Sonny @ 12 months

the stork & the beanstalk photograhy


Growth & Appearance:

Your teeth are starting to make their way in. Your one fang is still the most prominent but you have it’s opposite as well as your top two front teeth also just starting to poke through. Otherwise, not much change; your hair is still a light brown, eyes still grey, same size 4 diapers, and same size clothing (12-18 months).

Your hair grows by the second is most always in your eyes. We’re letting it grow out and I joked to your Papa that we should just dress you as a girl for a few months solely for the purpose of using a clip to keep it out of your face.

ashley jennett



Much the same as last month as well; you’re awake from about 7-10am, then again from 2-4pm, and again from 6-8pm. The rest of the time is spent napping or sleeping through the night. You sleep in your crib, with your blanket, which you don’t show any real obvious signs of attachment to. I try to keep the blinds open for your afternoon nap so as to not create any sort of consistent sleep environment, the hope being of course, that you will nap anywhere and everywhere. You go down without a fight, ever. Nursing rarely puts you sleep except on the rare occasion.

ashley jennett

You’ve spent the last month throwing the majority of your food on the floor. With less time to give it much attention, I’ve wrote it off as part of teething and am leaning on a hope and a whim that you will eat when you need to. Somedays it feels like you hardly eat anything at all. You’ve even thrown some of your favorites, which makes me think it’s your teeth causing you pain. You had a fever for at least a week and seemingly a cold for several weeks. You were on antibiotics, which helped, but then you got another cold soon after that. So, eating has suffered this month.

I refer to crackers as my ‘shut-the-fuck-up-biscuits’ and they’re my go-to when you’re losing your shit at the table.

That said, nursing has been easy. I’m ready to be done with it and have weaning in the back of my head, but we’ll get there little by little. I cut out your late night feeding so I am no longer waking you up to feed you before I go to bed. I’ve been going to bed earlier because of it, which is a nice reprieve. I’ve also started giving you some cow milk during the day just to give you a taste and get you used to taking a bottle from me. You don’t drink more than an ounce or two from it, but you seem to take to it well enough. You breastfeed 6 times a day.

ashley jennett


You figured out how to get off the bed all by yourself by turning over on your stomach and going down feet first. You fell face first off a rock at the beach the other day and I watched as you climbed right back up it and tried again, using your getting-off-the-bed technique. You were quite proud of yourself.

You say ‘thank you’ and you use it appropriately; meaning you aren’t just repeating it back at us but instead you will say it after I give you a cracker.

You’ve fallen off your ‘ut-oh’ kick; meaning you’re only saying it a few times a day, which is a dramatic decrease from the nearly 100 times you were saying it last month.

You can blow and make the cutest pursed lips when we put a candle in front of you.

You attempt to jump but your feet don’t actually leave the ground.

You scream at the top of your lungs when you want something. It’s the most piercing and gut-wrenching thing. You’re the worst to bring to restaurants and you shrill turns the head of any guest we invite into our home.

You love the beach and will wander off on your own and entertain yourself in a way that makes me think we need to spend all 7 of your waking hours at the sea.

You play quite well by yourself in your crated off area in the morning but after that you get kinda pissy about being pushed off to the side. You’ve actually started moving the entire contraption; using it like an old man would a walker. It’s quite the scene to be doing the dishes in the kitchen only to be interrupted by you turning the corner pushing a five foot long plastic crate full of toys. the stork & the beanstalk photograhy

You’re quite in to the mini hand sanitizer bottles as well as the kids medicine bottles. I think the ridges on the tops of the medicine bottles feel good on your teeth; in any event, they are strewn all over the floor in numerous rooms of the house.

You also love being outside.the stork & the beanstalk photograhy

Sonny @ 11 Months

San Clemente Family Photographer-6286

Growth & Appearance: You finally have your first tooth and it’s neither your center front nor bottom but instead your right lateral incisor. The same tooth on the opposite side is making it’s way down as well so I suppose you may look a little vampire-ish here shortly.

You have lots of hair, so-much-so that it could use a cut but we’re opting to let it grow out. You get called a girl every now and again and we think* that’s why. In some photos your hair looks blond but I’d still call it a light brown.

We weigh you on our shipping scale and last I checked, you’re still 22 lbs. I suppose you’re growing in height but not weight, which is typical to your brothers’ growth pattern.

You’re in size 4 diapers and size 18m clothes.San Clemente Family Photographer-6294


Sleeping: It’s easier to calculate the hours per day that you’re awake, which is about 8. You wake up with your brothers around 7:15am and go down for your morning nap at 10am. I wake you at 2pm if you’re still sleeping and you’re ready for a nap, again, at 4pm. Once again, I wake you around 6pm so you can eat dinner and then you play for a bit before going down, with your brothers, around 8:30pm. I can’t remember the last time you woke up during the night.

You sleep and nap in your crib, which is in your brothers room. We have yet to buy you blanket of your own, but it’s been on my list of things. (Well that was a time suck because after I typed that I went off into the internet dark hole of blanket shopping and now have over $600 worth of blankets in my cart to chose from. And the good Lord knows we need two of whichever one we by because, gross. Anyway, still haven’t ordered one but I think I found the ‘one’.)San Clemente Family Photographer-6278
Eating: You’re far more particular these days and know exactly what you want. If we’re eating one thing but offering you something else, in general (unless it’s a banana), you’re skeptical. If we’re having pancakes for breakfast, for example, I have to be sure to give you your delicious mix of oatmeal and spinach and fruit before the pancakes hit the table because as soon as dem pancakes hit the table, the oatmeal gets wildly pushed away, hands start flailing, the screech hits a piercing level, and your highchair starts moving from the momentum of your feet kicking so hard.

That said, you eat well enough but your preference, much like your mama, is for the carbs. Anything bread related is a thumbs up. Your favorites from day one, however, are still your favorites today: banana and avocado and sweet potato. Nearly everything else goes through phases; one day you love blueberries and eat the whole carton and the next day you’re throwing them on the floor.

You breastfeed 7 times a day and the distraction at the breast seems to have faded, thankfully. You’re super efficient and don’t take long to eat but feeding you in public is still not a possibility. I’ll be happy to hit the one year mark so that I can take it all a bit easier and try to worry less.San Clemente Family Photographer-6282
Development: You no longer crawl and are walking with confidence, your little scapula pinching together while your back is arched and arms are out like chicken wings. It’s my favorite stage, hands down and most days you’re making my ovaries beg to have another.

You can squat down and pick up a toy and continue walking without falling but haven’t figured out going down steps, but you’re studying them for sure and contemplating the plunge.

You make it hard to go out to eat as you’re still doing the excited scream that’s sure to make even the nicest of patrons skin crawl.

You said your first word, “doggie” last month but no longer say it so I’m not sure whether to count it or not. You do say “ut-oh” on the regular and use it correctly, so I may change that to your first word instead. You love to drop something for the mere sake of being able to say “ut-oh” and, once again, the ovaries… they hurt.

You entertain yourself much easier now and are find being in your fenced in area under the stairs. We find you often with your basket of toys emptied and you sitting in the middle of your basket like an egg in a nest.

You prefer toys that play music and boogie often to the beat.

You point a lot and make baby sign language seem silly simply based on how much you’re able to communicate through pointing. And screaming.

You’re super playful and have a great sense of humor. You’re always looking for something to laugh at or someone to chase you.

Changing your diaper is the pits; you’re super squirmy. But you don’t mind your nose wiped. Makes not sense.San Clemente Family Photographer-6289

Favorites: You love any toy that makes music. You also love eating the wax out of the candle by my bed.

Hooper @ 6 years

san clemente family photographer-5409Growth & Appearance: Your hair is blond, with some brown roots. Your eyes are light brown and your skin olive. At a checkup a few months ago you weighed 42 lbs (31st percentile) and were 46 inches tall (76th percentile). You have a natural six pack and are tall and thin.

You’ve been claiming a loose tooth for months now. It’s slightly wiggly but not about to go anywhere anytime real soon. You’re excited to lose it. Not sure why.

You’ve taken a new-found interest in your appearance and take pride in dressing yourself in the morning. It’s not uncommon to see you come out of your room with pants that are way too short and a button up shirt buttoned incorrectly. We encourage you to rock it all the same. You also like going into the bathroom and putting water in your hair as if it’s gel and slicking your hair back with my brush. This is new and you’ve done it several times a day for the last week or so. san clemente family photographer-5384

Eating: You’re a better eater now than you’ve ever been. You’re not great at trying new things but you also don’t need a lot of coaxing to eat what we put on your plate. Your favorite meal is chicken, macaroni, and peas. You say you like broccoli and will eat a few bites, but you never finish it.

Favorite foods: hamburgers, macaroni, salmon, eggs, bacon, pizza.

New foods make you gag and you spit things out that you weren’t excited to try as soon as it touches your mouth. That said, you’re much easier to have at the table and you eat well. You also seem to self-regulate well on all fronts, even on the sugar front.san clemente family photographer-5389

Sleeping: You still sleep with your blanket but not usually anything else. You love surrounding yourself with pillows. You sleep on the top bunk but aren’t opposed to sharing the bottom bunk with Van; the two of you can be found sleeping together every now and again.

We make you take a nap every now and again, but it’s rare; I’d say once or twice a month but some months not at all. You’re quick to fall asleep in the car though.

You go to bed easily and even ask to be put to bed when you’re tired. san clemente family photographer-5376


You are into girls and have a grasp on what ‘love’ means. You’re fond of one particular girl in your class and come home often and tell me about all the girls that chase you during recess. I remind you often that you can be in love with boys or girls, but thus far, you’re all about the ladies.

I’ve caught you several times outside practicing your golf swing. Your g’pa takes you to a golf class once a week and you’re into it. You swing both right and left.

You can write your name with ease and are curious about what signs say. You’re getting a hang of your ‘sight words’. Your teacher says you’re a delight to have in class, which is definitely a step-up from your reported behavior last year, where your transitional kindergarten teacher described you as ‘impulsive’. You’ve grown up a lot since then and seem to have better self-control…

…Except for when it comes to your brother. You’re incredibly impulsive when it comes to acting out and are quick to hit and slap and spit before you think. It makes for a lot of time outs and a lot of apologies and a whole lot of whining from your brother.

You love being a big brother to Sonny and are eager to help. In general, you’re happy to help with lots of things around the house. Even more so now that you’ve learned that chores can potentially earn you money. You have 16 crumpled up one dollar bills in a toy ATM machine you got for Christmas and you count your money often. Chores I’ve had you do include hanging up laundry in your closet, cleaning up toys, vacuuming, emptying the dishwasher and setting / clearing the table. I also pay you when I need you to model a new shirt for the shop, something I try not to do these days after having more incidents than I can count of having our product (and images) stolen and posted on other sites. But that’s a separate post altogether. And not one I want to write.

