Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jimmy | 19 Months

:: the cap gun his daddy played with when he was a kid
:: sharing his food with Winston
:: the outdoors!
:: singing "E-I-E-I moo", "Ba-ba-ba-na-na-na" (as sung by the "Despicable Me" minions), and "Hawouyah" (Leonard Cohen's song, "Hallelujah").
:: stacking blocks
:: BASEBALL!!! First thing in the morning he goes and finds the tv remote and brings it to his daddy or me and says "baybaw? baybaw?"

:: peanut butter sandwiches
:: cold pizza
:: scrambled eggs
:: hotdogs

:: "Up!" I found him walking around one day with his hand in the air saying "Up! Up!" I am actually not sure where he learned that, but it's cute and I love the way he is so quick to pick up on things.

:: size 24m-3T

:: going potty on the potty! It was a one-time thing so far, but I'm so happy that he is at least interested in using the potty and slowly gaining an understanding of what it is for. I'm not in any rush. He has plenty of time for potty training and at this point I'm happy to take it at his pace.

ADDITIONALLY, he remains freaking CUTE. I especially love his playful affection in the evenings around bedtime. He climbs behind me on the couch and wraps his arms around my neck and lays his head against my face. He giggles and laughs and kisses my cheek and his breath against my neck makes my heart melt. Moments like that I want to freeze. They are the mental snapshots I take because life doesn't slow down and he doesn't quit growing up.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

In Case You Thought it was National Barbecue Day

 It was a blustery day in January when I had my first opportunity to tour the Mall of Washington DC. At that point in my life I liked to think I had a pretty good handle on what military appreciation was all about. I was, after all, the loyal wife to a soldier who was deployed the first year of our marriage. Yes, I knew what American pride and patriotism was all about. But I would soon learn how deep this appreciation really runs... when you really understand how you really can't understand... Not if you have never strapped on combat boots and wondered if you would make it home to your family... Not if you have never had a marine on your doorstep telling you your child or your spouse or your parent is coming home in a flag-draped coffin.
 It was exciting to walk around this place so rich with our nation's history. I was in awe of seeing these buildings and monuments in real life. I felt like I was walking around a post card, or possibly even a history book. The famous buildings, the incredible monuments, the narrow roadways, the quaint bridges, the original architect in all its intricate beauty... I couldn't get enough of it! 
But then the names... All those hundreds of thousands of names of the fallen at each of the war memorials... It was too much to take in. There were too many of them to really wrap my mind around. The haunting reality was dulled by the shocking page after page, wall after wall of names. I could not put a face, a wife, a family to any of those names, but I knew that one or all of that existed for each one of those unending names. 

I tried to read the names and remember them. But there were so many, they were all blending together. I just wanted to zero in on one name and know, How old were you? Did you have a sweetheart? Children? Did you suffer? Did you receive an honorable burial? Do your battle buddies still live the nightmare of your final breath? What happened? Why did it have to end that way?
As we concluded our time by the Vietnam War Memorial Wall and began to walk away, I turned and saw an elderly man near the wall. I had noticed him earlier as he left gifts and photographed the names that he knew while he wiped his tears. He knew the answers to the questions that were running around my head. He had stories... Painful stories.

And now here he stood, his tender memorial mission completed, staring at the wall. Tears quietly rolling down his cheeks. His bereaved posture and the flag flying at half-staff behind him reflected in the wall of names the very image of what freedom costs. It took my breath away.

Suddenly I understood how little I understood. I have never signed up to put my life on the line for the sake of my country. I have never said goodbye to my loved ones and sailed across seas, as it were, to a hostile land. I have never seen war. I have never had a battle buddy; I can't know the connection. I have never experienced the trauma of watching my closest friend in the world die a gory and gruesome death when it could have or should have been me. I don't have the memories. I don't have the inability that naturally comes with the trauma of war to communicate the pain...

Now I understand. And I will never, ever forget.

 Memorial Day is to Remember, Appreciate, and Never Ever Forget what it costs to be free.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Do You Amber?


