First Birthday Bash(es)!

Since Emery has family in both Michigan and Indiana, we figured that having first birthday parties in both states would be a good idea. This way family travel would be minimized and we could see people in both places that we may not have otherwise seen. Genius, eh?! Things ended up working out magically as a trip to Michigan in early July was already in the works due to my Dad/ husband’s annual golf tournament. After confirming and working out the details with my Mom, we picked a date, sent out invites, and got to planning his party in the mitten! IMG_7883

What initially started as a small afternoon BBQ of close family and friends turned into a much larger party of 30. But it all went perfectly. Mom and I took care of most of the preparations during the week, so by Sunday all that was left was tying up loose ends. & balloons :)

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The birthday boy looked quite dapper if I do say so myself!

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& the fixins were beauteous!

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Do ya’ll like the birthday hat banner? All those precious faces me smile so big. What did we ever do before Pinterest? And likewise, what did we ever do before E?!

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At 1p, the guests started arriving!

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Aaaand around 2p, Emery went down for a nap. He had napped earlier that morning, but since he was somewhat stressed with all the attention he was getting, down he went as soon as he started showing signs of fatigue. We figured it could only help. And help it did. While he rested, the group enjoyed their BBQ lunch so it worked out just fine. Especially since he awoke an hour later in a much better mood, though still a bit on the sensitive side.

As soon as E was emotionally stable,, everyone headed out to the deck for the main event,,,

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& instead of laughing during his birthday song,, he cried.

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Poor buddy. Once I gave him a little sample of frosting, he finally relaxed. And then he dug in. Not aggressively, just casually like a little gentleman.

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Things eventually got a little messier.

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So big!

& another little video,,

He ate about 3/4 of his smash cake! What a champ. We all joked that he wouldn’t be sleeping anytime soon, and that turned out to be the truth. After the fairly easy clean-up, we took a little “spin” on/ in Uncle Herman’s sweet ride. & AGAIN with the sensitivity!! Such an overwhelming day, buddy. Good thing you only turn one once ;)

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He did much better behind the wheel.

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Gifts were opened after everyone left, and {eventually} the smash cake sugar coma led to a wonderful night’s sleep.

Rockin' his new Tiger's jersey with Uncle Bean!

Rockin’ his new Tiger’s jersey with Uncle Bean!

Thanks for the smashing party, Gigi & GPop!!

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We headed back to Indiana on Monday afternoon and as soon as we got back, I went into full-on farm party mode! My Mom had “re-gifted” Emery an old Fisher Price farm house about 6 months ago and since he loved playing w/ it so much, I used it as inspiration for his party. I had been working on acquiring farm-y things for at least a month prior, so it was mostly last minute stuff that needed to be taken care of. Food, beverages, knick knacks. My in-laws, brother and parents all came into town before the party to help with setup, which was a huge help. Mama has never had nearly 50 people in her home so the stress level was a tad high!

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Party day arrived, and we had a B E A dutiful day! The outside setup,,,

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Cornhole, ladder golf, & horseshoes!

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& the inside!

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Farmhouse cake & animal cupcakes by Crumbles Creations!! {thank you, Traci!!!!}

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Drink station. Not pictured: blackberry plum mojitos

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The faces return! ;)

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I pretty much failed at taking pictures of our guests. Such is the life of a hostess! Here are a couple that I did snag.

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PSers Amy, Jaime, & Martha Ellen + E, Luke & Jacob!

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The adorable Mackenzie

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J & L

Ang & Dominic!

Ang & Dominic!

I had an adorable custom ‘ONE’ tshirt made for E (from Etsy), yet never snagged a picture of him wearing it. Another mom fail. Although I definitely don’t mind the bandana he’s sporting. & those boots!!!! My perfect little cowboy.

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After lunch was served, it was time for cake! Emery was much more relaxed during this party compared with the last, thank goodness. And despite my hopes that he would go crazy on his smash cake, no dice.

 

No tears, all business this time around.

