Wednesday, January 9, 2008

December In Review

I know, I know, it has been over a month since I blogged. My excuse? I'm a mom of a 5 month old and I work full time: enough said. So, December. Wow it went fast. Since Thanksgiving was earlier than normal this year, I totally thought I had time to do all the celebrating/decorating/baking/picture taking that I wanted to do. But alas, I blinked and it was Christmas. So these are the festivities we did fit in.

I started baking a little early to get ahead of the game. Since I want quality time with Taylor while I'm home from work, but I also need to get stuff done, I learned to multi task and involve him in the process. I put him in the Baby Bjorn facing out and baked cookies. He had a fabulous time helping me dump all the ingredients in and watch them swirl together as the beaters buzzed. He was waving his arms all over the place like it was the most exciting thing he had ever seen. I told him someday when he is older I would let him have a taste of the cookie dough. He also had a great time rolling out the dough and cutting out different shapes. It was such a fun mommy/Taylor time, though my back was killing me by the end. Just a side note, we were going to take the cookies to the neighbors to spread Christmas cheer, but Jason and I got to them before they were delivered. Merry Christmas to us!

Taylor helping with cookie cutting

Ready for the oven!

Also early in the Christmas season, I received my Christmas present. It was supposed to be a big surprise that I was to open on Christmas morning, and Jason was all excited about watching the expression on my face as I freaked out. But I spoiled the fun on accident. So what was my big present? A sweet camera: Sony Alpha with all the accessories! I listened to a message on his cell phone, not realizing it would reveal the big secret. He was super disappointed that he couldn't surprise me, but in a way it was nice because I had time to mess with it before Christmas and kind of know what I was doing. We've both been having fun playing with the different settings and taking pictures of Taylor. Because it has a fast shutter speed, we can actually catch Taylor's great expressions and smiles. We are still dealing with some blurriness, but it is hard to get any good light in Seattle in the dead of winter.

Playing with my new camera

Since Jason and I work opposite a lot of the time so one of us can be home with Taylor, days off together are pretty rare. So finding a day to get a Christmas tree was hard. We finally got around to it a week and a half before Christmas. We went to a tree farm with my parents on what turned out to be a very cold and rainy day. The trees were picked over at that point, so it took lot of searching, but we finally found one. Jason did the honors of cutting it down, and by the end of the wrestling match he was all covered with mud. My hero! We got home and despite it being super wet, promptly put it up in the house so we could enjoy our time with it before Christmas was over. I did wait to put the lights on it, though. :)

Jason battling the tree

Warming up from the cold

In fact, finding time to decorate it was also another difficulty. We finally got around to it on the 22nd. Taylor was very helpful, finding spots for all the ornaments. Actually he just wanted to put them all in his mouth. But it was a fun family tradition to start, decorating the tree together. When I was younger, my dad was always the one to put the lights on the tree, but in our family I seem to have become the one who is stuck with the job. I have learned a great trick to make it go much faster: instead of circling the tree 100 times, I just zig zag it up and down the tree. So much easier.

Taylor helping decorate the tree
More fun with the camera

We were excited about plans to go up to the mountains a few days before Christmas to have some time just the three of us since I had to work Christmas. But unfortunately the mountain passes were hit with multiple snow storms, and we don't have chains or 4 wheel drive from our cars. So instead we attended Jason's work Christmas party. It was great because they had a Santa, so Taylor got his first Santa picture. We weren't planning on getting one, but it was free, so we thought, "Why not?". We backed Taylor into the Santa, seeing as how he gets a little frightened being held by just the average person he doesn't know. I don't think he realized he was even being held by anyone, because he just looked ahead blankly. We even had time to get in two shots! The Santa held him like he had never held a baby before, though. Obviously not a professional. After the party, Jason had gotten us a room at the Embassy Suites near by since the cabin thing didn't work out. It was nice to just be away from the night. The room had a king sized bed, so Taylor slept in between us, which he enjoyed. Sure made it easier when he woke up and wanted his pacifier in the middle of the night because I didn't even have to get out of bed. We enjoyed a nice breakfast in the morning, went swimming, then took off to hit up the mall and do some shopping. Later we returned home to do Christmasy stuff together.

