Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gordon Lee at 16 months

I haven't done an update on Gordon Lee in quite some time, so I figured today would be good to catch everyone up with a comprehensive look at his latest developments! :)

On Thursday, Gordon Lee will be 16 months old! It feels like time is flying by.


As far as language goes, he says
Mama/Mommy
Dada/Daddy
Baba
Bubble
Shoe & Shoes
Ball
Dog/Doggie
Outside
Nana (for banana)
Hey/Hi
No
Yeah

He also does sign language.
He does signs for
More
Milk
Eat and
Please

Every now and then he strings two words together.  He has said
Dada shoes (when looking at Lee's shoes)
and "A shoe"

If you can't tell, he is very into shoes! It's his favorite word to say and he says it all the time!

He is almost always rattling off something in his own gibberish!

If you say "dance" he will start dancing around the room or around in circles.  If he hears a song he likes, he will either dance to it or clap to it.

He prefers his Daddy over his Mommy (which makes me kind of jealous).  But he just loves his Daddy to pieces! He loves me too, but he is crazy about his Daddy.  He is interested in WHATEVER Daddy is doing!

He is also going through quite a lot of physical developments. He climbs a lot! He can climb out of his crib now, and he wasn't shy about showing me how he did it. He grabs onto the top rail with his hands and does a spiderman move with his feet on the bars and hoists himself out.  However, for now, we have moved the crib so he can't get out (it hasn't stopped him from trying though).

He loves to climb onto the furniture, and he does not like to be excluded from ANYTHING! On Halloween night, he threw a fit if he missed even 1 trick or treater at the door. So, we took him out on the front porch in a wagon and let him pass out candy. He had so much fun doing that!

He can unbuckle the top buckle of his carseat.  Thankfully, he has left it alone recently as he has discovered unbuckling one part of the carseat is not enough to get out.

He tries to put his socks and shoes on, and he also tries to put socks and shoes on our feet (even if we are already wearing them).

Recently, he has become very unhappy if he has a wet or dirty diaper and wants to be changed immediately. I am happy about this because it's a good sign that I can potty train him soon.

Gordon Lee also follows simple commands like "Sit down" "Lay down" "Bring (named object) to Mommy, Daddy, etc." Nap time has become very simple with him.  I only have to tell him to "lay down," cover him with a blanket, and he will fall asleep in a few minutes.

He is becoming increasingly interested in feeding himself and will now refuse to eat sometimes unless I let him feed himself.  He has not only been interested in using the fork or spoon but he wants to scoop the food up himself. 

He also still loves playing with blocks, and he is now making an effort at stacking blocks of similar size/shape.

He is a very happy baby most of the time.  He even has just cut his first molar and didn't even lose sleep at night over it! :) I am truly thankful for Gordon Lee!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Story of Toto

All weekend long, Gordon Lee had been oscillating between acting healthy and sick. He would have a temperature and then it would go away only to come back again. He seemed to be losing his appetite, and I was somewhat concerned that perhaps he was developing a bug.  However, in spite of all of this, he seemed to have no trouble happily running laps around the yard and house.  On Monday morning, he was acting just fine with no fever.  Well, by that early evening, he was sick.  He had a fever and was vomiting.  He projectile vomited all over the backseat of my car (that was the first time I've witnessed projectile vomit and I hope it will be the last).  I felt so bad for the poor guy.  

The next morning, he wasn't doing much better.  So, I took the day off of work to take him to the doctor. (As it turns out, he had postnasal drip that made his tummy sick, but that is beside the point of this post..all of this is just introductory info).

Since I was feeling just fine and Gordon Lee wasn't too bad off, I decided to make a short trip to Kohls to make a return. I had the amount of my returned item placed on a Kohls gift card.  When I was finishing my shopping trip, I had roughly calculated the amount of items in my cart and realized I still had about $5 left to spend.

I made my way to the checkout line and saw this adorable puppy sitting on a shelf staring at us.
A few thoughts went through my mind.
1.) My little boy is feeling sick. It might be nice to buy him a little special something to cuddle.
2.) 100% of the proceeds go to helping sick children in the children's hospital. I am so thankful my son is only sick temporarily and not in a hospital. I think I should perhaps show my appreciation for that.
3.) This dog is exactly $5 and that is about the amount I have left to spend.

So, what do you think I did?
Of course I bought him.

Gordon Lee loved him and held onto him tightly in his carseat. He is now wanting to take Toto into his crib with him to sleep (the first stuffed animal he has ever wanted to bring into his crib).


And when I look at Toto, I think "Thank you, Lord, for my healthy child."

Friday, August 3, 2012

Pride and Humility

Disclaimer: This blog is purely covering what I have been learning in terms of Christianity. 


Sometimes, my week has a theme or a "lesson" in it.  I will see or hear the same things repeatedly until I can't ignore the lesson I need to learn. And it's funny how it always starts with one little thing.  Then, it just shows up everywhere in my life. Because of this, I feel like I have to blog about it. 


It's the whole "LOOK at ME" conundrum.


I do believe that we all like to feel good about ourselves. We like to feel as though we're doing things right. And there is a sense of accomplishment when someone else or something else confirms for us that we are. But there is a fine line here. It's the line between doing something right because it is right and doing something right so that we can boast about it.


