Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mommy is a bad blogger!

Yes, yes, I have not blogged since August. This most certainly not because you haven't done anything interesting. Rather, you've been doing so much and having so much fun that I haven't had much time to write it down. You talk in sentences now and are very, very excited for Christmas. You spent yesterday advising us that each ornament on the tree is "not a toy." Now, if only Laci and Brutus would understand that.
You played in the snow for the first time yesterday and you loved it. Here are some videos!
Love, mommy

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Random Sunday Evening Thoughts

Dear Andy,

You're pretty tired (or at least I think/hope you are) since we have been out all day at the corn festival in Fairborn. Well, it was actually too hot at the corn festival to celebrate corn in any kind of effective manner, so after we ate our fill of deep-fried foods, we headed to Grandma Latham's (well, Great-Grandma Latham's) to visit in the air conditioning. Air conditioning is a wonderful thing. I often wonder what it would have been like if I were born into a different century, without running water, indoor plumbing, and air conditioning.

I'm pretty pleased that I also missed the dark ages, the bubonic plague, and whatever the deal was with the Ottoman Empire.

These kinds of thoughts are what you have when you are the child of a history teacher.

With that in mind, in lieu of having something super-well-thought-out to say/write, I thought I'd write some random things I remember about myself as a kid, to entertain you. I need to do something to make up for the fact that we took pictures of you yesterday wearing a t-shirt, a diaper, and a small hat formerly worn by the army fatigue-wearing teddy bear that Auntie Mel gave you. So here are some (very) random things about your mommy as a kid:

1. Grandaddy used to make me watch the movies Ghandi and the Lion in Winter once each per year before he showed it to his European History classes. I found this to be cruel and unusual punishment and considered on several occasions writing to the Supreme Court about it. My understanding, though, was that they had bigger and more important things to deal with. I took offense.

2. My absolute favorite summer dessert was soft serve vanilla/chocolate swirl ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. Uncle Gerard used to get chocolate with chocolate sprinkles which I felt to be a total waste of time.

3. I had very, very curly hair. When I was in 8th grade I started to iron it. This was not a good idea for many reasons, not the least of which was the burn on my leg that occurred when the iron, precariously placed on my bed, propped by my Caboodles makeup organizer, rolled off and landed on my shin.

4. Your uncle Gerard used to leave notes on my bed signed "the aliens," stating that I would be abducted the following evening. As you can imagine, this was rather upsetting. Should you have younger siblings some day, please do not do this.

5. I wanted to be a forensic psychologist before I knew what one was. This may have something to do with the fact that I used to watch Unsolved Mysteries even though I wasn't allowed to, and then lay awake at night, fearful that I, myself, might be able to help solve one of those mysteries.

6. I HATED pork roast. Like, with passion. I also hated black beans, mushrooms, brussel sprouts and most steak dishes. I've changed my mind on all but the mushrooms.

So there are 6 random things about your mom, that I could come up with in 6 minutes while you were upstairs having bathtime with Daddy. These things are probably not of much use for you, though someday, if I bring out those pictures of you wearing the little hat, the diaper and the tshirt, you can tell your girlfriend that your mom once burned her leg due to improper use of an iron and a Caboodles makeup organizer.



Saturday, August 8, 2009

If I could save time in a bottle

Dear Andy,
I used to hate it when my parents told me that I grew up too fast, because all I wanted was to grow up. Now, I look back and think that the days of naptimes and red wagons were pretty darn fabulous. You, too, are growing up too fast. I often watch you sleep (on those rare occasions when you do sleep), especially if you're snuggled up with me, and wish I could freeze that moment in time, preserved for another day when perhaps you are 16 and don't want to snuggle with your mommy.
I remember when you were tiny and I would see other kids sitting up and walking around and I thought, no way, my little man is so little, those days will not come any time soon. But they're here. And they're awesome. But I still love those snuggles.
You amaze me with all your tricks. Case in point:

You're a pretty cool dude, I have to say. That's all for now.

Love, Mommy

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Aunt Sandy


Today is July 22, 2009. It's Aunt Sandy's 28th birthday. That is pretty exciting, and I'm sad that we aren't in Grundy to celebrate with her. I've celebrated a lot of birthdays with her, and it's kinda crazy if you think about it. Coming up next month, it will be ten years since she and I became best friends. Ten years! You're only 17 months old so that probably seems like a long time to you at the moment.

