September 29, 2011

two down

I wish I had more photos of my little man to share in this post, but the party went by in such a blur that I'm lucky I took any at all!

Even so, the event was a success ...

We had gorgeous fall weather (despite early reports that it was supposed to rain all day).

Our friends and family that were able to join us seemed to enjoy the food and fellowship.

And, of course, Malcolm soaked up every moment in the spotlight.

Sesame Street brand (gift from Gramma)
Jeans: The Children's Place (thrifted for $2.00)
Socks: Circo ($1.00)
Shoes: Toddler University (thrifted for $1.50)

It's almost (almost!) too bad that birthdays only happen once a year ...

September 28, 2011

milk, bread, and a pregnancy test

I knew I was pregnant even before taking the test.

As a Biology teacher (and all-around science nerd), I pride myself on understanding my feminine cycles, how they work, and what they mean ... So, when Tuesday came and went and there were no signs (not even any impending ones) of a period, I just knew.

Malcolm and I were on vacation with my family at the time, spending a fun-filled week at our cottage in Conneaut Lake. The husband wasn't even there yet (he'd be arriving later that night), so the secret was mine to keep. When he finally did show up, I remained mum. He had had a rough drive down, narrowly missing a deer as it bolted across the winding country road, and had spilled an entire bottle of red wine (for Sangria to impress my mother) in the back seat ...

Not exactly an ideal jumping off point for the "Hey, Honey! We're pregnant again!" discussion.

I told him the following day while we were out shopping together. I tried to seem uncertain, so as not to freak him out and ruin his would-be relaxing vacation ... We'd know for sure once we returned home and took a pregnancy test, but, for now, I was about 85% certain our family would be growing in size. He took the news well (better than the first time around!) and we just went with it ...

Vacation progressed as usual.

Once the week was up, we returned home and got ready for the back-to-work grind. I headed to the grocery store for some items ... Milk, bread, and a pregnancy test. I'd take the test in the morning (although, as I said before, I already knew).

When the two pink lines materialized (almost immediately) on the test strip I wasn't exactly surprised by the result. I sleepily wandered downstairs to confirm the news with the husband ...

In less than one year, we'd be parents to not one, but two children.

So, here we are, fourteen weeks in and, although I knew all that time ago, the reality of the situation is still a bit fuzzy in my mind.

Am I really gestating a second kid?

Did we really share the news with our closest friends and family at Malcolm's birthday party?

Yes ... We definitely did.

I am pregnant.

Our family of three is well on its way to becoming a family of four ...

And I (we) couldn't be any more excited!

September 26, 2011

an afternoon on sesame street

Another year down, another successful birthday party!

Welcome to our little corner of "Sesame Street" ...

*And, just like last year, the cake and decorations (except for the colorful character print-outs ... Thanks, Mom!) were all lovingly created by me.

September 23, 2011

another birthday letter

My dearest Malcolm,

Do you realize that today is your second birthday?

That you went from this:

To this:

In only 730 short days?

Looking at you, the physical differences are staggering ... Were you ever really that small? That fragile? That helpless? And when did you go from looking like me, to looking like your Dad (as most friends and family members point out)?

It seems impossible to imagine (and sometimes I don't like to think about it), but you are growing by leaps and bounds every single day. You are no longer my lumpy little baby of two years ago ...

You are my big boy of right now.

In the year since your last birthday, you have learned so much.

You are an expert walker ... And runner ... And dancer ... And climber ... Although, you are not without your klutzy moments. Sometimes, you fall down for apparently no reason at all and laugh at yourself (while we laugh with you). "Oh no!" you shout, your shoulders raising in an incredulous shrug, as if you can't believe you're on the floor again. But then you pull yourself right back up and go to it.

You are starting to talk ... As others have warned me, "one day, the dam will break," and it is certainly showing signs of crumbling. While you enjoy your signs (thanks to countless hours of watching borrowed Signing Time DVDs while I am working), and have a huge "signing" vocabulary, you are definitely becoming more verbal and more adept at communicating your wants and needs.

Just yesterday, you very clearly pulled my attention from my laptop, signed "food," and then nonchalantly stated, "up!" You had had enough of your living room toys and wanted to play with your plastic food in your bedroom upstairs. Who am I to deny such a sweet request ... So, work was put on hold for a moment and we climbed the stairs together.

Just me and you.

My biggest boy.

