Thursday, December 16, 2010

'Tis the Season...

... for decorating, shopping, baking and making merry! I'm so excited that Christmas is only a week and a half away. All the gifts have been bought AND wrapped, stashed in our bedroom closet until the 25th. Shopping has been a lot easier (and more fun) since I have my own vehicle- we bought a used minivan on Craiglist about four weeks ago. Gregg hates to shop, especially at the mall, so I volunteered to do most of it. He really didn't have to twist my arm for that one. :) The tree has been up since the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We finally got a fake one this year that came pre-lit, and Colton is mesmerized by all of the lights whenever we plug them in.

This time of year always brings me back to that magical place I found all too easily as a kid. Seeing the lights on the tree, listening to Christmas music almost 24-7, and thinking about the birth of our Savior has definitely put me in a state of awe and wonder. I can't remember the last time I felt this content. So many of the lyrics of familiar carols move me to worship God, who unbelievably loves me enough to have sent His son to earth. Lately I've been meditating on one verse from O Holy Night: "Let all within us praise His holy name".

Mixed in with all of the reflections about the true reason for this season, are also thoughts about having another baby. It is such a spiritual and intimate thing, to decide to conceive a child. You are partnering with your husband and God to create a life. This thought has struck me as very profound recently. I've been asking myself, are we ready for a second kid? Am I ready... to most likely go through a repeat c-section, experience the highs and lows of pregnancy, and juggle two children under the age of three? And the answer to that is, unequivocally, YES.

There is no question when I look at the child I already have. A perfect blend of both me and Gregg, whose antics and budding personality fill our lives with such joy. Last night as Colton and I played together in his room before dinner, I just took all of him in. I marveled at how much he resembles me when I was his age and how, at almost 2 1/2, he's already able to do so many things. He was without a doubt wonderfully and fearfully made in the image of our God. Experiencing this awe and wonder for my son only makes me want to multiply it. Now I know there are other, less desirable, things that will be multiplied as well- dirty diapers, tears, messes, frustration and headaches. But I also know it will all be worth it. To give life to and raise babies to mature adults with a purpose and heart for the Lord... this is a very high calling. But I'm feeling up to the challenge. :)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Are You Sitting Down For This?

I know. I'm lame. It's been ten months, and I'm finally getting around to posting a real update- not just a once-a-month, play-by-play description of the goings on in the life of Colton.

So, be prepared! I'm going to try to condense the last 10 months into just a few paragraphs. It'll be organized into categories, with only the highlights, I promise.

Job/Finances: Gregg's company was bought out last week by Anheuser Busch, which is now technically InBev. For five months, we sat on pins and needles waiting for the closing to happen, wondering what it would mean for my husband's job. We thought about every possible scenario: a transfer (and another move), unemployment, a pay cut. All the things I feared the most and prayed fervently would not happen. Well, it turned out that God answered all of my prayers and THEN SOME. After all the dust had settled, Gregg was promoted and given a pay raise. And that's not all. He was promised a significant sum of money while negotiations were going on, to keep confidential about everything as long as he performed his job duties through the closing of the sale. He received this money, as well as a severance package, along with all the sick days/vacation days/personal days he didn't take, and his regular quarterly bonus. The total is in the tens of thousands of dollars.

SO- we've decided to finally buy a second car, pay off one of my student loans, and put the rest in savings. I can't even fully express what a relief and blessing this is to us. Living on one salary with only one car for the last two years has been really, really difficult. I would never go back though and make the decision not to stay at home with our son. All the sacrifices have been worth it. God is SO good!!! I'm very excited to go look at cars this weekend!!

Child(ren): Colton is doing great! He turned two in August and was 25 lbs. 10 oz. & 33 3/4" at his 2-year well visit (20th percentile). He has a vocabulary of 60 words now, and is recognizing more all the time. He loves to "read" books, play with his trucks, pretend that he's cooking at his play kitchen, and just be silly. I think I fall in love with this kid more every day. I look at him and think, "I can't believe he's actually mine". We've talked about trying for Baby #2 after the new year starts.

