Kenneth at ONE YEAR!

Jan 22nd 2016 01:37:45 pm

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Happy birthday, Kenneth!! One year ago my sweet, funny, determined, cute, wild, magical baby boy was born. It was the best day of my life. Now he is a one-year-old. I am excited, but emotional. I am sad that one whole year of our time together has passed. I’ve loved having him as my little baby.

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Fun Facts about Kenneth at one:

  • Ken is often a serious boy, especially when tired, but he is loosening up and finding his sense of humor. He loves being chased, caught, and tickled. He loves feeding food to Crusher. It cracks him up every time. He still likes peek-a-boo and doing pop-ups behind the coffee table. He likes his toys, especially his new ones. And, he loves throwing around balls with dad and Crusher.
  • Ken absolutely adores music. He does a little bouncy dance whenever he hears music, and he wants to play ukuleles with his dad every day. Hoot n Nanny (grandma and grandpa Johnson) gave Ken a child’s guitar/ukulele for his birthday and he already knows how to hold it and strum it. We re-enrolled in the winter session of Moozika class and he enjoys all the familiar songs and new instruments to play.
  • Ken is walking! Sort of. He has been taking unsupported steps for over a month now, and can do quite a few steps in a row… but he still much prefers crawling. I want to encourage him to become a true walker, but he is stubborn when prompted to walk on command. He seems to only walk in significant amounts when he is playing on his own and isn’t really thinking about it too much.
  • Ken can climb stairs! He even climbs up many of the stairs up to our apartment, and feels quite proud of himself when he does.
  • Ken’s favorite books right now are the “Pat the Bunny” series. I keep them on the nightstand in our bedroom and he crawls in there at least once a day to pull them out and play with them. He thinks all books should be interactive and is disappointed when they aren’t. Travis and I got him “Pat the Christmas Bunny” and “Pat the Birthday Bunny” for the respective holidays.
  • I’ve started the weaning process with Ken. I am really surprised I made it a full year with breastfeeding, but now that it is easier and more convenient, I am surprised at how reluctant I am to let it go. Like all things related to being a mom, there was a lot of pressure to breast feed. Now, I feel like there is a lot of pressure to get him weaned asap. I think I could do it really quickly, if I wanted, but for now I’m taking it slow and trying not to cause him too much distress. He is down to 1-2 feedings a day, so we are getting there.
  • He loves giving and receiving kisses, as seen below. We are working on teaching him how to blow a kiss.

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Ken’s Birthday Party:

We traveled to Kansas City for Christmas and New Years, and we decided to stay an extra week so that we could celebrate Kenneth’s first birthday with family. The party was a success! We decorated Hoot n Nanny’s house, brought in some barbecue, and I even made a #1-shaped cake! Lots of family came to celebrate, which was wonderful, but it also overwhelmed Ken a bit. He did really well, but it was hard to get any photos of him smiling.

I made him a little “smash cake” of his own to try. He was sort of interested in it, but didn’t do a full-on smash with it. I probably took it away from him too early, but his grandma was really worried about him eating too much. He also got to try some ice cream and chocolate. He loved them both!

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Kenneth received so many fun toys for his birthday and Christmas, including an awesome drum set, a mini guitar, a new puffy coat, and so much more! He is a lucky boy. We were able to bring much of his new loot home and it hasn’t quite pushed us out of our apartment yet…

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After twelve months of publishing these updates, I know I am getting repetitive, but it is such a privilege to watch this new, little human figure out the world and grow up. Nearly everyday — even through the crying and poop and carrying the stroller up endless stairs — I am thankful that parenthood is part of my life experience. It isn’t easy at all. Staying home with an energetic, inquisitive, nonverbal entity nearly 24-hours a day can be monotonous and overwhelming sometimes, but I enjoy it. My love for this little person has transformed my life. I look forward to all of our future years together.

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Also, check out Kenneth at one month, Kenneth at two months, Kenneth at three months, Kenneth at four months, Kenneth at five months, Kenneth at six months, Kenneth at seven months, Kenneth at eight months, Kenneth at nine months, Kenneth at ten months, and Kenneth at eleven months.

1 Comment » Categories: Baby, Birthday, Family, Kenneth

one little word 2016

Jan 11th 2016 04:59:53 pm

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Happy 2016! My New Year’s tradition has been to NOT make any resolutions, but instead to pick a word to focus on for the year.

