Saturday, December 31

So Long, 2011

The last two weeks of 2011 were busy ones for the Wells family. Aside from celebrating Christmas, we spent our time visiting with family and (when I wasn't working overtime at the museum) spending time with each other. Eric was off and I had some time away from work, so it was nice to have a pause in the relentless pace of our day-to-day routine and just hang out together. As with last year, Liam still doesn't yet have any idea what Christmas is about, nor did he take much interest in other holiday traditions like opening presents and decorating. However, I saw glimpses of what future Christmases have in store for us and just how much fun it's going to be when Liam finally catches on to the excitement.

Liam's "2nd Christmas" ornament.

On one of our days off together, Eric and I visited Sea World in San Diego with the entire Wells clan. Even if he's too young to be excited about seeing sea creatures, there was a lot for Liam to look at and point to and generally be overstimulated by. He's a pretty observant little boy, but he's still going to be more interested in a baby mum-mum hidden in my hand than a shark swimming by in the tank overhead. Even so, I think he enjoyed himself. Obviously with a little toddler we weren't into the rides, but we did play a few games. At one point Eric challenged me to play the basketball game (buy 3-5 balls and if you make a shot, you win). This was a significant challenge because ever since he took me to Santa Monica pier on our first date I have beaten him each time we've played this game. Initially I said no thanks, since I'm happy to rest on my laurels and hold on to my record, but Eric bought five balls and challenged me anyway. He took three of the five shots, missing every one, and then offered one ball to me and one to his Uncle Mike. I stepped up and took my ONE shot, fully prepared to shatter my unbroken record, but what do you know? She shoots, she scores!--and my perfect record against Eric in the basketball game remains intact! (Mike took his shot after me and missed too--Amber FTW!) My prize was a cute little stuffed Shamu, which I of course gave to my baby boy. It was a tiring but very fun day. We got a year pass with our one-day entrance fee, so I'm sure we'll be back in a few months for another family fun day.

It was a sunny yet chilly day in San Diego--hence the hoodies!

The last week of December my parents came out for a visit. It was Dad's first visit with Liam since last April, and I think he had more fun with Liam the unceasingly active, walking, running, giggling toddler than Liam the baby. Mom, of course, enjoys any and all time with Liam, and I enjoy having someone around to give me a break from constant mommy duties like diaper changes, feedings, and baths. It's amazing how much even a little break from that constant parent-mode can help recharge my energy. I took advantage of having live-in babysitters for a few days and went to the movies, which is one of the things I miss most from my life before motherhood. (In case you're curious, I saw "War Horse" [alone] and "Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows" [with Eric]. Two thumbs up on both.)

My dad, mom, me, Liam, and Eric.

Now it's time to say "So long," to 2011. Here's hoping that 2012 will be as blessed and full of adventure as 2011, and that all of the lessons I learned in the past year stick!

Thursday, December 1

Meeting Santa

In the spirit of the season, and like any good parent who wants to provide properly traumatizing early childhood experiences for her son, I recently took Liam to meet Santa Claus for the first time. Naturally I expected that the photos from this obligatory kid-freaking-out-with-Santa encounter wouldn't be the best, but I certainly didn't expect to be so tickled by them. Yes, there were tears, but it was over quicker than a shot and as soon as Liam was back in Mommy's arms he was all smiles and contentment again. Now, looking at the pictures, after an initial sad, "Awww," I can't help but chuckle at Liam and the look of deep suspicion he is giving Santa. I look forward to showing these to him years from now when he's old enough to chuckle at them himself.