Dear Alex,

Good lord I have let the time slip away from me! Fall and winter are incredibly busy times of the year for us– there’s just so much fun stuff to do around here, plus the holidays of course, that we’ve been focusing on enjoying it all with you as much as possible. 🙂 Early toddlerhood is such a fun age & we love being able to take you out for so many fun experiences. The good news is we’ve at least been documenting it in pictures/videos! More of those later.

As a parent, these last few months have been some of the most entertaining and rewarding so far. You are very much a little boy now, with very few hints of babyhood left, and have learned SOOOO much. You’re talking up a storm, know many of your colors, shapes, letters & numbers, etc. I am just blown away by what a smart, sweet, hilarious, overall awesome little boy you are. Obviously I’m more than a bit biased, but… it’s true! 😀 You’ve really come out of your shell, especially in the last month or so. These days you smile & say hello to EVERYONE, no matter where we are, and at playdates you’re a big hugger. In fact there are a couple of newer kids in our weekend playgroup that are super shy, and I think you’ve been getting on their nerves accosting them with all these hugs. LOL. The only time social anxiety is still a factor is when you’re not with me or Dad, which is pretty rare.

Speaking of those few hints of babyhood, recently you forced our hand on getting rid of pacifiers (“binkies”) when you bit clear through one during naptime at daycare a few weeks ago. You’ve got a mouth full of teeth now & that’s a huge choking hazard, so we had to go cold turkey for operation “Bail on Binky” that very same night. It was tough the first few nights but overall you did pretty well! Hopefully you don’t steal Charlie’s binkies once he’s on the scene in a few weeks.

So, the only baby-ish thing left with you now is diapers… and that unfortunately seems to be a very long way off still. Although we had some initial success with potty training– you were interested at first and did pee & poop in the potty a couple of times, each time resulted in you FREAKING OUT and sobbing “mess, mess, yuck, yuck!” because you thought you’d been bad for making a mess. That seems to have traumatized you and now you won’t even get near the toilet unless it’s to accompany me or Dad while we’re going. Sigh. But, we’ve decided we’re not going to force it. From what I understand, potty training is a much easier process when the kid is truly ready for it & interested in it.

I mentioned being busy with the holidays– since I last wrote we’ve had not one, not two, but THREE major holidays! They’ve all been a blast, but I think this is where pictures & videos tell the stories better than I can. So, here we go– life since I last wrote has been something like this…

The biggest, most common thread that weaves through all of our adventures is BABY. Baby is the little doll we gave you not long after we found out that you were going to be a big brother. A friend gave us the idea to teach you about babies & how they are cared for this way. You might remember that Elmo used to go with us everywhere, but after accidentally forgetting him at Grandma & Papa’s house one time you latched onto Baby and he’s been your BFF ever since. If I’d known you were going to get so attached to Baby, I probably would’ve chosen one that is more sturdy. LOL. Oh well!



Dad spent every weekend for about a month or so remodeling one of our bathrooms. You enjoyed making a “house” out of construction materials (first photo) and the many, many trips to Home Depot (second photo).





^ You were painting the plate for a Thanksgiving craft we made (amazingly no paint got on Baby, phew!). The end result came out really cute!



^ This was taken a couple weeks ago when you & I were up late one night while you had the stomach flu. It was a very miserable evening for you, to say the least. This was the first time you’d ever been that sick, and it absolutely broke my heart. Every time you threw up it naturally scared/upset you quite a bit. Thankfully the worst of it only lasted the one evening… but you didn’t eat much for the next couple days, which is VERY unlike you. Miraculously no one in the house managed to catch it from you either.



^ Here you were telling Baby to “SAY CHEESE!” Haha





^ You are still very much my little bookworm! The floor-level bookshelf was a very wise investment off the yardsale site… having to pick you up to get to the bookshelves mounted on your wall was getting to be a huge pain. You are too heavy & I am too pregnant for that!





(Sorry these pictures are not really in chronological order, by the way). Halloween! You & I dressed up together as characters from the old movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” — you were an Oompa Loompa & I was the girl that turns into a blueberry. This year we actually took you out to a few houses around the neighborhood to trick or treat, plus to a local “trunk or treat” event with our weekend playgroup, and both times you did great! You didn’t want to say “trick or treat” but you did at least say “thank you” to everyone. One thing that cracked me up was that when a particularly generous lady gave you a full-sized candy bar, you refused to put it in your little pumpkin. I guess because you thought only bite-sized candies should go in there? Anyway, although we got some video of you trick or treating, I actually thought the video of you eating your candy after we got home was much more entertaining…

This year both sets of grandparents happened to be in town for Halloween because Charlie’s baby shower was the same weekend. It was nice having them there for the big event. 🙂 BTW, the “ta-da” story Nana is talking about is as follows:


LMAO. You are actually pretty good about manners, we’ve drilled them into you pretty hard. You say please, thank you, sorry, and excuse me. Now we even get a full confession such as “Excuse me, I burped a little bit.” 😉









^^ I just love those “Alex smiles!” Whenever we ask you to smile now, you get the biggest/cheesiest/goofiest grin on your face. It’s the best. 😀 That last picture is obviously from Christmas day, which leads me to “The Holidays”



^^ Happy Thanksgiving! You were not sick this year, so that’s a win in my book. Since Grandma & Papa were in Florida for Thanksgiving, Uncle Jeff hosted lunch on the Stoddard side, then we had dinner with the Pacheco side later than evening. You had such a blast hanging out with your cousins, as you can see. 🙂




^ When we got home that weekend after Thanksgiving we put up our Christmas decorations. Dad & I did most of it while you were napping, but we saved the tree ornaments for when you got up. In the video above we were doing the “special” ornaments which I had to help you more with, but for the plain ball ornaments you got the knack of doing it yourself pretty quickly… we just ended up with a ton of those down at the bottom. LOL. Also, you can see in the last picture the new ornament we got this year– an “Alex & Charlie” ornament to celebrate Charlie’s impending arrival.


^ You did not think much of Santa this year, either. What’s funny is that you were SUPER excited to go see Santa… you recognize who he is/what he looks like now (mostly thanks to the big blowup Santa on our front porch), but I don’t think you’ve made the connection to the presents yet. Anyway, as soon as Santa came out you kept trying to cut in line and run up to see him. As soon as we finally got up there & it was time for you to sit on his lap, you quickly changed your mind! This was the best photo we could get. LOL. Maybe next year will be THE year!




^ Of course we spent much of this joyous season enjoying it with our playgroup! Hard to believe it’s been a year & a half since I started the group, but now I couldn’t imagine our life without them– many of the “regulars” have become some of our closest friends. We went to a walk-through light show (that’s our friend Tom holding you & his son/your buddy Noah just after we’d finished checking it out) and did a cookie swap/holiday craft date with them this season. You made some really cute ornaments for our little mini tree in the dining room!


^ You really, really enjoyed all the Christmas decorations around the house this year… especially the tree. The first thing you’d say when you came downstairs each morning was “Christmas tree!” 🙂 This is one of my favorite photos of you & the tree, taken one evening when we were snuggled up in front of the fire watching tv.




