Saturday, April 28, 2012

Caleb: 22 Months

Two more months until age 2! This year has gone by so quickly. This month was full of funny stories and mini-milestones. I say it all the time, but I really do treasure everyday we spend with this little guy.

New quirks. Caleb is getting really good at using his teeth to bite "whole" food rather than me tearing it up into bites for him. I usually give him half a banana, a slice of cheese or a piece of bread and he does a reasonably good job of not choking himself : ) However,should I dare to try and break something apart in his presence...tears!

Just how important being able to take his own bites is to him came home to me just as we were about to leave the house for our family walk. I'd broken off half a banana to snack on and Caleb, of course, wanted some. When I broke off a piece to give him, he collapsed dramatically to the floor screaming and crying. I looked at David in bewilderment, who translated our toddler's cries: "Doooon't break it mommy! You ruin it!!!" Haha, poor guy. He got over it and we went for our walk, but wow, what a toddler moment!

Caleb chowing down on his apple slices. No more bite-sized pieces for this big boy!

Speaking of new quirks...Caleb has suddenly developed a major aversion to having his toenails clipped. Merely uttering the words "Mommy needs to trim your toe nails" turns him into a weepy, squirmy mess. Trying to actually accomplish the task was akin to wrestling a bear. After 3-4 weeks of this, I broke out my secret weapon for the first time...Finding Nemo. After 2 minutes, Caleb's gaze was fixed and his jaw was beginning to go slack so I scooped him into my lap and was able to complete the task in about 10 minutes. He still wasn't a fan, but it was much less traumatic for both of us. TV definitely has it's uses! Hopefully pairing it with something he likes will help him relax about it. He lets me clip his finger nails even without Elmo's help these days, so I'm hopeful!

Special Outtings. Even though Caleb slept through all the drama the weekend I went to the ER, we decided to celebrate family life being back to normal by taking him to PetSmart (aka: the free domesticated animal zoo). It was an extra special day because all 6 shelter cats were out of their cages getting some "free play" time with the volunteer. She welcomed us back and Caleb got to interact with all the kitties.

He had a blast petting them and throwing the little rubber ball for them to chase. We had to be careful he didn't get his hand in between a playful cat and their toy, but otherwise he did wonderfully. My mommy heart swelled with a little pride when the volunteer complimented us over and over on how gentle he was with the cats and how we were welcome back anytime to play with them. I felt bad not taking one home, but she assured us it's wonderful for them to be socialized with little ones so when an adoptive family does come, the cats are ready.

After David went back to work, Caleb got to spend quite a bit of time doing this while I recovered from the ER trip. Thanks Tews for our one-of-a-kind DVD. Caleb loves being read to and mommy loves the break!

More advanced language and comprehension skills lead to conversations like this one:

David and I are trying to ease Caleb into the bedtime routine:

David: "Caleb would you like daddy to read you a book?"
Caleb: "Uh-Uh."
Sarah: "Would you like mommy to read you a book?"
Caleb: "Uh-uh."

Parents exchange "oh, it's gonna be one of those nights" glances

Sarah (trying to break the tension): "Caleb, do you want a pony?"
Caleb: "Yeah..." in his sweet toddler voice

There you have it.

Mini Milestones

Begins sleeping with a stuffie. Mr. Turtle is not to be left out of the bedtime routine anymore.

Draws his first circle! Oh the excitement that comes from being able to draw your own "BALL!" "BAAAALLL!"

Peed in the potty for the first time on Easter. No repeat performances thus far : )

Tried to sign "I love you" back to daddy at bed time. Every bit as heart-melting as you imagine...

Can climb the ladder to the slide.

Can undress himself almost completely independently before bath.

First introduction to chocolate in the form of warm chocolate chip cookie. Wish I had gotten photos of the gooey mess!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring in Our Backyard

Growing up in Florida, I never truly appreciated how much fun spring could be. Even in North Florida, spring is just the two weeks where everything blooms beautifully before the heat of summer sets in and everything turns resolutely green again. Here, spring takes place at a more leisurely pace. A few steps forward, a few steps back, flowers and greenery unfold week after week. First came the daffodils and cherry blossoms, now come the tulips and apple blossoms, yet to come are my wisteria and lilac bushes. It's a joy to watch life unfold!

Caleb certainly agrees. He loooves watching all the activity going on in our front and back yards. Nothing is better than when the giant squirells tempt him by coming right up onto our back porch before dashing off up a tree. He runs over to the window anytime the birds start squabbling, which is often.

One of our resident squirrels

For those who have been following the on-going bird drama this year...The little finches have reclaimed their nest as the big birds who were trying take over were apparently migratory and only needed it for temporary housing. They seem thrilled to be back and are happily restuffing every scrap of leaf and grass into their already full space.

Mrs. Robin has laid two eggs and spends most of her time sitting on the nest, especially on the few days when the temps have dipped back down into freezing. I'm spending more time with the curtains in the kitchen closed out of respect for the job she's doing. I can't wait to see the little chicks hatch! Mr. Robin has made peace with the window once again, though I'm not naive enough anymore to expect it to last : )

Roosting just outside the kitchen window under the wisteria
Some of you may remember our dismal garden fail last year. Long story short, we dug up the grass, added furrows, dropped seeds on top of the completely unworked, unfertilized furrows, dropped a little top soil on them and hoped something would grow. Amazingly, adorable little lettuce plants and carrot heads sprouted and grew into tiny baby greens which I thinned out and enjoyed in a (very small) salad.

Things went down hill from there. First it was a hail storm. And then a second one. Nickle sized peices of hail pummeled our yard, not once, but twice. I was sure our garden was doomed. Amazingly it survived both onslaughts. What it did not survive was the great bunny attack of June 2011. After our resident bunny nibbled every single stalk of lettuce and carrot head, we decided that sometimes you just have to know when to give up. And give up we did.

This fall, David built me these beautiful raised beds in hopes of keeping the bunny out. We filled them with horse and chicken manure from a friends farm, along with several giant bags of our fall leaves and let it mature over winter. A couple weeks ago I planted, and a hail storm predictably followed. Fortunately my seeds are still safely underground and the hail pieces were pea-sized this time. We are looking at this year as a learning experience and look forward to seeing what grows!)

Something was already growing in our compost pile! A giant green onion.

David breaking up the manure before adding top soil.

Caleb is fascinated.

Planting. Caleb is sneakily trying to water the garden with his sippy cup.

Helping Daddy clear out another garden area while mommy plants.

Craft-stick and permanent marker labels. Sacrificial spinach planted to see if our bunny can reach.