January 30, 2013

Treasure It Up: 15 Months

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. - Luke 2:19

I don't know how, but it happened. Fifteen months have passed since our third wedding anniversary. That means our best anniversary gift ever is now (over) fifteen months old. Q1 of his second year of life is now complete. It's a little crazy.

As a little family, we've got some unknowns facing us at the end of 2013. Jerm's shore duty will end, and we will have some shifts and transitions to make. I am feeling very aware that the next several months we have together as a family of three are precious. My word of the year (as opposed to a resolution) is faith. I've been spending time doing daily bible studies for almost two months now (seriously - this is a record for me!), and one of the verses that has struck me the most is listed above - Luke 2:19. I love the imagery! Mary was aware that something really special was happening. She didn't want to take any of it for granted, so she "treasured up all these things." That's what I want to do.

Considering how quickly time flies these days, I figured I should take a moment to stop and reflect on Bryson's current state of affairs - new tricks, talents, words, likes, and dislikes. One day we will undoubtedly forget something we just knew we'd always remember, so to me, these little things are worth treasuring.

Here's what we've got:

Height - 31.75" (75th percentile)
Weight - 22 pounds 7.8 ounces (25th percentile)
Head - 41 cm ("right in the middle" - usually Dr. H's answer for all three!)
Tall enough to grab things from the counter - we have to be extra careful what we leave out!
Big boy carseats in both cars now - no more infant carrier.

The kid can dance. And dance he does. Anytime there's a beat.
Walks - almost runs (still working on turn radius).
Wants to get down and walk when we're in public - need to have shoes now!
Likes to wear hats and sunglasses (for short periods of time).
Loves accessorizing with the curtain pulls (while supervised closely).
Covers eyes with hands or hat while walking - total thrill-seeker!
VERY ticklish! His laugh when he's tickled just takes over his whole tiny body. The thrill and suspense is just too much!
Favorite play partner - Daddy! Wrestle, tickle, chase, hide and seek, peekaboo...Daddy must have hung the moon.
Loves pushing buttons - especially on computer keyboards! This also includes light switches, garage door opener, and the old solar calc.
Reads books with Mama - will grab them and then back up into my lap :) LOVE that! Likes to turn the board book pages.
Goes on regular walks with me - around the neighborhood, by the harbor channel, eating snacks and waving to the people and puppies as they walk by.
Still going to Gymboree - almost finished with a month of Level 4.

Cheese face! This began right after his birthday as well. Self-explanatory and awesome.
Waves at pretty much everyone - at neighbors out while we're checking the mail, at nurses passing in the clinic, at opposing team players at Dad's basketball games...he's a very friendly fella.
When he's really feeling friendly, he'll blow smoochies to said strangers as well. We'll have to reign that in a bit one day, but for now, the ladies love it!!
FaceTime (and Skype) champion - favorites include his canine cousin Lucy (and all of the rest of the pups!), all of his human cousins (his face totally lights up when he sees them), and Uncle Bill's "Papiiiiitooooo" welcome.
Still going to in-home daycare two days a week, loving it. Cries every now and then while I walk out the door, but stops by the time I've got my shoes on!
Recently experienced the nursery at church for the first time and did just fine, although I must have told the sweet lady in charge she could text me anytime....at least five times.

Continues with the words from 1st birthday, and has added just a few, including:
"Hiii" or "Heh" (Hey), usually accompanied by a wave.
Some form of "puppy" - always followed by a "woof."
"Moo" when seeing a cow. (And I think he has said "caw" a time or two.)
"Coooore" - which means cousin Claire.
Other things I know he understands but doesn't yet SAY -
Socks and shoes - He can bring them to you, point them out, and/or stick out his foot to help you put them on.
Airplane - if he hears one overhead, he points up.
Bow your head - we're starting a new one so he can participate in family prayer time ;)
Puppy dog, ball, spoon, blocks - he can point at pictures or actual objects.

