Monday, December 3, 2012

We officially have a Toddler.

A toddler who adores making messes and harassing kittens.

When did that happen?????
I was looking at JJ's newborn pictures the other day.  
You know...


Yup.  Looking at those and others and remembering how teeny itty bitty he was... and looking at the twenty-one pound, 28" tall marauder cruising around my living room and wondering how in the heck???

I mean, it's awesome.  Mind-boggling.  But seriously awesome. 

And so, as promised, here is the birthday cuteness.  (Yes, I know it's 8 days later.  Sue me, we were busy!)  And these are just the ones I grabbed with my webcam, folks, there are better pics on the actual camera, but I figured somebody might track me down and strangle me if I made you wait for those!

 The traditional heart-shaped Birthday Cake Pan, here shown 
with evidence that the cake was indeed baked within its confines. 
(No, seriously, my mother has used that pan for birthday cakes 
my ENTIRE LIFE.  I was quite certain that lightning would fall 
from on high if I dared make a plain old rectangle cake.)

"Okay.  I've got a fork.  And a biscuit.  Woopie."

 "Wait just a second... what's that?"

 "Yeah.  I knew Mom wouldn't let me down!"
The traditional singing of the traditional song 
was followed by the traditional destruction of the cake.

"Mmph... Mom... you weren't kidding about this chocolate stuff."
 (Honest, I have pictures on the actual camera while the cake was still 
intact, but I wasn't quick enough to get any with the webcam as well.)

 "Yuuuuuuum.  SUGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!"

 The traditional sugar-crazies ensued, and a few hours later...




"Three... he is DOWN for the COUNT."

He's growing so fast, learning so fast it's almost frightening.  I've always been one who swore up & down that babies are far more intelligent and aware than most grown ups give them credit for, but it takes on a whole new dimension when the baby in question is **yours**.  And it seems to hit a sort of critical mass sometimes where it all balls together, picks up speed, and suddenly every time I turn around he's doing something I've never seen him do before.  Climbing onto a footstool.  Gently petting a kitten (as opposed to whacking it).  Reaching for my hairbrush and using it to awkwardly brush his own hair.  (That one really made my jaw drop!)

The most recent pièce de résistance happened last Friday, just five days after his birthday.  Parents, you know that moment, the times your baby does something that tells you without any shred of doubt that there is a person in there, and that said individual is aware of the stuff you're trying to teach them?  The moment that gives you hope you might have a prayer of raising a civilized, well-mannered little person?  Well, this was a good one.

He signed "milk".  Mind, I have been using "milk" and roughly two dozen other signs with him since birth, mostly as a means to answer that all-important question, "Why are you crying?"  By the time he was three months old, I could run through about a dozen signs, and when I hit the right one, he would stop fussing.  But of course, the goal is to eventually have baby sign back to you, and JJ finally did it!!!!  Independently, without being asked, without my hand over his, and BEFORE he communicated his desire to nurse by yanking down my shirt.  He did this several times over the next hour, very politely coming up to me and signing for "milk", but that first one...

I tell ya, people, I squeee'd like a tween at a Twilight marathon. 

That's my boy... my little explorer... my JJ.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

In ten more days...

JJ will be one year old.


Holy Hannah, when did that happen???

Well, I'm doing a quickie post today because exactly one year ago today, I was 40 weeks, officially full term, and feeling like a thoroughly beached whale.  I couldn't walk, I couldn't breathe, and NOTHING fit... and I loved it.

Remember these?

Yeah.  I was being silly & John was being indulgent.

And yes, we're going outside today to take more, since it's beautiful and sunny just like last year... if a bit colder!  So be on the lookout on the 25th (or shortly thereafter) for JJ's First Birthday Post, because there will be epic cuteness, y'all.  EPIC, I tell you.

Friday, November 2, 2012

No, I haven't forgotten you...

JJ is 11 months old, active, healthy, happy, and driving me insane.

Haven't strangled him yet, promise!

See?  Here he is looking all dapper & cute as we went out for Halloween.

Best smile I got out of him until we got to church & he could crawl around... he wasn't a fan of the little booties or the hat!

"Mom, I look ridiculous!!!"

"You look adorable, and I want to show you off and take lots of embarrassing baby pictures!"


Anyway... I really do think about the blog.  It's just that most days I don't have the TIME.  If you know me on FB, you see more updates, because FB takes all of thirty seconds.  Posting here takes at least half an hour, and it's tough to find that thirty minutes all in one chunk when I don't have umpteen zillion other things I need to be doing.  There are diapers to wash and boxes to sort through and walks to take and kittens to feed (oh yeah, did I mention I got blessed with a litter of three adorable furbabies about three weeks ago?  No?  I didn't??  Gracious, how shameful!) and every once in a very great while I manage to sneak a shower or some exercise in there.

