be an excellent traveler. We need to take more advantage of it while you're still free to fly!
Looking out the window with Grandpa Green on our way home.
Last night, we finally moved you into your own room. After leaky window and stucco replacement, re-doing insulation, drywall and carpet, (and maybe a bit of the Momma's-not-ready type of anxiety), your room was finally done and we were all ready for the move. You did great, and I'm hoping we'll all get some better sleep now.

Slow down a little next month, okay?

I love you more,

Watch Bennett Grow--Eight Months Old

Unofficial Stats:
Weight:  21.5 lbs.
Height (guess): 27.5 inches

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November Gavinisms

On election day:
Me: "Who should I vote for today?"
Gavin: "Ice cream!"

After a particularly ornery moment:
Me: "You little turkey!"
Gavin: "I'm not a turkey. I don't have a beard!"

After reading a Carl story one night:
Gavin: "Dogs shouldn't go to parties. They'll eat up all the cake!"

When having trouble following directions:
Me: "Gavin, I asked you to clean up your toys.  You need to listen and obey."
Gavin: "Obey is a dangerous word."

Noticing Bennett chewing on a piece of paper:
Gavin, with his most serious tone: "Bennett, no."
Bennett: {giggling}
Gavin, to me: "Mommy, he's laughing at me."
Me: "Ya...that happens sometimes."

After learning about pilgrims and native americans (Indians) at school:
Me: "What songs did you sing at school at school today?"
Gavin, in his best singing voice: "All my idiot friends...hi ya, hi ya, hiiiiii."
Me: "Mmm...hmmm. And what else did you do today?"
Gavin: "I made a idiot vest and a idiot headband."

Thursday, November 22, 2012


For this list, and so much more...I am incredibly thankful:

colorfully crisp fall mornings

hushed giggles at bedtime

tangible faith

not-so-tangible faith

love notes on a paper lunch bag

preschooler anecdotes

the right to vote


the warm, wet snuggle of a baby boy wrapped in a froggy towel
Christmas music

grown men walking around work with giant stuffed animals

an unprovoked, "I love you, Momma."

love wins. period.

baby giggles

friends who know exactly how I feel

the occasional spiritual ass-kicking

baby thighs

cheesy smiles
cards in the mail

coming home after a few days away

old family stories I've heard a thousand times


palm trees in November

forever, no-matter-what love

my boys' baby blues


Starbucks' Chai Lattes

my handsome hubbalicious

big family gatherings

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Last week, I got to introduce Bennett to his Great-Grandma Green.
My Grandma and Grandpa Green moved to Texas when I was in junior high, and they came back to Kansas City frequently, so I never visited them in their Texas home. When my Grandpa passed away almost three years ago, I remember wishing I would have visited earlier to see them together, in the place they called home for so many years. Silly things kept me from visiting--school and sports commitments when I was younger morphed into work and money excuses as I got older. Before I knew it, I'd started my own family and traveling seemed like more work than it was worth.

But when my dad mentioned he planned to make the trip this fall, I decided to ignore all those excuses and crash his visit...with baby in tow.

I am so glad I did.

It was a fantastic long weekend, full of old memories, popsicles and leisurely walks. It forced me to slow down for a few days and remember that the little things matter. I got to take a nap, and reminisce about eating caramel popcorn and learning to sew as a kid. I got to see how much it meant to my Grandma, and my Dad, that I'd given Bennett the middle name "Green." I got to feel my Grandpa's presence everywhere, and say goodbye to him in a way I hadn't yet done.

I also got a four-generation picture with my baby, who's named after this side of his family.
Four Generations of Greens
My only regret is that Gavin couldn't be there, too. I guess a four-generation picture with both of my boys will have to wait until the next visit. Until then, the individuals will do just fine.
Four generations picture when my Grandma last visited in the Summer of 2010, a few months after Gavin turned one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fall Fun--A (Mostly) Picture Post

How is it that fall is full of so many adorable photo ops? I mean, really. It's almost not fair to the rest of the year. And guess what, boys? I'll make you take every one of them. Every. Single. Year. You'll thank me later.
My two pumpkins in the pumpkins.
Hmmm...what is this orange thing?
Maybe it's because I'm just too comfortable being around boys ALL THE TIME now,
but I failed to notice how incredibly phallic this gourd was until I uploaded these pics.
This was the first year he could dig all by himself!
The annual Faulkner's face-in-the-pumpkins photo, now with one new member.
I'm not quite sure where this kid gets his goofy.
What's cuter than a baby surrounded by pumpkins?
Family photo at the Clifford fall farm party.
Bundled up tight with Momma.
One of the three pumpkins he chose that evening.
How cute are my guys?!
Pumpkin carving with Daddy at Grandma Jan's house.
Because every kid needs a photo in a pumpkin.
I still can't believe we found one big enough for him!
These boys--they are too cute.
Finished pumpkins!
My little fire chief and bulldog, ready for trick-or-treating.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

To My Children on Election Day

One day, in the distant future, you will turn 18 and your Mother will insist that you register to vote. You maybe won't realize how important it is, or that your one vote can make a difference. You may not even care.

