Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sunshine and Roses

This weekend, some of my college girls are coming into town for our annual, uh... meet up? get together? drunken fest of YouTube worthy footage that reminds us of the good times? Yep. That's the one. I am ridiculously excited. A weekend without the baby (who has been SUCH a sweet little man lately, by the way, it almost makes me sad to leave him - almost). And although a weekend without the baby would be equally good spent with the hubs (better in some ways, perhaps!), pretending I don't have a care in the world - and then flashing my ring to some guy who's giving me the eye - sounds like a pretty damn good way to spend a few days. Never mind work at the shop is INSANE this week and we have a piece of equipment down. Grrr.

Anywho... Our organizer this year sent out the "let's get our shit together email" at the beginning of the week, aptly titled, "Booze and What Not." Some of us responded with the usual - "Booze. Yes. What Not? Bring it on. Pole dancing, anyone?" and such. One reply-all came from our friend who had a baby three months ago. She said she was, "...totally going to flake like I said I never would." Honestly? I took a big, deep breath for her knowing exactly where she was coming from (and at the same time, I kind of thought, "Thank God! If she had been so organized to be able to make this trip [at least a 4 hour drive for her] after only 3 months as a new mom, I would have felt like such a loser!" - remember me? Paralyzed to leave the house to even go to the grocery store for, oh, I don't know - 3 months after having a baby?). For the record, she is rockin' it. Back to work, pumping, feeding... My kid is almost a year and a half old, and I am only now able to make it out of the house on time with no help from Mike - if I start 2 hours before we have to leave, mind you, but I can do it now.

So, I got to thinking about those days - and these days. Those days when I would think, "You know, if I just kept driving, maybe I could leave it all behind." But I never had enough cash. Let alone enough in savings, to disappear, and above all, just thinking about leaving it all behind made no sense. I'd have to make it work. Shuffle priorities. Change plans at a moment's notice. Go. With. The. Flow. And sometimes, the flow meant changing plans, or canceling plans and staying home (grudgingly, tearfully and foot stompingly. What? That's totally a word). And then these days. Where sometimes I'm awakened by Joey saying, "MA MA!" instead of incessant yelling. Or the rare, glorious, days that I wake on my own. After 8am. And my boys are both still sleeping. And you know what? As hard as it can get sometimes - especially with Mike's work schedule - I appreciate it. From Joey - A new word. A new sign. A funny face or non-stop laughter. From Mike - A touch. A moment alone - together. A kiss. A hug. A night where we don't care how late we stay up. A night where the TV goes off early...

It wasn't all easy. There's work still to do. Are there things I would change over the last year and a half? I won't lie. Absolutely. Have I learned a lot about myself? About my marriage and my husband? Absolutely. Would I change that? Absolutely not.

Hang in there girl. It's all worth it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why I love Mike

Holy hell, it's been forever since I posted. I swear to you, I have 2 or 3 posts saved as drafts... obviously never got finished. Anyway, let's start back slow.

So about six weeks ago, I started taking an exercise class. And I'm not talking about just any exercise class. My brother calls it "stripper-cise." I call it the most fun I've ever had getting sweaty and sore. OK, I guess I can think of some other fun ways to get sweaty, but I digress. Anywho, This class isn't your run-of-the-mill, let's all train to be strippers class. It's an intense, sexy floor workout (I mean intense - the ab sequence alone is killer), followed by instruction on the pole. Can you say FUN? It's women only, and it's all about becoming comfortable in your own body - feeling sexy, even.

I'm just about to complete level one, and will be continuing on to level two. In level two, you are invited to wear 6" stilettos. (They are optional. Booty shorts, on the other hand, are not, but that's a different post altogether.)

Okay, back to the point. Of course, I opted to go with the shoes. What? They're hot! I ordered 2 pairs in a size 7 & 8. They day of delivery, I checked the tracking number, and saw that they were out for delivery. Hooray! Three of my favorite words: Out for delivery. Unfortunately, I had to head to work before UPS arrived, but while sitting at my desk, I received the following text from Mike:

"Your shoes are here. Box was open so driver wanted me to check delivery. He was looking @ me like some cross dressing perv. Haha."

