Monday, March 31, 2014

Rally Day

A while back our school board voted for a change to our school calendar.  Part of the change would give us today off school so staff members could attend a rally supporting education at our State Capitol.  The purpose was to convince legislators to increase funding for education.  Since the 2008-2009 school year our state has cut funding for education by 23%, adding up to about $200 million.  During that time statewide growth was around 40,000 students.  It is sad how little value is put not just in education, but our children and therefore the future of our state and country.  When I received the news, I decided to take Carter with me to the rally.  I feel it is a stronger message to have children present.  Poor funding for education doesn't just hurt teachers, it hurts the students.  Carter may not be in school yet, but he will be sooner than I'd like to admit.  If the budget has been cut so severely since 2008, what will it be like when he is in school?  What opportunities will he not be provided due to the decrease in budget?  It makes me sad just to think about it.  
Ready for the rally!
Our school district asked that we wear red so Carter and I both dressed in red.  Unfortunately I gave him a sippy cup in the car and the little white part on the lid popped off and he drenched his clothes so he needed a clothing change when we arrived to the rally.  He wore his jacket the entire time anyway.  When we stepped out of the car and I saw people with signs, I was kicking myself I hadn't thought of that!  I wished I'd made Carter a sign that said, "Fund education" on one side and "For my future" on the other side.  When I decided to take Carter with me I planned to take him to the zoo afterward.  I had scenarios in my head for what would work best as far as napping.  I hoped he would take a little morning nap on our drive there so he could stay awake longer and then nap on the way home after the zoo.  I figured that wouldn't happen and we would need to leave the rally, let him nap, and then head to the zoo.  So I packed running clothes and looked up running trails in the area.  I figured I'd go for a run and let him sleep in the stroller.  After about 40 minutes in the car on the way there Carter fell asleep and napped for almost an hour by the time we got to the Capitol Building and found parking.  He woke up when I parked and we headed out.
I found a spot over to the side where there weren't as many people so Carter could walk around and play in the grass.  It was great because he was entertained and I definitely didn't want to put him in the stroller after all that time in his car seat!  The disadvantage was that we couldn't really hear much of what was being said.  While the speakers were making their points, people would cheer and clap.  I was cracking up because Carter would start clapping along and still be clapping after everyone else finished.  The rally was still going, but I decided we should head to the zoo because Carter was starting to get frustrated and we couldn't really hear anyway.  So off we went and the zoo wasn't very far away and was actually on our way home.
Clapping along with the crowd!
The zoo there is amazing and the elephant exhibit is the best I've ever seen.  I was so excited to take Carter!  He had a blast and even enjoyed walking some.  When we saw birds he would excitedly exclaim bird.  It was the first time I had heard him say that word!  His favorite animals were squirrel monkeys which actually came right up to the glass.  He laughed the whole time we watched them.  He also really enjoyed the gorillas.  We happened across them during feeding time so they were also up close to the glass.  We lucked out again when we arrived at the elephant exhibit about 10 minutes before their presentation.  I was extremely excited (elephants are my favorite animal), but Carter just couldn't sit still.  So we left partway through the presentation, but did find out that one of the elephants is pregnant and will have her baby in November or December.  My plan was to leave by 3:00 so Carter could nap in the car and we'd beat Ty home.  Around 2:30 we were walking to the area with zebras and giraffes and I looked in the stroller and saw Carter was sleeping so we left.

Checking out the flamingos.

He loved the tiger, pointed at it, and said "cat".

The only reason why he posed for pictures with statues was because they were surrounded by wood chips which he loved playing with!

Zonked out after a busy day!

Transferring Carter from the stroller to the car he stayed asleep, but I needed to change his diaper and that didn't go over well.  He sat and played with his feet for the first 30 minutes of our drive and then miserably started crying.  There was a stop on the highway where I wouldn't even have to exit so after 10 minutes of his crying I stopped there and walked around holding him for a while.  When I put him back in he didn't go to sleep right away, but thankfully wasn't crying anymore.  After about 10 minutes he fell asleep and stayed asleep the whole way home.  He woke up when I parked, but I rocked him for a bit, laid him in his crib, and he is taking a nice little nap right now.  And man, am I tired!  All that driving plus walking around the zoo, I could take a nap myself!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Daddy's Little Helper

Ty had quite a few chores he wanted to complete around the house this weekend.  He put together Carter's big boy bed, killed weeds in the yard, dug up a stump, filled in holes in the backyard, and started spray painting some things we've found at garage sales for Carter.  While he was putting Carter's bed together, Carter was right up next to him, wanting to help.  Ty even let him touch the drill while he was working.  Then when Ty went out to work in the backyard Carter and I went out with him so we could watch.  Carter walked over to the area where Ty was digging up the stump.  He sat and played with the dirt, crumbling it and smashing it in his hands.  Ty told me to look at Harper so I looked away from Carter for a few seconds and when I turned back Carter had a mouthful of dirt.  Really, after playing nicely with the dirt for at least 5 minutes he waited until I looked away to put it in his mouth?!!?  After we went inside Carter stood at the window watching Ty and each time Ty walked by the window Carter would proclaim, "Daddy".  It was so sweet!  I love seeing my boys together!

