Review: Graco Relay Click Connect Jogging Stroller

I’m a self-proclaimed baby gear junkie. No lie, I am always looking for the newest and best gear. This is probably based on the 9 months I spent reading mommy blog after mommy blog after mommy blog.

It wasn’t surprising when I upgraded our first jogging stroller to a BOB, or when I spent four months researching which convertible car seat would fit in our car and was right for Ethan meaning we took him out on the cusp of it a. being safe and b. him being comfortable because it took me so long to decide (for the record: we went with the Evenflo Symphony – which is great!). So when I was asked if I wanted to review the newest Graco jogging stroller (the Graco Relay Click Connect Jogging Stroller) made with active mamas in mind, I jumped on it because hi. Baby Gear!

graco jogging stroller

It’s the only stroller with air pumped tires (necessary for joggers), with a UV protecting sun shade, AND all of the accessories included. Sign me up! 

graco jogging stroller

What I liked about the stroller

Lightweight – lighter than the BOB to steer and push. Also had better shocks, and

Accessories – the accessories were all included – the parent console for keys and the tray with a cup holder for baby.

Shaded – the sunshade on the Graco is much longer than the one on the BOB which is nice since Ethan hates the sun in his eyes. Not to mention the sunshade is a UV50 sunshade meaning there’s a bit of sun protection there!

Reflective – this isn’t a deal breaker for me, and quite frankly I hardly noticed because I never run in the dark with E (though we do go on family walks that sometimes it’s gets on the cusp of sunset on our way home) but the fabric does have some reflectivity which is nice from a safety standpoint.

graco relay connect jogging stroller

What I didn’t like about the stroller

  • The seat is bit more shallow – but less of a con more of an observance.
  • not an increase in storage space. Similar to the BOB which is always a pain in the bum especially when I jog up to the grocery store.
  • The parent console isn’t really functional for water bottles – better for phone, keys, etc.. but not the most functional of parent consoles that I’ve seen.
  • Folds up weird. It took Adam a bit to figure it out when I wasn’t around,

Overall though, it’s a nice, lightweight, sturdy jogging stroller. Hubs likes it because it’s easy to steer, lightweight and has great shocks (great for the crappy sidewalks in our area when we’re strolling about). If you’re going with a Graco infant seat, the two are automatically compatible and the car seat should easily connect – I’m not going to speak too much to this because I didn’t use that feature.

FTC disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, however, I did receive the product for free. All thoughts here are my own. 

 

 

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This is My Comeback Post

So I’ve been in a bit of a funk again lately. It’s a funk I’ve been in before and I just need to claw my way out of it.

I’ve been insanely busy at work, Ethan got sick this week resulting in me working from home for just about two days. I’m exhausted because apparently I lack boundaries when I work from home (as in I don’t know when to turn it off) and when he wasn’t napping off his 102-103 degree fevers, he was screaming bloody murder.

Ahhh double ear infections. Except this is the SECOND one little man has had in less than a month. We’re following up with our pediatrician at his 15 month appointment to talk long term goals and to see if this is a chronic thing that might require tubes or if it’s just chance given that he recently started a new day care.

Regardless I seem to have fallen off of all bandwagons this week. Blogging. Running. Any work-outs really. And homies, I’m feeling every inch my stress and sluggishness.

In addition, I seem to be just about on the Disabled List here with a muscle ickiness going on.

I’m nursing some tightness in my calves thats been known to make my feet tingling, and causing running to be really painful. That’s got me resting rather than running so my training took a hit right before my peak week. Awesome. I’ll be okay for next weekend hopefully, worst case I’ll drop to the 10k which I know I can do.

On the plus side, we celebrated Hubs’ 32nd birthday – which was awesome. Vin 909 is always a favorite.

vin 909 annapolis

However. I have some great stuff coming up in the next week or two that I’m so excited to share – including a couple of awesome of reviews, my favorite gear (I’ve tried a lot of new stuff lately and omg. Some amazing stuff), my take aways from my RRCA run coach certification at the end of this weekend, and a baby schmidt update at 14 months because well…it’s been a few months right? (hint: WE FINALLY HAVE TEETH!!!)

In the mean time, if you’re coming to Annapolis for Zooma, be sure to read my piece on what to check out in Annapolis for your Zooma Racecation!

