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Dear Jude, {Happy 2nd Birthday Budgie!}

29 Sep

Dear Jude,

I can’t believe it has been a year since I wrote your last birthday letter. But you have changed and developed so much, maybe it seems possible. (I have a feeling most of my letters will start with this thought.) Not to mention you have a 3 month old sister now, who has already figured out you are the coolest person alive. Since your last birthday, you have begun walking, talking, running, jumping, etc. Basically, you have become the worlds most energetic person. People often ask your Daddy and I “Is he like this all the time?!”. (Yes, America…yes he is.) We wouldn’t have it any other way because life with you is so much fun! There is never a dull moment.

A favorite part of my day is hearing you wake up over your baby monitor. You have been in your big-boy-bed for several months now and trust me when I say you enjoy all the liberties it brings you. In the morning (about 7 am) we hear you rolling around. Wait, I need to first explain that you REFUSE to sleep in your actual bed. You only wish to sleep on the ground, preferably near the right window and air vent. You are a freak and we love you for that. So, we hear you mumbling to your cutie little self and making adorable stretching noises for about 30 seconds, until I suppose you realize that you are awake. Then, in the happiest, loudest, most excited little Jude voice you start yelling, “HI! HI! HI! HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!” so that Daddy will know to come and get you, change your diaper (hopefully you will be done with those by your next letter) and bring you into our bed where Ruby and I are waiting. You SLAM open the bedroom door and run to your sister, at which point you kiss her toes and face about 3-5 times (depending on the amount of sleeping you’ve had) and you make the sweetest “MUUUU-AHHHHHH!” noise. Daddy and I always “Awww!” and then try to get you to give us kisses too. Sometimes you will give kisses but most of the time you’ve already spotted a glass of water to stick your hand in or an electrical chord to try and chew on.

Your whole life is a search and destroy mission. You go from one mess to another. This drives me insane but in my defense, it even drives your sloppy Father crazy. It can be entertaining sometimes, when I’m not so worried about the mess having to be cleaned up right away. The first part of this last year was spent greatly enjoying watching you learn to walk/run. Until we figured out we would also be forced to run after you. Once you started walking, all hope of keeping you from your search and destroy mission was lost. You win.

You still love music and dancing just as much as your first year of life, if not more. We love to have dance parties, you seem to be the most into pop & rap music. I’m most likely to blame for your terrible taste. I try to imagine the future and wonder if you will play in a band like Daddy or take dance lessons like I used to do. But you are only turning 2 and that is enough heartbreak a Mother can take today.

You are obsessed with water! You love the bath, shower, pool, lake, pond, puddle, glass…anything filled with water, you’re stoked. We enjoy taking you to the Splash Park when its hot to watch you splash your crazy little hands in all the sprayers and run in circles around the other children (who are often also asking us “Is he like this all the time?” Yes. Yes, children of America.).

We have shared countless fun adventures with you over the past year! DISNEYLAND, your first pony ride at Apple Hill, admiring the animals at Folsom Zoo, spinning in the teacups at the Carnival, the birth of your cousin T2, Ruby’s baby shower, the birth of your baby sister and making music videos at Zeum  just to name a few.

You have such a vast imagination now. I love watching you play with your cars (you are OBSESSED) and see you “driving” them all over the living room, making “Vrooooooom” sounds. You tend to fixate on really strange things to play with aside cars too, such as paper, Tupperware, toothbrushes, clothing, plastic bottles, etc.

Something you don’t like so much? Eating. Unless it involves Chicken Nuggets or anything to do with sugar. For about the first 6 months you were eating “real” food, you would eat just about anything we gave you. Now? No. You are very particular. You seem to think you are the boss and have no problem making your opinion and emotions known. Which is exactly like me, so I can’t really blame you. Also similar to Dada, you like to laugh and try to make jokes when you are in trouble. It infuriates me because it is rude, but secretly I kind of like it.

When your sister was born, Daddy brought her out of the delivery room to the hallway where you were waiting to meet her with all of our family. You yelled out, “SIS!” and as he brought her closer to you, you swatted towards her. You didn’t hit her thankfully, but you seemed like you wanted to. We were so worried you would hate her and us, forever. Annnnnnd you pretty much did for a good month or so. I quickly discovered though, that it wasn’t her you didn’t like, because you love her so unconditionally… was us.  After a bit of convincing I think you realized that we still love you just as much as before Ruby was born, if not more.  You are such a loving big brother and I can’t wait to watch your relationship develop over the years. You are always trying to help me soothe or feed her your snacks (which you still don’t understand why she can’t eat chicken nuggets like you do).

