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Monday, January 31, 2011

12 months


You are 12 months old! Where has the time gone? I feel like you have grown into a little boy in the blink of an eye. It makes me so sad that I can no longer call you my baby anymore. You’re a toddler now!

IMG_2883 Riding the train at the Festival of Lights

You weigh 22 pounds and are 29 inches long. You can still wear 6-12 months clothes, but the pants are too short for you. You are starting to wear more 12-18 month clothes. You wear a size 3 diaper during the day and a size 4 diaper at night.

IMG_2905Watching your first parade 

You are my chunky monkey! You sure do love to eat, just like your mama. You don’t like it when your father or I feed you. You’d rather feed yourself. You love pancakes, waffles, grilled cheese sandwiches, and any type of fruit. Your favorite snack is what your dad & I call “cheetos” – they are vegetable & cheese puffs. You also started drinking whole milk this month. You love milk!

IMG_2945 All dressed up in your Christmas Eve pajamas

I feel like I say this every month, but you have changed so much this month! You are talking up a storm. You have learned to say “JC” and “George” and you call them all the time. You made your Ana so happy this month when you started saying her name. You made everyone around you laugh this month when you said “no no no!” instead of saying “ho ho ho!” You are also a backseat driver just like your Ana – when we are in the car, you like to yell “Go!” at Daddy.

IMG_2943Christmas Eve at Ana & Papa’s house 

You love to sign! You have mastered “more” and you are starting to pick up other signs as well. I’d like to thank Baby Einstein My First Signs and daycare for your signing ability.

IMG_2953Checking out your Christmas loot from Santa 

You are so busy. You never stop playing or exploring. You don’t spend long periods of time playing with one toy because you want to play with all your toys. You are a little destructive – you like to take things apart and tear things up. You love to play with your music set, your alphabet train, and your Little People nativity. You carry around baby Jesus everywhere you go!

IMG_2977Future baseball player! 

My heart melted this month when you voluntarily started giving hugs and kisses. You’ve always let me hug you and kiss you, but you’ve never come up to your dad and I and initiated a cuddle session yourself. A few weeks ago, when you were in the tub, you surprised me with a big kiss! I love kisses from my Cooper Bear!

IMG_3003 Daddy, Mommy, & Cooper on Christmas Day 2010

You still love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. We watch it every night before bed, and you have recently started dancing to the Hot Dog Dance. You dance just like Mickey! You still love Baby Einstein. Your Grandma Mary got your a portable DVD player for Christmas, and you love to watch Baby Einstein in the car. You’ve even learned to turn the DVD on and off yourself!


This was a big month for you – you celebrated your first Christmas! We did lots of fun activities to get into the Christmas spirit. We went to the Festival of Lights at James Island County Park. We also went to a Christmas parade. You saw Santa three times! Some babies are scared of Santa, but not you. You wanted to touch his beard!

IMG_3007Papa, Ana, & Cooper on Christmas Day 2010 

We spent Christmas with your Ana & Papa, and you got to spent Christmas Eve and Day with your whole extended family. Santa was so good to you. You have more toys than you know what to do with!

IMG_3040Riding your alphabet train with cousin Lauren’s help 

You spent a few days after Christmas with your Ana and Papa. Daddy and I missed you very much, but I know you had fun visiting all your family members! You got to go out to eat, play, and visit your great-grandparents. You even got to see your first snow!

Bear, I say this every month, but I feel so lucky to be your mother. You are such a precious gift to me. You’ve made me slow down and enjoy all the little moments in life. Nothing is sweeter than a kiss or a smile from you. Your laughter can turn my whole day around! I’ve been so blessed to have journeyed through this first year with you. I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for us as a family.

I hope you know how much you are loved.



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A belated Christmas post (Cooper’s 1st!)

 IMG_2945 Cooper Clause!

Oh, ladies. Ladies, ladies, ladies. (A one gentleman.) If you know me well by now, you should know that when I said (on January 7th) that a Christmas post was coming, I meant eventually. In the future. At a date not to be pre-determined. Really, just whenever my procrastinating self wrestled the computer out of my techno-geek, World of Warcraft addicted husband’s sweaty hands.

IMG_2943 Cooper & mommy in front of what Jason likes to refer to as the decapitated Santa tree

He’s going to start nagging me for computer time any minute now, so I should hurry and write this, hmm? I’ve got him distracted with Saw 1 billion and 14 right now, but there’s only so much metal and blood a body can take.

