Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Loving the tree

James loves the Christmas tree. Tonight before he went to bed I placed James on his tummy in his Boppy. Every day his neck is a little stronger, and over the last couple of days he's been able to hold his head up for longer periods of time. Well, tonight, near the Christmas tree, he was doing a spectacular job. He is getting so strong and big. My baby is growing up...

Looking as handsome as ever.
And holding his head up quite well.
He just loves the Christmas tree. I almost don't want to take it down.

Kisses from Daddy

Seriously, what is better than a paid holiday where we relax, keep warm, and get kisses from those we love? Nothing.

Christmas continued: December 26th

Since Christmas is so busy, my Mom decided to host her party on December 26th. She wanted all my siblings to have a chance to open their presents and enjoy yet another delicious dinner. So, the day after Christmas (after a much needed relaxing day at home), E, James and I headed to my mom's for more presents, food and fun.

We had yet to exchange gifts with my grandma as well, so she was in attendance. We started the party with drinks and presents. My mom, as always, had way way too many presents for all of us. Most of them were just small items, but each person had at least 15 things to open. E, James and I opened present after present. I got gloves, a garden gnome and a couple of other small things. E got his favorite Scotch and James got a ton of neat gifts!

After about half the presents were opened everyone started to feel hungry, so we descended on the kitchen and started to make swiss fondue (seriously, one of my favorite things ever) and broth fondue with beef, and there was tons of stuff for dipping.

After lots of cheese covered goodness, we continued to open more presents and then ended the night with chocolate fondue, bananas, strawberries and some pound cake for dipping. Seriously, do the holidays get any better?

One small portion of the HUGE pile of presents.
Baby man with one of his presents. So happy.
Melissa, my mom and Chandler open some gifts.
My mom wanted the Julia Child cookbook The Art of French Cooking. She was happy to receive it!
Swiss fondue is so so so good. Seriously, favorite thing ever. Kathleen, Brandon and Chuck tend to agree.
Kathleen, Brandon and my Grandma loved it when James was awake and happy. At one point he graced the entire party with a huge grin. It just melts your heart.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Day!

Merry Christmas! Christmas day was wonderful and so special, being that it was James's first Christmas. In years to come, it will even be more fun, once James knows what is going on, and can understand the concept of Santa. Can't wait!

This year James did a fantastic job by sleeping through the night (Merry Christmas Mama and Daddy!) and waking up at 6:30 to get fed. After he ate, E and I went into the living room, turned on the fire and the Christmas tree, and opened a few presents. James must of felt the love and peace in the room, and fell promptly back to sleep, which meant that I had two hands for present opening!

E got me everything I asked for and more. I got two new down pillows from him, a beautiful Japanese style lantern for our living room and an American Girl custom dress I'd really been wanting. I got him a watch he's been dying to own.

Baby man was awake for a bit, enough time to check out his stocking.
And wave at the goodies inside (notice the homemade booties! Made them in November before he was born).
E about to open his watch. He was so excited!
Me with my pillows! Yea! Best part? Sleeping baby!
James had two main presents from Santa.
One was a book called The Way Back Home (we're going to get him a book every year for Christmas, one of our first family traditions), and a crib soother. This thing plays music/lights and helps my man fall asleep. Seems to work so far...
After E and I both were able to hop into the shower we headed to his family's house for Christmas morning. James decided Christmas was fun and cried/fussed all through opening presents there. I rocked him, bounced him, and loved him while E opened most of my presents for me. All three of us (James, E and I) were totally spoiled, as always, from the Trumps. We got everything we wanted, and more! After another quick James feeding he fell asleep and let E and I join his family in a very yummy Christmas Breakfast. We had our traditional hash brown casserole, croissants, fruit, and sparkling cider. Awesome.

1 - Every time I tried to put James down at E's family's house he started to cry. So I let E do lots of the present opening.
2- Traditional Christmas breakfast!
3- Granny Connie holds the little guy

All too soon it was time to say goodbye to E's family's and head to my Dad's. We arrived to a very laid back atmosphere, and kicked back and relaxed while exchanging presents with my siblings. Brandon got E and I a Japanese Ryokan book we'd really been wanting, and my dad got us another annual pass to our favorite garden on the University campus.

After visiting there for awhile we headed home so I could have a nap. Although James is beyond fantastic at night, I'm still not sleeping that great, and had only had about four hours of rest the night before.

Once I was feeling rested again, we packed up the babe again and went to my aunt's house for Christmas dinner. It was so fun to see family a second day in a row. James wasn't at all fussy for some reason (Christmas miracle?!) and I was able to eat dinner with the family, play an after dinner game of Apples to Apples, and get him to bed without fussing when we returned back home. What a good baby man!

Merry Christmas!

My Dad gave us the most awesome gift to any new parents! Costco box of diapers and wipes!
My mom, Kendra, Chuck, Victor, Laura and Mike at the Layton's.
Spunky was so excited to find James's car seat. He just fit!

