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October, 2014:

Halloween

Happy Halloween!  The tradition continues with handmade costumes that are a little unique.   I have been told that this is likely the last year Cooper will let me pick his costume so we took advantage with themed costumes.  Cooper was a chicken and Nicholas was an egg.

It was almost a costume free Halloween.  I had been trying for a couple of weeks to have Cooper try on his costume, but he always said “no.”  It was now Halloween and we were in downtown Woodinville to trick-or-treat at the local businesses.  As you can tell from Cooper’s face he REALLY didn’t want to put the chicken costume on.  Daddy then had the super fantastic idea to tell him it was a chicken jacket and that it was cold out so he should put it on.  This was key!  He also put the arms in first and didn’t put the hood on until he was comfortable again.

We are all smiles since we thought this might be the only minute Cooper had the costume on, but at least we had a picture.

Cooper warmed up to the costume pretty quickly and was ready to hit the streets.  Cooper received many compliments on his costume which helped sell him on just how cool it was to wear it.

A classic, chicken getting ready to cross the road captured by Daddy.

We ended the evening with some trick-or-treating around our neighborhood.  If Cooper said anything at all after he knocked on the door, it went something like this.  “Happy birthday (sometimes followed with Halloween too)” and/or “Christmas tree (aka trick-or-treat).”  Looks like we should have started practicing the Halloween sayings sooner than the day of.  Handing the candy over to Mama and Daddy is also likely to end this year even though it included a few M&Ms for Cooper.

PEPS Part 2

Our PEPS family is growing.  These are the younger siblings of Cooper’s PEPS friends.  Graham (Hannah), Molly (Jack) and Nicholas (Cooper) are just 3 weeks apart in age (8 months).  Elliott (Madeleine) is 2 months and Ethan (Nolan) is 2 weeks old.

8 Months

Physical: Rolling and pivoting on his belly to get where he wants to go.  Reaching and raking with his fingers to bring things closer.  Using Aquaphor on his pointer finger and thumb of both hands at night trying to heal the very dry skin from chewing/sucking.  Using a pacifier and holder during the day to have him chomp on instead of his fingers.  Ticklish everywhere when using a super soft touch.  Sitting on his own and has some success moving to laying down without smashing his face into the floor.  He is in 9 month clothes and size 3 diapers.

He started on the play mat

Nicholas is a very chill kid, especially if he is held by is Mama.  He really goes with the flow, but is also very quick to let you know if he is hungry or sleepy.  He is very grabby and loves to touch anything he can reach and usually follows that quickly by trying to put it in his mouth.  Nicholas happily wore his costume at toddler group this week.

Eating: Added: carrots, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, prunes and pears to his rice cereal and peas diet.  He has become super backed up so prunes and pears are the primary food.  Somehow his poops still manage to be a crazy bright color of orange.  We have also given him a handful of puffs (baby cheerios) and a few have even successfully made it into his mouth.

Sleeping: Nicholas goes to bed at 7pm and typically wakes up 1-2 times in the night for a feeding and then wakes for the day around 6:15am.  He rarely takes a nap in the morning unless it is a quick car ride snooze.  He typically sleeps an hour in the afternoon and can extend this another two hours if he is held in the rocker.  We are still trying to figure our napping/sleeping sweet spot routine together.

First commercial airplane flight and meeting his cousins in person.  First two teeth.  First solid, puffs. First Halloween costume.

Family Time with a Twist

We love to bring our extended family together a few times a year.  It typically takes a month or two to find a date that works for everyone’s calendar.  When the day arrived we were without power from an overnight storm.  That didn’t stop us from hosting everyone and the lack of power had minimal impact on brunch.  I still can’t believe everyone is looking at the camera.

That evening we were still without power.  Cooper LOVED playing with a flashlight and shining it on all of his toys before bed.  We will have to have another “lights off evening” soon so we can take advantage of more flashlight fun.

