Friday, December 30

Friday Photos - First Christmas

This week is a special edition of the Friday photo because you get two for the price of one - pictures and a video. Since I already uploaded our Christmas pictures of Brock on Facebook, I figured I needed to add something extra to the blog, so I'm including the video of him opening some of his gifts. You'll have to ignore all the silly adults making ridiculous noises in the background.

I really loved seeing him experience Christmas this year. I know he didn't totally have a clue what was going on and why we were throwing all these boxes with paper at him to tear up (when for the past week he had been told no when he tried to touch those same boxes). And other than a few rips here and there he didn't actually open any of his gifts, but he did seem to appreciate the new toys and things he received, and I liked that he actually looked excited about all of it.

For the record, most of the gifts in the pictures were not for him, and most of the ones that were for him came from grandparents and great grandparents; Blaine and I stuck to the Three Gifts practice we had decided on (but with all the excitement, we forgot to even give him our presents until he'd gone to bed that night so he opened those the morning after Christmas). I would also like to state for the record (not sure why I'm acting like I'm on trial here) that we put up in storage a lot of the gifts he received, to bring out later after he gets tired or bored with some of the others we kept out. I got this idea from my sister-in-law, Erica, and thought it was a great method because it helps to prevent them from getting completely overwhelmed with toys, and they can really appreciate a few at a time. (I'm starting to think I may have a little bit of a hangup about trying to keep Brock from becoming overly materialistic?)

Anyway, we had a great holiday this year, and Brock was so much fun for his first Christmas! I really look forward to seeing him appreciate and enjoy it more and more every year (until he becomes a teenager and has to act cool).

Friday, December 23

Friday Photos - Special Delivery

Did anyone order a baby in a box? I know I've been on a lot lately this past month buying Christmas gifts, but I don't remember purchasing this item and I've yet to find a return slip in the package:

This is what happens when Blaine is home on Christmas break and taking care of Brock for me while I'm working. Blaine's thought process probably went something like this: Empty box + Baby that looks like he'd fit inside box = Great idea! I must admit, Brock really did seem to enjoy being in the box and Blaine even sliced one of the flaps on the side of the box into cardboard fringe so Brock can play with them and chew on them. It doubles as a train when you pull it around the room saying "Choo-Choo," and there was even talk of expanding this idea into a "Box Kingdom" with forts and crawl spaces and such. It was just funny to me when I saw Brock in there because I don't know that I would have ever viewed that empty diaper box as a source of entertainment. I guess maybe I just need to learn to think outside the box (pun intended).

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh

"When [the wise men] saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh."  ~Matthew 2:10-11 (ESV)

What is Christmas all about? No doubt, we get asked that question or hear it tossed around a lot this time of year. At Thanksgiving everyone discusses why they are thankful and what they are thankful for, and then we don't really think or talk too much about thankfulness until November rolls around again the next year. When Christmas comes along, we're all primed with hearts of thankfulness to talk about joy and giving and love and family. The holiday means different things to different people, and some even get downright hostile about it, one side refusing to acknowledge or allow any religious significance and denying the biblical story completely, and the other side forcefully declaring that everyone say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays" or they won't get our business. It's interesting to me how we can turn everything into a war.

I know why I celebrate Christmas, but I'm not going to force that down anyone else's throat. Each person has the right to choose what he wants to believe, and while I would love for everyone to know and experience the peace and the joy that I have personally found in Christ, it's not my place to try to make anyone else's choice for them. I can (and ought to) tell you why I believe what I believe, but I can't make you believe what I believe.

I'm a little sidetracked though because that wasn't exactly where I was going with this post. Over the past few Christmases I have thought a lot about what Christmas should mean to me and what I should take away from the holiday. And every year I'm slightly disappointed with myself because I get so caught up in the gifts and what I will get and what I'm going to give my family and friends, and then after all the giving and getting is over on Christmas day, I just feel a little empty inside, just a little unfulfilled. Even if I give and receive great gifts, there's still that slight hollowness that indicates I missed something. And I think the problem is my focus and the perspective of Christmas that has been deeply ingrained in me since I was a child.