He loved playing in the frame before it was all put together!
Where it all began...
Ty helping his daddy over 20 years ago.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Carter's First Kiss

Obviously Carter has gotten an abundance of kisses during his life.  He's gotten kisses from anyone close enough to pucker up and plant one on his sweet cheeks.  I kiss him more times in a day than I can count.  What I'm talking about here is the first time Carter returned the favor.  This evening he was sitting close to me and I said, "Carter, give me a kiss".  He stood up, leaned in, and planted one right on my lips.  I had never asked him for a kiss before and couldn't believe he actually did it, so I asked him to do it again and he obliged.  It was the sweetest moment.  It filled my chest with warmth and I felt so loved.  When we were all sitting in the living room before Carter's bedtime I told Ty what happened and asked Carter for another kiss which he gave me.  Little man really was dishing them out!  Receiving my first kiss from Carter wasn't one of those moments I'd pictured in my head and dreamed about, not sure why, since it was an amazing moment.  Not anticipating the moment made it even more special.  I'm looking forward to lots more kisses in our future!
Ty tried to get a picture, but the moment was so quick!
Carter was on a roll with adorable antics this evening.  He walked up to his Uncie Jeremy and put a book in his lap so Jeremy would read to him.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Our Outdoorsy Boy

Little man sure loves to be outside.  Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny, warm day.  He was desperate to get outside once we got home and so was I!  He lets me know by going straight to the backdoor, grabbing the handle, looking back at me and fussing.  We had so much fun chasing Harper, reading, and playing with some water.  Today was not the same kind of beautiful day.  The temperature was in the upper 40's and it had been raining off and on all day so it was wet and soggy.  Carter did the same thing as yesterday, straight to the backdoor and told me he wanted to play in the backyard.  I put his coat on and we went out.  He fell a few times and got his pants wet, but it didn't phase him in the least.  While we're outside he likes to fake me out by going to the door and acting like he wants to go inside.  When I open the door he works his way inside and then whips back around and scoots back out the door.  My silly boy!  Usually I have to drag him in after a while so we can eat dinner.  I love that my little guy has the same love for soaking up Vitamin D that I do, but I might not love it quite as much next winter when he's begging to go out in frigid temperatures!

Yesterday with our sunny, warm weather:

Carter soaked his pants playing in the water.
I die from the cuteness!
Today with the cool, soggy weather:

Ready to head inside...
Haha, gotchya momma!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Letter to Carter at 15 Months

Carter man, this month you definitely became a full-blown toddler!  You are all over the place, talking so much, and communicating your needs.  I am amazed with how many new things you have picked up.  You are learning so much so fast!  I guess this is the point when you really become a sponge.  Daddy and I are going to have to really clean up our language around the house!  I have an amazing child filter at school and around other children and let it loose at home.  Time to put an end to that!  I thought taking pictures was difficult last month, but it was so much more difficult this month!  Add in the difficulty of you walking, climbing things, and also racing toward me and attempting to grab the camera lense!
Grabbing the camera lense!

You started walking this month and have not slowed down since your first steps on March 1st!  Your first steps were from your daddy to me and you took about 3.  A few minutes later you walked 6 steps to your Uncie Jeremy.  By the next day you were taking 20+ steps from the living room to the kitchen.  Now you are walking constantly.  You spend most of your morning (when you are at home) walking all over the house.  Typically you are carrying something in each hand.  Right now you love carrying crayons and yogurt containers.  I started washing out yogurt containers and giving them to you rather than giving them to Harper to lick out because you love carrying them so much.  You will put something in your yogurt container and take off walking all over the house, stopping to put your item back in the yogurt container when it falls out.  It has been so much fun to watch you walk and I can tell you love being able to do it.  It keeps your hands free to explore and you can see so much more!  The only times you crawl are when you are really tired or there are things you are having trouble stepping over.

Your vocabulary has come a long way this month.  Your favorite word is doggy and you walk around the house following Harper or searching for her saying doggy.  If she's outside you will go to the window and say doggy over and over.  When you hear a dog barking you excitedly say doggy and start looking around.  Which is cute unless I've just laid you down for a nap and a dog barks.  Then you fly up to a seated position and yell doggy!  You still say kitty cat, but not nearly as much.  Your fascination with cats has waned a bit and you have become pretty much fully focused on dogs.  You will walk up to me, raise your arms, and say mommy.  It melts my heart.  I can't imagine how I'll feel when you learn to say "I love you!"  When daddy gets home, he walks in the door and yells in to say hello.  You always smile and say daddy!  You love your daddy and are finally moving out of the always wanting mommy phase.  When asked what a tiger says you will roar.  You also roar for pretty much any other animal you see.  Apparently another kid a daycare roars for every animal and you've picked that up!  You've said drink, help me, water, quack, papa, gaddy (grampy), you attempt Harper which sounds like Pahpah.  My favorite is uh oh.  You will throw something on the floor and look at me waiting for a reaction.  If I don't say anything (which I typically don't) you say "uh oh".  That's morphed into you saying uh oh as you throw any number of objects on the floor.  I die every time and might be one of the only parents in the world that think it's a hilariously funny game!
What?!  But it IS funny!
Even when you aren't talking you are great at communicating through facial expressions, arm movements, and grunts.  You definitely let us know what you want.  When you want a hand to hold (when you get to a hill or stairs) you reach your hand behind you and open and close your fingers.  When you want held you reach both your arms up.  When you are climbing something and can't quite reach your leg high enough you whine or grunt.  One of the funniest things you've done was you wanted me to pick you up and I told you no, so you reached one hand behind you for one of my fingers.  I gave it to you and you then held out your other hand so I gave you my other hand.  Then you pushed up on your tippy toes while holding each of my hands and gave me the cheezer face so I'd pick you up.  How was I supposed to resist that!?!!