Not a day goes by that I don't appreciate our time together. You are even more of a little person than you were a year ago and your personality only continues to grow. Your laugh. Your smile. Your sense of humor. Your nerdy love of the moon, and stars, and sun (That's my boy!). It all combines to make you uniquely and wonderfully you.

"The perfect first child," as my mother would say ... And she would know, because she had a perfect first child, too.

You are everything I could have possibly imagined in a son (and more!) and I love you more than words could ever possibly express ... And no number of visits to "The Naughty Spot" could ever change that.

There are times when I look at you (whether you are sleeping in your crib, reading quietly to yourself, running amok in the backyard, or sucking your thumb as you cuddle your blanket, Spot), that I still can't believe that you are really here and you are mine ... And that you are now turning two! Time certainly flies and I will spend every moment of each coming year we share together taking the time to just love and cherish you.

My life was forever changed on your birthday two years ago ... I only wish I could give you a gift that is half as wonderful.

Love always,


September 22, 2011

just your average morning

Tomorrow, you will turn two years old.

But today ... Today, is just your average morning.

Although you will hold up two fingers when prompted, you are oblivious to the milestone that you are about to reach ... The "terrible twos" as others so often like to remind me.

But I don't think any year with you could ever be terrible.

You have always been easygoing and, while you are definitely pushing your limits and declaring your independence, your sweet spirit never wavers.

You're happy to hang out in your pajamas and play with Dad's old Batman action figures.

Or read books.

Or play with your cart full of food.

Thermal pajamas:
Gerber (thrifted for $0.50)

And me?

I'm happy to sit right here and watch you all day long (and I would if I didn't have work to do). To take in these simple moments and store them in the back of my memory.

Because, although you are growing each and every day, you will always be my baby boy.

That will never change.

September 19, 2011

countdown to party time

Malcolm's 2nd birthday party is less than one week away ...

Things are starting to come together (it's now or never!).

RSVPs have been made.

Food items have been purchased.

Decorations and gift bags are on stand-by.

And here is the home-made invitation (minus identifying information, of course), virtually ...

It really is happening.

My baby is turning two!

September 15, 2011

fall perfection

After a two straight weeks stuck indoors (one due to the hectic beginning of school, and the other due to lots of rain and dreariness), we finally made the time to venture outside again ... And the weather could not have been any better for it.

The sky was blue, yet filled with big, puffy clouds.

The air was crisp, yet warm enough to go sans jacket.

Absolute fall perfection.

Malcolm enjoyed himself by getting reacquainted with his slide ...

Tee-shirt: Cherokee (thrifted for $1.00)
Pants: Cherokee (thrifted for $2.00)
Socks: Circo (gift)
Shoes: Toddler University (thrifted for $1.50)

Doing a little more "yard work" (if only we could get him to start pulling weeds instead of grass!) ...

And, of course, the usual bout of running amok and exploring ...

I occupied myself by snapping these (and more!) photos with my new 50 mm lens (a birthday gift).

I think I may have a new favorite ...

It's good to get outside again!

September 14, 2011

tiny dancer

In the evening, once dinner is put away and the sun is making its decent, we like to crank up the tunes, set up the mirror, and watch Malcolm go ...

He's a natural.

And he keeps us laughing right up until bedtime.

September 12, 2011

loss on a small scale

As the ten year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11th has come and gone, I find myself reflecting on the losses in my own life.

My Grampie.

The husband's Grandma.

My uncle.

Three wonderful human beings that were an important part of my life.

Three family members that my son never got to meet.

Three wonderful people who would have absolutely loved him to pieces.

I've noticed that time does a funny thing when you have a child. It warps and twists in such a way that you feel there should be some overlap between different parts of your life ...

That 2001 and 2011 are not so far away from each other. Like next-door neighbors. Best friends. Merely seconds apart ...

And besides, hasn't Malcolm been here for so much longer than two years?

It feels like he has.

It's hard to remember the times without him.

So, some days, my mind just can't process that he missed out on some of the great people that shared my lifetime.

Surely, Malcolm and my Grampie were well-acquainted buddies.

Surely, my husband's Grandma lived to see another great-grandchild.

Surely, my uncle got to hoist my son onto his shoulders or take him to a high school football game.

But they didn't.

