Ten & Eleven Month Favorites

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

No joke, ten and eleven month favorites took me a while to come up with. Things that immediately came to mind were empty plastic water bottles, napkins, and cardboard boxes. After a little more pondering, I realized that while those things have certainly played a large part in the last couple of months, there are some other items that have been regular staples in recent days that are also probably worth a mention. So without further adieu...

Ten and Eleven Month Favorites

Melissa & Doug Flapping Fish // We can't seem to get enough of this wooden flapping fish at our house. C has been fascinated shaking the fish around and getting it to make noise. We thought this wouldn't even come close to being a favorite, but for whatever reason, it seems to hold C's attention longer than most, and he will often reach for it instead of many of his other more annoying brightly colored rattles and shakers.

Food Pouches // With all of the traveling we've been doing lately, we've been loving baby food pouches for on the go meals. They are quick, easy, and convenient. We aren't specific about the brand, and usually mix it up choosing options that sounds the most appetizing. Also loving this set from OXO that includes a travel friendly roll-up bib, and soft spoon. C has been teething and wanting to chew on everything, so the hard plastic baby spoons have been hurting his gums when he chomps down. The soft silicon on the OXO spoon is the perfect solution. As he transitions to feeding himself, I plan to get him this feeding set.

Construction Equipment // Boys and their trucks...many hours have been spent playing with this dump truck and backhoe. Dumping out blocks, flipping it over to inspect the wheels, you name it. The small backhoe is the perfect size for little hands to grasp, chew on, or bring along on road trips.

Munchkin White Hot Inflatable Duck Tub // Bath time around our house is always quite the event, and we couldn't be happier with Munchkin's inflatable duck tub. It is perfect for babies who are sitting, but don't need the space of the entire bathtub just yet. It has a nice little sticker on the bottom that tells you when the bath water is too hot, and provides more support for slippery little water babies than the big tub. Because it's inflatable, it can be packed away when baby grows out of it unlike our infant baby tub. These rubber boat party water squirties have also been a huge hit for bath time fun and swimming, and come in many different styles if your little isn't into boats.

Fleece Jacket // C had a fleece jacket and pant set from Baby Gap that he wore about three times a week all spring. Sadly, the fleece version is no longer available as we're gearing up for summer weather (lightweight version here), but The North Face has some equally warm and cozy looking jacket options (here, here, here, here), that we'll be keeping in mind for the coming fall.

Water Bottles // Empty...half full...or filled with shells and rocks, C LOVES playing, shaking, and crinkling plastic water bottles. Better yet if it's a giant Gatorade bottle. Cheap entertainment at it's finest!

I Am A Little Tiger // C LOVES this book, and gets a giant smile on his face whenever he gets it in his grips. He loves 'reading' this book, and the title itself gets his immediate attention before he even looks at any of the pictures. This is part of the Little Barron series of books, and based on how much C likes this one and I Am A Big Dinosaur, we'll likely be collecting a few more before it's all said and done. The story within is unique and educational about a baby tiger growing up in the jungle, and how it will learn to hunt, swim, and be brave just like it's mother when it grows up. Such a great book for little boys!

A Sunshine Getaway

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Vacation...where there wasn't a care in the world except for what time of day our walk on the beach should be, how long the wait for fresh donuts from The Donut Experiment might take, or how much fun C would have swimming in the pool after nap time. Alas...after an absolutely wonderful vacation, we've made it home. Things are looking up back in Northwest Iowa. The grass has greened up, the birds are chirping, and the temps are hovering at a pleasent 65 degrees. But before we get into the delights of being home, here's a little peak into our getaway!

