Two and a Half

IMG_0202.JPG

Barrett at two and half...

loves his "happy" (pacifier).

says tons of animals now, our favorite being "Gunt," which is his word for bird.

is still crazy nice to Tilly Kate and loves to share with her - we can't believe it either.

holds our hands when we are out on walks without his stroller.

can not get enough of cranes, trucks, and wheels.

wishes he could always wake up with mommy in his bed.

stopped eating bananas. major eye roll.

loves rough housing with Daddy before bed. 

jumps on us endlessly when watching movies.

favorite movie is Cars, or Mater as he calls it.

eats pancakes, cereal, and peanut butter crackers on repeattttt.

is always barefoot and mostly pantless when we are home.

is our ideal toddler.

Sissy at Six Months

IMG_0659.JPG

At her first half birthday, Tilly Kate...

still hasn't rolled from her back to front. we can't believe it either haha

uses her two tiny teeth like a champ and loves food!

wakes up two to three times a night to nurse and it's killing me slowly. scratch that. killing me quickly. very quickly.

gags on avocado. 

sits in her high chair at breakfast.

makes everyone who looks at her smile. seriously. who could resist that open mouth cutie?

thinks her brother's rough-housing is just the funniest. it makes momma nervous. 

loves barrett's up + down game on her belly.

gets a kick out of screeching.

is the prettiest and sweetest and sassiest little gal. and we love her dearly. 

 

Our Best KOKO

IMG_0324.JPG

WE WERE SO HAPPY TO HAVE KENDALL COME STAY WITH US LAST WEEK. She was such a trooper through crying babies and jet lag and we had just the best time! 

She's seriously my best girl and it was beyond nice having someone with me who didn't know what we were doing either haha.

Koko didn't get time with Barrett while he was a baby as she was serving an LDS Mission, so seeing her with baby Tilly (who just LOVED her Aunt Koko) was seriously cute.

The FIVE of us! Kendall spent a lot of time with Bren and I when we were all living in Utah and we've missed it like crazy. Being all together now is a little bit different with these babies, but still just the best.

Bear Bear looks huge here! I think Kendall's heart was mush when he said her name at the end of her week with us. Whose heart wouldn't be though? Love this boy.

IMG_0325.JPG

So basic.

We were battling the rainy season while Kendall was here, so we couldn't stay super long in Harajuku. Based on how sweaty we got (see pic below), you'd think we'd stayed for hours, so it was probably okay we weren't. Just imagine how cute we would've been if we had ;)

Love you KOKO! Thank you for traveling to see us and making our summer that much better.

DISNEY Land

Okay. I seriously can't stop making that face when we go to Disney. It felt good this time to up our matching t-shirt game. When we spontaneously went to Disneyland Anaheim in January and when we went to Disney Tokyo Sea last month we were coordinating t-shirt-less! A crime, I tell ya!

IMG_0054.JPG

To be honest, the castle didn't feel quite as grand as Cinderella's American castles, but not too shabby just the same. ;)

Barrett feeling a wee bit underwhelmed with the castle photos. #geezmom

IMG_0069.JPG

Another hot day in Tokyo + babywearing, calls for lots of cold treats. 

This boy, getting so big, makes my momma heart all mushy.

Ice cream over strawberrries and cream shaved ice is reason enough to keep going to Disney. OH. My. Gosh. So. Good.

A different kind of treat for Tilly. She seemed to prefer it over the ice cream. Go figure. 

Disney parades give me life.

Oh man where do I start with this photo. I love it so much it breaks my heart. I grew up with a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal, so when Barrett started saying "Pooh!" in the gift store, it was pretty much over. I tried to offer him smaller ones because geez, not cheap Disney store stuffed animals. But, no go! The boy knows what he likes. And, I have to say he made a good choice because Pooh sure came in handy when someone got a little sleepy on the train home.

So smooshy, so cute. And bear bear is pretty adorable too. ;)

Rinshi-No-Mori Park

A few weeks back, I saw a picture of my friend from Church at this amazing looking park with her three boys. I knew I definitely wanted to check it out, so when the next Saturday rolled around and it was blazing hot, we hopped a couple of trains and ended up here (with a whole LOT of other families).