I remember the night before Christmas always being such an exciting evening. My sister and I would be too wound up to get to sleep, but we wanted to go to bed early so "Santa" could hurry up and come. When we were younger and shared a bedroom, I remember us laying in our beds talking and guessing what our gifts might be until we'd both fall asleep. I remember waking up every year on Christmas morning earlier than I would wake up any other day of the year. If I woke up first, I'd go get Shanna out of bed and vice versa. The very first thing we did was run to the living room where the Christmas tree would be lit up with piles and piles of beautifully wrapped presents just begging us to tear into them. After surveying our awaiting treasures, we'd go get my mom out of bed (who was probably exhausted from staying up all night wrapping those gifts and arranging them neatly under the tree). I can just remember the giddiness and the excitement and the thrill of it all. It was so much fun. After it was all over, we'd be swimming in a sea of wrapping paper, tossing new clothes to the side and searching for batteries to put in our new toys. We'd then go to my dad's house and start the gift-getting all over again (I always said that was the one benefit of having divorced parents, TWO Christmases). Then after every box had been opened, I'd call whoever my best friend was that year and we'd spell out in detail what we each received, one of us inevitably getting jealous because the other got something better.

That's what Christmas was to me for many years. When I was in high school, I had to be a little cooler than that so I didn't display as much excitement and didn't get up quite as early, and then Christmas started to change. The older we get, the fewer gifts we get (even if they're more expensive gifts, it's still a smaller pile and doesn't look as impressive under the tree), and then we move out and start our own families and the gift pile definitely pales in comparison. I think part of that lacking feeling I get now after Christmas is over is because I know it will never again be like those younger years for me. It's a little sad to look back on those nostalgic times and realize that you can't go back to that. But the other part of the emptiness I think is because all those years of gifts and excitement about new toys and competing with my brother and sister to see if one of us got more than the other or got better gifts than the other, kind of created this self-seeking attitude and expectation about Christmas that hasn't quite ever gone away. Even after I put my faith in Christ in the 11th grade and came to realize the true significance of Christmas, I could never really turn off what I'd always thought it to be.

Enter Brock. There's a part of me that wants to buy tons and tons of gifts for my child and let him experience the excitement and fun that I had on Christmas morning seeing and opening all those presents under the tree. Then there's another part of me that wants to not do gifts at all so he never grows up expecting things from people and never gets spoiled or ungrateful and so he values Christmas for its biblical meaning and nothing else. But thankfully, I don't have to choose one extreme or the other and the rational side of me has decided to take a balanced approach.

A few years ago, after Blaine and I had been married a couple of years, I read an article in a magazine or online or somewhere about an idea of how to make Christmas affordable, practical, and maybe a little more spiritual than material and I really liked it. The suggestion was rather than buy a bazillion gifts, to pick out only three things: Something they need, Something they want, and Something educational. The premise behind this idea is that the biblical story of Jesus' birth records the wise men bringing him three gifts: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. Blaine and I started putting this into practice with each other because I thought it was a really great way to keep our spending in check (I really love to give gifts and that's probably the one area in our budget that I generally overspend because I can always justify in my head buying something to give to someone else), but it also ties the gift-giving at Christmas back in with the story of Christianity, which is the reason that Blaine and I celebrate this season.

