Friday, April 29, 2016

friday photo dump

Here is a random assortment of Charlie photos that needed a home...You'll notice a theme of eating hands and not smiling. This kid cracks me up.
someone fell asleep on our stroll to go vote in the Virginia primary. 

He pooped right before I handed him over to the Easter bunny. Sorry.
Who me?
This is my happy face.
Just a boy and his pirate. 
I'm going to hold onto this just in case someone tries to take it while I sleep.

Dad, that's a drain cover, not a hat.

When Mom tries to keep me from rolling over during tummy time. 
A little shopping at the team store before baseball season started. Also, this kid has big feet.
Mom says I have to learn how to stop eating my hands first.
I swear I'm having fun. 

Sitting in the shopping cart like a big boy because I didn't want to be in my carseat.
Sitting still is for babies.
I'll let you guess what happened right before this photo was taken.
Sunday, April 24, 2016

four months

This leap from three to four months brought all kinds of changes - both big and small. When you add them all up, this stage of babyhood seems completely new and different. I'm already having trouble remembering you as a sleepy newborn. It's true. Babies don't keep.

You have made all kinds of transitions this month. You no longer sleep in your bassinet right by mom's side of the bed. But don't worry, you haven't moved too far. You are now in your pack n play about 5 feet from mom's side of the bed. :) I'm just not quite ready for you to be a whole floor away from me. Sometimes after a nighttime feed, you even get to cuddle with mom in the big bed if you are having trouble going back to sleep.

You have also transitioned out of your swaddle blanket. You now sleep in something called the magic sleep suit. It's basically just a thick, cushy bodysuit that helps keep your startle reflex at bay. You look like an astronaut in it, and we imagine you have many space adventures in your dreams.

Speaking of sleep, you had been continuing to sleep well, and we were finally making some good progress on regular daytime naps. Just a week ago you slept through the night twice without any feedings. I was feeling like a pretty awesome parent...but then the four month sleep regression bus hit us full force. I had heard tales of such a regression. Turns out these tales are true. Lord help us. The last four nights have been an epic disaster. You've been up way more than when we first brought you home from the hospital. Your dad has nicknamed you the Monster of Chalfonte Drive, but it's in jest because it's usually followed by "but he's so stinkin' cute." I'm a total zombie, and I feel bad because I know you are sleep-deprived and miserable too. Dad is the only one among us who is well-rested. If only he could feed you...

But enough about that, you are overall such a sweet little fellow that I don't want your poor sleeping of late to ruin your four month update (but if this keeps up, don't be surprised if I dedicate an entire post to your new sleep - or lack thereof - habits).

You are much more vocal and expressive now. When you aren't chewing on your hands, you jibber jabber all the time. I used to want to know what you were thinking. Now I want to know what you are saying. You've learned to squeal and make all kinds of funny new sounds. You definitely smile more, but your resting face is still pretty serious. You have a mean side eye, which I can only imagine is the start of a serious sarcastic streak.

We still have to work pretty hard for laughs, but you certainly let us know when you don't like something. With more personality comes more preferences. This can be both good and bad. It's fun to watch you learn new things and discover what you like and don't like. You get bored easily so keeping you entertained is a full-time job.

Luckily, mom and dad are on your preferred list. You like most anyone that will hold you or play with you, but there is no doubt that mom is the favorite. I mean, we do spend all day together, and I do feed you. I'm pretty sure it's mostly because I feed you. I may be the favorite, but Dad likes to say he is the fun parent and that's probably true. He sings to you all the time, watches Sesame street with you on Saturday morning while Mom naps (bless him), and he gives you rides on his shoulders. This is, by far, your favorite activity. I wish I could bottle the big smile you have on your face while you ride around drooling all over dad's hair.

You are really on the move now. Diaper changes have become more of a challenge now that you wiggle nonstop. You started rolling front to back just after you hit three months, and your newest trick as of this week is rolling back to front. Now we really have to keep an eye on you. Last month, you wanted to be sitting up instead of lying down. Now you prefer to be standing (with our assistance) and often resist sitting in our laps. I have nightmares of you just skipping over sitting up and going straight to crawling. You are more content to play on your back or hang out on your tummy now that you can roll at will. But you are most content being held preferably while on the move. No surprise there.