Christmas day was a busy whirlwind down in Hampton with the family… for whatever reason you decided to get up for the day at 3:30am (ugh!), but you managed to hang on until after Uncle Jeff and his family came over to Papa & Grandma’s house for presents & brunch. You did a great job opening presents this year, and were content to play with your toys while everyone else opened theirs. After a nice long nap, we went over to Nana & Grump’s house for another round of presents and dinner. 🙂 It was a long, exhausting day & we JUST barely squeezed everything in the car to make the journey back home that night. I have been thinking a lot lately about how we’re going to do Christmas in future years, with another baby on top of Santa & everything else. It may be time to start our own family traditions for Christmas and celebrate with the grandparents & extended family the weekend following. (They are not going to like that when they read it… sorry, grandparents.) At least we have a whole year to think about it!

And with that, I’ll wrap up with some of my other favorite pictures & videos from all the random shenanigans we’ve gotten into these last few months (and again, they’re most likely out of order… sorry!):



^ A couple weeks before Halloween, we went to a local nursery’s “pumpkin playground” with our weekend playgroup. It was a ton of fun, and you got to pick out a pumpkin at the end. Well, leave it to you to pick the TINIEST, in my opinion most lame pumpkin in the whole patch! But man… you sure were proud of that pumpkin (as evidenced here!). LOL










^ I should clarify that when I say “we got it that time,” I mean that EVERY other time up until that point you would give us a very adamant NO whenever we asked you if you wanted to be a big brother and/or have a baby brother. And this was not the first time we’d tried the trick of asking you lots of questions that you say yes to first… usually it’s still a no. And it’s been back to a no ever since. Sorry, Charlie! :-X



So as you can see… you are a non-stop ball of energy, from the moment you wake up until we wrestle you into bed you are going a million miles an hour, and having a blast while you do it. Okay, we don’t really wrestle you into bed & actually you’re pretty good about sleeping once you actually fall asleep. But when it’s time for bed or nap you insist that you want to “play all day” which is where the title of this letter came from. 😉 But alas, even super toddlers need to recharge their batteries…


😉 And every morning you wake up looking something like this:


LOL. You have the most epic bedhead I’ve ever seen, especially on someone with such short hair! People sometimes wonder why, but I’m always reminded whenever I need to go in and lay down with you in the middle of the night. This doesn’t happen very often anymore, just if you’re sick or have a bad dream, but when it does good GRIEF you flop around like a fish out of water! One night it was so ridiculous that I decided to go back & show Dad on the camera monitor we have in your room. It was then that I discovered our monitor has a “time lapse” feature, and I made this gem of a video. The following took place over the course of about an hour & a half in the wee hours of the morning a couple months ago:

Although you’re super cute & snuggly when I go to lay down with you, you refuse to just lie still and fall back asleep. As someone who also has trouble falling asleep I can relate somewhat to your plight (my mind goes a mile a minute and it’s really hard for me to “turn that off” when I need to sleep), but I still get exhausted just watching that video! Haha.

But even though life with you (and especially with being pregnant on top of it) has been insanely exhausting, I would not change a single second of it. As I (finally!) wrap this letter up it’s now New Year’s Eve, which is a day many people use to reflect on how their year has went. For me, it’s absolutely been one of the best years of my life. This age in your life has been a challenge (you have those “terrible two” moments for sure!) but also a lot of fun– you are so full of joy and wonder, and it’s been a great reminder to appreciate all the little things in life. One of my favorite things to do is just walk around the neighborhood and explore with you– when the weather cooperates we take a little walk as a family after dinner each evening (although it’s gotten too dark too early to do that now, but we’ll pick it up again in the spring). We always take the time to say “hi” to the mailboxes (haha) and check out every fancy leaf, every pretty car, every random critter scurrying/flying around, every friendly neighbor, etc etc. Getting to see the world through your eyes is one of my favorite things about being your mom. For that… I thank you, sweet Alex. 🙂

Although it’s much later than I intended, the timing of this letter actually works out for the best as I doubt I’ll have time to write again until things settle down after Charlie is born. We’re actually doing your birthday party a month late this year for that same reason, so the next letter can cover your birthday and all the associated celebrations involved with that. And of course, your transition from only child to big brother. 😉 Wish us luck, family & friends!

All my love,

The good, the bad and the funny

Dear Alex,

We’re wrapping up summer and you’ve just passed the 20 month mark… crap, that is dangerously close to 2 years old! In some ways I feel like we’re there already, as I see quite a bit of the “terrible two’s” behavior coming out already. Lots of crying/tantrums over the most random stuff, hitting, etc. We’ve instituted time-outs for you now in these situations, and have set up a lovely space for this that Dad called “the sin bin.” It’s actually just your pack & play set up in a corner. 😉 When you hit or throw a tantrum, you go into time out there for about 2 minutes. Another typical toddler behavior that has sprung up recently is being picky with your food. I think if it were up to you now you’d eat only carbs. I have to serve your veggies first with nothing else on the plate, or else you’ll skip over them to the other stuff. Sometimes even then you don’t eat them, which is weird because up until this point you ate pretty much EVERYTHING, especially veggies! I’m also going to try some new recipes soon that “sneak” veggies in, like zucchini muffins and such. Hopefully this is just a phase.

I mentioned that you randomly cry over stuff, but I should also mention that you laugh at the most random things lately too. A couple of examples– one morning while we were eating breakfast, you kept putting your face right in front of a bottle of honey and cracking up! Not sure why the honey bottle was so hysterical. Another one is that lately you crack up anytime someone gives you a thumbs-up, or points, or anything like that with their fingers. Apparently fingers are super funny! 😛 Toddler are very much little Jekyll/Hyde sort of people, with mood swings ALLLL over the place.

I mentioned the bad & the funny, but saved the good for last as there is just so, so much of that to share. 🙂 You are growing, learning, and maturing so very quickly lately. I’d been planning to add to the catalogue of words I started in the last letter for you, but you’ve added so many words to your vocabulary in the last two months that I couldn’t possibly remember them all now. You know many names of the common people in your life (including your own, which sounds more like “Aye-ex” at this point), many foods & common objects, several verbs (“watch,” “walk,” “read” and “eat” being your favorites), most of the niceties (please, thank you, i’m sorry), both yes and no, and several two word phrases (like “Mommy’s cup, “More please,” etc). You can identify some colors, letters & shapes, and quite a few of your body parts as well…

And you learn TONS new stuff everyday. You are such a smart little guy! Dad & I are so, so proud of you already. You’ve had a lot of other “firsts” this summer as well. One thing that I was a little nervous about what your first dental checkup, but you were a champ! We went to a really great pediatric dental practice, where all the staff were friendly and fun. They made sure you had a gentle & positive experience. The dentist said your teeth look great! 😀 This will sound silly, but after it was over I felt a little emotional, similar to when you got your first haircut… things like that are big reminders of how you’re very much NOT a baby anymore, how quickly you’re growing and how quickly the time is passing by. Another little “milestone” we had over the summer was the transition to a booster seat at restaurants (which is immensely easier to deal with than a high chair, although it doesn’t keep you as well-contained when you get fidgety). Here’s your first booster seat experience, during one of our Sunday family lunches at Bertucci’s:


And another one a few weeks later. This is a blurry shot but I love it because it’s a sweet moment between me & you. When we’re out to eat & you sit next to me in the booth, you frequently lean over & put your head on my shoulder, just because. 🙂


Anywho, we’ve spent as much of our time as possible outside this summer, enjoying all the fun & festivities this area has to offer. It was at one of these local festivals that you recently experienced your first carnival ride:

Of course, you LOVED it…. and I was not surprised, considering how much you love swings & slides, and it was only a slight step up from that. Speaking of swings & slides, here’s some more pics of our summer fun:




At the park with your pal Ella!



