Wednesday, July 29, 2015

5...6...7 months - Baby J Updates!

How has time flown by so quickly with this little guy!

By five months.....he started rolling both ways from front to back and now from back to front.  We also started solid foods, and he is thrilled to get anything in his mouth.

By six months....he was quickly rolling himself across the room to get what he wants.

By seven months....he is now "army crawling" and getting up on his hands and knees/rocking back and forth.  I know he'll be crawling soon and I don't think I can handle it!  We're experimenting with mushed up banana pieces and cheerios to work on self-feeding - although he just gets super frustrated when he can't quite get the food in his mouth.  It is hilarious because the look on his face is like the most dissatisfied restaurant customer ever!

He loves taking baths and sits up in the baby bath tub and splashes like crazy.  He's still not a great sleeper and only sleeps through the night on occasion.  But, we've been through so many transitions lately (on the road, in FL, living in a studio apartment! etc.) that I can't blame him for his interrupted sleep.  He weighs 23 pounds and wears size 12 month clothes, so I was getting my workout carrying him around Minneapolis.  He can sit up without immediately toppling over, and he can lean forward from sitting to get himself into position to crawl and push himself back up to sit.   He doesn't babble but he loves to laugh, squeal and scream (haha!).  Daddy needs some ear plugs!  He is still super duper smiling, loves to pull hair and will drag himself across the room to play with his big brother.  I love getting to watch him change and grow day by day.  He is a miracle and a blessing.  We love you baby J!

America the Beautiful: Beach Edition

After we drove across the upper West, we flew down to Florida for the annual family week at the beach in Florida, aka "cousin camp" for our boys and my nephews.  Didn't I just say that Montana is the most beautiful place in the world?  Well, if you could combine it with the beaches of north Florida, then it would be simply perfect.

M had an epic time playing with his big cousins.  J spent most of his days snoozing and we all had a great time relaxing on the beautiful porch and visiting with our far-flung family.  Family time is such a blessing.

M and my 4 year old nephew E.  M is his shadow whenever we get together!

I have no idea how people get wiggly kids to line up and all look at the camera with a nice, normal smile.  This was the best we could do....=)

Our view of beautiful St. Augustine Beach!

4 of the 5 boys on the beach. 

D pushed the couches together to make a clean, soft spot for baby J to roll around in.  Of course, the bigger boys took it over for their dogpile.  Needless to say, it quickly became a little bit sandy....

Don't you love the kid-sized rockers that come with the house?!  We did!  We're already looking forward to our next beach trip!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Northwest to Midwest Part 3: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park was an unexpected delight for me.  D took several trips there as a child and teenager, but this was a first trip for me since I didn't drive through western North Dakota when we initially moved West.  This time, we spent a night there camping, which, of course, was too short, but it was a lot of fun.

Backing up a bit - the drive through eastern Montana had to have been the most remote- and desolate-looking part of our trip.  The landscape was mostly flat and sparsely populated, I was surprised at how uncomfortable it made me because it made me feel like we were really, really isolated!

We also pushed our luck and spent too much time driving from Yellowstone to North Dakota.  Both boys had had it after six hours.  For all future road trips we will be limiting our driving time to no more than six hours a day!

When we finally arrived at TRNP, we spilled out of the 'burb and relished in the cool air while D set up our campsite!!  M basically played "construction vehicles" in the dirt the whole time we were there while I kept my eyes on the bison parked right across the river from our campsite.

I thought I was being sly and not communicating my concern at the proximity of the bison when I asked D "can bison swim?" (I didn't want him to think I was being a wimp, and he said no, btw.)  So imagine my surprise when I looked down the river and saw another bison ford the six-inches-deep water with ease!  He did meander his way down through our campsite, and when we woke up the next morning, he was hanging outside the bathrooms!

The park ranger also casually mentioned to us that they also have "ticks and rattlesnakes in the park."  Luckily, we didn't see any of those during our short stay.  We saw lots of bison, prairie dogs and wild horses.  On our way out of town, we stopped at the Painted Canyon Overlook, which was striking.  This park, while remote, is worth the effort that it takes to get there, and I'm hopeful for future trips there!