Church: We have been attending the same church for over a year now and feel like it is exactly the place where God wants us. Gregg became a deacon in the spring, and has recently taken on more responsibility after we lost both of our elders and another deacon due to some very serious personal issues. He's been getting together regularly with the pastor to make administrative decisions the past several weeks. I've been trying to meet with our pastor's wife on a regular basis too, not just because I'm a leader's wife, but because she is an incredible godly woman. She is so transparent and authentic, and genuinely loves the people she serves. She has spoken a lot of truth into my life these past few months.

"SAHMness": There is still nothing I would rather do right now than stay at home. I truly feel that is where God has called me. It doesn't mean that there aren't days when I want to pull my hair out or long for a minute to myself just to go to the bathroom. But I always end up at the end of every day being thankful that I can be here for Colton while he's this young. I am still actively involved in my local MOMS Club, which is such a godsend. In June, I took over the task of putting together the newsletter each month and that's been really fun. I am so grateful to have found this wonderful group of mommies, who have become some good friends. They have made the last 14 months bearable. Before I joined last September, I was on the verge of a breakdown. I literally never left the house and was struggling to take care of an infant on my own while my husband was away from home for 12 hours a day. Finding them was a real turning point for me. While most of the women are unchurched, they have been an incredible blessing to me all the same. Again, God is good!

So I think that sums up everything I want to say. I can't promise I'll be updating my blog on a regular basis from now on, but I'll certainly try. I've become much more of a Facebooker, just typing a quick blurb about what's going on. I did give my blog a pretty new background, so that should be an incentive. :) I do keep up with all of your blogs on a consistent basis, but I've been terrible at leaving comments. So I guess I'm just a lurker now. Well if you've made it this far, congratulations and thank you!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

2 Years Old!

My little man turns two today. I have witnessed so many changes take place over the last 365 days. My chubby, easy-going infant turned into a rambunctious toddler. His communication went from mainly crying/whining to actual words and simple sentences. Crawling turned into walking. Then running. Then climbing.

Three weeks after Colton's 1st birthday, his very first tooth appeared. And then another, and another until he had a total of 16. Only his second year molars have yet to pop through the gums. When he was 14 months old, he got his first hair cut. I thought I would cry when his daddy cut off all his blonde curls, but I got over it. At 15 months, he went from two naps a day down to one. A month later, he began taking steps on his own very cautiously. Finally when it seemed like this child would never walk, he did! Right here in our living room, a week after turning 17 months old. Language development also seemed to take forever. At 18 months, Colton only had a vocabulary of five words. Then it grew and grew until he was saying a new word every day. Now he can say about 40 words.

I've changed another 2,000 diapers this year. Made about 300 peanut butter sandwiches. Watched more Sesame Street and Barney than any adult should ever watch. Lived through a hellish week of teething (i.e. no sleep) while first year molars came in. Walked probably 1,000 miles "just to get outside", either pushing a stroller or following behind a very curious toddler who was all too eager to look at rocks, twigs, or leaves. Visited nearly every playground within a ten mile radius so said toddler would put pent up energy to good use, ensuring a solid 2-hour nap in the afternoon. Said, pleaded, and even yelled the word "no" too many times to count (a million?). Kissed, hugged, and snuggled at least several thousand times. Loved so much I thought my heart would burst.

This second year of Colton's life has been filled with exciting milestones, tantrums, frustration, joy, and amazement as I've watched my baby become a boy. Every day I fall more in love with him and marvel at the beautiful child God has blessed me with. He melts my heart with his kisses and fills my life with his fun-loving spirit. I am so honored to be his mother. Happy Birthday, Coltie!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

23 Months

This is the last time I will be posting Colton's updates in terms of "months", because in the next thirty days he will turn two and then I will simply say that he's two years old. As I'll do whenever anybody asks me how old he is. The exact month, and when he was fresh out of the womb, weeks, have always been vitally important to me when speaking about my son. They have been my benchmarks to measure his developmental progress against. Now the pediatrician won't even require seeing him for another whole half of a year. I suspect I will learn to use "halfs" with as much endearment during the next several years of Colton's life.

