Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Two Years (two months late).

Charlie is two. Two years since we met him for the first time. Two years since the full weight of responsibility finally became real. I remember looking down at our new son right after he was born through tear soaked eyes wondering how I was going to raise him. I never really cracked the baby manual Betsy bought. I never changed a real diaper. I knew for a fact I was going to drop him. I had no idea what I was doing.

Luckily, Charlie was a nervous parent's dream. He was the best baby.  He was always in good spirits and slept a ton. I mastered the art of the diaper change. I never dropped him. He turned one. I was so relieved. Here is a quick, albeit not complete, list of our adventures this past year.

Charlie's biggest and most impressive change to date was when he learned how to walk. When he was learning, he would hold on to a stroller or walker wagon with white knuckles, wobbling down the street or hallway.  Now he takes off running every time you put him down.

Another big change in Charlie's life was the move back to San Francisco. East bay living was awesome but when we learned we were going to have another baby, we wanted to move closer to our friends (with babies). Our awesome Elmwood apartment was just too small for another baby.  We found a flat for rent in the Richmond District that would accommodate our growing family. We were very excited to be close to the beach.

One of the best things about living in San Francisco are the picturesque vistas that abound the city. Charlie and I love to go to tourist attractions and goof off and ask people to take our photo. It's fun.
Charlie loves scenic overlooks. The higher the better. He loves to point out "mama work," "our house," "big ocean," or other various known points of interests visiable from these vantage points.
The view from Betsy's office window is his favorite. We often make an excuse to visit so we can check it out. Betsy thinks we're visiting her but it's really to spend an hour looking out her window. She unfornutaly gets second billing.
Since moving back Charlie has become very popular,
and he has lots of girlfriends. He's a real ladies man.
Charlie is also very excited to be closer to his wingman, Finn. These two get into lots of trouble on the playground and love to play together. Until they start to fight over toys. They always want what the other is playing with.
Charlie loves to watch vehicles of all kinds, especially construction vehicles.  He gets so excited when they pass by and runs to the window to stare, smile and wave.  Once, a house caught fire down the street, and while no one was hurt and the damage was superficial, the calvery was brought out.  He was glued to the window and when we ventured out, he made quick friends with the firefighters. It was possibly the best day of Charlie's life.
When he is lucky, he sometimes gets to drive the fancy machines.
Most of the time he just has to watch from the sidelines.
When planes fly overhead, he makes a point to tell everyone about it. We recently took him to an airplane museum. He was stoked.

Charlie loves to take public transportation. He also likes to watch buses and trains drive by. We often just go to a neighborhood and watch them go by.
Charlie loves learning about science on our trips to the California Academy of Science and The SF Zoo. He pays special note to the floor lights.

Charlie loves democracy. Unfortunately, he's already grown cynical about the entire two party, corporate funded, political system. But he loves America.
Charlie loves visiting family and loves Grandma Heywood,
and loves when Grandpa Santos reads his favorite books to him.
 Charlie loves to visit his family in Utah and loves playing with his cousins.
Charlie loves the beach and since we live just down the street we go all the time. Charlie loves to build sand castles, dig holes, and jump around in the water. His wingman loves the beach as well and they build the best sand castles together.

Charlie experienced camping for the first time this year with a couple of his buds. He loved being outdoors, sleeping in a tent, and cooking s'mores. He loved the campfire and playing with all the sticks. We need to take him again.

In addition to watching people do chores, he loves to watch and dance to live music. He loves to sing and dance at home as well but nothing beats live music.

Charlie has alway been a picky eater. He never liked to eat solid foods, and his diet consisted of dairy and crackers. But every now and then he will try a random food and love it. Like pickles or his love of peas and edamame. I just don't get this kid.
Like any child, he loves sugar but as you can see this is too much. It's written all over his face.

Charlie is such a rambunctious kid. I think it's great that he would rather be outside running around thowing, kicking, and riding his scoot. If we stay in the house too long, he goes a bit stircrazy and starts jumping in the bed and throwing balls and small trucks at my head. What a knucklehead.

