Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Eleven months old!

Dear Ben,
This time last year, I was feeling every bit of nine months pregnant. You were getting big in there! Must be why I've been thinking about my pregnancy so much lately - your impending arrival was becoming a reality as I had baby showers to attend, a nursery to set up, clothes that wouldn't fit, ankles that disappeared... And here we are a year later, and I'm finding it hard to believe that our baby is becoming such a little boy.

I'm learning that while babies have simple, basic needs to be met, boys have opinions and preferences and fears and attitudes. Like in your opinion, you should only eat bananas, Cheerios and Gerber snack foods. But when I make you eat something else, you would prefer to be able to pick it up with your fingers instead of me using a spoon. Your fears of the bath have been drastically reduced by a method your Aunt Jess believes may come back to haunt you - sharing the tub with me! (in a bathing suit, mind you.) While dealing with ear infections so often has masked your true personality a bit, your attitude greatly improves after a couple of days on meds...which we're hoping will be needed less often now that you've gotten tubes.

Aside from cruising around the house by balancing on the walls or with a walker, other pastimes include helping me in the kitchen by reorganizing the tupperware drawer and checking out what's in the pantry. No mishaps so far, but cabinet locks are definitely in our future.

What? You didn't want to use this one, did you?

Between birthday and Christmas parties, your social calendar has stayed quite full this month. It's so fun to see you with other babies your age - while you mostly still play beside each other and not with each other, you've started interacting with some nice face pokes and toy grabs. Daddy says you think you're a tough guy because you get such a kick from whacking him in the head and watching him act wounded. Sure it's cute now, but I have my doubts about encouraging incident-note behavior from school!

Living it up at Lauren's (from school) one-year old birthday party

Speaking of getting big, you weighed in at 21 pounds on the hospital scale yesterday! I don't know how tall you are, but your feet hang over your carseat and some pants have become capris. You show off your two bottom teeth when you laugh, and the top ones seem ready to poke through soon. You've started pointing as a better way to communicate your needs (like, "I need more banana."). "Dah" is your word. Just the one and you use it indiscriminately for everything. There was the one time you looked right at Tyler and said "Dada", which was very exciting! And every so often, you go on a "mamamamama" tangent, but it's too early to tell if you know that's me.

You and Grandma started a funny game at Thanksgiving of tongue-wagging, which I promise to get on video soon! And we've talked to Papa and the cousins once on our new webcam...remind me to tell you again about the wonders of technology that we didn't have when I was your age. ;)

GI Ben surveying the scene in camo sweats.

While I'll admit this month has had its challenging moments, it's also been fun to witness you deciding what you think about things and figuring out what makes you happy and what makes you mad. We're just hoping for more happier moments, like this one, in the next month!

(Forgive the gross nose wipe...I was not a well woman.)

But no matter what, Daddy and I are thankful for every moment we have with you - the best Christmas present we could ever have.

I love you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tubes are in!

Just a quick update: we took Ben in for his tubes this morning, and he did great. He didn't cry once and we were back home by 7:45 a.m.! Aunt Jess and Uncle Michael are keeping him company today, which basically means supervising the wildman and the walker that we borrowed from some friends. Thanks for thinking of and praying for him this morning...he's a trooper!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Go, Ben, go!

Ben took his first steps today! Just three and he promptly fell into my arms, but it counts! Tyler and I were so excited to be able to have been there, but wished we would've had the camera rolling...we'll get 'em next time!

We had better luck a couple of other times recently capturing Ben's latest moves. He loves to play hide and seek and actually takes turns seeking and hiding!

Today's solo steps were a result of lot of practice. Ben's school and some of his pals have walkers that we've seen him use with remarkable skills lately.

Sadly, he doesn't have a walker of his own, so the little fella's learned to make do.

Rumor has it that Santa's working on it...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ben meets Santa...take two!

We recently took a family trip to Santa's Wonderland...which happens to be in the middle of Tyler's Wonderland - Bass Pro Shop. Visions of ATVs and fly-fishing kits must've been dancing in Tyler's head as Ben and I let a few families pass us in line once we reached the front. "I'm sorry, I think my husband must be lost," I told the head elf. "That's ok," he winked, "husbands have a tendency to do that here."

Once Tyler (ahem) found us, I, being a seasoned Santa visitor, backed Ben into Santa's lap very slowly...and ran. Back arching protests began, but then Tyler resourcefully gave him a candy cane.

This tactic worked just long enough for the elf to snap a couple quick (and free) pictures while we jumped around like maniacs.

