First Birthday Wishes

Monday, March 30, 2015 year is almost upon us. I can't believe how fast time has been going. In preparation for the big day, I've put together a little list of wishes for C's very first birthday. 

First Birthday Wishes

Burley Encore Duo Bike Trailer // After a great deal of research to find the perfect bike trailer for our family, we've landed on the Encore from Burley. We weren't able to ride bikes last summer with a newborn, and can't wait to take C for hopefully many rides in the future. This trailer has 100lb capacity, a cargo area for taking along a picnic, diaper, or overnight bag, and a second seat for another child to ride along. I don't think C has any idea how much fun this will be for our family! For safety, we picked up Bontrager's Little Dipper helmet designed specifically for kiddos ages 1-4. Next on the list? The Burley 2-wheel stroller kit for bike rides to the park this summer to enjoy some of the 125 events scheduled for the Arnold's Park 125th celebration!

B. Parum Pum Pum Drum // MUSIC! C loves his music table, and would no doubt have a great time exploring all of the musical instruments in this set. I'm sure the pint-sized tambourine would be quite the hit, and know he would love to explore and learn about all of the different musical instruments in this set. Keeping with the music theme, this Hape Pound & Tap Bench would be another great addition to help C learn about cause and effect relationships, and making his own music.

LeapFrog My Discovery House // This discovery house comes highly rated by other mamas out there, and has all kinds of bells and whistles for C to explore. He can learn to use a light switch, open and close doors, and ring the doorbell. Hours of exploration for sure!

Step2 Infant to Toddler Swing // Now that our yard is landscaped and officially a useable space, it would be wonderful to have this swing (and someone to help attach it) for under the deck when we are outside enjoying the fresh air. I particularly like that this is an infant-to-toddler swing that will grow with C, and has a more muted color scheme to go with our home than many other baby swings on the market.

Fisher Price Lil Movers Airplane // This airplane toy would be fun for C to explore and zoom around at home between trips. He is quite the little traveler, and will no doubt have an ongoing fascination with airplanes, not to mention he'd love playing with the little people inside.

Melissa & Doug Puzzles // To work on problem solving skills, these Melissa & Doug puzzles (herehere, and here) would be just the thing to get C thinking about things. This magnetic puzzle and latch puzzle would also be lots of fun when he gets a little further along into his one year old status.

Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table // This waterwheel activity play table would be so much fun for C to splash around in this summer. It won't be too long before he figures out furniture cruising, and he would have so much fun walking around this table and splashing the water or playing with the boats. It would be great for days that are too cold for full on swimming, but just right for outside play.

Corey Combine & Johnny Tractor Soft Vehicles // Last fall, on C's very first visit to John Deere to visit Grandpa T, he snagged this little Barney Backhoe soft vehicle toy. It is the perfect size for his little hands, and he has been loving driving it around and playing with it lately. It doesn't hurt that it also happens to be his favorite color, yellow. When cousin J opened the combine and tractor versions at his first birthday a couple of weeks ago, C was all about getting his hands on them. These would be the perfect additions to his toys for playing farm.

Joovy Tricycoo Tricycle & Joovy Noodle Helmet // This tricycle would no doubt become a fast favorite to wheel around on the sidewalk behind our house. It has foot pedals for C to rest his feet on before he is ready to pedal on his own, and can be steered from the the parent handlebar. The matching safety helmet would help to protect C from any tumbles as he gets bigger and has more independence. The greenie color would be the perfect gender neutral color so that it could be used for any kid who wanted to ride.

Books // C LOVES to read, and some new board books would be a great surprise for his birthday. Nothing specific in mind, but just ask if you have questions about what he already has!

Clothes // C, who is currently rocking 18mo clothing (as a 10 month old), is in need of some 24mo sized clothing for this summer. Speaking of clothes, bigger sizes for the coming fall would be welcome as well. As far as style goes, C likes to dress just like papa T and typically wears outfits that are relatively simple, and more 'little man' style than 'cutesy baby' style.

