Happy Family Day!

Today is Mother’s Day. It also happens to be Chris’ birthday. I’m not overly sentimental about Mother’s Day, and tend to focus more on wanting Chris to have a nice birthday. He isn’t too excited about his birthday, and thinks Mother’s Day is the more important thing to celebrate. It evens out to turn our day into more of a nice “family day.” We do a lot of our normal weekend things, eat a few treats or special foods, and do something nice to enjoy each other’s company as a family.

Lewis has been very excited all week to give Daddy his birthday presents and kept asking if it was Sunday yet, so we gave Chris one early present last night and the rest first thing this morning. A little while later Chris asked me how it feels to shop for a giant kid. I hadn’t even noticed the trend, but all the presents we got him fall into the category of either “toys” or “books geared towards kids.” 🙂 In my world there’s nothing wrong with grownups enjoying toys and games or books of any sort, so it didn’t occur to me that I was buying “kid” things, just things that he would like! Lewis was fascinated by one of the books Daddy got, and demanded he read it to him right away.

Love seeing my two cuties enjoying a book together!

Love seeing my two cuties enjoying a book together!

We haven’t really started getting into chapter books with Lewis yet, but he listened happily through the first chapter and seemed to enjoy it. They tried reading chapter two later on, which was a bit longer, and Lewis started getting very wiggly and distracted about half way through. I guess we’ll keep sticking to the picture books for now and maybe try some easier “chapter” books before diving into this one with him!

We enjoyed a tasty breakfast of waffles with strawberries and whipped cream and then headed off for a hike at Lisha Kill Nature Preserve. 

Lewis was very curious about the sign at the entrance.

Lewis was very curious about the sign at the entrance.

Even though Chris and I first connected through hiking and used to enjoy a lot of hikes together, we haven’t done very many since Lewis joined our family. We’ve done a few here and there, but overall this was a new-ish experience for him and one he was very excited about!

One of his favorite things right from the start of the hike was all the sticks he could pick up.

His first favorite stick was this nice tall one which he told me was a staff which helped him walk on tricky places. He quickly abandoned it though when he found a more interesting one.

His first favorite stick was this nice tall one which he told me was a staff which helped him walk on tricky places. He quickly abandoned it though when he found a more interesting one.

He started saying he was hungry as we left the house, and continued saying it as we got started on our hike. I had granola bars in the car but not along in the woods with us, so when we found a bench just a little way into the hike Lewis and I sat down and sent Daddy back to the car to get a snack for us. It seemed like a good opportunity to get a selfie with my little guy while we waited.

He's got his favorite bent stick which he carried for most of the hike.

He’s got his favorite bent stick which he carried for most of the hike.

When Daddy came back we tried to get a selfie with him in it too. It was a little tricky fitting us all in the frame!

When Daddy came back we tried to get a selfie with him in it too. It was a little tricky fitting us all in the frame! (And somehow was even worse when I turned the camera the other way.)

Chris and I have hiked this trail a few times before so we knew there was a nice little stream we would find, but it was very exciting and new for Lewis! We found a frog, tiny fishes, lots of rocks to toss in, and a little bridge to cross. There were also other families with kids playing and tossing rocks both on the way in and out of the woods. I enjoyed seeing so many other families out also enjoying nature today, rather than getting into the busyness and commercialization of Mother’s Day.

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Overall we didn’t really go very “far” on the hike, just a ways into the woods and then turned around and came back out, not all the way around the loop. But we had a lovely time and were in the woods for a little longer than an hour, maybe an hour and a half. Lewis did all his own walking even with many steep up and down hills. He had a few slight slips and needed to hold someone’s hand to keep steady on some parts, but he wasn’t deterred by any of it.

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I loved seeing Lewis enjoying the hike so much and definitely look forward to taking him on more hikes in the future. He seemed to really love all the sticks, bugs, logs, water, and everything else. As we were leaving he said he wanted to live in the forest! 🙂

We had a very nice day as a family, and I hope everyone else has enjoyed a nice day today regardless of whether or not you are a mother, or it is your birthday, or whatever else is going on in your life!

