Caleb – 9 Months

As of today, Caleb is three quarters of a year old. He’ll always be my baby, but he definitely does not seem like an infant anymore. He’s got a mouthful of teeth, he’s on the move, and he’s got a little third-born attitude.

Since it’s been hot many days this month, Caleb has spent a lot of time in the water. He absolutely loves playing in fountains and pools, and he loves his baths. We’ve done a tour of fountains in the area with family and friends, including but not limited to:

Jamison Square:

20160817_10104353rd Avenue Park:

20160818_114553Conestoga Splash Pad:

20160824_104248Friends’ Backyards:

20160825_130626And Ama and Baba’s Pool:

20160804_135852Caleb started his first baby and me class, and has loved splashing in the water with Mommy and the other babies. He also graduated from the baby bath tub, and is taking baths in the big boy tub. He loves it!

20160825_193640Besides loving the water, Caleb has been enjoying his newfound mobility. He army crawls everywhere. It all started with Auntie Kristy’s blue toenail polish, which inspired him to get moving. Now everything is interesting. He chases the poor kitties, bothers his big brothers, and manages to find cords and fans and small toys which get left around. I’ve had to do a lot of childproofing in the last two weeks! He does it all with so much joy, though.

This month, Caleb has begun to perfect the art of feeding himself. We still feed him some purees at each meal, but he loves eating food on his own. This is quite a messy process. Luckily he has 6 chompers to help him with all of the food. Check out this black berry hand print.

20160805_18145720160807_180438I took a few pictures of Caleb while he was playing in the grass yesterday. Here is my 9 month boy.

20160824_192510 20160824_192027 20160824_191903Caleb still loves his brothers very much. He likes to play with them and “talk” to them. Here he is trying to be with them even while they are cleaning my sliding glass door.
20160825_174533Caleb had his 9 month well check. He’s doing well. Here are the stats:

Weight: 21 pounds 12.7 ounces

Height: 29 inches

No immunizations were needed so he was a happy little guy!

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Buoy 10 Trip 2016

We just got back from a great week at the beach with family. Each year my family meets at the coast and most of us go fishing for salmon on the Columbia river. We like to call our annual family tradition “Buoy 10” because that is the general area where a lot of the fishing happens, although it is not very often that my family actually fishes there.

Normally, we camp at Fort Stevens for our family trip. This year, however, despite waking up 9 months to the day before our planned trip to book our cabin sites, we could not get the reservations. Someone else clicked a millisecond faster than us after the clocks turned to 8 am I guess. We were all wondering what we’d do for awhile until my dad found us a nice house in Warrenton, Oregon. We all went in and stayed there together.

Nathan loves going fishing with my family, but let’s just say I’m not a fisherwoman. I stay home with the kiddos, so a house sounded great to me compared to the cabins. The cabins are a lot of fun but are also a lot more work and a lot smaller!

On Monday evening I drove up to Warrenton with the three boys. Nathan stayed home so he could work one more day and attend a vestry meeting at church.

Tuesday morning I woke up to find myself alone with four boys aged 5, 3, 1, and 8 months. (I watched my nephew so Uncle Scott and Auntie Kristy could both go fishing together). I was confident we’d all have fun and stay safe, but I didn’t know quite how it would go with four little boys.

The morning actually went really smoothly. Caleb took a good nap, and I used that opportunity to let the older boys do some watercolor painting.

20160809_103252Tuesday evening I stayed up late to wait for Nathan to arrive, and was happy to see him when he did.

On Wednesday, Auntie Kristy and I took the four boys to Seaside to ride the carousel and get some treats. We got home just a bit before the fishermen. My mom was super excited because she caught the biggest fish of her life – a 30 pound salmon! Caleb was happy to be reunited with his Daddy.

20160810_144611He also was excited to look at the big fish.

20160810_144919Wednesday evening we took the boys to nearby Cullaby Lake so that they could try fishing. We had no luck and the boys were disappointed…but it was just a lesson in what fishing is really like.

