Sunday, January 20

Charlie Franklin

Dad and Charlie, tickle time
What a fun two months!

A lot has been going on over the past few weeks. The most recent being we are losing our nanny and moving into daycare territory. Or, "school", as Kevin likes to call it. That makes us feel better about it. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of benefits and many successful people have come out of the depths of the chaos and dirtiness of daycare. But I will really miss the convenience of our nanny.

I visited 6 different centers and was really getting discouraged. They were all just as I remembered them: Dirty, loud, and full of weird adults who I wouldn't trust to get my mail, let alone watch my baby. But, eventually I did find a couple that I felt ok with. I guess that's part of the sacrifice you have to make when you want it all. Maybe when he's a little older, I'll convince my boss to let me bring him to work with me every day. Then I will really have it all!

But seriously, my career situation is crazy awesome. I am in a position I never thought I'd be and actually really, REALLY enjoy what I do. That has made it difficult to try and balance the priorities of home and work life. I would love to stay home with Charlie. But I would miss out on so much of the satisfaction and pride I take in my work. I suppose that's my way of rationalizing my decision, but I do feel it's what's best for our family right now.

As we were going around looking at the daycare facilities, there seemed to be a recurring conversation:

"Hi, how are you?"
"Fine, thanks. Can we please take a tour?"
"Of course. Let me have you fill out this paper first. Is this your child?"
"Yes, this is Charlie."
"Oh, what a cutie! Is it a boy or a girl?"

Seriously. I mean, I know Charlie is kind of a unisex name, and I know with babies it's often difficult to know for sure, but he is dressed in black jeans and a t shirt with a black motorcycle on it. So it made me finally come to grips with the fact that Charlie needs a hair cut. Desperately. The mullet this kid is growing would put Joe Dirt to shame.

But the first hair cut is a big deal. It's the first time that I have control over changing the appearance of my baby. He's had that same hair since he was inside my belly. I've washed it countless times, rubbed my cheek against it when giving hugs, and stroked it while helping him go back to sleep. So what is the best way to capture the moment before changing the face you've known since birth? Well, for some it's with keeping the locks tucked away in an envelope. For others, maybe it's my snapping a few before and after photos. But in this house, we do photo shoots.

I decided to go for a Benjamin Franklin theme. I made him a little puffy shirt with some wool pants, bought some tights and away we went. His hair was the perfect length for a little baby ponytail. It was difficult to capture the full view, but you can get the idea. I'm glad Charlie is such a good sport about it all. What choice does he have, really?

Although Charlie has been walking for a few months now, he has really picked up the pace. He is better at balancing himself but he still has difficulty sometimes. He knows how to click his tongue and likes to babble on and on. He can take direction pretty well, he knows how to find his bottle, come here, no (of course) and find kitty. He waves his hands back and forth when he's all done and has learned the actions for Itsy Bitsy Spider (still his favorite song).

We went to the aquarium again a couple of weeks ago. He liked it much better this time than he did the last time we went. His favorite were the jellyfish and the turtle.

Ugly sweater. We do the holidays right.
He also had a pretty interesting Christmas. I'm sure he'll be more into it next year, but he seemed a little overwhelmed at all the noise, wrapping paper and new toys.

In other news, Charlie is already going to be an uncle. His older sister is expecting a baby girl who will be born around the end of March. Pretty weird, but it will be good for him to have a playmate about his age. He's also getting a new cousin about a month later, as my sister-in-law is pregnant, too!

One of Charlie's many musical toys from Christmas

We took the kids to see the lights downtown on Christmas
Eve. Charlie was frozen, but so amazed.

Wednesday, November 28

Happy Birthday!

We just celebrated Charlie and Oliver's first birthday. Poor Charlie had a nasty cold, though, and he was in no mood to play. But, we HAD to have a photoshoot.

We also went to my mom's for Thanksgiving. Which was even better, because Charlie had the flu. I experienced my first cleaning barf out of small crevices.

