Happy Independence Day 

 

Benny and Brian at the parade
  
Teddy and me at the parade
  
Teddy’s first time in a swing. He was all smiles!
  
Ben discovered my silicone cupcake cups this morning and carried them around all day
  
M’ boys
  
“Sup?”
 

9 Months

How has it been 9 months already? I know Teddy is getting big and all but 9 months seems like it should feel a lot longer ago than it does.

Teddy is round, happy, hungry, loving, learning, and almost too cute for words. He has learned so much in the last month! He gives kisses on request now so every night at bed time after I read him a book, I have to find Brian and Ben so Teddy can give kisses. I think he enjoys it as much as we do. Teddy loves playing peek-a-boo and does so whenever the mood strikes: while nursing, getting dressed, playing on the floor, sitting in the car… He hides his face with his baabaa (the much-loved burp cloth) or his hands and smiles from ear to ear when he uncovers his eyes. He loves touch-and-feel books and giggles to himself whenever he pets something fuzzy. His babbling is starting to sound more intentional, especially the sounds he makes when he sees Brian (dadadada), me (mumumum), the cat (kkkkkkk), and puffs (fffff).

Teddy isn’t crawling yet but I have a feeling that will happen in the next month. He ninja rolls everywhere and is good at correcting the direction so he can reach what he set out for but there are times where he gets angry that the toy he wants is just beyond his reach. I’ve seen him push forward with his toes and lift his belly off the floor so it’s bound to happen sooner rather than later. He might not be crawling but he sits like a champ now. His favorite activity, just like Ben, is to sit in front of a basket of toys and slowly, methodically empty it out onto the floor. It’s simple but it keeps him amused for at least 30 minutes so it’s a win!

The Tedders is always hungry, no joke. He reaches for anything we are eating so we’ve gone full-tilt into finger food. We worked on using his fingers to pinch for a few days and he caught on fast. He loves cheese, black beans, bits of fruit, cheerios, puffs, green beans, chicken, pasta, peas, and blueberries.  He’s still nursing 3 times a day and it doesn’t seem like he wants to give that up anytime soon. I’ve started giving him a cup of water and he thinks it’s about the funniest thing he’s ever done; he giggles constantly as he tries to drink.

He has had a healthy month, thank God! The week after his 8 month milestone he cut his front bottom teeth (while Ben and I were sick and Brian was out of town). He was a pretty good teether, as they go. He was extra clingy so I wore him more often and did less housework so we could snuggle while he played.

Theodore is a bit of a chunk but only because he’s proportionally shorter than he is heavy. He’s our short and wide boy! He doesn’t go to the pediatrician for another few weeks but when I weighed him a few weeks back he was just over 18 lbs but 6 month clothes still fit pretty well for length. He gets his shortness from his mama! He is wearing 9 month clothes for the width and since its warm enough most days to go pantsless, leg length isn’t an issue. His girth is almost too much for babylegs but we make it work.

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Beefy baby arms!
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The boy napped so hard he left a handprint on his face!
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WHOA TEDDY!
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Cheeseface!
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My dinner helper
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Important moment: Teddy’s first french fry
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Attack of the slobbery baby kisses!
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Baths are suddenly way more fun now that he can sit and splash
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Family photo at the playground on Father’s Day. It’s a bit of a miracle that everyone is looking in the same direction
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Ben had a sleepover at Grammy and Papa’s so we played hooky and took off to the beach with the baby. Teddy ate a huge dinner and passed out on the walk back to the car
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Playtime with Mr. T
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Strike a pose!
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Hi there, Chunk-chunk!
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Teddy ADORES spending time with his Daddy and Ben

8 Months

8 months seems really old but our Theodore really is getting big!

The month started with Brian leaving for a trip to Las Vegas for Loopconf. A short stop at my parents’ house after bringing Brian to the airport turned into an impromptu sleepover for Benny. Teddy and I spent our time together going for a walk, running errands, and hanging photos in Ben’s room. It was kind of relaxing to have only one child for a day. The boys and I had lots of fun while Daddy was away but were thrilled that he came home in time for Mother’s Day and his birthday.

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Drive-in theater in the living room
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Outside!
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This kid!
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Tummy time outside
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Snuggles with Mommy on Mother’s Day

Teddy rolls like he was born doing it now. He’s also figured out that rolling can get him to places previously out of reach like Ben’s toys. He is particularly fond of the vintage Little People garage, sucking on the Little People’s heads, and hitting things with a toy golf club.

