Monday, December 31, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

All Grown Up

She's going to sleep in her crib tonight for the first time. We said goodbye to the bassinet today, and I feel like I said goodbye to all of her babyhood. It's like trying to hold water in your hands...it just trickles through your fingers no matter how hard you try to keep it contained. She's trickling...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Little Parts












There will come a day when the grasp of your tiny fingers around mine won't take my breath away; when I won't stare at your pouty lips while you sleep. There will come a day when the way your toes curl when I tickle them won't send me into a fit of laughter or when the way you look at me won't make me cry. That day is not today, my Love.


Christmas Snapshots...













































Candlelight Christmas Eve Service

Oh Holy Night. A Children's Choir. A Manger Scene at the front of the Sanctuary. Real candles. Church clothes. My heart was smiling...despite what it took to get everyone there, I'm so glad we did it.
...I wonder what the people were thinking...singing, eyes closed in their somber state of worship, and I pull out my big camera and start shooting pictures.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Things We Can Do Because We're Home for Christmas


Swim in our pool the day before Christmas Eve...
Wrap presents with my mom in front of our own fireplace while watching Miracle on 34th Street... Start new traditions...
Last night we began our first Hampton Christmas Tradition: The Eve of Christmas Eve Hot Cocoa Walk. Lainey got a new wagon which we decorated with evergreen garland, battery-operated Christmas lights and a "Merry Christmas" poster. We filled the wagon with a boom box blaring Christmas music, fake snowballs and a Santa hat-adorned baby. Then, we filled a big carafe with hot cocoa and brought along some styrofoam cups. We walked through the neighborhood as a family, knocking on doors of our friends, passing out cocoa and singing along to the music. It was fabulous...pure fabulous. There wasn't one neighbor who didn't BEAM with happiness when they opened the door. Brandyn said, "You are OBSESSED with Christmas!" That I am, my friend. That, I am.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

She Wants to Be...

...one of the big kids. She got to watch a movie, nestled right between Brandyn and his friends at his sleepover last night. She kept looking over at Brandyn like she was saying, "Thank you for letting me be a part of this." He even went to his bedroom to get an old Nintento Gameboy for her to use when they all played video games. He didn't want her to feel left out. Thank you, Big Brother.

He Picked it Out Special


He went to Hallmark on his own and picked this out. It's her first Christmas, and he wanted her to have an ornament...what a thoughtful daddy.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happiness

I'm happy today. I really am despite the fact that I laid on my bed and bawled uncontrollably this morning--full on stomach lurching, body shaking, eyes swelling--an ugly cry to the utmost degree. After hours of packing last night and a heap of suitcases, bags and bins of presents next to the front door ready to be loaded up this morning, we decided to stay home. Yes...we. For the first time, I really feel unselfish--like I did something for Brett because I love him despite what everything inside me told me I wanted to do. I wanted to go to Michigan so badly--to spend Christmas Eve surrounded by family, to bundle up and sit next to my dad's fireplace on Christmas morning with Karen Carpenter singing "Merry Christmas, Darling" in the distance while the cinnamon scent from the rolls in the oven wafts through the air and the cold snow falls silently behind the window. Don't laugh...it's not a storybook...it's what it's really like in Michigan every Christmas--magic. I had every outfit for Lainey picked out from the red plaid dress she was going to wear at my brother's on Christmas Eve to the new green Fair Isle cardigan for Christmas morning. But, circumstances prevailed. Brett's in the middle of selling his business, and the stress overcame him this morning as he painfully admitted that leaving for a big trip in the midst of all of this was going to put him over the edge. The word "heart attack" was mentioned, if I recall. I could have cried and told him this was too important to me and that it would kill me not to go. That's true, but what is more true is that I love him, I love our family, and I want what is best for us regardless of how sad I am. So, instead, I cried and told him I thought it was best for us to stay. Now, I have to make the best of it. I could easily sulk and dwell on what I'm missing, but I'm not going to. For the first time, I am the matriarch of the Christmas traditions...I get to choose how we are going to do this. I will make cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning and play Karen Carpenter's "Merry Christmas, Darling." I will spray fake snow on the windows and tell the kids we are in Michigan. I will light a fire and choose to be happy. It's Lainey's first Christmas, and it WILL be magical. So, for now, I unpack and do things that make me happy, like take pictures of Lainey.

The day after Christmas, I will go to Michigan for three days with Lainey to do a quick Christmas with my family. And, I just bought my mom a ticket to come spend Christmas with us. I am choosing to be happy.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bassinets, Crawling and Procrastination for $100, Alex




Lainey has a beautiful crib. From the day we had it set up, both Brett and I said we wish we could sleep in it. The thing is, she still sleeps next to our bed in a bassinet made for a newborn, her 25-inch body fast approaching the state where holes will need to be drilled into the ends of the bassinet. Seeing as the bassinet will soon be passed to Baby Hutcheson, that's not an option to consider. And, it's not that she won't sleep in her crib--she's a beautiful sleeper and would easily make it all night in a box in the garage if she had to (she won't...don't worry). It's us. I pull the bassinet right up to the edge of my bed so there's nothing to separate me from watching her little sleeping chest go up and down, hearing her little breath if it's quiet enough, holding her little warm hand as I fall asleep. When we went to Rockford for vacation when she was three months, we both vowed that we would move her to the crib when we returned. Didn't happen. And now, at seven months, I think it's time. I actually said to Brett last night, "Want to try the crib tonight?" and was shocked when he answered, "Not yet. Maybe when we get back." See! It's not just me. Just a little longer.
Speaking of not moving on, our sweet little baby girl seems to defy all the baby books and does things on her own times. I actually called the doctor once because I thought she had something wrong with her when she didn't recognize she had something called hands after five weeks when the book said to expect it. So, it comes as no surprise to us that she has absolutely no interest in anything to do with crawling, scooting or mobilizing herself in any way to get to a toy out of her reach. Can't reach it? No problem. She'll find something else to play with. However (yay!), I actually captured a pseudo-crawl position last night followed quickly by the face-to-the-carpet position you see here.
























