Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Even though through the majority of this year we've been focusing on saving for our adoption, we did want to make a family vacation a priority for us.  So how do we get the best vacation experience on a dime?  We go visit family, of course!  This year, we had a whirlwind week visiting two of my aunts and our best friends.  It always felt like we didn't have enough time in any place, but the time we did have was so much fun.  It was just what we needed!

First stop was South Bend, to visit my Aunt Nanny and Uncle John.  Our first stop was the zoo.  It was a beautiful day!

We also toured a chocolate factory, which I thought would be a highlight of the trip.  However, our boy was tired, and not at all interested in following instructions, so it ended up being kind of a flop.  Not to mention the chocolate factory we toured doesn't even make its own chocolate.  (Spoiler alert - it's shipped in from Chicago.)  Needless to say, we were very thankful we opted for the free tour.

We stopped at some playgrounds, took some walks around the neighborhood, and played with cool toys only an art teacher would have.  Mostly, we just chilled out and visited.  And at ice cream.  Lots of ice cream.  John even took us on a driving tour of the Notre Dame campus, which was so cool, especially to Byron.  It was an impromptu tour, and it was around sunset, so by the time we got to the cool buildings, it was pretty dark so I don't have many pictures.  Here's the one that I captured of the candle Byron lit in the grotto.

The next stop was to Troy to visit my other Aunt and her family.  The next few days were full of swimming in the pool, jumping on the trampoline, visiting parks, cooking fresh vegetables, and plenty of relaxing time.

The last night of the trip was spent visiting our best friends.  Ice cream, toys, and good conversation filled the few hours we had together.  The most hilarious thing happened though.  At our house, we don't really have any costumes for Mason to dress up in.  However, in the short time we were visiting, Mason LIVED in their Spiderman costume.  It actually caused several meltdowns when it wasn't his turn to wear it.  Who knew?  Guess somebody better get this kid a Spidey costume of his own.

We wish our vacation was much longer, of course, but in reality we cut it short a day and headed home early.  It was so nice to have a day to catch up on laundry, get groceries, and do any other last minute home things before rushing into another week back at work.  The memories made on this vacation (even the ones involving meltdowns) were great, and it just makes us eager to plan the next one.  Right now we're hoping to explore South Dakota next year, but you never know where the wind will take us by the time vacation is here again!

Sunday, August 24, 2014


My baby is three.
He crossed into three year old territory about a month ago, and I've been wanting to reflect on what that means - for us and for him.

For us so far, three has been greeted with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  Mason is hilarious.  He says funny things and he does funny things, and I love to watch him learn new things and make new connections in his mind.  But three also comes with his need to be uncooperative (control?), not listen, and even hit, kick, etc., just to get a reaction.  And that part of parenting has me feeling like I've got an overwhelming task ahead of me to train this wild and free little person into the kind, sweet person I know he can be.  (Side note, tips are appreciated.)

But without dwelling on the hard part of things, which I remind myself is only a part of things, here are some of the things about Mason I don't want to forget.
1.  He uses the potty successfully, but he almost always insists on stripping down completely in order to use it.  I think he just likes to get completely comfortable?

2.  He loves animals (usually ammimals).  More specifically, tiny animal figurines.  He has quite a few by now, and often will want to carry them in his toolbox to the park, where, recently one of his tigers decided to hibernate for good.  It always amazes me how he can look at a pile of those little guys (which are scattered throughout our house) and say to me, "Mama, I'm missing a giraffe."  How he maintains his mental inventory, I'll never know.

3.  He believes that imagined situations could be real.  We have a book where a bad guy steals a piggy from a little boy and leads him on a wild chase to get it back, which includes running through a chocolate factory.  At one point they fall into the chocolate as well as the freezer, and (this is a prequel to our vacation recap I'll write) when we decided to go on a tour of a chocolate factory he was very concerned with falling into the chocolate and the freezer.  Good thing Mama can protect him!  (This also works to my advantage, as I may have told him if he doesn't go to sleep he will turn into a Beast.  Nap time and bed time has gone easier ever since.)

4.  He picks up on our words and phrases.  Over the Fourth of July, we were watching fireworks and at one point Mason said, "Oh, that scared me half to death!"  Ha!  At first I thought he picked that up from me, but having heard Byron say it several times in the past few weeks, I think it actually came from him.
5.  Mason's best friend is STILL his papa.

6.  He can't pronounce all sounds.  K and G and combos with R stick out to me the most.  And even the letters he can say, he sometimes substitutes.  He says tat instead of cat.  Lately he even says things like twease instead of please.  He can even say the P sound, so this leads me to make him say "Puh, Puh, Please."  He always replies with "Puh, Puh, Twease..."

7.  He still has the biggest feet.  They are bricks (cute bricks).  He may never learn to put his own shoes on because putting on shoes for him is literally like stuffing sausages into casing.

8.  He is legitimately fearful that his monkeys (from Barrel O Monkeys) that he plays with in the bathtub might get sucked down the drain.  Maybe our attempts to get him to pick up his bath toys were a little strong?

9.  He is the cutest little guy I know.
I am his number one fan, and I always will be.  He has changed our lives, and though it is hard sometimes, it is always worth it.  We love that little guy with all our hearts and can't wait for what the years ahead hold for us!