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Emery went down for a nap AFTER the cake this time around, which was nice because he got to spend time with all of his visitors before they left. When he awoke, Gigi and I went for a little walk around the neighborhood on his new trike from his other Grandparents!

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And when he finally hit the hay around 9p, party season was officially a wrap! Turns out, once you survive one, you can survive them all!

What a fabulous couple of weeks. Though there was certainly some stress leading up to each party, every nerve was worth it to be able to have such memorable days with our family and friends. And though all of it was in celebration of Emery, I’m pretty sure he has already forgotten about it ;) Ah well. We don’t need to do it up big every year from here on out. But I’m so glad we went this route for birthday #1!

Thank you SO SO SO SO SO much to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to attend either party {or both!}. It meant the world to have ya’ll celebrate our little boy’s big day with us!! We love you!

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ONE

Dear Emery,

 

Through ups and downs, sadness and fun, it’s SO exciting to say,,, you are finally ONE!!!

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As I sit down to write this, I’m realizing that for the first time all year, I didn’t get out your monthly sticker and take your official 12 month pictures. I guess it had something to do with the awesome festivities that took place to celebrate your big day that got me distracted! Not to mention “awesome” just barely scratches the surface of this past weekend. And Mama will talk about them soon enough. But this letter is all about you and your very first year of life. Yay!!

PS,, those pictures WILL still be taken ;)

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Oh, my darling boy. I just can’t believe you’re a year old already. Where has the time gone?! Your mama spent so many days leading up to July 21st just reliving the moments last year when we were SO anxiously waiting for your arrival. Those long walks in the park, cleaning, preparing, eating crazy things to get labor started,,, It feels like just yesterday I was writing you this letter just as we were admitted to the hospital. To think we still had no idea if you were a boy or a girl! You took your sweet time coming into the world and ended up arriving 5 days after you were supposed to. And you were loved on so hard from the start. And to this day, that love has not wavered. In fact, it’s grown stronger each and every day. How could it not? You have turned into the most amazing little boy before our very eyes. Strong-willed, smart, handsome, curious, funny, lovable, squeezable, kissable, you. We couldn’t ask for anything more.

Photo courtesy of Holly Bullock Photography

Photo courtesy of Holly Bullock Photography

So! This month has been fun. From our latest trip to Michigan, to all the fun summer activities (biking, swimming, lunching), and not to mention all the party planning (!), we’ve certainly been keeping busy this month. But not too busy to watch you continue to grow. You’re on the move constantly. Crawling, pulling, climbing. You don’t like sitting still much anymore, which is great because you’re out exploring the world. But it’s also sad for Daddy and I because we’re losing that snuggly boy we loved so much. When it’s time to go to sleep (nap or bedtime), you lay your head on Mo the Monkey for just a few seconds in our arms, but quickly start squirming, so we lay you down and your crib where you put yourself to sleep. Sometimes it can take 45 minutes, other times it takes only seconds. But you almost always get there by yourself, which makes us very proud. You’re still sleeping up to 12 hours a night and always wake up quietly and happy :) Such a good boy.

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You & Mo

You’re also a great player! With all the new toys you’ve received for your birthday, your playroom is certainly filling up. And you’re loving ALL of them. Especially the musical ones. You’ve turned into quite the lil dancer, bopping and swaying at the first sounds of music. It’s pretty adorable and the best part is it makes you smile so big. Nothing beats the sheer pleasure that comes from watching you do the simplest things. You’re very content playing on your own most of the time, but you sure do love company. Always observant when kids (& adults) are on the scene. God willing you’ll have your very own friend to play with someday ;)

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You’re still a big eater and will take snacks at any time of the day. You’re also still nursing (!) once a day. It’s hard to believe we’ve been going strong for a whole year. You’re definitely a chunky BF baby!