Vacation started with a nonstop flight (the only way to travel) from Sioux Falls to St. Petersburg, FL. On our last trip, the connection times didn't work out for us to fly from Sioux Falls, which is only about 1.5hrs from our home, but this time, the connections were great, so we decided to give it a whirl. Getting ALL of our traveling done in one day is really the only way to go. No single portion of our trip took longer than three hours (trip to the airport: 1.5hrs, flight: 2.75hrs, trip to beachouse: 45min), which I credit as one of the reasons we have been able to travel so easily with C. Obviously...the shorter the better, but having downtime in between legs to stretch out, eat, and play were key. After stopping for libations at the airport restaurant to celebrate our smooth journey to the airport and through security, we boarded the flight. The third person in our row was kind enough to take a family photo for us while we were waiting for takeoff. Although, it turned out blurry, it's still better than anything I could get of the three of us 'selfie-style', so I'll take it!

 C did great on the flight, languishing over a sippy cup of formula on the way up and another on the way down to combat any ear issues. He even snuck in a quick rather uncomfortable looking nap sprawled across T & I's laps. He was a little more squirmy than on our flights last November, but when the flight attendant gave him a couple of water cups to play with and he discovered the laminated flight safety brochure in the seat back, we were set. It was right at C's bedtime when we arrived in St. Petersburg, and as you can tell, he was pretty exhausted and didn't quite know what to think! Staying up late and being in Florida? What next!?

Here we are waiting for our luggage to arrive. The absolute best $64 bucks I've ever spent came in the form of this carseat travel cart. It literally was a travel lifesaver. I have no idea how people travel with kids who need carseats without one. HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you plan to haul along a carseat on your travels! I did a lot of research, and went with this Britax version because it uses LATCH connectors to attach, the same system car seats use to attach to vehicles, and didn't require any screws or clunky cords. Clip on...clip off...done. T lifted C and the carseat right out of the car and onto the cart without worrying about unstrapping him at all. I can not say enough good things about this. Oh yeah, and it detaches, folds up, and can sit inside the carseat, inside the car seat bag for gate checking. AMAZING!

After a whirlwind day of travel, C had a hard time adjusting to the new sleeping arrangements, and spent probably half of the first night being scared about where he was. After letting him cry it out for a good half hour, we caved and brought him in bed with us...which NEVER happens...and while it did calm him, he just thought it was playtime...at 3 A.M...and was far too busy rolling around and kicking us in the face to actually get any sort of sleep. It took about 15 minutes of this before T & I changed our minds about letting him in bed with us and moved him back to the pack'n'play where he eventually calmed himself down enough to sleep. The next day, we didn't have anything planned other than to relax, so we all took it easy the first full day of vacation. It was wonderful that Grandma J, Grandpa T, and Uncle T were along for the first part of the trip, and C could expend some of his energy with them while T & I loaded up on coffee.

Beach time! First on the agenda of our vacation...after going to get donuts and coffee of course...was a trip to the beach. Not too difficult a trek since it was only about 100 yards from the front door of where we stayed. Upon arriving at the beach, C was immediately in love with the soft white sand and dipping his little toes in the ocean. Grandma J got him outfitted with this awesome Seaside Sidekicks Funnel ToyClicker Crab Scoop, and a sand bucket, and C got right down to business trying to figure out how to sneak in a taste of the sand. In case you're wondering, yes he was successful on several occasions.

The Donut Experiment was packed beyond belief the entire time we were on vacation...literally standing room only every day! The look on C's face pretty much says it all...disbelief! We visited three times...every new guest arrival warranting another visit, and twice spent over TWO HOURS waiting for donuts...yes, they are that good. We rarely get donuts while at home since there isn't anywhere near us that even comes close to the level of deliciousness that these bites offer - warm cake donuts covered in whatever frostings and toppings your heart desires. This place is the real deal. It has never been so busy when we've visited, and we are convinced that it would be an excellent addition to Okoboji. In case anyone's wondering...yes...they are franchising!

Those papers laying in front of the checkout? That's about 30+ orders that went in before ours. A good two hour wait. These craft donut makers are efficient, and were moving as fast as they possibly could go. The only way this process could have been sped up would have been opening a second location! For a glimpse of the deliciousness that was enjoyed, some of our favorites are: caramel with sea salt, vanilla with raspberry drizzle, chocolate with graham cracker, and key lime pie just to name a few.

