Friday, November 30, 2012

The Undocumented Day

This was the only picture that I took today...

Watch out, Ralph!  That cow is gonna eat ya!!
(After a minor casulaty, the pop up books now live behind Ralph)
It is of Ayden's beta fish. It was actually my classroom fish during the 2010-2011 school year, my last year of teaching. My students named him "Ralph" because I had been reading a little bit from The Mouse and the Motorcycle to them after recess each day. Ayden has become obsessed with this fish lately. When he wakes up from his nap he stands up in his crib, looks across the room and does his adorable fish imitation while looking at the fish, then to me and back again. He does the same thing every time we carry him passed the bowl or if it catches his eye while he is playing by his book shelf. He does t it every time a book shows or talks about a fish too.

I took that particular picture because Ayden has figured out how to push the button on my iPhone and he likes to look at the picture on the lock screen. It was a picture of him but now it features none other than his favorite fish.

We don't typically let Ayden play with our phones because they used to go straight to his mouth but today he was just pushing the button and holding it up to the back of his head (making a phone call I suppose?), so I let him explore it assuming he would 't make it past the lock screen. Well I was putting diapers away in his dresser and before I knew it, I heard David saying, "Hello? Hello??" and by golly Ayden had unlocked the iPhone, opened the phone app, hit David's number on the favorites list AND put him on speaker. I think it is safe to say this was all by chance but we sure got a kick out of it! David told him he has to call him everyday now that he knows how. Man, kids and technology these days... Pretty crazy stuff!

I suppose I didn't take any pictures or video today because we had a Goldilocks kind of day. Not too exciting and not too bad. We hung around the house for most of it doing laundry, swapping out some Fall decorations for Christmas, etc.

One thing I will say is that Ayden attempted to walk on his own a lot. He's up to 8 steps or so and will catch his balance sometimes when he starts to lose it between steps. He's working hard and making great progress!

Now Ayden is in bed and it's time for movie date night! We went from Netflix to RedBox to our own neglected DVD library. It's been fun digging through all of our old favorites and the best part is we don't have to worry about re-watching the next day when/if we fall asleep. TGIF!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Shopping

We spent our entire day out of the house, which I suppose is what errand day is all about.

There was frost all over the grass and car when we woke up this morning so I thought it would be the perfect time to make sure Ayden's snow suit (a hand me down from his cousin) would fit for the season.

It fits!  He'll be a little Eskimo :)
After our morning routine I took a shower, got us both ready and we were off! Here is a clip of when he insisted I take a break from getting ready to read (notice how he has scattered my make up all over the bathroom.  I also love how he tries to say book):

 Our first stop was story time and then we went to Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and a couple of other local places for the supplies for our Homemade Christmas project.

It was a tiring day but we made it through! David went to an earlier CrossFit class which was so much better because once he was home he was in for the night. No rushing through dinner and having to say goodbye again.

We are going out of town, yet again, this weekend for a baby shower and once we get back we will be able to focus 100% on getting all of our gifts made, wrapped and under the tree. Oh, and we still need to decorate for Christmas too. I am hoping we can make that happen tomorrow night after Ayden goes to bed.

Ayden is asleep and I am ready to snuggle up with David for some much needed couple time! No matter how busy we get it is so important to carve out time for one another.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Little Shopper

We had a house showing today so I spent the morning cleaning up messes as Ayden made more.  Somehow it was frustrating and funny all at the same time.  I'd finally get something all put away only to turn around and see that he had emptied a cabinet or drawer. These days getting anything productive done during his waking hours is definitely like fighting an uphill battle (especially since he's still not the best of sleepers).  Somehow I pulled it off and was out of the house 15 minutes before the showing time.  It was a good thing, too, since I had to scrape my car windshield.
When I texted David last night to let him know about the 11am -12 pm  showing our realtor had just informed me of, both of our reactions were, "ugh." We want to get as many showings as possible but we both knew it would be tricky to clean up the rest of the mess from our trip as well as all the other messes around the house. Then he texted, "We got this. You and me." And those two tiny sentences put a smile on my face and brought tears to my eyes because they really sum it all up. No matter what life throws our way, it is really that simple.  As long we we have each other for support, reassurance, companionship, etc., we can take on anything.

