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Category Archives: Joshua

Thomas the Cupcake Train!

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Oh boy, time has really gotten away from me. I can’t believe my last post was in September!  I wanted to post our professional photos we had done for Christmas, then realized I hadn’t even shared about Joshua’s birthday so I better do that first. He turned two on November 23rd!

This little guy is very into trains. I can’t even tell you the number of times I hear “choo choo!” a day, either because he hears a train, sees a train track, is playing with trains, or sees Thomas on his socks & pajamas, or on TV. He finds trains everywhere, like on a Christmas tree figurine I never even noticed a train was at the base of, or in the background of pictures in books. You never know how surrounded you are by trains until you have a toddler signaling their presence once every few minutes. Needless to say, we went with a Thomas the Train theme for his birthday this year.

This was his Halloween costume, and the photos worked nicely for his birthday invitations.

I saw a really cool cupcake train idea on A Britt Without Boys (see her post for a much better train, and tutorial), and was really excited to make it. It was very simple to put together and while mine didn’t look as great as Brittney’s, everyone loved it and it was a hit!

Basically you need a large engine to start the train off with, if you want to go with Thomas I’d look into the “My First Thomas” set you can get at Target for around $20. I went with a projector toy I found on eBay that was a bit too small, and I’m not sure the My First Thomas is bigger but it seemed to be in the online pictures. Then you need cupcakes, the number is up to you. You need half as many graham crackers as cupcakes, and 4 large marshmallows and Oreo’s per graham cracker.

“Glue” marshmallows with melted chocolate (I used a disposable piping bag that I melted white chocolate chips in the microwave) onto the bottom of the graham crackers where you want the tires to be. Place them marshmallow side down and then glue Oreo’s over the outside of each marshmallow to make them look more like train wheels.  To set up the train, arrange two cupcakes per graham cracker and set up in a line behind the engine. Add candles and you’re done! I got the “Happy Birthday” candle set for $1 at Dollar Tree.

He started out dressed in his train engineer costume but HAD to put on the Thomas jammies from Auntie Joan as soon as they were out of the gift bag! 

I didn’t get too crazy with the decorations, just cheap stuff in basic colors that went with the Thomas theme, but I did put some creativity into the favor bags.  I got blue paper bags 3/$1 at Walmart, then designed my own labels for them and stuck them on with double sided tape. I include a wooden train whistle ($1 at Dollar Tree), Train Smoke (Vanilla Snow Cotton Candy, $1 from Dollar Tree, filled 6 bags), bubbles (8-pack of wedding bubbles $1 at Dollar Tree, printed out my own Thomas’s and taped them on), and a few fun-size candy bars that I got half price after Halloween. What can I say, I’m thrifty!

And this was the front of the thank-you cards I designed and mailed to those who gave him a gift. I print my “cards” at Walmart as 4×6 photos for about a quarter each with tax (for 1 hour, only 9 cents if you can wait for home delivery). If it’s just a card front like this, I cut out some card stock to size, fold it, and tape the picture to the front, then write a message inside. Can’t beat a personalized card for a quarter!

Oh and one more cute thing from the party, my Mother-in-Law, with the help of her artistic sister, made this Thomas veggie train with a cardboard Thomas they made “from scratch” and long baskets (I’ve seen these at Dollar Tree, like MIL, like DIL!) filled with veggies. It looked much cooler spread out until I pushed it aside to make way for my big crock pot full of Easy White Chicken Chili, but you get the idea.

I didn’t do any games but had a coloring table set up just in case there were slow points and children got bored, but it actually ended up being filled with all adults! My sisters joined after I took this picture. I printed this Thomas Birthday Express coloring sheet and they went to town while they waited for everyone to finish eating and the presents to begin.

I purposely kept the decorating and prep to a minimum to avoid stress and it was a really enjoyable party!  I wonder how many more years I’ll be able to continue my cake strike before this little boy starts working on me and convinces me to make a dragon cake like his cousin did once upon a time. For now, I’m enjoying cupcaking it up! hehe.

 

Toddler Tuesday: the sleeve-sniffer & some videos

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Joshua has been a pajama sleeve-sniffer ever since he rejected his pacifier at about six months old.  He replaced the suckling comfort of the paci with the feel of pajama sleeves against his nose, and still does a suckling motion with his mouth, like he’s sucking on his tongue, and he breathes heavy while doing it.  It’s so weird, and cute.  If he can find any jammies in the laundry before naptime, he will dig them out and carry them around by the sleeve, sniffing on them.  I finally caught it on camera. Enjoy. :)

I also have a few recent (within the last couple weeks) videos I had to share too, for those with a few extra minutes to kill. None are very long, all about 30 seconds.