From here, we drove across North Dakota to our final stop on our road trip: D's parents' lake cabin in Minnesota.  We saw so many beautiful places that I want to return to again and again!  I think Montana might be the most beautiful place in the world. =)  But for now, I'll settle for all of the Minnesota exploring that we have to do!

A Trip to the Hardware Store

D took 3 year old M on a Saturday morning trip to Lowe's.  You've never seen a more excited little boy.  Some of the gems I overheard as they headed out the door:

"Daddy, we are big guys!"

This is M and Daddy time.  Not time for Moms." (?!)

"We got dressed in our work clothes, and now it's time to do our jobs!"

"Let's go be Handy Manny's!"

Thursday, July 23, 2015

[Belated] Scenes from our Fourth of July

The happiest fisherman on the lake.  I thought he would last about five minutes out there, but they were fishing all morning!  He caught two sunnies!

Ridiculously Happy Baby loves the feeling of the grass between his toes.  And the taste!

How sweet! 

Now, for the choke hold hug....

Family photo on the boat with husband's soaked we could do, we were in and out of the water!


Hope you had a fabulous Fourth!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Northwest to Midwest Part 2: Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is amazing.  Seriously.  It is an American treasure, and it is now my dream to take the boys back over the years as they get bigger and can do more and more.

From Bozeman, we drove east to Gardiner, MT to use the park's North entrance.  The drive down to Gardiner alone is beautiful (that's why the area is called Paradise Valley, Annie!) and Gardiner was our destination for the evening.

There's a moose in the field.

The next day we (well, D and M, I can't see anything without my glasses!) woke up to see elk and antelope relaxing in the hills across from our hotel.  We had a quick breakfast in the hotel and then jumped in the car to explore as much of Yellowstone as one can with a baby and toddler in tow (i.e., not much).

The weather was crazy: on and off rain, then snow, and then a break of sunshine for our lunchtime picnic.  We didn't get to see much, but we did see Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Falls and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  As we were driving, the rangers had to close the road ahead of us due to snow, so we had to backtrack and couldn't tour the northeastern section of the park like we planned.   I would love to go back to explore the Lamar Valley and the Northeast area, as well as Yellowstone Lake and Old Faithful in summer (I've seen it in winter.).

We had a picnic lunch in the Mammoth Hot Springs area where an elk herd kept us company.  Strangely enough though, two Chinese tourists came over and started taking photos of baby J - not the elk.  He is a Ridiculously Happy Baby, but it was a little bizarre!

After spending the full day in and out of the car, we had a delicious barbecue dinner back in Gardiner.  The next morning, we hopped back on the highway with another national park as our destination!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Adoption Day

 Baby J's adoption was finalized several months ago, but I'm just now getting the post up.  #lazyblogger.  He learned early on that legal proceedings are a snooze.

After we skipped out of the courthouse, we took a family selfie:

Then we went out for breakfast at Java on Sherman's new location.  Big brother loved the hearing and totally hammed it up.  The Judge told us that he thought M would either be a politician or an entertainer (yikes!?). 

When we got home, baby J perked up enough to start rolling around - back to front!  And M spent the day pretending that he was an attorney.  Now he says "Mommy, can you believe you were a yaw-yer?"


Baby J, you are a blessing beyond measure.  You bring us so much joy and we are so honored to get to love and raise you.  May God bless you always!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Our Anniversary

We celebrated 8 years of marriage in June!
Headed out to our ill-fated dinner

We usually just don't make a huge deal and just go out to dinner.  We don't have any babysitters yet, so it was a family affair to Granite City Brewing.  But we didn't last long out in public because poor baby J was over-tired and we basically had to run out of the restaurant before we could finish our meal.
My glass of sangria that I had to chug!

We ordered "Idaho nachos" as a starter - which turns out to be nacho toppings on waffle fries - carb loading at its finest!  M also yelled "it's snowing!" in the restaurant, which is apparently not a very funny thing to say in Minnesota in the summer.  Then we stopped at Target to buy formula and rushed home to rock that tired little baby to sleep.  So it was uneventful, but I'm grateful for another year of real life with my main squeeze!