"May I never boast except in the cross..." says Paul in Galatians. I feel like it is so easy to boast or brag. I think almost everyone can remember a kid in their class growing up who not only excelled at what they did, but that kid also gloated about it.  Nobody liked that kid. For anyone familiar with the show The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper is that kid. While he is amusing on television, nobody likes a person that arrogant in real life.  Because giving yourself accolades for what you do is like popping a balloon. Nobody really cares then.


But what I have been noticing is even deeper than that. Giving is a good thing, right? I think we should be generous and charitable. Can giving be a bad thing, though? How can giving to people be bad? Ultimately, the act in and of itself ends up benefitting somebody.  So, I wouldn't say it is horribly bad. But the error in being charitable is when we make a scene out of it. We should give because we give--whether or not anybody says "thank you," whether or not anybody takes a picture, whether or not anybody anywhere even knows. 


And this is why Jesus himself says in Matthew 6:1-3 "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so your giving may be in secret."


Why would Jesus want us to give in secret? Because we are prone to stroking our own egos. We are prone to bragging about our "righteous acts." If my heart is truly generous, I will give to those in need without a crowd of spectators. We so often want a reward for what we do.  But what about just doing it just because? Too often we do the "right thing" just to be seen doing the right thing. I know I do it. But I do believe that true Christian maturity means doing the right thing without making a scene for everyone can see.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

No, You Can't use the Word "No"

When I was in grad school, we often discussed new methods in classroom management, teaching styles, etc.  One of the things we talked about a lot was how to handle discipline. A trending technique was to avoid any negative wording of rules. You essentially took the word "No" out of your vocabulary so that the students would not feel as though they are being restricted and therefore rebel. Instead, you made them feel as though they had options to choose to do the right thing.  So, instead of writing, "No talking," you would write, "Please sit and work quietly at your desk."


In my first year of teaching, I was so eager to try this out! It sounded so reasonable and practical. I felt I could understand how saying, "No" might make a student feel defiant.  So, I carefully listed all of my rules in a more positive tone.  The only one I really couldn't avoid was, "No Gum." Perhaps I could have said, "Keep gum out of the classroom." However, I felt that was a straightforward rule. Well I posted the rules this way and I did my best to request behavior without just saying no. All I can say, after my experience with it, is that it didn't work. Avoiding that word didn't make a difference. In fact, I noticed that students often responded to the word, "No" better. They had boundaries set. Whether you say "No sleeping in class" or "Please keep your eyes open and  your head up," students who want to rebel will rebel. Period. 


And as I moved on in my career, I noticed that the quietest, most controlled classrooms belonged to teachers who told students "No" and stuck to a consequence when a rule was broken. 


Well, ever since Gordon Lee really started getting around and getting into things, I had to find a way to handle his behavior. Well, I could let him ransack my house and possibly seriously hurt himself, but I wasn't too keen on that. Not surprisingly, the same methodology that circulated in the teaching realm, is abuzz in parenting advice.  Should I avoid telling Gordon Lee "No"? Should I just redirect him? I will admit that I have never questioned myself so much on one thing. Ultimately, I found (just as with the students) that Gordon Lee had the exact SAME reaction to being told "No" as he did to being redirected.  If he wanted to do something, he didn't care if I simply told him he couldn't do it or if I just tried to bring his attention to something else. Plus, sometimes, he would get close to danger so quickly, that I wanted him to learn and understand "No" or "Stop" in case I couldn't get to him fast enough. 

But I will say that I felt so much like a broken record for so long that I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure what the appropriate way to address his behavior was. Still, though, I'd had some experiences that left me feeling like I want my child to understand and respect boundaries and leave it at that. So, I kept saying "No" even if it was for the 100th time. And I kept following through with a consequence. And I also constantly praised him when he did not touch an off-limits object or when he obeyed my instructions.


And after feeling like maybe this wasn't going anywhere, I noticed one day last week that I had only said "No" about a handful of times! My child was beginning to listen and respect boundaries (Yes, I know the terrible twos are still yet to come). And it has really been that way so far since (he does start getting more disobedient when he is getting tired, but that's it). 


And then, as I was lying down to sleep last night, it occurred to me that even God says "Thou shalt not" and "No" without giving us a distraction. And I have settled on the fact that this word is not a bad word. It doesn't need to be avoided. We just need to learn to accept it even when we don't want to.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hold Your Head Up, Movin' On, Keep Your Head Up, Movin' On

Yesterday was wrought with setbacks.  Waking up 30 minutes earlier than usual, Gordon Lee got things started.  He woke up grumpy.  Not one to disappoint, he decided to maintain this mood for most of the rest of the day.  To make things even better, he would NOT nap for more than 30 minutes.  So, I had one grumpy, sleep-deprived baby on my hands.



While, I was inclined to grumble in my mind, something else kept reminding me to BE THANKFUL.  Focus on the positive.  So, in all of this, I started seeing all of the amazing things. For example, after I watched him go all around the room picking up what seemed like random toys, I noticed he'd put several toys of the same color all in one place! 

