Friday, November 22, 2013

My Son Smells Like a Daiquiri (Virgin).

I was all snuggled up with Easton yesterday begging for a smooch.  He finally relented and leaned in for an open-mouth, slobbery, breathy kiss.  He smelled like a tropical daiquiri.  Like he was from the islands.

My son could live on fruit.  Seriously.  He practically does.  He went from eating everything you put in front of him to turning his tiny nose up at everything (almost) except fruit.  Any fruit will do.  Blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, grapes, oranges, avocado (is that a fruit?) and especially, bananas. Sure, he'll throw down some cheese and crackers and toast here and there.  Even the occasional bowl of cereal or oatmeal (with fruit), but typically, he is holding out for nature's candy.  FRUIT.

I've made some headway lately.  Last week, he actually had several bites of pork roast, potatoes and carrots.  The next day, I was so excited to give him it again for lunch and of course, he gagged and threw it on the floor.  A few days later, he ate spaghetti.  I packed a ton of spinach in that sauce along with tomatoes and onions and other spices and was pumped he actually ate it!  The next day, forget about it.

Since then, it's been nothing but cheese toast, eggs, whole grain pancakes (with bananas), the random piece of bacon, cheerios and FRUIT.  Everyone says it's a phase and they will come and go, but honestly, two months seems like a very long phase in baby/toddler time.  The child smells like a tropical fruit daiquiri!

Adding to this problem is that because of the fruit, he poops a ton.  We erroneously gave him way too many clementines two weeks ago and ended up with a raging case of diaper rash.  We're still fighting that.  He's only had bland fruits since then because I don't want his tiny hiney to be rashy and I'm pretty sure that's what is doing it!

We brush his little teeth with water every day and he drinks a lot of water so I'm not worried about his teeth.  Our friend is a dentist and he said it's fine as long as we're keeping his mouth clean.  My only problem now is that I worry he will be deficient in some vitamins he needs.  He is only nursing twice a day now and we have moved him to whole milk instead of formula so I am SO stressing about his vitamins/nutrient levels.  Yet another reason I do not want him eating a lot of processed junk.

Does anyone else have this problem with their tot?  Any ideas on how to combat his love of fruit and try to get him to eat more savory things?  He'd rather starve than eat vegetables (unless it's a Monday night and you stand on one foot and they are cold, not hot and served in a tupperware container).  I'm just stumped here and I need some help from someone other than Google.  :)

I will wrap this post up with the most adorable picture of my fruit-smelling little rugrat.  This is from his 1 year old session.  My little aviator!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

365 Days Together- My letter to Easton

On November 8th, 2013, you turned a whopping ONE year old.  That was last Friday and I still can't wrap my mind around it.  Where did all this time go?

Last night, you were sitting in my lap and we were reading your "Color" book.  We got to the page with yellow and as I turned the page, you slapped your tiny little pointer finger down on the bottom corner and said emphatically, "ANANA!" (BANANA!)  I just sat there, wide-eyed for a moment.  My little boy is growing up.  Doing and saying things I guess I'm not yet ready for.

Sweet boy, you are everything to us.  Our whole world revolves around you and I think your Daddy and I both worry that we are setting you up for hardship later in life by loving you TOO much.  Will you be one of those "entitled" children?  Will we make you bratty?  Goodness, I hope not!  But we do love you and your smile and laugh is absolutely the most wonderful noise.

You started walking the day before you turned 10 months old.  It's like you knew that day was coming and you were NOT going to miss walking at 9 months.  You took three steps to me and then about five steps to me and back to your Daddy.  Now, you run everywhere and we can barely keep up.  From about 7:30 in the morning until about 8:30 at night, you are one busy little fellow.  We chase you and play with you and tickle you and love you as much as we possibly can during those hours.  You are down to napping once a day usually and it's a good one.  That's the only time you slow down and even then, I'm pretty sure you're up to no good in your dreams.  You are our son, after all.

You have eight teeth and you already love biting.  Yesterday, you were screaming at me for taking my hand out of your mouth and explaining to you that we don't bite mommy, we bit our FOOD.  I'm still not sure you why you are so set on chewing me up!

You're a rather picky eater most of the time (at my house, anyway!).  You prefer nothing but FRUIT around here.  At other places, you will eat eggs and many other yummy things but at home, it's toast w/ applesauce and some type of fruit with the occasional bowl or oatmeal, cereal or yogurt.  I'm hoping this is a phase and soon enough, you'll be on to lots of new things!  :)  I can hope, right?

You can say a ton of words already.  I'll try to list them all, but I always miss a few!  You can say: Mama, Dada (favorite word), Dog, Geese (you and Daddy go bird watching at night and see all the geese flying over!), Banana, Tess, ATTACK!!! (you attack the doggies and I started saying this word every time you did it and now you say it clear as day!), Bye-Bye, What IS dat?, Night-Night, Yeah-Yeah & Yes.  I know there are more, but I'm drawing a blank.  You make hilarious noises like a car.  When I show you your fire engine puzzle piece, you make a siren noise.  You can meow like a cat and bark like a dog.

