Wednesday, January 28, 2009

maybe he'll grow up to be a flight attendant

Do you want to know how I know that this little boy LOVED his first trip to DisneyWorld?He hasn't stopped talking about it since we came home. His speech has totally exploded over the past few weeks to the point where he has a hard time falling asleep at night because he is now able to tell us about all the thoughts that are going through his little brain and he doesn't know how to turn them off. It is so much fun to know exactly what he is thinking about. He goes to sleep at night talking about the Peter Pan ride and wakes up talking about going in the big ball at Epcot. Now I am getting ahead of myself... let's start at the beginning.

I was worried about two things before we left on this trip: the airplane ride and Baby G's sleep schedule (especially since I was going solo-- J had to stay home for work and school so Baby G and I just went along with my family). It was the baby's first time on a plane and I kept thinking of all the horror stories of little kids screaming the whole flight or getting sick and throwing up or frantically running through the airport with a baby and two bags trying to make the flight. I was also nervous to see how he would handle staying up so late, getting up so early, and not getting to be in his bed for naps. Bless his little heart, Baby G proved to be the best traveler this side of the Mississippi.

On the airplane he cuddled with me and looked out the window,he slept on our laps like a champ, we engaged in many, MANY childish activities (like building a "cold-man" out of clay), and my little sisters (and parents) were there to help us get where we needed to be. The reason for the trip in the first place was Ray-Ray's soccer tournament. She was in the World Championship 3 vs. 3 tournament at Disney's Wide World of Sports, so we spent a couple of days watching her play.At the soccer fields there was a person up in an airplane drawing pictures and words in the sky with the smoke. If you look closely you can see the plane next to the picture.
The rest of our time was spent at DisneyWorld. We spent a day at all four parks-- going early, staying late, running from ride to ride to get Fast Passes and make sure we got it all in. Pretty much the best part was when my 77 year old Grandma (who needed to be pushed in a wheelchair thus enabling us to get on many rides sans waiting in line) rode Space Mountain. As I was helping lift her out of the ride she complained that she felt like she has just gotten out of surgery. Pretty sure she won't be going on Space Mountain again any time soon. She was a really great sport. Here's a sampling of photos documenting our adventures.

The Rides
Baby G LOVED the big ball at Epcot. He marvelled at it all day until we took him on the ride inside the ball. From then on out whenever he would see it he would proclaim, " In da ball so sary!" Translation: "In the ball so scary!" He actually did pretty well on most of the rides. He would say they were scary and be nervous, but he ended up liking most of them. The fireworks, however, proved to be very, very "sary" for him. But see? Not crying on the rides.
He loved the safari at Animal Kingdom, especially the wildebeasts. He kept saying, "Again! Again da beasts!"
Very, very enamored by "It's a Small World."He was worried the pirates would be "so sary," but he totally liked it.The "Jungle Cruise" made Baby G feel most contemplative.
The Stroller
My normally very intelligent father nearly made the fatal mistake of making me leave my trusty stroller behind, saying that it would not fit in the rental car and that we could just rent a stroller at the Parks. Luckily my mom and I banded together to overrule his idiocy because that stroller was definitely the best thing I brought with me to DisneyWorld. All I had to do was recline the seat (which is something the rental strollers do NOT do-- also, rentals cost $15.00 a day), cover him with a blanket, and Baby G would nap for about 2 hours in that blessed stroller. It was glorious because that was something that had been stressing me out before we left.

Here we are at Magic Kingdom on Main Street with the castle behind. Notice Baby G sleeping soundly.

Ray-Ray was also pretty happy about the stroller-- she rode in it a lot of the time either with Baby G on her lap or when Baby G would walk. It got to be somewhat comical when Ray-Ray was holding Baby G in the stroller, Hannah was riding in Grandma's wheelchair pushing the stroller, and Madeline pushed the whole gang.

And here the stroller is in front of "Mitchey." Baby G and I are also there. Are you sick of the yellow hoodie yet? I basically wore it every day.
The Mickey Ears
No explanation really needed, right?

The Characters
Baby G's favorite part of the whole trip BY FAR was meeting characters. I wondered if he would be scared of them, but as you will see, he mostly just wanted to be adopted by them all.

Except for the ones that looked like real people. Those kind made him nervous.
The Sisters
One of the best parts of this trip for me was all the time I was able to spend with my family, especially my sisters. We had so much fun together and even though there are many years separating the oldest (me) from the youngest we all seem to love so many of the same things (perhaps that has something to do with the fact that I pretty much turn into a 12 year old little girl full of giddy excitement on vacations).

We are vikings.All of us (plus my Grandma, mom, and a sleeping-in-the-stroller Baby G) in front of a picture perfect little house. Do you want to drool when you see that amazing roof? I do.

