Monday, February 25, 2008

The blame game

There are many wonderful things about marriage, and some are even right in the marriage vows. You get someone to hold you and love you in sickness and health, in good times and bad. These are great and they are true, but there are other great benefits of marriage that aren't talked about on the wedding day -- such as laying blame.
Bob realized this benefit shortly after we became engaged. I don't remember details, but someone wanted him to do something that he didn't really want to do. He had just moved to a new city and didn't want to seem like a stick-in-the-mud. So, he mumbled something about needing to do something with me... and got out of the predicament unscathed!
He emailed me immediately after, very proud of himself. This didn't bother me. I didn't know that person and certainly didn't mind if they thought I was mean for not "letting" my fiance do something.
Why come across as a jerk or a shrew? It's so much easier to blame your spouse.
We've since used each other as a cop-out several times. I didn't want to be forced to buy something I didn't want from a co-worker, so I said Bob wouldn't let me spend the money. Yes, he came across as overbearing and cheap, but he told me that he didn't mind. And I didn't have to buy that bracelet!
Now that we have Little Elvis, I'm thinking about roping him into our little blame game. Don't want to go somewhere inconvenient? The baby has to nap. Don't want to spend too much money eating out at an expensive place? Little Elvis is now at the age where he acts up in restaurants, so.... I'm sure he won't mind, at least for now. And when he's older, he's more than welcome to blame Mommy and Daddy for things. Although I have a strong feeling, the blame will actually have merit most times.
Are there little-known benefits to your marriages/families? Please share!

Friday, February 22, 2008

LOST without them

Bob here again, Mere's hubby and Little E's daddy, home alone while Meredith and Little Elvis spend a little bit of time with family in Mississippi. That's one of the drags of living far away from family is that family visits are relatively few and far between. Mere's parents, Gram and Coach-pa, can't get enough of Little Elvis (take a number) and treat him like the first grandchild that he is. I'm sure that if we lived next door to them, we'd drive them crazy (or vice-versa, at least that's the way it happens on "Everybody Loves Raymond"), but our current separation is much farther than the necessary buffer zone.

All of this is to say, that while I'm glad that they are having fun and seeing faces they haven't seen in a while, I miss them both very much. It's amazing how quiet this house can get and how I miss the daily routine. It's Friday (the first day off on my weekend), which would usually entail a trip to Sam's (with a hot dog and Coke for lunch), Wal-Mart and Target. I'd also spend more time playing with Little Elvis than on an average workday. And, of course, I miss the nighttime routine of feeding him his supper and giving him a bath. Sounds like he's really taking to the table foods and is already picking up on some of his daddy's table manners and propensity for eating.

Mere is my fellow LOSTie. That is, we make time to watch LOST on Thursday nights together. Her recall and attention to detail keep me from getting too lost in the characters and overlapping storylines. With her located in Mississippi, we had to watch last night's episode separately and call to discuss afterward. Unfortunately, I'm not typically very insightful and, I'm afraid, was even less so long-distance. Fortunately, I'll only have to fly solo through next week's episode, with Mere and Little Elvis returning for the following week.

If you've slogged through my post this far, here's a little reward. Head on over to my MySpace page (www.myspace.com/storminswanson) and check out a song called "Natchez Trace" that I wrote for Meredith. The song should start playing when you open up my MySpace page. I wrote it for Valentine's Day a couple of years ago, but recorded this new version today using a little recording apparatus that Mere got me for Christmas. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Let's table this

Little Elvis has become a table food conoisseur. His doctor said that he could be on all table foods at his one year appointment -- which went really well.
So, tonight we finished off his final jar of 3rd foods! He's been eating mozzarella cheese strips, Cheerios, strawberries, blueberries, bananas and peas. But now he's getting chicken bits, noodles, peas, couscous, peaches and other stuff off of my plate. And he absolutely adores this!
Last night, he was shoveling in the peas and chicken pieces faster than I could get them onto his plate. And shovel is the appropriate term. He was scooping his hand across the high chair and up to his mouth, picking up as much food as he could in the process.
So far, he's enjoyed just about everything we've given him. Yes, he will sometimes drop stuff on the floor, but I think he's just trying to make room for more food in front of him.
I'm really enjoying this. This means that everyone can eat while he eats, which is nice.
We're in Mississippi right now, so I don't have my computer. The visuals are pretty funny, though. Hopefully I'll remember to put some pics up when we get back home.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Happy Birthday party Little Elvis!


