Wednesday, December 17, 2008

When you grow up...

I will be delighted if you someday stay up until midnight shoveling snow on the evening before a pre-dawn airport departure, simply so your wife doesn't have to do it when she wakes up.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Winter

It was 17 degrees last night, yet for some idiotic reason it won't qualify as "Winter" for another two weeks.

One of the world's many mysteries, my little man.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Eighteen Months Old

You are eighteen months old now. Sniff. My tiny baby is all gone, and I have a wonderful big boy in his place.

I've decided to post a little status update, since I have pretty much given up on the idea of keeping up with your baby book.

At your 18 month appointment you were 29 lbs (50-75th percentile) and 34 inches (90-95th percentile).


You are growing increasingly particular, and you can throw one heck of a tantrum. You don't do it very often, but when you decide you really want something, WATCH OUT! This day you wanted to go back to the park, and you were inconsolable for about 45 minutes:

You say several hundred words, and you add to your vocabulary every day. Some words still need some refining, like "disonaur" and "double-boo". You are putting several words together, like "ABC puzzle, Daddy," "Mommy light on pease," and "I-wan-the-______!"

You could read books all day long. This makes me so very happy, because I am a bookworm too! Two of your favorite books are letter/number books. You can identify all uppercase letters and numbers 1-9. Here is proof:

You know some shapes: circle, triangle, square, oval, and diamond. You also are learning colors, although they are still pretty tough. You reliably identify: black, white, pink, and yellow. The rest are sort of iffy.


You adore stickers. Other craft activities like crayons, markers, and stamps are fun, but they still don't compare to stickers. Your scribbles are growing from short, straight, horizontal marks (left) to longer, more loopy designs (right).

Another favorite activity of yours is trains. You don't know this yet, but you are getting a train/lego table for Christmas and I could not be more excited. You are going to love it! You know the names of all the trains (Thomas, Gordon, and Percy being the preferred trains), and you especially like pushing them under bridges.

You are also obsessed with peg puzzles, and you can put together simple 10-piece jigsaw puzzles. Again, you can be very particular about which puzzle you want to do. The fire truck puzzle is simply not an acceptable option when you really want the zebra puzzle!


After four semesters of Music Together, you are starting to enjoy music a lot. You like to sing the "Hello Everybody" song, and you name all of your friends, family members, emergency vehicles, and Baby Jesus when you sing. You enjoy playing the drums. A lot. You have a little xylophone/piano, but I don't think what you do with it can be qualified as "playing". It is more of an extreme hammering.


You are a silly, silly monkey and spend hours running back and forth in your playroom. On this day we had such a blast (not to worry, you were ouch-free after the crash at the end):


One of the things I love to watch is you learning to play with your friends. Most of the time you engage in side-by-side play, but slowly you are beginning to truly interact with them. You and Judah love to read books together and put together puzzles. The other day you and Noa spent 30 minutes tossing your giant fish pillow around, laughing your tiny bottoms off! Sharing is very difficult, but we aren't giving up :)

You are a champion eater. For a while you rejected meat/chicken/etc, but now you are warming up to those things. Grilled cheese sandwiches, pasta, fruit, oatmeal, pizza, and soup are some of your favorite things to eat.


Sleeping is a constant struggle. Recently you learned to fall asleep in your bed all by yourself. Hooray for Jason! You still have not slept through the night, or anything close. You typically wake 3x a night. You last about 3 hours in your own bed, and then you sleep with Mommy & Daddy. This has worked well so far, but you are getting so big! You spread out like a giant starfish in the middle of the bed, and Daddy & I are relegated to the edges.


You continue to be the sweetest thing, very generous with kisses and hugs, and we love you more than anything else in the whole universe!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dear Mamo and Granddaddy...

J, today you asked me to transcribe a letter for you. Being the accommodating Mommy that I am, I complied and even attempted a translation.

Mamo! Greendaddy! (Dear Mamo and Granddaddy,)

Mamo. Houuuuse. (I miss you! I had a wonderful visit with you.) Riiice! Black beans! Pumpkin pie! (You fed me very yummy things like pumpkin pie and Cuban food, and now Mommy is trying to make me eat green beans instead. Ew.) Fishy food! (I enjoyed feeding the fishies.) Golf balls! (To the delight of Granddaddy, I think golf is the coolest.) Hewwooooo Ah Kaffee (I really had fun with my Aunt Kathy, too, and like to sing songs with her.) Lenny! Bongos! (Uncle Lenny taught me how to play the bongo drums.) Outside! (I have no clue why it is 19 degrees here, when I was just playing outside in 70 degree perfection last week.)

Mamooooo :( Greendaddy :( (I miss you!!! Love, Jason)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mrs. Smith

Today you discovered pumpkin pie. You said, "I like that," and proceeded to eat about a third of the pie. After your breakfast, morning snack, lunch, first dinner, second dinner, and the pie, we took some pictures of your belly and it was appropriately round. I will try to remember to post them here when they are uploaded.

We had a perfect day with perfect weather, perfect food, perfect friends, and perfect family--all of which I'm enormously thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Superpower

I have the inconvenient ability to walk into Target to buy diapers and, 45 minutes later, walk out with wrapping paper, Christmas garland, nail clippers, a $200 receipt, and no diapers.

I am becoming my mother!


Also, I thought this was appropriate given the topic of the day...your Uncle Matt with the Target dog:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Losing gracefully

J,

Remember my post on sports fans? How it is not good form to blame things like the referee when you lose? It goes for politics as well.