Toon Town
I used to hate Toon Town, but having my little boy there made me fall in love with it. It is SO darling, and there were so many fun things for Baby G to do.

He was obsessed with Mickey's wall of tools, but got sad when he realized he couldn't actually get the hammer down and pound things with it.

This wall represents one of the things that I adore about Disney Parks. Where else could you find such a bright and jolley rock wall? It is clear at the back of Toon Town where probably not that many people end up, but since it is Disney, every inch of the park has to be magical and fun.
Baby G taking a ride on Mickey's mailbox with his aunts.

The Journey Home
Baby G was sure that without his help Ray-Ray and Mady would have never been able to pull their suitcases.

All that work made him tired though, so luckily he was able to hitch a ride on Ne Ne's (that's what Baby G calls my mom) suitcase.
It was actually a really good thing that my hard-working husband stayed home from this trip because we may have never come home otherwise. We missed him lots and knowing that we were coming home to him was the bright spot of coming back to real life after such a lovely break from it all. I owe much gratitude to my dear family for, once again, letting Baby G and I tag along. Actually, that wasn't entirely accurate-- I should say I am grateful they let ME come. Baby G has a perma-invite to anything and everything they do. I just come because without me they can't have him. At any rate, I am happy to have made such delightful memories with people that I love. Next time it will be with the WHOLE family, I hope.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

just another reason

that i love my husband:
Photobuckethe helps me put curlers in the back of my hair where i can't reach.

lots more blogging to come. we just got home from disneyworld so we are catching up on laundry, cleaning, etc. it will be blogger's turn soon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

a letter to my baby

(looking handsome for church this past Sunday-- first day in Nursery)

Dear Babykiss,

For 40 weeks and 5 days while I carried you in my womb people told me to be prepared because along with a healthy dose of dirty diapers you would also bring with you a love that I had never felt before.

But guess what, little boy? Those people were wrong. The degree that I love you to is perhaps higher than I have ever felt before, but the feeling of love itself? It was familiar to me. I had felt motherly love before and when it came to me again at our first real-life meeting I was expecting it.

First came my little sisters. When my first little sister was born I was only 9 years old, and the feeling of love that grew in me for her was the biggest thing I'd ever felt. I remember wondering if it was normal to love someone as much as I loved her, and my little 4th grade self got up in the night to care for her and bring her to bed with me (we shared a room). With the next two little sisters the feelings were multiplied and I recognized that I loved those little girls with the same kind of love that a mother has for her children.

Then there were the orphans. You will come to know that before you were my child I claimed dozens of motherless babes as my own. At the time I recognized that my love would be the closest thing they would get to a mother's love and I wondered if I loved them enough. My heart was filled with love to bursting at times, but I questioned the authenticity of it—did I really love them like they were my own? I didn't know the answer until I had you. I know now that I truly loved those little forgotten ones as a mother loves her own flesh and blood. The feelings I felt for them are the same kind of feelings I feel for you.

So the point of all that was just to say that the love that has grown in my heart for you, my first baby, has not been surprising to me. I was expecting the ache that comes from loving someone so much that you would give up your whole world to see them happy. I knew that feeling. I had felt it before.

But there have been dozens of other feelings that I have met with over the past year and a half since your arrival that have completely taken me by surprise. Feelings that I wasn't expecting or ready for. Feelings that have caused me to feel both joy and pain, feelings that have brought me to my knees in both gratitude and pleading.

This past week you turned 18 months old, and in our LDS culture that age brings with it a certain rite of passage known as Nursery. You walked into Nursery class with slight trepidation, but then went straight for the "twos" and didn't even flinch when your Daddy and I left. You stayed the entire two hours without any hesitation. Before becoming your mother I would have never guessed that you going to Nursery would be cause for a minor breakdown, not in you, but in me. I kept myself together, but I cannot believe the overwhelming feeling that comes with letting your first baby go off on his own (so to speak). I wondered if you were sharing the toys, I wondered if you would need your diaper changed, I wondered if the other kids would be nice to you. These feelings were all new to me and I couldn't help the thought that you are growing far too quickly. I don't think I will ever be ready for kindergarten.

(your first Nursery artwork-- the big dark circle is a mirror)

Then there is the peace that has come into our home with your presence. I never before knew the feeling of wholeness that has settled in my little life since you joined your Daddy and me. Instead of a couple, your life made us a family and the tranquility that I feel in our home when it is the three of us is such joy to me.

There is a routine we go through at nighttime when we are putting you to bed. In the beginning your Daddy is with us, but by the end it is usually just me putting you in your crib. We say a prayer with Daddy before he leaves, but I have also gotten into the habit of saying an additional prayer after I lay you down. Baby boy, I hope you can feel the power that settles into your room as I pray over your crib every night. It is, again, a feeling that I hadn't experienced before you came. I don't even know the right words for it, and all I can guess is that there must be an intensity that comes when a mama prays over her babies, a depth of pleading that can only exist in that relationship.

