Tuesday, June 30, 2009

farm boy

Hello from North Dakota! 

Yesterday, we made our way to my grandparents' farm.  This is a special place where I spent many childhood summers riding tractors and bikes, hanging out in my tree house, eating way more orange push ups than mom would have allowed, and screaming like a banshee when bugs landed on my face.  Other than the bugs- a more tranquil place, you'll never find.  During his first farm trip, Mister A got to do a lot of things we just don't do on our average day in the city.....

try out a tractor (with great grandpa Gary):

and a tractor tire too:

"drive" a semi truck (with great uncle Jason):
checking his rear view....


spend some good quality time with cousin Ashley and great grandma Inez:

and practice his newfound kissing skills on great aunt Tammy:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

old friends, new friends

This weekend, Anderson finally met his new friends, as I finally got together with my old friends for a long awaited girls weekend.  Gone (for now) are the days of Mall of America shopping marathons and dinners consisting of more wine than food: four of us have had babies in the past 15 months (and another two babies are coming this fall!)  I've been so eager to meet these special kiddos, and this weekend was no disappointment.  While there was crying, hair pulling, and the semi-chaos you'd expect with four little ones in the same house, it was so much fun to be together with our kids.  I miss my amazing friends already, and I hope this weekend was the start of life long friendships for Mister A.  He'd be SO fortunate to have these sweet, adorable, happy babies as his pals.....because I'm sure fortunate to call their moms (and Sara and Katie!) my friends.  

Ever try to photograph four babies?  Not an easy job.  But here's a few shots where they're all upright and nobody's crying.

From left: Sylvia (10 weeks), Kaden (15 months), Lily (5 1/2 months), Anderson (9 months)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

lake

Welcome to the lake, Mister A.  

The place for long afternoon snoozes uninterrupted by city noises, watching baby ducks with Grandma and Mulligan, playing with sand toys on the dock.  
The place for wearing a life jacket whilst lying on the kitchen floor.  Hey, it's our vacation, we'll do what we want.

not that innocent

I really hope this post title has vintage Britney running through your head, because really, who doesn't love some vintage (pre-KFed, pre-shaved head) schoolgirl Brit?

The not so innocent one I refer to, as if you couldn't possibly guess, is One Mister Anderson.  The one who looked like this shortly before take off......

Look at that sweet face. "Misbehave?  Hmm?  Who me?  Oh gosh golly me, never.  I just don't have it in me.  I'm calm and happy and clean."  He then channeled a ferocious caged animal for all two hours and fifty one minutes of our flight last night, throwing teething biscuits here and there and head butting me at every opportunity.  Then barfed through not one but two shirts, refused to sleep a wink, and responded to a friendly co-passenger's attempt at peek-a-boo by shrieking like she'd bitten him in the face and trying to pull her hair.  Oh, Mister.  By the time we got off the plane (averting the eye rolls and head shakes of our new "friends") I had a headache the ilk of which I've never had before and seriously considered walking the rest of the way.  300 miles on foot in the dark to a place where bears live seemed a picnic against the idea of boarding ANOTHER torture chamber plane.

Alas, we made it safe and sound, no airport sprinting required, and that's what matters.  The A we know and love returned for flight #2, snoozing the entire way.  The family was waiting at the gate and I never remember how much I miss them until we're together again.  It's GREAT to be here.  I'd truly forgotten how drop-dead gorgeous it is in The Woods (in the summer) and can't wait to start taking it all in.  Let the fun begin.  After I've had some caffeine and potato oles, that is.

Monday, June 22, 2009

sleepy face

I have a most favorite part of every afternoon.  Other than "Diet-Coke-Time" and "J-Finally-Gets-Home-Time".  

It happens when A's just woken from his nap and I go into his room.  I walk to his crib, and after a split second pause as he scans my face trying to recall who I am, where we are- he just beams with excited recognition.  Chubby cheeks pinked, white blonde hair sticking every direction- and this look of sleepy awe.  Like he'd forgotten he has a mommy who loves him to pieces, even when his nap was too short and his room smells like pee because his diaper leaked, she's as happy to see him as he is to see her.  He knows he's about to be scooped up and showered in kisses.  And in that moment, I know my work is important, I know it matters, because there's no other job in the world that could fulfill me like this cozy moment does.

