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Monday, January 26, 2015

Capturing Calvin: 8 Months

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I'm glad I waited a few days after your actual 8 month "birthday" to write this post, because you started crawling!  What an exciting thing to note and to start off your post with.  I knew it was coming, because you'd been army crawling/scooting yourself for a few weeks.  I could tell you were thinking about it, because you'd shift your weight in your arms and often put all of your weight on one arm to reach for a toy while in the crawling position so I could tell you were practicing.  You are still a little unsteady, and sometimes you still prefer to army crawl since it's faster but you are officially crawling my little go-getter!  You get your legs up under you so fast, we consider it a hop.  You really just thrust them under you with a funny little "boing!" as you assume the position.  Carter didn't crawl until 11 months, so I'm really not sure what to do with a baby that is so mobile so soon!  And, you go everywhere!  From the living room to the corner of the kitchen you are covering lots of ground.  I almost stepped on you the other day when I turned around because I wasn't expecting you to be right behind me so fast!  I think your theme song should be The Beach Boys "I Get Around".  Carter is having a hard time with it because you like to get into his puzzle pieces when he's doing a puzzle on the floor and he'll often tell me "get your baby".  He's realized he has to put things up high to keep them out of your reach.  However, I'm sure that's not going to last long and you'll be pulling yourself up soon.  You seem quite content to get wherever you please.  You can even go from sitting to crawling by slowly plopping yourself over.  Sometimes I don't even think you mean to, but you're just so intent on getting something that's out of your reach that you topple over.  There's a fun video of you crawling on my Instagram.

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Still no teeth!  It's been four months since they seemed ready to come through, and you've even  had a decent amount of crankiness, yet no appearances!  I hope they come soon!  You're chewing on your hands a lot.

You seem to have restless arm syndrome--if that's such a thing.  You are constantly swinging your arm...especially when you're nursing.  You love to thump, thump, thump me, or your own forehead, as if beating out the rhythm to something.  Even when I think you're asleep your little pendulum is still a goin'! You are constantly waving and circling your arms and wrists, as you can see you're doing in these pictures.

You are in love with my phone and want to hold it and will even lunge for it.  You've gotten it by my surprise many a times.  You also love to play with big brother's cars.  You like to be in the crawling position and have a car under one of your arms and you just go back and forth, back and forth with it.  You'll also do that with balls too. You like to hold big brother's puzzle pieces too.  Sorry--you probably will play with whatever big brother has out.  You seem content to explore just about anything, especially food--squishing bananas, mandarin oranges or black beans in your hands.

You adore your jump-a-roo jumper that you got for Christmas and jump so hard I swear you're going to break it.  You'll go forever and I don't know how you have the stamina.  You jump with such vim and vigor that it sounds like the whole thing is just crashing and banging against the springs.  

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You've been loving screaming at incredibly high pitches.  You are also now making consonant noises with "m" and "d".  Your father and I affectionately like to think you're saying "mamama" and "dadada".  

You are still a bottomless pit, nursing probably 6 times a day plus three meals and snacks.  Perhaps this is normal, but I've never had this problem of a baby wanting to eat and find myself not knowing what to make for you sometimes!  You've finally accepted purees, but definitely only want to have the fruits.  You seem to like real brown rice (not the cereal/pureed stuff) and have tried bits of real chicken that I had slow cooked.  (Sorry, I can't bring myself to give you the jarred meats from the store, just the smell of it makes me want to gag, I can't imagine eating it.) You even like plain black beans and I can just pop one at a time into your mouth.  Avocados seem to be hit and miss, but I don't think there's been a day that you don't enjoy almost an entire container of coconut milk yogurt. You still can't figure out how to put food in your mouth, and you don't seem in a hurry to figure it out either.  You're content to be fed by us.  If you're touching food you're too busy smacking it against your high chair or squishing it in your fingers, or dropping it off of your chair onto the floor.  Between you and your brother I can never keep our floor swept enough.  

