ZooBoo!

This weekend was classic fall in Indiana. Chock full of crisp air, light jackets, scarves and tall boots. And the trees. Swoon. SO many beautiful colors out there already!! I loved every minute of the past few days. If I could freeze-frame life into a perpetual fall, I’d be a happy lady.

Speaking of my love for all things fall, fall cooking is another love of mine. I’ve been scooping up all the acorn/ butternut squash I can find at the market lately. Whether it’s made into soups or just eaten with butter and brown sugar. So so tasty. I put my fall cooking to test on Saturday night, when we had a bunch of friends & kiddos over to our home. On the menu: chili, vegan cornbread (!!), jalapeño poppers, guacamole & many more delectables. I tried out a new chili recipe from my Mama that I found in my wedding cookbook, and it was a huge hit by all. Probably cause of the 12 oz Stella it called for ;) I could eat chili and cornbread every day in October if I had to. & caramel apples. & cider. Oh, and squash too. We topped off the night with s’mores by the fire pit. Dude, I’m hungry again.

Sunday started off pretty lazy after our previous night of fun. E napped and the hubs ran into work for a few hours while I did some post-visitor house cleaning. After all of the above was done, we loaded up Libby and headed downtown for ZooBoo, the annual Halloween festival at the Indianapolis Zoo! We pulled into the semi-packed parking lot around 3p and waited for our friends at the front gate.

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Just kickin’ it w/ Super Grover

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Once our friends Kevin, Lauren & Callie arrived, we all made our way through the gates. The idea behind ZooBoo is that kids (& adults if they choose) dress up in their Halloween costumes and visit all the Halloween-themed activities, all while doing the typical zoo spectating! Since this mama is slacking, and Emery still is costume-less (horrible, right??), we compensated by wearing his Halloween jams with a skull swacket on top. Unlike me, Lauren was on her game and Callie was all dressed up like an adorable little owl. She even played the part and gave her fans a “hoo hoo” when prompted! Skills, girl :)

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The weather didn’t look very pretty, but it was (yet again) a classic fall day, mid 60’s with a light breeze. In other words, perfect for zoo-ing. Apparently the animals thought so too, because almost all of them were out in full force!

Me-ow

Me-ow

Here, kitty kitty!

Here, kitty kitty!

Trick-or-treating sections were set up in the Plains area, which E & C loved! They collected a fair amount of treats,, most likely to be eaten by the Moms & Dads. Although we did let E have his first try of M&M’s today and I’m pretty sure we have a new-found chocolate lover on our hands.

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E & I were so happy to have Daddy spend the day with us!

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Emery has been to the zoo a handful of times in his (almost) 15 months. It’s been so fun to see the progression of his awareness from a itty bitty 7-week old during his first visit, to now. He’s so much more into the animals now. He loves to point at everything and he’s definitely a people-watcher (just like his Mama!). I’m definitely thinking a zoo membership is in our future!

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Someone loves his new walking feet!

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Bear watching

And the outing wouldn’t have been complete without a baby photo shoot. Emery loooooves Callie <3

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Can’t fight fate ;)

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! I’m off to look for toddler Halloween costumes and eat some more chili!! xo.

Queen of Excuses

I recently downloaded the TimeHop app to my phone. I’m sure you’ve seen someone using it by now. But it is a time capsule of sorts that syncs with your social media (FB, Twitter, Instagram) and gives you flashbacks of what was happening on that particular day in the years past every morning. I’ve been loving all the pictures of teeny tiny baby Emery, but also all the flashbacks of my pre-mom self when it was just the hubs & I. I’ve had a few hops that went back as far as 7 years! It’s been so fun to relive all those great memories.

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8.27.13. The days E could fall asleep anywhere.

Looking at pictures of my past bring me back to the days where I feel like I had it more together. In some ways more than others, of course. But particularly in the fitness arena. Just a couple of years ago, I was as fit as I’ve ever been. I was diligent with morning workouts, Monon-ing with the Perfect Strangers for marathon training, PR-ing on the regular, and eating much, much healthier. Not to mention I was more of a healthy living blogger, which seems to have fallen by the wayside. Although Emery updates are MUCH more fun, right?! :)

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RNRChi 1/2 Marathon Expo, 8.2011.

