Wednesday, August 22, 2012

sleepover with friends!

After a great few days with Jane and her family and then a nice, relaxing weekend in Alabama, we were finally back in Georgia! But before I get to Liam's birthday party, one of the things we knew we had to do was also spend some time with our friends Courtney, Pete, and their son Casey. Unfortunately for us (and fortunately for them!) they were headed out of town that weekend for Courtney's birthday, so this would be our only opportunity to see them -- hence, a sleepover!

Liam and Casey are only five months apart and they had a GREAT time playing together! They "painted" with paint rollers, read books, ate, and pushed things all around the house! It was so much fun. :)

Sweet Home Alabama . . .

After being at Jane's for a few nights we headed to Alabama to visit Keith's mom. I'm so glad we did because the following week she got strep throat and wasn't able to come to Georgia for Liam's birthday party -- had we not gone to visit her she wouldn't have been able to see Liam at all this trip! She of course was thrilled the second we got there and couldn't wait to get her hands on him. And I'm so thankful for Skype because Liam immediately recognized her and was comfortable around her right away. We Skype with Grandma on a daily basis and he gets so excited to see her, so it was awesome for them to be together in person!

Liam playing in Grandma's furniture!

. . . fun with friends

Ten days before we left for Georgia we found out Liam had hand, foot, and mouth disease. Very lucky for him (and us), he had an extremely mild case, and was totally fine by the time we flew. However, since my sister-in-law is pregnant we had to be extra careful to ensure she didn't catch it, so we didn't stay at my parents house that first week in Georgia. Instead we spent a few nights at one of my best friend's house, and then drove to Alabama for the weekend to spend time with my mother-in-law. 

When we got to Jane's that night we let Liam play for a few minutes before putting him to bed, crossing our fingers that he would sleep all night. Then Jane and I cracked open a bottle (or two?) of Prosecco and got to catch up while eating chocolate covered pomegranates (ummmm, seriously one of the best things I've put in my mouth!). 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Like an old sweet song . . .

Now that Liam's birthday week is over, I think I finally have some time to blog about our recent trip to Georgia!

We left for Georgia on July 24th, a Tuesday afternoon. The problem with taking an international flight west is that they are always day flights, and day flights do not bode well for an active baby/toddler. Everyone told us that traveling with a baby between one and two years old is really hard, so I was a little prepared, but it was still a shock . . . after all, a ten-hour flight is hard for anyone, let alone a mobile baby who just wants to be anywhere but in your lap!

I always try to feed Liam something on the way up and on the way down to help his ears pop, which inevitably means takeoff will be around feeding time. And of course, most flights are delayed (as was this one), so trying to not feed a hungry baby is no fun. By the time he finally did eat (after an hour on the plane, much later than anticipated), he passed out for the first two hours in the air. That was a welcome relief for Keith and I, but we quickly learned that he was just resting for what would become the flight from h-e-double-hockey-sticks.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday sweet boy . . .

Some people already know this, but Keith and I set up an email account for Liam before he was born and have been emailing him periodically throughout his little life thus far. Sometimes I write him when something big has happened, like a fun trip or milestone, and other times I just write him to tell him how I'm feeling about his sweet baby snuggles or growing personality. It is our hope that one day he will appreciate these emails and thoughts from his parents as he grows into a young man. With that said, the following is Liam's birthday email that I sent at exactly 1:36 am.

To my very favorite one year old,

Liam, I can hardly believe that a year has gone by in the blink of an eye. Your dad and I could not be more in love with each other and with you since that early August morning. You came at the end of a very long weekend, and the second I held you on my chest nothing else mattered. Since that day, you have brought us SO MUCH joy and laughter and tears and worry and frustration and pride and heart-melting goodness. 

There's a saying that the days are long, but the years are fast -- I definitely believe that. There have been days that I couldn't wait for your dad to walk through the door because I needed a BREAK. No lie. Awful days where you cried all day and nothing I did made it any better. Times where you spit out anything I tried to feed you and I feared you would starve. I can see how mothers can worry themselves to death! 

But there have been many more days that you and I played and played and read and snuggled and giggled and surprised each other in awesome ways. One day recently we were in Georgia and you were playing with your cousin at your grandparents' house . . . my back was hurting so I laid down on the floor -- you saw me, crawled over to me and kissed me right on the mouth, then turned and crawled back to Bailey to play. Tears welled up in my eyes, out of the pure, unconditional love I felt from you and for you. Lately I love to just pull you into our bed after a nap because you roll around and laugh and play peek-a-boo with the covers, and we stay like that for a long time. I. Love. It. There are so many days that I think, "I AM SO LUCKY. GOD HAS BLESSED ME." I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but this is exceeding my expectations. 

Everyone has told me that each stage is better than the last. While there are some things I definitely miss (like putting you in one place for five seconds while I go to the bathroom and you actually being in the same place when I return), it's so true. YOU ARE SO MUCH FUN. Your expressions kill me -- like, sometimes bring tears to my eyes because I can't stop laughing and can't be mad at something you've done because you look so darn cute. Lately when you do something you know you're not supposed to, you shake your head, say "nooo" and then kiss me or put your head in my lap, as if to say, "I'm sorry, Mama, I know I shouldn't do that, but I REALLY want to." And I pretty much melt (but I still don't let you do it, so don't get any ideas!). 

While you are constantly cracking us up on a daily basis, we have to work a little harder for you . . . you are not one to laugh at anything and everything, but are more discerned in your taste of what you find funny. You often make this face where you purse your lips together when you're trying not to smile, "because, duh, Mom, you are not that funny." You have a serious side to you, and a seriously sweet side. You love to snuggle, kiss, hold hands, and no one makes you feel better like your Mom (this year). Things could quite possibly change in the future, so I'll take what I can get. 

Right now you still look like your dad, though some of my family sees me in you, too. But to me, you look like YOU. I will sometimes see your dad when you make a certain face or are concentrating on something, but more often than not you just look like LIAM to me. You haven't changed much since those early days of infancy, besides growing some hair, and those precious blue eyes I prayed for are still as beautiful as the day you were born. You are finally growing into your monstrous hands and feet, and I have a feeling you will start to thin out now that you are a WALKING MACHINE.

I know there are many people who wish they could be with you right now and wish they were seeing you as much as we are. And truth be told, you will never remember any of this experience and will grow up with your grandparents and cousins as if we've always lived close to them, never knowing the pain of missing them like they miss you. But the fact that this expat experience allows me to be with you on a daily basis and explore the world a little more at the same time -- there's a lot to be said for that. I LOVE that I am watching you grow up and learn new things and meet new friends . . . I wouldn't trade this for anything. 

So much has changed in one year, and I can only imagine the changes to come. But the one constant is how much your dad and I love you. No matter what. Through the good, the bad, and the ugly, we are here forever. We both want what is best for you, and while sometimes you may not agree, our intentions are good, I promise. I've made many mistakes in the last year and I have no doubt I will make many more before you read these emails. But I promise I am trying my best and doing what I think is right at each moment. And that is all I ask of you too. 

When you are older (and become a MAN -- GASP!), I hope you have the absolute pleasure of having a child so you can catch a glimpse of all I am feeling right now -- you won't have carried and birthed your baby, but you may still have an inkling ;)  Thank you for showing me my potential and making me want to be a better person, because you deserve it. You are one helluva kid and I pray that your next years go by much more    s l o w l y    than this last one -- I don't think I'll get my wish (since it's your birthday and all), but a mother can dream. 

There are a million other things I want to tell you, but for now I will just say this: Happy 1st Birthday, Liam. YOU are a GIFT to US. 

Love you yesterday, today, and tomorrow,