So as we count down to the big "2", here are some of the things my little monkey has learned and experienced this past month. He's up to 18 words now!! If I tried to put them all together in a sentence, it wouldn't make much sense but at least his vocabulary is growing. Last night at dinnertime, Gregg asked him to say "more please" before another helping of spaghetti, and I did a double take when Colton actually said it! He can now identify five different body parts, and we're working on some more.

Colton now has almost all of his teeth, except for the second year molars. The upper right cuspid came in this past month, and the lower ones just made their way through the gums as well. And my "baby" has given up his binky. For good. After he lost one and chewed holes through two others, we just decided to stop giving it to him one night three weeks ago. The first few nights were a little rough, but overall he's been completely fine without it. It seems I underestimated my kid!

He enjoys being my little helper, and I use that term very loosely. He'll hand me stuff out of the top rack in the dishwasher to put away, often faster than I can get them dried. When I move laundry around, Colton will place the wet clothes one at a time into the dryer and then close the door, sometimes before they're all loaded! He also puts his dirty clothes in the hamper, and once in a while he's put his socks (which he likes to take off after his nap) into the washing machine. It is so cute to find one little pair of socks in there when I go to start the laundry in the morning.

Because it's been so stinkin' hot, he's had lots of opportunities to play in the water and he LOVES it! Whether it's running through the sprinkler, playing at a water table, or splashing & kicking in the pool, Colton can't get enough. It is so much fun to see him enjoy the water in that pure, unadulterated way.

I'm excited (and a little terrified) to have my little boy turn 2. As his second birthday approaches, I'll be taking a look back at this past year and all the milestones he achieved. Can't wait to see what his third year brings!

Monday, June 14, 2010

22 Months

Crazy how time flies. I didn't even realize it was the 14th until sometime this morning! Colton has had another busy month learning through play, making discoveries, and having fun outdoors. He LOVES to go outside and take walks, exploring nature all around him. He'll pick up rocks, sticks, pine cones, point out flowers and squirrels (which he calls "dogs"), and say hi to cars passing by. He also enjoys looking at the small brook we have by the clubhouse in our condo development and throwing sticks & rocks in it. Colton really likes trucks, too. He gets very excited when he sees one zoom by, everything from the mail truck to the ice cream truck. I don't think he realizes yet that the ice cream truck actually has cold, delicious treats on it. He just seems to like the fact that it plays (awful sounding) music. :)

This past month, he appears to have gained an ever greater understanding of what we say (oh boy). He observes everything we do and copies it. Whenever it's time to pray before dinner, Colton will stop what he's doing and fold his hands right along with us until Gregg finishes praying. He sorta grasps the concept of using a napkin, too. He knows that you need a napkin to wipe your face- only he holds it in his fist and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand! He knows what taking a bath means and starts gesturing towards the baby bathtub when we say "it's time for your bath". Colton also understands what it means to put something back or go back to the place that we were before. He can now pick out our car out of all the other ones parked in our lot and reaches for the door handle to get in.

Colton began saying the word "this" about four weeks ago, and uses it all the time to ask for what he wants. I keep having to play the guessing game to figure out which "this" he means. I'll hold up an object and he'll either shake his head no or mumble what sounds like "yeah". Then I make sure I say something like "oh, you want the cup." Colton also just said "car" for the first time this morning, and it sounded like he said his cousin's name (Kate) yesterday when we were at my in-laws'. The only sentence he says right now is "Hi dog".

He's taking bigger risks with climbing, which freaks me out. Colton climbs from the couch to the tv cabinet, then stands on top of it to reach the window blinds, because he likes to open and close them. Another thing of his is climbing on top of the nightstand drawer and jumping off of it onto our bed! He is seriously a little monkey.

I've started thinking about plans for his 2nd birthday already. We'll probably do a Sesame Street or Elmo theme. I can't believe that he'll be 2 in only two more months!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

21 Months

I can't believe another month has gone by, and as with any other month, I've seen plenty of advancements in my little boy's development, however subtle they might be to other people! One of the advantages of staying home with him is that I am able to witness every part of his growth as it happens. And it is so exciting and rewarding.

