Huckleberry

Bros, man.

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I am a funny person. I am quick witted and sharp – when not sleep deprived. My friend Shaun used to call me Stephanie theresthejoke Stearns. I know this about myself. I succeeded at Stand-up comedy, my true love Sketch Comedy and of course theatrical comedy. All of those episodes of Three’s Company paid off every night in Bunbury when I walked into that door and the crowd laughed hysterically.

When I met Zach I realized that I had met my match, perhaps he was even funnier than I was? All I knew was that the dude was adorable and made me laugh till my sides ached.  It was like hanging out with the guys from my sketch troupe but way better cause I wanted to make out with him and spend all my time with him and tell him everything. So, we went ahead and got hitched and had Max and then Huck.  It came as no surprise to us that Max had great comedic timing from a young age.

Yesterday after Mother’s Day Breakfast and gifts were handed out but before we headed to the National Cathedral and Cactus Cantina for our traditional day, Max, Zach and I were relaxing while Huck played with grandma and Max suddenly and without prompting began to laugh and then sighed and made a new declaration in the kingdom.

“Huck is the funniest person in this house.” 

 

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I’m fairly sure that while we kept it to ourselves, both Zach and I thought “Excuse ME, Mister, but I am the funniest.” But no. We aren’t. We are trapped between a mini-future SNL news man and a tiny Chris Farley and it’s the raddest ride ever. It makes me happy all the way to soul as I remember that though I have worked with some of the funniest people to ever walk this planet and am married to one, and had the blessing to also have some of the funniest friends known to man, I remember that no one- no one makes me laugh like my sister, Heather.

And I am so, so grateful that these two monkeys have each other, and hope they’ll make just a little room for  their baby sister. Maybe, if she is lucky, they will let her in on the joke.

I loved the camera necklace the boys picked out, I loved the Starbucks delivered bedside, the roses, the cards, but truly Max and Huck loving each other is the best gift ever.

 

 

 

And then I failed my second child in the most cliched way possible.

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The other day as I worked at the computer, sweet little Huckleberry came scrambling into my lap for a little snuggle. He is pretty good at the desk snuggle and I always enjoy a little cuddle break. At almost three, his hair is still the gossamer fluff of babies, just now slowly beginning to turn to real hair, and one of my favorite feelings in the world is to bury my face in that fluff and breathe in the last of his babiness as he moves toward childhood.

I am doing just this, gently moving my cheek back and forth across the fluffy bed head as Boo Boo, his space on my lap quickly lessening due to his growing baby sister,  reaches for a smiling newborn picture on the desk. Beaming he looks back at me “is Boo Boo!” he says gloriously and proud. “No sweetie” says I; the dream crusher “That’s Max!”

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Max is his very favorite person in the entire universe so he is happy to hold a slice of Max’s babyhood in his hands. He points to yet another baby picture of Max nearby. “Is Boo Boo!” he says again, certain this time. “No baby, that’s Max too.” says the meanest mother in all of Christendom.

Huck scampers off my lap and grabbing my hand insists I follow him and I do, yes there is work to do but nothing more pressing than being led on an adventure by my sweet BaBoo. He leads me down the stairs to the kitchen and the fridge, pointing to an old ultrasound picture he says knowingly “Is Boo Boo.” “No” I say with a little laugh “That’s also Max.” what is WRONG WITH ME? He asks to be picked up and as I do he points to a picture of a nine month old Max sitting on the Easter Bunny’s lap, and he says “Is Boo Boo. Bunny!”

Not only is that picture not Boo, but we have never taken Boo to see the Easter Bunny. Another disappointment for my tiny Huckleberry.

He slides out of my arms and taking my hand leads me down the stairs to the play room, a veritable shrine to Max’s baby pictures. We may have gone a little crazy at Picture People once time. “is Boo Boo.” Moved from certain statement to sad questioning after there was not a picture of Boo Boo in sight. Who is a slow learner? I am. It doesn’t occur to me to lie to this sweet baby, and if ever there was a time to do so. It’s now.

