Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Well, the holiday season is in full swing and here at the Borders house we've been really getting into the spirit. The boys and I decorated boxes and then baked cookies to give to our neighbors and family.  We made gingerbread houses. We bought a Countdown to Christmas Tree, which is magnetic and each day you put a new ornament on until you get to the top and put the star on the tree on Christmas. The boys really love that. And of course we decorated our tree. Here's what Sam said after every time he put up an ornament:

It was pretty awesome. And we've continued the tradition of taking a series of horrible photos in front of the tree, though Heath and I bowed out of the actual picture this year:

There were more. That's the great thing about digital cameras, now we can take TONS of horrible photos, instead of just one. Literally this is the best one we got, where they were both non-blurry and at least sort of looking toward the camera:

I'm almost done with my shopping and wrapping. Just a couple more things to pick up. Some years I feel like the stress and craziness of December distracts me from enjoying it, but this year I've been able to slow down and appreciate everything.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Boy 2 Turns 2

Dear Sam,

You've become such a big boy. A year ago you couldn't even walk, and now you're running, jumping and climbing on everything. It happened so slowly over the year, but when I think back it's amazing how much you've changed. You're even starting to talk! You've mastered saying "more milk," and it's AWESOME. Not only do you get what you want, but I know what you want, without a lot of pantomiming and questions. I'm so excited to hear all the other things you'll say.

It's been fun getting to know you better over the last year. You like to copy whatever Ben does, but you're definitely your own person. You're fairly quiet a lot, but when you have something to say it comes BURSTING out of you. There have been many peaceful car rides suddenly interrupted by a blast of noise from you. You also like to observe a situation before you go diving in, but once you decide to join, you're in there. You'll mix it up, even with older kids. But if you're not interested, you're perfectly content to play by yourself, as well.

One of the most striking pieces of your personality is your empathy and gentleness. Toddlers aren't known for possessing those qualities, but in you they shine through. It obviously disturbs you when another child is crying. You want to go over and help comfort. You're also (for the most part) very gentle with the cats. They like you better than Ben because you pet them nicely and rarely pull their tails or yank them off the couch by their fur. I think it's because you just love animals. Ever since you were very young you've been fascinated by them. You point out birds and squirrels constantly. You want to visit every dog who comes to the park. You love the zoo. If you become a veterinarian or a zoologist or an animal trainer I will not be surprised at all.

Like all children (especially toddlers), you have those moments that drive parents crazy. You pulled every tissue out of a brand new box. For some reason you've decided you don't want to wear a coat EVER. A few weeks ago, when Daddy was gone on business, you woke up at 5:30am every morning. And you throw toys around like it's going out of style. Which it is. Stop it. But for the most part, you're a very lovable guy. You're smiley and affectionate and you like to dance and your gorgeous blue eyes don't hurt, either.

You've had many adventures this year. You took your first plane ride to Phoenix to visit Oma and Opa. You went to the beach for the first time. You rode rides at Six Flags. You visited all our relatives up in Iowa. And just a couple weeks ago you got a brand new baby cousin. You love Taylor! You pat him and give him kisses and you love to hold him. You're not the baby anymore, and I think you'll be a great big cousin.

I'm so happy you're in our family. You're my favorite Sam.

I love you,

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

It gets better

In two short months Sam will be 2 years old. When Ben was turning 2 I was probably scared, because everyone talks about the "terrible twos" so much. This time around, however, instead of being scared, I'm excited because I know we're going to reach two milestones that make life so much easier.

Sometime in probably the next 6-8 months Sam will graduate from his crib to a big boy bed. Ben transitioned when he was 2 1/2, but I'm thinking Sam might go earlier, just because it'll be nice for us. When Sam's ready that means we're breaking out the bunk beds and thus will start the era of Ben and Sam sharing a room. That does make me a little nervous, from the sleeping less perspective, but it means we'll have a free room. We're not sure what we'll do with it yet, but that'll be nice. Also, not having to drag the pack 'n play around when we travel will be AWESOME. I remember Ben went from crib to bed right before a trip to Florida and it was so nice to leave that thing at home.