Dear McCain staffers and Republican Party,

Give it a rest. Nobody cares if you hate Governor Palin. You chose her. I don't think it was a ridiculous idea...governor, energy expertise, ultra-conservative, young...she seemed to balance out Senator McCain and it did seem smart to get the conservative base excited about the ticket. You counted on Senator McCain to get the Independent vote. He didn't. I think you would have done better to choose a moderate like Giuliani or Bloomberg or Lieberman, or even a conservative with economic expertise like Romney. But that's just me.

Whatever. Nobody wants to hear it if you think she was bitchy, ignorant, and clothes-happy. It doesn't matter. It makes you look like a bunch of sexist, whiney babies. It reflects poorly upon Senator McCain. And it doesn't help our country (or your party, for that matter) one bit. As a West Wing character once said, "This is why good people hate us, this, right here."

Suck it up and get to work on keeping Nancy Pelosi in check.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama

In a few months a new President will be sworn into office, Barack Obama. As a friend joked recently, I suppose I should practice writing checks to the IRS... Politics aside, it is a beautiful day in our country's history. I don't think you (or I, for that matter) can truly appreciate how far this country has come in the past fifty years with respect to racism. A man of mixed heritage, including African roots, has been elected President of the Unitied States. Wow! We need to continue those strides and tackle the next great civil rights issue, outright governmental discrimination against gay Americans. But that is another post for another day!

Anyhow, I am looking forward to seeing President-elect Obama's cabinet come together over the coming months. It should be telling. I find politics very fascinating. Infinitely frustrating, but still fascinating. And this will definitely be something fun to watch.

I'm a bit worried about the prospect of one party controlling the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. Hopefully they will learn a lesson from the early years of the Clinton administration and the bulk of the Bush administration...nobody appreciates it when one party takes advantage of power! I will be writing to my new Congressional Representative right away (the one I voted for--yay!) to remind him of this.

One thing I know for sure: I hope the Republicans in this country conduct themselves with more grace during President Obama's term than the Democrats have during President Bush's.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election 2008!

Jason,

Today was voting day. I voted for five Republicans and three Democrats. I had a very long (and probably boring) post outlining my take on the two Presidential candidate's views, experience, character, education, judgment...and I decided to ditch it. I do think it would be interesting for you to read my thoughts on the candidates someday, so I will try to give you some insight into my thoughts today. It basically boils down to this:

I believe the federal government has seized way too much power (and money) in this country. The federal government is a terrible steward of our tax dollars. Not only is it rife with waste and corruption, the system itself is set up to be unbelievably inefficient. The last thing I want to see is more federal programs, which in effect take away personal, local, or state control of matters. The federal government can hardly operate the programs already in existence.

Of course, certain things must take place at the federal level, namely foreign affairs, defense, and civil rights protection. I also think the federal government should set policy in many areas, such as education, health care, public safety issues, economics (although a room full of mostly lawyers making economic policy makes me cringe), and many others. What the federal government stinks at is execution. There is hardly a bit of oversight by the people. Execution should take place at the lowest level of government possible (or not a government agency at all), in order to provide the people with maximum oversight. If your school is doing a poor job, you can bet I will be at the next School Board meeting raising all kinds of hell. Of course, I raise concerns with my Congressman and Senators via letters on a regular basis. It doesn't have quite the same effect, though.

Traditionally, this vision of small government would align me with the Republican party. However, the Republican party has been transformed into some sort of moral and cultural consortium, rather than a group of people with similar views of how government should work. They have overseen huge expansions in the federal government over the past eight years. Also, I am fiercely liberal on a large number of "the issues". So I have a hard time identifying with the Republican Party.

Further complicating matters is Senator John McCain. Before his campaign, I would have leapt with joy to vote for him. He was the Democrat's Republican. Not afraid to go against the herd. A long record of working with both sides of the aisle. A feisty temper. I adored him! And then...this campaign of his. I have no idea where Senator McCain went, but he was nowhere to be found over the past year. He began catering to the conservative special interest groups and I was disappointed once again.

Then there is Senator Obama. Simply put, I think it takes a great deal of arrogance to propose some of the policies he has proposed. It also takes a great deal of good intentions. My problem with his stance--on issues from health care to international relations--is this idea that he, or the government, knows best. That the government will swoop in to save the day. They will fix the markets. Involve the government in my health care (I've already had that, thank you very much, and it sucked). While many of his proposed policies sound lovely, I think they will result in a "New New Deal" for lack of a better term. I am concerned by that; this country already has a huge problem with personal accountability, and I worry this will exacerbate that problem.

So. I am left without an especially attractive candidate. My vote will be for Senator McCain, in the hopes that the John McCain of years past would resurface (in the unlikely event he wins the race). In Senator Obama's case, I hope the Barack Obama of his campaign wins out, rather than the Barack Obama his record suggests.

Either way, I'll be a burr in the side of the new President's letter-reading staff ;)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Use the Force Luke

This year marked your second Halloween...you were Yoda, due to a last minute mess up by Mommy. The fire/smoke cleaners still had your real Halloween costume (Notre Dame football player) so I had to make an early morning run to Toys R US to find a suitable alternative. It worked out very well; the costume was only $7 and you were adorable.