You've discovered your jumparoo and you've really warmed up to it. You didn't quite know what to do at first, but once you realized you could bounce, you just went to town. You love being outside, and thanks to some great spring weather, we go on walks almost every day. Mom likes to time it just right so you'll take a nice long nap while we stroll.

You have started to discover toys and "play" with things. Much to Dad's dismay, you love anything that lights up and makes sound. Thank goodness for baby Einstein products that play classical music. Naturally, your favorite thing to do with any toy is stick it in your mouth. You like to hang out on your play mat and reach for the hanging objects, but you get angry if you can't quite pull them into your mouth. You still love bath time and just being naked in general. A closeted nudist perhaps? You've recently started to enjoy reading books with us. Mom makes the best noises and voices, but Dad makes up the best stories to go with your picture books.

You stayed home with a babysitter not related to you twice over the last month. You did great both times! You also were a good traveler again this month flying solo with Mom to Wichita. You charmed the socks off everyone on multiple flights. You continue to enjoy being in new places and going on new adventures. Being home is boring, Mom.

This could probably go on for several more paragraphs, and I'm sure I'm forgetting things. There is something new or different every single day. Sure, some of it can be challenging, but a lot of it is just too much fun. It is just such a joy to watch you grow up. It's by far the best job I've ever had. We love you, buddy.
Sunday, April 17, 2016

charlie goes to the white house

In between birthdays, vacations and baseball games, we recently crossed something off our DC bucket list. A friend working in the White House took us on a West Wing tour. It pays to know the right people! West Wing tours are only offered on certain evenings and weekends. Our friend was kind enough to spend part of his Saturday showing us around. 

It's much smaller and less opulent than you might expect. I was prepared for it to be cramped, but it was even less roomy and unimpressive than imagined. We saw the door to the situation room - the area around it reminded me of a cruise ship with its dark wood, windowless rooms and naval-inspired decor. It's below the oval office, and I had a hard time imagining the President walking down that same small, dark hallway. If you had shown me a photo, I would have thought it was a nondescript budget hotel hallway. If there is anything I've learned since living in DC, it's that government work ain't glamorous. ;)

The Rose Garden was my favorite part of the tour. It too was smaller than imagined, but quite lovely. Seeing the iconic white columns that frame the outside walk from the residence to the oval office was pretty cool. The Oval Office itself was exactly as you see in photos or depicted in TV shows and movies. It's just a very nice office with tall windows, thick curtains and a big ol' desk. 

We couldn't take any photos inside (other than in the press room) so you'll have to settle for outside shots. Even though Charlie slept in the Ergo the entire time, it's still really fun that we'll be able to tell him all about his visit to the White House someday. 

At the West Wing entrance 

Asleep in the press room. I'm sure he's not the first. Zzzzzzzz.

From the steps of the EEOB with the West Wing in the background.
Post-tour meltdown - probably wondering why we woke him from his Ergo nap. Luckily he didn't do this inside!

After the West Wing tour, we made a bonus stop at Dad's office, which is just a few blocks from the White House. His office is *almost* as nice as the one we toured earlier. I mean, check out that scenic view. ;) 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

baby's first baseball game

You may remember that it was opening day 2015 when we found out I was pregnant. I got the call that morning and met Jon at the ballpark a few hours later where I presented him with a little league baseball that said "Baby Hardin Coming December 2015." This was the look on his face. It will always be one of my favorite memories.

Fast forward 1 year, and we were right back at the ballpark again for opening day 2016, this time with said baby in tow. I'd say life has changed just a bit...

Of course I was a little nervous about how Charlie would do during a long baseball game - especially now that he's grown out of the I-can-sleep-anywhere-anytime newborn stage. Well, it turns out I had nothing to worry about. Charlie LOVED the baseball game. He was completely mesmerized by all the sights and sounds, and he apparently thinks the sight of Mom in a baseball hat is the funniest thing in the world.

