Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Back from SC/TN

We flew up to Greenville for a week of visiting with family and friends. Traveling/flying with an active one-year old is lots of work, but it's always worth it for the memories!

James and I had a playdate with my friend, Whitney, whom I've known since middle school. We used to get into all kinds of trouble back in G'ville, but we were sweet, young things back then and always seemed to find a way out of trouble. There is no way I would attempt HALF of the stuff we did back then! Lesson learned: when you are pulled over twice in one night for drag racing down a major highway, it's time to go home!

But, I digress......

We had a great visit with Whitney and her daughter, Lily. Lily was sweet enough to take out ALL of her toys and let James have his pick! I think they enjoyed the playdate and Whitney and I enjoyed the surrealness of us being mommies now!

Here is James with his aunt Laura. My brother and his wife (Danny and Laura) came up to Gatlinburg with us for the weekend to spend some time together. It was hectic with all of the kids (they have three) and nap schedules, but we made the most of it. It was just nice to be around family and spend time hanging out.

All of the children got together for a quick picture during James' second first birthday party. Got all that? Notice my fancy duct-taped baby-proofing job on the stone hearth? Works every time!

We grilled out and mom made a birthday cake for James. It was past his bedtime, so he wasn't into eating or smashing any of the cake. No allergic reactions this time!

Here he is eating his very first rib from Bennet's Barbecue. They are a staple restaurant in Gatlinburg and make the absolute best ribs! By that grin, I think James is a fan, too!
And, it wouldn't be a trip to the mountains without the bear encounter! One afternoon, we heard lots of noise from the deck and looked out to see our neighbor, Mr. Bear. He was digging into the trash can I had set outside so that James wouldn't get into it. I think the bear made a bigger mess!

Here he is looking into the kitchen window. It was only a screen and he was smelling all the good stuff from the kitchen. Mom threw out enough food to satisfy him though, for that afternoon!

Clink on this link to see all of the pictures of our little visitor!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

4th of July Weekend (the late edition)

I promised to show you what we were up to on the 4th of July and here it is.......
We drove down to Key Largo with our friends, Tom and Veronica for a dive weekend. Will and I took turns diving so one of us could watch James and the other one dove with Tom and Veronica. Tom was practicing his underwater photography skills and I had fun posing for the camera. Here I am waving (and blowing lots of bubbles, okay, so I was nervous...)

This is me and Veronica swimming around the City of Washington wreck. There wasn't much of the wreck left to see, but the sea life around it was beautiful. I saw my first nurse shark (SO COOL!) and a free swimming eel and lots and lots of colorful fish. It's such a treat to be a part of this underwater world.

Here I am looking up at the surface, "Yep, it's still there. Just checking..."

On their dive at Spiegal Grove, Will and Veronica found an American flag. It seemed fitting to pose with it, since it was Independence Day.

Here's Will looking ultra svelte in his underwater gear. He is so thankful to be back in the water again and thankful that we both share the same passion for scuba (although his is much greater than mine, so far) After over a year of "James" as our primary focus, we have enjoyed our dive trips together and focusing on "each other" and our together time. Having and raising a child can be so overwhelming and all-consuming (for me anyway) that it was easy to put "us" on the backburner. Yes, a part of me still feels guilty when I have to leave James for hours at a time, but keeping momma and daddy happy will go a long way in securing James' future happiness. At least, that's what we keep telling ourselves!

Overall, it was a great trip, highlighted by some beautiful diving! I enjoyed seeing all the corals and colorful fish. If you want to see all of Tom's underwater photos, click here to access them.

This is a dive location we want to visit again!