My word for 2016 is balance.

Reading over my post about my word pick last year (love) was enlightening and uplifting. It is nice to be reminded that I’ve set good, positive intentions for myself… even if I sometimes lose sight of them.

This year, I want to continue to carry love and gratitude in my heart while also seeking BALANCE. It would be easy to relate my one little word to the work/life balance that so many people are constantly striving for, but I want my balance to go deeper. I want to approach everything in my life in a mindful and peaceful way. I want to listen closely to my body and find balance in my fitness attempts and eating habits. I want to respect my emotions and allow myself to feel what I feel without guilt or second guessing. I want to balance my extreme love for my baby boy with his growing need for independence. I want to find the sweet spot between work, activity, and rest that will allow for a clear mind and light spirit.

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My past words:

2015: love
2014: optimism
2013: sweetness
2012: explore
2011: peace
2010: wonder
2009: busy
2008: hope

What is your one little word for 2016?

3 Comments » Categories: Feeling Happy, Thinking

Kenneth at 11 months…

Dec 18th 2015 03:22:42 pm

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Kenneth is getting so close to being a one-year-old! He passed the eleven month milestone a week ago. It is hard to articulate, but he is feeling and looking like such an older boy these days. I can catch glimpses of what he will look like as an older kid, even a teenager at times. Over the last month he has been so much fun. I used to be worried about him being too serious, but he has gotten a lot more goofy and fun-loving lately. He is still slightly stingy with his big grins and belly laughs, but they seem to be happening more frequently. He loves surprises and tickles and going down slides. He really is an awesome baby and I am so glad we get to spend so much time together.

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Fun Facts about Kenneth at 11 months:

  • Ken got a bad head cold last week which came with a wonky eye infection. His right eye got puffy and red, so I took him to the doctor and she gave him antibiotics. You can see his red eyes in the photo above, our first of two photo shoot attempts this month.
  • Kenneth has his own room! We moved him into the office room of the apartment over the Thanksgiving break with the help of his uncle Seth. I was really surprised at how easily he took to sleeping alone in the room. He really didn’t fuss about it at all. And we are all getting better sleep. He sleeps up to 12 hours a night!
  • Even though it is sort of against the parenting rules, Ken keeps some stuffed animals in his crib. He plays with them before going to bed and after waking up. It is really cute. He hardly fusses at all when we put him down for naps or the night, and he can entertain himself.
  • Ken has six teeth! Four up top and two on the bottom. He can bite off pieces of food (like bagels!) and chews food, too. He also loves to give a toothy, scrunched nose grin.
  • Kenneth is still working on walking. He is so very close! He can stand unassisted, and will take one or two little steps on his own, but then he decides to skillfully squat down and start crawling instead. I think he is just being cautious. I am fighting my Type A drive to push him to walk more before he is ready. He will get there at his own pace. Plus, he gets around fast enough as it is!
  • Crusher and Kenneth play with each other just about every day, chasing each other around the apartment. They both love it. Crusher has been much sweeter and more patient with him lately.
  • He attended his last Moozika class of the fall session today. He loves the class and always gets right up in front to pound on the big drum. We are going to take the class again during winter session. He still loves music and is obsessed with his dad’s guitars.
  • Kenneth is also obsessed with the Pat the Bunny books. He gets them out on his own and is still fascinated by them even though we read them many times a day. But now he wants all books to be interactive and is disappointed when they aren’t.
  • Ken is making many more sounds lately. He seems to be saying “yes” and “mmmmamama” pretty consistently. He tries to repeat a lot of things we say (but I don’t know if he really understands it, just repeats sounds) and he is always singing and babbling to himself.

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I know I say this every time, but taking baby portraits is so hard! We did two different days of photo shoots this month and I wasn’t really happy with either. Ken is just a busy guy! And he likes to be in charge of anything he can hold in his hand, like the pen, comb, and tape seen above. I am just hoping I can get a few really good shots next month to celebrate one year!

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I LOVE THIS BABY!

Also, check out Kenneth at one month, Kenneth at two months, Kenneth at three months, Kenneth at four months, Kenneth at five months, Kenneth at six months, Kenneth at seven months, Kenneth at eight months, Kenneth at nine months, and Kenneth at ten months.