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You are waking up earlier in the morning and it's hard for me, as silly as that is.  You wake up around 7 a.m. now and I am not a morning person at all.  I know 7 a.m. is a normal time to wake up for most people but if you could go back to 8 that would be great!  We try to put both of you down around 7:30 and you still wake up once a night to nurse.  The last few nights you've made it all the way until 7 a.m. but I'm afraid it's just a fluke since you've done that before and go right back to wanting your middle-of-the-night-snack.  You fluctuate between taking 2-3 naps.  Two for sure, and every once in awhile three.  I think you could still use three as your afternoon nap is early in the afternoon and by dinner you are rearing to go to bed, but by then it's so close that we usually keep you up.  Your morning nap is your best and you usually get 1.5ish hours in, but sometimes your afternoon naps are as short as a half of an hour.  I can't believe you can go off of your short little naps, but you seem happy and no regrets about it.  You can still sleep in my arms and car seat which is great when we're out and about or at church.  I love that about you!

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Speaking of being out and about...because you are so adorable you draw a lot of attention.  However, unlike your brother you are not one to smile at people!  It's kind of funny.  People will go to all sorts of effort to be silly or make you laugh and you just stare blankly at them.  Your brother was a ham and still is for people so it's funny to see such a stark difference.  I think you will be more serious like your dad.  Speaking of holding affection, sometimes when your Dad or I kiss you on your cheek you turn your head slightly away.  It's kind of funny like "ug, you're kissing me AGAIN?". Your smile is definitely worth the wait though.  You seem to have two: a tight lipped one and then a ear-to-ear/I'm-going-to-break-my-face-because-my-mouth-is-open-so-wide-smile.  I love both.  

You've started splashing in the tub with your hands as well as your feet.  

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Your legs are still quite dry, but I'm still eating whatever (including dairy and wheat).  I'm not sure if I should try going off one or the other, or if it's good for you to get used to it.  For now, I think we'll keep it as is.  I gave you a piece of my bread from Kneader's while my mom was in town for Christmas and she took just you and I out to lunch.  You seemed to do just fine, so here's hoping you can have wheat.  People keep telling me to give you dairy, but I am just beyond terrified from what happened when I gave it to Carter the first time and he had to be rushed to the ER.  I think I'll try it soon.  It's just so hard because I feel like Claudy should be home in case you have a reaction, but then what will we do with Carter?  I don't want Carter around when we do, not necessarily because I'm worried about a contact reaction, but because he always wants to eat what you're eating and I'll feel bad.  Ug.  I hate these type of situations.  I don't want to hold you back, but I don't want Carter to feel left out.  Being a parent is hard!

You have started holding our your arms when you want to be held which is so tender and sweet.

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Now that you're crawling, if you crawl into enemy territory (i.e. your brother's toy areas) he will take you by the ankles and drag you away.  You've never cried or seem bothered (probably because you're thinking you'll just go right back) but I worry he'll hurt you and keep getting after him.  You take some abuse from him and rarely cry or even make a face.  I've only seen you cry once when he's taking a toy out of the million times he's done it and I think it's because you were super tired.

You love to make a clicking sound with your tongue and do it often.  I can almost tell where you are by listening for it.  It's quite funny.

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You are just knocking out milestones like a pro.  I didn't know what that was like, since we had to work hard for Carter's and it's just such a joy for them to come effortlessly and when it seems like you want them to.  Nothing seems to hold you back and your gentleness and patience is not unnoticed.  Your inquisitiveness and concentration is adorable to watch.  Nothing makes my heart melt more when your brother really gets you giggling or when he likes to give you kisses.  I can't wait until you can kiss us all back!

We love you Calvin.  These 8 months have been a blessing.  Onto 9!

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Not a Fan, Not a Fan ONE BIT

My pet peeve of the moment (because it can literally change all the time) is bedtime.  Not mine, though.  I melt into my pillow and I feel like my bed and I are best friends.  But, my children's bedtime is ROUGH.

I don't like it at all.  I'm not a fan ONE IOTA.  

I've especially started disliking it since my husband works a late shift many nights a week.  Doing bedtime sans extra hands and extra brain capacity is super tough.  With dread, I check his ever-changing work calendar as if it's my death sentence and wonder, "How will I survive Tues, Wed, Thurs AND Friday by myself this week??"

