Nibbles & Bits

Small bites from a life revolving around my sweet family, a love of cooking, and all things good.

I'm Ali. Email me at akoper (AT) outloook (DOT) com

I was asked whether I wanted a boy or a girl countless times during my second pregnancy. I always replied, “both.” I could see the appeal of either equally. Sure, a girl - often the expected answer - would be novel and special in its own way, but I really loved the idea of a little boy who would play alongside Ryan and hopefully be his best friend for life.

While there’s still an age gap, these two play together more and more all the time. They wrestle and chase each other and yell “ahhhhhhh!!!!!” in unison between giggles and exchanged smiles.

I’m so excited to watch them grow up together.

Whether by hose, sprinkler, fountain or pool - ok, or bath - Evan has spent much of this summer wet. No one appreciates Evan’s appreciation for water more than Ryan, who takes every hot day as an excuse to hose his brother down, dump buckets of water over his head or otherwise dunk him. 

Evan has grown so much. It’s like he turned 18 months and a day, and somehow knew he was closer to 2 than to 1. We hear lots of “NO! MINE!” But also lots of squeals of glee as he sees a friend out shouts out their name, or points out an animal, food or vehicle he adores. I’ve started to call him a little kid, my way of getting ahead of any potential big kid proclamations, which I’m not ready for, but he still calls himself a baby. And much of the time, so do I.

Meanwhile, this little one turned one and a half. It happened to coincide with the neighborhood carnival, so naturally, I hosted the cupcake walk and turned it into a bit of a celebration for Evan. It’s hard to believe he’s now as close to two as he is to one, yet there are so many reminders of this each day. He understands everything we say and responds with a yes or no. And, is incredibly steadfast in that response. He’s one stubborn little person. He’s absorbing everything around him. I wasn’t shocked that he knew how to blow out his candles on this first try (Ryan didn’t master it till 2 1/2), given that he can already blow bubbles. Everything big brother can do Evan will try his very best to do, too. Including jumping down two stairs at a time. Place your bets now and when he’ll have his first cast.

Ryan learned to ride his bike on Friday afternoon, and spent much of the remaining weekend looping around the cup-de-sac. I was elated. It was one of those moments you know you’ll flash back to in your mind when your baby graduates from high school, gets married, has children of his own (no pressure!). It came naturally to him, but it was hard for me to let go. There were a few early times when he’d get his balance and I’d let go, only to get anxious over how quickly he was racing ahead and grab his handlebars back. I couldn’t help it. Before long, though, we both grew comfortable, and by that evening, he refused my offers to get him started. 

Seeing his scraped knees brought me back to another image from three years ago, his first summer since learning to walk. He was one and a half and still fell frequently. His knees are bonier, the scrapes are from a different kind of fall, but he’s still very much my sweet baby. 

Yesterday was National S’Mores Day. And I love our neighborhood. New friends pulled their fire pit into the cul-de-sac. The kids roasted marshmallows, played lacrosse and ran circles, the rest of us drank wine and talked until it was dark. We got so lucky.  

Relatively impromptu dinner tomorrow, NYers? Headed your way ridiculously early tomorrow!

This was the week E learned to talk. Not words strung into sentences, not the infinite vocabulary of a big kid - or even a full-fledged toddler. But, his vocabulary probably doubled in the past week alone. He called out “baby, baby!” while pointing to the Pampers box, he asked for a “cracker” even when that cracker was in fact part of a seashell on his brother’s nightstand, grabbed a “diaper,” learned the names of my mom’s dog, “Stella,” and my step mom’s dog, “Bea” and even more. He’s so proud of his new words and it’s just incredible to watch him learn day by day. I forgot how magical one is. 

This was the week E learned to talk. Not words strung into sentences, not the infinite vocabulary of a big kid - or even a full-fledged toddler. But, his vocabulary probably doubled in the past week alone. He called out “baby, baby!” while pointing to the Pampers box, he asked for a “cracker” even when that cracker was in fact part of a seashell on his brother’s nightstand, grabbed a “diaper,” learned the names of my mom’s dog, “Stella,” and my step mom’s dog, “Bea” and even more. He’s so proud of his new words and it’s just incredible to watch him learn day by day. I forgot how magical one is. 

Last week, I was driving the boys to daycare. We’d been talking about nothing in particular when, from the backseat, Ryan said “My heart wishes it could look at Evan’s face all day. He’s so cute and I love him.”

I know that being a big brother can be hard, but Ry Ry is as good as they get. He even shares his ice cream.

I need to get back in the habit of my mundane, interesting-only-to-me bulleted updates on my little guys. There’s so much about this time in our lives that I want to remember in detail. Evan is so funny and tender and stubborn. He has hugs and kisses all day long, and loves to make us hug and kiss his lovey Pierre.

He could color all day long. He was the first kid to wake up the morning of July 5th - the bigger kids sleeping off the fireworks and baby cousin Astrid one-upping him (girlfriend sleeps from 6pm-7:30am!!!). He saw his cousin’s pens and pulled himself into one of their sturdy wooden chairs. He looked so big to me. But really, he has no idea what he’s doing, draws on his legs, tries to eat the pen. Definitely still on the cusp of babyhood and toddler.

We were playing in his bedroom tonight after bath. He walked to his dresser, opened the drawer, took out his sleep sack and said “night night.” As a mom of a four year old I realize that’ll be hard to remember what it was even like to consider that noteworthy and charming, but it was. He has opinions, he knows how to express them, and he’s learned so, so much about the world around him. 

The top picture is a common occurrence. Mouth full, already signing for “more.” This was after splashing at the park. He loves water so, so much. Maybe even more than Ryan. At this age, Ryan was fine going under water, but Evan begs for it when he’s in my arms at the pool. And if he’s standing in shallow water, he falls face first over and over. 

Oh nothing, just researching wineries since Steve and I are going to Sonoma two weeks from tomorrow for 3 days sans babies.

!!!!!!!!!

Flights and car booked yesterday (and called my mom because she is THE BEST), house rented and dinner resos made today. Happy anniversary to us!