Thursday, July 17, 2014

Barrett Lee - Summer 2014

I realize I haven't posted much on Barrett the past few months and how he is growing up! He will be 8 months on Sunday, and I'm loving how much he his learning and growing right now! I have always really enjoyed the after 1 year old stage of each of my kids, and I'm excited for Barrett to reach that age too.  Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying Barrett at the age he is now, but to be honest, he has been the most difficult of my children, so I can't help but look forward to him growing up a little!  Barrett was an awesome sleeper until about 4 1/2 months old.  Since then he has been up at least twice, if not 4-5 times a night...very exhausting for me! He also loves his Momma.  Goodness, I thought Brooks would be my Momma's boy, but turns out Barrett is just the same! Luckily, Barrett does a little better with other people holding him than Brooks did, but not much.  Everytime I walk into a room, Barrett wants nothing but me to hold him, and fusses until I do.  The only time I can really get anything done around the house is if I can get Barrett to play with some toys, leave the room, and not come back until I need to.  If I stay out of the room, Barrett plays very well on his own and entertains himself, but if he catches a glimpse of me walking by or coming into the room, play time is over and Momma is all he wants.  A lot of the time I try not to peek in on him too much and ask Brooks if Barrett is doing ok and staying out of things.  Brooks does a good job keeping me informed, and I think he likes the responsibility a little too! However, I have a feeling I won't be able to keep that routine much longer because Barrett is pretty mobile now and gets into EVERYTHING! fun new stage :)

Anyway, Barrett started sitting up on his own around the end of May, first of June.  I was so happy when he reached this milestone, and I think he was too! It just opens up a whole new world of play for him!
He really is a happy baby most of the time, and absolutely loves laughing at his siblings.  He especially has smiles for Brooks in the mornings.  I hope the two of them will have fun doing boy things as they grow up!
He also loves to watch Keely running around being silly, and she can usually make him laugh.  However, he does get overwhelmed with her and gets tired of her constantly in his face and taking toys from him.  She is not as good with sharing as Brooks was when Keely was a baby, and can't understand why she can't just take toys right out of his hand if she wants it.  Keely has also been a little rough with Barrett and has been known to push him over a few times and even kick him when he's been on the ground.  She thinks it's all in fun, but hopefully soon she will understand how naughty it is.  She's a tough one! 
I really like the picture of her helping him read his book, I think his face explains it perfectly, "Mom, save me!"
The next picture makes me laugh too.  One Sunday after lunch, I had to go help Brooks for a minute and told Keely to 'watch Barrett for me' and I'd be right back.  I come back to Keely feeding Barrett the rest of his rice cereal.  He tolerated it very well, and she was so proud of herself for helping! Needless to say, I haven't let this happen again for Barrett's sake!
 Barrett has also been known to play with Keely's princess castle.  He loves it.  Guess we need to find him a boy version for Christmas! He also loves his pacifier much more than Brooks or Keely ever did.  They never really used it during the day, and Brooks gave it up at about 4 months and Keely at about 6 months.  I have a feeling we will have a harder time getting Barrett to give it up...he constantly loves to have something in his mouth! He also finds the pacifier in his crib in the middle of the night to help him sleep.  It's nice he can find it some times, but if only it could keep him asleep the whole night! :)
Barrett definitely likes to stand up.  He loves being in his exersaucer (until I come in the room of course) and especially loves jumping up and down on my lap.  Very exhausting for me, and another reason why I am looking forward to his 'after 1 stage' because he will most likely be walking!
My boys :)
Since Barrett has been born, I have always taken him with me to Ace while I work.  I did that with both Keely and Brooks until they were about 6 months old.  It works out pretty well in the beginning, and Barrett did especially good just sleeping or playing in his bouncy seat the first 4 1/2 months, but lately he had become more and more difficult to get anything done with him there.  I've had Blake or a couple of our Ace employees walk around with him to give me just a few minutes of work time without a crying baby or wiggly baby on my lap! Thankfully, in the past few weeks, he reached the stage where I felt comfortable leaving him with our high school girl, Ashley, whenever she comes to babysit.  She was excited to have Barrett too, but I was a little nervous leaving all 3 with a 15 year old! I finally decided Barrett could sit up well enough and finally took a bottle decently that we'd try it.  The kids all did great, so it has been so much better on me now that she can watch all three!
One of the last times Barrett came with me, Blake got him to fall asleep with him.  It gave me flashbacks to Brooks as a baby being at Ace with us all the time when we first bought the store.
It hasn't taken Barrett long to show interest in crawling.  Just in the past couple of weeks he has become really mobile.  He doesn't really army crawl, but he scoots around somehow to get where he wants to go by either rolling, pushing, or pulling himself.  He finally learned to sit himself back up sometime last week (one of my favorite milestones because it makes my life so much easier!). After the past couple of days, I would have to say we officially have a crawler.  He has reached this milestone much sooner than Brooks or Keely did.  He is about 3 or 4 weeks ahead of Keely crawling, and about 5 ahead of Brooks.  Brooks started crawling January 31, 2011, and Keely the middle of January 2013.  Barrett just can't wait to keep up with the other 2 kids I guess! He is now pulling himself up along the couch, his activity table, and just tonight, against the cabinets in the kitchen.  Since he loves to stand, I really don't think it will take him much longer until he tries to walk, but we'll see!
Finally, all 3 kids taking baths together happened in the past couple weeks too.  So fun.  Brooks and Keely love having Barrett in with them, and I'd have to say Barrett was just as excited! Makes my heart smile to watch these three grow up together :)
PS...take a look at all these pics and notice how Barrett is always looking at me with the camera...I wasn't kidding that he always has eyes for his Momma!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Happy 4th!

