Sunday, December 26, 2010

Let it Snow!

Dear Ian,
Today is the day after Christmas (I will post something about Christmas later on), and we just had a small Christmas Miracle! It snowed in Tallahassee!! Last Christmas you were only two months old, so this year really felt like your first actual Christmas. How neat that it snowed for you today!

Now, please know that "snowing in Tallahassee" translates to some flurries, but hey, it was something. We all got bundled up and went outside to stand and run around in it. Of course I took pictures...

Here's one of you all bundled up..

And here's one of the snow on Daddy's shirt! See, told ya. It's not much, but it was something!!

We positively froze outside; it was 35 degrees and windy, but it was something we HAD to experience. Maybe one of these days we'll have Christmas in Cohocton and REALLY have a white Christmas. Where ever we are, we'll have fun.
I love you

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Memories in the Making

Dear Ian,
As promised, here is this year's family Christmas card.
Also, here is this year's official photo of you with Santa. You did a great job!
Little Man, you are growing up too fast.

I love you,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Toddler Life #2

You know you are the parent of a toddler (or any small child in general):

When too many of your adult conversations include poop.

The Spirit of Christmas

Dear Ian,

This is what Christmas is about; this special holiday is full of magic and hope, and for some reason, this picture really illustrates that feeling for me.

I cant wait to teach you about the meaning of Christmas and share all of the special traditions and memories with you.

I love you,

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cookies, Cookies Everywhere

Dear Ian,

Your family on the Davis side has a pretty tasty tradition: Grandma's Christmas Cookies. I'm not sure how long ago it started, because on the recipe that I got from my Grandma, it says "Grandma Davis' Christmas Cookies," so maybe it started with your Papa Davis' Grandma. I wish I knew exactly. Anyway, yes. We make a special batch of cookies at Christmas time. I remember being small and seeing that familiar tupperware box in my Grandma's hand, and it just solidified the fact that Santa was coming and soon.
My Grandma Davis, your great-grandmother, passed away in November of 2000, and from pretty much then on, I have been making her cookies. I will admit, those dang things are a lot of work, and I wonder if she grumbled about making them as much as I sometimes do. But then, after my couple minutes of requisite grumbling, those old memories start to come back, and it's all worth it.

This year was really neat; you more or less participated in the making of our cookies. You sprinkled four of them and ate two. Not bad for your first year :) And since I just got my camera
back from being repaired, I documented your first cookie experience.

Your Grandma Davis and your Aunt Maggie came to help us decorate this year, and I think we made a total of 12 dozen. Believe it or not, that's not enough. I need to make one more batch of cookies before Christmas is over and gone. You see, when Daddy and I got married, I introduced his family to these cookies, and now they love them, too. We take them every year to Grandma and Grandpa Brooks' house for Christmas Eve. And don't forget Santa! We leave a couple out for him, too.

It seems like such a little thing, but these cookies really tie the holiday together for me and our family. It connects me to my past, and I am thrilled to be adding the tradition to your future. Now we're off to exchange gifts and have fun with family, and of course I have a full tin of cookies to take with us.
Love always,

Toddler Life #1

Dear Ian,

I decided that since there are some days when I dont really have time to write a full-on blog post about something funny that you did or said that I would do this. These posts will just be quick, little one sentence blurbs that fullfill my urge to jot something down to remember it. Dont worry; they wont take the place of your real letters.

And so, without further ado:

Only when living with a toddler...
... would you discover a random can of carrots hanging out in your bathtub.


Monday, December 13, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Dear Ian,

It's the Christmas holiday season already, and things are off to a great start! According to our time stamp on this blog post, today is December 13, so that means that 12 days remain until Christmas.

Like your other blog post about Thanksgiving and all of the fun things and activities that surround the holiday, Christmas is shaping up to be amazing this year because you are getting old enough to participate in and appreciate all of the fun stuff. For example, you actually smiled for this year's Christmas photo. Tee hee! Last year we had a family portrait taken with Santa, and you were sound asleep. This year, you were so smiley for Miss Branch. I can't wait to see the finished photo card, and I promise to scan one and post it so you have it in your blog-baby-book. To the right I have posted the family picture, but our cards have other photos on it too. It's really cute!

Also, you more or less appreciate the tree. Last year, because you were so young and slept most of the day away, I don't know if you would have noticed the tree even if it was on fire. Now you love to walk up and look at all of the ornaments. I am especially thankful this year that we have an artificial tree, because the branches are bendy. I have folded over the ends of the branches with ornaments so that you cant pull them off. Pretty smart of me, I think. But you love to see it all lit up. And speaking of lit up, you actually look out the car windows and smile and laugh and squeal at houses all decorated with lights. It's so fun to drive around with you and point them out.

You and Daddy have a special activity that you do together every morning, too. We walked down to Fresh Market around the end of November and bought him an Advent calendar. Complete with little chocolate pieces. Every morning before he goes to work, the two of you find the day on the calendar, open the little door and share the chocolate. It's so sweet. And you now anticipate it and look forward to it. Actually, if anyone picks you up in the kitchen, you gesture towards it. Then you get really mad when we don't go open another door and get another chocolate. Oh well.

Our stockings are hung by the fireplace, and in a few days we will begin the baking marathon. (I guess I will need to make another blog post about the cookies that we bake. They have a special story in themselves.) We've made one visit to Santa already. The other day there was a big holiday fest in Market Square, so we took a picture with Santa there. You did ok for a minute or two, but you did start to cry while with the Big Guy. But, as a toddler, we sorta expected you to do that. We start watching our nightly holiday movies this weekend, and then comes the meatball subs, Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa Brooks', and then Christmas morning. Last year you sat propped up in your bouncy seat surrounded by gifts. This year I am anticipating a storm of flying wrapping paper, and I cannot wait.

Love and Ho Ho Ho,

God Gives First-time Mommies a "Free One..."

... and I just used mine.
Dear Ian,

Sigh. First, let me start off this story by mentioning that it's one of the coldest mornings in Tallahassee this winter season. At the time our story takes place, it was 33 degrees outside with the wind chill making it feel like 22. And now the story...

You and I had quite a few errands to run today, and one of them was our weekly and ritualistic trip to Publix. Instead of waiting until after your morning nap and trying to cram that trip among the others into a 3 hour window (not counting time for lunch and snack), I decided that since we were both awake and "with it" that we should do Publix this morning BEFORE nap. And up until the end, it was working great. We coasted through the aisles, checking out the BOGO sales and gathering our tasty yummies for the week while singing Christmas carols and munching (you, not me. I am on the diet from H**L) on a cookie from the bakery. We checked out, below budget I might add, and headed back out into the cold to load up.

I want it known here and now that I was trying to be a good mom. I put you in the car first, so that way you could sit, strapped in, in the relative warmth of the car while I loaded the groceries in the trunk. I should also mention that our car is currently in the shop for an oil change et cetera, so we are driving a Nissan Versa. With a keyless remote. With noticeable buttons to push. Unlike our car key where you have to hunt for the key lock button. Yup. Somehow, you, my sticky fingered little son, managed to get the keys without my noticing. I strapped you in, closed the door and went to open the trunk (there's a magic button on the door that when the doors are unlocked opens the trunk without keys) only to feel it not budge. OHMYLORD! I tried again. I felt like my stomach had dropped into my cheap, Walmart sneakers. You were locked in the car.

Now, I am amazed that God can hear himself think when about a zillion mommies across the world are praying for their babies non-stop throughout the day about all sorts of things. Prayers to please stop whining, please go to sleep, please stop harassing the siblings... But he managed to answer mine: "God, please help us get out of this situation. Without a locksmith. Or DCF. Amen"

(again, I mention here that it is FREEZING outside) You looked up at me, keys in hand, and waved. Then you went back to happily mashing the buttons on that danged remote. The lock button. Sigh. So, we made a game out of it. Thankfully you could hear me through the window, so I started encouraging you. "Push another button, Buggie-man!" I was trying to keep the sound of hysteria out of my voice, so you wouldn't recognize our predicament. You did manage to push another button, but the button you pushed was the dang panic button. Now the horn is blaring, I am standing outside the car telling you to keep pushing buttons while you are cracking up in the car at the sound of the horn beeping. (I got Daddy on the phone about now, in case I needed him to quickly call a locksmith). People were starting to stare...