On the same tip, you like having your photo taken and as you’ve gotten older, I feel you really ‘get me’ as a photographer. You’re not always in the mood and I respect that, but when you are, you always quench my creative thirst.

You have a kind spirit and are sensitive to others feelings. That’s not to say you’re always perfect, you’re not, but you have a good soul, a warm heart, and an empathetic nature. Hanging an ornament with a picture of Sarah on the Christmas tree brought you to tears and you spent some time afterward talking about how much you miss her. You also cried at Nanny’s funeral. And it brings you a great sense of pride when you’re able to help me out in times that I’m clearly struggling. All things that make me so proud. And appreciative.

You’re strong and can do legit pushups with perfect technique. san clemente family photographer-5398
Favorites: You love building things; forts, legos, blocks, etc. You have lots of projects in the yard; as of late you requested some ‘carrot seeds’ to plant and made your own swing out of a dog leash, handcuffs, and a wire basket. Your backpack is always filled to the brim with your most treasured items and sometimes when you’re at school I take a little peek and have a good laugh; crumbled up pieces of paper, a magnifying glass, fortune cookies, handcuffs, legos, and other random trinkets.

You and your brother have discovered the Ernest movies and those are a hit these days. We think that’s where the slicking your hair back comes from (bad Ernest in ‘Ernest goes to jail’ has slicked back hair).

You have a ‘Ninjago’ book that you ask us to read often. You also love the Ninjago show on Netflix.

Sonny @ 10 Months

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Growth & Appearance: You hair is lightening, but still brown. It is fine like Hooper’s but similar to Van, you have a lot of it. And it’s long. As in you seemingly will need a haircut soon. Or we’ll just let it grow. TBD. Your eye color still has me scratching my head. Still no teeth, but your upper gums are swollen and white and at least 4 teeth are ready to pop through any day now. Or at least I’m guessing any day now.

You’re in size 4 diapers and have grown out of 12 month clothing a while ago so I’m buying more 18-24m, which is a little big but a nice amount of room to grow into.san clemente family photographer-5004

Sleeping: I can’t remember the last time you woke during the night and am happy to say those days are behind us. Every day is more or less the same and the predictability is nice. You wake up around 7:15am and are ready for a nap around 10:30am. If you’re not awake by 2pm, I wake you up but usually you’re already awake and just sitting quietly in your crib. You run amuck and are ready for your evening nap around 4:30pm. I wake you up around 6pm because there’s just not enough time in a day for all these naps. Ha.

We moved your crib out of our room mid-way through your 9th month. The transition was seamless and you’re now sharing a room with your brothers.

Generally you’re awake when I put you down for the night and you go to sleep on your own with ease. You’re a blueprint of both of your brothers in this sense.san clemente family photographer-5001

Eating: Breastfeeding can be a struggle at times. I feel as though I should have mentioned this months ago as it’s not necessarily a new development. To keep your attention I feel like I need a bottomless bucket of distractions set to the side of me, to distract you enough to get you settle enough to eat. It’s probably a sign that I don’t need to feed you as often as I do and we have cut out another feeding, so I think we’re working to find a middle ground. I feed you 7 times a day; first thing in the morning, before and after your morning nap, before and after your afternoon nap, before you go to bed, and then before I go to bed.

You still love solids but aren’t as agreeable as you once were. If you don’t like what’s in-front of you, you throw it wildly off your highchair. Your favorites remain the same: banana, avocado, sweet potato. You now like apples and berries so long as they are warm and soft. You’re not the fan of vegetables that you once were; you’ll eat a few, but you’re not a bottomless pit for broccoli like you are for banana.

We introduced scrambled eggs and you love them.

You eat three meals a day.san clemente family photographer-4931

Development: Last month made this month look more-than-promising in regards to walking but lately you’re simply not interested. You can walk with a push toy and enjoy doing so. And you’ve taken several consecutive steps here and there. But your main mode of transport is still crawling. You’re more speedy that way and lower to the ground, which serves your need to put every-damn-thing-in-your-mouth well.

You can stand for minutes unassisted and like to do squats, where you bend slightly at the knees and push back up again. You can also squat all the way down to pick up a toy and stand back up again.

You wave on command and it’s the sweetest wave we ever did see. But you’re stingy as all getup with your kisses; you’ve given ten and refused hundreds.

Jimmie came running into the room the other day and clear as day you said “dog-gee”. We did a double take and were just about to write it off as coincidence until you repeated it, clear as day, about five times in a row. We think you also say “bye” but aren’t totally convinced just yet.

You nap often but when you’re awake you’re moving a gazillion miles a minute. If left unattended for more than a minute, you’re most often found at the base of the stairs or – if you’re near a bathroom – at the toilet. You can climb all the way to the top of the stairs in seconds flat.

Bathing you is an absolute nightmare. You throw yourself all over the place, could care less about going under water, and have zero hesitation to pull to stand on every slippery surface. In fact, as soon as you see the water filling you’re at the baths edge, ready to launch yourself overboard head first. The sink may be the best bet but I’ll be damn if there is ever a time it is clean and empty.

You’re more independent and are able to entertain yourself for a bit when we have to put you in the gated off area. But the more I walk by you, the more pissed off you get. In general, if you can’t see us, you’re fine but if you see us, you want us. Especially me. Cuz, well, I’m still your numero uno.san clemente family photographer-4999

Favorites: The stairs hold your attention more than anything else these days and if you had your way you’d spend your entire day climbing the stairs. I only wish I had the same passion.

You love being chased and teased. Remotes and iPhones still rank high on your list. And me, you love your mama. But really and truly, the stairs rule all.

Sonny @ 9 Months


Growth & Appearance: We have yet to take you in for your 9 month well baby appointment but they put you on the scale a week or so ago when we took you in to see about an ear infection and you were 20.8 lbs. No ear infection.

You graduated from wearing your helmet, though it wasn’t quite the send-off we had anticipated. I guess I had hoped they would have said, ‘congratulations, all better, you’re done’. Instead they used words like ‘improvement’ and left us with the option of another 14 weeks of treatment to strive toward ‘perfection’. We declined. We’re happy with the shape and any deformity at this point is hard to notice, even when looking at the images they provided us with.

I guess your eyes are hazel. They’re not blue and they’re not brown. So I’m going with hazel. Dark hazel. Your hair is light brown with a hint of strawberry in it; similar to Van’s at the same age.

You’ve grown out of much of your 12 month clothes due to height and are on to 12-18 or even 18-24. We just switched you over to size 4 diapers. Dressing you, in general, is no easy feat. You’re super squirmy.

san-clemente-family-photographer-3320Sleeping: You fell asleep in your highchair the other week. You’ve also been known to fall asleep in your little play area; it’s not uncommon to find you in the sitting position with your head in your lap, flat as a pancake, fast asleep.

When you wake up, you stand in your crib and start making noises until I look at you. And then you cry as I go to the bathroom as if you can’t wait another second to be held and fed. It’s sweet but it’s also loud.

You wake up around 6:30am, which is earlier than we’d like and still just slightly before your brothers wake which means you’re still in our room despite me mentioning moving you in with them every damn month. You are ready for a nap around 10:30 and sleep for 2-3 hours. If we’re home in the afternoon, you take another nap, around 3:30pm or 4pm for an hour or two. You fall asleep on your own around 8:30pm and then I wake you for one last feed before I go to bed around 10:30pm. And you sleep through the night, in your crib, next to our bed.

san-clemente-family-photographer-3301Eating: I finally got you to eat more fruit by warming it up first and mashing it in with your oatmeal. I can now give you strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries but even with the added cinnamon you’re still not into apple. You eat vegetables with ease; asparagus, broccoli, peas, carrots, sweet potato. In general, you eat whatever we’re eating unless we’re eating crap, which we do more often than is worth admitting. You also tried tofu this month and dig it. And egg whites, too.

Your favorites are still avocado and banana.

You recognize foods and get excited when you see something you particularly like; like when I sat down with yogurt the other day and you started rocking back and forth like a cowboy on a horse until I shared with you.

You breastfeed three times in the morning, twice in the afternoon, and 2-3 more times in the evening. Some are better quality feeds than others.

san-clemente-family-photographer-3338Development: I found you splashing piss-filled toilet water around. Gross.

You appear to be right hand dominant and can be found crawling with a toy in your right hand.

You’re happy as a clam and love to laugh and play games. You know when you’re being teased and you revel in the attention.

You still put everything in your mouth; each and every little bit of anything on the floor goes in your mouth. I’ve pulled out leaves, strings, rug fuzz, little itty bitty bits of wrappers, legos (oh the dreaded legos), oh, and yes, dog food. You really liked the dog food.

You’ve begun showing some feistiness. We were at a party and you screamed in disgust when another little baby took a balloon from you. Then, at Thanksgiving, you kept grabbing the face of another baby. I have a sneaking suspicion there is a monster a’ brewin’.

You’re as busy as a bee in the hours that you’re awake and keeping up with you is a full-time job. If you were a snail, you’d have tracks all over the house within just an hours time. You’re into everything and get anywhere in seconds flat. We had a gate up on the stairs but Hooper knocked it down and it has yet to go back up. You love opening the cabinet doors in the kitchen and thrashing around. It’s only a matter of time before you break something and by something I mean everything.

You are starting to follow commands. You know how to kiss but are rather stingy with giving them out. You’ve waved a few times.

Early in your 8th month you started standing unassisted. It started with just a couple of seconds and quickly matured into a good solid stand. Your balance has improved over the month and on the eve of your 9th month you took 5 steps. There were a lot of breaks in-between (balance-step-balance-step) and you have yet to repeat this feat. Crawling is still your chosen mode of transportation. You furniture walk and can transfer between pieces of furniture with ease.

san-clemente-family-photographer-3314Favorites: You love balloons. There is a golf ball that you like to throw and then crawl after and then throw again. Otherwise it’s the same ol’ story: phones, remote controls, and all the other stuff we value and don’t want in your mouth. And mama. You love me and if I’m in the room there’s no one you’d rather be with.

Sonny @ 8 Months


Growth & Appearance: We went to your 6 week checkup with the helmet in hopes we’d be told that you no longer need it but loandbehold we’ve been told another 4 weeks, at least. You’re cute as can be but we’re tired of not seeing your whole face and the head butts are starting to hurt and your head is super smelly and the way it presses into my collar bone when you want to cuddle kinda hurts. That said, we hope you enjoy your round head for the rest of your days.

You have a good head of hair, more hair than I recall either of your brothers having. It’s a light brown. Your eyes are hazel, I think.

