Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ben does it East Coast style

Last Sunday, my nana turned 83! That in itself is a pretty big deal, but added to the fact that she has been battling health complications after heart surgery in February, made this birthday one worth celebrating in person. Since meeting Ben has been a source of motivation in Nana's recovery, bringing him to her birthday party seemed like the morale booster this trooper needed! While it was hard to see Nana weak and frail, just one look in her eyes boasted the Fighting Irish spirit that everyone who meets her, can't help but love. My sister wrote a really sweet post about our trip and visit with Nana that you can read on her blog. Since she said it so well (and since she had the pictures to capture it), I'll just tell you about the trip from Ben's perspective. First, a slideshow:

And a picture:
This is Ben trying out some still-too-big hand-me-down boots in front of his cool travel tent that I thought would be so much easier to bring on the plane than the Pack-n-Play. I was right! It folded up right inside my suitcase and was the cutest little thing you ever did see. Until you try to get a squirmy worm 8-month old to sleep in it! Night one at my parents' started out OK expect for my continuous checking on him to make sure he wasn't smothered by the sides of the tent. Then there was the time he rolled off the 2 inch mattress and yelped like he fell off a cliff. Into bed with mommy he went at 4 a.m. (Thus the sleeping pic on the plane, which departed at 8 a.m.) Ben did exceptionally well on the plane, sleeping through most of the flights, including while we landed, changed planes and took off again. And he was a good sport in the carseat while we got our lay of the land. Then night came, and an an angry spirit took up residence inside my baby. Including the newborn stretch, this was the #1 worst night Ben and I have had...let's just say I sent Mom to get a Pack-n-Play at 8 a.m. the next morning while my roomate, poor Jess, and I took a nap! (who expects a baby to sleep through the screech of a tent zipper next to their head anyway?!)

Even after a couple of morning naps, Angry Ben was still having a hard time, and we were convinced it was teething. So after a whole day of no-one-else-can-hold-me-but-my-mommy,
-and-even-she-better-not-look-at-me-funny, I decided to break out the Hylands tablets I bought on a whim before leaving Birmingham. It took all of five seconds after popping a couple tablets until the angry spirit flew away and my happy baby returned! I could've cried to see him laughing and hamming it up at dinner, thrilled to chew on his book and oggle Braden.

The rest of our trip was so fun. You know what's better than a Mommy? Three mommies! We had a great time taking care of Ben, visiting with family, tooling around the state to Rockport and Boston, and especially soaking up short, but precious moments with Nana, whose birthday party was a rousing success (thanks to my mom) which boosted her spirits and her strength.

Thanks for making the trip possible, Mom! It was one that I will never forget (although I wouldn't mind erasing the 1 - 4 a.m. memories)! And it Thanksgiving yet? I miss you already!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Eight months old!

Oh, Ben. We are having so much fun with you! These last four weeks have been action-packed, both on the calendar and in your development, and through it all, you are just such a joy to be around.
Every day seems to be marked with a new skill, expression, noise, or discovery. First, the big one: you are now on the move! Right at 7 1/2 months, you started a modified crawl (or "creep", as my Physical Therapist friend designated while observing your development) where your left leg stays tucked under your belly, letting your right leg and arms do all the work! This video is from a couple of weekends ago when you were just figuring things out. It's a gimpy little crawl, but it gets you where you need to go...with ever-increasing speed and accuracy. Daddy just shakes his head as he watches you head for cords, the fireplace and other dangerously intriguing things. "He's trouble."

You've always loved to stand up, even as an infant, but now you can do so with very little assistance. Just today you pushed yourself up on my knees to standing, and I nearly dropped Daddy's homemade lasagna on your head in shock!

Big Ben!

Like all babies, you love to play with your toys...and the packaging they came in. Books are especially fun to chew on right now; Baby Einstein's Mirror Me is still your favorite, followed closely by Bye Bye Bear, from Aunt Jess. I love walking into your classroom at the end of the day to find you happily entertaining yourself in a sea of toys or with one of your new friends. Your first art project, finger painting, is currently hanging on the classroom bulletin board, and my heart swells with pride looking at that mess of green paint!

Still, the most fun activity is climbing on us. We love being your favorite playmates and are happy to hold that title as long as we can.

"Yeah Dad, I'm putting the smackdown on ya!"

I can't believe I haven't mentioned this yet, because you've done it your whole life, but your hands and feet are in a state of continuous motion. In the same way that we don't understand why Zoe fervently licks the air, we're not sure exactly what the whirling and twirling means, because you do it while you eat, while you ride in the car seat and stroller, sometimes when you're happy, other times when you're frustrated... It's your first little idiosyncrasy and provides lots of entertainment for those around you.

Your next dr.'s appointment is at the end of October, but we think that you're about 19 pounds and your legs seem to get longer overnight. Grandma also commented that your head got big...but I'm sure she meant in size only. ;) No teeth yet, but we think you're getting closer, and you like to practice biting...on all sorts of things! You are quite a babbler this month, giving us a running commentary from your carseat on our morning and evening commutes...when you're not passed out that is. Bathtime has fallen several rungs on your favorite-things ladder and now sits just above getting dressed.

"Well, this is a funny feeling rug!"
(Yes, you sat in grass for the first time just this month.
It's itchy, you know.)

