‘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!

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Fall Trip to the Farm

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A couple of Saturdays ago, the whole family got together for a trip to a local farm. It’s most famous for it’s strawberry picking in the spring, but now they have a pumpkin patch, hay rides, and corn maze in the fall.

 

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This is E checking out the tractor. He’s interested in anything with wheels these days.

 

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The hay ride passed this beautiful field of flowers and dropped everyone off at the corn maze, where the big kids had fun trying to find the way out using a map we received. It was actually more challenging than we expected and we got turned around a couple of times!

 

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The adults couldn’t help thinking that it would be really fun (and spooky!) at night with flashlights!

Hopefully there are plenty more fall activities on the horizon…

ATX 2

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So, we ended making a quick trip BACK to Austin just a few days after the first trip, because my husband decided that he wanted to turn everything in for his PhD in person. Evidently, after you present your dissertation, there is a week for you to fix last minute things before you officially hand it in.

At the hotel:

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These were the sleeping arrangements.

Some culinary highlights:

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Hopdoddy Burger Bar: Spinach and Arugula Salad

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Kerbey Lane Cafe: Apple Pie à la Mode with coffee

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Torchy’s Tacos: Fried Avocado Taco

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Michi Ramen: I had the Summer Ramen (aka hiyashi chuuka) I really liked their hand drawn menu.

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Upper Crust Bakery: I used to always get the strawberry danish, but I must admit, my favorite this time was the chocolate croissant.

Some other classic Austin spots we hit up:

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Terra Toys! This is my favorite toy store on the planet. We’ve bought gifts here in the past. They have a lot of unique, quality toys here as well as children’s books and clothes. This time, I discovered that they’ve expanded it, so E and I spent an hour and a half wandering the aisles. The Ergo carrier definitely came in handy.

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E couldn’t take his eyes off all the colorful merchandise.

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I ended up purchasing a cloth book that I had been looking for, for a while. It’s got lots of different textured animal tails hanging off it, which I thought E would like to chew on (and he did). ♡

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Zilker Park, where we rode the Zilker Zephyr.

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Mt. Bonnell

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Town Lake, also pictured at the top of this post, where we visited the splash pad.

We crammed a lot into a couple of days! My husband also had to meet with a professor of his as well as a friend while we were in town, so we were constantly busy ,with no down time, which I prefer with the little guy. We probably won’t make it back to Austin until next spring/summer, but I’d really like to ride the Metro downtown with E and go to the Austin Children’s Museum (he’s too little to appreciate it now…) as well as hit up some of the quirky shops on South Congress (and maybe see the bats under the bridge!)

The Circus!

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We took E to his first circus yesterday!

My niece and nephew, 6 and 4, love the circus and their family had tickets to go again this year. My mom thought it would be fun if we all go, so we bought some more tickets a few rows behind their seats, and shuffled some people around so that the three older cousins could sit together.

I know I’ve been to the circus once in my life when I was really little, but I don’t remember it, so I really wanted to go and take E! Even a 5 month old enjoys animals, right?

It was a really awesome day! Before the show started, you could go and visit the animals up close (that was pretty much the only photo op), and then there was a pre-show in the ring as people were taking their seats. The crowd was filled with parents and grand parents with small children and we saw lots of other babies.

My dad carried E while we walked around before the show, and I held him in my lap most of the time while we were seated.

The show itself was amazing! I was really impressed and enjoyed the whole thing. E was really cooperative and calm and sat on my lap facing the show most of the time. Despite being rather loud, which made him jump a few times, he took a thirty minute nap in my lap. I took him to the bathroom during intermission to change his diaper so we didn’t miss anything.

I can’t wait to go again and bring my husband along. He would love to see E’s reactions to the elephants and tigers!

By the way, we found another tooth coming in last night when we got home. One of his top teeth had already poked through the gums despite E not showing any signs of teething recently. Of course TODAY he’s a teething mess! Poor baby. I feel so bad for him! Hopefully this round will pass quickly since one tooth has already come through. ♡

The Fourth!

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Hamburgers and fireworks!

That was our 4th of July this year 🙂

There’s a really great burger place right down the road from us that happens to feature a lot of old Americana decor, so we thought it would make for an appropriate lunch that day.

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There’s even a toy train that periodically zips around the restaurant on a track near the ceiling.

At first, the sound of the train whizzing by was a little overwhelming to E, who’s still quite sound sensitive, but once he spotted it, he couldn’t take his eyes away.

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He was pretty happy the whole time we were there, but the smiles didn’t come until he was in his Poppy’s arms.

