Scenes from the Fair

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to visit the Clay County Fair...not once...not twice...but three times. No jokes, we may still be in recovery mode. It is so great to have such an awesome county fair just outside our back door to celebrate the end of summer and kick off the beginning of fall. If you remember, we also took C to the fair last year, but now that he is a little older, he had so much more fun. Some highlights...

Fist up? Townhouse Tenderloins...aka the best tenderloin you will ever eat. This thing is for real, and is enough to easily fill you up without any sides. We discovered them last year, and have heard from many...many other locals that it is also their first stop of the fair. Last year, they sold out on the last day of the fair, so this year, we may have gone twice just for good measure...

Speaking of fair food, C got to try his very first morsel of fried deliciousness which came in the form of fried mac & cheese bites. Obviously, he loved them. Also on the fair menu...the best strawberry smoothies. C has been loving smoothies lately, so this was a healthy fair food option that I was ok letting him indulge in more than once. Of course, T, who doesn't typically eat much for breakfast or lunch, was in full overindulgence mode and fair food heaven, and fed C mini-donuts the second I turned my back. Men...

C was fascinated with the shiny Indian motorcycles on display, and couldn't wait to get on one and practice his biker skills.

Other highlights...animals! C LOVED Grandpa's Barn (a.k.a. the baby animal barn) this year. He was able to get down and stand close to the pint-sized animals, and was even brave curious enough to reach out and pet the baby lambs! Also a fascination, the horses, sheep, and cows. Having an opportunity  to see the animals we read about in person was quite a big deal! Future vet perhaps?

Another favorite was visiting the train station. Honestly, C enjoyed it, but I think this fair stop was more about T, who couldn't wait to go check it out!

C's absolute favorite stop at the fair this year was hands down...the John Deere Pavilion. He love. Love. LOVED. sitting on the riding mowers, inspecting all of the gears and levers, and 'pretending' to drive. The last day of the fair, Grandpa T was working, and C got to go pick out his favorite toys from the kids section. He's not just anyone's son, and he went straight for the most expensive ride-on toys he could find. He's not quite able to reach the pedals yet, but I could see this tractor potentially finding a home in our garage sometime in the future. He was the perfect size for this motorized gator, but considering we live next to the lake, I don't think it will be coming home with us anytime soon! I should also mention, in case you are looking for an awesome little kid activity at the fair, the John Deere Pavilion has a 'cornbox' a.k.a. sandbox filled with corn, that is full of kid sized farm equipment and 'treasures' (coupons for toy discounts) for kiddos to dig for. C absolutely couldn't get enough, and had So. Much. Fun. playing in the corn. We'll definitely be stopping back next year!

Last, but not least, we had to walk through the midway on the way home the last night of the fair. C was fascinated watching all of the kids rambling about, the bright lights, and the many different sounds from various games and carnival rides. There were a couple of rides he maybe could have tried out, but the kid-sized roller coaster was not one of them! Considering he measured 35" just a few weeks ago, I think the carnival workers should maybe rethink their height requirements!

Oh Dad, do you think I could please go on this carnival ride?

But Dad!!! What do you mean I'm not tall enough? 

Maybe next year C!

Friday Five

Friday, September 25, 2015

Now that football season has officially arrived, we find ourselves on the road more often than not. After giving it some thought, we decided to invest in a compact travel stroller for trips when we don't want to lug along the BOB. After some serious research, I picked up the Mountain Buggy Nano last weekend while on an impromptu shopping trip. It has won all sorts of awards for design and style, and even folds down to regulation airline carry-on size...amazing! It also has great reviews from other parents, and the stroller expert at Buy Buy Baby told me he thought it was far and away the best compact travel stroller that they carry. I'm excited to have more trunk space when traveling in our small vehicles, and am looking forward to a less stressful packing experience! I also considered the Graco Breaze which is more of a true umbrella style stroller, and while I liked it, I wasn't convinced it would help to save any room in our already filled-to-the-brim trunk while traveling. While browsing the baby sites, I also stumbled across this carseat, which I'm sure if T ever laid eyes on, would be coming home with us. A must-have for our upcoming road trip to Iowa City? We shall see... 

