November 2012

Again I wasn't very good at documenting things this month. Obviously I haven't gotten any better at documenting things either since I'm having to back an entire year to catch up. Maybe I will get better, maybe I won't.  But for now I'm happy with the attempts to catch up.

In terms of Gus, he CAN roll over.  But he won't.  He has done it several times but absolutely detests being on his tummy.  He started eating solids this month and LOVES food.  He has baby oatmeal with a tiny bit of apple sauce or baby apple juice and he just goes nuts for it.  He has gotten even more giggly and just seems to always have a big dimply smile ready for you.  He has also started getting rather fond of his Daddy.  When he hears his Daddy's voice his attention is immediately drawn to it and he starts looking around the room for him.  Grace is...well she's crazy with him, but for the most part he doesn't seem to mind too much.  She tries very hard to make him laugh and she usually succeeds, but his giggles also frequently turn into cries because she just gets too rough.  He can sit up with just a little bit of help and doesn't really enjoy being made to snuggle anymore. :( so sad!!!

Grace is doing really well in Pre-School and she also finds funny ways to try and get our attention.  She loves Fancy Nancy books and this video is one night at dinner.  She was just a hoot.  I have caught her walk by some men in our ward and tell them with a big smile that they look "quite dapper" and then run off giggling.  She loves her "fancy" words. :)

This was a video I got of Gus giggling.  Yes, I look nasty, and yes, the beginning is slow, but if you skip forward a bit he starts giggling and smiling so so cute!!!

 Love his little face so much! I am constantly having to refrain from just eating him.  I love his big beautiful eyes, his soft squishy cheeks and his perfect nose and smile.  When I'm nursing him, he'll just stare up at me with his eyes wide open like he is looking into my soul and I just want to melt! I love him so much. But, look at this face.  Who wouldn't love this??!

 One day during the month the weather was really nice and so we decided to pack some snacks and go for a walk to the park to play.  Half way to the park the clouds started to look ominous but we kept going.  About 5 minutes into playing it started to rain.  About 6 minutes into playing it started to pour.  One more minute and we basically felt like we were in a bath tub we were getting SOAKED.  We threw Grace in the stroller, tried to cover it, but failed, hid Gus under my sweater and bolted for home, laughing hysterically that our pants, shirts and hair were dripping and Grace was crying her little eyes out that this was "seriously no fun!".  Topher and I disagreed and thought it was rather a hoot.

Grace's Pre-school had a fun Thanksgiving Feast and she had a blast.  We made her a shirt with "indian" symbols on it.  We found leaves from outside and traced them, then put her and Gus' hand prints on it and basically just let Grace go to town on it.  I had been so proud of myself for letting her do what she wanted with it and not insisting it be done a certain way.  Then we got to the feast and it was SO OBVIOUS that all the other parents had basically done the shirts for their kids.  They were cut and tied and had pony beads and intricate patterns and designs...and Grace's was huge still because we hadn't cut or tied anything and looked like we had smeared paint covered sponges all over it. :( Luckily she didn't seem to notice too much.  
Mom and Sam were supposed to come for Thanksgiving and then they got rear ended in Provo the day before their trip was supposed to commence.  I had planned on having a full house and had a 20 lb. turkey so I started putting my name on every list they passed around at church to feed people...missionaries, single sailors, anyone that needed food.  Two days or so before Thanksgiving I was slated to have about 14 people to feed...and they all basically didn't pan out.  Somehow, we still managed to feed 1 sailor, a family from Topher's work and some neighbor friends and it was still fun.  However, I don't think I need to do it quite the same way next year.  :/ I didn't love having random children in my house that I had never met before along with their parents whom I had never met and who after about an hour it was very obvious our parenting styles were....opposites. :) But, I was glad we had mouths to feed and I actually had a BLAST making all the food.  I had Emily type up a plan for me of what food I would prepare what day in advanced of Thanksgiving.  So I had 3 different pies, green bean casserole, rolls, a turkey, mashed potatoes, home made cranberry sauce, stuffing, and mandarin orange jello salad.  It was SO SO yummy.  Needless to say, I was very pleased with myself.  And very grateful to a sister that got me organized and told me what to do and when. :)

