merry, merry!

Pre-party bouncing in the bouncy thing. I think the Boy knew that it was a special day. He was very excited from the minute he woke up. And he was an angel all day. Not that he's ever not an angel, but he was particularly angelic this day.

Christmas Eve festivities were hosted by my aunt this year. It was such a lovely night. Good food, good family. The Boy "opened" his first round of presents. I would say he was equally enthralled with the packaging and the actual content. I love this photo of the Boy having a man to man chat with Grandpa Har. Looks pretty serious!


We got home pretty late, relatively. The Boy is usually in bed and asleep by 7:00. We didn't get home until almost 8:00! We sat by the tree and looked at the lights for a while before heading upstairs for PJs and snuggling. Then, lights out so Santa could come.

It was such a magical night. I know the Boy had no idea what all the fuss was about, but it really was fun to watch him take in all the commotion. He had smiles and hugs for everyone. He tried some new foods (bacon and salmon, among others). He stayed up well past his bedtime and didn't melt down.

Tomorrow, we take our first car trip with the Boy since he was maybe three months old. We're just going to the Cities, so we'll be in the car for about two and a half hours. Hopefully, he'll sleep most (all?) of the way. Then, we get to see how he does in the hotel. I'm sure he'll be fine, but it will definitely be an adventure. Packing should be interesting, too. We may need a bigger vehicle...


eight months (late!)

This post is coming to you late. I did such a good job of posting every day in November, but I fell behind on photo processing. Truth be told, I've really been dreading photo processing lately because our Mac Mini is sooooo slow. Spinning beach ball of death, anyone?

But the word on the street is that Santa is bringing me a new computer, which will be lightning fast. Woot!

Anyways, the Boy is closer to nine months than eight months at this point. But I didn't ever post his eight month photo... So, here it is.

Well, here they are, actually. I couldn't decide. Maybe you can help me choose one?

option one

option two

Which one do you like better?

When the new computer comes and I can process photos in the blink of an eye, I'll post some of my favorite outtakes from the monthly photo shoots. There are some gems!


sad baby

Our Boy had a rough weekend. He had his first fever, and he just wasn't himself. He didn't really have any "sick" symptoms like runny nose, cough, poo, etc. But he was just sad and clingy all weekend. One second he wanted me, then he wanted John. He wanted to be held, then he struggled to get down. He just didn't know what to do with himself.

He had moments of clarity, when he clearly felt a little better. But he still isn't one hundred percent. It's so sad to see your baby feel miserable. And this was pretty mild. Yikes. He hasn't been sleeping well, either, which I know just makes him feel worse.

Maybe he's getting another tooth or two? He's just as confused by the whole thing as we are.


santa, baby

Jack's first visit to sit on Santa's lap was pretty fun. We went last weekend with my Grandma & Grandpa, my parents, and my brother, sister-in-law and niece. We also met my future sister-in-law at Santa's place where she was volunteering that afternoon.

We started our adventure with lunch at the best Mexican restaurant in town. Jack enjoyed two Baby Mum-Mums dipped in salsa. He went crazy over the guacamole, too. He was such a good boy at lunch. I really like this age. He's still easy to take out and about -- he's not to the point where he wants to get down and run around (yet!), and he'll sit and play with a toy for twenty minutes and be completely content.

His cousin, Dylann, loves him so much. It's extremely adorable. Here she is giving him kisses (on demand, no less, but still). It is so fun to see their little relationship evolve. It wasn't too long ago that she vacillated  between love, hate and indifference towards him, all in the same visit. Now the pendulum has swung more towards love. I'm sure it will swing the other way soon enough... But for now, it's so sweet to see things like this.

My Mom has the disk with all the Santa photos on it. Jack was fascinated by Santa, and Dylann was so over the whole thing by the time it was our turn... But we got some darn cute photos. I'll post them soon.

Have you taken the kids to see Santa, yet?


my music man

My Boy loves to make noise music.

This makes me wonder if he's going to be a band geek, a rock star, a singer-songwriter... Or maybe he'll just collect music like his Daddy.

I wish I could teach him how to play the guitar. Wait, does Guitar Hero count? Because if it does, I could certainly show him a thing or two.



Today, the Boy scootched.

He scootched off the rug.

He scootched around the couch.

