Happy September! Here is Felix at 13-16 weeks old, making pretty much the same face every time (I swear, he smiles a lot too!).
And here's his sweet little almost-bald head at three months of age. He's starting to grow new hair all over his head, so I wanted to take a picture of his current hairdo for posterity.
Felix continues to be a delight--happy and easygoing, for the most part. Before he was born, I worried that there was no way I'd love another child as much as I love Arlo, but that was a totally unfounded fear. We love Felix so much; I feel so lucky that we get to be his family :)
Felix figured out how to suck his thumb about a month ago, the same day that I wrote my last post. This has made naps and bedtime much easier. Most of the time, I can just read him a story and sing him a song, and then put him down in his bassinet/crib and walk away. He finds his thumb pretty quickly, and he's usually content to just hang out sucking his thumb and watching the ceiling fan until he falls asleep. We started putting his blankie next to him at naptime and bedtime about a month ago, but he doesn't seem too attached to it yet. I feel so fortunate that he goes to sleep so easily; it took a few months longer to get things worked out when Arlo was a baby.
For the most part, Felix is taking pretty good morning and afternoon naps. On a good day, he'll nap from 9-11am in the morning, and then his afternoon nap is less predictable (but it usually has some overlap with Arlo's nap). Sometimes he wakes up after 45 minutes, but he'll usually go back to sleep if I go in and soothe him/feed him. Nighttime sleep is decent--he goes to bed at 7pm (same as Arlo) and sleeps until 3 or 4am. When he wakes up, I feed him, and on a good night, he'll go back to sleep until 7am, when Arlo wakes up. But most nights, he wakes up again at 5 or 6am and doesn't want to go back to sleep, which means that us grownups don't feel super rested in the morning. I should just start going to bed at 7pm so I can get a nice long chunk of uninterrupted sleep too!
Felix actually slept through the night for three nights in a row back when he was 12 weeks old (right after he had figured out his thumb). It got my hopes up; I was disappointed when he went back to waking up once or twice a night. Oh well, I guess it was expecting too much that he'd be sleeping through the night at 3 months, when Arlo didn't do it until he was 10 months old.
My original plan was that Felix would move out of our room and into Arlo's room around 3 or 4 months of age. We tried this for a couple nights a few weeks ago, but they kept waking each other up--Felix woke up at 5:30am and babbled until Arlo woke up, and then Arlo kept Felix awake, so we all ended up getting up at 5:30. Blah. This happened two mornings in a row, so we gave up (temporarily) and moved Felix back into our room so we could get a little more sleep. The plan now is to gradually move him over--he'll spend a couple nights in Arlo's room, then we'll move him back to our room for a few nights if we're not getting enough sleep. He's back in Arlo's room tonight, so I should really stop writing this post and go to bed so I can get a decent amount of sleep before having to deal with whatever early morning antics these two have in store for me.
Felix has been doing really great with tummy time lately, and it seems like he's about ready to roll over (though I think I said the same thing when Arlo was a baby, and then it took him a few months longer to actually roll over). Arlo likes to bring Felix toys to look at while he's on his tummy, and sometimes Arlo will lie down next to him and do tummy time too. Felix stares adoringly at Arlo whenever he's around; it's so great seeing them being so sweet with each other (I'm sure it won't last forever, but we'll enjoy it while it does!).
Arlo just turned 27 months old, and he's becoming such a big kid!
He talks all the time, and it's getting to the point where he and I can have actual conversations, which is nice. Not quite the same as talking with an adult, but I'll take it. He has pages from his favorite Richard Scarry books memorized, and he'll correct me if I miss a word or say the wrong word. I'm always surprised at how much he remembers, especially when he mentions events that happened months ago, out of the blue.
He's a lot of fun, and for the most part he's not too temperamental. He seems to be moving past the phase where he gets frustrated and throws everything on the floor when one thing falls down, which is nice. He has also gotten better about giving me advance notice when he needs a potty sit (most of the time), but he is still showing no interest in peeing in the potty or switching from diapers to undies. I feel like I'm able to be patient with him more often these days, though I'm not sure if that's a change in his temperament or some sort of postpartum hormone change on my end. Either way, it's nice to have a more harmonious relationship with him.
Patrick organized our second-annual block party a couple weeks ago, and this time he went online and requested a visit from our neighborhood fire truck! Arlo was super excited to explore the truck. He brought out his little fire truck, so that he could show it to the big fire truck. What a good kid :)
We bought Arlo his first (balance) bike last week. After doing some research on balance bikes, we decided to get him a Strider, since the other balance bikes we tried were still a little big for Arlo. He mostly rides it around the house so far (we can't leave the house during Felix's morning nap, so poor Arlo is cooped up inside for most of the day). He took it on the Green Lake path on our visit to Seattle last weekend (we got to hang out with Katie, Jon, and Greta, plus we saw some Mudd friends who were in town for PAX. Good visit!). He's still just walking around on it (not coasting yet), but he seems to be getting better at using it.
