Thursday, March 29, 2012

Goodbye, for now.

Approximately one year ago I said goodbye to the kindest, warmest and gentlest woman I've ever known, my Maw-Maw Boo. One year later and it still feels surreal to think that she is no longer physically with us. I say physically, because I know she is still with me, in my heart. I carry her everyday. I have so many fond memories of time spent with her that it is difficult to place my finger on a particular favorite. My parents divorced when I was very young and when my dad worked and we were not in school, we were at Maw-Maws.

I went to school on her side of the river but lived on the other. In order to help my dad, she would pick me up from school and sometimes, cross the Huey P to bring me home. I will forever cherish those car rides. She would always have a snack ready for me and we would listen to country music. One day, I mentioned that I liked Jimmy Buffett. Shortly thereafter she bought the cassette: Jimmy Buffett- Songs you know my heart. Now, my Maw-Maw was a church going woman and I never heard her say and unkind word, let alone a swear word. She was old fashioned and there were certain topics that just were not discussed. If you are familiar with Jimmy Buffett, you can imagine her horror when the song "Why dont we get drunk" came on while her 8 year old granddaughter was in the car. I'm sure I giggled and from then on, we fast forwarded that song every time. To this day, I think of her every time I hear that song. Weird huh?!

There are so many of her sayings that I recall. One that is vivid happened when we were very young, if we would pick our nose, she would say "habit, habit." I guess she was attempting to thwart this bad "habit." Kind of gross, but it still cracks me up to this day. If we were doing something gross, she would say "couchon" which translates to pig in French. After she would bathe the dog and brush him, he would go crazy running through the house. She would say "charge, Pepper charge" and we would join in, hysterically laughing all along. There was so much laughter in that house.

Some of my fondest memories are of her singing to us. Her particular favorites were Babyface and You are my Sunshine . It took me a long time to be able to sing them to my son. She died when I was pregnant and I am still heartbroken that she never got to hold himand he never got to know her personally. Now, I can get through the songs but all the while I am thinking of her. She also used to sing "Mammy's little baby loves shortin' bread" and I'm pretty sure when she sang it to me she changed Mammy to Mandy. That was what she called me.

She used to do so many thoughtful things for us. For example, I was a terribly picky eater as a child and she would, in an effort to make my food fun, cut my sandwiches in the shape of a star. I loved those star sandwiches. It was as if when they took the shape of a star, they magically transformed into something delicious! She was such a good cook and I can remember sitting in the barstools (which by the way, hurt like hell if you stubbed your toe on, which I frequently did), eating Aunt Shirley's biscuits or Egg in a basket for breakfast, my star sandwich for lunch, and orange sherbet for an afternoon snack. I was nothing if not a creature of habit and I ate the same thing, day in and day out.

God, I miss her. I talk to her alot in prayer but it is not the same. Her smile could light up a room. I remember at her funeral not wanting to leave her casket out of fear that I would forget her face. Well, I worried over nothing, because when I close my eyes, I can see her face clear as day and I can hear her voice as well.

She smiled not only with her mouth but also with her eyes.
I guess you could say that her whole face smiled.

 I can even hear her and my Paw-Paw going back and forth at each other as they did. They were an amazing couple. So in love. They had something so special and it was obvious to all of us who knew them.

I could go on for days with all of my special memories. The truth is that she was such an integral part of my life that my entire childhood is filled with interractions with her. She was tough when she needed to be and the sassy pants that I was, got punished frequently. But she was also so generous with her love and kindness. I miss you every day Maw-Maw and I will keep our special memories in my heart where I can share them with my children.They may not know you personally but they will know how amazing you were and how much I loved you. I know you are watching over us, it is your nature to be a caregiver. I hope you are having fun up in heaven, with your parents and brothers and sisters. Until we meet again, please watch over my baby boy. I tell him that you are his guardian angel. What an incredible angel to have.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Winter is Officially Over!

