Friday, August 30, 2013

around here.

We're gearing up for a busy long weekend with family and friends.  With a visit from a college friend this evening, TinCaps baseball tomorrow, family gathering at the farm on Sunday, and a cookout in our backyard on Monday, we'll be on the go most of it, but thankful for the gorgeous weather and time we get to spend together.

Hope you have a fantastic Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

dear caleb // two months

 12 lbs. 14.5 ozs. // 24 inches

 full of personality

 loads of smiles

think you're bigger than you are!

Caleb at one month.  Read more letters to Caleb here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

dear caleb // week eight

Dear Caleb,

You're 8 weeks old!  It was just 8 weeks ago that we were anxiously awaiting your arrival.  Watching you learn and grow each and every day these past weeks has been the highlight of our lives!  You're awesome, Caleb Roscoe.

You seem to have found your voice this week.  You like to talk to mama & daddy any chance you get.  You coo and sing along with the chimes on your mat and music.  You especially like to sing with mama and daddy before bed!

This week we enjoyed a visit from your grandparents.  They were here right after you were born, but this time they really got to meet you for the first time.  They got to hear those lovely little coos and giggles and see your precious smile.

You also had your first babysitting experience.  Raelynn loved taking care of you while mama went to the dentist.  You spent the afternoon with Grammy & Poppy one day too.  It's hard for mama to leave you, but we are so thankful to have such amazing family and friends who love you so much already!

love you always,
mama & daddy

Read more letters to Caleb here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

dear caleb // week seven

Dear Caleb, 

You're our little string bean.  Those legs of yours just keep getting longer.  Every night when we swaddle you up we notice just how tight those little swaddles are getting!  Even some of your onesies are getting too tight to snap; we're going to have to start packing up these and get out the next size!  It's bittersweet watching you grow.  It's so much fun watching you learn new things, but time is flying by too quickly.  Keep growing little one.

You're our little wiggler, always moving, just like your Daddy.  Your naps have shortened throughout the day but you wear yourself out quickly with all your moving around!  Every afternoon we spend some time on your play mat and you love to kick the chimes with your feet.  You're "stand" on those strong legs of yours.  During tummy time, you've learned to push your entire chest off the ground.  Keep moving little one.  

You love, love, love to be outside.  Sometimes when you're fussy we head out onto the porch for a little rocking in great-grandma's old chair.  The weather has been cool enough to wrap up in all your beautiful handmade blankets from family and friends.  I love watching you touch and explore the different fabrics and textures.  Keep learning little one.

Little one, you light up our life!

love you always, 
mama & daddy

Read more letters to Caleb here.

Friday, August 16, 2013

around here.

It's been a long week around here.  Dan's been working long hours and I've been trying to keep up with household chores along with all the wonderful produce we're getting from the garden.  Lots of canning and freezing between feeding and changing.

The weather has been unseasonably cool for August which has made being in the kitchen all week much more pleasant.  It's also given me an excuse to dig out some warm sweaters and wear my moccasins around the house.  I love fall.  But, I'm not ready to give up summer yet and definitely not ready to be closer to winter!

My big goal for the week was to finally open up my new etsy shop.  I've been working on items to sell for quite a while but wanted to wait until Caleb arrived to open the store - didn't want to be trying to shuffle orders and a newborn.  Now that we've started to settle into a new rhythm, I feel like I can focus more on this endeavor and am planning on attending a few craft shows this fall.  I definitely have my work cut out for me, but it's nice to have a creative outlet again and a goal to work towards.

Grandparents are on their way out for a visit and we have lots of projects planned for weekend!  Looking forward family time and getting things done around the house.  Planning on spending today snuggling with boy before I have to share him all weekend!

I love weekends!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

you can pickle anything.

Okay, well maybe not.  But seriously, most vegetables can be pickled in one way or another.

We've been making pickled cucumbers by the pound over here and when I remembered that we had this book on the shelf, I got inspired to try a few more vegetables.

So far, in addition to cucumbers we've pickled onions, beets, green beans, carrots, and jalapenos.  Note: we were not fans of our pickled carrots.  Maybe we haven't found the right recipe.  Any suggestions?

I'm hoping to get ahold of some fresh cauliflower to pickle soon and if we have any extra bell peppers I"ll do up some of those as well.  Most we've canned and stored for winter, but a few we've done in the refrigerator to enjoy right away.

We've been sticking to simple recipes involving vinegar, sugar, and a variety of spices.  When you change up the amounts of each, or use a variety of kinds {ie. apple cider vinegar vs. white vinegar vs. wine vinegar} you get drastically different results.