You have your favorite books that we read over and over and over.  I'm trying to sneak a few new ones in but your a tough crowd.  Your all-time favorite book is "Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!" by Dr. Seuss.  The other few that you'll sit for are "Brown Bear, Brown Bear", "Goodnight, Moon", "ABC's", "COLORS" (a flip book), "Where's Spot?", "LMNO Peas" and "Spot Counts to Ten".  I've tried many, many others and you are just NOT interested after a page or two.

In an attempt to get you to bond with a stuffed animal or blanket (to help with falling asleep in your crib), I made a game out of "squeezing" this little dog/bear I bought you before you were born.  I'd hold him in front of you and say, "SQUEEEEEZE!" and then hug him.  You'd hug him and say, "EEEEEE!" and then throw him down and run off.  Now, you think hugging is called squeezing and it's adorable.  You're still not falling asleep on your own in the crib and that poor stuffed animal gets nothing from you but a random hug every few days.

You are quite obsessed with the dogs.  You love, love, LOVE attacking them every morning.  We are still nursing in the mornings and at night only and so after you eat in the mornings in our bed, you sit straight up, look at the foot of the bed for your first victim and go on attack mode.  I think it's pretty darn fantastic and hilarious.  Baxter and Tess aren't so sure but the tolerate you well and Baxter usually gets even by rolling you over and pinning you down for a lick-fest.  He definitely gets his kisses from you in the mornings.  You also feed the dogs, help us take the dogs on their potty breaks, rub their bellies, give them lots of open-mouth kisses and play fetch with them every chance you get.  Chance is probably your favorite dog to play with, but he is the least tolerant of you.  He kisses you and lets you pet him, but when you start squealing or running, he gets outta town.  The poor old guy is usually hiding under a table or in a corner trying to escape you.

You like cars a LOT.  I think your Aunt Kiki and cousin Maddox are to blame for this one!  When you were about five months old, you would come home from a day with them and rub your paci on the floor and make raspberries with your lips.  It wasn't long before Maddox gave you a few of his hot wheels and you would roll them around you making the vrooom sound.  Since then, you have mastered many different car noises.  There are noises I can't even make and they all sound like different cars and trucks and motorcycles.  I love it and I know they do!  Uncle Ricky will have you out there racing with him and Maddox before I know it and then I'll have a heart attack.  *sigh*

You love music and dancing.  Your Daddy has played the guitar for you since you were in my belly and I've been dancing with you since about the same time.  :)  You have a ukulele, a tambourine, hand bells, a keyboard, a tiny electric toy guitar and a few whistles you haven't figured out yet.  I'm sure you'll end up with some drums, too.  Your Dad has already mentioned that a few times.  I love how you smile when you hear music and how you start bouncing and squatting and bobbing your head.

All these little "adult" things you do are so sweet, but also pretty sad for your Mama to see.  You're just growing up so fast.  You'll never be this small again.  Your little hands won't ever be this little and your words will turn into sentences and then you'll be in college and I'll miss you so.

I prayed for you for so long and longed for the day I would hold you and see toys scattered around my house.  I would sit in the living room sometimes and look around and wonder what life would be like with a tiny person living with us everyday.  I wondered how tired I would be and how I'd manage the loss of those few precious extra hours of sleep I enjoyed on the weekends.  I thought about how freely I would give up my time with my friends if I could just have you to spend it with.  I'd sit upstairs sometimes and wonder which bedroom we would make into a nursery for you if God every blessed us with your presence.  I imagined what playing in the yard would be like as well as folding tiny pants and losing tiny socks.  I could spend hours thinking of what you'd look like and sound like and act like.  All of this before I ever even knew if I would meet you.  And now, here you are.  You came into this world and turned us into a family.

Here you've been for a year.  I have the answers to all these questions and yet it still doesn't even seem real.  YOU are my son.  A part of me and your Dad.  An extension of who I am and who your Dad is and who our parents and siblings are and a long line of wonderful other people you'll never meet.  This beautiful little miracle that we worked so hard for to share with the world.  It's so surreal that I'm blessed with the responsibility of raising you, caring for you, nurturing you, loving you and leading you to be a good man someday.

I am so full of love for you, baby boy.  There is nothing in this world that means more to me than you and your Daddy.  I have fallen in love with being your Mother and I pray every single day that I make you proud someday...that I do a good job.  I want you to look back on your life and KNOW that we loved you so much and did our very best to teach you the right way to be as a man.  I hope we make you a happy little boy and go on thousands of adventures together.  I want you to be able to LIVE your life every single day and watch you grow and learn and love.

Easton, this first year has come and gone.  I've loved it all.  I have no regrets and have learned from every mistake and every triumph we've had together!  You have taught us so much more than we've taught you, little man.  I don't see that every changing, honestly.  We all have so much to learn.