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If I had to summarize you in one word at one year old, it would be “unstoppable.” Sure I could’ve chosen the obvious “adorable” or “awesome,” but the prior describes you now and what I see from you in the future. And it makes me smile knowing that you will be exactly what the world needs someday. I mean, you’re exactly what your Daddy I needed, so it just fits :)

This last year has been quite the adventure for your Mama. Though initially she never regretted her decision to stay home with you, there were definitely times when she thought she wasn’t cut out for it. It hasn’t always been a walk in the park. But as time went on, and we became more of a “unit,” things got better. Now she can’t imagine doing anything else and wish everyone could have the type of incredible experience she’s had. Though you are more special than most, E (just your Mama talking)!

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One Year Stats:

  • Weight: 24 lbs 2 oz (up from 18 lbs 8 oz at 9 months!! Nothing like jumping from 18th –> 70th %ile in 3 months!!)
  • Height: 30″ (from 28.5″, 58th %ile)
  • Head circ: 18.5″ (from 17.5″, 69th %ile)
  • You’re still sporting size 12-18 month clothes comfortably.

Milestones/ Firsts:

    • Clapping (you just woke up one day and started doing it!)

    • Babbling TONS. Your favorite phrase, “Ladi Dadi.” (just like Snoop Dogg :))
    • Climbing stairs.
    • Cruising the hallways.

  • First Fourth of July fireworks & bounce house!
  • First bike ride in your new Thule bike trailer!
  • First tornado warning and subsequent trip to the basement “bomb shelter.” Didn’t phase you much, as you can see.

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  • First time meeting the Dalai Lama ;)

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  • First black eye, shortly followed by your second.

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  • “SO big!”

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    • “Who’s ____’s best buddy?” (you tap your chest as to say, ‘me!’)
    • Peek-A-Boo

  • Words: Dada, Ah (for Allie), and the occasional Mama (though she hasn’t heard it loud and clear yet!)
  • Things you understand: “No,” “buh-uh,” and “bottle.”
  • Holding your bottle and sippy cup all by yourself!

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Things You Like:

    • Playing with your sock basket and whipping them across the room.
    • Hanging with your grandparents.

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    • My iPhone.

  • When Mommy makes crazy noises, like snorting. You love that one.
  • Putting the lid on your bottle when you’re “all done!”
  • Eating finger foods. New foods this month include mushrooms, peaches, oranges, and solid green beans. I can’t even remember the last time you ate off a spoon!

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  • Babysitters! You spent some time with Lora in Michigan while Mom & Dad had a date and had Dominic and Angie over while Mom & Dad were getting haircuts. You’ve been very well behaved for everyone who’s watched you so far, which is fantastic.
E&D, Hoosier twinsies

E&D, Hoosier twinsies

Things You Don’t Like:

  • Being sick. You had another bout of congestion this month, which Mom thinks was a little cold virus.
  • You still hate being wiped down after meals.
  • Diaper changes are still a challenge, but if you’ve got something in your hands to keep you occupied, you do fine.
  • Bathtime at Gigi & GPop’s. You screamed bloody murder every single time we tried bathing you in Michigan, which was crazy because you had taken tons of baths in there before!! Once we got back home, you were fine in your normal tub. So weird!

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Places We’ve Been This Month:

  • Fort Wayne to celebrate your cousin’s birthday.
  • Michigan.

Exciting Upcoming Events:

  • More summer fun!

Things Mommy is Looking Forward To:

  • Training for her upcoming half marathons.
  • Tom Petty concert.
  • 6th wedding anniversary!
  • Continuing to decorate the new house!

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Last Month:

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This Month:

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Emery James,, happy, happy first birthday to you. May every year that follows be as beautiful as this one. Thank you for blessing our lives so sweetly. We can’t wait to read you these letters someday soon. WE LOVE YOU!!!

Love always,

Mommy (& Daddy!)

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Holidays & Happenings!

Hi hi! Sorry for the lack of posting lately. I actually had a momentary freak out a week or so ago when I couldn’t log in to my blog and there were warnings and a lot of gibberish on the top of the page. After lots and lots of emails and quite a few tears, my internet baby was finally restored mostly unscathed. So although things don’t look quite like they used to, at least it’s up and running, thank goodness. And in order to turn a negative into a positive, I’ve decided to use this opportunity to give my blog a much needed refresh. Hopefully nothing scary like that ever happens again!!

