Thursday, December 20, 2007

Charlie at the Museum

A few weeks ago, the Professor and I took Charlie to the Dixon Gallery to see the Babar exhibit, Babar’s Museum of Art. When I saw the advertisement in our zoo newsletter this summer, I immediately marked the dates on my calendar. I have always loved Babar and I wanted to share the joy of this debonair French elephant (and his family and friends) with Charlie.

When we arrived at the museum, I was at first a little disappointed. I don’t really know what I expected but I did not expect the exhibit to be such a small show in a single room. After we began viewing the paintings, though, my opinion completely turned around. The exhibit was wonderful.

They paintings tell the story of Babar and Celeste converting a train station into a museum so that they can share their art with the city. I was surprised at how beautifully de Brunhoff painted masterpieces into the Babar scenes. They included Seurat, Botticelli, Munch, Mary Cassatt, Leonardo da Vinci, Van Gogh and others. It was a beautiful collection and so much fun to view. There is also a book of Babar’s Museum of Art. It is on my Christmas list if anyone is having trouble deciding what to get me!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bow Down to the Smoothie

This morning at precisely 5:47 a.m., Charlie woke up in a fit. For the longest time now, he has actually been sleeping through to a reasonable hour. But today, I guess he had just had enough of sleeping soundly and cozily in his crib. So, I did what the Professor and I agreed NOT to do on mornings like this. I went into his room, scooped him up, and put him in bed next to me. He instantly went back to sleep. About an hour later when it was officially time to get up and get the day going, he, of course, was sound asleep. The Professor had to leave early, so we were in a bit of a hurry. So, I nudged to the little guy to get him to wake up. Bad move. Isn’t there wise old saying, “never wake a sleeping baby?”

From the moment that he opened his, Charlie’s morning was awful, making the rest of the house a little frantic and unpleasant. He cried when we got him dressed. He cried when we gave him milk. He screamed when we tried to feed him a yummy, sugary muffin. He cried and cried and cried. After the Professor finally got out the door about 10 minutes later than planned, I decided to make a smoothie for breakfast instead of trying to hold and calm Charlie. I pulled the blender out, dumped in some frozen fruit, soymilk, and juice, and began whirring the mix until smooth and creamy. And you know what? Charlie was so interested in what was going on, he stopped crying. He even begged for me to share my “smoo.” And hey, guess what? He liked it! He drank two entire cups of smoothie, all the while grinning, laughing, and narrating the experience with lots of “mmmms.” As of today, I am a convert to the smoothie god.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Holiday Season Can Officially Start Now

Last night I finished my last exam for school and I am so relieved. Even though total elation with having my weekends and evenings back to do whatever I want to do (or what Charlie commands me to do) has not yet set in, I am beginning to feel the stress of school melt away. If you hear a loud celebratory Woo Hoo! echoing through Memphis on Saturday morning, it’s probably me finally realizing that I do not have to spend ANY time over Saturday and Sunday reading textbooks, writing papers, or even thinking. Yea! I am also excited that I get to spend an entire weekend with Charlie. Since September, he has spent most of one of our precious weekend days at a grandparent’s house. I love that they are happy and willing to watch him, but I miss not seeing him as much as possible. And don’t worry Gammy and Nana, I’ll still let you hang out with him. You just may have to hang out with me, too.

Even though it has been stressful and tiring, I am really happy with my decision to go back to school. I really enjoyed my classes this semester and am looking forward to putting what I am learning into practice. I am definitely having one of those antsy moments when I wish I could just get on with it already. But, I guess I can be patient. And, I still have lots to learn. Three classes’ worth of stuff to learn, in fact.

So, now that classes have wrapped up and my exams are complete, I am finally looking forward to Christmas. We decorated our tree last night and drank a little soy nog to put us in the holiday spirit. More holiday decorations will go up throughout the week, and I plan to brave the stores in hopes to get some shopping completed this weekend. I have plans to bake cookies and treats for our guests in a few weeks, and I have loads of holiday television specials saved on the DVR to watch during my FREE TIME! I don’t know if I have ever been more excited about the holidays.

