Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Grandmas and Grandpas!

Happy Birthday to Grandma Olson today and a belated Happy Birthday to Grandpa Olson and Grandpa Hart from earlier this month! We love you!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Elijah's First Trip to Woodland Park Zoo

Seattle has an incredible zoo, the Woodland Park Zoo. Franklin and Levi stayed with us one weekend last year so Mike and Karen could have a weekend away and Aaron and I took them to the zoo with our friend Tiffany. We bought an annual membership last week because it is such a good deal financially and so we’ll be able to go as often as we like. It even allows us to go to many zoos in the country if we are on vacation. The Woodland Park Zoo is near our apartment so we could go there just to take walks if we wanted to in the future. Our first trip to the zoo was a lot of fun for all of us, but I was the giddiest of all! Elijah babbles at dogs when we are going for walks so I figured he would really enjoy all the animals. Here are some of the the photos from Thursday.

Elijah and me on the hippo!

Elijah appeared to be quite impressed with the
long neck of the giraffe. At times he looked
like he was about to cry when the giraffe came pretty
close. They were feeding him leaves across
from us so he got pretty close to us checking to
see if we had any munchies for him too. Elijah
recently started getting scared of selective strangers
and he seemed to react the same way to the giraffe.

Here's our giraffe friend!

The elephants were fun to watch and they
didn't get as close to Elijah so he was a
bit more comfortable with them!

Elijah and Mommy!

Elijah and Daddy!

The emu got away before I could
get his picture right next to us.

This very bold peacock came right up to us because
we were eating our lunch on the go. Aaron
got between Elijah and the peacock
momentarily when we were not sure of his intentions.

Hanging out on the anchor in the penguin exhibit.

I am not sure if Jacob is still into penguins, but
this reminded me of him.

Bye-bye for now! Time to take a walk to Carkeek!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Elijah's 9 months old!

I can't believe my sweet boy is 9 months old. The best and most frequent piece of advice I got when Elijah was born was this: Cherish every moment, even in the difficult times, because he'll grow up before you know it. I used to sing a song I made up for him when he was tinier, especially on the days I was exhausted and could have gotten impatient with him. I always went back to that advice, knowing that he was never going to be this little again, and I would sing my song to him. It never failed to change my perspective, no matter how difficult the circumstances. My little song went like this: I've gotta hug you and kiss you, and love you and hold you. Hug you, kiss you, love you, hold you...cause you'll never be like this again.

I think about that advice often with such sadness and joy as I see him leaving one phase to enter into another, but it does make me cherish it all. I love watching him learn and grow beyond what he knew and was the previous day, but it is difficult to see phases end. I love being his mom. It really is a delight and a privilege to be entrusted with this life. I love watching the wonder in his eyes as he experiences something new. I can imagine the synapses occurring in his brain. I also love his hopeful anticipation of affirmation when he has done something exciting. And let me tell you there's a lot of exciting stuff when it comes to Elijah's growth and development!

It is simply amazing how quickly he has changed and developed over the past few weeks! He had his 9 month check up on the 10th of this month and his pediatrician, Dr. Munson, was pleased with his development. I am so much more confident as a mother than I was the first six months or so of Elijah’s life, but it is still reassuring to get her stamp of approval and affirmation. So, our little heavy weight champion weighed in at 19 lbs. 6oz and is 28.5 inches tall. Actually, he might not be in the heavy weight division because he has typically been in the 75th percentile for his weight, but he jumped down to the 25th-50th percentile. She attributed it to the heightened activity level of a 9 month-old, but wouldn’t all nine month olds get more active leaving him in the same percentile? Who knows…what I do know, though, is that he was way more active in the past month.

Our sweet boy has especially changed in the past couple of weeks. In the last week he began to independently pull up to a sitting position from his tummy and he is now officially crawling! I ordered the locks for the cabinets and a gate for the kitchen just in time because he has started to realize his new found freedom and is exploring his ability to pull stuff down or out quite consistently. So, he is getting into much more stuff! So far, he only seems to be pulling down his own books from the entertainment center and diapers I had stored at the bottom of his changing table that are too small for him, but he is moving fast now so we put locks on a few of the cabinets that he can get to. They are these cool adhesive magnet locks that you can 't see at all from the outside. It is comical how many times Aaron and I pull on the cabinet before we remember to get the magnetic key. Hopefully we'll learn as quickly as Elijah. Aaron spent his evening last night getting the gate up.

For quite some time Elijah would take two “crawl steps” plop down on his belly and reach for whatever he was going for even if it was quite far off. After he realized he couldn’t reach it he would pull up to a crawling position, take two more “crawl steps” and plop down on his belly to reach for his heart’s desire again. He would repeat this until he finally got to what he was going for or until he got distracted by a new goal. Now, he just gets up and goes! I vacuumed the other day and he kept chasing the vacuum cleaner around the house. We had him touch it quite a bit when he was smaller so he wouldn't be afraid fo it...yeah, it worked. His crawling has also made me realize I have to vacuum much more because he eats anything he finds. I can tell immediately if he is being a little hamster. Whether it is some treasure found off the floor or a few finger foods from the end of dinner, I can tell when he is storing treats in cheeks! One of his favorite pass times is shredding Kleenex or paper and then he does little taste tests if I don't have my eagle eyes on.