I snuck my camera in to this afternoons' afternap reunion.  Because I just don't have enough pictures of A.  Poor neglected, love lacking boy.
However, the smiles will turn to (an equally cute) pouty "good grief, is she ever gonna get me outta here" face if picture taking goes on too long.  

(For Amy, who asked about my camera: it's a Nikon D60.  I LOVE IT.  I am as novice a photog as they come, but this camera makes it super easy to get great shots.  Thanks for asking!)

So tomorrow, we leave for "Tour De Midwest 2009".  I am SO excited to see the northerners I love and miss so much, meet the beautiful babies of my beautiful friends, introduce A to the farm and spend time with the family there, and sit by the lake as the sun goes down with a cold drink in hand.  So on this travel day eve, I'm focusing on the destination and not the journey.  Northwest Airlines has really done their best to ruin our trip before it has a chance to begin, once again earning their reputation as the airline who gives their all to ensure: "We're not happy until you're not happy".  (Thanks to the high school friend who gave me that line.  Touche.)  Well, NWA, be happy, because I officially think you stink.  First you cancelled my reservation on a whim, but kept my money, then hassled me for 20 minutes, transferring me no fewer than four times before finally (purposely?) subjecting me to 25 minutes of your mind numbing Muzak before getting my flights rebooked.  Then you informed me that my hard fought, front of plane, window seat assignments were removed, because as an infant-toting passenger, I need to be assigned at the airport.  (To the back row with no reclines beside the bathrooms, where they stick all the babies and parents to punish us for having the audacity to travel with a baby.)  Then you shortened my connection time to ensure I'll be sprinting across the airport with a post-bedtime-baby and a stroller and a carry on in tow, or risk being stranded in the airport for the night.  And finally, tonight, you sent me not one but two reminders to check in online only to say "sorry, you're not eligible for online check in" after I spent 10 minutes locating my confirmation number and my computer charger cord thingy to check in online PER YOUR BIG DUMB STUPID INSTRUCTION.  What's your stupid problem NWA?  You need HELP, SERIOUS MENTAL HELP.

Ahem.  Wish us luck in our travels, internet.  We may need it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

father's day

On J's first Father's Day, he introduced A to a childhood right of passage.  Hot day, garden hose, oscillating sprinkler.  A couple boys in shorts and sunscreen.  A very happy me, so blessed by these two handsome guys who make my sun shine.

My boys, on what was a perfectly simple backyard Father's Day:

Happy Father's Day, J.  
Happy Father's Day to my own wonderful Papa.  
Happy Father's Day to my super Father-In-Law. 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

here, kitty kitty

Can you guess who was enjoying this little game of hide and seek, and who was most definitely not?  Here's a hint- the one with the tail was not a willing participant.
  
So, yesterday I came across the hat we stole borrowed from the hospital where A was born.  (Oh, save your judgement of our hat stealin' ways.  I'd say the $2,000-ish we ended up owing MORE than paid for a hat I could have made myself with an old tube sock and a scissor.  I'm sure it also more than paid for the stale turkey sandwiches served to my shoebox sized room and the super compassionate nurse who, as she dragged me from my bed to the bathroom, told me ((12 hours post-surgery)) that I was only crying because I'd seen myself in the mirror.  Not because, you know, I'd just been cut in half and gone through the most emotional experience OF MY WHOLE LIFE.  Best $2,000 I ever spent, really.  Good thing we got SOMETHING out of the deal.)  (The baby.  Duh.)  Um, so, where was I?  Oh, the hat.  So here's that hat, nine months ago on the squishy newborn version of A, during the moment I first held my son:
And here's our big, not-squishy, 3/4-year-old A trying on the same hat today:

I was actually surprised I was able to fit it over his plus sized head, or that he left it there for the 1.5 seconds it took to take the photo.  And then, of course, when I looked at the photos side by side, I had one of those emotional sappy mommy moments- what happened to my tiny squishy little baby?  Is he supposed to be getting big so quickly?  Nobody told me time would go by THIS fast.  Oh, A.  Slow it down, kiddo, mama's not ready for her baby to grow up.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

he stands, he sings, he pees

He doesn't stand, sing, and pee all at one time (most days), but Mister A is all about standing and singing these days.  And the peeing, I'll get to that.

