Sunday, August 28, 2016

Gino, lately.

Our baby isn't such a baby anymore!! 

I swear to you, he changed overnight. 

He's like a total walking, talking (okay, blabbering), responsive child now. After so many months and endless hours of crying upon crying (have I mentioned he's been our crier?) and us not really knowing how to console him, his frustrations are seemingly dwindling away little by little. He nods his head yes and no when asked his opinion. He follows directions when NZ tells him to go lay on his pillow for bedtime milk. He knows where his blankets are and grabs them when he's tired and finds his favorite pillow to lay on all the while, never losing that thumb of his. 

He gives kisses. Big open mouth slobbery kisses. 

He also hits. Like, hard. We've already started reprimanding him for hitting and other unfavorable behaviors, and he really doesn't like getting in trouble for that! He has the cutest bottom lip pout I have ever seen. 

Gino loves the park and the beach. He loves our yard. Often times after he wakes, he wanders out back in our dew covered grass and plays in the kids' play kitchen for what seems like an eternity (or just long enough for me to get beds made and breakfast served). He can climb our retaining wall and knows how to get down from the second level of it, but still needs help when he gets to the very top level. And yes, it still makes me nervous watching him climb. He spends time digging up Sal's buried treasures (aka bottle caps) and playing with our fleet of Bruder trucks. 

He hates diaper changes and his high chair. He loves snacks. He loves emptying our snack cabinet onto the floor and stepping on everything that's crushable. I remember Sal going through the same phase at this age and am ever so thankful that we have cabinet locks in America.

My favorite thing about my big boy are his cuddles. While it's exhausting to parent a high needs child, I think it would be exponentially harder to parent a child who didn't want anything to do with me. He loves to climb into my lap and sit with me while we watch tv or read a book. He loves to pull on my pants until I pick him up. As soon as he is in my arms, in goes his thumb and down goes his head onto my shoulder. It's clear to me that I am his safe place. What better honor could a mama have? 

He's just making sure that no matter how old he gets, he will always be the baby. My baby. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Weekend visitors

My long time friends John & Liz and their kids drove out from Nevada a couple  weekends ago to visit us. We had only seen them a total of two or three hours since our return from China, so having a whole weekend to spend with them and catch up was really nice. 

We had a house full of kids and it was awesome. I absolutely love watching our kids develop friendships with our friends' kids. 

After Saturday morning breakfast we all headed to the beach for some sand crab catching and sand castle making. Okay, so Liz and I didn't do either- we sat on the beach and watched the guys man the troops. Lounging with her and accepting slobbery, sandy Gino kisses kept me busy. 

We had originally planned to attend Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara but margarita imposed hangovers and traffic proved those plans to be a bust. Instead we bought a sprinkler ball and some pollo asada and whipped up a fiesta of our own.

 Liz and I had made cascarones and the kids were so excited to crack them on each other's head for good luck and prosperity. 

Sunday mornings and goodbyes came much too soon. After some of John's pancakes, everyone headed home. 

Thanks for coming to our casa, Hefleys! 

Until next time...

Monday, August 1, 2016

Underwood Family Farm

As a reward for earning enough stars for good behavior, I took the kids to a local farm today. I know, this post piggybacks one in which I was just saying we don't do anything special--go ahead and say it-you know you want to-- that Brie is such a hypocrite! It's okay, I'm a big girl...I can take it. 

But really, they love this local farm, and both of my star earning kids listed a trip to underwood as the ultimate goal. I'm proud to say they've both overcome some obstacles to earn enough stars for their chart. When I announced the grand total this morning, Sal already knew they had achieved their goal. That boy of mine--he's so stinkin quick with numbers. 

We loaded up and headed out early. It gets hot the further inland we go, so we had to beat the heat. The farm has wonderful all terrain wagons for use- my circus just barely fits in one wagon anymore. Someone is going to have to walk next time. 

Each big kid got to choose and activity. Carla chose to ride the ponies (I'm not surprised) and Sal wanted to pick carrots. We did both. In fact, picking produce was a hit with all three! They picked carrots, cucumbers, squash and green beans--saving ourselves a trip to the market later. 

After some rounds to feed the animals, they spent some time in the sandbox and sharing some snacks. 

On the way home, Sal announced that when he woke up he wasn't sure if his day was going to be good. But that the farm made his day a whole lot better and maybe we should go every day when he wakes up. 

Good try, kiddo.