7 months of Rhys

So many developments this time around!

Sleep: First up, we haven't slept through a night in I don't remember how long. He wasn't up and crying, it was just a few times a night of "Hello...I lost my binky...can you please put it back in?" and then he would go back to sleep. But all those interruptions at night left me WIPED OUT.  Anyway, by accident, I started having him take a third nap around 5:00 or flat out go to bed by 6:30. One thing I have learned...kid sleep is always evolving. Yippee!

Skills:  Our little guy can pull himself up to a seated position, which is his preferred position, so that is helpful.

Loves:  Still loves baths and hangs one arm out of the tub like he's some big shot in a hot tub. He also is fascinated by everything big sis does. Everything. He is taking notes.

Eating: So inconsistent! One day he wants nothing to do with his purees, and the next day, he will want two in a row. One thing that is consistent is that he is constantly reaching for our food. His favorite food?  Green beans and corn puree.

Disposition: He continues to have ear to ear smiles and is getting a little bashful with strangers. He smiles and buries his head in my shoulder when people come up to coo over him. I don't mind at all.

Pumpkin Pickin'

Last weekend, we took a moms-only trip (because the dads were clearly more enthused with the Browns game than a pumpkin patch) to our favorite hideaway, Hidden Creek Farm.  This year, we traded the men for one cute baby.

Larkyn loved a few new things this year: the pony ride and the wagon ride. I was afraid she would freak out on the hay ride and we would be stuck in the middle of a field with a wailing toddler. But, she loved the trek out to the patch. Also, the pony ride? She was scarily comfortable getting right up there. Reminding me of when I came home from camp saying I wanted a horse. And I got one.

Actually picking a pumpkin, though?  She could care less. After we got off the hay ride and the tractor left to go get the next group, Mo and I realized we would never be able to carry 2 pumpkins and 3 kids. So....she didn't get one and I took the one already sitting on the bench near the tractor stop. Yeah, that one looks good.

The kids just loved the idea of running freely through a field.

Photos were a little sparse this year, as a little someone was hanging out in my camera spot. I didn't mind, though.

This week, we will actually carve a pumpkin with Larkyn for the first time, which should be interesting.  We love this farm and will continue going back for as long as the kids will allow!

The details:

Hidden Creek is a quick drive up 71, easily accessed from the 36/37 exit. Like everywhere else we go, we go as soon as they open (10 am) to get the best weather and avoid crowds. It also helps to go during the opening weekends rather than late October, but even then, I never find it "crowded". Parking is free and is in the grass on their farm.

You can access the farmers market (baked goods, produce, pumpkins) for free. Getting into the attractions requires a wristband, which is $6 for ages 2 and up. Pony rides are $3 and then of course you pay for your pumpkin by the pound.

The hay wagon is very bumpy but fun!  It runs about 30 mins, so bring snacks for the ride out, the time you'll be in the field, and for the way back. Trust me.

We also love the BBQ truck they have out there every year. They have hot dogs, pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches, and sides.

What will you be doing at 89?

My dad turned 89 in August. And was still employed.

After enlisting in the Navy right out of high school (and subsequently going off to WW2), he has worked hard his whole life. He grew up running a farm, protected our country in Japan, traveled coast to coast delivering mail by train, was a successful hotel manager, was a founding partner in Damon's restaurants, was a general contractor for a restaurant or hotel you've probably been in, and finally settled down to be our church facilities manager for the last ten years. Phew.

On October 15th, he officially retired from all of it.

He was such an integral part of the church behind the scenes. Alarm go off at 2 AM? Guess who had to go turn it off?  Toilet overflow while he's out of town? Guess who had to arrange for a plumber from afar?  You get it. The man has worked hard.

From this, I have learned my work ethic, both at my workplace and at home. You work hard, you follow through, and you forgive.  The more I examine my personality and habits, the more I see his influence in positive and "other" (stubborn?) ways.

Anyway, we celebrated this milestone with a church potluck, lots of family in town, and stopping time for a moment here and there to think, "I wish it could always be like this".

Here he is, not a fan of having his picture taken, but the man of the hour.

 Our family table, looking like it did the night before at Cracker Barrel. Chaos.

 Dad and his 3 younger brothers. He was the oldest of 6!

 My brother in law saying something outrageous, I'm sure.

 Me, sister Vicki, dad, and brother Bobby. Obviously, dad has been raising kids for a long time.

And he still is!  

Though he is officially retired now, he still likes to keep busy. In fact, within 2 days, we were at Lowe's getting supplies for a project I will share with you soon.  Here's to some relaxation time for the man I have spent my life looking up to!

Keepin' it real: I'm never prepared

You know those friends you have, who always have a Kleenex in their purse, or a mint when you've regretfully eaten something with onions?

That's not me. And this morning's zoo trip reminded me of this.

At least not since having kids. When I was preparing my diaper bag before Larkyn was born, I made sure that there were travel sized shout wipes, bandaids, single use desitins, a changing pad, a pacifier pod, you know...just the basics. But as soon as she was born, I quickly transformed into the most unprepared person I know.