I thought, in honor of her birthday, I should give you a quick (or not so quick) rundown of how Aunt Sandy and I became friends, and how she became your aunt. Because seriously, how many kids get to have their actual, real-life, blood-relative aunt be their mom's best friend?

I realize this may not make much sense.

I met Aunt Sandy when I started college at American University. It's a wonderful place in Washington, DC. She was one of the first people I ever met from Ohio - and Ohio seemed like a very exotic, far away place for someone like your mommy, who thought that New York stopped at Connecticut and could never figure out why people said it was a big state (I mean seriously, the tappen zee bridge and New Jersey weren't even far apart! ).

But I digress. Aunt Sandy was such a nice girl, she was so wholesome, like people from Ohio should be. She lived down the hall from me and I really wanted to be her roommate but it took us awhile to work that out (dorms can be a complicated universe, as you'll find as a future American University Eagle yourself I'm sure). We went on many adventures together and continue to do so.

She is the reason that daddy and I are, well daddy and I. She is also my best friend. You're a lucky little guy to have her in your life, and I hope that you always know that.
I hope for this, for you, buddy. I hope that someday you have a friends with whom you can laugh, friends with whom you can cry, and friends with whom you can spill diet coke/mcflurries/burritos from caltort all over yourself and laugh about it afterwards. I hope that you have a friend like Aunt Sandy, who year after year, you laugh about birthdays of the past and wonder what kind of shennanigans you'll get into in birthdays of the future.

But take my word for it - Absolut Citron, straight? Skip it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Speaking of Luke

Dear Andy,

You probably have noticed by now that Daddy and I talk about Luke quite a bit - and we do it in passing, in normal, everyday conversations. We hope that you find this normal and that you grow up knowing that you have a brother in heaven who is so very important to us and our family. I have a sister in heaven so I know that it can be sort of difficult to understand why she isn't here and why Luke isn't here. I still don't really understand that either so I can't really explain it.

The thing is, there are so many families in the world who have experienced someone dying in this way. It isn't really something that a lot of people are comfortable talking about, but what's interesting is that the people who have gone through it, they actually want to talk about it - they want people to know about their entire family, not just the ones here on this earth. I was reading another blog recently written by a dad whose daughter died. He was answering some questions about her and I thought they were really good questions. So I'm going to take a stab at them here, because these are important things to talk about. If we don't talk about them, they world doesn't become educated and we don't move forward.
1. What do you want people to know about the child that you lost? First, we didn't lose him. We know where he is. I understand that "lost" is a euphemism for "died" but it's ok to say that he died because he did. He was a real person who was alive and now he's not. It doesn't make him any less important. I understand that people aren't necessarily comfortable talking about him, but I am and I'm his mother and Daddy is his father, and you're his brother. I also want people to understand that just because he died more than two years ago doesn't mean I don't miss him and doesn't mean I don't think of him every day, multiple times. When I'm at work and I wonder what you're up to at Reenie's house, I think of Luke and wonder what he's up to in heaven. That's what mommies and daddies do of course.

2. What names did you give your child and why? Before we ever got pregnant with Luke, we picked his name. Luke Michael. It was always going to be his name and so we weren't going to change it. We liked the name Luke, and Michael is after your grandaddy and my grandaddy.

3. What rituals or ways of memorializing your child help you cope? We talk about him a lot, in the normal ways that parents talk about their children. We try very, very hard to support other people who have children in heaven. We do whatever we can to help people to communicate about this. We also do things like memorial walks and stuff like that, but it is the everday act of talking about Luke that helps me cope.

4. What are the most helpful things that anyone said to you? The least helpful? Right after we had Luke, the most helpful thing anyone has said to me is that they are sorry, and that there is nothing else that can be said to help. Nowadays, it's just the mere mentioning of him and acknowledging him as a person that is helpful. The worst things? Well I did have someone once ask me if there was some "shot or something" they could give me to "fix what was wrong with me" so my next baby (you) wouldn't die. Or that I should be thankful for what happened to him (not so much). Or that he is "in a better place." That may be true but in the immediate aftermath, doesn't really help. People mean the best you know, and they want to help. In many instances we don't know the right thing to say. This is just one example of that- we will all say the wrong thing sometime. We're human after all.

