Thursday, December 29, 2011

What We Learned: Fourteen Months

This kid isn't stopping for anything these days, except for a piece of chocolate or to read a book.  He might take after me, after all!  He's taking after me in other ways as well.  He's become quite affectionate.  He will run over to me and give me big hugs, and he's even taken to cuddling.  I'm certainly not taking the hugs, kisses and loving bite on the nose.

Bennett learned that a bottle is just as good.

I learned that I surpassed my own expectations.

Bennett learned that dad can put him to bed and get up with him too.

I learned that seeing my child need me less still hurts.

Bennett learned that airplanes fly in the sky.

Sometimes that pointer finger is smarter than we give it credit for.

Bennett learned where to put his hat.

We learned he still doesn't like to put it there.

Bennett learned to wave his arms when something or someone is stinky.

We learned that we can't get the video camera working quickly enough.

Bennett learned that the best place to read a book is on my lap.

We learned that we've entered the stage of "read it again."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Walking in His Winter Underwear

It was four jam-packed days of food, family and merriment up in these parts.  The festivities began bright and early Friday morning.  We celebrated Christmas Eve Eve with a Ski Family breakfast and present opening extravaganza.  We stuffed our faces with breakfast casserole of the egg and french toast varieties.  Both deserved their own time in front of the camera, but instead you get a pile of photos of my kid in pajamas.
You know you're up early when even Grampa looks tired.
The best kind of present.
Opening up his pile of presents was so exhausting that we just packed up the boy pajama-clad and all.  He was angel in the car, sleeping most of the way to Walland.  We got there just in time to help Mimi in the kitchen.
We only had to stop him from eating the raw meat once or twice.
The most enthusiastic present opening?  Pajamas!
Mimi and Poppa put Santa to shame
Pajama Portrait
Oh look, he wears clothes!
The next best thing to wearing pajamas? Wearing nothing!
For a kid that thrives on routine and hates attention, Bennett was awesome with the new people, the new places and rolling with the punches.  I would say he was nearly picture perfect, other than the little show he put on in church.  He stole a few ornaments off the tree and felt compelled to show them off to the congregation, all the while babbling over the preacher man.  Otherwise, it was a beautiful weekend and I am so grateful we have so many beautiful pajama-clad memories to remember it by. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people!" ~Luke 2:10

Merry Christmas from our little blog to you and yours!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

His Next Thirty Years

Rocky has been coming home lately singing the lyrics to Tim McGraw’s My Next Thirty Years.  Tim may be able to embrace the levity of a new decade, but Rocky is certainly having trouble.  He seems stuck on the fact that it is the ending of an era, and not the turning of a new page. 

Perhaps it is because I have eight months before I have to face this new fate.  But I don’t see what the big deal is.  Taking stock of our immediate circumstances may be less than ideal.  The leaky faucets, the unpacked boxes, the temporary titles all leave one wondering if we’re traveling down a path to be proud of.  But Rocky has accomplished so much this decade.  He graduated college and law school.  He was named Chief Justice.  He clerked for a judge.  He bought his first house.  He met the love of his life, got married and had a beautiful son.  All of that, in addition to being the best son, husband and friend in the world.  That’s a lot to be proud of in just thirty years. 

As he stares down the line to forty (gulp), I can’t help but get excited about what the next decade has in store for him.  A taste of career success.  Maybe more babies.  A new house to raise our family.  Another European vacation or two.  Dinner parties with friends.  Time with our parents.  Love and happiness.  Happy birthday Rock.  Mwah!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

And here I thought I was finished Christmas shopping

Sandra Bullock recently admitted that she is going all out for her little boy this Christmas:

"it's gonna be a little ridiculous.  I want the photo ops to be really great because he's not going to remember it," but he'll remember it by the photos when he's sixteen and says, 'I hate you--you're a horrible mother,' I'll go, 'Do you see this Christmas?  Do you see that I got you that life-size lion?  Shut up!  Get in your room and do your homework.  I was a good mother then.'  And that's what I'm going to use.  That's my ammunition."

