Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vacation Time!

Kris and I are taking next week off from work for a much needed vacation! We were trying to think of something that we could do that would be enjoyable not only for us, but for Parker too. Ideally I would have liked to be on a beach somewhere soaking up the rays with a daiquiri in hand. However, I couldn’t see how a beach vacay would be enjoyable with Parker being so young. Wherever we would go (East Coast, Bahamas, Mexico (honey are you reading this? I still want to go to Mexico!), etc) it would be way too hot in July for a baby to spend a long period of time outdoors. Sure there would be other things to do like museums, restaurants, zoos, but the whole point of going somewhere tropical-ish is to enjoy the outdoors! So our beach vacation has been pushed to next summer. Parker will be running around and will be able to enjoy the sun, surf and sand much more than she would this year. We also considered traveling to Northern Michigan. Kris and I haven’t been yet, which is crazy since we’ve lived here for four years and EVERYONE in Michigan goes up north. It’s supposed to be absolutely gorgeous. There are beautiful beaches, lighthouses, sand dunes, vineyards…everything just a few hours away! I love that Michigan has such awesome vacation spots.

So what’s best when we can’t hit up the beaches? Hocking Hills! Four years spent in Athens and we never explored the waterfalls, caves, and general awesomeness that is Hocking Hills. I’m so excited for the trip but I’m not gonna lie… a five hour car trip with Parker is number 150 on my top 100 least desirable things to do. I would much prefer flying with her at this age but it’s pure silliness to fly to Columbus and then rent a car to go to Hocking Hills. Fingers crossed that we don’t have a meltdown on the drive. I’m thinking that my super active, no-napping baby will not sleep the entire trip but one can dream!

For a while we also toyed with the idea of doing a staycation. There’s a ton of neat stuff around us that we don’t take advantage off as often as we should. We were planning on going to one of the many local metroparks that have a bunch of things to do—beaches on a huge lake, canoe/kayaking/boat rentals, playgrounds, running and bike trails, nature centers plus a ton more fun things. We were also planning on spending the night in Frankenmuth, Michigan’s Little Bavaria, which we’ve now postponed until August. The hotel we are going to be staying at is so cool—it over looks the Cass River, has five pools, a doll/bear making shop, a pretzel making stand, an indoor play area, putt putt and great eats. We’ll be going on horse drawn carriage rides, taking a ride on the huge riverboat, and of course checking out the breweries. Well, Kris will check out the breweries. This nursing thing puts a bit of a dent on my ability to have a drink at my leisure ;) Well worth it though!

I think it is very important for a family to have at least one vacation a year, whether it’s staying at the best hotel in the best tropical paradise with the best beaches (yes please!) or doing a staycation and enjoying what your town/state has to offer. Life is busy and hectic and you must carve out some family only time; away from the computer, away from the TV, away from the office…a time to relax and enjoy your loved ones.

I’m really looking forward to spending time with Kris and Parker. While I always appreciate Kris, I’m appreciating having him in my life a million times more right now. My 12th grade science teacher (who is only a few years old than me) lost her husband last weekend in a small plane crash. He left behind a toddler and five month old twin girls. My heart absolutely breaks for her and her precious little ones. Hug your loved ones a bit tighter today and appreciate the time you have with them, for you never know when it will be cut short.

And of course, pictures :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Parker (my little fishy!) and Sophia

No, I didn’t mean to title this post Parker Sophia…I’m talking about Parker and Sophia, the neighbor’s baby who is only two weeks younger than Parker! It’s so nice living in a subdivision full of kids, especially when there are quite a few babies who are about the same age as Parker. Kris and I became friends with Sophia’s parents, Jen and John, when our next door neighbors introduced us. They thought we would hit it off because of our common interests—big bellies and due in October—and we did! We chatted throughout the summer and fall and our babies met each other for the first time when Sophia was one week old and Parker was three weeks old. Winter was right around the corner so I went into hibernation at that point, only venturing out of my house when absolutely necessary. It’s not so fun to trek around in the dead of winter with a little baby! Even though every year it seems like it will never happen, spring actually arrived (incredible!) and Parker and Sophia met again—and this time they were just a bit bigger than the time before!

We had a playdate a few weekends ago and it was so cute seeing the babes play together. They had a lot of fun! Parker was a little silly girl though J Sophia would grab onto a toy and Parker would immediately grab it out of her hands! Obviously sharing is not something Parker cares to do at the moment. Both babies were talking to each other and grabbing each others hands. Parker loved touching Sophia’s face and ears too!

