Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Baby Boy!


Today you celebrated your very first Christmas. And while you certainly didn't "get" every detail of it, there were certainly a few priceless moments.

Our day started with just the three of us: You, me, and Daddy. After you woke up (at 6:30) we snuggled in our big bed for a little bit and then we brought you downstairs (in your new Christmas PJs of course!). You got very excited when you saw a big pile of presents sitting in the middle of the floor. You immediately walked over to the pile and started picking up the presents and rearranging them. You carried them, put them down, stacked them up, and just enjoyed playing with them. Little did you know that they contained some pretty exciting things!


Trying to spin like the race cars!
You were very excited about the present opening for the first few presents but that whole process quickly lost is excitement. However, you obliged us, and would tear off just enough paper so we could feel content that you had actually opened the present and not us. You got most excited when you opened the "Lil' Speedster Racetrack." You were rather frustrated with how long it took mommy to get it out of the box for you! Once it was out you quickly caught on to the whole concept and not only put your cars on the spinning speedway, but  also cups, balls, animals, and at one point you sat in it yourself. You were clearly hoping that you would get to spin around just like the cars!

You also were excited about your laptop (from Gandma and Grandpa, who got to see you open it on Skype) and the bright colorful balls that were in your stocking.

After you had opened most of your presents you heard a knock on the door and got very excited again. It was Nana and Pop-Pop who came over to have breakfast with us. You didn't want to take your usual morning 9:00 nap so you sat and ate with us and actually did a great job! You sat so nicely and for a long time so all 5 of us really enjoyed breakfast.

Nana and Pop-pop left after we ate and then you finally took a nap. After your lunch we headed over to Nana and Pop-pop's house where you got MORE presents and we had a wonderful dinner. You LOVED the "Anywhere Chair" that Uncle Mark & Auntie Catharine got you. You climbed right in and sat down with such a proud little smirk. It was pretty cute! You also really liked the wind-up caterpillar that Nana and Pop-pop put in your stocking and the singing/saxophone playing Reindeer that Auntie Mo got you. Sometimes its the simple things that make you most excited!  In addition to all the presents you got you enjoyed playing with the GIANT box that your chair came in. Auntie Catharine had wrapped it with a huge bow and you and Caitlin played so nicely in it. You guys sure do have fun together (when you're not touching her stuff! ;)!

Daddy and I actually got to enjoy most of Nana's delicious dinner because you were napping. Though, your nap was pretty short and you woke up after only about 40 minutes. But that was OK, it's Christmas and you were so very excited! You probably heard all the people downstairs and wanted to join in the fun. You are a social little guy, after all.

We put you in your PJs at Nana's house and we headed home at around 8:30. It was a great day! You are now fast asleep upstairs and Daddy and I are EXHAUSTED! We are heading to bed too. We love you very much and hope you enjoyed your 1st Christmas! We can't wait to celebrate many, many more Christmases with you!



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

11 Months

Dear Ryan,

Today you turned 11 months old. I still can't believe how quickly each of the past 11 months have gone by. And yet, as I have said before, I feel like you have been a part of our lives for so much longer than 11 months. You just fit in so perfectly.

While you are still learning new things every day it seems, I think the biggest change in the past month has been the development of your little personality. More and more we are seeing a little boy with his own thoughts, wishes, and desires shine through. You are determined and certainly have a mind of your own. You can't say much, but you find a way to communicate what it is you want. Just the other day you and I were playing in the family room. We were stacking cups, reading books, playing with the xylophone. I thought we were having a good time. But suddenly, you got up, brought me your shoes, and then walked to the door and banged on it. You were clearly telling me that you wanted to get out of the house. So, we did. We went to get coffee (well, Mommy got coffee, you just enjoyed being your usual social little self with the people in Caribou Coffee). Once you know what you want,  you do everything you can to make it happen!

Concentrating on trying to stack the cups. You've almost got it! 
Because you have strong wishes and desires but lack the vocabulary to communicate them, you do at times get VERY frustrated. Recently Daddy and I watched you have a complete meltdown while standing in front of the laundry basket. You started crying huge crocodile tears and were banging the side of the basket. It took me a few minutes, but then I realized that you wanted to be pushed around in the basket (something we do with you often). So, I plopped you in, and the tears ceased immediately. There are also a LOT of things that you want to do more than anything else, that you're just not allowed to do, such as going downstairs to the laundry room by yourself (see picture below), eating Mommy's cell phone, playing on the laptop, etc. You want to be such a big boy, but, you're not and you find this to be the greatest injustice in all the world. Oh, the terrible twos should be fun with you!

