Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lorikeet lovin'

Our new zoo membership card was burning a hole in our pockets, so back we went (a couple of Sundays ago)! We saw some really long, fat snakes, a cracked-out turtle, a red-breasted hawk who was also just visiting...and looking for lunch, and a couple of huge alligators - but we're pretty sure they were fakes!

The highlight of this trip, however, was undoubtedly the lorikeets. These colorful little birds are suckers for nectar and, as it turns out, also for cheapskates like us who only pretend to have nectar in our hands!
little lovebirds

As you can tell by his face, Ben was sooo weirded out by the whole experience. Not sure if he enjoyed it or not, but I know his daddy did! Maybe that was because he was sporting as many crazy color combos as the birds were!

"Back off birdie.
There's only room for one of us on my daddy!"

"Which way did he go?"

Yes, I also match the birds, I know.
(speck/plank, yada-yada)

Don't panic. Remain calm.
No need to worry, Ben. Mommy's got this all under control.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Daddy's home!

melts my heart

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thirteen months!

I can't believe a month has passed since Ben turned one! His walking progress has been well documented, but it really has amazed us at how quickly he decided that since he's one, he's now a walker, not a crawler. And he's never looked back!

We got to borrow our friends' super-nice camera again this month and had lots of fun capturing his new moves at the park down the street from us. (double click on the slideshow to edit the view)

Somehow, even with all this walking, Ben managed to put on a whole pound in one month, and now weighs in at 23 lbs! Must be that good eating he's been doing! Let me clarify that by "good" I mean in quantity, not always in well-rounded, food pyramid portions or anything. But he eats bananas like nobody's business and will now stand in front of their home on our counter and point, grunt, and sometimes babble variations of "nananana". And turning one meant getting to try new things like peanut butter and whole milk - both which have been successfully implemented. I guess we could work in some honey now too, but who wants to deal with those sticky fingers/ears/walls?

Green vegetables are on the outs, but he does great with carrots, sweet potatoes and sometime squash and mixed vegetables. Of course, snack foods and Cheerios still reign supreme - which is where the questionable meals come in to play. But the parenting articles I've scoured all tell me to calm down and know that he's getting the nutrients he needs, even if he has a meal of bread, cheerios, puffs and freeze-dried yogurt bits every now and then.

He's down to one nap a day, as that's the new schedule in his class at school, and we try to stick to that on the weekends. His teacher told me that sometimes after he gets cleaned up from lunch, he'll walk on over to his cot, pop in his thumb, grab his lovey and put himself to bed! (sniff, sniff) So, here's to two-to-three-hour midday naps! Now if we could only reset his internal alarm clock for something a little later than 6:30 a.m. on the dot everyday...

We also went back to Aldrige Gardens for another photoshoot. Now before you think "he is the happiest baby I've ever seen!" please keep in mind that these are the shots that made the cut from the 271 that we took in an hour's time! But we did have fun, especially on the bridge, when I ran back and forth around a tree and through the thicket to "surprise" him. Sidenote: Ben loves to be startled. The more he jumps, the harder he laughs. He also loves knowing that he's about to be surprised, if that's possible. It's the anticipation of it all!

A few outtakes made it into the slideshow though; they were just cute in their own rights.

He did get another ear infection last week, but apparently the tubes are doing their jobs in letting the fluid drain. Fortunately the antibiotics worked very quickly, and he was back in top form within a couple of days! Bathtimes have been increasingly better lately - maybe b/c they've also been few and far between due to some hectic weeknight evenings! (fingers crossed, no reports of him being the smelly kid in class yet!) But he's getting a kick out of bringing in his socks and laying on his stomach in the tub...whatever works, am I right?

So one month of toddlerhood down! This isn't so hard. Yet...:)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ben the Explorer

The combination of Ben's new mobility and the glimpses of nice weather we've enjoyed lately has brought out the inner adventurer in our son! Usually cuddly-Ben squirms to be let down and a simple passage from the car to the house after school turns into a rock-collecting expedition, with the treasures taken as close to inside the door as Mommy allows.

And it's hard to be a short person who can't see out of windows and can't reach the doorknobs. So once I comply to his totally polite requests to open the door, he has a big time pointing at birds, following Zoe, and trying to escape the confines of our yard!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Another day, another park

First a video message for G&G:

After a morning of running errands, working at the dental office, cleaning house and taking a nice long nap (guess who did what), we had a late lunch and headed to join the masses at Homewood Park.

Why is it that everything always tastes better when it belongs to someone else?

We first stopped to look at the water under the bridge, but Ben caught a glimpse of the playground on the other side.
"What the what?"

"I want to go to there."

And off he went! Had to capture his walking on camera, because it improves with each passing day. He walked all the way to the playground, distracted only by a big, white fetch-playing poodle!

Vroom, vroom!

And we happened to run into my friend from work, Wendi, and her son, Owen! Fun to get the Rec Center babies together when we can - missed you Aubrey!

What nice posture you have, Owen!
You can tell something had captured the boys' attention here...but just not enough for smiles.

