Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year - A different celebration with kids :-)

Happy New Year! I have always loved New Years Eve. In years past, I have gone down town, gone on trips, gone to parties. However, in none of these years did I have kids. I wasn't sure what this New Year's celebration would bring. That is why I was so excited when my friend Liz (who also has a 7 month old little boy) decided to have a small New Year's gathering with a couple other families. There were 3 little guys total, Braeden, Declan and Nicholas. Wouldn't you know it, I have the only baby that refused to go to sleep. This really isn't a surprise (he is a terrible sleeper), I guess he just didn't want to miss the excitement of New Years Eve. Chad and I had a great time, even with our little guy awake the entire time. Luckily, he never really gets cranky when he is up late. We enjoyed dinner, some board games and the New Year's countdown, before heading home about 12:15. Braeden was out before we pulled out of the neighborhood. I guess he enjoyed his first New Year's Eve. What will 2010 bring....I don't know how it can top 2009. Happy New Year's everyone!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year!

I think most people with agree with me, Christmas is such a magical time of year. I love all of the family gatherings, great food and drink, and the time of reflection on all of the good in my life. This year, there was definitely a lot of good, in fact there was a lot of great. This was Braeden's first Christmas, and we had a great time.

Christmas with the Bakers is not a one day affair, but more like a week long celebration. We started at my Aunt Luanne's on Tuesday the 22nd. We usually get together with her on Christmas Day, but this year she was going back to Wisconsin to celebrate with all the Dunlaps. Because Luanne and her kids live in Colorado, we are lucky to see them a lot. Lu and I have grown to be more like friends rather than just aunt and niece. Braeden got his first Christmas ornament from his "great" aunt Luanne (the first of many presents for the little guy.) I don't think he will need anything new for a while.

On Wednesday night, we got together with the Staebells for our traditional fondue dinner. We have been having fondue on Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. My family has been kind enough to move our annual dinner to the 23rd because Chad's mom's birthday is on the 24th and we are usually celebrating with them on that night. I always love getting together with my whole family. Unfortunately, it is rare that we are all together, now that we have grown and moved our separate ways as we journey through life. That is why I really cherish Christmas and the holidays. Our fondue dinner was filled with lots of great food and drink, lots of memories and more laughs than I could count. I love my parents, brothers and sister more than words can tell. I feel so lucky to have them in my life and even luckier to call them my family.

Christmas Eve was a very busy day. Luckily, I was somewhat organized with my shopping this year, so I wasn't out finishing up any last minute gifts. We met Chad's family for mass at 4 and Braeden took a liking to the man sitting next to me. I think it was because he was wearing glasses and Braeden wanted to grab them. Overall, he was good in the packed church. After mass we headed over to White Fence Farm. This is a restaurant where Chad worked there for 9 years and it is also where we had our rehearsal dinner, so it has some sentimental value. Chad's family has been eating their Christmas Eve dinners there for years. As usual, Braeden did great at the restaurant. He loves eating out (he must take after his mom :-) After dinner, we went back to Chad's parents house to open gifts. We also took a 4 generation picture with Chad's grandma. As always, it was so much fun to hang out with Chad's family. I am so blessed in so many ways, one of which being that I have awesome in laws. Everyone had a great Christmas Eve, and Chad's mom, Michele, had a great birthday.

Luckily, Braeden has been a good boy in his first 6 1/2 months, so he got a visit from Santa. I think his parents were more excited than him this year, but I know that will change in years to come. After we opened our stockings and Santa gifts, we headed over to my parents house for our big Christmas morning celebration. My parents always go WAY overboard and this year was no different. We were showered with way too many gifts, my mom made her awesome monkey bread and we got to enjoy being together. This year was kind of exciting for me and my siblings, as Travis organized a group gift from the 4 of us. My parents have been watching this old tv for years, so we got them a flat screen. They were so surprised and so excited. It was so fun to do something big for them, as they have done sooo many great things for us. One of my favorite gifts to give out was to Travis. He is notorious for not dressing warm enough for Bronco games. I am always teasing him that he should wear a snuggie. So, this year, Trav received a Bronco's snuggie from his nephew, Braeden. Doesn't he look cute :-)

Christmas afternoon, we went over to see Chad's big extended Denver family, which is always a great time. The family is huge, probably about 50+ and growing. There are lots of little ones running around and I know there will only be more and more as Chad and his cousins have more kids. I am definitely looking forward to the years ahead when Braeden is running wild with the rest of the kiddos.

Overall, it was a GREAT Christmas. I think Braeden (and his mom) were exhausted, but it was worth every minute. I can't wait until next year when Braeden can walk down to see Santa's gift on his own. I love this little boy and I am sooo excited to have him in my life. So many good times to come. I love you Braeden. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I love December!

