Three Years Old!

loves living by Alki beach!
In the last sixth months our little toddler has turned into a full fledged little kid! There have been ups and downs, but overall Micah Howard has been funny and happy and pleasant to be with. The hardest thing has been his extreme desire to be with daddy and have daddy do everything for and with him (at the expense of Mommy), although it seems like we may be finally coming out of that phase (that lasted over a year!).

I wrote the following a few months ago. Micah:
  • held long conversations of his toys talking to each other
fun on Aunt Cassie's visit
  • Truly showed interest in organization.
  • said his goodnights, "goodnight daddy and gramma and no goodnight to mama....(no response from me). That's sad." Me: "what's sad?" Micah: "That's said I didn't say goodnight to mama" ensue laughter. This kid thinks he's pretty funny. Quiet the jokester.
  • sings songs. like really sings them himself. 
  • has been interacting and talking with kids around his age! He and our friend's kid, Isaac, actually are starting to have fun and play chase and play with toys together. 

He also:
  • loved it when we rolled lavender on him at night or diffused it in his bedroom at bedtime.
  • went through HUGE Daddy phases (the "I'm cool with Mommy" phases lasted a few days at a time if I was lucky, until the last month, which has been pretty even...FINALLY!). :-) 
  • did a ton of traveling! Planes, trains, and automobiles galore. 
First trip to Disneyland!
Banff National Park with the Richardsons
San Carlos Hometown Days with friends
UCSD's Alumni weekend with Mommy's friends in San Diego
So fun seeing the next generation of UCSD kids! ;-) 
  • even let Nana and Papa take him on a vacation by themselves to the San Juan Islands for three nights!
Fun before their big trip to Decatur Island
  • did AMAZING on a two week road trip to Chelan, Penticton, Banff, Sandpoint, Priest Lake, and Lake Roosevelt
loved helping with the wood pile while camping
this kid! Oh the cutest!
Big boy with big boy toys in Sandpoint, Idaho
his more sweet and grown up side
  • got big boy underwear (Lego & Paw Patrol themed) and said bye bye to diapers after our big summer road trip!!! He was not really interested at all before we left for the trip, but the combination of observing his friend Isaac (9 months older) and being able to go out in the bushes helped get him excited about the process. We have been so impressed at how well he has done! He has permission to just go to his little potty or use the step stool for the big one or to go in a designated spot in our backyard whenever he needs to without telling us. He likes his privacy too. Sometimes he reads books while going (I mean...who doesn't?). ;-) 
  • loved digging
Digging on Easter Sunday
So excited for new tools!
  • got a lot of time bonding with cousins and extended family
Lewins & Strauss' Picnic in the Park
Fun with second cousins & Aunt Leslie in Mill Valley
Fun in Michigan with his Cleveland/Chicago cousins
The whole big group of family on our Michigan trip
The Pacific Northwest family at the Giants/Mariners game
San Diego cousin time!
Quickest cousin meet up ever at the Giants/Mariners game!
The Hedlund family on the Oregon Coast
Celebrating Caden's Bar Mitzvah weekend
Finally hanging with his cousins Max & Marcus
  • became more confident in the water (with his life jacket) and loved playing in the pool and in lakes.
Swimming in Michigan
  • showed that he was able to recite back almost entire books to us (like Ten Little Dinosaurs, the Little Blue Truck, and other rhyming stories) and was really good at cloze reading when we paused in places he could fill in the blank.
retelling the Big Red Barn with toys
  • is super helpful. He throws away trash when he sees it wether it was his or not. He usually cleans up when asked and even sometimes puts his plate or bowl in the sink after a meal. 
you can tell this was months ago by the diaper!
  • he got super good at riding his balance bike (thanks to our big road trip with Isaac this summer).
So speedy!
  • got his first bee sting (while at Aunt Leslie & Uncle Will's house playing with cousins in their water fountain).
  • dropped nap time (after a period of a couple weeks of hours long bedtime stalling, mom and dad decided it was time). Once he stopped napping, bedtime became so much easier!
This box lived in our house for months!
  • still has a love for trains, but he really spent hours with legos (Duplo and the little ones that Daddy saved from his childhood) and hours playing with construction toys (excavators, dump trucks, bulldozers, etc).
Dad built Micah this gravel pit in the backyard when we got back from vacation!
  • discovered the joy of fireflies (at the same time Mommy discovered them too)!
  • found favorite movies while on road trips (Bambi & Stellaluna were each watched at least 10 times each or more even though there were lots of other choices).
  • entered a bit more shy phase again with phrases like "You tell Mommy", "You say it Daddy".
  • has also pretty much given up stroller riding. Now on our family walks he either walks with us or rides his bike and he can keep a good pace for good ol' Charlie to get some exercise. 
  • goes in and out of phases of interested in eating lots (and new things) or not much at all. We are letting him even eat things like popcorn now, but still waiting on letting him eat gum which is probably one of his biggest life goals right now.
  • got way more comfortable with being dirty.
  • Had some two year old moments 
mostly directed at me, his mom. 
  • Had the best time being living day to day life the four of us (plus Charlie)
Our family of four in Oregon