You are finally starting to use utensils when you eat.  Mostly you just hold your spork or spoon in one hand while you eat with the other hand (hey, that's a start), but if I fill your utensil with food you will, most of the time, lift the spoon to your mouth and eat out of it.  Sometimes you pull the food out of the spoon with your other hand and eat it from the spoon.  A couple times you have actually filled the spoon with food on your own and fed yourself.  That gets frustrating to you though because you tend to accidentally dump the food out of your utensil on the way to your mouth.  Once you only had one pea left in your spoon once you got it to your mouth.  I considered that a success, but you sure didn't!

This month you have started to venture out from your safe zone a lot more.  You aren't so focused on always having mommy.  You will even reach for daddy while I'm holding you.  One night daddy went in to comfort you when you were crying in your crib.  You saw him and threw yourself back down because you didn't want daddy.  It was so funny and he said that was the ultimate screw you.  Other than that you are becoming more of a daddy's boy.  You love to follow him around and play with him.  You definitely know he won't cave to your crying as easily as I will. 
Playing with the dog water bowl is still a constant battle.  I feel bad for poor Harper because I'm always forgetting to put it back down for her and she has to tell me by standing by where it's supposed to be and barking.  You will high tail it over to the water bowl anytime you see it down.  I crack up because you will go over to it, stop, hover one hand over it, and look back at me with a giant grin on your face.  When I tell you no that's when you slap the water.  Definitely showing off your ornery side there!  I think you get that from your Uncie Tommy!

Your bedtime is still 7:00 and you typically wake up at 6 am.  Every once in a while you get up at 5 am and I'm not a fan of that!  Your daycare schedule puts your naptime at noon.  While home you sometimes follow that schedule and other times sneak in a little morning nap around 10:00 and then another afternoon nap around 1:00 or 2:00.  When you nap in the morning you usually nap for an hour and then take an hour or hour and a half nap in the afternoon.

Right now you are still wearing some 12 month onesies, but they are a little bit short in the arms.  You wear 12 month and 18 month pants.  The 12 month pants fit better.  I have to roll up the bottom of most of your 18 month pants or they slide down under your foot and you slip on them.  You are still in size 3 diapers, but I think this will be our last box as it is getting harder to keep your entire booty covered.  Your big boy hard soled shoes are a size 5, but I'd say you are more of a size 4.  You do fine in the size 5 shoes, but there is quite a bit of room to grow.  A new tooth came in this month and that puts you up to 7 total, 3 on the bottom and 4 on top.  Your new tooth came in on the bottom left.

We found out last month that you were going to be a big brother, but this month found out that I had a miscarriage.  We were so excited for you to be a big brother and we know you will be a great one!  During that month I thought about all the reasons why you will such a wonderful big brother.  You are so sweet and caring and I know you will take care of a sibling just as your daddy and Uncie Jeremy did.  Well and I guess I did as well, but I had a great example in Uncie Jeremy.  You will still be a big brother someday, but just not as soon as we had thought.  I think it will be good that you will be older so you can understand at least a little bit what is going on and you can enjoy your sibling more from the start.
Only 2 more months of work before I get to be a stay at home mom.  I am so excited for every day to be a Carter day!  Even when I was sick earlier this month there was no where I'd rather have been than with you.  You bring so much happiness to my life.  No matter what else is going on and no matter how sad I am, you perk me up and bring warmth to my heart.  You are the greatest gift I have ever received and I am so thankful every day that I get to experience the joy of being your momma and watching you grow.  Thank you for being you.  I love you so much!
Sticky out your tongue like daddy!

Now on to daddy:

You are now mobile! It amazes me how fast you started walking on your own! At first only a few steps, but within days, you were going from room to room. If you weren't walking, you weren't happy!

It is so much fun watching you learn and master balance. Now when you fall, we blink and you are back up and walking. Skippy and Harper are not too pleased with your new abilities, but they are adjusting. Skippy more so than Harper. He will leave a room as soon as you walk in. Harper waits until you grab her, gets grumpy and then saunters off.

We also learned that you will have to have tubes put into your ears next month. While we are nervous for the procedure, we know it must be done and excited that it will help you with your ear infections.

You are also starting to be more vocal too. Doggie, daddy and kitty are now easily understandable. Soon you will be a little chatter box.

Love you buddy!
No more pictures!