Monday, June 29, 2009

Getting Frisky

Oh boy. Maybe he can't crawl yet, but he's getting frisky. Topher learned how to take off his own diaper. I was just drying my hair the other day and Topher was lying on the floor of the bathroom and when I looked over at him, he was totally naked from the waist down. He must have hid the sound of the Velcro tearing off under the roar of my hairdryer because I never heard a thing. I could tell he was pretty darn proud of himself, but isn't he a little young to be streaking already? This one is going to keep me on my toes. --KC

Friday, June 26, 2009

Beautiful Boy

I don't know how we did it, but we did it. We created something so beautiful that I am constantly amazed by it. We don't take any credit for it, we just marvel at it.
Those eyes. Those liquid blue eyes that are so easy to get lost in. We don't know if they will stay blue, but they don't show any signs of changing or becoming cloudy or dulling to a different color. Those eyes are going to be the reason we spoil him.
That smile. It is literally heart-melting. It might be the reason I'm here, to give life to someone who could smile that way. Another reason this little boy will be very spoiled. In the best possible way.
That nose. That nose gets a lot of compliments. From the day he was born, he has had no bridge to his nose. His face is very smooth between his eyes and his little nose just sprouts out from his face like a little button. It gives him that Gerber look and I love to kiss it.
Those feet. We call them robot feet because all the toes are essentially the same length, making his feet look like little square blocks that could crush a miniature city. I know someday those feet are going to move very fast. Hopefully every once in a while they will be running towards me.
That hair. Although he was born with plenty, it fell out in patches (we refer to that as his Hat Phase) and it has taken its time coming back. But it's there, especially on his crown, and after his bath, with a little lotion on his head, he can sport some spikes. It is my favorite time of day, when his hair sticks up that way.
I know I'm not baby-crazy. I know I have serious doubts about whether or not I could ever have another one. But the one that I have is gorgeous, and I'm so glad that out of all the women in the world, I was chosen to be his mommy. It feels like winning the lottery. I love you, Topher.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Eight Months

Eight months and two days ago, I was getting a routine prenatal checkup and finding out that I was already 4-5 centimeters dilated. No symptoms, no warning, and 4 weeks too soon. The doctor said that the labor could stall and it could be another 2 weeks, or that the baby could be born that same night. After that shocking appointment, we drove straight to Target and started throwing things into the cart with wild abandon. I packed a hospital bag that night, too, just in case. Then we both slept through the night. No contractions. The next morning we kind of shrugged our shoulders and TJ went to work. About 30 minutes later, I started noticing that my back was hurting a little bit, but with the baby sticking straight out in front of me, that was nothing new. The only strange thing is that it would hurt a little more, and then less, and then a little more, and then it would subside again. Just out of curiosity, I started writing down when my back would hurt and when it would stop. After a while, my notes found a pattern of regular 4-5 minute intervals. I called a nurse hotline, and was told that it's not contractions until I feel them all the way around my middle, not just in my back. But after I told her that I was already 4-5 cm, she told me to call the doctor. I did, and then I called TJ to please come home. I was totally prepared to be told that I was having Braxton-Hicks, and to go back home. But once at the doctor, I was told I was 8 cm. and was immediately wheeled across the street and checked into a labor room. (I didn't even know that it was possible to be so far along and not realize it. I'm still amazed it happened that way.) Here is the last pregnant picture I took, 16 days before Topher was born:

Eight months later, here we are. Has it only been eight months? I think I've lived another lifetime since Topher was born. And I fear that we're committing the Cardinal Sin of parenthood: we're wishing him bigger. We LOVE that he smiles and laughs, we love that he sits up and that he's forever reaching for the cat. But I can still feel his frustration. He wants to MOVE. And I know that my job will technically get harder once he is mobile, but for his sake I want it anyway. He also wants to EAT. He is intrigued by our "big people" food. He longs for it, stretches towards it, grabs at it. But even when we give him a small piece of table food, he can't figure out how to eat it. He needs teeth, the teeth that are taking their sweet time and driving us all insane. How long has Topher been drooling incessantly now and chewing on anything he can grab? He started before he was even 4 months old. And don't get me wrong...his toothless grin is so endearing, it makes me want to burst. But if teeth will ease his overall pain and fussiness, I welcome them. Would I live the last 8 months over again if I could? No, I honestly don't think that I would. I'm too relieved that we survived them the first time around. But would I trade them for anything? No, absolutely not. I'm too in love with my chubby, busy bundle. Happy 8 months, little one. You're simply amazing.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hot, Hot, Hot