The park has a man made creek that runs through it with a few smaller water falls for little ones and a big waterfall at the head of it for big kids! 

Tilly Kate even gave the water a try...she was much less impressed than baby Barrett.

Climbing up the slippery rocks was a big draw for Barrett, even though no other kids were doing it hahah. He will be him, 100% of the time. 

Of course, Daddy took pity on Tilly and kept her toes dry and away from the cold water Momma had put her in.

This is not our truck. Barrett stalked the little boy forever that it belonged to and the second he got bored of it and gave it to his dad, Bear was right there not-so-gently tugging it out of the dad's hands.

He sure did love it though. Always, thankful for sharing parents and kids!

Maybe my favorite shot of the day...in between cry-screams, pantslessly clutching his goldfish on the way back to eki (train station).  Also, his little stressed, crossed toes make us giggle.

Five Months Old

At five months old, our sweet Tilly Kate...

still loves to be swaddled, but we are working on it.

has two teeth, the left one came in on the bottom and then the right one.

has yet to roll over and isn't really trying to.

loves Sophie the Giraffe.

sometimes sleeps with her feet up on the edge of her DockATot, and its the cutest.

cuddles with her momma for every afternoon nap.

has tried apples, bananas, oranges, and pickles! LOVES them all.

brings us more joy (and gets more beautiful) every day!

The Great Kamakura

Two weeks or so ago we took a big adventure with our friends, Speen (mission companions with Brendan), Maria Hackett and their adorable little girl Rory! We had been wanting to take a trip to the ocean for a few weekends, but our plans kept getting rained out. 

Instead of getting rained on, we may have accidentally chosen the hottest day of July to spend outside touristing. ^^ Sweating our faces and booties off. 

Viewing the Hase-dera temple required walking up several flights of stairs, most Buddhist temples do. I knew we were in for some serious sweating because in addition to the stair-climbing we had to get Barrett out of his stroller (yikes!).

Here he is trying to swim in the ponds surrounding the temple. 

Here is a photo of his water splash on the (probably sacred) feet statue. 

Here are the thankfully intact flowers thanks to some fast Dad hands! 

Overall, he tried to be good. But good to a toddler means general havoc and so much running. 

Back in the stroller, thank goodness! Don't we just keep getting hotter? Word play intended. This is the Great Buddha. It has been around since 1200 A.D! At first we thought it was a recreation, but it seriously is that old. Insane to think about how they made it.

IMG_0241.JPG

Finally! We made it to the beach! Which turned out to be just not as relaxing with a toddler and two babies. LOL. Duh. Grandparents are needed to take kids to the beach. We shoulda known. 

He sure is the prettiest, most rambunctious toddler I've ever seen though. And we love him dearly.

IMG_0252.JPG

Matilda Kate

Matilda Kate Kingsford

February 28, 2016

7lbs 8 oz

20 inches

I don't have the classic picture of my final moments of pregnancy in a hospital gown looking nervous as I get ready to have a baby because there wasn't time. So this picture from the day before will have to do! Don't I look just so happy and comfortable? HA. HA. 

I was insistent that the baby (remember we didn't know the gender!) was going to come before Leap Day. The idea of my baby possibly not having a real birthday except for every four years drove me nuts, so we got our bums walking on Saturday! I was experiencing discomfort and tightening every ten or so minutes most of our walk, but the contractions would taper off quickly when we slowed down. We returned home and put Barrett to bed. I felt frustrated as I really thought the baby would come that weekend and I was feeling so worn out and OVER pregnancy. You know you're done being pregnant when you are praying to go into labor. 

I woke up in the morning after a blessedly good night of sleep, but I quickly started to feel crampy. As soon as I felt that, I knew that it was looking good that I was going to go in labor. The feeling felt so familiar to my labor with Barrett. I woke up Brendan and told him he should probably get his bag together and shower soon. I wanted to get walking so the contractions would become more regular and Barrett was antsy to go outside (always). 