2 Comments » Categories: Baby, Family, Kenneth

Kenneth at 10 months…

Nov 23rd 2015 05:45:00 pm

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My sweet, little guy is 10 months old! Well, actually right now he is 10 and a half months old… we were traveling during the actual milestone. Fitting in picture taking and blogging is never easy, not to mention when you have just gotten home from a big trip! And, getting this baby to pose for his portraits was nearly impossible. He just wants to stand and move and climb! But I guess that is perfectly representative of his current stage, so we’ll just go with it. We do the best we can and call it good.

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Kenneth is a big boy now! He acts like he is totally independent and not in need of parents any more… well, except for all the diaper changing and food providing. But he barely has time for those boring things anyway! He loves playing and exploring. He wants to inspect and deconstruct anything new to him, like the trash can, dog food bowl, file cabinets, laundry hampers, etc. He is a curious guy who gets really excited about his new discoveries. It is fun to watch him investigate and conquer his world!

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Fun Facts about Kenneth at 10 months:

  • Ken has five teeth! His top right lateral incisor is poking out and the left one is just about ready to erupt. He likes his teeth and often does a funny open-mouth grin to show them off.
  • Kenneth can stand on his own! He has been walking and standing while holding onto things (furniture, walker toys, mom or dad) for a while, but now he often “free stands” without holding onto anything. He seems to be doing it just for fun sometimes and can balance for quite a while on his own, but still choses to squat down and start crawling instead of taking any unsupported steps yet. Crawling is still faster and more efficient for him than walking. But we’ll see how long that lasts…
  • I think Kenneth is using language! He DEFINITELY says “dada” in reference to Travis. He also seems to say “dog” when Crusher is around. And I swear he says “hi” back to me and “ya” in response to my questions. Of course, he also babbles a lot, and squeals, and laughs, and grunts and reaches for things he wants.
  • He basically eats anything. He really likes berries and yogurt and cheese, but he gets a taste of nearly everything I eat. He can drink from a straw and often shares a smoothie with me. (I also still breastfeed him four times a day.)
  • Kenneth has gotten into a fairly set routine. He wakes up around 6-7, naps at about 9 until 11-12, naps again around 3 until 4-5, and then goes to sleep around 7-8. He doesn’t HAVE to have both naps everyday, but he is in a better mood if he does!
  • Kenneth still LOVES: music, Crusher, other babies, and playgrounds. He also LOVES when his dad gets home each day. He excitedly crawls to meet him as soon as he walks in the door and reaches to be picked up. It is very sweet.

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Traveling with a 10-month-old:

Earlier this month we took an eleven day trip to Hawaii and Los Angeles. We went to Hawaii with more than a dozen of our Brooklyn friends for Brian and Jeanette’s wedding. It took 13 hours of travel to get there. I can’t tell you that I wasn’t nervous about bringing a baby on flights that long, but it was actually ok. I tried not to get anxious about it and I think treating it like no big deal rubbed off on Ken. He was perfectly fine, if really fidgety and NOT sleepy, on the flights there. Travis had upgraded our seats to the bulk head area with extra room and I had packed a bunch of toys and books, but I don’t think either was necessary. Ken basically just loved exploring the plane stuff and playing Peek-a-boo Barn on my phone the best. Snacks (for everyone involved) were a necessity. Also necessary were our own car seat and stroller, which we checked (for free!) on the flights.

We stayed with 13 friends in an Air BnB house for the first five nights in Hawaii. It went really well. I was worried about Ken crying and keeping people awake, but we just tried to not let him cry much. The huge time zone change messed us all up somewhat, so we basically just ended up waking up really early. But that meant that Ken got in his good morning nap before much activity started each day. The house came with a high chair and pack-n-play, which was really handy. For the additional two nights in Hawaii, we switched to a hotel. They also had a crib for us to use and even provided nice baby toiletries and some new toys!

Ken liked swimming in the ocean and pools. He was enthralled by the luau at the wedding reception. He was a real trooper and happily tagged along on all of our sight seeing around the Big Island. Getting him in and out of his car seat was a hassle, but otherwise, it was fun having him around and not too much of an inconvenience. I hope our friends felt the same way. Travis and I each did one solo adventure (surfing for him, snorkeling with manta rays for me) while the other stayed with Ken, which worked out well.