So now that Brock is in the picture and this is his first Christmas, our goal has been to start the 3 Gifts from the beginning and continue on with that each year. I want Brock to learn that the part of Christmas that brings the real happiness and joy is not what Santa Claus brings or what's under the tree on Christmas morning, but rather it is what Jesus brought 2000 years ago and the gift that he offers freely to all of us. It's not about new toys or new clothes. It's about the opportunity to receive a new heart, a new spirit, a new life, an opportunity that Christ gave us when he came to this earth, being born as a human and later dying a cruel and unjust death so that we might live. It may sound like fiction or fairytale to some, and it doesn't seem like a logical story, the God of the universe comes as a baby to live as we live on this earth and to walk among us only to be killed and rise again after three days. Even as I write these things I understand how someone can have a hard time believing a story like this, but the Bible also addresses that fact:
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside." Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.  (1 Corinthians 1:18-21, ΝΑSB)
So this is why we celebrate Christmas and this is what I want to teach our children. I want to give them gifts and I want it to be a fun time of year where we put up Christmas trees and lights and we make cookies and take pictures with Santa, and I don't want to remove any of those great traditions from the picture, but I want it to be clear that those are not what it's all about. Those things are not WHY we celebrate, they are just a part of the celebration. We don't celebrate our own birthdays because of the balloons and streamers and cake and gifts - those are things that we do to celebrate our coming into the world. Similarly, the celebration at Christmas is about Jesus coming into the world and those other things should help us reflect on him and remind us of him, not distract us from the truth. This is what we want to teach Brock, and this is what we hope he will eventually believe for himself, not because that's what he grew up hearing but because it hopefully will make a profound and meaningful impact in his heart one day.

Merry Christmas!
"The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”” Luke 2:11-14, NLT

Monday, December 19

Nine Months

Brock is nine months old today, which is weird because at some point my brain stopped allowing him to get older and I keep thinking he is only six months old. He has started outgrowing his 6-9 month clothing and every time I have to put something away, the thought goes through my head, "Why is he already outgrowing this size? He's only 6 months old!" Then I remember he's not and feel a little crazy. Anyway, he is actually nine months so hopefully it will stick in my brain now.

We had a checkup at the doctor today, which I always look forward to for some reason. No shots this time, just a little toe prick to check his hemoglobin, but I'm pretty sure he reacted worse to that than he ever has to the shots. He's a little dramatic in my opinion. He still weighs 20 pounds exactly, which puts him around the 50th percentile and means he hasn't really gained any weight since his 6-month appointment (tell that to my biceps though). And he is now 29 inches long, which is about the 75th percentile, so he's getting tall and thinning out (maybe he'll have more of his daddy's body type). Other than the weird man in the elevator who stayed standing right next to us after the other people got off (hello, unspoken elevator rules!) and who kept talking baby talk to Brock, I would say it was a good visit to the doctor.