Getting sooooo mad because you can't get downstairs to the laundry room! 

Rejoicing as you made it to Daddy's laptop before anyone noticed! 

But with all of your frustration, you also continue to be a happy, lovable little guy! You are becoming a very affectionate little boy. When I hold you I instinctively pat your back gently. Now, you do the same thing to me. You are becoming more and more of a snuggle bug and especially love to cuddle when you're sleepy. You used to need to be rocked (with me standing up) in order to settle down at night. But now, you just snuggle on mommy's chest while I sit in the glider. It is definitely my favorite part of the day.

Ryan, you are such a joyful (most of the time) little boy and I love you so much! You give new meaning to the word LOVE.

I can't wait to watch your little personality grow and develop over the days, months, years ahead. It is going to be a very special journey indeed!

Happy 11th Month Birthday!

Love always and forever (no matter what!),


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, my first as a Mom, I am especially conscious of all the blessings I have in my life and I am especially thankful. There are many things in life for which I am thankful: good health, a sound financial situation that allows us to have a safe home, and good food to eat, my friends, my skills as a Social Worker, etc. But there is nothing for which I am more thankful than my wonderful family. I am thankful for each and every one of them:

For Mom & Dad who have always given of themselves so fully and freely to their children. It is because of them that I am the person, Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter, Friend, and Social Worker that I am. I truly have the greatest parents on earth and I am so very grateful!

For my Brothers:

John, who I have watched become a father, battle cancer, graduate from law school, and become a father again all in such a short amount of time and with such grace, good humor, love and determination. He is an inspiration! I have also watched him become an Uncle for the first time. And it is so touching to watch the way in which he adores my son.

Mark, who more than anyone I know, has his priorities straight. While he is a hard worker, and a dedicated lawyer, he is above all else a wonderful husband, son, brother, and uncle. He puts the people in his life first and he loves each and every one of them in a gentle, kind, and selfless way. I am so lucky to be one of the people he loves so fully.

For my Sisters (in-law):

Cindy, who has been a part of our family for so long that I can’t really remember a time when she wasn’t. But this is not just because of the amount of time Cindy has been in our family, it is because of who she is. Cindy gives of herself so fully to the people she loves, often at the expense of herself . She has endless energy and enthusiasm for the people in her life and I am blessed to be one of those people.

Catharine, who has become an integral part of our family in such a short time. There are few people in life that I truly consider “kindred spirits” and Catharine is one of those people. She is giving of her time and her love. She has a gentle, sensitive, caring and energetic way in which she shows her love to me, to my husband, and to Ryan. We are all so lucky to have her in our life!

For my adorable nieces:

Caitlin, who fills my days with tremendous imagination, joy, and love. It is only with her that all in one day I can travel to Paris, New York, Curacao, and India. I love her tight hugs and her joyful, infectious laugh! Caitlin is kind and sensitive and truly cares about other people! She makes me proud to be her aunt!

Julia, who smiles wider and with more enthusiasm than any little girl I know. Her deep, dark, beautiful eyes speak volumes about the little girl she is and will become. I can already see her enthusiasm, kindness, and spunk shining through in just the short 6 months I have known her. She makes my heart melt every time she gives me that big, wide, mouth-breathing smile when she sees me!

For Ryan, my beautiful son! He is the embodiment of joy and love. He lives life with reckless abandon and it is a pleasure watching him grow up and an honor to be his mother. I am so proud of the kind, gentle (most of the time), energetic, fun, and out-going little boy he is becoming. He brings joy and happiness to my life in ways I never understood until he was born. My heart is swollen with love and life because of him.

And last, but certainly not least, for my wonderful husband Matt, who on a daily basis has the greatest impact on my life. Although at times I feel that I take him for granted, I hope he knows how much I love him and how special I think he is. Truly, I don’t know a single woman in the world with a more dedicated, loving, selfless, helpful, husband. He puts Ryan and me first in everything that he does. He works so hard for our family (both at the office and at home) and I can’t imagine my life without him. This is our 11th Thanksgiving together as a couple. And this year, more than ever, the year in which I have watched him blossom into an AMAZING father, while continuing to be a caring husband, I am so, so very grateful that I chose to spend my life with this wonderful man.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Eating...or the lack there of....

Ryan used to eat anything and everything with great excitement and motivation. There wasn't a baby food I offered him that he didn't willing scarf down. But, alas, no more.

