A sweet weekend

A little over a week ago I had the opportunity to visit the Smokey Mountains for the first time. I went with 6 relatives including my mother-in-law. In true ladies’ weekend fashion, we stayed at a gorgeous cabin,

The most beautiful log cabin I have ever stayed in.

The most beautiful log cabin I have ever stayed in.

ate a lot of delicious food,

A Publix cake with fall decorations that says "family" on it. Does anything top it?

A Publix cake with fall decorations that says “family” on it. Does anything top it?

played 5 Crowns several times, enjoyed the sweet things,

Two ladies put together gift bags for everyone containing a mug, a prayer journal, Mary Kay hand cream set, a CD with relaxing music, and a beautiful note. What sweetness!

Two ladies put together gift bags for everyone containing a mug, a prayer journal, Mary Kay hand cream set, a CD with relaxing music, and a beautiful note. What sweetness!

and spent a lot of time sitting around the table or fireplace sharing good conversation and laughs.

Fireplace

And a ladies’ weekend can’t be a ladies’ weekend without a fair share of relaxation.

We were ecstatic to find grandma chilling on the couch when we got back from an afternoon hike.

We were ecstatic to find grandma chilling on the couch when we got back from an afternoon hike. You kick those feet up Grandma!

The top moments of the weekend for me were:

1. Taking a lo(oo)ng bath in the jet tub.

2. Taking my book to the loft upstairs, and reading peacefully by the window.

3. A hike up the mountain we were on with my mother-in-law and her sister.

This was my first weekend away from Gideon. Leaving him behind was the hardest thing I’ve had to do since he was born. It took a lot of self-convincing and self-training to be okay with leaving him. Gideon was in the safest hands, and I knew he was well taken care of. But I still struggled with the idea of us being apart from each other. I had my few minutes of crying when we arrived at the cabin, and then I decided to focus on being grateful for being in such a loving family. My sister-in-law told me that I wouldn’t see the benefit of spending some time apart until I actually tore myself away from Gideon. She was right.

I was able to have some time to focus on reading books that inspire me, and do a lot of personal and motivational writing. Gideon had a blast with his cousins, and spent those few days developing his character and personality. By Sunday evening I was rested, restored, and ready to get back to my boys with a little more energy and oomph than before. Gideon’s facial expression and body language reaffirmed how good it is to be apart occasionally. We didn’t want to let go of each other!

Did you have trouble enjoying yourself the first time you were away from your little one? What did you do to get past the mommy guilt?

 

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Sleepy Baby

 

Today was a really busy day. I only remember sitting twice, and that was to eat lunch and dinner. But all in all, it was a great day. Gideon was in a great mood. When Gideon is in a great mood, so is the rest of the household.

Bedtime has always been one of my favorite times of the day. I love winding down, talking to Gideon about our day and singing to him. Over the last few weeks Gideon has really begun expressing love and sweetness by hugging and giving kisses. He’ll put his face up close and go “mmmah!”. At night when I’m reading him a book, he’ll take his pacifier out of his mouth, turn his head up and go “mmmah!”. I don’t mind the slobber at all.

Tonight he calmly and quietly drifted off while I sang to him. So I put my long before-bedtime to-do list on pause, and just sat there rocking him and looking at him. No matter how stressful life gets, nothing puts things into perspective for me like watching my baby sleep.

Everything will be ok, mom.

Everything will be A-ok, mom.

Tiny Gideon

A week old.

Tiny Gideon an Me

Nothing took the away the pain and trauma of Gideon’s birth more than feeling his little body snuggled against me.

Sweet memories I never want to forget.

Making Memories At The Deli

This one will be short and sweet, I promise.

At the grocery store this afternoon, Gideon and I were standing in line at the deli and my little tike was winning hearts over for cuteness left and right. He was flashing smiles and waving at everyone around us. A deli worker appreciated my son’s cheerful disposition, and offered him a slice of cheese.
Gideon was thrilled. He shot the deli worker a huge smile and took the slice of cheese. I told him “what do you say?”. Gideon was so excited about the cheese and eating it, that he had forgotten his manners. I got his attention and told him to say thank you. “Say thank you, sir!”.
The deli workers were just shocked when he signed “thank you” and then kept enjoying his treat. One of the ladies working asked me how old he was, and she told me she’d never seen such a well-mannered 15 month-old in her life.
It did them all in when he was done eating his first piece and asked me for “more please”.
I know Gideon is going to do great things in his life, and he’s off to a great start at the age of 1. He’s already inspiring people, and showing them how teachable even the youngest tots can be. My hope is that now they go home and start talking about how they saw a baby sign “thank you” and “please”, and then teach it to their children and grandchildren.

I’m keeping tonight’s entry short and sweet because this evening Daniel totally offered to do kitchen clean up, and I’m giddy with excitement. I decided I’m going to sit on my couch to read a book while a huge storm rages outside. Then we are having a treat and watching a movie. Great night!

