Monday, December 15, 2008

Progression Of Evil

We had such a wonderful time in Minneapolis! But I have to say, I'm glad to be in good old GA right now, as it's in the 60's (I'm in a sleeveless shirt) and Rachel called me last night to share that the temp in MN today, with windchill, should hit -40. Yes, forty degrees below zero. The weather while we were there was great, however. Fun snow and winteriness at temperatures in the 30's.

Daddy had a last minute work crisis to deal with, so Andrew and I flew up by ourselves and met Phil later that evening. This was Andrew's first flight with his own seat. Beeden (his blanket), books, snacks and The Wonderpets (cartoon he loves) made the trip quite enjoyable.

Melvina's been pretty ticked at me lately as she has not been included on our last couple adventures. Trying to make up for it, I got her her own seat on the plane as well. She freaked out when we took off and tried to order a Bloody Mary from the drink cart to settle her nerves, but she forgot her ID (apparently she doesn't look 21) and didn't have any cash, so she had to settle for some fruit snacks and ginger ale.

She was so relieved to be on solid ground again that she flung herself headlong into a snow bank after we landed. (What the %*&! recruit?!)

Andrew and Weatherson* had a blast together. Here they are after major bath time fun.

They did lots of running and playing together. This "open and close the door" game was a favorite.

Sledding on the campus of Bethel University (where Wade teaches chemistry) was one of the highlights of the trip.

Back in the Neiwerts cozy cottage, we settled in for evenings of games and lots of laughing. Melvina took every opportunity to cozy up with Wade. She's got a thing for guys in REI jackets.

Rachel told me she had been talking with Wade before we arrived and shared with him that Nibblet was now kicking all about so even people on the outside could feel it. "I'm not going to have to touch it, am I?" Wade responded in horror. Well, that's all I needed to hear. If it's within my power to make my gracious host feel terribly uncomfortable, I just can't help myself.

Precious most certainly couldn't be bothered with silly things like naps on our first two days, but fell right asleep 45 minutes before we had to leave on Sunday. Oh how in pained me to wake this little guy!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Wade and Rachel! We'll never forget it!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Top Of The Muffin TO YOU!

Look how my sweet Nibblet has grown! The ultrasound on Tuesday was such tremendous fun, despite the long wait and the fact that we left Andrew's stroller in Johnsonville at Thanksgiving. I laugh at myself because I truly believe that, other than Andrew's, it's the most beautiful ultrasound photo I've ever seen. So unlike the millions of other ultrasound photos out there. (FYI - that long thing next to the hand is the umbilical cord, not a deformed leg/foot.) We got to see our baby move those little arms and legs all over the place, yawn, and were reassured that everything appears to be developing perfectly.

We're feeling extra secretive this time and have not only opted to wait until the big day in April to find out the gender (I use the universal "he" in conversation for convenience), but we're going to keep our name ideas to ourselves this time as well. I'm getting some pretty good suggestions, though. My favorite came in a recent e-mail from Crazy Aunt Sallie:

I wanted to tell you about the crazy dream I had last night. I dreamt that you had the baby through a big oozing sore in your stomach, and the doctors said that it was a girl. Everyone was talking about it, and then a few minutes later the doctors said, nope it's actually a boy, his parts just dropped. You and Phil took several days to decide on a name and finally picked Birmingham Warehouse Mobley. I kept trying to pretend that I liked that name, but I was actually horrified.

Perhaps that doesn't actually count as a name "suggestion," but we're throwing it in the mix anyway.

My Precious Scooter has been keeping busy. Here he is working hard on a finger painting we sent to Uncle Bradley for Christmas.

I'm an enormous wuss when it comes to cold weather, but we had a non-rainy day in the 50's so I decided to brave the outdoors so we could get some fresh air at the park. Andrew approved of this decision.

