Saturday, April 25, 2015

Maui 2015

When we got home from Maui two years ago, I would have never believed you if you said we'd be returning just two years later. I thought that was our once-in-a-lifetime trip to Hawaii! Around January of this year, Kyle and I started brainstorming somewhere local that we could take a weekend trip (a babymoon, if you will) without Drew and just spend some quality time together. We've been saving our Christmas gift money from the past few years, so we had a nice chunk of change we'd set aside for something like this. When Kyle's parents surprised us by offering some of their air miles for a flight, we knew exactly where we wanted to go! We thought briefly about trying somewhere new, but the allure of the Pioneer Inn, Front Street, and Kahekili Beach Park was too much to pass up!

I cannot begin to explain how hard it was to leave Drew, especially for me. Kyle leaves him every morning when he goes to work, but I don't habitually spend entire days - let alone five in a row - away from him. And by a fluke of horribleness, Drew came down with a nasty virus in the days leading up to us leaving. What kind of mom leaves her sick child to jet off to Hawaii? I was so torn. I ugly-cried several times leading up to the trip, a few times the day we left, and even the first morning on vacation. Turns out, he was totally fine and having a blast without us. His sickness ran it's course while we were gone, and he was a happy and healthy little boy by the time we got home. We were so, so, so proud of him for being a trooper while we were gone. It's never been so easy to leave paradise and come home. After five days away from Drew, we were both so ready to come home. We had our vacation and it was wonderful, and we were just plain ready to be back home together as a family!

As for the vacation itself, it was exactly what we hoped it would be. Most mornings I woke up around 6am; I never really adjusted to the time change and I was having trouble sleeping (pregnancy problems), so waking up at 6am on vacation is not as crazy as it sounds. I would sneak out onto our balcony to ready my Bible and wait for the sun to pop over the inland mountains. I can't fully describe how nice it was to read my Bible in peace and quiet, with no threat of interruption. I was so encouraged that I can, in fact, still carry a train of thought and piece big ideas together. Any mom of young children will tell you this is a challenge at home, even with a child that sleeps're just "always on" as a mom at home. Kyle would wake up around 7am, and we'd head downstairs to the open air restaurant for breakfast. There was usually a good amount of activity at the pier in the morning (mostly fisherman coming in from early morning fishing), and it was just fun to people watch as the town woke up and came to life each day. Plus: fresh pineapple juice!

After breakfast we'd slowly make our way to the beach. Kahekili Beach Park is our favorite because there is ample parking and ample shade. We would spend the mornings reading in the shade, snorkeling (I finally saw a turtle!), and chatting. By early afternoon we'd head back to town for some shaved ice, naps, and showers. By early evening we would walk up and down Front Street window shopping and then find some place to eat. There are so many great restaurants along Front Street - it was hard to choose! After dinner we'd watch the sunset, and then retreat back to our room to people watch or read on the balcony, or just watch some TV.

If it sounds pretty was! And it was perfect, just what we wanted. The smells, sounds, sights...nothing had changed. We even recognized our favorite breakfast waiter from two years ago. I love small towns like that, where not a lot changes from year to year. It's just so quaint.

This trip did wonders for our marriage. We weren't in a bad place at all, but it was really refreshing to spend several days in a row just being together. At home we spend most of our time as teammates, making the day-to-day run smoothly. On vacation, we got to just be friends...the original bride and groom, before kid(s). Much thanks to due to those that helped us watch Drew (my parents, Kyle's parents, and my sister), and to Jesus for making the provision for this trip. We certainly didn't deserve it, felt a little guilty planning it, and enjoyed it immensely for what it was: a total gift.

First stop after we unpacked was dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise.
This is the view from our table!

Courtyard at the Pioneer Inn (just past the chairs is a pool)

View from the pier from our table at breakfast

View from the pier looking at the restaurant underneath the Pioneer Inn

Fresh pineapple juice!!

The only way to properly eat a plate sized macadamia nut pancake
is to make a hole in the middle for all the syrup!

Approaching Front Street from the Pioneer Inn

Kahekili Beach

My love!

My view!

Our little shady spot

2015 - pregnant with Mary
2013 - pregnant with Drew

Eating shaved ice in the park outside the Pioneer Inn

Looking at Front Street from the park
Shops beneath the Pioneer Inn on Front Street

View from dinner

My favorite friend :)

On one of the nights, Kyle took me on a sunset dinner cruise

Waiting underneath the Banyan Tree for the cruise to board

View of the Pioneer Inn from the dinner cruise ship

View of Front Street from the water

Morning quiet time on the balcony

Watching the sun come out

View of Banyan Tree Park from our balcony - people were setting up
for the weekend arts + craft show in the park

Checking out the goods at the arts + crafts show
View from Happy Hour at Kimo's

Walking home along Front Street

Waiting for the sunset

Final meal before we headed to the airport: lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Drew: 21 months

Drew loves: helicopters, trains, boats, cars, puppies, and kitties. For the most part, he's a very agreeable little boy and seems to like whatever it is I have planned for the day. Some favorite activities of his: watching "goo-goo" (Thomas the Train) after breakfast in the morning, playing with his train table, playing with his cars, baths, and going "ide" (outside). 

