Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Second Christmas

The Michigan berry pies were made and the table was set for Miles' second Christmas. It actually felt more like the first because last Christmas we were bleary eyed new parents with a five day old. This year we ventured out to visit the Laughter and Triant families.

Miles spent some time trying to figure out how he could climb the Christmas tree that he helped cut down back in November. Then he figured out that there were gifts beneath it. He promptly began unpacking the pile under the tree... and sometimes he stopped to read the tag.

I do believe the all time favorite was the wooden motorcycle. Beautifully handcrafted and ready to ride. He hopped on like a pro and Michael proceeded to show him where the clutch, brake, gears, etc. were located. I had a small flash forward and pictured a 15 year old in full motocross gear, and again my heart fluttered a bit!

We shared precious time with family and as I looked around the room I felt so blessed. The gifts given/received were thoughtful and much appreciated, but the real thing I cherish is the time spent in eachothers presence. I am so grateful for family that is close - as well as those who travel (and missing those who can't) as we spend time together each year. This is the stuff that memories are made of.

Christmas morning Miles played with his new tractors from GG, and then we headed over to Yia Yia Linda's.

There was a huge plate of her delicious iced sugar cookies for all to enjoy ~ Theo Dan's favorite!

Miles found a whole new set of decorations he could play with. He especially liked the silver bells - the sound they made as he shook them - and then the sound of the one he just finished ringing crashing onto the floor as he "hucked it" and picked up the next one :-)

He is really developing a personality - and seems to adore the fact that everyone loves to hold him and play with him. The favorite activity became trying to cajole him to make "trumpet lips", the funny face where he purses his lips and breathes in and out. I don't care what you are doing, it is hard not to stop and laugh when he makes this goofy face!

With 2010 drawing to a close I find myself replaying the year in my head. As I look back over the blog I am mesmerized at how much has happened with this new soul in our lives this year. I have been playing around with the idea of ending the blog now that Miles is one. Part of me thinks it would be good to move on to a new project. This was such an outlet for me when he was tiny. I could be creative and reach out to friends who wanted to watch him grow.

The other part knows that I will always take pictures of him - and inevitably in my head I will begin composing the next post. I love the way that this medium has allowed our friends and family all over the world watch the most amazing year of our lives unfold. So - my guess is that you will be able to tune in for more updates in 2011! I know that I will not be able to stop posting - though they may be fewer and farther between.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Standing Up

Miles has a new trick these days - he can often be found just standing around. I had a hard time catching him on camera, but in the last week I managed two good shots! He won't yet take the step forward, but I feel it won't be long. It is a bit strange to see him as an upright human being. I am so accustomed to him as a baby just crawling around. Now he is really beginning to look like a little boy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Birthday Bash(es)

After much anticipation, "birthday weekend" finally arrived! Miles seemed to notice that something was "in the air" as Michael and I scurried about the house cleaning, cooking, and decorating. Miles watched as Michael shoveled the front walk.

Then on Saturday night (12/18) we went over to Yia Yia Linda's to begin the celebrations!

Yia Yia Liz turned 90 on December 17th... and much to her surprise family and friends were gathering to celebrate her - the day after her birthday!

Family flew in from the east and west coasts.

Yia Yia Linda had tons of great food and decorations... and a house full of people to celebrate.

All we needed was the birthday girl.

When she arrived she was excited to see family standing in the kitchen and we cheered as she came through the door. She knew she was coming to have dinner with family.

Then she looked up and saw the banner, and ALL the food (tables and tables full). She realized this was bigger than just the family having dinner! It was precious to see her reaction...

...and the look on her face when she realized all her daughter had done to surprise her and celebrate her 90 amazing years!

We quickly realized that we had three birthday "babies" in the house. Michelle and Yia Yia share the 17th, and Miles on the 19th. It was such a wonderful party filled with delicious cake (thanks to Marie Catrib) and good conversations. It was so nice to be surrounded by family and friends and take a moment to recognize the importance of people, old and new, that we love in our lives!

Yia Yia held Miles as she blew out her candles.

Nouna got to love on the baby boy too!

Miles gave Yia Yia his first piece of artwork for her birthday. (What else can you get for the girl who has everything?) A few days earlier we sat down with some watercolors and let our little artist make his mark.

It was an exceptional evening, and when we got up on Sunday we realized we got to do it all over again!

I started the day with my own painting project. All of my life my parents decorated for birthdays by painting the huge sliding glass doors by the kitchen table. It just so happens that our new place has the same kind of doors... and so I rummaged through all my teaching supplies to dig out the tempera paints.

I painted the window while Papa decorated. As you can see my little helper snuck over and made his own mark on the artwork! (He is a great painter now you know.)

Our dear friend Angela arrived early and helped with the preparations. It seemed fitting that she got some one-on-one time with Miles, the baby she helped come into this world one year ago.

While they played I tried to salvage what had quickly become the world's ugliest birthday cake! I made Miles a white layer cake with cream cheese frosting. Because I went a little overboard with amount of apricots I bought to make into baby food this summer, Miles got an apricot filling for his first cake! Though the ingredients were all fresh and delicious - the cake itself was no work of art! Michael made a point of quoting the "Cake Boss" all day and making ugly cake jokes.

Then we tried to salvage the poor thing by decorating it with apricot filling! In the end it looked OK - not my best work, but as you will see - I don't think Miles minded at all!

Guests filled the house - and Miles seemed to love all the attention.

Then the time finally arrived for him to eat cake! We used the candle holder that Yia Yia Liz gave him for his first candle, and we also put "one to grow on" on the cake. After a year of mothers milk and homemade baby food - his little taste buds had no idea what was about to hit them! He looked on with such interest as his huge cake was placed in front of him.

He seemed a bit mesmerized as all the cameras began clicking away to mark this special occasion!

He wore his kiwi bib from Aunt Jessica and Uncle Matt because we wished they were here!

It started out rather civilized with his piece of cake and a fork. He looked quizzically around the room as if he was wondering who had been hiding this sweet lovely taste from him all his life. Then it was all over, he dropped the fork and dug in like someone might take it away.

Then he proceeded to eat, and eat, and eat - and well - we let him. Mostly because every single person in the room seemed in complete awe that this little being could shove so much cake in his mouth. It was probably the most well documented first cake experience ever!

Cameras were flashing, videos were rolling... it felt like the paparazzi were in my dining room and Miles was the celebrity of the day! All that flashing made me dizzy, but it did not detract the birthday boy from his primary goal - EAT MORE CAKE!

This is all that was left of his apricot layer cake - although I still have tons more apricots in the freezer - if anyone needs some please let me know.

While we opened gifts we passed around his baby book for everyone to see. It was fun reminiscing over the last year and how much he has grown.

Then the gift opening began...

...everyone was so incredibly thoughtful and generous with the gifts for Miles and we are so thankful! Miles could hardly contain his excitement as each new gift was placed in his lap. The greatest gift was being surrounded by family and friends who took a moment out of their busy schedule to celebrate his life! (And thanks to Anthony for the great gift opening pictures!)

The last present was from Mama and Papa ~ Miles got a classic Radio Flyer tricycle. It will be perfect this summer when his feet touch the pedals, but right now he is content to sit and let us push him around in circles.

Again I would like to say thank you to everyone who showered our precious boy with gifts and love! This was one of the happiest days of my life. I was amazed at how incredibly fulfilled I felt watching my son share in the love of his family and friends. I had no idea you could laugh so hard or have so much fun at a kids birthday party. Let's do it again next year!