Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tooth... Walking... Bye Bye...What's Next?

Payton is growing up!

1. He waved bye-bye for the first time on Sunday and I thought it was just a one time coincidence...but he has waved bye bye four more times this week... usually in the mornings when he is well rested.

2. Payton has also mastered the self feeding skill and chows down on puffs. Along with feeding himself, he likes to share his food with the dogs. So far they have been very gentle with him.

3. Also, his first tooth poked through today! My baby is changing and growing up so fast. Incredible!

4. He can also stand at low tables and play with books without me holding on to him.

5. He has babbled ma-ma and da-da several times this week, but it is usually when he wants more puffs. I am not sure if he thinks puffs are called mama dada, but that is the only time he says it...weird.

6. I've included a video of Payton's walking skills. He has a long way to go with balance before he walks on his own, but he definitely figured out how to move his legs in a walking motion.

Milestones that I am anxiously awaiting: crawling, his first sign, and pulling himself up.... stay tuned.

I'm Hardly a Domestic Diva, But...

I can cook up some yummy baby food. Well, according to Payton. Most of Payton's chow is homemade and he really loves it. Sweet Potatoes, Avocado, Squash and Bananas are incredibly easy to make. It literally costs 10% of what it would cost to buy Gerber foods. What should I try next?
Kitchen Helpful Hint: My cousin Cristen was visiting a few weeks ago and saw me use an egg slicer to cut strawberries to put on shortcake (for us to enjoy, not the babies). She said she had never thought of using an egg slicer for that purpose and suggested I make a note of it on my blog. I cannot claim this genius idea, I think I should credit Jeanna who taught me this back in college! But truly, it saves time! If you love strawberries, an egg slicer makes it incredibly quick and simple to have perfectly even slices of strawberries.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fun in the Sun

Payton spent this 90 degree afternoon playing with his friends Bree, Matthew, and Lucy! He has the best tan of all of the babies! Payton loves the water and preferred being on his belly. He likes to drink the water too. Ick! Thanks to Lucy and Matthew for sharing their pool with Payton!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

South River Falls

We had a great time hiking in the Shenandoah National Park today! We crossed another hike off our "best day hikes" list. Today we trekked to South River falls around mile marker 62. The trail head starts just off from the picnic area and in .1 mile we crossed the AT. After another 1.2 miles down through switchbacks and couple of creek beds, we arrived at a beautiful overlook of South River falls. The hike was definitely harder than I imagined it would be -- I am not sure if that is because I am out of shape, it was almost 90 degrees, or because we took turns carrying an extra 16 pounds down and up the trail. The trail is 2.6 out and back, which is what we did, but you can go on several loops varying from 3.3 miles total to 4.4 miles. It was a beautiful day! I cannot wait to go back later this summer when the trees have leaves and can provide a little shade from the sun. It would also be great to bring a lunch and eat by the falls.

We let Payton cool off in the creek. The water was ice cold and he was not a fan.

We tried to take a family pic and this was the best we got :). Notice that Payton is attempting to eat Lily's ears. Yummy.

A view of South River Falls. It is the third highest fall in the Shenandoah National Park.

Wes and Lily detoured so Lily could take a nice, cool drink from the creek. I hope she had a great time today! We are trying to do everything we can to help Lily have the best quality of life she can in her last few weeks.
Readers: Does anyone have any ideas about baby backpacks for hiking? I received some birthday money and wanted to get one off ebay but I am not sure which ones are the most comfortable. Today we just used the Baby Bjorn, but it is not really comfy for three miles on rocky trails. It looks like the Kelty 2.0 and 3.0 with solid frames have pretty good reviews. Feel free to give me some good advice!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Reflections of a Working Mom #1: Morning Preparations

I have decided to start a series about my experiences as a working mama. I have read several posts of SAHMs and sometimes it is just so hard for me to relate to their experiences. Some seem very happy and others are always complaining about how much time they spend at home and how much of a "job" it is. I agree that being a mom is THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB EVER, but for me it is actually much easier (and way more fun!) than my "side" job where I am employed as a full time high school history teacher. On the days I am home from school, I am truly on a vacation and soak in every moment. As a working mama, I still do all of the same things SAHMs do, I just have to also work in a school building from 750-330 each day (I used to work until 6ish every nite, but I gave up full time coaching to be able to see Payton some. Now I only coach part time with less weekend commitments.)

