Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Liam Skills

Liam is doing new things on a nearly daily basis right now.  His language, his motor skills, everything, are just increasing at a crazy rate.  He’s learning things that I don’t even know how he’s learning.  I can’t count the number of times I have looked at Andy and said, “Did you know he can do that?”  Here are few off the top of my head:

-He can climb anything.  Stairs are no trouble.  Chairs, stools, counters.  He’ll climb them all.  He really likes to try to go across the three stools at the island…the three stools that are about 8 inches apart from each other.  Yeah.  Not happening.  Yesterday he climbed onto the island to try to get a toy that his grandma had put in the light fixture (I don’t know why…that was never going to end well).

-He can repeat a crazy number of animal sounds.  Quack is his favorite.  His stuffed dog Scout that he sleeps with does a whole, “Can you guess what I am?” then makes an animal sound, then says the animal name and asks him to do said sound with him.  He repeats Scout every time.  I can hear him playing with that and repeating sounds when he’s going down for a nap.  He also has a Baby Einstein book that has animal sounds, and he repeats those and does a hand motion for several.  His dolphin is hysterical.  I’ll try to get it on video.  Yesterday he picked up his monkey finger puppet and started making monkey noises, then tried to feed the monkey his banana.  And when I asked him if he was eating dog food (he was…he was supposed to give it to Ollie, took off and hid to eat it himself) he responded, “Woof.”

-He is starting to learn the alphabet.  I’m sure this sounds crazy.  But he really can recognize like five letters of the alphabet.  He has this Leap Frog Letter Factory toy, and you put each of the letters in the slot one at a time and it sings a song about them.  He will pick up letters, say the name of them, then put them in the toy.  He can do a, I, o, y, e, and sometimes p.  He pointed out the D on Andy’s parent’s vintage Coke machine the other day (it says ICE COLD on the bottom).  And today on Sesame Street they did the alphabet slowly, and he repeated most of the letters as they said them.  And sometimes on Word World and SuperWhy he shouts out the letters when they come on screen.

-He is saying a lot more.  Most of it is incomprehensible, and a lot of times he uses one word for opposites (off means off and on, hot means hot and cold), but he’s picking up new words.  He answered the telephone the other day (we didn’t know it….) and the lady who called said he said “Mom, telephone.”  I didn’t know he could say telephone…but Andy’s mom heard him say t-fa or something like it before that happened. 

-He is learning how to manipulate.  This one is crazy to me.  I can tell when he wants something from me because he will give me a kiss or a hug, or snuggle up sweetly, then go and try get/do what he’s not supposed to do.  Yesterday I told him he couldn’t have popsicles (Andy’s parents eat sugar free popsicles and a part of me dies inside every time they give Liam one….please, give my kid artificial food coloring and sugar free chemicals, awesome)(oh, and he won’t eat the homemade fruit popsicles I make for him because he’s developed a taste for the fake ones, more awesome), and he started to throw a temper tantrum.  Then he stopped, walked over to me, wrapped his arms around my knees to give me a hug, and smiled.  When I said, “Thank you for responding so nicely.” he then walked back to the freezer and tried to pull it open to get his popsicle.  So.  I only got a hug because he thought he’d get something for it.  Nice try.  Didn’t work.

And I’m sure there is more…but he’s waking up right now, so it’s time to go.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A sobering realization

I have been reading a book this week, and in it, I have made a startling discovery. 

I was really, really sick when Liam was born.

I knew it.  Sort of.  But not really.  See…I knew I had a fever, and I didn’t have the strength to get out of bed.  But I was so focused on not being sick, on enjoying the first days of being Liam’s mom, that I kind of let a lot of it slip over my head.  I lied to my mom.  I minimized what was going on, and kind of minimized it to myself.  But the book that I am reading has brought about a sobering reality.

In this book, which is a painful memoir of a year that no one should ever have to experience, the author’s daughter went into septic shock after pneumonia.  She was in a coma for weeks, and took a long time to heal.   But the mother’s accounts of the first days in the hospital sound so like the days after Liam’s birth.  She was lethargic, her fever was spiking to 103 and 104, and so many other little things.  And I realize how very blessed I was that our small town hospital figured out how to treat me so quickly. 

