Four Years Old Jamesy!

 My sweet baby James is FOUR! What a gift he is in our lives. He constantly amazes us with how much he understands about the world around him. He has such a tender heart and can be found on the playground at school patting the back of one of his friends giving them encouraging words. (I like to think he gets this from me : ) ). He will randomly tell me ‘This was the best day ever in the whole wide world!’ or ‘You’re my best mommy ever.’ He is a rule follower and wants to ensure that the other children are following the rules as well. He is a great listener and even when you don’t think he is paying attention he will surprise you with some complex understanding of what just happened. He can be timid, especially when there are lots of people around, but he comes around eventually. He has an attention span way beyond his years. He will sit and color or paint an object for 30 minutes to almost an hour making sure to cover every blank space on the object. He continues to be a bit of a perfectionist and gets frustrated easily when he can’t do something right the first time. We are learning all about practice and how that helps us get better at anything we try. He is the sweetest brother and loves Charles so well. You can often find him getting Charles a snack, sharing his toy or giving him encouraging words. His vocabulary is incredible, just yesterday we overheard him saying, “Charles I am so so aggravated with you!”

 

Celebrating with friends!

He is currently enjoying Star Wars. You can often hear him humming the songs as he goes about his day. He is very particular about order in which things should occur. This starts at the beginning of the day as he does not want to ever be woken up but likes to slowly start his day as he naturally wakes up. It continues into how he buckles his seatbelt, how he brushes his teeth which always ends with brushing his lips and even how he goes to the bathroom, which entails taking off his shorts, underwear and shoes completely. He loves to help and can legitimately help out with chores like taking out the trash, raking and sweeping. He just started his very first team sport, soccer of course. He has been a bit shy but he loved his last practice and is excited to go back. Watching him from the sidelines has got to be one of my favorite moments of parenthood so far.

We love you so much Jamesy and we pray that the Lord continues to bless you and guide you each and every day.

 

First day of soccer practice

 

 

Special treats for my boys

 

Cutest smile award

 

His outfits are the best

 

Current favorite toy….a John Deere tractor

Minutes after splitting open his head again…life of a boy mom

My Boys

James and Charles the cutest ring bearers I ever did see.

Lately, I feel as if my heart is overflowing with love for all of my boys. Recently, I was in a bit of a funk and life just felt hard. I had a difficult time just finding joy even though life itself was pretty good. I don’t know maybe you can relate. But right now, life is feeling sweet and I am feeling grateful. And so  here are a few highlights for and joys for each of my boys…

Making snow angels.

James is so fun to be around. He can be so serious and is extremely inquisitive. He wants to know how everything is working and why things are happening. He recently watched the first Star Wars movie and would not stop asking great questions the entire time. Santa got him a kids laptop as he requested a computer just like his dad. However, he was quick to say, ‘How come Santa got me a kids computer? I wanted an adult computer like my dad.’ Santa kinda knew this would be a possible reaction. He is just so mature for his age. When he gets excited about something he says, ‘This is my best!’ As in ‘Star Wars is my best!’ or ‘Cheeto chips are my best!’ He loves reading and can identify all of his letters and numbers up to 10. He is starting to learn the sounds of letters and reading with pictures. He is picking up on fun vocabulary words like ‘gisgusting’ (disgusting) and commotion. He turns the al sound into an owl sound. Alan becomes Owlan, salad becomes Sowlad. He holds you to your word which makes me think twice about anything that you say to him. He loves to orzanize (organize) everything. When I try to help him, he tells me I am not organizing correctly. So very methodical. He has silly moments where will make up a funny dance or a funny face but usually reserves those for people he knows well. He is not afraid to tell others what to do no matter how much older. It is always entertaining watching the three year old on the playground tell the eight and nine year olds what to do and how to do it. He uses his middle finger to point at things and swipe a touch screen. Not sure why but it always seems as if he is flipping you off. He can’t wait to start sports. He keeps telling everyone how he is going to ‘play all the sports!’ and that ‘Grandpa Fred will give me all the sports stuff.’ Watch out Grandpa Fred. He starts soccer in March. Can’t wait to be a soccer mom! He randomly comes to tell me that I am ‘the best mommy ever’ or that ‘this is the best day ever’ almost everyday and it makes me melt.

A serious case of bedhead.

