Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ladies' Night

Well, I guess Ladies' Afternoon would be more appropriate, since it's 2:38 right now.

I'm watching our new FAVORITE show, Friday Night Lights, on Netflix,

(Can I just take a minute & declare our deep, loyal love for this show?? OH.EM.GEE. we cannot get enough! Go watch it. Become a fan. Do it.)

and Tami was giving birth. I tried to look at it from the "outside", meaning what she's doing, what it means, etc. (does that make me sound crazy?!) Instead of thinking, "yep, been there...(sort of--thanks, unplanned c/s)" I was *letting* myself be completely amazed at the capabilities of women. A baby, a new life, comes from us. A woman's body is meant to be all a baby needs for 9 months, & then meant to withstand the unique, & incredible pain of labor.

While watching her birth her daughter, I wondered what it was like for a man. To sit by & watch the changes going through his baby mama (they're married in the show, just trying to include all possibilities!) from conception to delivery. I know it happens every single day, but it's still an amazing thing.

Gary said, throughout the whole pregnancy, he was amazed by all the changes & things going on in me (& the big boobies on the outside of me!). I asked him if it made him look at me differently, & he said "sort of". He was realizing how incredible it is to make a child, & the progress they make inside the womb, but that it also seemed "normal"; that he & I were supposed to be doing that. Aww!!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Gary & I are friends with this couple. Said couple are freaks.of.nature. And, couple, if you're reading this, I still mean it.

Get this: Not only do they get along with each others parents, each set of parents gets along, too. Have you ever heard of such a phenomena? Maybe you're thinking you've read about something like this in the paper, or seen it on Ripley's?

When we go to their house & extended family is there, I feel like I'm at a museum. I'm observing the subtle beauty that is no judgment, no eggshell-walking, no tension, abundant laughter, & genuine care. If I didn't like them so much, I'd love to whip them with a car antenna.

But, in all seriousness, you can see there's a mutual respect amongst all of them. Oh, how I long to know what that's like. We're so so happy for them, but I think they're definitely in the minority. Which is something we strive for.

When you're over-the-moon happy, & sleep soundly at night, you know you're doing what's right & that's what you hope to pass on to your child. So, when we talk about when Jake comes home with little Susie FutureWife we will accept her as one of our own and, learn about her, not expect her to mold around us. That's what we think Jake would appreciate and that's what the handful of couples we know with severely abnormal in-law relationships do.

I think, a lot of times, parents, &/or adults in general, forget what it was like to be that age. The age of marrying, college, when things are new & adventurous, finding out who you are as an adult. Would it not be the biggest buzzkill to say "Hey, Susie FutureWife, you don't share our blood" & then use a giant rubber stamp to brand her "DENIED"?

We look at Jake & get excited about the great things he's going to do. We get excited about how we're going to learn from each other ( & bewildered that we'll ever actually be upset with him!). We just want him to be happy. That's why we do pretty much anything we do over here!! When Jake's second cousin, Millie, came out to visit she gave us one of the most flattering comments we could ever get. She said "I love being around you guys. You're so happy!" Umm...doiy, Millie! We keep things in perspective & I think that's what helps us live a life we're happy with. Hakuna Matata! :)

We have great friends, great family & so much to be thankful for. So, if we're not besties with Jake's future in-laws, worse things have happened. But, we can always promise to act with grace and, like I heard my dad say EVERY TIME I went ANYWHERE as a teenager, "like I've been somewhere before"

Let us bow our heads

& thank God that I've finally come to my senses.

Because I love y'all, I'm going to cross into dangerous, jinxing-possible territory and tell you that my child has revolutionized nap time. He's a true visionary. He has made nap time simple. MADE NAP TIME SIMPLE. Hallelujah!

The first month after Jake was born, he slept in the pack n' play, or on us. It was not our ideal situation, especially since our game plan for parenting can be summed up by "don't start anything we'll have to break him of", but we were adjusting to life with a newborn. Sleep was a precious commodity, so sometimes the game plan changes.

Then, I talked to my mom. My madre. My one stop source for parenting cure-alls. She helped me to get Jake to sleep in his crib, at a month old! Sooo thankful for that! At that point, he still woke up a few times a night, but it was from his crib, so we got a "W" in that category.

Then, our next mission was to get him to sleep through the night. I researched how to make this dream a reality and found the word routine used repeatedly. Ahh, routine. How I am so in love with you, routine. How you saved me, routine....Normally, I don't like to turn to the internet on how to raise my kid, you'll always find something on there you're doing wrong; I'd rather let my kid tell me the next step. He's the best one to know what he wants! But, a big CHEERS goes to google.

