These are letters to Jack, my son, and my daughter, Audrey. You have given me the gift of motherhood. This is just a little gift back. I want to share my experiences with you of your childhood from my perspective of watching you grow - of being your Mom.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Night out


Last night your Daddy and I went out to eat at Texas Roadhouse complete with large dinners and drinks, and followed that up with a grown up movie: "The Last King of Scotland".

It was great!

Where were you, you wonder?

With your Aunt Kelly and Uncle Bobby - having the time of your life!
Kelly and Bobby had eagerly volunteered to watch you for the evening and were prepared with all your Cars toys setup for you, so you were right at home with everything you could have wanted right at your fingertips! Not a bad deal, huh?
Kelly had picked you up from school and gave you a couple of new car toys to help you with the surprise transition and then you went home with her and played Cars and had a snack and hung out!

Meanwhile, your Daddy and I were at Texas Roadhouse, having drinks and watching the waiting staff do the most humiliating line dance ever. It was quite entertaining!
You had a blast and we are so glad that you got a chance to have a fun night out just like us! After playing inside, Kelly and Bobby took you outside for a run around the backyard. Apparently you had a blast again - running down the hill, falling and racing back up again.
And all this without pants!
Does life GET any better?
Don't let go of that milk, Buddy!
And - as part of their move to make you one with nature, Kelly and Bobby let you go without a diaper and do your thing - au natural....
Okay - not really. That's not a poop, just a well placed leaf on your diaper, but I bet I made you wonder, right? Thanks to your Aunt Kelly for these fantastic photos!
After a wild run outside, you went back inside to play chase with Uncle Bobby around the house and more quiet time with your Cars.
I'm thinking you might have a countdown calendar posted somewhere for the next time we should go out - seeing how much you enjoyed your night with the Wassels!
I even found a suspiciously placed menu on top of your diaper bag this morning (ok-not really!)
I think days off occassionally help us more appreciate our time that we have together. It felt so good to pick you up and feel your arms around my neck when we came to get you.
Today we are relaxing and enjoying a quiet Saturday together.

Life is good! Thank god you can count on family to help you appreciate that!



Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bedtime Routine


I wanted to blog about your bedtime routine because it's evolved into a process that I enjoy.

Your bedtime usually starts around 7:30. If time escapes me, you sometimes even remind me that it's bedtime by taking my hand and saying "bed" but it comes out sounding more like "behd".

We head up the stairs with your milk (and now - me hiding your binky in my free hand), and head to the bathroom. We've taken to storing our toothbrush and toothpaste inside of your stepstool so you can reach it and you open the stepstool, take out your brush and pape and put in your sippy.

Then you put the lid down and I hand you your brush with a little paste on it and you climb up to the sink to chew on your brush and sometimes try brushing as you copy off of me a little by watching me in the mirror. Sometimes you even want to trade brushes because my brush is bigger and holds more water. I try to rinse it out really well first, but there is usually a little minty paste left over which I think you like. You chew on my brush for awhile and then we put the brushes back in the stool, grab your milk in the sippy and I hand you your binky and we both head to your bed.

I give you a boost to your bed and turn out the lights. Sometimes with a story, sometimes not depending on how tired you are by this time.

From the time that the lights go out, a cycle begins that helps you to wind down. That is the "trade" game. You have your pacifier in your mouth and your bear and I have your sippy cup. You will say "Mommmeeee, Huhg?" and I'll say "Yes, Jack, I'd LOVE a hug". I give you a snuggly cuddle and wait for you to push me away. When you push me away, you always take your pacifier out of your mouth, hold out bear and say "Twake?" This means "trade" and it's my part in the little dance to take your pacifier and bear from your hands, and give you your sippy cup of milk and say "Trade" back to you.

You drink from your cup until you are full and then hold out your cup of milk and say "twake" and I hand the pacifier (or bee-baa, as you call it) back to you along with Rufus and you laugh at the victory of the exchange complete and say "Beee-Baaa!"

About 10 seconds of silence and then I hear: "Mommmeeee, huhhhggggg?" and we start over.

The exchange takes place over and over again and the amount of time between repetitions grows longer until you drift off to sleep.



Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bee-Baa free at last (except for naps and nighttime)


Yesterday was our first day of instituting a new policy of no Bee-Baa's during waking hours. Bee-baa's are now confined to sleep times only and the reason that I gave you is that binky's are for babies, and you are a big boy now. You weren't happy about it and initially cried hard for it, but I stuck to my guns and, by the end of the day, the rationale made sense to you and you understood that you could have it when you went to bed but not during wake up time.

That went SO much easier than I had anticipated that it almost makes me nervous. It's like I'm waiting for a bee-baa backlash, but deep down, I really don't think it's going to come.

You are understanding so much more now and communicating so much, that I think you really get it.

One thing that you've started doing lately which is SO adorable is that you will say something that you want - like a toy you want or a movie you want to watch and, when I repeat the word back to you to make sure I understood it right, you say "ooooooookaaaaaaay" like you are grudgingly agreeing with my suggestion and humoring me. It's so grown up and hilarious that it shocked me into stunned silence the first time you did it.

Now, I giggle and ask your Daddy "Did you hear what Jack just said? Did you? He said: tooow, and I said "Cars?" and he said "oooooookaaaay". Isn't that funny?"

