Monday, December 14, 2009

16 Months

It's hard to believe that two years ago this week, I found out I was pregnant with Colton. It seemed like forever before I would get to meet him for the first time, and now he's 16 months old! A happy, active, VERY vocal toddler that has filled my days with joy and my heart with so much love it feels like it's going to burst.

This past month, Colton has finally started to come out of his shell and actually interact with other children at playgroups instead of cling to my leg the entire time. He also doesn't freak out as much if I leave the room and have another mom watch him for a few minutes. He still won't let anyone else hold him besides family members (and even that circle is pretty limited). I'm so glad to catch a break now and then, while an aunt or grandma changes or plays with him.

Colton has discovered how to climb stairs and could do it all afternoon if I let him. He races all over our condo with his push toy every chance he gets, and has become quite good at turning it around corners. He's getting better at standing by himself, not feeling the need as much to cling to the wall or a piece of furniture for support. And he did take a step all by himself, one time right after I let go of his hands. My little boy is still not confident enough to walk on his own, but I figure it's just as well because when he takes off I'll be chasing him around even more than I do now!

No real words to speak of yet, but he constantly babbles all day long in a language only he can understand. It is the cutest thing I've ever heard. I'm sure he understands way more than he lets on. For instance, whenever Colton goes by the door he waves and when I ask him where the light is, he looks up and stretches his hand out towards the ceiling fan.

I'm so excited for his second Christmas! He should be way more into present opening than he was last year at only four months. :)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Christmastime is (almost!) here

I can't believe it's December already, and almost another whole year has come & gone. It's definitely beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas. It is cold enough outside to snow, although it hasn't yet (but it already snowed twice here in October, what's up with that??) I'm beginning to get into the holiday spirit and get excited about decorating, exchanging gifts, baking cookies and the like.

Life lately has been busy but predictable. I've hardly written a post in the past couple of months, now that my time is taken up with a very active toddler. My days consist of chasing him all over the house, trying to do chores while keeping one eye on Colton who is inevitably getting into something, watching Sesame Street and Barney & Friends (which I swore I would never watch when I had kids), battling with a 15 month old to eat a vegetable (just eat one, please!), and catching up on blogs or Facebook when I get a free minute.

I cannot believe my little guy is going to be 16 months old in less than two weeks! We've been trying to get him to eat "properly" (ha!) by using a plate and a spoon. He usually ends up turning the plate over, dumping the food all over the place, and whatever does actually get onto the spoon rarely makes it into his mouth. Colton has found new ways to drive me crazy by figuring out how to take the plug protectors out of all the outlets, reaching up to grab whatever is on the edge of the table, and pushing the dishwasher and washing machine buttons. Can you say "oy vey"?

His 15 month well visit was a few weeks ago, and he's now up to 23 1/2 lbs. and 30 1/4" which puts him just below the "average". He still has that buddha belly though! Colton outgrew his 12 month clothes and is wearing 18 month stuff already. All his pants are a little snug at the waist, but too long at the bottom. :)

Besides the day-to-day routine of being a mom, life is pretty good. We are really tight on money right now, but I can't complain. We have good friends, family, our health, and a beautiful little boy. We're hoping that with the added responsibilities Gregg has gotten at his job, comes something extra in his paycheck starting next year. Living on one income in North Jersey is not easy! God always provides for us, though. This year Christmas is going to have to be a little more "all in the heart" than anything else, but it will still be wonderful.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

15 Months

Colton is 15 months old today! He's leaving the baby behind and turning into a little boy right before my eyes. I think he'll be walking by himself very soon. It seems every chance he gets, he grabs something and starts walking with it across the room. I remember not too long ago when Colton was so afraid to even hold onto a push toy. He can also stand by himself for several seconds, though he's not too crazy about the idea. Once he realizes that he's doing it, he'll immediately looks for sometihng to grab ahold of or just plops down on the floor for safety.

Colton likes to reach up on his tippy toes and touch door knobs now. He has an endless fascination with those, as well as the kitchen garbage can and of course the dog's water dish. Really, who needs toys when you have these items?? Another favorite thing of his is taking all the diaper changing supplies out and climbing into the compartment once it's empty. It's the perfect little space for him.

My little guy is chattering up a storm these days. He still talks gibberish, but it's actually starting to sound almost like real words. He is always trying to carry on a conversation with us. Colton also waves when you say "goodbye", and claps his hands when you say "yay". It is the cutest thing! And he's become quite the chick magnet, too. Women young and old ooh and ah over how adorable he is, and he just smiles and waves at them like he's eating up the attention. People tell me he's going to be a heartbreaker.

Colton is up to four teeth now! His two front ones came in this past month, and now he looks like Sponge Bob. It appears that a couple more are starting to make their way through the gums on top, also. It's fun to hear him crunching away on snacks.

I didn't realize that my last post was his 14 month update. I've been really slacking at blogging since I spend a lot of time over on Facebook. I do still read everyone's blogs and try to comment when I can though! Here are some recent pictures:


Halloween 2009


Showing off his two front teeth


Playing in the changing table supplies compartment


Walking with his push toy like he was born to do it

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

14 on the 14th

14 months that is! My little man is getting so big and grown up.

Colton walks with his push toy from one end of the room to the other now. Before he would only walk a few steps with it. He also cruises from the couch to the tv stand to the window and end table in the living room, where he used to only cruise the length of the couch and then plunk down again so he could crawl to where he wanted to go.

His new favorite thing to do is take stuff in and out of something. He loves taking out all of his blocks one by one and then putting them all away, right back in the container. He sometimes "puts back" the books he's taken out and looked at during the day, too. For the past month or so, Colton's morning nap has been getting shorter and shorter until now he just fights it. I'm beginning to think he doesn't need it anymore. That will be a sad, sad day when he goes down to only one nap. Even sadder than him giving up the bottle and binky! He still happily takes a binky at any time though, which I know I have to help him give up in the next few months. :(

Another tooth has come in over the last few weeks, right next to the first one on the bottom. When he smiles or has his mouth open, you can see them clearly. Colton also started drinking from a straw, which wouldn't be a big deal except we had these Munchkin cups for months and he refused to drink out of them until I left his favorite sippy cup behind at the doctor's office in September. I decided to try them again, because the only other sippy we have leaks. It only took him a day to learn how to use the straw and he's never looked back!

October 2008:























October 2009:

Friday, October 09, 2009

A Birthday & An Anniversary

I wanted to give a little shout-out to my great husband, whose birthday is today!!! He turned the ripe old age of 33. Such an old man already. :) This morning I gave Gregg his gift, Season 4 of The Office, because he (and I) loves that show. (By the way, last night's Office Wedding was awesome!) Tonight we're going out to a restaurant of his choosing.

This day also happens to be the anniversary of when I started my blog here on blogger, three years ago. I had a blog over on The Nest since March 2005, but eventually all my fellow Nestie friends jumped ship and went to Blogspot. Caving into pressure, I followed suit. Okay, so not really. I just wanted a pretty new blog!

Colton and I are finally on the mend after being sick for the past two weeks. For the last several days, I lived off of chicken soup and Kleenex. One night, Colton woke up nearly every hour screaming and crying because he was so congested. He's never been up that many times in one night, even when he was a newborn. It was awful. His appetite decreased noticeably while being sick, and I started getting a little worried. But then this morning he ate like 1,000 cheerios and half a banana and last night he polished off several pieces of chicken and handfuls of rice. So I'd say he's feeling better.

On Tuesday I had the car to myself and we went to a MOMS club meeting in the morning, then had lunch at Panera and picked up a few things at BJ's in the afternoon. Colton was really well behaved the whole time. He wouldn't leave my side though at the MOMS group. I tried to encourage him to play with the toys and other kids, but he was having none of it. On Thursday we went to another mom's house for a play date, and it took him a little over an hour before he actually crawled more than five inches away from me. He would freak out if I got up to do anything. I have to say, though, that I am loving my mommies group. It's wonderful to have a cup of coffee with other moms and talk while our kids play (or cling to my leg!) There's a Mom's Night Out at the end of the month I'm really looking forward to.

Gregg and I are also really enjoying the church we've been attending for the last six weeks. The worship is incredible and we can see ourselves forming some good connections there. Last week they had a going away brunch/party for a couple, and we got to fellowship with some people which was nice. This upcoming Sunday, they're doing something called Faith In Action where they cancel their regular worship service and do some work in the community. It should be a great way to meet other people while we serve.