How many guys do you know that would finish that text with, "Haha." Love.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

OK, I'm doing it.

Endorsing a product, that is.

A while back, I posted about the things I needed most (or wished I'd had) when I brought Joey home. I haven't had an "OH CRAP, I HOPE THEY CAN SHIP THAT OVERNIGHT" moment in quite a while, but when Mike insisted we wean Joey off the bottle - and Joey promptly decided he wouldn't drink cow's milk out of anything but - I was desperate to find a solution. I posted on Facebook asking fellow moms what they did to get their little ones to give up the bottle and latch onto the cup. I was determined not to give up - I know, I know, we don't really need to drink cow's milk, but it is a good source of nutrition and, if nothing else, a quick, healthy snack in a pinch (read: do not leave me comments about how cow's milk is bad for you/there are healthier alternatives/it was unnecessary to wean my 13 month old off the bottle so soon/yadda yadda yadda).

Anyway, I got recommendations ranging from Ovaltine (tried it, didn't work) to just give him milk, and nothing else, and eventually he'll have to drink it. Well, I didn't feel like going through 3 days of hell and dehydrating my sick toddler in the process, so I went for the middle ground. A good friend of mine recommended the Born Free Trainer Cup. We had tried cups with all sorts of spouts, straws... and so had she. She said this was the only thing that worked. I'd try anything, so I ordered it immediately (there is no store within 100 miles of us that carries them! Why, why, why?) When the cup arrived yesterday, I was optimistic. Joey wasn't in the best mood, but I put a little milk in it, warmed it up, and tried sitting with him and giving him his new "ba ba." He wasn't buying it. In fact, he was downright pissed. He'd take a few sucks, then push it away and cry. Oh. No. FAILURE! But I wouldn't give up.

I waited a little while, gave him a snack, and then we sat on the floor and played. I put the cup near him so he could try it if he wanted to. A little while later, I saw him reaching for it. I didn't want to make a peep! He took a couple sucks, looked at it, and then started chugging! I was amazed, and hoped it wasn't a fluke. Nope! No fluke. Since yesterday, he's been drinking out of the new cup with no complaints.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Guess We're There

I'm going to be 30 29 again this year. I wouldn't say I'm freaking out about it, but I just keep going, "Really? Really? We're here already?" I guess I still feel like I'm 25 (although I definitely don't look like I did when I was 25 - you know, 25 pounds lighter, great tan, hair always styled, make-up fresh, well rested - er, didn't need as much rest). I'm wondering where the time went. Friends have gotten married, some are having kids (some have more than one), and, yes, some are having plastic surgery.


Yes, really.

I guess we are there.

Over the last four or five years, it wouldn't be a stretch to say my life has changed dramatically. I started dating the man that would eventually be my husband, got "let go" from the first real job I ever had (I was about to quit anyway - I know everyone that gets fired says that, but in this case, I swear to baby Jesus it's true), I landed my dream job cooking at The Black Cat Bistro (and didn't care one bit that I was working nights, weekends and, if it hadn't been for Mike, wouldn't have been able to pay my bills), left the Cat to open a business with my dad (good and bad - man I miss that crazy kitchen), got married, got pregnant (we're still wondering how that happened), had a baby... I'm not really sure I have a point to all this, but I guess I just wish it would all slow down. Just a little. For like a week even. So we can enjoy it all.

Since becoming a mom, people constantly ask, "When are you having another one?" Sometimes it's tongue-in-cheek, but most of the time it seems like people are serious. For the record, we're not planning on having another. When I tell people that, it's like I just dumped one of Joey's diapers out on their dinner plate. The usual response is, "Oh! You'll change your mind, just wait!" And sometimes - fleeting moments, mind you - I think they're right. I think I'll change my mind. And then I lose another night of sleep, or miss out on something because Joey can't miss his naps, or I have to tell a customer that I won't be able to do what I promised them until tomorrow... Sounds uber selfish, right? Don't get me wrong - I love being Joey's mom. And I usually want to (and sometimes do) answer the, "When are you having another one?" question with, "Can't I just enjoy the one I have?" I'm not one to sugarcoat what being a mom means. Are there innumerable good things to go along with the lost sleep, missed events, huge life changes? Absolutely. I wouldn't give them up for the world. But I'm also not going to walk around telling every married woman they should start production before their baby factory shuts down for good.