That night we decided to introduce Taylor to solid foods. He was about 5 1/2 months at that point, and they recommend around 6 months of age that you start. I might have waited a little longer, but he was getting extra hungry in the evenings, and I didn't have enough milk for him. He also stares us down when we eat, and tries to grab it out of our hands, so we thought he seemed ready. I made rice cereal, a nice starting point because it can be mixed with breast milk, and it is not usually a food that people are allergic to. We got him all settled into his high chair, then got the camera and video camera all ready for the big event. First bite, he slurped it up, got big eyes, then reached out to the bowl for more. He really wanted to help guide the spoon into his mouth, then would smile really big after he got a bite. He likes it! Taylor likes it! He has been hooked since, enjoying his evening meal around 5 or 5:30 pm. We'll wait till after his 6 month appointment before we start vegetables and fruit. And I'm excited to try and make his food myself. Sorry Gerber. We'll see how it goes.

Reaction to first bite

Wanting to try all by himself

He likes it!

My sisters and their new husbands were in town this year for Christmas, so we went to my parents Saturday to all hang out. Taylor had changed a lot since they had seen him last, so he was showing off all his new tricks, and enjoying getting passed between all the aunts and uncles. We enjoyed a nice dinner, had a sharing time, then we headed home to keep Taylor on his bedtime schedule.

Family dinner

Having fun with the jingle bells

Sunday we all went to church together, though we left early because Jason had to work. Then that afternoon we headed to my aunt Luellen and Uncle Doug's house for the big family Christmas. Taylor was in a much better mood than Thanksgiving, so he willingly visited with people, and did some more showing off of his rolling over. We had a fabulous dinner, which I actually got to enjoy warm, and Taylor was patient as he sat in his bouncy chair. We used to all fit in the dining room, but now with so many additions to the family, there were two tables to fit us all. My aunt had us draw numbers to determine who would sit at which table. After dinner was present time. Taylor got to open the first one, so everyone watched him take the tissue paper from the bag, and promptly put it in his mouth. Once he realized there was a toy inside, he was very mesmerized by it, and entertained till the next present came along. It was so fun to watch him open presents. I'm sure next year he'll be able to do it all by himself, but it was nice helping him this year. I had many more presents to open! Overall, it was a nice evening with family, and Taylor behaved like an angel.

Four Generations

Taylor opening his gift

Taylor hanging out with Auntie Mary & Uncle Rob

All the grand kids with Granddad

Taylor & Peggy

The immediate family celebration was Christmas Eve morning. Gone are the days when we would get up early, drag my parents out of bed, and rush down in our PJ's to open presents. Now we sleep in, get ourselves all dressed up, and then about 11am we open presents. Jason and I, of course, had to drive over to my parent's as well. Funny how things change so quickly. We had the video camera going and the cameras were flashing as we all opened presents, and watched Taylor try to get into his again. Jason got hooked up with a new Padres hat, an autobiography by Tony Dungee, a year subscription to Surfer Magazine, some cologne, and a Hurley zip up sweatshirt. Taylor got some fun new toys, a cloth book that has animal sounds, Robeez, some clothes, and some CD's. I got some lotion, a CD, and a gift card to In Spa. I was most excited about the gift I got for my parents, though. I had gone to My Publisher and made a photobook with pictures of Taylor over his first 5 months. I had captions next to some, and others were blown up to the size of a whole page. It is bound just like a real book, and all the pictures turned out really well. Now they have a brag book. :) My aunt Mary and uncle Michael came over later for some brunch. They hadn't met Jason or Taylor, so it was nice to make all those introductions. For Christmas they gave Taylor some hand crafted toys from an art fair they went to. Taylor loves them, though we have to be careful he is playing with them while on his tummy or sitting, because while on his back he dropped one on his face, and it is made of wood, so that didn't go over too well. Kind of nice to have some toys that don't flash, make noise, or require batteries. After a little more visiting, it was time to head home so I could get rest before work.

Taylor & Grandpa

Playing with his new drum

Tay with Auntie Sarah & Uncle Mark

Capturing all the memories

Taylor, the present opening pro

I wore an elf hat all night at work. Yes, an elf hat. And that was Christmas Eve at work in a nutshell.

The next morning was very sad because Jason got hit with a terrible cold, and I was super tired from work. So poor Taylor on his first Christmas morning had two out-of-it parents. There were a few things from us for him, and also from friends and Jason's dad and wife. His big present from us and also my parents was a Kindermusic class. It meets once a week, and we sing songs, play with instruments, dance, and learn some baby sign language. I'm so excited to have a fun activity to do with him, and also meet some other moms and babies. Anyway, I slept most of the rest of the day, and Jason just laid low and tried not to infect Taylor.

And then it was all over. I still can't believe how fast it all went. I didn't get to everything I wanted to, and my Christmas cards didn't even get sent out till January 3rd, but it was still fun to be with family, experience Christmas through a child's eyes again, and celebrate the birth of Jesus with our own baby boy. We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season as well.

Merry Christmas!