I had to scrape my windshield because David moved a few "clutter" items (stroller, toddler table and such) to my side of the garage last night to help prepare for the showing and winter is on its way! My car frosted over last night and because of the positioning of our house, it spent the morning in the shade. I scraped the windshield, loaded Ayden into the car and had plans to find an old Scrabble game at one of our three nearby Goodwills (I've been inspired by Pinterest to use Scrabble letters in one of our "Homemade Christmas" gifts.). I had no luck finding Scrabble, but I did find a super cute shopping cart for $1 that is EXACTLY like one I had as a child, as well as a small bag of blocks (to be put away for his birthday or Christmas) and a couple of books.

He pushed that cart up and down all of the isles, winning over each and every person he passed with his big smile and even bigger wave. Here he is admiring some of the merchandise:

When we got home we had a little playtime and then we were off to teach dance.

I am hoping to have better luck tomorrow while I do some more Homemade Christmas shopping after story time!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Baby Sign Language

As soon as I had made the decision to pursue a degree in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education, I began working in child care to build my resume. I worked in infant, toddler and pre-school classrooms and learned so much during my time with each age group. One main thing that stuck out right away was how many of the babies in the infant and toddler classrooms used sign language to communicate significant wants and needs. As soon as I saw this in action, I knew that I would teach my own children to sign.

"Why would you teach a hearing baby sign language?" you may ask.

A baby's receptive language (the ability to understand what others are saying) develops much faster than their expressive language (the ability to verbalize words). For obvious reasons this can get extremely frustrating (think of it as having your own mouth duct taped and then attempting to express your wants and needs to giants). Signing, however, can be picked up around the time that babies begin to clap and wave, which are meaningful hand gestures much like the signs you may teach them for anything else. Having signs, especially for common wants and needs, can give your child tools for expressive communication before they develop the physical ability to talk. This can save our ears from a lot of screaming and save your baby from a lot of frustration all while empowering them with the gift of two way communication.

A common question that I received from parents over the years was, "Won't learning sign language delay their speech?" and the answer is no! It is actually quite the opposite. "Talking and signing together flood the baby with language" and babies are sponges.  As long as care givers say the word while they sign it every time, studies show that most babies who sign actually start verbally talking sooner and typically have a wider vocabulary than their non-signing peers. This happens because they are getting to practice expressive communication sooner than they would if they waited until they could actually speak. Also, by nature, humans do what is the most efficient and in a hearing world, talking is always going to be more convenient than signing, especially if the person you are trying to communicate with has their back turned.

So, after hearing all of this, you can imagine my delight when Ayden signed or the first time last night!

We started signing to him when he was around 7 months old. You can never start too soon but he just seemed to be paying attention around that time. I knew it would be a while before he would actually do it himself, but I still wanted to model the signs for him a lot so that he'd do it as soon as he was ready. When he started clapping, waving, blowing on his food and imitating fish a couple of weeks ago, I knew the time was near and patiently waited. I was just delighted when he did it (as you can probably hear in the video)!

We started with three basic signs for eat, more and all done. In the video above you saw him attempt "more" (though it looks like his clap) and "all done." It is still a work in progress and as we keep modeling the right way to do it his attempts will become more and more successful. Now that he has made the connection, we have started modeling more signs (milk for nurse, bath, grapes, apple, drink, book, Mommy, Daddy etc) and he will pick them up as he is ready.

With sign language, or anything for that matter, babies will first learn what is most significant to them. This is why you want to choose signs for things that they want, need, or see on a regular basis. Also keep in mind that as long as you and other caregivers understand their sign attempts, there is no reason to be concerned if they don't do the specific American Sign Language (ASL) or Baby Sign Language (BSL) signs. Since Ayden's attempt at "more" looks a lot like his clap, we'll encourage him to fine tune it so that we don't find ourselves in a misunderstanding. His attempt for all done on the other hand, which is like a one-armed swipe, doesn't resemble anything else we do so that won't be a big deal to shape because we know what it means. Some folks want their babies to use proper signs, but I personally think that as long as they are understood by immediate car givers, the job is done.

I am excited where this little road takes us and am hoping to avoid at least some of our future temper tantrums that might have stemmed from frustration. I am also hoping that this helps Ayden realize that he has a voice and an ability to express his wants, needs and opinions.

And now I shall leave you with some fishy cuteness (and rail biting naughtiness) from this morning:

Have any of you tried sign language with your babies? Share stories and experiences below!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Our Tips For Infant Air Travel

Picture for Daddy this morning.
Now that we've returned and have had a chance to reflect on our trip, I though I'd share our top five infant air travel tips with you:

1) Less is more - we were very happy to have taken a carrier instead of a stroller and though we took a small bag of favorite toys, Ayden was honestly more entertained by un-opened peanut packages, an empty cup/stir straw and the safety pamphlet from the seat pockets.

