Asher’s 1st Birthday

Man, mom fail!  I’ve just not had the desire to blog in the longest time, but I feel guilty not having these updates for Asher when he’s older.  It’s been a couple of months since Asher’s birthday, but I will do my best to recount his special day(s).

Trav’s parents were in town, so on Asher’s birthday we enjoyed some dinner and ice cream cake.

That Saturday we had a super hero-themed birthday party with a Kilwin’s ice cream catering cart and a bounce house.  I decided to do his party up big more for Ellis than Asher.  Her birthday is in the summer when it’s hot and everyone’s on vacation, so I thought she would love celebrating her brother’s birthday with some of her friends.

Super girls!

 

Cutest Hulk I’ve ever seen!

 

1st ice cream!

 

Here to save the day!

 

Happy and entertained kids

 

Can’t go wrong with freshly made waffle cones!

 

The set up

 

1st birthday went off with a bang!

 

He needed no help enjoying his cupcake

 

Princess super heroes

 

The company was late picking up the bounce house, so Ellis and Asher got some extra night-time bouncing fun in.

 

His face says it all

 

We opened presents the next morning

 

All in all a successful birthday

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Asher’s First Easter

Our Easter Sunday played out like most of our Sundays with the exception that we tried a little harder on our church clothes, and Ellis had handfuls of candy and cheese bunnies before breakfast was ever served.  We had an Easter basket waiting at her table and Easter eggs hidden around the first floor.  The weather has been crummy all weekend, so we didn’t go to Saturday’s Easter festivities, and decided to hide her eggs inside.  (Here’s a tip:  tape the eggs before hiding them so your little one can’t open them immediately.)  Ellis had to open each one she found and sample the insides before she would put them in her basket.

She ate a smidgen of her breakfast before going back to playing.  I gave her a bath (it’s okay to bathe your kids only once a week, right?) using her Easter eggs, some kitchen items, and colored bath drops.  We went to the 11:00 service, which was packed, but there were only three other children in Ellis’s Sunday school class.  Asher did fairly well at the service, but I did have to take him out once.  Our church has a beautiful campus, so it’s pleasant to walk him around or find a bench to hang out.  There are a couple of rocking recliners in the women’s restroom, but who wants to hang out in a restroom listening to people using the bathroom?

As soon as we got in the car, Ellis asked what was for lunch.  We hadn’t planned to do anything special, and I didn’t want to go anywhere that would be crowded.  By this point in our day, it’s dangerously close to Ellis’s nap time, and Asher has already been out for so long, that we have about an hour before everyone melts down.  Additionally, it’s been a struggle dealing with Ellis acting up ever since Asher was born.  Sometimes I look at her and think, where did my sweet girl go? I am trying really hard to give her the attention she needs and make her feel loved and important, but it’s hard.  We ended up at the Loop, and the restaurant was filled with other parents with young kids, so we felt right at home.

After lunch, we went home and napped, then it was back to our usual routine of entertaining and keeping the kids happy until bedtime.

First Library Books

I was a teacher for a few years before I left to pursue my Masters in Library Science.  I’m kind of a geek when it comes to libraries.  So, it might surprise you that today when I took my daughter to the library, I had a $3.60 fine and my library card was expired.  Also, it had been so long since we last visited that I wasn’t aware of the new summer children’s program schedule which does not offer baby story time, so I was surprised when we showed up 5 minutes before opening time and found the parking lot nearly deserted.  Normally, there’s a line of moms with babies waiting to get their names on the list as story time fills up fast.

No biggie.  You had the whole children’s department to herself.  You played with the toys while I browsed bedtime stories.  After a while, you got braver and started exploring new sections, and I was no longer free to browse because I had to keep chasing you down.  I didn’t want people to think I was a neglectful mom who just let her 12 month old daughter run around unobstructed.  And you were running.  Every time I looked up, you were up on your feet, teetering back and forth with your arms bobbing in front for balance, a big grin on your face.  You were just so happy to have all this room to move.  I think it was better that story time didn’t occur because I never would have realized how much fun you could have just on your own exploring.

I did happen to grab a few books while you were running wild and free.  I kind of stuck with the theme of dogs and cats.  I wanted books with pictures of dogs for you to look at because you are always pointing them out everywhere we go.  You see them on TV, outside, in pictures, everywhere.  The other day I was shopping for a vacuum, and you pointed at a box and said “dog.”  I started to correct you, that no, there’s no dog, but then I looked where you were pointing, and there was in fact a picture of a dog on one of the boxes.  It was small, but you found it.