While these three losses occurred years ago, they still have some sting left in them. When I look at my son, I realize that he is who he is because of me ... And I am who I am because of them. My family has truly helped to shape me into the adult I am today ... I wish that Malcolm had the opportunity to be shaped by them, as well.

To know them.

To love them.

I can only imagine the tremendous sense of loss that the families of the September 11th tragedies must have felt ... The events of that day were so unexpected. So unfair.

My own personal losses seem much smaller in comparison.

My Grampie and my husband's Grandma were old ... Even though we would have loved for them to remain with us for much longer, we knew their time was short. They had lived full lives.

My uncle, although he should have had many more years ahead of him, had cancer. He faded away slowly. Difficult as it was, we had time to adjust and say good-bye.

Even so, I wish with my whole heart that Malcolm could have known them, too ... That he could have seen them, been touched by them, kissed, cuddled, maybe even chased. That he could have been a part of that same family I had back in 2001, or 2006, or 2007.

That time would allow it.

But, like all else on this green planet, things change.

Families momentarily shrink, then grow larger again.

There is the sadness and grief of death, but also the euphoria that new life will bring. It is a cycle, and, like time, always moving from one stage to the next ...

On days like September 11th, it's easy to recognize that our time here is short.

You never know when tragedy (whether big or small) will strike.

So we must choose to make the best of life ... To take each day as a gift. To cherish each family member that is a current fixture in our lives. To recall the love of those that have already gone.

To remember.

I guess, then, while Malcolm may not have physically met my Grampie, or my husband's Grandma, or my uncle ... He will certainly get the chance know them. I can see to it. I can make it happen.

And even the passage of time and all its tricks can't change that.

September 8, 2011

duck duck goose

One of the few words (besides the most important, "Mama") that Malcolm says is "duck."

It may sound more like "uck" or "ook" or "cook" (depending on the day), but I know what he's trying to say, so it is an official word.

I count it is a word. It's been added to the baby book. I don't care what anyone says.

So ...

Since Malcolm enjoys ducks enough to try and verbally talk about them, I thought it might be a fun Labor Day outing to take him to a local park in order to feed some.

Although the ducks (and mutant chickens??!!) weren't very interested in our bread, Malcolm did enjoy himself until a rain shower abruptly sent us back home.

Tee-shirt: Faded Glory (thrifted for $1.00)
Hooded sweat shirt: Circo (gift)
Jeans: The Children's Place (thrifted for $2.00)
Socks: Circo ($1.00)
Shoes: Toddler University (thrifted for $1.50)

We'll have to go back again before the weather gets cold.

September 7, 2011

happy birthday to me

There's nothing quite like waking up on your birthday to a toddler (and his crib) covered in bright pink, watermelon-infused vomit.

Definitely unexpected.


A bit of a hassle.

But it could have been worse.

In my case, Malcolm was his usual self, happy and ready-to-go as always. He didn't seem to notice the patches of chunky nastiness everywhere ... Or the interesting "slicked back" hair 'do he was sporting from a night spent sleeping in it.

He just wanted to start his day and get on with the routine ... Vomit notwithstanding.

So, wrapped up in the disbelief that "this is really my life" (Who honestly expects to be cleaning up vomit first thing on their birthday?), was a huge amount of gratitude that "yes, this is really my life!"

I am so incredibly lucky to have my vomiting toddler.

So incredibly lucky to have the ability to wake up to his little voice on the baby monitor every morning, to get him ready for the day, and to stay home with him while I work for the virtual school at the same time.

While this combination isn't always easy (and the husband has heard his fair share of complaining), I am still thankful that I am able to juggle it all.

That I'm even getting the opportunity.

So, while my birthday didn't start out the way I would have chosen (No vomit next year, please!), it turned out to be wonderful just the same.

This really is my life ... And that's the greatest present of all!

September 5, 2011

no more monkeys jumping on the bed

But only because they tired themselves out after a long weekend full of fun ...

Happy Labor Day!

September 1, 2011

yard maintenance with malcolm

It all started with a couple of fistfuls of grass on the edge of the slide ...

Old Navy ($1.99)
Pants: Jumping Beans (thrifted for $1.00)
Canvas shoes: Baby Gap (thrifted for $2.00)

And quickly progressed to in-your-face, full-fledged grass throwing ...

Ballet flats: Faded Glory ($3.00)

And then, almost as quickly as it started, my little angel decided it was time to clean up and go inside ...

I don't think it's possible to love a child much more than I love this one.