Sunday, April 24, 2016

Back to the Garden

We have always enjoyed being out in the garden doing whatever. Planting flowers, designing various parts of the yard, planting our little herbs, etc. Back at the lake the yard was a huge part of our lives. Well once, because we had a huge yard and two because we had time!

Last year's garden seemed to have survived in autopilot. Since we moved the first week of March and Benjamin was born the second week of April, we didn't really have much time to devote to figuring out flowers and such. Although Norm tried and we did end up with a tomato or two and an awesome parsley plant that lasted a year.

This year we are giving gardening another shot, with a toddler. Here are the seedlings sunbathing as they grow. Benjamin and Pellet are supervising...

So pensive... if the seedlings get messed up we won't know if it was the dog or the baby. We'll just blame Cali and keep it moving..

Today Benjamin and I went shopping for flowers! Which took entirely too long without Norm's guidance and decision making. I can make all kinds of decisions when it comes to event planning - I can tell you how many tables to set, what time to serve dinner and how many bartenders to hire. But when it comes to everyday things like what color to paint the house and what flowers to buy, I am completely useless.

I knew I wanted to plant the flowers tonight, so my initial thought was to put baby in his play pen so he can watch cartoons while I planted out in the backyard. But when we got home my brain changed gears and I decided to just start planting the flowers right there on the drive way and see what happens.

This happened. Benjamin discovered dirt and loved it!

He also discovered that pulling petals off the flowers is fun:

I have no words for this one:

Here he is putting the dirt from the floor into the pot:


He crawls around that pavement like it is nobody's business. He's such a trooper!

Then he decided to eat dirt. Apparently he liked it because after he ate some, he did the sign for "more"... He was so dirty but he really enjoyed himself - which is awesome!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Outsmart the Baby

I feel like the challenge the first year of parenthood was "keep the baby alive". Now, as we enter the second year of parenthood, I am starting to find that the challenge has become "figure the baby out (and outsmart him)".

Benjamin has been eating table foods for about 3 weeks now, and up until today, we would feed it to him with the spoon for the most part, we would also put pieces of food on his tray, one by one, that he'd pick up with his fingers. Over the last few days, he's been fussy at dinner, not wanting to eat, crying, turning his head, all those fun dramatical things. When I'd put food on his tray for him to pick up, he'd feed it to the dogs.

Today at lunch, he started showing out again, but I knew that he was hungry, so I was not going to give up (unlike last night when his dinner consisted of broccoli followed by pineapple and milk because he fed the meat and the potatoes to the dogs). As I was speaking with my mom over the Skype, I was holding his plate of food in front of him (instead of putting the food, piece by piece, on his tray). Next thing I knew, he was reaching for the food and feeding himself - on his own terms.

Today at dinner, I did the same thing. I held his plate in front of him and he ate everything, happy as can be. Sometimes he'd want to eat it with the spoon but for the most part he ate with his little hands, like a little savage.

Last night was tough - I felt so defeated that he "had won" and not eaten. Today at lunch though, I was determined to not let him win. I had to figure out what was the problem... The food wasn't too hot, it wasn't cold, it wasn't anything he hadn't eaten before, it wasn't bland... Then the light bulb came on and I remembered that at school they put his food on a plate and he eats everything on his own. So that's how I determined that he wanted to eat all by himself.

He is so strong willed and loud and dramatic that it is so easy to just give in - boil some pasta and feed him that followed by applesauce.

So tonight proved that apparently we have an independent, strong willed, borderline stubborn child. Who would have thought that a child of Norm's and mine would have all those traits? I guess we are about to start finding out what our parents went through while they were raising us...

Here is a fun collage of this morning, he was t:rying to yogurt

This is not how you yogurt, but he will figure it out.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Take the Baby, Leave the Cheeks

Benjamin got his first haircut earlier this week. Considering the chaos it could have been, I'd say the experience was a successful one.

Of course, just like anything nowadays, I was sure to google "best hair salon for kids" in our area and came across the place we ended up going. It is a salon just for little kids... I wanted to make sure that we didn't just walk in to the first random hair cutting place to end up with a traumatic experience that would later evolve to hair-cutting hell sessions and eventually me having to cut his hair in his sleep because he refuses to go. Thanks to google and reviews, we get to avoid all that drama.

The hair dresser did such an awesome job at cutting his hair. She was fast, but careful. She had a job for everyone. Norm's was to hold the baby. My mom's was to entertain the baby. Mine was to take pictures of the baby.



This one came out blurry, but look at his little eyes... he did get scared of the electric little machine thing:

Everyone getting a break... it is intense cutting a 1 year old's hair and not drawing blood... or poking an eye out...

 Not liking the electric thing here here either...

Finally it is over and he gets to see the train go around:

Somebody took my baby and left me this pair of cheeks! Benjamin was a cute baby before, now he is just flat out handsome little boy!

Before and after!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Month 12

Month 12 is here - also known as 1 year. It is still surreal to think back that Benjamin lived in my belly for 9 months... well, 40 weeks and 2 days, which is technically over 10 months, but who counts? And then he came out. And we overcame a bit of challenges as he got used to us and us to him... In the blink of an eye, 366 days of this new life have come an gone.

