Flying With Kids/Philly Trip Part 2

If you missed Part 1 yesterday, read it here!

Flying with Kids: Conclusion/What We Learned

1. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but even if it would’ve been worse, who cares? Life goes on. At a MOPS meeting a few months ago, the speaker talked about doing hard things, taking risks, etc. And the last piece of advice she said that she always gives herself to help her get through those things, “it’ll all be over in ___ mins.” “In just __ minutes, this experience will be history.” In our case I told myself, “this time tomorrow, we’ll be in Philly” and on the way back, “Soon we’ll be back in our house, sleeping in our own beds and our first flight experience with kids will be history.” And as for my worry about what other people will think about small children on a plane, I’d say the same thing to them. They’ll get over it and move on. And most people come on a plane with headphones and ways to block out the noise of my children anyway. They can deal. I’m not going to let the fact that I have children prevent me from ever traveling again. Yes, there is more planning involved now. Yes, there is more STUFF to bring. But we did it, we survived and it was so worth it to spend that time with family and friends, some of whom had never even met my kids before. Aside from just visiting family though, Ivor and I really want to travel more in the future and let our kids experience other places, cultures, etc. It’s really important to us, so we want them to start getting used to it now. And the more you do something, the more comfortable you get with it. Before going to the grocery store with 2 kids by myself for the first time, I was also terrified. But after doing it once, and surviving, I had the confidence to do it again.

2. We think car seats were a good idea on the plane. There were times we said “never again”, because of the ordeal it was trying to get them onto the actual plane and get them installed while the kids were melting down, BUT, in hindsight we think it was probably worth it. Of course we don’t know what it would’ve been like without them. But since the actual flight time was pretty smooth for the kids and they both fell asleep at some point and were comfortable, we think it worked well. The alternative of course, is checking our car seats and risking the possibility of them getting damaged, or not bringing them at all and renting them once we got to our destination. That’s something we might consider in the future when the kids are older (when they’re big enough to sit on the plane without a child restraint system). But we liked the idea of using the car seats we’re familiar with and already know how to install.

3. Choose a better rental car company 🙂

 

Ok, so let’s move on to our actual time in Philly!

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To prevent this from being too long and wordy, I’ll just do bullet points to highlight stuff. It might still get wordy though, just fyi 🙂

*The night we arrived, Gwen was WIRED. So excited to be there and play with her cousin’s toys, see family she recognized from video chats, etc. She did not want to go to bed. And she only slept about 4 hours that night.

*While saying goodnight to Gramma and Pop-Pop, Gwen told them, “Go have lunch now, okay?”

*Gwen helping “Uncle Wichie” every morning make “coffee milk”, pack Olivia’s lunch and feed the dog & cat

*The kids meeting Aunt Nichole for the first time!

*And meeting “G-Mom” and soooo many other people too, for the very first time.

*The joint birthday party we threw for Gwen and Ivor Baby (it was 2 months after Gwen’s 2nd birthday and a few weeks before Ivor’s 1st). We wanted to celebrate it with all the family and friends that can’t always make it out to CA for their birthdays. It was a pretty awesome party. We are so grateful we were able to do it, and that so many people came! But you all got them WAY too many gifts lol. Seriously. We had to buy an extra suitcase for the trip back home 😛

*Our friends got married! Ivor was in the wedding, and also did the sound, lights and DJ stuff. I took the photos. It was a good time 🙂

*Gwen and Ivor Baby meeting Wyatt and Emma, their future spouses 😉

* Date night in Philly at Amada

*Seeing our Philly house again. So much progress has been made, I hardly recognized it! Except for when we walked into our old bedroom (which was always the finished part of the house). I got a little emotional. That was our first bedroom as a married couple. The hardwood floors, the exposed brick wall, the view of the giant milk jug out the window. Sigh…. memories.

*Ivor Baby meeting his “Pappy Fish” for the first time and having 3 generations of Ivor Griffiths in the same room

*The fact that Pappy Fish and Nana Sam drove all the way up from South Carolina to see us!

*Memorial Day picnic in Skook with Ivor’s family, (meeting several of them for the first time too). Gwen going back and forth between 3 different slides “red one….blue one….yellow one….” and on and on lol.

*Seeing my best friends and all the babies!

*Sesame Place. It was HOT and there were waaaaaaay too many people (which is bound to happen on a holiday weekend), but it was still a good trip and Gwen had a blast, especially in the water park (which is not at all surprising).

*Doing a cute craft that Erica put together for the kids- hand and feet prints on a flower pot for Gramma’s new house upstate.

