Friday, December 30, 2011

Burke's First Christmas

Not being old enough to understand the sleepless excitement revolving around Santa and Christmas morning, our sweet boy let us sleep until 7! That rest came in handy as the day wore on--such a wonderful, blessed (but exhausting) day we spent with both families. Amidst a flurry of attention and gifts, no naps and sore gums, Burke handled his first Christmas like a jolly little champ! Much more fun for us, I'm sure. But whether it was simple curiosity and the need for exploration of those brightly wrapped packages or an actual interest in unwrapping his gifts, Burke tore right into his little gifts and gave us much delight.

We expect next year to be even better!

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Christmas Miracle

I remember last Christmas like it was just yesterday. Wasn't it just yesterday? My word! Where did this year go? Last Christmas, I was a happy pregnant lady and one of the very best presents last year was feeling my little darling move for the very first time!

I remember thinking I'm so lucky! because Christmas is my favorite holiday, my favorite time of year and I was going to get Christmas in June too! Usually, I mourn the close of Christmas Day, because the 12-month wait til next year just seems unimaginable and needlessly suspenseful span of time. But, last year, I wound down from Christmas Day with joy as I looked forward to a new sort of Christmas Day just 6 months away...the day that I would get to meet my firstborn. 

With a blink of an eye, it was here. Sure, there were some painfully slow days and weeks in between--those days I thought this baby will stay inside of me forever! But all in all, it was like the blink of an eye. June 3, 2011--my Christmas in June. No one could prepare me for the insurmountable joy and love that I would both experience and give away that day...which is what Christmas is all about, isn't it?

And no one could prepare me for what must be called the miracle of parenthood. That each and every day for the rest of my life, I would wake up and experience Christmas morning all over again, each one better than the last. Each day, I would wake up and realize that somehow, I love my child even more today than I did yesterday. How is it possible? And I would go to bed each night--not mourning the close of Christmas Day--but joyfully pondering and anxiously anticipating the increased love and joy I would find in the morning when I awoke to the sound of nonsensical babble, raspberries, coos and giggles. And so, I find that I am most blessed, as Christmas for me is an every day occurrence in which I get to love deeper, laugh harder and give generously from all that I am and all that I have. This is my Christmas miracle.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Blessed is she

"And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord." ~ Luke 1:45

A teenager, most likely. Barely out of her youth. But in those days, a woman ready to be a bride. Undefiled. Innocent. Hopeful for a wonderful life with her soon-to-be husband. Meet Mary, the mother of my Lord. Oh how her life must have changed in that instant when she was face to face with Gabriel. When, by all earthly standards, her perfect life was rendered apart. Shattered shards of reality. An unraveled spool. What was she thinking? Did she vomit? Cry? Faint?

And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word."

Calm. Confidant. Faithfully trusting the word of God. Denying her natural perspectives and wholeheartedly embracing the supernatural. A picture of beauty and grace. A true woman. A model for all women. But of course, she was the mother of my Lord.

And Mary said: My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of his bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name.

A prophetic voice. A worshipful heart. A heart that loved her son both as a mother and a daughter. I can't even imagine. For she was the blessed virgin, the mother of my Lord. And she was also a beloved daughter, a co-heir to the throne of God.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Adventures with Santa: Burke's First Christmas

We are so excited to celebrate Christmas this year! It's not about the gifts. Burke won't be able to appreciate any of it, really. But to celebrate all of his "firsts" is just so exciting for us. To watch him take it all in and attempt to process it in that adorable tiny head--I wonder what he thinks. How exactly does he process it?

My mother-in-law wanted a picture with all of the grandkids on Santa's lap this year. So a few weeks ago, we all met at the mall and managed to catch a very patient Santa just before he was to go on break.

As you can see, Burke's first visit with Santa went fabulously! No beard pulling, ripping faces off, crying, vomiting or any other potential mishap commonly associated with wee ones. We even got a smile. Burke's second visit with Santa, however, went a little more like I predicted--beard pulling, beard eating, squirmy-ness! He knows a fake beard when he sees one!

