Three Month Photos

Monday, September 22, 2014

About a month ago, our little family got all fancied up for an outdoor photo shoot to commemorate C's third month. T & I have so much fun looking back at some of our milestone photo shoots from when we were about his age, that I wanted to do the same for him so we can look back when he is older and reminisce about how little he was, and how much he changes over the course of the first year. 

Photo day arrived, and it was likely the hottest, muggiest, generally most awful day of the summer...of course. The temps were around 87 degrees with no wind and about 100% humidity. As you might imagine, this didn't exactly fit into C's preferred 75 degree comfort zone. After about the first five minutes, he decided once and for all that sweltering heat was just not in his playbook, and tears, crying, and overall rage ensued. 

Luckily, before C decided to make sure that we were all FULLY aware of his dislike for our well-laid plans for a nice photo shoot, our lovely photographers from Emery Photo+Design were able to capture a few shots. These ladies did a great job scouting the outdoor location (near the butterfly house at the Dickinson County Nature Center), and were so patient and understanding as we tried just about every trick in the book to turn C's frown upside down. Hats off to them!

After getting our photos back last week, I was very happy overwhelmed with relief to have at least four solid options for my new gallery frames that dominate the wall in our main living space. I'm looking forward to keeping them updated as the years go by with new milestone and family pictures.

To sum up our three month family photos:

...Be happy for this moment, this moment is your life...

A Trip to the County Fair

Friday, September 12, 2014

As summer draws to a close, it brings with it not only cooler weather, but the end of fair season in the Midwest. If you can remember, we ventured out to the fair earlier this summer while on a trip back to my hometown. C wasn't too impressed with his first fair experience beyond the cattle barn, but now almost two months later, we figured we'd give it another go.

This week is the Clay County Fair, one of the biggest county fairs in the nation. Seriously. There are people that pass through the area from not just Iowa, but states and countries near and far. I would venture to say that it is what T's hometown is known for, and is a definite highlight of the year in our rural Midwest neck of the woods.

The weather was perfect, and since we went during the week instead of opening weekend, the crowds weren't too bad. Here we are standing next to the best pumpkin at the fair this year. I think it weighed about 475 lbs. Crazy! You'd need a forklift just to get it out of the field. I'd like to know what the lucky winner was feeding it to get it to grow so big!

As you can tell, C was pretty impressed with the giant pumpkin.

C was feeling festive, and had a special outfit with a tractor all ready to go for his trip to the fair. We met up with T'a parents for lunch after he snuck in an appetizer of cheese curds. He really wanted the mini-donuts, but I nixed them until dessert. Ahhh fair food...fried, greasy, and delicious. An indulgence for sure, but a must while exploring at the fair. If you get a chance to go, I would highly recommend grabbing a southwest tenderloin sandwich from the food stand at the northeast corner of the pig and sheep barn (sorry I don't remember the exact name...maybe Town House Tenderloins?? It stands by itself, so it's hard to miss). Hands down the best tenderloin T & I have ever had. Ever.

Of course with all the eating going on, C had to eat too, and I was pleasantly surprised to find there are three designated areas, staffed by the hospital, for nursing mothers. We ended up in one of the towers by the east entrance that is also a first aide station (the other two spots are in the 4-H building, and the Events Center, although I never did see either of them). I'm guessing not many people ever have a chance to go in the tower, so it was fun to see what it was all about. They also had it stocked with an awesome book, The American Academy of Pediatrics New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding, that has loads of invaluable information that I would highly recommend to any new mamas out there. Topics were incredibly useful covering everything from nutrition tips, to how to know if your baby is getting enough, to breastfeeding a teething infant. A couple sections I found of particular interest: On including your significant other: 'There are many ways to be a parent besides feeding the baby. Your partner can provide you with nutritious meals so you can better feed your infant, help with household chores so you can rest, play with the baby during awake time, and rock him to sleep by holding him against his chest and singing in a low, rumbling voice', (ahem T...are you listening??). On nutrition: 'A glass of wine or a cup of coffee is fine while nursing. In general, moderation is the key.' Considering this is coming straight from the American Academy of Pediatrics, I'll drink to that!

We enjoyed showing C all of the animals and tractors that we have been reading about in a couple of our favorite farm books My Farm Friends by Wendell Minor, and Johnny Tractor and His Pals

These little critters were all in 'Grandpa's Barn', a kid-themed animal barn filled with baby animals. We saw baby ostriches, a baby alpaca, and baby pigs among others. So much fun!

C had so much fun on his trip to the fair that we decided to head back last evening just to make sure we didn't miss anything. It was much colder with temps hovering at the 50 degree mark, but we bundled up and got to see dairy cows, sheep, pigs, antique cars & tractors, 4-H exhibits, and check out the Midway all before calling it a night. 

T couldn't wait to get to the auto tent to look at the antique cars.

