That's right, today is Kevin's birthday - we celebrate the fact that he's been around the sun exactly 28 times. (For those keeping track, that makes it his golden birthday.) We've actually been celebrating all weekend long, and plan on continuing the celebrations today. Let me tell you how great Kevin is. He is a full-time student, a life which I know he doesn't always love, but he does it anyway. But that's just the start. He also works part-time so we can save a little money. In his "spare" time, he watches Stellan while I work full-time. Yes, he spends four days a week trying to keep the baby alive just one more day, and he does it really well. In fact, I can't tell you how many days there have been when I get home from work exhausted, only to find the house clean, the baby happy and dinner on the stove. That means he went to class early that morning (before I went to work), found time for work and homework while Stellan napped, cleaned the house and cooked the dinner - unbelievable! I'm lucky to stumble through the door upright, and he makes it look so easy. He's always willing to flex his life to accommodate my needs, and is even willing to take the Stellan swing shift when necessary (that's what I call it when Stellan's night wake-ups exceed three times between midnight and 5AM). He gives the greatest massages ever, he makes a mean chocolate lava cake and he even watches "Project Runway" with me. That's a great man. So in honor of Kevin, the awesomest husband in the multiverse and greatest dad I know, I've created a little slideshow. Since this is mostly Stellan's blog, these photos are photos of my two guys together. But rest assured, I've been a big Kevin fan for quite a while, much longer than Stellan. I literally can't imagine what my life would be like without him, and I'm so happy I'll never have to find out. Kev - you rock my world!
For those that haven't met Stellan personally, it would be an understatement to say that he is an independent and friendly child. Case in point: yesterday we went to an awesome party at the Los Olivos (Spanish) branch with all our old amigos. It was actually a basketball game between the Santa Barbara Spanish branch and the not-too-distant Santa Paula Spanish branch. So Stellan and I came to support Kevin, the SB branch's secret weapon. Stellan was thrilled to see all the branch buddies - he practically leapt out of my arms to give Marta Castrejon a hug. (I think he's met her once, maybe, when he was a few weeks old.) He tried the same thing with Arian Ramirez, a 9 year-old boy near us in the "stands" (the folding chairs on the stage in front of the basketball court). Stellan was insistent that an egregious error had been made, and that he was also meant to play in the game. I had an extremely difficult time keeping him from stage-diving. However, all the other people there were very helpful in distracting him, obstructing him and grabbing him when necessary. After the game (SB won), there was of course food. Lots of food. Really good food. And we definitely enjoyed it. But what I enjoyed more was setting Stellan on the lawn and letting him go, free range baby that he is. He quickly found a pack of little girls (aged 15 months to 5 years) to play with; later, he found the kids' dining table, and was nearly successful in his attempt to pilfer food from one of the Mendoza kids' plates. Later, he made his way over to Presidente Obispo, who tried to ignore him and keep eating, but Stellan was very insistent and very cute and eventually won him over. But that's not all. Later that night, we had the Fleming family over for a backyard picnic dinner. They have three young kids (none as young as Stellan), who are an absolute delight. It was about the easiest Stellan maintenance meal ever. He just followed the kids around, climbed in and out of various adults' laps, stole carrots off plates and played the "Now I'm Inside, Now I'm Outside" game. Today at church, he was restless in Relief Society, so I let him loose. Sure enough, he crawled over to the row with the young women and their leaders, made cute faces, and one of them picked him up. He eventually got bored, so he got back on the ground and was almost run over by the person who just finished a prayer and was not expecting a baby 2 inches from her feet (because he wasn't there when she started). Luckily, some nice ladies stopped the prayerer (I know, not a real word) from stepping on him. This is pretty much the story of my life, and will be for the next several years, I'm sure. He's a free spirit and doesn't sit still well, so I'm just going to let him loose and have faith that people around him are patient enough to not get annoyed, kind enough to keep him from getting trampled, friendly enough to pick him up, and interesting enough to keep him entertained. I'll always be there, watchfully standing by and silently thanking the village that is raising my child.
