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17 Months Old

Almost a year and a half?! I still call Ben my baby, but he's more like a little boy every day. At 17 months old, here's what he's up to these days...

-Down to one 1.5 hour nap a day, and at night sleeps from 7:30-6:30
-Still getting more teeth - he's only got one more bottom canine to come in, and then his second molars. Whew!
-We still do one bottle before bed. I think he'd be ok if I dropped it from the routine, but since he kind of eats like a bird sometimes, I don't want him to wake up hungry!

He's getting really good at sign language, and we've added a new sign for diaper. Here he is saying "more".

He's also starting to say some more words, like Go!, yellow, I La La (I love you), and Nana. Plus, he's decided he really likes saying Mama, which I LOVE :) He loves to dance, and it's such a cute little jig: he stands completely still and just bobs up and down bending his knees anytime he hears music (even a cell phone ringtone, ha!!)

Ben also just recently starting mimicing us. His favorite thing to copy is vacuuming. He used to just pull it around everywhere, but lately, he actually rubs the hose on the floor like he's cleaning it! He'll also take anything he sees, such as a bottle of hair goop, and act like he's putting some on his toothbrush like toothpaste to brush his teeth.

I love to see his little personality coming out more and more. A lot of mornings when I go in to get him up, he's waiting for me with all his pacis in hand, and THROWS them out of the crib all at once! I guess that's his way of saying Good Morning! He can hear me open the dishwasher from another room, and comes running in to "help" me unload it, and the same for the washing machine. It's his job to throw all the wet stuff into the dryer :)

Last but not least, he's actually starting to mind a tiny bit now...if we say "No", most of the time, he'll comply. And, if he knows something's "no-no", he'll look at you and start shaking his head No - so cute!! But even when he's not minding one bit, I'm amazed at the patience I have (so far, ha!) There's nothing I wouldn't do for his precious little grin!!!


Daddy and Me

A few weeks ago, Mark tackled the task of clearing our yard of all the leaves. Ben's favorite thing is to be outside, so he was all about helping Daddy...

He dragged that rake around and chased Mark all over the yard, having a ball! Then fun times playing in the leaves.

We love, love, love our new house and the great backyard. It even had a swingset with it, and lots of fun trees to climb on :)


Ho, Ho, Ho!

We had a "successful" (i.e. no Stranger-Danger crying :) visit with Santa last weekend! I was especially excited to see that it was the same Santa as last year....look back here and see if you can believe how much Ben's grown in a year!!


Family Reunion Fun

A few weeks ago, we attended our annual family reunion, “Sumner-Caldwell” weekend in Chapel Hill, NC. Ben had a GREAT time seeing extended family and playing with his cousins and brothers.


We weren't there for 10 minutes and Ben wants a beer already...SHEESH!

Family time with Cousin Hank...

...and Meme...

...and Pop!

The WHOLE Gang! Every year, we gather and hang out at this same spot on campus and have the best potluck picnic with another family named the Caldwells. Then it's off to the football game to cheer on the Tarheels. It's a family tradition over 50 years old!!
Last but not little Tarheel!!


Winter has Arrived!

Ben's first time ever to play in the snow came last Saturday. We had our first snow of the season...very brief, but beautiful, too. It was a perfect snow for Ben to see, with big fat flakes that made him smile as he tried to eat them!

He loved throwing snowballs that Daddy made for him......and we even had enough to make a Ben-sized snowman!



Well, this Halloween was a bit "un-traditional" in that we were out of town for the big day. Our annual family reunion in Chapel Hill, NC fell on this weekend, so we weren't at home to do the Trick-or-Treat thing. That turned out to be OK, though, considering 1). Ben's never eaten candy in his life and at age 15 months could not care less to miss out on all that, and 2). he hated his blue dinosaur costume worse than going to the doctor for shots ~ oh,no!!

"Help me, Mason!"
We had successfully done a "test run" a few weeks before, but the combination of it being past bedtime (for the second night in a row) and all the excitement of everyone returning from the fun football game was just too much for our little dinosaur. The longer the costume stayed on, the harder Ben cried :( So, we just threw on the "Mommy's Little Pumpkin" shirt and went to visit everyone. Let's hope next year isn't such a "scream"!!