One Year Stats

James went to the doctor for his one year check up yesterday.
Weight: 23lbs 10 oz 75 percentile
Height: 30 1/2 inches 75 percentile
Head Circumference: 18 1/2 50- 75 percentile
He got the "all clear" from the doc in all areas. I even mentioned about his unusual reaction/outbreak to the icing on his smash cake and the doctor replied with a medically savvy, "Hmmmm. That's very interesting."
And, that was it. No skin/allergy testing recommendation or anything. Oh well. Then, James tried to impress the doc by walking all around his office and clapping his hands at the same time. The doctor remarked at how proud of himself James seems to be. To which, James flashed a huge grin and kept on clapping! No, my son does NOT seem to suffer from a low self-esteem.
After holding James down during the finger prick-screaming episode, the nurse remarked on how strong he is. Tell me something I don't know!
And typically, his reaction to wearing the band aid for several hours (reddened skin) was the only adverse reaction to his one shot. Whew!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It's like Christmas in July!!!

Today, we celebrated James' first birthday by having a pool party/cookout with his friends (my new mommy friends). It was a great turnout (10 kids, 20-something adults) and the sun came out after the rain, so we could enjoy some pool time. Bob (our crazy cat) tried to steal the show by bringing a mouse INSIDE from the backyard. That was a first! He actually made it all the way into the house and our guests were asking if it was a real mouse or not. I shrugged it off because he has a TOY mouse that looks really real. Well, a closer inspection of what he was carrying in his mouth revealed a live, get-me-outta-here mouse in our house! Will performed his good deed of the day by rescuing the mouse and letting it back outside. Of course, now he wants to kill the cat, but I know he's all talk! (I think!) Here is James with his smash cake. He didn't seem too interested in eating much, if any, of the cake. I'm considering ordering a DNA test because any child of mine who doesn't like cake just doesn't make sense.
So, after watching him pick at the icing and try to get out of his high chair, we cleaned him off by taking a dip in the pool. While splashing around, I noticed that everywhere the icing had touched his face, he was breaking out in hives. Then, the nose started running. Yep, allergic reaction to the icing! Have you ever heard of that one? A little dose of Benadryl later and he was fine.....
Then, came the opening of the presents! And presents, and presents! James wasn't too keen on helping me open the gifts, but he sure did enjoy playing with them! Our friends spoiled him with tons of cars, trains, musical instruments and riding toys- all of his favorites! Of course, my favorite gift was a picture of James with his pal Fiona when they were just about 3 months old. They had just met in play group and Fiona was trying to put the moves on James. It's just a really cute picture of the two of them and it's hard to believe they were that small once!
Here is James with his proud godparents, Wana and Darrin. They got James some really cool Leap Frog musical instruments and some very trendy Vans slip-on shoes! They are so cute, but now I need to buy James some hip new clothes to go with them!
As for Will and I, the party felt like two hours of mass chaos. We are used to entertaining lots of guests, but it's been a while and we've forgotten all the work involved! Plus, we now have an "octopus" attached to us, that makes entertaining others even more demanding. But, our little man is worth all that hard work and we will sleep well tonight! Actually, James woke up after an hour of sleep and "demanded" to play with his toys. He stayed up until almost 9:30 happily playing with his new toys! He's never up that late, but I couldn't blame him with all those new birthday toys just calling his name! Once he got to play with everything, he was willing to go down for the rest of night (we hope!) Will can't get over how many toys James has now and how much of our small house is being over-run with baby toys! He's considering building a bigger room for James or just giving him our bedroom! I don't think so!
Anyway, we hope everyone had a good time and we appreciate all of the support and love from our friends. You made the day very special for our little sunshine and that makes us forever grateful! Thanks Supermoms!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

First Haircut

Last night, we took James to Short Cuts for his very first haircut. Not that he has that much hair, but it seemed like a right of passage! Besides, his hair was getting pretty long in the back and we didn't want him thinking that shaggy hair was acceptable in this family! (joke)
Here he is in the "chair". As cool as the Jeep was, it didn't distract him from the fact that a strange woman with sharp objects was approaching...

Overall, he tolerated the haircut pretty well.
This woman is a true professional and somehow predicted every move the "octopus" would make as she was cutting.