Some of my favorite Charlie-isms these days:

He bobbles his head back and forth when he gets excited, happy, or hears music.

He loves Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Goldfish crackers are his favorite snacks.

Pancakes are his favorite food.

He walks everywhere. I love when he looks for me so he can hold my finger while he explores.

He has another new habit that drives me crazy. He hates having his diaper changed. He's ok until the diaper comes off, then it's time to roll over, crawl away, flip on his tummy, anything he can do to keep from having a fresh diaper put on. It's infuriating!

But seriously folks. I love this crazy kid.

Friday, November 9

Growing Like a Weed

WOW, can it really be that long since I took the time to sit down and write up a new post? Well I certainly hope I can remember everything that has happened in the last couple of months.

There are more new teeth. Four on the top, four on the bottom. He can eat just about everything we eat now, which is nice. He prefers veggies to fruits. His favorite snack is goldfish crackers. We've also given him more opportunities to self feed, things like pudding, soup, potatoes, any really anything I would normally feed him. It makes a complete mess, but he loves it. He's completely off formula and just has regular milk now. That doesn't seem to bother him too much. He'll even drink it cold, right out of the fridge.

He has officially outgrown all of the hand-me-downs we've been given. I'm surprised they lasted this long, because most of them were 3-6 months and, well, he's almost 12. We've been making a few trips to the second-hand store to get him some good sweaters and pants for the winter. It's amazing how many cute clothes you can find that are practically brand new. Love it!

I made a trip to see my parents last month. We drove up to Yellowstone for a day and it was BEAUTIFUL! I love the mountains in the fall. Charlie loved it, too. He doesn't get to see grandma and grandpa very much, but he was sure happy to spend time with them.

He still isn't talking much, but occasionally he will get going for a while and do a string of connected syllables (none of it makes any sense yet). "T" usually is for the cat, "Sss" is for Angel and Emilee and "uh" is for something he sees and likes. So I guess we're getting somewhere.

This was the picnic we had at the park before Justine left to
become a famous actress in L.A.

Charlie loves kitchen stuff. He was teething at Grandma's, so
keeping him happy was a constant struggle.

Just after waking up, the boys grab a much needed drink.

It was COLD in West Yellowstone while we were walking
around, but that didn't seem to bother this kid.

Grandma and Charlie, having some snacks at Old Faithful

Charlie is learning all about the harsh realities of the world -
like pine needles.

What a jolly crowd! We didn't want to leave!

This is the top of a turkey baster which Charlie likes to chew
on. He squishes it so it sucks to this inside of his cheek,
then laughs when it pops off.

We add to buy a new hat for his giant head, because none
of the hats we have fit him anymore. Baby Genius right here.

This was at the Remebrance Event for Oliver last month. All
the balloons represent a child lost by a family.

Here is Ollie's balloon.

During the name reading, people would release their child's
balloon when their name was called. It's difficult to see, but
Oliver's is the biggest blue dot near the top.

We also visited the zoo for his first time! Remember I mentioned
none of his hats fit him? Here is the proof.

And finally, I took this one last night. Charlie is learning to
brush his teeth. He's quite good at it already!

Tuesday, September 18

Sounds and Screams

Kevin and I had a picnic in the park for our anniversary a
couple of weeks ago. We took Charlie with us, he sucked
on a lemon while we had burgers and fries. Yum.
Charlie is 10 months old today. As is tradition, lots of new changes to accompany the last few weeks.

In my last post, I wrote about Charlie's first top tooth. That same day, we found another tooth...then another. So, now he has his two top teeth and three bottom teeth. It made for a miserable week, but thankfully we all got through it relatively unscathed.

He has some new sounds now, too. He can say his t's, s's and d's. But unfortunately, still no sign of an m. That's ok, though, because I'm sure "Mama" will still be his first actual word (Kevin will vehemently argue that he's already achieved the first word milestone with "Dad", but reality is what you acknowledge, so I say it doesn't count).

