Northwest is Best

In September we took our first real family vacation (one that wasn’t attached to a wedding or event). We flew to Seattle for 10 days to visit family and friends and to see the coast. Pete has been up to Seattle many times but hasn’t spent much time in any other part of the Northwest. We drove down to Nehalem Bay, Oregon with a quick stop in Astoria to visit with friends. Colette did great on the long drive, sleeping and playing the whole way. Labor Day weekend we camped at the beach with my entire family laughing, eating and enjoying the coastal sunsets. It was Coco’s first time seeing the ocean and, true to form, she marched right down the sand and into the water in her jammies and rain boots. No fear, no hesitation, just determination and wonder.

Colette had many relatives to meet on this trip, including her great Grandparents. We spent a few days at their beautiful house at the beach and I’m so glad she had the opportunity to spend quality time with them. From there we drove up through Olympic National Park. Washington has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world there and we all loved strolling and playing in the sand. We relaxed in the hot springs and hiked through the green forest. Coco learned some new words while we were there, including tree and beach! While we were home Pete and I celebrated our forth anniversary with a morning hike in a national park and a fancy dinner in Seattle. We couldn’t have asked for a better vacation. It was the perfect mix of family, friends and the outdoors.

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Rest of Summer

Summer really got away from me! I blinked and it is already October! The rest of our summer was lots of fun. We did some casual hikes, neighborhood walks and a lot of pool days. Coco started swim lessons and absolutely loved them. She enjoyed jumping off of the side into the pool from day one! She is so brave and up for adventure, it impresses me daily. Every Saturday morning for six weeks we would wake up early and walk over to the pool to swim. All of the pool time made it really feel like summer for us. Even though we both work full time, having pool days every Saturday was fun and relaxing. It reminded me of my childhood summers at the pool!

Summer 2015 So Far

We’ve had a wet, soggy and sickly summer so far. There have been many days of rain and a few truly terrifying storms of the tornado and hail variety. Between the three of us, we have also had many weeks of sickness. Pete, Coco and I have been trading germs for several weeks, ranging from runny noses to severe strep throat. Between the storms and the sicknesses, we have also had a few beautiful sunny days where we were able to get out and have some fun. We’ve gone hiking, to the zoo, for long walks, backyard swimming and to the mountains.

Coco is in to absolutely everything, but despite the challenges and constant mess we are having a blast! I love watching our active toddler learn and experience life. She still loves to read and will pipe in with sound effects when we read her favorite books. She ROARS along with lions and tigers, sucks in air to make a SHH sound for the “secret spy” and will oo-oo ah-ah along with the monkeys. Her best trick was learned on a sick day home with daddy. She will say “chees” and hold out her sippy cup to clink before taking a big drink of her water or milk. Cheers! Coco is extremely happy, but not easily impressed. She doesn’t laugh easily and really makes us work for a good belly laugh. A few things that will almost always make her laugh are; scaring her when she comes around a corner, patty cake, being tossed into the air and being chased. Colette prefers to explore, walk and eat on her own without any assistance. She marches through life with a purpose, setting her sights on what she wants and going after it. Right now those sights may be set on macaroni, a stuffed dog or her Lady Bug Girl book, but I hope that her feisty, independent spirit serves her well in the future.

12 Months!

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And just like that, one year! By far the fastest year of my life. It feels like just yesterday Coco was a tiny snuggly newborn and now she is running all over the place! She is such a happy baby, just thrilled with life and all it has to offer. Colette is a daredevil and loves to go fast, flip upside down and generally live on the edge. She still is often covered with bumps and bruises, usually from taking an epic tumble into/off of something. She has officially moved up into the big-kid (1 year – 2 year) classroom at school. It was a smooth transition for her, she was ready for the freedom and good food that comes with being a grown up baby. Her class has lesson plans and they go outside to play twice a day. Her favorite thing to do is read. Typically when a toddler is too quiet it is cause for concern, but when it is quiet in our house Colette is almost always sitting on the floor in her room happily reading a book. I love watching her make a book selection and sit down to read. Coco also loves bath time, being surprised, tickles during the bedtime routine and plucking the petals off of the flowers in the garden. She eats all foods now and favors broccoli over carrots, only really likes the green veggie squeezers, loves string cheese, chicken and greek yogurt. We are working on using a spoon and bowl to hilarious and messy results.