The biggest change to Charlie's life this past year was the addition of a baby sister. Prior to her arrival, all our attention was showered on him night and day. Now he has to share the spotlight with this small, squishy, blob that slept all day and cried and took his parents attention away from him. It was an adjustment but Charlie is such a sweet boy and quickly took to helping mommy and daddy take care of his new sister. He would also would let us know when he felt neglected by throwing his toys in our general direction. That little stinker.
Charlie was the only one getting a full night sleep those first few months and would always wonder why his parents were so tired when he got up. We tried to explain to him that his sister got us up throughout the night but he never understood. He just wanted us to start playing.
Charlie helped where he could and often offered to walk his sister in the stroller. I had no idea why he kept crashing the stroller into the bushes. I guess he couldn't see. No animosity whatsoever.
He was very gentle with Piper and loved to kiss her on the head. He also wanted to make a fort using his blankets and her play mat. The fort was mostly for him to hide in but Pipe was usually in the way. However this violation of personal space motivated her to roll over and get out of the way so we allow it.
Sometimes Charlie asks to jump into her crib so they can dish.
Charlie always wanted to show his little sister how to do things. Often on the stroller ride over to the park he would explain the physics of swinging and how to get dad to push. Piper picked it up quickly and he was proud of his student.
Of course this post cannot capture a year of growth and development, setback and success, that we have witnessed as parents. And it shouldn't because who would want to read it? Besides, most of the day to day is captured on facebook and instagram.  But know this, I love to take care of Charlie (and Piper.)  He is a sweet boy and we have a ton of fun together, even when all we do is move dirt piles from one side of the backyard to the other. His excitement, curiosity, and good natured attitude make even the most mundane tasks fun. Sure he just screamed bloody murder for no reason in the post office and gave the lady in front of us a heart attack, but when she turned around to see what the commotion was, a huge smile was there to greet her.

Charlie has always rocked the 10th percentile (often lower) but we are proud to report at his last check-up he has jumped to the 50th. Our child is average. Sweet.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Piper @ 4 months

Little Piper is four months old today! Time is flying even faster than it did with Charlie.  Our Valentine baby has turned into such an amazing little girl I can hardly stand it.  Mostly I just want to snuggle her all the time.  The first couple of months with Piper were tough.  She was fussy, she liked to projectile vomit all over the place and she wasn't the best sleeper.  Something magical seemed to happen about two months ago.  The barfing slowed down and now it's basically stopped.  She went from waking multiple times a night to twice, to once to sleeping all night long.  These days we put her down by 9pm and she sleeps until about 6:15am.  We were nervous to talk about it first for fear of jinxing it but I really think Piper is just a great sleeper and we couldn't be more stoked about it.  I was so surprised when this started happening I even searched online for articles about "babies who don't need sleep training" because I wasn't sure those types of babies even existed.  We've decided to just go with it and enjoy every bit of sleep we can get while it lasts.
Currently Piper has auburn hair & blue(ish) eyes.  Nicknames lately are Pip, Pipe, Pip Nasty, Pipenstein, Baby Sister, "BG," Sweet Pea & Sweet Potato.  Sometimes, if Piper has a rough day and is very fussy, Steve will call her a jerk but he's only kidding I swear.

Piper has the biggest eyes.  We make jokes about hoping her head grows into them but we actually love them just the way they are.  She smiles all the time and lately loves to "talk."  Her "talking" sounds just like a cat whining only much cuter.  She has discovered her feet and loves to grab them anytime she can. 
She's started to gain a bit more weight which we're happy about because she was fairly small when she was born and then she started to dip in percentile for weight but she's rebounding well and at her last appointment she weighed in at a whopping 11lbs. 2oz (10th percentile!  Can you say double digits!?!)

She and Charlie seem to get along smashingly well.  Piper loves to smile at him and Charlie can usually be found either kissing her on the head, trying to drag her off her play mat or throwing things lovingly at her face.  He means well.  :)

I started back to work last week which means Steve also started back to "work."  I'm the VP, HR at the Software company I've been with for nearly 5 years and Steve is still being our full-time stay at home parent.  We're all adjusting well and trying to enjoy the craziness that life is these days.

