Easter 2014

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ImageLast year, E was a tiny baby, but this year he lit up when he saw his Easter basket. We filled it with a new board book, some Melissa and Doug crayons, and these soft and squeezy farm animals. He was a little hesitant at first so we had to assure him that it was ok to pull everything out and play with it, but he was smiling the whole time, and quickly started passing the farm animals out to me one by one.

My parents also made him an Easter basket with a couple of new books, a new polo shirt and shorts for the summer, Goldfish crackers, and these awesome bubbles. Those Jelly Belly bubbles are the best and E loves all of his new books!

In addition to the regular eggs the kids hunted for, my parents made a special golden egg for each one and there was a map with directions on how to find it in the backyard. My mom and dad are so clever :)

We were lucky to have lovely spring weather so that most of the day could be spent outside!

Enjoying Springtime

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Although it won’t last long, we’ve finally had our first taste of spring weather. Pretty soon the a/c will be working round the clock and sunscreen will be necessary for every outing, but we’re enjoying the transition out of winter cold fronts that lasted longer than usual this year.

I think that the appearance of wildflowers and blossoming trees bring a little optimism out in everyone, so we try to get a glimpse of them up close whenever possible. My parents have a beautiful wisteria tree in their front yard that has the most gorgeous purple flowers hanging from it. The pops of bright color here and there make me happy.

 

ImageE really enjoyed the petting zoo at our county rodeo. Since he hasn’t been around many animals before, he wasn’t quite sure what to do or think at first, but once he understood that it was safe to pet them, he lit up. He ended up trying to give all the goats kisses. ♡

Preschool!

           ImageHanging out in Mama’s office. One of my sweet coworkers brought him a new ball.

 

E and I have made a big transition lately. Well, not so much for me, as for him, but three days a week I go to work and he gets to attend preschool!

I wasn’t looking for work outside of my few-hours-a-week fun, evening job, but suddenly I was offered a job in the office at the preschool my mom teaches at (and I attended as a child!) I was told that they needed administrative help and that E could join the other babies in the nursery while I work. A decent paycheck, and a chance for E to be with other kids three days a week? It was too perfect to pass up! Also, I still get to “stay home” with him 4 out of 7 days, so it feels like the perfect balance for us.

 

ImageSnack time with friends :)

 

When I was pregnant, we talked about how great it would be if E could attend preschool a few days a week after he turned one, so when he was three months old, we put him on the wait list at the preschool that’s run by the college that my husband works at. However, their wait list is so long, and the school so popular and exclusive that we didn’t put much faith in him getting in when we wanted him to.

The job offer came around just two weeks after his first birthday, so it was great timing! It’s a nice, private school with sweet teachers and my mom and I can check on him any time.

 

ImagePlaytime with Papa in the evening is the best!

 

I worried about the transition for E because he didn’t know anything other than being with me all the time. I’d taken him to library play groups since he was tiny so he’d been around babies and adults he didn’t know, but I was always THERE. Now I was going to be dropping him off and leaving him (although I’d really just be down the hall…)

He really didn’t do badly though. At first he’d cry pretty hard when I’d leave, but his teachers said it didn’t last long because he was soon distracted by toys and friends. Now he knows what’s up and will usually try to glue himself to my legs to prevent me from leaving, but he’s gotten used to his teachers, and will sometimes even go to them when they hold their hands out for him in the morning.

Generally, we get to the school a little early and he hangs out with my mom and I in the office for a little while, then I walk him down to the nursery. I find that it’s a good strategy to just go ahead and strap him into a highchair and put his breakfast on his tray so that he’s busy while I slip out the door. He’s with his class from 9:00 to 3:00. Throughout the week they go to a music class, a gross motors activity class, and take rides in a buggy that holds six babies at a time.

I try to check on him once an hour, if I can peek through the door without him seeing me, and he’s always happy and playing. I’m lucky that he’s such an adaptable little guy.

 

13 Months!

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With all the birthday planning, I never got around to writing up E’s 12 months update. I didn’t feel like there was such a big difference in his development from 11 to 12 months of age, but now that he’s 13 months I see many changes. I can’t believe that just four months ago he was only 9 months old!

At 12 months he could say two words: “wow,” and, “whoa”. On his birthday, when we told him, “E, it’s your birthday! Happy birthday!” he replied “Wow, WOW!” At 13 months he’s added one more word to his vocabulary and that is, “oh-oh.” (uh-oh) There has to BE an uh-oh for him to say it though (like dropping food off his tray)

E at 13 months:

Is so BUSY! Loves to play, and is good at entertaining himself when we’re at home.