I LOVE December! It is probably my favorite month of the year. Not only is it filled with holiday spirit, fun times with family, and more celebrating than we should do in a year, let alone a month, it is also my birthday month. This year's December 10th celebration was a little different with our new little addition. Rather than go out for a night on the town, we hosted a poker party at our house. That way I could get Braeden to sleep and enjoy the party. Now, if you knew my son, you would say, no way will he stay asleep through an entire party, and I would agree with you. On this particular night, Braeden went to sleep at 7, just as everyone was arriving and woke up at midnight, just as they were saying their goodbyes. It was like his special birthday gift to me. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures, but it was a great night. We had about 20 friends and family for pizza and poker. My dad won and Chad took second. It may be the way I spend all my future birthdays :-)

The rest of my December days have been spent preparing for our Christmas celebration. We are hosting my family at our house for a fondue dinner a few days before Christmas and between shopping, decorating and house cleaning (in addition to working and taking care of Braeden), I have been super busy. Luckily, Braeden is a great little shopper, at least this year. I took a little video on one of our excursions. Hopefully, he will be this good next year.

I also found time during the holiday hoopla to take Braeden for his 6 month pictures. They turned out great. He did great until the very end. It was the photographer's idea to put him in the middle of a wreath dressed in a diaper and his Santa hat. We probably should have done this first, because by the end of the shoot, he did not want to sit in that wreath, he even produced real tears, which was the last picture of the day. We got some great pictures regardless.
Everyone is very excited for Braeden's first Christmas. I know he will have no idea what is going on, but there is just something magical about this time of year, and I am so thrilled to share it with my little boy. I look forward to this Christmas day and all of the holidays to come.

Monday, November 30, 2009

6 months

I can't believe how fast the time flies by. It seems like I just had this little baby boy and he is already 1/2 a year old. I am still amazed by how quickly he is changing and growing during this first year. His 6 month appointment went great. He is a long lean baby (like his mommy was) measuring in at 28 inches and 17 lbs 9 oz. He got all his vaccinations along with the flu and H1N1 shots, so it wasn't the greatest visit for him, but overall he did great with the shots. He has started eating solids and while he is warming to the idea, he doesn't love them. We have always gone out to lunch and dinner with him quite often, and it is nice that he can start to participate in these meals. A couple of nights ago, Chad and I took him to Texas Roadhouse and I realized that I forgot his bib. Chad made a makeshift bib out of one of the napkins and he kind of looked like an outlaw. He got lots of adoring looks from the diners around us. Braeden is kind of a nosey kid, he is always staring at the people sitting around us at restaurants. In fact, most of the time he won't turn away until they acknowledge him with a smile. As his as they smile, he will smile back at them and then turn away.

Every Monday, I meet my parents and my brother Travis for lunch at this local Mexican restaurant called 4 G's. It is near my parents office and we have been going there for years. In fact, we don't even have to place an order with our regular waitress because we all have a "regular order". Anyway, Braeden has tagged along with me on Mondays since he was born. On this particular day it was cold and Travis was wearing a beanie. We put it on Braeden, and while he didn't love it, we thought it was soo cute.
As far as other milestones. Braeden has been rolling both ways for some time now. His 2 front lower teeth made an appearance during the last month (he was definitely happier when they finally broke the skin). He still loves his excersaucer.
He still wakes throughout the night. I can honestly say, he is a terrible sleeper. In fact, the only time this child cries is when we try to put him to sleep. Oh well, it can't go on forever right...someday I will sleep through the night again :-)
I am loving every minute of this little boy. I am trying to appreciate all of the stages (even the sleepless nights) as I can already see how quickly this time is passing. I can't believe in another 6 months we will be celebrating his 1st birthday. I love this little guy :-)

Sunday, November 22, 2009


If you had asked me a few years ago if I would take a 6 month baby to Mexico, I would have said no way. Well, times have changed. Last winter, my good friend Chrissy got engaged to her boyfriend Travis. I was so thrilled for her, Travis is a great guy and I knew they had a great relationship. Given Chrissy's adventurous spirit, I wasn't surprised at all when she started talking about a destination wedding. She and Travis decided on Riviera Maya in November 2009 and I was so honored when she asked me to be a bridesmaid. At the time I was pregnant with Braeden and I quickly did the math on how old he would be when the wedding came around...6 months...hmm, would I be ready to leave him then...probably not. So, lucky for me, I have an amazing mom, who was happy to tag along on the trip, to be our on call babysitter. I am so glad I decided to bring Braeden. Since I stay home with him during the days, he is very attached to his mom, which I love :-) Additionally, I am still breastfeeding, and I wasn't sure about the effectiveness and logistics of pumping to keep my milk supply up. Lastly, Braeden is still struggling in the sleeping department, especially when other people try to put him to sleep, so I definitely would have worried a lot had we left him in Denver. All in all, I was glad to have him with me for 4 days in Mexico. Might the trip have been more relaxing without him...probably. Would it have been as way!

So, on Wednesday morning, November 18th, Chad, Braeden, Grandma and I headed to the airport for the little guy's first international trip. Did you know they require infants to get passports!! The crazy thing is that they are good for 6 years, like it will look like him at all. It will be a good memento for the memory box. Luckily for us, Braeden has been a great plane traveler so far. With one trip to Wisconsin and now the trip to Mexico under our belts, I can honestly say he hasn't really cried at all on the plane.

The resort we stayed at was very nice and super kid friendly. They provided a crib in the room and they even had highchairs at all of the restaurants (and it was the same highchair we have at home.) We got to take Braeden swimming for the first time. They had a kids pool area with shallow, warm water and Braeden really liked that area. He was super cute in his swim trunks and sun hat. I am already looking forward to swimming with him this summer.