The filling of the mouth with as much as he can get in seems to be a relatively new thing. I am wondering if this just is a normal stage of development. I am pleased with the fact that I make almost all his food now. It doesn't take too much time if I take a couple days to focus and make a couple months worth and then freeze it, and it is far less expensive. So, I think he eats a wide variety of healthy foods from avocados to apples, among other fruits. I think currently his favorite fruit may be blueberries, but he has always loved apples. He eats several kinds of squash, cheese, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn, carrots, chicken, salmon and his new found favorite of all, hot dogs. I don't know why, but this seems to be the main thing he likes to store in his mouth.

Oh, yes, back to the crawling. He seems to love changes in scenery because he will be on his tummy and then pull up to a sitting position. After a moment or two he will get into a crawling position, take off for only a few moments before he is sitting again, back on his tummy, rolling over to his back, rolling back to his belly, sitting up, crawling, sitting, crawling, sitting, rolling, sitting, crawling. He just happily goes in circles practicing his new found mobility.

Another exciting development is that Elijah has barely started to communicate using American Sign Language. The sign he uses most frequently is all done at meal time when he is full and sick of me trying to sneak food in his mouth! He does the sign for milk, but doesn’t usually actually want milk at the time so I suppose he’s not quite there. The two cutest things he does are wave and clap. He usually waves backwards so his palm is facing him instead of his audience, but every once in awhile he gets it. And, then he claps when we say, “Yay!” or if he is excited. Lately, when I am doing his nap routine with him he waves at one of his teddy bears and has this huge smile on his face. Pretty adorable!

These days, Elijah enjoys doing a lovely, high pitched squeal when he is excited and he blows raspberries with his tongue. Those are especially fun in the library and in restaurants when people are trying to enjoy a meal. Today, we went out to eat with Joe and his sister, Marie, because she is in town visiting and Elijah blew a raspberry at our waitress when she asked him if he was okay. I think she was a bit offended. Really. His favorite things to say are, “Ba ba ba ba,” “Da da da da,” “Ma ma ma ma" and "Ya, ya, ya, ya.” He loves music and for Aaron and me to sing. When we sing he bounces forward and backward in the crawling position. He's got some cool dance moves and he claps!

Elijah is in desperate need of a haircut and has an appointment for his first haircut on Wednesday. It is one of those bitter-sweet things. We are going to a salon for kids so evidently they are good at distracting them so the stylist can actually cut without a big battle. We’ll see!

Enjoy the photos from the past month and let me know what you think of the blog!

Elijah does this adorable either bashful
or intentionally cute smile at people,
especially his Daddy! The even cuter part
is when he tilts his head to the side and
closes his eyes bashfully.

He is probably thinking,
"Dude, I've got them so wrapped!"

One of our favorite parks! Salmon Bay

Elijah is finishing up his cherrios and
yogurt melts while he is trying to mix in
some dirt and grass. I have to be
super diligent to keep him from eating
wood chips. Just ordered a waterproof picnic
blanket to avoid him eating everything!

Elijah is super strong. It really shocks Aaron and me.
He is constantly pulling himself up in the position or with
his booty in the air. Here, Daddy is punishing him and
so he is doing push-ups. ;)

This is one of the times we were not very insightful
and we were encouraging Elijah to crawl. ;)

This is one of Elijah's last baths in his
awesome little tub that fit in our
kitchen sink. Doing something for the last
time always makes me a bit sad.
He was just getting too big for it and
mostly to grabby and splashy!

Testing his strength, I suppose!
One of his favorite positions.

Had to get a bare butt shot in here! Too cute!

The new bath set-up! He doesn't look too fully
convinced here, but he has gotten used to it now and
can splash to his heart's delight.

There's my boys! I love those smiles!

This is shortly after Elijah perfected his crawl. He
couldn't stop long enough to fall asleep and he was exhausted!

This was the same night he couldn't stop crawling
around and had just learned how to sit up on his own.
He saw out of his crib for the first time and kept
looking at me and then out the crib. His expression said,
"Hey, Mommy! Did you know my room is out there and
I can see it from here!" It was hilariously cute!

Just a cute one of him "reading" a book from the library!

Elijah is pretty proud of himself when he
stands alone. He can pull up if he
is holding our hands, but he still doesn't
try to pull up on many other things yet.
The new gate may change that. I don't mind
too much because he often tumbles
down after a little while so it makes me
nervous. Whenever he hits his head he
pulls on his ear like he did when he
was teething. I try to consistently sign
pain to him when he hurts himself
so he can communicate when he is hurt
before he can talk. I hope that doesn't
turn out like his milk sign though!

Well, that is more than enough for now! Pray for Aaron and me as parents when you think of it and pray for Elijah's spiritual, physical, emotional and cognitive development. Thanks for loving us and caring about our sweet boy!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Camping in LaConner, Washington

Aaron, Elijah and I went camping the second week in June with five other couples to celebrate my good friend, Deborrah's, birthday. I love to camp and Aaron tolerates it for my sake, which makes me ecstatic! I was so excited about it being Elijah's first camping trip, but I was also a bit nervous. I didn't want everybody to wake him up at night and I also didn't want him to wake everybody up in the morning. He can get pretty cranky if he is not well rested and that did not sound fun.