By the time we were on our way to LA, Ken was just chronically tired. He didn’t do as well on the flight there. He cried a lot and Travis stood and held him for much of the flight. I was stressed. Thank goodness that plane was nearly empty. No one seemed perturbed by him at all.

It was great for Ken to meet his family and friends in California. We spent a whole day with his great aunt Carol and great uncles John and Glenn. He got in some good naps, but he was still tired and totally out of his routine and time zone. On our final day we took him to Disneyland! It was really fun for Travis and me, but Ken could barely stay awake at the park! He fell asleep DURING the Haunted Mansion ride. The entire trip had finally worn him out.

All in all, traveling with a baby is totally doable. Even fun! Of course, it is way easier to travel without a baby… but traveling with one is still much more fun than staying home!

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Travis took this photo of Ken in a hammock in Hawaii right after his 10-month “birthday.” I think he looks so old in it. I am so glad we’ve gotten to share so many experiences and adventures with him already. I look forward to a life time of many more!

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Also, check out Kenneth at one month, Kenneth at two months, Kenneth at three months, Kenneth at four months, Kenneth at five months, Kenneth at six months, Kenneth at seven months, Kenneth at eight months, and Kenneth at nine months.

2 Comments » Categories: Baby, Family, Kenneth

big weekend highlights

Nov 2nd 2015 11:38:48 am

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Halloween! King Kong and crew. (More photos.)

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NYC Marathon! Travis ran the city for his second time (10th overall marathon!) and Kenneth and I cheered for him at two spots. Such a fun and exhausting day in NYC. (Kenneth needs to work on his marathon cheer training.) (More photos)

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World Series! So, we didn’t actually watch all of the final game because we were too exhausted… but we are so excited for the Royals! Ken saw both teams play at their respective stadiums this year and predicted the Series weeks ago.

This week, we are off to Hawaii and then the holiday season starts… This little family stays busy!

1 Comment » Categories: Baby, Family, Kenneth, New York, Travis

Kenneth at nine months…

Oct 16th 2015 03:29:56 pm

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My baby boy has been on this earth for 40 weeks — 9 months as of last week! That is equal to the amount of time he spent inside my body, which feels like a milestone. I’ve devoted 18 months of my life to growing this new, little human. It has taken effort and energy and endless love… and gosh, it has been worth it!

Kenneth is a small person now. He learns new things everyday and he is figuring out how things work. He loves inspecting textures and studying mechanical systems. I sometimes forget that he cannot talk, because he is able to communicate so well. He tells us what he wants (and what he does NOT want) and he shows affection and concern. He plays on his own and is very serious about getting his (self-imposed) tasks done. He is feeling much more like a toddler and less like a baby.

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He is a fun, usually cooperative boy, but taking Ken’s portrait each month is not an easy task! This month it took two photo shoot attempts and a lot of patience. Baby portraits are hard!

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Fun Facts about Kenneth at nine months:

  • More teeth! Kenneth’s two top front teeth started coming in on September 28th. He now has four teeth in front and can bite and do a little chewing. He is constantly feeling out his teeth with his tongue.
  • Ken has been eating just about everything. For a while his favorite food was raspberries, but now it seems to be avocado. Recently he has been refusing to eat sweet potato. At each meal he usually has some sort of finger food (fruit, cheese, bread, Cheerios, etc), some baby food puree (in the store bought packets which he uses to feed himself), and some greek yogurt. He still loves yogurt!
  • Kenneth can clap! It is a new skill he started doing two weeks ago. Now he claps all the time, especially to music. Waving is still a little hit or miss. He does it spontaneously sometimes, but won’t really do it on command.
  • Kenneth is still a speedy crawler, moving all over the house and playgrounds with ease. He stands whenever possible and has pretty good balance and can walk as long he is holding onto something with at least one hand. He has tried freestanding a few times… but it has always ended in a fall.
  • Speaking of playgrounds, the weather has been so nice lately that we go nearly every day. Ken has gone down slides (with a bit of assistance), climbed stairs, crawled across a wobbly bridge, and played with lots of other babies. But his favorite things at the parks are the leaves. He loves finding and inspecting leaves. Sticks are also cool.
  • Kenneth got a little head cold this month with a bad runny nose. He had some trouble nursing for a few days, but recovered quickly.
  • Kenneth is still in love with music! I signed him up for a weekly group Moozika class on Fridays, which he really enjoys. Kenneth also got a few music instruments this month — maracas, tambourines, drums, etc. He LOVES using them and he LOVES drumming on any surface to hear the different noises. Travis got a ukulele for his 35 birthday and he and Kenneth play music together most mornings.
  • Kenneth is obsessed with the clock radio in our bedroom. So much so that we hid it for a while so that he could focus on eating and sleeping in the room. He figured out how to press open the cd slot and turn on the radio. Each time the radio comes on he does a little dance. It is so ridiculously cute.
  • Kenneth LOVES Crusher. He cracks up every time he sees him. He chases him around the apartment giggling and they play together nearly every day. Crusher is still a little wary of him, but they are getting to be better friends.
  • Ken’s Grandma Lamble came to visit him this month. He loved hanging out with her and going on his first trip to Coney Island (he rode the Wonder Wheel!) and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. He talks with his Grandma and Grandpa on Facetime a couple times a week.
  • Hoot n Nanny also came to visit Ken this month. He remembered them from seeing them on Facetime. He had a lot of fun hanging out with them for a week and showing them off around Brooklyn.
  • Kenneth is a smart, busy, determined, inquisitive boy. I love watching him figure out the world.

