November Catch-Up

I hadn’t intended for there to be nearly a month of radio silence around here. November ended up being a fairly chaotic month since all 4 of us spent some time being sick, Teddy got new teeth, and we worked around the house. Here’s what we’ve done since Halloween:

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I’ve attempted to dress Teddy up in costumes and cute outfits as often as possible
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Being sick is hard on everyone!
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Baby McFly is cheesin’ (also saying “chee” because he knows a few words now!)
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We worked on fall crafts in our casual in-home preschool lessons
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We walked grumpy babies until they fell asleep
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And fed them snacks. Nothing makes this boy happier than a full water bottle and a post-nap snack
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Science experiment with baking soda and colored vinegar
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Ben loves to hop on stage after church and play with the drum kit
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We enjoyed a week of incredibly gorgeous weather and played outside as much as we could (until the sun went down at 5 pm, of course)
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We went “camping” in the basement
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Camping made being stuck at home while dealing with colds a little easier on everyone
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Teddy’s favorite activities are putting the top back on an empty bottle and poking plastic milk tops into the opening of a wipes box. We’re working on those motor skills!
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😍 Brothers!
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We had our first snowfall
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Ben built his first snowman (with Brian’s help)
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We have intentionally set aside time to play as a family because we know it’s all too easy to let work and other obligations take over

 

Wreck it, wreck it Ralph, just as fast as you can

Earlier this year, Ben fell in love with the movie Wreck-it-Ralph, which was ok with us because we love it too! If you haven’t seen it, we definitely recommend you check it out.

There was no contest when it came to picking Halloween costumes this year. Ben had to be Wreck-it-Ralph and that meant Teddy had to be Fix-it-Felix. I like costumes for small kids that are as close to normal clothes as possible (to minimize potential issues with my strong-willed 3 year old) and am really pleased how well the costumes came together. We even figured out how to fit Ben’s raincoat under his plaid shirt!

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You’d be as surprised as I am when I tell you that he kept his hat on both times he wore his costume!
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Ben told me that he needed “a Wreck-it-Ralph medal but I have to find it myself.” Ben did find it (at a party store)
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All photos by Brian

The Richards Family Takes on ArtPrize

Every fall for the last seven years, Grand Rapids, MI, the next-door, big sister city to our little hometown, holds a city-wide art competition called ArtPrize. Paintings, sculptures, photos, and live installations are exhibited on the sides of buildings, on street corners, in the museums, and in parking lots. We’ve made it a point to check it out at least once every year, even when we had a 3 day old Ben and overdue with Teddy.

I didn’t get any photos of the art but we did get some of our family!

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Happy Number 1, Teddy Bear!

It has already been a year since our Theodore John aka Teddy aka The Teds aka Teddy Bear aka Tedders aka Little Baby aka Ted-er-ino arrived to make our family four. First birthday posts are hard for me to write because almost everything changes about that baby in the course of a year and I get so nostalgic (and emotional) thinking about his sweet turned up nose and little newborn squeaks and grunts.

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While official weight and height stats are coming next week, I know he’s about the same as Ben was at one year at 20ish lbs and 30ish inches since they’re wearing the same clothes. If anything, Teddy is a bit shorter. He has 6 teeth with no signs of adding more anytime soon (although I’ve been mistaken before!). He is down to nursing only in the morning and eats everything we put in front of him. It’s not uncommon for him to polish off his whole plate of food and finish what Ben won’t touch. He can sign eat, milk, more, all done, and chew and doesn’t hesitate to let me know at 5:15 every night that he is ready for dinner.

UPDATE: Teddy’s 12 month checkup was today and he’s such a little peanut! He was only 18lb 9.5oz (11th %) and 29 inches tall (18th %). His head was 18.5″ (76th %) so we’re continuing the trend of large headed babies. I knew he felt smaller than Ben but that big of a difference surprised me. At 3 years, Ben is more or less average at 31 lb (42nd %) and 3 ft 1.5 inches (49th %).

Ben was so, so excited to meet Teddy at the hospital and our favorite thing has been watching the relationship of the two brothers grow along with Teddy. Ben was quick to shower attention and kisses on unsuspecting baby Theodore but now Teddy is big enough to give them right back! They don’t share toys well and have a hard time waiting for their parents’ undivided attention but play and wrestle so much more with every passing week. Opening Ben’s door in the morning and after naps (when he inevitably wakes first) is one of Teddy’s favorite times of the day.