You have already said your farewell to babyhood and have transitioned into your toddler stage (I've already caught you drawing on the cabinets with a pencil!).  You are no longer my sweet little baby.  *sigh*  I'm looking forward to what is to come for our little family sweetheart but I'm also
looking fondly over my shoulder at the precious memories we have already made together.  I'm so incredibly thankful for you.

Happy Birthday!

Your Mama

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Picture update! Our past month!

So, I know I haven't posted in what feels like a year, but we have had a busy summer and I have been soaking up my time with Easton. I wrote a very LONG post in July and my phone died just as I was about to post it. That's what I get for using my phone.  

Quickly, I will give you a run down of what we have been doing this past month! Maybe I will pull a Tarantino and go backwards for my next post? 

He spends a lot of time in higher altitudes.
Going splish splash is his fav. Don't worry, we make him wear a shirt and shirts and SPF 1000 but this was a two min dip just before heading home. He loves it. 
Officially obsessed with dog food and dog water. Putting in higher places used to help, not anymore! 
I made him magnets to play with and learn by. Hopefully, he will continue soaking up things like a sponge! His fav is the bee, "buzzzzzzzzzzzz!" It's adorable.
About five weeks ago, he decided to crawl up our staircase. That's about 17 steps. We spotted him but he never faltered. Just panted and slapped those steps like he owned them!
He loves sports so of course, we go cheer for Daddy when he plays baseball. 

I melt when I see this picture with his sleepy eyes and alfalfa spike.

Nine month old picture. I think I will keep him forever.
Who me?!?
He started standing right before he turned nine months. Sturdy guy.
He loves aquariums (small ones) so we took him to a big one. He was amazed and....
Couldn't get enough of the fish. He really loved our day at the Tennessee Aquarium. If you are ever in Chattanooga, I recommend it! 
This sums up most days. Toys, disaster and Daddy. Their bond is unreal. 
I can be funny sometimes...sweet boy!
We took him to his 2nd Braves game! That smirk CRACKS ME UP!
May end up in a frame....
Post game love! Check out those peepers! 
Did I mention he loves to climb? 
He has a love for our three dogs that mirrors our own. He can't get enough of them. He attacks Baxter every single morning.
His favorite is Chance. They play with Chance's toys and its so sweet.
He really likes to go to the park and swing. I'm sure he will love the slide too.
Daddy needed help mowing the high school baseball field so who better to help than Easton?
Ten months? How is that possible? Naturally, he is staring across the ball field at his Daddy. :)
He really loves them most when he attacks them.
This was my view the other morning. Best view ever.
Pinkies up! Impeccable manners.

Like I said, a very special bond. He loves his Daddy most.
This morning, he figured out how to stack Legos and was pretty thrilled about it. I posted a video on Instagram if you want to see. I'm ShannonOnTheFly.
This was a few mins ago. Before I put him down for his nap. You can barely see tooth #5 in there. 

Hope you enjoyed this brief update! I'll shoot for a 10 month update tomorrow!

Till next time, 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Raw Food Diet/Cleanse

Well, it's time for me to do something good for myself.  :)  I've been feeling so tired lately.  So wiped out every day by about six o'clock.  Sometimes, it's a struggle just to get through the evening until bedtime.  Easton doesn't sleep all night, (hasn't since he was five months old) so I know that has something to do with it, but I also think it's my diet.   I eat pretty healthily 80% but that 20% not-so-good-for-me-stuff is starting to wear on me, or so I have convinced myself.

That being said, I've decided to do a raw food "challenge" of sorts.  No one else is doing it with me, so technically, it's not a challenge but I'm not doing it for any other reason other than to try and rid myself of some of the toxins I have stored up in my body.  I'm looking at it like getting an oil change, new battery, new vent thingy for your air they always try to sell you at Valvoline AND new tires.  My body is my vehicle and I need it to be healthy!  I'm very optimistic that this will help!

I've lost five pounds so far since I started eating healthier/working out three days a week and though I'm not doing this as a weight loss tactic, I'm assuming it will also cause me to drop a few pounds.  I've done some research into it the past few weeks and going raw just seems like a good fit to me.  I had considered just going vegetarian for a week, but I know 100 different unhealthy ways to eat those (hello, I live in the south!) and that's not what I want.  I want clean, healthy, tasty, yummy fuel for my body.

GOOD food has become even more important to me since Easton has started eating and I'm going to do my level best to make sure he gets the most nutritious foods I can possibly give him.  I don't want his tiny little body filled with junk that doesn't benefit his development!  I want to be an example to him.  I don't think I'll go 100% raw for good or anything, but I think learning to eat raw foods and creating raw dishes will be just one more thing I have to offer him from our kitchen (and garden).

I'll have to keep you all posted on my week long attempt!  I can already tell you that eating WARM food will be what I miss the most!

I'm starting my day off tomorrow with a HUGE smoothie and a bucket of fruit for a snack.  Who knew you had to eat so much more food doing this diet!?  Whooohooo!

Ok, good night everyone.  I have to get to bed!


