About 10 months ago, while going through a pile of junk mail, I came across an offer from Maui Westin Resort and Spa. When living in Seattle, Eric and I had spent three Thanksgivings in Hawaii and we loved it. Longing for a beautiful Hawaiian vacation, we decided to book a family Maui trip. “How bad could it possibly be– travelling to Hawaii with a toddler?” naively we told ourselves. Fast-forward to November 20, 2016. Not only do we have a rambunctious toddler, we also have 7 months pregnant Jane. On the way to Maui, we decided to stop over in Seattle for a couple of days to visit uncle Anson and aunt Rachel.
After what seemed like a never-ending flight, we finally made it Maui, and I tell you it was all worth it
We quickly developed a vacation routine, starting off each morning with a few hours on the beach, playing in the sand, making new friends, and splashing in the waves.
Our lunch breaks included a car ride in hopes that Noah would nap, which only happened twice the entire week we were in Maui.
This was followed by an afternoon excursion:
1. Hike to Twin Falls. There is a juice stand on the way in, which serves awesome juice and smoothies made with local pineapple, apple-bananas, and sugar cane.
2. Hike in Iao Valley National Park
3. Downtown Lahaina where we got to listen to a native drum band and see the coolest tree ever – Banyan Tree
4. New Hotel – Maui Coast Hotel in Kihei
5. Maui Ocean Center
We’d conclude the evening with a scenic dinner. Duke’s was one of our favorite spots with live entertainment, beautiful sunsets, and delicious food that the entire family could enjoy.
Eric and I were anxious for our return flight. We had a redeye flight and a four hour layover in Portland. But the flight back could not have gone any smoother. The Portland airport rocks! It has a children’s area with a playground! On both flights, Noah watched the takeoff and two minutes later was passed out snuggled up to dad all the way until landing.
What a fabulous trip! Too bad it’ll be a few years until we do something like this again. Now it’s time to nest in anticipation of baby brother.
It’s taken me awhile to get through all of our summer photos. Finally, here are the best picks.
Potty training Captain Underwear & Risky Business style
Swinging with toys
Dinner with Dinosaurs and bouncing fun
“Yummy in my tummy”
“Fire hydrant – Doggy Potty!”
Bubbles with Daddy
Monkeying around at Austin Zoo
@ Summer School
What a great summer we had! Now onto more fall adventures!
Like a typical family with a two year old, we dedicated an October weekend to pumpkins. We started off with pumpkin carving. It’s been almost a decade since Eric and I carved pumpkins together; the last time was while we were still dating. The experience was vastly different this time around. An hour long activity filled with flirting, drinking pumpkin beer and impressing each other with our artistic skills (or non-artistic in his case) was replaced with two tiny pumpkins, 15 minute prep, five minute cutout and 30 minute cleanup.
Noah and Eric shared a little Jack-O-Lantern, while I took on a more crafty challenge of an owl. The boys were done in less than 5 minutes, leaving the table to do their own things: playing with trucks and loud typing on the computer (guess who did what? ) I sat by myself with a tiny little saw for the next 15 minutes wondering what I was thinking to pick such an ambitious undertaking. Given the Texan heat, by the next morning our artwork was shriveled and moldy. Oh well.
On Sunday we went to our first Pumpkin Patch at Sweet Berry Farm. We had a blast!
While all the little girls posed nicely seated on top of pumpkins, Noah along with the rest of the boys took on the weightlifting challenge of attempting to pick up the largest possible pumpkin.
Noah’s favorite activity was the Berry Bounce, which we had to repeat 3 times!
That’s a lot of waiting around…
We also fed goats, pet the horses and learned about scarecrows.
There were plenty of things to ride: tractors, a hay trailer, and a barrel train.
We saved the best for last: Homemade pumpkin ice cream! What a great day at the farm!
It’s a boy! Baby Brother is growing well and is even more wiggly than Noah was. At our appointment this week, the ultrasound technician struggled to capture him still in one position for more than a second to get all the measurements. Just like his older brother, he is ahead of his growth already by 4 days, with a huge head!!! Eric and I surely make brainy babies!
Noah can’t wait for his baby brother to arrive: “Baby Brother come now!” he keeps saying to us. He’s completely switched over to his big boy bed giving up the toddler bed as he now calls it “Baby’s crib. Baby sleep there.” And he wants to “Read baby books and share toys with Baby Brother.” It just melts my heart!
We are excited and relieved to be having another boy. Yes, my home will be double the loud chaos it is today. I will be tripping over cars, blocks, balls, trucks, dinosaurs, etc. twice as often. And yes, the two of them will continue to destroy the house at a faster rate, with their priceless wall artwork, explorations of gravity (throwing toys off the staircase), animal love (chasing poor Domino around), and Olympic training of running, jumping, climbing, somersaulting, and wrestling. But at the end of the day, they will play together. They will learn from one another. They will support, encourage, challenge, help each other. They will be best friends, who will fight and disagree at times, but they will love and protect each. And they will share the strongest bond as only brothers do!
Noah is 2! He is 36 1/4 inches tall and 30.6lbs, which puts him in the 96th percentile for his height and the 80th percentile for his weight. Projecting his current measurements forward, he is estimated to be between 6-6’’4 when he grows up. (Mama will need a step stool to give her boy kisses.)
We celebrated Noah’s birthday at home with his grandparents who travelled all the way from Maryland to share the special occasion and shower their grandson with gifts.
Noah really enjoyed unwrapping all the new gifts and running around in his new bouncy castle.
My carrot cake was a big hit this year. Noah liked it so much that he kept asking for “cake” after it was all gone.
