Sunday, January 31, 2010

A day in the life.....

Now that John is one year old, you may be interested in what a typical day for him looks like. In a word: busy! He is definitely an on-the-go baby, and Mom and Dad struggle at times to keep up with him (we are getting old). During the week while Dad is at work, John and I try to keep our schedule full with walks, playdates and/or shopping so we don't get lonely sitting at the house all day. On the weekend, we head down to Austin for day trips or just hang out and relax together at home.

Here is a typical day for us during the week:

John's day usually begins around 7:15, after he's slept for 12 hours at night. (Yes, you read that correctly: since the beginning of January, John has been sleeping through the night for 12 straight hours!!! Hooray!!! Seriously, John has NEVER EVER slept this long at night. NEVER! I thought he used to sleep this long back when he was three months old, but I just checked his first-year baby calendar and saw that the longest stretch of sleep he ever got then was about 10 hours. Needless to say, Mom and Dad are very pleased with this new trend and -- due to this addition of some much-needed nighttime shut-eye -- have become much more productive people during the day.

After John wakes up, I nurse him, and then we play in the playroom for a little while. He usually hangs out in front of the bookshelves looking at all of his books. Around 8:15 or 8:30, he gets in his highchair for breakfast. Mom sneaks in some breakfast at this point, too. John ADORES breakfast foods! He always has some type of cut-up fruit (i.e. banana, mango, grapes, strawberries, pears or apples) along with a grain. We alternate between multigrain cereal mixed with yogurt or prunes, cut-up waffles or pancakes, and puffs/Cheerios. With his breakfast he also has about two ounces of juice, which helps with his constipation. He has an additional two ounces of juice at lunch for the same reason. (John started using his straw cup for its intended purpose -- i.e. not as a chew toy -- about three weeks ago!)

After breakfast, we both get dressed and ready for the day. I brush my teeth, and then I brush John's (John often helps). We just bought him a new toddler-size toothbrush that he can eventually use on his own, since we used to regularly get our fingers bitten off using the infant fingerbrush. John thinks the new toothbrush is a toy. We don't mind so much, since by playing with it, he is actually cleaning his teeth at the same time.

If we don't have a running playdate with Elise and Stephanie (during which the moms switch off watching the kids while one of us goes running), we usually head off in the car to run some errands. (By about 9:15, we are both very ready to get out of the house.) Getting John into his car seat can be a very difficult and time-consuming task these days. The easiest thing to do is to have something really cool that he can play with to distract him while I'm strapping him in. His favorite distractors include Mom's wallet, cell phone or keys, his toy camera, or his first words book with buttons to press.

When we get back from our errands, it is just about time for John's one nap of the day. (Now that he sleeps so long at night, he only wants one nap a day unless we happen to be driving somewhere in the afternoon, in which case he falls asleep in the car.) I nurse him and then put him down for his nap around 11:15. The length of his nap varies widely. Some days he sleeps only half an hour, other days he sleeps for nearly two hours. During his nap, I am always running around trying to get as much done as possible, since I never know when he'll wake up.

John gets a diaper change when he gets up and then we get ready for lunch. John usually has a "deconstructed sandwich" for lunch: some cut-up turkey and Colby Jack cheese and half a slice of whole wheat bread. He is OBSESSED with cheese, which is pretty surprising, given that he gagged on it and shuddered from head to toe the first few times I served it to him. He has a cut-up veggie sometimes as well.

For the last few weeks, we've been having noon potluck playdates at our house with Kami and Austin, Jen, and Sheri. (Stephanie and Elise will join us after Mike leaves again.) John loves hanging out with his aunties and his little 11-week-old buddy!

Most afternoons, John and I take a long walk after lunch, either in our neighborhood or at the park, where we can also enjoy the swings and slides. When it's too cold for a walk, we play at home. John likes to push his walkers from room to room. Then he'll cruise the walls and furniture and look for something to get into. If we go into the kitchen, he'll "help" Mom do the chores. (Emptying the dishwasher is still a favorite.) We practice his walking a lot, too. He still has the Frankenstein-style walk -- arms out in front of his body and stiff, side-to-side steps. It's so cute! But he's getting a lot more daring about taking off on his own now. It's really exciting to see him gaining confidence.

John has a snack at 3:30 every afternoon. If we're on the go, he has his Mum-Mum crackers that come two to a package. He loves how crunchy they are! If we're at home, he'll have Puffs or some cut-up fruit. He also gets his straw cup with cow's milk to replace the nursing we used to have around this time.

We play some more until dinner at 5:30. I try to change up what he has for dinner every night, but he always has some type of lean meat or protein (cut-up chicken breast, hard-boiled/ scrambled eggs or avocado) and a veggie (sweet potatoes, carrots and corn are his favorites). He might also have beans or rice, or, if we're having spaghetti, he'll have some of that with a little tomato sauce on top.