I struggle daily with striking a balance between being a wife, being a mom and a friend. And any woman who says she doesn't is lying to herself, completely delusional, or deserves the Nobel Prize and needs to write several books (and put them on tape, or iTunes, or better yet, flashcards) and give them away for free when you apply for a marriage license and/or leave the hospital with a baby. I dunno, I guess I'm just waiting for the day when people around me just get tired of waiting for me to find that balance. And some days, I worry I won't find it until Joey leaves for college.

Right now, I should be cleaning my house, or writing thank you notes for Joey's birthday gifts, or working on a project to get ahead for tomorrow. But I think I'm just going to enjoy the silence of the house, take a hot shower and maybe have a glass of wine. Balance.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Cake

I mentioned in Joey's one year update that I made his birthday cake. I set myself up for total failure by finding this cake online, deciding to duplicate it for Joey's party, and telling all my Tweeps and Facebook friends what I was up to. But you know what? I didn't fail! It came out awesome, if I do say so myself, and I didn't even say the eff-word once. Really, ask Mike.

The tutorial for making the cars on top came from CakeJournal and I pretty much just winged the rest (referring to photos from Sara Bakes Cakes the whole way through). The cake and frosting recipes came from Zoe Bakes, and they were just divine: Not Your Average Devil's Food and Outrageous Mocha Buttercream. I used the Wilton recipe to make my own marshmallow fondant (this stuff actually tastes good, too!) which covered the whole cake after it was iced, and was used to make the black checkers that circle the cake and a few pieces of the gumpaste cars. For the "dirt" track, I tossed the scraps from trimming the domes off of the baked cakes into the food processor to make crumbs.

Without further ado, the cake:

Then and Now

Or "Our Married Life by Katie DiSimone"

We were referred to Katie DiSimone by our friend Meghan when we were planning our wedding. Katie shot our engagement photos and our wedding. She is an amazing person, and an incredible photographer (I swear, she can make anyone feel comfortable in front of a camera), and after the wedding we stayed in touch. When Joey was born, she visited us in the the hospital and graciously brought her camera along. She even called me when she was on her way there to ask me if I needed anything from Starbuck's - I mean, how awesome is that!

So, when Joey turned one, we contacted Katie to document our next chapter. It just amazes me to look at the photos she took when Joey was only two days old next to his one-year shots:

One Year

Dear Joey,

About a week and a half ago, you turned one year old. One. Year. My God, where did it all go? I swear, I feel like I remember bits and pieces of your first few months - all in a sleep-deprived haze. Then, all of a sudden, I was back to work (you tagging along with me) and time sped up even more. Even after a whole year, there are still days when I feel like I am doing it all wrong, and others when I feel like I am the best mom in the world. I wish I could give you more of the latter, and something tells me I will never be able to shake that desire. You are unpredictable, yet predictable. Totally benign, and yet completely volatile. You are an entertainer and a goof, and you are sensitive beyond belief.

I must admit, I have spent many days over the past year wondering when I would "get my old life back." I would think I would see glimpses of it here and there when we would have a successful outing (all errands done without a meltdown), or I finished an entire cup of coffee while it was still hot... But I only just recently realized that this is my life - no old or new. You. Daddy. The three of us. It is not a new life, simply the next phase of the one I had been living all along. Yes, it is different than what I had originally expected, but it is good. SO good. Sometimes I have to stop, and take a breath, and just enjoy it. Not worry about what I have going on at work, or how much of your lunch you did (or did not, as is usually the case) eat. Just stop and enjoy you and daddy laughing and playing in the living room, cracking each other up, each teaching the other a thing or two (like where you can find your tongue, for instance).

Your personality is amazing. You really don't have a "medium speed." You are either asleep, or going on all cylinders. Sometimes I joke with daddy (in my terrible impersonation of the guy from This is Spinal Tap) "This one goes to eleven!" You hardly ever stop moving - you seem to know that if you stop moving, you just might fall asleep and miss something. Perpetual motion.