I've been feeling very blessed lately, with these two opportunities to get to know others. Sometimes I am so focused on keeping a home and pouring into my child that I forget how important it is to be in relationship with other people. I've also been trying to work harder on my relationship with God. I think being away from a church to call home for so long has hardened my heart and I've definitely drifted from Him. I read a chapter to Colton each day from his Jesus Storybook Bible, and every time I'm reminded of how much He loves me and that there is purpose in life. I love this book because it's written simply for children, yet it doesn't water down the Gospel. I know that it's also over Colton's head at this age, but it's never too early to start speaking God's truth into his life. Part of my role as a mother is to teach my children that there is a God who loves them and rescued them.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Autumn Leaves and Such

Me thinks it is time for an update, seeing as how it's the end of September already. Fall has definitely arrived- the mornings are cool and crisp, leaves are changing color and falling to the ground, and I feel a cold & sore throat coming on. I ALWAYS get sick around this time of year when the weather changes. I could seriously use some chicken soup and Vitamin C right now.

First off, things at Gregg's job are going really well. He recently designed something with his super fantastic IT skills that will help streamline a lot of things his company does. The president of the company was very impressed and presented it to a group of other wholesalers to use as a great resource in their own businesses. He said that Gregg should license and sell it, and any profits would go directly to him rather than the company. The president also sat down with my husband in an impromptu meeting last week about his success there so far, which could very likely mean a promotion in the near future. We're both pretty floored by this, since he's only been at this job since January. I'm glad he's being recognized for all his hard work and effort though!

As for me, I finally joined a MOMS Group. I inquired about my local chapter on the website, and got a response almost 20 minutes later. The woman who contacted me was also kind enough to pick me and Colton up the morning of their monthly meeting and for a playgroup the following week. It turns out she has a car seat that's not in use during the morning since her oldest daughter is in school. There's about 15 active moms right now, mostly with kids two and under. I'm happy that I can get out of the house once in a while to meet with other mommies, and that Colton can play with other kids his age.

Gregg and I talked about him taking the train into work occasionally too, so that I can have the car during the day. We tried it out for the first time a couple of weeks ago, when I had a doctor's appointment in the evening and he had to work late. The train station is less than five minutes away, which is great, but it did take him a long time to make it to work. We figured that it would cut his commute significantly if we just drove anotehr ten minutes out of our way to drop him off at another station that doesn't have quite as many stops. It's not the most convenient arrangement, but it'll work for now.

I knew moving back to Jersey would be expensive and that staying at home full-time would be a sacrifice, but I didn't think it would be as tight as it is. I didn't anticipate that our minivan would blow up on us back in February, leaving us with only one car that we scrambled to replace the van with. Our plan shortly after moving back last year was to get a second car in addition to the van. I do wonder sometimes if it's worth it for me to go back to work. While Colton is still this young though, I think it's ultimately better that I'm home with him and we'll just have to make the financial sacrifice for the time being.

Now that my little boy is getting a bit older, he is trying to do a lot of things on his own and I feel like I can't take my eyes off of him for a second. I feel guilty that I get so frustrated with him for repeatedly playing in the dog's dishes, or touching/throwing all the diaper changing supplies while I'm trying to dress him, or crawling over to the nightstand to play with the remote control for the 100th time. Even though Colton's only 13.5 months, I know he knows what "no" means. There's really no way to discipline him at this stage other than putting him in the pack 'n play for a very short time-out and using a firm tone of voice. He may not listen very well, but I don't think he's necessarily doing things on purpose and at least he's not aggressive.

The nursery situation is still touch and go. The week before last, he did stay there for the entire hour and cried off and on. He was really tired because that's during his nap time, so he tried to lay down on the floor and go to sleep! This past Sunday, I made it through most of the service before a nursery worker came to get me. He had calmed down a little, but then started up again and when I got there he was hysterical. I just ended up staying in nursery the rest of the time so he wouldn't freak out. Even with me there, it took him a long while before he'd let me put him down on the floor to play. I don't know what to do. I feel really bad leaving him there, but I'm with him every minute of every day and this is the only "break" I get to have during the week. All I'm asking for is one hour!!

Other than that, Colton is doing great. Gregg's mom came to pick us up on Friday to get him his first pair of shoes. They're so tiny and cute. I do think they help him "walk" better. He's still not really walking yet, just cruising. Aside from getting into things he shouldn't, he is a really good baby. That temper does flare up every now and then, though, when he doesn't get what he wants!

Monday, September 14, 2009

13 Months

Already through the first month of his second year! I'm so impressed with all that Colton's been doing and learning since he turned one. Of course, the biggest development over the past month was the cutting of his first tooth!! I noticed on Saturday night that he has another one coming through the gums, this time on the top.

In addition to cruising all the furniture, Colton will walk when we hold his hands. He is starting to figure out how to stack things and put objects inside one another. He likes to "help" me put away things, too. They're usually not in the right order, but it's so cute that he tries. Once he piled Gregg's socks and shoes on top of each other and made a tower out of the pots & pans, putting the big soup pot on top of the little sauce pan! The other day Colton worked at fitting the lid back on his blocks container and even though it was upside down, he managed to line it up correctly.

He says "momma" frequently now, usually when he wants something. Colton is still really wary of other adults. I tried leaving him in nursery these past two weeks, but he wouldn't stop crying for me. So I just stayed with him in the room and talked to the nursery workers, which was good fellowship at least. I'm not sure if I should just let him "get over it" by not coming back to the nursery once I've sat in the sanctuary. It's frustrating not being able to get a break and sit through an entire service.

Here are some pictures of my cutie:



Friday, September 11, 2009

"Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning, that September day?"

It's hard to believe that it's been eight years since 9/11. Today my heart is heavy for those who lost loved ones in the attack. There were so many innocent lives destroyed needlessly, senselessly.

To be sure, it was a national tragedy affecting millions of Americans, but for those of us who grew up seeing the spectacular view of the Manhattan Skyline from any high point in New Jersey, it hit a lot closer to home. Today is wet and grey, but eight years ago there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It was a beautiful late summer day, the second day of my graduate level internship at a behavioral school. I was pretty apprehensive about the placement, but I decided to make the best of things and try to learn all I could. That morning, I arrived a little early and grabbed a cup of coffee from the teacher's lounge, preparing to observe some of the students I would be working with over the next several months.

As I sat in one of the classrooms, someone came in to tell the head teacher that the World Trade Center had just been bombed. She became very upset because her son had just started a new job there that day. She excused herself to leave the room, asking her assistant to take over. I decided to follow her into the main office to find out what was going on. It was then that the secretary informed us that two planes had crashed into the WTC, at least two other planes had been hijacked, and the Pentagon had also just been bombed. We also learned that it was a real possibility that the White House and Capitol could be attacked as well. I immediately thought of my sister who was a sophomore at George Washington University in downtown D.C., and wondered if she might be caught in the middle of all this chaos.

Of course, all the phones and the Internet went down so the only information any of us could get at that time was from a talk radio station in the office. They couldn't report what was happening fast enough. I didn't really know what was going on or how bad things were. Things kind of quieted down for about an hour while I visited another classroom and tried to concentrate on doing my job. During lunch, I remember thinking the skies seemed awfully calm. In fact there was this strange, almost unsettling feeling of calm during that time. I don't know how to fully describe it.

I finally got in touch with my mother around 1:00 in the afternoon, who told me that my sister was alright. She had been dismissed from class early and told to go straight back to her dormitory. Shortly afterwards, I went ahead and met with my first client, a teenage boy who was all worked up about the events he heard going on that day. While I took a look through his file, my supervisor began flipping through students' emergency cards to see if any had parents that worked in New York City. I tried to read the open case report in front of me, but I was so anxious by this point and sick to my stomach. All I wanted to do was leave there and go home since I was desperate to talk with family and friends. I wanted to make sure they were all okay. I wanted to receive the strength that comes through being around people I love and who have faith.

When I arrived at my apartment 15 minutes later, there were three notes on the door, one from each roommate. There were about ten messages on the answering machine from friends and family, all calling to either find out if we were alright or to say that they were. I flipped on the tv to a broadcast about the attacks, and it was like a scene straight out of Godzilla with people running down the streets of Manhattan trying to shield themselves from the flying debris of ashes and metal. I got ready to get back in my car and drive to a prayer meeting that my campus ministry was having at a leader's house, but I couldn't remember how to get there. I drove in a daze and made several wrong turns, so by the time I got there the meeting was over.