Chad and I stayed busy with all of the pre-wedding hoopla. There was a welcome party on Thursday, the Rehearsal Dinner on Friday and the Wedding on Saturday. Additionally, Chrissy took all of the bridesmaids on a snorkel cruise on Friday morning. That was such a great, relaxing time for me to hang out with the girls. I can't tell you the last time I sat in the sun, no worries, for 3 hours. It was great. All of Chrissy's bridesmaids were awesome too. We had so much fun hanging out.

As expected, the wedding was beautiful and Chrissy looked amazing. They got married at sunset on the beach and everything went perfectly.

A few funny things...a tractor that picks up seaweed, drove right behind the ceremony area just before the bridesmaids started walking down. Also, there was a nudist colony a few resorts down from our resort. Apparently, the nudists like to wear banana hammocks when they clothe. I didn't see them, but there was a couple standing 30 yards from the ceremony making out, and the man was wearing his g-string swimsuit. Chad thought it was humorous enough to take a picture :-)

The reception was a lot of fun. Great company, good music and lots of dancing. Overall, it was a great wedding. I am soo happy for Chrissy and Travis. I look forward to lots of fun years ahead as married couples.

The trip back to Denver ran into a couple slight glitches. Mainly, that our plane was delayed 3 hours and almost didn't take off. Apparently, the flight attendants oxygen mask wouldn't stay up in the compartment, and legally, they can't fly with it dangling down. Thank goodness, they found a way to fly at a lower altitude to get us back to Denver that night. I was so thankful, as I was definitely ready to get home. It was a great trip, but I was glad to get back to our own beds (and crib) and back into our routine.

I want to thank my mom again for coming with us. She was a godsend. We definitely couldn't have gotten by without her. Thanks for being a great mom and an amazing grandma. I love you!

Saturday, October 31, 2009


I have always loved Halloween. I love picking out a costume and dressing up for the night. I was especially excited for this year's celebration because I was going to get to pick out a costume for my little guy. One day, while at Babies R Us (a regular stop for me these days), I saw the cutest little outfit. It was a mini Frankenstein costume with Little Monster embroidered on the chest. This was perfect. Braeden is a great kid, but he is definitely my little monster. While the outfit was super cute, I would probably choose something with feet and a little more comfort next time around. Braeden wasn't a huge fan of wearing it, but he sure looked cute.

On Halloween morning we met my friend's Liz and Judy at the zoo with their kids. Every year the Denver Zoo holds an event called Boo at the Zoo. All the kids dress up and they have trick or treat stations throughout the zoo. They also have a picture taking station. Somehow, Liz and I managed to get a picture where both boys were looking at the camera, kind of impressive for 5 month olds. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time, strolling the kids around the zoo. Braeden didn't really get it this year, in fact, he slept half the time, but I'm sure it will be an event he looks forward to when he gets older.

Halloween night was mellow. For the past 3 years we have hung out at our house for Halloween night to pass out candy. Chad bought a gorilla costume a few years back and it has definitely been a hit with the kids in our neighborhood. Chad sits on the porch in his chimp outfit with the bowl of candy on his lap and pretends he is stuffed. It is hilarious to watch the kids try to figure out if he is "real or not". Chad is so good at staying still as they poke and prod at him and as soon as they go for the candy he will grab their hand and the screams abound. Of course, he only does this for "the big kids". He is a happy, waving gorilla for the little guys. Because of Chad and his gorilla suit, we have become a popular trick or treating house in the neighborhood. I hear the kids saying "Remember me gorilla, I was batman last year" and "I look forward to this house every year." Even when Chad is mowing the lawn in the summer, kids will walk by and say "Hey gorilla man." If we ever sell this house, we will have to tell the new owners that they have to dress as a gorilla on Halloween as not to disappoint the neighborhood kiddos.

On a side note, Gorilla Chad was also a hit with Braeden. I was so sure that Braeden would be terrified of the gorilla. I was amazed when he was all smiles and trying to pull off the fur. I'm sure this won't be the last time my little guy surprises me.

I can't wait until the next Halloween when Braeden is mobile...what will he be...only time will tell.

Friday, October 30, 2009

5 Months

I can't believe it...where has the time gone...Braeden is 5 months old. He has grown into such a cute little boy, I'm only slightly biased. He seems to be getting bigger and more interactive every day. We have so much fun playing together these days. I have started getting out some of the baby toys we have been waiting to use, however, he seems to enjoy the wicker basket that holds all of the toys more than the toys themselves. It is kind of funny to see him go after the basket (it is bigger than he is and he absolutely loves to try to tip it over.
Braeden had a couple of big accomplishments this month. First, he started sitting up on his own (for about 20-30 seconds). I even got him to sit long enough to get a few pictures. He is getting stronger and stronger every day. I know it is only a matter of time until he is on the move, and then we will really be busy trying to keep up with this little guy (he is moving constantly.)
We also tried some solids at his 5 month birthday. I'm not sure he is really ready for them, because he got more rice cereal on his face and hands than he did in his mouth. He definitely had fun playing with his food! While he really didn't love eating, it was super cute to see him sitting in his high chair waiting for the approaching spoon. I think Chad and I enjoyed the whole process more than Braeden. I'm not sure he will love the solids any time soon, but it was sure cute to see him try.
5 months...all I can say is that is has gone by fast, however it seems like Braeden has been with us forever. I can't imagine my life without this new little man. I can't wait to see what the next month brings. I love this little guy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Meeting Uncle Brett

My brothers and sister have always played a very important role in my life. Growing up, I considered myself their second mom, since they were 6-10 years younger than me. It was such a cool dynamic to be the older sister and watch them all grow up. They have all grown into amazing young adults and I feel so fortunate to call them family and more imporantly, friends.