After Thanksgiving I did a Reindeer Run at the very end of the month and that was a lot of fun for me. It was a run that went through the really pretty and historic parts of Downtown Charleston and everyone was dressed up really fun.  Everyone had their dogs dressed up as reindeers and there was fun Christmas music playing loud throughout the streets.  
Topher had brought the kids and taken them to a little park while I ran and then he had them meet up with me at the end.  Grace was so cute when she saw me and she ran up to finish the race with me.  
I just love this picture of Grace.  She looks so beautiful.  Those moments when she is really lost in playing and being so imaginative and you catch that natural, beautiful smile.  OH. I just love it. 
She had collected a bunch of sticks and then very lovingly given them to me while I was running.  Not perhaps the most helpful thing, but she is cute. :)
Anyway, that was November for us!


October 2012

October...sadly I don't have much written down about this month. Luckily I have some pictures...but as for documenting things, I blew it this month. whoops!

Topher's family was in town at the beginning of the month.  They actually came with his Grandparents and we had a lot of fun.  They stayed at our house for a couple of nights, and then we also stayed at the beach for a night or two.  We went to Cypress Gardens, Middleton Plantation, and I believe we may have gone to Boone Hall as well, but I'm not sure. Grandma Atkinson was as usual a total hoot.  She played in the sand with Grace and built sand castles and was just awesome.  Grandpa was in a wheel chair which was really sad, but he was still himself with lots of fun comments and antics, including sitting in front of a gift shop with a sign he made saying he needed money and food. :) He's funny.

But, I really don't remember a lot of specifics from their trip!! Dangit! This is why I need to do better at writing things down WHEN they happen instead of months or a year later.  Part of the problem is also in the fact that I don't seem to have a single picture of their visit, and pictures help jolt my memory a lot.

In the middle of the month Topher did a Triathlon down at Folly Beach and that was really neat.  It was a cool type of triathlon where instead of an open water swim, it was actually an open water kayak or paddle board segment.  Topher and I took the kayak down to Folly Beach and I helped him put it in and he got to kayak from the inlet around a little island and back.  After that segment he then did a bike segment along the beach and then finished with the run portion.  He did such a great job!  Not that that's not important, but more important is that he had a really great time doing it.  He really enjoyed it, especially that it was primarily on the beach and he ended up placing too.  He's such a stud. :) Gracey, Gus and I went out and hung out to try and catch glimpses of him.  Grace and I would cheer him on really loud when we saw him and then we'd just play in the sand while we waited for him to come back between segments.  Gus was pretty well behaved, he nursed and cuddled on me and Topher was really happy to have both his kiddos at the finish line to love on.

In terms of Gus happenings during the month, we got his first real giggles, and he started being much more smiley this month.  I took a lot of cute videos of him smiling, cooing and giggling and his laugh is just the sweetest sound in the world.  His neck control was basically fool proof by this point and so we started putting him in the bumbo and he loved being able to sit up and look around.

At the end of the month my sister and her family  came also. We were able to do a lot of fun things with them despite them being sick basically 7 out of the 8 days they were with us.  They all caught a flu bug while they were here and all took turns throwing up. :(

But we still got to the beach, Cypress Gardens, Downtown to eat at TOAST and Hominy Grill, the Childrens Museum and Patriots Point.  All in all I was so happy they came and loved having them, and cried when they left.  But, I'm not sure they will ever make the trip again or that they'll even remember their trip very fondly because they really were just that sick.

There were a few issues while they were here, mostly revolving around Grace and that she morphs into a somewhat aggressive and overly active/energetic mode when she's around her cousins.  It's strange because she doesn't have issues playing with friends here really, but she always seems to have issues with her younger cousins. Dacia is my best friend and I had been so excited for us to have kids together, but I frequently worry that us having kids is actually not very good for our friendship. :( We are both protective of our kiddos and so when they hurt one another or don't get along, it rubs off on us. I hope someday Grace and Ellie can be the best of friends and that they'll grow out of the labels we've unwittingly put on them and that we've trained them to act in and react to. But only time will tell! Like I said, their trip was mostly a fun one and they were all troopers despite being sick.

It was Halloween time after they left though and that's always fun!

Grace's pre-school did a fun field trip to a really neat pumpkin patch that we had a blast at together.

