Wednesday, October 31

October Adventures

At the pumpkin patch
As always, my goal is to write a post more than just once a month, and once again I failed. In my defense, we had a busy October, and my evening window to decompress has been entirely taken up with decompressing. There is no way to measure it, of course, but I would swear that I'm more tired at the end of the day now than I was after a full day at work and a 1.5 hour commute each way. So, this post is delayed, but I'm here now, and that is a victory in itself!
Mommy and Liam at Riley's farm.
 In early October we took a trip up to Riley's farm for apples, cider, pumpkins, and general enjoyment of a beautiful autumn day in the mountains. It was great to get out for a fun family outing and snap some cute seasonal pictures of Liam. He had lots of fun exploring a new place, and felt so at home that he just picked up an apple in the store and took a big bite out of it! Luckily we already had a few goodies to buy, so we just added Liam's apple to our order.

Liam loved the big rocking chair he found on the front porch.
 The other hallmark event of October was Halloween, of course. Liam dressed up as a little tiger, and was very excited that his costume had a tail. I wasn't sure what to expect from him when it came to trick-or-treating, but he did great and had a blast. We went with his cousin Abigail (almost 3), his aunt and uncle, and Abigail's sister baby Rorrie. With my help, Liam followed Abigail's lead in trick-or-treating, and soon was saying his own unbelievably cute version (it sounded like "chitch er cheet!") followed by, "dee!" which is his version of thank you. I was actually very pleased that he added the thank-you on his own--apparently some of what Mama says sinks in every now and then!

Little tiger.
 All in all, it was a fun month, and I'm hoping now that Halloween is past we will get some cooler temperatures around here. Most of October was pretty hot, so maybe November will bring back those breezy cool beach days that are perfect for walks around the neighborhood. As always, with each day that passes Liam grows and changes, and this month I've come to see just how much language he's picking up every day. He is now a great mimic, and it's fun to hear him pick up on words and phrases. He doesn't miss much! And--while I may be biased--it really seems to me that he's turning into a very sweet little boy. He has his toddler moments, but generally speaking he does what he is asked, and uses "please" and "thank you" when he should. He loves to help me clean, and will happily wipe the tables with a dust cloth or hand me things to put back on the shelf after it's been dusted. I suppose it is possible that this sweet and helpful nature will fade as he gets older and develops more of his own agenda for his activities, but I strongly suspect it is a true part of his developing personality. Either way, I am glad I'm able to see him all day and get to know better the toddler that is growing into a little boy so quickly.

Ready for trick-or-treating!

Wednesday, October 3

One Month In

It is one month into my new occupation as a full-time mom, and I have to say I think things are going rather well. Sure, the days can be exhausting and intense, but that is to be expected. Daily irritations and frustrations aside, so far this arrangement seems to be working for us. I miss certain aspects of working, naturally, but I've not had one moment where I thought, "Man, I wish I was at work!" When I'm with my son, I know I'm just where I need to be right now, and I've found that thought overrides any professional pangs.

Liam at UCLA. His shirt says "Future UCLA Grad."
In fact, if it's possible I think spending more time with my kid has made me even crazier about him. (Note: It's the "about him" in that last sentence that makes it an expression of love and not a simple factual statement... Just keepin' it real.) While close proximity and a constant marathon pace should be a formula for thin nerves and a short fuse, so far I've found it mostly reinforces the positives. Not that both Liam and I don't have our moments, of course--it's just that the positives ultimately seem to win out in the daily battles. That lesson has been a lovely, pleasant surprise.

Liam's first trip to the library.
Thus far my daily goals have proved to be a useful guide for our daily activities, as I hoped they would be. Liam is up with the sun (if not before), and while I caffeinate and peruse the morning news online, he gets his daily allotment of "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" (a.k.a. "Mi Mow How"). After breakfast--Liam usually eats his and mine--we get dressed and head to the park around 9 o'clock. Nine has proved to be the golden hour for us at the park. Most days we have the place completely to ourselves, as most people don't start to show up until 10 a.m. or so. By that time, Liam is comfortably ensconced in his stroller with his sippy cup and morning snack while I push him up and down the sidewalks of our neighborhood hills and get in some decent physical exercise. I know this time isn't wasted because the hills are getting easier for me each week, but I won't be sorry when the temperatures around here finally cool off for good around Halloween.

Liam loves to chill with the iPad.
After our morning time at the park and a walk around the neighborhood, it's usually time for lunch, followed by naptime an hour or so later, around noon. God willing, Liam naps from 12-2 p.m., and I have a chance to do chores, each lunch, and/or collapse as I see fit. In the afternoon we do some reading or coloring, and have lots of playtime. If Liam is antsy and if it's not too hot out, we sometimes go for another walk before suppertime ushers in the evening routine and daddy's return.

Painting in the Children's Gallery at LACMA.
All of these activities vary from day to day, depending on what errands or chores need to be accomplished, but as you can see we fell into a new rhythm fairly quickly. We even threw in some fun outings last month--we went to UCLA and had lunch with Eric, visited the zoo and LACMA, and made Liam's first visit to the library. There are still some kinks I want to work out, like finding some social activities for us, and learning how to make the best use of my (very limited) time without Liam. 

In other words, the Great Balancing Act continues, job or no job.

Liam loved running through all of the lampposts of "Urban Light" at LACMA.