Sunday, January 26, 2014


2014 is off to a good start :)

here's what we've been up to lately...

organizing the house.  i have the living room, kitchen and front hall completed...hubby's office is his territory ;)  i'm really proud to report that my kitchen has been clean, dishwasher running and coffee ready to brew every night before i go to bed.  it's such a satisfying feeling to come down in the morning to a clean kitchen and fresh pot of {decaf} coffee.

toy rotation.  i mentioned in my new year post that i implemented a toy rotation for ian.  it's been working brilliantly.  the first set he had access to really captured his focus and i actually saw him taking more time to work things out, being more imaginative and learning more about colors, shapes, sounds, etc.  we are onto rotation number two and i wish i had taken a pic of his face when he discovered the new "old" toys.  magical!

polar vortex.  it has been cold.  a lovely polar vortex has been hanging out in our neck of the woods that has brought more negative temperatures than we've seen in the last two years combined!  we've had our fair share of snow as well, resulting in some lovely parking bans.  after the fourth one this year, we can't wait to someday own a house with a driveway (and maybe even a garage if we are lucky)!  in the meantime, hubby has been braving the cold to park the cars two blocks over and then shoveling out after the storm is over.  he's the best!

dogsitting.  for the past two weeks we've been taking care of my mother-in-law's pomeranian, nala.  my mil's job requires some weeks of nights, the last two being back to back, so we had nala to help out.  she made herself right at home in our kitchen and even wheedled me into giving her one our old pillows to sleep on!  she has definitely become part of the family.  ian has learned her name and must pet her no less than twenty times a day.  he has still been asking for her even though she went home this afternoon!  link enjoys her company as well and gets super mopey for the day after she leaves.  

crafting.  this month started out with making some reusable handkerchiefs for my mother-in-law.  she loves them and has given so many of hers away (mostly to hubby when he has his major allergy attacks when we visit) that she had mentioned she needed to make some more.  struggling with a sinus infection and starting two weeks of night work, i knew she needed them and probably wouldn't have time to make them.  got these whipped up in an evening (three plain, three with trim) and sent them up to maine.  she called me a couple days later to say her nose thanked me ;)

i've also joined a monthly crafting challenge through the blog crazy little projects.  each month amber is posting a couple options for entry into the monthly prize.  one in particular caught my eye, the pintuck pouch sponsored by simple simon and company.  it definitely isn't perfect, but i really love the fabric combo and the way it turned out.  i hope to make some more in the future.

food, glorious food.  we may have been out to breakfast a couple times this month.  debbie took us to thank us for watching nala and we met up with dan, becca and eliza on mlk jr. day.  i loooooove going out for breakfast.  everything is delicious and i always have a hard time choosing whether to go savory with eggs and toast or sweet with pancakes or french toast.  so many choices :)

hubby and i also got to go on a real.official.true date night this weekend.  dinner at legal seafoods (nom nom nom) followed by saving mr. banks at the movie theater.  we haven't been to a movie since the month before ian was born.  it was simply luxurious to have my husband to myself for seven whole hours.  we are parents 24/7 now, but it is great to take that couple time when you can and remember where it all started :)

my bff (how middle school am i?!) and i took matters into our own hands and decided we needed a girl's night out.  this past week we left the babies with their respective fathers for dinner and bedtime and took ourselves down to lynnfield to a new outdoor skating rink at the market street shopping center.  due to the almost negative temperatures (thanks polar vortex) the rink was completely empty and we looked like complete nutters, bundled to the nines and skating in the blustery cold.  becca is by far a better skater than i, but i did eventually get around the rink without holding on to the side!  following our skating adventure, we sauntered (yes, kiddos!) through whole foods, enjoying both a meal and a shopping trip.  i love my boy, but it was lovely to have a night off.

babysitting.  i am continuing with babysitting this year as a form of supplemental income (plus i just love hanging out with all the kiddos).  i have a young charge who comes to me twice a week and just this past month, i have started watching my goddaughter at her home while her mama teaches violin lessons.  it's a fun playdate for ian and i love having weekly time with this sweet little girlie.  sometimes hubby even swings by as we are still there when he finishes work just a couple miles down the road and is clearly the rockstar dad/uncle!  be still my maternal heart!

i also get the chance to be a back up babysitter for some of our other friends and this past week i got to hang out with another little gentlemen.  this little guy and ian are just two months apart in age and it's so fun to see them playing together after his mum and i went through our pregnancies together.  after he was finished hanging out at our place, we drove him over to meet his dad at work.  how cute are my two little passengers :)

little man.  i couldn't do a "lately" post without including an ian update!  almost sixteen months old, he's turning into such a little boy.  his language is picking up and every couple days he pops out with a new word.  

