I decided to “splurge” and get a LivingSocial deal for a JCPenney’s photoshoot. I wanted to get a photo of Paty and the kids for her to remember her time in the US with our family. I was pleasantly surprised at how the photos turned out! Take a peek. One of these will likely be our Christmas card.
This year the boys had two weeks off between the end of summer camp and when school started up again so we decided to take the crew to Montana. We hadn’t been since the boys were crawling and we’d never had an opportunity before to get all 10 of my parent’s grandchildren together. So we were looking forward to the vacation for a long long time.
Unfortunately, the kids picked up the croup somewhere along the way and we spent the majority of the vacation feeling sick. We ended up taking all four kids to urgent care to get a steroid shot. But despite them all feeling under the weather, we made some good memories with their cousins.
As soon as Steve found out we’d be in Montana for the Solar Eclipse he insisted that we drive 4 hours each way to go see the full eclipse. Unfortunately we decided to take the boys and the road trip was miserable. But it was worth seeing a total eclipse for two minutes. I’ll remember most the gas station we stopped at where the boys got slushies bigger than themselves. If we live in Austin in 6 years we’ll get to see another one then! It was a super cool experience.
We drove up to Gail’s cabin and visited Virginia City one day.
Our favorite part about going to Montana is always sneaking away for some quiet time and going fishing with my dad. This time he took us down the Yellowstone River were we ended up catching 5 fish. Thank you dad!
We snuck away for a few nights and headed back to Helena. My dad took the boys out on the 4-wheeler which they got a huge kick out of. We also got to see Mandy and her family but somehow I didn’t get any pictures on my camera!
One of our favorite things about the trip was going to the Belgrade Digger Days. The boys got to operate real life excavators and Emily had to be dragged out of a dump truck.
One of our last days we we went camping at Mark and Katie’s house. The boys loved roasting marsh-mellows.
Of course the best part was getting to see my sister and brother and their thriving families.
Vacationing with four young kids is crazy and I needed another vacation from our vacation when we got back. It’s tough on them being out of their element and battling being sick but they have been asking when we’re going to go to Montana again. Maybe in a few years…. Thanks Montana crew for making us feel welcomed.
The girls are two years old! They have blossomed into little girls and are no longer babies. We’re still calling them “baby sisters” but they can hold their own against their big brothers. In fact, the girls are almost as big as Nathan. They are even wearing some of the same pajamas. It’s been tough sorting laundry.
There are very few things that are similar about the girls personalities but they get along so well. Even their body types are completely different… they both are so beautiful. We’re trying to encourage them to be best friends but being around anyone 24/7 can lead to some fighting.
- Favorite color: they both LOVE purple. It happens to be Paty’s favorite color and now Anthony’s favorite color as well. It’s good we live in Baltimore given the Ravens.
- We got rid of the cribs about a month ago. We took the family to Montana for vacation and when we got back the girls wanted nothing to do with their cribs. They started crawling out of them and we lowered them all the way to the ground. Something the boys never really got into unless we encouraged them to climb. But the girls were dangerously climbing out and flopping to the floor to the point where we felt it was safer to move them into big girl beds. Emily took to the new beds really well but Olivia has been struggling.
- All the gates have been taken out of the lower level. We left the two on the stairs to keep them from going up and down on their own but they can easily go by themselves.
- They are both talking so good. We can understand almost everything they say. They are using 2 or 3 word sentences like “big truck” “purple shoes”.
- We can finally put their hair into pony tails and braids!
- They know English and Portugeuse! When Paty speaks to them they understand her and even know a few words themselves like “Barriga” – belly, “Uva” – grapes, “tantao” – too much, and of course “eu te amo” – I love you. They definitely know more words than I do so this post isn’t doing it justice!
- They are obsessed with shoes! If they could wear 5 pairs at a time they would.
- They both love their brothers but at the same time they’re a little scared of them. Anthony always pulls them close to the table at dinner in their highchairs so they’re sitting right next to him. But sometimes if he even looks at them they scream and point at him and say “Ant-a-knee, stop!”.
- Both girls are becoming very independent. They like to get into their highchairs themselves and insist on buckling themselves in. They like to put on their own socks and shoes and even clothes. They brush their teeth and comb their own hair.
- Height: 36 1/2 inches 97%
- Weight: 26 lbs – 50th percentile
- Favorite song: Twinkle Twinkle. She sings it all the time. We’ll be randomly all sitting in the car and she’ll burst into song.
- Olivia is so stubborn. She gets that from me. When she sees something she wants, nothing will stand in her way until she gets it. It can be frustrating at times but I love her persistence.