Remember him lovin’ on his Daddy back in February? That’s not going to end any time soon. Here he is still doing it, 7 months later. :)

Here he is groovin’ to Bon Jovi while we were at Five Guys.

Another one from Five Guys, cleaning up the mess he made. This was totally his idea. And don’t worry, his hands got washed after this. :)

Toddler Tuesday: the observer

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Nothing epic going on in toddler world, so here are some photos I took of Joshua last Friday in his “big boy shorts” (i.e. shorts that are a little too big) that he LOVES.  He’s such an observer, and every time we go to Exploration Place, he watches the other kids (or teenagers, in this case) for quite a while before he joins in the activity/playing. His contribution to the water maze, later on, was taking the floating balls off their course and throwing them back, but I was too busy trying to keep him from drinking the chlorine water to take photos of that.

People are fascinating, doncha know.

Toddler Tuesday: Mom confessions

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A friend of mine recently did a post called, “Confessions of a Toddler Mom” and I just loved it so much, I’m totally stealing her idea for today.  I’ll be he first to admit I’m far from a perfect mother…

I don’t always (OK, hardly ever) use the safety strap on shopping carts. Or changing tables. And not always on the stroller, either.

Meet one of my son’s milk cups.

Speaking of beverage containers, I use my “cleansing bottle” I came home with from the hospital as his water bottle. Moms who’ve given birth the “traditional way” know what I’m talking about.

I make people uncomfortable by taking my son to watch them work outside at close range, just standing there and staring. Because he loves it.

I let our dog do the first rinse on his hands after a meal.

I also never wash the windows.

I let him make loud sounds at Petsmart and in public restrooms so he can hear his voice echo. I may even make the same sounds back at him sometimes. (All the time.)

I get annoyed when his nap doesn’t last at least an hour.

But when it lasts longer, I get anxious waiting to see his face again and catch myself continuously glancing at the clock.

When I need a break, I send him outside to play with Jessie.  If he’s content for more than five minutes, I generally find him smeared in poop or covered in dirt, but it’s totally worth it.

I have plotted evil things against the ice cream man, tree trimmers, neighbors, and relatives, for making noise during nap time.

I have done the following to get him to eat: let him run around free with it (i.e. food smears & crumbs everywhere), bribed him with sweets to get him to try something new, and shoved food into his mouth while he was screaming and crying.

On hard days I count down the minutes…and seconds…until bed time.

I’ve attempted to use the TV as a babysitter.  And really wished it had worked.

I let him jump on the bed, climb, explore, and destroy far more than I planned to.

I don’t feed him organic very often, and I use don’t eschew sugar.

I still hold him like a baby before nap and bedtime, and give him a sippy cup of milk just like I used to do with his bottle. I can’t. stop.

And sometimes (a lot of times), I just embrace the mess.

Toddler Tuesday: Our July 4th

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Patriotic cousins.

This was the first ever 4th of July we’ve spent with Dennis’ family, and it was the best Independence day of my life! We are kind of sticks in the mud and usually don’t do a single thing for the holiday, not even a single firecracker or grilled piece of meat.  So this was a nice change of pace.  I’m thinking we’ll need to make this a tradition.

We got there Friday night and Grandma and Grandpa Miller had a surprise for Joshua, a Radio Flyer trike! It was in new condition, and Phyllis found it for only $1 at a garage sale. Joshua has been trying to play with the bikes in neighbor’s yards, and he’s is sooooo happy to have his very own trike now!

This is Joshua’s shy smile, he will look to the side and smile at you out of the corner of his eye. He did this while walking down the “runway,” along with running to and fro until Daddy reigned him in. 

We went to the park on July 4th, where they were having a big celebration with a Baby Beauty contest, frog races, turtle races, bouncy houses, free hot dogs, swimming, etc.  It was so hot we only stayed to do the Baby Beauty contest and the frog race, and Joshua bounced a little on the step going into a bouncy house, which was perfectly fine with him. Joshua didn’t place in the beauty contest, Dennis says because they didn’t have any “Grand Champion” ribbons, and his little frog didn’t win either, but of course neither bothered him. He was just having fun.

