Thursday, December 22, 2011

7 months, not quite 8

There are so many things to love about Liam!  He has completed our family, although I will say it is amazing how different parenting a second child is, compared to the first.  We are no longer "green" parents, worrying over the smallest detail or sound.  Not fussing over developmental milestones, and allowing him to be who he is, at his own pace.

Some things I am especially enjoying about the wonderful age of 7 months...

1)  Rolls and dimples everywhere...knuckle dimples, wrist rolls, double chin, buddha belly, chubby thighs...I love them all.
2)  How his eyes light up when his sister (or one of the cats) walks into the room.
3)  His head of thick curly brown's totally adorable, and earns him compliments everywhere we go.
4)  How he holds his own bottle, and the little sighs and contented groans he makes when he drinks his milk.
5)  Nursing no longer is painful (but those teeth are bound to show up soon)
6)  Speaking of no teeth, I know the days of gummy smiles are numbered, but oh, how I enjoy them.
7)  The babbling, and occasional sounds of ma-ma, ba-ba, and da-da that we hear.  I don't think he really correlates them to anything yet, but I sense he understands what we mean when we say them.
8)  The high-pitched squeals when he's excited about something...they can occasionally be ear-piercing, but they are his way of communicating right now.
9)  His eyebrows are so expressive.
10)  He's a tummy sleeper, and can finally do this safely.
11)  He's close to soldier crawling, but right now can only spin around on his belly.  He usually does this in order to see what his sister is doing.  He gets frustrated that he can't do more yet.
12)  Emerson can elicit big belly laughs from him like no one else.  It's a joy to see them interact.
13)  Learning to slash in the bathtub.
14)  Watching his mind work as I do sign language, sing him songs, read a book or play patty-cake...he's soaking it all in silently.
15)  I love to let him sleep on my shoulder after the last feeding of the night.  Milky breath, baby snores, and the smell of baby shampoo.  I could stay there all night.
16)  I'm so glad that his baseline disposition is that of happy boy, much like his sister was a happy baby girl.  He's an easy-going little guy, as long as the milk delivery is kept on schedule.  
17)  I am so thankful he is a healthy, robust little boy.  I worried we wouldn't get here 7 months ago when we were sitting in the NICU with a 5 lb baby.

I love this kid, and wish his babyhood wasn't flying by so quickly.  I really am trying to remember to take time to enjoy this period, rather than tiredly slog through another day.  It's just another day closer to a first birthday, a first day of kindergarten and a hundred other firsts.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Age 4, not quite 5

Emerson will turn 5 in February, and I must say, I can't believe how fast the time has gone.  I have enjoyed age 4, with all the stubbornness, growth spurts, sweetness and sass.  This girlie has got quite a personality and charms everyone she meets (then yaks their ear off).

Things I love about Emerson at age 4:
1)  We must "pinky promise" a lot these days.
2)  Her sense of humor, and the oodles of giggles that erupt from her regularly.
3)  Her vivid imagination, and eye for details (she completely recreated the dentist's office the evening of her appointment, and replayed the visit word for word in the living room!)
4)  How she skips everywhere we go now.
5)  That she seems to have finally conquered the thumb-sucking habit, and she is immensely proud of this.
6)  She is on the cusp of becoming a reader...she loves to copy words down, asks how to spell everything, and enjoys practicing writing.
7)  She has wrapped and unwrapped various gifts for virtually every family member at least 3 times.  No telling what's inside.
8)  She loves to help Mom in the kitchen, which usually means a mess will ensue.
9)  She still wants to hold my hand, and occasionally will tell me, "I want to hold your hand forever"
10)  She seems to have friends all over Chapel Hill, as it I don't think we can go anywhere in this town without someone yelling out, "Emerson!"  (and then, "oh, Hi Emerson's Mommy")
11)  She routinely tells us, "OK, here are your choices..." or, "OK, guys, here's the deal".  I find this hilarious.
12)  She is an amazingly loving big sister, often kissing Liam's head and telling him how much she loves him.
13)  Her fashion sense by far surpasses her mother's.  (and man, can this girl accessorize!)
14)  She still must have her blankie to sleep.
15)  She has a wonderfully compassionate and giving spirit, often thinking of others.
16)  She has memorized countless Christmas carols, and belts them out in the car.
17)  She will finally talk to people on the phone...much to everyone's joy.
18)  Her "r's" still sound like "w's", and honestly, I will be sad when she can pronounce them the right way.
19)  She loves to play opposites, rhyming words or I Spy....any time, any where.
20)  She has been drawing family portraits, which usually include her in pigtails, and Liam in a Santa suit.

I love this girl, and am so thankful for the joy she has brought to our lives.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December Happenings