Charles is funny as ever. His sense of humor makes us laugh constantly. He just started school in early January and he is thriving. He loves his teacher and friends. Since school began he has started pretend play which has been new. He is a wiggler and hardly likes to stay still. I think he has the energizer bunny Vasquez gene from my dad’s side of the family. He loves to sing and dance. He is getting quite possessive of items he plays with as he has an older brother who will take from him with out warning. The way he pronounces words can be so cute sometimes. C’s are T’s, and L’s are Y’s. Some of my current favorites are ‘sure tan’ as in ‘sure can’ if you  ask him to do something, ‘I wanna tunnel you’ as in ‘I want to cuddle you,’ and ‘I want da yunch-a-box’ as in ‘I want the lunchbox.’ Him starting school has made me very aware of how we have been very generous with feeding him whenever he wants. I honestly think it was a survival tactic for us as parents has he was a difficult baby and food seemed to be the only thing that calmed him. At school he has to wait to eat which is great for him but it is throwing him off. He asks his teacher often, ‘I want da yunch-a-box.’ When she says not yet he replies longingly, ‘Can I just hold it? I just want to hold it.’ I get it kid. I love food too. Ha. When he asks for bananas he flaps his arms in a monkey like motion and says ‘a yike dis a yike dis mama,’ as in ‘like this like this mama.’ Took me awhile to figure this one out but he is telling me he wants his banana peeled half way so that he can hold it from the bottom. Sometimes figuring out what they are saying can seem like learning a foreign language. He just started giving me real kisses instead of accepting forehead kisses which is the best. And one of my personal favorite things he does is look at me with his big ole brown eyes and say ‘I yove-a-you mama.’

Day date on the slopes.

And this guy. Wow! I never could have imagined 7 years ago when we got married how much I more I would love him. Watching him as a daddy, loving on our boys is quite possibly one of my favorite things. He is so patient with them and teaches them all about science, fixing things and how to have fun. He also does such a wonderful job at loving me in little and big ways. Encouraging words, date nights, flowers just because and so many more gestures that let me know I am loved. I also love how much I learn just from being around him. He is a smart guy who is constantly seeking more knowledge, which inspires me to do the same. He shows me how to be a problem solver which is so useful in pretty much all areas of life. Sometimes marriage can feel like so much work, and sometimes loving can be a very difficult daily choice BUT the joyful times are so so worth it!

My three boys making ice cream.

Something else I have been learning lately, motherhood can be so hard but it also can be so wonderful. Sometimes I fight what it is and what it truly requires. My selfish nature wants to do my own thing, have me time and pursue my own dreams. I have been encouraged lately by the saying ‘motherhood is sanctifying.’ So so true. It gets me out of myself and focused on others. On days where I am exhausted or have no patience I have to dig deep and lean on the strength of the Lord. Surviving and thriving in motherhood is not possible without the love, truth and grace of the Lord surrounding my every move. Thank you Lord for the gift of by boys and the sweetness of this season.

 

Farewell Charlie Dawg

hp 11-06  058Today was a sad day in the Baum household. Our beloved Charlie dog is gone. He was such a huge part of our family and has been around since the very beginning of Austin and I dating. I thought it only fitting that I write a short bit about Charlie and some of our favorite times with him.

Austin got Charlie from a Rhodesian Ridgeback breeder in 2006. He was a runt of the litter as he was ridge less but Austin took to him right away because he was the most quiet puppy in the pack. He was dubbed King Charles the Lion Hunter, as Rhodesians have a history of hunting lions in their blood.

1930682_663047804822_3625_n25118_853391304922_7022935_nSome memories…

Osa (my dog) and Charlie got along right off the bat. Charlie was not one for befriending other dogs easily. He was never mean to other dogs but to be his friend as a dog really meant something. He liked Osa right away which was great for Austin and I as we started dating. He used to gnaw on Osa’s neck and they used to make out all the time. Young puppy love.

doggies (5) copyAustin threw a large first birthday party for Charlie which included all of his dog friends, a pinata filled with bones, singing happy birthday and even his grandparents and great grandmother were there. He was a bit spoiled. : )

DSC00854 copycharlie bdayHe liked to defy gravity often as he was able to jump incredibly well and was very nimble. Once he jumped off a cliff that he underestimated the distance of. People at the bottom were freaking out but he lived! 

IMG_9107He was a talker. When he wanted something he would just start saying “roo roo roo roo” at you. It wasn’t a bark but a talk for sure.