The type of bag we used for his books and toys.
Wore Ayden on the Ergo in the front, put this on the back.  
As for the carrier, I chose to use the Ergo because of the "in and out" ease. TSA will allow you to wear your baby through the metal detector (which we requested over the new scanners) as long as you allow them to swab your hands for traces of explosive residue before you go on your way. There were several instances, when we were in a very crowded area or were witnessing some sort of stroller struggle, that we were very glad that we didn't have ours with us.  We also did not take any "liquids for the baby" (as they put it when every single TSA person we came across asked about it).  They do let you bring liquids for your baby but it does add one more security check point to your experience.  We are tap water drinking folks so we just brought his empty straw sippy cup to fill at the water fountain when we filled our own water bottle.

Ayden's favorite cup!
2) Interative books - of the toys we did take, books with flaps kept Ayden occupied the longest. All kids are different but Ayden will happily open and close flaps in books for a long time. Pop up books or books that make some sort of noise would probably have worked just as well. Just make sure anything that makes noise won't be loud enough to annoy the folks around you. Also be ready to read said book over and over and over again.
Ayden's favorite flap book!
3) Make sure your baby is as comfortable as possible.  I dressed Ayden in what I call "comfy pants" outfits that had layering abilities.  A clean diaper, short sleeve onsie, cotton pants and a zippered hoody.    This just takes away a few more possible reasons to fuss on the plane.

Looks pretty comfy to me!
4)  Something for your baby to suck on during the pressure change of take off and landing.  Nursing is best because of the chewing action of the jaw + swallowing.  Bottle or sippy cup would come in second, though the sucking of a bottle does not quite mimick the chewing motion, swallowing helps with the ear regulating.  Pacifiers would come in third.  Ayden actually was more interested in looking out the window and was totally amazed by feeling the force of acceleration so he didn't want to nurse.  I still was ready so that if he needed it, it was there.  I think the younger the baby the more important this tip may be.

5) Pack snacks! - We aren't really an "eat for boredom" family but in these situations when you are trying to keep your baby happy for your sanity, the sanity of those around you and, of course, your baby, sometimes a nice snack is just the ticket.  If Ayden started getting restless, we'd get out an apple, a few raisins or coconut flakes and that would keep him busy for at least a little while.
Ayden's favorite snack cup!
BONUS TIP - Bring LOTS of patience with you.  Patience for you baby, patience for TSA and patience for annoyed travelers around you.  If you begin to feel flustered, try putting yourself in the shoes of whoever is bothering you.  Babies don't understand why they have to be uncomfortable/bored for so long and most other traveling adults aren't in "parent mode" so they can't relate or seem to have forgotten that they too were once a fussy baby.  Remembering this can help you stay calm and make it through.

I would also like to add that cloth diapering was not a problem for us on the trip.  I packed all of Ayden's clothes and diapers in our small, carry-on rolling suitcase and we kept it with us all along.  It was a bit of a hassle to fit in a couple of the over-head bins but I did not want to chance it getting lost and a) us not have our diapers for the trip, or b) have our investment be lost forever or somehow ruined.  Our hotel had a guest laundry room so I used it to do a load of diapers mid-trip for $4 ($1 each for rinse, wash, rinse, dry)

Another tip that I saw online that we did not end up doing would be to pack earplugs to offer the folks around you if your baby does end up crying.  It would kind of break the ice and serve as a peace offering.  Who knows, some of the people may actually use them.  On our second flight on the way down to Mississippi, Ayden slept the whole way because it was after his bedtime.  He did wake up though, and cried for about 30 seconds until I got him repositioned and latched back on.  During that time the lady sitting behind David tapped him and said, "Do you have a pacifier for him?"  She didn't even give us a chance to calm him before she was ready for him to be quiet.  David politely told her he was okay and that he didn't need one and by then he was back to sleep.  Some people just want to travel in peace and you really can't expect them to have patience for your baby because to them, it's just "some baby."

All in all we had a really wonderful experience flying with our 10 month old little man.  We'd love to read about your experiences with air traveling with an infant.  Please share stories below!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Things

We had such an amazing long weekend together and it has left me feeling full of happiness this evening.  