And then I heard it. The tiniest little click. God bless Nissan for putting the unlock button right above the panic button. You managed to unlock the doors for us, and the crisis was over. Needless to say, I got the keys away from you (by offering you a can of tomato paste to play with), and we loaded up and left. Holy Moly.

I am so glad that is over. You are happily napping in your crib, completely oblivious to my moment of panic. And all I can keep thinking is, "thank goodness it wasn't hot" and "thank goodness my child has a thing for pushing buttons."

Now I need to go call Miss Laurie. It's time to have the grey colored again.

I love you,

Monday, December 6, 2010

Argh! Tupperware!!

Dear Ian,
When you are a little older, I think I will add "organizing the Tupperware cabinet" to your list of weekly chores, just for the payback.

Argh! I cant cook or even go into the kitchen without tripping over a piece of Tupperware.
Here is a photo of a day in the life of the Tupperware cabinet. And this is mild...
I love you anyway,

Book Worm

Dear Ian,

One of my favorite things to do is to curl up with a good book and let it "take me someplace" for a while. You and I have been reading together since before you were born, and I hope that some day you will have a love and appreciation for books like I do.
"Wait a minute, Mom" you might say. "Since before I was born?" Yes, indeed little man. Since before you were born. I would read my mommy-to-be books aloud to you every now and again, and when picking books out for your nursery, I would read a few pages out loud, and you would kick and wiggle. I liked to think that you were telling me that you liked that particular book.

Now you and I read together, and it's one of my favorite things we do. You'll walk over to your book shelf and pick out a story, and you will sit on my lap and we will read. I also read to you while you are in the bathtub. We even read the whole Harry Potter series this way. Yup. All seven books. While you splashed and played, I would read to you a few pages each night. Now, I did read more pages after you were in bed, but then the next night I would give you a brief synopsis of what I had read alone and we would carry on with the next few pages. Right now we are reading the Junie B. Jones series, and it cracks me up. I wonder if you will think about things the way June B. does, and it makes me smile. During this bathtub reading time, the books do have a tendency to get a little wet, but that's ok. Dog-eared pages, text with water droplets... They all add up to a book well loved.

You have a couple of favorite books at the moment, but your all time favorite is Blankie by Leslie Patricelli. You love the "super blankie" page, and you will sit and listen to that story over and over. I hope that it holds up so I can put it in your hope chest.
I have a hard time passing up the opportunity to buy you a new book. And nowadays they have Kindles and the like, but to me, there's nothing like the feeling of opening a new book. They even smell good. One day I hope, that if given the choice between Toys R Us and Books-a-Million, you will choose the book store over the toy store. Because while it's fun to do something with a toy, a book can do something to you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Old Laundry

Dear Ian,

I just wanted to share this photo and story with you.

To the left is a photo of you in a very special outfit. Those over-alls and that shirt that you are wearing in the photo are 31 years old. Yup. (Insert old-person comment that "things just aren't made today like they used to make 'em" here). Your Grandma Davis bought this outfit for me to wear on my first birthday. It's so neat to see you in it now. Your uncles Brian and Gary were also photographed in it, and I took pictures of your cousin Payton in it for her first birthday. It's a fun piece of family history for us, and I am so glad that you got to be part of it. Grandma Davis has an 8 by 10 portrait of each of us in these clothes, and now you get to join us on that "wall of fame," so to speak. Sorta brought tears to my eyes to see my baby in an outfit that I once wore as a baby. But enough of that. To the right is a picture of me in our family duds, taken 31 years ago, and I see a bit of resemblance. Too bad a photo cant capture temperament, because you definitely got that from me.
I love you,

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Dear Ian,

You may have noticed that the number of posts on your blog has increased over the past month or so. The reason for this is because your Baby Book only goes up to your first birthday as a record of memorable things. I'm still using it to record stuff like your teeth coming in (because they are taking longer than Christmas coming to pop up), and there are pages for your birthdays two through five years old. And don't forget that First Day of School page (ugh. don't need that showing up any time soon.). But, for the current fun stuff that we are doing, it makes lots of sense to Mommy to write it all down in your new fangled, technological baby book that is this blog.

Just didn't want you to think that you weren't doing your job of keeping me busy. More than busy. Whew.

So anyhoo... Thank goodness for this blog. Not only do I type faster than I write long-hand nowadays, but I also have the magic of spell check for those moments where I just feel like I have lost my mind and can't remember how to spell. But not you; no, son. No spell check for you at first. I plan on giving you that obnoxious grown up response of, "look it up in the dictionary." Yeah, yeah, you have to know how to spell it to find it in the dictionary. But don't think that argument will work on me or your Daddy. We already tried it with your grandparents.

Love you bunches,

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble Gobble, part 2

Dear Ian,

Happy Thanksgiving Little Man!

I must say, for your second (well, first really participating) Thanksgiving, you did really well! Our Thanksgiving morning started off like a typical morning: wake up, breakfast, play time, nap, snack, play some more and a small lunch... After your lunch is when we went to Grandma and Papa Davis'. During play time though, we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! You even watched the Rockette's with me, and they are my favorite part. You didn't sit still for much more than them and a few bands, but it was neat to be able to share that with you. I got really excited about showing you all of the big balloon floats, and your Daddy is still making fun of me for that.

Anyway, after getting to Grandma and Papa Davis' house, you got to play with your cousin Payton, and you got to go out and see the animals. You really loved that! To keep your day consistent, Mommy and Daddy took along the pack-n-play, so before our big feast, you were able to get in a good nap. (Daddy took a nap, too, and then the two of you snuggled after you woke up, and I think that was his favorite part of the day. awwww)

You were well rested for all those yummies, and I think you tried EVERYTHING! Our feast included appetizers of fried artichoke and shrimp cocktail, and Grandma also had a cheese and cracker tray set up. For our actual dinner, we had turkey and ham, stuffing, mashed white potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, corn casserole and crossaints. We also had home-made applesauce and cranberries. Yum! You tried everything; you even tried a TINY sip of Mommy's wine. You ate like a champ. Grandma Davis' friend, Miss Mary Beth came to dinner too, and she brought a delicious bread pudding and a pumpkin cheese cake. So good.

We were lucky to have your Grandma and Papa there, Great Poppey, Uncle Gary, Aunt Megan and Payton, Miss Mary Beth and us at our table.

After eating, we all sat outside around the fire pit, and then we packed up to go see your Grandma and Grandpa Brooks. Unfortunately we missed out on seeing Uncle Brian, Aunt Maggie, Uncle Kurt and Aunt Stacey, but it was a great day still.

Some of my favorite quotes from our dinner today:
From Mommy, "Ian, feet do not belong in the stuffing."

From Aunt Megan, "How did you get mashed potatoes on your foot, Payton?!"

From Papa Davis, who had been teasing Mommy about her corn casserole taking forever to cook and solidfy, "Like the loaves and the fishes, God made Karen's corn soup turn into corn casserole. There was first soup, and then some thunder, and then we had casserole!"

Ahh, family. The best part of the holidays.

Love always,

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gobble Gobble, Part 1

Dear Ian,

Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away! Where has this year gone?!

The reason for this blog post is because I am really excited for Thanksgiving this year. Why I'm so excited is a little silly; I can't wait to see how much you enjoy all of the yummy foods and goodies. Last year, you weighed less that the turkey I cooked, and you weren't too excited to be in your swing while the rest of us tried to eat. The photo to the right is from last year... You, Grandma Davis and our delicious turkey bird. Yummo.

