Friday, July 30, 2010

Going to the beach!

I'm so excited for this weekend. We're going with our friends- the ones who got married in May- to stay at their parents' place in Fenwick. I can't believe it's only been a month and a half since we've been to the beach. It feels like it was ages ago.

Niall was about 6 1/2 months then, but he looks so little to me. I think it's going to be a much different experience this time. At that age, he was timid and waited for us to dip him in the water. This is a pic of Grampo and him playing in the "ruffles."


But I'm noticing that 8 months is the age they want to explore things themselves. I have a vision of him charging the waves, screaming bloody murder as we try to hold him back. I also foresee lots of sand in the mouth. It should be a blast none the less!



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Thursday, July 29, 2010

One Man's Trash...

Babies sure know how to make treasure out of trash. It makes me wonder why I bother to buy these ridiculous, expensive toys when he just shoves those out of the way to get to the crumpled piece of paper behind them.

I first noticed Niall's garbage addiction when I would keep recyclables sitting on the floor next to the trash can. I've never seen him crawl so fast as when there's an empty carton of milk on the floor. He would turn it into a bongo and bang on it for hours. Then I would try things like empty paper towel rolls and water bottles- all equally entertaining.

But I knew he really had a problem when he became obsessed with handling dirty diapers. Granted, I do wrap them up really well and close it with the side snaps, but still. When he started putting them in his mouth, I knew we needed to sit down and have an intervention.







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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Exorcist

There's not much else I can say- he's become the exorcist. When this screaming first started, I thought it was so cute. Even in this particular video, it's cute to me (not annoying at all).

However, he has now learned that he can make the scream even more shrill and loud if he wants something he can't have- like the metal prongs coming out of the laptop charger. It's amazing how this discovery happened in less than 2 days. It literally went from sweet, innocent little squeaks... to evil, blood vessel popping, "my mom is trying to murder me" wails. But here's the cute version:





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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Thousand Words

We have a family friend who is an amazing photo artist. She manipulates pictures with paint-like qualities and turns them into beautiful works of art. When we were at a benefit dinner earlier this year, she snapped a few pictures of Niall sticking his hands and feet out of his car seat. This is what she did with those photos...


It's probably difficult to make out all of the details, but she blacked out the background and only accentuated his hands and feet in bright red. We don't even have any of those ink foot/hand prints that you're supposed to do when the baby is little (I was too busy being delirious from lack of sleep), so this is really a treasure to us.

Now I just need to figure out where to put it. I don't want it in the nursery because a lot of people won't see it. I'm trying to decide between 2 walls in the family room, right when you walk in the house. If you have an opinion, I'd love to hear it!

It's either going to replace this piece of wall decor (on the wall you see right when you walk in the house)...


Or it's going on the wall on the right (kind of a hallway) as you're walking in...


Here's a view of both walls at the same time...


Let me know what you think :)



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Monday, July 26, 2010

Big Baby Head

I have to wonder what makes baby clothes manufacturers think that once a kid is in 12 month clothes, their head stops growing.

Niall just started fitting into 12 month clothes (tear), and I noticed that the little neck snaps that would open up to make room for his big noggin to fit through... are no longer there!

I guess this is the time where the body starts catching up with the lightning speed the head has been growing, but we're not seeing that just yet and poor Niall is getting stuck in his shirts a lot...





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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Making Me Time

I've always said, from day one, that I'm going to try my best not to make excuses because of Niall. Sometimes, it becomes really easy to pass up every opportunity and say "It's too difficult with the baby."

So I've become very used to bringing Niall with me everywhere- to the point where I forget that there are some places that are just not appropriate to bring a baby. For instance, driving in a power boat across the choppy bay to a "tie up spot" (AKA drunken craziness).

I wanted to get together with my friend who I hadn't seen in a while and go out on her boat. I have never taken Niall on a boat before, but I figured he's at the age where the engine noise wouldn't be too loud for him. I didn't even think about the roughness of the water or the crowd that would be at the boat tie up.

