Monday, February 25, 2013

First downs and first birthdays

Saturday was the day before Mr. Baggins turned one, and we threw an amazing party to celebrate the big day. We had all one-hundred-eleven-million three-hundred-and-twelve-thousand six-hundred-eighty-two members of our collective family over for a super cool BYU football themed party with chili dogs, chips, and, of course, cake. Luckily, Nana and PopPop let us invade and destroy their home. We definitely wouldn't have had nearly enough room to fit everyone at our place.

I got to cross off one item on my thirty before 30 list, too, which was to stack a 2-layer cake without it slumping and sliding all over the place. Turns out that since I made the cakes the day before and froze them, this was easy as pie. Maybe in the past I've just been too eager to stack warm cakes.

I'm only moderately pleased with how the design of it turned out (and even then only because Tia's mom happened to be in town and totally saved the day by fixing all my decorating screw ups because she is so talented) but OH MY GOODNESS this cake was crazy delicious. That's right, I'm bragging about my own cake but only because it TOTALLY deserved it. I made a chocolate cake recipe I'd never tried along with a frosting that promised to win over even people like me who hate frosting. It totally delivered. (As long as you don't ask how much butter is in the frosting.)(Answer: One million.)

Grammy Tina was kind enough to bake Mr. Baggins a perfectly sculpted football cake. Baggins likes cake.

 He REALLY likes cake.

He ate basically an entire football-sized cake by himself in mere minutes.

He liked washing cake off a lot less than he liked eating it.

Baggins was absolutely spoiled by the generosity of all the wonderful people who love him. His big sister "helped" him open all of his presents, and has since been playing non-stop with each and every one of them. Brother turns one? SCORE!

Happy birthday, son!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mister Baggins turns one.

Happy birthday, son!

I can't believe you are a mere two days shy of hitting the one year mark of your life. It doesn't seem possible you could be so big already. At the same time, though, I can't remember a time without you here. You have slipped into the swirling busyness of our lives without a hitch or a stumble as if you were always there.

 And while some of that is because I have figured out a few of the baby-raising basics by now, I really can't take any credit. The real truth of the matter is that you are simply the best baby ever. That's right, I just said that, put it right out there for your sister to read in a couple of years and get all sassy about how I shouldn't play favorites or something but guess what? IT'S TOUGH TO ARGUE WITH THE TRUTH.

You are, quite simply, the sweetest baby. You have a cheerful, easy-going disposition with a crooked little grin and floppy blonde hair. You have soft, pudgy cheeks and a round belly and two fingers in your mouth most of the time and you are so ridiculously munchable that I can't even talk about it without decompensating entirely into baby talk and cheek-nibbling nonsense.

Both of my babies leave me that way, mumbling and googly-eyed and useless. My little girl is my sunshine-- my ray of light and laughter overflowing with sparkle and energy. She's the fizz in our soda. You are a soft, warm breeze- steady, constant, and smelling (you guessed it) sweet like honeysuckle in the summer. Someday, I imagine you will be for someone what your daddy is to me: at once an anchor and a cocoon.

Sometimes it hits me and leaves me surprised how very different you are from your sister. Bug has always been an interactive, communicative little thing. To her, playtime is a group adventure. When she was very small, she tugged on our fingers to join her in her games, eager to show her playthings as she jabbered and flitted like a little butterfly from room to room. You, my son, are so very curious. You are independent and brave. In the afternoons, Bug often goes for a nap before you are ready to sleep, and you and I trek downstairs to the basement for play time. I sit on the couch and watch you with wonder as you crawl around contentedly all by yourself, carefully picking up each block and studying it, trying to learn how it works. You often pause for a minute and smile to yourself, bobbing your head to some imaginary song before returning to your purposeful exploration.

I imagine that someday you will be an engineer. That, or a very happy potato farmer.

I've tried to think of some funny quirk of yours, some silly little thing about you that would flesh you out beyond World Greatest Baby, maybe something for Bug to hang her hat on, to identify with her future therapist as, "yeah, my parents thought my brother was perfect but really, he ______". You want to know what I came up with?

You spit up on me all the time.

Really, you do. I mean, if you haven't urped some amount of white, curdled formula on to some difficult to clean surface, the day hasn't begun. Bug, our little princess who as a baby never found occasion to regurgitate any amount of food or liquid that was sent down, now regularly finds herself calling out in a state of mild panic, "Mama, he CHEESED!" This, of course, is code for "Buddy barfed all over the place and is now sitting, happy as a clam, sucking on his fingers and looking quite pleased with himself." It's gross, son, and I really hope you grow out of it.