Monday, June 24, 2013

1 Tooth, 2 Tooth, 3 Tooth, BITE!

Well, my little munchkin has his third tooth and with this new development, has come a new habit. Biting.
Most of the time, it is a finger or a nose but now and again, he chomps down while nursing. This is a problem, friends.
His pediatrician recommended pulling him away, getting on his level and firmly saying, "Easton, no biting." So far, that has only made him laugh or smile sweetly before giving me the shove and yanking down hard on my shirt front.
Last night, he surprised me and I gasped and said his name suddenly. He was half asleep so it scared him to death. He cried and cried.
Any tips out there from you Mommy's or Daddy's? Desperate here!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Getting back to a shape other than round....

So, a few weeks ago, I posted about how I wanted to get back into shape.  Not the round shape of post-pregnancy, but the shape I was in BEFORE I found out I was infertile and pumped myself full of medication and extra weight.  :)

This was me before all of that:

This was the night before our wedding!

I was at 123 pounds on my 5"6 frame and I was strong and lean and I felt GREAT.  So, I've decided that's where I'm headed.  :)  Today, I'm finally going to set up my workout room downstairs.  I have a treadmill, hand weights, tension bands, yoga mat, exercise ball, pull-up bar and several dvd's (Zumba, Dancing with the Stars Cardio, Yoga, Jillian Michaels, etc.).  There is no reason why I can't get back to my healthy ME.  

I've told the Hubby to purge the house of all the junk (which we usually don't have in the house anyway) by eating it asap.  (He lost some weight in recent months due to his crazy schedule with his baseball coaching, so he can afford to eat all that junk.)  I went shopping and bought all more usual healthy food and so far, this weekend, I've done really great.  I've never been one to "diet" because those things don't last in my opinion.  I just eat healthy foods that I love and work out.  I have great muscle memory so this has usually been enough.  We'll see if it still is after having a baby!  :)

I probably won't weigh myself very often because I really don't care about the # of pounds I lose.  I just want to look good and feel good again.  I've always been fit so this is just the twilight zone for me!

Wish me luck!  If any of you are on the path to feeling and looking better, let me know.  We'll support one another!

Off to get my workout on!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Well, on Mother's Day, I woke up to this sweet face.  After years of wishing I could celebrate such a sweet holiday, I wasn't quite prepared for the joy I felt on Sunday.  I know I've been a mom for six months now, but it's the first time I've been "honored" as a mother.
Those cheeks....totally smoochable.

Rik had asked me for a few weeks what I wanted to do for Mother's Day and I couldn't think of anything I'd rather do than spend the day with him and Easton.  He was offering to basically "give me the day off", but that wasn't what I wanted.  I did sleep in a bit and I did let him fix me dinner but I couldn't imagine not spending the day doing something fun with these two handsome men!

I mean, really?  Look at these faces!

So, we started the day off by relaxing a little bit and opening gifts.  :)  Rik outdid himself and Easton went way over the top for a six month old!  Not only did I get the sweetest card from both of them, but Easton signed his own card and stuffed the envelope.  I've never seen such a crinkly, wadded up envelope in all my life.  Perfection!  In addition to my cards, Easton painted me a beautiful picture!  You may notice a few hand prints here and there (top right corner in yellow) so you can see just how big his hands are!  He can already palm a baseball!

My little Picaso.

Rik was a sweetie and gave me the money to go get my hair done (it's SOOO overdue) and a pedicure. I've been whining about how bad I need a haircut but I haven't wanted to spend the money on myself.  I'd much rather just deal with this mess and complain about it.  Rik is obviously tired of hearing me complain! :)  Thank you, honey!!!!

After that, we packed up and headed out for lunch.  I wanted this really delicious Thai restaurant but they were closed so we went to our favorite pizza joint instead.  In honor of Mother's Day, Rik bought Easton a new t-shirt to wear and I have to say, I am 100% in love with it. 

The cutest little inmate to ever come out of Folsom.

I decided we needed a day out at the zoo where we could stroll around and show Easton some of the animals and just kind of relax.  It was awesome.  We went to the zoo for Easter and even then, Easton was kind of amazed by the animals he could see.  I knew with him being a little older, he'd love it even more now.  I wasn't wrong.

We started off at the chimpanzee exhibit and while we were standing at the glass, a HUGE chimp walked right up and sat up against the window for about 5 minutes.  Easton was 4 inches for this massive creature and they just looked at each other for a bit.  It was pretty amazing.  Rik got it all on video but we didn't get a photo.  :(  Maybe I'll post the video later.

We decided to let E be our navigator and he didn't get us lost once!  He definitely takes after me in this department.  Just ask Rik about how long we were lost in Atlanta a few years ago.  :)

El Navigator.

When we found our way indoors to see the smaller monkeys, Rik and Easton sat on this ledge.  I kid you not, this female monkey walked straight over to them, turned around and practically stuck her girl parts to the glass.  AND.JUST.STOOD.THERE.  It was hilarious and a little weird.  She finally strolled away as I got the camera out!  It was so funny to see Rik's face when he realized what was being flashed their way.  It was one of those looks like, "What do I do?! I can't let my son look at this!"