I was really, really sick.

But it could have been so much worse. 

I have been googling septicemia tonight…and fungal septicemia (which was what was on my discharge papers), and it’s scary stuff.  My sister has alluded to it before, but I really didn’t know.  I really didn’t want to know.  I skipped my annual exam with my doctor after Liam was born because I didn’t want to talk about it.  My child will be two in under three months, and I haven’t been to a doctor since I was released from care after his birth (my follow up exam).  I probably need to get on that.  I will have to find a new doctor, of course, and get my records transferred.  Because I probably should talk about it with a medical professional.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The daredevil and the introvert

If you know anything about Andy, you know that he tends to live more dangerously than I.  Not that he’s into skydiving or extreme sports, he just lives life at a much faster and louder pace than I do.  When we first started dating (9 years ago…) it wasn’t uncommon to see him leap over a parking meter or flip over the side of a railing.  It was just what he did.  He’s not quite like that anymore (the whole growing up, getting a job, having a kid thing slows some of that down), but he’s still more of a daredevil at heart.

If you know anything about me, you know that I am an introvert who sometimes pretends to be an extrovert.  Social situations wear me out.  I love them.  But I need to recuperate for a day after them.  I’m awkward, and I get clammy and nervous and convince myself that people are only nice to me because they feel sorry for me, or they just want to be polite.  I can talk a mile a minute and make you think I am completely self-possessed.  I can even keep up with Andy in a conversation…we can be a pretty witty pair when the time is right.  But it takes a lot of out of me.  I’d just as much like to be curled on the couch, or hiding in bed…or just plain alone.  Like to the point that last week I asked if for my birthday next year, I can go to a hotel and just be alone for a day/night (I was a little high on the drama last week…I also told Andy I wanted a YMCA membership not really to work out, but more for the free childcare while I took a shower).

That brings us to Liam.  This delightful creature who is half Andy and half me.  I have often said he is so much more Andy than me.  He operates at Andy volume.  He operates at Andy speed.  He thinks it’s hilarious to leap off the couch and land on his face, or to tip over in a box and bonk his head on hardwood.  He likes to climb tall things and move at fast paces.  The more dangerous and exciting, the better for Liam.  I don’t understand it.  But in the past few weeks, there have been a few instances where I realize he’s a lot me too.  Sometimes, after a particularly intense play session, he’ll go off in a corner and read a book by himself.  Or put together and take apart his Duplos for 20 minutes at a time.  This weekend, he was in high gear while playing with friends (the three daughters of our friends…ranging from 5 to just 2 weeks older than Liam), but after we had been at their house for a few hours, I watched Liam leave the group.  He played hard.  He pretended to be an extrovert.  But it wore him out.  And he wanted to be alone.  I watched my sweet boy step back from the group, and go to the playroom and play by himself for a while.  I asked him if he wanted to read with the girls, but he was content to be in the quiet for a few.  So I stepped back and let him.  Because I get it.  Sometimes it’s best to be quiet with yourself for a little bit.  I want to be sure to watch my sweet boy, to recognize these things in him.  To see that sometimes when he’s throwing a tantrum, it might just be because he needs to be alone for a few minutes.  I do it.  I did it three times last week.  And in our future home, I want to give him a space that can be his hideaway.  Because I was the girl who read books on the floor of my closet snuggled in with pillows, a sleeping bag, and stuffed animals.  And that boy does seem to be 50% me.

Friday, February 8, 2013

February Playlist

I made a playlist for January…but then I didn’t really listen to it much.  There were too many songs on it, and it just wasn’t right.  I need to combine my Amazon/Itunes music sometime soon…but I just got my computer back (it had been living in Madison without me)…so all of these songs were in my Amazon account (my phone makes it easier to use the Amazon MP3 app)….and it’s a little Mumford and Sons heavy…like a lot, really.  But I’m liking them right now…so it works.  Also…I did download Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson’s Winter Song…so it was a new song for me.  I kind of ended up with an unintentional super wintry feel…like these songs should be listened to tucked in under blankets whilst reading Jane Eyre and drinking Lady Grey tea.  It happens.

Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson—Winter Song

Mumford and Sons--

Whispers in the Dark

Ghosts that we Knew

Sigh No More

The Cave

Winter Winds

Little Lion Man


Imogen Heap—Can’t Take it In

The Lumineers—Ho Hey

Les Miserables soundtrack—Suddenly

Of Monsters and Men—Little Talks

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Liam’s favorite books: February

I thought I’d update this every so often too….some may be favorites for several months (we have some definite long-lasting faves).

Knuffle Bunny—Mo Willems

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus—Mo Willems

Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons—Eric Litwin and James Dean (Liam especially loves the song that goes with this…we’ve been watching Pete the Cat videos on YouTube

Llama, Llama Nighty-Night—Anna Dewdney

Pantone Colors Book—he is starting to be able to identify his colors because of this book.  He loves to look at it and point at the different colors.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What I’m Into: February

Recently, I saw somewhere this list of questions, as a kind of blog starter post…and I kind of thought it would be a great way to document what’s going on in our lives, and sort of in my brain.  So…every month or so, I thought I’d update, and at the end of the year, try to have a recap of year in a different light…through a new window, so to speak.  Although, I kind of guess this might be more of a January/February update…since some of it is what has happened, and some is what is/will be.  I’ll figure that out later.

On the Nightstand:


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  Andy got me the hardcover versions of all the books for Christmas, so I’m working my way through the books again.  I recently made a decision in regards to books, one that fits my personality best.  All books will start as library books/Kindle books/Kindle library loans for me.  If I truly love it, and know it will be a read-again book, then I will buy it in hardcover.  Because hardcover looks so much prettier on the shelf, and is just so much nicer.  That way, I can have the books I love, and not clutter my future home with things that I don’t find useful.  So that’s why Andy bought me the Harry Potter books in hardcover…they are a definite read-again.


Persuasion—Jane Austen.  Persuasion has my favorite Jane Austen heroine.  My parents got me the Penguin Classics hardcover versions of Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice for Christmas.  I read Pride and Prejudice last month, and am re-reading Persuasion this month.


Decorate—this was a birthday present from my parents and I cannot wait to peruse it.  I am super excited to start getting ideas for our second house.

At the Theater (or from the couch):

We went to see a movie in the theater in January.  We saw Les Miserables!  It was the second time we’ve been inside a movie theater since Liam was born.  The movie was really well done and lovely.  I cried.  And I truly loved the original song that was written for the film.  Here are the lyrics..I felt like it so captured that moment when one becomes a parent….the overwhelming feeling of love that engulfs you first realize that your child is your own.  I may have cried ugly tears in the theater, and wished my child wasn’t spending the weekend with my parents, so I could hold him close and breathe him in.

Suddenly you’re
Suddenly it starts
Can two anxious hearts
Beat as one?
Yesterday I was alone
Today you walk beside me
Something still unclear
Something not yet here
Has begun.
Suddenly the world
Seems a different place
Somehow full of grace
Full of light.

How was I to know
That so much hope
Was held inside me?
What has passed is gone
Now we journey on
Through the night.

How was I to know at last
That happiness can come so fast?
Trusting me the way you do
I’m so afraid of failing you
Just a child who cannot know
That danger follows where I go
There are shadows everywhere
And memories I cannot share

Nevermore alone
Nevermore apart
You have warmed my heart
Like the sun.
You have brought the gift of life
And love so long denied me.

Suddenly I see
What I could not see
Something suddenly
Has begun.

And I am trying to convince myself to try at least one Independent film on Netflix a month because it’s really easy for me to get sucked into tv shows and not watch anything that makes me think.  And thinking is a good thing.  Unfortunately, my first pick was really just kind of Eh….and not much for thinking.  It was mostly just kind of messed up.  I picked the movie Butter because it had Jennifer Garner.  But it was not one I’d watch again. 