Steve & I agree that we have really been blessed with two great children.  Both Charlie & Piper are sweet, caring, friendly, happy, adorable kids and we couldn't be more thrilled that they are ours.  We are lucky lucky lucky lucky lucky.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

2 Months and 20.5 Months

And just like that it's been two months. Ms. Piper arrived on Valentine's Day and it's been a whirlwind ever since. Bottom line, she's so rad. We love her to pieces. She's so adorable and she's smiling all the time these days. It's such a great payoff when your baby really starts to recognize and react to you after the hard work and effort that goes into that first handful of weeks. If you know our family well and have been reading our blog since Charlie was born, you know that Charlie was an atypical baby. Little to no crying, fussing, spitting up etc. All the tough things that come along with parenthood. Piper is a little more typical in the standard baby behavior. She cries! Imagine that! It's funny...the first couple of weeks she was home with us she had a fussy period each night where she would be unhappy for an hour or more (gasp!). I know all you parents out there are rolling your eyes at us but this was honestly our first real taste of "normal newborn behavior." There were nights when she'd be crying for no apparent reason and Steve and I would think "what is wrong with her?!?!?!?" Hahaha...turns out, babies cry. Go figure. I think in comparison to other babies Piper would still be considered pretty chill but she has definitely been a bit more challenging for us but we are doing great and learning what little Piper is all about. She really is such a sweet little girl. These days after I nurse her, I'll prop her up on my lap in the boppy pillow facing me and we'll just smile at each other for a while. She has started to coo and make these little sounds that are so precious they'll melt your heart. She has auburn hair and her eyes are looking blue! I can't wait to see if the auburn hair remains or if it'll change as it grows in.
After two weeks at home an interesting challenge developed. Piper started projectile vomiting on a daily basis. Not after every feeding, just once a day usually. Sometimes every few days and on a couple of horrible occasions it happened multiple times in one day. When I say projectile vomit, I mean VOMIT. It can't even be categorized as spit up. I'm talking she spontaneously just vomits up what seems to be cups of milk. Gross, I know. Imagine it all over you. It's lovely. :) We were so freaked out about it initially that we talked to her doc about it and took her in on a couple of occasions but turns out that no one seems too concerned because she's been gaining weight well and all her other systems are go. So apparently it's just a messy situation more than anything. I started tracking her PV's (projectile vomits) and they were so random that I wondered if something in my diet was maybe causing them. Then, taking the advice of a good friend, I decided to try kicking dairy from my own diet for a while to see if that helped her. It's been about two weeks and she's doing so much better. We went almost an entire week without a PV! She's had a couple of doozies the past few days but it's so much better. I cry every night a little bit because I miss cheese but I'll survive.

Her schedule right now is pretty great. She naps randomly throughout the day but typically goes down to bed anytime between 9pm & 11pm and she sleeps 5-6 hours. I feed her once and if we're lucky, she'll sleep until 7-7:30am. One thing we did learn the first time around is that sleep changes pretty regularly so we're enjoying the moment and trying not to worry about when it will end. We've started feeling a little more comfortable putting Piper on the floor in her bouncy chair or on her play mat. We still have to watch Charlie like a hawk but they both seem to enjoy interacting with each other. Charlie has done such a stellar job adjusting to having Piper around. He loves her to death and insists on kissing her on the head whenever he can.
It's good that Piper has the natural instinct to know that this situation is potentially dangerous for her. You can see it in her eyes.
Piper's nicknames: Pipe, Pip, Sweet Pea, Sweet Potato, "BGS" (baby girl Santos), Pipenstein, Pukey McGee, Diva, Marbles.