Yesterday, he stood for a few seconds on his own.  It's nothing groundbreaking, but I love the look on his face as he tries to figure out what he's doing and why his parents think it's so neat.  I think he could stand even longer, but he's a little obsessed with the camera and MUST have it NOW.  Don't ask why he's topless.  He just is.
video
Singing is also big in Mister's world.  He'll sing a few notes, then wait.  He does this in the crib (when he's trying to get our lazy bones out of bed and in to play with him at 5:30am), in the car, and in the stroller on our daily walks around the 'hood.  He'll go "ah ahh ahhh ahhhhh ahhhhhhh!" and I'll respond with the same.  Round and round the 'hood we go, singing back and forth, back and forth.  I'm sure the neighbors love this 8am caroling.  Especially because I'm such a stellar songstress.  

And peeing.  Oh, Mister A.  Just when I thought you were over the "pee on your mommy" stage.  Literally- two days ago I thought "I'm so glad he quit peeing on me during diaper changes.  That kind of sucked."  Fast forward to tonight.  I'm drawing his bath, waiting for the cold water to turn warm, and as usual, he's standing naked outside the tub bouncing up and down and screeching with excitement.  Seriously.  You'd swear the ducky was a rock star.  Or an awesome shoe sale, if you're me.  I'm standing just behind him, one leg on each side of him to keep him from toppling over and smacking his head on the loo.  Then, I'm wondering how it's possible that the tub is leaking out its' side.  Then, I'm thinking this "water" feels suspiciously warm.  Then, I realize my child is peeing down my leg.  And he's totally nonchalant about it, like urinating on your mom's leg is just a part of everybody's fun Thursday evening.  And he just kept peeing and peeing and peeing.  I guess all those nips from the sippy cup will do that to a dude.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

9 months


Today, Anderson is nine months old.  Nine.  He's been out of the belly as long as he was in the belly.  And he's turning into such a kid.  Funny.  Busy.  Loving.  Strong willed.  Independent.

I must say, these monthly photo shoots are getting less and less fun as the months go by.  For me and for him.  He acts as if he's being tortured, I wonder why I didn't have a drink before we started.  I'm seriously afraid that by his final photo at 12 months, Mister will be tied down with ropes and duct tape.  The shot above is the only one (of 45) where he's sitting and smiling.  Most the others looked a lot like this one:
or this one:

Happy 9 months, Mister CrazyPants!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

dry duck

Sometimes, there are days where by noon, we've upturned every source of entertainment our house has to offer.  The toys, the Tupperware, the empty toilet paper rolls, the cats.  Been there, done that, and the little man's looking at me like "ooookay, lady, what else ya got for me?"  This is how we discovered big rubber duckie tubs are just as much fun on dry land as they are at bath time.
video
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I truly cherish these silly days with my silly, wild boy.  

I am so lucky.  Life is so good.
video

Monday, June 15, 2009

captive!

Yesterday, we took another step toward the "CHILDREN LIVE HERE" styling of home decor.  Until now, we had a baby gate we'd just prop against the top of the staircase and tuck away when not in use.  It was secure enough....but we needed something more permanent, especially now that A's crawling approximately 80mph and pulling up and attempting to climb anything standing between him and wherever it is he wants to be.  So, we bought the grossly overpriced ($70?  for real?) perma-gate from BRU.  (Babies R Us.  More like: Broke R U.) 

Mister A thought it was sort of neat at first ("something to climb!  Fun!  Thanks mom!  You ROCK!"):

Then he decided to do a bit more investigation ("hmmm...."):
And realized this might limit his explorations ("uh oh"):

Conclusion: "THIS THING SUCKS!"


