Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer sun, sometimes

When I did my last post, about Otto turning one, I had intended to follow it up the next day with a post about our general life and misadventures so far this Summer. Now that two weeks have past, I figured I might as well get around to it. I'll keep this short and sweet, with just a couple of photos and captions, to keep the extended family up to date and so that when Sarah and I come back to this blog several years from now we can go "oh yeah, we did that."

Anyhow, here goes...

Father's Day was a pretty low-key affair. We celebrated it by having one of my favorite meals, pho, at one of my favorite restaurants, Ba Bar. Delish! And the company couldn't be beat.

With his one year Birthday approaching, Otto "graduated" to a Big Kid Car Seat™. Look how proud he looks. Unfortunately, Otto isn't a fan of car seats, period, so we still usually have our fair share of crying on the road.

We had out 5th Annual Housewarming Party, which is still one of my favorite annual get togethers, and our largest party each year (this year we had 73 guests pass through). Sarah did a better job photographing the party this year than we have in the past, but you're still stuck with a picture of me acting like an idiot by the grill. Like last year, we had a Build Your Own Hot Dog Bar... which seemed to be a hit again. (Photo by Stephanie Greene, by the way.)

It's probably worth mentioning that the week leading up to our Housewarming Party was chaos. Not only because we were prepping for the party, and not only because Sarah had to travel out of town for work, but also because we finally moved into our remodeled basement. I won't get into that now, since I still want to take some better pictures and do a whole entry on it, but ...yeah... exhausting. Though we are happy to be settled in downstairs now, and definitely appreciate having more space.

Stella and Otto's Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Tim came to stay with us for a long weekend, at the end of June/start of July. It was the first time Otto had met either of them, so it was great to spend some time with them both. Above, Stella hangs out with them at the Seattle Aquarium.

My High School friend, Bazor, got married (or rather, renewed their vows, since they were officially married last year in a small ceremony) in early July, and I was one of the groomsmen in the ceremony. It was an amazing experience and wedding, and I'm really happy for him, his wife Tanya and their lovely daughter Zoe (who was born two days after Otto). I'm sure I'll be getting some fancy photos when the official ones are finished being prepped, but for now here's a blurry photo of me and Stella having our first Father-Daughter dance. Another special experience, even if it mainly involved her hanging like a rag-doll while I swung her around.

Finally, while the weather this year is still less-than-impressive, we have finally got a little sun this July. This gave us the opportunity to do some fun Summer activities, like take Otto to the wading pool for the first time.

Anyhow, that's a quick run down of some of the stuff that's been going on at the Hill-Stack Shack. It definitely doesn't cover everything that's going on, like for example Otto has also started taking his first steps (small detail, that), but at least it will ease my Blogger's Guilt for a bit.

Finally, it probably bears mentioning that at the end of August, we'll be going to Kauai for a week. It'll be Otto's first big vacation, and hopefully will not only give us a chance to unwind a bit, but will also give this blog a chance to be a travel blog again, if only for an entry or two.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One year down!

"I've got two kids,
I've got two kids,
They're Stella and Otto,
Yes, I've got to kids."

(...and here they are.)

That's just one of the goofy little songs that I find myself singing to Stella and Otto. More of a jingle, really. But, while it's not exactly cutting edge song writing, I have to admit that I always have a soft spot for it because, well, it still amazes me that I have two kids.

And, even more amazing, the youngest is turning 1 today!

Happy Birthday, Otto!

The cake and cupcakes Sarah made for the party we had for Otto over the weekend. Still not sure how she got all those done, along with the 500 other things we had to take care of.

Otto digs into his cake. Literally.

Crazy to think that it was a year ago today that Sarah and I made our way to the hospital, for Otto's big arrival. In fact, in roughly 2 and a half hours time, from when I type this, it will be one year exactly from when he appeared.

And, what a year it has been. Highs and lows. Somehow both rushing and slow. Frequently exhausting, but often rewarding. I remember in the first weeks after Otto's birth thinking "actually, having two kids isn't much harder than having one." At this point, I'd definitely rethink that bold claim a bit. But, never for a second have I regretted having a second kid.

And, seriously, he's such an amazing, amazing kid. A wholly different person than Stella, but one just as wonderful. It's interesting, as he grows and her personality develops, how I find my relationship is so much different with him than it is with Stella. Is it because he's a boy? Or because he's the youngest? Or, just because he's his own person, with his own personality? Certainly, a combination of all three. But, regardless of the reason, it's incredible how you can have two people in your life who you love equally, but who you find yourself relating to and bonding with in different ways.

While Stella has always been thoughtful and cautious, creative and into books; Otto is much more physical and daring, he has little interest in books and crayons yet, but already stacks blocks and loves tossing balls (two things Stella didn't do till she was much older). The observation Sarah and I have made several times is that when Stella used to first encounter a new object, she'd pick it up and turn it over in her hands again and again, looking at it carefully. Otto picks it up, bangs it on something and then tries giving it a toss. Otto's probably easier going than Stella is overall, and less inclined to get scared or worried; but if he's upset or frustrated, he's much more stubborn. And, as I've mentioned several times before: The boy has a pair of lungs.

As I said, it's like they're their own people or something. Crazy.

Developmentally, Otto's got a lot going on these days. Sadly, he's still not sleeping through the night consistently, but he's making a lot of big steps literally and figuratively. He's not quite walking on his own yet, but can waddle along while holding mine or Sarah's (or even Stella's) hands. And, he stands on his own from time to time. He's also gotten very good at going upstairs since we relocated the bedrooms to the basement (more on that in another entry), and can even go down stairs fairly well too.

He's also a pretty darned good hugger too.

Meanwhile, in his mouth, his sixth tooth is finally arriving, meaning his smile will seem a little less lopsided for a bit. And, he seems to finally be getting past the point of immediately sticking everything directly into his mouth. Also, he's not talking yet, but he spends a good portion of his time pointing at things and making a "dat" noise, which we take for him working on identification. Leading to a lot of exchanges that go something like this.



So, I think he's working on it.

It's been a crazy year. A wonderful year, if often tiring year. As I started our this entry by saying, it still sort of boggles my mind that I've got two kids. But, I'm a happier and better person for it.

Happy Birthday, Otto!

Otto, sporting the last of his little monthly shirt stickers. You made it, Otto!