Friday, July 29, 2016

Mornings with Ziyan

This was the kids' second week of camp and I really enjoyed it. Ziyan and I spent tons of time together and I even got to do some crafty projects while he slept.

After I drop the Z1 and Z2 at school I realized this was a strangely bearable morning for a run. It has been raining the last couple days so there's cloud cover. It was still 90 degrees but I ran along the river with Ziyan in the stroller. He weighs almost nothing and it was a little breezy so it was actually quite nice. Well, nice for being terrible, but that's kind of the point.

Lately there's been lots of whispered opportunities about working more.  When I'm home there's nowhere else I would rather be. When I'm at work, it feels like I need so much more time there to accomplish the goals I have for myself. Part time work is a blessing but it has so many hidden nuances and intricacies that also make it a struggle. While there are lots of things about a full time job that are appealing to me, I would/do struggle with losing this quiet morning, all the mornings like these. The kids are about to start back at school and I will miss them but it will be great to get to know my third baby. To get to spend my Thursdays and Fridays with him and snuggle him the way I got to love on the other two. Or maybe the way I snuggled Zayd. Because with Zahra there was never the time that I'm getting now. We are both lucky that she is a girl and we will spend our whole lives together. I tell her that all the time. I think about my mom and how I'd rather see a movie with her or go to dinner with her or do anything with her and can only hope that my daughter feels the same way about me.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Maternity leave: the weekend edition

I recently posted about the sweet lazy mornings me and my brood have been enjoying of late.

But this is what my weekends look like... Daddy is up at seven watching cartoons with Z1&2 and out the door playing pick up soccer by nine. It's a whirlwind of crazies... plus Ziyan and me.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Zayd Reads

The signs have been there for months: Zayd noticing/reading billboards, him identifying that "they have root beer here!" when he saw a Maine Root Sodas sign, and especially the work he was bringing home from school in the last few months before baby. Tonight, for the first time ever, he opened a new book, and read it. To me. Out loud. For real. I kind of couldn't believe it. If you asked me if he could read I would have said "Yeah, basically....kinda" but not "Yes, he can". But he can.

I will say that he read the book to me first and then I asked him to read it again so I could make a movie and remember it. He did (see above), and wanted to but was also so nervous. I think you can see it in the movie. When we finished he blurted out "Mom, I was so scared that I would forget how to read". It was so quintessentially Zayd. Now that he knows how to read, I need to work on teaching him to be more fearless. That will likely be the challenge of our lifetime. I want to help him build the self-confidence he deserves. I can see a hint of it in his tiny smile at the end of this movie.  I will say that at gymastics lately he is getting some of that fearlessness. He flipped and flew through the equipment today and at two points a small group gathered to watch him. I was so proud of him for going for it and he loved the attention. He is growing in all ways every day. I can't believe my baby is going to kindergarten next month.

With reading, Zahra is insanely close behind. Here is a movie of her "reading" and doing her letter sounds O, H, G, and R. In all honesty, we have read this book many times this week, so she does correctly read right through in the video but I wouldn't call it "reading".  Maybe remembering with picture clues. I will say that she knows her letter sounds and can sound things out, which is pretty spectacular. She still cannot make the jump to making those sounded-out sounds into words.  Last week she read "Mat sits. Sam sits." as "Mat and Sam lie together." Ha ha.

Wait! We went to Utica (two months ago...)

On the way there Zahra drew a Lion that actually looked like a Lion - a first for her!

We had the most fun at the MOST (Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse) with our wonderful cousin Xavier.

We made our requisite trip to the Utica Zoo and mommy's favorite part was the wooded nature walk.

Sam and I attended the wedding of our dear friend Matt and his new bride Tina!

The kids discovered the joy of a calculator, otherwise known to them as a "selfie".

And we spent lots of time doing nothing and being together. Utica is great for slowing down for me and the Zs; Sam moves a million miles a minute there to be sure he sees everyone and does everything.

My Mornings & "Love You, Exclamation Point"

This summer has been hard. Of course it has. Post-partum is hard. Maternity leave is always hard. Maternity leave with two big kids at home is quite a bit harder. Texas summers are hard. Summers anywhere are probably a little hard. Having patience all the time is hard. But, every day has had so so so much wonderful. More wonderful than hard, even. It helps that I am a positive happy person most of the time. In my memories, I tend to be the happiest of people. I don't remember the bad stuff. This summer will likely stand out as unbelieveably wonderful.

As an ode to remembering the wonderful, here is a peak into my mornings with these 2.5 crazy kids. (Technically three I know, but while Ziyan is one of my kids, he sure isn't crazy.)

It starts with me sleepily asking Zahra what she wants to do today.

That's right, she wants to:

  1. Drive
  2. Sit in the middle
  3. Be older than Zayd
  4. Be born first
  5. Drive
This all stems from our car conversations that we have EVERY TIME we load up the car. She wants to know why Zayd gets to sit in the middle next to Ziyan. I say because Zayd is older. Why? Because he was born first. Apparently, she has again determined that she would be better off just having her own car and driving herself places. This is definitely not the first time she has brought this up.

Also, I feel like a crazy person hearing Zayd exclaim "I love you, exclamation point". That means mommy voice texts too much. I think next week I will have to teach the kids about punctuation so they know that they don't have to say period at the end of every sentence and exclamation point at the end of exciting sentences.

Here are some photos of how we spend those early hours before we hustle out of the house and take on this city.

Our First Family (+Ella) Vacation

A couple of weeks ago (three kids has me WAYYYY backed up on the blogging), we finished swim lessons, grabbed NiNi Ella from the airport and headed to Houston for Ziyan's first family getaway. Daddy stayed behind to work for this little getaway.

We had an amazing time in Houston introducing Ziyan to family and getting to spend some girl time with Nani, Ella and I (plus three tinies).

We had the most fun showing off our new swimming lessons at Quillian Center in Houston. Zayd was the sweetest big brother and helped Zahra. Both big Zs loved it and are still talking about it almost every day. We did the slide and even the diving board quite a bit (with mom there rescuing each jumper).

After a few days in H-town, we packed up again and headed to our family (+ Ella) farm getaway in Lockhart, TX. I cannot express to you how adorable this little house was. There were cows, chickens, horses, dogs, and good old-fashioned 4th of July sparklers. The kids loved it. We did a great mix of doing nothing (in the tradition of tiny towns) and doing all the things (in the tradition of the Mammens). Doing nothing includes: pushing the kids in the swings hung from tree branches, painting a new birdhouse, petting the farm dogs. All the things includes: swimming in the San Marcos river, running a Popsicle Race, and visiting old-town Seguin. It was a wonderful trip full of love and memories.