Monday, December 31, 2012

One of those things I saw on Facebook months ago, and we still reference and laugh about all the time...

We joke all the time that 2012 was the year of the"Ugly Bald Puppy".

Haskell is still waiting for Banner to be weaned, and find a permanent, loving home.
Alley is cool with him as long as he continues to drop Cheerios on the floor.
Gypsy knows I've gotten too attached, and he is here to stay.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The day AFTER Christmas was really Christmas take IV. And it was fabulous...

...and the Christmas snow lingered!

Trevor had to work on the day after Christmas, so it was just Banner and I for much of the 26th.

We spent the morning sleeping in, playing with all of his new toys, napping together and snacking on leftovers.  It was fabulous.  

One of Banner's favorite features on his new walker is the phone receiver.  He loves to answer it, and hand it to one of us (as if the call is for us).  It is just funny, though, because Banner has never seen an actual phone WITH a receiver in his life.  Only mom and dad on their iPhones.  But he watches us play with his phone, and knows that he is supposed to put the receiver on the side of his head.  He just doesn't know where, exactly.  Sometimes it is on his ear, but it is just as often on his head or neck.  He also mimics the way we talk into the receiver.  Only difference is that he never hangs up the phone.  Just kind of throws it down like he is exasperated.  But if you hang it up for him and it rings again, he will stop EVERYTHING to answer it.  

Not even a year old, and already a slave to the tele. 

Favorite shot of the day!

The dogs are terrified of Banner's walker.

Playing with the dump truck Grandpa Buddy gave him.

In the afternoon, my mom came into town and I took Banner to meet up with Grammy Pammy, Uncle Adam and Amy for a late sushi lunch.  Then, afterwards, we all returned to my house for another round of Christmas cheer with my mom (the weather the day before had prevented us from visiting her in Cedar Hill and opening presents at her house as planned).

We exchanged the rest of our presents, snacked on more leftovers, drank some wine, played with Banner and all of his toys FOR HOURS and - once Trevor got home from the office - watched THE DARK KNIGHT RISES while sitting around another great fire in the fireplace.

I loved every second.  It was like a bonus Christmas.

Since Banner had multiple Thanksgivings, it only seems appropriate that he have multiple Christmases, too.  After all, these firsts in life only happen once.  Best to drag them out and enjoy them for as long as possible.

Christmas Recap...

I can't believe that Christmas has already come and gone.  It all seemed to happen so fast.  I swear it was Thanksgiving only yesterday!

It has become tradition, since Trevor and I got married in 2009, to host an annual Christmas Eve party for close friends and family.  This year, we had nearly thirty guests, and our home felt so warm and cozy.  

It was even finally cold enough to light a fire in the fireplace.  First one of the season.  It was marvelous.

My brother and mom, thank goodness, arrived early.  I don't know what we would have done without them.  William helped with last minute food prep, Trevor furiously wrapped presents in the guest room, Grammy Pammy got our little rugrat all bathed and dressed for the party, while I ran to take care of my sister's dogs (Amy spent Christmas Eve in St. Louis with Adam's family and flew back Christmas Day).  Trevor had to work on Christmas Eve, so things were a little more last minute than usual.  I look back on the chaos of that evening (a mere FORTY FIVE MINUTES before the first guests arrived), and can't believe we managed to get it all done.  It was sort of a Christmas miracle. 

Banner stayed up way past his bedtime, and relished in all the attention he received.  I thought we'd never get him down, but he finally conked out a little before nine.  He was exhausted, but simply didn't want to miss a thing.  He is a little party animal.

Christmas Eve with Uncle Spencer.

Christmas morning started with a little unexpected drama.  Not only was North Texas rocked with powerful (and LOUD) thunderstorms and high winds all night, but my mom, who spent the night in our guest room, learned at 7 AM that my Uncle's bunny (who everyone thought was a boy) had a litter of kits sometime in the wee hours of Christmas morning.  Sadly, the mother bunny did not survive the birth, but - thanks to my Uncle and kitten replacement formula - three of the four babies are still going strong.  

