Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Clappin' & Steppin'

One whole year with this guy is almost behind us. I find this so incredibly hard to believe, and yet life with Ian feels just right. Like it's how life's been meant to be all along.

When I think of the things we were doing and thinking about at this time last year, it's amazing to think of how much has changed. Last year we were wondering all sorts of things about what meeting our baby would be like, what he'd look like. Now we wonder more about what he'll be interested in, what he'll learn next, and we try to find things that will continue to stimulate his curiosity and foster his development in all areas.

There have been many developments in the last couple of weeks. Let's start with the biggest one first!! 

Ian took his first steps toward me on August 29th!! He turned, obviously thought about it, and then took three steps toward me before falling into a hug. I will never forget the way he looked when he did it. His legs appeared to be incredibly heavy, like lead, as he slowly and carefully lifted them. His eyes were sparkling, excited, and eager... obviously knowing that he was doing something new and opening up a whole new world for himself!!

Since then, it took him a week and a half or so before he really started to walk. He'd dabble in it and then choose to crawl most of the time, or he'd catch himself walking when he wasn't planning on it. Then he'd start walking at the most random times and never when we'd think he was about to. He'd wobble and swivel and plop. It looked so unnatural and seagrass-like, swaying in the gale winds of our own hallway and living room. Over the course of the last week, September 7-14th, Ian really started walking. He's still wobbly, but much more steady and purposeful. He can turn, walk in circles, and carry heavier items along with him. The smile and joy that shine on his face as he walks are so contagious. Jim and I have grins plastered across our faces as we watch him move throughout the house. And, oh how sweet it is to hold one of his hands, when he grabs it and to walk by his side wherever he leads. It's still fairly foreign to see him walk into a room; it surprises me every time. But it's quickly becoming the new normal! What a big boy he is.

He's also clapping now!!! To see him clapping while walking and smiling is just too precious. Oh what fun.
These two pictures certainly capture a serious side of Ian, but I love the light and his sweet, soft baby skin. These pictures were snapped of him right after he got out of the bath. I love that middle-ground time, when he's newly cleaned, his hair still weighted down by the water, and he's starting to settle down for the night. Normally we move straight into reading time, but apparently not that night.

Ian has started sleeping in his own room for the first part of the night. We are moving to transition him into his room for the whole night, but it will be gradual. He still nurses a couple of times in the night.
That is one tirrrred boy.
He has started eating almost anything and everything food-wise!! There's rarely a veggie we put in front of him that he will refuse! That's our boy! Lately, he's really liking delicata squash (and so are we)... good thing it's in season! He's not always willing to eat fruits, but will occasionally. He likes mush/oatmeal in the morning, meat and veggies for lunch and dinner. He does enjoy pasta and bread, rice and quinoa, too. In the photo you can see that he enjoyed spaghetti.

Gramee's favorite activity.
He has mastered feeding himself with a fork! Every meal I give him a fork, now, because he prefers to feed himself that way than with his fingers. This was all out of his own motivation. One day he grabbed my fork and started trying to eat with it, the next day I went out and purchased him some smaller forks (since we only had spoons) and he's been off to the races ever since!

He has started signing "milk" for nurse sometimes! The first time I realized that he was really doing it, a huge smile spread across his face as if to say, "She gets it!" Haha.

Ian seems to be in the process of switching to just one nap a day. Most of the time he takes two naps, but if we're out and about in the morning and his first nap is too late, he will only take one and go down fairly early in the evening. I am trying to limit how many days that happens, but it does happen occasionally.

Gramee & Grandpa came to visit over Labor Day Weekend! We went to the berry patch and picked a bunch of red raspberries, as well as a few golden raspberries. Ian was a real trooper in the stroller and the sling to the very end, after we had picked our full gallon's worth of berries! Thanks, Bud!

