So, today George decided that we had to read this book that my dad got him that's just a series of animal faces and the sounds they make. Over and over and over again. Once we were done, we'd read it again. And again. It was hilarious. He also had to make sure that I was really there reading with him, so he'd always have a hand resting on my leg like this, especially when looking away to watch Grandpa play Zelda for a second.
He'd also take a moment to rest between readings every so often.
But mostly he'd just tell me it was time to read the book. Again.
WOW. Why does eight months old feel, like, so old? I can't believe our beautiful kid is only four months away from being a year old, that's amazing! I feel like the months go by faster and faster. Wow, seriously. Eight months!
One thing he's really started doing is the "wa-wa-wa" thing, like the Indian noise you learn in elementary. He started doing it with his stackable donuts, then people's fingers, then the back of his hands, and just, well, everything he can figure out how to "wa-wa-wa" on. If a toy cannot be "wa"-ed, then it sucks, basically.
George has gotten to be very Thor-like; as soon as he's done with something it just tosses it away. "I'll have another."
This really started a while back, but this month it's just come full force where George has learned to beat his toys against one another. Literally, just smash them. He's really a Hulk/Thor combo. He also likes to knock everything over, which is why he is now called "Brutus" thanks to my mom; it's hilarious.
This is George in his Spider-Man bathrobe from his Aunt Sarah and Uncle Ken post-bath-time. It's kind of the cutest thing ever. George's dad is sure proud!
Speaking of sharing, him and Babs now have this thing where he'll feed her during every meal, or at least try to. If she can swing it, she'll very gently just eat the food out of his hand. George has also been known to let Babs lick his food. Yum.
Before, when he didn't want to go to bed, we'd just have to suck it up and stay up later. Now I can just put on any video and give him a bottle and it'll zonk him out most of the time. For us, going to bed is all about being comfortable, so the fact that when we lay George down in his crib--after he's started whining that he's so tired--and he just grins, that's pretty satisfying for us. We really wanted him to feel good about going to bed, like it's a happy thing, so seeing that makes us happy.
Bed time is only ever something to roll our eyes over when he just acts like a spaz in his crib for an hour. Pulling and shaking the crib bars so hard it knocks the camera down. (See? Brutus.) But hey, he's happy, and he asks for it, so who are we to say?
Loves his juice. Seriously, he's our kid. He's a total fish, just like Bradley and I. He just chugs it. Which is good, because his constipation necessitated major prune juice (which, yo, works like a charm. As in, poop-up-to-his-elbows charm).
Since he's started putting himself to sleep (a-lah video), he has fallen asleep with his bottle in his mouth many times. It's super darling. He also likes to sleep shoved up into one side or corner of the crib. He's strange. But man, he moves so much over the night. He'll fall asleep in the middle of his crib and I'll go in to get him the next morning and find him smooshed into a corner.
We play this game using my old wooden blocks my dad made me and my siblings long, long ago, where I stand up the wooden cylinders on a big block and George has to steady his hand enough to be able to grab a cylinder rather than knock them all down. It's been really cool to watch how his dexterity has developed, I hadn't thought of how much it would help him learn to steady his hands and secure a better grip, I just started stacking blocks and he created the game. It's been seriously funny!
"Da-da" is the new favorite word. "Ya-ya" was the favorite for a few days, but it returned to "da-da" pretty quickly. He refuses to say "ma-ma" again or wave anymore.
Really into this fake, smoker-esque cough thing. It's his fake laugh, but it just sounds like he's choking. He's weird. My mom and I would fake laugh to him and he just started copying it. What have we started?
Oh my, the head tilt. He does it whenever he's trying to figure something out. Who it is, how it works, what it is. And it's a seriously deep dip to the side, incredibly low to the ground when he's sitting on the floor staring at something or fiddling with something.
Smells like Pop Tarts. Or maple syrup. That one's been happening for a long while; the Pop Tarts were new, though.
Has begun the whole holding his arms up so as to signal that you should pick him up. We love it. It's just too cute and it makes us super happy when we're the chosen one.