It was nice and sunny that day so we decided to make good use out of the whale pool I had just bought for Parker (and me!). Sophia got in the pool first and then I tried putting Parker in it but she wanted nothing to do with it. Parker cried the Sophia started to worry…hey, why is my baby friend crying? she started to cry too! I tried a couple more times with Parker but she made it clear that this big pool with a weird whale coming out of it was so not cool with her. Jen though Parker might have been scared of the wide open water so she brought over a little inflatable bathtub and Parker loved it! Sophia joined Parker and they played like this for a while. All Parker needed was a baby hot tub!

Parker and I decided to try out the whale pool again the next day. I put on my two piece bathing suit, the same two piece that I wore while out at the Michigan lakes last summer (yes, I was that pregnant girl in a two piece…no need to cover up a beautiful bump!) and I sat in the pool with her. And guess what…she was fine! We had a great time!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Eight Months!

It’s been eight months since Parker entered the world. How crazy is that??

There have been a ton of changes with Parker this past month. More changes than any other month of her little life. I'm not sure of her length but as of a week ago she is 20lbs! Teeth are sprouting up everywhere! Two on the bottom are poking through and her two front teeth are trying their hardest to pop out. Gone are the days of thumb sucking. Either (1) Parker got sick of it or (2) Parker accidentally bit herself and one bite was one too many. I’m thinking that it’s number two. I’m sort of bummed because it was oh so cute and I liked the fact that she was able to self soothe, but at least now I don’t have to worry about her going into kindergarten with a thumb in her mouth!

Many things have been put into retirement this month; the infant car seat, the bouncer, and the Rock n Play. It was sort of a sad moment for me as I put these things away. I just can’t get over how fast my little babe is growing. To think that the next time I will pull these things out with be for baby number two makes me excited though! We've experienced a bit of separation anxiety this month and it sucks. I'm hoping that this is a short lived phase. Parker hated diaper changes the first five weeks or so of her life. After that, she loved them. We would spend a while at each diaper change hanging out, looking at the mobile and smiling and laughing. Now there are no smiles or laughs when diaper changes roll around. It is a scream fest. Sometimes I can sing Wheels on the Bus or Lady Gaga (Bad Romance, anyone?) and Parker stops screaming, perhaps in shock of my horrible singing voice. Sometimes I can give her a toy with a tag (the girl loooooves tags) and that takes her mind off of the diaper change torture. More times than not though, she just screams. It's not an ear infection so I'm not sure why she's freaking out. I'm also hoping that this phase passes quickly.

Parker is now waiving and let me tell you—it’s the cutest thing ever! She waves at everything—me, Kris, her daycare friends and teachers, at her reflection in mirrors, at Sydney…it just melts my heart! She also said MAMA this month! Kris denies it though because, of course, Parker should have said dada first ;) Kris wins though because shortly after Parker started saying dada over and over. When I heard her say that for the first time it seriously brought tears to my eyes. Her language has really developed this month. It’s hard to explain, but you can tell that she is mimicking what she is hearing. It’s absolutely incredible to see her language take off like this. Parker loves giving high fives. We say “don’t leave me hanging!” and she slaps our hands. She also likes to slap me…in the face, in the chest, on the arms. She thinks it’s sooooo funny. What a little troublemaker!

Parker is still scooting all around and getting pretty good at it. She scoots backwards and to the sides very fast. She's working on moving forward but she gets very frustrated when all she does is go backwards. I scoop her up to calm her frustration and we try again later. When sitting she likes to fall over onto her chest and rock back and forth on her hands and knees. She’s getting very close to full on crawling! I can’t wait! Many new foods have been introduced to Parker this past month—cottage cheese, cantaloupe, tofu, asparagus, and peaches. She is doing so great with baby led weaning. I think it’s amazing to see her pick up a piece of food and put it into her mouth all by herself. I have a post on her eating broccoli BLW style that I will put up soon! Parker now has the hang of her sippy cup. No more water spilling down her face and chest as she tries to use an open faced cup! Just recently Parker started clapping (so adorable) and pulling herself up to her knees. She is very strong!

With all the new developments this month Parker has decided that sleep is of little importance. She went from napping about 2 1/2 to 3 hours a day to as little as 25 minutes during an entire day (that happened yesterday)! She used to only be able to stay up for a maximum of four hours at a time but there have been a few occasions when she has been up for 7 hours at a time. And it's not like she's cranky pants and just can't fall asleep…she is in a good mood, laughing and playing with her toys, with sleep being the furthest thing from her mind. Parker never has been on a schedule (I see no point in schedules for babies) so it's not like the clock strikes 11am and I lay her down until she falls asleep. She takes a nap when she is ready to take a nap. I'm not worried about this new sleep pattern. Parker still sleeps 12 hours a night, sometimes 10, sometimes 14, but almost always 12, so I know that she is getting some good rest. This social butterfly just doesn't want to close her eyes because she could be missing out on something cool!

Here are some pics from the past month. Can't wait to see what the next month will bring!