Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Best Day

Yesterday was seriously one of the best days I have had in a long time. The day was unplanned and relaxing. Liam and I played together pretty much the whole day long. I also got some house cleaning done while Ian would keep an eye on him. But for the most part, we played. Liam was so darling. Despite his teething and cold he's got, yesterday he proved more charming than ever!

We did some puzzles together, read quite a few books, cuddled a bunch, shared kisses and I also got him bundled up and took him to Pier 1 and Burlington for about an hour (I was so pleased at how great he was in his stroller). At the end of the trip, we were standing in line to buy some stuff, he was saying "ahp, ahp, ahp" to everyone he saw. It was so cute! He wanted each person to notice him and say hello back. A couple people did. I am glad someone took notice of how friendly and sweet he was trying to be.

When we got home, Uncle Drew and Ian greeted us. Liam gave each of them kisses and then gave me some too. I just think it's so wonderful that he shares kisses on his own accord. It's rare we ask for them and get them... it's when HE wants to give them at random times. LOVE THAT LITTLE MAN!

Another note: At 4:44am today, Liam woke for a feeding. He knows that I search for his pacifier each time I take him out of the crib. Sometimes this takes a few moments since it's dark, etc. Anyway, at 4:44 my child was sitting up in his crib and as I reached to pick him up, he put the pacifier in my hand. I am not a happy person at this hour, but this act of kindness from my son just made me smile. I was so tickled.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Best Deal

I was browsing our local classified ads online this past week searching for some used furniture. I really wanted an armoire for the living room and/or a sofa for the playroom/family room/office (so I don't have to sit on the cold floor to play with Liam). The family room has been empty since a week before Liam's birth when we finally finished remodeling the front living room. So we moved all our furniture to the living room where it should be and all that was left in the back room was our cherry desk (and now all of Liam's toys).

So, I got a generous amount of spending money as Christmas gifts this year. I thought with the money I received that I could find a decent used couch. I did quite a bit of shopping on craigslist and KSL. I couldn't believe this sofa sleeper I ran into! It was only $100 for a sleeper? I contacted the folks selling it and confirmed a time to come look at it/pick it up. It was better in person than in the photo. It's in great shape, the plaid design is great and it was only $100!!!! I was pleased with myself! No buyer's remorse whatsoever!

Friday, December 29, 2006

I don't like to vent here, but here I go anyway...

What is it with people (perfect strangers sometimes) trying to sell me on having more kids? Why do people care so much about how many children I create? Why does it matter?

Can a woman feel overwhelmed with one child and THAT be acceptable reason enough to NOT do it again? I am still up twice a night with my darling boy. He and I are dealing with teething at the moment (so even more sleep and patience is being lost). Why would having another baby be in the forefront of my mind these past 14 months? I am tired. I have very little freedom since his birth. Other than added blessings for having lots of kidlets and an in-house friend for Liam, the incentive isn't there for me. At this moment in time I am content with this ONE experience. So is my husband.

I find much joy in my boy. I find much stress in raising him too. I admire women who can handle more than one child while working outside the home. I really do. As much as I love the IDEA of a bigger family, I don't have the local support system or time at home to make it humanly possible for me to handle. I would quickly be committed to a looney bin if I had more than one child while working full time. That is me... I know me.

Do people not understand that if I create a child, I'd like to be the main caretaker? That taking my sweet baby to a sitter 5 days a week hurts my heart real bad? That there is no faith strong enough for me to some day quit working outside of the home? Stop trying to sell me! It's most likely not going to happen. I don't need people bullying me into thinking it's the right thing to do. What is right for me is a personal decision. I think I know me best. Certainly much better than a stranger that says, "so when will you have your next one..." or "you'll probably have a girl next..." or "Liam can't be an only child!"

Think what you will, but in my opinion it's not a "selfish" thing. It's more of an ability thing. I know what my abilities are, what my limits are for my unique living situation. It's not just the no sleep and guilt of working outside the home. There are many factors of any person's life that one doesn't necessarily wear on their sleeve. So why expect the standard-wanna-be-mommy-of-many from me? Just because there are mommies-of-many out there with medical ailments, abusive husbands, multiple problem children, etc... just because they can handle all that and yet another baby, doesn't mean I could with better conditions. That has to make sense to people... so why? Why try to sell me on something such as another human life!?

