Wednesday, September 10, 2014

12 months old--1 year!!! Happy birthday!

Dear Aaron,

You are 1 year old! Today is your birthday!
  • Milestones: You stood up on your own yesterday! You can gesture and say a few words: yes, dada, mama, dog, banana, this. You are interested in mimicking our play--copying daddy flying an airplane, making the sheep sound "baaa".  Previously you were only interested in taking things out of boxes, bags, and cabinets, now you love putting things away--sometimes in unusual places! You make choices when offered a choice between two shirts or two different foods. Your pincer grasp looks great too! You have discovered how to flirt or act coy with people, especially ladies by smiling and hiding your face. You follow 1-step directions well. You play nicely with other babies usually, and you love watching big kids and try to play with them. With your cousin Heath you may take his toys, but when you take his pacifier out, you always try to put it back! You can eat very well with finger foods and are ok with a spoon when mommy helps you.
  • Stats: You weigh about 22 lbs. and measure 28 inches long. 
  • Eating: Your favorite foods are hamburger, chicken, strawberries, grapes, bananas, almond butter, and applesauce.
  • Sleeping: You sleep 11-12 hours each night. 
  • Likes: You love your new birthday gifts! Being outside to crawl around, dig in the dirt/rocks, and put rocks in a bucket. Carrying tools/items around the house, putting items inside containers, splash pad, smiling faces (you love attention!), talking and having people talk back to you, the dishwasher, turning off the light in the fridge, mommy's colorful journaling pens, taking a drink from mommy and daddy's cups, seeing Grandma and Grandpa Prior on Skype, watching/chasing dogs and kitties, opening cabinets, playing tag
  • Dislikes: Being on your back, when something gets taken away, when you don't get to do something (like climb into the dishwasher), "Uncle" Joe
  • Places: We went to a fun music class this month at Adventure Church. You loved it, especially the big kids and when mommy put you in the air. You went on the train at the Fountains. The biggest event was a fun farmer birthday party with your Mumsy & Popsy, Grandma & Grandpa, Aunt Ashton, Uncle Jordan, cousin Heath, and Uncle JP! What a fun month!
  • Songs: "In My Life Lord", "Old MacDonald", "5 Little Monkeys", "High Hopes"
  • Books: Chicka Chicka Boom BoomTouch & Feel Farm book 

This is how he feels about the last monthly sticker! ;)

Aaron, we love you so much. You are such an incredible gift with all of your unique personality traits and preferences. We have loved watching you grow this past year. We are thankful to have you as our first born son! So many new adventures are ahead! We are glad that as you learn from us and others about how to do so much on your own, that we are learning how to be better parents at the same time.

Happy, happy birthday sweet baby Aaron.

Mommy & Daddy

Sunday, August 10, 2014

11 months old

Dear Aaron,

You are 11 months old!
  • Milestones: You love to explore and get into everything! You have begun to "talk" a lot in your own little language, sometimes very loudly! You've started to make approximations of doggie and Atti. You also started doing some bear crawling when you're on an uncomfortable surface. You are doing more and more independent play, sometimes for up to 20 or more minutes! You have also become very interested in daddy! You love watching him, but when you are hurt, tired, or hungry, you are still looking for mommy. :)
  • Stats: You weigh about 21 lbs. and measure 28 inches long. 
  • Eating: Your favorite foods are hamburger, chicken, strawberries, grapes, and applesauce.
  • Sleeping: You sleep 11-12 hours each night. 
  • Likes: Exploring, "talking" to us or making raspberries in the car, "helping" mom load/unload the dishwasher, when mom and dad make funny faces, seeing Grandma and Grandpa Prior on Skype, live music, water play, playing with Buhner, watching/chasing dogs and kitties, swing/bang objects around, car keys, opening cabinets, playing tag
  • Dislikes: Being on your back, when something gets taken away
  • Places: We escaped the heat for a weekend in Tahoe and went to your friend's 1st birthday party--yours is around the corner! We enjoyed the final days playing at Mumsy and Popsy's house then finally got to explore their new ranch!
  • Songs: "In My Life Lord", "Old MacDonald", "High Hopes"
  • Books: Chicka Chicka Boom BoomTouch & Feel Farm book

Our sweet little Aaron, we are learning to enjoy you for your unique sense of humor and preferences that can never be captured by words typed here or documented in a baby book of milestones.

You have taught us so much. You fill up our days with love and joy. I hope you can one day know how much you are loved and adored by your family!

We are going to try to treasure your last month of being a baby as you quickly show more and more signs of toddlerhood as you approach your 1st birthday.