Zoo Pics

I am finally getting around to posting some shots from our trip to the zoo about three weeks ago. We had a wonderful time with friends and their families on that warm November day. Connor was especially fun and sweet. While at the playground, he spent much of his time entertaining Charlie and helping him down the slide. Thanks, Connor!

Later in the day, we got a surprise! Our friend, Kayla, let us in on a special tour of the giraffe quarters (Her sister-in-law used to work at the zoo and has connections). We were allowed to go behind the scenes and pet and feed the giraffes. It was so thrilling to stand next to these gorgeous animals.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I Am Thankful

Even though it has been a while since Thanksgiving and most are busy putting up Christmas decorations and have probably already finished their holiday shopping, I thought I would go ahead and post the much belated Thanksgiving post. Think of it as my way of making one of my favorite holidays stretch on as long as possible. To quote Stephanie, Thanksgiving is really my favorite holiday because it revolves around “fancy food, comfort food, fattening food.” It is all about enjoying time with friends and family and one of my favorite activities – eating. I love Thanksgiving because it also kicks off the holiday season and it usually means that the long awaited fall is here. It also doesn’t hurt that most of us get to take a little time away from work as well.

I decided to take an additional day off work, the Wednesday prior to the big feast, at the last minute. I decided I would spend the day working on a presentation for school and cooking. That was one of the most glorious days I have had in a long time because 1) I was in my house completely alone (except for two mammoth dogs) and 2) I got to spend the day doing something that I love – cooking. I don’t really cook that much anymore since Charlie came into our lives. We still cook fresh foods for dinner but nothing elaborate. Most evenings include a pan-grilled/baked/sautéed protein and some kind of vegetable. Done. It’s nothing like the long slow roasting of a turkey, baking a pie from scratch, or the two day process of preparing stuffing from my mother-in-law’s recipe.

We spent Thanksgiving day with the Professor’s family. Several relatives came in town for the holiday and we enjoyed spending time with everyone and introducing Charlie to his extended family. For the first time ever, though, Charlie was clingy. Usually, I am trying not to get my feelings bruised because he tends to want the affections of anyone but me. But on this day, moments after we walked in the door, I sat him on the sofa and he immediately reached out for me and whimpered. My heart melted. I know that I might be cursing this kind of behavior in a couple of months because I won’t be able to get out of his strangling need to be in my arms, but for now, I will relish it. My baby finally wants his mommy.

He also loves his Gammy…

Monday, December 3, 2007

Sing, Sing A Song

This past weekend was busy as usual, but it went by way too fast. After last week’s 5 day hiatus for the Thanksgiving holiday, I feel like I got gypped this weekend. I am feeling the pressure of the holidays and final exams and am spending too much of the weekend hours trying to get everything done so I can be a blob as much as possible during the workweek. A few things occurred this weekend, however, that begged me to stop and take notice.

Charlie is walking. He has been making attempts for the past month now, but late last week, he just took off. His steps are still tentative and wobbly, but he has so much more confidence now and loves to show off. I am so proud and happy for him and clap and ooooh and ahhh with every attempt. One night last week, he had a grand time walking back and forth between the Professor and me. He probably walked the equivalent of a mile going back and for between us.

Now that he is walking, going to the grocery store is an entirely different experience. He’s not completely into everything on the shelves yet, but he is obsessed with pushing the shopping cart. And he can move fast! It is so hilarious to watch his cute little body drive the mammoth cart up and down the isles, into displays, and into other carts. Sometimes, he gets going with such speed that he is forced to fall to his knees because his quick little steps just can’t keep up.
Another source of entertainment from Charlie this weekend is his singing. On Saturday morning, he sang a song over and over again. After finishing each time, he gave himself his own standing ovation with claps, smiles and cheers. The Professor and I were stumped because we could not figure out what song he was singing. I was dying to sing along with him and help him practice but there was just no way in the world we could unravel the mystery. There were no actual words, no familiar tune. Nothing gave us a clue. He repeated the singing again on Sunday morning. Again, it was adorable and he was extremely pleased his performance.

I decided to ask his teacher on Monday about the song. She told me that the class sings a good morning song every morning after all the children arrive. She started to sing the song to let me know the words and tune. Charlie instantly lit up, and all of the other kids in the class quickly moved to their positions on the rug where they sit and sing together each morning. They were ready to sing!