For the cherry on top, with extra sprinkles, Carter hasn't been napping for the past few weeks, so he is hyped up as all get out.  I may as well play the song "Turn Down for What?" while I try and corral him to bed.  Pretty sure that's his theme song from 6pm on.

I feel I'm also at my worst by the time this blessed hour comes and so it's just a witches brew for disaster.  

Carter has to take five medications/vitamins and I literally have to sit on him most of the time to get them in his body.  Teeth brushing also takes pro WWF wrestling moves to get him to hold still.  It's a full blown, full body work out to get this amped up kid to do anything other than purposefully spilling things, shrieking, running in circles, and jumping on or off furniture.

And, it's not like we even have a long bed-time routine.  I'm not one to do nightly bathes, or anything extra.  It's teeth brushing, take medication, prayers.  I used to rock him, but now leave that for him and Claudy to do as bonding time whenever Claudy is actually home.  I offer to rock him, but by that time I think we're both sick of each other and he'll decline, "NO ROCK!" many times which does make me sad.  I often don't even change him into pajamas if he's already wearing comfy clothing.  It won't hurt him to wear them another 12 hours, right?  The smell of spilled dinner should just help him dream of dancing broccoli.

The only extraneous thing I could consider not doing would be reading a short, children's version of the scriptures.  But, that's like a paragraph long, and I'm often just reading it out-loud to myself while he does laps in his room (no exaggeration).  I just don't know when else to do it that will keep it a habit.  I even put them down early.  It's not like he's sugared out and it's way past his bedtime.  We start getting ready for bed around 7pm every night.  Isn't structure and routine and predictability supposed to help?  LIES!!

Add to that a screaming baby most of the time, because Calvin is tired and can't figure out what all of the commotion is about and why he's not asleep already, i.e. it's a PAR-TAY.

Once I've finally done the "must-haves" I turn off the light and walk out the door.  HOWEVER, Carter can now open his door, even with the child locks on.  And, he can turn on his light.  He loves to taunt me "Lights on!" or be as blatant as running out of his room with a big grin on his face.  I can't sit and hold the door shut all night?  What to do?  Add to that, that poor Calvin is still having a freak out because they share a bedroom and Carter is doing all of these shenanigans and keeping him up.  Some nights I want to lament with Calvin.  It's two against one Carter--go to sleep!  We both want you to!  

I've tried threatening/taking away his sippy of water that he so loves to have in his bed, even though he never drinks it.  Or, one of his toys he loves to sleep with.  It only stokes the fire.  

I've finally resorted to putting back up the pack-n-play and when he's super out of control and I've given him enough chances he goes in there.  Hallelujah that he does not know how to climb out.  After that, I am out of options for containing him and I truly don't know how we'll survive after that.

Carter has literally slapped me across the face multiple times when I've been carting him off the bed (and the only reason I do so is because he was laying on the floor refusing to go to his room).  It's just such a pleasant and lovely time.  Really picturesque.

In college, I used to be able to stay up til 1,2,3...AM all the time.  Now, I'm pooped once the boys are both asleep and quiet around 7:30-8pm.  And, that's when I'm supposed to start doing my non-profit work or freelance writing.  HA!  My freelance writing has really died down and I just don't know if I have the energy or brain power left to get more clients.

What's that award they give to shepherding dogs? Yeah, I think I deserve one of those.

I love Carter's craziness.  Just during the day when we can play and rough house.  I know it will be one of his most-loved characteristics for his friends someday.  But for now, if he could turn it down at bedtime I'd certainly appreciate it.  

I'm off to eat some graham crackers dipped in nutella.  My reward for making it past another 8pm all on my lonesome.  If you see me and I'm 500 pounds, you'll know why.  Goodnight to all (including CARTRER!) and to all a good freakin' night. :)


Monday, January 19, 2015

Tomorrow! Tomorrow!