They say you forget. They say I'll do it again. Well folks, I am not sold.

Disclaimer: (Even though I hate disclaimers because it's my blog and I'll say what I want to...) My sweet readers, this is not directed at you. I am venting. Period. This is mainly directed at people who have no idea who I am past the fact that I have a cute son... people that do not read this blog. I consciously made the decision to become a mother. I wanted my baby before he was conceived. He was welcomed into our home with much celebration. Know that I love and adore my son beyond what words can express. There are moments I wish I could have another baby and relive some of the joys I've witnessed with him at each stage. Time is fleeting. I blink and miss something. Moms who don't mind this fact of babyhood and miss chunks of their child's development are just as good as moms who see their child 24 hours a day. I just happen to be a working mom that has a broken heart over the things I miss. I don't care to re-live the broken-hearted, guilty moments with another baby. That has been my opinion for the past 14 months.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Monkey and Beads

I made this shirt for Liam. You'll also notice the "watch out I spit" one in the Christmas montage.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy 14 Month Birthday, Liam!

Dear Son,

It's Christmas! What a good time you've had on your 14th month birthday! First, you met your new steed and welcomed him with much love, then you opened a gift you never dreamed you wanted, but once you got that shiney new sword, you never let it go! I am surprised you didn't insist on taking it to bed with you tonight! You were spoiled rotten today... I should have stacked all the packages marked "Liam" to see how tall of a tower we could build before opening them all. You have many loved ones who knew just what to get you. Uncle Blake and Aunt Lindsay got you an ambulance complete with EMT workers and high pitched sirens... my parents got you books, music CDs, money and more, your dad's parents got you your own beautiful real life rocking horse with your name engraved on it (a new pet that won't run away from you, which is priceless indeed), a train that toots and moves on it's own, cute PJ's and a warm winter outfit. Uncle T got you your own Baby Einstein dog puppet (the one you LOVE)! Uncle Drew got you a knight's armor set and you are too cute all decked out in it. Your baby sitter, Grandma Rose got you a flip-up board book and your main sitter, Shari got you VERY cute cowboy boots! Talk about a spoiled boy! Certainly an ONLY child in this house and very doted upon on both sides of our family. You lucky duck!

I must report that you are learning like crazy! My Christmas gift from you was given to me last night. You gave me an intentional Eskimo Kiss! I was thrilled. I accidentally taught you this last night as you were trying to pick my nose and I shook my head to avoid your tiny finger. I turned it into a game my shaking my head and nuzzling my nose with yours. I was tickled pink when you came towards me a minute later with your cute nose and shaking head!

Another adorable thing you picked up this last week... you fold your arms when it's time to pray! Today you crossed your heart so high, I just melted with joy! I hope this arm-folding is foreshadowing of how reverent you'll be in the future. I am very proud of you for recognizing that we always fold our arms when we pray!

Though you are a complete delight to us daily, you have indeed found your voice. Your very LoUd VOICE! You squeal when you are happy, you squeal when you are mad, sad or hungry. You squeal A LOT! And there is another thing you do A LOT... and that is SPIT! Spitting is your FAVORITE! If you could speak, you would run around the house yelling,
"Spitting is my favorite thing in the whole universe!"
"Am I not the funniest human being because of my spitting talents?"

You laugh after each bout of spit permiates the air around you. You look at us hopeful so to invite us to join you in the joke called spit. As cute as it is sometimes, we are trying to teach you that it's not okay at the table or in someone's face. Baby steps...

You are a star eater! You can use a fork ALL BY YOURSELF! I am so proud of you for insisting on doing it yourself. You do so well for your age, in my opinion. I watched you get 3 consecutive "good" bites the other night! Yay for my big kid! You've been doing this utensil thing for over a month and it's just so neat to me!