You Will Never See a Picture Perfect Kids Room in My House

"It's just a room," someone will say.

Just four walls, a window, a closet and a doorway. Just soft subtle grey walls.

Yet it will always be more. It's giggles and "Don't go yet Mommy." It's "play with me Daddy" and jump on the bed. It's youth and energy.

It's tantrums and uh-ohs and tears. It's holding the door shut and "feel free to come out when"'s.
Those subtle grey walls whisper Mickey and bird posters. Pete the Cat. Cars and trucks. They are baseball and the alphabet. They are pictures of family and friends.

Those posters will evolve before my eyes. Someday I will remember when I used to have to tape each item up for him. When he wasn't tall enough and I didn't quiet trust him with the tape anyways. Each piece on those plain walls adds to independence and builds character. I will see my boy turn from a baby to a toddler to a kid to a teen within those walls. I will watch as those scribbles and sticker collections and smeared-half-hazard-drive-by paintings become deliberate thoughtful stories and drawings. Then of course I will watch the inevitable shift as his own artwork and school work fades into pop culture; movies, bands, video games, ...girls!

Someday that "get over it lady" look will creep across someone's face. A sentimental sap he will think. It might even be him. He won't remember, can't remember the way he grinned up at me prouder than a lion over the whole savanna (and stalling bedtime better than a car driven by a teenage girl driving a stick), "I wanna read you a book now, Mommy!" He won't see the hours of snuggles, the thousands of diaper changes.

They are just plain grey walls.
And they are "I did its!" and "I'm ok, Mom"'s. They help to grow his sense of individuality. They give him a slice of control over his world.

Those walls give me insight into my child's inner world. His likes and dislikes. His maturation. His style. When other parents complain someday of their child being sucked away into social media or teenagerdom, I'll have those walls. He'll have those walls.
Those walls are the unspoken understanding. The "I don't have to tell you, Mom"'s. The "you already know, Mom"'s. His identity will grow and flourish and I will not have stood in his way.

Those plain, subtle grey walls. Those four walls. Whispered memories of phases and characters bygone. Conveying character, personality, individuality.

I should know. My parents had those walls too:

Going on a Slug Hunt

Going on a slug hunt.
Going to spot a big one.
I'm not afraid! What's up ahead?

Little black slug! Big brown slug!
Another slug! More!
Can you count them?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17!
That one looks like poop!
Somebody squished that poor guy.

Going on a slug hunt.
Going to spot a big one.
I'm not afraid! What's up ahead?

Lichen and moss on all the trees!
Green green moss.
Brown and white and green lichen.
Mary Moss and Fred Fungi met and married.
Their baby was Lucy Lichen.

Going on a slug hunt.
Going to spot a big one.
I'm not afraid! What's up ahead?

Dog and people!
Step to the side.
Let them go ahead.
Hold back Charlie the dog.
Let them sniff and say hi.

Going on a slug hunt.
Going to spot a big one.
I'm not afraid! What's up ahead?

Look how they climb the rocks.
Usually they don't climb in the rain.
It's not raining too much.
This is how they practice.
See how they grab hold of the cracks and rocks that stick out?
See how they belay and rappel with the rope?

Going on a slug hunt.
Going to spot a big one.
I'm not afraid! What's up ahead?

We can eat when we find the bench.
Gotta walk over these funny tree roots.
Gotta walk under that cool shady tree tunnel.
Gotta walk around those nurse logs.
Yum. A well deserved snack.

Going on a slug hunt.
Going to spot a big one.
I'm not afraid! What's up ahead?

No more slugs.
Looks like they liked the soft compacted dirt.
They don't live where the ground is rockier and has more tree roots.
Let's go back and find them again!

Going on a slug hunt.
We spotted lots of big ones.
We were not afraid!