We don't have cable, or any channels really, so the only TV time Carter gets is via Netflix.  Unfortunately for me, they have Power Rangers as one of their children's options.  One can only take so many fake fighting scenes in neon spandex.  Carter was starting to "hi ya" everything.  Including me. 

To make matters worse, once you watch something Netflix will suggest something similar.  Were you aware that there are 5000 variations of Power Rangers?  Ug.

I finally had it one day and said, "It's mommy's turn to choose!"  I promptly picked the musical "Annie" (from the 80's with Carol Brunette).

I really didn't think Carter would watch a few minutes, let alone the whole thing, but I needed a hail Mary.  Claudy was at work so we just snuggled and we even ate dinner in the living room and he sat through the ENTIRE thing.  Pretty soon Carter was asking me, "What will happen to Annie?"

He is now IN LOVE with it.  He asks me to sing him the "tomorrow" song when I rock him.  I catch him trying to sing it to himself.  And, now it's all we've watched for several weeks straight.  However, I can handle this much better than Power Rangers.

I didn't want to forget how adorable my little boy is when he sings "tomorrow, tomorrow!".  If only I could freeze time.  Hopefully his love of musicals will continue and we can go to plays someday. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Thanks 2014!

As I reflect where we were a year ago, I feel like we have improved and are in a better situation.  That's a wonderful feeling!  May that always be the case.

Here are just a few of the ways our lives have been blessed compared to this time last year:

I was pregnant.  And now I'm not.  Enough said.
I was having to work outside the home
We were in an awful apartment, and now we're in a great two level duplex!
I was the breadwinner, and now Claudy is and he really enjoys his job and it will help out his resume.
Calvin has joined our family!
Carter had two clean scopes and has added a bunch of new foods to his diet!
Carter was not hospitalized this year!!!

This year was also difficult.  Claudy lost his father.  Claudy was in a car accident and our truck was totaled so we've been a one car family.  Our old apartment flooded...TWICE. We went several months without Claudy having a job.  We thought Claudy was going to graduate only to find out he needed more classes.

The year had disappointments, joys, and everything in between.  But, overall I can honestly say we're in a better place now than we were last year.

I'm grateful for the lessons we learned in 2014 and hope to have many more good moments in 2015.  If I learned anything in 2014 it's that things that seem hard can be blessings in disguise.  It was a hard pill for me to swallow to go back to work.  But, when I look back at it, it opened up so many blessings.  Good pay, super flexible hours, time not on my feet while being very sick and pregnant, a chance for Claudy and Carter to bond, a chance for Claudy to take more credit hours than he ever has before, an opportunity for me to write from home after having Calvin, valuable work experiences and knowledge gained that I will take with me, and so on and so forth.  The sacrifice I felt like I was giving ended up helping us out immensely...and still is as I continue to write for them.  Hard things can be good for you!

What made 2014 bearable during the hard times and extra special during the good times were my patient husband, my beautiful boys, my generous friends and my supportive family.  The years may change but I'm sure that my incredible network of people will not...and that gives me strength and courage for whatever lie ahead!  Goodbye 2014, hello 2015!

Christmas 2014

Sadly, I didn't get a post off of each thing, so it's going to be a compilation post.  I hope I can remember everything!  I tried to make sure that we had at least one Christmasy/fun thing to look forward to each weekend during the month of December.  It ended up being a full and enjoyable month--hence the lack of writing.

The first thing we did was go to Thanksgiving at our friend's, the Beirdneau's.  It's great because they have two boys as well, and their little boy, Tommy, is Carter's favorite friend.  Since we had no family to be with, friends are the next best thing.  It was so nice of them to invite us, and they were very mindful and accommodating with Carter's food allergies.  What more could we ask for?  Claudy had to work 2-10pm that day, so they even did an early dinner and then I stayed and chatted.  It was so nice and I would have been so, so sad to be home alone with just the boys and I.  