The Intervention

Despite the beard pulling and necessary intervention, we were rewarded with the smile we know and love. Cozy as can be on Santa's sweet boy. He brings us so much joy! He is absolutely the best gift of all.

Monday, December 12, 2011

To My Darling Burke: Five & Six Months

My goodness! Can you really be six months old already? Time sure does fly, little one! What a wonderful six months it has been...and it just keeps getting better and better. You have really started showing us just who you are--your personality is developing daily and you never cease to amuse us with your silly antics!

That open mouth, slobbery smile has become your trademark. And those 2 little bottom teeth have really come in now. You also have two new residents in your gummy little mouth, as your top two center teeth are poking through your gums. Your right one came in just before you turned 6 months old and the left one followed the next week. Unfortunately, you have been in considerable discomfort due to teething, which breaks Mama & Daddy's hearts. We hate to see you suffer, but do what we can to help. The good news is, you won't remember even one moment of the terrible rite of passage. 

A week or two after you turned 5 months old, we decided to try introducing you to baby rice cereal just at dinnertime. You were still waking up for a feeding at that point, and the doctor told me to cut it out. So we thought that maybe a little cereal would fill your belly enough to make it the whole night. And it sure did! Ever since that first taste, you have eagerly awaited each meal and the anticipation of the next bite usually makes you very impatient! No sooner have you taken one bite when your mouth is open wide awaiting the next. At first, you tried to feed yourself--which I should have expected with you. You love to do everything yourself--you're very independent. Since you started eating food, you have consistently decided to sleep an average of 12 hours at night, which is amazing! You're a 7-7 kind of guy. Since that first taste, you have now tried butternut squash, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes and bananas. So far, you have enjoyed everything you have tried--all homemade!! 

Developmentally, this has been a busy and big two months for you, little man! You started to sit unassisted for short periods of time (like 30 seconds max) around five months. Since then, you have gone on to sit for minutes at a time by yourself, and you have learned to balance yourself when you start to wobble over to one side or the other. There are still times when before we can blink you've fallen over and knocked your head good on our hardwood floors (Mama & Daddy are REALLY sorry about this, Love!). It's times like this that we wish there was just a little bit of carpet in our house. Just recently, around six months, you have started to chase a toy from a sitting position to your belly/hands and knees. Just one step closer to crawling! Speaking of crawling, you have also learned how to get yourself pushed up onto your hands and knees. While you can do this, most of the time you're still trying to swim across the floor (kick your legs, wave your arms, and make lots of noise with great effort) and quickly get frustrated at the fact that you're going nowhere or backwards away from the toy you're trying to reach (or the dog...because you love to try to get him too!). 

Other firsts for you these past two months include:
Swinging on the swing at the park near our house

And picking out your first Christmas tree!

It has been another fun two months! We are so excited about each new day with you, Burke. We love you so much and continue to love you even more each day. (This is the miracle of parenthood that hopefully one day you'll get to experience). We can't wait to celebrate your first Christmas with you in just a few weeks! You are the cutest little elf we know!



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving in Retrospect

A crazy whirlwind of activity. Chaos. Madness. The scent of turkey and stuffing wafting through the room, not to be outdone by the poopy diapers and pungent perfumes. Squeals, screams, laughing, giggling, yelling, talking, TV, mixers, squeaky floors, the clatter of plates and silverware. This was our Thanksgiving #1--a sensory overload! However, I did capture some adorable moments on camera and they make it all worth the craziness.

My little turkey actually weighed more than our edible version!

Burke loves his "Pa"

And his Ga-Ga

(Cousins) Give 'em a few months and they'll be best of friends and troublemakers for sure!

(Cousins) Paige was such a sweet little lover when she rocked Burke to sleep

She sang to him, and patted his hiney (never mind the fact that he weighs nearly half as much as she does!)

Oy! Cuteness!