We had a wonderful Halloween lunch with a train engineer (Judah), a mouse (Noa), cookie monster himself (Timmy), and all of your Mama's Caboose friends. Then we went Trick-or-Treating with the cutest ventriloquist dummy ever (Georgia).

Here are some pictures!


Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Today, Halloween 2008, marks the 10th anniversary of Mommy & Daddy's engagement. I was a Junior at Duke, and much to our dismay Daddy had left a few weeks earlier to attend some very long military training in Texas. We decided to meet in San Antonio for the Halloween weekend. Daddy picked me up at the airport and I remember he was acting pretty strange. He took me to the San Antonio River Walk, which is a very romantic spot, so I figured he was in a decent enough mood. We strolled along the River Walk and stopped at a little bench on "Marriage Island," the location of the first Catholic mass ever held in San Antonio in 1691. Legend has it, if you get married or engaged on this island you will have a happy marriage.

So anyhow, we were sitting on this bench watching the river boats go by when I tried to hold Daddy's hand (which was in his pocket holding my engagement ring, unbeknownst to me). He didn't want to hold my hand, and I thought for sure he was going to break up with me, right there on Marriage Island. All I could think was, "I can't believe this guy! I flew all the way out to San Antonio to see him and he took me to Marriage Island to dump me. What an ass!" While I was busy thinking all of these nasty things, Daddy was going on about how much he loved me and how he couldn't imagine life without me. Worst breakup speech ever. It did make a good engagement speech though. Finally he got down on one knee, pulled out a little box with a gorgeous diamond inside, and asked me to marry him.

I was so shocked (remember, I was thinking his little speech was going to end in me flying home to North Carolina single) that I responded, "Really?" Luckily Daddy kept his cool and said, "Yeah, really." Then I got my wits together and squealed, "Yes, yes, yes!" and gave him a big kiss just as one of the tourist boats floated by. The Captain said over the loudspeaker, "Did she say yes?" and we got to wave and smile, assuring them I didn't break Daddy's heart. I'm certain there are pictures of us in a vacation scrapbook documenting some couple from Idaho's 1998 vacation to San Antonio.

The rest of the day was spent making calls to our families, who, to their credit, did not freak out at the thought of their 20 and 22 year old offspring promising to marry each other after 4 months of dating! If you pull that I might have a conniption fit. Luckily Daddy and I knew what we were doing ;)

Happy 10th Anniversary to Mommy & Daddy!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

World Series 2008


Congratulations to the World Series Champs the Philadelphia Phillies! Your Uncle Bubba is very pleased right now :)

Being a sports fan is great fun, but I want you to be a well-behaved one. There are a few rules I think all good sports fans should follow:

1) Don't be a "fair-weather" fan. If you are a fan, be a fan all the time! We proudly wore our Boston Red Sox hats around town this week. We love them, win or lose.

2) Be a good loser. It doesn't change things when, post-loss, you go around saying things like, "the other team cheated" and "the refs lost the game for us." You can't win them all, so when you lose you can at least be graceful about it.

3) Part of being a fan is hating certain teams deep in your soul. As a Duke and Red Sox fan, for instance, I despise the UNC Tarheels and the NY Yankees with every fiber of my being. BUT...remember that the players on the other team are people. Yes, part of being an athlete involves taunting from opposing teams, but being truly nasty is not necessary. This, of course, does not apply to Alex Rodriguez.

4) Similarly, when a player on your own team has a bad day I think ridicule is inappropriate.

5) When all else fails, remember there is always next year!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Fall!

Fall is here. Happy sigh! It smells like fireplaces outside. On Saturdays we can hear the marching band playing at the high school football games down the street. You wear the cutest little hats to keep warm. The trees are yellow and red and orange and purple. And, your favorite, there are giant piles of leaves everywhere!

Last weekend Daddy made a pile to play in, a first for both you and me. Luckily we had Daddy to show us the ropes:

Monday, October 20, 2008

"I Didn't Know Apples Had Paws!"

Our dear friend Mr. B recently told me he had bittersweet feelings about Judah's quickly developing language skills. "Pee-oh" has turned into "piano." "Jase" is now "Jason." Mr. B missed hearing those cute little toddler-speak words.

I am starting to understand what he was talking about. You are smack in the middle of toddler-speak, and I'm really going to miss it! You say hundreds of words perfectly, but there are probably a hundred more that only Daddy and I can really understand. Belty bun (belly button). Double boo (W). Ahh-juss (orange juice). Wawer (water). Patta (pasta). Geena ball (those poofy bath thingys). BABYYYYY (my cell phone...there is a picture of you on the screen).

Yesterday I heard a new one. I walked in on you and Daddy having breakfast, and you were saying "Apple-paws! Apple-paws!" with great urgency. You really wanted some applesauce with no delay. Daddy remarked, with a straight face, "I didn't know apples had paws!"

Which is why I love Daddy :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dr. Seuss

Okay, I'm going to go ahead and admit something very unpopular. Here goes...

I don't understand Dr. Seuss.

Seriously, is it just me? I think he is weird. I think the drawings are scary. I sort of like Horton Hears a Who and Oh! The Places You'll Go. Sort of. But overall? I just don't get it!

Maybe you can explain it to me in a few years.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Jason,
Hopefully by the time you grow up stillbirth and SIDS will be preventable. Until then, Mommy will be posting a mini public service announcement every October...