We waited for Grammy Pammy to return before heating up the cinnamon rolls, making coffee and checking under the Merry Christmas "bench" to see what Santa had brought little Banner on his first Christmas:

Yep.  That's right.  Santa brought Banner a big, red fire engine.  He loved it and squealed when he first saw it.  I swear, that boy loves everything on wheels.  We didn't even bother to wrap it, and just left it on the floor with a big red bow.  He crawled right to it and smiled.  

And I think he would have been happy if Christmas had just ended there, because here is the face he made when we told him it was time to go back and open another present:

I think he thought we were taking his new toy away before he could have adequate time to play with it.  He still doesn't really understand the concept of presents, but definitely enjoyed discovering that TOYS were hiding under all that wrapping paper, ribbon and bows in the study.

Oh, and for the record, bows are also good for sticking in your mouth, on your shirt and your trusty dog's head:

(Poor Alley)

After my mom left, Banner took a nice, long Christmas nap, while Trevor and I watched it snow outside.  That's right:  Banner's first Christmas was technically WHITE.  Granted, it was only a dusting, but we will take it.  After all, this was only the SECOND white Christmas for me, and I've lived here all my life.

Banner, however, was less than amused by the white stuff.  Of course, it didn't help that his father hit him in the face with a snowball.


When he put his little hand in the snow (picture above) his face clearly registered pain.  I think it was so cold it burned.  But then he moved his hand, and whatever sensation he had been experiencing quickly dissipated.  I wish I had a recording of his face, though.  It was all "I'm wincing because this is so cold it hurts" followed immediately by "Wait. What?  Let me touch that again!"

His expressions kill me.

Christmas Part II was spent at Gran's house.  Banner really loved playing with Trevor's stepbrother's two sons.  They are 11 and 13, but were both so sweet and patient with Banner.  They played puppets with him, showed him their puzzles and games, and even helped to wrangle the little guy so Trevor and I could do a little socializing with the adults.  It was awesome.

We had our first of two Christmas dinners at Gran's (where Banner ate too much a vomited all over my white sweater and jeans)...

...before heading to Grandpa Buddy's for round II.  It was still snowing when we arrived at my dad's house, and a little icy.  It is on nights like these (few and far between as they may be down here in Texas) that I am glad I always keep my ice scraper from my days in Syracuse, New York in my car.  Of course, it also always seems to shock people when I whip mine out.  My mother-in-law just stared at mine with a look of impressed wonder on her face.  Even Trevor made a comment along the lines of, "D@mn, now that's an ice scraper".  

That's right:  behold my mythical piece of plastic with a brush on one end and scraper on the other.  It hails from an upstate New York Costco.

Of course, people in Syracuse always thought I said "cement" funny, and my freshman roommate confused the Texas flag I hung on our dorm room wall with the Confederate battle flag from the Civil War.  It is always something.

But seriously:  the ice scraper is the best $20 I've ever spent and has stayed with me for nearly a decade and a half, three cities, seven addresses and two cars.  

But (yet again), I digress...

Dinner was supposed to be at seven, but was delayed.  This actually worked out for the best because it allowed Banner to open and play with his presents.  And, by the time dinner was actually served, Banner was fast asleep in the pack-in-play in the den.  Marvelous.  

Just before Auntie Mimi gave him the wonderful
noise-making truck!

Seriously.  The kid makes the best faces! 

Being the first grandchild on both sides, means that Banner hit the Christmas present mother load.  He got three new trucks for his collection (seriously, the boy LOVES things on wheels), a Radio Flyer red wagon and scooter, a Cowboy teddy bear "popple", Christopher the story telling bear, a "tickle monster", much needed clothes, several books, a fabulous "Little People" Nativity...and that is just naming a few.  But one of Banner's favorites was the walker Amy and Adam gave him.  Which is funny since we were all so worried he'd be walking by Christmas and would show no interest.