Your walk has turned into a toddle type of run. It's funny when you get going a little too fast and try to slow down. It was especially funny this morning when your cowboy boots were on. You soon learned you had to slooooow down! Oh it's so funny to watch you!

You are still not saying any words. The ma's and da's and ba's continue. You hum your own little songs and jabber a lot. You certainly understand a majority of what we say to you. You mind us pretty well and know the tones we use and how to react accordingly. I had a dream that your dad came home from work and I said, "Say 'hi Daddy'" and you said, "Hi Daddy!" I am sure one day it will be just like that... you'll just start talking out of nowhere! I can't wait to hear what you have to say!

You still are not weaned from me, but this far into it, I am having a hard time letting go (which I never thought would be the case). Maybe this next month we'll be done with night nursing. I just love that you want to be close to me still. Words can't express how wonderfully sweet you are when I feed you in the night. It's a joy to watch you grow into a little boy, but you are still my baby... so soft, so sweet, so innocent.

Happy Birthday and Happy Christmas my darling little cowboy!


Friday, December 22, 2006

Just what I suspected...

And shortly thereafter... smiles for Dad...

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Alpine Fir Among Us

I wasn't going to do a Christmas Tree this year... it was going to be way to much hassle for the short time it would be up. I have enough "no no's" in the house and I didn't want another thing I would have to say, "Liam, leave that alone please." Plus we have two mischievous leopard cats that I would be chasing away from the tree too. Nope, it wasn't going to happen. Not this year.

The plan was to spend Christmas day at Ian's little brother Drew's new house in a town south of us. Ends up he has no furniture and no working furnace, so he asked if we could have Christmas at our house instead.

Ian told me this information today while I was at work. I got kinda excited that we'd be opening presents at our house! I asked Ian if he would pick up an Alpine Fir on his way home from work today. He did and now it actually feels like Christmas at our house... like the great two batches of snow we received, I feel a surge of winter comfort as I sit a few feet from our lovely tree. It's how it should be. Thanks to Drew for wanting to have Christmas here, we have that warm-holiday-at-home feeling now.

I love my perfectly sparce winter tree!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Spitting is fun

Heart Strings

I have found myself getting tears in my eyes lately. Certain things have touched my heart with such force it was hard NOT to sit there and cry my eyes out.

Last week was my company's Christmas luncheon. Usually there is a buffet line, we eat, then the CEO of the company reports on how great the year was, then we eat dessert and head back to our desks.

This year was different.

The luncheon landed on our CEO's birthday. His son, the marketing director of the company, arranged for a few executives to speak to us about our CEO in the early days of the company, paying homage to the great man he is and always has been. There were some wonderful stories of how he got the business off the ground. He was quite the inventor and still continues to be a visionary to this day. I have always admired this man, but I learned so much more about him on this occasion.

Finally the CEO got up to speak and basically continued blushing as he did not expect such a hoopla for HIM at the company get-together. He thanked us all for the work we do, reported on the great year we had and said a few more heart-warming things about the company and it's growth.

He went to sit down and we all started clapping. His younger brother, the Development Manager, stood up as he clapped for his oldest brother. Someone else stood, I stood, then the rest of the company stood as we finished clapping. Next, the COO started singing "happy birthday" and we all stood there singing, honoring the man that created our jobs.

It was such a tear jerker then, and still is as I write this now because I am so grateful to work for such a wonderful family-run company who values their employees. I am fortunate to work with some of the finest people and most honest ones too. The culture of my company is one of friendship and support. It's a unique environment. I feel very blessed.

Then this morning I was given permission from my manager to bring Liam with me to a "department meeting" which was just a little breakfast get-together to thank us for the great year and little pep talk for the new year upon us. We also got individual reports for a raise in the new year. Again, I feel so blessed.

THEN, on my way home from the "meeting", I turned onto the last main street into my neighborhood and saw signs along the road welcoming a loved one home... each sign had one word on it. Welcome - Home - [Name] - We - Love - You

And wouldn't you know it, I was struck with emotion faster than I ever thought possible. I guess it's the time of year. I miss both our families very much. We won't be together. As I drove past these signs, I just imagined myself driving into my hometown and seeing signs such as this welcoming me home after so long. I can't help but get teary eyed. I hope the person being welcomed home with those signs feels double the emotion I did as I read them.