We're only a week into this month, and it already feels rather full.  Last weekend, we went to Hillsborough to the annual Holiday Parade.  Such a cute little town, and fun to watch the marching bands and fire trucks go down the street.  I wore Liam in a baby carrier, and he took in the sights.  We took some food to our friends who adopted a newborn boy (cute as a little button) a few weeks ago.  They looked tired, but so full of joy.  It was a lovely thing to see.  Em had a birthday party at the Little Gym on Sunday, and hung out with her new little bestie girlfriend, Katie.  I got some cute pics of them together and Katie's family invited Emerson over for a playdate...her first!  We put up the tree & Christmas decorations over the weekend, and blasted Christmas music to help get us in the mood.  It's been unseasonably warm here, so it's hard to feel holiday-ish when you can wear shorts.  I pulled out the Advent calendar that I made a few years back, and Em has been enjoying opening a tin each morning...she is so amazed when the events match up with what we're doing that totally cool is that?!  We're going to see Disney on Ice (Tangled) soon, and we will begin doing some holiday baking this week for a cookie exchange at church on Sunday.  Em and I were making a mental list of the things we want to bake over the next few weeks...carmel corn, chex mix, butter cut-out cookies.  We're trying a new cookie recipe for the exchange...peanut butter reindeer cookies, thanks to Pintrest (my newest time-suck!).  Liam is scooting around the floor on his tummy, and somehow makes it from one side of the room to the other without rolling or's sorta like a slow-motion slug, but way cuter.  He still hasn't popped a tooth yet, but is definitely teething.  Em was playing beauty shop with him tonight, and he was very tolerant.  He's back upstairs in his crib at night now, and it's going pretty well.   I need to get going on sewing his Christmas will be here before we know it!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Swing Into Fall

The weather over the weekend was really lovely, and I think the foliage is about at its peak right now.  It's a great time to be outside, even if the temps are a little brisk.  Keith took Em to church on Sunday, and then they went out to lunch with some buddies.  Liam and I stayed home to chill out, and Liam took a mega-nap that morning.  We were able to take a 2 mile walk once he woke up, and everyone wanted to be outside together in the afternoon.  It was a great day to enjoy the backyard playset, and we pulled out the baby swing for Liam.  I'm not sure he knew what to make of it, but Emerson sure enjoyed having her brother swing next to her.  She's finally mastered the art of pumping on the swings within the past 6 months, and loves to take that swing as high as it will go!

The Child of the Week

Emerson's class has 2 big things going on all year.  Each week, a different kid is designated "the child of the week", and last week was Em's turn.  Families are encouraged to bring in photos for the bulletin board, and the kiddos fill out a little info sheet to share tidbits about themselves with the class.  They can bring in their favorite book & toy to share, and parents are invited to come in to read to the class.  Keith got to go on Wednesday to read Harold & the Purple Crayon, which Em specifically requested.  She took her My Little Pony in on Friday to share.  We snapped a few photos of the bulletin board while we attended the class Halloween party on Monday.  Em realllllllly enjoyed being the center of attention all week, and pointed out to us that she got to sit in the chair of honor, right next to the teacher's rocking chair all week long.

The other event that goes on all year is Brody.  Brody is the class mascot, and is a stuffed dog who gets to go home for a week with each child.  There's a journal that accompanies him on the home visit, and the families are encouraged to document "what he does" while he visits you.  You can include photos, journal entries, and art to tell the story.  Em's turn for Brody is mid-January, and we'll have to see what kind of fun stuff we can cook up while he's our houseguest!


This year, it was cold & rainy on Halloween, so we decided to try something new.  Instead of walking around our cold, wet, dark neighborhood (which by the way has no sidewalks or streetlights, so trick-or-treating is a little challenging even in the best of weather conditions), we headed over to University Mall in Chapel Hill for indoor trick-or-treating.  It was actually kinda nice!  Shop owners were all dressed up, lots of families were there, it was fun to people-watch & check out the creative costumes some kids wore. Liam was super stimulated by all the noise & commotion, but stayed calm.  This was definitely a nice alternative, and something we'll keep in mind in the future if the weather doesn't cooperate on 10/31.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween 2011

This year, we decided to throw a neighborhood Halloween party.  We held it on the 29th, and ended up with about 30 people running around our backyard!  The weather was rainy in the morning, which sent a little panic through my spine, as I envisioned all those people holed up in our house.  The rain tapered off & the deck dried out enough that we could still hold it outside.  It was a little chilly, but we had hot cider to keep tummys warm.  Em & I had been busy making cut-out cookies & cupcakes all week, and they were very much appreciated by all the parents & kids.  You can never go wrong with Gram's butter cookie recipe.  We also did candy corn rice krispie treats, witch's brew punch, a carmel apple station with all sorts of toppings, and cupcakes decorated like mummies & skeletons.  We decorated the deck, and played games.  The party was really fun, and we've been nominated to make this an annual event.

Fall Fun

We tried a new place this year for pumpkins, and it had a corn maze.  Em had fun leading us through by following the alphabet, tied in various spots in the maze to stalks of corn.  There were a few farm animals for petting/feeding, a hayride and lots of photo ops.  Em picked a pumpkin, and then she & Dad did the carving honors this year.  Em wanted nuttin' to do with pumpkin guts.  

Full of Hot Air

We finally made it to the annual Hot Air Balloon Festival in Statesville NC in October.  We've tried to go to this with our friends, Fred/Lennie/Joanne, for years, but either the weather didn't cooperate or something came up that prevented us from going.  Not this year, by gum!  It was a beautiful Fall day in NC, and we got there just in time to see scores of balloons lifting into the sky for the mass afternoon ascent.  It was so cool!  We got to watch several balloons inflate, including one called the Purple People-eater.  What a hoot!  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Crazy Kids...

Keith & Em decided to camp out in a tent last weekend.  It got down to the low 50's that night, and eventually they got cold & came inside.  They watched movies on the iPad & ate popcorn in the tent.  Not exactly roughing it, but memories are made of this.

Slow down, growing boy...

Liam is changing so fast.  He's eating fruits & veggies, his mop of curly hair is totally adorable, he's squealing & belly-laughing at his sister, trying to sit on his own, playing & watching the world with big eyes lined with long, dark lashes.  Sigh...