After making all those goals a reality, I thought about daytime sleep. Jake was about 15lbs, and I remember reading on Alena's blog (whose daughter is beyond adorable!!) about weight limits on baby gear. I hadn't really given it much thought. I found out the swing we have has a 25lb weight limit, so I wanted to begin the transition to napping in his crib before it gets down to crunch time. Sticking with the routine line of thinking, I picked up a sound machine to help signal to J when it was time to sleep. We've used it every night for about 2 months, and it's God's gift!

That part where I finally came to my senses was a couple days ago. Jake wanted to be picked up, so I obliged. Then, he rested his head on my chest & fell asleep in just a few minutes. I stood there in complete awe! It wasn't difficult to put him to sleep before, but it wasn't that easy either! So, after forgetting my goal of getting him to nap in his crib, I thought this was the perfect opportunity. Grabbed the boppy, turned on the sound machine, and laid him down. SUCCESS. Wait, not just SUCCESS. An hour and a half of SUCCESS!!!!! Did the same thing later that afternoon. The cherry on top was that it was during the afternoon nap that I crawled under the covers for some impromptu shut eye!

Now, he tells me he wants a nap by laying his head on my chest when I hold him, otherwise, it's not nap time. I think I sometimes forget that Jake has something to say, without saying anything at all!

Moral of the Story: LISTEN TO YOUR KID

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ring of Fire

So, ya know how there's the "circle of trust" in the Meet the Parents movies? That's kind of the topic Gary & I were covering.

We talk a lot about what types of different situations we may find ourselves in as parents. Obviously, we can't get into specific situations, but big things, like, what if Jake gets someone pregnant at a less than ideal time? Do we "force" college? What disciplinary route are we going to take?

Can we say we have a "plan" for all those kinds of topics; a loose feeling of how we'd go about things? Or will that beckon all the evils of parenting to come screeching out of dark alleyways? We'll take a walk on the SAFE side & not divulge a damn thing!

Anywho....making decisions as a parent can be difficult sometimes. I wish it could always be which onesie will Jake look cutest in?? (the answer is ALL.OF.THEM....doiy) But, I think the best decisions are made when your aim is to protect your child's best interests, & not your own. (I've come to this conclusion given my extreme expertise in the parenting field...) Seriously, though, we would never, in our lives, do anything that would jeopardize the happiness of our little boy. I mean, Jake's great grandpa asked, when he was out here, "Does Jake ever cry?" And, we LOVE LOVE LOVE that people say "Oh, what a happy baby!!" when we're out. It borderline brings a tear to our eye.

So, when someone stands outside your circle, demanding entrance, when you know no real good can come from it, who the hell cares where they came from, or why they're there? What's important, to us, is to make sure our happiness remains intact. In our humble opinion, the people in your life, whether God-given or hand-picked, should enhance your quality of life.

Take my girl/mother in law/sister, Gabby. We have a big, puffy heart for her. She's Jake's Godmother, and we could not have selected anyone better. She loves Jake like he's her own (step off, he's mine!), & she won't even meet him 'til August!! She's the shit. There's not one thing about her we don't trust. &, the other thing about her: she's hand-picked. She's been there for me during both Gary's deployments. She's listened to the type of crying like in the last episode of Friends where Rachel & Monica are saying bye in the bedroom alone...yah, she understands it.

I swear that Gary & I never stop laughing. Evah. & I think that means we must be doing something right. Unfortunately, you can't make everyone happy. And, I'm really working on my "need" to do that. I have a people-pleasing bone (equate this to Blake Shelton's Hillbilly Bone) that is being shushed by my mama bone (anyone else second the motion to have me stop using the word "bone"?). I'm a total hippie in the realm of wanting everyone to get along, but there's not even the slimmest percent of a chance I'd sacrifice anything about my boys to make someone else happy. I've been told by friends I met during college that they approached me because I "have a friendly face". I love that :), but, seriously, run for the hills & plan for the apocalypse should someone cross enemy lines.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hey, everybody...Come and see how good I look!!

Jake's First Trip to the Rainforest Cafe

First, I'd like to let you know up front that I didn't take as many pics as I would have liked. I had the hunger of a ravenous carnivore, so between double-fisting forkfuls of food and scooping up every crumb around me, while watching our little man be completely awestruck by his new surroundings, we got what pics we could!

We had a great time, though. We hadn't been there since I was all knocked up, so it was pretty great to anticipate J's reactions to the thunder & animal sounds every 30 minutes. He loved it!! But, we knew he would; he's pretty much the best kid ever...there could be some bias there, but the jury's still out. Oh, but the first time we were there, there was a mom holding her, probably, one and a half year old who was FREAKING. OUT. at the animal sounds. Jake's pretty laid back when he's in a new place, but we didn't want to piss off any Karmic Gods by making any assumptions.