You now have a molar. I had been keeping an eye on your bottom right gums for a couple weeks. There was a big swollen spot, and I was sure the tooth would pop through any day. And then the swelling went down. No tooth. But the other day, daddy had you squealing with laughter on the couch, and that's when I saw it. On the top! You are still quite a trooper when you are teething. Perhaps it is because you got your first teeth when you were only 4 months old - been there, done that.

Perhaps the biggest news this month: you are walking! Everywhere. Once you figured it out, there was no stopping you. You walk laps around the kitchen island, carry monkey around the house, and follow us around tugging at our pant legs. Oh yes, and the first steps you took: I cried. I was so incredibly proud of you, and a little sad to know that my baby really is growing up. Fast. You are officially a toddler now. Oh, and did I mention you can whistle? You are definitely the only toddler I know that can do that!

You haven't really said your "first word" yet - although you babble a lot, and we think we catch things in there. You still say DADA, only it is usually still followed by more dadadadada's. You will mouth things, but no sound comes out - like the words are on the tip of your tongue, just waiting to pour out (and I have a feeling once they start, they won't stop!) Although, the other day when I picked you up at grandma and grandpa's house, we are pretty sure you tried to say "Ruby" (as in Ruby the dog). What we heard was "Roobuh" - close enough if you ask me! You also say "BA" whenever you see a ball or a balloon - again, close enough! You are starting to pick up on a few signs we've been trying to teach you (more, drink, all done), but you have added your own twist to each one (and you make up your own). You get your point across though, so I guess that's what matters in the end!

We celebrated your first birthday with family and friends the Saturday before your actual birthday. I was surprisingly calm the week of your party, considering I had given myself the monumental task of baking your first birthday cake. But baking a cake? What's the big deal? Well, my inspiration was a cake I found on the internet. And I manged to announce to everyone that I was going to try to make it. No pressure or anything. Well, I planned my week, finished a cake task or two every night, and it came out great! I didn't even swear. Not once! Ask daddy. We kept your party simple - grandpa and uncle Ben grilled burgers, grandma made her famous Portuguese beans and awesome salsa (you ate a bowl full of guacamole with her salsa mixed in, and then proceeded to toot for the rest of the day), and I made a pasta and fruit salads. You got lots of wonderful gifts - and, as we expected, you enjoyed playing with the boxes and wrapping paper the most. Your great uncle Milt even gave you a Wienermobile! You love to sit in it, make car noises, and honk the horn. By the time everyone left, you were absolutely exhausted. I managed to get you to take a quick nap, and then you proceeded to stay up until 10pm.

I planned to spend all day with you on your actual birthday - playing, going to the park, maybe even going to the beach. But when I woke up, my plans changed. I had come down with the stomach flu, and had to call daddy to come home from work. I was so sad that all I could do was lay in bed. It was supposed to be our day together. But, daddy took you to the park (I think twice!), and fed you lunch, and I came out to help with naps as much as I could. It was kind of funny, it almost felt like we had just brought you home from the hospital - daddy taking care of both of us, making sure I was OK, had things to eat and drink if I wanted them, and that you were warm, fed, rested, and happy, too.

This past year has brought more change to our lives in such a short period, it is incredible to even think about it. I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned a lot about daddy. And I have learned a lot about us, about communication and about patience. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: This is the most difficult, but most rewarding job I have ever had. Thank goodness it allows for on-the-job training!

We love you so much, baby, and we can't wait to watch you continue to grow and change each day. You are an amazing little person, and we are so proud we get to be your mom and dad.

Love and kisses,

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby!

My little man turned one on Monday... and I spent the whole day (and the next) in bed or on the couch - or running back and forth from the bathroom - recovering from the stomach flu. Definitely not how I wanted to spend such a special day.

The big birthday post will be coming soon! In the mean time, here's the one photo I managed to snap of Joey on his actual birthday before my tummy made other plans for me... Did I just say "tummy?" Yep, I'm definitely a mom.