You’ve never actually seen a cat in person, but I feel like it’s important for you to know what one is, and pictures of them are always cute, so I grabbed a couple of those, too.

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These are great because they are photographs, not pictures or diagrams, and there is very little text.  The Scheunemann books also rhyme, so that makes them fun to read.

FICTION

For Ellis, I’m looking for simple, sing-songy text or repetition, and engaging images.  The first book on this list, Little Dogs Say “Rough,” was a miss.  We haven’t even gotten to the page with dogs yet.  But Cat the Cat is a huge hit.  She stops what she’s doing to look and laugh.  The last one by Bill Martin, Jr. (Brown Bear Brown Bear) is sweet and lulling, so it’s enjoyable for both parents and baby.

First Birthday

I can’t believe it.  I’m still getting used to being a mommy and raising a baby and all the responsibility involved.  You can’t be one already!  According to the world, being one makes you a toddler, but you’re still a baby in my eyes.  You have grown so much since we first brought you home from the hospital, and I have learned so much along the way, too.  I was emotional the night before your actual birthday because it reminded me of what I was feeling laying in that hospital room, waiting for your appearance.  I want the world for you, and so I might be a crazy, irrational, overprotective mama bear, but it’s because I love you beyond any love I’ve ever felt before.  So when it came time to celebrate your first birthday, I knew I didn’t want to do it alone here away from all our family.  I wanted you to be surrounded by people who love you on your special day.  So we paid $1500 for plane tickets to your daddy’s hometown.  Ouch.  That might be your last birthday surrounded by family who love you!

We flew in on a Tuesday and stayed at Cousin Teresa and Dan’s.  Grandma and Grandpa Erickson and all the Grabers came over for dinner.  It was a beautiful evening and made me miss home even more.  On Wednesday, we packed up, stopped at a party store, and then headed the rest of the way to your grandparents’ house, an hour away.  Daddy and I had a meeting with Pastor Anenson that afternoon, so you got to play with Grandma and Grandpa one on one.

Thursday was your birthday, so I documented just about every move you made.  The weather was not cooperating, but we did get to take you on the antique carousel and let you play on the swings at the park.  We sang Happy Birthday to you with a yummy strawberry shortcake.

Friday was more prepping for your birthday party.  Your daddy was concerned I was overdoing it, but I had been planning for months and wasn’t about to back down!  I’m glad I didn’t because I think it turned out well.  It’s difficult to plan and throw a party at someone else’s home, but it came together.  Also, we initially planned to have your party at the park, but it had been raining since the day we got there, and there was no way the playground would be dry, as well as we couldn’t count on the weather to cooperate.  We decided it was safest to have the party at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

On Saturday, we got you up and ready for your baptism.  It was very special and even though it was two hours past your nap time, you cooperated and let us take a ton of photos.  Afterward, you napped while we scrambled to finish setting up for the party.  You slept through the guests arriving, but woke up the moment I had a plate of food in my hand.  (You have a sixth sense about this!)  You played with your cousins and smiled at your guests.  By the time you finished your lunch, and it was time for cake, I think you were feeling a little overwhelmed.  You kind of smeared your cake around but weren’t much into eating it.  After a quick bath, you opened some gifts, played with balloons, and once we said goodbye to last of the guests, you went up for a nap.  There was a party at the Graber’s that evening, but we arrived late after you got up from your nap.

On Sunday, you napped through a humongous breakfast of pancakes, biscuits and gravy, bacon, and eggs made to order.  Uncle Eric, Aunt Amy, and half of the Graber clan joined us. Later, we took a walk with your cousins, and you rode on the carousel again.  Monday there were tornado sirens and severe storms, so we spent some time in Grandma and Grandpa’s basement and eating lunch in the dark. We played cards, and your daddy suggested the girls take part in a cake eating contest – something we may have to do every year!  Then Tuesday it was time to head home!