There are probably so many other things I’m forgetting right now. But overall, it was a really great trip. I learned 2 things about my kids. Gwen is super adaptable. Ivor Baby is not. Gwen had no problems whatsoever being in a new environment, surrounded by new people. Ivor Baby, well, he wanted to cling to what was familiar (me). Not the WHOLE time, but way more than is typical for him. I could tell this the most when we got home. He was SO happy to be back in a familiar environment, his face lit up with happiness and he crawled around all over the place, played with his toys, laughed, etc. I wish everyone could’ve seen that side of him, instead of the super fussy/clingy side. But, he’s just a baby. Hopefully next time when he’s older it won’t be like that 🙂

I’m not sure when we’ll be back again, but for now, we have lots of great memories to hold on to. And we’re looking forward to you all flying out to CA to see us next 😉

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Flying With Kids/Philly Trip 2015 Part 1

I wanted to share our experience flying with kids for the first time, and a general overview of our trip to Philly. It’s way too much for just one post, so here’s the first one!

First up, Flying With Kids.

In the months leading up to our trip, I asked for several recommendations from other parents, researched blogs/Pinterest/etc. for all the tips on flying with kids. The idea of it was giving me anxiety (you hear horror stories of babies on planes and people giving you that look when they see little kids on the flight), so it helped me a lot to go into it prepared (or at least FEELING prepared) to be THAT family.

Car Seats or No Car Seats?

The first thing we had to decide was if we were flying with or without car seats, if we were checking them or bringing them on the plane, and if we were going to get Ivor Baby his own seat (or have him as a “lap child”). I follow a facebook group on car seat safety pretty closely and the recommendations are always to have babies secured in a restraint system while on the plane. You might think “will it really make a difference if the plane crashes?” Well, maybe not. But it’s not just for a worst case scenario, sometimes really bad turbulence or a rough landing can cause lap babies to become projectiles. Maybe it’s rare, but I’d rather err on the side of caution. And the thought of holding a squirmy baby (even my adorable cuddly baby boy) for almost 6 hours in an uncomfortable plane seat, isn’t super appealing. So, we decided he’d get his own seat on the plane, in his car seat, even if it did cost us extra money. Someone also recommended it to me (especially for their very first trip) so that they’d be in something familiar and feel more secure. I liked the sound of that. And so, that’s what we did. We brought both car seats on the plane with us. We got them through the airport by attaching them to each of our carry-on suitcases with these straps (that someone recommended to me). Note: we didn’t use them as strollers. I pushed Gwen in a single umbrella stroller (that we gate checked), and I wore Ivor Baby in my Ergo. Ivor carried all the luggage.

A quick review of the straps (this comes from my husband, who’s the one who had to deal with it): “Great idea, horrible execution”. They worked (we made them work). But they could’ve been designed so much better.

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Distractions

Things we brought on the plane to occupy/pacify the kids:

*Pacifier and blanky for both of them
*Tablet with a few movies downloaded and some episodes of Gwen’s favorite show, Daniel Tiger (she didn’t watch any of the movies, but repeated the same DT episodes over and over…)
*Headphones for Gwen to wear while using the tablet
*New books (that we waited to show her until we got on the plane- “new and exciting things! yay!”)
*WaterWow color books
*Sticker book
*Snacks, snacks, snacks
*Food pouches for Ivor Baby
*Sippy cups and water

Note: You can bring “reasonable” amounts of liquids on the plane for babies (milk, formula, baby food, etc.) Just make sure you let the TSA agents know you have it when you get to security and show it to them. They say to only bring what you would reasonably need for the whole flight. So, don’t go crazy or anything.

The Worst Parts

Overall, I can’t complain that much. The kids were troopers. Both travel days were loooong. So there were inevitably a few rough spots here and there. But God sent me another toddler in the Philly airport screaming and thrashing like a maniac being carried sideways by her dad, to make me feel a little better about my situation 😛 Isn’t that horrible? Ivor and I looked at each other like “see…it could’ve been a lot worse”. Don’t judge…you know you do it too. For the record, I didn’t judge them….I thought “Dude, I’m sorry…been there” right alongside my other thought of “glad I’m not there right now”.

So, the rough spots that I can recall: they had to take Gwen’s blanky and water bottle away to go through the scanner at security (she had been holding them). I read about that and forgot. Oops. She melted down a little and yelled at them “hey that’s Gwen’s!!!” But that whole process was faster than I thought it would be (yay for the expedited family line!) The TSA workers were really helpful, understanding, and of course, wanted us to move along as quickly as possible.

Boarding the plane. Ugh. By far the most stressful part of both flights (there and back). We discovered that our car seats are too wide to fit down the aisle of the plane. So Ivor had to take them off of the suitcase and carry each one of them to our row (the flight attendants helped him with this on the way TO Philly, but on the way back they just stared at him like “sucks to be you”). Then he had to figure out how to install them in the seats.  Meanwhile, Ivor Baby was tired of being in the Ergo so he was freaking out, and Gwen just wanted to run to the back of the plane and explore. So both times the kids had zero patience and loudly expressed their frustrations. It only lasted a few minutes probably, but it felt like 30, at least. I thought that was setting the tone for the rest of the flight, but thankfully the flight itself was pretty smooth.