We move back upstairs and Huck becomes distracted for a moment. I contemplate how I have no printed pictures of Huck. The whole reason I learned photography and fell in love with it was because Huck existed. I have dropbox folders and hard drives and instagram hashtags devoted to thousands of pictures of my baby boy. Yet, none are out for HIM to see. And those he thought were him are his brother. He has found a snapshot that somehow unframed has slipped down near the tv from it’s perch on the bookshelf. He holds it tightly in two small fists, bending and crinkling the photo. He looks up at me, his brow furrowed and his eyes desperate. His lips form the now familiar phrase, his voice is raspy with need, his pitch higher and volume louder as he desperately shakes the photo in his hands crying “Is Boo Boo!”

“YES!” I say joyously! “Is Boo Boo!” and he sighs the happiest most relieved sigh I have ever heard and snuggles happily next to me saying it again quietly, and I can hear the smile in his voice “Is Boo Boo.” He hugs the baby picture to his chest and rests his head on my chest, content.

It is a baby picture of Max.

Today I will pick up 2,472 printed pictures of Huck and then head to Ikea to purchase an equal number of frames.

I am a slow learner, but at least I learned.

 

Things I want to remember

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The way Huck says “mine” all the time. “You mine girl, mommy?” “Where mine sitting?” (chair) “is mine ligh-queen!” (Lightning McQueen)

Today as I was getting him in his car seat, which as we all know is PRIME cheek munching time, what with them being tied down and all, I told him “You so delicious and cute Boo!” He took his hands and put them on my face and said “You pretty mommy.”

Melted right into a puddle.

The way I say “Huckie, you’re so smart!” and he says back “NO! I BooBoo!”

Everynight as I lie him down, whether he is awake or asleep the last thing he says to me is “You go check on Max.” Max continues to be his absolute hero, and Max can’t get enough of Huck. The first thing he says in the morning is “Let’s get Boo!”

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Max is still really struggling with anxiety, particularly at night. We’ve got our routine down but recently he’s asked me to sing Baby Mine to him again. After a 3 year hiatus, lullabies are back on the table and I am thisclose to truly being Smother Goldberg. (Sidenote: do you guys watch The Goldberg’s? Because HILARITY)

Yeah, I just gif’d in a blog post. So there.

Happy Easter from ours to yours.

 

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I had a small family growing up. Like super small; me and my mom. Thankfully in preschool I met Sister Dub and her mom and we formed our own family but it was still small. One of the great heartbreaks of moving from Los Angeles and away from Sister Dub, Ammar and Isaiah and Janice, Curt and Ben was that we had these grand plans of making our childhood dreams come true. Big gatherings with lots of food and laughter and and friends and family and of course…lots of children laughing and racing around. I still find talking about moving hard. Max likes to hear stories about the family before bed and the other day he asked about the day we left LA and I couldn’t make it through without crying. Almost 6 years later and I still can’t believe it.

Being in a new city with no friends and baby is hard. It’s impossible to make friends and I was trapped in the house with undiagnosed Postpartum Anxiety, so I rarely even made attempts. My mother in law kept assuring me that life would get better when Max started preschool, and she was so right. I soon met Riley and Jake…and more selfishly their moms and dads. Riley’s mom KG comes with a huge fabulous and amazing family and they took us right in. We spend summers at the pool and fall at the pumpkin patch as one big gaggle of kids and Riley sisters and it’s just heaven.

Yesterday we spent the entire day at their home,  Huck and Max’s besties Isaac, Jake, Matty and Max’s future wife (so he insists) Riley, plus big Isaac’s sister Brianna her best friend Erin and Erin’s big brother Aiden raced around on 4 wheelers, bounced in the bounce house, swung on the swing set till they couldn’t swing no more and left exhausted, covered in dirt and chocolate each and everyone one of them melting down in the way that little kids only do when they’ve had the greatest, longest, funnest day ever.