Loves to explore outside, and when we’re inside he loves to look out the window.

Blows on his food even when it’s not hot sometimes.

When he’s done with the food on his tray he drops pieces over the side and says, “oh-oh!”

Often squeals when frustrated.

Hates having his hands and face wiped, and getting his teeth brushed.

Is very affectionate! He comes over to lay his head on us and gives us hugs all day. Loves to come sit on out laps.

He’s also going through a period of wanting to be held all the time. I think part of the reason is that he wants to see what’s going on at the adult level. He especially wants to be picked up while we are cooking, to see things on the stove, and when I’m getting ready in the bathroom, to see what’s on the counter.

Likes to be tickled under the chin.

Points at things in books.

Comes to us for help, like if he wants us to open his shape sorter to dump the pieces out, or wants us to turn his mp3 player on.

Wants to do everything by himself. At meal times we have to give him a utensil so that he can try to feed himself while we feed him at the same time. Sometimes he gets food to his mouth :)

Tries to put his own clothes on. Steps on his shoes, drapes shirts around his neck, and when we put out his pj’s at night he sits down right on them.

He’s had his first haircut! It was so cute long, but reached past shoulder length and was getting in his eyes, so it was time. Maybe now with his “boy” haircut, people won’t mistake him for a baby girl anymore!

O-N-E!

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Goodness. Our baby will be 13 months old tomorrow! I’ve had a draft of this post waiting to be published for almost a month, but have been too busy or exhausted recently to finish it! E turned one at the end of January and we had a little celebration in early February to mark the occasion.

We had a birthday lunch at my parents’ house and kept things low key by just inviting aunts, uncles, and cousins. I didn’t pick a theme for the party, but decided to go with blue and green decorations. Simple is good, and I really liked how it turned out!

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We ordered sushi and sandwich trays from our local grocery store, I made cupcakes, and Papa made a couple of Japanese dishes, so there was plenty of food. The kids played, E opened a few presents, and we sang him “Happy Birthday,” which didn’t make him cry!

We also set up a fortune telling game, where he had to pick one of several objects. Whatever he chose was supposed to indicate something about his future. He chose a pack of pencils, which could be interpreted in a lot of ways… Teacher, artist, writer?

It was a special day that was definitely as much a celebration for us as it was for him! I can’t believe we’re lucky enough to spend our days with this sweet, happy, tiny boy. ♡

A New Year

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 I know we’re already half way through January, but I feel like the new year is just really dawning on me. It takes me a while to wind down after Christmas and let the freshness of a new era set in. In Japan, people eat toshikoshi soba (year-end noodles) on new year’s eve. My husband grew up eating toshikoshi ramen instead of soba, and I like udon, so at our house it’s usually one of the two. We also had our American black eyed peas with cabbage on January 1st, so maybe it will get lucky with another fun year!

2013 was good to us. Our lives changed at the end of January with the birth of our son and then everything after that was a happy blur in our home.

2014 has a first birthday party, a graduation ceremony, and a visit from overseas grandparents in store for us which we’re very excited about, but we’ll also make many happy day-to-day memories in between.

11 Months!

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Less than a month until his first birthday! We’re looking forward to a little party at the end of this month. ♡

E at 11 months:

- Is walking! And can stand up on his own without having to pull up on something.

- He can also walk a little, bend down to pick something up, straighten back up, and keep going.

- Still plays by tapping two things together, but he also likes to try shaking things to see if they rattle, and then throw them.

- Sometimes randomly puts an arm in the air like he’s reaching for something, but nothing’s there. (See above photo)

- His hair is looking more dark brown than black these days.

- Goes to sleep at night in his crib without being rocked first.

- Says “Ohh” and “Whoa” and makes the sound “lolilolilo” a lot.

- He likes likes dropping toys over the side of the baby gate and also enjoys putting small toys of top of other things.

- When there’s something on his high chair tray that he’s done eating or doesn’t want he’ll start tossing it piece by piece over the side.

- Bounces or sways to music.

- Loves diving face first into pillows.

- Still loves toys with wheels, and will often flip the toy over and spin the wheels. He also loves to check out the back of any toys.

‘Tis the Season

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I feel like this Christmas season started early for us. We started our shopping in October and saw a sky diving Santa in November. We were ready to get E’s first Christmas started!