He still eats just about everything we put in front of his face - except for chicken. Spits it out.
Eats a little less than he did just before his birthday, but depends on the meal!
Thankfully he has slowed down on eating small debris found on the floor. Sheesh.
He has not slowed down on throwing small debris on the floor, his signal for done if he's not feeling like signing it!
Still hates having his hands and face wiped after a meal.
Getting better at using a spoon and fork! Still throwing plates or wearing them on his face...
Favorites/staples: Cut grapes, bananas, steamed zucchini, good macaroni and cheese, yogurt snacks, Cheerios, water.

Currently has the front eight and now three molars coming in!
Still a great teether - we don't know they're coming til they're already there.

Lookin' Good
Hair keeps a-growin'! The little follicles that could.
Double cowlick in the back is getting interesting, creating a bit of a faux hawk.
Still gets plenty of "He's so beautiful! I mean handsome," compliments from the ladies.
Eye color still hard to determine - gray? blue and green, sometimes appears light brown. Most days appears to match his daddy's mystery color.

Likes to lay back and relax with hands behind his head at any degree angle.
Naps once or twice per day, 1.5-2 hours usually.
Bathtime duty alternates between Mom and Dad - one cleans Bryson while the other cleans up after dinner!
Usually goes down between 8-8:30. Wakes up around 6 to nurse, then back down til about 7:30.
These days I've been tucking him in with a tiny Texas blanket from Aunt Court just because it's comfy and cute - literally just covers his torso :)
Still using a binky and clip for sleeping and "emergencies" if needed in public (church!).
Listens to Hidden in My Heart lullabies (Volumes I and II) on iPod during sleepy times.

So these are the memories and milestones I want to freeze in this verbal time capsule of ours. By this time next year, and for years after that, we won't have the same routines. We will be spending lots of time apart. This year, 2013, is a magic window of time. We've got just one Brownie to enjoy and lots of time as a family to treasure. That's precisely why I made a paper toast to 2013 on the back of our 2012 Christmas card:

So here's to 2013, friends! May we not miss an opportunity to treasure the little (silly, sweet, challenging) moments that mean the most!

P.S.  This post is not related to my business, which is about helping bright entrepreneurs attract their dream clients, one brilliant message at a time. HOWEV - if you like my writing and want help with your own, sign up for free tips at www.nikkielledgebrown.com!

January 28, 2013

The Boogie Man

"There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them." - Vickie Baum

I love to dance. Not necessarily in a technical, So You Think You Can Dance professional and organized sense, but in the most basic, moving-your-body-to-the-rhythm-of-good-music sense.

Like many little girls, I took ballet and tap as a little one, with a jazz or hip-hop class here and there in elementary school. As I moved through middle school high school, cheerleading took over. Then, in high school, I somehow managed my way onto our super-star, national champion dance team (Go Fillies!). In college, my best girlfriends and I had way too much fun dancing the night(s) away on the Fort Worth social scene.

While I'm not the most talented "real" dancer, I love to watch those who are. Those who have spent years developing a natural talent for movement - ballet, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary - they make it look easy. And I appreciate that, because I know it isn't!

The best part of my appreciation for dance is that apparently it's hereditary.

Since our early Gymboree days, I thought he had an ear for a beat. He'd just do a little bounce - nothing extravagant - just enough to let you know he was feeling the music. Then, just before Thanksgiving (and just after his first birthday), he started a new move. A real move. A shoulder shrug/shimmy, if you will. (Jeremy claims credit for teaching him this trick during mealtimes.)

We laughed and encouraged the shoulder switch, but while we were in Disney World the week after Thanksgiving, B took his moves to a whole new level. Observe, from my Facebook post on 11/29:

Bryson has not stopped shakin' his thang all. day. long. 

No exaggeration! Christmas music, scary music, water faucet dripping, Jerm's shoulders, dinner table, changing table..he finds his groove every chance he gets! 