Photo Friday

Happy Friday again everyone! Our lovely spring weather has taken a bit of a turn this week with rain off and on for a few days and chilly temperatures yesterday and today. We’ve even had a few snow flurries! We’ve still managed to get outside a bit each day but it is less enticing with this weather. Lewis’ focus when playing outside has shifted from digging in the mud to looking under rocks and clumps of dirt/grass that the plows dug up in a hunt for worms. We also conducted a worm rescue mission one day when we went out to puddle splash and Lewis noticed all the worms in puddles and on the pavement. He was very focused on collecting any worm that was still wiggling and bringing it safely back to the grass/dirt. Today while we were out he was telling the robins not to eat any worms because the worms are his friends.

Since we’ve been a bit more cooped up inside this week we’ve been keeping busy with some art and sensory play. We’ve played with rice in the sensory bin, blew bubbles, painted, colored, and tried out a new playdoh recipe. It looks like the weather will be warming up a bit again this weekend, so we are looking forward to the chance to get back outside and burn off a little more of the endless toddler energy! (Bonus: I can send Lewis outside with daddy while I find somewhere comfortable to sit and put my feet up. I’m in week 33 of this pregnancy and starting to feel rather whale-like.)

We played at the elementary school playground last weekend and Lewis discovered a new love of the giant twisty slide!

We played at the elementary school playground last weekend and Lewis discovered a new love of the giant twisty slide!

He's also getting really good at climbing, but starts to get a bit nervous once he feels like he's high up and hasn't fully mastered the confidence of climbing back down again.

He’s also getting really good at climbing, but starts to get a bit nervous once he feels like he’s high up and hasn’t fully mastered the confidence of climbing back down again.

We blew up a few balloons and Lewis had a blast running and chasing with them and seeing Daddy try to juggle them.

We blew up a few balloons and Lewis had a blast running and chasing with them and seeing Daddy try to juggle them.

Tired out after so much playing! Time for a brief quiet break on the couch.

Tired out after so much playing! Time for a brief quiet break on the couch.

Did I mention we have a "big boy" now?! Last weekend we moved his bed out of our bedroom and into a room of his own. He has been doing absolutely fantastic sleeping in his own room all week!

Did I mention we have a “big boy” now?! Last weekend we moved his bed out of our bedroom and into a room of his own. He has been doing absolutely fantastic sleeping in his own room all week!

"There's blood all over my hand. I'm a zombie!"

“There’s blood all over my hand. I’m a zombie!”

Dry cornstarch has a really interesting texture. He liked that it made a squeaking sort of sound when he squeezed it in his hand.

Dry cornstarch has a really interesting texture. He liked that it made a squeaking sort of sound when he squeezed it in his hand.

Dinos and playdoh: entertainment for hours!

Dinos and playdoh: entertainment for hours!

Blowing a big mound of frothy bubbles in a little dish of bubble solution.

Blowing a big mound of frothy bubbles in a little dish of bubble solution.

 

Photo Friday

Happy Friday once again everyone! We have been enjoying some lovely family time recently. We had a very nice trip to VT where we got to see all of my family, and Lewis adored having so many people to play with and keep him entertained, plus the benefit of a nice yard to play in. We got back here Tuesday and Chris had work the next two days but he got a surprise day off today, which means an extra day I can put him to work helping get this apartment back into some semblance of cleanliness. 😉 It also means extra fun times spent playing together as a family. This morning we went out and puddle-splashed for a while, and Lewis also had an excellent time chasing Daddy around the house pretending they both were monsters. As might be expected most of these photos are from our trip to VT, with a few from the past couple days in our own home.

Fun and silly bouncing game with Auntie Anna.

Fun and silly bouncing game with Auntie Anna.

Easter morning Lewis was excited to have a "treasure hunt" to find his Easter basket. Not sure what all the silliness in this photo is about, except that it is fun to be silly!

Easter morning Lewis was excited to have a “treasure hunt” to find his Easter basket. Not sure what all the silliness in this photo is about, except that it is fun to be silly!

Stories and laughter with grandma. <3

Stories and laughter with grandma. ❤

A fun (but windy) family walk, and a bit of silly stepping by Lewis.

A fun (but windy) family walk, and a bit of silly stepping by Lewis.

Wearing a hat we discovered in the house, and using a watering can to water all the snow because it was "thirsty."