Later on, for the sake of our sanity, I decided to take him in the stroller for a jog last night. Being outdoors definitely improved his mood, and he started waving at people and saying, "Hey!" This was brand new! While I was running, the lesson of positivity came to me once again. 
I had been running for about 15 minutes; my goal was to go for at least 30 minutes. I wanted to quit.  When, right on cue, the Eurythmics song "Sweet Dreams" came on.  And the lyrics kept me going.."Hold your head up, movin' on, keep your head up, movin' on." 
While I was thinking about how nice it was to have a refreshing reminder about positivity, I began to realize something else.  While getting through the rough days might mean that you need to "hold your head up" and "move on," something inside me was saying that isn't just it. Maybe the days that seem difficult just need a fresh perspective.  All day long, I felt tired. I didn't get breaks or rest that I wanted. I had to keep "movin' on" because I had no other choice. But the beauty of it is embracing the blessings in all of it. My child is blossoming before my eyes. The weather was beautiful to go out running. 
Thankfully for us today, the trials of yesterday have come to pass. But I think that I am going to aim to not just wait out difficult days because they aren't eternal.  Rather, I want to look for what beauty there is to see among the apparent "wreckage."

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gordon Lee at 1 year

I am still in awe of the fact that in just 1 year, my sweet little boy went from this:
To this:
A child grows and learns so rapidly in the first year! To any new parents out there, it really does fly by.

Here are Gordon Lee's current stats at 1 year
Height- 32.2 inches
Weight 24 lbs
Head Circumference: 18.5 inches (this is the closest estimate as his head kept breaking the tape measure)

His height is almost off the charts in the 97th percentile.  His weight is somewhere in the 50th-70th percentile (I am not sure why the range is so wide). His head circumference is also in the 50th-70th percentile. For anyone confused, percentiles compare him to other babies his age.  So he is taller than 97% of 1-year-olds. 

Right now he is saying a few words
-Mama
-Dada/Daddy.  Sometimes, he calls his Daddy "Yayee." This is when he is super excited.
-Hi/Hey
-Yay
-Yeah
-No

He also has some gestures he uses.
He
-Points
-Waves
-Claps
-Gives high five and low five
-Hugs
-Kisses (not sure if these two are gestures, but I don't know where else they'd go)
-Reaches for who he wants (but this is a pretty old one)
-Plays peek-a-boo

He feeds himself with a fork and a spoon.  He has become very good at this! I still have to get the food onto the fork or spoon, but he will take it from me and put it straight to his mouth.
He likes to pick large objects up and carry them around the room.
He always wants to climb the stairs.
He tries to climb up on the furniture, but it is just a little too high for him right now.
He has also gotten very big on copying people.  He will try to get you to do something so he can copy it.
He also likes to bring things to people and put his toys in a box or a bag.

I am probably leaving stuff out.  The growth and development is so rapid!



Friday, July 13, 2012

Duckcakes

For Gordon Lee's 1st birthday, we had two separate parties. We had friends and family who wanted to be a part of his big day, and it made more sense to have one party in NC and one in VA.  The first party had a rubber duck theme. So, to add some creative flair, I decided to try a recipe for duck cupcakes. First, my sister-in-law and I did a test run with the cupcakes.  I had been to various blogs reading about other people's experiences with the cupcakes, and I had some changes I was going to make. The trial run was definitely just that! The ducks looked sad to say the best.  So, when I went to make the ones for the party I had worked out the kinks in the recipe, and they came out okay.


After the party (and sharing pictures), I have had numerous people ask me how I made them.  So, I will share it here! Unfortunately, I was multitasking in preparing for both parties.  So, I didn't have time to take pictures of the process.  But I will share pictures as best as possible.
So, here is how I made these bad boys.  First of all, let me show you how they are SUPPOSED to look.
Yeah...NOWHERE in ANYONE'S pictures (and I saw several places where people tried these) did the cupcakes even remotely resemble this one. I am assuming that beautiful cupcake for the picture was made in a fancy studio and not a home kitchen. 


RECIPE
2 boxes of cake mix (the recipe calls for vanilla; I used yellow)
2-3 jars of vanilla, white or cream cheese frosting
Yellow food coloring
1 bag of standard-sized marshmallows
Mini M&Ms or Chocolate chips
Baby goldfish for beaks (or orange fruit chews if you want to follow the original recipe)
This makes 24 cupcakes. 20 are supposed to be heads up and 4 tails up. I made more like half heads up and half tails up.  For feet, my SIL melted down orange chocolate and piped out feet we stuck on the duck later.

First, I am going to go through some changes I made.
1.) The recipe calls for donut holes as heads.  I tried that.  The heads tasted odd with a cupcake.  Plus, when I tried to stick a beak and eyes on, the head fell apart.
Instead, I opted to make cake pops for heads, which tasted MUCH better and held up better.

2.) The recipe called for orange fruit chews for beaks and feet (on the butt up ducks).  Well, everywhere, people said that the beaks were so heavy, they just fell off. By looking at those pictures, most of the ducks were losing their beaks and looked very sad.  So, I decided not to struggle with it.  Instead, I found baby goldfish that I stuck in there for beaks.

