Sunday, May 22, 2016

Lincoln: 19 months going on 14 years

Lincoln has exited the baby stage with pomp and circumstance and is now a full-fledged toddler-going-on-teenager. We love him and he drives us crazy all in the same breath. :)

Here are some pictures and some notes I've taken about Lincoln at 19 months, in no particular order.

Lincoln loves dice. This time he was positioning them all so the 6-dot sides were facing up. Then he started stacking them.
- I'll get the not-as-cute stuff out of the way. Lincoln throws TONS of tantrums. Luckily he responds fairly well (about 80% of the time) to timeouts. We just take him up in his crib and tell him we'll come back when he's ready to be calm... we don't leave him for too long, but he responds well to it so far. The other 20% of the time, he has inconsolable meltdowns that last for 30-90 minutes and are really frustrating. He loves to throw his back into and arch and kick as hard and fast as possible during these tantrums. Lincoln is big and STRONG, and I seriously get a workout during these tantrums.

We love all our friends. :)

- We think he might have nightmares or night terrors or something because occasionally at night time and regularly with naps, Lincoln will wake up screaming inconsolably.

- We've started leaving him alone in nursery at church; he screams his head off when we say goodbye, but then seems to do okay and stays for the whole thing (so either he does okay, or we have saints for nursery workers...or both).

Tired boy, on the way home from a potluck picnic.

- He loves playing with (translation: around) other kids in our courtyard, but he's really hit the shyness peak right now, so if he knows you he's all smiles but if he doesn't, he comes and hides his face right between my legs. Silly kid.

We sure loved playing with Nicole and Curtis when they were here!

Curtis had a captive audience. :) 
- His language has really taken off the past few weeks. He speaks in sentences and paragraphs quite often now and it's adorable and cute and extremely gratifying on both ends... he can finally tell us what he wants to say, and we can do much better at understanding him. I think our little screamer has been waiting for this moment since that first night in the hospital when he wouldn't stop screaming. :)

Skyping some of Bryan's family while others of Bryan's family were with us! Fun.

Lincoln loves making towers, especially with these soft blocks at one of our libraries.
- The other day Bryan was getting ready to leave for school/work; these days we really have to prepare Lincoln for this moment each day because he has such a hard time with it. One morning we were explaining what was going on and Lincoln nodded slowly and said, "Daddy work, momma play." :) Cute kid.

Cleaning off the bottom of his feet before he finishes his wheat thins. (HAHA.)
- He's added nodding and shaking his head to his communication. It's adorable. It's also funny because he's figured out that this is yet another way he can signal to us that he wants more of something while his mouth is full of food. The other day I was trying to convince Lincoln to let me wander freely around the house to gather up laundry, and so I said, "Lincoln, should we do some laundry?" He looked around, thought for a moment, got a really serious look on his face, and nodded slowly. I about laughed aloud.

Yes, Lincoln found a giant beetle and yes, he picked it up without hesitation and was so very excited. 

Hiking/walking up to the Stanford Dish. I don't know why we brought the stroller... Lincoln either walked, pushed the stroller, or rode piggy back pretty much the whole time. 
- His favorite words to scream when he's bored/angry/frustrated are "NO", "MINE". When he yells "NO", he throws his head back and his eyes get huge and he has this giant grim reaper-like mouth. It's so dramatic.

Curtis skipping rocks at the beach, Lincoln inspecting rocks at the beach.

Building "towers" out of sand to smash. 
- He loves looking at himself in the mirror and talking with himself and all that. Tonight he was talking to himself in the mirror and he bent down and bumped his head on the mirror. He looked at his reflection, said, "sorry", and kissed his reflection better. (HAHAHA!) He likes giving his reflection hi fives too. He calls his reflection "me", but I wonder if he thinks there are two "me"s.

A behind-the-scenes look at what our life looks like much of the time. lol.
Eating a picnic at the Sam McDonald forest.
- He has started copying us SO much.

Taking pictures with the Mariachi band at a cinco de mayo party.
- Every morning after breakfast and after Bryan leaves, Lincoln and I do yoga. Lincoln has his blue yoga mat (my old one) and I have my purple one. He helps me roll them out, he tells me, "mommy purple, mine blue", and then we do yoga. I usually have about 18-20 minutes in which I can do yoga while he terrorizes the house, plays with toys, tries to knock me over, tries to crawl under/around/on top of me as I do various poses, and occasionally does downward dog on one of the yoga mats. I have to make sure I get a good workout in in that 20 minutes because right about then he gets very upset that I'm not catering to him so my focused workout time ends fairly abruptly lol.

Teaching Lincoln all about piƱatas.
- He gets a real kick out of making us laugh. He knows what we think is funny and he does it over and over. He has the greatest giggle when he's doing this.

Fun at the bridge with Curtis and Nicole.
- He is using his words a lot more to describe what he sees and is experiencing, not just telling us what things are or what he wants. He loves describing things-- some of his favorite words are smooth, bumpy, hairy, soft, spicy, cold, and hot. He likes to find things that can be described with these words and then tell us excitedly.