Because I didn't post for the duration of the contest, I'm sure you're wondering what Stellan's been up to this week. Mischief, that's what! We visited Grandma and Granny at their place of employ, ABC-CLIO. He had a pretty awesome time roaming the stacks, and also flirting with pretty much everyone he saw. Also, we got Stellan his first basketball hoop. Kevin will tell you this is a real milestone. Here they are, father and son bonding through sports. And finally, Stellan got a new toy. No, we don't spoil our child. Instead, we give him what boils down to refuse and expect him to enjoy it. And he does. This week he got an empty diaper box. We thought he might like to climb around in it, maybe even push it around a bit. Oh, he pushed it around, all right. In fact, it only took him about a day to figure out he could push it anywhere in the room, and then climb on top of it and get into the stuff that was only barely out of his reach. That includes the computer, the entertainment center, the couch and more. Here's a slideshow of just a few of the times we caught him in the act.
Lucha Libre, that is. And what exactly does Mexican wrestling have to do with today's Sabbath morning tale of woe? Read on. This morning we were trying to decide what Stellan should wear to church. It was pretty warm, so we wanted to put him in something cool, and also preferably something a little more cute than a onesie or a plain t-shirt with some random pair of pants. So we went to the closet and pulled out this adorable outfit my Dad and Maggie got Stellan on a recent cruise. It was marked 12 months, but we thought we'd give it a try anyway. The shirt fit perfectly, but it quickly became apparent that the overalls should be have been marked 6 months, or maybe even 3 months. Yes, my adorable child was quickly transformed into a fearsome wrestler baby. We laughed our heads off, let him wrestle the yoga ball while we snapped photos and imagined his future as the star of the Bahamas Olympic wrestling team, and then replaced the overalls with a random pair of pants due to the lateness of the hour. (This photo was taken at 8:42 AM; church starts at 9:00 AM.) As a result, we've been inspired to announce the first official Cookie Jar contest:Name That Lucha Libre Baby! Rules: You may submit names via the comments section of this blog entry. There is no limit to the number of entries any person may submit. The contest closes on Sunday, April 20 at 8:42 AM. Scoring: All names will be scored by the proprietors of this fine blog. Extra points will be awarded for alliteration, fierceness and, of course, use of actual Spanish words and allusions to real Lucha Libre wrestlers. Prizes: The top three entries will receive special mention on the blog, and the winner will get a special congratulatory message from Stellan himself, to be posted on aforementioned blog. Special Entries: We will also accept designs for baby wrestling masks.
Let's have a good clean fight. Let the Name That Lucha Libre Baby contest begin!
Some days are more eventful than others. So here's a play-by-play of this one.
The Day I Broke the Baby This morning Stellan and I were playing one of our favorite games, "Drop Stuff From the Top of the Stairs." In his excitement to get a new toy, Stellan quickly turned to his right and rammed right into the corner of a low wall next to the staircase. A purple line emerged almost instantly, and within a few minutes he was rocking a huge goose egg. Definitely the worst of his little life. Luckily, he was pretty much over it half an hour later.