5. Who is your hero? Who helps you get through the dark times? Or there are so many. Daddy is my hero...he is so strong and has such strong faith. He is always willing to talk and he values both you and Luke so much. You truly hit the dad jackpot, I'll tell you that, kiddo. Other heroes...cousin Debbie and I could write a book with all the emails that we've sent each other over the years. She too has so much faith. I'd be faithless without all these fabulous faithful people around. Also, grandma and grandaddy and all the other parents of stillborn children. There are so many out there and so many are part of our lives even if we haven't physically met them. The women that I've met online truly rock my world and amaze me. You know who else is my hero? You are. You brought light into my world and do so every day - the mere sight of you makes me heart swell with love, even if I'm looking at you trying to eat pennies (which you're doing right now). Your happy and wise spirit is such a gift, and I can only imagine that your brother Luke wanted you to be here and has and will always keep you safe and happy.

So that's it buddy. I hope this helps you understand a little bit. Now, back to keeping you from eating pennies...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dear Andy:

I've been a bad mommy-blogger lately. It's been kind of stressful at work, but don't think for one second that I haven't been enjoying every new thing you do, and you do something new every day. You've started waving "hi!" to both people and inanimate objects, and you've taken to trying to stand on your head. This concerns me but you are a strong and limber little dude, so I'm guessing you'll be ok. Should I sign you up for gymnastics class like your Aunt Melissa? You also try to turn everything you can find into a hat and announce it to us. But I must say that there is truly nothing on this earth sweeter than hearing you exlaim "Mama! Dada!" when you find something interesting and want to share it with us.

Your favorite thing these days are trucks and trains. You talk trains all the time (or "choo choos" as you call them) and you spend countless hours driving your trucks and cars on the floor, on tables, on windowsills, and on me. Two weeks ago we visited "Totter's Otterville," a place that I feared would be frighteningly reminiscent of Chucky Cheese (which I've never actually been to but fear nonetheless) but it was a very fun place with lots of trains for you to play with. You insisted on riding the train ride three times, and thankfully the gentlemen tasked with driving said minature train didn't seem to mind our venturing out on his little journey over and over and over.

Well buddy, I wish I had something more interesting to write about. More soon, I promise!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dear Andy:

Today you had two "firsts" and as such, so did I.

1) You got your first red wagon. It's pretty cool, I must say, I myself never having had a red wagon to call my own. Grandma and Grandaddy bought it for you. It has cup holders. My first car didn't have cup holders, and neither did my second. My first car was a Toyota Corolla and I carried the keys on a stuffed crab key chain (I never claimed I had good taste). Gas was a dollar a gallon then. I'm starting to sound old and I acknowledge this. My second car was a volvo 940 "sport." What made it a "sport" you ask? Well darling, I wish I knew, because sporty was just about the must inapplicable adjective for that particular automobile. Geriatric? Yes. It did have a sunroof, which I loved, and its lack of cup holders rendered me required to put my coffee and/or diet coke in the small center console between the two front seats. This is not a good idea. Please don't ever do it. You will either a) burn yourself severely or b) spill a dark colored beverage all over your clothing, more than likely on your way to work. Heed my warning.

Anyway, back to your wagon. At first you were a little scared of it but then you were climbing in and out of it and pulling it all over the living room and dining room. I think it will really come in handy on our daily trips to the pool this summer. Which brings me to our next "first."

2) Today, I gained a greater understanding of the true purpose of swim diapers. Last summer, I learned that they really don't keep pee inside - I put you in one, we walked to the pool, and you were soaked when we got there. "What is the point of the swim diapers?" I asked many a person. Aunt Evelyn explained that their true purpose is really to contain poop, as there are chemicals in the pool that will take care of the pee (um, ew). I didn't think much more about it until today, when, while playing in the pool, I thought to myself "gosh this pool really smells bad, I better move" and as I was carrying you to another spot I realized that it was not, in fact, the pool that smelled, it was you (and in turn, me, who now had poop running down my bathing suit). You were not happy that our swimming trip was cut short. I shall never go to the pool without wipes again. I am afraid I still smell like poop. I showered and I think I'm ok but you never know.

So we've had quite a day today. I thought we'd add these two firsts to your record book. I'm sure you'll be thrilled about the wagon story. The poop one, well, you might not want me to recount that one at your wedding.

Love, Mommy

Friday, June 5, 2009

You can understand me?

Dear Andy,

This morning, you were running around the living room and were heading into the dining room. Daddy and I were sitting on the couch and I said to you "Andy, can you find a truck?"