3.) The others who shared their ducks had similar problems with the eyes.  The recipe says to use white frosting as a dot and place mini M&Ms on them for eyes.  However, the eyes were falling off as well.  So, I used chocolate chips sticking the pointed part into the duck's head. 

My beaks and eyes stayed on very well.

Alright, so onto making the cupcakes.

FIRST- Make cake pops.  I was intimidated by this at first, but cake pops are insanely easy to make.

1.) Bake a cake.
2.) Let it cool
3.) Crumble it up into a bowl
4.) Add some frosting and form into balls
5.) Freeze (The cupcakes needed to be frozen as well.  So what I did was make the cake pop heads and have them freeze with the cupcakes together.)

SECOND- Bake the cupcakes.

I used yellow cake.  

THIRD- While the cupcakes are baking, there are two things to do.
1.) Cut marshmallows in half diagonally and set aside in a bowl
2.) Dye frosting yellow (I used cream cheese frosting).
3.) Place some of the yellow frosting in a zip lock bag squeezed to the corner for piping.

FOURTH- When the cupcakes are finished, frost them after you let them cool.

1.) Place the cake pop head and marshmallow tail on top of the frosted cupcake
2.) Freeze for about 3-4 hours (more if desired). They need to be good and frozen.


FIFTH- Take out of the freezer


1.) Melt down frosting in microwave for about 20-45 seconds.  This is going to depend greatly on the power of the microwave.  The recipe suggest microwaving for 45 seconds..stirring often. However, when I did it that long, the frosting came out like a liquid.  The consistency should be more like a whipped cream.  So, 20-25 seconds in our microwave worked for me. 


2.) Dip each cupcake in the frosting.


3.) Use the frosting in the bag to pipe in frosting where dipping the cupcake didn't cover it completely.


As an added note: You will need A LOT of frosting.  You need at least 2 jars and possibly 3.


The result: A duck cupcake fit for a 1-year-old or anyone for that matter.  They were a hit and people loved them!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Post-Baby Race #2 - Patriot 5k

Today, we ran the Patriot 5k to kick start the 4th of July.  Hopping out of bed bright and early at 5:45 am, we got ourselves together and out of the door by 6:20.  The race took place in a small town about 30 miles outside of where we live.  Although it was a bit of a drive, it was a nice, scenic route that did not feel long at all.


This race was put on by a high school cross country team.  I have to say they picked a nice route shaded by pine trees.  To begin the race, we listened to a barber shop quartet sing the National Anthem.  I do not think I have heard a barber shop quartet live ever, and I felt it was a very nice touch.
We also had a brass band from the high school playing numerous patriotic tunes as we ran along. I had brought my iPod along but I could still hear them over my own music, and I have to say they were very talented and added a fun vibe to the race.


My husband was determined to have Gordon Lee flying in the jogging stroller.  And he must have anticipated this because he was hanging on like he was ready for a roller coaster ride at the start. With over 300 runners, this was a big race for a small town.  And a lot of people had jogging strollers. It would have been nice had there been a prize for a "stroller division." However, there was no such thing.  Lee did make it in the top 200 and received a medal for it! As I was running, I noticed a lot of fathers pushing jogging strollers, and I really liked that.  They were not too "manly" to push a stroller along.  In fact, if you can push something and run at the same time, it's actually harder than running alone.


So, as for me,  I crossed the finish at about 36 minutes. My first mile was 10 minutes, and I know my last mile was fast because I gradually picked up speed as I knew I got closer.  I came to a point where I had an old man and a girl with a limp in front of me. And I just couldn't let either one of them beat me. So, I flew past them in a high-speed sprint across the finish line. I slowed down during mile 2 because there was a hill and since I didn't know the course, I didn't know how long it would last.  I think if I had not slowed down during that mile, I would have finished in around 30-33 minutes.  However, I am still pleased with my time.


So far, we do not have pictures of us.  I was unable to take a picture of Lee or the baby as they finished the race before I did.  And I was fairly exhausted when I finished. Lee did record a video of me finishing the race. However, it is a very large file.  So right now, I am waiting on photos from other participants.  These photos I posted were shared with the Facebook page for the race.  They are encouraging users to upload pictures.  And if I find any of us, I will post them here.


I will share a very short video that Lee got of me coming to the finish line.  I was about to overtake that man and girl in front of me to beat them by a few seconds at the end (there is a longer, larger version but my blog isn't interested in uploading it).


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tomato Tomahto


It all started Sunday at church with a sermon on Ecclesiastes and The Byrds' song "Turn! Turn! Turn!" The words jumped out at me among all the rest speaking about how there is a time for everything.  There is "a time to speak up and a time to be silent." "For everything, there is a season and a purpose..." 

Then, it weaved its way into my Monday. My mother called to tell me about a segment appearing on Anderson Cooper discussing attachment parenting.  This topic intrigues me even though I've chosen not to adopt any one parenting style.  On the segment, they merely shared different points of view.  Some people were all for the parenting style and others felt that it wouldn't work for them.  However, it sparked debate.  And after watching discussions of these types, I am starting to see past all of the flurry to what's really going on.  Moms are feeling judged and they are "fighting" mostly to be at peace with themselves and their choices.  Because there is somebody somewhere ready and willing to tell these women what they should and shouldn't be doing. I know because I recognized these feelings in myself. And I have come to terms with how I am parenting. I love my child and that is where I am settling it.  Any time I hear harsh words of criticism I remind myself that I love my child and he knows it.  So, I am fine with that.