Father’s Day

Trav’s first Father’s Day was a huge success, if I’m allowed to have an opinion about it.photo(2)  He wanted a low-key day of just hanging out and grilling.  We let him sleep in until Alex puked in the living room, then I made him a cup of coffee and handed Ellis off to him so I could clean it up.  Ellis gave him a couple of gifts, a nice backpack to use as a diaper bag so when he takes her out by himself he doesn’t look like he’s carrying around a purse, and then a picture frame with photos of Ellis spelling out “DAD.”  That was  a tough photo shoot for this amateur photographer, but luckily I got three decent enough shots to make the project work.

I put together a very hearty breakfast of toast, eggs, sausage, and hash browns, and while Ellis took her first nap, we climbed back in bed for a lazy morning.  (I can’t even remember the last time we did that!)  Afterward, we decided to take Ellis to the pool, but discovered that it’s closed for maintenance, (Really?  This isn’t something they could have done before the pool opened for the season?) so we headed back home, packed a few more items, and headed out to the beach.  Sand, babies, and lunch time do not go well together, but we managed to get Ellis fed and hydrated while there, and she had a ton of fun playing in the water and watching a nearby group playing Frisbee.

After the beach, Ellis and I hopped into the bath to rinse the sand off, and then I quickly put her down as it was way past her nap time.  When I was done with that, Trav was passed out on the couch.  He decided on a nap over grilling, so we ended up having Outback for dinner instead.  All in all, a fun, lazy Sunday, and hopefully a memorable first Father’s Day for Trav, too!

Mother’s Day

IMG_9889I meant to write this much sooner while my memory was fresh, but I forgot, and then we went out of town.  So here is an abbreviated and less sappy.  I was feeling a ton of sap on that Sunday!

I think I was more excited about this day than my birthday.  I also felt like it was more a day to appreciate how lucky I am to be Ellis’s mother instead of a day for Ellis and Trav to appreciate me being a mother.  But I enjoyed being appreciated anyway!  We were up super early because Ellis just wanted me to really enjoy my ENTIRE day with her as much as I could.  So we played and cuddled while Trav made a delicious as always pancake breakfast.  He made it super fancy by adding blueberries and bananas on top.  After such a filling meal, we decided to take a walk in the park.  We didn’t make it too far around the trail before I needed to relieve my tiny bladder.  The closest restrooms happen to be next to the playground, so we took Ellis to play on the swing and equipment, and we had the whole place to ourselves.  Afterward, Ellis took a nap and we cleaned up at home.  Ellis and Trav presented me with gifts after Ellis’s nap.  I got two new beach towels, a beach mat, and beach bag, which I hope to put to good use, a computer backup thingy to load the millions of photos I’ve taken of Ellis (still have to figure out how to use it), and a “Mommy” box where I can put all my keepsakes from Ellis, along with a handwritten note with Ellis’s hand and foot prints.  I was feeling selfish, so we headed for lunch an hour before Ellis’s afternoon nap time, which meant she’d be taking a late nap that day.  We went to Derby on Park in Riverside because it’s good, and less likely to be as busy.  Back at home, Ellis napped and then we got on Skype to chat with my mom and wish her a happy Mother’s Day.  Then it was time to pack for our trip to KC.  It felt good to get everything organized and ready because last time we went out of town we waited until the last minute, and it caused a lot of stress.

First Birthday as a Mom

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A few greasy strands of hair fallen out of my go-to side braid, as baby girl chews on her comb. Oh, and birthday cake!

Yesterday was my birthday.  Every year I feel like my birthdays get better and better.  When I was a child, it was fun looking forward to pizza, cake, and a slumber party, but now that I’m a full-on grownup, it’s the little things that make birthdays feel all the more special.  This year was no exception as it was my first year celebrating as a mom.  Trav got up early and started whipping up a yummy breakfast of pancakes, sausage, and eggs.  Baby girl got her first taste of pancakes, and I think she liked them.  I got to open my gifts which were spot on.  Trav did a great job as always!  The big gift was that Trav was taking the day off! and I had an appointment for my very first massage!  So, after baby’s nap, father and daughter went off to My Gym while I headed to Massage Green.  The overall experience was lovely, but as a first timer, I was surprised how much my massage therapist chatted with me and the amount of lotion that ended up slathering my freshly washed hair (another birthday treat) at the back of my head.  It was like I got a deep conditioning treatment for free!