Honestly, George loves to play on his own. We were at Brittany's house for a sibling gathering where I had set George on the floor because he wanted to play by himself. Ben came over to play with him and I warned him that George was not going to want to play, that he wanted to play on his own. Ben tried anyway and George literally yelled at him and shoved him away. Yes, that's my kid, no DNA test needed. (And yeah, I'm pretty proud.)
We have a running joke started by my dad about George "imprinting". The joke is whoever sees George first in the morning--my mom or my dad--he "imprints" on them and they're his favorite for the day. It's pretty accurate so far.
He's still so close to crawling, but hates working on it. No worries, he'll crawl when he wants to crawl, and currently all he wants to do is sit up. All the day long. He just digs it.
George also has made me further proud by following in his mom's footsteps and wrestling with his blanket. Good boy, George.
So now that we have eleven o'clock church not only are we finally able to function and actually go to church (nine o'clock sucks hardcore; I'm fairly sure that no new parent is able to fully attend more than one hour of nine o'clock church. And that they're always late. ALWAYS), but we're also able to do mornings a little more relaxed rather than rushed.
George takes the relaxation seriously because this past Sunday morning we were attempting to get him dressed to go eat some breakfast since he had peed himself in his pajamas (we need to get nighttime diapers or like not-cheap-o diapers, apparently), and he literally refused to allow us to put pants on him. As you can see, he ate breakfast pants-less. Which means he won that battle.
Mostly this just proves that George is absolutely my kid, because I'd be doing the same thing if my dad hadn't forbade me from walking around the house in my garments. It's "disturbing" he says.
Someday I will have my own home and I will be pants-less in it. SOMEDAY. For now, George is the lucky one who for some reason is "cute" when his pants are off. Which I suppose I get in some respect.
On Saturday my mom and I went and got Cafe Rio for ourselves, our husbands, Alix, and Brandon.
When we get ready for eatin', we all usually eat at the counter or sitting on the couch, but my dad likes to lie on the ground in the family room to eat. So when my dad sets up his plate it's always next to George, who sits and plays with his toys on a blanket by Grandpa. It's always a good distance away because George always wants Grandpa's food so you've got to make sure that the food is out of his reach.
So, my dad has set himself up. He starts eating. The whole time George is just staring at him and periodically opening his mouth expecting food, super funny. At one point a customer calls and my dad has to go out to the shop to help them real fast. The rest of us are in the kitchen eating and talking and George is playing on his own for a moment.
Bradley goes to go check on George and starts laughing. "Heather, you have to come see this!" So I walk over and there's George, totally fallen over in my dad's Cafe Rio dish. We didn't take a picture of it because he was just floating in the tin foil box. But he just grinned when we picked him up. Here's his bean head.
We had no idea how he got there! Seriously, he was pretty far away, and he was sitting up on his butt. Here's the obstacle course he went through. He was sitting by the a-frame toy at the top of the photo when we last looked.
I suppose food will be the greatest motivator to get him crawling. Greatest moment ever, we were all dying of laughter.
So we got this walker toy for George for Christmas. It's cute because it's multi-functioning, so it's not just a walker but it can also be folded up so that it lays flat, more like a little table, or basically can be used for more than walking. Black Friday fifteen bucks, say what!
Anyway. On the walker there's a set of dials that interconnect and when you spin one, all three of them spin. Intense, right? One of the dials has a little handle you can use to spin, the other two bordering it have a little hole that you put your finger in to spin them. My dad showed George how to do the latter, and now he's obsessed with his pointer finger and it's many uses.
Here's him using it with his toy.
And now he uses his pointer finger with everything. When he wakes up in the morning, I'll come in and he'll be pulling himself up on his crib bumpers to poke his finger in the screw hole. When he eats his Cheerios or Fruit Loops, he has to poke at them with his finger until they stick to it. Wherever there's some sort of crevice, it must be poked. Including this book.
