Happy half birthday to me! To celebrate I dined on oatmeal cereal. Up until now I have eagerly gummed watermelon, cantaloupe and steak, so I happily and easily ate my first real meal! At my doctor appointment I weighed in at 14 pounds 8 ounces and measured 25 1/4 inches long. It’s my rigorous exercise routine that kept me lean. I wiggled wherever I needed to go, pivoted in circles, pushed into planks, raise onto my hands and knees, and even managed pigeon pose, which leads me to believe I will be crawling in no time. I became a more stable sitter, but still need additional practice to get it just right, so I spent some time building upper body strength in the swings at the playground. When I wasn’t wearing a huge smile on my face, my recently detected little tongue was curled up over my top lip. Ears are another newly discovered body part that I contentedly played with while nursing. But, since I didn’t want to miss anything, I was mostly very distracted while eating, looking around to see what Gus & Calina were doing. It was a very busy month of activities and the highlights were going to the circus, visiting Sesame Place, camping at Spruce Run Recreation Area, and a play date with my friend Austin. The most exciting event, though, was the arrival of my new cousin Samuel Robert Bissett on July 2nd! …Becca
- When I grow up I want to be a teacher. At times I start stories about things I’m going to do when I’m an adult with “when I’m a teacher, I’m going to ….”
- Camping outside with Daddy and Gus for the Great American Backyard Camp Out was awesome! Watching stars and fireflies as I drifted off to sleep was so exciting.
- I can be heard modeling many of Gus’ conversation styles.
- Wearing two different shoes poses no problem for me, even when it’s a cowboy boot and a Croc.
- I have become a real little fish! I can hold me breath under water for 5 seconds, sometimes longer. I love playing and swimming in the pool.
- Going to bed is my least favourite thing to do each day, although by bedtime, I’m so tired that I need to. I’m constantly adding new tricks to my bedtime stall routine. The latest is “I need to you sleep with me!” or “I can’t sleep by myself”. Since I’m usually asleep within seconds, it easier for Dad or Mom to briefly lay with me than it is for them to fight me on this.
- I’ve realized that Rebecca is here to stay, and I’ve noticed a difference the amount of attention I receive. To show my general disapproval, I tantrum. A LOT! Somedays I start upon waking and continue – at various intensity – until bedtime. I no longer nap, so it makes for a very long day for everyone involved.
- The fireworks on July 4th were very loud, so Mom and I cuddled up on the couch in our pjs and watched the beautiful show from the comfort of our living room.
- It’s rare that I let someone other than Mom or Dad, even someone I know well, help me do something. So it was a nice surprise when I rode the flying fish with cousin Danny at Sesame Place.
- I attended one week of day camp at the school I will attend this fall. The theme of the week was ‘All Things Scaly’ and I learned about dinosaurs, snakes, lizards and crocodiles. I was excited to go each morning, and excited to share the details of my day at pickup.
- I love to eat peanut butter right out of the jar!
- One Saturday I joined Daddy and Gus for their trip to the hair dresser, and got mine cut too. I now sport a cute chin length bob.
- At dinner one evening, I had Mom & Dad in stitches as I told an elaborate story about how chicken meat grows on trees.
- Our friend Sean turned 5 and celebrated with an amazing camping birthday party! Five families – 10 adults, 10 children – joined together for a night of camping at Spruce Run Recreation Area. We shared amazing meals, games of duck-duck-goose, adventures on the playground, campfire and s’mores. My highlight was staying up way past my bedtime so I could catch fireflies. After everyone else grew tired of chasing them, I happily went off on my own, net in hand, to catch and release these intriguing little beetles. On the second day, more of Sean’s friends joined us as the park for a big birthday celebration. Our family opted to spend a second night camping, and this allowed us to spend some time at the beach each day. The gradual entry, sandy beach was a great place to test out my new swimming skills. It was such a fun weekend, and I can’t wait to do it again.
This is looooong over-due… June was a jammed-packed month of fun!
- We spent beautiful June 1st at Watchung Reservation playground and the Trailside Nature center. Rebecca learned to roll over during our visit!
- We participated in a Newcomers scavenger hunt at Unami park. Looking for sticks, leaves, flowers and other items, while taking much needed breaks on the playground, was a fun way to pass the morning.
- Because we can never get enough of their company, we hosted Katie, Layla & Dylan for a pool/dinner play date on a night when Dad was away for work.
- Gus’ school hosts a “Donuts with Dad” morning since the school year ends before father’s day. Unfortunately, Gus was sick that day and he and James couldn’t attend. That didn’t stop us from baking donuts and celebrating National Donut Day at home.
