Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Prep

It's Thursday October 30th, and in just 7 hours Stefanie and Jackson will be on a plane headed for Virginia.  Pete and I have been working hard to get the house ready for them and for the birthday celebration this weekend.  I can't wait to pick them up at the airport!  It's been 9 months since we had the boys together, and they have grown and changed so much since then.

We're almost ready.  Presents are bought and wrapped, decorations are ready to be put up, pumpkins are carved, the house is clean, laundry is done, lists are made, recipes are gathered, and soon I will be embarking on the baking.  I have banana bread to make for breakfasts, as well as pumpkin and chocolate cupcakes for the party.   I've also got to figure out how to make orange icing and what goes in cream cheese frosting - should be easy enough.

We're expecting 20-25 guests, 10 of those children.  All of Julians best friends from our moms group are coming so it should be a blast to have them all together.  Hopefully everyone will wear their costumes so we can get some good group pictures.  I can't wait to see our little guy in his, and I can't believe he's going to be 1!   This weekend is going to be awesome, and I'm so excited to be spending it with my best friend and our Norfolk family.  We are so blessed to have so many people here in our new community come out to celebrate this special occasion with us.  One year ago we were just on the cusp of growing our family, and now here we are with the most amazing little boy.  It has been a wild ride to say the least.

I hear Jules stirring from his nap, so now it's safe to get moving in the kitchen.  Hopefully he will be content to play in his room for a little while.  I'll be sure to update after the weekend with pictures of all of the festivities and fun.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our Pumpkins are Carved!

It's cooling off just in time for Halloween and Julians birthday party, and now the pumpkins won't roast in the heat.  Pete carved his required "scary" pumpkin, and I took care of the rest, completing our family of four this year.  Now they will be ready to put on display this weekend for all of the festivities.

Can you guess who is who?:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Papa Time

Jules is absolutely in love with the Safari Tractor that his Aunt Claudia and Uncle Johnny B got him for his first birthday. It's been here for nearly two weeks and is still the center of his focus during playtime. He is not often seen without either the giraffe or the zebra in his hand. He loves to set thing on the end tables, on us, on the ottoman, etc. He also loves to give them kisses and have us give them kisses as well, it's adorable.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Almost One

Every week of this past month Julian has been making huge strides towards toddlerhood. He started pointing a few days ago, and now that takes up a majority of his day. He wants to know what everything is, and he tries so hard to mimic it back to us. He has so many words: baby, zebra, mama, papa, puppy, ball, book, diaper, kisses, bath. Not every word sounds correct, but we know what he is saying and that is way cool. He wakes up every morning chanting "papa papa papa papa" over and over again, crawling all over Pete's head and kissing him a million times. Mama is saved for when he is a sad, whiny, or clingy and wanting to be held or nursed. He asks for "Nana's" now, his own word for nursing, and it's great to be able to communicate like that with him.

We have bits of free standing here and there, mostly when he doesn't realize I've put him down and let go. Otherwise he hits the deck as quick as he can to get moving, leaving little time to practice standing on his own. He's really fast, and now that belly crawling is far behind him I find myself really having to race after him if I want to catch him before disaster strikes. He cruises along the couch, the walls, the bed, etc - but not yet from place to place.

Here are some videos from the last week or so:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Papa Time and Snack Traps

Jules loves to sit at the desk and watch the computer when either of us are sitting there.  He crawls over and demands to be picked up, he hates being left out of anything. Pete still insists that Jules doesn't really look like him so I snagged some profile shots to see what you guys think:

I really don't see much of me in him yet, but I think it's all that blond hair and those beautiful blue eyes that throw me.  Looking back at pictures of Pete and I as babies he still resembles Pete the most, though sometimes I see myself in his eyes.  People say that when he's looking mischievous he looks most like his Papa, and his serious faces look more like me.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not!

It took Jules one day to become a Snack Trap master.  These things are genius.  They have a floppy top that he can get his little hand in, but it keeps spillage to a minimum.  If I'm not careful and I fill it too full he eats it all just for the joy of getting it out of the container by himself.  The Snack Trap comes in super handy at the grocery store and on long walks.  Now all I need it a tether to tie it the stroller or cart so that when he flings it down it doesn't go too far!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Living Room Redo

It's been quiet around here since I last posted.  Not much new to report in the world of Jules, just taking care of life stuff.  We've been working on making some changes around the apartment that have been a long time coming.  One was getting rid of our old, dog covered couch, and the other was getting a bigger rug for the living room so that Jules would have more room to play with more sound protection for our downstairs neighbors.  I managed to get the old couch and rug removed in one big swoop by posting it on Freecycle and giving it to a family who could really use it.  We found a new, smaller, couch we love at a local furniture store that could deliver it right away.  It is a yummy chocolate color that goes well with all of our existing living room decor.

The rug is from Overstock, my new favorite online shopping stop.  It only cost us $2.95 to have nearly 100lbs of rug and rug pad shipped!  Amazing.  It ties in well with all of the teal and red we have going on in the living room, as well as browns to match the couch.  Its 3 feet longer and a foot wider than our old rug, and with the rug pad underneath the sounds of dropped toys are much more muffled.  

