My little brother got married! What?!? :-) We're so excited to have Hannah in the family and can't wait to have her in many pictures going forward.
This album starts with a few fun pics at home in Muncie (yay for a new slide!). Then we headed south. And Gabriel had his first Harris Teeter sugar cookie! He and I walked to the local coffee shop one day and then he got his first haircut from Miss. Cori. She's the best! We also had dinner with Smith, Caitlin, Sam, Amariah, and baby #3. Our kiddos together were so adorable.
Then finally it was wedding time. The rehearsal was lots of fun and Gabriel only fell twice going down the aisle. He totally stole the show at the wedding! He was a total trooper and someone was definitely looking out for us to make it through the day with a happy boy.
And then it was time to head back north. Our boy is getting awfully good at long car trips. Thank goodness!
After living here a month and visiting a number of potential daycares, we're very excited to have Gabriel start at Apple Tree. There were definitely rough days leading up to his start. Mostly rough for mom (who then made things rough on dad...) but Gabriel was a trooper as usual.
We're so grateful Joanne Rutkowski and Linda & Darrin Thornton gave us a family membership to the Muncie Children's Museum. What an awesome going away/1st birthday gift for us & Gabriel. Part of the beauty of the pass is knowing we can go to the museum for just a little while and then head home before Mr. Wiggle Worm wears all the way out. Our first visit was lots of fun!
We hope you enjoy a few pictures of us exploring Muncie and Gabriel exploring his new home further. He's growing like crazy and more curious by the day. He's just over 13 months old now!
Not the most enthralling album ever (mostly because it's not focused on the cute toddler) but many of our friends and family have asked about our new home. So here it is! We've been here 3-weeks or so and the house is mostly together. That was my goal before starting work. We really love our home and are so grateful for the extra space. Hope you enjoy!
Gabriel's exploring like crazy! He loves our new home and all the ways he can cause mischief with the extra space. We're still unpacking and settling in more each day.
Some of the most difficult weeks of our lives so far... Saying "see you later" to our friends, our chosen family, in Pennsylvania was so very difficult. We love them all so much and are going to miss them like crazy from Indiana. Fingers crossed for lots of texts, emails, phone calls, and even visits!
We've said it many times before and if we're lucky we'll be saying it forever - we are so incredibly blessed. The first few pictures here are from his actual birthday (the first one, sleeping, is at 10:23, his exact moment of birth). The rest are from his party a few days later. The weather was amazing up at Bald Eagle State Park and so many of our friends (really our PA family) were able to join us. We had 22 adults and 13 kids (ages 5 months - 11 years). As you see in the invitation, the theme was "books." Gabriel loves all his books so much it seemed very appropriate. The food had labels made from library cards and included fruit that the "Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar" ate, vegetables from "Peter Rabbit's" garden, and milk & cookies from "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie." Some cupcakes had monkeys on top and others were bright yellow and in the shape of a hat ("Curious George" and the Man with the Yellow Hat). And Philip grilled up an amazing pile of hamburgers and hot dogs for everyone. We had games ready, inspired by "Winnie the Pooh," "Jeremy Fisher (Peter Rabbit)," and "Pete the Cat" but we didn't really use them because everyone was having so much fun without forcing it! :-) I don't know why I thought games would be needed at a park with a beach, a lake, a jungle gym, and good friends. We stole an idea from several other friends' birthday parties and had the guests all sign the cover of a book so that we will forever remember who surrounded Gabriel on his first birthday. The sweet notes and memories that people jotted down inside "Monster Needs A Party" will be treasured forever. Here's to many more years, parties, and memories sweet Gabriel! :-)
What a year, what a year, oh my goodness what a year. Our little man is just amazing and perfect and so very smart. We regularly join the generations of parents before us who have said "we can't believe how much he's grown," and "we can't remember life before him," "he is absolutely the most handsome child out there," and "where has the time gone?!"
- His one-year check up says that's he's perfect and so very healthy! He handled all four shots with minimal screaming and a quick recovery. 30.75" tall (80th percentile!), 22lbs 12oz (71st percentile), 18" head circumference (40th percentile). We're not sure where he got his height but we'll take it! :-) He's 10" taller than when he was born and 15lbs 4oz (about 3x) heavier.