On the way there (to Philly), both kids were really great during the flight. Ivor Baby slept for the first hour or so. Gwen watched lots of DT. The only major fussing was by Gwen at the end of the flight. She had JUST fallen asleep right before we started to descend. So she was just cranky in general. I was prepared with pacifiers, snacks and water for the descent (things to chew/suck on to help with their ears popping) and that seemed to work.

On the way back (to CA), Gwen was really scared of the take-off part. I’m not sure how she missed it during the first flight, but she was pretty terrified this time :-/ Ivor Baby was also super cranky in the beginning of this flight. I gave him lots of food, then he took a nice long nap. Gwen also napped mid-way through the flight. It was glorious. It was really exhausting having to constantly hand her things, fix the tablet (because she loves touching the touch screen and turns off her show as a result), etc. Ivor and I tag-teamed a bit. Especially when she started kicking the seat in front of her (!)

Highlights

Perhaps there were people annoyed by the fact that we brought 2 very small children on a plane, but no one was rude enough to say it out loud. In fact, we experienced quite the opposite. People offered to help carry stuff. Some commented with admiration saying how brave we were, etc. The couple that Ivor sat next to on the way to Philly actually stayed and waited with us until the whole plane de-boarded to help us with the car seats. Faith in humanity, restored. And overall, I can’t believe how well the kids did with all of the traveling, especially on the way TO Philly. The President went and caused a ruckus at the airport the day we arrived (he was in Camden that day or something), so we sat for AN HOUR on the plane, after it landed. Just sitting there. Then once we got into the airport, there was a sea of people in the terminals. A SEA. Moving at a snail’s pace. It was hot. And there were people. Not moving. And I had been up since 4am. Then we had to go to the rental car place to pick up our car. I won’t mention names, but you certainly get what you pay for. We went with a cheaper company, and they were extremely incompetent. We reserved (in advance) a certain size vehicle and when we got there, it wasn’t available. So they “upgraded” us to a smaller vehicle. Gee, thanks. And it took them forever. And the girl working there told us we had a Prius waiting for us, “it’s right over there” she says. No, there was no Prius. It was a Ford something or other. “Oh yeah, that one” -_-

Anyway….The kids held it together way better than I did. They are my heroes.

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Stay tuned for Part 2: A Summary of “Flying with Kids” and a recap of the trip (the part that happened between the flights) 🙂

12-Month Update (Ivor Alan)

I’m a little behind on this post for several reasons. 1. I’m in denial that he’s a year old 2. We’ve been busy bees–just getting back from our trip to PA- and STILL catching up on laundry (we came home with more stuff than we left with!), editing photos from the wedding I shot, doing dishes, looking at potential houses to buy, etc. etc. And 3. Generally the monthly updates are positive and include all the fun new things he’s doing and how he’s growing, but he’s been struggling with a few things recently and I just haven’t felt like writing about it, until now.

The biggest issue we’ve had is his weight. Right around 10 months, my milk supply dipped big time. So I thought it’d be a good time to start weaning him. Well, weaning was not something he was AT ALL interested in. He refused a bottle, and a cup (and I tried 23947 kinds of cups), and wouldn’t drink anything, except from me. But again, mama’s milk was running low (and my attempt at weaning just made it worse). So for 2 months, he ate solid foods but had very little to drink. I  could tell he lost weight, and his doctor’s appointment confirmed it. He lost almost 3lbs between his 9 month and his 12 month check up 🙁 He hasn’t been ill, and he’s generally pretty happy and active. They did some blood work on him and everything came back normal, thankfully. So we’re pretty certain the weight loss is just from lack of calories (low milk supply and refusal to drink anything else). His pediatrician recommended we see a GI doctor too and THAT doctor kinda scared the crap out of me. His pediatrician was concerned, but not too freaked out by it. The GI doctor, on the other hand, looked at his growth chart and emphasized how “terrible” the drop in weight is, how thin he looks, that she wants him tested for Celiac’s Disease, starts talking about using a feeding tube (as a last resort), recommended we see an occupational therapist to get him to drink from something and tell them it’s “urgent” so we don’t have to be on a waiting list, etc. “Terrible” “Feeding Tube” “Urgent”. Not words you want to hear at your baby’s doctor appointment!  She even mentioned “emergency” too I believe (in the context of getting us into a child’s clinic that usually has a long wait).