20160810_191424I love the look of concentration on Simon’s face here while he is reeling:

20160810_191456The spectators: (We got to see a few bites but no fish).

20160810_190611Thursday Ama stayed back with me and we took the boys into Seaside again. They got to ride the carousel again.

20160811_101945 20160811_101956 20160811_102012Caleb didn’t ride the carousel. Maybe next year! After the carousel we took the boys to the arcade and Elias got to try out his first ride on the tilt-a-whirl. I went with him and felt like I was going to hurl for a few minutes afterward. He wanted to go again really bad so my mom went with him. I’ll never forget the look on Elias’ face when he rode that ride. He looked terrified. But he always came off with a smile saying he wanted to ride again so I guess it wasn’t so bad!

Thursday evening we took the boys for a boat ride. We started out on the Skipanon river with plans to make it out to the Columbia if it wasn’t too rough and windy. The Columbia was definitely pretty choppy, but we made it out to the Astoria bridge. Elias remembered driving over the bridge with Grandpa in June. Now he got to see it from a new angle! Both of the boys got a turn “driving” the boat.

20160811_184116 20160811_190103I enjoyed looking at the bridge from down below.

20160811_190252Caleb was lulled to sleep by the sound of the motor and the bouncing of the boat. Ama kept him in good hands. I think it is cute that he is holding on to Ama’s life jacket even though he is asleep.

20160811_191156On Friday, Auntie Kristy stayed home with me again and we took the boys to see the Peter Iredale and play on the beach. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and we missed some really hot weather at home. Caleb and James loved just playing by our spot, and I was able to run around the beach with Elias and Simon a bit.

20160812_10545920160812_120221Elias ended up getting all the way in the water. He was so freezing when he was done that we had to warm him up in the shower when we got back to the beach house.

20160812_111735Friday evening we gathered around the campfire for smores and fire songs.

20160812_200549Elias learned how to cook what Uncle Scott referred to as the “perfect mallow”. Elias was very proud.

20160812_201431It was so much fun to be able to spend a lot of quality time with family. I’m so thankful we are able to have this family tradition!

20160812_201737Saturday was the last day of fishing. Auntie Kristy and I stayed back with the boys again. We decided to drive to Fort Stevens State Park to use the nice bike paths there. We loaded the boys, the strollers, and the bikes and headed off. Elias is a whiz on his bike, but Simon is still working on it. He is learning how to use the pedals, but it is slow going. The first 100 yards or so neither Kristy or I said anything, but we were both thinking that we wouldn’t be making it far. Auntie Kristy, though, resourceful as she is figured out how to make it all work.

20160813_115850We took turns pushing Simon with our strollers and actually made it all the way to the lake for a snack and some rest before turning back….almost 2 miles round trip!

Sunday was our family day. No fishing. We went into Seaside for some family fun. Ama and Uncle Scott rode Tilt-a-whirl with Elias again.

20160814_115103Nathan rode the bumper cars with Elias, and we had a lot of fun at the arcade. Then we got to do something I’ve always wanted to do! Rent a bike! And we rented a big one!

20160814_131934We had Caleb up front with Cousin James in the beginning, but it made me too nervous. He only lasted about twenty feet there, then we moved him back with Baba for a few blocks before moving him again to his final spot…in the ergo with Auntie Kristy where he promptly took a nap.

We rode that bike all around Seaside. It was a lot of good exercise! My mom directed us to one of the cool historical sites that her dad always took her to…the saltworks.

20160814_140823Simon had to get in some cousin love as we were loading the bike back up to head in to town again.

20160814_141115After an hour of biking we decided we had exerted enough energy to award ourselves with a treat. Then Auntie Kristy, Simon, Uncle Scott, Elias, and Ama all went on the tilt-a-whirl one last time before we said goodbye to Seaside.