Santa: Alright kid, I take lunch at 2. Just smile at your parents for acting afool so I can go heat up my Hot Pocket.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My totally tubular dude

In the midst of his sixth ear infection in five months, Ben and I met with the ENT doctor yesterday to discuss tubes. The frequency of infections combined with half of winter looming in front of us and the fact that Ben's on the cusp of learning to walk and talk (both of which depend on well functioning ears), led Dr. Goodson to encourage tubes sooner than later. And "sooner" means Monday morning!

While we know this is a low-risk and common, outpatient procedure, we do ask for your prayers that 1. Ben will stay healthy enough through the weekend to have it done and 2. that things will go smoothly so that our Christmas travels to Nashville, then Canada will be medically uneventful. :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ben meets Santa Claus

On Friday, Ben and I took an early lunch break to go see Santa with some friends.
Naughty or Nice?
Hope, Kaitlyn, Carter and Ben
The jolly old elf at Brookwood Mall was very authentic in his white beard and rosy cheeks, but it all was a bit overwhelming for the youngins. As the girls looked on from a safe distance, the boys attempted a close up visit. Since Ben is typically happy to be held by anyone willing for the job, I was surprised to feel his legs clenching around my waist and his hands clutching my shoulder as we approached Santa's chair. And once in his lap, even the snacks I tried to appease him with, wouldn't hold back the tears.
I don't think I like this...

Why have you left me with this terrifying man?
Determined to get the most for my $11.99, acting as a human buffer between Ben and Mr. Claus, seemed to do the trick.

Now this is more like it; just me and Mom. No Santa in sight!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Birthday weekend in the Noog

Jess is home from California for a month and a half! This weekend, Ben and I drove up to Chattanooga for her 24th birthday spectacular...which in our language is lounging around the house, going to the Christmas parade, decorating cookies and drinking cider, and topping it off with a hearty meal at Cracker Barrel.
Birthday girl living it up at the Holiday Tinsel Parade.
You so crazy!

We also had the opportunity to see some of our other favorite Chattanoogans (except the Radnoti's - next time guys, next time):
new homeowner Linsay, but I forgot the pictures, dangit,
newlywed Tracey,

And new mom Arlyn with 10-wk baby Georgia!

"Um, little girl, there's no squawking during photo shoots."

see slideshow below for more of the hoopla...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

And you think you've got problems...

I had to choose one of thousand of pictures of Ben for our Christmas card this week! Before the free-shipping offer expired. Without consulting Tyler or my sister.

Oh, the drama.

If only this baby didn't make such decisions so darn hard! Here are a few that, while didn't make it onto the card, just had to be shared.

And the runner up...If you like this one better than the Christmas card (to be uploaded at a later date), don't tell me because it's too late!
And obviously, I know I really don't have problems. This Thanksgiving, surrounded by my family, husband and baby, enjoying a "bountiful bounty", as my dad put it :), I was reminded yet again how fortunate I am and how I never want to take them, my health, my faith, my life for granted.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! On to Christmas! (as you can tell, I'm excited.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ten months old!

Dear Ben,
Ten months - double digits! Next time you hit that milestone you'll be what? A fifth grader?!But I'm getting ahead of myself. You spent the majority of this month being sick with some sort of ear infection/fever virus/daycare plague, but have been healthy for the past couple of weeks and for that, Daddy and I are extremely thankful.

But a little sickness doesn't slow you down for too long. Your gimpy creeping quickly developed into speedy crawling, which led to the impressive cruising that now makes up your playtime at home, usually moving from chair to chair under the table, aka your first fort. And at the park the other day, you balanced all by yourself for a few seconds when I let go of your hands. Such a big boy whose legs are just about ready to make his world bigger.

Another clue of your budding independence has led to our most challenging moments of this month. You have become extremely comfortable telling us when we are trying to get you to do anything that cramps your style. Like changing your diaper and/or clothes. Eating green vegetables. Wiping your hands and face off after you've finger painted on your face and in your hair with aforementioned green vegetables. Bathing. But I just pray for patience and sing "Under the Sea" a little goofier or call in your daddy to surprise you for the zillionth time.

Because you sure do love your daddy. Tonight you responded to his prompting of "Da-da" with "A-da" and "A-dee", to which we made no big deal about whatsoever...:)

You love your taggie and lovie, becoming more attached during your sickness. When I feed you your bedtime bottle, you like to hold it in each hand and cover your face and bottle with it. And for the last few months, whenever you see it coming, you pop your thumb in your mouth and lay your head on our shoulder. A creature of habit.

Other babies and bigger children are captivating to you, and it's so fun to see you follow them around, wrestle if given the chance and give your interpretation of a wave to kids and adults alike - even if no one is coming or going.

