Little Man is One

I’ve been finding it harder and harder to post on here since these kids keep me so busy running around, and even though it’s almost 4:00 and I haven’t cleaned up from lunch yet, I had to post SOMETHING about the Little Man’s Big Day.

Yesterday Paul turned one.

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He loved his birthday and he loves being one. Grandma and Grandpa surprised us all by coming down to celebrate a day early and they gave him a tee and bat and ball, so he’s more eager than ever to learn to stand up so he can play ball with his Daddy.

Ever since he was a newborn, there’s been an ongoing joke that Paul has wanted some bacon. It became such a big deal that we just couldn’t pass his birthday without getting him some. So we found some less-bad-for-you turkey bacon at our favorite store and brought it home to cook up with his big dinner. Not only did the Big Guy get bacon, he got cake. Yes, he is our first baby who actually got to eat cake on his first birthday because with our other preemies we were extra diligent to avoid all the allergens and sugar. Well, to be fair, this was more of a banana bread than a real cake (sugar free, dairy free, egg free…) but it’s what we call cake and he dug right in.

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A tradition of mine is that I always make a cross-stitched picture to go on the kids’ birthday cards. For Paul I did a baseball picture of Charlie Brown, because we’ve often told Paul that he resembles the big-headed cartoon character. And baseball because, he’s his daddy’s boy.

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Dan carried on a tradition from his own dad and gifted Paul with the entire set of baseball cards from the year he was born. Paul was so fascinated by them, I could not get him to look at the camera.

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We spent a little extra time praying for Paul around the dinner table and on the way to Bible Study we retold the kids Paul’s birth story.

Paul has been such a joy, such a blessing to our family. He loves to play, wrestle, eat, and snuggle Mommy. He’s content and cheerful and can entertain himself, and even seems to be learning not to climb up on the dishwasher when it’s open. 😉 His first year has been a memorable one that involved ZERO trips to the NICU, and we still find it hard to believe God gave us a baby we could bring home with us the day we left the hospital. We are eagerly looking forward to the next year with our Little Man and all of the excitement it has in store.

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Happy First Birthday Paul!

On His Feet

Paul is closing in on one year, but before he gets there I needed to give an eleven-month update!

This month Paul was up to 20.4 pounds. Compared to his sisters at this age, he’s HUGE. And doing a lot more too. I remember at 11 months when Abby army-crawled for the first time. Paul is not only army crawling…

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He’s getting up on all fours…

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And standing.

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For weeks, Paul liked to crawl over to our fireplace and push up on the ledge. He’d stand there in a sort of push-up position for a long time. Then he figured out how to pull up on things and now he’s really standing. He has yet to take any steps while holding on, but he loves being upright and almost as tall as Abby.

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Paul also likes to get into things…making my job a little harder. His favorites are dirty diapers (while I’m changing Abby’s diaper) and the toilet. Yup, he’s a boy. Other boy things he likes to do include chasing the vacuum cleaner and climbing on top of Abby whenever she’s on the ground. He’s watched Daddy wrestle the girls enough to know that the person on top is the winner.

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Paul’s gearing up for baseball season too. He’s thrilled that the weather is getting warmer. We had our first outing to the playground this month and he desperately wanted to get down and crawl all over everything. It was wet, so we had to keep him in our arms that time, but he was super observant, taking everything in.

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In fact, Paul is often observant. He watches whatever is going on in a serious face, preferring to be in Mom’s arms whenever it gets close to bed or nap time. But if you get down to his level and start a conversation, you are likely to see his little grin. Keep talking and he’ll flash you a huge toothy smile (two front teeth now). His hair is getting pretty shaggy, and he’s due for a haircut soon, but right now we are enjoying his bed head after naps too much to cut it just yet.

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Paul is a content and happy baby. Often before going to sleep he’ll just keep looking at me and giggling. When I put him down he lets out some protests but willingly goes to sleep without too much of a fight. With our late night and early morning feeds, he pretty consistently lets me sleep non-stop in between.

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He loves to eat and play and I just know he’s going to have a ton of fun this summer when we start spending more time outside. I wouldn’t be surprised if he started walking within a few months, and I’m sure he’ll be hitting baseballs with his dad not long after that!

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Anniversary Fun

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Last Thursday, Dan and I celebrated our fourth anniversary by going to a Tiger game. We unintentionally bought tickets for the game that happened to be Derek Jeter’s last game in Detroit, which made everything even cooler. The view was great (I thought, Dan would have liked to sit closer), and we had a really good time. It was an exciting game too, tied in the bottom of the ninth. The Tigers won, which made a perfect ending to the afternoon.

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This was our view:
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Some important moments in the game:

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Here’s the win!

