Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

5 Months Old...Where has the time gone??

I cannot even begin to describe to you how fast these past five months have gone by! People always tell you that once your child is born, time seems to fly by, but I had no idea! This month marks one year since we found out that Ryder was going to be born and the first time we got to see our sweet boy in a sonogram. And now, here I am writing about my 5 month old baby! How is that even possible??
Note: This is a sonogram of Ryder, not the introduction of Baby #2...that's still a long ways off!
Well, this month has brought another round of firsts! Ryder spent his first night away from us this month while I was battling the stomach bug. When I had originally envisioned his first overnight trip away from us, I thought Tyler and I would go away on a nice overnight get away somewhere, and that I would be racked with nerves fretting over how Ryder would do without me. Instead, his first night away, I spent in delirium with a fever too weak to get out of bed except to empty my stomach of any remaining contents, while Tyler stayed as far away from me as possible. I cried as Ryder left that morning, but by nightfall I was completely unaware of my surroundings, and Ryder was delighted to be with his Nana, Grandpa, and Aunt Caitlyn. So in the end, we all survived and the event wasn't nearly as dramatic as I had dreamed up!

Another big first for Ryder was moving from his Rock-N-Play sleeper to his crib. He had been sleeping in the Rock-N-Play since he was four days old, and has slept great in it! We even moved it to his room at 3 months old, and he still slept great, so I was in no hurry to change things up. Like I always say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" This month, however, brought the beginning stages of teething and my excellent little sleeper decided he didn't want to sleep through the night any longer. Some nights he still does, but those nights are broken up with 2-3 nights where we wake up at least 3 times to retrieve a paci or nurse and rock. So, after lots of lost sleep and a very squirmy baby who has wormed his way down and almost out of his sleeper several times, I decided it was time to make the switch! We made the move three nights ago and so far he has transitioned to it with ease. I think, in all honesty, he was totally ready to stretch out and not sleep inclined any longer since he no longer has the reflux. So, for now, we'll say, "So far, so good on sleeping in his crib!!"

Other developments for Ryder include lots more smiles and laughter! He is such a happy little guy, so when he is fussy or whiny it's very unusual, and I know something's wrong, which is why I'm hoping for his sake his teeth will come in very soon!! As for me, I'm sure I will shed several tears when those pearly whites appear, and Ryder's gummy little smile is no more, so I'm cherishing those smiles now and trying to imprint that image in my brain since it's so hard to capture in an actual picture!! Ryder has also decided that he no longer likes lying on his back on the play-mat, I guess that's for babies... :) No, Ryder likes to be standing up, so his new favorite toy is most definitely the exersaucer! We have also recently added in the jumperoo, and Ryder is still testing it out. He's not quite tall enough to jump yet, but he likes looking at all the farm animals and lights and listening to the music and sounds that come from him moving around in it. And for now, it's just another way for him to be able to stand up and look around without getting too bored!

Ryder is quite the talker and loves to babble as he's reaching for his toes or cooing along with the radio while we're in the car! He's also decided that he no longer minds his car seat, for which I am so grateful! He has a habit of chewing on his paci or hands while cooing and lately he's been growling at us too! I guess he learned that one from Boston, who Ryder is now fascinated by, and he reaches out to grab him whenever Boston comes over to sniff Ryder, ensuring that we haven't brought another baby home with us. (I think Boston's feeling a little jealous lately, and I think he finally realized that Ryder's here to stay!) I have a feeling Boston's in for it once Ryder is mobile, but I'm hoping they will be best buddies one day!

Ryder is at such a fun stage, and it's fun to see his little personality beginning to develop! Our days are spent singing songs, dancing to the radio or whatever song pops into my head at the time, reading lots of books as Ryder reaches for the pages, and playing with his favorite toys, including Scout, a puppy who sings, lights up, and says Ryder's name, and mommy and daddy, who provide endless hours of entertainment playing peek-a-boo, looking in mirrors together, bouncing on our knees, or flying like an airplane! After years spent teaching high schoolers to read and write, I can't imagine a better way to spend my days than teaching my little Ryder-man how to play and laugh! This is the best teaching job I've ever had, and I wouldn't trade it for the world, well except maybe at 4 a.m. after the third wake up of the night for a cranky, teething baby, but since those nights are few in comparison to the number of smiles I get each day, I'll take it!!

Notice all the little fingerprints and footprints! We love to look at ourselves in the mirror everyday after naptime!
Coming up next month: Hopefully, those first few teeth and maybe trying out some solid foods like rice or oatmeal cereal and maybe even a road trip!

We've obviously gotten a little squirmier this month! But who couldn't love this sweet little boy?!?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Identity Crisis

Being a mommy has got to be the most difficult job out there. Don't get me wrong , I love being a mommy, and I would do anything for my son, but I never truly understood sacrifice until I had Ryder. It's absolutely a sacrifice I'm willing to make, but some days I feel as though I'm going through an identity crisis.