You also hate to have your head rubbed. One of your Daddy's favorite things to do when he gets home from work each day is to track you down (a job that's been easy to do recently since you crawl around clutching the string to the still-afloat football balloon you stole from our family Superbowl party. I can just scan the house for that bobbing mylar football, and there you are!) Once he finds you, he puts his hand firmly and flatly on the top of your head and just waits. At first, you'll generally shake your head back and forth like someone politely declining more water from a waiter while their mouth is full, but when Daddy doesn't move the hand, that shaking quickly escalates to shouts of displeasure and regular head thrashing. It is HILARIOUS.

But then, my little cherub, when the hand is removed, you lock eyes with Daddy and shoot him the most dazzling little grin. Just like that, you've returned to your own little self, the contentedness radiating out from your center. I know it sounds dramatic, but here's the thing: you've got soul, son. I don't mean that in the way the judges on American Idol assign it to every R&B singer who tackles a Whitney Houston song, either. I mean that there is something deep and still at the core of you, and even though you are so small I can still feel it in there, grounding you here, right here, right now, in the heart of our family.

We love you, little squirt. Daddy is obsessed with you. Bug adores you. And Mama?

Well, Mama loves you all the way to the moon. AND BACK.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Birthday week!

It's important to me to make my littles feel extra special on their birthdays. I know it's a bit silly at 12 months old--Mister Baggins certainly won't remember the party we're planning for him, let alone the color-coordinated decorations--but it's something sweet I can do for my babies, and it's fun for me. Besides, mothering in general involves doing a whole lot of things they don't care about just because I love them, but that doesn't stop me from forcing them into clean clothes and making them eat something other than goldfish and fruit snacks for dinner. 

I've really wanted to make a colorful felt birthday banner that we can hang up for everybody's birthday each year, but I have yet to invest the time and energy into making/buying/figuring out a pattern and buying the felt. Any volunteers to help me with this? No, really. I mean it. Want to help me?

In the mean time, I decided to whip up this adorable birthday wreath that everyone on the internet has made (google it and find I'm right), and let me just tell you that I am head over heels in LOVE with it.

Birthday Balloon Wreath
 It honestly COULD NOT BE EASIER to make, the little candle in the middle is easy to change out, and the whole thing just makes me feel happy. It gives me warm fuzzies to imagine my littles when they are not so little walking home from school to find the birthday wreath out and know it's just for them!

Bonus: now my kids can't get that mad that I don't scrapbook for them. Look, kids, a WREATH!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mama's crappy cell phone documents a toothy milestone.

Chimuelo finally started growing some teeth. 

Thing is, growing teeth sort of hurts. Chimuelo was sad.

  Luckily, Chimuelo is sweet even when he's sad. Sad Chimuelo deserved snuggle time.

Snuggle time made even sad Chimuelo cheer right up.

And eventually, toothy Chimuelo was toothy enough to eat Cheerios. Hurray!

The end.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart.

It's Valentine's Day, obviously. I know there are lots of people who don't care much for Valentine's Day, and I get it, I really do, because yes, yes, you're right, those magnetized kissy bears and giant stuffed animals are probably silly and without any real purpose and, yes. Yes, you're right, people shouldn't need a holiday with overpriced flowers and cheesy greeting cards to remember to say those three words, but. BUT. I think the world could use a whole heck of a lot more of those three words. Yes? So, to me, a holiday all about those three words is not really so bad.

Of course, my perspective is flawed. It is biased. I am forever bound to a man I fell in love with when he was just a boy, who is good and kind and in every way my partner and equal only no, he's not, he's better and stronger and gentler. I know the last thing anyone wants on Valentine's day (besides those awful fruit filled mixed chocolates, of course, which are really horrid) is to read some mommy blog about how great that one girl's husband is. It's sappy and barfy and not nearly as entertaining as those captioned pictures of cats we'd all rather be looking at. The thing is, though, that I believe the world could use more of those three words, and since I have love, feel love, and see, taste, and touch love every single day, I'm going to mention it a time or two.

