Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Year In Review

Hard to believe, isn't it, that Isaac turns 1 year old today? I can't believe it, myself. A year ago today I was on some really good drugs, recovering from a c-section, holding this tiny punkin in my arms.

Of course, the nurses tried to tell me that he really was not tiny, being 9 lbs and all. But, he was tiny to me. I mean, look how wee he is in that car seat!

One month old - already holding his head up pretty well and looking around:

Two months old - already starting to fill in that car seat (and not too thrilled with the situation, either):

My sister-in-law, Jennifer, took pictures of my most adorable nephew Christopher in his car seat carrier every month so we could see how much he'd grown. I thought that was a fantastic idea. As you can see, I made it to 2 months. Wahoo!

3 months - such a serious face! I am pretty sure his expression is translated as "Woman, why are you over there when I am over here? Don't you know I should be attached to you at this time of day?"

We had his first formal pictures taken at 3 months. Wasn't he the most beautiful thing?

At four months, I made him lay in the fall leaves with his sisters. He looks happy in the picture, but that lasted for about 3 seconds. Good thing I snapped the picture at the right moment, eh?

He was 5 months old at Christmas time. He was the first baby I had who was still small enough at Christmas to fit into one of those cute little "Baby's First Christmas" outfits, so of course I put him in one, hat and all!

At 6 months, he already fit into his new duds that Grammy gave him for Christmas. The puppy hat made this little outfit, don't you think?

He learned to sit up around 7 months, and he sure did love a bath. Still does, actually. My sister-in-law, Jennifer, gave us this inflatable bath tub, and it was perfect for a boy who still tipped over every now and again.

He discovered the wonder of modern technology that is the balloon at 8 months old. We were in Michigan, and someone let him have one after my niece's confirmation. I must confess that I had not let him play with balloons prior to this, for fear of choking hazards. He had so much fun, though, that we get balloons a lot from the grocery store and let him play to his little heart's content (carefully supervised, of course).

We went to the ocean when he was about 8 months old, and he LOVED it. He didn't want to eat sand, until Emma brought him a bucket with lots of pebbles mixed it. He had a ball playing at the beach.

9 Months - LOVE that wrinkled nose! He made this face at everyone and everything for a while. It was so cute.

He was still not crawling at 10 months, but figured out how to stand himself up. I really thought he might go straight to walking.

My 11 months, though, he'd figured out that crawling thing. I shortened my Swiffer broom for him, and he seemed to take right to cleaning the floor for me.

I also gave him a wooden spoon, which turned into a Mighty Stick with which he conquered the evil black pot!

You know, when Emma was a little over 1, I gave her a pot and wooden spoon, because that's what "the book" said to do. She turned the pot over and stood in it. I'm not sure what she did with the spoon. Isaac took that spoon and STABBED that pot until it was good and dead.

Also, as soon as he learned to crawl, he ceased and desisted with laying down for a nap and going right to sleep, angel baby that he was. He would pop right back up and start cruising in his crib, chattering away. He would eventually fall asleep, though.

Doesn't that look uncomfortable? It just tickles me that he can lean straight forward and fall asleep from a sitting position. Silly boy.

All that was one short month ago. Now, he's a very grown up 1-year-old. Here he is, the birthday boy in the tub with frosting on his nose.

A phrase I've heard a lot lately is, "The days are long, but the years are short." I've known that for a long time, but it speaks directly to my heart when it comes to my boy.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

And on a really fun note...

A virtual friend from the Well-Trained Mind Boards posted this fun site! Head on over and make yourself some sparkly words at Glitter Your Way. Come on, you know you want to!

Road Trip! (Or Not)

Earlier, Todd and I loaded the children into the minivan (named Ariel Mermaid, in case you know about cars and names) and headed off toward Target (10% coupon and everything) to see if we could find a bike for me. It's what I requested for my birthday, along with one of those nifty bike trailers for the boy, and helmets for us both. The girlies really love to ride their bikes, and it's hard for me to keep up on foot, pushing a stroller. I know, I know, I'm usually cheetah-like, but for some reason, this is beyond me.

Abbie kindly shared a Cheez-It with her brother as we were pulling out of the driveway, and as we rounded the first corner, he gagged and spit up a little. Well, it was really more than spitting up but the damage wasn't catastrophic - his overalls could come off and he could shop in his onesie - so we continued. However, before we reached the next block, he'd managed to expel copious amounts of breastmilk and snot (still has the runny nose from his cold) all over himself and his car seat. There was no saving the trip, so Todd drove around the block - we didn't even make it as far as the Catholic church two blocks away - and came home.

Ah, well. Who am I to rail against such a clear message from the powers-that-be, that we did not need to go shopping this evening? Chances are we avoided being contaminated with the bubonic plague, or something equally heinous. It was worth a shot, though. Maybe tomorrow. (Note to self: Boy and Cheez-Its do not mix.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Post-vacation drama

You know, when you come home from vacation, there is laundry to be done. This is especially true when your infant decides to vomit on you the night you get home, because he doesn't feel like taking any medicine to help his teeth feel better. Even more so when he does it another time or two on subsequent days for good measure.

