Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Big Boy

Today, my Little Bear turned a year old. I'm going to say my usual bit about how fast time goes by and I can't believe how big he's getting, blah, blah, blah...because it's true. It seems such a short time ago that I woke up at 4 AM with a strange pain in my belly. Or that I lay in the labor and delivery room and prayed that the anesthesiologist would hurry and show up to give me the blessed epidural. Or that I was on the operating table with "labor induced Parkinson's" (uncontrollable shaking, very frustrating) while they did a C-section after waiting 16 hours to have a baby that was too big to have the ol' fashioned way. How did an entire year go by so quickly?

I have watched my Bear go from a healthy, screeching baby to a healthy, laughing toddler. There have been so many changes. So many milestones. So many moments that I have thought, "I will always remember this" and have already forgotten them. I have tried to write things down, but things slip from my memory before I even reach for the pen and paper. He amazes me everyday. Learning something new all the time and developing into his own little person, independent of Danny and I, with his own little personality. He is happy and talkative (he babbles on and on) while he plays by himself. And then there are times when he is serious and studies what is going on around him, soaking it all in like a little sponge.

He loves it when I sing silly songs to him and hates it when we lay him on the changing table to change diapers. He eats foods at daycare that he won't touch at home. He chews on the spout of the sippy cup, but until Sunday wouldn't dare drink from it. He loves books. He likes for me to read to him but is just as happy turning the pages and reading to himself. These are the things that I want to hold onto. The silly little habits, routines, and mannerisms that I want to remember. I'm trying hard not to wish for the days gone by. Or to wish for days to come (things like "I can't wait for him to be able to..."). I'm afraid that if I spend too much time wishing for days that have already come and gone or wishing for time to hurry and pass that I'll miss the here and now. To miss out on right this minute would be a total waste. What good does wishing do anyway?

I can hardly believe it's been an entire year since the Bear came into our lives. But it's also hard for me to remember a time when we didn't have him. It's amazing to me that we've done so much and come so far in this short amount of time. I still struggle to think of myself as a mother sometimes. I was just Lauren for so long that it's inconceivable that this boy, this darling little creature, depends on me for so much. Up to this point, people depended on me for different things, but I was not responsible for anyone's happiness, well-being, SURVIVAL! I can not think too deeply on this important job I've been tasked with...it kinda makes me freak out.

On to the fun stuff...to celebrate the Bear's birthday, we had a busy weekend ahead of us.

Our busy weekend started with his first haircut. Danny has been fussing for months about how long his hair was. I couldn't cut it until his first birthday. My good friend Lora did the honors. She had the patience of Job while she cut little one's hair. It turned out pretty cute, he looks like a little boy instead of a baby.

We had a good time at our Cowboy birthday party. We had about 30 people to squeeze into our little house to wish the Bear a happy birthday. People came from as far as Atlanta and Alabama. We appreciate y'all coming so far to see him. It means a lot to us.

A few of the decorations...

The delicious (and adorable) cake...

The Bear getting messy with his smash cake...
Our little family (our feet anyway)...

The guest of honor...

His darling little boots...

What's a cowboy without his horse?

I think he had a good time, even if all the excitement wore him out a little. He got all kinds of good toys and we've had a blast playing with all of them this week.

I hope his next 40 birthdays are as much fun as this one was. I'm in no hurry to experience them, but look forward to enjoying them, one at a time, as they come.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Bear's First Christmas

I appoligize for taking so long in getting this up. I wanted to have some time to really get all the details of Bear's first Christmas on this post.

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and that you're now gearing up for a new year. That always strikes me: New Year. It's a chance to start over. A reset button. A do-over. It's like passing go (except maybe without collecting $200). I always look forward to a new beginning. I hope you do too.

Bear's first Christmas was a lot of fun. I had to work Christmas Eve day. We started making the rounds when I got home and the Bear got up from his nap. First we went to my Dad's house. We visited and opened gifts. It was a lot of fun. It's such a rare thing that my siblings and I are all together in one place that it's become quite a treat when it happens. All the noise and craziness going on reminds me of growing up. Someone talking, someone laughing, someone fussing, usually the TV on in the background. It's noisy and sometimes a little overstimulating (even for Bear), but that's just us.