Colette is so much fun at this age. I love watching her learn new things, seemingly every day. She watches us, other kids and the world intently to take it all in. You can see the gears turning as she watches then mimics things that she sees. After her newborn stage Colette wasn’t the cuddliest of babies, but now that she can choose what she does, she likes to be loved on and love on us. She gives wonderful hugs and sloppy open mouth kisses. We all cuddle in our bed for the last 30 minutes or so of each morning and she loves to lay in between us snoozing, chatting and making us laugh. Coco had a wonderful first birthday with all of her immediate family coming to see her. We had a derby day backyard birthday party for her with friends and family here to celebrate. It was so much fun to have everyone here to visit. Much more fun then a year prior when i was sleep deprived and recovering from child birth! We had lots of wonderful food, so many helping hands to finish up home and garden projects and so much love for Colette on her first birthday. She is so loved by so many and it warms my heart knowing that she has the best family who shower her with love and affection (and great gifts).

Easter

Easter was a lot of fun this year! We live within walking distance of a big family friendly community (burb) and often take advantage of their activities. They held a giant Easter egg hunt the weekend before Easter, which was a mob scene! I didn’t know babies were so into “finding” Easter eggs! Coco and her next-door neighbor friend had fun picking up the eggs and putting them in their baskets. On Easter Sunday we spent the day as a family. She opened her Easter presents from family members and we had her find eggs in the backyard. Ever the opinionated lady, Coco would not cooperate for a nice family photo, so we have several hundred terrible photos of the three of us in our Easter finest. Holidays have been so enjoyable with a little one to share them with. It’s fun to experience things with her as she discovers and learns. Though, after this year we will probably have to start putting something in the eggs!

11 Months

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Coco Bean is 11 months old! With each month and new “trick” learned, Colette is happier than she has ever been. The freedom that comes with mobility has been a revelation for her. She started walking about 2 weeks before she turned 11 months and has progressed quickly from drunken sailor stumbles to full on walking from room to room with no trouble. She walks from around the house looking for trouble to get in to. She loves to unravel the toilet paper and pull books off of the shelves. Our coffee table has a tiny strip in the middle that is out of her reach (for now) and each morning there is a line of our coffee and water cups right down the center. Colette says Mama, Dada, thank you and uh oh. She will also mimic various words and sounds we make, including sneezes. We’ve been practicing a few baby signs and she can sign “more” and “all done”. Despite saying thank you constantly, she will not repeat the sign for “please”.

Coco has 4 teeth on the top and two on the bottom. When she smiles it is a big goofy grin, but is recently reluctant to smile for pictures. As Colette starts to transition into the next classroom at school, she no longer sleeps in a crib for naps, but on a mat on the floor. Her first day with the mat she slept for 2 hours, which is way longer than her normal school naps! She also started sleeping through the night from 7pm to 7am. No sleep training or change in routine, she was just ready! With all of her energy, Colette is quite a handful but she is also extremely easy going. We take her out and about on the weekends and she is happy to hang out anywhere with us, even tedious places like Home Depot and Ikea. We just love her fun, joyful and adventurous spirit! I can’t believe she is almost 1!

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10 Months

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Colette is 10 months old! We’ve recently started counting backwards as we get closer to her first birthday. Only 2 more months until our baby turns one! As I’ve said nearly every month, Pete and I are both really enjoying Colette at this age. She is absorbing the things we say and do each day, often mimicking motions or words. She is loud, happy, thriving and hilarious (to us). As always, Coco is extremely active and into everything. Her teachers have told me that she rules the play yard in her daycare class. She is one of only two girls in the infant classroom and she is not at all afraid to show the boys who is boss. She has even tackled the oldest and largest boy in her class who is 13 months old and huge! With her active and adventurous spirit comes frequent bumps, bruises and cuts. Even thought she is constantly getting herself into trouble, she only cries for a few seconds before she is off on her next adventure! I love her fearlessness but I am worried about the future bruises and broken bones to come in her childhood.

