8 months going on one year? Geesh!

I’m about a week behind in updating Garrett’s milestones for this month however if you compare it to his past monthly updates, I’m right on time! Once you see all that he’s been up to you can imagine why time is not on my side…it’s going way too fast and that goes for all my children.

Since Garrett is our third child he seems to be growing up quicker than our other two.  Yes, I know his older two siblings are great teachers, but the way he can express himself is incredible to me.  This past month he has learned to give kisses, and squeezes a hug out when you get him from his crib.  Garrett’s mobility is a bit scary too…I’m REALLY hoping that I’m not telling you he’s walking in my next month’s update.  I’m just not ready for it!  He is crawling much faster, pulling himself up, diving for things across the room, and has no fear wrestling.  He is definitely aware that he’s growing as he loves “So Big” and has learned to clap, especially for himself when he’s done something new, or just the same thing over and over and is just proud!  His first word “Hi” came when he started to wave a month ago, but doesn’t seem to say it much anymore.  Now his Daddy swears he said “da-da” when he picked him up out of his crib after a nap one day, but until I hear it again, I’m not convinced! 🙂

Enjoy the pictures and videos of our little baby boy who is quickly approaching ONE way too fast!

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What happened between age 3 and 4?

Traditions are important to our family!  We start something and then love to make it an annual event…it gives us something to look forward to.  Four years ago, February 2009, we spent Valentine’s Day with our dear friends at the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam!  yes, the Monster Truck show!  We have kept this tradition going and last year we brought our monster truck loving 3-year old along.  What a thrill this was for him!  You can just see his excitement in these pictures…

Cheering on his favorite truck!

Cheering on his favorite truck!

Lift me up Dad!

Lift me up Dad!

Goooooo!

Goooooo!

Look at that baby face…innocent, happy, elated! All this kid cared about was how high did the truck jump? when does Grave Digger come out? and please throw more dirt and spin out of control?

Then came Feb 2013. Parker is 4, almost 5.  He still loves monster trucks so we decided to surprise him this year with taking him AND his little sister, who is 2 1/2, to the show.  A few hours before we were leaving, little sister started a fever and stayed home with a babysitter.  We still took Parker with our friends and started off out to dinner.  During dinner he asked questions, and was trying his hardest to figure out where we were going.  Surprises have always been fun for him…until now.  Daddy carried him into the arena, he sees the dirt/car piles and doesn’t seem overly-excited…happy? sure, but not what we expected from our 4-year old. We took a quick bathroom break and while we were washing his hands, he seemed very agitated…”mom, we need to get back before it starts…mom, hurry, let’s go!”  We get back to our seats and he took his hat off like Daddy for the Star Spangled Banner.  We all begin cheering, and ready for the intro of the show…ear plugs in place!  Here come the trucks…all 10 of them…the sound exploded in the arena.  His face goes pale, heart beating out of his chest and I begin to think he’s going to vomit.  Daddy’s holding him and all Parker can say is “I want to go home, I want to go home.”

At this point many thoughts went through my head (Dad’s too)…1) Come on, you loved this last year. 2) You are being a baby. (yes, sorry, sometimes this is the case, but not this time) 3) This is all for attention.  Well, the truth is simple…he was Scared!  The sound was thundering, shaking through our bodies, and he had no idea what was happening.  We went to the lobby to get away from the intensity of it all.  We tried to talk to him, comfort him and he would not respond…he just wanted to be held and still wanted to go home.  We decided if Chris went back into the arena that maybe Parker would want to follow.  Not the case.  He just wanted to lay on my lap until the show was over.  I rubbed his back, talked calmly with him and shared some stories of when I’ve been scared before.  Side note: Parker is also afraid of the dark.  If he has to get up in the night, he told me he just says “Jesus is with me, Jesus is with me” and he feels better.  So I encouraged him to try that again…he’s too smart for his own good…he says “Mom, I know Jesus is with me, but it’s still too loud!” Good point, son!

Intermission started and Chris and our friends came to check on him.  We all encouraged him to give it another try…our friend showed him how cool the ear plugs really were and put them in much better than Mommy did the first time.   This seemed to work.  Fingers crossed, we went back in!  Four-wheelers were doing some pretty amazing stunts and he’d crack a smile every now and then.  The last part of the show was Free-style, which was less of a rumbling sound and more manageable for Parker.  He was able to enjoy the rest of the show and it gave him plenty to talk about after!