We had an Easter Egg Hunt to end all hunt with each kid scoring 50 eggs. There were chocolate fountains and fresh turkey and ham, appetizers of all kids and more bunny cupcakes than I have ever seen. We all sat around chatting and laughing, intervening in kid-drama, kissing random boo boos and begging them to eat something other than candy.

We all failed in that arena.

It was heaven. It was a childhood dream come true. Zach and I surrounded by good friends who are becoming family. Our children’s joyous screams of laughter the perfect sountrack as we shared stories and told tales.

It was heaven. I of course thanked them profusely for having us, but they’ll never really know the gift they give us just by including us. A real dream come true and I hope someday to be able to give that gift to my children and their families, however they come to us.

 

Happy Easter.

 

Preparing for Baby #3

A girl. I still can’t believe it. Just when I had my head wrapped around being a boy mom, a little pink bundle is headed our way in 18 weeks or so.

We are preparing. Biggest thing? Get Huckleberry ready. But I think he is going to be okay…

I’m nervous about a girl. I want to raise her to be strong and confident, but the thought of junior high mean girls gives me hives. I asked Zach “are you ready for a girl?”

He responded. “Absolutlutely. You wipe front to back, NEVER back to front.”

 

P.S. despite the boy’s insistance, Zach and I remain unconvinced that we should actually name her Baby Honey.

 

Words to live by, and a reminder to me to take it one step at a time.

 

It’s hard to be two.

 

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“we getting cookies?”

It’s just hard to be two. Sometimes you wake up – okay everyday you wake up- and all you want is milk in your damn red Lightning McQueen sippy cup. Not the black one, the red one. And every day your mommy will nervously hand you your milk in your red Lightning McQueen sippy cup and then OH MY GAWD SHE GAVE YOU MILK IN YOUR RED LIGHTNING MCQUEEN SIPPY CUP! So obviously you have to just toss it across the room and cry because of the indignity of it all. Then as mommy retrieves the sippy cup you have to give her the saddest look in the world and blink down some serious alligator tears because now she has the sippy cup and you want it. That worked! Now you have your beloved milk in your red Lightning McQueen sippy cup!

Next up, cereal. No, not that one! What is brother having? Chex? THAT ONE! Right there. In the bowl. With milk today and the orange spoon. Has to be the orange spoon. No other spoon could ever spoon up that cereal. Wait…no. NO cereal! Quickly push cereal away and spill milk. This is so tiring, now you have to cry because somehow there is now cold milk in your lap!  You need to be consoled due to the freezing tragedy but mommy’s going on and on about not pushing the cereal bowl like that and time outs. Time out? Is she kidding? No, you’ll  just lay right here on the kitchen floor and scream for a while. She says that’s cool you can have your time out right there and how can she be cleaning up that mess and ignoring your cries when you’re clearly in need of cuddles? You shift gears.

Cue saddest sweetest voice in the whole world “mommy I want you.” That’s good. Stick out lower lip, reach up for her and when she picks you up hold on like a baby howler monkey. Make sure to get fluffy good smelling hair right under her nose and breathe on her neck. She’ll cave. Now, sweet smile and say  “anola bah peese?” despite protestations, mommy has switched us to organic honey sweetened granola bars. But they still have a few chocolate chips and they’re actually pretty good. “Sure baby”  she coos and sits you back down in your cushie tushie booster. Quickly hands you and your big bother granola bars. Totally unfair he gets to sit at the counter and you’re in this baby chair. Note to self: plot baby chair escape.

Recieve granola bar with big smile and say “thank you” this will get you far. Look at her beam with pride. It’s so easy. By the time mommy turns around to give brother his granola bar you break yours into three pieces. OH NO! Broken granola bar! You simply have to freak out, there is no other choice! Mommy will turn around utterly confused as to what could have happened in 2 seconds?? Silly woman. My bar is busted!!!