Luckily, Matt convinced me to leave Niall with him and go enjoy a day to myself. I thought about it and I really don't do those- ever. I almost prefer to have Niall with me all the time. I enjoy his company and everyone is always wanting to see him, so I don't even give it a second thought.

Not only was it really nice (and much needed) to get out by myself and have some adult time, but I am SO happy I didn't bring Niall with me. We were literally bouncing out of our seats, the waves were so big and choppy. Not to mention that I didn't think about a life jacket for Niall.

Then, we got to the island where all the boats were tying up together and it was like Preakness outfield on the water. There were so many drunk people, cigarettes and beer cans floating in the water, you could barely avoid swimming into all of it.

I had so much fun with my friend and her sister, though. We were hysterical laughing every time we flew over a wave on the boat ride there and back. Something about driving fast on a boat and going over the bumps just makes me giddy. I love being on the water. I love Annapolis. And I definitely think it's important to take a little bit of time each week to be apart from Niall- as much as I miss him!




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Friday, July 23, 2010

Best Day Ever

We decided to have a girls' day/night at the bay house with my mother in law, a friend, her baby and her mother.  Jack and Niall have hung out before at the park, but this was their first time together for this long.  It was so much fun watching them interact.  We would chase them to get them going- Niall can crawl so fast now!


I love how, even this young, you can see their different personalities.  Jack is definitely more of a go-getter and Niall is really laid back (he certainly didn't get that from me).  Jack would only be interested in the toy Niall was playing with and come up and grab it.  I waited for a meltdown, but Niall just went and picked up another toy.  The process kept happening over and over. 

Then, we took them both in the pool, where they didn't pay too much attention to each other.  They were too busy marveling at the droplets that bounced out of the water when you smacked the surface.  Niall must be getting used to his teeth because his tongue stayed out the entire time, rubbing against them.



We set up the pack n plays next to each other so they could interact (and hoping they might take a nap)-- which worked for a little while.  But then they both decided to revolt and peered over the side, giving us their best puppy dog face... "Let us out!"




















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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Pearly Gates

So I went and did it. I removed the spiky bamboo stick vases, plugged all the electric sockets, and put up those safety gates.

I find it really interesting (more like humorous) how all of these do-it-yourself assembly baby items claim to be so easy. Even the picture on the box cover touts a savvy mom holding her kid on her hip as she swings the gate open. Sorry folks, it doesn't work like that. Not for the baby einstein jumper and certainly not for the safety gates.

When I went to install the no-hardware, no tools, easy peezy gate, it would absolutely not fit in the door frame. I realize that this is most likely the fault of the 50 year old house and not the safety gate, but I'm guessing there are plenty of other houses that are having the same problem.

Then, it's a whole other ballgame trying to get the gate open. It claims to hold its place so that you don't have to constantly re-adjust the panels, but I can't seem to figure that part out.

So here's our not so perfect, but gets the job done, off kilter gate. It's pretty much on a diagonal to fit the frame, but it's probably better than nothing :)




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Monday, July 19, 2010

How the Flip Ruined My Life...

I could cry right now.  I'm actually surprised that I'm even able to write this, but I have nobody else to vent to at the moment. 

I got a Flip camera for Christmas and was never able to upload the videos to my laptop for some reason.  I had 28 videos of Niall, starting from when he was just a month old.  I tried so many different things to get those videos saved on my computer, but it seemed to be a compatibility issue, so I just stopped using it.  My picture camera will take short snippets of video with decent quality, so that's what I've been doing instead.

When I got a new laptop several months ago, it didn't occur to me to try uploading those videos... until last week.  I uploaded all 28 videos with no problem and saved the projects in Windows Movie Maker.  Once I saved them to my computer, I saw no reason to leave them on the camera and deleted them to make room for some new videos.

Well go figure, I guess you have to actually publish the movie or the content of the videos won't save.  I don't really understand the point of even giving me the option to "save the project" instead of "publishing the movie" if that's the case.  I went to look through some of the videos today and almost keeled over when I saw the big red "X" in the middle of all my movies. 