Charlie is quickly approaching 21 months and he is amazing. If I were to describe the past month in a couple of words it would be run and talk. Charlie has started to sprint everywhere. It's not enough to walk, he has discovered he can run!
His vocabulary gets bigger/better every day. One week he had a handful of words, then it just exploded and he had tons. Now he's a parrot and will say anything he hears (kind of a rude awakening as a parent to hear your toddler repeating the not so lovely words you might say on occasion). The latest is he's starting to string words together into two or three word sentences. It's so entertaining and awesome to watch it all happen. He's so smart and can ID most animals, he can make their sounds, he loves to dance and sing songs. If you ask him what his name is he'll say "I'm Charlie!" He has a serious arm and can throw things overhand like a pitcher. He's also still cute cute cute and we love him times a million.
Steve and I are doing well and enjoying the time we're both home together. Steve being a stay at home dad + my maternity leave means we have the luxury of embarking on this dual kid thing together for the first 4 months. We're tired and miss our sleep but are happy and love these two kids so much. We're also really excited for them both to be sleeping through the night in about 4 months or so. :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Piper is here!

Piper Santos joined our family on Valentine's Day (one day late) after the quickest labor ever! She's the best Valentine we could have ever hoped for. She weighed in at a whopping 6lbs. 14oz. and 19.5 inches long.
Grandma and Grandpa Heywood had arrived the Friday before Piper's due date so Charlie could get use to them because we assumed he'd likely be spending a day or two with them while we were in the hospital for labor and delivery. By Tuesday (a day past due) we were all twiddling our thumbs and I was starting to feel guilty that we were all here waiting but no baby yet. So on Valentine's Day Steve and I sent my parents to the Academy of Science and insisted they eat lunch and see the planetarium show. They left the house around noon and at 1:15pm I had a contraction. I didn't think much of it because I'd been having little contractions here and there for days. I habitually look at my iPhone every time a contraction happens just to check the time and after about 30 minutes, I realized my contractions were coming regularly and before I knew it they were really strong and about 6 minutes apart. Charlie was just waking from his nap, I was starting to freak out, we couldn't reach my parents because they were at the planetarium show with their cell phones off. We realized we couldn't wait so we grabbed Charlie with the intention of taking him to the hospital with us then realized that Liz was home with Finn! So we called Liz on our drive to her house and explained we were in labor & needed to drop off Charlie. She met us at the curb, took Charlie and even though I was a sobbing mess at this point behind my sun glasses, I was so comforted knowing Charlie was with her. He loves Liz, Jeremy & Finn so much and other than mommy and daddy, probably knows them the best.

We raced to the hospital, Steve dropped me off at OB Triage and went to park the car. By this time it was about 2:30pm and my contractions were about 4 minutes apart. By the time we got to our labor and delivery room contractions were about 2 minutes apart. I got an epidural and just when I thought I might have a moment to rest before the baby arrived my water broke. 20 minutes later we were pushing and after 2 pushes, baby girl was here at 5:11pm. Crazy that one minute I was literally laying on my couch watching Barefoot Contessa wondering when this baby would decide to join the party and fast forward 4 hours and she was with us. Steve spent about an hour with me and baby before I sent him on his way to get Charlie down for bed. Steve was back at the hospital with me and baby by about 8pm after Charlie was safe and sound in bed.

The past two weeks have been a total blur. My awesome parents were here for almost 10 days after Piper arrived and it was such an amazing help. Charlie LOVED having them here and loved all the love and attention they gave him. It helped Steve and me not feel quite as bad for turning Charlie's life upside-down. And, in true Charlie form, he's been such a champ with the addition of "baby sister." He has moments of sensitivity when he sees mommy feeding baby yet again but he's taking it all in stride. I think he even likes her! They are only 18.5 months apart so all we can do is explain things to Charlie and hope he understands since he still communicates mostly in single words. He really is a great big brother already and I can already see that as Piper becomes more interactive and animated that these two will be besties in no time.