- It's no wonder he's grown given how much he eats. He's still a champion eater who shows preferences but will still finish what we give him, even if it's not his favorite and he requires some encouragement. Breakfast is usually a handful of Joe's O's cereal, a scrambled egg, a whole banana, and a serving of yogurt. Lunch is something like a handful of puffed rice, a piece of bread with almond butter, half a peach, and a half a cheese stick (he'd eat an entire cheese stick no problem but we try not to overload him on cheese). Whether he wants an afternoon snack depends on how long he naps, but if he wants a snack it's usually some blueberries & cottage cheese. And dinner is a handful of puffs, half a cheeseburger patty, a big pile of strawberries & blueberries, and a big scoop of green bean casserole.
- 4 days before his birthday he nursed for the last time. He decided on his own that he was done (it was not a mutual decision with mom... those were rough days...). And when he stopped drinking milk from mom he got to start drinking cow's milk from his sippy cup. He loves it! He gets about half a sippy cup full after each meal and guzzles it right down. Seems to be like mom - likes his milk really, really cold. Which is funny since he would only drink it warm from a bottle.
- He still takes a morning and afternoon nap. And they’ve gotten longer and more consistent! Sometimes he sleeps up to two hours. And he's a real pro at putting himself to sleep and also occupying himself when he wakes up. He LOVES his music & light box that hangs from his crib rail. He turns on the music and falls right asleep or uses it to just hang out until we come get him up. He's also figured out his sleep sheep so he sometimes reaches through the rail to push buttons and change the sounds he's hearing.
- He has developed a favorite lovey - for better and worse. He has a white blanket with satin edges that has a lamb's head and feet on the corners. "Lamby" has become his absolute favorite and it seems he cannot go to sleep without it anymore (unless he's in the car). A couple times Lamby has been in the wash at nap time and after much fighting there was no nap. We're looking for a replacement/back-up lovey but have had no luck yet.
- We can't remember the last time he took a pacifier. Sometime in the past month he decided he was really done with that. It's all thumb, all the time, now. Always his right thumb. In fact, he seems to favor his right hand for many things. He does wave primarily with his left hand. And he eats with both (can't shovel it in fast enough). But he turns book pages, reaches for toys, and carries toys mostly with his right hand. We'll see if that lasts.
- Speaking of his love of music (in his crib), he starts dancing EVERY time he hears music. His dancing is mostly with his head but sometimes involves arms and/or butt. It's pretty adorable. :-)
- For better or worse he can really watch TV now. We try not to use it often but watching a Disney movie or Curious George cartoon often occupies him or calms him down if it's a rough day.
- His crawling has gone super speed! And he loves to chase around the family room. Sometimes you chase him, he runs out of room so he has to come back toward you, and he knows to go under you! How's he so smart?!?
- He's also standing like a pro. He regularly lifts his hands off the couch or whatever he used to pull himself up to standing and he'll bounce/dance/pivot/squat and then stand back up firm as can be. Still no steps on his own but we figure it will be any day. (Fingers crossed it waits until after we move!) He will take a few steps if we're holding his hands and guiding him.
- His communication is getting better all the time. He can wave hello and goodbye and often does so when leaving a room or store without even being asked. And his wave has progressed from a whole hand/arm to just his fingers going up & down. He also has a modified sign for "all done" when he's done eating. It's not quite the "official" sign that we use but he waves both hands around and it's very clear he's saying "all done." He's not signing "more" yet but if you ask "do you want more (and sign)?" he'll smile and giggle if he does. He also claps all the time. As soon as you say "good job" he starts clapping. And he claps when other people do (like at the end of a performance). He can high-five when asked. And he shakes his head in both directions. Any time someone says "no" he starts shaking his head - the right direction too!
- It's amazing to realize the words he recognizes too. He responds to: Where's your water? Where's your paci? Can you put your paci here (with a point)? Can you turn off your music (in his crib)? Can you put Lamby in your crib? Are you all done (accompanied by sign language)? Do you want to take a nap (he'll stop fussing and snuggle into my shoulder)?
