Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Day

The Helfers headed south for Thanksgiving this year.  We beat traffic Wednesday morning and, I was ready to sleep for days after all the packing we were ready for the weekend!  First things first Thanksgiving morning… gotta get the turkey in the oven.  But at our house, it’s tradition that my Dad “flies the turkey” first.  We loved it as kids.  And apparently so does James.


James had been up for a couple of hours, and it was time for a snack!  When better than Thanksgiving Day to try a powdered donut?


I think he liked it.


Fast forward a few hours, a nap, and a wardrobe change.  We were expecting a couple of guests for dinner and James was getting antsy so, Uncle Hampton took him out to his boat.


Not out on his boat.  Just out to his boat.  In the yard.


I think at that point, it could have been the best day of James’ life {since Halloween}.


He tried so hard to steer and sit at the same time.


Saying “Watch!  I sit.”  Which sounds exactly like “watch, oh sh*t” so, I had some explaining to do Monday morning at school.


Nonetheless, he took his boat driving very seriously.  Pressing all the buttons.


Checking his blind spot.


And discussing the boat’s cleanliness with Uncle Hampton, using a leaf “wees” as example.


Only allowing for a few breaks here and there.  But never fully letting go of his driving face.


And then a friend, Zane, stopped by, Mommy took one picture, and enjoyed catching up with old friends!  I was proud of James for sharing, though.  He loves to play.


James jumped in a pile of mud then, it was time to eat.  We ate a delicious Thanksgiving dinner cooked mostly by my mom.


And then it was time to play again.  Ms. Ellen brought James a giant teddy/key to his heart.


I’ll never forget this visit with James and Uncle Josh.  He called him “Gosh.”  Every time Josh walked out of the room, James said “Gosh, where are you?”  Every morning, “Gosh? Gosh? Gosh?”  Every time he cried, “Mommy, Daddy, Gosh.  Mommy, Daddy, Gosh.”  And when Josh was there, James would just stare at him.  I don’t know if it’s because my brother is so tall, but James all of a sudden was star struck with him.  He didn’t have much to say to Uncle Gosh.  He just wanted him right beside him.  I’ve never seen James like that with anybody.  I couldn’t make sense of it.  Just thought it was sweet.  Actually brought a tear to my eye most times.  Until I found them playing after Thanksgiving dinner.  Gosh was helping James climb up the coffee table and then would hold him while James pretended to jump.  What boy wouldn’t love that?

I thought ‘oh jumping off tables. Great.’ And then I got my camera and watched.


For the next hour or so we did what we do every night.  Danced to The Monster Mash.  It’s hard to say no to “A ma mash? A ma mash? A ma mash? A ma mash?”  You eventually just let the kid dance.


He danced past his bedtime.  Then the adults continued to celebrate, and reverted to cell phones for pictures.


I know this one is blurry, but I love it.  Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, my Dad pulls apart the leftover turkey at the end of the night.


And last, but not least… I always find time to love my sweet little puppy.  So much that I share my coat on a breezy, beach night.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Not in my Army

A little male bonding

Christmas Basket

A couple of my friends give their kids a basket full of Christmas goodies on Thanksgiving, and although I didn’t get around to it last year, I have now started the tradition!  Our basket will come Thanksgiving weekend… perhaps while decorating the Christmas tree or in this case, after James’ Sunday, because we have yet to get a tree. {Please excuse the bedhead… haircut is on the list.}


It’s a great kick-off to the Christmas season.  And hopefully will help James to somewhat learn about Santa, Christmas traditions, and the true meaning of Christmas before the actual day arrives.

Like usual when James is mesmerized, he concentrates and studies whatever it may be, but he doesn’t smile very much.  In other words these pictures {despite the bad lighting} mean that James had a blast! And was actually entertained for two straight hours.


We taught him about Santa.


Santas in all shapes and forms… which I guess could be a little confusing…


I asked Justin to grab a few little things at the last minute, and it ended up being really nice that Justin contributed.  He hit the nail on the head with a few Charlie Brown items.  James’ new favorite celebrity is Snoopy.  Or as he calls him, “poopy.”


{Notice how my picture from my phone is much better than the ones from my camera?  Not on point this week, and my photography shows it!}

The two dollar choo choo train was definitely a hit.


And even earned some smiles.


And buttons to press that light things up… so cool.


But discovering the M&Ms in the little M&M man prompted “a treat?” to be said about one hundred times that night.


By dinner time, James was saying Santa “Danta,” looking for his Elf “Ef, where are you?” and watching Christmas movies.  We still have to work on the true meaning of Christmas.  However, if you ask him what to say to God, he puts his hands together and says “Ahh-men.”  That counts for something, right?  Welcome Christmas… tis the season!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Give Thanks

Today James watched Charlie Brown for the first time.  It’s a rainy day, and I figured there was no better background TV than Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving.

Justin is a huge Charlie Brown fan, which is why a friend gave these DVDs to James. {Thanks Christine!}  I thought James would play and occasionally learn a little Thanksgiving lesson, but instead this what I got… like father like son.

FYI: Snoopy and a beach chair get in a little fight.

A couple times a month James will laugh a little while watching TV, but never like this.  I love the sound of his laugh.

There is of course a lesson in Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving.  Marcie says, “But Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that's what they mean by 'Thanksgiving,' Charlie Brown.'"