This little guy is too smart. He grabs the remote controls for the TV and lifts it up with his little  hand as he aims it to the TV. When you trade the real remote for his toy remote he gets mad. Throws a mini tantrum and then moves on. We don't teach him these things! He just learns from watching us... he is constantly observing EVERYTHING.

He has been taking a couple of steps on his own here and there. He is just too secure and will not let go completely, even if that means holding on by one hand to your knuckle. But he does take a couple of steps from the couch to the coffee table all on his own and his little face lights up when he makes it to his "destination".

He is a pro at his sign language. He knows milk, eat, more, all done, nap and we believe he is learning thank you. He also loves to clap. He claps when he is done doing something, like eating, or if we are at Mass, he claps when the chorus stops singing...

He loves his pacie and his monkey, but becomes quite detached when it is time to get up and say "chau chau" to pacie and monkey that stay in the crib. At night, when we go to his room to start getting ready for bed (which means I straighten up and set out clothes for the next day and he crawls around and plays with all the things and makes more mess) he sometimes crawls up to the crib and pulls monkey and pacie out. This is the #1 sign that he is ready for bed.

He is an avid reader - which makes me, a non-reader, quite proud! He points to the shelf where all his books are and makes sounds. He won't stop until you get a book down for him...

He also likes to sing! Sometimes in the morning he wakes up and starts singing as he drinks his milk... Other times he sings along with his music from school - his favorite is the wheels on the bus!

He has stopped drinking formula and drinking from the bottle! We have moved on to full time sippy cups and whole milk. Of course the transition to whole milk from formula was seamless. We are so grateful to have a good eater - unless you try to feed him cheese or bananas. Still no luck on that.

He likes to be barefoot... just like his mama. And he is ticklish as all get out, just like his Dada.

And because it's his BIRTHDAY, I can't post just one picture... here are a few pictures and a video. Enjoy!

This one is blurry, but it is quite amusing:

Yes, the lamb's name is Chop - leave it to a Chef to name the stuffed animals. And for the record, he does know how to clap, and where his foot is... he just does not cooperate for the camera.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Baby to Work

Throughout the years, I've always heard people talking about taking their child/children to work. I also remember going to work with my dad - we would hang out in his office and play with the trinkets on his desk or go visit various workers at their offices or go walk around the plastic factory or the feed mill on our own little self-guided tours.

I have always been fascinated by this. By the ability of taking your child to work and actually being able to do work and it being ok... not feeling like you are breaking the rules and are going to get in trouble. Grant it, "times were different then", work wasn't so rigid and corporate and it wasn't forced to fit inside a perfect box like it is forced now. Back then people were trying to figure out how to balance life and they weren't tied to so many restrictions as we are today.

Today, they tell you to leave home at home and work at work. But in reality that is quite impossible - at least in our fields that are so intense. When I am at work I think about home things like the grocery list and Baby's next doctor appointment and how soon he will be walking. When I am home I think about work things like event orders that are pending client signature and parking chasers I need to order.  

I recently took a job that allows for room to breathe and space for home things and work things to all thrive in the same space. It is so refreshing to work in an environment that realizes home exists and that we need to make room for it. An environment that provides flexibility to be a mom and an event manager, all at the same time.

Today, I got to bring my baby to work. I had a high profile wedding that I had planned - one of my first events that I had my hands on from the very beginning since starting this new job. Because things at Norm's work are still not settled, he wasn't able to stay with Benjamin. So I spoke with my friend/boss and asked if I could bring baby. She said of course. So I did. And it was fantastic.

There were times when I put him on my hip as I went from bar to bar making sure they had the correct margarita recipe for the event. Other times I set him to hold on to the ceremony chairs and let a co-worker watch him as I showed the load-in area to the wedding coordinator. Other times he crawled about the banquet floor. Other times he sat on a chair on the terrace as he ate his snack. And everywhere he went, he stole everyone's heart. Nobody was bothered by him. Nobody was mean about it.

Some folks out there will disagree with this, others won't understand it and others will be able to relate. Everyone's life is laid out differently... All I know is that this works for us. Having this flexibility and acceptance allows for balance between mom/wife Fern and event manager Fern. And that has a high value.

Benjamin is helping keep an eye on a group of 50 prom kids walking through the wedding reception... making sure no fights breakout between the wedding coordinator and the crazy parents:

Tired baby and tired mama heading home:

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Swing

Benjamin received a backyard swing set from his Mimi and a baby swing seat from his Nonna this past Christmas. It only took about 4 months to get the swing set up, but I guess since those were winter months, we can look past it.

Now we are in pollen season, so our time outside is a bit limited. They are calling for rain in the next couple of days, so hopefully pollen season will be over soon and we can start enjoying the swing!

Pretty much all the reviews said how the swing set was perfect for 1 - 4 year olds. One thing it failed to mention was that it was not suited for adults. Look how huge I look on it! I guess we should have figured it out by looking at the dimensions... but I never remember to do that when shopping online. 

 Pablo was the official swing-assembly helper!

Here are a couple of videos! Pay close attention to the second one, how he just cracks up!

Family Picture 2016

Family Picture 2016

Family Picture 2015

Family Picture 2015

Christmas Picture 2011

Christmas Picture 2011

Family Picture 2009

Family Picture 2009
Thanks for reading! Come back Soon!