We love you, baby!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Eleven Months

Dear Joey,

About two weeks ago, you turned eleven months old. I can't believe that this time a year ago, we were anxiously (and nervously) anticipating your arrival. You and I went for a walk today along the same route I took last year in the days before you were born.

You are changing so much from day to day, it is hard to keep up! We had quite a busy month. You went to a couple parties - one for our friend Brooklyn's first birthday, and one for Valentine's day - and we took a trip to the Bay Area for your cousin's baptism. You absolutely LOVE going to parties - even if they are not for you! Daddy and I laugh, because whenever there are a lot of people around, you put on what we like to call "The Joey Show." You dance, wave, and play peek-a-boo with anyone that will participate. Even if you haven't had a nap, as long as there is someone for you to entertain, you are in a good mood - you love to make people laugh, and boy, do we laugh A LOT!

You are still making all sorts of sounds. I'm not talking about your typical "baby babble" either. You still make the sound where you roll your R's, among others, but most surprising is that you whistle! I don't really know where you picked this up (maybe watching grandma blow bubbles?) but you do it most often when you are jumping up and down in your crib or dancing. It is hilarious, and we can't get enough of it!

You seem to be starting to find words. You have gone from "dadadadada" to "DA DA," but we are still not positive you are relating the word to daddy. You say "BA," and I'm almost certain you are trying to say "ball," although "BA" has become your universal call for just about anything you really like (grandma says you crawl around, look over your shoulder for her, and say "BA!" as if to say, "Come on, grandma, let's go!" I think today, you may have even said "Bye bye!"

A couple weekends ago, you took your first steps. I know this should all be in next month's update, but I just can't help it! We were so excited and so proud of you! I even cried a little bit - my little baby will soon be a toddler.

In less than two weeks, we will be having your first birthday party. And if there's one thing mom loves to do, it's plan parties. I know you will enjoy just having your family and friends around you, and I'm looking forward to seeing you be the center of attention (I have a feeling you will love it!)

Next time I write to you, you will be one year old. It really is hard to believe. It seems like such a short time ago that it was just daddy and I. The past 11+ months have definitely been challenging, but they have been incredible, too. Watching you grow, change and achieve all sorts of milestones has been amazing. I know within the next two weeks, you will have changed even more - everyone keeps telling me, "That one year mark! You'll just be amazed at the changes it will bring!" But the older you grow, the more sentimental I get, and I wish you could remain little forever. But don't worry (especially you, daddy), I'm not getting the baby bug, and I don't think I will be again any time soon!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just Standing Around

So, on Sunday night, Joey and I headed over to Mike's co-worker's house for a Valentine's Day dinner party. Mike was working and unfortunately missed out on some delicious food - Pistachio Popovers with Creme Brulee Filling and Grand Marnier sauce for dessert=AWESOME! - whoops, detour!

OK, anyway, so our hosts have a son, J., that is about 4.5 months older than Joey. Yep, full-on toddler status. Joey was absolutely mesmerized by him. So much so that there was one point where J. was standing in front of him, and Joey let go of whatever he was holding onto, and just stood there. STOOD. Without support! In reality, it probably lasted less than 15 seconds, but watching him stand there it seemed like forever. And you know what? He's been doing it ever since! Grabbing a toy out of his little toy shopping cart, and just standing there. I have a distinct feeling those first steps are right around the corner.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ten Months

Dear Joey,

Just over two weeks ago, you turned ten months old. You're in the double digits, little man! This past month has been full of changes. You are starting to mimic us more and more, and it is pretty entertaining! You are waving now - to anyone and anything. When we tell you we are going bye-bye, you wave. When we are at the store, you wave at everyone. When a car drives by, you wave. Are you getting the picture here? You dance when there is music on - you throw a hand in the air and bounce, bounce, bounce with a big smile on your face.

You have seven teeth now, and you are working on number eight. You are still such a champ when you are teething - you get a little grouchy, but it doesn't upset your nighttime sleep (much). If anything, it disrupts your naps (a little frustrating when mommy needs a little time to get dressed for the day!), and you are extra clingy (which is OK - I know there will be a day when you don't want kisses and hugs and cuddles from mom, so I enjoy it for what it's worth).