The Day the Stars Shone Once Again Has the sky seemed a little different lately? That's because the stars stopped shining. Yes, the lamp in the planetarium burned out late last week. The timing was terrible (not that there's a good time), and I've been more than a little stressed scrambling to patch together some sort of substitute programming. In the meantime, I've been dealing with unhappy kids, parents, teachers, students, professors, volunteers, etc. To make matters worse, getting a replacement lamp turned into an ordeal on its own; the saga has yet to be completely resolved. Suffice it to say, I was pleased to hear that a package marked "Fragile" - it must be Italian - arrived for me this morning. I got in as soon as I could, and with the able assistance of my colleagues Javier and Tony (and the less than helpful lack of assistance from the projector manual), we got the new lamp in and functioning. So the next time you notice how sharp and clear the stars look, you can thank me. It's a lot of pressure knowing that it's up to you to fix the universe. The Day My Son Was Well Developed Since Stellan's birth, we've participated in the county program, Welcome Every Baby. As part of the program, every three months they send a representative to our house to see how Stellan's doing, track his development and answer questions. Stellan turned 9 months on Monday, and was due for a WEB house call. Today's visit was lovely; he was even gifted with a fun stacking toy set. In terms of development, Stellan is, well, stellar. Here's the breakdown, given in the age at which such behavior/development is normal: Social development: 15 months Self-Help: 15 months Gross Motor: 13 months Fine Motor: 13 months Language: 12 months Now, to be honest, I have to point something important out. Stellan spent the first many months of his life avoiding sleep. No, really - as a newborn, he got about 7 hours of sleep a day, total. So although he's 9 months old, he's spent as much of his life awake as most other babies at least a few weeks older than him. But of course I'd just like to think that it's really because he's just a bright and brilliant little boy. (Hey, I'm a proud mom and this is my blog; I'll gush if I want to.)
The Day Stellan Saw His Grandparents, Part 1 This evening Stellan's grandmas came by on their way home from work. They were kind enough to entertain Stellan while I gave our kitchen a little TLC. I even had time to start dinner before Kevin came home. In exchange for their services, we shared said dinner with them.
Stellan and Granny enjoy his new stacker toy, plus the Baby Beachcomber Band toys. It's a set of 5 music-making toys in the shape of fun marine animals. I got mine at the SBMNH Ty Warner Sea Center; you can too, but hurry - they're going fast!
Playing with Grandma can be hard work.
The Day Stellan Saw His Grandparents, Part 2 After seeing one set of grandparents, we thought of another set of grandparents who are leaving the country on Saturday. Although Grandma Maggie will be seeing Stellan tomorrow morning (she's kind enough to help watch Stellan on days when I work but Kevin has a class), Grandpa wouldn't be getting a chance to see him. So we dropped by for Grandpa's Stellan fix. (Too bad the kid doesn't get any love, huh?) Although I didn't get any photos of this visit, here's a photo of Grandma with Stellan yesterday. Notice her brightly colored (and steel strung) necklace, worn just for him.
The Day "The Office" Was New Yep, it's been a while, but it's back! In honor of the occasion, Stephie joined us. Although he tried, not even the baby could distract us from a heaping helping of humor. I can't wait for more! (That's more Office, not more babies. Just to be clear.)
As part of the permitting for my dad's remodel, the architect requested a photo of their garage with two cars in it. (Apparently, since the home was built 50 or so years ago, two-car garages went from 18 feet minimum to 20 feet minimum width.) Anyway, in order to get two cars in, they had to get everything else out. And that was the real job. We spent the morning hauling much more than I could possibly catalog here from the garage to a storage trailer parked out front. The "we" included Dad, Maggie, Stephie, me and two other helpers Dad hired for the job. Several hours later, the trailer was full and the garage was empty. Emptier than I have ever (and probably will ever) see it. So for anyone who's seen the garage before, you'll enjoy this photo:
On Tuesday, after helping me wreak havoc among my co-workers for April Fool's Day, Stellan discovered Catch. Yes, he came up with this all by himself.
As a postscript, my clever little son decided to see what else might roll off the porch. As you can see from the photo, he was largely disappointed with the results. It might be time for the "shapes" talk, so that he'll understand why flip flops don't roll very well.
Stellan has learned a pretty awesome new trick. He learned this from Grandma Susan when she was entertaining him in the back seat of our car by "sneezing" at him. (You child experts reading this will already know that sneezing is one almost sure-fire way to make a baby laugh, or at least stop crying.) Anyway, imagine our delight when he starting "sneezing" back! Here he is in action.