Thursday, December 31, 2009

Just behind "Ah-Goo"

For a while now, Brock has been making various distinct sounds. When he grabs my cell phone, he shoves it on the back of his head, entirely too far past his ear, and says, "ta-kow ta-kow?" He mumbles 'ma ma' and 'da da' quite a bit, but I feel that he has only truly used them to get our attention a few times. If you say "Brock, Brock, Brock" or "ho ho ho" he will attempt to parrot it. At least once a day he will go into a fit of screaming out a random string of syllables making absolutely no sense, but you can see he is trying to prove a point. (This primarily occurs around bedtime; I believe it's his last ditch effort to try to keep himself awake and use it as the cue to put him down for bed...but what do I know? I am only his mother.) And the list could go on, and on. But as for right now, there is only one word he religiously uses in an appropriate fashion, and it is the most adorable thing I have witnessed, to date, behind when he used to say 'ah-goo'. This word that melts not only my heart, but anyone towards whom it is directed is: "hi".

Just last night, we went out for Mexican and got seated near the kitchen. Every time any one of the wait staff walked past Brock's chair, even if he just caught a glimpse from the corner of his eye, he would smile and say "hi". Ahh! Kills me every single time.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

For Adult Eyes Only:

The post to come with all the holiday bustle is going to be astronomically long; consider yourself warned. Even though I am pretty sure one statement can some it all up:
Best Christmas Ever!
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Sunday, December 20th
Casino Night
To kick start the Christmas week celebrating we began with Matt's relative's. His aunt and uncle hosted "Casino night" at their home, primarily to celebrate some other aunt and uncle's 50th birthdays. Confusing, I know. I won almost $5 playing Black Jack!! I think I am ready to hit the real casino's and finally play a real game, not just the penny slots.

Half of the family in attendance had driven in from St. Louis, so we had the obligatory Minsky's pizza for dinner. There are a few restaurants that MUST be eaten upon visiting KC, according to Matt's STL family, among these include: Gate's BBQ, Minksy's, Jack Stack, McClain's and Winstead's.
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Wednesday, December 23rd
4th annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
I love, love, love, that I have an annual party to host. This party WILL happen every year, for as long as I have a home to host it in, I guarantee it. It WILL happen, even if only 10 people show up for the event. It WILL ALWAYS be themed as an Ugly Sweater party, even if these go out of style. As for it always being on Christmas Eve Eve, that part is flexible.

When else will Sean and Jon have the opportunity to be "weiner partners"? And where will Brendan pass out in the upcoming years? And to which other party does one attend as an adult, and regularly need a cab ride home? And to what other event can you dress identical to your significant other, and be honored instead of shunned? Or wear an outfit purchased from a child's store or your grade school uniform skirt? Or take inappropriate pictures of your child, and all your friends? No where, no how. That's when. (Ok, Halloween, the one exception, you got me.)
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Thursday, December 24th
Christmas Eve
After attending church at St. Ann's with Matt's family, sans Matt & Brock (they fell asleep), we headed off in the 5 inch in 2 hour accumulation of snow to the usual Christmas Eve with the extended Smith family. This year was nice and as laid back as the Smith's get...there of course, was still some slight arguing, but that's the way we Smith's communicate.
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Friday, December 25th
Christmas Day
Christmas day began at our own house. With our own tree, and our own gifts. This holiday takes on a whole new feel when you are a family with a child. The 10 inches of snow, the beautiful tree, the many gifts, my husband, my baby all combined to make this the most memorable, warm Christmas. On top of the aforementioned, wonderful things, Matt gave me the best gift: a book of my BLOG!!!! I feel like I have personally written and published the most beautiful, fulfilling, informative, funny, interesting book I have ever read. I am not joking, this book is perfect in everyway; the texture, the quality, the size. You must visit this site and create a book of your own. The only thing disappointing thing was that Matt was right, I did love the gift so much I nearly *blanked* my pants.
Just had to include the photos of Brock as a natural with the medical tools. I am still predicting Anesthesiologist.
And, of course, some more Little People. I think Brock may take after me in his love for everything that is miniature.