There was a weekend a few weeks back where I was certain you were giving up your morning naps. It would take me hours of up and down with you to get you to sleep for 30 minutes. I know this will happen eventually, but I was not ready for it to happen so soon. Thank goodness, it seems like it was just a fluke - perhaps related to your first "real" cold. That same week, you woke up with a temperature of 101.6. We gave you Tylenol and lots of juice and water, and kept a close eye on you. You spent most days that week in your PJs and you slept - a lot - during the day, and soon you were back to your old self - jumping up and down on the couch, getting into cabinets and drawers, playing with your toys, and following mom and dad around the house.

One of your favorite toys these days is a stuffed monkey that daddy picked out for you when we went to the Oakland Zoo with our friends Meghan, Memo and Sochie. Even when you first got him, you would hold him away from your face, and look into his little button eyes, as if to say, "We are going to be friends for a long, long time!" You LOVE this monkey. You squeeze him tight and give him kisses - it is one of the sweetest things I have ever seen.

This past month, you celebrated your first New Year's Eve with us. Mom and dad had a little party, and I was worried that you would be up all night with the noise in the house, and pretty cranky. Boy, was I ever wrong! You went to bed at about 8:30, and you slept through the entire party! We were absolutely amazed - seeing as we try not to flush the toilet in the middle of a nap so as not to wake you up.

You also started spending a few afternoons a week with grandma. She was able to re-arrange her work schedule so she works more hours some days, and less hours on others. This frees up some of her afternoons to spend with you, and mommy gets to go to work (and actually work!) She enjoys having you so much, and you are exhausted by the time I pick you up at the end of the day! You guys go to the park, the zoo, the grocery store, and you even feed the ducks and geese at the lake (she said you laugh when the geese honk at you!)

I cannot believe we are almost through our first year, Joey. There are some days when I can't figure out what you want or need, and I think to myself, "How have I been doing this for almost a year, and I still feel like it's my first week on the job?" This is the hardest, most demanding job I have ever had - but it is also the most important - and you can be a tough customer some days! Some days, I look around the house - toys all over the floor, papers all over the kitchen counters, laundry on the couch, no dinner in the oven - and think about how I am failing. But then I look at your face and see a big smile, you are happy and laughing, and you reach up for me, and the important things come back into focus. I know that no matter how messy the house may get sometimes, or how many times daddy and I don't eat dinner until 8:00, I will not be let go from this job any time soon.

I love you, baby!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Someday, I will purchase a piece of furniture that I don't have to put together (and that does not come from Ikea, Target, or - not that there's anything wrong with those places... you know what I mean). I will organize my desk, and my hall cabinet so that I know where the staples, and the tape, and the printer paper are - without having to dig. I will put things away in their proper place, and not have piles to sort through at the end of the month.

I will wake up earlier than the baby so that we will be ready to leave the house when he is done with breakfast and dressed. I will even wake up early enough to put on my yoga DVD and do my a.m. stretch. I will pick a diet (or way of life, as I guess it should be) and stick to it.

I will complete not only my business to-do list, but also my personal/domestic one instead of collapsing onto the couch with a glass of wine and piece of chocolate after the baby is asleep. I will update my blog regularly (or at least write down the things I would like to write about before they escape me 30 seconds later).

I. Will. Be. Patient. (And if I believed in making new year's resolutions, that would be it.) Patient in my work. Patient with my son. Patient with my family. Patient with myself. I will breathe. I will count to 10. I will appreciate the little things more, and I will say, "I can't wait until..." less. I will forgive more easily, and I will move on from the things that hold me back.

Dare I say it? This is my year.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nine Months

Dear Joey,

About three weeks ago, you turned nine months old. (I know, I know! I'm behind again.) That means you will be turning one in less than three months, and I have to start planning your birthday party now. Yes, mom is a planner, and the thing I love planning most is parties. OK, but I'm getting ahead of myself here... back to month nine!