Here in south Louisiana, we don't really have "seasons" per se. Instead, the weather is pretty much described in 4 ways: (1) Hot; (2) Hot as Hades...this lasts from about end of May through September and it. is. brutal.; (3) Not so hot- this usually occurs during the months of March, October and November; and (4) Cold- this is not most people's definition of cold but for us Southerners, anything under 60, and we are COLD! This usually only occurs during the months of December-February. During this time however, any of the descriptors in numbers 1-3 also occur. April is an all-over-the-place month. Well this year was no exception. I was 9 months pregnant in August. Do you feel my pain?! Miserable. However, we didn't really have much of a winter this year. Sure we had cold days but there were days in December, January and February when shorts were appropriate.

But now, March is ending,  and winter is most certainly over. And with that, I had to pack up Mark's winter wardrobe. I feel like I am constantly packing and unpacking clothes for this child. He isn't overly big- just your average adorable and perfect baby boy. But I swear that boy goes through some clothes! Packing up his clothes is bittersweet for me. I am so excited for all the changes and watching him grow but I would be lying if I didn't say that my heart breaks a little when I think about how fast he is doing so. He is so independent...he wants to get his toys on his own, feed himself etc. George says he is like me, always wanting to do it for myself. I smile a little inside everytime he says this...Mark is a boy after my own heart! Anyway, the sweatshirts, sweaters, and long pants are packed and room was made for his summer rompers and bathing suits.

I know I need to pack up some of his "baby toys," especially the play-gym that he used from birth - 5 months but has not used since. It just sits there collecting dust because Mark is so big that he no longer is entertained while laying on his back with brightly-colored, moving stuffed animals floating overhead. Not him. He would rather be sitting up, holding those said stuffed animals. I asked George several times to pack it up but he never did. Finally, he said he didn't want to because it made him sad to put it away. This was the toy that soothed Mark from the beginning and continued to do so for months. It's music is etched in our memories. When George said this, it melted my heart. He isn't a guy that wears his heart on his sleeve and I am always the one driveling over how fast Mark is growing up. So with this explanation, I did not push him.

I have so many videos of him just staring at these toys.
Just in case I ever forget his love for this mat.
The rocket was his personal favorite!

Instead, there it sits next to Mark's playpen  (which we don't use as much as I thought we would), collecting dust. As far as I am concerned, it can remain there until we are ready to move it because it reminds us of how fast he is growing, to never take one day for granted.

In other news, and in line with the title of this post, I have purchased our first kiddie pool for Mark! George will be working ALL WEEKEND, and I figured it would be so much fun for Mark and I to spend some time outdoors (his favorite) in water (his other favorite).

We're going to have so much fun!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Discoveries

It goes without saying that in the land of “new parentdom,” there are ALWAYS new discoveries…for all involved participants. However, since this is my first go at being a mommy (or maybe it's just part of the territory), I find these new discoveries thrilling , exciting, and oftentimes hilarious. The list of discoveries could go on and on but here are a few of the most recent...

Discovery Number One: his penis. Seriously. This I find neither thrilling nor exciting. I do find it somewhat hilarious and a little ominous of things to come. Not only did he find his penis. He will. Not. Let. It. Go. EVER. If the diaper is off, he is holding it. George and I try to keep our reaction to a minimum as we believe that it is normal and healthy, but his facial expression at times :::think deer in headlights:::: has us rolling with laughter.

He'll kill me for this one day, I'm quite certain.

If this is TMI, I’m sorry. I find myself sharing details I would have blushed over their mentioning prior to becoming a mommy. When I said I find it ominous…I don’t mean it in a bad way per se….just that I’ve heard boys hold on to their prized possession for much of toddlerhood, take a brief respite only to resume the activity as they enter puberty. Oh the joys of being a mother to a boy!

Discovery Number two: His voice. This is my favorite discovery. I simply cannot get enough of his sounds, coos and babbles. Just last night, he said mama. Not the usual “ma” sound shoved between “baba” and “dada,” but a long “mamamama.” I melted. And did a lot of celebrating and clapping in hopes that he is encouraged to call me by name. He seems to be a fan of the sound "dada"...grrrr. He is also a big fan of shrieking. He really gets going when he sees his puppy sisters in the morning.

