Good Dog

I feel bad. Everyone told us this would happen. Our baby before the boys came around isn’t our baby anymore. We denied that it would happen to us, but it’s just hard to give our dog Lizzie as much love and affection that she deserves when there are two other needy persons. Occasionally though, we enjoy some horse playing around. She is SO good with both Parker and Mason and always takes extra care not to hurt them. I wish the boys took the same care. They jump on her and yank on her fur, and the only thing Lizzie does is do what she always does…give lots of kisses. She really is the best pooch ever.

After some fun wrestling time with the boys…she goes and hides. I don’t blame her!

 

Happy Half Birthday, Mason!

Dear Mason,

It’s surreal that I am already typing this note to you on your six month birthday, and it literally seems like just a few months ago I was doing the same for your older brother, Parker. You, have been such a joy to the family. You’re very chill. I like that. Chill is good, especially when Mama is also busy chasing around a toddler.  You’re happy as can be all the time, smiling at total strangers while in your stroller, laughing at your brother being goofy and giggling when mommy does a tickle marathon on your belly and chubby thighs.  You’re such a loveable chunky legged cutie patootie.

From the moment we brought you home, we were so excited to snuggle you, love on you and officially have you be apart of the family.  You slept with us in our room, but in your own little bassinet for the first month.  We were such pro’s with you because it hadn’t been very long since we had your brother.  As soon as you would stir, I’d hop up and feed you, and then Daddy would be on hand to change your diaper afterwards, and then you quickly went back to dreamland.  We had a fast little system going that I would compare to how NASCAR has their tire and car check thing down pat for their cars.  Perhaps, you were our little race car. Your little gumdrop pacifier helped a lot too.  You hardly every cried, which I thought was pretty unusual, you would just whimper if you needed something.  I would feed you around the clock because you were SO big.  You needed much more food than the average newborn.  So, I decided I would feed you every 2-2.5hrs during the day, without you asking for it (even if that meant waking you up).  That way you would be nice and full during the day, and then let you tell us at night how often you’d like to eat.  That worked out great for us because you developed such a nice rhythm that you took great to naps and long bedtime stretches very early on.  We didn’t have to do any tough love and let you fuss to sleep or anything.  You have been a great sleeper with only waking at night when you really need something.  You were swaddled for the first seven weeks or so, but then you were rolling like a rolly polly all over the place, and so we decided to see if you would like to sleep in just a sleep sack, without being swaddled, and you did.  You really enjoyed your new found freedom.  You were always so good with change.  You took a pacifier, but most of the time, you liked to just suck your thumb.  You loved sucking your thumb.  If you were on your back in the crib and I came to wake you, you would just roll on your side and curl up and put that thumb in your mouth right away. It was the cutest thing!

And another thing you’re awesome at?  Eating.  I don’t think it comes as a surprise that you are a great eater and you can put away some food.  You were even trying to take Parker’s PB&J today at the park when he was finishing it up beside you in the stroller. You have been exclusively breastfed from the beginning, and you seem to love it.  It’s a great time for just the two of us to bond.  My favorite time is on lazy Saturdays when you squirm in your crib in the morning, Daddy goes and gets you and puts you in the bed with me to nurse, then moments later, brother comes screaming in and climbs all over us and we have a family snuggle time.  It’s one of the best of moments in our world.

We started feeding you solid foods around five and a half months.  Nursing you just wasn’t cutting it any more, and you were waking to eat more, so I decided to try some multi grain rice cereal.  You weren’t a fan at first, but now you LOVE to eat from a spoon.  You’ve only tried bananas, apples, and carrots mixed with your rice cereal, and breast milk, and you seem to really enjoy it.