Little Elvis celebrated his first birthday today with friends and family. He must have sensed this was an important day and went down for morning nap - an hour and a half morning nap, thank you very much!! So on a day where he received several presents, he gave us a great one as well.
First off, some bragging:

Yes, we made two teddybear cakes (which I frosted) and teddybear sugar cookies. My mom did the eyes and nose, and had to put up with my criticisms while doing it. She also helped us clean, AFTER putting up with my icing insults. Pretty nice, no?

Little Elvis seemed to enjoy his first taste of chocolate and refined sugars at the party. He didn't make the mess we anticipated, but was pretty entertained with the process of eating a piece of cake. Of the two, he preferred the cookie to the cake.

Overall, we all had a great day. Little Elvis did a really good job sharing his toys and playing with the other kids at the party. He got tired at the end of the day, but I think he really enjoyed himself.

The preparation was stressful, but that's because we decided to make two cakes. We wanted to have a back up in case I messed up the first one. We now have a cake in the freezer to be popped out the next time we're craving something sweet -- other than our Little Elvis, of course!

Happy birthday party day, my little sweet angel.

Friday, February 15, 2008

My little organizer

Little Elvis' big birthday party is tomorrow. I've been trying to do more straightening and clearing out and organizing. I must confess that organizing is not my strong suit. As a matter of fact, cleaning isn't either.
Little Elvis must be aware of this. He's been doing his best to help Mommy better organize the house.

First, he showed me the benefits of keeping my fingernail polish, scar cream and anbesol in the bathtub. It would definitely save me time to paint my nails while showering, and they say that lotions and creams do best on just washed skin, right?
I was pretty impressed with his forethought on this.

Then we moved onto the kitchen, where I found out that the best place to keep his baby food is on the floor. This way he can play with the jars until we open them. Again, makes sense.



And just so Daddy wouldn't feel left out, Little Elvis reorganized some of Bob's sheet music. Why keep it tucked away on a shelf? If it's on the floor, then you can see it better. (See his big smile? He was so proud of himself when he saw that Mommy had pulled the camera out.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

One lucky daddy

Bob here again -- Meredith's husband and proud poppa of Little Elvis. You all know that our little guy just turned 1 on Monday and we're prepping for his party on Saturday. I can't believe how quickly this year has flown. A co-worker of mine just had a baby boy this past Saturday -- I congratulated him in an email, of course, and told him to enjoy every precious moment -- they go by so quickly.

We've tried to do a good job of documenting his first year in text, photos and video. As the second child in the pre-camcorder era (born in 1970 P.C.), there isn't much documentation of my early years and I sort of wish that there was. Hopefully, Little Elvis will appreciate the effort when he is older.

Of course, we haven't captured every precious moment with electrons and perhaps those are a bit more special in a way. Those daily moments of bonding that are not glamorous -- changing diapers, feeding, rocking him when he wakes up crying at 3 a.m., etc. A lot of these happen while Mommy is getting a well-deserved rest, so it's just Little Elvis and me. He'll never remember the conversations we have or the made-up games we play, but I certainly will -- I'll treasure them always.

And just a couple of days shy of Valentine's Day, I want to let Meredith, my much-younger bride (she's not crazy about me revealing my age above), how precious she is. I've always considered myself lucky since meeting her, but adding Little Elvis to our family has made me love her even more. I can do the rocking and the diapering and the playing, but she provides the nurturing care that only a mother can. She does it like it is second-nature, and I suppose it is, but I'm grateful to her in any case. I love you, Little Meerkat! Happy Valentine's Day from one lucky daddy!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cute, cuter, cutest

Little Elvis really is a big boy now, and he's just getting cuter.