Then sometime in the next year Sam will be starting potty training. It's by no means a fun experience, but I do remember thinking that it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be with Ben. And I'm hoping that the I-want-to-do-everything-Ben-does thing will work in our favor. Plus, we are definitely doing it before he turns 3. We unknowingly dodged that bullet with Ben, because I think it would've been MUCH harder to potty train him after 3. He got so stubborn that year. It would've been a nightmare. So that'll probably be our spring or summer project next year. Something to look forward to.

So those are the two biggies we have coming up and they mean so much more freedom. Traveling really is the biggest thing that gets easier. And while potty training doesn't mean I get to stop paying attention to Sam's bathroom habits right away - for a while I'll actually be MORE focused on it because I want to avoid accidents - I will get to stop buying diapers and carrying around a diaper bag.

Even little changes are nice, too. Babies and toddlers have very specialized needs and as Sam gets older his needs and Ben's needs can be met together. Like, once Sam turns 2 he and Ben can use the same kind of Tylenol. And by the time Sam's 3 he and Ben will probably use the same toothpaste. Fairly soon Sam will be able to use regular cups and not use sippy cups anymore. I've been able to put the toilet paper back on the rolls, instead of up high out of his reach, because he seems to be past the un-rolling everything phase. He's already attempting to climb into his car seat by himself. All these things add up to not so much work on our part.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pushing through

I'm feeling melancholy today. I think Ben turning 5 has affected me more than I thought it would. For some reason 5 must be a threshold in my mind. Even though Ben won't be in elementary school for another year, I feel like he's starting to float away from me. I also think about the fact that I read somewhere that kids' brains are like sponges until age 5. They soak up everything. And I just hope we exposed him to enough good things to soak up.

He's getting so big. Not just physically, but mentally. Sometimes the connections he makes and the insights he has astound me. "Where did he learn that?" I think. And then I realize he didn't learn it. He just thought it up. And that's so awesome, but today it's making me have a real "Where is the time going? It's happening way too fast" moment.

Sometimes I'll watch one of the kids as he's doing something really funny or very This Age. I'll try to memorize the lines of his body, the cadence of his laugh, the tilt of his head so I'll never forget it. But I know I will. I try to remember what Ben was like at Sam's age and it's hard. Hard to remember him then and hard to imagine him in the future.

So I take pictures and videos and try to post the funny moments on my blog so I can remember. I'm also trying very hard to live in the moment. But right now I'm feeling very overwhelmed by the task of Raising Good Human Beings. There are so many things to think about: good nutrition, teaching values, setting limits but not being too strict, not "being their friend" but still having fun with them, not spoiling, learning colors and letters and reading and chemistry, instilling gratitude and manners and helping them to appreciate art and science and beauty and life. It's so much. Sometimes I take it all in stride and I know that little by little, day by day, through my actions and words my kids will learn what I want them to learn. But right now it seems like an impossible task and there's a part of me that thinks I squandered those sponge-brain years with Ben and I'm definitely squandering them with Sam.

Well, I've just got to push through. One of the exhausting but sometimes liberating facts of parenthood is that it just keeps going, whether you're ready or overwhelmed or not.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Dear Ben,

This year, your fifth, has been an emotional roller coaster. In contrast to your fourth year, when everyday was up and down, up and down, this year the ups and downs have been in weeks. So for a few weeks you'd be the best kid I could imagine. Kind, helpful, funny, creative, thoughtful, mature, obedient. I'd feel like the best mother. And then it would switch and suddenly for a few weeks you were beastly: Yelling, slamming doors, refusing to listen. Those weeks were tough. The good news is that you generally save that behavior for Dad and me. At school, with babysitters, with family you're well behaved and respectful. Only one time in two years of school have you gotten a bad report and your teacher was SO SURPRISED.

The most exciting thing from this past year is that you're learning to read and write at an amazing clip. Just a couple weeks ago you made a card for a friend's birthday and you sounded out "Happy Birthday" almost all by yourself. I'm in awe of your curiosity and voracious need to learn new things. Both will serve you so well in the years to come.

One of the most fun things about your emerging personality is that you're definitely picking up on Dad's and my geekiness. Video games are a favorite of yours. You love making up stories about zombies and dragons. You even wore your wizard hat to the Renaissance Faire. At first it freaked you out a little that people kept talking to you, but after a while when someone would say, "Are you a wizard?" you'd proudly say yes. And when Dad and I brought you home Catan Jr. from Gen Con, you have no idea how excited and proud we were by how quickly you picked up the game.