Having time to take a family nap this morning, before heading out to the airport, started our travels out right.

So cute and snuggly!
We didn't have any delays or major problems at the airport.  We were able to go with the flow and made it home safe and sound.  Ayden was a bit restless during our first flight (until he had an empty cup and a stirring straw to play with) and then on our second flight he was fussy for the half hour we spent on the runway but fell asleep before we were in the air.  He slept for the whole flight and I got to snooze a bit too which was nice.  You can't beat 2 naps in one day.  Ayden was amazing for the entire trip and it makes me happy that Ayden has become a pretty easy going baby after all. 

We came home to this beautiful Kentucky sunset:

You can't look at something this beautiful and not feel happy and at peace!
As we drove home we saw that a lot of people are starting to deck the halls for Christmas which also makes me so happy.  Christmas has always been my favorite time of year so seeing the lights and hearing the music on the radio is just the best!

Outside of Whole Foods where we picked up a quick dinner.
We are ending the night with family time full of hugs and kisses from our Little Love.  Life is good.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Some NOLA Fun

Ayden went to his first zoo today!  Instead of walking around in the French Quarter, we decided to go to the Audubon Zoo and he, of course, LOVED it.  He was really good at spotting the animals in their habitats and would reach his little hand out and lean as he requested to touch them all.  He roared at the lion which was super cute and seemed to be very entertained by the lion tamarins as they jumped from branch to branch and chirped like birds.

Lion Tamarin
Here are some more zoo pictures:

Asian elephants.

Goats at the petting zoo.
After the zoo we had lunch at a small bar and grill and then David and I ventured into the most awesome Whole Foods we've ever been in.  It felt so good to go in there!  We bought HUGE salads to eat as our dinner later at the party and our bodies thanked us for finding some high quality fuel after a few days of cheaper (yet still Paleo) food.  Then we were off to the baby shower!

Everyone loved Ayden and he had fun with all of his cousins.

Giving mommy kisses :)
We had a great time and can't believe that David's brother and his wife are going to be parents the next time we see them.  They loved our home made blocks too.  We came down last year around this time for our baby shower and time has FLOWN by!

In the French Quarter last year!
Around 32 weeks pregnant.
We are very ready to be going home tomorrow but have really enjoyed an all expenses paid (and therefore stress-free) break from our daily life.  Now we can return to our daily routines rejuvenated and motivated.  We also get to decorate for Christmas this week.  I think we are going to buy a live tree this year which makes me so happy because that is a family tradition from my own childhood.  So excited to start traditions with Ayden!!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Some Mississippi Fun

Since today was kind of a "free" day during our visit down south, we visited a few Mississippi attractions.  The first was the Beauvoir, which was the home of Jefferson Davis (who was the president of the South during the Civil War).

Waiting on the porch before our tour.
After lunch, we went to the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS).  This place was really fun!  There was a room with touch tanks and fish tanks,

a museum discussing the procedures followed for marine mammal rescue after Katrina, a talk on reptiles,

Ayden touched a snake! :)
and the most fun of all, a dolphin talk/demonstration!

When we left the IMMS, we went to a small vintage car museum, during which Ayden took his afternoon nap in the travel system that David's parents brought down for us.  Next up was a stop to the grocery to replenish our hotel room snacks and then back to the hotel for about an hour while we waited for our dinner reservation.

Needless to say, by the time we got to dinner, at a very nice restaurant (we're talking $30/meal) with 20 of David's relatives, Ayden wasn't really in the mood to sit quietly at the table.  He definitely could have been worse but he was screaming every now and then, knocking everything he could off of the table and was very fidgety.  We didn't blame him at all because he had hardly had any time to play freely all day so what else could we expect from a 10 month old...  David took him outside for a while, We even took him to the car to nurse.  It was WAY too hot to nurse with a cover at the table and I knew that he'd pull it off and fight it with the mood he was in anyway.  I'm a modest gal and didn't feel comfortable nursing in front of all of David's uncles and male cousins in such close proximity, knowing that Ayden would fight the cover.  Once the food came he was very quiet and practically shoveled it all in.  When he was done, he was DONE and we packed up and left as soon as we could.  Luckily David's parents were treating us to the meal so we didn't have to wait around for the check.  We changed him into his PJs in the car before we left, he fell asleep on the way back to the hotel and has been asleep since.  David joined him in bed and I am doing diaper laundry in the hotel laundry mat as I type this.  Not the most fun I've had on the trip but I am enjoying some "me" time in the process so that's a plus.