In other news, A's 9 month pediatrician check up was this morning.  Not only is our A all boy, he's also all head.  He's leveling out in weight (21lb, 4oz: 50-75th %) and height (28.5 inches: 50-75th%)....but in the head, there's been no leveling.  97th+%.  That's a big noggin.  Beyond the measurements, he checked out healthy and right on track developmentally.  Our next appointment is his ONE YEAR OLD appointment.  What?  How can that be?

Kind of a ho-hum day around here otherwise.  Still hot, still Monday, still looking oh-so-forward to this evenings' Bachelorette and some bonding time with the couch.  I'm tired today, and for once, A's not to blame.  Who is?  Hmm.  Could it be my dear husband who snored so loudly last night I was up every hour poking him in the rib cage?  Yes, yes it could be.  Did I also mention I awoke from the one stretch of good sleep I did sneak in around 4am because someone dreamt I was falling off the bed and in response, grabbed me by the arm, yanked me across the bed, and shouted at me?  It's a good thing you're cute, J.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

all boy

This boy of mine, he's all boy.  We had another fun playdate with Anderson's "cousin" Chloe today (technically speaking, Miss C is my cousin, the daughter of my mom's younger sister, but since she's 12 days younger than Mister A, it's less confusing to just consider her A's cousin and skip the whole confusing explanation of why my cousin is younger than my son).

Anyway.  I had a point here, and laying out the family tree wasn't it.

Mister A is such a BOY.  Obviously we're all well aware he's a male, but his boyishness is especially obvious when sitting (ha! as if there were any sitting happening) side by side with Miss C.  While she contentedly "reads" a book or snuggles in her mama's lap, he sprint-crawls laps around the house, panting and screeching.  He dumps the dog bowl, pulls up on anything or anyone that sits still, tries to figure out how to dismantle the high chair, somehow finds a stray outlet cover and eats it, rips Miss C's pink hair bow right off her pretty little head- generally, he behaves as if I'd force fed him chocolate bars and Mountain Dew for breakfast.  He's crazy, and I love him for his madness.  I love him for the way he just GOES for whatever it is that catches his eye.  I love him for his enthusiasm and inquisitiveness.  And I love him for his ability to give me a better workout than Jillian ever could, because keeping up with a mischief seeking nearly-nine month old works every muscle in my body, all day, every day.  And he's not even WALKING yet.  Walking may just be the death of my sanity.

Further proof that he's a boyish rascal?  Just before the company arrived, this was the scene in the bathroom:

He was just having way too much fun for me to even consider cutting him off.  And it kept him quiet long enough for me to apply mascara.  Until he ate toilet paper.  

Thursday, June 11, 2009

catching up

Hello, neglected blog!  It's been a busy week.  And a tiring week.  And a very, very hot week.  Since Mister A doesn't seem to tolerate the sultry afternoon temps well, we take a nice long morning walk (when it's a "cool" 80-something degrees) then sequester ourselves in the air conditioned house (or the air conditioned car to the air conditioned store) until the next morning.  Well, other than a quick trip to the mailbox and/or backyard swing to break up the hours.  I don't mind the heat, as previously discussed, but the hundred degree days don't do much for Mister's body temperature and I get a little concerned when he turns tomato red.

Such was the case this afternoon, when after ten minutes in the swing, I decided the boy was looking a little overheated.  I brought him inside, where he promptly had a screaming fit complete with the saddest little tears and a pout that clearly said "mom, no fair!"  (Or maybe it was "get that freaking camera outta my face before I BREAK IT INTO PIECES".  I don't know.  I can't read minds.)

We had a great visit from my father in law, A's Papaw.  The boys had a fun time doing boy stuff- talking baseball, playing with the big dogs, hiking through the woods, getting soaked in the pool.  The only questionable moment was Papaw sticking a maroon A&M hat on A's head.   But he made up for it by cooking some crazy delicious steaks for dinner.  Thanks, R!