So, as the title suggests, a lot has been happening over the last few weeks! Nothing earth shattering, but lots of littles. We have totally been loving on these summer days. The weather in Indy has been pretty darn great (with the exception of the occasional rainy day) so E & I have logged lots of pool time at the clubhouse. We also had a pool playdate at his friend Callie’s house, which was nothing short of adorable.

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My little shark bite!

Emery and his pal Dominic have spent lots of time together too. Whether it’s at the pool, at lunch, or at the park, they’re always having fun together. A couple of knuckleheads, just like their daddies! ;)

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Popsicle time

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Swingin

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IMG_3543 The days that we do stick around the homestead are usually pretty standard, but full of playtime. Now that someone is a speed demon on all fours, this Mama has {finally} had to start baby proofing. After a very extended trip to Buy Buy Baby a few weeks ago (oh, the joys of being indecisive), we came home with our first baby gate, some rubber bumpers for the fireplace and lots of cabinet locks. The goods were installed during afternoon nap time and E awoke to some much needed boundaries.

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Thankfully I didn’t meet much resistance from my buddy {tantrums don’t start til much later in life, right??}. In fact, E had lots of fun playing with his sissy through the bars!

I’m sure once he transitions from four legs to two, many more gates will be installed. But for now, the minimalist approach is working just fine.

Lately I’ve been a little more productive at getting the house furnished. Nothing like taking 6 and a half months to get motivated, huh? We finally got rid of our old rotted college couch and replaced it with a fantastic navy chaise sectional. I bought an outdoor rug and dining set for our veranda. And our living room and foyer rugs are being delivered tomorrow. I still struggle with decorating our walls. Partly because a lot of what I already have doesn’t go with our new decor, but also because I’m afraid of punching holes in my walls before I have the furniture placed. It’s a work in progress, and there’s still SO much to be done, but at least it’s moving in the right direction.

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Our back porch

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Pictures awaiting their playroom placement

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Breaking it in!

Can you believe the Fourth of July was nearly two weeks ago already?! Slow down summer. Anyway, it was Emery’s first, so I wanted to make it somewhat memorable for him. I started our day by whipping up my best version of a patriotic breakfast, which sadly didn’t get much appreciation from it’s recipient.

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He gobbled every last bit of it up though, don’t kid yourself. That boy is a machine.

After a little morning playtime, it was morning nap time. And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as E fell asleep, down came the neighborhood parade!! Led {loudly} by a local firetruck and an EMT, who weren’t the least bit shy about blaring their horns. Yay, America! So even though nap time was cut quite a bit short, E got to watch his very first parade right outside our front door.

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Mama got in a nice run later in the day,,

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,, & whipped up an American classic during E’s afternoon nap!

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We then headed over to our friend’s house for a BBQ and some {kid-friendly} fireworks. We also spent some time in the bounce house, which Emery LOVED.

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We kept Emery up much later than normal, so needless to say he took a nice coma on the ride home. After he was snug as a bug in his crib, the hubs and I retreated to our fire pit to watch the fireworks with a glass of wine under the big bright moon.

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A great fourth!!

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What else?? I’ve been trying to get myself back on the running train lately, which has been going fairly well so far. I bought myself a new pair of kicks a week ago and am in the process of getting a fall training schedule in place, both of which will hopefully keep me in line. With a couple races on the horizon, it’s time to get serious again. I miss having running as a constant in my life.

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And when I’m not running, you can find me on my bike! The whole family stocked up on bike gear this summer and now there are no excuses not to get out there on those hot summer nights. Plus it’s a great way to get in some cross training. I mean,, just check out E’s new ride,,,

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We spent last week in Michigan yet again! It was my Dad’s annual golf invitational and the hubs was his partner. Some happenings included:

E’s first black eye.

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“SO big!”

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The Wienermobile!

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Date night at the Invitational.

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A little driveway cruising.