We took him on our cross country journey to Indiana where he got to see Arches national monument, Lake Powell, Denver, Chicago, and the beloved family lake house. A well traveled doggie. Indy 2007 (65)

Indy 2007 (9) copyWhile in Denver he got to hang out with our friend’s dog Addison. During their time together he managed to open the second story window and hop out of it. Thankfully he lived through that one too.

He was always great with our boys. I never once had to worry that he would snap at or have issues with the boys as we brought them home. He loved them well and tolerated them laying on top of him or pestering him.

His favorite things were riding in his daddy’s jeep, basking in the sun, fresh air out the window of the car and being allowed on the couch.

1936456_736393669122_3471952_n25118_853391334862_4599885_nHe was one of the sweetest, best behaved and most handsome dogs I have ever known. He will be missed so greatly. Thanks for so many sweet memories and great years Char Char!

Happy 3rd Birthday Jamesy!!!

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Rockin’ on his guitar.

 

Birthdays just keep getting more fun in the Baum household! James was all about celebrating his birthday this year. In the days leading up he kept saying, ‘My birthday is coming, I feel so happy!’ with a ginormous grin on his face.

It is so hard to believe it was three years ago that we welcomed James into this world, and joined the ranks of parents. It feels like yesterday, and forever ago all at the same time. I have gotten close to the point of happy tears multiple times the past few days as I am feeling so grateful for my sweet James, and the gift of parenthood.

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Helping grocery shop at Trader Joe’s, with a helmet on of course. : )

James is such a JOY! He is loving his school and his sweet teachers. He has easily slipped himself into the role of ‘kid who follows the rules and makes sure everyone else does too,’ and ‘always has to be the line leader kid.’ He is a typical first born. He even wants to be the line leader at home, all of the time. Walking to and from the car to the house, ‘No Mommy, I’m the line leader.’ Going to take a bath, ‘No Charles, I’m the line leader.’ He gravitates to the children who are older than him on the playground, particularly the kindergartners as they are the oldest. He loves playing soccer with them. Thankfully, they indulge the cute little one who wants to play with them. He is so mature for his age and his vocabulary constantly amazes me.

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‘Cowboy’ James.

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Brothers.

He is very particular. For example, the other night we were eating Lettuce Wraps and he had a melt down because ‘my lettuce has holes in it’ (insert dramatic crying tantrum). The fact that the lettuce had holes and the sauce and chicken were falling out of the lettuce wrap was just too much for him. He also does this if his socks are turned one slight turn wrong on his toes. When buckling him in his carseat he likes to buckle the plastic buckle himself but wants us to do the metal buckle. However, he wants it in that order, and if you try to do the metal one before he gets to the plastic he says, ‘No mommy, One at a time!’ There are plenty of things we stand our ground on with him but seat buckling is not the battle I choose to fight so ‘one at a time’ it is.

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Making cookies with mommy.

He is still so very independent. He spreads his own cream cheese with his own (plastic) knife. He packs his own lunch. He dresses himself pretty much completely everyday. This of course ends up in underwear, pants and shirt on backwards, but I’m cool with it.

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When you dress yourself at age two, you might end up with backwards pants and shoes on the wrong feet.

He loves to ‘neak’ (sneak) in our bed every night. Truthfully, I love it. I love the little pitter patter of his feet as he comes from his room. I pick him up from my sleepy stupor and lay him in between us. Thankfully he sleeps well and we are able to continue a good night’s rest. I know these days will be gone so fast, so I think him still sneaking in allows me to soak in these moments.

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His favorite monkey towel.

He is starting to really be able to recognize his letters and even drew his first J recently. He thinks that every word that starts with a J is James. He will randomly point out letters he knows on street signs and papers that he sees. I Love that he is making these small steps towards literacy already. Watching his brain process it all is so incredible. We love reading books together, and he is starting to read books to me through the pictures which is fun.

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His first time writing a J. His is on the left.

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Bookworm.

He loves riding his bike and is getting really good at balancing. We are hoping to transition him to a real bike in the coming months. He also loves running, and gets very sad when mommy goes for a run that he cannot go with.

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Mastering his balance bike.

He is such a sweet brother most of the time. He will go over to Charles when he is crying and say ‘It’s okay Charlesy’ ‘Look at this funny joke’ and then will proceed with some sort of funny action. He does of course have his moments where he will just hit or knock down his brother, but what brother doesn’t.

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In case you are under the impression he is always happy, he has his grumpy moments too.