And then tonight I found this and cried some more.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Our Big Snow!

We got the most awesome storm roll in on Friday night! Then last night we got another batch of goodness, giving us almost a full foot of snow here in the valley! It's just so beautiful!

Ian was so excited Saturday morning... he loves snow and he'll just sit at the window and watch it fall. He'll take breaks, but he will check the snow accumulation quite often just like a little kid. So after Ian helped our neighbors move yesterday, he went to Brighton to do some night skiing. He called me when he got to the top of the mountain and said, "Gina, I am at the top of the mountain and it's snowing! This is so awesome!" I was happy that he was able to go. He took the Land Rover and was glad he did. All wheel drive is definitely all it's cracked up to be. I drove in the yuck yesterday for a few errands and was grateful for such good control on the road. Makes a mama feel safe with her little one in tow.

Today after church we got bundled up and took Liam sledding. We only took him down twice then just played in the snow with him. He was delighted! Pure glee as his dad threw snow, spit snow and dug in the snow. So fun!

Here is my favorite photo from our outing. You can see the rest HERE.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

His Favorite Show...

This is how much Liam loves Baby Einstein videos. The World Animals is his current favorite! Grandpa Vinson bought him all 20 DVDs over the summer. He's just now warming up to them all. 20 minutes a day of this kind of reaction, how can I say no?

Grandma Dixie sent him those adorable bed sheets for Christmas. I remember the first year we were married she made Christmas pillow cases for Ian and me. To ensure sweet dreams on Christmas Eve of course.

You'll also notice the Grinch sitting next to Liam. He picked this out himself at Kohl's over the Thanksgiving weekend. He hugs it so tight... just adorable!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Oh yes, it happened AGAIN!

Liam slept until 6:30 this morning! I fed him and he fell back asleep until 8:30! Congrads are in order! Thank you, Thank you very much! I have graduated to being a normal person again! Woo HOO!!!!!

And here is one of the best photos (of my star sleeper) I took last night while playing with the color on my Canon.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Why I married my husband...

Ian and I had the most wonderful date last night. I had such a good time it reminded me in full force of why I married my husband. He is absolutely hilarious! He had me laughing most of the evening and few others too. It was Ian's company Christmas party. A group of 36 of us and we were seated just perfectly with an amusing few of them. I only remember one other year (in the 8 or 9 that Ian's been there) that I had this much fun!

The annual tradition is to meet at a restaurant, order our food, eat our food, then have the big White Elephant gift exchange. We usually get a few laughs out of the gifts that people bring. A lot of them are gag type gifts, most are gifts you'd never want and then there are usually two big winners that EVERYONE fights over. This year the most admired items were walkie-talkies, hot chocolate mug gift set, and some scrapbooking 20-set of scissors. The most loathed was the annual chocolate doggy doo doo and a new arrival, the Bull frog change purse complete with a dollar's worth of pennies inside the belly... Yes, genuine Bull frog with the weight of pennies making it even more realistic.

The gal that got the lucky bull frog was sitting next to me and she was a hoot as she tried to sell her frog. Each time someone was queued to select one of the old presents or unwrap a new one in the pile up front, she'd put full attention on her frog by petting it and talking it up. It was so great!

Ian ended up trading her for the bull frog way after the game was over. He decided that was something he wanted. And here are a few photos of Ian and the bull frog.

In other news:
My child slept from 7:30pm to 5:30am last night! This calls for much celebration... I still can't believe it! I started not-picking-him-up at the mid-night wakings over a week ago... He's slowly been making it to 2:30, 3:30 and now 5:30. I am so grateful!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Another Saturday Report

It was a busy day of running around town as a family. We hit quite a few stores in order to finish up our Christmas shopping. Liam was pretty good the entire time.