IMG_2951Checking out his loot 

Cooper’s first Christmas was so special! My parents live about 3 hours away, so we loaded up the car and headed home the day before Christmas Eve. Christmas is such an ordeal (I mean that in a good way) with my family. It’s a lot of juggling and running around to get to visit every single person in the family. My mom, when my brother and I were very young, got fed up with having to do separate Christmases with my dad’s side of the family and her side of the family. She decided to just bring everyone together, so holidays became a joint affair with all the members of my father’s and my mother’s side of the family joining in.  As the kids get older, it has been harder and harder to maintain this tradition. There are just so many of us, and now the kids have families they must split time with as well.

IMG_2933Visiting my (mother’s mother) grandmother’s house

As such…. my brother came down on Christmas Eve at lunch time to make his rounds with the family. He isn’t able to participate in Christmas Eve and Day festivities because that is when my SIL’s family celebrates. My mom & brother took Cooper to visit while Jason and I snuck away for some alone time at the mall. Happy day! I got to visit three of my favorite stores: Sephora, Hobby Lobby, and Kirklands. Thank you Santa!

IMG_2953Music instrument set, reading laptop, baseball toy, Elf on the Shelf, blocks, Fisher Price gear toy, wooden tool set, wooden sorting block

(Santa gives me the green light to shop for my own gifts. He’s cool like that.)

IMG_2961 B. Zany play block, alphabet blocks, Melissa & Doug wooden clock

That night we had dinner with part of our extended family: my aunt and cousins (father’s sister), my grandmother (father’s mother), and my aunt (mother’s sister) and her husband. Cooper did open a few gifts from the family as well as his (a new tradition) Christmas Eve gifts – a pair of pajamas and The Night Before Christmas book. After Cooper went to bed, we exchanged gifts with my parents.

IMG_2977He caught on to the baseball toy very quickly! 

The next morning, Cooper slept until 8:30. I actually woke up before him and got everyone else up and ready so we could all go out to see his Santa gifts together. He really didn’t know what to think and was most intrigued by the toys he could gnaw on. (He was teething.)

IMG_3000All dressed up for Christmas lunch! 


IMG_3007Cooper with his Ana & Papa

We headed to my grandmother’s (mother’s mother) for lunch. We always spend the afternoon of Christmas Day at my grandmother’s house. All of my mom’s family comes over and we exchange gifts and visit. I’m glad to be able to spend this time with my grandparents while they are still with us.

IMG_3012Love from Mari Claire – my cousin’s daughter 

After lunch, we pack up once again and head to my brother’s house, which is one hour away. We got there around 5pm and proceeded to open gifts and stuff our faces. Cooper loves spending time with his cousins!

IMG_3027So very tired


This is where Cooper started to meltdown. He was completely uninterested in his gifts. I believe at one point he crawled away while I was opening them. Later that night he had the biggest meltdown I had ever seen… screaming for more than an hour. My parents finally had to put him in the car and drive him around to get him to go to sleep. He was just very tired and over stimulated.


All in all, it was an excellent Christmas. Jason and I headed home on Sunday, and Cooper stayed behind to visit with my parents. He stayed with my mom and dad until Wednesday, when my mom bought him home. She stayed with me until Saturday because all the boys in the family went to the USC bowl game in Atlanta. Jason and I had a lovely kid-free time (movie! restaurant! NAPS!) but we were very glad when Cooper came home.

How are you guys? I feel so out of the loop. I’ve missed you! I promise to be more active in blog land! I know I say this a lot, but I have been reading your blogs.

Up next: Cooper’s first birthday! Woo hoo!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I remember

Dear Cooper,

Tonight is the eve of your birthday. I cannot believe you will be one year old! I ask myself daily “where did the time go?” When I was younger and single, the days seemed to drag by. Now that you have entered my life, my time passes in the blink of an eye. I’m left wishing for more precious time to spend with you.

This time last year I was preparing for your entrance to the world. I was supposed to be on bed rest, but I spent the day furiously cleaning the house. Everything had to be perfect when you came home for the first time! Around 5:00, I stopped cleaning and took a hot bath. I even painted my toenails, because I just knew you would want to meet a mama with painted toes. Your dad, Ana, and Papa all arrived around the same time, and we capped off the night’s festivities by going to Carrabba’s for my last meal.

I didn’t think I would sleep at all that night, but I did. I bounded out of bed at 6:00 the next morning, ready to get everything started. As I got ready, ate a tiny bit of breakfast, and drove to the hospital, my most prevalent emotions were nervousness and excitement.