Here are some of Brock's accomplishments and patterns for the time between the eighth and ninth months:
  • At 35 weeks, he started pull-crawling on his belly, also known as the army or combat crawl. He was inspired by the Christmas lights (in case you missed the video, here it is). Now he can really move himself around and can scoot across the floor pretty quickly.
  • He started waving bye-bye at 35 weeks, sort of. He does it randomly and doesn't always do it when someone is actually going bye-bye, but I'm still going to let it count.
  • We moved his crib mattress down to the lowest setting at 36 weeks. He's still not pulling himself up or pulling himself to sitting, but since he started "crawling" we assumed it would only be a matter of time before those other things take place and better to be safe than sorry.
  • He's eating all kinds of finger foods now: animal crackers, cheese, small pieces of our meals (which I keep accidentally referring to as "people food," as if what he's been eating until now was for something other than people). He really got the hang of the chewing motion this month and figured out that he shouldn't just immediately swallow everything that goes in his mouth so I've been a lot more confident about feeding him table foods.
  • He has gotten really interested in Piper, especially her tail. Every time she comes in sight he looks down at her and smiles really big. He laughs at her all the time and tries to grab her tail and eat it when it's within reach. He's gotten a lot more aware of and interested in his surroundings, in general, but I like how amused he is by Piper, in particular. She is not quite as enthused about him, unless he is in his high chair dropping his new finger foods.
  • We've started experiencing some separation anxiety this month, which is apparently right on track according to the What to Expect book. I read that it's just a phase and that he'll probably get over it within the next couple of months, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed because I don't want a clingy baby who will hardly let anyone else hold him and who always needs me in his sight (which is how he has occasionally been acting lately). He even had a couple of meltdowns in the church nursery and we had to go down because they couldn't calm him. Not cool.
  • As I mentioned before, he's now outgrowing some 6-9 month pajamas and pants and is moving toward the 9-12 month sizes. He is still in size 3 diapers though (size 4 at night).
  • He can pull from sitting to standing if something is directly in front of him and if we're behind him as a safety net, but other than that he doesn't even really show much interest in pulling himself up. I guess it's too much work.
  • This month, he started turning the pages of books himself while I'm reading to him. I loved it at first and thought it was so cute, but now I have to speed read to get all the words in before he flips to the next page. We can go through a 10 page board book in about 5 seconds.
  • Blaine and I are starting to see little flickers of understanding and comprehension when we talk to Brock. He doesn't really fully comprehend anything yet, but you can tell something is starting to stir in his little brain. He's also connecting things, like he knows what certain sounds mean. When we turn the water on in the bathtub, he looks into the bathroom from his room, or when he hears Piper shake her ears or scratch, he'll look for her.
  • He kind of moved back to a 3 or 3.5 hour eating schedule. According to his age, he should be able to go 4 hours between feedings, but I haven't really pushed it because I've noticed he spits up less if he eats smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Maybe we'll shift toward the 4 hours this next month.
  • He goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00 at night and sleeps til 7:00 or 7:30 in the morning. He takes two or three naps during the day, but I think he's probably about ready to drop that third nap now because it always seems to make him crankier when he wakes up from it.
  • We've started working on discipline this month because he's starting to get into things that are not for him and I can tell he's beginning to test boundaries to see how much he can have or do. I'm a little concerned about what discipline is going to be like for him though because as of now, when I tell him "No" he just smiles and thinks it's hilarious. Sometimes he'll pull my hair (really hard!) and I take his hand in mine and remove it from my hair and say, "No, no, Brock. That hurts Mommy." His reply is not, "Oh I'm sorry Mommy. I'll stop." It's, "Ha ha." This is going to be fun.
  • He might be learning his name, but I'm not convinced yet. Sometimes he looks when we say Brock and doesn't look when we call him other names, but then sometimes he responds to any word, so who knows? I'm not surprised he doesn't know it yet though because really we call him all kinds of nicknames, and this month I've had to intentionally make myself start calling him by his name so that eventually he knows what it is.
  • He's still trying to cut those top teeth. Ugh, and they are killers. Again with the dramatic thing. I'm pretty sure it can't hurt as bad as he lets on sometimes, but who am I to say really? I wish they'd all just come in though and we could be done with this teething madness.
My Milestones
I thought I'd end with a few of my own personal milestones that I've noticed this month:
  • I'm not googling as many things in an attempt to make sure he's normal anymore. I spent a good portion of my days on the internet the first several months, concerned about every little thing, and this month when I went to google whether Brock should know his name by now, it occurred to me that I've only searched for a couple of things in the past month: The name thing, whether he should be able to pull himself to sitting, and whether it's safe to eat Honey Nut Cheerios (babies aren't supposed to eat honey until after age 1, but apparently it's safe if it's been cooked - in case anyone else wanted to know). Only three searches in an entire month is really quite an achievement for myself. Yaay me!
  • This second milestone is not such a good one though. I've realized this month that I have forgotten A LOT about the past nine months. My friend Kerri (remember her baby shower I blogged about) had her baby November 18 and since then she has occasionally called or texted me with a question. Almost every time it takes me a while to stop and think about what Brock was doing in that first month and what things were like back then and at what point he started doing what. Even with my ridiculously detailed monthly updates in the blog, there are so many things I didn't write down that I'm afraid I have forgotten or glossed over. This is scary for two reasons: (1.) I'm much more likely to want another baby soon if I don't remember everything from the beginning, and (2.) I'm much more likely to have no idea what to do with another baby if I don't remember what I did with Brock.
  • The final milestone is probably the one that does the most for my sanity. I'm starting to realize the truth to the motto, "This too shall pass." In previous months, I can remember Brock going through a phase of some sort that was really rough and tiring and difficult to deal with and I would always get kind of bent out of shape because I would be afraid that this new thing was going to last forever. Now that I've been through several different phases and rough patches and we've all come out alive on the other side of them (me, more than anyone else... I'm not homicidal or anything), it's sinking in that they are just temporary difficulties and that they will pass. There's always something with an infant - teething, sickness, schedule changes, growth spurts, and just learning new skills in general - so there are always going to be ups and downs, and I'm just figuring out that if I roll with them instead of freaking out and thinking the world is turning upside down, then life is going to be a lot easier for me. It only took nine months for me to come to this conclusion. Sheesh.