You’re in size 3 diapers and size 6-12m clothing.

No teeth.

san-clemente-family-photographer-1026Sleeping: I had all the intentions of moving you into your brothers’ room this month and then daylight savings hit and threw a wrench in that plan. Whereas before you were sleeping until after 7am, now you are awake and ready to go around 5am or 6am. This is changing now that we’re adjusting but those first few days, where you were ready for your morning nap at the hour I was ready to actually get out of bed, were hard. And long. Hoping we can get back on track and make the move this month.

You’re now taking two naps a day; one in the morning, around 10:30am for 2-3 hours, and another in the afternoon, around 4pm for 1-2 hours. Though I should note that the second nap is hit or miss.

We packed away the wombie after I found you in your playpen sitting straight up like a little caterpillar. It was time. And you adjusted just fine.

Breastfeeding still puts you to sleep at night but you’d go down easily either way these days. You’re awake after the feed before your morning nap, usually, and you don’t fuss at all when I put you down. san-clemente-family-photographer-1034
Eating: You love solids and tend to favor vegetables over fruits. Some of your favorite foods include: squash, zucchini, spinach, broccoli, sweet potato, asparagus, banana, avocado. Things that I thought you would love that you’re just not into at all: strawberries – or any berries for that matter – and apples. You spit them out. We also give you a small amount of cereal and / or oatmeal. You’re now eating three meals a day and when appropriate, you eat what we eat. You love chicken and fish and show interest, in the form of wildly flapping your hands and rocking back and forth as if you were a cowboy on a wild horse, in just about everything we eat.

You breastfeed at least 7 times a day.san-clemente-family-photographer-1023
Development: You pull to stand on everything and have started taking a few steps (while still holding onto something) or at least figuring out that you can move your feet while in the standing position. You crawl everywhere and require attention one hundred percent of the time because of how mobile you are.

In the hours you’re awake, you’re constantly on the move. It’s no wonder you’ve worked your way up to two naps a day; you’re non-stop.

You have yet to figure out the single step that separates the kitchen and family room. It’s gotten the best of you twice now and the other day I saw you sitting there contemplating giving it another try. You must have retracted your extended arm at least 5 times before crawling away.

We have a little area crated off for you that we use when we have to put you down or can’t keep an eye on you. You don’t particularly like it and are definitely aware that we’re passing you off. You seem to entertain yourself better so long as I’m not in sight but as soon as you see me walk past you, you lose your mind.

You love to cuddle and tend to morph into whoever is holding you.

You suck the thumb on your left hand.

You say ‘Ma-ma’ but not with any meaning attached. You’re very vocal and make a lot of noises and squeal excitedly when you’re excited.

At the very end of the month you discovered the stairs. You’ve climbed up the first step or so. Our neighbors gave us their baby gate and it’s time we start using it.san-clemente-family-photographer-1042

Favorites: The remote controls. Our electrical toothbrushes. Jimmie’s bones. And, of course, mama.

Sonny @ 7 Months


Growth & Appearance: You have a full head of hair that’s somewhere between blond and brown. You have way more hair than I remember either of your brothers having. Your eyes are no longer blue but aren’t quite brown either.

You’re long and despite ‘falling’ in the weight percentile, you have plenty to pinch.

You’re rockin’ the helmet and we’re noticing improvement. You don’t mind your helmet one bit and you wear it 23 hours per day. It’s made for some interesting hair-dos as your hair has learned to grow up and over it, making for an ocean wave appearance when we take the helmet off.

You’re in size 3 diapers.san-clemente-family-photographer-8676

Sleeping: We still put you in the wombie overnight but you’re outgrowing it in the developmental sense; meaning you’re squirming around enough that the thing ends up backwards on you by the time the sun is up. You’re also able to roll onto your belly and I think it’s time to give you the freedom to move about freely.

You sleep through the night most every night, with the middle-of-night wakings being a once a week or so occurrence. On average you go to sleep around 8:30pm, I wake you before I go to bed around 10pm to top you off, and you wake up around 7am. You nap around 10:30 for 2 hours or so. You tend to nod off in the late afternoon but never for very long and sometimes just during your feeding at that time; it’s far from an official ‘afternoon nap’.

You’re still in a crib in our room but now that you’re more consistently sleeping through the night, I think we’ll put you in the boys room soon enough.san-clemente-family-photographer-8233
Eating: You’re blowin’ and goin’ on solids. You have yet to find a food you haven’t devoured. You’ve had carrots, zucchini, broccoli, peas, banana, avocado, yogurt, pear, sweet potato, chicken, corn.

You love food. We often get distracted while feeding you because of everything and everyone else that needs our attention, causing you to flail about and whine until we pick up the loaded spoon and deliver the tasty morsels into your mouth. It’s a joy to feed you based solely on the fact of how happy it makes you.

We feed you with a spoon but let you practice your pincer grasp on your own, which you haven’t quite mastered. When you make a total mess of yourself, I bring you and the highchair outside and literally hose you both down.

We feed you solids twice a day, once after your second morning feed and again at dinner, when we’re all eating together.

You still breastfeed every few hours for an average, I’d guess, of 8 feedings per day.san-clemente-family-photographer-8690

Development: Within a weeks time you pushed from belly to a sitting position, then were able to scoot back but not forward, and then – just like that – you were crawling. The day after you started crawling you pulled yourself up in your crib. You crawl with ease now and have pulled to stand on a few different things.

You laugh a lot and are easily entertained.

You tend to reach for things with your four fingers and pressed together and your thumb tucked in, as if making a tight number four. Occasionally your pointer finger will bend in and it looks like you’re making an alligator shadow puppet.

You’re happy going from person to person but can’t stand watching me repeatedly come and go into a room and will ultimately cry for me. You also do the craziest squeal when you see me come home from work or from running errands.

You open and close your fingers into and out of a fist when you’re excited; it’s like you’re trying to catch excitement but haven’t quite realized that feelings aren’t tangible.

We use the playpen, which we didn’t use for either of your brothers other than for sleeping accommodations when traveling. That’s because there are so many legos and small toys everywhere and keeping you safe is nearly impossible. And so, we box you in. You don’t mind it. In fact, in the late afternoon you’ll lay down in there for a cat nap and it’s always nice to see you drift off to another land in a well lit room, with all the chaos surrounding you.san-clemente-family-photographer-8227
Favorites: With crawling, you are now able to reach beyond what we simply set in front of you. That said, you have a new found affinity for Jimmie’s dog bones and gross, dirt stained, stuffed toys.

Sonny @ 6 months


Growth & Appearance: Your hair is still lingering in the light brown stage and I’m beginning to wonder if you’ll be blond like your brothers or not. Your hair on the back part of the top of your head stands up like a rooster. You eyes are still are dark blue but they’re so dark blue that I think the majority would mistaken them for brown and I’m fairly certain they’ll be brown soon.

You’re in size 2 diapers because we still have size 2 diapers but the story remains the same; you should have been in size 3 some time ago.

You’re 28 inches long, which the doc said is the average size of a child nearly double your age (you’re over the 97th percentile) and are 18.2 lbs (55th percentile). You are the same exact size as Van at the same age and the same size as Hooper was at 9 months old.

No teeth yet.san-clemente-family-photographer-6948
Sleeping: Some nights you sleep all the way through and others you wake up just before the sun comes up, feed, and go back to sleep.

You typically go down for a nap around 10 or 11 in the morning so long as we’re home, otherwise you nap on the go but don’t get the same nice, long stretch that you get at home. You sleep anywhere from 1 to 3 hours at this time.

You tend to dose off later in the afternoon while feeding but wake up when I detach your body from mine and we keep you up until 8 or 9, when you hit the proverbial wall and either serenade us with your screams or dose off to sleep on your own. I wake you when I’m ready for bed for one last feeding and then you’re down for the night.

You still sleep in your wombie; that thing is worth it’s weight in gold. Once you start sitting, we’ll stop using it and allow you the freedom to sleep with your little butt up in the air.

You’re in a crib that’s currently in our room because you don’t have a designated space yet. I think we’ll keep you there until you’re sleeping more consistently through the night and then move you into the room with your brothers.san-clemente-family-photographer-6970

Eating: We’ll be introducing solids this month. We gave you a small taste of guacamole at dinner the other night and it proved promising. On the day you turned six months, we gave you avocado. You spit most of it out but chowed down on it the following night.

You breastfeed often; somewhere in the ballpark of 9 times per day.san-clemente-family-photographer-6956
Development: It’s like all the sudden you’ve woken up and crossed whatever barrier stands between newborn and baby. You’re well aware of your environment; you see things that you want and it’s as if you will them to move to your direction. You know when I leave a room and oftentimes it makes you cry.

That said, you require much more attention these days. You don’t like to be left in a room alone. You’re happiest being held.

You put everything in your mouth. You still enjoy sucking on your toes but your thumb is still your consistent go-to.

You love being on your tummy; so-much-so that you don’t appear to have any interest in sitting. When we try to sit you up, you topple over pretty quickly.

You’re perfectly content on the floor with some toys and can scoot yourself, via rolling, toward whatever direction you’re trying to go.
You only seem to poop every 8 days or so. And most every time it’s a complete and utter blowout.san-clemente-family-photographer-6950

Favorites: You love my iPhone, the keys, and – well – your mama.

Sonny @ 5 Months

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Growth & Appearance: Your hair is still getting lighter and your eyes, darker. You’re following the same track as your brothers.

You’ll be fitted for a helmet sometime this month to correct the flat spot on the side of your head that resulted from those early days of preferring to sleep with your head only turned to your left. We’re told you’ll have to wear it for 7-10 weeks and we’re all prepared to poke a little fun and move on.

You love to spit and eat your clothes. If you have clothes on, they are soaked after just a few minutes.

I think you caught a slight cold from Van and have been doing this scrunch face and overly exaggerated breath through your nose in an effort, it seems, to get a booger out.

You belong in size 3 diapers but so-the-story-goes I just opened the box of size 2. I’ve been peed on a few times trying desperately to get the size 2 to work. We’ll end up donating them, just as we did the size 1 that we tried to fit you into longer than we should have.

You’re in size 6-12 onesies though really we rarely put you in anything other than a diaper. Overalls, though, are you’re favorite as you like to get the metal latching in your mouth whichever way you can. San Clemente Family Photographer-5641

Sleeping: I’ve finally moved back into my own bed. You sleep next to the bed, in a pack-n-play until we move (if we ever move) and then you will go in your crib. You don’t seem to even notice a change, which is how we expected it to go given your easy going nature.