And here, fine gentlemen, is my undercarriage!

This beautiful bird scared Easton a tiny bit when he would shake out his feathers.  He was HUGE!


Easton and I went into the petting zoo and made friends with a few goats.  Easton thought they were funny and kept giggling.  I was a little nervous about being so close to a creature with horns, but we survived and he loved it.  I did NOT love the goat drooling in my sandal.  Thank the LORD for wipes.


Awkward family photo!

We found the aviary exhibit and it sounded so pretty. All the birds were calling and making lots of racket.  Easton loves to sit outside and listen to the birds so this definitely had his attention.

He may have figured out how awesome it is to suck his thumb.

"Daddy!  Check out that coyote!"
they are so handsome....

My tiny tot...I love him so much!

 By the time we were finished meandering around, the zoo was closing up and we were all pretty tired so instead of dragging E around on any other wild adventures, we headed on home to spend the evening grilling out and watching a little baseball.  Easton did what Easton does and wrapped up his day with a little snuggle time with his favorite doggie.
Pillow Pet.

So, that's how my day went.  It was fantastic and wonderful and beautiful and honestly, one of the best days I've had in a VERY long time.  To be a Mother and to feel honored by my family was such a beautiful experience.  I feel so blessed to have my precious son and such an amazing husband who appreciates all the love, effort and hard work that I've put in so far being a Mommy.  It really is the hardest, most rewarding job I've ever had and I would not trade one second of it.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Being A Mother - Now That I Am.

Mothering is something I've always done.  Just not to my own kids.  I've mothered my brother's children.  I've mothered my friend's kiddo's.  I've even mothered random kids at church, the bowling alley, basketball games, the get the picture.  It's just something I've always felt was a part of me.  I don't mean just discipline and correction.  I'm talking comforting, encouraging, helping, correcting, loving, disciplining, worrying, experiencing new things, the whole gamut, or so I thought.

Then, I had Easton.  From the very first second he was in my arms (or on my stomach), I knew that this just got real.  Really really real.  I knew it was going to be tough with the amount of time, dedication and selfless giving that is required to be a good parent (NOT perfect parent).  What I wasn't ready for, even though I thought I was, was the worry and the bond that was forming and growing every day.

His first night in this bright new world, I sent him to the hospital nursery for a few hours so we could rest.  After 20 hours of labor, I couldn't form a sentence any longer and was honestly afraid I might drop him if I kept him with me.  The nurse left the room with him and I felt this sticky, dark knot form in my stomach.  What if he stops breathing?  What if someone drops him?  What if he's scared?  What if he doesn't know who I am yet?  Is he confused?  Oh, the thoughts just kept coming.....and they haven't stopped.   They never will.

Every tragedy you experience close to home or hear on the news or read on the internet hits home in a way you never thought possible.  That could be us.  The Boston bombing.  The shootings in Newtown.  The child abused and killed by his babysitter's boyfriend.  The little girl who drowned in the pool behind her house.  Where it used to hurt my heart to hear these stories, now gives me heart palpitations and cold sweats.  It's personal.

I had heard that this was something you could never be ready for.  I agree.  Sure, 96% of my time is spent hugging and kissing and playing with this adorable cheeky fella, but there are times that the heart-wrenching worry is so strong that I just want my mind to be turned off so I can stop thinking of such horrible possibilities that could befall our household.  It's tough loving another human being in such an endless, spiritual way.

The connection I feel with my little boy is on a level I've never experienced before.  It IS spiritual.  Everything about our relationship is pure and whole and true.  I've never felt that way with anyone.  When he touches (smacks) my face and looks in my eyes with his big blues and jabbers away, another part of the hardness and anger and sad and hurt Shannon falls away and is replaced by this light, happy, loving, WHOLE Shannon.  His love has healed so much of me that was broken and hurt.   It's something that continues every day.  I wasn't expecting to receive such a gift.  I thought I was going to be the one nurturing, comforting and loving him.  Not the other way around.

I used to look around our house and wonder what it would be like to have baby stuff everywhere, to be frazzled and exhausted and then to hear a baby laugh and it all be okay again.  Now, I know how that feels and sometimes, when I'm frazzled and exhausted and that little stinker spits up all over me or whacks me in the face in a fit of joy, I just laugh because it's the most amazing thing in the world to know I'm all of these things because I have a son.

Being a mother is like living in a body controlled by ten personalities at once.  It's so schizophrenic.  You're happy and laughing one minute, then 20 seconds later you're wracking your brain trying to figure out what happened to make this happy boy lose his mind and turn on the waterworks.  Five minutes after that, you're worrying freaking out because you're not sure if he just ate half the carrot you gave him or if it fell in the floor and oh-my-lord-what-if-he-chokes-to-death-before-I-can-get-him-out-of-the-five-point-nascar-harness-on-this-highchair?!?!  This is usually followed by an awesome sense of relief when you realize he has not eaten the carrot, it's squished between his thighs and running down his leg.  Whew.  Crap, now you've gotta clean that up and he's not finished smooshing it yet.  All the while, you're really trying not to stress about the dishes, the laundry, the dogs that are fighting in the living room, the plants that need tended to on the porch or the fact that you've GOT to get to work at some point today.  Wait, did I eat breakfast?  Where's my other shoe?  Is that yesterday's sweet potatoes on my pants?  We didn't have sweet potatoes yesterday.

