Monday, October 13, 2014

FULL of Life.

Ian's wearing the sweater Mom
made for me as a baby!!
I love it when life is full. Full of people. Full of adventure and activities. Full of quiet moments. Full of sunshine and crinkly leaves. Full of learning. That's what life's been like for us recently. And somehow I need to fit all of it into this one post before more time gets away from me. I know I won't do the past few weeks justice; there's just no way to cover the fullness. But, as ever, I will try.

It all started with sweet Ian turning one!! Phoebe and James came to visit us and celebrate the occasion, but also to bid farewell before they left for France until April! Unfortunately, Ian wasn't feeling so well on his actual birthday and cried through the video coverage of us giving him an applesauce cupcake. Oh well!

Floyd Jamboree! Phoebe with her dance partner :)
We did have fun, though. Fortunately, he really only felt lousy on his birthday. So, we filled the rest of the visit with the aquatic center, the Floyd Jamboree, the farmer's market, and time out in our yard! He loved the toys they brought him, a basketball hoop for the bath and a tractor with a few animal and farmer figures. He's still enjoying them! Thank you!

I'm notorious for being horrible at goodbyes... we'll just leave it at that. But we'll see them in April when we visit and then when they return in late April! So far their updates have been really positive and it sounds like they are surrounded by wonderful people. What more can comfort the hearts of us back here than that?

Here are a few snapshots of their visit:

Ian with his tractor gift from Aunt Phoebe & James
Those two...
The ever-obedient canine refusing to drop his ball!
You can tell he's not feeling 100% here.... 

Blacksburg Farmer's Market- Pizza from Rickshaw Pizza!!
Handsome couple. Miss you!
Sorry, Ian. I had to post this one ;)
The waterworks started when they pulled out.

Jim and I took Ian to Heritage Park and he walked and walked. Jim guesses that Ian walked about a quarter of a mile... his longest stretch yet. When we got to the creek, we stripped him and let him get in the water. He was desperate to play in the mud and get wet. We're so glad he enjoys getting dirty in the great outdoors!!!

The following weekend my mom and Willem came to visit! As soon as they arrived we walked downtown for the Food Truck Festival. Who knew that people would stand around in lines for hours just to get food from a truck? Not quite sure what the appeal is, but I am pretty sure most moms of toddlers would opt out! Ha! Good thing Mom and Willem were there with me! We walked back home to enjoy our food. It was yummy.

Out of order, here are a few pictures from their visit:

Ringing the bell- "Dinner time, everyone!"

Leading Äma back to the playground.

The next day we hit the road for the apple orchard! I have to admit that the only time I'd ever gone apple-picking prior to this visit was when we'd run through the orchards during cross country in high school. Our high school was across the road from an orchard. Us girls would pick and eat the apples as a snack but the guys would often have huge apple fights, returning bruised. I prefer eating them, really.

Doe Creek Farm in Pembroke, VA was really beautiful. The weather was perfect and the apples were/are delicious!! Mom, Jim, and I spent a long time sampling each variety and decided we liked the Liberty apples the best. We picked some from a few different varieties, though. Willem, on the other hand, had a whole basket full within five minutes. Ian munched on two apples, double-fisting, in the stroller before getting out and helping to organize our basket and pick a few of his own!!

Sunday, Mom, Jim and I went for a walk on the Huckleberry. It was such a beautiful, fall weekend. Thank you for coming, Mom and Willem! Thank you for the wonderful books, warm fleece sleepers, and apple cider and chutney!! Thanks for coming! We love you.

I have spent a fair amount of time harvesting apples for the first time! I have to admit that I LOVE it. The smell of cooking apples, the taste of a crisp apple.... I love it all. I've frozen many for future baking, made apple pie filling and frozen it for later, made many apple muffins, made LOADS of apple chips with a borrowed dehydrator (umm, yum) and applesauce. Ian was a good companion through it all. Fortunately, he LOVES apples too and was happy to munch on them for long, long periods of time. On one of the long drives to Richmond (coming up in post) Ian munched on the apple for hours. Thank goodness for easy entertainment!! I plan to get a new batch of apples sometime soon and make my first apple butter. Can't wait!!

Ian and I spent the following Saturday at our CSA farm with another family. It was the first, truly beautiful fall day around here. What a great place to spend the day!! We got a tour of the farm from the friendly CSA guy, Cory. He showed us the harvesting room, the rows upon rows of produce, the pigs, the pond, and then let us harvest some sunflower seeds and weed the strawberries. Ian perfectly timed his nap right as we were starting the weeding, so I was actually able to get my hands dirty and weed like crazy. It felt so good to do something with my hands and let my mind wander and talk with those who were there, without dividing my attention.