He is really into knock knock jokes these days, as in ‘knock knock’ ‘who’s there’ ‘hope you don’t pee on a wall!’ Followed by ridiculous laughter. Oh brother, pee and poop jokes start at such a young age.

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Enjoying the rain splish splashing with his batman boots.

He loves to pray at meal time and before bed. His prayers regularly include, ‘thank you for super heroes,’ ‘thank you for farting’ ‘thank you that my cheese is floppy’ and other such things that throw us into a fit of laughter every time.

He is a cautious boy and has a sweet heart. He gets worried for other kids when they are sick or hurt. He always moves to the side of the road as soon as he hears or sees a car coming. The other day he hit me when frustrated about something. He of course was in trouble immediately and went to time out. After a short while of crying out his frustration. He stopped crying and came over to me and said ‘I’m sorry for hitting you mommy, Now I’m going to be a good listener.’ I was in awe of his ability at such a young age to calm himself down and realize how to handle the circumstance without any prompting. Of course we have prompted him in similar circumstances before to do just this, but he was able to put it into motion himself, which I think is pretty cool.

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Classic James expression. Goggles necessary at all times.

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Snow time!!

We could not be more proud and thankful for the young boy James is becoming. He is loving, welcoming, funny and smart. James we love you so much and we are so so thankful for you. We pray that you continue to grow to be a bright, funny, and loving young boy and that Jesus will be the light that guides your every step.

Celebrating at his ‘school time’ with his friends and teachers.

Blue birthday cupcakes, his request.

CHEESE!!!

‘I’m Swree’

Happy Birthday Sweet Jamesy!!

Checking In

Hanging out at the #whyilovewhereilive community mural project my creative friends dreamed and made happen!

Hanging out at the #whyilovewhereilive community mural project my creative friends dreamed and made happen!

It has been awhile since I have posted, and lately I feel like I have so much I want to record about life. I don’t want to forget the little moments. Life with little ones is fast paced, fun, exhausting, challenging and so much more. However, there are so many moments each day that just make me want to pause and soak it all in. I find myself wanting to write it all down, but never finding the energy and motivation to do so. James’ third birthday is next week, NEXT WEEK! AHH! Where did the time go? I find myself so sentimental about it and wanting to write everything down. For tonight I will jot down some snapshots of life currently.

-James is so so funny. Recently he has learned Knock Knock jokes. They usually end in something that has to do with poop and him laughing hysterically. Tonight he was praying and said, ‘Thank you that I farted today.’ It amazes me that two year olds already think poop and farts are funny, and also makes me realize how many more years I have to go with my boys and their scatological humor.

-I am a hot tan (as Austin has dubbed it) minivan LOVING mom and SO proud of it! Seriously, I cannot say enough how much easier it has made my life as a mother. I never thought myself too cool for a minivan, but also never imagined it to be so life changing. Not kidding. There are so many reasons moms love them.

-Charles is really growing and showing his fun personality. He is talking so much lately (more, doggie, ranny for granny, cheese, and lots more.) He even has some Spanish words, including papa and agua, due to his Spanish speaking nanny which is fun. He loves to read books and point at the pictures. He loves being in your lap at all times. He is so methodical and particular. He is walking and climbing everywhere. Although he has his challenging moments his cute moments overshadow them for sure. He and his long lashes and captivating eyes melt me completely.

-I have been reading a book called ‘Make It Happen’ by Lara Casey and meeting with a local group of like minded, goal oriented Tucson girls to help set goals and MAKE THEM HAPPEN! It has been super fun and a great way to hold me accountable.

-Austin and I currently love ending our day relaxing and laughing with Jimmy Fallon. A good dose of laughter is SO healthy.

-My motivation to workout since starting my job in October has sadly diminished. Ugh! This has never happened to me for such an elongated time period. Mostly I think it is because I have very little extra time and the time I do have I want to spend with my boys because I work full time. Such is the life as a working mom. I LOVE working and feel called to my job but I do prioritize my non-working hours with my boys. Anyways, enough excuses. I just registered for a quarter marathon in a few weeks, so HERE I GO!

-This time of year in Tucson is one of my favorites. The weather is PERFECT and there are endless things to do that are so much fun including hiking, the Gem and Mineral Show, the Rodeo and Rodeo Parade, horse races at Rillito Downs, MLS Soccer games, snow on Mt. Lemmon. It all makes me so happy!!!

Charles is 9 Months!

