Tuesday, December 16, 2008

family pics

Rachel did a fantastic job with our famiy photos!! It was super cold, we found some random train tracks, and somehow Rachel made it look great. Here are just a few of the pictures... they aren't even my favorites, but rather the ones I happened to click on. Basically, I'm in the middle of a chaotic Christmas nightmare, having promised wayyy too many people I would make/do certain Christmas-y things. I will get it all done, but don't be surprised if your Christmas card arrives sometime mid-January. There will be no showering, food preparation, or cleaning for the next 48 hours. It's all crafting, vinyl-making, and packing from here on out. Christmas, here we come!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cookie Exchanging

Mmmmmm. Cookie exchanging is fun and delicious.

Carson and I had a wonderful day last Friday, when we baked and decorated and rearranged the house all day. And he almost snitched a cookie.

Our first time making fondue turned out wonderfully! I always enjoy offering lots of fruits and veggies.

Then, some of our favorite girls came over! We ate, chatted, and decorated tins to hold the cookies. Most of our husbands were just down the street at the school studying together. Cute, huh? This picture just may be when we were all listening intently as Holly described her encounter with the Dead Sea skincare salesman.

Holly loves holding babies, except when they spit up all over her.

The actual exchanging part of the party was SO fun. It was a Christmas-y frenzy with everyone giving and gifting and snatching cookies all over the place! I look like I am totally in charge here. And Rachel is the cookie counter... "if we each brought 4 dozen, that means 48 cookies, times 8 girls..." We had to really use our mental math skills here.

And then the studying husbands all came in and crashed the party. Everyone went home happily carrying oodles of cookies.

Decorating on a Budget

If I had my wish, I would turn our entire home into a winter wonderland. Oh, how I wish I could go crazy at several craft stores and purchase a few truckloads of Christmas decorations! This year, I excitedly pulled out my box of Christmas decorations, only to discover that the box was much smaller than I remembered. Every decoration I own fits on our mantle. So, I gave myself a 20 dollar budget to at least make the living room feel Christmas-y. Here's what we came up with:

A couple of borrowed miniature houses plus one yard of quilt batting (with the layers separated) makes a little winter village on our mantle! Our grapevine wreath was also given a Christmas make-over.

The only other purchases I made were a three-foot tree and a big roll of red ribbon. I basically tied bows and draped the ribbon on everything in sight. It's not my dreamy winter wonderland, but it does feel like Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2008

game day.

Rick gets pumped for his big tests as if it were some championship football game. At random intervals during study sessions, he jumps out of his chair and hits the floor to bust out a set up push-ups or sit ups. Occaisonal yells, grunts, and pounding of the chest often accompany these outbursts.

And his hair looks really cute during his late-night study sessions, after he's twirled it around for a while:
He planned on waking up at 5:30 this morning to review before the big game, I mean test. He woke up at 5:10 and couldn't lie there any longer. I couldn't contain myself; I got up too, and Carson even joined the party at 5:45, in desperate need of a diaper/sleeper/sheets change. (Note to self: just buy the overpriced, overnight diapers!)

He just ate his game day breakfast, and now he's off! Say a little prayer between 8:30 and noon EST, please.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving, and sooo many videos

For the Thanksgiving weekend, we headed up to VA to be with my side of the fam. Friends John and Carrie jumped in our car at the last minute and came with us!! They visited with their family in D.C. while we were with ours, and then we re-grouped to travel back together. Although leg room was non-existent during the 12 hours spent in the car, we had so much fun with John and Carrie during our trip. I was especially happy to have Carrie with me in the McDonald's bathroom when Carson's diaper explosion led to a squirmy, naked baby jumping around while we tried to clean up the situation, screaming and laughing all the way.
Carrie and John stayed at my parents' house the first night, and then we took them into D.C. to see the sites for a bit before parting ways. It was SO cold. This is how Carson looked that day:
Our traveling buddies:
John has a special talent of taking self-portraits, perfectly centering even a group of 4! Maybe he has an extra long left arm?
The Museum of American History had just re-opened, so we checked it out. Our favorite was the exhibit on transportation throughout the years. Rick and Carson with a old-school school bus:
Carson's favorite part was an exhibit where you got to open little cabinet-like doors to see different thing. I kept trying to walk away from it, and he would try to jump out of my arms to keep opening those cabinets.