Pics are still taking a second to load, so I'll enlighten you as to how completely fabulous my husband is. Yesterday, Gary came home & said "We're going out tomorrow. Don't worry about where, don't worry about how, we're going out tomorrow" I LOVE surprises, so I was tickled at the thought of, well, anything!

So, Jake got up a little earlier than usual, which was no biggie since we didn't stay up as late as we had been. When he first gets up he's a hungry little guy so I don't change his diaper 'til after his first feeding. Today, I fed him & was finishing up his diaper change when my hubby, with adorable bed-head I might add, staggered in saying "Are you excited for your nap?" I said "No, baaaabe. You sleep" Usually, even on weekends, I don't mind that Gary sleeps in, I have the boobs after all. He gets up early for PT every day, so why should he have to get up with me on weekends when there's nothing really for him to do? We talked about that when the subject of breastfeeding came up when I was pregnant, & I knew what was coming.

:::regrouping & getting back on topic::::

As soon as I finish J's diaper change, Gary scooped him up and they "tuck Mama in". After 4 glorious hours of shut-eye, Gary comes in, as I was waking up, saying he thinks Jake is getting hungry. So, as the singing birds gently lifted the comforter off me, I came out to the living room & started feeding Jake when Gary comes 'round the corner with Starbucks. A caramel frapp, a piece of lemon loaf & the best nap known to man were the best ways to start our 3-day weekend!! I'm a lucky girl!

We get to Rainforest Cafe & Jake is having a blast! The fish in the aquariums mesmerized him:
I'm laughing so hard because Gary was trying to take a picture of us in front of the aquarium, & Jake would only look back at the fish, so Gary would take one of us from the angle of the aquarium, & J would look back to the front. This went on like 2 or 3 times!!Jake realized what he was doing to Daddy & found it hilarious!

Finally!Once we got inside, & were seated, Jake was feeling out his new surroundings. Gotta love the side-eye!!"Mama, can you believe this place?!"He LOVED the waterfall!!


Come one, come all!

I'd like to welcome some new peeps to our blog!! Those that are wicked awesome, and now "following", and those that have come across our blog & enjoy reading it!! Hope you keep comin' back; you know I'll always have a story to tell! & love reading your comments!

Don't forget to let me get to know ya! I love reading your blogs, but it's easier when you 'follow' so I can know who I'm gettin'!

So, y'all come back now, ya here??

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Breastfeeding

I love it. I love spending that time with him. I love "using" my body the way God meant for it to be used. I love saving a buttload of cash. I love that it's the best thing I could ever do for him. I love that it feels like the most natural thing in the world.

All that being said....today, I feel like a milk faucet. I know it's just the way the day is set up~~a lazy day, the start of a long weekend (YAY!)~~that it feels like all I'm doing is using my lovely lady humps (can you read that & NOT think of Will Ferrel in Blades of Glory!?). Some days, it doesn't feel as convenient because I have to consider wardrobe & try to not make a spectacle of myself while prepping for a feeding.

:::Fun Factoid for when you're on Cash Cab: for each ounce of milk expressed (pumping or breastfeeding), you burn 25 calories!:::

I was watching this dinosaur of a show on Netflix, ThirtySomething, and this lady's baby was weaning herself from nursing. The lady was upset about it because that was the one thing her daughter could only get from her. It was a difficult transition for her. At first, I thought that that's just what happens, babies don't nurse forever, it's natural to stop. But, then I applied that to me & Jake. I can see a little bit of sadness when we stop. I'm going to keep breastfeeding until he's a year old, which seems like tomorrow!, but we still have some time left.

Part of me is tempted to keep pumping after the year is up so I can reap those breastfeeding benefits! Calories burned, big boobies, no monthly gifts!! (well...2 in a year and a half!!!!), giving my kid the immune system of a superhero ;).....who doesn't love that setup?!

But, rest assured, I'm not going to be the mom that breastfeeds a kid that can tie their shoes. I'm not one to judge, swearsies, but....
EW

I don't feel like changing diapers anymore

Have you heard?

Jake Liam LaMay is a grown ass man!

No one adequately prepared me for the fact that wee babes are born, and then want the car keys the next day. (probably the same people who didn't inform me that Nutella is nectar from Heaven)

Jake's grammy & grandpa are coming out in a couple weeks. When we have people out, I tend to start looking at Jake from an outside perspective; look at each smile, each grasp of a hand, each cat-n-mouse game he plays like I'm seeing it for the first time, like the way our visitors will. I should not do this.