I worked for over four years as a teacher and my job defined me in many ways, so now that I'm not teaching, I feel a little lost at times. Obviously, God has a divine purpose for my life now as a mommy, and He wouldn't have made it possible for me to stay home or given me the desire to stay home if it wasn't His plan. But some days I feel like I'm not making a difference in the world, like my life serves no purpose. I know my life does serve a purpose; to take care of my family and raise our son, but some days it seems like that's not that big of a deal, like in the big scheme of things it doesn't really matter. I know that that's what our society has taught us to think and that God designed women to be mothers and care for their families, but after years of working out in the work force it's hard to reconcile my importance as a mom with what I was doing before. Now don't get me wrong, teaching was at many times a thankless job too, but the relationships I built were so rewarding and now I feel like I'm not making any impact on anyone's life. I taught over 400 students in those four years, and now I only take care of two people on a daily basis. I suppose I might make an impact on more than just my husband and my son, but it's hard to feel like you matter when you barely make it out of your pj's some days and the one person you spend 95% of your day with doesn't talk. But when I look in Ryder's little face and see that sweet smile, I know that to him, I am his whole world and that he needs me more than any of those 400 students ever did, and I'm so humbled.

It's scary to realize how much Ryder needs me, and I do worry that I'm not good enough or worthy of this calling, but to Ryder, all that matters is that I'm here for him. I see it when someone else is holding him, and he searches the room to make sure I'm nearby and then smiles and calms down. I see it in the way his face lights up when I get him up in the mornings or from his naps, that moment of recognition that mommy's here and he's not alone, or when I pick him up from nursery at church, and he's reassured that mommy always comes back for him. As long as he has me, at least for now, all is right with my son's world. So while I may have bouts of identity crisis, if I had to trade even one day as mommy for being a teacher again, I wouldn't do it. I love my boy too much to give up the chance to be home with him and watch him grow. I always said, "I can always go back to teaching later, but I'll never get the chance to go back in time and be Ryder's mommy."
Besides, who couldn't love this little guy? :)

As you can probably see, we love our toes now! :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Four Months Old

I'm way behind in updating for this month, but in my defense, I had a stomach virus for almost 5 days. It was miserable, and I pretty much didn't do anything including care for Ryder since I was so afraid of him getting sick too. So Ryder spent most of last week with Nana, Grandpa, and aunt Caitlyn much to his delight and mommy's relief! I missed my sweet boy terribly and cried when I had to send him off with Nana, but I knew he was in good hands, and I'm so grateful that they were able to help us out while I recuperated! It took a few days, but we are finally back up and running, so now that the decorations are down and put away, the house is cleaned and disinfected, and the laundry is finally caught up, well almost...let me catch you up on life for little Ryder-man this past month!

This month we busily prepared for Christmas as we went to pick out a Christmas tree,

 decorated the house,

bought Christmas presents, wrapped those presents, baked lots of goodies, and visited with lots of friends and family! It was a busy Christmas, but it was wonderful to spend it in our own home with Ryder for the first time!

 Ryder wasn't all that interested in opening presents, although he did like rattling the paper at times, but he loved all the attention from everyone, and he got a few new favorite toys like his taggie blanket, some teething rings (because yes folks, that's right, Ryder seems to be teething on anything and everything!), and his dog, Scout, that sings and lights up from Nana and Grandpa!

 He also met his great grandpa Harden and Audrey, and they seemed to like each other a whole lot! It was fun watching Ryder interact with Dave and Audrey, and I'm so thankful they were able to make the trip up to visit us!

Ryder has learned a few new tricks like rolling over! Now I know I said he had rolled over last month, but he has perfected it this month and can roll from his back to his stomach and his stomach to his back. He doesn't roll a lot, mainly because he hates being on his stomach and now he hates lying anywhere because he would rather sit up or stand, so that he can see what's going on! He has also learned to laugh, which might be mine and Tyler's favorite sound in the world! It's so contagious and can't help but bring a smile to your face even at 5am after little to no sleep! Ryder is very ticklish under his chin and right near his armpits. Sometimes when I'm trying to change his clothes I'll accidentally tickle him, and he just cackles! It's so much fun to listen to! The first time I heard his laugh it brought tears to my eyes. I can't believe how much I love this little guy!

Ryder has also discovered the exersaucer and absolutely loves it! He thinks he's such a big boy standing up in it and looking around everywhere. It keeps him entertained for long periods of time, and he's so happy spending time in it. He also likes sitting in his bumpo seat to play now. He's such a big boy and it's so fun to watch his curiosity as he takes in everything in the room. He also likes to explore textures and faces. He is constantly touching our faces and is especially fascinated with Tyler's beard! I think he's hoping to grow his own facial hair soon! He also loves playing with his feet and holds on to them as he rolls from side to side while cooing and talking, he's quite the talented little fella!

It has been a fun month of watching Ryder learn and explore, but the highlight has got to be hearing his little laugh! We are looking forward to what month five holds for us and hoping for a little snow and maybe a little slower pace of life and good health for everyone!! :)