Brother says “No look Huckie! My bar is the same!” he holds up his granola bar, it’s in three pieces too! “We have the same, Boo! It’s cool!”

You look at your bar and it’s three awesome pieces, beam at brother and say “it’s cooo!”

Mommy whispers something to brother, something about how sweet that was and she’s so thankful and proud that he thought of  that on his own. Whatever. Brother looks at you with a big smile and takes a bite, now you Boo! he says.

You do the same. It’s pretty yummy. Take a swig of your red Lightning McQueen sippy cup and bask in the knowlege that you’re just like brother and that is so cool.

Man this morning was exhausting. Too bad you’ve decided to never freaking nap again.

 

Being two is exhausting.

That time I had to re-set my WP password. Alternate title: hello, it’s been a while.

 “I dont want to say I’m pissed that you haven’t written – but I’m kinda pissed you haven’t written.” My friend KG.

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It’s not that there hasn’t been anything to write about. There was the time Max went to a birthday party at a stable and his horse got spooked. Nothing like the terrified screams of 20 parents as a horse gallops away with your five year old hanging upside down by one stirrup. Lesson I learned: a spooked horse may only gallop with your five year old hanging upside down by one stirrup for approximately 25 feet but it feels like 25 miles.

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Max was terrified, but shook it off and got right back on that horse. Literally. Lucky for me I was able to drown myself in birthday cupcakes.
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(Tell me that is not one BEAUTIFUL birthday girl.)

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Mini Nate Archibald and Chuck Bass. But with much better morals. And much less money.

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Max’s BF Jake. Heartbreaker.

We spent the warm fall at farms with good friends and bonfires and firewords. Not too shabby.

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(Max’s best bud Isaac. Every time I can get this kid in front of the camera, I do. )

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Max has been spouting off some seriously epic ‘Stoner or Preschooler’ sayings and I kept thinking “I should blog that” and yet, I didn’t.  Suddenly it was halloween and we went  trick or treating with Boss’s besties. Which means Zach and I got to hang with ours. It’s wonderful when awesome kids have awesome parents and then everyone gets to have a rocking good time. We had hot chocolate to keep us warm and (ahem toasty? toasted?) for trick or treating and it was just a dang good time.

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I could and probably should have written about how Max was bullied at school…by a TEACHER and how beautifully his school handled it. Also how he (and several other kids) were bullied by a kid at school, including a lovely bite mark. That kid doesn’t need braces by the way.  Again, the school handled it really well. I think sometimes things are just to real for me to process. Also as Max gets older I wonder, as many of us do what to share and what not to share. All I know is my kids kick ass, full stop.

So, I’m thinking of giving this blogging thing a go again. You know….like I do every so often. Thanksgiving will be here so soon and then we are off to Tennessee for a trip and then BAM! Christmas! I do love the Holidays!

It was right about this time last week & home made pop tarts

It was right around this time last week that I suddenly realized that Huck’s birthday was upon us and that I had done nothing to plan for such a momentous event such as turning two. A quick text to friends saying Sunday! 3:30! Be there! And it was on like Donkey Kong.

Have I mentioned how awesome my friends are? They were all ‘hell yeah!’ that plus a text to Auntie Kelly informing her of an impromptu birthday part for the littlest Boo and the ball was rolling! Instantly she texted back pictures of cupcakes and ideas. We would grill for the adults and have Greek Orzo salad and for the kids? Well, kid food. Then she suggested home made pop tarts and I was all GAME CHANGER! The theme was easy, given our recent trip to Disney World and Huckie’s love of Mickey Mouse- baby brother lurves the Mouse- so I culled things we already had around the house plus some balloons and some home made Mouse silhouettes and we were good to go.
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Little boys don’t care like Martha Stewart does, am I right?