he was featured in a calendar for hubby's company.  all the smartbear babies, smartbabies if you will, had photos sent in wearing smartbear onesies and were placed according to their birth month.  his photo courtesy of his mummy :)

we've started on drawing recently as well.  he still mostly wants to eat the pencils and/or rip the paper, but sometimes we get some cute, scribbly drawings.  it's a great activity for a few minutes when i'm cooking or cleaning and need him to sit still (a rare occurrence!).

finally, the biggest announcement...he's sleeping through the night!  as in 11-12 hours solid without waking!!!!!  i cannot believe we are finally there.  once his four molars made their entrance, he's been great.  we are on night ten (yes, i'm still counting) and it's wonderful.  i knew six months ago when when we were getting up twelve times a night that this would eventually happen and it is such a sweet reward for all those nights of waiting it out.  hallelujah!

january has been a great month.  can't believe february is almost here!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

ian at fifteen months

although i disbanded my monthly ian updates after his first birthday, i actually have missed keeping track of all of his accomplishments.  i decided for the next year to update on the quarters (15, 18, 21 and 24 months).

january 3, 2014

weight: somewhere upward of 25lbs
height: somewhere upward of 30" tall

(ian's pediatrician requested a 16 month check up, so we won't have actual stats until next month)

after looking back at ian's twelve month post, i'm astonished to see the difference three months makes!  at one year, ian had only just begun to start eating with any sort of appetite for table food.  he wouldn't let me feed him and had to do everything independently.  even while he was getting better, he was still rather choosy and was on a small selection of staple items.  in the last few weeks, since the beginning of december really, he has suddenly taken to eating full meals!  new things require a couple tries before he takes to them, but he's definitely doing really well.  he also has started to feed himself with a baby spoon and fork.  the best part of this is he will now let me help with an additional spoon.  meal time is much less stressful now i know he is getting more solid nutrition.  finally, we have started him on a little bit of whole milk in the past couple weeks.  he absolutely hated it the first time and spat it out and refused the sippy cup...poor boy...not what he was expecting!  although he is not drinking any great amount, he does now take a few sips with breakfast and dinner without spitting it out.  i'm in no rush for him to be drinking a huge quantity as he is still nursing and i don't intend for it to be a replacement, but simply acquiring a taste for it.

speaking of nursing, ian still nurses 3-4 times a day.  he always nurses first thing in the morning (and now asks for it as soon as he is awake, along with yelling for the dog!), before his morning nap (unless we are out and busy), sometime in the afternoon and then before bed.  up until mid-december, we were still nursing in the night, although i had very mixed feelings about it.  it would always get him back to sleep (he was still waking 2-3 times), but i knew it was a crutch.  arriving at my parents, my mum confirmed what i had been already thinking, so i decided just to go cold turkey.  the first couple nights he woke and i just put him in the ergo (he loves that thing!) and after getting mad at me for a minute for not nursing, he dropped right back off to sleep!  brilliant.  and with that, we ended night nursing.  boom ;)

speaking of sleeping, right around the time we weaned from night nursing, surprise surprise, ian started sleeping through the night!  i could quite easily say "i wish we had night weaned earlier", but i don't think it would have made much difference in when he started sleeping through the night.  i'm glad i was able to comfort him until he was ready and now i'm enjoying sleeping a full night again (most nights).  we do have teething still interrupting some nights, but other than that, he's pretty much there and i couldn't be happier :)

as i supposed back at twelve months, his molars were on the move and we started to see the telltale bumps in the gums, but no teeth actually breaking through.  it wasn't until december when things actually started to show up.  since then all four molars have broken through, the bottom two most recently arriving on new year's eve.  ian's doing a really good job dealing with four all descending together, but i can tell he's definitely uncomfortable, some days more than others.  thank goodness he will get a bit of a break after these are done.