At kiddie band concert (The Milkshake Band!) with your friends Adelyn & Bree. You might have noticed by now… you have a LOT of girlfriends. Uh oh. 😉



Our play group had their first “birthday” party over the summer at our favorite park. It was so much fun! Everyone had a blast playing cornhole, blowing bubbles, riding the little train that goes around the park & just running around playing outside. Hard to believe it’s been over a year now since I started that group… it’s been quite successful & I’m very proud of it. 🙂 Many of our BFFs/”family” in the area are in our lives because of that group!



We went to visit Hampton for Labor Day weekend… you had a blast seeing your grandparents & cousins!




So this trampoline park opened up near our house a few months ago… you & I finally went to check it out recently. It was a BLAST, as you can see! 🙂




Lately I’ve been getting you to “help” me cook more often– this little booster tower thing lets you stand right next to me at counter height. Usually more often than not, you’re just sampling the ingredients. LOL. I also got you a little play kitchen off one of the yardsale sites & put it right next to our real kitchen, and you enjoy playing with that as well while I’m cooking.



Bedtime stories with Grandma & Daddy. 🙂 You may notice that you’re wearing the same PJ’s in both pictures… you really love those “puppy jammies.” Unfortunately we’ve just recently retired those and bumped you up to size 3T for pajamas. I’m stocking up on 3T clothes for the winter too. You’re growing so fast!




“Where’s Alex?!” LOL. One of your favorite things to play, mostly when we’re hanging out upstairs, is hide and seek. We had a weekend last month where we were all pretty sick and spent the whole weekend upstairs in bed. Here we are all snuggled up:


Not that being sick ever slows you down! Lots of hide & seek games were played that weekend. Haha. Here are some of my other favorite pictures of you from the last couple months:




We’re still working on you saying “cheese” for pictures… this is pretty much best-case scenario at this point, where you do indeed say cheese but you won’t look at the camera. We’ll keep working on it!





Admittedly, we take quite a few pictures of you while you’re sitting at the table… it’s pretty much the only place where you stay in one place long enough to actually GET a picture. 😉

That’s enough for one letter I think, although I could go on & on about all the stuff you’re up to these days. Every day is a new adventure with you because you’re learning and doing new things constantly. We’ve even started to dabble in potty training with some degree of success, but we still have such a long way to go on it that I don’t think it’s worth discussing in great detail just yet.

Anywho– until next time, my sweet boy! 🙂

All my love,


“Beebee!” (And other incomprehensible words)

Dear Alex,

It’s been such a busy and eventful summer…. and we’re only half way through it! I’m sorry I haven’t had time to write in awhile, but hopefully this insanely long letter will make up for it. You are a little over 18 months old now– the amount of growth and development that’s occurred in these last couple months seriously blows my mind. It is so cool, a true blessing, to be able to witness it and to think “I made this awesome little human!” 🙂 The biggest thing we’ve noticed is the sudden influx of words you’re adding to your vocabulary lately. However, many of the words are understandable to only me & sometimes Dad. So, I thought I’d come up with a little “Alex translator” here to help our friends and family out. Here are the words you have down pat, where what you’re saying is actually what you mean… at least the ones I can think of, I’m sure there’s more:


And here’s the ones that need translation:

“Dow” = Down
“Baw” = Ball or ball-shaped object (you’ve been calling grapes “baws” lately too)
“Caw” = Car, truck, or just about anything with wheels
“App” = Apple
“Peas” = Please (you are EXCELLENT about saying please to get what you want. It’s effing adorable.
“Mow” = More
“Momo” = another word for Elmo
“Beebee” = Baby
“Papa” (only said in a whisper for some reason) = Papa and/or Grandma
“Coh” = Cody, our dog
“Eee-eee” = Annie, our dog… or Eat, depending on the context involved

And of course, there’s a whole gaggle of “words” that you babble all the time, of which we have no clue what they mean. LOL

In less exciting news, we had a period where nights were REALLY rough for awhile… you’d wake up sometime between 12-3am crying and wouldn’t go back to sleep for HOURS. Later we would find out it was due to teething, a growth spurt (you’ve shot up almost 2 inches in the last couple months), and yet ANOTHER ear infection. They always seem to happen when you get new teeth, and considering it was the molars this time (a doozy!) I wasn’t surprised. What sucked the most about it was that you came down with the infection while Dad & I were on vacation in Puerto Rico, so we couldn’t do much to help you. We also moved you to your first “big boy bed” not long after the ear infection cleared up, so I suppose that complicated things a bit too. There were many, many nights where Dad & I took turns sleeping in the bed with you to help you get used to it. I do not handle lack of sleep very well, especially on top of other health conditions that I’ll discuss shortly, so my sanity level was pretty low for awhile there. The good news is, things are more or less back to normal now & you sleep in that big boy bed like a champ!

Here’s one from one of those nights where you would only sleep in my arms. Although it was exhausting, I have to admit I enjoyed the extra cuddle time. 🙂 During the day you’re so busy & all over the place that cuddles are rare.

We’re still working on the decorations in your “big boy room,” but it’s going to be baseball/Washington Nationals themed. 😀 I’ll take pictures of all of it when we’re done!


Notice the funny little creature laying in bed next to you… that’s Elmo, AKA “Momo,” who you adore and take EVERYWHERE with you. You love all Elmo-related toys, books, shows and other paraphernalia. Here are some other adventures with you & best buddy Elmo…

On a walk with Elmo. We stopped by McDonald’s for lunch while we were out– notice the chicken nugget. 😉

Sharing your dinner with Elmo. You’re pretty good about sharing for a kid this age. Sometimes you like to trick us though, acting like you’re sharing & then snatch it away at the last second!

Showing Elmo how to use the bouncy seat. The truth is you’ve outgrown this thing & it  doesn’t really hold your interest anymore, but I’ve kept it out because sometimes I need a safe place to put you, where I know you’re not going anywhere!

Your other favorite toy these days is a little stuffed baby doll we all call “Baby,” but you pronounce it “Beebee.” Baby goes just about everywhere with us, too.


We bought you Baby as a way to teach you about babies, how to love & care for them, etc… because YOU ARE GOING TO BE A BIG BROTHER NEXT JANUARY!!! 😀 We are so excited and although I’m a little nervous about how you’re going to take not being the center of attention anymore, all in all I think you’ll love being a big brother. Especially since Baby Pacheco #2 is going to be a boy also, you guys will have a lot of fun together as you grow up. 🙂 Your little brother, Charlie, will be getting his own letters, although I’ve been horrible about keeping up with them so far as my life is much busier this pregnancy than it was during the last. Anyway, you & I had fun making this little pregnancy announcement:

Because in this day & age, nothing’s official until it’s posted on Facebook. Haha. This was originally going to be just one photo, but you were such a ham about it that I turned it into a little film strip sort of thing. Mothering a young toddler while going through the first trimester of pregnancy has been ROUGH, to say the least. Definitely exhausting. I’ll save those details for Charlie’s letter, though. Here’s some other fun stuff you’ve been up to this summer!

Your favorite song in all the world is “Old MacDonald,” and you don’t care who knows it. You burst into song– the part you sing is exclusively “E-I-E-I-O!!!” — all the time, and it’s one of the ways we can calm you down when you’re upset. Every toy you have that plays that song gets put to frequent use lately, and I even downloaded an app on my phone that plays it…. so now you either pick up my phone to shove it in my hand and say “EIEIO!” to get me to play the song or you hold it up to your ear and say “Hi!” 😉 So cute.