In the late afternoon we went to Sunset Beach so that the boys could play some more. Baba came with us.

20160814_16144320160814_162242 20160814_164842 20160814_164921We weren’t done with our family day yet, though! After dinner, we all loaded up in the cars and drove back to Sunset beach with everyone for some kite flying. It is a beach where cars of all kinds drive onto the beach. A lot of people have beach fires or watch the sunset from their cars. Nathan didn’t want to drive the van onto the beach so we parked right at the entrance and all piled into the back of Uncle Scott’s truck. Elias was very nervous about it…especially after just completing his safety town course and told us in no uncertain terms that it was not safe without seat belts. Good for him!

We went anyway though and told him it was only on the beach that we would ever be doing that, and Auntie Kristy only drove about 10 miles an hour.

20160814_192026James was impressed with the kites.

20160814_192845Caleb also enjoyed watching them.

20160814_192946Just about everyone else took a turn flying the kites from the beach or the truck.

Simon had an especially good time, and led us all in singing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”

20160814_192957We finished our family day with some more cousin love.

20160814_185735Monday morning we had to pack up and leave the beach house and say goodbye to family for now. In total, they caught five salmon…some of the biggest we’ve ever caught, but generally there were a lot less bites than normal. More important for me, though, we got to spend a lot of quality time together.

After leaving the beach house, the Smiths went to Fort Clatsop. We had never been there and wanted to explore it a bit.

20160815_105323The boys enjoyed seeing the fort replica, walking around in the woods, and completing some Junior Ranger activities.

20160815_110546They even got to watch a man make fire how Lewis and Clark would have done.

20160815_112432At the end they got to get Junior Ranger badges. Here they are saying the junior ranger pledge.

20160815_120544We arrived home to a really warm house, two excited kitties, and a lot of unpacking to do. Caleb also learned to crawl during our week away so I’ve really got to get going on finalizing our babyproofing! We’ll have these memories to take with us all throughout the year!

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Beach Bums

A couple of weeks ago a friend lamented that she really wanted to go to the beach, but her husband wouldn’t let her go alone because she is nearing the end of her pregnancy. I offered to go with her. After working out some logistics with my parents for picking up Elias from his camp, I set off with Simon, Caleb, my friend, and her son for the coast. I had never attempted to go to the beach without Nathan so I was glad I had a good friend to try it out with.

The boys had a lot of fun. Caleb had been to the beach a lot before this, but had never been too interested in the sand. That sure changed! He loved feeling it sift through his fingers….and I tried not to let too much end up in his mouth.

20160728_131839 Simon and his friend loved running around in the little stream on the beach. I, of course, did not get Simon’s swimsuit on him fast enough, and he was laying down in the water getting soaked…sweatshirt and all. Oh well!

20160728_140636The best part of the whole thing was getting really sandy.

20160728_141752We are lucky to live close enough to be able to head to the beach for a few hours if we’d like!

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Tent Camping #2

We had our last tent camping attempt of the summer. This time we went to Cape Lookout State Park. Neither Nathan or I (or the boys) had ever been there so we were excited to check it out.

The campsite was fun. There was a dune so that we couldn’t see the ocean, but we were actually only a hundred or so yards from the ocean. We were lulled to sleep by the sound of the surf.

The trip got off to a rocky start. We arrived at our site and opened the van doors only to be immediately attacked by mosquitos! I get unusually bad reactions to mosquito bites. We’re talking baseball or larger sized swelling for each bite or cluster of bites. I had a hard time deciding whether I should protect myself or protect the three boys. Nathan got started on getting the tents set up while I got the boys changed into long pants, sweatshirts, and doused with mosquito repellent. Nathan had the tent set up, but not staked yet, and I asked him to hold Caleb for a bit so I could get myself mosquito proof. (or as much so as possible). Then I went to use the restroom before being responsible for the boys again. I was only gone a couple of minutes, but when I came back the sleeping tent was completely collapsed and the dining tent was blown away and upside down.

