Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: 19 1/2 LBS, 27 1/2" Tall

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

He Really Does Look Like His Father

Last Friday I treated myself to something I've wanted and needed for a while:

A camera that can keep up with James.

It's not a fancy DSLR, but close enough.  And the zoom feature allows me to get details of my son I haven't before.

For example this shot that has me staring because it is one of the classic moments when he looks like a miniature version of my husband, his father:

And the split second after that when he ducked down to giggle.

As I was going through the 300 pictures I snapped (no joke!), I said out loud to A, "I love that face!"

Which got me to thinking.

I've read articles and blog postings talking about how most babies look like their father as a way to start the bonding process.  I mean, what man can't help but be proud of his child, especially when people are pointing out the resemblances?

Now, 9 months later, James and his daddy have a unique bond.  As his face begins to change and become more his own, that bond won't change.  It will grow stronger over time.

James and I have our own bond.  He knows mama and blatantly calls for me when he is tired of visiting with people.  If you tell him to go get mama, he will crawl to me and then thrash around like a fish out of water waiting for me to pick him up.

He will always be a little part of me, the only person in this world who really will know what the beat of my heart truly sounds like.

But when those words came out of my mouth I wondered if maybe there was another reason that most babies resemble their father.

Because that is the face of the man you fell in love with.  The person you decided to spend the rest of your life with.

And there it is, starting up at you, loving you with no hesitation, knowing that you are his.

Sadly, I think I realize why I truly believe no woman will ever be good enough for my son.  And when he does find someone who wants to be with him forever and chooses her, I will be so supportive of her.

Because I love that face.  And if she loves that face even half as much as I do, then that's what is meant to be.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Motherly Advice - For the Most Part

I can't believe that at this time last year I was anxiously counting down the days to my baby shower.

My mom's plane ticket was purchased, invites had been sent, and my cousin and best friend had planned their trips here.

The shower was perfect.  I loved the games, and we seriously had so many presents that I wasn't sure where we were going to put things.  I couldn't have really asked for anything more.  But it didn't end there.

One of the activities they did before I arrived was have all the women there write down on a card some advice or words of wisdom and then seal it in an envelope.  I was then gifted this stack and told they were to remain sealed until needed.  The cards were meant to be opened and read at times when the baby was fussing or I was reaching the end of my rope, with the thought being that they would provide me with sound advice from the women who were there even when they couldn't be there.

I've kept them all in a gift bag, waiting for the moment.  But luckily we've been blessed with a little boy who really is so well behaved and has always slept well.  There's been no need to open those envelopes, and now that he's 9 months old I've decided to start looking through them.

Starting today, I'm going to open 1 envelope each Monday and share the writing with you.  This way I can share some of these pearls of wisdom and maybe a laugh or two.

I was told that the first card I had to open was the one done by my then 8 year-old sister-in-law.  She carefully wrote on the envelope "Open in case of Emergency (Baby Throwing Fit)".

So here is what she had to offer:

"Hold it give it a bottle give it a pacifier Call grandma and send it to her or Michelle.  Kiss it hug it or diaper change if all else fails give it to A"

Even at such a young age, she is brilliant, don't you think?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dealing With Grief

When of my greatest fears when we left CA was not being there for my mother.  She and I have always been close, taken care of one another and the family, and over the years as suffered two strokes and other medical problems, I realized that she wouldn't be there forever.  It's one of the hardest things to come to grips with: your parents are only human and will one day no longer be there.

After reading Claire Bidwell Smith's The Rules of Inheritance, I've come to realize that coming to grips with that, and what will happen some day, is something that everyone will go through.  And no two people will feel it in the same way.

Using the stages of grief almost like mile posts on her journey, Claire shares the way her loss affected her life and the decisions she made.  She also shows that it's okay to feel this way, that grieving is something that has to happen, and there is a way to deal with it all.

I've been lucky to have my parents still living.  I know people who haven't been as lucky, and have an old friend dealing with a parent who is slowly leaving her because of cancer.  I know she is still learning to deal with the day to day changes as she is the primary caregiver for her father, but I also plan to recommend a reading of The Rules of Inheritance.

Have you lost someone or know someone who has and wondered how to be there for them?  Please try reading the book and join the conversation here with the BlogHer Book Club's latest selection.

This is a sponsored review for the BlogHer Book Club.  While compensation will be forthcoming for taking the time to write about the book, the opinions stated are all mine and mine alone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In Awe

I remember my brother learning to crawl and then walk.

Even my nieces made me giggle when they began moving.  Being twins, it was hilarious to see one following the other, and the games they seemed to play.

But this is different.

Each day, he moves faster.  Even the cat is a little more wary today than on Saturday.

If you open the gate to his little section of the living room, he doesn't hesitate.  He gets on all fours and makes a move for the open door.

And straight to the entertainment center.  With the cord hanging from the 360 being his only interest.

He's also begun squirming to get down after eating.  He is ready to hit the floor and go Go GO!

My James has realized he can get to things.  And he wants them all.

Funniest part?