(Cousins) Burke is very loved (tough/rough love, usually) by his twin cousins
 After lunch at Ben's parents' home, we escaped the chaos and sought the shelter and solace of our car for the 1.5 hour drive to my parents' house for Thanksgiving #2. The roar at my parents' home is much different, since Burke is the only baby. There are no other kiddie noisemakers, so it's the buzz of conversation and grown-up laughter that emanates from the rooms at their house. However, even that is chaotic and crazy at times too. So, we gorged ourselves with even more delicious Thanksgiving treats and enjoyed a few hours with my family before packing the boy up and heading home due to his ridiculously (though awesomely) early bedtime. But not before my mom's annual Thanksgiving Day family picture (which is sent out in every Christmas card she sends).

I am thankful every day for my husband, my son, my family and my friends. For the roof over my head and jobs. For health. For experiencing abundant love. And most of all for my Savior, who died that I may live freely and richly each day of my life.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Seemingly Slacker-Like Attitude Toward Blogging

Yes, I have been slacking on my bogging presence lately. Here are the reasons (not excuses) why:

1) I am working 2.5-3 days per week at my "real" job -- a.k.a. I get all dressed up and put on my intellectual thinking cap in order to draft briefs, counsel clients and assist the shareholders however they may require.

2) I have the most wonderful privilege of spending the evenings (on working days), weekends and 2 days per week with my son, who is a busy bundle of happiness and may or may not choose to take a nap(s) on each given day. Some days, he blesses me with a 2.5 hour morning nap and anther 45 minute to 1 hour nap in the afternoon. On those days, we might have a cleaner house and something tasty for dinner! Other days, it's more like a few little cat naps sprinkled throughout the day. On those days, we do chores that involve driving, go for walks outside, and have just some good old-fashioned quality play time. Mama and her baby boy!

3) Ben and I are working hard on turning a hobby into a business. We have been making candles for our own pleasure for a few years and have decided to turn it into a sort of cottage business for ourselves. No, we're not aiming to make millions in this modest venture. But we are hoping to earn enough to provide a steady supplemental income into our home (especially since I am now part-time at my "real" job). The company is called Smell This Candle Co. (because it's exactly what you say when you're shopping for candles with a buddy) and will feature eco-friendly soy candles of varying scents. I am so excited to get this business up and running, and have been spending much of my "extra" time working on building an inventory, experimenting with different scents, creating a website, and considering branding, marketing, and all of those little details. The most exciting piece of this business is the fact that 10% of the sale price from each sale will be donated to fund the fight against childhood cancer! (There is another post all in itself on the reasons behind this).

4) I enjoy spending the evenings (after the babe is sound asleep) with my mister. We need our own quality time in order to sustain a happy and healthy marriage. So I try to make sure that despite my urge to crank out another post, I am attentive to (and attended to) my hubby, whether it's talking, hanging out or (most likely) vegging because we are simply too exhausted for anything else.

So there you have it. A rather brief explanation behind my seemingly slacker-like attitude toward blogging. In reality, it's simply the one facet of my life that gets subordinated to the other, more robust aspects. It is an outlet that I enjoy, certainly. But it cannot giggle or coo, it cannot provide me with memories to dredge up in old age, it cannot cuddle me in bed or tell me that I am loved. So it is what it is--an outlet that I visit from time to time, always with good intentions of maintaining a presence, but realizing that it's okay if I don't because my "real" life (the physical one in which my senses are alive) is just so much more important.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy 30th Birthday to the Man of My Dreams!

Today is the day he's been dreading since I met him. Today he says goodbye to his 20's--the wild and unruly early 20's, his more settled, middle 20's (that's when he met ME!) and his youthfully mature late 20's (that's when he became a DAD!). I'm sure he'd tell you that this past decade was a great ride leaving him with many wonderful memories. And until today, he struggled with the thought of saying goodbye and embarking on the journeys a new decade would bring. To him, 30 represented gray hair, failing strength...O.L.D. But this morning, during breakfast, he said to me You know, I don't feel any different than I did yesterday. I think I'm okay with 30. Do you think I was worried? I knew he'd be okay. But it was nice to hear him reassure himself.

Ben--I wish you the very best decade of your life so far! Our 30's are going to be stellar. And I look forward to all the memories we'll make in the future!