The GI doctor also gave us some PediaSure samples to try in the meantime though, to see if he’d drink that. Well, after a day or so…he did! Up until this point, the best luck I’d had getting him to drink anything was either from a regular cup or a food pouch. So we started with PediaSure in a food pouch, and once that was successful, I tried an actual sippy cup (without the leak stopper, so he’d have more immediate results)- he fought it a bit at first, but a day later he drank from it without a fight (and finished it!) This is a miracle, people. He went a loooong time freaking out at the sight of bottle or cup, pushing it away and turning his head. So, this is huge. As soon as I see an improvement in his weight, I’m going to stop giving him PediaSure though. Even now I’m diluting it with regular milk, because it is so loaded with sugar and a million other ingredients. Ugh. I hate giving it to him. But I’m so so thankful that he’s finally given in and embraced the sippy cup and something other than breastmilk. He’s getting a lot more calories now. He goes back in for a weight check next week, so I hope to have some good news! Keep him in your prayers.

Developmentally, there a few things Gwen was doing by now that he’s not (not that I should compare of course). But part of me thinks it’s because of his weight and that he’s not quite strong enough yet- like pulling himself up to stand and walking along while holding furniture. He can stand on his own while holding onto something, but again, doesn’t pull himself up to get there and certainly hasn’t started to walk yet. He crawls all over the place though, feeds himself (finger foods), he’s quick and sneaky, and smiley and cuddly. As recent events have confirmed, he is indeed stubborn and resistant to change. It takes him awhile to get used to something new. While we were away in PA, I could tell he was uncomfortable and not quite himself in a new environment surrounded by new people, etc. He was extra clingy and fussy. But the day we got home (after a meal and diaper change) he was happy as a clam and crawled all over the living room, played with his toys, all while smiling and laughing. He was so happy to be home 🙂

A year sure does fly by. It’s hard to believe that my little baby boy will soon be entering toddlerhood, right alongside his big sister. His sister is a fire cracker, full of life and energy, and he brings a nice peaceful calm to the room (and to anyone who comes in contact with him). He can make you melt by laying his little head on your shoulder and letting out a happy sigh. Looking up at you with his big brown doe eyes, and flashing you the sweetest smile, complete with complimentary dimple. He has forever stolen my heart!

Happy 1 year Ivor Baby. We love you!

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Mother’s Day Hope

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There’s a story behind this flower that I’d like to share with everyone. I’ve written about the topic a few times, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this little flower that has a whole lot of meaning.

At this time 3 years ago, I had just suffered the end of my very first pregnancy. An early miscarriage. As if that alone isn’t hard enough, the timing of it added a little extra sting.

“Really, God? RIGHT before Mother’s Day?” Ugh.

I was still in shock and trying to wrap my head around what had just happened. It was like my pregnancy ended before it even began. That’s how fast it happened. A drastic descent from the high of seeing a positive pregnancy test (after trying for about 9 months), to the low of that first ultrasound, when we were told it was over. Just, over. All of this happened within the span of a few short weeks.

My parents were in town over Mother’s Day weekend, so we wanted to bring them to our church then visit a local winery afterward (I wasn’t pregnant anymore, so why not drink some wine?!) I knew church would probably be hard, as most of them always make a point to recognize the holiday and all the moms in the congregation. Which they did, at the end of service. They had little kids go around handing flowers to all the moms. At first, I thought, “well, this sucks”. Not that I would’ve expected a flower anyway. I wasn’t a mother yet, even if I wouldn’t have miscarried. But I would’ve been excited about becoming one soon. So, there was still something about it that caused my heart to ache.

Then right as we were about to leave the sanctuary, an adorable little boy came over to me, looked up into my eyes with a smile on his face, and handed me a flower. I’m not sure what about me looked like a mother. I didn’t have any kids with me.But I took the flower from him anyway, said “thank you”, while holding back tears.

You’d think that would’ve been like throwing a heaping pile of salt into my open wound. But it wasn’t. It was like God gently telling me, “just because that little life is no longer growing inside you anymore, doesn’t mean it was never there.” You’re never just “a little pregnant”. You’re either pregnant, or you’re not. There is no in-between. And I was pregnant. It did happen. Even for those few precious weeks that I eagerly anticipated our first baby. Wondered if it was a boy or girl. Thought about names. How we would announce it. What the baby would look like. How cool it would’ve been if the baby was born on 12/12/12 (which was my due date). I started researching breastfeeding. Childbirth and labor. All the stuff expecting moms do. And I loved and cared for that little life. Like a mom does. I was a mom.