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While the men slaved away on the course all week, Mom, E & I spent lots of time together, mostly getting things in order for his first 1st birthday celebration. It was a small(ish) gathering at my parents, which I will recap in more detail later. But here’s a little teaser :)

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I can’t even wrap my head around the fact that a year ago I looked a little like this,,

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& now I have a little nugget who’s on the verge of driving.

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Well, maybe not. But he’s still pretty darn fantastic. And it’s safe to say this has been the best year of my life so far.

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And those are the latest haps! Til next time,,,

xo!

Eleven Months

Dear Emery,

 

Oh my heavens, you’re already ELEVEN!!

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Part of me is excited that your 11 month birthday is also the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. These days, your Mommy is hanging onto every day/ every hour/ every moment, because the next time she writes one of these, you will have been in our lives for ONE YEAR! Time definitely has picked up the pace over these last few months. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet,, we still need to talk about your 11th month! It was a goodie!

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We started off the month with our longest road trip yet: to Traverse City! Mama blogged about it already, but we had an absolute blast. You were a champ during our 7 hour drive. You had lots of QT with Gigi and GPop. You learned how to shake rattles and cowbells and had your first experience as a race cheerleader. You took your first trip to Petoskey, where Mama and Daddy got married. And you went on the swings for the first time!! It was certainly a memorable way to start the month!

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That wasn’t our only trip of the month. We went back up to Michigan less than a week after TC, and this time we hung out for an entire week. Daddy had lots of golf to play with GPop and some of his friends, so we decided to make a long trip out of it. And yet again, we had a blast! Here are some pictures from our trip.

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A thrilling drive

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Visit with Baba! Three generations.

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Celebrating Baby B at his beautiful baby shower!

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Taking Uncle Bean’s wheels out for a spin.

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If you won’t wear it, Mama will!

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Gigi has a baby picture of your Mama with a Cheerio in the exact same place!

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Curls. Swoon.

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Bath time!!

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New hat, new shoes, new baby!

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Swinging with the fam at Mama’s old middle school. Go Broncos!

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Someone found a mud puddle.

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Finally up on all fours, and cruising straight to the dog bowls.

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MORE swinging! Can’t get enough.

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Dinner at Indianwood!

This month we also celebrated your first Father’s Day with all of the important men in your life! Grandpa & GPop (plus Grandma & Gigi) came down to spend the weekend with you. We played outside, BBQ’d, and had a grand ol’ time.

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Grandpa & GPop

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Happy 1st FD, Daddy!

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<3

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Now for the nitty gritty stuff! First, food! I honestly don’t think I need to be charting everything new you try lately because honestly,, there’s not much left you haven’t tried!! You’ve been eating like a crazy man lately, and you have the belly to show for it ;) Seriously, you never stop. So since I wrote it down, here are some of the foods that were new to you this month.

  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Blueberries (your fav)
  • Strawberries (your other fav)
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Hamburger
  • Cheese quesadilla
  • Animal crackers
  • Yogurt (tubes from Trader Joe’s)

Again, that’s definitely not the entire list, but you get the drift! Mommy is very happy that now when we go out together now, it is pretty easy to find somewhere with something you can eat. We’ve dabbled in kid’s menus at Panera, Noodles, Chik-Fil-A and Chuy’s. And you’ve also become a food pouch champion. You can mow one of those down in 45 seconds flat! Plus, no mess! Win! Mama prefers Go-Go Squeeze & Happy Baby brands, but you’ll always take whatever she gives you.

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In addition to solids, you’re still taking a bottle 2-3 times a day and Mama is nursing you at morning at night. But sadly, you’re becoming less and less interested in the nursing part. I think over the next little while, we will start weaning you completely. Though I’m pretty sure you’d be able to stop cold turkey at any point. It’s a Mommy thing, babe. And I’m SO proud to say we’ve gone almost an entire year. Who would’ve thought??!