How’s your spring training going? 

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Weekly Workouts: Half Marathon Peaking

I feel like I’m in a rut, but I’m not.

Something about so little progress with so much work is making me frustrated. Like…seriously frustrated. Stupid 21 Day Fix. Stupid Half Marathon Training. I’ve been feeling a bit ADD with my workouts lately so even though I’m working out I feel like the progress I’ve been making – or lack of progress – can’t be pinpointed on one specific habit or whatever. What i’m trying to say is I feel like i’m getting slower when I run (I’m nursing some tight calves), I don’t feel fit, the scale is staying stagnant and I’m just…in a rut.

Color me frustrated.

Anyhow, I got out of the habit of sharing weekly workouts…so let’s get back to that.

Monday – 3 mile run
Tuesday
Day 8 of BBM
Wednesday – Day 10 of BBM
Thursday – Day 11 of BBM/ 3 mile run
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 10 mile run
Sunday – Stand Up Paddleboard class?! mayyybeee…..

How’d I do last week? 

Monday – I started the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge with some moms in my group. So far I’m really liking it!
Tuesday – I did Day 2 of BBM in the AM because I had a board meeting later that evening so I couldn’t work out after work.
Wednesday – scheduled rest day since I had an event for Junior League
Thursday – 3 mile run
Friday – rest day
Saturday – 8 miles donezo. A sloppy, sweaty 8 mile run but 8 mile
Sunday – Pure Barre

We had the most perfect mothers Day weekend – full of wine, cuddles with my sweet boy, and love. I slogged through those 8 miles and fit in a Pure Barre class.

pure barre annapolis mothers day

 {photo via PB Annapolis}

They even had some treats for us after class including the makings for mimosas!

We spent the afternoon up at Boordy Vineyards with a picnic. Ethan worked on his standing, we shared a bottle of wine and cheered him on. It was a beautiful afternoon.

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FINALLY – The winners of my Seventh Generation Goody Bags are Shaina A. & YB. And because I had an extra goody bag, I threw in a third winner – congrats Kaycee! Email me your addresses ladies at heidi (at) legallyheidi (dot) com and I’ll get your packages into the mail this week!

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Being Green with Seventh Generation

I’m not the greenest person in the world. I certainly try, but no one’s perfect. Sure sure, I aspire to make my own counter top cleaner with vinegar, and I desperately try to remember my reusable grocery bags but sometimes I forget. But I use the gazillion lululemon bags that I’ve had for five years for lunches every day, I use reusable tupperware and I try to use products that aren’t laden with unnecessary chemicals.

Earlier this week, I hosted a Healthy Baby party sponsored by Seventh Generation. I’m a HUGE fan of Seventh Generation products for a number of reasons – dye-free, fragrance-free, HQ’ed in my hometown…you know know..all of the awesome things.

So it was pretty awesome having a few mama’s over while Hubs had class to chat about being mamas, and how we try to be healthy and lead “green” lifestyles. I had some freebies thanks to the wonderful people at Seventh Generation, Zarbees, and Happy Baby to hand out and I talked about the petition that Seventh Generation is lobbying to update the Toxic Substances Control Act (feel free to get more info and sign here). One girl shared that a friend of hers washes and reuses the 7th Generation wipes – they become boogie wipe like wipes and are super gentle for runny noses (!!!) – ingenius!!

Being inspired by the awesome mamas I hung out, I took the question to facebook  for further inspiration to find out how my friends are being green and how they try to be nature friendly in their every day lives and got some great tips

1. Clean with Vinegar. This is actually something I really want to start doing. There’s tons of stuff on pinterest about this but here’s a great post about 101 things to use vinegar for. Here’s a good post on other all natural cleaners.

2. Sun dry clothing. It’s a lot cheaper than a dryer and there’s nothing like the smell of clothes drying in fresh air.

3. Hand wash dishes. I do this a lot especially with dishes I use every day like my blender and cup for my Shakeology and Ethan’s dishes.

4. Walk instead of drive.

5. Cloth diapers. Not something hubs and I considered or were open to – granted cloth diapers are cute, but I was kind of turned off by the amount of work they are. That being said  – i have a lot of respect for the mama’s I know who are avid cloth diaper-ers.