You love food. So far in your sixth month of eating solids, there isn't much that you don't like to eat. You are not a fan of the tree-top parts of brocolli, and you CANNOT stand hot dogs (which, really, is fine with Mommy.)

I'm also excited for this year's Holiday season, kicked of with Halloween, because you are old enough to participate in the fun activities that the holiday's entail. You "helped" me carve our Halloween pumpkin, you more or less trick-or-treated around our cul-de-sac, and we have been doing some neat artwork for each activity. For Halloween we made foot print ghosts, and just today, we made hand print turkeys :) You also have fall leaves that we made by gluing fall colored squares of construction paper onto the leaf shapes hanging over your changing table. It's so neat to have you be a part of the excitement and fun. I simply cant wait to watch your face light up when you see Dorothy B. Oven park and our neighborhood all dressed up in Christmas lights. (We took a trip to Lowe's the other day, and they had their Christmas lawn decorations all set up and lit, and you just went nuts over those things! I consider that a preview to what you will be like for the real thing.)

Three days from today, we will gather around the table with our families and partake in a yummy meal and a day of thankfulness. I have lots to be thankful for this year, and you and your Daddy are at the top of that list.



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Master of Chaos

Dear Ian,

Your Daddy calls you the Master of Chaos when we stop and take a look at the status of our house when you are napping. The photo to the left is just our living room; the kitchen, dining room and your room have a similar look. You are such an active little dude. We work hard to keep up. As a matter of fact, since you're asleep for a while, I may join you so I can be ready when you wake up.

More playing and more messes to come!

ps: you ARE learning to clean up, though.
also ps: this whole blog post was done on my phone. How cool is that?!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Great Grandma Graves

Dear Ian,
Yesterday (11/17/2010) your Great-Grandma Graves passed away. We are proud to say that she lived a full and wonderful life, but we are still sad to have her gone from us, even though she has gone on to Heaven to be with Great-Grandpa.
Though she was Daddy's Grandma, I got to spend quite a bit of time with her and got to know her as a fantastic and spunky lady. I remember the first time I really met and spent time with her was at her home in Jacksonville. Daddy and I were just engaged, and we went to go to the Jacksonville Zoo and stayed with her and Great-Grandpa Graves. That night, she pointed me to one room, and Daddy to another and said, "You may be young and engaged and all that, but I'm old fashioned, and this is how it's gonna be!" Haha! That was fine with Mommy, because Daddy and I are old fashioned, too. But anyway...

Your great grandmother loved penguins, playing the piano and big, funky jewelry. She loved playing the nickel slots on cruises that we would go on. She was a Navy wife, and she lived in some neat and sometimes scary places around the world. She passed on many stories about your Daddy to me that one day either Grandma Brooks or myself will tell you. One in particular is about your Daddy getting a whole apple instead of having to share it with Uncle Kurt and Uncle Ryan. I know that your Daddy will have tons of stories to tell you, too, like the one where she used scissors to cut up pizza.
I'm proud of the fact (and SO GLAD it happened now) that she was there the day you were born, and got to hold you within an hour of your birth. She got to watch you grow from a little bug that just slept and cried to a big bug that crawled and then started walking. She was at your first birthday party. She absolutely loved holding and playing with you.
I'm glad that you got to spend a little time with your Great-Grandmother. If only a year, it's an important part of your life. You still have your Great-Grandpa Brooks and Great Poppey, too. You are a lucky little man to have such a big and loving family. I hope when you grow up that we will be able to share stories of your Great-Grandma with you, and you will see what a special part of your family she was and still is.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Odd, but You

Dear Ian,

I just had to write this post.
It's about one of those things that we will remember about you forever, but when we try to tell you about it - say, when you are 12 - you will look at us like we have grown three heads and say "Mother, I have NO idea what you are talking about." (By the way, you are never allowed to be that rude, hear?)

You have a thing with the American flag. While driving down the road, you can spot them at about 200 yards, and they just make your day. You laugh, smile and gesture to them (we're working on actual index finger pointing), and then immediately start looking for the next one on our route. I'm not exactly sure when it started. But it's a hoot. Grandma Davis and I took you to the Veteran's Day parade the other day, and you must have thought you had gone to Flag Heaven. They were everywhere, and it's a good thing you didn't give yourself whiplash trying to see them all. You also have your own little flag that we keep on the changing table. While we change diapers you love to wave it around.

We have theories as to why you have such a thing for them, but only you know the answer to this mystery.
Theory 1: From Mommy. We have a couple in our garage that you first noticed when you were tiny. Maybe seeing flags everywhere else reminds you of home and makes you feel secure.
Theory 2: From Grandma Davis: You are Francis Scott Key reincarnated.
Theory 3: From Daddy: You're going to grow up to be the next president.

Who knows. But it's fun to watch how thrilled you get when you see a flag. We are even trying to teach you the baby sign for flag.

So here's the proof. One of these days you will outgrow your obsession, and we have it written down so we can remind you and most likely embarass you.

Love you lots,

(ps: I went to google images to find the picture at the top of this post, and you went NUTS! Toldya)

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's All About the Lovey

Dear Ian,
Your very best friend and most favorite thing, besides Graham, Issa and Daddy, is your Lovey. I know that I have previously mentioned Lovey in other posts, but an event today made me decide to give Lovey his very own entry in this blog.

I came into your room to get you up from your afternoon nap, and you were happily rolling around in your crib snuggling Lovey. When I hugged you good-morning, I noticed that Lovey smelled a little funky. You see, your little one-year-old self chews on Lovey to self-soothe and put yourself to sleep. You've done this for a while now, so I have to rotate Loveys to keep them from smelling to high-heaven. Ordinarily, I can take them from the crib and toss them in the washer without much of an issue, but today, you cried like I had just taken away your best friend. Well, I guess I had. But! I am a good mommy, and I had a back-up. (Actually we have quite a few back-up Loveys, but that's only because Mommy is nuts...) When I gave you the new Lovey, it was like the sun came back out. I just had to grab the camera and capture these moments of pure happiness and contentment. Lovey gives you reassurance, and it makes me smile. You melt my heart.
Long Live Lovey,


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Story of You

Dear Ian,

Happy Actual Birthday, Buddy! Today you are one year old!

I was thinking that today would be a good day to write out your actual birth story. There's not a lot to tell, but the details are dear to my heart, and I thought you would like to hear all about your first day in the world.

October 19, 2009 began for us at 4:00am. We had planned to induce (start by using medicine) Mommy's labor because of my blood sugar and the fact that you were a bit overdue. You see, high blood sugar in Mommies can lead to babies getting REALLY big, and Mommy is not so big... you get the picture. Anyhoo. 4:00am. I called the hospital to see if it was ok for me to come in. You were actually scheduled to be born on October 15th, but there wasn't any space in the hospital. There were other babies being born that day without an induction. But on the 19th, there was plenty of room, so we got showered and dressed and ready to go. Here's a photo of us about 5 minutes before we left for the hospital.