He'll also just hold his pointer finger ah-lah "number one" all the time. Granted, it's true, he is numero uno. And hello, we all are just as a family. Duh. See, it's in our family picture.
I really shouldn't encourage it by dedicating posts to it. It'll just get the wrong idea and think that I'm all into it or something. But it's such a common occurrence that I can't neglect to mention it's presence in our lives.
What is Mom Hair? It's the dump truck on my head that I roll out of bed with and for some reason just let it be. It compliments my flood-pajama-pants-and-Brad's-shirt combo. Classic staple to any wardrobe, I tell you.
Okay, those pictures don't do it full justice. You ready for this?
Seriously, this is what Brad gets to come home to. And yet somehow he still loves me, even with Mom Hair in the mix. He's a good man, that one.
There was just something really, really super cute about the three greatest men in my life all sitting on the floor eating dinner together as we're all watching an episode of Supernatural. I love seeing these three together, hanging out like home dogs.
(If you'll notice, my mom is the only one with enough manners to not eat her vegetable soup on the floor.)
The other night my mom, sister, and I went out to Ross to look for ties for James (for some reason I thought missionaries hated getting ties, but the ones we sent James for Christmas he loved and requested that we send more). Although Brad wanted to hang with George, we took the baby because the kid really, really needed to get out of the house. Plus he loves riding in the shopping cart. We had a good time, George decided that toilets make him jump, and wanted to eat everything we passed, because he's cool like that.
On our way home, and I don't know what started the conversation, we talked about my birth story. In short, my birth story is horrific. My heart rate was dropping, and my mom kept pointing it out but the nurses said that I had probably just moved and to just change sides. My mom continued to point it out but they continued to brush her off. As I was finally ready to come out they realized that something was really wrong. They basically hacked at my mom to get me out of there. Every doctor in the hospital was in the room waiting for the moment that I came out. I came out blue, I was physically dead. I had been strangled by my umbilical cord, and the process of birth basically killed me. Thankfully, a very large team of doctors and the blessings of the Priesthood saved my life! I think I scored a one on the apgar test? Luckily for the second one (the one that really counts, apparently) I scored a ten, so ooh-rah!
But really, listening to that story, hearing details that I hadn't heard before, I realize how close George's birth could have been to mine if my doctor had brushed off signals like my mom's had. Each time they upped the pitocin, George's heart rate would drop or jitter. The nurses noticed and they lowered my dosage. They never let him stay in distress, they watched him so carefully. And so when he came out with this big ol' bruise on his tiny head and that umbilical cord wrapped around his throat, I did realize how close he could have come to dying. My story is so miraculous, I shouldn't have lived. My mom's friend who was in the hospital that night with a labor scare heard nurse's talking about "the baby who scored a one on the apgar test and still lived".
It just makes me think: what if? What if they had made George come naturally? I'm just so grateful for modern medicinal practices and knowledgeable doctors like Dr. Later who are educated enough to make decisions like the one he did. He just knew. It was four o'clock when he knew that a c-section was needed and by 4:27 PM I was hearing George for the first time. The swift action prevented George from even swallowing any amniotic fluid or getting some sort of infection or whatever. He came perfectly healthy, and it's amazing how much of a blessing the fact that there's the ability to just cut me open and scoop him out! (After shifting all my organs around, of course.)
It's almost (only almost) funny how similar George's birth story is to mine. We're literally two sides of the same tale. We're sort of creepy like that. It also makes me slightly frightened that my first daughter will have the same tale as her father... which means twins. Which sounds horribly painful to walk around with two children in your gut. One was painful enough. So yeah, please no twins. For the sake of my old lady hips. Please.
P.S. George slept through the night last night. Like, literally. He was back to his great sleeping of sleeping from like eight to seven, with only getting up once to eat and going right back to bed. Yeah, nope. Slept through the whole night, didn't need to eat. It's freaking awesome. Even if it's just one night, it's still just freaking sweet! Thank you Mr. George!
So, this is incredibly long-winded, but it's something that I don't want to forget over the years or wash over with my own laziness, so here we go!