Hello friends,

It is that time of year again...October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

In that spirit, if you or someone you know is expecting, please encourage them to perform their kick counts after week 28. The easiest way is to choose a convenient time of day and measure how long it takes for your baby to kick (or roll or wiggle or punch) ten times. If the number deviates significantly from your regular numbers, or if it takes longer than 2 hours to count 10 kicks, you need to contact your OB. Do not let them blow you off! With your kick count log you have concrete information to share with your doctor and they should squeeze you in to check things out.

Here is a website with specific kick count instructions: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/duringpregnancy/kickcounts.htm

Stillbirth is not an intractable problem. Greater research would likely significantly reduce its incidence, but good research requires good data. H.R. 5979: Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act is under consideration by Congress. S. 3142: Preventing Stillbirth and SUID Act has been introduced in the Senate. These proposed bills would standardize stillbirth investigation and diagnosis, thus providing more data for the needed research. Better research means fewer children born still. If you feel so inclined, let your representatives know that you support both the bills and increased funding for stillbirth research. There is much speculation that SIDS and SADS (another name for unexplained stillbirths, which make up over half of all stillbirths) are related. One in 115 pregnancies end in stillbirth. One in 2,000 babies born will die of SIDS. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could someday learn enough to prevent both tragedies?

Heather

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Congress

We are in the midst of quite the economic meltdown right now. I have much to say about this, yet it all boils down to:

"Y'know, I'm so sick of Congress, I could vomit."
----Josh Lyman (The West Wing, 1999)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Family Traditions

Last night I sat with your Daddy on the couch to watch television (the 17th season of Survivor...proof that I really do love him) and noticed we were both cuddled up in our favorite quilts made by my Grandma Ginny (my Daddy's Mom). She was an amazing quilter. She made such beautiful, perfect stitches and spent so much time making everything perfect. So many of my memories of her are with her glasses on and a thimble on her finger. She had a huge thimble collection. I apparently got my procrastination gene from that side of the family, because she had a habit of starting many projects and leaving them just slightly unfinished. I am pretty sure this was my baby quilt, but she didn't finish it until after I was married!

This is my favorite quilt that Grandma made for me. She gave it to me when I went to college, and I had it on my bed the whole time. It looks like a simple pattern, but one of the reasons I love it is because she chose all of those little pieces of fabric especially for me. When you look closely, they all match their adjacent pieces beautifully.


After Grandma died, Mamo learned how to quilt in order to use the thousands of pieces of fabric Grandma had tucked away. I wish they had quilted together...it is one of those things that should be shared and passed down from generation to generation...but Mamo figured it out and went on a quilting rampage for a few years. We have lots of quilts made by Mamo, but this is my favorite. She took all of my college t-shirts and made the quilt out of them.

You already have some beautiful quilts made just for you. Your Aunt Susan made this one. When you were tiny, before you could even sit up, it was your favorite place to practice rolling over. You loved looking at the little pictures!

Anyhow, as a little boy (and someday man...boo hoo!) I'm sure much of this may be lost on you. But it is important. When someone creates something for someone they love there is a piece of them in it. They spent their precious time thinking about what you would like, and while they stitched those pieces together they were thinking about you the whole time, wanting you to enjoy the result of their work. And on the other side, the gift is so special. Even though she's been gone for almost eight years, a little piece of my Grandma is wrapped around me when I cuddle up in her quilts.

PS: You can click on each of the small pictures for a larger, detailed version!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Business Lesson

This morning we bought popcorn from some Cub Scouts at the grocery store. Daddy asked the little entrepreneur (or "big boy" as you would say) what he recommended. The little guy suggested the kettle corn, the cheapest of all the options at $15 . Daddy decided he failed the business test, since he sold us the most inexpensive item. I gave him the benefit of the doubt...perhaps he has a bigger profit margin on the kettle corn?

Who knows, but at least now you're prepared the level of anal-retentiveness you're dealing with when you go out to sell Cub Scout popcorn with Daddy in a few years. You can't say I didn't warn you ;)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Go Eagles!

It is football season, and so far Donovan McNabb is healthy. Yay! Here is your take on the game:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Motherhood

This quote came to mind today when you decided it would be fun to awaken for the day at 5:00 a.m.

"I am out here for YOU. You don't know what it's like to be ME out here for YOU. It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about, ok?"
---Jerry Maguire (Jerry Maguire, 1996)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fifteen Months

Today you had your 15-month checkup. You are just perfect...27 lbs 2 oz and 32.5 inches tall.

Here is a recent video of you riding in the car on our way home from Boston:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Republican or Democrat?

That sure is the question of the day, Mr. Jason Henry.

Republicans are the gun-toting, gay-bashing, war-mongering, rich-loving, churchgoing, nature-hating Pro-lifers. Democrats are the anti-American, morally-irresponsible, tax-raising, terrorist-loving, Hollywood-adoring, anti- military Pro-choicers. Right? Not really, but to hear their opponents talk, those are the facts.

Around here, the proper thing to do is to label yourself as a "Socially Liberal Fiscal Conservative." What this really means is, "I don't want to admit I voted for Bush, I don't like reading about our troops dying in Iraq, and I don't understand why two men can't get married, but please stop raising my taxes!"

Independents make up 37% of this country, more than Democrats (36%) and Republicans (27%). So why, I ask, is there not a major Independent contender for the presidency?

I know what you're thinking. Those poor special interest groups will be left out in the cold! Whatever will our nation's leaders do without the NRA and the teachers unions to please?