It is hard for me to find sympathy for the whining/complaining sect of SAHMs because I honestly had more freedom, flexibility, and fun than I have ever had in my entire life when I was home with Payton for three months. It was incredible. We took trips to see college friends and family, Payton and I met Wes for lunch most days, I was always caught up on my laundry, I blogged frequently, found time to ride my horse, and generally had a blast. Being a mama without the stress of working for three months was truly a blessing. For those of you that are blessed enough to have this lifestyle permanently, live it UP, and please do not complain!!!! Working mamas like me are envious of your time to be a 100% devoted mom. If I could swing it financially to stay at home more, I certainly would, but our adoption expenses and Lily's chemo totaled more than my salary for last year, so hi-ho, hi-ho its off to work I go....

My first reflection stems from a post by one of my favorite bloggers (Karen- a UVA grad, SAHM, adoptive mom, former teacher, excellent writer and although I have never met her in real life, she seems totally cool- she does not fit the whiny/complaining sect of SAHMs, she is happy one :). In this post she said she felt like shw had "finally figured out this mom thing" because she and the baby were ready to head out the door by 745 to check out some yard sales. If Karen is right and being a "real mom" means being ready to head out the door by 745 each morning, then I am one heck of a mom! (This is even more of an accomplishment for me because I am NOT a morning person. Note: Never call me on a weekend morning -- waking me or baby on a Saturday morning will not end well for anyone!)

Each weekday morning Wes and I frantically move about the house in near silence (he is not a morning person either-- we work well that way!) to accomplish our morning tasks before getting to work by 745 (more honestly/realistically I arrive at my classroom moments before the bell rings for first period at 8 am... thank goodness for first period planning!) I wake up 5 minutes before Wes to start my morning routine in the bathroom before Wes begins his routine. 20 minutes later we are both dressed. Payton is still sleeping during all of this ( Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with a good sleeper!). Wes heads downstairs to take care of the dogs and horses, which also includes getting Lily her chemo and meds, while I wake, wash, change, dress, and lotion Payton. He coos and giggles and although I am not a morning person, his beautiful face and fun grin inspires me to laugh with him and we sing silly songs. I throw a load of laundry in to wash and fold another load while Pate plays on the bed. Then I run down the stairs and make sure Payton's bags are packed with his bottles (which Wes has already washed and prepared), bibs, baby food for the sitter. I then pack my practice clothes (on practice days), gather materials I need for class or any papers I graded and shove it all into my back pack. Then, I write out Wes' honey do list for the day (he has way more job flexibility than I do -- when that bell rings I am essentially dead to the outside world until 330). Next, I put the girls (Lily and Carmen) upstairs and change the channel to Animal Planet and make sure they have water. I gather up a Payton, the diaper bag, my school bag and head out the door. I drop off Payton at the sitters and I am in my classroom by 8am. By then I am ready to greet my students as they bring me late work, listen to them complain to me about something (teens are really good at that), praise them for their extra-curricular successes from the night before (they really like it if you notice they scored the winning goal, ran a PR in a meet, etc), write my agenda on the board, return graded work, answer parent emails and phone calls, collaborate with sped teachers and other colleagues, etc and generally begin my day. I do that morning routine five days a week and it wipes me out! How do working moms of 2, 3, or 4 kids do it.... ? and single working moms... ? Truly, I have nothing but the utmost respect for you. I feel like a I am frantically treading water to stay afloat most days, and I only have one little one and an amazing husband who supports me and shares in the house work and baby duties. You all deserve all the props in the world and if you are a working mom of 2 or more or a single working mom, please share you tips with me. I need all the help I can get. While I do lift my eyes up and know where my help truly comes from (my Strength, my God), practical advice is ALWAYS welcomed!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

7 Months!

I've been a terrible blogger lately...sorry. I started this post many times and just never got around to posting, so here it is...

Payton turned 7 months old last Thursday! Life really does seem so strange... days can take soooo long to end but somehow the weeks and months just fly by! We also celebrated Payton's first Easter (which also happened to be my birthday) last Sunday. My family came to church with us and then we joined Wes' family for lunch and my family for dinner. It was a wonderful day to celebrate our Saviour, my 28th year of life, and the new life in our family. Payton enjoyed his Easter treats with his Daddy. His basket was full of baby food, books, and a couple of toys. I was also proud of Payton for sitting so nicely in church Easter morning. As we welcomed ALLELUIAS back into the liturgy (they are not a part of the services during Lent), Payton noticed and cooed right along. So cute. Hallelujah, Christ is Risen indeed!

I laughed so hard when I saw the Sham WOW! My mom got this for Wes for Easter. We have joked about this product ever since Payton came home. The info-merical comes on late nite TV MANY times. The Sham WOW ad was our regular entertainment those first few months during the midnight feedings and now we have one of our very own :).

