Thursday, February 24, 2011

Favorite Things

I have to stop myself sometimes. From the consumerism. From buying this little person everything out there. Right now he doesn't even care. He starts getting into zippers and buttons and I think, Oh! I could go get one of those dog toys with zippers and buttons! While he is content to play with the ones on my shirt. He loves my car keys...and I think, Oh! I could buy him that set of car keys for babies I saw at Target! While I can also just detach the key I need from its ring and give him the rest to play with. I love showing him new things though, I love blowing his mind. The first time we bounced a ball in front of him he wouldn't stop giggling...I would do most anything to make him giggle like that over and over again. And I have to stop and think, that buying him everything isn't what's going to make him happy. Buying him everything now may set a precedent that my pocketbook can't keep up with once he's into Xboxes and Hockey.

But I also stopped to think about my childhood. About the things that stuck with me. The things that made me the happiest. And mostly it wasn't things. It was my parents tucking me into bed every night and kissing us goodnight. The way they used to make the blankets fly up above us, and make us laugh right before going to sleep. Sunday mornings climbing into my parents bed with the newspaper and reading the funnies, all 5 of us up there, plus the cat (and - is that even going to happen anymore? Everyone climbing in bed to read the kindle doesn't sound as great as spreading the paper all over the bed. I'm mourning the downturn of the paper). Making pillow forts out of the couch cushions. Roughhousing. Trips to the Y with my dad, swimming, basketball, and exploring...and always the smell of spilled coffee in his car. Baking cookies and pretending we were in the batter. Licking the spoon. Shopping with my mom. Summer trips to Valleyfair, and we always had a picnic lunch in the back of the car. Swimming pools in the backyard. Those twilight summer games that would spontaneously happen with the neighbor kids - kick the can, red rover, some ghost game. Playing in the woods - god we loved to play in the woods. We played so hard sometimes! Building snow forts. Sledding, and coming in for hot chocolate. Fires in the fireplace and telling ghost stories. Sitting in the gutter and letting the water stream over our backs when it rained (we lived in a cul-de-sac, there was no traffic - don't judge!). Summer weekends at the cabin, and smells are such a huge part of my memory, I can literally taste the grass and sunscreen while I'm writing this. Bonfires at the cabin. Mom making pancakes for breakfast. Driving home from any holiday at my grandparents. I will never feel as safe and secure as I used to feel falling asleep in the car coming home from a holiday. There is an unmatched exhaustion after playing with your cousins and gorging yourself on food, and an unmatched sense of security experienced in the presence of your parents as a child. I will probably never feel that secure, and never sleep that well again. Too many adult worries and responsibilities. And you don't appreciate that while you have it, if you knew how little control and security your parents really had over the world, you wouldn't have it anyways.

And oh! How I hope I can afford these things for my son! How I hope I can give him half of the security and contentment that my parents gave me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Eight is Great

Yea. I had to go there. Happy eigth monthday little man!

Not sure why the splayed legs. Sitting stability? And I'm sure he thanked me for finally dressing him in a long sleeved onesie. It's February and it's been cold for months!

Feeding our childs plastic bottle obsession.

And balls. This kid loves balls.

Ha. This would also be his pooping face. You go Eli!

Teething biscuits are surprisingly like dog biscuits. He's surprised as well.

First time in a swing - we had a couple 40-50 degree days where we could get outside. He loved the swing and I can't wait for summer. We will spend a lot of time at this park!

In a surprising fit of domesticity, I sewed Eliot a taggies blanket. He loves it, and I am so proud of myself. Full disclosure though. Grandma helped, and did the finishing touches. Thank goodness for Grandma's guidance!

The following pictures were not taken by us. They are just a few of the incredible pictures by my friend Jessica who took Eli's 6 month photos (as well as my maternity photos and Eli's newborn photos). They are amazing and if you are looking for a professional photographer she is your girl. She's also expecting a little one of her own - congratulations Jess & Derek!! 
This photo needs a caption above his head. And I love it.

Seriously. My heart.
Those eyes!
Looking more grown up than he has a right to.

