Friday, July 31, 2015

Maxwell Thane {18 Months}

Earlier this week we found out that our not-so-little little boy Maxo is slated to officially move up to the toddler room at school in mid-August. I knew that we were getting close, but having an actual date was a bit of a blow. My poor mama's heart struggles with the realization that no matter how hard I try to keep him little...our sweet Maxo is becoming a big boy. Last summer we were celebrating milestones like sitting upright and consistently sleeping thru the night. This year we have an independent 18 month old who is bound and determined to keep up with his big brother.

Mr. Maxwell, you are our heart and our soul.
Here are a few of our favorite pieces of you at 18 months.

Its been amazing to watch your personality develop into something so all your own. When Harrison was your age he was all about dirt and trucks. You, on the other hand, prefer things like animals, puzzles and quietly flipping through your Brown Bear, Brown Bear book. You are both serious and silly, sensitive and strong-willed, adventurous and a shy-guy. It really is the perfect combination.

There's a whole lot of goofy wrapped into that personality of yours as well, and there's not much better than the sound of your sweet giggles and big belly laughs filling our home. The best ones always come courtesy of big brother - he's teaching you everything you need to know about being silly. You dance the minute you hear music, run the minute you sense a diaper change, and will repeat any activity that you know produces a laugh from your audience.

Your face lights up when you see your Dad.  My mama heart loves watching the 2 of you together - singing "Row Row Row Your Boat" together at the dinner table, chasing each other around the kitchen island, or even just snuggled up on the couch reading your favorite books over and over.  I'm not quite sure how I got so lucky, but I'm thankful for it every day.

While you love love love your daddy, you are most definitely a mama's boy. You say "mama" approximately 1,000 times a day, and I'm more than happy to reply every single time. I'm clinging to these special days with you and pray that I never take our snuggles, your slobbery kisses, or the way you try to eat my nose when I sing you the "Apple" song at night for granted. So much love.

Every morning when I come to get you out of your crib you look at me with a big smile and ask "Hawwy?" You idolize your big brother and are constantly trying to keep up with him whether is something little like brushing your teeth or a big effort to climb into the car all by yourself. I knew that with only 17 months separating you that you would eventually be best friends - but what I didn't know was how insanely AWESOME it would be to watch your relationship grow.

You have a heart of gold and a soul that is oh so sweet. Its not unusual to to see you give a kiss to a tree in our yard or to a puzzle piece after you've helped find it's home. You give the best "I'm sorry" hugs and are quick to say please and thank you. 

Just a few odds and ends - You giggle every time I put sunscreen on you. Every. Single. Time. You're discovering your voice and learning lots of new words. Just this morning you said something that I think was supposed to be watermelon. There were way too many syllables and w's involved, but it was just about the cutest thing ever. The minute you see a hose turn on you rush to put your face in the spray of water. You have a thing for "chews" (shoes) - probably because you know that shoes generally mean that you get to go outside! If if were up to you, you would kiss every puppy that crosses your path. Even strange puppies that we meet in the park. Eek! You're somewhat of a puzzle prodigy. Your are still pretty nap dependent, but don't sleep well anywhere other than in your crib. You still suck your middle fingers and snuggle up with your "nigh-nigh" the minute we put you down to sleep. 

Oh sweet Maxo, you melt us with sweetness and always keep us on our toes.  And while I would be content with you staying little, I can't wait for more big boy adventures with you.

Happy (belated) half birthday, my love.

Photo cred to my new photographer crush, Ashley, of Ashley Crawford Photography.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mr. Three Year Old

Now that Mr. Harrison has a full month of being 3 years old under his belt, I can confidently say that this is one of my favorite ages with him. Yes, there are days (umm...yesterday...) where he makes me want to pull my hair out, but they are few and far between in comparison to the time that we spend giggling at his silly little personality and swooning over his sweetness. Three years with him feel like they have passed in a whirlwind and I'm thankful for each and every day that we get to watch him grow.

Mr. Harrison, you are our heart and our soul.  
Here are a few of our favorite pieces of YOU as a three year-old.

You welcome each day with a sense of adventure - always curious about the prospect of 'new' and 'exciting', but often needing a little encouragement to get your hands dirty. You love to show us how fast you are, how strong you are, how BIIIIG you are. There is nothing more satisfying than watching your confidence level grow. Whether you're going a little bit deeper in the pool than normal or jumping off of a high platform at the park, you're figuring out that you're capable of so many exciting things.

You, my love, are a talker. You've always had a vocabulary well beyond your years, but some of the things that come out of your mouth still manage to catch us off guard. 

"Hey mama, is that a crescent moon in the sky?" 
"When I get big I'm going to be a doctorcist" 
"Whoa, that's an angler fish!" 
"I wanna be a bad guy like Captain America."
"I gotta get on my scunscreen."

You use your outside voice approximately 75% of the time, always wanting to make sure that your words don't go unnoticed. Heck, you've even been known to call me out for not praying loud enough at mealtimes! You ask questions repeatedly until your requests have been met, tattle on your little brother when he mimics your own "NOs!" and always have an opinion about everything. We're working hard the whole patience and interrupting thing, but its proving to be a tough concept for a 3 year old with lots to say! 

You tell us no fewer than 100 times a day that you "wanna watch somfin'" - preferably on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn on your lap. Your long-time favorite is Cars, followed closely by Finn McMissle (aka Cars 2) and The Barnyard. Daddy took you on your very first trip to the movie theater this past month to see the Minion movie...It's hard to say if you liked it or the popcorn best!

