Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Live hard, play hard

I love to watch Cade explore. Nick & I sometimes wonder if we let him be a little "too free" sometimes. I think it encourages his creativity, helps him learn about his world, and is a damn fun time to get to crawl and do what you want. I mean hell, why have too many restrictions when you're only 8 months old...there's plenty of time for people to squash your dream--ahem-- lets say we get more rules the older we get. (And as a kid didn't you think it was just the opposite, more freedom when you're older, if only you could just grow up?? Now we're grown ups and what we wouldn't give to have a childlike freedom.)

Anyways, here is Cade's newest hobby --- dumping the toy basket to allow for easy access of all toys. He never knows just which tiddlywink he might need. After he explores the "near side" of his dumpage, he scales the basket to scope out the "far side" dumpage.
On this particular day he thought he'd grab his swanky blankie and play peekaboo. He was doing it by himself for a while and when I heard a little snort I realized he was totally initiating peekaboo and then joined him. (Hell, to be so carefree you play peekaboo by yourself and crack up... again, I wish I were him!)
Where's Cade? Peekaboo!
The kid amazes me....I wish he would be satisfied with his dumpage of toys longer than he is this week. Now his new mission is "Up" (pull up, climb up, reach up, pick me up, I want to be UP!!!) With mission Up we are getting lots of pinched fingers in drawers and bumps on the head. For the most part he looks at me to verify he's okay, and goes on with life. Other times it's a heart-breaking cry of pain and my initial pity for his boo-boo turns into a strange (I really shouldn't admit this) heart-warming glee that I am Mommy, I can kiss it and make it all better. Isn't that horrible?? He hurts himself and I get just a little satisfaction at making it better. When he's in my arms with big tears I kiss away and he grabs onto the neck of my sweater and I kiss the boo-boo and talk to him, then there's his sigh as his breathing goes back to normal and life is good again. I love it. I hope I'm always able to fix all his boo-boo's... . . . .

night bloggies,
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Baby's First Christmas

This is the story of baby's first Christmas.

We hosted Christmas Eve dinner for the Fleming and Lamb families. It was potluck style, the spread was fan-freaking-tastic! Homemade potato skins, Alex's pasta salad, green salad, bbq brisket sliders, coconut chicken tender bites, cranberry salsa, spinach artichoke dip, and more yummy appetizer-style fare. Supplemented by a cookie bar with homemade hand-decorated Christmas cookies and other treats my students gave me. Before dinner, we headed out to Deerfield to check out the lights. There were LOTS of life-size mechanical Santas and one light show that was synched to music you could tune your car radio to hear. It was amazing! The snow was the best part. (That and the yard that Alex and I snuck into to pose with the wooden life-size carolers, hehe)

We followed up by dinner and some family pictures, then headed to bed to get ready for Santa. When Cade woke up Christmas morning, 7:00am (Good boy Cade!) He could feel the excitement, the snow out his window was the best part for him, he loved the bright white sunshine coming into his nursery. For a kid who's never experienced Christmas, he sure got it down right from the start!

He was so thrilled, I think maybe his face in this pic is a reflection of ours. I had to drag Nick out of bed I was so pumped to start the day! The snow was a miracle. I really think our guardian angels pulled some strings to hook us up with some snow in Dallas on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. It was gorgeous, soft blankets in the yard. We did leave out milk and cookies for Santa...proof that he was here!

The most gifts we've ever seen under a tree. It was stunning to see them all wrapped and ready to go! We definitely felt blessed to have so many family and friends to give to.

A close-up on the enticing gifts...Thank God they survived until Christmas morning. You never know between an 8 month old and a curious dog just which packages will survive, but they all made it! Momma's good good boy and girl.

Daddy and Cade on Christmas morning with the dragon Santa bought Cade. He snuggled it right to his face just after this picture, it was so sweet.

It is hard to believe this time last year we were tying a big bow around my prego belly and dreaming of how fun this Christmas would be. Although it was an emotional holiday season, the joy of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year was amazing. To me it was like experiencing my very first Christmas, it was so new to get to do Christmas with a baby. It really brings you more closer to your faith to feel that kind of love on Christmas.

