Monday, January 31, 2011

This face.

This face makes my heart ache with love. I will kiss it even when its covered in lasagna.

Lasagna. Up his nose. In his eyebrow. Under his fingernails. Our lunch at Bella Napoli was a success.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A message to Max

Dear Max,

I just want to say how incredible it is to watch you learn. You have figured out the difference between your green ball and your yellow ball, you tell me at least 10 times a day what sound a dog makes and you are the first to alert everyone in the room if there happens to be a car on TV (by pointing and yelling "car-car" until you're sure we've all heard the news that a car was momentarily on the television screen). Colors, animal sounds, names of objects...these are all things that are easy to teach such a smart little guy, but there are many things in this world that are hard to explain. I already think about what I'm going to say to you when you ask me tough questions in the future. When your curiosity about the images you see in your books turns to questions about things you hear on the news. You are so sheltered right now, but I know it is my job to teach you about everything - the good and the bad. And there are many things that are not black and white.

There are also things you may wonder about that will have no explanation and I won't be able to give you an answer. The world won't always make sense. I wish my love was enough to protect you from it all. What I can promise is that I will help you sort out your feelings about life and what it all means. I'll do my best to help you navigate the ups and downs that you will inevitably experience.

One day you'll have to make important choices about who you are and what kind of person you want to be. Just know that Dad and I will never judge you. You can be whoever you want to be and love whomever you choose to love. We will never tell you how to live your life, but encourage you to make the right choices. We will try to guide you in the right direction, but we will never forget that you are your own person with your own soul.

I hope that you will read and re-read this post when you are older and feeling like I'm the "enemy" because I've grounded you or not let you do something that you wanted to do. It may help you see things from my perspective. Your father and I love you more than you can imagine.

My whole heart,

At the time of this writing, however, you're just a curious, perfectly mischievous, sweet little boy learning to become your own person. Here are a few photos of your lessons this month...
Lesson 1:
Getting food in your mouth is harder than it looks.

Lesson 2:
We celebrate at fancy restaurants when Dad gets a promotion.

Max is saying "This guy is #1!"

Lesson 3:
Snow is COLD.

Lesson 4:
A big pool can be intimidating. But a Grama can protect you.

Lesson 5:
Chicago dogs are what you eat when the Bears play.

Lesson 6:
Some things are heavier than they look.

Lesson 7:
Real men help with the housework.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Reason #957

Reason #957 I love having a kid is the way we can turn any random small idea into a huge production for Max. The other day we thought how much he would love to ride one of those mechanical horses you see at grocery stores, WM, etc. And then the wheels began turning. The best one I could think of is at the Gate's BBQ on Stateline. They still have the original horse. I rode it when I was little and it still looks exactly the same. I have many childhood memories at Gate's. It reminds me of my Grampa. Not only did he design the logo for the restaurant, but I feel like we ate there ALL the time with my grandparents. As I got older I realized the only thing I liked about the place was the strawberry cream soda and the pickles. However, when I was pregnant with Max, Billy jokingly asked me if perhaps I was craving BBQ one particular day (his way of tip-toeing around the fact that HE wanted BBQ). I thought about it and, actually, it did sound good. Weird. So off we went. I don't know what happened to my taste buds, but all of a sudden I was drowning my turkey and fries in Gate's hot sauce. I loved it. But I digress...

We knew Max would love to naw on some ribs and pickles while riding a mechanical bucking bronco so it was settled. We grabbed a handful of quarters and a bib for Max and headed out for some BBQ and a pony ride. Below are the pics from our little outing that our entire day was planned around. I even made sure he dressed the part. How cute are the knitted cowboy booties?

UGH! I can't wait to cut this scraggly hair!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

11 Months

The count down to Max's first birthday is almost complete. Each month brings so many new things for us and for our little mister I can barely keep up with them all. First of all, this kid can make me laugh harder than anyone. I'm not sure where this little comedian came from, but he likes to play tricks on me. His latest routine: when I'm putting him night-night he pretends to fall asleep right when I lay him in his crib, but after a few seconds he'll spit out his pacifier, point at me (like, "gotcha!") and laugh. I always act really surprised and say "Ohhhh, I thought you were night-night!" And then he laughs a full-on belly laugh like its the most hilarious thing ever. Which, of course, makes me laugh like its the most hilarious thing ever. He'll put the paci back in his mouth and repeat the same skit over and over about 15 times before deciding he's run the joke into the ground. I don't even care that it delays bedtime by about 20 minutes. When I finally turn off his light and shut the door after the very last "night-night" I hear him sigh with contentment after all the giggling. That simple little sound makes me feel like everything is right with the world.

Other milestones this month...