- One of the sentences he says a lot is, "I want that."

Lincoln loves his cactus garden and loves smelling flowers. When you put the two together, it requires a bit more adult supervision ha ha. 
- We've made a few batches of Seattle Teriyaki lately and Lincoln calls it "yaki."

Telling us all about what he sees at the cactus garden.
- Lincoln loves to "cook" with me. It's added a whole new element of challenge to my cooking trying to actually cook while trying to convince Lincoln why we don't touch hot pans or do everything in our power to grab the knives that mommy intentionally put out of your reach.

Climbing the dinosaur-foot-looking tree at the cactus garden.

- Lincoln loves to "dip". When he asks to "dip", he wants to stick his finger in something... lotion (to rub on his cheeks or belly), sunscreen (to rub on his face), or food (to lick off his finger). He loves to "dip" in spices (salt, seasoned salt, sugar, cinnamon, etc.) while we're cooking and figure out different tastes.

- One of his favorite words is almost. He usually uses it correctly too, which is pretty cute. If he tries to put a toy in a bag and it misses, he says, "almost!" Another one of his favorite phrases is uh oh. He only uses this correctly about half the time; the other half of the time we're left trying to figure out what's the trouble. I'm also trying to figure out a way to teach him the difference between little "uh oh"s and big ones.

Lincoln was seeing seagulls and saying, "Mine!" (the sound they make)
- Lately Lincoln likes to drag around this little foot stool all over the house to reach things on his own. Every once in a while I'll hear him drag it in the kitchen and then yell "mom!" when he realizes he still can't reach the loaf of bread or whatever he was trying to get.

A lot of this happens around here... this was when Lincoln and I went to play in the fountain with some kids and Lincoln had a giant tantrum about something or other and we had to go home before any other kids even got there.
- Our ketchup bottle is almost empty, and whenever we've put ketchup on his plate in the past few weeks it makes a lovely farting sound. Lincoln promptly laughs and mimics that sound. *shakes head

Lincoln loves bubbles. LOVES them. He's really good at blowing them himself too. In other news, this time we were playing with bubbles it was because it was the only thing that would distract him from his perpetual tantrum that day long enough for me to regain some sanity.

- Lincoln has gotten pretty good about cleaning up and helping us clean up. He always sings the clean up song when he picks up after himself. It's fun.

Downward dog.
- Speaking of singing, Lincoln loves to sing. For a really long time he's liked to sing when we have the hymn books open and are singing at church. Lately though, he sings to himself as he plays, he sings along when we sing primary songs or songs from joy school, and when we listen to the radio he sings out words that he hears in the song as he hears them. I'm not sure how he figured out how to do that, but he does it a lot. (He is also obsessed with doing the actions to songs that have actions. My favorites to watch him do are If you're happy and you know it and popcorn popping on the apricot tree.)

Pizza and smoothie at Costco

- Lincoln knows all his letters in uppercase, and I think most of them in lowercase. He can fill in the blank in parts of the alphabet song, but not always. He tries to sing along to the song and it sounds like an occasional letter and lots of "ba-deh-ba-deh-ba-deh" when he doesn't know which letter is next.

Fountain hopping. Yes, the water is chlorinated. :) 
- The other day he found my stash of juice boxes that I save for days where I really need to hydrate Lincoln. He quietly pulled one out of the plastic, somehow got the straw out of the wrapper (by this time I came in the kitchen and was watching), found the little foil hole, tentatively poked the straw into the hole, checked it with his finger, repositioned the straw, shoved it all the way in, and drank his juice. I was impressed.

- Lincoln likes to try to help me put my socks on.

- Lincoln loves studying bugs, animals, nature, flowers, birds, etc up close and in person... like within a few inches of the subject. He isn't really aware that he should be afraid of some bugs (spiders) or avoid touching others (bees), so we're working on that. He grabs giant beetles by their legs, holds salamanders we find in the wild, wields giant banana slugs we find on sticks, you know, that sort of thing.

- Bryan's siblings (Curtis and Nicole) were here for a vacation a few weeks ago. The morning after they left, Lincoln came downstairs looking for them. We talked about how we took them to the airport so they could go home. Lincoln thought for a minute and yelled out, "They FLY!"

Drawing with chalk and painting our faces with chalk with another friend. 
- When I sweep the floor when Lincoln's around, he squats down over the piles I make until I sweep them up. Sometimes it seems like he's guarding them, sometimes he's trying to tell me there's a pile of garbage that I need to do something with, and sometimes he's inspecting them for treasures. It's hilarious.

- He likes to read license plates when we are in parking lots. He wants to stop at every plate and point out letters and numbers he knows.

- Lincoln likes to spell "words" with magnets and have us read them aloud.