Tomorrow will be busy too, we are headed to New Orleans to walk around the French Quarter and go to David's brother and sister-in-law's baby shower where we get to give them our home made gift.  We are staying busy but are enjoying going with the flow and having so much time together.  It can't be beat!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ayden had his first Turkey Day today and it was great!

Ha, this was the best one we got...  Such a silly boy!
He got to meet a lot of David's extended family for the first time and he did not disappoint. It took a little while for him to warm up but until that happened he was just quiet and serious. No crying or fussing, just checking the place and people out from the safety of our familiar arms. Once he warmed up, though, there was no stopping the cuteness. He had enough smiles, waves and peek-a-boo for all.

This was also our first Thanksgiving in our Plaeo lifestyle and I have to say, it was pretty awesome to have THREE plate fulls of food without a smidgen of guilt. The meal actually energized us as apposed to making us sleepy and sluggish like Turkey Day carb loading (then crashing) always used to do. There were plenty of traditional Thanksgiving options for everyone else but we just filled our plates with turkey, ham, salad, Brussels sprouts, cranberry relish, asparagus and glazed carrots. Everything was so flavorful and delicious that we didn't feel the least bit deprived. We took some of our dark chocolate for dessert so that base was covered too!

I did end up taking Ayden's afternoon nap with him, but it was just because napping is a Thanksgiving day tradition and he was being so sweet and snuggly.  I was with him for an hour and then slipped away while he slept for ANOTHER hour!  Apparently being in a new place and meeting so many new people can tucker a little boy out!

We ended the evening with a movie.  We went to see The Life Of Pi and Ayden did great!  We decided to loosen up the TV (movie) rules since we are on vacation.  He, of course, was pretty amazed by it at first since he hardly ever sees TV and has never seen a screen that big.  He liked the animals and things but he eventually lost interest.  I went to the side of the theater and bounced Ayden in the Ergo while I watched and he fell asleep.   He slept through the rest of it and we were glad we got to enjoy a movie since it is something we used to love doing!  I had read, and loved, the book years ago and the movie did not disappoint.

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving (if you were celebrating today) and that you got the chance to stop and think about what you are grateful for in your life right now.

And now Ayden would like to play a Happy Thanksgiving tune for you all:


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

10 Months Old!

We seriously cannot believe this year is flying by as fast as it is! The 10th month took the fun of being parents to a whole new level and decreased the challenges dramatically.

10 months old!
9 months, 8 months, 7 months, 6 months
5 months, 4 months, 3 months, 2 months, 1 month
This was overall the most pleasant month we have had and we enjoyed every second! Ayden has become more social and easy going and is just a smiley, playful joy to be around. He still has moments but they are so few and far between that we have been able to respond with patience and empathy which, of course, feels good too. We are enjoying it while it lasts because who knows what lies ahead!

As for milestones:

10 month milestones
He does everything on the list above except for saying a word other than "dada."  He does say the /b/ sound repeatedly while looking at books and also is beginning to attempt uh oh but doesn't quite have it yet.

He has also met all of the 11 month milestones.  He doesn't really point, though, but he does reach for food that he wants.  He also will lean toward something he wants if you are holding him as if to tell you, "Go that way!."  He actually LOVES loud noises and follows the vacuum around.  He actually became more comfortable in unfamiliar situations this past month so it will be interesting to see if there is any reversal to report next month...

12 month milestones
I cannot believe that I am looking to the 1 year mark already!  He is already doing a lot of these things but it definitely gives us some fun stuff to look forward to over the next couple of months!

Ayden's current likes (in no particular order) include:
- waking up for the day
- animals
- Daddy's daily homecoming
- books!
- wash cloths
- discovering and playing with whatever is in the kitchen cabinets
- being outside
- being tickled
- hearing the train in our neighborhood
- walking with his push toy
- imitating fish
- blowing
- brushing his teeth
- being worn
- waving at/"flirting" with people
It's funny that, besides books, he doesn't really seem to have a favorite toy. All of his favorite things to do and play with are all non-toy, real world items. Makes me think we'd probably get along just fine without any toys at all...

Current dislikes:
- his car seat (though he handles his distaste for it well)
- when we take paper from him. He really loves eating it...
- diaper changes
- getting dressed
- getting cold after a bath
- sleeping alone (though he's getting better! Up to 3 hours in his crib sometimes.)
- wearing hats
- when Daddy leaves
- being passed around to strangers

Here are a few clips of him today.  Be warned, it is 5 minutes long and is mainly for our own memories.

