Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy 8 Months!

Vivian is 8 months old now...well, 8 months and one week technically. And just like last month, she's conquered new milestones.

At 8 months, Vivian can cruise with confidence--she's walking by holding onto every available surface. She's also been trying to climb but thankfully hasn't mastered that one yet.



This month I started her on finger foods, and boy was she ever ready for them! She can chomp some chunks like nobody's business despite not having a single tooth yet (I was TOTALLY wrong about that early-teething thing a few months ago). She LOVES feeding herself. I've been giving her chopped bananas, kiwi, organic rice puffs and rice cakes.



She loves feeding herself so much that she's figured out where I stash her finger foods and is constantly getting into them.



And that's not all she gets into...she's always making a beeline for my yarn, our record collection, the bookshelves, and lately she's been going for the garbage can as well. As a result she's learned to understand the word "no" this month. Unfortunately, she sometimes cries when you say it to her.







She's also figured out how to object when something doesn't go her way. She does this by throwing her head back and kicking her feet (and of course wailing)...I don't want to use the word tantrum, but that word comes close.

As far as words go, Vivian can say: Mama, Brother (bobba) and Papa. She also says "dat" a lot...we've not figured that one out yet.

She's still nursing every two-three hours. I nurse on demand; so whenever I hear the "nay-nay" cry I feed her. She naps twice a day still, in the morning and evening. Unfortunately, she's not sleeping through the night any more. I knew I never should have bragged about that her first few months. When we moved to this new place, I started co-sleeping with her, only because her bed wasn't put together yet. The co-sleeping has ruined her as far as sleeping on her own in her own bed. Once this week she slept in her bed through the whole night, but generally she's up every three hours. I've ordered a book to help with this.

Vivian and Seamus continue to grow closer everyday. She wants nothing more than to be in the floor wrestling with him or having a crawling race with him, and he wants nothing more than to kiss her and play with her all day. I never expected them to be so close with such an age difference but they really love each other to pieces.



Finally, I leave you with a picture that captures our day perfectly. Here, Vivian gets into the record collection (again) and Seamus does gymnastics on the couch in the background...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wildflowers

We've been hiking in meadows a lot this week and noticing all the wildflowers blooming at this summer's end.

I've been losing hours of my day in field guides trying to identify them all.

Here are some of our favorite wildflowers. They're all very common but still so beautiful...

Bull Thistle

Chicory

Bladder Campion

Teasel

Queen Anne's Lace or Wild Carrot

Goldenrod

Milkweed

Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Day of School

Seamus started kindergarten today!

I can't believe my first born is already in school, already carrying a real-school-kid backpack and wearing back-to-school clothes.



We sewed a salamander patch onto his backpack as per his request. Seamus may very well be the only kid in his whole school with a red eft salamander on his backpack.



I've been mentally preparing for this day for awhile now. All summer we've been receiving correspondences from Seamus's school and sweet, get-to-know-you letters from his teacher. And then yesterday we came home from the grocery store to find a balloon tied to our mailbox. It came with a card from the PTA welcoming Seamus to Kindergarten.

I always imagined I'd be a blubbering embarrassment when the big day came, but I kept my cool and I didn't cry once. Instead, I felt so proud when I watched my boy explore his new classroom. He was excited about a particular jar full of plastic bugs in the art section of the class. I noticed there were two kid-sized trampolines in his room and thought he'd enjoy those when he needed to release some energy. In no time at all he seemed right at home putting together a puzzle at a table and hanging his backpack on the hook with his name.



Before we left he was playing in the class kitchen, pouring pretend salt on a plastic egg and had already forgotten we were there.

It's a half-day today, and I go to pick him up at 12:50. I don't know what I'll do with myself in the meantime with only one kid to look after.

I'm so proud of Seamus and the little gentleman he's become. Now to think up a great afternoon treat for the first day of school.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tower Hill Nature Preserve

This morning we got out our handy birding trail guide. The New Jersey Birding and Wildlife Trails puts one out for each county in the state (and they're free). And lo and behold there was a great little birding trail just down the road from our house, literally right in our neighborhood.



Since Seamus only has two days of summer left before school starts, we spent the entire morning hiking around the nature reserve.



We saw plenty of wildflowers (lots of goldenrod and bull thistle)...



...and some vultures and red-tailed hawks...

I also gave Seamus some camera lessons. Here are a few of my favorites that he took...


After lunch we visited the town of Clinton to stare at a waterfall and eat ice cream. In my book, that's a perfect day.

I'm sure going to miss that little man when school starts later this week.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Last Days of Summer

Tomorrow is the first day of classes at the college where I teach (this semester I have two online composition courses), and next week, Seamus begins kindergarten. We've been gathering back-to-school supplies, and I've been narrowing down which fall sweaters and accessories I'll be knitting our family over the coming weeks.
Over the past few days, we've really been soaking up the last dregs of summer.
Today, Seamus and I built a toad house using this tutorial as our inspiration.
I also baked a big batch of chocolate cherry blondies (recipe in the latest issue of Everyday Food).
Thomas has been pouring over the property with his walking stick and tree field guide trying to identify our trees.
We've had visitors on our doorstep...
We've been looking for salamanders at sunset...
Vivian has been walking holding onto the furniture. I can't believe I have a seven-month-old who can do this.
And we've been generally enjoying the last few days of warm weather and afternoon thunderstorms.
In the mornings, when I'm outside with my cup of tea I can fill a chill in the air. I'll miss summer, but I can't wait for fall.
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