He just sat in my lap and watched the game. He is definitely his father's son. He wore his headphones during the opening fireworks and to help take a little snooze during the 7th inning stretch, which was interrupted by cheering for a Bryce Harper home run that even the headphones couldn't muffle. We made it through a 1.5 hour rain delay (another napping opportunity for Charlie) and lasted until the very last out just before 9:00 p.m.

Alas, the Nationals didn't win, but I'd still say our first game was a major league success.

opening day 2015 vs. opening day 2016
P.S. I also have to give the Nationals props - the new nursing mom's room is amazing. I was able to just nurse Charlie in our seats during most of the game (yay for roomier, cushy club level seats!), but once it got a little cold and a little past his bedtime, we moved to the nursing mom's room. It's outfitted with nice chairs, plush changing tables and the game on TV. I have a feeling we will spending lots of time there this summer. :)

just taking a little rain delay snooze 

i'm too busy having fun to smile. 
checking out the nursing moms room
Monday, April 4, 2016

baby's first spring break

We tentatively planned a family vacation with my side of the family before Charlie was born. It was a little daunting to think about traveling with baby, but I knew I would be more than ready for some sun and relaxation come March. So with baby's passport in hand (it took some doing, but Charlie's passport photo taken around 5 weeks is pretty precious) we headed to Mexico. I'm so glad we went for it. And the best part was that we just had to show up. Schmeema did all of the planning. Thanks, Schmeema!

I don't know why I was worried, Charlie was a total champ during all the travel. That first day was long. We drove to Baltimore, parked, checked in, went through security, waited to board, took a 4-hour flight, went through customs, waited for our transportation, and then drove a little over 1 hour to the condo in Playa. Charlie didn't cry one time - he was perfectly content to sleep, eat or just check out his surroundings. He did the same thing on the way back - just fussing a little bit when we were waiting to get off the plane in Baltimore. He made lots of friends on both flights. Everyone was so impressed with how good he did, which totally turned me into that gushing proud parent everyone hates.

We rented a condo in Playa del Carmen. It was a short walk to the beach and right in the heart of the town so we could easily walk to shops and restaurants. With two babies in tow, we didn't want to mess with car seats. We spent the week hanging out by the pool, going to the beach, eating lots of great food, napping and just enjoying family time, i.e. sitting around watching the two littles be adorable. I was thrilled to have so many people there willing and able to hold the baby. Charlie liked that too. He's pretty content as long as he is being held. He had a lot of fun playing with Papa Butch & Schmeema. They got the best smiles out of him, and Schmeema even got him to chuckle one time.

Jon and I had our first official night out sans baby with Megan & Aaron. We went to a nice dinner while the littles stayed at the condo with Schmeema & Papa. Charlie behaved - only melting down once he got hungry - but calming right down after guzzling his bottle. I'm going to need all the grandparents to move in with us so I can have built in babysitters at my disposal!

It was really fun to introduce the cousins for the first time. They are 6 months apart, which seems like a huge difference now, but won't be as they grow up. Abby completely dwarfs Charlie - she is fat, happy and very talkative. Charlie, on the other hand, is lanky, stoic and not one for exuberance. We nicknamed them the chunk and the monk. I'm not sure either one knew what to make of the other, but I can't wait to see them interact more as they grow up together.

The two kiddos were a big hit in the double stroller. Abby road in the front and completely hammed it up for all the admirers. Meanwhile, Charlie held down the back row and gave everyone the stink face. It's almost like he was mad at Abby for giving away so many free smiles. He clearly thinks everyone should have to work really hard to get him to do a trick.

Baby's first flight
First time in the pool. Poor kid. It wasn't so much that he hated the water, he was just tired.
Meanwhile, Abby loved being in the pool.
See, all he needed was a little nap with Schmeema.

Second time in the pool. Doesn't hate it.

This is my happy face.
Checking out the beach.

This is fine as long as I can eat my hands.

I love this. Jump, Abby, jump!

That time I stuck my hand in a vat of cream cheese.
The cousins meet.
Abby plays well with others.
Peeking over a pillow. Papa Butch's hand is bigger than Charlie.
Parents on the loose!
Packing to go home.