Monday, July 17, 2017

Snapshots of Summer

Amidst our travels this summer, things have settled into an easy routine of work days and evening walks, play time and bath time, weekend family outings and Sunday afternoon naps. This past week, we fit in a visit to Daddy's school. Emerson loved sitting in his big desk chair. She is all over the place now, not quite crawling but getting around by other means. She can get up on all fours and can move from a seated position to down on her belly. If you turn your back for just one minute, you may even find her rolling under the furniture! This weekend, with Daddy's encouragement (and Mommy's disapproval!), we discovered that she can stand by holding on to her crib. Luckily she isn't able to pull up on things quite yet, so hopefully we have a few more weeks before she really takes off. I am a little nervous for the day that she officially starts crawling...we may never sit down again!

 Another fun 'first' this week was trying out the swings at our neighborhood park. Em held on tightly to the seat and liked kicking her legs into the air. It seems we may be adding a short detour to our evening walks!

This past weekend, our friends JR and Becki came down from Baltimore. Unfortunately we didn't take too many photos to document their visit, but it was so great catching up with them. We last saw them in October for Wake's Homecoming, and needless to say, a few things have changed since then! We loved introducing Emerson to them. Becki kept her entertained with games of peek-a-boo, and JR got his arm workout from bouncing her up and down. The weekend passed quickly: we grilled out on Friday night, and then on Saturday, we had a picnic on the Quad (the one picture we have from the weekend!) Matt, Virginia, their daughter Elle, and Meesh came from Charlotte, and it turned in to a mini-reunion. The guys threw around a baseball and had fun reliving their college days. There was already talk of getting together next year for their 10-year class reunion. Although we may be spread out in different states, it is always fun to see everyone and raise future Deacons together! :)

Monday, July 10, 2017

8 Months Old!

The monthly pictures are no longer a one-man job. It took both Boomer and me to contain Emmy in the chair. After multiple shots, I realized I captured lots of smiles, but hardly any of the "8 months" on the onesie! Oops! #momfail

Here are some milestones from this past month:  

8 - The approximate number of foods Em has tried! She continues to love rice cereal and will gobble it down with very little coaxing. As for other foods, she prefers vegetables (pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and carrots) to fruits (apples, pears, and mixed berries). She also tried watermelon for the very first time with Granny when we were at the lake over the 4th.

7 - stands for August 7th. This is the date that Emmy will start 'school.' It is a date that has been on my mind since we visited the center a couple of weeks ago. Emmy's time at Grammy Daycare is coming to an end, and I am trying to stay positive about the transition. I am also trying not to think about it too much!

6 - Six teeth! In a few of the pictures, you can see how the gummy grin has been replaced by a mouth full of teeth. The two teeth on the bottom showed up a while ago, and just within the last month, four more have come through on the top. Despite teething, Em has been pretty pleasant. She hasn't been too drool-y, but she does chew on anything she can get her hands on!

5 - Although we have started with food, Emmy continues to have about 5 bottles a day. I am also pumping 5 times a day. As Em develops an even greater appetite for food, I will soon be dropping a pumping to coincide with this change.

4 - Hmmm, I can't think of anything for '4'! 4 more days until the weekend...? :)

3 - Three meals a day! We are now trying to mimic a real feeding schedule with a breakfast (rice cereal right before her morning nap), lunch (a fruit or veggie around midday), and dinner (same fruit or veggie around 4:30PM when she wakes up from her afternoon nap). At daycare, once Emmy can eat solid foods, these meals will be provided. It will likely still be awhile until then, but we are hopefully getting her ready for that.

2 - stands for naps! Em is still taking two naps a day. If we have special activities planned, the timing may be off, but generally she has her morning nap around 8:30AM after arriving at Grammy and Grandpa's house. Then she has her afternoon nap around 1:30PM.

1 - one special little girl! We love you, Emerson Leigh!

Today snuck up on us, just like all Mondays do. On Friday, I went to Raleigh for a reunion with the Wake girls. Sarah, Christina, Jen, Amy, and I were in graduate school together at Wake Forest. We have all kept in touch, and with careful planning, we have been able to get together once a year since graduating in 2009. It was a special reunion this year as it was somewhat of a send-off for Christina. She and her family will be moving to Denver very soon for her husband Dave's one-year medical fellowship. We will miss her so much! On Saturday, after a work-out (Jen talked us into a class called "Burn Boot Camp"!) and a relaxing time by the pool, I fit in a quick visit with most of the Morganton girls who were in Raleigh visiting the Gays. Kelly is due in less than a month with her little girl, and I was able to see the nursery for sweet baby Adelia. After that, I headed back west and got home just before dinner time. Friday night was only my second night away from Em, and I had missed her! There wasn't much time left in the day on Saturday, but we enjoyed some family time on Sunday. After church, Boomer once again surprised me with the suggestion of going to the Y pool. For a split second, we debated it, because we had just given Em a bath on Saturday night (so silly, I know!) but we decided a second bath was not a big deal, hardly a reason to not go to the pool! Emmy looked super cute in her bathing suit! The weekend was officially over this morning when I had a dentist appointment. Em accompanied me, and she got lots of attention from the staff there. She even got some experience working behind the front desk! Luckily it was a quick visit, and I was cleared with no cavities! :D