"Yikes, Papaw, I'll get beat up for this in Austin!  Get it off, quick!"

Later in the day, we couldn't find Ralph.  Not unusual these days, as he's usually out terrorizing small woodland creatures, but it was surprising for him not to be on the semi-cool front porch when the afternoon heat hit.  Then I realized he hadn't gone outside at all, and he was "hiding" next to his doppleganger in A's toy box.  Pretty sneaky, Ralphers.

Monday, June 8, 2009

ribbit

Even scowling, stubbornly refusing pajamas and his bedtime Motrin dosing...

...this cranky little frog is still perfectly princely in my eyes.

no, seriously

This time I MEAN it.....I HATE TEETHING!  Probably not as much as my dear son who is doing the bulk of the physical suffering, but believe me this: there's been plenty of suffering to go around this past weekend.  To put it in perspective, I hate teething even more than the following things: abuse of the letter 'k' (Krispy Kreme, Kozy Korner, Kwik Kar), gold framed pelican "artwork" the ends up costing me $100, and inflatable lawn ornaments.  Yeah, see, I really hate teething.

Mister A popped his first two bottom toofers without much drama.  A minor sleep disturbance, but nothing we (and Dr. Ferber) couldn't handle.  His first top tooth upped the ante a bit, caused a little extra crankiness, but not the all out misery other moms had bemoaned.  (Lucky me, I thought.) But now, I get what they were all worked up over.  His second top tooth came through last week, and just as I let out a big "phewwww" of relief, another started to follow.  *&^%$#@!   Fussy doesn't do this boy justice.  Motrin, Tylenol, Hyland's teething tablets, we're forcing it all into his sore little mouth while he screams bloody murder and/or clamps his jaw with impressive resistance.  But still, we wake at 2am to desperate screams, find him in his crib with tears rolling down his face and making the most heartbreaking little shudders of pain.  We endure meltdowns during each and every mealtime.  And diaper change.  And face wipe.  We've all but given up on car trips taking longer than five minutes until we hit a nice teething plateau and get our happy kid back for a bit.  Poor, poor bug.

We did manage to get some work done around the house yesterday between baby placating.  Now that we're staying, I have this renewed sense of giddiness for all things decor related.  I actually got super excited about strolling the aisles at Home Depot on Saturday.  I know.  Weird.  Project One: laundry room.  Before, it was a builder beige box (albeit with a nice bright  window) where laundering happened.  Which is fine, since it's for, you know, doing laundry.  Not like we entertain company in there (usually).  But since it's also the first stop when we come in the door from the garage, the place where diaper bags and car keys rest and shoes are removed, I wanted it to have a little bit of style, a little more "hey, welcome home".

Tah-dah!
Okay, it's hard to photograph a laundry room and do it any justice.  But I love, love, love the paint color so much that I had to share.  (Manhattan Mist by Behr, if you're in the market for a soothing shade of blue/gray.)  So, yay for new spaces.  Next we're on to our master bathroom.

Friday, June 5, 2009

realizations

Realization #1:
I'm old.  Much to old to indulge in not one but two glasses of wine and stay up past my bedtime.  As much fun as I had talking things deep and frivolous with my good friend, I'm paying for it this Friday.  

Note to self: one glass of wine, in bed by 10, avoid an annoying mini-hangover and persistent case of the yawns the next day.

Realization #2:
Baby toys are a scam.  You see, babies don't care about toys.  Mister A flat out refused to entertain me by playing with the $15 Playskool toy we picked up at the store yesterday.  He scooted across the room for something way cooler.  A diaper box.  He's also mighty fond of the following items.

paper bags,
video
dog bowls,
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and magazines.
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Note to self: stop buying baby toys.  Continue buying paper bags, water bowls, and magazines. 