My roommates and I stayed glued to the television for the rest of the afternoon. I finally tore myself away to work on a response paper for a class the next day. I honestly don't know how I was able to put five paragraphs together that made any kind of sense, but it didn't much matter because we had just found out classes were cancelled for the following day. After eating dinner, we all piled into somebody's car for another prayer gathering and I just sobbed the whole time. I didn't even know someone personally that died on that day; I was just so shaken up that something like this could happen, right in my own "backyard".

September 11 will always be one of those days on which I can recall exactly what I was doing, what I was wearing, and what I was feeling. It shook me to the core, and brought a true realization that evil exists in this world. It gave me a pride and appreciation for America that I had never had before. I confess that I didn't vote for George W. Bush in the 2000 election. I was a registered democrat, and very proud of that fact. After 9/11, I started leaning a little more to the right. I began to really admire President Bush for how he stepped up as a leader in the days and weeks of the aftermath. I still think he was one of our greatest presidents, despite what all the critics say.

Eight years have passed since that day. We all moved on with our lives and things returned to normal, though for a period of 24 hours or so, it felt like the world had literally stopped. I know to some September 11 is just another day on the calendar. I guess this is my way of saying that I will never forget.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Whoo Hoo!

Yesterday, I felt something sharp and bumpy in Colton's mouth. Today, I was able to get a glimpse of the most adorable little... tooth!!!! Almost 13 months old, and he finally has his first tooth. I hope to get some pictures of it to post soon. 'Cause you know, everyone is just as excited about this as me. :)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

September Snuck Up On Me

September already??? It's just another one of those times where I shake my head and wonder where in the world the time went. August was over in the blink of an eye. The air is definitely starting to have that "end of summer" feel to it. We can actually turn off the A/C and leave some windows open!

When this time comes around each year, it always makes me think of returning to school. Which, because I'm a total dork, I loved since I liked going to school. In the neighborhood where I grew up, the local Catholic church held an Italian festival during Labor Day weekend with rides, games, and all kinds of yummy (greasy) foods. This signaled our official end to the summer, right before we had to head back into the classroom with our brand spankin' new No. 2 pencils and Trapper Keepers.

Anyway, enough nostalgia. I thought I'd update a little since it's been a while, in case anyone actually reads this anymore! Colton is finally over the cold he picked up at the doctor's office. It really didn't seem to bother him any- he still ate, played, and slept fine. I just couldn't stand wiping his nose every five minutes. He pulls himself up on practically everything now. He's also started cruising the furniture, and his balance has gotten so much better. Today he began walking a little bit with the push toy my mom got him for his birthday.

I have to say even though I miss being able to cuddle with him like I used to when he was a newborn, I am really enjoying this stage so much more. He is completely on whole milk now and hasn't had a bottle in over two weeks. No more measuring out water and formula, mixing, or washing bottles. :) I love that he eats when we eat too- so convenient! More of Colton's personality comes out each day and he is so much fun to spend time with. He makes me laugh with all the funny things he does.

Yes, he does drive me crazy with his rolling like an alligator during diaper changes, and getting into stuff he shouldn't, and whining when he doesn't get his way... But for the most part he is really good. I feel fortunate to have Colton when I read what the other mommies on my August '08 board say about their little ones. They won't eat, they won't sleep, and they throw awful temper tantrums. Coltie is an angel compared to them.

In other news, we may have actually found a church home after all this time!! We found it through the internet search I did about a month ago, and after visiting a few and ruling out (many) others this one seemed to impress us and fit our needs. It's a small congregation that seems to really put into practice Jesus's example of loving and meeting people where they're at. They do a lot of outreach in the community and purchased their own building in the middle of town last fall so they could be accessible to people.

We felt extremely welcomed our first time visiting and felt a connection right away to some of the members there, so we decided to go back this past Sunday. We kept Colton in church with us since he was still getting over his cold and because of the stranger anxiety he suddenly developed a few weeks ago. Everyone commented on how good he was during the service. I like that I didn't feel pressured to put him in the nursery. The pastor's wife offered to show us the nursery, though, when we do feel comfortable taking him there.

Finally after a year and a half, we feel like we have a regular place to worship at, and I no longer feel like I'm just drifting along, not able to put down roots anywhere. I can honestly say this whole experience, while frustrating and sad, has taught me so much about how the unchurched person must feel visiting church. After a while, you start to feel like "why bother?" No wonder so many people stop attending church- they find better fellowship ultimately with their own friends, family and even co-workers than they do there. I started reading The Church Experiment after Angela mentioned it to me and I can totally relate to pretty much everything in it! If you have not yet checked it out, I highly recommend getting yourself over there ASAP and diving on in. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Birthday Party and Trip to the "Owie Place"

Colton might not remember his first birthday party, but I've got 136 pictures to prove that it actually took place! I didn't want to miss a moment because hey, you only turn 1 once.

It's a good thing that we had it indoors, since it was so miserably hot outside. I made a ton of chicken marsala the day before to serve, and we also had penne pasta, bread, salad, cheese & crackers, and chips. There was so much food leftover, but I'm glad we had more than enough for everybody. Colton was kind of overwhelmed with all of the people that we had over. I tried unsuccessfully three times to get him down for his morning nap, but he knew sometihng was going on and didn't want to sleep with the chance he might miss anything. I thought he was going to be super cranky during the party, but he did okay.

When it was time for presents, Colton wasn't really into them at first. He kept crawling away to play with something else, and I had to keep bringing him back! Eventually he started tearing the wrapping paper with us, but he was still much more enthralled with the cards, envelopes, and tissue paper. He got lots of fun & educational toys, along with books, clothes, and a push toy that converts to a ride on. My mom and stepdad bought him a toy chest, which will be great to store all of his old and new toys.

Colton wasn't quite sure what to make of the slice of cake we put in front of him, but soon his hands and mouth were covered in blue icing! I took the plate away after a while so he wouldn't go into sugar shock, and Gregg put him right in the tub to clean him up. Shortly after everybody left, Colton fell asleep and slept from 5:30 that night until 6:30 the next morning.

Here are some pictures of his big day!


Opening presents




Digging into his cake!


After being hosed down in the bath tub.

Monday night, we took Colton for his one year check-up. He went from the 75th percentile in height and weight to the 50th, probably because he's so much more active now. Last time he weighed 21 lbs. 12 oz. and this time he was 22 lbs. 8 oz. He also only went from 29 inches and a quarter to 29 inches and a half. Colton had to get a few more shots, and he screamed his head off during them. I didn't know whether I felt worse for him, or the nurse! We have to take him somewhere else to get his anemia and lead tests done. I am not looking forward to that at all. He goes back in November for his 15 month check-up.

Of course yesterday, he gets a runny nose which he probably brought home from the pediatrician's and hardly napped. He was really clingy all day, too. Not even ten minutes after I put him in the crib last night, he woke up crying and wouldn't go back down. Gregg brought him into bed with us hoping he'd fall asleep, but all Colton wanted to do was play. So after a while, he just put him back in the crib and Colton cried off and on for close to the next hour. He's never done this before. I wanted to go in there and comfort him, but I knew if I did neither one of us would get any sleep. With all that fuss he put up, Colton ended up sleeping until 8 this morning. I was actually able to grab a shower before 10am today! What a paradox: Colton gets showered with presents and cake one day, and poked and prodded and stuck by complete strangers the next. Poor little guy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday, Colton!!!

What a difference a year makes!

August 14, 2008























August 14, 2009























I know I sound like a broken record, but I really cannot believe my baby is already a year old. How is that possible?? It seems like just yesterday that he was born. During this time last year, I was being prepped for my C-section and getting really nervous about the surgery. I would get to meet Colton for the first time only half an hour later. When I finally got to hold him in recovery, I thought he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I know everybody says that about their child, but I didn't expect to feel like I was looking at the most amazing and precious being God ever made. I couldn't believe that Gregg and I had created such a beautiful little boy together.

I'm getting misty eyed thinking about the fact that he's no longer a baby anymore, but now a toddler. The tears start welling up also when I think about how proud I am of how much he's grown and developed in these past 365 days. This morning I made him his own omelet with cheddar cheese and he had whole milk in his sippy like a big boy! He is almost 100% on cow's milk at this point, and I'm about to get rid of the only bottle he has during the day. He had no problems with the transition from formula to the moo juice and I am so glad we can stop paying for expensive formula now!!

