11 Months

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I have heard this quote more than once and feel like it exactly illustrates how I feel about the past months as I realize Little Man is nearly 1!

“The days go slowly but the weeks, months and years go quickly.”

I think I said this elsewhere in my blog, but the best advice that I heard repeatedly while pregnant was to really slow down and enjoy every moment because Warrior would grow and change so quickly. I thank God every day for our sweet Little Man and that I have truly taken that message to heart. The sweet and tender memories I have from this year are some of the absolute best of my life. I am truly blessed.
Kaelen has had tons more drooling and teething behavior this month but still no new teeth. I still think the fourth bottom tooth is the next one that will appear but the top canine tooth seems like it may come in before long as well. Only time will tell!


Kaelen continues to wear 18 month size clothes. Some of the pants need to be cuffed still so his feet don’t get stuck inside them while he is crawling. It looks like maybe he will actually stay this size for longer than he has stayed previous sizes which would mean he could wear this current set of clothes through the coldest months. Yay! Kaelen now has to have shoes on his feet whenever it is fairly cold out because even if his socks do stay on his feet with his activity level, he has figured out how to take them off! He tends to pull them off, chew on them, and then carries them around with him while he plays.


Little Man’s sleep got a little disrupted by daylight savings time, teething, and not feeling well, which combined with the busyness surrounding Thanksgiving, means that we are still working hard to get him re-settled into a stable sleep routine with just two naps per day and a return no over-night waking. Ideally, Little Man sleeps from 7:30 or 8pm until between 8am-9am and takes a 1.5 hour morning nap and a 1.5+ hour afternoon nap starting around 2pm. (someday it’ll happen…I will just continue to believe it’s possible until it does!)
This month we added several new foods including: Sautéed Spinach, Cranberry-Orange Dressing, and of course Turkey. Of those Kaelen liked the spinach and eats it somewhat regularly now. He tried the turkey several times but spit it out each time he tasted it even if it was “mixed in” with other foods he liked. The highlight of Kaelen’s Thanksgiving Dinner was Aunt Sarah’s Sweet Potatoes. I couldn’t reload his spoon or feed them to him fast enough! We are still nursing about five times per day and Kaelen seems to be happy with that frequency. We started letting Kaelen use a pre-loaded spoon with soft foods awhile back, but in the last month he has gotten really good at getting a significant amount of the yogurt, applesauce, sweet potato, etc. actually all the way into his mouth. It is so neat to see his coordination constantly improve. Kaelen uses either hand with a spoon and sometimes switches which hand he wants to use mid-meal (and sometimes uses both of course). I think it is so fascinating to watch little things develop as we see his preferences form over the next months.


Little Man said, “Mama” for the first time while looking me in the eyes when I went to pick him up out of his crib on October 31st! I was sooo excited! The speech therapist in me had to wait and see if he did it again to be sure it was 100% purposeful and completely linked to me, but it turns out that “Mama” was Kaelen’s true first word! Kaelen has continued to become more conversational and has begun imitating us telling him to say “more” by saying “mmmmm” or “mu” while he is eating and with some play activities like bouncing on the big exercise ball. Kaelen started saying “Dada” or “Dadadadada” while babbling just yesterday which we were really ready for.


Kaelen is very observant and seems to only need to see something once before he imitates and learns it! There are so many “activity” things that Kaelen is doing that are new so I think I’ll just list them as bullets:

– Kaelen now stops and claps to show his delight in something

– He can beat in rhythm with music (and still dances every chance he gets).

– Little Man began pushing on objects in front of himself to “walk” behind them on November 12, so we weighed down a medium sized cooler that is the right height for Kaelen and he pushes it around the on floor.

– Grandma taught Kaelen how to get the foam sea creatures (bath toys) to “stick” to the shower door or the sidewall of the bathtub and he has enjoyed playing with them that way ever since.

– Learned to turn the lights on and off using the switch on the wall.