In case you missed it, voters in the Okoboji School District voted down a new middle school in early September. T & I did not exercise our voting rights in the election since we aren't totally sure where we stand on the matter. The Gist: The city was trying to pass a piece of legislation that would increase taxes by approximately $75 per $100,000 home valuation per year for the next 10 years. Ultimately, in our minds, this is a reasonable amount that wouldn't break the bank, and if the community really needs it, then probably a necessary evil. We currently live in the Okoboji district, but are leaning towards sending C to Spirit Lake when he hits school age since every single family we know in our area are sending their kiddos there. Things could always change, but this is where we currently stand. On the fence...

With the arrival of fall, comes lots of travel to and from football games. C has started to outgrow the Pack'N'Play that we typically travel with, and I am on the hunt for a new larger toddler travel bed. The KidCo Peapod Plus has me intrigued, and folds down nice and compact for travel, although I'm not sure I'm sold on it's tent like design. This Intex Kidz Travel Bed is reasonably priced, fits a standard crib sheet, and has great reviews, although is not advertised as being BPA-free...womp womp...and this inflatable toddler bed from The Shrunks also has great reviews, but it worries me a little that C might find the low sides especially tempting to practice escape tactics, rather than worrying about sleeping! Anyone have any recommendations?

Our free time lately has been completely consumed by watching Narcos. A Netflix Original series documenting the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar during his drug trafficking days in Columbia, this show is seriously addicting. It follows two DEA agents assigned to his case, the Columbian government, and members of the Pablo's Drug Cartel. A note: There are lots of subtitles to read, so you'll need to pay attention, but I promise, it's totally worth it. See a trailer for the series here. Thank me later!

We have a little munchkin who has had some recent serious trouble sleeping. After several nights of restless slumber, I set up our video monitor to see what the heck was the issue. (We had previously been using this monitor which is audio only, and great for travel.) C has started pulling up on the edge of his crib, and even though we have lowered the crib mattress, it still makes me nervous since he is so tall. It is fascinating to be able to watch him and see what he is all worked up about. Things we've learned...1. He can most definitely pull up on furniture. 2. He knows how to furniture cruise. 3. He is willing to stand and cry for hours until T or I come to rescue him and bring him to bed with us (as you can tell from the above pic, this doesn't exactly bode well for room in the bed for anyone but C!). I think we can chalk this up to all of the teeth he is getting...eight new teeth including four molars that popped through within the last few weeks!...and that it is just a phase. We are hoping that the nonstop construction work, and consequent missed naps, haven't ruined his normally great sleeping habits forever!

Also, in case you missed them, I posted our Fourteen & Fifteen Month Favorites.

Have a great weekend!

Carter: 15 & 16 Month Update

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My oh the time is flying. Summer is drawing to a close, and C is turning into such a little character. This past couple of months have brought many changes for C, who had his first major injury...a broken leg, started pulling up and getting into e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, and added a ton of new teeth. All was well at his 15 month checkup, and he is progressing as expected. The nurse measured his height at 36", although we think our at-home measurements are more accurate at 35" (99.8%), and weight was 28 3/4 lbs (93%), although this measurement was after getting his cast on, so I think we'll go with the official ER weight which was about 26 1/4 lbs., and closer to the 75% for weight. Either way you dice it, C is a big boy!

Official 15 Month Photo.




Dishwasher...laundry name it, it's worth investigating.
Door stops and pocket doors
Absolute favorite is pulling off the little rubber piece from the door stop and putting it in his mouth. Choke hazard city. We'll be looking for some better door stops in the very near future!
Eating meals at the table
This kid's appetite is insatiable these days. He can take down half a brat, a peanut butter sandwich, or mac & cheese in no time flat.
Drinking from a straw
Visits to the park
Brushing teeth*
Playing in the water
Being chased
Morning snuggles with Mom
Opening and closing doors and cabinets
Boat rides