Over the past 14 months, getting back into shape has been the ultimate roller coaster. After Emery came along, I had (& am still having) a hard time getting back to exercise. I was partly worried about overdoing it (although unlikely). But I truly just didn’t have the motivation I needed. I went out for the occasional run, but often cut it short it because it wasn’t as easy as it used to be. I can’t help but wonder if I had been more active during my pregnancy, if things would’ve been easier to get back to. I’m pretty sure they would’ve been. But hey,, vomiting and fatigue tend to be frowned upon in a gym-like setting, so pregnancy months 4-9 were a bust in 2013.

Drumstick Dash with 6-ish week Baby E in tow!

2012 Drumstick Dash with 6-ish week Baby E.

I’ve kept somewhat active in 2014, running 3 half marathons and a 10 miler. One might call that a successful year! I’ve somehow been able to eek out 13.1 miles a couple of times. But the in-between parts have been the struggle for me. I’ve been the Queen of Excuses lately. Let’s see,,, No time. Too tired. Nowhere to take the baby. Blah, blah, BLAH. Trouble with excuses is, once you start making them, it’s a thousand times easier to continue making them instead of changing something. For example, I literally didn’t run for 3.5 weeks after The Crim in August. 3 and a half freakin’ weeks. Really?! And the sad part is, I didn’t even have a good reason why! I just didn’t feel like it. Oh, there was this blood blister on my big toe that was bothering me. I guess I could use that. I sadly chose to ignore my fantastic training plan which is taped up in my closet. And now I just have this huge gap reminding me of my slacker behavior. My complacency with inadequacy is sad sometimes. And lately, more often than not.

So FINALLY I said, enough is enough, and a couple weeks ago got out for my first run after the baby went to bed. And wouldn’t you know it,, it felt amazing! Endorphins a-plenty thanks to the fall temps and incredible sunset.

My view from the cart path

My view from the cart path

Thankfully, that beautiful run has led me down a much better and healthier path. I’ve been getting out to run much more regularly and the excuses are (mostly) gone. I’m still not being strict with my half marathon training plan, but that’s because it’s unfortunately more ambitious than I am right now. I have the Freep Half in less than 2 weeks and the Monumental Half the first weekend in November. I know I’ve shot myself in the foot when it comes to a sub-2 hour finish (which Dad & I have been searching for FOREVER), but I can only look ahead from here. I once thought that putting a race on the schedule would give me the motivation I need, but that tactic seems to be losing its effectiveness these days.

Now, I know you’ve heard it all before, but I’ve decided it’s REALLY time to get serious (forget about all those other times). And I’ll tell you why it’s the real deal this time. The other day, Emery and I went out “gym shopping” for a facility that offers childcare. That way, he can play amongst the other kids while mama gets her sweat on. No excuses. I’ve also enlisted myself in a PiYo challenge, hosted by Callie of The Wannabe Athlete, which starts next Monday. I’ve heard awesome things about PiYo and I can’t wait to try it out myself. According to my coach, fitness + nutrition + support = success. Also, I think morning workouts need to be restarted too. My baby sleeps for 12+ hours a night. No more excuses. Oh,, and last weekend the hubs and I spent all day Saturday cleaning out the storage space in our basement which will now be turned into our exercise room! I’ve been Pinterest-ing like crazy and have some great ideas to make the space just the way we want! Seriously. No. More. Excuses.

Future Fitness Room!

Future Fitness Room!

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Yesterday’s sweaty post-stroller run selfie with my sweetie.

My hopes are that one day soon, I will see one of those TimeHop pictures and think to myself, “Man, I look and feel SO much better now than I used to. Atta girl.” And as a wise little steam engine (that my baby loves so much) once said, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

 

Question for you: How do you stay accountable for keeping active?? Any helpful hints for this struggling mama?

Mee-Shee-Gan

Hiya! Happy Monday!

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Well, since I last checked in, there have been lots of happenings. Last Friday, Emery, Allie & I drove to Michigan where we ended up spending an entire week (busy hubs + not so busy SAHM = mini vacation!). I was blessed with two very calm and cooperative passengers during the 4.5 hour drive north, which was miraculous because E had been feeling under the weather for a few days prior. Bleh.

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After we arrived in T-Town, we had an early happy hour/ dinner at Bonefish Grill with my Mom’s neighbor friend, Linda. Unfortunately, all Emery’s pent up energy from the long drive translated into lots of whining and fussiness during our meal. We still managed to have a nice time outside enjoying the beautiful weather and made it back home just in time to meet the babysitter!