I'm so traumatized, especially to think that I'll never see any live footage of Niall prior to 6 months old.  There's something so different about seeing a baby on video than in still pictures.  Ugh.  Well, here's one from last night- I learned my lesson and published it right away. 

Niall is obsessed with the video camera, so it's really difficult to catch him candidly anymore.  Once he sees you filming him, he starts charging the camera, hissing and foaming at the mouth until he gets his hands on it...





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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Michael Phelps in the Making

Yesterday was our fourth water babies swim class- the half way mark of the very intensive course ;)

Niall is growing leaps and bounds, kicking and splashing and swallowing buckets of water in an attempt to blow bubbles-- I'm still confused as to why this instructor thinks that a bunch of 6-12 month olds can follow any kind of instruction, never mind pursing their little lips into a perfect circle and blowing as they are dunked below the surface.

This guy literally said "Alright, everyone. We're going to blow bubbles, ok?" All of the parents just look at each other, thinking "Is he serious?" Sure, I'll just explain to Niall that we're supposed to be blowing bubbles right now.  The instructor can't be more than 20 years old, so I'm guessing he doesn't really have a clue what this age group is really capable of. That's understandable, though; before I had a baby, I asked a co-worker if her 2 month old was crawling yet. It's difficult to gauge what infants and toddlers can do if you're not around them too often.

I guess it was nice to finally try something different, though. I'm not really sure what I expected going into the class- I realize that he's not going to be doing the butterfly stroke at the end of all this, but I'm getting a little tired of doing the same thing every single time. It usually ends up being more of a crazy intense arm work out for me than a swim lesson for Niall.

We always start by bouncing the babies from knee to knee in the shallow end for a good 10 minutes, then we sit them on the wall and let them fall into our arms, and then finish with ring around the rosie, bobbing them up and down... draining me of whatever little bit of strength was left in my arms.

It was really fun the first couple of times, but then I started getting the feeling that the instructor did absolutely nothing to prepare for these classes and just kind of made things up as he went along... which explains why he would pause for long periods of time and say "let's do that first thing again," realizing there were still 15 more minutes left of the 30 minute class.

All that really matters is that Niall is getting used to the water, so that's a good thing. And he's finally warming up to Marcus, so that's a great lesson I wasn't even expecting for Niall to get out of this whole thing.


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Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Ultimate Tear Jerker

I know I've described this before- Niall crying himself to sleep in a slumped over position. I tried to explain the details of this heart wrenching scenario, but couldn't quite capture the true sadness of it. Well, this time I had the insensitivity to catch it on camera. Does this make me a cruel person? Probably, but I just couldn't resist.

It was one of those days when he was not feeling the nap. Lately, he wants to soak up as much of this world as he possibly can, and there's just not enough time in the day for catching z's... Especially when we're at the bay house- with the pool and the swing and all the cool things we don't have at home.

So, I put him in the pack n play hoping he would wear himself out and fall asleep, despite his lack of interest in doing that. I shut the door and left for a little while. When I peeked back in to check on him about 20 minutes later, he was standing up, holding onto the sides, bouncing up and down. Not quite what I was hoping for, but at least he wasn't crying. I left again for another 20 minutes.

When I came back in, this is what I found- so sad, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry...


Fast asleep, head between his legs with a poop in his pants.  His sweet little nose was literally an inch away from a pile of stink bombs.  When I went to pick him up, he had a big toe imprint on his forehead.  It was too much for me to bear... but enough for me to take a picture ;)


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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Change Gonna Come

When Niall first came into our lives, there really wasn't too much adjusting to do. Aside from the nursery, he didn't have too many toys or pieces of equipment that took up any room. We are talking about a newborn baby- they can't even see more than a foot in front of their face or support their own head. So, our house pretty much stayed exactly the same.

Then, as time went on, he started to discover things- first his hands, then his feet, then the remote, etc. So, it was time to start busting out the cool stuff that had been cooped up in our basement all these months. We had to move some of our things around to make room for the Baby Einstein play station and the tummy time mat, etc. The DVD tower got the boot and the coffee table was permanently shoved up against the couch. Nothing too life altering, though.

