Thursday, September 7, 2017

tot gym shenanigans

We've spent a lot of time at the local tot gym this spring and summer. It's been a life-saver on rainy days (and while our house was in boxes and while our local playground is under construction), and it might be Charlie's favorite place on earth. It's really just the local rec center gym converted into a toddler wonderland (think bouncy houses, ride on toys, soft climbing structures) for a few hours, but to Charlie it's heaven. Mama likes it too - as long as I stand near the entrance to catch my little escape artist - I get to sit back and just let him run wild. Everybody wins. 

Here are some fun photos from our tot gym time these last several months. Enjoy!


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Thursday, August 31, 2017

life and other things

Sorry for the radio silence, but I have a really good excuse. I have a toddler. Ok, that's not my excuse, but that would still be enough. Since I last dusted off the blog, we sold one house, bought another house, put all of our belongings in storage, spent 3 weeks on the road while we were in between houses, moved into the new house, stripped wallpaper and repainted, planned a kitchen remodel, and kept a toddler alive. Whew. I'm tired just thinking about it.

Despite the disjointed moving process, the good news is that we LOVE our new house. I questioned what we were doing multiple times while we were in the midst of it - remind me never to stage, show and sell a house with an active toddler in tow - but I'm so happy now that it's over. Our new place is in the same neighborhood - yes, we went to all that trouble to move roughly two blocks - but has a better, more open layout (basement family room! upstairs laundry!) and best of all, a great backyard that Charlie absolutely loves.

It was certainly a stressful moving situation, but the few weeks in between homes gave us the great excuse to visit both sides of our family. They were kind enough to take us in while we were homeless. And after hosting us for almost three weeks, my mom even flew to DC to help us move. She wins mom of the year hands down.

We are finally starting to feel settled (just in time to pack up the kitchen again....blah). The worst of the paint colors and old wallpaper are gone. There are so many other projects I'm dying to tackle, but the kitchen is first on the list. It will be completely gutted and remodeled starting in October. Everything else will have to wait until my design tank and piggy bank are full again.

Meanwhile on the Charlie front, I don't even know where to start. Every day seems to be new and different. I'd describe him as busy, but not hyper. We always want to be doing something, but his attention span has definitely increased. He can now sit and do puzzles for several minutes or, when mom is in a pinch, he might happily watch an entire Sesame Street episode. Bless him.

He has no regard for personal safety, but luckily he's also tough. Otherwise, I'd probably be dealing with tears all day long. He is certainly all boy (although sometimes he gets mistaken for a girl because mom just can't bring herself to cut off his curls). He loves trucks of all kinds, anything that makes a fun noise, building things and knocking them down, reading books, doing puzzles, balls, bubbles, Sesame Street and slides. We've spent lots of time pushing things around the backyard and playing at the park and splash pad this summer. We joined a playgroup on Fridays where Charlie's claim to fame is his ability to out-eat all the other kids. He's usually on his second helping of snack before anyone else has finished a bite. Of course, this also means he's a master eater of other things as well, like crayons, play dough, and any treasures found on the floor. I spend a lot of my time at the park keeping Charlie away from everyone else's snack.

It's no surprise that Charlie would rather be running, climbing, sliding, and throwing than talking...so enter our wonderful speech therapist. We've been working with her for about 3-4 months now, and he's making great progress. He's learning new things all the time and building up his vocabulary.

Fortunately, all this playing and learning wears him out. He's still an awesome sleeper. We put him in his crib at 7:00 p.m. (it does take about 1.5-2 hours for him to fall asleep) and he doesn't wake up until between 8:00-9:00 a.m. He takes one afternoon nap that usually lasts from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Seriously, this kid loves to sleep almost as much as he loves to eat.

He can certainly test my patience, and he's expressing his displeasure more often and in more creative ways these days, but I really can't complain. Most of the time, he's the same laid-back little guy who is easy to please, flexible, independent, and happy. I'll post more photos of our summer adventures soon, but here are some highlights from being on the road and moving day.