My adorable 10 month old son is apparently on a hunger strike. He nurses just fine. But when it comes to sitting down and eating, he will do just about everything except eat. He will mush the food between his fingers (I offer him LOTS of finger food choices at every meal) he will drop it on the floor, he will put it on his head occasionally, he will offer it to me or his Daddy, but he will NOT eat, except when he is distracted and we can sneak food into his mouth.

I know my son is not going to starve to death. I know he will eventually eat (I don't know many grown men who still only drink breast milk!) but in the meantime it is very STRESSFUL! I want him to be a good eater. I don't want him to be a picky eater, so I refuse to offer him sweet and/or more appealing items. He gets lots of fruits, veggies, lean meats, and whole grains. I don't expect him to even know that things like french fries, chicken fingers, or hot dogs exist until he is MUCH older. I do NOT WANT A PICKY EATER!! I have nightmares (not really) about battles over food on a daily basis as our little baby grows older. Please tell me he will out-grow this, sooner rather than later. Please tell me he will learn to eat healthy food without daily battles.

And in the meantime, if you have any suggestions about how to work through this, please let me know!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

10 Months

Dear Ryan,

Today you turned 10 months old! You have now been out of my belly longer than you were in it. The past month has certainly been an exciting one! You have learned to do so many new things! It seems you learn something new every day! Here are a few of the high lights:

You are eating pretty much anything and everything these days. You much prefer to feed yourself than to have Mommy or Daddy feed you with a spoon. You still eat baby food, but you prefer actual "finger foods" like pasta, bread, cut up strawberries, avocado, pears, chicken, apples, bananas. You love Mommy's homemade vegetable soup (you only eat the vegetable part, not the soup part) and you even tried a few tiny pieces of a PB&J sandwich as the pediatrician said you could have Peanut Butter! (The new AAP recommendation says not to wait too long!)

You are obsessed with light switches and LOVE to turn them on and off watching the light as it flashes. You love opening and closing drawers and doors and are particularly intrigued by the dishwasher and the kitchen cabinets.

You say "Hi" to nearly EVERYONE you meet and get so much attention for this when we take you to the grocery store. These days, you and Daddy do the grocery shopping together early on Sunday mornings while Daddy lets me sleep in. This is your special time with Daddy and you both seem to love it! (Mommy loves the extra sleep too!) You also wave and say "Bye-Bye." You also continue to say "Dada" and "Mama" though you say "Dada!!!" much more often. Although, I was at a conference the past two days and Daddy told me you said "Mama" a lot while I was gone. That's not fair! I want to hear you say it when I am with you! Just today you seem to now be able to say "sock" which is an odd word for a little guy to be able to say. But you are CONSTANTLY taking your socks off, so we say that word to you a lot.

You have learned to give "High 5s" and you can point to my nose, eyes, mouth and belly button when asked "Where is Mommy's ______?" Most times when you point to my nose you think it is so funny to stick your finger in my nose. You giggle, giggle, giggle when you do this...but it HURTS!

You love balls and you can throw a ball if it is small enough for you to get your little hand around. You also love books. You especially love books that have flaps you can open and close. It is so much fun to cuddle on the floor, the couch, or the rocker in your bedroom to read books. We read "Goodnight Moon" every night and you can point to the moon and the red balloon when Daddy or I ask you to.

And perhaps the biggest news of all is that YOU CAN WALK! You took your first steps (5 in row) on October 18th and you get better and better every day. You are still a bit unsteady at times and can definitely move more quickly and easily by crawling, but you regularly take off on your own two feet and head towards whatever it is you want. You can even stand up without having to pull up on anything. We bought you your first pair of "real" shoes today and they look adorable, even if you're not quite sure you like these clunky things on your feet.

We did a lot of fun things this month too! At the beginning of the month we went to CT to visit your Connecticut Family. While we were there we visited Mommy's cousins Tim & Patti and their three little girls. They doted on you like you were a little king. You had a blast!

We went to the Pumpkin Festival at Butler's Orchard with Nana, Pop-pop, Uncle Mark, & Auntie Catharine. You LOVED kicking and throwing the hay in the hay loft. You went on your first Hay Ride and you helped us pick out the perfect pumpkin.

You also dressed up as SKUNK for Halloween! Nana, Uncle John, Auntie Cindy, Uncle Mark, Auntie Catharine, Caitlin (the Pumpkin), and Julia (the Bat) came over for a Halloween Party at our house and then Trick-or-Treating. I couldn't believe how content you were to keep your costume on! It was such a fun night!

(I have no idea why this is sideways...the original picture is not, but when it uploaded, it came out sideways.)