When you were seven weeks old, we had a bit of a scare.  You see, your older bro Parker had a bit of a belly ache a few days prior, but otherwise was fine, so I didn’t think much of it.  Then one day I noticed that you were extra sleepy.  You hardly every cried most days, but this day you were especially quiet.  When I’d wake you up to feed you during the day, you would suckle a little bit, but I didn’t realize until the end of the day that you just weren’t eating much that day.  You were just super sleepy.  You felt a wee bit warm so I took your temp and it was over 101.  I called the doctor and they told me to take you to the emergency room to check you out.  You somehow caught a nasty virus from big brother.  I’m sure it won’t be the last time you caught something from him, but because you were so small, you had to get some pretty uncomfortable tests and it was really scary for both you and me and also your Daddy.  Your Daddy was on a business trip, but he rushed home on the first flight he could get on so that he could make sure you were okay.  He didn’t want anything bad to happen to his baby boy.  Through that I realized that you were different from your brother when you were sick.  You just liked to sleep, where as your brother would let me know by crying.  We were so relieved to find out that you were okay.

Your Daddy and I were just talking about how we took you on vacation when you were two months old to Destin… your first beach trip.  You were so awesome.  You were sleeping 8-10 hrs already at night, and you were so easy going and didn’t even mind that your brother Parker was throwing sand in your face while you were being nursed on the beach.  We strolled you everywhere, and you loved that we brought a little bouncer for you to lounge in on the beach and in the condo.  It was by far the best seat in the house.  It was your first vacation and you were such a pro at it.  You and your brother even napped at the same time on the way down in the car.  On the way back, we weren’t so lucky, but we had a fun time nonetheless.  We decided that the next trip would be a little shorter for our sanity, and yours as well.  This fall, we’ll be going on vacation just a few hours away from home, in Chattanooga.  I think you’re going to love it there.

You also experienced your first big holiday.  Although, Christmas is a few months away, and we look forward to seeing how you enjoy that, we had a great time during Easter this year, celebrating your first, and our first with two boys.  Of course, we were ultimately celebrating Jesus, who gave his life for us.  You’ll learn more about that as you get older.  We had a fun little celebration at Aunt Vickie’s house.  You and your brother stole the show with your matching outfits and adorable smiles.  You also watched brother do his first Easter egg hunt.  I can’t wait until you’re old enough to do your first hunt!

You seem to think your older brother, Parker is pretty funny.  Even though most of the time you guys are doing your own things.  Mostly, he’s running around doing his thing, and you’re rolling around on your blanket and jumping in your jumperoo, but when you guys get together, I love how you make each other laugh.  Parker LOVES to call you Mae Mae, and asks for you when you’re not around.  Today, I picked Parker up at school while you hung out with Nannie for a little bit, and when he noticed you weren’t there, he immediately asked for you.  He loves you so much, and I know that you guys are going to be the best of friends!

You have been making a lot of new friends that are your age already.  Since I am constantly taking your brother on play dates, you have met some little friends along the way.  It has been nice to hear about their mannerisms and how they compare to you.  It’s nice to have Moms that have older siblings, and other little ones your age.  I’m sure you will appreciate this when you’re a little older, and you guys can interact a little more.  Here you are with your friends Asher, Simeon, and Harper.  You have a few others around your age named Aidan, Amelia and Noah that I’m sure you will get to know through the years.

You have brought me so much happiness with your laid back personality and your happy smiles every day that remind me to appreciate the small things in life.  I can’t believe that it’s been six months, and I’m looking forward to the next six, the last months before we celebrate your very first birthday.  You’re just growing too stinking fast, and I wish I could just hold you and squeeze you in this moment for eternity, but I have to remind myself that you’ll just get older and more lovable as time goes on.  That’s what I have to tell myself to allow me not to get sad that you’re growing so quickly, outgrowing your clothes, and your car seat carrier, and that you’re doing awesome things like laughing and swinging in big kid park swings… rolling around from here to there and trying to crawl, sitting up just long enough for your big whopping head to tip you sideways or forward.  You’re just an amazing little baby boy, and I just can’t wait to see how you grow and learn, and see how our bond grows stronger through the years.  You make an amazing addition to this family, and I’m so glad that God brought you into our life.

Love,

Mama

Puuuuwerto Reeeeko!