Since making the transition out of bed and into the pack-n-play, you are now sleeping to the other side of me and, just like that, you now only sleep with your head to the right. Always in the direction of your food, I suppose. In any event, it’s helped significantly with the flat spot on your head, though the flat spot is still there.

We still straight jacket you in your wombie but have added something that prevents you from rolling onto your belly because it’s near impossible to put you down on your back without you rolling onto your belly these days.

We’re trying to get more consistent about putting you down for a formal nap each day. Come about 2pm you’re usually asleep in the pack-n-play for an hour or two. You nap in the morning on-the-go but never seem to get any significant stretch.

Breastfeeding still puts you to sleep. I feed you before I go to bed, around 10pm, and you’ve been waking up sometime in the 5 o’clock hour for another feeding before going back to sleep again. You’re usually awoken by your brothers who come running into the room just after they wake up. San Clemente Family Photographer-5647

Eating: The doc said we can start giving you some rice cereal at your 4 month check up but we have not done so yet. Baby-led weaning really worked well for Van and I think we’re excited to go that route again.

You’ve entered the distracted eating phase and will not latch on until you’ve arched back every which way and fully assessed everything around you.

You love my phone so more-times-than-not I get you to latch by holding my phone to my chest, which grabs your attention and settles you enough to latch while you try to grab the phone.

You take a bottle with ease and can gulp down a number of ounces in under a minute.

If I had to guess, I’d say I feed you about 8 times a day. You’re super efficient at the breast and don’t take more than a few minutes on each side. San Clemente Family Photographer-5714
Development: You’ve found your hands and you love them. We catch you starring at them, mesmerized, often. Your thumb finds your mouth with much improved precision and you suck it often.

You can grab hold of things with better coordination. Where as before you liked to grab hold of a blanket, you’re now able to grab onto things that require more precision, like a  rattle.

You can roll and scoot yourself all over the place and if left unindented for even just a few minutes, it’s surprising to see where / how you end up. The amount of ground you can cover by just wiggling around on your belly is impressive.

You respond quickly to your name.

You grab at everything and suck on anything. You’re entertained by being on the floor with a few toys around you to grab at and suck on. San Clemente Family Photographer-5681

Sonny @ 4 Months

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Growth & Appearance: The left side of you head is still flatter than the right. You prefer turning your head to the left and even if I turn your head to the right, more times than not, two minutes later you’re facing the left again.

Your eyes still appear blue, but a dark blue. Nearly gray. If I had to bet on your eye color at this point in time, I’d guess they’ll ultimately be brown.

Your hair, it seems, is on it’s way to blond. It seems to be closer to Hooper’s in texture; soft and fine as opposed to thick and wiry like Van’s. It has grown significantly in length.

You’re in size 2 diapers and on days that we put you in clothes, you seem to be in the 6 month range. And on the days you’re in clothes you’re usually wet, from all the drool. Lots and lots of drool these days. The amber necklace is worthless, but beautiful, so we keep it.

You weigh 17 lbs, are 28 in long, and have a head circumference of 17.5 inches. You are above the 97th percentile for both height and weight.

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Sleeping: You still sleep next to me, in your wombie. I say it every month and one of these months it will finally take place, but the plan is for you to go to your crib as soon as we move into our new home. Until then, the crib has remained in the garage and you’ve remained next to me. We have no intentions of continuing to co-sleep and I’m eager to get you set up in your own bed.

You tend to fall asleep around 9:30pm. I wake you up before I go to bed (around 10:30), feed you one more time, change you, throw you in your straight jacket, and put you down. Nursing still puts you to sleep but you’re fine with putting yourself to sleep too, it seems. You’ve slept through the night several times, waking up about 6am, sometimes 7am. If you wake at 4 or 5 or 6, you’ll feed and go back to sleep. If you wake at 7, we start our day.

You never cry when you wake up; instead, I’m awoken by you lifting your legs up in the air at a 90 degree angle and then slamming them down on the bed, making a loud thud. The thuds get closer together the longer I ignore you. We refer to this as “the whale flap”; Papa, “did the whale flap wake you up this morning?”, Me, “sure did”.

If you’re not waking me with your whale flap, you’re waking me with your monstrous, man-sized, farts.

You nap throughout the day, with no noted routine. san clemente family photographer-3349
Eating: You nurse every two hours, on average, during the day. You’re much quicker and efficient, taking about 10-15 minutes total during most feeds.

You love to grab at my shirt when you’re feeding and you watch your hand catch my shirt and release with fascination.

I’ve tried pumping after your morning feedings but am getting very little extra now that you’re sleeping through the night and my milk has regulated to such.

You seem to have some awareness of what goes into my mouth and like to watch as I eat. san clemente family photographer-3344
Development: You love sucking your thumb and your toes.

You’ve rolled from your tummy to your back a few times and are able to scoot, without rolling, over enough of the bed that it’s unsafe to leave you unattended. You’ve rolled from your back to your tummy a few times as well, but it’s hardly a regular thing; more of a fluke.

You smile with your whole body and are happy most always.

Everything goes in your mouth. You love to get ahold of your onesie and stick it in your mouth. You also like putting whatever blanket is on you in your mouth. My favorite is when you grab my fingers and direct them to your mouth.

Your hand-eye coordination is still developing but every now and again, by chance, you’ll get a grip on something. Like the other day when I left you on the bed and you caught hold of a candlestick and smacked yourself in the face with it.

Your little legs never stop kicking. Always in motion. san clemente family photographer-3327

Sonny @ 2 months

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Growth & Appearance: You seem gigantic to me; I feel robbed of ever knowing what it’s like to hold an actual newborn because you and your brothers all seem to be the size of a one month old at birth.

At your two month appointment, you weighed 14.9lbs (94th percentile) and were 25 1/2 inches long (97th percentile).

You grew out of the 0-3m size within a month or so and are now wearing 3-6 and even some 6-9, which you fill out easily as far as length but with room to grow in terms of width.

All your hair that fell out has grown back in. It seems a little lighter than the hair you were born with but is still definitely brown. Your hair, in general, is still funky. Investing in a bonnet was a good decision. Never mind the fact you’ll kick my ass one day when you stand over 6 ft tall and pull out your baby pictures only to see that your mom had a bonnet on your head. Forgive me.San Clemente Family Photographer-6671
Feeding: I feed you on demand throughout the day. Typically this means every two hours but in the evening, still, you seem to cluster the feedings together a bit more.

I pump every morning, after your initial feeding. I’m ready to donate milk, as we have way more than we’ll ever need, but have not found anyone to give it to yet. In fact, I’ve been putting it your brother’s sippy cups instead. They like it. They also don’t know it’s breastmilk.

We still give you a bottle every now and again to keep up that skill, though Papa struggled this morning so I think we’ll need to increase the frequency of these sessions. San Clemente Family Photographer-6682


Sleeping: You’re ready for bed about 9pm but I try to keep you up a bit longer so we’re on the same schedule. We settle on 10pm because you just can’t keep your eyes open any longer.

There have been a few glorious nights where you made it an entire 7 hours, waking around 5am and then falling asleep again until the rest of the house is up just after 7am. On average I’d say you sleep about 4 hours, waking around 2am or 3am, depending on when you go down.

You take about 15 minutes on each side when you feed. At night, I change your diaper in between breasts in an effort to wake you because you usually fall back asleep after taking only one side.

You’re still in your woombie at night though soon enough you’ll be too long for it.San Clemente Family Photographer-6673


Development: You smile a lot and have let out a few giggles, too.

You can track me across the room.

You very rarely cry or fuss, will go to anyone, and are perfectly content wherever we put you (even if it’s in a basket while I’m doing the laundry). You’re adaptable and patient.

Sonny @ 1 month


Growth & Appearance: You were born with brown hair. It’s not as dark as I remember your brothers’ at birth and I anticipate that it will lighten, as theirs did, over the next several months.

I had to trim your nails in the hospital as being ‘overdue’ allowed you to be born with daggers. You scratched yourself often until I was able to give them a proper cut. I’ve had to cut them twice since then.

By your third week of life, you developed a bald spot on your head. Near your cowlick you have a longer patch of hair so you look a bit like this.

Your eyes are a deep ocean blue, which again is reminiscent of your brothers and I imagine they, too, will change with time.

Your fingers, toes, and limbs are all long. Like, really long.

At birth you weighed 10 lbs, 22 inches. At about a week old you were 10.4 lbs and 22 1/2 inches. At your one month appointment (at 5 weeks) you weighed 12.5 lbs and were 24 inches long. Your head circumference is 15.5 inches. sonny05b


Eating: I breastfeed you on demand. I’ve been floating through these days too much to take note of any sort of pattern, but there does seem to be some vague sense of one forming.

You like to cluster feed, especially in the evenings and will either flip flop between breasts several times or separate feedings by a mere 30 minutes.

You have a great latch and fortunately the whole breastfeeding gig has been smooth for both of us.

You’ll take a bottle and we’re trying to remember to give you at least an ounce of expressed milk once a week or so to keep up on this skill.

You’ll latch onto anything. A video of you latching onto your Papa’s nose has generated over 81K views on instagram with only a small handful exercising their social media policing powers. Hashtag: eye roll.

If I had to guess, I’d say you nurse a total 8-9 times during the day and 2-4 times during the night. sonny07b
Sleeping: By your second week, you were sleeping in 2 to 3 hour increments, with a rare 4 hour stretch thrown in once, I think. For the first two weeks, feedings took an average of an hour (30 minutes on each side).

By the third week, our nighttime schedule looked like this: go to sleep about 10pm, wake up around 1am, 4am, 7am. I think there was one 5 hour stretch slipped in on one of those nights. Feedings took an average of 15-20 minutes on each side, for a total of 30-40 minutes per feeding.

At one month, you wake, on average, every 3 hours and nurse for a total of 15 minutes or so on each side. Sometimes you’ll fall asleep without taking both sides. Most nights we go to bed around 9 or 10pm and you wake around 1 or 2am, again around 4am, and for the day around 7am.

We’re sleeping together, in the guest bed.

You’ve been sleeping in the woombie, which Hooper refers to as your ‘worm packet’ since week one. You sleep much better in it.

Even when you wake to feed, you don’t cry; instead you let out a few grunts and gently start kicking your feet.

Your farts during the night are enough to make the bed vibrate. sonny20b
Development: You spend much of your day either sleeping or eating.

You prefer turning your head to your left over the right. The doc noted that the left side of your head is slightly flatter.

You’re independent in the sense that you don’t need to be on or around anyone; you’re content to snooze wherever we lay you and in true third child fashion, not much disturbs you. This is in-spite of the fact you’re constantly being kissed by your brothers or licked by Jimmie. I suppose it just comes with the territory and you’ve proven to combat any distractions with some wonderful adaptation techniques.