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Bedtime snuggles

As for sleeping, you had a good routine going this month! Sleeping 10-12 hours a night (don’t hate me), morning nap ~ 2 hours after waking, afternoon nap ~ 4 hours later, then bedtime anywhere from 630-8p. Getting you into a routine was SO nice for Mommy. She would shower during morning nap, and get odds and ends done with BOTH of her hands the rest of the time. But towards the end of month 11, you whipped out your (in)famous nap strike again! Mostly you would fall asleep in my arms and wake immediately after I laid you down in your crib, only to cry and cry and cry until Mommy couldn’t take it anymore and came and got you. There were times when you would cry, then settle yourself down and play quietly, but still no nap. You would do that at all naps and even at bedtime. Mama realized that she probably shouldn’t let you fall completely asleep on her so that you get used to settling yourself on your own. But once again, you didn’t really agree with or like that program. It’s been a bit of a battle, but hopefully this phase is on it’s way out. The good news is no matter how crazy you nap, you’re still an awesome nighttime sleeper. So Mama can’t complain TOO much.

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Oh, speaking of sleep — we finally moved your mattress ALL THE WAY DOWN at the end of May. Mama knew that once you started standing up in your crib (oh yeah, have I mentioned that yet??!), it was something that needed to happen to keep you safe! So down she went. Along with a few tears on my face. But you’ve handled it just fine. Such a big boy.

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So you started the month with your awesome army crawl. As many times as we tried to get you to tuck those knees underneath you, you’d just fuss and sprawl back out. So we let you go. And you got from point A to B just fine that way. But we slowly noticed you doing the “real thing” every now and them. It wasn’t until we got to Michigan for the second time that we finally noticed you truly crawling!

Since then, you haven’t looked back. You’ve turned into a speedster on all fours and can make it across the room in no time at all. You’re also crawling, standing, and climbing on EVERYTHING. Especially your Mama! You’re not a fan of sitting still for very long anymore. It’s tons of fun though, for everyone. Daddy and I love watching you get around. Guess it’s really time to invest in those baby gates, huh??!

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Eleven Month Stats: In clothes, you’re wearing 12-18 month size. Some 18′s are a little big depending on the brand. But throw a cloth diaper on you and you fill those bad boys right up!

Milestones Achieved/ Firsts:

  • Crawling on all fours!
  • FOUR new teeth!! You now have 4 on top and 2 on bottom! They took awhile to start, but now they’re not stopping! And you’re doing GREAT.
  • First playdate at Cool Creek Park with Miss Callie!

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  • Almost mastered the “all done” sign!
  • Gymboree Bubble Bash

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Things You Like:

  • The water! Specifically, the pool. You’ve always loved swim class, but this month we introduced you to the pool at our clubhouse, and I dare say you’re in love. Splashing, swimming, and kid watching is your new favorite! Thankfully there’s a lot of summer left to be had!

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  • Parroting. You’re our little parrot!

  • Bellowing and screeching (see above!)
  • Food, obviously. You’re a bottomless pit like your Daddy!
  • Bottles.

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  • Kicking!

  • Tickles, especially on your feet.
  • Throwing your basket of socks all over your room.
  • Throwing anything. Especially food on the floor.
  • Playing with Allie!

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  • Your playroom!

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  • Grabbing.

  • Mo the monkey!
  • Playing with (and disassembling) doorstoppers.
  • Swinging!! You’re a giggle machine everytime.

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Things You Don’t Like:

  • Being wiped down post-meal. Still such torture.
  • Staying still during diaper changes is a thing of the past. You’ve turned into a squirming ninja, and I’m often having to hold you down with one limb just to get the job done! And I think your changing table days are numbered.
  • Taking off your swim clothes. Suuuuuction!
  • You had a little allergy scare this month. We were out for a long walk and when we got back, your eyes were puffy, red, and watery. You were also really warm (it was a hot day). After stripping you down, feeding you and getting you cleaned up, you were fine. But Mama has a suspicion something in the air didn’t agree with you. No more scares since then.

People We’ve Seen:

  • Grandma & Grandpa
  • Gigi & GPop
  • Uncle Larry & Auntie Paula
  • Baba
  • Auntie S
  • Uncle Bean
  • Dominick & Miss Angie
  • (sorry if we left anyone out!)