Family photo with the white house.
Rick says I look like a model in this picture. Thank you, thank you.
After D.C., we got to focus on Thanksgiving!! But first, poor Rick had to work for his turkey dinner.
The delicious feast!

So, I was going to edit tons of videos of Carson and put them all together for one really great video. Sorry folks, I've got more important things to do, like decorate our 3-foot tall Christmas tree. So here are way too many videos that are way too long. If you have a spare half hour, go for it!

Some of Carson's first steps. For a couple of weeks now he's walked when encouraged, but just in the last day or two he has actually chosen to walk on his own. It still cracks me up every time I peek in to check on him playing, and he's just standing there or walking from one place to another.

At first, Carson was deathly afraid of this rocking horse. As you can see, now he's figured out what it's for:

Even to the point that he loves his little horse:

For some reason, I find this new trick even more fascinating than first words, walking, and Carson's other new skill of flexing his muscles. He focuses so intently on some little task, like putting these marbles in the jar, or putting his little toy animals in their barn and shutting the door behind them. It is so fun to watch him figure these things out!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

fine, have a look at my belly.

I am (sort of) flattered by so many requests to see a picture of my belly! Ok, get ready for this. Here is me and Mr. Fetus on Sunday, at 20 weeks:

Compare to this picture, when I was 37 weeks along with Carson. (Yes, I wore the same outfit on purpose.) Basically, I'm huge.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Birthday Boy's Day.

We didn't give Carson much hoopla for his first birthday. To show him it was his special day, we allowed him to eat cheese for breakfast. The evening of his birthday, he opened some presents. The day after his birthday, I finally got around to making his chocolate zucchini cupcakes (with applesauce instead of oil and whole wheat flour!). He enjoyed consuming an entire cupcake (with lots of chocolate frosting), and then threw up about an hour later. It was a great birthday!

"I'm ONE!!"

Carson held his cupcake to his mouth like this for about two minutes straight. Maybe he was afraid I'd take it away from him, as I usually do with anything sugar-filled!

Web-camming with silly pappy, who happens to have a turkey on his head.

Carson loved his letters from grandmama and pappy

I am working on a video that showcases Carson's cute tricks, but we'll see when that gets finished. For now, some of his favorites include:
  • clapping;
  • putting up one finger when asked how old he is;
  • signing "milk" and "fish", which look about the same except fish has some more movement;
  • walking a record of 12 steps, although he definitely still prefers crawling... well, it's actually a bum scoot these days;
  • we've officially decided his first word is "bath"... it's hard to tell if he's saying "mama" to me or if he's just babbling, but "ba" for bath is pretty consistent;
  • turning off light switches and closing cupboards to "help" are a favorite;
  • giving kisses and snuggling when asked;
  • showing lots of preferences for certain foods, and throwing those he doesn't like;
  • climbing up onto the couch, onto his train table, and on the shelf underneath his changing table.

Carson was sick a few days before his birthday. Sad, but sooo cute an cuddly.

More cuddling.

A favorite hiding spot.

Discovering Christmas.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

He's one!

From 5 pounds to 20, here's how our little boy grew this past year.
(Click to enlarge.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How I Found Out I Was Pregnant: A Story.

After a summer of traveling halfway across the world (to Cambodia) and back ALONE with a baby, then crossing the U.S. a couple of times to see some family and then move back out east, it was no wonder that I felt tired during the first couple of weeks we lived here. As the weeks turned into months, and the fatigue persisted, the thought crossed my mind, "I haven't felt this tired since... I was pregnant with Carson!" That thought was quickly pushed out of my mind, as there was no way I could be pregnant again.

And then, it became difficult to button my pants. Unfortunately, "Rick, I'm getting fat" is a pretty common declaration in our house, so he and I paid little attention to my seemingly expanding waistline. I kept exercising and, again, pushed any nagging thoughts of a possible pregnancy out of my mind.

And then finally, the day arrived in early September when something inside of me clicked, and suddently I knew why I couldn't keep my eyes open after 8:00 p.m., and why I couldn't button my pants without lying on the floor and sucking in with all my might, and why I was having a hard time producing enough milk for poor little Carson.

That day, I pushed Carson up some nice hills for the 1.5 mile jog to the library. He and I went pretty much everywhere with the jogging stroller in those days. I was excited to check out a book that I'd had on hold, and I had some items to return.