You don’t mind being on your tummy.

Other than peeing on me during your bath, twice, you have not sprung a leak while having your diaper changed. Considering your brother peed in your Papa’s mouth, we’re all celebrating this small victory.

You’re patient. Again, I chalk this up to being the product of a third born. You rarely cry when you’re hungry or need to be changed, using quite grunts to tell us gently that you’re hungry or uncomfortable.

When you are awake, it’s obvious the wheels are spinning. You lock eyes with us on occasion and study our smiles; I can tell you’re trying to smile back, it just isn’t translating quite yet.

You don’t care who holds you, you’ll cuddle with whoever’s arms you’re in. I’m sure this will change in time, but I remember both of your brothers’ always preferring to be on me, at all times.

You’ll take a pacifier for a short period of time but end up spitting it out. You prefer to suck on a finger instead. And not your own, unless – that is – it happens to land in your mouth. In general, you’re just not that coordinated yet.


All of these lovely images are by my talented friend, Noel, whom I am greatly indebted to. You can check out her site here and follow her gorgeous instagram feed here

Van @ 3 years, 9 months

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Appearance & Growth:

Your hair is turning more brown and is more aptly described as “dirty blond”. I wonder if that will change come summer. Your rat tail is in full effect and is looking rather good; you get compliments on it often. You hate having your hair cut because the little shards of hair make you “itchy”.

You have your Papa’s build, with a good chunk of meat on your thighs that is so grab-able that we end up squeezing a little too hard at times. We refer to you as “munchy” often. You’re dense, with a barrel-like chest.

You’re in size four pants and shirts and share shoes with Hooper despite probably being a size or so smaller.

You insist on wearing your cowboy boots often, a staple in your wardrobe since Halloween. You’re very particular about what you wear and if you deem something as ‘not cool enough’, you refer to it as ‘too funny’ with the same kind of attitude and disgust a teenager would exhibit. You prefer shorts over pants, no matter the weather, mostly because you like utilizing the added pockets n’ loops as sword holders. I pulled out a pair of jeans to put on you the other morning and you told me you were going to call the police and that people were going to laugh at you because ‘power rangers don’t wear jeans’; a defense used often with ‘jeans’ being the fill-in-the-blank for whatever it is you don’t want to wear.

You’re always grubby. You care little about food on your face or stains on your clothes. You do, however, have an annoyingly insistence that your laces not touch the floor; even if your shoe is tied correctly, you want the ends of the laces tucked into the shoe so as to not drag or even hang near the ground.San Clemente Family Photographer-4457 copy


It’s a wonder most days how we can refer to you as “munchy” when you seem to hardly eat. You’re at the stage where everything else holds you attention and sitting at the table for even a 10 second period is nothing short of a challenge. You typically eat breakfast well and then it’s all rather downhill from there. You rarely eat dinner. It’s frustrating.

When you don’t want to eat a meal you say you’re ‘full’ but then proceed to ask for something you do want. Usually dessert.

You drink your smoothies well so long as the straw is of your choosing. Ingredients include: OJ, chia seed, flax see, spinach, pineapple, and strawberries and you always come up to the counter and steal a frozen strawberry during the blending process.

Rewards and encouragement do little to get food in your mouth. The tantrums that follow when you don’t get whatever reward offered do not reflect this (you’d think if you cared that much about not getting the reward that the initial offer of a reward would mean something to you, but alas, it does not). And so, eating in general is a bit of a struggle and source of stress.

There was a time when you’d eat, or at least try, just about anything. This is not the case anymore. You refuse things like asparagus and take forever to eat other things, like chicken. Then there’s other times we turn away for what feels like ten seconds only to see an almost clean plate in front of you. Point being, when you want to eat, you can eat fast and when you don’t want to eat, it just sits there.

Favorite foods: bananas, carrots, oatmeal, bread / carbs in general, raspberries.San Clemente Family Photographer-4534

You nap from about 1:30 to 4pm, which we’re ever-so-grateful for. On average you sleep about 11 consecutive hours, from about 8:30pm to 7:30am.

You sleep with your blanket every night, with a changing conglomeration of stuffed animals, toys, or trinkets surrounding you.

You still sleep in a diaper overnight and have gone through periods of not needing it followed by periods of needing it and so, we keep it on. Each morning you like to prove to us that it’s dry by grabbing our hand and directing our hand to your crotch. It has a very against-my-will feel to it, yet makes me giggle.

You’re scared of the dark and ask often that we keep the bearded dragon’s light on, which we do during your nap but not at night. The night light seems to be enough to ease your fears, in addition to the fact your brother is in bed right next to you.

Your Papa gets you ready for bed and then you get in bed, pull the sheet over your head, and hide from me. Every night. It’s pretty easy to find you considering all the squirming around and squealing that goes on while you’re “hiding” under your sheets.

Each morning you come into our bedroom, bring Papa his watch that he keeps on his nightstand, and climb into bed to cuddle with Papa. Always Papa, never me. Ho hum. San Clemente Family Photographer-4502

You ask a thousand questions a day and get upset if your question is not understood or if we write you off and simply say “I don’t know”.

When you can’t hear, you ask, “what’d you said?” and it’s so cute we make you repeat it over and over.

You insist on having someone to keep you company while you take a dump, insisting the entire time that you’re actually not dumping and that it’s – in fact – “just pee”, then this sly little grin spreads across your face when your dump plops into the water.

You whine a lot. 90% of what you say seems to be said in a whine. We’re working on it. San Clemente Family Photographer-4438


Your head still does this adorable little lazy bob from side to side when you run, which has been a longtime favorite characteristic of yours.

You’re hard headed and stubborn, but at the same time easy and carefree.

We asked you to stop sucking your thumb and, just like that, you did. We catch you every now and again but you seem to quickly realize what you’re doing on your own and stop on your own. It’s bittersweet, but hopefully translates to less colds / germs.

You love to do things by yourself and get quite frustrated when you’re unable to do something you’ve set out to accomplish in the absence of help. You refuse help, most times, and prefer to whine about whatever it is you’re having trouble with instead. It’s a cycle that never leads to a good ending.

You mimic everything Hooper does or says… at times you seem like nothing other than a puppet. Sometimes I wonder who you’d be in the absence of your older brother. Ha. San Clemente Family Photographer-4588

You’re deathly stubborn when it comes to dressing yourself, your favorite shirt being a long sleeve vintage GI Joe shirt I managed to find in a thrift store for you. You care not how hot it is outside and insist on wearing it whenever you see it hanging in your closet.

For months, since October 31st to be exact, you have insisted on wearing your cowboy boots with everything. You’re just now starting to let that phase go. You’ve moved on to rain boots, even though it’s not raining.

You love the Power Rangers and refer to yourself as the red ranger often, declaring red to be your favorite color.

Hooper @ 5 years, 4 months

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Appearance & Growth:

You are tall and thin and if I were to continue doing these updates for the remainder of your life, I’m pretty sure I’d just copy and paste that little known fact. In general, you’re whimsy like a bicycle. But strong. You can do push-ups with ease.

Your hair is still blond and when it’s clean, it curls just a bit at the ends. Your hair is currently down to your shoulders, but you don’t like wearing it up in a pony tail.

You’re in size 5T in pants and need a belt with just about every pair you own, with the exception – per usual – of the few vintage pairs you own that seem to have a smaller waist. We forget the belt often and you’re constantly tugging at your pants, pulling them back up. You can wear size 4 or 5 shirts and I think you’re in size 11 or 12 shoes, it’s hard to keep track. You weigh somewhere in the ballpark of 40 pounds, qualifying you for a simple booster seat now in-leiu of the big honky carseat, but you’re still in the big honky carseat for now.

The dentist found two cavities. We’re now flossing and rinsing with fluoride.


We’ve turned some sort of corner and whatever difficulties we faced in the past have all but disappeared. Sure, it’s rare to get through an entire meal without reminding you, or your brother, to sit back down a thousand times, but all in all, the eating situation is much, much improved.

I make you a smoothie a few mornings a week. You need some motivation to get it all down, but most days you do pretty well. Ingredients include: OJ, chia seed, flax seed, spinach, pineapple, and strawberries.

You do well with rewards for good eating and encouragement.

Foods I never thought you’d eat but you do now: asparagus and green beans.

Favorite foods: Cheeseburgers (all day, everyday), grilled cheese, macaroni, bread / carbs in general, raspberries, american cheese.

You’ve told on yourself several times for “sneaking up on food”, which translates to you raiding the cabinets while we’re upstairs working and usually equates to missing candy corn or a rim of cheese from Doritos around your mouth as leftover evidence.

San Clemente Family Photographer-3294Sleeping:

If we’re in the car for a long period of time, you’ll usually take a nap. But not always. On average you sleep about 11 hours, from about 8:30pm to 7:30am.

Most nights we find you sleeping side by side your brother in his little twin bed. It’s just about the cutest thing we’ve ever seen and it’s becoming the norm.

You still sleep with your blanket every night, with various stuffed animals making their way in rotation and changing their levels of significance. But more nights than not you’re fine without any stuffed animals at all.

We no longer close your door at night and allow you the freedom to get up and take yourself to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It’s been fun to see you gain this independence and you’ve accepted this new freedom well. We’ve added night lights in your room as well as in the bathroom.

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You asked me the other day if you could marry Jimmie.

You came home from school the other day, told me you kissed a girl in your class twice, and then proceeded to tell me, “Mama, I weally wyke (really like) gurls (girls)”.

You think it’s funny to say “I’m going to throw up”, followed soon after by “just kidding”.

Since our last trip to Arizona, you’ve been saying you want to work with cows when you grow up, like your grandpa Niles.

Not sure where you picked it up, but you’ve started counting to ten in Spanish, only it’s resemblance to actual Spanish is questionable, at best; “Cuatro” sounds more like “colossal”. In any event,  you’re showing interest in learning more and it’s been fun to hear you pick up on a few words: “excellente”, “vamanos”, “perfecto”… You know how to say “my name is Hooper” in Spanish and pick up on others in public speaking in Spanish.

You use the word “dude”. The other day you got upset at me for asking you to clean up and told me, with angst in your voice, “Knock it off, dude”.

There was a period of time where you responded to requests like, “Hooper, can you pick up your toys” with, “Five year olds aren’t good at picking up toys”.

You use the word “yesterday” to refer to anytime in the past… no matter how long ago whatever event you referencing occurred.

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You write with your left hand but are able to use scissors with your right. I keep intending to buy you left handed scissors to give a try but you seem pretty well adapted to the right handed ones. You’re left leg dominant as well and are able to hop better on your left foot than your right. You’ve attended a little golf class with your g’pa Jeffers and the coach there says you’re a right handed golfer.

