One year ago (ok, a year + a week since I’m behind) this precious little peanut was born.
This past year as simultaneously flown by and taken forever and my little peanut is now a little munchkin who wants to investigate everything and is already trying to eat us out of house and home.
He’s not walking yet, but getting pretty close. His top 2 teeth are just starting to come in too so pretty soon he’ll really start to resemble a chipmunk (he’s already mastered stuffing his cheeks full of food). Probably his biggest achievement this last month has been discovering that he can put objects into bins rather than just dump them out everywhere. Last night I watched him happily pick up all his blocks and put them back in their box before bed (I’m under no illusions that this will last).
This lucky guy got not one, not two, but THREE Birthday celebrations!
For his main party, I fully admit to losing my shit a little bit. I made a balloon garland (meant to do 2, but I ran out of time and balloons #pinterestmomfail). I made tassels. I spray painted dollar store animal figures. And after all of that everyone ended up hanging out outside because the weather was glorious and the kids had a splash table and bubbles. I didn’t take tons of pictures because i spent more time enjoying the party itself. #momwin
Moral of the story is, it’s ok to lose your shit. It’s a first birthday and a big milestone. But if you play it simple (and dare I say, sane?) that’s cool too! Baby won’t care and none of your friends will judge you (and if they do, get better friends, seriously).
Second moral of the story: if there is any chance you’ll be spending time outside, clean off your Garden Chair of Solitude and make sure you have an outdoor or folding table. I quickly grabbed the coffee table from the porch so we could move the food nearby. Our backyard is still a mess, so I hadn’t really planned to be out there the whole time, but it worked!
His second party piggy-backed on my Grammie’s 90th birthday. His birthday is the day before hers and we had a big family reunion in Maine. We got to see tons of relatives we don’t usually see and spent the day before his birthday traveling for 12 straight hours (drive to a park-n-ride, shuttle to the airport, fly to Boston, wait for baggage, bus to the rental cars, drive out of Boston,* continue driving to Maine**). During my Grammie’s party all the July birthdays got a special shot-out and bonus cupcakes (because apparently there are loads of us–myself included).
After Maine, we drove back to Massachusetts (with a stop in the White Mountains of New Hampshire) to visit Matt’s Grammie. We also went over to Matt’s uncle’s and they had a surprise party for Wesley. Kiddo got pretty spoiled by all his relatives!
I don’t know where they got this smash cake from, but it was seriously the perfect size. I got his main birthday cake from our local grocery store chain (Lunds & Byerlys) and they include a free smash cake for a first birthday*** but, as you can see from the earlier pictures, it’s frickin huge (7 inches) for a little baby. I almost wish I had just gotten a jumbo cupcake instead (but hey, it’s hard to argue with free****).
*City motto: Fuck GPS
**Matt kept describing it as “Northern Maine,” it wasn’t even the northern half of the state….but possibly the northern end of the populated half of Maine.
***Lots of places apparently do this, so if you’re planning a first birthday party just ask around (I know Hyvee does and I’ve heard Target does).
****Part of it being free was that there were no custom options (which I can’t really argue with because, free). It originally had balloons and a 1 on the top, but since I had a cake topper I wanted to use, I just carefully scraped them off. Matt thought I was nuts, but it wasn’t my first cake surgery,***** so I more or less knew what I was doing.
*****I worked food service in a nursing home in high school and college, and got called done to one of the party rooms one day because the cake ordered for a resident’s birthday had her name misspelled. I was elected to fix it–no pressure. Thanks to our annual Pig Roast, I can also craft 3D pigs out of frosting like a goddamn pro.
Matt and I don’t always see eye to eye on decor. For one, he has this weird obsession with themes. Personally, I think the vast majority of themed rooms are poorly executed, but I do love touches of bizarre and whimsical.
So when I found this rug, I wasn’t terribly surprised that he had some objections. One of them being that he didn’t think it “went with the room” (“the room” being our study/guest room/everything room… that hasn’t gotten a formal design plan yet…).
Matt: We’d need to replace the album covers with a… thingy… a wheel.
Me: A wheel?
Matt: Yeah, a ship’s wheel. And an anchor. And you’d need to get. a peg leg.
Me: Me? Why me?
Matt: Because you’re the one who wants the rug!
I still really want to find a place in my house for this rug…
Wesley the Crusher is now 11 months old! He’s 24lbs, has 2 teeth (and is working on 2 more), and has almost discovered his knees. He still mostly drags himself around like a walrus, but occasionally we see him move a few feet on all fours. He’s pulling himself up on everything, whether it’s stable or not, and super curious. Luckily for the cats he’s also (gradually) getting more gentle with them.
Poor little guy also just got his first significant illness. He’s had a few colds, and a mild case of croup, but this time he has something that’s really taken a tole on him. It’s pretty scary for the parents when your baby’s temperature climbs to 105, but our pediatrician said that babies tend to run a little hotter, so while it’s definitely a significant fever, it’s not an oh-my-god-my-baby-is-dying fever. The doctor thinks it might be Hand Foot and Mouth since he had a couple red spots on his feet. The spots haven’t spread at all though, so who knows. Either way, he’s doing MUCH better today, but still exhausted.
