Friday, August 29, 2014

The Next 1,000 Days Giveaway

I am so excited to be able to offer one of my beautiful readers a copy of The Next 1,000 Days journal from Sasquatch Books Publishing. The author Nikki McClure is an incredibly talented local Pacific Northwest artist who uses x-acto knife techniques to design the gorgeous paper cut illustrations.
I love this journal because it allows both the parent and child to capture memories of the growing years together, toddlerhood into big kid. For Ben's first year of life, I created an online baby book with photos and journal entries as he grew every month. I never thought about what I could do for the years following, but this journal fulfills that need perfectly. What a special treasure for my son to have when he grows up!
The book starts with age appropriate entries, such as nighttime rituals, and progresses on to more interactive ideas like dreams and wishes, frustrations, and growing strengths. It literally makes me teary to think about this special piece of history and part of my son's life he will get to relive someday.
Anyone can enter this easy giveaway! To have a chance at winning this book use the Rafflecopter Widget below for different entry options! If you're the winner, I will contact you when the giveaway ends.

*I'm partnering with Sasquatch Books, but all opinions are my own and I am not compensated in any monetary form for this giveaway.*

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cannon Beach, Oregon: A Beach Holiday

Having grown up in a very small town on the coast of Washington, I find that visiting the ocean anywhere is imperative for my sanity, at least once a year. There is nothing quite like falling asleep to the sound of the waves pounding the sand, or waking up to the salt air and cool fog rolling down the beach.

For my 30th Birthday we wanted to go somewhere fun our entire family would enjoy, so we made plans quite a few months back to stay a long weekend in Cannon Beach, Oregon (about a 4 hour drive for us). (Last year we went to Canada)Our best friends and their 21 month old son joined us, along with my mom. The toddler boys had an absolute BLAST playing in the pool and on the beach together. I can only hope these memories are ingrained in their hearts somewhere. Either that, or they can look up my blog, for there is no shortage of photos! ;)
We cooked all of our own food in room, noshing on homemade clam chowder, enchiladas, and other tasty meals. We stayed up way too late after the boys went to bed playing our favorite board games. The adults had a great time together, but mostly I found the most joy in seeing how truly happy my son was to be there.

Ben is definitely a more cautious child, so it was quite fun to watch our friend's son leaping into the pool, swimming and jumping all by himself, while our quiet boy sat in 3 inches of water wearing his water wings, grinning from ear to ear.
He was the epitome of pure innocence and bliss on the beach. Happiness was radiating off him. Digging in the wet earth, throwing sad, splashing, squealing, dancing, laughing. It filled my tank, big time.
The last night of our trip, we all went for a bike ride into town. I realize that putting Ben in the ergo is a bit sketch, but we did the best we could. When we got back our little family of three walked down to the beach together, and it's one of my favorite moments of our vacation. Ben wasn't super comfortable with the waves on his feet at first, but when his mama held his hand and walked out with him, he lit up. We would count to three and then jump over each wave, with him laughing and saying "nuther wave, mama!" over and over again.
I can't wait to continue making memories together, and filling my boy up with fun and love as he grows through childhood.
The only downfall to this holiday together was that Ben didn't sleep super well. He's slept in closets and bathrooms everywhere and sleeps incredibly well wherever we go, but this trip he struggled a bit. In fact, he decided that 5:30 would be the perfect wake up time for his mama's 30th Birthday. Sigh. Real life, folks.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Ben At 23 Months

This month we hit a few rough spots, but overall Ben was simply pleasant and hilarious. There were quite a few rainy days where I would cuddle up on the couch and read my book for an hour while he played around quietly by himself. You guys...he's going to be TWO YEARS OLD next month. I'm still in shock. Anyway, here's what lovable Ben has been up to this month.
Eating: Eating was good and normal. He just eats what we eat. Some of the food items he's been really rad on this month are nuts and seeds, plums, red potatoes, asparagus, and anything cooked with garlic.

Sleeping: Sleep has been good and normal. Still in bed around 8, sleeps until 7:30, and naps from 12:30-3:00 every day.
Playing: Silly doesn't even begin to describe this boy. Even though he's still very shy around new people, he is a firecracker with us. He loves 'galloping' around the house, pleading with us to chase him, and jumping on anything he can find. Ben is still really awesome at independent play, and can sit for long periods of time working on a puzzle, stacking blocks, or organizing his toy cars in a line. Of course his favorite thing is to be outside, which we do every single day. He adores the play set his Grandpa built him, picking blackberries, and tromping around the woods. I love how fascinated he is by the world around him...every ant, every beetle, every fly is intriguing to him. When I was gone in AZ Justin said they found a dead snake, and Ben analyzed it for nearly 40 minutes. He laid down on the ground and stared at it, pointed at it, and said "snake" over and over and over again. The wonderment of being a child.

I love that he will work on a task and then clap and say "yay" for himself when he's got it finished how he likes. He will also cheer and say "Wow, Mama!" when I simple tasks like, peel an orange for him. He sure makes me feel special. :)
Learning: Ben was really into mimicking this month and would repeat and copy many of the things we said or did. He also got really into his routines and loves putting away where they belong and doing things the same way. I think we have fairly high expectations of him in terms of behavior and what he is capable of, and he always meets them. We always keep things within the scope and funnel of his age, of course, but I never assume that because he's a toddler that he isn't capable of doing things we ask of him.

He knows all the letters of the alphabet, and most of his numbers. He's getting better at colors too! I'm always so fascinated that even though I don't care about him learning these things right now, he just does. I don't sit down with flashcards and work with him like a crazy person, he has just picked them up through reading books and talking about things as we see them.
Other: He is still very fond of tractors, trucks, and big equipment. It might break my heart when he learns how to say the names correctly, because "back-o" and "digga" are simply too cute. Oh, and he says "ice keeeeeeeem", which is my absolute favorite phrase of his. :) It's been really neat to see his oral language develop this month, as he starts to put together two or three words. "Read, book, mama." Another favorite of mine is when we clean up toys before nap and at the end of the day. I created a little jingle I sing as a cue to help, so I say "Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Clean Up" and he will come running from somewhere saying loudly "Keen UP! Keen UP!" Hahaha oh gosh I love him. He's also getting really good at saying "pease" (please) without being prompted.

I also appreciate how sincere he is about things. If he accidentally hurts me he will say "sowwy" and give me a hug and a kiss, all on his own free will. As I've mentioned before, he also likes things just the way he wants them (resemble his mama, much? ;) and will say "Dada, sit hewe (here), Mama, sit hewe," etc.
Benji boy also got his first real haircut this past month. You might have seen the photo on instagram. I took him to a salon just for kids, so he got to sit in a booster seat with a train set to play with. I thought he would hate the whole thing, but he did amazing!

Next up, the big two year post, which will conclude my regular and monthly updates on this sweet boy. If you want to read through ages from the past two years, click here. We are just so madly in love with him. He was perfectly made to be our son and I still can't believe I get the privilege of raising him up in the world. He's going to be something special.

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