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Mama Life:

Ken is such a fun, cute boy. (If I do say so myself.) I am very happy. I’m having a lot of fun being around him every day. The great fall weather is also pumping up my mood. But… that doesn’t mean it is always easy. Most days I am exhausted by 6 pm and desperately ready for Travis to get home. The daily effort level is set at a higher “mom level” already — picking up a 20+ lb human all day, crawling on the floor, doing tons of laundry, breastfeeding, etc — but there is also a huge amount of effort involved in living in the city with kids.

I know I don’t have any other experience to compare it to, but my days are filled with a LOT of activity. To leave the house, I have to carry a 20+ lb human down and up three flights of stairs. Sometimes I also carry a 25 lb jogging stroller. Often I am also carrying groceries. We walk everywhere, which adds up to about 3-10 miles a day. I am also trying to keep up some running training. And my physical therapy exercises. And I try to walk Crusher a few times a day. Plus, you know, the cooking and cleaning, and oh ya, trying to keep Swap-bot afloat. It is a lot. I want to keep trying to do it all. I am really enthusiastic in the mornings. I ALWAYS say I am going to do more work once Ken goes to sleep at night. I rarely do.

I’m too stubborn to give up anything or to slow down. So I’ll just keep trying. I get done as much as I can each day and then try to accept that I am doing my best. I am trying to embrace the chaos. This is my life. I often wish I could be a supermodel/successful career woman, but for now I am a mom. I am trying to enjoy it as much as I can… because I know I’ll miss these baby days as soon as they are gonne. … Plus, I’ve got plenty of time to become a supermodel later, right??

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Need more cuteness? See SO MANY more photos of Kenneth in his 8-12 month Flickr album.

Also, check out Kenneth at one month, Kenneth at two months, Kenneth at three months, Kenneth at four months, Kenneth at five months, Kenneth at six months, Kenneth at seven months, and Kenneth at eight months.

No Comments » Categories: Baby

Kenneth at eight months…

Sep 9th 2015 10:16:11 am

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Kenneth is growing up so fast and learning so many things! As of yesterday, he is eight months old. It is amazing, but also a little scary. He no longer seems like a baby. He does things. He has plans and goals. He goes and gets what he wants. He is so fun right now and I love him so much. I keep wishing I could freeze time. But I also feel guilty saying that because I never wanted to be a parent who didn’t want their kids to grow up. I want him to have a full, fun, long life, but I just wish I could keep revisiting these moments with him as an 8-month-old forever.