And he scootched all the way over to the front door.

He didn't break any land-speed records, but he's definitely on the move.

Now, we just have to master "forward."


favorite holiday card contest

Jack is a finalist in the Paper Mama Holiday Card Challenge. He is lucky number 13. If you have a minute, would you mid dropping over and voting for him? Thanks!


blog guidebook

Have you seen this site? Two women decided to put together a resource for all things bloggy. You can find blogs listed by category, along with helpful tips for creating your own blog. They also have links to giveaways and linkies, and they offer free "blog support."

Click here to find out how to get your blog listed. It's easy, and it's free.

Happy blogging!


baby weight

We don't own a scale. I can pretty much tell what I weigh based on how my clothes fit. Like a lot of women, I have "fat jeans" and clothes I gravitate toward when I'm feeling big.

After Jack was born, it seemed like the baby weight came off instantaneously. I gained twenty pounds throughout the first 40 weeks of my pregnancy, and ten more during the last 2 weeks. All thirty pounds plus an additional ten were gone two months later. One of the benefits of breastfeeding combined with no appetite, right?

Well, the appetite is back. And that, combined with a reduction in my general activity levels, have conspired to bring eight of those lost pounds back. I'm wearing my "fat jeans" with regularity, and trying to hide a big ole muffin top of a post-baby belly.

After reading this post and marveling at the audacity of this new Mom, I've decided to make a few changes. Nothing drastic. I'm not about to cleanse and give up bread or anything like that. I'm just going to stop eating cookies for breakfast, and maybe add a few green things to my diet, and possibly figure out how to incorporate some exercise in my life.

Any suggestions on how to ease into things? Healthy recipes that are easy to cook would be appreciated!


sleep over - the results

This morning, I slept until 9:06.

Well, I stayed in bed until 9:06. I slept off and on from 4:00-ish until 9:06. My body was telling me, "It's time to get up and nurse that Boy!" Little did my body know that the Boy was 20 miles away...

Last night, John and I went to dinner with four of my girlfriends from high school, and their significant others. Instead of getting a sitter (which we haven't done, yet) or asking my Mom to stay at our house until 11:00 (which I would feel bad about), we brought the Boy to my parent's house for a sleep over.

This was the first time that he's been away from us over night. It was so strange and yet, so nice. I knew he was in good hands with my parents. I didn't worry about him at all (well, mostly not at all). The only thing I wasn't sure about was the 4:00 a.m. feeding. He always nurses. He's never had a middle-of-the-night bottle. I wasn't quite sure how that would go.

But he did great. He took a bottle like a champ. He slept through the night from 6:30 to 6:15. And he was so happy and lovey and snuggly... He had so much fun, he didn't even really look glad to see us when we picked him up.

The 4 a.m. feeding that I was so worried about? Well, my Mom and I were discussing the Boy's night wakings earlier this week. I told her that the Boy does periodically wake up during the night and make little peeps and/or talk to his puppy blankey. And I told her that I only go in there if he's crying; otherwise, he just goes back to bed. But I do go in when he wakes up at 3 or 4 and nurse him. And he usually doesn't really eat a lot. Just a few minutes, and then he goes back to sleep.

She asked me why I go in at 3 or 4 when I don't go in any other time? Does he cry at 3 or 4? Well, no... I didn't really have a great answer. Maybe it's just because I'm sound asleep and then I hear him making a peep and I sort of go on autopilot?

So, she just let him talk when he woke up at 4:00. And guess what? He went back to sleep.

Grandmas are so wise, aren't they?


sleep away

Tonight, the Boy is sleeping over at Grammy and Grandpa's house. I dropped him off at five. John and I went out to dinner with friends. We didn't really discuss a pick-up plan. All I know is that I'm planning on sleeping in until the double digits tomorrow morning.

I think I did a really good job being away from him all night. It did feel strange being home before we went out for dinner, and knowing that he wasn't in the house. And then the two of us leaving and coming home to an empty house.

But while we were at dinner, I really didn't worry about him (or G&G) at all. Usually, when I'm away from him, I'm not so much worried about whether he's okay... I worry more about whether the caretaker is okay. Is the Boy behaving? Or is the caretaker going crazy with a fussy, bottle-refusing, no-sleep-having baby?