– Starting to learn to purse his lips to kiss. He sometimes will give kisses with pursed lips but most often gives open mouth kisses. Kaelen has initiated giving his Daddy a kiss a couple times, but gives his Mama kisses all the time spontaneously! He will give close family and friends kisses sometimes if we ask him to, but not reliably (or spontaneously). I never cease to be amazed by how sweet spirited our little man is.

– Mid-month Warrior began taking more than 10 steps while holding on to our hands to move across the room. He has also started letting go of people/objects for just a second or two at a time while standing before grabbing back on or sitting down. We know it’s all just a part of the the pre-walking warm-up.

– Kaelen has been enjoying eating the knobs on the kitchen cabinets or opening/closing/banging the doors to play, but on “Pie Day” while we were at Grandma’s house making pies for Thanksgiving Kaelen figured out that there are lots of fun things INSIDE the cabinets to play with and explore! Time to install some more of the cabinet locks in the kitchen and bathrooms….

– Kaelen loves to carry around his toys with him as he plays and often has Sophie the Giraffe in his mouth or a hand, another toy, or even just one of his socks that he managed to pull off of his feet.


One last funny note to round off this post: Kaelen think it is absolutely hilarious when someone blows his or her nose. I would have expected him to be startled or bothered by someone sneezing and then blowing their nose, but instead he gets the biggest grin and starts belly laughing! We still haven’t figured out why it is so funny to him, but that sound delights our little boy.


Kaelen 11 Months08


Kaelen 11 Months19Cheesin’ for Mama

Kaelen 11 Months41

Kaelen 11 Months71Standing Unassisted


Kaelen 11 Months59“Pwwwwwt!” (Blowing Raspberries)

~ Erica


Father’s Day 2013

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I shared this with Doug on Sunday, but want to also share here.  Kaelen and I are both so blessed by the father that Doug has, and is becoming.  I always knew in my heart that Doug would make an amazing father, but I never really saw him interact at all with babies.  Once they were talking, playing, running, etc. he has always been very easily engaged.  So I didn’t really know what to expect… until Kaelen arrived.  Doug is the most observant, sweet, and engaged father of a young baby!  He has far surpassed any expectations or hopes I had for how he would be with our baby.  He often stops what he’s doing (work related) for a few minutes to talk and play with Kaelen.  He studies everything about our little warrior and is able to point out subtle things about how Kaelen is changing, or what he needs… Sometimes even before I realize what’s going on he’s jumped in and taken care of a need.

In Kaelen’s first few weeks of life, Doug always got up with me at the night feedings to change Kaelen’s diaper, bring him to me, and assist me with anything I needed.  Even still he wakes up when Kaelen does at around 6am to go get him for me so I can use the bathroom, get a drink, and get propped on my pillows.  Sometimes he even waits for Kaelen to finish eating and returns him to the crib in the nursery.  I’m one spoiled Mama!

One of Doug’s favorite times is when Kaelen is first waking up… Doug tries to “sneak” into the nursery  without Kaelen seeing him and wait for Kaelen to notice he’s there.  As soon as Kaelen spots Daddy he gets a HUGE smile on his face and starts wiggling every part of his little body!  IT’S SO CUTE!  Recently Kaelen has gotten to be more about Daddy even when I’m holding him or talking to him, he may only have eyes for Daddy.  During play times he often waits for Doug’s reaction to a toy or noise to make sure its ok to laugh or smile about it.  I know that this is only the start of him checking out Daddy to see how he’s doing and I LOVE how close their connection is already.

Here are a few pictures and a video of Doug and Kaelen.  Kaelen’s onesie reads “Game Changer” and I thought it was so appropriate for the day since he has changed our lives so very much!

Father'sDay201345Kaelen Loves to Ride on Daddy’s Shoulders

Father'sDay201340Laughing at Daddy


Kaelen LOOOOVES to look at himself in the mirror so it’s something that he and Doug do together every day


Father'sDay201374What?!? It’s not supposed to fit in my mouth?!!

