Carter's First Birthday

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Over Memorial Day weekend, we celebrated C's first birthday with ALL of the family. Everyone arrived while C was still napping, and when he woke up, he was in complete shock to see all of his favorites waiting to help ring in his newly minted status as a one year old. 

C's party didn't have much of a theme other than...'Hey everybody...I'm ONE!'. I suppose you could stretch and say it was a picnic or BBQ themed party, but in general, I've found...simple is best when it comes to party throwing. That being said, I did of course DIY a few decorations for the party. I made this chalkboard sign to commemorate C's one-year-old self, picked up a few red gingham napkins and some petunias for table decorations, made a Happy Birthday banner, and put together the tassel banner using the pictures I've been taking of C every month of his first year. Such fun to look back at each month and see how much he's grown and changed since we first brought him home!

Let's not forget the piece de resistance! T was up pretty much the entire night before the party playing pit master to about 30lbs of pork on his smoker. Not only did he refuse to make it ahead of time, he may have slightly vastly overestimated how much meat we actually needed for the party (that being said, my mouth is watering just thinking about the delicious leftovers waiting in our freezer). After nearly 24 hours on the smoker, the flavor was pretty amazing, and he got to bask in the glory of it all before C stole the spotlight.

After lunch, the birthday boy had to have his own cake to smash. I'm not sure what he liked more, smashing the cake and tasting the frosting, or all of the attention on him!

The highlights of the gift opening for C were the birthday cards and gift tags. Surprisingly, he wasn't too interested in tearing open the wrapping paper, or ripping up tissue paper. He was, however, determined to read each and every card and gift tag before showing any interest in the gift itself. Another favorite was this John Deere sippy cup. I have no idea why, and hasn't actually figured out how to drink from it yet, but he certainly loved looking at all of the farm equipment pictured on it! 

Here, C and cousin J were trying to figure out how to work the bell on C's new tricycle. A source of fascination for many days to come!

Awww shucks...thanks everyone!

Happy Birthday C!

Carter: 12 Months

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ahhhhh! A year is upon us. I can not believe that our sweet little man is already a whole year old. It seems like it was just yesterday when we were in the hospital anxiously waiting to meet him for the first time. I truly don't think I appreciated just how fast time goes by before watching C grow up right before my eyes. To glimpse just how much he's been growing, here's a breakdown of year one.

19.5 inches | 6 lbs. 15 oz.
21 inches | 6 lbs. 14.5 oz.
24.25 inches | 13 lbs.
27.25 inches | 16 lbs. 6 oz.
29 inches | 17 lbs. 14 oz.
30.5 inches | 22 lbs. 4 oz.
32.25 inches | 24 lbs. 10 oz.

C is currently in the 98% for height, and 76% for weight. It appears he's going to be a very tall boy!

Water Bottles
Flapping Fish & John Deere Massaging Corn Teether
Bath time
Spending time outside
Crinkling his face
Noodles & Ritz Crackers
Ladies in bikinis
(Seriously...when 'reading' a magazine, C inevitably stops at the page advertising swimsuits or water floats, and there is always a lady in a bikini...his father's son no doubt!)

Spicy food
Being sick
 (Ear infection #2 arrived on the eve of C's birthday after a 2 week battle with a cold.)


C is a happy HAPPY little guy. If he is crying, there is almost always a pretty good reason for it. He is quite the little inspector, and takes his time to think about just about everything that he does. Case in point: At his one year checkup, C's doctor observed that he seems like quite an intelligent little guy. He had grabbed the stethoscope during his exam, but unlike most kids who might grab it just because it was there to grab, C grabbed it with the intention of inspecting it to see what it was all about. Only time will tell about C's intelligence, but for now, he is quite the little thinker!

At home, T & I have noticed that when we are reading to C, many times, he is looking at the words rather than the pictures themselves. He's always loved when we read to him, and he sits contently through many stories that seem like they would have too many words to keep the attention of a kid his age. Usually, he's helping us turn pages, or bringing the book right up close to his face to look at the words. He'd likely be content to sit on my lap and read all day! Our nap and bedtime routine include reading a story (usually Goodnight Moon, I Love You Stinky Face, or The Pout Pout Fish), and after the initial story, C almost always grabs another book from the pile, and we end up adding another story to the routine.

Another defining characteristic occurs when C is drinking from his sippy cup. He can't be bothered to hold it himself, he is far to busy covering his eyes so that nobody can watch him eat. He's pretty much been covering his eyes while he eats from Day 1, so who knows how long this will last. Old habits die hard I suppose! Speaking of covering his eyes, C's signature move since around 6 months, is thumb in mouth and hand over his eyes when he is tired and ready for a nap or bedtime. Prior to 6 months, his signature move was being picked up, arching his back, throwing his hands above his head, and shaking his head back and forth. Too cute!


C got to attend his very first track meet this month. Uncle T and the Wildcats were running in Emmetsburg, so we packed up and made the quick 45min trip to watch the races. C was all about it until Grandpa T was holding him and started cheering just a little too loud for comfort. He cried and was scared for a good 30 minutes, but then he discovered a water bottle and a crinkly leftover chip bag from our concession stand meal, and all was well with the world again. It took him a while to warm back up to Grandpa T after that!

