My phone calendar is a literal circus cacophony of dots and colors and reminders and I'm not even working! It's just our social/family/church events and choir concerts exploding for the holidays. So I'm betting the 25th is going to be a full day without adding the little voice in the back of my head that whispers, "bloooog, blogblogblog, blug, BLOG, plz." Not to mention we're hosting thanksgiving for my husband's-mom's side. There will be some furniture tetris happenin' up in hurr.
The following Christmas Tree Adventure could be it's own blog post easily, and I apologize for how long this will be and how many pictures this will contain. But I suppose that is why you're here, so #sorrynotsorry
Other than nearly forgetting to fill our EMPTY gas tank before leaving town to get our Christmas tree (thank goodness for spiritual promptings and checking the gas gauge right before the 87 loses all chance of turning around), our trip started without a hitch and continued as such for the whole thing! We made it to the family cabin in Strawberry and got the lights on, the cute little porch light welcoming us warmly.
We unpacked and got the "little" ones adjusted after the long car ride.
There were some tunes.
And then we got the fire going and all was well.
This little stove was the only source of heat we used in the little house (besides a space heater we brought to place near Andy's pack 'n play). It moaned and hissed in a ghostly manner with the roaring wind outside and we felt like we'd stepped into a storybook.
We couldn't figure out the electric range, so we just left it be and placed our kettle on the wood burning stove, warming our mugs on the stones, and it was the best hot chocolate I've ever had in my life.
We snuggled under blankets, warming tiny toesies and fingers, and Mark glanced through the video cassettes throwing out a title or two, when he suddenly mentioned Balto! Way back when we were dating we used to talk about that movie and how we wished we had a copy to watch. I honestly don't remember the last time I saw it, although I associate it with fond memories, and I demanded that he immediately put it in for us to watch. We laughed and groaned at the quality of the visuals after being so spoiled with this new age of hi-def and blu-rays.
Andy went down to sleep like an angel, all wrapped up five different ways to ward off the freezing temperatures, and Mark and I laid out blankets in front of the fire to stay up talking. It was a perfect evening, marred only by the terribly creepy and slightly frightening banging of the screen doors from the gales blowing outside.
We were all up and moving by seven, we took the dogs out for a bathroom break, and they went berserk. Luckily none of the neighbors were around because they were zipping through yards and inspecting porches, being general hooligans.
Yet somehow I managed to get this shot. Bless 'sport' mode.
His nose was adorably red.
Mine less adorably. I ran around like an obnoxious dork, taking photos of every colored leaf I could find. A little after eight we figured we'd better pack up the car and get headed out in search of our Christmas tree! Andy fell asleep the second I put him down in the pack 'n play, poor bubba was getting so tuckered out from all the fun.
Funnily enough, we ended up in the exact same spot where we got one of our other Christmas trees in years past. The familiar terrain was a boon though, as we knew where we had been lucky before and where to avoid because of the less than ideal species that were rampant. It always amazes me how perfect and symmetrical the trees can seem from the road but when you get out of the car, hiking about, they suddenly are all lopsided, sparse twigs or actually an amalgamation of three separate trees that happen to come together to form the perfect Christmas tree shape.
We all had a great time walking about though, so no harm, no foul. Although my hiking shoes no longer accommodate my post-childbearing feet, so there was some slight harm there. After we had come to a decision on a particular tree, I took Ander back to the van for a bottle and some rest. Mor'du and Odin had a joyful time bothering some campers to the south, but they were excellent sports and complimented us on our "beautiful dogs". We're so glad to have dogs that are friendly and just immediately adore other humans.
I have literally a zillion photos of this kids face because I just can't get enough of him. Excuse me for being obsessed. I can't help it.
And, of course, as close as we could come to a functioning family photo. Everyone is in the frame, so it counts. We made it home and the tree is up! Now I'm dragging all our decorations out of dusty corners and blaring Christmas Pandora and everything feels wonderful. My house already smells of pine and cheer (the latter probably courtesy of the cinnamon sugar candle I have lit).