Go register anyway.

One day after that, it will be voting day and you might think it's easier to listen to a celebrity, or the media, or your friends, or even your parents instead of doing some research and deciding for yourself who or what to vote for.

Do the research anyway.

One day during a distant election season, you'll disagree with a friend, or co-worker, or family member about some candidate or issue and you might think you shouldn't stand up for your opinion and/or your right to have a differing opinion.

Stand up for yourself and your opinions anyway.

Another voting day, you might think the line is too long, or the issues don't matter that much to you, or you're just choosing the lesser of two evils, or that no one person can change anything in the government...and you might even consider not voting.


Because this is America. This is a democracy. This is a right we have that so many others in the world do not. Exercise that right.

Not because your Mother told you to...but because you can.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Letter to My Boys

Kid, I think you will constantly perplex me and amaze me. I just need to prepare myself now for the ongoing years of this feeling. I keep noticing you can do things by yourself now that seemed so daunting to you even six months ago. They're little things, like swapping out the battery between your play drill and flashlight set, or counting backwards, or pronouncing all your letters correctly. They're so subtle that we barely notice, but I know it's those things that add up to the big kid you become more and more every day.

You have an innate kindness that emerges more every day, too, both at school and at home.  Your teachers this year have all made comments about how "sweet-natured," "happy" and "kind" you are to your friends, and I've lost count of the times you've put your brother before yourself at home. Every time you hand over your "lovie" when Bennett is crying, or volunteer to get him a toy when we're at the dinner table, it makes my heart swell with love and pride for you because I know how rare it is to be selfless at your age.

Now, as much as I love getting all mushy over you, my journalistic side needs to offer up the other side of the "sweet" coin as well. It also means you're sensitive. You get your feelings hurt easily when friends at school say they don't want to play with you, or when they push or throw rocks on the playground. The Momma Bear in me wants to smack them silly and tell their parents to stop raising little assholes, but the rational side of my brain knows it's something you're going to have to learn to deal with on your own. The world if full of assholes, buddy. Where your Momma gets hot-headed with them, I hope your sensitivity will help you see the good in them. Side-note: I cuss too much. Don't take after me there, either. :)

Lately, we've been watching a new show on PBS called Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. It's a spin-off of Mister Rogers Neighborhood that I used to watch as a kid, and I'm loving the themes, songs and characters I remember so well showing up in your vocabulary. It's been helpful, too, because you're applying what you're learning to your life. After watching an episode about patience the other day, I've heard you saying "it's hard to wait" instead of melting down when immediate gratification isn't an option.

This month, you got to go on a field trip to the pumpkin patch and Daddy got to go with you. You were beyond excited about it, and talked about it for days afterward.
In other news, I don't think it's possible for you to be more adorable. Case and point:
I love you more, kiddo.

Your first month at daycare started out a little rough, but it didn't take long for you to adapt and your teachers now comment often on how "happy" you are. That, in turn, makes me happy. Thanks for that. You still haven't quite gotten the hang of sleeping at daycare yet though, which means you're only getting two, sometimes three 30-minute naps a day, which also means you're going to bed super early most weeknights. I'm missing that little bit of extra time with you in the evening, and I'm hoping you'll find a better rhythm soon.
Half asleep during dinner.
This whole month has been a month of "firsts."  You tried oatmeal for the first time, and quickly moved on to carrots, cauliflower and avocado. So far, you've liked it all. I think you're just so happy to finally be having solid food that you're gobbling down whatever I feed you. We're just trying to be more cautious with what we give you and when we give it to you to try and avoid food allergies. Because your brother's allergic to peanuts, apparently you're much more likely to have a food allergy.
You also got your first tooth this month and I believe number two and three will swiftly follow. We're going through teething tablets like candy. Poor thing. I hate seeing you all fussy because your gums hurt.

You're also this close to crawling. You move all over a room backwards, and turn circles to go the other way, but you're not quite moving forward yet so I'm not counting it as official crawling. You also do this hilarious downward-facing-dog-yoga-like move to try and propel yourself forward. It won't be long until the "official" crawling happens, followed quickly by pulling up, which you're already doing with assistance. You can also easily move from a crawling position back into a sitting position. Basically, you're a motor skill wizard, kiddo.

I can't wait to see what you've got in store for us next month, little man.

I love you more,