Cookies from Santa

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M and I made biscotti for Santa this year, 'cause in our house that's what Santa prefers. No cookies for Santa, but M got cookies from Santa - his very first GF cookies.

We're mixing them up right now and by "we" I mean M is climbing up my leg like a little monkey, seconds from a meltdown because he's down there and I'm way up here.

If all goes as planned we'll have 30 delicious cookies that will last about six months.
Ooh, they're done and it looks like they're a hit!


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First Christmas as a One Year Old

Last year M was 15 days old for Christmas, I had spent the night in the hospital with mastitis and we had Chinese take-out for dinner when I finally got home. It was hardly as awesome as Christmas with a one year old.

We all woke a little early when little M decided to wake up at 7:30 instead of his usual 8. After milkies in the living room we dove into stockings. M lead the charge pulling leggings, puffs, trucks, smoothies, a marshmallow Santa, an elephant bowl from the zoo, socks and....
A kazoo!
PawPaw got a matching one in his stocking too. M picked up on how it worked - perfectly when all you do is babble anyway - and we've been enjoying kazoo concerts ever since. While we emptied our over-stuffed stockings, M ate his breakfast of pumpkin pancakes and tons and tons of the blueberries we picked together last summer.
And when he was finished (in like, two seconds) we moved on to opening gifts under the tree. M hadn't gone into the living room yet to see what Santa had brought. We had put away all his toys the night before so he would actually see the stuff under the tree - he definitely saw it!
He went straight for the ice cream cones - that's mummy's boy! Then he moved on to his mega blocks, a mega hit.
He played with the box of his new dump truck, taking the dump off the truck and dropping it in the box:
Before moving on to opening wrapped presents:

He loves his hammering pegs toy from Mamie - it only took a few demos by Dada and PawPaw before he understood how to use it.
 We opened at least half of our gifts while M thoroughly played with his. Then he inspected the falling snow outside:
Since we had dinner reservations at 2:30, we paused for breakfast midway through gifts lest we fill up on sticky buns, sausage and eggs and be too full to gorge ourselves on lobster and prime rib later in the day. I cooked up a bunch of scrambled eggs and sausage while my mom arranged the pecan sticky buns I made the night before on a plate. S had a giant glass of eggnog, which M demanded he share. 
My child has never had any kind of milk except mummy's milk and now he's drinking eggnog. He's obsessed, of course. 

After breakfast we returned to the living room for more gifts. M got some fruit from Mamie & PawPaw that will be perfect for teaching fractions. The apple has four segments held together with magnets, the orange two and the pear three. He was really into the pear.
M is a one-nap-a-day kind of boy and that nap usually falls within a couple hours of waking, so he was very ready for a nap at this point, which translated into laying down and getting cozy with his orange.
After nap we suited up and went out into the fresh dusting of snow. M went for a ride in the sled that Mamie gave him earlier in the week.
Then he tested out some of the non-yellow snow with Lexi and Mummy, who at one in the afternoon, was still wearing Christmas PJs.
We all went inside and got ready for our big adventure to the Harraseeket Inn Grand Christmas Buffet. Check out M's and PawPaw's matching sweaters. M also has little trucks on his cords. So freaking cute. (Yes, that's S with the cute ghost face.)
S and I have been to the Grand Buffet once before and this year was as grand as the time before. It's so wonderful to go out for Christmas dinner. Especially when that dinner comes with as many lobsters as you care to eat.
Among other things, I had several lobster halves, a "retro wedge salad," duck, lamb, ham, haddock, goat cheese souffle and tastes of about five different desserts. We were there for two hours and M was a total rock star. He had a high chair next to mummy and his tiny diner set up on the table in front of him. He ate lots of smoked salmon, some smoke scallops, ham, watermelon, lobster dipped in butter and then puffs and yogurt bites one at a time to keep him occupied and happy the entire time. And when those yogurt bites ran out, he had some ice cream. Eggnog and ice cream in one day, thank you, Daddy. 

Before we left M had a quick go at the piano with the giant polar bear, which was very entertaining or the guests playing some stodgy old game next to us in the sitting area.
We drove home in the snow and played with new toys, opened one more gift, and left the remaining three gifts of M's for later. It was an excellent Christmas day - so much fun with my one year old!

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Happy Holiday Vacation!

Check out P&G's eStore for all the little things Santa didn't leave in your stocking!

