Saturday, December 15, 2012

Yet another video but this one is REALLY special. Seriously.

This past Thursday, I came home from book club and my husband said he had a surprise for me and then played me a song he had recorded. This wouldn't have been the first time Chris has written me a song but I wasn't ready for how awesome this song is. See, it wasn't a song that Chris wrote me- it was a song that Brendan made up and sang all by himself. And even though it was for his BFF Josh who is back in Virginia, my heart still melted. So I'm sharing it here since it was too awesome not to. I made a little picture slideshow to go along with the song and I think it captures what a special bond these two boys have.

Best Buddies from Valerie Near on Vimeo.

It was the sweetest, cutest, most amazing song I've ever heard. I love his "la-la-la"s and how he changes things up to match the pre-recorded music track that he selected. I laughed so hard that I was crying. Part of my tears were from how innocent and adorable he is and how cute his sweet little voice is. Part of them were from just how funny some parts are (Coming back to 'Ginia!). And a good part were from being heartbroken that he still misses his best friend so much. He's been asking a lot lately again if when it's summer, we can move back to Virginia (or as he calls it, "Buh-ginia"). He asks about Josh and if we can go to the beach again with him (heck yes! We'll make that happen.), he'll randomly talk about how he and Josh used to play at our old house, and even Alex still gets excited when he hears his name and shouts "Josh!". It makes me so sad to think that even though Brendan has made a lot of new friends here in Utah, that he still misses his best buddy like there's a big hole in his life. There's just no one who can replace Josh.

Josh was the first one to befriend Brendan when we first moved to Virginia, and it was so special to me because Brendan still wasn't really speaking and when he did it was very difficult to understand him and to know what he was saying. I was so worried that he wouldn't be able to play well with the other kids because of that and that no one would "get" Brendan. But Josh did from the very start and they were inseparable from then on. So not only does Brendan miss Josh but so do I. I love that boy not only because he's a great kid but also because he was so awesome to my son and loved him despite his differences. So don't worry, Brendan. You two will see each other again (it doesn't hurt that Josh has some awesome parents that I really miss too).

I hope you guys enjoyed the song as much as I did.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I can't resist

Had to share another video, this one of Alex talking about school. He loves going to pick Brendan up from school and lately has to wear a backpack too every time we go. This is from a few days ago as we were getting ready to head out to pick Brendan up.

Alex loves school from Valerie Near on Vimeo.

Favorite part- those dimples when he smiles. Also, we he gets frustrated after 1 second of trying to put the backpack on by himself. Love this boy!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Here's a video

Alex talking from Valerie Near on Vimeo.

Just wanted to pop in and share a little clip of Alex talking. It's so strange to have a 2 year old who talks since Brendan didn't really talk until he was 3+ but I love every minute of it. My favorite thing he says right now (which are in the video) are "shampoo-poo" and "I love me" when he means "I love you". So cute.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Family photos

Sometimes it seems like there is just so much going on that it's overwhelming to blog about it all. That's not to say that anything exciting or important has really been happening but our every day life has gotten pretty busy and hectic with Brendan in school and trying to entertain two energetic boys. But I do have a couple of exciting things to post about- one being our trip to Colorado to visit with Chris' family for a super special occassion, and two being our family photos. I'll save the Colorado trip for another post since that will take much more time but for now, here are some of the photos that we had taken.

We ended up going to an indoor studio called Fotofly, which offers an amazing price for a 45 minute session. I missed our window of opportunity to take photos in a picturesque locale here in Utah so we opted to go this route even though I would have preferred an outdoor shoot. Oh well. You snooze, you lose. Lesson learned.

I was pretty surprised that we were able to get a decent amount of good shots during the 45 minutes. Alex was happy (when we were in a group) and Brendan was being a good listener so it worked better than I thought. I was a bit anxious about how well the boys would perform. Turns out I didn't need to worry about them- it was Chris I should have been more concerned with. He was not a good smiler that night so a lot of pictures that would have otherwise been awesome, turned out like below...