- Speaking of persistence and independence, Olivia has self potty trained. She has kept it dry for about a month now. We’re struggling a bit with #2 but I’m so proud of her. She’ll sit on the toilet and then say “yay” when she pees. She is so proud of herself.
- Olivia has not slept well in her new big girl bed. She fights going to sleep and when she finally does she wakes up around 1 am and screams uncontrollably for an hour to an hour and a half. It. is. painful. Last night I slept next to her so the rest of the house could go to sleep and didn’t sleep from 1:30 – 6:30. The doctor recommended giving her melatonin before bedtime and Benadryl if she wakes up in the middle of the night. We need to do something because lack of sleep is hard to sustain.
- Favorite things to point out: “hellicaca” (helicopters), “wow-wow” (dog) or “star” or “panda”
- Height: 38 inches > 97%
- Weight: 29 lbs (70 – 75th percentile)
- Favorite toy: Her purple stuffed teddy bear. “teddy” goes everywhere Emily goes. She loves to strap him into chairs and the stroller.
- Favorite color: purple
- Emily is still wearing diapers but she’ll go in the potty when encouraged. I told Paty I’m never buying a single diaper again so once we’re out she’ll be potty trained. We’ve got about 3 months of diapers left though so hopefully she’s potty trained before Paty leaves.
- Emily is the sweetest child. Our pediatrician told us to be careful about saying things like that in front of the other kids but it really is so true. She is so caring and helpful. She follows behind me closing closets and cabinets, she picks up after everyone, and she listens really well. She goes to bed in her big girl bed and still takes naps without much pushback. I know this can’t last forever but I’m enjoying having some calm in the chaos.
- Emily has the best evil laugh and toothy smile. She’s also got a cute little freckle/mole on her face that is an adorable beautiful mark.
- Emily is a goofball. She loves to make other people laugh.
- Emily is an amazing jumper. She’s a natural on the trampoline.
- She is so loving. Check out the picture of her and Paty’s panda bear above. As I mentioned before she’s always treating stuffed animals like they were living creatures and gives everyone the best hugs.
Things have been really hard. Having four kids under five is tough. Especially with Olivia’s lack of sleep it’s taking a tole on us. There is more fighting and shouting and short tempers directed at the boys. I appreciate going back to work each week as it reminds me how much I miss the kids and I tend to be nicer to them. The pediatrician says we should be out of the woods in about 2 years. My mom is coming to visit soon and I’m so ready for some help. Our house is a disaster. We spend the entire weekends following around after the kids cleaning up their current messes to the point where we never get to the old messes. On the weekdays when we finally get the kids in bed I have grand plans to clean the house but I can’t get up from mental and physical exhaustion. I did end up hiring Paty’s friend Sarah to help as a “mother’s helper” here and there to clean for an hour. That has been a life saver! I got rid of our cleaners because it was way too stressful. The 4 hours of cleaning before they got here so they could wipe down the cabinets quick was not worth the anxiety.
I got a new job at work which I’m loving. I’m learning a ton about running a company and more around the business side of decisions. I love a challenge and appreciate the new skills it’s bringing but I’m putting in a lot of hours which makes it tough keeping the household running. Steve promised us we’d be out of Baltimore before the kids started kindergarten and now it looks like that’s not going to happen. So on top of everything else we’re dealing with the stress of what to do with the kids once school starts. Having been a public school kid myself I find it outrageous to pay for school when free school is perfectly fine. So there is added household stress from figuring out what we’re going to do. I’d like to either buy a house in Austin and move out there with the kids in the fall to save on taxes plus get them into one of the best schools in the country or buy a new house in Baltimore that is in a decent school district. Steve wants to keep things as is and pay for Kindergarten. Ideally he’d just finish a paper and still apply this fall to get us out of Baltimore and onto the next adventure. I’m ready.
We only have Paty through the end of the year and then she has to go back to Brazil. We’re going to miss her soooo much. I’m not looking forward to the devastation our girls are going to feel when we say goodbye. I’m sure they don’t remember life without her and they absolutely love her. Our whole family is going to be crushed. We are, however, looking forward to welcoming Maria to our family! Maria is from Columbia and we knew instantly she’d fit in with our crazy crew.
It is hard to keep up with the blog. I’ve been wanting to convert it into a book like I did for the boys when they were little but it takes months especially with my backlog. Luckily my instagrams are automatically posted to the blog… I need to hire a professional memory assistant who follows us around documenting our lives. …if only we were famous. 😉