Yay for the best month in the history of Ayden's little life! We celebrated by taking him on his first plane ride!

At the airport, waiting to board.
Just HAD to put him in plane clothing!
(Changed him into his PJs for the second, later flight)
Flight 1: Ayden stole my apple and a peanut package kept him VERY entertained.
Flight 2: He was out like a light!
Was not in Ergo the whole flight but did not wake upon transfer.  Score!
I plan to devote a post to air travel with a baby upon our return home on Sunday so look for that sometime next week!

 If you are traveling for Thanksgiving, be safe!

What are you most thankful for this year? I am always so very thankful for my David but this year I am also thankful to finally be a mother. It is everything I dreamed it would be!

~ Sarah

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


No, we aren't going to Hawaii (though it would be nice!). Ayden has totally gotten the hello and goodbye thing down pat. We say, "say hi/bye" and, it's a bit delayed, but he waves and smiles.

I stopped by Jo Ann Fabrics (where I won my mother of the year award a couple of weeks ago) and he was waving at every stranger and associate we passed with a huge smile plastered on his face. I love that he is making people smile and adding a little sunshine to their day. He adds so much to mine everyday and I enjoy sharing.

So much cuteness!
(I clean up those books 123,098,324 times a day...)
Today was actually pretty boring. It was filled with packing and more errands. I'll be staying up late tonight to complete the finishing touches on our home made gift (which I shall reveal in tomorrow's post) and getting organized for tomorrow. It's going to be a long day and I need to be very intentional while completing tasks in order of priority. This is always a challenge but I can do it! I am lying to myself and saying that I have until 2:30 to accomplish everything when we aren't actually leaving the house until 3:30. That should do it, right? :)

Here is a super sweet clip of Ayden waving goodbye, albeit half-heartedly. Perhaps because there wasn't a real person to say goodbye to?

Bye bye for now!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Turn That Frown Upside Down

Since we are going out of town for Thanksgiving, trip prep commenced today. Along with my usually daily chores, I did a few loads of laundry and ran a few errands. It is funny that our entire day was just summed up in one tiny sentence...

Loving the back carry for housework!
We went to the pet store to get Maverick some dog food and I, of course, let Ayden admire all of the animals. His favorites were the cats, the mice, the rabbits, the puppies and the fish.

Okay so I suppose he really loves all animals which I think is wonderful. I think that love for animals and general respect for living things are important traits for children, or anyone, to have for that matter. Animals can teach one responsibility, respect, empathy, love and loss and learning these things with a pet when you are young can help prepare you for experiencing them with people when you are older. My first experience with death was with my pet hamster, Gloria, as a child and my parents very wisely used it as a teaching opportunity. I plan to do the same for Ayden.

After the pet store I dropped off my precious external hard drive to be diagnosed and the prognosis was not good. When I got the phone call later tonight with news that they could not access the data and will have to ship it off I got anxious, so hot that I broke a sweat and I'm not going to lie, eventually cried. The price estimates didn't help. Apparently data recovery can cost a pretty penny. I realize that this is very much a "first world problem" but that doesn't change the fact that every photo and video since Ayden's birth is in jeopardy (the last time we backed it up was right before he was born and we've been a little busy and scatter brained since then...) and that those pictures and videos mean SO MUCH to this documentationaholic. I don't even want to imagine how I would feel if I didn't have this blog. The silver lining is that there is a small chance that the data can still be retrieved easily by this company with even higher tech equipment to do the job. Please cross your fingers for me...

After the hard drive I had to go by the Honda service department where I wasted an hour and a half waiting only to hear another outrageous estimate range for repair that we declined, hoping that David can just take care of it. When it rains it pours I suppose...

Now after writing about a couple of bad things that happened today, it is time to list four wonderful things (other than the obvious food, shelter, etc.)
1) Our little family is happy, healthy and thriving. Yes pictures mean a lot to me but they are nothing compared to the real thing!
2) I have a lot of baby hairs which means that my hair is in the process of returning to it's pre-pregnancy state. Woohoo! Was never a fan but now that I've experience worse I shall embrace it!
3) We are taking Ayden to meet all of David's side of the family in a few days including his 82 year old grandmother. It will be neat to have four generations together!
4) I get to decorate for Christmas when we get back from our trip! We will listen to Holiday music and drink out of Christmas mugs, wear Christmas socks and experience the magic of Christmas with Ayden. Can't wait!