At least that’s how I like to say it.  Our first real vacation with our little Parker.  Yay!

The flight to PR went really well.  We were bracing ourselves for another cry fest like the flight debacle that happened in December.  Surprisingly, he was a fairly happy baby.  He nursed during take off, and then slept about an hour and a half, and them played with some toys we brought him.  He was such a trooper!

We got lost as hell trying to find the hotel when we arrived.  Believe it or not, the stupid address was NO WHERE to be found on my iphone or Dan’s gps, so we were calling the hotel, turning around in strange neighborhoods with barred up windows.  Thankfully we found the place after calling the hotel and deciphering the Spanish accent.  Why the heck didn’t I pay attention better in high school Spanish class?  Uggh.  While Dan and I were freaking out like we sometimes do, Parker was calm as a clam in the backseat, just happy to be in his car seat and ready to go.

The first impression I had of Puerto Rico was HOT!  It was SO incredibly hot there.  It was in the 90s when we arrived with what felt like 100% humidity.  Which was nice, since we were leaving our beautiful 70 degree and breezy spring weather in Atlanta for what felt like a wet sauna.  Geesh! Our timing is always perfect eh?

The Embassy Suites Dorado, beach and golf resort was a nice family place to stay.  Don’t let those empty pictures of the beach and pool on the website fool you though… that place was packed to the brim.  The beach, the pools, the happy hour bar, and breakfast… it was like someone an entire town got together and decided they would spend spring break in the very same place that we would.  Aren’t we flattered!

The hotel was clean and nice, and besides the over crowding it was perfect for us with little Parker.  Sure, we’ve been a little jaded by the fact that we have stayed in much nicer places in Hawaii and Europe, but things are different now.  We aren’t DINK’s anymore (dual income no kids for those who don’t know) so we gotta make the dolla stretch a bit!

The beach right off the hotel was so beautiful.  Parker loved the sand, and at first glance he didn’t mind the water, but as we brought him closer to dip his toes, he started to get scared of the little waves crashing on his toes.  Could it be true? Could my sweet little Parker pooh not like the beach?  Tell me it isn’t so!

One thing he did love….floating in the pool with his Mama and Dada in his cute tricked out float.  I’m not kidding either. He had the coolest float, that all the other kids were super jealous.  At least that’s what I attribute the cannon balls within inches of us to.  He loved swimming so much in fact that he tried to take the plunge himself a few times.  He loved to dip his head in the water and kick his feet.  I’m almost positive he knows the taste of chlorine and plastic float too.   We acted like goof balls making motor boat sounds and pushing him around in his float.  Parker was all smiles.  Yay! He loves the pool.  Good to know since he will be spending a lot of time there this spring and summer!

That’s where we spent a lot of our time…at the pool.  What people don’t tell you is that it’s definitely not easy traveling with a six month old.  We’d get up, feed him, change him, feed ourselves, shower and get dressed, and go out to do something fun like go to the pool, and before we knew it, it was time for Parker’s nap again.  And if we tried to extended his awake time a bit? Woooah, we would definitely pay for that!  We would have an overtired cranky baby on our hands in public.  Yikes! It’s much harder to soothe a fussy baby when you feel as if the whole world is staring at you.  Nevertheless, those were few and far in between, and he was mostly a happy camper considering he was in a strange place in a different crib, and without his fav toys such as the jumperoo and the exersaucer. We just tried to make it most like home as we could.  We brought the sound machine and he slept in his usual sleep sack and with his lovie, and that seemed to help quite a bit.  One day when we were at the pool, we decided to have lunch at the nearby cafe.  Considering the fact that the name of the place was the Blue Seahourse Cafe, and it being and island surrounded by water, I figured what the heck, I’ll order seafood.  They had a snapper that only came fried…which is not my favorite, but the waitress said it was good, so I decided I’d try it.  So, this is what came out… Yep, fried eyeballs and all.  That was definately a first.  I’m not a fan of my food having a face.  Enough said.