"That will be a 10 dollar late fee," the librarian demanded. I froze. 10 dollars??? After a little discussion about why on earth I owed 10 dollars for a DVD I didn't even watch and had no idea that was late, I was forced to pay the fee. As I dug in my wallet for some bills and loose change, my eyes started to fill with tears. I quickly shoved the money towards the librarian, checked out my book, and ran out of the library, trying to stifle the sobs before they all broke loose. I bent down to make sure Carson was buckled in (and to hide my wet face from public view), and suddenly, it hit me.

I was crying. Hard. Over a late fee from the library.

I had to be pregnant.

The end. Except it's really the beginning I guess, because a week later I had an ultrasound which revealed that I had actually been pregnant for nearly 3 months, without anyone bothering to let me know there was a baby growing inside of me. Now I'm 5 months pregnant, one appendix less, looking like I'm about 8 months pregnant, and we're excited to have 2 little boys who we hope and pray will be best friends. The real end.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

daddy time

I snuck this shot of Carson having some daddy time.
Get it??
And Carson's newest trick is flushing the toilet. Great.
And that was my 100th post!! Thank you, thank you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

book review #2

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows.

I love, love, LOVE this book. It's written entirely in letters, and it takes place just after World War II has ended. It's hard to articulate a brief summary of the plot, but I'll try... Juliet, a single writer living in London, receives a letter from a stranger, a man who lives in the British island of Guernsey. He inquires about a book with her name written in it, and they develop a friendship through writing letters. Juliet learns that her new friend belongs to a Literary Society created as a cover-up during the German Occupation in Guernsey. Eventually, all the members of the Society write to Juliet, describing their experiences during the war. These charming people, the residents of Guernsey, fall in love with Juliet and she with them. I, too, still smile and laugh a little when I think of their delightful letters!! Juliet ends up meeting her friends in person, and then the traditional love story takes place, which made me very happy! I also appreciated a new view of some of the heart-wrenching suffering that took place during World War II. Residents of Guernsey were forced to send their children away, and then to live without food, soap, etc., and in constant fear of their German oppressors.

This book is just the perfect blend of a little bit of romance, some well-researched history, lots of references to literature and the arts, and a group of characters that seem like some of the most delightful people who've ever lived! I would absolutely recommend getting to know Juliet, Dawsey, Amelia, Isola, and the rest of the crew!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

burning questions

Are the (huge) size, (awkward) spacing, and (unattractive) crookedness of my baby's teeth any indicator of his future dental anatomy???
I'm a bit concerned.
I still get startled when Carson flashes a big smile. The sweet, toothless baby is no more. I miss the gummy smile, and the kisses that did not include painful bites.


It is 10:30 a.m., and I just changed big, full, stinky, poopy diaper number 3 of the day. Is this normal?? I've heard rumors of children that have poopy diapers only once a day, or even less frequently. Do they really exist??


What should I make for dinner??

The burning questions of this stay-at-home mom.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

on the mend.

In case anyone is curious about a health update, I feel great!! I am ecstatic about my new abilities to sleep and stay asleep without waking up in pain, walk faster slightly faster than Carson can crawl, and hold Carson without defensively guarding my abdomen against any slight wiggle.

Believe it or not, Carson changed a lot in the short time I was not his primary caregiver. He busted out of the clingy stage and is demonstrating some independence! He now crawls away from me much more often than towards me. Especially when I am holding a diaper, or a set of clothes soon to be put on his little body. Then he crawls away really fast, laughing all the way. His newfound hobbies include pulling every plug in the house out of its outlet, and smiling when a camera is pointed his way. The cheesy smile:

I can't say I'm glad I was sick, but being out of commission for a week or two sure does wonders to make a stay-at-home mom appreciate her lot in life! Yesterday, I could not wait to get out the cleaning supplies and attack the bathroom. I vacuumed, swept, mopped, etc. and was so happy to be doing so! I organized Carson's clothes in his new (to us) dressers and can't stop walking by his room to admire my work. (ok, actually my father-in-law's work. He painted the dressers, and Carson's room is looking so cute! Pictures to come.) I appreciated and enjoyed playing with Carson much more than before.

Perhaps we get sick in order to appreciate being well!!

Oh, and I actually got the courage up to cut Rick's hair, and this time it looks decent!
I scrounged up this picture from my last attempt to cut his hair, nearly a year ago. Oops. The clippers just got away from me! This time, working with scissors, his poor head fared much better. Phew.