Flying to Shi Shi and Papa's house!
Riding in style through the airport on our way back home

helping with the move

Again, so helpful. I didn't do a great job of taking before and after photos,
but seen here are the before green paint and red wallpaper that no longer exist.
The blue dining room will also change at some point.

Perhaps most offensive, the frog wallpaper in Charlie's bathroom. 
Shi Shi to the rescue to tear it down.

Much better, but we let one frog stay in the form of bath toy holder. ;) 
Friday, April 28, 2017

opening day 2017

This might be my favorite family tradition. As you may remember, we have a history with the Nationals opening day. In 2015, it was opening day when I told Jon I was pregnant. Fast forward one year, and we were there with a 4-month-old Charlie. So, of course, we had to make it a family affair again this year.

It's always a bit of a gamble braving events with a toddler. At the end of last baseball season, he was still nursing, not yet walking, and still taking two solid naps per day. We kind of had it down to a science and ended up enjoying 7 games with Charlie last year. We had no idea what to expect now that he's older, wiser and much more rambunctious.

Much to our surprise, he was content to sit in our laps the entire game. Yes, our 15-month-old sat in our seats with us for nine complete innings of baseball - all of which happened during lunch and afternoon nap time. It should have been a disaster, but it was so much fun!

At first, I thought he might fall asleep in the ergo, but there was just too much to see. We had a good supply of snacks on hand to keep him satisfied. The one problem we did have was the cheering. He didn't mind the PA system or moderate cheering, but when the crowd reacted to HRs, etc., Charlie would completely lose it. First, he would make this amazing scrunchy face and then the tears would start. Luckily, they never lasted long. He wouldn't keep his headphones on to help reduce the scare factor. Since he recovered quickly, I can admit it was pretty funny - especially watching everyone else around us react. Once it had happened a few times, they would all cheer and then brace themselves for the tears. They all felt bad for making the babe cry.









Monday, April 24, 2017

4 months of cuteness

Hello? Is anybody there?

I'm sorry for the radio silence. It's not because life is no longer exciting or because Charlie is any less cute. In fact, I'd say it's because life and Charlie have been too exciting and too cute, respectively.

The first few months of this year have been dedicated to all things house. We decided to sell our house this spring so we spent most of January and February getting everything ready to be on the market. The good news: it sold right away. The bad news: we still don't know where we are going next. The housing market is pretty crazy around here so you just don't have the luxury of time or contingencies. The buyer's of our house agreed to a rent back so technically I'm still living in my home, which I no longer own, but now rent. That's not weird at all. We have to be out by June 6th so the clock is ticking....

The last time I checked in, Charlie had just turned one and was still a baby as far as I was concerned. He is now just barely 16 months and all toddler. We don't walk, we run (arms up, belly out). We don't toss, we throw. We don't play, we destroy. But, I have to give him props, he is still the most content, easy-going little guy. Give him some space to run/play/explore and that's about all he needs - save the occasional nosh break. Whether it's after a stint in church nursery or at the gym childcare or with a babysitter, everyone always comments about how easy-going and chill he is. I have no idea what I did to deserve this, and I know it could change ANY minute, so I'm just trying to enjoy it while it lasts. Here's what we've been up to....

A warm winter/spring meant lots of trips to the park where our favorite activity was pushing things around.

Teething means we sometimes just need to chew on the couch. He cut all four molars at once
but took it like a champ, per usual.

He wasn't too sure about the bed in his playroom (courtesy house staging for photos/showings)
until he realized it was the perfect spot to relax while watching some Elmo.
"Ok, mom, this swing is fun but is that a slide I see?"
 

Plate full of peas, mouth full of cookies. He's become pickier about what he'll eat and
anything he doesn't want to eat ends up thrown on the floor. 

We love the toilet.

And toilet paper. 

And boxes.

And balloons...courtesy Nordstrom when we went to buy his first pair of real shoes in January.
We could spend hours pulling out all these fun drawers. 

Still sleeps like it's his job. Usually from 7:00 p.m.-9:00 a.m. at night + a 2-hour afternoon nap.

Still looks just like Dad.



15-month well visit. Into EVERYTHING.


That pout!