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Fun Facts about Kenneth at Eight Months:

  • You guys! Kenneth can high five! I worked on it with him for one day and now he can pretty much do it on command. It is really cute. He will also usually give you a kiss when you ask for one.
  • We did an at-home measurement, and Kenneth seems to be at least 30 inches tall. He is catching up to his dad!
  • He crawls at top speed and can make it all over the apartment in minutes. He grabs and reaches for EVERYTHING! He has really put my cleaning to the test. I vacuum everyday just so that he doesn’t find anything gross on the ground.
  • He can easily pull himself up to standing all on his own now. And he does it as often as possible. He seems determined to practice standing at every opportunity. He has even been doing a bit of cruising, walking along the couch while holding on. I think he is going to walk soon, which is crazy!
  • This baby LOVES music! He only pays attention to the tv when there is music playing and he loves carrying around my phone when it is playing music. He’ll dance along by wiggling his body. SO cute! I took him to two group sing-a-longs at a local toy store this month and he adores them. He pays attention the whole time and uses the instruments. I sing (poorly) to him every day, but I feel guilty for not doing more music activities with him previously.
  • I only nurse Ken 4-5 times a day now. A few months ago, I thought it would be impossible to feed him so few times a day, but the solid food transition seems to be happening naturally.
  • I’ve been really, um, not strict (relaxed?) with giving him all sorts of solid food. He feeds himself tiny pieces of fruits, veggies, bread, meat, cheese, cereal, etc. He has had peanut butter, eggs, and strawberries without having any reactions, so there’s no evidence of food allergies at this point. His favorite foods seem to be avocado, plums, and plain yogurt. He LOVES yogurt! He doesn’t like cucumbers or pureed baby food containing meat.
  • Kenneth is still very passionate about cords and he has developed an extreme interest in the vacuum. Which is good, since I have it out every day to clean up his food messes.
  • Ken got his first stomach bug this month. He had a slight fever, lower appetite, and lots of icky diapers. I took him to the doctor even though I probably didn’t need to. He got over it in a few days.
  • He has the bluest eyes and lots of blonde hair growing in… I can’t be objective, I think he is cutest baby in the world. I know I am losing my mind a bit and I’m not being rational, but he seems perfect to me.

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Thoughts on parenthood…

A friend of mine from grad school lost her six-year-old daughter this month to cancer. I have cried many tears over the last weeks just considering the loss she and her husband are experiencing. I truly can’t imagine what they are actually going through. I think about them every day. Add on the heart-breaking refugee crisis in the news and the recent death of a childhood friend, and it has been an emotional month.

Being a parent is scary. The love is so intense and the heart-stopping fear of losing your child is ever-present. At least for me. But I am trying to be brave. I won’t allow fear to rule my life. Or Kenneth’s. Because being a parent is also so fun! More fun than I ever pictured. The first few months were tough for me, for sure, but now I am so happy. It surprises me. There are still personal things that aren’t perfect (I still can’t really run, I’ve been sick with a terrible cough, my weight loss has slowed/stopped, etc) but being a mom to Ken trumps all of it. In my pre-mom life I dreaded the thought of parenthood taking over all of my interests and hobbies, and I still hope to never lose my self, but parenthood feels good. It is difficult, it is emotional, and it is tiring, but it has brought me a lot of peace. I’m not trying to evangelize, I promise. I am just sort of amazed. The really crazy part? I am having thoughts about having a second one!! Ahhh!

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Kenneth’s original flickr album has gotten way too large (with 7,000+ photos) and now I can’t load it or edit it. Eek. So I started a new one for 8-12 months. Check it out.

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Also, check out Kenneth at one month, Kenneth at two months, Kenneth at three months, Kenneth at four months, Kenneth at five months, Kenneth at six months, and Kenneth at seven months.

3 Comments » Categories: Baby, Family, Kenneth

currently // august 2015

Aug 28th 2015 11:21:46 am

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reading… Barbara the Slut and Other People by my talented and funny friend, Lauren Holmes. Don’t let the provocative title scare you. This funny short story collection is touching and real. The stories of dating, sexuality, family relationships, dogs, and growing up feel entirely fresh, young, smart, and current… without resorting to text speak or emoticons.

eating…. Birds & Bubbles. Fried chicken and champagne in a Chinatown basement may sound a little odd, but it is so great. Travis took me to this surprisingly fancy spot on our very first babysitter-supported date night a few weeks ago. I loved it and seriously want to go back.

wishing for… this J.Crew leather jacket. I actually do NEED a new winter coat… but I don’t know if leather is practical enough. Decisions, decisions.

prepping for… Swap-bot’s 10th Anniversary in October. I seriously can’t believe we’ve kept the site running for a decade. It is a big job and I don’t know if we can keep it going forever, but for now we are going to celebrate the community that has grown over the last 10 years. I’ll be doing some fun giveaways on the blog and I’m hosting a 10th Anniversary Mail Art Swap – come swap snail mail with us!

dreaming about… our trip to Hawaii in November! Our friends, Brian & Jeanette, are getting married and we can’t wait to get to the Big Island to help them celebrate!