I wouldn't trade a minute of it.  

There is absolutely zero down time.  No "off switch".  It's a 24 hour, 7 day a week job that I try to do in the best way possible every second I can.  It's emotional and life-altering in every way.  It is also the most rewarding, amazing, imperfectly perfect job I've ever had the honor and privilege of doing.  I thank God every day that he gave me the chance to show my worth for this beautiful baby boy.  I hope I never disappoint him or let him down, though I know I will.  I pray that he never once doubts my love for him, but that I'm always able to show him tough love when necessary.  But, above all else, I hope that we raise a kind, gentle, loving, hopeful young man and that he knows just what a Godsend he has been to me.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lovely Lunch Date!

So, today I met up with a gal pal of mine who is near and dear to my heart.  We had lunch downtown and it was wonderful to catch up!  I haven't seen her much in the past year or so and that just isn't working for me. :) Honestly, it's just not.

So, we changed all that today by having lunch!  Jennifer, over at A Journey of Baby Steps, is pretty awesome.  She is married to this giant ginger guy that I kind of love, too.  They are, together, pretty good peeps that you all should know.

They have been on an amazingly long, tough, emotional, exciting, loving, difficult, hope-filled, bumpy journey to adoption.  You can check out her blog for all the details, but let's just say, they've been through the ringer about a billion times already and they are still hanging in there, waiting on their sweet little miracle to fill their arms.  Just one more reason they rock my socks off.  They have faith like nobody's business and even though I'm sure they've both had their hours, days and weeks (ok, months) of tears and stress-eating and bouts of self-pity and everything else that has to go along with the adoption process, they always manage to smile and laugh and hope for the best, believing they will end up where God wants them with the child he has chosen especially for them to love and raise.  I can't wait to meet this little person and see just how much love they pour into that baby's love cup.  He or she is in for a treat (and lots of smother-loving)!

We had a nice talk about parenting of all kinds.  Good and bad and know, stuff we infertile's really care about.   Sometimes, it's nice to talk to another IF'er to vent to or just rant with.  Mainly, because they JUST GET IT.  It's like being on the same battlefield, shoulder to shoulder, fighting the same fight.  We just have a lot in common when it comes to how we feel about people who don't appreciate their blessings and don't cherish the time they have with the kids God has given to them.

  Even though I have Easton thanks to ART, I still identify myself as an infertile and I always will.  I wouldn't have the little stinker napping here beside me if it wasn't for modern medicine and that fact isn't lost on me one bit.  

Anyway, Jennifer and Paul (the ginger giant) are finally getting closer to their little miracle and I'm just so incredibly happy for them.  They've been through a lot in the past few years.  They deserve to be happy and I can't wait for them to trade in THIS stress and worry for the stress and worry they are so ready for: parenting a tiny tot!

That's pretty much all I've got going on today.  Easton spent the morning with his Gamma and of course, she spoiled him by taking him shopping in his pj's for flip flops, toys and new clothes.  This boy is seriously never going to want to hang out with me once he realizes he has a choice.  Between my mom and my best bud, I'm going to be the lamest person he knows!

I hope you all are enjoying your week.  I'm so ready for the weekend!  My Dad is coming to visit and hang out with Easton.  Hopefully, we have lots to report after a fun and exhausting weekend!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Magicians and Circus Freaks Have Taken Over My House!

Ok, so maybe that's a bit of a stretch.  There aren't circus freaks holding me hostage or any such thing, but sometimes, if I close my eyes just so and tilt my head to the left, Rik looks like a huge giant and Easton could be his little side kick he carries around with him to make him look even bigger.  Still though, they aren't holding me hostage or doing magic tricks on me.

What IS happening is this:  Someone is shrinking my clothes.

No, really.  They have to be.  There is no other logical explanation.

Ok, maybe there is.  I'm oddly shaped now.  I guess having a baby will do that to you.  I guess going through fertility treatments will do that to you.

I'm at that point post-pregnancy when I FEEL like things should fit normally again.  Yes, five months is clearly not long enough for all my ligaments and hips to pull back together completely but holy-cow-these-hips-don't-lie-but-I-keep-telling-myself-they-really-do.  Whew!  Glad I got that out.

My house if full of carnival mirrors.  I look in the mirror, look normal(ish), go to my closet, hold up something that looks like it would fit (you know how it is, you hold something up and say, "Good Lord that looks huge!"), then try it on and it won't go up past your knees.  I have jeans that I wore two years ago when we were in the midst of our fertility treatments, that I'd have to jump off the roof to get in to now.  Anyone wanna volunteer to come hold those for me while I climb to the highest point on our house?  They are the cutest jeans ever so I think they would totally be worth the risk.