However, as they have grown up, they have also flown the coup, so to speak, and made homes in other parts of the country and world. While Travis lives here in Denver, Chelsea lives in California, and up until a few days ago, Brett lived in Japan for the past 3 years. I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited when Brett told us he was moving back to Denver indefinitely, while searching for a job in the video game industry. Brett has always been very adventurous, and I don't know where life will take him. But for now, we have him back in Denver for a few months and I intend to see him as much as possible.

Because Brett lived in Japan, he hadn't been back to meet his new newphew, Braeden. There had been a lot of build up because Braeden was born the day before Brett's birthday and we have also started to call Braeden Mr B. on occasion, which was always one of Brett's nicknames. Brett has stated that he is the original Mr. B and Braeden is the sequel (keeping in mind that the sequel is never as good as the original)...well, it seems we have found a sequel that is as good (if not better :-) than the original. Brett was excited to meet Braeden and stated that he definitely lived up to all the hype. I know they will grow to be great buddies as Braeden gets older. I hope Braeden has some of the humor, smarts and adventurous spirit that the original Mr. B has. If so, he has a very exciting life ahead of him. We are glad to have you back Brett, now you have to stay around a while!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Since most of my extended family lives in Wisconsin, I started planning a trip back almost as soon as Braeden was born. I want him to know that side of the family, and since not everyone gets out to Colorado that often, I have taken it upon myself to go to Wisconsin once a year. I planned the trip for October, thinking that 5 months would be a good age to travel with the little guy. Luckily, my mom would be traveling with me, so I wouldn't have to make the first trip alone (Chad had used most his time off for the year and had some big stuff going on at work, so he stayed home.)

We arrived at the airport on Thursday morning with 2 giant suitcases (you need a lot of stuff for one little baby :-) Luckily, both of our suitcases were just under the 50 lb limit. The only glitch was that the airline assigned separate seats for my mom and I, so we weren't going to be able to sit together. Luckily, I was correct when I told my mom that whoever was next to me would happily switch, because nobody wants to be stuck next to a baby on a plane :-) The flight was on time and Braeden fell asleep nursing before we even took off. He slept for half the ride and hung out and played the second half. Not a peep was heard out of the baby, definitely a good start to the trip.

My uncle Jim picked us up and took us to my Grandma Dunlap's place. She lives in a retirement home and has a 2 bedroom apartment. My mom, Braeden and I were moving in for the weekend. I really enjoyed staying with my Grandma. She is a phenomenal woman and I only wish she lived closer so I could see her more. I knew this would be a great weekend to spend with her. Upon our arrival, my Grandma insisted on taking Braeden around for all of her friends to meet. It was actually pretty cool to see how excited all of the senior citizens were to see a little baby. She is such a proud great grandma and I know that she loves my little guy so much.

That night we just hung out at my Grandma's and some of my aunts, uncles and cousins stopped by to stay hi and meet the new addition to the Dunlap family. My mom's side of the family is very large (I am the second oldest of 22 grandchildren on that side), so there were a lot of people to see.

Friday was very mellow during the day. My grandma lives in downtown Waukesha, which has an old main street type area with lots of shops and art galleries. We bundled Braeden for the chilly weather and perused the shops for the afternoon. I was definitely looking forward to Friday night because my cousin Anne was driving in from Chicago. While I love all of my cousins, Anne has been like a sister to me as we were growing up. She was one of the bridesmaids at my wedding and I was sooo looking forward to seeing her and introducing her to my new little man.

Before she arrived we met most of my Waukesha based family at a fish fry at the church. This was where most of my mom's side got to meet Braeden. He was definitely a hit! He was passed around from one person to the next, and remained fairly happy through it all. On a side note, I can honestly say I have never seen so many people at a church fish fry, there must have been over 500 people. It was unbelievable. That night we also found out that my cousin Ella was homecoming queen. She was super excited and definitely very deserving of her honor.

After hanging out at the fish fry, we drove back to downtown Waukesha to meet Anne and my cousin Jessie. It turned into a big night out in downtown Waukesha with several cousins and my aunts Marcy and Laurie and my uncle Jim. We all went to a great Irish pub on the main strip in Waukesha with live music. My mom stayed home and babysat Braeden, and I was so thankful to have the night out with my family (it is not often that I get out for drinks these days.)I had a great time out with Anne and the rest of my fam. Thanks mom, I appreciate you more than you know!!