My best girl S celebrated a biiiiig birthday this year, so her Ma & Pa threw her a surprise party Friday night (Remember MY surprise 30th?? Best gift ever)!! Mom & I left E and the pups with my Auntie Anne (thanks Auntie!!) while we went out for a girl’s night. We had a blast at Coyote Joe’s celebrating with all of our family and friends. This mama even threw back some Fireball! A great start to the week. Happy birthday, love!

B&S

B&S

Saturday was my littlest brother Anthony’s 25th birthday (quite the milestone birthday year, I’m telling ya!), so we had yet another family celebration, this time over a fun dinner at Brio. E was much better behaved, probably because we let him run loose in the booth the entire time. Hey, whatever it takes! Happy birthday, Bean!!

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Sunday we had a low key morning celebrating E’s 14 month birthday!!

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Ps, 14 months? Is this real life? Oy.

We had fun playing with Gigi and mastering our walking skills,,

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,, but we all got antsy after morning nap time. So we took a drive to my parents future hometown and wound up at the Clarkston Food Festival! It was a super cute block party where we did a little shopping, a little eating, and a little hiding from the impromptu rainstorm we got caught in. But it was a nice afternoon. E even went on his first bus ride!

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You may be wondering where my Dad/ GPop was at all weekend. Or maybe not ;) Well, he was out of town on a guys trip to Maine and wasn’t due back until Monday evening. Originally I thought we would only be in town for the weekend, but as it worked out, we were able to push back our departure by a few days. Which meant GPop time, wahoo!

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One of my favorite things to do in Michigan in the fall is visit the cider mill. Usually we go to Yates or Blakes, which are both great and close to home. But when I saw a link online that listed the “must visit” cider mills in Michigan, we switched things up! We initially talked about going out on Monday, but decided to wait until Dad got home so he could partake. You’re welcome, G ;) Our first stop was Parshallville Cider Mill in Parshallville, MI. Small & quaint, with tasty treats, and gorgeous scenery. There’s something about non-touristy venues that are a thousand times more appealing to me. Add a picturesque fall day and you’ve got yourself a winner.

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Our next stop was Spicer Orchards, literally down the road from the first! This was a much more child-friendly venue, with a petting farm and a playground that E absolutely loved. It’s so much fun watching him walk around and enjoy things he previously couldn’t participate in. After grabbing more cider, donuts and popcorn, we spent a good amount of time horsing around outside.

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An incredible first day of fall.

Wednesday we interrupted nap time to visit Emery’s great grandma. Clearly you should NEVER interrupt nap time because the visit was less than successful. There were moments of smiles, but the overall vibe was sassy. Once we returned home, nap time was restored and someone awoke with THE BEST bedhead I have ever seen.

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Right?!

After dinner, we went for another one of our many walks of the week. The weather all week was picture perfect, and this night was no different.

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Thursday we spent some more time with Auntie S, first at the mall then at the park where this Mama went to middle school. Go Broncos!

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And finally, Thursday night ==> Emery’s first Tiger’s game!! Our friends Herman and Denise hooked all of us up with suite tickets for that night’s game, so far be it for us to refuse! I’d been wanting to take E to a baseball game this summer, but with bedtimes and 7p start times, it’s been difficult to arrange. So after a solid 3 hour nap, E donned #35 and traveled down to the D!

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We got a free ride on the carousel, which had no line whatsoever. Emery’s never been a huge fan of the spinning ride and always has a super-grip on me, but he actually eked out a few smiles this time!

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The suite was PERFECT for E. He wasn’t confined to a seat and could wander around anytime. He even watched some of the game!

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All the popcorn. In E’s belly.IMG_5117

He stayed up later than he ever has (11p), but it was completely worth it. We had so. much. fun. Thanks, Masters!!

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Friday morning (departure day) arrived quickly and we made a quick pit stop at Five Star to visit GPop before hitting the road.

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And because someone up there loves me, I had yet another near perfect drive back home w/ E & Al. Three hour naps FTW!! We did encounter a little surprise upon our arrival home, however,,,

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Flamingo Friday at our place! Gotta love impromptu block parties ;)

All in all, a fantastic week in the Mitten. Though I can’t remember the last BAD time we’ve had there. Thanks to Mom/ Gigi & Dad/ GPop for putting up with our crazy hound, HFM disease, all the poopy diapers and your newly smudged windows. We love you and can’t wait to see you again! :) Thanks for everything!