Ugh.  I had lost all the baby weight pretty much right away.  Then I gained 8 lbs back.  Now, I've lost 4 of those pounds again.  So, I'm basically at my pre-pregnancy weight (give or take) depending on what time I weigh myself.  However, I still have the fertility medicine-inducing weight gain to drop.  That's another 13-16 pounds.  Until then, nothing in my closet will fit me right.  I have about 38 pairs of dress slacks, 10 skirts and about 7 pairs of jeans that I can't wear.  Thanks to the ta-ta's, I can't wear half my shirts either b/c they won't button!  Ergh.

Oddly, I'm thankful to have this problem because I have the most adorable little boy ever, but when you're trying to get ready for work, it's frustrating.  I've got to get back to working out.  It's hard to take time away from Easton to do that even though I know it's very important to take care of myself.

My new motivation came from an unexpected source recently.  We were at a friend's wedding and I saw a former co-worker that I haven't seen in about five years.  She almost walked right past me and I had to stop her and say hello.  She looked at me for a solid three seconds before realizing who I was and then said, "Oh my gosh!  Shannon!  How are you!?" (looked at Easton in my earms)  "Oh! You had a baby?!  Wow, that explains it!  You've gained so much weight I didn't recognize you!"  Immediate tears.  I wanted to crawl under the pew and bawl my eyes out.  Yes, I realize how rude of her to say so, but she obviously said something many folks at that wedding were probably thinking.  I'm much bigger than I have ever been in my entire life and it's kind of grossing me out.

So, I'm going to get back to my pre-pregnancy, pre-fertility SHAPE.  I'm not going to focus on the # so much as how things fit because I think I'll be happier that way.  Clearly, after having a baby, going off the number won't help me reach my goal b/c my body is shaped differently now and I just want my clothes to fit again.  :)  So, I'll keep you posted here and there as to how I'm doing.  Hopefully, by E's first birthday in 7 months, I'll be back to normal and back in those cute jeans!  If not, I'm gonna need that volunteer I mentioned above.  :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lost Identity

As a mother, it's easy to lose your old identity and become someone new.  It may be a gradual thing, it may happen overnight, but inevitably, becoming a mom changes you and makes you into someone new.  Better or worse, you're never the same.

I've heard people say they feel like all they are now is a "Mom", and that's it.  I wondered what it must feel like, all those days and months leading up to E's birth, to become someone's mother.  Instead of being "Shannon", being known as "Easton's mom".  I wondered how I would handle that.  Losing my couch time, being "ON" all the time, never any down time.

Being known as "Easton's Mom"?  Well, I'm ok with that.  More than ok with that.  I LOVE IT.

I don't know if it has something to do with WANTING to become a mother, or how long we wanted to have a child in our lives or how prepared we were for the change, but regardless of why, I love the new me.  Sure, she's tired-er and messier and sleepier and hungrier (hey, it's the truth) but she's also awesome-er.

My new identity hasn't been a downgrade, it's been an amazing upgrade to the old version.  My days are filled with responsibility and meaning and love.  Sure, I don't have much time for myself, but I don't really want time for myself.  I just want time with my little boy.  I can't imagine wanting to escape from him.  I know people are different and motherhood can bring all kinds of emotions and hormones along with it, but I'm very thankful that my personal reaction has been nothing but wonderful.  I've been very blessed and I don't take that lightly at all.

Speaking of that blessing, he is up from his nap so it's time to go!

Till next time,
Easton's Mom

We were out shopping and I turn around to this face looking at me from his stroller.
I melted into a huge sloppy puddle right in the middle of Home Depot.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Baby Love

Something struck me the other day that touched my heart in a way that I didn't realize was possible.

Easton loves me.

This realization was so profound that I couldn't really stop thinking about it all day and it brought me to tears on more than one occasion.  My son loves me.  ME.  His mommy.

I wondered how long it would take for him to need me, then trust me, then love me but it happened slowly, I didn't really think much of it until the other day.  Then, SHAZAAAM!  Tears, laughing, joy.  

Sure, I'm his food source (mostly) and so he has been "excited" to see me at feeding times and would grin like a maniac if I walked up during diaper changes with Da-da, but the sweetness of his little love for me now is just different.  It's the most precious thing on Earth. 

The way a baby loves is not like the way we love as adults.  It's so pure and so sweet.  We've been shown the way to "love".  We hold hands, we hug, we kiss.  He doesn't know that those are the ways society shows love, he just shows love the way he feels it.  It's so simple.  You can almost see it bubble up inside of him and he just has to let it out somehow.  Sometimes, painfully so for the recipient of said love.