And, as far as procrastination goes, let's just say I think I'm going to pull this whole packing/cleaning/prepare for trip thing off. I always leave things to the last minute, but I always manage to succeed. I'm gettin' close. Now, I just have to finish the twenty-minute family Christmas DVD, burn 14 copies, pack 4 suitcases and wrap some presents. I think I can do it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sidetracked

We leave for our 22 hour drive to Michigan in three days. I have
laundry to wash, bags to pack, presents to wrap, places to clean, lists to make...but I keep getting sidetracked. There's this little face smiling at me. Play with me. Read to me. Hold me. She's good--really good. So, it's not that I can't get things done because she needs me. It's me. There's this constant reminder in the back of my mind that tomorrow she'll be bigger. So, today I soak her up. I snuggle her sweet cheeks, drink in her sugary baby breath, and kiss the soft fuzz on her head that will all too soon grow into real hair--hair that will hide the cute little bald head that keeps her a baby for now.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Santa Baby


Family Night

Family Night

Last night was Family Night, something we need to have a lot more of around here. We have lots of "family nights," but as a proper noun? Not enough. The problem with proper noun Family Night, especially when it isn't frequent enough, is that the kids get attitudes for all the fun they're missing out on with their friends, instead confined to spend a God-awful night with us. How horrible it must be. Last night was no exception to the attitudes. The boys rolled their eyes, mumbled under their breath and made every effort to let us know they didn't want to be home. At one point, Lainey even bumped her head and started screaming at which point Brett literally threw his hands in the air and yelled, "Do all my kids have to have attitudes tonight?!" (followed by smiles from the boys which I'm sure they did everything in their power to resist). But, we trudged on with Family Night. It would have been so easy to give in...forget it...they're not into it anyway. But, we didn't. And a good thing. Slowly, the attitudes disappeared. Brett had Brandyn help him grill the steaks, asked Austyn to start a fire, and by the time we put in Christmas Vacation, they were laughing, happy...home. We roasted marshmallows in the fire and made s'mores. We laughed hard when Chevy Chase shook Aunt Beverly's present and said, "She wrapped up her damn cat" and didn't even correct the boys when they repeated that quote verbatim all night. Lainey was even happy playing on the floor, thrilled to be surrounded by all of us for so long. It may have had a rocky start, but Family Night prevailed indeed.


Friday, December 14, 2007

A Rainy Day


The Perfect Day: It rained today. So, we went to Barnes and Noble --just me and Baby. We looked at board books, read lots of them until we found the perfect one to take home. We sat in the cafe and watched it rain. I drank tea and shared little pieces of my blueberry scone, and she smiled with each bite. An old man came up to our table, smiled like my grandpa used to smile and said, "You've got quite a connection with that one, eh? I can see the love in both of your eyes." And then he walked away. He didn't see my tears, and I didn't get a chance to tell him that what he just said was one of the nicest things anyone has ever told me.

It was raining hard when we left--we got wet in the parking lot, but it didn't matter. Then, we went home and sat in front of the window and watched it rain. We snuggled on the couch and waited for the dogs to join us. It doesn't get any better than This Day.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Widdle Baby Chucks





Is there anything cuter than a little baby wearing tiny Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars? I was just wondering.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nightly Routine








He does it every night with her. The Christmas Light Walk. Our house, the neighbor's house. She touches the lights so gently. He holds her so sweetly. I don't know what he's whispering to her or what it feels like to him to hold her, but to me, from the window...it's magic.



Tuesday, December 11, 2007


From Mother to Daughter: Shared Wisdom from the Heart: "Start now to be the kind of mother you always wanted to be. Don't wait until she's eighteen...Keep in mind that all she wants to be doing--for the greatest part of her young life--is what you're doing."

A Girl Who Loves Her Daddy



Early this morning, before Brett woke up, while the house was quiet, we did what we do every morning. We play in her room...I sip my coffee while I watch her pick up books, chew on dolls, inspect her rattles. It's quiet, and I love it. I was taking photos of her while she played and couldn't get her to smile for anything. Then, out of the blue....this magical little smile emerges. Little did I know, her daddy woke up and was standing quietly behind me. He does it to her every time. That girl loves her daddy so much!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

My Baby

I watched you play today....and I can't believe you are mine. Everything about you amazes me--each pudgy finger, the curl of your perfect lips, the mess of lashes that bless your beautiful eyes...Baby, you are mine.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A Little Bit of Christmas

She doesn't know it's her first Christmas, but I do.

A Fresh Page

Apparently blogging is the new black, and it looks fabulous on everyone else, so I'm dying to try it. I'm SO inspired by the creativity of my favorite bloggers, and I've been wanting to do it simply because it looks like SO much fun and is such a creative challenge. It's a blank canvas I can't wait to paint on! It's a new Hello Kitty diary complete with colored gel pens that I can't wait to write in! It's an empty scrapbook that is begging to be filled. It's a thousand dollar shopping spree to Michaels! So, here it is...a blank page. My hands are shaking! I can't wait to fill it... with the little things that make me happy. Beginning with... the wonderful inspiration of my ridiculously talented, creative, insightful sister whose blog is a tiny window (but a really pretty one with Shabby Chic curtains) into her life, one that I miss being a part of because I'm so far away. She got me started on this...check out her fabulousness at www.cjsrambling.blogspot.com