When we finished there, we went to Danny's parents house. We got the biggest kick out of Bear climbing up on some of the bigger boxes. He would get as high as he could and peek over packages to see what was on the other side. He pulled ornaments off of Mimi's rotating Christmas tree. When you looked at him he glimmered and shimmered a little from all the glitter from the ornaments he pulled off and gnawed on. He wasn't so enthused about opening presents. It took him about twenty minutes to open two small gifts. He would pull a little paper off, play with that piece for a while. Wave it around. Eat it. Then tear another piece off when I took the first one away. He finally got all his presents opened with a little (a lot) of help. I think the most fun he had all night was sitting in an empty shipping box and shoving the eggs Nick and Marci got him around the box. That entertained him for longer than two minutes, that's how I know he had a good time. The Bear also had some potatoes and sausage from our low country boil. That boy is just like his Daddy, he inhaled the sausage.

We got home and did our usual bedtime routine. Once the Bear was in bed, Danny and I got busy. We didn't bother wrapping any of Bear's presents. After he took so long opening his other gifts earlier that night we decided it wouldn't be as much fun as it will be next year. This year he doesn't really understand what a present is. Fine with me, less work. We went ahead and took everything out of boxes and set it up so all he had to do was come in and play Christmas morning.

Christmas morning, I was up long before the Bear and it took everything I had not to go in and wake him up. I was so excited! When he got up, we looked at Santa's half-eaten cookies and the nibbled on carrots for his reindeer. Then the toys...oh, the toys. He was a little apprehensive at first. He sat back and took it all in. Crawled over to a few DVD's and scattered them. From there, he just moved down the line to whatever came next. He would wave his hands around so that toys went sailing, grab something and chew on it, then move down to the next grouping of toys. He had a big time.

When we got through with our little family Christmas, Danny's parents and Jon came by to see what goodies Santa had brought the Bear. Then mom came by to spend some time with us. She brought a breakfast casserole and what was probably Bear's favorite toy. It's a ball maze where balls pop out of this tube then roll down to be spit back out of the tube. When you turn it on, he squeals and giggles. Honestly, I do too. It's so much fun!

It was by far the best Christmas I can remember. Christmas is so much more fun when you have kids. We spent the day in our pajamas. Napped. Ate. Played. It was a good day. We did talk about the real meaning of Christmas, but at this age he had no understanding of what I was talking about. But I figured it was better to start talking about it now.

We hope that you had a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Traditions

You don't think about traditions very much when you're a kid. You think about how something is fun and you look forward to it. But you don't think about any preparations or planning involved. You just do it and have a good time. Looking back at growing up, there are things that I'm glad we did every year, especially at Christmastime. Some of these traditions, I want to pass on to the Bear. This year was the time to get started.

The first thing I wanted to start doing with him is building gingerbread houses. We had a lot of fun with this. Growning up, we used graham crackers instead of actual gingerbread most of the time, but that was so you could decorate your house any way you wanted to. So that's how I did it with Bear.

For some reason, I didn't realize until this moment, the second he stuck his hand in the icing that this was going to be a messy project. What was I thinking?

Believe it or not, I did get all four sides up and a roof on before he took one of the walls and did this...


And a sticky sweet kiss when we're all through. He did this on his own, no prompting. Maybe he's thanking me for letting him eat all that icing.

This is the final house. It looks more like a gingerbread house after a tornado. I bought candy to decorate the house, but Danny and I ate it instead. Trust me, the Bear didn't miss it at all.

The day after we did his gingerbread house, we went to Lenox in Atlanta with Mom, Brandon, and Dylan to ride the Pink Pig. What is the Pink Pig, you ask? It's a pig that rides on a monorail. My mom rode it and we rode it growing up at Riches in downtown. The real Pink Pig has been retired to the Atlanta History Center but her little sister (who is really a train) is now riding kids around in Macy's parking lot.