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The very next day we put up the Christmas tree. This year Carter was all about "Carter do it" (still refers to himself in the 3rd person--working on pronouns).  He insisted we put on EVERY SINGLE bulb.  We've never had that many on the tree.  He had a blast and kept saying "so pretty".  He was pretty proud of his handiwork.  I kept having to go behind him and move them though, cuz he wanted to put all 200 on the same branch.  He also liked to hang them off the lights, which wasn't going to work either, but I tried to make him feel like a very important helper.  This year worked out great because Carter was old enough to understand not to touch it, and Calvin wasn't mobile yet.  There were a few times we'd catch Carter touching the ornaments or while jumping onto/or off the couch he'd knock some off, but other than that we really didn't have to kid-proof it, which was nice!

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We went to the lighting of center street in Provo.  The mayor and Santa went to turn on the Christmas lights and The Grinch came and stole the lights.  They did a little play and ended up turning them all on.  Unannounced to us, they also did fireworks to really start it up with a bang.  Poor Carter hates fireworks and loud noises so he was crying to "go home" through the entire pyrotechnics.  I unfortunately had worked our way up through the crowd near the front, so we were kinda stuck.  You can tell he wasn't too happy in the pic after.  They even had reindeer you could pet, but he didn't want to.  I was impressed with the fun idea Provo had (especially cuz it was FREE), way to go P-town!

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We went to a Christmas party for the early intervention program Carter is in.  It was full and chaotic and I kinda wondered why the heck I dared brave it while Claudy was at work.  They didn't have anything Carter could eat with his allergies so I had to just go get Chik-Fil-A for him, which he was pretty pleased about.  But, it was the first time both boys got to sit on Santa's lap, so I guess it was worth it!  Calvin has a vice grip and decided to entangle his fingers in Santa's beard--I had to work to get his fingers out.  He wanted to take off with it!

We also had a ward Christmas party.  HOWEVER.  During Carter's nap he decided to poop and smear it on the brand new carpet, his blanket and a few toys.  THANKFULLY I wasn't home, so Claudy was husband of the year and cleaned it up by the time I did.  He didn't even call me and tell me to hurry home and help!  He texted me asking where the shower brush was, and I thought that was odd but didn't give it much thought.  I would have never guessed it's because he was scrubbing poo stained carpets! We had been talking up the party that day, but decided to not let Carter go since he was still laughing and thinking what he did was no big deal.  I just ran and made us a few plates and ran home.  Sometimes I don't know how to get through to that kid!  I was tempted to have Santa bring him a lump of coal that evening!

To help Carter understand the importance of giving we made one of his favorite treats as a family (rice krispies, using coconut oil instead of butter for his milk allergy) and he helped put sprinkles on them.  We then packaged them up and had him walk them to his friends.  It was really hard for him to give them away.  One friend didn't answer the door so I told him to leave it on the step and there were definitely some tears as he had to walk away from his treat.  We of course had some at home for him, but it was a good beginning lesson on thinking of others!

I enjoyed a reason to bake!  I made sugar cookies, lemon bundt cake, caramels, mint brownies, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, chocolate cupcakes, peppermint chocolate bundt cake and I'm sure other things I can't remember.  I've never felt this way, but I think I officially baked myself out.  Nothing but store bought candy for us for a bit until I get the bug back.  Allergy baking just has soo many steps and having to do everything from scratch (including making your own flour blend out of three flours) just gets tiring.  PHEW!

We had my sister over for dinner one Sunday night.  We were going to drive to the lights at Salem pond, but Claudy ended up having to work so we just enjoyed their company.  

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We went to do story-time with Santa at the mall which was a lot of fun.  They had Santa and Mrs. Claus read a story to the kids.  They got a free book, and a photo with Santa.  Carter was actually excited and stayed in the long line to see Santa (well, at least ran around in the vicinity) and he told Santa what he wanted...Optimus Prime!  Unfortunately, I think Carter thought Santa would reach in his bag and pull one out right there and then.  Carter acted upset once we walked away and Claudy thought it was because Carter thought Santa didn't hear him.  Being the good parent he is, Claudy fought his way back up to Santa and had Carter tell him one more time.  Carter still seemed a bit confused and upset.  I don't think he quite got the Santa bit totally, but that's OK because I'd rather him just enjoy the spirit of Christmas and focus on the real reason anyways.  There will be other years for him and Kris Kringle (sp?) to bond.