John & Kim brought us a whole bunch of Ginger Gold apples from an orchard near Lebanon, so we decided to make some applesauce! I'd never made applesauce before, that I can remember, so I was excited to try it out. Thanks, Kim, for teaching me! The smell of it cooking alone makes applesauce worth making!! After taste-testing I decided that the sauce was sweet enough without adding any extra sugar... mmm, so good.

We love having apples around for snacks, too. Don't worry... we didn't use ALL of them for the sauce.

Our other project was to make this swing!!! Our friend, Val, made a really beautiful one for her six month old daughter and was kind enough to pass along the tutorial that she used. Kim, being a great sewer, was happy to oblige and make the swing while she was here and Jim and John drilled the dowel rods for us... voila... we have a beautiful, blue swing!!
 I think he likes it!
 His first time in he giggled and squealed. It was, of course, adorable!
 We have the swing set-up under the beautiful maple tree in our backyard, right next to the adirondack chairs. Now we each have a spot to sit!!
 Ian ALWAYS has something to say. And we love that about him! Just can't wait to hear what it is he's saying!!!

 Leif found an apple tree in our backyard and has enjoyed a few snacks of his own...
 A few close-up pictures... since you didn't see enough of the swing ;)

Time with Papa has been scarce during the last two months, but he certainly gives us all he can! Ian continues to adore him. They cuddle, they rough-house, they read, they banter back and forth. It's pretty sweet.

Kim made Ian an alphabet quilt for his birthday! While she was here she had a few last touches to make, so she spent Ian's naptimes, late evenings or early mornings while he was asleep finishing it. More pictures to come. There are two squares for every letter of the alphabet and she is creating a book for us to read with it. What a creative and thoughtful idea! I'm sure it will be a great way to teach Ian his letters and sounds. Thank you, Gramee/Kim, for your labor of love!!! The opposite side has a woodland theme, which fits in perfectly with Ian's nursery. Right now the quilt lies at the foot of his bed, so he sees it often.

While they were here we went to the aquatic center with Ian and Jim was able to join us! We bit the bullet and purchased a family pass for the year, which has been really exciting and fun! Ian and I have gone many, many times and we've gone on Jim's days off, as well. It's nice to have a place to go inside when the weather's poor or too hot, but it's also got a great area for kids to play and Ian just loves his time there! I think it will be really nice for us all winter, especially, and I plan on going there during some of my "me" times for exercise and to just relax.

Thank you for visiting, for the apples, for helping with/making the swing, and for the kind gifts for Ian's birthday! We'll see you again in October.
One happy guy.
Ian's discovered the fun that can be had with all sorts of new toys. He spent a few days filling and emptying paper bags. He'd return to the bag after time away surprised that there were items inside and work to empty it and then fill it again. Paper bags are a neat thing for babies to manipulate because they do collapse and block the ability to view what's inside the bag. And they make some great sounds! And, who really cares if they get destroyed? They'll just be recycled either way!

Ian and I went berry-picking a few times by ourselves and with friends. The first time I went I was able to pick a whole gallon before he became restless, but that was the last time I was that successful! I tried him out in the Kelty backpack for the first time while I was blueberry-picking from taller bushes and he decided that he should pick some, too. On the left you'll see him eating one of his own berries and on the right you'll see him picking raspberries! He likes them straight off of the vine more than at home!!

We now have three different carriers for Ian. I just purchased a ring sling, which has been really nice for throwing on quickly in different settings. Ian likes cuddling in close, but still getting to see everything around him, and, especially, everything I'm doing!! (Thanks, Trisha!)

I cannot tell you how much I adore our backyard. When the mosquitos finally take a leave of absence then I will truly be happy. But look at this yard... it's truly peaceful, serene, and wonderfully private. This picture just makes my heart take a huge sigh... love it. Bliss.

We have worked to keep our house very baby-friendly, so that Ian can have free-range and "yes" places to play. Although he always likes to know where we are or to be nearby, he also enjoys playing on his own. I try to rotate out his toys, books, or other carefully chosen items for him (like kitchen utensils, cardboard boxes or paper bags, etc) so that the area isn't always the same. Without interrupting his play, he can be fascinated by his own exploration for a little while. He does like to bring me things he finds and "talks" with me about them.