Little M and I have been on vacation for nearly two weeks now. S was away for a month so M and I were alone for a few weeks, then my mom flew down one night and we zipped up to Maine the next day in a record 11 hours. M was a rock star traveler. Seriously, a rock star. Upon our arrival M was reacquainted with his Maine nursery, we went on a few play dates, saw Santa for the second time:
That dude with the gray hair is so funny!

We found a Christmas tree on the farm:

and then kaboom, M got sick. The tree took a while to decorate since my mom got sick too. M was quite happy we put ornaments down low at his level here, which I didn't do at home. He's had a blast taking them off and trying to put them back on.

M was sick for a while. When he finally got better we took an afternoon trip to Pineland Farms to pick up some special treats for Christmas breakfast. We had lunch in the cafe and then because M was in a great mood, we went to visit all the animals. The calf barn was a huge hit. It's a nursery, so you're allowed to pick one calf to touch so that you don't pass germs around. M and I chose to pat Hunter. He was so curious and friendly. M thought he was very funny and so interesting! There was a cow born on M's birthday in one of the stalls. They were so sweet; I love cows.

They take very good care of the animals at Pineland Farms, but I still felt a little pang of sadness thinking of all the formula fed calves who live with one surrogate mummy.

S arrived on Saturday night, just in time for a little Christmas shopping and for me to get sick. Ugh. M transitioned from seeing "Dada" on my phone with FaceTime to in person well - he fed him his lovey, LE, through the slats of his crib when S went into the nursery to get him Sunday morning.

I rallied Monday afternoon and we took M to his first Christmas church service, despite having such a sore throat I could barely swallow. M crawled around in our enclosed pew for most of the hour-long service and was totally enthralled with the candles during Silent Night.
Of course he thought that when the lights went out he'd be getting his milkies, it was 5pm after all, and when he didn't, well, S and little M waited for us out in the entry....

After a delicious Christmas Eve dinner, Santa stopped by and stuffed our stocking chock full!

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Christmas Stocking Stuffers

I finished the majority of my Christmas shopping a few weeks ago. It wasn’t too hard, I didn’t buy much (sorry, S, your list wasn’t long enough.) M is getting a play kitchen, some play food and a few things I bought second-hand from a local mom network. S is getting a box of air that I hope he loves as much as his son will. For everyone else on my very short list, I shopped online.

For the first time this year I’ve bought most of my stocking stuffers online too. I don’t know why I never really have in the past – usually I just pick up this and that when I’m out and about – at the grocery store, pharmacy, wherever. I always get S some kind of grooming item for his stocking – as simple as a toothbrush and some soap (what else am I going to find at the grocery store!?) to a new electric razor one year.

This year I’m ordering the grooming stuff online. I seriously hate in-store shopping in this season, the stores are so crowded and lines so long. P&G has an eStore where you can buy all of the household and beauty supplies they offer. I’ve been browsing through and am finding a few things to add to S’s stocking. Unfortunately there’s no coal for sale, but I did find Oral-B electric toothbrushes that I think will be perfect. I know I’d love one - and I bet M would too, he's obsessed with his toothbrush right now.

When he was in high school my brother asked for an electric toothbrush. It was all a big joke in his French class when they all had write and speak wish lists in French. He made the electric toothbrush cool that year. Total trendsetter he was.

If you're still in need of some stocking stuffers, the P&G eStore is offering:
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 free shipping on $25 or more
 and free samples with every purchase

If you have any more stocking stuffers to buy, head on over to their eStore and fill up your cart. Christmas is only a week away!

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Today I Am

Today I'm remembering one year ago today when I was 40 weeks pregnant and not in labor...yet. I totally wish I'd taken a nap one year ago today, cause when labor started at 11pm tonight, it STARTED. And it didn't stop for 34 hours. I rocked those 34 hours. But I think I might make up for that missed nap today.

Today I'm making this cranberry orange bread for our wonderful daycare provider. Giving one of these to our mail carrier so he can enjoy a few holiday drinks while working extra shifts this season. Making these favorite holiday treats for myself. Addressing a gazillion holiday cards while sitting in front of our Christmas tree. And working on a post about this latest project.

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11 Months Down

This update is a few weeks late, but oh my goodness, M's 11th month was so! Much! Fun! We started the month at the tail end of a wonder week sleep regression, which turned from nightly wake-ups to weeks of 13-14 hour nights. One night he slept for a record 16 hours in a row. How crazy is that? We’re so well rested this month as compared to last month. It feels good.

