3 years old!

dear hugo,

this month you turned three. THREE. where did the time go? didn’t we have another so we could have one more baby? that baby is long, long gone. in his place is a wonderful little person who is so big and so brave and so strong (32.5 lbs, 38″). we are so lucky to have one last year old around.



you have been waiting and waiting for this birthday. it’s tough being not only the youngest but also the last birthday of the season (mama’s birthday in august so far from everyone else’s doesn’t count). you already knew all about birthdays and what to do and what happens. you knew that you wanted star wars cupcakes and to invite manu and zachary and jingle and wren and shona (and josie and anand, who were out of town). luckily manu and zachary and wren and shona came, so it wasn’t just you and jingle (a stuff dog). especially since at some point jingle was disinvited (poor jingle).





you had a great birthday, with birthday cereal (!) and presents (!) and ice cream (!) and a great birthday party (with games and guests and cupcakes and even a few silly presents)! three is so fun because you get so excited about everything. your brothers and friends were very sweet and you were quite pleased with all of the attention. you were rather disappointed when it wasn’t your birthday anymore, but honey, aren’t we all.



because you are three, you are not allowed a regular iPad time. this is THE BEST thing that ever happened to you. interestingly, because you are allowed to use the iPad now, you rarely sneak it (which is nice for papa and me). you can’t quite sit still playing it though, and frequently move about during your iPad time, which is pretty amazing. first you sit on the couch, then, still looking at the screen, you move to the floor. then the easy chair. then the couch again. i can’t tell what it is exactly that has you so antsy, but it’s very funny.



even though you love the iPad oh so very much, you are becoming interested in other things too. you really like coloring and gluing – especially glitter gluing – and many things in the house have been decorated. some of them even paper! i have to keep reminding you where you are allowed to use the colorful things, but it’s worth it to see you so occupied with a project, even if it’s just for a few minutes.



you’ve been going to “school” this past month and you mostly like it. it’s tough for you, honestly, to have me leave you there, although you do tend to be just fine once i’m gone. we talk about how i will always always come back, but even though you try to believe it, you are always immensely relieved to see me at the end of the time. it’s only for three hours – a perfect amount of time for me to get loads of work done – but it feels like so very long to you. it’s times like these that remind me just how little you are still. you are so so very big in many ways, but you still have a lot of growing left to do for sure.



you started nap again because sure why not. i think it has to do with the weather being warmer and the play being more outside and longer. but it makes for very interesting schedule planning. and evenings. it’s like that box of chocolates adage – i never know what we are going to get. sometimes you need the nap, you are so very tired, so i let you, and then papa and i pay the price that night at bedtime. sometimes you skip the nap with vigor and then crash early. sometimes we get a little bit in between. i’m eager for you to figure all of this out one way or another, but these things just take time, i know. anyway, you may as well nap a bit more going into the summer, it will help us stay out later and enjoy the long days and evenings.





you still love books and will bring one to papa for “snuggle and read a book” time most evenings. you try to get me to read to you while we’re signing books out to kids in calum’s K2 class (and calum often brings home books he thinks you will like too). you like to bring a bunch of books over to me when i’m trying to do something else. sometimes gus will read to you. and sometimes still you will look at books by yourself, with a very serious look of concentration on your face. like eating, i will never get tired of watching my kids reading.




you like to do everything that the brothers do and you like to know all of the things too. if i try to explain something, you tell me, “i know,” regardless of what it actually is. you still hate to get your teeth brush and you throw tantrums over weather appropriate pajamas and coats without pockets. you are crazy and unreasonable and completely impossible. you can get your pants down but not usually up and you get mostly get your shirts off but not on. boots you can manage but shoes are still tricky and forget about socks. you like taking baths, especially with bubbles, and you think showers are fun for standing in but not for cleaning. you eat most foods when you are hungry and carbs when you are not. you still snack for as many as – if not more than – actual regular meals that the rest of us eat. you are busy and clever and still into all of the things you should not be. at least we can take you out to eat now, as long as there is something there that you would like and the service is not too slow. you love to ride the try and wish we would ride bikes more. you love to swing at the playground too.



my love, you are going too fast but it’s a wild ride that papa and i are grateful to be taking with you. happy three!