Stroller Splurge

We were trying to avoid a double stroller.  We figured Cooper would be tired of riding in the stroller by the time that Nicholas got to heavy for a carrier.  Well, Cooper still loves to ride in the stroller and Nicholas is passing the 20lb. mark.  This means we broke down and splurged on a used double Bob stroller.  I have to admit that this makes loading the kids much quicker and going for walks much easier.  We all love it.

Boo!

Cooper loves to close his eyes or have you close yours and then yell “boo” to open them.  At night he asks me to lay on his bed and close my eyes.  Daddy takes him to use the potty and then he runs back in, with naked buns, to yell boo inches from my face so I “wake up”.

Tucson Adventures Continued

Enjoying breakfast with Auntie on our last full day together.

Fiona LOVED to take care of Nicholas and was always thinking of ways to make him happy and entertained.  Here she is helping him get a teether in his mouth.

Stella stacked up these blocks over and over again so Nicholas could knock them down.  She was so patient and creative in finding ways to play with him.

When the troops were getting restless we headed out to play with the water tables.  When I came back out Auntie had everyone running around the hot tub bench trying to avoid the Cooper waterfall.  Those were so very happy kids!

This picture may not look significant, but it captures an annual tradition for my sister and me.  For the past 6 years I have visited her near Halloween and we have made costumes for her kids, and now mine, together.  The stars aligned and while the girls were at swimming, Cooper and Nicholas were both down for a nap so we started crafting.  Nicholas joined us shortly, but we were still able to complete his egg costume and a few pieces of Daphne’s My Little Pony costume.

Science Auntie and cousins.  They loved the exploding chalk science experiment we sent them for their birthdays and wanted to do it with us while we were in town.  The skies were threatening a big storm, but as soon as I hinted I really wanted to see this, Auntie Kari made it happen.

Cooper got his own magic orange chalk and vinegar bottles.

Smiles as we tried to quickly make the reaction happen while the rain drops were already starting.

Everyone loves scissors!  Auntie introduced Cooper to this magical pair of scissors that only cuts paper.  It was his first time using scissors on his own and he couldn’t find enough paper to cut with them.  If you notice Cooper’s outfit, this is what you get when you don’t want to use your only clean spare airplane outfit the night before you fly home.  Thanks for loaning us your 5t clothes, I cannot believe how well they fit.

The jumper was intended to be Nicholas’ “safe place” to avoid getting run over if he was laying on the floor.  It turns out the girls were so excited to see him use it, after much anticipation, they would beg for him to go in it and continuously show him how everything worked when he was in there.  It ended up keeping everyone entertained and busy so that was perfect.

Our last morning before flying home we had the privilege to walk the girls to their bus stop.  It was really special to get to see them get on the school bus with their backpacks.  Cooper loved seeing the bus and I loved seeing my nieces excited for kindergarten.

After a pre-boarding lunch and diaper change we were looking forward to starting our airplane adventure.

So happy to be headed home to see Daddy!

Tucson Adventures

Tucson Zoo, we love this place.  It is the perfect size for the kids to walk without getting tired.  It was a chilly mid 70s morning.  The Seattle crew was in shorts and short sleeves while the Arizonians were in sweatshirts and many talking about how cold it was.  We scored on this zoo visit.  The giraffes were right up against the fence, we saw a rhino running around, two bears playing together and the new baby elephant.  It appears the animals liked the cool morning or they were moving to try to keep warm.

Cooper and Nicholas brought down some leaves and mini pumpkins from our garden.  Tossing the leaves in the air was a hit!

Nicholas LOVED Uncle Brant and the awesome rhythmic sounds he can make.  Between teething and some belly issues Nicholas had a hard time not being in Mama’s arms this visit, making this picture even more special 🙂

It was such a treat to see all the cousins finally getting to play together in person instead of over Skype.

One day was a bit warm to be playing outside so C & N got their first McDonald’s playland experience.  Nicholas loved watching the other cousins from his Auntie’s lap.