Brendan gave him some pointers so hopefully next time we'll have a better result. Still, we got a lot of great family group shots that I'm really pleased with.

The boys were really the stars of the photo shoot and honestly, I cared more about getting good shots of them than anything else.

Brendan was a natural and responded really well to the photographer so we got some super adorable shots of him.

 This might be my favorite, hands down. It's getting blown up and put on the wall for sure.

I love this one too. He looks so big though!

Alex's individual shots didn't turn out so well that night though but luckily they have a satisfaction guarantee so we were able to do a short 15 minute re-shoot and we got MUCH better ones. He liked the photographer more and I learned from the last go around that even though he loves balls, using one to get him to smile for photos doesn't work. It just makes him angry because he can't hold the ball and throw it. The photographer this time stuck to Cookie Monster and Elmo dolls, which got way better results.

Gah, the cuteness of this pose kills me. I just love my little man. Seriously, my heart squeezes every time I look at this one.

And this is such a classic Alex kind of face (he chews on his lower lip a lot). I'm glad they caught one of these and luckily not one of his famous scowls- although that might have been really cute just because it's funny.

I'm so glad we had these done and I'm so glad my friend Lindsay told me about this place (Thanks, Lindsay!). It has been ages since we've had nice photos taken (I think it was before we moved to New Hampshire almost 5 years ago!!!) and we definitely needed to capture some images of our little family while the kids are still young. I love the stages that they're in and I know I'll look back at the pictures down the road and reminisce about how sweet and cute they were.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Black olives anyone?

My boys love black olives. Actually we all do but I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth the mess they create when they eat them.

 Alex loves to eat them and then spit out all the little chewed up olive pieces all over my floor. It's extremely disgusting and a pain to clean up.

And about an hour after taking these pictures and after Brendan eating about 20 olives, he proceeded to throw up all over my couch. That was even more disgusting and difficult to clean up. Ugh.

But I think it's worth it for the cute pictures.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The big birthday post

Alex's birthday started off with a little gift of a new Match Box fire truck (he looooooves fire trucks, or any kind of truck for that matter). He carried it around all morning and even posed with it for a quick birthday picture.

Brendan was more than happy to give Alex sweet birthday kisses too. He was so excited for it to be Alex's birthday, mostly because he knew he'd get to play with all the new toys too.

It was a busy day full of making a cake and frosting from scratch, running to the store to get eggs for the cake (how did I forget that I was out of eggs!?), cleaning my kitchen after making a mess baking that cake, getting Brendan to and from school, wrapping presents, and trying to enjoy some time to play with my boys. When Chris got home, we headed to Chic-fil-A for dinner and let the boys run around in the play area before heading back home for cake and presents.

Just before I moved that cake to the cake stand, Alex got his grubbing fingers in it. I was pretty proud of that cake though. I used a recipe that I found on Pinterest and it turned out super delicious. I don't think I'd use a chocolate ganache frosting again though- it made it a little too rich even for this chocolate lover. I'm kinda wishing I had gone with a plain chocolate buttercream instead. Oh well, the Goober still loved it.

He got a good chunk of frosting and thoroughly enjoyed it.

He started off doing pretty good with the cake- not as messy as I thought. Then I turned away to do something else and when I turned back...

 He had cake all up his arms and in his ear. Dirty Alex strikes again.

But it was his birthday so it's allowed and even preferred if he gets dirty eating his cake. I'm glad he liked it!

After cake, it was time for presents!!! Brendan was looking forward to this all day and he was more than happy to help Alex out when needed.

Alex was excited about Grandma and Grandpa Near's gift even before he opened it. He loved the Toy Story wrapping paper!

They were so excited about the helicopter, we had to force them to move on or we would have been there all night.

Grandma and Grandpa Lubniewski got him a giant Tonka truck with wheels almost as big as his head. And that thing is heavy, which means that he hopefully won't be able to throw it (he has a problem with throwing toys right now... sigh).

