Seneca’s 2nd Birthday and Halloween

2 years ago today, just as the sun was peeking over the mountains, my little bug Seneca was born. Every day that I’m at work I think about her and my wife sends me photos of the cute things she does during the day, then I rush home to spend a few hours with her before bed time. Every night for the last year I tuck her under my arm and lay with her until she is sleepy while I focus on enjoying that moment. She loves Fairies and my wife has the most amazing party set up for her today, and has a Tinkerbell costume for Halloween. She loves music and dancing and does Zumbini (kids Zumba) with her mommy. She loves her cat Wowse and brother Liam, and they all get along great. Liam even decided to forgo being Darth Maul so he could be Peter Pan for his little sister on Halloween. She even loves to rough house and wrestle with dad. And of course all the moves I used to do with Liam (throws and flips onto the bed) are now fun for her too. I love you my little Sunshine, you brighten every day!

 

What a fun month October was for our little family. Seneca finally turned 2 years old, sometimes it feels like time goes by so quickly but also I feel like I savor and hold onto every moment I can. Angela had a fun time preparing for Seneca’s 2 year party,  it was a fairy theme party and she did a great job preparing for it and making all kinds of cute  things. We had a smaller party this year with only family members and Alexa/Sparrow. The kids had fairy wings and we did some Zumbini, made crafts, ate dinner and Angie made a homemade cake. It was so fun spending time with my little girl, and my father came down without my mother (she was sick). Seneca has a great bond with my father and calls him Bumpa (Grandpa). She also started saying “Happy Seneca”, then “Happy to Seneca” and finally “Happy Birthday Seneca”. She is saying new words all of the time and it is the cutest thing. Today she said she wants to get dressed, and she says ‘dowel’ (towel).

Halloween was great as well. I took the day off from work and spent it with my daughter. After I worked out i got her dressed in her fairy princess outfit and took her to my work. She got it down quickly and scored more candy in 20 minutes than she could tote around in her little Halloween bag. After that we took her to the Aquarium for about 30 minutes and then we went to Liam’s school and watched him in his parade. We got Papa Johns Pizza and cooked that up before we went trick or treating around the street. She absolutely loved it and had so much fun, it just brightened up her face when I said ‘lets go trick or treating’!

The Fairy Forest

This past week was amazing and I got an unexpected surprise. On Tuesday Angie gave me a little box with something so incredible and amazing yet, I can’t speak of it right now. I was completely caught off guard in a good way because I had always wanted to experience that type of unexpectedness. This past week I’ve been thinking about how our family will change and grow over the next few years and how we can prepare for that.

On Sunday, Angie and I took the kids up to the canyon in Kamas and met up with Alexa and found a place called the Fairy Forest which was so fun to let the kids run around and explore. We played around for an hour and a half then came back to Salt Lake and ate at BGR in Sugarhouse.

 

My Birthday and turning 44

Well I certainly had an exciting birthday due to a kidney stone. I had planned to take off Thurs and Friday from work, but still work on my birthday. When I got to work I started feeling some dull pains in my abdomen which made it hard for me to concentrate, I had to leave work and come home to have my wife take me to an appointment, but by the time I got there they told me to turn around and go to the ER. Once I got there they gave me some pain meds, did a CT scan and told me that I had a 5mm kidney stone. They sent me home with some meds and told me to pass it. After that the pain went away but I have yet to pass the stone and am unsure I will be able to without some type of intervention. I’ve been drinking apple cider vinegar and lemon juice in the mean time.

Later in the day we went out to dinner at JC’s Sushi, which was a blast with the kids. On Thursday I felt a little bit better and was able to do a light workout, then mow the lawn and in the evening we went to an 80′s concert and took Seneca to her first concert ever which she absolutely loved. On Friday I worked out inside then went downtown with the family to watch the Tour of Utah in 100 degree heat. Saturday was pretty mellow and I just watched the tour from home and worked in the yard. On Sunday we drove up to Guardsman’s Pass and watched the final stage, the weather was perfect. Then we dropped into Park City and had dinner there.

Seneca at her first concert, at Red Butte with Wang Chung and When in Rome

Seneca has been so amazing lately, learning lots of new words and just being a cute little bug. She is so entertaining and loves to play, laugh and make us laugh. She loves her fairies and wants to ride a bike so bad. Lately she has said many new words including “grandpa, grandma, bike, wheel, tickle”.

Seneca at 18 Months

A couple weeks ago, Seneca reached 18 months. She’s still very petite at 19 pounds 4 oz and 30.5 inches tall. She still fits in some of her 6 and 9 month clothes from last summer and loves to swing in her baby swing. Her vocabulary is light, but she communicates well using signs and she’s becoming more vocal every day. She loves swimming, going for walks, playing in dirt, smelling flowers, shoes, lotion, Moana, Frozen, Meow Meow, and her family. She loves to eat avocados, spinach, eggs, plain yogurt, fish, pineapple, strawberries, and sweet pea snacks. Her eyes are gray-green, she has 12 teeth, and she’s a great sleeper.