This little baby came into our lives on a Sunday. Our first meeting went like this


Now, he amazes me in ways I can barely fathom. He sits up, rolls over like it's goin' out of style, likes to read ('read' loosely translates to 'chew on'....but still likes to have books read to him!) those touch 'n feel books, laughs at funny faces, uses different tones of voice & facial expressions when telling us about his day and, my two favorites....he reaches his hands outward when he wants to go to me or Gary, and opens his mouth wide & leans in for kisses. How one kid can be so cute is beyond me!


Now, this is our little man, all like "yah, mama. I channel Hugh Hefner in how comfy I am in a robe"

I'm just so so proud of him! :::heart explodes:::

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mama's & Papa's Days

First, I'd like to say that I find it a grave injustice that our first car payment is due 2 days after Mother's Day. My first official Mother's Day. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

Technically, this is Gary's 2nd Father's Day. Last year, he received a Father's Day card from one sister and a "Happy (almost) Father's Day" email from another sister. I, of course, received nothing. This was totally fine, since my baby was still an inside baby, but I thought Gary's babe was still bakin', too. We are, after all, the ones who created little Jake, said fetus. I don't know, biology was never my strong suit...perhaps I am mistaken?!?

Either way, I'd LOVE for these days to be very special for us this year. Gary will be here for sure on Mother's Day, but Father's Day is not guaranteed; we don't have a set date for deployment, only that it's in June.

I was going over in my mind things I might be able to do for him, but none of them seem good enough. How do you thank the man that goes above & beyond for you? That gets up early to give you a 4 hour nap. That understands some days are hell on wheels. That knows some days I need to shower & look pretty. That thanks you & compliments you & gave you this amazing little creature.

Jury's still out....

The 4-5 step program

Well....this is actually a 4-5 day program I'm talking about, but it doesn't sound as good as the title...

Our little Jake has a system. Every couple months, he has a 4-5 day spurt where he decides sleep is a luxury, one in which he is uninterested. He also likes to try out the personality trait of "hater". To sum up, he's a nocturnal hellraiser.

OK, my little boy doesn't deserve that....it's not that bad, but it isn't any fun. He's just a little agitated for a few days, and then it goes as quickly as it came. When Gary first came home from the field, he had an "episode" that first weekend. We chalked it up to starting solids and having daddy home. He decided to keep the fun going with another 4-5 day spurt this past week. Completely caught me off guard! A surprise I was not excited to receive. (I just realized I'm having some serious hindsight issues...it's not "that bad" because it's in the past. When it's in the moment, it happens to be quite irritating)

The teething post I wrote was, can you guess, right in the middle of the 4-5 days. He's never been that needy before. But, I'm happy to say, I'm sitting next to him right now, watching him dance in his jumperoo, cracking up at his Derek-Zoolander-"I've got the black lung, pop"- cough--which he finds quite hysterical, too!

He's still thisclose to pushing out a couple teeth (we can see the ridges of 2 bottom teeth!!), but the ending of the 4-5 days and Hyland's teething gel is his kryptonite.

((I've also decided I'm against teeth. Jake is losing his combover AND sooo close to sprouting teeth...he's looking too grown up!!))

Friday, April 16, 2010

Teething

Need I say more? All the seasoned mamas reading this just let out a collective "uuuggghhhh" that I can feel radiate in my bones. I'm not 100% sure teeth are this necessary anyway...

I know I have little sympathy from some because Jake :::knocksonwoodrepeatedly::: sleeps through the night, and has for a very long time, and takes decent naps during the day. But, now, teething has turned him into Satan's child. So, as fellow human beings, feel for me:

Jake was never the baby that minded if I set him in his bouncy seat and left the room, or laid him on a blanket to roll around and did a few chores, etc. Now, he is. I mean, he does that whine. You mamas know that. whine. The one that gets annoying about a tenth of a second after it starts. He won't let me do anything without staring directly at him. Case in point: Yesterday, I was getting ready for lunch with a couple mamas, and their tots, and ---after events soo frustrating my head popped off--- had him in the bouncy seat, at the door of the bathroom so I could blow dry my hair. I have super long hair, so it's not a 3 minute blow job (hahahahaha....). If I stared at him while I did it, he was fine. But, if I looked toward the mirror he'd whine. Stop when I looked at him. Whine when I looked away. This was not a fun game. If "the whine" only occurred during certain things, I'd be fine with it. Well, I'd learn to deal. But, it's during e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. And, that is meant as literally as a word can be meant. Sooo mentally taxing.

The suckfest continues with the fact that I know his attitude change is more in part to him going through a change than actual pain from said change. I know that because Jake will fuss if you get out of his line of sight, and his big, fat smile returns once you do. I don't doubt there's some discomfort from this teething, but I think he just wants the comfort of my being there. It's sooo wearing me out. It's such a complete 180 from who he is. We definitely have good times during the day, he's just so much more easily irritated.