T & I took advantage of Grandma J & Grandpa T being along to sneak out for a date night at Beach Bistro (a non-baby-friendly restaurant we had been wanting to try for some time) while C enjoyed some bonding time with the grandparents and Uncle T. He didn't even notice we were gone until we came back home and he saw us come in the door. At that point, he realized that 'hey...you guys left me!'...and his face crumpled and tears started flowing. I swear, this kid is like a faucet. He can turn it on or off on a moments notice. Dinner was lovely, and so much fun to enjoy a date night at somewhere fancy instead of our winter standbys at home of take-out pizza or Mexican. If you are lucky enough to make it to Beach Bistro, don't leave without trying the key lime pie! Their deconstructed take on it might just have made my non-key-lime-loving-self a convert. Delicious!

A couple of days into the trip, Uncle N and his girlfriend C arrived to join the fun. As I've mentioned before, C has a big time crush on Uncle N's girlfriend, and he was so excited about their arrival that he decided to start talking using multiple consonants (He literally wasn't even saying single consonants until the day before this, and on the day we arrived, he wasn't even doing that. He had been trying very hard to figure out how to make sounds for a while, so it has been so much fun to finally hear his voice). I'll have you all know, that C's first word was ma-ma, followed immediately by da-da-da, ga-ga-ga, ra-ra-ra, and na-na-na. Since our return, he has backed off on the talking a little bit, and seems to have decided that da-da-da is his favorite only busting out the other consonants on special occasions. I'm sure it won't be long until he'll be feeding us all sorts of stories!

Most days of our trip included several hours spent poolside, where C enjoyed showing off his back floating skills, and boating around in his pool float. He has zero trust issues when it comes to swimming, and was all about back floating with his feet up in the air while T or I zoomed him around the pool. We definitely have a water loving baby! When he got to sit on the side of the pool and put his toes in and splash around was quite possibly the highlight of his trip!

I should probably also mention that every time I turned around, it seemed that T was sneaking in a dunk. C does pretty well with it, although he hasn't quite figured out that he needs to keep his mouth shut so he doesn't swallow too much water.

So many smiles! We enjoyed spending time at the beach, and C LOVED getting his toes in the sand and sitting at the edge of the ocean as the waves broke. He loves the water, and was having the time of his life going from ocean...to pool...to hot tub...to bath. 

C learned all about how to catch sand fleas and fish off the beach from the boys.

No...T didn't catch this shark...Uncle N did within about 20 minutes of arriving. This was no doubt frustrating for Uncle T who had been standing on the beach for several hours with no luck!

Later in the week, Uncle N & T went out deep sea fishing about 30 miles, and brought back a pretty impressive haul of grouper. This was probably the highlight of T's trip as it was his first experience  with ocean fishing since on our past trips there was never anyone along who knew how to operate the fishing boat.

It was a bit hard to capture a good photo of C on the beach since he was so fascinated by all of the seagulls flying around! He would look up and watch, then clap his hands in delight as they flew over.

One of the few family photos that actually turned out!

The last day of our vacation, we spent walking on the beach, playing by the pool, and even made it out to dinner for sushi at Island Ocean Star. C thought it was pretty fun to sit in the booth with dad, and even more cool to walk around the docks at the marina looking at some of the yachts stored there after dinner. 

We had a great trip, and had so much fun with all of our friends and family that were able to join in on the fun.

Carter: 11 Months

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Eleven months have arrived! Each day brings us closer to one year with C, and makes me wish we could just make time stop for a while. Our little guy has stayed true to form this month giving us daily face-splitting smiles and baby belly laughs. If T so much as looks at C, that's all it takes for the belly laughing to start. I have no idea why C thinks T is so funny since I'm certainly not over here belly laughing, but I figure he must think he's funny looking!