It's funny to me that he will act terrified if a stranger comes up to say hi to him in the grocery store, but no slide is too tall to give him pause. He was desperate to climb this big rope ladder thing, but I had to tell him it went too far over my head for me to help him. "Mommy it can try?" he requested, pitifully. This is his response to anything I tell him I can't do (not sure why he throws the "it" in there). He's so sweet it really makes me want to climb into his crib with him, or kiss the picture up on the wall, or whatever wacky thing he's asking me to do at the moment.

He's still totally obsessed with railroad crossings. Actually, it may be worse. There's a crossing on a street next to the park, and we sat on our bicks in the grass next to it for quite a while hoping a train would come by.

And then we waited some more.

And then waited a little longer. I was once again amazed by how patiently he sat there at stared at the unmoving crossing. I was getting cold and bored, but just look at that face!

Unfortunately the train never came by, but he handled the leaving much better than I thought he would. It was most likely because of Nina's suggestion that I search online for videos of train crossings being activated. I'm immensely grateful for the hundreds of freaks out there who devote their time to filming these things and posting them on YouTube.

Yesterday our playgroup met to ride the Pink Pig at Lennox Mall, a big Atlanta thing to do at Christmas. It was our first time going, and Andrew wore this same expression through the whole thing, which is his way with anything new and captivating. He really had a good time, though. All this morning I kept finding him walking around holding his tickets to the ride saying, "Andrew ride pink pigs!"

Tomorrow we leave for a big wintry adventure in Minneapolis! We're spending the weekend with our dear friends Wade, Rachel and Weatherson* in the coldest place in the universe. I'm going to bring lots of clothes, and seriously, I'm so excited to see the snow. I might even touch it once before running inside Rachel's adorable cottage for hot chocolate.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hairless Cat With A Colostomy Bag

Here I am, 4 months along with my darling Nibblet. I can't believe I will be officially halfway through my pregnancy next week - time is flying!

I had the most hilarious conversation with the Precious about the Nibblet a couple days ago. First, he informed me that the baby was growing in my left boob, which entertained me greatly. I showed him my sizable tummy and told him that, oddly enough, the baby was growing in there. He had quite a time sticking his finger into my belly button over and over, "Baby in there?" Then he asked to see the baby and pressed his face to my stomach, eye up against the belly button, to get a peek. I tried to explain that the baby had to grow for a while yet before we'd get to see him/her, but that one day he would come out to stay. He ended the conversation by once again pointing to my belly button and declaring, "Baby come out big hole."

Daddy is traveling again ... sadness ... so we decided to brighten up the day with lunch out at a nearby Mexican restaurant. Andrew loves this place. It was adorable.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Tiger Can't Change His Spots. No, Wait, He Did! Good For Him!

My Precious has been really into trains lately, specifically railroad crossings, and more specifically, the railroad crossings for the zoo train. Every day he begs me to go back to the zoo, not to see any animals, but to stand and wait at the crossings for the train to go by. Yesterday I finally gave in to his pleading, which was a big deal for me since I knew we were going to freeze our collective bickies off.

Here's my little one waiting (the beginning of much waiting since the arctic zoo was deserted) at his beloved RR crossing:

I'll translate: "That part goes down, gagons go on, train comes." Gagons has been his word for "lights" since the beginning - I have no idea why. I hear this description of what happens when the train comes at least 17 times a day. Poor soul waited for over 30 minutes yesterday to see the train go by until finally I bought us tickets so we could ride it (the only way we were going to see it in action since everyone else there was huddled in the reptile house).
In other adorable news, Andrew has really been enjoying his friends lately. Eunice Chantilly* and her little sister, Patrice* came to play this week. Here he is just about to kiss Patrice on the cheek.

At one point, Andrew and Eunice went running up the stairs to his room, Patrice and me trailing behind. When I walked in, the two of them were sitting together in Andrew's chair, each with a stuffed animal, and Eunice was "reading" a book to him. Ahhh! Here they are sharing a graham cracker snack.

I've been enjoying my friends a lot, too. Rachel came to stay with me a couple weekends ago so that we could throw a party to celebrate our friend Erin's new addition, Mignon*, a beautiful little boy she recently adopted from Ethiopia. Unfortunately this photo doesn't allow you to totally take in his eyes. Next time you're in the grocery store, take a close look at a package of YoBaby yogurt (the yellow cartons) - the baby on those looks just how I imagine Mignon would have looked at about 9 months.