Saturday, the main event for the day was a car trip to Madison. My dad's family lives there and it is about a 1 1/2 hour drive from Waukesha. We planned to leave during Braeden's afternoon nap with hopes that he would sleep during the car ride. This worked well and he slept the entire ride down. We met at my Aunt Debi and Uncle Gary's house and my Grandma Staebell and Great Aunt Margaret came over for dinner. Gary is soooo good with kids and he took every opportunity he could to hold Braeden. They were great buddies by the end of the night and I know they will be riding jet ski's at the summer cabin and talking sports as Braeden gets older. It was so good to see my dad's side of the family. Braeden is soo lucky to have all four of his Great Grandma's still living and doing great. He has now met them all, and I think he is a definite favorite of every one :-) After a great diner and an even better visit, we got ready to head back to Waukesha. This picture was taken right before we got ready to leave (Braeden was getting a little cranky). Unfortunately, the ride home wasn't as peaceful as the ride there. For whatever reason, Braeden does not like to drive when it is dark outside. He cried most of the way and finally fell asleep about 20 minutes from our final destination. My mom and I were definitely thankful to get back.

Sunday was a lazy day. We went to church in the morning and then over to my Uncle Jim and Aunt Marcy's house. Again, we saw most of my mom's family and just hung out with great food and drink. Overall, the weekend was a lot of "hanging out." I wouldn't have had it any other way. It was soo good to see everyone in a relaxed setting. As a kid, I always looked forward to the trips back to Wisconsin. As Braeden gets older, the trips will include more adventures (Brewers games, trips to the lake up north, adventures into Chicago and Milwaukee), but for this trip, hanging out is just what I needed. I love my family so much and it was so great to introduce them to my little guy.

Overall, Braeden's first trip out of Colorado was a huge success. The only drawback was his sleeping challenges. Braeden wasn't loving the pack and play, so I spent most of our sleeping hours with him on the boppy in a recliner. Traveling with a baby is definitely a challenge, but I am so glad I made the effort to get back to see my family. It was definitely worth it. I am already looking forward to the next trip :-)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Baptism and the Godmamma

After four long months, Braeden finally got to meet his aunt Chel. It wasn't that she didn't want to meet her nephew sooner, it just seemed that every time she started to plan a trip, something came up to delay her.

I found a way to get her to Denver for sure by (finally) planning Braeden's baptism. She is the Godmother (or the Godmomma as she likes to call herself), so she had to make an appearance this weekend. I love my brothers and sisters soo much and I was soo excited for Chelsea to meet my little guy. What can I say, he was a hit. It was so cute to see her with her nephew. She is ten years younger than me, and probably a long way off from having her own kids, but she sure was excited to cuddle her little nephew. Braeden is sure to be spoiled by my brothers and sisters (at least until they have their own kids :-)

Chelsea spent the night at our house on Friday, and while I know she enjoyed spending time with Braeden, I think she will think twice about having kids any time soon after seeing me get up every few hours throughout the night. The days of sleeping in on the weekends are gone once you have kids.

The main event of the weekend, the baptism, was on Sunday morning at the 9:15 mass. This was during his regular nap time, so I wasn't sure how well he would do...luckily he did great! We arrived at 8:45 to meet with the ushers to coordinate how everything would play out. I had to laugh to myself when he asked how much space they should block off for our guests. Chad comes from a very large extended family. Almost everyone lives in Colorado and most of them come to every family event. I think the usher nearly passed out when I said we were expecting about 40 people. One of the great things about coming from such a large close family, is the traditions that you get to pass down. Braeden wore the baptismal gown that was hand sewn in 1923 by his great, great Grandma. It was worn by both Chad's grandpa and Chad and I'm sure it will be worn by many generations to come.

Before the mass, Father Pawel came over to meet Braeden. I don't' know what came over him, but my little boy started smiling and kicking, he was so excited to meet the priest. The mass started and we waited to take our places for the baptism, which took place in the middle of the mass. Our parish has a baptismal pool in the back and the priest asks all of the kids in attendance to gather around for baptisms. I can already imagine Braeden running up at a future mass trying to get a place in front where he can touch the water.

As the Father Pawel began to pour the holy water over Braeden's head, I thought my biggest concern would be if he would cry or not. However, when I bent over to hold Braeden over the pool, I could feel my strapless dress slowly inching down. You can't see my terror in the video, but I was sure I was going to flash the entire church. Luckily, my elastic held on, and I made it through the father, son and holy ghost. I have made a mental note to myself not to wear a strapless dress to any future baptisms. Braeden made it through all his essential parts of the mass, before passing out in his daddy's arms. As a side note, Braeden seems to fall asleep quite often in church...maybe I should get a mass to play for him at bedtime :-)

After mass, we had everyone over to our house for a brunch. This would be a simple task if you have a regular sized family, but when you have 40 people coming to your house, it takes some planning. I think everyone was fairly comfortable, and we only ran out of potatoes (next time we will have to make 2 batches). I really love family functions. Chad and I are both sooo lucky to have such awesome families with soo many people that care about us and Braeden. Thanks also to Danny and Chelsea. Braeden is very lucky to call you his Godparents.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

4 months

I can't believe how fast the time goes by and how much this little boy has changed in 4 months. Looking back, I can hardly remember how little he used to be. Braeden is doing so great these days. Chad and I are amazed everyday by some new little face or sound he is making.

I love how he grabs both of his feet and rolls into a little ball. Apparently this is called the happy
baby pose in yoga and judging how much Braeden does this, he is definitely a happy baby.