Parenting advice: It may be a lot of work, but pack up the diaper bag, do a second bath, load up the car, rearrange your schedule, and make memories in the sun.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A 4th With No Fireworks

Over the last eight years, we have made so many fun memories from going to the lake on July 4th. We have been going to Lake Tillery ever since Boomer and I started dating in 2009. It has become a tradition for the whole Kennedy gang to gather at the lake house for the weekend. Year to year, there may be a family member absent, but we've also added a few family members along the way. There is always a lot of good food, several boat rides, sunscreen and sunburns, and even a parade. With July 4th on a Tuesday this year, the holiday seemed a little off, but not in a bad way -- it just seemed that we got to spread out the festivities even longer! It meant having the weekend at the lake with the Kennedys and then having a second holiday in Kernersville with the Houstons and Bakewells. In between the celebrations, there was one pesky day of work on the 3rd, but even that wasn't too much of a bother. 

Before hitting the road on Saturday morning, we upgraded Em's Bumbo to an actual seat. We had been using the Bumbo as a way to keep her propped up during meals, but it was just a temporary solution until she had better upper-body control. With the last few meals, it seemed like we were stuffing her in there. It was also becoming a challenge to keep her in the Bumbo, as she would try to twist and grab anything within her reach. I needed to accept that Em was ready to move on: she has outgrown the Bumbo. Here is our big girl, so proud of herself in her new high chair! 

After her first meal in her new seat, we timed our trip to the lake to coincide with Em's morning nap, and we arrived at the house around 10:30AM. The last time we were at the lake over Memorial Day weekend, Em was around 6 months old, and there was the infamous face-plant into the baby pool. It was amazing to see the growth that has happened since then. Emmy was able to sit unassisted in the pool (although Granny or I were close by, just in case), and she was such a busy girl grabbing at all the pool toys. She especially loved putting the shovel in her mouth. She also loved going on boat rides. Over Memorial Day weekend, we didn't take Em on the boat, so this weekend was her first time. Of course we followed all boater safety laws, and Emmy was a funny sight in her life jacket. It swallowed up her neck and left just her head peeking out. Between the sound of the boat motor and the breeze of the wind, Em didn't stay awake too long on either ride. She found a comfy spot next to Daddy and napped for most of the time. Another big improvement this weekend was her eating. She ate a full serving of apples on Saturday and a double serving of rice cereal on Sunday. It seems our little girl may be going through a growth spurt...or perhaps she is starting to accept that we aren't giving up on the solid food and the spoon is here to stay. 

Probably one of the funniest moments of the weekend was when Aunt Carlin accidentally switched Emerson's and Ellison's bottles! Carlin was on baby duty while a group of us went on a boat ride, and when we returned, I noticed my milk cooler was missing one bottle. Once we figured out the mix-up, we all got a good laugh at Carlin's expense. I feel sure we will be picking on her about it for a while! The only concern was that Ellison has shown an allergy to dairy, and Darby has been trying to limit cheese and milk in her own diet. Needless to say, I have not been adhering to that same diet. :/ Luckily, there weren't any major reactions. Whew!

On Sunday, we headed back to Kernersville, unfortunately without seeing the annual parade and fireworks. The lake community decided that the fireworks would be on Monday evening and the parade would be on Tuesday. The weekend was still a pretty full one, and Emmy was tired from all the water and sun. Once we got home Sunday evening, we took our usual evening stroll around the neighborhood, and Em was wiped out from the weekend's activities. 

After working on the 3rd, Boomer and I both had Tuesday off, and he shocked me by suggesting we go to the YMCA pool. He doesn't usually volunteer for spending hours outside in the sun, so of course I jumped on the opportunity. The Kernersville Y has a great outdoor pool, with a separate 'splash park' for younger kids. It was our first time going to the pool this year, and Em loved sitting in the water and playing with Daddy. It was a little different than when I have gone to the pool in the past: no lounging in the sun, working on my tan and reading. We stayed for just a little under 2 hours, and we were mostly in the water the whole time. I was sure to slather Em in sunscreen and keep her head covered with a [different] sun hat. (R.I.P. pink sun hat!) This hat was a gift from Grammy and Grandpa after their trip to New Zealand. Perhaps I was too worried about Em that I forgot to lather up myself. I'm sporting a bit of a sunburn on my shoulders!
We finished out the holiday with a cookout at the Houston's. Megan and Zack are such great hosts, and it is always a treat to be invited to one of their get-togethers. We had ribs, hot dogs, chicken skewers, and steak, along with corn on the cob, deviled eggs, baked beans, and chips and dip. In addition to Zander and Maddox, there were two other children there, all a little older than Em. She had fun rolling around on the floor and watching the big kids play. She also got some snuggles from Aunt M and Caro. On Wednesday, we had a special visitor -- Aunt CoCo! Em got a lot of snuggles from her, too! 
The town of Kernersville had their firework show on Tuesday evening around 9PM after the sun went down. We didn't think it would be the best idea to keep Em up past her bedtime, so for this year, we didn't see any fireworks. Next year she will be a little older, and breaking bedtime will probably be in order for this one night. I'm sure she will love the fireworks. Aside from fireworks, our 4th of July was lacking in no other way! It is special to celebrate another holiday with Emmy. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Summer Field Trips