love, always,





35 months

dear hugo,


i have to tell you that this has been a fairly miserable winter, even if it hasn’t been full of snow like last year. i knew those handful of beautiful days in march were too good to be true – this month has been rainy and cold and dreary and just the pits. everyone is cranky and ready for sunshine and springtime.

after not napping more than once every 7-10 days, you’ve decided now is the time to nap again. perhaps it’s due to the fact that we have been staying at the playground and forcing ourselves to go outside even in the miserable, dreary weather more than we managed in the winter. or perhaps whatever speed you were taking in december has finally worn off, but these days you seem to be napping more and more frequently. you are at least going to bed at a decent hour – but 8-8:30 at the latest instead of 9:30-10 and so papa and i don’t really mind. it makes it easier to do evening things as well and honestly it’s great timing considering soccer is starting and it would be impossible to take your brother on a night when you haven’t napped.

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touching rays at the mystic aquarium

in fact you seem to be generally more sleep overall – at bedtime you know the whole routine and will often climb into bed and turn on the reading light and get snuggled up while i am grabbing my book and glasses. it’s a lot nicer than fighting you to go to bed, that’s for sure.

even so, we are making the best of things as we can. you have finally started to enjoy going to little sprouts on monday mornings. that is – you have always enjoyed going, but you have finally started talking about it and looking forward to it. you are still slow to warm up to people and places, which is very sweet considering how obnoxious you are once you feel comfortable! it’s fun seeing you connect with other kids your age.

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hiking with nana and grandpa

you have a few youtube movies you like to watch – a bad habit we developed during the winter months when mama had to work and you weren’t napping. clash of clans commercials (‘cwash of cwams’ and minions, along with some taylor swift and bruno mars ‘videos’). and now if you do nap and i have to wake you so we can pick up the brothers or so you aren’t awake all night long, they are a good bribe for getting you to forgive me for being disturbed.

because your naps are spotty and unplannable and because you are awful when i work, i have decided that this month you can start having a little bit of iPad time instead of waiting a few more weeks until you are 3. you LOVE this of course, and we have been working hard on ironing out the rules (after lunch, just when mama is working, once a day, you can’t have a tantrum when time is up). it’s not so easy for you to give the iPad up when the time is over, but you are getting used to the routine of it, and now that you have realized that you do get another turn the next day, it’s even getting a little easier to give up to. i have mixed feelings about giving you iPad time “early” but desperate times, i guess.

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if you don’ wear yo scarf yo neck’s gon’ get cold

you love blueberry pouches, those gross gross baby food in foil things. long ago i considered buying some silicone pouches and making our own, but for whatever reason(s) that never happened and now they are your favorite treat. whatever. they cost less than $2 and they are a great purchase to keep you occupied while we are at the grocery store and they are actually healthy too. the amusing thing is that even though you love the blueberry flavor, you still won’t eat actual blueberries. i’m curious to see if that will change this summer when they are fresh and delicious.

you are delight to watch play the iPad, even as conflicted as i am about allowing you to use it. when you play the construction game with grandpa (or whatever it is called) and “grandpa” asks if you “want to play again?” you always whisper, “yes” and i die every time. you also like the “game with the birdies” and you will point excitedly to all the silly things you can make the birdie do.


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big helper

although you also eat most things, you can be particular about other treats as well. you like bunny not bear crackers and you would really always prefer star wars crackers (but alas, they no longer sell them around here). you will only eat the short fat pretzel rods, not the skinny pretzels or the “hug” shaped ones. you will eat certain kind of orange slices but not others. you DO still love apples, and will eat them sliced or whole. one of my favorite things is watching you eat a whole apple. it’s still so heavy in your hands and getting a good bite out of it is tricky. still you persevere and it’s adorable. papa would prefer if you would stop taking bites of his apples, however, and he’s often arrived at work appalled to find his morning snack has already been nibbled many times over.

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everyone loves the iPad

we’ve also talked about weaning some this month, and it’s going ok so far. we’re not in a rush, but i’ve been working on nursing you not at all at night anymore. i was thinking that because you are the same age as your brothers were night weaned that it wouldn’t be much of a thing for you either, but it turns out that being pregnant means a lot less milk and therefore a lot less fight about it all. but you know that as you are getting tall and taller there will be less milk and you are ok with that in theory – in practice you are not so sure. still, we are making slow and steady progress at night and that is the most important thing. you still occasionally nurse other times – for nap and bedtime, for example, but mostly that’s it. it’s definitely bittersweet for both of us.


happy 35 months, baby! i can’t believe how big you are getting so fast!

