Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mr. Independent

Rick and I continue to marvel at Palmer's independence.  It's important to us that our child thinks and makes decisions for himself as appropriate for his age.

The latest developments of independence both make me proud and sad.  I'm sad that time is slipping away, but proud that Palmer can stand on his own two feet.

1.  BREAKFAST
We all know Palmer likes to eat.  When Palmer was a baby, he wanted a bottle or sippy cup of milk immediately upon waking in the morning.  At the near age of 3, Palmer has slipped away from milk and moved onto wanting a full breakfast.  As you can imagine, it is slightly inconvenient for Palmer to come into our bedroom when we are just waking and immediately announce, "I'm hungry."  Instead of getting up and answering his call to meal, Rick and I have come up with a few options that Palmer can get on his own! :)
Palmer can now go into the freezer, pick out pancakes/french toast sticks/etc, put them on a plate, microwave them (after a microwave lesson where I caught them cooking for 83 minutes!), get syrup from the pantry, and sit down to eat.  Palmer has tried to bring the pancakes and syrup to our bed a few times, but I think we've nipped that habit in the bud!

2.  NAP TIME
This development makes me a little sad.  Early afternoon, Palmer and I always go upstairs to his room and read a story before he crawls into his bed for nap.  This week, Palmer has told me multiple days at the base of the stairs, "I'll just go ahead and get in my bed, mommy.  I don't need you.  I don't need a story today."  Of course, I raced to the monitor to watch and sure enough, Palmer took his shoes off by his bed, crawled into bed, laid down, and went to sleep.  Tear.

Selfishly, I hoped it was a one day thing, but unfortunately Palmer has asked to go upstairs by himself every day since that first day.  (Sigh.)
I always said I wanted a more independent child before considering a second kid.  I guess I am getting my wish, as bittersweet as it might be...

-Bethany

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Grandparents

This week has been a particularly hard week in the cycle of life and I wanted to share.

My maternal grandmother's Alzheimers and dementia has spiraled downhill fairly quickly in the last few months.  Until this week, my grandfather has been Grandma's caretaker at their home.  This week, a few final events forced my grandfather to put Grandma in an Alzheimer's home.

My mom's family is large and I am one of 24 grandchildren, not counting the grandchildren's spouses, and all of the new great-grandchildren.  Nevertheless, my grandparents have always been a constant in my monumental childhood events.

When I was younger, I used to spend an occasional weekend with them and I remember a few key things:
1.  Grandpa always had a pack of plain M&Ms ready for me (and any other child!) on my way out the door.
2.  I got to eat these great fried chicken patty sandwiches for lunch.
3.  My grandmother loved to play a domino game called Spinniker and was always thrilled to have me as a willing game player since Grandpa didn't love to play with her.

My grandparents used to love to drive the countryside and made it a habit to visit me in college for the mere purpose of taking me out to lunch.  My college roommate enjoyed their visits because it meant a sure thing: Grandma and Grandpa always came bearing a shoebox full of cookies and Grandpa's famous fudge.

And to this day, I have colleagues that bug me about my grandfather's caramel corn.  He is a master chef in the caramel corn department and still enjoys making batches to share with anyone that will eat it.

I don't mean to speak in the past tense for this post.  My grandmother and grandfather are still alive and will continue to create memories.  Life will be different for them and I feel the most for my grandfather.  I know this decision was extremely hard and I hate the thought of him at home without Grandma by his side after 67 years.  Grandpa can visit whenever he wants and take Grandma out of the home for dinner or outings at anytime.

A photo of us over Christmas with Grandpa and Grandma (gotta love the good-ole self-timer!):

And one of six-month-old Palmer with Grandma and Grandpa:
-Bethany

Monday, January 13, 2014

Local Tourists

Over the Christmas break, both my sister and my brother (and his fiance!) were in town for a stretch of a few days.

Looking for something fun to do, we decided to hit up a stop usually reserved for the tourists: the Fort Worth Stockyards.
I can honestly say that I have never stopped and done the touristy activities even though I lived in Fort Worth for a great number of my childhood years.