It is so exciting and so much fun to watch you exploring, discovering, and learning new things every day. You are so energetic, happy, friendly, and easy-going that it is just a joy to be around you. Being your Mommy is the best thing I have ever done! I love you so much, Ryan!

Happy 10th Month Birthday!

Love always and forever (no matter what!),


Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Recently, I have had the feeling that my life is as it should be right now and that it can't really get any better. I am a mom and a wife and those are my priorities and that's the way it should be.

Prior to ever being pregnant, or even married, I was often found telling people "I was put on this earth to be a mom." And yet, there were moments in my earliest weeks of motherhood when I doubted this. Moments when I thought my "calling" in life wasn't my calling. I was scared in those moments. Worried that life wouldn't be as I had expected it to be. But now, as Ryan is nearly 10 months old and he is developing into such an amazing little person, and I can see every day how Matt and I are helping to make him that little person, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I was indeed put on this earth to be a be Ryan's mom. And truly, I couldn't be happier.

This isn't to say that there aren't tough, challenging moments. There definitely are. He still isn't a great sleeper (and no, I am not going to put in writing whether or not he has made any progress in that area lately, because if I do, any hypothetical progress would certainly be lost) and those middle of the night wake-up calls are rough. At times the unpredictability of babyhood can be tough. Just this past Saturday Ryan didn't take his usual long naps, and thus messed up the "schedule" we had planned for the day. This frustrated both Matt and me and made us short with each other. Last night, Ryan was very grumpy (who knows why) and thus our usual relatively calm sit-down-as-a-family dinner was chaotic and filled with whining about anything and everything. Parenting isn't predictable, it isn't always easy, but it is what I am supposed to be doing in life right now. And I know that with a level of certainty that is only rivaled by the certainty I felt the day I married Matt.

Ryan is my son, and the joy that I feel in watching the loving, joyful, pleasant, gentle (most of the time), funny, and friendly little boy he is becoming is beyond description. I love watching his explore and discover the world. I look at him with such pride. My heart swells daily. More often I find myself simply enjoying the moment more than I ever have before. I don't see myself looking down the road saying, "What's next?" as often. This is my life. It is how it is supposed to be. I am content.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

9 Months

Dear Ryan,

You are now 9 months old! 9 months ago I met you for the first time, and that was indeed the most amazing day of my life!! In that time you have grown in so many ways. You are such a fun, happy, social, loud, and pleasant little boy. Your little personality is shining through in such fun new ways these days and for your 9 month letter I want to share with you what I hope will never change about you.

Ryan, you are such a confident little guy these days. You crawl around like you own the place, you stand without holding on to anything (you seem to be getting so close to walking), and you "talk" with great conviction. While I certainly hope you don't spend your life on all fours, and I hope you get to the point where simply standing is not a feat worth a round of applause, and I of course hope you one day talk eloquently, I also hope your confidence never waivers. Always take pride in even your small achievements. I don't want you to be arrogant or boastful, but you should always be proud of who you are and what you do. You are a special little boy who I have no doubt will one day be an amazing man. Likewise, never be afraid to speak up and out....against injustice, for the underdog, or for a cause in which you believe strongly.

You are also such a friendly little boy. You smile, laugh and giggle freely. You wave hello and goodbye and flash a coy smile even to strangers. You clap for others openly. Don't ever lose this tendency to be friendly and kind to all you meet. Never be afraid to smile at a stranger, you never know, it might make their day! Always continue to celebrate the people in your life. Share in their successes, and yes, give them a round of applause when they deserve it!

You are also a silly little boy. You laugh at zerberts on your belly and when being tickled. You love peek-a-boo. You enjoy watching the Muppets with Daddy. You belly laugh whenever Mommy or Daddy bounce up and down. You find humor and joy in so many things. Please, do not ever lose this tendency to laugh freely and openly. Find joy in your life every day, even on the hard days.

Ryan, last but not least, never, never, never, stop being yourself. While I know the world will impact you, and mold you, and affect you, I truly hope that you will always be true to yourself. I can't wait to watch you grow and develop and become the amazing boy, teenager, and man that I know you will become. I am so proud to be your Mommy! I love you so much!

Happy 9 Month Birthday!



