Sunday, June 30, 2013

Our St. Louis Trip Comes to an End

Today was the last day of our St. Louis trip.  Ty had to leave early because he had a company soccer game in the evening and work tomorrow.  I stayed and will ride back to my parents' house with them.  I will stay there and Ty will come for the 4th.
Carter enjoying the attention of 7 people all at once.
Today we went to my Uncle Dennis and Aunt Trish's house for Carter to meet the rest of the family.  He met my Aunt Trish and my cousins who were out of town before: Sydney, Ian, Ainsley, Kiley, and Spencer.
Carter and his 2nd cousin, Ian.
It was so sweet to see my cousins holding Carter and loving on him.  Especially because I remember holding them when they were just babies.  It's amazing how quickly time goes by!

Kiley holding Carter

We really enjoyed our trip and had so much fun visiting with everyone, but we will be glad to be home.  I know Carter is ready for his schedule to go back to normal and I'm ready for more snuggles with my precious boy!
Sydney and Ainsley with Carter

Saturday, June 29, 2013

St. Louis Trip: Days 3 & 4

Friday morning during my run I was thinking about when we should go to the zoo.  I realized the only other day we'd be able to go was Saturday and it would probably be pretty packed.  When I returned I checked with everyone to see if they'd like to go and the answer was a resounding "yes"!  We fed Carter, packed our bags, and were off to the zoo.
Carter couldn't wait to see all the animals!
We had quite the group with us: my mom and dad, my grandma and grandpa, Ty, me, and Carter.  It was pretty warm, but the wind was cool and refreshing.  We started off at the sea lions which Carter enjoyed and didn't make it to very many animals before he fell asleep.  
Sleepy boy with daddy.
I really wanted Carter to see the elephants because they are my favorite and there are two baby elephants. Kenzi is a 2 years old who I got to see a few months after she was born.  The newest is a two-month old named Priya. Carter woke up just in time to see them, but they were far enough away that he wasn't too impressed.  Although he did watch and track them as they walked.
Carter and his grampy with Kenzi, a 2-year-old elephant, in the background.
Not far from the elephant exhibit we came across the hippos.  I was surprised to see them swimming right up next to the glass.  I sat down in front of the tank with Carter and waited for them to swim by.  He was intrigued and stared up at them as they swam in front of the glass.  They were definitely his favorite animal he saw on this trip to the zoo.
Staring intently at the hippo swimming by.
When we returned to my grandparents' house from the zoo we freshened up, backed bags for overnight, and left for Ty's cousin Megan's house.  At her house Carter would meet Megan, Scott (Megan's husband), Brody (Megan's brother), and Stan (Megan's dad) for the first time.  Ty's Aunt Netta would also be there and had already met Carter.
Brody checking Carter out.
We came upon a wreck on the highway which delayed our arrival, so it was time to start Carter's bedtime routine when we got there.  Netta and Megan helped give Carter a bath.  Once he was in his jammies and fed, he laid and rested with everyone for a little bit.  Before I took Carter to bed I had him go around and say goodnight to everyone.  As he was giving Brody kisses, he spit up on Brody's cheek.  So much for first impressions!
Playing in the mirror after bathtime.
Carter had a bit of trouble falling asleep due to neighbors shooting off fireworks.  Once he was asleep we ate dinner and stayed up talking for quite a while.  Carter woke up at midnight and then slept all the way until 5:00 am!  He went back to sleep until 8:00 am and was ready to ham it up for everyone again.
Playing with Megan, Scott, and Sophie.
Everyone enjoyed watching Carter eat.  I made him some rice cereal and had some milk leftover so Netta fed him a bottle.  He was playing with the spoon we had used with the rice cereal and kept hitting the bottle with the spoon. 
Holding the spoon while he ate.
Netta brought an old loaf of bread so we could take Carter down to feed the ducks.  The pond was about a mile and a half away so we decided to walk.  We got there and were disappointed to see there were no ducks.  Carter didn't mind and just enjoyed sitting in the shade, looking around at the trees.
Laughing at the trees with Netta.
Megan decided to get Carter out of the stroller and held him down so he could feel the grass on his feet.  He seemed to think it was interesting and would curl and then flex out his toes.
The trek back to their house was mostly uphill.  Carter fell asleep in the stroller as we all huffed and puffed our way back up to their house.  When we got back Brody stopped back by to see us before we left and Carter spit up on him again.  Carter only spit up twice during our time at Megan's house and both times were on Brody, poor kid!