Auntie Joan introducing him to the frog he was entering into the race, courtesy of Uncle Richard catching it on their property.

There were horses all along the fence as we were leaving.  Being obsessed with horses, Joshua kept pointing and making noises indicating he wanted to get closer.  We stopped to watch a little girl bridling a horse and her Dad asked if Joshua wanted to sit on him. Oh yes, he did!  I didn’t catch his smile, but he was so excited.  First the bike, now the horse, all his lifelong dreams were coming true. lol

After his nap, Joshua cooled off in the redneck Miller swimming pool, the old sheep trough. Gotta love country living!

Jessie enjoyed the trough too.

Auntie Joan had gotten Joshua a flag tank top to match his cousins’ shirts so we had to get a photo of them together. She’s also responsible for her boys’ awesome socks. Would you just look at these handsome boys?

This photo was Grandma Phyllis’ brilliant idea, she wanted to get the “Biker Cousins” in a pic together.  Is this too much, or is this too much?

Too. much.

We had the most amazing grilled burgers (my contribution was CW’s Strawberry Shortcake), but I didn’t get a picture of them. Instead, I give you Joshua, who swiped Grandpa’s corn cob off his plate. He loves corn on the cob!

Auntie Joan took him on a trip on his fire engine (another of Grandma’s garage sale finds).

And we got down to business, cracking poppers, doing smoke bombs and snakes. Joshua loved it all!

Cracking Poppers with Uncle Richard.

This is the “Pooping Dog” – a snake comes out his butt lol.

A friend showed up on his motorcycle and Grandpa took Joshua to check it out. This kid is even more obsessed with motorcycles (and trucks and anything that goes vroom) than horses. Here he is working on his James Dean look.

And I’ll close with the last picture I took, of Joshua and his Grandpa watching the motorcycle leave. <3

See you next week for another, hopefully much less photo heavy, Toddler Tuesday.

Look who’s turning 1!


We went to Portrait Innovations for Joshua’s 1-year photos. Can you believe he’ll be one November 23rd? Me neither!


This little guy is officially a toddler. He started walking a month ago and is now pretty good with it and walks about 90% of the time.

This one is my favorite. I think. It’s so hard to pick one!

I just love his laughing face!!

I entered this photo into Gerber’s Photo Search. I would be SO grateful if you guys would vote for my little dude. Once you click here, you’ll have to enter your birthday, your email address, and your name and type some numbers to verify you’re a human, then you’ll see his pic and be able to vote for him. You can vote once a day so if you are awesome enough to return, the second time will be easier as you won’t have to write your name or verify you’re a human, just your birthday and email. if you don’t want to get Gerber emails, just don’t click the box to sign up for My Gerber. If you’re willing to vote daily, just say so in the comments and I’ll send you a daily email reminder. Thanks so much you guys!

The crawler emerges

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Joshua is quickly closing in on 9 months old and it seems like he’s grown up so much since I last updated. He’s got his first teeth, started sitting up, and crawling! He’s been working on his crawling for a while and finally started legitimately crawling last week, though he still does a lot of scooting so it’s not totally smooth yet.  Here’s his first stage of crawling – the rocking motion lol.

Then he started doing this thing where he’d push off with his legs and let his arms go back at the same time so he was kind of like a grounded super-man, flying on the bed, which seemed the safest/softest place to practice while this was part of his technique.

And here’s a 6-second video showing his legit crawl, though he’s still not super smooth with it.

I was using mats to let him practice on the floor (got four of them at a garage sale for $1 each) but there wasn’t much room for him to get around before hitting a piece of furniture, so we put our coffee table in storage and put in a ghetto play yard. You can spend $100+ on a baby gate to create a safe (and attractive) area for baby to play in, but if you don’t have that kind of dough, here’s the $15 alternative. Blow up pool! Thank you, Pinterest. :D

Here’s a video of him enjoying his time in his padded cell:

It takes up the entire living room, though, so the second day after we put it in I was already propping the pool on the couch and was letting him crawl directly on the floor. Of course he immediately threw himself head-first into the handle on a drawer of the entertainment center for the tenth time, reminding me why I’d thought the pool was such a good idea. Here he is enjoying his floor time with the pool as a recliner instead of a safety net. If you look close you can see the red mark where he hit his forehead.

It’s hard to catch his teeth in photos but I managed it in this one – you can just see them on the bottom.