Our current favorite is based on this recipe, with a some dill from the garden thrown in.  We've been eating these with every meal and replenishing with fresh cucumbers about every other day.  So good!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

day in the life @ 6 weeks

It's 3:30 am // Caleb and I are awake for an early morning feeding.  I sense that he's hungry from the grunts and moans he's making, not cries.  As I carefully pick him up, I decide to leave the light off tonight in an attempt to keep him in a semi-conscious state.  Despite the darkness, he latches on beautifully and drinks eagerly as we both drift back to sleep.

It's 5:30 am // Dan's alarm goes off waking both of us up.  I'm a little startled by the fact that Caleb is still resting on my chest.  Had it really been 2 hours since he woke for a feeding?  I ask Dan to put him back in his bassinet so he and I can get a little more rest.  Dan gently picks up his precious boy, kisses him softly on the forehead and lays him down to rest.  I roll over and am asleep before Dan leaves for work.

It's 7:30 am // Caleb and I have been up for an hour.  He's eaten again, been changed, dressed, and is happy as can be bouncing in his chair.  I straighten up the house a bit and make a pot of coffee.  When he starts to get restless, I swaddle him, grab my coffee, and together we head to the porch.   There's just something calming about the great outdoors, even for the little guy.  We spend half an hour rocking in a chair that used to belong to my grandmother, just taking in cool morning breeze until he falls asleep.

It's 9:15 am // After cleaning up the kitchen and starting laundry, I reheat my coffee and settle down at the computer to upload recent pictures of Caleb to share with family.  Soon he's up again and ready to eat.  After eating, we spend some time on the floor playing and reading.  Caleb loves tummy time and we often spend close to 45 minutes just hanging out together before he becomes sleepy.  Today he needs a little coaxing to close his eyes and fall asleep so I rock him a while.

It's 1:00pm // We've both had lunch and I know Caleb is tired, but the little man can't seem to calm down.  Every time he drifts to sleep and I go to lay him in his bassinet, he wakes up.  I decide to put on my wrap and together we put away dishes and hang the laundry out to dry.  It doesn't take long for him to fall asleep.

It's 2:45pm // Caleb wakes and another feeding ensues.  We play on the floor again until we're both too tired to play any more.  I lay Caleb on the bed next to me as we both drift in and out of sleep.  Afternoon naps are my favorite, they're especially grand when cuddled up next to my boy!

It's 5:00 pm // Dan has arrived home from work and scoops up Caleb for a quick hello before heading into the kitchen to prepare a bottle to feed him.  Then the cuddle up on the couch for some father-son time!  After pumping, I begin preparing dinner - fresh vegetables on the grill.  While dinner cooks, I hop in the shower and gather the clothes from the line.  Once Caleb is fed and dinner is ready, he and Dan join me in the kitchen for dinner.  I love that we're able to enjoy a meal as a family of three, Caleb in his little bouncy seat content next to Dan and I.

It's 7:45pm // Dinner dishes are done, Caleb is napping, and we're feeling a bit restless.  We decide to head out for a frozen yogurt date!  We don't go out often, but when we do it's often to YoYo's frozen yogurt!  When we arrive I put Caleb in a sling and he drifts back to sleep while Dan and I chat.  It's so great to have some "us" time.  After a while Caleb begins to stir and wants out of the sling, I hand him to Dan and the two of them cuddle and play right there in the restaurant.  I love watching them together!

It's 10:00pm // Lights out.  Caleb has been asleep for about 30 minutes, giving Dan and I some time to read in bed before going to sleep.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

garden tour 2013.

This year we've really been able to stock our freezer and pantry for winter.  After a few years of keeping a garden, we know what foods we use in the winter and how we like them stored.

We planted lots of tomatoes, peppers, and onions again as we really like to use these all year long.  Unfortunately, our tomatoes did not do very well this year - some kind of fungus/bug.  Our peppers are just starting to come on and are lovely shades of yellow and red.  Now if only I can be patient enough to let them change colors before picking them!

The strawberry patch we planted two years ago when we moved in continues to do very well.  So well in fact that Dan thinned them today in order to make our patch more spread out and accessible.

Much of our garden this year includes new plants for us.  We attempted corn without any luck last year, but this year it looks like we just might get a few ears.  Our pole beans had a great year,  we built teepees out of bamboo for the beans to climb and they really seemed to like this, so much so that they grew above the teepees and back down causing them to break off at the top.

