Sunday, January 22, 2012

Take A Hike!

No, literally!

The past 2 weekends, we've hit the trail. The hiking trail, that is.

As it turns out, Knox is a natural. And fearless! He climbed up the rocks like he'd been doing it his whole life.

The only time he got scared was when we ran into other hikers on the trail.

We hiked the Yetmen trail, because it's fairly short and easy. There is a super-cool, old, stone house along the way. But we haven't quite made it that far with the little guys yet.

Knox is a good hiker, but a better shoulder-rider. But, for a 2-year old, he is doing great!

We even picked up a geocache on our first trek. A fellow hiker offered to take our picture.

On our second trip, we made it a little further. Knox and I were playing follow the leader.

He took his job as "leader" quite seriously.

We have absolutely perfect weather right now! Beautiful hiking weather. The sun is shining, the air is crisp and there is a hint of a breeze. THIS is why we live in the desert.

I told Ib, as we were hiking back to the car: Even though we're ready to leave, there is still something magical about the desert. It is unlike any place I've ever been.

I'm really enjoying these peaceful moments with my family.

And the scenery is priceless.

Four Months

It didn't take long, but our little guy is not so little anymore! On Wednesday, Mr. Thane turned 4 months old. We headed off to his well-baby check, stylin' of course.

Following in the steps of big brother, he was the most popular little dude at the Dr.'s office. These Contessa boys are charmers, I tell ya!

He weighed in at 15 pounds and is 24 3/4" long. This puts him in the 50th percentile across the board. Dr. Hobeich is very pleased with his growth and development. Thane is rolling up on his side, but hasn't quite turned over to his belly yet. He smiles and "talks" and has recently started laughing. He especially likes when daddy tickles him...and when we take his arms out of his shirt sleeves, that is particularly funny to him.

He is a generally happy little guy. He is starting to enjoy spending time playing in his exersaucer.

And Dr. Hobeich gave us the go-ahead on cereal, veggies and fruit. So today for dinner we gave him his first taste of oatmeal. At first he wasn't too sure.

But it didn't take long before he was lunging forward when he saw the spoon coming! The first few tries he pushed most of it back out of his mouth with his tongue, but then he got the hang of it and gobbled up the whole bowl. Then he drank 5 ounces after that!

He is finally starting to take larger feedings and we are hoping that sleeping through the night will follow. We've never really given him the opportunity to self-soothe and fall back to sleep when he wakes at night in the interest of keeping the rest of the household asleep. But we're starting to try some new tactics. He is starting to sleep in his crib, in the bedroom with Knox. He seems to sleep much better and, so far, he hasn't woken Knox up at all with his middle-of-the-night protests.

Growing up quick, this one! And cuter by the day. We are one lucky family of four.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

All New For 2012

The start of the new year typically brings resolutions of change for many folks and the Contessa family is no different. Lucky for me, I've had a head-start on the weight loss so I don't have to put so much focus on that one! Our resolutions this year are big. Really big. We've put our savings plan into high gear in order to make the move out of Arizona.

Of course, anything can happen but, right now, our focus is on Binghamton, New York. It is a big enough city to find gainful employment, but small enough to have plenty of "rural" suburbs. And, most importantly, we will only be a 4-hour drive, east or west, away from all the grandparents! Let me pack my bags! It is a huge undertaking for us, but we are 100% committed to giving our kids a similar upbringing to what we experienced. And that is something Tucson just can't offer.

So, we didn't exactly start off the New Year by saving. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Having lived in our house for 7 years, we've learned that New Year's Eve is never quiet in our neighborhood. And, when the music started at 3:00 pm, Ib and I looked at each other and decided "enough is enough." We get little sleep as it is with Thane and we certainly didn't need any help from the neighbors. After a quick search on the internet, we found a reasonable rate for a hotel on the north side of town and packed up the kids. 20 quick minutes on the freeway took us to the Days Inn and we enjoyed a lovely dinner at The Native New Yorker: Ib's favorite place for wings. Ironically, the only other people in the place were several families who ALSO had children under the age of 3 in tow. We had a brisk walk under the stars back to the hotel and the quietest New Year's Eve in YEARS. Can you say, "Worth. Every. Penny."?