We did however, venture out to Old San Juan one of the days during our trip.  We decided to bite the bullet and just pray that he would fall asleep in his stroller.  Since parking was said to be some of the worst, we were advised to park on the opposite side of the harbor and take the ferry over.  Parker LOVED the ferry.  He was all smiles and he got lots of attention from the people on the ferry.  When we arrived in Old San Juan, man was it HOT!  I think the heat island affect rose the temps by 10 more degrees.  It wasn’t without a fight, but he eventually did go to sleep in his stroller.  I think it was really hard for him because it was just too stinkin’ hot!  We kept reminding him that we were just getting him prepared for hotlanta.  He wasn’t amused.  Old San Juan was pretty.   We walked to the main square where there were street vendors and beautifully colored building facades.  To our surprise though, many of the buildings were empty with Realtor signs in the window.  Even the really pretty ones.  It was a nice walk through town, but defiantly not a shopping mecca by any stretch.  We came across this one shop that was trying to sell us Pre-owned stale jewelry.  Really?  And what the heck is that exactly?  If its anything like stale bread, or chips, they can keep it.  It made for a nice chuckle. So, that was about all we saw of Old San Juan.  It was definately a touristy area.  There were two cruise ships docked at the port and plenty of people filling the streets snapping pics of the colorful buildings and the fort that surrounded the city, just like we were.  Dan wanted to go all the way up the big hill to take a look at the fort, but when he asked me if I was interested, I just stood there and sighed and wiped the sweat off my brow.  In case you didn’t hear me the first time guys…it was freeeegin’ HOT there!  So, we settled for pictures from below.  It was still a cool view.

On Good Friday, since San Juan is majority Catholic, a lot of places were closed.  So, we thought we’d head over to the public beach to get a taste of how the locals lived.  We certainly got exactly what we asked for.  Puerto Ricans aren’t shy about expressing their beach loving lifestyle.  They had Puerto Rican Regaee blasting from their cars, jukebox coolers, boombox and even on their bikes!  This one guy had a makeshift boombox powered by a car battery attached right in front of his bike seat.  Yikes!  Don’t slam on the breaks buddy!  We just couldn’t help but get in the partying mood with all the beach music and laughter around us.  Everyone was cooking out on the beach in the shaded areas.  They were swinging in hammocks, even some people had tents.  It was definately the place to be and the place to be seen.  We captured a more empty part of the beach, but just imagine this with lots and lots of people cooking out and having fun.   One things for sure, they definatly know how to have a good time.

Our last day there we just kept it simple and hung out at the pool some more.  We found a nice shady spot under the palm trees and relaxed.  Parker had fun playing with his toys on the towel and just enjoying the nice ocean breeze.  It was nice to relax together as a family and create some incredible memories.

Happy Half Birthday!

Dear Parker,

You are my sweet sunshine, my bundle of happiness, and your youthful joy brings me a new found happiness.  I never knew our lives could be so enriched with you in it.  Here on your six month birthday, I write to you to let you know how much you mean to me and your daddy.

I can’t believe it’s already here.  The six month milestone… the stage that I’ve heard of many times. “Oh, he will be able to do this better by six months”, and “Oh, just wait until sometime after six months”… and all those six to nine month onesies?  Well, I thought they would stay in your brand new dresser drawer a little longer, taking on the smell of the wood.  But no, you had to grow up so stinkin’ fast!  Where has the time gone?

When you were a newborn you were such a sweetie pie.  You were very go with the flow.  You adjusted well to the family pet Lizzie, even though all she wanted to do was slobber all over your face.  I think you and Lizzie will become great friends.  You smiled right off the bat.  So what if you were just exercising your facial muscles.  I knew right then that you would be a happy baby.  You absolutely loved your bouncy chair.  We’d put you in it night and day.  Mommy and Daddy even caught ourselves dancing to the little fisher price tune the bouncer made and we instantly became those goofy parents that you would probably be embarrassed of.  I don’t think you cared though, you just enjoyed the vibrations and sometimes you would even drift into dreamland in that thing.  It was the only think that seemed to calm you when you were having those gas pains.  That and the bicycle that Daddy would do on your legs.  You always loved that.