When considering 2014 and what it meant for us and really what we wanted to accomplish this year, Brad and I were actually pretty stumped. I remember talking on New Years Day, we had gone to eat at Rock Creek Pizza for a breakfast/lunch after "sleeping in" (or some variation of it, because with a baby there's really no such thing), and we were wishing one another a Happy New Year when we were asking, "What will this year bring for us?" Uh, yeah, no clue. Nothing definite, that's for sure.
2013 was a huge year that included a lot of big events in our lives. Yeah, big events. Can you say parenthood? And college graduate? And first-big-boy-job and official breadwinner? Stay-at-home mom? The realization that we have successfully acquired the one thing I wished for in our marriage--amazing insurance?! 2013 also included my little brother leaving us for two years (and to think it's only been six months... pretty sure six months is good, right? He can totally come home now). It also included our first vacation as no longer a couple but a full-fledged family, which included air travel. These were all things that we expected and knew were going to happen and as such we were ready for 2013 to be a big year.
Sitting at that restaurant table, eating multiple helpings of pizza from the buffet, George munching on some pizza crust and staring at the gathering of elderly people at the table next to us, Brad and I had no idea what this year was going have in store for us. Except, hey, Heather's finally going to finish her last class and graduate and that we were going to walk at April graduation. Other than that, nothing was sure. We knew what we wanted (cough, a home), but we didn't know if it'd really happen. And that was it.
Our marriage so far has shown us that, as many goals as you may make, you just can't predict the future. And really, that's sort of what goals are--our predictions of what we hope our future is like. Our predictions back at the end of 2011 for the following year included buying a home and graduating in April 2013. Um, yeah. No dice. So, as we approached the idea of goal-making this year it was rough because we knew that anything could happen. And sometimes working towards some huge end-goal can be incredibly depressing because it sometimes feels like all you're reminded of is how you're still not there yet. As such, we were kind of remiss to consider making more goals that just weren't going to happen. But then, what do you do?
The other day I ran along this article from Entrepreneur where the author talks about replacing goals with systems. And seriously, it was mind-blowing for me because it just made so much sense. Why are goals so hounding sometimes? Because they're just these huge, bloated things that take longer to accomplish and so as you're working to get there all you do is feel so aware of it being so far away. The idea of a system it just to break that huge goal down and, rather than making it all about this end-point idea, it just becomes implementing something new in your life. Which, duh, has been said before. A million times, I'm sure. But seriously, it didn't not click for me until this guy just chose a different word that just works better with my brain, I guess.
Really, it made me think. Why do I yo-yo with everything I want to accomplish? Like, being at a healthy weight, for example. Back in ninth grade I realized that I wanted to lose weight. And, working super hard, I did. I went down two pant sizes. And it was awesome. But then, started college. Same thing, wanted to lose weight. Luckily I got a job that made that super easy, considering I spent all night as a night guard walking up every step at Heritage Halls. Awesome, lost the weight again. Then, got married. Gained weight. Wanted to lose it, did it again.
But wait, why does this keep happening? Why, when obviously being at a healthy weight is a constant goal I feel the need to address each year, is it not something that I just haven't stuck to? Because, dude, it was a goal. I completed it. I was done. I had accomplished my goal, and as such the thought to continue what I was doing during really occur to me. So slowly, I stopped doing what I was doing to lose that weight. And, lo and behold, I gained the weight again. Not shocking.
I guess this where the terminology of a system is different. It isn't a goal. It's not something that I can do and be done with. It's something that just becomes what I do, for forever. Seriously. It isn't a goal because it's not something that I do and am done. It's an eternal perspective, and I don't know why I didn't get this before, because it's a topic that I hear in General Conference and in church and from the general authorities and from the Prophet. It's something that I can't believe that I didn't figure out earlier!
The other day George had gone down for a nap and I was going to finally shower after who knows how long, and just before I was about to hop in I decided to weigh myself. And, dude, it sucked. It sucked so hard. In that moment, I returned to that goal of losing however-many-pounds. It was so far away. What was the point? Nothing was changing, that goal was no where closer to what it had been a month ago. And I wanted to give up. What was the point? Nothing was happening. It would take forever to reach my goal.