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thirty-five months



6 years old

dear calum,

6 years old! what a big year for you!



5 was not your easiest year (you are a stubborn little bugger! which both makes me proud and drives me crazy), but you had a lot of big accomplishments! i think it was tough still being at home for the first half of the year, but you really grew A LOT. your speech has made leaps and bounds in improvement! enough that we only kept your IEP just in case you had some regression over the summer or if you felt a little shy at school and could use the extra help. but it’s made a serious improvement in the way you interact with the world. where once you were shy to talk to new folks or even to express yourself sometimes at home, now you make new friends wherever you go! it’s beautiful and amazing to see.



the summer was a good time for you – there is nothing you three brothers love more than being together, and this summer was no exception. you learned to be more brave in the pool – jumping in to papa or nana and even swimming a little bit to the side or to the ladder. you were able to swim back and forth between two grownups too and you (and we) were very proud about it.





you grew a bit this year too (35 lbs, 41″)! we did go to see how things are going with your body – you are a really small fry – but your bones are just taking their time and you will eventually get there. it was good to hear that you don’t have any deficiencies in anything, you are just not a fast grower (like many other members of your immediate and extended family), and that is good to know. you have a killer smile for sure that more than makes up for your size.



the biggest news after your speech accomplishments is, of course, that you started kindergarten! FINALLY your big day! you got to ride the school bus and you were very excited. we followed behind and met you at school, and while you were a little nervous, you mostly were just very pleased to finally be there. your little uniform pretty much slays me. unlike your brother, you will actually wear button ups, and you are a very handsome and stylish guy. you came home every day for the first few weeks telling us all about your “NEW FRIEND!” until i think you knew everyone’s names in the class. your kindergarten teacher was both impressed and a little appalled at your comfort level at school and i am pretty sure she spent the first few weeks working on getting you to sit down and MYOB.



you do love school, though, and once you figured out the game you were quite good at it. because you are the middle child (and mostly because of your speech), you didn’t know any letters or numbers or oh, basically anything school-relevant, at all when we sent you, but you quickly picked most things right up! it was good that we kept your IEP because it helps with your being a little behind in your letters, especially. BUT YOU CAN READ!! we need to work on that more this summer but you are doing a great job. you will need some help in first grade too, but that’s what school is for! the best part is how much you are up to the challenge and not afraid to back down on things that seem trick at first. your papa and i are really proud of your hard work and progress. it’s been a big year for you.





you are getting better and better at soccer. you’re not the biggest or the strongest or the fastest, but it’s clear that you have the most heart out there. you are the most focused and you really play with a lot of passion. your footwork is getting better and boy if you keep that focus going, you are going to go far with anything you put your mind to!





you’ve been dying for swim lessons and it just keeps not quite working out for us. i am hoping that is something we can do this coming fall and/or winter. you love playing soccer and of course the iPad. your favorite shoes are the riders of berk, clone wars (sometimes), slugterra, and wild kratts. we got you caught up on all of the star wars movies this year in time for you to watch the force awakens and even though i think you don’t really have any idea at all what happened, you were HYPED to be there (so were we!!).



you are tough and stubborn and crazy-making and sweet and sensitive and our tenderheartedist little bear. we are teaching you not to back down from bullies (ahem, hugo) and you are teaching us to always be a lover. we are so lucky to have you in our lives!





34 months

dear hugo,

you have started to realize that you are growing and you are not sure how you feel about this. it’s a tricky thing. on the one hand, you are ready to be big and big and bigger, because that means you can play more games with the brothers and do more cool things. it means you are getting tall and taller and that makes you proud. but it also means that you are not a baby anymore and maybe you aren’t ready for that. you often ask me, “i am the baby, right?” “yes, you are,” i tell you, because of course you will always be my baby.