We stopped at a furniture store to see if there were any toddler size arm chairs. (We didn't end up liking the armless chair we found last week.) Liam wouldn't try the arm chair out because he was SO distracted by the many balloons adorning all the sale items in the store. He went in circles all over the place trying to get the balloons down. A clerk there even gave him a big yellow balloon but he wanted the green, red and blue ones out of his reach... each time we picked him up he would throw one of his mini-fits. He did enjoy the yellow balloon once we got back into the car though.

This is Liam at noon.
He went straight to his crib when we got home and snoozed for 2 hours.

When Liam woke from his nap, he went to Grandma Rose's house (across the street) to play while Ian and I ran to Wal-mart for some grocery shopping and a few other Christmas gifts. What a joke to try and get in and out of there in an hour. #1 it's a Saturday and #2 it's two weeks before Christmas! We spent 30 minutes just in line to check out!

When we got home, Liam played for a bit after having a ball at Rose's house then took a late nap. He woke around 5-ish and we got ready to go out to eat to a place recommended to us a few days ago. Liam was so cute on our way to Mi Rancherito. He played with his balloon in the back seat and was a delight at the restaurant. Thank goodness!

After dinner we headed to the mall for another couple last resort Christmas presents ideas. We only ended up buying one more present then we went home for the night. Now the main thing we need to get done is a family snapshot for Christmas cards. Everything has to be shipped and mailed out this week! Golly, it's times like these I am grateful for a small family. Christmas shopping, wrapping, shipping would be a nightmare otherwise. It's already stressful enough just getting the few people we do buy for each year!

This is a photo that Ian took of us at the mall tonight.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

New Kicks for Snow

Saturday we found some new kicks for Liam's fat feet. He certainly doesn't have 5.5 size feet, but that is the size we got him so he'd have something warm for snow play (and room to grow).

It was so funny when we put them on him (before we headed to Uncle Drew's new house Saturday night). He stood for a minute, then tried to take a step and wobbled. Then within a few minutes he was walking with his clown size shoes and staring at his feet the whole time. So whenever he wears them, he has to watch his shoes because apparently they are that cool and special... who knew hard sole shoes would be such a hit!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Running Errands

Ian was in the mood to go to our favorite breakfast restaurant this morning. So we all got ready for the day and out the door by 10am. Liam was very well behaved in his high chair as he made jokes and ate his baby cheddar fish as we waited for our food to come. I guess we don't take him in public much because this is the first time I have really noticed folks paying attention to my baby. They must have been impressed with his table manners and cute grins he was emitting.

Our next stop was to PetSmart. Ian loves to show Liam all the fish, birds and kitties. We even ran into Santa while we were there. Liam was giving him smiles so I asked Santa to hold him so I could get a photo... I guess Santa was smile-worthy only from a distance. We should have brought the Bengals with us to get a photo with Santa! Not that they wouldn't be any less freaked out.
We then headed to Target to get a perscription filled and find Liam some warmer shoes. We have been looking for a toddler lounge chair for Liam (for Christmas) because he really likes to sit on things his height (such as my purse, his diaper bag, or my leg if I am sitting on the floor). Toddler chairs that are made for toddlers run from 30-100 bucks. We found an adult floor chair for only $19.99 at Target. So we are feeling pretty cool because it's gray micro-suede and won't look tacky in our living room.

As we were leaving Target, Liam wanted to push the cart. He was awarded with many "awes" and smiles as we were leaving the store... he pushed the cart all the way to the car.

We went to the car wash on our way home as Liam had already fallen asleep 2 minutes after he was put in his car seat. That was around 12:20 and it is now 3:20... I guess we wore him out because he is STILL sleeping...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Belly Boy!

Any time Liam is unclothed on top, we ask where his belly is... he always shows us just like this! Holding his baby pot belly with pride!

In other news, Liam continues to do well with his fork usage at dinner time. He insists on stabbing the food himself so he can get a good bite!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Monday Night

Monday night we got our first snow of the season! I had taken Liam to the grocery store with me on our way home that evening. As we walked to and from the car he tried to catch all the snow flakes falling. He was so excited and happy as he reached out to touch and grab the snow!