I'm sure you are convinced by now that you have to talk reeeeeeeallllyyyyy slllllooooooooowlllleee for Mommmmmeeeeee because obviously there is something wrong with me that I must repeat every interaction that we have as though it's the funniest thing I've heard in my life. :)



Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A 3 hour tour


This past weekend marked your first voyage on a boat.
Highly anticipated, I might add.
You were quite excited at the prospect of seeing a boat close up, so you camped out on the balcony watching all the boats pass by and excitedly pointing at each of them.
You called them all NEMO.
The boat was a little late in arriving, so it wasn't long before we had all joined you out on the balcony to play the waiting and watching game.
You decided the one padded chair on the balcony was yours and were quite adamant about it being yours.
"Mooooo Mommeee mooooooob" as you tug on my hand.
I would relocate and you would quickly reclaim your treasured spot.
In the manner of the men in our family - namely Uncle Bobby and Poppa Dough - they LOVE to tease people when they know what buttons to push.
So a game evolved.
You would get up for any of a million reasons - to get your milk, to find Katchow, to call to Grandma - and you would return to find Bobby or Poppa in your chair!
Here you would set about tugging on the offending persons hand and pleading with them. "Moooob Poppa moooooooob" "Mooooooob BaaaBaaa MOOOOOOOOOB!"
And would reclaim your much defended place on the balcony once again.
Here you are particularly worked up because I took your binky in the hopes of getting some cute pictures.
You can almost hear the cries of BEEEEEEE BAAAAAAAAH! BEEEEEEEE BAAAAAAH!
Then - just before it all went to hell in a handbasket - we spotted our boat!
I think you had had your doubts as to whether or not one would eventually show up that we would claim.
You were pretty awed and watched as the boat approached the docks and we all sprung into action getting ready to go down and check it out up close for ourselves.Finally, it was time to check it out for ourselves!Let me tell you - it's a beauty!It's got a pop up shower, a table and more seating than you would think you would ever use, plus a beautiful shade that unfolds right over the back part of the boat.Here you are with your life vest on. Since this was the delivery of the boat, the adults had to go over all the features with the salesperson delivering it and it took quite some time.
I think you thought this was the extent of what it could do initially and, therefore, weren't terribly impressed initially.
You had Baa-Baa and Yaiy-yaiy, though, so all was good!
Here you are checking things out with Daddy.
Looks good!
Finally, it was time for the maiden voyage.
Here we are backing out of the dock.
Here we are making our way slowly to the channel where we will be able to go faster.
Here are Grandma and Poppa on the tritoon that they bought - enjoying the fruits of their labors!
When we started to go a little faster, the breeze was beautiful, the sun was shining and there was so much to see - not to mention the fact that we were in the middle of the water! THE WATER!
A few minutes into the ride and you started to find your comfort level. You loved the boat, although I have learned that you prefer the slow to moderate ride. Anything fast and you start to panic. I think the wind blowing hard in your face makes you panic because you don't know how to breathe in all that wind coming at you and you start whipping your head about and crying and grabbing at me or your Daddy for protection from the wind.
But when the pace of the boat is nice and relaxed, you LOVE it. You laugh and look around and point to passing things like water slides that land in the lake and the big red balls that hang from the power lines over the water which you think are balloons. Also, there was a huge number of hawks and large birds of prey down at the lake circling and you would point at the birdies and make tweet-tweet noises. I had a blast playing with you on the boat. You thought it was great fun to be on a ride with the wind whipping past and NOT have to be in a carseat!
You made the most of the experience by standing as often as possible and playing cute little tickle games with me.I loved it!I wasn't the only one either!
I think we all fell in love with the new role of boat owners! Here are some pics - see if you agree with me!: Daddy chillin' with Rufus:
Cruisin the Lake!
I like to refer to this next one as "Oh Captain, My Captain" because it makes me think of the movie: Dead Poets Society and Carpe Diem and all that: Check out these grins! Life is good, isn't it?!?Daddy took to driving on the boat like he had done it a million times before. I was impressed!
Then Bobby took over! Holy crap on a stick!
Did you know a tritoon could go mach 2?
Look out, Lake! Old Bangy has arrived!Here Bobby and Poppa take it all in.
WHAT'S THAT? Oh, YEAH?!? Why don't you come down here and say that?
Kelly at the wheel!
I've had five cups of coffee-let's see if this puppy can FLY!!!Poppa - how many times do we have to tell you - DON'T TAUNT THE DRIVER!!!
This is my "I-know-you-are-taking-a-picture-of-me-but-I'm-trying-to-look-like-I-don't-notice" face:
Now I'm admitting I know the picture is happening but apparently waiting for it to be over like an innoculation.
When we finally called it a night that evening, we lost Poppa at about 8PM.
And when I say lost, I mean that he temporarily died.
Don't believe me? See for yourself.
Really put a damper on the rest of the night.
Jack, I'm really excited to share the lake experience with you as you grow up and hope you have a ton of happy memories of the lakehouse and the boat like I do from my childhood.
I still can't believe we have a boat!



Oh - and very importantly - on the JOB FRONT! We don't have any "official" offers yet, but it's looking good for us to stay in Saint Louis. Sounds like Daddy's company is working to create a job for him here in Saint Louis, so that takes a huge amount of stress off, but I'll feel better when we have it in writing!