And Piper. She's amazing. We were holding our breath to see what type of temperament she'd have. Charlie was a good baby, like a REALLY good baby...he was happy all the time, I can count on one hand the number of crying fits for no reason he had in his first year of life. He was never fussy. We were just really really really lucky and we were well aware that his temperament was atypical. Piper had a few rough nights when we first brought her home that had us worried we were in for it but she's mellowed out to the extreme. She definitely has a voice when she needs something but once she's dry, fed and wrapped up in a warm blanket, she's content. She's sleeping well at night and the fussiness she had those first few days seems to have disappeared for the moment (we're going to enjoy it while it lasts). She's so sweet and cute and reminds us a lot of Charlie. She has quite a bit of dark hair that almost seems to have a reddish tint (she'll probably lose all of this) and her eyes seem lighter than Charlie's (Charlie's eyes were super dark since birth and never really changed while Piper's eyes are a hazy grey/blue at the moment. Who knows what color they'll end up). She seems to have a signature photo face that is basically her looking startled or scared. She has cute little features that remind me of a pixie. Her nicknames so far are Pipe, Pip, Peanut and about 50% of the time we accidentally call her Charlie. :) We are so thrilled that we have these two little people in our lives. It feels overwhelming at the moment but I know we'll get the hang of it.
Piper hasn't really gotten the hang of tummy time yet.
Love these little people.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

18 months (AKA 1.5 years)

Charlie turned 18 months old on Monday. We've spent pretty much every minute with this little dude for the past year and a half and it's been the best experience of our lives.We're about to add another little one to our brood any day now and sometimes I feel sad that our days with just little Charlie are numbered. Am I allowed to be honest about that? I'm excited for baby girl and I know in a few months I'll be writing a blog about how I can't imagine our family without her but today, right now, I want to relish in all that our family is at this moment. It's perfect. Charlie is so rad. At 18 months he's constant entertainment. He's funny. He's talking. He's copying us. He's brave. He's sensitive. He's loyal. He's loving. He's so so so cute. He's obnoxious. He's running. He's eating more. He loves his friends. He loves animals. He loves to give us kisses and he also loves to kiss himself in the mirror. His daddy is his best friend in the world. We are so lucky he's ours.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Card #2. AT&T Park

After an almost 3 month hiatus, I decided to start using these cards again. So much for one card a week. Card #2 is AT&T (formally Pacific Bell) Park! So fun. When Betsy and I were first married, we lived 3 blocks away from the stadium in an awesome loft so it was a bit of a homecoming.
We parked in South Park near where previously both our cars were towed while we were on vacation. Ahh, the memories. The neighborhood hadn't changed too much and it was fun to see our old haunts.
To start any good adventure one needs sustenance and Caffe Centro delivers with bagels and cream cheese. Charlie combined both his loves, bagel eating and people watching.
After breakfast we headed to the stadium and our first stop was South Beach park. What a view. The park is right next to the stadium and provides great views of the city and bay. Also the T and N muni metro lines are nearby and if your child is like mine, the metro train is the coolest thing next to the regular bus.

The park is small and doesn't have swings but does have sand. And a pirate ship.

We then walked down the marina that's behind the stadium. Charlie loved to watch the boats and countless seagulls on the dock.

We then continued around the stadium and this was as close as we got to the field. The card noted there were daily tours of the stadium but you had to call before and come later in the day. Not going to work for our nap schedule and I'm sure Charlie didn't care. Besides, it's an excuse to buy tickets to a game this upcoming season so we can go inside.
We crossed the 3rd street bridge (named after this guy) and headed to China Basin Park, a grassy knoll that boarders McCovey Cove. Charlie was stoked!

We walked to the end of the park, chasing birds, saying hello to dogs, and having a great time. The sidewalk is covered with all sorts of baseball stuff and I wish I knew what it meant but was too busy chasing around Charlie to make sure he didn't fall into the cove. He loved the giant cement baseballs. I loved the view.
With all the running, Charlie was pooped and he jumped in the stroller for the ride back to the car.
Since there is an actual park in South Park, we decided to extend our stay and get our swing on.

The park structure is a bit antiquated but they have a bunch of sand so its OK with charlie. As Charlie was playing, I was trying to remember if I ever observed kids playing in the park. Ever. I couldn't remember children using the park, just tons of smokers and drinkers.
What a fun adventure. This walk is very picturesque and I bet during the baseball season, would be very fun. I can't wait for the season to start so I can take charlie to a game or two.