Fender's Farm Fun

Ben recently took his first trip to a real pumpkin patch! We went to Fender's Farm in Jonesborough for some corn maze, hay ride, and pumpkin pickin' fun. It was a gorgeous day, and we were so excited about a little family trip....and then poor little Ben bonked his lip on the open dishwasher about 10 minutes before we left the house. It bled a lot and really hurt, I'm sure, so our little sweetie-pie was not in the best mood after that. He was a trooper, though, and the sight of mini pumpkins and the playground perked him up some when we got there :)
I think his favorite thing was this huge tractor. He made lots of Brrrrrmmmmmm noises ~ so cute!

Ben was really interested in the animals, but only touched them once, while sitting on my lap. Maybe he could tell I was nervous about them biting him! Hey, they say goats will eat anything!!Ben was so funny at the pumpkin patch. The ground was pretty bumpy from the rows of vines and pumpkins, so he was a little annoyed that he couldn't just run everywhere like he wanted. At first, he was excited about the pumpkins!"Oh, yay! A big orange ball for me to play with!""Waaaait a minute...why can't I pick it up?!""Stupid orange ball! I don't wanna play anymore!"

Whew! After that was times with Daddy in the corn maze!



Fifteen Months Already?!

Wow! Fifteen months old...Ben's looking more like a little boy than a baby every day. I think he looks about TWO in this picture:
At his 15-month check-up, he weighed 23 pounds (25th %-ile) and was 31inches tall (75%-ile). He also had to get MORE shots, including his flu shot....let's hope this winter is as healthy as last year! Ben's tried a few new foods and was actually a great eater....for about 2 weeks. Now he's back to semi-picky: ham, cheese, yogurt, pasta and fruit are still the mainstays of his diet. Oh, and how could I forget Cheerios?!

Sleeping is going still going pretty well. He started waking at 5:30, 5:15 a.m. for a few days and had me worried (soooooo early!), but I think it was just due to some (MORE) teeth coming in. He has 12 now with more on the way. Check 'em out!My "baby" got his first big boo-boo this month when he lost his balance and hit his lip on the open dishwasher :( There was blood everywhere, and we weren't sure at first if his teeth hadn't come through the bottom lip, but fortunately, that wasn't the case. A cold popsicle and crushed ice dried those tears up pretty fast, but it took about 2 weeks for the four gashes on his lip to heal.

Lately, Ben loves trying on our shoes. He will play forever just putting his feet in them or carrying them around. He's also saying a few more words. Uh-oh is a favorite lately (everything's an Uh-Oh!!), and yellow and flower ("Fla-la"). His most-used word is "Up", which means Up, Out, Down, and In right now, ha ha ha! He's also getting good at pointing at body parts. He can point to four or five, with Bellybutton being a favorite that he's trying to say the word for ("Bay bay")....he's got a cute one, for sure!


It's a SIGN!

For months on end now, we have been teaching Ben sign language. It's supposed to help babies communicate sooner and therefore eliminate frustration on everyone's part. Just here in the past month, he has started to use the signs when prompted. He can "say" More, All Done, Milk, Bath, and Eat. Typically, he will use the signs when he grunts or whines and we remind him to sign.

A few days ago, we had a breakthrough, though!!! We were all eating dinner, except Ben because he had eaten earlier since it was going to be a late one. He was running around playing and going in and out of our room (connected to the master bath where he takes a bath every night). He kept peeping out, so we assumed he was playing Peek-A-Boo, and started playing along with him. He then walked right over to Mark (the main bath-giver) and rubbed his tummy (very close to the sign for BATH), right out of the blue! We were so excited and could NOT believe he was using his signs, unprompted, to ask for a bath!! This was also proof to me that he knows "the routine" at night, and likes sticking to it.

Here he is, all cozy in his Halloween jammies after a bath :)


Special Saturday

A week or so ago, Mark went to a UT game with some friends, so Ben and I spent the whole Saturday just hanging out together ~ Mommy and Me Time! It was a rainy day (sorry Mark - not so good for football!), so we stayed in our pajamas 'til after lunch and cuddled a lot....Mama was in heaven!!

What else did we do? Hmmmmm....Ben managed to pour himself some Cheerios while I was looking away for two seconds!

Lately, Ben's been pretty attached to Mama. Here's what I see all the time, as Ben wants me to pick him up constantly!!!

Favorite toy of the day: a leftover cat toy from when I had my cat China. Ben found it in a basket and carried it around all day!! Hey, who needs "real" toys when you've got cat toys and diapers?!


14 Month Roundup!

You may have noticed I'm not posting as frequently as I used to. Being back at work, school starting, and buying a new house have been totally zapping my time and energy!! So, I thought I'd wrap the past two months into one big round-up!