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“Hi Baby Teddy”
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I can’t get over the fact that T looks a bit like a large mushroom with that giant helmet on his head
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Driving a Home Depot car cart is a huge hit with both the 3 and 1 year old crowds
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I’ve lost track of how many times the words “don’t squish your brother” have come out of my mouth in the last 12 months

Teddy loves his family, the kitties, his grandparents, his baabaa (burp cloth) and boppy (pacifier), eating everything ever, playing with his brother’s toys, any vehicle with wheels, wrestling, putting his hands and other small objects into Ben’s potty chair, singing songs, taking baths, reading books, trying to shove his boppy in Mommy’s mouth, giving kisses, and snuggling.

Teddy dislikes diaper changes, not being allowed to eat right this instant, green beans, thinking he has been left out of something fun, having to get naked instead of jumping in the bath with his clothes on, being denied access to the potty chair, and when Ben takes away toys he wants to play with. It was much harder to think of dislikes because The Teds is truly a naturally happy child and is content to do almost anything as long as he can be with his people.

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I love having a baby who likes being worn as much as I like wearing
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Photo cred: Meghan Mace Photography

Teddy can army crawl with an incredible amount of speed and it starting to pull himself up on anything he can reach. He’s been slower to learn new skills than Ben was because he’s just so content to sit where he was put and play with whatever he can reach. He’s caught on to the fact that there’s just so much more mischief he can get into if he can get himself from point A to B so I don’t think it will be too much longer before he starts walking.

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Hmmm, what have we here?

Happy birthday, my littlest little man!

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Teddy vs. Cake

We had a first birthday cake smash photoshoot with Teddy earlier this week. While Ben, at the same age, gingerly dipped one finger into the frosting and barely got messy, Teddy barreled across the room when he saw the cupcake on the floor and eagerly dove into it with both hands. He didn’t even let me put it down in front of him before he attacked. It was a lot of fun to watch! teddy-cake-smash-8492 teddy-cake-smash-8494 teddy-cake-smash-8495 teddy-cake-smash-8500 teddy-cake-smash-8518 teddy-cake-smash-8530 teddy-cake-smash-8531

Discipline

I’ll be the first to admit that my preferred state of activity is inactivity. I am, by nature, a lazy person. I figured if I was supposed to be active, the discipline to do so would be inherit.

I’ve come to realize after dwelling on the subject for some time that gaining discipline is like gaining patience. Not easy, usually trial-by-fire, and a lot of effort involved. I want to be a good example for my boys and to prove to myself that I can improve in this one area of my life.

So, I went for a run yesterday and didn’t die (although getting out of bed was a little difficult today).  

Ben is 3!

benny-3Today our Benjamin turns 3 years old. It’s clichĂ© to say that time flies but I’m certain that this year went even faster than from 1 to 2. There is an activity floating around the internet where you ask your child the same set of questions every year to see how their answers change over time. I though this year would be a great year to start with Ben but I hadn’t counted on the fact that his attention span is similar in length to a goldfish! Over the course of a week, he’s given me enough answers (and pointed UN-answers) to fill out a post.

What is your name?
Benny! B-E-N spells me!

How old are you?
I got some sprinkles!

What is your favorite color?
I don’t know my favorite color is

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Cake! Birthday cake!

What is your favorite food?
Peanut butter and jelly

Who do you like to play with?
Emily

What is your favorite book?
*skillful evasion*

What is your favorite animal?
This! *holds out a snowman cookie cutter*

What is your favorite song?
*runs away*

What makes you laugh?
I laughed in my room. I shut the door

What do you like to do with your family?
Go for a drive and we go to the vacation house

What does Daddy do for work?
Daddy has a meeting and I have a pretend meeting

What does Mommy do for work?
Works inside

What is your favorite movie?
I don’t know. I like Toy Story!

What is your favorite show?
Um, Finding Nemo?

What is your favorite thing to do outside?
Play with Emily!

Where do you like to go on vacation?
The vacation house!

Happy birthday, my best big boy!

11 Months

Sweet Teddy boy is 11 months already! A good example of what an 11 month is like is what happened when I was nursing him before bed tonight. He was laying on my lap and pushed against the armrest of the chair to reach his pacifier on the end table. He popped the pacifier in his mouth and signed that he was all done. My tiny baby has opinions, can do things on his own, and can communicate his desires.