Since we started Ander on the zantac for his reflux, his daytime naps have fallen back into line and his schedule is much more defined. Which certainly eases the stress of figuring out how my life can be flexed around his. When he was sick with a teensy cold the other day, I certainly planned on just shmoozing him with love and never leaving his side but he was sleeping so soundly on his own, I instead got to vacuum, wash AND fold AND put away three loads of laundry, deep clean both our bathrooms, bake banana "nut" muffins (no walnuts in the house, so I used walnut extract, lol), and a myriad of other small chores along with making some phone calls.
Putting Andy down at night is about the easiest thing in the world. And often his naps are the same way. We try to bathe him at least every other day, and with the puree's he's "eating" it's a definite necessity, and give him a nice big bottle. He hasn't used a pacifier for more than three seconds the last few weeks, so I believe we've moved on from those. He prefers the ring and middle fingers of his left hand to suck on, making that adorable "I love you" sign (although word on the street is that isn't an official ASL sign, but /shrug, I'll take the love and affirmation where I can get it!) (Let me live.)
I bought a crib accessory at DI a few days ago and he immediately became obsessed with it. It's a little jungle scene with a fishy, monkey, and a bird, a waterfall, and nature sounds. Or a setting for the nature sounds and some kind of creepy amazon-ified renditions of lullabies. Think Rock-a-Bye Tarzan. But less Phil Collins and more campy. ("Trashin' the Camp"? Does that count as a pun?) If he's even remotely upset we can turn that thing on and for the next fifteen minutes, sweet bliss. And hopefully in that fifteen minutes he falls asleep or we have to go back in and rub his tummy and turn it back on again, wash-rinse-repeat.
Speaking of puree's! He was unsure at first. We tried long ago by scraping a spoon along a banana to get a mushy bit and he seemed more perturbed by the texture than anything. If I had him sitting in my lap while I ate anything, anywhere, he would, without fail, stare at the spoon as it came to my face, and as I brought it back to the plate. We tried every now and again, not pushing it too hard, and then one night he downed an entire gerber's container. And by "downed" I mean it went down his mouth, and down his front, and down his pants, and also up his nose. But he loved it. The next night we tried a sweet potato and corn mix and he got very excited by the flavor.
Lately, Andy has been doing this adorable thing where he sucks in his bottom lip and then smacks his lips over and over. He loves it when we do it back to him. It's very close to the sound we began making long ago to call our dogs over, so I wouldn't be surprised if he got it from that.
Him and Mor'du are getting closer and closer to being real buds. We've already started coaching Andy on being soft with their ears and facial bits, and by coaching I just mean repeating the word "soft" over and over and prying off his death grip. Mor'du likes to "groom" Andy and while his face is near, Andy will just run his hands over the fur and try to grab onto the pup's snout to bring it to his mouth. Like everything else.
I know I JUST said in one of the paragraphs above that I thought we were moving on from pacifiers but the last couple days he's taken a feverish liking to it again. However, I'm of the opinion that his reflux is just flaring up again and he simply needs that old familiar comfort.
"I just love his/her little language," was always a cute sentiment. But as I held onto my sweet boy tonight after giving him his nighttime bottle, resting my cheek against his soft (and tickly) head, breathing in that sweet bath smell, and listening to his soft sighs of contentment, it really hit me how deeply I consider the unintelligible noises he makes as real, actual conversation. The "words" he says, the things he has to say, are so important to me. I hope that he will retain that comfort of blabbing to his momma, that we will never run short of words to speak to one another; rather unlike myself in this moment, trying to find the words to describe the fullness of my heart.
I knew I was forgetting something! My brain is the first thing to suffer these busy days of the holiday season. Someone will have to interview this kid later in life to find out what it's like to have such a doofus for a mom #thestruggleisreal
Now here are his five month pictures wearing his five month onesie. Which you can see is already turning into quite the low neckline, we'll see how his six month pictures go.
Okay, okay, for reals now.
And, of course, our other more mopey child.