 

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The sky diving Santa and elves were way more awesome than we expected. There was a huge crowd waiting when we arrived and a big X on the ground were Santa was going to land. A live band played Christmas music and we were told than when we heard “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, we would see Santa jump from a plane that was circling above our heads. Santa and his two elves were obviously professional sky divers because they came swooping in for quick landings, doing flips and turns in the air along the way.

 

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We took E to get a professional photo taken with Santa the Monday before Thanksgiving. Santa appears at the mall some time in early November and has crazy lines from Black Friday to Christmas. It was kind of spur of the moment, but as soon as he woke up from his afternoon nap that day, we dressed him, gave him milk, and drove to the mall. There was no one waiting for Santa, so we walked right up and sat him in his lap.

He didn’t cry! In fact, he was mesmerized by Santa’s beard. We got a great photo, and were able to take our time, picking out what kind of prints we wanted, since there were no other customers waiting behind us.

 

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My mom found the idea for these hand print Santa ornaments online and we decided to try it out. We thought it would make a cute gift for his grandparents in Japan. I believe the dough was made from flour, water, and salt and then once we got E’s hand prints and one from my nephew, we just cut them out, added a hole for the string, and baked them all afternoon on low heat in the oven. The following week we painted them and then put a sprayed them clear for shine. I think they turned out great!

 

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In early December, Santa was coming to our local library that we visit each week, so we thought we’d try meeting Santa one more time before Christmas. This time we had to wait 30 minutes, and by the time we got to the front of the line, E was antsy because it was just an hour before bedtime. I don’t think he was afraid of Santa, just tired.

I should’ve known that we wouldn’t get lucky twice, but a first Christmas isn’t complete without your baby crying on Santa’s lap, right? I have a feeling that Santa will definitely be scary next year….

 

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My mom got a fancy, new camera so she took our Christmas card photo this year. She’s also captured some great Christmas photos of E that we are thankful to have, including the one at the top of this post.

 

It’s also the season for sick babies. E and my husband are both getting over colds at the moment and I’m doing my best to not catch it too.

I think we’ve been pretty lucky so far though, because many other new moms I know have had babies suffering through multiple colds, strep, and the flu recently. E’s never had a fever or anything bad enough to mess with his sleep cycles (thank goodness!) Let’s hope he finishes out his first year healthy!

Cheers until after Christmas!

10 Months!

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Our little turkey turned 10 months old on Thanksgiving day! My mom and I made the meal together this year and it was a lot of fun. E has no problem playing by himself, so it was easy to watch him and do the cooking at the same time.

 

E at 10 months:

- The only syllable he says repeatedly is, “Bi-bi-bi-bi-bi.” Other than that, he speaks completely random baby gibberish.

- Some days he loves to eat, some days he hates it and just wants milk.

- He loves to put things in buckets (blocks, small toys, etc.) We have to be careful of the toilet…

- He shrieks and makes strange vocal sounds.

- He opens and closes his hand at people like he’s waving.

- Has taken steps, but is not walking. He loves it when we hold his hands so he can “walk” around the apartment.

- He tries to “catch” streams of water, like when Papa pours water on him in the bath tub.

- He loves to see himself in mirrors.

- He looks at Mama when he is doing something he knows he shouldn’t.

- Likes to rock back and forth (left to right) in his high chair.

First Shoes

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Last week, we took E shopping for his first pair of shoes.

I was really indecisive about when the best time to put shoes on a baby was, but I finally decided to go for it. I’ve read many times that there’s no reason to put shoes on your baby before they’ve established solid walking skills, which made sense to me. They should learn to walk on their bare feet first, right?

Well at the same time, I kept hearing that if you don’t start putting shoes on them early, it will take a lot of work to get them used to wearing them, which made me nervous.

So we went ahead and bought a pair of shoes suitable for a cruising, possibly walking soon baby. The employees at Stride Rite made it really easy to pick out a pair that we liked. It was pricier than I expected, but you get what you pay for right? I figured that his first pair of shoes was a little splurge-worthy.

Now whenever we leave the house, we put them on him. I usually sit next to him and put our shoes on together, explaining the importance of wearing shoes outside. He doesn’t much like the process of having his shoes put on, but he doesn’t seem to mind or even notice them once he’s wearing them, which is good.

I also took him on a trip to the playground this week to break them in. It was his first time actually playing on the equipment and he had a lot of fun. ♡

Yesterday and today, he’s been standing independently for short periods! He’ll pull up on something and then let go and balance on his own for several seconds. Sometimes he can even manage to clap while doing so, which makes me think he understands what an accomplishment it is, haha. This morning, he even took two steps between our couch and a baby gate which was exciting. We might have a walker soon…