Let me just say how acutely I feel how lucky I am. Not every girl who stands smiling in a white dress nervously clutching a clump of flowers finds herself holding that same boy's hand nearly 7 years later. Not every girl even gets to the white dress part of the game; women lovelier and smarter and kinder than I have an empty left ring finger and there isn't any decent way of assigning any bit of reason to it. Marriage is a lot of work, sure, but in my case I'm not ashamed to admit it is also a great deal of good luck. 

Or, as I prefer to think of it, great blessings.

And so, to my Darling, because my words are not as pretty as Elizabeth Barrett Browning's, indulge me while I invoke a few of hers.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach

And I'll only add this:
Sometimes I wonder what word in English might best describe you. Husband, of course, but that is quite functional, partner smells of a business relationship, lover too intimate, best friend too young, companion too old.

So then.

You must be my beloved.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mixed messages

Bug came down with a nasty bug (get it?) this weekend. It came on fast; when we put her to bed Saturday night she seemed fine, but halfway through the night we heard the tell-tale barking cough that signals a croupy few days ahead. Despite sounding horrible and running a low fever, my little peanut has actually been in good spirits and is handling the whole thing like a little champ.

This morning, I decided she'd feel better after a nice warm tubby and fresh pajamas. Standing on her bathroom stool wrapped in a towel, my drippy little Bug girl looked up at me, eyes wide and innocent.

"I know why I'm sick, Mama", she nodded with sudden understanding. "I bet I swallowed some toothpaste."

Even if she did extrapolate my warnings in a way that was a little...unexpected, I guess it's nice to know that the message was received. Let's hope the warnings about always wearing a helmet, refraining from licking the bottom of her shoe (HAPPENED), and never opening the car door while on the freeway are equally heeded.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What the wild things eat.

Like most kids, I imagine, Bug loves it when I read to her. Recently, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak has been a particular favorite.

Yesterday, she climbed up on to my lap with her well-loved copy and we snuggled in for story time.

"I'm afraid of the monster, " she said, playfully. "He's going to eat the dog! I'm going to cover my eyes so I don't see the monster eating the puppy!"

I thought about those Wild Things and all the roaring of terrible roars and gnashing of terrible teeth they do, and not once could I think of a time they threaten to gobble up a canine.

It didn't take me long to figure it out, though. It wasn't a Wild Thing at all.

Page two:

Yes, she is wearing her Christmas jammies. We looked long and hard for those; she's getting use out of them, by golly!

Fear is in the eye of the beholder, I guess. Pesky Max and all his mischief.

Monday, February 4, 2013

This carseat brought to you by the letter I, the number 80, and the sound of your mother's screaming.

A week or so ago the Schmoopse and I took the kids up the canyon to get out of the smog and hit up the outlets for a couple of hours. We marveled at the realities of a blue sky (curse you, inversion!) and picked up a few new dress shirts for Paddy for a screaming deal. By the time we headed home, the sky was dark and the traffic on the highway had picked up. Suddenly, without any warning at all, the lights inside the car flashed on and the sound of rushing air came from the back seat.

Oh yeah, no big deal, my three year old had just OPENED THE DOOR while we flew along I-80 at 60 miles per hour.

It's sort of an anti-climactic story after that because after I soiled myself from shock, we managed to pull over without incident. Thankfully, the door didn't swing all the way open and drag viciously along the cement barrier spilling my children out all over the road the way it did in my mind during the seconds before we could get the car stopped. After an extremely, uh, stern talking to from both parents, our repentant toddler promised never to touch the door handle again, and Paddy and I recommitted ourselves to locking the doors at every. single. time. we get in the car. 

All of this to say: When Mister Baggins outgrew his infant carrier a few weeks ago, we abandoned the idea of moving Bug to a booster seat and elected to leave her in her 5 point harness seat for a while longer. Clearly, a child who OPENS THE DOOR ON THE FREEWAY cannot be trusted to leave her seat belt alone. We hit up the Costco and scored Baggins a seat that matches Bug's almost exactly, and now the two of them have space seats they can use until they're ready for regular old seat belts (which, these days, is like age 14 or something.)

Isn't he sweet in his new giant seat?

Flashback: Bug, when her seat was brand-spanking-new, before there were goldfish crumbs in every possible crevice:

And now, because I have nothing else to say, a bonus feature. A picture strip fittingly titled, "Baby Enjoys Empty Car Seat Box More Than Any Actual Toy He Has".

That is all.