Coco has taken a few steps on her own, walking between Pete and I but mostly pushes herself around the house on anything that can be used as a walker. Laundry baskets, toy bins and her rocking horse are perfect for support as she runs around the house. She now eats most anything and everything, meals are no longer the daily struggle they were just a few weeks ago. Her favorite activities are still sledding, playing outside in the snow, hiding games and pulling herself up on everything. Over the past month we’ve visited Vail and Crested Butte and have had some lazy, cold weekends at home. Colette has recently established a bedtime routine that no longer requires being held or nursed to sleep. I now put her in her crib while she is awake and she usually rolls over and falls right to sleep! There haven’t been bedtime tears in a few weeks and while I’m so happy that she is finding her rhythm, I can’t help feeling like she needs me less and less each day. Colette is already starting to begin her transition from the infant classroom to the toddler (12-24 month) class. She eats meals and snacks, uses a sippy cup and is very near walking. I’m both proud and sad that she is becoming a toddler and hitting milestones so quickly. I can’t believe she is almost a year old!

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9 Months

9 Months

Coco Bean is 9 months old! Each day brings new changes to her personality and skill set. It is fascinating to watch her take in the world and learn new things. She crawls with standard form now, but when she is in a hurry she plants one foot as though she is walking and crawls with the other leg. She pulls herself up on any and everything and will let go of one hand to work on her balance or grab a toy. Colette loves music and bounces up and down when a song she likes comes on. Currently she enjoys listening to Caspar Babypants and Bruno Mars. Coco can mimic the sounds for hello and thank you and also loves to say Mamamamamamama and DAD-a. She waves with her whole arm and lights up when daddy walks through the door. She occasionally enjoys giving high fives on demand but will ignore us if we appear too needy. Walking is one of her favorite activities and with assistance can walk quickly, nearly running around the room. Colette is in such a hurry to do everything! When she stands at the storm door and watches the neighbor kids play outside, I can just see her wishing she could run around with them. While I love her enthusiasm for life and learning, she is moving from baby to kid so quickly that it is making me sad! I enjoy the quiet snuggly sleep so much, it’s about the only time she stops moving.

In the last month Aunt Lucy came to visit and they had fun hanging out, sledding and getting to know each other outside of FaceTime. They went for long walks, out for ice-cream and to Union Station for afternoon cocktails. It was another Junuary in Denver with several days of 60 and 70 degree temperatures. On warm weekends we’ve made good use of our new zoo membership. It’s about 5 minutes from our house and is a great place to take a walk. She has shown no preference in animals yet, but I’m sure she recognizes the leopard from all of the clothes from Grammy. We went up to the mountains for some relaxation and snow in Fairplay. Sledding continues to be her favorite activity. She just screams with laughter and loves to go as fast as possible. Coco is brave, adventurous and growing up so fast!

Nursery Highlights

Because we lived in our small one bedroom apartment when Colette was born we didn’t buy a crib or any traditional nursery items. The first couple of months she slept in a Rock ‘n Play, which was the perfect size to saddle her up next to our bed. We moved into our house when she was about 8 weeks old and have been putting together her nursery piece by piece since then. Though we are still lacking some items to complete the room, I’m pleased with the way it has come together over the past few months. The walls are still woefully blank and I can’t commit to a rug to save my life, but we will get there. One Ikea trip at a time!

When we moved in, the walls were grey, but turned an ugly brownish muddy color in the afternoon light. We painted the walls a pale aqua and it has really brightened up the room. My sister helped me conceptualize the room based on some large pieces that we were interested in. She has a great talent for pulling a look together. Once we had the basic idea of where we wanted to go, we started with the larger items. We were gifted a glider by my mom, my first custom furniture piece ever! We selected the “peacock” fabric as well as the light aqua trim to match the walls. The Jenny Lind crib was one I had my eye on for a few months before she was born, I love how simple and sweet it is. I also love that it shipped with free two-day shipping, Mama don’t play that $100 delivery fee! Our second big purchase for the room was a Jenny Lind bookcase. The shelves are full of books we received at her showers and from trips to Goodwill. They usually have one 50% off Saturday a month and you can often find children’s books in near perfect condition for .25 to .50. One especially successful trip, my mom and I snagged a cartload of books for $15 total. Her changing table is a dresser from Ikea. I haven’t made any customizations but I am looking for knobs and have pinned some “Ikea hacks”. That counts for something, right?

Some of the things I love most in her room are little items that have sentimental value. Colette has a big blanket sewn by my mom on her chair. Pete’s mom found a princess castle shelf at a garage sale that we painted  to match the color scheme. My sister Molly and her boyfriend found and restored an old rocking horse that looks just like Jasper, the rocking horse we had growing up. Jasper 2.0 is patiently waiting for Coco to be old enough to play. Colette also received her Aunt Lucy’s childhood copy of Madeline. I love the little notes written in many of her books and I hope when she grows up she treasures them as well. Many of my childhood toys and dolls are in a basket with her surprisingly large stuffed animal collection. When Pete and I were in Germany last December we purchased her a Steiff teddy bear, the first thing we ever bought for our baby. As she gets older, I hope to add books and trinkets from the places we’ve traveled as a family. And someday…a rug.