Moving on to the O'Laughlin's....
video
...here we enjoyed a wonderful morning of gift exchanging and breakfast eating. Apparently, according to Brock, the slight bitterness and texture of blueberries is quite addicting and funny.

Then to the Smith's...
...where, again, we enjoyed more gift exchanging and wonderful dinner eating. Until we went home happy, full, and with a car filled to the brim with toys, clothes and other unecessary yet desirable, and thoughtful items.
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Saturday, December 26th
Snow Day
Brock's first time ever playing in the snow started out slow, but the boy was soon running up and down the block in excitement. Though, it did prove a bit difficult to navigate 8+ inches of snow when you are only 31 inches tall.
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Friday, December 18, 2009

From Start to Finish

THE SEARCH
First, we set out to find the perfect tree. In past years, Matt and I would examine approximately a dozen trees, and go on about how it's too tall, or it's lopsided, or one side is too ugly (to which I would reply that the ugly side can just face the wall, and Matt would say, no we can't have a half-ass tree) and so on and so on...before finally deciding on one. This year, we spent a good 20 minutes following Brock, letting him explore (and by explore I mean play in the muddy tire tracks), taking photographs, etc. Then, bam! We stumbled upon the perfect tree. No joke, this tree was so beautiful, we didn't even entertain the idea of looking at one other pine. Right height, straight trunk, minimal dead branchs, ideal shape, perfection.
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THE ACQUISITION
Then, after determining this would be our centerpiece to Christmas 2009, we cut down the tree ourselves. As you can see, we decided it best to get Brock started on his lumberjack skills early. We prepped him back in October for his duties this December. Bet you didn't know one year olds had the capability to chop down pine tress, did ya? After the tree got tagged, shaken, paid for and hoisted onto the ol' 4runner, we headed back to the city.
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THE DOMESTICATION
Next, we stored the tree in the garage, watered it for a few days, you know, to let it acclimatize to the new environment, then moved it into the living room. It balanced perfectly in the tree stand, first try! No wrastlin' with that thing; such a pleasant fella. Matt, with Brock's assistance (or hindrance) then covered it in lights. And the boy's jobs were done, leaving me with the last and final step.
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THE ADORNMENT
While the boys were away working and playing, I hauled out all the ornaments. Upon opening the big, blue box, specifically designed to store round, glass ornaments, I found my favorite one to be shattered. The only ornament with any damage, was my fragile, colorful, round, glass, puzzle ornament, gifted to me by my mother. I then proceeded to drop an ornament I gave to Matt last year, to represent his travels to China. Tree decorating is not nearly as fun, or easy as it appears. But I prevailed through these trials and tribulations to create what this tree was destined to become: a masterpiece.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guess I like Lumberjacks!

Ha! I have 2 posts titled "I'm a Lumberjack and I'm OK". One in October of 2009 and one in December of 2008. Silly me.

And Matt got a promotion yesterday! (Just because we are rolling in it now, doesn't mean you all can start calling to bum money...OK?)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Who's kidding who?

By living in the area that I do, and having many random weekdays off, I come in contact (most commonly at the surrounding coffee shops and boutiques) with the housewives of Johnson county frequently. I often times observe them as they get out of their fully loaded Lexus SUV's, in their Ugg's, and with their hair and nails all did, and their size 4 designer jeans, toting their 2 little children who look as though they have just returned from the yacht, and think: how obnoxious. But I always feel a little wrong for that thought.

See, I truly enjoy the finer things. I will own a 2010, Nara Bronze, Range Rover one day. I love having my nails done. Designer heels are amazing in every way, they look better, they fit better, they just feel better. I think there is nothing more adorable than baby Gap and baby Polo. I mean, lets be honest, does any Little Debbie treat even compare to a cookie, cake or danish from McClain's [insert favorite, local bakery here]? No. So, why would a cotton t-shirt from Target feel or look as good as a cotton t-shirt by Marc Jacobs? Just making a point - I do in fact love Little Debbie and Target, the other options are just better.