Colton's gross motor skills have continued to improve in the form of running and climbing. He has started opening our clothes drawers and using them as steps to climb up onto the dressers. He will use anything he can lately as a stepping stool in order to climb on the bookshelf, deck railings, even his crib. While I applaud his resourcefulness and sense of exploration, it also drives me nuts and makes me a little afraid that he's going to get seriously hurt. Besides climbing, Colton loves to run (away from us) and he looks hilarious doing it. He runs with his left arm swinging at his side and not gracefully, often tripping over his own feet. One of his favorite things to do now is also riding his Little Tikes ride-on toy up and down the hallway. He'll ride it out onto the deck every chance he gets.

I've noticed that Colton's receptive language has grown tremendously during the past month, where it seems like he really does understand everything we say. He is starting to comprehend simple consequences, too. The other night while sitting in the highchair, he was dangling his fork over the floor and Gregg told him that if he dropped it, he would not be allowed to have any more french fries. Colton thought for a moment, then put the fork back on the highchair tray. He has also added the words "okay" and "cheese" to his vocabulary and the phrase "no way". He's begun using "no" as a way to communicate that he doesn't want or like something. Before he went around saying it with no real purpose, and only when he encountered an object or room he knew he wasn't allowed to touch/play in. Gregg pointed out recently that Colton is imitating a lot of the words and simple sentences we use on a regular basis, though they aren't very clear yet.

Another exciting development is Colton beginning to engage us in play. Before he would mostly just play by himself, even doing some imaginary play. But now he'll hand us an object he wants us to use in his little play scenarios, along with running and hiding with the hopes that we'll go find him. He's not a very good hider yet though. He always starts giggling whenever we get close to his "hiding spots"! The nursery workers at church also tell me that Colton has started actually playing with the other children at various points during nursery hour. Last weekend, we decided it was time to get him his first box of crayons. As he scribbles with them on a piece of paper, I make a point of telling him which color he is using. I also have to remind him that crayons are not a snack.

I'm finding his behavior a little easier to manage these days, now that he's found some new ways of communicating his needs. That, and I have been praying for wisdom as a mom. I'm realizing that God fills in the cracks and gives me exactly what I need while I stay home to take care of my son. Hopefully I'll find some time to blog more often, something more than just the monthly Colton update... :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

20 Months

Only four more months until my little man turns 2! Although, I think the "terrible twos" have already started. Colton deliberately does things he knows he is not supposed to do, and sometimes it seems like he isn't listening to me at all. I think part of it is he wants to test my authority, and another is he has so much energy that it has to go somewhere. From the minute he wakes up to the time he goes to bed, he is going non-stop (with the exception of his afternoon nap). He loves to climb and explore right now, so he has a hard time with anything that limits this freedom. He's also asserting his independence more and more these days, while still wanting to be close to Mommy.

We had a really rough time a few weeks ago getting Colton to go to bed at night. It was especially frustrating because we've never had sleep issues with him, and all of a sudden he resisted going to sleep in his crib. I'd get him ready for bed, and as it got closer to bedtime he would become increasingly agitated and even anxious or fearful. He would scream as soon as I placed him in the crib and after I'd say goodnight and turn to leave, inevitably he'd throw up. So I'd have to get him out, change him, change the sheets, take the bumper off, and Gregg would wet vac the carpet. This went on for six nights in a row. Sometimes after an episode we'd just put him to sleep in the pack 'n play that's in our room, and I'd wake up every time he coughed or stirred. Other nights I'd put him back in the crib, and he would cry & scream for several minutes before crashing only to wake up at 3 or 4am crying for me and wouldn't go back down again easily.

Gregg and I began arguing with each other over what to do, and in the meantime nobody was getting any sleep. The situation really forced us to work together to find a solution and, more importantly, pray about it. Finally I suggested Gregg start putting Colton to bed because his anxiety seemed to be related to not wanting to be apart from me. The first few nights were still rough, but there were no incidents of puking and there haven't been any since. Honestly, the whole thing made me really question whether I actually want to have another kid. I know this was a phase, and it seems to be behind us now, but I still don't know if I can go through something like this again.

