Three and a half snuck up on me, in that I've been rounding up to 3.5 anytime anyone asked me how old Emmet was (usually when asking about both, which for some reason I've been asked a lot lately?). So when the time came that he actually turned 3.5 I was caught pretty off-guard. Kind of an, oh yeah! It's your half birthday you, you weren't 3.5 this entire time!
At some point I will stop doing a full photoshoot every 6 months, but I haven't decided exactly when that will be. Perhaps when they aren't changing drastically every 6 months, and rather every year. But will that ever happen? Probably not. So for now, my tradition sticks. Every 6 months, on their half-birthday and on their real birthday, we sit down, I take a few pictures of them and we giggle and play. And then I sit down and think of every little thing that I can think of that makes them "them" at their current age. It's one of my favorite traditions.
My little Emmet, now in his first full year of preschool, has a heart of pure solid gold and is goofy, sensitive, and smart as a tac. He has his moments here in there where we don't see eye to eye, but I am so lucky to get to be his mama.
loves cars - he has a full collection of hot wheels cars that he knows the specific name of (and also what food he ate to get it, because we bribe him now...). He makes me tell him the name of every car we pass when out on a walk and delights at finding new ones. He also knows, and can point out, the cars of all of the people we know and talks about them frequently.
loves to read - Both by himself snuggled up in the chair, occasionally to Henry (though Henry's shorter attention span is a little frustrating), and also with me. We read two books before every nap and night, which he loves. He often ends every book with, "aw, I love that one." which may or may not have come from me. He delights in reading new books from the library and his current favorite is "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom."
takes care of others - often brings Henry his water or toys and just in general anticipates peoples needs. Not always, obviously he is only 3.5, but way more than I could have ever imagined a kid would. He checks on Henry and makes sure he's okay and sings him songs when he is upset. And has even started to do similar things with his friends. He makes my heart melt multiple times daily.
loves to play outside - when it was still nice out his favorite routine was to play outside while I was cooking lunch, or while Dave and I were cooking dinner. He likes to drive his car around in the dirt beside the house, dump the sand out of the sandbox, and squeeze himself into the seat of the cozy coupe, right next to Henry and then yell for me to bring their waters to put in the cup holders.
Can go to the bathroom all by himself, but usually prefers the company.
delights in being cozy - he makes himself nests in his bedroom using every single blanket, pillow, and stuffed animal he has. I've cleaned them up 8,000 or more times, but still don't mind because it is so stinking cute.
loves to wear stripes and clothes with pockets (for storing cars, obviously). He gets himself dressed and is often wearing things backwards, which I find endearing. Also, kids being able to dress themselves? Pure magic.
goes to preschool - This will be his first full year (he did half a year last year) and he LOVES it. He sings songs from preschool all the time and tells me stories. My favorite right now is that he'll quietly recap show and tell when he thinks no one is listening. Complete with singing and pretending to be each and every kid in his class. It is so cute.
is still picky - he still eats almost nothing, BUT has added apple sauce (specifically the green super wasteful pouches that I hate) and bananas. So that feels like a win. And we've started to give him hot wheels cars anytime he tries something new. Which hasn't been super beneficial (as nothing has stuck and become food he'll actually eat) but it has made him a little more adventurous and has led to some pretty funny moments too. Annie's Mac & Cheese (the purple box with the white cheese) is still his favorite. After two years.
draws with Dave - It's one of his current favorite things to do. He talks all day long about how after Henry goes to bed he and dad will draw. They sit and doodle together on Dave's ipad with his apple pen. It's pretty precious.
now responds "i love you, mama" every night when I tuck him in instead of just "okay."
My favorite mornings (though the mornings I wake up to the sound of them chatting are pretty cute too), are the mornings that I wake up to the sound of his door quietly closing and he tip toes into my room and curls up in bed with me for just a little bit longer.