Two days later Ian and I hit the road for Richmond!! We FINALLY met sweet baby Evan, my dear friend Meredith's baby. He is so, so precious. And Meredith is the sweetest mom.

We spent a few days with them, walking, playing on the playground (only Ian... but one day Evan will join him!) and chatting our time away. One time, while Mere was changing an upset Evan, Ian walked into the nursery with a concerned face, picked up a shirt that was lying on the floor and handed it to Mere with a "Here, this might help" face. She came out of the room telling me how sweet it was. Love that kid.

At night we'd head to our med school friends' home and enjoy time with them. One night Ian and Chappie got to catch-up by playing in the bath together. So sweet. We are looking forward to living with them in December as Jim completes a pediatric rotation in Richmond! Thanks for hosting us, Lindsay, Mike, and Chappie! See you soon!

This weekend we had visits from Christine and Jim's parents, but that will have to wait until the next post, when I am able to upload a few more pictures to complete the visit.

During this time Ian also took his first swim/pool classes!! For two weeks Ian and I went twice a week to Baby Bubbles swimming lessons at the Aquatic Center. It was fun to be in the water with him and to be led through different songs and lessons. We took the class with Trisha and Jade, a mama and daughter from our birthing class. It was neat to take this with them, too. At the end of the class he got a certificate!! Cute.

Ian's Developments

New shoes! He looks like such a big boy. A dear friend, Kristin, sent us a pair she found for him at a consignment store and they fit him absolutely perfectly!! I went to a local kids thrift store and miraculously found the next two sizes for him, so we are set for a while now!! Thanks so much, Kristin! It took him a few minutes to get used to wearing anything on his feet, but he's doing well now.

I gave Ian a new haircut while he slept in his carseat a couple of weeks ago. It's taken a few more trimmings to get to where it is now. He looks so much older and more Amish, but his eyes can now see!! Haha. He had started cranking his neck up to look under his hair... a sure sign it was time for a cut.

He's walking much more steadily now and almost running! He still take the occasional tumble, but not nearly as often as before. It's so fun to watch him teeter around. He's so proud of this new mode of transportation; you can see it radiating in all of his expressions as he moves around the house, the yard, the farm, the orchard, etc.

Ian tries to mirror us when we are sitting next to him on the couch or anywhere, really. I love this photo of him sitting in the adirondack chairs with Jim. Each time Jim moved, Ian would try to sit the same way. He loves his papa.

Recently he's started to understand routines visibly. Ian understands what I mean when I say it's time for a bath. First we get his night-time diaper, then he leads me to the bathroom. He plays in the bath for a while and eventually decides it's time to get out. We then read a few books, with him choosing each one (Animalia and Bedtime Hullabaloo are almost always options he chooses for himself, even if we don't have them up on the bed. He'll get off of the bed to get them!). Then he motions that it's time to nurse and we move to his room and rock in the chair, sing, and nurse until he's done. Then we lie down together on his bed until he falls asleep, which often doesn't take long. The routine is morphing each day, but it's neat to see him understand and predict each step.

He also helps to clean his high chair tray when he's done eating. We wait until he motions that he is "all done" (which normally looks like him reaching for us) and then we hand him a rag to wipe off his chair. Depending on the meal and how messy it is, he sometimes scrubs a lot or very little before handing back the rag. He's also signing "more" when we eat and reaching for his drink, to show that's what he wants. We are working on "drink," as well.

Other little routines include putting toys away and putting down the toilet seat. Since I always put down the seat when he comes into the bathroom with me (only to keep him from throwing things into it... like an apple, which he did), I think he's realized that is something that needs to bed done. He will walk straight toward the toilet if the seat is up and put it down. He will also put things into baskets or boxes, even if it's not necessarily the place to put them. Some of his "Boudreaux's Butt Paste" was found in the Lincoln Logs bucket. Ha! This is another thing that I have not necessarily encouraged, but he must have just watched me pick up and figured out that it's something that must be done. I'll take it!

Ian has decided to go down the slide a couple of times on his own. He's gone down on my lap (of his own motivation he would crawl into my lap) a fair amount, but he has taken initiative to go down on his own, as well. I caught one time on video. He carefully turns himself around and goes down on his belly. That was of his own choosing and I'm grateful that's how he does it!!

He's getting more and more opinionated and strong-willed, which is not something we want to quench.... but we do have to put our feet down about things that aren't safe. Recently that's been not climbing up onto the table after climbing onto a chair. The table's our limit!!

Whew, and that's a wrap. Again, I love a full life. I love that Ian's getting exposed to so many different activities and places and that he's surrounded by so many people who love and care for him deeply. If you're reading this far, then you're certainly one of those people. Thank you.

Until next time...

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