Sunday, June 29, 2014

On Giggling

Just had the most amazing giggle fest with Ian!!! There's seriously nothing better than laughing about absolutely nothing with a baby. Giggles upon giggles, growing louder as we laughed in response to the other's laughter. And it's good to be home. My heart is full.

More posts to come soon. Let the games of catch-up commence!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Our Crawler

It wasn't so very long ago that I was watching intently and waiting for the first roll. Now, he's off to the races and we can barely keep up! He's crawling EVERYWHERE. On hands and knees.

The evolution of the crawl has been really neat. From army crawling and dragging the rest of his body behind him, to army crawling and pushing with one foot, to crawling on hands and knees, and now even to crawling on hands and one foot, occasionally.... it's amazing to observe the changing development of his mobility.

These pictures were taken close to bedtime one night, so he's not smiling quite as much as usual. The sun is brutal during the day, so we spent time outside after it retreated past the roof of the house.

These were taken a week and a half ago, before our move. We no longer have the incredible view, but we do get to keep the infant. Our new backyard also has plenty of grass for him to crawl on and with much more shade. Perfect for our active and outdoor-loving baby boy.

Off to keep up with my crawler! He's climbing stairs, too, but that's a post for another day ;)

Bidding Farewell

Lois Grace Barlow and Shirley "Red" Augustus Barlow, Jim's paternal grandparents, both passed away within the last year. It was decided that they would have a combined memorial service for the two of them at a later date, ensuring that as much as the family could be there.

His grandparents lived in Duanesburg, New York and raised their children there, so we packed up and hit the road for New York! What a beautiful place.... surrounded by the Catskill Mountains, so lush and green.

We stayed with Abbey, Jim's cousin, and her husband, Mick, and four children. She lives in a beautiful old farmhouse, that they've completely renovated, right next to her father's dairy farm. Here's her chicken coop... they have MANY chickens, but I only caught a few in this picture. It certainly does not do it justice. When we left they sent us home with six dozen eggs!!!

Almost as soon as we pulled in, we had to go and see the cows!!
 Aunt Christine held a timid Ian, as he studied and met the baby calves. When he met the donkeys a few weeks before, he was fearless. He'd grab their nostrils and lips. This time was quite different. He'd carefully eye the calves and then, if too close, he would let out a huge, upset squeal and throw his body back into the person holding him.
 Until the cows don't need their mother's milk anymore, after the first few months, they stay in these little huts. Afterward, they move to a grassy field. As a breastfeeding mama, it was hard to see these babes separated from their moms.

 We had to get a picture of Ian under this sign... had to.
 Abbey & Mick have three cats and two of them have awesome haircuts to help with staying cool and the shedding of fur. There's a poof on the end of their tails and a mane around their heads. This is Bruce, the most social of their cats. What a character. Ian enjoyed crawling around after him...
 Thank you SOOOO much for having us, Abbey and Mick! It was wonderful to get to know you and the other family members up there just a little better. We look forward to spending more time with you all one day soon. Thank you for your warm hospitality!

The memorial service was held with the same church family where Jim's dad, John, and his siblings were raised. John officiated the service, which was part of his parents' wishes. It was a beautiful ceremony.
John, Dave, Marie, Rich, & Carol
(Youngest ---> Oldest)
Children & Significant others
And some of the grandchildren & families!

After the service we drove over to the internment, which was a beautiful drive about an hour away. 

As we walked up to where they'd be buried, Jim was hit with the smell of wild thyme. Smell has such a powerful way of bringing back memories and nostalgic feelings. According to Jim, wild thyme was a signature smell of Grammy & Grampy's yard. Apparently, it is native to that area. Uncle Dave told me that Grampy would allow wild thyme to go to seed before he'd mow the lawn, to encourage the spreading of the plant. He just loved wild thyme.

It's never easy to say goodbye to family members. Their home and warmth is missed. They are certainly missed. Hearing the stories and sharing old memories was a wonderful way to get to know them even better. I look forward to hearing more stories about them as Ian gets older and the family continues to share them with him. One day we'll all be together again.