You turned around, looked pensive, and starting searching. You got on your tummy, shimmied underneath the coffee table (your new favorite jungle gym), and found a truck. You brought it to Daddy, and we both stared at you in amazement.

You're so darn smart. I know we're your parents and we're supposed to think that. But you really are. Today, trucks. Tomorrow: the world.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Weddings and Related Shennanigans


This weekend we celebrated a very momentous family event: Aunt Sandy got married! A lot of preparation went into the big day, and Aunt Sandy did such a wonderful job of planning it all. Everything was so beautiful, and everyone had a wonderful time.
Now, one thing that is important to understand when it comes to these things called "weddings" is that they rarely, in our family, occur without some kind of drama. Trust me on this and plan accordingly. When Daddy and I got married, we had all kinds of...bloopers...for lack of a better word. Examples include (but are not limited to) a broken refrigerator that almost flooded Grandma and Grandaddy's kitchen, a ripped wedding gown, and some forest fires. So this kind of thing does happen. When Aunt Sandy got married, I thought we'd covered all our bases. We even had an emergency kit. Unfortunately, someone smashed our car window and stole my purse, my camera, and my cell phone. (And you know how much I love my cell phone). It was very upsetting, but very scary too, and we were very scared that they stole Aunt Sandy and Uncle Tommy's wedding rings, but they didn't.
Now, here is one important lesson in all of this. We have to try to focus on what's good in our lives. When we saw the broken glass and missing purse, we could have let it ruin our day but we didn't. Aunt Sandy is something called a "sympathy crier" which means she loves us all so much that if we cry, she cries too, so it was important that I didn't start crying because we paid a lot for our makeup and it would have been sad to mess it up. (as an aside, I am something called a "sympathy thrower-upper" which means that if someone else throws up, I throw up too. So if you need to be like me or Aunt Sandy, try to be like her, as it will likely be better for you in the long run).
We had our moment of panic and we moved on to the wedding. You were there and you loved it. You looked so handsome and mommy was so proud of you. These kinds of days are days that we picture in our minds for a long time and we wonder what they'll be like. Sometimes we picture them and the real thing doesn't live up to the image in our minds. In this case, the real thing was better than any of us could have even imagined. We laughed, cried, ate, drank, danced and celebrated two people who I love very mucch and I know you will always be close to.

I remember Daddy's and my wedding. I remember the music and the party and the good times, and I laugh at the "bloopers" that happened, even though maybe I didn't at the time. I know that May 23rd is going to go down in history as a great day in all of our lives, smashed car window and all. And hey, mommy got a new purse. Silver linings, buddy, silver linings. Let's wish Aunt Sandy and Uncle Tommy a long life of happiness and be thankful that we get to share it with them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Dear Andy,

I've been meaning to write this post for a week but things have been so busy with Aunt Sandy's wedding coming up in a few days. So here goes.

We got back from your second official vacation on Wednesday. You had such a good time. It was quite an improvement from last year, your first vacation, which was a class-A disaster. You hated it. We went to Asheville, NC and Folly Beach, SC and your poor little five month old self was teething and politically opposed to the car seat. It was not relaxing. You did find a few enjoyable moments here and there and really enjoyed the outdoor music at the Biltmore. Here you are on vacation last year, taking a nap on the beach with Daddy:

Fast forward to this year. We went to Key West, which is Daddy's and my favorite place. It's a very fun and special place, with beautiful sunsets, perfect aqua blue water, tropical breezes and really good mojitos (don't worry about what those are right now. You call them "mamma's juice" ). Grandma and Grandaddy came with us and we had SUCH a good time. You swam in the pool and in the ocean and you seriously think you are a fish. You don't like to be constrained by floatation devices or parents trying to keep you from drowning yourself. I will try to sign you up for a swimming class soon, I promise. You sampled the local fare, including tahitian vanilla ice cream, cuban cheese bread and key lime pie. You made friends with everyone at our small hotel, and by the end of the week had the other visitors around the pool (adults mostly) copying your new favorite term "oh-ee-oh-eee-yo yo!" It was quite funny to watch. You were so well behaved in restaurants. You stayed up late and jumped on the bed and snuggled with me every morning. Truly a great trip. I hope we get to spend lots more time there. Here you are on this year's vacation enjoying "mojito monday".
I know you long to waste away in margaritaville a lot more, as do I little man, as do I.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Walking for Babies

Dear Andy,

This past Sunday, we walked in the March of Dimes March for Babies for the second time. It was a great experience and the weather was perfect. Last year, you were 10 weeks old and slept through all 6.2 miles of it. This year, you were very excited but once you dozed off in your stroller, a large man playing the theme song to Sesame Street on the tuba woke you up. It was very hot out so you, Grandaddy, Jenny and I did the 3 mile walk while everyone else did the 6.2 miles.

