Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Tour 2008, Part 2: Electric Bugaloo

Here are several cute photos taken at Jackamo's house, AKA Stop 2 on our holiday travels. If my inlaws send me their photos, I'll be able to include shots of Stops 3 & 4.

Aunt Jackie, Watoosa, and Mr. Finger Sucker:

Ben and Uncle Blake:

All ready in his peppermint cap for the next car trip:

I also forgot to mention one more first experience for Ben this week: He sucked on his toe while sitting on Cousin Mary's lap at the farm. He's had his eye on those toes and was working toward them for a while now, and when he finally folded forward enough and latched onto the big piggie, it was a mouth full of bitterness and disappointment, followed by a holler of dismay. Toes are not as tasty as they appear.

Christmas Tour 2008, Part 1

This is my favorite photo from the holidays; wouldn't it make an ideal Christmas card? Note the big smiles in this photo, as well as Uncle Scott ready standing by with burp cloth in hand.

The first stop on our Christmas tour of the Southeast was Pensacola, where Ben met his Aunt Anne and Uncle Scott. They all seemed to love each other.

During our week of traveling, Ben experienced the following:

  • His first plane ride: Ben was perfectly content throughout all ticketing lines, TSA checkpoints, flights, delays, and various bureaucratic nightmares. He rarely cried or barfed and thoughtfully pooped his pants before we would board a plane to make diaper changing easier. Thanks, Son!
  • Meeting Aunt Anne, Uncle Scott, Great Grandma Ruth, and several of Watoosa's high school friends in Pensacola: Each new person got a smile. (He's much more outgoing than his parents are!)
  • Meeting Jackamo's family on our drive north: We all wished we could have stayed longer, and seeing Jackie for such a brief time made me miss her in a very heartsick way as soon as we left.
  • Meeting Great Granny and Grandaddy in Tennessee, as well as Ickie's aunts, uncles, and cousins: Ben has officially replaced Ickie as "The Big Man." (That's okay, as there will always be only one Dr. Cwisco.)
  • Ben rolled all the way over from his back to his tummy at the farm! Notorious cheater-at-cards Great Granny helped him cheat a few times.
Below are a family photo, Watoosa laughing at a gift box full of drool, a rapt Ben playing with holiday napkin holders, and The Old Man angrily awaiting his dinner in solitude:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Foot and My Feets

Tonight Ben discovered that his feet are the fascinating things attached to his pudgy legs.

Here's a preview of the cuteness for all the family members who'll get to see us this week:

Baby's 1st Christmas

Ben is having a good old time this December. He got to see his first snow. He made it through the ice storm, only having lost power for about an hour (thank goodness!). He went to the college Christmas party and was the most popular guy there (and didn't get upset by all the attention and noise). He sat on Santa's lap and was only mildly alarmed. He got a reindeer blanket toy in his stocking (we opened our presents early because we're getting ready to travel). Each night his mom sings Christmas carols to him, and he listens to his dad read out loud this year's Advent selection, The Midnight Folk. In a few more days he'll get to see all his grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousin.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Festive Whatnot

Ben is not especially interested in our tree, our stockings, our porch lights, or even his gifts under the tree. I'm sure that will change with time. Today we had a couple of inches of lovely snow. I baked a turkey pot pie and some chocolate chip cookies, and then we bundled up and walked over to our park for the local tree lighting ceremony. The high school band played Christmas carols in the gazebo while families milled around enjoying free hot cocoa and doughnut holes (just what we needed after all those chocolate chip cookies...). As usual, multiple grandmas came up to admire Ben in his winter weather finery.

Our Christmas tree, my homemade wrapping paper, and our bit of snow:

Ben and I at the tree lighting ceremony and our house lit up at night:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tree Shopping

This afternoon we walked over to the local hardware store to buy our tree. Ben had on his Christmas tree shopping hat. He is a true snow baby and loves the cold--he's been a grump all day, became immediately happy when we went outside in the 40-degree weather, then got mad again when we came back inside the warm house.

Also included below are a few cute photos from when Ickie was making him laugh this morning.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Birth Announcements

We have been meaning to send out birth announcements, truly we have, but by the time I got around to writing the copy, our good friend with the antique printing presses began a new job and hasn't had time to print them. At this point, we'll just send out Christmas cards. However, I thought you might be interested to see what the announcements would have featured if we had gotten around to mailing them. I may still print out a copy and frame it for the nursery, as I rather like my little poem for the boy.

Christmas Shopping

Fellow parents will recall how exciting it is to get your first baby portraits. We did all our Christmas shopping in one go yesterday when we went to get Ben's first professional photos at the mall. It was overwhelming and exhausting for him (and me!), but he was a great sport, providing us some beautiful smiles and a whole lot of vomit. When we got home, I obsessed over putting our copies in frames around the house. Chris enjoyed pointing out how nonsensical it is to stare at a photo when you have the real thing right in front of you, but there you go, I'm shamelessly ridiculous. Besides, I caught him doing it this morning.