Wearing a hat we discovered in the house, and using a watering can to water all the snow because it was “thirsty.”

Smoothing out the snow with croquet mallets is important work.

Smoothing out the snow with croquet mallets is important work.

A photo of Higgins, taken by Lewis.

A photo of Higgins, taken by Lewis.

Back home in his perch by the window. This is the perfect place to spy on neighbors and also to wait for Daddy's car to pull in in the evening!

Back home in his perch by the window. This is the perfect place to spy on neighbors and also to wait for Daddy’s car to pull in in the evening!

Collaborative watercolor painting by Mommy and Lewis. We covered just about every inch of the paper, which is now hanging on our wall.

Collaborative watercolor painting by Mommy and Lewis. We covered just about every inch of the paper, which is now hanging on our wall.

Bonus Photos – Happy Easter!

I hope everyone is looking forward to a nice Easter weekend with good food, plenty of candy, and time spent with friends/family. We are excited about our upcoming trip to VT, both to see my family and because it means a break from the very busy work schedule Chris has had the past few weeks.

Last Sunday (Chris’ one day off in the past week) we went to Felthousen’s Florist for their little Easter celebration. We went last year and were impressed with how quiet, low-key and family oriented it was. Nothing like the craziness of standing in line waiting to see the Bunny at the mall! We were very happy to be able to go again, and Lewis enjoyed it just as much. He loved seeing the Easter Bunny and kept going back to say hi, sit on his lap, blow him kisses, etc. He was also very excited to see the baby chicks and eat a cookie and some jelly beans. We also had fun coloring eggs together a few days ago. Today we went to the “Spring Bunny Parade” at the town hall which was pretty much a bust, but oh well! Too crowded and overwhelming for Lewis, so we participated in the parade (which he did say was fun) and then went for a walk instead of getting his face painted or waiting in the giant line to sit on the Easter Bunny’s lap for 5 seconds.

A hug for the Easter Bunny!

A hug for the Easter Bunny!

Waiting patiently for Mommy or Daddy to help him hold a chick.

Waiting patiently for Mommy or Daddy to help him hold a chick.

Petting a soft little chick with Daddy. He also gave it a kiss on its head.

Petting a soft little chick with Daddy. He also gave it a kiss on its head.

Hanging out with his buddy the Easter Bunny again. After we got home he told us he wanted the Bunny to come to our house and also that he wanted to visit where the Easter Bunny lives.

Hanging out with his buddy the Easter Bunny again. After we got home he told us he wanted the Bunny to come to our house and also that he wanted to visit where the Easter Bunny lives.

Egg coloring! His preferred method was to plunge his hands in and grab the eggs to move them from cup to cup. His skin was rather an interesting color after this activity.

Egg coloring! His preferred method was to plunge his hands in and grab the eggs to move them from cup to cup. His skin was rather an interesting color after this activity.

Coloring eggs soon became much less interesting than pouring colored water back and forth between different cups. Color mixing and pouring continued until Mommy declared that there was quite enough mess on the table.

Coloring eggs soon became much less interesting than pouring colored water back and forth between different cups. Color mixing and pouring continued until Mommy declared that there was quite enough mess on the table.

Our eggs!  We started off with brown eggs, so the colors aren't as vibrant as on white eggs but they are still pretty and we had fun.

Our eggs! We started off with brown eggs, so the colors aren’t as vibrant as on white eggs but they are still pretty and we had fun.

The line to see the Easter Bunny after the parade at the town hall. Lewis firmly told me that he did not want to wait to see the bunny and that we should go for a long walk, so that is what we did. We enjoyed seeing a robin and listening to red-winged black birds and other birds as we went.

The line to see the Easter Bunny after the parade at the town hall. Lewis firmly told me that he did not want to wait to see the bunny and that we should go for a long walk, so that is what we did. We enjoyed seeing a robin and listening to red-winged black birds and other birds as we went.

Photo Friday

Hello everyone! We are enjoying some truly lovely warm fall weather this week, and it is supposed to be even nicer this weekend. This will be an extra bonus for us because tomorrow we get to enjoy a visit to Liberty Ridge Farm, thanks to Chris’ work. We love all the family-friendly activities that they plan for us! We went last year and had a blast, and I know Lewis will just enjoy everything even more this year.