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honey mustard chips and oj snack for the strep patient

even so, you continue to strive for things that the big kids do. you like to get things and do things for yourself. putting on a back pack and taking a lunch box places, getting out your shoes and coat (WINTER COAT, MAMA, even if the weather has decided to feel pleasant for a change). you can take your pants and underpants fully off, if they are not buttoned too tightly, and you can even sometimes pull them back up. you can take off your shirt and socks and sometimes, the opposite, pull on your shoes. you can get your own snacks out of my back or the cabinet (honestly, i love when you get your own snacks out of the cabinet because i am terribly lazy).

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when it’s been too quiet for too long

you love to be read to, but you also love to read to yourself. if i am working and won’t read to you (oh WHY did you have to give up your nap so soon?!), you will sometimes sit next to me and declare, “FINE! i will read it MY-SELF.” and then of course it is impossible to work because i love listening to how you tell yourself the story.

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snuggling with a sick mama

your pappy was here a few days to visit and to help us with yet another project. you, like your middle brother before you, absolutely delighted in helping out when you could. you found the work half fascinating and half painfully boring, which is actually a pretty accurate assessment of the project.

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movie break for the construction assistant

you, also like your middle brother before you, continue to w-sit with your legs. supposedly that’s not a big deal, but since your auntie used to sit like that and wound up with knees that make her a little crazy, i have been disinclined to let you or your brother sit like that when i can see it. you find it amusing that this bothers me, and you won’t put your legs into a more gentle position for your knees until you’ve gotten me to yell at you. as in, if i say, “fix your legs, hugo,” you will say, “YELL IT! FIX YO LEGS HUGO!” and will not comply until i do. similarly, if you have to use the potty, you sometimes tell me about it, but then encourage me to hustle you, “say ‘let’s go let’s go let’s go!’ mama!”. weirdo.

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dyeing eggs for spring!

you are learning how to be a pain in the butt from your brothers. all their obnoxious sayings and insults are absorbed by you like a sponge. your favorite is to you, “STOP COPYING ME!” which must be a real issue for the kindergartners this year, because it’s a favorite protestation you have picked up from calum.

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when you couldn’t bunk with the big kids

this month we had an actual taste of spring – one weekend morning we went to brunch with friends at 9:30 and didn’t get home until almost dinner. it’s not that the winter was so cold but it’s been so very dreary. we’re trying to soak up any good weather that comes our way, and you are no exception. we haven’t been to the playground in ages, because it has been too rainy to do anything, and you’ve begun to preemptively tell me that we needn’t even bother to check the swings and slides because, “they are wet, mama.” please hurry, spring, we need more sunshine!

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thirty-four months

happy 34 months, beautiful!






33 months

dear hugo,

i cut your hair. i was tired of all of the tangles and i wanted to get some kind of different hairstyle ready for your birthday photo in a few months. i cut it shorter than i wanted but it’s still pretty cute. you look so different! and too big all of a sudden.

2016 01 31 haircut

where’s your hair?

not that you aren’t acting too big anyway. if you need a snack you will tell me, “yes we [do have some] – i’ll show you!” then you drag a chair over to the counter and climb up and open the cabinet and get whatever it is you wanted. i am sort of appalled but also relieved. finally a child who can just serve himself, my goodness. you’re 9 yr old brother still doesn’t know how to do that (or rather, he’s too lazy do it).

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mama c’n-i eat your chips?

your play is bigger too. when we went to visit your cousins in pennsylvania recently, you and your cousin liam were inseparable. you played super hero and trucks and cars and you played house and kitchen and took care of babies. you play with gus and calum is many of their games. you join the kids in calum’s class for part of their routine (without being a distraction!) when i am helping the K2 kids check out books. you want to blow the bubbles all by yourself – and you do. you can even sit for a few turns of a board game. there is so much happening around you and you can’t wait to catch up.

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playing all the games

you are enjoying books more and more and are often asking papa for a “book and a snuggle.” then once you’re settled in, you’ll open the book and tap the page, “talk it!” you’ll demand. you like “ginger” and of course all of the byron barton books and a few other books about construction.

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new library books

you haven’t been napping so we haven’t been nursing in during the day much, but lately i think all that no sleep is catching up to you and you will demand a midday snuggle. if i try to pass on the mahnahs you have a tantrum. i think you still need a little down time, even if you don’t quite want to nap right now.

