Seven simple summer adventures with a 15 month old

Summer is such a time for adventure – the season just calls for it. And like dutiful folks, when called, we answer.  Recently that answer has led us to seven simple adventures with the little man.

In no particular order:

7. Gardening. Each night the little guy and dad water, examine, and explore the garden. Recently that means a bedtime snack of a fresh cherry tomato – I can’t think of a better bedtime snack!

6. Water. Anywhere and everywhere. The backyard kiddie pool, the ocean, a pond, a puddle, the water table: it all elicits the same joy.

5. Ice cream. A boy after his mother’s heart. This treat always results in lots of more, more, more signing (and I usually oblige, I can’t help myself, I LOVE ice cream!).

4. Grilling (with close supervision). Gramma has a toy grill which of course leads to fascination with the (very hot) real grill, which of course leads to the little guy wanting to help grill dinner which of course makes mom nervous. We do our best with lots of oohing and ahhing from afar (combined with lots of don’t touch, hot hot hot, nope, no touching…)

3. Evening strolls that lead us to…

2. The playground! Each day there is a new trick learned, a new ability gained. It amazes me to no end just how quickly this little boy’s mind grows.

1. Road construction. Yes, the bane of any commuter’s existence is this little boy’s favorite simple delight of the summer. Construction trucks anywhere and everywhere – he is thoroughly, completely obsessed. Just imagine his joy when we arrived at daycare to find the road closed, construction machines strewn about. So much pointing, squealing, laughter. So much delight in the simple.

It’s exhausting.

sleepy boy

The third kayakiversary

Kayak

When you get engaged kayaking through Mongolia and you’re a lover of making the ordinary slightly less ordinary, you wind up here, at the kayakiversary. Each year around the 13th of July, we celebrate. We celebrate the quirkiness that is us, the excuse to do something ridiculous, and the joy that is a blow up boat bobbing in a body of water.

Our first kayakiversary took us from my office, down the Charles, and into Boston. We drank a bottle of bubbly (though thankfully this time it did not need to be chilled in the river); we paddled and paddled and paddled; we ate dinner; and then we hopped on the T with our boat and our paddles. We were happy fools. Such happy fools.

Kayakiversary two we had a three month old little boy on our hands, so the adventure of the previous year seemed rather ambitious. Instead, we blew up the boat, popped it in the Manchester Harbor, and paddled out to Sand Dollar Cove.  Again, we drank ourselves a bottle of bubbly, reflected on where the year had taken us, and embraced an afternoon of sunshine all to ourselves.  And then we carried the still-inflated-boat through the streets of Manchester, amidst numerous odd looks and giggles, up the hill, and into the backyard for its freshwater bath. Any port in a storm.

Which brings us to this year. Our kayakiversary should have happened last weekend, but when you have a boy with a horridly contagious virus, you tend to stay away from people. Or at least from people you know. Anyways, we shifted a week, and this Saturday we hauled the boat down the hill, blew her up, tossed her into the harbor, and away we went.  Happy fools on the open seas in a blow up boat (no one ever said we were the brightest bulbs).

In our euphoria of parenting freedom for the afternoon, we had not a care in the world. Until we heard an authoritative voice holler, Yellow kayak! Yellow kayak! Show me your life preservers!

To which my magnificent husband hollered back, Our seats are inflatable!

Right. So the Harbor Master pulled us over, and immediately the shame at the thought of having to call my mom for a ride home crept in.  We hadn’t even opened our champagne yet!

But sometimes the world is kind, and this was one of those sometimes. After a brief lecture and the loan of a couple of life jackets, away we went, happy fools once more.

The bubbly popped; the fools relaxed; the boat stay inflated.

And thus a tradition was born.

Fools

Month 15

15 months of wee little man!  He’s the best, the best, the best.  So much joy, so many smiles, such a sweet, sweet boy.

Month 15 was full of all sorts of fun, including the first words of dis (this), dat (that), and… shoos (shoes).  Still no intentional Momma or Dada, but we at least have words. And signs, but signs we’ve had for a while now.  No new ones this month…plenty of pointing at dis and dat, and plenty of responses to our questions (James, will you bring me your shoos?  Will you put your shoos away? What would you like? Can I have a kiss? And he does it! The sweetest little sloppy, open mouthed kisses…which would actually be fairly gross if he wasn’t so darling).

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My gosh, he’s turning into a little boy.

Some favorites include his water table, watering the garden (and spraying himself), the BEACH, playing in the sand, kiddie pools, the toy grill, pots and pans, the whisk, spatulas, and pushing any buttons (microwave, coffee pot, dishwasher) we’ll let him get his hands on.  Oh, and slides at the playground – he loves them. And smoothies out of his own smoothie cup.

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Still holding strong at 10 teeth.