Traveling With Baby
Over Memorial Day we took Wesley on his first plane trip, fittingly enough, to North Carolina. It was actually a great choice for a first flight because it was 1) fairly short (2 hours in the air), 2) a direct flight, and 3) we were visiting family and they had a bunch of extra baby gear so there was less big stuff we had to lug. We’ll be doing a more intense trip later in the summer, but after this one I’m feeling pretty optimistic.
We got the Summer Infant 3D Lite stroller a couple months ago. Our travel system stroller was way too bulky to be convenient and we knew we’d be navigating airports in the near future. You can get super-cheap umbrella strollers, but the 3D Lite had some great features without being super pricey. We’ve been using it as our everyday stroller, but it small/light enough to work well in airports too.
1) It’s tall enough for parents. This is a common complaint when I was reading reviews of umbrella strollers–unless you’re super-petite the handles tend to be uncomfortably low. This does mean that it’s larger than a lot of other umbrella stroller and it barely fits in the trunk of my Chevy Sonic…but it does fit and all the other features make it totally worth it.
2) Storage! The 3D Lite has a generous basket underneath which I find to be incredibly useful.
4) Sun shade. While it won’t protect your baby from everything, it’s better than nothing for sure!
5) Recline options. The 3D Lite has multiple recline options, and can go almost horizontal, which is awesome if you need some nap time on the go.
Other useful things:
Sticky place mats for eating out (these are way classier, but personally I couldn’t justify the price difference for something that’s designed to be spilled on and thrown out)
Sippy cup/bottle tethers (If your cups have handles, you can just use toy tethers, but ones like these have a non-slip grip designed for bottles)
First aid kit (I already keep one in my diaper bag with some bandaids, and neosporin, for trips I add hyrdrocortisone, a thermometer, and infant Tylenol)
Alcohol wipes (good for cleaning off baby utensils on the go)
Gate check bag(s) (for stroller/car seat). This one worked ok for our stroller, but already has a small rip. At some point I may just take it apart to use as a pattern and make my own.
Mini bottle of dish soap
Travel bottle brush (we use the Como Tomo bottles which have a really wide neck so we didn’t need this, but depending on your bottle style it might be useful)
Depending on where you’re located, this won’t always be an option. If you have the option to fly non-stop DO IT. There will be fewer pressure changes for baby, and less hassle of hauling all your crap around an airport.
Condense your Baggage
When it was just me and Matt flying, we’d travel with 2 carry-on suitcases + my purse. Easy-peasy. This time around we knew we were going to have to check luggage. We had 1 medium-sized suitcase we packed for everyone (rather than individual suitcases for each traveler). This not only cut down on baggage fees, but allowed us more free hands. Just keep in mind, airlines tend to charge an extra fee if your bag exceeds a certain weight so if you pack heavy, weigh your bag and check policies beforehand.
In addition to our checked bag, I also packed an emergency carry-on suitcase. This was basically the everything-goes-wrong-and-holy-shit-now-it’s-the-zombie-apocalypse bag. I had a couple changes of clothes for Wesley (in addition to the back-up outfits in my diaper bag), one change of clothes for me and Matt (because babies tend to poop on you at the most inconvenient times), a 2 day supply of diapers, and extra formula.* Once we checked our bag we were left with one carry-on suitcase, a diaper bag, my purse, and a stroller. Strollers and car seats are typically exempt from baggage limits, but always check your airline’s policies.
You Don’t Need it All
If you’re going to visit family/friends, check with them ahead of time to see if they have (or can borrow) larger baby items–car seat, pack-n-play, highchair/booster. If you’re not, check with your rental car company to see if they also rent car seats, and check with your hotel to see if they provide cribs. Even if things cost a bit extra, it may be worth your sanity to not have to lug EVERYTHING around with you.
If you do need to Bring All the Things, you may want to invest in some travel-specific gear (which may not be worth it unless you’re a frequent traveler). The Cosco Scenera seems to be a popular choice for travel since it’s FAA rated (so you can use it on the plane), it’s lightweight (about 10lbs), and fairly easy to install. You can also get things that let you strap the car seat to your luggage, or convert it into a stroller. If you think you’ll need a highchair (like if you’re staying in an Air BNB, or with non-baby family/friends), I’m personally eying this one for our next trip. It’s inexpensive, condenses pretty darn flat, and still provides a boost to get baby at the right table height.
*Which promptly got my bag flagged by security because I was traveling with a large box of powder. They just had to run some magic swab over the box and we were good to go.
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know we just got back from (almost) a week in Raleigh, NC. Matt’s brother lives out there so we decided to take a relaxing Memorial Day vacation. Crazily enough it was also cooler in NC than in MN so we lucked out and beat the crazy 100 degree heat wave in St Paul.
It wasn’t the world’s most exciting vacation, but it was relaxing which is possibly even better. Wesley got to spend some time with his cousins (ages 6 and 3) and had a blast. Matt and I got to chill poolside with Moscow Mules,* so it was really a win-win.
Wesley got to go “swimming” (read: floating) for the first time. He was a little concerned at first, then fell asleep in his float.
We saw a Balloon Fest sans balloons (too windy).
Walks were had.
Barbecue was eaten.
Museums were explored.
And I was massively jealous of all the magnolia trees.
*Ok, that was really just me and the in-laws. Matt is pretty convinced that the only mixed drink worth having is a G&T.