Not to worry, there will still be plenty of things to keep them occupied:
- Guard the borders in a humane way that values and respects immigrants and guests in our country without compromising security.
- Kick terrorism's butt, both here and abroad.
- Enact national standards for education that become stricter and stricter until teaching is both respected and lucrative, luring the best and brightest to become educators.
- Lead the world in response to crises such as the Somali Civil War, rather than blindly sending our troops into battle practically unarmed so we don't upset the UN.
- Stop genocide whenever and wherever it happens, period.
- Work with the nonprofit community and faith organizations to feed the world's children.
- Gather the courage to tell my generation we won't receive Social Security so we can begin to plan for our retirements.
- Enact legislation to mandate health care, starting with children, in a way that maintains (or preferably enhances) the market forces currently in place. See Massachusetts for an example.
- Offer a federal avenue for same-sex couples to enjoy the benefits of marriage. This way we won't have to wait for each state to come to its senses.
- STOP WASTING MY TAX DOLLARS!

So here I sit, waiting for someone who has a plan to accomplish these things. Michael Bloomberg, where are you???

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Is it November yet???

The Democratic National Convention is going on right now. The Republican Convention is next week.

Blah. Double blah.

They really should space them out more. One can only handle so much self-righteousness at a time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Favorite Things

J,

One of the things we do daily, usually over dinner, is talk about our favorite things that happened during the course of our day. I tell you my favorite part of the day, and then I try to guess what your favorite part was. On Thursday, for example, my favorite thing was helping you learn how to put together your fire engine puzzle. And I think your favorite thing was watching a bunny eat his dinner while we were taking a spin in your cool red car. On Friday we both had the same favorite thing...playing in the sprinklers! This little routine is a really good way for me to make my Mommy report card. If the best thing about our day is pointing out the fans in Home Depot, I probably need to do a better job tomorrow!

Last week was one of my favorite "favorite thing" moments EVER. You and Judah and Timmy were all playing at the park, and Judah decided to climb up onto a big tree stump. You think Judah is just about the coolest person you know, so of course you followed him up onto the stump. You gave each other this gigantic hug, and Judah said, "Buddy!" Awwww. A cute moment already. Well, then you both lost your balance and went tumbling off the tree stump, still hugging, and Judah still saying "Buddy!" Timmy saw all of this transpire and decided he didn't want to be left out of the action, so he ran over to you boys and fell down to the ground with great enthusiasm. Now every time I need a giggle I think, "Buddy!" and the image of you three monkeys flashes into my mind. So cute.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Freedom...officially

Today I received my discharge paperwork from the Air Force. I have not been a member of the Active Duty for the last four years, but I was still connected to the Inactive Reserve to complete my military service commitment. That is just a complicated way (the military can invent nonsensical terminology for just about anything) of saying that I didn't have to go to work every day, but if they needed me they could call me. Even though it wasn't part of my daily life, I still "belonged" to them, so to speak.

There is an ever-present lack of control over one's own life that military service members learn to live with. They don't get to choose their jobs, decide where to live, plan work around a family live, or even become pleasantly plump! This isn't a complaint, by the way. I signed up for eight years of service, and I happily completed it. It was an honor to simply be a part of the same organization my Daddy and so many other individuals I respect...Gen Smith, Gen Twitchell, Gen Clem, Capt Jack, David Eastis, Alan Estis, Uncle Don, Mr. Noneck, TC Coon, your Daddy, both my grandfathers, both my grandfathers-in-law, and so many others...made so great.

So it feels both freeing and odd to no longer be a part of it all. For the first time in my life, I won't carry a military ID card. Forever more, my hand will be over my heart instead of in a salute during our national anthem. I won't put on my uniform again. No one will call me "Captain". I probably won't be called ma'am very often, for that matter! But I will always remember fondly my time as a servicewoman...as an airman...and be proud.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

An Intervention

I must stop drinking so much Diet Coke! I came to this conclusion after finding myself on the receiving end of a Diet Coke intervention, courtesy of my handsome little friend Judah. Judah's Mommy was unloading groceries, and she turned around to see Judah holding a Diet Coke bottle while exclaiming, "Seebs!" Pretty sad when an 18 month old associates you with a soda bottle.

For you, I choose organic fruit, whole great bread, and free range eggs, yet I pump those nasty chemicals into my body at the rate of 2 liters/day. Yikes! If I am still doing this by the time you learn to read, I give you permission to nag me incessantly. They have pills to help people quit smoking; maybe I should look for something to help me out.

Just so you know, I am writing this with a full glass of my favorite aspartame/caffeine combo right in front of me. I will quit...but certainly not today!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Your First Haircut

Today you got your first haircut. We went to a special kids' barber, and you got a special certificate marking the occasion. Instead of a chair you sat in a cool car, and Ernie was taking a bubble bath on television with rubber ducky. You were impressing everyone there by shouting "Ernie!" "Ducky!" "Bubboo!" At the end you got a special balloon and I got some locks of your hair. All for the low price of $25 (note sarcasm). Brilliant.

Here is your before picture:













During:














And (da da da dummmm) the after:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Movie Quotes

Your daddy has this really annoying habit of quoting movies and tv shows. All the time. Okay, it used to be annoying, but now I actually understand his humor (scary, I know) and think he is hysterical most of the time. I'm sure you will think we are both dorks, but that's okay.

He wanted to make sure I included some of his favorites in my blog, so here is one that came up in conversation last night:

"Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
---Ferris Bueller (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Perfect Weekend

Well, it is Monday. Poo. We had such a fantastic weekend and Monday had to come around and spoil things. I wish you could remember how much fun we had!

