Monday, February 22, 2010

Our big boy's first photo shoot!!

Oh, how the time passes! Jake used to be this teeny little guy & now he talks nonstop, is trying so hard to crawl that he lets out these little grunts (!!!), & is putting himself to sleep at nap time. He's just so incredible!! And, for your viewing pleasure, I have proof!So safe in Daddy's arms

I feel like this is how we spend the majority of each day, so it had to be a photo!


I cannot get enough of that smile!


Our first professional family photo. I'll always treasure this


I had to read the baby books purty carefully, but I'm nearly positive this shot is a requirement to become a toddler!


I love a squishy tushy!
And, just an FYI, the red mark on his back is strawberry hemangioma. No biggie, just a cluster of blood vessels. It'll go away with time!


No one can deny the love in his eyes

And, for the grand finale, a compare & contrast...

Yes, his hair looks red in the Dodger track suit he lovingly dons for his grandpa, but it's not. I'll roll the dice here & claim that since I see his beautiful dome every day that I *MAY* in fact know what color his hair is! Blows me away that people actually argue this point with me! Millie, my mama, any brother o'mine...please back up that his hair is not red in person!!! He has some newbie skin atop his gorgeous head that hasn't flaked off yet & that is what tints his hair red in pics sometimes. But, you can clearly see on the right that his hair is dirty blonde...as is mine!








Anywho...we were wondering what we could do for grandpa, to make a pic that would speak to him (more than these already do!). True Blue was the way to go! Oh, & old man...Jake wants his steak!!



& we had to include one of the people who brought J-Bone into this world. The two people who love him most. I have a big, puffy heart for photographs; I'm already planning our 6 month session, which is sooo close! I can't believe it! We're even beginning talks of his first birthday party in CA at the end of August. Yes, I am super thrilled, but we're getting started early for flights & stuff...I'm not crazy! ;)

The parent-child connection

When we got home yesterday little man was still asleep. Oh, how he loves his carseat! So, we let him sleep until he wanted to wake up to eat & Gary went out to pick up some Subway for dinner. But, it was almost like something magical happened when Jake finished eating. He's always loved to have a big, dimply smile when switching sides & when he's finished completely. Apparently, it's just a fun-loving time! But, there was something in the air after his meal. It was something you could tell we were both feeling. I picked him up & we just looked at each other. It was a moment that makes me turn into mush to think about. He was just looking at me like he was in love with me. It was the best feeling. It was one of those feelings you have that let's you know the world is just as it should be.

The post following this one I wrote because people just bewilder me sometimes & it just felt good to get it off my chest. It felt good to know that I can have those moments, which are few & far between-thank the Lord, where I wonder if people lacking social skills are slowly taking over the planet like a hoard of vengeful zombies, & come back to reality. A reality where my husband, my son, my family & friends are the best I could ever hope for. Inevitably, we'll all run into people who act like we're the ones who shoved their undies up their tush, but I'm so thankful those times are the exception & not the rule.

This is what Jake erased for me. He erased that I EVER encountered someone who is not as happy as we are. He looked at me with those big, blue eyes & assured me it's OK for me to keep finding the good in people. This amazing little boy looked right into my soul. I sincerely hope every parent gets a chance to feel this way.

I had to mark this occasion. I had to immortalize this moment. So, I took to our camera. I wasn't thrilled to have pics after a long day where I'd already had enough of my bangs & was just bumming it, but I was so happy to get pics of mine & my little boy's moment. He was hamming it up for the camera & I was being goofy to get him to laugh. It was a perfect moment:
And the, Gary got home & we all shared in the love....while Jake threw out his best Zoolander impression! You're right, Weeks (sorry, you know the Army "makes" me call you that ;) ! )..Blue Steel all the way!
And, one last thing. Can I please not the EXTREME cuteness of his little ensemble?? I big, puffy heart Old Navy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Walking the Line

As a new mama, I feel like I'm still finding that balance. You know the one. The one where you have to decide between what to let go to maintain your role model status & when to go batshitcrazy to let someone know when they need to stand down. That's not just limited to parenthood, though. When that umpteenth car with the exhaust loud enough to shake the Heavens cuts you off, you have to decide to not go all Grand Theft Auto on their hiney & gun them down. We've all been there. We've all contemplated homicide. I know I have. I mean, seriously, what are people thinking sometimes?? You had to beat me to the red light? Score.

OK, that's not really what I'm trying to get at...

