Raleigh at 2

Where did we leave off?
Oh yes. Raleigh's first birthday!

Since then Raleigh has filled my and our family's life with so much joy I'm not sure I can fully express. He is so fun and happy and friendly and adventurous and curious. It's not that he is without struggle or that he's not just as strong willed as his brothers, but I think he came at a time in my life and my experience that I could really, fully, enjoy him. Not trying to rush him, or seek out milestones, just be fully present and in the moment with whatever caught his eye. Sometimes I wish I could be the mom and person I am today for my older two, I would've done things so differently. Hindsight 20/20 etc.

But let's get a glimpse at Raleigh this past year! This Fall he was napping twice a day for a couple hours at a time so I felt like I hardly saw him! It was really a blessing as I transitioned to working solo, and being a single income earning household. 

He is always a welcome guest on any vacation or adventure. He always adds to the fun!

As a 100% outdoors lover who would stay outside all day if I let him, Winter was interesting! We were outside for hours a day, rain or shine, luckily this Winter was pretty mild so it wasn't blizzarding or too cold -- not that it would've stopped him!

 Christmas was so fun to spoil him because his interests are so defined. He loves helping me with my chores, vacuuming, sweeping, he is obsessed with cars and trucks and buses so shopping for him was so fun and all his toys have gotten loads of play time! We called his haul the "housewife starter package" as you can see

 He loves to explore our neighborhood which is basically "downtown" Pleasant Grove, lots of hustle and bustle. Raleigh loves being where people are, waving at everyone and in general getting in their personal space. I've never had such a friendly and outgoing child (Hayes and Cal are still pretty reserved) He rides one of his many modes or transportation (pushing his toy grocery cart works too!) and he started riding his scooter at just about 1 year old. By 15 months he was cruising down decline hills and terrifying everyone. By far the thing people comment about Raleigh is how good he is on his scooter. Next being his #offthechartnoggin, his white blonde hair, or his bright blue eyes. Really people fawn over him everywhere we go, and I get it because he really is so darling.

He loves to accessorize with shoes and hats and put on backpacks and do whatever everyone else is doing. He has ruined at least $500 in my make up because he gets in to everything and mimics whatever I do. He is a very routine type of baby which I do my best parenting with. He sleeps without a fight, drinks literally 20+ ounces of milk before bed and gets hungry in the night. 

He truly never stops eating. He LOVES chocolate but not gummies or fruity candy. He LOVES my protein shakes and tries to get me to open at least 3 a day. He loves hummus and guacamole and dipping crackers in milk and rice and beans and chicken and actually now that I think of it, he'll eating anything. He is a curious little human who moves through the world with great interest. He lives for connection and never gives up trying to connect with people that might brush past him or be too busy.

Since he was tiny if I had my phone out trying to film him he'd cock his head and try to peer around my phone to see my eyes, my face. He just wants to connect and being on my phone around him just doesn't happen because its heartbreaking when I would catch him peeking around my phone at my unresponsive face. And also He's too engaging and fun to be around! 

He has a special connection with each of his brothers and I love watching them interact!

He is extremely coordinated and smart but doesn't say a whole lot of words! He says dog "da" for dad, calls himself "Ah-ra" for Ra-Ra. Cal, dog and a few other things. He says "duss" for bus, shoes, two and tries to count higher, mom, Hayes, all-done, shakes his head (and his whole body while he's at it) while he expresses "no" but doesn't say it yet. He loves doing head shoulders knees and toes, if you're happy and you know it, and other nursery rhyme songs. Maybe his only full phrase is "I do it" which is so fitting for him because he is the most independent, head strong, "I do it" type of kid. He is wicked strong, and can seriously take Cal and sometimes Hayes. Even I struggle to loosen something out of his hands when he doesn't want to give it up. He is heavy as can be at 35+ pounds and that head is rock-hard. Don't knock heads with him or you will cry, it's that hard!

With the big boys at school or playing with friends he has been my ultimate sidekick. I am proud of myself with the way I've embraced his life and this past year. When we catch eyes he always has the biggest smile for me, and I send one right back. I am happy to know that he lives a happy life filled with love and warmth. Of people who light up when they see him and make him feel special every hour of every day. That even in the midst of one of the hardest years of mine and Russ' lives he gets the best we have to offer. Is that because we know better having three kids, or because he makes it so easy with that angel face and endless supply of love and happiness? I'm not sure, maybe both.

Now that he is 2 he is constantly holding a car, and will plop down in the middle of the road or walk way while we're trying to get somewhere and push his car on the ground or on his legs for a second before getting up to walk again. He is on Raleigh Rex time and has taught me so much about stopping to smell the roses. I will forever be grateful for this baby in my life!! 

Happy birthday Raleigh Rex Frame!!!

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