6. Shop locally. YES! I need to start going to the farmers market on the weekends, they recently opened back up in Annapolis. I know Whole Foods is pricey but I do like getting local goods there when I can – especially veggies and fruits.

7. Use cloth. Cloth paper towels (here’s a good How To on transitioning), cloth napkins,

8. Compost. 

9. Use reusable bags.  Which I’m okay at, I’m not 100% on this but I’d like to be, I certainly get an A for effort, you know…90% of the time.

10. Diva Cup it up. I can’t say I’ve tried the Diva Cup (similar: Instead) and I can’t say I’m super interested in trying it. I know the ladies I know who use it speak highly about it but I just don’t know if I’m comfortable with that.

 

Now you share…

 

Because I have some extra goody bags from my Health Baby MNI left over, I thought I’d do a giveaway – I have TWO goody bags up for grabs, all you have to do is share your favorite habits to live a natural/green life.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
  {disclaimer: I was chosen for the 7th generation home parties separate from my blog, this post was not sponsored by 7th generation, nor was I asked to blog about the party in exchange for having it. All thoughts here are my own.}

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{Recap} Ethan’s First Birthday Party

So Saturday March 22 Ethan turned one. I can’t believe it’s already been a full year. We hosted a fun party/play date for family and friends on his actual birthday (with perfect weather mind you!) and it was (albeit stressful beforehand) such a great time. After, hubs and I vowed to bring back our Annual Holiday Party this year which I for one am STOKED for.

We didn’t really have a theme – our theme was birthday party. An idea I ganked off a friend of mine who said the theme for her daughter’s birthday was “birthday party” which was hilarious to me. They had tons of food, cake and plenty o’ booze for the grown ups. That was a fun party 🙂

I just didn’t have time to really get creative and coordinate. It took me weeks as it was to pick out the friggen invitations. Color me indecisive about EVERYTHING.

1 year old birthday party   1 year old birthday party

etahan2 lexi me and ethan

ethan cake 2 ethan cake

His birthday was so much fun – sending many thanks to all of our friends and family who came out for it (speaking of Thank You’s…I need to get on those thank you notes!) we loved celebrating with you all! Seeing my mama pals made me miss playgroup a lot. Time to start planning some Saturday play dates no?

Anyhow, here are the details of the party…

One letters: DIY via Michaels
Banners: DIY via Michaels (thanks Liz!)
Poster: Etsy (printed at local Fed Ex store)
Cake: Local Grocery Store Grauls
Outfit: Etsy (love!), Old Navy Khakis
Catering: Naval Bagels Annapolis
Invitations: Simply to Impress
Favors: (not shown) Party City (sand buckets with bubbles and animal crackers)

I’ll have his 11 and 12 month combined update sometime this week.

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Blog Review: Amber Teething Necklaces by Amber for Babies

I’m a big fan of trying to be a natural mama – holistic, and green and everything in the middle. I don’t go out of my way, but since Ethan was about five months old, we’ve tried amber teething necklaces on him for any teething pain he might have.

Naturally, it made sense when I was asked if I wanted to do a review of Amber for Babies Amber Teething necklaces. This review is a bit late, but we tried it out for a couple of months because I wanted to see how the effects were.

amber teething necklace

We’ll ignore the fact that now 53 weeks old, homeboy still doesn’t have any teeth.

However, lately, his gums have been swollen, he’s been excessively cranky (we’ll ignore the yeasty diaper rash from hell that he’s getting over) and even our pediatrician acknowledged that he may in fact have two bottom teeth that could poke through any day now.

For those of you who don’t know why people believe in them,  baltic amber has anti-inflammatory properties triggered when the beads interact with the heat of the skin. The baltic amber is said to reduce swelling and pain from the effects of teething thus reducing discomfort. (via)

The necklaces are hand beaded, and each bead is strung individually secured with knots on each side preventing the loss of beads if a thread breaks.

amber teething necklace

While we’ve been saying homeboy has been teething for the past eight months, you really wouldn’t know it. He doesn’t drool much, and he doesn’t get excessively cranky or wake up every two hours. I do think the amber teething necklace had some effect on that. 