Other likes include: Itsy Bitsy Spider, counting to ten with Mama, barking like a dog and meowing like a kitty, eating doughnut holes, watching Shrek & Cars, playing outside, playing at the play area at the mall, going to the park, watching the slideshows I make for you, hiding things that are important, saying “Hi!”, waving and blowing kisses, brushing your teeth, plugging your ears, jumping up and down, messing up piles of laundry, sitting uncomfortably close to the TV, banging your hands on the computer, stealing our cell phones, sneaking things off the kitchen table, swinging, making Dinosaur noises, trying to break my breastpump, Mama’s singing, stomping, rice-crispy treats, closing/opening doors, pushing any kind of buttons, things that light up, chewing on books, trying to walk from the kitchen to the bedroom with your eyes closed and running into the refrigerator, throwing your food everywhere, popcorn, balloons, tickling, Mama, Dada, playing with Ruby, etc.

Other dislikes include (but not limited to): nap time, bed time, eating, being told no, sleeping in bed, being told to do anything that isn’t your idea, anything that isn’t your idea, vacuums, silence, clean houses, grocery stores, the Doctor’s office, etc.

In two years you have learned a lot, but you have taught me so much more. Your excitement for life sparks joy in my heart every day. I can get so caught up in stupid little details, but then you come along and remind me how exciting and fun just playing with a balloon or dancing to a terrible pop song can be. Your smile makes my chest feel like its going to explode with joy. Your laughter is one of the best sounds in the world. You are so adorable I can’t help but kiss and squeeze you. I’m lucky to get to be your Mom. The love we have for you is truly indescribable. Thank you for making our lives so amazing.

Happy 2nd Birthday darling boy.




Oh, shit.

22 Jul

Someone hold me.

This morning Jude had his first appointment with his new Doctor. He recently received his new insurance coverage (longggg story) and hadn’t been to a checkup since February. So, on Monday when I called to book his appointment, I jumped at the first appointment Kaiser could offer us. The only time they could give me within the week was 9am on Friday. I  right away felt disappointed when the receptionist offered me the appointment, because I knew I would have to take both children by myself because Michael would be at work. “Maybe it wont be so bad?” I lied to myself.

So Wednesday I decided to try and take the kids out by myself to the mall (they have a play area for the kids) and see how things would go. I figured it would probably be easier taking them out the first time when I didn’t need to be anywhere at a specific time. I was right because (while it was stressful) I didn’t cry or have a panic attack, so I considered that trip a success. I started to feel a little confident about taking the kids to the appointment alone.

The kids woke up to start the day at 6:30am this morning. Michael and I forced ourselves to our feet and tried to set me up for success on this adventure. Michael fed Jude breakfast and tried to play with him while I nursed Ruby as long as I could and threw on some clothes. I felt like I was preparing for battle. Michael was quizzing me on what to put into the diaper bag and we tried to think of every possible “man down” situation that may occur.

{I should take a moment to say THANK GOD I have a helpful and loving husband. I couldn’t survive without him.}

I continued nursing Ruby until the last second we had to leave and we packed the kids into the car. I nervously kissed Michael goodbye and took some deep breaths. “I. CAN. DO. THIS.” I told myself over and over. We arrived at the Pediatricians office and I got out the stroller, I had actually figured out how to open it without injuring myself. Success. Next, I took out the kids and packed them into said stroller. Its a double “sit and stand” stroller, so Jude sits in a seat with just a lap belt. For some reason I could only get him half buckled in, even though I investigated this feature for over five minutes. I decided after awhile that I was going to be too late if I didn’t just head in to the office so I left it as is.

I walked up to the reception desk and told the woman we were checking in for Jude’s first visit. Things were going great… until Jude started squirming and begging to be out of the stroller. “Just a minute Baby” I tried to say as excited as possible. “You are doing so good sitting down with Sissy, just another minute!”  The woman behind the counter began asking me all sorts of questions and I tried really hard to focus on what she was saying (but was distracted by Jude’s loud whining, kicking and begging to get out of the stroller). She asked me for my ID and Jude’s insurance card, so I began digging through my diaper bag. At this point Ruby woke up and began crying. As I shuffled through the bag, the crying turned to screaming.