- Lincoln loves to count things. Sometimes he forgets about 5 though, and it goes something like this: 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 6, 7, 8, 9, 8, 9, 10.

- His favorite numbers seem to be 8 and 9. 8 is because of the Count's song about 8 ("8, 8, 8 is great...") from Sesame Street. I don't know why he loves 9. The other day the number of the day on Sesame street was 4, and Lincoln started yelling at the TV because he was mad it wasn't 9. He yelled "NO, 9!" over and over.

- Lincoln calls himself "me" and "Nee-Nuh". When we spell out "Lincoln Merrill" and talk about the letters and what they spell, if I say, "who is Lincoln Merrill?" He yells, "ME!" He also really likes to say our last name.

- When he gets excited he walks around on his toes (I did that until I was like

- Lincoln loves to watch the microwave count down. When it gets to 0, he calls out, "BEEP!" Because of his love of counting down, sometimes when we count he forgets that we're going up and he starts going the other way... the most common one is .... 7, 8, 9, 8!

- When Lincoln washes his hands before lunch (after we come inside from the playground each day), he has to have the pink dish soap on one hand and the yellow hand soap on the other. Then he'll wash.

- Lincoln has started to identify and describe different emotions. We finally watched the movie Inside Out and I actually think that helped him to identify sadness, joy, anger, and fear. He will really analyze and sometimes mimic or sometimes comment on other peoples' emotions.

- Lincoln loves technology too much. He really loves facetiming/skyping family members. His favorite part is pressing the "button" to hang up. He always says a really heartfelt goodbye after the face disappears ha ha.

- And finally, Lincoln LOVES to read. There are a few books I'm seriously considering hiding because I'm so tired of them (mainly the plotless ones with words and flaps) but in general I'm super happy to read to him. He tries to read along to his favorite books, calling out words he knows and mimicking the emotions of the characters (e.g., getting excited or sad on the right pages).

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Monterey, Part 2

Day 2

Night before day 2: Lincoln was teething and had a cold and was in a new place. He slept terribly and screamed lots...which gave me lots of anxiety about thin hotel walls and exhaustion and whatnot. Anyway, we survived. Bryan was a champ. Also, thanks to Elmo and a king sized bed that helped us

After a lovely (?) continental breakfast at our hotel, we started our morning back at the Aquarium!

Touching a sea star

Touching a sea cucumber. Not pictured: Lincoln grabbing the giant strands of kelp-- the one protecting all the creatures-- and trying to pull them out of the tank. That's Lincoln for you. :) 

This was one of my favorite things! Lincoln was not being a patient child, however, so we didn't get to watch the giant octopus for long.

These fish were so cool. They were just kind of floating there in the kelp forest, rising and falling as the water and kelp rose and fell.  

That school of fish was mesmerizing.

Lincoln chasing the birds. We have lots of crows at our house so he's perfected his "caw!" that he uses to call them. 

At this point we were getting hungry and Lincoln was tired. We headed back to the hotel, ate lunch, and got Lincoln to take a nap.

After all that we took a bike ride up the coast to some awesome beaches and views. I don't know that I've ever seen such magnificent views before... if you are going to retire somewhere that costs a bajillion dollars to live, the houses with the following beaches as their front yards are the place to be.

Click on the picture to make it bigger.

Cute boys.

Lincoln LOVED exploring the tide pools, especially finding the hermit crabs. 
 This video captured Bryan's favorite moment of the vacation.

Lincoln chasing a seagull...the poor guy still managed to get away even though he had a bum wing and couldn't fly.

Cushy ride

How we got around all week.

Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University

After we got tired of the really cold wind, we headed back toward the hotel we spent a few minutes back at the aquarium.

I could have watched these for a long time. 

Lincoln is obsessed with buttons. Doesn't matter what they do. If something cool happens after he pushes them, all the better, but not necessary. :) 

These were like the creepy earthworms of the sea. My irrational fear of snakes was on alert. 

This was a sign with a video of some kids playing on a beach... I don't know if Lincoln thought they were real kids, or what, but he loved this sign. We frequented it. 

After Lincoln was tired of being in public, we left and decided to hurry to a little restaurant near the pier for dinner.

As we got near the restaurant and parked our bikes, we looked down and saw a huge seal on the dock. It was barking super loud and sunning itself. We ran down and got a few yards from it and watched it! Don't mind the GIANT CARPET OF BIRD POOP we were standing in. Eww. After we left the restaurant there were no fewer than 6 seals on the nearby dock, and DOZENS in those little dark areas under the dock across that little part of the water. It was loud and amazing. I have absolutely no idea how they get themselves up on such high docks and platforms.

This was about 15 seconds before Lincoln had HAD it, threw a giant tantrum, and motivated us to get take out boxes and eat our cold food back at the hotel. 

We got a slightly cheaper hotel room because we took the unbooked room with the shower with wheelchair access...meaning no tub. Lincoln had all sorts of fun anyway.

The end (of day 2).