it seems hard to continue on with ian's moving skills seeing as he was already running back at twelve months!!  that being said, he is definitely figuring out how to go faster!  {help me now!}  he is much more confident in his walking and falls way less often than he used to.  ian also now dances when he hears music and can also jump (with both feet clearing the ground) and land again without falling over.  {this kid...i'm telling you ;)}  unfortunately he has also figured out that he can move vertically, in addition to his already speedy horizontal motion.  i left him for a minute the other day to run upstairs and grab the dog, only to find him snuggled in the corner of the couch when i returned downstairs!  little stinker ;)  we've finally also cracked coming down the stairs backwards.  he's been climbing up the stairs for months now, but it wasn't until our recent christmas visit to my parent's house that he successfully navigated coming down safely.  it is quite funny to watch now he knows what he's doing, as he goes almost straight as a board and just slides down.  lol!

just shy of thirteen months, ian spoke his first word.  we didn't realize it the very first time...heard it and thought, "no way he actually just said that..."  then he repeated it the next day and we started whooping and hollering "our baby is talking!!!!!" first word...doggie.  and he pointed at link as he said it.  couldn't have been more perfect :)  he and link are best friends, so i love that link inspired his first word.  over the next few days, ian started pointing at pictures of dogs in books or out on a walk and saying "doggie".  it was a magical week for us as first time parents.  there is nothing like hearing your baby's first word!  after that first week, he started learning animal sounds, he cemented "mummy" and "dada" and picked up a couple funny pronunciations along the way.  here is a small sampling of his current vocal:
ghee (link)
ee ee ee (monkey sound)
vroom vroom
stickies (our word for wiping hands after eating)
ah-ma (grandma)
job (in reply to me saying "good job!")
blobbyblobbyblobby (don't ask!)
yum yum (when he's hungry)
yummy (when he's enjoying what he's eating)

in addition to talking, ian has also figured out a lot of communication via hand gestures and other sounds.  we've also come to notice that he understands everything we ask of him.  whether he chooses to do it is another thing entirely, but he knows...he definitely knows ;)

playtime with ian becomes increasingly more fun day by day.  with his increased appetite for reading and books, we spend a good portion of our day reading.  i also recently cleared a little corner in our living room and put a pillow, ian's birthday quilt and a basket of books there for him to read.  the next morning he found the cozy spot, snuggled in and grabbed a couple books to start reading.  lovelovelove!

ian received some lovely toys for christmas, but our tiny living just cannot hold all of them.  i decided to start a toy rotation in the new year and it's working out well so far.  this rotation ian has had access to a puzzle, wooden blocks, cars and other vehicles, a wooden shape sorter, assorted cuddlies, a wooden activity center, a music cube and some stuffed fruits and vegetables.  he had just started building block towers before thanksgiving and can now get them six or so high, if he doesn't knock it over reaching for more blocks!  he absolutely adores his cars and vroom vrooms them around the house like crazy.  it's extremely cute :)  he really has focused more on the toys he's had for the last ten days or so.  i plan to switch on the 1st and 15th of each month (unless it seems like he starts to the need them on a weekly basis) and replace each category with something similar.  it will be intriguing to see how he responds to the new toys.  {side note: his books aren't included in the rotation and are available around the house in several baskets for him to read.}

and now for some's getting so hard to get pics of this speed demon!

finally, i will leave you with this delightful picture.  i didn't realize at the time quite how hilarious his facial expression was.  once i downloaded the photos to my laptop and was looking through, i cracked up when i found this.  coupled with the picture right before it in the sequence, i had tears streaming down my face.  hubby came in from the other room to see what all the fuss was about and started laughing just as much as i was.  in fact i'm cracking up as i'm typing this, seeing the gif switching back and forth below my text!  lol!!!

if you made it to the end of this post, congratulations dear reader!  we'll be back with more ian updates at 18 months!

love you, little man.

Friday, January 3, 2014

hello 2014

hello, hello, hello!

i do realize it has been two months since i last blogged...yikes!!  we have been quite busy and i guess it's a good thing that i have been focusing on family and the seasons, instead of blogging, although i have missed it.

in november we spent a few days in maine for thanksgiving with my in-laws.  it was the first visit to maine since ian started walking and it was definitely interesting navigating my mother-in-law's house with a true toddler!  he was pretty quick about learning the boundaries though, for which i was thankful.

we had a quick week back in massachusetts between thanksgiving and our flight out to ohio.  ian and flew out and spent three weeks with my parents, the last week including christmas day and boxing day.  hubby drove out with the puppy for the last week, actually arriving early than expected as a surprise for my birthday!  speaking of, i got to celebrate my birthday with my parents for the first time since i turned 21!  it was a lovely, lovely day.