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gorilla watcher

papa had strep this month and that made you very concerned. you made papa snuggle you a lot and read you books and you checked on him a lot. you were very sweet. too sweet, though, i think, as papa ending up giving strep to you! you were miserable for the first day, but we figured it was probably strep pretty quickly and got your antibiotics right away. you HATED them. it was like giving a cat a bath three times a day for the first week, and then on the 8th day you took your doses without complaint. you make me crazy.

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fever cheeks

you had a blast at your visit with liam and you both were very sad when it was time to go. you made me laugh, though, when we got there and i took you to the bathroom to pee. “i frew up in dat toilet,” you said. it must have made a big impression over new year’s.

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33 months

happy 33 months, my growing growing toddler.






dear august,

this year you turned 9 years old. your last single digit year of your life. wow. two years away from middle school (didn’t you just start kindergarten?). halfway out of the house (weren’t you just born?). i can hardly believe we’re here already. if you could just please slow things down.

2015 03 22 gus sunglasses.jpgmarch

being 8 was a pretty good year for us. rather pleasant, in fact, for the first time in a great long time (oh, since you were 2 i would say). it’s not that you have been awful forever, but your other ages were very challenging in ways that 8 was not, and it was nice to enjoy you more often than otherwise this past year. whatever it is about 8, it seemed to be a break for you from always coming up against everything else going on, and that made it generally more endurable for everyone around you. of course you had your bad days, we all, do, but overall, 8 was pretty mild as far as growing pains go.

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you started your first season of travel team this past fall and you loved it. your team was not particularly good. in fact, i think it would be fair to say that some of your teammates were in fact quite terrible, significantly impacting your team’s record. you were very philosophical about this and really seemed to grasp that while it is definitely fun to win, the most important part at this point is to have fun and to give everyone a turn to play. while you certainly wished that some of your teammates were a little more skilled, you didn’t ever begrudge them the same opportunities to be on the field that you had, even if it might mean a better chance of a win.

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you enjoy playing goalie and you do pretty well, although eventually you really would prefer to get out there and in on the action. you are a bit, as papa calls you (and as we have heard you call yourself), “uncoachable” – meaning that once on the field, you tend to do what makes the most sense to you, not what someone may be advising from the side. if ever there was a league to thrive like this, you have found it. and a good thing, too, as it has fostered a strong confident and creative streak in you, that you can really see when you play. you are brave and strong and go after the ball as if you know exactly what will happen once you get to it. and sometimes that is even true! i don’t watch you play much – partly scheduling from needing a break – but every time i see you play i am more impressed than the last time. you’re getting better and better by leaps and bounds, growing into yourself as a player and into your passion for the game.

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you seem to still like school. you remain fairly quiet and reserved, which makes your teacher crazy, and she spent a good portion of the year trying to get to know you. you were very tolerant of this, if not enthused by her interest, and eventually rewarded her with a soccer story or too and she was thrilled. you enjoy the kids at your school (mostly max, angelo, rye, and jethro) and enjoy meeting up with kids after school on the play area (you often play this game that involves throwing a kickball against the side of the school and trying to catch it. it doesn’t sound very exciting but you and many kids on the playground love it). you still want me to come to school events and be your chaperone and of course i go every time i possibly can. some of the kids are already mortified by their parents and i’ll take your wanting me around as long as possible.

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you still love hanging out with lucas and eamon and anand and euan. you love seeing graham when we get together with those friends and you occasionally still see old friends (like simi or ezra) around the neighborhood. you love playing soccer with friends the most, but you’ve all also started inventing complicated-seeming games of tag and catch and other things that involved rock-papers-scissors and healers and referees and i don’t know what else. but when we get together with friends, all you children sneak away somewhere and are not seen until we demand you come and eat something (and even then you straggle). if you have conflicts, you seem to work them out with each other fairly easily. you are all very different from each other these days, but because of time and familiarity have forged ways for meeting in the middle quite happily. it’s lovely to see you with these old, old friends.

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you love soccer, but you also love reading. you occasionally will write up complicated programs? stories? flow charts? something on paper that you and calum will discussion in great detail. you still don’t love crafts, but will consent to doing the occasional art project here or there, particularly if it involves star wars. you still love star wars, the dragons of berk, and occasionally slugterra. you complain about having to watch wild kratts when it is calum’s night to choose but you watch it (and enjoy it) anyway. you love playing games on the iPad, including clash of clans and lego star wars, but these days you play a lot of fifa and occasionally madden football and a few other sports games here and there. you will play wii all day when you can get it and are impatiently waiting for the discussion about whether or not the family can purchase our own once hugo turns 4. you like riding your bike and playing on the playground, although some days you are just as likely to walk around talking with lucas as you to play an active game.