In the bottom left picture, he is signing "cat" or "Abby". He must have heard or seen her.

In the bottom left picture, he is signing “cat” or “Abby”. He must have heard or seen her.

 

 

Montessori Baby Steps

Look who just woke up from a 2 hour nap!

Look who just woke up from a 2 hour nap!

Today went by really smoothly. It was rainy, so I planned on staying in. We had a productive morning, and I got my morning routine done ahead of schedule. Gideon took a 2 hour nap in the late morning, which meant I got some “me time”.  I spent it getting ready for the day at my own leisure, prepping dinner in the crock pot, and doing some reading.

Gideon wears Socks

Gideon brought me these socks and signed “help”. He kept them on for a long while!

Three socks, two feet. Hmm...

Three socks, two feet. Hmm…

Like I said, I had planned to stay in today, but Gideon had other plans.

I can take a hint!

Instead of going for a walk with thunder and rain threatening, we made a pharmacy run, and then hit the library. I had to rush home from story time yesterday and wasn’t able to check out any new books for Gideon, so today was library book day.

I’m looking forward to switching out his current book stash in the living room for the new ones we picked up today. I keep 3 or 4 books in a basket under a shelf I have set up specifically for Gideon’s toys. I’m trying my hand at the Montessori method of playing and learning, and so far I like it. Here’s a picture I took the night I set up his first shelf.

Gideon's first Montessori toy setup. Ready to be explored in the morning.

Gideon’s first Montessori toy setup. Ready to be explored in the morning.

These were the only toys available to him on the first floor. Gideon first day of Montessori was a total success. He sat on the black mat and looked at his choices. He grabbed his dog of course, because that’s what he does in the morning – snuggles a stuffed animal. And then he went straight for the container that had a police car and a train in it. The “transportation bin” if you may. He’s been obsessed with everything that goes, so I wasn’t surprised. I decided to leave him alone to explore this new setup. I made breakfast and by then, he had taken to pushing his wagon cart around with the train inside. I was over the moon thrilled when I saw that he had put the car right back where he found it! He totally got it!

Montessori baby in the making. Success!

Montessori baby in the making. Success!

This is the moment I knew we were on to something good. Gideon saw that each toy was set on a specific place on the shelf. He decided to play with the car and train. He thought he’d play with the car some other time, so he put it back in its spot. Amazing.

I’m nowhere close to being skillful at Montessori. I’m sure the skilled would have page long lists of what I’m missing or doing wrong. But Gideon was successful at something, and that means more to me than following any single method to a T! What I’ve learned, I’ve learned from my mother who is an all-time Montessori expert. I’ve always found it interesting, and loved observing her little ones be so focused and pleased with knowing what is expected of them.

I couldn’t help but realize how Gideon grew bored of his toys very quickly when they were strewn throughout the living room.  I also put myself in his shoes and realized that maybe the messy living room stressed him out and was no fun, just like a messy room is stressful and no fun for me!

Up until the beginning of the month we’d done a few things in taking steps towards simplifying his life and helping him enjoy play more. We tried to keep the amount of toys to has to a reasonable amount, and were doing consistent toy rotation. But we found ourselves rotating toys a little too frequently. We brainstormed, and came to the conclusion that just like Gideon thrives with structure and routines, he might benefit from the same in play time. We want Gideon to enjoy his toys, and explore them. It’s also a big deal for us that Gideon learns to respect and take care of his belongings. One of the main pulls towards trying Montessori is that it promotes independence, responsibility, simplicity, and peace in structure. Not to mention it teaches children how nice it is to live without clutter around them. All things we want for Gideon to learn early on!

Just as with everything else, we will take things from the Montessori method and adapt things to what Gideon needs as an individual. He has been less “boredom whiny”, and although we have some harder days than others, he is better able to clean up after himself when it’s not such a daunting task, and he knows where each item belongs. I’ll probably modify as he matures, but for now, the simpler the better.

If you take nothing else from this entry, just remember that a cluttered play space is a cluttered mind for your child, just like a cluttered house is for you. And

Help me do it myself

 