On Saturday we went to Sesame Place. Oh my goodness. Despite my initial opposing arguments, your Daddy lets you watch Sesame Street in the mornings before I wake up. While I still don't love it, that extra sleep is far too precious to protest very loudly. You've become pretty attached to Ernie and Elmo during the course of these early-morning Sesame Street viewing sessions.

Well, let me tell you, seeing Ernie and Elmo (and Bert and Mr. Noodle (who I really don't trust...he looks like a child molester to me...) and Oscar and Mr. Hooper's store) in person was almost too much for you to take in! You were beyond excited.

To top it all off, you got to have your buddy Judah (and Judah's Mommy and Daddy) along with you! The two of you watching the Elmo's World show brought Mrs. B and I to tears, you were both so awestruck.

You boys also got to ride the carousel (twice), take pictures with Bert & Ernie (a tiny bit scary), eat at Elmo's Eatery (pizza & chicken strips) , go on the teacups (dizzy), and drive trains (very cool).

I think my favorite moment was you and Judah consulting the map to decide the agenda for the day. It was very serious business!



Then on Sunday you and Daddy and I had a great day playing, having lunch at your second favorite place, Panera, and going to the pool. You are such a big boy now. You can stand up in the kiddie pool all by yourself, and you love going under the waterfall.


So, a great weekend from start to finish. Monday came around way to quickly!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Coke vs Pepsi

When faced with the choice between Coke and Pepsi, you must ALWAYS choose Coke! Pepsi sucks.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Aunt Florence

You like to eat at precisely 7 a.m., 12 noon, and 5 p.m. Today I said, "Okay, Aunt Florence, I'm coming right now with your lunch." I sounded just like my mother, who used to tell me the same thing when I demanded dinner on time.

I suddenly realized that the only things I know about Aunt Florence are:
1) she was somehow related to my mother,
2) the U.S. Naval Observatory used her hunger cues to set their official clocks, and
3) she left her entire estate to a tribe of Native Americans.

So I asked your Mamo about her and got some more scoop! Turns out Aunt Florence was my Mamo's Aunt (your Mamo's Mother's Aunt). She lived in northern Florida and never married, but she did have a long-standing feud with my Mamo's mother, who was her sister. I suspect this may be why she gave her money to the Indians. Seems like a good way to have the last word, anyway. She worked with children as her career, so hopefully she wasn't too wicked! Your Mamo says Aunt Florence was always very kind to her, and they often spent holidays together.

So there you have it, the first of the ancestor posts. More to come later, to be sure.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Burp!

Lately, when you burp, you follow it up by announcing, "burp!" to everyone. It is too cute.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Letter from Aunt Kathy

Today, a letter for my buddy from Aunt Kathy:

My Dearest Little Jason,

Your mommy has sent me your list of 50 words. I am so proud of you and wish I was up there to hear you say them. I could probably even teach you a few new ones: boungie (ask Mamo for pronunciation), Rafa (as in Rafael Nadal), tennis (which I hope you will someday learn to play), Elvis (accompanied by an appropriate demonstration of Jailhouse Rock), and sweetheart. In about 2 more years you will use that last word as you recite "My Sweetheart, My Sweetheart", a special poem your great Mamo taught to your Mommy when she was a little girl. Actually, your Mommy's first version was "My Fweetheart, My Fweetheart".

I had a lot of fun with your Mamo when we flew up together in April to visit you and your Mommy and Daddy. (your Mommy will say we came to see YOU!) I made a special picture book for me and Mamo titled "Aunt Kathy and Mamo visit Jason". It is very cute and you are driving Judah's red car in some of the pictures. You could not take your eyes off of it and climbed in immediately and started "driving". I made a little video of you steering like crazy. I can tell you will be a very good driver. Mamo decided then that she and Granddaddy would get you a little car for your first birthday.

I am very excited that you and Mommy will be coming to Key Largo in August or September for a visit! I can hardly wait to see you and play with you. We will be sure to play "creepy spider"! You liked that a lot.

Lots of love and hugs and kisses,
Aunt Kathy and Mr. Lenny (way down in Key West, Fl) xxooxxoo :-)

p.s. Mr. Lenny is making a little cartoon picture of you that he will send you next week :-)

Monday, July 7, 2008

First 50 Words

The time has (unfortunately, for me) come when I need to watch my mouth around you. You are like a little parrot, picking up new words every day! I, with the help of your Mamo and Granddaddy (who are visiting during what I hope will be their annual month-long summer trek to see you...they would chime in, "and we're here to see Mommy too," but really they're here to see you), have compiled a list of your first 50 words. Some of them are coined by you, but most of them are the real deal. It is crazy, on your first birthday you knew about 10 words, and a month later you reached 50. I very nearly had to include "fat f&*@" on this list of your first 50 words, but they ended up being numbers 51 and 52. Thanks a lot, Tony Soprano. Sigh. Mommy has officially learned her lesson about saying nasty words.