Once a tuckered-out Ben hit the sack that evening, Tyler and I chowed down on the first home-grilled steaks of the year and enjoyed chocolate decadence cake for dessert, along with some coffee so that we could push through the after-dinner sleepiness and celebrate Valentines Day with Jack Bauer and the 24 gang (1 season down, 6 more to go - we're on a mission!). Sure beats fighting the restaurant crowds!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

You know, in a cool, tough-guy kind of way!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

addicted to socks

What started out as cute game of playing with his socks every now and then, has developed into a mild obsession. While I was looking for clean pj's to put him in one night this week, Ben somehow rounded up all the socks in the laundry pile and proceeded to take them on a tour of the house.

Ben and his sock posse

That's a lot of socks!

Then he tried to enlist my help as his sock pack mule. He worked very hard on this transfer and needed a break once the task was completed.

The mission continued from here...stay tuned!

Monday, February 9, 2009

lions, tigers, and uh, flamingos!

A couple of weekends ago, we bought a membership to the zoo, making us official parents of a toddler. Ben seemed pretty serious about the whole place - taking each exhibit in with a furrowed brow, pointing, and lots of "dah!" Monkeys were definitely the highlight, although there was a very impressive lion that caught everyone's attention for a while. Looking forward to many trips in our future!

Prentices and parrots (look close)

"Well, what the heck is that?"

"You should see the view from up here!"

"And you call me a monkey?!"

"What exhibit does this guy live in?"
(Just kidding Adam! Thanks for inviting us!)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Saturday doubles!

Just getting caught up in some pictures from the past couple of weekends. When my parents were down for Ben's birthday, they clocked in for grandparenting duties bright and early on Saturday as both Tyler and I had to work.

As always, Mom did a stellar job of documenting her time with Ben in pictures. (If you move quickly through the pictures folder on our computer, you can practically watch a virtual flip-book of Ben's day!)

First Ben and Grandma played in his room. Ben's a bit of a bookworm, in the sense that he enjoys pulling them off his shelf and carrying them around. And he even likes to look at them too!
Then it was time for a nap. Doesn't he look huge in his crib?
Followed by lunch, where Ben likes to maintain control over at least one bowl and spoon at all times.
"So big!"

Ben and Grandpa played with his car for a while,
but soon the need for more horsepower led them to put on their Harley paraphernalia,
and head to the HD compound.
A boy, his road warrior and his snack cup.

That night, Jess and Michael arrived and we feasted on Mexican. The next morning, Ben sat (ie: played, climbed) in his new chair, wearing his new pj's.
Boing, boing! Who needs springs in your chair when you've got them in your bottom?!

And this week: more new pj's and a rousing game of hide-n-seek!
By mid-morning, Ben and I and especially Zoe were ready to take advantage of the beautiful weather. Beautiful to look at, mind you, but still pretty cold for stroller riders...hence the snow suit and hat.
After a jog/walk around the 'hood, Ben played on the back porch for the first time as a mobile person. Too cute!
My view as I played fetch with the kids.

You may think he's pointing at Zoe's extraordinary tongue,
but it's really the ball he's after!

Once Tyler got home from work, we went on a fun family outing (pics to follow), but not before Ben had enough time to scurry into the bathroom and discover the joys of the toilet-paper roll!
"So soft against my skin!"

Tyler doesn't have to work this weekend, so who knows what we'll do with ourselves?! Two days to go...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Straight A's for Busy Ben

Tyler and I went to parent/teach conferences this morning at Ben's school. (I know, how cute is that?!) Ms. Candi said that BenBen - as she called him throughout the conference - is still one of the better eaters in the class, which makes me feel bad for the other babies' parents because I wouldn't think of Ben as being a great eater! Snacker, yes. Meal eater, not so much.

She commented on how Ben likes to "just chill" with his lovie and a book or toy and isn't in constant need of attention. Again, I'm not sure who that kid is, because our Ben doesn't seem to appreciate alone time at home and likes for us to be pretty engaged in his activities! Not that they don't give him attention throughout the day - she said there are just times when he wants some space to do his own thing. But he also gets right back into the groove, literally, for music time, cuddles and playtime with his buddies.

He is trying to figure out the sippy cup thing and has adjusted really well to eating at their teeny tiny table, instead of the highchair, and sleeping on a cot, instead of in a crib. (After our conference we watched him put himself to sleep on it, pretty impressive!) Overall, he is a "joy to work with" - not bragging here, just reporting the facts.

Here are some pictures I collected during January of Ben keeping himself busy. First a bubble-bath montage that I use to remind myself that some baths are pleasurable experiences and that it's always worth another shot!

I offered this teething toy after noticing Ben's profuse drool had soaked his shirt. Even though he's had this butterfly for months, he went ballistic over it - flinging it in the air and banging it on everything.
Thinking back, no new teeth have poked through since then...
wassup with that?

"May I have more cheerios please?"

This is the "Ben kneel" - his preferred sitting position,
ready to take off at a moment's notice!

Ben thinks the washing machine is his personal fun house, and finally I had the camera handy to capture his enthrallment with it. It really is the simple things...