You had a well check with Dr. M, and you were 19lbs, 7ozs and 28 inches long. You have grown almost 10 inches since you were born - that is just amazing to me - and you seem to grow bigger every single day. Sometimes, you wake up in the morning, and I do not see the same baby I put to bed the night before. As of today, you have 6 teeth (when you turned 9 months though, you had 5 and the 6th was working its way out). You are doing surprisingly well with teething, and it doesn't really seem to be upsetting your nighttime sleep too much.

It seems like the older you get, the faster time moves. Every day, you are less like a baby, and more like a little boy. The way you interact with the people around you is changing - you participate (or want to participate) in every activity more, you flirt or play peek-a-boo with anyone that will look your way at the grocery store, and you want to do just about everything all by yourself! You explore everything you can get your hands on, which means we have started to child-proof the house. For the most part, we have left the cabinets unlocked (except for the one where the trash is, and the one where mom's breakables are). You are still trying to climb everything, and you make daddy walk you around the house any chance you get.

Some very exciting things happened during your 9th month. You finally got to meet your Uncle Ray (daddy's brother) and you absolutely adore him - and although he might not admit it, I think the feeling is mutual! It was very special for you to meet Uncle Ray because he is in the Army, and we don't get to see him nearly often enough. In just a few days, he will be heading to Germany for three years! He is very excited to go, and we can't wait to hear his stories - you will come to find out that Uncle Ray is a great story teller (although I hope he doesn't tell you some of his stories until you are much, much older!).

You also had your first Christmas. You got lots of fun things to play with - walk-behind/ride-on toys, a train, a car and truck, a teddy bear, some new clothes... I know I'm missing something here! Basically, you were absolutely spoiled. But the part you enjoyed the most? Tearing and eating wrapping paper and climbing on and into boxes. Yep, we can definitely say with confidence that you are totally normal! You were so tired out from all the festivities, you slept until almost 9:00 the day after - the latest you have ever slept. Uncle Ben, Auntie Alli and little Ricky came down to visit for Christmas, too. You were quite interested in your little cousin, and we spent a lot of time telling you, "Gentle! Be gentle with Ricky!" It was so much fun to see the two of you together, and I know as you both grow older, it will be even more fun.

You are starting to communicate with us more, and although your main method of telling us you need something is to yell or cry, you have started to wave, you say "ba ba" when I ask if you want a bottle, and sometimes you say Dada (although we're not sure if you know what you're saying, or if it's just another sound to you). You have started to try to blow raspberries on us, just like we do to your belly or cheeks - sometimes you get it, and sometimes you succeed in covering us in drool - either way, it is pretty funny. You also make this "rrrrrrrr" sound - I don't really know how to describe it. Basically like you are rolling an 'R', but you have different pitches that you make when you are either upset or happy.

You are trying more and more new foods, and lately all you want is whatever we are eating. Some of the things you like are actually kind of surprising to me - asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower. Thinking about feeding you has made me start to think harder about what I feed daddy and I, too. If I don't want it to go in your body, maybe it shouldn't go in mine either. (Although completely saying goodbye to chocolate and other occasional indulgences may prove to be pretty difficult!) You love watermelon, cheese, Cheerios, pasta... anything you can feed yourself, really!

(Not really your 1st St. Patty's Day - Grandma just got that on sale)

It is getting more and more difficult to bring you to work with me during the week - you are very active, and it is just not safe for you to crawl around the shop. You get very frustrated with this, and some days I seem to spend more time distracting you than working. I struggle on a daily basis with what to do about it. Daddy and I have talked about putting you in daycare a couple days a week so that I can get my work done, and you can have some time to interact with other kids (something you don't get nearly enough of, and I know you would definitely enjoy). But it is hard to think of someone else taking care of you, or me missing anything new that you do - like saying "Mama" or taking your first steps. We have also talked about me working more from home, and although grandpa would miss seeing you at work every day, this is probably going to be our best option for now. You take better naps when you are at home and in your own bed, which means you are happier, and you sleep better at night (which means daddy and I are happier, too!). Whatever decision we make, rest assured that we will have thought long and hard about it, and we will always have your best interest in mind to make sure you are safe, happy and receiving the best care possible.

I know I've said it before, but you really are an amazing little person. We love you so much, and I am so happy that I get to be your mom.