He figured out crawling and gets into everything now. Ben gets a little tired of defending his toys but we’re working how to give them both their own space.

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Reading with Mommy after a super short nap
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Neither boy napped so we climbed in the van, hit the road, swung through coffee drive through, and both boys passed out. Victory is mine!
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Teeth! Teddy has his two bottom middle teeth and the right middle and right canine. He’s cutely lopsided
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Playtime in the back of the van while Brian bought a tablesaw
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“Hello? Hi Grandma!”

We took a family trip to Binder Park Zoo where the biggest attraction is feeding the giraffes. Ben loved the giraffes as much as he did when we took him last summer.

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*All* of us had so much fun at the zoo
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“I wanna climb on the ant!”
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I call this “Toddler on a Tram”
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Snuggle baby
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Llama llama, wakey wake!
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WHAT IS THIS?! HE IS SNUGGLING ME!
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Teddy’s first ride on Sandy the Pony at Meijer
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He is a BIG fan of spaghetti and meatballs
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Teddy loves grabbing my face. I am not as big of a fan
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Partying hard and having dinner at the park because SUMMER!

Colorado or Bust!

At the end of July, our family took off for a nearly two week long road trip to Colorado for lots of family time and camping at Rocky Mountain National Park. Camping, even in a pop-up camper, with two small kids isn’t always fun but we enjoyed hiking in the mountains and exploring outside. It took us some time to figure out what worked for us (hiking only in the morning, must be back to the campground for naps, quick and simple meals, etc). Ben loved roasting marshmallows, climbing on rocks, and lots of time with Daddy. Teddy learned to army crawl while we were camping so I spent a lot of time trying to keep him from eating grass and rocks.

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Perfect illustration of what living with a toddler is like
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These deer traipsed through our campsite our first night there. Hello nature!
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Looking for fish in Bear Lake
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Home sweet camper
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Gorgeous, vibrant thistle
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Teddy’s first ice cream!
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Ben playing with one of his surprise toys next to his “mountain”
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We borrowed my parents’ collapsible wagon for Teddy; he loved going for rides!
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(L to R): Dad, Ben, Brian, littlest sister, Mom at Sprague Lake
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Hiking with T at Sprague Lake
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Top of the world!
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Ben had more energy (and fewer problems with the altitude) than I did
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We spent a lovely morning at Holzwarth Historic Site, a 1920s rustic resort in the mountains
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Colorado River
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Oh, my heart!

We up followed our camping adventure with 4 nights in the lovely area of Breckenridge, CO. We stayed in a house where there was enough space for all of us to have our own space to sleep, a washer and dryer for me to get laundry done, and internet so Brian could work a bit. It was great to get back to something close to our normal routine for a few days before driving home again. We even had a chance to meet up with the Crowd Favorite staff in Denver for lunch.

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Art installation in Breckenridge
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We played on lots of playgrounds all over Colorado
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Even the big boys got to play!
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Playground around the corner from the Crowd Favorite office in Denver
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Road trip buddy

10 Months

At his 9 month check up only a few weeks ago, Teddy was 18 lbs (18th %), 28 inches (24th %), and had an 18 inch head (65th %). He’s both lighter and shorter than Ben was at this age, which is weird to all of us because T is so much stockier than Ben has ever been. He’s really comfortable, with plenty of growing room, in 9 month clothes so he’ll probably be wearing them until or even past his birthday. He got one shot at his appointment but barely squawked.

Teddy is sitting, army-crawling, and rolling everywhere. Ben continues to struggle with sharing toys and Teddy is really good at testing Ben’s limits. They make each other cry on occasion but most problems can still be solved with hugs and kisses.

Theodore eats almost everything I give him so, with a few substitutions, he pretty much eats with the rest of the family now. Three cheers for only cooking one meal!

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Teddy’s first beach trip was a little cold so he was happy to hang with me in the shade

We’re starting to see the boys playing together a lot more often and I can’t get enough!

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Stole his brother’s sippy cup. Guess it’s time for him to have his own!
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Ice cream and baby toes
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Teddy had peanut butter for the first time and his squeals of excitement nearly deafened me
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My helper boy making banana bread
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HOME DEPOT! AAAAAH!
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Cupcakes should always be eaten from the top down
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Scrambled eggs were one of the last few foods we needed watch for an allergic reaction. Safe and went over well!
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We met some insanely competitive ducks at the park
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Dinosaur riding
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Playing with the big boy toys while the bigger boy napped