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Farewell 2014

IMG_2176 No hyperbole, 2014 was the most incredible year of our lives. After 10 years together, we’ve been through some big changes, but for the most part have lead a consistent life. Since we’ve been together we both graduated from college, got engaged and married, a few jobs have come and gone but we stayed in the same apartment for about 8 years and have had good steady relationships with friends, family and with each other. Beyond getting married, we hadn’t had many huge life altering moments until 2014. This will be a long post, but I want to recap the year so I don’t forget how busy, stressful, fun and wonderful it was!

Q1 January – March: We started 2014 over halfway through the pregnancy, anticipating the arrival of our baby. We had just returned from a trip to Europe at the end of December and were looking forward to buying a house and getting settled before baby. January was fairly uneventful and warm in Denver. Going back through our photos, we were out walking in tank tops in the middle of January Juneuary. In February Pete was laid off from his job which, while upsetting at the time, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It freed him from a job that he didn’t like and within 5 weeks he was offered  a far better job as the general manager for an air cargo company in town. While it set us back in our house hunting, it was a minor bump in the road and led him to a big opportunity! We both went on weekends away with friends, him to ski, me to be one of three pregnant DDs at a bachelorette party. He had a few high school friends out for a guys ski weekend. It was good for us each to take some time to have fun and not constantly be thinking about the baby! In March we went home to Seattle for my baby shower, which was the first time I had been home in years! It was fun to spend time with my family and friends we felt so loved. I can’t wait to take Colette up to Washington! In hindsight, while we felt busy, these months were very relaxing. We were reading up on parenting and anticipating the big changes to come.

Q2 April – June: April started with another baby shower, here in Denver. We were again so blessed with everything we needed for the arrival of our baby girl. As we marched towards our due date, time was flying and we were both so excited and nervous for everything to come. We were still house hunting but not finding anything we really liked. While we were eager to get out of the apartment, we weren’t in a hurry to get into a house that wasn’t what we wanted. Colette unexpectedly arrived 2 weeks early at the end of April. After a brief 19 hours of labor she was thrust into the world via forceps. Finally she was here! Her birth was a very scary experience and I’m so thankful for modern medicine. Had the doctors not worked quickly things might not have turned out as wonderfully as they did. About a week after she was born I lost an enormous amount of blood and had to have surgery and blood transfusion. Again, I’m so thankful for a team of doctors who were able to help and save my life as well! We had so much help with my mom and his parents in town during this incredibly scary time. I’m so glad we have supportive and involved family who were here to help take care of newborn Colette while I was in the hospital. Pete was dealing with a lot in those first few days, new job, new baby, wife’s serious medical issues. He was a trooper and a strong support for us.

May, our first month with Colette was a blur of incredible amounts of learning and love. My mom stayed with us in our tiny apartment and we had a revolving door of friends and family members visiting and providing meals. We are so lucky to have had our network of friends and family to help us transition into our new life as parents. Colette had all of her aunts and uncle visit. We loved introducing her to her family members, she is so loved. The week my sister came to visit there was a tornado or tornado warning every day. It was a crappy weather week to visit and I was definitely in a post-baby funk but I’m so glad that she made the trip out. She still got some Coco snuggles, even if some of them were in the apartment laundry room. My brother came over a weekend and Colette just loved him! She slept on him for hours and it was adorable. Lucy came to visit on the way to her bachelorette party. She got in some good baby cuddles before a weekend of debauchery!

June was a busy month of weddings and wedding related events. At the beginning of the month we put in an offer on a house that we had previously been outbid on. This time our offer was (unexpectedly) excepted! We started the process of a quick 30 day closing. We started packing, organizing, paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork. In the midst of this we went to Virginia for Aunt Lucy’s wedding. Colette was 6 weeks old and did so well on her first flights and on the long drive from D.C. to Charlottesville. Both Pete and I were in the wedding and Coco was an honorary bridesmaid. I’m so glad we were able to be there to celebrate with Lucy and James on their special day. During all of the craziness of June I turned the big 3-0. It was one of Coco’s roughest weeks, with constant crying and refusing to be put down. I was frazzled, exhausted and I didn’t do any celebrating but I did bounce my newborn on my brand new exercise ball for hours on end! At the end of the June we closed on our little house and moved in (again with the help of family and friends). We were so lucky to find a home that had everything on our checklist! Our little house is just perfect for the three of us and we couldn’t be happier.