But now we're at a whole new level. I knew this time was coming, but I kept saying it was still a few weeks away. Well, now it is undeniably here and I keep thinking I can somehow stop it. Niall has been crawling for at least 2 weeks, pulling himself up to a standing position faster than I can blink an eye, and shoving things in his mouth like a fat kid in a candy store.

Yet here I am with no safety gates, no cabinet blockers, and haven't even attempted to stow away my ridiculous house decor that looks like it belongs in some kind of Better Homes and Gardens spread. Honestly, who do I think I am with this stuff? I've got these bamboo spears jutting out of a fancy vase ON THE FLOOR, just inviting Niall to poke an eye out...


my fine china is about chest height with Niall...


and our DVD/stereo sound system and router are just a yank away from Niall being electrocuted...


Our house is pretty far from being baby or kid friendly.

I keep telling myself that I'm not one of these moms who just lets their kid wander around, so I don't have to worry about it.  I always keep a pretty close eye on him, but I guess that's how kids end up eating paint chips and such. Ok, safety gates are going up and bamboo vases are going down.



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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chasing Shadows

It's amazing how babies find even the most ordinary things so interesting.  It kind of makes me sad to think that as we mature and get older, we lose that incredible sense of imagination we had as kids.  The games and self-entertaining that children, and even babies, come up with makes me realize how powerful their little sponge brains really are.  We adults are just not mentally equipped in the same way- we slowly drift from fantasy and inventiveness to reality and logic- and I have to admit I'm a little jealous of their mind power.

But I am having a lot of fun playing along with Niall's ideas and games (I have to give him full credit because I'm just following his lead).  Slowly but surely, I'm actually starting to remember how my mind worked back then and I'm coming up with some decent ideas for playing, but nowhere near the caliber of what these guys can do.

So this morning, the sun was shining perfectly through our 4 pane kitchen window and I noticed Niall trying to pick up the window squares' shadows that were cast on the floor.  I quickly turned my kid thinking mode on and decided to mess with him a little.  Niall was so confused, but just as determined as ever...





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Monday, July 12, 2010

You're killin me smalls

Wow... that's all I can say. I'd wager that may have been one of the worst nights we've had since Niall was born. He woke up at 2:30 with a poopy diaper (which has been happening a lot lately- not sure how to control his bowel movements to my liking), and decided not to go back to sleep until 5:30am.

Once I changed him, he had that crazed look in his eye and I knew it was over. Slumber Party- minus the slumber. He was ready to play and nothing was going to stop him. I really hope he grows out of this pooping in the middle of the night thing, because it's next to impossible to keep him in sleep mode once you pull him out of the crib.

It's one thing when they're a month old and you are expecting not to get any sleep. You're mentally equipped to handle the all night ragers- and holding onto the shred of hope that you'll get a few naps the next day while he's doing the same. But it's quite another when he's almost 8 months old and has been sleeping from 8:30-6:30 each night with no interruptions.

So, first I sat with him for a while, rubbing his back... noticing that he had no interest in laying down, but crawling all over me and pulling my hair, instead. At that point, I decided it was tough love time- back in the crib whether you like it or not my little party animal. But the screaming was just so loud and so incessant.

I started going through that checklist in my head...
  • Is he wet? No, I just did that.
  • Is he hungry? If he is, he's going to have to get over it because we haven't done middle of the night feeding since he was 3 months old. I'm not getting sucked into that habit.
  • Is he gassy? Possibly, but I'm guessing it would have come out when I was holding him for a half hour rubbing his back.
  • Is he in pain? Could be teething, so I gave him a small dose of infant tylenol, which he proceeded to spit all over his chin and chest.
  • Is he tired? This is probably the most likely, so I'm just going to have to let him tire himself out.
I couldn't believe this went on for 3 hours. Everything we've accomplished, all the progression has gone to hell in a handbag. What if this happens again tonight? And tomorrow?? No, I can't even think about it. I won't.