Truly, he wouldn't stop dancing. People would walk by, laugh, smile, and comment on how happy he seemed. And happy he was! Livin' the dream.

"We've just never seen a baby move like that!" said one dad, whose teenage daughters were getting a kick out of the show.

Another sweet dance routine came as a lovely surprise on Christmas morning. Jeremy provided the beat by drumming on the diaper box. [Yes, I wrapped diaper boxes for him to open on Christmas - so what? He won't remember. Til he reads this one day. And Jesus is the reason for the season anyway!] Point is, Bryson was feelin it. I used the Viddy app to clip it to just the best 15 seconds, and added a bit of Colbie Caillat for nostalgic effect. 

Remember: He's not dancing to the "music," just the drumming!

We can ask Abby Lee Miller, but I think it's safe to say that moves like that just can't be taught at the age of 14 months. He's got the music in him.

And so, we add "dance moves" to the ever-growing list of the things we love about our little guy. He never fails to make us smile and appreciate these precious moments we have with him.

If there's one thing that concerns me about all this dancing business, it's that one day he may stop. He may become self-conscious and think it's not cool to dance whenever he feels like it. As his mom (and fellow fan of dance), I will do whatever I can to assure him this is most definitely not the case!

In the meantime, I will just treasure how our boogie man loves to dance like nobody's watching. Because we are watching. And it's pretty cute.

P.S.  This post is not related to my business, which is about helping bright entrepreneurs attract their dream clients, one brilliant message at a time. HOWEV - if you like my writing and want help with your own, sign up for free tips at www.nikkielledgebrown.com!

January 2, 2013

One Small Step for Man

The pitter-patter of little feet.

It’s a phrase that has traveled in and straight out of my ears for years. It never really resonated with me. Honestly, I never thought twice about it. It was a set of words that hung out together in the back of my consciousness, conjuring up images of knitted pink and blue baby booties and early scenes from Lady and the Tramp. It was just an old (yet warm and fuzzy) cliché.

Until recently.

Despite my own personality and the frequent urge to "overachieve" (whatever that means), I’m not the kind of mom who gets too anxious about milestones. Yes, I want to make sure Bryson is developing at a healthy and “normal” rate, but I’m not worried about him being the first to do things. In Gymboree class, other moms would talk about their little ones doing cartwheels at four months old. When my turn came, I was perfectly content offering our honest state of affairs. If B was a bit behind the curve (or even right on time, which some seem to think is behind), I didn’t mind one bit. I knew that the sooner he rolled, sat, ballroom danced, etc., the sooner he’d be going off to college. And I’m in no rush for my baby to grow up, thank you.

He teased me with a roll over at three months, and not again for a couple more. Sitting up began just before seven months. Strategic rolling began in the wide open spaces of Texas. More specifically, Nana and Pop’s living room. Crawling began right around the nine-month mark when we got home from our summer vacation (thanks to his close study of five-month-older twin cousins Aiden and Avery!). Jeremy even captured the first scoot on video:

In no time, Bryson became an expert crawler. No army crawl slithering for him. No siree. He began his mobile days as a traditionalist. Hands and knees all the way. He started pulling up to standing at 10 months, but was plenty happy to surf the couch with a hands-on approach. When his first birthday rolled around and he was clearly quite content to be moving around on all fours, I figured we were still a couple of months away. 

At the start of November, I noticed a move to the hands and feet. Some call it the monkey crawl, some call it the spider crawl. Sometimes it’s forward, sometimes it’s sideways. It’s often fast, and it’s always entertaining. It can also be a bit dangerous at times, leading to his first busted lip. [Note to B and future crawlers: Hands and knees, yes, hands and feet, yes, hands and face, no. Ouchie.]

Once we moved to the hands and feet, I knew we were about to take things to another level. Sure enough, he was soon standing – the final step before the FIRST steps! It was all happening so fast. This solo standing business was a game changer. We knew the first steps would happen soon. The question now was where.

