Smiling Munchkins

I truly could not have ever imagined the sheer joy that Royce brings Harper. Here she is this morning, after sprinting to his side..."hiiiii Royccceeeeee!!!!"  

She's also started calling him "deedee!" Mostly because that is her baby voice that she uses to entertain him.  

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I'm off on my first work trip, to a U.S. army arsenal on the Mississippi River. I'm sad to say goodbye to these guys for a few days, but I know most of that time will be spent just like this. ❤️

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Isa Graduation Weekend

How is it possibly possible that Isa has GRADUATED from college?!? It feels like just yesterday that we helped to move her in to her freshman dorm. We are so, so proud of this girl and our hearts are so full all these days later after a weekend of graduation and Mother's Day celebration and ultimate silliness with this crew.  

I can't actually imagine D.C. without Isa, so for now I'll just stay in denial that she's leaving. And will soak up these awesome memories from our weekend.  

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First Day Highs and Lows

We took pictures this morning like it was the first day of school and off I went to my new job. The morning was great - super warm welcome, fancy beautiful sunlit private sector offices, interesting work with talented people... 

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My bubble was burst around 1:30 by a text from Gladys saying this guy had thrown up and couldn't breath well (because he is so congested). Darren swooped in to save the day and take him to the doctor. Saline solution and some extra TLC are in order (see ya, sleep training). 

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Wish us all luck on day 2.  

Nice Little Saturday

Combining a great many of Darren's favorite things: Lowe's, Costco, Hulls, Caps.  

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Also, quotes of the day included:

 - "NO pee pee on grown-up Elsa (underwear) and NO pee pee on Mama!" (While I ran through Costco with Harper on my hip to make it to the bathroom).

 - "Mama, I love you so long." (After we finished lunch at Costco while we waited for Dadda to pick up some fancy wine). 

- "Mama, I poopied in my potty!" (To my utter shock and amazement, on her own without a fuss at the Hulls.)  

 

The Harper and Dylan Show

These little mini-mes dominated our hysterical weekend with the Griffins last weekend. From superhero / princess chef dress up... 

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To morning strolls... 

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To dance parties... 

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To the potty! 

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These girls had us laughing the ENTIRE time. They obviously left time to dote on (and I mean ON) baby Royce... 

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And hang with (aka smother) baby Genevieve!  

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We also caught up with mom and Mrs. Wilson (in their unplanned, identical shoes), ate and drank delicious food and generally had a ridiculously good time. And Auntie Kris managed to sneak in some Royce snuggles when the girls weren't watching. 

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While Dylan captured 90% of Harper's attention, she did also occasionally remember that she's in love with Mac: 

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Thanks Griffins! Until next time! 

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Four Months!

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It's a big week for birthdays around here! 

Baby Roycee, my little bean, 

You are: 13 lbs, 3 oz, and 24 1/4 inches long. Small but mighty (and brainy?), clocking in at the 8th percentile for weight, 14th for height, and 38th in head circumference ☺️.

You are babbling, and gurgling, and cooing, and SMILING. THOSE CHEEKS. I could just eat them up. You giggle and chortle and generally have me doing the same all day long. You are ticklish under your chin and the sound of your laugh just makes my heart burst. 

You are busy and strong. You kick with intense focus on the tubby each night and you want to stand up on those little legs all day. You proudly press up on your elbows and take in the world on your tummy and you've rolled over a handful of times... soon we won't be able to stop you. Your eyes are shining and laser-focused...mostly on your sister. Also on me. It's the best feeling. 

You are patient. Much more patient than any Fernandez females. Probably because you have to be, but also probably because you are like your daddy (thank goodness! Two of me is probably enough around here). And speaking of daddy, you got his handsome looks. Everywhere we go, everyone says you look just like him. 

Life is so much sweeter with you in it, my guy. Mama loves you, Dadda loves you, and Harper loves you so much she nearly squishes you with all of that love daily. 

Two and a half!

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To our peanut, who is now a full-fledged little girl: 

How two and a half years have passed, I have no idea. You are a smiling, chatting, running, singing, dancing burst of sunshine. And you are the best - the very best - big sister. 

Your favorite things include: Leo. Full stop. And baby Royce. And Bruno. Next come your babies, all of whom are named "Holly," your Elmo boots, party shoes (red sequined), and "fast" shoes (new balances), your panda and your elephant. And, let's be honest: Frozen, Dori and Nemo (thank you 17 hour plane flights to South Africa...).