Anyhow, without further ado, here is the list (not in chronological order):

1) Mommy
2) Daddy ("da-deeeee!")
3) clock ("cock," or "cockie")
4) Noni
5) Bubba
6) up (alternatively, "up-eee")
7) hat
8) ball
9) truck ("cruck")
10) boom (typically after tossing something on the floor)
11) bubbles ("baboo")
12) blow
13) doggie ("goggie")
14) didy (for diaper)
15) baby
16) boobie (oops)
17) cranky
18) no ("nooooooo")
19) cracker
20) Robbie (Mrs. Hodges)
21) bum
22) ouch (this is so cute, you say it in two parts: "ou-chhhhh")
23) cat
24) hot
25) light ("ight")
26) nee nee (this is your word for nursing)
27) pop (as in bubbles popping)
28) poopie
29) Ernie (from Sesame Street, pronounced "ahh-nie")
30) wee wee (the little piggies go wee wee wee all the way home)
31) tee tee (Mamo's doggies go tee tee)
32) pee pee (this is when Jason goes potty)
33) ick
34) eagle (Daddy showed you the eagles at the zoo, pronounced "ah-gie")
35) apple
36) Pooh (Winnie the)
37) yucky
38) ah-B! (this refers to all letters and numbers, and is said with great enthusiasm and gusto)
39) empty
40) quack
41) Judah (your buddy)
42) lunch
43) DA-Daddy (referring to your Granddaddy)
44) train
45) boo (peek-a)
46) house
47) ya ya (this is your name for Elmo, don't ask me why)
48) da da (your name for flowers, again I have no idea why)
49) hotsy totsy
50) all done (accompanied by the sign)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Day in the Life

I suppose there are lots of people who wonder what a stay at home mom does all day with her young children. I don't know what everyone else does (well, I know what some other mommies do, but even if you add up all of my mommy friends it is still statistically insignificant...) but I can tell you all about our "typical" day. Our little routine has morphed over time, but a snapshot of our days when you were 387 days old looks like this:

5:00-5:30 a.m.: Jason awakens! Mommy winces! Daddy snores! Mommy punches Daddy. Daddy wakes up and plays with Jason. Sometimes you watch Sesame Street. You love Elmo and Ernie.

7:00 a.m.: Mommy and Daddy and Jason go downstairs to have breakfast together. This typically ends with Daddy evacuating the premises while Mommy is in the middle of her breakfast and you are heaving food all over the floor.

post-breakfast: Get dressed and sunscreened for the day, and then off for a walk with Mrs. B and Judah!

9:00 a.m.: Nap time.

post-nap: This is when we usually have an outing. Some days we have a mommy/baby class like Music Together or swimming. Other days we have a play date with one of your friends or go to the grocery store or shopping. Or if Mommy is feeling brave we hit the gym.

12:00 noon (side note: there is no such thing as 12:00 a.m. or 12:00 p.m. It is 12:00 noon or 12:00 midnight): Lunch. Usually we eat at home, but your favorite restaurant for lunch is Mama's Caboose. You get to visit with Miss Kim and have quiche.

1:30-ish p.m.: Nap time.

post-nap: If the weather is nice, I like to take you outside in the afternoons. We sometimes play in our backyard (bubbles, or "baboo" as you call them, are a favorite) or go to the park. When the pool opens we will be going there to play, too.

5:00 p.m.: Dinner.

post-dinner: We often play downstairs for a bit before Daddy comes home. Then we start our bedtime routine, which consists of bath, brushing your teeth, reading books, putting on a new diaper and pajamas, running around your room for a bit to burn off that last bit of energy, more books, nursing, and FINALLY sleep!

This is a long way from when we first brought you home. Back then, you routine was eat, sleep, poop, repeat!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Voting

This morning we did one of my favorite things: voting! You've been with me to vote twice before, but this time you came into the booth with me. Of course, everyone there thought you were adorable. Older women just love you.

One of the things I find interesting about this country is the sheer volume of complaining compared to the effort put into actually changing things. I've found that the people actually doing something to create a positive change in the world are too busy to complain! Many of the complainers can't even be bothered to exercise their voting rights. Today, for instance, the polling center was practically empty. It was the primary to elect the nominees for our representatives to the United States Congress...pretty important stuff! I suppose the lack of concern by so many could be one of the reasons why Congress is so completely worthless. Sigh.

Anyhow. Voting is important! Don't pass up the opportunity to vote whenever you can. It is great fun, whether it is for American Idol or the American President!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Best Five Minutes!

I thought it would be fun to show you a quick glimpse of yourself at one year old. These were taken on the evening of your birthday. You were all wound up and kept playing "peek-a-boo" with your Daddy. So cute!



Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Letter from Mamo

You received an email from Mamo for your birthday:

Dear sweet Jason,
Happy #1 Birthday! I am so sad that I am not able to be with you on
your first birthday, but we will be in NJ soon. I love you so so much
and I hope you have so much fun today with your little friends. Tell
mommy to take a lot of pictures when you eat your first cupcake. I
love you bunches.
Mamo

Happy Birthday!

Today you turn one year old. This has been the longest and shortest year of my entire life! You have learned so much. A year ago, you only knew how to breathe and sleep. We even had to teach you to nurse, despite the breastfeeding classes that assured us you would instinctively have the perfect latch. I have watched you learn to reach for things, grab them with your whole fist and later with two fingers, throw a ball, smile, laugh, talk (cat, up, Mommy, Daddy, Bubba, Noni, clock), sit, roll over, crawl, flirt, "so big", play, push buttons, turn pages, point things out in books, eat real food, and (thank goodness) nurse like a champ. And so many other things. You literally learn something new every day. Daddy comes home from work asking, "What did my little buddy learn today?"