Speaking of farms, a couple weeks ago Papa, Grandma & I took you to a local farm-themed petting zoo/playground sort of place called “Blue Bird Gap Farm” while we were visiting family in Hampton. I grew up going to this place, but it was not nearly as nice when I was a kid as it is now! Apparently it was recently renovated. Anyway, you had a BLAST and especially enjoyed feeding the sheep. 🙂

Another thing you’re really into lately is playing dress-up with my & Dad’s clothes, shoes, etc. I tried to get a picture of you in Dad’s big work boots, but every time I put you in them you would try to walk around and immediately fall on your face. :-X

One hot Saturday morning, we went with some friends from our playgroup to a local splash park! You really enjoyed it, although it took you a little while to get comfortable in the new environment. This is pretty typical whenever we go to a place that has a lot of people, you stay close to me and survey the scene for a good 15 minutes or so before you’re willing to venture out and explore. Here’s an example from a playdate we had awhile back– this was you not long after we got there:

This type of shy behavior is pretty similar to Dad’s personality, but totally a foreign concept to me. I’ve always been pretty outgoing…. when I was a kid I walked up to random strangers and told them my life story, LOL. Anyway, I’ve been working on respecting this aspect of your personality & not pushing you to do more than you’re comfortable with. As it has with Dad, I know it will get easier for you with time. Like at a friend’s birthday party we went to recently, you were running all over the place within a few minutes. I took this picture of you & a couple of your friends squished into a truck after I’d pushed you guys around the yard for a few minutes. Y’all had so much fun together!

As I’ve mentioned in other letters, you have a truck just like this one that you love to “drive” around. You’re very much into cars/trucks/etc and love “driving” just about anything you can get your hands on:

Good times at the home improvement stores!

If only our regular grocery store had carts like this! 😉

You & your buddy Juju flying a plane at Clemyjontri park! That park was AWESOME, biggest play place we’ve been to yet! I love how so much of the entertainment in this area is free… even that splash park doesn’t charge an entrance fee!

And of course we’ve been out & about geocaching. 😉 Here’s the one we found near Clemyjontri park that same afternoon. We also rode the carousel while we were there… I loved that they have seatbelts on the animals! Ignore my dorky hiking shoes; I wore them because I knew we’d be geocaching. LOL

Sometimes the most random stuff CRACKS YOU UP. Here’s some other random fun we’ve had this summer:

Watching the Nats game with Dad. 🙂

Working on your “selfie” skills….

That’s better!

Hanging with your pal “Eee-eee” AKA Annie. This is about as close as the dogs let you get to them, unless there’s food involved.

Putting those new teeth to good use! 😉 You’re still a pretty good eater, but you’ve started to get picky lately. Hoping it’s a phase that passes quickly…

Swinging! 😀 Yes I squeezed my fat, pregnancy-bloated self into the swing. You’re never too old for swings, I say!

More silliness at the dinner table. You were cracking us up!

All in all it’s been a wonderful summer. I can’t believe how quickly it’s flown by so far! Despite the tantrums and such, this has still been my favorite age so far… you’re so much fun to hang out with these days! You are the number one reason I smile everyday. 🙂

All my love,





Dear Alex,

A small addendum to my recent update. I wanted to wait to write about this until it happened again & the feeling was fresh in my mind. This occurred last night.

My young toddler, barely beyond the brink of infancy, wakes in the middle of the night crying as though he’s lost his last friend in the world.
I go to check on him, and nothing appears outwardly wrong. A bad dream perhaps, or teething. Whatever it was, he quiets the moment I pick him up.
I kiss his forehead, hold him close to me and settle down into the rocking chair. He breathes a heavy sigh of relief and burrows into my embrace, facing me belly to belly with his cheek buried in my elbow. The way we’ve done a thousand times before.
But now he is so big that his feet hang past the side of my lap, just over the edge of the chair. Snuggly moments like this are so few and far between these days that, even though my bed is calling, I decide to sit with him for awhile.
I rub his back and lean my head sideways against the headrest so that I can relax while staring at that sweet face. Before long he’s back in Dreamland, the pacifier drooping at the edge of his lips.
As I start to follow him there, suddenly he reaches his little hand up unconsciously and touches my face, caressing my cheek and then resting his hand on my chest.

And there we stay, in the quiet abyss between awake and asleep, feeling one another’s heartbeat. It feels like forever. It feels like no time at all.
But more than anything else, it feels like peace.

Times like this remind me why I became a mother. The depth of this bond, this love, the way you need me and I need you more than anything or anyone else in the world, is unlike any other experience I’ve had in this life. I know I say this a lot in these letters, but it is truly a blessing.

All my love,

Walk the walk, Talk the talk

Dear Alex,

You’re just over 16 months now! The spring has flown by, weather-wise it seems we’ve almost skipped it entirely and are starting to move on to summer. We were very thankful when the long season of winter weather finally ended, and now we spend a LOT of time playing outside. Things have not changed much activity-wise in the last two months. You are still VERY active, only your walking skills are more proficient and you’ve moved on to trying to run. Your climbing skills have improved a lot too (unfortunately for me, Dad, & especially the dogs LOL), partially because I think you’ve gotten quite a bit taller. You had your checkup at 15 months & clocked in at almost 27lb! I think my arms are getting pretty strong. 😉 Movement-wise, you are also starting to get more into dancing a little bit. It’s still pretty rare so I haven’t caught it on video yet, but super cute!

The biggest change these last two months has been communication. Your understanding of words & even what you’re able to say has grown leaps & bounds. You can identify and point to the common people in your life, for example “Where’s Mommy? Where’s Daddy?” and even distinguishing between our two dogs, Cody & Annie. You know the names of many common objects, and will follow basic commands like “Bring me the ball” or “Put the egg in the basket” (which was said often on Easter Sunday, LOL). Your new favorite word to say is “yuck,” probably because you’re constantly putting anything & EVERYTHING into your mouth, which leads us to say “Don’t eat that,  that’s yuck!” :-X You have mommy & daddy down pat, and will say a few other words such as out, dog, more, & bye bye. We occasionally hear other words & even what we think might be a short sentence (Dad thought he heard you say “want that” the other day, but I am skeptical). You are getting to be very inquisitive, and often ask us what things are by pointing at something and going “Eh?” It’s fun to have little conversations with you. How much you’re learning in such a short span of time just blows my mind! Oh, and one more thing about being vocal– you have recently discovered screaming. When we’re not giving you enough attention or you’re not getting what you want, more & more often you’re starting to throw back your head and SCREAM bloody murder. Lord help us! Hoping to nip that in the bud…. terrible 2’s here we come. :-\

Anyway, I’ve noticed a marked improvement in your hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, too. You’re getting more proficient at things like the shape sorter and building with blocks. When we play outside, you LOVE to “shoot hoops” and have gotten pretty good at slam-dunks with your toddler sized basketball hoop. Recently we took out your little tee ball set, and after only showing you what to do once or twice, you were hitting balls off the tee no problem! You also understand the concept of throwing & we like to play catch with you, in our own little way. It’s more like a complicated game of fetch, honestly. 😉 Haha

I think the rest of our adventures recently can be told in pictures & videos (and I apologize in advance as there are probably not going to be in chronological order)….