I'm not dropping the blog, I love it too much.  Posts are just gonna be sparse for a while until things settle out a bit around here.

Oh, and btw...

Halloween when your kid is too young for candy has got to be
the best holiday EVER!  Yes, I kept it to both sides of one street,
and mostly went out just to show him off, but hey, it's chocolate, folks!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Teething bites...

Pun absolutely intended, so groan away, oh ye of little humor.  That one was for my Xanth fans. :P

Teething bites.  For everyone.  JJ is normally a very happy baby, and even when teething pains strike, he's not usually too much of a grumpy puss during the day.  No... the trouble in this house is at NIGHT.  He fights going to sleep, he wants to nurse for half an hour after dozing off before he will permit me to actually lay him down, then he proceeds to wake up every forty-five minutes to nurse some more.  Then, around one or two in the morning, we get to the REALLY fun part.  That's when he usually decides that nursing is insufficient comfort and spends a good two hours being fully awake and wanting to play.

I usually end up either sobbing or screaming with frustration, because all I want to do at that point sleep.  Especially after John and I spent the day before moving things (large things) around in the garage and carrying boxes downstairs to free up space.  My legs are screaming and my ankles and hips aren't happy either.

In the end, nothing "gentle" persuades him to go back to sleep during these early AM party sessions.  He will lay quietly nursing for hours, with his eyes wide open and staring at me in the dim light that sneaks around the curtains.  When my nipples can't take it anymore, he is equally happy to crawl around on the bed, smacking whatever parts of me he can reach with gleeful abandon.  Hard.   By the time the second hour rolls around, he's already had fresh orajel applied and gotten a dose of baby Tylenol, so by this point I'm usually reduced to softly begging.

Which never works.

What does work (usually, and only towards the end of said second hour) is simply holding the little monkey in a nice cradling cuddle and refusing to let him move from that position.

Baby.  Loses.  His.  Damn.  Mind.

Seriously, you'd think I was dipping the kid in boiling acid or something.  Arching, shrieking (not screaming, SHRIEKING), thrashing, anything to wiggle loose and get me to let him keep playing.  And I have to keep it up for a solid sixty seconds until he stops fighting and is just crying, then it's back to the boob and he usually drops right off to sleep shortly thereafter.

At which point Mommy curls into a little ball and sobs quietly into her pillows because morning is only about 2 hours away.  Singing, nursing, rocking, fresh diaper, orajel, baby tylenol, scalp massage, foot/calf rubs, cuddling, binky, all the standard stuff calms him but nothing works to actually get him to go back to sleep, and I'm out of ideas.  I HATE doing that to him, listening to those enraged, betrayed howls rips my heart out, but it's the only thing that's working lately. 

It's after 8 now, and JJ is still sleeping, because when the alarm went off at 6:30 I just was not ready to face the day.  At all.  My body hurts, I'm  not the least bit hungry even though I know I really should eat, and all I want to do is mainline both of us some Nyquil so he'll sleep for a few more hours and I can greet the afternoon in a saner frame of mind.

But yeah...we have too much to get done today.

Aaaaaaaaand there he is, sleepy little monkey.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Life update, and Four-Legged Babysitters RULE!!

Hullo, folks... I imagine some of you have been wondering what happened to us!   Well, in the grand tradition of life, we got busy, we got stressed, and little things like updating the world on Casa Nolan just sorta fell by the wayside.  Woopsie!

And then last week the "something's gotta give" finally gave.  God came through.  We found someone willing to buy, and sold our gas-guzzling SUV.  We were able to get financing on an '08 Chevy Impala with 20,000 fewer miles on the engine and WAAAY better gas mileage, for a payment we can actually afford.  We put a deposit on the plumbing repair that we've been stalled on for a month, so in a week or so we'll have the ability to take showers instead of bird baths in the sink.  We got caught up on all our bills, paid off the funeral home, and scheduled a move-out at our storage locker for the end of the month.  Our "thanks for choosing AT&T" prepaid Visa finally showed up, two hundred bucks on that sucker.  (Btw, if you sign up w/ AT&T and are looking for your incentive card, be aware that you have to actually go to their rewards center, either online or by phone, and "redeem" the card, which I'm betting most people forget to actually do, which is why they can afford to be so generous.  Sneaky, sneaky.)  