Rest in peace, Grammy & Grampy. We love you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Eight is Great!

Tomorrow this little dude turns nine months old... but mama never got the eight month post up. This has been one wild month of traveling, visiting with families, and then packing, moving, and now unpacking. Ian's been an awesome trooper through it all, even while sick.

The pictures were taken super late, too.

Little One, we adore you.
 Your thighs and legs have lost some of their pudge, becoming slimmer and stronger with all of your many squats and the crawling.
 You enjoy pulling in your bottom lip when you're concentrating or just because...
 Your toenails may never fully recover from all of the use you put them through!!
 Both your hands and your feet are more stable and precise in their movements.
 You make the best faces...
 A little after your eight month birthday, you got your second tooth. You don't seem to mind teeth coming in... one day they are there and we didn't even realize that you were cutting them, except for a bit of drool.
 This is the face you make right before a giggle. Oh, how we LOVE to hear you giggle!!!
 Other times you mean business and have a focused, no-nonsense look in your eyes.
 All too often, we find you under furniture or exploring a new area... sometimes you get yourself into pickes, but you can normally work yourself back out.
Oh sweet boy, we're 2/3 of the way through a year already.

You amaze us every day.
You love: playing and initiating peek-a-boo, having mama in the backseat with you while riding in the car, playing with Papa (especially being flipped over on a bed), army crawling, watching and crawling toward Leif, crawling toward the refrigerator, staying BUSY, bath times, time spent outside even if it's hot or wet or cold, chewing on sticks, singing along with mama, saying "pa-pa-pa-pa," and exploring everything you can by crawling or putting things in your mouth.

I have to say that eight months has been such a fun age. 
He's laughing at jokes, playing and initiating games, 
really identifies us as his safe-havens, and is exploring everything.
This picture was probably taken on his eight month birthday, just for a frame of reference :)
How deep our love is for you, little eight month old...

Happy 8 months, Ian Forrester!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day

After a torturous day of moving, we woke up on Father's Day and took some time to relax in our new backyard. Two important fathers were there, tattered and exhausted, but they were there. We were together. And we had made it through the day before together.

Under the shade of a beautiful maple tree, we relaxed in adirondack chairs for a couple of hours.
 While doing so, we enjoyed our favorite past-time together... watching Ian.
He didn't mind the limelight one bit.

So, to the two older gentlemen in this picture,
Happy, Happy (belated) Father's Day!!!
To my father-in-law, John: Thank you for welcoming me into your fold with such open and loving arms. I'm grateful to have such a loving, warm, and generous family in you and Kim. Thank you for being a wonderful role model for Jim; it's definitely showing in how he relates to and cares for Ian!! It's been so wonderful to watch you become Ian's grandfather. Looking forward to the beach next week!!
To my own father (aka Daddio): Thank you sooooo much for spending this weekend here with us. We are SO grateful to have had your help packing the truck and moving us into our new place. It was a longgg day and we are ever so thankful for your hard, hard work.

Thank you for your love throughout the last (almost) 28 years and for sharing your amazing musical talents with us and the many children you've touched through teaching and through SCORE. It's only fitting to include a picture of Grandpa and you making music for father's day. What a legacy...

 And now, to see you a grandfather... I love to see you interacting with Ian. Your complete adoration for him is so beautiful. I look forward to watching the two of you through the years...

Happy Father's Day to Ian's incredible Papa!! He is so fortunate to have you to walk with him through life. No woodworking project will be too hard and no hill to high to climb. Your passion for learning and creating will foster a great environment for this little guy to grow up fascinated and curious about the world around him. The love that's in your eyes for this little one melts my heart. The way you wrestle, rough-house, and play with him brings complete joy into our home. Ian absolutely adores his papa.

And on this day, this first day of residency orientation, we wish you the best. We wish you peace. And we certainly cannot wait to have you back at home. The house is quiet and lonely without your games of hide & seek, races across the floor, and giggles at Ian's latest accomplishment.

Thank you for loving for and caring for us so well.

