if I die in a cubicle zone

I am more than two months almost three months behind in a Milo update and my guilt about this is intense. I admit that I’ve let myself enjoy a bit of sleep, or reading for pleasure, or puttering in my garden, or being present with Milo, rather than writing about what a genius he is and all of his many accomplishments. I don’t regret my prioritization but I feel incredibly guilty.

So, I have this new job. And it’s taking up a lot of my time. Much more than 40 hours a week. I don’t exactly regret taking the job, but I kind of regret taking the job.

It’s just so much more all-consuming than a mama with a toddler with little support can handle.

In an attempt to catch myself up, this post contains a collection on photos with very brief summaries of some things we’ve done.

May

Summer in Boise. Hot hot hot. We’ve been playing in our backyard pool and in the sprinklers a lot. I’ve since upgraded to a bigger pool than what is pictured and it’s a great way to cool off in the heat.

We’ve also been going to the pool at the YMCA. We did this a few times last year and Milo was completely overwhelmed. But now he’s really taken to it. He can even go down the big water slide on my lap and has so much fun.

Also, several parks have ‘splash pads’ and we’ve been enjoying those as well.

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Summer, it’s all about how to beat the heat.

This below photo from May is from a hike we went on… seems like a long time ago. That’s our neighborhood below. This is my current favorite photo of Milo and I.

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Josh has been taking Milo mountain biking when it’s cool enough.

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Sleeping boy. As an aside, I’m noticing the two pacifiers next to him in this photo (which was taken two months ago)… In preparation for him turning TWO next month, we’ve weaned him off the pacifiers (both at home and at school) and it’s worked out great. I thought it would be horrible, what with how attached he was to his binkies, but he seems to understand that he’s a big boy now and big boys don’t use binkies.

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For Mother’s Day, his day care hosted a Mother’s Day tea party. The whole time I was fairly anxious about all of this china around so many toddlers, but it was fine. (They also hosted a Father’s Day Root Beer Float party).

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Arkansas

In May, we went to Arkansas to visit Josh’s family. Milo took his very first plane trip and he did great! Since he’s still under two, we saved some dollars by not buying him a seat and it was totally fine having him sit on our laps.

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We stayed with Josh’s oldest brother, Jim, and his family (wife Wendy, son Jamie, and daughter Anna). This is their playset in the backyard, with Anna on the swing.

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They also had this car and all of the cousins took turns driving it around. Even Milo drove it!

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Milo driving Anna around.

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Josh’s oldest sister, Jessica, bought the kids a bouncy house and they had so much fun. In the below photo, Milo was enjoying the sensation of lying down and bouncing around. I was worried the other kids would step on him, but everyone was very careful.

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More bouncy house fun.

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That’s his cousin Eden. It’s crazy… I held Eden when she was a newborn baby and now she’s 7 years old.

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The next few photos are when we went to a ‘drive through safari.’ Below, we were looking at some birds (and right as I was taking this photo, Milo put his mouth on that poopy railing! ugh!) We used a lot of hand sanitizer on this trip.

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Goats!

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Feeding a camel.

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Milo got to touch a snake!

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We also spent time out at a lake (I don’t know the name).

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This is Josh’s mom, Kathy.

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Milo and Kathy in downtown Bentonville.

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Hanging out in another of the cousins’ backyard.

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We also went to a really fun indoor children’s playground, called the Amazeum.

That’s Leah, Eden’s sister, behind Milo.

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Milo and I spent a lot of time at this sand swirly station.

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I wish Boise had a place like this for when it’s super hot outside. I should mention that we went to this Amazeum on ‘tornado day’ – – not only was it really hot and humid out, but tornadoes were in the forecast and we wanted to keep the kiddos inside.

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There was a fun water play area.

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Northwest Arkansas is also home to an amazing art museum, Crystal Bridges, which has a large outdoor art space, including miles of walking paths. We walked along the paths quite a bit (and also went inside the museum as well). Anyway, this is one of the sculptures that I liked a lot.

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After ‘tornado day’ there was ‘tornado night’ when Josh, Jim, and I were woken up by the tornado alarms (amazingly, Wendy and all the kiddos slept through it). We watched the radar for awhile and discussed whether to get all of the kids into a closet or something.

Weirdly, there are no basements in this area of Arkansas. They have some really bizarre bedrock just a few feet down from their top soil, and it’s difficult to drill below it. Trees grow with shallow roots that spread horizontally rather than going deep into the soil, and they are always coming down in storms. At Kathy’s house, she recently had a big tree come down, and I was astonished at the root system.

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On another day, we took a field trip to an historic mill and stopped at a few other places. We had taken a walk, and a storm quickly began forming, so we scurried back to the mill. Below, Milo is covering his ears because of some loud thunder.

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It rained hard for about 20 minutes, and afterwards there were many fun puddles to play in.