We planned on meeting for lunch after, but the skies opened up just as I was heading to the car, and as unpredictable as the weather is here, there was no way to know for sure if it was a passing downpour or not.  Sure enough, by the time I hit my exit for home, the rain turned off.  No matter.  Trav had an amazing dinner planned for the evening.  He made the best pork chops I think either he or I have ever had ever.  No exaggeration.  He thought I was being overly complimentary, and then he tried them, and I think surprised himself with how good they were.  So good. We would have gone for a second chop, but there was a beautiful cake to cut into.  There is a possibility that I now have diabetes thanks to that cake.  Mmm.

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These pork chops are no joke!

 

Oh, and in honor of my 32nd:

First Easter

You are an amazing baby.  Seriously, you are the best, and we are so lucky to have you.  You must have known the day was special because you woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 6:30 in the morning.  We decided to hang out in bed for a while until keeping you from crawling to and possibly falling off the side of the bed became too exhausting.

First up:  Who needs an Easter egg basket when you can play ball in Mommy and Daddy’s bed?

We didn’t do a big breakfast, but you tried strawberries for the first time. They were a bit tart and not the best ones to introduce you to, but you ate them anyway.  Your nap was cut short in the morning because I needed to shower.  For whatever reason, lately if I shower while you’re asleep, it always wakes you up.  Call it a blessing in disguise because if you had gone back to sleep, we would have missed Easter service.

We tried a new church.  You were absolutely perfect to sit there quietly through an hour+ service.  I think you thought everyone was there to see you.  You threw coy smiles at everyone and kept wanting to go back and forth between Mommy and Daddy holding you.  You started getting chatty toward the end of the service, but I think you were just trying to add your sweet voice to all the singing and praying.

After church, we were ready for brunch, but you fell asleep two minutes from the restaurant, which meant we had to drive around until you woke up.  We had brunch at Black Finn where we had the patio pretty much all to ourselves.  You ate until you were full and bored and then Daddy walked you around while you chatted up everyone you passed.

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We spent about 15 minutes after brunch just letting you play on this bench. You didn’t want to leave.

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Happy Easter!

At home, we changed into comfier clothes.  Daddy helped you find eggs hidden around the front room that held snacks inside each one.  You mostly enjoyed feeding Alex, a new trick you learned recently.  You were such a happy and good-natured baby for being out most of the day and for your first church service.  We were so proud of you and feel so lucky to be your parents.

First Christmas

I had all of these exciting plans for our family during the Christmas season – traditions I wanted to start with you – but you are only 5 months and getting you to sleep well and on a schedule just seems more important right now.  So we put those late outings on hold and kept it rather low-key for your first Christmas.

Christmas EveIMG_4940

Christmas Eve FB Status

Daddy was home for the day.  (Yay!) We hung out at home, and for dinner I made my first attempt at Beef Wellington while Daddy made his delicious twice-baked potatoes.  We enjoyed dinner together then went driving around to see Christmas lights.  You snoozed on the drive, which was good because otherwise you would have been super unhappy.  You woke up at your 30 minute mark, and we stopped at Brick for coffee and dessert.  We sat outside because it was perfectly cool but comfortable under the heat lamps and because we had brought Alex with us.  Surprisingly, Alex got more attention and oohs and aahs from passersby than you did.  You enjoyed your first lemon, and the only thing that made you happy on the ride home was chewing on a straw.  I sat in the back with you to make sure you didn’t jab it down your throat.

Christmas

You woke much earlier than I would have preferred, and you didn’t want to go back to sleep, so we were up at the crack of dawn.  We made coffee, watched some news, and opened our Christmas stockings.  You opened a couple of Christmas gifts before you were ready for your first nap.  Daddy and I opened our presents to one another and finished prepping brunch while you slept.  30 minutes later, you were up and opening the rest of your gifts.  Daddy and I enjoyed mimosas, french toast casserole, and another breakfast casserole.  We put you down for your second nap, then headed to bed for our own nap.  40 minutes later, we begrudgingly got up and brought you to bed with us.  We talked to PapaBob on the phone, took some showers, then Skyped with everyone at Oma’s back in KC.  We had 4:30 reservations at Mitchell’s Fish Market.  It was freezing out.  The Town Center was deserted, but the restaurant was packed.  You looked so precious in your Christmas dress, but you were fussy through most of dinner because you were insatiably hungry.  Our house was a disaster by the end of all the festivities, but we left it and went to bed happy and full!