Another First for Callum

Callum attended a birthday party over the weekend. It was the first social gathering like that that HE was invited to and not just as a tag along as a sibling. In fact, he was the only one who went. Well, Ian went with him. But the big kids didn't go, as it was at a toddler play place.

As you can see, he was very excited about the party. Of course, he had no clue what was going on, but he was just excited in general. I'm told he did a lot of playing by himself and ate a very large piece of cake. I call that first birthday party a success.

It made me chuckle thinking of this as the first birthday party Callum attended. The older two got invited to all our, I of course mean their ;), little friends parties. Now those kids are older and most don't have younger siblings around Callum's age. In fact, we really don't have many friends with kids around Callum's age, given we are, well, older parents. But he can hang with the older kids and hold his own. His favorite person on the planet is a boy in Isla's kindergarten class that he plays with all the time.

Callum may not be the best at talking, but he can run, push and climb up slides with all the kindergarteners like a champ. So that's something.

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The Social Media Conundrum

Its been a little while since its happened, but I'm going to pull out my soap box and dust it off for a minute.

Remember back when social media was a new thing and just seemed fun? Back before people made money off the various platforms. Back before people staged photos. Back before people ranted on and on about political things. Back before people trolled other people's posts. Back when a picture was just a picture. The lighting didn't have to be perfect. The filter either. It was just an in the moment time. Back before everyone tore everyone apart. Back before everyone was trying to sell you something.

I'm not even sure when it changed. But it did.

And here's the thing. I like the pretty pictures. I like the eloquent captions. I like hearing about your dogs, and your kids too. I love seeing your vacation photos and hearing about the funny thing that happened to you at the grocery store today...and bonus points if it was super embarrassing! I don't like the judging. I don't like the comparing. I don't like the attacking of anyone different than ourselves. Yet somehow, social media seems to bring out the cattiness, the insecurity, in far too many people.

One of the things I have learned about myself is I don't have time or the mental capacity for it anymore. I even pretty much only watch comedies for the same reason these days. I deal with enough real life on a daily basis. If I am taking time out to do something, like scrolling social media, I am doing it for a bit of a break. I enjoy pretty pictures and funny stories on that break. That doesn't mean that I don't like a thought provoking caption. But it does mean I don't want the drama. I can't stand the mom shamers attacking a mom for the chest clip not being at the perfect spot in a photo. I don't like the food shamers that attack for a meal not being healthy enough. I don't like the photo shamers that attack for a photo being staged. I don't like political fights when really no one will come out a winner. Honestly, I don't have the time or the energy for it.

And guess what I've learned to do? I've learned to unfollow the people that rub me the wrong way. The people that attack others in their posts. Just because we know each other, doesn't mean I need to follow you and be subjected to your word vomit that probably should have just stayed in your head. I've learned to block people on facebook, or mostly just stay off it. Which I tend to do these days. But it's hard because social media really has connected me back with so many people from different stages in my life that I otherwise wouldn't be easily connected with.

Then there are the people that go on rants for people unfollowing them. I literally don't understand these rants. I don't have the mental capacity to check who is following me or who is still my friend. I have a life! Not to forget, when someone is bringing you down, making you feel bad about yourself or just pissing you off, unfollowing is the more mature thing to do than say troll them with a bunch of nasty comments.

Seriously people, can we get back to the realness? Can we get back to asking for restaurant suggestions and telling about our vacations? Can we get back to funny stories about our children or showing off our home decor? Let's put to rest the things that divide us. Honestly, if you really want to change someone, have the talk with them in person, because trying to do it on social media just isn't going to do anything. This is true from everything from political stances to chest clip positions on children.

Ok, ok, I'm packing up the soap box again. Back to regularly scheduled photo spam of my children shortly.

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Isla & Callum

For so long, Callum has just been the baby. The one that they guard their things from. The one they force to do whatever they want. The one they never include. But recently, things have changed a bit.

Isla has started playing with Callum.

She has started purposely including him and doing things with him. They have this adorable little budding relationship. Callum will go curl up with Isla on the couch. He will climb up right next to her. It's so stinking cute. She will grab his hand and lead him places to go play together. It really warms my mama heart.

Given the age difference of Callum to the other two, I didn't know what to expect in terms of relationships and when/if it would start. I know some age gaps are so large relationships don't even develop until adulthood. And some siblings just never mesh together.