Harrison Paul - you are 100%, absolutely, positively ALL BOY. You've entered the phase of superheroes, Ninja Turtles, monster trucks and "fighting." All things that your poor mama feels completely clueless about!  Case in point, you scolded me the other day for making a Ninja Turtle dance.  Oops.  You love the outdoors - checking on the garden, pretending to be a fox out looking for a rabbit, and playing baseball, golf and basketball in the yard.  And ATV rides....oh the ATV rides.  

In the last few months we've also witnessed more of your sweet, tender side shining thru. Our days are full of random hugs and endless "I love yous." You point out flowers (and weeds) and butterflies, letting us know that they are "so beautiful." Lately you've been listing off all of the people that you members usually top the list, but you always include your puppies and your friends Joe and Knox. Melts.My.Heart.

Nothing makes you smile bigger, laugh harder, or act sillier than your daddy. As I sit here typing I can hear the two of you upstairs supposedly getting ready for bed. In reality? Fart sounds, growling and giggles. You're two goofy peas in a pod. 

A few more random tidbits? You're fully potty trained (days/nights) but your favorite place to go potty is on the rocks outside! You are an all-star big brother, teaching our sweet Maxo all sorts of naughty things. You love sunglasses, capes, flashlight parties, and drinking directly from the faucet. You're in the Pre-School room at school and are learning all sorts of big boy things - handwriting, science, math - what the heck happened to our little boy!? Last but certainly not least - you still love that little brown Charley Bear of yours. Like, love LOVE. It makes my heart smile so big.

Welcome to 3, Mr. Man.  
May every day bring something new and may all of your 3 year-old wishes come true.

Photo cred to the amazingly incredible Ashley of Ashley Crawford Photography.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Keepin' Cool

The dog days of summer are officially upon us, and with temperatures climbing into the 90s this weekend we decided that swimsuits and sprinklers were our best option to keep cool. Max is the more adventurous of our two boys, jumping right in to the spray of water. He runs. He giggles. He gets more water in his mouth and nose than anywhere else - but always comes back for more. 

Then there's this boy.  The one who requests that the sprinklers be "lower" so that the water doesn't get in his eyes...and still wears goggles as a back-up. His time in the sprinklers doesn't typically last long as he prefers to play at the water table and with his "Nemo gun." Today his dad taught him a new trick and the table did double duty as a perfect Harry-sized pool.  When I sat in it he told me "Mama, your bottom is TOO big for this pool."  Thanks, Harry. Thanks.

Happy weekend everyone!  You're welcome to come out and "swim" in Harry's make-shift pool or dance in the sprinklers with Max if you're looking for a way to keep cool on Sunday!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer, Sweet Summer

Our Fourth of July weekend was full of all things family and fun.  

Baseball games.
Homemade ice cream.
Driveway parties.
Sand castles.
Lake love.

And most importantly - Sunday afternoon NAPS for all of us!

Oh sweet summer. We love you so.

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

Anyone remember our pathetic attempt at a garden last summer? Radishes the size of fingernails ring a bell? If not, no worries - we've tried to block it from memory too. We were first timers who jumped into this whole pseudo "farm" idea head first and really had ZERO clue what we were doing.  

Well friends, the tables have turned in 2015.  We put some raised beds that came with our property to use this year - filling them with an amended compost mixture and dividing each of them up into square foot sections to maximize our growing space. I cannot even tell you how night and day the difference is from the sad little plot that we planted last year.    

I took all of these pictures about a week ago and cannot believe how much everything has grown since then!  
 Mmmmmm watermelon....NomNomNom! I'm so excited for these to start producing fruit!
 This bed has a little bit of everything - cucumbers to the left of the trellis, broccoli to the right, and an insane number of chili peppers and jalepenos because if you buy a 6 pack of plants you absolutely must plant all 6 (yes, Matt?)
We've got a long row of green beans planted on the left side of this long trellis.  They get plenty of sun but seem to be taking their sweet time when it comes to growing.  If nothing else - this garden is testing my patience!  Toward the back of the bed we have both green and purple kohlrabi and then a few tomato plants.
We're intentionally tomato-heavy in the garden this year and I have some pretty grandiose visions of a pantry full of tomato juice/sauce.  I have no clue how to can, but I've recruited one of the most knowledgeable ladies that I know to come visit for a weekend later this summer to teach me a thing or two. I promised to pay her in blackberries!

 This has been our go-to bed so far this summer as its filled with lots of early producers. Sugar snap peas are a huge hit with the Ritchie boys and are gobbled up as fast as we can pick them. We've also got radishes, carrots, green onions, and some more broccoli rounding out the space.
Ahhh--then there is this girl. Our crazy, overgrown blackberry "bush" is slowly but surely being tamed into what it is SUPPOSED to be.  Old fruiting canes have been removed, making room for lots of sunshine to hit the ones that are producing berries.  Supports have been erected to keep the tips of the plant from rooting themselves into the ground.  (I sound like I know what I'm talking about, right??  Don't let me fool you!)  I'm kind of making things up as I go and am eternally grateful to the internet for kind-of-sort-of teaching me how to tame this beast! I must be doing something right, though, as we've got TONS of flowers and berries that are starting to transition from green to purple. This is by far and away my favorite part of our little "farm."

So there you have it...our second attempt at a garden. If you had told me 5 years ago that I would find this much joy in gardening, I probably would have laughed in your face. But my oh my, just looking at this picture makes me smile. Maybe its the slow pace of it all. Maybe its the quiet. Maybe its the excitement on our boys' faces as they find things growing in the space. Whatever it is - our hearts (and tummies) are happy.