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.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's Not Every Day

... that you look out your window and see this.

I had just come upstairs from moving laundry in the basement and walked into the kitchen where I could see the bear straight ahead through one of our back windows. I was a little freaked out to say the least, but I still had the presence of mind to grab the camera and snap a few pictures.

Here's "Yogi" sauntering down our driveway. He was scared off by the two neighbor dogs barking from their yard.

And here he is walking across the street like he doesn't have a care in the world ( and hadn't just scared the crap out of me).

He eventually wound up going into another neighbor's front yard.

I had a weird feeling he would make another appearance today. Around 7:30 this morning while I was in the shower, I heard loud banging on the front door and Tess barking like crazy. I thought, it's too early for a delivery guy. Who in the world is that? Then I thought it might be a neighbor doing the good neighborly thing and wanting to warn me that there was a bear roaming around. Sure enough, the animal winds up in. our. backyard. For the second time in two weeks. Unless that knocking was the bear itself wanting some honey!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Weekend Wrap-up

I can't believe how fast this month is flying by. Wasn't it just April? Another weekend over, another week has started.

This past weekend was pretty nice. I got to spend some "me time" on Saturday. Gregg helped his brother dig a hole in his backyard for the pool he and his wife are putting in and suggested that I drop him off and take the car for the day. So Colton and I rode along with Gregg to the Bobcat rental place on the highway at 7 am, then I drove back home and fed/changed Coltie, put him down for a nap, ate breakfast, showered, and packed the diaper bag.

It had been a while since I went anywhere with Colton alone, so I knew it would be somewhat of a process to actually get out the door. When he woke up, I had to feed and change him again. We were both finally ready to head out just before noon when I picked Colton up and instantly recognized that familiar stench. Back to the nursery to change him yet again. I quick changed the stinky diaper and we were finally on our way.

I had to stop by Target to pick up a prescription so I figured I would do some shopping too. I bought Colton a couple of cute shirts for about $5 each and a pack of batteries which Gregg asked me to get. I had lunch there in the snack area while my baby happily ate Cheerios off of the tray on his stroller. Before leaving to meet up with Gregg at my brother and sister-in-law's, I gave Colton another bottle and did diaper change #5 of the day. I was very glad that he was so good at the store, even though the trip cut into his afternoon naptime. He did fall asleep in the car shortly after I got onto the highway, but I had to wake him up when we arrived at Jeff and Liz's.

Jeff and Gregg were not even close to being done, mostly because they kept hitting rock when digging. We ended up staying there until after 7 and having pizza with them. It was a good thing I had packed an extra bottle and diapers! After Colton started getting fussy, I put him down in his cousin Kate's room for a nap and he only slept for about an hour. By that time, he was overtired and didn't go down easily. He cried and cried so I had to hold and rock him before putting him in the crib. He did enjoy going in Katelyn's swing outside and playing with her toys for a while. Then at dinner, he was super cranky again. When we got home, I changed him into his jammies and he went right out. The two of us were asleep ourselves not too long after Colton.

The next day we didn't do too much, since Gregg was pretty beat after working outside all day and we didn't have to go to his parents for Sunday dinner because they were visiting his sister in North Carolina. We did venture out later that afternoon to look at an apartment for rent. It was in a nice area in a good school district, but it ended up being a third floor walk-up. With a kid and a dog, we want to avoid going up and down stairs as much as possible. On the way home, we stopped at a supermarket and bought a paper to check out more rental ads in the area.

It was really nice to be able to get out on my own with Colton and do my "bumblebee shopping", as Gregg calls it. It drives him crazy when I zig zag all over a store with no clear direction. He always has to have a well executed plan when we go shopping so we spend the least amount of time possible looking for what we need. It was also really nice to be able to interact with other adults this weekend! I miss that.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

9 Months!

My baby is nine months old today. Already 3/4 of his first year has gone by. I can't believe he only has three more months before turning the big 1!

Colton continues to amaze me with what he can do. He wants to do a lot of things on his own already, which can be frustrating because it feels like a battle of the wills sometimes between us. It is also pretty neat though, watching him grow into this little person who is constantly exploring the world around him.

He is so intrigued by everything these days, and anything (literally anything) can become a plaything. Last night at dinner we let him have the top to the pasta sauce pan (it had cooled down) and he had a blast turning it, banging it, and trying to chew on it while we finished eating. Colton likes to examine his toys while playing with them, too. He'll chew on something for a while, then take it out of his mouth and look at it carefully, then back in the mouth it goes! He really likes toys that play music, such as his Fisher Price telephone. His face lights up when he hears the kiddie voice singing the Alphabet Song or something else.

Colton has become quite good at feeding himself and he'll try just about anything we put in front of him. So far he's tried bits of soft cooked pasta, green beans, cheese (yellow American and Mozzarella), bagel, and watermelon. He holds onto his sippy cup with one hand and feeds himself with the other. And he LOVES Puffs. It doesn't matter what flavor, he gets all excited when he sees the container and promptly spits out his binky when we put a few down in front of him. We will sometimes hide them behind a toy or his cup and encourage him to find them. He's gotten really good at this game and the reward is always the yummy Puff and praise from us! Colton is now eating two meals of solids a day (cereal & jar of Stage 2 fruit in the morning, Stage 2 veggie or meat/veggie combo in the evening) with two snacks in between meals, in addition to the 24 oz. of formula he's been getting since about 5 months.