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Here’s a photo of the storm approaching. It’s amazing how fast it came on. On our walk, the skies were clear and sunny, and within ten minutes it looked like this.

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We went to the Farmer’s Market and Milo got to tour a fire truck.

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We also went on a hike and everyone got ticks. Northwest Arkansas is extremely beautiful and has some fantastic outdoor recreation opportunities, but the bug situation is completely unacceptable. Checking ourselves for ticks was a nightly occurrence, as was FINDING a tick on at least one person.

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This is up at the lake again, and all of the cousins lined up together. The oldest cousin, Ely, is holding the youngest cousin, baby Joshua.

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There’s a fun splash pad in downtown Bentonville that we took Milo to. The expression of absolute delight summarizes how he felt about the splash pad.

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June

Back in Boise, Milo came down with another stomach flu. He’s already so skinny and he seemed to quickly get skinnier with a week-long stomach flu.

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My former boss had a party that Milo and I attended with some of my former coworkers. She lives on a ranch and has several horses, included this mini horse.

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Milo got to ride a tractor. It was a lot of fun.

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Another adventure we had was to go to a petting zoo way out in a rural area (wow, I cannot remember where it was) with his friends Una and Eli. I had never been there before (and I don’t think I’ll go again… it wasn’t that great). But it was fun for the kiddos and afterwards we all went to a brewery that had a nice outdoor space for the kids to run around.

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Josh is working on several home improvement projects. He’s completely re-landscaping the front yard, getting rid of most of the grass, installing a walkway, etc. Inside the house, he’s also working to install the house’s very first dishwasher.

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I painted Milo’s and my toenails purple.

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Okay, apparently that is all of the photos that I uploaded. I have actually not been very good about taking photos recently. Milo and I went blueberry picking last Saturday and we go to different playgrounds and nature areas all the time.

This post kind of catches me up on some of the adventures we’ve been up to but doesn’t even begin to touch on all of the developments that my little genius has experienced these past few months. I’ll try to do that at some point. And hopefully I won’t get this behind again.

June 2017 Garden Update

It has been over a month since I posted any kind of update. I am way late in posting a Milo update and have many updates on the garden (which I will post today, in a photo-heavy and somewhat disorganized post). To say that I have been busy is an understatement. I had been experiencing normal busyness with a full time job, many spare time activities, and my rambunctious little guy, then I unexpectedly applied for and was offered a new job, and soon thereafter we went to Arkansas for a family reunion. Currently, I’ve been working a lot of overtime to wrap up the projects in my current role so that I can move into my new role with no loose ends. Since I wasn’t even thinking about looking for a new job, my previously expanded timeline was suddenly scrunched. Basically, one Thursday, a colleague approached me and said, “Hey Jennifer, there is this position that the Sr. Director isn’t satisfied with her pool of applicants and I think you would rock the job.” I met with the Sr. Director the following day to discuss the role, thought about it over the weekend, applied on Sunday, had an interview on Tuesday, and was offered the job on Wednesday.

Despite the busyness, today I am able to possibly post a garden update because I find myself unexpectedly home with a sick Milo. He was throwing up all yesterday evening and all night and had a fever of 101 this morning. So far, he’s slept most of the morning and is currently lying in bed watching some Thomas the Train.

Okay, as for the garden… good news and not-so-good news, as always. Harvests are trickling in, though I’m not bothering with weighing anything. I have several garden projects I’m working on and just don’t think weighing the harvests is a priority with my limited time.

For this update, I’ll take you through the different areas of the backyard & veggie garden.

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First up, is the general space in the backyard. Last year, we installed this flower bed that I planted randomly with many things. I love its wildness, though I am thinking about moving the blue flax. I also want to remove the grass between the bed and the fence and have a low-maintenance zone.

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Along with ornamentals, I’ve planted strawberries that are doing quite well.

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I also planted cucumbers bought from a local nursery, and they are not doing well. Previously, I’ve explained how I decided not to start my summer garden from seeds but to buy transplants from a nursery. I did this not only because I thought I would save time but also because our trip to Arkansas overlapped with prime- Summer garden planting time (ie, mid-May) and I didn’t want to leave seedlings at the hands of a housesitter.

Unfortunately, many of my nursery-bought transplants are not doing so well.

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Blue flax in the back yard. I love this plant.

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Here is another one of our flower beds in the backyard.

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It is also home to strawberries.

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And self-seeded Calendula.

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As well as this butterfly bush. I’ve been trying to plant more ornamentals favorable to pollinators.

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Over by the shed I have this strip for flowers – california poppies, yarrow, delphinium, rudbekia, etc.

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I also planted summer crookneck squash, which is doing much better than the cucumbers but I am concerned about something munching on the plants in this space. I planted six bunches of marigolds and they are also decimated.