Exciting Upcoming Events:

  • Your birthday!!!!!! :D

Things Mommy is Looking Forward To:

  • Another trip to Michigan in July.
  • Celebrating her baby’s 1ST birthday. She can’t even believe it’s already here. Tear!

Last Month:

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This Month: 

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My sweet baby boy,, it’s been an amazing 11 months. Let’s round out your first year with a bang, okay?? We love you!!

 

Love always,

Mommy

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Race Recap: 2014 Bayshore Half Marathon

To preface, I typically try to write my race recaps as quickly as possible so I don’t forget about all the nitty gritty details I so love to retell. As I start this, I’m already 8 days out, so you may be in for a nice quickie ;)

I’ve always wanted to run this race. I love Northern Michigan. I love running. The two together sounded like a match made in heaven. Plus I had heard nothing but great reviews from others who had run it in years past. Based on all of that, it has been known to sell out very quickly. Like, under an hour quickly. So when registration opened just after Thanksgiving, I was online and ready to shell out the money necessary to secure my spot! (Dad’s too).

Fast forward 6 months. I was already 2 half marathons in for the year. And though I was proud of what I had accomplished, I still was in search of a better race. Faster. More confident. Less pain. But, per usual since baby, I completely failed on my training and thus went into race day with very little expectations. Side note: Mama needs to get on the ball for her next race. No joking this time. An actual calendar. On the fridge. With a big red marker next to it that’ll tell me whether or not I’m doing things right. Maybe I’ll get a new pair of shoes first. So write all that down. It’s happening.

E, the hubs and I set out on our trek to Traverse City on Friday morning. It was a not so quick 7 hour drive, with a pit stop at the inlaws to drop off our furbaby. Thankfully it was a gorgeous day, and besides a little traffic hang up in Grand Rapids, we met up with Mom and Dad in the Cherry City at 6p. We rented a condo at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, which was perfect – 2 bed/ 2 bath, kitchen, balcony. Perfect for a long weekend. After hauling in our stuff, we headed over to the high school for packet pickup followed by a delectable gourmet dinner at the one and only, Ruby Tuesday!

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Our sweet backseat driver

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Not my minivan!

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Pre-race sunset over Grand Traverse Bay

Bayshore had a shuttle system set up for race day. First transporting runners from various hotels in the area to the local high school, then from the high school to the starting line. Since the first shift would’ve required us to be ready to ride at 450a, we opted to have the hubs drop us off at the high school instead. It was already an earrrrrrly morning.

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As soon as we were dropped off at the school (around 540a), we literally walked right onto a bus that would drive us the 30 or so minutes north to the starting line (the marathon and 10K courses were out and back, whereas the half mary started north and ran south). This, despite all previous warnings to get to the start line ASAP due to the high number of runners. Guess we were okay after all!

Bus selfie!

Bus selfie!

We arrived at Bowers Harbor Park at 615a, and had the fairly annoying task of standing around for over an hour until the race started. This was inevitable since the last shuttle to the start left at 620 and we were once again warned not to wait until the last shuttle. So around we stood, trying to keep occupied and warm at the same time. The pre-race temps were brisk, high 40′s at most, so there was a lot of huddling up amongst strangers. This was by far the most disappointing part of the race. No one wants to wait around, much less STAND that long before running 13.1 miles. We spent our time trying to pick out people that we think Dad could beat,, settling on a lady with a HANS device on her leg ;)

Course map

Course map

Finally at 730a, we set off. The first mile had an enormous hill, which literally had the entire group silent as we huffed and puffed seemingly straight up in the air for a half mile. I suppose if there’s going to be a hill, I’d rather it be at the beginning than the end. But still! After that torture, we found ourselves in a nice groove, which surprisingly was sub-9 minute miles. Shocked were we! Though I always wear my Garmin, I tend to try to ignore it as much as possible during a race, which I guess completely defeats the purpose. But I really try to not obsess over my pace, because it tends to  jinx me in the long run. I like to listen to my body instead of the numbers on my wrist. Since Dad and I seemed to be cruising along nicely, we just went along with it. About a mile and a half in, we finally found our way out of the vineyards and came upon the bay. It was sunny, hazy, and the water was perfectly crystal clear. I literally gasped and said to Dad,, “Oh my gosh, it looks like heaven!!” It was incredible. Something about it even made me teary. What a gorgeous day for a run.