In addition to whole milk, Colton's also tried toast, blueberries, yogurt, whole wheat crackers, scrambled eggs, and yes even peanut butter this month. He hasn't had any adverse reactions to the PB, and he seems to really enjoy it. It's hard to believe that only a few short months ago, he was eating pureed baby food and now he is eating meals at the table with us.

Besides crawling really fast, Colton started to pull himself up to kneel and stand holding onto furniture. He's also taken a few steps, but he's not ready to try walking on his own yet! He learned how to get back down once he's standing and can reach for and grab a toy that's on the floor with one hand while he holds onto the couch with the other. Colton loves to crawl from room to room looking for me and enjoys being chased. He shrieks excitedly when he knows I'm coming after him!

I am amazed how much he's transformed in just the last few weeks with his physical and intellectual development. He's definitely got a mind of his own and he's starting to test limits. He understands the word "no", even if he doesn't always obey. Usually after I tell him no, he will stop just short of the object he's not supposed to have and stare at it and goes to touch it, then stops himself like he's trying to have self-control. You can almost see the internal dialogue he's having with himself: "I really want to play with/chew on/bang this object, but mom said not to and I really want to please her, but it's just too tempting!" There are many times when he looks to see if we're watching him, and when he knows he doesn't have our full attention he will go for whatever we've told him he couldn't have. Then he wails when we take it away or remove him from something.

Diaper changes have turned into a full-on battle. Colton has much more important things to do now than be changed, like throw all of his toys & books all over the floor, chew on dog toys, explore the contents of our closet, etc. He also fights me hard when I'm trying to get him dressed in the mornings. He always attempts to turn over on the changing table and crawl away, or sit up and start playing with the diaper rash cream, his nail clippers, and the bottle of vitamin drops. It is so frustrating that sometimes I want to say, "Fine, stay in your stinky diaper!!"

It is a full time job just to keep up with him and chase him around the house. I've found him in the bathroom going through the garbage, trying to stick his hands in the toilet, and throwing magazines around. In the kitchen, he loves to go for Tess's food & water bowls and play with the garbage and recycling cans. I kinda miss the days when he was NOT crawling.

Colton is putting a lot of syllables together to try and form words. It's still just a bunch of gibberish right now, but it's so cute. Sometimes it sounds like he's talking in Swedish! He did say "doggie" a few times, where he actually said it straight to the dog so I consider that his first official word. It's so much more rewarding to read him stories now because he recognizes pictures and gets excited when I turn the flaps in his Peek-a-boo books. He loves when I make different animal sounds to go with the book, and makes the cutest sound when he sees a dog, cat, or baby on a page.

I'm really excited about his birthday party this Sunday. After all the hemming and hawing, we decided to just have it here at our place. It'll be pretty low key, mostly just family. I'm going to make a few dishes and put them in aluminum pans so people can serve themselves. We'll also have some snacks, and of course cake! Then Colton goes for his 12 month doctor's visit on Monday night, and I'm curious to see how much taller and bigger he's gotten. He definitely feels heavier than he did at his last appointment, but I know now is when his growth supposedly slows way down.

I am so blessed to have had this little boy in my life over this past year, to have witnessed all his milestones, put him to bed every night, rocked him to sleep, given him big kisses on his soft pudgy cheeks, hear him laugh, and watch him grow from a tiny baby into a toddler. It feels like he has always been with us, and I just can't imagine my life without him. I love him a thousand times more than the day he was born, if that's even possible. I'm looking forward to what's to come in his second year. Time to change that ticker...

Monday, August 10, 2009

One Year Later

It's so hard to believe that my baby is going to be 1 on Friday. During this week a year ago, we were making all the last minute preparations for his arrival. I had my final doctor's appointment to check up on how the baby was doing and go over everything involved with having the C-section. The day before Colton's birth, Gregg and I enjoyed a nice lunch out at Fuddrucker's and talked about how it was our last full day together as just a "twosome". In the middle of lunch, I received a call from the hospital telling us when to arrive, and we phoned our families to let them know when they could show up.

This past year has been the most challenging, frustrating, and rewarding of my life so far. I had to learn so much about taking care of a baby. I didn't know anything about diapering, bottle feeding, swaddling, burping, etc. I got a crash course in mothering pretty quickly and nothing's been the same since.

I had to overcome all the internal voices telling me that I wasn't going to be a good mother. I was so discouraged when breastfeeding didn't go according to plan. Colton had difficulty latching on and he would always seem to fall asleep in the middle of a feeding. He slept so much in the hospital and when we first brought him home that I actually thought there was something wrong with him! (It turns out I just have a really good sleeper. Even now he takes two naps during the day and sleeps for 11 hours overnight.) At the time, breastfeeding was like a complicated mathematical problem and I didn't have the strength emotionally, physically, or mentally to figure it out. So I decided to try the pump, but it was really painful. I had the stupid thing on the highest setting and I still got very little milk. Before the first week was over, I just resigned myself to the fact that Colton would be exclusively formula fed. It was the best decision I could have made for his health and my sanity, but it sure didn't feel that way at the time.

Right after he was born, I was an emotional wreck. I don't know if it was the dramatic shift in hormones paired with the monumental life change I had just encountered and all the painkillers I was on, but I'd be sobbing hysterically one minute and laughing uncontrollably the next. I didn't know how and if I would ever make it through that first week home from the hospital. Eventually I started learning how to do things and bonding with my baby, who once seemed like such a foreign creature. Colton started sleeping through the night, and before I knew it he was outgrowing his newborn clothes and I stopped stumbling around like a zombie. Then before long, he was interacting with us by smiling & laughing and it was time for him to try baby food.

I kept watching and worrying about his development, though he was progressing just as he should. I was concerned that he was too chubby, he couldn't stand tummy time, he wasn't reaching for toys, and on and on. The anxiety that I had about doing something wrong or messing up my child somehow was overwhelming. So I read everything I could on what to expect the first year, took some good pointers and tossed out the rest. I learned to read my own baby's cues and stopped fretting about every little thing.

This past year has felt like a marathon, and on Friday I will cross the "finish line" only to begin running another race with new obstacles and challenges as Colton enters toddlerhood. I'll have to learn how to discipline, provide well-balanced nutritious meals, and (oh joy) potty train. Colton has certainly come a long way since his days as a teeny, helpless newborn. He can completely feed himself now. He's standing on his own and imitating words. He is mobile enough to get to where he wants to go. He is asserting his will and independence more & more all the time. As I look back at how much he's grown physically and developmentally, I am so proud of all the things he can do. I am thrilled with the little boy he is becoming. I'm truly blessed to be his mother and look forward to celebrating his first birthday at the end of this week!

Friday, July 31, 2009

A New Day

A year ago today, I found out when I would get to meet my son for the first time. I had a routine appointment at the doctor's office and the nurse-midwife confirmed that what had been the case two weeks prior was still true- that Colton was breech. She explained that I had two options, either have her attempt to turn the baby or go ahead and schedule a C-section. A trial of labor was not discussed, though I'm not sure I would have been on board with that knowing the risks involved. Not feeling comfortable with the whole turn the baby thing, I opted for the Cesarean and it was scheduled for the week before my due date. For the past eight months, August 21 had been burned in my mind as the most likely day when my little boy would make his grand entrance into the world. But now I had a new date: August 14.

I spent the next two weeks leading up to his birth day trying to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy, preparing to go on maternity leave, and attempting to stay off my feet as much as possible. During this time, I watched the final episodes of So You Think You Can Dance (this season isn't nearly as good as last, IMO) and they had brought back the couple that danced the waltz to "A New Day" by Celine Dion. It was one of my favorite dances during the season, and when I saw it performed again I sobbed the whole time thinking of how my world would be changed so incredibly by the birth of my own son very soon. I could not imagine a better day than the 14th of August for him to have been born.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving

Well, the thirty part is correct. The funny thing is, I don't feel 30. Age isn't anything but a number I guess.

I had a great time celebrating my birthday with family over the weekend. My mom invited us over for lunch, cake, and presents on Saturday. My sister and her husband were there, along with my stepsister and her kids. Then on Sunday, Gregg's family had us for lunch and whatnot. Monday, my actual birthday, turned out to be a nice day even though thunderstorms had been forecasted. Gregg bought me sunflowers (my favorite flower) and took me out to the Macaroni Grill. We brought Colton with us to dinner, and he was really good until about the last 20 minutes of our meal when he started getting cranky. I fed him shortly before we left the house and packed plenty of toys, juice, and snacks so he wouldn't have a meltdown in the middle of the restaurant. Our waiter mistook Colton for a girl, even though he was wearing a blue shirt, a blue bib, and had a blue pacifier in his mouth!