What happened?

Apparently a big gust of wind had come and wreaked havoc on our tents which were not yet staked. After another twenty minutes and some help from the neighbors we were all set up!

20160729_195129 We went to the beach to explore. The boys had a lot of fun just running around and throwing sticks and rocks into the surf.

20160729_200932They also had fun under this cool tree.

20160729_200429While we were there we watched another family with kids of ages around 8 and 6 or so. They were having so much fun and I saw into our future a bit. I am cherishing these baby and toddler days no matter how hard it makes it to do things like camping, but the future looked like a lot of fun!

We headed back to our camp for some smore’s.

20160729_205809We even had a little station set up for Caleb to play while we enjoyed our treats.

20160729_205041Caleb is a good little camping baby.

Finally, we played games together by lantern light. I think we did two rounds of slap jack, a few rounds of left, right, center, and some dinosaur go fish. By the time we finished it was 10 or so, and Caleb was toast, and the older boys needed to head to bed as well. Everyone went down easy, and then Nathan and I got to chat by the fire and starlight.

The night was not too cold, and everyone slept through until 5:45 or so when we got up to cook a yummy breakfast, explore the campground, and play on the beach. It was another successful camping trip. Next year we’ll definitely do more than one night in a row!

For those wondering….despite the layers of clothing and mosquito repellent I had on, I ended up with about 23 mosquito bites, most of which caused painful swelling. Luckily now that we are a few days out most of the swelling is gone and just itching remains. I didn’t want to take any benadryl as I usually do because I am a nursing momma. The boys happily ended up with zero between the three of them.

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Proud Caleb

Caleb has been getting closer and closer to crawling, but hasn’t quite gotten it yet. I remain thankful that he is not too mobile yet. Today he hit a different milestone, though. I set him down on his tummy to play and watch his brothers and went to start making lunch. I peeked my head around the corner to check on him a minute or so later and this is what I found:

20160802_130528He had gone from tummy time to sitting up all on his own! He looked so proud.

That also meant that the crib had to be moved down to keep him safe at night. Time’s a rollin’ on.

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A Real Man

What is the definition of a “real man”? Some people’s may consist of a guy who has antlers on the wall. Or maybe he is really strong. Or into sports. All the stereotypical stuff.

I say this is a real man:

20160802_170354Caleb had a bit of a fussy afternoon. He started crying the minute I put him down. By the time Nathan got home I just needed some child free arms. Or maybe even a child free house for a little while.

Nathan strapped that baby on his back and went out to grill us some burgers for dinner. He brought the older two boys out in the backyard to play so that I could have some peace and quiet to get a few chores done inside. It was only 15 or so minutes, and I spent one of them taking this photo, but it made a big difference for me.

Stellar Dad, folks, and a real man. I’m a lucky lady.

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Improvising

We have an inflatable kiddie pool for our backyard. The first time I wanted to use it I could not get our air pump to work. I had to blow it up using my own breath power. Let’s just say I vowed never to do that again.

Since then I have made Nathan inflate the pool because he could make the air pump work. This week is a warm one here and I really wanted to pool inflated so that the boys could play. I told Nathan I wanted the pool and his response was, “I don’t know what to tell you, hon. It’s really easy.”

So…I went to use the air pump and could not make the darn thing work. I’ll admit I may have shed a couple “frustration” tears and a few “feeling inadequate” tears. However, when Nathan got home from work he tried and could not get the air pump to work either. While I am sad about the pool remaining un-inflated, it made me feel better.

All this to preface some fun afternoon activities with the boys today. I wanted to get outside and have some water play, but with no pool I was forced to improvise. I used a laundry basket and a sprinkler, and we had a blast.

20160727_133236 20160727_133249 20160727_140417 20160727_140525 20160727_133349

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Caleb – 8 Months Old

Caleb is 8 months old today. I know I sound like a broken record…but I just can’t believe it. He is growing so fast and passing milestones each week without much pomp and circumstance…he is a third born after all.