So proud to be your parents. We love you,
Mommy & Daddy

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Farmer's Market Finds 7-22-14

Another great day at the farmer's market!
We took home:
  • $30 1 lb. grassfed ground beef, 1 lb. grassfed Korean short ribs, 1 lb. country sausage
  • $3 artichoke head
  • $1 red onion
  • $1 large bunch cilantro
  • $6 flat of tomatoes (sunburnt box on special)
  • $2 pint of Hungarian peppers (the farmer threw in 2 free jalapenos)
  • $1.70 2 bell peppers
  • $3 large bag of table grapes (about 5 lbs.)
Total: $47.70

So thankful to be able to feed my family delicious, healthful foods and support local farms. Grilled burgers, ribs, veggies as well as fermented salsa and tomato canning are in order this week!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

10 months old

Dear Aaron,

You are 10 months old!
  • Milestones: You are figuring out how things work like doors, cabinets, switches, faucets... You also play games with us like tag and tickle or hide and seek. You have started to become attached to certain objects during the day and will hold it until you sleep (usually a spoon).
  • Stats: You weigh 20 lbs. 14 oz. and measure 28 inches long. 
  • Eating: You eat 3 meals a day and a snack. Your favorite foods are yogurt, strawberries, grapes, applesauce and chicken.
  • Sleeping: You sleep 11-12 hours each night. 
  • Likes: Crawling under and over obstacles, water play, playing tug o' war with Buhner, watching/chasing dogs and kitties, swing/bang objects around, car keys, opening cabinets, bathtime, turning on the water faucet, playing tag, watching the roll call opening of 19 Kids and Counting (you will stop eating or whatever else you may be doing to watch that part, then you resume whatever you were doing!)
  • Dislikes: Being on your back, not getting to hold mom's pen, pickles
  • Places: You went to Breakaway Kids Camp while mommy volunteered. You had a great time and were very tired after going through your routine there. You went to your 2nd cousin Chelsea's wedding on July 4th.
  • Songs: "Mr. Aaron", "In My Life Lord", "Old MacDonald", "Big" Breakaway song
  • Books: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Pull-Back Busy Train BookTouch & Feel Farm book
 You didn't want to stand for a picture. I'm glad you still need your mommy even though you've gotten so big!
You are such a gift to us! It makes me teary just to think about how big you've grown already. I hope we can show you how much we love you every day that we get to spend with you.
We are so lucky you are our little 10 month old!
Mommy & Daddy
p.s. Stop growing up so fast!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Free Summer Activities for Kids around Roseville, CA!

It's going to be about 106* today! Therefore, I've been looking into community activities that are free and indoors in the Roseville area. Here's what I found, organized by day:
  • Monday
    • 10:30-11:00 story time at Martha Riley Library (through 7/28) *Mahany Park is right behind which is gated and covered, if you can stand the heat! The Roseville Aquatic Center is nearby as well.
    • 10:30-11:00 story time at Downtown Roseville Library (through 7/28) *Royer Park is nearby and has A LOT of shade
  • Tuesday
    • 10:00 Story time with a snack and art activity at Learning Express, Douglas Blvd. location
    • 11:00-12:00 Story time at Pottery Barn Kids in the Roseville Galleria Mall (not sure if this is year-round or summertime only)
    • (A bit further out) 10:30-11:00 Mother Goose on the Loose: Nursery Rhymes and Music for 0-3 at Auburn Library (through 7/29)
    • 4:00-5:00pm Reading buddies for 3-5 year olds with teen volunteers at the Rocklin Library (through 7/28)
  • Wednesday
    • 9:30-10:00  Story time at Vernon Street Town Square (through 10/29)
    • 10:30-11:00 Mother Goose on the Loose: Nursery Rhymes and Music for 0-2 at Granite Bay Library (through 7/30)
    • 11:00 Story time with a snack and art activity at Learning Express, Galleria Blvd. location
    • 11:00 Story time at Roseville Barnes & Noble
  • Thursday
    • 10:30-11:00 Story time at Loomis Library
    • **Every 3rd Thursday** 3:30-4:30 Paws to Read: Kids read for 10 minutes with a therapy dog provided by "Lend a Heart/Lend a Hand Animal Assisted Therapy". This is so cool! But only for readers.
  • Friday
    • 10:00 Story time with a snack and art activity at Learning Express,  at both locations Galleria and Douglas
    • 10:30-11:00 and 11:30-12:00 Story time at Maidu Library (through 7/25). The park here is very fun and has shade.
    • 10:30-11:00 Story time at Granite Bay Library ages 3-5 (through 7/25)
    • 4:15 and 4:45pm FREE Swim Lesson Fridays at Johnson Pool ages 3+
  • Saturday
    • 11:00-3:00pm Free craft for kids ages 3+ at Lakeshore Learning Center
    • 11:00 Story time at Roseville Barnes & Noble
    • **Every 3rd Saturday** Roseville Town Square concert series at 6:30 with music, food trucks
  • Sunday
    • Children's Ministry at Bayside is open every weekend on Saturday nights and Sunday morning so they can play and learn while you enjoy service!
Roseville Aquatic Center is also inexpensive. Kids under 2 are free with $5 adult general admission. They have a under 6 swim time called Little Splashers. It takes place at the Roseville Aquatics Complex Mon.-Thurs. 10-12:30pm and at Mike Shellito Indoor Pool on Tues/Thurs 10-11:30, Sat. 12-1:00, and Sun. 11:30-1:00. There is also a free family night at Johnson Pool through 7/30 on Mon. and Wed. from 6:45-8:15pm.