(And, no.  He has taken any more unassisted steps since those three two weeks ago.  We know he can.  He just doesn't want to.  Remember this time last year when the doctor said he was exceptionally unmotivated?  Well, maybe Banner always falls into a holiday funk?  Or maybe he just likes crawling best, thankyouverymuch?  Considering how he was born, it wouldn't surprise me at all if he took off running one day and never looked back.  He just has his own schedule.)

Helping Uncle Adam put his new walker together.

And he is off!

Personally, I cannot WAIT to see him scoot around on his car scooter and to take him for a ride in his new red wagon.  I think he is going to LOVE both of those once the weather gets a little warmer, and (as far as the scooter is concerned) once his legs get a little longer.  Right now just his little tippy toes touch the ground when he sits on it.  So, to compensate, he tries to push it around his bedroom.

Sigh.  I'm already longing for springtime, I guess.  Until then, though, we are using the red wagon as toy storage in the study, and a "garage" for all of his trucks and tractors (we "park" all of them under it every night).

All tuckered out with Grandpa Buddy.

LOVE these pictures of him with my dad.

Passed out in the pack-in-play on Christmas night.

I'd say Banner's first Christmas was a wonderful success!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Between Babies: Thanksgiving and Christmas Edition

Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2012 09:02:19 -0600
Subject: What's Christmas
From: Nathan
To: Banner

Hi Banner,

I am sorry if I'm being a bad friend by not writing more frequently. It's been a busy week at my house ever since Thanksgiving. And, as far as I can tell, Thanksgiving is just like a birthday party only without the wrapping paper. I don't know where all of these people come from, but I have to figure out how to get my parents to stop taking me places where I get passed around like a hot potato. I was so worn out by the end of the day that I couldn't sleep. They seemed to understand that I wasn't happy and we went back home early, which did mean another ride in the car seat, but I was so exhausted that I slept through most of it.

But, anyway, when we got home, my dad was all excited about putting up something called a Christmas tree. The next day, I saw him carrying around this big green thing and he set it up in front of the window. I am not sure how much my dog liked having his window for squirrel watching taken away. But, the interesting thing is that then my dad got out this big ball of glowing lights and he and my mom put these lights all around the tree. Wow, glowing lights are pretty. I think that I could stare at them for hours. Then, they put lights on the outside of our house, too. I didn't really see much point in that because we never go outside. But, then, we took my dog for a walk one evening and a whole bunch of houses in my neighborhood put lights outside their houses, too. I still don't know why people do it, but I do like looking at the lights when we walk the dog. My mom and dad let me spend a lot of time looking at every house, but I don't understand why they ignore the coolest (and brightest) lights on the cars as they drive by. I mean, if we're looking at lights why wouldn't the moving ones be interesting?

Also, my Mom is acting funny these days. She is trying to feed me milk with a spoon. At first I thought that all of my bottles must be hiding from her, because she just kept doing it, so I finally gave in and ate a little. It seems like a very inefficient way to feed a hungry baby, though. But, then, she must have messed up because all of a sudden there were these little flakes in the milk. Seriously, couldn't she see that something was wrong with it? I draw the line at eating bad milk, so I have to keep turning my head when she brings that spoon to my mouth. Dad keeps telling me its something called cereal and I'll love it, but I do not believe him. I have seen his cereal in the morning, and it turns his milk into chocolate milk. The milk in my cereal is DEFINITELY not chocolate. And, it's not like Mom and Dad are helping themselves to any of this "cereal," so there's no way I'm touching the stuff.

A funny thing happened to me at daycare last week, too. I was laying on the mats trying to suck on my toes (every now and then I get them, so yummy!) and for some reason I found myself on my tummy. I don't know how I did it! But, there I was, laying on my tummy. Then, this weekend, my mom laid me down on her bed, and I heard my dad talking, so I turned to look for him, and all of a sudden I was on my tummy again. You should have seen their reaction. They were jumping all over the place like monkeys. It was so funny! Who knew parents could be so entertaining?

Well, I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, too, and let me know if you find out anything more about this Christmas event.