And then I just froze. That's what this stupid goal was doing to me. Not only was it vague and had no real help on how I was going to accomplish it, but it also just only served to make me feel bad for still not accomplishing it.
This moment just made me realize how I didn't want my kids to be stuck doing this. I don't want our years to be filled with goals but with zero planning or mapping on how to get there. I don't want to focus on goals, on losing ten pounds or buying a house. I don't want us to be so stuck in the future that forget today and why it's so great. Everyday I realize how much George does exactly as we do. And so, that's why systems are so great. We're moving that focus from, "Oh, I'm inadequate until such and such happens," to, this is what I'm accomplishing right now, every day. I'm not going to worry about how much weight I "need" to lose, I'm just making exercise a part of my life (finally).
So, sorry about this horribly long-winded thought process. But seriously, I feel good. I feel like I'm accomplishing multiple things every day. And it's really nice! So, without further ado, here's the one-sentence, semi-vague version of the systems we're looking to start in 2014, and still be doing when we're on our death beds in, say, 2084 (which is weird to write). Basically, when we condense it down like this, they're kind of like our house rules!
Move every day.
Exercise three days a week.
Put away money each month.
Be together as a family, undivided attention, every day.
Daily and voluntary family scripture and prayer.
Church is a blessing; if it's adding stress, we're doing it wrong.
Give each other and our kids one-on-one time each day.
Find interest in whatever our kids or each other are interested in; there is no such thing as a stupid hobby or one that's a "waste of time".
Make a healthy life something that's not about cutting things out but rather adding things in.
Always be willing to try new things.
Never question dropping a schedule for something spontaneous.
There's very little that cannot be ignored in the interest of a child wanting your attention.
Homes are made to be lived in, be okay if they look that way.
If you do it, they will. If you don't, they won't. Build the habits you want in you first.
So, seven months marks the month where George was sick literally the entire month. Yep. Right? This meant a lot of late nights hanging out with a baby who was happy just not tired! So yeah, awkward family photos at midnight.
This also meant random Walmart runs at ten o'clock at night, wherein George was suited up to protect him from the cold. Let's just say it was kind of the funniest thing we'd ever seen and totally made the Walmart trip worth it to see him marshmallowed up in that thing. George found it super hilarious, too.
George's sickness was due to series of issues, including teething (again), those teeth regressing (again), creating an ear infection (again), and then just for fun constipation. But seriously, still the happiest baby on earth, just would not go to bed till one AM every night and then would still get up multiple times. I seriously didn't even figure out that he was sick until he finally started pulling on his ear later in the month. I just thought, hey, six month sleep regression. Or, you know, something. His doctor said that with some babies the only sign of something being off is not sleeping well randomly. So yeah, go figure.
Because of the sickliness, George's entire sleep routine was out the window. We usually just rock him to sleep, but because it hurt his ear to lay in our arms and rock like that, and then again it hurt his ear to just lay down in the first place so he wouldn't just play in his crib until he fell asleep, and we were just sort of at a loss. Randomly one night, after a long attempt at helping George fall asleep, I just pulled up a Baby Einstein video on YouTube called "Lullaby". I rocked George while we watched it and, BAM, fast asleep. We eventually found out that if we just set up the iPad in his crib he'd watch it and fall asleep. I have never been so grateful for modern technology in my life!
Other than that, we discovered many things to be grateful for when it comes to distracting a sick child, including Babs, our several cats, Bubble Guppies, taking trips to basically anywhere, and just a village of people--both family and friends--who just really love our kid, even at eleven o'clock at night. Or midnight. And he's still awake. Oh, and Zelda. He still just love, love, loves to watch my dad play Zelda.
During this strange month of sickness, George developed a necessity to play alone. He'll seriously get mad at you until you set him down with his toys and just leave him alone. Once you back off he's super happy. Yep, he's my son. Gotta have our alone time!