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The rudbeckia are also being munched on.

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This one might not make it.

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I’ve had other problems with some flowering plants this year. We had a late hard frost that destroyed the flower buds on the magnolia as well as the lilac. Flowers that I had been eagerly awaiting never arrived.

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And sadly, the plum trees experienced a glorious flowering but the hard frost killed off most of the blooms so I suspect it will be a dismal year for plums.

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On the Hollywood plum, there are but a handful of fruit.

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Likewise the Satsuma plum has relatively few fruit.

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But look! A bird’s nest. I think it’s been abandoned.

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Fortunately the Hawthorn we planted last fall has survived the winter. We enjoyed its flowering and now leafing out.

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The grapes are also coming alive.

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Now we progress to the back where I have my official veggie garden. As a side note, I’ve planted several cukes, squash, pumpkins, and gourds outside of this area, so that’s why it seems mixed up.

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This area is a mess because I’m trying to install a drip irrigation system. The one I did last year didn’t work very well so I’m redoing it.

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The bareroot raspberries I planted are coming up.

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My wild herb perennials are wild.

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Asparagus is out of control. I had a good harvest and it exploded while we were in Arkansas.

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I cannot keep up with harvesting peas.

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Broccoli forming nice heads.

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I harvested a bunch of rhubarb and enjoyed a new-to-me rhubarb muffin recipe.

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Eight ball zucchini is doing well.

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And then the tomatoes… ugh. All of the tomatoes that I bought from the super nice local organic nursery are badly off. I’m not sure what exactly is wrong but I’m wondering if I should pull them all out. (I’d appreciate some advice on this actually).

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It’s a huge bummer, as homegrown tomatoes make life worth living.

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Also, you can see that I spent a not-insignificant amount of money on transplants and the number that I doubt will survive is really disappointing.

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Seriously, what the hell!

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Oh look, a single tomato that appears sort of okay.

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This one might make it as well.

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In desperation, I bought this Better Boy at Home Depot. It’s doing great.

As for the peppers, I am unsure if they are doing well or not. All of their leaves are curling upwards. Every single one of them. Otherwise, they seem healthy and some even have fruit growing.

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Then we move to the ornamental zone. I’ve been doing quite a bit of work here as well.

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One project was replacing all three of my well-established spurge plants that were crushed by the astronomical amount of snow this winter. I was so in love with my spurges and it was so sad for me to have to dig them up.

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Bottlebirdhouse Gourd

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Galaxy of Stars Gourd

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Staghorn sumac is doing well and actually sending out suckers.

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Elderberry is blossoming and the squirrels planted this oak tree that is doing well and I have yet to pull. We definitely don’t want an oak tree here, but it looks like such a sweet little tree that I don’t want to pull it up.

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Hooligan pumpkin.

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To replace a dead bush, I planted an hydrangea.

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And spaghetti squash.

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Finally, blackberries are going bananas! This is after I severely pruned them several weeks ago. They are exploding with growth and are loaded with blossoms.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Hopefully soon I’ll post a Milo update.

Harvest Monday [ 04-24-2017 ]

The asparagus continues.

 

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to harvest as much asparagus as I could have considering that we’ve had several hard frosts in between warm weather, so I’ve lost a decent amount of spears.

Nonetheless, this is my first year harvesting asparagus and I am delighted with it.

April 24

Despite the fluctuating weather, the rest of the garden is doing well.

This year, I’ve decided to experiment with using tomato cages for the snap peas. We’ll see how that goes.

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Here is the broccoli.

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And the potato leaves are starting to emerge.

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Here is my little helper enjoying himself in one of my carrot beds. I haven’t been at all concerned about him wreaking havoc in my garden because I love that he enjoys digging in the dirt. Of course, I would prefer he play in his sandbox rather than my garden beds, but I would also prefer he play in my garden beds rather than watch tv and play video games all day. So I absolutely want to encourage him to play outside and cultivate his love of dirt.

Anyway, for the rest of my spring garden that is not photographed, I have one bed dedicated to beets, and one bed with chard and spinach. I’m about to begin harvesting rhubarb (seen in the background of the above video).

Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.

Milo – 20 months

Another awesome month with my little guy! I’m sure this will come as no surprise, but I am so proud of him and in awe at all of his skills and comprehension.

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Sleeping Through The Night

This will probably come as a complete SHOCK, but Milo is (more or less) sleeping through the night. After obsessing about this for so long, several months ago I resigned myself to believing that he wouldn’t sleep through the night until he was 5 and just made peace with it.

What was happening:

Milo always wanted to drink a ton of milk before bed. And I let him because I assumed he was hungry. And then he would wake up every 2 hours all night long wanting more milk. And I continued to let him drink milk all night long because I assumed that his body needed it. After all, he’s kind of fallen off his growth chart and I didn’t want to take away a source of nutrition for him.