Getting nails clipped
Construction noise during nap time
A clean mom 
An explanation: C is not a fan of a just showered mama with hair in a towel and no makeup. You should just see him. I usually try to grab a shower while he is napping, and  when I don't have time to dry my hair or put on makeup before going to get him up, he looks at me like he has no idea who I am. After I pick him up, we have to sit down and rock for a while so he can bury his face in my shoulder while I gently explain to him that I am the same mama as I've always been and he has nothing to worry about. 
With the addition of his two front teeth, C has been all about eating whatever the rest of us are having for meals, and much less interested in taking a sippy cup of milk. He does a pretty good job of it, and eats just about anything we put in front of him without having any trouble choking on food. He does still drink his milk, but his overall intake has gone down by about 6oz or so per day as his solid food intake has gone up. 
Brushing teeth*
*Before the onslaught of new teeth, C was all about brushing his own teeth. Now that he has several new pearly whites that are in various stages of eruption, he has been fighting us big time as his gums are tender from all of the new teeth popping through.


C learned how to drink from a straw! I had been offering him a sip from my water glass using my straw here and there while we were out to eat, and he always had trouble figuring it out. About the first of August, we were out for a quiet mid-week dinner on the patio at Maxwell's, and on a whim, I ordered him a kids meal that came with a kids cup. He took one look at the cup with the big straw, and couldn't wait to try it out. And just like that, he figured it out no problem. He did such a great job with it that we even had to get him a refill! Since then, we've added a few new straw sippy cups for smoothies and drinks at home.

C has perfected his scowl face. Sadly, the days of adorable crinkle faces seem to have ceased around the beginning of month 15, but now we've moved onto a new expression, the scowl face, or 'the sneer' as I'd like to call it. I'm not sure where he picked up this look from since T & I don't walk around with scowls, but I think it may have something to do with the fact that he's got a mouthful of teeth coming in, and has been spending the greater part of the last two months trying to battle the pain that comes along with teething.

Speaking of teething, C has added not one, not two, but NINE new teeth in the last TWO months. A bit of a late teether (taking after papa T), his Doctor wasn't kidding when she said she saw a mouthful of teeth coming in at his one year checkup! His two upper front teeth, central incisors if you will, popped through right at 15 months, followed shortly by both of his lower lateral incisors, one of his top lateral incisors, and near the end of month 16, all four molars. I can see his last remaining upper lateral incisor starting to pop through, and while I haven't felt around his mouth lately since he likes to bite my fingers when I do, just this morning, I thought I could see his lower cuspids starting to make an appearance. In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a handy little chart from the American Dental Association that shows tooth names, and expected eruption timelines. I'm hoping that we can chalk up all of C's recent sleeping troubles to the new teeth 'erupting', and that this phase will soon pass!

A mention on motions...Some of C's favorites are clapping, soooo big, shaking his head no, and waving bye-bye or hello. I have also been working on teaching him different body parts, and he's starting to understand where his hair and ears are. C loves reading Ten Tiny Toes and learning about different body parts while following along with the little boy as he tells us to touch our ears and make them wiggle or touch your belly, laugh and giggle. Such a cute book.

First, and only, swim in the lake of 2015! Just before breaking his leg, C took a swim on the Maui Mat in the lake. If you recall from last year, he HATED swimming in the lake. This year, it was a different story. The water was warmer, and C had a ton of fun being able to splash around while only being partially submerged in the water.

After breaking his leg, C had to stick to boat rides instead of swimming. Grandpa T got a new fishing boat over the summer, and C loves to stand at the back and watch the wake from the motor, or 'drive' the boat himself. On the big boat, he figured out how to open and close the doors that hold the cooler, and spent many hours figuring out just exactly how it works.

While we don't have many opportunities locally to do any great hiking, there is a fun 'interpretive trail' over by Gull Point State Park that is a nice place for a nature walk. It's a little bumpy to take a stroller, so we packed C into the Ergo - broken leg and all - and went for a walk in the woods. The Ergo supports kids up to 45lbs, so C was safe and comfortable for the hour or so we walked around. As you'll notice, T & I took turns carrying him since he isn't exactly a lightweight (almost 30lbs with his cast). I wouldn't suggest much more than a half hour or so per person unless you want to completely kill your back, but in lieu of bringing in the big guns of an actual child carrier hiking backpack, the Ergo did the trick for a quick little adventure, and C loved every minute.