But that flower was also a sign of hope. God knew my desire to have kids was still there, and would be fulfilled someday, even though I didn’t know it then. I had no idea in that sanctuary 3 years ago, that a year later I’d be holding my precious Gwendolyn. And that 2 years later, I’d be expecting my little Ivor. And that today, 3 years later, I have my 2 adorable little miracles here to hold and give lots of hugs and kisses to. They are such a gift and I don’t take them for granted. I remember reading something somewhere that the more shocking statistic isn’t the number of miscarriages that occur, but the number of actual live births. The process is so very complex, intricate and delicate. So many things have to go right and fall into place perfectly for it to be successful. so it’s not that surprising that it doesn’t always go right. But when it does? That’s why they call it the “miracle of life”, right?

Mother’s Day is a nice holiday. It’s a tough job and it’s nice to be recognized and to celebrate with our families. But please remember the other moms around you who are hurting, and be sensitive to them. In any given church congregation, there will be women who have suffered a miscarriage, lost a child, or struggle with infertility. And they deserve flowers too.

To those moms, I recognize you. I see you. I’ve been you. I wish I could give you all hugs.

Please don’t lose hope! Even when it seems all is lost…God can do a whole lot more than you could even imagine. He is faithful and he knows your tomorrow. He can see what’s ahead for you, when all you can see is darkness and hopelessness. Trust Him.

 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”- Ephesians 3:20-21

 

 

 

11-Month Update (Ivor Alan)

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This guy is almost a year old. Seriously. How. Does. That. Happen?!

11 months. Here we go!

Temper. Like his sister, dude can throw a tantrum. This morning was the best (meaning worst, by far). I took the remote away from him, so he screamed, laid face-down on the floor and when I handed him something else to play with, he threw it across the room.

Eating like a teenage boy. He must be going through a growth spurt because no amount of food seems to satisfy him recently. At some point I just have to cut him off, and then he goes into a food coma with that “ughhhhh I ate too much…..why did you let me eat that much?!” look on his face.

Speaking of food, he does the sign for “all done” (except in the above scenario), but we’re still working on “more please”. His way of communicating “more” is by kicking his feet with a very excited look on his face and clicking his tongue.

He’s still nursing…but I’m really hoping to wean him soon. I actually tried about 2 months ago but he is very resistant to change and refused. No bottle. No sippy cup. No formula. Just me. Sigh… We’re going to try again soon and when we do, it will probably be cold turkey. He shall be cut off completely from the boob. It’s time, little man.

He’s sleeping so much better, consistently (thank you Jesus!). He and Gwen both go to bed at 7pm and sleep until 6:30-7ish am. He fusses occasionally, but can quickly go back to sleep without needing me to go in and soothe. Huge difference from a few months ago!

Still mama’s boy and quite the cuddler.

Does really well in the church nursery and at MOPS (so I can get a break).

Well, let’s bring on the final month of his first year!

::quietly sobs::

 

 

 

A Blessing in the Busyness

Being insanely busy is not ideal. It has a lot of downfalls. In the chaos of “work work work”, “go go go”, it can be difficult to connect. With God, and with each other. But that is the season of life we are in at this moment. We have 2 small kids. A house in Philly (still in the process of renovating). Our own business to run here in the Bay Area, which requires a lot of our time and energy to get going (and The Griffiths don’t half-ass things, we go all in). It’s not like this all the time, there are slow periods. And it’s not how we want things to go forever. That said, I’ve found a blessing in the midst of it all.

I get asked a lot by friends “how do you and your husband find time for each other being so busy (between the kids and the business)?” And it got me thinking…I wonder if things would be different if we weren’t so busy. Being busy has caused us to be very intentional about our time together. Because it doesn’t just happen naturally right now, we have to make an effort to ensure that it happens. And we make the most of it when it does.

During the “slow periods” (normal daily grind seasons of life), it can be very easy to get stuck in a rut. Sit on the couch and stare at the TV all night. That tends to be our rut. But when things are crazy and we haven’t spent much time together, sitting on the couch and staring at a screen is just not acceptable and I don’t allow it to happen 🙂

So here are the things we do (I shared something like this before …but it’s worth mentioning again).

1. First of all, this wouldn’t happen if we both didn’t agree that marriage is a priority, over everything else (save for our individual relationships with God of course). We could easily put marriage on the back-burner while we raise our kids and run our business. But that’s not the kind of commitment we made to each other on July 17, 2010. Like I said earlier, we’re all in. Putting the kids first, or work first, while our  marriage suffers, is not something we’re going to let happen. Though Satan tries his hardest, he has failed and will continue to fail in all of his efforts. That is all.