We booked John a hotel room for next Tuesday night so he can go test for a new job that would provide retirement, benefits, medical, long term job security, and a pay rate that would actually allow us to start saving again, and move us into a beautiful area with plenty of hunting and fishing and still have a couple of decent size cities within easy reach.  Oh, and now we have a vehicle that actually makes it cheaper for him to drive there rather than fly.   We set aside money for the bills that hit at the end of the month, and to pay for our old house to have a proper clean-out so it can be ready for the renters our old realtor has available.  We set aside money for a return trip out to the new job site so that when they call and offer John a position (That's right, I said WHEN), we can all drive out and have a good look at where we would actually be living before we commit to the move.  I finally managed to freecycle an old china cabinet that was taking up space & gathering dust in the garage, leading me to hope that I stand a prayer of eliminating the ridiculous amount of extra STUFF this family has acquired over the past decade.  Last week I picked up a music student, so hurrah for putting that music degree to work!  And it looks like I may even be able to pick up a new computer to save me from my elderly and increasingly uncooperative laptop.

So there's the update on our lives in general. 


Yes, yes, I hear you, no need to shout.  *wink*

JJ is doing awesome. :)  

He's over twenty pounds now, and it's still all length, the boy is TALL, almost twenty-eight inches at his 9 month appointment.  He's been teething with a vengeance lately, and OH the drool, the crankies, the baby drama!!  We're mostly down to one nap these days, and typically 2-3 hours, though occasionally we have a very early morning and the two-nap day resurfaces for a week or so.  He's dropped his morning Zantac entirely, and we're beginning to wean him off the evening dose, though that's proving a bit more difficult, and the one night I actually forgot it was an unpleasant flashback to reflux hell.

Just an aside... the height is something that I intellectually knew, but it didn't really sink in until we were at a family get-together a couple of weeks back and I actually saw him next to another baby!  One of the extended cousins has a daughter twice JJ's age, and when I stood him up next to this actively toddling little girl (JJ can't stand independently yet) I was stunned to realize he was taller than the 18 month old!

And still with the puppy-dog feet!

Speaking of puppy-dogs...

Lady is being absolutely wonderful with JJ.  

I was trying for a different shot entirely... she had laid her head and front paws down across JJ's lap.  When she heard the 3-2-1 beeping from the laptop, she picked up her head, so I didn't quite get the shot I wanted, but it turned out super-cute anyway!  I mean, with the EARS!!!

Last pediatric appointment, I showed his doctor what happened the first time I let him play with a pencil.  I don't have a pic of that one (cuz it's filed away in the bedroom and JJ is asleep!), but suffice it to say she looked at me doing that stunned blinking thing and asked me if I had birthed a mini-Picasso.  LOL.  SO, yesterday I gave JJ crayons for the first time, and this is what he did:

Lighting's not so great, but you get the idea.  
No, seriously, he did that.  
I drew a couple of swirls with the green 
to get him started, but the rest is all JJ!!

He's starting to experiment with standing up on his own too. :)
Reeeeeaaaaaaally wants to move, my little man does.

Now, to finish up today's monster update, I bring you word on my feline babysitter...

Remember this?

And this?

Now we have this.

Just in the last couple of weeks, Minnows has begun to actively help with entertaining and alerting me to JJ's activities.  He's started sitting at the bedroom door meowing, not to be let in (because I'm not in there!), but to let me know that JJ is awake from his nap.  As JJ has gotten more mobile and communicative, Minnows has started purposely entertaining him, by which I mean running into the bedroom when I have to leave JJ in his pack'nplay for a moment, jumping into the pack'nplay to be petted (read: smacked on), or (just saw this one today) deliberately sitting on the bed with his tail JUST BARELY within reach and twitching it to keep JJ's attention while I deal with whatever it was outside the bedroom.  Highly hilarious, extremely cute, and it earns said kitteh much with the luvvins.

Well, that's everything, folks... may our lives continue to go well in the future so that it's not so long between posts again!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A quick moment of cuteness

I got an email from a dear friend recently, a lady whom I respect and miss terribly.  We did the usual catching up, and she mentioned how much she enjoys reading about JJ.  So the next time he did something adorable, I turned on the ol' iSight and...


It pretty much speaks for itself! :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What can I say...

He's adorable, and I felt the need to photobomb.

Recent favorite JJ moments:

He refuses the preloaded spoon, so I set it on his tray, and he decides he wants it after all, demonstrating said want by putting his face down to the tray and sucking the applesauce off the spoon.  (Sorry, no picture, he never holds still long enough.)

He decides to blow raspberries on Mommy's chin:

His Linus imitation:

8 Month Puppy Feet!!!!

Beating on the cat... 

Minnows is surprisingly tolerant of being repeatedly smacked in the head.

Riding on the cat...  

Oh the things this cat will put up with in exchange for Mommy-time.

Queen Anne's Lace...

"My Mommy!!!"

Baby Food Popsicles...

And the resultant "Whuck????" 

And the finishing touch... Grumpy Baby to Laughing Baby, courtesy of the Photobooth program on my laptop.