One of my newest past times is an online clothing swap called ThredUP. Using only medium sized flat rate boxes from the Post Office, you "build" boxes of gently used kids clothes and list them on the site. Then, other moms in need of that size clothing can "pick" your box. You simply print out the shipping label and put it out for the mailman to pick up. And, once received, your box is rated by the picker. If you get a good rating, you earn a $5 credit, which can be used towards purchasing a box or cashed out in the form of a check. It is WAY easier than having a yard sale. And it isn't just kids clothes...I've gotten a couple boxes of clothes for myself. People list household items. Extreme couponers list stuff from their stockpiles. I even got Knox a Sesame Street bedding set, with Elmo & Cookie Monster on a fire truck (one of his current favorite things), not to mention 85% of his entire winter wardrobe.

It would be an accurate statement to say that I am obsessed with thredding. I find myself glued to their facebook page, which a bunch of the moms have started using as a forum to search for specific items. Ib said he is going to enroll me in a 12-step program. But right before Christmas I sent out 3 different boxes stuffed full of my old beanie babies, because I saw that people were looking for some. And I've sent out 2 boxes of clothes that Thane has already outgrown. Newborn & baby sizes are pretty common, so I feel pretty good about my boxes being picked. I must have stylish kids! For fun, ThredUP sent out 20 "swap diaries" to some of the moms. These little notebooks are travelling around the country in boxes from place to place. I received one in the last box that I picked. So I wrote an entry and sent it on when my next box went out. When I emailed my picture sending on the diary (which is in the instructions), they sent me a ThredUP t-shirt! Now Ib is REALLY going to enroll me in a 12-step program.

I love the concept of thredding, but Ib is right. Between working and playing, I spend far too much time on the computer. Ironic that I'm mentioning this as I'm blogging...but I digress. So I've also resolved to unplug this year. At least one full day of the weekend. No TV, no internet, no checking facebook on my stupid iPhone (although I can't promise not to play Words With Friends while I'm in the, erm, "library"). And, during the week, we are dedicating the hours between 5:00 and 8:00 pm to family. We're hoping to get out for a family walk after dinner as the summer evenings get longer. We're even getting ready to cancel the cable, killing 2 birds with one stone: unplugging AND saving money!

So that's what is new for us in 2012. Oh, and my fabulous pink shirt...I got that in a ThredUP box.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Two For the Price of One

As we approach the 4-month-old mark, it is very apparent that Thane and Knox are brothers! But Thane is definitely starting to come into his own rugged good looks. One thing is certain: they are both handsome little dudes! Can you guess the baby?

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Grammy arrived around 10:30 on Christmas night, so Ib and I made special arrangements with Santa and had him come to our house last this year.

Taking full advantage of the fact that the kids are still too young to remember details about Christmas, and once an unsuspecting Grammy was tucked snug in her bed, Santa worked his magic.

The next morning was like...well...Christmas!

What a whirlwind of excitement! Hugs and kisses, wonder, love, laughter and the best gift: being together.

It is a good thing we get up early...what a long process to open all those presents and try to play with each and every one.

Santa sure knows Knox well...the helicopters and airplanes were a huge hit!

Several hours later, the last gift was finally opened. Ib's delicious turkey dinner came out of the oven at noon and we enjoyed a feast, together.

We had some music.

And Knox got to eat the Christmas Tree cookie that Bop-Bop sent, especially for him.

We had a good, fun day.

And Grammy had the BEST day snuggling with her boys.

Hugs and kisses for bedtime.

Love. Love. Love!

The next day, Daddy was back to work and we took Grammy to the zoo.

She'd been seeing lots of pictures of Knox feeding the giraffes and was hoping that she would get to feed them, too!

We got there just in time for the giraffes' breakfast. And Grammy got her wish!

We spent a nice morning playing at the zoo, had some lunch and headed home for nap time.

But not before a ride on the train!

On Grammy's last day, we took her to Bobo's to see what all the fuss was about. We had a pretty good wait for a Wednesday morning...but, as always, it was worth it!

That afternoon we took a trip to the Harley store in honor of Bop-Bop. Knox got his very own motorcycle to play with. He kept pointing at it and saying "Hot! Owie!" which is when I realized it has flames on the paint job. That kid is too smart.

It was a short three days, but we loved every minute of it! Thank you, Grammy, for coming to visit us. ♥