You won’t let us take the training wheels off your bike. We pick our battles.

Rather suddenly you’re aware that there is some inherent degree of embarrassment associated with being naked and though you still like to strip off all your clothes and surprise everyone with a naked rampage, you also worry about people “laughing at you” and don’t like to step foot out the door in your underwear much anymore. But then, just the other day, you rode your bike in nothing other than your choines without giving it any thought. So you haven’t made the full transition.

You often refuse to blow your nose and are constantly sucking your boogers back up into your nose whenever you have a cold.

You’re really exercising your independence as of late; this includes climbing on top of the counter and fetching your own snack as well as pulling a chair into your closet to reach your shirts so you can fully dress yourself. You brush your teeth on your own but definitely benefit from a little assistance. You wipe your own butt. Things I can’t wait to check off the list: getting your shoes on by yourself and strapping yourself into and out of your carseat on your own.

You can do a poor excuse for a cartwheel, but it resembles a cartwheel none-the-less.

You ask lots of questions, good questions. Like today you inquired, “mama, when the baby cries in the middle of the night is it going to wake me up and aren’t you going to be tired having to get up all the time?”. You ask lots of questions that prove wheels to be spinning and point to good intuition. You’ve asked more than once how Papa “put his seed in me”.

You love school and have lots of friends. Your teacher describes you as impulsive as well as the class “reporter” (apparently you tell on people a lot). I describe her as a saint for putting up with the 20+ boys in your class.

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Legos are your latest obsession. The swords and guns have been put away in the closet and we are now dealing with stepping on little itty bitty pieces of legos all day long.

You have a fascination with Star Wars despite never seeing the actual show / movie. It’s amazing what marketing and influence from friends at school can do…

Jimmie, hands down, is high on your list of favorites. You play with him all the time, love to cuddle him and give him treats, and point out how cute he is constantly. You really enjoy his presence and company.

You love doing what you refer to as your “science experiments” which really just involves filling test tubes with whatever you can find: soda, juice, or my favorite from this morning, granola.

Hooper @ 4 years, 8 months

You insist on sleeping in your underwear. Anytime we’d put you in actual pajamas, you’d wake up in the morning with them on the floor. It’s made getting ready for bed that much easier, so cheers to that.
You’re more rambunctious than ever. Sometime within the past few months the top of the energy jar just flew right off. You’re like a bull in a china shop these days. The thought of getting anything done in the hours that you’re awake has become a joke.
With that said, you’re no longer napping. I wrote about it here. We’re still adjusting…
You started at a new school. When asked about your day, you said, “Felix (your best bud from your old school) wasn’t there, but I didn’t cry”. You seemed to enjoy yourself and participated right along with everyone else.
Disciplining you has been a challenge. Most of the usual techniques have zero impact on you, some you even find humorous. It can really make my blood boil. The other day you spit in my face. Another time you threw a rock at me that landed right on my jaw bone. We’re still figuring out this parenting thing… Times like this make it very trying.
When writing your name, you almost always leave out the ‘e’ and the ‘r’, so it just reads “Hoop”.
Even with that, you’re equal parts sweet and sour. You still love to cuddle and if there were cuddling competitions, you’d certainly have a shot at winning. You can curl your body into the smallest, most fetal position while on my lap. You caress my arm often and tell me you love me numerous times throughout the day.
You can take your clothes off but haven’t figured out to put them on. You’re like a slutty teenager.
You write mostly with your left hand and strum the guitar with your left hand, too.
All things associated with your butt are humorous. You think it’s funny to back up into us with your pants pulled down just enough so we can see your crack. You also like taking off all your clothes and referring to yourself as a “poo butt”.
You tell lots of stories and have a great imagination and a noteworthy memory. You were able to direct the babysitter all the way to Nina’s house.
Books about reptiles, dinosaurs, or sea creatures hold your attention most these days. You’re not particularly into sports, but you like climbing and digging and building.
You go to bed around 8:30pm and wake up anywhere between 7:15 and 8:30am.
You have a natural six pack and can do push-ups with impressive technique. The other day I punished you by making you do 10 push-ups. It felt good.
You’ve switched from hating swim lessons to loving swim lessons. Probably because you now know how to swim, though I’m not sure you’re entirely pool safe yet. And some days you get asked to leave class for not listening.
American cheese is your jam. You ask for the individually wrapped kraft squares constantly. You pronounce it “‘merikan”. It goes without saying that a grilled cheese sandwich is the one thing I can serve you and not have to hound you to sit down and finish your food.
Other things I love that you say: Popsicle is “pa-sickle” and lobster is “womp-ster”.
You’re in size 4T clothes but can still fit into size 2T underwear.

Van @ 2 years, 6 months

Growth & Appearance: You’re getting so big so fast. You’re really not far off from Hooper’s height and weight. Someone the other day asked if you guys are twins. You’re able to share a lot of clothes; t-shirts and shorts, for sure, and pants depending on the length. If you can’t share pants, the day Hooper grows out of them, they go into your drawer and fit you perfectly. 
You’re fiercely strong. Even your “big squeezes” kinda suffocate the air out of me. 
You’ve had a bracelet tied around your little wrist since July. You’re great with wearing hats.  If there’s a pair of reading glasses lying around, you will find them and wear them. Always. 
Eating: The terrible twos are in full force and it shows at the table. You have no time to eat. You either eat what’s in front of you in record time or push it away and want down. It’s so hit or miss. Breakfast is usually good, but by dinner, you’re over it.
Your favorite foods are bananas, chicken nuggets, yogurt, though it all really changes day to day. The other day you scarfed down green beans and I didn’t even know you liked them.
You sit in a regular chair at the table, but we have yet to transfer the highchair into the garage. So far, so good though.
You’re obsessed with “shoda” (soda). I’m trying to convince your Papa that he should drink something better, like say water, so we can teach you better habits. Until then, you’re a magnet to the stuff. 
Sleeping: You’re woken up by Hooper every morning. On the days he has preschool, you’ll typically go back to sleep. I think if you had it your way you’d get up around 8 or 8:30. Hooper has you up closer to 7. You still nap in a pack-n-play that’s squished haphazardly into the spare bathroom. You’re in bed around 8:30.
You most always fall asleep with at least two toys and one book snuggled in next to you. And, of course, you’re still attached to your blanket.    
Talking: You had the best stutter that literally lasted for about a week and then completely disappeared. You speak in full sentences and understand concepts.
When you want to know what something does, you ask, “What’s it due’s (does), mama?”, to-which-I-answer, “It due’s ____”.
The other day I said to you, “Van, it sounds like you have a runny nose”, to-which-you responded, “No, Mama, it’s walking’ “.
You pronounce waffle as “raffle”, like you’re from the mid-west or something, mouth as “noufth”, and nothing as “nuffing”.
You also say things a little out of order, like when you dropped something and wanted me to pick it up and said, “Why you not pick up it?”. 
Development: You are stubbornly independent and want to do everything by yourself.
You took a toy truck away from a boy smaller than you at the park the other day. When he started chasing you to get it back, you threw his truck in the trash can. It was not a trash can you could stick your hand down. Way to make me look like number one mom.
You throw a mean tantrum. We haven’t had to suffer through too many in public, so I guess there’s that.
You have a big personality, are easy going, and a lot of fun. Your Papa and I have already coined you as “life of the party”.
You hit me and it hurts. I’m kind of scared of you becoming a teenager if I’m already dodging your punches now.
You have taken to potty training well and are learning fast. It hasn’t been without it’s trials and frustrations, but I gather in the whole scheme of things it’s been okay. You wear choines at all times, minus napping and sleeping. You ask, at times, to go to the bathroom; other times you simply drizzle just a little in your undies and then tell me, at-which-point I take you to the potty.
You still copy everything Hooper does or says.
You can hop on one foot.
You make the best mean face and the best happy face, on command.
You have no fear and love to jump off of surfaces that are taller than you are.    
Favorites: You love cars and planes and anything, really, with wheels. You also still love balls and ask often to play catch. You like making pretend food in your pretend kitchen. We allow you to have your scooter indoors and you ride it all around the kitchen and family room. You play great with Hooper and love to go along with whatever game he is playing. Stewart Little is a movie you ask to watch often. Also a cartoon on Netflix called “Puss & Boots”.