He also started turning over (both ways) during the last month. The funny thing is, for some reason he finds it easier to turn from his back to his stomach, which I believe is supposed to be the harder way to turn. In fact, he will turn over to his stomach almost as soon as I lay him down to sleep, and then he freaks himself out because he has a hard time turning back. I guess he will either get used to sleeping on his stomach or learn how to turn back more quickly. But it is definitely making his already undesirable sleeping habits a little more challenging. Oh well, some day consist ant sleep will come :-)

This is a picture of him at about 4 months in his exersaucer. He LOVES this thing and he really hasn't figure out all the toys yet. I can't wait to see how much he loves it when he discovers everything it does.

He is also a bubble blowing champion. One of his favorite things to do is blow is lips back at you when you do it to him. I have even been lucky enough to catch it on video :-)

His 4 month visit went great. He is 15 lbs 12 oz and 26 1/2 inches long. Definitely a big boy.
It has been such a thrill being a parent. I am amazed by how much he grows and changes each week. I am constantly reminding myself to enjoy every stage, because he will be on to something new soon :-)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Go Broncos!

I love fall in Colorado. Not only is the weather fabulous, but it is the beginning of football season! As you all know, I am a die hard Bronco fan and when I married Chad I was lucky enough to marry into Broncos season tickets. I joke with Chad that his season tickets closed the deal :-)

Lucky for us, Braeden has 2 sets of amazing grandparents that are willing to babysit during Bronco games. However, I wanted to wait until Braeden was 4 months old until I left him for a long period of the day. He is not a great bottle taker and his naps aren't the greatest yet (hopefully, that will change soon), so Chad and I decided to watch the first home game of the season, Broncos vs. Cleveland, from home. They won, and Braeden got to wear his Bronco outfit.
As you can tell, he was very excited about the outcome of the game!
I am definitely looking forward to the games this year, and I am really looking forward to taking Braeden to a game when he gets older. This kid has no choice, he will be a Bronco fan!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More Park Time

It has really been a very cool thing to share the experience of motherhood with my best friend Liz. Our boys are only 3 weeks apart in age and really go through the baby stages at just about the same time. On September 9th, Declan had his 4 month appointment, so Liz took the day off from teaching to take him to the pediatrician. That afternoon, Braeden and I met Liz and Declan at Wash Park. For those of you who don't live in Denver, Wash Park is (in my opinion) the best park in Denver. It has lots of paths, huge grassy areas, multiple playgrounds, a small lake, basketball and tennis courts, and just about everything you would ever want from a park.

On this particular day, Liz and I loaded the boys in the strollers and walked on one of the paths until we found a nice shaded spot (with not too much goose poop, one of the only problems at the park.) I laid out a blanket and we unloaded the boys and some of the toys we brought. It was a great day hanging out with our little guys and catching up on each others lives. I am soo looking forward to all of the fun times ahead.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day Weekend!

This Labor Day weekend was a little different than those of years past. Usually I was out of town, either in Aspen playing volleyball or Vegas gambling and staying up way too late. This year, not only do we have a new baby, but Chad is involved in a major move at work that required him to work all of the weekends in September, including the long holiday weekend. Needless to say, we stayed in town :-)

Friday night we stayed home and had a little family barbecue. We have definitely used our grill more this summer than any other. I have really come to appreciate a relaxing Friday night at home (I never thought I would say that :-)

Since Chad was working on Saturday, I scheduled some fun Braeden and Mommy adventures. My parents have been going to the Cherry Creek Farmers market on Saturday mornings for the past several years. I have always wanted to join them, however, they go at 7:30 am, and in all summer's before this one, I was definitely asleep on Saturday morning at 7:30 am. As all of you mom's out there know, 7:30 am is now a perfectly acceptably hour to be up and out and about. So, Braeden and I headed down to Cherry Creek to meet Grandma and Grandpa Staebell. I really can't express how cool it is to see my parents with Braeden. I knew they would be great grandparents, and that doesn't even begin to describe them. That Saturday morning at the Farmer's market, I couldn't help by smile as my dad proudly toted Braeden around to all of the different shops at the market. He loves his grandson and jumps at any opportunity to carry him around and show him off. I am soo glad my parents are nearby, not only for all the help they provide me, but for all of the memories they get to share with Braeden. It was a great morning at the Farmer's Market and I know it will be even more fun next summer when Grandpa is chasing, rather than carrying, Braeden around.

After the Farmer's market, my mom, Braeden and I met my Aunt Luanne at an antique fair that was near my house. Braeden fell asleep on the way there and slept in his stroller for the next hour and a half. My little guy isn't the greatest sleeper. In fact, he sleeps best in his carseat/stroller. This is a situation I am working on fixing (meaning getting him to sleep longer in the crib), but on this particular day, I was just happy he was getting a nice long nap. He looked so comfy in his stroller and I thought it was really cute the way he had his hand resting on his toy cow.