Date: Dec 7, 2012, at 3:29 PM
Subject: Re: What's Christmas
From: Banner
To: Nathan

Hi, Nathan –

No worries about not writing. It’s “the holidays”. Not entirely sure what that means, but mom has been saying it a lot like it is an excuse for everything. Don’t know what it is exactly, but she’s been more stressed than usual lately and in a bad humor. Maybe the holidays are like germs? She stresses about those a lot, too, and you get them from other people just like these “presents” she keeps talking about. Only difference is that she also seems to be arming herself with something called “gifts” to give to these other people when they give her “presents”. It all sounds very scary if you ask me.

I also have to go and have my picture made with some dude named “Santa” on Sunday. Not sure who he is, but it seems like everyone has to go see him this time of year. He is so busy I even needed an appointment. My grandpa made it for me. Mom says that in the future I’ll also have to make a list to give this Santa guy. I have no idea what I’ll have to put on this list, but something about it will make Santa decide if I am good or bad. I am already worried about it because EVEN IF Santa decides you are good, he STILL breaks into your house and drinks all of your milk and eats all of your cookies. Mom hasn’t mentioned what happens if you are bad, but I heard something horrible on TV the other day about some poor kid named Rudolf. Santa made his nose all red and forces him pull his car around everywhere in something cold called “snow”. Even worse – Santa’s car doesn’t have any wheels. Can you imagine? It doesn’t sound like you want to get on Santa’s bad side. Plus, he has an army of little people called “elves”. I overheard Caroline’s brother at day care talking about how one of these elves sits on a shelf in his room and makes sure he doesn’t do anything bad. I’ve looked all over my room and so far no elf, but the whole thing has me very worried about what I will do if one shows up.

Dad really wanted to get one of those Christmas tree thingys for our house, but mom said that were a “death trap” with me almost walking this year. So instead mom got something else called a “rosemary bush” and told dad that we could pretend it was a tree and put it on the dining room table. It is still outside, though, so I don’t know what is going on. The bush definitely doesn’t have any pretty lights on it, although my dad did put some of those on our house next to our front door. I can’t see them when I am inside, though, so just like you I really don’t get the point.

I hope Christmas is like Thanksgiving, because all I did on Thanksgiving was eat. Mom and Dad let me try all these new things, and everything was so yummy. I loved it. And then I took a nap and woke up at the ranch. I don’t know where the ranch is, but there were all these awesome trucks for me to play with that used to be my Uncle William’s. And it was Thanksgiving there, too, so I got to eat some more. It was great! But then I took another nap and woke back up in Dallas. I thought if I took another nap, I’d wake up somewhere else cool for more Thanksgiving but so far nothing. I hope it is Thanksgiving again soon. Mom had been saying it was her favorite, and now I know why!

In other news, I found out the other day that I am supposed to transition to the toddler room at school sometime soon. I was kind of excited at first because I am going with my BFF, Brox, but then my mom started to cry. She said I was “growing up” and “wasn’t her baby” anymore. Then I overheard one of my teachers say that I can’t have my bottles once I move to the new class. Just sippy cups. I was kind of okay with this, too, because I’m really good at drinking out of my sippy cup. But this news only made mom cry more. I don’t know what to do because I want to move to the toddler room so I can still play with Brox, but I also want to keep being my mommy’s baby. What should I do?


Subject: Re: What's Christmas
From: Nathan
To:  Banner
Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2012 18:33:21 -0600

Hi Banner,

I think its awesome that you can take a nap and wake up some place fun. Some times I fall asleep in my carseat and wake up at daycare. But I've never found myself at a ranch. Maybe I should try sleeping in the car more often.

I have heard about this Santa guy before. Dad said he comes on Christmas Eve and brings lots of presents and even fills something called a stocking. I hadn't heard about Rudolph or elves, though. But now I really hope I'm not bad.

I am sorry that your mom is sad about losing her baby. I think my mom is sad at times to see me growing, too. Although Dad said that is what I am supposed to do because babies grow. I don't think you have to stop being her Banner, an that should make her happy. Also, whenever my mom is sad, my dad gives her a hug. Maybe you can try giving your mom one of those.