Monday, October 4, 2010


This is simply a message to let you know that I am in fact still here. I guess this month has been busier than I realized! I haven't posted since Ryan's 8 month update and now it is almost time for his 9 month update! Well, that update will be coming soon. And after that, I am making a commitment to blog at least once a week.....Maybe if I had more commenters (ergo, I would actually know if people are reading) I would feel more pressure motivation to write! ;) (hint, hint!)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

8 Months

Dearest Ryan,

Today you turned 8 months old! You continue to be such a happy little guy and Daddy and I love you so much! You're growing up before our eyes and mastering all the "tricks" you learned to do last month. You crawl faster, you stand more easily, you feed yourself like you've been doing it your whole life, and you babble constantly! You now say Mama & Dada and it is clear you know what you're saying. It melts my heart every time you say "Mama Mama!!" You interact and play with toys more and more. You try to put the right shapes in the correct holes on your shape sorter, you take your animals in and out of the Ark, and you snuggle stuffed animals. It is so much fun to play with you!

This past month was a month filled with new and exciting experiences/changes. Perhaps the biggest change is that I started watching your two cousins Julia and Caitlin 4 days a week and working one day a week at "Dr. Bob's Place." You are adjusting very well, but it is very hard work! Nana is helping me A LOT and I am very nervous about the days when she doesn't help (which will be soon, since Nana has to have a surgery). Most of the day it will be OK, but feeding time and nap time will be a challenge. But, I know we'll figure it out and you and Julia will be OK. You may cry more than you do now (as you'll be learning to wait your turn) but that will be a good life lesson.

You also did a lot of other new things this month. You went to the beach for the first time, and you had a blast! (See previous post I wrote about our trip to the beach).

We also went to the State Fair with Grandma, Grandpa, Great-Grandma, & Great-Grandpa. You went on a Merry-Go-Round (you didn't seem to love it, but you didn't hate it either), you won a GIANT puppy dog just for being cute, and you got to pet a baby goat which made you giggle. It seems you love animals!

Because you seemed to like the animals so much we decided to take you to Clark's Elioak Farm where you got to pet goats, a donkey, a horse, chickens, bunnies, and pigs. Pop-pop went with us and we all had a blast! It is so much fun watching you explore the world! You are so curious! You love to experience new things which makes doing new things with you so much fun! Daddy and I cannot wait to take you on even more outings as you get older!

In accordance with all previous updates, I have to at least mention your sleeping. But that is all I am going to do. Let's just say that your sleep habits leave much to be desired lately....but we're blaming this on teething (your top two teeth are coming in) and this has made you somewhat miserable at times. We love you to pieces, but we don't enjoy seeing you at midnight, 2:00 a.m., 4:00 a.m., AND 6:00 a.m. when you wake for the day. Let's get back to the one time a night wake up schedule, OK? Or, even better yet, how about you actually sleep through the night!?!?! There's a novel idea!

But truly, Ryan, aside from you're sleeping, you are a joy! Daddy and I love you to pieces and we are so glad that you're a part of our lives. We were meant to be your Mommy & Daddy, and you were meant to be our son. I'll love you always and forever, no matter what!

Love always,


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The AC Guy and the Dirty Diaper

Ryan is currently going through a stage in which he REFUSES to stay still during a diaper change. I am not just talking about squirming or kicking his legs. I am talking about full out flipping over and trying to crawl away. Fortunately, he usually stays still for the first few seconds, allowing the diaper changer just enough time to get the dirty diaper off, and clean up any areas needing cleaning. He seems to have mercy on you for these most offensive moments, but from there on out, you're on your own. Getting the new diaper on, putting on Desitin, and then getting his onesie snapped or his pants back on is a full on wrestling match.

Today this wrestling match lead to a rather humorous scene.

A few days ago Matt and I noticed that our house was getting progressively warmer, despite the fact that the AC was running non-stop. So, we called in BGE Home to have someone look at it. A lovely gentleman came by today, and checked it out and fixed it (at least temporarily). We chatted while he was here, and I learned that he was a dad, with two boys, ages 17 and 19. Ryan woke from a nap midway through his visit and as soon as I picked up Ryan I had a good idea of what woke up Ryan. Let's just say it wasn't the smell of roses coming from his bottom!

While the gentleman was heading out to his truck to get some paperwork, I asked him if he would be a few minutes or if he would be right back in, because I needed to change Ryan's diaper, but didn't want to hold him up, if he would be right back. He said, "Oh, it will take me a few minutes. Go ahead and change it."

So, as soon as the AC Guy headed out to his car I began the task of changing this particularly foul smelling diaper. (With a greater intake of solids we have bid farewell to the non-stinky breast milk only diapers...oh, how I miss those days!)  I previously mentioned that Ryan typically has mercy on the diaper changer for the first few minutes. Well, NOT TODAY!

