Every Day is Different

Houston attacking Lanky the monkey in March 2008.

Just when I think I have things down pat, Houston ups and changes, challenging in me in new and exciting ways. He is extremely physically active, enjoying things like playing in his crib. It is sometimes difficult to get him to fall asleep for his nap now that he can roll around in his crib, get on his knees and grab all the toys that were at one time just decoration. He’ll be standing in the crib soon enough, I’m sure.
Houston absolutely loves to play outside. We have been chilling outdoors on some recent warm days, soaking in the vitamin D and the cool breezes. He’s content to play by himself so that I can get a few things done in the yard, but most of the time, I will sit in my camping chair (since it’s much easier than sitting Indian-style for long periods of time) and take part in the fun. Sure, I’m not getting any housework done, but these are the wonderful memories that I’ll cherish forever.
Houston kind of has a fetish with his Daddy’s work badge. Every time Stephen puts it on, the kid goes zany. Not sure if it’s because it’s shiny or has Daddy’s photo or is hanging from a lanyard, but it’s one of his favorite “toys” these days.
To see Houston doing the above-mentioned activities, click here.

Houston exploring the use of his tongue in March 2008.

Houston has recently discovered his tongue. He is constantly sticking it out and rolling it around in his mouth. It’s quite the sight.
He’s still not crawling, but his butt scooching and belly waddling seems to get him from point A to B quite easily. He prefers butt scooching, since he can usually make it farther with this method, and also because his belly waddles usually take him backwards and not forward.
Houston can also stand in his playpen quite well with only one hand. Sometimes he dares to go the distance and even does hands-free. His balance is increasing by leaps and bounds by the day.
The playpen gets to be a tad confining to him after about 20 minutes; we just keep it in the kitchen these days, so that I can keep an eye on him while I cook, eat, make coffee, clean up dishes and the like. What he really digs is being able to scooch, waddle and reach for toys to his heart’s content while on the great expanse of the floor. His head had taken one too many bonks, so we got him an activity mat. It’s only 4-by-4, so I usually break out the camping chair and hang down on the floor with him, or at least have him very close as to keep him within the cushioned perimeter.
To see Houston in action on the mat and doing some other cool things, click here.

Houston having fun on his activity mat in March 2008.

I’m still trying to figure out his feeding. I think I was overfeeding him for a while, but it’s so hard to tell since he never turns away the spoon. And I can’t really judge what to feed him by what the typical near 9-month old eats, since he’s so darn big for his age. So, I’ve been giving him a couple extra breastfeedings and a few extras snacks. I’m also sometimes breaking up his breakfast, lunch and dinner into two feedings each that are spaced closely together. This usually works. And then other times, I can do exactly what I did the previous day and yet he still pukes. Could just be the teething, my neighbor Shawn says. Houston is pretty consistent with the “eat” sign, so that has helped out tremendously.
The family had a great Easter. Church service was nice and Stephen even got to play Jesus in a drama put on by the choir. Then Houston went to Donni’s birthday party that afternoon (she’s Dixie’s big sister).
Stephen has been working diligently on fixing his motorcycle. We think (and hope) it’s finally fixed, but it has been too slick and icy to ride the past couple of days. I am beginning to lose it without having access to the car during the day, so keep your fingers crossed that it’s ready to ride.
Lastly, I have launched into an endeavor that I’ve been wanting and needing to do for a long time: I’m finally writing a book. I have been working on it an hour a day for almost a week now. It feels good to put my journalistic skills to work again. Plus, since we plan on having another kid and I plan on homeschooling the tikes, I figure I better get ‘er done now or else I’ll have to wait about 18 years to make it happen. Of course, the house and yard will suffer in the process, but if it’s a NYT bestseller, it’ll surely be worth it!

“I’m Exhausted,” Reports Mother of 8-Month Old

Not a shocker to all you other stay-at-home moms out there. He’s just at that stage where he wants to explore and test his independence, yet he cannot walk or crawl. Moreover, he is extremely strong and, my guess is, probably weighs around 23 pounds. Therefore, Mommy has to be there at almost every turn or else Houston will get his grubby paws into something that’s off limits and/or bonk his head on our hard floors. Gramsey promises that his head is durable and that he won’t get brain damage, but I’m still looking into purchasing an activity mat that can cushion his frequent falls.

Houston sporting his cowboy boots in November 2007.

In the meantime, I’m getting very little done around the house, which is a major source of frustration for me, since that is also part of my job. I’m so desperate that Stephen threw out the option of getting a house cleaner to visit every week or two. Ain’t he a sweetie?! We shall see; maybe I’ll have a bit more free time once he can walk, but from everyone tells me, I doubt it. Like I’ve said before, I simply question what planet people are from when they ask me, “Aren’t you bored?”

Houston during his first professional pics in November 2007.

Anyway, you can now view Houston’s first round of professional photos, which were taken back in November 2007. It’s so funny to look at these old photos and see just how much my big, crazy boy has grown since then. It really is amazing!

Busy As a Bee

Houston and Dixie have another play date on February 26, 2008.

Houston has had a lot going on these days. First, he overcame his fear of the wind, which always took his breath away and caused him a little anxiety. So, we began working through the fear during his walks on March 1 and 2. And by his walk on March 3, Houston was completely cured — a very good thing, since it always seems to be gusty in our neck of the woods.
Then on March 6, Houston sat solo in a restaurant high chair for the first time. He loved the new perspective at our favorite Mexican joint and also liked when Daddy let him taste a dab of the guacamole.

Houston self-feeding on February 24, 2008.

The next day, Houston and I spent the entire day at Aunt Meredith’s house, helping her prepare for a baby shower the two of us were throwing that night for our friend, Beth. He enjoyed the change of scenery and had a ball playing with two little boys, who gave life-like performances of various wild animals. Many of the guests were entertained by Houston’s “no” shaking of the head, his hardy chuckle and his all-around spastic nature. Whenever he’s around children, it’s like “wind him up and watch him go!” — very cute to witness.
Yesterday, we headed back over to Meredith’s, so she and her hubby, Greg, could babysit Houston, while Stephen and I went to an evening wedding. This was only the second time Houston had been babysat by anyone other than grandparents, but he handled it like a pro. Greg and Meredith said that once he woke up from his nap and got his bearings straight, he played with his blocks, practiced walking with assistance, tried feeding himself with a spoon and went to bed for the night without a hitch. See, he’s not a momma’s boy!
Today, Houston had another successful Sunday in the church nursery, where he was also introduced to animal crackers and apparently went nuts, covering both himself and the nursery volunteer, Cindy, in the delicious edibles.

Houston playing outside on the deck on March 5, 2008.

We retired the exer-saucer a couple of weeks ago, so all of Houston’s around-the-house play now takes place either on a flat surface (i.e., the floor, the bed, the deck, the yard, the playpen), in the jump-n-go or in his walking wings. He’s quite the independent boy, rolling from point A to B, scooting around on his bum, playing with his toys by himself, talking up a storm, reaching for and actually getting anything he sets his mind to, hanging out with his best play-date pal, Dixie, feeding himself, using his sippy cup, standing up solo, banging on his new drum, making himself heard on our daily walks with the girls in the neighborhood, etc. (You can check out all the late February and early March fun in gallery.) I’m so proud to be his mother and thank God (and Stephen) every day that my job is to take care of my amazing boy, teach him new things and help him to grow into a happy and healthy young man. Being a mom is best the career ever!

Houston walking with the neighborhood posse in early March 2008.

On that note, I will conclude with this cool quote: “I think every boy can be persuaded and led to do what is right by an affectionate and judicious mother.” — Robert E. Lee