While living in a screensaver is something we definitely appreciate, it comes at a cost. In case you didn’t know, the Hawaiian Islands make up the most isolated island chain in the world. We live an astonishing 4,000 miles away from our family. Even though we feel that this is the right place for us right now, it is tough to be four (or five, when Texas "falls back") time zones away. Bryson doesn’t get to play with all of his cousins for every major (and minor) holiday and weekends like he would if we lived in Texas. We may set world records for FaceTime, but certain moments just aren’t the same in 2D. And so we travel.

Our most recent trip was planned for November 2012, right around Thanksgiving and just a few weeks after this standing business began. What suspense! Might he really take his first steps in TEXAS?!? I mean I know he wasn't born there, but taking the first steps there would be a pretty sweet check in the box for his dual state citizenship. It seemed too good to be true. All of the days and developments of his life were leading up to the biggie, and it seemed that our extended family may get to witness it after all!

In the days leading up to our trip, we spotted a few toddles. The first came unexpectedly while we were in the kitchen. I was at the sink washing dishes, and Jeremy was getting Bryson out of his high chair. He expected him to do the usual squat-and-crawl action, but instead…


(This was similar to the “HE HAS A TOOTH?!” discovery made earlier in the year. I should probably document that one too, but that’s for another day. Back to the steps.)

I witnessed a couple of tentative steps on my own, in the days immediately preceding our trip. He kept practicing while we were in Texas, but the big moment ended up happening in a locale none other than our corner of the Happiest Place on Earth, Walt Disney World Resort.

It was after dinner on November 27 (the birthday of our two newest nieces, no less!), and the whole crew was present and accounted for in Treehouse Villa 7016. We had spent a fun-filled day at the Animal Kingdom. Bryson was sporting his Yeti shirt in support of the infamous hero (villain?) of the Everest ride. The kiddos were playing on the living room floor while we watched from the couches and barstools above. I didn't catch the beginning, but I definitely caught the end after hearing the little ones exclaim, "Bryson just walked!!!"

Sure enough, the little fella had taken about five solid steps toward my oldest nephew Jacob. And everybody got to see it.

Proud big cousin :)
Immediately after, I tried to stage a repeat performance for video. We were all set for take two when suddenly, my nephew Aiden (Jacob’s younger bro, five months Bryson’s senior), charged at Bryson to push him out of the way as if to say, “Excuse me, dude. That’s my big brother, and I've been doing this for a while. Let me show you how this is done.”

It was classic. And as it turned out, I hadn’t pressed “record” after all. Boo! I really think the winnings from that video could've sent them all to college (or at least established Aiden as one to watch for the 2030 NFL Draft).

Despite the obstacles, this little guy hasn’t stopped walking around since. It’s a whole new world! (Disney pun not intended, but I’m not deleting it either, so there.) If he falls down, he gets back up, and I love it. I can already see the golden opps for future life lessons.

I won’t forget the first time I held him by the hand as we walked a few feet from the garage to the living room. What a surreal mom moment. He is just a tiny little person, walking around from point A to point B like he’s been doing it for years (and has downed a few beers…). Amazing.

In the years to come, he will not only walk, but run. He’ll jump. He’ll dunk. He’ll dance. He’ll walk across the stage at graduation. He’ll walk his beautiful (bright, kind, funny) bride down the aisle after they say their vows. And if I play my cards right, he’ll even take his old mom out for a spin on the dance floor at the reception.

This is just the beginning. A few days ago, it really registered with me when I heard him walking before I saw him walking. His tiny feet slapped the tiles of the floor, creating an irregular yet unmistakable cadence as he moved toward me – his mama, his home base.

The essence of that old cliché “pitter-patter of little feet” finally registered with me, and let me tell you.

That pitter-patter is pretty sweet.

P.S.  This post is not related to my business, which is about helping bright entrepreneurs attract their dream clients, one brilliant message at a time. HOWEV - if you like my writing and want help with your own, sign up for free tips at www.nikkielledgebrown.com!