During a diaper change Carter started pushing his feet against the hardwood floor and realized he could scoot himself around.  Our entertainment then became watching him scoot around on the floor.  We turned that into sitting on the floor and talking to him to get him to scoot toward us.  He is definitely interested in becoming mobile!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

St. Louis Trip: Day 2

Carter had a bit of a rough night last night.  I assume it was because he had been woken up multiple times after having fallen asleep, poor little guy.  We got back to my granparents' house a little after 10:00.  He went to sleep right after we got back, but was up at 12:30, 2:30, 4:00, and 6:00.  I was one tired momma this morning!  His schedule was normal tonight so here's to hoping for a good night's sleep tonight!

After such a sporadic sleep schedule last night I went back to bed with Carter during his morning nap and slept from 7:30-9:00.  When we got up we chatted and ate breakfast.  My grandparents walk 3-4 miles every morning and were ready to go.  Ty walked with them and I ran 4 miles and then met up with them to walk the rest of the way back with them.  It felt good to run without the stroller.  I felt fast!
Ready for their walk, grandma pushed the stroller on the way out and Ty pushed it on the way back.
My grandparents had gotten Carter a new toy ball.  From the first look at it, I knew he would love it.  Anytime he is by a laundry basket he loves to poke his fingers through the holes and play with it.  The ball had holes just like our laundry basket.  He instantly stuck his fingers into the ball, grabbed it, and started swinging it around.

We played, rolling the ball across the floor with Carter sitting propped up with one of us.  He loved it!  Sometimes he would push or grab the ball, other times he would happen to kick his legs at the perfect time to send the ball back toward the person opposite him.  I think it is his new favorite toy!

Carter enjoyed playing on the floor with everyone and reading a book with his great-grandma.  He even got to show off his medal and stuffed animal from the summer reading program.  We had a very relaxing and enjoyable day. 
My friend, Steph, got off work at 6:00 and we headed over to see her.  I didn't want Carter's schedule to be thrown off again so my parents came with us and then took Carter home after Steph and her fiance, Richard, got to meet him.  After that we headed out to dinner with Steph and Richard.  It was so much fun to see them.  I couldn't believe it's been 2 years since I've seen them in person.  We talk on the phone enough that I feel like I've seen her much more than that!
They're both so cute!
While we were at dinner my parents and grandparents got Carter ready for bed following his normal routine.  He got a bath and my grandma gave him a bottle.  It was only the 2nd time I've ever missed nursing him that last time before bed.  I have acknowledged that I have a bit of separation anxiety and I'm working on it, one little step at a time.  It's especially hard being a working mom because when I do get to be with him, I don't want to miss a thing.

Great grandma feeding Carter a bottle.
Steph and Richard are getting married in San Diego in October.  Ty won't be able to go so I'd be going alone and with the timing of the wedding and Carter's bedtime schedule it would be best for Carter to stay home with Ty.  I really want to go to the wedding and know that if I'm going to be able to do it, I need to be okay with not just missing Carter's nighttime routine but everything in between.  It will be hard.  Part of me doesn't want to do it.  But then I think of Steph saying those vows and I don't want to miss that.  I know it makes no difference to Carter and he doesn't have the separation anxiety issue, it's all me.  Who knew being a momma would be so hard?
We enjoyed our evening with Steph and Richard.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

St. Louis Trip: Day 1

My dad and his brothers.  From left: Doug, Dan, Dennis, David (my dad)
We have a lot of family in the St. Louis area.  My dad's parents and his three brothers along with Ty's mom's sister and one of my best friends all live in the area.  None of my dad's family had met Carter yet, so Ty and I decided to make a trip out to St. Louis to see everyone. 