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Hooper @ 4 years, 2 months

Growth & Appearance: We took you to a barber to have your hair cut. We love it and yet we’re still eager for it to be long, again. You’ve grown a lot it seems and while you fit into many 4T or even 5T pants length wise, the waist is too big, so many times you have to wear a belt. You wear your g’paw Jeffer’s old cub scout belt. The vintage pants fit you just fine in the waist, so I do my best to buy you those instead. 
You like to take you footie pajamas off by yourself, which leaves them in an inside-out mess and added hassle for when we put them back on at bedtime (but whatever, right?). You refused to wear hats for a long time but now agree to wearing beanies when it’s cold out. You have one of Papa’s old watches and insist on wearing it at all times of the day. It’s much to big for your little wrist. You don’t really care what I put you in; you have no preferences when it comes to picking out clothes. I’m gonna ride that wave as long as I can. Dressing boys has proven to be more fun than I ever thought.
You had your 4 year check-up and you are 36lbs (51%) and I think just under 40 inches tall (71%). You’re in size 4 shirts  and size 9 shoes. 
Eating: You’re such a better eater these days. Like night and day. You still need some coaxing here and there, but more times than not you feed yourself and enjoy eating. Did I just say that?
You love pizza. You eyes light up when we tell you we’re lazy and ordering pizza. You also love bacon. And french fries. You’re so obviously my kid. Despite these unhealthy-ish preferences, you do eat a considerable amount of healthy foods; you love nuts, apples, oranges, carrots, and avocado sandwiches (begrudgingly, at times).
You pick your nose and eat your boogers. The other day I caught you eating one of your scabs.
Sleeping: You sleep pattern stays fairly consistent, though daylight savings has made you get up a little earlier than normal. You’re also having a hard time holding your pee and ask often for us to “let you out” to go to the bathroom. Typically you get up between 7 and 8, closer to 7 the majority of the time. Then you nap from about 1:30-3:30, sometimes 4, and rarely not at all. We have hopes of getting you to bed before 8 but you have yet to be in bed before 8:30.
You wake up most mornings in Van’s bed. I think there are times you fall asleep with him in there, but without a video monitor I can’t say for sure. You request to nap in Van’s bed since Van still naps in the pack-n-play.
Twice you’ve taken off all of your clothes and I’ve found you in your birthday suit. That’s new. Insert big eyes with raised eyebrows here. Talking: You call park rangers “grangers” and I don’t correct you; “Mama, waz dat granger say to you?”
You pronounce ambulance with a ton of extra syllables. It sounds something like, “am-ba-tu-la-ence”.
“Spicy” is pronounced “ficey” and I also don’t correct you.
When you see a cat or a small dog, you say, “I want to pick up her”. I don’t correct you because according to the grammar police, you’re actually grammatically correct. 
Development: You got scolded at the dog beach by a stranger for hitting her dog. You were upset because the dog took your stick. It was really embarrassing, for me. It had a big impact on you, too, because you wouldn’t stop talking about how you no longer like dogs. Jimmie, you say, is an exception.
You love the letter H. You draw it often and point it out all around town. You don’t seem the least bit interested in any other letters, but you really hold that letter H in high regard.
Each morning at preschool you are supposed to trace the letters of your name. I stick around to watch you every now and again and have yet to see you actually trace the letters. Instead, you like to color in the inside of the letters… you scribble the inside of the “o”s and the inside of the “e” and “p” and call it a day. I have no intentions of correcting you, I like that you do it differently than everyone else.
You teachers say you genuinely like to help. I think this is a very firstborn, people-pleaser, trait of yours. It highlights your sweet and gentle side so well and obviously is a nice thing to hear.
On the flipside, you still come out of preschool each day with ragging aggressiveness toward Van. It’s like groundhog day; you come out the door, sock Van, and then proceed to chase each other all the way back to the car. Same thing. Everyday.
Your feelings get hurt if I tell you you’re not my friend. I realize this lets the I-stoop-to-my-kids-level cat out of the bag, but sometimes no time out or scolding seems to affect you. But, if I tell you that you’re not my friend, you cry. It’s my only leverage.
Felix is your best friend from pre-school. You talk about him at the most random times; like driving through Joshua Tree, “Felix would like this town”. Or the morning when you peed in your bed, “Felix doesn’t pee in his bed”. You guys send each other little videos back and forth confessing your love for one another. It’s sweet. And I dig his mom, so nice pick, Hoop.
You make the ugliest face by scrunching up your nose and showing your teeth and refer to it as your “mad face”. If I’m telling you something you don’t want to hear, you make your “mad face”. Or if you’re in attack mode and going crazy or pretending to be the “bad guy”, you better believe “mad face” comes out in full force. It’s unattractive, to say the least.
You go through phases of spitting. It sucks.
You have a love hate relationship with Jimmie; you love when he’s curled into a ball and you can cuddle him but you hate him when he’s going crazy and chewing up your toys or taking your stuffed animals off your bed.
Your imagination is on fire and you can be quite the storyteller. You’ve been known to tell tales of giraffes in our living room and that super great story you told Nina about Papa hitting you, which had no truth to it.
Favorites: You’re still, after all these years, into your cars. You now like to fill your bed with as many cars as you can and refer to it as a “carnival”. You give me a ticket (usually some sort of scrape piece of paper) and invite me to come. You love watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. It scared you, at first, but you didn’t want me to turn it off and now I think you’re so stoked that you conquered whatever fear you had that you want to watch it over and over and over again. It’s  a nice break from Cars and was fun to watch during Christmas. You love to read and you love to flip through books on your own and study the pictures on the pages. You go a book for Christmas that has close up pictures of lots of different insects and animals and you love flipping through and studying each page. You recently found a container of tinker toys and that’s been your favorite thing for the last few days. We went to the Natural History Museum and ever since then you’ve been into dinosaurs. There is an educational program you like to watch on Netflix over and over. The narrator has that really old man monotone museum-esque voice so I haven’t quite figured out how he holds your attention, but he does.

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Hooper @ 3 years, 10 months

Growth & Appearance: You’re tall and lanky, with long and skinny limbs. Your waist is small and you can share all your shorts with Van. You’re in a size 9 shoe and size 3T clothing. Your hair is long and it can finally fit behind your ears. You legs are almost always covered in tiny bruises from who-knows-what. Someone said you look more like Papa the other day, but most of the time people say you look like me. You definitely have my body structure. 
Eating: You’ve been eating better than ever before. You still need encouragement at times, but there are entire meals that you will eat on your own and in record-for-you-speed. You’ll also try new things; sometimes begrudgingly. You’ve tried mangoes, kiwi, squash, and asparagus within the past month or so and you ate all of them. These are things we may have tried back in the day that you didn’t care for then, but seemed to tolerate now.
You’re also curious in things like ketchup, which you wouldn’t have liked before. You like ketchup with everything. You put it on your pizza the other day.
When given a cupcake, you typically only eat the frosting.
You eat your raspberries by putting them on the tips of your fingers and then eating them off one by one.
You like milk more than watered down juice and drink a lot of it. Sleeping: You still sleep with your blanket every night. Most nights you also have a small pile of toys or books you have deemed valuable next to your pillow. You always like your “stuff” nearby. You wake up around 8am, nap from roughly 1:30-4:30, and go to bed around 8:30pm. It’s been pretty steady and being that it’s the same schedule as your brother, it works out nicely. You guys sleep in the same room at night but we have to separate you for naps during the day. You rarely fight bedtime or nap time, but every now and again you surprise us. Talking: “Because” is you new favorite word. You use it all the time. Me: “Hooper, why did you hit Van?”, You: “Because”. Or better yet, Me: “Look at the cars on the freeway”, You: “Because, Mama” (which doesn’t make any sense).
“Nothing” is your other favorite word. Me: “Hooper, tell me about what you did at preschool today”, You: “Nuffing”. You’re like a little teenager already. My favorite is when you followed it with “I don’t wanna talk right now”. Ha.
You went through a phase where you’d ask us several times a day when our birthdays are. No joke, some days you’d ask more than 20 times. Needless to say, you know now when everyone’s birthday is.
You’re into telling secrets. More times than not you’ll come up to me, tell me you have a secret, and then say, “I wanna hit Van”.
The other day we were talking about the birds flying. I asked you if you’d like to fly like a bird one day and you told me, “No Mama, because I’d miss you”.
When you’re playing in the garage with Van, you’ll yell to me, “Mama, pweez come keep an eye on us!”.
Sometimes you’ll announce you have a question, “Mama, I have a question”. It’s usually followed by “Can I hit Van?” or “When’s your birthday”.
When you’re playing and I tell you it’s time for a nap, you’ll tell me, “just five minutes, Mama”. Or when I tell you to eat your food and you say, “just one second, Mama”.
You love to talk like a monkey but know we hate it so you’ll ask, “Can I do monkey talks?”. Sometimes we say yes.Development: When you see kids skateboarding or playing baseball, you say you want to do the same when you’re “bigger”. 
You go to the bathroom completely on your own. Sometimes I don’t even know you’re going until you come walking out with your pants down. We haven’t mastered the pulling your pants part up quite yet. After that, you’ll be fully independent.
Every now and again, you’ll go to the bathroom in you pants overnight. It doesn’t happen often, but we keep you in pull-ups at night just in case.
One time, when I wasn’t looking, you started to pee right on the beach. A woman started laughing and pointed you out to me and then insisted that I take a picture of it, so I have a photo of you pissing on the beach. Right after that you told me you had to make ca-ca. I asked the same lady if she wanted me to photograph that as well. She declined and we went to the restroom.
In other potty news, you demand complete privacy when you’re pooping. Every now and again you’ll grab Van’s hand and insist that he take you ca-ca. It’s funny.
You went through a phase when you were into blowing into people’s faces. Luckily it passed because it was super annoying; though it was quite humorous when we’d overhear you asking Van if you could blow him. Rules before going anywhere included: say please and thank you, no hitting, wait your turn, and no blowing on people.
You can do a forward roll. You can also hop on one foot (really well on your left, but not so well on your right). You seem to kick a ball with your left foot. You still write with your left hand but you hold utensils in your right hand. You throw, mostly, with your right.
You ask me often about my collar bones and try to grab them as if they are removable.
You request that we drive “fast” and “get” the other cars (which means we speed up and pass the car next to us).
Much to my dismay, you’re more conscious of having your photo taken. The other day I had my camera out and you sat there and gave me a full on cheese ball smile. No idea where it came from but I’m learning that it’s really hard to unteach things society teaches us.
Like a bag lady, you shuffle all your stuff around from room to room. Currently you have your small suitcase full of cars and tractors and a basket full of books. It’s heavy, even for me, and you cart it around with you everywhere. You’re very possessive of your stuff and upset when you misplace it.
You know that “H” is the first letter of your name and you’re able to draw it.
You’re sweet and sensitive. You love animals and hate to see anyone sad. You’re still my number one cuddler. Favorites: You love movies with mice in them, like Stuart Little and Runaway Ralph. You watched the movie “Cars” for the first time and love it. But if there’s one thing you could do all day, everyday, it would be playing in the garage. You have all sorts of “things” out there that you refer to as your “home” and you like sorting it and reorganizing it. The “things” include cardboard boxes, an ice chest, your bike, a broom, beach chairs, small trash cans, and other random things you’d only find in a garage. You also love to sit with a book and flip through the pages. You tell me you’re reading your book and I have no doubt that you are, in your own way. 