Cousin Debbie came from Texas to join us and you got to meet her for the first time. It was pretty great. A lot of people say that she and I look alike. We kind of do. It's pretty funny. I'm so glad you got to spend time with her and I hope you get to again soon. She is a very special person and I love her a lot.
This was a very important day for all of us. We walked in memory of your big brother Luke, you aunt Marion, and Debbie's daughter Anna. Like Luke, Anna and Marion were stillborn. This means that they went to heaven as babies before they were born. It happens sometimes and doctors don't always know why. It's very important that they learn more about this so that all babies can someday be born healthy. So that is why we do things like this. You know, even when people die, we can honor them and remember them and continue to love them. They are with God in heaven and they watch over us. I think that Luke would have been very proud of us and I know he is very proud of you. Here are some pictures from our weekend.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sleep is for the Weak

Dear Andy,
You don't really like to sleep. Well, I take that back. You don't like to sleep alone. I remember when you were a few weeks old, waking up every couple hours (or not sleeping at all at night), the pediatrician telling us "when he gets to be 13 pounds, he'll sleep through the night!" Well, not so much, partly because you are a big boy so you were 13 pounds when you were 2 months old or so. There have been times where you've slept well, mostly when Daddy was taking you to the pool during the summer and you were swimming the day away, and times when you haven't slept well. I have spent countless hours reading books and articles and websites about baby sleep. I've asked for advice and realized that asking for advice isn't always the best idea.

Last night, you went to sleep in your crib and woke up at 9:30pm quite upset. You were crying and shaking. You aren't a fan of your crib. I would love for you to love it, but I can't force that on you. I rocked you to sleep, and you snuggled up with one hand on the neckline of my shirt, and I could have sat there like that all night. But I have to sleep, too. So I put you back in your crib and you sensed that crib mattress coming, and woke back up. I'm not a good one for letting you cry (hence why I don't ask for much advice from people anymore) so I picked you up and brought you into our room.

You laid between Daddy and me, put one hand on each of us, let out a happy sigh, smiled and went to sleep. You woke up again at midnight at 3. And 5. And you know what? There is something very special about watching you sleep. You look so content there with us, knowing that you're secure and loved and ok. So maybe you don't "sleep through the night." But we get to hold you and snuggle you and feel your sleepy breath on our faces. Hopefully you'll sleep longer before the age of 20. In the meantime I'll just drink lots of coffee in the morning.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Walking & Talking

I thought you'd like to see a video of yourself walking. The problem is that you are so interested in the camera that whenever I start to video you, you get excited, remember that crawling is (at the moment) more efficient than walking, and you zoom over try to get the camera from me. I think I got a decent video today though so let's see.

While I was grocery shopping today (and I bought what I need to make your new favorite cajun pasta - you have quite a well-developed palate already, I must say), you and Daddy were playing with your tropical ball-bopper, and you learned how to say "ball." Daddy is pretty excited. So overall, it's been quite a weekend for you!

Let's Roll

Dear Andy,
I'm finally doing this - thanks in part to our friend Heather who inspired me with her great letters to her little J. I want to write some things so that you'll remember what was going through my mind as you grew up (way too fast) and all the fabulous things you did. Thankfully, you have a fabulous first year baby book that Aunt Evelyn made for you, since Mommy's scrapbooking skills are, well, somewhat sub-par. You're 14.5 months now, and learning and doing something new every day. So, I better start writing them down, right?

So, to started walking three days ago. You've been cruising along the furniture for months and I've been telling people that you'll be walking "any day now" since before Christmas. But, like everything, you did it in your own time, and just had to wait until you really wanted to do it. Now you're an official toddler, and it's a wobbly world out there. You tend to incur at least one head injury a day, but so far no harm done, thanks mostly to the genetic predisposition that you have to the "Latham Hard Head." I can't believe that the tiny baby I was holding a year ago is toddling around and climbing on high things now. Where does the time go? And will I ever stop saying that?