while out in ohio i also ran another 5k.  this time i was joined by my dad, sister and brother-in-law.  it was absolutely pouring cats and dogs, but we had fun anyway.  although my time was a few seconds longer than my current personal best (darn rain ;), i did finish third in my age category.  it was a perfect way to end my year of getting back to fitness.  i began in april struggling to finish a lap around the track.  i finished the year having lost 40lbs, completed four 5ks and one 10k, being a healthy role model for my son and husband {who went on to win his company weight loss contest this fall and run a 5k with me in september after not being able to run due to the extra weight for the past few years (i'm a very proud wife)}and most of all proving to myself that i could do it!  here's to running a half marathon in 2014 and maybe even considering a full one!

after a wonderful family christmas full of love, faith and good food, all four of us piled into our nissan rogue and made the grueling eleven hour drive back to massachusetts.  we set out mid-afternoon, stopped for dinner and to get ian ready for bed and other than a couple gas stops, drove solidly, pulling into home around 1am.  ian slept well in the car, but decided to hang out for an hour awake at home before finally going back to sleep at 2am.  at least i was able to get a few hours in before he woke up at 6:30am!

we've been enjoying the new year, so far (only three days in!).  new year's day we spent celebrating a lovely little girl and her second birthday.  her mum cleverly dubbed the event "happy two years day" :)  i have since taken the house by storm and am attempting to clean and organize room by room.  i am tired of living with piles here and there, always feeling like i'm hiding things away and never knowing where things are one hundred percent of the time.  since ian received some wonderful new toys for christmas, i took new year's afternoon to sort through all his toys and create a toy rotation.  my living room now looks like a living room again and he can focus on just a few toys at a time.  in couple weeks, i will switch them out for the next rotation.  i'm excited to see how he learns to focus more on the toys he has, as well the fact that cleaning up takes 60 seconds flat!  win, win, win!

most recently we hunkered down for blizzard hercules.  it began in the wee hours of thursday morning (january 2) and continued until this morning.  we totaled about 24" and hubby did an excellent job shoveling and taking care of both of our cars.  it's always fun living in a town with snow bans when you don't have a driveway.  the closest municipal lot for us is three or four blocks away and hubby has to walk it twice to get both cars.  he's a trooper, especially when this storm not only brought the snow totals, but extreme cold temperatures (i'm talking wind chills as low as -20!).  we are extremely thankful for our house and working furnace...kept us warm and cozy through it all.

i'm definitely going to continue with the organization as my biggest resolution for 2014.  i'm done being a packrat.  i'm ready to be ruthless.  i already have a consignment appointment booked and four bags of clothes folded and ready to go.  we have several donation charities and stores in the area and i'm hoping to send some items there that we no longer need or use.  time to pare down and simplify!

happy new year!  i hope 2014 is treating you well!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

bradley palmer state park

we are quite spoiled living here on the north shore of boston.  there are beaches, rail trails, state parks, regular parks, public gardens and cobbled streets in towns rich with history all just waiting to be discovered.  saturday was an abnormally warm day for the beginning of november around here, so we decided to take advantage of a chance to be outside without the need for much bundling!

bradley palmer state park is a couple towns away from us in hamilton and topsfield.  there are many trails that wind throughout the wooded estate, as well as paved pathways for walking.  with ian in the stroller, we stuck to the paved walkways to avoid getting stuck or rolling the baby!  the end of autumn views were lovely...colorful leaves everywhere, ducks swimming on a little pond...very, very peaceful.

a short distance down the path, we found a small clearing where the trail headed off into the woods.  it was the perfect spot for a photo shoot with the little man.  hubby's company currently has a lot of families with young babies and toddlers at home.  they decided to make a calendar for next year featuring the children of smartbear.  embroidered onesies were ordered and parents given the task of photographing their little ones over the next couple weeks.  hubby (who wears a flat cap almost daily) decided he wanted ian to wear one with his smartbear onesie and jeans to complete the already uncannily close mini-me that we have going on in this family.  {when my new mummy friends meet hubby for the first time they say after, "wow...ian really does look like your husband!!"}  it was almost impossible to get him to sit still, even when plied with cheerios, leaves and twigs (the latter two not for consumption).  it must have been quite comical, as we were drawing quiet giggles from the people passing by.  we eventually got a couple cute pics...hopefully hubby's company agrees and decides to use one for their calendar! 

and a couple outtakes...