Today, one day late, I celebrate the fathers in my life and I'm humbled with thankfulness.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hide Your Glasses & Sunglasses!

So crazy about this goofball.

As usual, life is getting away from me before I get these posts done. As much as I try to jot things down along the way, I know there are always things I'm forgetting. His development isn't waiting for anything... this boy is on the move and we cannot get enough of just observing him and marveling in what he does next!

We spent some time visiting with my family in Paris and were grateful to have time with Grumps, Äma, Uncle Willem, Aunt Phoebe, and her boyfriend James.

Still struggling with a cough, Ian's sleep was disrupted a lot and he was a bit fussy. During one nap, Jim and I were playing frisbee outside with Phoebe and James and my mom was watching the monitor. I glanced in the window to see Ian cuddling with Äma after waking up way too soon from a nap by his own coughing. Poor guy, but sweet moment. Äma sure didn't mind the cuddles!!

Then Ian came out with Äma to watch the "big kids" play frisbee. We did have the DIII National Player of the Year in our presence (Way to go, James!!), so he was learning from the best.

Staying cool in the shade.

Leif  got to spend some time with one of his girlfriends. Gillie just adores that guy. This was the first time we really trusted Leif to stick around at my parents' home. It was so nice to be able to shove both dogs out the door and know they'd be content together.

During this time, Leif was the object of great fascination for Ian. "Gentle" was probably the most spoken word from our mouths, since Leif knows what it means and we are trying to teach Ian it, too. Fortunately, Leif would either allow the "petting" or he got up and walked away.

Ian started playing a few games while we were there. Without prompting, he grabbed a spatula and started batting balls around the floor; his own form of field hockey!! He observed Jim throw a ball for Leif and started grabbing the ball and attempting to throw it himself. Mostly, it would bounce across the floor. How fun it is to see him figuring things out and developing new forms of play!!

Our little guy loves being dirty or covered in food. Feeding times have really become exciting! I've developed a system of using two spoons. One spoon is for feeding him the first bite, then it's his to play with. Then I load up another spoon and wait until he seems interested in another bite. He either drops the first spoon or continues playing with it while I feed him and go for another scoop.

While with family and traveling, we didn't always have a high chair. Sometimes we got creative and fed him while sitting on the floor, as we did in this picture...

Ian LOVES it when people play with him. Äma started walking her fingers toward his toes and he'd laugh as she tickled his foot. Uncle Willem knocked this ball back and forth with him and mirrored his babbling sounds.

Ian chewed on a watermelon rind and a bit of watermelon for the first time. What a great teether!! Especially since his second tooth came in!!!

He really enjoys bath time, but hates getting out of the bath! The splashing, standing up in the tub, and splashing some more, are just too darn fun!! When it comes time to pry his little hands from the tub, boy is he upset!!

Another thing that makes him upset is when Mama or Papa leave or walk out of his sight. Separation anxiety is certainly in full swing!!! This has been something we've all had to adjust to, since our content boy becomes fussy quickly.

And have I ever mentioned that he is incredibly quick?!? Well, now he's faster. WAY faster. He's into everything. I know that my next post will say the same thing... but wow!!!

In the mornings, Jim would watch him so that I could get a little more rest (Thank you, Hon!). I learned later that my dad normally came and had time with him during this time, as well. And the first day we were gone I received a text from my dad saying how sad he was not to get to play with Ian that morning. So sweet, the love of a grandparent.

Thank you for hosting us, Mom & Dad! Glad we could all be together for a few days this summer and happy to have time with Willem, Phoebe & James!!

Oh, and watch out for your glasses or sunglasses!!! This boy's stealthy. He'll have yours in his hand before you can say, "Ray Ban" or "Oakley," not that any of us have those brands.... and it's probably a good thing because he's teething on them and banging them on the floor before you've even realized what hit you! Ask anyone who's tried to wear a pair around him ;)

This post is now almost two weeks old, so stay tuned for more recent goings-ons; I'm just playing catch-up!

Happy 36 weeks, messy boy!!!
What would we do without you?