Date: Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Subject: Re: What's Christmas
From: Banner
To: Nathan

Yo, Nathan -

A big, happy HELLO from the Toddler Room! Technically, it was only my first day and I only got to stay for an hour and a half, but it was FABULOUS. They have stuff to climb in there! I'm so excited to go back tomorrow for day two!

The only thing is that everyone in there has that whole walking thing down. I need to catch up. On Saturday I snuggled with mom all morning, gave her lots of hugs and tried to let her know I would always be her baby. But then she left for brunch with her friend and it was time to get down to business. Within ten minutes of mom leaving, I took my first three unassisted steps! Only problem is that dad was supposed to keep it a secret so mom wouldn't get all sad again. But wouldn't you know that he texted her right away! Sheesh. I'm not going to take anymore steps for awhile. It causes too much excitement.

I also met that Santa dude and his wife last weekend. I wore my plaid pants and bow tie. He was pretty cool considering I projectile vomited all over the Santa Claus Holding Room moments before being introduced to him. I wish I could say it was nerves, but honestly it had more to do with eating too many ginger snaps before playing the one, two, three, SWING! game with daddy and Uncle Adam.

In other news, I overheard my mommy talking about my first birthday cake. I've never had cake, but I overheard some of the other kids in my class talking about how awesome it is. Mom says she is looking forward to taking lots of pictures of me with it on my head and face. I don't understand what she is talking about since you are clearly supposed to EAT the cake, not wear it. Parents are so weird.

How's the rolling over and solid food experimentation going? My favorite are peas. Well, that is, until I got to try something called "chopped steak". Dad says mommy doesn't eat steak but it is okay because that means there is more for us.

Hope all is well!

Peace out,

Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 13:41:00 -0600
Subject: Re: What's Christmas
From: Nathan
To: Banner

Ho, ho, ho Banner,

Wow, congratulations on making it to the toddler room! You make it sound like fun! I hope that the toddler room at my daycare is that neat. I'm impressed that you managed to figure out how to take a few steps, too. Good idea to practice while your mom was out, that way when you get ready to walk for her you will be perfect at it. After hearing that your dad couldn't keep your walking a secret, I am starting to wonder if all dads have this trouble. My dad is the same way, and I have been told that my grandpa is a blabbermouth, too.

What was Santa like? I have been a litle afraid meeting him because I didn't want to mess up around him and be "naughty." I don't want to have to pull his sleigh or become an elf and make toys forever. But, if he wasn't too scary, maybe I'll ask my mom and dad if I can see him, too.

I've been having a rough couple of weeks. First my ears started hurting again, and then I had to drink that sitcky stuff mom and dad called medicine for days. Then, as soon as I was done with that, every one in my room at daycare got sick. Mom said it's because they were moving us all over to the other baby room in the evenings and we all caught germs. But, after trying for months to get sick, I finally got it right so that I could stay home from school. Staying home sick is a lot more fun than being at home with mom and dad on weekends because they held me the whole time.

I got some really bad news when I went to the doctor, though. She said that my teeth are close to coming in. Getting teeth has been awful, worse than getting shots! My gums hurt too much to eat, so I'm hungry a lot. And, because my gums hurt so bad, I can't sleep well, either. I've tried to chew on things, but it doesn't help much. How long does this go on, Banner?

My mom gave up on feeding me cereal, but she made my dad be in charge of it so I realized I couldn't get out of it. It's lots of fun to eat cereal with dad. He tells me jokes and keeps me laughing all of the time. My mom said I'm ready for something called vegetables now and I'm going to get to start eating it at daycare after Christmas, too. I just hope that I get to start sitting at the big table with my mom and dad soon. I like my bouncy chair, but it's not fun to be on the floor with my dog when they are sitting up high.

Oh, and when my mom dropped me off at daycare, my teacher told her that I'd be army crawling by Christmas. She thinks that its a hint that I'm already doing it at daycare, but they're not supposed to tell parents when we do new things for the first time. She asked me about it, but I'm not saying anything!