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Van @ 26 Months

Growth & Appearance: You were well on your way to a business-in-the-front-party-in-the-back-also-known-as-a-mullet hair style (we cut it just the other day). We were trying to hold out until Halloween, with plans of dressing you up as either Joe Dirt or Rod Stewart. Your hair is blonder than ever, compliments of summer, and remains thick and oddly kinky.  
We finally found a new pediatrician and took you for your overdue well baby checkup. You weigh 32 lbs (85th percentile) and are 38 inches tall (off the charts, >100%). You feel like a rock, super dense. You have a barrel shaped chest.
Like you’re brother, you’re commonly covered in bumps and bruises. 
Eating: You went from needing a snack first thing in the morning to hold you over while I made you breakfast to being finicky and not eating much at all. You’re now a pain in the ass at the table. You need to be entertained constantly. Just when I thought we could put the grab bag of tricks away. Typically you end up eating, but it’s not usually on our terms. Given that you’re monstrously big, I tend to let it go and cross my fingers that if you skip one meal you’ll eat well at the next, and you usually do.
You do, however, typically try new foods with ease. You ate squash that I made without even pointing it out as something “new”. Same thing with asparagus.
When we go to a restaurant we have to hide the sugar packets. If you beat us to the punch, you usually end up eating the entire packet (paper included).
You still like bananas, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, quesadillas, beans, and an assortment of snack foods like raisins and grapes and cheese sticks.
When we try to feed you and you already have a bite in your mouth, you’ll open your mouth and point to the food that’s in there and make this face that says, “told ya so”. 
Sleeping: You sleep in the same room as your brother, in a twin bed with a toddler rail. You’re attached to your blanket and usually like bringing a couple of books with you to bed. Your schedule is the same as Hooper’s: wake up around 8am, nap from 1:30-4:30, and go to sleep around 8:30pm. You nap in the pack-n-play in the bathroom because napping in the same room as your brother does not work. The other day you climbed out of your pack-n-play after your nap, walked downstairs and found me and said, “me awake”. You still suck your thumb and put use “hand hat” when you’re tired. The best is when you’re riding your bike and have your helmet on; hand hat turns into helmet hat and you put your thumb in your mouth and your other hand on top of your helmet.Talking: You speak in full sentences and mimic a lot of what Hooper says. You’ve taken to his favorite words like “because”. So when I say, “Van, why won’t you listen”, you say, “because”.
Before answering any question, you say “um”. Me: “Hey Van, when’s your birthday”, You: “um, July”. It’s so fast and so subtle that it almost sounds like one word, umjuly.
There was a time when we’d scold you and you’d come crying to whichever one of us didn’t scold you and say, “Papa hit me”, even though the scolding was strictly verbal. It made us happy that you’re not in preschool telling people of authority lies about us. Also makes me question using a child as a witness in the court of law. Clearly, kids are nuts. You included.
You start a lot of sentences with “me”, “me awake”, “me like dat”, “me want that”, and so on and so forth.
“No way!” was your favorite phrase for a period of time. Me: “Van, we’re gonna go to the fair”, You: “No way!”.
You repeat whatever you’re saying until someone validates what you’ve said: “Dat boy wear helmet”. No answer. “Dat boy wear helmet”. No answer. “Dat boy wear helmet on his head”. “Yes, you’re right”. Then it’s quiet.
You understand full concepts and tell me things like, “It smells weird”. You also ask, “Who dat on da phone”, whenever we’re talking to anyone on the phone. It’s hard to know how much is mimicking things you hear Hooper say and how much is just you being you. Whichever the case, you ask appropriate questions and make appropriate statements. Development: You can ride a bike with training wheels. You love riding your bike. You can jump off of high surfaces with two feet. You try to hop on one foot and can just about do it.
You did great in swim class. You’re favorite part was jumping off the ledge into the water. You’re very trusting to the point of carelessness. You’re more of a jump-first-find-someone-to-save-me-after kinda kid.
You’ve gone to the bathroom on the toilet several times but are not near ready to officially start potty training. There was a period where you seemed highly interested, but it has passed. Now I wish you’d find the interest again because you’re in a current state of I-don’t-want-my-diaper-changed and nearly every time there’s a tantrum that ensues. It’s annoying that I have to beg you to wipe your butt. Please remember this.
You make fast friends with kids of all ages; others seem to be drawn to you naturally.You give the sweetest kisses. Your lips and nice and plump. Favorites: You request to watch a spin off of the movie Cars, called “Mater Tales”, nearly everyday. We don’t spend a lot of time watching TV, but when we do, this is what you request. You’re also more into cars and tractors than you’ve ever been. Like Hooper, you like to line them up and take them with you everywhere. For a week straight, you brought a little taxi with you everywhere. You also love playing in the garage and spend most of your free time at home in the garage with Hooper either riding your bike around in circles or building “homes” with Hooper. Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

Hooper @ 3.7 Years

Growth & Appearance: I put you on the scale the other day and you seem to be about 35 pounds. You hair is blonder than ever, bleached by the summer sun. You’re little bum is white compared to the rest of your body. Your nails almost always have dirt under them.Your hair is long and you’ve started brushing it out of your face with your hand, holding it out of your eyes so you can see better. You have enough hair to put into a ponytail and every now and again you will request one. We ask you if you want us to cut your hair and you say “no”.  
You have a lot of blond leg hair that glistens in the sun.
You have a natural six pack.
You wear size 3 or 4T. Pull ups / underwear size 4. And I think you’re in size 9 shoe; it’s hard to keep track. Eating: You’ve been eating well, for the most part. When you’re excited about what we’re preparing, you rub your tummy and refer to the food as “delicious”, pronounced “de-wish-is”.  
You like to slurp your milk. It’s really annoying. For a short time you’d slurp it and then spit it out all over the floor. It was really fun when Van would follow suit.
You don’t like food getting on your face or lap; you’re a clean eater. If I offer you a bite that’s too big, you say, “that’s too big for my face”, which I think is funny.
Your favorite foods are whip cream, strawberries, hot dogs, and french fries; I swear we give you healthy food most of the time, however. Hot dogs, more than anything else, are your latest jam.
You also love milk (when you’re not slurping and/or spitting it out). And butter. You like to eat butter plain, right off the knife. Gross, I know.
You keep going into the fridge, taking the cap off the juice and hiding it. The other day I found the juice in the garage and the cap in a random basket. Sleeping: You’re back to taking naps. I make it my goal each day to tire you out and it works. You wake up around 7:30 or 8am with your brother (typically he wakes you up, I think). You’re ready for a nap after lunch, around 1 or 2pm, and you usually sleep at least 2 hours, sometimes 3. You go to bed between 8 and 9. 
You still love your blanket, which you call your “dadgy”. You also insist on sleeping with a toy each night; most nights it’s a book.
When you wake up from your nap, we cuddle and you kiss you forehead and tell me, “You make me so happy”. It’s my favorite part of the day. You prefer to cuddle with me over your Papa because you say Papa, “makes you itch” (because of his facial hair). 
Talking: You’re very expressive about your feelings; you say things like “I am too mad” when you’re told you have to do something that you don’t want to do. You’ll also talk back. 
You call me “mom” from time to time and it makes me feel like you’re growing up too fast. Other times you’ll make it plural and call me “mamas” and I’m reminded that you’ll always be my baby.
For a while you were singing a song you referred to as your favorite but we could decipher the words and to this day I have no idea what your favorite song is.
When I scold you, I tell you to “look at my eyes”. I cannot tell you how many times I have overheard you scolding Van, “wook at my eyes, Van!”. Monkey see, monkey do.
You’ve started saying swear words. Specifically “f$#’n shit”; a constant reminder that we need to watch our mouths and that you hear everything we say. You use it appropriately too; like when we were in Hawaii and a lizard ran into our room and you said, “f$#’n shit”.
You say “bless you” after anyone sneezes. It’s a nice antidote to the aforementioned.
The other day you wanted me to watch something you were doing and instead of asking me to watch, you said, “Mama, turn your face around”.
When you tell people your name, sometimes you say, “Hooper, with an H” because I think you’ve heard us say that too many times. You get mistaken for “Cooper” often.
You must ask “why” a thousand times a day. I have been told by numerous strangers that I have the patience of a Saint. I tell them they have no idea. And no explanation is ever satisfactory; one why just gives way to another.
When something goes wrong, like you drop something, you say, “oh dear”.
You saw a blimp in the air and said, “Mama, wook at dat wocket (rocket)”.
You’re into potty talk. You love talking about buttholes and your “dumps”.
When a commercial comes on the TV, you look at us confused and whine about the TV “buffering”. Hash tag: Modern day kids.
You like to take it upon yourself to give Van a spanking when he does something wrong. You pronounce it “fankin”. 
Development: We call you the bossman because you think the world revolves around you and that everyone is here on the Earth to take orders from you. When you’re overly bossy, it’s usually a sign that you’re tired.
You want to know the name for anything and everything. You’ll see a bird out the window and ask me what it’s name is. You’ll see a stranger in the store and ask me what his name is. You’ll see a dog and ask what it’s name is. You’re eager to identify everything.
You can put your slip on shoes on by yourself. Occasionally it gets stuck on your heel and you get frustrated.
You constantly ask me what all the signs say… the stop sign, the crosswalk sign, the “welcome to California” sign, the handicap sign, and so on and so forth. As I said, you’re eager to identify everything.
You refer to large bodies of water, like lakes, as bath tubs; “Wook at all dos ducks in that big baff-tub, Mama”.
You no longer use the little seat over the toilet, it’s something we abandoned during the move and you’ve adapted to the big boy seat just fine. You have regressed considerably with potty training, however. Prior to moving, I’d say you were 98% trained. Now, you wake up with a dirty diaper a few times a week and have been peeing in random areas all over the house. It was a real treat when you pointed out that you peed on a pile of clothes on my floor. Luckily this only lasted a few weeks.
You are offended when inanimate objects or animals don’t talk to you. You say, “Mama, that rock / bird / crab not talkin’ to me” with a pout and a frown.
You’re able to problem solve. Like if the ball gets stuck under the sofa, you first try to retrieve it using something long like a baseball bat.
You’ve gotten more social and are more inclined to go up to a group of kids and play. You’re not one to wander far or lose sight of me, but it’s obvious you enjoy hanging out with kids your own age and it’s been nice to see you come out of your shell a bit.
You hate getting hurt. You discovered a blister on the back of your heel and spent the rest of the day requesting cuddles and limping around. We’ll have to toughen you up a bit.
You ask about Sarah less and less, but have not forgotten. You’ve settled on the fact that she got hit by a car and is with Sammy. You’re very conscious of street safety as a result and I overhear you telling Van often to look both ways. It’s pretty sweet.
You’re into collecting an odd assortment of toys and things around the house and turning them into, what you call, a fire station. Like the other day when my bed was covered with a tennis racket, a hose for the washer and dryer, a few cars, a tape measure, a plant stand, and other odds and ends. When I started to clean it up, you told me to stop messing up your fire station. You do the same thing with your “office”; you have a plastic cup with some crayons, some coins, and a few allen wrenches set on top of the kitchen bar counter. You add things like junk mail and refer to this space as your office. Again, you get very upset when I try to clean it up. And if I clean it up when you’re sleeping, you immediately notice everything that’s missing when you wake up. You let it all go quickly too, however, and go right back to building a new fire station or office.
You want your privacy when you poop and request that we leave the bathroom. You shut the door behind us and then present your poop to us like it’s a meal you spent hours in the kitchen making.
You play with your dong a lot. I wouldn’t say that here except for the fact that you’re slappin’ that thing around all the time and if (when) it happens with Van, I’d like some sort of documentation that it occurred and did not fall off. Cuz’ right now, I’m worried about that thing falling off.
You’re cautious and caring; you tell me, from the backseat, to watch out for pedestrians or bicyclists or even cars in the distance. 
Favorites: You’re still into your cars. You love building forts that you call your home. You like to throw a random assortment of crap on the bed and refer to it as your fire station (as mentioned). Curious George is still a fan favorite. And as cheesy as it is, I’m definitely on the top of your list of favorites. You tell me you love me several times a day, get downright insistent about cuddling with me, and give me the sweetest kisses all the time. 

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