The Sunday before Christmas we got together with the Beirdneau's again and went to a nursing home to sing to the residents there and to give them candy canes.  I worked on Silent Night with Carter for the ENTIRE month.  We chanted it, and I sang it to him every time I rocked him at night.  But, did he sing it?  NOPE!  Haha, oh well.  The best laid plans often don't work with little kids.  I did start to tear up in the first room though.  You could tell the elderly loved seeing the little kids (4 total) and to sing such a sweet song about the Savior was precious.  Carter really enjoyed handing them the candy cane and that was just the cherry on the top for me.  I really want to make this a yearly tradition from here on out!  

My parents flew in from Houston that Monday and we had them do FHE with us.  We wrote letters to a little girl who is dying from a rare disease and she was asking for Christmas cards.  How could we not?  We know what it's like to have a rare disease and she also goes to the same Primary Children's hospital here in SLC, so it really hit close to home and touched our hearts.  It was fun to see him doodle, and it felt really good to do something for someone else.

All in all, I think we had a wonderful Christmas season.  We did a lot of fun and festive things to lead up to the big day.  I'll save Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for another post.  I just love December and the special feeling it invokes!

I'm excited for Carter to understand even more, so that we can think of and incorporate even more traditions.  I have all sorts of ideas, and it'll be interesting to see what we can really pull off in years to come.  This I know...it'll be fun and special!

Carter's 3rd Birthday Party

I was super pumped to have a friend party for Carter since he just adores his friends.  I started planning a few months in advance just because I was so excited and couldn't wait.  I decided on a fish theme because he loves to fish, he loves watching fish and octopus movies on YouTube and loved the acquarium.  Sure, I could have done a car theme, but I figure he'll be into those forever, and a fish theme seemed a bit easier. I figured I'd get my feet wet with this theme and work my way up.

I designed the invites myself, which was a lot of fun.  I emailed them out, which made it even easier.

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When I told Carter that we'd be having chocolate cake at his party, he ran over and threw his arms around me and said "THANKS MOM!".  What a grateful and happy kiddo!

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While this wasn't a particularly hard cake design it still took me a bit since I have to make my own flour blend and make it from scratch.  I let Carter pick out the colors, and while I don't think the skittles particularly tasted great, they made it look fun and it was nice to incorporate his favorite candy.

For decorations I had twisted streamers coming down from the ceiling and then I had drawn and cut out different sized fish, star fish and a large turtle all hanging down at different lengths too.  This photo doesn't capture it good.  I did it while Carter slept and when he walked into the kitchen and saw it he was like "WHOA!!! FISHES!!!" so that made it all worth it!

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He was thrilled when each of his friends arrived.  I took a picture of all of the guests.  From left to right it's Paige, Ellie, Carter, Oliver, Keri (mom) and Tommy.  

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I kept it simple with the party.  They came in and sang to him and then enjoyed the cake.  Then, we had the kids "go fish".  We hung up a blue curtain and had a little rod.  They would throw the line over to where I was hiding and I'd clip on their party favor.  It was a bag of Swedish fish that said "Of all the fish in the sea, I'm glad you're friends with me.  Thanks for coming to my party."  

From there, we loaded up the kids and went to the Provo Beach Resort.  I figured since it was cold I'd rather let them run around at their indoor Toddler Town then destroy my house or try to have games that entertained them all. It was genius and so easy.  I sat and talked to my friend Keri and the kids ran around.  It's an indoor playground and Carter loved going down the slides with his friends and just being rambunctious.  

He had even gone to a party earlier in the morning for his friend Rae, so he was pretty partied out. (Which actually worked out great because Claudy went with him, so I had the house to myself to finish all the last minute cleaning/setting up.) Carter fell asleep on the way home from the resort and it was gratifying to see he'd had such a fun, full day.

I'm no Martha Stewart, but it's fun to try my hand at a few creative things that will please my little boy.  It's fun to think of things that will excite him and execute it.  When he gets older I'll probably do one year for a family party and one year for a friend party.  This year was a lot of fun and I'm glad he has so many great friends that all live so close.