Other than walking, my favorite things he does are related to reading. The house will sometimes grow quiet, my cue to check-in, and I'll come around the corner to see him paging his way through a book. Oh, what joy! He's started to really study the pages, point to things, and almost always turns the pages forward through the book.

MANY times throughout the day he will start saying "boo, boo" (short u) and will move toward me carrying a book with him. It used to be he would crawl one-handed, with one hand carrying the book or plopping it along beside him, but since he's walking he's carrying the book with him. Sometimes he travels across an entire room, determined to read it. When he reaches me, he places the book in my hand and then normally signals through an expectant look, hands raising, or climbing up, that he would like to sit on my lap to read it. And this is my favorite part... he actually has started nestling back against my chest, head in the crook between my upper arm and my chest. There's seriously nothing better.

At night we normally grab three regular picture books (not board books, which are strewn all over the house) and we ask him to choose which one he'd like to read. He seems to carefully consider them before making his choice. Adorable. Sometimes he motions us to read the same book again and sometimes he's ready to move onto the next book. Occasionally he helps turn the pages, but sometimes he just leans back into us or the pillows on the bed and takes it all in.

 Recently we've gone to our first story times at the local library. With such an interest in books, it seemed like a good time to try them! Apparently all of Blacksburg thinks the same thing... it is SO crowded! Ian spends the first part clutching my shirt, but both times he has opened up during the play time afterward.

Stranger anxiety seems to be in full force, especially when we are in large groups. A couple of times recently I have left him in a nursery and this has been particularly hard on both of us, but especially Ian. He does well for a while, but then he remembers I'm gone, cries, is comforted, remembers again, and cries. Fortunately, these times are very few and far between! That's certainly on purpose.

The playground and the aquatic center are now staples for our free times during the week. It's so nice to have options so close to our home! Now that Ian is walking, he's adapting his method of going down stairs. If there is a railing, he now holds on to the spokes and steps down the stairs in a sideways shuffle. One time he took a small tumble, when he became over zealous, but he's been fairly careful ever since. For the record, he did not go down the slide in the right picture, he only looked. We still haven't gone down the slide knowingly and purposefully, other than that very first time.

We've switched Ian into a bigger rear-facing carseat in the car that I've been driving. We still have the infant seat in Jim's car, but he was getting just a little too big and his feet were squished against the back of the seat. Now that we've made the switch, he seems to not mind getting into the car as much! It's a comfy, spacious seat. He almost seems happy to be put in it, most of the time! Whew. For this I am grateful.

Jim found this unbelievably huge slug in our backyard!! We have never seen one that big!

Ian and I have been involved in a few, fun playdates during the last few weeks. It's so fun to see him interacting with other children. He's fascinated by older and younger kiddos. In the photo below he was getting pretty tired, but was happy to sit in the boat with Thatcher as he rocked and we sang, "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."

One thing we've been working on is his excited batting at people. It's a hard thing to teach him to touch gently, when he just wants to express his enthusiasm! But we are working on it :)

Ian let Wren tuck him into the cradle and rock him. It was so sweet! He was almost playing a roll! He was just enthralled by her and loving the attention.

I'm grateful to have friends with kids of similar ages to Ian. Sharing wisdom, empathizing, and walking the road of parenthood together has been wonderful. I am always excited to make new friends, too! We just met another 11 month old boy who we've started spending time with, too. I love this area.

It's fun to watch Ian continue to learn how to "use" furniture. Jim told me that one time he was sitting on the opposite side of the couch from Ian and that each way Jim moved or sat, Ian would then try it out! So funny. I wish I had seen it happening.

Here's a series of our not-so-little "baby." I cannot believe how grown-up he looks here.

 When he hears the camera click, he closes his eyes like this... I think I did use the flash, so he was smart to close his eyes!

Oh my heart.

This week he turns one.

Life with you is just the best.

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