I was pleasantly surprised by how many activities we could see:
-real cattle are run thru the middle of the stockyards twice a day
-a life-size maze
-photo-ops with Texas longhorns
-rodeos and shows in the nearby coliseum on the weekends
-endless shops to try on cowboy hats and boots

We had so much fun at a trick cowboy show where we watched cowboys twirl lassos using ropes as long as 60 feet and show off their gun skills.  I've been thinking about wanting to go to a rodeo lately, but after I saw some cowboys tie up the front and hind legs of a cow to make the cow lie down, I'm not sure I can actually handle the animal spectacle.
Nana bought Palmer a Texas-themed Christmas book before Christmas called "Willy the Texas Longhorn".
Palmer couldn't believe his luck when he saw "Willy" everywhere we went.  Of course, he talked Paw Paw into $5 for a chance to sit on "Willy".
Next time, I'll be sure we don our boots to try to blend in better...

-Bethany

Monday, January 6, 2014

Baby Hot Cocoa

In case you missed the news on social media last week, we are expecting a second child, a GIRL, in May.

I've been asking Palmer for months if he wanted a baby brother or a baby sister.  His response has always been, "I want a baby fire truck!"  As of late, Palmer has taken to naming the baby, "Baby Hot Cocoa".  The "HOT" in the name is important.  You will get corrected if you say "Baby Cocoa" or if you tease him with "Baby Cold Cocoa".

We are very excited, although a little overwhelmed at the moment, about starting fresh in the girl department when we know BOY so well and have all the corresponding "stuff".

I was pretty sick during the fall, but at 20 weeks I am feeling great again.  I'm trying to maintain a regular spin class to keep me strong and full of energy.  I know it's the calm before the storm as I will get big and uncomfortable oh too soon.
I'm glad Palmer will be three years old when the baby is born because he has reached a very sweet stage in life and has a nurturing side.  We've been practicing some big brother skills.  The doll in the shopping cart photo above is a Cabbage Patch doll that was given to me when my brother Luke was born.

Palmer is also independent enough for me to feel good about not raising two babies at the same time (always a concern I've had while considering a second).
Life won't be easy for awhile and we know we have it kinda good right now.  But, we look forward to rounding out our family from three to four (plus a dog).  We are excited (and fearful) of what's in store come this summer.
-Bethany

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Very Merry Christmas

As in recent years past, we again hosted Christmas at our home.  Rick and I prefer to have Christmas morning around our own tree.  Since all of our family is in the area, we like to open the house to everyone for the day.

Christmas morning was very exciting this year because Palmer anticipated Santa's arrival for the first time.

On Christmas Eve, we laid out milk and cookies for Santa (and Mrs. Claus!) and carrots for the reindeer.
The next morning, Palmer was quite concerned that Santa left some crumbs and half a cookie.  Rick had to come up with a story about how he heard a sound in the night and went out to the living room to check.  Rick told Palmer he suspected Rick scared Santa Claus away mid-snack and that's why some cookie pieces were left on the plate.  (Whoops.)

Santa's big present to Palmer was a train table with train set.  Santa's helpers (daddy and Uncle Luke) stayed up close to midnight building the tracks.
The late night efforts were worth this Christmas morning reaction:
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Another present highlight was a toy violin.  Palmer is into all things musical.  After wrapping up a violin for another one of Palmer's friends this season, Palmer had it in his head that he, too, wanted a violin.  We were all entertained with a Christmas Evening concert.
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Couple that with Aunt Erin's new drum and we are well on our way to a whole band.
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Palmer was over spoiled by all of the family, as usual.  Other present highlights included Curious George items, a golf bag like daddy's, and a grill like daddy's (do you sense a theme??).
By the way, Palmer gets his present-opening skills from his Aunt Amanda.  He is very excitable about opening just about anything.
The day was filled with food and family.  Aunt Samantha is home from DC for two weeks and I quickly put her to work in the kitchen upon arrival.  We prepared most of the spread for Christmas Day while Rick and Luke manned the smoked brisket. Check out her onion cutting skills.

I also challenged Samantha to replicate the December Southern Living cover cake, a red velvet and cheesecake masterpiece.  I think she succeeded.
Cousins Palmer and Elle in matching robes:
 Rick and Amanda enjoying the amazing sunny weather outside:
 We are always thrilled and fortunate to have Gigi come visit:
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas.
-Bethany

Wordless Wednesday

-Bethany