The biggest milestone this year (to me) was your first Weird Al concert. I was so excited, but at first I wasn't sure I'd made the right decision, taking you so young. It started close to bed time and you seemed tired. When Al came out on stage you just seemed perplexed by all the lights and how loud it was. You said you'd had fun, but I wasn't so sure. However, the very next day you started asking for your iPod to listen to Weird Al. And now all you ever request in the car is Weird Al. And when we hear original songs in public you say, "This is Weird Al!" So even though you have absolutely no context for the jokes or parodies, I've succeeded in making you a Weird Al fan.

The most poignant milestone this year was taking the training wheels off your bike. It just seems to completely symbolize you growing up. Now you have your own transportation and you can (almost) completely balance yourself on your own. It's scary and thrilling to have you becoming more independent. It makes my heart ache a little, but it's also what's supposed to happen.

You're getting to the sweet spot of childhood. Those handful of years where you're old enough to be somewhat self-sufficient, you can do stuff that's fun for us and you still want to hang out with the family. In a couple more years Sam will be in the sweet spot with you and I think the four of us are going to have a lot of fun. I'm so looking forward to the next half-dozen years with you. You're turning into someone I genuinely want to hang out with and I'm so proud to be your mother.

Happy birthday, Ben!

I love you,

Saturday, August 31, 2013

My turn

In Ben, Heath has a mini-me. Their personalities and the way they think are pretty much the same. I've often been envious of that, but it does mean that when Ben does something annoying that I just know Heath would've done as a kid I get to say, "This is YOUR fault." :)

Well, Heath will probably get to turn the tables in the next few years, because since turning one, Sam has revealed that he's a lot like me. He's sensitive. If another kid is crying, even someone he doesn't know, he seems concerned and will even go over and try to help. It's especially evident if Ben's upset.

Sam definitely seems more introverted than Ben or Heath. He can entertain himself and he seems content on his own for a while. My patented method of getting Ben to come with me, which basically just involves me leaving the room, doesn't work as well with Sam. Sometimes he'll come running after, but sometimes he's just like, "Whatever. I wanted some privacy anyway."

It's interesting to watch how Sam changes depending on who's home. If Heath and Ben are there he runs around like a crazy person, wanting to keep up with them. But if it's just the two of us he's much calmer and quieter and more likely to focus on something.

It's exciting to think of having a kid more like me. I love Ben dearly and am amazed by the things he says and does, but our personalities clash in a lot of ways and it's very hard for me to deal with the constant talking. Just like Heath, he brings things into my life that I never would've done or seen on my own, but it'll be wonderful to have a child with whom I can just share comfortable silence.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Spring pictures (now that it's almost fall)

Sam wasn't too impressed by the ocean. 
He would walk up to it and then back away as the tide got too close.

He did enjoy the sand.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Let's Get Physical!

At 21 months Sam has almost completely conquered our house, physically. He can climb up and down the stairs himself. I rarely keep the gate closed anymore, because he's more careful on the stairs when I'm not with him. I love this milestone. He can open all the doors in the house. I don't love this milestone as much. It necessitates keeping the deadbolts locked at all times, which is easy to forget. So far I haven't had to chase him down the street or anything, but I'm guessing with such a helpful big brother he'll figure out how to unlock the deadbolt before too long. *sigh*

He can climb onto all the chairs, and because of the aforementioned helpful big brother he figured out that if you push a chair up to a counter you can reach what's up there. Ben didn't start doing that until he was at least 3, so this is new territory. We use folding chairs in the kitchen, so when we're not using them they're now folded and leaning against the wall. Luckily, Sam hasn't put together that he could push a chair from the dining room into the kitchen to achieve the same result. Let's hope it stays that way for a while.

And just yesterday I witnessed him open the refrigerator. That kind of terrifies me. There's so much horribleness that could come from that skill. I can't remembered when Ben mastered that, but it was never a problem with him. He only used the ability for good, not evil. Hopefully Sam will learn that from him, too!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Backpack Series

As a dutiful younger brother, Sam idolizes Ben. He does everything Ben does, literally. Even if Ben is just standing by the door with his hands clasped behind his back, Sam will sidle up next to him and assume the same position. It's adorable and sometimes awful, because of course the copy-cat routine isn't confined only to cute behaviors. However, today I bring you one of the cuties. Since preschool starts again next week (YEA!) I thought this was appropriate. Sam Wearing Ben's Backpack:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I'm not good at being Present. Being In The Moment. I'm always in my head, planning, worrying, thinking about my to-do list. It's a quality that makes me a good organizer, but it doesn't always come in handy as I'm parenting. One of the things people most often say when you have a baby is, "Cherish this time. They won't be this small forever." But most of the mothers (at least first time mothers) I know get too bogged down in the day-to-day exhausting minutia of caring for a baby, a toddler, a preschooler, to really enjoy what's happening right in front of them. I do, at least. Especially in the past few years I've tended to focus on the negative and my brain just gets stuck there.

