Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday!

I experimented and made my first 1st double-layer carrot cake for the big birthday,
complete with a personal cupcake for Kaden to devour.

• You were running a fever this morning so we couldn't get your shots,
but you now weigh in at 18 lbs. 13 oz. (5th percentile) and are 30 inches long (50th percentile).
I love Dr. Fletcher because he said that you are perfect and I just need to keep doing what I'm doing (YAY!) because a child's growth will pattern one parent & there is nothing much to be done. 

• Even though you’re “little”, you are my adventurous eating buddy!
You  try foods your daddy won’t touch (such as calamari, eggplant, and zucchini pancakes).
o You begin many breakfasts by devouring an entire banana & hoarding it like a little monkey.

• I have recently come to the conclusion that dog chows must taste incredible!
In fact, we battle this topic on a daily basis. I am forever closing the gate to the laundry room to keep you away from Schatzi’s chows.  This usually prompts you to exert your independence by waving your arms for a few seconds and telling me you are upset.

Opening one of your birthday presents from Auntie D...
A painting from Tanzania!

• You have proven to be a great travel companion.
o On our last plane trip you slept most of the way and enjoyed “people watching” in the airport.
o You seem to sleep well in any crib or pack-n-play.
o Next month we are going to go on our 3rd plane trip together.

• A “nuk” must be on hand anytime we leave the house.

 birthday present from great-Aunt Mary... and you match (not planned)!

• There have been lots of new noises emerging from the back seat as we drive around town; LOTS of pointing while babbling, spitting, and noise making.

• At 11 ½ months, you learned to gracefully dismount the couch without falling.
You’ve attempted the bed a few times… The first time I watched in stunned disbelief as you swung your legs over the edge and rode the sheet down. (I laughed out loud.)
The other times have NOT been so graceful.

• You love WATER for drinking, swimming, bathing, Schatzi’s bowl, the hose, sprinklers...

• We now have a great nighttime routine that we all look forward to:
o bath—you race to the bath tub when you hear me turn the water on.
I constantly hear myself uttering the phrase, “sit down please.”
o jammies—we’ve acquired some wild ones recently
o read a short story—been into the “touch & feel” books lately
o XOXO—hugs, kisses and squeeeeeeeeeezes
o we typically put you to bed around 8:30 and you sleep until 7:15 a.m.,
where we usually find you playing and babbling in your crib.

• When going to sleep, you scoot to the end of the crib to hang your arm over the side.

• You’re still not walking on your own, but you CREEP along everything; about a month ago you started pulling up on and gliding the laundry basket & kitchen chairs across the floor as walkers.

• You completely relax by slumping against whoever is reading your book.

• Being outside almost always cures all crabbiness.

• You’ve taken a liking to my hair & pony tail or bun. And sometimes give it a good yank.
You don’t seem to understand the concept of “gentle” yet.

• My FAVORITE NEW THING: You’ve suddenly started wrapping your arms around my neck as I hug & kiss you before bed.

You are the best!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Grandpa Cook Comes To Town

Dad pulled into Amarillo on Friday night and spent several days with us.
Ben's teacher orientation meetings began this week, so he missed out on a few of our adventures.
He did, however, take one night to go to the Amarillo Dilla Villa
to watch some minor league baseball with us.

Although we were somewhat limited as to what we could do (dad had his knee scoped 3 weeks ago & Kaden is little).
and couldn’t hike any trails in Palo Duro Canyon, we drove to Buffalo Lake instead.
“Buffalo Lake” was an interesting place...
especially since there are no longer any roaming buffalo
or a lake in sight.
It was still a pretty drive.
Kaden & Grandpa Cook
West Texas

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dow Family Vacation 2010

All of the Dows packed up & flew east to see Dorothy (Aunite D) for a few days.
I was slightly nervous about Kaden on the plane, but he did really well overall. He slept the majority of our flights & my only complaint was that I couldn’t get comfortable enough to take a nap.
After a brief layover in Memphis, we touched down at Raleigh-Durham airport, hopped into our Acadia rental and found our way to our Hampton Inn in Chapel Hill.

We had dinner at Vespa Ristorante in Chapel Hill.
Kaden and the owner became instant friends.

On Friday, Dorothy had to work so we took the beautiful 2-hour drive to Wilmington Beach.
Unfortunately the sun disappeared as we approached the shore.
Ben & David were able to get in the water for 15 minutes or so before dark clouds rolled in and lightning cleared the beach.  It was still beautiful but I can't wait to see it again someday...
Kaden & Shanny feeling the Atlantic waves on their toes.
The Benjamin Dow family, August 2010
Throughout our trip we seemed to time our dinners just right where Kaden calmly looked around the restaurant for a while before drifting off to sleep in his car seat.

On Saturday afternoon I got a chance to attend a yoga class with Dorothy. 
Afterwards we visited the Durham farmers' market.
The Dow clan.

Dorothy gave us an extensive walk tour of Duke, where she is currently doing a fellowship in infectious diseases at the University Hospital.
Pictures around campus
2010 NCAA Basketball Champions.
Practice facility next to Cameron indoor stadium.
The lawn in the background is where undergraduate students literally camp out for DAYS in hopes of getting floor seats
to be a part of the Cameron crazies. 
Posing in front of Duke's chapel.
Tired of bending down to pick up Kaden's pacifier.
Kaden & Auntie D
Shanny & David at Duke's botanical garden.
 Later that night, relaxing on Dorothy's porch swing before our final night on the town.

It was a great trip and I can't believe how much we saw, did and ATE in the span of 3 ½ days!  
Maybe next time the beach will be sunny or we can experience the mountains of North Carolina. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer Has Just Begun

... for Ben.

Today marked Ben’s last day as a case worker AND today was the deadline for completing 
all summer coursework for the PACE program. I am amazed at the volume of education coursework can be crammed into one summer. At first, when he told me about the program and confessed that there would be 3-4 hours of work every day (including weekends) I thought to myself,
“Yeah right, there is no way these classes will monopolize that much time…” I was wrong.
There was a tremendous amount of work to be done in the span of three short months!
I’m glad I didn’t have to do it, and I’ve even more grateful that it is over (for now)
so we can hang out as a family again.

To celebrate, ALL of the Dows are leaving Amarillo for a long weekend to see Dorothy
(and the beach!) in North Carolina. Then Ben will turn around to go on the annual man-tastic fishing trip to Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico before setting up his classroom and preparing for the
2010-11 school year.

I have been promised that NEXT summer we (the two of us) will go on a big trip.
Fingers are crossed.