Cute story:
This morning one of Bob's buttondown shirts was hanging on a chair back. It was extremely wrinkled and I thought if I left it out in plain sight that I might iron it. (I did not.) Little Elvis wanted Bob's attention, and he accidentally pulled the shirt off the chair in his attempts to get it. Bob laughed and said, "You took my shirt down!" That was all the encouragement our little (I mean big) boy needed. He proceeded to pull it off the chair as soon as it was back in place and then giggle like mad when it hit the floor.

Cuter story:
He got several cards for his birthday, and LOVED them. His favorite was a bright orange Snoopy card from Bob's aunt and uncle. He would open and shut it and then bring it to me to read. He liked it so much, that I took it with us for a diaper change this afternoon. Diaper changes are no easy task anymore and several times I've had to do them with him standing. But he held the card opened and quietly pretended to read it while I changed him.

Cutest story: (with video!)
Little Elvis can also clap, wave and shake his head on command. Recently, he's been patting his hand to his mouth, much like he's blowing a kiss. Every time he does it, I say, "Blow a kiss," and he gets excited. So excited, that his hand migrates to his cheek and then his ear, while patting. He's now kind of hit or miss with the blow a kiss, but it's cute when we tell him to blow a kiss and he pats his ear.

We got video of that one.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My baby's no longer a baby

Little Elvis turns the big 1 today! It's amazing to me how fast this year went by. I distinctly remember how excited I was last year when I woke up at 3 or 4 in the morning with contractions. (Yeah, at first I thought the contractions were fun and exciting...)

Everyone we talked to told us how fast the time would fly. They also told us to enjoy this time. We took all of these truths to heart and made honest efforts to treasure our beautiful baby boy.

All of his nap problems? Those can be traced right back to me and my naive attempts to enjoy Little Elvis. He could sleep in his bassinet, but why should he when I was right there? My arms were perfectly capable of holding my angel. I would pluck my sleeping baby out of his bassinet and nestle him to me. We would sometimes nap together. Other times I would just gaze at him. He was so expressive in his sleep! He would go from a grimace to a smile in a fraction of a second. Why would I want to waste those precious moments by putting him in his bassinet?

Oh well. I believe I thoroughly enjoyed this first year with my precious little man and his amazing Daddy. If I have to suffer through some tortuous naptimes now, it was definitely worth it.

And, of course, here's a video:


Correction

I think I messed up. I didn't mean to paint a bad picture of Little Elvis with the last post. Yes, he hates naps, but I'm ok with that. He eventually gets them.

I just thought it was kind of funny that he keeps throwing the tooth guards onto the floor.

Bob and I think the tooth guard thing is mostly a fun, new trick. Little Elvis seems to think it's fun to pull those suckers off, and he definitely loves to drop things. The fact that they land with a nice thud is a good bonus.

It's another way to pass the time while trying to fight his nap.

We stopped putting the tooth guards back on yesterday. Somehow I keep finding a couple on the floor everytime I go in to get him. I haven't figured out how this happens, maybe Little Elvis is a wizard in the making? More likely than not, I'm just leaving them on the ground and forgetting about them until the next time a nap is over.

Tomorrow is our sweet little boy's birthday.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Napfighting

"He's a napfighter... dream avoider... napfighter don't you mess around with him." (needs to be sung to Pat Benetar's Heartbreaker.)

My own special version of this song runs through my head at least twice a day, sometimes three times if I botch the timing or lay down.

This happened on Thursday. I put Little Elvis down and left the room to wails of dismay.

A few weeks ago, he found out that he could take the tooth guards off of his crib rails and he began chucking them onto the floor.

He was very determined not to have that afternoon nap on Thursday.