Leaving On a Jet Plane...with a Baby...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Next week, we are leaving town for an early spring getaway to the sunshine state. In preparation for the trip, I put together some of the essentials we'll be taking with us to make flying with a kiddo in tow a little less stressful. We've successfully flown with C once before when he was just six months old, and now that he's a little older, I've added a few new items to our list that we'll be bringing along to test out.

Leaving On a Jet Plane Baby Edition

 It goes without saying that we'll obviously be bringing plenty of diapers, wipes, burp clothes, a few books, Sophie, a couple of toys, and an extra change of clothes for both C & I in case of any unforeseen accidents. To get C excited for our trip, I picked up a couple of new board books that are all about airplanes, a some special new airplane pajamas, and a toy airplane that he's been practicing zooming around all week. On recommendation from another new mama who has flown with a baby, I purchased pipSquigz to surprise C with a new toy to play with on the flight. They have suction cups on the end, can be stuck together or to the seat-back tray table, are made of soft silicone that can be chewed on, and can be banged around without making too much noise to annoy our fellow passengers. I'll also be bringing along a soft blanket to prop behind him for comfort when he needs to eat, or if he gets cold or decides to take a snooze.

As far as the gear we're going to be lugging along for the trip, we'll be taking C's new car seat (sadly, he outgrew the smaller, and easier to haul around infant car seat a couple of months ago), and the BOB which might be the only stroller around that can handle walks on the beach. To protect the BOB, this travel bag does a great job, and is made of high quality materials with rollers to make it easier to wheel around the airport - think suitcase for a stroller. Many airlines allow a car seat and stroller for free when traveling with a kiddo, so we'll be taking full advantage of taking our gear along on this trip rather than renting or buying things when we arrive. We used this car seat bag to protect C's car seat on our last trip, and while it's definitely not super high-quality or built to last, after lining it with some red duct tape to reinforce the seams, it will do the job of keeping the car seat clean and protected from the any dust or grease it might come into contact with while stowed below. To get the car seat from our vehicle, through security, and to our gate as painlessly as possible, I purchased this car seat travel cart to help make our time at the airport less stressful. It connects easily using the LATCH system, and doesn't require any screws or significant amount of time to set up. If we ever decided to travel without a stroller, or had another kiddo with us, C could sit in the car seat while it is attached to the travel cart. A note to any parents traveling with kiddos out there: While gate checking the stroller and car seat does mean a few more things to lug around, it also decreases the likelihood of damage to these items, and makes it quicker post-flight to get everything organized.

For our final destination, here are a few other items that we'll be packing or picking up upon arrival. I  can only imagine that stepping out into 80 degree weather after spending months in a frozen state will be quite the shock to C, and having these items along will hopefully make the transition a little smoother.

Vacation Style Baby Edition

Swimways Baby Pool Float // Munchkin Inflatable Bath Tub // BOB Stroller // Baby Sunscreen // Rashguard // Swim Trunks // Fedora // Sunglasses // Sperrys // Stroller Fan // Pack'n'Play

This pool float was a hit on our last visit, and C thought it was an absolute blast to motorboat around the pool. As a bonus, it folds up and can be stowed away easily when not in use. The weather is supposed to be a little warmer on this trip, so we'll be bringing along a stroller fan to keep C from overheating, along with a new set of swim trunks, sunscreen, and rash guard to help protect his skin from the sun. We will likely be spending many hours in the pool or by the ocean, so we're going to need a bathtub to wash off the salty water, and the pack'n'play for a place to crash after playtime. C has nearly outgrown the pack'n'play, so I've been scouting new ideas for future getaways, and think this travel toddler bed may just have to go on the wish list. Also on the wish list...this adorable Sunny Life Beach Radio, this baby-sized Beach Tent, or maybe just this family-sized Beach Tent, and this water-resistant outdoor blanket for outside playtime and picnics.