Lately, he’s had a small reaction to the necklace (according to our ped) so we took a break from the necklace (he has horribly sensitive skin so this isn’t surprising to me). But I do think that the necklace helped with drooling and swelling (his gums are much more swollen now than they were when he was wearing the necklace) – is there proof? Nope.

Like most holistic medicine, there’s not really medical proof that amber teething necklaces work. This is important to note since each baby has different reactions to teething – some babies get sick, others get ear infections, others get angry diaper rashes, and others you wouldn’t even know they’re teething until the teeth pop through.

If you’re curious though, and willing to try something other than the run of the mill tylenol and frozen food to relieve your babies teething, I highly recommend them. I know a number of mamas who swear by them, and I personally recommend them to any parent looking for relief for their little one’s teething discomfort.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review, however I did receive a free necklace to try out. All thoughts here are my own. 

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Life as a Working Mama

So a month and a half ago or so I accepted a job as a marketing manager for a local firm and made my foray into the world of being a working mama. For as difficult as it was at first, I’m really enjoying life as a working mama

Of course starting back at work at the beginning of my job search when I was expecting it to take much longer, certainly presented its own challenges. Mainly, child care.

The search for child care was incredibly daunting and frustrating – which is probably mostly why I was so willing to stay home for so long even though I knew I never wanted to be a full time stay at home mother long term. Not that stay at home moms are bad – they’re amazing, truly. It just wasn’t the life I wanted for me or for my family. I worked hard for my career and I didn’t want to sacrifice that (color me selfish), also I wanted to contribute financially to make sure Ethan has the life and all of the opportunities I want to provide him so he can be successful and happy later in life. Going back to work just made sense for me. Also, I got the feeling that I bored him as much as I was bored by staying at home and singing hours of the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Not my jam y’all. Not. My. Jam.

That being said, having been on both sides of the stay at home versus working mother equation, this new lifestyle presents it’s own challenges.

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There is for one, never a boring moment. Always busy. It really just makes the sweet moments that much more worth it though.

Mornings are crazy with me making my lunch, my breakfast, Ethan’s breakfast, and Ethan’s lunch. Not necessarily in that order. Usually I forget something – the other day it was my lunch, or my mid day smoothie another day it was my work journal after an afternoon of working at home. I’ve lost Ethan’s formula dispenser more than once and just…gah. I’d lose my head if it wasn’t screwed on tight.

Thankfully, his lunch is usually the same (or similar to mine) and we usually have the same thing for breakfast as well. Meals need to be easy or else they just don’t work in this house. Anything that takes less than 3 ingredients and cooks in less than 5-25 minutes is a win in my book depending on the meal.

Evenings are just as hectic especially depending on if Adam has class or if I have a Junior League meeting/event. Also if Ethan is cranky then evenings can be hit or miss – his bedtime is usually between 630-730p.

Things I’ve been struggling most with?

Working out. It’s tough working out around 7-7:30pm each night. Or missing time with Adam to go to Pure Barre. You know, all of those things. Tough decisions. Thankfully, I’ve really started taking advantage of weekend workouts and the 30 minute workouts for the 21 day fix are amazing…even if they don’t count toward my Gym Pact (FML). I’ve been fitting workouts in at night after Ethan goes to bed. Good for me but not so good for my running/training. Something is better than nothing though.

Eating dinner at a decent time. Generally I get home sometime between 5-6pm depending on the night. Depending on his mood, we’ll get some play time in, then give Ethan his dinner, and then by 630pm-7pm it’s bath time followed by bedtime for baby. Which means, depending on what we’re having and what I made for Ethan, we may not eat until 7:30pm-8pm. Oy.

Keeping my house clean. Unpacking my house (oh yeah, we just moved. Hello craziness!) You know…minor details. Thankfully, getting ready for Ethan’s party last weekend resulted in a fast tracking of the unpacking and we’re about 75% done.

Missing my mama pals. I really miss my mom friends. I miss our play group. I miss play dates. I need to schedule more weekend play dates and more moms nights out – the moms I met over the past year are amazing, hilarious, and your first mama pals, sometimes they just…get you. They understand you. So I want to make sure I’m doing what I can to maintain friendships. (MORE Moms Night In…and out!)