Once we arrived, we filled out lots of paperwork and then we were sent up to the 3rd floor which is the labor and delivery floor. We were assigned to room 4, which is funny because that was your Uncle Brian's soccer number, and everyone on the Davis side of your family considers it good luck. Mommy got settled in a lovely hospital gown and got hooked up to monitors that would keep track of my vital signs, contractions and your little heartbeat (which was my favorite sound in the world up until you started giggling). At 7:30am, Doctor Morales came in and kicked things off with a medicine called Pitocin and broke my water to start the labor process. At first, the contractions weren't too bad. Like someone squeezing my tummy. Daddy held my hand during each once, but since they were about 10 minutes apart, he would go and send email updates to friends. At around 11:30 though, things were starting to get a little intense. That squeezing was now pretty darned painful. Now, Mommy has a pretty high pain threshold, but I knew that I didn't want to be hurting to the point that I couldn't enjoy your birth, so I asked for an epidural. I finally got it around noon, and at first it only worked on half of my body. I could feel EVERYTHING on the left side, and nothing on the right. It feel like someone was poking me with something really sharp and hot in my left kidney. Ugh. I managed to joke that I got the discount epidural as it was apparently half-off. Sigh. I get corny when I'm anxious or hurting. Finally we managed to get everything numbed and peaceful, and then we started moving along, without me feeling much. I could still feel contractions, but they were back to that squeezing thing. At 2:45pm, I buzzed the nurse and told her that I was feeling some pressure, and she came in a checked me and said it was time to call Doctor Morales back, because it was time to have you! At 3:10, Doctor Morales came in, and after only 12 minutes of pushing, Sweet, Perfect little you entered the world. Daddy got to cut your umbilical cord, officially making you an independent little person, and there you were.

Now this whole time, your Grandma Davis was with us, and shortly after, Grandma Brooks arrived. Around 1pm or so, your Grandpa's came, and so did Great Poppey and Great Grandma Graves. They stayed in a little room off the birthing suite so that they could hear your first cry and hear Doctor Morales announce that you were a boy, but when you were actually born, it was just Daddy, Me, Doctor Morales and two nurses. I didn't want people in the room. Excluding the medical staff, this was a moment just for us as a little family. I couldn't stop staring at you. And I kept telling your Daddy to just LOOK at you! You were amazing! This sweet little person, so much a part of us, but all your own self. Wow. I still get goose bumps.

After your birth, you were weighed, measured and tested for all of the important stuff, and then you came back and met most of your family. It was such a neat moment.

I wanted to take out an ad in the paper. LOOK people! Look at what we did! This precious little seven pound, 20 inch long baby boy is here! I have never felt so strong or powerful as I do when I think of the fact that I was able to bring you into the world. Even if we had a C-section, I think I would have felt the same way. I felt like a superhero. You made me and Daddy superheros, and we will be there to celebrate with you, protect you and fight for you for your whole life.

Happy Birthday Ian!

We love you
Mommy and Daddy

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Tempus Fugit

Dear Ian,
I can't believe it. Tomorrow is your first birthday. Yesterday we held your birthday party, and it was a blast - a true celebration of your first year. There were a ton of family and friends there, and you seemed to have a lot of fun. I really cannot believe that it has already been a year.

Some things I have learned from you over the past 364 days:
* If diaper changes aren't quick, a little boy CAN pee in his own ear.
* Even spit up can be funny. As it runs down your back or into your bra.
* A 31 inch tall human being can fit in a dishwasher.
* Laundry to a new person is THRILLING.
* I have an even greater capacity for patience than I originally thought.
* Just because a mommy or daddy doesn't like a particular food doesn't mean a baby wont like it.
* Children's clothes are way fun to shop for.
* Toilet paper is an amazing plaything.
* As are toilet paper tubes, paper towel rolls and Daddy's empty protein shake bottles.
* A person can almost die from sleep deprivation. But since the reason for that deprivation was you, I could get up and do it again and again.
* The tiredness and frustration didn't last as long as I thought it would as I was going through it.
* One can actually *miss* breast-fed baby poo. This grown up poo is something else.
* Walking babies thrill and terrify grown ups.
* Everthing that we see as ordinary and mundane is exciting and scintilating.
* Time stood still on those nights we were awake from 2:00 - 6:00am, but if flew from October 2009 to October 2010.

Little Man, I don't want to get too sappy with this post. So I am going to knock it off right now. This is a happy post! All about polka-dotted banners (which I made) and balloons (which you love). We had a cake for you in the shape of a number one, but you got to smash and eat a cupcake. There were 7 or so other babies there, including your cousin Payton, BFFs Graham and Isabella, Chase and Tyler and Olivia. You had TWO great-grandparents in attendance and both sets of Grands. Aunts, Uncles, friends... Tons of people came out to wish you a happy birthday. It was a happy, happy day with beautiful weather. It is a day that will be locked away in my heart and memory, right along side the memory of the actual day and moment you were born.

So tomorrow, at 3:22pm, you will be exactly one year old. You, your Daddy and I will celebrate at home, or maybe out to dinner, with you. Just the three of us. A little family that came to be a year ago.

I love you , my little one-year-old son,
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Samson Complex

Dear Ian,

Today you had your first haircut. And while we weren't exactly blase' about it, we figured, "Hey, Ian likes people and new experiences. This should be fine!" I even bought safety lollypops to help keep you still and distracted. No worries! We went this morning to Mr. Fred at the Old Time Barber Shop, and you went in smiling like always. After all, it IS Mr. Fred, and he's basically an old family friend. He's cut Daddy's hair for about 30 years, and he does Grandpa Brooks' haircuts AND Uncle Kurt and Uncle Ryan's haircuts, too! This was going be a-okay.

Boy did you show us.

Thankfully we were a little busy holding you and trying to keep you still, so we didn't get photos of you actually crying like your little heart was breaking, but we did get a couple of photos. (this was before you really got worked up.) You have never cried like that. Not even when you got teeth or shots at the doctor's.

Not only that, but I think I have traumatized lollypops for you, too. After it was all said and done, I offered you another one (the first one got all hairy, so ewww), and you wanted nothing to do with it!

Mr. Fred was so wonderful. I have never seen him cut hair so fast, and he was really understanding and patient and talked to you the whole time. He even gave you a certificate commemorating the whole experience. It was really sweet.

So, we made it. It wasn't the most pleasant experience, and definitely not the most quiet, but we did it. You look so different; you're such a big boy now. All mommy has left of that little baby hair is a curl, safely tucked inside a little plastic ziploc that extra buttons come in to put in your baby book. Sniff.

But enough of that. If you're like your parents, and you most certainly are, you will need another haircut in about two weeks. I'm bracing myself now...

I love you,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Do not go gentle into that dark night..." OR Nancy Sinatra Would Be Proud

Dear Ian,
Today is a momentous day. This morning you took your first steps! Thankfully our blog posts have time stamps, so you will be able to look and see that today is September 14, and that you are five days away from your 11th month-day. It was around 8:45am, too. :) But just in case, the "First Steps" sticker is already on your calendar.
Anyway, you were standing holding on to my legs, and Daddy got down about three feet away from you and held his arms out, and off you toddled to him. It was a grand total of about two steps and a lunge, but it counts!
The quote from Dylan Thomas' poem at the title of this post is descriptive of your walking progress. You are definitely not "going gently" into this toddler-hood thing. This morning you really seemed to want to walk. The past couple of weeks, you had been doing more of the one-handed cruising, and you had more interest in your push walker, but that is small potatoes compared to today. You were a dare-devil! First it was a let-go-of-the-chair-and-lunge-for-the-ottoman. Then you expanded your reach from letting go of the chair to reaching for something about two feet away. Good grief. No, gently is so not the word for it. More like careening. Sheesh. You practiced and attempted to take steps most of the morning, and between 7:30 and 7:45am, you had already hit your head about four times. Mommy is going to call Miss Laurie today to dye my hair back to brown to cover the gray you have given me just this morning.
The crazy part was, you did NOT want help. I'm not that bad of a mother that I would just let you bounce off furniture unassisted. I tried to help, but every time I touched you, you would shriek, plop down on the floor and bat my hands away. You are SO my child.
But then, about an hour after your last run-in with furniture, you managed to propel yourself forward into the arms of your Daddy. It was amazing! We were so proud!
So, Sweet Boy, "Do not go gently into that dark night..." that is growing up. Despite the fact that it's a long and bumpy road and therefore hard work, the rewards (walking, running, running away from Mom, independence) are so worth the risk and effort.
And to cover the other part of the title, and to paraphrase the late, great Nancy Sinatra and her hit, "Boots"
"you were made for walking, and that's just what you'll do!"