Christmas Eve Party

Every year of my life my Grandma and Grandpa have hosed the most wonderful Christmas Eve party. It is my favorite thing about Christmas. I just love it.

And then three years ago my Grandpa got really really sick over Christmas, and died a few days later. Since then, my Grandma hasn't hosted, until this year, that is.

I was soooo thrilled to hear that she was up for hosting again. It was going to be hard, hosting something that my Grandpa loved so much, three years later. But, when we arrived on Christmas Eve, to the house decked to the nines, I asked her how she was feeling. She said a little sad, but good, she too loved this time of year.

My mom, Baby James, Mike and Melissa. One thing I love about Christmas Eve is we all dress up. Once, when I was about 15 years old, I even wore my prom dress.
E, my Grandma, Caity and Maurice enjoy the fantastic appetizers.
My Grandma, Brandon and Chuck.
And so the party began. James was fussy for most of the night (really causing some ringing in the ears at his standard 8:30 pm scream-fest time) but he was passed from person to person, and overall he wasn't too bad. Appetizers were fantastic, with my favorite being a cheese crab spread and some huge king shrimp. Dinner was beyond wonderful with glorious beef wellington being the centerpiece. My favorite fruit salad and hot potatoes accompanied it.

My grandma wanted me to read a little Christmas story in front of the fire, like in the old days, when we'd have little performances during the party. And then Laura and my mom had some pre-dinner games. Laura's was awesome, where everyone got a sealed envelope and we had to pass left and right around the circle as we listened to a story. When the story ended, you were given what was in your sealed envelope. Everyone received restaurant gift cards, mostly for $15-$25 to top Utah spots. E, however, was the grand prize winner (I know, how did I get so lucky?!) and won a $60 gift certificate to one of our favorite Italian restaurants in town!!! I was jumping up and down with Baby James when he opened his envelope. So exciting!

Dessert followed dinner and then Mike sat down at the piano and played an hour of Christmas songs while the rest of us sang. It was so so wonderful, doing this again finally. After James's good 30 minute cry, he felt asleep in his Daddy's arms as he was sung to. Such good memories.

James and I read a special Christmas story that she picked out. So fun!
The food.... yummy!

Me, James, Willow, my Grandma, Victor, Kendra and Melissa. Looks like James wasn't too fussy at this point of the party.
E, my Grandma and Melissa pass the sealed envelopes. Who will end up with what?!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Letter to James: one month

Dear James,

Today I have been your Mama for one entire month. 30 days. One month of of tears, of love, of emotional ups and downs, of a few times of me asking myself "what the heck did I get myself into?" and one of the best months of my life. One month that changed my entire existence.

30 days ago they placed you on my chest and I told you for the first time in your life that I loved you. Since then, I've told you and showed you that I loved you in every way that I know how. I've patted your back, I've learned to breast feed you, I'm wiped your bum, and I've bathed you as caringly as I've known how, and I've kissed you more times than I could count.

Every day gets better and better. I will admit, in the beginning, I was so scared. And then the days passed into weeks, and slowly, I started to feel like I was home, I was finally doing what I'd always wanted to do, always dreamt of doing: of being your mom.

You will have no memories of this first month of your life. You won't remember your first bath, or your first trip outside, or the way I rock you in the middle of the night. But I will always remember. I will remember my heart filling with love the first moment I felt your kick, and the day I found out I was pregnant, and the day I first laid eyes on you.

I will remember holding your little body in my arms, in the middle of the night. as we look into each others eyes and as I try to will your eyes to close. I will remember the sweet way you smell after your bath, and the sour milk way you smell a few minutes later, when, inevitably, you spit up on your clean outfit.

I will remember. And I will love you for always. Because I'm your Mama forever. Merry Christmas my love. Happy one month birthday. I can't wait to see you grow, but I will never forget the first month, when you were still my tiny baby.


Photo above, taken during your Christmas Eve nap. And below, last night James and I near the Christmas tree. He loves it.

Getting so big! One month with Wolfy

Today James is one month old! Where has the time gone? Seriously, never has a month flown by so quickly. And never has my life changed so much.

Each month I want to take photos of James with his wolf. Right now, James and his wolf sit about the same height (although James is not sitting on his own yet!). In a year, I'm sure his wolf will look much smaller in comparison.

I have to post this series of photos, they just crack me up.

James hanging out with his Wolfy.
And showing off his hip moves.
James starts "the wolf stare down". James's strategy: stare above Wolfy's head to confuse him.
Wolfy must have won the stare down, or maybe James is trying to throw him off by a good classic baby scream.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Things change so quickly, I wanted to type up what happens here on a typical night.

Around 5:00pm James wakes up for the evening. Most evenings he will not nap or relax, he is so fussy, and usually has a 30 minute good cry, usually at about 8:30. I try to feed him around five pm, and then again around 8:30 or nine.