There are plenty of times where I see glimpses of the Colton I knew as a baby: sweet, easygoing, lovable. Sometimes it's hard to remember that he's still the same kid when it appears that he's been replaced with a tempermental, energetic toddler who makes it really hard to get anything done around here because I constantly have to stop what I'm doing to discipline him. At least it started getting warmer this past month, so I could go for walks with him and take him to the park. Even being able to open our sliders off of the deck so Colton can play on it has been a huge plus. He has practiced his climbing skills at the playground, discovered leaves, rocks and twigs in the park, and played to his heart's content out on the deck while waving and saying "hi" to everyone who passes by. He has shown that he is willing to let go of me in order to have some adventures on his own, knowing that I'm never too far away and will be right there to comfort him if he falls down and cries. We're both walking that delicate balance of independence and reliance on Mommy.

Colton still only says about four words with any consistency, but it seems like he is finidng new ways of communicating his needs and wants to us. I am trying to encourage him to talk by not just giving him what he wants when he whines or points, although I know exactly what it is. I wait for him to at least say something, even if it's gibberish, and then I'll say what the actual word is back to him. There is so much that he understands now, like when I ask if he would like some milk, he'll go directly to the fridge and pull on the door handle. If I tell him we're taking the dog for a walk, he'll open the hall closet and reach for the leash that's hanging up. Then he likes to carry the empty poop bag until I need it. He is becoming pretty helpful in his own way. Colton enjoys pushing the swiffer around and sweeping up the dust bunnies and dog hair on the floor. He hands me pieces of lint or garbage (if we're outside somewhere) and then if I instruct him to throw them away in the trash can, he does. When we're having a playdate with my friend Erin and her two girls, he will give the baby her pacifier or toy.

Some days it seems like the easiest thing in the world to take care of him and others it's amazing I'm able to get a load of laundry done and cook dinner while he whips through the house like a tornado. Sometimes I'm in desperate need of a break because I'm so frustrated and exhausted from dealing with him, and others my heart literally aches because I love him so much and can't bear to spend one minute away. Colton is teaching me a lot about myself every day. It's hard to believe he's more than halfway through his second year already!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

19 Months

This past month in my little boy's life has been one of the most challenging so far. It's as if turning a year and a half flipped on a switch somewhere inside him to become quite the handful!

Colton now almost runs and since he still isn't the most coordinated kid, many times he trips over his own feet and lands flat on the floor. He is also climbing on EVERYTHING. A few weeks ago, he figured out how to hoist himself up onto our couches. Colton then goes from the arm of the couch to the television stand and sits on it while turning the tv off and on. Once he's up there, he'll always gesture for his remote (an old one we took the batteries out of). He's also been climbing on our kitchen chairs and is not content just to sit on them- no, he gets up onto the table as well! If we don't strap him in his hook-on chair, he stands up in it and climbs onto the table from there too. It makes me want to pull my hair out!!

During the month Colton cut at least six new teeth (that I can see): both upper and lower molars, and two incisors. Teething never seemed to affect him before, but this time it really took its toll. My poor little guy had a lot of diarrhea, which caused a nasty diaper rash, along with a fever of 101 degrees. The fever only lasted 24 hours, thank goodness. The day Colton had it, he was definitely not himself- crying over the smallest things, whimpering like he was in pain, not eating, not playing with his toys. All he wanted to do was cuddle with me. That night he woke up almost every hour, crying. By the afternoon he was pretty much back to his normal self. It was an awful and scary thing to see him go through though.

Colton's receptive language has really taken off. I'm surprised at all of the things he is able to understand now. He responds to requests and commands almost all the time- unless he's deliberately disobeying us. Sometimes he gets confused, like the other day I asked him to give me the bowl I let him play with and he gave me the ball instead. He's been pretty good about picking stuff up and putting it away when I ask. I've been making him clean up after himself when he makes a mess, such as dumping out his toys all over the floor or throwing handfuls of dog food.