- The spring soccer season came to a close with each player receiving a medal. Gus really enjoyed his first soccer experience and is excited to play again this fall.
- We enjoyed the end of year Newcomer’s family picnic at Unami Park. Good friends and yummy food always makes it a great day.
- Two years ago we hosted a group of friends for a barbecue, including us – six couples plus children. Way too much time had passed and we realized that we must invite this same group of friends back. All the same friends and children plus three new additions. We had so much fun – and it left James and I wondering why we don’t get together more often.
- The Little Gym end of year party was the perfect reason play together as a family. Gus and Calina kept us well entertained with all their “watch me!” gymnastic routines.
- Summer just doesn’t seem complete without strawberry picking. The kids and I drove out to Melick’s Farm and easily picked a few pints of berries one morning. Of course, we couldn’t leave before buying over-sized cookies at the farm stand and visiting the pot bellied pigs. For dessert that evening we had strawberry shortcake – yum!
- To spoil James for Father’s day, we took him out for Mexican food and then for ice cream! Okay, maybe we were all spoiled with that outing.
- James’ diligence in maintaining our back-deck inflatable pool allows the kids to spend time in the water daily. This exposure is really turning Gus & Calina into little fish! Both Gus & Calina were brave enough to put their faces in the water and open their eyes, and attempt “swimming” under water.
-We made our return to the Community pool. Since it’s the thing to do, everyone is there and it’s the best place to catch up with friends during the summer.
- Joined by our friend Sheila, we visited the Monmouth Museum’s children’s Wonder Wing. Gus and Calina had a wonderful time exploring all the sea themed displays.
- It had been over a year since we had last gotten together with the Tawa family – again way too long ago. So, we shared dinner together at the Public House (a restaurant that has been on our must-try list since arriving in NJ) and then returned to their home for dessert. After a lovely evening, again, we were left saying “we should really do this more often!”.
- Gus had 9 classes of swimming lessons over a two week period. Most days, we were at the pool by 10, with a picnic lunch in our cooler. Lessons were over by 11am, but we would stay and play with friends until about 1pm. James was even able to join us on Gus’ final day, and worked pool-side. Gus’ water comfort increased enough that he would jump into the pool and “swim” back to the edge.
- The Zerbini Family Circus always comes to town during a heat wave, and this year was no exception. The circus tent was stifling, but the performers put on a show we all enjoyed, although the popcorn, funnel cakes and slushies are what really caught the kids attention.
- We all helped our neighbour, Sienna, celebrate her 6th birthday! On the invite list to her Frozen themed party was Elsa & Anna!
- The National Wildlife Federation organizes the Great American Backyard Campout each year, to encourage families to enjoy time together outside. We pledged to participate and that we did. We enjoyed s’mores over the campfire and James, Gus & Calina slept in the tent outside. It was such a beautiful night that they didn’t put the fly over the mesh tent. They fell asleep looking at the few stars the many fireflies.
- To close out the month, we helped our friend Benjamin celebrate his 4th birthday at Screaming Parties, and afterwards at his house.
Quotes of the month:
- Gus – “Did you and Dad get your green cards yet? So you won’t have to return to Canada and leave us here all alone?” [ Ooops, maybe James and I have been complaining about the green card application too much lately.]
- Gus – “Mom, when will you be pregnant again? Maybe in a few months?”
- Gus and James, while watching tv -
“Dad, what’s that?”,
“Why is the DNA in space?”,
“Good question. Where should it be?”,
“In our food.”
“Right. Why in our food?”,
“You know, like my gummy vitamins, D and C.”
Rolling over was my big accomplishment this month! As soon as I was laid on the floor, I flipped from my back onto my tummy. All that extra tummy time allowed me to practice squirming around in circles and raising myself into a plank position. I tried sitting on my own, but I wasn’t ready for that just yet. Rolling led to swaddle weaning. My sleep sack is cool, but my busy hands and arms made falling asleep tricky. But, with this new freedom , I learned that I prefer to sleep on my left side. I happily went through my days with a big smile on my sweet little face, not saying much, but when I got tired, that’s when I would let out a few squawks. The more tired I got, the more vocal I got. I was very aware of what was going on around me and because of that, it became tough for me to fall asleep while we were out and about – I didn’t want to miss anything and therefore didn’t fall asleep easily or didn’t stay sleeping for long. I really liked napping at home in my crib, and I did my best sleeping there, but as a third child, I can’t always afford that luxury. The past month has been very busy with activities, but the highlights were swimming at home, strawberry picking at Melick’s Farm, celebrating Dad on father’s day and visiting the Monmouth Museum. Oh yes, my newest favourite thing was sucking on watermelon! It’s so delicious! …Becca
Along with all the fun family activities we’ve been doing, here is what I’ve been up to…
- As a baby, my pediatrician said that my excessive spitting-up was nothing more than a laundry issue. Well, I continue to be a laundry issue for Mom since I wear multiple outfits a day!