Summer is here and it is stifling. The humidity makes it hard to breathe. Mosquitoes seem to have inherited the earth. Whenever we take a walk, we all go into a sort of heat coma. Good thing the neighbors have a pool. Too bad the water in it is ice cold. Topher can tolerate it if he sits on me and dips his feet in.
We're working up to putting him in his own baby float. He practices in the living room so he can acclimate.
This weekend was great. Saturday Topher helped TJ set up for the garage sale. We made about $30. Not impressive. But we sold some things we were just going to throw out, so it was fine. Just really hot. Then Topher helped TJ open his Father's Day presents.
Topher was especially excited to give TJ the present he made: a new series of pictures for daddy to put on his desk at work.
Later, TJ and I got to go on a date with our garage sale money. Thanks, baby, for being such a good husband and daddy. We both love you so much.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Living With Vin

I live with Vin Diesel. And sure, maybe the Vin I live with is a little shorter than the Hollywood version, but the resemblance is uncanny.
And now that we've had a baby who I am repeatedly told is a clone of his daddy, we're creating a new generation of little Vins.
How did I get so lucky?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Water Bug

Topher loves the bath. He likes to roll over and over and over like an alligator. And when he's this happy, it's easy to photograph him.
Isn't he gorgeous? Even though he's at a hard age, I find him delicious. Yes, he's very wiggly and it's hard to change him or dress him. Yes, he mumbles and grunts a lot and chews on his tongue because his little gums hurt. Yes, he stays up very late and still wakes us up in the middle of the night, and then again very early in the morning. And yet, it's getter better as he gets older. He can sit up and reach for things. He can smile so big. He can flip the pages of a book. He's starting to understand what words mean. I can say, "Touch Daddy" and he'll think about it and then, most of the time, he'll reach over and pat TJ. If we hold him up to the mirror and say "Touch the baby," he will reach out and tap his reflection.
Even though some things about his development are getting harder (he's very close to crawling and church is impossible because he doesn't want to just sit there, so we end up in the hall, letting him roll around on the floor), we're so relieved that he's not a newborn anymore that we barely care. He's almost 8 months old. If we can survive what we've already survived, I think we can handle any amount of terrible toddler-ness that is to come. I thought that having a new baby would be so precious and that I would be sad whenever he would reach his milestones, like something was slipping away from me. But the truth is that this experience is getting better with time. Much better. My little water bug is getting big, and I love it.

Cleaning the Attic

There is a city-wide garage sale this Saturday, and I thought it would be a great chance to get rid of all the junk in our house so that if we ever do sell, it will be a lot easier to move. And since the inside of the house has been cleaned top to bottom, that just leaves the attic. And the attic is huge. It's 30 feet long and about 8 feet wide, and it was full. Until a couple weeks ago, you couldn't even make your way to the back, but during our city's "trash day" we got up there and cleared enough trash away so that there was at least a path down the middle: It doesn't look that bad, I know...but it's 30 feet of overlapping items, tons of bugs, and boxes I was scared to even open. Then yesterday, I attacked with full force. One at a time I pulled out boxes, bags, and loose items (many with spiders and other critters attached and running for their lives) and started sorting. Where I once had about 5 or 6 scattered boxes of old school work and 2 treasure chests from my childhood, I now have one plastic bin clearly labeled "memories." Trash accounted for about 30% of the clutter once I had consolidated things: Our"sell" pile kept growing and growing and growing, also. Here's the final sell pile: It was a hot, sweaty job that required a lot of pushing heavy things around, hoisting bins up and down, and freaking out every time I got trapped in a spiderweb. I had to keep climbing up there and pushing things toward the front (while hunching over because it's easy to hit your head on a light bulb up there...TJ and I have broken a few bulbs on our heads that way and it hurts.) Luckily, Topher took some long naps that gave me uninterrupted time to work. But I'm proud to say that I turned all the stuff in the attic into 7 manageable, labeled bins. There are no loose items gathering dust and bugs anymore, and I know exactly what we own and where it's located. Here's how it looks now: There is a TON of empty space now...probably about 12 feet of totally open space after the last plastic bin, and another 12 toward the front. I am so addicted to projects like this, I should do it for a living. It was exhausting, but it feels SO good to be so obsessively clean and organized. :) And the hardest part wasn't the physical nature of it, it was just making about a million decisions in a row. Keep or toss? Sell or store? Do I really need this? Will I want this in 5 years, in 10 years? If I open that box, will I find another spider nest? Am I brave enough to reach back into that corner? How much do we really use this item? Do we want to lug this into our next house? Mentally, I was beat. But I'm so happy because whenever we sell this house, moving is going to be a much more manageable task. Now all we have to do is throw the bug bomb up there like a grenade and we'll be in good shape. --KC