When we got home it started to pour down corn snow. Liam heard it and Ian wanted to show it to him more closely, so they went out on the front porch to get a better look. Ian got scoops of the icey pellets, put them in his mouth and spewed them out into the air. Liam was chuckling to no end! It was hilarious! Ian just kept doing it over and over again and Liam reacted the same way each time. Giggles turned to whines when it was time to come indoors to thaw out... so sad...
Later that same evening Liam showed off his manners by using a fork to eat his food! What a big boy! I cheer for him each time he does this! I am so proud of him!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Dear Santa...

Liam would not be torn from the Sears portrait studio on Friday evening... He was so taken with this wonderfully HUGE bead maze! I don't think any more excitement could have poured out of his eyes... He only left because we told him that he could report his findings to Santa and possibly find this wonder on his own turf at Christmas.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy 13 Month Birthday, Liam!

Dear Son,

It was a busy birthday weekend for you. Your little cousin, Sierra, came to visit and you enjoyed showing her around the house. You were very possessive of your toys and even went as far as slapping a wooden block between her eyes to show her how fun a block can be. You also enjoyed racing her up and down the stairs, having spitting contests with her and jumping on the bed. When you woke up from your nap today you looked all around for your little friend. You seemed sad that our visitors were gone. Hopefully we can see Aunt Heidi and Sierra again soon.

You learned how to wave and mean it this weekend. You have also recently started laughing on your own accord as if you are making a joke and then we join you in the laughter. It's just so adorable to see that goofy grin on top of your jesting giggle. So we trade laughs back and forth for a minute and then you move on to whatever you were doing before.

The past few days you've been bringing your books to me to read to you. You motion to get up on my lap and you listen really well until we get half way into the book. You then start turning pages and study the book more closely. You'll even carry a couple of your small board books to the car so you can turn pages while you are en route in your car seat.

You point at things you want or want to show us. This past month you've learned to see what WE are pointing to also. You recognize that we are showing you a location and your eyes always follow (some times with your legs taking your body to where we've instructed).

You are eating all kinds of foods and it seems your sensitive stomach has been outgrown. You haven't dealt with any stomach pain this past month and I am grateful (as I am sure you are too).

You've dealt with your first diaper rashes this month which has contributed to your distaste for diaper changes. Oh the lovely effects of every kind of menu!

Your tip-toe-penguin walk is turning into a toddle type of run. You are quick! It's really fun to chase you around the house and see how fast you can go in your glee. It brings me much joy to see you laugh and respond to us when we get on the floor and play with you. You are such a kissable kid and it never fails to make you smile when I repeatedly give you smooches and squeezes. You are all about giving the open mouth kisses when you are in the mood. We feel especially honored when you hand those out because they are very far and few between. I never thought kissing an open mouthed baby would bring me so much happiness.

You continue to be a charming child. Today at church you gave quite a few adoring church members your award-worthy toothy grin. I beam with pride when you show folks that stinkin' cute gap between your teeth! It's just too much... I want to freeze that sweet face and pay the bill for a billboard so the whole valley can see that mug! Or maybe a mural on one of our walls would suffice.

Thanks for keeping me on my toes kiddo! You are such a fun person to spend the majority of my time with! Also, a million thanks for the long nap you took today so I could catch up on some Z's too. There is no better gift than long needed sleep for a tired mom.

Love you always,

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Oh that FACE!

I try so hard to get THIS particular grin on camara... and I suceeded on Saturday! This is the grin I was referring to in this post way back when he was playing in the gravel being all goofy!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Playing in the whites

We had a good time last night playing with Liam.

This sheet has been waiting weeks to be folded and put away. When I started to shake it out, I thought if the cats think it's great to play under a balloon sheet when making the bed, maybe a baby boy would too! So I started ballooning it over Liam and saw how much fun he thought it was.

I called Ian to come up and play with us (and to bring the camera with him). The three of us had such a good time! After the sheet lost it's luster, Ian started chasing Liam around on all fours. You can see the glee in Liam's face!

The previous two photos, Ian is hiding his hand under the sheet and grabbing Liam's toes and legs. We just love the chuckles we get out of him lately... so easily amused!

click on photos to enlarge