He feels at home pretty much anywhere he goes. More than once now he has thrown up his arms and exclaimed, "mama! Let's live here!" Once while we were at a friends house in front of a bunch of people and another in the doctors office (which was way more puzzling to me).
Has started to love music again. I mean, he always did. But right around his birthday he had a full playlist and then somewhere in the summer he stopped asking for songs as much. But now he is again and he loves to have songs on. His current favorites are "Dancing in the Moonlight" by King Harvest, "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede, and "Up Up & Away (Album Version Edited)" by Kid Cudi. Though "Real Gone" by Sheryl Crow, "Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flats (he had a pretty good lengthed Cars phase in there) and "Jolene" by Dolly Parton were favorites for a pretty long time.
This past week Henry turned one and a half! We were in a flurry of activities between a market, my sister visiting, and Bethel College's Fall Festival and I barely even was able to process it....but was able to sneak in a photo session! This little booger has been a part of our family now for 18 full months and yet it feels both like forever and also like he was just born yesterday.
Everything I love about Henry at 18 months, He... Has the most infectious smile I have ever encountered, with the perfect little gap in his two front teeth. Must be constantly doing what ever Emmet is doing, follows him around and mimics just about every little thing Emmet does (and Emmet hardly notices). Eats pretty much everything he is given (when he is hungry) but loves juice, avocados, smoothies, and annies mac and cheese. Likes to sit on the potty and pretend to pee, if we tell Emmet to go we usually find Henry there waiting for him. Calls his pacifier "Babo" and drops it in his crib and says bye bye to it every nap and morning. Says SO MANY words it almost freaks me out. Has to give Dave, Emmet, and Moose hugs before he goes to bed. Cannot be trusted with ANYTHING while in the stroller because he drops them, we've lost hats, socks, toys, shoes, you name it (usually we go back and are able to find them). Loves to be snuggled. Loves to be wrapped up in his blankies in the morning. Brings us his shoes and socks when it's time to go for a walk. Loves cows and other farm animals. Get's great joy from running away from me (giggling), especially towards roads, or away from diaper changes or getting dressed. Climbs on everything. Makes me melt almost 4,000 times a day.
The other day while we were in Lawrence, KS, I made Dave take the kids and I to The Toy Store. My Mother in Law had told me about it before so I figured we HAD to stop if we were in town. It was an absolute dream, as I am a SUCKER for kids toys. There were three floors full of the prettiest toys I had ever seen (and some I had seen before online...). My arms filled up with goodies and just as I was spiraling out of control I reached the book section. I am a sucker for kids toys, but I am a maniac for kids books. Luckily Dave found me, rerouted me, and talked a little sense into me too. I avoided the books and narrowed my selection. But kids books, mmmm. I love a good story, beautiful, colorful, and carefully thought out illustrations, crisp pages, and hard covers. They make me swoon.
Luckily for me, Emmet loves to read too! We've been in a routine of reading two books before nap and two books at night without fail, everyday, for as long as I can remember. And it is almost always me, too. Dave has tried to tag in (and I have tried to tag out!) but Emmet insists on our beautiful little routine.
For awhile now we've been enjoying larger, hardback books with a little bit longer stories (don't get me started on paperback books or dust jackets. Not a fan). Occasionally books get a little too wordy for Emmet's current stage, so I paraphrase and it works just fine! We only have pictured and/or listed a few of our very favorites. We have a TON more. So much that we can't actually fit anymore in our current book storage! This will become a problem here soon.
When picking books each night I try to connect what I pick to something we talked about, heard, saw, or did that day OR something that will be coming up. I don't always manage to do it, and we don't have a book for everything so it isn't always possible. But it really noticeably helped Emmet build his vocabulary! I'd swear to it.
I opened a few for you to see inside below, because you can't judge a book entirely by it's cover... but you CAN judge a book by one of the best pages inside.