In my mind, I’ve become increasingly worried about his teeth and drinking milk all night long and it was driving me crazy thinking about all of the possible tooth decay that I was allowing to happen. At the same time, I was worried that taking away the nighttime milk would be AWFUL and a huge battle. So, I kept procrastinating.

And then, it occurred to me that we’re going to be taking a trip to visit Josh’s family in Arkansas mid-May and that it would be great if Milo didn’t need to drink milk all night long during the trip. Once that thought occurred to me, I decided to stop the milk then and there.

That night, I explained he could drink milk before getting ready for bed, but that after we brushed his teeth, there would be no more milk until the morning and that he could have water if he was thirsty. Milo seemed to be ignoring me while I was explaining this. But when he woke up at his normal time wanting milk, I reminded him that there was no more milk at night, and he just went back to sleep and that was that.  He’s stopped waking up throughout the night, and basically just sleeps. It’s amazing.

It was absolutely the easiest transition we’ve made with Milo on anything. I have tried reducing his nightime feeds in the past, and was completely unsuccessful. So the fact that this was so easy suggests to me that he was finally just ready.

Words, Words, Words

Milo’s verbal expression continues to expand, though he is not very talkative.

Some of his new words this month include: goose, bear, egg, and go! He’s also saying “bee!” to refer to any insect.

Here’s a video of his One, Two, Three, Go! game. This is a thing they do at his school to get wiggles out inside when the weather prevents them from going outside.

Puzzles, Matching Shapes

This month, Milo suddenly is skilled at correctly assembling peg puzzles (both one-piece, and multi-piece jigsaw puzzles) as well as the shape-insertion toys. He’s been able to match shapes for a while, but actually getting them to line up so that they fit together has eluded him until recently.

Imaginative Play

He’s also doing imaginative play a lot more. There was a huge ‘kids consignment sale’ thing a few weeks ago and I bought Milo a brand new (but crazy cheap) toy kitchen set and he LOVES working in his kitchen. I also found a really cool Little People race track that he loves racing all of his different Hot Wheels down. And, we’ve been collecting realistic animal toys and he loves doing imaginative play with them. In particular, he likes to walk them around in groups (ie, all of the elephants together) and giving them drinks of water.

Potty Awareness

Another cool development is his increasing awareness of his biological functions. He is now aware of when he needs to poop and he always comes and tells me – – he points at his bum and says “poop.” He also knows how to pee – – at bathtime, the first thing he does when I place him into the bath, is to intentionally pee and watch in fascination. He’s had many moments during bathtime (before, during, or after bathtime) when he’s noticed himself peeing and now he’s figured out how to do it on purpose. I’m really glad he doesn’t have this same fascination with pooping; at least pee is relatively clean (especially compared to poop).

Sickness

Of course, it hasn’t all been rainbows and lollipops this month. Several weeks ago, Milo brought home a stomach flu and he was horribly sick with it for a full week. Amazingly, Josh didn’t get sick at all, but I sure did.

Treefort / Kidfort

As for the fun activities we’ve done, this past month featured the annual Treefort Music Festival (which is kind of a big deal) and we went to the ‘Kidfort’ portion of it. A guy had brought in a TON of cardboard boxes for kids to make forts with.

The photo below accurately captures Milo’s attitude during this adventure. He was really cranky and grumpy. In hindsight, this was exactly two days before his first vomiting session, so he was probably not feeling well. Poor guy!

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He didn’t build a fort but he enjoyed going into the other forts. This particular fort he loved.

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He had a lot of fun using chalk and coloring the walls of the fort.

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Another successful fun moment was when a woman started waving a bubble wand around and several kiddos were joyfully chasing the bubbles.

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However, our experience with the main reason for our being there was not successful. A ‘kindie’ rock band (indie rock for kids = kindie rock) was going to play a free show for kids and I was super excited for us to see them. I had visions of Milo dancing at the front with all the other kiddos, and just in general having an awesome time. Instead, we had to leave in the middle of the second song.

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Bruneau Sand Dunes

Two weekends ago, we had an AWESOME family adventure to Bruneau Sand Dunes. This is the second time we’ve taken Milo here and it was even more fun than the first time. We went this past summer, around his first birthday when Grandma was in town, and Milo could toddle and crawl around well enough, but now that he’s older and more skilled at walking it was so much fun!

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We also went to a different part of the dunes, one that was more kid-friendly and found a great spot to hang out. It was right next to one of the smaller dunes and we could easily hike up and sled down.

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When we sledded down with Milo, we just went to the halfway point. But on our own, we would hike to the very top and could get going REALLY fast. At one point, Josh was sledding down so fast that he actually tore the sled in half.

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The sand dunes are great, in part, because Milo loves playing in the sand. Josh dug a big hole and Milo had fun playing in it.

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Just another shot of that.