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sitting Pretty (Or Handsome, In This Case)

Topher is BUSY. He wiggles and squirms and scoots and shuffles, but I can tell he wants more. He wants to stand. I saw him reaching up for the couch today, so I stood him up and let him hold on to the edge of the couch and he was very excited about it. His legs are strong, and he'll stiffen them up to hold his weight, but he's nowhere near doing it himself. After he got bored of that, I decided to try to sit him up again. Usually he immediately throws his weight backwards but today he actually sat for a little while. Naturally, I caught it on tape. (I apologize in advance for all the comments such as, "Good boy, Topher!" and, "You are such a big boy!" But I was excited and I'm a mom and I'm allowed to talk to Topher that way now. Nevertheless, I have enough awareness to realize that it gets annoying, so feel free to turn down the sound.) Just a note: I tried to get Topher to sit up again right after I ended taping this and he acted like he had never done it before. He threw his weight back and wouldn't even try to do it. This is why I take so many just never know what a baby is going to do. --KC

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wearing Out the Printer

I have decided to go digital with my journal since I can type so much faster than I can write, but I still like having a hard copy I can flip through. I was printing out my entries one at a time, cutting them down to size, and gluing them into a traditional journal. Too much work. So I went back and reprinted all the entries since Topher's birth along with all the blogs so far (because sometimes I'll write on the blog rather than in my journal so without the blogs, my journal has big gaps) and I put them all in order. It's probably about 250 pages of text. Just since October. Wow. I'm just going to 3-hole punch them and put them in a binder, since that is so much easier. I love that journaling is one of my strengths, because I have a truly terrible memory, and details get so lost in my head.
Topher is still not crawling. He'll roll and scoot but he just can't figure it out, poor kid. And still no teeth. And still no mimicking of words or sounds. Sometimes he'll say something that sounds like "boo" or "gee" but that's about it. Oh, and he's still not sitting up or even attempting to. He keeps getting bigger, though. He had a checkup yesterday and he is 85th percentile for weight and 21st percentile for height. We're going to need a growth spurt if he's ever going to even out, lol. Otherwise he'll just be our short, round little sweetheart. He gets compliments wherever we go (especially on his big blue eyes) and everyone feels the need to tell me that he's a little clone of TJ (as if I hadn't already figured that out.) Here he is wrestling with TJ the other night:
We had 2 more showings of the house last weekend, but no offers yet. Our open house is this Saturday, so we'll see if we get any feedback from that (it also happens to be Cambridge's Jubilee Days so there should be a lot of people in town that aren't usually here). If no one is interested, we'll lower the price and just keep waiting. We survived a heavy storm Sunday night (just barely). We got about 2.25 inches in 30 minutes...that's the one thing this town can't handle, a lot of rain in a short amount of time. We had a small lake in the backyard and water seeping under the garage door.
Luckily, so luckily, the storm passed and everything had a chance to dry out, so no damage done. But we were very scared and moving everything out of the garage (and yes, I'll admit it, I was crying at the thought of another flood.) Our sump pump ran for about 36 hours and kept us dry (our neighbors across the street don't have a sump pump and they got about 3.5 inches of water in their basement.) We really think if we can make it through June, we'll be in the clear for the rest of the summer. Anyway, just wanted to post a quick update since it's been a few days. Hope everyone is having a good week!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Flood of Blessings