-We are Brothers, We are Friends - Alexandra Penfold - The cutest story about a boy and his baby brother, a gift from my MIL
-Home - Carson Ellis - Different homes, real and make believe, around the world
-a Greyhound, a Groundhog - Emily Jenkins - The CUTEST book about a greyhound and a groundhog meeting with ryhming words and homonyms.
-If you give a Moose a Muffin (& a pig a pancake) - Laura Numeroff - Two classics in a whole series. Emmet LOVES them right now.
-We are the Gardeners - Joanna Gaines and Kids - Very fitting for the boys' first year of gardening and sooo cute.
-Little Boy - Alison McGhee - Just a little cute book about boys (that isn't TOO gendered). There are a lot of things in it that remind me of Emmet and it makes me smile.
-Dragons Love Tacos - Adam Rubin - This one is HILARIOUS. Just trust me and get it.
-Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth - Oliver Jeffers - Oliver Jeffers is one of my favorite author/llustrators. I wish we owned every one of his books. This is a cute one that is both informative about the earth AND reads more like a story which I love for bedtime. Plus it touches on being kind, taking care of the earth, accepting/admiring people's differences. You know, just laying a foundation for being a good human being.
-Sleep Like a Tiger - Mary Logue - A cute book that shows how different animals like to sleep.
-Gaston - Kelly Dipucchio - Two puppies who get switched at birth.
-They All Saw a Cat - Brendan Wenzel - Probably my favorite illustrations right now. This book follows a cat, but shows it from the perspective of other animals and how they see/experience it. It is REALLY cool.
-Dear Boy - Paris Rosenthal and Jason Rosenthal - If you've talked to me about kids books recently, I've told you about this book. Another gift from my MIL, this book has lessons for little boys that are SO IMPORTANT.
(not pictured favorites)
-Corduroy - Don Freeman
- Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak
-Harold and the Purple Crayon - Crockett Johnson
**In addition to the books above, Emmet and I have also started reading The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh! We just have a few of the stories (though he has getting more for Christmas) that we read a little chunk of instead of two books.**
Did I mention that we are in to kids books? Here is my SECOND roundup of kids books; Henry's Favorites! Henry is currently 17 months old and LOVES gardening, farm animals, & babies. I started regularly reading to him when he was about 6ish months old & sitting up, about the same time that we were starting sleep training/night routines. We started with really simple board books that were mostly black and white and had very few words. We've slowly added more and more detail in the pictures and more words and even some stories too! Right now our routine is to read two books everyday before bedtime and he absolutely loves it, and I love my snuggle time too.
Here are Henry's (and mine too!) current favorites:
-P is for Peter an ABC book
-Global Baby Boys - Maya Ajmera
-Everything is Mama & Your Baby's First word will be Dada- Jimmy Fallon
-Everywhere Babies - Susan Meyers
-Big Red Barn - Margaret Wise Brown
-Little Owl’s Night - Divya Srinivasan
-Little Blue Truck - Alice Schertle
-So Many Stars - Andy Warhol
-123’s - Charley Harper
-Look Look - Peter Linenthal
-Peek-a Who? - Nina Laden
-Pat the Bunny
-Shapes - Xavier Deneux
Earlier this month we drove to Lander, Wyoming, a whopping 12 hour drive with two littles, for my sister's wedding! It was a beautiful weekend of family and love. We spent most of it prepping for the wedding and at small events, but snuck in a little family time and exploring too!
Prepare yourself for so many photos your brain might explode.
We split the trip into two chunks, 7 hours to Denver and then another 5 up to Lander, and caravanned with my parents to make the drive easier. Emmet rode with them most of the way, which made it SO much easier. We made sure to stock the car up with snacks, extra toys, and our amazon fire tablet for the boys to watch movies on. Henry's current favorites are Moana, Coco, and Frozen. Basically anything with a song and pretty colors will capture his attention. We made a few stops along the way to break up the drive, including a pit stop in Denver to stay at Hannah and Kent's house, and a short stop in Laramie, Wyoming for coffee and lunch and to meet up with my brother and his girlfriend.