And Sunday many of my closest came over to celebrate my friend Sally as we eagerly anticipate the arrival of her little girl in a few weeks. I tried out my camera's automatic setting, placing it on the couch. This was by far the best shot. I won't quit my day job.

*Yet again, I have changed these names to protect the innocent (and to amuse myself).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"How Exhausting," Said The Frosting

Halloween was lots more fun this year than it's been in ages. First, we decided to crash a friend's neighborhood party (that's where we were in the video above), then we let Andrew try his hand at trick-or-treating at about 5 houses. I actually shot some video of him at a house getting candy, but it's about 2 minutes of dim footage of me trying to get Andrew to say "trick-or-treat" to the people at the door and not to me while hordes of other kids fight their way on and off the small porch. And you'd need to take Dramamine. Anyway, the trick-or-treating, though chaotic at moments, was really sweet since he actually did say the magic words and seemed totally captivated by the whole notion of getting candy from strangers (something I hoped to foster early). We wrapped it up at the right time, however. He'd been perfect until house #5, whereupon Mr. No Nap decided to go completely insane when I told him I didn't think we should open any more candy. You haven't lived until you've been smacked in the head with a bag of Skittles by an exhausted and hysterical 2-year-old Superman in front of a large group of friends and strangers.

Thanks to my dear friend Heather, fellow lover of wigs, I was able to throw together a costume this year as well.

As I have casually mentioned in every post for the last 3 months, naps are very hit-or-miss. I'm pretty used to it now, and since when he doesn't nap, he usually goes down nicely for an early bedtime, I'm fine with it. The new element that I'm currently trying to figure out is the clothing removal that occurs when he doesn't nap or fall asleep quickly at night. The pants always come off (but, for some reason for which I don't understand but am utterly grateful, the diaper stays on). The shirt usually stays on, but, as you see below, not always as I had last seen it arranged. And now he can get out of his zip-up footy pajamas. I went in to see what he was hollering about the other evening, and he had them completely undone with only his arms still covered. He was frantically pulling on the arms saying, "Wambones OFF!" I may be reduced to going in at 10pm to quietly cover his shivering nakedness with a blanket.

And now for something totally random ... a high school friend who I haven't seen in 12 years recognized a picture of my hands on Facebook. That was it. She had no idea what my married name was and nothing but my arm was visable, but one look at my spidery, jointy hands she knew exactly who I was. I'm proud to say that I used to totally freak out a kid in my middle school with my hands, and that may have been even before I realized I could turn them 360 degrees.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Say Jim! Whoa! That's A Bad Outfit! Whoooo!!

We were heading out to playgroup this morning all dressed up in our Halloween finest when I decided to snap a picture of my superhero. I asked him to make a Superman face, and this is what he gave me. I think it's pretty much my favorite picture of all time.

I just love the things he comes up with to do and say these days. His little teething self had to go to bed without Tylenol last night because I couldn't find it. Not one of his 3 bottles could be located (he likes to have flavor options). This is what I came across later in the evening:

This is the face of a happy boy who just got to share in mommy's hot chocolate with marshmellows. "Marshmellow crazy," he declared about halfway through.

For some reason, Andrew decided back there behind the end table was a fun place to play. He kept asking me to clean up a dead bug he'd found, and I told him Daddy was better with bugs than Mommy was and so we'd wait for him. A few minutes later, he started crying so I ran in from the kitchen. Fortunately, he had not decided to eat the bug. He'd simply gotten his head stuck behind the couch.

And he's still my big helper. He loves nothing more than to sit on the counter while I'm cooking. Here he is helping me chop up vegetables for a beef stew.