Since we did his party on the Saturday before, on the actual day we still tried to make it special.  I made his favorite breakfast--potatoes and bacon.  And, for dinner we went to his favorite restaurant--Chik-Fil-A...he has gourmet tastes obviously.  So healthy.  Oh, well...you only have a birthday once a year.

It will be fun to see what we end up doing next year!  Hope your 3rd birthday is filled with lots of magic.  Love, Mom

Friday, December 19, 2014

Capturing Calvin: 7 Months

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I've decided that your burgeoning personality is my Christmas present this month.  Look at all the stuff you're up to and learning:

You reach endlessly for things.  It was really hard to keep that 7 months paper next to you while taking your photos.  You'll reach far enough that you often fall over.  And, you can basically lay your stomach on the floor while sitting down (IMPRESSIVE) just to reaccchhhh for something you really want.  You're also getting FAST.  When you reach for things you've surprised me and gotten them because I wasn't expecting this intense swiftness.  This usually happens if I'm eating with you on my lap.  You've managed to get your fingers clinched around rims of bowls and cups before I even notice.  You are also starting to try to grab the spoon when I feed you.

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You seem to really enjoy holding empty wrappers.  After Carter eats his fruit snacks I'll let you hold his wrapper and you love the crinkle sound you make as you squish it in your hands.

While you love to hold things, you're not a fan of putting things you're holding in your mouth.  I'm really grateful for that most times, but I do hope you'll want to start to pick up the cereal and put it in your mouth.  Thankfully big brother is great at feeding you your dry cereal (and he sneaks WAY more than he gives).

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You act like you're so amped up to crawl (you sit and rock back and forth) that I've hardly sat you on your tummy this month because I don't want you practicing!  Sorry--but I'm not ready for that yet :) Here's a video:



You are a bottomless pit!  It's night and day between you and Carter.  Now I get why Carter's weight kept dropping.  I really think I produce skim milk.  The difference between you and Carter is that Carter was content to not eat any solids until he was 9/10 months.  You, my foodie, want to eat at least 3 times a day, AFTER nursing fully plus snacks in between.  I still nurse you probably 7-9 times a day PLUS meals.  The tough thing is that you hate purees--so it gets tough trying to find textured/soft enough things to keep you full.  You seem to derive such pleasure out of chewing!  You still love cereal puffs and I've since added in rice cakes since I can only find those at one store that I don't go to very often.  You'll also eat rice krispies cereal and rice chex.  I'm terrified to try any other grain with you because of Carter.  You can eat 1/2 to 3/4 of a So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt in one sitting and you love all flavors: vanilla, blueberry and strawberry.  That's the closest I can get you to purees.  One day I was trying to feed you pureed peaches--a normal baby fav--and you were NOT having it.  I was eating my sweet potato chili and you were just starring me down.  I finally gave you some chunks from that and you were uber happy.  Who knew you'd pick that which is full of spices, onions, garlic over a typical baby food?  Whenever I eat in front of you you give me this half pleading/half expecting look like: "You're going to give me some of that, right??"  It must be the same look I give Claudy when he orders a dish at a restaurant that ends up looking better than what I ordered.  Ha!  I'm having fun letting you try new things.  You've also liked baked potatoes, still love avocados, love mandarin oranges, and you're OK with bananas.  Daddy let you try some of his quinoa and you liked that too!  I think as long as there's texture you're a fan!

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You are a better sleeper than Carter was, at least at this point.  Carter woke up religiously once a night for a feeding (I'm sure because he was truly hungry since he wouldn't eat solids) until he was almost 11 months and then I finally just stopped going in.  You, my dreamy one, are great!  You've been giving me straight through the night (8pm-7:30am) quite a bit.  You still throw in a day or two a week of getting up to nurse once but you are a pro at going back down.  Thanks so much!  You keep me on my toes, I never know whether I'll be seeing you at 4am or not, but I'll take any full night's sleep you want to give me!  I've noticed it seems to correlate to how big of a dinner you had.