Friday, December 16

Friday Photos - O Christmas Tree

Brock is really scooting around now with his army crawl and can get from point A to point B pretty quickly. Sometimes when I turn the lights of the Christmas tree on, he gets really curious and makes a beeline to investigate the strange green thing with balls and lights on it in the middle of our living room. I've had to move all the ornaments off of the lowest branches since we've already lost a couple to the hardwood floor. You'll notice I've delayed putting any gifts under the tree yet, mostly because I don't want to have to worry about wrapping them multiple times. But I do like seeing his fascination and interest and watching him try to figure out what he's looking at. It's fun to see things through a child's eyes.

I just liked how his little hands were folded over each other in this picture. He seems so content to be there.

Brock is the only human that Piper unwillingly cuddles with. She's still not sure about him, but he's really starting to love her.

Dear Santa, if this is my Christmas present, I hope you included the gift receipt. Nah, just kidding... I wouldn't take this gift back (well, depending on which day you ask me).

Friday, December 9

Friday Photos - See Rock City

As I've mentioned before, Brock loves lights. Lights and ceiling fans. These things have always captivated him since he could first focus and see them. Because of his fascination with lights, I've been excited to see how he would react to all the Christmas decorations up during this time of year. Unfortunately, he doesn't really notice them in the car because his carseat doesn't have a great vantage point. He likes the ones on our Christmas tree and on the outside of our house, but that's about all he's gotten to experience so far. So we thought it would be a fun outing to take him to see the Enchanted Garden of Lights at Rock City. We got together with Brock's cousins, Anna and Taylor, and Uncle Casey and Aunt "LaLa" (Lee) and took a trip to Lookout Mountain last night to see Rock City.

All bundled up and ready for the adventure

His first view of all the lights. He was pretty amazed!

He wanted to touch every tree we walked past.

This face pretty much sums up how much fun he was having

Starting to get a little sleepy toward the end of the walk

Annndddd... this is around the time the babies reached their breaking point. Taylor was still enjoying himself though.

We did get a quick picture with Santa before the breakdown though. Anna wasn't too fond of him, and I think Brock just hadn't realized yet that some strange man was holding him. I do love that these two are so close in age. I think they'll have lots of fun growing up together.

Overall the trip was a success, and Brock really seemed to enjoy seeing all the different colored lights. I'd like to make it a yearly tradition to take them and see the lights, but maybe we'll just find some neighborhood that has a lot of houses lit up because it was pretty cold on the top of the mountain and Rock City is kind of crazy expensive! It was fun though, and I'm sure it's something Brock will remember forever ;)

Missing Friday Photo - Peppermint Sticks

Oops, I missed last week's picture again. I had already taken the pictures, and I even typed out the little paragraph below, but I never got around to actually loading the pictures or putting them on the blog. So here they are now from last week. Life is getting a little busier around here, but hopefully I can stay on track from now on.

There is Christmas candy all around my house, and Blaine has been enjoying it lately. With Brock's current "You've got something; I want it" mentality, Blaine couldn't just enjoy a peppermint stick this week without some curious hands (and a mouth) joining in. Luckily, Daddy shares well with others (now, Mommy, on the other hand...). Something about these pictures remind me of the movie Lady & The Tramp.