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I hope you enjoy all the delicious food.  But I especially hope that we all find thanks in being together this holiday.  Happy {early} Thanksgiving.  May it bring you together, and bring joy and laughter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

James’ First School Picture

Drum Roll Please


Pretty stinkin’ cute if you ask me.  Ms. Stephanie told me “he didn’t cry, and he didn’t smile.”  Quite accurate.  I am VERY proud of him for not crying, and I am very impressed that his photographer and teachers were able to get him to sit still.  Good job to everyone!  I especially love that he’s holding a duck.  How cute.

And if all goes as planned, I’ll do a little something like this each year for my keepsake.

19 months5-2

Place your orders for pictures… I have a whole package!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Month in the Life {from my phone}

Wow, I take a lot of pictures from my phone.  Here’s a month or so in the life of The Helfers.

Callie and Chloe had their birthday party last month, and although I forgot to blog it, their Mommy posted some cute pictures of everyone {including James}.

James took part in the preparation.  He’s a great “helper” these days.


And made Mommy proud with his vacuuming skills.


Work hard.  Play hard.  James had a BLAST at the party!


I absolutely love the fall, and since James loves to be outside, we usually play outside every day.  We are spoiled by our huge backyard and will probably miss that the most one day when we move.

We run through leaves,


squeeze into last year’s winter clothes,


play our favorite “hi, bye" game,


play our other favorite “sleeping” game,


and even teach Papa the “sleeping” game.


Meanwhile, James has renamed his Grammy.  My Mom has always said her name will be whatever her grandkids call her.  I made her pick something when James was born, because I knew it would be quite some time before he was talking.  She chose Grammy.  James says Mammy.  So, “Mammy” it is.  And I like that.


With fall comes football.  This is dinner with Daddy on a Saturday evening.  {I know this is probably not pediatrician recommended, but I think it’s important for guys to do guy stuff.  Even if it’s in front of the tv and makes a mess.  And besides, I was just happy to sneak upstairs and take a shower.}


James is starting to love football.  Lynyrd shows his spirit as well.


All eyes on the Gators.  Despite their losing streak.


Of course, trying out choo-choo fruit snacks help get us through the football games.


Until I found gooey trains all around my house.  He doesn’t realize you’re supposed to chew them.  They tend to slip out of his mouth, can’t be found, then I hear “all gone?”  {These two trains are probably stuck to the side of my dryer.}


James has finally started to wear his Dalmatian ears {upside down} from the school parade


I think it’s time I find a designated place for all of James’ school arts and crafts.  I’ll probably change my mind one day, but for now I can’t bear to part with these.


I made little Halloween s’more kits for James’ classmates.  I’d like to say that he did it, but we all know that’s not the truth.  I enjoyed doing it, and his little friends loved them.


James did in fact, enjoy eating the leftover ghost peeps.  He has also been enjoying his Halloween candy.  Favorites are lollipops “bop bop”s, skittles, and kit kats “meow kat”s.


We went to the fair, which was a pretty bad experience.  Haven’t decided if I’m actually going to bring that back to the surface and blog about it.  For now, here is James on his first ever “rollercoaster,” The Tug Boat.  He really did love it.


I finally couldn’t take it anymore – I gave James peanut butter.  Earlier than recommended by our pediatrician, but I was drowning in the monotony of the turkey sandwich.  No allergic reaction.  All smiles.  And now peanut butter “apuck” has become a staple.


I’ve been trying not to dress James so babyish.  He is often mistaken for a 2 or 3 year old, and his legs are so long that most longalls don’t fit him anyways.  He looks quite grown up on Sundays, often wearing Khakis and a button down.


He’s growing up so fast that people are constantly commenting about it.  He is very proud of his big boy accomplishments, like climbing up in our wicker chair, turning around, and sitting.  {He must have done this ten times clapping for himself each time.}


So big, but yet sometimes so little.


I have an ER scare about once a week, but we nearly went to the emergency room last week.  James and Lynyrd were running around the bed in the guest room.  James was belly laughing.  Until he took a nose dive.  Literally.  After a bloody nose, The Wonder Pets and a soccer ball lollipop, he was all better.  With three brothers, I know the ER is inevitable; just trying to postpone it for as long as I can.


I made my first Mommy-only trip ever.  Long overdue.  Beforehand, I played James’ favorite put-the-duck-crayon-in-the-truck-and-say-bye-bye-and-repeat-100-times game.  My bag was all packed and I was excited, but I truly missed my baby at this very moment... before I left.


I had a GREAT weekend with a girlfriend and a wonderful visit with my favorite place.  The Farmers Market in Decatur, GA.  A place where almond butter is handmade, sesame oil is 1.69, fruits and vegetables are endless, bread fills the air, and spices are fresh and cheap.  I may have purchased a few things.


Meanwhile Justin, James and Lynyrd held down the fort at home.  A laid back guys weekend.  Good thing we’re not old enough to make a Christmas list…


And then there are the times that we stop and take a breath.


Because that’s just as important as being busy.


When I first became a parent, I thought I had to go go go all of the time.  And now I realize how quickly they grow up.  And that it’s something to cherish that James actually wants to sit on my lap and read.  In fact, that may be his favorite spot in the whole world.  And I know that’s not forever.  One day, I will miss this.  I try to remember to slow down and enjoy the moments.  I try to remember this: