Summer ending

We’ve been enjoying some pretty warm days in Calgary, but the winds are starting to blow. The temperatures are cooling off, the days getting shorter, the leaves starting to turn & fall. All the signs of autumn are surrounding us. Here’s a little peek at what the last days of summer have meant at our house, this year:

Fresh cut flowers from the garden
Last of the sweet pea & nasturtium blossoms
Late veggie garden harvest
Mounds of tomatoes and ground cherries finding their way into the house
Ground cherries
These ground cherries really are quickly becoming my fave treat from the garden
Dehydrated zucchini and crab apples
Lots of dehydrating going on including, crab apples and zucchini
Homemade apple cider
There might possibly be containers of homemade apple cider fermenting in our basement...

Everyone seems to celebrate and commemorate the end of this season with some special treat or tradition. Especially here, where hot days don’t last long, and are quickly replaced with frosty mornings & the anticipation of the first snowfall (which I keep being told will come early this year, but who knows). We’ve still have a lot of winding down to do here. Clearing out planter boxes & flower beds. Waiting on things to harvest from the garden and then putting the beds to rest for the season. Watering the trees heavily before the temperatures drop. Putting away the random garden toys & tools & furniture. And maybe, hopefully, finally, getting the last coat of paint on my wooden bench (a task I keep putting off).

I’d love to hear what the last days of summer look like at your house. Is there anything special that you make a point of doing or enjoying each year before true autumn hits?

Nineteen whole months (and a bit)

Yeppers. Our little man turned 18 months old, a milestone I managed to miss sharing on here. Now Sam is over nineteen months. If only we could slow the weeks down a bit, I might catch up to everything, even him. Needless to say, Sam has changed immensely since I last wrote one of these posts. He went from crawling baby boy to running (and climbing) toddler. He firmly has a foot in the door of “little boy”. Much less “baby” these days in all that he does.

And as my dear friend, Shauna, recently discussed on her blog, the task of capturing moments with these little people in our lives is a difficult one. Especially as they get older, go faster and engage us more. There are fewer and fewer photos taken of Sam these days, and more & more time just spent observing & playing first hand with him.

It feels impossible to share every detail of change with you (there really are too many in the past seven months). He’s grown into his own personality, body, and mind. So I will just attempt to share some of the highlights:

Sam on a box

    – He climbs. EVERYTHING. We started calling him “goat boy” a couple of months ago. What goes up, often falls down. He’s taken quite a few big tumbles. We try to keep him safe, but there is only so much you can do when they love to climb like he does.

    – And of course he is walking now, running most of the time. Tackling stairs like a big boy, holding a railing, wall or hand.

    Sam and cherry jam
    – Like most kids his age, he goes through stages with eating. One week, he’ll be a bottomless pit for food. The next week, you struggle to get anything past his mouth. He feeds himself these days, using spoon & fork quite well. Current favourite foods include fruit smoothies with kale, kale chips, raisins, grapes, peaches, salami, homemade fruit leather, crispy rice bars, anything he can use as dip, homemade dried cherries, yogurt & grits. He’s covered in homemade cherry jam in the above pic.

    Sam playing in sink
    – Sam has lots of activities that he enjoys these days. He’s quite fond of water, playing with the garden hose outside, splashing in the tub, and his newest favourite… playing in the kitchen sink. He often grabs his step stool and drags it over to the sink. That’s your cue to bring the chair, a towel and toys. He is also spending a lot of time in the craft room, up on a chair so he can reach my counters, playing with stamps, stickers, coloured paper, washi tape, felts, etc. I love watching & helping him create!

    – We’re also learning that he wants to do anything that we are doing. He’s a helper, like all kids his age probably. Which means, you have the opportunity to create fun learning experiences as you do simple things around the house, but it also means lots of tasks are difficult (nearly impossible) or frustrating to attempt when he is around. As a parent, I find that part a bit tiring some days, trying to find creative ways for him to safely be involved in all the things we do. There are lots of frustrating moments for Sam, when he can’t “help” us with something. Plenty of tears. All we can do is try our best to include them where possible, right? Even if it means a task takes five times longer. It’s that or tackle it when they are sleeping.

    Sam playing with Grandpa
    – Sam’s grandparents have started spending more regularly scheduled time with him. Grandma Judy comes in one morning a week from Banff. My parents take Sam to their house (or the cabin) every Thursday. It has meant some much needed sewing is finally getting done on my part. And Sam has a blast with his grandparents. What more could a child want, than complete and undivided attention (and treats)?!

    – Our little man still adores books and story time. The types of books he enjoys has changed a bit lately, though. He likes when you read a story, but he mostly loves pointing at everything on the page and getting you to name it. We’ve started collecting more “baby’s first words” type books. Anything with animals is sure to captivate him! We also discovered these Caillou Look and Find books (kinda like Where’s Waldo, but more simplified). It is amazing to see Sam find things in each picture, without prompting or help!

    Evil eye Sam
    – Oh and the personality!! It’s crazy to think what he was like this time last year. These days, he is quickly showing his mischievous side, his silly side, his lovely side, his wild side… so many different sides! And then there is the trying to express himself, not just with facial expressions, but gesturing & speaking. I swear he learns a new word every day. We’ve definitely hit a big development stage in the past two weeks. Between the crazy increase in energy, difficulty sleeping, and his constant desire to communicate through words. It’s no wonder these kids get frustrated and break down when we don’t understand them. The majority of tears shed these days are either because we don’t understand what he’s trying to say or do, or because of an injury. In times of miscommunication, we’ve started just calming asking him what he wants or saying “show me”, letting him lead you by the hand or carry him in the directions he points. You can usually discern what he wants pretty quickly.

    – Most used day-to-day words include: more, bye-bye (sounds like die-die), snack (sounds like nack), night-night (sounds like nigh-nigh), done, empty (sounds like emp), ouchie, poop, stuck, up, no, mama, dada, meow-meow, out, and on & on.

    Sam taking a bath

– Besides his growing vocabulary, what really gets me, is just how much he understands. Even if he can’t speak in sentences, he can fully understand them. If you tell him that you’re going downstairs to feed the Chloe, he knows that means he needs to go to the cupboard & get her food. If you ask him if he wants to go into the sewing room to play, he’s half way down the hall in a blink of an eye, waiting for you to catch up. You can ask him to bring you particular books or hand you an item from the bath tub. Just astonishing how much he comprehends now!!

– He is still in diapers. No plan to potty train right now. He still sleeps in a crib (with his beloved blankie). He gets a fruit smoothie first thing in the morning and a bath in the evening right before bed, every day. We’re still trying to get outside time each day. Venturing to the park is quickly becoming part of the routine.

– We’re trying to cut back on “screen time” (he got in the habit of watching quite a bit of kids shows during the months of kitchen renos while we attempted to distract him from all the hazards around the house). I fully admit that a bit of screen time has its uses. It can be a useful tool. But we are definitely conscious of just how much he is getting. These days, Sam is watching Caillou, Wonder Pets, Guess with Jess, Pound Puppies (all on Netflix so no crappy commercials for him to absorb) and the How to Train Your Dragon movie (which he simply adores).

And that is our little man in a nutshell. I could go on and on. Right now, several more things have popped into my mind to share, but I’m going to end it here. I’ll try my best to share a bit more regularly, with a few less months in between posts. I have a feeling that his crazy, fast-paced, development stage is just starting. We’re in for quite the ride as we approach 24 months!

Green things

How about a little tour of our veggie garden? I can’t take any credit for this. My hubby is the green thumb and mastermind behind it all. I lend a hand where I can (plant some seeds here & there, weed a bit, mostly protect plants from a very curious baby boy). I do get to enjoy the benefits of all this, though. Tasty salads, caramelized radishes, roasted broccoli, lots of fresh green onions. Looking forward to the peas (my favourite), beans, tomatoes, oh and the squash! Here’s hoping the hail holds off.

Raised veggie beds
Raised veggie beds with our new mulch

Veggie garden greens

Yummy radishes
Lettuce greens
Tasty lettuce greens
Pretty chard
Tickly chive (Sam likes the feel of it)
Pea blossoms
Gorgeous pea blossoms
Growing our own dill this year for pickling
Mint patch (struggling a bit)
Broccoli (we've gotten to enjoy lots of it this year)
Sam in the garden
My little garden helper

Fourteen whole months

Yep, he sure is. And we’ve been having a lot of fun these days. Crawling, exploring, wagon rides, walks in the backpack carrier, digging in dirt & snow, drumming on metal pails, working on puzzles, sorting & organizing, standing and shuffling along with the help of furniture.

Sam in the carrier

Sam in the carrier (detail)
(Loving those gorgeous eyes)

Sam digging in snow
Sam smirking
Sam in toque
Sam covered in peanut butter
(This boy loves peanut butter)

Twelve whole months (and a bit)

Sam eating icingIn other words, one whole YEAR! We did it! We managed to keep our little baby boy alive for an entire year (with the much needed help of family, friends and God himself along the way). Phew!

We finally got him officially measured at the doctor’s office last week. Sam weighs 25lbs and is about 33″ long! A tall fellow indeed! He recently shot up in height and has lost a bit of weight and baby rolls now that he’s crawling non-stop.

Yes, crawling! Everywhere. All the time. Keeping us extra busy, baby proofing and preventing big accidents (the little ones happen about five times a day & that’s ok). He’s also showing interest in trying stairs and pulling himself up into a standing position against furniture. Current fav thing is being chased around the living room, as long as you’re crawling too.

Sam and daddy eating icingHis eating frustrations have improved slightly. We try to give him lots of finger food options at each meal and snack time. He’s getting much better at feeding himself. We’re also starting to experiment with drinking from a cup. Not a sippy cup, just a little regular cup. We recently discovered that he loves yogurt fruit smoothies & happily drinks them from his cup. Oh and he’s just started using a straw.

Sam loves eating pork chops and some ground beef dishes (meat loaf, chili). Yogurt is still at the top of the food list though. He’s finally getting into eating cheese, which he likes shredded, and raisins. He pretty much wants to try anything that you put in your own mouth. Needless to say, it makes you think a lot about what you’re eating.

Current fav activity is sorting. Sam has been doing this for months actually, but it’s definitely a part of the daily routine Icing lipsnow. He sorts the videos, books, sketchbooks, his box of greeting cards, the laundry basket full of diapers, and his kleenex box full of fabric scraps. Give him a pile of “things” and he enjoys picking up each item and sorting them into new piles.

He finally has a book he’s in love with that isn’t cat themed! The current ultimate fav book is Moo, Moo Brown Cow! Have You Any Milk? by Phillis Gershator. He still enjoys his kitty books though. We recently discovered a series by Sam Llyod featuring a cat named Mr. Pusskins.

Sam’s enjoyment of Taylor Swift has continued to dominate his music selection these days. Marcus has even starting watching Taylor Swift music videos with Sam while I take my evening shower. So cute. Other entertainment has come in the form of watching Star Trek: The Next Generation with Sam sucking on his blankiedaddy and Vampire Diaries with mommy. It’s become a bit of a late afternoon tradition. Quiet cuddles on the couch together while we veg a bit.

The need for an afternoon couch veg session came about last month, when Sam started only napping for 20-30min in the afternoon, followed by 15-30min of intense screaming. Nothing we did could calm him down or get him back to sleep. On a whim and out of complete frustration (I’d just totally given up one day), I sat down on the couch with screaming Sam in my arms and turned on the television. He settled down in about 30 seconds and sat quietly, snuggled in my arms. So now we sit together and watch a little something after nap time (he doesn’t do the scream fest much anymore, but still seems to enjoy the cuddle time).

Naps continue to be a bit chaotic right now. We’re pretty sure Sam eating in kitchenhe’s starting the transition to one nap a day. Unfortunately, his longest & best nap is in the morning, which makes for some long days. Here’s hoping that over time we can get his nap time to fall a bit more mid-day.

(With this one year milestone reached, I’m afraid I might disappoint some folks by saying that I won’t be continuing with the monthly Sam updates. Periodic updates are sure to follow, and photos from time to time. Thanks for reading along and watching Sam grow & develop over the past twelve months. It has been a pleasure to share it all with you here, my virtual baby book.)

Eleven whole months

Ok, seriously, we’re only one month from the big 1st birthday celebration!! C-r-a-z-y!

Sam laughing at 11 months oldI have no idea where this little man is at with his height & weight these days. He definitely just finished a growth spurt because for about five days he was a bottom-less pit for food.

One more tooth popped through on the bottom and there seems to be some more teething going on right now.

He is now officially a bookworm. He spends more time with books than he does with toys & has now started to “read” a bit on his own. Very adorable.