He's no longer content to just stay in my arms and snuggle in close (except at naptime and bedtime); he is a baby on the move! Whenever I'm holding him, he tries to reach for something interesting within his grasp. He barely sits still on my lap anymore to take his bottle. He's always looking all around, squirming to get free. Colton now takes control of how much he wants at a time. When he has to burp or doesn't want any more, he grabs the bottle and pushes it away.

Around the end of April he finally learned how to roll from his tummy to his back, and now there's no stopping him. He rolls all over the place to get to where he wants to go. Sometimes he'll rock back and forth on his hands and knees like he's going to start crawling, but he's not quite there yet. He does push himself backwards, however. Yesterday he found himself under the end table in the living room for the first time and thought that was pretty cool.

Colton is so expressive now, making all kinds of faces and gesturing. He "chatters" almost non-stop to his toys and us. He's added a few more syllables and sounds to his baby talk. Sometimes it seems like he is acting out a scene from a play with all his banter. He is such a ham, too. He'll do something funny, then watch for our response.

I've had to pack away nearly all of Colton's 6-9 month clothes and move him up to a size 4 diaper. He's the size of most one year olds already. He has a lot more hair and it is coming in beautiful! Not too fine, not too coarse. Until I got pregnant I always had really thin hair and Gregg's hair is thick, so I think Colton got the happy medium between the two. He's looking so much like a little Dutch boy these days (Gregg is mostly Dutch).

Here are some pictures (shocker) from the last month:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Weekend

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all you mommies!

I had a very nice weekend, which, after a particularly frustrating week, was much needed. It started out with some unexpected excitement Friday night. I had just put Colton to bed and we were digging into our Chinese take-out, when Tess began barking at something outside. Gregg got up to see what she was so worked up about and saw a pretty decent sized bear lumbering through the trees just beyond our backyard fence.

Now black bears are known to roam this part of New Jersey (and you thought it was all just a bunch of oil refineries), but they're usually harmless. They just go about looking for stuff to eat and love to dig in people's trash cans. This bear was pretty nonchalant that it had just wandered onto our property. Gregg quickly shut the windows, however, which were wide open. Shortly after I came over to gawk at the bear, the neighbor's dog that had gotten out of his yard ran up to it and chased it up a tree. The bear just couldn't be bothered. It stayed up in one of our trees for a good while, shaking the branches so hard that they stratched against the roof of the house. It started down the tree when the coast seemed clear, but the dog came charging back.

I told Gregg he should probably let the neighbor know that their dog was loose and chasing after a bear. He went out the front door and a few minutes later, the couple next door came out into their yard and called their dog back. When the commotion ended, the bear climbed down the tree and went off on his way, but not before Gregg could take a picture of it!

On Saturday, we were busy getting the house and yard ready for our Mother's Day BBQ. Later that afternoon, I filled out some more pages of Colton's baby book and read for a little while. Gregg went over to his parents' to pick up a folding table and some other things, and when he came home we finished watching The Family Man on tv and ate dinner.

Sunday I woke up to find colorful messages written by Colton via his daddy on several windows throughout the house. Gregg said that Colton saw these really cool Crayola Window Crayons in the store and asked to get them. :) He spent most of the morning setting up stuff outside and then his family started arriving around 12:30. The weather was beautiful, although it became quite cool in the shade so most of us threw on sweatshirts about an hour into the picnic. The guys did everything- cooked the food, served the ladies. Gregg even fed and changed Colton for me. It was really nice to sit back and be pampered for a few hours. There was some clean up afterwards, but even that was minimal since everyone pitched in to help.

Gregg's mom, dad, and grandpa were the last ones to leave about 4:30. We spent another half an hour ourselves finishing the clean up and then relaxed for the rest of the night. After putting Colton to bed, we watched the season finales of The Amazing Race and Celebrity Apprentice.

I went to bed feeling really blessed that I have such a wonderful husband and son. My first Mother's Day as a mommy made me remember just how incredible and amazing it is to be one!

Me with my little boy. Never mind my crooked smile and the fact that Colton looks so serious, even almost annoyed that his picture was being taken. Don't let it fool you; that's his poker face, he's really smiling on the inside.

Colton's beautiful artwork!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Few Days Later

It's been a few days since my last "post of despair", and I want you all to know that I am feeling better. Good, in fact. Even purposeful.

This past week was just really difficult. Colton is at this stage where he's got a bit of an attitude, throwing hissy fits several times a day. I know it's because he's becoming more independent and all that, but I don't like it. I feel a little bit like I'm already losing my sweet little baby. And it hasn't helped that it's been so gray, cool, and drizzly here practically every day.

I think I'm done with the pity party for now, though. After all, I can remember last fall really wanting to be able to stay at home and feeling miserable that I had to go to work and be away from my son. It is pretty stinkin' amazing to watch him grow right before my eyes and not miss a single milestone of his, no matter how small. The last few days however had me thinking, dear Lord, how can I ever have another one of these?

Colton is really starting to show more of his personality and desire to do things on his own. I can't believe he's going to be 9 months old one week from today. There are a lot of updates on what he's been doing lately, but I think I'll wait to share them until my "nine months" post next week.

Gregg volunteered us to host Mother's Day this Sunday, since right now we have the room to have his whole family over and give his mom a break from the usual Sunday dinner affair. The men in each family are in charge of bringing something, like a dessert or side. In addition to obviously providing the house for the event, we are also supplying paper plates, cups, utensils, napkins, and drinks. It should be a good time. I used to get really stressed out about having a whole bunch of people over, but I'm looking forward to it.

This will be my first Mother's Day as an actual, well, mother. It's still a little unbelievable that I am somebody's mom. Incredible.