Here’s the video I mentioned, I sure do love watching Doug and Kaelen play together!

I am so blessed by Doug as my husband and father of our son-  Happy Father’s Day Sweetheart!

~ Erica

Mother’s Day 2013

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What an adventure becoming a mother has been and I know it has just begun!  Thinking about Mother’s day coming I was only too aware of how much I appreciate my Mama (Kaelen’s Nana) and Doug’s mother (Kaelen’s Grandma) for all they did raising us and all they do now as mothers and grandmothers.  Just the thought of how much I treasure my little one is enough to get my eyes misting…  Oh well I’m a softy!

After we all slept in, I spent some time playing with and snuggling Kaelen.  When he got up from his morning nap, we left to spend time with Doug’s family for the afternoon.  Nicole & I went to a really great yoga class and then joined the rest of the family for dinner.  It is fun to have three generations of mothers in the family and special to all be together.  Grandma Race really LOVES talking to Kaelen, holding him, and getting him to smile and laugh.  I love seeing the joy he brings… such a sweet and happy little boy!

Doug surprised me with roses, one red one from him, and a second orange one from Kaelen.  He also wrote me a very sweet card (that made me cry- happy tears though!).  The cards I received from my parents and my in-laws were really special to… Its nice to hear their reflections on my “becoming” as a mother.  (Thank you all – your words mean so much).

I was also blessed by many friends who took time to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day…  It is special to be remembered by all of you and I appreciate the calls, texts, and posts.  A real treat at the end of the day was a surprise visit from my best friend!  I didn’t expect to get to see Lauren until sometime in June so I was delighted to see her arrive at the top of the steps with two pints of Ben & Jerry’s – oh she knows me so well!  Lots of great “mom” conversation haha!   I can’t wait to see you and spend a few days together (I hope!)

Here are a few pictures to document my first Mother’s Day with Kaelen.  Thanks to Doug for taking these!

MothersDay201318 MothersDay201308 MothersDay201313 ~ Erica

One Year Ago…

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Today marks a very special anniversary for us, the day we found out that I was pregnant with Kaelen!  It was such an exciting day for me… I had looked forward to becoming a mom for so many years and on April 22nd 2012 that dream became a reality for me!  What a busy and wonderful year since then… Our lives really have changed!   I’m so thankful for Doug and the Daddy he has become as well as for our sweet baby boy!  I look forward to the many things this next year brings…

~ Erica

16 Weeks

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Here’s this week’s picture!   Kaelen looks like he’s pretty much even with the bear height wise….



Last weekend Doug and I went to a conference (April 12-14) and left Kaelen here with my sister Rachael (Noelle helped too!).  I knew from hearing other mothers talk that it would be hard to leave him… I just didn’t realize how hard until I started preparing at the beginning of the week.  I got teary just thinking about leaving him and when we pulled out I think I cried the first 20 minutes of our trip.  Thankfully Rachael was SUPER understanding and she sent me pictures and updates every few hours and we got on FaceTime every day to video chat.  I’m sure all the other moms reading this can totally relate… Kaelen was totally fine and I was the one who needed the hand-holding!  I think I never could’ve done it if I hadn’t been totally confident in him being cared for by the very best!  It really is a steep learning curve figuring out all the details, “What clothes/diapers/stuff will he need while I’m gone?”, “How much milk do I leave for Rachael to feed him?”, “How often do I need to pump while I’m gone?” I know I probably should have left him alone, but even though we returned at 1am Monday morning, I still picked him up and held him.  I got REALLY big smiles the next morning when we all woke up after sleeping in.  All I can say is that I’m SOOO glad that I’m not planning to leave him again for a good while!