Well, I knew it was time for a change when I realized that my negativity was starting to annoy me. I was getting sick of my own carousel of thoughts that just went round and round and did nothing for me. So recently I've been trying to make a concerted effort to change my thinking habits. To enjoy fun, happy times as they're happening. Not necessarily documenting them for posterity, but just being joyful in the moment.

Over the weekend we went to a birthday party where the boys each received huge bubble wands. So yesterday afternoon we headed to the backyard to try them out. I wasn't expecting much. Ben usually gets sick of blowing bubbles pretty quickly and Sam just gets mad when I won't let him stick the soap in his mouth. But this time both Ben and Sam were content to let me be the bubble master. As I filled the air with huge bubbles I realized that this was A Moment. I willed myself to mentally put down the to-do list and simply exist with my boys. I listened to Sam erupt into giggles every time a wave of bubbles came for him. I watched Ben stick out his arms and fly through the bubbles as a plane. I gazed at the blue, blue sky and enjoyed the shade of our backyard. I tried really hard to ignore the fact that my hand was getting all sticky from the bubble solution.

Overall, I think I succeeded. Admittedly, I did start writing this blog post in my head before we were even done playing, but I think it helped me take notice of details I might not have otherwise. And admittedly, I got bored with the bubbles long before they did. But I had a lot of fun imagining that what I had wasn't a plastic stick and some soap, but a magic wand creating bubbles out of thin air.

Monday, May 6, 2013


Every day Sam is becoming more like a little kid and less like a baby. He's still not exactly speaking words, but he understands most of what we say and is getting better at communicating.

We've gotten into a violent stage with Sam. He hits people and throws things A LOT. It's very frustrating because I have to be an almost constant mediator between him and Ben. The hitting is really hard for Ben to take because he knows he's not supposed to hit Sam, but Sam keeps hitting him. Of course I scold Sam and try to remove him from the situation, but at this age there's still no real way to punish him that he'll understand. I can put him in his room by himself, but he won't be able to connect that to hitting Ben, so it's pointless.

However, when Sam's NOT hitting Ben they're starting to really play together. Sam's getting faster, so Chase is more exciting. And they wrestle. And bounce on Ben's bed. And dance. There are times when I might get 10 minutes of them playing together nicely and not constantly bugging me to play. After four and a half years of ALWAYS being bugged to play, 10 minutes seems pretty nice. Not nice enough, but it's a start.

Sam's starting to be able to feed himself with utensils, which is messy but awesome. Just another step on that road toward not having to watch him every second of the day. And though he doesn't eat a lot, his palate is starting to open up a little. For a while the only fruit he would eat was bananas and applesauce. In the last couple weeks he's started eating blueberries again and I also got him to eat raspberries and grapes! Trust me, it's very exciting.

Sam LOVES to play outside. I think he'd stay out there all day if I let him. He also loves animals, especially dogs and always notices a dog barking, even in the distance. Whenever he sees our cats he lets out this SCREECH of joy. It's pretty cute.

Next week Sam will be 18 months old. A year and a half. I don't think of Sam as being as old as I thought of Ben at this age, if that makes sense. Compared to Ben now, Sam still seems like a baby, but on those mornings when it's just us I can see him more clearly and realize just how much he can do. He's climbing on playground equipment by himself. He's getting better and better on the stairs. And now sometimes he's wanting to walk through parking lots, instead of being carried. Little boy is growing up and in October he'll have a new baby cousin and it'll be that much more apparent how old he is.

Friday, April 19, 2013

PTO mom

I have become a PTO mom. It's bizarre because I never envisioned myself being a stay-at-home mom who goes to PTO meetings. Even typing that I have a sort of visceral negative reaction. PTO moms are super bubbly and annoying and they only live vicariously through their children. And I've met some people like that, but most of the people I've met have been pretty down to earth and just want to invest some time and energy into their child's education. Some have even been people I'd like to hang out with.