I got Alex his first pair of Chucks and he was so excited. Seriously, he loves shoes. He plays in my closet with all my shoes every single day and he's had numerous melt downs at Target when we walk by the shoe section and we don't stop so he can look at all the shoes. So the shoes made his evening. And the socks that went with them too. They match Brendan's socks that he got for school so hopefully now we won't have any more tantrums about not being to wear Brendan's cool socks (Alex is so weird sometimes... I just love him).

But the big gift of the night was this... a new bike.
 We had been talking about getting him a balance bike for a while and Chris scored one for a steal off of eBay (gotta support his job!) and it arrived just in time for his birthday.

He probably would have slept with it if we would have let him- so it's good to know that he loves it. He's a tiny bit short for it (sorry boys, that's my fault for passing on the short genes) but I know that won't stop him.

The day after his birthday we headed to Boondocks and celebrated in style.

 There was plenty of mini golf playing. I lost my ball by hitting it into the water on the second hole, so that was awesome.

There was plenty of this going on since Alex didn't quite want to follow Chris' coaching and hit the ball correctly and lots of picking up balls and dropping them in different places and all sorts of inventive playing. But it was fun and the boys enjoyed it.

 We got to go on go-karts, which was super fun. I hadn't driven one in probably 15 years and Chris was much better at it than I was.

Even though this outing was for Alex's birthday, he was too little to go on the go-karts and the bumper boats and he was so upset. He screamed and cried and kicked the whole time Brendan and Chris were off doing fun stuff and we just had to sit and watch. I felt so bad for him but there was an awesome play area for little kids inside, where we spent a good amount of time, a huge arcade that the boys loved and scored a ton of tickets, and even a good 4-D movie experience that was way more fun than I thought it would be. So overall, it was a fun day and by the end of it, we were exhausted. Alex took a super long nap when we got home while the rest of us chilled on the couch, too tired to do much else.

So happy birthday to Alex once again. We love this little guy and even though I don't want him to grow up, I can't wait for what this year has to offer.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My new favorite picture of Alex

This was taken the morning of his birthday and I absolutely love it. Those dimples just about kill me. Seriously, could this kid be any cuter? The mornings have been chilly here before warming up so I put this cardigan on him and I didn't want to take it off him all day even though it was 80 degrees. He just looks so adorable and grown up that I just want to squeeze and kiss him all day. Still can't believe he's 2!!!!

We had a fun day celebrating yesterday (and today) so I'll have lots to blog about what we did for the Goober's big day. For those of family and friends not following me on Instagram, here's a link to my photos that catalog a little bit of it to keep you happy until I can make time to blog it all officially.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Because I want to

 There's not much I wanted to say but I thought I'd post a couple pics of my boy simply because I think he's adorable. He was sitting relatively still and quiet on the couch the other morning so I grabbed my camera and snapped a couple photos of him before he got annoyed and ran off to cause some mayhem.

It didn't take too long for him to get jittery and leave but I'm glad I caught a few pics of him. He's due for a haircut too, although I kinda love his longish hair, and this week we're buzzing it off. The kid's got to look good for his birthday this week!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The countdown to 2

This coming Friday on September 14th, my baby will be two years old. It feels like this birthday is a big deal because he'll be past the point of me calling him a baby, and that's going to be hard to get used to. Alex is pretty small for his age, so it's easy for me to pretend that he's still a baby when in fact he is a full-on, busy, crazy toddler and I need to face the music. I'm just not sure I'm ready for that.

For a long time, Alex was a momma's boy but that has all changed and he's 100% a daddy's boy now. Life is so not fair sometimes.

One of his favorite things to do is sit and eat with Chris, especially if he's eating Frosted Mini Wheats. I love that he loves his daddy- they are so cute together and their relationship is really special.

And a sweet kiss to daddy for sharing. I just love these two.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I have a kindergartner

The day has finally come. Brendan officially started kindergarten today and he couldn't have been more excited. Me? I had a crazy amount of nervous, excited, happy and sad butterflies in my stomach all morning. I was a whole mess of emotions but I somewhat expected that. My firstborn going off to school for the first time is a big deal!