Gah! Stop growing so fast little one!! This month went by so fast! Charles is up to new things all the time including:

-Army crawling. He can get anywhere he wants now and is super excited about it.

-Pulling himself up on furniture.

-Adoring his brother and always wanting to be near him. He really loves it when James jumps around him or gets hyper around him. Makes me nervous but he laughs hysterically.

-Finally holding his own bottle!!! And he weaned himself as well. A few months earlier than James did. Makes me feel a bit sentimental as he is the baby but at the same time thankful as he is not as dependent on me.

-He has been super happy lately which makes me super happy! I think is independence is what makes the difference for him.

-Eating dog food, when I don’t pay attention.

-Pulling books off shelves and making a mess everywhere he goes.

-Eating mostly regular good and feeding himself. Yay!! Loves avacado, beans, crackers and watermelon.

-He is stubborn fellow who will let you know when he is not happy about something. He started a new high pitch screen that is enough to drive me crazy. Thankfully it doesn’t happen too often.

-Cuddling me close and patting me sweetly.

-Talking up a storm. He babbles mama directed at me, dada directed at Austin, baba when he wants milk and mmmmmm when hungry.

Love you sweet Charles!! Each day with you is a gift!IMG_5067.JPG

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James Version 2.5

It’s about time I update on Mr. James. He is just about the funniest kid I know! He keeps us on my toes and still feeds off of the energy of others. We are always laughing when he is around. It is so fun seeing how much he is learning and all of the concepts that he is understanding each day. Here are few things to give you an idea of what he is up to:

– Saying, ‘I wanna do it,’ or ‘I do it on myself’ (instead of by myself), any time you try to help him with anything. Can we say independent?

– Telling me everyone is ‘my best friend.’

– Calling Toast with Peanut Butter ‘Peen Toast.’

– Getting more difficult at times with tantrums. Most of them spark when he does not get his way, ha. Typical two year old. They are also found when he is woken up from his sleep. Trust me, he is best left to wake on his own. The difference in like Jekyll and Hyde.

– Saying hunnel instead of tunnel, and Oat Moat instead of Oatmeal.

-Using v’s instead of w’s for many words as in, ‘It’s not vorking mommy?’or ‘Are you going to vork daddy?’

-Potty training!!! HOORAY!! He is doing great which is a celebration. We are constantly telling him we need to put his underwear on, so much so that he calls them, ‘unerwear-on.’

-Jumping in the crib with the baby in the mornings shouting, “The baby’s happy” “You want to play baby?”

-Always knowing when I have hit my limit with the baby crying and sweetly going over to Charles to distract him. Charles adores James and whenever James has his attention he is smiling, laughing and happy! Their relationship is the cutest!

-He is loving reading books and is getting more and more curious as we dive into more books. Learning letters, concepts and new vocabulary everyday!

-He is still my Christmas boy who requests Christmas music often and dances around the living room happily when I oblige. Recently he asked me if we could decorate for Christmas over and over. I gave in one day and we pretended it was Christmas decorating with a few decorations, making a fancy dinner and wrapping up a present for when Austin came home. James was so excited to exclaim, ‘Merry Christmas Daddy!’ When Austin came home. He knew we were pretending, but it makes me very excited for this coming Christmas!

– He loves swimming and has been very proud of himself for being able to hold his breath. He tries to get your attention every second saying ‘watch me, I’m goin hold my bref,’ does so and then repeats it as long as you will pay attention. He is fearless while swimming. Loves jumping, kicking, splashing and using squirt guns. Swimming with him this summer has been one of my favorite things.

-He is picking up on phrases we are always saying. It really makes you aware of what you say all the time. He picked up on us saying, “I have a question….” and will now say that but does not always follow with an actual question. One time he said, ‘I have a question….’ and then exclaimed ‘Carrots!!’ and started laughing hysterically. Oh man.

-Praying at meal time, always making sure to pray for the dogs first.

-Wanting a slew of goodbyes before anyone leaves. It is almost like a secret handshake. First a kiss, then a nose kisser, then bonkinini (which is a light bonk forehead to forehead), then high five, pound it and blow it up.

-And my favorite for right now, staying up much later on his own after we have put him to bed. He plays quietly by himself for the most part reading books and playing with his toys until he gets tired enough to fall asleep. However, every once in awhile you will hear him banging at his drums or playing the harmonica. What a hoot.

Love you my sweet Jamesy!!!

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