Checking in with Gabe #13

Last month most of the focus was on his birthday. Though because he was born at the beginning of the month, the two weeks leading up to it and the week after it was all about his birthday. At least for me! As I learned with the holidays, I really need to be planning ahead if I want to be intentional and enjoy these things… and pull them off!

Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday!

Anyways, we chose to not do a big birthday party. Despite the some “mom guilt” creeping in, I’m glad we chose to not do one. Next year… probably so. We had fun the days leading up to his birthday and the days after. For starters we had new family portraits done. We had a blast working with Michelle Smarr (pics forthcoming). I wasn’t intending on doing a cake smash but with a little nudge from Michelle we ended up doing an outdoor one. It was great. I made the cake for the smash. Pulling from the woodland critter theme we’ve had going on, I made a birch stump. It was awesome. I should probably do a blog post about the cake itself but I don’t realistically see that happening. Anyways, he didn’t smash it at all. Instead, once he got a taste of the buttercream (swiss meringue) he kept eating it. One piece at a time. We had to assist in the “smash.” He liked the cake too once he got into it. Not bad for a someone who had never had cake before.

A beautiful collage of our family portraits/first birthday shoot with Michelle Smarr.
A beautiful collage of our family portraits/first birthday shoot with Michelle Smarr.

He received a slew of wonderful gifts. One of which we still don’t know who sent it! We chose though to not give them all to him. He received several and then put the rest away to save for a rainy day. I was also excited to FINALLY give him a whole scrambled egg. Of all the restrictions of what babies can’t eat in the first year, this one was really hard for me. I do scrambles all the time and not giving him some of mine was kind of annoying. But he totally digs scrambled eggs and whatever else I put in them. He has also started “helping” me sauté his spinach. We will be #cookingwithgabe before we know it. As another treat, when we were at the farmers market the next day, I got him his first croissant. There is a lovely Italian bakery there that has a smattering of amazing pastries, cakes, and of course breads. We don’t do wheat often but if we do, I want it to be quality. Needless to say, he devoured it. When there is almost as much butter as flour in there, how can you not love it?

Whole scrambled eggs for the first time!
Whole scrambled eggs for the first time!

To top off his birthday we did a photoshoot of our own. Which meant a whole lot of planning and making for that set! I made another cake… I know, right? And reused a lot of the same stuff from the shoot with Michelle.I also made a first birthday sign. Whoa Nelly! It was a project and a half to create. But I did it and I did it by hand. I’m really proud of how it turned out. We didn’t quite get his height and weight right but ehh, not a big deal.(W:21.7 lbs H:31″). So we took some pictures, I fought against the light and my limitations, had some fun and more cake. I hope to make this something we starting doing each year for his birthday.

First birthday sign
First birthday sign

Gabe had a great first birthday and I don’t feel like he missed out on anything.

Now, for the rest of the month.

Play

If I fits, I sits.
If I fits, I sits.

I’ve seen a steady increase in his need for physical activity. While he is still a bit wobbly at times and still falls over, he has become such a confident walker. Sometimes his fast walking almost seems like running. We also discovered/taught him how to climb on the couch. We may regret that one in the long run! Oh the fun that has brought. With one cushion removed he is up and all over the couch. We toss things back and forth over the back of the couch. He climbs onto the side tables and stands up! And he can get off the couch as well. We have fun with it.

Spinning the wheel at the playground!
Spinning the wheel at the playground!

I have also started taking him to the park. We are blessed to have a really nice one 5 minutes from us. He loves the slides, walking around, playing with the wood chips, playing with others, trying to chase after the big kids, and exploring the big kid area. It’s been neat to see him tackle some really big obstacles for his age. As fun as it is, going to the park can sometimes be a bit challenging. More often than not the park is busy and is filled with lots of older kids. Gabe so badly wants to play with the big kids and gets mad when I don’t let him. It’s just not safe having him trail behind much older kids whom we don’t know. We’ve only met a few kids close to his age and he has done really well with them. It’s fascinating to watch them learn how to interact with each other.

Tickles from dad.
Tickles from dad.

We are starting to spend more time in the back yard now that he is walking and balancing so well. Because of this I’ve actually been able to mow the yard and pull weeds and you know, do general maintenance. He likes to sometimes help too.

Naps

The increase in physical activity has helped tremendously with his naps. For a while there it was seeming like he wanted to go down to one but I could tell he really wasn’t ready for it. Our pediatrician reinforced the need to try and keep him at two. Insert several weeks of frustration. But it was a good in that it forced me to change some things up that have ultimately made my life a little bit easier. We are loosely following the 2-3-4 rules: 2 hours after waking, first nap, 3 hours after waking, second nap, 4 hours after waking, bed. In addition to adding in active play (not that he wasn’t playing before but the energy expending/tire a kid out play), I figured out the best nap windows (9-9:30 & 2-3) and have stuck to them. And I have also stopped rocking him to sleep. Yeah, don’t ask… not something I recommend doing for as long as I did. This means when I put him down, 98% of the time he is still awake and ends up walking around and playing in his crib. But I leave him. Sometimes he falls asleep quickly, other times he doesn’t. And if after a certain point he isn’t asleep, I get him up (especially with the afternoon nap, no sleeping past 4!). So now with nap time I get a break whether or not he actually sleeps. Score one for mama’s sanity! While it is great, it still can cause wonky hours and sleep times and sometimes messes up his ability to fall asleep at night. I do still find it challenging to do life around two naps as well. But I believe a well rested baby is important. shrugs I can’t win sometimes.

Bath & Other Things

Full size bath!
Full size bath!

Gabe recently got an upgrade in the bath department. While we probably should have done this sooner (didn’t to conserve water), we moved him out of the baby tub and into the full size tub! I can now officially say that he loves taking a bath. He could probably spend an hour in there if you let him. Now we can play in full capacity with his fishing boat that we got for Christmas. Though we’ve been playing with it out of the water for a while too… great for taking things out and putting back in.

It has been really interesting to notice how he is to respond to us. I can say, “Come on, let’s go” or simply walk out of the room, he will (50/50) follow after me. With that he is starting to follow me around. I find it really neat to see the understanding and acknowledgment of what is going on.

Tossed out the window.
Tossed out the window.

For a little bit of humor I share this. For the winter we decided to take the screens off the windows in the living room because of the lack of need to open the windows thus creating a clearer view. But summer decided come and to do a quick stay. So I opened the windows part way, enough to get some air but so that Kitty can’t squeeze through. Late one afternoon Gabe notices the open windows and checks them out. I see him sticking his hand through. No biggie. He’s safe. I go back to doing whatever. Five minutes later I notice him trying to put his sippy cup through the window but it wouldn’t fit. I ask him what he is doing and walk over and see this. His red hammer and a vacuum attachment on the driveway. He was quite proud of his work. I couldn’t help but laugh. Because you know, why not drop something out the window.

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