People want to meet me?
Ty took Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off work and we left yesterday to meet my parents at their house.  Today we left from my parents' house and drove the 5 hours to St. Louis.  I was a little bit worried about how Carter would do, but my mom came up with the idea of stopping after 2 hours to get Carter out of the car and letting him stretch out for a bit.  It worked perfectly.  He got fussy a little bit before we stopped and then made it the 3 hours after our stop with no problem!
Snuggles with great grandma

Tonight Carter got to meet his Great Uncles Dan, Doug, and Dennis along with his Great Aunt Monica.  He had met his great grandparents very briefly so he actually got to spend some time with them tonight.  We met at my Uncle Dan and Aunt Monica's house and they had dinner for everyone.  Their house is beautiful with a fabulous deck and a pond behind their house.  We ate outside and enjoyed the view.
Playing with great grandpa
Carter did such a great job.  We bathed him and got him ready for bed at my aunt and uncles house.  Then we laid him on a blanket on the floor and he slept for about 2 hours there.  We had to put him in the car seat to head to my grandparents' house to spend the night.  I figured he would fuss and cry in the car, but he went right to sleep.  When we got to my grandparents' house he cried for a while (who wouldn't being woken up twice in the middle of the night, I know I want to when it happens to me) and then went back to sleep.  I can't say enough times how lucky we are to have such an easy going baby!
My handsome husband!

It's so much fun to see family interact with Carter and to watch him smile at familiar and even unfamiliar faces.  He is just such a joy to be around!  We had a great start to our trip enjoying good food and family.  Tomorrow we get to visit my friend, Steph, who Carter will meet for the first time.  I haven't seen her since she was a bridesmaid at our wedding.  I'm super excited to say the least!
The clouds looked so gorgeous as the sun was beginning to set.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Carter's First Medal

At the beginning of the summer I signed Carter up for the summer reading program at our public library.  I was so excited to check out and read books to him.  A sidewalk was just laid by our house so now we can walk to the library.
Turning the page while reading a book.

We've been going to the library at least once a week and checking out a week's worth of books each time.  The goal for the summer reading program is to visit the library 4 times and read 20 books.  When you accomplish this you get prizes.  At 8 books you are given a medal and at 20 books you get a small stuffed animal.

Carter and I had visited the library 4 times and read 20 books a while ago, but the prizes weren't ready.  Today when we went in they were giving out prizes and I was so excited for Carter to get his!  They have high schoolers volunteering at the summer reading program table and the girl working had the biggest grin on her face as she handed me Carter's prizes.

I opened the medal and put it around his neck.  He grabbed onto the string and played with it the whole time we looked around and chose new books to check out.  When I gave him his stuffed prairie dog he smiled at it, grabbed it, and waved it around.

It may be silly but I was so proud of Carter.  He didn't exactly do anything other than sit in my lap as I read him books and ride in his stroller or get carried around at the library, but I was proud none the less.  I know this is just the first of many medals he will receive from the summer reading program and I am so glad I have the opportunity to teach him how important and fun reading is!  Now I just have to watch out for his new stuffed animal because Harper was very interested in it!

Monday, June 24, 2013

10 Things I Live For

1. Summer Vacation- As a teacher I always look forward to summer vacation.  This summer I have enjoyed it even more.  I LOVE spending all day long with Carter.  We have been enjoying weekly trips to the library, reading as part of the summer reading program, swimming, trips to the aquarium, art projects, and just playing together.
2. My Husband's Laugh- The sound of Carter's laugh is an amazing thing and I will definitely do anything to hear it, but the sound of Ty's laugh is even more special.  It takes a lot more to get a genuine, good ole belly laugh out of him and when he does I feel happy all the way to the tips of my toes.

3. Baby Kisses- I swear I could spend all day long kissing Carter all over his body.  Anytime he's in my arms I'm kissing the top of his head, the side of his head, his neck, his cheeks, wherever I can reach.  During diaper changes it's all about kissing his chubby thighs and tiny tummy.  I can't get enough kisses!  When I'm working the best part of my day is picking him up from daycare, feeling him in my arms, and covering him with kisses.  During the school year I live for the moment I walk into his classroom, see his face, and receive a smile in return.  Now when Carter can actually kiss me back, I will be in heaven!

4. Sunsets- I'm a Kansas girl at heart and I can't get enough of the beautiful sunsets we see in this part of the country.  When I travel I'm always disappointed by the sunsets.  There's something about a beautiful sunset that just does my heart good!
Pictures just never do them justice!

