ten thoughts on a wednesday |36|

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one.
my parents left london when gabriel was eight days old, and just a couple of days later, ian’s mom arrived. we felt sooo lucky and grateful to have her stay with us for a week and half. she was so helpful with the baby and with cooking/cleaning/laundry and she took moses out on an adventure every day. moses is pretty obsessed with grandma and i love seeing them together - they are two peas in a pod and the best of friends. i learn so much from my mother-in-law and admire and appreciate her a lot

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^^. a couple snaps from when we took the long way / scenic route to church. three generations! ^^
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^^ ^^ there was a bank holiday weekend while grandma was here so we were able to do some fun things all together (in between ian’s study sessions for the cfa!) - we went to the zoo (and didn’t take a picture until right after we exited, haha) and to the princess diana memorial fountain in hyde park (the weather was so warm!) ^^ ^^
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^^ ^^ i snagged these photos from grandma’s camera of an outing she and mo took to holland park (where there are roaming peacocks!) ^^ ^^
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^^ thanks to grandma’s babysitting, ian and i were able to go on a few date nights with just gabe. here’s the little man snoozing on the tube on our way to covent garden … and when we got home dad did some tummy time with him :) ^^
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^^ we loved showing grandma around our (then-totally-wisteria-laden) neighborhood. And we just loved having her with us!! Don’t you think she and mo look alike in this photo?! ^^

two.
we had some awesome help with childcare set up to begin soon after ian’s mom left, and that ended up falling through (long and wild story…). this unexpected change meant that our lives look a lot different than anticipated over the next month and half before we go to back to the states for our summer family reunions. we had to quickly change expectations and buckle up for real life  (sans extra help) with two small kids. making this adjustment, amidst some frustration and confusion around why best laid plans had flopped, has been illuminating and strangely empowering. i feel like my capacity, patience, and confidence has grown. 

three.
i am settling in to my new normal. when i am at home with the boys, usually we are in one of three scenarios:
1. sometimes (more than i anticipated!) both boys are simultaneously content - moses playing independently and gabriel snoozing or just relaxing. whenever that happens, in pretty tiny increments throughout the day, it is game time. i hop right to it and get things done as efficiently as possible before the tides turn (sometimes within ninety second or so...).
2. other times, both boys are simultaneously screaming. and usually gabriel is spitting up down my shirt, moses is making a huge mess, and/or i really, really have to pee - all at once…haha! 
3. occasionally there’s some in between, but for the most part the rest of my time is spent sitting on the couch breastfeeding the baby. we installed a lock on the door of our front room so that moses can’t escape while i’m immobile, haha. we’ve come up with some fun things to do while gabriel is eating - i tell moses an elaborate, animated story (usually about dinosaurs or safari animals, at his request), he eats some snacks in his high chair, or we kick the soccer ball back and forth to each other. 
we get out of the house every single morning, and this keeps us all happy. i need the fresh air and breaking up of our day, moses delights in seeing friends and playgrounds and new places, and gabriel looooves sleeping in the wrap. 
ian is so so great and incredibly helpful with everything when he’s with us / at home. he hangs with both boys every morning so i can sleep a bit more and shower/get ready for the day, and he puts both babies to sleep each night. he’s constantly  doing dishes, vacuuming, putting laundry in, taking out the trash etc etc — even after long intense days at the office and with trying to fit in some cfa study! he makes sure i have some time to myself to exercise or get things done every evening. i am so lucky to have him as my best friend, co-parent and life partner. 
it’s all a wild and awesome adventure. i love being a mom. 

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four.
there was a lot of excited buzz around these parts last weekend due to the royal wedding! i took the boys to a little viewing party our friends hosted snd it was so fun. i love this stuff … if we didn’t just have a baby i probably would have gone out to windsor to try to catch a glimpse of the bride and groom! 

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^^ a little ice lolly picnic with little pals … moses was actually super into watching the wedding for the first fifteen minutes or so - he sat on the couch transfixed! but before too long he was more interested in other stuff ;) as is typical, Gabriel slept through the whole thing ;) ^^
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^^ but he did tune in again when the flags and party horns came out! ^^
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^^ it was fun to see bits of festivity around the city! ^^

five.
London is continuing to bloom … as the wisteria has faded, the roses have started popping! London springtime is really so, so glorious. And I’m excited for summer splash pads and picnics!