Friday, November 25

Friday Photo in Motion - Camera, Lights, Action

From birth, Brock has been fascinated by lights. Almost to a point where I occasionally wonder whether there is something wrong with him. He loves to stare at any kind of light there is, and every time we go to a new place the first thing he looks for are lights. Maybe he's going to be an electrician one day or something.

Anyway, I've been kind of excited about Christmas time because I've been looking forward to seeing Brock's reaction to all the lights up everywhere. Today we got out all our Christmas stuff to work on getting it put up. Brock was laying on his playmat just hanging out with his toys while Blaine and I unpacked the icicle lights for outside. We untangled them all and laid them out, then plugged them in to make sure they were all working. As soon as Brock caught sight of all the lights on the floor, he decided to learn how to crawl!

All this week he's been starting to pull himself a little with his hands and has been moving around a little more. But at most, he would only move forward a couple of inches and it was a pretty slow process. Apparently his love for lights was a serious motivator though because he got to them faster than I could get them out of his way. We did it a couple of times and caught him on video, so I thought it would make a good, festive Friday photo in motion.

Monday, November 21

Eight Months

Brock turned 8 months old this past Saturday. He's changing so much now and learning so many new things. This hasn't been an easy month because we had a couple of weeks with some weird behaviors and Brock is developing a lot more self-determination and personal preferences, but I guess that's to be expected. We didn't have to go to the doctor for a checkup this month, but from what I can tell he seems to be holding steady at about 20 pounds and 27 inches. He's moving around a lot more now so I imagine his weight gain will level off for a little while.

These are some of Brock's patterns and accomplishments for the time between the 7th and 8th months:
  • At 30 weeks, his first tooth popped through on the bottom right side. Then about three days later the bottom left tooth came in as well. No sign of the top teeth yet.
  • He likes to have conversations in screams and squeals. Brock doesn't really babble with words like bababa or anything. He will occasionally say some consonants, but his preferred method of communication is just to shriek and wait for one of us to shriek back. We will go back and forth for a while doing this until he has said what he needs to say.
  • He can sit up independently pretty well now. If he has something in his hands that he's focused on, he will stay upright for a good long time, but if he's busy with things on the floor around him, he falls over more quickly. He's not pulling up to a sitting position yet though.
  • Brock found his private parts this month. Whenever I take his diaper off, he will sometimes reach down and immediately grab himself which is really annoying when he has a dirty diaper because his fingers always go right into the poop. Then I have to quickly clean them before they go straight to the mouth.
  • On that same note, it's getting a lot harder to change his diaper because he always wants to roll over on the changing table now. I basically have to wrestle him, hold him down, or distract him with some kind of random object like a clothes hanger or socks or his feet.
  • It also got a lot more difficult this month to clip his nails. In past months, I would normally do this while he was nursing, but he has become so aware of and curious about everything now that he gets distracted when I try to clip them, and he stops nursing and starts trying to grab the clippers. Needless to say, it takes forever to clip ten tiny fingernails (and we won't even talk about the toenails).
  • I'm not quite sure when it happened, but Brock doesn't mind being on his stomach anymore. I think it was sometime between five and seven months actually, but I didn't think about it until this month when he was constantly trying to wiggle away from me onto his belly at diaper change time. He loves to roll around on the floor to get places and can cover a lot of ground in just a few minutes if he's trying to go somewhere specific.
  • He can stand up really well with support. His legs seem to be pretty strong and he likes standing to play with his LeapFrog activity table.
  • Something happened around 31 weeks and he had some very rough nights. He wasn't taking great naps during the day and would get tired really early in the evening at like 6:00 but we would try keeping him up at least until 7:00. Then when I would try to nurse him before bed he would go into an all-out meltdown and scream and cry and basically just freak out. He would also wake up in the middle of the night crying, which he doesn't normally ever do. We tried Tylenol, putting him to bed earlier, doing the routine in a different room, and all kinds of other stuff but he still had the meltdowns for several nights in a row. Finally at some point I tried giving him Orajel before I nursed him and it seemed to do the trick. So I guess it was just teething, but I'm still not positive.
  • Brock got the croup (is it "the croup" or just "croup", I'm still not sure) at 34 weeks and we had to go to the emergency room (our first visit) because he was having trouble breathing at night. That week we again experienced the pre-bedtime meltdowns and night waking for several nights in a row so I'm thinking now that this is what he does when he's either sick or something is hurting him. It's insane though... he's going to have to learn some sign language or some other method of letting us know he doesn't feel well because those nighttime freakouts are disturbing and distressing.
  • He's still somewhere between a 3 and 4 hour schedule. He usually goes between 3 and 3.5 hours for feedings in the mornings and then by afternoon/evening he stretches it out more to 4 hours. He started off the month nursing about 5 times a day and by the end of the month he's averaging more like 4 times a day. He has solids 3 times a day. He has also gotten great at finger foods and self-feeding. He had mastered the puffs by the end of the month and is working on some other foods like green beans and Cheerios.
  • We transitioned through a time change this month. The first couple of weeks were rough, but things started smoothing out during the third week after the change. I realized what a predictable routine he had set up when he was waking up exactly one hour earlier when the time changed. He's still not completely back to his 7:00-7:30 wake up time, sometimes it's more like 6:30, but I think we'll get there again eventually (and then it will be time for the Spring time change probably). He's at least able to stay up later without getting upset now.
Those were some of the most significant changes this month. I love that he is always so happy and friendly and likes to smile and laugh. He is really becoming a busy little guy and is no longer content just to sit and relax unless he's tired. He wants to touch and eat everything and pays attention to all the things we do now, even little things like turning off a light or opening a door. You can just see him learning and discovering stuff and trying to figure everything out in his mind, and it's fascinating to me. I get lost sometimes just watching him and seeing him accomplishing all these new things. I don't think it will ever get old to me.