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What are you up to as summer comes to a close?

No Comments » Categories: Currently

Kenneth at seven months…

Aug 13th 2015 11:42:21 am

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Kenneth is seven months old!! Wow. Specifically, he is 31 weeks old today. He has become such a little BOY lately. He is very mobile and loves exploring everything. Which includes grabbing everything and tasting everything. This is very good for his development, but not so good for accomplishing his monthly photo shoot. He could not resist his sticker this month. I was frustrated that we couldn’t get the “perfect” photo, but Travis reminded me that he is just a baby. Oh, right. Maybe I expect too much from him, but he always seems to roll with everything we subject him to. He goes into the city on the subway, checks out museums and parks, goes for hours of rides in his jog stroller, and even flew (on a red eye) to and from Oregon last month without much trouble. He is a cooperative and fun boy!

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Fun facts about Kenneth at 7 months:

  • Big news! Ken’s first tooth started poking through on July 28th! It is his bottom left tooth and he seems quite proud of it, even letting me touch it and take photos. Ha! Since then his second bottom tooth has poked through.
  • I’m not sure of Ken’s official height and weight, but he is definitely a big boy! We are now dressing him in mostly 9-12 month clothes. I only buy 12-month or larger nowadays.
  • At the suggestion of our pediatrician, we have been giving Ken some water to drink out of a sippy cup. He amazed me by catching onto holding and drinking from the cup right away. Wow!
  • He has also been eating a lot more solid (“human”) foods, including his first Cherrios. Yum! He can feed himself from the baby food pouches and he eats in his high chair with us at nearly every meal. In addition to the usual fruits and veggies, he has had bread, smoothies, and a little cheese. Last week he had his first taste of animal: chicken! And yesterday, he had his first little taste of a Shake Shack burger!! He loved it and wanted more.
  • He loves grabbing ANYTHING… and promptly putting it in his mouth or throwing in on the ground.
  • Kenneth’s greatest passion of late is cords. He loves cords. He can somehow find and propel himself toward any and all cords in the house. Which isn’t good because they aren’t exactly safe baby toys. We are keeping an eye on him.
  • He isn’t technically crawling yet — just spending a lot of time wiggling around on all fours — but he is scooting, army crawling, rolling, planking, and pushing himself all over. He spends a lot of time playing on the living room floor. He also likes trying to climb things and standing up while hanging onto the coffee table. He can pull himself up to standing from sitting, but it is still really tough and wobbly for him. He works especially hard at trying to throw his body off the changing able at every diaper change, which I am trying hard to discourage.
  • He is definitely exploring his voice and loves squealing and saying “dada” over and over. He also seems to say things like “hi” and “hey” in response to us, but I can’t be sure if he is really trying to use language or just making noise. I think we still have some time before he officially says a first word.
  • Kenneth is very interested in Crusher and other kids. He loves to pet Crusher, but Crusher has to be bribed with treats to allow it to happen. We’ve taken Ken to a few parks, but I need to get him enrolled in some sort of class so that he can interact with other babies.
  • On August 2nd, Kenneth went to his first Mets game. He has now been to four baseball games at four different MLB stadiums… and has game balls from each to prove it!

7months3blog

7months4blog

Mama Thoughts:

Overall, I am feeling extremely happy with being a stay-at-home mom these days. Ken is a lot of fun and I am so glad I get to spend time with him. My only complaint is that I REALLY WISH I could get more non-mom tasks accomplished. I have so much on my Swap-bot to do list! I haven’t figured out child care yet, but we have actually booked our first babysitter for tomorrow night, so we will see how that goes.

Breastfeeding is actually becoming comfortable, which is really nice. With all of his extra solid food consumption, Ken seems to be nursing less. It makes me hopeful that the weaning process will happen naturally over the next few months. I still stand by my many previous statements that I won’t miss breast feeding, but it does feels a little sad to know that he is growing up and won’t need me for food for much longer.