- I’m stubborn! And there is no exception to this behaviour when it comes to apologizing to others or accepting apologies from Gus.
- The extra water exposure I get by having a pool on the back deck has given me the confidence to put my face in the water.
- The supervisor at Pump-It-Up is regularly impressed by my climbing abilities. He probably doesn’t realize I’m actually “two and three quarters”.
- I love to tell everyone how old I am, and I refuse to change my age to “two and five sixths” like Mom encourages me to.
- I’m still a little nervous, but I can climb across the monkey bars on our play ground.
- I started at The Little Gym last September, and I graduated this month. I received a special medal for my year of achievement. It’s going to be a little lonely on Monday mornings when I don’t see my teacher, Mr. TJ, and my friends.
- My year of My First Friends with Mrs. Maher has also came to an end. No more Friday morning play group with crafts.
- Since I rarely nap and I do everything loudly, quiet time is totally lost on me. Rebecca’s afternoon nap coincided with my quiet time, and I kept waking her up with my loud voice, crying or banging on my door. My scheme to have quiet time with Gus worked perfectly.
- To Mom’s delight, I recently resumed eating things like yogurt and apple sauce. I ate foods like this when I was first introduced to them two years ago, but had given them up.
Quote of the month:
“Mom, I’m going to put a secret in your mouth.” (and I whispered into Mommy’s mouth)
- The 30th of April was a very rainy day, and the evening showed now sign of a change in weather. At 10pm James and some neighbours joined forces and moved vehicles to higher ground, just to be safe. Around midnight we watched the creek that runs through our property, crest and start spilling into our back yard, at which point we went to bed. I awoke around 5am to find our basement filling with water, a quick peek out the front door reveled the street in front of our house flooded and looking out the back door we could see our yard looked like a large pond. The sump pumps were running, but since they empty into creek, there was nowhere for the water to go but into our basement. Fortunately, our basement is unfinished and is home to nothing more than the furnace, oil and hot water tanks and an old baby carriage. James and Gus took a short walk to check on the state of the park. Nomahegan park which has a small lake, was completely submerged. The rain subsided that morning, and the water slowly started to recede. By 3pm the creek was back to normal levels, our basement emptied out and it appeared as though nothing had happened. A few days of rain kept everyone in town talking about the flood for quite some time.
- We celebrate my 35th birthday! The kids and I joined the Nesheiwat family for a lovely garden party, and then James and the kids made birthday cake for dessert!
- To honour their Moms for Mother’s Day, Gus’ and his classmates hosted a tea party at school. It was a really sweet morning! They served cookies and muffins they had made, with iced tea, presented gifts and sang songs. It was a really special time with my little man.
- To celebrate Mother’s Day, we packed a picnic lunch and headed to the Rahway River Park. Being outside, playing at the playground, was the perfect way to spend a beautiful and sunny afternoon. When we returned home, we realized that it was time to set up our ‘back-deck’ pool. The water was chilly, but that didn’t prevent Gus, Calina and our neighbours, Sienna & Lila, from suiting up and jumping in.
- We started attending a weekly “Toddler Jump” (ages 6 and under) at Pump-It-Up! The huge inflatables kept Gus and Calina running and climbing for more than an hour with a few friends from school. They ended each session with a snack and story. It was a great way to burn off some energy this spring.
- Rainbows was the perfect theme for our little friend Alice’s 2nd birthday. We had so much fun celebrating with her – a bouncy castle, other games, an abundance of yummy bbq food, and lots of friends made for a fun afternoon that lasted until bedtime.
- Gus has long asked to go to near-by Bowcraft Amusement Park. He was thrilled to be invited to his classmate, Sienna’s, 5th birthday party at this park. James and Gus spent the afternoon going on rides and enjoying pizza and cake in honour of the friend that calls Gus “peanut butter”.
- Memorial Day weekend was a jam-packed, fun-filled weekend. The Kastin’s hosted a lovely bbq, where the rain forced the 8 adults and 10 children inside. The kids had a blast running and playing together while us adults shared in good conversation. Sunday we joined the Wolfe family to celebrate Mason Waytt’s 5th and Addison Mae’s 1st birthdays with a hoedown! We arrived to find the street closed off to traffic and filled with tables and chairs set up under tents, bouncy castles and kid-sized motorized vehicles. Everything was so well done, and we couldn’t help but have a great time! On the Monday morning, the only thing to do was the thing everyone does – watch (or march in) the parade.