Recap For March and April | Part 3 | Easter

Easter Sunday was special for a lot of reasons. In addition to the annual celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection – the most joyous event that ever was and ever will be – it was Gideon’s first Sunday to be able to sit through a large chunk of the worship service.
Most Sundays are spent in the lobby, in the church nursery, or at children’s Bible Hour. I was most inclined to take Gideon to Bible Hour so he could be enriched by seeing the children he’ll grow up around, singing and having fun while learning about God. Gideon loves watching them and hearing them sing.
But Easter Sunday, I was determined to spend as much time in the pew as possible. The secret to my success? Snacks. Gideon’s older cousin also sat next to him and fed him banana chips from the snack cup, which helped. Gideon adores his cousins. So, I let my boy stuff his face and he was able to last until the sermon began.
Once my one year old had enough of sitting in one place (I realize that asking a little boy to sit still and quiet for an hour is too much to ask), I took him down to the church nursery, and left him with the childcare staff which I hadn’t done before.
He did just fine, and was perfectly content and happy to see me when I came to get him after service.
Following church service, we went to my Daniel’s brother’s house for Easter Brunch. The weather was absolutely perfect. That Saturday we’d had a huge family reunion, and the out-of-towners who were still in town came to eat with us. It was a great time.
I’d also stuffed 24 easter eggs with yummy treats (berries and raisins), which I kept in the fridge until it was time to hide them in the yard. The kids had such a great time hunting for eggs, and then enjoyed some sweet treats.

Hunting for eggs is hard work!

Hunting for eggs is hard work!

Gideon also received his first Easter basket. At our home, I think we’re going to go with the tradition of “summer fun” themed baskets. This year that included a book, a swim diaper (which I ended up returning and ordered a cuter one online), a beach towel, egg shaped sidewalk chalk, gardening utensils, and bubbles. He also needed some sippy cups and socks, so I threw those in there. Daniel was between shifts on Sunday, so we waited to reveal his Easter basket until the following Monday. It was totally worth the wait!

Easter Basket 2014

Gideon’s Easter Basket

Easter basket was a hit!

Easter basket was a hit!

Gideon's Easter Basket

We look forward to many more years of Easters with our boy! We love you Gideon!

March So Far

It’s been almost 3 weeks since Gideon turned one, so I figured it was about time I wrote something on my blog. The card reader on my laptop is not working, and my camera’s USB cable is nowhere to be found. That’s the main reason this blog has not seen a lot of action lately. I probably could have been posting daily updates just with the pictures from my iPod, but:

1. I like writing things in order, and skipping Gideon’s first birthday is a big thing to leave behind.

2. The truth is, life has been quite eventful and I’m worn out by the end of the day.

A few highlights from this month include:

~ Gideon and I have started attending weekly story time on Monday mornings at a nearby library, and we absolutely love it. The lady who leads the group loves what she does, and her enthusiasm is contagious with the babies. The library opens early for toddler story time, and we get special access to the children’s section before opening hours. We are loving picking out a few books each week!

~ Work has been going really well. I’m still sticking to a total of 7-9 hours a week. It’s just enough to keep me interested, not enough to make me feel like I’m evading my passion for being a homemaker and mom. Besides, Gideon only stays with Daniel while I’m at work. This means I get frequent picture updates that keep me positive.

~ March has been the official month for beginning my “mommy makeover”. With the help of some super gracious and stylish friends, I have found myself liking and wearing things I never thought I’d like or wear.

brunch and mimosas with dear friends.

brunch and mimosas with some fantastic young women. I love them so much.

I am completely motivated to start taking better care of myself. The root of this change of heart and soul and mind? I want to enjoy my beautiful life with my hunky husband, precious baby boy, and wonderful friends and family! I know from experience that I enjoy life at a whole different level when I feel comfortable in my own skin. So, I want to feel comfortable in my own skin!

~ In that same vein, I purchased my first pair of size 4 jeans since I can remember.
~ They were black skinnies. Like I said, March has been eventful.

~ I got to watch a wonderful theatrical production of Pride and Prejudice with some wonderful friends. After the play was over, a very creative and romantic man decided to propose to the love of his life in front of everyone! What a night!

Pride and Prejudice with friends!

Pride and Prejudice with friends!

~ My 31st birthday was the most special yet. I turned 30 as a mother, but I don’t even remember it. This year, Daniel made me a cheat dinner of spaghetti with meat sauce, and a wheat free chocolate cake, complete with his own adapted chocolate mousse icing infused with raspberries.

This guy really knows his way to my heart.

This guy really knows his way to my heart.

The whole meal was a hit, and everyone absolutely loved the cake. We had family over, and spent the night visiting and enjoying the little cousins. It was perfect.

~Enough of me. Gideon had his 12 month check-up. My sweet baby is a whopping 24 lb., in the 98th percentile for weight, 99th for height. I can’t say I found that too surprising. I get comments all the time when I’m carrying or wearing him, about how he is going to be as tall as I am by the time he gets to kindergarten. Plus, Gideon has been a bottomless pit for a stomach.

~ His weight and height has not really interfered with our baby wearing lifestyle. He loves being in a carrier, I love wearing him, and I’m going to enjoy the fact that he still wants to snuggle and be close to me for as long as I can.

Gideon in the Ergo while we were in line to get Chipotle. Our first mother/son lunch out.

Gideon in the Ergo while we were in line to get Chipotle. Our first mother/son lunch out.

~ We finally sat down and planned our will. It’s currently being written, and we are both at peace knowing Gideon is taken care of if something happens to us.