I must admit, I am interested to hear the report when we pick him up tomorrow. I'm especially curious to know how the 4 a.m. feeding went. If he took a bottle without drama, that will mean good news for Mommy and a new horizon for Daddy!

It will also mean more sleep-overs in the future. Sweet.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


daddy's boy

John took this whole week off from work. It's been like one long, lazy weekend.

 The Boy has loved having his Daddy home with us. When he sees John, he twists and squirms and basically tries to leap out of my grasp and into Daddy's arms. It's very sweet. And also slightly straining on the back.

My two boys have spent time this week bonding over tummy time and dinner time. It absolutely melts my heart to see Jack's face light up when he sees his Daddy. The love that those two share is incredible, and I'm so grateful that I get to witness it!


so thankful

We had a lovely Thanksgiving.

We always go to my parents' house for Thanksgiving dinner, and this year was no exception. The food was amazing. I wait all year for my Dad's incredible stuffing. When I piled my portion on my plate this year, my younger brother looked at me and said, "Seriously???"

I said, "Back off!"

I am so thankful for the little family that John and I have created. It's amazing to look at my grandparents and think that someday we will be sitting around a table with our kids, grand kids and great grand kids. John and I are incredibly blessed to have found each other, and to have the Boy in our lives.

I'm also so thankful for my family and for John's family. We are related to some really great people who make our lives better just by being a part of it. Plus, a lot of them are just fun to be around.

We truly have so much to be thankful for -- we have our health, we have our families, we have food in our bellies and a roof over our heads. I'm not sure what we did to deserve all of this, but I don't ever want to take it for granted.



Monday, in our ECFE class, we talked about holiday traditions. What kinds of things did we remember about the holidays from our childhood? What kinds of things were we planning to do with our own children?

I have so many great memories of holidays with my family. When I was very young, we would hit both sets of grandparents' houses on Christmas Eve. There were so many aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. It was the most amazing chaos.

As a kid, I loved it. Looking back now as a parent, I can absolutely appreciate what my parents must have experienced. Trying to keep track of me and my two brothers and all of our newly acquired treasures must have been an epic task.

We always picked out our tree as a family. One year we even went to a farm to cut the tree down. That was an epic failure -- the only one into it was my Dad, and our complete lack of enthusiasm made him a bit cranky -- but I remember it fondly, now.

I also remember putting up the tree every year. My Dad would always string the lights first, placing each wire in the exact perfect spot. Then my parents would sit on the couch and unwrap the ornaments and hand them to us to place on the tree. I loved seeing each ornament, and getting excited about my favorite ones. One in particular was my absolute favorite: a small glittery pink house with a green tree in the tiny yard. I think it once belonged to my Granny.

And Thanksgiving... It hasn't always been my favorite holiday, but I'm pretty sure it currently holds the title. I love the "togetherness" you get from Thanksgiving without all of the stress that comes with Christmas.

Plus, let's just be honest. I love me some stuffing, and that happens once a year at Thanksgiving, baby.

As for what kinds of traditions we'll create with our own little family, that remains to be seen. I have a few ideas bouncing around in my head. And I'm sure we'll do some of the things John and I did as kids. But whatever we do, you can bet we'll be surrounded by family and love.



I just watched part one of Oprah's Favorite Things. It's her last one ever, so she apparently went all out for this one. It's kind of hard to watch -- adults foaming at the mouth and having an episode over a cashmere sweater and a panini maker. But it made me think about what would be on my Christmas wish list.

I really would love a new daily-wear necklace. There are so many great ones out there.

I love the necklaces at Moonshined Designs. The designs are so simple and so elegant. And I love the little descriptions they've written about the stones' superpowers.

I've lusted after Lisa Leonard's necklaces since I was pregnant with Jack. I often put a necklace or two in my virtual cart, and then quickly close the window so I don't actually purchase anything (does everyone "shop" that way?).

I also love, love, love Tina Steinberg's Love Touch necklaces. You get a kit that allows you to make your child's fingerprint into a necklace charm. Priceless!

Aside from the necklace obsession desire, if we suddenly fell into a pile of cash, I'd love to get a faster, newer Mac, an iPad, a dining room set, a gas fireplace insert, and new windows for our house.

