June 2013: Connor’s 14-month update

I think you are officially at the stage where this mama can’t keep up! I can’t keep up with how quickly you develop and learn new things, and I certainly can’t keep up with your whirlwind path of toys, books, and kitchen tools that you leave all over the floor! As soon as I try to clean something up that you are done playing with, you want to get it out again 🙂

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Signs: You are adding new signs so quickly! New this month: hat, outside, glasses, flower, pear, avocado, apple, water, cat, dog, please, bless you, mad. Sometimes it’s easy to understand what you are signing, but other times we still have to use context to figure it out because you aren’t making all the signs “correctly” yet. For example, “outside,” “glasses,” and “cat” all look the same right now when you sign them, but we can usually figure out which one you mean. One moment that really struck me was when you heard a dog bark and you immediately started signing “dog,” and we couldn’t even see the dog!

Favorite toys: Now you prefer the REAL pots, pans, and other kitchen items. If it has a matching lid, then you are in hog heaven. While sitting in your highchair for a meal, you love to put your food into containers, put a lid on, shake it, take off the lid, take a bite, put the lid back on…and on and on! A new source of fascination for you is trying to put a straw through a hole in a cup.

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Favorite books: Moo Baa La La La (you can chime in with some of the sounds now!), Zoo Poo, There Was a Man and He Was Mad, Little Lion, and your Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Singalong

Favorite activities: You are Mr. Curious! Every day you ask to be picked up so that you can look at everything up high on our bookshelves. You point to a photo, flower vase, figurine, etc, and we bring it closer to you for a look. After a big smile and looking or touching, you point and give another, “Nah!” to show what you want to look at next. Riding in the backpack with daddy is another favorite activity.

New animal sounds: pig (SO cute – you make the snorting sound, not the “oink”), duck, horse

Mama’s little helper: Now you like to get IN the basket of clean laundry and toss the clothes out. “Here mama, fold this one next!” Sometimes you help by putting the folded socks back into the basket. You like to get the watering can and stand by the door, telling us you want to go water the garden. You also enjoy unpacking groceries…taking bites of the fruit as you unpack, and carrying boxes and packages of food alllllll over the downstairs!

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Friends: It is hilarious to see you greet another kid your size! You walk right up to him/her and let out an excited, “Nah!!” or, “Aaaah!” as if you are saying hello!

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Other fun things: You like to give kisses to mama, daddy, or pictures :). Sometimes when daddy is leaving for work, you lean in for a kiss before he can even ask! I don’t know if this counts as “fun” – at least not for mama and daddy! – but you are now climbing up on things, like the couch, boxes, etc, and you insist on walking DOWN the stairs (with help, of course).

New teeth: All 4 molars are working their way through. We can see lots of white, but the entire surface isn’t through quite yet. You are a trooper!

Eating habits: You’re doing pretty well with your spoon, and now you can stab food with your fork (sometimes)! You can identify a spoon, fork, and bowl. By the end of a meal, you usually have your tray full of any container, lid, and utensil that I will let you have! Raisins are one of your current favorite foods, and you still love sweet potatoes and cooked carrots. At lunchtime, you usually insist that I hold my salad bowl towards you so that you can pick something out with your fingers, spoon, or fork.

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Sleeping habits: Nothing much new here, except that you have been waking up around 6:30am more often than not…but we can hardly blame you because the sun rises at 5:30! I think you are starting to wake less often during the night.

I don’t think there’s a category for these last comments, but…You pooped in the tub for the first time the other day (that’s what I get for bathing you first thing in the morning instead of bedtime), and if anyone farts, you immediately make a “pbbbbbbt!” sound with your mouth. We’ll make sure to share all of these fascinating facts with your prom date someday!!

July brings our first trip back to the states since we have lived in Germany. I’ll wait and post a 16-month update once we return!

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Gardening and day trips – it’s finally summer!