after the photo shoot we walked a little further and let ian stretch his legs.  he's so independent...just headed off up the path without us, waving at everyone walking by.  it was also perfect for him to use his new word.  this past week ian spoke his first word, pointing at our puppy, link, and saying "doggy".  he has since used it for dogs in books and our friend's black lab.  it's the cutest thing to hear a real word coming out of his little baby mouth!  it seemed like people had the same idea as us to get out and enjoy the fresh air, many with dogs.  ian was pointing at them all and saying "doggy" cute :)

my boys :)

walking with my baby

it was such a fun couple hours and great to get out and enjoy the fresh air.  i'm actually hoping to go back to bradley palmer even as it gets cooler, as it was a really tranquil place for a walk.  i'm also hoping they keep those paved pathways plowed or shoveled in the would get some gorgeous snowy winter shots there!!  i'll definitely be back.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

the first birthday party

two days after our little man officially turned one, we threw a party to celebrate his first year.  family and friends came from near and afar and it was really quite a fun event (if i may say so myself!).  after watching him grow up and go from a baby boy into a little man, i decided to use that as my inspiration for the party theme.  the idea also came to mind after his godmother said, after he started walking reasonably early for his age, "he's growing up so he going to sprout a mustache before his first birthday?"  hence the "little man" theme was born.  i found the adorable invitation pictured above and went from there.  it had a coordinating printable party pack that i ordered as well, which covered most of my decorations :)

enjoy a photo journey through the day!

the whole day was really fun, but i couldn't have done it without the help of my parents, brother, sister and hubby.  fortunately with their help, everything was ready on time and went off without a hitch.  we had a fun little photo booth (a great way to document all your guests in a fun, goofy way!) and some yummy food.  i made most everything we ate, but did cheat on a couple of the savory dishes ;)  the desserts were so fun to make...pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and cute toppers, as well as homemade chocolate mustache lollipops in white, milk and dark chocolate!  nom nom nom :)  

i was most nervous about making ian's birthday cake.  growing up my mum always made the most fabulously decorated (and super delicious) birthday cakes.  i knew i wanted to make ian's, but hadn't ever really made and decorated a cake before.  fortunately, my mum brought her decorating kit with her and taught me a bit about piping and icing.  i was so pleased with how the cake turned out, especially when it was decorated at 3am the morning of his party!  haha :)

i also made my first venture into spray painting for this party.  i found this great wooden highchair on freecycle and after seeing my friend sarah repaint our goddaughter's highchair (see pics here), i knew i wanted it to be a fun pop of color for ian's party.  it took me four baby naptimes the week before, but i got it cleaned, primed, painted and dried before the big day.  i think it looked great for his birthday cake photos.  the color is satin colonial red by rustoleum.

one other aspect that i had a lot of fun with were the favors.  i had seen the idea online to make shirts for the kids and dapper gingerbread dudes for the adults.  i bought white shirts in sizes for the children attending and then raided my leftover fabric bin for prints suitable for each girl or boy.  i had fun picking out each one and thinking of who it would be for :)  i then stenciled bows for the girls and mustaches for the boys.  i sewed the outline of each shape onto the front and ironed them to set the seams.  it was quick and easy and meant the guests had something a little different to take home.  my dad and my brother took on the gingerbread men, cutting out the dough i had made earlier in the day and decorating with raisins.  while i was decorating the cake, my mum tied up the little bags with this adorable mustache burlap ribbon i found at hobby lobby.  quick, cute and easy.  i was also pleased with the gingerbread recipe, as it was not one i had used before.  very yummy!

we got ian his first pair of shoes for his birthday, but i wanted him to have something i made for him as well.  a few months ago, a couple mums from our hospital mums group decided to all make quilts together.  i started with them, but unfortunately couldn't make all of the dates.  the quilt was in pieces for a couple months and the week before his birthday i decided it was time to finish it.  i got the top together in one evening and then spent the rest of the week finishing up the details.  by the time my parents arrived, i had everything finished except the hand-sewing of the binding.  enter my amazing mum who sat and sewed like a fiend (i don't know how she does it so fast!) while i worked on other party details.  it meant it was ready for ian to unwrap at his party.  he wasn't that fussed with it, until hubby wrapped him up in it to read one of his new books.  i love the prints and how they worked together and i am now officially obsessed with chevron!

overall, i was really pleased with the whole party.  while some may think it's silly to throw a party for a one year old, it was as much for hubby and i as it was for ian!  hey...we successfully made it through our first year of parenthood!  as any parent knows, that kind of achievement should warrant a party ;)

i will leave you with my new favorite photo of my little man.  my dad captured this adorable shot just before the party began...he was enjoying running up and down our boardwalk in his new shoes :)