Charlie loves his dad. They are the best of buds.
This kid has so much character already. He makes me laugh every day with all his silliness. His faces are absolutely priceless. He's picked up a few new tricks from his girlfriend (the new nanny's daughter). He's started screaming and tensing his body - not altogether a new trick, but the pitch and volume are definitely new. He's walking along furniture now and is getting more able and confident at going from an up position to a down position. Toys are more interesting, too. They aren't just immediately shoved into the mouth, but now he takes time to touch, turn, shake and explore them before turning them into slobber buckets.

One of those faces I was talking about. This was a grape
popsicle. I couldn't get it out of the wrapper fast enough
for him - it was gone in less than 2 minutes.
It's funny to me, too, how he already has favorites. He has a few toys he is partial to and others he couldn't care less about. Right now, he's not a big fan of anything plush unless it's big like a teddy bear. He prefers hard plastic or wooden toys. He also wants anything and everything he is not supposed to have. Examples: Cups, cords, lotion bottles, phones, remotes, ...oh, and let's not forget the cat. He is a pretty fast crawler now and will chase her around a few times before finally giving up. Thankfully, she has been pretty patient with him so far and on the rare occasions where he does get a fist full of hair, she gives a clawless swat or two before deciding to just run away.

My mom sent Charlie a package from their trip to Yellowstone a few weeks ago. It was moose-themed, of course. Charlie got a cute red jammy set, a book and a stuffed moose. As soon as I got the moose out of the box, Charlie got an instant smile and lunged for it. Since then, he sleeps with it at night and during naps. He loves that moose. 

I'm starting to think of what I want to do for his birthday. It's still a couple of months away and I don't plan on doing anything elaborate (we'll save those birthdays for later) but I'd still like to do something fun. I'm still not sure what our family has planned for Thanksgiving, but I might try to combine his birthday celebration with a family get together, if I can swing it. If not, shoot - I'll just bake a couple of cakes and let Charlie go to town. Any excuse to bake a cake is a good excuse.
We tried pancakes for the first time with great success. No
choking or gagging, relatively good self-feeding and extra
cakes for mom. Win-win!
Angel is holding a very tired Charlie at the fair. The poor
guy couldn't get any peace and quiet to take a nap until
it was time to leave.

More grape popsicle. I expected him to struggle with the cold
ice chunks, but he did extremely well.

Here we are trying whipped topping for the first time. This
was actually just to distract him for a few minutes until his
breakfast was ready. He was not impressed.

Wednesday, August 22

A New Tooth and a First Word

Charlie swinging at the park while visiting Aunt Jenn
Charlie is getting his first top tooth. I found this the other day when he kept chewing on one of his toys, then crying. I checked out his gums and sure enough, here it comes.

I thought he would be more willing to try some solid foods but so far, he does not seem interested in anything new. However, he has been eating his homemade Baby Bullet foods and, although unsure at first, has been getting used to the new tastes and textures.

We had a big weekend. Charlie is usually pretty good with adventures, but we really put him to the test a couple days ago. Kevin's sister Gina and her husband Cody came up to visit us so we decided to take the Timpanogas Cave tour. We've been before, but it's been a few years. We thought if we went on Friday instead of Saturday, we should be able to take the hike and tour with minimal wait. We were wrong.
Dad and Charlie while we wait to start our hike

We got there around noon and as we pulled up to the Ranger Station to pay the entrance fee, we saw a sign posted that said there was a 4 hour wait for tours. 4 hours! We were already there, so we decided to just hang around and kill some time until we could start hiking. We ate lunch, walked by the river, checked out the Visitor's Center, all while Charlie was going on no naps and 95 degree heat outside.

This was about half way up the mountain. Charlie is sleeping.
We finally got to start hiking which meant Charlie needed sunscreen. I gave him a good coating head to toe, but he must have rubbed some in his eyes because his eyes and nose started oozing tears and boogs. We weren't allowed to take strollers on the trail, so Kevin packed him in a front pack, much to Charlie's dismay. But, about half way up the mountain, he eventually fell asleep and got a good power nap in before being awoken by the sound of construction further up the trail.