Easter festivities! We actually did an egg hunt/ meet the bunny event with my mom’s group the weekend before, then spent Easter in Hampton with all your grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins. You were much more into it this year, although it took some persuasion to have you put eggs in the basket (rather than immediately opening them to eat the contents, LOL).

We finished up your first round of swim lessons a few weeks ago. You got a fancy little certificate & everything! I think we’ll do this again next spring, when you’re old enough to move up to the next age group. You & I had so much fun with it, and as you can see many of our friends took the class with us… but admittedly, I’m glad to have my Saturday mornings back. 😉

Never a shortage of good times with Dad! You guys have such an awesome bond. I remember when you were a newborn & Dad was worried that you would never like him as much as me… I think he realizes now how silly that was!

There are a few of my favorite photos taken recently. I may be biased but good GRIEF you are adorable! I’m so glad you ended up with my blue eyes. You are going to steal the ladies’ hearts someday! Other than my coloring though, you are the spitting image of Dad. Speaking of cute pictures….

We had some family photos taken a few weeks ago, and I think they turned out really great! It can very hard to capture pictures of you smiling, as you almost never smile on demand (we’ve been working on the whole “say cheese” thing but no dice yet), so hats off to our photographer, Amanda Pham! 🙂

As you can see, lots of fun to be had with Mom too. 😉 The first couple pictures are from Mother’s Day. You & dad brought me breakfast in bed and let me have the morning to myself, then we went out to lunch and geocaching at the park. It was such a fun day… But days with my two favorite guys are always fun!

And that’s about where things are at the moment. This weekend we’ll be headed to WV for our annual family reunion with Dad’s side of the family. It should be a lot of fun! A weekend away with family & fresh air is just what the doctor ordered, and a great “kick off” to the summer season. Not long after that, Dad & I are going on our first vacation since before you were born… and frankly, I’m a little nervous about leaving you for so long (four days). But it should be a good thing for all of us, and it’s for a worthy occasion– my & Dad’s 5th wedding anniversary! It’s hard to believe how much a life can change in just five years. Makes me wonder what the next five years will bring….

Until next time, sweet boy! 🙂

All my love,


Alex (and Mommy’s!) Favorite Things- 1 Year Old

Dear Alex,

You have just passed the 14 month mark & we have so busy! Now that you’re very much on the move and so interactive, Dad and I don’t have as much time to get on the computer as we used to. So I apologize for the infrequency of my letters during this phase of your life! Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped us from taking plenty of pictures & videos. It’s harder to get good ones lately because you just don’t stay still for very long. You are a really good walker now, and even starting to run on occasion. Unfortunately this has led to some unfortunate face-plants and your first (but not last, I’m sure) bloody nose. 😦

You are also pretty good at communicating and starting to show an interest in talking, but you still don’t say much yet. The only things you say with any consistency so far are “Mama,” “Dada,” and “dog” which really sounds more like “gog” when you say it. A few other rare times we’ve heard you say “yes,” “up,” “more” and “bye bye” but so far they seem to be flukes. Overall I suspect you will be a late talker, which is pretty common with little boys so I’m not worried about it.

Anyway, I thought this would be a good time to do another “favorite things” update… the weather has been cold and messy so we haven’t really gotten into many exciting adventures the lately. Hopefully spring will move onto the scene here pretty soon so that we can get out & do more fun things with you! In the meantime, here are some of the things you are really into these days, and the things we use to make life with a toddler a little easier:

1. FOOD. You are a little bottomless pit! I’m glad you’re such a great eater, and even more glad that you can just eat whatever we eat now rather than having to buy things like formula, baby food, those quick-dissolve “puffs,” etc. Your favorite on-the-go snack is Goldfish, and I love these little snack containers Grandma got you for Christmas:


They keep stuff from spilling out so that you can hold it yourself. You’ve gotten pretty good at getting things out of there!

As much as you love food, you also have really gotten into sharing your food lately. Often times you try to give us a bit of your food in between your own bites. You do this with everyone, everywhere. It’s so funny when we take you to restaurants and you try to offer bites of your food to everyone that walks by! 😉 Recently we had to start putting the dogs outside during all your meals, because a LOT of this was happening:

As for drinks, you have shown an affinity for straw cups rather than the “traditional” sippy cup, although we have a few of those around too. My favorites are the tall insulated ones, they hold a lot and keep your milk cold for a really long time!

At the same time, we’re working on teaching you to drink out of regular cups like a big boy. This training cup has been a huge help…. it works just like a regular cup but has a plastic disc in the top that controls the flow of the liquid, so it doesn’t all spill out as quickly. You’re actually really good at it, but don’t understand yet that you can’t just leave these sorts of cups laying on their side….

Speaking of food, here’s your first time tasting an ice cream cone. You got REALLY into it, LOL.

2. Books! Other than eating, flipping through books is your absolute favorite thing to do. I guess you got the bookworm gene from me! 🙂 And so we’ve acquired a pretty extensive collection of board books. I buy them at yard sales, etc. because you’re pretty rough on them (you also like chewing on them, and once you’ve found a particular page you like you try to rip it out :-\)

Not only do you like looking at the pictures, but you like hearing the stories as well. Whenever you’re not looking through the book yourself, you’re coming up to us to throw the book in our lap– your way of asking us to read it to you. 😉 Another cool thing I’ve noticed lately is that you seem to be able to tell when a book/page is upside down. You are so smart!

3.  Jake & the Neverland Pirates– You still love Bubble Guppies also, as well as a few other shows (I’ve recently gotten you into one of my childhood favorites, Fraggle Rock), but Jake is the only one besides Bubble Guppies where you recognize all the songs and get really excited when it comes on. Nana got you a Jake pirate ship for Christmas, and you love playing with it, although you haven’t figured out how to propel yourself around on it yet.

4. Fischer Price apps… Thank GOODNESS for these, they really save us sometimes when we’re out to dinner, stuck in line at the store, etc. They have all sorts of different “games” and such. We have about 5 or 6 on my phone and “your” phone (one of my old cell phones, which I keep in your room to entertain you while you’re getting your diaper changed).

5. Pop-up Rocket Ship. This was the best $20 I’ve spent in awhile. You LOVE crawling in & out of it:

And it folds up into a small, flat bag that is easy to take to playdates & such. This happens to be one of my favorite pictures of you currently:

6. Cozy Coupe Truck. This thing is a huge hit at every single play date. All the kids (yourself included) love it and flock right to it. Right now I have the floor board in it, but when you’re ready I’ll take that out and you can walk/”drive” yourself around in it. On nice days when we go out for walks, Dad & I usually push you around in your truck. Here you go taking one of your many girlfriends (Lord help me!) for a ride:


I could go on really… basically anything that keeps you entertained and helps you get out all your active energy is a WIN in this house. 😉 Your new favorite game lately is chasing us around the house, and vice versa. It’s a non-stop giggle-fest!

You’re also getting to be quite a climber. You are excellent at going up the stairs now (but we’re still working on getting back down), and any time you have a chance to climb into a box, basket, etc…. you’re all over it!

Another fun thing you & I have been doing lately is a mommy & me swim class, which will hopefully prepare you a bit for this summer! Here we are practicing “jumping’ into the pool on the first day of class.