Next, I remembered something I read last week about having a birth photographer.  People were arguing about whether birth was a beautiful experience worth photographing. On one side, people who did not see birth as a beautiful thing were speaking as if somebody who wanted a birth photographer was crazy.  To this, those in the other camp felt hurt and offended (understandably so) and rose up with harsh comments saying that those who do not see this beauty are "close-minded." To me, both sides were completely in the wrong for their statements. Everyone knows that all people have different personalities. We make our choices based on personality.  Some people are shy and some are outgoing.  Some like it quiet and some feel the need for noise.  And no pushing of your preferences on somebody else is going to change that person's preferences.  We need to be okay with that. For me, I wouldn't want a photographer during labor.  Yes, I see birth as a beautiful thing in its own way, but I remember it enough that I just don't want pictures.  BUT somebody else might and what business is it of mine if she does? None. 


I am seeing people work themselves up into a frenzy because somebody else sees things differently.  This is a complete waste of energy. And here, I am back to my introduction.  There is "a time to speak up and a time to be silent." If some mother is leaving her kids in a hot car with the window rolled up, there is a time to speak up. If somebody else is choosing to let her child sleep in her bed, there is a time to be silent. We do not all need to have the same preferences. Do we consider that some mothers feel better by being with their children?  And telling them that they are "not allowed" to is so silly.  Likewise, there are others who feel drained and need personal time. I am definitely in that camp.  They shouldn't be made to feel bad for wanting just 1-2 hours alone. Ultimately, both people are doing a fine job.  And I think in trying to justify ourselves we start attacking others. Because if everybody just does what we do, we won't ever feel judged or alienated.  Yet, this isn't going to happen and I'm noticing that trying to do it just leads to arguments over the most trivial things.


And for those of you familiar with "Gulliver's Travels," I am reminded of the "Big Endians" and "Little Endians" starting a war over which end of an egg to crack.


I can't help but think of the song "Let's Call the Whole thing Off"
Things have come to a pretty pass, 
Our romance is growing flat,
For you like this and the other
While I go for this and that.
Goodness knows what the end will be,
Oh, I don't know where I'm at...
It looks as if we two will never be one,
Something must be done.

You say eether and I say eyether,
You say neether and I say nyther,
Eether, eyether, neether, nyther,
Let's call the whole thing off!
You like potato and I like potahto,
You like tomato and I like tomahto,
Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto!
Let's call the whole thing off!
But oh! If we call the whole thing off,
Then we must part.
And oh! If we ever part,
Then that might break my heart!
So, if you like pajamas and I like pajahmas,
I'll wear pajamas and give up pajahmas.
For we know we need each other, 
So we better call the calling off off.
Let's call the whole thing off!

You say laughter and I say lawfter,
You say after and I say awfter,
Laughter, lawfter, after, awfter,
Let's call the whole thing off!
You like vanilla and I like vanella,
You, sa's'parilla and I sa's'parella,
Vanilla, vanella, Choc'late, strawb'ry!
Let's call the whole thing off!
But oh! If we call the whole thing off,
Then we must part.
And oh! If we ever part, 
Then that might break my heart!
So, if you go for oysters and I go for ersters
I'll order oysters and cancel the ersters.
For we know we need each other,
So we better call the calling off off!
Let's call the whole thing off!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Grandma's House

Growing up, summertime for me always meant a trip to Grandma's house. I would stay for at least a week and savor days with cookies, ice cream, toys, and (most importantly) time alone with my grandmother.  No matter what we did, I was happy. We could watch the news together, and I would be just as engrossed in it as if I was watching cartoons. For me, going to Grandma's house was a time when I could just be. There were no worries about getting in trouble; I didn't even disobey or try to take advantage of my freedom.  I just truly enjoyed being there.


To this day, I dream about being in her house.  Countless dreams are filled with memories of a home that was never even my own.  Clearly, our special times have become so deeply ingrained in my memory and my heart, that I will forever treasure the times I had.


Last Thursday, Gordon Lee got to spend his first night at his Grandma's house without Mommy or Daddy.  We were told that after seeing a picture of Lee on the wall, he was in search of his daddy. And when I walked through the door the next day, he looked at me as if he could hardly believe that Mommy just appeared out of nowhere. But still, from the pictures we saw to the way he was contently playing when I arrived, I'd say that he had a BLAST! And I know that one day, when he is older, he will look at me (like I looked at my mom) and say, "Mama, when can I go and stay at Grandma's house?"
Plus, he gets WAY cooler toys at Grandma's house than at home. :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Who says you can't?



About four months ago, I started running again.  Unfortunately, joining a gym where we are is kind of difficult.  There are no good gyms anywhere near us.  So, do we drive 30 minutes just to go to the gym plus pay for the membership? It really isn't worth it.  So we decided we wouldn't join a gym.  We would get some home equipment for weight lifting and I'd run OUTSIDE.  *gasp* Oh goodness! Even in the days when I was in excellent shape and running races, I rarely ran outside.  Oh and we were coming up on the summer, so running outside was going to take extra discipline like getting up really early in the morning.  