Maybe it's since you are so social that you just can't settle yourself down during the day to take good naps at school. Daddy and I worry about you getting all the sleep you need, but Dr. Smith says you're making it easy on us by being more tired at night! Which might be true, since you were in bed a little after 7 tonight...

There are some days that I feel like you've grown overnight, and even now I have a hard time remembering what it was like when you were so teeny tiny and helpless. I so enjoy the time we get to spend together, playing on the weekends, reading books at night, cuddling in the mornings and grabbing you up at school after a long day apart. You are such a wonderful little person to me, Ben. I hope that next time you hit the double-digit marker, we still have lots of things that are special between us...but that bathtime is a little more fun and productive for everyone!
I love you!
...say it with me: "Mah-mee"

...we'll keep working on it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Still a cutie

I can only handle my kid looking like a weirdo on the blog for so long before I need a new dose of preciousness. And, in my opinion, nothing's better for that than a coat with ears! So, just a couple of shots from our yard last weekend before we had to pack his now too-small bear coat away.

And this one...
Even though I would've love to have captured this from a different angle, the look on Ben's face sums up his complete adoration for Zoe...who even lets him pet/grab her once in a while now.

So there you have it: babies, fuzzy coats and puppy dogs. Doesn't get any cuter than that! Ah, I feel better already.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Uh-oh" is right!

Ben's been working on saying "uh-oh" for a couple of weeks now (although I have yet to get a witness), and now I know why...

He's got a piggy snout for a nose!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

While Daddy's away...

Last week, Tyler attended the annual orthodontics conference, held in Orlando this year. Well, that's what he said he went down there for, but every time I talked to him, he was riding roller coasters, going to see the Blue Man Group, or watching Alabama take down LSU. Hmm...

While he was doing all that "learning", Ben and I spent some quality time with a couple of other important people. First, the doctor. For the third week in a row, Ben's school had me come pick him up due to a high fever. Three dr's copays = $60. Three prescriptions = $30. Ear infection/fever-virus free child = priceless. (Although there is still the teething issue that I would pay good money to have resolved!)

So I spent most of the week working at home so that Ben could get some R&R. However, he did accompany me to the office a couple of times, and even helped hand out brochures at a presentation! I've never felt more like a "working mom" than when I had a baby on my hip while running a powerpoint.

Then on Friday night, Grandma came to visit! I put her right to work with feeding Ben dinner and putting him to bed - tasks she whole-heartedly embraced. I'll let Ben tell you about the rest of his time with Grandma...or YaYa, as I think he was calling her.

Grandma gives good hugs and kisses

She makes sure that I wear handmade,
seasonally-appropriate attire.

(Gobble, gobble)

We all went out to lunch and took turns doing the eating part...

...and the cuddling part.

I was in very good spirits all day,
and even helped her find some fabric.

Maybe that's why she bought me my first pair of real shoes!

I love you Grandma; thanks for coming to visit!
See you in a few weeks!

P.S. Welcome home, Daddy. I missed wrestling - Mommy can't really hold her own.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekend Festivities

Ben's weekend started early with a Fall Festival at his school. They had turned the playground into a little carnival with game-booths and treats and while they couldn't enjoy all the planned events, Ben's class enjoyed the sugar-induced frenzied scene from their wagon.

That evening, we walked down a Homewood street that turns into the Halloween version of Christmas Vacation every year. What I guess to have been hundreds of people meandered through the street and front yards bedazzled in lights, inflatables, movies on projectors, live robots, and plenty of gouls and goblins. Ben stayed warm in his monkey suit, not nearly as impressed as his parents were at this Trick-or-Treating mecca. Next year, Ben, next year...

Saturday was another day, another party. Austin Nix turned two, and so Ben and I spent the morning at the park mingling with the other mommies and kiddies. It was amazing to me to think that Ben and Austin, while only separated by a little more than a year are so developmentally different. A baby and a little boy. Can't imagine Ben hitting baseballs, eating cupcakes and talking up a storm. And I'm sure Meredith and Andy can't imagine Austin being a 20 lb bundle, so dependent and new. (Although they will remember soon with baby #2 on the way!) We had a great time, thanks for inviting us!

Later that day, Tyler planted our mums while I held a photoshoot in the front yard. Then we let Zoe swim at a local trail and ended the day with a homecooked meal and a little recorded TV...loving our new DVR!

What a great weekend...always looking forward to the next!

Three little pumpkins sitting in a row...

"Yes, I'm sure it would be a better picture without my toys,
but you wouldn't get this smile either!"

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Hey, hey, we're the Monkeys!

People say we monkey around.

But we're too busy singing (and playing and exploring)

To put anybody down!

"so pick me up!"

(ya'll watched The Monkees, right?)


That husband of mine...what a sport!