Being present and in the moment. I’ve made it a point to not be on my phone constantly or on my laptop during Ethan’s waking hours because that whole me not around and him usually in bed by 730pm means that we have not a lot of time together during the week – so I want to be present. I don’t check email before 8am (that was my Lenten sacrifice by the way. It’s working pretty well so far.) and I usually only fiddle around for an hour or so depending on if Adam is around after dinner/workout/any clean up that needs to be done.

These struggles are probably the same as most working mamas. Lately I’ve been feeling a bit more frantic just based on the fact that we’re not 200% moved in. And we just finished hosting family and friends for Ethan’s birthday (more on that tomorrow!) and Ethan had 2 weeks where he had been sick and now he’s battling the yeastiest of all yeasty diaper rashes. It’s been rough friends. Rough. The thought of unpacking boxes after 8 hours of work was just…mind numbing the past few weeks.

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Friday Five: A Lot of Life Edition

I survived my first full week back as a working mom. I did miss my play group on Wednesday, and I did miss the whole leggings bit but…small price for the benefits. I (somehow) landed in my dream job at a boutique marketing agency in town and I couldn’t be happier – more on this all later. In short, it was the right opportunity at the right time. I had said when Ethan was born that I wanted to go back to work full time for the right opportunity, not just any opportunity and this one was perfect.

So I’m jumping on the Friday Five bandwagon because I want to write and I have so much going on, so let’s just outline it in five happy bullet points:

Friday Five

1. We’re moving! Finally. I mean, we could have stayed where we are for another year or so but it was getting too tight and no matter what we said or did, we were never really going to purge anything. So we started casually looking using a realtor and will be moving in the first week of March! We’re super excited to have a yard, a bigger kitchen, and a 3rd bedroom – of course this also means more to baby proof. But we’re moving to the other side of town – closer to my office and downtown so yay! And good news, is our place is already rented out for end of March so we really need to get a move on. Packing…is going slow as of now so I’m trying to make a little bit of progress each night from here until the 6th when our movers come.

2. Working. As I mentioned, I went back to work. The childcare search has been hell to say the least. BUT we found a solution – two part time solutions to be exact which is good enough for now. The day care I wanted to get him into has a waiting list so long that they’re not accepting any more people. I think we’re going to put him on the wait list for 2 year olds. Things I should have thought of about seven months ago. Harrrumph.

3. Which brings me to the fact that baby will be a year old in a month. !!!! Where did the time go? I’ll have his 11 month update on Monday or Tuesday (tomorrow is his 11 month birthday) so there’s that. Trying to get the move ready while simultaneously plan his birthday party – which is going to be low key but i’m struggling with the invitations – is making me cray-cray. I know, I know, I KNOW. They’re just invitations but have you seen the sheer selection of first birthday party invitations on Tiny Prints, SimplytoImpress or Shutterfly?! SO MANY. Color me…overwhelmed.

4. I’ve been binging. Not with food, though my eating habits are not great as of late, the whole adjusting to work thing is a killer. Rather with a touch of online shopping. A new pair of jeans (11 months later I finally am going to stop wearing my uber comfy gap maternity jeans), a couple of new work tops, and a new pair of knee high boots that *fingers double crossed* will hopefully fit.  I’m addicted to fashion blogs at the moment, specifically ones that focus on “mom fashion” (Hi Get Your Pretty On – love her!) so if you have a favorite budget fashion blog, please share! I blame them on my latest little online shopping binge.

5. Looking forward to…a night out with my mama pals tonight. I’ve been out of commission for two weeks and now back to work so I feel like I’ve missed them as far as socializing goes. I’ve not been as social as of late due to whatever plague we’re all getting over over here. The other morning Ethan’s conjunctivitis came back like a damned banshee – oy. Needless to say it’ll nice to be out to socialize and catch up. 

What’s going on with you freaders? What’s keeping you busy these days? 