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Play kitchens: Great for imaginative toddlers AND curious babies
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Golf club!

We’re working on sitting now too. Learning to sit unassisted is such a gradual process and it’s not like first roll or first steps where there is a moment you can point to as the beginning. He loves sitting in front of his walker toy and attempt to manipulate all the slides, shapes, balls, and noisemakers but will tip himself over on purpose if he doesn’t want to sit anymore.

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Sitting pretty (also, that hair!!!)
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Playing together

Teddy loves his people and “his people” encompasses pretty much everyone he meets. His daddy, brother, and grandparents all have special places in his heart. He gives glorious, slobbery, open-mouth kisses when you ask.

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Grammy!
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A sneak peek of what happens in our house between 5 and 7 pm

Sleep training has been going really well; I’ve even gotten to “sleep through the night” a few times in the last 30 days. We’ve completely dropped Teddy’s 5-6 AM feeding and if he wakes up, he can put himself back to sleep with minimal intervention from me. With Brian working crazy, odd hours lately, it’s good that I’m getting (reliably) better quality sleep.

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Turns out, Teddy is a tummy sleeper

We spent Memorial Day weekend at a Civil War reenactment at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. This was Teddy’s first event and the kickoff to the summer reenacting season in Michigan. The weather was perfect, the boys were fabulously behaved, and we had more stress-free fun over the weekend than we’ve had in our two previous summers of reenacting with kids. Staying at a hotel instead of tent camping made all the difference in the world!

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Playing outside
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Chowing down on bread and totally happy
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Our family! Photo courtesy of Ken Giorlando

Teddy eats like a champ and will put everything in his mouth, given the opportunity. I’ve been working with Ben on keeping paper books, flash cards, and pieces of cereal off the floor and out of Teddy’s reach. Ben is struggling with suddenly being expected to share toys so it’s rare that I have to remind him to move his toys away from his brother.

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The first roadblock to Teddy’s love of all food: Green beans. His face says it all!

We heard over and over again at our reenactment last week that Teddy is the best behaved, most relaxed, happiest, smiliest, most content baby ever. So far, that’s proven to be true! He had one more short-lived ear infection this month (less than 12 hours of fussiness) but even that didn’t bring our boy down for long.

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We bought an exersaucer to keep outside for Teddy. He loves it!

Brothers Say Good Morning

  

One of Ben’s first stops every morning is Teddy’s room. “Good Mawlin, Teddy!” he says cheerfully. Teddy lights up and squeals with excitement. 

Just another start to another day with two crazy, adorable, loveable boys. 

(Just to add a small dose of reality, Ben completely melted down at the store yesterday because Teddy grabbed and ripped the ad Ben was playing with. “Teddy ripped my menu!” They are far from perfect but the dynamics of their relationship fascinate me.)

Lucky Number 7

7 years ago, this guy and I walked down the aisle, said “I do,” and threw a wicked awesome party.

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I love you, Brian. Thank you for loving me and taking such good care of me for 7 years. I’m looking forward to another 70!

It Was a Good Day

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My grandparents had a wonderful vegetable garden in the backyard for as long as I can remember and one of the bonuses of having bought their house is the three plots of asparagus. I picked enough for the two adults around 5 pm, consumed by 8 pm. Delicious!
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Two year olds are not always fun (he threw himself to the ground in anger only minutes after this) but he is sweet, loving, funny, and smart as a whip!
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There is nothing better, according to my boys, than playtime with Daddy. This photo is one of my favorites of all time, taken in our own backyard

7 Months

I’m struggling to believe that my squishy newborn is a chunky, active, BIG baby already but for some reason, they don’t ask permission to get big!

Teddy saw the pediatrician for his 6 month check up at the end of April. He was 16 lb 6 oz (20%), 27.25″ long (63%), and has a 17.5″ head (73%). He got two more vaccine pokes and the rotavirus oral vaccine. He was fussy until bedtime but that’s pretty close to par for the course for Teddy and vaccines. He had a DTaP granuloma lump at the site of that shot so I’ll have to remind them to give his next dose at 18 months in a different place. He’s hit most of the developmental milestones expected by 6 months (rolls over (!), likes to look at himself in a mirror, likes to play, smiles at familiar people, talks, puts things in his mouth, raking grasp, sits briefly with support, transfers toys between hands) and now we’re looking forward to things like actual mobility and sitting upright!