While in Lander, our family, my parents, and my brother and his girlfriend stayed at the Grass River Retreat. It is a beautiful set of cabins out in the country right on the edge of a little river and surrounded by a little garden. We stayed in the larger of the two cabins, which was the perfect size for our group! Henry and Emmet enjoyed staying in a home away from home. We brought a little basket of toys and books for them to play with while they were there and of course they loved exploring the river too!
We got into Lander on Thursday Evening, and spent the night/next day helping Kent's family get their backyard ready for the wedding. Kent and Hannah planned the cutest small wedding in his Parent's backyard, it was so fun to see it come together! They had the ceremony and reception right there in the yard complete with an arbor built by Kent and his dad, tables and benches built by friends, and lots of twinkle lights. Almost everything the used was either made by someone they know or thrifted. It was pretty neat!
After the rehearsal dinner on Friday, Kent and Hannah hosted a Jazz night at the Coalter Loft. Everyone but Kent and Hannah wore black, while they wore white. It was a fun little evening with some live Jazz, drinks, and getting to know most of the people that would be a part of their weekend. It was a small wedding, so almost everyone was at every event, which was really neat! Emmet and Henry made friends with some of the other kids there and really enjoyed playing with them all weekend. Emmet still talks about his friend August and the adventures they shared!
The day of the wedding started with a brunch with Hannah and all of her friends. Hannah has some of the nicest most interesting friends, they were really fun to hang out with! We ate at The Middle Fork and I had the huevos breakfast which was an absolutely amazing mixture of eggs, potatoes, avocados, and salsas. I would consider making the 12 hour drive again for those, but if you have closer recommendations for something similar, they would be accepted.
A few of Hannah's friends, Molly, and I then spent most of the day finishing up the final details in the Scarince's back yard. We made Hannah's Bouquet and Kent's Boutonnière, put flowers in the arbor, hung fabric from trees, set out all of the vintage glassware and plates, and so much more. It was so fun to see it all finished and ready!
We then hurried back to help Hannah get ready and get ready ourselves! I don't have many pictures of the place that Hannah and her friends stayed at, but if you are ever in Lander The Mill House is a REALLY neat place to stay!
I have almost no photos of the wedding itself, since I was in the wedding, but I managed to capture a few things before the wedding and after, before accidentally sending my phone home with Dave when he took the boys back to the cabin to go to bed (thanks Dave!).
Kent and Hannah had everyone wear floral for the wedding. I had so much fun picking out little outfits for the boys! I found their shirts at Hallmark Baby and I finally snagged a piece from Rylee and Cru for myself.
Their ceremony was so authentically them. Hannah's friend (also named Hannah) officiated the wedding in the most down to earth, amazing way. They both wrote their vows with so much personality and love. They were so sweet. AND my parents (and brother) sang "More of You" by Chris Stapleton. Just beforehand Emmet ran across the aisle, with sandals unvelcro-ed and flapping, over to me and snuggled me and sang along with them the entire time. It was pretty sweet. The ceremony ended with everyone throwing rainbow confetti which was absolutely magical.
The reception was just as wonderful. They had their friends cook all of the food, which at first I was skeptical about, but oh my gosh it was amazing! There were three different meats, including the best pork I've ever had and salmon caught wild in Alaska by one of their friends. There were homemade salsas, guac, and cookies and ice cream. It was so so good and all served on assorted vintage glassware alongside delicious margaritas. I wish I had a time machine to go back and re eat that meal again.
There were bubbles for the kids to play with, and oh gosh they did. Emmet chased around his new friend the entire time and pulled his little wooden ducks around. There was dancing and polaroids and so much time chatting with family and their friends. It was such a beautiful evening.
We stuck around for Sunday as well, before driving back Monday. We explored lakes in the mountains. We ate leftovers (yeeeees!). We made s'mores and played yard games. I have to admit, being home I have a little trip withdrawal. It was such a great weekend.