As soon as I started to unfasten the dirty diaper, Ryan started squirming. All my attempts to turn him back over, to distract him, to firmly but gently say "No! Ryan!" (which does sometimes work....he does know what "No" means) were all failures! Ryan soon had poop on his arms and legs and on my leg. I was desperately trying to keep Ryan on the changing mat (which is now placed on the floor for ALL diaper changes) so that the poop didn't spread to the carpet. I was again trying to turn him back over, but that only resulted in the offensive matter ending up on my hand. And yes, of course, the AC Guy was now walking back in the door. He looked at me, looked at Ryan, and said, "Oh my! Wow....Uhhh, I'll just finish up the paper work." And he politely pretended to be busy while I wrestled, wiped, and disinfected my son and myself. Ryan then happily crawled around in just his diaper with the biggest smile on his face, while I sheepishly signed some paper work and thanked the AC guy for his time.

I think that was a visit that neither the AC Guy nor I will be forgetting anytime soon!

Friday, August 27, 2010

My Dad

Today my Dad's place of employment held a celebration for him in honor of his upcoming retirement. As of next Wednesday, my Dad will be officially retired. And today, at this celebration for my very special Dad, I was more proud than I have ever been to be my Dad's daughter.

My Dad, Ryan's Pop-Pop is a pretty special man. (There's a reason why Ryan's middle name is James, after my Dad).  He is selfless and kind. He is humble and unassuming. He is giving and gentle. He is tremendously smart and wise, and has superb insight. My dad has had a truly impressive career. And I have always known that his co-workers, supervisors, and supervisees respected him for his wisdom, smarts, dedication, and insight.

But today, at this celebration, it was clear that the people he worked with for the past 11 years truly understand the man that is my dad. They respect him for the more subtle qualities that make him who he is. They love him for the way he is always so appreciative of the work that people do, from the person who cleans the floor, to the Human Resource manager who developed the orientation program. They appreciate the gentle way he can ask a challenging question. A question that makes everyone stop and think about what they do and how they do it, and makes them want to do it better. They appreciate him for the team-oriented approach he takes to everything. They will miss his friendly hellos and his love of chocolate. They will miss the way he seems to know everyone's name. They respect his inquiring mind and search for knowledge. While the know he is a tremendous teacher, they also appreciate the way he always wants to learn new things. They will never forget the impact he had on their hospital, and how in his wake, he is leaving it a better place.

Listening to many, many people get up and talk about my Dad made me think about how I can live my life better. It made me think about what I want people to say about me when I retire in 35 (oh, who I am kidding, it will be more like 45) years. It made me want to be like my dad. To leave an impact on the people I work with. To truly make them better people just by being who I am. It's a lofty goal. But I've had a great teacher and role model.

Dad, I can't wait to share in your retirement. I can't wait to watch you bond with Ryan in an even more special way. I can't wait to see the stress of meetings and presentations erased from your face. I can't wait to watch you enjoy this much deserved, and much anticipated retirement. No one deserves to enjoy these coming decades more than you!

I love you!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Moments Like This....

It was bedtime. Ryan had just had an unusually grumpy evening (I think the Gelato that I was told "is water based and contains no milk" did indeed contain milk, and thus upset the GI system of my milk-intolerant 7 month old) and after a typical bedtime routine (bath, Goodnight Moon, Nursing...) I figured he would go right to sleep. But Ryan had a better idea.

After nursing for a few minutes Ryan decided it was time to laugh and giggle. It's rare these days that Ryan doesn't go to sleep pretty quickly after his well-established routine. And on the rare occasion that he doesn't, it is not filled with tears, but usually laughter. And instead of wishing he would "Just go to bed!" I soak up these moments.

He laughs, I laugh at him, and he giggles the most joyful little laugh that starts way down deep in his belly and escapes his lips in a flurry of unbridled joy! He brushes his fingers gently at my damp hair (from the shower I took after our evening jog, while Daddy gave him his bath) and rubs his face against mine. He is so snuggly and loving in these moments. I love these moments. It is moments like this that make the middle of the night wakings (yes, we still have our fair share of those) and the early morning risings (will there ever be a day again when I can sleep later than 6:30??) and the spit up on my freshly washed shirt, totally and completely worth it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Beach

Two weekends ago (August 13-16) we spent three wonderful days in Ocean City, Maryland with my brother, his wife, and their two beautiful girls.

I'll let the pictures tell the story.

Ryan Tried to eat sand, but then realized it wasn't very good and didn't persist.

Caitlin played in the sand (she did not try to eat it!)

John, Cindy, Caitlin, & Julia enjoying the beach.

Ryan loved looking at and feeling the Ocean on his toes!

Splash, splash, splash!