There are so many other new feelings, Little One. There is the effusive pride when you demonstrate a new skill, the irrational gratitude when I can tell you have had enough sleep or when I know you have a full tummy, the worry for your well-being that never ever goes away. Maybe most of all, there is the constant and earnest supplication that you will grow up to be a good boy and that I can be a good enough mother and teacher to you. I have never wanted anything more than that, and the force with which I want it is almost overwhelming. I promise to you, Baby G, that as I try to make sense of all these new feelings and emotions, as I continue to get used to the fact that there will always be something else for me to learn about being a mother, I will do so knowing that, like your picture from Nursery taught you, you are a child of God first and He will always help me know how I should best care for you. That is the only way that I can trust myself to be your mother. I love love you.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

from the mouth of the baby

Besides being unbelievably fun and impossibly relaxing, our time at The Beach was also a week full of vocabulary expansion for our boy. Some (read: way too many) examples of his new words:

"Sun": also known as "moon." Whenever the sunlight was so bright and in his eyes (see picture below-- I had to shadow him with my body to get him to look at me), Baby G would dramatically complain, "Moon!" because he associated light from the sky with the moon he points to at night. So we had to teach him "sun." He still sometimes calls it "moon."

"Dada": okay, so he already knew that word, but "Dada" is also what Baby G called his Daddy's boogie board. Whenever Baby G would see J grab the board he would start crying because he did NOT like watching his Daddy go out into the waves. Baby G did not like playing in the ocean and he didn't want his Dad to play in it either.

Baby G's cousin, Logan, did love playing in the ocean, however. The water was seriously freezing cold so we were all amazed at Logan's enjoyment.

"Sand": his dislike for the water (which he normally loves), was matched by his love of the sand. He played for hours and hours and didn't even want to stop for food.

Lisa and I also found great joy in playing in the sand :).

"Football": pronounced "butball" was probably his favorite new word.

He would emphatically exclaim ,"Butball! Butball!" whenever there was a group playing football and he totally thought he was big enough to join in the fun. He thought it was extremely mean each time I would move him back over to the sidelines.

"Whale": he couldn't quite get "porpoise", so we settled for another aquatic mammal with fewer syllables. We saw lots of dolphins, seals, and porpoises, and when Uncle Bill saw these he rushed a sea kayak out so Uncle Steve and Parker could get a closer look.

"Owie": whenever Baby G is on his Daddy's shoulders he has taken to pulling the really short hairs on the side of J's head. I love this picture because you can see J's reaction. We have tried to teach Baby G "owie" so that he will understand that it hurts-- Baby G learned the word really well, but it definitely hasn't stopped the behavior :).

"Friend": look at this baby heaven! These are all of the great-grandkids, and talk about fun for Baby G. He would see a little kid his age and say, "Friend?"

"Crab": a favorite beach activity is always catching crabs. Baby G was not afraid of them at all and I actually had to watch him closely when he had one in his sand pail because he kept trying to pick them up.

"BahBah": that is the name he called his Great-Grandpa (that is also what he says for grandma, so between the two grandpas and two grandmas that were with us at The Beach it wasn't ever easy to tell who he meant). Check out J's grandpa showing the little girls how to jumprope. 

"Shovel": oh my, how Baby G adored his shovel. Not only did he want his "shuhbel" on the beach, he also insisted on holding it whenever we were in the campground or car. I guess you never know when you will need to dig.

"Bucket": buying Baby G his sand toys for Christmas was brilliant. His bucket and shovel went with him everywhere.

"Cave": Baby G is not even remotely scared of the dark and loved walking through the dark caves along the beach. This is a picture of him running out of one to me.

"Wave": the picture below illustrates the position he would immediately get in whenever a wave would come up and reach us. He would be fine, happily digging with his shovel, and then a wave would come and he would run into my (or anyone who was near) arms.

I think that about covers the new words Baby G learned. Here are a few more of our favorite pictures from Baby's first trip to The Beach.

Getting some love from his Daddy.

Crawling around in the sand (notice the sand on his chin).

Going for a walk with his cousin and daddy.
Playing in the sand.

Checking out the friendly pelican. Baby G was very curious and wanted to get close, while Logan was a little more cautious and wanted to hide in my legs.

The sunsets weren't as spectacular as they have been some years (but the beautiful, warm weather totally mad up for it), but this one was pretty.

Group shot in the campground trees. We love all these people so much and are so grateful for all the work that everyone goes to to make this tradition happen. Can't wait to do it again!