It’s been 5 months now that I’ve put her to bed every night and it’s my favorite part of the day. I get to savor every second she is in my arms and she goes down without a fuss. Sadly, we’ve gotten to the point where I need to wean her off the  bottle so instead of letting her lay in my arms with a bottle then a binkie, we watch Moana or Frozen for a few songs and then I gently lay her down and play with her for a few minutes then let her go to sleep. She has the most amazing personality that I just love. Her newest words are ‘buh…buh…buh…” when she says bubble or ball, and she likes to say ‘baby’.

Our trip to Maui

Well I have been so excited for this trip for such a long time, we’ve been doing a ton of planning and that has only made it more exciting. We’re finally here and I’m going to write a breakdown of each day here in Paradise.

Saturday March 10 – flight leaves at 4:50, delayed by a half hour, bumpy flight most of the way. Got in about 10:30 and made it to the hotel by 11:30.

Sunday March 11- got up early and had breakfast, then drove out to shop for food, and pick up my bike in Lahaina. I had a mostly pleasant ride down the coast, it was windy but a perfect temperature. A little exhausted from the day before but took a quick nap and then went to the pool with the kids where we got very cold quickly. We showered and got warm then went and walked along Wailea beaches then had dinner at a place near the hotel. Kids were wiped out so we came home and crashed out.

March 12- we were up early and put in the car by 7:45 for the long drive to Hana. The journey took us 9 hours total but was well worth it. It was raining like crazy but there were breaks in the rain that allowed us to check things out. We were able to check out a gorgeous black sand beach and a red sand beach by Hana. The red sand beach was much more remote to get to and the path was a bit treacherous so it made me really nervous with the kids. It was well worth the drive and the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen.

On the way back we stopped for a bite to eat and saw one more waterfall. We got back to the hotel at 5pm then got cleaned up and had a bite to eat at a fresh grill in Kihei.

The kids were great during the ride and slept for most of the way. Seneca is so absolutely cute, she gets so excited when she sees the water and the pool. She flaps her arms and screams with excitement. Everywhere we go she smiles and waves at people and they say she is so cute.

One last thing, the Halfway to Hana shack has the best fresh baked banana bread I’ve ever tasted, I ate a whole loaf!

Tuesday March 13- today was the day where I knocked riding Haleakala off my bucket list. I was really worried about the rain because it came down so hard the day before but luckily it wasn’t bad. I rode to Kihei to pick up Chad around 9am then we stopped at the beach to get a photo. The first 18 miles were flat and windy then we started the 36 mile climb with a bad head wind. After about 25 miles things got a lot better, more humid but no wind or rain. As the miles went on my legs started to suffer, my back started to ache and I got a bad headache. After 6000 feet things got really tough at an exponential rate. Chad was losing a lot of water and started to cramp up, eventually so bad that he had to stop a few miles from the top. Luckily I was able to make it but it was super painful and very cold at the top. I had Angie waiting for me and had her drive me back since it was so wet and unsafe at the top. Glad to have that done with. I came back and had a hot shower then went to dinner with Angie and the kids.

Wednesday March 14th- today was mostly laundry and transferring from one hotel to another. I rode my bike from Wailea to Kapalua, it was a pleasant but humid ride up the coast. We checked into the Ritz Carlton then went swimming for a bit, then are dinner with Sharrell and Jaron, had a few drinks then went to bed.

Thursday March 15 – today may have been my favorite day of the trip so far. It started out with an awesome ride over the North Shore of Maui where the roads were absolutely beautiful and there were relatively few cars on the road. The humidity was so high that my hands slipped off the handlebars and I crashed pretty hard taking a huge gash out of my leg. I was able to get a ride back from a motorist thankfully because the front wheel was bent.

I got back and patched myself up and went to the CHG welcoming brunch which was beautiful and amazing. After that I took the bike back and we went to the pool for a bit. We then went to the Westin hotel for a wonderful Luau which I enjoyed a lit more than I expected I would. The food was great and so was the entertainment, Liam loved the fire dancers. My favorite part was holding my baby girl and slow dancing with her. My heart was filled with such joy.

Friday March 16 – we got up kind of early then went on a whale watching tour from Lahaina. We were able to see quite a few humpback whales from afar but there was one that came up right next to the boat and surfaced then went underneath, it was absolutely amazing and beautiful. We also saw a calf playing and jumping out of the water and landing on her back. Poor little Seneca got sea sick and threw up twice. When we got back to shore we ate at a wonderful place called Paia Fish Market, the food was awesome. Went back to the hotel and rested for a bit then went swimming and back to Lahaina for dinner.

Seneca goes from infant to toddler so quickly

These last few months we watched Seneca transition from baby to toddler. From crawling and climbing to walking and running. She’s almost 16 months and she’s an excellent communicator. She has a few words: Mama, Dada, Hi, Meow Meow (Wowse our cat), and Milk. She also says “Ffff” for fish and “Shhh” for shoes. She knows about 40+ signs and she can communicate her wants and needs (she’ll even sign the weather outside). Her favorite toys are dolls (and anything of Liam’s). She loves avocados, eggs, raspberries, and sweet potatoes – everything else is fun to throw. She loves to dance any time she hears music. She’s an excellent napper and goes to bed without a fuss – she usually tells us when she’s sleepy. She’s learning how to swim and loves to play in the water. She’s a petite little thing weighing in at 18 1/2 pounds and 29 1/2 inches. Her eyes have settled in a beautiful shade of gray, changing to blue if she wears blue, and green if she wears green. We all love her so much.