I believe this was the moment I broke out in full body sweats but I can’t say for sure. I scrambled around quickly getting out the cards to hand them over and unbuckled Ruby to take her our of her car seat to try to soothe her. A line of waiting parents with children began to form behind us. When I turned back around to the receptionist, she nervously looked at Ruby in my arms and then over at Jude. “Busy” she mumbled as she imputed information into her computer. She handed the cards back over along with a stack of paperwork to fill out (joy). I turned around to make our way out of line when I realized that Jude was no longer in the stroller. “OH MY GOD!” I gasped. I looked at the woman standing behind me in line as if to say, “Umm hello? Where’s my kid?!” and she pointed down the hallway and said dryly, “He went that way”. Hey, thanks douche, thanks for the warning. So there I go, Ruby on my left shoulder, running down the hallway shouting for Jude. I found him in the corner and grabbed his hand. He was pissed (of course) and kicked and screamed the entire walk back to the stroller. Sweating continued.

At this point the line for reception was approximately 10 parents deep, making my walk of shame seem even longer. I reached the stroller at the front of the line, I mumbled some apologies to the receptionist and tried to get out of everyone’s way. I put Ruby down in her car seat, strapped Jude back into his seat and made my way to the waiting area. Okay, you can do this, I told myself. I found a place to sit and tried to fill out the paperwork that was expected of me. Instantly upon sitting, Jude continued begging to get out of the stroller. I attempted to bribe him with some goldfish crackers and a toy airplane. This worked for 30 seconds until Ruby started screaming again. I attempted to give her a pacifier. No dice. She continued screaming and Jude began to get annoyed with her and felt the need to join in the chorus and started crying too. So, I tried rocking Ruby with my left arm, filling out the survey with my right and calm Jude down with my voice. “I know you want out Jude, but I really need you to be a big boy and sit in your stroller right now so I can do this.” I begged. “NO NO NO NO NOOOOOO!” He yelled back.

“Jude. Jude, Reese?” A nurse called out. Okay, its our turn. This will be like 5 minutes. Right?

I greeted the nurse and apologized for not having time to finish the paperwork. She told me she completely understood and welcomed us back. Oh thank god she is nice. I need nice. We were ushered into a room that my stroller was embarrassingly too big for. The nurse asked for me to get Jude undressed down to his diaper so he could get weighed. She offered to hold Ruby so I could have my hands free to get him undressed. I thanked her and handed over Ruby, who was finally calming down. I quickly removed Jude’s clothes and brought him over to the large scale in the corner. I tried to lay him down and he began to yell. “We want to see how big you are Jude! We need to see how much you have grown!” I tried to sound enthusiastic. I obviously wasn’t convincing because he just struggled harder to get off the scale. “Maybe try sitting him on it instead of laying him down?” the nurse offered gently. “Oh okay” I said as I picked him up to try and sit him on his bottom. “NO, NOOO!” Jude whimpered as if I was trying to get him to sit on a burning fire. He dug his nails into my arms, struggling to get away from the scale.

Ruby began to scream again. The nurse asked me if she was hungry. “I just nursed her like 20 minutes ago… for an hour… but she probably just wants to be on my boob” I replied. She looked at me strangely and asked me to bring Jude to the stand up scale instead. We were able to get him to stand on the scale long enough to learn he is now 27 pounds! I told him how proud I was of him and how big he is getting. He clapped for himself and said “Yaaaay!”. Ruby continued crying and I took her from the nurse with my free arm and tried to rock her while walking Jude back to the exam table with the other. He did not want to go back into our room (of course) and fought me. I somehow managed to lift him onto the table and set Ruby down in her car seat. The instant I set her down she began screaming. “Okay, lets see how long he is” the nurse said. We held Jude down as she measured him. “34.5 inches long”

