Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me

So three hours and two minutes from now I will be exactly 26 years old. Twenty-six, to me, doesn't have a feel, really. 25 seemed like something of a milestone and was the beginning of a mild quarter-life crisis...where I evaluated what I had to show for my years and where I was headed from there. But this year is entirely 180 degrees different. And not in a bad way at all. I've always gotten very excited about birthdays. Not just mine, but other people's too. I think everyone should get at least a dessert and candles and birthday plates no matter how old you get. I'm a proponent of VIP treatment for the day and things to unwrap no matter how small and sometimes balloons or flowers. I like making birthday plans and ordering birthday cakes and thinking up birthday surprises. But this year, I have to admit, the approach of my birthday failed to evoke any real emotions at all. I didn't dread it, I didn't feel old, nor was I excited. I suppose it's a natural consequence of getting older and I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the recent shift in priorities. But I know it had something to do with the fact that it's the first birthday in my whole life I didn't get to celebrate in person with my parents and Ross. I didn't ask for anything, I didn't expect a cake, I refused even to discuss plans for the evening with Josh. I'm happy to report, however, that I had a truly wonderful birthday in spite of myself! We started the celebration yesterday with a really great day brought to me by my in-laws who really went above and beyond for me! It began with cinnamon rolls and ended with birthday cake (both from The Butcher Shop- home of my FAVORITE bakery!) And there was PIZZA in between (stuffed crust pizza and cheesesticks which was a big deal for me because they're equally favorites and I rarely get them both at once). We also tried a Tuscani pasta which, by the way, was very good. But not as exciting as the pizza and cheesesticks. Here are pics of my cake which Debbie ordered to specifically have these cute polka dots...which perfectly matched the 26 candles! And, naturally, there were gifts, too- which, considering the wealth of culinary gifts they gave me, was totally unnecessary, but was nevertheless a collection of stuff that all looked like things I'd have picked out myself! So BIG THANK YOUS to the Andersons for making my day! :)
And that was all before my actual birthday! So today, Mae Mae and Pop were over for an excellent lunch in and leftover birthday cake (which was just as good today as yesterday). It was really, really nice to have birthday company for the afternoon, and they came bearing fabulous gifts as well! Then we all assembled for a birthday ichat with Mom, Dad and Ross and they got to see me open my presents from them which Mom had brought over before she left- which were excellent (thank you, thank you!), but I'd have gladly settled for nothing if it'd meant they could be here with me. Anyway, thanks to the ichat it was almost like they were here. They just didn't get any cake...which I really hate for their sake. It's amazing cake. And finally, Josh topped off the evening with a sesame chicken dinner from my favorite chinese restaurant...Magic China. Frazier, unaware it was my birthday, was unusually awake (which really wasn't a bad thing) and was a little more fussy today than usual (which is still ridculously little). But I did get a few of these... ...and I can think of no better gift.
In the end, it turned out 26 did have a feel. I felt very loved on my birthday this year...and I definitely feel different at 26. Not just because this year on my birthday I'm somebody's mom, but that's a big part of it. The best part of it, I suppose.
And had someone told me on my 25th birthday that this is how things would be on my 26th birthday...I'd never have believed them. Not for a minute in a million years.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Baby's Day Out