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six.
moses continues to be so much fun and such a huge source of joy for ian and i. every single day we spend some time taking together about how great and cute and sweet our little boy is. mo has done so well with all the changes that have happened in his life over the past month. he absolutely adores his brother and has been really good about being gentle (there are constant reminders!). he spends a good chunk of time every day just admiring gabriel and saying his baby bro’s name over and over and over. he often requests to hold the baby and loves to give hugs and kisses and identify gabriel’s different body parts. he helps out by putting dirty diapers in the trash and reinserting baby’s binkie. moses’s language has totally exploded over the past few weeks and he has started putting 2-3 words together. often he says things to me that i don’t quite understand at a first pass, but once i repeat back to him what he was trying to say, he lets out a huge chuckle, so very pleased. his most common words lately are “yeah” (which has most recently been replaced sometimes by a very emphatic “yes”) and “okay” - he says these very enthusiastically throughout the day. he has started volunteering his own ideas for what to thank god for in prayers. his love for dancing has continued and he’s started doing actions to certain songs and most days he spends at least ten minutes just running in circles around our front room. he’s working on obeying and not shoving other kids and not throwing things that aren’t balls (I’ve probably mentioned those things in previous posts … it’s a journey). he is often very loud and sometimes incredibly whiney about nothing at all … but mostly he’s just the sweetest. sometimes i just can’t stand how crazy much i love him!!!

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^^ this statue of christ is in our church building and moses is so into it. he loves learning and talking about jesus. ^^
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seven.
last night i slept for six hours straight!! whhaaaaat!! i feel so glad and lucky that gabriel seems to have sorted out day vs. night and has been sleeping quite well (for now!). I usually am up with him twice in the night for a feed … but last night he slept from 11pm-5am! Yeah, today I feel pretty amazing :) 
i just see every night as an adventure. when i fall asleep i have no idea when i will be waking up. i kind of weirdly enjoy/excitedly anticipate looking at my phone to check the time once i’ve woken to gabe’s rooting in the wee hours. sometimes I’ve only slept an hour or so and am like, dang … and other times i’ve slept several hours in a row and am like, yessss!! gabriel’s contented face after he finishes a feed is the cutest thing ever, and always makes the waking up worth it somehow. 

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^^ i sneak in a nap with baby boy whenever i can! ian snapped this photo on saturday // the wisteria at our entryway has made me so happy over the past few weeks. now all the purple flowers are gone! ^^
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^^ a snap from my walk to yoga the other day, and a snap from my walk home! it felt so good to get back on the mat. after the class i had to race home to breastfeed! ^^

eight.
on monday evening, the boys and i met ian after work at westminster bridge. (we wanted to take a special family photo with big ben … i’ll share more on that soon.) it was suuuuch a gorgeous night and we decided to stroll along the thames for a bit. moses chased the birds and got to ride the carousel next to the london eye with his daddy. i love this city so, so much. it’s crazy to me that we have already been here three years, but it also kind of feels like london has always been home! 

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nine.
as it turns out, our gabriel is well named … he really is an angel! for the most part he is a very content baby (although he’s had some fussier days just this week). he is a champ eater and is so patient when his brother is, let’s call it, overly loving ;) he is incredibly expressive, just like moses was as a baby. he loves his swing and his binkie. strangers on the streets and in the shops of london are often so delighted to see him, and often comment on his awesome hair. he is rocking the baby acne and juuuust starting to get too long for newborn-sized clothes. he has brought so much sweetness to our home and we are continually blown away by how much we love him. 

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^^ sometimes gabe sleeps with his hands up by his face, which is exactly how his daddy sleeps every night. moses did this as well as a newborn! ^^
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ten.
my incredible sister saren has created a guide for a “do-it-yourself summer camp” for parents and kids … and she has posted it (for free!) on her awesome website power of families! the guide walks through how to set up a simple system to keep kids learning, helping out around the house and getting physical exercise (while also having a really great time!) during the months they are out of school. so many families either sign their kids up for tons of expensive summer camps to keep them busy or wind up getting frustrated that their kids are laying around the house too much and spending too much time on screens. saren's really do-able plan helps parents motivate their kids to do productive meaningful things every day as well as engage them in fun activities that will create bonding opportunities, beautiful memories and lots of fun. check it out

happy wednesday! life is beautiful!