Speaking of bikes, I'm continuing to look for the perfect cargo bike for hauling two small children plus groceries around SE Portland. I have started reading a bunch of Pacific NW family biking blogs, and I'm very excited to become more involved with that scene once I have a bike (and can take both children on it). We've done a couple of test rides--a Bakfiets, Workcycles Fr8, Breezer with Xtracycle, and Nihola trike (just for fun) at Clever Cycles, and a Yuba Mundo at Joe Bike, and I'm hoping to visit Splendid Cycles sometime soon (man, I feel lucky to live in a town with three bike stores devoted to family biking!).
I didn't feel very comfortable riding the Bakfiets, but I want to give it another chance, since I've read that it takes a little time to get accustomed to the steering mechanism. The Workcycles Fr8 was sturdy and tricked out with awesome features like a built-in wheel lock and generator lights. It reminded me of my Townie (stepthrough frame, upright riding position), which was nice. The Breezer was okay, but it felt less sturdy than the Fr8, and if I was going to go the Xtracycle route, I would just add an Xtracycle to my Townie. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get on and off the Yuba Mundo comfortably, since it isn't a stepthrough, but I didn't have much difficulty with it.
The Yuba Mundo is a strong contender, as is the Fr8. My main concern with both of them is that the kids would be in child seats up at my level, and if the bike tipped over, they'd have farther to fall. I'd prefer to have them in a box bike (lower to the ground) to start, which is why I'd like to give the Bakfiets another try. I also want to try out a Madsen, but I wasn't able to find any bike shops in Portland or Seattle that still carry them, and I'm not going to order a $1500 bike online without trying it out first. I think I'd also like to try a Bullitt after reading this intriguing review (I'm loving Dorie's series of cargo bike reviews; very useful!).
Thanks to Patrick, we're in the process of getting a few home improvements taken care of before winter comes. A contractor put films on a bunch of our windows last month (to keep our house cooler and make the windows safer in case they get broken by a small child). We're going to be getting the asbestos-taped ducts in our basement removed and replaced in a few weeks, and we'll get the attic insulated at the same time. And we're going to have the exterior of our house stripped (lead paint, ugh) and repainted. This is the one I'm excited about, since it means we get to choose new colors!
This is what our house currently looks like. I like having a yellow house, but I think we'll choose a different color this time around. According to our across-the-street neighbor, the family that lived in this house from about 1950-2000 had it painted dark, dark gray; it has only been yellow for the past eight years, so I don't feel too bad about changing it.
When trying to choose new exterior colors, I spent a lot of time looking at pictures from The Daily Bungalow. Next, I uploaded pictures of our house to the Sherwin-Williams color visualizer and tried a bunch of different colors, but I wasn't confident that the colors were actually showing up correctly. I ended up using the Benjamin Moore Color Viewer tool instead, with one of their stock house pictures.
My general approach is that the body of the house will be a pretty conservative color, the trim will be some shade of white (to match our window sashes, some of which can't be painted), and the doors will be painted a fun color, so that they'll be easy to repaint if we decide that they're too outlandish. I went through the Benjamin Moore colors on their website and chose some of my favorite door colors, and then I used their recommended neutral pairings (in their Color Gallery) for the body of the house. Here are the top three color combinations that we're going to have the painters swatch on the house (I also like this blue with bright red door, but I think the door is a little much for Patrick).
I'm excited to see what these look like on our house! Hopefully we won't have to totally go back to the drawing board when we see them in real life.
I finally got around to sewing Arlo's second birthday quilt square (the first-year block is here). I used half-square triangles with a couple different neutrals and the same red and white polka dot print I used last year (Amy Butler's full moon polka dot from her Lotus Collection).
We've had a couple heat waves in the past month, which inspired me to make a few batches of popsicles. I started by making fudgesicles. Arlo enjoyed eating them, but he did not enjoy being covered in chocolate. He ate his fudgesicle out on our front steps and spent the whole time saying "Take a bath!".
I used our more kid-friendly popsicle molds for future batches, which drastically cut down on the need for post-popsicle baths. Here we have a watermelon frozen yogurt pop (not amazing; I made a small batch with nectarines instead of watermelon, and I liked those better) and strawberry and cream pops (very good!).
Other recipes I've tried recently that are worth a remake:
Grilled lamb shish kebabs with sweet curry buttermilk marinade, rice, and cole slaw - Very nice, marinated for 3 days with no problems
Barbecued brisket on onion buns - I used grassfed beef, and this turned out a little overcooked, but it was still good after being smothered in barbecue sauce.
Bean burritos - As recommended, I froze half of these, and they held up well. How nice to have homemade burritos in the freezer for a last-minute meal!
Arepas with black bean filling (I also added some chorizo and baby spinach) and flan for dessert - Yummy! I couldn't find P.A.N. masa, so I used Maseca for the arepas. I used less water than the recipe called for and browned them on medium instead of med-high. They were pretty easy to make, but they weren't nearly as good on the second day. Better to make a fresh batch when you need them. The flan was pretty easy to make, apart from the caramel step.
Fried rice with shrimp, pork, and peas - Not too hard to put together, since we already had a batch of BBQ pork in the freezer. Yum, fried rice!