We have had a fun day today as well. Lewis had us up a bit earlier than usual this morning, but I decided to take advantage of it. Lewis and I left the house a little before Daddy today (often I’m still in PJs when Chris heads to work) and caught the bus to head downtown. We went and visited the big central library and had a lot of fun seeing the different toys there, eating a snack outside, and also visiting The Open Door Bookstore while killing time before catching our bus back home. The bookstore has a little play corner with toys for kids which Lewis enjoyed, and he also had fun looking at the toys for sale.

I hope this lovely fall weather continues for a while – I am enjoying the sunshine!

Lewis is super excited about all things fall and halloween-y.

Lewis is super excited about all things fall and halloween-y.

"Lewis are decorating. Turned Halloween now." (He doesn't like it when Daddy and I tell him that Halloween is still a month away.)

“Lewis are decorating. Turned Halloween now.” (He doesn’t like it when Daddy and I tell him that Halloween is still a month away.)

After nap one day he insisted that he needed to sit on the couch with a bowl of cereal like Daddy does in the mornings.

After nap one day he insisted that he needed to sit on the couch with a bowl of cereal like Daddy does in the mornings.

Lewis loves wind-up toys. He got some new ones recently as part of a birthday present, and insisted on them sleeping in his crib for nap one day.

Lewis loves wind-up toys. He got some new ones recently as part of a birthday present, and insisted on them sleeping in his crib for nap one day.

Wheee!

Wheee!

Magnetic letter wall at the library today.

Magnetic letter wall at the library today.

More library fun.

More library fun.

Apple Picking

We have finally reached some kind of end to the super-busy times at Chris’ work. He was able to take yesterday and today off from work to help catch up on missed relaxing and missed family time. Yesterday morning we took Daddy along to story time at the library and he got to join in on stories, songs, and a scarecrow craft. After coming home and having a quick snack we headed over to the blood-draw lab.

When Lewis had his iron levels tested a year ago they were at the low end of normal, so when we went in for his 2-year check up this year the doctor requested that we get a follow up test done just in case. The difference between last year’s appointment and this one was phenomenal. Last year he was crying before the needle even touched his arm, had to pinned down by both me and Daddy, needed to nurse afterwards to calm down, etc. This year he sat on my lap and was so brave. We barely had to hold him still, he hardly flinched and didn’t cry at all. I think the big difference was that he actually understood it somewhat and knew what to expect this year because I was able to explain it to him ahead of time and warn him about what would happen. He got a sticker afterwards and went home happy as could be and excited that he got to drink from a water fountain and ride in an elevator.

After nap yesterday we had fun playing outside with our neighbor-friend J, and Daddy made delicious peanut butter cookies for everyone to enjoy. (We also made some yummy veggie enchiladas, but Lewis was less excited about those.)

And today, we went apple picking!

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We headed over to Bowman Orchards, which is one of the two local orchards that we switch between. Bowman is a pretty large orchard with lots of apple types, and it is always VERY busy. It is quite commercialized and has a lot of family things besides apple picking. There is a petting zoo, play area, bake shop, gift shop, food trailer, pony rides, cow train ride… We went today because we knew that a week day would be much less busy than the weekend, but it was still quite busy with families and several bus trips from various schools/groups/whatever. There was one weekend we tried to go last year when we waited out in the road for half an hour before even being able to turn into the driveway, and eventually gave up and drove to Riverview Orchard instead. Riverview is a bit smaller and much more low-key. It was still busy when we went but without the feelings of craziness and overcrowding. If we go picking again in October that is most likely where we will go.

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We started off with picking today. Lewis wasn’t too keen on picking apples from the branches – he much preferred just munching away on any apples that Daddy and I passed his way to try. He made sure to snack on every type we passed, and seemed to enjoy them all equally. I think there were around 10 types of apples being picked today, although we didn’t hit up quite all of them.

"Mommy says this sign has a funny apple name on it!"

“Mommy says this sign has a funny apple name on it!”

We picked a huge heap of apples (over $40 worth!) and plan to use them both for snacking and also for baking. Once we make some space in the freezer I will get to work on a nice big batch of homemade apple sauce. Yum!

