Sunday, April 19, 2015

Carving out the life we want to live

I haven't been posting much to the blog a lot because life has been so exciting lately and I never seem to have the spare moment. We are in such a happy groove as a family O' five. A lot of the balance that has been lacking in our lives was restored this past year. The big boys are developing their own interests at almost 4 and almost 7 years old and we've been trying to nurture those as best we can. With them, we no longer have to focus so much attention on the basics like personal care since they take care of most of that on their own. In many ways it feels like a huge weight has been lifted and parenting has become much more enjoyable. We're appreciating each stage of babyhood and the last of the "firsts" with Noah and not wishing them away.

We've been looking at our finances and trying to better align them with our values, goals, and the things that make us happiest. Our family budget (which I just realized I need to write an update post on!) is split into several categories: housing, transportation, food, child care, vacation/sports, debt, investments, and entertainment/clothing. We're trying to consciously evaluate and maximize our happiness in each of the areas. More than ever before, we're at a really happy place.

A significant focus has been balancing each members interests and needs in terms of both time and money, particularly around vacations, sports, and entertainment. We've been trying to prioritize activities where we see potential for growing our own individual and shared interests into collective "family" interests. For us, some of these things are skiing/snowboarding, boating, fishing, skating, and travel. Having these collective interests will allow us to spend more time together as a family. For example, R loves to snowboard. I took ski lessons when I was younger and have decent ability. For the past few winters, we've taken the big boys out to the hill on a pair of second hand kid skis. This year, B took snowboarding lessons and loved it.  I'm planning on taking snowboarding lessons next year. If my attempt doesn't go well then the following year I'll go back to skiing and take lessons to improve my skills. We're really excited at the prospect of being able to go as a family to the hill and to go on awesome winter vacations to places like Blue Mountain, Mont Tremblant, or Banff (much later on).

We also just made a big family purchase this Spring ... a boat has been on our wish list for a really long time. Boating, fishing, and water sports were a significant part of R's upbringing and our summers together pre-kids. We're hoping to carry that on with our kids. We are so fortunate to live near so many lakes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Baby Noah turns ONE

I feel slightly broken record-ish because each month reflecting back I feel the same but I can't believe my baby is 1. I've never felt sad to see the boys get older or reach new milestones but my heart ached a bit on April 3rd when I nursed Noah for the last time at night as an 11 month old. We've affectionately called him "Baby Noah" since his arrival and I'm wondering how long that name will stick with him.

We had a very small Easter/Birthday celebration on his actual birthday with just R's side of the family. My mom spends the winter in Florida so we'll have a little celebration with my side later this month when they get back. Each 1st birthday celebration for our boys has gotten smaller and I thought Noah's was just right. My iPhone is full which has limited my picture taking abilities but I've been liking just being present and in the moment rather than worried about capturing every moment. Thankfully, my sister-in-law took a bunch of photos with her good camera. Last week Noah had a run-in with the rocking chair so he's sporting a bruise on his forehead in his birthday photos - the first signs of toddlerhood.

This boy liked his first taste of chocolate cake!

I'm so happy I kept up with monthly blog updates on Noah. I'm not sure if I'll maintain the monthly frequency from here on out but I'm hoping I can put them into a book for him as a keepsake.
At 12 months (1 year!):

- We made it to a year of nursing! He still happily nurses at night and sometimes in the morning. 
- My mobile toddler crawls at lightening speed, pulls up on anything and everything, walks behind push toys, stands on his own regularly, and on his birthday weekend climbed the entire staircase and took his first steps to me!! It was so awesome to be home to witness his very first steps. R was in the kitchen too when it happened.  
- We've been practicing having him wear his bike helmet he got for his birthday around the house to get used to wearing it. So excited to take him out in the bike trailer this summer for family bike rides. For now he has been enjoying going for hikes in the backpack carrier and just started swimming lessons during the week with my sister and seems to like the water. 
- Socially, he is pretty shy around other people and prefers to be held by mom or dad in new situations. He looks for his brothers when they aren't around and is always happy to see them. 
- Babbling is non-stop. He says "mama", "dada", "baba", and "ya" with conviction and makes many more sounds. 

Happy Birthday to my sweet sweet boy xoxo