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Traveling With Baby

Someone recently asked me about traveling with baby. How to do it, is it easy, etc… We’ve traveled enough with Ethan to know that if you’re prepared, then yes. It’s pretty easy. I’ve flown with him twice now and both times were mostly a breeze. And we’ve taken a dozen or so longer car trips so we’re near experts on that game.

traveling with baby on plane

…if you’re nursing, nurse baby at take off. It’ll help equalize his/her ears and provide a nice distraction. Not nursing? A bottle will do. Or a pacifier.
… Ask at check in if your flight is full if not, bring your car seat with you that way you can strap baby in and get his/her own seat.  You can thank me for this one later.
….Flight full? Gate check your baby gear. Technically car seats are supposed to be handled with care so you’re fine checking it at checkin or gate side, but if you’re super paranoid, check it at the gate with your stroller.
….Use a carrier. We use our Tula carrier when traveling – it gives me extra hands and I use the stroller to throw our bags on to.
….Flying alone? If someone walks you in, you can always have them be an escort at the gate. Just have your hubs or family member show their ID and they get a special pass.

 

traveling with baby driving

Check traffic. Seriously, we’ve skipped routes because of the traffic because no one wants to sit in 20 miles of back up on the NJ Turnpike.

Be strategic about stopping. We schedule our departure around his nap time so we stop once, then he gets 2 hours or so then we stop again, then we have 2 hours left to my in laws generally. This is really only if we travel during the day, but we try to mostly travel at night when we can so he just sleeps it off.

Over pack. We once went through four sets of pjs one way to Connecticut. You can never over pack. Just never. Also, have wipes, diapers, formula (if you use it), etc… waiting at your location. This is a rule you should follow driving or flying because it cuts back on the gear you have to lug around.

Drive in pairs. I couldn’t imagine driving long distances with baby alone – stopping is a pain in the tush especially if you need to pee. If your babe is anything like mine he/she is afraid of the hand driers and the noise of the toilet flushing in EVERY bathroom this side of the Appalachians – it’s easier to tag team and have one of you hang in the car, feed baby, get him/her out of the carseat for a few and the other run inside and switch off.

Some people stress about flying with baby. Really, if you prepare, if you time flights/departures right, then it’s easy breezy. I may have just been blessed with a good baby (which may very well be the case, for now at least) but he’s a pretty low key traveler in both the car and on the plane.

Have you traveled with your little one? Got any tips or tricks that I missed here?

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Baby Update: 10 months

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a mover. A mover, a shaker, a pull-up-to-stand-er. You know…all those things.

Month ten definitely had a bunch of HUGE milestones including crawling and pulling up to stand. It’s crazy how one day he’s struggling and pulling up to his knees, the next it’s like he’s a master of the trade and pulling up on the entertainment center, his walker, his music table and his crib railings.

10 months

Ethan loves…moving. Now that he’s crawling (which he started doing right after we got home from our Christmas travels), he’s constantly on the move, exploring, and getting into everything. He loves checking things out to see how they work which is awesome. He inspects everything to see how it functions and how it moves and works.

He also loves being naked. After bath time or during other daily changes he’ll flip over and start to crawl away. We’ve been changing him almost exclusively on a changing mat on the floor since day 1 so this isn’t a big deal as far as the OH EM GEE HE’S GOING TO ROLL AWAY factor goes. I think our baby sitter may in fact be the only one who’s used the changing table top…that’s cool though. For this reason also, bath time is still a big hit. I dread the day when I need to fight with him to get him in the tub. Hopefully we have a few years.

10 months

He hates…not being able to get down after standing up. He’s gotten a few bumps to the head for this reason. I’m not sure how babies learn to sit down from standing but I really hope it happens soon – naps and bedtime have becoming atrocious for this very reason.

He’s eating…pretty much anything and everything. Anything on the floor is fair game as I learned from the couple day old Cheerios that fell off his high chair that didn’t get vacuumed up in time. He loves yogurt and any type of fruit. He’s not a huge fan of pasta or ground turkey. He loves cheerios and puffs and before you lecture me on giving him too many “snacky” foods, they’re all organic and mostly vegetable based. I don’t buy crap with ingredients that I can’t pronounce so there.

He recently had his 9 month appointment and he weighs about 16.5 almost 17 lbs, and is 28″ long. That’s 25th percentile for height, and 5th percentile for weight. He’s a peanut but he is a peanut on the move and he will not let you forget that.

Stay perfect baby. Even your imperfect moments when you cry at the blender, the vacuum and the spirally part of the new activity box I got you (all of which make you burst into tears) are still delightfully perfect and just remind me that we’re 10 months into a long, long road and there is such more amazingness to come.

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