From what I hear, Christmas is close, so if I don't get a chance to write you before then, I hope you have a fun Christmas. Oh, and I can't wait to hear all about your birthday cake!

Ho, ho, ho,


From: Banner
To: Nathan
Subject: RE: What's Christmas
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2012 16:16:38 -0600

Hi'a, Nathan -

I hope you had an awesome Christmas! Santa came, but it wasn't creepy at all. I didn't even see him, but he left me a really cool fire truck in the study under the Merry Christmas bench. And, better yet, I saw absolutely no interruption in my milk or teething biscuit supply. If he did go through the fridge, he chose the right night to do so. Mom and Dad had a Christmas Eve party at our house, and the fridge was jammed with all sorts of goodies. That Santa guy could have gone to town and I doubt they would have been any wiser. I just hope he shared with that poor kid, Rudolf.

Sorry to hear about your ears. I can totally relate. Remember last time mom was about to go on a two week vacation back in August, and I faked being sick on her last day at the office? Well, I did it again. Except this time I really didn't feel well at all. Turns out I had something called a "double ear infection". I also had to take more of that crummy tasting medicine stuff. The good news was that I got to spend some extra time with my Auntie Amy and Uncle Adam over at their house. They always spoil me rotten, and have a dog named "Teddy" that is just my size. I just wish he didn't lick me all the time with his weird underbite. Auntie Amy told my mom that I had my first french kiss. I don't know what that is, but I got the distinct impression that it wasn't supposed to be with a yorkie-poo.

As for that teething thing: Bad news, dude. I think it happens forever. Just when one place starts to feel better another one swells up. Mom and Dad have, like, a bazillion teeth. I'm not sure it ever stops. The only good news about teeth is that they make chewing things a whole lot easier. Gumming everything to death is just so tedious. Especially when you are really hungry.

Oh, and mom made Happy New Year's cards. I didn't have your address, though, so I just scanned one in and I am attaching it above. Apparently, we are about to start a new year. Don't know what is wrong with the old one, but mom says it has absolutely nothing to do with my birthday. Birthdays = cake. New Year's = black eyed peas. Figure that one out.

Anyway, Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nanner, nanner, nanner...

A college friend of mine posted this link on Facebook for the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer.  I had no idea that Amazon could be used for sarcasm and mockery, but I absolutely love it.

Anyway, it was too good not to share:

Friday, December 21, 2012

First day in the TODDLER ROOM...

Today was Banner's first full day in the toddler room.

(Sniff.  He is officially no longer a baby.)

By all accounts, Banner was excited about making the transition permanent.  When his new teacher, Ebony, took him back to the nursery yesterday, he cried.  The toddler room just has better toys.  Not to mention an indoor jungle gym.

A jungle gym that both Banner and Brox can climb UP on without issue.  However, when it comes time to slide down the slide or climb down, they freeze up.  Apparently, Banner did use the slide...once.  Ebony thinks it might have been by accident.  There haven't been any repeat performances.

But I digress, Trevor was dropping him off and was impressed to see him sitting at the little table in the room like his classmates.  IN A CHAIR.  Seriously.  When did he grow up?  I'd include a picture, but it clearly has the faces of three of Banner's little classmates in it.  I tried to blur their faces out, but the end result involved faceless creepiness.  I couldn't handle it.  Instead, use this image by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge to get the general idea.  Except substitute babies for dogs, toddler-friendly snacks for cards and sippy cups for beer.  Because this is exactly what it looked like.  Mostly.

Photo credit HERE

My mom and I dropped by at nap time for a peek, and saw Ban napping peacefully on his cot next to his BFF, Brox.  It was the cutest thing.  And to think I LAUGHED when they told me Banner would be taking a two hour nap a day.  Those teachers work MAGIC.  Now if I could only duplicate this fabulousness on the weekends, we'd be set.

And, finally, here is Banner's first piece of "art" from the Toddler Room.  Clearly, he has his heart set on a white Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Learning about colors...

Hey.  At least he squiggled in the right color.