He doesn't sleep at night, his naps during the day are shotty....I am mentally, and physically, a zombie. I look so tired :( Then, I feel like a giant a-hole because when I'm feeling beyond frustrated, he gives me his mega-watt smile. I love love love love love that little boy to pieces, but I'm about a breath away from leaving him on the neighbor's front step, or any place with diapers, really.

Yesterday, after the really bad morning, he was such a great little boy at lunch. Played with his little buddy, had across-the-table convo's with a "pretty pun'kin" :), and it filled me with overwhelming mama pride and happiness because my smiley baby was back. It felt so good to know he's still in there. Sure, that sounds melodramatic, but I'm past the point of caring!

I love that little guy, and it's not constantly bad, but it's definitely not easy at the moment. So, today, I'm pulling out all the stops. I've put on a teething gel (that says it's for 'restlessness (and something else...?) associated with teething'--couldn't be more appropriate), I'll be freezing a hand towel, have the frozen teether in the freezer, am going to try crushed ice... anything else anyone can think of. And, I kind of feel like Julie on Julie & Julia. A ton of people tell me they read our blog, but aren't "followers". So, please do me a major solid and become a follower (it'll take like 3 minutes!), then leave a comment if you have a tip that will help our baby boy feel more comfortable, or suggest a good, stiff drink...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jake's New Digs

At our old house, we (as in, Gary...I was pregnant!) painted our baby's room a shade of green since we never found out the sex of our little tot in-utero and were going for something neutral. It looked so nice, especially with the wood floors:As you can tell, we couldn't spend a paycheck on d├ęcor since we weren't sure what type of equipment baby had. Looking back, I'm still so excited we didn't give into temptation and find out the sex of our mini-muffin! It was more decorated then this after Jake arrived, though!

When we moved into this house, I decided not to paint the room, which goes against the grain of every fiber of my being, because if we have to PCS (permanent change of station) I don't want to worry about painting it back to "Fort Campbell White" (and, yes, there's a paint at Lowe's actually named that!). We were able to paint the old house because they were tearing it down to make new housing, so we didn't have to worry about making it Fort Campbell White! Either way, it pains me to have white walls. Soo boring. I'd have every room in this house painted if I had it my way, but we're making it a KISS operation. I do really wish we could have kept those wood floors, instead of the tile we have now, but, no biggie.

Once we were settled at this house, I ordered a couple things from etsy for Jake's room. The second item came yesterday, so his room is "complete" as of this second. It doesn't look finished because the white walls make it seem like something is missing, but it looks pretty good considering. So, I thought I'd share how adorable his room looks!
The CA license plate was an airport gift from grandpa...I think he wants to remind J how to get to him!

These are my favorite!!! I do feel slightly ashamed because this is something I could have done on my own. I just don't feel like I have the time to sit down and paint...I like to finish an art project all at once, not in spurts. But, I think they look soo great and excite me to no end!!



The monkey/tree decal, not a painting, is from etsy also. I have so much love for this I may explode. Because of the teeny branches, it nearly drove me crazy when putting it up, but I soo love it. I think it's perfect for a young one's room!
The outlet reminds me I need to baby proof!


I did do this one, though!! I did it at the beginning of August last year. I wanted J to have something from me that he'd be able to keep forever. I hope he likes it when he gets older. He certainly loves it now!


We did his little footprint the other night a few minutes before bed :) We tried to do his hand, but he just wanted to squish it!

I think we've done well with what we've got! I love his room, and he seems to get quite the kick out of it, too! And, that's all that matters

That's how he rolls

Jake has gone from rolling over (the most astounding thing to happen to anyone....ever) for a purpose, to doing so for sport. At night, I lay him in his crib horizontally. When I picked him up this morning, he was vertical, at the far end of his crib, deciding if it'd be better to flip back over to his back or enjoy the view from a crawling stance. He chose secret option #3---have mama come in and decide for him!

The first time he completed the roll, as oppose to flipping onto his side and having his plans foiled by his arm, was an afternoon when Gary was at work. We were having some floor time, and I had my legs outstretched on either side of him, in a 'V'. He rolled to his side to "get" the sheep on my jammie pants (totally cute, huh?! the pants I mean ;) !) and just decided to keep going! When I saw it was a possibility that he'd roll over, I swear I stopped breathing so as to not upset the delicate balance of the universe that was making this possible. The look of pride on his face when he was done was priceless!! So proud of our boy!

I suppose the days of laying him in the center of our bed with Sophie while I brush my teeth, or finish getting ready for an outing, are over. Jake is officially mobile!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Packing

Oh how I loathe this word. Unless it preceded "...for our trip to Jamaica" or "...for Christmas in California", like it has before. I have no love for this word.