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you love reading books and would read at every meal if we left you. your favorites are graphic novels but you like chapter books too. mostly you like fantasy and sci-fi – wizards, magic, jedi, dragon, zombies etc, but you will read just about anything i bring home if it’s new. you will re-read also, if there is nothing else. we’ve hard to start roaming far afield from our little library, since you’ve read just about everything there. you bring home your scholastic book order forms with your desires circled and i do my best to order them from the library for you.

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although you would prefer not to be, you are helpful around the house. you put your clothes away, put your dishes away, help unload the dishwasher when asked, clean almost the entire downstairs bathroom by yourself, make your own lunch, help clean up after your brother(s), and carry the laundry up and/or downstairs for me. you can be trusted – mostly – to keep an eye on hugo in the backyard and are good at walking calum home from the bus safely. you can go the the playground with calum or by yourself and you can walk around the block to get a ball that’s been accidentally kicked over the fence into our diagonally-adjacent neighbor’s yard.

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this year you’ve gotten really into music as well. we got an old iPhone 4 for you and you are allowed to listen to spotify on it (and use it to take weirdo photos/vidoes of your brothers). you love listening to minecraft pop song parodies and making spotify playlists. there have been many an evening papa tried to listen to spotify on his own phone on the way home from work only to find that you’d already commandeered it.

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although you have a lot of conflict with calum, you love your brothers and they love you. they make you crazy but you also are always organizing them into some kind of activity – usually football in your room in the winter and then some kind of sports game in the backyard. hugo often foils your plans by being 2 but calum is almost always willing. it’s tough when you fight, but more often than not, you seem to at least try go get along. when you want to be rid of them, you will bury your nose in a book, which is infuriating to calum. but big brothers need a break sometimes too.

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it’s been a busy but wonderful year. i’m so proud of how you are growing. happy 9th birthday.

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32 months

dear hugo,

happy new year!

2016 01 04 crazy hugo

gumband face

we had plans to ring in the new year with your aunt and uncle and cousins, but you threw up on the way to their house, eat a bunch of dinner, played your heart out and then threw up again first thing in the morning. we were sad to leave but we didn’t want to get anyone else sick. good thing too, as you and your brothers were then sick for the next 10 days (sheesh).

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birthday papa

we did still managed to have a nice visit with nana and grandpa, though, at the tail end of your collectiveness sicknesses and neither of them got sick, whew!

it was an up and down month, lots of snot after all the intestinal distress and lots of strange weather. we spent the month catching up on everything we didn’t get down preparing for the holidays in december and it went by pretty fast.

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snowy day

you are talking talking talking and saying very funny things, like “one, two, let’er wip” and then jumping off of a table or bench or rock at the playground. who taught you that? one of the brothers, probably.

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penguin house

my favorite of your expressions is when you tell me how you are “thinking” about something. like the other day in the grocery store when i was telling you we were buying marshmallows for dessert that weekend.

“are we gon’ make s’mores?”

“not this time. this time we’re going to dip the marshmallows in chocolate”

“mama, i fink da choc’lit’s gon’ be good!”

we are also talking about you need to be more gentle about the way you handle things in general, like putting the toilet seat down or getting my attention. you seem to take it seriously and have been asking me lately, “was it gen-tually, mama?” the answer is usually still no, but at least you are trying!

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hugo selfie

you are also starting to make an amazing case for why you should be able to nurse. i think when you are bored you think it’s time to nurse but when i say no it makes you very frustrated so you start to cry. although i feel bad that you are sad, if it’s not time to nurse, it’s not time to nurse, so i still tell you know. you have begun countering with “BUT I C’YING I WANT MAHNAHS!” it’s a fantastic analytical argument for a 2 1/2 yr old but the answer is still no, buddy.


happy 32 months, my big kid! i can’t believe how much you are growing growing growing!

2016 01 26 thirty-two months ii.jpg

32 months