As an early birthday present, T & I surprised C with a bike trailer and bike helmetWooHoo! I'm not sure that C shares in the excitement level that T & I have about this new addition to our toddler gear, but T & I have thoroughly enjoyed finally being able to get out and enjoy some bike rides as a family of three after only having the opportunity to bike a handful of times last summer when we had a sitter...aka grandma...on handFor our initial trip, we opted for a quick little 10 minute ride to Taco House for dinner. C was hyper focused on what the heck was going on, and did a great job riding along. He has since become more comfortable in the new ride, and enjoys looking around at the scenery on the bike path near our home. We are looking forward to building on the length of our trips, and eventually extending our rides around the lake rather than just our neighborhood.

Oh yeah! A cardboard box to play in! Another highlight this month...first haircut! Kind of...C had his official one year photos taken the week he turned one, and the hair over his ears just had to be trimmed. It was an at-home job done by yours truly, and I've decided that I do not envy hair professionals who are tasked with cutting infant or toddler hair. The whole four snips took me about a half hour just to get C to be still enough so that I wouldn't accidentally cut his ear. The new 'do' did just the trick, and he looked very handsome for his official one year photos (stay tuned!).

Getting some fresh air around the house, and checking on all of the new spring plants with Mom.

C continues to love laying on his back with his feet in the air. Even when he is sitting on our laps, he likes to have his feet in the air. Silly little boy!

The many faces of C. Face crinkles have been a regular appearance this month. Here, C had just noticed the bandaids on his legs on the day he had his one year vaccines. After discovery, he went immediately to work on pulling them off. Ouch! He's certainly braver than me! These faces though...priceless!

First time swinging at the park was on May Day. C LOVED it! Grandma S surprised him later in the week with his own swing for under the deck at our house, and he's been having a great time swinging ever since.

C has been learning to crawl this month, and will likely be mobile before we know it. He is currently still in the army crawl stage, and can't get anywhere fast, but he is a very determined little guy, and I'm sure it won't be long before he's got it all figured out. The main things he is interested in crawling to get are empty Gatorade bottles, car keys, and his flapping fish. I've been spending a little time each day the last part of this month starting to baby proof our home in preparation for the day that C starts walking and getting into everything. Now if only I could find a baby gate for the top of our stairs that doesn't have to be screwed into the wall...ugh...

An introduction to table food. In the evening, T & I usually try to make a point of having C join us for meals at the table to make him feel part of the event. This month, we started being a little more adventurous with letting him try whatever we were eating for dinner, and he has been loving it. Ritz crackers, cheese, and noodles rank pretty high on the list of C's favorite finger foods. This month, he got to try goulash, tuna noodle casserole, and macaroni & cheese thoroughly enjoyed all of them. Something he didn't enjoy?? Stuffed peppers. I didn't realize how spicy they were before offering some of the filling to C, and after the first couple of bites, his eyes started to tear, and crying ensued. No hot Rotel or salsa for this kid! I'm going to have to tone down the spicy food for C in the future! On another note, no new teeth yet. C has been holding strong on the two bottom teeth for the last three months. At his one year checkup, his doctor checked his teeth, and said she could see several more coming. As with most everything, C is in no hurry to get new teeth, and seems to be waiting until he is good and ready for them to pop through. 

The night before C's birthday, we had planned to visit Grandma J, Grandpa T, Uncle T, Uncle T, Aunt H, and Cousin J in Humboldt. C & I made a quick visit to the clinic to pick up T from work, and sneak in about the 4th ear check of the week. C had been tugging at his ears and just acting off all week, but they'd checked out fine every time. I thought, it couldn't possibly hurt to check them one more time before leaving town for the weekend, and sure enough, he had an ear infection. An hour later, after a pitstop at the pharmacy to get some medicine, we were on the road to Humboldt. C did fine until about halfway through the trip when his face started crumpling and he was pushing his ear into the car seat. Poor little guy was in pain, and didn't know what to do. I'm convinced there is no worse feeling as a parent than watching your child be in pain and not being able to help or pick him up to comfort him. We did pull over for a pit stop so T could move to the back seat to be with C for the remainder of the trip until we could get to our destination. After tracking down some Tylenol, C was fine for the rest of the evening, and seemed to forget all about his ear pain after reuniting with Cousin J and the rest of the family upon arrival. Thankfully, he didn't have any trouble sleeping through the night. Whew!

The day of C's birthday, we packed up and headed to my cousin's graduation party in Ankeny. We tried to time our drive to the party so it would hit nap time, but C was not interested in napping, and only slept for about 10 minutes of the 1.5 hr trip to the party. Go figure! Luckily, his lack of a nap didn't seem to phase him, and he stayed busy looking at all of the pretty party decorations, and being passed around between many different members of my extended and immediate family. After the party, we split ways with T, who had Bass Pro Shop on his mind...along with all of the other boys in my family, and Grandma J and I headed to the mall with C. He loves to shop, and so instead of taking his afternoon nap, he slept for about five minutes on the way to the mall, and then was awake the rest of the day. To celebrate the day, Grandpa T, Grandma J, T, C and I all went out to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory before heading home. C loved sitting on the outside patio where he spent a solid half hour playing with an empty water bottle and crinkling his face. We let C try some lemon raspberry cheesecake in honor of his birthday, and the general consensus was that I'm going to have to break out the springform pan! HE LOVED IT, and couldn't gobble it up fast enough!

We love you C, and your cautious, intelligent, thoughtful little self. Can't wait to see what kind of adventures you'll have as a one year old!
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