He's not too interested in tasting it all.  Makes no move to put everything in his mouth.  He tends to turn things over in his hands, testing for buttons and noises.  And proving that he has the ability to grip things really tightly if he doesn't want to let go of them.

I am realizing now why parents give their children old TV remotes to play with.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Next Chapter for James

We woke up Saturday morning as usual.

Then this happened:

And now we are trying to figure out how much baby proofing is enough.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Somehow We've Developed A Routine

Over the last month or so, a bedtime routine has appeared.

It's the one guaranteed time that we all file into James' room for a diaper change, normally followed by tickling and fresh pajamas.  We help him stand once we are done, and normally dance or tickle some more.  Just before he is flown like Superman to his crib, I ask for kisses and get this goofy grin from my little man as he slowly leans in to attack my cheeks.

He knows it's night night time, and unless he really isn't tired and needs more time to unwind, we can let him land in his crib, put his blankets over him, kill the lights, and then leave the room with nothing more than a grunt.

Last night, we ran some errands and had him out until a little after 9.  He was tired, you could tell, but he was still giggling and laughing at the changing routine, and promptly pulled himself to standing.

Somehow I'd forgotten about asking for my kisses, wanting to get him in bed so he could sleep, when suddenly I realized he was leaning into me with his mouth open.

He hadn't forgotten about my kisses.

And so I got my kiss on each cheek and then laid him in bed.

After squeezing him so tight he giggled and letting him know how happy he's made me.

I get kisses without asking, and am going to treasure that right up until the day he decides we shouldn't be seen in public with him.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Party Planning

I'm not new to throwing parties.

For the majority of the last 6 years in CA, gatherings were in my apartment.  We had room to play games, either on the consoles or computers, room for people to sit and drink, and even the kids were invited to come over with their parents.

I always tried to make it easy: I had hard alcohol, plenty of snacks.  Everyone who wanted anything else to drink was to bring their own, and also bring something to share for snacking.  This made me feel less stressed, and kept the clean up to a minimum later.  And it meant I could spend the party out in the living room with everyone and not be stuck in the kitchen all night.

Everybody wins!

For the first time this year, I'm going to be throwing a different kind of birthday party.  James will be 1 in May.  My mom will be here, and I want to get a small group together without breaking the bank, but while still having something to snack on and of course the birthday cake.

So, I have a question for you, oh wonderful reader:

What is your best tip for hosting a gathering, get-together or party that is enjoyable and stress-free for both the host and guests?

I don't think I can get away with a pot-luck for 1 year-old, so what are the best ways you know to be able to get people together and still be able to relax and enjoy the party?

This also happens to be the question being posted by BlogHer.  Are you a secret Martha Stewart?  Do you plan events at venues to avoid having to worry about any of the details?

I'm inviting you to share your comments here, but also to visit the Life Well Lived site and help with the question there by offering your tips on hosting a stress free gathering.  And don't forget that they are giving away a Kindle Fire and you can enter for that by sharing a moment in the conversation there.

So, share!  And help!!!! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Teething....Rash???

This morning started like any other:

Daddy got up and started the coffee maker.  James laid in his crib and chatted with stuffed animals and called for "mama" every so often.  I laid in bed making a mental checklist of things that needed to be done today.

I heard A shaking a bottle up, and I started to stretch.  He came down the hallway, turned in to James' room, and I heard the squeals of someone who was ready to get up and excited to see someone there.

Then quiet.

And suddenly A is asking me, not in a scared voice, but in a slightly loud voice, to come to the baby's room.

Internets, I was expecting scales or claws or a second head.  My husband didn't make it sound bad, but there was a tone to his voice that made me realize this wasn't a cute moment I just HAD to see.  This was something not good.

James was laying in his crib, facing up at us, smiling.  And his cheeks were so red that you would have thought he'd been trying to apply some blush by the handful with his little chubby fingers.

I leaned in to the crib.  There was no fever.  The cheeks were warm, but not bumpy.  Just really, really, REALLY red.

I hadn't even stopped to get my glasses, so I told A to get him up and moving.  We needed to get him breakfast and keep an eye on things, see if they stayed the same, got worse, cleared up, and most importantly if there was anything like that on any other part of his body.

By the time I came back, James was changed and headed to his high chair.  He ate breakfast, and by the time it was done his left cheek was clearing up quickly.  Play time started, and daddy went to do what he does best:

Google the issue.

He narrowed it down to 3 options, and then added in a couple of other symptoms.

Like the EXTRA excessive drooling over the last few days.

The gnawing on EVERYTHING with such ferocity that I was afraid he'd snap one of his toys in half.

The slight diarrhea consistency the day before.

Did you know that one of the signs of teething, besides the above, is a rash like appearance on the cheeks?  Did you?  Cause we didn't.

Until this morning.

That, mixed with sleeping in his excessive drool, can cause this interesting phenomenon.

So, if this is true, I think we'll be okay.

Of course, if it doesn't continue to clear itself up, then A is never allowed to Google symptoms again.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Missing My Sister Everyday

I was recently able to sit and read The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown and upon finishing it immediately told my mother-in-law to read it as well.