He is on the shorter side so he’s still wearing all 6 month clothes. It took me FOREVER to get all of the outgrown clothes out of his dresser so I’m glad I don’t have to do it again soon. I did go out and buy a few more pairs of neutral pants and some long sleeves to help with the transition between seasons. There’s been about a 50 degree temperature swing in the last 30 days so almost every day calls for something different. It snowed since we got back from California but today is nearly 80! My favorite purchase this month was just this past week when I found a pair of R2D2 Robeez shoes for $2 at a garage sale. Score!

Teddy FINALLY figured out rolling over from his belly to his back at the beginning of the month. He is getting faster by the day. He’s also rolled from his back to belly several times (all in his bed). He gets really confused when he wakes up sleeping on his belly!  We’ve been working on sitting unassisted but he either falls over or folds himself in half!

We started giving Teddy solid foods right after his 6 month birthday and he took to it like a fish to water! We started with banana and added in sweet potato sticks, avocado, carrot sticks and puree, applesauce, pear slices, graham crackers, rice crackers, and pea puree. He figured out the mechanics of getting the food to his mouth immediately and really enjoys playing with what we give him. I had forgotten how incredibly awful the diapers during this transition period can be. Ew! We’re still using cloth diapers but I’m not as vigilant about getting them washed and folded so it’s not too out of the ordinary to find the baskets empty and reach for a disposable instead.

Teddy doesn’t have any teeth yet but we’ve had a full month of issues with an ear infection, croup, and general fussiness from his vaccinations. Let’s hope that his 7th month is a free from those complications but I wouldn’t mind the teeth. Let’s just get them over with!

This was a pretty big month for everyone’s sleep habits. Teddy got moved into his own room at night right after we got home from our San Diego trip. Right after that, I stopped swaddling him cold turkey and he had to readjust. THEN I started pushing him to take 2 naps a day instead of 3 by lengthening his afternoon nap to longer than 45 minutes. We’re not completely successful every day (Ben refuses to take naps occasionally so some days I get nothing done in the afternoon) but it’s slowly getting easier for him to sleep longer. He usually naps for 30-45 minutes in the mid-morning and 2 to 2.5 hours after lunch. Sleep training is tough but I know we’ll all be better for it in the end.

Overall, Teddy is still a super contented little guy who loves to play with toys (the ring stacker is his favorite right now) on the floor with his people around. He is happy to be worn in a carrier of any sort, enjoys car rides, nursing, solid foods, the cats, and being tickled. He wakes up happy for the most part and is a much-loved part of our family.

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Playing with the kkkkk(kitty)
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I bought the boys’ Easter outfits last year right after we found out we were expecting another boy. I’m so glad they fit!
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Sitting gives Teddy a whole new perspective on life
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“No tummy time, Mommy. I’m just going to lay here.”
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Almost every photo I have of Teddy from this past month is him on his belly. C’mon buddy, roll over!
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Picnic with Benny
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Banana
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Hey! What are you doing!?
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Sweet potato sticks
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Contortionist baby
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Peek!
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Avocado
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Teddy’s “I have croup and am too stick to play” pose
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Woo! Naps!
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Applesauce on a basting brush means he can feed himself but I can never reload it fast enough for his liking
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Applesauce on toast
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Teddy taco
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Carrots
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Who has two thumbs and took a 3 hour nap? This guy!
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Graham cracker
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Trying out the reenacting clothes. This dress ultimately became Ben’s but Teddy does fit perfectly in all of Ben’s hand-me-downs
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Peas
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Happily playing with a stuffed animal while Mommy tries to wake herself up

Kitchen Garden

The weather has been gorgeous here in West Michigan for the last few days. We’ve been hurrying through dinner so we can spend more time outside. In fact, the first thing out of Ben’s mouth this morning when I got him up was a request to go outside!

Last night the boys were happy playing with their toys so Brian and I got a little bit of bonus yard work done. Brian trimmed the back (western) hedge, I weeded half of the kitchen garden, Teddy played quietly in the bouncy seat, and Ben ran around but mostly played with the water table (best toddler toy of all time!).