As you may have heard, I recently had my first baby. I'm figuring things out as I go, & I, honestly, think Gary & I are doing a fairly outstanding job (if I don't toot our horn, who will??). Case in point: A few weeks ago Jake hit the motherload of teething frenzies. He was feeling a touch warm, had some rosy cheeks, & was sleepier than usual. I told Gary I didn't want to be that first time mama that called every time the thermometer hit 98.7 ---I didn't check his temperature, though. I thought I'd save pushing things up his tush for serious situations. I also told myself I didn't want to google because there's always something scary on the internet. I had to make this decision all by my lonesome. I'm sure by the time Jake's great grandchild is born the afterbirth will contain the new tot's instruction manual, but, until then, I'm all 'color by numbers'.
So, I created my own type of algebraic equation (the 9th graders claiming you'll never use this stuff...you be wrong). I multiplied the fact that his happiness did not change by the amount of time he played each day, add that to the amount of days he felt a touch warmer in a row multiplied 'x' for his unknown temp. The result? relax mama, your baby is fine. I knew he was. I knew it in my maternal gut. Between me, you, & the fence post, I did call the pediatrician, but didn't get a hold of anyone. That was my final straw to trust what conception gave me: mama instinct. My baby boy was just fine.

But, what about when you're in direct interaction with someone who is like a Rubik's Cube to you? Sometimes, I'm so puzzled by people that I feel like a question mark is hanging over my head asking one of two things: What did I do to deserve this? or How can I get away from you? I hope I don't sound like I hate people, I'm a total extrovert, it's just the times where you run into people like that that got me thinking. I try to handle those type of people with a grain of salt, & I ALWAYS try my best to turn the other cheek.
It's surprising how many times I've run into this type of situation with other moms regarding our kids. Around some, it's like you can't be proud of your child without it seeming like you're bashing theirs. Around others, it's like you're "bragging" about your child to someone who is just as proud. I LOVE LOVE LOVE those moments. We should share that pride. Why not? Why act like children are in competition with one another? Your kid rolled over a week before mine?? He must be the second-coming.
One more thing I must mention on this topic that I mega-loathe: the need to defend your kid. Kids do get fussy. There's not one parent on the planet that has not had their child have a fussy moment or two. Not one. But, there are a bazillion parents who act like their kid hasn't. BOGGLES.MY.MIND. When Jake is fussy, it's one of two things: he's hungry or tired. I mean, he's an easygoing baby. Some are not, just facts. But NONE are perfect (Well, we all have perfect babies, but you know what I mean...). So, when Jake fusses to get what he needs & people react like he's this fussy little hell-raiser it makes me crazy. I feel like I need to go into defend mode & say "I'm going to roll the dice here & claim I know this kid better than you, the person in the checkout lane, or you, the acquaintance trying to prove their superiority. He's having a moment. A moment which will be over once I am fully able to tend to his needs. Simmer Donna" But, I don't. It's pointless, right? Those people need what they need. They feel that Jake being an easygoing baby is, somehow, an attack on their parenting skills, probably a slap to the uterus that bore them child that is a little fussier than mine. Sincerest apologies.

Is it too hippie-esque to just want everyone to get along? My friend Sarah, for instance, (& others, dont'worry!)---courtesy of the bump---, has always been a fan of Jake's, & I'm so grateful for that. Her son was born around 3 weeks after Jake, but I feel that we are very interested in one another's kids & I'm thankful for her friendship. I love those kinds of friendships <3

I hope to teach Jake to keep people around you who improve his quality of life, people who make him happy, & to throw-down when all other options are exhausted. I hope to teach him to listen to his instincts. I hope to teach him that 'walking the line' is possible when you have good people to fall back on.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Some things I love

I've been thinking about some of the things that make my heart swell, ya know, in that way the Grinch's heart did when he finally came to his senses? Well, here are my blessings, the pieces of my heart, the things I live for every day.....in no particular order

1) I love that Jake gets soo excited when he hasn't seen me for a few minutes. When I set him in his swing, or his bouncy seat, & run around collecting laundry, or just cleaning up, then I go back to him & he gets the biggest, dimpliest (yes...I'm using that as an actual word) smile on his face then squeals & starts kicking his feet. <3 <3 <3 He likes me, he really likes me!