- We've officially marked his first word as "mama." He's been babbling and saying "mamamama" & "dadadada" for a while. But this month he would isolate "mama" and we would ask "can you say 'mama'?" and he would! Hopefully it will become more consistent. ;-)
- Dad has continued to take the "breakfast shift" every morning. For a while it was so mom could do dissertation work. Lately it's so mom can pack the house. But regardless both parents (and Gabriel!) still find it wonderful.
- Gabriel has gotten some for real babysitters this month! We've had several college and high school students (music students mom teaches) watch him both at home and at school. He's been great with all of them, even waking up to a surprise person! He has had a couple instances of some stranger apprehension this month but he's still handled it really well. He just looks quickly back and forth from the person to mom, maybe a little lip quiver or slight fussing, and doesn't go running to them. But he's even let some of those people pick him up as long as he can still see us, so we figure it's still success!
- And one other instance of apprehension popping up is over loud noises. He used to be so excited when I ran the vacuum cleaner, now he's less sure. He's ok with the dog barking (as he always was) but if she barks a lot and/or close to his face he's less tolerant. He's even cried a couple times at the coffee grinder! Hopefully he will outgrow these little startles and fears as he realizes they can't hurt him. :-)
- He gives "kisses!" They are open mouth and VERY wet, but we'll take it! The only trouble is when they turn into bites... He may only have 4 teeth but boy do those 4 teeth hurt!
- Forever adding to the list of solid foods: yogurt pancakes, zucchini potatoes, meatballs, salmon, couscous, chicken meatballs, kamut, hummus, ice cream, grilled chicken, fruit crusher pouches, veggie bites, and shepherd’s pie. And perhaps you’ll be excited to know that we’re going to stop tracking food so specifically. He's eaten so many different things and hasn't shown any allergies or difficulties with any of it so we're feeling pretty safe (and blessed!) and will stop worrying about every single ingredient that hits his stomach. At least for now. :-)
- A typical breakfast is something like a pancake, yogurt, and half a banana. Lunch is a handful of kamut, half a cheese stick, quarter of a pear, and quarter of an avocado. Dinner is a handful of puffs, 2 meatballs, and a large scoop of vegetables.
- We started an afternoon snack this month too. Usually something like a handful of kamut and a fruit crusher pouch.
- He usually nurses 3x a day although sometimes it’s four and sometimes only two.
- 4th tooth is here! Top middle left.
- We’re thankful he still takes a morning and afternoon nap. And they’ve gotten longer and more consistent! Sometimes he sleeps up to two hours.
- He really responds to the music on TV. He dances to theme songs and turns & looks if there’s music. We watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and he was captivated!
- First two bloody injuries this month. :-( He slipped and hit the back of his head on the baseboard corner so he had a little cut that bled so very much (darn head wounds!). He also slipped at Miss Jess’, while crawling, and must have hit his tooth because he got a little cut on his lip.
- He’s started using the music box on his crib to put himself back to sleep. Several times he has woken up in the night, turned on his music, and gone right back to sleep. He’s the best!
- Since mom's done at school we've stopped spending so much time with Ms. Jess and Ms. Bethany. They are truly amazing, loving babysitters! But it's nice to just be home with him too. And dad has been truly wonderful about helping mom find "work time." Dad gets Gabriel up every morning and they have breakfast time together while mom works. Then mom takes back over so dad can get ready for work. Mom & dad agree it's the perfect start to the day for them both.
This week we had a fun mini-vacation thanks to another one of mom's conferences. Dad and Gabriel came along to Mohican State Park in the middle-of-nowhere Ohio. Between poster sessions, networking (which led to a job!), and great discussions about instrumental music teacher education we had enough free time for some family fun. Gabriel did have some trouble sleeping in the hotel but somehow got comfortable napping bent in half with his head on dad's stomach. Then we went on a great walk through the woods and Gabriel got his first dip in a pool! With how much he likes bath time we figured it would go well and we were right. He loved it! If my phone hadn't run out of storage space I would have taken more video as he got even more animated and excited in the water.
- He's still a champion eater. We've added a LOT to the list of solid foods this past month: French toast, flavored puffs, chicken + apple + carrot dish, rice cake, cucumber, rice, cheese quesadilla, homemade alphabet O's, buttered noodles, potato + carrot + broccoli dish, mango, strawberry muffin, spinach + banana, beans + corn + zucchini dish, and scrambled eggs. Whew that's so much food! And you can probably tell by the list that a lot of his foods are finger foods. So great to have “help” feeding him. He regularly eats entire meals on his own. And when someone else is feeding him they cannot feed him fast enough. You have to shovel it in fast!