Colton is trying to imitate some new words too, like "juice" and "spray" (for the handheld water spray we use during his bath). He's been saying "hi" a lot lately. For a while, his favorite word was "no". Last week it was nice outside so I took him for a walk in his stroller, and he said hi to everyone we passed by. He also says it when we arrive at somebody's house and when he hears the Skype dial tone, since we do video chat with Gregg's mom. When we're getting ready to go out somewhere, Colton will go to the hall closet and start reaching for the coats. One night before Gregg came home, I asked him where Daddy was and he went towards the front door and said, "go?" He also found an old set of keys somewhere one day and immediately went to the door to "try them out". He doesn't say much (at least that's intelligible), but he sure picks up on everything!

His temper is getting worse, as to be expected. He's started throwing and occasionally hitting when he doesn't get his way. I try to communicate that this isn't acceptable behavior, either by giving him a one- minute time out, or putting right him down if I've been holding him and then walking away. I say "no" a lot also, but I don't think it's nearly as effective. I'm trying really, really hard not to lose my temper when he gets out of control, but it isn't easy. I know he doesn't have the communication skills to express his frustration yet, and I want to teach him how to deal with it appropriately. On the flip side of the tantrums, Colton gives me and Gregg kisses, even without being prompted. Generally, he is still such a sweet little boy and I am so pleased to be his momma. :)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Spring Come Quickly

I have never been more ready for spring to arrive. We just got another three feet of snow last Thursday and Friday, on top of the snow from earlier in the month that hadn't melted yet. Today was 41 degrees and it felt like a heatwave! Only three weeks until spring officially starts...

So other than snow, snow, and more snow things have been going well around here. My mother-in-law is generously letting me use her car while she's down in North Carolina watching Gregg's sister's kids for the next six weeks. Lori and Adam are currently in China for stem cell treatments on Adam to improve his vision. He is legally blind, diagnosed with Optic Nerve Atrophy as a kid, and has never driven a car or seen his kids' faces clearly. They had to raise about $40,000 to go over there and they were able to do it in less than 9 months! So while she's in NC, my MIL is driving Lori's SUV and offered to let me have her car which I am really grateful for. :) I've been going to MOMS Club activities, visiting with a friend from church, and shopping with Colton a few times. That is, when it hasn't snowed!

On February 15, Colton had his 18 month well visit and was 24 lbs. 6 oz. and 31 1/2". He's in the 25th percentile for both height and weight now. My chunky little baby isn't so chunky anymore! Everything else looked great at the appointment and he received three more shots, during which he screamed his head off. Colton has been cutting his molars and lower lateral incisors for the past couple of weeks too. Last week he had a lot of really nasty diapers, and pooped five times in one day. His poor little bottom was so rashy, and I felt horrible for him. It seems to have cleared up now, though. I think the diarrhea was caused by the teething, but I'm not 100% sure. Gregg seems to think it's a reaction to a new bottle of vitamin drops that might just be bad. I was also giving Colton blueberry yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast, along with assorted fruit (strawberries, pineapple, etc.) throughout the day when the problem started, so it could be a reaction to the food. We started eliminating one thing at a time to try and figure out the source, but don't have any definite answers yet.

That's pretty much it for now. Taking care of a house (okay, condo) and a child is all-consuming. I'm being challenged daily by my toddler whose frustration tolerance is about zero. It seems no matter what I do during the day, it is guaranteed that he will have a tantrum over something a half hour to an hour before dinner. I am always so frazzled by the time we sit down to eat. I can't wait for warmer weather so I'll be able to take a walk with Colton in the afternoon. A lot of days I just don't know what to do to occupy his time between when he wakes up from his nap and Gregg comes home. Motherhood is so much fun! (insert sarcasm)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

18 Months!!!

I can't believe my "baby" is 18 months old! Or a year and a half. Or halfway through his second year of life. However you want to say it, he is growing up!!

The past month brought some exciting developments, the biggest of all being Colton finally walking on his own. At first he sort of seemed to stumble around like he was drunk, but eventually he gained more balance. He no longer crawls anymore and instead walks quite confidently (and quickly) to wherever he wants to go now. I am so excited that he has at long last reached this milestone.