Today, I finally realized why I can excuse these extravagant indulgences and desires in myself, but detest them in these women. If I make any of these purchases, it will be with my earnings. I will have worked to provide myself with all the luxuries I choose to obtain. The labels I wear will be because I feel they are superior to other options, not because I want to flaunt my social status. And, if we are to look honestly at the situation, I will not wear them to get my coffee at Latteland in the morning. I will still wear my old Indiana sweats, with my hair in a scrappy looking ponytail-bun thing. I will continue to rarely apply make-up (though when I do, it might be M.A.C). Though I love growing out my nails and getting them done, I have not painted them once since Brock's birth, not once. Nice nails and babies do not get along.

I would like to clarify one thing, I am speaking of only a certain limited group of people. I have NO PROBLEM with housewives in general. In fact, I am probably slightly jealous of the prospect, and a little part of me wishes that being a stay at home mom would satisfy my particular personality. ALSO, I am extremely happy. I do not covet these lavish items, but admittedly appreciate them for what they are. We don't own a single flat screen TV of any sort, and I have no problem with this (I mean, no one wants to come to our house to watch the game, but whatever, who needs them...) I'm just hoping it's OK for me to dislike those women a little bit, but still exhibit some of the same characteristics, that's all.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Doing the Shuffle.

According to my blog, Thanksgiving never happened. I never even mentioned it, how out of character for me. I guess we can't be perfect ALL of the time, now can we?

After 9 years of being together, Matt and I have gotten the Thanksgiving shuffle down to a science. Having both families here is both a blessing, and, well, a blessing. Though it would be nice to show up to one place and stay, relax, eat, drink, and have no where else to go, I love sharing the holidays with all of my family.
Please reference picture at the bottom right of this blog for last year's Thanksgiving photo.

There were a few changes to the formula this year though. One being, I was in charge of the mashed potatoes for the 30-40 family members that meet at my mother's home. I made 15lbs and I think they turned out pretty well. Usually, I just make a couple chocolate pudding and peanut butter pies for those infantile beings that don't like pumpkin or german chocolate. I thought we had outgrown that item. Apparently not, I got berated for failing to bring that one. So for next year: mashed potatoes and pudding pie it is!

The other change, of course, was Brock! Last year, he was 4 days old, barely 8lbs at that time, and slept the entire day. This year, Brock was 21.7lbs (30th %) and 31.25in (85th %). He was walking, interacting with his cousins, being licked to death by a puppy, and sitting at the big table, eating real food. The first year is amazing, can you imagine growing 10 inches [see note] in one year!?

[I was going to add "and gaining 13 lbs", but I can imagine that; in fact I have done it. A few times. And I am pretty sure, if given a reason, I could gain 13lbs in one month...so, nevermind.]

Happy Holidays to ALL!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

He is Human, Afterall.

No, I am not talking about Tiger Woods. I am, of course, as always, talking about my little boy, Brock.
After all this talk at his birthday party about how Brock had made it an entire year without having one, single sick visit to the doctor (I warned Matt he was jinxing us for sure!!) the day finally arrived. Brock went in yesterday due to a fever for the last 4 days & increasing green snot production, as well as a bit of coughing, fatigue and conjunctivitis. He was diagnosed with a dual ear infection! Had he not physically appeared to be knocking on death's door, you would have never known the kid was sick; still playing, dancing, running around, talking, eating, etc. I have to say, even in sickness I think he is the most adorable thing I have ever seen.

One perk, he will actually let me hold him or sit in my lap for more than 30 seconds. I wonder if a cuddly child is even genetically possible for us?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Going out with a bang!