I think we skipped spring and dove right into summer! The weather is finally warm and sunny, which gave us the motivation to end our winter travel hibernation and take some day trips.

Another bonus of the warm weather was the opportunity to finish the garden! Charlie gets all the credit. And when I say “all,” I mean ALL. He chose the seeds, planted them indoors to sprout, hauled heavy bricks and bags of dirt up the two levels of stairs to get to the backyard, set up the border of the garden with the bricks, filled it in with dirt, planted the vegetables that have sprouted already, and planted some more seeds. When I married this man, I had no idea he had such a green thumb! Now I feel like the other animals in the Little Red Hen story…I can’t wait to eat the fresh vegetables, but I didn’t do any of the work!! Well, I think Connor and I will be in charge of watering while Charlie is at work…does that count??

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Speyer – June 15
This was our second time in Speyer. The first trip was with my dad and stepmom in March, and we visited the cathedral. This time it was just the three of us, and we went to the Technik Museum. It was filled with cars, motorcycles, trains, and planes. Outside, there was a giant Lufthansa jet supported at an angle in the air. We climbed the stairs to go inside, and it was so disorienting to try to walk along the leaning floor! There was a slide to get back down, but we opted for the stairs again. Maybe next time we visit, Connor will be ready for the slide :). Charlie got to go inside a submarine while Connor and I checked out a ship. We also saw a Russian space shuttle. It was so much fun to see Connor enjoying the museum. We heard lots of fervent cries of “Nah! Bah!” as he pointed things out from his backpack perch. Connor had a chance to play on the playground for a few minutes before we hopped in the car and headed home. It’s only about a 45-minute drive, and we are so grateful that Connor can now be entertained in the car, rather than getting upset and melting down. And who knew that a rice cake in a zippered snack bag could provide so much entertainment?

After our day at the museum, I enjoyed going out to dinner with some lovely ladies while Charlie and Little Man stayed home to play :).

Heading into the museum
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We found a lion among all the planes, trains, and automobiles…
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Awesome swing at the museum playground
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And what museum playground would be complete without go-karts? (We didn’t actually drive them.)
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Strawberry Festival (Erdbeerfest) – June 16
Happy second Father’s Day to the best daddy Connor could ever ask for! He presented Charlie with a hand-made card including some attempts at fingerpaint handprints.

We drove just over an hour to Erbach, a town along the Rhine, to check out their annual Erdbeerfest. We met up with several Army band families and had a blast! It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and judging by the swarms of people there, we weren’t the only ones with strawberries on our mind on this beautiful, warm day. The first thing I bought was a container of fresh strawberries. Um, wow – by far the best strawberries I have ever had. I shared with friends, but ate most of them myself! I offered them to Connor several times, but my offer was met with a wrinkled nose and “Nah…” each time. He’s at that bizarre stage where he will inhale a particular food one day and keep asking for more, then he won’t be interested in it for a while. But more on Connor in the next post! We mostly stood around and talked with our friends while the bigger kids enjoyed some fun activities and carnival rides, and of course we sampled more food and drinks. I had an “Erdbeerbowle” (it seemed to be wine with strawberries soaked in it) and Charlie had some Riesling. We shared a fantastic flammkuchen (a thin, crispy, wood-fired pizza), curry wurst (sliced sausage and French fries with a curry sauce), a strawberry-Nutella crepe, and for the ride home, some candied almonds. In case you were wondering, we did not go home hungry! Connor took his afternoon nap in the front carrier with me while we enjoyed our time with friends, and an hour later when we were ready to eat, he was ready to run around! There wasn’t much space among all of the picnic tables and swarms of people, but I happily chased him around while Charlie ate, grabbed a few bites as we passed our table, and then finished eating as we walked back to the car. Charlie kindly saved me plenty :). Connor was too busy exploring to eat, so he ate some food I packed for him as we rode home. Another successful day trip in the books!

Snoozing away at the strawberry fest
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A church in Erbach
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