It's nice to see Callum not being just left all alone, blocked from the playroom. I'm not saying it still doesn't happen from time to time. They are siblings after all. But to see him getting included really makes me happy.

On a side note, it was our contractor that found the kids doing this yesterday and he responded, "Oh, how fun!" I was slightly embarrassed that they had pulled all the blankets and pillows off Isla's made bed to jump on it. But really, they were having fun. And the contractor has kids, so I am sure he gets it. If he doesn't get it, I am sure he has been in my house enough to know how we roll. Speaking of that, a subcontractor told me he liked that I was raising my kids more free, able to climb around, make mistakes and hurt themselves. Makes me wonder if they are hearing too much crying when they are over working! But we are a bit of a zoo around there, so yeah.

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The Fresno Zoo

On Monday the kids didn't have school, so we went to the zoo with friends. This was the first time we went to the Fresno Zoo and it did not disappoint. It really is nice and it is so much cheaper than the zoos in big cities close to us. I used to take the kids on trips with friends all the time, but somewhere along the way it stopped. I think all of us started to have to many kids to go anywhere together! 

I managed to leave Callum behind with my mother in law. That was nice for two reasons, one he had a cold and two, then we didn't have to deal with him wanting to run constantly. But the truth is, the main reason was so we could all ride in the same car together! It really was nice being able to focus on my older kids for a day though. At first it felt weird not having a stroller with us. I mean, I had to wear a backpack with all our things! But it was so nice going in exhibits not having to worry about parking the stroller or the stroller taking up all the space. 

The kids had so much fun running around and exploring with their friends. And I had so much fun being able to talk with my friend. It was seriously so nice having the kids entertain each other in the car and us just being able to talk with each other. It never seems that easy at home! 

A highlight at the zoo was definitely when we fed the giraffes. I had never done that anywhere before. The kids were going to do it, but Isla was scared. I tried holding her hand with mine and doing it, but she still wouldn't go for it. So I fed them...and even got some giraffe slobber on my hand ;) Connor did it by himself and really enjoyed it. 

We also had the opportunity to feed sting rays. Isla definitely steered clear of that one. Connor wanted to try, but was afraid of being bitten, so I ended up doing that as well. They suck the food out of your hand, so that was an interesting experience. Not to mention your hands end up wreaking of fish because you are feeding them sardines! 

^^ This was Isla's "Please don't make me feed the giraffe!!!" moment

^^ And me just feeding the giraffe...but you can see her big smile, just below my arm, so she obviously thought it was cool.

It was such a fun day at the zoo. We will have to go back again and bring Callum, as I am sure he would love to see all the animals. And given he is both crazy and brave, I am sure he would like to feed them too.

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Happy Valentines Day

Like most holidays after having kids, valentines day has sort of been taken over by the children. Since starting elementary school, they make these valentines boxes to collect their valentines in. I have learned, like most things in school, the parents make really cool boxes for the kids. I guess I sort of thought school was for my kids not me, so I let them take the lead on it. As you can see, Isla went a little crazy picking stuff out at the craft store. She didn't even use all the supplies she (cough, cough, I) bought! I did help her with the hot gluing, but all the placement was hers and she did each and every sticker on that box...there has to be at least a hundred! Connor went a more minimalistic approach. He made stripes on his box and he did it completely on his own. If you couldn't tell, he really likes gold.

A few days ago, I had a mom say something along the lines of, "I think it's great you are able to let your kids do their projects on their own. I just need my kids to look nicer and can't do that." It's one of those insult-complements that leaves me all....uh, thanks? As I've learned in the almost three years "I've" been in elementary school, the parents definitely fall in two categories. They either let their kids take the lead or do it all themselves. At times I have felt self conscious about kids projects they did on their own compared to say the project that a mom spent FOUR HOURS making. Yep, a mom really told me she spent four hours making a project that Connor maybe spent thirty minutes on. It's a hard line to walk though. Making sure your kid takes pride in their work while having a project sitting next to something a 40 year old did. I want them to learn to do things on their own and take pride in their work. Wow, I've really gotten off topic there!

So, valentines day, we are ready for you! The kids boxes are all made. Their valentines for their classes are all filled out. And I may have actually gotten Ian something super know, to say, "I love you and want you to know it, but also don't want to buy into the whole fake holiday thing." My kids have obviously totally bought into it. As they do with every holiday. They are ready for their parties at school. And I am ready with a little valentines treat for their lunch boxes.