John with his two beautiful girls!

Caitlin = Cute as can be!

Julia! So sweet!

The Cam Fam plus 1!

Ryan loved getting to take a bath in the sink!

Family Footprints

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back to the grind....

I survived! I started watching my nieces this week, as my sister-in-law returned to work after three months of maternity leave. Yes, that's right. I now spend three and a half days a week watching my son Ryan (7 months) and my two nieces Caitlin (3.5 years) and Julia (3 months). My mom is helping me in these early weeks as we all adjust to this new "routine." But, it is going much better than expected! Twice this week all three kids napped at the same time for at least an hour! I consider that a HUGE success!

I know we'll have our rough days. I know tears will be shed as I only have so many hands and can only attend to one crying baby at a time (not to mention my own potential tears at not being able to meet everyone's needs at the moment they need their needs met). I know there will be days when I will think, "What was I thinking?" when I agreed to do this (not only agreed, but came up with the idea!).

But I also know that I already experience tremendous joy each day in watching these little people interact with each other. I will get to watch a very special bond develop between the three cousins. I will get to not only be "Auntie" to Caitlin and Julia, but a very special caregiver. Ryan will get to be with his Mommy every day instead of having to go to daycare. And for all these reasons, and so many more, I wouldn't trade this job for anything. At least not yet anyway!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

7 Months!

Dear Ryan, 

 Today you turned 7 months old, and WOW! What a difference a month makes. You have learned so many new things in the past month! It is amazing! But before I talk about all the new things you can do, I just want to tell you all about you!

  You are soooo JOYFUL! You often wake up laughing (or making this noise that sounds more like a cough, but that we know is your laugh, and which Daddy and I find hilarious and adorable!) and you spend the majority of every day in a happy, joyful mood. Just looking at you brings a smile to my face. When you happen to give me one of those all out, every muscle in your face grins, I just melt. And I am so lucky as you give me smiles like that many times a day!


 There are so many things you love these days. Most clearly, you love Daddy and me very much. You smile when you see us after a nap or in the morning. You grin from ear to ear when Daddy gets home from work. You clearly miss us when you're away from you (yes, Daddy and I have made it a point to go on a date every month since you were born! We're lucky to have Nana & Pop-pop so close by so they can watch you!)You also love your extended family members so much. It is so neat to watch you developing special relationships with each of them. You love your big green ball which you chase around the house regularly. You love to play with toys (especially your "stacking bowls" and your music table). You like to dance and you laugh when Daddy sings. Mommy singing isn't as funny, but Daddy gets a giggle every time! You continue to love bath time very much and you no longer scream after it is over! And of course, you love to eat! You have yet to find a food you don't like, although Avocado is clearly your favorite (with Peas still being a close second and Bananas in third place). You simply seem to love the little life we've created for you here. And I hope that doesn't change in the coming weeks. Starting in a little less than two weeks I will start watching your cousins, Caitlin and Julia every day except Friday. You love your cousins, but I have a feeling you are going to have a hard time sharing me. I know we'll work through it, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a bit nervous.  

So, I mentioned that you can do SOOO many new things now! Here's a list:
  • As of July 23rd you can CRAWL! You took your first crawling steps and within days you were zooming around the house like a pro.
  • About 4 days after learning to crawl you started pulling up on furniture, toys, stairs (so far only the bottom step), your crib and people. You now can pull to standing very easily. But, you sometimes forget that you're not yet able to stand independently because you let go rather recklessly. Fortunately someone is always there to catch you, but it makes keeping an eye on you VERY important! (I wouldn't have minded if you just crawled for a while and didn't pull up quite so quickly!) But as Nana always says, "You're just such a busy little guy!" 
  •  You can now feed yourself using your pinscher grasp. You did this for the first time just yesterday (August 6th). You LOVE to feed yourself puffs and you're so good at it! You also are very proud of yourself. When I clap and cheer you smile ear to ear as if to say, "That's right! I can do it all by myself!"
  • You have two teeth on the bottom. They're almost all the way in now. I can't feel any others yet, but considering you like to gnaw on EVERYTHING, I would expect some more to make an appearance soon.
  • You can take your hat off all by yourself. You use to let me put hats on you and you would leave them there. Now you think it is a fun game, and as soon as I put one on, you pull it off.
  • You are so verbal! You make lots and lots of sounds including a sound that sounds very much like "Mama." You don't consistently say it yet, but you'll get there! :)

Well, I think that sums up all the new things you learned to do this month. It was quite a month!