Thankfully I had brought a bottle of breast milk and began rifling through the diaper bag to fish out the bottle for Ruby. “Okay the doctor will be in any minute” the nurse said tentatively and left the room. Instantly I wished she hadn’t left. Jude sat on the exam table in his diaper and I tried to hold his hand with my left hand and hold Ruby’s bottle in her mouth with my right. She calmed down and was happy to be eating again. Jude had turned around and was playing with all the medical equipment attached to the wall. “Oh no Budgie, please don’t play with those, no touching please! No, Jude…please don’t touch those…” He laughed, pulled the flashlight-ear-examiner-thingy and began banging it loudly into the wall. I tried to grab it out of his hand while keeping the bottle in Ruby’s mouth. “JUDE. STOP. NO!” I said sternly. He threw the thing-a–ma-bob into the wall. Really? I grabbed the “emergency” sucker I had packed in the diaper bag and gave it to Jude. He sat quietly. I finished filling out the paperwork. I tried to wipe the sweat off my forehead with the back of my hand.

Dr. Sara walked in. A sweet white haired woman with a big smile. I think she looks nice…and she was. We introduced ourselves and she asked me some questions about Jude’s lap in coverage and how he was doing. I felt embarrassed as Jude sat on the table at 9:30 in the morning with a sucker hanging out of his mouth.

“How is his speech? Is he saying over 20 words right now?” she asked. “Umm, I’m not sure, he seems to understand most of what we are saying, but still isn’t saying many words”. She shook her head thoughtfully and responded, “Well, does he put two words together yet?” My heart sank a little bit, “No, not really. I mean, sometimes he will say ‘No, okay’ but it doesn’t really make sense”. Dr. Sara continued shaking her head and began trying to examine Jude. Trying being the operative word, since he acted as if she was trying to hurt him. He was shaking and scared. It broke my heart. Luckily Dr. Sara was a very patient woman and took her time, tried to explain everything she was doing to Jude and spoke to him calmly. He continued acting like she was trying to murder him, so I laid Ruby back down again and held Jude’s arms down so she could complete her exam. Sweat was falling from my face onto his as he shook his head from side to side.

Finally the exam was over and the Dr said Jude looked and sounded great. “Now, if he doesn’t start to say more words or put more words together we may need to have him see a specialist just to rule out he doesn’t have any special needs or learning restrictions.” This was the final blow I could handle today. I shook my head, thanked her for her time and began trying to get Jude re-dressed. I wanted to cry but I knew I didn’t have time or energy to do so. Ruby was pissed again and I tried giving her her pacifier but she only spit it out to scream some more. Eventually Jude was dressed, the kids were buckled in and I somehow we were walking to the car. As we were walking through the parking lot, both children were silent. OH, NOW YOU WANT TO BE GOOD?!

We all got into the car. I felt like a dozen bricks were lifted off my chest now that I finally had made it into the drivers seat. I sat there a  few minutes trying to compose myself before starting to drive. I went over the appointment in my mind and tried to piece together what Dr. Sara had said. I realized at this point that Jude DID put two words together that made sense. I can’t believe I forgot to tell her that Jude knows how to say “Oh, shit!”

That really would have completed our great first impression I’m sure.

Jude: 21 Months

5 Jul

Jude is growing and changing every moment! For instance, he is such a ham…he loves to dance, play peek-a-boo and pound it. That is correct, our son “pounds it”. Not only does he love to give knuckles to Mama & Dada, but if he is proud of himself for something he has accomplished, he pounds both of his fists together to congratulate himself. One of his other newest obsessions is to close his eyes tight and walk backwards into people. He thinks this is the funniest thing on the planet. Jude’s addiction to playing with cars has become almost an exclusive pass time when we are in doors. He loves to make “vroooooom” noises and smash his cars into each other. Such a boy. I love watching him grow, change and develop his personality. He certainly has his own opinions, which he will make known at ALL times. Right now all words have pretty much taken a backseat to “NO!” which he says 24/7, even when he means yes. Some days I feel like I am 1 “NO!!!!” away from punching myself in the face. BUT I choose to mock and ignore him instead. This too shall pass. I mean honestly, I was such a pain in the ass overly opinionated child, I’m sure its karma.

Having his new little sister around has definitely been a challenge. He is much more cranky and tantrum-y since she has arrived. It is getting better every day though. Luckily, he seems to love Ruby and just hate us, which I prefer. He has been trying to be helpful with sissy here and there. The other day I was burping Ruby and he asked to sit on my lap, I let him climb up and he started patting her on the back to assist me in burping her. He gives her kisses too, which we were luck to catch on video the second time he did it. It melted my heart instantly.