On our walk around the neighborhood, my contractions quickly regulated to about 6 minutes apart and I started having to slow way down and focus on my breathing. I would count leaves on the plants or flowers on the petals to maintain my concentration and breathing through the contractions. I was worried they were going to stop when we got home, but my hips were hurting and I was worn out again so there really was no choice but to head back. Barrett had a light lunch and I was able to give him a kiss before he went down for nap.

My contractions were becoming stronger and closer together, about 4 minutes apart. I was so sure that my water breaking was the sign I should wait for to go to the hospital, but I was losing focus during contractions worrying about how fast they were coming.

I called over to Labor & Delivery and I asked the classic questions, "How do I know when to come to the hospital? How far apart should my contractions be apart?" LOL. Its amazing how much reassurance I needed to decide if I was in true labor or not. HA. I was.

We decided it was time to head to the hospital as it was still a 15 minute drive away. My gosh, there is nothing longer for a woman in active labor than the drive to the hospital. But we made it! I got to the check-in desk and breathed through saying my name. The nurse laughed and said, Well, you didn't sound like this when you called." I remember saying, "I'm good at being calm on the phone."

After we got into the room, things started moving in a blur. The nurse handed me my gown to change into, but the contractions kept coming and I couldn't find a break to stand up and get changed. It took both Bren and the nurse to get me undressed, then re-dressed. I was terribly lucky because my nurse was the same one who had run my non-stress test two weeks previous. It was so nice to see a familiar face as I realized just how soon this baby was coming. 

As I answered the check-in questions as best I could through my breathing, I got my IV in for antibiotics. Once that was in place, my nurse-friend checked my progress. I was dilated to a 7! I couldn't believe it. I realized that I had a decision to make about getting an epidural or not, and I needed to make it fast. My labor was growing more intense by the minute and I couldn't imagine sitting still or hunching over for an epidural. I looked to Brendan and the nurse for reassurance that I could do this on my own. Bren said he would support my decision either way and my nurse promised that she wouldn't leave me until the baby came. With their support, I opted to continue laboring naturally. 

Within minutes of being at the hospital, my contractions began to run into one another with very little break, if any, between them. I was laboring in a kneeling position, hanging onto the head rest area of the bed when my water broke. The pressure immediately became unbearably intense and my nurse left to go get the on call doctor, as it was clear mine wasn't going to make it in time.

After 10 minutes of pushing (and screaming, yikes!) Matilda Kate was born without complication after being at the hospital for just about an hour and a half.

She was the baby girl I had always imagined I would have, with the squishiest cheeks, most kissable lips, and...

...head full of dark hair!

12751501_1289473311069787_1811184057_n.jpg

Barrett and my mom were able to come the hospital very soon after Tilly was born and I was so glad to have my little family together! Barrett had gone to nap an only child and woken up a big brother - a role he has embraced every since! Gosh, I just love seeing my babies together.

Hot shower + swipe of mascara = best feeling ever after having a baby.

I sure love the following 48 hours in the hospital after having a baby. There is nothing I've experienced more magical than those first hours staring at the new little love of your life. The drugs help too ;) And now for too many black and white photos of our best gal...

IMG_0037.JPG

We couldn't imagine life without you, sweet girly girl.

Adore you forever and love you best,

Momma

Take a Stroll, Eat Ice Cream: A Memoir

Life lately has been exhausting. Barrett went through this terrible phase where he was waking up around 3a and staying awake for several hours before going back to sleep. We aren't sure what was causing his sleep disruption, but it seems to have gotten better. He is still sleeping many less hours than he was before we moved, but it is a survivable amount for now. This decrease in sleep across the board, coupled with common four month sleep regression, really put us through the ringer the last few weeks. Still wanting to do something fun this weekend even without tons of sleep, we decided to walk to Ebisu. The fresh air ended up being just what we needed. Funny how often that is the case. I love this walk because there are so many little shops and their store fronts are each unique. 