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Height and weight I’m not sure - 15 month appointment is next week – but he has been healthy for a few months now, so hopefully we’ve picked up some lost ground. Update: 21 pounds, 6 ounces (30th percentile, creeping back up!)

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Laughter: all. the. time.

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Adventures: Gramma, Mom, and James hit the road (read: the skies) for a work trip to DC.  Gramma and James wandered the monuments and museums by day, and hung out with Mom by night.  Gramma had her first adventure in Ethiopian food, while James earned a nice little sunburn on his legs during one of the 90+ degree days out and about.  Such a treat to have some solid time together, just the three of us.  Later in the month, Grandma Jody came to visit from Colorado too! A special visit for all of us, but most especially for James because it meant Grandma daycare and plenty of time to learn who this special lady is. We all felt fortunate to have her here!

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New tricks: he’s a climbing fool – chairs, ladders, stairs, anything that has the potential to be climbed he tries to climb. It’s fun to see him getting more bold and to see his curiosity about the world grow.  After a brief stint of hating sand he’s also now quite the beach baby which of course his momma adores.

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Such a joy, this little boy. He has no idea the delight his kind, gentle spirit brings to our lives each and every day.

Finding more.

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Given the weekend health matters, we’ve had a bit more trouble than usual getting the kid to sleep. And by a bit, I mean the kid can fight.

So we tried it all. We rocked, we shushed, we snuggled, we cried it out. We played until well past our bedtime; we watered the garden; we had a late night guzzle of milk. All to no avail.

But we were TIRED. So tired. All of us.

And somewhere along the way we reached that tipping point where there is just nothing left to give.

Mom needs a break. 15 minutes to sit and read or watch TV or do…nothing. And when that break doesn’t come a few days in a row, mom gets…tired. Weary. Just beat.

So when Sunday night involves a bedtime that stretches on for hours, it’s hard. And there’s nothing left to give.

Until there is.

Until the switch flips, the voice says the boy needs his MOM, not anyone else, his MOM, and the realization hits: there will come a day when the boy does it on his own. When he doesn’t need mom so very much. When snuggles are brushed aside with an I’m not a baby, I can do it myself.

These days are numbered. What that number is, I know not. But I know that it is finite.

And that needing Mom means he needs ONE person in this entire world. And I am that one – which is humbling, so very humbling.

And it is also just the realization that this mom needed in order to find more, to give more, to love more.

If the kid had hooves…

j and dad

He would have had hoof and mouth.  Instead, on Friday afternoon we got hand, foot, and mouth (and rear end, if you want the specifics). So our adventures this weekend kept us close to home, involved a greater than normal amount of time spent snuggling, and left us feeling…content.

We cleaned the kitchen, did some laundry, weeded the garden, went grocery shopping, accomplished nothing really of note (aside from a pint…we had a delightful pint out and about at Jack’s Abby, so clearly all was not lost!).  And it felt nice. Like an unexpected rest during a weekend in which we had plans, plans, PLANS.

But you know what they say, even the best laid plans

So our grandest adventure included a jog followed by a long walk followed by fresh squeezed lemonade, breakfast sandwiches and coffee on the patio.  A suburban oasis, that patio is.

It’s good for us, brings us back to a quieter time of simple pleasures, slower movement, and greater peace.

But does it also make me long for those weekends full of flurry that leave me bleary eyed at my desk on Monday morning? Of course it does. Which is why, next weekend, I’m looking at you. And I’ve got plans. Plans. PLANS.

They include sand. A cold beer. And, of course, my favorite two.

Top ten: Jaimecito at 15 months edition

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Little dude speaks (hears) Spanish by day, English by night (and weekend), so from time to time we like to keep him on his toes with a little Español in the old nombre.  Voilà (that’s not Spanish): Jaimecito. The diminutive just means we like him a whole lot.

So top ten favorite things for the 15 month old:

10. Wheel of Fortune. It’s his favorite TV show. Really the only one he actually watches. Kids shows bed damned, the boy loves the Wheel.  Mom already dreams of the day that she and little dude can appear as contestants on family week (I’m not kidding).

9. Smoothies. In his very own smoothie cup. Some mornings he chugs it so fast he has a reversal of fortune, but we’re learning to slow him down to avoid such a fate.

8. Hiking! Dad got a new backpack for dad’s day and despite some initial screaming, by the end of the hike little dude was psyched.

7. The beach, the sand, sometimes the water, but always the beach! Beach babies are the absolute best. Sunblock, mom, always sunblock. Protect that sweet boy’s skin.

6. Cherries. A cherry stained baby face is a sight to be seen. Sweet boy with bright red dribble.

5. The playground. Everyday after work. We change his diap, he screams, I ask do you want to the go the playground? and he replies with the sweetest, squeakiest little yeah I have ever heard. Heart: melting.

