Evelyn Rose, My Eight Month Old

Evie Rose, you're getting so big!

You are very wiggly and very active--the ladies in the church nursery agree.  You can sit up, but you don't usually want to.  You want to be rolling around, scooching, reaching, or standing (you can't stand from sitting without a finger to hold, but you would like to figure it out).  You aren't technically crawling.  You do get up on all fours and make attempts.  Your army crawl is really cute.  You do that when you are very motivated to get to something. However, you usually roll to things, and given the side-to-side way it requires you to move, you manage to do it with amazing accuracy.  Your Gigi and I have decided that you're going to be able to creatively solve problems.  If you see one of Spencer's toys, you can roll yourself right over to it.  It's hilarious to watch you aim and correct yourself all the way across the room for anything that belongs to Spencer.

I let you play with Spencer's sippy cup.  I thought you might as well since he didn't want to take one when he turned one.  I didn't think you were getting anything out of it, but apparently the valve was leaky.  When I went over to pick you up you had chocolate milk all over your onesie.  (It was 1/4 chocolate milk and 3/4 white milk).

You usually wake up once a night, take a bottle, and generally go back to sleep fairly easily.  Your dad gets up with you in the middle of the night.  When we are home, you will take a morning nap anywhere between 9 and 10; and then you will take an afternoon nap between 1 and 2.  They are usually between one and two hours long.  You go to bed around 7:30 or 8.

You love to take a bath, but you won't sit up and play.  You constantly either lean over to stick your face in the water or try to lean back in an attempt to stand up.  So, it's hard on my back, but you love it.  We tried the kitchen sink in your earlier months, and you were so active and wiggly that I was constantly trying to keep you from bonking your head.  You're a mover and a shaker!

You slept horribly in the hotel on our little family vacation this month.  You love playing in the sprinkler or the baby pool in the backyard with Spencer.  You love it when friends and family talk to you and play with you.  You like to say "da da da da."  You enjoy eating "real" food.  You don't love your bottles, but you do ok.  You hold them with your feet sometimes like your brother used to do.  You also spin them around like he used to do.

You love to watch dogs.  Gigi has taught you so say "daw daw" when you see Angel at her house.  You whisper it really softly.  You love to pet Angel, and you for her to sit close to you.  You're not afraid.  You love to blow raspberries.  You will do it back and forth with people, and you also do it when you're mad or sleepy.  You really get into it.  It's hilarious.

You don't usually let us rock you to sleep.  If you're really exhausted, sometimes you'll take a bottle and then fall asleep with one of us holding and rocking you; but usually you wiggle, squirm, try to climb down, and refuse to be still.  Eventually we have to lay you in your crib and leave the room.  If you're full and tired you'll fuss for a few minutes or so and then fall asleep.  You love your paci, although I usually only give it to you in your bed or in your car seat.

You still have chubby little thighs and tiny little feet.  You have almost outgrown your size 0-3 month shoes.  Size ones are still big on you.  You have several new expressions this month.  You do a smile while sticking your tongue out a little and squinting your eyes when you're being really silly or excited.

You like to play "patty cake" (clap your hands), and you give yourself kisses in your fish mirror.  You actively pursue the remote controls and the laptop and anything that belongs to Spencer.  It's impressive how already know which toys are his.  Your cousin Lucy was born this month!  You weren't the baby on the Kelley side for long!  I know y'all are going to have lots of fun together.

Four days after you turned eight months your first tooth broke through.  It has not noticeably changed how you have been eating or sleeping.  That same week, we took you to the pool for the first time.  You LOVED it.  You are my little water baby.  You were not happy for me to sit on the side with you.  You wanted to play in the fountains, crawl around the zero entry "beach" part of the pool, follow Spencer around, and be in the water as much as I would let you.  We're going to have so much fun this summer!


Not the Beach Final Installment

Another amazing accomplishment by the folks running Silver Dollar City--a clean, nay, spotless, and relatively odorless "barnyard" (petting zoo).  There were hand washing stations outside of every pen, the people supervising were kind, friendly, and non-creepy.  

This is how Spencer felt about it--excited with too many things to say to smile for a picture. 
We couldn't get him to leave the "barnyard."  When he would leave one pen, instead of saying "bye" to the animal, he'd excitedly say, "I'll be right back, goat (or chickens, horse, dog, etc.)!"  I think he went in and out of the goat pen at least ten times one day.  And, yes, each time he left we washed his hands.  It's a wonder they weren't raw.  Have I mentioned that he loves animals?  

I cannot stress how helpful and kind the staff were.  I went up to a popcorn stand with a sippy cup, and before I could ask to buy a bottle of water, the man working inside asked if he could get me warm water for a bottle.  I told him I actually needed water for my older one child, but that I appreciated the offer.  It might be a little cheesy, but I'll take cheesy, over-helpful, polite, decent people over the opposite any day.  Just call me Polly Anna.

Jonathan joked that we really brought down the median age at our hotel, and that was true.  But, again, it cold have been much worse.  Spencer only escaped our room once, and just like two years ago when he first did it, I was stupidly surprised.  He waited until I was celebrating his successful toilet encounter and then darted down the hotel hallway wearing only a jammie shirt.  I know it's not funny for your preschooler to be alone in a hotel hallway half-naked, I wasn't laughing, but I couldn't believe I let it happen again.  I've really lost my edge!