2. Date nights. We do a “babysitting exchange” with a friend once a month. I watch their kid while they go out on a date, and she watches our kids so we can go out. It saves us money by not having to pay a sitter and it’s something we actually plan and schedule. Intention. And we have a “radio silence” rule while we’re out (no checking cell phones or tablets, texting or emailing anyone etc.) We have other “date nights” at home too sometimes. After the kids are in bed, we drink wine, eat cheese, rent a movie, talk, etc. Same radio silence rule applies. This is something I’d actually like to do more of. Right now it’s kind of spontaneous and sparse. So, room for improvement here 🙂

3. Working out together.  I’m not saying all couples should do this specific thing (though it does have amazing benefits, for the overall health of your body AND your marriage) but find something fun, challenging, and different to do together that you both enjoy. This is how we got out of our “sit and watch TV” rut. Every night after the kids go to bed, we start Rushfit. It only takes an hour, and then if Ivor needs to get more work done, he does it after. We committed to it and we’re doing it together. Heckling each other (he gets called a pansy or princess on a regular basis), encouraging each other, challenging each other, etc. It doesn’t hurt that he looks pretty hot at the end of the workout.

4. Going to bed at the same time. There is something important about ending the day together I think. At least for me. It just feels wrong (and lonely) going to bed alone (as a married woman). This doesn’t mean we fall asleep at the same time by the way. I tend to be the one who passes out first. And Ivor will read or something if he’s not tired yet. But being in the same room, in the same bed, at the end of a crazy day with the kids (or a crazy day at the office) is a way of unwinding. It’s like a big sigh. No matter what happened that day, whether it was a good day or a bad day, we still have each other. We’re still husband and wife. We’re each other’s constant. We might talk about the day, or we might not talk at all. But we’re both present. Does that make sense? There are very few instances where we don’t do this (like if I’m tired at a ridiculously early time, like 8pm…which happens occasionally, I won’t ask him to come up with me. I know I’m just going to immediately pass out anyway. Or when he has a late night gig or something). But whenever possible, we make it happen.

5. Working together. I can’t help him work on Google stuff obviously (top secret confidential…and ya know, I have no idea how to do what he does). But our business (Bitwise Productions), is our business. So we work on things together whenever we can. He has his part and I have my part, but there are still plenty of things we can do together. That way we can make “work” another way to bring us together instead of keeping us apart. That is the blessing of running a business from home. And the nature of our business (event production) is actually kind of fun. And we get to see just how good of a team we make. Ivor’s the business guy. The big picture guy. He’s the entertainer. And I handle all the details behind the scenes. We need each other. His weakness is my strength and vice versa. We are a team. And that’s why I think our business will be successful.

So that’s where we are right now. We don’t do this perfectly all the time. It’s not the ideal situation we want to be in. I get frustrated and discouraged at times. But instead of letting the busyness put a strain on our marriage, we’re doing our best to make it stronger. While it would be nice to have more quantity time together, the quality time we’re getting now is pretty awesome and we’re not taking that for granted.

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10-Month Update (Ivor Alan)

Goodness, I’m even more behind with this update than the last one. Things have picked up this month with the business and I’ve had to keep track of all sorts of details, which is proving to be quite a challenge while running on very little sleep and living with demanding little humans. Diapers, dishes, laundry, snacks, nursing, milk in a sippy cup, water in the “wawa bottle”, Daniel Tiger, Finding Nemo, helping Ivor design light shows (which, by the way, is super fun), sending emails, more dishes, more diapers…..and on and on and on it goes. The days have been a blur.

And that’s what April has looked like so far.

And that’s my long excuse for being late with this update 🙂

But here it is!

The first week after he turned 10 months old, he decided to stop sleeping. First it started at 5am. He woke up, refused to go back to sleep. Then the next night it was 3am. Then 11:30pm. His waking up and screaming got earlier every night and it was really difficult to get him to go back to sleep. Typically if and when he wakes during the night, he’s easily pacified and goes right back to sleep. But not this particular week. It was the longest week of my life (well, since we first brought him home). Because he shares a room with Gwen, I’ve never wanted to just let him cry for very long in there. So I’d take him downstairs. I’d lay on the couch and he’d fall asleep in his bouncer. For almost a week I was sleeping on the couch (and not because of a fight with my husband….but because of a very needy fussy baby who only wanted mama, and his bouncer). But that got old quickly. And I didn’t want to encourage that sort of sleeping habit. The kid needs to sleep in his own crib. And I need to sleep in my own bed with my husband. Preferably for at least 4 solid hours. At LEAST. So we did some sleep training with him (which we never needed to do with Gwen, she was always a great sleeper). And he has slept straight through the night the last few nights in a row! I’m starting to feel a little more human again.

::fingers crossed::

So other new things (and forgive me if I’ve mentioned some of these in his last update…like I said, days blur):

He eats food. Real food. I am no longer his sole source of nourishment. He eats most everything. Except for bananas and greek yogurt. Which is funny because that’s Gwen’s favorite breakfast (that she asks for every day….with blueberries). Anyway,  except for those 2 things, he’s loved everything. Finally.