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Always.

xo.

Fallin’ into Fall

Happy Sunday! Look at this,, I’m back and blogging in less than a week! I told you I promised!!

Fall is one of my absolute favorite times of the year and lucky for us, the midwest allows for some pretty spectacular scenery. The worst years are those when it goes from 90 degrees to snow in the blink of an eye. Nothing worse, actually. Here in Indiana there has been a little bit of that bipolar behavior, but right now, today, in this exact moment,,, it is PERFECT. Low 60’s and gorgeous. I could survive with crisp air, scarves and sunshine all year long.

Brown County State Park, 10/2012

Brown County State Park, 10/2012 (click pic for link to post)

So in celebration of this beautiful weekend, the E-man and I have taken it upon ourselves to enjoy the spectacular weather in full. Late Friday morning, the cool fall air was in full swing with temps in the high 50s. So after a Starbucks run for Mama’s first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season, we ventured over to one of our favorite parks for some swinging fun!

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& of course a little banana bread break ;)

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We both had a blast. Sadly, nap time didn’t reflect our fun, and we both ended up running on fumes the rest of the afternoon. But there was no time to pout, because that night we were invited over to our friend Lauren & Brian’s for burgers, beers, and bonfires! After leaving the house sufficiently bundled, we enjoyed the rest of the evening both indoors and outdoors with great friends. PS, Emery LOVED his s’mores! Shocking, I know. He is my child after all ;)

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Oh, so by the way,,, I mentioned in my last post how E was “progressing” in the mobility department. Well as you might have guessed, we finally have a new walker in the house!!! As of this past week, at 13.5 months, Emery has officially learned how to use his two legs! He has been cruising quite a bit lately, taking a couple steps at a time every now and then. But finally something clicked and now he’s on the move! Go E, Go!!

Saturday morning we met up with Angie and Dominic for a trip to the Carmel Farmer’s Market. We really underestimated the morning temps, which had fallen into the low 50s, so we were all a little under-bundled for our outdoor adventure. That didn’t stop the mama’s from finding some good treats (sunflowers & chocolate!) and these two jokers from having “fun” in the parking lot.

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Mr. Sensitive

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My little hipster

After lunch at Nickel Plate and a shopping trip to Roman & Leo (my new obsession), Easy E was out for the count. A three hour nap (!!), which meant Mama got a lot of housework done and even some baking (pumpkin muffins, mmm)! He awoke in good spirits and we played around outside before our next round of visitors arrived for pizza and football.

Finally, Sunday! & by far the most beautiful day of them all. When we were driving to the market yesterday, we passed a TON of trucks, tractors and trains outside at Conner Prairie. Turns out they were having their Festival of Machines all weekend. Sign us up! So come 10a this morning, we were already out and about for more fall-ish fun, hayride and all!

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A&D

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At times, less than enthused.

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Again with Mr. Sensitive!

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Driving the tractor

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Really with the straight leg jeans?

Clearly we’re trying our best to take advantage of these beautiful days before it turns cold and sad outside. And I’m happy to say our mission was accomplished this weekend. I’m even thinking about heading out to pick up a pumpkin or two! & it’s about that time because someone’s up from his nap!

xo!

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Lately (August Edition)

So you know how you put something off for so long that the mere thought of returning to it is more daunting than just ignoring it all together? Sadly, this has been the case with my dear blog. So much has gone on since my last post that I’ve just thrown my hands up and said, “fuhgeddaboudit.” But as always, when my husband comments on my lack of posting, it gives me a little kick in the pants. And I’ve gotten a number of those comments. So without further ado, here’s my much overdue attempt at a recap of August 2014.

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Just after my return from Nashville, the hubs and I were invited to spend the day in Louisville with our friends Rob & Amanda for the PGA Championship! Now ya’ll should know I’m not the biggest golf geek out there. But my other half,, BIG fan. Playing and watching. We even have a golf room in our house for pete’s sake! So needless to say he/we jumped on the chance to spend the day with friends and enjoy watching some grass grow.

Being the lucky souls that we are, the weather forecast was god awful. The Louisville weathermen told us there was a 100% chance of rain. And they were right.

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During the drive, I kept getting texts from Gigi (who came down to watch Emery for the day) about how beautiful it was back home. Suuuuure!