She got to paint her own pumpkin, we went on a "wagon" ride through the farms, she played in the corn box and in the hay bale maze, pet and fed some farm animals, and played on their makeshift playground. 

For Halloween Grace had originally wanted to be Willy Wonka...I had been a bit bothered by the idea of her being a boy and so I had discouraged her from that...later I felt really guilty about discouraging it because it is so her and she would have made a great Willy Wonka, but oh well...another screw-up of mine to add to the books.

She ended up being Cinderella because she liked the idea of Auguste being her little Gus-Gus mouse.  They made such a cute pair and I don't know if those costumes together can ever be topped in my book! I loved them so much!

We yet again procrastinated doing pumpkins until Hallow's eve and so I remember being stressed and frazzled that we were trying to cram too many things in before bedtime.  But Grace and Daddy had fun carving pumpkins while Gus watched.  When I say Grace had fun carving, I should really say that she just used it as an opportunity to stab something with a miniature saw.  That girl had so much aggression! It cracked me up! And frightened me....But she had a lot of fun and Topher is very patient with her. 

I made a really yummy and fun Franken-Pizza for Dinner that Grace got a kick out of and after we ate and got her ready, she went Trick or treating with me and some friends from the neighborhood.  She complained that she was cold and tired after about 15 minutes.  I was shocked!! She was getting candy, for free! All she had to do was walk up to a door and say trick or treat and it was hers! And she was complaining??! I was a meanie and made her go for about 30 minutes...because hey, its candy for me too ya know?? ;) 

Our ward also had a trunk-or-treat that was really fun.  But mostly because I think its fun to decorate the trunk of your car and sit there looking at cute costumes and passing out candy to children that then adore you because you gave them treats. :)

Anyway, it was a pretty fun October for us and I thoroughly enjoyed having lots of family in town and dressing my kiddos up in fun costumes.  Might I also mention that I totally made Gus' hat and ears myself? I was very proud of myself at the time.  I bought a super cheap sweatshirt at Wal-Mart and cut the sleeve off, then I made that into the hat for Gus.  I cut out semi-circles out of cardboard and then sewed brown minky around them and attached them as the ears to make the mousey hat look.  Then I found a yellow shirt online and used a longsleeved onesie I had and long brown pants. It was pretty easy and I had fun doing it too! 


August/September 2012

Gus was only a couple of months old and was an angel.  We did have many sleepless nights, but not from him crying all night, he never had a single night like that.  He just would wake up every 2 hours like a normal baby to eat.  However, unlike a normal baby, he also had LOTS of nights where I had to wake HIM up to feed him, because he would sleep for 5-6 hour stretches at night! I really like these nights, but his Pediatrician said I should wake him. :( darn!
Since I had never done the newborn baby and nursing thing, I had quite a few new experiences those first few months.  I have never experienced such extreme exhaustion where I am basically hallucinating that I have done something, only to discover that I really hadn't.  I lost track of how many times I would wake up to Gus whimpering, believe I had fed him, and then an hour later, really wake up and wonder why he was upset, only to realize I had been dreaming of feeding him and he was still patiently waiting to nurse.  I also had lots of nights of falling asleep while nursing him, and then waking up wondering why he was still hungry, I just fed him!...only to realize it had been 2 hours since I fed him and he was hungry again. :)
Around mid September is when I got my first giggle out of him.  It was the sweetest noise I had ever heard!  He was such a chill lil guy.  Really never made a fuss. Was just content and happy. :)
I recall one night where Topher said I should wake him up when I did Gus' 3 a.m. feeding and we would have ourselves a 3 a.m. "date".  I woke him up and he decided that would be a great time for him to iron his uniform in our room while I nursed Gus.  He stayed up with me for an hour or so just talking with me and snuggling with me and Gus.  It was so wonderful and I remember being so grateful to have such a wonderful hubby that valued our relationship much more than a good night's sleep.
From what I have heard most newborns are like, Gus slept ridiculously well for me.  I would say he ate well too, but he enjoyed eating way too much and would fall asleep constantly while eating.  Nursing him usually took me around 45 minutes to sometimes even an hour and a half.  I tried really hard to sleep train him and so I would feed him as soon as he woke up, play with him for about an hour and a half or so and then lay him down for a nap.  He always went down really really well for me and would sleep for 2 or more hours at a time.