Other than that, it’s been business as usual around here…. work, play, eat, sleep, repeat. We wouldn’t have it any other way! 🙂

I love your little personality. Although there are some tantrums, overall you’re just the sweetest, funniest little creature I’ve ever known. You are much more generous with the smiles & giggles these days. It’s the best! Dad & I are really enjoying the phase of your life. It’s almost time for you to wake up from your nap… until next time, my sweet boy! 🙂


All my love,

The Story of Us Starts a New Chapter…

Dear Alex,

YOU ARE ONE! I have a toddler! What a crazy feeling. This year has gone by so fast. Your birthday party was so much fun! All the photos can be found here: http://s1358.photobucket.com/user/laurapacheco6609/library/Alex%201st%20Birthday%201-19-13 , but I’ll post a few of my faves:

Blowing out your first birthday candle!

NOM NOM NOM. You were so polite with your cake, we had to really encourage you to get messy with it. And by “encourage” I mean that we shoved your hands into the cake. 😉

Cruising with your friends! Papa & Grandma got you this cool truck for your birthday. 🙂

Your party was “Where the Wild Things Are” themed (a popular children’s book about a boy’s imaginary journey to a land of monsters), and Dad made this cool “wild things” photo booth! Top to bottom: Me + Dad, Solly + You, Aubree + Ella (friends from our working mom’s group).

Anyway, there were probably about 20-30 friends & family at the party. I think everyone had a really nice time! You were spoiled with lots of awesome gifts! Between Christmas & your birthday, we are SET on toys for the rest of the year. 😛

Other than your birthday, not much has been going on around here. You’ve just been practicing your walking skills….

And we’ve been working on moving you into a toddler diet… no more formula or bottles! You’ve always been a great eater so that hasn’t really been a problem, but getting you to drink enough fluilds (milk, water, juice) exclusively from sippy cups is slow-going. I found today that putting a little Ovaltine in your milk helped quite a bit. 😉 Shocker!

Other than that it’s been business as usual around here. We’ve had a lot of crappy, cold, sometimes even snowy weather which has forced us to spend most of our time inside. That’s about it for now! I will post again soon with more pictures & videos of the lovely little life that is yours Alex, but for now I wanted to share one final birthday gift with you…. a look back on the first year of your life, and the best year of ours.

All my love,

A Tale of Two Sickies

Dear Alex,

As promised, it is time to recount your first experience of a holiday season! Sorry it’s a bit late… took me awhile to get ALLLLLLL the pictures & videos together. Not that it will matter by the time you read this. Anyway, unfortunately as the title of this letter suggests, the holidays weren’t everything we’d hoped they would be for you.

It started off fairly well… we journeyed down to Hampton to stay with Nana & Grump for Thanksgiving. You were sleeping more than normal the day or so before Thanksgiving, but I didn’t think too much of it. The morning of Thanksgiving you were a bit fussy, and then woke up from your nap with a 103 degree temperature! 😦 We struggled with getting it back down the rest of the day, and you were understandably not interested in eating much of your Thanksgiving meals. However, we were still able to get a couple pictures of you eating dinner at Nana & Grump’s and playing with your cousins:

You slept fitfully that night and the next day was more of the same struggle to keep your temperature down. Finally when it started to hit 104 even with Tylenol, I ended up taking you to the nearest Urgent Care facility. They diagnosed you with an ear infection, & we had you on antibiotics by the end of the day. However, we decided to cut our trip short and head home so that you could recover in peace & comfort. My poor baby! 😦 You being sick is the saddest, most pitiful thing in the world. However, one thing about you being sick is that you always ONLY want to be with mommy….

Which is a blessing and a curse at times, but overall I try to soak it up as much as I can… any other time you’re squirming to get off of my lap and get into everything, but for those few days you were recovering I got a lot of sweet Alex snuggle time. You even fell asleep in my lap once.

That face! Those cheeks! Anyway, within a couple of days you were feeling much better. We were even able to put up the Christmas tree later that weekend.

Later that night you showed off your walking skills… yes I said WALKING. Ohhh my goodness. You still have a ways to go, but as of a few weeks ago  you officially started taking a few unassisted steps here & there. It started as just one or two steps followed by a face plant (haha), but as I write this you’re up to about 4-5 steps at a time. Makin’ moves! Unfortunately it happens so sporadically that we have yet to get it on video.

Look ma, no hands! 😉

This is my favorite picture of you currently. Look at that sweet smile! 😀

Mommy & Alex being silly. Notice the kiss pic on the right– you did that on your own! Every so often you get in a “kissy” mood, but for the most part you aren’t into it. So far only me and your daycare lady get kisses. Dad gets waves from you though… that’s your special thing with him. You’re learning new stuff all the time!

Anyway, not long after that we got our first big snow of the season! Dad & I both ended up having an extra day off of work, and enjoyed staying home to play with you in the snow. 🙂 Your first snow experience was exactly how I thought it would be… as with everything else you come across, you wanted to eat the snow! Haha

Then just a couple days later, you got to have even more fun at your first “concert” — Sesame Street Live!

You were such a good boy at the concert… honestly better than I thought you’d be. 😉 I think because it was so late and you were starting to get sick again, you were pretty tired & content to sit in my lap most of the time and just watch the show.

Sick AGAIN, you ask? Yes. This time both you and I came down with a terrible cold/flu bug. It lasted over two weeks, prompting me to take you to the doctor twice (where they said your ears were still a little infected on top of having this “monster cold,” putting you back on antibiotics) and to take myself to the doctor once. Your pediatrician said that I should expect you to get sick in some form or fashion pretty much every 2 weeks or so during this first winter in daycare. :-\  Oy! And of course it’s tough enough when you’re sick, but having us both sick (and miserably bed-ridden sick on top of that, at least for me) made things really difficult around the Pacheco house for awhile. Dad had to work a lot of overtime during that period as well, but he still did his best to take care of us & keep the household running. We just ended up eating a LOT of takeout. 😉 Bless his heart! Despite being sick, of course I still took you for a quick trip to see Santa…

You were actually pretty cool with Santa for about 10 seconds, and then…

Call the WAAAAAmbulance! Not really, you kind of whimpered for a minute or so, then calmed down & got over it. In the end, you & Santa had a nice chat. 🙂 A decent first Santa experience, overall!

So when the time finally came to go back down to Hampton for Christmas, the home-cooked meals were most welcome after all that takeout. Fortunately you & I were feeling much better by Christmas… it was a VERY busy day (as it always is for us, running back & forth between the two sides of the family), but it was also so much fun!  We had a nice time hanging out with some extended family on Christmas Eve:

Then started off Christmas day with presents and breakfast with the Stoddards.

One of the Stoddard’s Christmas traditions is that every year on Christmas Eve we get matching pajamas to wear that night– one set for the boys and a different set for the girls. That’s what we wear when we open up gifts and have breakfast the next morning too. Here you are with the other fellas in your very first set of Christmas jammies! 🙂

Grandma always makes a couple of delicious breakfast casseroles for us. You gobbled them right up! 🙂 After breakfast you took a quick nap, then we headed over to Nana & Grump’s for the Pacheco festivities.

Opening presents with Auntie Sheena! Not surprisingly, you were VERY spoiled at both houses. Our car was FULL of presents!

I love this picture of you with your cousin Shayla! Later that night we had Christmas dinner with the Pachecos, just before we had to head home. You enjoyed Nana’s green beans and playing with your cousins. 🙂 Overall, I’d say Christmas was much more of a success than Thanksgiving! You even got a couple extra “gifts” that none of us bargained for…

More teeth! FOUR of your top teeth popped through just before Christmas. They are pretty much all the way out now, and you are putting little teeth marks on everything, every chance you get. :-\ I attributed the teeth to being the reason you woke up with a little fever after your afternoon nap on New Year’s Eve, just before it was time for us to head to a “black tie baby” party with my working mom’s group. We gave you some Tylenol & you had a nice time nonetheless!