He pulled off every guard and even untied part of his crib bumper.











He really hates naptime.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Gigglebox

It's another Little Elvis video! But there's no music in this one -- it isn't needed.

We're pretty sure Little Elvis is going to have a great sense of humor. He finds something to fall down laughing over just about every day. Earlier this week, he got the biggest kick out of toppling Bob's tower of blocks over and over. I managed to catch a good bit of it on camera -- without him noticing.




One question - Do any of you know how to take audio clips and make them ringtones? Bob and I would love to have a Little Elvis giggle on our cell phones. Bob says he might never answer the phone if we were able to accomplish this.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Just bet"wean" us

No typo in the headline, I've got weaning on the brain. As I've already written, Little Elvis is almost a year old. My goal has always been to breastfeed for a year, since that's what's recommended. And it looks like we will make this goal!

According to lots of people, I would never make it. My mom gave me six months, my doctor seven, others thought I might make nine. These predictions frustrated me. Mainly because I never asked anyone's opinion on how long I should breastfeed. If they asked, I would inform them of my goal, then be forced to receive their forecast.

I know that I'm very lucky. Breastfeeding isn't easy, or convenient for lots of moms. It took us a few weeks, but Little Elvis and I are now old pros.

We are also down to two feedings a day -- one in the morning when he wakes up, and one in the evening before bedtime.

Little Elvis voluntarily went down to three feedings a day a few months ago. So, I thought cutting out the afternoon feeding would be easy. It wasn't. In fact, it was awful. I think part of the problem was my timing.

I decided to cut back to two feedings two days before Little Elvis got his stomach bug. As soon as he was officially over that, he started cutting tooth number seven. He also just didn't want to lose that noontime feeding. He would suck at my neck and bite my collarbone when I tried to soothe him around his expected feeding time. At first, I gave him lots of whole milk. So much that my poor baby got constipation. Needless to say, I completely botched the whole thing.

Little Elvis is now accepting his new feeding schedule for the most part, although he still grabs at my chest and bra straps around 3 or 4 each afternoon.

So I've decided not to cut out the morning feeding yet.

I feel like I have good reasons:
1. Little Elvis' teeth typically come in twos. I have a feeling tooth number eight will be popping up any day now.
2. We are traveling to Mississippi in two weeks (Little Elvis gets TWO birthday parties this year. One here and one in Mississippi with my family.) It will be our fourth trip to Mississippi, and the nights have been pretty rough during each trip. He sleeps excellently the first night, and then it goes downhill from there. Bob won't be coming with us, and when it's 3 in the morning and Little Elvis is going on hour number two of non-stop crying, well, I'm not above nursing. I strongly suspect that tooth number eight will still be coming in, and I just don't want to throw his schedule even more out of whack.

Why am I writing this like I'm defending myself? I feel I have to. I'm feeling pressure to stop breastfeeding. It's not lots of pressure, but I definitely feel it, and it frustrates me. I thought that if I wrote out my feelings, then it would force me to organize my thoughts and prepare myself for the oncoming criticism.

I do not plan to breastfeed Little Elvis until he's in high school. (I've been asked before if I'm going to be one of "those" moms. I've also been asked, "Are you STILL breastfeeding?") In fact, I feel like I'm ready to stop now. But I don't think he is. I'm lucky to be in a position where I don't have to force him to wean, and I've decided not to force the issue on him until we return from our Mississippi trip.

Little Elvis will be more than a year old, and I am fine with this.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Moving closer to one year

Next Monday, my sweet baby won't technically be a baby anymore. He'll be a one-year-old!! As I get older, every year seems to fly by, but this one has gone particularly fast.




It's so amazing to think about all he's done and accomplished in this year. Bob and I are working on making a 1 year DVD for our families, and we were watching videos from when Little Elvis was just born this weekend. Both of us were shocked at how tiny our little boy used to be.

