Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween

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

Wisconsin

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.
video
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.