Monday, October 13, 2014

You gonna eat that?

We are one month into the food experiment with Theo and I wanted to give a little update about how everything's going.  The short story is that Theo loves to eat!  Shocking, I know.  He has willingly tried everything and for the most part liked what he's eaten.  He has gotten super-duper messy and it seems like he truly enjoys eating.  In fact, don't strap him in his high chair and make him wait for his food because he will let you know about it.  

In the first few weeks a lot ended up on him/the floor and very little was actually swallowed.  But even in just a few weeks' more time he's figured out swallowing and has become quite adept using his pincher grasp.   It has been so fun to watch him explore with food.  Here are some examples of the foods he's tried.  

Dried mango
Tomatoes (not a fan)

Green beans
Bell peppers (raw and grilled)
Boiled potatoes
Sugar snap peas

Cheddar cheese
Frozen yogurt bites (homemade - was NOT a fan of the cold!)

Graham crackers
Toast with cream cheese or mashed fruit
Pita chips with hummus
Pumpkin bagel
Rice cakes (does anyone like these things?)

Scrambled eggs

In the beginning we started very basic.  A piece of fruit, a graham cracker, some cheese.  Once he started to show genuine interest, I'd try to give him a new thing each day.  We worked through a lot of food pretty quickly!  Then I started to do combinations of things, initially to help him eat the messier foods.  For example, I'd give him a graham cracker dipped in yogurt.  Or hummus spread on toast.  After a week or so I bought some suction bowls (which sadly are not 100% effective) and would let him scoop yogurt or oatmeal out with his hand.  Oh, the messy yogurt faces he has had!  This week I dropped raspberries in his yogurt bowl and he gobbled them up!

He definitely has his favorite foods.  He loves plums and will suck the flesh from the skin and spit that back out.  He loves raspberries, grapes, graham crackers, hummus, and yogurt.  You might be wondering how I know these are favorites, since he can't talk yet.  These are the foods that when he sees me getting them out, he starts grunting and flailing until I put them on his tray.  Like I said earlier, don't make the boy wait.

This method of feeding has proven to be very enlightening for me.  Theo has tried food that Emmett has never once eaten.  This is as much my fault as it is his, in fact probably more so.  I never exposed Emmett to all these foods in the early days.  I made my own baby food, sure, but they don't eat that mush for long.  Once it was time for real food, he was hesitant to try it and I ended up wasting quite a bit of food.  Over time, I grew tired of throwing away so much and just stuck to what I knew he'd eat.  Very basic stuff.  He is now pretty picky about what he eats and always makes a big deal about what "new food" he has to try.  I'd hoped that he'd see Theo trying new food and think that maybe it wasn't a big deal, but so far all he can say is, "gross!" and "ew!" at the mess of it all.

My hope is that Theo won't have the same issues with food.  I hope he is always eager to try something new.  I hope he can encourage his older brother to try new things, too.  We've got a long road ahead of us but I'm optimistic about the future!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Month by Month: Seven

Ever since you were born your voice has had a deep, gravelly sound that seemed a bit out of place coming from such a (relatively) small guy.  The juxtaposition of a little baby with a deep groan always made me chuckle.  Well, you've grown up a little now and I'm happy to report that your voice is still in the lower register.  In fact, I'd say your level of contentment can be deciphered using an elaborate system of grunts.  

To the casual observer, it might seem as though you are just grunting all day long.  But to a highly-trained ear an "I'm happy" grunt is subtly different from an "I'm hungry" grunt.  Your laugh even has a grunt-y quality to it.  You've got a grunt for all occasions: seeing a new toy, waking up from a nap, sitting up and playing; it's almost like breathing for you.  My favorite is the "happy grunt" which we see most often.  You get a huge smile and a grunt-y groan just emanates from your little mouth as you curl up and bring your chin to your chest in pleasure.

The happy grunt is usually accompanied by a rocking motion, whether on the ground or crib or being held.  It may be hard to imagine holding someone while they curl into a ball and rock back and forth in your arms, but it's the new normal around here.  I just hold on tight and pray you don't become too strong for me.  That day is coming soon, I can tell.  You are oh-so-close to crawling.  Then you won't let me hold on to you for long because you want to move.

You are adventurous in a way I had not anticipated.  We have acrobatic diaper changes at 4 a.m., you lay on your back and push your body across the bed using your strong little legs, and you bounce your legs and swat your arms constantly.  In other words, when you start to really move I'm just gonna hide all the breakables, cover my eyes and hope for the best.  Of course, I'll have to figure out the pitch of your mischievous grunt first, but I think I have plenty of practice in order to get it right.