Pulling himself up! On yet another gross motor milestone that C was behind on, he finally started pulling himself up about midway through month 14 in early August. He's generally pretty content to just see the world from wherever he is perched, or can army crawl to, but after a couple of days of serious time spent on the stairs with all of his favorite objects just out of reach, he finally started to be frustrated enough to do something about it. He is still intimidated by a full flight of stairs, but he will pull himself up a couple at a time. The first time I noticed him pulling up, he went from a crawling, to sitting, to pulling up, to standing while I was loading up the dishwasher after dinner one evening. Of course, he saw all of the shiny knives, and breakable glassware, and for obvious reasons couldn't resist standing up to investigate as quickly as possible! The beginning of month 15 marked the end of C's physical therapy appointments - can I get a Hoooo-Raaaah! - so from here on out, he's going to have to practice these skills at home. Just this week, after setting up our video monitor, we also learned that C knows how to furniture cruise. Of course, he hasn't shown us this in daylight, but when he's been howling for someone to come and rock him to sleep at night, he enjoys pacing the length of his crib. Sneaky little guy!

First broken bone...August 15, 2015...a.k.a...Grandpa T's birthday. C broke his tibia while practicing the stairs with Dad. I posted the full story here in case you missed it. The road to recovery was pretty quick, and C only had to have the cast on for just over 3 weeks. About midway through, he got really antsy about having to wear the cast to begin with, and became quite accomplished at scooting around and getting into every. single. thing. that he shouldn't be in. After having his cast removed, he was pretty nervous for the first week and a half about putting any weight on his newly healed leg. Since then, he's started to find his groove again, and wants to walk...still holding on to someone's hands...e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. I think we are just moments away from having a little terror on our hands!

This past couple of months brought many visitors, and lots of traveling. I don't think we spent a single weekend entirely at home between visits to the lake house, and treks out of town. C LOVED every minute of it, and especially enjoyed visits from Cousin J, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. We have quite a few road trips coming up to catch some football games, and are looking forward to cheering for Uncle T and the Wildcats, along with taking C to watch the Iowa Hawkeyes from Kinnick Stadium for Iowa Homecoming in the next few weeks!

Our Daily Schedule:
8:30 a.m. // Wakeup & eat! 8 oz sippy of whole milk. Play for a while, then have a mid-morning snack (smoothie/apple cinnamon oatmeal/pancakes/fruit/breakfast bar/etc) before nap time.
10:30-11 a.m. // Nap time. This usually lasts until around 1:30 as long as C gets a good snack before laying down, and the construction noise doesn't get too overwhelming.
1:30 p.m. // Lunch time! 8 oz sippy whole milk. Depending on what we have planned, C also gets some solid food if I'm eating lunch, or we get outside for some fresh air/bike ride/walk/playing at the park/errands, and then have an afternoon snack (sandwich/fruit/food pouch/etc) when we get home before nap time.
3:30-4 p.m. // Nap time! C continues to take two daily naps as long as his schedule doesn't get out of whack. He generally sleeps about an hour and half or so. If he is late going down for his morning nap,  or we are busy running errands, he sometimes skips his afternoon nap.
5:30-6 p.m. // Dinner time! 8 oz sippy of whole milk. C generally stretches this sippy out over a couple of hours, and saves some to have with whatever meal T & I are enjoying for dinner. Before/after dinner, it's playtime with papa T.
7:30-8 p.m. // After dinner, it's bath time (C doesn't always get a bath every night, and we tend to base this on what we did during the day, and how late it is when dinner is over...usually it ends up being every other day). After a bath, it is PJ time and we pick out a couple of stories to read. If C didn't already have a fourth sippy of milk with dinner, he has one after story time. Brusha-brusha. Then it's tooth brushing time, we snuggle and rock for a bit, and C lays down (still awake) in his crib for bedtime. He usually gives me a great big smile after curling up with his blanket just before I turn off the lamp and leave his room. MOST nights, when his teeth aren't bothering him, he sleeps through until morning.

Official 16 Month Photo.

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