What's on your list?


the day in photos

These are from our day last Wednesday...

waking up with the buddies
bad choice of toy, but we couldn't find his "bag o' glass"

"singing with the Hippies" -- aka, Mothersong

lunch = cracklebred, sweet potato salad with chili & lime, and lentil dinner
relaxing after a long day
my boys doing tummy time


he looks just like...

Unless it's super obvious, I'm really not good at saying which parent a baby looks like. I have friends whose babies are like little clones of themselves or their significant other. Little miniature people that look just like Daddy or Mommy. Hello, Anne? Her son looks just like Daddy. It's perty dern cute.

Maybe it's easier to tell when they get a little older and their personality starts to shine through a bit more; but I just cannot look at a baby and say, "Oh, you look just like your Mama." Well, I can, but it would be either a total guess, or maybe I've heard other people say it about that particular baby and I'm just repeating it.

I have no idea who Jack looks like. Sometimes, I think I see me in there. I don't have any baby photos of John, so I can't compare the two. Maybe if I Photo-shopped a goatee and some glasses onto a photo of Jack, I could do a comparison to his Daddy?

I think I just found a new weekend project.


cute kid contest - holiday edition

Top Ten Reasons the Buddy Man is the Cutest Kid

10. He recycles. What's cuter than a teeny-tiny environmentalist?
9. He brushes his teeth with a teeny-tiny toothbrush. Well, we brush them for him, but it's still dang cute.
8. He wears cloth diapers. Again, he loves our planet, and we love his fluffy little cloth butt!

7. He loves to sing. When he hears music or other people singing, he joins in with a high-pitched warble. Very cute, and sometimes eardrum piercing.
6. He has the most beautiful sometimes-hazel, sometimes-brown, sometimes-grey eyes. They're impossible to photograph, and sometimes I get lost in them. He's going to break hearts with them someday.
5. He loves to squinch up his face so that his upper lip touches his nose and then exhale forcefully through his nostrils. It looks like a constipated raging bull.

4. His rolls have rolls.
3. He is a pretty serious dude; but when he laughs, he will melt your heart. His giggles could be the solution to world peace.
2. He loves to wear his pants on his head.

And, the number one reason the Buddy Man is the Cutest Kid...

1. Well, just look at him... I mean, c'mon. SRSLY. He's cute!

This contest is sponsored by freckles and fudge, and Unexpected Surprises.

Please go here to vote for Jack... He promises to do something super cute if he wins!



Every time I go to Target, Jack gets a new toy. Sometimes, it's a small toy or a book. Sometimes, it's something bigger. Often, it's something we've talked about at ECFE or something Jack's played with at a friend's house.

From now on, I think it's going to be Tupperware.


posting from my phone

This is a test. Also, if Santa is listening... Mama needs an iPad.

And, my two posts today make up for my zero posts yesterday, which means I'm still on track for blogging every day in November.

That is all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

wordless wednesday -- flashback edition



It's like life. It's so appealing.
When you got so much to say,
It's called gratitude.

-Beastie Boys

So thankful for so many things.


holiday cards

We've never been a holiday card-sending family. We don't write the fun "what did we do this year" letter. We don't send a lovely photo of ourselves in front of the tree. We don't even really have a list of people to send cards to.

All that is about to change this year as we finally have something that other people seem to be interested in: Jack.

Now we just have to a) get a nice photo (or two or three) of the Boy and/or the three of us, and b) choose a nice card, and c) gather up some addresses.

Happy holidays!


get a job

I've always hated the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Mainly because I never really had an answer.

In school, I always loved taking those personal interest inventory tests. You know, the ones that tell you what you should be when you grow up. I actually took a "Career Explorations" course in college. Probably not the smartest use of my student loan money, but whatever. Secretly, I hoped the tests would give me not only a vocational direction, but some passion as well.

I took the Myers-Briggs test. Back then, I was an ENFP*. According to the MBTI website, ENFP's are: "Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency."

One of the career aptitude tests I took told me that I should either be a counselor, a clergy worker, or a mortician. I thought that was pretty creepy until I realized that morticians have to be very sensitive and caring, and they really help people in one of their most difficult times. Then it made more sense.

Needless to say, I didn't become a mortician. But I probably would have been good at it. Except I don't really like dead bodies. So, there's that.