In quite the twist of irony, Spencer picked our first road trip in over a year to begin letting us know multiple times a day that he wanted to use the potty.  Not wanting to go on record as every having stifled his desire to leave diapers behind, we dragged him to a toilet every single time he asked--Wendy's, Silver Dollar City, 10:30 at night in our hotel room, etc.  He's far from potty trained, but this was the most he's every been interested.  Interestingly, his interest has waned considerably since we've been home.  However, one morning when he woke up, we encouraged him to go use the bathroom; he insisted he was ready to go downstairs to get pancakes.  

We pushed him a little, but he insisted that he did not need to use the bathroom and that he was hungry.  We were all exhausted by this point, so we just went with it.  He's still wearing diapers full time (don't judge--you're welcome to come over and give potty training a shot), so it didn't really matter.  My mom had encouraged me the day before we left town, that when things weren't going how I would have wanted them to go at home, just try to tell yourself "we're on vacation!" and go with it.  Much wisdom.  So, I was trying to do that.  We got him some pancakes.  He devoured them, and then announced as he was polishing off the last bite, "I need to tinkle in the potty!"  We quickly went back up to our hotel room, where he promptly used the toilet.  Clearly, it's time.

In my effort to "pack light" (bahaha!), I didn't bring the benadryl cream that we use when Spencer gets mosquito bites.  They swell up to the size of a half dollar and itch him for days.  They do the same to me.  Consequently, he got a huge mosquito bite and we had no cream (at least we saved all that room on the trip up by not having that tube of benadryl cream).  As my dad pointed out, no vacation is complete without some sort of medically related detour.  Thankfully, we didn't pay a visit to an urgent care facility. I'd take Wal-Mart over that any day.

As I was taking pictures one day, Spencer told me, "Oh, but, I need my camera!" referring to my point and shoot that he's been allowed to use a couple of times.  I think I will let him take pictures next time we go.  I'd be interested to see what he chooses to document.

Spencer was surprisingly unsure about not going back to his own bed and his own toys after we left Silver Dollar City the first day.  He finally decided that the hotel was not the worst place to be, but then switched to begging to sleep in "Mommy's bed," or for me to sleep in "his" bed.  Jonathan and I knew that Evelyn would probably be up often (unfortunately we were correct), and I was worried that Spencer was going to roll off of the bed, since he still sleeps with bed rails at home, so I finally acquiesced to sleeping in "Spencer's bed."  It wasn't as bad as it has been the few times I've slept with him in the past, but it was a lot of work.  Every time I woke up, part of him would be hanging off the bed.  I put pillows down his side of the bed, but he kept kicking  and pushing them off.  He, however, thought it was very fun and special; so that was sweet.  Evie Rose thought her hotel say was neither fun nor special.  It wasn't as sweet.

I don't think we ever managed to extricate Spencer from the park without tears.  We should have helped him pace himself, bless his heart.  He'd just run himself ragged and then crash, punishing everyone around him.  I have no idea from whom he learned or inherited that sort of behavior--perhaps from the person who thought it prudent to take a preschooler and a baby to an amusement park multiple days in a row.  Oh, memories.

Not the Beach Part II

Spencer loved the "tree houses."  There were braided rope things to climb that were also bouncy like a trampoline.  Just today he cried huge, real tears because he wanted to take his Aunt Hillary and play on those tree houses today.

He also loved the sandbox, although he was disappointed that it was not wet enough to make sandcastles.  He really didn't understand why we couldn't just make it wet.  He really wanted to make a sand castle.  He loved our trip, but I felt such a connection to him when he was disappointed that the sand box wasn't the same as the beach.  That's my boy.

We were there during the bluegrass festival, and Spencer enjoyed hearing the music, but it wasn't until the third day that he was finally tired enough to sit down and listen to the music dance around the vicinity for any amount of time.  It lasted for a mere 2.5 songs, but it was a start.  To be fair, the musicians continued to crack themselves up and didn't exactly worry about keeping the attention of their audience.  Most others seated and listening were 65 and up.

I wish I were a good enough photographer to be able to capture his adorable and hilarious dance moves.
Last spring, I found a cheap Sit 'n Stand stroller on Craigslist.  I went back and forth over whether or not we'd even really get any use out of it.  It wasn't in great condition, and that's why they weren't asking much for it.  If we only ever use it at Silver Dollar City, it was worth every penny.  Spencer loved it, and Evelyn is my baby that will actually ride in a stroller (as opposed to her big brother who finally decided strollers were an acceptable mode of transportation around 2.5 years old).  


Not the Beach Part I

Although I've been longing for sandy white beaches and crystal clear waves, we opted for the manageable thing for our stage of life this spring.  We took the kids on a short-ish road trip to Silver Dollar City.  I have to say, I was shocked with how clean the entire park was.  Also, there were zero scantily clad women.  Zero.  So, those were two huge pluses in my book.  I'm apparently quickly becoming a Branson person.

Spencer loved it.  He rode every ride multiple times three consecutive days.  He was somehow able to rise above every signal in his body that alerts you to the fact that you're tired.  Also, there is nothing like bluegrass music to bring out hilarious dance moves in your music-loving three year old.  

Evie tolerated the whole thing really well, unless she was in the car or in the hotel where she screamed a lot.  She also slept very poorly.  You just can't win 'em all.  

Our first attempt at family vacation for all four Kelleys was not boring.  There was fun.  We will do it again.  Hopefully with more sleeping and less screaming from all of us.

And there is nothing like Silver Dollar City to brilliantly entertain and completely exhaust your preschooler.  He loved it, but leaving the park each day did not go smoothly, no matter how we played it.  Parting is such sweet sorrow.