Sam is trying to master page turning, but we still have some ripping accidents with the picture books. Board books really do serve a purpose for babies of a certain age.

He is definitely in charge of choosing which books to read these days. Simply read the title out loud and he will let youSam smiling at 11 months old know if he wants that particular book or not.

And seriously, his favorite books are always the cat books. Since last month, we’ve gone to the library twice and both times come away with a new cat book. Each time, the cat book becomes the beloved fav that we read a dozen times a day. The first of these was Kitty Up! by Elizabeth Wojtusik. The second was & still remains I Like Cats by Patricia Hubbell.

The most exciting thing around here these days has been watching Sam CRAWL. Yes, he can crawl, a bit anyway. He just started forward crawling at the end of last week and goes through little spurts of it & then forgets that he can.

Besides the crazy five days of eating everything offered to him, eat & feeding have been a bit frustrating. I think he’s just finally ready to be more in charge of feeding himself Sam watching snow at 11 months oldand we’re going through the awkward stage where he hasn’t figured out quite how to do that. We’re introducing lots of finger foods now that he finally has teeth to chew with & the desire to feed himself. Yay, for lots of mess!

OMgosh! I almost forgot THE most important part of this month!! Sam now takes all of his naps in his crib! I was getting more & more nervous having him napping in our bed or on the couch. We attempted naps in the crib back in the summer, but Sam wasn’t ready then and it totally started screwing up his night-time sleep, so we didn’t push it. I had a feeling though, that he was finally ready for this change. It went so smoothly, a tiny bit of crying, but nothing like before. And now that he knows the routine, he seems happy to take naps in his crib. Big step for baby boy, and a huge relief for this mama (I actually get to craft while he naps now)!Pensive Sam at 11 months old

And could he be more like his father?! Sam loves the cold air, fresh breezes, snow falling on his face. Take him outside and his face lights up with a big smile, even in the cold. Oh our winter baby! We really DO need to get a sled so we can go tromping around in the snow.

Only two more weeks till little man gets to celebrate his 1st Christmas! Can’t wait!

Ten whole months (and a bit)

Sam playing with toysThis post is a bit late. And my iPad keeps losing all my previous attempts to write this, so it will be brief. Sam has been sick again. I came down with his cold, just when he was finally feeling better. Hubby’s work schedule has changed over the past couple weeks. Four days off, which is wonderful, but the three days a week he does work, are very loooong days (we’re all still adjusting to that). Needless to say, things have felt hectic, chaotic, a little isolating, and now there’s lots of catching up to do.

A few weeks ago, Sam weighed 24.5 lbs.

He’s still growing, still getting taller.

His one little tooth that started popping through last month, quickly turned into five and now six (he’s quite ambitious).

Sam with Doctor Meow bookLoving his new toothy smile.

His new fav book is Doctor Meow’s Big Emergency by Sam Llyod (I’m sensing a cat theme, since his last fav book was this).

Story time takes up a good chunk of our days. He’s quite content and very insistent that you read, re-read and read again the same few books.

Some of his evening time is now filled with helping mama & papa with laundry. We tip the basket over, sort diapers, play with clothes pins (he’s fascinated with them) and ride in the basket.

When all else fails, hold a grumpy, crying, sick baby up to the window so he can watch the snow fall. Silence and smiles ensue. Ahhhhh…

Sam with Big Red Barn bookA clean sewing room creates a safe & interesting place for baby to play while mama attempts to do a little crafting (especially since I’ve had orders come in).

A clean sewing room is saving mama’s sanity these days.

A super special, soft, silky blanket with satin binding is saving Sam’s sanity these days. It’s his new fav thing and he can’t sleep without it now. My baby boy has an official blankie!

Still no forward crawling, although he can go backwards a bit.

He can pull himself up into a sitting position from the ground.

He tries to climb into my lap and loves to grab onto my pant legs while I’m standing.

Sam with The Snowy Day bookWe’re realizing just how much of a cuddle bug our little boy is, and enjoying every minute of it.

We’re enjoying the musical stylings of Taylor Swift these days, thanks to a special friend (you know who you are!). Sam likes to bob his head along and thinks it’s amusing when mama dances.

His fav foods these days include yogurt, liver wurst, arrowroot cookies, Annie’s pasta, cheese, and pepperoni sticks.