Love always,

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mad Skillz (and yes, Skillz with a Z)

Dear Ian,

I had a moment the other day as you and I were driving home in the car from somewhere. I looked back at the car seat at this TODDLER that was clapping along as I sang "If you're happy and you know it," and I couldn't remember the baby that you used to be. Carrying you in my belly seemed like forever ago, and I had to struggle to remember what it felt like to have you do a slow somersault under my heart. The memory of you as tiny as a loaf of bread seemed so distant. True, you weren't exactly the most interactive when you were a newborn, but I can't remember a lot of the little things that, when they happened or I noticed them, that I wanted to keep in my mind and heart forever. So, here you are, almost one year old, and I absolutely LOVE the stage of life in which we are now. The world is new and exciting, and watching you grow and explore thrills me. I want to remember everything about you and everything you do and "say" at this moment, so here's this post of things about you and the things that you can currently do so that way we can always have them.

* As of now, you STILL only have four teeth, but I can see numbers five and six, so I know it wont be long before they make an appearance.
* You need a haircut! Your hair curls at the back just behind your right ear. When you are in one of your calmer moods, I love to snuggle you close and let it curl around my finger.
* You give hugs and kisses, although you have to be in the mood to dole them out.
* You can CLIMB!! The other day you climbed up five stairs on our staircase (with supervision of course!), and you can almost get up on the sofa.
* You dance whenever you hear music. :) It's more like a bob, you bounce up and down, but it's funny to watch. You hold on to whatever is nearest and dance.
* You can also clap your hands, but if you're standing up, you have to sit first.
* Linguistically, you are expanding your vocabulary. Some words you can say: Daddy and Mamma of course, but you also say "Bless" when someone sneezes, "This" and "That" at objects you want or need a name for and "Baba" for both food and bye-bye. Occasionally you will even sign the word "eat" back to me when it's time for a meal.
* You love all things transportation, and when you see a tractor or car or truck, you say "brmm, brmm." Really cute :)
* Animals make your day. Just this morning, you stood at the window and watched a cat walk around our neighbor's yard for 10 minutes!
* You can roll a ball, push a walker, unload the dryer, and push your trucks and cars on the hardwood.
* Your independence is growing, too. You much prefer to feed yourself than have someone feed you.
* Food preferences are also starting to emerge. You prefer purple grapes to green ones, you like green beans more than Lima beans (and just about anything else, too.), and baby food is pretty much out. You like your food to have texture and seasoning. Thankfully you like our family spaghetti sauce, and so far, you like Mommy's cooking.
* You can stack one thing on top of another, and you can put toys or blocks in boxes.

For now, those are the things that stick out in my mind the most about you at the present moment. Every day you do something new or different. It simply amazes me how fast you learn and change. I wish I could remember it all, and I'm sure I would get harassed if I carried a notebook with me all of the time so I could write things down, but it would be worth it. Everyone says that kids are like little sponges, absorbing anything and everything around them, and this is exactly right. I can only hope that I can keep up and keep giving you things to absorb.

Love always,

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Dear Ian,

Tonight you had another "first" in your life, although to most it wouldn't seem like much. Your Daddy and I took you to Florida State University to watch the Marching Chiefs create this year's band at "March Over." Here, the new, auditioning band members - formerly known as gunkies, but now politically correctly referred to as rookies - are put through their paces in front of the returning veteran members, and then they get to join up with the vets. It's really a neat experience. I remember when I stood across from the vets. I had waited for that moment for a long time; I had grown up around the Marching Chiefs. Hmmm. Maybe I need to give you a little background information.

You come from a musical family. On your Daddy's side, your Great Grandma Graves and your Grandma Brooks can play piano, and your Grandma Brooks can even play the accordion! Daddy plays the piano and the french horn, and your Uncle Kurt and Uncle Ryan play trombone and trumpet. Daddy and I actually met in our high school band at Leon High School. I come from a long line of band romances, as a matter of fact. Your Great Poppey and Great Grandma Davis met in their band. They marched drum and bugle corps together, and Great Grandma practiced REALLY hard to be able to sit next to Great Poppey during band class. They both played trumpet, and Great Grandma Davis was also a majorette. Your Grandma and Grandpa Davis met in Marching Chiefs. Grandma plays the flute and piccolo, and Grandpa plays the tuba. When I was born, Grandpa Davis was still in Marching Chiefs, and he performed at the football game that afternoon with pink balloons tied to his sousaphone. Like I mentioned before, your Daddy and I met in high school band. We both play French Horn, and I play piano as well. Even Uncle Brian and Uncle Gary played instruments! They both played tuba in their middle school bands, but once they got to high school, they both went on to play football and soccer. I, like your Great Grandma Davis, am a baton twirler, so during marching season, I twirled with the band, and then I played horn during concert season. When I say I grew up around Chiefs, I got to participate with the Alumni Band when I was younger when Grandma and Grandpa Davis marched, and almost all of my twirling coaches were current (at the time) or former Chiefs. It was such a big part of my growing up, and I can't wait to share it with you.

So, now that you know how much of a part music plays in your existence, back to tonight...

I really wanted you to enjoy seeing the Chiefs tonight, and I really think you did. You sat so still when they played, really seemed to pay attention to Dr. Dunnigan as he spoke to the group from the Tower of Power, and you clapped at the end of their performances. You were prepared, though. We have been listening to Chiefs CD's in the car (a little loudly, so that you would be prepared for the experience), so I think that when we finally did get to marchover, you seemed completely at ease. Plus there were TONS of new people for you to smile at, so you were completely in your element.

I know you will most likely not remember tonight, but I will. Being exposed to music and the Marching Chiefs really influenced my decision to take up a musical instrument and to learn to twirl. And I have to say, there is nothing quite like standing in front of, or being surrounded by, that wall of sound. It is awe-inspiring. I look forward to the day when you can understand and experience all of that, and I'm glad that we got to start that process of understanding tonight.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Nicknames... You have a few

Dear Ian,

Yes, your name is Ian. Daddy and I officially decided on your name about two weeks before you were born after much deliberation. We loved the simple, yet masculine, sound of it, and we worked hard to find a name that people couldn't nickname or shorten into something cutesy. (For example: Jeffery, although not a bad name, could be shortened into Jeff. Matthew into Matt, you get the picture.) Not that names like that are a bad thing; we just wanted you to have a solid name that would stand the test of time from your infancy to adulthood. You see, the challenge of naming a baby is that you AREN'T naming a baby - you're naming a future adult. That's harder work... Anyhoo. Back on track. We more or less pulled Ian out of thin air, but as I was doodling family names, I noticed that the name Ian was formed from the last three letters of your Grandpa Davis' name. Neat! Your middle name, Thomas, is in honor of your Grandpa and Great Grandpa Brooks, as well as your Great Grandpa Colombrito. So there you are: Ian Thomas. We are so proud of the name we gave you... But then on the other hand, I worry that you will never learn your name because we call you so many random nicknames. Correction. I call you random nicknames; Daddy only calls you one in particular.

Sorry to say, this nickname thing started before you were even born. Daddy and I decided that we would find out before your birth if we were having a boy or a girl, but then we kept the news to ourselves. Sorta drove the Grandmas crazy, but it was fun. We got to bond with you first :) While you were busy growing and developing in my tummy, it just didn't seem right to keep calling you "The Baby." So, at first, you were Spawn. Scifi and video game references abound. But your old Ma and Pa took a lot of flack for this. So we gave you "names." When we referred to you as a boy, we called you Cletus the Fetus, and your girl name was Mavis Lurleen. When other's started referring to you by these names, we got a little worried and decided it was time for a change, and that's when you provided us with the perfect unisex name. You had grown up a bit and taken up most of the room in your belly accomodations, so you were constantly kicking and squirming. Hence your new nickame, Fidget the Midget. This really didn't point to girl or boy, and it rhymed, and it suited you well. So from month six to your birth, this is how we referred to you... Your Grandma Davis even sent you cards addressed to Fidget Brooks. A hoot, I think, for our mailman.