We finished up picking around 11:00 then headed over to the shops and play area.

Lewis loved this bear statue and checked it out both on our way in and out.

Lewis loved this bear statue and checked it out both on our way in and out.

He was excited to go over to the play area, and played around a bit but was rather overwhelmed by all the bigger kids running around.

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We also had fun feeding some corn to the animals. Lewis wanted to feed the alpacas, but they dissed us and a greedy goat came over instead. (Which is fine with me – I love goats!)

IMG_7537Finally, we headed over to the bake shop to get a snack and some donuts to bring home.

We each chose an item from the bakery counter and ended up with an apple turnover, an apple fritter, and a cappuccino muffin to try. Chris also got his absolute favorite thing that they have: Apple Cider Donut Ice cream! Lewis was also a big fan, while I opted to skip having any ice cream and just enjoy my baked treats.

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We stopped briefly in the other shop, where I bought a pretty basket and Lewis picked out two teeny tiny gourds, and then it was time to head home.

Once we got home Lewis realized that he had forgotten to bring his toy caterpillar along, and proceeded to have his biggest tantrum yet yelling and crying at the door saying we needed to go back to the orchard so he could bring his toy there. Thankfully, all is happiness again now after his nap and he has enjoyed a lovely evening playing outside with Daddy.

 

Photo Friday

I can’t believe it is Friday again already. I’m really not sure where this week has gone. We played, both outside and inside, did some cleaning and cooking and mess-making, went to the library multiple times, did a bit of shopping… Pretty much a typical week for us.

On Sunday the three of us went to the annual Carrot Festival. It was a lot of fun, but Lewis was baffled by the fact that there were no carrots anywhere to be seen. It really is more of just a fall festival or harvest festival sort of thing. Craft vendors, good food, animals, lots of booths with things for the kids from local businesses. Lewis got to see alpacas, llamas, and various reptiles. He also got to make a pasta necklace, play with a glue stick and crayons, color a picture, and play with an array of musical instruments. It was really fun watching him go right in and interact with everything with barely a hesitation. There were a few other booths we could have visited too, but after a while he started saying things like “Done coloring. Ready pick carrots.” We had to explain that there were no actual carrots for us to pick, and so we went over to the big veggie tent and showed him that there were carrots for sale there as well as many other local fruits and veggies. He was pretty interested in the gourds, although we didn’t buy him one yet. We will probably get a few whenever we make it to the orchard for apple picking.

This week our library story times also started back up after a month long break. We have moved up to the 2 year old’s group now, which is a bit different. The story and song part lasts a little longer and afterwards there is an organized craft project instead of play time. Lewis was very excited to make an apple tree using a glue stick and pieces the librarian had cut out of paper. He got to add red stickers for the apples and then color it with crayons as well. We do a lot of art at home, but I think it was fun for him to be doing a project with someone besides Mommy leading, and he also liked that it tied in to an apple song we had sung during the story time.

Anyway, enough chatting! Here are your cute photos for the week:

Hello alpaca, you have something in your fur!

Hello alpaca, you have something in your fur!

Feeding the alpaca.

Feeding the alpaca.

Yum, apple cider donut! And a glimpse of the pasta necklace he made.

Yum, apple cider donut! And a glimpse of the pasta necklace he made.

He put all his mini trucks in the back of the big truck and told me it was a mommy truck with babies in its belly.

He put all his mini trucks in the back of the big truck and told me it was a mommy truck with babies in its belly.

As we walked home from the library he picked up a stick and started walking with it and calling it his cane.

As we walked home from the library he picked up a stick and started walking with it and calling it his cane.

He stood popping pieces out of his alphabet puzzle. I asked him what he was doing and replied matter-of-factly "Making more mess there."

He stood popping pieces out of his alphabet puzzle. I asked him what he was doing and replied matter-of-factly “Making more mess there.”

Trying out his new potty seat. He's had a little potty of his own for a long time, but he has been wanted to use the big toilet more and more.

Trying out his new potty seat. He’s had a little potty of his own for a long time, but he has been wanted to use the big toilet more and more.

Cutey handsome boy, posing with his hippo who happened to match his shirt today.

Cutey handsome boy, posing with his hippo who happened to match his shirt today.