We love spaghetti squash and decided to plant them in a newer part of the garden.  Currently we have 13 squash growing and more flowers blooming!  After my obsession with brussel sprouts this spring, we had to plant some of those!  We also have some broccoli, cantaloupe, sugar baby watermelon, beets, garlic, asparagus, cucumbers, and a few potatoes.  The potatoes are in some new potato sacks that I made with landscaping cloth.

Keeping a garden is challenging, but add a newborn to the mix and it's near impossible!  Though we haven't spent nearly as much time working in it as we would like, our garden has been quite successful this year.  This is our third summer in this garden and each year we learn more and more about this challenge.  Already we've been able to put away a lot of food for winter, canning beans, salsa, and beets and putting up peppers, onions, and tomatoes in the freezer.  I love that some of Caleb's first foods will be those from our very own garden!

Monday, August 12, 2013

what's next.

Over the past 6 weeks, the most common question I've been asked is "when will you be returning to school?"  The answer is, "I don't know!"

We have decided that the best decision for us right now is for me to spend the next year staying home with Caleb.  As the beginning of the school year approaches, I'm filled with mixed feelings about this.  I'm so excited to be able to spend the next year watching Caleb learn and grow, but a part of me is a little sad to not be returning to my classroom! I have loved teaching pre-school these past two and half years, watching my students learn and imagine I'll return to the classroom someday, but right now I can't imagine leaving my son with anyone else while I head off to school.

I know the coming year will be filled with ups and downs and be challenging in it's own way, but I'm ready to embrace it and have a fabulous year with my boy.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

dear caleb // week six

Dear Caleb,

This week you were very generous with your smiles!  Boy, oh boy, do you have great smiles.  Daddy and I spent much of the week doing anything and everything to get you to show us that little grin, there is no better gift than to see your baby smile!

You smile in the morning as you're waking up, telling us "good morning."
You smile when you're being changed, as if to say "thank you for finally understanding my cries."
You smile when you're nursing, making eye contact with mama.
You smile when you're sitting in your bouncy, checking out the birds that bounce around with you.
You smile while taking a bath and kicking your legs to splash the water.
You smile when playing peek-a-boo with mama.
You smile during tummy time with daddy.
You smile when Maggie sniffs your toes.
Sometimes, you smile for no reason at all!

But the best smiles are those when you're looking right at us.  When your little eyes lock with ours and the corners of your mouth begin to turn up.  Yes, those smiles are the best.  Those smiles stop us in our tracks and you have our full attention.  Sometimes you even start to giggle with that adorable little voice of yours!  You're so animated, telling us a story, urging us to enter your world.  When you smile, we can't help but smile right back at you, they're so contagious!  Keep it up dear little one, you rock our world!

love you always,
mama & daddy

Read more letters to Caleb here.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

dear caleb // one month

Dear Caleb,

You're five weeks old, and just like that you're no longer our little newborn!  When people ask how old you are we now respond with a confident "one month"!!  One month isn't a long time, but a lot sure has changed - you sure have changed - in a months time.

This week was a turning point for us as parents, mama finally got up enough courage to attempt to pump again which meant daddy got to give you your first bottle.  You weren't a fan at first, but after a few tries you have decided that it's alright!  Our routine now is for daddy to give you a bottle when he gets home from work which gives mama a break and some alone time.

We are still working on a routine, but most days you take a two hour nap in the morning and another in the afternoon.  Your naps have gotten longer now that we have moved you into a pack-and-play which allows you to sleep on your side! {Thanks Heironimi for letting us borrow this!}

This week we also got a video monitor.  We weren't sure we would need one until you were in your own room, but man do we love it!  {Thanks Grandma & Grandpa for this awesome gift!} Now, instead of hovering over you during nap time, mama actually gets things like dishes and laundry done!!  It has also allowed daddy AND mama to continue working on fixing up the upstairs!

Each week you're discovering new things.  Last week it was your hands and this week your voice.  My have you found you voice!  You have learned to communicate an urgency like no other, no longer are your cries mild and soft, they're now chilling!  They demand immediate attention - and rightly so!   We are slowly learning the differences in your cries and when we hear this one, it's likely meal time.  Other times when you halfheartedly whimper, it's most likely because you're tired and have decided that the world is too interesting to close your eyes.  At this point it often requires a close cuddle with mama or daddy to get you to fall asleep!

The most amazing thing this week was the appearance of your smiles.  Oh, you have a wonderful smile!  Can't wait to catch a few on camera!

love you always,
mama & daddy

Read more letters to Caleb here.