Friday, November 18

Friday Photos - Good Morning

Most mornings when it's time for Brock to get up, I just go and immediately get him out of the bed to feed him. But last Saturday morning he was in a particularly good mood, smiling and talking, so I thought I'd play with him for a few minutes first. I sat him up in his crib to talk to him and play peek-a-boo and he slowly scooted himself to the crib rail and wiggled his feet through, peeking over the rail. I thought it would make some pretty cute pictures so I grabbed my camera and this is what I ended up with.


It's probably about time to move the bed down to the lower level. Who knows when he'll be able to pull himself up to this position?

Saturday, November 12

A Letter to My Neighbor

Dear Neighbor,

I live down the street from you and saw you out sometime last year walking your dog and your baby in a stroller before my baby was born, and I got really excited because I thought we could be great mom friends and have playdates with our kids and our dogs and walk around the neighborhood together. I had big hopes for our potential friendship and figured I would introduce myself after my baby was born and everything would work perfectly from there. But in the meantime some things have happened that I'm afraid may have made it more difficult for us to become friends.

First of all, I want to say I'm sorry about almost backing over you in my car. Technically, I was just backing up to the end of my driveway and then I always stop and look up and down the street before I pull out, but I know it looked like I was about to run right over you and your baby and your dog. I could tell you were a little nervous by how you picked up the pace as you ran past my driveway. I was a little concerned then about our future friendship, but I figured I would just leave my car at home when I introduced myself and you wouldn't realize it was me until we already had a great relationship and then you would just forgive me and we would laugh about it.

Then there was that day when I let my dog out in our front yard to use the bathroom and you were walking up the street. Because I wasn't paying close attention to Piper (my dog), she ran up to you and caused your large black lab to get loose and start chasing her. Then you had to run after your dog with your baby and stroller, and I know that was terribly inconvenient. When they both ran up on my porch and I retrieved your dog's leash, I thought this might be my moment to introduce myself but we were both so flustered with the animals and you seemed like you just wanted to get your dog and leave so we both said sorry and we left it at that.