5. My Daily Runs- When I've had a rough day it's the perfect way to unwind and calm down.  When I've had a great day it's the perfect time to think back over the day's events and marvel in what life has to offer.  When I'm feeling lazy, it perks me up.  The best thing about running these days is looking down at my precious son discovering the world around him as we go.

6. Carter's Smiles- I'd say I spend the majority of my days attempting to get Carter to smile.  You just can't be anything but happy when he flashes you one of his gummy grins!

7. The A-ha Moments- The very best part of my job is seeing the spark in my students' eyes.  Whether it comes from finally understanding a difficult concept, reaching a goal, figuring out a tricky word while reading, or learning something new.  That look they get in their eyes when they feel successful, that's what it's all about.  It's the best feeling as a teacher knowing I helped them get there.

8. Family Time- Those times when we are all together.  I love experiencing firsts as a family, just Ty, Carter, and myself.  I also enjoy time with my entire family: my mom, my dad, Ty, Carter, and my 2 brothers.  There's just something about everyone being together that makes you feel whole.  Time with Ty's family together: his mom, his dad, his brother and sister-in-law has the same effect, but unfortunately doesn't happen nearly as often with his brother and sister-in-law in Florida.

9. Hugs- The very best hugs are the hugs I get from Ty when he first gets home from work and the hugs I get from my students.  The best part about Ty hugs is how he envelopes me and holds me close.  His arms feel like the safest place in the world.  I love the feeling of his neck against my cheek and the way he smells.  As much as I love those hugs, it is hard to beat a hug from a first or second grader.  They are short enough that their arms are naturally at your waist and they squeeze their head into your stomach.  The best are the unexpected hugs when they come up and wrap you up and tell you they love you, all just because.

10. Sleepy Nap Eyes- When Carter goes down for a nap I do a great job getting things done for the first 30 minutes to an hour.  Then I start getting antsy wishing he would wake up so we can play.  When he finally does wake up there aren't many sights that measure up to looking down into his crib and being greeted by his sleepy little just woken up eyes.  A sweet smile always accompanies those eyes like there is nothing he'd rather see when he wakes up than my face.

I'm linking up with Becky at "From Mrs. to Mama" for her 52 weeks of blogging with a purpose.  What a fun topic idea for today!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Wedding Weekend

Carter with his parents and grandparents at Joel's reception, right after he spit up on his shirt and his daddy's tie!

This Saturday Carter went to his first wedding and his second wedding in the same day!  A few months back I got a text from my friend Joel asking me if I knew our friend Rachel was getting married on the same day he was.  We all ran cross country together and they were two of my best friends all through high school.  Joel and I remained close after graduation and Rachel and I lost touch.  He then followed with you’re coming to my wedding right?!

When the invitations came out we were excited to see both weddings were in Kansas City, Joel’s at 4pm and Rachel’s at 6:30pm.  Upon further investigation we realized Joel’s reception site was only half a mile from Rachel’s wedding and reception site.  I was thrilled I would get to go to both weddings.  Having Carter made things interesting and he would probably sum the day up with "get in the car seat, spit up, get out of the car seat, change, repeat".

Friday evening we headed to my parents' house to break up the drive and so Thomas could watch Harper while we were gone.  On Saturday we left earlier than we needed to so we could stop in and visit one of my best friends, Melissa, who had never met Carter.  She and her girlfriend took turns playing with Carter and were both impressed with how happy he was.  Then she curled my hair for me which looked adorable early on in the evening, but it was WINDY and my hair just couldn’t withstand it!

Since we hadn’t seen Melissa in quite a while we had a hard time leaving.  By the time we were in the car and headed toward the wedding we were in panic mode.  According to the GPS we would arrive at the wedding site at 3:56 and Carter needed a diaper and clothing change.  Uh oh!

Family photo!
When we made it to the chapel we saw the best (only) option for parking was a parking garage next door.  Ty pulled in and had to search for a spot, leading us all the way to the 4th floor.  I quickly pulled Carter out of his car seat and changed his diaper in record time.  I grabbed his clothes for clothing change #1 (a tie onesie and khaki pants) and chased after Ty, who was walking very quickly, dressing Carter as I walked down the 4 floors of the parking garage in heels all while my hair was blowing in a tornado around my face.  