I threw a load in on Saturday morning, thinking I was washing the ick out of the clothes. Sunday, I changed it over from the washer to the dryer. "Hmmm," I thought, "these clothes are practically dry. I didn't remember this washer spinning them out like that." However, it's a new washer, and I had been gone for 2 weeks. What do I know? I thought the clothes had a certain... je ne sais quois about them; they didn't smell particularly fresh, but I thought perhaps they were on their way to mildewing. I threw a fabric softener sheet in with them.

I took out a pair of the Snort's pajamas from the dryer tonight, because he's either spit up or yakked on all the sleepwear he owns. As I was putting it on him, I noticed some schmutz on the sleeve. Looking more closely, I saw that the dirt on the knees (from crawling at my parents' house - he hasn't worn them on my floors yet) was still there. The lightbulb finally went on: the clothes were not clean! I must have forgotten to actually run the washer.

So, I went to take the dirty clothes out of the dryer and put the clean ones in that I'd washed earlier today into the washer. Lo and behold, the second load was still dirty too! I know I ran the washer today. I decided not to panic, and went in to see if Todd was actually sleeping. He was. I pondered waking him for a moment, but really, what was he going to do at this time of night?

So I went back to the washer to see if I could pray over it or something to convince it to work. It's brand new. It can't have issues yet. And then - another lightbulb went on. Could Todd have shut the water off before we went on vacation?!?

I tell you, there are no flies on me (whatever that means). I checked the shutoff valves and did indeed need to turn the water back on. I did, and my clothes are merrily washing away even as I type. PHEW!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy To Be Home

We got back from Michigan this evening after two very long days of driving. We had a lot of fun seeing family but WOW is it nice to be home.

I didn't think we would be able to do the trip home in only two days, honestly. We'd planned on spending 3 days to get home, so that the baby wouldn't be overwhelmed in the car. Todd, however, had different ideas. He informed me a day or two before we needed to leave that he thought we should try to do it in two. I didn't think it was a very good idea, but he assures me that I've blocked from my memory the horrors of the 3rd day of travel. Long story short, we made it in two days and no one had to die.

After "the cottage," we went to the Shauver grandparents' house on Lake Superior. The Snort immediately came down with a cold, and refused to eat unless it was "Momma Chow," which ended any sleep progress we'd made. We had a couple of days to hang out and play in the lake before more cousins arrived. My sister and her husband came with their 4 children, ages 3 and under (7 month old twins). I have to tell you that 7 children in the house was a lot! A lot of chaos, a lot of noise, and a lot of FUN.

We got to go blueberry picking, play in the lake, take the boat to the "secret island" (a bay on Grand Island off Munising Bay on Lake Superior, part of the Pictured Rocks National Park), and play with cousins. The girlies went fishing with my folks on a small lake (Deer Lake) where they catch lots of small fish - Emma caught a 12-13" small mouth bass on her little Barbie pole! - and they stayed at the camp (the cabin we all bought) with my two older nieces. We also saw a VERY COOL concert by a group called Song of the Lakes - they were commissioned to write music to Paddle to the Sea! It was wonderful. They are going to make a CD of the music, this fall I think.

We did see something amazing: a bald eagle fishing in the bay in front of my parents' house! I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but here they are. He would get right down into the water, and we thought there was something wrong at first, but he was just fishing:

I have never seen an eagle fish before!

He did finally catch something:

And then he flew away. Pretty cool, eh?

The nice thing about going to the U.P. in August is that Lake Superior is as warm as it's going to get. One day, there were big waves in the bay, so I convinced my family that we should go swimming. Emma said, "I'm risking my life to do this!" as we went down and got in the water. Silly girl. I have a lot of good feelings about being up north, but one of my specific memories is going out and playing in the waves like this. The air was cold, but the water felt warm (after a minute or two) and it was SO much fun. The girls really enjoyed themselves, and Emma stayed in the water with Todd for a long time after Abbie and I decided we were cold and went in.

Isaac liked Lake Superior, too. It was interesting - when I tried to hold him and walk into the lake, and maybe dip his toes, he cried and did not like it at all. My dad took him down, though, and put his feet down on the sand, and let Isaac decide to walk into the lake on his own power, and he thought that was fabulous. He waded right in, pretty deep in the water for a little guy:

And even sat down to play in the sand and water with Grandma:

He also learned to climb stairs while we were there, and he thinks he's hot stuff now. He also discovered that he can walk if only someone will hold his fingers. If you let him get ahold of yours, be prepared to get up and go, because he does NOT take "no" for an answer! I remember doing this with the girlies. My back hurt a lot for a very long time. I am so grateful to have the girls, who are at much better heights than I am, to walk him around. And around. And around and around and around...

The girlies really enjoyed playing with their cousins. Here is Emma sitting with Faithy and Norah Jane, watching tv:

And both girlies hanging out with the twins:

And, of course, all the grandparents, great and regular versions, were glad to have the kids there. We managed to get them all in a photo:

That's one for the record books, folks. It was pretty amazing to get everyone looking in almost the same direction at once for that picture.