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I like this shot of me because I was truly just standing there being normal, and I look like a super mom.

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Another shot of Milo having fun playing in the sand. The sand is SO SOFT and we could just run around in our bare feet.

Also, you’ll notice Milo’s fair skin…. I’ve been really struggling with getting him to wear a sunhat and sunglasses. When he was a baby, I always had him in a hat outside, but now I cannot get him to wear a hat at all. Rest assured that he was covered in a thick layer of sunscreen, but I’m still working on the hat/sunglasses issue.

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Walking around in bare feet, exploring.

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We even flew a kite! It was so windy that getting it to fly without just slamming into the dune was a challenge.

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Easter

And Easter happened. The first photo in this post is at the Easter Egg Hunt they hosted a Milo’s school. They apparently did some explaining to the kids about hunting for Easter eggs, because they all knew exactly what they were doing.

Here’s a video from his school’s Easter Egg Hunt.

And then on Easter Sunday, we hosted an Easter Egg Hunt with some friends. It was awesome how SERIOUS Milo was about finding as many eggs as he could.

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It was really a fun gathering we had. Here is Milo and his friend Leif playing in our sensory table.

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And here is a video of Milo throwing water on the ground and saying ‘no.’

Josh crawled through the tunnel and Milo was very amused.

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I went bananas creating a fun space for the kids to play.

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Other Funz

We also had a fun playdate with our moms & tots group. In the photo below, Milo had been pushing this girl (June) around in the car and it was so adorable. Of course, he stopped doing that right as I took a photo, but whatever.

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And here’s Milo playing in my carrot bed. I have a video of him that I will post on my upcoming garden update.

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The sandbox that I got for free from a neighbor has been a big hit.

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We even had a warm enough weekend this month to bring the pool out. I just put about a 2 inch depth of water in it. And since I cannot get Milo to wear a sunhat, I strategically placed this umbrella to shade him.

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And on one of our after work & school playtimes, we went to a park and there was a dump truck and an excavator that we got to look at.

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Another after work & school playground experience.

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Celebration & Steam Train

Yesterday, we had an awesome ‘Mommy Saturday.’ In the morning, we went to a free ‘Kids Celebration’ event at the Botanical Gardens (which are within walking distance of our house) as part of National Child Abuse Awareness Month.

Milo got to see an ambulance up close.

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And even got to go inside and explore the ambulance.

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There were a TON of fun activities and educational things for kids, and I only took a very small number of photos. We spent most of our time here, where there were fun things to crawl on.

Also, notice how in the next two photos, Milo is wearing a sunhat! I was able to get him to wear it for almost an entire hour!

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It was a lot of fun for both of us. After we were done with the activities, I pushed Milo around in the stroller and we did a nice tour of the gardens. He seemed to really enjoy looking at all of the different garden spaces. In particular, there is a really nice high desert landscape space that winds up into the foothills that is so peaceful. I’m thinking of getting a membership to the Botanical Gardens because it’s such a nice place to wander around. We’ve taken Milo to many events there, and members get in free, and I think it would be nice to go there and just enjoy the gardens without all of the crowds.

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After his afternoon nap, we went to the train depot and got to watch as an historic steam train came into town. As the train was coming in, I had Milo on my shoulders so he could see the train better, while trying to take a video. And it was much louder than I had anticipated, so I had to cut the video short so that I could cover Milo’s ears.

But it was really cool. Here is a photo with the train behind us. As you can see, Milo LOVES being in big crowds.

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Milo ~ 19 months

We’ve had a great month. The weather has been lovely and we’ve been able to play outside almost everyday. We’ve had no teething or sickness issues, and Milo has been so happy and fun-loving.

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19 Month Stats & Pediatrician Visit

Milo had his 18 month wellness visit this past Monday (somehow, we’ve fallen a bit behind on the schedule by about a month). He measured in at 33″ tall (59th percentile) and 23 pounds 13 ounces (39th percentile). Whenever I look at him, he seems like such a big guy! At the beginning of the month, I moved him into size 5.5 shoes and now he’s starting to wear his size 6 shoes. I’m in the process of retiring his 12 month clothes and bringing more and more 18 month pieces into rotation. It just astounds me what a big kid he is!

Language

Milo’s verbal skills are finally taking off! Gone are the days when he only said a few different words each week, to be abandoned the next week for a new set of words. I’ve heard that the 18-19 month timeline can be a springboard for many kiddos in terms of verbal expression and that definitely seems to be the case with Milo.

His full list of words that are enunciated well-enough to understand (and that do actually sound like the correct word, rather than saying ‘mom’ for ‘cracker’ for example) is probably around 15 words, and include ‘moon’ and ‘zebra’ (which I think are neat words for him to have).

Here’s a video of him seemingly trying to sing the ABC song, and ends with him waving and saying “bye”.