We opened stockings and some gifts at home first thing in the morning as we drank coffee. Our rumbling stomachs had to wait patiently for the roads to clear a little from the snow and ice from Christmas Eve before we headed to Lolli & Papa's (Nick's parents). It was nice to get some extra time to enjoy the stockings and watch Cade play with some of his gifts. He did need some instruction on unwrapping. It was a little confusing to him to get more than one gift at a time and not get a full chance to play with the first gift before we forced him to open another. Are we totally creating a monster? How lucky are we that we have a kid who's happy with the first gift he saw. His attention was totally about the first gift until we forced him unwrap others. Then he was pretty amused by the tissue paper and bows and boxes, but we SO wanted him to love what we had bought him that we pretty much have set ourselves up for getting cool gifts every year. And to think, he would have just loved the boxes.
We did end up at Lolli's for breakfast part 2 and then TONS of gifts. Of course the person who won't remember getting the most got the most. But we had to remind Cousin Michael that big boy gifts are expensive, thus it's less about quantity than quality. Pretty tough for a big kid to realize as we pile 50 presents in front of the drooling baby. Howev, the big kid got a freaking bazooka for all I know, that dart gun was GINORMOUS. And Cade will never own one. I've decided. I am working on submitting a Veto Letter for Santa just in case Cade ever asks for one and I don't know about it.
So after Lolli's we headed to my parents' house to see Grammie & Grandaddy, Aunt Shanon, Cousin Garrett, and Uncle Alex. As we drove up we noticed a very tall and hilarious snowwoman. With boobs. We immediately decided we needed a family picture. Check out the belly on that baby, the guns on that snowslut, and my hand PRETENDING to hug the snowslut. The rest of the pics speak for themselves.

Okay, the pics don't speak for themselves. My sleeve must have brushed the snowslut, causing her to collapse from the chest down. (This is what happens when you get top-heavy with the implants, ladies). I died. My mom yelled at me to "Fix it Hilaryyyyeeee".... not subtle when you're hoping the neighbors don't come out to see we killed their snowman!!! So as fast as I could I Dr 90210'd her, fixed the wig, and ran to catch up with the fam. Thanks Mom, for taking the last 2 pics.
It was an awesome Christmas, the never-ending Christmas. A white Christmas. A very perfect baby's first Christmas.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Feats of Amazingness

Time for a skills update on our baby boy. . . . . . ....
In no particular order of when they first occured, but rather what I can remember in this very moment.
1. Waving skills. Cade can wave (an open and close of the hand, a twist of the wrist). Today he waved his whole arm and opened and closed his hand as he waved bye to his wingmen at daycare. (There's only 3 boys in their room, they've gotta be tight)
2. Clapping skills. Yesterday when I picked him up at daycare as soon as he saw me he raised both hands in the air and then started clapping his hands together. I'm pretty sure I've never been more impressed with him or had such a great reaction walking into a room. I'll take it!
3. Pulling up skills. Although it gives me a vision of bloody mouth and stitches every time, Cade pulls himself up on the side of the tub. I have to snap myself out of the daydreamy haze I get looking at that naked baby laughing as he pulls up on the tub. He also pulls up on the highchair, his little car, his toy box...anything!
4. Talking skills. It quasi-kills me to say this, but the first word is officially "Dada" followed by "dad" followed by "hi-da" which translates to "Hi Dad". And the last two days he's said "hug". I do hesitate to officially add a word to a list until I hear it at least 10 times over a period of 2+ days. My mom thinks it's bunk that I don't give him credit the first time, but babbling noises that happen to sound like words aren't language to me. I look for purpose, generalization, articulation. I'm no mommy cheater, going around saying my kid says all sorts of crazy words way above his developmental level.
5. Going to sleep skills. It took only 3 check-up cycles on night one of sleep training (AKA "cry it out" until they sleep on their own) for Cade to figure out the system. Sure enough after 2 nights he was not crying when I laid him down in bed. He was such a great sleeper until daycare when the daycare never-ending runny nose congestion gunk never went away. We were waking up 2 times each at night to hold him for an hour and try to rock him to sleep again. After one platinum margarita with my friend Sara she pushed me to do it. Thanks Girl.
Random other milestones: eating Gerber freeze-dried yogurt that melts in his mouth, Gerber disintegrating cereal puffs (I've eaten more than him...), completely emptying out his toy basket and flipping it over, then balancing on his tummy, feet up in air on basket....
Funniest moment lately: When feeding Cade the last few nights he has burped and then he giggles and I start laughing and the two of us can't stop. I fake burp, then he cracks up. I tell him it's not good of me to teach him to burp and fart at the table, but he laughs even more, which gets me going. It will go on for a good five minutes. It's bliss. It's just us in our own world, and it makes the rest of my stress melt away.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Feeling blue, but blessed

I can't believe it's been so long... I don't know why blogging has me sad right now. I guess I just need to put the hard stuff out there so I can continue with the fun, lighthearted blogs. It's been 2 weeks tomorrow since my favorite (and by favorite it's because I see him the most, know him the best, etc) uncle passed away.