So what happened between ages 3 and 4?
*Fears inside our little boy became real…the sound of the trucks truly overwhelmed him.
*Logic set in…I could tell what he was thinking…”something is making me feel sick, my heart is pumping and I cannot control this, I don’t like this feeling…let’s leave”
*Surprises are not for him…sure, maybe small ones, but telling him a few hours before that we had something special planned gave him WAY too much time to think about what we were doing which in turn created a load of anxiety before we even got there.
*The bond with his sister is special…Parker and I went out the afternoon before the show and bought special treats for he and his sister to share at the show.  Ring pops and m&m’s!  When we were in the lobby, I offered him these treats and he wouldn’t eat them because his sister wasn’t with him.  Super sweet, yet again, another reason maybe he was bothered beforehand.
*His hat size grew…notice the new KC hat?

Fortunately, Parker still loves monster trucks.  He came home happy as a lark…he woke up his sister at 10pm to tell her all about the trucks he saw, which ones weren’t there this year, what it smelled like, looked like and as we listened over the monitor we knew he’d had fun.

As parents, we learned a lot…our boy had changed…he’d grown up a bit from the year before and in this time, he learned what being scared really meant and so did we!  Seeing our child lose color in his face, feel his heart thumping out of his chest and squeezing us tighter than ever before made us feel sorry for putting him in this situation.  However, by giving him time, talking with him, working through his fear and calming him down, we gave him confidence that he could go back in there!  We taught him that he could be brave as he sat in the arena and looked at the monster truck show in a whole new perspective.

Smiling before the show started.

Smiling before the show started.

Cuddling on Mommy in the lobby.

Cuddling on Mommy in the lobby.

Feeling better on Daddy's lap.

Feeling better on Daddy’s lap.

His favorite truck of this year's show...Hot Wheels.

His favorite truck of this year’s show…Hot Wheels.

Ziplist–helps get dinner on the table.

One thing I struggle with as a wife and mother is getting dinner on the table. It sounds simple…just make dinner. But this is one huge process that I continually battle.  There is so much to think about in order to just get one meal prepared (from planning to shopping then preparing). But thanks to Ziplist, I’ve kept this New Year’s Resolution of ‘cooking more’ alive…past the first month of January anyway! Here’s how it helps…

1) Menu planning–I hardly use a cookbook unless it’s our “family cookbook” with our favorite go-tos.  Some of my dinner ideas come from a folder I’ve gathered of torn out recipes from magazines such as Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, etc.  However, the majority are found online from a quick Google search on “crockpot” or “easy chicken dinner” or “healthy kid meals”. Over time I have gathered recipes on mom blogs and by following food bloggers, and I just email myself the recipe. Well, I now have 168 emails in my cooking folder and 48 in my favorites folder. What a waste of time it is for me to dig through those emails to decide what’s for dinner.  Ziplist solves this problem, here’s how:  add a “Ziplist Recipe Clipper” bar to your toolbar (found on their website) then when you find a recipe you like (from anywhere online) it adds it to your online account. No more torn out pages for me…everyone is digital now so I find the magazine recipe on their site and add it to my Ziplist. All my recipes are organized in ONE spot!

2) Grocery list/shopping–This has been a hard transition for me because I like a pen and paper list, however, saving time is becoming more of an appeal to me. Once I have added the recipe to my account, I can open it and click “add to list” which then pops up a screen with two parts: “Items We Think You May Need” and “Items We Think You May Have”…all you have to do is uncheck or check the items and BAM! they are all on your grocery list. You can have a template shopping list of your “staple” items, ie: milk, eggs, fruit, which you can also add with one quick click.

3) Ziplist also has an app for the smart phone! Although I know it’s not a must to have a smart phone, I will say it’s been an added bonus for me as my menu and grocery list go wherever I go! When I am sitting in the van waiting for a child to wake up from a nap or picking one up from school, I can quickly search a new recipe or add some items to my grocery list.

Keeping things planned, and organized yet simple, are essential for me in order to be successful in cooking dinner for my family. Otherwise it results in unhealthy options of ordering out or the boring staples for the kids of mac & cheese or hot dog. (Don’t get me wrong…my kids LOVE those options, but if I don’t offer new and exciting things for them, they will continue to be picky eaters.)

Some of you may ask, “but isn’t this a lot like Pinterest?”. In terms of searching for recipes the answer is YES.  For me, it does avoid the option of getting on there for a quick recipe and an hour later realizing I’ve found 5 new projects that I’d love to do in my free time, 10 new sweet treats I’ve pinned for after the diet’s over and the new solution to curing my winter dry hands (lots of those on there too) and then darn it, I have to go change a diaper or break the kids up from fighting and I am still asking myself…”What’s for dinner?!”

So just try it…check out Ziplist, add the recipe clipper to your toolbar, download the app, start adding your favorite recipes, plan the 5 meals you are willing to make this week, add it to your grocery list, and take your phone and go make some healthy meals and make your life a tab bit easier!