So I volunteered to help organize Ben's school's trivia night, which is the biggest fundraiser of the year. I didn't quite know what I was getting into, but Heath and I love trivia nights and have been to quite a few, so I thought my "expertise" could help. It pretty much took over my life for the past few months, which explains the dearth of posts here, but now it's OVER and I don't feel like I have an anvil hanging over my head. It was a very successful evening and everyone seemed to have fun. I definitely won't be in charge next year, but I'll help and maybe in a few years, once I've forgotten all the stress it caused me, I might volunteer to organize one again. I suppose in that way it's like having a baby. After a while you forget all the horribleness and that's what allows you to want another one.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Reading Rainbow

Ben is starting to read! It's really amazing to watch because we haven't been pushing him to read. We've taught him the letter sounds and how to sound out words, but it's mostly coming from him. He's asking to learn all these things and he's figuring it out on his own, too. Recently we walked past a pizza restaurant and Ben said, "Pizza!" Immediately I started scanning the windows for a picture of pizza, but there wasn't one. Other than the word, there was no indication that it was a pizza restaurant. He freaking read it! I'm guessing he had seen the word previously and memorized it and didn't sound it out on the spot, but that's a big part of reading, especially in English. He's using context clues, too, because he reads "open" on store windows a lot. These are all great skills and though I know he's smart, I'm still surprised he's learning them so young.

Reading is the most important thing Ben will learn and since I love reading it's very exciting to me that's he's so enthusiastic about it. Once he can read, the entire world will be open to him... But it's also terrifying because the entire world will be open to him. He'll be able to read anything, whether I want him to or not. And of course that's part of growing up... It's just a big leap forward.

He's only four and a half and barely reading, but you know me. I like to worry about things in the future that I can't change. I just wonder how I'm going to handle situations like this: We were at the mall and passed one of those kiosks selling stuff and they had a row of belts that all said, "I (heart) boobies." Ben asked what it said and I just mumbled something about it being silly. A year from now he'll probably be able to read it himself, but he won't really know what it means so he'll ask me. I'll want to explain how it's disrespectful to women, but will he really understand? I guess it doesn't matter. I should just prepare myself for lots of awkward conversations.

Friday, March 15, 2013


As a parent, guilt is an emotion you have to get up close and personal with. Even as a stay-at-home mom I experience guilt. But it's hard not to when the Ideal Parent these days is fun! and engaging and always finds those "teachable moments" while never raising their voice and taking the kids on exciting field trips and packing nutritious lunches with no added sugar and doing crafts and baking projects all while creating amazing dinners and decorating the baby's nursery with cute items found antiquing. There's no room in there for frustration or drive-thru McDonald's or wanting time for yourself.

The biggest guilt-inducer for me is Having Two Kids. When it was only Ben and me I could focus on him and I felt like we really connected. For the past 16 months my attention has always been divided and I feel like I'm not really seeing either kid. I'm half listening to Ben chatter while I try to coax Sam to eat something. I'm saying, "I'll read that to you in a minute, Sam," as I help Ben kill goombas and turtles in Mario Brothers. Even though we're together almost ALL THE TIME, I don't feel like I have enough time for either of them. With Sam it's a little better, because Ben's at school three mornings a week, so we have that time, but there's almost no time when it's just Ben and me. After Ben's quiet time Sam is usually still napping, so that would be  the perfect time for us to have... But honestly by mid-afternoon I'm wiped and I hate to admit it, but more often than not Ben spends that time playing video games or watching TV, so I can have some peace and relative quiet.

The other big guilt-fest is that Sam isn't having the same kind of very early childhood that Ben did. When Ben was a toddler he didn't have sugar until after he was one, he had age-appropriate, educational toys everywhere he looked and he never really watched TV until he was a year and a half and even then it was only PBS, strictly 30-60 minutes per day, no more! Ben had my full attention and we went out to new and different places almost every day.

Sam's been watching SpongeBob SquarePants since before he could crawl, he had cake and ice cream and french fries, all way before his first birthday and right now one of his favorite things is to carry around the Nerf gun and have you shoot darts at the window for him.