See? I am already feeling better. Nothing that a good cry and refocus can't fix :). Anything bad happen to you today? How do you turn your frown upside down?

~ Sarah

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Taking A Break

During this real life field study of mine, I've noticed some pretty neat things over the past [almost] 10 months. In school, I learned about all of the different areas of development (cognitive, gross motor, fine motor, social-emotional, language/speech, etc.) and how young children typically focus on one area at a time, usually based on interest. From the get go, Ayden has always seemed most focused on gross motor. Then right after he took his first few steps he kind of took a break from walking practice for a few weeks. During that time we witnessed an explosion of cognitive connections (turning to go down stairs backwards, fish imitation, clapping, saying the /b/ sound over and over while "requesting" to read books, waving hi and bye consistently, saying, "Mmmm!" while eating, learning to anticipate barriers and turning his push cart to avoid them and then some. It is as if he put his walking progress on pause while he focused on all of this other stuff and today he hit play again. He still isn't taking more than 4 steps at a time but he is back to practicing and is doing great! It's has been such a joy to step back and witness his progress while he leads the way.

Ayden took a stellar morning nap during which I worked on the gift for our nephew:

More guesses?  Not cloth wipes :)
Our only big event of the day was taking Maverick to the dog park. Since Ayden loves dogs so much we thought he'd enjoy it too. He watched all of the dogs but wasn't as into it as I thought he'd be. I was also wearing him in the Ergo which always puts him in a baby wearing "zone" so that could have been part of it as well. Before we left the park we took a loop around the walking path while we discussed options for our next living arrangements and then we came back home.

There's Mav, on his way to cause a ruckus...
In addition to lots of walking practice, Ayden also mastered going down the stairs backwards.

Every time we let him climb the stairs he stops at the little landing between flights to practice. He does it over and over and thinks it is hilarious. So cute!

We leave Wednesday for our Thanksgiving trip so this week will be busy with lots of preparations and packing!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Farm Life

We have been trying to figure out a new direction for our lives for a while now. Back in 2007, the year after we got married, we bought a house with a hefty mortgage, filled it with lots of brand new furniture, purchased other big things like a vacation ownership and were very happy with living the American dream and increasing our net worth. Oh how things have changed. If only we knew then how we'd feel now but I suppose it's easy for hindsight to make you feel that way.

I, personally, am living my dream as a stay at home mom. I don't really care where or how we live as long as I can spend as much time as I can with my kid(s) during the crucial first 5 years. David, however, is not happy. He is a mechanical design engineer. He works a 40 hour week desk job and kind of hates it. The company itself is wonderful and he even feels it is a good place to work in the meantime but he would really love being more active, using his hands and no longer contributing to the "biggerism" (as The Lorax would call it) that we have been trying to step away from. He wants to look forward to and love the work he spends most of his life doing and I don't blame him at all. I fully support this quest of his and will go wherever it takes us, as long as I can continue to live my dream too (which luckily he is fully supportive of).  We've gone back and forth about all kinds of ideas from photography to vintage furniture restoration and now farming...

My family owns a small, very fertile, farm that is not currently used for much. Part of my inheritance is a lot of said land on which to do whatever I like. Our current plans? To eventually build!

Perhaps our future home!
Recently determined long term goal? To become full-time farmers :). With how much we love the outdoors, healthy, wholesome food, being active, being together, and with having such great land at our disposal, it seems to be a great fit.

Step 1 will be to sell our house and find out what will thrive best on our land (which crops, livestock, etc). Step 2 will be to live somewhere very cheap, if not free (ie. with family) for a year or two, with David staying at his current job, while we pay off the rest of our debt, save as much as we can and start small scale farming on the side to get a feel of whether or not it can be successful . Wow, debt freedom! Step 3, become full-time farmers and build our home on our property.

There it is in three easy steps! Haha, if only it really were that easy. In all seriousness, this is a huge and scary leap and we won't make it too quickly or lightly. Our top priority is making sure our family is taken care of but if we have as good as free (we will have to pay my parents $1 according to a grandfather clause) land available and this scenario covers several facets that we are passionate about, why not go for it??

It was great to spend time as a family on the farm. Ayden met my brother-in-law's horses for the first time.

We played on the swing set.