You know in Parks & Rec when Ron says, "Bring me ALL the bacon and eggs you have." ?? That is exactly how I felt in this store. It was like a mix of Ikea, Anthropologie, and Crate + Barrel, but with this fabulous Japanese flair. 

One of the hardest things about living here is that we have so little of our own stuff. The apartment we are in is fully furnished, which is great, but...I would never chose any of it to fill my house with normally. I'm dying to make a place feel like ours again soon. These little potted plants would make the cutest addition to our next home. I wish I could bring them back to the States with us!

In the middle of the store there were snacks, in case you get hungry, which, of course, we did. Nom.

Baby girl couldn't make it through the store without a little snack, too. Aren't her little crossed ankles just the dreamiest? 

Where there's a mirror, there's a selfie. Also, big shoutout to Japan for having just the absolute nicest mom + baby rooms. It makes nursing in public six trillion billion times better.

More treats? Seriously, Meghan? Seriously, y'all know I have the willpower of a ... I don't actually know how to finish that. I HAVE NONE. NONE WILLPOWER. 

TOKYO DISNEY SEA

GUYS. Are you ready for just so very many photos of the happiest place on earth? We spent just one day at Tokyo Disney Sea for our fifth anniversary. It was AMAZING. In case you're wondering, there is also a Disneyland Tokyo, but we wanted to check out the park unique to Japan first. We plan to go back to Disneyland in a couple of months. The photo above is at Ariel's castle at Mermaid's Lagoon. You walk underneath it and enter into this underwater-looking land. It's darkened and filled with the most incredible scenery. It also has this great playground, splash pad, and rides similar to the one's in A Bug's Land in California Adventure. Of course, Barrett is too impatient to actually stand in any lines for rides, but he loved the play area. I mean, it had a ropes course. He's easily won over.

I've wanted to go back to Disney since the moment we left in January. So when we made it to the park, I basically made this face for the rest of the day. 

As with most times I leave the apartment, I immediately felt wildly underdressed. I really didn't believe that American fashion was so casual until we moved here. Kimonos and traditional dress are worn mostly for special occasions. And apparently, Disney counts! I would say half of the women were in Kimonos, which looked just spectacular, so classy! The Japanese continually put me and my sweaty, baby-wearing self to shame.

Example of sweating our faces off! ^^ Japan is so hot. 

Tilly Kate was such a sweet potato girl. She loves being baby worn, so nine hours of it at Disney was her dream come true. She makes the sweetest milky smiles too, doesn't she?

And Barrett! He is such fun to take on adventures (usually). After he woke up from his stroller nap, he ate the whole bunch of bananas I had brought for us all to eat. Hahaha.

There's my cute boy with his giant, water-filled diaper that we just barely got to in time before it...exploded? Is that what too full diapers do? It seemed dire whatever was coming. 

This is the ride I would love to take Barrett on. Doesn't it look amazing?! The fast passes are gone super fast though and like I said, Barrett and lines don't mix.

IMG_0002.JPG

Very purposefully I had us in coordinating red, white, and blue for an early Fourth of July celebration. If we could have just gotten a good picture of the four of us together, you'd see my plan better!

Hubba Hubba Bubba.

Just like so much of Japan, Tokyo Disney Sea was pristine and completely gorgeous. Keep it up Japan and you won't be able to get rid of me ;).

Go Go Ginza

Lately whenever I talk to my mom and tell her about our adventures here, she just shakes her head and says with a smile, "You guys are having too much fun." And, other than a really sharp decrease in Barrett's sleep since we got here, she's totally right. The babies and I have a good time during the week checking out bakeries and parks, but Saturdays, if the weather is good, we are out and about in the city, having too much fun.

I know it seems like I'm taking a risk by walking down the middle of the road, but in Ginza's shopping district they block of the roads on Saturday and Sunday afternoon to encourage tourists and locals to spend that money. All of a sudden, when the cars were gone, it felt so surreal. Here you are in a city of millions and people are strolling around in the quiet street. It went from being this bustling, hot city street to a small town feel with families sitting in the middle of the road enjoying the shade and a snack.