~ Gideon got the 24 hour stomach bug that everyone and their dog seems to have right now. He started “spitting up” dinner on Saturday night, and didn’t keep anything but small sips of water down through Sunday night. Gideon got over the vomiting, but his fever didn’t let up. It lasted from Saturday night until yesterday night. We are not afraid of fevers, and believe it’s the best way for Gideon to have a stronger body as he gets older. Daniel and I decided to take the 24 hour approach that says to give baby a fever reducer if a fever of 102*+ persists for more than 24 hours. Gideon’s fever ranged anywhere from 100.3* to 102.5* at the highest. But it was never at 102* or above for more than an hour or two at a time. While his body fought the hardest, we watched Gideon like a hawk and made sure he was staying hydrated. Gideon would have a spurt when he would want to play and read books, and at other times he just wanted to cuddle with us and/or sleep with us. At any rate, we were able to provide the comfort he wanted and needed ourselves most of the week.

Sick days, getting our snuggles in.

Sick days, getting our snuggles in.

On Wednesday night our poor little guy had his first rough night for sleep. Nothing Daniel or I did helped him rest better. We didn’t know if he had a headache or if his body ached, and comfort measures became necessary. After getting a dose of infant Advil, Gideon fell fast asleep and slept through the night. On Thursday we decided to take him to his pediatrician’s office because we wanted to make sure that everything was being taken care of in his little body. The nurse practitioner found some otitis media in Gideon’s right ear that had moved to his eyes. Now, I would usually turn down the antibiotic prescription and use garlic oil to clear his ears. It’s what I’ve used other times when he had a little ear infection, and it’s worked perfectly. But what with the infection being a little more substantial than usual, we decided to take the course of antibiotics. He received his first dose on Wednesday night, and by Thursday morning he was already looking and acting more like himself.

~ I was so relieved to find that his fever broke today! My baby is on the mend! To celebrate, we took advantage of the near 60* weather, and we went for our first fast walk. I want Gideon to have a fun, active mom and that means keeping him involved in my workouts.

Phew! Now that I’m somewhat caught up (Gideon’s birthday entry TBD), I think I can get back on this blogging bandwagon.

Good to be back.

 

Gideon’s First/My Favorite Valentines day!

Gideon’s first Valentine’s day got off to a great start. He was holding on to his elephant that he sleeps with (the one Daniel gave him a few weeks ago), and we snuggled for a few minutes before getting our day started. His poor little face was caked in dry boogers, so we played in his bathroom for a little bit while hot water run in the shower. We read books and played with his bathtub toys. After that it was time for breakfast. I cut some pancakes I made yesterday into heart shapes, and we both enjoyed a valentine themed morning meal.

Last night I set out Gideon and Daniel’s valentine gifts on the table, so we could enjoy them together.

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My gift to Daniel was a jar of dates! I simply wrote a bunch of ideas of things to do together as stay-in or go-out dates on some colorful paper strips, and put them in an old jelly jar.

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We got Gideon a Fisher Price Rock-a-Stack, wrote him individual notes in a card, and put a DVD about cute forrest animals and some baked goods I made in a little robot bag I found in the dollar spot at Target. It’s about the only boyish valentine’s day item I could find, and it will be re-used to hold his V Day treats and gifts until he’s too old for it.

Gideon went down for his morning nap, and slept for a whopping 3 hours! I got a ton done around the house, and even got ready for work uninterrupted. As soon as I got out of the shower, he started stirring. Perfect timing!

I had to rush to work, because I didn’t want to end up in the thick of the snow storm coming our way. It took everything in me to get out the door. I didn’t want to leave this cuteness.

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So much for not coming home in the thick of the snow storm. Work went a little long, which is not out of the ordinary. I really enjoyed my patients today and got a to do a nice variety of therapies, which made the drive home a lot less tension-filled. Here are some pictures of my drive home.

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slipping and sliding!

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this particular portion of the ride home was quite nerve racking because I was like the only crazy person on the interstate!

There is no way of avoiding uphill driving to get to our house, and there was a particular road where I thought I was going to get permanently stuck. But Daniel has taught me some tricks, and I got home without any difficulty.

I got home just in time to play with Gideon, and then we snuggled up to watch an episode on his new DVD and snack on some treats.  Daniel and I shared a late dinner together, and now we are going to wind down for the night. Daniel was super disappointed that my V Day gift did not arrive in the mail today because of the crazy weather. But let me just tell you. When I saw this on the computer, it made the delay totally worth it!

georgetowncupcakes!

You don’t understand. It’s on my bucket list to eat a cupcake from Georgetown Cupcakes. I daydream about the day I will get to eat one.

Daniel!!!! You!!!! Are!!!! Incredible!!!!

This, my first time having TWO valentines, was the best one of my whole life. The end.