Saturday, September 25, 2010

Look Ma, No Hands!

Yep, another milestone today for our Little Man. He's now comfortable enough to let go and stand alone while playing for up to 20 seconds at a time. Woo hoo! He's not stable enough yet to start taking steps, but just give him a couple weeks and I'm sure that'll be next! He's a super-fast crawler now, pulls himself up on everything and loves to climb the stairs. We're so proud of him! He lets nothing slow him down. :-)

{oh, and he claps for himself--how cute is that?!}

{Are you checking me out?}

{Hello, all my fans!}

{James also loves to play sword fight with Daddy and Maddie!}

Randomness...these pictures crack me up. Our beagle Lucy is just the best dog. She's so patient with the kids and {sometimes} lets them do funny stuff to the other day when Maddie wanted to "make Lucy more comfortable" by piling about 5 layers of blankets on top of her AND giving her a doggie stuffed animal to sleep with. Lucy just rolled her eyes and put up with it all. What a good dog! :-)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gearing Up

This morning marked another turning point...Grandma Darlene had to get on a plane back to Ohio. Back to her normal life and husband who missed her so much. Back to her daughter and other grandkids. Back to *free time* during her day and being able to go to the bathroom and eat whenever she wants! Now that's freedom! :-) We were BLESSED beyond belief to have her with us for 7 whole weeks. She tended to all the kids' needs. She cleaned the house. She was my right-hand lady and now we have to gear up for a new transition. I STILL have not been cleared to be able to lift James. {Can you imagine not being able to lift/hold your own baby for 2 months?!} My back is slooooowly getting better with physical therapy 2x week and exercises I do multiple times every day, but it's definitely not responding as quickly as I'd like. I feel okay if I'm standing up, but can only sit for very short periods of time {5-10 minutes} and any movements related to lifting or bending over hurt, which impacts everything...diaper changes, cooking, doing dishes, cleaning, etc. So now we're on the hunt for a daytime babysitter. NOT the way I'd choose to spend money, but we don't really have any other options. I seriously think there should be some sort of insurance / worker's comp for MOMS who get injured!

James is doing awesome and continues to amaze us and his physical therapist with how quickly he is picking up on things! He is super active and always on the go, climbing over things, cruising all the furniture, using his toys or boxes as "walkers" to push through the house, climbing the stairs. He finally figured out real crawling this week, but sometimes still resorts to his default "slap/drag" method on his stomach. :-) Last week his doctor gave the OK for him to start SOLID FOODS...hooray! So far he likes applesauce, baby oatmeal and bananas. The first bite is always a blech face, but then he warms right up to it.

{hooray for food!}

On a fun note, Maddie and I are gearing up for her 4th birthday, coming up November 2nd. {Now, if I could only pick a party day that works with everyone's schedules! I swear, football season and soccer season are huge buzz-kills when it comes to trying to plan a party with kids and adults!} Against all of my best Mommy persuasion, Maddie has picked a PIRATE theme for her birthday this year. Why, you ask? Because they have cool telescopes. {But couldn't we just get you a toy telescope without planning a whole party around it, Maddie? Apparently not.} I guess Maddie is ahead of the curve because I've found quite a bit of pink girlie pirate stuff on the internet...who knew?! Of course, when you take skulls and crossbones and swords out of the equation {because that just crosses the line for 4 year olds in my opinion}, you aren't left with much. Pirate ships. Treasure chests. Treasure hunt. Palm trees. Oh, and telescopes for spying all those approaching pirates on the high seas, for sure. We'll go with that. So here's something I made last night for the party out of an old shoe box, foam paper and some embellishments...

She loved it...mission accomplished.

Friday, September 3, 2010

James' Birthday Scrapbook

I mentioned in my post yesterday {scroll down for all the b-day pictures!} that I was hard at work last month making scrapbook pages for James' baby layout for each month of his first year. Want to take a peek? {Click on each photo to view it full-size.}


{one month old}

{two months old}

{three months old}

{four months old}

{five months old}

{six months old}

{seven months old}

{eight months old}

{nine months old}

{ten months old}

{eleven months old}

{twelve months old}

"First Year" journaling reads:

Dear James,

You are now one year old. What an amazing milestone for you, little buddy. I am proud of all of us that we have made it through the last 12 months...or more appropriately, the last 12 months + 34 weeks. The dream to grow our family has had a lot of ups and downs over the last five years. We had your sister Madeline, miscarried twice, lost your brother Nicholas and had a very high-risk pregnancy with you. Too many doctor visits to count. Numerous ultrasounds. The doctors gave us little hope to hang on to. Every week they speculated at a new catastrophe brewing inside your little body growing in my womb. But your daddy and I had hope and faith in God that He would bring new life to our family, to make it complete...a little life that would be strong and whole and unblemished. You had to arrive in this world earlier than we'd have liked. our first few months were spent in the NICU, battling for your life and the health of your fragile body. I knew deep in my heart, even when you were still inside my womb, that you were a fighter! I'd chant to you, "You prove 'em wrong, buddy!" Daddy and I and countless others have been by your side, cheering you on every step of the way. No doubt it's been a bumpy ride this past year, but we never wavered from our goal--to watch you fight and overcome the odds. You have been blessed by the prayers of hundreds, if not thousands of people, to bring you to this point. You are a trooper. You are my hero. You are my cherished son.

Love, Mama

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, James!

{James' actual birthday was August 31, so forgive me for being a few days late, little buddy!}

We celebrated James' first birthday with dear friends a couple of weeks ago. I had grand hopes and dreams for this party, with visions of Amy Atlas/Martha Stewart perfection dancing in my head. In my mind, every detail was beautiful, every handmade little touch was placed just right. The photography would look wonderful and the event would be such a hit that I'd submit the ideas and pictures to party blogs on the internet and be "published" for the first time! {Mind you, I was in the midst of constant back pain and on super painkillers at the time, so perhaps that fueled my delusions of grandure!} The reality was much different than my grand dreams. For one, it was 98 degrees that day AND we had winds of THIRTY-FIVE mph. This was a total shock, since we never, ever have wind around here more than a light breeze. {Of course, by the next day the crazy-hot winds were gone and all was back to normal. Ugh.}

If I had a video of my mom, dad, Darlene and I trying to set up at the park for the party it would probably be pretty hilarious. How many grown-ups does it take to secure a tablecloth in 35 mph winds? That would be 3 people draping themselves across the table + one person frantically trying to tie the flailing cloth with yarn and Duck tape...and failing. One tablecloth blowing on top of the fresh birthday cake and getting covered with frosting. Tissue paper pom-poms rolling like tumbleweed across the park. Handmade birthday banners that didn't even get hung. Scrapbook pages slaved over, hoping to be hung in long garlands to honor every month of James' first year...instead Duck taped to a picnic table...and then tied over with twine when that started blowing off. Decorations mangled. Plates of food flipping up in the air. A birthday cake that was a puddle of cream cheese frosting on the outside and still frozen on the inside. Um, yeah. Pretty much a disaster. Sorry, James--Mommy tried her hardest! I really wanted this to be a great party, since we never got to celebrate Maddie's first birthday {she came down with a double ear infection!}...but I guess there's always next year...and many INDOOR party settings from now on! All that really matters is that our boy is happy and healthy and we get to love on him every day.

What's on the menu, you ask?
mini piggies-in-a-blanket
cheese & pepperoni pizza bites + pizza sauce {}
chicken enchilada dip roll-ups {}
veggies and ranch dip
rainbow fruit sticks {strawberry, orange, pineapple, green grape, blueberry, purple grape}
popcorn with white cheddar or kettle corn seasonings
berry lemonade
apple juice boxes
bottled water

{LOVE this old-fashioned popcorn maker...we borrowed it from my dad's office!}

Dessert Bar
rainbow layer cake with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting

pretzel rods coated with white chocolate & rainbow sprinkles

rainbow swirl "playdough lollipop" cookies {}

{a close-up of the "Happy 1st Birthday James" mini flag banner on the cake...hanging on for dear life in the party photo above!}

{melting rainbow cake...not the prettiest picture, but very yummy!}

{Homemade party favors for each child: party hat, box of playdough and jar of bubbles}

{rainbow tissue paper pom-pom decorations--aka: tumbleweed}

{Bonnie with Maddie + Alli's girls, Ava and Macy}

{my aunt Lee Ann + James}

Happy first year, buddy! You are such a joy to us. :-)

P.S.--More tomorrow...close-ups of all those scrapbook pages in honor of his first year!