- He still drinks breastmilk 4 times a day but often his nursing is very short and VERY unfocused. On and off, on and off. He desperately wants to see everything around him. Nursing in public is NOT an easy feat anymore. He also enjoys playing with the clasps on my nursing bras.
- Still 2 naps a day, approximately 9am and 1:30pm.
- 3rd tooth is here! Top middle right.
- He's army crawling so fast! And he really likes when I let him crawl around upstairs. He really likes opening & closing doors, repeatedly, for long stretches…
- The week before his 10-month birthday he scootched on his hands and knees a few times for a few days. And then 2 days before the crawling became “real” enough to count. :-)
- He pulls up to his knees regularly. He has pulled up to standing a few times but he's still pretty unsteady.
- With all of this crazy movement he’s started getting bumps and bruises. He’s a bit like his mom – half the time we don’t know where they came from!
- Still taking two naps a day. Before each nap we lay on the double bed in his room, read a book, and snuggle until he falls asleep or nearly asleep. Sometimes he's asleep before the book is done. Some of my favorite moments. :-)
- He’s gotten so good at playing with his dinosaur-ball-toy. Once he figured out how to put the balls in the holes he does it on repeat for five minutes or more. It’s amazing how focused he is.
- Mom was out of town yet again this month. See the "39 Weeks Old" album for pictures of the fun that Gabriel and dad had.
- This boy does nothing but move! He's so full of life.
- This was our first "fussy" photo shoot. He woke up from a nap and we thought it would be a great time to snap pictures but apparently he woke up on the wrong side of the crib. Upside - there are some pretty adorable pictures of his sad, crying, "life is so hard" faces.
- At his 9-month check up everything was great! He responded really well to the nurse and doctor and handled a finger prick (to check iron - which was perfect) like a champ. He's 29" tall (66th percentile), 19lbs 12oz (46th percentile), 17.7" head circumference (41st percentile).
- We're so grateful that he eats everything we put in front of him. We've added to the list of solid foods: pears, plain yogurt, cheddar cheese cubes, Joe's O's cereal, and blueberries. He's even fed himself chunks of avocado! Finger foods here we come. Plus he's started eating a solid food lunch. He usually drinks breastmilk 4 times a day.
- His 2nd tooth is in! Bottom middle right.
- He still rolls like crazy and now is army crawling too! He gets tired easily while crawling so he sometimes goes back to rolling.
- He usually takes 2 naps a day. The first is 2 hours after he wakes up (usually 8:30/9) and the second is early afternoon (12:30/1). They're 45 minutes long on average but sometimes will be an hour and a half or more which is great! If they're both super short sometimes he sneaks in a third nap before dinner.
- It’s fun that he really likes the vacuum cleaner! He loves watching me vacuum and his whole head swivels to follow the noise.
- It’s also pretty cute that he slurburts himself. He thinks it’s great when he makes funny noises on his own arm.
- We didn’t get any specific pictures or video of this but the same day that he started army crawling he also sat up on his own from his slanted mattress. Just four days later he sat up from the flat floor!
- It sure seems like he’s paying attention to the TV when it’s on.
- A big deal this month was mom being out of town! Gabriel and dad had a great time and we're very grateful to our friends who helped out too. Check out the "37 Weeks Old" album for pictures & details.
- Taking pictures continues to be an adventure with Mr. Wiggle Worm.
- Solid foods are still a huge hit. He eats rice cereal, oatmeal, avocado, sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots, peas, green beans, applesauce, and bananas. He's eating breakfast & dinner and he still drinks breastmilk 5x a day.
- Based on our scale at home he weighs 18lbs 13oz.
- One tooth is through and the second looks awfully close. One of the last pictures in this album (him looking over my shoulder) is a bit blurry but you can just see some white on his bottom gums. That's a tooth!
- He continues to roll around like a maniac. In fact, in the last month he's had a scratch under his eye from landing on a book that Nathanael had, a small bump on his head where he fell into the side of his crib, and he rolled *very gently!* off the bed onto the floor. Mom couldn't quite catch him at the edge of the bed in time but she caught enough of him to make the landing very gentle. He's gonna be a handful!