In other big boy news, Andrew fell out of his crib only moments ago. Last week, I saw a friend's daughter with her hand in a cast and found out it was from falling out of her crib, so Phil and I are considering bringing in a toddler bed earlier than originally planned. I'm nervous about the transition - what if he decides to do some science experiments with vaseline and toothpaste at 3am? In the end, I'm finding the "what if's" involving ER visits more compelling.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thank Your, Ladies and Gentlemen

Every year I get really excited about fall and make a grand declaration about how many fall festivals we're going to attend and how many caramel apples we're going to eat and how we're going to drape ourselves in warm popcorn and cider and leaves ... you get the picture. In my 30 years of existence, I think I've actually attended somewhere around zero fall festivals. The season is young(ish), so there's still time for me to make good on this year's promises, but even if I turn out to be a big liar once again, at least I can say that I took Andrew to a really cool pumpkin patch (a first for both of us).

The whole experience was charming. Andrew loved running through aisles of pumpkins and wasted no time selecting one he deemed worthy (I took this picture before I read the sign that said "No picking up pumpkins by the stems.")

"Yeah, I'm cool. I'm sittin' on a pumpkin in my jean jacket. What?" (I took this picture before reading the sign that said "No sitting on pumpkins.")

To my shame, we didn't bathe in caramel apples or popcorn, BUT my boy had his first experience with boiled peanuts. I think I get some major fall points for that.

He also went on pretty schnazzy hay ride. You know you're in the south when your hay ride takes you by some gigantic talking pumpkins with unbelievable hillbilly accents that offer a "God loves you" message. Another fun item I assume you wouldn't find in, say, Massachusetts: A huge sign in the parking lot that reads "No Alcohol Or Profanity." Fortunately I read this one ahead of time.

The icing on the cake was that we got to share the experience with some of our dearest friends. Here we are with Ishbibenob*, Rhianna, and Starla*, who are "home" from Thailand for a bit. We're soaking up every second.

In closing, something totally unrelated to the glories of autumn. From the time Andrew wakes up to the time he goes to bed, he is asking to watch TV. Specifically "W W", which is what he calls the "Baby Bach" video of the Baby Einstein family. (He calls it that because they read out their web site at the beginning.) I try to space these viewings out as science and medicine and current Christian thought have instilled fears in me that one day Andrew will spontaneously combust simply by standing too close to the Devil box. However, I want the world at large to see what I'm up against. Here's a clip of Precious watching is favorite segment of "W W."

*As you may have guessed, names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Puddle Decided To Be Horrifying

We just got back from a wonderful visit with Aunt Sallie and Uncle David who live in Greenville, a mere 2 hours away (3 hours if leaving Atlanta on a Friday evening). We spent Saturday morning at a fabulous zoo called Hollywild, as many of their animals have been in movies and commercials. It was such a fun place. Andrew got to feed lots of the animals - above he's feeding a sheep a dog biscuit, and below he's shooting a wary look towards a zedonk that tries to suck your fingers off when you offer him food.

This cappybarra was my personal favorite. He left off snuffing some old lettuce to come see what treats we had to offer.

The Precious thought this peacock was the coolest (the peacock agreed). He kept mimicking the way he'd peck at the ground, his jerky movements and his noises, which was pretty hilarious.

The highlight was going on a safari ride on this awesome bus. There were wooden benches on each side, and all manner of wild beasts would come up to take bread from us.

Andrew did lots of his serious, taking-it-all-in face, but he was loving every second of it.

Saturday evening, Andrew got some good play time in with Phil's sister's husband's brother's daughter, Mocha.* They kept sitting on the stairs together making funny clicking (or smacking?) sounds. Bizarre, but very entertaining.

Back at the homestead, here I am posing for my 12-week tummy photo. This was first thing in the morning. I look about 3 months farther along come 6pm.

My 12-week doctor's visit went great. Below is my midwife, Amanda, who delivered Andrew ... wasn't it just a few days ago? She's pregnant with her first and due a day before I am! I'm thrilled to death for her, but I badly wanted her to deliver my Nibblet as well. She claims she'll totally be up for it if she doesn't have her baby first. I like her too much to wish that she be bent over delivering babies while 9 months pregnant.