Seriously, He grabs them so tight, falls on them and shrieks. It’s so cute. Meanwhile, my dogs are looking at me like “seriously?!?” I hope they can run fast when he mobile because I am fairly certain he will want to show them his love.

Discovery Number Three: Our Dogs. I mentioned this in the previous post but it deserves its own segment. Mark loves Lily and Layla. I swear he is more excited about those dogs than he is when he sees me or George. In the morning, after he has eaten and is dressed, we venture out to let the dogs out to potty. As soon as he lays eyes on them he starts bouncing in my arms, smiling and lunging at the dogs; all through this he is babbling, cooing and shrieking (of course). When I let them back in, he repeats the same behavior. It is so gosh darn cute! On the same note, Lily has also discovered Mark. She watches him in the highchair and if his applesauce-covered hand comes down on the side, she is the first in line to lick it clean. I foresee a lot of food sharing in our near future. I just hope Mark doesn’t try to eat the dog food.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Video I forgot I recorded

January 21, 2011
Hearing my baby's heartbeat for one of the first times. Best. sound. ever.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I so need a mandatory vacation....

I wish I could find time to update the blog every day. I find it very therapeutic. Oh well, such is the life of two working parents of a 6 (almost 7) month old. This week has been particularly stressful for me as I am playing "single parent" for the week. As part of George's program, there is a mandatory retreat that is out of town and is a program enhancement session. From all accounts, I refer to it as Spring Break with a side of team building. They have houses on the beach,  kegs, and the bedtime is somewhere around 3 am (Atleast for George). When and where can I sign up?! For real. I know, I know.... they all definitely work like dogs year-round and the justification for not just taking one day at a local hotel conference room to "enhance the program" is that they actually need a break from their stressful and often unfair working hours. All I know is that I would love to have a mandatory vacation. I would more than love it.  Sadly, as an attorney, this is laughable. Unless I were to make partner and in that case, I would be so stressed that this time is taking away from my billables. Sigh. Reason # 573 that I am not on the Partnership track. Maybe I'm just jealous. Hell, I am DEFINITELY jealous. However, I can say with absolute certainty that if I did take a mandatory vacation- I would SLEEP, and Sleep in. That is all I want. Maybe my request should be for a mandatory sleep in? Surely I can arrange this. Now I'm rambling. See, I need more SLEEP!

Anyway, like all things in  life, the anticipation was much worse than the reality. Mark is such a good boy. The evenings have been a little stressful but not too bad and I so enjoy any bonding time I have with my baby. As I look at his pictures over the past 6 months, I am overwhelmed with how much he has changed. My sweet little boy is inching closer to toddler-dom and away from newborn-ness. Although it is such a thrill to watch him discover new things and become this little person who knows what he likes and doesn't, I'd be lying if I didn't admit my heart aches a little over the speed at which he is growing. I cherish everyday and commit so many moments to memory. He will always be my baby, even when he is grown with little babies of his own. He is, and always will be, my sweet little baby Mark (lyrics to a song I sing to him). I definitely understand the urge to have another baby as the previous one ages.  :::lightbulb momemt::: I get it  Duggars. (kidding, George)

Mark is starting to eat better again. Solids that is...he has always been a champ at nursing. He did really well initially then went several weeks with no interest whatsoever in solids. This week has been better. He still hates green peas. Gags every. single. time. His personal favorites are sweet potatos and apples. I homemake all of his baby food from organic produce (except for a couple of jars for on the go). My reasoning is multi-faceted: first, it's healthiest, 2nd, it's so much cheaper, 3rd, it will make the transition to table food so much easier since it actually tastes like the real thing, and 4th, guilt. I feel guilty I have to send my baby to daycare and can't be with him all day. So, to compensate, I do extra tasks that in my mind are better for him in an effort to even the playing field. Rediculous maybe. But as mothers, we all make sacrifices. This is a sacrifice of my time, something I feel I don't give enough of to my precious boy.

Not much else is going on with us. George is about to enter 2 extremely busy months of wards so I may not be able to post that often. But maybe I will. I have to remember that the anticipation is always worse.

And here is a picture of my angel on dada's first night out of town...

...he is such a happy baby. Love him so much.