He and Ben were born into different circumstances and they're not the same person and they don't need to be treated the same way, necessarily, either. But it's hard not to think that I'm disadvantaging Sam somehow by not providing him the same things Ben had. But I can't provide him a first-child existence, so I should just stop worrying about it, right? Well, I'll let you know how that goes.

Quotable Ben

When asked how school was, Ben replied,

"Thomas and I were on the playground talking about how everyone's stupid except the boys."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


 I love the look on his face.

At the Magic House for Noontime New Year's Eve. 
We all promptly got the stomach flu after this. Happy New Year!

 One stop on our trip to Phoenix.

 At the ghost town near Phoenix.

He stayed outside in the snow fewer than five minutes. 
Not a fan of being cold.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The State of Ben (at 4.5 years)

Ben is discovery. A few weeks ago he was painting while I washed dishes and all of a sudden he exclaimed, "Mom! Come look at this!" I went over and he said, "When I mixed red and yellow it made ORANGE!" He was so in awe and proud of that discovery that it was impossible for me not to share his excitement. He stumbled upon this essential fact of life and he UNDERSTOOD that it was important. It was amazing to witness that moment.

Ben is sweet. A couple months ago we were talking about sign language and I showed Ben the sign for "I love you." So now, randomly, he'll call out, "Mom!" Then he'll show me that sign.

Ben is jealous. Because Ben goes to preschool three days a week I have a fair amount of time alone with Sam and not much time alone with Ben. And since Ben can accomplish most simple tasks on his own I have to help Sam more than him. It's not going unnoticed. There's a certain amount of "You're a big boy and Sam's still little. He can't do things on his own like you can," that calms Ben, but after a while that just doesn't cut it. That's when Ben starts grunting and making noises instead of words and crawling on the floor. I've recently started making more of an effort to have Ben and Mommy time.

Ben is obsessed. I have this habit of becoming obsessed with media. Books, movies, music, games... At one point I've been obsessed with all of them. Ben seems to have inherited that trait, though only for games so far. First it was Angry Birds, then Plants vs. Zombies, then watching Heath play Portal. Now he's OBSESSED with playing Super Mario Brothers Wii. This makes Heath very happy.

Ben is fun. He's finally to an age where we can start doing things fun for kids and adults. Heath has taken him golfing and indoor rock climbing. I've taken him to movies and musicals and the art museum. He can ride some roller coasters and bigger rides. He's almost to an age where we can start playing better board games. I can't wait until all four of us can genuinely enjoy activities together.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Christmas Pictures (Yes, I realize it's late February)

I knew Sam would freak out, so I didn't even try.

He wears this shirt constantly

I hope he's always so excited when I buy him shoes. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The State of Sam (at 15 months)

Height: 32.5 in. - 95th percentile
Weight: 26 lbs. 8 oz. - 95th percentile
Head circumference: 47.5 cm - 75th percentile

Sam is all floaty blond hair and blue-gray eyes that everyone always comments on. He's getting that mischievous toddler nature and will look back at me and giggle before he does something he's not supposed to.

Sam is trying to keep up with his big brother. He's confident in his walking, so he's speeding things up, which results in a lot of falling. But sometimes he's just standing there not moving at all and suddenly he'll be on the floor. I always say, "The Earth moved so he fell."

Sam's favorites right now include bananas, opening and closing the microwave, climbing the stairs, playing in the toy kitchen and reading Sandra Boynton books.

Sam is dancy! He flaps his chubby hands and moves his chubby feet along to the alphabet and counting songs that stream from his toys constantly. Even in the grocery store he'll bob up and down in the cart when he hears a song he likes. It's delightful, since Ben had absolutely no interest in dancing at this age. Sam and Avery will cut a rug together.

Sam is snuggly. Sometimes we'll be playing and he just comes up and gives me a hug. And when he's tired he pops his thumb into his mouth and lays his head on my shoulder.

Sam is independent. He wanders around the house and plays by himself like a champ. After SUPER-CLINGY-I-NEVER-WANT-TO-BE-AWAY-FROM-YOU Ben, it's a breath of fresh air. But if he hears the dishwasher open he comes runnin'.

Sam takes a while to warm up to new situations. He has to survey everything and get the lay of the land before he dives in.