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This race was unlike any of the other five Dad and I have ran together. We both had our headphones in, we were much less chatty and much more in the zone than ever before. Chalk it up to recent life events or the beautiful scenery, there was just a different vibe in the air. Having said that, Dad and I continued to pace each other perfectly. When one would pull ahead, the other would follow suit and sometimes move a little farther ahead. We continually found ourselves running behind a guy with ‘Jeffries’ on his shirt back and it was our task to stay out in front of him. A little under halfway in, we started seeing the uber fast marathoners, who were on their way north as we ran south. It was so inspiring to see faces in search of 26.2 during our search for 13.1. We had a good rhythm going on, and for a long time I though we would achieve our long-term goal of finishing under 2 hours.

In front of Jeffries

Have I mentioned how beautiful the course was yet?

PS,, the course was BEA-UTIFUL!!! ;) Just gorgeous the entire time. And even though there was no way for spectators to drive up there during the race, there were still TONS out there! Lots of vacationing families enjoying their morning cups of coffee while working their signs and cowbells. There were also plenty of mimosas and even some beers out there too. In fact, at mile 7.5, I spotted a little table with Dixie cups of beer out for the taking. So I bopped over, grabbed me one, and took a big swig before handing the rest to Dadyo. In hindsight,,, not the best idea as that cheap brew sloshed around my belly until the next water stop. It was fun while it lasted!

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Pic courtesy of Running Fit

As Dad and I walked through the next aid station (which we had been doing fairly regularly just to regroup after those speedy miles), we looked at each other, high-fived and sighed. This tends to be the point in the race where you’re close to being done, but honestly still pretty far away. He looked at me and said, “You got another 5 miles in ya??” to which I replied, “Absolutely.” Though the thought sounded a little rough at the time, I was still confident in us. I still hadn’t really done the math on how fast we needed to run to break 2 hours. Didn’t want to either. So we just ran.

Meanwhile,, back at the condo,,,

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My sweet boys having a rough morning.

The last miles were pretty painful. A little bit physical and a lot mental. Our splits had slowed a bit, but we were still close to 9:30 min/miles. We were pushing probably harder than we ever had before. At one point with a couple miles to go, I finally decided to figure out what we needed to run to reach our goal. When I realized we had 17 minutes to run over 2 miles, I became a little dejected. Come to find out after the race, Dad had felt the same way. It was going to be so close, yet still so far away. But we pressed on. We high fived the little kids on the side of the road. I thanked everyone who wished us luck down the final stretch. And before we knew it, we were back at the high school running our final steps down the track. We grabbed hands and across the finish line we flew.

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Final time: 2:03:11. Pace of 9:20 min/mi.

Earlier while we were running, we had seen an older man approaching us in the opposite direction running the marathon. And he was moving slowwww. But he was moving! Dad had made a comment about how he was going to have a tough finish. And I said, “Hey, at least he’s out there trying.” And he replied, “He’s just happy to be alive.” Yes, yes, and YES. This summed up our race. It was our most emotional run to date, and like that older man, we both left a lot on the course before we even had medals around our necks.

We eventually hobbled our way to the post-race area where we found our cheerleaders.

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A fantastic race. Beautiful. Strong. Inspiring. & emotional,, all packed in those 13.1 miles. Brums and Did half mary number six in the books. We’re coming for you, sub-2. Catch ya in the fall.

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 ******

Also! We spent the entire holiday weekend in TC, here are some pics from our wonderful trip!

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Gorgeous dinner outside at LockenHeath

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Naked baby photo shoot

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Day trip to Petoskey!

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Bayfront Park

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E’s first time on the swing!! Loved it.

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My cool dude.

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Hanging with GPop

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Sign of a solid weekend :)

Sign of a solid weekend :)