- He's still doing do good staying with friends during the week. So far he has no trouble at all being passed off from mom (or dad) to a friend.
- Poco continues to be very affectionate. She has started being part of the morning routine. When I go to get him up in the morning she runs up with me, or sometimes is already waiting at his door. She comes right in the room and jumps up on the bed while I scoop him up. Then I lay him on the bed and the 2 of them roll around and "chase" each other for a bit. It's very sweet.
- We've started letting him sleep with his small Pooh blanket (small square with Pooh's head attached). He really likes to cuddle as he's going to sleep and we're trying to get him to cuddle that instead of latching onto our shirts.
This week we added bananas to the food repertoire. And we tried eating bananas as finger food, not all mushed up. Definitely still a work in progress, but he seems to love the taste.
Biggest news - he has a tooth! His bottom, front, left tooth has finally made it through. He was a little extra fussy for a few days but nothing terrible, just general fussiness. I hesitate to say it out loud for fear of jinxing it - but his spitting up is noticeably less this week! It hasn't totally stopped, but it's much less. We've started sitting him up on the floor to play more often and his balance has improved so much. He's very stable sitting up. He also started green beans & applesauce this week.
- This month brought a whole new level of difficulty taking pictures. The boy will NOT stay still! :-) Pardon the blurriness of a few pictures but some had to be shared just because you can see how much he's moving.
- He's eating solids like crazy. He eats rice cereal, oatmeal, avocado, sweet potato, butternut squash, and carrots. He's eating breakfast & dinner and he still drinks breastmilk 5x a day.
- He continues to roll around like a maniac. Definitely not safe to leave him on a bed for any amount of time.
- He's still napping 3x a day. Those naps used to all be 30-45 minutes although lately he has taken a few longer ones. Even up to an hour and a half! Maybe we'll transition to only 2 naps...? 2 naps which are each long would make mom very happy.
- His activity seat "Hoppy" is still a real favorite, as is rolling across the floor.
- He still sucks his thumb although not as much as when he first discovered it. He usually takes a pacifier when he's going to sleep, although not always. He doesn't seem totally dependent which is wonderful. Every toy he owns has gone in his mouth at some point and he's enjoying frozen teething toys too.
- Still good at sleeping everywhere. For naps we usually read a book and cuddle on the guest bed together for a bit and then move him to the crib once he's asleep. But he'll sleep in all the old places too if the need arises (on the couch, in the bouncy chair, in the Mei Tai, in the car seat).
- This month we took a trip to NY so mom could have an on-campus interview at a university. He got to spend a solid day-and-a-half with dad! The 2 of them had lots of fun exploring Potsdam and hanging out together. Dad did an excellent job managing a full day (which he doesn't usually have to do) and mom did a good job not worrying too much. :-)
- Also in the past month classes have started back up at Penn State. Because our little man is such a mover & shaker and LOVES to make noise, we realized he would not be content hanging out at school with mom as much as he did last semester. We are incredibly blessed to have Jess & Bethany watching him for a few hours a week while mom is at school in seminar class, teaching, or working on research. And dad still keeps him on Mon & Wed afternoons too. He has adapted so well to spending time with our dear friends. He gets along so well with their kids (Aiden & Nathanael) and so far seems better behaved for them than he is at home sometimes! He goes down for naps, he sucks down his bottle, and he's generally a smiley, low-maintenance, happy guy (their words!). We're so grateful for their love and care of Gabriel and we're glad he has good friends to learn from & grow with.
These weeks included a surprise trip to NY for a job interview for mom. Gabriel confirmed that he's just a super baby and real trooper. We added carrots and butternut squash to his food repertoire and he's still gobbling everything down.
In these few weeks he started eating avocado, baby oatmeal, and sweet potatos. He also had his first cold! It only lasted a few days but they were rough. He didn't sleep well at all so mom slept with him on the guest bed one night and mom & dad took turns the next night. By then his congestion was a little better, we propped up his mattress, and the humidifier was going. Breathing is important to good sleep! ;-) We also started using some simple sign language with him. It will be a while until he can probably sign anything back, but anytime we say these words we also use the sign: milk, eat, more, all done, dog, and cat.