It was also on this day that Cooper picked up the phrase “keep going” when we were in the car and stopped for any reason.  If you know Tucson, there are a ton of traffic lights.  If you know my traffic light curse, you know that we were stopped at nearly every one of them.  Cooper and I had many opportunities to discuss the color of the traffic lights and the consequences when they were not green.

With some help from his cousins Cooper climbed all the way to the top of the play structure and down the very big slide.  He had a smile the entire time, but opted to only do it once.

Since they were babies, I have made my nieces custom letter shirts.  I loved watching the excitement on their faces when they opened the latest version.  This round is extra special because one of the fabrics on each shirt matches the custom skirts Nene made for them with the fabric they picked out.

Tucson or Bust

Here we go…first commercial flight for Nicholas and first time for Mama flying with both boys alone.  Amazing things happened to get this trip off on the right foot.  First, Rob was able to get a gate pass to help me get the boys through security and to the gate.  He did final diaper changes and helped to keep everyone entertained before the solo Mama show started.  Second, on Alaska they will place a hold on the seat next to an infant in lap seat.  This means that when booking an aisle and window seat, the middle will only be sold, if all of the other seats are sold out on the plane.  Having an empty aisle seat for the bag made it so much easier to access than digging around my feet for it.

I was ready with SO many different entertainment options for Cooper.  Including the ipad with games and shows, coloring, toys, etc.  What did we use?  We started with our packed lunch, pb&j, his favorite.  When the beverage cart came by we requested a few ice cubes and two cups.  He spent nearly 20 minutes pouring the ice back and forth and drinking the melting ice.  Next we stuck and re-stuck 3 puffy stickers all over him and the carseat.  Then the beverage cart came back and so we got more ice, cups and this time the flight attendant included a stir straw.  Cooper was thrilled with the straw addition and played another 20 minutes.

Nicholas did fantastic on his first flight.  He was awake most of it, but did get a short snooze in.  There was less than 10 minutes of crying total on the plane which was very impressive with so many new sights, sounds and smells for him.

Cooper and Nicholas enjoyed a few moments of snuggle time while I got reorganized.  It was a delicate balance of drinking enough water for nursing, but hoping to not use the restroom.  I did end up heading to the restroom once on the airplane with Nicholas.  The flight attendant held him and when I came out I was shocked to see him all smiles.  She said it was her favorite part of the job 🙂  Despite talking about where I was going and introducing him to the people he could see between the seats, Cooper had some tears when I got back to my seat.  This was my one first flight regret and I will do things differently for the flight home.

Before we knew it the 2.5 hour flight was wrapping up and we were descending into Tucson and enjoyed talking about the desert scenery we were seeing out the window.

Upon landing I felt such relief and was so excited to see my sister and nieces.  They met us at baggage claim, helped us collect our items and get to the rental car location.  Apparently I had enough stuff with me for all 4 bigger kids to each get something to wheel, push or carry.  No wonder I was sweating when doing it all by myself!  It meant a lot to have my sister and nieces meet us at the airport.  It was comforting knowing I only had to make it to baggage claim before seeing 4 beautiful smiling faces.

Incredibly, when we reached their home Kari had already set everything up for us.  There were welcome signs, places to sleep, diaper changing stations, feeding chairs installed and even a hand drawn map of the house by Daphne.  Auntie Kari did an amazing job of making her home, our home, and getting the boys settled in quickly.

We are ready for our family time to begin with lots of sister and cousin time.

New Quilt and Skill

Nicholas is loving his new quilt from Grandma.  It makes his room so colorful and cheerful, thanks again Grandma!

Today Cooper showed me he has picked up a new skill.  He can now open the refrigerator all by himself.  Hmm…

The first thing he grabbed from the fridge was a beer.  His Daddy ‘s dreams are coming true.  Now Cooper can not only open the beer, but also get it from the fridge for him.