You know another thing you loved?  Watching TV. When Mommy needed some rest, Daddy would take you downstairs and you guys would hang out like pals.  Daddy would put you in the boppy and snuggle you in real good, or sometimes, Daddy would let you sleep on his arm.  I’m pretty sure daddy’s arm fell asleep along with you, but he didn’t mind.  He loved being with his little guy.  You guys would watch movies like the Goonies,  and shows like Pawn stars and 24.  Those were some of Daddy’s favorite shows.  We both loved sleeping with you.  You slept in our room in a bassinet until you were four weeks old, and then we moved you into your crib in your very own room.  We still let you nap where ever a that point and we loved letting you sleep on one of our chests.  I miss that a lot.  I’m sure daddy does too.  We use to swaddle you too.  It took you a few nights to get use to it, but after that, you couldn’t go to sleep without it.  You loved to be swaddled.  So much in fact that it was hard for you to sleep when we weaned you from it around three and a half months.  You also loved the hospital pacifier too.  We had to buy extra though because  Lizzie also loved to eat them.  I’m not sure if it was jealousy, or if they were just the ultimate chew toy, but it helped having a spare.

You were an okay sleeper as a newborn.  From the beginning you were a pretty alert baby.  They say its because your really smart like your daddy and curious about your surroundings.  I’m sure they’re right.  We tried to put you some sort of routine around eight weeks, and it took you a few days, but we finally got the Eat, Awake, Sleep part down.  You were sleeping about six to eight hr stretches on good nights, and that was much more than I could’ve asked for.

You have been a breastfed baby from the start.  In the beginning  I had a lot of trouble, none of which had to do with you feeding properly because you were always a great eater, but the problem was a struggle for Mommy.  Fortunately, we got through it.  You were a trooper in the meantime.  You also had some reflux, so a lot of the time I would put you in the baby bjorn so I could wash bottles and do other mommy things.  You loved being in there.

When you were a little over a month old, you had your very first Halloween were we dressed you up as Roo from Winne the pooh.  We called you Parker-Roo and everyone who saw you thought you were too cute for words.  We’ll let you be the judge.

When you were around three months old, that’s when we really started to see your personality shine.  You were smiling and laughing and you would look at us and start babbling.  We loved it.  We also took you on your very first plane ride to Orlando, Fl.  Your daddy had a business trip to go on, so we decided to tag along for it.  We learned some new things about you.  1.  You don’t like airplanes.  2.  You love sunny FL (so do I, so the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!) 3. You love the pool.- Again, something that I love too.

You had your very first Christmas with us, and you seemed to think Christmas was pretty cool.  You were passed around like a hot potato and everyone loved how cute you looked.  Unfortunately though, you had a pretty bad case of reflux that day and pretty much spit up every half hour or so.  Some of which landed on some dear family members.  Your aunt Angie said I should give you a spanking for it, but I just let it slide with it being Christmas and all.  You were an angel during the Christmas eve service at church and you were dressed to impress with your white sweater and worn jeans.  You were the cutest baby there.  I wasn’t the only one that thought that.  People came up to us reminding me how cute you were all night.  You didn’t mind the attention one bit.

Your Aunt Jenna and Uncle Jon came down with your six cousins in January to celebrate Christmas at our house.  We really enjoyed that a lot.  You really loved it because Aunt Jenna spoiled you to pieces.  You got so many gifts that you were set on toys for a long while.  Nana and Poppy visited too and stayed in our guest bedroom.  You were going through this “phase” at the time that involved screaming in the middle of the night for no apparent reason and it would set Mommy and Daddy into a frenzy.  Turns out you were hungry and going through a little spurt, but it didn’t make for very good sleeping for Mommy and Daddy or the guests.  They loved you all the same though.  You and Poppy hung out and he loved holding you and chatting with you.

