2-0-1-4 (No Less, No More!)

2014 Album Cover

I wrote my first song about the year way back in 2008, and now, 6 years later, I have a collection of songs I’ll never be able to use again. BUT they did each get put to good use almost every day for an entire year, which is why I keep writing a new one at the end of December.

These songs all follow the same basic recipe: the ingredients include the year (mentioned over and over again), the number of months and days, and then whatever pertinent phrases I can come up with that rhyme.

Like most of my other songs, I keep it simple and repetitive so that it’s super singable. That’s important, considering I sing it with my kiddos just about every week for the whole year.

I really enjoy kicking off the year with a brand new “song of the year” each January, and this time around by some miracle, I’m even a day early. Cheers to the end of 2013, and the beginning of what I hope will be another wonderful year!

The Merriest Christmas

Christmas Card Photo 2013

We had an awesome Christmas. When we weren’t taking ridiculous photos of Parker in various holiday attire, we were spending quality time with our families — eating, opening presents, and of course, playing with all of the fun new toys.

Our house feels so much homier now with the new floors, and that was amplified by all the Christmas decorations. I’ll be so sad when it’s time to take everything down.

Christmas at Home 2013

Parker is still too young to really know what was going on, but he gave us plenty of smiles and humored us by ripping the wrapping paper off a few gifts (and promptly putting it in his mouth). He spent most of Christmas morning napping in Grandma Libby’s arms, but he rallied for round two with my family later on in the day.

Baby's First Christmas 2013

We were all very spoiled this Christmas with tons of great gifts from our family and friends. But I won’t lie: I’m the most excited about everything that Parker received! Since I spend most days playing with him, it will be nice to have lots of new toys to add to the rotation.

There’s nothing quite like baby’s first Christmas, and we have so many wonderful memories from this past week. Next year will be a completely different experience with a mobile toddler!

Santa Visits Baby Parker 2013

On Being a Mom

Parker & Mommy

Sometimes the fact that I’m a parent sneaks up on me. I had one of those moments tonight, actually: Zach has been playing in a soccer tournament all evening, so I had a few hours to hang out by myself after Parker went to bed. I watched a movie in our bedroom and caught up on some blogs on the computer, which is how I spent many evenings before the baby was born. (Nowadays most post-bedtime hours are spent catching up on laundry and doing the work I didn’t have time to complete during the day.)

When I came out of the bedroom to refill my water bottle, the pile of toys in the living room caught my eye. It took me by surprise at first — maybe because those particular toys are new and I’m not used to seeing them. But this wave of holy crap, I have a kid washed over me, just like it had on Christmas Eve as I was wrapping gifts and wrote “Love, Mommy & Daddy” on Parker’s gift tags.

I’ve experienced the same feeling at the grocery store, when I’m loading my stuff onto the conveyer belt and pick up a pack of wipes from my cart. And when I’m talking to a student’s mom, who asks how the baby is doing. The list goes on…which is surprising considering I’ve had almost seven months to get used to this role. After all, it consumes most of my waking (and “should be sleeping”) hours.

I always thought that once I became a mom, I would all of the sudden feel more grown up or have life all figured out. But in all honesty, that hasn’t happened; in fact, the opposite is true. Now that I have a baby, I question all of my decisions and wonder if I’m doing the right thing for him and our family.

But maybe that’s normal. Just like Parker is figuring out the world as a new human, I’m doing the same as a new mom. Everything is different with a child, whether he is physically with me or not, and sometimes my brain has to process that (again and again).

Another sneaky parenting moment I experience often? When I’m hit with the fact that holy crap, this beautiful creature is all mine and I get to keep him. I really like when that happens.

A Child is Born

Parker as Baby Jesus

Parker made his acting debut on Christmas Eve, and he did such a great job that he was featured on the front page of the newspaper on Christmas Day. Go figure that it took Zach and I thirty years to make the front page, but only six months for our little thespian.

We played Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus in the nativity skit at Laurel United Methodist Church. We didn’t have any lines or real responsibilities other than walking up the aisle and standing at the front of the church with the various animals, wisemen, and angels (played by children from the congregation).

Parker didn’t make so much as a peep during the entire service; he was way too busy looking around at everything and everyone…while wearing nothing but a diaper and swaddle cloth. I know I’m biased, but I think he made the perfect Baby Jesus. Needless to say, his first Christmas Eve is one we won’t forget!

Half Birthday

Half Birthday

This little elf is officially half a year old! At 6 months, Parker is experiencing all kinds of exciting new things and hitting some major milestones. He checked out wonderfully at his wellness exam: he’s still a little peanut weighing in at just under 15 pounds (6th percentile), but he’s a string bean as far as length goes (76th percentile). The pediatrician is happy with his weight gain, though, and says he is doing great on his own little growth curve.

Weeks 25 and 26

I’ve been slacking on the weekly blog posts with everything we’ve had going on — it’s been a crazy busy month! Zach and I have been talking about replacing the flooring in the living room, dining room, front hall, laundry room, bedroom, and nursery for YEARS, and we finally took the plunge this past week. Needless to say, it was a big job that necessitated staying at my parents’ house down the street for almost an entire week.

But it was 100% worth the hassle, because the new floors look awesome. It honestly feels like a brand new house! I was so happy when we were finally able to decorate for Christmas and put up our tree this past weekend. My next project is wrapping all the presents that are piling up downstairs, and of course getting ready for our annual holiday party on Monday night.

Sitting Up

Now back to Parker. Along with celebrating his six-month birthday, he is also starting to sit up on his own really well (we’re talking minutes at a time!). Just today he figured out how to get up on his knees, so I’m thinking he’s not too far away from crawling. And THAT is a little scary, because I have a feeling once he starts, he’ll never stop moving.

Baby's First Food

Another “big boy” moment: Parker’s first taste of food! I made an avocado puree, and you can see from the look on his face just how much be enjoyed it. Maybe the next food we try will be more successful.

Tomorrow is my last day of work for the year, and then I have two whole weeks off to hang out with Parker and the rest of my family. Be ready for an onslaught of adorable Christmas photos!

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