On the small screen:

Here is where I say to you, Hi, my name is Ashley and I watch too much tv.  Way too much.  But my favorites in the last month were:

30 Rock—I was sad to see it go. But I liked it while it lasted!  Tina Fey is so seriously funny.  I mean seriously.

Downton Abbey—Although it made me cry harder than I’ve ever cried at a tv show before.

Sherlock—OHMYGOSH!!  I loved Sherlock.  Loved, loved, loved it.  Like I might rewatch it.  Loved.  Also…I’m weirdly into the BBC shows on Netflix right now. 

Nashville—I watched the first few episodes in the fall, then stopped for a while.  But I caught up on the season, and I’m rather enjoying it now.

In my ears:

I made a January playlist, but Liam’s dance mix got more play.  I need to make him branch out some, so I’m going to work on my February playlist shortly, and try to keep him on it a bit more.  Liam’s a big fan of Train and One Direction, but I need something a little deeper this month.  Liam also got this cd from my mother-in-law and it’s what we listen to in the car (and I so love it—it is Scripture verses set to music…amazing):

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Around the House

I was going to hold on until we had a house for this…but I realized that I did just help Andy’s mom redo their bedroom.  We found some new pillows and curtains at Target (have you seen the Threshold brand for Target?  It’s everything I ever wanted in my life and then some….only a slight exaggeration….but seriously, so beautiful and so affordable)…and she painted her bedroom.  And here is where I would like to submit Benjamin Moore’s Bennington Gray for the award for perfect middle-ish beige.  It’s not too dark, not too light.  It’s not pinky or yellowy.  It’s just lovely and creamy and warm.  I will try to get a picture later.

In the Kitchen

Andy and I went back to slow carb (although we’ve since fallen off because of lack of grocery shopping…hopefully we will remedy that later today).  My new favorite recipe is for Indian spiced lentils.  Go here for a lovely legume recipe.  I have cooked a stinking ton this month, I just don’t remember what, exactly…except for the lentils.

In my closet

Nothing.  My dresser is an IKEA shopping bag.  I have two pairs of jeans that fall off my bum, and spend the rest of my time in yoga pants and long-sleeved tees.  We need a house…I miss my wardrobe…all packed away in boxes in storage.

In my mailbox

I got birthday presents from my Mom and Dad.  Andy bought a server…like for computers.  And some books for Liam.  Because I cannot stop myself.  I might get another card or two for my birthday, but that’s probably about it.  Oh…and our tax documents…those came, haha!

In my cart

Size 2T clearance clothes at Kohls and Target, because I assume that’s what Liam will wear in the fall.  He now has 4ish pairs of pants and 6 or 8 long sleeved tees to get through the last of this winter/start next fall.  Most of his 18 month clothes fit fine, and should get him to warmer weather,but just in case, I’m covered.  And if they still fit in the fall, then I am excited.  Because I have spent less than 20 dollars on all of it.  And I got Liam three new plates because they had my favorites again at Target.  Somehow, I can only find heavier weight non-slip toddler plates in the seasonal aisles at Target.  They didn’t have any for Christmas, but there are Valentine’s Day plates.  So now my son eats off of Halloween and Valentine’s plates every day.  And I bought a birthday present for a sweet boy who turns three this month…I got it with Kohls rewards this morning.

On my heart

I have been dealing a lot with old anxiety and fear issues.  You know, the ones that crop up every few years and seek to debilitate.  They are in full gear right now, and I’m kind of a wreck.  And general anxiety over Liam, and wondering if every bad thing that happens is my fault….and that other people don’t have the problems with their kids that we have with Liam, our strong-willed boy….and trying to figure out an appropriate level of correction

In my prayers

-Our house.  And the need for a new home.  We really need a new home….really, really.

-Andy’s dad.  He may be having surgery to close the wound in his back in the next month or two (his hole still takes 4 yards of gauze to pack…and they pack it twice a week), which will be a real blessing.  But until then, the constant pain and nausea he deals with daily are more than most could bear.

On the calendar

Interestingly, not much.  This month seems to slow down some after a recent whirlwind.