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.

 

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Kaelen 11 Months19Cheesin’ for Mama

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Kaelen 11 Months71Standing Unassisted

 

Kaelen 11 Months59“Pwwwwwt!” (Blowing Raspberries)

~ Erica

 


Ah ba ba ba ma ma ma!

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You will all have to bear with the Speech Therapist in me for a little bit in this post!

Early this morning we arrived home from our trip to Atlanta and as I changed Kaelen into a night-time diaper and his pajamas he began doing some Consonant-Vowel sound play for the first time!

The first thing he said sounded like the title of this entry, “Ah bababa mamama” but he went on from there while he was on the changing table enjoying listening to himself.

Thus far Kaelen does all of the following: shrieking, blowing raspberries, Ah, Oh, Ooo, Goo, Ba, & Ma.

The shrieking is sooo funny because he does it quietly with lots of extra air coming out. I’ll have to try to get a video of it. Blowing raspberries is his FAVORITE and he instantly gets a big grin when someone blows one to him. He has been doing extended vowel play with the sounds Ah, Oh, & Ooo and changing the pitch of his voice up and down for a while. It’s so fun to see him develop and add new things!

Here’s a video of him “talking” 🙂

~ Erica


Singing Love Songs to Mama

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One of the things that my best friend told me was that her nursing relationship with her daughter Lily has been truly special.  There’s a long back story that I won’t share here, but needless to say I’m delighted for her. As a result of watching what she went through I was really looking forward to experiencing the perks of nursing my own baby.  Other than a few minor concerns along the way that I feel like most mothers face like: “is my baby getting enough?”, “How do I know when to switch sides?”, and “when will he quit playing instead of eating when it’s time to nurse?” Our nursing relationship was pretty blessed and went well from the start.  Once Kaelen was a couple weeks old he began doing something that to this day is my favorite thing.  After he finishes nursing if he hasn’t fallen asleep while eating, he lays back in my arms or against the pillow and begins cooing, smiling, and carrying on all while staring up at me with those gorgeous blue eyes of his.  I refer to this as him “singing love songs to Mama”.  I can’t truly describe how it makes me feel but I fall in love with him all over again every time he does it.  The whole world disappears and he and I are alone in our moment together.  Anyway, I’ve been trying for a while to get a clip of him doing this on video so I thought I’d share a clip here for my memory (don’t worry everyone is fully clothed) since I know he won’t do this forever….

~ Erica

 

 

 

 


Kaelen’s First Laugh

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Doug reported to me that Kaelen started laughing aloud during “playtime” one day in the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately neither of us remembers exactly which day it was.  I was working out or in the shower when Kaelen did it so I hadn’t had the opportunity to see or hear him laugh except in his sleep until last Wednesday night.  Evidently, I’m not very funny to Kaelen or I just haven’t figured out what I need to do to get him laughing- haha :).  On Wednesday, Kaelen was with his Aunt Noelle and he found her to be hilarious because he laughed with her all evening, including when I returned to pick him up.  It is the cutest thing ever!  Anyway, she stalked him with her iPhone to get a video of him laughing so now I have it to share with you!  Enjoy!

~ 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.

Kaelen&GrandpaMagic04

 

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

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“Daddy I’m COLD!”

KaelensFirstSwim77Warm again with Grandma!

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Caleb playing on the whale

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 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!

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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

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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


“…I Work Out!”

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Last week I returned to the gym for the first time since Kaelen was born!  I had been highly active working out until the last portion of my pregnancy, but due to how big Kaelen was my low back didn’t allow me to continue working out after about mid-November.  I was feeling antsy and ready to return to being active starting about four weeks postpartum, however between Kaelen’s sleep schedule and our travel to Florida I hadn’t made it.

I didn’t even realize how much I had missed working out!  First I attended Yoga with Susan (Mother-in-law) Nicole, and Sarah (sisters-in-law) Sunday of last week.  It was challenging, but it was so good to stretch and loosen up.  I was sore in a few places for a few days after that, but totally worth it!

Monday & Wednesday I went back to my Zumba class.  For anyone who doesn’t know Zumba is an active dance class where the music is mostly Latin music and the moves draw from Latin dances such as Samba, Salsa, or Meringue.  I’ve never much enjoyed traditional workouts on stationary equipment or running, but I am SUPER motivated in Zumba because of how much I love to dance and by the group environment!  Walking out of the gym last Monday it hit me how much I have missed it since I hadn’t been for so long!  I could feel a major difference in my energy level already after being back just a couple days…

I will probably shoot to get to the gym 3-5 times per week and I do have a variety of classes I like to take including Zumba, Yoga, & a Mom’s workout class that does strengthening.  The cool thing about the Mom’s class is that I can take Kaelen with me if I want to or if he can’t stay at home with Doug without having to put him in Child Watch at the YMCA.

I’m looking forward to having my pre-pregnancy clothing fit again and I’m glad to be working towards that goal!

~ Erica

 

 


First Friends

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There was a string of friends that all had their first babies over the past six months and so this past week was an opportunity for Kaelen to meet them, and for us to meet their babies.  I was amazed to see how big he is compared to some of the other babies, even ones who are significantly older than he is!  We had a wonderful time.

The first event was a wedding, here our friend Van is holding Kaelen and Lincoln (4 months).

Van, Lincoln, & Kaelen

 

Next we took lunch to our friends Adam & Mandi who had their daughter Adalynn at the same birthing center we used.  Here Adalynn is 1 week and 3 days old!  Mandi and I had a great visit sharing our birth stories and catching up on “being mom”!

Adalynn&Kaelen44

Adalynn&Kaelen06

Both Adalynn & Kaelen were over 9lbs at birth and super long!  She was 23 inches!

Over the weekend Doug and I attended a leadership conference where we saw a few more friends between sessions!  It was great because many of us brought our babies with us.  It was good to catch up with everyone!  (Bear with the cellphone pictures:)

Jessica, Carson, Kaelen, & Me

Kaelen & me with Carson (2 months) & Jessica
I love Carson’s adorable little outfit! She’s got Mommy’s sense of style!

Kara, Albon, Kaelen, & me
Kara & Albon (2 months) with Kaelen & me
Albon is such a cutie!

I’m so excited for our kids to grow up together!  These are the first of many fun times!

~ 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.

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

Nick&BrittanyWedding1

Bridal Party

Nick&BrittanyWeddingPanoramaPanoramic shot during the ceremony

 

Nick&BrittanyWedding2
First dance

DougandKaelenWedding

Daddy time during dinner

OurFamilyatWedding

Our first Family picture at an event

UsBrideandGroom

Celebrating with Nick & Brittany

~ Erica