Immediately after dinner, John gets his bath. He loves playing with his new stacking cups (and watching them drop over the side of the bathtub), but his turtle temperature gauge and yellow squirting starfish are faithful standbys. Then he gets his pajamas on and we have storytime in the playroom. He is very tired by this time at night and can be pretty fussy. As soon as 6:45/7 rolls around, he is ready to nurse and go to bed. Lately he's been out for the night by 7:15.
Dad gets home from work anytime between 7:30 and 8:30. The two of us usually eat something together and then watch a little tv if there's no work/housework to do. Then we follow John to bed!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Book time.....

John absolutely LOVES books, whether someone's reading to him or he's looking through one himself. One of his favorite independent playtime activities is to sit or stand in front of the playroom bookshelves and pull out books one by one to "read." When I go to check up on him, he's literally got books piled up all around him.

It's especially fun to watch him "read" the books he knows the best from our storytimes together. For instance, when he pages through Pat the Bunny, he'll actually do everything the book "asks" him to do.....pat the bunny, play peek-a-boo with Paul, smell the flowers, look in the mirror, etc. Then, because he's learned how to smell flowers from Pat the Bunny, he'll smell any flowers he sees in other books, too. It's so cute!

This is a video I took of him this past week during one of these independent "reading" sessions. I can't help but giggle when I watch it! At one point, he's looking at a picture of two rabbits in a book and saying "Gog, gog, gog....." because he thinks the rabbits are dogs. (I didn't realize until a few days later that when he says "gog" he means "dog" -- his first real word!) Since I think he is just babbling, I tell him that the animals are bunnies. Once John hears the word "bunnies," he starts patting the bunnies in the picture just like he does in Pat the Bunny!

John reading from Sarah Schuchard on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hula Hut pics

We ate at our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant in Austin on Saturday. It almost feels like you're in Hawaii when you eat at Hula Hut! Ross and I ordered fajitas, and John shared some of our beans, chicken, cheese and rice. John was literally GOBBLING up his food. He couldn't get it in his mouth fast enough!

We spent some time on the deck area after we ate. John loved looking out on the water, and he was intrigued by the palm trees.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday, Elise!

John's steady girlfriend Elise turned 1 on the 23rd, and we went over to her house for some carrot cake cupcakes that evening. Her daddy returned home for his two-week R&R just in time to celebrate her special day with her! John was, of course, a little nervous to meet his future father-in-law for the first time. After all, Mr. Mike is the other man in Elise's life. But the two of them got along just swell :)

Before getting in their highchairs for cupcakes, the kids played with Elise's awesome birthday gift.....a Fisher-Price mini house! When they both tried playing with one particular part of the house (the calendar, for example), we'd just put one baby outside the front door and the other inside. An easy solution!

We brought over part of Elise's birthday gift for her to open, and not surprisingly, the pink bow on top of the gift was her favorite thing. It distracted her (and John) for a good ten minutes. John tried "sharing" Elise's bow, which culminated in a very funny moment in the foyer. (See video.)

But back to the is the birthday girl opening her gift from us, some Eric Carle books about colors, numbers and words. Look at the concentration on her face as she contemplates how to remove the tissue paper!

"Hmm....." Elise said. "This tissue paper in my hand is much more interesting than the book Mommy is trying to show me!"

While Elise opened her gift, John prowled around the family room, looking for something to get into.

When it was cupcake time, Elise waited patiently in her highchair for hers to be served to her.

Once the candle had been lit, the kids couldn't take their eyes off the prize!

But while Elise loved her cupcake and ate all but a few scattered crumbs of it, her boyfriend was less than impressed with his. (Big surprise.) Here are the two 12-month-olds in an "after" photo.....

The Radio Flyer wagon walker

It's been a very busy last few weeks, so I apologize for not posting any videos or photos for such a long time! John has been doing so many amazing new things, and it's been hard keeping track of them all and remembering to write them down. I will try to write a post later in the week about exactly what John's been doing now that he is a 12-month-old.

In the meantime, here's a video from the day after John's birthday party. He is getting a ride around the house in his new Radio Flyer wagon walker, which was a birthday gift from Mommy and Daddy.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Birthday party #2

Last Saturday, John had a second 1st birthday party. His favorite aunts and playdate friends were in attendance: Aunt Jen; Aunt Erin; Aunt Kami and adorable little Austin (already two months old!); future mother-in-law Stephanie and girlfriend Elise; and the Taylor family. (Friend Evie Taylor just turned 1 in December.)

Because it was an evening celebration (at 5 p.m.), Mommy felt John needed to take his attire up a notch and thus added a dark green tie to his checkered shirt. John got quite a few compliments on it.