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Watching Ben and Brian from my weeding spot
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Teddy happily played like this for more than an hour!

I finished weeding all the maples out of this bed today during the nearly nonexistent naps that the boys gave us and was able to make some plans for all the empty space I had uncovered. I forgot to get a photo before the sun went down so you’ll have to put up with the partially finished one from last night. I have two small chives to plant yet this weekend and will pick up some lavender soon. I’m going to split and move the hosta that are between the tree and the house to the empty middle of the garden so we have a place to store his outside toys without crushing plants.

IMG_6309My mom and grandma stopped by yesterday and identified some of the mystery plants as different kinds of lilies, astilbe, and columbine. The beautiful (yet scraggly) flowering bush below the window is a flowering almond. From what I read today, they put up with a lot of pruning so I’ve started clipping it back to (hopefully) encourage it to fill in.

Progress! We has it!

Lurking Behind the Garage

I finally got a chance to get back to work outside today. It’s been cold and rainy for most of the week and while I want to get the yard work caught up, I’m not that hardcore!

Today’s projects were to:

  • Trim the 4 spirea in front of our front entry
  • Deadhead all three areas of hydrangea since we’ve determined they’ll flower off old growth
  • Clean all off last year’s growth, leaves, and those dang maple saplings from the large 6′ by 20′ bed

Did I finish? Oh yes I did! I was able to sneak a little over two hours in while the boys napped. The spirea project was over quickly thanks to our electric hedge trimmer. I was able to pull out a lot of dead wood and cut them to a more uniform shape and size.

I quickly moved on to the hydrangeas. We have three areas of hydrangea, two flanking the mess where a spruce was cut down last spring and one really large plot along our back (western) fence. Cutting off dry flowers isn’t tough work so that was quickly finished.

I have been dreading working in the bed behind the garage since we moved in last summer. By the time we moved in, the bed was full of fast-growing weeds and unidentifiable plants. I pulled off last year’s flower stalks but the biggest issue, as with most of our yard, were these little suckers…

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Itty bitty maple saplings

Little maple saplings! It seemed like thousands of them! Last year was a big year for errant maple growth because of the really heavy snow cover. With packing one house, cleaning and updating the other, growing a baby, and caring for a wild toddler, I didn’t have enough energy or time to pull them all by hand so they had a full season of growth in their roots.

Now to brag a little, the garden looks pretty awesome now!

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Cleaned up and spiffy looking

Moving from the background to foreground we have lilies, a mix of irises and tulips, mystery plant (that will grow around 3 ft tall and flower purple? maroon? fuchsia?), three peonies, more irises, and mystery plant #2 along the back by the wall. I moved the cement stepping stone to this bed today too. At some point, my grandpa removed the gutters above this bed and the rain cascading out of open end of the gutter system was causing quite a bit of soil loss next to the path. We had a few extra pavers on the other side of the house that I could move over until I figure out a more permanent solution to last until we replace the leaky gutters.

What’s up next? This garden!

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Kitchen garden

The window you can see through the branches of the tree is the window over my kitchen sink and this bed lays on the opposite side of the walkway from the bed I cleaned today. From left to right, we have stray maples, a rose bush, primroses, maples, the same mystery plant #2 as the other garden, a trillium, maples, tulips, maples, a few hosta, and some maples. The tree is a dogwood and the bush by the window is a…. mystery bush. It is about to flower what look to be small, pink blossoms so that’s exciting.

I want to add lavender and chives to this garden at some point and pave the area closest to the house with landscaping tiles to store the boys’ outdoor toys. I look at this garden a ton while washing dishes so I’m excited to get it looking as good as the other’s I’ve worked on.

Guess This Plant II

I’ve been chipping away at the weeds and spring yard clean up during naps and after the boys go to bed off and on this week. I still have so much to do but the yard waste bin is full again!

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I wrapped around the house to the northwest end behind Teddy’s bedroom (left window) and the full bathroom (right window). I need to pull out about a million tiny maple trees and other weeds. The majority of this bed is taken up by the biggest holly bush I’ve ever seen. There are a few hostas in the foreground of this photo and then there’s this mystery plant to the left of the holly…

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Mystery plant is about 2′ tall and kind of like a tree with leaves concentrated on branches, not up the stem
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Emerging foliage and berry-like things

So, any ideas? Is it something that should be growing in a garden or is it a freakishly large weed?