By the time we made it to the chapel doors I had sweat running down my back.  As we walked in I looked over to see the groomsmen lined up and ready to enter the sanctuary.  I gave Joel’s brother a distressed and sorry we’re late smile, glanced at the clock on the wall which said 4:02, and was ushered down the aisle to seats next to my mom and dad.  We sat down and I felt relieved, whew, we made it!

Ready for wedding #1: Joel and Isabel
I started out with Carter facing out in my lap, but he kept talking, so I turned him to face me.  Next thing I knew he was trying to nurse through my dress, so I passed him off to Ty and he was quiet after that.  The ceremony was very short and sweet.  We headed to the reception site and I nursed Carter in the car.  As we were heading in he spit up on his pants (clothing change #2).  We pulled off his pants, went in, and chatted with friends for a while.  Then Carter spit up on his onesie and Ty's tie, resulting in clothing change #3 when we got to the car (we then put him in a polo onesie and khaki shorts).  The couple made their grand entrance and then we headed to Rachel’s wedding.

Ready for wedding #2: Rachel and Drew
Again I sat with Carter facing out.  It must be something about the slow music because once the wedding party began to walk down the aisle, Carter started talking.  I passed him off to Ty who was able to hold him against his chest.  Carter was getting tired at this point and began to suck his thumb.  Rachel’s wedding was also short and sweet.  We headed to the cocktail hour to congratulate everyone and then went back to Joel’s reception (my parents had only RSVP’d to the first wedding, knowing they couldn’t go to both receptions).

I'm so glad my mom had me get pictures with Joel and Rachel!
Carter received a lot of attention and even got snuggles from the parents of the groom.  We got to see them cut the cake and do the first dance and then decided Carter had had enough.  Ty’s Aunt Tina lives in the area so we headed to her house so Carter could get a bath, jammies, and nurse.  
With Joel's parents at the reception.
The poor boy had quite the day getting in and out of his car seat multiple times which is one of his least favorite activities.  He was in and out of his car seat at Mel’s, in and out of his car seat to Joel’s wedding, in and out of his car seat to Rachel’s wedding, in and out of his car seat to Joel’s reception, and finally in his car seat to head to Aunt Tina’s.  I hated putting him back in his car seat to leave her house and stalled as much as possible, but finally at 9pm I knew we had to leave.  
Snuggles with Aunt Tina
Once he was in his car seat he was out and only cried when Ty stopped to get gas and then once randomly about half-way to my parents' house.  I sang to him and he fell back to sleep.  When we got to my parents' house I took him straight to his crib.  He fussed for a bit and then fell back to sleep.  I was so proud of him!
Zonked out in his car seat
We headed back home today and poor Carter was just done with his car seat and I couldn’t blame him.  About 10 minutes from home he started crying big crocodile tears.  Poor guy just couldn’t take the car seat anymore.  We made it home right around 7pm, I gave him a bath right away, and he was hard asleep by 7:30 (about 30 minutes earlier than normal).  Our busy weekend sure wore him out! 
Out for the count after his busy weekend

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Visit from an Uncle

This Wednesday and Thursday my brother came to visit us.  Of course Carter had to wear his my uncle rocks onesie!  It had been almost a month since the last time Thomas had seen him and he was very impressed.  He loved watching Carter bounce in his jumperoo and commented with as much as he kicks around and bounces, his legs are going to be ripped.
Thomas had been asking me what Carter thought of the aquarium ever since he heard I got a membership for Mother's Day.  I told him I could get a guest in for free and we were off.  Being at the aquarium with him was so much fun.  It was a lot easier to take pictures with an extra set of hands and he brings a different kind of entertainment. 

When I take Carter we walk around and read to see what all the animals are.  Sometimes I read him the information about the animal.  Sometimes I just talk to him about what we see in the tank.  Thomas' approach was very different and comical.  As we got to a tank at one point he said, "Look Carter, another ugly fish."

Then at another tank, "Carter this tank is filled with poop."  At yet another one, "Check it out, that fish just puked."  The fish actually had spit something out.  He was kind enough to point out the beaver pooping in the tank and hypothesized that the beavers wait to jump in the water to "let it loose".
We had a lot of fun and definitely saw the aquarium from a different perspective.  Carter had a blast with Uncle Thomas, but Harper was the most sad to see him go.  After he left, she climbed up on the bench in our entryway and laid staring at the door.  I can only assume hoping he would return.