2) I love that Gary takes Jake after work, even when I don't need him to, & says "Go recharge your batteries". Then, I get a kiss, a hug, & a slap on the tush...which I'm sure is only to give me that running start ;)

3) I love the way romance has changed. We've always been an affectionate couple, but had that balance where we show our affection, but don't need to go balls to the wall with gifts on Valentines. I love that I find it so romantic when he comes in with Jake & "checks on mama" when I'm making dinner; when he asks how he can help when I'm doing my daily chores; how cuddling up to a NETFLIX (!!!!!) movie when our little nugget is in bed for the night is Heaven.

4) I love the way Jake & Gary interact. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Gary was a closet baby person. We talk about it all the time how he didn't know he was a baby person 'til he had one. His love for that little boy makes my love for him grow exponentially.

5) I love how Gary places Jake & myself above everything else. He is our protector, & would never let anything get to us.

6) I love how Gary constantly tells us what we mean to him

7) I love how Jake concentrates when he sits up straight to bend down & grab his tootsies

8) I love how Jake bites me when he's feeding & then looks up with that grin because of how I reacted

9) I love how we can hear Jake talking to his toys that hang down from his carseat. That giraffe & monkey have no idea how lucky they are!

10) I love that Hershey comes up & licks all over Jake's forehead

11) I love how when Jake is having his forehead swallowed by a 95 lb lab, he just sits there & looks at him

12) I love the little grunts Jake makes when he's on his belly & trying to crawl. He's working so hard!

13) I love that Gary sits in Jake's room & talks with me as I booby-feed him & rock him to sleep

14) I love how Gary talks about having more babies

15) I love that pregnancy & breastfeeding was/is a built-in boob job

16) I love that after nearly 8 years together, & having our firstborn son, that Gary & I are closer & more in love than we ever thought possible

These are some of the reasons I wake up each morning with a smile on my face. I'm so blessed to have these two men in my life. I could not be more thankful than I am at this moment (or so I claim right now).
.....I'm also thankful that we're seeing our first movie, in theater, in almost a year today! Hey...I was so comfy in movie theaters while I was knocked up that I fell asleep. I'm not paying $6.25 for a nap!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Parenthood vs. Adulthood

I've been realizing that these two 'hoods are not, necessarily, one in the same. In fact, they can be two different worlds entirely, that coexist.

Because of the best invention ever, my glorious Netflix, I've been watching different shows I've never seen & movies we didn't catch in theater. One of the shows I came across was Cashmere Mafia. It's basically a weaker version of Sex and the City. I'm still not sure how I feel about it; it's just filled with enough drama that my time on the elliptical just flies by.

Anyway...

One couple on there is supposed to be this New York power couple. Fab clothes, expensive cars, & every other means of not just "keeping up with the Jones'" but actually being Mr. & Mrs. Jones. Well, the husband of this couple has had several affairs. It gets to the point where the wife has had enough & is considering cheating on him to get even, & mulling over the option of the big "D" word. It's this whole going back & forth about their relationship, but their daughter is still doing her teenage thing. Still has school functions, does dumb stuff on the internet....the usual. This is what got me thinking.

When you're a kid, the world revolves around you (Ok, in your toddler years there's this thing called egocentrism where the child doesn't have the cognitive ability to realize there's a whole world of happenings, thoughts, opinions etc. outside their immediate situation. Basically, they think everyone around them shares their same thoughts. Don't you just hate adults like that? I mean, when young children do it it's outside their control, but adults that do it? ugh, gag me. But, I digress...) You don't realize that your parents have things going on outside you. They are supposed to give you lunch money, shuttle you from school to soccer practice to the birthday party to home, scoot over in bed when you have a bad dream, make dinner, help you with your science project, quiz you on your spelling words, take you shopping for the homecoming dress....---OK, revoke my parenting license, I'm tired from TYPING that list---
But, there are issues parents deal with that are adult issues. They pay the mortgage, want to get together with friends, want time as a couple, need vacations, hope the car doesn't break down, etc. etc. etc. It's just funny, for lack of a better word, that kids do not realize all this goes on while everything around them happens, rather than after.

In our opinion, kids should be that way. Kids, of course, need not be big fat turds & think the world revolves around them, but should not be concerned with their parents' finances. They should be able to be a kid, and not just because a number dictates, but because a mentality dictates. They should be able to worry about kid stuff. They should be able to look back when they're I don't know, say 25, & think "so, that sleepover was THAT big a deal?" Then laugh and laugh at the thought that your world was that small.