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The parking areas were a giant muddy mess after a night of rain. & since our vehicle was not really the off-roading type, we contemplated bailing and grabbing lunch downtown instead. But we decided to go for “the experience” and thankfully made it through the mud and onto the course.

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Valhalla Golf Club is absolutely beautiful, but was sadly overshadowed by the gloomy day. Amanda and I, who were rocking flip flops like true golfing spectators, were forced to walk about an inch per step due to hills + mud. We were doing all we could not to bite it.

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We had access to the Wanamaker Tent, where we had a nice lunch and beveraged up. I told the group that my goal was to see someone famous. So we walked as close as we could to the ninth hole, where we saw Rory, Bubba, and Martin Kaymer. Though we were 20 spectators deep and they were like insects to watch, I still found my famous people! Pretty cool.

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We left a lot earlier than we really wanted to and thankfully there weren’t many people trying to exit, meaning the mud wasn’t as deep as it could’ve been. Our Beamer escaped without getting stuck and 2 hours later we found ourselves back on the north side where we dined outside at one of our favorites, Divvy. All in all, a fantastic day!

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I’ve been to a couple of concerts this summer, both in August. The first was REO Speedwagon & Chicago with my Mama (the same weekend as the PGA). Such a blast. Nothing like rockin’ to the oldies while watching lots of tipsy oldies around ya!

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The next was Steve Winwood (“Valerieeeeeee, call on me!”) + Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers up in Michigan! A group of 12, a hummer limo, and boozy birthday celebrations. Hilarious and oh so fun.

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While we were in Michigan for Tom Petty, the hubs and I celebrated our sixth anniversary! It’s hard to believe,, time sure does fly. Gigi and GPop took over baby duty while we had a fabulous dinner at The Capital Grille. Such a fun night with my love.

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Running has been an adventure this past month. I started a training program put together by my friend (& recent cover model!!!!) Lindsey, which has kept me more accountable than I have been in the past. For one of our weekly long runs, Dad and I ran the Crim 10 miler, which I had ran once four years before. Though it was muggy as all get out, the temps were perfect in the low 60’s, and the distance was exactly right. Though we weren’t exactly gazelles, we conquered those horrendous hills and finished hand in hand per usual!

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One of the few downhills

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Finishers!

Nanners and popsicles FTW

Nanners and popsicles FTW

Pizza & beer at 10a? Don't mind if I do.

Pizza & beer at 10a? Don’t mind if I do.

Sadly, I’ve fallen a little off the wagon in the last couple of weeks (thanks to a lingering illness that knocked me down & around), but I’ve still got my sights set on some good times at the Freep and Monumental this fall.

A couple weeks ago, the hubs and I celebrated the wedding of our friends Rob & Erica at the barn in Zionsville. It was a gorgeous venue and a toasty summer evening with great friends! Congrats again you two!

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Now, it’s time for some Emery updates! Our little guy has had a pretty eventful month with all the travels and such. But the biggest adventure has definitely been his increase in mobility. As soon as I returned from Nashville, I was informed that he had been using his gator walker all weekend. My first thought was,, “he started walking without me??!” But since it was more of an assisted cruising, I calmed down :) But there was no doubt about it,, he was on the move!

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And not just with the walker. Kiddo was moving around everything. The couch. The ottoman. The island. The kitchen table. Anything that he could make laps around, he did.

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Walking means new kicks!

I won’t give away any secrets since this is an August recap, but as of this second week of September, he has “progressed” in the moving department if you catch my drift (check FB or IG for more hints!).

In other E news,,,

We hung out at the Gymboree Fireman & Ice Cream Party! He got to climb in and around the firetruck after a nice cup of vanilla-flavored sugar.

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Lots of trips to the park. E LOVES the swings!

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Soaking up the last of our summer days.

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Upgrading to his big boy convertible carseat! Seamless.

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Celebrating his 13th month birthday with a fancy dinner & his best bud, Dom.

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Shopping trips with Mom. Some rougher than others.

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And my favorites,, all the lazy mornings,,,

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IMG_4241 & snuggly evenings together.

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And that’s it for now! I promise I’ll be back soon(er) with the latest and greatest from this month. I swear, the more frequently I blog, the less painful it tends to be. These posts are a lot of work, but I treasure each and every one.

Have a fabulous weekend!!

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