In a five story toy store of Barrett's dreams, we stumbled upon this magic. Baby boy played and played and I got to feel like a really good mom. Win, win.

IMG_0126.JPG

Yes, that food was as good as it looks. Except the side of spaghetti. That was just kind of odd to me, but the Japanese love Italian food. Go figure?

Bren's food was a bit more traditional. I love that so many meals here come topped with a fried egg. Its delicious.

IMG_0124.JPG

Prior to moving here, I was really nervous about how much food would cost. You always hear about big cities being terribly expensive, but that price of 140 yen is just a little over a dollar USD. I'll pay that all day for delicious, hot waffles. 

Barrett drives us a little bonkers because in true toddler fashion, he won't eat anything he hasn't seen before. Unless it has chocolate in or on it. Then down it goes. Oh well, more waffles for us!

A blog post wouldn't be complete without this darling girly girl. We are attached at the middle and sometimes I can't believe she will ever outgrow this stage. It all goes so fast and slow, this raising babies thing.

Harajuku!

When we got off the train at Harajuku I saw people taking photos of the station. When I turned around, I was shocked at how cute it was. Its crazy to me how much goes unnoticed when I get too focused on the destination. There's probably a life lesson in that somewhere...

IMG_0097.JPG

We are working on Barrett's listening skills. We decided he could get out of the stroller and walk along the path to the shrine we wanted to see. So here he is, listening to me saying, "Lag behind, don't keep up, and play with the small stones the whole way." Obviously.

I'll have to do more research into what the artwork behind me symbolizes. It was particularly pretty though.

There's a large park in Harajuku called Yoyogi Koen. This little house was right near the entrance to it. I have no idea if someone lives there currently, or if it is an information booth. It looked so out of place in Tokyo. Like a little world lost in time and set apart in a big city.

We stopped and had snack in the park. This baby was breaking my heart just by being his cute self.

Bubbles were a big hit! But, the wind kept blowing them right in my face haha.

I wouldn't change a thing about his jungle-boy hair or his dirty little fingernails from playing in the dirt. As Brendan says, he is our dream toddler. 

And my angel baby girl. I can't get enough of her rolly thighs or her squishy cheeks.

Tilly girl loves being baby worn! She only came out of the Tula to nurse and lay out at the park. She would prefer to take all of her naps in the carrier. I'm just hoping it stops her from being as early of a mover as Barrett was. Mama can only keep up with one running baby in Tokyo at a time.

Just Call Us Treat Hunters

IMG_0083.JPG

Right around the corner from our apartment building is Azabu Juban, a road famous for its shopping and yummy treats. It attracts a lot of travelers, but not necessarily tourists. Think high up business people, not rednecks with fanny packs. The locals shop this road too. 

I often end up taking the kids on an afternoon walk down Azabu Juban and we love to try the treats! There is such amazing variety here -- something I was not anticipating! I'm so grateful for how patient the shop owners and workers are with me. No one ever seems to mind that I can only say "hi," "good afternoon / morning," and "thank you." 

Barrett has gotten very good at recognizing baked goods since we've been here. Chocolate ones are his favorite of course! In this picture, he is telling me he wants to eat using his made up sign, which is a cross between eat and more haha. Love my curly-haired, treat eater!

IMG_0087.JPG

He matched the decor, so I had to. 

Love the subway tile, natural stained wood, and pendant lighting. The three treats we got here were so supremely delicious that we forgot to get a picture. Means we'll have to go back. Shucks.

Wish You Were Here

Can you spot me? ^^ 

Everything about this little restaurant was perfect. The name, logo, color scheme, fresh flowers; I loved it all.

You wouldn't believe it, but those 3-D windows on the street level actually swing open during lunch time. I'll have to go back and snap another photo, so you can see it!

There are so many just gorgeous flower shops near us. I keep wanting to pick some up, but I just can't pick which flowers to get. haha.

I've lived in many apartments during my life, but if they all looked like this maybe wouldn't catch myself daydreaming about a little house so often.