Oh yeah and he can sit up on his own now too.  We often find him sitting up in bed now when he wakes up and for some reason, it makes me so sad. My baby can sit up without my help and can stay there without me hovering to catch him if he starts leaning and topples. :(

In other news we finally moved beyond veggies & fruit and he’s had his first scrambled eggs and yogurt.  Thankfully he hasn’t had an allergic reaction to anything so far.  I think eggs are his absolute favorite but they are also the messiest thing I feed him and they dry on so I pretty much have to give him a bath every time I feed him eggs.  I don’t know how he manages it, but eggs pretty much coat every inch of him by the time he’s done, even inside his diaper and on the back of his head. Babies are magic when it comes to making messes.

The kid loves his Dad and listens to him so intently when he’s talking – I love it.  But he’s started saying “Mamama” when he’s upset, like he’s calling me, and has been doing it long enough I’m tempted to say it’s his first word. No “Dadada’s” yet.

I’ve been enjoying my boy and been caught up in the busy-ness of summer, so by the time I return to update again, he could be a year old! Blows my mind.  Where does the time go?  I don’t know, but I’m enjoying every minute of it.

My baby is turning into a little boy!

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Joshua has been developing and growing so much since I posted when he was a wee five months. Now he’s a big 6 1/2 months and this is what he’s accomplished in the last month and a half…

He’s fallen in love with Jessie!  This photo was during a week-long stay at Grandma & Grandpa Miller’s and is the only one I have of them together, though it doesn’t reflect his love for her.  Every time she goes past him now, he gets a huge smile on his face and reaches for her.  She doesn’t like to be touched by him yet (he’s a bit grabby) but will allow it if I’m there to help make sure he’s gentle.  She rarely licks us but she licks him every chance she can get so on some level, she must like him…or at least likes the way he tastes. :)  Here’s a video of the first time he pet her (sorry it’s dark), and you can also see her taking advantage of his nearness by giving him a tongue bath lol:

He started rolling over from back to tummy while we were on vacation there, and is now sleeping not only without a swaddle, but on his side or belly because he refuses to be on his back any more and rolls immediately when put in his crib.  When I took the above picture, I felt a little catch in my heart because it was the first time I really felt like I was already losing my baby.  He looks like such a little boy in his shorts and T-shirt, rolled onto his side without his arms in the straight-jacket look of a swaddle.

He found his feet and loves to hold on to them while he’s drinking his bottle, or laying on the floor, or the bed, basically he holds them a lot. It’s pretty cute. :)

He’s become interested in other kids, including himself!  He loves looking at his reflection and smiles like this every time.  Whenever a child five or under is in his vicinity, he is mesmerized.  It’s about time to start having baby play dates. Here’s a video of his first baby lunch date:

He learned to read! OK, maybe not, but I had to include this pic of him checking out my Taste of Home magazine. He’s my little foodie baby.

Speaking of my foodie baby, here he is taking his first spoonful of real food (rice cereal).  He was ready for it!  When he saw it coming he grabbed it and insisted on feeding himself.  LOL!  This was before we even had baby spoons and his high chair was still in the box.  We are doing a combination of pureed/mushed foods and soft foods like peas, zucchini microwaved and sliced into coins, and banana chunks.

This way of feeding a baby is called Baby Led Weaning, which I discovered through other blogging mothers and they had such success with it I thought I’d give it a try.  I have to say, he and I both prefer when he can hold his own food and feed himself.  It’s less messy (so far, I’ve heard in the end it’s about the same) and less work, and I don’t have to fight him to get him to eat.  He seems to enjoy it much more when he’s in charge.  He doesn’t want to take food from a spoon much any more. Here’s a video of him chewing on a bread stick -he didn’t eat it but he sure had fun using it as a teether! lol

 

While I’m not ready for him to be a little boy, I have to say he’s more and more fun the older he gets. I don’t want him to grow up too fast, but I’m looking forward to all the fun we’re going to have along the way.

Joshua at 5 months

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How do I have a 5-month-old? I remember looking at 6-month sized clothing and thinking he would never fit it. And now he’s starting to wear it!

I took an internet “fast” last week and used it to clean up my house. Unfortunately that isn’t reflected in these videos and you can see plenty of clutter, but hopefully the adorable baby will distract you from it!  I included one before and after photo from my cleaning after the videos for your viewing pleasures.  I love having a clean house!  Almost as much as this baby.

LOL, I almost forgot the before and after!

