We traveled home to Columbus this past weekend to celebrate Elliott’s first birthday. It was definitely a bittersweet day and I guess you could say it’s been a bittersweet year. The whole year has been a celebration of firsts, his first smile and laugh, eating solid foods for the first time, his first roll over and crawl, and while I’ve looked forward to all of those firsts, it also means that he is growing up and is becoming less of a baby and more of a little boy. We have tons of pictures of his first year and when I look through them (which we do constantly) it makes me sad. He no longer falls asleep on my chest like he used to and now he usually pushes me away when I try to snuggle with him.
^^^one of my favorite photos of baby elliott^^^
I know it’s all about him gaining his independence and that he’ll still need me and want me, but it still makes me sad to think that he’ll never be a baby again. Dean and I talk a lot about what it’s going to be like when Elliott’s a little older, like how fun it will be to watch him play t-ball and how excited we are to take him places when he can really enjoy them. But after this weekend, I don’t want to rush anything at all. I want to savor this 1 year old and his giggles, and even his new found tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, because he’s only going to be this little once. Happy birthday little buddy, you’re the best around!
^^^the birthday boy enjoying some Schmidt’s^^^
^^^birthday cream puff time!^^^
^^^playing with his new “smart phone”^^^
^^^not so happy anymore^^^
^^^our lame last minute attempt at a family picture^^^
Elliott’s cousin Lucy turned 1 a few weeks ago. We couldn’t make it to Ohio for the party so I wanted to have something here for her when they came to visit. I couldn’t think of anything off hand so my best friend Google came to the rescue. I didn’t want to buy Lucy toys because I wasn’t sure of what she had at home, so these picture plates from Sarah + Abraham were absolutely perfect. And of course I had to get one for her sister and one for Elliott! They were even more adorable than I could have imagined when I got them! They products range from plates to journals to chore charts and more, so if you’re looking for a unique gift you should definitely check them out. Oh, and as a bonus their customer service is excellent. 🙂
^^^babies that can crawl and stand are hard to take pictures of!^^^
This Fourth of July weekend was a busy one. We made a trip to San Antonio to visit Dean’s brother and his two kids while Dean’s dad was out there making his yearly month long visit. We had a great time, but the heat definitely wore me out. Thankfully it wasn’t as hot as it normally is for San Antonio in July or else I probably would have wanted to stay in the air-conditioning all weekend long. Here are a few (many) highlights from our trip.
^^^how to keep baby and parents entertained on a plane^^^
^^^Thursday we met up with the fam and walked around The Riverwalk,
which was impressive, but not very stroller friendly.^^^
^^^friday at the alamo^^^
^^^insert Pee Wee’s Big Adventure quote here :)^^^
^^^baby loves bbq^^^
^^^pretty sure this is the only picture I took while we were in Austin. We were in the SoCo area and I really wanted to love it, but almost all the stores had no stroller signs on their doors. Disappointing!^^
^^^sophisticated Elliott about to enjoy a nice meal^^^
^^^first corn on the cob^^^
^^^grandpa watched the baby while Dean and I snuck out to get dinner by ourselves. Thanks Grandpa!^^^
^^^taking a break from sightseeing^^^
^^^heading back to MD^^^
We also spent a day at the San Antonio Zoo and Japanese Tea Garden, but that’s a post for another day! 🙂
This past weekend we hosted some of Dean’s family at our house. It was such a wonderful time and I’m grateful for them making the trip out to the east coast. Elliott was able to hang out with his cousins and I loved watching them interact with each other. Stella was so sweet with him (as seen in the picture above) and I think watching Lucy standing up and taking a few steps was all Elliott needed to make pulling himself up a regular thing. He has even started to take a few steps while holding on to furniture. It’s pretty amazing what these babies can do!