So turning another year and really another decade older aside, life is going pretty well. I am dealing with the daily challenges of caring for an almost-toddler. The temper tantrums have begun. Granted, they're still short lived and don't involve throwing himself dramatically on the floor at this point, but it's definitely a precursor of what is to come. And I'm not looking forward to it. Colton is testing his boundaries and enjoying the new freedom that comes with being able to crawl at lightning speed. He frequently goes for one of the dog's toys, her food/water dishes, the air conditioning vent in the living room, or the end table drawers in which he finds all sorts of interesting treasures. We finally locked up all the kitchen cabinets so that's some sort of relief.

Colton's down to only one bottle a day now, in the morning right after he wakes up. I've been mixing in a little bit of whole milk with his formula to get him used to the taste and will gradually add more until he's completely on regular milk. He seems to be doing well with it so far. We're still planning on throwing his birthday party August 16, but we are having a difficult time figuring out where to have it. Our condo is really too small to accommodate the 20 guests we're inviting, and we don't have our own backyard here. We basically share a piece of grass with three other neighbors. We've considered holding the party at our development's clubhouse, but aren't sure we want to pay what they charge to rent it out. And since we're now at the mercy of the condo association's rules, I had to call and ask them if we were allowed to do 50 different things just to have a simple child's b-day party!

Now we have less than three weeks to decide where we're having this, so yesterday I started calling up several parks in the area to ask if they reserve picnic shelters. I also went to some websites and was able to get more information that way. I searched in three different counties, and actually came across a state park nearby that has a reservable picnic shelter and doesn't charge an entrance fee. We're going to check out the spot this Saturday, and hopefully it's nice and we can book it and just be done with this whole thing already!! I didn't think it would be this much work finding a place to hold a 1 year old's birthday. Oy vey.

Much like what I did with my park search, I looked up a list of churches in our county and cut & pasted their names into Yahoo's search engine to see if they had a website. Then I compiled my own list on our computer with each place, their service times, address, and website. So come this Sunday, we can (I hate saying this) start checking churches off the list. It seems crazy to me that for the last year and a half, we've been without a place to worship. It also seems crazy that I've come to the point where I'm essentially tracking down churches to visit in an effort to find one where we'll want to belong. They should really do more advertising! They are in the business of rescuing souls, after all.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Time For Ourselves

Gregg and I really enjoyed our self-made three day weekend. Saturday we didn't do much except run some errands and travel around a little to see more of the area we moved to. It turns out there is so much more to this area than we thought, including a lot of family-friendly places. On Sunday, we got ready for church by 9am and were really early for the service so we drove around a little bit to kill time. We ended up seeing a sign for another church that looked appealing so Gregg pulled into a parking lot and brought up their website on his Blackberry. We decided to attend this church instead of the one we went to last week, but since the service didn't start until 11 and Colton needed a nap, we drove around even more. He slept while we explored.

The church we attended was extremely friendly and welcoming (maybe a little too friendly), and pretty small because it was a recent plant. They didn't have their own building yet so they were meeting in a middle school and the auditorium was hot & stuffy. Colton was the only infant in nursery, so I'm not sure you could even call it a nursery. There were a few older kids in there with him, maybe three to five years old? After our experience, we felt that it just wasn't the right fit for us. I'm kind of bummed, because I so want to find a good church home, but it has to fit our needs as a family. We're going to check out yet another church this Sunday.

We came home and had lunch, and by that time Colton was getting pretty crabby since he didn't have a proper nap in the morning. I put him down to sleep so he could get in at least an hour nap before Dave & Teresa were supposed to arrive. They showed up about 3 and we hung out here for a while before going out for dinner. Gregg wanted them to experience an authentic Jersey diner so that's where we took them. Colton did great at the restaurant, happily playing with some toys and eating a few bites of my hamburger and bun. After dinner, the Arnold's went back to their hotel and we tried to make it an early night since we needed to leave at 8:30 the next morning.

Monday we left a little later than planned, but still got to my in-laws' at 9:30 to drop Colton off for the day. From there, we went to Hoboken first since Teresa wanted to visit Carlo's Bakery where the Cake Boss on TLC has his bake shop. She wanted to meet the guy, Buddy, but was told that he doesn't come in on Mondays. We had tried to tell her beforehand that there was probably a very slim chance she would actually get to meet him- after all, he's on Jersey time and well, Teresa is very much on Pennsylvania time! She still bought some pastries and cookies, and I tried one of the Neapolitan "rainbow cookies" which was pretty tasty.

On our way to the ferry that we had to catch for Ellis Island, Gregg stopped at his work and gave us the grand tour. Up until then, I had only seen the outside of the building. It was nice to finally see his office. We spent a few hours on Ellis Island touring and had a late lunch there before heading to the Statue of Liberty. We never even made it into New York City, but we still had a great time. We caught the ferry back to New Jersey at 5:45 and were driving back to pick up Colton by 6:30. Then we sat in traffic and didn't make it to Gregg's parents' until almost 8!

My MIL said Coltie was great for her and only started getting whiny at about 5. He fell asleep on the way home for a short while, but woke up screaming when we stopped for gas. When we finally got home, I changed him into his jammies, gave him a bottle, and held him for a little bit. As soon as I laid Colton down in the crib, he started crying and continued after I closed the door behind me. It was that kind of awful cry when he thinks I'm leaving him, which always breaks my heart. Gregg went in to get him while I went to the bathroom, and I ended up rocking him until he fell asleep. I hate doing that since I don't want him to rely on me rocking him to go to sleep, but we had Dave & Teresa over for something to eat before they went back to their hotel and I couldn't let him cry like that for the next 30 minutes. It was nearly 10pm when he finally went down for the night.

I was really glad to have a baby-free day with my husband, enjoying the company of good friends. I love my little boy to pieces, but it was SO nice not to have to worry about stopping to feed or change or soothe him while we were out and actually walk hand in hand with my hubby. It was also really nice to be held from behind while we we waited on lines, like Gregg always used to do. He asked later on that evening if he should take more days off like that and have grandma watch Colton so we can spend time together just the two of us. It was so needed to rejuvenate some life back into our marriage. Not that we're on the road to Splitsville or anything, but we were both just... surviving, going through the motions of every day life. It was so nice to break out of our regular routine. It sounds cheesy, but I think I fell in love with my husband all over again on Monday.

So now I'm back to being a desperate housewife. :) This coming Monday is my 30th birthday. I don't feel near that old yet. I mean, I'm married and have a baby like all responsible thirty-somethings, but I still look like I'm about 22. In less than a week, I will enter another decade and chapter of my life. Then Colton turns one just 18 days after that!

Friday, July 17, 2009

TGIF

Friday at last! With Colton having learned how to crawl just less than a week ago, I've been busier than usual chasing after him and snatching him up right before he can dig his little hands into the dog's food dish. We ordered safety latches for the kitchen and bathroom cabinets so I can stop constantly putting back the stuff that Colton's taken out of them and worrying that he's either going to break something or swallow something he shouldn't.

I am happy in a way that he's learned how to crawl finally. He was so frustrated that he couldn't just go across the room to get whatever he wanted and would rock back & forth on his knees all the time to no avail, then flop down exasperated on his tummy. It means a lot to me as a mom to have him achieve this milestone because it definitely gives him so much more independence, but boy does it make my life harder!

Since his bedroom is now literally right across the hall from the bathroom, I was leaving Colton down on his floor with a myriad of toys to keep him occupied while leaving the bathroom door open as I, you know, went to the bathroom. Well today, Colton comes wandering into the bathroom to find me and I'm not done yet. He started taking out the magazines we have in a basket by the shower and throwing them on the floor. It was pretty funny, but also annoying to have to clean up yet another mess.

I'm very glad it's the weekend. Our friends Dave and Teresa from Pennsylvania are coming to visit us and they're always so much fun to hang out with. They're driving up on Sunday morning and spending the day with us. Then on Monday Gregg took the day off from work so we could all go into NYC while my mother-in-law watches Colton for us. I'm really looking forward to our day trip. I haven't gone into the city since my mom took me to see a show for my birthday four years ago. It should be a lot of fun.