But I said to myself one day, "What are you going to do? Just not do something because it is hard?" So I put G.Lee in the jogging stroller and I made myself go for a run around the neighborhood.  I know from my previous running experience that it is best to go for a minimum of 20 minutes.  So, that is what I did.  I ran for exactly 20 minutes.  Having that goal helped me push myself.  And when I finished, I said to myself, "What is stopping you from just walking for 20 more minutes?" I answered myself, "Nothing." So, I walked.  And I walked for more like 30 minutes.  It was great! I was getting a lot of exercise without having to push myself to a breaking point.

From then on, I started increasing my running and decreasing my walking until I was running for 45 minutes every other day.  Finally, at the end of May (Memorial Day, in fact), I ran a 10K! Running is an amazing thing (if you are a runner you probably know). When you are doing it, everything in you tells you to stop.  For me, it never changes.  The first 10 minutes while I am getting warmed up are always the same.  I want to just quit.  But when you cross that threshold and see that you just ran 20 minutes and you did NOT, in fact, die, the feeling of accomplishment is overwhelming.  After that, I start pushing myself just a little bit more each time.  Every time, I go a little bit further, I feel like I can overcome anything.  Likewise, when I set out to run for 30 minutes and I am even 5 minutes shy of that goal, I just don't feel as good.  Because there is something in me that KNOWS I can do it.

Isn't life that way? We really think we can't do things that we are so capable of doing. I just started a new venture as a freelance writer.  This job sort of happened upon me.  It works well for my life as a stay-at-home mom right now because there is flexibility for me to write when I get the chance.  And, with G. Lee running crazy around the house, I need that.  But it has been stretching me.  I often have to write about things that I have no knowledge-base for.  So, I have to do extensive research just to be able to know what I am writing.  Learning about something foreign is so intimidating.  But when I finish my articles, I feel AMAZING--just like with running! Sometimes, it's a headache. And when I read information laden with technological jargon, I'm thinking, "English, please?" But to be able to figure it out and synthesize it is so empowering. 

And from here, I have been brought to a point where I am asking myself, "Why haven't I...." Why haven't I tried taking risks in the writing world?
Why have I stuck to what's comfortable?
Why do I doubt myself?
Why am I so afraid of failure that I haven't even TRIED?

Because here I am now doing something I never thought I could do.  And I'm coming away from it realizing two things (that are also true of running).
1.) When I think I can't, I can.  And I need to tell myself that and believe it.
2.) The more I stick with it, the more "in-shape" I become and the better I actually get at it.  The seemingly insurmountable obstacles become smaller as you become more equipped.

So, I am thankful for this new journey of exercise of both mind and body.  And I have realized that too often we don't even try because don't believe we can from the start. For this reason, I'd like to encourage everyone to just try something.  If you fail, you fail.  But you might just surprise yourself. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Input-->Output

Gordon Lee has a toy elephant that operates under a very basic principle.  If you put a ball in its left ear, the ball will come out of its nose.  There are times when the ball will pop up and land in the elephant's right ear and go down into its "stomach" where it sits.  This toy has Gordon Lee intrigued.  
He understands that if he puts a ball in the elephant's nose, a ball will come back out.  He knows that if he places a ball in the elephant's left ear, he cannot grab it back out.  I have tried to show him repeatedly that the ball goes in through the left ear and out through the nose.  However, I'm not sure he grasps this yet.  He will stand and stare at it as if trying to figure out this whole mechanism and how exactly it operates.  For all I know, he may understand how it works but not care for the fact that he can't grab the ball back out of the ear or nose once it is in there.  
He seems to be very happy with the bottom part because he can put balls in and take them out of there with no problem.
He understands how to turn the toy on.  And he seems to comprehend that when he turns the machine on at least one ball will come out of its nose. Of course, that is unless he's thrown them all around the living room..in which case, he will look at it bewildered as to why no ball is coming out of the elephant's nose even though he turned the machine on.
Yesterday, he tried sticking some of his other toy balls in the elephant.  And much to his disappointment, they were too large and would not work with it.  He also seems to enjoy grabbing one ball, clutching it tightly and running off with it as if to say, "This one isn't leaving my sight!"

Today, he decided to bring one to me..perhaps for safekeeping.
If only I could understand the inner workings of his mind! Much like his intrigue with how his elephant toy processes balls, I find myself amazed at just how Gordon Lee processes information.

I will try my hardest to teach him things.  Sometimes, I am successful.  Sometimes, I wonder what is going into that little brain.  Then, there are other times when I find it amusing what he picks up.  Parents, tiny eyes are always watching you even when you don't know it! Almost every day for the past several months, I have sung "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" with him doing the same hand motions every time.  Surely, surely, I'd think he'd tried to mimic me.  But, no, what is the first song he mimics? "Pat-a-cake." I rarely sing this one with him.  He has heard it from both sets of grandparents and other friends and relatives.  But I definitely did not sing this one with him very often or even do any clapping when I did.  Yet, one day, I start saying "Pat-a-cake Pat-a-cake" and he began clapping! He has just now started trying to do the motions of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." But these things really amaze me with what he absorbs (and often so quickly)!