Before dinner, John sat on Mommy's lap and opened his gifts. I would say that he has definitely tired of the task. Good thing he's got almost an entire year before he has to open this many gifts again! You'll notice from this video that little Evie and Elise are doing more of the work than he is.

Once again, John got some really awesome gifts! From Aunt Jen he got the Fisher Price booster seat we'd been eyeing for him, and from Aunt Erin he got a really nice wooden blocks set. Aunt Kami and Austin and the Taylors got John some new books for his ever-expanding library collection. And the Powells got John an adorable Radio Flyer tricycle for this summer! (Elise is getting one, too.) Oh yeah, and Mom and Dad got him a baby baseball set and a Radio Flyer wagon walker.

When it was time to serve the birthday cake, John was really, really tired. He had only taken one nap during the day (early that morning), so he was ready to go to bed. This may be why he was especially averse to the idea of trying a new food item.

Look how "excited" he is when everyone sings "Happy Birthday" to him.....

and after we put a piece of cake on his highchair tray.....

and when we cut the piece of cake into smaller pieces.....

Finally, once we give him his own spoon to use with the cake, John starts eating.

Despite being a little tired toward the end of the evening, John had a wonderful time at his second 1st birthday party! Thank you so much to all his guests for coming!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

John's actual birthday

John had a very chilly day for his 1st birthday (January 8th). It was in the teens overnight, and I think it only got up to the mid-30s by the afternoon. Brrrrr!

What warmed John right up, though, was a birthday visit from his girlfriend Elise. Stephanie and Elise brought us over some Chipotle for lunch, as well as a little pre-party gift for John to open -- a transportation-themed fridge magnet set!

When Daddy got home that evening, he and Mommy had pizza from Papa Murphy's. John had already eaten his dinner, but that didn't stop him from wanting a bite of what we were eating.

You can see how this little episode played out in the following photos and video.....

We soon realized John would do anything in his power to get to Daddy's pizza. This included walking on his own, which he started doing a few days earlier (January 6th).

Here is a video of our hare-brained "Will John walk for pizza?" experiment:

And here is a video that Stephanie took earlier in the day of John walking to his Mommy (thanks, Stephanie!):

But back to the evening of John's we all sat in the playroom eating pizza and reveling in its deliciousness. How cute are John and Daddy in this next video?!

When we had all finished eating, John opened his presents from his Aunt Katharine and Uncle Jarey (a Skip Hop bath toy holder); his Grandma Kay Ellen (money for his college fund, books and an Elmo stuffed animal); and his Grandpa Harry and Grandma Robin (a Twins summer outfit with matching socks).

Here's a video of John opening his last gift.....

And a photo of him in his new outfit.....Go Twins!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Birthday party #1

On December 27th, Grandma and Grandpa hosted a 1st birthday party for John! The invitees included his Great Grandma Dressler and Great Grandma Schuchard; Great Aunt Valerie and Great Uncle Greg; cousins Abby, Olivia and their parents Troy and Theresa; cousin Paityn and her parents Kristen and Kirk; and cousin Berlyn (21 months old) and her parents Chad and Heidi.

Before everyone arrived, John limbered up for another big afternoon of gift opening by cruising around the leather ottoman in the living room.

He then posed in front of his airplane birthday cake with Grandma and Great Grandma Dressler and read a Christmas book with Great Grandma Dressler.

Once the guests arrived, it was time to open presents! It was good for John to practice his skills some more, since he definitely hadn't mastered the techniques from Christmas.

The whole crowd.....

John claws at his present from Great Aunt Valerie and Great Uncle Greg, willing it to open on its own.....

It does not open on its own. But he finds a little helicopter attached to the top and takes a little pre-cake nibble from it.....

Finally, Mom stages an intervention and helps John open the gift.

After taking his time opening all his presents (boy, did he get a lot of toys and clothes!), John stripped down to his "This little pilot is 1" onesie and got into his highchair. He was ready for a showdown with his smash cake! Or so we thought.....once the cake was on his tray, he did not even want to touch it with one finger! He was super grossed out by the texture of the frosting and eventually had to be coaxed by his Uncle Jesse into trying the first bite. After this initial episode, John decided that the cake wasn't so bad after all.
Here is John rebuffing his smash cake with a wave of his hand and his signature full-body shudder.
And here he is after finally realizing how yummy the cake tastes!

A video of the entire cake event.....

Christmas Day

On Christmas Day, we ate our big meal at noon. John ate some ham, corn, and green beans.

Afterwards, we opened presents in the living room. While John was not too interested in seeing what was underneath the wrapping paper, he did seem to enjoy playing with the tags, bows and ribbons on top.

Forcing a smiling for a photo on Mom's lap.....

Getting ready to open his gifts.....

Being entertained by a gift tag.....

Playing on the floor with one of Mom's presents, a stationery set.....