Trust falls
Panting in excitement
Empty water bottles
Snuggling with mom
Pulling on the fan cord
Cardboard boxes

Being sick


The day after turning 10 months, C woke up all bent out of shape, fussy, and with a low-grade fever. T brought his tools home from work to check him out, and as it turns out, he had an ear infection. Of course since he has so much wax in his ears, T could only see inside one of them, but one was enough as it was immediately obvious what was going on. A quick call to the hospital to send a script to the pharmacy for amoxicillin, and T, after just getting home about 10 minutes earlier, was back out the door to Walgreens in Spencer since all of our local pharmacies were already closed for the evening. The ear infection battle lasted all week before C started to feel better. Unfortunately, about six days into the ten day amoxicillin regimen, C had an allergic reaction to it, and broke out in a terrible rash all over his body. Luckily, the ear infection was gone by this point, and after discontinuing the medicine, his rash cleared up. We will have to try something else next time he's sick!

Celebrating Grandma J's birthday! C's favorite part was playing with the crinkly wrapping of course.

C made the official transition to his own room this month. WooHoo! He had been sleeping in his room during naps for several months already, but the temps were dipping too low for comfort for overnight sleep without a blanket during the colder months (SIDS prevention says nothing in the crib until one year). We don't currently heat the room beneath his during the colder months since it's just used for storage. Anyways, he has been sleeping through the night no problem since about two months old, so having him in our room in the Pack'n'Play was just better for our piece of mind until the weather warmed up to a point we knew would be comfortable for him to transition. As with most things, he took the whole changeover in stride, and has had no problems with the move. If anything, he's sleeping a little better because he isn't hearing us move around while he's trying to sleep. For now, we are just using a V-Tech audio monitor that we picked up on vacation until I can convince T to set up the fancier video monitor. C isn't trying to crawl out of the crib just yet, so this has been working fine for the time being.

We've got a little mouthpiece on our hands! C has started talking using single and multiple consonants this month. We had to go all the way to Florida (more on this soon!) to get some actual sounds other than squeals and laughter, but on Wednesday, April 1st, he started using single consonants. 'Ga' was the favorite - not the easiest sound to make, but his 'Ga-ramma' was in his face most of the day trying to get him to tell her a story, so this might have been the ticket! Thursday, April 2nd, he'd had enough of single consonants, and his first word was 'Ma-Ma' (victory!) followed within seconds by 'Da-Da' (I doubt he realizes these are words of course, but learning to make double-consonant sounds is a pretty big deal!). As the day progressed, he also told us all about 'Ra-Ra', 'Ga-Ga', 'Ba-Ba', and  'Na-Na' . He's a bit of a cautious heart, so it seems that he stored up all of his stories until he had the biggest audience possible to share them with - nearly all of my family was along for the trip. Since our vacation, he's been less adventurous with his sounds, and has been sticking to his favorites 'Ra-Ra-Ra' and 'Da-Da-Da'.

In preparation for our warm weather vacation, C spent some time working on his beach bod, and learning from the best all about lifting weights. He loves to watch T while he's lifting, so when I spotted these two pound weights at the store the other day, it was a sign. Grandma J has some one pounders that Uncle N & T showed C how to use, and the rest was history!

C has had an absolute blast spending more time with Cousin J this past month. Now that the boys are both a little older, playtime has been so much fun. Cousin J is far more mobile than C, so it has been fun to see C as he sits and watches him like a hawk while J crawls and runs around. Somehow, C doesn't have any tractors at home to play with (how is this possible?), so when cousin J came to visit, he brought one along and showed him all about how to play farm and make the tractor sound. 

As I mentioned in the favorites, C has been into trust falls this month. He hasn't figured out yet how to crawl, go from lying down to sitting, or sitting to standing, but he is getting pretty cocky about his standing capabilities, and often times will take one or both hands off whatever piece of furniture he is using for support, fully expecting someone to catch him if he looses his balance. He's not using his feet to cruise just yet, but we are convinced that he will likely skip right over crawling and go straight to walking.

Let the countdown to one begin!
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