Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday, Gus!

My darling Gus,

You're one today! Your Pa and I are so blessed to have such a lovely wee son. You really are a joy to be with--it is hard to put into words how happy we are to have you in our lives.

I love waking up next to you every morning. You usually open your eyes and are off like a flash, racing to check out the first thing you see. But some days we just relax in bed for a bit, alternating between nursing and playing silly games. The best is when Pa is still in bed when you wake up; your face lights up as soon as you see him, and you make it your mission to wake him up if he is still asleep!

signing "more"
There are so many little things you do that are just so gosh-darn cute. You have really perfected the more sign (although you have your own unique twist on the execution of it), and you use it hundreds of times a day, usually accompanied by an emphatic "Dat!" You love to walk everywhere, and we often hold hands and wander around the neighborhood. I love it when you walk backward or sideways, always keeping your eye on me! Or when you try to carry around things that are almost the size of your own little self--you are surprisingly strong, though!

And you definitely have set ideas about what you want and ways to make yourself understood.  The number of times I have been trying to do the dishes or some other mundane task and you bring me your shoes or try and hang off the stroller, indicating your desire to go outside for a walk. I still haven't decided whether it is a good or a bad thing that you know where the fruit bowl is and let me know when you want a snack. I mean, I love that you love fruit and that you can let me know what you want, but you have to eat other things sometimes!

You can say about 6 words, and several signs, either on their own or in conjunction with vocal words. You know hot, and often walk into the kitchen saying "Hot. Hot" about the oven. That hasn't kept you from trying to touch the hot oven yet, but it's a start! And I think I must always say "Up!" on a high note and "Down" on a low note, because it is never just down when you say it, it is "doooowwwwww", soft and low.

You're such a curious little one, always exploring, always testing things out. Never staying still for too long! I do love watching you learn about the world, though. A favorite game of yours at the moment seems to be organising--you move all the stuffed animals from one pile to another, or otherwise place things in very specific spots based on your own secret categorisation principles.

It has been fascinating to watch you grow and learn this past year, and I am so excited to see what you get up to in the months and years ahead. Thanks for such a wonderful year, my love!

All my love,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A brief thought about holiness

Today is All Saints' Day and the beginning of a wonderful month of remembrance in the Church. At Mass this morning, our priest asked why many of us would consider ourselves to be good or decent people, but few would describe themselves as holy. As it is through God's love and grace that we are made holy, Father warned us against inadvertently underestimating God's love by thinking of ourselves as only good instead of holy. We are all called to be saints, to be holy. I know that I personally have a tendency to think of that as something for the future, but it is also for the here and now. I know that, through God's grace and the prayers of the saints in Heaven, holiness is possible!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween isn't as big a holiday here in England as it is in the US, but I couldn't let such a fun day pass without a bit of a celebration.

I has originally hoped to make Gus a duck costume, seeing as he loves ducks so much at the moment. But I never got a chance to get to the fabric store and pick up some material. I was talking to my mom and sister Kelly on the phone on Saturday and lamenting that I felt like such a bad mother for not having a costume for Gus's first Halloween. They reminded me that we had previously talked about making him a little costume to be Gus-Gus the mouse from Cinderella. I could do that! So last night I cut apart a sweater that I never wear anymore and made a little set of ears and a tail. (I also stayed up way too late making a matching pair of trousers, which I didn't finish. Note: setting up the sewing machine is NOT more trouble than it is worth. Hand-sewing takes forever, even when just making a pair of baby-sized trousers.) We didn't have anywhere to go today except a monthly play / moms' group, but I dressed him up for that anyway.
what a sweet wee mouse!

I dressed up as well--Cinderella, to go along with the theme. I forgot to take a picture, but I pretty much looked exactly like this:

Sans the housework. Obviously. Interestingly, this is the second time I have dressed up as Cinderella for Halloween. The first time was when I was about 7, and loved the movie. My mom made me a costume, again, much like the one above. I even had a little stuffed bird perched on my shoulder. I didn't think to do that this time. Maybe because I had my shoulders full, what with a baby strapped to my chest and all.

We carved a pumpkin yesterday. I was sure that Gus would love squishing his hands through the innards and have a grand old time. Yeah, not so much. I think I disturbed a very important game he was playing, or something, because it took a lot of convincing to get him to even have a look at what we were doing. He picked up one tiny piece, tasted it, spit it out (because it was disgusting, I am sure), and went back to his game. Oh well, I had fun.

Oh wait, that's Gus again.
He's better looking than the pumpkin I carved anyway

Finally, I made a spooky dinner. I made pepper-o-lanterns, inspired by these, twice-baked potato ghosts, and melted witches, aka guacamole with a felt hat to decorate. Now that I am writing this, I realise I should have done something "bloody" with the beetroot in the refrigerator. That probably would have been gross, rather than spooky. Anyway, it was both fun and delicious. I have a picture, but I am a bit embarrassed to post it, due to its poor quality. How do food bloggers a) get proper lighting for dinner shots when the sun sets at 5pm or b) take the time to actually take a nice photo, 'cause I do not like anything to come between me and my food once dinner is ready! 


Hope you had a fun day!