We love you, Ben. Thanks for the big wet kisses, playing with my hair while you eat, not holding a grudge when we let you cry at night, and lighting up when I pick you up at school. Even when you're clingy, as separation anxiety is starting to set in, I remember that there will come a time when I will wish that I could carry you around all day and be all the comfort you need.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!*

Today is my dad's birthday! Happy birthday, Dad! Don't get too crazy at your party tonight! (He's visiting my grandparents and aunt in South Dakota...things can get out of hand in the Plains.)
Me and Dad at my sister's wedding.
Don't mind my wide-eyes; I was a little hopped up from the coffee bar!

*I may get in trouble b/c I didn't post a bday message on my Mom's birthday, but she gets a lot more shout-outs than Dad on here, so I think a quick birthday post is acceptable! And happy belated birthday, Mom!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thanks for a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious time!

She may not fly with an umbrella or burst into song unnecessarily, but my sister has been nothing short of a miracle nanny this week! Continuing her tour of the Southeast, Jessie Poppins has been staying with us since Wednesday and has spoiled us with a taste of life with a live-in nanny.

Ben's schoolmates and teachers don't miss him too much as he's had a 101-degree fever since Sunday that turned out to be a bacterial infection. No one wants that! But he's on a baby z-pack now and hopefully on the road to recovery. So it goes without saying that Jess being able to care for our sick baby while we're at work has meant the world to Tyler and me. Thanks again, Beet!

These two are keeping her busy!

"As a naptime spot, you're high on my list, Aunt Jess."

What happens when Ben goes shopping with two girls. Daddy can just be glad they're only antennae and that we didn't try that tiara on...or did we?

Showing of our Saturday-night handiwork. Jess is is great to have around for more than just aunt-duties - we've had a lot of sister time to catch up on too!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Savoring a Saturday (& why babies & lattes don't mix!)

Sandwiched in between fun visitors and vacations, we had this one weekend of nothingness...and it was a welcomed change of pace. Tyler didn't even have to work (as he found out once he drove to the office all the way down Hwy 280), which was nice since he was battling Day 2 of a head cold.

This video of playtime is not particularly exciting (and it's dark), but is just a snapshot of our morning that I can watch while I'm at work missing him.

"Sorry Mom; Dad and I have some man-business to discuss.
No girls allowed."

Ben takes full advantage of the peace and quiet that weekend naps at home have to offer and enjoyed two 90+ minute naps. Gotta rest up after a busy week at school, and all. And since I've never seen him move from lying down to sitting up by himself, imagine our surprise when we went to get him out of bed that afternoon...*

*The mattress was lowered within the hour. :)

"Thanks for my new shirt, Grandma!"

Around 5, we ventured out to TJ Maxx to blow through some store credit that's been burning a hold in my pocket. Tyler decided to tag along and didn't even object when I directed him to Starbucks for a vanilla latte-flavored shopping boost. "Oops, I forgot to make it half caff," I thought to myself, "Oh well, not the first time Ben's had caffeine..."

It was, however, the first time he's had it for his bedtime meal. And at 10:30 p.m., in the middle of our movie rental, he let us know that his buzz had kicked in! We tried everything to get him back to sleep. Rocking. Singing. Pacifying. And when that didn't work, we, like any good parents would, turned to drugs. Tylenol. Gas drops. No sir - he had too much to do!

So there we were, with the SNL credits rolling in the background as we corralled Ben on his blanket during a very intense play session. Pick up a block! Throw it down! Grab a book! Chew, chew, chew. Bang it against the ringstacker! Crawl on Dad! Blow raspberries on Mom! Ben was a busy, busy bee.

Finally, I sent Tyler to bed at 12:30 and changed Ben out of his drool-soaked pj's, and into a more appropriately labeled "Party at my crib tonight" onesie. After enforcing a non-caffeinated nursing session, off to Dreamland he finally went.

"Saturday night - woo HOO!"

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ben, the beach, and the birthday boy

To live in Birmingham and only make it down to the Gulf one time during the summer is, I realize, a disgrace. But, my how times have changed. :) Thanks to my parents though, we were able to properly close out the summer down at Seagrove Beach over Labor Day weekend!

Jess and Michael, who have been living it up on the West Coast, flew in on Thursday, and the five of us squeezed into the Mazda for a record-breaking, one pit-stop trip to the beach!

"Lunch on the go - yum!"

After Mom and Dad met us at the condo (on a scooter!), we picked up some grub and headed out to the beach. It was time for Ben to meet the ocean and learn where that noise he hears on his sound machine really comes from...

Road tripping, ocean swimming (and sting ray sighting!) can sure take a lot out of a baby. And getting reunited with his aunt and grandma sent him right into a sunset siesta.

We've come a long way since our last beach trip, as Ben actually slept through the night during our stay and took reasonably lengthy naps everyday! In between those naps and eating and playing with his toys, we even got him out on the beach a couple of times. I just noticed that he's holding his fish in all of these beach shots, which is really appropriate, because he seriously would not let go of that fish! Well, until it fell into the ocean one too many times, at which point it was replaced by a you'll see in later photos.

"At the copa, copacabana..."

"Oh Dad, it tickles, it tickles!"

Ben also did a lot of flying over the weekend, as the following montage demonstrates!

It's a bird!

It's a plane!

It's Super Ben!

Super-Cute Ben that is.

Fortunately for us, Hurricane Gustav didn't make his presence known until late in the day on Sunday...and you can see our response in the video on Jess's blog. But 28 years ago that day, someone else made their presence known too, and I'm oh so glad he did. :)

Happy Birthday, Tyler! As your wise old wife, let me tell you that 28 ain't so bad! Since I didn't get you a card (what?!), I'll just tell you here that I love you and am so glad that you're my husband. Ben and I are thankful for everything you do for us and look forward to lots of fun with you this year!