I bought Bennett a bear and a puzzle.  I do not have adequate ammunition to protect myself from the many errors of my ways. I better go buy him a race car AND a pony. (Also, I love Sandra Bullock a little more now than I did before.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'd Be Home for Christmas

Remember when I asked for Susan's Dream House?  Well, it wasn't exactly a nebulous concept.  I had one in mind.  It was a beautiful 1945 Colonial in my dream neighborhood of Nashville.

The home has only been occupied by two families in its sixty-something year history and the listing didn't include any images of the interior.  When I contacted a realtor about it, he said that the property "required vision."  Guess what?  I have vision.  I can remove wallpaper.  Or rather, I can hire someone who can remove wallpaper.  I know people.  Whatever that house would throw at me, I could handle it.  I have transformed a three foot wide kitchen into a show piece.  Or rather, I hired people who transformed that kitchen.  I wrote the checks once, I could do it again.

I mentally moved my little family in.  We would build a fence around the 0.84 acres for the dog.  We would baby proof the serpentine stairs  We would have custom shelves built in Rocky's office.  I'd paint my closet ballet slipper pink.  We would host epic Christmas parties and sleepovers and political fundraisers.

I just had to wait until the first of the year when I could justify floating the cost of a rental and what was sure to be a hefty heap of home repairs.  It sold.  Last week.  After languishing on the market since March, it was gone.  Sold just a few weeks before I could march myself up to the front door and tell them that I was going to raise my little boy in that house for the next twenty years.

Don't bother consoling me with the idea that the right house has yet to find me.  I have high demands.  Three bedrooms upstairs, a yard, and in a decent public school district.  Homes are being bulldozed left and right in Nashville, being cleared for developers to build two or three homes on one lot.  Other properties are mid-century ramblers, lacking the character I adored in my last house.  It just seemed like I found my diamond in the rough and this was the house I could truly make my home.

This weekend I drove by the house on my way to the grocery store and saw that the very first thing the new owners did was decorate for Christmas.  They weren't remediating mold or destroying a termite colony.  They were making my house their home.  I just hope they enjoy my pink closet and invite me to at least one sleepover.  If not, perhaps, they'll change their mind and sell it to me.  And at the very least, please don't tear it down.

Friday, December 16, 2011

He's Making a List

It isn't Bennett's first Christmas, but the little boy is a little more aware of his surroundings these days and I am very tempted to spoil this precious child silly.  But he doesn't know it's Christmas, and we have a lifetime of Christmases to buy him toys and gear and ponies.  What is a momma to do? 
Ok, so he can't spell, or write, or even hold a pen upright.  Details.  But Bennett is making his Christmas list.  It goes something like this:

Oranges, preferably with the peel still on

Toilet Paper

A magic machine that allows diaper changes to happen while standing up, maybe even while still moving!

What his momma would love to get him:
A baby doll.  We tried one out in the store and Bennett gave her a kiss.  Rocky won't let me.
A kid-size table and chairs.  Space is very limited in our townhouse.  We would have to remove the high chair or the couch to get one of these to squeeze in to our little abode.
A play refrigerator.  The big people version is his favorite toy in the house.  Again, the space issue, but he always walks away from the real one with freezing hands and a mouth full of orange peel.

What he is getting:
Don't worry, he doesn't read the blog, so I'm not spilling any secrets.
The perfect Bennett-sized teddy bear.  His dad and I were both attached to a stuffed Mickey Mouse and a Minkie respectively.  Sadly, Bennett appears to have no need for self-soothing attachment devices.  This is my last ditch effort.
 A toy that is going to poke his eyeballs out. We loved this puzzle when we tried it out at the library. It makes noise! It has moving parts! It's shiny! I ordered it online and it came with a giant red sticker that says "NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 3" Phooey. Santa is delivering it to him anyway. 