 

Dear Joshua

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Dear Joshua,

Today you are 18 weeks, 3 days old. You have changed so much in your short life already, I can’t believe it.  You’ve more than doubled your birth weight and grown over 6 inches. You’ve gone from crying through diaper changes, to grunting and snorting through them (oh I miss those snorts!), to smiling through them (which is a pretty good trade-off, even if you don’t do the snorts any more).  My still baby has turned into a wriggling delight, making diaper changes challenging, and bedtime hilarious.  You push up and back with your heels while I change your diaper, then curl your knees upward toward your chest and bite your hands, making a little “ach” sound. As soon as I get the diaper back in place under your bottom, you push backward again and repeat the process.  When I put you to bed for the night, you do the same curling inward thing, pulling your hands up inside the swaddle toward your mouth, even though your swaddle prevents you reaching it.  Then you give me your biggest smile and start wriggling and kicking inside your swaddle.  I have to leave you to kick yourself to sleep, because as long as I stand over you, you are kicking and wriggling and smiling.  I always want to laugh, but I resist to avoid rousing you any more than you already are, so that you can fall asleep as quickly as you always do.

“What’s with all the flashing lights?” With Grandpa Miller

Though for naps, you aren’t nearly as cheerful or obliging.  You almost always cry when it’s time for a nap, and while I’ve become pretty good at soothing you, it’s still nerve-frazzling and heartbreaking to hear that cry for any length of time.  I sometimes have to give up on getting you to take your naps, especially the afternoon naps, and let you skip them, but always pay for it later.  On those days, you are so tired by bedtime that you have a complete meltdown and soothing you takes a long time and I have to pull out all the tricks I’ve learned that help to calm you down. What works better than anything else is holding you sideways, your chest to my chest, and bouncing you up and down while rocking side to side or front to back, and then popping a pacifier in your mouth as soon as you settle enough to take it. The pacifier isn’t always needed, but can help if you’re extra inconsolable.  You do this cute thing with your mouth every time when you finally settle down. Your eyes drift closed, slowly open, close again, and you pucker your lips and stick your tongue behind them, stick it out a little bit, and then boom.  You’re out.

In the last couple weeks you’ve changed more quickly & dramatically than at any other time.  You are suddenly so much more interested in the world around you, and in the toys I present you with, reaching for them, hitting them, shaking them, biting and sucking on them.  I accidentally deleted the video of you first showing interest in a toy, but thankfully uploaded it to Facebook first, so you can watch yourself playing with the giraffe toy from Grandma Miller that hangs over your changing table here (click “HD” at the bottom of the video to show a more clear version).

Your talking Tow Mater toy from Grandma Miller kept you happy with tummy time a lot longer than Mama ever could:

And here you are enjoying your ball rattle from Great Aunt Dorothy for the first time:

Even better, you’ve finally started to roll over, and I got my first giggles out of you this week!  We visited your Daddy’s family and Grandma Miller got the best giggles out of you by far!  She made you giggle, which  made us giggle, which made you giggle, and it just went on and on.  I was too caught up in the joy of it to think about taking a video, but hopefully I’ll catch that soon.  I want to capture the sound of your giggle before your voice changes again.  Already your cry is so much deeper than a couple months ago, when everyone used to think you were a cat meowing when you cried.

Carson holds his baby cousin while Auntie Joan eagerly awaits her turn (again). :)

Great Aunt Lois gets a turn. You’re still not used to Mom’s new camera! (My old one finally bit the dust after taking many videos of you :) )

Thanks to you, I haven’t written a Thankful Thursday in months.  Because they would all be about you and since I talk about you more than anything else now, I’m afraid my blog would be just way too redundant to gush about our little blessing every Thursday.  Maybe some day I will move beyond my gratitude for you and remember there are other things to be thankful for, but for now I don’t need or want to.  I’m sure you know by now how much we wanted you and how much we love you, and you’re probably sick of hearing it, but it will always be true.  Last week you were dazzling us with your usual morning cheer (you are crazy happy in the mornings, and it makes us a little less grumpy to be faced with such such huge smiles when we’re just wanting a little more sleep), and I told your Dad that we’re so lucky.  He said, “I know.  I knew that when we found out he had a brain on the sonogram.”  You know Dad. :)  Hopefully by the time you read this our standards for what impresses us will have grown a little, and you have been inspired by our expectations to do more than just exist.  Which is all we really require of you right now.  Your mere existence is heaven.

Love, Mom

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