Three surprising new things he seems to enjoy are my curried chicken in coconut sauce, curried carrot & ham soup, and grits.

Loving his new Padraig Cottage booties (made in Canada)! Thanks for turning on us to them, Lisa! We went with the most colourful pair we could find, of course. Rainbows for my baby!!

And I’m sure there’s just so much more that happens each day that I miss, or take for granted. All the different ways he plays, explores, sleeps, and communicates. Things are changing so quickly. Feels like that’s the way it has been since we welcomed him into the world. And there doesn’t seem to be any sign of that slowing. Getting very excited for his first Christmas, and then his first birthday in January! First birthday?!?! Crazy!

Nine Whole Months

Here we go! Nine months feels like quite the milestone and indeed our little Sam has experienced a number of big “firsts” in the past couple of weeks.

Sam in the leavesHe now weighs 23.5 lbs.

He used his passport for the first time to take a road trip (yes, road trip) to Colorado.

We’re all loving the musical stylings of Elizabeth Mitchell, which got us through some tough moments in the car on the road trip.

Sam can be soothed when sung Elizabeth Mitchell’s Little Bird song, which hubby & I are now incredible good at singing.

Other fav music choices by Sam is the Backyardigans intro theme song. He only cares a little about the show itself, but loves to bop along to the theme music.

Sam has been enjoying FaceTime with the grandparents. They have to have Sam in leaves 2their Sammy fix even a thousand miles away.

He finally came down with his first cold (all that travelling you know).

He also had his first trip to the ER at the Alberta Children’s Hospital because we weren’t sure what was going on with him (until two days later he got congested).

His first tooth has chosen to start popping through while he’s sick (it’s been really fun at our house this past week).

Favourite ways of dealing with his teething discomfort, chewing on pepperoni sticks, pickles, and pine cones (his choice, not mine).

You can also divert his anger from the pain by letting him shred paper. We have dubbed this “rage paper” time. He seems to find it very Zen. When all else fails just hand him a piece of paper, or better yet, a paper bag.

His current fav book is I Am a Kitten.

He was finally Dedicated at our church this past Thanksgiving weekend, surrounded by family and friends.

Sam continues his love of nature, pulling at the grass, crunching leaves between his fingers and even eating dirt.

And that’s our little man these days. Looking forward to the rest of his very first autumn, my absolute fav time of year. Can’t wait to share it with him!

Eight Whole Months

Sam at 8 months smilingSam at 8 months laughingSam at 8 months smiling2
Yep, that’s my silly Sam. And eight months old now! Wow! That means there’s only four months till his first birthday!! That’s crazy.

Well, this month’s post is going to be a bit different for several reasons. One of the main ones being that this mama is feeling very weary and as much as I love talking about my Sam, I just don’t have it in me right now. But there’s several photos for you to get your fill and I’ll give you the “Cole’s Notes” version:

Weight is now 22.6 lbs.

He sits up on his own really well.

He plays with his toys.

Loves his big trucks (such a boy).

Is slowly outgrowing the Jolly Jumper & ExerSaucer.

Has discovered swings at the park.

There’s an official passport with his photo on it.

He might have an issue with dairy.

Which is too bad since his love for yogurt might revival that of pears & bananas.

Enjoys hanging out in his funky new high chair.

Loves water from his sippy cup.

Is happy to chew on pepperoni sticks, fresh beans from the garden, and juicy plums.

Rolls, squirms, wiggles his way around the house. No crawling yet.

(Still) no teeth yet.

His best friend is Chloe (the cat) who has been oddly patient & loving towards him.

Still naps on the couch with mama after failed attempts to get him to sleep in his crib.

Bedtime and night sleeping isn’t quite as easy as it was, but not as bad as it has been in the past.

Slowly getting more hair, and man, is it red! Looks like we’ll have a ginger on our hands, at least for a few years anyway.

His laughs & smiles & giggles melt my heart.

Playful Sam at 8 months

Sam at 8 months napping

Sam at 8 months sleeping

One Moment

(One moment in a busy week, captured in a photograph. Time to slow down, reflect, give thanks, and enjoy.)

Veggie Garden HarvestHarvest
Vegetable gardens
Green beans
Purple beans
Pattypan squash
Urban farming
Healthy lifestyle
Viewed from above