Anyways, my point is that I was never one of those people who knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life, and exactly how I would get there. I have friends who knew, for example, that they wanted to become a teacher. And they went to college, got a degree, and now they teach.

I changed majors nearly every semester. I changed schools just slightly less often. In order to finally graduate (nine years after starting, thank you very much) I chose psychology as my major and sociology as my minor. At that point, it was the path of least resistance.

I graduated. And then I got a job as a receptionist. Great use of my degree, right? My next job was in human resources, which I really knew nothing about and had to basically teach myself while doing my job. I liked the job well enough, and I think I was pretty good at it, but it definitely wasn't my passion.

After we moved back to my hometown, I worked for my Mom in her salon. With the lofty title of Salon Director, I did a little bit of everything -- even doing some of the non-regulated services! I loved this job. I loved the people. I loved the industry. I loved the challenges. This job was the closest I came to finding my occupational passion. Unfortunately, circumstances (and the economy) changed, and I ended up leaving my position at the salon.

Shortly after leaving the salon, John and I found out we were expecting.

I spent the next eight months being a "stay at home pregnant lady." I did (admittedly half-heartedly) look for work during the first few months, but I never even got an interview. And if I had, I would have been very honest about the fact that I would be staying home after the baby came.

Even though we had talked about me being a stay-at-home Mom, and I knew that I wanted to do it, the idea was still very abstract to me. I had no idea what it really meant. Honestly, I was terrified that it was going to be like babysitting the same kid non-stop until it started school. I've babysat my share of youngsters, and I've always been glad when the parents pulled into the driveway at the end of the night. Maybe "glad" isn't a strong enough word. Maybe let's say "hugely relieved in a get-me-the-hell-outta-here kind of way."

And now I was going to do this every day. And there would never be a parents pulling into the driveway moment. I was terrified.

Through the remainder of my pregnancy and the first 7 months of Jack's life, the terror has given way to sheer joy in realizing that this is what I'm meant to do. It's nothing like babysitting. It's challenging in ways I never imagined, and rewarding in ways I never dreamed.

If you had asked me as a senior in high school, "what do you want to me when you grow up," never in a million years would I have said, "stay at home and raise my kids." But as it turns out, that's the answer.

I'm a Mom, and I absolutely love it.

* I'm going to retake a MT-like inventory and see if this has changed... I also looked up ENFP-suited careers, and "homemaker" is one of the occupations listed. Coincidence? I think not!


i wonder...

I wonder what song is playing in his head? I love his intensity. I love that he can do this for minutes on end -- remember that minutes are like hours to infants, right? I love that when I interrupt him with my giggling, he gives me the "Oh, Mom" look and goes right back to business.

Is the Boy destined to be a tambourine player? I think yes. And I would totally love that!

Watch out, Joel Gion!


tummy time troubles

Tummy time.

The Boy has hated it since day one. And as a new mom who hates to hear any form of protest coming from her Little One, I must admit that it didn't used to take much whimpering on his part to get me to put an end to tummy time. Sometimes, the Boy just had to stick his lower lip out and give me the puppy dog eyes. I'm a sucker. I know it.

But, now that the boy is coming up on eight months, and really hasn't rolled, scooted, crawled or otherwise made signs of becoming mobile, I'm beginning to feel like I may have been doing the wrong thing by rescuing him from tummy time.

I know it's terrible to compare your baby to other babies, but it seems like all of Jack's little buddies are scooting or army-crawling all over town. And Jack just chills. He can't be bothered with it.

I asked the doctor about it at his six month check-up. She wasn't too concerned, but she recommended doing lots and lots of tummy time. So, we've been trying. We really have.

And while he much prefers to sit up and play, we now do several (short) stretches of tummy time every day. He is just beginning to try to lift up his bottom and push off with his legs. He hasn't gone anywhere yet with this technique, but I think we're on the right track.

And he did roll over the other day. I'm not convinced it wasn't an accident, and he hasn't done it since, but it was a roll nonetheless.

I'm still rescuing him before he gets to the screaming-crying-meltdown mode, but if it's plain vanilla whining, he stays on his tummy.

Now is the part where Mommies with older babies tell me I'm crazy for wishing my kid was mobile.


one month

He looked a little bit like Benjamin Button in the beginning... Just like a little old man. With skinny little legs. They sure didn't stay skinny very long.