We waited in line forever. Even Aunt Kathy came to keep us company in line! I don't know that we'll do this every year, but I like being able to say that Bear has done things that I did growing up. I feel like I'm keeping the torch going that way, giving him all the things I so enjoyed growing up.

We finally made it! Here we are on the Pink Pig's little sister. You can see Priscilla the Pink Pig (the real one) in the background. He had a lot to look at as we rode!

And to round out the holiday traditions, a trip to see Santa! Until recently (like two weeks ago), I assumed that everyone went to see Santa every year. It was something we did every year. Sure as there was Christmas, we went to see Santa. I wanted Bear to see a good Santa, not some young guy with a scratchy fake beard. A real Santa. I think this Santa is pretty dang real.

Bear was completely serious the whole time. He looked at me and Mom. Looked at Santa. Looked at me. Looked at Santa. Then wailed. It was pretty cute.

It was a busy weekend for the Bear. He was sick the whole next week. So I'm glad we went on and did it all at one time. I'm glad that we started doing some of the things that I want to pass down to him. Things that he can look back on and remember doing every year or most years. He'll really have a blast when he has cousins or siblings to do them with. This parenting thing can be pretty dang cool.

I haven't just dosed him up on commercial Christmas. We talk about the nativity in the entry at home. I point out Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. We've talked about the meaning of Christmas. Not that he understands any of it now, but I figured this was as good a time as any to start.

Hope y'all are having a good time preparing for Christmas as well. Check back soon...I've got new Bear tricks to share!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

sick leave

I have been at home with a sick bear today. I thought on Sunday that we might be getting sick again, but prayed that he'd just get better. Like some how it would be heading our way but by some miracle we'd miss it. No such luck. He's had a fever, runny nose, coughing and just general yucks. But he's done something today that he hasn't let me do in a long time: hold him. That's how I knew he really wasn't feeling good.

Gone are the days of curling up on the couch and snuggling my boy for hours on end. He is too big for that now. There are too many things to dump over, eat, pull up on, inspect, and just generally get into. But today he has put his head on my shoulder or chest and just sat. We've watched too much TV because that's what you're supposed to do when you're sick, veg out in front of the TV. Ironically enough, it was VeggieTales that we watched all day. We laid down on the couch and he got so still that I thought he had dozed off. He hadn't though, just taking it easy and being lazy. He took a long nap while I get a few things done. I am very sorry that he's sick because I hate to see him uncomfortable and miserable. But since he is sick it has been nice to hold him, stroke his hair, and smell him.

The Bear is going through a Mommy phase right now. He wants to know where I am and cries when I walk out of his sight. I hate that for all the snuggling he and I have done today, he wouldn't let Danny hold him any longer than usual. Sorry about that, Danny. I love this phase and hate it. I love that he wants to be with me, gives me big, slobbery kisses, smiles a brilliant smile when he spots me, and can't crawl over to me and climb up my leg fast enough. I hate it because I feel so guilty when he cries when I leave him at daycare. He doesn't cry everyday. Maybe once a week. I know that soon, either next week or in a few years, he will be a Daddy's boy. They will hunt and fish and do stinky boy stuff without me. He won't let me give him sugars or laugh like crazy when I make funny noises for him. I will hate even more for this phase to be over. I will have to remind myself to look back on these sweet days when he would rather catch bugs than sit and snuggle with me. Those days will come all too quickly.

Technically, this isn't a very good picture. But there are two things I love about it. I love the way he's sticking his tongue out. He does that sometimes and it always cracks me up. Then there's those lashes! They're getting so long. Almost too pretty for a little boy. Sometimes when he blinks I imagine a *woosh, woosh* sound like you hear in movies when they do slow motion. I can almost feel the wind from it!

Gotta love that sweet face and easy smile. He does make me work for it sometimes when I take his picture, but this particular day he was lovin' the camera. It surely loves him.