He’s starting to stand better with support. He doesn’t pull himself up yet. But he’s nice and sturdy if I hold his hands. As opposed to the jello legs he used to have when I tried it before.

Still only has 2 teeth (the bottom ones).

His little personality is coming out even more, and there are quite a few glimpses of Gwen actually – loud and feisty! That’s not his normal mode, but it comes out every once in awhile. He also has some pretty funny facial expressions. I’ve known about his flirtatious charming face (raising one eyebrow with a smirk), he’s been pulling that one on me for months. But he also shows looks of confusion, surprise, “what the…?” …like this one:

 

A video posted by Krystal Griffiths (@klgriff7) on

Happy 10 months Mr. Ivor! We love you!

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Dear Gwendolyn

You are 2 years old today! I can hardly believe how much you’ve grown since March 23rd, 2013 when you first arrived and turned our worlds upside down. From the very beginning you’ve been a passionate, spirited little thing. As you’re getting older and leaving babyhood behind, that loud & fiery personality is coming out even more. It can be quite a challenge sometimes for me and Daddy to reign you in, but we never want that spark in you to go away. You’ll learn, we hope, to use that passion for good someday and not evil 😉 But you have another side to you too, that’s sweet, caring, compassionate and polite.

You love your little brother and love to help me take care of him. You tell us when he’s crying. You bounce him. You give him his pacifier, and lots of hugs and kisses. You’re not a huge fan of sharing toys with him right now, but we’ll work on that. He is very lucky to have a big sister like you!

Speaking of hugs and kisses, you have made it your duty to ensure that Daddy always gives kisses to every member of our household before he leaves for work in the morning. “Ivor kisses!” “now, Mommy kisses!” “now, Gwen kisses!” and occasionally, “Mooltin (Milton, the cat) kisses!” Same at bedtime.

You’re going through a “helping” phase that I hope lasts a long time 🙂 You love to help me clean the floor after you throw food on it (sometimes on purpose, sometimes accidentally). You love to help me with laundry (handing me the clothes out of the laundry basket so I can fold them). You love helping Daddy cook in the kitchen (homemade granola is your specialty). And recently, you’ve even tried undressing your brother so that you could help change his diaper. Thankfully, you were caught in time.

Whenever someone coughs or makes a loud noise of some sort, you always ask with concern, “okay mommy?” (“are you okay?)

You’ve become a backseat driver. “Whoa daddy, whoa!” “Careful daddy, careful!”. I have no idea where you got that from…………………

You have very good manners. Sometimes you need to be prompted, but most of the time you say “please” and “thank you” all on your own.

You still love food. It’s very rare that you won’t eat something. However, the other day you did try some sushi for the first time (not w/raw fish, it was a California roll and a Chicken Teriyaki Roll), but you weren’t a big fan. You tried a few bites and then said “no fanks daddy, I don’t yike it” in the sweetest little voice. It was adorable. You then asked for celery and bell peppers instead (!) We’ll never force you to eat something you don’t like, as long as you at least try it first. Thankfully, you like most things, so we lucked out on that one with you 🙂

Speaking of your vocabulary and all the things you say, here are some of our favorites:

“Hmm lemme fink” while you place one finger on your chin.

“Oh yes! Great idea!”

“I poop everywhere!” ….at every single diaper change, whether you actually pooped or not.

“Fank you mommy, fank you daddy”

“Fank you God”

“What?”

“Oh boy!!!”

“Meelk time!” (“meelk” = milk)

“My fav-a-wite cowor” about ALL the colors

“I jump in waah-er too-day”

“O-gain” (again)

“I kick a ball too-day?”

“Yay! I see ’em ah-fwiends!” (translation: Yay! I’m going to see my friends)

You love Daniel Tiger (borderline obsessed). Elmo. Puppies. Soccer. Playing with sticks and grass. Fishies and the ocean. Music (you memorize and sing along to songs, but you can sometimes get shy like mommy does when someone’s actually paying attention to you). You love to draw and color. You know the alphabet and can count to 20 *almost* perfectly (the teens throw you off sometimes). You know basic shapes and colors and so much more. We are so amazed by how quickly you’ve learned those things and how much you continue to learn every day. You are an amazing little girl and we love you very much!

Happy 2nd birthday Gwen!

Love,

Daddy, Mommy and Ivor Baby (and Mooltin)

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9 Month Update (Ivor Alan)

I’m about a week late with this update (he officially turned 9 months on March 2nd). I also got really behind on his weekly photos. And that’s about how this past month has been. We’ve been battling colds, busy out and about, running errands, etc. But a lot sure has happened since his last update! Well, maybe not a lot…just 1 or 2 significant things.