With all those great nights of sleep, we did have a couple minor snafus. During hurricane Sandy we were without power for two nights. It was chilly and M had trouble sleeping, so I brought him into bed with me and we got cozy under the blankets. There was no “sleep” in our co-sleeping. We were only without power for 48 hours, so it wasn’t a big deal at all. It was kind of like camping, since we literally camped out in the basement after seeing a giant tree snap in half a block away from us – no need to risk having a tree fall on our bedrooms while we were sleeping!

For the end of daylight saving time M was up one hour earlier than normal and was ready for a nap by 9am. To get him onto a normal schedule we went to the park in the morning to keep him from falling asleep. It worked, he took a very short nap at 11ish, but was back to his normal schedule that night.

Naps are pretty short lately, just one for an hour or so a day and usually within two or three hours of waking up. If we want to do anything, I always schedule it for the afternoon. By the time we wake up, nurse and eat breakfast, it’s nearly time for nap. We rarely go anywhere before nap.

We go to swimming lessons together every Sunday; it’s very fun. M and I run the nearly two miles there, change in the locker room, swim, change back and run home. He loves running with us – I bought him a Bundleme for his stroller and it keeps him nice and cozy on the run home after swimming. A couple weeks ago M started going under water during swim lessons. The babies “swim” across the pool, then as they near the edge, we dunk them under and pop up at the side. Then the babies climb out of the pool; M is a rock star at climbing out. He doesn’t mind going under – in his tub he sticks his face in the water!

He’s started pushing toy cars on the floor using the wheels, as opposed to throwing them. It’s pretty amazing to see him do one thing one day (throw toy cars) and something completely different the next (use the car properly.) He has tons of toy cars to choose from at daycare, but his favorite toys there seem to be the play food. Shhh, don’t tell, but Santa may have a play kitchen in his sleigh for M this year.

Mid-month we had a visit from Mamie & PawPaw. M stayed home from daycare and did several days of park hopping, played in a marching band with his PawPaw and just had a great time.

Mamie stayed a few days longer and was able to go to M's first big party – a Halloween party with a dozen babies his age. M wore his lobster costume and had so much fun! He even had his very first chocolate cupcake – gluten free, of course.

It was a big hit! We also went to the zoo with Mamie and saw the Halloween display.

M really liked the coral and urchins.

We became zoo members so that we can go frequently – Zoo Lights for Christmas, maybe??

The following weekend we went trick or treating at two local shopping neighborhoods. M loved putting his hand in the bowl and pulling out a piece of candy. We let him have his first lollipop, which was messy, but delicious! Then on Halloween itself M dressed up in his lobster costume and visited his great grandparents and Nola & Grandpa.

We went trick or treating at two houses in the neighborhood before bath time. Next year we’ll do much more!

Last month I said that M climbed the stairs a few times but then lost interest. Of course that meant he nearly immediately became obsessed with climbing stairs. We’ll be sitting in the living room playing and he’ll go off and start to climb the stairs to go up to the bath when it’s time. He climbs up and then always shuts the baby gate behind him. It’s so freaking cute. He even tried (successfully) climbing the attic ladder, which gave me a heart attack, but not so much that I didn’t snap a picture first!

He also loves to play with the dog. He’ll crawl up to the dog and get cozy with him, he uses him to pull-up, and his favorite game is to put toys in Feeney’s mouth then quickly pull them away. He even has a special laugh that he uses only when he’s playing with the dog. Feeney is very tolerant, but he’ll nibbles on Baby M’s toes and he tries to pull the baby’s socks off.

M eats two meals of solids a day and nurses or has a bottle of frozen milk five or six times a day. His second meal started off as a smaller snack, but it’s getting much bigger now. I’m not making as much milk, but still enough to keep fairly steady over the course of a week. I got a new pump this month and am now able to go totally hands-free, which means I can prepare M’s breakfast while pumping in the morning (totally TMI, right?) It easily cuts 30 minutes off our morning routine, which is fabulous given how late M sleeps these days!

Some mornings M eats so much, I just can’t believe it. One morning he had three 6” pancakes, as many as S and I each ate and then followed it with strawberries and veggies. It’s pretty much like that 5 out of 7 days. This all after nursing. Chow hound.

His firsts this month included soup – he loved spicy squash soup and cried when it was gone! He also devoured split pea soup and corn chowder. He also tired and loved enchiladas, pizza, zucchini shreds with tomato sauce, chili, salad and Rice Krispies cereal with cow’s milk.