Gracey loved him to pieces and I was actually pleasantly surprised by how good she was with him.  She wasn't crazy or intense, but just absolutely enamored with him.  

During those first couple months Grace also was a total champ.  Each night before I went to bed, I would set out cereal for Grace and then in the fridge I would put a small cup of milk.  She would wake up, get dressed, get her milk and make her cereal, eat and then entertain herself until I could get out of bed with Gus, which was usually around 9 or 10.  She was so patient with me.
We did Grace's first swim lessons ever, just a few weeks after Gus was born.  I was nervous about this at first, but it turned out to be fine.  Her lessons were the first of the morning before the sun was high and hot, and so it was comfortable and Gus would sleep the whole time.  Grace loved swim lessons and progressed really quickly throughout the 3 weeks of class.
I had really wanted to do professional pictures of Gus, but they are so outrageously expensive! Topher instead let us buy a new lens for the camera and even okayed me buying some fabrics for back drops and "fake floor" paper.  I tried my best to get some good shots, I even ventured out into the almost 100 degree humid outdoors and tried to shoot some out by the pond down the street.  Each time I tried I would feel fairly confident I got something, and then when I would upload the pictures, the large majority of them were out of focus. :( Out of probably more than 200 pictures, I may have gotten about 5 that I actually liked.  Oh well! I got 5 right? and at least I didn't have to pay $1,000 for them.

In late August, we had a big milestone occur with Grace.  Her first day of real Pre school! We had done a Community Center pre school the year before, but it was sort of a joke.  I mean, she enjoyed herself and her teacher was a sweet heart....but she didn't learn a thing.  It was a class of almost 30 kids and I felt like it was definitely more of a glorified day care than a pre school.

So the next year we went to St. Timothy's.  It's a little Lutheran Church, which seemed really weird to me at first, but I ended up loving it.  It was really pricey, but Grace learned a LOT.  Her teacher also I think helped prepare Grace quite a bit for Kindergarten and what would be expected of her.

When Gus was about a month and a half old we made our trip out to Utah for his baby blessing and for the family to all meet him.

Emily and I decided to do a combined baby blessing for Sadie and Gus.  It was so great! We did it at Topher's parent's house and so we had a great dinner with tons of family and friends and then people could swim and play, and it was just awesome! I loved getting to do the blessing with Emily.  That was something I loved so much about having our babies right next to each other.  I haven't gotten to experience that before and it is so fun to have a sister with a baby that is developing at the same rate as mine.  I felt like it was such a neat thing to always be able to bond over our babies. :)

While we were out there we did some biking with Dac and Dad and their families up to Bridal Veil Falls.  It was a bit interesting seeing as how Gus was too little to go in a biking stroller...we attempted to put him in a baby carrier on me but that didn't work so great either.  Perhaps not the most successful biking adventure, but fun none the less.

We also did the super fun, (and now annual) Cousins Carnival.

Dacia planned this great day full of activities and we all tried to play a small role in pulling it off.  My favorite was the obstacle course and the coloring faces.  I seem to recall Grace throwing a temper tantrum because all she wanted to do was color faces.  She didn't have much interest in all the other activities.  I think Dacia may have even taken a few tickets away from her for her bad attitude. :) The activities I was in charge of were the ring toss, the balloon noodle dash, and then I contributed a bunch of prizes.  So fun to buy prizes!!

It was a huge success and everyone had a blast.  We did several other different carnival type games, including a "gypsy" face painting station, had a great lunch with fun "fair" food and even had tickets and a prize table at the end.

Other than those few big things we did we mostly just played and enjoyed family for a couple weeks.

While we were in Utah for the baby blessing Dacia took some family photos for us out at Wheeler Farm and they turned out so so great.  Grace was difficult because well she's Grace.  She is just so short on focus and is SO energetic and easily distracted, but somehow Dacia got some adorable shots of her. Gus sadly was asleep in basically all the pictures, so that was a little bit of a bummer but I was really really pleased with how well they all turned out.  Dacia was so patient with us and has gotten so talented it's insane.

When we came back Gus was so sweet and such a good baby and Grace was loving pre school and being quite the helper.

That was August and September!