Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer: Better Late than Never!

At long last, summer has arrived. The last 2 weeks have been down right perfect, and O and I are trying to get out as much as possible!
A week (or so) ago, we joined our friends Chloe (4) and Olivia (21 months) at Fox Hollow Family Farm .

It's a private home/farm that is open for special events and limited hours during the summer as a play area for kids. I hear their sponsored Easter egg hunts have a wait list.

The farm is out in Issaquah, WA, one of my favorite mountain towns. Can you imagine if this were your daily view?
This is the view from the backyard. Rumor has it salmon run down this stream during peak season.

The farm had these adorable John Deer tractors for kids. Chloe and Olivia took off for these immediately. Andrea (their mom), and I were cracking up. After Chloe got bored and went to the next best thing, Olivia tried to drive it herself. This baby #2 has no fear, and she keeps her mama on her toes!

Chloe 'planting' and digging in the vegetable garden.
This garden makes me 'green' with envy. I do dream of this some day. Until now, I'll have to keep attempting my lettuce and zucchini vegetable starts. (You'll notice they haven't been featured on the blog.. that's for a reason).

Olivia chased these chickens for 20 minutes. I don't know why it's so fun to watch toddlers toddle. She's got a quick toddle though!

Andrea snapped this pic of our little O. This is the first time I let him play in the grass, and he loved it! His nails were caked with dirt and he had the time of his life. If only I would have let him eat the grass...
Here's to my little boy becoming a little boy. I am sure I'll need to let go of some of my germophobia..

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

what a difference a day makes

Owen had lots of surprises in store for us after Mike came home from work last night. We were playing on the floor, and he took it upon himself to pull to standing on the side of this basket. He then went across the blanket on his hands and knees. We are just so tickled with him!

Today when I went to get him from his afternoon nap, he was on his knees at the side of the crib. It's just a matter of time before he's standing there too!

What are you looking at, mom? I'm just getting a better view of my toys.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

8 months old! LOTS of new tricks

I always love writing the monthly report. Hopefully some day soon I will transfer these milestones to his baby book, but at least for now they are documented somewhere. We've had a lot of fun changes in the last few days, and some I've been able to capture on film!!

Capturing the baby with my sophisticated home made signs is becoming increasingly difficult. My first 12 attempts turned out quite a bit like this picture. That is until he decided to try to climb head first off of the rocking chair. I think I'm going to need another plan for 9 months.

So we took the picture with me (not my ideal photograph). Check out his fly aways. Uncle Dax would recommend super max hold spray for those bad boys.

We celebrated Mike's 31st birthday yesterday.. Owen was pretty interested in the fire on the candles... I think the first time he's seen fire. Unfortunately, Owen did not quite get to partake in the home made red velvet cake Mike requested (he is his mother's son), but O only has 4 months until his cake debut!

In addition to cake and ice cream, we also celebrated Mike's birthday with a flight around Puget Sound. The plane was flown by none other than Mike Wade himself. He was magnificent, of course, and it was a real treat to see him in his element. God blessed us with a gorgeous day, and I took lots of pictures which I'll highlight in another post. That evening we went to dinner at a quaint Italian restaurant on the beach called La Rustica. The whole restaurant seats maybe 50 people, they give large glasses of wine, and serve amazing food. It was a fantastic date night for sure!

Here's a pic I took before introducing the 8 month sign. This is before our shoot went downhill. You'll notice O has a bit of a runny nose. We're not sure if this is a cold or related to teething. He was in the church nursery and at a 1st birthday party last Sunday.. so a cold wouldn't be out of the question, but Thursday of this week was one of our hardest days in months. He was awake and crying from 0630 to 1330. I couldn't calm him, and driving didn't even put him to sleep. Finally we laid down together and I nursed him and snuggled him while he napped. I felt like I had a newborn again, and it made me think we might see some pearly whites soon. None have popped up yet, however! You all will be the first to know, I promise.  