You're sensitive to noise and it seems to startle you, but you do seem to enjoy rocking back and forth to music.

You are just adored far and wide.  Someone in our church said you "have a halo or curls" and multiple people have said they have a hard time listening at church when you sit by them because you're such a cute distraction.  I agree!

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You give laughs and ear-to-ear grins when I toss you in the air.  You also find it hilarious if I "eat" your feet.

You are good at sleeping multiple places.  Big brother has been on a strike against naps lately, so I don't dare put you down in the same room for fear either you won't be able to sleep with his loud shenanigans or you will have something done to you.  You sleep in my arms, in our bed, or in a pack and play.  Sometimes when we're out and about you'll fall asleep in my arms (a guilty pleasure), even if it's bright or noisy.  I so appreciate your flexibility.  Carter would only ever sleep in his crib so it's nice to have some options!  However, if you get a 15 minute power nap you don't want to go back down and seem to think that's a decent replacement for a two hour nap.  I don't think so!

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You have been pretty miserable with your two bottom teeth.  They've been terrorizing you for months.  Just when I think they couldn't look any closer to the surface they swell and protrude some more.  Poor guy!  We've been having to give Tylenol a lot.  Carter never seemed bothered by his teeth and had I think 8 by the time he was 1, so you're quite a bit "behind".  I catch you chewing on your hands and wish I could hurry it up for you.

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You're in the wonderful age of distraction.  You just love to hold anything and everything and look it over.  Keys, cars, rattles, spoons...anything you can turn over in your strong little hands will do.  Thankfully, you're also still super nice and don't cry when big brother comes and snatches something out of your hands.  Sorry.  We're working on it.  He's getting good at "trading" you.  Unfortunately he'll give you something super lame and take the cool toy from you, but so far your patience and good manner don't even flinch.

You love to stand and bounce.  Your legs must be so strong already.  Here is a pic of you standing without any help.  Daddy will stack pillows around you for when you eventually fall over, but you can last for quite a bit and seem quite pleased with yourself.

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You still aren't doing consonants, but you love to make all manner of inflections and noises and seem to be getting louder.  Perhaps you realize you have to compete with a noisy brother.

For as wiggly and what a mover you are, you still love to be held.  Thank you!  It seems that's about all it takes to calm you down (that and food).

You love to grip our faces and, quite frankly, claw them.  Especially daddy's.  I'm guessing it's the facial hair that just gets you so curious.  Whenever someone is holding you we frequently hear (or mutter ourselves) "OW!" as you love to just dig in and hold on with all you've got.  You've also grabbed big brother's hair by the handfuls a few times and made him cry quite a bit.  Revenge for him taking your toys???

We're still giving you a spoonful of coconut oil and cod liver oil at night to help with your weight.  Last week the PEIP nurse weighed you at 15 pounds even.  You had a diaper on, but that's still great!  You were still 6 months old at the time, and they say you should double your weight by then, which you had done and then some (born 6.9 pounds).  I think I can finally relax.  You seem to be holding steady finally at the 4th percentile.  That sounds incredibly small, and stature wise you are, but you still have adorable cheeks and a tummy so I don't think you look the least bit bad.

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The other night daddy was working, so I was rocking both you and big brother to sleep.  I was singing Silent Night and had each of you on one leg.  You leaned your head onto big brother's shoulder and he actually let you keep it there for awhile.  It was precious.  The days may be crazy a lot of times, but it's those tender mercy moments that are so sweet.

I fear your mobility is about to take off, so I'm trying to enjoy your babyness while I can.  Sometimes I feel I don't see you much--with you sleeping 12 out of the 24 hours at night.  Plus you always take two naps, and sometimes even three.  When you're up I try to give you attention, but I appreciate that you recognize big brother and life gets in the way.  However, whenever our eyes meet you instantly smile.  How I appreciate and love that about you.

I'm excited to share our first Christmas together.  What a wonderful gift you are to me. When I've held both of my boys I often connect with Mary at what a joy and wonder it is to have little boys sent from heaven.

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