Walking has become Aaron's favorite sport, especially since we received a previously loved walking toy from Emma, Ellie, and Edie. When Daddy comes home from work, he takes Aaron outside to "walk the neighborhood." Aaron only wants to walk on the sidewalk (not the driveway or the grass), and gets very upset if he's picked up or otherwise interrupted. Since he's a lover of concrete, Mommy thought it was time for some shoes to protect his little toes, and found a very comfy pair of Robeez. "No wonder he's walking early," the shoe saleslady said, "he's got such big feet!" He does, indeed. These Robeez are sized 12-18 months, and his shoe size is already a 5.
It was just the teeniest of steps, and had I not been on the floor playing with with him, I would have missed it, but I think what I saw counts as a first step. He pulled himself up onto the entertainment center (one of his favorite toys!), and turned around to smile at me, then one at a time picked those little feet up and moved them forward. I squealed with glee (which he promptly mimicked), and we laughed and hugged. Just a fleeting moment, and one no one else but Aaron and I shared in, but one that I'll remember for a long, long time. Everyday brings something new, and it's such joy to watch.
It's been a busy week for us Sharps. We've worked, vacationed, and worked some more! Here's the recap of our crazy adventure:
First, we traveled to Grand Rapids, MI, to photograph the Cooper wedding. Luke and Melissa had a beautiful outdoor ceremony, and I LOVED catching up with the Cooper clan. Best of all was hugging one-time Calvin roommate (and adopted sister) Gretchen, along with her husband, R.C., and little Jude. I love that our friendship has transcended time and distance, and that we're always able to pick up just where we left off. We don't see them nearly enough, but those few short hours on that Saturday afternoon were a wonderful gift to our friendship. The visit was too short, for sure, but I don't think any amount of time would be enough with the Coopers, Copelands, and Griffins. :-)
The wedding festivities wrapped up late in the evening, and Mike and I packed our sleeping baby into our rented SUV and trudged northward again. It was a very late night (I should say early morning) when we arrived in Grayling, MI for a quick nap at a local hotel. Eager to reach our final destination, we didn't waste much time in getting back on the road the next morning. We were headed to FAMILY CAMP!!!
Our family camp experience was... um... challenging. Cedar Campus is one of my very favorite places on planet Earth, and the folks who share the week with us, from my home church in Cincinnati, are among my favorites, too. Had it not been for those two factors, we surely would have packed it in early and headed home. Aaron just wouldn't sleep at night. He'd go to bed just fine, but would wake up between 10-11pm, and refuse to sleep again until around 2am. This pattern continued night after night, and none of my tricks would get him to sleep. It was so frustrating that I actually got up and packed our suitcases at 1am on a particularly difficult night. But we persevered (my stubborn side decided that my 10-month-old was not going to ruin the one vacation we were going to get this year), and stuck it out one day at a time. Aaron's poor sleep made for a grumpy set of parents, but we had a lot of support and willing babysitters who let us nap during the day. A big clue to his poor sleep came when I stuck my fingers in his mouth on Friday morning and found that his two top teeth had poked through! I think the teething, new surroundings, having to share a room with mom and dad again, and lots of daytime activity all contributed to the sleep problems.
The good news is that now that we're back at home, he's like a different baby. Maybe we just exhausted him, or maybe he's just pushed me past the point of being gentle with a sleep shaping program, but he's slept very well since our return home on Saturday night. There has been some crying at bedtime (frankly, we don't know how long it's lasted, since we're so exhausted that we fall asleep before he settles himself :-), but there have been very few night wakings. The biggest change happened just this morning, when he fell asleep in his crib at nap time (he's NEVER slept in his crib during the day, so this is a big milestone!!!).
Despite our sleep challenges, our week at Cedar Campus was full of wonderful family memories. We hiked together on White Fish Point, enjoying the scenic views of Lake Huron. We ate watermelon at Sandy Cove, and watched Aaron splash around on the beach. Mike played in a beach volleyball tournament while Aaron and I cheered him on. There were sailboat rides, kayak trips, sunsets that took your breath away, and the wonder of creation on every side. Who can ask for more?
Aaron's first sailboat ride on the Dawn Treader.
Aaron and Daddy walk the boardwalk.
With the Wood Family, some of Aaron's biggest fans.
On our international night, when our family represented Canada.
Our Sandy Cove picnic. Aaron had a great time in the water, despite its cold temps.
Our official family portrait.
The whole group on our international night. Many families did a fantastic job creating costumes, and it was fun to hear about all the different countries. Later in the week, we held an Olympics of sorts (picture grown men doing synchronized diving off the dock, dancing in rhythmic gymnastics, and an all-camp tug-o-war).
Sunset on our final night at camp. Just beautiful. Another signpost pointing us to the creator of all things beautiful.
This boy sure is growing! I weighed him last week during our regular chiropractic visit, and he topped the scales at 18 pounds, 5 ounces. That's a big jump from early July, so all the extra meals and snacks must be working.
I know we're a few weeks behind on the official monthly portrait, but it's been a busy summer. And he's getting harder to photograph by myself, which means waiting for a weekend when Mike is home, or, as was the case today, having a friend come over to baby wrangle for me (thanks, LeAnn!). He's just too mobile to sit still for long. :-) Today we witnessed the longest independent stand-up he's done so far. He just let go of the toy box and stood there for a good long while. I wonder if his first steps will happen before next month's official portrait does.
This little airplane was mine as a kid, and Aaron has re-purposed it as a walker. He'll stand next to the propeller and push the wings, making the airplane go backwards as he walks forward. He'll zoom back and fourth across the living room, crying for someone to turn him the other way when he hits the wall or chair. We tried to get a picture of him standing that way, but he just wanted to push the plane, and got mad when we wouldn't let it move.
And, of course, I really wanted to show off his new walking skills. He'll be letting go of my fingers really soon (too soon!).