Even with those two things though I thought we might have still had a chance. But then last week's incident seemed to have sealed our fate. Piper got loose from our yard (because our fence is in need of some repairs) and had been gone for a little while but I couldn't go looking for her because my baby was napping and she wouldn't come when I was calling for her, so I just assumed she would come back eventually. Well, when my husband came home and I drove around looking for her (in my pajama pants and t-shirt, no less) I saw her at the end of the street in your yard barking at you and your daughter as you were playing outside. I thought I might could just drive by unnoticed and maybe the dog would follow me, but when I turned around I noticed the indiscreet scornful look you were shooting my way. It was pretty clear that our future friendship was probably not going to come into existence when I waved a guilty, "I'm sorry" wave and it wasn't returned with a "That's ok; these things happen" wave.

So, I'm coming to grips with the reality that we probably will just remain neighbors who don't know each other's names, but the invitation is always open if you decide you can overlook my un-neighborly actions. And I just want you to know that even though I was walking behind you that day, I wasn't stalking you. We just happened to be strolling our babies at the same time in the same direction.

Shelby (Your neighbor who had hopes of gaining another mom friend)

Friday, November 11

Friday Photo - Puffs

Brock is learning how to chew now. Or at least, he's learning how to suck on something until it dissolves and doesn't choke him. We've been giving him those little Puff snacks that kind of look and taste slightly like styrofoam but they melt in your mouth (or anywhere else if they come in contact with water). I started offering the puffs to him at about 6 months, but he would try to immediately swallow them and would always gag, so I figured I should probably wait a little while longer. We haven't really given him any table food because he hasn't gotten the chewing reflex down yet, but I figured the puffs would be good practice and maybe help him figure it out. The past couple of weeks he has started doing a lot better with them, and he knows now that he has to hold them in his mouth for a few seconds first. Sometimes he chews but mostly I think he just sucks on them. He's kind of figuring out how to feed himself with them too, but it's difficult because he grabs them with his fist and then can't quite understand how to transfer them from his closed fist to his mouth. I took some pictures of him this week enjoying the puffs at snack time.

The camera became more interesting than the puffs at this point.
Check out his two little teeth on the bottom, if you can see them.

This is probably one of my favorite pictures of him now. I love his big blue eyes and long eyelashes. His mom thinks he's quite a handsome boy!

The Missing Friday Photo - Halloween

I completely forgot to post a Friday Photo last week for some reason. Blaine and I went on a date that night and were completely exhausted when we got home (even though our big night out was just to the Dollar Tree, dinner, and dessert at Rembrandt's; apparently we're getting old), so I guess it just slipped my mind. I was going to post it on another day, but then it wouldn't be a Friday Photo so I thought I'd just wait and do two this week.

Probably another reason I forgot to post the pictures last week is because they weren't incredibly exciting. I had every intention of making a Halloween costume for Brock this year (he was going to be a sack of potatoes) and maybe taking him to a Trunk or Treat or doing something with his cousins, but the time got away from me and I never got around to buying the supplies for the costume. I didn't want to go spend twenty bucks on some last minute costume from Walmart that would probably be awful because all the good ones had already been picked over, and I really didn't see the point anyway because it's not like Brock would be eating the candy and I definitely didn't need it myself (since I'm still carrying around some extra unwanted pregnancy weight). Sooo, we just put him in a little Halloween onesie my sister bought him and hung out at the house, giving candy to all the kids who have good, selfless, fun moms that took them Trick-or-Treating. I admit that I did feel slightly guilty after it was over, but only for a minute because then I thought of the 10 years (at least) ahead of me that I won't be able to get away with skipping Halloween. Anyway, here are some pictures of what we did on Halloween night.

First, we spent some time playing with the "new to us" Leap Frog activity table

This is his (slightly large) Halloween outfit. It even glows in the dark, so that should get me some points, right?

Then we spent some time outside watching for Trick-or-Treaters and waiting for Grandaddy Vandy to come visit us

Then Brock tried to eat the porch furniture and got mad when we wouldn't let him, so we went back inside
That wasn't too bad of a way to spend the evening. I should've just not taken any pictures at all, and Brock would never even know what we did for his first Halloween; I could've made up all kinds of things.