One thing I have noticed about Gordon Lee is that he seems to internalize a lot of information.  With almost every skill he has learned, he will do it a few times (usually much to my surprise at the time) and then seems to leave it alone until about 2 months later when he just starts doing it like it's second nature.  With walking, he took 3-4 random steps at around 7 months.  He then did it a few other rare times.  But he mostly stuck to cruising furniture.  Then, a little after he turned 9 months old, he just started walking like it was no big deal.  At about 3 months, he first rolled over deliberately.  However, it was so rare that it almost seemed like I'd made it up. Then, about two months later, he just started rolling like it was nothing.  This has also been the same with just about everything! 

I will definitely be interested to see if this continues with him as he grows up! Oh the joys of having a teacher for a mother...I'm sure he'll grow tired of my analysis of his learning curve. :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cousins

Over the weekend, Gordon Lee and I had the opportunity to meet his 2nd cousin, T.  Gordon Lee and T. are my grandmother's only great-grandchildren.  They are roughly 2 months apart in age.  T. is an absolute cutie!  He is very expressive and I love to hear him babble. Gordon Lee has only had a few experiences with other babies, so it was interesting to see how he would interact with his cousin.  


They shared a few toys.
It was cute when they would both babble at the same time or one after another.  Gordon Lee has a thing with the table pictured where he makes laps around it counter-clockwise until he is tired of playing with it.  Well, he didn't seem to mind that T. was standing right there and would try to plow through him to continue his laps around the table.  T. stuck up for himself and expressed his displeasure with this behavior.  I also tried to show Gordon Lee that pushing past another baby is not appropriate behavior (I doubt he understands yet).

There was a little minor competition over toys.  Sometimes one of them would want what the other was playing with.
In this picture, G. Lee had discovered a travel-sized unopened bottle of mouthwash that was suddenly the coolest "toy" in the room! Oh the things babies enjoy playing with!

There was one instance when the two boys were playing outside on a blanket in the lawn that I thought was sweet.  T. was getting a little upset and started fussing some.  G. Lee became a little concerned about him and went over to him to see what was going on.  

The next day after the two boys met, we took them to see their great-grandmother.  This was especially important for T. because he had not met her yet.  When we arrived, the nurses at the home thought they were twins.  And I thought to myself, "How in the world would you think these boys are twins? They look nothing alike and G. Lee is quite a bit bigger than T."  But after my mother sent me a couple of pictures of everyone together, I discovered why they may have thought the babies were twins.
We had not planned it out at all; however, we had dressed both boys in horizontal-striped tops with blue and black.  And they were both wearing jeans.  For some reason, G. Lee decided to put his hand on T.'s shoulder for one of our group pictures! I think with the babies and grandma, it was impossible to get everyone looking at the camera.  But we tried!

As for little T.? He was thrilled to meet his great-grandmother!
That sweet little smile is just irresistible! What a cutie!

I was definitely happy to see my cousin again and meet her sweet little boy! And I am glad Gordon Lee got to meet his cousin!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Reflections

As Lent draws to a close, I am finding myself in a completely different place than I was in when I started.  At the beginning, I felt tense, frustrated, etc.  And now, I feel very free so to speak.  I just feel good!


Stepping away from Facebook just gave me the time to focus on other things.  I really needed that! I am taking Gordon Lee outside every day, and I am sure the fresh air and sunshine are helping to enhance my overall mood.


I love watching my little boy grow and develop! I'm not fretting about what to do or not do with him.  I am happy with the way we are doing things, and I received a huge compliment on him this weekend.  It was much appreciated! We all want what is best for our children no matter how we approach parenting.  And it is nice to see that all different parenting styles can lead to beautiful, happy children.


Getting away from Facebook, helped me step away from drama.  I for one was spending WAY too much time caring about what other people posted on there.  It's their life and their freedom to post what they want.  Some people are constantly sharing the same thing and that is perfectly fine.  


It's so easy for our mood and perspective to change depending upon what we fill our day with.  I've found that getting out more and getting active more helps me keep things in perspective.  When I am on the computer a lot, silly and petty things become magnified.  And I suppose they would because those things are filling up too much of my time.


So, as Lent closes and I am ready to return to that social-networking site, I am going to make it my goal to use it as a source of encouragement.  I will probably try to limit my time on there and hopefully pause and rethink things if I find my mind wandering in the "they said WHAT?" direction.  It is so easy to start behaving more immature than a child!


It is so easy to judge and pick apart other people, and it is so destructive to ourselves and others.  So, hopefully love will guide me more as each day passes.


And I have really been enjoying on reflecting on what love is...

  • patient
  • kind
  • does not envy (doesn't despise another person in their happiness)
  • does not boast
  • is not proud
  • is not rude
  • is not self-seeking
  • is not easily angered
  • keeps no record of wrongs
Love uplifts, repairs, encourages, and covers all! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

And the Green Grass Grew all Around all Around

Gordon Lee loves to be outside.  Who wouldn't with this fabulous weather we have had recently? This weekend, I was up at my parents' house, and they just so happen to have a glass door that attracted one pint-sized explorer immediately.