Tiny rain coats. Heart eye emoji times ten. I just have one question, do these come in my size? 

More Cheese, Please!

After a busy first full week here, we wanted a weekend that was a teeny bit adventurous, but still low key. A long walk through Aoyama Cemetery was just what we needed. Barrett seemed to really enjoy the quiet after all the bustle and bright lights of the city, so we'll definitely be back. 

If you follow me on the SnapChat (@meghankingsford) then you'll know that we traded our ginormico stroller for a lightweight, ultra slick one last week. We are so happy we bit the bullet because Japan is made for the tinier things in life. On the other side of the cemetery we found SHAKE SHACK Tokyo. I have wanted to try Shake Shack for so long and the hamburgers made for ultimate comfort food. And I already want to go back. More cheese fries and Shake Shack sauce please! 

nom.

Tilly girl is just starting to reach for her toys, and by the look on her face when I hold her and eat...it won't be long until she is snatching food right out of our hands. Until then, we are just loving her sweet baby self and longish stretches of sleep at night. Good food + family makes for the best kind of weekend in my book.

Two Year Old Takes Tokyo

People keep asking me if it is hard to make the transition to city life with a new baby. To them I say, Have you ever had a toddler?  Or better yet, have you met Barrett? Haha. To be fair, he has had a lot of brave and astoundingly grown up moments, but he is two, so there have also been a lot of hard ones. 

The best way to avoid or solve a Barrett style meltdown is to get moving, ideally in the direct direction of a park. Being able to run completely unrestrained is his greatest love and taking him to the park may be exhausting, but I do it most days because it makes his little eyes light up in a way that just melts my mama heart to a puddle. 

The second best way into his heart? Ice Cream. M&M's will also work in a pinch ;)

While there are a lot of adult type things we may miss out on while we are here (shopping, nice dinners, nights out), I wouldn't trade my time watching Barrett learn and explore our new city for anything. Being his mom is my hardest, favorite thing.

Let's go Tokyo

We've been in Japan just over a week and a half, so I thought it was time to make a place to (over) share our time here. We are so excited to be spending the next six months eating our way through this gorgeous city!

All of our luggage. It seems like a lot, because it is. But we both only brought four pairs of shoes and one pair of jeans. You try to pack your whole life up and you'll realize just how much stuff you have haha. Paring back our clothes and other things felt really good though and now we only have the things we love. 

It was so amazing and unexpected that my mom was able to see us off at the gate as she had her own red eye to catch from SFO to HSV. She's the best. 

IMG_0002.JPG
IMG_0052.JPG

The flight out here was just as bad as could be. We selected a flight that was through the night, hoping against hope that the kids would sleep. Well, one did. Baby Tilly barely made peep the whole flight. Barrett though, whew. Let's just say an airplane bathroom deadens the noise of a toddler's screams to a degree, but fellow passengers still hate you haha.

Apple has set us up so well here. We are living in a great two-bedroom apartment in one of the nicest areas of Tokyo. We didn't even have a two-bedroom back in San Jose, so I feel like this is just one giant upgrade.

It took us a good week to feel adjusted to the time change and we've stopped going to bed before 8p and are sleeping until about 7a now. Hallelujah!

16! 16! Months















At sixteen months, Barrett...
has had his first haircut, and already needs his second!
is drinking several glasses of whole milk a day.
still doesn't know how to use a straw. haha
loves playing with his friends.
bops every baby he sees right in the face, ugh.
has grown right out of his size 6 shoes.
eats two scrambled eggs for breakfast every morning.
has had dirty toes most of the summer and I love it.
can spin on command.
is my littlest, favorite person.

Love,
Momma



Fifteen Months









At 15 months, Barrett...
can and does run everywhere.
sleeps most nights from 8p-4a.
still loves his paci. 
played with his cousins in Utah and thought it was the greatest thing.
took his first toddler nap (meaning he fell asleep where he was).
loves to climb on and head cuddle his momma.
plays with daddy when he comes home.
throws his shoes at us when he wants to go outside.
brings so much happiness and joy to us!

We love you Goose!