In other news, we visited a new church this past Sunday just ten minutes from our condo. We originally weren't going to put Colton in nursery, but as we were driving into the parking lot Gregg asked me if we should try it. I said yes since I figured he would be pretty distracting during the service. We ended up being very impressed with their nursery- Coltie got one-on-one attention the whole time and was immediately given a name tag. The lady in charge made us feel very comfortable from the start and had me fill out a registration form, then showed us the room where Colton would be. Oh, and the pager actually worked!

I felt engaged during the worship and sermon and liked the contemporary feel, but we were both disappointed that nobody greeted us as we were entering the building or afterwards in the "reception area". We were kinda expecting a lot since the friendly atmosphere was highly touted on their website, which was very well done. The church wasn't unfriendly; it just wasn't exactly... welcoming. We're not ready to write it off yet, however. We'd like to go back this Sunday and give it another try. I'm sold on the nursery though, which is extremely important.

Well Gregg should be leaving from work soon, and Colton just finished his snack and is getting a little restless so I need to wrap up this post! Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

11 Months

My baby entered the last month of his first year today. It's kind of bittersweet. The final countdown to one has started!

This past month I've found myself having to say "no" a lot due to Colton's endless curiosity with all of our household items. He can really move around fast now. He finally learned how to crawl forwards, so I've had to repeatedly stop what I'm doing and remove him from something. And on Sunday morning, I found him sitting up in his crib for the first time! He can easily get into a sitting position now from being on all fours. Colton is practicing standing too, holding onto me or a piece of furniture. He doesn't have the confidence yet to take a few steps and can't get back down on his own, but his balance has gotten so much better.

My little boy has discovered the fascination of opening and closing whatever he can get his hands on- doors, cabinets, drawers- and promptly pulling out their contents. Time to get safety latches! He loves finding the pots & pans and playing with them on the kitchen floor. He also enjoys reaching into his push toy and taking out all the blocks one by one.

It sounds like Colton is trying to deliberately imitate specific words, like dog. When I say "doggie" to him, he'll try to say it back and start to say something like it whenever he sees Tess enter the room. He's also begun saying "mama", but I don't know if he really associates this word with me or not. It could just be one of those syllables he repeats over and over.

Colton is on all table food now. He flat out refuses to eat baby food, although he'll let me feed him oatmeal as long as there are a few pieces of fruit on his highchair tray to pick up and feed himself. The other night I actually decided to make a soup from some of the leftover jars, figuring if he won't eat it at least me and Gregg will! I added some noodles and ended up giving the pasta and peas that were already in the jar to Colton, and he ate it right up. This past month he's tried a wide variety of foods including banana chunks, avocado, zucchini, pancakes, french toast, macaroni & cheese, cantaloupe, pork and chicken. So far there's been nothing that he absolutely refuses to eat. Hopefully he won't turn into a picky eater later on.

A few weeks ago, I started the process of weaning him from the bottle. He's down to two bottles a day from four. He drinks formula in his sippy at lunchtime and dinnertime now. I'm working on cutting out the bottle when he wakes up from his afternoon nap next. I think the hardest one to replace will be the morning bottle, but we'll see. Since he eats three meals a day plus two snacks, I've also been slightly reducing the amount of formula he gets. I'd like to have him at least try whole milk before his first birthday, but we won't be switching exclusively to milk until he's one.

It seems like Colton continues to get a little heavier almost every day. People still tell me all the time how big he is for his age. It gets annoying after a while. It's not like I'm feeding him cheeseburgers and fries!! His hair is growing like a weed, well past his ears and curling up at the ends. He's starting to look like Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused.

Coltie is still generally so sweet and event tempered, but he definitely has a mischievous side. And he has moments of pure stubbornness, usually during diaper changes. He all of a sudden decided that he hates getting changed and kicks his legs when I'm trying to put a new diaper on him. I've gotten kicked in the chest, stomach and arm which let me tell you hurts. I try to be very firm with him and tell him no in my best parenting voice, and sometimes he listens and other times he doesn't. I know that he is starting to understand what "no" means, but sometimes when I say it he just laughs like he thinks it's a game. Then I want to laugh too, but I try to maintain a straight face, one that conveys I'm not happy with his behavior.

Colton will also pitch a fit if he's in his hook-on chair too long. I used to be able to leave him in there with a few toys while I cooked dinner or checked email or something, but those days are over. He's associated his chair with eating, so when he's finished he wants OUT. He wants to be crawling around exploring, not confined! When he decides he no longer wants to be at the table, he'll get red faced, ball up his fists and whine until there's no tomorrow. Real cute, huh?

His laughter is infectious though, and can make up for all the times when I'm at my wits end with his screaming. Tickling, funny faces & sounds, and peekaboo always get the giggling started. I love his laugh and gummy smile (still no teeth yet!)

Well, here are some pictures. The next milestones post will be the biggie!

 
Playing with Mommy's pots and pans

 
Grinning after lunch

 
Having a blast in his cousin Kate's swing

Thursday, July 09, 2009

One of Those Weekend Reviews

Thought I would give a quick update. We had a nice Fourth of July weekend, enjoying the usual picnic fare. On the 5th, we went back to my BIL and SIL's in the afternoon for leftovers and tried to get the condo a little more organized when we came home. In the evening we went to Walmart to buy some necessities.

We are very happy with our new place. Gregg moved a lot of stuff into storage, so now we can finally see the living room! On Monday I unpacked the living room boxes and arranged everything the way I wanted. The rest of this week I worked on cleaning. There's still some stuff that isn't put away yet, but it finally feels like home.

Colton's doing really well. I cannot believe the little guy will be 11 months old on Tuesday!! Only five more weeks until he officially becomes a toddler. He's already starting to let that toddler temper show- oy. We've decided to have his birthday party on the 16th of August, which is a Sunday, and just send Evites to everyone. There's no specific theme planned, but I'd like to get a Winnie the Pooh character cake since that's what his room is decorated with. We hope to be able to have the party outside if it's not too ridiculously hot and doesn't rain.

It just blows my mind that Colton is this old already. At this time last year, I was hugely pregnant and very uncomfortable, tyring to beat the heat by drinking 52 oz. of water a day. I was also stressed about everything we had to do and buy for the baby, but so eager for his arrival. I did my best to prepare for what would be my biggest life altering change to date. Once he was born, I quickly realized I was completely and totally unprepared for him. This past year has definitely been the most challenging and character-building as I've tried to find my way as a new mom. I'll post more of my reflections on Colton's first twelve months as it gets closer to his birthday, but for now here are a few pictures from our July 4th weekend:


Coltie with his cousin Katelyn


Having fun in Kate's swing


Two peas in a pod

Friday, July 03, 2009

We're Here!

We are in our new place and almost completely unpacked. The move went very well; we were done loading up the truck and our car by about 1pm Saturday and finally finished unloading everything by 6 that evening. It was a really, really long day. Both Gregg & I were exhausted, and said that whenever we move again we're definitely hiring professional movers!!

Colton was fantastic throughout the whole day. I'm so grateful my MIL came to help out with him. He didn't seem to mind too much that his schedule had been thrown off and fell asleep in my arms that night before I could put him in the crib. I really love his new room, and he doesn't seem to miss his old one. Colton is very content just playing on the floor with all of his toys.

We are starting to get settled in. There are still boxes and things to put in storage downstairs which are currently taking up the living room, but otherwise everything is in its proper place. I finally caught up on laundry yesterday too, so that's a load off my mind. I was so stressed by Sunday with all that had to be unpacked, but I was determined to get it done by this weekend. Monday afternoon I took a break and went for a stroll with Colton to check out the pool & clubhouse. Then Wednesday night after dinner, we all went for a walk around the development and enjoyed the cool summer air.

So far I really like the condo, and the fact that I can get out once in a while for walks. I'm so glad I don't have to go up and down the stairs to the basement to do laundry anymore. I am looking forward to relaxing a bit this weekend. Tomorrow for the 4th of July, we are going to Liz & Jeff's for a BBQ. On Sunday, we plan to do some grocery shopping and get other items we need for our new place.

Here are some pictures from moving day and a couple of Colton standing. Happy 4th!!
























Colton watching out the window his daddy load the moving truck.
























My dad in the truck once it arrived at the condo.
























Coltie holding onto his crib!

Friday, June 26, 2009

On the Moving Front, Part 3

There is finally light at the end of the tunnel! In less than 24 hours, we start loading the moving truck. I've spent the last several days taping, bubble wrapping, and playing tetris to try & get as many objects as I could into one box. As of yesterday, I amassed quite the pile of boxes and containers on one side of the living room.



