Today we went to Mt. St. Helen's State Park (also to be highlighted in a different post). We did stop for a bit to let him crawl around and get out of the car. As you know, he's mastered the army crawl... but today he took two crawling 'steps' on all fours! What a big, big boy!

Here's a sweet shot of his inquisitive face taken by Dr. Terry in St. Louis. It looks like he's in the middle of a conversation, right?

I think this one almost looks like a professional pic, but it was actually snapped by our friend Andrea at a farm last week (Again.. details to come in another post). This is the day he discovered grass, and he was pulling it up by the handful (and maybe a bit landed in his mouth). We called him 'Mowin' Owen' for the rest of the morning.

As he's mastered the army crawl, he's also discovered his favorite target: Oskee's bowls. Fortunately, she wolfs down her food in about 23 seconds, so we don't have to worry about Owen with the food. But he does LOVE her water bowl, and he can get there quick. Originally his army crawl became my new dust mop. Now that's he's in to the water (and his shirt gets soaked), he's actually my wet mop too. This could come in handy, though it's disastrous on his clothes. White is certainly out of the question at this point.

Just a little play time at breakfast. He loves to play with the bowl and spoon after we're done eating. I think he likes the feel of the food between his fingers. He's improving on his chewing skills (with the dissolving puffs), but we haven't quite mastered the pincer grasp. Therefore, I am still feeding him the puffs. In addition to the non-nutritious processed baby puffs, he is also eating:

Rice (very occasionally),  green beans (only if I make them from fresh green beans), carrots, peas, oats, sweet potatoes, avocado, pear, banana, apricot, squash, apples, peaches, multi-grain cereal, blueberries,  broccoli, and mango. We just started the broccoli and mango this week, and he doesn't seem to be a fan of either flavor. I love making my own baby food because it saves $$ and we can play with flavor combos... so we'll try to mix those with something good.

 He's been eating 3 solid meals a day for about 6 weeks now, so we are trying to really cut back the nursing.

Owen and his best friend, Oskee. She tolerates him well, but I'm sure she misses the 'non-mobile' days.

Another new trick is the pulling up to his knees. This basket of toys/books is the perfect height (and weight) to allow him to pull up without tipping. I caught him trying to pull up on the coffee table tonight. This would be a pull to stand. I don't think he's coordinated enough for that, so I'm really going to have to watch him like a hawk.

Play time with daddy is oh so fun! He can crawl all over Mike at this point!

Owen's is also working on his language skills. Last Sunday he conquered "ma ma ma", and then Monday he moved right in to "ga ga ga ga". So this brings us up to B, D, M, G, and a very occasional P sound. A seems to be the only vowel going at this point. He also talks while he chews his puffs (bah bah bah). In the last week or so he has also started 'singing' when he is done nursing. At the end of the second side he looks up and me and throws together a string of sounds in a sing-songy voice. I absolutely LOVE this sweet time. It's like he's telling me "I'm all done, mom. Thanks for the snack".

Additional O-bug-isms:

  • He gives GREAT, tight hugs (I think it's mostly to get my pony tail, but he'll hold on tight to Mike too)
  • He twirls his right wrist while eating solid foods. I have no explanation for that one. 
  • He loves when I blow on things (primarily to cool his food). And he loves the wind blowing through his hair.
  • He responds to loud noises (like the vacuum) with a loud 'AHHHHHHH' 
  • He's mastered the motor boat sound with his lips (and it often interrupts nap time)
  • He loves to play with daddy's hat
  • His favorite part of bath time is when you take him out of the bath and lay him on the towel. Maybe he likes baby burritos? 
  • Sleep wise he usually goes down around 7-7:30pm, wakes to nurse at 10:30 and then sleeps until 5:30 or 6. I am so thrilled with this schedule I can hardly contain myself. Yes, it could be better.. but I'll take what I can get.
I know I have additional posts to catch up on to document our comings and goings during the last 1/2 of August. I'll try to get to those this week! Thanks for sharing in the journey of our precious Owen. We are completely in love with him =)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wade in the Water: Baptism Style

"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God"
1 Colossians 1:9-10

Owen's baptism day was very special indeed! We had him baptized at Troy UMC. This is the church I grew up in, and it is also the church Pastor Kurt Stone attends. He's the pastor who married us, and he's also a good family friend of both the Wades (going back to growing up in Indiana with Mike's mom) and the Coopers. Also, his 'day' job is at Boeing in St. Louis. All that to say, is he was the perfect person to perform the ceremony!