M said ball a few times – complete with the “L’s” – before it was just “ba” along with several other things that were also “ba’s.” He also says “Da” to daddy and “mama” to me – still mostly when he’s hungry. He understands “no touch” and "no," but he doesn’t understand head shaking – I’ll shake my head “no” and he’ll shake his head back and laugh.

Not only does M say “Da”, he also looooves his daddy. When S gets home from work M races to the door, is scooped up into daddy’s arms and he starts to pull the patches off of S’s flight suit. While laughing, of course. Everything is SO funny!

All of a sudden M is very into dropping things – food when he’s full, toys from his crib, anything in his hand when I’m holding him…. He gets very upset when he drops his lovey, LE, from the crib though.

He won’t fall asleep for a nap without her and knows that dropping her from the crib is the number one way to get someone to come in when he doesn’t want to nap.

He’s started to give high fives this month. He doesn’t wave hello or goodbye, but who wants to wave when you can get a high-five? He's a superstar crawler, a great puller-upper and a good furniture cruiser, but no walking yet. Not even a hint of walking. He'll pull up on anything, hold on with just one hand, but when he wants to go somewhere he crawls, it's just so much faster than trying to walk.

His crawling and eating creates quite the laundry challenge, but I haven't met a stain that the OxyClean stick can't tackle :)

In the evening after bath, M loves brushing his teeth. It started off as mimicking S, but it’s definitely part of his routine now.

M is still weighing in under 18lbs, but just keeps getting longer and longer. He’s mostly wearing 6-12m clothes, but most of his long sleeve onesies are 3-6m size. Some of his pants and rompers are 12-18m, but his 12-18 shirts are much too big. He’s got looooooong legs and a short torso just like his mummy.

M has two bottom teeth and it looks like a front tooth is about to pop through. We can see it under his gums, in snaggle tooth position, but it hasn’t broken through yet. So he’s still at 2 teeth at 11 months.

As usual, monthly photos are difficult to take - we took a lot like this one!

I cannot believe I almost have a one-year-old, times passes much to quickly these days.

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School Day Today

I'm at school today for Grandparents and Special Friends day at S's middle-school-aged cousin's school. She invited me as her special friend and I'm so happy and honored to be here.

It's been five years since I sat in a law school classroom and let me tell you, this auditorium blows any of my law school classrooms out of the water!

There's really nothing like the prospect of spending the morning with middle schoolers to make me realize a. how much of my clothing does not fit well (hello dress pants, you're making me look like a hoochie momma) and b. how not current my work-from-home wardrobe is these days! I did manage to find a pair of black pants with generous vanity sizing to pair with a hot pink boat neck T I bought yesterday while shopping for supplies for M's first birthday party. I've paired the whole outfit with these shoes:

And a patterned pink scarf. I've got my coat off and hello, you can spot me in the crowd. If not for my shirt then for the fact that I'm the youngest guest in the room ;) There are some impressively young looking grandparents here though!

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Glitter + Cookies

There's no bad day that can't be fixed with a little glitter and chocolate chip cookies.

TGIF for sure.

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Our Weekend & the New Phone

After selling my iPhone 4 for more than the cost of a new iPhone 5 (with contract) on Friday, we skipped on over to the Apple store where I became the proud owner of a new iPhone 5. Proud and cautious - this thing is really thin. I'm watching the mailbox for the hard case that I ordered to arrive.

So in the spirit of testing out the new phone's camera, here's just a bit of what we did this Veteran's Day holiday weekend.

We bought a few trees on sale. A flowering pear for the front and three red maples.

Baby M helped with the planting.
And the raking.
We went to swim lessons and on our run home M and I stopped at two open houses with side additions like we're contemplating. One was nice the other was too cramped, but had this enclosure built around the ac unit that I liked.
We watched football and ate guacamole and hummus. Yum!
M hoped to find more under his plate. For a wee skinny boy, he certainly can eat. I think he must sleep it all off.
We mucked out the attic, throwing away the boxes and packaging for all the baby items we used. We'd kept everything so that whatever we didn't use, we'd be able to return. We have a small bag of little things to return. M practiced advanced stair climbing on the attic ladder.
We topped off our weekend with an afternoon of lunch and play at Nola and Grandpa's house where M ate two huge servings of chili and salad then played with beads after climbing their stairs dozens of times.
...'til he crashed and slept for 14.5 hours straight last night.

Was a great special weekend celebrating S, Grandpa and M's uncles and all that they do for the country we love!

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