I had his bag packed hours before we actually left. I spent the entire morning getting ready between feedings and diaper changes. I fed him practically as we were walking out the door and had a bottle safely stored in a little thermal bag with ice packs. I had the outing timed, too. We'd be at Copelands (our choice for our anniversary dinner which was postponed for precisely this purpose) at mid-afternoon on a weekday so there'd be no one else there. So, thanks to my prep, take off was smooth- we got out the door and on the road. Frazier slept. Then, almost to Shreveport (our nearest Copeland's is an hour away) it began to POUR DOWN RAIN even though the radar hadn't said anything about a downpour the last time we'd checked. Strike one. As predicted there was no one at Copeland's. Literally. We didn't see anyone other than our waiter and the hostess. Nevertheless we were shown to a booth in the far corner next to the emergency exit. I guess this is a consequence of dining out with a baby. Strike two. We asked to move because the light coming through the door was blinding and were seated two booths away from the door. Which was better. However it was freezing in this booth. And the music was terrible. Note to self: at mid afternoon on a weekday, the music at Copelands is a really, REALLY bad dance mix. The original plan included warming up the bottle at Copeland's (via hot water in the bathroom) for the return trip, however since this plan was made we'd changed the plans to include stopping at World Market and running by a friend's house. Revamp plan to involve feeding Frazier at friend's house. Then said friend calls and remembers he's been exposed to swine flu. Cancel visit. New plan: warm up bottle at World Market. Not ideal. So we walk around World Market. Frazier doesn't fuss at all and is asleep again by the time we check out. So I go to the bathroom to warm up the bottle. This may not be the best way, I know. But I couldn't just leave breastmilk out for that many hours at room temp (had we been going somewhere in Longview it would have been different) and microwaving (I hear)kills important nutrients. Not that I had access to a microwave anyway. And running a (well sealed) bottle under really hot water for a few minutes does the trick just fine. The key is, you need really hot running water. And World Market has those sinks where you have to hold down the faucet thingy and even though I tried it never got warm. Having his bottle in that bathroom gave me the willies anyway...Copelands would have been better. Should have stuck with plan one. Since he was asleep anyway, I postulate that maybe he'll stay that way because we're about to head home and I'll feed him when we get there. Bad plan. Should have just woken him up and nursed him at World Market. By the time we get to the Longview exit he's inconsolable...even the paci wouldn't work. Though we're really close to home, we're also OUT OF GAS. Strike, what...ten? Who can keep up. We had to stop at a gas station at the exit. Thank God, I'm a walking perpetually warmed up I nurse him in the car at the gas pump, like, fifteen minutes from home. Live. And. Learn. I'm thinking one of those bottle warmers for your car might be a good investment...
* * *
I like to have some pictures on each post...since I don't figure you're really here to read my ramblings. And while I know not everyone wants to see a bazillion pictures of my kid- I think it's important for the family who won't get to see all these sweet faces in person. If I put up enough pictures, it'll be almost like you guys were here!
Pictures one and two- my anniversary flowers! I put them out on the dining table and it made the whole room so happy every time I walked in I finally took a picture. Doesn't this make you feel happy?

And Frazier...some more. His newest trick? Sticking out his tongue. :)I know we're totally wearing out the sweet pea outfit...but we already outgrew the very hungry caterpillar one...and this is the new favorite. And it was clean today.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

4th Anniversary/Six Week Birthday

Exactly nine [long] years ago today Josh and I went on our first date, and four [wonderful] years ago today we got married!

An homage to the last [fabulously happy] nine years in pictures:
(music: The Song Of Life by Scribblemonster)
...and six [long, wonderful, and fabulously happy] weeks ago today...Frazier was born!
So I had my six week check up this morning- I got a great report. It's almost like I never had a baby...except that there's this baby here...and some stretchmarks. I'd lost 33 pounds since my last appointment- hooray. It was actually a little sad to leave today knowing it would be a year before I see everyone there again. I'd gotten used to seeing them so often! This appointment also meant we took our first outing just Frazier and me. Honestly, I thought it went extremely well. I was encouraged that I might could actually do this again sometime. :) Though it really would be much easier if we could just stay at home until he's big enough to sit on my hip...and/or until he's potty trained. Really, it'd be great if we could just stay in until he's old enough to drive himself somewhere...just kidding. But seriously...on the potty training thing. :) Here he is all buckled up and ready to go. This carrier to car seat to stroller system? Bulky- but priceless. SUPER handy. I never had to unbuckle him the whole time we were gone...the transitions were seamless.
I had to document this adorable sweet pea get-up this morning before we got dressed for our outing. It was a gift from Frazier's Aunt Jeanie and Uncle Jerry. I LOVE it...mostly because it has veggies on may recall this post: Tutti Fruity...and because it buttons all the way up the front- which is how all baby clothes should be.Detail of the cute little socks that match. The day Frazier outgrows this outfit will be a sad day indeed.I walked through the living room the other night to find Josh half alseep, but Frazier wide awake- not the usualy scenario. :) He popped his head up when I walked in and watched me walk by. It's also a good picture of this crazy hair thing we have going on. The whole cowlick in the's weird...I dunno.

So that's the end for today.