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Where does the time go?

It's funny how things change and you don't even notice it. I can't tell you the last time I gave Callum a sink bath. He used to have them on the daily. Our kitchen sink practically begs for a child to be bathed in it and Callum always happily obliged. Well, obviously he has gotten older and bigger. And at some point, I guess the sink baths just stopped.

The other day, while I was making dinner, Callum was under my feet constantly, making it difficult to cook, so I decided to plop him in the sink for a bath. It had been so long that at first he resisted. Well, as soon as he saw the bubbles and water flowing, there was no more resisting and he plopped right in for a grand ole time.

But it caught me off guard, that whole things changing and not even realizing it. Kind of like me not remembering the last time Connor slept in our bed with us. Or not remembering the last time I just hung out with a friend I was once attached at the hip to. Things change. I guess that's just how life is.

Then I read this caption on instagram, "if childhood weren't so temporary, I wonder if it would be as precious." Well isn't that the freaking truth?! I think back to my own childhood and probably idealize some of the things because they can no longer happen, so I am certain I do it with my own children's childhoods!

I don't have a wrap this up in a pretty bow way of ending this post. Obviously I am over here getting emotional over sink baths. Sink baths! So how much can you really expect from me?! Now I'm off to look at my children as tiny babies and cry a bit...

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a week and a half

Callum has never been what I would call a stellar sleeper. In fact, he falls perfectly into my theory. A theory that was developed based on my own children (duh.) and has proven true three times over, so is OBVIOUSLY correct. Anyway, the theory goes that babies are either good nappers or good night sleepers, but never both. I've had one good night sleeper and two good nappers, so yeah.

Callum is a good napper. Over his lifetime, he has randomly slept through the night maybe a handful of times. Isla started sleeping through the night at two and a half, so mentally I have been counting down the time until Callum would be two and a half. It's June, in case you were wondering. But then all of the sudden, one beautiful January night, the clouds parted, the moon shone through and Callum slept through the night. And he did it again the next night. And the night after that. For fear of not wanting to jinx it, I didn't say anything to Ian. I was sure he had noticed anyway. And, I know that jinxing isn't really a thing, but it always feels like when I speak something out loud, jinxing happens. Anyway. After a week and a half, I did it. I finally said something to Ian. And we were like, "Oh yeah! Sleep has finally come to us! Our lives are amazing. This is great." Then one whole sleep later, EVERYTHING CHANGED.

I shouldn't have opened my mouth. I know. But I just had to celebrate. What has followed has been three nights of relative torture. The kid isn't just waking in the night, but screaming hysterically, inconsolably for long periods of time. I don't think it's night terrors. Connor had those and they were different. Callum is awake during these periods. Just really pissed off. I knew I shouldn't have said anything!

Someday, when I'm like 60 I'll get to sleep again. And when I do, I vow to take my crappy sleepers of grandchildren relatively often to give my poor children and their spouses a bit of uninterrupted sleep. Because really, the worst part isn't being woken over and over again in the night. It is being woken to a fully awake state, not being able to get back to sleep for two hours, then being reawaken a mere 15 minutes after you last looked at the clock and the whole cycle starting over again.

This kid sure is cute though. And somehow, miraculously, these odd sleep patterns seem to not affect his daytime moods at all. They sure do affect my daytime coffee consumption though. Good thing I know a good coffee guy.

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Simple Pleasures

The amazing weather we have had as of late has been refreshing. Sitting in the backyard, basking in the sun, hearing the sounds of my playing children tops the list for things I love to do. I mean, anytime you can enjoy the sun in weather that is not to hot or not to cold is just about perfect for me. And the sunny days seem to be calling the kids names, leading them outside every afternoon.

Now I get that we need the rain. In fact, I would consider myself a bit of a rain lover. The puddle jumping. The dreary day spent up cozy inside the house. The sound of the rain on an umbrella or the top of the car. The look of the rain drops on a window. I love it all.

But every year, when spring comes around (yeah, I know it's too early for spring), it feels like a breath of fresh air. Moving from cozy days indoors to fun days outside. Slowing down to read a book while the kids play. Enjoying a la croix while I read...and trying to defend said la croix against little hands that want to steal it. It's all a bit blissful, if you ask me.

Spring time is one of my loves...well, if you take aways tax season and school schedules. But the weather. The time outside. The light. Everyone's moods. I'll take it all.

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