Wedding season has officially ended for Matt and I, with the union of Staci Schnieders and Robert Reintjes III. The ceremony took place at Redemptorist Church (noted for the longest aisle in Kansas City) and the reception at the Hiatt, Crown Center. All around, it was a dream wedding. I really cannot think of a single thing that should have been changed. And the cake, wow, that was excellent.
Staci & Robert Reintjes III
November 28th, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chili, Cheesecake and Chicken Dip.

Well, it's here. Brock's first birthday. I did not anticipate the emotions this day would trigger. I thought, more than anything, I would just be a little sad my teeny, tiny infant is now unquestionably a toddler. I thought I would miss some of his previous, adorable, needy stages. Instead, I got a flood of memories. I remember the day my water broke, the anticipation during labor, and seeing a wonderful, perfect, healthy baby boy. I remember the general feeling, the aura if you will, that surrounded that entire moment of birth and the crazy weeks to follow. I know that every subsequent child will provide me with new and unique experiences, emotions and love, but I really feel none can touch that of the first child. I have no expectations with Brock. Everything he does, every landmark he achieves, provides me with constant amazement.

After childbirth, though I know billions of women have been through it before, I felt like a rockstar. And the same proves true for seeing my child grow and learn. Though I know he is right on track with every other healthy baby, I see him and think, no way is any other baby as perfect as Brock. I mean, do other 11 month-old children pick up an empty plastic pitcher and put it to their mouth to pretend like they are drinking, fake gulping noises and all? Do they call Bermuda from their mother's cell phone? Do they say mom, dad, dog, baby and neigh neigh neigh neigh? Do they know how to identify their stuffed animal's by name? Do they prefer techno music to any other genre? I am as amazed and obsessed with that child every bit as much today as I was a year ago from now. I keep waiting for this feeling to disappear, and I just don't think it will. For that, I am happy.

Happy Birthday, Brock Thomas.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Party Planning

I lucked out and got a few days off throughout November while my preceptor takes a vacation. The first thought, which I verbalized to Matt, was: "Wow, our entire house might be clean all at one time". Good ol' reliably, realistic Matt replies; "Oh, I am sure you will come up with something you need to do, besides clean the house, that is obviously more urgent." And, I did. Brock's first birthday party!

I think I might LOVE to quit my day-job and become a party planner/creator. And I am pretty sure I can now officially say my favorite hobby is invitation design and construction. Then, once I have created the invite, I really enjoy finding all the right paper ware and party supplies to coordinate. I personally designed and created every element of Brock's invites. I cut out all the paper from 12 x 12 card stock, and typed up the invitation on Microsoft Word (which I get made fun of for using by EVERYONE who has any experience whatsoever in graphic design.) If you're curious how I got the colorful dots - lowercase 'L" in Wingdings 1 is a dot, then I individually changed the font color for each dot with a little copy & pasting. Love it.

PS - I believe you can click on the image to make it larger; if you want to be able to read the invite (nothing too exciting there. Though, not sure there is really anything too exciting for anyone on this particular post, besides me & maybe those few other paper or graphic design types out there.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm a Lumberjack and I'm OK...

...I sleep all night and I work all day.
Brock was a little lumberjack for Halloween. Adorable. Matt and I made the mini-suspenders and found the rest of the outfit at various stores such as Target, Walmart, The Children's Place, Party Warehouse, etc. We just visited all the grandparents, no trick-or-treating for us.

So, was the Brock's first Halloween a success? Not so sure. He hated the mustache and beard. He really did not want anything to do with the plastic axe that I spent a good 20 minutes trying to de-glitter. It was really more for the parents' amusement. So, if we gauge success off of amount of amusement had by the adults, then yes, quite a success! Next year we will get some candy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Do you believe this weather!?


The weather here in Kansas City has been disgustingly beautiful. I don't want to spend even a moment indoors, and neither does Brock. In fact, he threw a mini temper tantrum last evening as we headed inside; his tantrums are still cute. I am sure that is soon to change.