I've never been one to place labels. Meaning, I'm not one to say over here is my wife/mama existence & over there is my accountant/housekeeper/chef/yoga lover/former bad-ass soccer goalie/elliptical advocate/scrapbooking queen/laughter lover existence. To me, it's all the same. I'm wife & mama. I'm a 25 year old woman (whiskey.tango.foxtrot by the way). I'm a house-cleaner-upper. I run a laundromat.....I'm all rolled into one. I don't need to exclude something to feel that I've been true to myself as just Samantha. It's Samantha that decided to become wife, then mama, then multitasking-extraordinaire. I mention that because I heard a pregnant woman say that after her baby was born she was going back to work because she "didn't want to make her life all about her kids" As thrilled as I'm sure her kids will be to hear that, it's her opinion & I'll respect it, but I don't understand why there has to be that division. The issues of adulthood & the issues of parenthood will not always be the same, but they will always overlap. I'm picturing this giant Venn Diagram. The parts of the circles that overlap will, ultimately, be your life. You make sure the mortgage is paid so that your family has a roof over their head. You make sure to routinely service the car so that your kid doesn't miss out on their extracurriculars. You take vacations to take a time out from running around, find your bearings, & get to know each other even better.

Gary & I remind each other of the things we like that our parents did, the things we hate, the things we want to improve upon, the things we wish they knew, basically we talk about the ways to make Jake as well-rounded as possible, to never make him feel that we are so much older that we cannot remember how hard & confusing adolescence can be, to let him know we've been there & will help him through it all. That no matter what we're taking care of at the moment, or what category it's from, he'll have two people he can always rely on. So, even though it feels like adults have a ton of crap on their plates, it's equivalent to what kids are dealing with at any given age. It all matters. It's all a balance. It's not parenthood vs adulthood, it's parenthood and adulthood.

Call me wife, call me mama, call me wicked awesome---which is just straight true, call me a cook, call me a doctor, call me whatever I am at the moment. It doesn't mean I'm less of myself because I have that title, it makes me happier because I have that title.. It's just another thing to add to my resume as a human being. I'm all of it & I'm in love with all of it. My two men are my world, & they're in love with their funny, goofy, sometimes-snorts-when-she-laughs, incredible listener, workout loving, self-helping (etc etc etc) wife & mama. That's enough for me <3

Oh, and mom, sorry about those teen years.

The sweetest, most beautiful sound

video

Being able to watch this firsthand made me fall in love with these two men even more.

Jake had always done the partial-laugh; he'd let out a few super excited coo's, but never let out a full laugh. But, tonight our little man had full-blown laughter that made me attempt to hold back tears as I stood in the background & caught it on camera. These are the moments that will keep Gary warm in Afghanistan, and I'm so thankful we were all together to enjoy it!

And, to think, just a couple weeks ago I was sure the apocalypse was coming. Jake didn't want to take a reliable nap during the day, would wake up around 2:30-3am, & left me feeling like a zombie. I was sure it'd go on forever, but it only lasted about a week. LONGEST.WEEK.EVER.

Gary & I kept reminding each other that it was something he was going through &, as hard as it was on us, he needed help because he wasn't understanding the growth spurt/teething frenzy that was going on. But, seriously, it's hard to stay that strong when you've seen the 'Snuggi' & 'Your Baby Can Read' infomercials enough that you can recite them.

But, WE MADE IT! :::shakes fanny:::

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One year ago today, our life changed forever

One year ago today, we found out that I was pregnant with sweet little Baby Jake. It was the best, most exciting, most perfect news we've ever gotten as a married couple.

I had been on the pill for 3 years. Almost 3 years to the day, actually. We had come home from visiting my parents in California for Christmas. I don't remember what happened there that started us talking about having kids, but we covered every single aspect of that topic, from both sides.

We could not come up with a decision. So, after the new year, & Gary was back at work, he came home for lunch one day & I came up with what I thought would help us come to a decision. I was making his lunch, tuna melt I think, & said "OK, what if we do this: I'm supposed to start my new month of the pill on January 8th, what if we go off the pill from January 8th to February 8th & see what happens? Statistically this shouldn't work, but let's let God take us where we need to be" I leaned against the counter & watched every muscle of his face to see if I could guess his reaction before he said it. After what seemed like a day and a half, he said "Let's do it!"
I remember needing to catch my breath.