PS. Visit the October photo album to see all of Theo's monthly photos.
PPS. Emmett at seven months!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Interview: 4-years-old

Last year I started something I hope to continue for a long time: interviewing Emmett as he turns another year older.  I've had this on my to-do list since the end of May when he turned four.  As with last year, I had to wait for the perfect timing.  A day when Theo was asleep and Emmett was in a cooperative mood; all the stars had to align.  So, yes it took almost three months until that perfect day arrived.  And it still took a few tries to get all the giggles out (stay tuned until the end of the video for the gag reel!), but we did it.  He answers some thought-provoking questions and asks some of his own.  Here's Emmett at four years old...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Who's child is this?

After Emmett was born we used to ask ourselves over and over again, "Who's child is this?" because he really didn't look that much like either of us as babies.  As a toddler, with his dirty blonde hair and blue eyes, he still didn't bear a strong resemblance.  It's only now, at four years old, that I think he favors Eric when he was that age.  I see him in his smile and eyes.  Take a look for yourselves:

Theo, on the other hand, looks a whole lot like I did as a baby.  From the chubb-arific cheeks to the major lack of hair.  I see Theo when I look at the photo of me on the right at 16 months old.  I also included a photo of me and my brothers because I think that there's a slight resemblance to JM, too.  And also because our Christmas outfits were on point.  Turtlenecks and matching red Keds?  You nailed it, mom. ;)

You can decide for yourselves who looks like whom.  All I know is that Christmas is three months away and I've got some turtlenecks to buy!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Emmett's first soccer game!

This is the first year we have signed Emmett up for any sort of extra curricular activity.  In fact, when I asked him if he'd be interested in playing a sport he flat out said "no." But, like any good mother, I decided to sign him up anyway!  This child will say "no" to anything that isn't about getting a new toy, playing iPad or eating chocolate ice cream.  Sometimes you've just gotta try something new!  His buddy from school was going to be on the same team so I knew he'd have a familiar face to help calm his nerves.

His team had two practices before their first game and it looked like barely controlled chaos.  Imagine cats running after balls of yarn.  Emmett seemed to do fine in the "drills" - dribbling the soccer ball, passing back and forth, running a short lap - but I was not really sure what to expect at his first game.

He sure looked the part of a professional soccer player though.  Their team, Juventus, is named after a professional Italian soccer team and is called "Juve" for short.  When we parents received the jerseys at the first team meeting we were puzzled as to why our children were on a team named after a juvenile correction facility, but hey at least they went for it with the black and white stripes, right?

The rest of the uniform was up to us, so I got him some black Umbros (classic), black and white soccer socks, shin guards and cleats that I bought for $5.50 at Once Upon A Child (booyah!).  

Intimidated yet?

This is raw, natural talent.

Theo, dressed in his Razorback track suit, was ready to show his support.

I took a short video of the game to give you an idea of how it all went down.  Keep your eyes peeled for Emmett who does his best never to touch the ball.  He kinda just trails behind the action a good 20 feet or so.  I also enjoy the little boy on the other team who decided to just stay in one place, even when the action came right to him.

So, yeah.  We cheered for Emmett just being out on the field and having fun.  I mean, I guess he had fun?  It's hard to say.  He would tell you he had fun, but half the time he was pouting out there because he "didn't score any goals."  I'm not positive but I think he may have to touch the ball first?  But maybe they didn't go over that in practice.  Regardless, he was a sad sack for much of the game.  

Whomp, whomp.

I like how everyone is blurry in this shot because they are all moving so fast to get to the ball,  Well, everyone except Emmett!  Haha!  He's moving just enough to avoid the ball.

Unfortunately, Juventus did not win their season opener.  The other team (the Goal Diggers!) had a tiny soccer phenom out there who scored like 12 times.  It was unreal.  However, the team rallied around the coach and gave a good cheer.  Way to go, Juvey!

Eric tries to cheer up the soccer star.

Well, at least he enjoyed the snacks!

Emmett and his buddy, Luke.  Adorbs.
The great news is that Emmett still has a good attitude about going to practice and games.  Sure, I'll get the occasional, " again?!!?!" but that's just Emmett.  Who knows, maybe he'll get motivated to get out there and touch the ball one of these days!  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jackson Hole, WY

After our day in Yellowstone the weather turned from sunny and warm to cold and rainy.  We spent our third full day at the campsite, mostly inside trailers taking naps and watching college football.  There were periods of no rain and during those times we walked down to the general store and I'm pretty sure Emmett made it down to throw rocks in the water, too.