Summertime Snapshots

16 Jun

Enjoying every moment of sunshine with my darling boy.

Ready to party.

Splashin’ it up with Scarlet.

Don’t let this photo fool you, he hates this hat.

Picking off all of the chocolate and ignoring the strawberry after a fun day of swimming at Nana’s house.

Relaxing after helping Dada & Mama wash the car.

Making funny faces on the swings at Royer Park.

Jude & Stella’s Wedding

12 Jun


2 Jun

Possibly the best photo ever taken.

June. Really?

1 Jun

{35 weeks, 3 days}

I’m kind of peeing my pants/having a minor panic attack seeing JUNE pop up on my calendar today. It can’t be June, because that means we are only weeks from JULY at which point we will be meeting darling Ruby for the first time. Notice how I’m not even considering the fact she could potentially come this month? Good. Which, of course I’m excited about her birth and all…(well, I’m excited when I’m not thinking, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! YOU WILL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!!”)…but I’m also extremely nervous.

Over the past week or so we have been putting all the thoughtful and generous gifts from the baby shower away, trying to get the house more organized. Jude & Ruby will be “sharing a room” but she will be co-sleeping at night in our bedroom. So, we have been organizing their closet, etc. Its been hard for me because I keep feeling these twinges of guilt about putting her things into Jude’s room. It probably sounds silly, but its just a different feeling. Even though I’ve been told over and over that your heart always has room to grow for another child, I still get these moments of guilt and fear. The last 20 months I have been 110% dedicated to Jude and I’s growing relationship. We spend all day every day together and in many ways he is my best friend. We have our routine, our inside jokes, etc.

I know deep down in my (over analyzing) heart that Ruby will bring so much more joy and happiness to us all than we ever could have imagined and for that I am truly excited. Its just hitting me a little hard in these last few weeks of “just the three of us”. The end of pregnancy hormones, sleep apnea and discomfort do not help anyone think rationally. I know I am no exception to this. And speaking of feeling like crap? I do. I finally am at a place where I can no longer say, “I’m feeling great! I don’t even feel pregnant!!”. Because I do, all of the time. I feel huge, lazy and tired. It hasn’t helped that Jude’s allergies have been acting up and we have spent a lot of time trapped in doors. Last week poor baby was miserable.

We spent a lot of time doing this:

& this:

& this

You get the idea.

But, he in finally getting a little bit better and we are hopefully going to get some fresh air in our lungs. It should do ALL of us  some good.

Fairytale Town

11 May

Today Jude & I had a fun play-date with our friends Kelly & Stella at Fairytale Town.

I remember going here as a kid and loving it!

I hadn’t been back in at least a decade and was excited to re-visit it through Jude’s eyes.

The kids had a blast! The best part was the weather was perfect. I can’t get enough.

Jude & His Baby Doll {32 Weeks}

9 May

Today I had another Doctors appointment, its hard to believe we have less than 8 weeks to go until our estimated due date! The appointment went well, heartbeat was nice and strong, Ruby is measuring great and I’ve been having tons more movement.

Ruby’s heartbeat (sorry for the talking in the background):

Later this evening we also had our hospital tour. We did one before when I was pregnant with Jude but we figured we might as well do another. I’m actually glad we did because there was a lot of things I didn’t remember. It was funny though because every single one of the things the tour guide would say, “Well _______ rarely happens” or “____ is usually a rarely an issue” was  exactly what we went through with having Jude. It kind of made me laugh. So maybe this time around she will be right and we won’t have to deal with those things (C-Section, terrible roommate, etc.)!

Thankfully Michael’s Dad and Mom (aka Papa & Lita) were able to watch Jude for us so Michael could go with me to the appointment and tour. We had some time in between so we went to Target to get a few things. We decided to buy Jude his first baby doll, as it was recommended to us by lots of people to help get him adjusted to the idea of “baby”. I was very nervous and excited to give it to him when we finally got home this evening. I was sort of expecting him to rip the baby’s head off and try and burn its body.

Instead, this happened:

(Personally, my favorite part is 1:09)

It seriously made my heart sooo happy. It stinks its so dark but I’m really happy I recorded this moment.

Happy Mother’s Day!

7 May

Happy Mother’s Day!

Photos by MK Skelton