After about a week of trying, we were sitting in our spare room & I was looking at this enormous calendar I had where I wrote all the stuff I had going on for school. All of a sudden, it dawned on me; I had counted my cycle wrong. Gary & I just stared at each other. That was devastation because our deal was to try for one month because we wanted to have time to have the entire pregnancy & have at least a few months of being together as a little family before he was to deploy in 2010.

Come to Sunday, February 1st. This day was the day I was to start my period. We were, again, in the spare room (why did we hang out in there so much??) & I looked at him & said "I bet I'm pregnant" He said "Really?!" I just nodded. Something in me knew something. There are some things you just know. And, I knew.

It was the next day, Monday. Before I left for my day, I had joked with myself that if I heard that song "I saw God today" by George Strait that would mean I was pregnant. I got in the car to head off & the first song I heard was "I saw God today". I turned the station when the song was over, and I heard that song again.

I had to work ("work" hah...I sat at a computer lab on campus, before I had to go to my class, & refilled the paper tray of a printer) before my afternoon class & was looking up every pregnancy quiz on the internet to tell me I was, indeed, pregnant. Obviously, I didn't believe some quiz would tell me if I was or not, but it was all part of the excitement.

I sat at that computer, the day after I was supposed to start my period--which I am NEVER late for thanks to the pill--& was feeling nasty cramps. Needless to say, it ruined my day. All I could think was "Here comes my period. FRICK!"

But, then I got some news to bring up my day, slightly. My class was canceled. So I took my unhappy, cramping self out to the car & was set to come home. Gary had the day off, for whatever reason I can't remember, & was waiting for me at home but didn't expect me for a few hours. I decided to stop by Target to pick up a few things I needed that would be a part of my master plan if I were to find out I was pregnant because, along with finding those pregnancy quizzes, I looked up creative ways to tell your husband you're pregnant. But, I would have bet my life on the fact that my period was starting.

I pick up my items, one of them being a pregnancy test, & head home. I left the items in the car, just in case, & go inside to greet my husband & have a test confirm the ugly truth. So, I sat, took the test, & laid it on the counter next to me. I was watching the test line show up & waiting for my negative result. A split second later I looked back the at test & saw the "+" showing up. I was nothing short of elated! I was pregnant!!! Miscalculations & statistics, be damned! Fertile Mertile!!! We made our dream come true! I was pregnant!!!!! I got up & did the quietest dance ever. I was in the bathroom upstairs...I had to dance like I was a mouse. But dance I did. Tom Cruise in his undies had nothing on me.

The hard part was next. I had to control every urge in my body to not float downstairs & scream "I'M PREGNANT I'M PREGNANT I'M PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I come out of the bathroom & use the same deflated voice I used to greet him when I first came home & said "I'm going to change. Be right down"

I sneak off to the spare room (what is with this room?!?) & get my box of holiday decorations out, which included ribbon. I was wearing an empire waisted shirt that day, so I tied the red ribbon around my waist & put my shirt back down. But, wait! I had to get those Target items out of the car! I had already told him there were things in the car I didn't want him to see, but I think he thought I bought him a gift or something. I get the items, come back in, & head upstairs. No worries, I made small talk with him & use my sad voice. He was none the wiser.

I put the bag of items on our bed & go on the computer. I asked if he could come upstairs to double check the gift I wanted to send my parents to tell them I was pregnant. He leans over me to look at the screen, confirms it, & then I ask him to go into our room & look in the bag because I got him a shirt & I wanted to make sure he liked it. He turns the corner to go into our room & I sashay across the room like I was a cat burglar. He goes "Hey...Am I supposed to see this?!" As he asks, he turns around & sees me with my shirt pulled, displaying the ribbon. "Congratulations, Daddy"

His eyes immediately fill with tears. We're both speechless, but we hugged like we never hugged before. Then, we just stared at each other. We were pregnant. We were to be parents. Our efforts paid off! Then, he went down, eye level, with my belly. He rubbed it, kissed it, & whispered "I love you"

He still had the bag of goodies to look at! He saw that they were baby things, but didn't get a good look at them. He opens the bag to see booties, a hooded towel, a set of beanies, and the positive pregnancy test at the bottom. His eyes were flooded once again.

We stood in the middle of our bedroom & just hugged. We had created our teeny first child.

The test that changed our lives. It was the first of 3 I'd eventually take!

Picture we took before bed that night. Had to start marking this pregnancy right away!

We took this right after he found out. We were headed to Walmart to look at baby stuff, get a baby book, & pick up the cards to send to our baby's uncles!!

And, finally, the song that kicked off that great day & will never be forgotten