Since C is under two years old, he can fly free - AWESOME - and will be sitting on either T or I's lap for the duration of the three hour flight. I'm secretly hoping that the plane won't be full, and we'll be able to have the entire row to ourselves so that C can have an empty seat to play, or maybe even bring the car-seat on with us instead of gate-checking. On our flight last November, C did great, and after takeoff and aquatinting himself with his new surroundings, he slept almost the full flight. I'm guessing the relative quiet and slight vibration of the airplane played a big part. Fingers are crossed that this flight will go just as smoothly! Wish us luck!

Nine Month Photos

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A few weeks ago, C had his nine month milestone photos taken by our lovely photographer from Emery Photo + Design. Despite his impending cold, T's being sick all week, and our photographer recovering from pneumonia and a cracked rib, after rescheduling a couple of times, we finally snuck pictures in a couple of weeks after C turned nine months. Better late than never right!? Anyways...we just got the pics back over the weekend, and I am absolutely mazed at how well they turned out. I've got to hand it to our photographer who despite not being at her best health wise, decided to give it a go to capture these wonderful memories for us. 

We were nervous heading into picture day about how to get C to crack that giant smile of his since he doesn't think 'chili' and other 'cha' sounding words are as hilarious as he did at his six month photos. T & I spent the greater part of the hour long session dancing around and acting like fools to try to get some smiles. The things that ended up working the best were squeaky toys, 'ah-choo!', and peek-a-boo. I'm guessing at his upcoming one year photos - whoa! how is he growing up so fast?!! - that smashing a cake will probably do the trick in the smile department!

C was beyond pumped when he realized he got to play in this oversized galvanized bucket. He was very excited to bang his hands on the sides and practice his drumming skills. 

Look mom! I'm doing something I shouldn't be doing! Dare you to stop me from pulling out the fibers of this rug!!!

...Out of all the moments in my life
the ones I've spent with you are my most favorite...

Carter: 10 Months

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ten months have arrived! It's hard to believe that in just two short months, we will have a one year old on our hands. C continues to light up our lives and is such a little sweetheart. He's particularly curious about measuring spoons, napkins, and anything on the dinner table he can reach from his high chair. With the warmer temps (if temps in the 40s can be called warm), we have ALL been enjoying time outside after being cooped up for what seems like forever. We got the patio furniture out last week, and C was loving being able to rock in the chairs outside in the sunshine and fresh air. I have a hunch we'll be spending lots of time this spring sitting on the patio and watching C as he watches all of the wildlife and tries to figure out those silly honking geese that wasted no time repopulating the lake behind our home after the ice went out.

Do you think this little guy is going to be as mischievous as he looks?

Playing with napkins, water bottles, junk mail
The color yellow
For reasons unknown, C seems to be drawn more to the color yellow than any other. A sunny disposition perhaps?

Our little junk mail aficionado!

Being sick - Poor little guy has been battling his first cold this month 
Being left with anyone besides Mom or Dad
Working on upper body strength


Teeth! C's very first tooth popped through the day he turned nine months, and three weeks later, his second bottom tooth started to make an appearance...que poor sleep, runny nose, and general fussiness. On top of teething, C picked up his very first cold this month, and struggled to get rid of it for a good two weeks. Thankfully, after a great deal of extra nap time, he finally started to kick it, and seems to be on the mend. T thinks he may have had a touch of RSV. Poor little fella. He has been all out of sorts for a good two weeks trying to recover.

We finally got some snow and were able to take C's new sled out for a ride on the ice before the weather warmed up. He loved it! We thought he might get tired or fussy with the cold, but he was completely fascinated by the whole event, and stayed awake looking around the entire ride. Hopefully next winter we might get a little more snow so that we have the opportunity to enjoy the sled more than once!

After much studying on C's part, he finally figured out how to clap his hands on his own at about 9mos. 3wks. He spent most of month nine helping me clap my hands by grabbing them and helping to bang them together when we practiced. He was very proud about figuring it out for himself! As with shaking his head 'no' that he picked up a couple of months ago, he doesn't clap on command yet, and I don't think he necessarily understands the reasoning behind clapping. That being said, he seems to clap at some pretty opportune times, like when we told him he got to see his cousin, or go outside for a walk. He's really been studying our mouths lately when we are talking, so I don't think it will be too long before he figures out some babbling with consonants rather than just the single syllables he's currently using. Any bets on his first words? I won't lie, we practice saying 'mama' multiple times a day.