So, now you are here, christened with the name Ian Thomas Brooks, yet we still call you by random names. As I list them, I realize how often your names point to food items, and I also realize that I have a thing for alliteration. But here we go... Your nicknames, as of your tenth month.

Buddy (Daddy calls you this the most, but sometimes your Grandpa Davis does too.)
Wee Man
Angel Boy (Grandma Davis' name for you)
Doodle Bug
Pumpkin Pie
Puddin' Pop
Wild Man
Boogie Bug
Monster Man
Pea Pod
Sweet Pea
Monkey Man
Love Bug
Lovey Man
Big Boy (all mommies call their little boys this, I think)

Sigh. Like I said, it will be a miracle if you ever learn your name. I need to work on that. However, you will most likely be able to spell your name sooner rather than later. Whenever you are headed toward something you aren't supposed to be heading to, I will spell out your name. Here's a scene from this morning:

Ian: *crawl, crawl, look back at mommy and reach out to touch the wine rack, which is way off limits.
Mommy: Little Man, come to me. You may not touch.
Ian: *reaches out a little further, still looking at mommy with that "whatcha gonna do about it" look.
Mommy: I-A-N. No, no.
Ian: Giggle and look adorable. Your current defense mechanism.

The good thing is, you at least react to every name we call you, which is nice. It's good to know that the selective deafness affliction hasn't caught up with you yet. So our parent homework for the week (correction, MY parent homework for the week): call you by your name. But it's so much more fun when we snuggle to call you Snuggle Monster.

Love always,

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Disclaimer - Mommy Gets Mushy

Dear Ian,

You gave me the greatest gift this weekend.

On Saturday, Daddy, you and I traveled to celebrate your cousin Payton's first birthday party. While I was holding you and watching her open presents, I was thinking about how fast her first year went by and how fast your first birthday is approaching. I was sitting there feeling happy and sad, reminiscing about the births of the two of you and thinking about your futures, feeling very sappy-mommy-like, and then you leaned over and put your open mouth on my cheek. I looked up at you and asked, "Did you just give me kisses?", and when you heard the word "kisses" you leaned over and did it again. Thinking it was a fluke, I asked you to give Daddy and Grandma kisses, and you responded by doling out two very wet, very sweet smooches to their cheeks.

This touched my heart.

From the moment you were born, sappy as it sounds, I felt this out-pouring of love for you. I have to admit, I spend a lot of time telling you that I love you, kissing your cheeks and giving you hugs. For some reason, I never really thought about you reciprocating those actions and demonstrating feelings. As much time as I have spent around babies and young children, I never really payed attention to or noticed when they started demonstrating affection. Your little kisses took me completely by surprise and melted me.

I know you probably don't officially recognize love yet; right now you just feel secure and confident in our care, but I'm overlooking developmental science and saying that I think you love us just as much as we love you. And you sealed that with kisses this weekend.

I love you, and smooches to you Sweet Boy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Our Ten Current Commandments

Dear Ian,

Little boy. These are the current standing ground rules in this house, and as long as you live under my roof... blah, blah, blah, I know. But here they are anyway:

1. Thou shalt not pull the toilet paper off the roll. I'm not really sure when you discovered that you could unravel foot after foot of Charmin, but here we are.
2. Thou shalt not chew on shoelaces. EWW Son! I know where those have been! Gross! And while we're on that vein, please cease trying to eat my flip flops. Also Ewww!!
3. Remember that Daddy's lap top is sacred and keep it holy. I know how much you want to be like him, but please remember that he is writing code for international users, and your gibberish typing doesn't really help him out.
4. Thou shalt not pull on the poor dog's ears. He's old. You're young. The two of you really don't have much to talk about, and he's not wild about your method of communication as it is.
5. Honor your mother's wake-up time. As of late, it's been awfully early and tends to make mommy a little grumpy.
6. Thou shalt not play with outlets. They are all covered, yet you are determined. Please, son. Yes we are Southern, but we don't want you deep fried.
7. Thou shalt not pull hair. Mommy's hair, Daddy's chest or leg hair, the hair on other babies... If it's hairy, leave it alone, please.
8. Thou shalt not pull the moss out of the base of our fake ficus tree. It makes an unholy mess, and contrary to what you may think, it does NOT taste good.
9. Thou shalt not blow raspberries with a mouth-full of blueberries. What a mess it makes, and when I don't get it all cleaned off of myself and then go out in public, people think I have escaped from an insane asylum. Or haven't learned to feed myself...
10. Thou shalt not, quite literally, pull the rug out from under Mommy's feet while I cook dinner. Just today you moved the rug that is usually in front of the stove, and I caught the edge of it and nearly slipped and fell. You thought my shriek was quite funny and sat there giggling while I tried to get my heart-rate back to normal. Please try not to kill me too often. I don't know if my poor heart can take it.

Sigh. All of that sounds like you have nothing fun to do while we are at home. Thankfully, we do have a ton of fun all day, and it's just these things that push my buttons from time to time. I know you are just exploring your surroundings and testing boundaries and my resolve, and that's ok. It's your job. And my job as Mommy is to help you in that exploration in a safe and secure setting. It's a hectic job, but I love it. Just as much as I love you.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sweet, Quirky, Loveable You.

Dear Ian,

Yesterday was your ninth month-day, and although EVERYONE told me that it would go by fast, I can't get past the speed in which the past nine months have gone by. It almost makes my heart hurt. But then I think of all of the wonderful times and experiences to come, and I'm almost ok with it.

During the past 270 or so days, I have gotten to know a funny, happy, lovable little person. As more and more days go by and your personality emerges even more, you show me bits and pieces of the person that you will grow into. I decided to write this post now to record some of your little habits and quirks that have already become apparent, and it will be neat to look back and see how they have grown or changed as you have grown and changed.

Even as of now, you have a funny little sense of humor. You LOVE to laugh and you smile a lot. It just takes a bit of effort to do these things. To you, things are only funny once during a time period. For example, if we blow raspberries on your belly, you will laugh at if for the first couple of times, but then you're done. It's not funny anymore, and you will refuse to laugh! This cracks me and your Daddy up! Oh, it will be funny again tomorrow, or maybe even in a couple of hours, but once you're done, you're done.

You also like to have "Ian Time." Every now and then during playtime, you will sometimes get a little overwhelmed and just need to step away. At first, I didn't quite recognize your signals for this, and I ended up with a grumpy baby on my hands, but after a while, we got to understand each other. Now, you will put your hands over your eyes and make a particular (often whiny) sound, and I know that's your signal for a break. Sometimes I just sit on the couch and you do your own thing while I watch. Other times I will put you in your crib with a couple of books and you will sit a read for a few minutes. When you are ready to play again, you either climb up on my legs or call out to me. It's neat to see your independence and confidence to play alone growing. You are such a little individual, even this young, and I am proud of your ability to recognize that you need a break. I still have trouble with this skill.

One of your little quirks that I love involves your bedtime routine. Lovey, in particular. I first introduced Lovey to you when we weaned your pacifier. (That was a trying three days, but we made it!) I wanted to help you through that tough time by offering a comfort item that you could have to soothe yourself instead of a pacifier. You and Lovey hit it off right away. Now when I put you to bed, you grab Lovey, grin from ear to ear and snuggle it. Then when you start to get sleepy, you put Lovey in your mouth and chew it to bits! :) You typically only have Lovey when it's time to sleep, but I wonder how long Lovey will be with us. Sometimes I'm reminded of Linus from the Peanuts cartoon, who carried his blanket around everywhere. You and Lovey, I think, have a long future ahead of you.