I wish I had an amazing birth story to share with you, but to be honest, I don’t remember every second that I was in labor. The whole day is a blur, but what I do remember is you.

Your face, scrunched up in displeasure.

Your cry, loud and shrill.

Your long, skinny fingers and your sweet monkey toes.

The way it felt when I held you for the first time.

The look on your father’s face as he held you for the first time.

I remember having an immediate feeling of possession… you were MINE. My baby, created by God, carried and nurtured by me. You were this perfect little piece of a puzzle that I never even knew was missing from my life until I held you for the first time. The minute you I held you against my chest, my soul felt complete. I looked in your face and time held still. I wish I could put into words the magic of that moment. You were mine.

Your dad and I both agree that the first three weeks of your life were a happy, blissful time. Your dad was off work for three weeks, and the three of us existed in a happy little bubble of naps, feedings, and lots of snuggles. You would wake up in the middle of the night to eat and I would say to your father “but we can’t go to sleep; his eyes are open!”

This year has been both the most challenging year of my life and the happiest year of my life. I feel like you make me a better person. Because of you I (try to) have more patience. I laugh more. I’m not as busy and self-involved. I want to be a better person, because I want you to have the best mother possible. I’m sure when you read this, years later, you will scratch your head at that but please remember that even when I don’t succeed I still want to be the best mother to you I possibly can be.

You really lucked out with your father, Cooper. You are two peas in a pod. You just have so much fun together. When you are playing together, you are laughing. You are inquisitive just like him. You talk incessantly, just like him. My heart warms when I see you together because I know he loves you just as much as I do. That’s a powerful thing, love like that. We’d both do anything for you.

There are so many moments from this year that I just wanted to press pause and play again and again.

The first time you smiled.

How it felt when you hugged me for the first time.

Your first laugh – still to this day, every time you laugh, it makes me laugh.

How special it was to see your great-grandparents hold you for the first time.

Your first real word: “all done.” Your dad & all used to make you say it over and over.

All of your firsts: first bath, first foods, first word, first crawl.

Every day with you is an adventure. I just never know what you are going to do. Some days you are super independent and just want to play alone. Some days you want to be with your dad and I every second. Some days you want to snuggle and cuddle, and some days you don’t want us to hold you at all.

The best part of my day is always the 30 minutes before you go to bed. Your dad and I always give you your bath. We watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while we put on lotion, pajamas, and get ready for bed. Your dad and I take turns feeding you your bottle and rocking you to sleep. The best part of my day is the time when you let me hold you and love on you.

My purpose in writing these monthly letters was so that you would have something tangible in later years to read and look back on. I want to document my thoughts and feelings as your mother. Whenever you read this, I want you to know how very much I love you, how important you are in my life, and how much you have changed me for the better.

I have so many hopes for your future. I hope you continue to grow and learn. I hope you grow into a Godly young man. I hope you learn the ways and traditions of the South, and I hope that I raise a Southern gentleman. I hope you love your family, your country, and God. I hope that you live your life to the fullest, embracing each day as the gift it is. I hope your dad and I can live up to the challenge of raising you to be the man I know God intends for you to be.

Whatever your future and whatever God’s plans for your life, I know one thing is certain. You are loved by many.

I love you so very much. You are a gift from God, and I thank Him for you daily.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Random Thoughts

Howdy everyone! It's been too long since I last posted. I haven't even sat down at my computer since before Christmas. My husband has taken it hostage, and honestly, it hasn't been worth the effort to wrestle computer time away from him. I have far more important things to do, like re-read the Vampire Academy series and watch season 1 of The Real Housewives of Orange County. (Kimberly? Who is she?)

Anyway, as a result there is lots to catch you up on! I haven't downloaded any of our Christmas pictures, so those are coming (I know - you don't want to read about Christmas well into January. But I want you to, so suck it up, mmmkay?). I'm also going to be posting about my goals for the coming year, and.....

Cooper will be ONE in just ONE SHORT WEEK! Stay posted for a 12 month post and a couple of ooey-gooey letters from me & my baby daddy.