My Aunt received a pretty cool Easter treat too... Zoomorphs. Pretty, no. Easter-like, no. Disturbing- Maybe. Fun-YES! Zoomorphs are awesome fun. My aunt teaches kindergarten and these are like build-an-animal. I made the creepy creature on your right. My sister was the judge of our friendly family competition. My Zoomorph was second. What name would you give this unique creature? We had a lot of fun with these guys. If you have small children, these are sure to be a hit!

Our big boy with his Grandma and GaGa on Easter.

Wes, Payton and i also took a trip to NC to spend time with my Aunt Meg during my Spring Break. It was a great trip. We stopped at the mall for a few hours and Payton got a glimpse of the Easter Bunny. I am way to cheap to pay for pics with the Easter bunny, so Meg held Payton up next to the bunny for me. Maybe one day I will be able to splurge again, but right now we are on a super-tight budget. Speaking of budget and cheap...I dropped in to Gymboree while were at the mall and found clothes on the clearance rack--80% off-- I got Payton a cute outfit for next winter for a total of $11 (including the cutest little sweater and pants). I was so proud of my find, but even more proud of myself for walking out of Gymboree without buying the entire rack :).

We also journey to Franklin street near the UNC campus to pick up some NCAA champs gear for Payton-- check out this hat! Although his Mama is a UVA grad, I once had dreams of playing college hoops for UNC ... then I was cut from the JV basketball team my freshmen year and had to re-evaluate those ambitions.

Payton and I on the UNC campus.

Payton and Aunt Meg.
Unfortunately, the Dean Smith Center is under construction and Payton could not get a good glimpse of the arena :(. Note: This was the very first time I used this stroller. Wes purchased this for Baby KK two weeks before we got the call. It was kind of sentimental.

Some other fun 7 month info:
1. Payton is 16 pounds and 27 inches. While on the smaller side of the growth charts, he has climbed at a steady rate.
2. Payton eats 3 servings of "solid" founds a day. His current diet includes: sweet potatoes, applesauce, butternut squash, avocado, puffs, and bananas. His favorite is sweet potatoes.
3. Payton's pincher skills are emerging. He can pick up "puffs" and feed himself, but it is far from graceful.
4. Payton is in love with dogs...hmmm...wonder why? He loves to pet Lily, Jackson, Carmen and any other doggie friend we see.
5. Payton continues to sit for short periods of time and can pull himself to a sitting position if I hold his legs down.
6. Payton has mastered the consecutive rolling technique to get to any toy he wants.
7. He loves to hit things right now and the more noise something makes, the better.
8. Payton has allergy-like symptoms and is back on albuterol treatments and singulair. ICK.
9. His belly laughs are fantastic- see previous post.
10. His is ours forever! Our adoption was finalized in court on Friday and we are a forever family. I cannot believe the whole process is finally over! Whew.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I visited my Aunt Meg this weekend and we were discussing my dogs and how all three bark when ever someone comes to my house. I imitated one of the dogs and Payton thought it was SO funny. This has become a trend recently...something just gets the boys laughing so hard, he almost makes me pee my pants laughing at him!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Verdict...

The verdict is in... my loyal blog stalkers want more pics of the little man. I apologize for the poor quality of the first video, but the content is so funny. We put Payton in his baby bouncer (which we rarely use these days) and found him doing pull ups on the toy bar. Too cute. I am trying to catch him in action, but he also does ab workouts. He sits up without using his hands or arms, just abs. Stay tuned.

These next few images make me a little sad because I think Payton is starting to look like a little boy instead of a baby. I do enjoy watching him learn new things and become his own little person, but I love this baby stage and I am not ready for him to move on to toddlerhood just yet :(. But isn't he cute?

We are heading out of town for a few days to visit with my Aunt Meg while I am on Spring Break (there is a whole post I am wanting to put up about my spring break-- basically it was not what I expected, but I still got time with my sweet boy, which makes it a good break!) And of course, I will add pics of the little man.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Blog Stalkers

Okay, I must confess that I do spend a fair amount of time stalking blogs, but I rarely leave comments. I must have some readers out there because my tracker says I do, but I wonder who stalks my blog (besides you, Beth :). My cousin Cristen posted something similar and her readers came out of the woodwork to id themselves. Cristen, although I did not respond, I did read your blog. I thought I would pose the same question on my blog. Are you a regular reader? What would you like to read more about? Payton? Adoption? Teaching? Please comment! There are so many things that I want to post, but have not. For instance, I LOVE watching LOST, and there must be some other LOST fans out there, and I considered a whole post on debating Ben's mortality, the importance of his character, and just who I think Richard is anyway...but I don't want to write an entire post if no one really cares or if no one really reads my blog. Should I stop posting....? Sorry to ramble, just thinking as I type.