Ceremonies are a great opportunity to take family photos. Thanks to everyone who complied! Here's Owen with his parents and his GaGa and Papa Wade.
The Cooper clan! (This really could be the Cooper Family Christmas Photo)

We are thrilled and grateful to have Lindsey and Dax as Owen's Godparents.
Don't you think they have such a beautiful family?
(We had several cameras going at once, and there isn't a Nieders-Wade photo where we are all looking in the same direction.) This one is still pretty good though!

We were blessed to have Mike's Uncle Bill and Aunt Bev come up from Nixa, MO to celebrate. Bill is Becky's brother (and boy can he grill a steak!) He and Bev are great cooks, and it's on the bucket list to spend Thanksgiving at their house. Some day soon....
This is a picture of a PROUD and GLOWING Grandma. I love watching her with Owen. This is also a good picture of his cute cute outfit (I got it off of ebay.. and it was worth every penny of that $30!)

After the ceremony came the celebration at Grandma and Papa Cooper's house. We sent an evite out for the baptism BBQ a few weeks before, and we didn't get a single 'no' reply. I think my parents hosted 30-40 people that day. Thanks for a GREAT party Grandma and Papa!

 Great Grandma was also able to come, and boy was she thrilled to see that baby. My goodness she is proud. We visited her at the nursing home later that week, and we walked up and down all of the hallways introducing her 'BEAUTIFUL Owen Michael'. If someone would say, 'Oh He's cute', she would correct them and say, 'No, he's beautiful'. Fair enough!

Owen and his GaGa Wade. What a sweet picture captured by Dr. Terry! One of the most hilarious stories of the day was when we were opening gifts. Carson and Livi were so excited for the gift portion of the party, so we opened their first. They picked out some adorable books and also gave Owen a monogrammed big boy Bible (it's beautiful). Shortly after, we opened 'Baby's FIRST Bible' from my parents. Carson said 'Actually, it's not his first  Bible.. we already gave him one.' We got a real kick out of that.

Another funny Carson story: I was going to feed the baby, so I put on my 'Hooter Hider' (catchy name). He asked why I always wore that to feed the baby. Thank goodness for Lindsey who jumped right in to explain that Owen needed privacy while he ate. Carson then replied, 'Why, does he go to the bathroom while he eats'?  

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Dear Jesus- Thank you SO much for this healthy, vibrant baby boy. Thank you for the multitude of supportive family and friends that love and adore him. May you grant us love and patience as we raise him to know, love, serve, and glorify You. I thank You that you have good plans for his future. I thank you that You are in charge of his life. May you bless him and keep him all the days of his life. Love, Heather 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

PEPS; Summer Update

You'll recall that I am involved in a Bellevue-Moms group; ie: PEPS (Program for Early Parental Support). We don't meet weekly any longer, but we did get together a few weeks ago.

The Boys in April....

 The Boys in July (much more difficult to contain!)
L-R: Ben, Clive, Will (in the Green), Kyle is the cute Asian baby, and Owen's legs are in the right side of the picture.

 A great shot to capture all of them! Madden is up front here. James is pulling Ben's hair. At this point, James was the only 'mobile' one, and he sure did love all of the exploration of everyone else's face! Clive is next to Ben, Will again in the green. Kyle up front, and our O on the sidelines!

At this point, Owen had his fill of stimulation, and he was ready to go home for a nap. (You'll notice James now has both hands on Ben's face!)

Who is the fairest of them all? I am a bit biased.. but still. That face is CUTE!