  • Yes, I did say my baby is turning one. I'm a hot mess. I cry at unexpected things, like Becca's son getting his hair chopped. My baby CANNOT turn 1. It means awful things, like soon he will be saying things like "stop, mom, you are EMBARRASSING ME!" because I dare to walk half a mile behind him at the mall. And he'll be off to pre-school, and then college. Seriously, time flies. Before I know it he'll trade in blowing kisses at restaurant waitresses to stealing kisses behind the school bleachers. I die.
  • I'm feeling lots of pressure (from myself) regarding Cooper's first birthday. I went into this with great detail on Twitter, so I'll keep it brief here. I see all these amazing birthday parties shared on Twitter and through blogs - and Cooper's first birthday will be very plain in comparison. (For Pete's sake, I sent out evites as invitations!) It won't be some elaborately decorated, themed affair, and I'm feeling a lot of guilt over that. My family is three hours away, so we're doing a get-together at my mom's house the weekend after his birthday. Jason and I are taking next Friday off work to have a Cooper day & celebrate with just the three of us. Even if his birthday isn't perfect by my "keeping up with the joneses" standards - it will be a perfect day because we are all together and that is all that matters. (Or so I keep telling myself.)
  • While we're on the subject, what do you do (or did your parents do) to make your birthday special? Please share your traditions with me.
  • I can't get Cooper in for his 12 month well baby until mid-February. I decided to slowly start switching him over to milk now. I was worried about the change, since he is on a lactose free formula, but he seems to be tolerating it well. We're doing 1/2 milk and 1/2 formula, and once we use up the formula we have, I'll switch him completely to milk. Question - do you use whole or 2% milk? I bought whole, but daycare provides 2%. I've read they need the fat of whole milk to help their brain develop, but I've also read 2% is recommended because of the obesity epidemic. What are your thoughts?
  • We are having sippy cup drama. Cooper just does not love sippie cups. I've tried the kind with nipple like spouts, hard spouts, straws, etc. He'll drink a little out of all of them but not large amounts. He also refuses to hold his own cup. Advice? He's a lazy little booger. He also won't hold his own bottle. We've tried Nuby, Tommy Tippee, Playtex, and Avent cups.
  • When did you start feeding your child oatmeal and/or grits? I want to try some different breakfast foods... and this kid is from the South, after all.
  • I'm thinking about joining Weight Watchers. I may well be the only person on the face of the planet to actually gain weight instead of loosing after they had a baby. I'm 15 pounds heavier than when I got pregnant with Cooper. Go, me! Anyway, something has to be done about this situation, and I'm thinking Weight Watchers is a good solution.
I'll leave you with a short story for your entertainment. Those of you who know me well know that I have a temper. I usually keep it together pretty well, but I completely loose it when I encounter rude people at stores. One thing I absolutely cannot take is when someone says something rude/snarky about you, well within your earshot, thinking that you won't respond or confront them. Just to be clear, y'all, - if you ever do this to me, expect a rumble in the jungle. IT IS ON.

Jason, Cooper, & I were at Target the Tuesday before Christmas. I was buying some last minute gift bags and wrapping paper. I got in line behind a woman in her mid-60's, who was haggling with the cashier about the price of a toy. I waited a few minutes, and then I noticed other cashiers were open with no waiting. I scooped up all my merchandise off the belt, and tried to push my cart around to another register. (The operative word being tried.)

Bitty (I've named her for my amusement) had her cart wedged diagonally so I couldn't get past her. I said "Excuse me, ma'am" and she ignored me. I said, louder, "Excuse me, ma'am" (and if I'm honest, this one had some attitude to it) and Bitty looked at me, sighed loudly, and yanked her cart out of my way. I proceeded to the next check out, just barely hearing her say....


At which point I whipped myself around, gave her the stank eye, and said "Excuse me! Did you have something you wanted to say to my FACE and not behind my back?"

This would be the point that Bitty completely melted down, complete with throwing her hands in the air, face turning red, and screaming, yes SCREAMING, at me in the check out section of Target.

Me: "Why am I rude? You were taking a while, and there were other registers open. How is that rude?"
Me: "Why? There are other registers open. My son is tired and needs to go home. Why should I have waited?"

This would be the point where I completely lost my temper. First of all, she was screaming at my in front of my son. Secondly, she was calling me names in front of my son. Thirdly, don't talk about my son. Period. I will verbally cut you.

Honestly, at this point I don't remember exactly what I said or she said. I do know that I finally said "Merry Christmas to YOU!" and she replied "Bah humbug, bitch!"

Seriously. Bah humbug, bitch? I can't make this stuff up.

We peaced out of Target at that point, much to my cashier's delight. I am sure she was 2.2 seconds away from calling security.

Has anything like that ever happened to you?

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