Drew hates: like a true toddler, his "hates" go in phases. Last month it was food. The month before that it was diaper changes. Who knows what it will be this month. We're learning to take his aversions in strides and not think too much of them. The food one really threw us off (I pureed my own baby food so my toddler should be a perfect eater...right?!). One thing that helped was switching to serving him dinner separately before adult dinner (instead of with adult dinner). He seemed to be getting overwhelmed at the dinner table (probably because it's near the end of the day and he's just about had it with his emotions...and I'm right there with him!). After doing that for a few weeks, the dinner tantrums stopped and he's (mostly) resumed eating dinner with us. 

Milestones: He is adding a few new words to his vocab by the week, and it's really fun to watch him make connections with language. He probably knows 3 dozen words at this point (that I can understand anyway), and he uses them all frequently. Non-stop. Running dialog. He's also just started piecing two words together, like "momma car", or "hi daddy". He's also still using a lot of the sign language we've taught him, and I like being able to have a conversation with him from across a room without exchanging any spoken words (really helpful when I need him to stop or not do something and we're somewhere noisy like a play gym!).

He's still pretty obedient with following commands, which I treat as a milestone because it demonstrates his willingness to obey those in authority over him (for now, anyway). The emotional outbursts are about the same, and we are still handling them the same. I give him his space to get it all out, and wait calmly for him to finish. Once he's done, it seems like a little switch goes off and he'll usually come running over for a appears that maybe his emotions scared him, or he suddenly became aware of his disobedience. Either way, I relish the hugs! For whatever reason, he has not yet entered the phase where he thinks it's funny to keep doing something once we've said no. Or maybe he's skipped that phase all together...please, Jesus?

I'm probably the most excited to share that he is finally doing Room Time successfully! This is something I tried to implement from birth, but we got off track at the condo (there was not a good space for it), and then we moved, yada, yada, yada...Drew didn't necessarily have trouble playing alone, but he did have a huge problem if I tried to tell him when to play alone. I tried implementing Room Time when he was 12 months old, and it was a fail. I tried again at 15 months, still no go. Finally I tried again just after 18 months, but this time I limited it to his crib. Bingo! Every morning after Kyle leaves, Drew goes up to his room and waits to get back into his crib. I put a box in his crib of a few toys (one interactive toy, a few books, and a stuffed animal...all of which stay in his closet other than crib time), turn on the iPod, set a portable timer, plop him in his crib, and close the door half way. So far we're up to 30 minutes. The first two days, he cried the whole time. By the third day, he figured out he liked crib time and we haven't really looked back. My goal is to work him up to 45 minutes, and then perhaps implement a shorter additional crib time in the afternoon. At some point he'll transition to actual playing in his open room for Room Time, but not right now. Something about the crib is less overwhelming to him than the entire room, and it works for me!

Our weeks are still very routine. I've adjusted the balance of his days to include more at home time as he seems to really like fiddling around with toys in his room right now. I'm nannying the first 2 days of the week right now (one day outside our home and one day inside our home), so by Wednesdays he's really ready to have playtime in his room without having to share his toys. When we're at home, I break our morning into predictable chunks: room time in his crib, art/activity time (as he gets older I plan to transition this into a teaching time where I work on the basics with him as he approaches school age), free play (outside if we can!), lunch, books, nap, and then afternoon outing either to the gym (they have a great kids club at our gym) or grocery shopping. I'm starting to plan ahead of the months when baby Mary's napping needs dictate that we are home most of the day. I've got a game plan for getting the back deck ready for summer play, the garage better suited for rainy day play, and freshening up his toy rotation for inside play (I don't keep all of his toys out at once, he only has access to about 25% of his toys at any given time).

Some pics of the last 3 months:

The jaguar is Drew's favorite exhibit at the zoo. He likes to visit the "kitty" :-) 
Taking a neighborhood morning walk
He's very into "helping" me unload the groceries
Family Starbucks date
Visiting the "indoor gym" (aka Petco)
Classic cry face
Enjoying a family dinner with his cousins and 2nd cousins - fun group of kids!
Zoo for my birthday!

Art time with mom - we work on colors, matching, and dexterity (via stickers)
This boy loves puzzles and he's really good at them!
First big boy hair cut
After church service, Drew likes to help clean up the pews by picking up all
the stray garbage. I know it doesn't mean much at this age, but I'd like to think he's
got a heart for service.
Watching penguins at the zoo

Helping papa mow the lawn :-)

Surprise visit from his girlfriend Neva! (she lives in Idaho)

Breakfast date with dad
Working on "same" vs. "different"

Drew working the camera! 
Organizing trucks

Fish (and bubbles!) before library story and song time
Papa Peter takes all the grand kids to the candy story on Sundays.
One day Drew will actually be able to eat the goods!

Cousins on Easter
Checking out the garden worms
Easter basket fun!
Family picture before Easter service
Drew and his buddy Connor being perfectly behaved little boys in church! 
Sharing his egg hunt candy with mom :-)