Gary is deploying in early June. So, naturally, he's told last Thursday to have his bags ready to go this morning. We ran out to Sam's Club to spend $140 in hygiene (since we really have absolutely no means of communication for this deployment at the moment...before we knew there would be phones around, or an internet cafe. There's literally none of this, and no promise of it...that thought alone is enough to bring a tear to my eye).~~Sorry, I tend to write like I did for professors...like you haven't read our blog before!

Being given such a short amount of time to gather evvveerryyything, even by Army standards, is sorta difficult. I don't want to say stressful, because we weren't feeling that, but just difficult. As with the previous 2 deployments, there's about 3 billion piles around the house, loosely sorted into taking for sure, not necessary, and meaningful, but where do I put it?! I wish I was able to help more, but I really don't have enough knowledge about the RFI to do any good!

Jake's bedtime ritual starts at 7:30 now, and he's in bed by 8. After, we take care of a few things, grab our laptops, put on a show or movie, and sit on the couch, with my legs across him and we'll chat or have one of those silent conversations...saying all the things we don't want to say out loud more than we have to. But, last night was different. Gary's had a 4 day weekend, to include being off today, but he has to go in for a couple hours to turn in his many many A-bags. I stared at the side of my hubby's face, as he rubbed my calves in that way that can easily put me to sleep, and thought how soon that spot on the couch will be vacant. Sounds like I'm a masochist, huh? I'm really not, just trying to prepare myself, as if that's possible!, for the next year.

I try so hard to not take things for granted. I think I do a pretty good job. Life doesn't always allow for constant gratitude, but I'd say we do a pretty good job of being aware that we live on a clock and that since being apart is pure torture, we make the most of now. Carpe diem! :)

We have J's first baseball game this weekend (I come from a diehard baseball family....I'm pretty sure I bleed Dodger Blue!), then we're getting to the Nashville Zoo, the Grand Ole Opry, the park for a picnic, and other things I can't remember, in the next few weeks. I'm sooo grateful Gary is here to see Jake roll over, that he's around when Jake turned 6 months since that's when babies start to attach to their parents, that he'll (most likely!) be able to see Jake crawl or scoot. It's so great that Gary can see Jake go through these milestones, but it also makes us closer, when I didn't really think that was possible. When Jake gets that belly laugh goin', or decides to roll back and forth like a fish out of water, we'll reach for each others hands in total parental pride. But, it kind of serves as a scrapbook for our life. We went to proms together, saw each other graduate, waved "see ya later" when he left for MEPS, got married, had a baby...pretty much anything Hallmark has a card for we did together.

When I was in the FRG :::rolls eyes:::, I learned a lot about what goes on "behind the scenes". When the FRG used to actually call, rather than send a recorded message, I was a part of it. I called women to make sure they were doing well. I helped one wife, who was Japanese, and had a lot of trouble communicating. I helped another wife finalize things for buying a house. It felt good. And, I loved when Gary would call from Iraq and say that all these husbands were telling him how much I helped their wives. Deployments are stressful, any help makes a difference. Now, I know that in the next few weeks I'll be getting recorded messages with "pertinent" information. It's just so impersonal. I know making phone calls can be done once or twice a month..I hope they go back to that. For me, and sooo many other wives, this ain't our first rodeo. Been there, done that. All we, or I know that 'I', want is some friendly voice to ask what's going on in our world, and how they can make it better. I remember one time there was a cookie baking party to send our men decorated cookies for Christmas. So much fun! But, this time, we don't even have a mailing address. FRICK FRICK FRICK FRICK....This part of Afghanistan, which hasn't seen any units, is really trying to ruin my day! Luckily, Jake's grammy and grandpa are probably coming out next month, Uncle Kevin and Casey in June, Jake and I are going to Cali in August to have his first birthday party...thankfully, our dance card is filled up. Now, it's just that pesky sleeping alone thing to deal with....

We still have time, and I thank God for that. So, before our little man wakes up from his nap, and my big man wakes up from his!, I'm going to make sure every second of our conscious time together is spent making memories.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Who wants some cereallll??

Debra Wilson, you slay me.

Our precious baby boy, who lived in my belly, who wore newborn clothing, who couldn't hold up his head is now eating solids. I don't know whether I should be deliriously happy, or sob onto the keyboard.

We started with rice cereal the day Gary came home from the field, which worked out to be his birthday and 2 days before Jake turned 6 months. It was a big day! Since blogger is throwing a tissy and not allowing me to upload the video of J's first meal, this pic will have to be worth millionS of words :)
Our baby boy eating from a spoon! He loved it, too! He had to touch every.single.aspect. of the meal. From the spoon, to the bowl, to the cereal itself, to my fingers for holding the spoon, to my sweater sleeve which touched the hand that fed him....Gary and I were cracking up the whole time. He's very hands on!