He was also the most beautiful baby Bob and I had ever seen. We couldn't imagine anything or anyone being cuter than our precious baby. And although it's hard to believe, he did it. He's just gotten more and more adorable.

In just 51 weeks, our little guy has gained almost 20 pounds and grown at least 10 inches. He's gone from a baby who would rather sleep than eat to a little boy that adores eating and would rather do anything than sleep.

As soon as he mastered rolling over and sitting up, he was on the move.

I remember how I used to gingerly lie him down, and then carefully sit him down (in front of the Boppy, so he wouldn't fall back and hit his head.) Now, we can sit him down on his bottom without a second thought, we can place him on all fours, or set him down on two feet without worrying that he'll topple over.

Our baby has always been a mover and chatterer, but it's so fun watching him navigate the house and talk to him while he's doing it. Yes, the conversations are typically dadada... mamama... bababa.. mamama... AHEEEE!!!... mamama... (I'm the one saying mama) but we can usually get our points across.

And he's gone from a sweet, toothless grin, to a mouth full of seven teeth!

I had no idea how much fun this year would be. It really is true when people say everything changes. Yes, everything changed, but it became so much better. I laugh so much more now. My heart swells with pride and adoration everytime I look at my little angel. I didn't intend to become one of those women who would talk endlessly about her baby, but I definitely can and do.

Of course, I also worry about everything. We've been debating the bumper issue this week. I keep reading that bumpers are bad, so we took them off this weekend. Apparently, babies can suffocate, or use bumpers to crawl out of their cribs. This is the second time I've taken the bumpers off, and the second time we've put them back on after a couple of days. Little Elvis woke up last night in need of a diaper change. Since he's cutting a tooth, he didn't go back to sleep very easily. On my second or third trip in, he was sitting up with a foot stuck through the slats.

And let's not even talk about my food fears, weaning worries and naptime neuroses. I was always a worrier, but I've definitely become more proficient at it. Give me an issue, and I will tell you the ways I've found to worry about it.

We're excited about his first birthday, but I'm shocked at how quickly it arrived.

And since pics make the site so slow, I'm only putting two up. I'm going to plug in a music video that I forgot to post at Christmas, and I plan on doing a picture montage video this week.

Little Elvis likes to move it, move it!

Odds and ends

Our house has been super-busy the past few days. Yes, Little Elvis is walking a lot more, but he's also doing lots of things a lot more.

Now that he's more confident as walker, he's taking more tumbles. He surprises me with his determination. Even if the fall made him cry, he's ready to go again after a hug and a few kisses.

His walking has helped me discover a new favorite activity -- holding Little Elvis' hand as we walk around the house. He will occasionally let go for a few steps, but then he will reach for me when he feels wobbly. Oh, I LOVE this.

Little Elvis is also familiar with several words. He knows "clap," "shake your head," "kitty cat," "mama," "dada," and "no." I get such a thrill out of saying, "Clap, clap, clap," and watching him clap his hands and give me a huge grin while doing it.

He loves to shake his head, and I've been working on getting him to give me eskimo kisses. I've accomplished this feat twice, but haven't caught it on camera. Trust me, it's super-cute.

Another super-cute act? Kissing and hugging me. During the day I will let him run around our living room and play without me. I just sit in front of our space heater and watch him motor around with his walking toy, (he can get it to go super fast now, and gets a huge kick out of steering it on his own!) play with his blocks, and pull everything out of our storage ottoman. He's good for several minutes, and when he gets tired, he comes over to me for a hug and a kiss. He pretty much just opens his mouth and touches it to my cheek. It's wonderful.

Today I was running through our drill of words and tasks that he knows.

Me: Clap, clap, clap!!
Little Elvis: (breaks out in huge grin and claps hand) dadadada
Me: Shake your head no.
Little Elvis: (continues smiling and shakes his head back and forth)
Me: Kiss Mommy
Little Elvis: (smiles even bigger and hits Mommy in the face!)

Guess I still need to work on teaching him what a kiss is, huh?