He purposely sets things out of his reach to see if he can get them again, and then gets super upset at you if you mess up this system and try and help him get the toy. This very, very strange system.
Started swinging his legs, whether you're holding him or he's sitting in his high chair or wherever he may be able to do so. It's kind of the cutest.
Basically only played sitting up the entire month because it hurt his head to play on his stomach for too long. Just set him down with his toys and he can be good playing by himself for a long, long time. Like I said, much of this time was him demanding to be alone. This was weird for me, I felt like I was neglecting him if I did something else, so basically I would creep around a corner just watching him.
Started really doing the typical baby thing of grabbing something simply to just shake it as hard as possible. Which I did not realize how hilariously adorable that is, so when I first saw it I was like, "OH MY. That's freaking cute!" He now shakes the keys just like his Aunt Alix. Stud.
His two favorite toys this month were Brad's badge and a binky. And he completely uses the binky as a chew toy, never to suck on. Hey, at least we're still getting some use out of them! He's never been a pacifier sort of dude. Which sucks when he could totally be using it to help his ears feel a little better, but oh well. Baby Einstein took that distraction gig, so thanks again to them!
Stalker breathing at full force for the majority of this month along with a continuing of the Tina groan. Still funny. Seriously. So funny.
On Christmas we got a video monitor for George's room (greatest present ever, gracias to the parentals of mine). That night we had it all set up and set him down in his crib to watch his "Lullaby" video. We had the video feed running on my phone while we played Starbound, and randomly George just started saying "da-da". And it was DARLING. Seriously, just out of the blue, Christmas night. So this goes on for probably thirty minutes, him just chatting it up in his crib, so we go pull him out because it's way too cute. As we're hanging out some more, George busts out out with the "ma-ma" followed very quickly by "ba-ba". Um, cute. "Ba-ba" is the running favorite currently, and he now says it all the time.
Bouncing him on your knee can be the funniest thing ever, because he just talks while he's being bounced.
Became a severe mama's boy for a while while he wasn't feeling so hot. He's still a tad on that kick, as in he's perfectly happy with his dad or some family member, sees me, has to boob about it. Total nerd.
Had his first Christmas Eve! It was a really good day that we spent with Brad's parents all day. However, sadly it ended in basically George's worst constipation ever. It had both my mom and me bawling about it. George was just so sad, it was terrible. But he chippered up right after it was over, it wasn't a big deal. My mom and I are just cry babies. And man, George sure looked super cute in his Christmas jammies!
George also wore his first sweater vest this month. He loved it, I swear.
This month also marked the first time George was introduced to action figures. He loved Wolverine because he could eat his claws. He also liked Moon Knight for his cap and Sentry for the same reason. We're pretty proud.
And finally, this kid is working so hard to crawl. He's been able to roll across the room for a while, but he pretty much hates it more than anything else in the world, so when he's doing time on his belly he's pushing his whole butt into the air or arm crawling or just scooting in circles, all in attempts to crawl. He gets up on his knees and rocks back and forth or will just push himself backwards, but no crawling yet!
George is also wearing 12-month clothing and he started smiling like Brad, as in he'll squint his eyes to smile like Brad does and it's SUPER hilarious. Brad's pretty darn proud!
As Brad and I sit here, drinking leftover Jones Sodas from our New Year's party that ended at ten rather than midnight and cringing at the fireworks lighting off outside because we've just gotten George to sleep, it's funny to think of where we were at this point last year and compare it to now. We're parents. This time last year, we were just over half-way through my pregnancy. Now, we have our seven month-old son. And he's incredible, he's a total nerd. Which is just awesome, in our book. This clearly marks him as our offspring, and we're proud.
Here's to 2013, which gave us George Bradley, gave us parenthood, and showed us many times over how blessed we are to have the family, friends, and life that we have. Here's to an incredible year, one which we will always look back to with fondness. Mostly because it meant the end of college and the beginning of life. Let's just say we can't thank you enough for that. (Because, yeah, FINALLY.)