You are running the show. You speak in full sentences and tell us absolutely everything about how you're feeling, how we're feeling, and what we need to be doing. Your brain emblazes memories that you repeat to us days later, in chronological order. After Royce was born, you told me the entire story of the 48 hours surrounding his birth a week later. "Mama go doctor. Dadda too. Harper go GoGos. Grambie. Harper Leo nigh night. Harper Leo Santa Clause! Grambie GoGo Maria Jon Tina Bob. Harper Leo PRESENTS! Harper doctor mama dadda baby Royce!"

You're learning that you can use your language skills to take advantage of any situation. You've perfected the art of a question phrased as a statement: "Mama, you take me nigh nigh? You take me nigh nigh." And you're increasingly michievous and clever... picking up my phone and when I start to say, "no," you bat your eye lashes and tell me emphatically, "I juus bringing it to you mama" (with that hint of a Spanish accent shining through). When you do something you're not supposed to do, and you're caught red handed, you quickly mimick my voice as if I'm comforting you..."it's ok mama!" It catches us off guard each and every time and we can't help but laugh. You win. 

You are fiercely independent. And strong willed. And determined. And a long long list of other adjectives that will one day make you a great leader. For now, this means that you've learned to love some structure and some rules. You've internalized a lot about right and wrong since you turned two. Time outs are for biting, and hitting, and not listening. You make sure your babies get them too. 

You will sit and work to solve a problem for what seems like an eternity in toddler minutes. This morning you worked at your train set to connect the tunnel pieces just right over and over and over again. You hardly rest to pat yourself on the bat to note your mission has been accomplished, always eyeing the next bigger, more complicated challenge.

You run and climb and jump and swing and climb some more. In South Africa, you went from dabbling with playgrounds to tackling them head-on as a full-fledged monkey. You are fearless. And bold. And adventurous. And will probably be the first in our family to insist on sky diving and bungee jumping and all of those other terrifying things.  

The most amazing part is, we thought we knew you before. Before Royce. But we only knew a piece of you. Because you are, at your core, the most loving, doting, protective big sister. You ask for baby Royce the second you wake up and your eyes literally twinkle when you see him. Often if he's asleep, you come to pat his head and before I can jump in, you exclaim gleefully, "he's awake mama!!" ...as his eyes open to see what all the commotion is about. You put on your mama voice to calm him, using my exact words..."it's ok baby Royce. I here. I here....hello my boy! That's my smiley guy!" My heart literally explodes. And when he is unhappy, you will do anything to fix it. Today, you literally took your brand new Dora the Explorer yard gloves off your hands and said, "baby Royce wants the gloves. Here you go baby Royceee." I'll sometimes catch you looking at him and just giggling. So smitten and so pleased that he's yours. 

On the one hand, it's going too fast, but on the other, it all just keeps getting better. We are getting to know the real you. And you are truly something.

And one of the very best parts of the last six months? Dadda taught you what to say when either of us whisper, "guess what?" 

"I love you."  

 

Back to blogging

It's been a LONG time. Chickenpox, my last week at the State Department (!), and strep throat managed to derail my plans to start blogging immediatly upon reentering the wifi-saturated world after our return from South Africa. 

Our trip was pure magic. If I tried to fully and wholly sum it up here, I'd never actually get back to everyday blogging because there is simply way too much to say. The family time, the wildlife, the beach time, the bonding. It felt so expansive and so full.

Harper fed elephants, wild birds, chickens and tortoises. She swam in the Indian and the Atlantic oceans, and perfected jumping in off the side of Granny's pool. She learned how to be properly mischievous with her cousins, whom she absolutely adores. She came home with an additional couple inches and a South African accent 

And Royce! He doubled in size and went from a newborn to a giggling, gurgling, grabbing little guy.

They were both showered with so, so much love, and our hearts were overflowing with love and gratitude for our SA family and wonderful friends by the time we boarded our flight home. 

I posted a gazillion photos on Facebook (184, I'm embarrassed/ shocked to report), so I won't repeat them here. Even an effort to add "just the favorites" would be too many. But here are some of my favorite videos from the trip, with a couple more to come in future days.  

 

Harper got sick of saying "cheese," so we started to ask her to say "sausages"! Here she is "taking pictures" with her toy binoculars... 

When dadda had chickenpox...