Friday, June 15, 2012

Things my father said...

The week leading up to Father's Day has been a difficult one for me the last several years.  I've had more than one crying fit in the card aisle at the store.  I've tried to spend the time focusing on celebrating my husband, and what a wonderful father he is.  But that doesn't fill the hole in my heart left by the passing of my own father.

I think I'll forever miss celebrating Wayne on this special small way of thanking him for all the years of love he gave me.  I remember fondly taking him out to his restaurant of choice (usually Joe's Crab Shack) and digging in to some delicious seafood.  And I'll always remember our last Father's Day, which we were determined to make his best yet. 

He was treated like a King as he played castle with friends and family, and then we all enjoyed eating some of that delicious castle cake!

Hard to believe that was three years ago...

My second son, who is due five days before the 4-year anniversary of Wayne's passing, will carry on his name.  Though Thomas Wayne will never meet his Grandpa Wayne, he will hear many, many stories of the wonderful man whose name he will share.

I'll leave you with a song, which I heard for the first time at a concert less than two months before Wayne died.  Although it was written by a son for his father, I still find the emotion very applicable.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Collective Soul

I know that a rock band might seem like an odd choice for the subject of a blog post on a Mommy blog, but hear me out.  This band is not only my favorite, but has become so indelibly woven into the fabric of my life over the years that I just had to document it to share with the world.

It all started in 1997.  I was 16 years old, and a huge concert called Rockfest '97 was taking place at the Texas Motor Speedway, just a few hours south of where I was living at the time (Ada, OK).  It ended up being an epic experience for so many reasons, but the most lasting thing that came out of it was my love for the band Collective Soul, which I hadn't really known about until the event.


After the concert, I purchased their latest album, Discplined Breakdown, and immediately fell in love.  The obsession was born.

The very early days of social media led me to discussion board and email groups full of other CS fans.  I even met and began corresponding with a couple of friends in Oklahoma who were equally as passionate as I quickly became.  We later met in person and became good friends, and though we've all gone our separate ways, we're still in touch today - thanks to Facebook, of course!

So far sounds like a pretty typical fan experience, right?  I've seen them in concert at least 9 times, all across Texas and Oklahoma.  Every time has been equally amazing.  I've attended free concerts at festivals, seen them play at college stadiums and arenas, and even at least one venue that no longer exists.  One of the coolest experiences was getting to take promo photos of them when they played the venue at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation's FireLake Grand Casino.  My dad happens to be in charge of Public Information for the tribe, and we were allowed to stand right in front of the stage and take pictures with fancy cameras for the first couple of songs. 

But the coolest part of it all (even cooler than meeting the band) has been how their music has been weaved into the very fabric of my life.  Collective Soul has become my soundtrack.

  • When I married my husband, I walked down the aisle to an instrumental piece, called Pretty Donna, from CS' first album. 
  • Our first dance as husband and wife was to Adored, from their album Afterwords.
  • When my father died, the song I selected for his service was Hymn for My Father, from their latest album, nicknamed "Rabbit" for the cover art, but officially self-titled.
  • When my son was born, the first song I had them play in the birthing room was Tremble for My Beloved, which the band's lead singer wrote for his own son.

Not only that, but when I was newly pregnant with my son, I had the pleasure of seeing the band perform at House of Blues in Dallas - just a mile away from our home.  And to put the cherry on top, Mr. CityLove and I have tickets to see them perform at the same venue two weeks from Sunday - so this baby will get to go to a CS concert in utero just like his/her big brother did!

Collective Soul has definitely been a huge part of my life over the last 15 years, and I hope I can pass along a love and appreciation for their music to my children.  Either that, or they'll just roll their eyes and laugh at me for listening to such "old-fashioned music."  We'll see!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Some news, and braggin' on my boy

So I attempted to get more serious with this blog...and then what happens but a major life event that threw all my thoughts into a tizzy and rendered me unable to think about anything else.

Of what could I be speaking?  Oh, just this...

Yep, we found out in February that we're expecting our second little CityBaby, due sometime around October 26 (which is smack-dab between my birthday - the 24th - and my mom's - the 27th). 

After the initial shock wore off, we began to get used to the idea.  We've since been to see the midwives at the birth center where Benjamin was born, and heard a beautiful, strong heartbeat at 160 bpm.  Our next appointment isn't for another month, but at that one, we'll get to schedule our ultrasound - we're all excited to find out if Benjamin's getting a baby brother or a baby sister!

On another note, I must brag about all of Benji's accomplishments lately. He's growing and changing so quickly these days, it's amazing!  What's he up to now?

At 25 months, he...
  • Can sing the ABCs
  • Can count to 13 in English, and we even heard him dabbling in some Spanish counting once
  • Can sing/recite at least 5 songs/nursery rhymes, almost in their entirety ("One, Two, Buckle My Shoe", "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", "Baa Baa Black Sheep", "Ring Around the Rosie" and "Happy Birthday to You")
  • Carries on short conversations and speaks in increasingly longer/more complex sentences
  • Has started reciting a couple of his favorite bedtime stories, including "Brown Bear, Brown Bear"
  • Loves to help with laundry, setting the table, and other simple chores
Benjamin is a goofball - so full of energy and enthusiasm.  He's also headstrong and often defiant.  And at the same time, he's such a sweet, loving little boy.  He loves hugs and kisses (as long as he's in the right mood) and tickling and snuggling up in mama's lap, especially for bedtime stories.  I rue the day I don't have a lap for him to sit in anymore, but I know he'll just sit in front of me and snuggle up as close as he can.