- Nomahegan park was the perfect venue for our neighbour Daniella’s 4th birthday. Under the shade of the tall trees, we ate hot dogs, watched the kids at the playground and in the bouncy castle. We listened to the music of the live band and chatted with friends while the kids flew kites. Daniella certainly knows how to throw a party to please people of all ages!
- Gus spends lots of time being an “adventurer”. Wearing his khaki coloured adventure vest, binoculars around his neck and magnifying glass in hand, he spends a great deal of time looking for bugs and playing outside. He wants to build an adventure center and police station in our backyard – that way he won’t have to move away from home and doesn’t choose between these two desirable careers.
- We had our first incident of child hair cutting in our house. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and it’s happened. In the ensuite bathroom, Gus cut a small chunk out of Calina’s hair. Thankfully it wasn’t noticeable.
- Have the pool on our back deck allows for lots of easy water exposure for Gus & Calina. Gus who was terrified of getting his face wet while swimming two summers ago, has been putting his face in the water! Small steps.
- Gus’ class had two fun adventures this month. First, they took the train to a near-by town where they made a craft at a local crafting boutique and enjoyed sweet treats at and ice cream parlour. Second, they went to the Turtle Back Zoo, where they had a special mission to study the alligator.
Quotes of the month
May 1st, 6:30am, upon discovering the flood: “Dad, come down stairs! There is good news and bad news. The good news is that the bird house didn’t flood. The bad news is we are going to need a new backyard.”
G – “How old are you today Mom?”
Mom – 35
G – Yikes!
This past month was all about reaching milestones. For example, I started off grasping at things that touched my hands, progressed to reaching for things that hung above me on my play mat and, as the month came to a close, I was reaching for things in front of me, like toys on my high chair tray. I added three, totally essential, oversized baby items to my routine – the Bumbo, which I liked to squirm out of, and the exersaucer and the jumper – which helped to satisfy my desire to stand and be upright. While on the subject of large baby items, I said good-bye to my bassinet and hello to my crib. I still slept in the comfort of Mom & Dad’s bedroom, which made it easy for me to wake them up with my happy morning babble, and flailing arms – I’m a little Houdini and often wiggled out of my straight-jacket swaddle. I was curious about what Gus & Calina were up to, so going forward facing in my carrier made it much easier to watch their every move. I had a few episodes of stranger anxiety recently – the shock of someone other than Mom holding me brought on one, and being surround by many people at church brought on another. The big tears that resulted seemed to clear my blocked tear duct, so no more goopy eyes is the upside to this nervousness. At my recent doctor appointment, I weighed 13 pounds 5, ounces and measured 24 inches tall, which makes me – perfect! Things that made me smile were: having songs sung to me, listening in on story time and playing on my activity mat.
I continued to oversee Calina’s weekly activities, retrieve Gus from school, and tag along to the playground, but started cheering on Gus at Saturday morning soccer and having a weekly play date with my friend Anne. The month also presented me with opportunities to attend a garden party at the Nesheiwat’s, observe Mother’s day with a picnic, help Mom celebrate her 35th birthday and help our friend Alice celebrate her 2nd birthday at her rainbow party.
- I like things my way. It suits me best when I can make choices for myself, and when something is chosen for me, without my opinion being taken, you can most certainly expect a fuss. If Mom puts my cereal in a blue bowl, I want a green one. If Dad picks out purple pants for me to wear, I want pink ones.
- I can identify some letters of the alphabet when I see them, but I do an excellent job of identifying letters by their sound. For example, I know that ‘butter’ starts with the letter ‘b’.
- I’m afraid of Grandma Cathy’s dogs, and nervous around most other dogs. Recently the sound of keys and money jingling in Daddy’s pocket sent me into hysterics, because the sound was similar to that of dog tags, and I thought “the dogs were coming to get me”. The irony of this is that playing with pretend puppies is one of my favourite things to do.
- At bedtime, I’ve started listening to music to help drowned out all the busyness that is outside my window.
- Hangry is a word that can regularly be used to describe my mood. Upon waking, in the morning or from a nap, I need food in my tummy ASAP, and until that happens, watch out! It seems that my happiness is directly correlated to the fullness of my belly.
- In my pretend play, anytime I or someone/something else is going somewhere, that somewhere is always “North America”.