This friendly sheep was very excited to meet C, notice how it is trying to crawl out of it's pen, but C wasn't too interested, and thought it was the perfect time for a little snooze.

C enjoyed the cattle barn again, keeping his eyes open the whole time and listening to the moo-moo cows. We were excited to see this baby calf (on right) that was born just 2 days before C!

What is your favorite thing to see, do, or eat at the fair?

Weekends are for Football & Family

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Another weekend has come and gone. My did we keep busy! The festivities began when C & I took to the roads and ventured to my hometown to attend C's very first football game when the Cats took on Garner Friday night under the lights.

C was what I would call less than impressed with the crowd noise and loudspeaker and ended up crying and scared for at least 1/2 of the time we spent cheering from the stands. Loud noises and lots of people are just generally not his thing lately. We made it until halftime, and were able to watch Uncle T score a touchdown before C completely lost his s#*% heading home to listen in on the radio. 

The Cats were honoring the Veterans at the game, so the mid-field Wildcat decal was painted 
with an American flag, the team had patriotic helmet stickers, and after every TD there was a cannon that shot off, not to mention fireworks pre-game, at halftime, and at the end of the game. Pretty impressive first game experience for C even if he didn't really enjoy it! I'm sure some day he will learn to love all the commotion in the stands, but for the rest of this season, we may have to stick to standing near the fence far from the speaker and the main crowd. T wasn't able to join us for C's first football game experience (which he's beyond bummed about), but we plan to give it another go in a few weeks when he is able to tag along.

C and Uncle T hanging out together Saturday morning.

Grandma J teaching C to play catch with his new football.

Saturday brought us back to the lake house to cheer for the Hawks from afar and some quality time spent with family. T caught a break in his busy call weekend and was able to join in to watch the Hawks cringeworthy performance in their near loss to Ball State. They are going to have to step up their game next week if they have any chance of beating ISU. 

C loved seeing cousin J, and the two spent most of the day laughing and playing together.

Future Hawkeyes.

C had a grand time with Uncle T outside at the lake.

Hanging out lakeside with a few of my favorite boys!

C was completely worn out by Sunday night, and slept from 9:30pm-8:30am Monday morning.
TIRED little fella!

How was your weekend?

Labor Day Weekend Adventures

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Can you believe it's September already?! The 'gone in the blink of an eye' theory can most definitely be applied to this summer. Labor Day, in my book, signifies the closing of the summer season...and the beginning of fall. While I'm not opposed to fall...cooler temps, cozy sweaters, colorful leaves, bonfires, and football season, summer grill outs, boat rides, and lazy days spent lounging outside by the lake are definitely a few of my favorite things that I'll miss as the warm summer months draw to a close and we welcome in the new season.

We rang in the holiday weekend with some Friday night football. Unfortunately, T was on call, and due to the inclement weather, C & I opted to listen in from home rather than cheering from the sidelines. Spencer was playing Humboldt, so for our family this was a pretty big game since T graduated and works in Spencer, and I am pretty serious about my Wildcat roots, not to mention have a brother who is playing for the Cats this fall. 

My brother T (far right) with a couple of his teammates. Humboldt won the game in a shut-out 27-0. GO CATS!

Saturday was filled with cheering for the Iowa Hawkeyes and some at-home tailgating. Our kitchen was a smorgasbord of little smokies, taco dip, brownies, and Slow Cooker Hot Italian Drip Beef sandwiches.

T mixing up some of his favorite homemade bloody marys just before kickoff. The Hawks won, beating the UNI Panthers 31-23. 1-0 Baby! Let's keep it going!

In preparation for game day, T & C had to catch up on all things football in one of C's favorite books, My Football Book.  

Sunday brought with it some flea market adventures. We ventured out to not one, but two of the local flea markets to make sure we didn't miss anything. One man's trash is another man's...trash?? 
That's how it goes right?

 There were all sorts of treasures to be had, but while we enjoyed seeing what people thought they might be able to sell (ahem...that quilt with swastikas was certainly a find), the biggest treasure we found was the delightfully delicious fresh popped kettle corn. T is now convinced he needs a kettle to add to his man cave. While this would be totally OK with me, unfortunately, we don't have the room....tear...

The look on C's face at the flea market. In complete facsination of all the treasures...

T, my brother T, and Mama J checking out some knives and pistols on display at the flea market.

Labor Day was beautiful, and we spent the day lakeside splitting time between rocking chairs on the patio, a boat ride on the lake, and a walk for some exercise. Did I mention T finally got the approval from the DNR to get an in-state fishing license?! Woot woot! You wouldn't believe the amount of trouble this was. While I'm not expecting enough fish to be caught to have a fish fry, I'm thinking maybe Papa D could give him a few pointers after what I assume was another successful fishing trip over the Canadian border last week.

How was your Labor Day weekend?
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