My little guy still looooves his trains.  We took him to see his beloved Thomas at Day Out with Thomas a couple of weeks ago, and he had a blast. 

He also loves seeing the trains on his walk to daycare every morning.  This morning we were running early, so we hopped on the train and rode down one stop (it's on the way to daycare, it's just usually faster to walk than wait on the train to take us those few blocks).  Of course he loved that special treat!

And lastly, I'll leave you with some of my guy's favorite phrases, which we hear many times a day around our household...

"I'ga do it"
"No like it!"
"I want milk!" "I want water!"
"What doin', Mama?"
"I fall down!" (said with a laugh, as most of his falls these days are on purpose)
"Help, help, Mama!"
"Where Daddy go?"
"Where goin', Daddy?"

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Emotional Comprehension

I promise to get back to my aforementioned postings about Raising a Child in the City...but I just had to brag on my boy a little in the meantime. 

Over the weekend, I noticed the first sign of emotional comprehension in my not-quite-two-year-old.  To begin the tale, you need to know that my husband loves Star Wars.  And you also need to know that he owns an interactive, voice-command R2D2 robot, which looks like this:
Artoo stands about 18 inches high, moves independently, and freaks my son out.  Ever since Benjamin was old enough to know his head from a hole in the ground, he's been afraid of Artoo. 

Over the weekend, we had a visit from my sister-in-law, her husband, and two kids.  Our six-year-old niece wanted to play with Artoo.  So we pulled him out, turned him on, and away went Benjamin, cowering behind Mommy.  He was the only one, however, who was disturbed by this toy.  Even his younger cousin Macy bravely went over and gave Artoo the stare-down.  At one point, Benjamin even gallantly pushed Macy out of the way when Artoo was headed towards her.

Later that day, he looked at me and clear as day said "Scared".  I was floored.  This was the first time he had ever expressed any kind of emotion to me.  I asked him if he was scared of Artoo, and he nodded and said "Scared, R2." 

But it didn't stop there.  A few hours later, after Artoo had been returned to dormancy, and the incident had all blown over, I was in the kitchen doing something.  I hear Benjamin calling out to me "Mama!  Look!"  It took me a minute, but I finally looked over at him - standing right next to Artoo, with his hand on Artoo's - head? top?  Whatever.  And with a voice brimming over with pride, he said "I touch it!"

Mama was so proud.  I told him so.  Several more times over the weekend and since, he's gone over to Artoo, given him a good pat, and told me "I touch it."  So proud of my kid, conquering his fear. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

On raising a child in the city...

I've often thought I should find a niche for this blog. As opposed to using it simply to brag on my son, share funny anecdotes and cute pictures, that perhaps I should make my writing more focused.

Of course the name of the blog, and our unique situation, points to a pretty obvious topic.  I'm a City Mom, part of the burgeoning generation of young professionals chosing to stay in/close to the city to raise their children, rather than following the masses out into the Suburbs.

So, I'm going to do a little series of blog posts here on our experiences raising a child in the city.  I'll talk about the good, the bad, the pros and cons, and of course, why we chose and continue to choose this lifestyle.

I hope you enjoy this little foray into more serious blogging.  I'll try to make sure and sprinkle in some cute pictures of my kid, to keep Benjamin's loyal fans interested. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

23 months, or 702 days, or 1, 010, 880 minutes

That's how long my baby has been alive.  Just one month shy of TWO years old! 

In many ways, I already think of him as a two-year-old.  The tantrums are certainly Sized Two already.  He's almost outgrown 2T clothing.  His car-seat is facing forward already (something I swore I wouldn't do until he turned 2).  And he's been in the Twos class at daycare for a month already (and he's bigger than at least half of his classmates).

But technically, there is still one more month before my baby is a two-year-old.

The birthday party plans are in full swing.  I've already ordered decor, have my menu planned out, his gift has been purchased, and invitations went out early this week.

Otherwise, we're just chug-chugging along.  It should be a pretty fun spring for us.  The weekend before his party, we're going (along with some friends of ours and their adorable daughter Emma) to see Sesame Street Live.  I've been eagerly anticipating this since we bought the tickets last fall.  When I was not much older than Ben is now, my mom took me to see Sesame Street Live.  It seems only fair that I return the favor.  :)

Then in April, we'll be going to A Day Out with Thomas.  I know my little Thomas fan will love it!

My little guy is in for so much fun in the next couple of months...and he has no idea!  :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

From the pages of Abercrombie & Fitch, Toddler edition...

My little model.  Love him!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hello, 2012!

So, somehow, a new year snuck up on us, and all of the sudden, BAM!  It's 2012!

The holidays were good to us.  We had a wonderful time with family, got lots of good presents, and began some of our own family traditions as well.  Of course it's always hard figuring out how to balance family time during the holidays, especially once you start a family of your own.  But we managed to make it through relatively unscathed, and not nearly as fatigued as we were during our first Christmas as a family of 3.  So we considered that a success!

Checking out his new play kitchen

All 3 grandkids on my husband's side.
With a successful Christmas under our belts, my husband decided to be bold and throw a New Year's Eve party as well.  You know what?  It was so much fun!  We had about 15 people over, including a couple of little cuties (although our own little cutie rang in 2012 with his Nana, so that Mommy and Daddy could party guilt-free). 

Chris and Pete playing Kinect
 So now here we are, nearly two weeks into the new year.  Benjamin's completed his transition to the 2s room at daycare, and loves playing with the big kids.  Things are going well, and I'm looking forward to what 2012 has in store for our family!