I always seem to give an update on your sleeping. You are now a very consistent napper with two 75 minute naps a day and sometimes a short cat nap in the early evening. You don't sleep through the night :( But you are at least consistent. You usually wake up twice: the first time Daddy goes in and gives you a few snuggles and then you go back to sleep. The second time (anytime after 3:00) Mommy nurses you, and then you go right back to sleep. You typically wake up for the day sometime around 6:30. I know you'll eventually sleep through the night, just not yet I guess. However, feel free to start doing that at any moment! OK? Thanks!

Ryan, I love you soooo very much! It is such a joy being your mommy. As I tell you every night, as I rock you to sleep, I will love you always, forever, no matter what!

Happy 7th Month Birthday Little Man!




Friday, July 30, 2010

Thoughts on Maternity Leave...

So, my postings have never been very controversial. I mean, talking about your baby and the silly, awesome, frustrating, cute, challenging things you encounter with him everyday doesn't exactly invite vigorous debate. And while I don't intend this post to be offensive in any way to anyone, I worry some could take it that way (or at least have strong opinions about it) and I am just going to go ahead and apologize now. Sorry!

So, I've been thinking a lot lately. Ryan is now 6 months and three weeks old. And the exponential faster rate at which he is learning new things these days just makes watching him grow sooooo much fun! And thus, I have been thinking a lot about maternity leave and the lack there of for many (most) women in the United States.

Why, you ask? Why does my son’s age and growing number of "new tricks" make me think about maternity leave? Well, I'll tell you!

Most women in the US don't get any truly paid maternity leave. Sure, we can use sick and vacation time to have a period of time off with our child during which we get paid. But we don't have any leave that is paid solely for the purpose of taking care of and bonding with a newborn. I remember when I was in Ireland a year and a half ago. I was about 6 weeks pregnant, and my husband and I were on the train talking with a woman who had a 7 month old. She was lamenting the fact that she had to return to work in a month after her 8 months of paid maternity leave! I was jealous, I was in awe, and I was wondering, "What the bleep is wrong with our country?!?!?!?!"

As I have been caring for Ryan, I have begun to wonder if there is a method to our country's madness...A manipulative method. Here in the US, we are allowed up to 12 weeks of leave to care for a family member (16 weeks in the District of Columbia, where I was grateful to be working at the time I had Ryan). This leave doesn't have to be paid. Simply, the law states that your position must be held for you during this time. In other words, they can't fire you or fill your position because you are caring for a family member. Thus, many women choose to take the full 12 weeks of maternity leave.

If I had gone back to work when I had originally planned to, I would have been going back when Ryan was 16 weeks old. He was adorable, and fun, and we were bonded, and connected, and all those great things. But nowhere near to the extent that we are now. He is such a little person now! He has strong opinions and finds ways of communicating them. When he wakes up startled, he yells "maaamamammamama!!!" I'm not sure if he's saying "Mama" but it sure sounds like it! He knows me and I know him in a way that we didn't when he was only 16 weeks old.

Going back to work when he was 16 weeks old would have been difficult. I wouldn't have liked it, and I am sure I would have cried. But I would have been able to do it without too much angst. Now, if I think about leaving him multiple days each week I truly cannot imagine doing it. I know he'd be ok if I did leave him. And I'd be ok too. But I don't want to do it and am so grateful that things have worked out in such a way that I don't have to.

But, this made me think. Is it just coincidence that our legally protected amount of "maternity leave" here in the U.S. conveniently ends before this magical time of amazing growth? If it ended later would more women choose to stay home, or request part-time work? I don't know the answer, but it sure made me wonder!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yes, I'm Still Here....

I swear I haven't forgotten about this blog (for the 2, maybe three of you that regularly read this, one of whom is my mom). I have just been busy, and every time I think of a great post, I also think of something else I need to get done (child-proofing the house, making avocado baby food (Ryan's favorite, and will someone tell me why you cannot buy this in the store?? It's one of the best foods you can give a baby!!), watching Minute To Win It (yes, I'm addicted!), having dinner at my brother and sister-in-law's house, spending time with my Mom, working (the new job is going great but getting busier!) oh yeah, and taking care of my 6 month old while also trying to spend some quality time with Matt.) Yes, I know these are all excuses, and that if I really wanted to write a blog post I would. And I am currently writing this post to say that I will be writing a real post (many real posts!) in the near future! I actually have a lot I want to write about! But until then, enjoy a few recent pictures of Ryan:

With his Uncle John:

Playing with Cousin Caitlin:

Peekaboo in the clothes basket:

The Cam Fam has been Published on:

Scary Mommy