I always feel a little homesick for Michigan when we get back. That will probably hit later. For now, it's nice to be back in my own bed and have the Snort in his own bed. One can only hope he will go back to sleeping now that we're home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fun at the Secret Island - Michigan Vacation, Part 3

Jessie & Kevin and their crew went home last night, so today was pretty quiet since we were down 4 kids at the house. We decided to take a boat ride over to the "Secret Island." It's actually a bay on Grand Island, which is in Lake Superior off Munising Bay. It's part of the Pictured Rocks National Park. We went there a couple of years ago (not last year while I was pregnant) and the girls still talk about it.

The lake was pretty calm, and it was a nice day for a boat ride. It took us about a half hour to get to the bay. The girls proceeded to have a great time snorkeling, and looking at all the minnows in the water. There were lots, and Emma discovered that the liked to hide under things, so she poked at pieces of bark and such in the water and watched them swim frantically away. I wish we'd remembered the minnow nets, because the girls do love to catch minnows. Maybe next time.

Isaac enjoyed the water too! Initially, I forgot to put his swim diaper on, so he was cruising around with a regular diaper. I wish I'd taken a picture of it, all full of water - I had no idea they could get so big! He and Grandpa had a good time in spite of the silly diaper:

And he had the best time trying to put the lid from one of our thermoses onto a water bottle.

He's a funny little nut.

You know, when Abbie is done with something, she's done.

On the way home, my dad let them both drive the boat! Here is Emma:

And here is Abbie:

He was remarkably patient with them. Why, you might wonder, is this a big deal? Let me tell you - when I was a child, one did NOT look for opportunties to drive the boat. One was almost certainly guaranteed to do it incorrectly, and thus be the recipient of much yelling from Dad. The yelling increased the stress level and decreased the quality of the boat driving even further and... you see where I'm going with this. He seems to have gained some patience since the last time I had to drive, though, and the girls enjoyed learning how to do it.

Emma had decided on the way over that she was going to go inside the boat and organize all of Grandpa's stuff. Grandpa wasn't too keen on the idea, but he let her do it. I think what she really wanted was to be able to do this:

I felt seasick just looking at them in there. Bleah.

My sweet, sweet boy fell asleep both times on his Daddy's lap. He didn't care much for his life jacket, and couldn't move around in it very well. Between the noise and the motion of the boat, and the fact that he was pretty well immobilized, he snoozed for the ride.

It was a lovely afternoon on Lake Superior. I'm so glad we got to go and take Isaac, too.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cousins! Michigan Vacation Part 2

The best part of our trips to Michigan is visiting with family. We got to see all of the cousins this trip, except for Christopher. My brother and his family have a lot of travel starting in August, and they couldn't make it up. However, we had FOUR cousins come in one fell swoop when my sister and her family arrived!

Both girls had a great time playing with my sister's older girls, Faith and Norah. The little girls look up to the big girls so much, and the big girls adore them. Emma was trying to teach Faith (who is 3) how to read. Not that Faith necessarily wanted to learn to read, you know, but if Emma was going to teach her, it must have been the thing to do!

Several times, I saw Emma hold out her arms and invite the little girls to sit with her while they watched TV or whatever. Usually they would sit with her, but sometimes they would want to do something else, and that was OK too.

My girls loved the twins, too. They do so well with Isaac! He's getting big enough now that he prefers to move on his own steam, though, and the twins aren't mobile yet, so the girls had a great time playing with them. Also, they are quite a bit smaller than the Snort and thus much easier to hold and carry.

Aunt Jessie had a good time playing with Isaac. She would take him around to walk, and was even dancing with him at one point, which was adorable! I know I took a picture of the dancing, but I have no idea whose camera it's on, so I only have the walking.

They also played a cute little game. I don't know what the rules were, but there was a lot of giggling.

Isaac loved seeing the babies, too. He and Josh seem to know that they are the BOYS, and Isaac found him as soon as they arrived.

He didn't play favorites, though, and was delighted to pound Ashlyn on the head.

She didn't care much for that game, so we had to put a stop to it. I *think* he was trying to pat her head; we've been working a lot on "gentle" and "soft touching," and he does really well, for when he's patting the dog. Apparently our baby touches need a little work.

My parents, of course, were in heaven, with 7 of their 8 grandchildren all in one place. Joshy LOVES his Grandpa!

And that sweet Ashlyn is such a tiny thing, you could carry her around all day. She felt like a featherweight compared to my Snort, who was 28.13 lbs at the doctor the week before we left, thank you very much. I think Grandma was experiencing a tiny bit of heaven right there.

I, of course, never turn down a chance to spoil one of my nieces or nephews.

The best thing we did was to get a picture of all the grandkids with Great Grandma Shauver, as well as Grandma and Grandpa. It was no small feat, let me tell you!

From left to right, we have Joshua (wearing a pink onesie, poor boy; he got dressed in the dark), Abigail, Isaac, Grandpa, Emma, Great Grandma, Faith, Norah, Grandma and Ashlyn. I love pictures like this.

Last but not least, here is a gratuitous Snort picture, just because he's so very cute. He's showing off his musical prowess.