I finally broke down and purchased an InspiredbyFinn Baltic Amber Necklace for my favorite little teether. Jimmy has had but short reprieves in his journey towards pearlies and nothing about said journey has ever been easy on him. The fevers, the drool, the pain, the misery... 

This is what sold me on the Baltic Amber idea...

"Among other things, amber is a natural analgesic (pain reliever) and anti-inflammatory. When amber is worn on the skin, the warmth of the skin releases trace amounts of healing oils on the skin. Commonly known as "teething jewelry," baltic amber has been a natural and traditional European remedy for teething discomfort for hundreds of years."

Well, that and all my friends rave reviews on their babies' miracle ambers. 

And it didn't help that it is so dang cute. 

It arrived in the mail this morning, and I immediately put it on the Jimmy. He loves it. He pulled on it a little at first because he wanted to be able to see all that awesomeness around his neck, but after letting him strut his stuff in front of the mirror for a little bit he deemed it satisfactory and leaves it alone. Obviously since we have just received it this morning I have yet to be able to adequately sing its praises on how it saved our home from fevers and tears not to mention the salvation of my sanity... But even if it doesn't, did I mention how awesomely adorable it is? Oh wait, that wasn't the point. I am anxious to see how it helps him get through this new set of teeth that have just started giving him trouble.


So for those of you interested in trying this piece of jewelry out for relieving your child's teething symptoms, I will throw out a caution for you that I am so grateful my facebook friends brought to my attention... If ordering through Amazon, be aware that some sellers advertise their necklaces as genuine baltic amber but they are really plastic. There are other great sites to order from -- InspiredbyFinn.com, LilTulips.com, SweetBottomsBaby.com to name a few.

And no, this is not paid advertisement. The opinions expressed herein are really truly mine. These mobile phone pictures were too cute to not explain it a little.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

World's Cutest Pianist

My little boy is growing up so fast! His latest infatuation is all things musical. He has been playing "dums" on everything for quite awhile now, but now he has discovered the piano.... and singing.... Oh my gosh, his singing! Eeek! It is so sweet and heart melting. His songs have been known to go like this... "Hawouya, hawouyaaaah.... Bababa-bababanananana.... Dada DEE! E-I-E-I.... Bababa, babanana...."

Singing to his piano pounding is my favorite thing to listen to. Have I mentioned how much I adore this blond curly headed child of mine?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Love Story | Anthony & Brittney

Anthony & Brittney... a sweet couple still madly in love after two years of marriage. I loved taking their anniversary photos. They are so cute together! The following is a sneak peek, and just a sequence of photos I took during their session. 

I like how these images tell a story... a really cute love story... and a really awesome sunflower umbrella. 


A True Love Story Never Ends!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hey Girl!

Photo Challenge Submission

Jimmy's 18 Month Portraits

I love this child of mine! He is so busy, so active, so inquisitive. Constantly doing something, constantly learning something, constantly busy, constantly... constant. If that did not make sense to you, you probably need to go and acquaint yourself with an 18 month-old little boy. Believe you me, your life would be richer, and you would be exhausted... but happy. 

Lucky for me, when it came time to do his 18 month photos, his auntie Hannah happened to stop by and she was happy to aid in helping this momma photographer out. We tried multiple different things... Stacking blocks, blowing bubbles, playing "dums" on and with random objects, dressing up in Daddy's uniform... All in the wind, all with his fresh-out-of-the-tub adorable crazy curly hair, all to just a certain level of effectiveness. But that's okay because when it comes to capturing my child's growing up milestones via photography, I want pictures of him being him. So that's what we did. And it worked... At least if you're his mommy and think this is the adorable poster child of the year.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Locks of Love

One of my plans for 2012 was to donate to Locks of Love... and I finally did it! It's always fun to get a new hair style and have less hair for the summer, but the most rewarding thing about the experience is knowing your contribution helps make a difference in the life of a child. While at the salon, I noticed out of the corner of my eye another client--an elderly lady--watching me. When it was all done, she came to me and thanked me profusely for donating my hair. She is a cancer survivor and it meant a lot to her to see someone who cared about what cancer patients (and those with other hair-loss conditions) go through.

Have you ever donated to Locks of Love?