This one isn't really a memory or milestone so much as it is an observation. C's hair has really started to fill in this month, and we can say with some certainty, that it will be the same color as his mama's. Of course, when I was his age, I had blond hair, so who knows if it will stay that way. It still looks different in different light, and I would say it's somewhere in the middle of the two above pictures. I've started to give him a little comb-over styling after bath time that looks especially handsome with his new head of hair. Both T & I have very thick hair, so if he takes after us, it won't be long before he'll be needing a haircut I'm sure!

C continues to work out with a physical therapist once per week to work on building up his muscles and getting stronger. He's shown a lot of improvement over the last couple of weeks, and T thinks he's been more antsy lately and wanting to move more, so that's a good sign. He has been rolling front to back this month when he spots a toy just out of reach that he thinks he may want to play with, and has also started using his legs to lift up his behind off the floor when he's laying down. He is almost to the point he can hold himself up on furniture without us having to support him, so it's only a matter of time before he starts to figure out he can furniture cruise! We've been working lots on standing, upper body and arm strength, and getting him to lift his head for longer periods of time when on his tummy rather than letting him just immediately rolling over.

Uncles teaching C how to lift.

First 'kid' birthday party celebration! Cousin J turned one last weekend, and thankfully, C was feeling just well enough that he and I could attend. Sadly, T was stuck at home being on call all weekend, so C & I had to make the trip alone.

Uncle N helped to put together Cousin J's new ride, and C got to take a little test drive before the party to make sure everything was working correctly. He wasn't quite sure what to think of the ride, and more interested in Cousin J's new tricycle. All in all, it was an adorable tractor themed party, and C had an absolute blast playing with cousin J and the rest of the family. Stay tuned for C's birthday wishes... 

Hey everybody! Look at me playing piano with my mom!

Also on the weekend agenda, checking out a new bridge construction site with Grandpa T & Grandma J, a family walk in my hometown for a change of scenery, and a reunion of sorts with 'The Greats' who had been lucky snowbirds in Florida all winter. Luckily, C was in a great mood after being sick all week, and was eating up all of the extra attention from aunts, uncles, cousin J, and grandparents. Seriously, the kid's smile the entire trip was face splitting.

Until next month...

Winter Sledding Adventures

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A little over two weeks ago, was what I'd like to think of as the last hurrah of winter in our little neck of the woods (knock on wood). After a super looooong freezing cold January and February where most days were spent indoors longing for temps to consistently hit above 30 degrees, the weather finally turned itself around just in time for us to test out C's new sled before all of the snow melted. After being gifted this awesome sled from L.L.Bean over the holidays, we had been looking forward to a day that wasn't too cold or blustery for C, with enough snow to make it a little less slick to walk on the ice covered lake. After nearly an entire winter without any significant amount of snow accumulation, near the end of February, we finally got a few inches of snow and a day just above freezing that we had been hoping for.

 Before our sledding adventure, C had never spent any significant amount of time outside during the winter aside from quick trips to and from the car, so T & I weren't really sure what to expect. Was he going to hate it? love it? somewhere in between? As with most things concerning C, he couldn't be bothered by a little cold weather, and was completely at ease just sitting in his new sled and taking in the views of the ice and snow on the lake as we pulled him along the shoreline. #chill

In the last couple of weeks, the temps have finally started to heat up, and over the weekend the lake opened up behind our home, and the ice went out of East Lake. The grass is starting to show hints of green, the migrating birds are back, there are buds on the trees, and signs of spring are abundant in northwest Iowa. While we are super excited to be outside again without coats, we're thankful to have sledding to look forward to next winter!

Happy to be inside warming up after a long sled ride on the lake!
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