4. His drum. And all of the instruments it contains. Sure, the pots, pans, and whisk are still highlights, but he gravitates towards that drum. Poor thing has no idea musical talent does not run in this family.

3. Travel (be still mom’s heart). We adventured to DC this past month, and the boy loved it. So many smiles, such a good traveler. I can only hope that this is a sign of things to come.

2. The grill at Gramma’s…and the kitchen utensils (real and toy) that go with it. He’ll play for HOURS.

1. MOM. and Dad. Some days one more than the other, but we’re always, always, always good for a giant grin, and we always, always, always melt at the sight of it. Good thing he can’t talk, or we would have promised him the world by now.

So you tell me, what else is grand for a 15 month old Jaimecito? The boy loves new adventures – enlighten us!

[in the effort of full disclosure, there are a few amazon affiliate links above. They all come with two very enthusiastic Jaimecito thumbs up]

On keeping it all together…

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I ponder this a lot…the notion of keeping it all together…if it’s possible, if I care to, if it’s even worth pondering.  I think I must care to if I spend so much time pondering it, but I’m uncertain about if it’s possible or even worth the thought.

Keeping it all together runs along the same lines in my mind as the notion of balance.  No one ever seeks balance when their world is too full of good things.  We seek balance when the crap outweighs the fun stuff…and is it the perhaps the same when I’m thinking about keeping it all together?  I wouldn’t worry about it if everything I was trying to keep together was all fun, smiles, and joy.  But welcome to life, it’s not all fun, smiles, and joy.  There’s the daily crap, the work crap, the house crap, the baby crap (I mean that literally more than figuratively - we have a lot of diapers to wash).  And it’s a lot to think about.

Most of it I enjoy thinking about.  Some of it I don’t.  Again, welcome to life.

But the feeling of juggling too much, being a hamster stuck in a wheel where if I miss one step, the whole thing crumbles into me tumbling along with the wheel?  That’s the part that gets me.

The thing is that I have created this hamster wheel.  I steer the ship.  It’s my world to do with as I please.  And in that sense, how do my daily choices affect the outcome of a week, a month, a year? And how do I shape them so that this wild ride that I call life looks just like that: a wild, wild ride full of laughter, joy, and memories?

I’m not sure…but one thing I am certain of is that I will never stop trying.

Rest.

How I say rest doesn’t necessarily mean rest as most of the world thinks of it. But it does mean time away. Time for a beach run. beach run Time for a walk in the woods.

shoulder ride Time for a million laps walking beach, followed by some time digging in the sand, splashing in the waves, running from the chairs to the sea to the chairs to the sea. beach So rest we do not. But enjoy? Savor? Embrace? That we do. All in, to the best of our abilities, with all of our might.  Because life is too short to squander the time spent together, the precious days we have to relax (we define relax about as loosely as we define rest!) and enjoy.

May we never change.

 

Adventures in…the simple.

These days our adventures take on a very different form than adventures of yesteryear.  We adventure in nothingness, which is not to say that we’ve ceased adventuring (never!), but it is to say that we adventure in the simplest of ways.

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The backyard.

Screen

The garden.

water table

The basement, oh goodness, the basement brings such delight. It’s a dungeon. With a washer, a dryer, and lots of homebrew.

The bathtub.

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The evening stroll down the block to meet Dad at his car.

A cup of goldfish.

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A new trick.

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It’s all very simple by nature, yet somehow, through those tiny hazel eyes, the most simple becomes the most grand, the most mundane brings the most delight.

Life takes on new forms as we meander through it, and I have to say that the form in which we sit right now? I like it. A lot. I still yearn for big adventures beyond the everyday trips to the grocery store, sprints across the backyard, wanders around the block.  But those everyday adventures?  While smaller in scale, less likely to induce squeals of delight from mom (though not from James), and seemingly mundane…they are adventures nonetheless. Adventures that shape our days, provoke joy, define dreams.

Adventures in seeing the world through one year old hazel eyes: perhaps these adventures might just be the grandest adventures of all.

 

Father’s Day Ale

Dad’s Day is all about dads, so when I asked C what he wanted to do this weekend, his response was: brew So brew we did. A Father’s Day ale, full of delightful aromas and flavors and fingers crossed it’s a success.  We’ll find out in a few weeks.  It’s beer number eight for Aardal (Home)Brewing Company (we’ll be in business in no time at all). Anyways, in order to accomplish his wishes, we headed to Hopster’s Brew & Boards in hopes of killing two three birds with one stone: buying beer supplies, watching World Cup soccer, and enjoying a pint. Look at these two (my little heart loves this so very much): J and C Our trip a success, we journeyed home to brew the ale, make some spent grain pizza dough, cook a pizza pie, and relax the afternoon away.  Day number one of Father’s Day weekend?  A whopping success (as rated by all).