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Afterward, Dan treated us all to dinner at a local Ann Arbor restaurant.

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The next day we packed up and headed down to Ohio to visit some good friends, Rob and Crystal and their two-year-old, Joy.

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We had so much fun hanging out in their house, going for walks, and visiting nearby parks with the girls.

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On Friday night we stayed up a little late, sitting on the porch and catching up while we munched on Rob’s homemade bread. Lydia shared a bed with me, and it turned out she is quite the bed-hog!

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Saturday morning we all got up early to go running with the local running club. Well, we all ran and met up at the end. Some of those runners ran 18 miles that morning! So we just took it easy and went off on our own. Dan and I enjoyed touring the beautiful downtown area and jogging near the river. Afterward we browsed the local farmer’s market before heading back to the house.

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We had so much fun and all too soon it was time to say goodbye. We made our way back home by Saturday night, but Sunday I came down with some sort of bug that left me helpless in bed for the whole next week. This week things are finally starting to get back to normal, just in time for Dan to begin teaching a college class for the semester and start a new job! Yes we tend to clump our major life changes all together at once!

2013 Carlson Family Reunion

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This weekend, we had our first ever Carlson family reunion at my sister and brother-in-law, Christina and Matthew’s, house. Everyone arrived Friday night for hotdogs, s’mores, and reminiscing around the campfire. Most spent the night in tents in the back yard, but Dan, Lydia, and I slept inside (pregnancy privilege!).

Dad started a fire, Dan oversaw with the hatchet, the ladies chatted and watched the kiddos, and soon everyone had eaten a hotdog or two (or three, in the case of Lydia).

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Lydia went to bed earlier than everyone else, but before she did, she had a chance to play with her cousin, Colten. They played in the sandbox, shared a toy truck, and threw the football back and forth with Dan.

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The next morning we all got up and went for a short walk to McDonald’s for some breakfast. On the way back to the house, we ran into Matthew, who had been given the morning off from working on the farm.

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Once we had all made it back to the house, and the kiddos and pregnant mommy took our potty breaks, we loaded up the cars to go to a nearby park and ball field. Dad, Matthew, Dan, and Tim spent the rest of the morning and into the afternoon playing some baseball, much to Dan’s delight. Steph and Nate’s dog, Alice, joined in on the fun. And Christina, Colten, and Lydia took their turns as well.

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Meanwhile, my mom, Steph, and I were hanging out over on the playground with Baby Coby and Colten and Lydia, when they weren’t off playing ball. Lydia developed a game that involved picking up dirt and pouring it on everyone’s feet, and kept herself entertained for quite a while.

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As the ballgame wound down a little, some of us headed over to a nearby farmer’s market. My mom bought a jar of pickles to go with lunch, and Christina and I shared some incredibly juicy and delicious peaches.

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Then it was back to the house where the ladies prepared meat and veggie packets and Tim grilled them to perfection.

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As Lydia took a nap, the rest of us spent the hottest part of the day swimming in Matthew and Christina’s pool. I’ve been wanting to go swimming for ages, so this was my favorite part of the reunion! When everyone had cooled down sufficiently, we moved back into the shade for a few rounds of Catch Phrase.

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The cousins played some more with Colten’s toys. Colten couldn’t understand what we were all doing just sitting in a circle when there was a bat and ball to play with.

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Lydia grabbed the Boppy and wanted to know why she couldn’t hold Coby.

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And Coby just sat and looked cute.

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Soon it was time to pack up and head home. We made it home, tired and happy, just in time for a late supper. Overall, I’d say the 2013 Carlson Family Reunion was a great success. We’re hoping to make it an annual tradition.

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Our Trip to the Camping Trip

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Today is rainy and cold, but this weekend the weather was absolutely perfect for our annual church camping trip.  Dan and I didn’t actually camp, but we spent the day on Saturday out at the campground.  It was a bit of a long drive, and we were running later than originally planned, so we put a gift card to good use and ate on the road.  photo subway_zps1b876f9c.jpg

Once we got to the campground, Dan immediately began scouting for a group of people who wanted to run around.  Instead, he found a few willing baseball players.  So he got to enjoy some baseball.  Lydia even got to play a little, and when she wasn’t playing, she was sitting with me eating raisins.  Don’t be fooled by the picture, she was having a grand time.
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After a while, Lydia wanted to go over to the playground.  So we spent a little bit of time swinging and then walked down to the lake.  The water was a bit frightening at first, but she enjoyed throwing wet sand into it to make a splash.
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Later in the afternoon, we had the annual church camping trip baptism service, where we had the priviledge of witnessing eight baptisms!
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To wrap up the evening, we had some dinner and visited with various families at their campsites.  We stayed late and had to spend the rest of the weekend resting and recovering, but it was a great time.