Our Saturday didn't stop there. That afternoon Braeden and I met Liz and Declan at Wash Park. We don't get to see them as often now that Liz is back at work, so this was a special treat (more for me than Braeden :-) When we arrived at the park, we found a nice shaded area and spread out a blanket to play with the boys. However, nature and the weather had other plans for us. Within about 15 minutes of our arrival, it began to rain. At first it was just a light sprinkle and with the shade of the tree, we could hardly feel it. When the rain started to come down a little harder, Liz and I quickly realized we needed to find cover, and fast. We loaded the boys into their strollers and headed for a small covered area near the rec center. We proceeded to stand there with 2 other ladies who were out for a walk for the next 45 minutes, huddled away from the rain. Luckily, Braeden fell asleep and Declan took a bottle, so both boys were mostly happy. Not quite the afternoon at the park we had planned, but not much goes as planned these days :-) This picture was taken after the rain stopped and we were getting ready to go home. Trying to get them both to look at the camera at the same time was a daunting and unsuccessful task. Braeden and I are definitely looking forward to lots of future visits to the park with Liz and Declan.
After a long Saturday of events, Sunday and Monday were fairly uneventful, and thankfully so. We hung out with dad, cooked out and relaxed. There is no other way I would have rather spent my Labor Day weekend!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's a bee!

It all started when I was trying to pick out an outfit for Braeden to wear to his 3 month pictures. I wanted him to wear a summer outfit. Unfortunately, all of the stores I looked at were carrying fall and winter clothes, so I was restricted to the clothes in Braeden's closet (which was probably better for my bank account in the long run :-)
I picked out a few outfits I liked and did my own photo shoot at home. Needless to say, Braeden was not too happy with multiple costume changes over a short period of time. We were meeting my parents for dinner that night, so I took my camera to get feedback on what my parents thought looked best. When we got to this outfit, my dad immediately said, "He can't wear that, he looks like a bee." Needless to say, the bee outfit was nixed for the professional pictures. However, my husband found quite a bit of humor in the bee outfit, as you can see below....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Braeden meets little George!

So there must have been something in the water, or maybe it was the beer, at our wedding. There were a few ladies, including myself, that decided they were going to try and have kids after the big party. Liz was the first to get pregnant, with little Declan. I was second, with my little man Braeden, Sara was third with little George, and my friend Lisa was last with sweet Emily. Hopefully, they will all grow up to be great friends (they have no choice :-)
Tonight we went to a barbeque at Sara's house to visit and meet her new little man. He is 5 weeks younger than Braeden and a spitting image of his dad. In fact, all 3 boys seem to strongly resemble their dads. Hopefully, the future girls will look like their moms :-)
It was a great evening. Little George is doing great and Sara is doing amazing as well. I am so lucky to have friends with little one's like mine. As the years go by, it will be so fun to see these little ones grow up!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Funny Reaction :-)

So, I found that if I fill my cheeks with air and then push the air out on to Braeden's face, he has a cute reaction. This is how I spend my days! I love this little guy!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Go Rockies!

Every year Chad's Grandma Baker takes the entire family to a Rockies game. This year we decided to pass. Braeden is still a little too young to spend a day at the stadium and the seats were in the sun. Additionally, they were playing the Cubs, so that is always a really busy sell out weekend for the Rockies.

Luckily, we were able to attend the brunch his grandma hosted before the game. This was the first time Chad's Fort Collins family got to meet Braeden. As usual, Braeden did a good job of entertaining with a few smiles and some chatter. He is generally a really good baby. He rarely cries unless he has a good reason to (which usually means he is tired or hungry.)

My mom's best friend, Connie, gave Braeden a Rockies outfit and this was the perfect opportunity for him to wear it. He looked so cute, and although he will outgrow it before he will attend a game (likely next year), the pictures will be priceless for the future.
I am sure we will make it to a game next summer. I have a feeling this kid is going to be a Denver sports fan (whether he likes it or not). Next up...Broncos pictures :-)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Date Night

Getting out of the house has definitely proven to be more of a challenge with our new little guy. While Chad and I have taken him with us to multiple places, weddings, restaurants, even a movie, we had yet to go out by ourselves. That all changed on August 6th. Over the past few weeks, Braeden has been going to sleep around 8 pm and sleeping for a 4-5 hour stretch (never mind that he refuses to sleep flat on his back in the crib, but that is for another post :-) To make it easier on my parents (the first babysitters) we planned our first outing around his sleepy time. My parents came over around 7:30 and Braeden was down by 7:45.

Chad and I decided to head up to Blackhawk, a small mountain town about 45 minutes away that has gambling. They recently added craps and roulette and increased their betting limits from $5 to $100. Most of you know how much we love Vegas (we went 7 times in our first year and a half of dating), so this seemed like a good choice for our first official "date night" (I doubt we will get to Vegas any time soon :-). We arrived in Blackhawk around 8:30 and found an open blackjack table at The Lodge Casino. I have to say it was one of the best times I've ever had gambling. I was so happy just to be out and about that I wasn't really paying much attention to the win/loss record. Lucky for Chad and I, we were both winning that night. We walked away from the table around 11:30 with a $600 gain. It was probably a good thing that we had to get home, or we probably would may have given most of our winnings back to the casino. We walked in the door of our house around 12:30 am and Braeden had just woken up 15 minutes earlier.

It was a great date night for me and Chad. I love my husband soo much, and while we have a great time out with Braeden, it is definitely nice to get out on our own as well. Chad is already talking about going back up to Blackhawk, so I'm sure we will see another date night to Blackhawk in the future (hopefully, it will be just as profitable :-)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Christian gets married!