I'm definitely seeing more of his personality showing through, as well as that temper! Colton wants to do a lot of things on his own, and is very proud when he's able to do so. Like turn off his own light, feed himself a container of yogurt, or reach up to the counters or table to get something he wants. With more independence comes a power struggle between him and I for everything from getting dressed to cleaning his hands and face after each meal. He will not lay still on the changing table anymore, so I've resorted to changing him on the floor. He's even given me a hard time about his nap lately. I used to rock him a little, pop a binky in his mouth, and he'd be out cold in two minutes. But lately, not so much.

When we tell Colton "no", he will repeat it back to us several times. Not in a talking back kind of way though. This is his way of showing us that he understands what is off limits. Sometimes he'll do something or go to an area of the house he's not supposed to (like the bathroom) and then stop himself and say "no no". I've discovered that while he can be pretty cantankerous with the two of us at times, he is passive with other children around his age. If, for instance, another toddler takes a toy from him, he just lets them take it. This doesn't seem to phase him. He might stare at the kid for a few seconds, but he always goes and finds something else to play with right afterwards.

Something new he's been doing also is finding a secluded part of the house when he has to poop. The past few days, I've found him hanging out by the side of the refrigerator making the poopy face. Gregg says this is a good sign that Colton is starting to recognize when he has to "go". Just one step closer to potty training. Yay.

Of course, he can't actually tell us he has to go bathroom yet. He's still only saying about six words. But he does understand a lot of simple commands, like "bring me the ball" or "come here". And the other day I said "who wants a snack?" and Colton immediately popped his binky out and handed it to me. He also raises his arms up when he wants to be held or get out of his hook-on chair. He will pass his plate to one of us at dinnertime when he wants food, too. I've been working on pointing out different parts of Coltie's body to him, and he knows where his nose is almost 100% of the time.

I am so pleased with the little boy he's becoming, always learning and revealing something new about himself every day. We go for his 18 month well visit tomorrow night, and I'm anxious to see how much he's grown! It's hard to believe he'll be celebrating his second birthday this August.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Real Update

I thought it was time for a real update, other than the monthly "what has Colton been up to?" post. Life is going pretty well. Gregg and I celebrated seven years of marriage on the 11th, which seems crazy to me. It doesn't feel like we've been married that long at all. They say that at this time you start to get the "7 year itch", but I find myself more in love with my husband now than I was before. I would really like to get more time alone, though. We haven't been out together, just the two of us, in six months. On our wedding anniversary we brought Colton along to the restaurant with us, and while he was well behaved, he was still a distraction.

I'm still doing the SAHM thing, and trying not to lose my mind along the way. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of times when I'm all ooey-gooey about being a mom and take a lot of satisfaction in the fact that I stay at home with my son. But there are plenty of others when I'm literally counting down the minutes until Gregg arrives home. Like last night for instance. When Colton decided to have a meltdown while I was trying to cook dinner and get the house back in some type of order. So I did what any good mom would do: I ignored him. I endured nearly 20 minutes of ear-splitting screaming and crying, holding my ears at one point, sure that the neighbors were going to call Child Protective Services on me.

When I actually made the mistake of looking in his direction, Colton only escalated his tantrum, crying so hard I thought he was going to pass out. I stood my ground, trying to enforce what I had learned earlier that day on Dr. Phil. After the episode was finally over, I felt pretty crappy that I had let my child carry on as long as I did. But I'm not going to be one of those parents who just gives in whenever their kid flips out about something. He'll thank me in 20 years or so.

I recently finished reading "In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms", and I can say it really has changed my perspective on being a full-time mom. I admit that there were many days when I wondered what I did that a daycare worker couldn't do just as well, or better. Now I've come to the conclusion that there is no way somebody could ever do the job of being Colton's primary caretaker better than his own mommy. I've been there for every "first", every feeding, every disgusting diaper change. I've been the one making the decisions about what goes into his body at each meal, comforting him when he cries, snuggling with him before naptime, and witnessing the excitement and delight in his face each time he accomplishes the next new challenge of his current phase of development. Why would I ever want to give that away to somebody else?