He's very into feeding himself and tries to use a spoon when he eats applesauce or yogurt. He usually shakes his head "no" if I try to feed him which makes mealtime much longer and MUCH messier, but I like that he wants to try to do things himself.

Also, he blows kisses, which is quite possibly the sweetest thing I've ever seen. And he tries to repeat just about any word you ask him to if he's in the right mood. His favorite words/phrases right now are "owl. who-who" and "car-car". Which reminds me...this boy loves cars. He'd watch them pass in front of our house from the living room window all day long if he could. And when he pushes his toy cars around on the floor he always makes a motor sound with his mouth. He's a 100% walker now too. I'm in awe at how quickly he picked it up over the past couple weeks.

It's hard to believe that last year at this time I was counting down the final days of my pregnancy. I could never have imgained how much joy, exhaustion, learning and love I had ahead of me in the coming year.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The List

Dear Max,

When we found out we were going to be parents your Dad and I made a list of the things that we wanted to instill in our children. I wanted a list (trust me, this wasn’t your Dad’s idea) in order to keep us focused on what is most important to us and our family. Plus, I really love making lists.

I guess it’s kind of funny that we have bullet points on the way we intend to raise you, but I think it will keep us grounded as we plot the course of growing together as a family. On days when we might be stressed or other outside influences cloud our view of any given situation we can think back to the list to be sure we’re staying on track when it comes to the choices we make. The list just contains general ideas on what we hope to pass along to you. Most of the ideas are very simple things about encouraging you to be curious and to have a desire to see the world and teaching you to give to others that don’t have as much as you. Some are going to take fortitude on our end…like telling you the truth when you ask tough questions and letting you stumble now and then so you learn how to pick yourself up. Others are funny… #12 on the list is something about letting you eat dirt on occasion. Just wanted to let you know that we take raising you seriously and not too seriously at the same time. I guess there’s no exact formula to raising a brilliant, well-rounded, thoughtful, happy kid, but we’ll do our best. Hopefully we’ll come up with a more detailed plan later, but the list is all we’ve got so far.

My whole heart,

We took you to Operation Breakthrough to donate a couple of your old toys after Christmas. We wanted to start a tradition of giving back at young age (#7 on the list). You won't remember this day, but we hope it is laying a good foundation for you in the future. Plus, we've been practicing how to share and you've recently grasped the concept of handing something to me when I say "May I have it?", so this was a good opportunity for you to practice your new skills in the real world :)

Max wanted to hold onto the bag the entire car ride.

He's thinking "wait...there's some good stuff in here"

But we assured him that there were many other kids that would be so happy that he shared.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The "Joys" of Motherhood

I love being a mom. Do I say that often enough?? It probably gets annoying. Especially because everyone knows there are definitely some not so fun parts of being a parent. When Max was sick last week I'm sure there was not a single person who wanted to swap places with me. But as challenging as a sick baby can be I was cherishing every second of comforting him. Even though he was a snotty, sweaty beast trying to slither his way out of my arms to escape the thermometer, I realized it's the difficult times and long nights that make me feel most like a momma. It feels good to care for a fussy baby in the middle of the night in spite of the lack of sleep. The way Max looks at me when I'm making it all better is what gives me the strength to get out of bed over and over again to suction his slimy little nose.

There's nothing like a momma when you're sick. Even as an adult I want my mom when I don't feel well. When Max is under the weather I know he wants me and no one else. There's something wonderful about knowing your baby recognizes that you are his mother. Dads are great, but Moms are best at the tough stuff. You're the one who takes care of them when everyone else is sleeping. Or golfing. (just kidding, honey, you do so much:) You stayed covered in spit-up for the first three months of their life. You sacrifice yourself, clean clothes, a daily shower, and so much more for their little selves. And when your baby cries and reaches for you when the chips are down, it makes the job that much easier and rewarding.

Max on the mend...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy 2011!

Unfortunately, this NYE was not as great as the rest of our holidays this year. My parents agreed to watch Max so we could go out with our friends, but our night didn't go as planned. We had a nice dinner at R Bar, but I couldn't even make it to our next destination. I was so sick. The sore throat and achiness started earlier in the day and I thought I could push through, but by 9pm I felt like I wanted to crawl under a rock. We went home and I was asleep by 10. Lame. Not to mention this is the second NYE in a row that I've been pregnant! So I wasn't exactly going to be the life of the party anyway. Oh, next year. Just wait. I'm going to party like I did in 1999. Or, I might be home with Billy and our two babies. Actually that sounds just as nice. Kissing my sleeping little ones at midnight next year sounds like a pretty good plan to me.

This lucky little guy, however, had one rockin' New Year Eve.
Regardless of the poor ending to 2010 it was one fantastic year. It's one we will always remember and I was a little sad to see it come to a close. We have a lot to look forward to in 2011, though. :)