Friday, August 12, 2011

time to babyproof

I caught this fun video yesterday. The orange ball is his favorite 'go after' toy.

Also yesterday, he practiced the art of moving from a sitting position to his belly (gracefully). Previously this transition has included a 'thud'. This morning, already, we've had lots of opportunities to teach what the word 'no' means. Stay tuned for this joy ride! We're on the move.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

wade in the water

As you know we recently took a little trip toward summer. St. Louis welcomed us with oppressive, sticky heat and daily temperatures over 100 degrees. I LOVED IT! The purpose of our trip was to have the baby boy baptized, and it was an awesome day. I will devote a separate blog post to the baptism once I get the pictures from Papa Wade (he is our photographer extraordinaire). I didn't do a great job of taking photos the 12 days we were there, but that doesn't mean we didn't have a great time.
Splash, Splash, Splash!
Grandma Cooper picked up this little pool at Walmart, and we had too much fun with it! Owen took to it like a fish (he gets this from his daddy). The second time we put him in it, he was on his belly, intentionally dunking his face in the water over and over again! I'm sure glad I didn't spend $129 to enroll him in swimming lessons with the other moms in my PEPS group.

I love the expression when water gets on his face.
This is what Owen looks like when he is hot. His cheeks get quite rosy. This is something I hadn't seen before. He's plumping up quite a bit as well.. likely due to the massive amount of solid foods he is eating!
Nice faces
Cousins! Livi is in to dressing herself now, which I love. In the hour we were at their house, she had three outfit changes (and they are all quite creative). She and Carson really got a kick out of Owen (again) and were very willing to share their stuffed animals and my little ponies, etc. I take that as a very good sign.

Silly faces!

One night we indulged in the free baby sitting of Grandma and Papa Cooper in order to spend a fancy night out with Gaga and Papa Wade at Araka in Clayton. As you can see, Ryan has been promoted to Chef de Cuisine. He and Mike (the exec chef) just rewrote the entire menu, and we got to delight in the new flavors. He treated us to a tasting menu, meaning he picked our 8 courses and sent them from the kitchen. Our waiter then paired wines with each course. Many of Ryan's favorite flavors are also mine. We had a lot of goat cheese, ricotta cheese, risotto, fennel ravioli, etc. My favorite is always the pallet cleansing 'intermezzio' he brings before the meat dishes. This time it was a hand made cantaloupe vanilla sorbet. It did a great job cleansing!
Sweet Smiles at the Butterfly House

Because I had worked so hard on O's nap schedule, I didn't want to ruin the schedule on our trip. Though we kept our outings to a minimum, we did manage to go to the butterfly house just down the road from my parents' house.  

We learned that butterflies are cold blooded animals, but they need heat in order to fly. They must bask in the sun each morning to warm their wings before they can fly/start their day. I think I might be part butterfly...

Future Tigers
We also had several play dates with almost 2 year olds. Thursday night we played with my friend Angie and her beautiful daughter Adelaide (baby # 2, a boy, is on the way in January). I had followed Adelaide's blog, but this was the first time I met her in person! She's gorgeous. I wish that our visit wasn't cut short by O's bedtime!

Friday we got to play with Tyler and Ali Francis. We met Tyler last year at his first birthday party, and WOW has he changed in the last 11 months! There is nothing remotely baby about him now, and he is such a well behaved little boy. He honestly knows ALL of his letters. I was so impressed.

It is an absolute joy to watch your wonderful friends become amazing parents. God has surely blessed these families with equally joyful parents and babies.

The biggest highlight of the week is that O started rocking back and forth on his hands and knees. He's also got his army crawl down. We aren't quite to where he can coordinate the hands and knees to get where he needs to go, but we aren't far either. He's trying to crawl up on me when I sit on the floor next to him as well. As a first time parent, I am, of course, always looking forward to the next developmental step, and this is a fun one for me! I wasn't able to capture any pictures because he would get distracted by the camera and want to grab it rather than continuing to practice his crawling skillz.