So I try to keep these things in the forefront of my mind as I go through these sometimes monotonous and frustrating days. My MOMS group has certainly been a lifesaver during the past four months. Whether we're meeting at another mom's house or at the Playplace at the local McDonald's, it has been so good to connect with other SAHM's and watch Colton interact with other kids his age. To just get out of the house. My little boy started to really get confident walking sometime last week, and walks now like he's known how to for months but didn't feel like it. I can't even describe how it feels to see him toddling around, knowing that he has reached this all-important milestone. It's like he's the only person that has ever stood upright on two legs before and walked.

We decided to become members of the church we've been attending since the end of August, being officially welcomed into membership this past Sunday. I volunteered to serve in the nursery once in a while, which is great since Colton stays there anyway during service. He kinda freaks out at the very beginning when I drop him off, but within two minutes he's settled down and starts playing with all the toys there. He especially loves the play kitchen, where he pretends to cook soup.

I've already begun planning for my sister's baby shower, which won't be until June. It's fun to have this "side project" to work on. I'm also trying to plan a weekend visit to go down and see her, and maybe help her register while we're there. I can't help but feel a little smug, maybe, that I'm now at the point where I can give mommy advice to someone going through it for the first time. Of course, it can be so easy to forget just how stinkin' hard those first few months were because I'm here on the other side of them, already thinking about #2. Did I really just type those words?? Well, it's really not so shocking when I've always said I wanted my kids to be 2 1/2 years apart. I think about my relationship with Colton, though, and how it's going to change whenever I bring that new baby home. I want "our time" together to last as long as possible. I also think about how incredible it feels to have grown a human being inside of me, given birth, and nurtured him to the point where he is now; you know, that I can actually do this mom thing and maybe do it well. It makes me want to go right on ahead and create another life that I can't imagine the world was ever complete without.

That's pretty much it for now. These days I'm really trying to be a better wife, a better mom, a better friend, and just appreciate all the blessings I've been given because I can so easily become disgruntled at the annoyances of life.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

17 Months

It's been exactly one month since my last post. I've gotten really bad about blogging! I did want to update a little bit, while I have a few free minutes. Colton's doing great. He enjoyed opening presents on Christmas and playing with all the new toys he got- enough to fill another condo! Today he turns 17 months old. Yesterday, I realized how tall he's getting and felt a pang of nostalgia for when he was an infant. He's just growing up so fast.

Colton now points to what he wants and makes a sound similar to the seagulls who said "mine" in Finding Nemo, when he asks for something. He can say six words, including "mama", "dada", "dog", "hi", "no", and "bye-bye". He also pretends to talk on the phone, which is the most hilarious thing to watch, and points the remote at the tv. He loves to clap along to music and right after a song is over, too.

My big boy is getting good at feeding himself with a fork and spoon, and actually eats more of what's on his plate if it's stabbed with a fork first. He also tries to get his own socks and shoes on. Colton loves to feed Tess her dog food, one kibble at a time, and throws her tennis balls for her to catch. The two of them have become quite the pair, playing nicely together when one of them isn't napping. They like to play tug of war with Tess's rubber bone or Colton's socks.

Coltie started sharing his food with me and Gregg, whether we want it or not. He also climbs up into our laps when we're sitting on the floor. He got a big boy chair from Gregg's parents for Christmas, and he loves getting in and out of it. It's so cute when he sits there watching Barney, with his toy remote in one hand.

Colton can stand confidently all by himself now, and last Thursday, he took his first steps!! His preferred method of getting around is still crawling, but he has random moments throughout the day when he decides to walk. Just another milestone to remind me that he isn't a baby anymore.

Over Christmas, I found out that my sister is pregnant and due in July with her first. I am so excited for her and to be an aunt again! It's kind of funny to be the one giving baby advice when not so long ago, I was a brand new mom with no clue how to take care of a newborn. It will be nice to offer some help and support to her as she goes through this journey.