Happy Anniversary, Bud! Love you a whole lunch. ;)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Bought An Ornamental Pepper Plant And Other Very Short Stories

*Yesterday, when Josh got home I ran to Brookshire's to get salad to go with dinner and as I walked to the produce section I ran into this little set up of Ornamental Pepper plants. I don't know the last time I'd seen one, but there's just something about them that I really like. And I had this vague happy memory of getting one as a child. What kind of weird kid gets an ornamental pepper plant...and is excited about it? may ask. The same kind that later, as an adult, runs into one at the supermarket and, feeling that they are inherently happy little plants, buys one and takes it home. And is excited about it again. :) *I've found that one way to get Frazier to smile that does not require me making silly noises and faces, is to put him in his bouncy seat (which he finally fits in well). He really gets excited about the racoon, hedgehog and big blue owl hanging above him. Who knew? * Recently, I bought a new book, "The Nightstand Reader for Children". It's a series, apparently, and there are Nightstand Readers for Men, Women, and then just a general one. Anyway, they're just collections of classic literature and I bought this one because it had some good stuff in it like excertps from Alice In Wonderland, Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer, Peter Pan...even something from How to Eat Fried Worms. There are stories like Rip Van Winkle, several of Aesop's Fables, and The Ugly Duckling, and poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, Carl Sandburg, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Shakespeare, and Edward Lear and A. A. Milne. And that's not half of it! It's a great compilation, really and I was thrilled to have it. I found it at a discount store for $2.50, but I did see where you can order it on Amazon also. ANYWAY- I recommend it, but I don't recommend reading The Walrus and The Carpenter by Lewis Carroll which begins on page 22. I recalled this poem from sometime in my past, and realized later it was from-DUH- Alice In Wonderland (the Disney movie version no less!), but unfortunately I didn't remember how it ended or I wouldn't have read it outloud to Frazier...not that he understood how sad and morbid it was. (There are several interpretations of the meaning of it...feel free to research on your own.) When you really think about it, it's amazing the number of children's stories and fairy tales and nursery rhymes...that are pretty sad or scary or morbid. Weird, wild stuff.
*AND NOW...a few more Frazier pics! The first is from a failed photoshoot attempt...perhaps I'll try again. I do have some successes from this same day, only with a different outfit and backdrop. But that's another post. Soon, I promise.
*I had a vision today (as I was photographing Frazier because he was smiling...and because he was wearing his monster jammies- which I think are really cute...see picture above) of future Frazier explaining to his shrink that his entire childhood was one perpetual photo shoot. "My mother was obsessed," he'll say. "It was insane." And then, in all seriousness, I put the camera down (briefly) and made him smile and didn't try to capture it. Because I don't think I'll ever forget that gummy smile anyway, and I don't want to look back at all my pictures and realize those are the things I missed...because I was trying so hard to catch them.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week 5...and a half