Here's a little preview. We didn't actually order these particular photos. Family members: The ones you are receiving are even better. (Also, they don't have copyright watermark on our faces.) The only change I'll make in the future is to insist on sitting cross-legged as I normally would. The photographer insisted I contort myself unnaturally, so I look crazed and awkward in every photo. Fortunately, the two gentlemen look relaxed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thankful for Mr. Chunky

We weighed Ben yesterday morning and discovered he is now 18 pounds. Most of that is just bone and boy--he doesn't have much baby fat on him. He's about to bust out of his infant seat, and kicks his bassinet so hard I'm sure he'll soon reduce it to timber. He is really weighing down his bouncy seat as well. I'm sure the turkey and dressing I plan to gobble up this week will assist in sending Ben over the limit. On the other hand, I'm getting tons of exercise just picking him up. We'll move to the crib this week and upgrade the car seat soon as well (thanks to Ya Ya's Christmas gift).

Yesterday in Babies R Us I talked to a woman with her granddaughter, who is 8 months old and weighs 14 pounds. Ben positively dwarfed her. My dad says if he doesn't fit in their car seat when we visit for Christmas, he'll just let Ben drive the car.

(FYI, he doesn't have red hair, it's just a case of orange-tinted cradle cap.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Acting Role

We were so excited on Sunday morning when a friend at church asked if Ben could play the role of Baby Jesus in the children's annual Christmas Pageant. Alas, we'll be flying south to see family two days prior to the pageant. But you can see from the following photos what a range of emotions our would-be thespian has.

Weary but determined:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tummy Time

Ben's neck muscles are developing well. He holds up his head for such a long time during tummy time that it makes me feel tired just watching him. When I hold him up to burp, he supports his head on his own and thrusts his legs down, nearly standing himself. The boy is tall and strong. Lately he has also made a habit of straining at the harness in his car seat when he's ready to get out. He's like Hercules in his chains. The other day in Kohl's a lady exclaimed: "My! Isn't he strong!"

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ignorance is Not Bliss

I'm sure I'll be feeling like this a lot over the next 20 years or more, but I am often overwhelmed by my feelings of ignorance as a parent. I don't think I'm doing a poor job, there's just so much I have to learn!

Up until this past week, Ben has had a lot of grouchy phases, and we were surprised that he couldn't seem to nap during the day unless I was walking or jogging with him. I could barely shower or feed myself when it was just me at home with Ben, and we could tell Ben was really frustrated.

Our friends KT and AT recommended the book On Becoming Baby Wise, which they used for our godson JT. It finally came into the library and we started implementing its feed-wake-nap schedule a few days ago. I'm still feeding him on demand, but the critical difference from what we were doing is putting Ben down for naps as soon as he shows signs of drowsiness and letting him settle down on his own. Sometimes he goes right to sleep and doesn't even fuss. Other times he'll cry for a minute or two and then fall to sleep. He's so much happier and eats more efficiently. It seems counter-intuitive that he sleeps better at night because he has more sleep during the day, but it has been the case.

I feel guilty that he's spent the last 2 months feeling exhausted because I wouldn't let him doze off on his own. Whenever I tried to rock him to sleep and hold him while he napped, he just couldn't calm down. After just a few days, I can better interpret his nap cues, put him down before he becomes overtired, and find him refreshed when he awakes. I don't expect this concept to work for every family, but I feel more confident as a mom with a plan (albeit a flexible one), and Ben acts reassured as his body gets into a rhythm and he can anticipate what's coming next.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween is for Pirates! ARRRRR!

Here are several photos of Ben in his spiffy pirate costume that Grandma bought for him. In the one above you'll notice he obliged us by crooking his finger to mimic a hook hand. (Mommy & Daddy dressed as lubbers this Halloween--appropriate considering we do a lot of swabbing.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

8 Weeks Old

Here's the boy looking darn happy in his carseat. Mommy is off-camera making a fool of herself to get him to smile.

And here's Mommy with her new short haircut--easier to keep it out of the spit-up zone.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Daddy Long Legs

Ben is 7 weeks old and appears to be taking after his dad. He's extremely long and is practicing his critical stare. Check him out in this stylish outfit.

North Conway, NH

This past Saturday we drove up to North Conway, New Hampshire, a little town just over the border at the edge of the White Mountains. The town is known for it's old railway station and quaint steam engine that runs tours through the mountains. The web lists the fall color we saw at "high" but not "peak." Ben was quite content in the car and stroller.