You love the water, watching the Weather Channel and fish. As a matter of fact, Daddy and I are considering getting you a fish tank this weekend. You don't mind having your fingernails cut, and your favorite finger food as of now is cut up grapes. You love to play with my hair while you have a bottle, and Daddy is still your favorite person on the planet. Books thrill you, especially your Little Scholastic Colors book and Blankie, and for some reason I cannot fathom, you LOVE to play with our coasters.

Such a funny little guy you are, and I am so lucky that you are part of our family. When we first started telling people that we were pregnant, the second nugget of wisdom that people dished out, after "it goes by so fast" was "you'll forget what life was like without him." Well, actually, we do remember life before Ian; a life of sleeping until noon, randomly going places without having to pack a diaper bag or worry about nap schedules and the like. So with that part, people were wrong. What they should have said is more like, "sweet baby, since you came into our lives you have made us whole, and we can't imagine our future without you."

I love you, idiosyncrasies and all,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Your new girlfriend, Sarah

Dear Ian,

Last night you had your very first evening with a babysitter that wasn't a family member. Miss Sarah, a daughter of one of the attorneys at Grandma Davis' work, came to stay with you while I went to teach baton twirling. She is a super sweet girl, and I think the two of you really got on well together. Yes, I could have asked a Grandma to come and stay with you, and I'm sure they would have broken land speed records to get here, but I thought it was a good time for you to have exposure to other grown-ups and authority figures. Being the easy baby that you are, you didn't seemed fazed in the slightest by her arrival or my departure.

On one hand, I'm really glad that you took to this new arrangement so well. I hate to see you upset, and I'm sure it made things easier for Sarah to not have you get upset, too. But, on the other hand, I was apprehensive about leaving my baby, and I hope, in a small way, that you missed me, too. By the time I got home, Sarah was gone because Daddy had come home, and he had already put you to bed. I sure missed my night-time routine with you and those last snuggles of the day. I was a little sad, I'll be honest. But, this was good for all of us; you, Sarah, Daddy and me. I was able to go have me time and do something that I absolutely love. I just love you more, so I can't say I was completely at ease.

I am proud of myself, though. I only called once, and then I talked to Daddy a couple of times after Sarah left to get his opinion on how things went and to check up on you. I was confident in the decision to "hire" Sarah because I know her family and their back-ground, and because she came over to play and had a sort of interview before your stay with her. I think she fell in love with you that afternoon. However, you usually charm most people you meet, so it wasn't hard to convince her to come play with you.

So, we've done it. I've made that weird leap from being a baby-sitter to needing one, and you have won the heart of yet another person. She's going to come again tomorrow, as I have one more day of twirling camp to teach. Most likely, if I start teaching regular classes, she will be your consistent baby-sitter for that day. Don't worry, though; we'll reassure the Grandmas that they always get first dibs.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Family Traditions

Dear Ian,
Happy Belated 4th of July! As usual for our family, we spent the holiday at the cabin at Lake Seminole. And as usual, we ate too much, stayed up too late, and goofed off the entire time. We did all of the same things we do pretty much every year, and despite that repetitiveness, we still had just as much fun as usual. We played midnight Monopoly, ate S'mores, rode in the boat and sat on the water to watch the fireworks, and played Putt Putt in the park. It even rained on us again. The weekend got me thinking of all of the neat, funny and sometimes off-the-wall family traditions we have for holidays.

For New Year's Eve, we throw a great party for our friends and family. Typically, we turn on the pool heater to 104 degrees, and people come and eat and swim and count down the approach of the new year. There's tons of people in and out of the house all night, an amazing amount of food and drink, and it usually lasts until about 2am. We even managed to throw one of our New Year's Bashes the year you were born. You were just two months old, but somehow we pulled it of, and you were a trooper through all of it.

Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day are smaller holidays as far as our celebrations go, but we still have some fun with them. For Valentine's Day, I make a heart-shaped meatloaf. Daddy and I sometimes go out on a date, but I still make our meatloaf. I also have absolved Daddy from ever buying me roses on Valentine's Day after I bought them for him one year and realized just how expensive they were. Whoa! Unfortunately small son, you will most likely have to buy roses for your Valentine when you are older, but hopefully she will come to the same realization as I did. Back to holidays. St. Patrick's Day for us is celebrated with wearing green, of course, but I also make scalloped potatoes and ham for dinner this night.

As I write this, I realize how much a part food plays in our holiday celebrations! Oh well... back to our point. Easter is celebrated by church, an egg hunt and of course, food. Our meal of choice for this holiday is your Great-Grandpa Colombrito's leg of lamb. Yum. It's one of my favorites. The egg hunts I remember growing up were so much fun. We would be at Grandma and Grandpa Colombrito's and they would hide plastic eggs all over the yard. The "silent eggs" were the most desired, as they usually had dollar bills in them :) You had a couple of these eggs in your first egg hunt. We eat our lamb and then go and visit your Grandmas and Grandpas. This past year, Grandma and Grandpa Davis celebrated with us, and then we went to visit Grandma and Grandpa Brooks.

We've already discussed the 4th of July holiday, so on to Halloween. We don't really have much of a family tradition for this, but we do put up decorations, dress up and trick or treat. When I was growing up, we didn't have neighbors, so we never got trick-or-treaters. Our first Halloween after getting married was a blast for me; I got to pass out candy to the kiddies, and now I am SO looking forward to taking you around our neighborhood to trick or treat. We have a great neighborhood for it.

Thanksgiving, of course, revolves around food again. It's a typical Thanksgiving in that we have turkey, sweet potatoes, corn casserole, green bean casserole, cranberries and stuffing. Holy cow this post is making me hungry. And getting long. Thankfully, just one holiday to go. Sometimes we go to each set of your grandparents for Thanksgiving. Sometimes they come to us. Either way, we eat WAY too much. I also LOVE to watch the Macy's Parade and football.

Last but not least is Christmas, and this is the holiday that we have the most number of traditions. Five days before Christmas, we start the movies. First is Lupin the Third and the Castle of Cagliostro. It's an anime film that your Daddy and I LOVE! Around now I also start baking your Great-Grandma Davis' famous cookie recipe. I make about 700 cookies. It's a job, but I love it. Day 4 before Christmas is National Lampoon's Christmas vacation and the gift wrapping marathon. Day 3 is Frosty the Snowman and driving around looking at Christmas lights. Day 2 is How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Grandma Davis' famous meatball subs. Christmas Eve, we go to Grandma and Grandpa Brooks' house for their annual Christmas Eve get-together. Here's where your Daddy and Uncle Ryan play Christmas carol duets on the piano. It's funny :) And they sound great. We also watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and drive around looking at Christmas lights. Finally, it's Christmas Day. We get up and MAKE THE BED!! Presents cannot and will not be opened before the beds are made. This way, you have some place to put your gifts after they are unwrapped. Actually, I think Grandma and Grandpa Davis made us do this to get a couple more minutes of sleep. Until we started getting up and making our beds at 5am. Anyway. After opening presents, we eat baked ziti and then go visiting family.

Whew. All written out, we do a lot of great stuff to make our holiday's something special. I hope I didn't leave anything out, and I cant wait to see how our holiday family traditions adapt and grow as you grow up. I hope that they help you form lasting memories of special times spent with your families, and I hope that you can pass them on to your family.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

Dear Ian,

Whew. What a busy last few weeks and weekends we have had! We have been all over the place with family and friends, and you have been such a trooper throughout the whole thing. I'm kinda sad to say that you havent' had a weekend at home in 5 weeks, and we still have two more weekend things to go! So far you have flown to New York and back, driven to Orlando and Destin, and in a couple of weeks we will drive to Lake Seminole in Georgia for the 4th of July weekend. In between you have stayed at your Grandma and Grandpa Brooks' while we attended the Lenker wedding in Atlanta, and this weekend you will stay with Grandma and Grandpa Davis when Daddy has all of his friends here for their "Geek Weekend." Like I said before, WHEW! You have been one busy baby, and we are so lucky that you were able to take it all in stride with just a couple of restless nights along the way.
Some highlights from your first summer of travels so far...
During our trip to New York you:
* Flew on your first plane ride! And you slept pretty much through every flight. Thanks for that; it made life much easier.
* You got to meet your Great-Grandpa Davis' best friends from school, the Andolina's. They watched me grow up, and it was so neat to introduce them to you. They are neat people.
* You got to see (although you will not remember it from this trip) the barn that your Great-great-great-great-great Grandfather built with his bare hands.