In Ben's 12th month, he got his first two molars and said his first word other than Mama and Dada..."Light!" He says it all the time, and would be content for hours for you to hold him near a light switch and let him just flip away!

Ben got his second haircut, which cut a whole lot more off than the first. He did pretty well once we gave him his all-time favorite toy: Mama's keys. You can see him here "starting up" one of his toys. I love how he'll go around and say, "Brrrrmmmmmmm!!!" to anything and everything - a box, random toys, the fridge - while turning the keys on it!

He also learned how (or got tall enough) to climb up on the couch, coffee table, name it, he's a little monkey! This is a bit worrisome for safety reasons, but he is very good at "going backwards", meaning obviously that he will turn around and inch off backwards so he's not plunging off head first. We taught him this at the beach this summer, and made a big deal about how great he was doing, so he does it VERY frequently. It's hilarious to see him turn around, drop to the floor and scoot backwards over a drop of a few cute!!!

We've been super busy at the new house getting it ready to move in. Ben loves running around all the open space, but hasn't proven to be a very good helper when it comes to painting (HA!) In fact, we were over once when Mark was painting, and even with four of us in the room, he managed to bolt over to the paint tray and dunk both hands before someone got to him!!

At 13 months, Ben got two more 1st molars, and says Up, Out, and All Done. We went on an all day road trip to the "Carpet Capitol of the World!!!!!", Dalton, GA - 9 hours in the car that day, and he did GREAT! He's starting to not want his second nap of the day somtimes, and weighed 21 lb 3.8 oz at our follow-up from his 1 year visit (25%-ile). Daddy taught him to blow bubbles in the bathtub :)

We're down to two bottles a day (morning and night) and drinking from sippy and straw cups. Ben's a pretty picky eater - fruit, pasta, cubed ham, cheese and yogurt are our staples. Sometimes it can get messy around here!!!

Ben is now 14 months old and says "Off" when he turns off the light and says "Bye Bye" and waves really well now. He got his first sickness, a very short (thank GOODNESS!) tummy bug at 1 a.m. one night. He's outgrown most 12 month-sized clothes, wearing 18 months and size 5.5 shoe. He's also started really testing us on whether or not we mean "No." .....

This look can only say one thing: "Am I in trouble??"


Picsee Pics of Ben & Co. ~ 1 Yr Old

Last month, we went in for our last session of our "Sweet Pea" package from Picsee Studio. They've done a great job documenting Ben's first year!! For this last one, we all got in on the fun and got some wonderful family photos...check them out!! If you have time, drop a comment on their blog and we might get a free print!! :)

Be sure to check Ben out in picture #2 - what a hoot!


Monkeying Around

For Ben's first birthday, we had a monkey-themed party. Very fitting since he loves bananas and climbing :)

Here's the birthday boy ~ looking sharp for his party!! The Invitation:

The Party Scene:

I had to show those because seriously, between the banner and the invitations, Mama had a CALLOUS on her finger from the scissors! Ahhhh....the things we do for our babies :)

Other party goods included a monkey cake, TONS of bananas, and 2 TONS of pictures of Ben throughout his first year...some would call it a shrine (ha ha!!). Mark made everyone take a banana home as a party favor because we'd never get around to eating them all.

Also out among the photos was Ben's "Official Baby Book"...the one where you record all the firsts, doctor visits, each month's happenings, etc. I worked on it NONSTOP every night for a week and I think one person actually looked at it ~ Tee Hee!! Oh so worth it, though....having a deadline to finish something is a really good motivator and it may still be hanging over my head otherwise!!

So, we visited with family, ate BBQ, and opened presents. Ben had never opened a present before and he got the hang of it very quickly! This is the first or second one we opened, so he's looking a little perplexed...Then it was onto the good stuff....Let's Eat Cake!!! Right around this time, Ben was getting his 8th and 9th teeth - one of which was a first molar. So, "picky eater" was indeed the case for a few weeks. I made him a banana-flavored cake 1. because it fit the monkey theme, of course! and 2. in hopes he'd enjoy the cake since he'd eaten regular white cake a few times before and not been too interested.

In the end, I do think he enjoyed the cake despite the fact that he didn't actually eat that much of it. After all, what boy doesn't enjoy making a mess??!!

Here's the Before, During and After....Squish! A new "trick" he's been doing lately...Whew! I don't know HOW we got that little booger cleaned up for the rest of the party! Fun times with Daddy...

"I'm ONE!!"