Q3 July – September: July was when I had to go back to work. I was seriously dreading the transition but Pete’s mom was able to come and stay with us for the month to be Colette’s nanny which made it easier. Coco hadn’t yet been accepted into any daycare centers so this was a huge blessing and a great time for the two of them to bond. Most of the month was spent unpacking/painting/getting used to being in a new place. Colette was making big leaps from newborn to interactive baby. My Grandma, Grandma Roses, Aunt Yvonne and cousin Katrina stopped by for a quick visit on their drive home from Seattle to Chicago. They only stayed for about and hour, but it was so nice for them to get to meet Colette and so special for Colette to meet her Great Grandma, Aunt and cousin!

In August the grandmas swapped, Nana went home to Miami and my mom came out to be the nanny-gram for the month. We were still unsure of when Colette would get accepted into a daycare program but were hoping for September. Again this blessing of a family nanny allowed me to continue to work and for Coco and her grandma to bond. Not having family in town is a challenge, but we are so grateful that her grandparents visit so often. August was when we started to feel more comfortable with taking longer drives and traveling with Coco. We went up to the mountains for the first time and she had a blast. Vail has lots of activities in the summer and Colette loved all of the outdoor time with Dad, Mom and Grammy. We even took her to the summit of her first fourteener! Mt. Evans has a road that you can drive almost all the way to the top. We hiked the rest of the way (it’s not far) and took pictures at the summit. My dad came out to visit and we did our first real hiking day with baby.

September was our busiest month of the year for weekend activities. My mom left and Colette started daycare. This was another transition that I was really stressed about. My fears, as usual, turned out to be unwarranted as Coco just loved school. She really thrives in a busy and interactive environment and it has been a great place for her. We traveled to a few in-state weddings. A weekend in Steamboat and a weekend in Aspen. Both were long drives and Coco did very well on all of them. We did more hiking and exploring and late September leaf peeping. We took her on another road trip down to Taos to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary. We’re hoping she’ll get used to weekend trips with long drives. We love to explore the area and hope to instill that love in her as well!

Q4 October – December: October calmed down quite a bit though with wedding season drawing to a close. We took her to the pumpkin patch for the first time with a bunch of her little baby friends. She dressed up as a cow for Halloween and we took her out on Gaylord street. She didn’t trick-or-treat this year, but the parents all had fun! We had a beautiful fall here, long and warm. It was in the 70s and 80s for much of it with the colored leaves staying on the trees. We have a big oak tree in our back yard and we had a yard full of leaves. We raked piles far higher than her for several weekends in a row. Luckily, my parents visited us in November and gifted us a leaf blower/mulcher. It made dealing with the enormous piles of leaves so much easier. I don’t know how we would have been able to dispose of 2,000 garbage bags full of leaves! When my parents were here we tackled some house projects and they were very generous with their time and gave us some very practical Christmas gifts. We never needed a ladder or storage shelves in the apartment! It’s always tough to get things done with just the two of us, so when our parents are in town there tends to be lots of little (and big) projects to work on.

December was another busy month for us. Pete completed his MBA program after 2 years of hard work. He has worked so hard and had an incredible amount on his plate this year; new job, new baby, new house, grad school. I’m so proud of him for setting a goal and completing it! Pete’s parents came out to celebrate his graduation and were also here for his 31st birthday. We had a brunch party to celebrate his accomplishments and had quite a few people crammed into our tiny house! Our first Christmas was very relaxing. We always travel around the holidays and this was the first year that we didn’t go anywhere. I really enjoyed being home with my little family and not being in an airport. It was so relaxing, we didn’t even change out of our pajamas for our fancy Christmas dinner. We did miss being with family over Christmas, but I’m glad both sets of grandparents were able to visit around the holidays. Hopefully in the years to come we can all be together. Colorado is a great place to be in the winter….hint hint! 2014 was unlike any other year of our lives and there is so much to reflect on (or write an enormous blog post about). We were truly overwhelmed with love and support from our families as well as our friends this year. We would not have been able to manage without their help and I’m so thankful for the “village” that has surrounded us.

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