I am a person who absolutely loves weddings! It is always such a happy event when 2 people commit to each other for a lifetime in front of their friends and family. I am always amazed how each wedding takes on the personality of the couple getting married, big or small, fancy or low key, I can honestly say I have never been to a bad wedding.

On August 1st, we attended our second wedding of the summer. One of Chad's best friend's, Christian, got married in a small mountain town called Georgetown. It was a beautiful day and a perfect setting for their outdoor ceremony. Chad was a groomsman, and he looked great in his tux, as did our little guy, Braeden, who got to wear his tux onesie for the second time :-) This wedding also held a special place in my heart because it was one day before our one year anniversary. As I watched the ceremony and celebrated at the reception, I continuously thought back to our own wedding only one year ago. That is such a great memory for Chad and I, it was really the perfect day. I have to say my life has gotten better and better ever since.

One of my favorite parts of this wedding was the first dance for Christian and Allison. There was a small pond behind the area where the ceremony took place. As soon as the ceremony was over, and they were pronounced husband and wife, Christian and Allison floated out on the pond on what I can only describe as a floating dance floor, complete with pleather couch, champagne and strawberries. It was very cool. After the ceremony, the reception was held in a greenhouse on the property. It was a fun night and Braeden did a great job all things considered. When we finally got home around 11:30 (wayyyy past his bedtime) he was exhausted. Despite my efforts to get him to sleep, Braeden was too interested in everything going on to sleep for too long. (He did join Chad and I in a dance at one point of the night). He finally fell asleep on the way home and he didn't make a peep as a transferred him from his car seat to the the Pack and Play bassinet we brought up.

I feel so lucky to have such an amazing family at this point in my life. Looking back just a few years, I never imagined I would be happily married to the most awesome husband and the proud mother of an incredible baby boy at this point in my life. I know things are just going to get better and better with each anniversary!

Friday, July 31, 2009

2 Months

So, we've made it - 2 months :-) It is a short period of time, but it seems like a big milestone. I am so amazed by how much this little guy has grown in such a short period of time. It really is a miracle. His personality is starting to come through and he smiles more and more every day.

Today we went in for Braeden's 2 month check up. I was excited to see how much he had grown, but nervous about the 3 immunization shots he would be receiving. They say it is harder on the parent than the little one, but I was still sad for my poor little guy.

The appointment went well. His growth was great, he is now 12 lbs, 13 oz (75th percentile) and 25 inches long (97th percentile). I dont' think anyone is surprised that I have a long baby. Chad and I are already making bets on his final height, I am guessing 6'7" :-) He is heatlthy and happy, and he did great with his shots. He cried when he got poked, but I nursed him right after and he was fast asleep as we left the doctors office. While I am not looking forward to future shots, I am encouraged that he handled them ok. I'm sure 4 months (the next appointment) will be here before I know it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Gone Fishing

Every year Chad's family takes a fishing trip in Northwestern Colorado on the White River near a little town called Buford. We stay in a nice cabin (with electricity and plumbing :-), go fishing, play cards and hang out. It is a beautiful part of the state and I have always looked forward to the refreshing weekend away.

This year, Braeden was 8 weeks old on the scheduled fishing weekend. This would be our first "big" driving trip with the little guy (5 hours in the car). While we would only be gone 2 nights, there was an amazing amount of stuff that we needed to bring to accommodate this little person. We were leaving on Saturday morning and I started making a mental list of everything I needed almost a week before. This trip always requires more thought because we bring all of our food and drink as well (the nearest store is about 30 mins outside of town.) We started getting ready to go on Friday and by Saturday around 9 am, we were on the road. I think that is the most packed our Volvo has ever been. We brought the pack and play with the bassinet so he had somewhere to sleep, the shade tent in case he needed shade outside, the gymini in case he wanted to play... can you tell this is our first :-) We may need to buy a trailer to accommodate future kids :-) Braeden was fed and changed and fell asleep quickly as we headed up the mountain. Lucky for us, he slept most of the way there (with one stop to eat.) Our ride back wasn't so lucky :-) We arrived around 3 pm, and everyone was anxiously awaiting our arrival, or should I say Braeden's arrival!

It was a great weekend. Chad's entire family was there, along with Dena's mom and Chad's Grandma Baker. I didn't get to fish as much as normal, but I did sneak away with Chad for a couple of hours to go fish by the bridge while Chad's sister and mom watched Braeden. This was the first time Chad and I had been alone since Braeden's birth. It was so refreshing and relaxing to just hang out in the beautiful mountain air and know that Braeden was in good hands. They took him on a walk and he quicky fell asleep for most of the time we were gone (he almost always falls asleep on his walks, even on the bumpy mountain dirt roads.)

While I was hanging with Braeden at the cabin, many of the others were out catching fish. Dan, Chad's dad, brought home a couple of big ones. In fact, they were almost as long as our little guy, and that means it's a long fish :-)

Our trip was spent eating, relaxing, and playing with Braeden. It was really a great time. I am definitely looking forward to the year when Braeden is old enough to cast his first line into the river. As fast as the first 8 weeks have gone, I'm sure they will be here before I know it.