Daddy and Mommy both have our favorite things we like to do with you.  Daddy’s enjoys going to gun shows and browsing the pawn shop up in Dawsonville.  So, you both have gone on a few boys only outings that involved…well, boy stuff.  You’ll learn about daddy’s hobbies soon enough, no need for me to elaborate now.  Daddy said that you really enjoyed it.  I know you guys are going to have many more outings as you get older.  When Daddy is away on business you and I are like two peas in a pod.  We do everything together.  We grocery shop, we go on walks, we have even done a mommy and baby fitness DVD.  Trust me, you loved it.  We have gone to Mommy and Me connection group, and we’ve gone to the Mom’s group that is through our church.  You love riding in the car and going wherever I take you.  Except around nap time.  You prefer to do that in the comfort of your own crib.  Right now, a lot of your little friends are older than you, but when you get bigger, it won’t matter so much.  We’ve had some play dates with Pace and Campen and we even like to visit your little gal pals Sophia and Olivia.  All your little friends  have really cool parents, so I think you’ll get along great with them when your older.

We go to the library every week or so and you seem to enjoy getting out and also the new stories we read together.  When daddy was away on one of his business trips he brought you back these little finger puppet books, and you just love them bunches.  Sometimes when your less than interested in story time, I make the little finger puppet books come to life and you’re all ears.

You love family time as well.  We enjoy going to the park and having a picnic, and we’ve had a few spurts of nice weather, where we’ve been able to do that.  Daddy and I like to take you for a walk in the jogging stroller with Lizzie.  You seem to like that a lot.  Occasionally you can’t wait to get out, so we hold you, and tell you about the trees, squirrels and birds.  You definitely bring out the silliness in daddy and I.  We love singing, dancing and doing things to make you laugh.  I know all your tickle spots and when your in a bad mood, you still can’t resist laughing when I do the belly chomp chomp.  You love the mirror too.  When mommy goes to deposit your cloth diaper in the hamper in the bathroom, we stop for a second and have giggle time singing “who’s that baby” to the tune of some annoying commercial that comes on regularly. That is a sure way to send you into giggle land.  And yes, you use cloth diapers.  Mama isn’t cheap, well…actually I am, but we decided to use cloth diapers because its more eco-friendly and we thought it would be more comfortable for you.  So far, I don’t think you mind.

Every day I wake up happy to see your face.  You never cry when you wake up, you only coo and babble until one of us comes in to get you.  And when we do you’re all smiles.  You grin so big and do this high pitch coo that I can’t replicate if I tried.  It’s just too stinkin’ adorable.  It makes both Daddy and I so happy to come get you each and every morning.  You are a super sleeper too.  You LOVE to nap and sleep.  Except you like to give Grand Nanny a hard time when she comes to visit and put you down for naps, but I guess that’s sort of like the kids giving the substitute teacher a hard time…it comes with the territory.  You guys have a lot of fun playing and Grand Nanny loves to sing to you and read you stories.

Your favorite toy right now is your jumperoo. Once you realized that toy was made for jumping, jumping is all you do.  Mommy and Daddy love to join in with the silly songs that plays, and act ridiculous.  We’re just cool parents like that.  We’d do anything to make you laugh and make those river dance toes hop to our goofy dance moves.  That’s how much we love you.  We still love to read to you and sing songs.  I still wake you up at 5am to feed you.  I love our time together because you’re so sleepy that after you eat we snuggle.  You’re always so sweet and just lay there and let me love on you.  I’ll never get tired of that.

A lot has happened in six months.  You flew in your first airplane, had lots and lots of shots, tried your first foods (working up to that b-day cupcake for your first birthday!) got your first haircut, you’ve smiled, laughed, rolled over, sat up, and all of major milestones- you’ve reached them.  I just wish I could freeze this moment in time with you for just a little longer because before I know it it’ll be a year and you- my sweet little Parker pooh will be a toddler.  I truly love you more and more each day and I can’t wait to see what the next six months will hold as you continue to grow and explore this world!

Love always,

Mama