You looked SO cute and dapper in your little suit! You had fun crawling/walking around & hanging out with friends:

That last photo is blurry, but I thought it was funny that you were macking on the girls! 😉 Unfortunately, you did not think much of your party hat…

LOL. Despite that, I would say that you rang in the new year with style! 🙂 A couple days after that I had to take you to the doctor AGAIN because of a crazy rash you got that won’t go away (it’s still there actually & itching you like crazy, poor guy!), and to have your ears re-checked since you were still waking up a lot at night, being fussy and had that fever New Year’s Eve. They didn’t know what the rash was, but it turns out your ear infection had never gone away. 😦 They put you on stronger meds this time and said that if this doesn’t work, you’ll have to see an ENT specialist. Yikes! The new meds seem to be helping… sort of. Your sleep at night is still pretty messed up, but I don’t know if it’s the ears or the itchy rash keeping you awake. Either way, we go back to the doctor in about a week to check up on all that. It’s always something! :-\

Here are a few other pictures from the last 6 weeks or so… as always, there are TONS more at  http://s1169.photobucket.com/user/laurapachec0/library/Alex%20Month%2011.

Hanging out with Dad. 🙂

Some great pictures with Papa & Grandma, also taken on Christmas.

Funny faces! 😛 I take so many pictures in your high chair simply because it’s one of the few places where you’re forced to stay (relatively) still for a few minutes. LOL

11 months! Taken a little late since we were both sick on your actual 11 month birthday, but better late than never. Rolling around while I take these pictures is now your favorite game. When I flip you back over the giggle like crazy, and I end up with a lot of pictures like this:

Which are also adorable but not what I was originally going for! Haha. Since we’re getting down to the wire with these monthly photos (only ONE left to go now… :’-( ), I took a video to document just how crazy/difficult the experience of taking these monthly pics has been since you’ve become mobile.

Phew! Sorry for all the screaming. When you are full of spit & vinegar like that, you LOVE to hear yourself scream. :-\ Haha. Anyway, so ends another mammoth letter! I’ll be back in a few weeks to tell you all about how your first birthday went. Right now Dad & I are in the throes of birthday party preparations.  I can’t believe you’re about to turn one already! This past year has truly flown by. Until next time Alex– we love you SO much! :-*

All my love,

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

Dear Alex,

DOUBLE DIGITS! 10 months! My goodness, the time is flying by so fast. This was such a fun month. Your personality is making itself increasingly apparent, and it’s adorable! Well, most of the time it’s adorable…. haha. You have some of your mom & dad’s attitude too. 😉 That can try our patience at times, but overall you are such a sweet little guy. You are becoming more social, really enjoying interactions with others and imitating some of the things we do. For example, when we clap you also “clap” (although Dad says it more closely resembles a gorilla slapping his chest, haha). Here’s another great example:

It’s such a hoot when we stumble across something that you like to imitate. Some other examples are blowing raspberries, “dancing” along to music (more like bopping/nodding your head), and imitating simple sounds we make. This sound in particular was a hit around Halloween:

However, I’ve saved my favorite example for last. A few weeks ago I was putting you to bed after a VERY busy Saturday… after I’d given you your bottle & turned off the light, & held you close to me as usual. Those few cuddly minutes in the dark silence every night are truly what I live for, as I’ve mentioned in previous letters, but what happened next was hands-down the most heart melting, all over wonderful “mommy moment” I’ve had so far.  I kissed your cheek, and you responded by reaching up to grab my face & gave me a (big, wet, sloppy, adorable) kiss in return! And even though it was pretty dark, I could see well enough to catch that big goofy grin you had on your face as you pulled back after the kiss. So I kissed you on the cheek again, and again you returned the favor. We spent a good five minutes like that… smiling, giggling & kissing each other’s cheeks, before you laid down to go to sleep. You’ve “kissed” me once or twice since then, but it’s still very rare. But it’s things like that which make all the tougher/more challenging times worth it. 🙂

Anyway, another really awesome thing happened this month– your FIRST Halloween! We started preparing for Halloween early with your “zombie noises,” as you saw above. The noises went very well with your costume:

You attended your very first Halloween party with your friends from our working moms + babies group.

It was a lot of fun, and so cute to see you & the other babies all dressed up in your costumes! Later that weekend we decorated pumpkins.

You enjoyed getting the paint on your hands (& getting messy in general, haha)… but you were not a fan of me manipulating your hands to make these prints! Despite that, I think they turned out pretty good. And of course, on Halloween night you went trick-or-treating! You & I were quite the team: Franken-mommy & Franken-baby! 🙂

We only went to one house (Our next-door neighbor, Kami’s) as more of a “symbolic” trick-or-treating since it was close to your bedtime…. not to mention you can’t walk or eat candy yet. Really I think trick-or-treating will be much more fun for you next year. However, you still seemed to get a real kick out of it & knew just what to do!

Admittedly, I ate the once piece of candy you brought home. :-X Sorry about that! In my defense, candy is still a choking hazard for you, so you couldn’t have it. But don’t worry, to make up for not having candy we gave you something even better….

And at bedtime you got to wear some really awesome glow-in-the-dark Halloween jammies!

A successful first Halloween, I’d say! 🙂 Here are some of the other fun things we did this month:

Me, you & Dad ran a kid/stroller-themed 5K at the National Harbor. The last few months I’ve finally gotten into jogging, and you like to come along for the ride. 🙂 At the end of the race they had a big lunch, kiddie rock band & lots of kid-friendly activities for us to enjoy. You seemed to have a lot of fun, especially down on the beach!


Of course, we also took you out for several meals during the month. The past weekend you & Dad had fun playing with tortillas at Chevy’s, a Mexican place near my house.

LOL. There’s always lots of fun to be had during meals in our family:

Hanging out in our jammies one Saturday morning. 🙂 For some reason, this $1 tube of bubbles is hands-down your favorite toy. Not even because of the bubbles… you just like carrying the tube around. You also really enjoy empty water bottles. Why do we bother with all these other pricey toys?! Haha

This table is one of your other favorite things these days, mostly because you like to stand/walk around it. But more & more often lately you’ve been trying to crawl under it, getting yourself stuck. The first time it happened, I thought it was so funny that I took a picture of it before I helped you out. :-X Mean mommy!

A lesson in sharing with your friend Julian. 😉 You LOVE these little board books! Maybe you’ll be a little bookworm like me.

Tickles with Papa! You are one of the most ticklish babies I’ve ever met… giggles are rare but you get this biggest open-mouthed grin & do this weird silent laugh/squealing sound. It’s hilarious and ridiculously adorable! (I may be biased, I suppose…)

More handsome smiles! We recently did a “mini shoot” with a local photographer as part of a group deal with my working moms + babies group. They had this “fun” station set up as well as “fall” & “holiday” stations. We got some really cute photos, but it was hard to keep things out of your mouth long enough for you to smile…

LOL. Seriously, I’d say in at least 75% of the photos we take of you lately, you’ve got something in your mouth. I can’t wait for that phase to end…

It’s a constant battle! I have to always keep something on hand that’s safe to chew on, so that when you start trying to eat things that are weird/gross (like above, you were trying to eat sticks & leaves) I can give you a substitute. Sophie the giraffe lives in my purse more often than not these days.