We had a really great fall, went to the arboreteum for his 60th birthday, got him well enough to come to Thanksgiving at our house with our families, and hung out with his brother, my other uncle (both mom's brothers) again. Then things just happened so quickly. For that I'm thankful and for that I'm still shocked.

My Uncle Steff was diagnosed with lung cancer four years ago. Nope, not a smoker, thank God. The journey could have been very different had that been the case. He and my aunt have this beautiful relationship, very real, but very loving, always so openly appreciative of each other even when the other wasn't present. For that I chose not to toss my bouquet at my wedding, but rather present it to my aunt. I'm so lucky to have her, she's an inspiring woman. Loves yoga, her husband, her son, and my favorite thing of all --- she always makes you feel like you're amazing and so special. God, even as people called and came over to visit my uncle in his final days and hours, she took time to tell each person how special they were to my uncle and to the family and something unique about themselves. Anyways, words can't say how in awe I've been of her. I'm lucky to have her among my role models.

Cade came with me to their house two weeks ago to be with the family. This child has pulled us through the neck deep mud that has been our grief this year. He's our hope and our light...He's our concrete proof that life is good. God is good. Good things do continue to happen in this world. Even when you can't make sense of the bad, and you want desperately to hate God and blame Him, you can't. You can't deny that God is good when you look at a baby. Life just sucks sometimes... I have to find ways sometimes to teach that to my students. I know that sounds insane, and why the hell do I have to teach that...but that's just the first part of the lesson, the little part that once you can get past you have to teach and practice the second part, which is "Move along". The journey doesn't stop. One of my favorite songs is "Move Along" by the All-American Rejects...The part I have to repeat to myself is "When all you got to keep is strong, move along, move along like I know you do. And even when your hope is gone, move along move along just to make it through". And after you get past that step, you continue to step 3, which is to Find the Good. Find the Good starts with going through the motions, living in denial for awhile, then accepting the truth behind the grief (don't get confused and accept the grief, that's not need to accept the TRUTH. My uncle died) At the core of that truth you find your peace. You find why that truth has to be okay for you. And having Peace is the key to opening the door to Good. Find Good again. Feeling good, doing good, having good times. Sure, the sad times are going to come back. Yep, you'll be surprised and it will take your breath away, then you rinse & repeat the process. (um, okay, I don't get too deep with the explain when I'm working with students through their problems. We do Step 1 - Move Along, Step 2 - Find the Good)

I lived this process so soon after Cade was born it was almost dangerous. My beloved, my beloved grandmother, the woman I called my idol died five days after Cade was born. Easter night. I was pretty pissed that I didn't get to bring Cade to meet her. But in the weeks that I muddled through this process, all the while Cade pulling me through it in fast cycles of Finding Good and falling back into my grief...I learned. I learned that the longer I can Find Good, the sweeter "New Normal" becomes. I could go on and on, and I'm no expert on this...unfortunately 2009 made me learn how to handle the death of a loved one.

So to end this sad note, and before I sign off to go to bed, I turn to music again. I put on Elton John's "Blessed" and I make a promise to myself and to Cade "to be blessed, to have the best, to pick a star from the sky.... to be blessed...." Tonight I turned off the tv, I held Cade til he slept and stared at the Christmas tree. Its colorful lights in the dark room the perfect illustration for the darkness of grief and the brightness wonder of what the future will hold. My grandmother had made a pillow that my mom had, and that I took to college with me, and which now rests on the rocker in Cade's nursery... "The Best is Yet to Come", as hard as that is to think about, I have to hope...Because the past with my family was pretty damn awesome, I can only imagine what God has in store next.

peace, hope, and blessings to you,
love, me

Goodnight bloggies.

Monday, December 7, 2009

8 month pics!

Someone call a doctor, my newborn woke up today as an 8 month old!!! Look at this little man, I can't believe it! I don't know which baby I prefer, 7 day old Cade or 8 month old Cade. I just adore them both. Of course now seeing the world through his eyes is amazing and beautiful, and sometimes scary.

^ That's my favorite face for sure! ^
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