He walked his hands up the door until he was standing to peer outside.  Thankfully, my mother said she did not mind since she could just wash off slobber and finger prints with glass cleaner.

He not only enjoyed watching people and animals outside, but he liked being out there too.  So, making sure we stayed away from wherever the dog chose to eliminate, we let him play in a portion of the yard.  He loved it! His favorite pastime is pulling up grass and throwing it (thankfully, he didn't try eating it).  But what was even more amusing was what he did on one particular day that I took him out there!

He was getting a little restless indoors.  And since the weather was so pleasant outside, I took him out in the grass.  Immediately, he struck a pose! I couldn't believe it and I thought it was so funny I had to get pictures.  So, I dashed in the house to grab a camera.  

When I got back out there (which was just a matter of seconds), he was still holding the pose.  And I think OshKosh should look for a new baby model.  He clearly possesses confidence and poise. ;)



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yells and Whistles

Disclaimer- I haven't blogged in like week.  So this blog is pretty long with updates on G Lee! :)


Gordon Lee is now a little over 8 and 1/2 months old.  We went to the doctor last week for his 6 month well-baby check up.  Yes, it was delayed. Ha! Moving and then quite a few other events occurring over the past few months ended up pushing back the doctor's appointment.

He decided to try to entertain everyone in the waiting room by blowing raspberries.  And we subsequently had people moving away from us not wanting to get sprayed.  They still seemed to find him entertaining more than annoying.  I'm glad about that because I don't know how to stop him from doing things like that, and I actually prefer it over crying.

Anyway, he weighed in at about 22 pounds and basically 30 inches long.  He was something like 29.9 inches.  He is in the 90th percentile for both height and weight. Yes, that is 90th percentile for his age (not a 6 month old).  He is in great health and very sociable.

He has never really been too particular about who holds him, but he starting to change ever so slightly with that.  He will still let people hold him, but if somebody new reaches out to hold him, he will kind of hang back to me until I "encourage" him to go.  Then, he will gladly reach out.  I guess he wants to make sure whoever it is is okay.  

He has also established another rule--one of these days we will have to explain what a double-standard is.  When he is in a room with people, he doesn't like anyone to walk out and leave.  He will crawl out as fast as he can wherever that person went.  HOWEVER, if he feels like leaving, he will gladly try to wander off.  Mmmmhmmmm

He is still not really walking yet aside from taking a few steps here and there.  But I think it is more of a confidence thing.  I have noticed that he will stand perfectly fine on his own with no problem, but as soon as he realizes he is doing it, it's as if he says "oh wait, I can't do this" and just sits down.  He took several steps yesterday as if he has been walking his whole life, but it was almost as if he did it subconsciously! Because he sort of paused in the middle of it and dropped down to a crawl.


His biggest fascination is faces.  He loves to look at faces and grab people's noses.  He also likes to put his hand on your mouth when you're talking and feel the movement of your mouth (sort of like Helen Keller!). 


Gordon Lee does not like to wear shoes. But with his recent attempts at walking for the past month or so, I get increasingly nervous he might step on something and hurt his foot (basically when we are outside).  So, my mom actually found a pair of shoes that are less restrictive.  Babies who do not usually enjoy wearing shoes apparently love them.  They are called Skidders.  Well Gordon Lee does love them! But he likes to put them in his mouth and carry them around in his mouth like a dog.  Now that he has worn them outside, I have to keep them well-hidden.
Another new development has been his attempt at working remote controls.  We allow him to play with 2 that have the batteries removed.  One is an xbox controller and the other is just an additional remote to the television.  He has been very interested in remotes for quite some time now, which is why we went ahead and gave him 2 as toys.  We were tired of his incessant attempt at grabbing the ones that actually work! Well more recently, he has been using them the way he sees us use them! He takes his remote control and will point at the TV and push buttons.  When my husband is playing a game on the xbox, he picks up his controller and pushes the buttons like he is trying to play along! I don't have any pictures of this yet, but it is just adorable!

Gordon Lee is also a talker.  He babbles on and on pretty much all the time.  When he is especially in a good mood, he will make cute high-pitched noises.  They just don't get old for me! I love hearing it every time!
Just two days ago, we were all in the living room, when Lee and I heard a whistling sound.  It sounded just like the wind when it whistles; however, there was no wind blowing on that day.  We looked at each other and I noticed Gordon Lee's lips were pursed in a whistle shape and he was whistling! He would sometimes be able to get a whistle out and sometimes not, but he kept trying.  Then, my husband went to him, started whistling, and he started mimicking! Sometimes he mimicked just in shaping his mouth the same way but he'd also get a whistle out! It was so much fun.  Lee and I do whistle a lot just because and I think he's picked up on it.  I tried to capture him doing it yesterday.  He did do it quite a few times, but as soon as I'd try to record it, he would quit.  I got one video of him putting his mouth in the whistle shape but he soon got distracted by a car going by outside.
Speaking of cars going by outside, he loves to go for walks! I've been trying to get him out on a walk every day that the weather is favorable.  Thankfully, it has cooled off a lot this week and we are able to get out more.  He likes to look at everything and he especially loves his little steering wheel on the jogging stroller.