It’s somebody’s birthday.

Watson turns 4 today!

photo courtesy of BFF

His 4 years mark not only how long he has been terrorizing squirrels, but many milestones in our family.

photo courtesy of BFF

We brought Watson home a few months after buying our first home and moving to KC; a month before Zach took the bar and started his first job; a week before I went back to school to get my master’s degree; and a few months before celebrating our first anniversary.

photo courtesy of BFF

It was a high stress time in our lives even before adding a puppy. And then he started growing, and growing, and growing. We expected a 45-60 pound dog and when all the growing was done we found we had an 80-pound, furry muppet on stilts. He used to steal bunches of bananas and loaves of bread from the counters and eat them…whole.

photo courtesy of BFF

He has added his share of bizarre mishaps to our lives – surviving a dog attack, eating a tube of Ben Gay, giving me a concussion – and we are all still here. His recent super obsession with roadkill is about to make us a dog-less family, but at the moment we are celebrating Watson, not cursing him.

 

Four years ago Watson never could have anticipated that he would one day become a chew toy or an implement for learning to crawl and stand.

It’s a dog’s life for sure. Maybe if he’s lucky I will let him sneak one of Dash’s toys and not tell him no.

Dash’s first swim lesson.

Dash had his first swim lesson yesterday and since my mom was in town grandma got to come too!

He loves to kick in the bathtub and he enjoyed sticking his toes in the ocean on our Florida trip, but he hasn’t had a chance to really move around in the water.

I didn’t think he would dislike the pool, but I didn’t anticipate how much he would enjoy it. He kicked, splashed, floated on his back in the lazy river, and paddled for toys.

He couldn’t master blowing bubbles, though. I blew bubbles, he smiled, but then he just sucked in the water. Later that evening he did spit his peas at us so I know he has the ability. we have lessons twice a week so maybe he will be blowing bubbles like a champ soon!

Beware the diopter.

I got my beloved camera back on Saturday. We live around the corner from this fantastic camera shop owned by a man and his wife for nearly 40 years. He told me that they are in the process of retiring because they haven’t been on a vacation in that entire time. He also told me that there wasn’t a thing wrong with my camera. Hmmm….you mean there is a button on the camera that makes the view through the viewfinder blurry? That can’t be right. Why would you want that?

Well, fellow non-manual readers, there is a button. A dial to be exact called the diopter on the SLR camera which you can use to adjust the view for your eye. Oh. Oops.

Thankfully the camera man charged me nothing for this valuable lesson and even cleaned my lens.

This unnecessary break from my camera did force me to bring out my point-and-shoot camera and remember why it is good to have a pocket-sized photo machine.

 

The last photos I took.

Here are the photos I took moments before the moment I think I might have broken my camera. I still haven’t heard the verdict.

Anyway, Zach was hanging out with Dash and Watson in the backyard and called to me that I might want to bring out the camera. Zach was throwing the tennis ball for Watson and Dash was having a fantastic time watching. He has a Watson dance which basically is just convulsing every part of his body when Watson walks by.

This one is Zach’s favorite picture. The concentration, the form – Zach says he looks just like a pitcher on the mound.

Watson loves any attention at all and a game of catch puts him over the edge. He was prancing and wagging like crazy which gave Dash plenty to laugh about.

It is so fun to have warm weather and be able to spend more time with Dash outside. If my camera is gone for a long time at least we had a good last day in the sun together.

7 months!

The last month with our son has been my favorite so far. Living with a newborn was just plain hard work and I am not super great at hard work. Plus we had hurdles that with so little sleep seemed more like walls without doors to me. And then Dash turned 6 months old and life got easier. And the last month has been fun.

Bad news is that I may have busted my camera so this photo was taken with my iPhone. Better than nothing, but I won’t know until Thursday or Friday how bad the damage is and no estimate on when I will actually get it back. Gross. Regardless how the photo looks, it is clear this kid is growing.

Eating:  He, like every other baby in the world, prefers the sweet taste of pears and apples to the taste of green beans. Grandma Leah learned the hard way not to feed him the fruit first. He still is a good nurser and has greatly increased his intake of solid food so I think he is gaining some serious weight. We start a meal with about 4 cubes of food and often end up warming up more cubes or making more and more cereal until he gets his fill. I like to let him experiment with the food and feed himself with his hands and spoon.

I in turn am experimenting with the best ways to clean up after these meal times. Shirtless with a bath immediately after works pretty well.

Motoring: We have forward motion! I wouldn’t call it crawling, but he is now flopping forward to reach toys in front of himself. He works so hard for one flop. He goes up on his hands and knees, then up to his toes like a bear crawl, then puts one leg over the other leg, then finally flops forward. He loves to be held in a standing position.

Likes: The monkey he takes his monthly shots with, Watson, the moment his dad comes home, drinking water from a cup, the baby swing at the park, tickle kisses on his feet, and watching me hide and peek up at him.

Sleep: Our baby sleeps through the night. As I’ve mentioned, nothing else even matters. Six months of now more than three or so hours or sleep at a time took. its. toll. I couldn’t have a single conversation without maniacally laughing or bursting into tears. Thanks to the help of the moms in my baby play group we followed the advice in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and let Dash cry at night. It was tough and it took longer than I ever imagined for him to get things figured out, but nothing was worse than what we had been doing. All of us, Watson included, are happier and healthier. I have no advice or wisdom to pass along from my experience, only lots and lots of grateful thank yous to the mom-friends who supported and encouraged me.

~~~

One of my uncles, who shall remain nameless since he is doing our taxes and I don’t want to get on his bad side, said that babies are just no fun until they are about 6 months old. He, the father two awesome kids, said he would have been fine just to start spending time with them starting at that age. At 6 months they could laugh at his funny faces and interact and before that it was just changing diapers and trying to figure out why they were crying.  I think I was pregnant when he told me this and I thought he was goofy, but I now see his point. Newborns = hard work. Now parenting is hard work, but there are a lot more fun parts too. Oh, and he can hold up his own head. That makes caring for a baby much less terrifying.

There is, of course, nothing like feeling newly born skin or like watching a one-week-old sleep.