While Mommy has been working this summer, Em has gone on several fun field trips with Grammy and Aunt M. We are very thankful that Aunt M includes her niece on these outings with Zander and Maddox! With Grammy's back seat installed with three car seats, all of the cousins can ride together on these adventures. On Monday, Em got to go to the Greensboro Science Center. The Science Center is an aquarium, a zoo, and a hands-on museum for kids of all ages. After a couple of hours of looking at the exhibits, the crew met me for lunch at one of our favorite places, Freddy's. It is extra special when I get to spend an hour in the middle of the day with Emmy and my family. After lunch, the gang headed back to Kernersville, where Emmy was a bit wiped out from the morning's activities. I love the picture of her sprawled out in her pack-n-play. 

Another field trip this week was accompanying Grammy to the grocery store. For the first time, Emmy sat in the cart like a big girl. She loved looking around at all the people and food!  She is still a little wobbly, so Grammy secured her with extra belts and straps. Em is getting better and better at sitting up and staying balanced. It seems that gone are the days of keeping her in the car seat and cramming items around her in the cart. 
One last field trip was on Thursday to Arbor Ridge to visit Great Gma and Great Gpa. Arbor Ridge had a special 4th of July Celebration with a meal, patriotic songs, and even an Elvis impersonator! Luckily the dinner was after work hours, so Mommy and Daddy were able to go, too.
When she is not on field trips, Emmy continues to have lots of fun at Grammy (and Grandpa!) Daycare. Grammy is now doing three 'meals' a day, either rice cereal or fruits and vegetables. The meals are usually topped off with a bottle, so Em is still taking a total of about 30 ounces of milk a day. During their time together, Grammy also helps Em practice her sitting and even standing (!) I'm so thankful for the photos I get from my parents during the day; I love seeing what Emmy is up to. Each day seems like it is something new. This coming weekend is the 4th of July holiday. We are heading to the lake tomorrow morning, and we will come back Sunday evening. July 4th usually seems to mark the halfway point of the summer -- it is hard to believe how fast it has gone by! We are packing in as much as we can, and there are still a lot of fun things to look forward to in July and August!


Monday, June 26, 2017

Emmy's 1st Trip to the Zoo

By special request, Megan wanted to celebrate her [34th] birthday with a trip to the zoo. Her birthday fell on a Saturday this year, so it was the perfect activity for our crew of 9. After going to the Dallas Aquarium just a few days ago, I knew Em would likewise enjoy the NC Zoo. With all the colors and movement, our curious little girl would have lots to look at! We met up with the Houstons, Grammy and Grandpa around 8AM, and our caravan pulled in to Asheboro just after 9AM, when the zoo opened. The zoo has two sections, broken up into continents: Africa and North America, with all the different animals and wildlife for each. Boomer recently went to the zoo with a group from his school, so he was a great tour guide as we first took the tram to Africa, navigated through that continent, then had lunch at the Junction, and finished by walking through North America. We got to see a lot of animals: giraffes, elephants, baboons, gorillas, alligators, snakes, otters, and fish. The boys even got to play at the play area and put their feet in the 'stream.' Em had a lot of fun riding in the stroller with her cousins. She took a short nap on the way to the zoo and also in the afternoon, but mostly she was awake and taking it all in. There were some funny moments throughout the day, like when we unloaded for the tram and were ripping kids out of the stroller, and also when Mom got the attention of the entire food court to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Aunt Megan. It's a bit of a circus with this group...or perhaps, I should say a zoo! :)
Grammy and Grandpa were troopers: Grammy was generally holding a child or a bag throughout the entire day, and Grandpa manned the [loaded-down, very heavy] stroller. The picture above is just after we exited, and I suppose it is a good sign that they are still smiling! While at the zoo, Zander and I recreated a picture we took two years ago. The picture on the left is from 2015, and the picture on the right is from 2017. By coincidence, Maddox wore the same shirt that Z has on in the first picture. The years are going by so fast, and these photos are a reminder of that!
By another request of the birthday girl, we ended our fun day with dinner at a Japanese steakhouse in High Point, called Fire and Sticks. We were probably quite a sight rolling up into the restaurant, hot and sweaty from our day at the zoo; but the food was yummy, and our chef kept the kiddos entertained so the adults could enjoy their meals. We were all a little pooped, and everyone was home by 6:30PM for bedtimes.  

Here is just one more photo from our weekend. On Friday night, we had dinner with our friends Jared and Ashley and their little boy, Harrison. Harrison will be a big brother soon, and he was so sweet to Em. We tried out his jump-a-roo, which will soon be used by his little brother, Griffin. It was no surprise that our little jumping bean liked it!