Skillz!

Milo is definitely an athletic guy. This month, he’s mastered climbing up and down stairs, which I find extremely impressive.

He can also navigate a lot of playground equipment by himself. He can pull himself up most things and climb many of the ladders and climbing things successfully by himself. Of course, we always ‘spot’ him for safety – – just because he ‘can’ do these things by himself, we’re always hovering our hands right next to him just in case he slips or misses a step.

School Haps

School has been great. I continue to be delighted with his new day care provider. Milo absolutely loves going to school and he seems to really be learning.

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I also love all of the crafts they do! Last week, they learned about the Three Little Pigs and ‘built’ houses out of straw, sticks, and bricks.

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They also had a St. Patrick’s Day party and encouraged everyone to wear green. (Below is Milo with Miss Kellie, one of his teachers).

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They did face painting as part of their celebratory activities.

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This is Milo sitting on his spot in the ‘circle’ area. When I had picked him up on this day, they were all outside playing on the playground, and when Milo and I went to his classroom to sign him out, I gave him is water cup and he went over to his moose to sit and drink.

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This Friday, they’re having a ‘Teddy Bear Picnic’ and parents are invited (and I am excited!)

Playdates

We’ve had some fun playdates this month. Several months ago, I joined a moms & toddlers group and it’s nice for us to meetup and socialize.

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This particular group is kind of a ‘learning’ group where we meetup once a month and the mama host organizes some kind of learning-through-play activities. Milo and I both had a fantastic time at this month’s gathering.

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He’s definitely playing with kids more, rather than just doing his own thing. He’s had some great playdates with his friend Una where he’s actually played with her. I just think it’s so wonderful to watch him playing with kids.

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Adventures!

  • The Zoo

Now that the weather is nice, we’ve been going to the zoo a lot. Our zoo does a lot of awesome conservation work and is a great community partner for education and service. We have a yearly pass because it’s a fantastic place to take kids.

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Milo has increased his mimicking of animal sounds and when we were at the zoo last he tried making all of the different animal sounds. He was growling a lot and it was both adorable and hilarious.

I think he might love climbing on the animal structures than actually looking at any of the animals.

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  • Parks & Playgrounds

He and I have been exploring the Fish & Game Nature Center several times this month.

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I thought this was cool, to get a picture of him with a big moose (since he’s Milo Moose at school).

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They have some very interesting observation areas.

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Last weekend, I took Milo to a state park to explore and, despite me telling him not to, he walked right out into the cold (and very shallow) lake. He has definitely been trying to exert his independence a lot more this month, intentionally doing the exact thing I tell him not to. I’m not sure the best way to handle this behavior, but in this situation I didn’t bother physically preventing him from going into the water (because I knew he would have a mini-tantrum about it and be even more intent on going into the water). Instead, I tried to compassionately explain that the water was cold and would make his feet cold. He completely ignored me and walked into the cold water. Sure enough, his feet got cold and he wanted me to pick him up 10 seconds later. And then I carried him back to the car, to change out his wet clothes for dry, and since I didn’t have a spare pair of shoes that was the end of that adventure.

I’m not sure how to respond when he’s like this. I want him to understand that when I tell him not to do something, there’s a reason and it’s not that I don’t want him to have fun. I’m definitely supportive of him being able to explore, though I obviously intervene if there’s a safety issue.

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Anyway.

Here are Milo and Josh playing in the sand.

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Two weekends ago, we went to the Foothills Learning Center where they were having a family education day around fire awareness and safety. There were several craft activities and interesting demonstrations. In the photo below, we saw how fire spreads across different types of spaces with different fuel configurations.

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We also went on about an hour hike, with Milo hiking and exploring with us.

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Here he is exploring one of the artistic structures.

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We also took Milo on his first mountain bike ride! We rode a very gentle, beginner trail and it was fun.

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Unfortunately, our ride was cut way short because my tire blew out and Josh had to do some major McGyvering to get my bike ridable-enough to go home.

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Harvest Monday (March 20, 2017) and Official Spring Garden Update

Spring came to us early this weekend, with glorious temperatures and sunshine. I was fortunate to spend time in the garden AND harvested my first batch of asparagus, both for the year and in my lifetime! This weighed in at 181 grams and I sauteed the spears in butter, with pepper and the juice from half a lemon. DELICIOUS!

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I also wanted to provide an update on the garden.

But first, a follow-up about the weather. Previously, I described how we received record-breaking snow this year. So did the mountains all over Idaho and it’s starting to melt. What happens with record-breaking snowfall… record-breaking snowmelt. Currently, the Boise River is (literally) overflowing with water, as evidenced in the below photo where the walking path, which is normally about 20 feet away from the river (and 5 feet higher), is completely flooded.