Realization #3, the most important of all: 
It feels oh-so-good to finally have a resolution to the real estate related stress I've been deliberately vague about these past few days.  I'll just say this: the sign is out of the yard, we're staying put, and I'm breathing like a normal person again (in, out, in).  I'm so much more appreciative of what we have now that I've survived three panicky days thinking we may be attacked or forced into an unwanted decision over a bunch of nonsense.  Yes, J's commute still bites.  But this is home and there's no home we'd rather call ours.  I've never been happier to hear the little creak midway up the stairs, never felt more comforted by the way the morning sun warms the floor in A's room, never wanted more to kiss the front door upon arriving home for being MINE, all MINE.  (Well, and J's too.)  

Note to self: you look crazy kissing your front door like that.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

pool boy

Yesterday, while Mimi and "her boys" were visiting, we finally got around to blowing up A's baby pool.  Who needs a fancy in ground pool when a $4 Target pool brings this much joy to a kid?  Amidst a whole bunch of unnecessary stress, spending an hour watching our little guy splash and smile in our backyard was just what the doctor ordered.  (Well, the doctor ordered a big beer in a frosty mug for lunch too, so that maybe helped a bit also.)  

Then the big boys decided this was not, in fact, a baby pool....it was much better suited as a supersized water bowl.  Does this prove how far we've come from the early germophobe days of parenthood?  Letting our kid splash in water filled with Golden Retriever drool?  Mister A didn't mind, he knows sharing is caring.

And oh, how I love this one of J and his mama.  Because I really love to see that even big grown up boys love their mamas.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

monkey business

Because I'd rather focus on our happy, healthy, gosh-darn adorable baby boy and NOT on the total trainwreck drama-rama unfolding around the sale of our home that's making my tummy feel as sick and  it did the time I drank a glass of vodka with a shot of KoolAid as a mixer in high school, I present you with my newly re-minted monkey.  He was "monkey" as a baby because it was a cute, catchy moniker.  And because Tori Spelling called her Liam "monkey" and in my heart of hearts, I do love me some Tori.  Anyway, now Mister A's a true monkey.  A climbing, into-everything, curiously monkey.

Taking on the stairs:
Please excuse my lackluster videographer skills, it's tough to shoot video and keep a hand on your monkey at the same time.
video

Sneaking leftovers with a little encouragement from Griffin:

a tuesday drive


Don't let that sweet little face fool you.  You're looking at the face of a baby who just spent the past 90 minutes terrorizing greater north Austin.  You see, we've got an offer on the house.  (Yay!)  An offer whose particularities have been dragging out for the past five irritatingly slow paced and uninformative days.  (Not yay.)  But since this offer could become a sold sign in our yard in the very near future, we figure we better get serious about finding a new abode.

Foolishly, I headed out solo with Mister A today.  In the past, all such endeavors have included two parents- one to sit in the back seat shaking toys and serving puffs to His Highness, one to drive (and feel smugly relieved to have drawn the long straw and not be shaking toys).  But the clock's tick-tocking and homelessness sounds wholly unappealing, so my impatience got the better of me.  Plus, I thought it might be kind of fun, and packed the stroller in hopes of getting out and doing some exploring on foot.  He did great until downtown.  (No props due- downtown is all of 10 minutes from our house.)  The other 20 minutes to our destination featured some variation of screaming, pitiful whimpering, and a swift dismissal of any toy placed into his grip.  So did the 20 minutes I spent checking out the neighborhood in question, windows down in hopes of distraction, wails disrupting an otherwise very peaceful seeming suburban late morning.  Screaming the first 10 minutes of our trip back to the southside.  Then I started singing.  If you know me, you know this is never a good idea.  But for A, today, it worked.  He quieted, then fell asleep.  (Or played dead to stop the singing, more likely.)

Forget it.  I'm not moving.  This is all way too much work and with every day this offer sits on the table, it's looking less and less appealing.  As unappealing as a July move, packing with a two foot tall maniac cruising about, and leaving our good friends here.  ::insert big sigh here::  What to do?

And in the nine minutes I spent writing this post, he's shunned the Tupperware and spoons I set out for his amusement and instead opted to tear apart a magazine, dump the pets' water bowl, trap himself beneath the dining table, and take a bite out of a candle.  

I see a big glass of wine in my evening plans.  After Jillian shreds me.  Obviously.