On Friday we went back to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. We got there early, set up camp and let the kids play in the sand. Elliott and Stella weren’t too fond of the waves, but little fearless Lucy absolutely loved them. We filled up a little inflatable baby pool with some ocean water and the little ones had a great time splashing around.
Once the afternoon rolled around we took Stella to Funland, a little open-air amusement park, and she rode some of the rides.She was super brave and wanted to ride the kiddie Ferris Wheel without an adult. She even made a little friend on the helicopter ride.
On Saturday we decided to keep it a little more local and headed out to Ft McHenry in Baltimore. The Ft McHenry Guard was there shooting canons while we were walking on the grounds. I wasn’t ready so Elliott’s ears were uncovered, but luckily it didn’t phase him one bit.
After Ft McHenry we drove over to the Inner Harbor, ate lunch and then walked around in the heat. Dean and I are kind of over the Inner Harbor at this point (way too many people), but we still like taking guests there because there is so much to see. Stella rode a dragon paddle boat with her dad, while Dean, his parents and I stopped in H&M to enjoy the air-conditioning. I also may have spent a little too much money on some clothes for Elliott (they have the best baby boy clothes!).
That night we were all exhausted, but decided to hang out outside for a while, after the kids went to bed, and chat. It was so nice to drink a few beers and just talk. I have to say, I’m one lucky girl to have the in-laws that I have!
PS. Andrea, if you read this we found one of Lucy’s pacis after you left! 🙂
My new crafting toy. Love it!
Elliott and his records.
We had family visiting this weekend. More on that to come!
Stella and her Stella plate.
Dean and Elliott on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk.
I’m crazy about these chubby legs.
Lucy and grandma at the Ironbirds game.
1.The boy and his toys.
2. & 3. He’s crazy about reading books these days.
4. Packed our lunches for our trip to the zoo last week. I love our Easy Lunchboxes!
5. My view on the train ride back from the zoo. I’m so glad he still likes to be carried.
6. & 7. What I came home to after work one day last week. Don’t worry Dean was there, too.
8. Saw Wooly Willy at Cracker Barrel and it immediately made me think of spending time at my grandma’s house when I was younger. I miss her so much. She would have been crazy about Elliott.
9. Getting ready to take the crazy dog on a walk.
10. Pulled himself up for the first time. Good thing he was wearing a fancy outfit!
11. Sleepy babe.
12. & 13. Went to a drive-in double feature of movies that Dean has really been wanting to see. We piled up blankets and pillows in the bed of his truck and Elliott and I fell asleep about an hour in to the first movie.
14. Elliott making friends at Gina’s baby shower.
15. I had a little visitor when I was trying to declutter my craft room.
(This post might as well be called “Look At My Baby Eating Food” because of all the photos of him, well, eating.)
As Elliott graduated from being a newborn to an infant I became more and more excited about letting him try solid food. So excited that I purchased organic baby rice cereal and baby spoons before I even got the okay from his pediatrician. Once we did get the okay at his 4 month well visit I drove him home, stuck him in his high chair and prepared his first batch of solid food, which wasn’t all that solid at all. (Am I the only one who finds these achievements bittersweet? All the newness is so exciting, but it also means my baby is growing up!)
^^^excited about his first bite of solid food!^^^
^^^he liked it!^^^
He took to the cereal right away and eventually we started to offer him oatmeal and then pureed fruits and veggies. I decided I wanted to try to make his baby food because of the cost of pre-made baby food and because I would know exactly what he was eating. I used the ice cube tray method and this website, and would spend a couple of hours over the weekend steaming, baking and blending. It was a little bit of work, but let me tell you, the satisfaction I got when he was scarfing down the homemade food made it all worth it.