Here's a photo of us in front of the barn.

While Daddy and I were in Atlanta for the wedding, you learned how to pull up in a crib. That's been an adventure since.
During the our trip with Grandma Davis to Orlando you...

* Got to swim in a big swimming pool for the first time. You LOVED it! And it made you nap like a champ.

* Visited Epcot Center. We saved Disney for when Daddy could go with us, but you did get to meet Mickey. You kissed him right on the nose.

* Got your two upper front teeth one night on this trip. Oy. That was a rough night.

* Got to visit your Uncle Gary, Aunt Megan and Payton on the way back home.

Here's a photo of you, me and Mickey from Epcot.

During our recent trip to Destin you...

* Got to swim with Daddy in a pool. He finally got to see how much you love to swim. I think it will help motivate us to get our pool fixed.

* Got to see your Great-Aunt Martha and your second cousins, Sarah, her husband Tim, Erin and Joseph, and you got to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa Brooks.

* Got to go to the Air Force Museum in Eglin. This was kinda cool!

* Got to go to the beach with me and Daddy. You love all forms of water and swimming, and this time you didn't let a wave knock you over or intimidate you. We had to keep you from crawling into the surf!

Here's a photo of daddy keeping you on shore...

Now all we have left is your weekend with your Grandparents Davis and then 4th of July. Whew. Then maybe we will spend the next few weekends flopping around our house in our jammies! Either way, we are so glad to share our days, nights and weekends with you. Family adventures are the best.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Separation Anxiety

Dear Ian,

In just a few minutes, your Daddy and I will be driving you to your Grandma and Grandpa Brooks' house for you to spend most of the weekend with them. Daddy and I are going to Atlanta to attend John and Haley Lenker's wedding, and we thought it would be a good idea for you to stay here. It's a bit of a long drive, and we figured that after that drive, the last thing that you would want to do is sit on our laps and watch a wedding. Outside. In June. Whew. I'm hot thinking about it. Plus, it gives your Daddy and I the added bonus of getting to spend some time together, just the two of us. We are very lucky to have both sets of your grandparents here in Tallahassee, and we have been able to go on dates, but this is a long trip just for us. I have to admit, I am a little torn about it.

On one hand, I am excited about going away with Daddy and having time to talk without bottles, nap schedules and diapers. Not to mention your very active play-times! But on the other hand, I don't know what I'm going to do without bottles, nap schedules, diapers and playing with you. Remember that last post about me being Karen as well as Mommy? Well, this will contribute to my sense of self, but you are such a part of me, I think I will feel an ache with every mile that separates us. Never have I been more than a 10 minute drive (well, depending on how fast I drive) away from you. This is going to be tough.

I know that you are in great hands with your grandparents, but it just feels weird that you wont be in MY hands. I know you will also have a great time; you love to play and have fun with new people. But I'm your Mommy, and I worry about you, and I will miss you something fierce!
It's only a weekend, and one day you will pack up and head off to college (Furman, young man, on full scholarship), and I will have to deal with that separation anxiety, but thankfully that's still a bit away.

So here's a hug, a kiss and your snuggle before each nap or bed time. Here's your lullaby, your prayers and your tuck-in as you get ready to sleep. Here's your pat-pats as you fall asleep, and here's the part you don't know, because you are already asleep... I kiss your head and whisper, I love you. Because I do.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Introducing: Mommy!

Dear Ian,

Although I'm your mommy, and we spend practically every waking moment together, I don't know that we have been properly introduced. Some days it's also hard to remember that I am an independent person separate from you. I have a tendency to forget about me, since I focus so much on your needs and happiness. It's important for mommies to remember their individuality. Some mommies continue working, and that helps them set themselves apart from being lumped into the "my-name-is-so-and-so-and-this-is-my-child" thing. Some mommies develop new hobbies or delve back into old ones to keep their sense of self. I have to admit, I catch myself sometimes when it seems like you are my sole purpose of existence, and I have to remind me that I am me first. Don't take that the wrong way; you complete our family, you are part of me and I would feel such a hole in my heart if I didn't have you. It's hard to explain, but Mommy needs to take care of Mommy in order to be a good Mommy. Does that make sense? No? Well, maybe when you are older it will...

Anyway, I wanted to make a list of things about me that you may not know, may possibly learn on your own or maybe not know at all. It will also be a way of helping me remember me, too. Here goes:

1. As I write this I am 31 years old, and typically I don't feel this old. There are days when I feel younger, and there are days when I feel much older.
2. I have done quite a bit in those 31 years that I never thought I would experience. I have traveled to foreign countries, eaten weird foods and met the man of my dreams, your Daddy. I'm going to try to create a list of 31 things about me; one thing for every year...
3. I am terribly obsessive/compulsive, and I am a rule follower; I think things should go in a particular order.
4. Tardiness and being interrupted are my pet peeves. I am never late, but I, too, sometimes interrupt, and that's something I need to work on.
5. I love to wrap presents.
6. I love to buy presents for people. Surprises make me happy. But not surprises to the order of things...
7. My favorite colors are red and blue. (you seem to like them, too.)
8. I have major fear of spiders, lightning and heights.
9. Roller coasters scare the bejeesus out of me.
10. I am a major control freak, and that's probably why roller coasters scare me. That and flying. Maybe if I was a pilot I could get a grip on that fear.
11. I love to read. When I was growing up, 99 percent of the time, my nose was in a book. This is still true today, but with a smaller percentage of time.
12. I wanted to be a pediatric surgeon when I grew up, but instead I became a teacher. Medicine still fascinates me.
13. I love random trivia. I am a font of random knowledge.
14. I am terrible at math. Please ask your father for any help with this subject. He had to tutor me.
15. I love horses, new crayons, and for some reason, going to Office Depot. I think it's all that potential for organization.
16. I hate doing laundry.
17. I can play the french horn and the piano (so can Daddy)
18. I am a former national champion baton twirler. I coach new twirlers now.
19. I can juggle.
20. I met your Daddy when I was 13 years old. We started dating when I was 16, and we got married when I was 23. We have known each other and been together for a LONG time.
21. I have little patience for people who don't exhibit common sense. Thankfully, though, I have more patience for children than I do adults. So get it together before you reach adulthood, ok?
22. I can bait my own hook.
23. I can handle the sight of blood, vomit and poo, but DO NOT show me a wiggling tooth. Once it comes out, I am ok with it bleeding, even profusely, but I can not handle wiggling teeth.
24. I love to learn. Anything and everything I can get my hands on. Except Math.
25. My favorite household chore is mowing and edging the lawn. I don't like to weed-eat though.
26. Cajun food, a good steak and ice cream are among my favorite things to eat. Well, really I love most foods.
27. My weight as of my 18th year has been a constant issue. I was 18 when my blood sugar decided to get a life of it's own.
28. I sometimes worry too much. That's a bi-product of the OCD, I'm sure.
29. Tulips and roses are my favorite flowers. Carnations remind me of funerals, so I am not fond of them.
30. When I was working, my work space was always neat and organized. I couldn't function if things were not in their places. Our house, however...
31. I would use the word "dependable" to describe myself. In all aspects of my life. I was a good, efficient employee, I am a trusted friend to those who know me, I am a loving and faithful wife, and I will be there for you.

So there I am, I guess, in 31 sentences or sentence fragments. There's much more about me that you will get to learn and discover. And though I started this post to remind me of myself, it's all of those things that make me your Mom.

I love you,