Then, I try to get our little guy to bed by 10:00, but most nights he is fussing or wanting his binky until 11. This means that E or I are having to go into his room every 10-15 minutes for the next hour to rock him, replace his binky, or try to get him to calm down.

Then (when he finally drifts off) he usually sleeps until about 2:30 am when he starts crying and I wake up to feed him. I feed him on one side, then burp, diaper change, swaddle, and feed him on the other side. Then I rock him. And rock him. And rock him and hope to dear god that he falls asleep. He usually doesn't.

All in all it takes a little over an hour. I'm lucky if he is acting sleepy when I put him back in his crib. Usually we are up for another 30 minutes to an hour with more fussies.

Then, when he finally does go back to sleep, he can last until morning! Yes! My four week old baby is only waking up once a night, most nights. I am very very lucky. That said, many nights I'm not sleeping well. The other night while James was asleep and content I tossed and turned for hours. It was horrible.

Usually around 8 am he'll wake up for another feeding. I hope it gets better and better and before long, he's sleeping through the night.

This afternoon James was chill'n near the Christmas tree. He just looked up at it for about an hour. I thought it was so cute, had to snap a photo.
And a little video I took the other day of my baby man:

Monday, December 21, 2009

December weekend 3: so busy!

Last weekend was our busiest yet, with the baby. James is wonderful, sleeping on and off most of the day, and in the evening only being a tad fussy. Of course, he does cry, and showed off his lungs at both my Grandma's and E's family's house, but overall, he's beyond perfect; which is wonderful when you are part of a very busy family!

PART 1: On Saturday my Grandma hosted her annual luminary walk. This is the neatest tradition. The cemetery near her house lights thousands of luminaries on all the grave sites. It is peaceful, beautiful, and so special. The cemetery is close enough to my Grandma's house that walking is possible. Yes, it is freezing, and yes, every year feels colder than the last, but that is part of the fun.

Hot wassail is served before we leave (along will a full cocktail hour of course!) and hot chili is waiting for us when we get back.

I honestly love this tradition so much.

We were a little worried about how James would react on his first luminary walk. It was awfully cold, and he hasn't been happy with the chest pack so far, so Chuck offered to stay back and watch him if need be. Well I was convinced that James would love the walk, as much as his crazy Mama, so I packed his hat, a very warm outfit and his baby bunting hoping he'd be ok. Well he was fantastic! Once he was all snuggled up in his baby bunting and in the chest pack, he went promptly to sleep. I wore my Grandpa's old coat that I wrapped over him, so he was snuggled against my chest.

Once we were back from the cemetery everyone had chili and told jokes. It was fantastic.

My mom, Laura and Melissa visit with Baby James. Laura kept singing to him, all these silly made up songs. It was so cute, because James would doze off instantly.
My cousin Taylor is back home from his first semester at college! It was so good to see him. Chuck and he enjoy the appetizers.
My handsome and most wonderful husband.
Willow is always in the middle of everything during my Grandma's parties. He was generally quite happy, until James started screaming near the end of the party, then he got really really nervous. Poor guy.
First family photo! Sleepy little man.
Ok, is this not the most adorable thing ever? Every time I think about him in his baby bunting I just smile! He was so cute!
Off we go!
After the walk my Grandma serves hot chili to everyone.
For photos of the actual luminary walk, see this post and this post from years past.

PART 2: My Dad's birthday is December 23rd, and this year he requested a brunch out to Dim Sum as his present. E and I were thrilled, there is an amazing dim sum restaurant here in Utah, and we've only been there once. So, on Sunday morning, E, James and I met my sibs and my dad at Golden Dragon for some fantastic dim sum. We ordered tons of stuff as the carts passed, and although most looked scary, everything tasted divine. It was a lot of fun, and might need to be a new birthday tradition for my dad, because everyone adored it.

PART 3: (I told you this weekend was busy!) In addition to my family having an annual cookie day where we all bake cookies, E's family also has an annual cookie day, where we all decorate sugar cookies! Connie, Chelsea and Joe were nice enough to make all the cookies ahead of time, so when we arrived, there were only about six dozen to decorate. As always, we made dirty jokes and laughed and laughed about Joe's Frosty the Snowman on fire cookie. After what seemed like hours of fun, we sat down to a big hot dinner of chicken soup and then made homemade divinity, which is an old fashioned candy E's family makes every year. James, was, again, perfect, until it was about time to leave, when he really showed off his crying skills.

And I ate way too many cookies.

Before and after on the decorating. Look how many cookies we had to decorate! Notice there are six snowmen! I think we decorated about 70 cookies in all.

Joe and Chelsea get most of the credit, since they not only decorated, but also made the cookies.
After dinner James, David and I work on the homemade divinity. This recipe has been in E's family for about a hundred years, and is always made at Christmas time.
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