We also picked up some new lamps at Target.  The old ones were too dangerous to have in such close proximity to grabby hands.  These are smaller, light weight, and less likely to be destroyed if they get knocked of the end tables. 

And yes those are two TVs you spy in our living room.  Crazy?  Maybe.  Marriage saving during football season?  Yes!  Now Pete can watch as much football and SportsCenter as he likes, with the added option of Tiger Woods golf or Madden on the Playstation, while I watch movies or TV of my choice without being banished to the bedroom to do so.  It really is a life saver for football season.  There is only so much football I can take and since quiet time alone is in short supply with a baby this means we can spend time together doing things we both like.  

Nico is no longer allowed on the couch, something I am glad to be able to institute!  Pete has spoiled him rotten these last 4 years so he thought of the couch as his own personal throne.  We got him some new beds to help ease into his new role as dog in the house, but he still looks longingly at us when we're sitting on the couch. Other than that it seems to be going well, though he will be gated in the back half of the apartment when we aren't here to prevent lapses in his judgement.  

Monday, October 6, 2008

Big Boy Style

As Jules becomes more and more proficient with self feeding I try to find new and fun ways for him to challenge his new skills.  Yesterday I thought it would be fun to let him lose with his very own apple.  It was a huge success - he ate nearly half of it all by himself!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pumpkin Picking 2008

This time last year:

This year, with Baby Shaw on the outside:

What a difference nearly a year makes!

We decided to take the babies in the moms group pumpkin picking together this year, and it was a blast!  We went to the same farm as last year where you get to cut your pumpkins right off of the vine. We left with 4 pumpkins to carve before Halloween and Julians first birthday, one for each member of our family. Jules had a ton of fun crawling around in the dirt, playing with pumpkins, and seeing his buddies.

Kirstine and Canaan, Laura and Ryan, Karianne and James, and Jules and I.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Melt My Heart

I left to run some errands late this afternoon after getting Jules up from his nap.  He and Papa stayed behind and took Nico on a walk.  I returned an hour or so later, and as soon as I walked in the door Jules came racing over on all fours to greet me.  He sat at my feet while I unloaded my keys, sunglasses, shoes, and wallet, fussing and crying as if I had been gone for a million years.  The next thing I know he's reaching his arms to the sky, begging me to pick him up, and out come the sweetest word I've ever heard.  "MaMa."  Oh how it melted my heart.  I scooped him up and hugged him tight.  So far he's babbled the sounds mamama here and there, but this was his first truly deliberate usage.  I told Pete it is only a matter of time before he learns how to take advantage of this new skill, crying for me calling out Mama over and over again in an attempt to get my attention and work my heartstrings to his advantage.

It was one of those moments that make all the sleepless nights completely worth it.  Completely.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Letter to My 11 Month Old


Fall has begun to arrive, and I often find my thoughts transported back to this time last year.  I think of how big my belly had grown, how strong your kicks were, how much heartburn you caused me!, and how busy we were prepping for your arrival.  Before you arrived I had no idea how transforming your presence would be.  I knew that I was going to love you and hold you and parent you, but I didn't know about the bond that we would come to share.  We are connected by an unseen thread that causes my heart to leap when I see you smile with joy or cry from fear.  I can tell just by the look on your face, or the sound of your voice what you need.  It is an amazing thing to be so in tune with someone I love so much.  

Just today at Babygarten you were off playing on your own with all the toys and other babies, but when your view of me became obstructed by another child you started to cry and race in my direction.  Who know that the sight of me, or lack there of, would be so powerfully important to you.  You are a precocious and independent little boy, and I love that you are so excited about the world around you and want to explore it all on your own.  But I also love that you still need a hug and a cuddle to reassure you, we'll have plenty of time for you to be a big boy. 

Your papa likes to say "I can see the synapses firing in there" when he sees you figuring out the world around you.  Your more deliberate in your actions and motor skills, able to cruise between furniture, pull things off shelves, open cabinets, eat with your silverware, poke Nico's eyeballs, etc.   It's amazing how much more is going on inside that little head of yours.  I can ask you to go find your ball, and you'll crawl off to get one.  You know that "No" means your doing something you're not supposed to be, but that doesn't always mean you'll listen.

You definitely have your Papa wrapped around your little finger, though he is quick to deny it.  You're spending a lot more time together now that you aren't nursing as much during the day, I'm able to go to yoga, or to meet up with friends to paint pottery, or go to the doctor by myself and leave you two to play.  This has given me a break, and Papa the opportunity to strengthen his bond with you.  Just the other night after a bath and PJs, he didn't want to hand you over to me for nursing and books.  It was so sweet! 

You're looking more and more like a toddler everyday, your hair is getting longer and thicker, and your eyes are still a beautiful blue.  I love your cheesy grins, drooly kisses and night time snuggles.  I love when you blow kisses just because, or clap for yourself when you do something cool.  I treasure this time that I have with you, and I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful baby boy in my life.

I love you,