One year ago today we were waking up to a strange noise, turning on the light and looking down the stairs to see the impossible...our house filling up with water. It was hard to take everything in that day. In an attempt to protect myself, my brain kept shutting off every couple of minutes. I would be carrying a flashlight and then it would be gone, and I would have no recollection of putting it down. When I saw a boat driving up to our house, it didn't make any sense. And every time I tried to wrap my head around all the water in my house, I just couldn't. In the bathroom, I couldn't even see the toilet anymore; in the laundry room, I knew the furnace was sitting in waist-high water and the washer/dryer were completely submerged along with the loads of laundry in them; in the bedroom all the blankets and posters and random things that end up in closets were just a mushy, dirty mess and the bed had floated over to the doorway. Everything was wrong, and everything was wet. That was a bad day. But it also allowed us to see how loved we are, because we had so many church members come to our aid, and so many family members who helped us tear our house apart and then put it back together again. And maybe being so helpless encouraged us to rely on the Lord a little more and helped us to acknowledge that all our things, even the ones that were irreplaceable, are just things that we can't take with us after this life anyway. We wish the flood had never happened, obviously. But this year hasn't been all bad. Topher might make things a bit more complicated in our day-to-day lives, but he's been a wonderful distraction and blessing nonetheless (however don't get your hopes up because we're still pretty sure he's going to be an only child, lol). And rebuilding the house was the biggest pain in the world, but now that it's done we can look at the "for sale" sign outside and be proud of how far we've come. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I would never have picked the flood as a trial in my life, but I'm grateful that we're on this side of things, and I'm grateful for all the love we've received along the way. --KC

Hi Ho the Dairy-O, The Compaq and the Dell

Our Dell finally died. We've been getting the blue screen for quite awhile now, but Wednesday night we got the black screen of death from which there is no hope of recovery.
Topher thought he might be able to fix the problem, and he gave it his best shot. He even tried applying some of his magic drool to the computer, but to no avail. Luckily, everything had already been backed up, so we didn't lose anything vital.
We went to Best Buy and picked out a new Compaq that we love, and so far it's been great. It's so new and fancy compared to our 5-year-old totally worn-out laptop. We love it. And I love that technology gets cheaper over time, because this computer has more memory, more speed, the expanded keyboard (with the number keypad) and a nicer widescreen for much LESS than we paid 5 years ago for the Dell. Crazy, huh? It has Vista on it, of course, but we don't do enough "computing" to notice a big difference. Our computers are just for internet, pictures, i-tunes, and the occasional movie. Anyway, RIP old Dell and welcome to the household new Compaq. :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Adventures of a Dog Groomer

For those of you who don't know, I am a professional dog groomer. Really, I even have the degree from the grooming academy to prove it. Oh, the tales I could tell. I have chosen not to pursue it on a daily basis, but it's a talent I whip out from time to time to help out the neighbor's dog and, once a year, on Sophie. Sophie is TJ's aunt's dog. She is a Golden Retriever/Malamute mix that might also have some Great Pyrenees in her. Basically, she's a polar bear masquerading as a dog. Her hair is close to a foot long in some areas and her undercoat is impermeable. It's like this solid layer of the densest material known to man. When shaving her, it tends to come off in large sheets, like wool, and that's only after I have dug and dug and dug down to the skin. I do this every year and every year I'm equally amazed at HOW MUCH HAIR this dog has. It's a marathon event, usually lasting about 2 hours but sometimes more than 3 hours. When I'm done, I can feel my hand vibrating with phantom clippers for about an hour. I have 3 blades of the same length and I have to rotate through them over and over because they get so hot. I keep waiting for my clippers to look at Sophie and throw up a white flag in surrender, but they keep plugging on. Luckily, Sophie goes into some sort of strange paralysis whenever she's getting shaved and literally doesn't move from the moment I begin until the moment I giver her a signature poof on the end of her tail and clap my hands in front of her face to tell her that I'm done and that she can come out of her traumatic trance. If she was a fighter, this would be an impossible task. And the truth is, she loves it. Not the shaving process, but the getting rid of pounds (literally--pounds!) of hair and being free of all her ticks and ridding herself of that that hot, hot coat for the summer. BEFORE (Behold, the Arctic beast): DURING (TJ holds her on the table as she is likely to roll right off): AFTER (Do you recognize her???) THE AFTERMATH (and this is after a lot of it has blown away!): --KC