This week has been slammed, Doug had to be gone all day a couple of days so I made it to my MOMs workout class twice and Yoga today.  I finally even posted Kaelen’s 15 week picture today which I somehow didn’t manage to post even though we took it on time.  I’m looking forward to a regular week next week.  This weekend is a big weekend as we are celebrating Sarah’s (Doug’s Sister) birthday Sunday,  Cousin Alex’s Birthday Saturday, and another family friend Saturday as well.  I am eagerly anticipating Sarah’s menu- Crepes mmmmmmm!

Here are a couple of other pictures from today:


Kaelen laughing while I kiss his neck


Kaelen16Weeks41Kaelen constantly has his finger(s), thumb, or whole fist in his mouth these days!


~ Erica

Florida Trip

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The weekend that Kaelen turned 6 weeks old Grandpa (or as the great-grandchildren call him “Grandpa Magic”) turned 90.  So all of the Charlotte clan headed south to Palm Harbor, Florida to celebrate with him.  The Charlotte crew rented a large vacation home that had a pool out back and was a fantastic setup for all four couples and the 3 grandchildren.

The first day we went to see Grandpa Magic at his house where he held Kaelen for the first time.



We decided to take Kaelen swimming since it was warm even though it was the beginning of February!  The pool was a little cool for Kaelen so he didn’t stay in long, even after he adjusted to the temperature.  The rest of the clan joined in the fun either poolside or swimming/horsing around in the pool.


KaelensFirstSwim34Daddy, Mama, & Kaelen


KaelensFirstSwim58Getting in the Water with Mama

“Daddy I’m COLD!”

KaelensFirstSwim77Warm again with Grandma!

Caleb playing on the whale

 KaelensFirstSwim114   KaelensFirstSwim97
 Mark & Doug throwing the whale…  Boys will be boys…


KaelensFirstSwim121I’m laughing at the boys playing

KaelensFirstSwim91Josh glaring at the camera.  (Thank you Sarah for taking these pictures for me!)

KaelensFirstSwim118Connor practicing with the snorkel


Sunday was the big celebration with Grandpa Magic and everyone in his community.  There was of course a magic show, singing, and alot of yummy cake!  We got a few family pictures that turned out great!


The whole family surrounding Grandpa Magic
From Left-Back Row: Nancy, John, Jay, Susan, Doug, Sarah, JoshFront Row: Sara, Scott, Michelle, Grandpa Magic, Me (Erica), Kaelen, Caleb, Connor, Nicole, & Mark


Four Generations: Doug, Kaelen, Dad(Jay), & Grandpa Magic

There were a few other highlights of the trip that I don’t have pictures of.  We had a few big breakfasts with the whole family (Sourdough Waffles- YUM!).  Fabulous dinners at The Lucky Dill and Spoto’s Steak Joint.  A few of us went shopping in Tarpon Springs and we ordered an entire flat of Baklava that we demolished throughout the rest of the trip.  Thanks for the idea Mark!  A special closing note (no pun intended) of the trip was coffee on Monday morning before we got on the road to come home.  Grandpa Magic plays violin in a band with several other members of his community and they played several valentines classics for everyone in the community! It was a wonderful trip and we especially enjoyed Kaelen getting to meet Grandpa Magic and our extended family for the first time.

~ Erica

Kaelen’s First Wedding

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Last night we celebrated with Nick & Brittany!  The wedding took place outside (brrrr) on Britany’s family’s farm.  It was picturesque, beautiful countryside, horses in the field, guests sitting on bales of hay keeping warm with blankets & cider.  To top it off there was a PERFECT sunset right during the ceremony.  Kaelen wore his blue & grey fleece outdoor suit that his Aunt Lauren gave him and he actually slept completely through the ceremony and the beginning of the reception.  I couldn’t have planned it more perfectly!  Here are some pictures from the wedding & reception.


Kaelen & me keeping warm while waiting for the wedding to start


Bridal Party

Nick&BrittanyWeddingPanoramaPanoramic shot during the ceremony


First dance


Daddy time during dinner


Our first Family picture at an event


Celebrating with Nick & Brittany

~ Erica