We could see the nearby fireworks perfectly from our apartment balcony that night, but they didn’t start until 9:30 and E had been snoozing since 8:00 ♡

Thankful

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We celebrated Father’s Day with the whole family at my parents’ house yesterday. The fathers in attendance were my dad, two brothers, and for the first time, my husband too.

It was a very summery day filled with sunshine, kiddie pools, and homemade icecream. My parents bought a tiny pool for E, so we put a bathing suit on him for the first time, and propped him up in the water for a little while. They also set up a baby swing for him, which he loved. He stayed in it for so long that he fell asleep. I put sunscreen on him, but at the end of the day, he was still left with a little “baby tan,” from all the outdoor time.

By the way, according to my husband, parents in Japan don’t worry about sunscreen much. He says he never remembers putting on sunscreen before playing outdoors as a kid. Maybe that’s because Japanese children tan in the summer instead of turning alarmingly red like white children? I wonder if E will tan or burn when he gets older….? My husband turns quite brown in the summer, while I am incapable of turning any shades other than white, pink, or red.

My favorite part about these family get togethers is getting to just laze around in the backyard chatting with everyone, while the kids run around playing.

E was tired, so he doesn’t look very happy, but my mom snapped this family photo for us:

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Father’s Day reminded me of how lucky I am to have such great men in my life. My own father is so sweet and loveable, and seeing my brothers and my husband turn into fathers has been really exciting. I’m so proud of them. ♡

First Mother’s Day

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When I was making photo cards for Mother’s Day a couple of weeks ago, my husband mentioned how it was exciting that we would be celebrating me this year too. “OH YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT!” I answered back.

Before that, I hadn’t even thought about it, but I then began to get even more excited about Mother’s Day. I guess because my kid’s not running around calling me “Mama” yet, it didn’t click until he said something about it.

Of course I definitely feel like a mama, but the experience is so new and my son is still so small, that I guess I’m kind of in a new mom haze where I’m still learning something new every second and my brain is trying to catch up on everything I’ve been processing. It’s exhilarating and tiring at the same time.

This year I definitely have a deeper appreciation for what my mom (and my dad!) went through to bring me into this world and raise me. Pregnancy, child birth, and baby care are all rewarding but challenging (not to mention expensive!), so I am thankful that they decided to do it a third time, even though my brothers were already 7 and 8 by then. I can’t even imagine looking after two big kids while keeping up with this little one that currently demands most of my time and attention. When it comes to our little guy, they couldn’t be more loving or supportive, and now more than ever, I understand that being a parent doesn’t end when your children leave home. I just hope that I can continue to have as good a relationship with my son when he’s an adult as my parents have kept with us.

Ever since we told them that we were expecting, my husband’s parents have been connecting with us on a whole new level. His mom and I email back and forth, we send them tons of photos, and we get to talk with them face to face on Skype each week. They are as in love with E as we are, and they definitely show it. We are so thankful to have them in our lives and can’t wait to see them hold their grandson. They are the sweetest  ♡

As much as I love my tiny boy, and a small part of my mind wishes that he could stay small enough for me to hold him forever, I’m more excited to see him grow and change on his path to adulthood. I know that no matter what he turns out to be, I’ll always be proud to be his Mama. ♡

A Lovely Sunday ♡

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My husband surprised me this morning, by getting up early with the baby and letting me sleep in a little. An extra hour of sleep makes a big difference in your day!

I also woke up to banana pancakes! I don’t know how he managed to balance a hungry baby in one hand and a spatula in the other, but breakfast was delicious and made me feel really loved and appreciated. ♡

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Usually on Sundays, E and I spend the day at my parents’ house while S stays home and works in his office, but today my mom suggested we stop by a craft show and take a walk on the beach, which sounded like a great idea. S wanted to go too, so we made a day of it.

After lunch, we drove to the craft show, and there was a lady from the surrounding neighborhood with this giant tortoise walking around! She said that it lives on her porch and that she bought it from a local pet store. There were lots of kids following them around, and everyone stopped her to ask about it.

We also ran into a friend and my teacher from kindergarten at the show, so it was a lot of fun. ♡

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Then we went for our walk on the beach. The weather was great and E was really cooperative, which helped make for a nice day.

Easter

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We went over to my parents’ house for Easter today and it was the first time that all four cousins were together. We got each of the older kids to take turns holding E for photos and they did a great job! It was really cute. ♡

My mom made tons of food and there were Easter baskets for the kids, an Easter egg hunt, and lots of playing out in the sunshine. We knew we’d be in the backyard a lot today so we picked up these baby sunglasses yesterday to protect E’s eyes. They really helped and were also coincidentally pretty adorable. ♡ It was a really fun day!

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What do you put in an Easter basket for an infant? I went with board books about bunnies. ♡