We didn't have Jake's beautiful highchair yet, so the Bumbo worked just fine. But, we only used it once. I don't think we had a specific reason for doing so, but the next few times we fed him, before the highchair, we sat at the kitchen table, with Jake on Gary's knee. We loved loved loved watching Jake become more used to the spoon. He'd grab the pinky of my hand that held the spoon and help me to guide it in....tell me that doesn't melt your heart! Now, he sits with his hands on the tray of the highchair and opens his mouth very wide. So adorable I'd tear up if I wasn't so proud of him!

So far Jake has mastered rice cereal with pears (he wasn't a big fan of rice cereal on its own), organic oatmeal solo & with pears (Gerber), pears (homemade), applesauce (Gerber), bananas (mashed), avocado (mashed)--big fan!, peas (Gerber), and tonight he had homemade green beans for the first time. I'm glad that something I was excited to make him went over so well! I'm so thankful I was turned onto this baby food making thing. I love it!
I think this is applesauce. He could not get enough. Can you tell he's a touch excited??


Here he's having avocado for the first time--Gary said he loved it! I was out getting my 'do did, and Gary's buddy was over and took the pic. Seeing the two of them together makes my heart go pitter-pat :)


Compliments to the chef!

Everything he eats is organic and it's just amazing how much of a difference you can tell in the taste! "They" say it takes like 10-15 encounters with a food to develop a true like/dislike, but I'm pretty sure this face says 'like'!

Monday, April 5, 2010

So, the Easter Bunny stopped by....

But forgot to give me a head's up...
The three of us had a great Easter! It wasn't a typical, ham-dinner with a ton of the fam Easter, but it was a great little one :)
But, the Easter bunny did sneak up on me. I thought it was the second weekend in April, so I wasn't able to order J's personalized, keepsake Easter basket; we settled for a mini basket that did just as well:
Little J-Bone's basket was filled with little chocolate eggs and mini Reese's peanut butter cups---the treat people with true taste indulge in!--, like I said, Easter snuck up on me! But, he did really enjoy his card:I had to make Gary a little basket, too :) I don't think you ever outgrow getting sweet little gifts on holidays like this! I was telling Gary how our kids will be getting Easter baskets until they leave the house, then I'll probably send them wherever they are! I think it's one of those things that'll make Jake say "Moooom, you're such a nerd!", but, inside, he's hoping I'll never stop. I won't, baby J!

Jake thought it was totally unfair for his daddy to get a chocolate bunny, so he took matters into his own hands:

They were both very grateful for such a fab wifey and mama ;)
Our FAVORITE part was next. Jake and Gary went for an Easter egg hunt around our casa. Jake would pick up the egg and put it in his basket!!!! I think he was just trying to make his mama into an Easter Sunday puddle on the floor:Doesn't he look like Daffy Duck in that one Looney Tunes episode about him and Bugs Bunny getting to Pismo Beach, but end up in the cave with all the treasure/jewels? "Mine, you understand? No no no...mine mine mine ::::evil laugh::::" It's in our Netflix queue, and Jake's FAVORITE cartoon, as of now, so I'm well versed in its dialogue :)

All in all a great day!! It's amazing to see our wee baby boy becoming more and more aware of things, showing likes/dislikes...it's all purty awesome. But, whatever we've done to make him look like this is something I'll never stop:
Happy Easter!

(((I have every intention of writing about J's first time with solids, and all the foods he's tried, but haven't gotten around to it. He has his 6 month check up today, 6 month pics tomorrow.....maybe I'll do it tonight when he's in bed....)))

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Baby Baker turned Baby Food Maker!

Today, I made Jake's baby food!!!! 'Member I had a coupon for the Gerber organic stuff? He's been munching on that while I hashed out the opportunity to get to Nashville to pick up some organic fruits/veggies.I'm pretty much an unstoppable force with this baby food making. I have to credit any good foundation for baby food making to Sarah & Alena, whom I had explain to me how to do it 32 ways from Sunday. But, I did it!

Another post will be about Jake and his introduction to solids (blogger hasn't let me upload the video of his first meal. Turds.), but tonight it's all about ME! ;) hehe...I made green beans and pears. Little J loves pears, so that's a no-brainer, but I can't wait to see him try the green beans. They're soo good. I never really paid attention to the difference between organic and "regular" before, but they're soo much tastier.