A bowl that sticks to the highchair. Bennett doesn't want it, but I need it. I can only run across the kitchen so quickly. 
Am I missing something?  Any suggestions?  What does a one year old with little space and a short attention span need this Christmas?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I've Been Good this Year

Really, I have.  Not that it matters.  I have a fear that I am difficult to shop for.  That may be because the love of my life has gifted me things like cookbooks and strawberry wine for milestone birthdays.  I have since been told that despite my hints, he will not, under any circumstances ever buy me a gift I have asked for.  Well, good, fine.  So, for the three men who read this blog (Hi Tom!), these are really lovely gifts to purchase for your significant other, or your daughter, or your dog walker.  And, I assume the other three people reading this blog might be thinking that I'm a greedy wench.  I am not.  I know that the folks shopping for me this Christmas are the types to have already finished their Christmas shopping.  Really, I am doing this out of the goodness of my heart for all the lovely ladies that have actually been good this year.
Magnolia and flower illustration no. 6688
These magnolia prints on Etsy.  I have been obsessed with these for years.  Lovely.  Kari has beautiful prints of Paris and peonies too if magnolias and bugs aren't your thing.
Pure Balance Jacket
Lulu Lemon.  I don't have time to go to the gym, but I do wake up early on Saturday and like to pretend I've been to the gym.
Diptyque - Feus de Bois Candle
Diptyque.  I am perpetually afraid to burn my favorite candle of all time.  It would be nice to keep a stock of them in the house so I could refresh my home every time I cook bacon.
Fleur de Sel Caramels
Salted Caramel. I love salted caramel.  Good stuff.  Trader Jacques has some if you're not sure you're ready to line Chuck Williams' pocket.
That House from a Miracle on 34th Street, remake edition.  You know, the one that Susan wishes for?  Yeah that one.
Customized IPhone Case
A totally obnoxious yet perfectly preppy iPhone case.  The first time you saw it you hated the girl who had one, but you secretly want one too.  No, just me?
These shoes are hot.  I could totally wear them with my new LL yoga pants and this cocktail ring.  Actually, all of Kate's jewelry would make a good gift.
I used to buy myself one of these calendars every year.  Then I stopped buying myself nice things.  Ha!
Fried Chicken and Champagne
A cookbook.  Cookbooks make great gifts!  No really, they do!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Celebrating Christmas In the South

I am not new to the South.  I've celebrated the past ten Christmases (yes ten!) with a boy born south of the Mason-Dixon.  I'm a wannabe southern lady and I have eagerly faked my way through new and old traditions such as pimento cheese sandwiches and Firefly.  However, even after changing my permanent residence to Tennessee, I feel more an outsider than ever.  This season has brought a few of those cultural differences to the forefront.  May I enter into evidence:

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but do you recall, the most famous automobile of all?  The Rudolph Mobile.  Have you seen them?  They are everywhere down here.  I have seen them on Minis, Subarus, Toyotas, Fordsa and even a Lexus.  This is a southern thing, no?  I figure southerners are used to strapping their bucks to their trucks, so maybe this is what you do down here? 

Bows as tree toppers.  They are tasteful and simple and affordable too.  However, I had grown up with stars or angels on my tree and had never seen a bow atop a tree ever.  That is, until my mother in law introduced me to the southern fashion.  Who knew?  This my friends, is the tree adorning the lobby of my workplace.  Is this southern too?  People do not seem too concerned with being politically correct as there are trees in city hall, local banks and other places of business with nary a menorah or mishumaa in sight. 
Maybe it's a rich person thing, but I had never heard of professional christmas light put-er-on-ers until I moved to Nashville.  They are real!  They do exist!  I have seen cherry pickers in peoples' driveways assembling private residential festival of lights.  Amazing.  Why didn't I think of that?
Now this was a real eye-opener.  Did you know mistletoe grows on trees?  Well, it does.  A parasite, it grows in wild clumps and you have to remove it before it kills the vegetation.  Sure, you can climb up the tree and get it down.  Or, you could just shoot it down with your .22 like a true southerner would do.  What inspires a seasonal smooch better than a side of bang bang?
Ho Ho Ho Y'all!