Crawling! He’s a super fast army crawler, and occasionally he’ll crawl regular-style (on his knees), but still prefers army style. He transitions really well from crawling to sitting and is starting to show interest in pulling himself up to standing. He won’t actually try it…but I can see it in his eyes…he’s thinking about it. I am in NO rush. I had to reset my mind (and my living room) again once he became mobile. I can trust Gwen around certain things now, but little Ivor…not so much. Also, he’s like our cat in that he always finds himself right under our feet (or his sister’s)…he’s fast, and sneaky.

The other big thing this month (and this has been life changing for me)…he goes to bed at the same time as Gwen. You might be thinking, “why is this a big deal?” Well…because they share a room. And previous attempts at putting them down at the same time were unsuccessful. If Gwen knew her brother was in the room, she assumed it was party time. And she’d just talk and laugh and play. Neither of them would go to sleep. And eventually little Ivor would get annoyed and start screaming. And putting him down first never seemed like a good idea, because Gwen is way too loud and would wake him up during her bedtime routine. So up until this point, Gwen would go to bed at 7pm, and little Ivor would just hang out in his bouncy seat downstairs until he fell asleep. Then once I was confident Gwen was asleep, I’d sneak him up there and lay him down. But that got old. And he wasn’t sleeping well (he would wake up and get distracted being downstairs). So I determined that they were going to have the same bedtime (in the same room) and that they’d just have to adapt and get used to it. And after only a few days, they did! They might chat for a bit at first, but soon enough they both get quiet and drift off to sleep. I don’t know why I didn’t just stick out a little longer the first time I tried it. It’s SO nice to just have them both up there together at the same time, and be downstairs alone (or alone with my husband).

Regarding sleep….we’re still not sleeping through the night. It happens occasionally, but not consistently. I’ve stopped nighttime nursing altogether though. So when he wakes up I just go in, put his pacifier back in his mouth, blankey by his face, then go back to bed. It’s quick most of the time…but still rough having my sleep interrupted a few times a night :-/

His stats at his 9-month checkup: 28 inches long, 19lbs.

Oh, and we started swim lessons (both for him and Gwen). We’re doing a beginner “parent and me” class. It’s very basic, just to get them comfortable in the water. “Parent and me” means that we’re the ones actually doing the exercises with them, not the instructor (they just tell us what to do). In the future they can get private lessons, but for now we thought it’d be fun (and more comfortable for them, mostly Gwen) if we did it with them. And this little guy LOVES it. He is so happy and content in the water and floats on his back like a pro. He loves splashing with his hands (which I already knew from bath-time), now we just have to work on kicking his feet. My little water baby 🙂

Happy 9 months Ivor Baby! (what Gwen calls him). We love you!!

Ivor Alan 9 Month Photo copy

 

Perspective

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Every once in a while we forget how blessed we are. Several nights ago my husband and I had a conversation about this. Sometimes we forget where we live. The job my husband came from in PA. And the amazing benefits of his current job.

For example…

He’s about to have 2 months off for paternity leave. The fact that he receives such a generous leave is something I don’t take for granted. He gets 3 months total to use within the first year of his child being born. He took 1 month off initially, and after next week, he’s taking the final 2 months. Seriously. As much as I complain about the amount of hours required of him and how even when he’s home from work, he’s just home from the office, and often still needs to work while he’s at home, the benefits and perks really make up for it. I mean, the fact that I said to him on the phone this morning “I’m going to make a list of pat leave projects today!” and we were both excited about it, is just kind of crazy to me. That we have even have enough time for such things.

Also, my list won’t just be “projects” by the way. It is paternity leave, after all. A time to spend with your new baby. So it won’t be all “clean and organize the garage” (though that is a top priority lol). The majority of the list will include things like “go to the beach”, “go for a hike”, “get Gwen a helmet and go for a bike ride”, “go pick up our wine in Napa”, “schedule swim lessons for the kids”, “visit the children’s museum, the zoo, the aquarium” and other things like that. And we’re also hoping to finally film season 1 of Drop The Beet! That is a project, but it’s also something fun we can work on together that we just haven’t had time for yet.

You might be thinking “why make a list and fill up your schedule?! Just enjoy having your husband home”. Well, I will enjoy having him home. But we like to do fun things together. There are places we want to visit and things we want to do. We could be homebodies anywhere. But we live in California. That’s the other part of this perspective thing. We live in a place with mountains, the ocean, wineries, and cities with interesting things in them. We want to take advantage of the time off to go explore those things! I stay home all the dang time. I need to get out. And my “list” is just a guide, by the way. It’s okay if we don’t get to everything  and I’m not necessarily going to schedule each day out for those 2 months. But again, I’m really excited and so thankful that I even have the opportunity to make such a list!

Thank you, Google, for being an amazing place to work. And although you require a lot of my husband, not many other places would give him 3 months off for paternity leave to spend with his family.

And thank you, California, for being so beautiful.

I live here:

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