Lemme do a money break down for ya, before I show the pics of my masterpieces:I went to Trader Joe's (LOVE.THAT.PLACE) and spent a little over $8, and got about a month's worth of organic veggies/fruits!! I love when it feels good to save...and it was feelin' good to make that baby food!
Green Beans

This teeny amount made about a week's worth!


This looks like death but is soo tasty!


Getting ready for freezing


Final product! Then, all I'm going to do is take one block out each morning, put it in one of J's bowls, with the lids that seal securely, and let it defrost in the 'fridge!


Pears

I had so much fun doing this! It's also a great relief to know that I know exactly what I'm feeding him.

PROPS TO SARAH!!!
She is what got me started in baby food making. At first, it seems like this huge task, with sooo much to think about. Sarah explained it all, and said the line that completely calmed me "it's just for practice". It finally clicked that the baby food is still second-fiddle to my milk, so I don't have to worry about pumping, and how to coordinate breast feedings with solids. Solids work around booby milk!
Sarah.....I <3 you

Grateful

Needless to say, I've been pretty pumped about having to go out and run errands. Jake is excited to do just about anything, the weather is g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s, and THE NEW CAR!!

As J and I headed out, I got to thinking about just how happy I was to be running errands. I'm so grateful to be doing what I'm doing. I get to be with my boy alll day--which includes playdates, cuddle time, leisurely walks etc etc etc, I get to make baby food (and blog about it!), I get to make dinner and blankets and scrapbooks....I'm Martha-freakin'-Stewart, minus the jail time.

Not to say that I'm always thrilled about things like making dinner, but it's a beautiful thing. I love that Gary is excited for dinner because it's just. that. good. I love that a buddy of his said he wanted to marry me for my monkey bread. I love that when Jake is older I'll be able to recount every move his sweet little body ever made. I'm so grateful for this. I'm also aware that I probably sound like we're a family trying to emulate the times of Lucy Ricardo. Gary loves it, too. He loves to feel taken care of, who doesn't?

My mom tells me about that one time I said I was not having any kids. I think I was around 13. I have no recollection of this, but I remember feeling something similar. I remember feeling what a pain it was to be the oldest of 4 kids sometimes. My internal monologue must have been something like a chant of "leave me alone...KNOCK FIRST....leave me alone....KNOCK FIRST...PUT DOWN THE SEAT -I JUST FELL IN" This never drove me to truly feel like I didn't want kids, or that I'd be some "career woman" in spite of it, but just drove me crazy in those instances. Now, those 3 boys I grew up with are becoming men and mean more to me than I thought possible. There's Colin, 13, who always makes sure he's treated like an equal--not the youngest. There's Patrick, 17, whose factoid knowledge would astound Ken Jennings (seriously, if you're ever on Cash Cab, use him as your mobile shout out). There's Kevin, 22, who is the perfect combination of "I'll beat your ass" and "Give me a hug, which I'll turn into a humping session so the moment isn't too sappy"

As a mama, I'm able to think back at seeing my brothers as wee babes and think how crazy it is now that they're grown. I love when we have those conversations where we really get into something and I can learn even more about them. I love that Gary & I had a houseful of testosterone during Christmas, and I don't think we stopped laughing once.

I think about how Jake will be a big brother. I know he'll be close with his sibling(s) because that's the code. The code states that you must always have your sibling's back--no matter the consequence, and you ALWAYS cover for them with your parents. When Kevin and I were told to brush our teeth before bed we'd go in there, put toothpaste on our tongue and then congratulate ourselves on having such cunning minds. This sounds nuts, but I can't wait for Jake to have that. I can't wait to tell our kids their birth story every single birthday. I can't wait to hear their teeny feet running to our bedroom on Christmas morning. I can't wait to show them that Gary and I will always be their safety net, without being overbearing---that would make us monstrous hypocrites, no?? ;)

I'm so grateful my husband not only supports me being a stay at home mama, but enjoys it. We enjoy that dynamic. I love that he wants to be the provider, the breadwinner, the protector, the one who takes care of his family. He loves that I want to be here when he gets home, that I want to be his sounding board, that he knows he's coming home to someone just anticipating his arrival. And, if our dynamic is to change--like, I need to get a job--that'll be fine, too. The important thing is to find our balance, our routine. And, we're blessed enough to have one we really really like. We love knowing that we're devoting our selves to one another in such complementary ways.

More than a couple times, I've entertained the idea of grad school. I had the grades for it, and I definitely have the drive for it, but as Paula and I figured out (she's in grad school for counseling, so I know what we figured out is right! ;) ), I just want to know I can get in. I want to apply, be accepted, and then never attend a class. We think that once I started, I'd be so sad because I'd have homework to do and I couldn't devote my days to my boys. As if a BS in psychology is so sub-par ;) I use that degree every single day, but the payment I get is worth so much more than any amount of money.