For some reason, the 4th of July has become one of Brooks' favorite holidays.  Maybe because it is kind of a holiday all by itself and there is plenty of time to get excited about it coming.  Brooks has a sort of love-hate relationship with fireworks.  He looks forward to them all year, but when they actually start shooting off, he gets really nervous if they are too close or loud.  He also has a fascination with the huge blow up gorillas some of the firework stands have outside their tents.  He has talked about them consistently throughout the year since he first saw them last 4th of July.  Oh the joy on his face the first time he saw them this year!  He was soooo excited! Keely was a little unsure of them, and after the first night we saw the purple one outside the tent in the Ace parking lot, we had to reassure her several times that he doesn't move.  Even the next morning when she woke up, the first thing she said was, "Gorilla. Stay. Ace."  Poor girl, I think she was genuinely afraid of him, but as we saw him again throughout the week, she liked him. 
Anyway, the weekend started off with the City of York's firework show on Thursday night.  We have started going to it every year, and Brooks really enjoys it since we watch them from the fairground parking lot, plenty of distance away from the loud booms.  Again this year, Cody had Katy's birthday party prior to the show, which was fun.  The kids could run around and play in the parking lot, eat cupcakes, popcorn, and candy, and anticipate the exciting firework show to end the evening.  I didn't get many pictures that night because it is just too much hassle to haul around our nice camera while I'm holding Barrett all the time, but I snapped this one quick with my phone of Keely eating her cupcake :)
On the actual 4th of July, we went to my parents' house for the day.  We played outside most of the day and enjoyed the beautiful weather.  I love it when we have 'cooler' weather for the was only in the low 80s all day!  This is the first year we have bought snappers for the kids.  Keely and Brooks were a little unsure at first with the loud 'snap', but after they discovered how fun it was to throw and step on them, both kids loved them!  Brooks even shed a few tears when they were all gone.

We also bought some black snakes.  It was a pretty windy day, so it was hard to get them started, but eventually Blake got a few going!

These two were so much fun this holiday.  They love being outside at the farm, and add Daddy not having to go to work, and a few fireworks, they were happy campers!
We even took a few 4-wheeler rides.  Keely loved the rides and had a hard time letting Brooks take his turn.  After Blake drove away with Brooks, she started fussing.  We told her she could go again once Daddy and Brooks were back.  She then proceed to say, "Orange One!' and pointed to another one still parked in the shed.  She's not dumb! She got Grandpa to start up the other one and take her for a spin.  Silly girl loves to drive...becomes a problem when she wants to sit in the front seat of the van all the time and pretend to drive...she might be trouble someday! 
Cody, Curtis, and their kids, along with my Grandparents, Uncle Dean and Loretta, Stacy, Tim and Scott, came over for supper that night and some fireworks.  The kids ate at their own table...Lane didn't want to eat and Katy didn't eat long, so just Brooks, Keely and Scarlett were left by the time I took a picture!
I think the kids just wanted to play instead of eat...they ran all over the place looking at the gardens and baby kitties and just having fun together.
Barrett was a pretty happy boy most of the day long as someone was paying attention to him!
Shooting off a few fireworks for the kids...or maybe they were really for the enjoyment of Blake and Curtis? Hard to tell :)
And of course, enjoying some homemade ice cream before it got dark enough for fireworks.  Yum!

It's finally dark enough for fireworks! Brooks tried a sparkler this year.  He was pretty nervous about it, but we were so proud of him for at least trying it!  He however was not a fan of the bigger fireworks the guys shot off for us all to watch.  For him, we were too close and they were too loud.  He kept asking if they were done yet.  He just likes to enjoy them from a farther distance!