Just like last month, this is the best month ever! Are you seeing a trend here? You've come a long way this month. You're even more interactive, you love people. Love new places. You learned to wave bye-bye, you have separation anxiety...which breaks my heart because I have to drop you off at daycare twice a week and it's so hard to leave when you're crying and reaching out to me. And that! You reach out to people you want to hold you now. It may be the most amazing feeling in the world to be trusted and loved by a baby. Because we had to work to get here, and you trust us and reach out to us and you are so innocent. It's indescribable to be the one you want to go to. I am humbled by your love.

You're a champion sitter - you could sit forever. You're not crawling yet but you get up on all fours and rock back and forth. I'm fine with that - I am so excited for you to crawl but not excited to baby proof. You are fairly proficient at sliding yourself backwards. You poor thing, it looks frustrating! You learned to blow raspberries this month and it makes your dad and me laugh so much. It's my favorite trick of yours. I tried to rock you to sleep the first night you learned it and you just sat there and blew raspberries for about 20 minutes. I had to keep myself from busting out laughing so you would go to sleep. You still sing yourself to sleep, especially in the car. It is so stinking cute. You love music. When there's a song you like you'll rock back and forth to it. You love faces, you touch peoples faces all the time. You are still obsessed with the cat and the dog. They tolerate you. The dog is starting to realize you drop food, you may become his favorite soon enough. You're eating more food - spinach, peas, carrots, broccoli, chicken, sweet potatoes, bananas, yogurt, blueberries, mangoes, avocado...and there's more that I've forgotten. You want everything off our plate, and it makes me want to be a better eater! You almost have your top two teeth in, they're so close I can feel them! You're just a lot of fun. You love to play, love to be tickled and surprised and held upside down (which your dad is more than happy to oblige you in), love cars and trucks, and you have a circle of people you know and love and who love you right back more than you'll ever realize. I cherish every moment I get with you, every moment when I am your world, because I know you are going to grow up so fast and although I'll always be your mama, you'll be much more independent. Which is good. And sad. You adore your dad. You guys are going to be trouble - and its so special to see you together. You're a lucky boy, to have such a great dad. You're a better sleeper now. You sleep longer and's nice. We love you lots little boy. I cannot believe how fast you're growing. Feel free to slow down any time.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pay it forward

So, I need your help. I know I don't get many comments, but I think there are 4 or 5 people out there who read this thing...I would love to get the help of some people more creative than I am!

A little background - 2011 has been kind of a downer so far. I can't complain too much, nothing horrible or life altering (knock on wood) has occurred, but I've just been down. Between this weather we've been having, the lack of sleep, the dog constantly needing and not getting attention, the cat looking old and maybe on his last leg, the fact that I don't feel like I have enough time to devote to my marriage or myself, the fact that I haven't been working out as much as I need to to keep me sane, work, the baby having separation anxiety, teething, and the ten million colds and one awful weight loss flu that has hit our house it's just been not exactly happy. But I'm not trying to complain here, just dealing with normal every day stresses at our place.

This morning I stopped at a local coffee shop to get a cup of tea. After ordering I looked down and there was a note something to the effect of "A friendly neighbor bought the first $100 in drinks this morning - it's your lucky day!"

Now doesn't that just make you think?! $100. In some ways, it's a somewhat trivial amount, I can spend $100 at Target in no time at all. But it's not's a week of groceries, 2 weeks of gas, a new outfit, or a really nice dinner out. Someone gave that up for themselves to give happiness to other people. And he did (the barista said it was a he), my mood is lifted, I feel a little bit better about humanity today, as corny as that may sound, and I'm proud of my neighbors and I want to pay it forward.

But I don't know what to do.

I don't have $100 to give away (did I mention our dishwasher broke? And we just had to buy a new washing machine? Sigh). But I could afford some money, but I'm not even sure what to do. I don't ever go to drive through restaurants, which I think is the typical thing to do - buy the next person's tab. I could shovel the whole sidewalk next time it snows...but I usually don't get home in time to do it before our neighbors do ours. Help me out internet, how do I pass this good feeling on to others??