Mommy and Daddy have learned a lot, too. Most importantly, to always cover up your dinky when changing your diaper!

Later today some of your friends are coming over to play and celebrate your big day. You'll have a great time...you love showing all of your toys to the other children.

We love you so much! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sleep

Someday, when you are a teenager and want nothing more than to sleep in until noon, I am going to take immense pleasure in waking your bottom up at the crack of dawn!! Splashes with cold water at 2 hour intervals during the night would be fun also.

I have to tell you, kiddo, those thoughts are the only thing getting me through this day!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Politics Your Way

The year is 2008 so that means Presidential Election Season! (BTW, in case nobody teaches you this in school, presidential election years are divisible by four.) I'm not going to comment on the candidates just yet, but I am going to take this opportunity to ask you to please think for yourself when it comes to politics. Well, anything for that matter, but especially politics.

You will encounter so many people in your life who are firmly on one side of the political arena or the other. Most of the time these people haven't thought through their positions, are mindlessly following their party lines, or are simply ignorant. I find it very difficult to believe that a person, given any number of issues without knowing either party's view, would line up perfectly with one side. Yet you see these highly irritating talking heads regurgitating one-liners all day long on CNN or Fox News. They sound like such idiots.

I wish, just once, I could see politicians talking through the issues in a real debate. No pandering. No "one size fits all" politics. No arrogance. Just a real discussion keeping in mind the imperfections of each party's stance. I guess that is my point here: neither side has it 100% correct. Don't be part of the drama. "Bush speaks poorly"; "but Clinton didn't inhale"; "well Kennedy had affairs." Blah blah blah. None of that is relevant to the education, security, health, and prosperity of our country.

In raising you, I hope your Daddy and I (and your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends!) can encourage you to be a thinker. You are already such a smart and charismatic little boy. You don't need anyone else telling you what to believe, and I can't wait to hear what you have to say!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Michael Patrick

Sweetie,

Today is a tough day for Daddy and me. Two years ago your big brother, Michael Patrick, was born silently into the world. We loved him so much, just like we love you! I know all about how he would have been...much different from you, my little buddy. He would have had very thick black hair like your Daddy's. And he would have been quiet, a little bit contemplative about life. He would have been a great big brother to you. Very patient. Daddy and I would sit around when I was pregnant dreaming about his personality, his little nose, his tiny toes, his smile...so even though we didn't get to spend enough time with him, we still know all of these things in our hearts. Does that make any sense?

It is raining today...it reminds me of a song, "Holes in the Floor of Heaven". It is all about the angels crying tears sometimes, which turn into rain. I think Michael is letting us know he misses us through the raindrops. You have to look for signs and miracles every day. They are out there if you keep your eyes open. We are so lucky to have you here, just you and me and Daddy together while the rain falls.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Kissing

You are a big smoocher lately. In a hotel room a few weeks ago there was a huge floor-to-ceiling mirror, and you would run over to it and kiss your image whenever Daddy or I told you to kiss the baby. You were so cute! You also love to kiss your stuffed animals (Elmo especially) and the pictures in your books.

You are such a young, innocent, loving age. The babies in one of your books are all different races and genders. You give them all big, enthusiastic, open-mouthed, slobbery kisses. It is great! Somewhere along the line we lose that way of expressing our unabashed love for each other. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we gave our friends big kisses and hugs every time we see them? Other than catching more colds it would be so much friendlier! I suppose this does happen in some circles...most of my "city friends" have a habit of greeting each other with these absentminded air-cheek kisses. If they are *really* cool they do a European version of the air-cheek kiss, making sure to get you on both cheeks. Apparently all things European are more refined. I'm not sure who decided that, but it seems to be one of those weird facts of life.

Anyway. I'm going to miss your monster kisses someday so I'm enjoying them while I can, slobber and all!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day To Me!

This morning you had a particularly gross poopy diaper. Daddy made a valiant effort to change you, seeing how it is Mother's Day and everything. Well, the smell was so foul it made Daddy gag repeatedly, so guess who stepped in to finish the job? That's right, MOMMY.

Just thought you should know ;)

Driving

Jason,

It is better that you learn this about me now. I am *not* a very good driver. Yesterday I proved this by getting in an accident. Thank goodness nobody was hurt...except for the cars, that is! And thank goodness you were not in the car with me. Your daddy was taking care of you at home. It makes me cry to just think about you in the car with me. I simply wasn't paying enough attention. Sometimes these things have to happen, I suppose, to give you a wakeup call.

Please, please, please always be careful when you are driving. I'm sure this is the first of approximately 7.2 billion times I will tell you this, but please listen. You are such a BOY already, running head first into everything. Literally. So in about 15 years, when your crazy mom reminds you to drive slowly and be careful, give her a hug and promise to do just that!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dandelions


Baby J,

Today you discovered dandelions! We spent the afternoon walking up and down the sidewalk in front of our house, and you picked a dozen or so. I blew on them and the "feathers" flew all around us. You thought this was hysterical, but you couldn't figure out how to blow just yet. You did have a fantastic time squeezing them and tearing them apart in your tiny hands.

Welcome!

Sweet baby Jason,

I have been meaning to do this for a long time....eleven months and ten days, to be exact! There are so many things I tell you during our days together, and of course I know you won't remember them. I know, too, that time goes by all too quickly and it will fade my memories as well. So I will try to capture some of the miracle that is my time with you here, in the hope that someday you and I will both be able to look back on these days with a smile.