And had a great visit with my dad (my mom is still at the dance competition).

We sure have a lot to think about but so far this seems to be the most realistic change we can make without going too crazy. I'm sure this topic will come up again in future posts so be on the lookout!

Any farmers out there?  What are the pros and cons to the lifestyle?


Friday, November 16, 2012

Ayden's First Dance Competition

Ayden and I took a little road trip of our own today. My dance students are participating in a competition this weekend and I wanted to come support them. In the past, I always made a weekend of it but since Ayden isn't really the most peaceful of room mates, and David would have missed us terribly, I decided to make the 2.5 hour drive up and back all in one day.

We got off to a late start because Ayden took his morning nap late and I needed to go to the grocery but once we were in the car it went great! Ayden fell asleep right away and slept for half the trip. When he woke up he was quiet and content for a while but then got fussy. I was able to hold him off by singing every song in the book over and over but he still lost it for the last 40 minutes or so. Since we've been here he's been a champ! Sweet and smiley and is the talk of the place in his cute hat.

He really likes watching the dancers up on stage too!

The youngest judge there!
We'll be getting home pretty late tonight but I am glad I could be here for my girls! It's already past Ayden's bed time so I am hoping he sleeps all the way home. I'll be changing him into his night time gear soon and letting him fall asleep in the Ergo if he's ready before we leave. Here's hoping for a very peaceful car ride!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

"What's A Fishy Say?"

Thursday = Storytime and errand day!

Discovered a whole new world today... in the bathtub...
Kept him busy while I got ready so why not? ;)
I am writing this post WHILE I run errands :). I am typing in the Blogger App as I stand, waiting on David's favorite watch to be repaired (I gave it to him for our first Christmas together and he wants it fixed instead of replaced because he wants to pass it down to Ayden someday. Beyond sweet, right?!?). Ayden is asleep in the Snap-N-Go which was the best $11 I've ever spent at a garage sale I might add. Nothing like a peaceful shopping trip to relax and center a gal.

Such a big boy!
The angle of the picture makes his feet look huge!  Haha.
Ayden has gotten to a stage where he blows my mind every single day. I am so in love with this stage and all of the developments/connections he is making and at such a rapid pace! After story time we looked at some of the books in the store. Animal books, pop up books and flap books are his favorite. I think he loves the interaction with books like that. We found a really cute touch and feel pet book and as soon as he saw the fish he started to open and close his mouth like a fish. SOOO cute!!!! He also likes to give cats kisses here is a little clip of the cuteness:

Oh my word I just can't stand it! As it turns out, his blowing at the fish yesterday must have been his fish imitation emerging. He must have been thinking, "I know it has something to do with the mouth..." Anyway, his mood has remained awesome whether he's hungry, tired, etc. His nighttime sleep is hit or miss still but he has been falling asleep quickly and easily for naps as well as bed time. He has even calmed down about diaper changes. Overall things are so great right now that being able to press the pause button would be fun :). I suppose that part of the excitement is never knowing what tomorrow will bring!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The New Norm?

Ayden was a trooper today! Our morning was very typical other than Ayden's nice, long nap. He slept for an hour and a half in his crib and woke up in such a sweet, pleasant mood. He stood up in his crib and kept blowing in the direction of the fish we keep on his book shelf. We've been working on blowing and he's looked at his fish after we say fish for a while now. Not sure why he's decided they go together but it sure is cute!

After his nap we had lunch, straightened up the house and then went to my parents' house for a visit before going to teach dance. Ayden stayed awake the whole way there and was therefore in a great mood for visiting. He played on my dad's pool table (a grandpa/grandchild tradition) and loved their rocking horse.

He ended up skipping his afternoon nap which he usually takes around 4 pm but you would have never guessed! He was pleasant, smiley and playful. Around 6:00 I noticed his little eyes were red rimmed with sleepiness so I strapped him into the Ergo while I taught my last couple of classes and he was asleep within 15 minutes.

He woke long enough for me to get him in his carseat and then he slept all the way home. We woke him up for dinner, a little visit with Daddy and a bath all during which he was , again, so sweet and pleasant. Now he is getting to sleep an hour later than usual (which is probably necessary after taking a "nap" from 6:15 to almost 8:00...) and is drifting off effortlessly. Ayden had never been this content and "go with the flow" in his entire little life. We don't know if this is a phase or if it is the new norm but we will sure enjoy it for as long as it lasts!