She is one of 4 sisters, and I am one of 2.  Anyone with a sister should sit and read this as the writing and story is really the best depiction I've ever read about that unique relationship where you can't help but love her, even when you don't like her.

My sister and I are only a couple of years apart in age, and so we did almost everything together.  She has always been the more open and fearless one, while I'll sit back and observe, cautious to a fault with most decisions.  I've always loved and admired that in her, the way she could get to know people so quickly, but also often found myself jealous and hating her for always seeming to be the center of attention.  Now that we are older, with our own lives, I see her in a different light.  And living so far away from her, especially after reading The Weird Sisters only makes me miss her even more every single day.

This May, my mother is coming to meet her grandson for the first time.  I've told her about the book, and as she is one of 4 sisters, I already let her know it will be waiting for to read when she walks in the door.

Come read more about the book here and join the conversation!

This is a sponsored review for the BlogHer Book Club.  While compensation will be forthcoming for taking the time to write about the book, the opinions stated are all mine and mine alone.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thinking Back for Some Odd Reason

I don't know if I ever told this story, but it hit me as my husband and I were talking about the movies coming up on our radar.

James was born just after the summer films launched, and I still remember the last two movies we saw before we became parents:

Thor and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

I'm not sure which one it was at, but while on the way in to the theater, the ticket taker said he had to check my back to make sure I wasn't carrying a recording device.  I shrugged and let him look in the bag.

And that's when he told me I couldn't bring in my 32oz water bottle because no outside food was allowed.

Up to that point, the only time I used my pregnancy to our advantage was the parking at Toys R Us.  I walked everywhere and always carried my water.  It really was one of my things: I drank at least two 32oz containers of water a day and took it with me everywhere.

By the time we got to the movies, I was 3 weeks from being due, the weather was warming up, and I'd had to drive us in the old car because A didn't know how to drive a stick shift.

So this boy told me no, and I raised my voice.  I remember loudly letting him know I was really pregnant and diabetic, and I needed to drink my water.  I pulled out the insulin and told him there was no way I was leaving behind my water just to spend $6 on one of theirs.

He honestly apologized and said there was nothing he could do, but I could talk to the manager behind us.

You know, the one who had sat there and watched the whole thing erupt in front of her.

I gave her a look and took 1 step in her direction.

She held up a hand and told him to let me take my water in with me.

Some days I wonder if the people who make up these policies ever stop to think about the wide array of people they tend to every day and how convenient it would be to train their employees to make some concessions of their own based on logic.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Making Room

James is finally at an age where I won't feel guilty about putting him in a penned area, with all his toys, and leave him to play.  But I don't want him alone in one room while we are in another, either working or playing.

So, the dining room that was also being used as an office is also now his play area.

I think.

We are still playing with ideas, but we have too much "stuff" and not enough room.  And I am wishing we were having a yard sale because we have a baby swing that needs a home.

So that's the plan this week:  figure out how to get everything we need into the space we have.

Wish us luck!  And I'll share pictures of what we end up doing later this week!

Friday, February 3, 2012

About That Work Thing

So, as a mini-update:

I am lucky to still be employed.  For the foreseeable future, that will continue to be the case.

My company and another company "merged".  I don't know all the details, but the main point was that for about 48 hours there was no way to tell if I would continue to be employed.  Especially after reading their FAQ sheet and realizing it was the complete opposite of what we'd been told verbally for the months leading up to the official announcement, and had everyone wondering about their employment. 

And you know it's bad when you work in the corporate main office and don't feel secure.  Some of the people I talked made my anxiety about being a remote employee even worse.

Right now we are just coasting on and making some hard decisions about financial issues and what our next step will be.  And how that will impact our actually bringing another child into our family.

These are the days I wish I could skip over and just move on.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

13 pounds down, 4 to go

So, with no exercise at ALL, but just a change to diet, I've dropped 13.3 pounds in the month of January.  I honestly have less than 4 pounds to go until I reach the number I was at in 2010 when I got pregnant.

The plan is to start that whole exercise thing to see if I can keep things moving along.  The major weight loss was that first week, once I stopped eating bagels and white bread and excessive amounts of red meat.

What?  It was the holidays!

We've dropped red meat for the most part, added more fresh vegetables, and gone back to whole wheat bread with less fat and carbs.  I also read Why Women Need Fat and have incorporated some basic practices from the book, using products and foods that are natural and whole as opposed to hunting down everything to be fat free.  It's a unique balance, but it's working because my average weight loss is about 2 pounds a week.

The other change?  I've made sure to eat breakfast daily.

This has always been a challenge for me, and when we started dieting in 2010 and all through the pregnancy it was the one thing I made sure to do.  I either eat a yogurt (low carb type), a whole grapefruit, or some eggs and bacon.  As long as I get breakfast in, the rest of the day goes quickly and smoothly.  And I know that this has made a difference with my metabolism and weight loss.

So, the current weight is at 276.2 pounds.  I know I'll reach the old weight of 272.5 and drop more if I keep going.

And considering that A is behind me all the way with meal choices and foods, I think this will work!