- I spent a morning burning off extra energy at “Pump-A-Dot” (Pump It Up). I had so much fun climbing, jumping and sliding on the giant inflatables, that I was excited to tell Dad that “Pump-A-Dot is the best!”
Quote of the month
“I’ll hold the [loaf of] bread because I’m strong with things.”
“toll-ette” = toilet
- In the days leading up to April Fool’s Day, Gus talked about all the funny things he was going to do, and how fun it was going to be. So at 10pm the night before, Jame and I realized that we shouldn’t let April Fools Day come an go without making an effort for Gus. So we jumped into action and switched the kitchen table for kid sized table and chairs, we made Jello in their juice cups, moved their dishes out of their regular spot, covered their bedroom doors with foam, swaped Claina’s step stool at her bedside for a slide, added a handful of fake bugs to the cereal box and added food colouring to the toilets. We went to bed satisfied that Gus would be ecstatic with all the tricks he would discover the next morning. Well our efforts were not greeted with excitement, but resulted in a morning long temper tantrums from both Gus & Calina. Oh well, maybe next year!
- Gus’ school held an Easter chapel service where the students sang Easter songs and Pastor Carol told the Easter story.
- The nicer weather meant much more time in the backyard. Gus and Calina spent most evenings playing with our backyard neighbours. To make seeing these friends easier bridges were constructed across the creek. The children built one from salvaged boards and James built one from salvaged beams.
- There was one warm day when the water table made it’s reappearance to the back deck. Ah, the simple pleasures of spring.
- Our little friend Gunnar turned 6 years old, and we all helped celebrate at his fun superhero-magician party. Since then, Gus has been requesting that James perform magic tricks, to which he obliges and does a pretty good job.
- We attended the annual block party hosted by that Gus’ school. The “community helpers” (police, mail carriers, fire fighters and paramedics ) were all there with their vehicles, which the kids were able to explore.
- Our friends Maggie & Alex hosted a very fun Easter egg hunt in their back yard. It was a great way to enjoy the afternoon sunshine, play with many friends, and search for eggs with cool surprises in them.
- Gus’ spring break was the week leading up to Easter, so it seemed like the perfect reason to make our proposed Easter long-weekend trip into a proper trip home. It had been six months since our last trip, which had been much too long, I was aching to introduce Rebecca to more of her family and I still hadn’t met my newest niece, Fallon, who was already four months old. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be able to spend 8 full days visiting with family and friends. On Palm Sunday we celebrated Rebecca’s Baptism and had a casual reception afterwards. Having all the cousins running around together reminded me of family get togethers from when I was little. The kids and I spent the week hopping from one visit to the next, squeezing in as much fun as we could handle. The following weekend, Mortimer Easter included going to a community egg hunt, celebrating Ty’s 5th birthday and then enjoying a delicious dinner lovingly prepared by Gram Berny and Aunt Tina! Easter Sunday was spent with my Muldoon family playing outside and sharing a huge, yummy meal together. It was a wonderful week!
- Gus counted to 100 with the help of a number poster!
- We now spend our Saturday mornings watching Gus play Peanut soccer. This is Gus’ first time playing soccer and he really enjoys it.
- Favourite mispronunciations: Am-blee-ance for ambulance. Am-inals for animals.
Conversation of the month:
Gus- “Mom, do mummies still live in the Pyramids?”
Erin – “Probably not because —“
Calina interrupts with – “She doesn’t know!”
Erin – “She called me on it!”
Happy. Easy. Content. Absolutely delightful. These were just a few of the phrases regularly used to describe my demeanor. Yes, I am a wonderful baby! My smiles were abundant this month, as were my giggles when someone tickled my ribs. I discovered my voice, and could be heard cooing upon waking in the morning. To keep my days interesting, I would venture from my car seat, to the bouncy chair, to the play mat and to the swing. I added the high-chair to this sequence, and quite enjoyed the new vantage point, especially when I joined everyone at the table for dinner. To build my strength I’ve instituted a daily exercise program called tummy time. I quite enjoyed it and I’m seeing impressive results. On occasion I would “roll” (okay, maybe “flop” is the more appropriate term) over and end up on my back. Daddy offered me something called a bottle several nights at bedtime. I took to it quite well and enjoyed having cuddles with him as I drifted off to sleep. Bathing in my little blue tub is great, but sharing a bath in the big tub with Gus and Calina was amazing! More space, more water, more company, what’s not to love? I attended lots of fun events this month: a dinner play date with Layla & Dylan, a brunch with friends at the Colyer’s, the block party at Gus’ school, an egg hunt at Maggie & Alex’s, but the best was my first official play date with my friend Austin. …Becca