I put out the baby pool, some sidewalk chalk and the slip n slide and hoped the rain would hold out till the kids got some playing in. Luckily, it did.  Also lucky we have a basement full of toys and had invited Boss’ favorite girl friends R and L. Someone asked if we had activities planned and I said nope, L&R are here…so they’ll run the show. And they did. Many games of tag and hide and seek and a tornado of toys later and it was cupcake time! Boss put his arm around Huckie to help him blow out the candle and it was pretty awwwwww-inducing if I do say so myself.
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Huck didn’t like the cupcakes at all.
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The next morning Boss wistfully looked at pictures of the home made poptarts and said “I wish I had eaten them all, I loved them so much.” Because I love you all so very much, and because Auntie Kelly loves me I have the recipe for you. It’s so crazy easy and I will now be bringing them to every little thing.  They are delish!

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  • Two ready made pie dough- thaw
  • mix 1 tbsp cornstarch 1/4 cup water and 1 cup jam of your choice (we used strawberry) in saucepan
  • heat until it boils
  • boil for 2 minutes stirring constantly
  • remove from heat, let cool completely
  • roll out dough and cut into even squares
  • fill with cooled filling
  • seal with a fork and prick 3 times to let heat out
  • place on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and refrigerate for 30 min
  • brush with beaten egg
  • bake at 35o till golden brown
  • let cool a little before eating, can be reheated!
  • Ice as you see fit.

Total hit of a hit party! Let me know if you try them. I am going to have to make some more because I can’t stop thinking about them!

{ps don’t forget to enter the theraderm giveaway! this skin care is awesome}

Today You Are Two

I think Dr. Suess really meant:

Today you are TWO
That is truer than true
There is no one alive 
That is TWO-ER than YOU! 

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Today my sweet Huckleberry you rang in your second year by waking one minute earlier than the actual time of your birth. At 5:54 a.m. I hear your mewling wake which is now followed by an insistent-and rather Italian sounding mommy, mommy, mommy!  

On Sunday we celebrated the anniversay of your arrival with friends, family, cupcakes and home-made pop tarts. Every ounce of your being buzzed with excitement (and sugar, I am sure) that everyone was over to play, that everyone was there for you. You seemed to understand this and I was overjoyed at the ease with which you trusted Miss Kristen, Miss Norah and of course Auntie Kelly to care for you and cater to your every whim. Which they did. You have that power, and you use it kindly…for the most part.

I always tease that you are two with a vengeance. You are the clinical definition of TWO. In between power struggles and frustrations of mis-communications you are a perfect angel. Your smile lights up the world of whomever you are with. Your giggle is musical and your happy dance? The happy dance is EPIC. You feel all of your emotions completely, giving over to sadness as easily as joy. Luckily, joy hangs around longer.

You are so lucky to have your big brother, you want to do everything he does and I fall even more in love with him daily due to the care and love he shows you. You barely go down for a nap and he wants to wake you. Oh, you make him crazy and lately we have heard “Mommy! Boo took my (whatever toy you have stolen at that moment)!” But your squabbles so far are short lived and you two are cuddling on the couch sharing secrets before I know it. I love watching you two on the playground as you try to keep up, to play the bigger kid games. Yesterday after dinner we took a walk down to the new playground and you and Boss played with a neighbor boy, you guys had a whole game going and you kept up! I was so proud and yet it was bittersweet. I am so looking forward to your growing into a kid, but the baby years have been so sweet with you.

I know two will be tough with you, already it’s begun, but I want you to know no matter how many times you draw on my freshly painted kitchen cabinets or hit me out of frustration because I don’t want you to climb the book case, no matter how many time outs are ahead of us, no matter how many time I give the exasperated mommy sigh, no matter how many times the words “Huck! NO” boom out of my voice, know that I love you more than I ever thought possible. I had no idea what was missing from my life was you, and I am so grateful you are here.  I will remember always how you snuggle into me as we rock before bed and how your scent makes me lightheaded in the happiest way.

My sweet, smart, spirited, testing Huckleberry I love you. I love you to the moon and back doesn’t cut it. The English language simply doesn’t have words for how I love you.

Happy Birthday.