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Anyway, we have continued to receive higher than average snow and rain this past month. About a week ago, I rode my bike to work with the trailer hitched on, thinking it was nice enough that I could pick up Milo from daycare on the bike. Instead, I had to dash home after work to get the car because a snowstorm hit and it was FREEZING.

However, it looks like spring is finally on its way in! The snow is melted, temps are rising, forsythias are blooming…

The asparagus is coming in strong!

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The rhubarb is coming up nicely.

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And the peas I sowed in early February are finally emerging. No photo, but I also noticed that the carrots and beets are also coming up (also direct sowed in early February).

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In between the storms, Milo has been helping me in the garden and I love it. He has a mini set of garden tools and last weekend we were clearing off the last of my beds together. I pointed out worms when I found them and he was fascinated. If you look closely, there is a worm he is observing.

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After we cleared off the beds, he helped me plant the broccoli I started whenever ago (end of January?). He loves moving dirt around, so he was thrilled to help with this. Although, he also loves continuing to move the dirt around, so there’s that. But, a week later, the broccoli has settled in nicely. This is Acadia and Atlantic broccoli.

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Not garden related, but I had decided to get Milo a sandbox so that he could move dirt around to his heart’s content and not disrupt my veggie beds. And just this past Thursday on our neighborhood’s NextDoor social network, a family in my neighborhood  was giving away (for free) their well loved sandbox and two new bags of play sand. The timing was amazing because on my list for the very next day was to obtain a sandbox and play sand. Score!

Also, in that garden bed with the volunteer tulip, I planted potatoes – – this year I’m growing Epicure and Red Gold. Normally, I plant potatoes directly in the ground, but I always have a hard time finding all of the potatoes in our rocky riverbed soil (it’s so weird how Idaho is an agricultural state but we have terrible soil).

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Anyway, this past Friday, I took the day off work so I could get some work done in the garden. The weather was GLORIOUS and I had a blast! Of course, the list of things I wanted to accomplish stretched across two pages of legal sized paper and I was barely able to make a dent on the first page.

The main thing I wanted to accomplish was to build new strawberry beds. Last year, I pulled up all of my strawberries because they were no longer performing and their runners never produced a single blossom, so decided to start from fresh stock. I also decided to change the location of my strawberries and to significantly expand them.

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I was able to complete two new strawberry beds (I’m hoping to have one more). This one above is home to ten Fort Laramie strawberries and below is home to ten Tristar strawberries. I was able to use boards we’ve had laying around for years, from an old mini-pergola that someone gave us. So it was nice to use up material that’s been taking up space.

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That’s it for this garden update. I expect to harvest more asparagus this week and accomplish a few more things on my list.

I’m linking my post today to Harvest Monday, hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.

Milo 18 Months

A year and a half. My baby is a YEAR.AND.A.HALF. How did this happen?

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Some exciting happenings this month and I have a lot of photos to share.

PARENT – TEACHER CONFERENCE

Milo’s new day care is AWESOME. As I’ve described previously, they have an age-appropriate curriculum for social, emotional, cognitive, and physical domains. I’ve noticed Milo developing in leaps and bounds since we enrolled him.

Everyday, they write little notes about what he did that day (and they also take photos of any special activities to send home with us). I’ve started saving the notes (and I’ve always saved the photos). The below note is very representative of Milo’s personality. He loves helping and he LOVES giving high-fives.

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When we first enrolled him, we all identified some goals for his first few months: to get to know and become comfortable with his new teachers, his classmates, and his classroom space. This has solidly happened and so we had our very first official parent-teacher conference.We discussed overall how he’s doing and identified new goals.

Naturally, Milo is awesome and they love having him in the class. He plays well alongside the other kids, participates in the activities, responds to directions, sleeps and eats great.

We did discuss how Milo is not yet expressing himself verbally with any consistency. He does use sign language a bit and can usually communicate what he wants nonverbally, but still, he’s one of the only kids in the class who doesn’t really speak. Not that he’s “behind” or that there’s any concern, but we did agree that increasing his verbal expression would be a good goal.

Ironically, right before the conference, we were in the classroom with Milo. I found a toy excavator (which is Milo’s favorite construction vehicle) and I said, “Hey Milo, what is this?” and he said a multi-syllable sound that sort of sounded like “exeter” (“excavator”).

VERBAL EXPRESSION

It has now been a few weeks since the parent-teacher conference and we are encouraging him to express himself verbally. I’m trying to be very nurturing and supportive, not pressuring him at all about it, and I often incorporate it into a game. For example, I bought a set of refrigerator foam magnets that feature different shapes, objects, animals, etc., that toddlers are generally familiar with, and we play a game where I pull out a magnet and ask him what it is and he says something. Sometimes, the thing he says begins with the correct consonant sound and kinda/sorta sounds similar to the word. We do a similar thing when reading picture books together (wow, we read so many books!).