It's impressive, no?

And that's not even all of our possessions. We still have all our furniture and last minute odds & ends. Last night after dinner, Gregg brought all of the boxes from the living room down to the garage and stacked them by the door so that tomorrow morning he and the guys (his brother, my dad) can just quickly load them in the truck without having to constantly go up & down the stairs.

Oh, our garage sale went really well last Saturday. We made $269 and got rid of stuff we didn't want to move again. Gregg put out signs by our street and the highway before 8am, and it was like moth to a flame. People started swarming our lawn two hours before the sale was actually supposed to start, which turned out to be a good thing because it began to drizzle around 10. The rain continued through noon and we decided to pack it in shortly afterwards since we were getting soaked.

I'm so glad most of the packing is done. It was a challenge to get all that completed while trying to also watch a ten month old who doesn't stay put in one place for very long. There are a few more things that I'll throw in remaining boxes later today, and some clothes & toiletries will go in a suitcase after we get dressed tomorrow. At times, I felt completely overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that needed to be packed up. Every time I turned around, there was something else I forgot about. The problem with the kitchen was that there were so many breakable items and really big appliances that took up an entire box by themselves. But it's over. Now I just have to unpack all of these boxes. Ugh.

I think I would be remiss in not mentioning something about Michael Jackson, the day after his sudden death. His music was pretty incredible, though his lifestyle was certainly strange. I can't hear "Beat It" or "Billie Jean" without thinking about my childhood. In the early '80s my parents would play their Thriller record ad nauseum. My dad taped the making of Thriller (which I'm not sure was entirely legal at the time) and my sister & I scared ourselves silly watching the full length version of the music video. A few years later, we enjoyed watching Moonwalker whenever they'd play it on MTV and made up our own lyrics & dance moves to all the songs. In the eighth grade, my best friend and I listened to my Dangerous cd almost every time we got together and thought it was the coolest album ever. Regardless of his eccentricities, Michael Jackson's music was always on in the background of my life growing up. He was truly a music legend.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

On the Moving Front, Part 2

The moving process is chugging along slowly but surely. I've been trying to pack some boxes here and there whenever I get the chance. Colton's room is mostly all packed up; I've left out a few favorite toys and stuffed animals for him to play with until we actually do move. I finally organized and boxed up his "old" clothes that no longer fit him. There were so many that I could barely get the box closed- pajamas, onesies, pants, socks, shoes, coveralls. It will remain in storage until we know whether our second child is a boy or girl. If we have a girl, I'll either donate the clothes to Goodwill or gift them to a friend or family member who has a boy.

We decided to hold off on our garage sale until this weekend, because of the rain last Saturday. We are posting ads about it on Craigslist throughout the week and hoping we get a good turn out! The weather forecast for this Saturday is really stinky, but I hope it's wrong or the thunderstorms just hold out until after 2pm.

I finished digging through boxes in the garage, trying to determine what goes and what stays. I filled about 12 trash bags full of stuff that we're not keeping. In my search, I uncovered almost $20 in loose change, a crumpled five dollar bill in an old jacket pocket, school papers and projects dating back to when I was in junior high, an entire library's worth of books, and a whole lot of spiders (shudder). We even still have a lot of the equipment that was used when Gregg ran his own business that's been closed now for nearly four years.

I'm feeling good about our progress so far. The biggest task will be packing up the kitchen, so I'm saving that for last. Every time I think "we don't have that much stuff", I end up finding more & more things which reveals we really do have that much stuff. Sigh. Of course, the weather these past few days has been pretty craptastic (dark, gloomy, rain) so I have very little motivation to do anything move related. It's just a good day to curl up with a cup of coffee on the couch and read a book. I'm seriously wondering what happened to the nice, sunny June we were promised after such a long harsh winter. Okay, so we were never promised anything- I'm just complaining. :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

10 Months

Colton's reached the double digits! In about eight more weeks, we'll be celebrating his first birthday. Crazy.

For some reason, 10 months just seems so much older than 9 months. Colton's gross motor skills have really taken off recently. He doesn't exactly crawl, but he does move around quickly on all fours. It's more like creeping, I think. He never seems to go forward in a straight line, but he always gets to where he wants to go. Colton continually gets up on his hands and knees with his tummy up off the floor and rocks back & forth like he's going to crawl, but then his legs slide backwards and he's flat on his stomach again! He can also stand pretty well with assistance now, holding onto my hands or a piece of furniture.

He still does not have any teeth, but it hasn't stopped him from eating. We've moved him up to Stage 3 foods, since the portions are slightly larger and the consistency is chunkier. It's still hit or miss with me feeding him from a spoon, so I've started spreading out the contents of the jar on the highchair tray and letting him feed himself. He seems to tolerate me spoon feeding him better in the morning, when he's less cranky, than in the evening. Colton tried a few new foods this past month too like broccoli, steak, mashed potatoes, and spaghetti & meatballs. Lately he really wants to eat whatever we have on our plates. He'll lean forward, eyes wide, with an expression that's like, "Can I have some, Mom, huh? Can I, can I, can I?"

Even though he's eating more solids and continuing to drink the same amount of formula, it seems like his weight gain is tapering off. He only gained one pound between his most recent doctor's visit, on June 1, and the one before that, on April 6. And he dropped from the 90th percentile in weight to the 75th during that time also. I'm not too concerned; actually I'm kinda relieved that the weight gain has slowed down. He's still a very healthy and happy baby!

Just in the past week or so, Colton has started forming the "m" sound with his mouth. I could have sworn that he said mom the other day. :) I've been signing the word "more" to him every time I offer him more of something. One day six months from now he might catch on and sign back! I really do think he was trying to imitate the actual word a few days ago just as I was about to place another handful of Puffs in front of him. You can disagree, but I know what I heard. Oh, and apparently my son thinks the word "poop" is hysterical. I was changing his dirty diaper and said, "Somebody made a stinky poop", and he burst into laughter. Typical boy.

Colton discovered his love for banging toys on the table and dropping them on the floor. It drives me crazy sometimes that I am constantly picking them up. His favorite toys include soft blocks, nesting/stacking cups, his beach ball, and this freaky looking rubber shark that he got at the doctor's office. He still enjoys racing around in his walker and likes to grab things off of the tv stand, end tables, and shelf in the living room.

His sleep is still really good. I'm so thankful I have a child that doesn't fight taking his naps or going down for the night. As long as there aren't any other distractions in the room, he will usually go right out. If I stay in his room to put away laundry or something, then he'll want to stay awake because he doesn't want to miss anything. Most of the time Colton doesn't like me to rock him to sleep anymore. I always try to cuddle with him a little bit before putting him to bed, especially at night. He's started trying to push my arm away as I'm holding him in the rocker. I feel kinda sad about it, but I know it's time for him to just fall asleep on his own. So instead of fighting him, I place him in the crib and tell him goodnight or have a good nap and that I love him.

My little boy is certainly growing up! Here are some pictures (of course):







Monday, June 08, 2009

On the Moving Front...

... we have finally found a place to live!! We'll be renting a condo in a town about thirty minutes from where we are now, in what seems like a very family friendly community. It's a better commute for Gregg since it is less than five minutes from the highway, too. There is a pool and clubhouse in the development which we can use, and a playground is within walking distance. A fairly new shopping center is also just a short drive away with a Sam's Club, Babies 'R Us, Applebees, Walmart, etc. It is farther away from friends and family than we'd like, but it has a lot more advantages than any other place we looked at closer. And with me not having a car right now, I can walk around the development with Colton & Tess or go to the playground and actually meet some people like other SAHM's.

We are moving the last weekend of June, which means we don't have too much time to pack up and/or get rid of things. I am amazed (and overwhelmed) at the amount of crapola we've acquired and moved from place to place in our 6.5 years of marriage. I'm wondering why we even kept half the stuff we have. I know Gregg wants to keep things "in case we'll use them again someday". I'm like that to a certain degree, but now I'm at the point where I'd really just rather back a dumpster up to the house and start heaving.

I've been going through and listing stuff on Craigslist like crazy, and have actually sold over $200 worth of stuff last week. We're planning on also having a massive garage sale this Saturday to get rid of more things. Whatever we don't sell will probably be donated to the Salvation Army or just chucked.