He smiles and laughs like crazy at me, especially if I've been away for a few minutes and he hasn't seen me for a bit.  When I'm holding him, sometimes he just slaps and slaps at me like he's patting me for being a good mommy.  He will watch me like a hawk if I'm cooking and he's in the other room.  He stalks his prey, for sure.  He grunts and makes hilarious faces when he's hungry and finally lays eyes on me.  He reaches with both arms and grabby hands when he wants me to hold him and then buries his little face in whatever nook or cranny he can find on me.  He open-mouth's my face or neck or hand or arm when he is really feeling lovingly towards me..but the sweetest thing of all is when he grabs my face with both hands and pulls my head towards him, growling the whole time, and tries to eat my mouth or my cheek.  He squeezes my face so hard that sometimes, it hurts.  He scratches and claws me sometimes too.  It's adorable.  He wants me to be the one to love him all the time.  To carry him, to hold him, to spend time with him.  I'm another human beings most favorite human being.  :)

I love seeing those little arms reaching for me.  I waited so long to have a child of my heart and soul reach those sweet arms out to me.  Who knew that seeing my own child fall in love with me could shatter my heart into a zillion little fragments and put it back together again at the same time?  

His love is so simple, so sweet, so pure.  That's how love should be, isn't it?  I wish I could bottle it up, just like it is right now, and keep it forever as a reminder of how love was meant to be for all of us.  I'm so thankful for the love of this little boy.  I will do my very best to make sure he always knows just how grateful I am for him and how much I love him every single day.

The look of love.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Heuristic & Sensory Play Time!

In a nutshell, I've been really interested in Heuristic play, aka Sensory Play.  This way of playing is mainly about letting your child interact with natural things that are part of your life without all the electronic noises, lights, etc.  It's about letting them explore, feel, lick, smell, taste and play with things in the same way we did as children and our parents did as children.  Who remembers filling up buckets with rocks, banging on kitchen pots, making mudpies and the like?  I know I sure do!

This way of developing your child's mind and imagination just speaks to me.  I want to encourage creativity with Easton.  I want him to figure out how things work or come up with his own ideas of how things work.  I truly believe it will make him a more independent thinker with an urge to imagine a world of possibilities!

You can read more about this way of playing here and here.  If you don't know much about it, I highly recommend that you read up on it.  Cheap fun, good fun, creative fun, learning fun.  Win, win, win, win!

So, now that Easton is sitting up all by himself, we've decided to make up a few sensory baskets for him to play with.  We started yesterday with a water sensory bucket.  It's not all natural like his other baskets b/c I literally just grabbed a bunch of his and his cousin, Reaghan's, bath toys, tossed them in a plastic tub and raced out onto the porch.  He was BORED out of his little mind and fussing nonstop, so out we went without ever planning to do so.  He had a BLAST.
"ooooh!  What's THIS?"

I laid a few towels down, soaked him in sunblock and let him play and splash to his little heart's content!  He wasn't shy about the splashing, let me tell you!  He wacked the water and the bucket and the toys so hard, he left a big red spot on his wrist!

Soaking wet!

This morning, I spent a few minutes scouring the house for things to put into a few additional baskets.  The idea is to put them in shallow round baskets so that they can be accessed from all sides by short arms.  I have TONS of baskets from where I made gift baskets a few years ago!  Perfect! 

Finding little treasures throughout our house was a fun activity for me.  It definitely triggered my imagination when I would hold something in my hand and try to see it through young, fresh eyes.  Imagine never seeing a wooden spinning top before?  Or a tiny wooden bowling pin?  I may or may not have ganked that one from one of Daddy's trophies.  :)  I could hardly wait for him to play with all these items!  In his basket, I included two wooden utensils, a top, wooden stacking blocks, part of a wooden quilters hoop, the tiny wooden bowling pin and one of those grindy pedestal thingy's that I can't remember the name of right now!


Then, I moved on to the textiles basket.  I'm still not 100% sure what qualifies as a textile (Rik and I have this conversation a lot, actually) so I just threw in a bunch of things that were textured and interesting.  This basket includes t-shirt bands (from an old t-shirt necklace fail), an organza pouch, feathers, a crocheted fish I made years ago and never could bring myself to toss, quilt pieces in the shape of butterflies, a magazine necklace three feet long from Africa, a ball wrapped with twine (glued on very securely) and terry cloth squares.  Some of these things are potential choking/strangling hazards so naturally, I won't be leaving him alone to play with these baskets.  It's definitely going to be a supervised playtime.  If you make your own baskets, use discretion when it comes to what you add.  I had a very large cork in this basket but couldn't shake the nagging feeling that it was just a bit too small for his young age.
Textile fun!

So, that's what we're up to today. He's napping now, but I'll be sure to take lots of pictures of him playing with these so that I can show you what a hit they were!  I'm doing my best not to run in there and wake the little scrip scrap up so he can play with his new treasure baskets!  :)

If you make a basket for your little one, let me know how it goes!  I can't wait to hear all about it!

Hope you guys have a fantastic day today!  It's going to be another gorgeous weekend here so I have big plans for our little family!  What will you all be doing this weekend?  Anything fun?

Thanks for stopping by to read my little piece of the internet!  
Love to you all!