^^^enjoying some purees^^^
At Elliott’s 6 month well visit his pediatrician said that we should start to incorporate finger foods in to his diet. Now this made me nervous because all I could think about was him choking. I watched some baby-led weaning videos online (this one is insane) and gained some confidence in Elliott’s gumming ability. We didn’t follow baby-led weaning, but watching those videos definitely helped me loosen up a little bit. If those babies could handle hunks of bread and chicken then surely mine could handle tiny diced up steamed carrots. 🙂
^^^first puff ever^^^
There were a few moments where I held my breath, ready to jump up and whack him on the back, while he went through the gagging motions, but overall he’s been doing great. His pincer grasp has greatly improved over the past couple of months and now and at his meals at home he almost completely feeds himself. He still gets his purees at school and sometimes he’ll get applesauce for dessert at home (see video below) or if we’re on the go, but everything else is finger foods.
We’ve been very lucky because so far Elliott’s not a picky eater at all. He’ll pretty much eat anything we put in front of him. Now at 10 months old we’re working getting him to eat what we eat at meals, which is more of a challenge for me than it is for him (we like our food spicy). We’re so lucky to have such an easygoing baby!
When I asked Dean what he wanted to do for his first Father’s Day he said he just wanted to keep it low key. So we decided to take a trip to the National Zoo in DC on Saturday. I recently took Elliott to the Baltimore Zoo and wasn’t very impressed so I didn’t have high expectations for the National Zoo. One of the problems with being spoiled by the Columbus Zoo, I guess. But I was pleasantly surprised! The National Zoo was clean, easy to get to by Metro, laid out well with lots of nice exhibits, and best of all, free!
^^^showing Elliott the elephants^^^
^^^taking a little snack break^^^
^^^always on the move these days^^^
^^^this seal was pretty amazing, jumping and twirling in the water in response to a little girl tossing up her hat on the other side of the glass^^^
^^^hitching a ride^^^
^^^love him! (please don’t mind Elliott flipping the camera the bird :))^^^
^^^my 2 favorite guys^^^
^^^happy father’s day!^^^
Happy Father’s Day Dean!! You’ve been a fantastic dad to our little guy and we both love you lots!
Today is the third day of our juice cleanse and I have to say I’m glad we’re halfway through! It hasn’t been quite as hard as I thought it would be (I hope I didn’t just jinx myself for the rest of the week), but it probably helps that we’ve been eating a small dinner made up of veggies every day. We’ve been following the 5 Day Reboot by Joe Cross and so far my favorite juices are Carrot Apple Lemon, Sunrise, Garden Variety and Watermelon Crush. I can’t stand the Un-Beet-able (I hate beets!!) and I also have a hard time choking down the Green Lemonade. Even though I have a tough time drinking some of the juices I definitely feel like I’m doing something healthy for my body.
Some of the hardest things so far have been the cost and the actual juice making. We bought the Breville Fountain Plus Juicer at Bed, Bath and Beyond and thankfully I was able to use a 20% off coupon even though it said it couldn’t be used in the fine print. Juicers are not cheap, but so far I love this one! I’m not an expert, but it produces a decent amount of juice and the pulp is usually pretty dry. Of course the fruits and veggies are an additional expense. I bought most of our stuff at BJ’s and tried to get mostly organic, and our grocery bill showed it. When you add in the Ball Mason Jars for transportation to work and a case of coconut water that we’re supposed to drink, it adds up quick.
The preparation, the juicing and the clean-up of the fruits and veggies take some time. I’ve been juicing 2 servings of 5 different juices each night so that involves rinsing out the juicing basket and pulp container between each juice, which is a pain and a mess in itself. Thankfully most of the pieces are dishwasher safe so that saves me time on the final washing of the juicer. I would say that juicing each night takes me about an hour to an hour and a half, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t too bad, but it’s hard when Dean and Elliott are hanging out in the next room and all I want to do is spend time with them.
Right now I still enjoy juicing, but I definitely miss my normal meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m also a big snacker and the Annie’s Bunny Grahams sitting on my desk at work have been calling my name for the past few days. After this cleanse is done I’m hoping to juice my breakfast daily, but we’ll see how the next 2 days go before I make that commitment!