Since we signed the lease agreement and paid our security deposit on Saturday, Gregg has already contacted the oil company, the electric company, and the cable company to have everything switched over. All we really have to do now is PACK. Have I mentioned before how much I hate packing?? We tried to unpack as little as possible when we moved back to NJ in November, knowing that we wouldn't be in this house all that long. It's still an annoying and daunting task, though. I just want to be settled in our new place and get rid of as much stuff as we can so that the less we bring with us, the easier the move will be. :)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Updates Again

Here is just another update in the life and times of the B household. On Saturday, Gregg and I went out on our date while my mother-in-law watched Colton. This was only the second time we've been out together alone since he was born. We dropped him off around 5 at her house, then drove to downtown Ridgewood a few towns away to have dinner. It was such a nice night that we decided to get a table outside. The food was very good, but the service unfortunately left a little to be desired.

After we finished our meal, we stopped in a coffee shop and quick fed the meter before taking a walk around with our drinks. There were dozens of other people milling about, mostly couples, but there were a few young families with kids in strollers which of course made me think of Coltie! We walked hand in hand, something we haven't done a lot of in the past nine months. Either one or both of us always has a hand full carrying the infant carrier or pushing the stroller when we go out.

We took our time heading back towards Gregg's parents' and enjoyed a nice drive through various neighborhoods that were all in full spring bloom. When we arrived to pick up Colton, he was sitting with Grandma on the couch in his pjs watching tv because he refused to go to sleep! My MIL said he was very good for her, but he just would not go to sleep in the crib they have. He also fussed a lot during his diaper change, which isn't unusual since he does that with me. She also said that after about an hour, he started to realize that we were gone. As soon as Colton saw me, his face crumpled so I picked him up right away and kissed him. Then all was right with the world. I really appreciated being able to go out for a few hours and do the husband & wife thing now that we're mommy & daddy 24-7.

Last night, we took Colton for his 9 month well visit. He's in the 75th percentile this time for both height and weight. He grew two inches and gained only one pound since the last appointment, putting him at 22 lbs and 29 inches. The doctor wasn't concerned that he isn't pulling up to stand yet. Everything with him looked fine and he got three more shots, to catch him up from what he missed during the time we didn't have insurance. Colton screamed throughout the entire visit, and I felt so bad for him. He kept looking at me with this petrified look on his face and tears in his eyes. I almost started crying myself! We were in and out of there in under an hour, the good thing about having an appointment on a Monday evening. Now we don't have to go back until Colton's a year old. I can't believe that'll be in just 2 1/2 months.

In other news, I've been throwing stuff out and putting things on Craigslist in preparation for another move. We knew from the beginning that the place we're in now was only temporary, and we're very grateful we've been able to stay here as long as we have, but now it's time for us to find somewhere else. The search for a place to live thus far has been fruitless and frustrating. They've either been too far away from Gregg's job, or too expensive, or within our budget but, shall we say, crappy? Then there was the condo that this lady who was moving out of state wanted to rent to us, but it turned out that it's a low income housing unit and she's not allowed to rent it out. Someone found out and snitched on her, so right after she offered it to us she had to withdraw the offer. We're going to look at a place tonight when Gregg gets off of work, and hopefully it's the right fit. I'm tired of looking and not knowing where we're going to end up. Hopefully I'll have some good news to post soon!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Our holiday weekend started out with Gregg's family reunion on Saturday. Relatives came from different parts of the country to New Jersey for a day of fun, food, and catching up. The reunion was held at an aunt and uncle's home in Northern NJ. Rain had been forecasted all week, but by Friday it looked like we were actually going to have nice sunny weather.

When we arrived, we received goodie bags with the particular color t-shirt that designated which generation we're in. Colton was instantly snatched up by one of Gregg's cousin's wives and introduced to everybody. There were games for the kids and adults, prizes, and enough food to feed another entire family. The rain held out until just after we got through dinner, when we all gathered in the garage for a slideshow of photos showing the four generations of family members.

I'll admit, I was expecting the event to be somewhat boring and I was nervous about how Colton would do being out for that many hours, but we all had a great time. I had already met most of Gregg's relatives on his father's side and it was nice to see them again, as well as meet some others for the first time. One thing I've always appreciated about my husband's family is that they are so welcoming and I have never felt like an outsider. I'm treated as part of the family, instead of just someone who married in.

Throughout the day, I had people willing to help me with Colton or hold him for a little while so I could eat or do something else. And he was just fine the whole time. He hardly made a peep and took two naps, one in a pack 'n play in the back bedroom and the other in his daddy's arms. Whatever I forgot to bring, I was able to borrow from somebody else since two of Gregg's cousins have babies that are close to Colton's age. The babies took turns using a high chair, monitor, and toys. In the evening as things were winding down, I changed Coltie into his jammies and he was asleep just a few minutes after we got him in the car.

The next day, we hung out with the other side of Gregg's family for our niece's 2nd birthday party. Colton woke up at 6:45 that morning, apparently missing the memo that Mommy wanted to sleep in! I stumbled out of bed, made a bottle, fed him and changed him. Then I brought him into our bed and we all fell asleep for the next hour. A few hours later we got ready for the party. We stopped at Target along the way to pick up a gift and arrived ten minutes before it started.

I didn't have a very good time there since it started raining just as we began eating, and Colton was super crabby because his whole schedule was thrown off and I had to wake him up from his nap so we could make it to the party on time. He didn't appreciate being passed around like a bag of chips, either. After eating, Gregg brought him into the house away from all the noise and he was fine playing on the living room floor until it was time for Katelyn to open her presents. During present time, Colton thankfully fell asleep in his stroller. He was still cranky even after the short nap and drinking a bottle, so I suggested leaving as soon as we could get our stuff together.

On Monday we slept in until almost 8 and kept Colton home so that he could get back on his regular schedule and have the naps he needed. Gregg went out for a couple of hours to look at a few apartments, since we plan on moving again within the next month. (Oh, joy!) He came back bearing ice cream for the two of us. After we ate lunch, Gregg ran out again to his brother's house to pick up something he left there at the party. I put Colton down for his afternoon nap and spent some time online. When Gregg came home, the three of us had our own little barbeque and ate outside.

All in all, it was a great weekend. I enjoyed being able to get out of the house and have real grown-up conversations! Gregg is back at work today and this week should fly by because he only has four days left now. Then on Saturday, my mother-in-law is taking Colton for a few hours so we can actually go on a date! I am so looking forward to that. I hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend. :)

Here are some pictures from the reunion:


Our branch of the family tree (from L to R): Me holding Colton, Gregg, Gregg's mom Lynn, his dad Bill, sister Lori, brother Jeff and his wife Liz with their daughter Katelyn.


Our baby wrapped in toilet paper (it was for one of the games- he had a blast playing with it).


Colton looks as if he's plotting to escape the reunion with his hands clasped together like that.


The poor little guy was all tuckered out towards the end.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Baby Love

... isn't such a baby anymore.

This past Saturday while I was in Target, I had to shop for him in the toddler section already. How is that even possible? Didn't I just bring him home from the hospital in newborn size clothes that were falling off of him?

Colton has now been around as long on the outside of me as he was on the inside. And I think I love him a little bit more each month. Each month that passes brings new skills, new awareness, and more of his budding personality. His little brain is soaking up every new experience, word, and picture, and storing it away for the future.

While I delight in seeing him become more independent, it means every day he needs me a little less. He is totally capable of feeding himself, and would prefer to do so rather than me spoon feed him. The other night Colton basically ate what we were eating- meatloaf and mixed veggies. He actually quite enjoyed the meatloaf, and I was really surprised! I don't anticipate having any problems weaning him off the bottle in the next couple of months. I think he would rather drink from his sippy anyway.

Any day now I'm expecting him to say a real word. He sorta says "dada". Of course I start coaching him to say "mama", but it's harder for him to form the m sound. I love hearing him babble on.

Yesterday he discovered how to crawl backwards. He made it all the way from the living room to the kitchen and was covered in dog hair when I picked him up. (Oops, I guess I should do a better job of cleaning the floor!) This is the baby who hated being on his tummy?? Colton now mostly sleeps on his stomach. I always put him to sleep initially on his back, but he flips over. When I go get him in the mornings or after naps, he has marks on his face from the crib sheet or a hand print.

He has reached that weird in-between stage where he's definitely no longer a helpless infant, but he's not quite a big boy yet. As I was choosing clothes for the him the other day, I kept wanting to veer towards all the adorable baby outfits, but had to stop and remind myself that he's already outgrown anything he could wear in that category. Yup, Colton's come a long way from that teeny tiny newborn I first met in hospital room #575 on a mid-August day.