I didn’t think I would be a very sentimental mom, but I have found myself crying on more than one night when thinking about him growing up. He already pushes my hand away when I try to wipe his face. He will be a boy soon. And he will be embarrassed of me and tell me not to talk to him at school. Then he will be a man, and get married, and move away, and never need me again. But I guess that is actually the best case scenario and I shouldn’t dread it. I am just really glad that I get to experience him and his development. Certainly, having kids is not for everyone, but I am enjoying being a parent even more than I thought I would. I am just grateful that it is part of my life experience.

Kenneth is awesome.

kenteeth

kenandmemet

We have taken SO MANY photos of Ken! Check out all of mine in my Kenneth Gunner Johnson Flickr photo album. Nearly 7,000 photos at 7 months old, that seems about right, right? (Travis has also taken a few photos of his son… view them on his Flickr.)

Also, check out Kenneth at one month, Kenneth at two months, Kenneth at three months, Kenneth at four months, Kenneth at five months, and Kenneth at six months.

2 Comments » Categories: Baby, Family, Kenneth

Family Time in Portland

Aug 9th 2015 01:19:11 pm

portlandfalls1

July was a big month for travel! After our trip to Maine, we had less that a week at home before heading out again to Portland, Oregon. Travis had a conference to attend there for work and Kenneth and I came along to visit with my brother, sister-in-law, and parents. It was a great combo trip!

portlandauntuncle

Kenneth got to meet his my brother, Adam, and his wife, Nina, for the first time. He liked them both, but Nina could really get him to smile! Nina and Adam are both completing their Oncology/Hematology fellowships at OHSU. They work really hard. I’m impressed by their dedication!

portlandicecream

Travis and I have been to Portland many times (most recently two years ago) and we had to check out a few of our favorite places (like Papa Haydn’s and Dutch Bros), but we also did a few new things this time…

My favorite things to see/eat/do in Portland, Oregon:

  • Screen Door – Our first restaurant stop! We did brunch on Sunday and I had the praline bacon waffle. It reminded me of New Orleans.
  • portlandscreendoor

  • Ava Gene’s – Delicious, fancy restaurant from the people who make Stumptown coffee.
  • Sizzle Pie – Creative pizza with lots of hipster, vegan, gluten free, etc options.
  • Blue Star Donuts – So much better than Voodoo Doughnuts.
  • Salt & Straw – Amazing ice cream (with the long lines to prove it).
  • Lan Su Chinese Garden – A pretty oasis in downtown. We had tea and moon cakes in the tea house. So lovely.
  • portlandgarden2

  • Powell’s Books – ALL the books. I couldn’t resist buying Ken four new kids books.
  • Multnomah Falls – This was my first time visiting and the falls were quite impressive. We ate at the lodge restaurant and Adam and I climbed the uphill mile to the top.
  • portlandfalls2

  • Haystack Rock – At Cannon Beach on the coast west of Portland. Some of the scenes from Goonies were filmed there!
  • portlandhaystack

In addition to meeting his aunt and uncle for the first time, Kenneth got to spend a lot of time with his grandparents… and he loved it! They spent a lot of time holding him, playing with him, and strolling him. They babysat him while Travis and I went out on a double date with Adam and Nina to Ava Gene’s. Very nice!

portlandgrandparents

While Travis, Adam, and Nina were doing work stuff, Ken and I got to go with Grandma and Grandpa to Haystack Rock on the coast west of Portland. It was Ken’s first time touching the Pacific Ocean! We also did some sight seeing and walking around the city, including checking out Powell’s and the Chinese Garden.

portlandgarden1

Once Travis was finished with his conference, our little Johnson family had a nice day of walking around downtown Portland. We shopped, I drank too much Stumptown coffee, and we went to check out the Timbers’ arena.

potlandstadium

I love Portland. I think it is such a fun, cool, easy city with great food and a lot to see. I really think anyone would love visiting this lovely Pacific Northwest hot spot. Bonus points if you also get to spend quality time with family while you are there!!

portlandoregon

Check out all of my photos from the trip in my Portland 2015 Flickr Album.

2 Comments » Categories: Baby, Family, Kenneth, Travel

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Hello.

I'm Rachel. I run websites and run marathons. I live in Brooklyn and write about art, crafts, design, food, fitness, fashion, my daily life, and New York City.

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