 

Seneca’s Firsts

I’ll try to keep a running list of first words and milestones, I should have started this earlier but oh well.

  • Late October 2017 – 1 year’s old, starts to stand up for the first time, pops up around her birthday and then starts standing a lot better. Says ‘mama’ and ‘dada’, ‘baba’ and ‘be-be’ for Binkie.
  • December 2017 – starts taking her first steps in Mid December. By January she is walking and by the end of Jan she is speed walking.
  • Jan 2018 – she is getting good with her sign language and can say a lot of things. She pats her leg for dog. She says ‘meow, meow’. She says fffff for Fish at the Aquarium.
  • Feb 1, 2018 – she holds her cell phone up and pretends she is calling me and says ‘hi dada’. She loves baths and pats her tummy when she wants one.
  • March 7, 2018, says ‘shoes’, ‘eyes’,
  • March 11 while on our trip to Maui she starts nodding ‘yes’, so cute! She is starting to say Fish all the way through. She signs Bird by pointing to the top of her head. Today at the pool in Maui she chased some birds around while pointing at her head.
  • Aughfff is Avocado. Booah is Bird. This month she is eating so much. It’s getting nice outside so we go for walks every night and she sings. She loves Frozen and Moana, she is a good climber and gets up and down the stairs easily. April 23, 2018
  • May 17 – she’s saying more and more all the time. This week she said Fairy, more, door (singing along to the Frozen song, Love is an open door), me.
  • August- yesterday she said grandma and grandpa while on the phone with my parents, sounds like “bumpa” . Other words include “moon”, she calls bugs “bees”. She says “towel, shower, bike, bye bye’. She now likes to wear her pink helmet and loves for me to put her on Liams bike. She has a Finding Dory splash table that she loves to play in.
  • September 2018 – so many new words. This week she said her name Seneca, she says ‘hi Cows’, she says ‘Beeshoe” to tell the bugs to go away. She calls walking “walkie” and she loves to say Hi to everyone and everything.

Happy Moments in January 2018

The holidays have been absolutely amazing and I had so much time to spend with my family. It was great taking 10 days off, the only other time I had done that was while I was on paternity leave. I did fun things with my family every day and got in to the habit of putting my baby girl to sleep every single night, and now it has been 2 months since I have done that. I will put her in my arms and rock her to sleep while she drinks a bottle, then pop a binkie in her mouth and let her fall asleep. I savor every moment and make sure i am so present, I think about how thankful I am for these moments and savor them.

Angie got me an amazing present for Christmas, daddy-daughter swim lessons. I did my first one in the last week in January and although I was sick as a dog, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. It was such an amazing experience and was one of the happiest moments I have had. What a wonderful bonding moment with my daughter, she was so happy and stared into my eyes with the biggest smile and her twinkling eyes. I told one of my co-workers how amazing it was and she said that it was too bad she is too young to remember, but I disagree, I think these moments build that bond stronger between us. We take them into the pool and sing songs while we teach them swimming motions such as kicking, floating and paddling.

Liam has been an amazing big brother and loves to play with his little sister and teach her things. I have a hard time getting him to bed because he just loves being awake so much, as I write this he is laying in his bed and singing songs. I am so happy that I have these two children in my house and it is so fun to hear them talking and babbling with their cute little voices. I love my time with them and never want to be too busy for them. I love being a father and teaching them, but also having fun with them and making them laugh. I love holding Seneca and chasing Liam with him in my arms, this makes them both laugh and scream with excitement.

Work has been great, after a tough year I feel like I am back in action and our full team is firing. The mood is much better and we are off to a great start to the year. I am so thankful for my company and the amazing things that it gives to me and my family. I am so thankful for the Presidents Club trips that allow my family to have amazing experiences. I love that it allows my wife to be a stay at home mother and spend time with my baby. I love the challenges that make me a better person, and the relationships that my job gives me. I love being so close to work, and the home that I was able to purchase. I am excited to leave to Maui in a month from now and am having a blast getting prepared. I plan on riding my bike up Haleakala which is a bucket list item.

Fitness has been great up until getting sick 3 weeks ago. I had some high 1 hour threshold power numbers leading up to that and probably lost some fitness, but hopefully I can get on track soon.

Seneca’s first birthday

My how time flies, Seneca is now one year old and Angie put together an amazing birthday party for her this past weekend. The theme of the party was “Twinkle Twinkle little Star” and we had a great turnout of friends and family. Angie made a wonderful gluten free cake and a delicious chicken tortilla soup for our guests and Seneca got some great toys to play with. I was able to finish up the playhouse for the most part, at least enough for the kids to go play on. What a great first birthday!