Helping Dad open one of his presents.....

Chilling out with his Uncle Jesse.....

Enjoying a bite of Dad's pumpkin pie.....

John got so many nice things for Christmas -- a helicopter toy, lots of clothes, a Sesame Street book collection and an adorable bright yellow Big Bird stuffed animal. John says thank you to everyone again!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Our baby is 1 today!!!!!!!

Although I am still really behind in uploading all the great pics and videos from Christmas in Bismarck, I had to write a quick post about our baby boy, who turned 1 today!!!!! (Hopefully he naps long enough for me to finish it.)

It definitely seems like a long time ago that we gave birth, but the memories are still very fresh in our minds (they are especially fresh in Ross' mind, hehe). From about 8:15 p.m. onward the evening of January 7th, 2009, I was in the most pain I've ever felt, and Ross, my darling and unbelievably supportive husband, was feeling at his most helpless. But at 4:31 in the morning on January 8th, John Ross Schuchard finally arrived (exactly two weeks early), and it was the most transcendent and blissful moment either of us has ever experienced. John was beautiful, but much more importantly, he was healthy.

We are so blessed to have such an amazing son in you, John, and our lives are INFINITELY more meaningful now that you are here. You are such an adorable and lovable little boy! It still melts our hearts every time you smile or laugh (which you already know by now because we try way too hard to get you to do it). Happy 1st Birthday, John. We love you SO MUCH!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas Eve

Usually we open presents on Christmas Eve before going to Grandma Schuchard's later in the evening, but things were done a little differently this year because of the two babies' (John and his 15-month-old second cousin) early bedtimes. So we had the Christmas Eve get-together at Grandma Schuchard's much earlier than normal and decided to postpone the major present-opening event until Christmas Day afternoon.

Here is a video from the morning of Christmas Eve, when Grandma and Grandpa let John open his push mower toy early. You can see that John had a little trouble with the "yard work."

On Christmas Eve night, John enjoyed a very hearty meal of some cut-up veggies and ham and played on the floor with Grandpa Jeff as well as his cousins Paityn (15 months), Olivia (6), and Abby (8).

When it was time to open his gift from Great Grandma Schuchard, John got to go first since he was the youngest family member in the room. Here is a video of him getting ready to open his gift (a polar bear sweater vest outfit and a book).

It soon became clear that John would need a LOT of help opening his gift, so Mommy came over and set him on her lap.

After the gift opening was complete, it started getting really hot with all the people in the room, so John played around in his diaper for a while to cool off before getting into his fleece pajamas.
Here's a video of Grandpa Jeff showing off John's special toes and his (very full) belly. It was a great way to end the night!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

John's first trip to North Dakota

Our holiday travel "adventure" began in Austin at 5:30 a.m. December 22nd and ended in Bismarck at 2:30 a.m. December 23rd. We were a mere 12 hours behind our scheduled arrival time :) The story is too long and painful to recount here, so suffice it to say that we will think twice about ever flying to the upper midwest again during winter, especially if it means having to make a connection at O'Hare!

John got his first taste of snowy North Dakota when Grandma Bonnie pulled up to the curb outside of baggage claim at the Fargo airport. It was not an ideal time to make the introduction. He was already pretty mad about the fact that it was three hours past his bedtime and that he had to wear his winter hat and coat. Then when we took him out into the cold, biting wind and tried strapping him into the (reclined) infant car seat Grandma had gotten for him, he could hold back no longer. He screamed all the way to the gas station, but luckily Grandma had had the forethought to bring along some snacks for him (we were completely out by that point) and I was able to bribe him with some puff cereal. Fifteen minutes later, he was sound asleep. (Driving 80 miles an hour on Interstate 94 after dark will do that to a person of any age.)

Anyway, by morning, John was feeling much better, as were Mom and Dad. Over the next few days, John was able to explore all the nooks and crannies of Grandma and Grandpa's house. He loved cruising around the leather coffee table/ottoman in the living room, playing with all the toys Grandma had in her toy basket, and reaching for the Christmas tree ornaments. He also enjoyed "walking" with Grandma and Grandpa through the hallways (a truly back-breaking endeavor).
But by far the best part about being at Grandma and Grandpa's house (aside from spending time with Grandma and Grandpa, of course) was that John finally got to meet all his relatives from Minnesota and North Dakota, including Daddy's brother, Uncle Jesse!

Here's John with his Uncle Jesse, whom he ADORED from the very first moment!

John with his Aunt Sarah, Jesse's fiancee:

John with his Great Grandma Dressler:

The photo of John with his Great Grandma Schuchard turned out really blurry, but here are some photos and a video of him on Christmas Eve at Great Grandma Schuchard's place with his Schuchard relatives (lots and lots of cousins and great aunts and uncles):