Here's hoping that he feels better tomorrow. I always have a huge internal debate anytime he's sick: take him to the doctor or let it run its course. I never know for sure if I've made the right decision. Guess that's called parenting, huh?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

30 before 30

I've mentioned before that I was making a list of 30 things to do before I'm 30. I've still got over two years to do all these things, but I wanted to get a list done so I could start checking things off. Then when the big day gets here I can at least say I've accomplished a few little things in 30 years. So, without further ado, I introduce my 30 before 30...

1. Take the Bear to Disney World

2. Run in (and finish) a 10 K

3. Finish the damn hutch

4. Enter a really good picture in the fair

5. Sew a dress I'll actually wear

6. Sew a quilt (even if it's just a baby quilt)

7. Learn to open champagne

8. Finish the Bear's baby book and birth scrapbook

9. Finish our wedding album

10. Throw Danny a kickin' 30th birthday party

11. Learn to use Photoshop

12. Take a long weekend just Danny and I

13. Finish the Bear's crocheted baby blanket

14. Learn to make creme brulee

15. Take riding lessons and become comfortable with riding

16. Have most of our last credit card paid off

17. Start Bear's "Rules for Life" book

18. Be a stay at home mom (or at least only work part time)

19. Go to the Atlanta Aquarium, World of Coke, and the Bodies Exhibit

20. Learn how to jump start a car

21. Find and join a church

22. Learn to skillfully apply eyeshadow

23. Find a flattering red lipstick. And wear it. In public.

24. Get the patio set up as an outdoor living space

25. Finish this list...done

26. Make a video of Bear's first year

27. Get props and backdrops to use for photos

28. Hang pictures in our house

29. Do that "list of questions for your parents"

30. Do better about keeping up with a journal

So there ya go. Thirty things I want to do before I'm 30. I love to make lists because it makes me feel like I've really accomplished something when I look back and have a bunch of stuff crossed off. And would you look at that? I've already done number 25! It took me a while to think of 30 things that warranted going on to the list so I wasn't sure I'd actually ever finish it. I'm already on my way! See, crossing something off helps to keep me motivated.

I've got two bonus things that I'd love to get done and may give myself extra credit for in case I don't get something else done.

Bonus #1 Organize our home so that it functions better for the way we live.

Bonus #2 Throw myself a kickin' 30th birthday party.

Those are pretty big. My house overwhelms me so we'll see if that gets done. I've always thought it was kind of tacky to throw yourself a birthday party but I just might get over that. We'll see. If I accomplish everything on this list I'll throw a party just to celebrate that.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted on the progress of the 30 before 30 list. This should be interesting. And just because no post is complete without a picture of the Bear...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Shutterfly's Fabulous Holiday Cards

I love Shutterfly. I've used them to print the Bear's pictures from when he was born. Unfortunately, those are about the only pictures I've ever had printed of him. Welcome to the digital age. I've also used Shutterfly to make Father's Day photobooks. They were a big hit. The grandpa's loved having a little brag book. I've been pleased with the quality of Shutterfly's products. But...oh. my. goulashes. Their holiday cards are uh-dorable.

They are classic contemporary. Classic without being stuffy and too frilly. Contemporary colors and graphics. I've really thought about using a card that has places for multiple pictures on it so that I can put pictures of the Bear throughout the year on it. He has changed so much over the year that I'd thought our Christmas card would be a good place to reflect that. I haven't decided for sure whether I'll do multiple pictures or just one or two. I'll have to really decide which card style is my favorite: simple or lots to look at. Click here to pick your faves.

I'd bet that grandmas and grandpas would love a calendar for the fridge at home or desk at work. Or a coffee mug to boast the pics of the grandyoung'uns.

But as beautiful as their holiday cards are you've also gotta love that Shutterfly is giving you 50 free cards just for blogging about your favorites.

Hope everyone is having a great week. Get over to Shutterfly and click around for a while. Prepare to be inspired.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Embrace the Camera: December 2

It's time for another fun-filled edition of...

These are from the Bear's first Thanksgiving. My sister took these and I couldn't be more pleased with how they turned out. Thanks KK! I normally only put up one, but they were so cute I couldn't decide.

And our first Thanksgiving as a family...

Thanks for playing along!