At pilates class with mom. Am I doing this right? 
It's not all fun and games. Made a couple of ER trips recently thanks to a bad virus that moved into
his lungs and caused wheezing.

But luckily we love our pediatrician's office and their fun toy truck.

Approximately 2 seconds before the M&M's that were inside were strewn all over the ground...
and yes, with Charlie happily collecting and eating them. 

Loves going on walks and just being outside in general.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

giggle box and first steps

One of my favorite things about Charlie is the way he laughs. He makes you work for it, but the payoff is always worth the effort. It's a full-body experience, and once he starts, he just can't stop. We caught this giggle fest on film, and I have a feeling we'll be watching this one for years to come.

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In other exciting news, someone is doing some serious walking! He took his first couple of steps just before his first birthday. He was standing against the same green chair in this video and took 1-2 steps into my arms. He's done it a few times since then, but nothing more substantial than that....until yesterday. He suddenly started walking all over the place - staying on his feet for 6 or more steps at a time. Today, he got even more brave, and we're already at a 50/50 walking vs. crawling ratio. 

I'm sure it's only a matter of days now before we never see him crawl again. *Tear* But seriously, these last few days have been so fun. It's adorable to watch him stumble about looking a bit intoxicated but so so proud of himself. We call him the kamikaze because he just takes off - usually toward a hard object or sharp corner - with little to no regard for how he is going to stop. 

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Charlie's Gingerbread Party

I'm so excited to share Charlie's party details with you. Somewhere around six months - I think I was inspired after attending Abby's first birthday - it hit me that Charlie would have to have a gingerbread-themed first birthday party. I mean, he's a redhead born right before Christmas, was there any other option? It's amazing I didn't think of it before he was even born. 

I love a good theme, and I had so much fun planning this party. I know he won't remember any of it, but I will, and that's enough for me. :) I'd say one of my top ten decisions of motherhood so far was hiring a photographer for the party. Having a pro at the party allowed us to relax and just enjoy it. Because of her great work this is going to be a loooong post - every time I tried narrowing it down, I ended up adding more.

The Details: red, white and gingerbread-y. I ordered the banners, fondant cake topper and invitations from Etsy. I made everything else myself. The best part was having so many decor options since it was a seasonal theme. The worst part was having to decide what to buy! I almost came home with a human-sized gingerbread cookie cutter from Homegoods one day, but alas, common sense prevailed.




Food table - complete with gingerbread man-shaped sandwiches.



We set up a hot cocoa bar with lots of fun toppings!



Party favors - gingerbread snap cookies.

The Party Boy: His poker face aside, I think he had a grand time. I was mildly worried since his nap schedule was a little thrown off that day, and you never know how babies (errr, toddlers) are going to deal with extra commotion. But I should have known better - Charlie is a chill, easy-going little fella, and he was no different on party day. He liked the balloons, and he seemed to actually enjoy all the attention.

His birthday present from Mom & Dad. I think he liked it. ;)
 



It's my party and I won't smile if I don't wanna.
 


The Party Guests: It's hard to choose favorites, but I was maybe most excited when I looked through the photos of our friends and family. It's also another reason I was so happy to have the photographer there. I would have never captured these moments, but they are such a sweet reminder of how blessed we are with an awesome village of people who have loved and supported our little family.




#squadgoals

We're working on our people skills.


We're also working on our sharing skills.






How sweet is this?!
 

Bucket of water bottles - possibly his favorite thing about the party.

The Cake: No first birthday party is complete without a cake smash. Since he's into throwing food these days, I wouldn't have been shocked if he just shoved the whole thing off his tray. Turns out, Charlie LOVED the cake, and he didn't need any help from us digging right in. He would scoop the frosting off the cake and lick it off his hands open-palm style. He eventually got around to eating some of the actual cake too - all washed down with a side of milk. When all was said and done, he'd eaten almost the entire top layer of the cake.
I'm in my highchair...now where's my food?!









All done
Don't touch Dad!

Or Mom!


He always hates the clean-up.
As soon as he sees the wipes, he always starts shoveling food in because he knows it means mealtime is almost over.