Speaking of handbags, Niall was crawling around the other day and got tangled up in my 20 pound diaper bag... but that didn't stop him from getting where he needed to go... (It's always nice to end on a happy note)

Friday, July 9, 2010

First Words?

I've said it before and I'll say it again- it's just so hard to gauge when a baby is really doing something. Doing something and doing it on purpose are 2 totally different things, which I've painfully been learning as Niall is growing and changing.

Matt and I went up last night to check on him- something we do often now, ever since he decided to start standing up in the crib when he's not ready to go to sleep. We weren't too worried about it, since we lowered the mattress to the lowest notch... until he gnawed the paint off the railing the other day.

He was crying a lot that day, and after I let it go for about 20 minutes, I went it to see what was going on. He had white specs all over his face and there was the evidence, plain as day: where the crib was once a nice white shiny laquer was now exposed wood. With all the lead paint in this old house, I am grateful the crib is one thing that doesn't have it. (You never know, though, with all these recalls).

Anyway, he's been saying dadada a lot lately, but we didn't really think he knew what he was saying. Then, today he started with the "mamamama" out of nowhere. I was excited, but I didn't think he was doing it on purpose or anything. But as the day went on, it was "mama" and "moommm", much more pronounced and sounded like the real deal!

Then, when Matt and I went in to check on him last night, he was in chat and play mode. He was bouncing all around and making all sorts of noises, when he suddenly looked right at me and said "mama"! It was so exciting, I almost started crying. Matt and I were both cheering and laughing, but then he continued playing with his toys and saying "mama, mama, mamamama". So now I'm not sure if he really did it on purpose, or if it was a complete coincidence.

I think I'm going to pretend it was on purpose, whether it was or not :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Crawling!

Niall is officially crawling now! As usual, I'm not really sure when it happened. At some point he lifted his stomach off the ground and it went from a scoot to a crawl. It always takes a little bait, and right now the pedal of the trash can lid seems to be the ultimate motivator. I imagine that has to be one of the dirtiest things you can put your hands on... or worse, your mouth. And I hate to admit it, but sometimes I forget to wipe his hands right after. I guess I'm building up his immunities :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friend or Foe?

It's funny how Niall reacts to people lately; you just never know if he's going to laugh, cry, hug or hit. Last night, our friends came over and Niall started hysterically crying when John walked in the room. We made him walk out and sure enough, Niall stopped crying. John walked back in and the crying started up again. Poor John, he's such a nice guy and he didn't do anything except exist in Niall's presence. But Niall was just not having it.

So today, we went to the park with baby Jack (about 2 months older than Niall) and they actually started to notice each other. We've gone to the park together 3 or 4 times before, but they were both kind of in their own worlds. It seems like everything up to this point has been trying to engage Niall in what's going on around him, but he was not really into it. He's always looking around, playing with a toy, or just not paying attention. But now he is really active and interested in the things and people around him, which makes it a lot more fun for me.

When we went to the park, Niall and Jack immediately caught eyes and started examining what the other was doing. But Niall would act a little skeptical at times. One minute, they would be eating mulch chips together and the next, Niall would be jealous of the camera that Jack was chewing on. At one point, he was trying to pull Jack's hair- I'm hoping that was a symbol of affection and not being a bully.

Then, he started being a total mama's boy, which has me a little worried. It kind of started earlier this week- he'll start crying out of nowhere and reach for me. It would be one thing if he hurt himself or was hungry/wet, but I can tell he's just being whiny and needy. I'm trying to be careful not to feed into it, but it's really hard. I don't want to spoil him but I also don't want to ignore him- especially that desperate adorable little baby face!




...And I just have to throw this snapshot in there because it's such a good one!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Niall laughing

Niall has always been very on and off with deciding whether he's going to grace us with his amusing side- whether it's a laugh or a cute little noise or a funny face, he's not gonna give it up easy. He might do it one day and we won't see it again for weeks, or maybe never again! We did manage to catch him laughing the other night for the first time- he's been laughing for about 4 months now and this is the first footage! Again, I apologize for my annoying voice- it was the only way to get him giggling ;)