So I think week four still holds the best week prize thus far...though week five did bring with it the first there's that going for it. What can I say about this week? Well, 1.- As of this evening- which is my least favorite time to weigh myself- I weigh exactly 9.5 pounds more than I weighed when I got married. Since that was four years and a baby ago, I'm not really complaining. The problem is: that's roughly what I weighed before I got pregnant, but the me in the mirror this evening just doesn't look like pre-Frazier me. Nor do my pre-Frazier pants look the same on post-Frazier me. And that's frustrating. Nevertheless, I cleaned out my closet today and folded all the maternity clothes and I'm packing them away-dare I say "for next time"? (just as soon as I get to Wal-Mart for a Rubbermaid box). Therefore, whether or not they look as good, I'll be forced to wear my pre-maternity clothes. I also cleaned out Frazier's closet and have a little pile of clothes he's already outgrown that I'll be packing away -dare I say again "for next time"? Josh has been busy lately at work...which I suppose is a good problem to have these days. Fortunately, our evenings have been relatively relaxing. Since Frazier's sleeping a good seven hours at a stretch these days Josh has even been able to give up his one late night feeding. I just feed him before I go to bed and then early in the morning. I started Tivo-ing something on the Food Network or Travel Channel (programs I deem appropriate for Frazier even though he doesn't understand them yet) so when I'm up at foursomething in the morning I have something to look forward to while I nurse. It's working out well...and I'm learning a lot. :) I went to my first Mom's night out function on Tuesday with ladies from the MOPS group I joined. There were seven of us at Papacita's (Mexican restaurant-I love tex-mex, but Papacita's is not my favorite by far). Food aside, I really enjoyed it...the company was great! Even though we spent three hours pretty much just discussing breastfeeding and potty training and pre-school, it was nice to dress up and go out and fellowship with some fellow Moms. It was refreshing, encouraging and inspiring, too. I came home (actually, I sped home-turned out I really missed my family...three hours seemed like a very long time!) and told Josh just how positive and uplifting these ladies were. Often when I talk with a group of other women I feel like it's almost a one-upping contest to see who can complain the most, but this was quite the opposite. These ladies have genuine hearts for the Lord and such selflessness when it comes to their families. I left so very grateful to have such sweet new friends. It will be nice to have them around, I know. Especially since this week, Frazier seems more interactive which suddenly makes him feel like a far greater responsibility. He's really taking things in...he can focus on things clearly up to 18 inches away (according to my books) and he seems to respond more to noises. Singing, reading, talking are all activities he now visibly acknowledges. This has created in me even more resolve to be a good mother...and all that stuff. ;) However, my newest goal in life, aside from resculpting the saggy remains of this shell my soul calls home, is to make Frazier smile...and capture it on camera. This is considerably more difficult than it sounds sans assistant. Here is the best I've done so far...
That last one's just a funny face...couldn't resist putting it up.
Well, week five went by really fast, and week six is doing the same. It brought the smile, it saw the departure of my Mom, we made two mini road trips, I had a night out...and of course, there was Josh's birthday! As with every week, I can end this one saying that Frazier's really a pretty perfect baby...and we have nothing but praises for him. So here's to a new week...and to being the kind of prayerful, diligent mother Frazier deserves.

"I cannot name myself as one who never goes astray,
Who never stumbles on the road or leaves the hallowed way.
But when I know that baby feet will follow where I've trod,
I walk with care that they too, may walk that road that leads to God."
-Margaret Powers
Happy Monday,

Weekend Trip To Jefferson Take 2

Mae Mae and Pop were in Jefferson this weekend since they dropped Mom and Ross off at the airport and had to collect Mom and Dad's dog, Winslow. (He can't fly to Belgium yet, because it has to be a certain temp before animals can fly so they won't overheat if they have to wait on the tarmac to be loaded.) Since they've driven here pretty much every week since Frazier was born and they'd been on the road so much Friday, we decided it was definitely our turn to travel so we loaded up and made a second trek to Jefferson. Frazier, thus far, has slept every time we get in the car so I rode all the way there and back in the front seat. It was tough, and I turned around every few seconds to check on him, but it was nice to be copiloting again. :) Also, backseat riding makes me sick. So it was nice to arrive at our destination feeling well! We ate lunch and spent most of the afternoon on the porch which was remarkably cool for August in Texas thanks to an occasional breeze. Josh and Pop played the Bag-O game I got Josh for his birthday and we even got out the guitar and we sang some of Frazier's favorite songs before we left. Overall, a lovely outing, though it seemed a little strange hanging out at Mom and Dad's without Mom and Dad. We did get to ichat with them for awhile. So it was almost like they were there. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tot Ziens Again

As I type, my Mom and Ross are somewhere over the ocean between here and Belgium. Ross will be back in two weeks...Mom won't. Since she was just here yesterday it doesn't quite seem like she's gone. But she won't be over to visit or clean or keep Frazier next week...or the week after that or the week after that and many more weeks to come. And while I'm excited for them and their new European adventure, and I'm very glad for my Dad that my Mom is finally going to be there with him- I can't help but be overwhelmingly sad for me. :( Ik mis je, Mom, maar maak je geen zorgen. Ik ben O.K.

Ik hou van u...en Dad ook.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dear Josh/Dad

Today was Josh's 27th birthday!
So...the sous chef and I baked a cake... ...then we decided to brave the general public and go out to dinner. Since it was our first dining out experience we just went to McAlisters, but it went remarkably well! Then we came home and had our own little three person party. Which Frazier mostly slept through. Unfortunately, I only had 17 we were ten short.
Happy Birthday, Sweetheart...we love you!

as ever,
Randi and Frazier