Sam is smiley, silly, go-with-the-flow and happy. He'd fit right in at a Jimmy Buffet concert.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Communication 101

One of the hard things about caring for a baby is not being able to communicate in any significant way. The only way for him to get his point across is crying, which is super annoying for the parents. Now that Sam's a full-fledged toddler we're making some strides in that department. He's to the point where he understands a lot of what we say. So if I say "milk" he looks at the refrigerator and if I say, "Do you want to turn the light on?" (one of his favorite activities at the moment) he looks at the light switch. Sometimes if I ask him to do something ("Come here," "Hand me the fork," "STOP!") he'll even do it. It's awesome!

He's not talking yet, though he's starting to parrot some of the sounds I make. The first I noticed was "All done!" He says something that sounds remarkably like it (to me), but there's no meaning behind it yet. He says it all the time, even when he's obviously not "all done." But even without real words, he's definitely communicating. He'll grunt and point at the bananas when he wants one (which is all the time), he'll try to lunge from my arms when he wants to get down, he'll stand by my legs and lift his arms when he wants to get up. Again, it's awesome.

We're also to that less-awesome toddler stage of EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE ON THE FLOOR NOW! Drawers and shelves aren't safe. Not that we have much of anything on shelves anymore. The lone surviving bookshelf in the house is in our bedroom and I have to monitor it very closely when Sam's in the room. I said, "Those are Mommy's books. Mommy's books stay on the shelf." about 1,000 times this morning while I was getting dressed. And since I still can't trust Sam in the house by himself while I shower he pulls every last towel off the shelf in the bathroom EVERY SINGLE DAY.

The good thing with second kids is that you have concrete evidence that it's just a phase. Ben doesn't pull my nicely folded towels off the shelf anymore. He can even put books BACK onto shelves now (though ability has no connection to willingness). It's still not fun to put towels away after every shower, but I can breathe and know that eventually it will end.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


They say you have your first child for yourself and your second child for your first child. In a way I think that's totally true and watching Ben and Sam's relationship blossom has been really fun.

Unfortunately for Ben, right now Sam's not the best playmate. We call him Wreck-It Sam because while Ben loves to build, Sam currently loves to knock things down. Sometimes that's ok, because Ben will build towers specifically for Sam to knock over. But, of course, sometimes Ben's really into building a rocket out of Duplos or constructing a train track and Sam, the tornado of destruction, comes through and destroys everything. Ben's not so happy at those moments and I don't blame him... But there's a small part of me that gets schadenfreude from it because that's exactly what it was like when Ben came into our lives. I don't even remember what it's like to have bookcases or shelves full of things I enjoy. It will still be YEARS before I feel comfortable having our (rather extensive) game collection within easy reach. So I don't feel too bad for Ben when Sam wrecks his creations, especially when I've told him REPEATEDLY if he wants Sam to stay away from it he needs to do it in his room or at the table.

Ok, I'm getting off-topic... I think in a year or two, once Sam can really run and is actually able to participate in building AND destroying, he and Ben are going to have a lot of fun. But I'm so impressed with how good Ben is with Sam already. Yes, there is toy stealing and pushing and yelling sometimes. But there's also lots of hugging and kissing and snack sharing. This morning Ben heard Sam waking up and while I was in the bathroom he went into Sam's room of his own volition and was giving Sam toys in his crib. He protects Sam from other kids and tries to include him in games at home. It's really sweet.

I find having two kids this young very hard sometimes (most of the time), but I'm glad they have each other.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


It's been a hard winter in the Borders household, sickness-wise. It seems like every week or two we're getting hit with something new. Here's how it stands since October:

Ear Infections - 3: Ben (2), Sam (1)
Hand-foot-mouth virus - 3: Ben, Sam, Heath
Pink eye - 1: Ben
Various colds - 4+: Everyone, especially Heath, who had a cold for what seemed like a month.
Stomach flu - 3: Me, Sam, Ben

Heath also switched jobs in the midst of all that, so that brought stress of its own. We're all healthy right now, but the boys and I are headed down to Phoenix next Thursday to visit my parents, brother and sister-in-law, so I'm sure some new, horrible ailment will turn up before then.

Luckily, so far Heath and I have managed not to be sick at the same time. However, that does mean that we're both pretty exhausted. In March we're going to Florida with Heath's family and that should be lovely. A week of lazy days laying on the beach with lots of people around to watch my kids. Perfect.