This weather graced us with the opportunity to visit a local pumpkin patch. I must say, having an adventurous, independent, psychotically active child that can finally walk on his own is...wonderful! Everyone warned us, look out when he walks, he will be everywhere. Well, he is everywhere, and he is happy about it, and his hands and knees are much less dirty. Life is much more pleasant for all involved. I thought I had a happy baby before, but I think he has hit his pinnacle.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Let's PRETEND for one moment this is a real situation...

A patient comes in because of a chief complaint listed as fatigue. When asked by the doc to describe the problem the patient starts from the top; "Well doc, I go to bed at a decent hour, and get a good nights sleep. I wake up feeling completely refreshed, and ready to start the day. I shower, get dressed, have breakfast and a cup of coffee then continue on my way to work. Then, everyday, without exception, I suddenly become exhausted. I fight sleep the entire drive to work. The entire day at work. And then even into the evening, then before bed I start to feel a little better, but then it's bedtime again. I have had to pull over because of falling asleep at the wheel. My daughter even drives me to work now because I am too nervous to drive myself." So, the doc runs through the whole gamut of questions such as: Do you notice yourself waking up at night? Do you snore? Are you falling asleep or losing consciousness? Do you have a history of seizures? Does you have a family history of sleep disorders? No, no, no and no.

So the doc movies on to what medications are you taking? In the extensive list of medications, the patients mentions Ambien (a pill solely meant to aid in sleep). So the doc asks, are you taking the Ambien a full 8-10 hours before you go to bed? And the patient's reply: "Well, of course not doc! I take it in the morning with all my other pills."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pink and Lace

Two exciting Katie developments over the past week include:

The marriage of long time friend, team mate and competitor, Katie Yevak. She and Malik got married in Wichita, KS at a beautiful Greek Orthodox Church (got to witness the whole traditional ceremony, crowns, prancing around the alter, kissing, lovely.) Cheers!

Katie & Malik Idbeis
October 17th, 2009
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The other Katie, my cousin, had a beautiful little girl! Scheduled c-section, no complications, and lots of happy family. This makes grandchild number 3 for my mother's sister (my aunt) Maliea.

Nolah Jeanne Gillihan
October 20th, 2009
7.01 lbs - 19.5 in

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Vampin' it up.

As you may, or may not have noticed, I had changed the blog background a few months ago. I gave it some time, thought it might grow on me, but nope. It remained ugly, uninviting and LOUD. So I have gone for a softer look. I think I like it. Hope this will enhance your viewing pleasure.

I am also hoping to clean out links that don't work, and finish my Ireland/Denmark vacation notes before the baby wakes. Please, feel free to let me know if you have noticed any inconsistencies on the blog.

Please note, I have updated the post below, "Proof" and had published a post last week that is actually posted in September. Wouldn't want anyone to be left out of the loop.

-Erin

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Proof.

All our footage of Brock attempting to walk for the past couple of months is on the video camera that has no cable to transfer the videos...so I grabbed a quick sample of his skills tonight using the little camera to throw on the blog. (No making fun of his outfit, it's "Daycare clothes" which means, anything I can find under $2....I mean RE-CYCLEBOT 2.0? I don't get it either.)
video

First 2 steps: August 8th
Consistently...
...walking between furniture: September 18th
...walking around the house: October 5th
...walking everywhere: October 23rd

I see why they call it baby steps. People seem to always have a date or age for when their child started "walking". I would like to know how that is determined. Brock had the strength and capability to walk since August, but seeing as crawling was still the quicker and more efficient method he chose this route 99% of the time. The 99% slowly decreased, day by day, and today I would say it is more 30% crawl, 70% walk. So, for me, officially "walking" should be when he crossed that 50% mark somewhere between September 18th & October 5th. Therefore, for the record book, I guess I will say, Brock took his first steps at 8 and started walking at 10 months. Final answer.

Sunday, October 4, 2009