Oh, what fun it is, learning how to eat

I've been pursuing a little song-writing hobby, making up songs for Westley James. Among them, inspired in part by these adorable snack and mealtimes I photographed in June 2011:

It's crunchy, it's chewy, it's sour, it's sweet
Oh, what fun it is, learning how to eat.

Doggies want you to send some south
Mama just hopes some food lands in your mouth.
We could say the mess stays on your bib
But we both know it isn't nice to fib.

It's crunchy, it's chewy, it's sour, it's sweet
Oh, what fun it is, learning how to eat.

Fork, spoon, bowl and cup will make the job a sinch
Or we'll just use our fingers in a pinch.
Someday soon we'll teach you how to share
But for now, son, just keep it out of your hair!

It's crunchy, it's chewy, it's sour, it's sweet
Oh, what fun it is, learning how to eat.

Swim, little fishy

In June 2011, Westley continued his swimming lessons and got more comfortable playing in the pool. One of his favorite things to do was to play Humpty Dumpty. In that game, he sits on the side of the pool and we clap while we sing the nursery rhyme. When we get to the dramatic "had ... a ... big ... FALL!" he leans forward and makes a splash as catch him in the water. As soon as he surfaces, he usually signs "more" and wants to do it all over again.

He typically wants to stay and play in the pool until his lips are blue, his tiny fingers pruny and his body shivering. Then he'll finally sign "all done," and we make our way toward land. It's such a blast to watch him test his boundaries, push his little comfort zone and find new things he loves to do. He's a bit of an adrenaline junky, so life with this little boy should be interesting. :)

Daddy day

On Father's Day 2011, Brian, Westley and I met his parents for brunch at Yaya's in Bradley Fair. West and I are continually blessed by what an amazing father and husband Brian continues to be. We love you!

I love this three-generation photo:

Hello, Chi Town!

In early June 2011, Brian and I flew to Chicago for a couples-only weekend away, our first since Westley's birth. It also was the first time for us both to be away from Westley at the same time, and the trip was both incredibly relaxing and slightly nerve-wracking. We'd both been there before, but not together for fun. (We were sponsors for our church's youth group mission trip there several years before.) We had some romantic and adventurous time exploring the city's sights together. We called my mother-in-law, who was watching Westley for us, often, but enjoyed our freedom and the chance to reconnect a little.

We, of course, had to dine on regional beer and Chicago's best deep-dish pizza. We tried Lou Malnati's, which quickly became a favorite. (Cool thing: They ship their pizzas on dry ice, so you can enjoy without the plane ticket if you feel so inclined. We since have!)

We waited in the very long line to get into Shedd Aquarium. I had been during a senior high school trip, but it was Brian's first visit. As predicted, he loved it. A little travel tip: We found out later that if you buy your tickets online in advance, you can walk right in and pick them up. Good to know!

We saw a dolphin show, pet starfish, watched a storm move over the city and were in awe of the jellyfish exhibit. We spent some money in the gift shop buying a stuffed penguin for Westley and talked about how excited we'd be to return with him one day when he's a little older.

With a recommendation from some Wichita friends, we dined at The Purple Pig on the Magnificent Mile. We tasted and chatted for hours. It was fantastic, especially for the still-new parents who usually opt for carry-out and quick meals.

We toured Wrigley Field, one of our favorite parts of the trip:

We took a chilly walk along North Avenue Beach, where people were sunbathing despite the cool breeze. Then we rental some bicycles and worked off some of the pizza on a 13-mile ride.

We mapped out our route so we'd see many of the downtown landmarks, including some of the famous fountains, and, in typical tourist style, Cloud Gate ("The Bean") in Millennium Park:

Next stop, Navy Pier, where we turned in our bikes, watched the sun set from atop the Ferris wheel and had another delicious meal.

The next day, we had one more deep-dish pizza lunch* before I left one love of my life in Chicago (Brian stayed for a couple days for a work conference) so I could get home to my other. The Chicago skyline was stunning, but home is where the heart (and my little boy) is.

* I was so full from that lunch -- and the trip overall -- that I didn't eat for more than 24 hours afterward. Ha! :D

Westley's first Memorial Day

On Memorial Day 2011, some relatives, including my beautiful cousin DD from the Kansas City area, came to Wichita for a cookout. It was their first time to meet Westley and a beautiful afternoon.

West and cousin Kaden dined on Gerber Puffs and had a pool party.

Can't tell my Dad and Uncle Mo are brothers, huh ...

I don't know about Daddy ...

... but the fun in the sun sure wore out Westley and Mommy.

My little guy at 1 year old

It's such a blessing to be friends with photographers. One of them, Randy Tobias, was gracious enough to let us hire him to snap Westley's handsome one-year portraits. They're so wonderful. What a treasure:

(It's my birthday, and I'll cry if I want to.)

Westley wasn't his most agreeable self during the photo session. But that's the way it goes with 1-year-olds sometimes. And a friend advised me when he was a newborn to document the many faces of my new little boy. And here's one of them. ;)


The birthday after-party

After Westley's first birthday party in May 2011, family stuck around for a cookout dinner after the other guests had left. Grandma Buselt gave the sticky birthday boy a bath, and we all enjoyed the gorgeous weather.

Here's Westley in his after-the-messy-birthday-cake outfit. Love his "My mommy is blogging this. :)" onesie. I was so excited to order that online and now can appreciate the irony that it took me nine months to actually blog about it. (It was posted on Facebook almost immediately, however, which I consider to be micro-blogging of sorts.) Later is better than never, though, so here goes nothing:

Westley was a little chalk artist.

He was no doubt inspired by the work of his Daddy and uncle, who greeted party guests earlier in the day with their art:

A few other sights from the lovely evening:

Westley on his Rody, a birthday gift from Grandma and Papa Buselt.

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