My nervousness was confirmed when I saw our tent was going to be right next to both fire pits.... you know, the place where everybody hangs out having fun until the wee hours of the morning! The first night was pretty difficult to get him to sleep with the new environment, but once he finally zonked out, with the help of the mattress pump, he stayed asleep quite a while. When the batteries ran out and the loud noise stopped as a result, he woke up soon enough with all the voices outside our tent. I tried to get him back to sleep and decided to loosen up and let him join the party for a bit.

He got so much attention and love. He was passed around until he dema
nded to go back to sleep. Aaron and I whisked him off to the clubhouse when he woke up early the next morning to keep him from waking everybody up. It was a treat to feed him at a table in a high chair instead of on the ground at each breakfast. We were pretty spoiled with this extra nice camp ground! It was a step up from the norm.

So, he did wake up a bit throughout the entire weekend because it was impossible to expect everyone to be quiet, but he slept well enough. His typical nap schedule got pretty off, but he amazed everybody. People commented all weekend about what a happy, content baby he is. As a mom, I couldn't help but love those comments and feel complete relief. It is funny, he rises to the challenge whenever people are around and I assume it is because he is such a social little guy. He LOVES people and is always smiling and giggling when people relate with him. Next time I will be prepared with some white noise to help him better sleep, but he did great considering and he slept great that entire way home in the car!

Over the weekend we ate some of the best camping meals of my life...Dad, notice I said SOME! ;) I felt like we ate and ate and ate. We also went for walks, played volleyball, took naps and just hung out with everybody. Most of the people who went are friends of Deborrah and we met them at her and Bruce's wedding. Aaron officiated their wedding and I was a bridesmaid so they are good friends. But addtionally, Michael and Itzi, our good friends and neighbors went with us also. They got to meet a lot of new people. The only two bummers for the weekend were that Aaron had to leave early Saturday evening for work/church and I ended up feeling horrible because of allergies. That is pretty typical though when I spend that much time outside even when I am taking stuff. Well, enjoy some of our memories through these photos!

We had just finished setting up this bigger
tent we borrowed from friends since we
had Elijah's pack -n- play with
us. We had
to leave a lot of our campin
g equipment behind
at home since it wouldn't all fit in our
Honda with Elijah's stuf


Our first night around the fire!
Me and my honey....sure do love this man!

Michael and Itzi!

Bruce and Deborrah!

Elijah and Daddy hanging out in the clubhouse

Bruce and Deborrah abducting Elijah for
a walk! Nice little break for Aaron and me...

The family exploring. Notice the tree off
in the distance left of my head. The next
two photos were taken of somebody
taking a rest in that tree!

Pretty stunning...it gets better!

Our campground was in LaConner,
the Swinomish Indian Reservation.


Getting ready to feed Elijah...he ate like a
bird the whole weekend!

Family time in the tent! Elijah had tons of
fun rolling around on the mattress.

Wacha doin' Mommy!?

On our way to play some volleyball!

Elijah loved playing with the ball and watching us volley.

Deborrah and Bruce's night to cook and they
went crazy! Mmmmhhh

Happy Birthday dear Deborrah!

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Sombreroed Baby!

We celebrated Deborrah's birthday today at our favorite Mexican restaurant. She is a good friend of mine. I was in her wedding this year and it happened to be the first wedding Aaron officiated. We
went camping this weekend in celebration of Deborrah's birthday too, but you'll hear more about that in another post. Here's Elijah's contribution to her Mexican birthday celebration!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Ballard Locks: A Family Outing!

We often feel very busy and use our free time to just relax at home, but this past week was full of fun outings. Elijah loves going for our frequent walks, but he especially loves seeing new and different scenery when he can. On Thursday, we strolled around the beautiful Ballard Locks and the botanical gardens. We saw boats go from the ship canal to the Puget Sound via the locks and we saw salmon do the same via the salmon ladders! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Here's a little information I got from a website to better explain the locks. "The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks located in Ballard provide a link for boats between the saltwater of the Puget Sound and the fresh water of the Ship Canal connecting to Lake Union and Lake Washington. The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, often called the Ballard Locks, link salty Puget Sound with the fresh waters of Salmon Bay, Lake Union, Portage Bay and Lake Washington.

Both tourists and locals enjoy watching the parade of sailboats, motorboats, tugs, barges and yachts passing through. Pass a sunny day watching boats of all shapes and sizes come into the locks, and the water level is adjusted to allow their safe passage to the lake or sound.

Stop by the fish ladder, built to allow salmon to pass between fresh and salt water. Glass panels make it possible to view the fish as they navigate their way through the ladder, adjusting to different levels of salt each step of the way. Occasionally, a clever sea lion will hang out, waiting for his next meal. For the historically-minded among you, the locks' official name is, "Hiram M. Chittenden Locks," and was built in 1911 so that coal and timber could be easily transported by boat." Taken from http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/tour/locks.htm