Recently, he has started consistently saying “no,” “uh-oh,” and “bubl” (for “bubble”). Here are a couple videos.

(Update: my bad. The below photo isn’t the one where he talks. I have a second video, where he continues to throw dirt on the floor, I tell him not to, he smiles, shakes his head, says “nah nah,” and proceeds to throw more dirt on the floor, each time saying “nah nah.”

NEW SKILLS

As for new skills, just last week, Milo learned how to stick out his tongue…. and has been sticking his tongue out almost constantly.

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He’s also learned how to take selfies, sort of. And now my phone is loaded with pictures of his nostrils and forehead.

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He can also throw a ball overhand (apparently this is a thing).

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Feed himself with utensils and actually have enough food go into his mouth to satiate his hunger.

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His coloring has become much better. I’ve actually purchased him for reals Crayons, not just the palm-sized baby crayons.

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He’s also become much better behaved at restaurants. In my last update, I wrote that we had successfully taken him to two restaurants, and since then we have had many more successful experiences (we also had one experience that I would not count as a success).

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FUNTIMES

Okay, I’m sure that every parent (or, most every parent) thinks their kid is the best. But I’m convinced that Milo is the greatest. He is so much fun!

Tangentially related, above I described how Milo loves giving people high-fives… well, a few weekends ago, when it was MISERABLE outside, we decided to take Milo to the mall so that he could play in the toddler area. He spent quite a while wandering around, trying to give people high-fives, and most everyone ignored or didn’t notice him.

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I also took this video of the situation. It both breaks my heart and makes me giggle. Mainly, it’s further evidence of how much awesomer Milo is than other kids. hmph!

INSIDE FUNTIMES

Most of our fun has occurred indoors this month due to the weather. Fortunately, most of our attempts at inside fun have actually been fun (whereas the experience at the mall was not particularly fun).

I’ve taken Milo to some different indoor jungle gym places. This weekend, we went to one that has wall-to-wall trampolines, GIGANTIC inflatable bouncy houses & slides, and a foam pit. It was a lot of fun for both of us! Afterwards, Milo took a three hour nap.

Here’s a video of Milo running around on the trampolines.

Also this weekend, we went to the Warhawk Air History Museum. Generally, I’m not particularly interested in machinery, weapons, vehicles, or the like, but I’ve always thought that planes were neat (and I really enjoy going to air shows at one of the nearby military bases), and I love going to historical museums of any variety (I totally think military history is fascinating, even though I abhor violence). But I digress.

Sadly, when we first arrived at the museum and Milo saw all of the planes and that he could get close to them, he started running along the hard floor as fast as he could, stumbled, and fell hard onto his face, getting a bloody lip that today is swollen and purple.

Except for that, we all had a great time. It’s just so cool that Milo is old enough to appreciate places like a history museum. Even though he wasn’t allowed to touch or climb on anything, he still loved looking at everything.

And here are a few other random indoor funtimes.

Below, Josh has been setting Milo on our indoor bike trainer and indoctrinating him with videos of professional cycling.

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We’ve also been going to various stores for entertainment, which probably sounds a little odd. We LOVE going to thrift stores and last weekend, Milo and I went to five thrift stores in a row and had a blast. We also occasionally go to pet stores or the humane societies just to look at the animals (normally, we love going to the zoo, but the weather just hasn’t permitted that).

Below, is wandering around a pet store. Milo loves pushing the mini shopping carts.

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This might seem random, but we’ve been setting up an aquarium. We had been monitoring craigslist for a used aquarium, and found this 35 gallon one, along with all of the other equipment, for a great deal. We only have three fish right now, and will be gradually introducing more over the coming weeks. I also ordered more live plants online, which should arrive in two days. Anyway, Milo loves watching the fish. And even before we had fish, he would watch the water movement in the tank and all the bubbles, saying “bubl, bubl!”

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Here’s another successful restaurant experience. Even though Milo was being a squirmy wiggle worm, he was great. He has been SO HAPPY this month. In this photo, Josh was trying to put his coat on, and Milo was laughing so hard and wiggling in delight. I think everyone in the restaurant was smiling at his antics.

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OUTSIDE FUNTIMES

Fortunately, we have had some funtimes out of doors.

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I took Milo to our local playground and we wandered over to the Dept. of Agriculture building (which is right next to the playground) where they have a big parking lot full of big trucks. Milo loves trucks and he was ecstatic.

Here’s a video of that.

Here are some images from another playground experience.

Here is when we took the wagon down to our neighborhood playground. Milo was excited about being able to see the moon while he was swinging.

Seriously, this guy is so joyful and lovable.

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Yesterday evening, we all took a walk along a path by our neighborhood and explored by the river.

Milo also chased some ducks.

Okay, that’s it for now. I’m late posting this update, so it include more than a month’s worth of happenings.