He was so good in the cave. We were afraid he would fuss or scream during the tour, but other than a few baby noises, he was quiet and happy the whole time.

The only real issue we had was when the wind picked up when we left the cave and Charlie lost his hat. All things considered, I consider that a win!

Charlie's new bath - much safer.
 As we were winding down the weekend, Charlie was doing some of his usual babble talk when suddenly I heard, "da duh duh duh duh". At first I was so happy to hear something other than "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah", but then I realized Charlie was saying da da instead of ma ma. What the heck?!

Since then, he will usually copy us if we say it to him. I don't think he's made the connection of who da da is yet, but it is really cute to hear him learning to form his sounds into something we can understand.

Finally, he pulled himself up for the first time today. He has been crawling around like crazy and can easily change from sitting to lying to crawling. But this is the first time he's been able to grab on to something and, without any help from us, pull himself into a standing position. AH! Could I really have a walking baby in the next few weeks? No! Stay little! Ha. I do love seeing him grow up. But holy cow, it seems like he has just skyrocketed over the last 3 weeks. So many new things in such a short amount of time.

Wednesday, August 15

Time for Kneepads

Charlie is crawling. He's been working on it for about a month now, but after seeing some enticing power cords out of his reach, it was enough to push him from rolly-polly mobility into full on crawling.

He's funny about it, though. He won't do it if you want him to crawl to you, or if you're trying to show someone. He will only do it if it's for something he isn't supposed to have. Like power cords.

I guess it's time to baby proof for reals now. Fun.

I've been interviewing some new nanny's this week. Our current nanny is moving back home next weekend. It's funny, I didn't really struggle with leaving him with someone as a newborn. He was only 6 weeks old when the nanny started watching him. But now, finding a nanny and leaving him with a stranger again, I feel much more worried. Almost to the point that I can't make a decision. What if I choose wrong? Oh, the guilt.

I finally opened up my Baby Bullet yesterday. This morning, we had fresh bananas for breakfast. Charlie seemed to like it, but it made the banana very frothy and full of air bubbles. I didn't like that so much, because I knew it would make him gassy. Sure enough.

Today was a rough day in mommyville. Charlie woke up this morning around 7 as he usually does. I changed him, fed him breakfast, gave him a bottle, all in line with our morning routine. I laid him down for his morning nap, but he was not going to sleep. He played quietly and talked to himself for about half an hour, then he fussed. Then he cried. Then he screamed. So I got him out of bed, played with a little more, we watched an episode of Nip/Tuck, changed his bum again, had another bottle, read a story and put him back to bed for his nap. Same thing happened. He is usually so great about going down for naps. I mean, I can just lay him down, give him a blankie, turn on his sound machine and he is out. NOT TODAY. I was ready to rip my hair out by the time Kevin got home from work. After 3 attempts at a nap, he just wouldn't have it. What an imp.

Thursday, July 26


We took Charlie to the aquarium a few weeks ago. He was finally on the mend from feeling terrible all week and we really needed a break from the house. He did ok for the first half an hour or so, but was in no mood for adventures by the time we got to the octopus.

Emilee tried to cover his mouth so you wouldn't be able to see
how rotten he was being. But it didn't work.

 I also took a trip to Wyoming for my 10 year high school reunion. My oldest sister still lives there so I was able to visit her for a few hours, too. As soon as we got there, Charlie seemed like he was ready to leave.

 My brother in law let us borrow his baby cowboy boots so Charlie could rustle up some cows with his cousin, Dustin. Don't let the smile fool you. He was not happy about this.

And also, I finally took a picture of the Father's Day present we gave Kevin this year. I traced all the kids hands and layered them on top of each other using some 3D dot stickers then put the stack in a shadow box frame. It turned out super cute. I had to guess a little on the hand for Oliver.