The panic is starting to set in.....
Okay, he's had enough! This boy does NOT like to be restrained in any fashion. But, she was able to get a perfectly straight line at the back of his neck with the clippers. Yes, she can work magic!
After what seemed like the longest 5 minutes of my life, it was over. He finally managed to stand up in the seat and squirm his way into my arms. The haircut looks great and I guess I'm getting used to it. Check off another milestone and another "apron string" has been cut.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Guess Who's OneYear Old Today???

Yep! Our "little man" is proud to be ONE YEAR OLD today! He's proud, Daddy's proud, Mommy is sadly nostalgic! James is growing so fast and changing every day, I just want Time to stop, or at least slow down a bit! I really hope I've taken enough pictures to accurately document his first year of Life! (joke!) He has given us so much to smile about for the past year, I look forward to another year (and many more) of smiles and milestones with our little boy!
He is always willing to offer up a smile, even while playing! He is working on developing his charming "flirt" personality by giving unsuspecting females the eye, flashing a toothy grin, then laying his head on their shoulders while giving them a hug. It works like a charm every time!
His charming personality does have a flip side. His little temper (complete with loud vocals) comes out when his toys don't cooperate (push toys get stuck on the rug) or when I try to distract him from something NOT baby-friendly. I say "try" because he is quite persistent. Mommy Tip for the day: Duct Tape is a great baby-proofer for quick fixes!
He is still an excellent eater (anything on a spoon!) but he is demanding to hold the spoon more and more now. So, we are beginning to work on using utensils, but it will take lots of more practice before he gets more food in his mouth than in his hair!
He spends most of his time at home chasing after the dogs and cat, giggling and shrieking with laughter as they try to run away from him. It's the ultimate cat n'mouse game! And, yes, he is chasing them on two feet, as that is the preferred mode of travel now.
Here he is playing with a brand new toy and an old favorite. Obviously, he is torn between the two, so why not play with both? Ingenious thinking!
We are celebrating his first year of life by taking him to get his first haircut tonight. Of course, pictures will soon follow! Then, on Saturday, we are having a pool party/cookout with some of James' friends. Good times.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Playdate Fun!

I hope everyone had a happy 4th of July! We didn't celebrate with our usual pool party/cookout/fireworks, but had a blast all the same. More details and pictures of our Independence Day weekend will follow shortly......

But, for now, here are some pics of our playdate today at Baby Bungalow! James: Okay Fiona! Follow the leader! I bet you can't make it to the top of the mountain! James: Are you sure you wanna come this far up? It's pretty high up here!
All of the boys wanted to play in the kitchen area at the same time. It was a free-for-all as the boys climbed on top of each other to open cabinet doors and turn the knobs on the stove!
James: Real men cook dinner!
He's such a "little ham" who loves smiling for the camera! It was a very successful playdate, ie. followed by a very long nap!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Join the BPA-Free Bandwagon

Following the footsteps of another great mommy (my friend Courtney) I decided to see if my local Babies R Us was exchanging bottles for same-brand BPA-free bottles. And, after a quick phone call, yes they are! Bottle for bottle, they exchange your used bottles for brand new, same brand of BPA-free bottles. Now, I know that James is almost out of the bottle stage, but it didn't cost me anything except a drive to the store, so why not? And, since he only takes a couple of bottles a day anyway, I kept some of the new bottles in the packaging for later. (no, don't get any ideas!)

For those of you out there with little babies who still use lots of bottles, it may be worth checking into. The clerk at Babies R Us listed several brands (including Dr. Browns) that are doing even exchanges for BPA-free bottles. I also found some "good reading" for those of us in the sippy cup and plastic bowl phase of feeding.

Okay, now to the James' portion of the blog.......
Will came home yesterday with a "new to me" toy for James. Although, by the looks of it, it will be a couple of years before James can actually use it. But, for now, both boys are having fun "pretending" to ride the tricycle.

Look at me, Ma! I'm a big kid!

Now, if I could just reach those pedals down there!