So that was our 4th of July holiday.  After a couple of really late nights, everyone was pretty tired, but it is just hard to avoid this time of year.  Our kids fell in love with this big silly purple gorilla, so we had to snap a picture before he was taken down.  Farewell until next year, purple gorilla, and Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Young Retailer of the Year

At the beginning of May, we had the opportunity to fly to Las Vegas for Blake to receive his Young Retailer of the Year award from the National Retail Hardware Association.  We were able to leave Brooks and Keely with my parents, but since Barrett was only 5 months old and still breast feeding, we brought him along.  I knew traveling with a 5 month old would be a lot of work (we flew to Orlando with Brooks at that age for our first Ace Show as owners) and it was.  Thankfully Blake's parents came along, so that helped make it a little easier, but with Barrett still getting up several times a night, a lot of walking, and things to do and see, I was pretty tired after the whole trip!
We stayed in a nice hotel a few blocks away from the strip...the view below is out our window and you can see the strip in the distance.  The first day we decided to walk down to the strip since we got in to Vegas at about 10 in the morning on Sunday.  It didn't seem like too far to walk, but goodness, once we started walking, it was quite a ways to go! Needless to say, we took a cab the other times we went down! :) 
We actually spent a lot of the first two days in the hotel's just easier with a breastfeeding baby, and Blake and I didn't mind one bit! Hanging out in the hotel room was as much as a vacation as anything, and just resting sounded great to us! Barrett seemed to enjoy it :)
 The first night we were there, we went out to eat at Gordon Ramsey's Steakhouse at the Paris Hotel with Blake's Ace District Manager, Jeff Egger. (you can see it way in the back of the above picture of inside the Paris casino). To our benefit, Jeff is a pretty big gambler, and had a $500 comp for a meal at the Paris, so we got an awesome gourmet meal for free.  We had $500 to split between the 3 of us, so needless to say we were stuffed at the end!  We almost didn't get to go when the hotel had screwed up his reservation, but luckily they were able to sneak us in at a later time slot.  We all would have been quite disappointed had it not worked out! Here is a picture of one of our 2 appetizers, Pork Belly (Blake's choice).  The bread was also pretty awesome that you can see in the background.
Jeff took a picture of Blake and I.  It was actually the first meal I have had out away from Barrett since he's been born, so that part was so nice.  Too bad we had to spend our first 'date' out with Jeff, but I really shouldn't complain too much since it was a once in a lifetime meal!
My steak and lobster! The steak was $77 and the lobster was $35.  Yikes! Can't say I would have ever ordered that on a regular visit, but with $500 to split, why not!?
 Blake enjoying one of our 5 desserts. :) My favorite part of the meal!
Monday night was the Young Retailer of the Year banquet.  It was right in our hotel, so I don't think I left the hotel the entire day that day! It was so nice! I would have to say the banquet was my favorite part of the trip as it was fun to talk with the other winners and meet everyone. 
Blake holding his award with the other winners. There were 3 or 4 categories I think and 2 or 3 winners in each one.  Blake's category was a single store under 2 million in sales. 
Blake with some of the Ace representatives there.  Jeff is on the far left (I forgot to get a picture of him with us at Gordon Ramsey's..oops!)

Blake's award :)
On Tuesday, we went to the National Hardware show at the convention center to walk around and explore.  I'd have to say we were a tad disappointed in the show...we enjoy the Ace shows so much more, but it was good to experience this one.  I think my biggest dislike was that they wouldn't let us bring a stroller into the convention floor! WHAT?! I couldn't believe it.  I have taken each one of the kids and even both of them with a double stroller at several Ace shows and didn't have any problem at all, that the possibility of Barrett not being able to come didn't even cross my mind! Luckily they let us take him in, but we had to carry him.  It was so ridiculous that I think that made me not want to even look at any hardware stuff! Oh well...I'll just stick with Ace shows with the kids :)
On Wednesday, our flight didn't leave until 8pm, so we rode the Monorail down to the strip to walk around and explore.  We walked through several casinos.  They are fun to look at, but with a 5 month old, we didn't really 'experience' any of them by seeing any shows or doing any of the rides or attractions.  Maybe some other time!  A photo of New York, New York casino and hotel: 
My favorite part of the day was M&M World.  Maybe since I have a kid geared brain right now, but the fun merchandise was much more attractive to me than all the other shopping! Sad, I know!
Finally, before we left, we watched the fountains and Bellagio.  Here is Barrett with Grandma and Papa waiting for them to start.
It was a fun, but exhausting trip.  It just reassured me that I don't need to take any more major vacations (with kids) until they are several years older! I'm thinking at least potty trained! :)