I know, I should cut myself some slack. But I drive myself crazy with this almost every day. I will never EVER forget a date on the calendar and (pretty much) know where everything is in my house, but I swear I will probably leave the house without pants one day.

When you add a second child, it all truly goes out the window. The first week back to school at the sitter's, I forgot the diapers one day, the pacifier another day, and a change of clothes pretty much every day. I often leave my purse on her counter as I cheerfully walk out the door to work.

I am juggling a lot with a job, two kids, and a household...I suppose some part of my brain had to give?

See the hat Rhys is wearing? Not ours. We haven't BOUGHT a winter hat yet because I wasn't prepared for winter on October 13th.

The wagon Larkyn is in? Not ours. Because I forgot the infant carrier at home, so Rhys got the stroller. Last time, she had to walk because I DID remember the infant carrier but forgot to remove the carseat from the stroller until we were in the zoo and the car was 4 miles away to put it back.

The only reason I am actually IN my house after the zoo trip is because Matt just happened to leave an extra set of keys in a place where I could access them by chance...otherwise we had totally locked ourselves out. We meaning me.

Let's pause to feed the giraffes, which was awesome.

Am I alone here? How do I remember it's "bring an apple to school day" for Larkyn and then have to use wet restroom paper towels as wipes because those didn't make it in the bag? My dream invention is a vending machine with baby stuff in it. And that also dispenses vanilla lattes and vodka and cranberries. Just kidding?

So, if we have a date planned in the future, I apologize ahead of time. One of my kids may be riding double with your kid...or we may have to swing by to buy a $27 container of formula to make one bottle because the formula is on the counter.

Hey...if they're happy, that's all that matters at the end of the day, right?

Franklin Park Conservatory

It is a big weekend for my family. More to come on that later, but my immediate family on my dad's side is in town from Charlotte and Dallas for a few days. Of course we raved about the PERFECT weather we had all through September, listing all the fun things we could do outside when they came into town. Aaaaaand it was sleeting today. Where do you take a group of adults mixed with a wild child and a baby?  My mom found the perfect spot...

Franklin Park Conservatory is downtown, and home to a giant greenhouse with all the different biomes of earth (remember that word?) From May through October, it is also home to butterflies! We are catching them right at the end of their life cycles, but there were still plenty to be seen and beautiful scenery to entertain all of us.


The conservatory is also host to several art installations by Dale Chihuly, which my family really enjoyed. That's my dad's baby brother Earl. My sister is in the teal behind him.

Aside from the butterflies, the South Conservatory has these gigantic koi fish. That orange one on the bottom was bigger than our cat and one of our dogs!  Larkyn loved these guys.

And I love this guy. I like to pretend he already knows sign language and is telling me something profound here. No, he's just taking in the sights. The Conservatory is stroller friendly!

The Palm House is used for special events. We were part of a wedding in the Palm House about a year ago, and nothing compares to it. Maybe we can use it for Larkyn's wedding in about 25 years if she marries a doctor. She just dipped her entire arms in the water.

The upstairs has a few terraces with a million photo op spots. We actually saw a couple reenact their engagement for a photo session, which was entertaining. My mom was in the middle of telling Larkyn to stay inside. Typical.

Being so close to Halloween, their seasonal exhibit is "scary plants". I had no idea there were so many plants that ate insects. They did a puppet show of "Little Shop of Horrors", but we didn't stay to watch. Larkyn found this instead. The highlight of her month, maybe. It is a giant Venus Fly Trap that you can catch a pretend buzzing fly in...


This was in the rainforest biome (North Conservatory). There are waterfalls everywhere, which was great news for Larkyn, who asks me no less than once per day if we are going to Niagara Falls today.

He had turns being held by all his aunties and Nana today. Can we please talk about this shirt? I bought it the day after I found out I was having a boy.

At the end of the Rainforest room, there is an amazing fairy garden (this is only a section of it) with a tiny train and Disney figurines. She is frustrated because she wants to be IN the garden and it is most definitely not accessible to toddler climbing.

If you live in the area, this is a good change of pace for your young children. Especially if you have older family members to entertain or need an idea for a rainy day. Children under 3 are free, kids are $6 and adults are $12.

Rhys is 6 months old!

I can't believe we are at the halfway-to-a-year mark! I am getting so behind on this project. I have no idea how I did a weekly post and picture for Larkyn.

At 6 months Rhys is...

Loving to eat! He scarfs down oatmeal cereal and Gerber Organic pouches, and I have yet to find one that he doesn't like. At the apple orchard, he chewed on an apple for a while.

Sleeping inconsistently. He naps well at home but then won't sleep a blink at the sitter's. He will sleep 13 hours one night, then up 3 times the next?

Such a smiley boy:)

Saying "mamamamama"...which I'm 100% sure is my name. Just kidding-it is just his first sound.

On the move. Not exactly crawling, but he pulls himself where needs to go. Usually toward his sister's prized toys.

We are almost to 7 months by the time I have posted this. He is 17 pounds, 27 inches, average in all measurements. We just love him!
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