The biggest change this month has been Caleb’s mobility. He is not crawling yet, but he gets around well enough anyway. He can’t actually move forward, but he gets pretty far on scooting, rolling, and turning around and moving backward. For example, I set him down on the car rug only about a minute before this picture was taken:

20160706_083122Caleb also loves to play with toys, and makes a lot more messes than he used to!

20160708_173342Here he is making an attempt at crawling. Look at his focus! He goes up on all fours or does a plank and then eventually just plops back down on his stomach.

20160706_141930I’m thankful he is still moving slowly. I’ve been getting us re-childproofed bit by bit, but there is still a lot to do!

Caleb now has four teeth. There are two almost completely in, and two that just broke through a couple of days ago. He also has at least two more that are really close to breaking through. He’ll have a mouthful of chompers before we know it. Caleb is finally starting to make progress with solids. He does well with purees now and is just starting to be able to feed himself little chunks. Today he fed himself blueberry pieces and sweet potato “puffs” while I spoon fed him peaches for lunch. At the end I always let him try to feed himself with the spoon. It’s still pretty messy.

20160725_133851This little dude is really starting to show us some of his personality. As a third born, he is loud and proud. He has no problem letting his needs be known. I think he just likes to hear himself “talk” too. If a toy gets taken away from him, I’ve seen him get it back from both his brothers and other kids who don’t know it as well. He’s normally a very happy guy and I just love looking into these little eyes.

20160706_132117Caleb has to be flexible. He gets carried around napping in the car seat while his older brothers get dropped off for camps and play dates.

20160706_093647With Simon and Elias I just stayed home so that they could nap. Caleb doesn’t have that luxury. It’s probably time for him to move out of the bucket seat into a larger car seat, but I can’t bear to take away the car seat naps yet so it’ll just have to do for a bit longer.

Look at those cheeks, though! He’s my big 8 month old boy!

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Hagg Lake 2016

Each year we try to get in at least one trip to Hagg lake with my parents and their boat. It is a lot of fun to get out on the lake and even go tubing! Elias remembered from last year and was very excited. Simon was very nervous. This morning he was starting to say he was scared. Elias tried to help, but was actually doing the opposite by saying things like, “Don’t worry Simon. If you fall out you can just ask a stranger and they will help you find our boat.”

Oh boy. That kid has a few things to learn.

But we make our trips to the lake as safe as can be. No falling out!

We were hoping for a really warm day. Perhaps 90 degrees. Then the lake water feels very refreshing. When we got there, it was in the low 70’s and it was very cloudy. We call it arctic tubing as a family joke. (It’s actually quite pleasant until you get splashed)

20160723_121558Then we had a picnic lunch and it cleared up nicely. Simon was still pretty scared when we were first on the boat and cried unless he sat on my lap. Lunch loosened him up, though, and he agreed to ride on the tube if it went slowly and he sat on my lap. Eventually he decided to sit on his own if I held his hand, and then started asking when it was going to go faster. By the end he was having a blast laughing and riding along like a pro.

20160723_134705Caleb stayed in the boat. He did not like his life jacket. We left the top part unbuckled for him. I know it has a good purpose, but I swear they are trying to choke these babies. We decided since he can’t move on his own it would be ok.

20160723_144759Each of the boys got to have a turn “driving” the boat.

20160723_145004And we all had fun just relaxing as well.

20160723_144750Thanks Ama and Baba for the fun day!

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School Supply Shopping

We did it! Our first time school supply shopping! Elias will be starting kindergarten in September, and I heard there were some good sales going on at Target. I think I was a little more excited than he was, but Elias was a trooper and actually was pretty happy that he got to pick out a back pack.

He proudly wore his chosen backpack through the rest of the store.

20160722_19055720160722_190607On a side note…our family is outgrowing the carts! We could barely fit our school supplies in there with the kiddos.

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