We’ve hit some major development milestones over the last few months. It all started right before our trip to Galveston Island mid-May. When Noah was first born, I was extremely focused on developing good sleeping habits: having a consistent bedtime/nap routine, always napping in his crib, no rocking, holding or nursing to sleep, allowing Noah to fall asleep on his own, teaching Noah to self-soothe, waiting a few minutes before rushing into his room if he wakes up crying in the middle of the night. That was all great for about a year and half… Until Noah randomly decided he no longer wanted to take naps and would scream/cry his poor little heart out until I’d pick him up from the crib and let him go on playing. Our days became super long and poor dad would come from work to dinner with two whiny cranks.
A week later we headed to Galveston, TX for a little getaway. By golly, Noah fell asleep in the car for about an hour, first nap in a week! We had an awesome time at Galveston, playing in the sand, jumping in waves, swimming, and exploring.
Our days were filled with fun beach activities and by afternoon the soothing ocean sounds, warm sunlight and all the vacation excitement would put the boy to sleep.
Ah, but by nighttime, Noah had figured out how to crawl out of the hotel’s crib and so we were bunking all together in the king bed. Once we got home, Noah, accustomed to sleeping with parents and equipped with his new crib-climbing technique, refused to stay in his crib. We had no choice but to convert Noah’s crib to a toddler bed and sit with him until he’d fall asleep (20-45min per night). We still sit with Noah at bedtime, although lately he’s been exercising his independence by insisting upon sleeping on the floor. We are also teaching Noah to stay in his room until morning by using stars and reward chart. Naps usually start out in the car, and continue on in our bed, lasting max 1.5hrs. I knew that sleep would be rough with a baby, but I was not expecting this regression a couple of years later. The most fascinating thing about this has been the reactions from other moms who have not yet encountered bedtime rebellion. They tend to look at me in horror, pulling their kids away as if we might be contagious.
Other big changes include Noah’s diet preferences. He’s given up a lot of the healthy foods he used to love like avocados, bananas, lentils, oatmeal, and instead prefers typical 2 year-old junk like animal crackers, pretzels, raisins and dried cranberries, and sweet potato fries. Even getting him to eat pancakes is a compromise of covering them with “Moon” (whipped cream).
Noah is talking a lot! Once he started responding with “yes” and “no”, the conversation just flowed. Now he is picking up words so fast I can’t even keep up with everything he is saying. He takes me by complete surprise by busting out with 3-4 word sentences. “Noah Daddy’s Car” “Daddy back home” “Daddy sit eat” “Big green truck” “Noah watch (Curious) George”. He speaks in third person, must be Elmo’s influence. He knows all his colors and can count to twelve (skipping eleven for some reason).
As Noah enters his second toddler year, his personality continues to shine. He is extremely energetic, active, playful, imaginative, curious, observant, attentive, smart, interactive, a great listener and sharer, empathetic, cheerful, and often really goofy which delights everyone around him! His teachers marvel at his sweet nature, and every day Eric and I can’t help but wonder how we got so lucky to have such an awesome kid!
Noah is 21 months! It’s hard to get a good weight measurements these days, as just like with his mom, Noah’s weight tends to fluctuate significantly during the day depending on his food intake. He is approximately 29lbs.
He’s definitely grown over the last month. He was able to clear the 36 inch mark at the Austin Rodeo (something his parents were not ready for), which meant Noah was able to ride solo at the fair.
He started off nice and easy with a train ride, but you can tell by his facial expression in the picture below it was not thrilling enough.
So he quickly made his way to a faster and more exciting car ride (and of course, he picked a flying car which made mom shriek
the first time every time it went up).
He quickly got the hang of cruising high in the sky, resting his arm on the car seat and waiving to mom as he spun around. After four turns, we were able to pull him away while negotiating to return soon.
The kid loves anything with a steering wheel – “Vroom! Vroom! Vroom!”
He also loves balls
and balloons. He often charms sales clerks for a free balloon whenever we go shopping.
He is big into accessories, shoes and socks (and often borrows stuff from mom without asking!)
Over the last two months, Noah’s vocabulary has quadrupled. He went from saying somewhere around 7-10 words to learning one-two words per day – apple, shoes, socks, bag, bottle, heart, bridge, park, hat, boots, truck, duck, bath, eggs, rock, roof, door, bug, plane, leaves, walk, etc. I can no longer keep track of all the words he knows. Some he says really clear and some are partial as he is learning to make different sounds. Noah is also starting to copy and mimic his parents. (Eric and I have to watch what we say and do!)
Typing and sighing just like dad.
Shopping and yoga-ing just like mom.
We made it through the Texas winter (with lows of 26 degrees this year..brrr!), skipped spring, and are now headed straight into summer weather.
After all the fun play at the park, even our ball of energy needs to take a little rest on the bench. If he is lucky some cute girl might join him (and so it starts…sigh).
Noah still favors a swing, but he enjoys slide rides and monkeying around the tree house.
Noah is big into dancing. Whether it’s with Gymbo at Gymboree, with the music table at home or the bouncy pole at the park, the boy likes to shuffle, bounce, sway and twist (that’s 3 more dance moves than his papa!)
Just recently Noah figured out what the shovels are for (they are not just to carry and pass around). Digging rocks is a lot of fun!
Noah is still big time into books (he says it so well now– “Book!”), but he is also starting to enjoy cartoons (Daniel the Tiger is his favorite, and tolerable for his parents). Every morning after breakfast we lounge around on the couch and watch an episode. Noah is too active to sit for more than 15 minutes in front of the TV (a blessing and a curse), but he still likes glancing over at the TV as he runs around the living area rearranging coasters and magazines and climbing over sofa and chairs. Some days he is pretty chill and happy, and some days he tries to figure out his boundaries and practice manipulation techniques with his fake cry, but as I remind Eric daily, most of his asks are not unreasonable so I am happy to indulge as Noah continues to explore his surroundings, learn new skills and develop independence.