Enjoy and let me know if I missed some fun free activities for kids that are great for these hot days!

Friday, July 4, 2014

{almost} 5 years of marriage strategies

With weddings to attend this summer and our upcoming five year anniversary, I have wondered what  strategies or traits have we developed that helped us grow a thriving marriage? It certainly wasn't luck or lack of problems...

Sure, there are couples with amazing marriages more seasoned than our own, but there is something unique to each season of marriage and the challenges of this time are still very fresh in our memories. After the butterflies and "all we need is love" mentality ended, we had to get to work. Here are a few marriage strategies we've learned in the first 5 years:
  • Forgiveness is final. Once you have forgiven your spouse, the act is in the past and cannot be used as ammunition in future arguments.
  • Hit the pause button. We learned after far too many long, frustrating nights, that the verse "don't let the sun go down on your anger" should not be used to drive each other to delirium in the wee hours of the morning in a circular argument. Try to resolve disagreements quickly. Endlessly listing every aspect of your spouse's actions and why you were hurt is not helpful. If the disagreement isn't going anywhere, find a place to peacefully stop the conversation, agree on a time to finish the discussion, and say goodnight.
  • Don't say the "d" word. Using words like "divorce" in the midst of a heated argument is corrosive and inflammatory.
  • Seek wise counsel. Find marriage mentors, a trusted couple unrelated to either of you, and/or married peers who will actively support and encourage your marriage. And listen to their advice!
  • Let go of toxic relationships. If there are people in your life who belittle or undermine your spouse or marriage, in the interest of growing a healthy marriage, it may be time to move on from those friendships. *note added* make sure you are not that toxic person... We committed to never tear each other down with others. When we are apart, we still speak kindly and respectfully about each other, even if we've had a disagreement.  Gossiping about your own spouse creates an attitude of  resentment and disrespect toward your spouse in you and in those listening. 
  • Do things together. Find activities that you can enjoy together (things that aren't passive like TV). For us, we have enjoyed working out, cooking, playing games, completing projects together, going to dinner. Making this time to do things together, takes more effort after having kids!
  • Do things separately. Give each other space to have time alone or to pursue your passions. Each person in the relationship needs this time, even if they haven't mentioned it. We've gotten to the point where I will directly ask Brandon, "Do you need 'cave time'"? And he will do the same for me.
  • Invest in same-sex friendships. Every husband needs other male friends, every wife needs other female friends. You CANNOT be everything for each other. We already have a savior, and he is not you or your spouse.
  • Take time out to dream/plan. Whether it's weekly, monthly, or quarterly, make a point of talking about how things are going, what you envision happening in the future, and what you would like to happen. This may involve making lists or action steps.

  • You are a new and unique family. While you both remain a part of your original families and under the "umbrella" of that family, the two of you have your own family or "umbrella" that your parents are not a part of. (The umbrella metaphor is originally from my Grandpa.)
  • Be out with the in-laws. When it comes to navigating each other's families, understand that you come from different backgrounds so the spouse related to the family should take the lead on communication and decision-making since they speak the same language in a sense. Give space and respect to the way your in-laws do/see things even if you disagree.
  • Get involved. Don't just attend church, participate. Serving in ministry will deepen your faith, introduce you to new people, and bond you closer to your spouse.
  • Pray. No, really. I'm not talking about a passive "bless our marriage" prayer. Pray together, pray separately, pray for each other. If there's an issue going on, pray as soon as you can. Before and/or after a heavy conversation, pray. Before making a decision, pray. Intently seeking God for specific requests has deepened our faith and our marriage.
Hopefully this encourages you in your marriage! What are strategies that have worked for you?