Let me tell you, it’s getting harder & harder to take these monthly pics. You DO. NOT. STAY. STILL. This month it became a game for you to try to crawl away, and you thought it was absolutely hilarious whenever I’d grab you & put you back in place on this blanket. Hardy har har. You wore me out, but it did make for some cute (but blurry) photos. 😉 And that’s about it for this month! As always, you can find more photos at http://s1169.photobucket.com/user/laurapachec0/library/Alex%20Month%2010. There’s just never enough room here for all of them.

Next month I will probably wait to post until after Christmas so that I can write about the holidays all in one letter. Dad & I are so excited to share this first holiday season with you! We love you so much, Alex!

All my love,

Snakes, Snails & Puppy Dog Tails (Boys Will Be Boys)

Dear Alex,

9 months old! That’s 3/4 of a year gone by already. It’s been a busy month, but I’ll start with the latest news: on Friday we had your 9 month checkup, where you clocked in at 23 pounds & 28.5 inches! While we were there you had to get a two vaccinations & a blood test. It was the first time Dad had to watch you get a shot, and it broke his heart. But you were a trooper and only cried for a minute or so. The doctor said everything looked great. Your next checkup will be at the 1 year mark! Hard to believe how soon that is!

You spent this month doing things that little boys do best: getting dirty & finding mischief. At this point you’re well into the age of putting everything in your mouth, which on the one hand is great because that’s how you learn about new things, but on the other hand can be REALLY gross. In the middle of a diaper change a couple weeks ago you grabbed your own poop & tried to eat it. Seriously. GAG. Whenever we’re outside you try to eat dirt, grass, etc. Here you are trying to eat a leaf yesterday:

Thankfully you haven’t come across any bugs yet. When the dogs get close enough, you slobber all over them just as much as they slobber all over you. Actually one of our dogs, Cody the corgi, is no longer very interested in you. He occasionally comes over to sniff you, but for the most part he keeps his distance. This leads to a lot of you crawling after him (I’m sure in your head you’re saying “Challenge accepted!” haha). Our other dog, Annie, is absolutely nuts about you! I have to tell her to back off & stop licking your face all. the. time. You love it though!

Here’s a recent picture of Annie giving you kisses. Sorry for the butt shot, you had a little bit of a rash that day so we were giving it some air!

Another thing you’ve done recently that made me think “Oh Lord, he’s such a little man” is that you’ve developed a keen interest in your private parts. LOL. Thankfully you haven’t figured out how to get your diaper off or stick your hand into your diaper yet, but whenever the diaper comes off your penis is your favorite toy. :-X Unfortunately that will always be the case & I imagine will get much worse in the next couple of years, so I’ll leave it up to your dad to have a talk with you about it when the time comes. 😉 Haha. And in the words of Forrest Gump… that’s all I have to say about that.

So far you still don’t have any more teeth, but that hasn’t stopped you from enjoying lots of great food:



I actually don’t take too many pictures of you eating things anymore, since you’re getting really good at it & it’s kind of old news now. But I will say that you are a bottomless pit! We have yet to find something that you won’t eat. You’re also getting really good at using various types of sippy cups, and we let you have a little bit of juice every day (mostly watered down prune juice to help keep you “regular” 😉 ). This straw sippy cup is your favorite:

But as you can see, you still have the issue of not wanting to take things out of your mouth to put other things in! This happens with food, too. You stuff your mouth as full as possible rather than swallowing one bite at a time.  The word “moderation” just isn’t in your vocabulary yet!

However, you have added some other words to your vocabulary:

Within the last few weeks you’ve gotten the hang of several consonant sounds and say lots of things along the lines of “dada,” “baba,” “gaga,” etc. Actually it’s extremely rare for you to say “mama” now though, and I’ve only heard it one other time since the first time you said it last month. :-\ BUT, the look on Dad’s face the first time you said “dada” to him was absolutely priceless! And now “dada” is your favorite word. You are kind of shy around strangers and large groups of people, but at home you are a Chatty Kathy! 🙂

Other than that, we’ve just been busy enjoying the gorgeous fall weather and doing fun things with our mommy + baby friends. A few weeks ago we went to the National Zoo, and you enjoyed checking out all the animals there:

Grandma came with us this time, which was nice because we got a few shots of you & I together. Usually I’m the one taking pictures so that is rare!

Just before we left, all the moms & babies took a quick ride on the carousel. You LOVED it and from the very beginning you were holding onto the bar like a pro!

We also took you to the last Nats home game of the season. You had a blast & flirted with some of the people sitting behind us, haha.

Then it got rainy and we were stuck inside for awhile. I was also at home with you more than usual because the government shutdown kept me out of work. We had a bunch of fun indoor play dates with our friends, like this one:

And you & I did some fun things around the house, like building your first blanket fort!

We hung out in our jammies & skivvies a lot, just playing on the floor with your toys & practicing standing and/or “cruising,” which you’re getting pretty good at.

Look at all those rolls! You are such a cute little chunky monkey. 🙂 That being said, your rate of weight gain has slowed quite a bit since you’ve become mobile… so can you imagine how you’d look if you weren’t?

Another good shot of your chunk (haha), taken just before bath time. Climbing all over things as usual! Your favorite place to pull up & stand these days is actually on my legs. Anytime I’m standing still somewhere for more than 5 seconds, I feel little hands pulling on my pants. When I look down I see this:

HEY MOM LET’S PLAY! 🙂 It’s adorable but then I’m rendered immobile until you move along, for fear of knocking you over & hurting you. When Dad & I sit on the floor, we become living jungle gyms:

You & I also went on lots of jogs together. We don’t let the cold & rain keep us from our jogs thanks to this snazzy thing:

Actually you’ve been jogging with me since you were just a few months old, and I’ve never had trouble with you fussing while we’re out. You always do great, just sitting there enjoying the sights or taking a little nap. The fresh air is good for both of us. 🙂 On the weekends Dad joins us to make it a family affair!

Speaking of family affairs, yesterday Dad & I joined our moms + babies group at a local pumpkin patch/fall playground place. It was so much fun!

Your favorite part, I think, was riding around on this little kid-sized tractor. You were so content to be pushed around & mess with the steering wheel, I think you could’ve done that all day! Please ignore my goofy joke at the end of this video… I’m sure by the time you read this, the song I’m referencing will be ancient history.

So as you can see, it’s been a busy month! We’ve had so much fun together! This is my favorite time of year, so it’s been really fun sharing it with you. 🙂 Before I go, here’s your 9 month progress photo:

Every day you look less & less like a baby, and more & more like a little boy. I know I say this constantly but… time really is flying by SO fast. Since another 1/4 year has gone by, we also got some professional photos taken to mark the occasion:

You did pretty well overall, although it’s VERY hard to get you to sit still for any length of time these days… leading to a lot of “action shots.” You also don’t smile much when the camera’s rolling, but when we’d clap & shout “YAYYYY!” we were able to get a couple of smiles out of you. 🙂 Since we won’t go back until your 1 year pictures in January, we also took a our annual family photo for the holiday cards:

I love our little family so very, very much! Every day is a new adventure, with more & more love growing even though I swear my heart’s going to burst with it. We are truly blessed. 🙂 Until next month, sweet boy!

All my love,