If you can't tell, he was more than ready to go. His teacher, Mrs. Lo, asked them to wear their favorite t-shirt to class today and so Angry Birds Space shirt it was. Not my ideal first day of school outfit but boys don't really care about that kind of stuff.

 I had to get one of me and my big boy to commemorate this day.

I love this one because Alex photo bombed it. He was not so thrilled about Brendan going to kindergarten. The only thing he did like was seeing the school buses that were outside the school. Everything else, not so much. He knew something was going down and that it did not revolve around him, so we was a bit cranky. Ah, two year olds (can you believe he'll be two in 10 days!!!).

Chris and his mini-me.

 He looks so little compared to his giant backpack. I was sooooo glad that we were able to convince him to get a normal backpack and not one with SpongeBob, Cars, or Star Wars all over it though.

This was outside of his school. Once he saw how many kids there were, he got a little overwhelmed but as always, he was a trooper and got in line to wait to go inside. And somehow I managed not to hover too much or cry (which was seriously a miracle). The only moment I thought I might lose it was when he turned to find me in the crowd of parents and said "I think I want to stay home". Luckily, he saw the boy behind him in line was wearing a Lego Ninjago shirt and they bonded over their love of Lego's, thus putting an end to his nervousness. I'm so proud of my little man.

I finally shed a few tears once we pulled into our garage, especially since Alex kept point to Brendan's empty seat in our minivan saying "Brendan- Brendan- Brendan". I don't think Alex quite knows what to do with himself without his partner in crime.

After picking him up, we went out for celebratory slurpees and talked about his first day. His verdict- "There are a lot of rules in kindergarten, Mom. It's kinda different than my old school." I got a laugh out of that. Love this boy and can't wait to see what the school year brings and to watch him grown and learn. Day 1 done!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What's up

First, I have a video to share that I thought were cute and would make up for my lack of posting and lack of photos. Warning though, no one but our family may be interested in these though. It's' not super exciting but it is cute (in my very unbiased opinion).

This is a little clip of Alex talking, which I find hilarious. He's really into "talking" lately and loves to babble at me in his own sweet, incoherent way with a few real words thrown in for good measure. I love hearing him talk and it never fails to make me laugh and smile. I love this stage that he's in right now.

I do have another video to share but for some reason, blogger isn't letting me upload it so I'm trying out Vimeo to see if that works. I love this video because it captures perfectly how Alex loves to do anything and everything that Brendan does. I love that Alex already worships his older brother. Melts my heart, it does.

The Boys from Valerie Near on Vimeo.

Other than that, I don't have much to share. We're getting ready for school to start soon and have been busy going to doctors and going shopping and trying to have some last minute summer fun. I could do without the doctor part but it is what it is. My health hasn't been the best lately with my gallbladder somehow managing to bother me even though it's been removed.

Here's a crappy cell phone photo of me getting ready to go in and get an MRI done. Good news is that the results were totally normal... which is great except I have no idea why I was in so much pain. I'm seeing a gastroenterologist to see if he can figure out what's going on with me.

That's about it. Hope you enjoyed the videos!

Friday, August 3, 2012

You can run, you can hide but you can't escape

Thank goodness we have a fence for our (tiny) yard or else Alex might be the terror of the neighborhood. He's a hard one right now. The boy is really good at pushing me to the edge of insanity so I often let him play out in our ridiculously small yard to blow off some steam so I can get a tiny break. If it wasn't fenced, Alex would have no problem taking off and running away. As it is, he tries every single day to climb over the fence.
 He's so close but he can't quite make it over- THANK GOODNESS.

But that doesn't stop him from trying. He even tests it out in different spots just to make sure he can't get over.
Here, he was trying to see if he could squeeze through the slats. No luck there either, bud.

This kid kills me. In a good way and a bad way. I had forgotten how frustrating and exhausting it is to have an almost 2 year old (I can't believe he'll be 2 in about a month!!!). I definitely have a lot of moments when I think we're done having kids because I don't know if I can handle much more right now. But then Alex is so sweet and adorable and so much like a little boy right now, that I miss that baby stage. I guess there's still hope for a Near girl. :)