After a lazy third day, we planned to spend our last day in Jackson Hole, which is less than an hour away.  That morning brought more rain and cooler temps, but we crossed our fingers and hoped the weather would get better.  During our drive over the rain stopped, and we spotted a male elk lounging in the grass (see the horns in the lower left corner).

Our first stop was at a little ski village where you can ride a tram up over 10,000 feet! 

This is a picture from the inside of the tram, we had only just gotten going.

Once we got to the top it became clear that it was FREEZING!  I was definitely under dressed and I froze my keister off.  I think that Emmett was pretty warm, his jacket was heavier than mine.  Here we all are at the top.  Just look at those spectacular views of the Grand Tetons...oh, wait.   It was so cloudy you could barely see anything up there.  

Did I mention how cold it was?  We saw SNOW that day.
If you were brave/crazy you could climb some stairs to an even higher point and get exceptionally cold and see nothing but white clouds all around you!  I may look happy but I'm screaming on the inside.

Sweet relief!  There was a little shack at the top that sold hot chocolate and waffles.  That hot chocolate really hit the spot.  

The view as we came back down the mountain.

After the tram we grabbed a late lunch and then some of the big group headed downtown.  The square in Jackson Hole is immediately recognizable because of the arches made of antlers - it's also the site where we witnessed Kenni proposing to Sara almost five years ago!  Sophie and Maddie reenacted the whole thing; it was like being there all over again.

We did the touristy thing and bought some Jackson Hole merch and enjoyed the really nice day that it slowly became.  We also took a picture with an elk.  

Here's our attempt at a family picture under the arches.  Emmett was over it and I promise Theo is somewhere under that blanket.  Not the best family photo, but we tried.

That pretty much wraps up our vacation!  It was a fun time and a great opportunity to see some family and wrap up the summer.  If you want to see all the photos from our trip they are in the August photo album.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Yellowstone National Park and Old Faithful

On our second full day of camping we headed out to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.  It was an hour plus drive to get there, but the scenery was beautiful (although I don't think Theo or Emmett really cared).  We reluctantly obliged Eric's Grandpa Bob and made as many stops as possible. ;)  Actually, it was my request to stop and take photos at certain landmark signs.  I want to have documentation for our family (you know I love a good photo op) and it sort of broke up the drive a little to get out of the car and take a quick photo.  Sure, you can take a plain old photo or you can have a little fun with it!

Please note who jumped the highest.  (I don't think Eric knew it was a competition.)
We took a quick pit stop at the West Thumb Geyser Basin and walked a lap around the trail.

In all his years coming up to Yellowstone, Eric's Grandpa said he'd never seen birds by the pools!

The water was beautifully clear blue and HOT.

The colors are so vivid.  We were there on a gorgeous day, too.
We finally reached Old Faithful and ate a quick picnic lunch where Emmett had some quiet time among the trees.

After we ate we walked/drove to Old Faithful but half of us missed the geyser going off!  Barb and I were trying unsuccessfully to find a parking space and Eric was trying to find us.  So, we had about an hour and a half to wait before we could see it go off again.  It wasn't that hard to pass the time.  There was a museum exhibit with info about the park and Old Faithful.  We walked around to see the different geysers and then grabbed a prime seat at the lodge and ordered some ice cream.

You've got a little on your mouth, ah yep, yep you got it.

I wanted to get pictures of Emmett and Old Faithful.  He entertained that notion for about 30 seconds and then all bets were off.  Luckily I did get this shot of him which is halfway normal!  

Some of you may not know that Eric and I have been to Old Faithful before, early in our relationship.  In fact, I think it's been over ten years (!!) since we went.  Eric and his family have been countless times, although Eric is the first to admit that he did not fully appreciate the natural splendor of the park when he was younger.  I think that's definitely what we saw in Emmett while we were there.  He was much more interested in, say, a chocolate ice cream cone than the geyser.  But it's a pretty magnificent backdrop for your dessert experience.

On the drive back we stopped a few times, once at this waterfall (I knew I'd forget the name of it) which was beautiful.  

But it still didn't quite hold a candle to this cool caterpillar!

And speaking of wildlife, no drive through the park is complete until you've spotted your first animal.  We got pretty close to a female elk right off the road eating some grass.

We took one last pit stop at the Yellowstone sign.  What you can't see from this photo is that both boys had meltdowns here.  Emmett was upset that we took a photo without him (even though he said he did not want to take a photo).  So Eric took him out and grabbed a selfie with him to try and smooth things over.  Meanwhile, Theo woke up in a terrible mood and I had to get him out of his car seat to calm him down.  

Eric knew it was a competition and he brought his A-game.  

If you want to see more photos, visit the August photo album.  I'll post about our day trip to Jackson Hole soon!


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