Saturday, December 31, 2011

Around Christmas Time

Baby's first Christmas... I remember how much we were talking about Alex's first Christmas last year when I was pregnant and we were calculating that he'll be ten months old this time of the year. Now that we celebrated it already, I can't believe these days we anticipate all year round go by so fast. The best part for us this year is that we get to experience Christmas twice, once with Mimi and Papa in DC and secondly, in New Jersey, at Julie's place during New Year's week.  Alex had a great time and received lots of gifts although he didn't realize too much what was going on. He did enjoy the many Christmas lights and decorations we saw around the city.

We started Christmas weekend with a walk to Union Station to watch the train display and catch a bite at the newly opened Pret A Manger. Alex rode in style there in his smart trike and turned heads everywhere.

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The friendly staff at Pret took a picture of all of us. They all loved Alex of course and he didn't mind all the attention.

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The train display was a big hit, he enjoyed checking out the cute trains circling around.

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On Christmas Eve, Michael and I enjoyed the evening church service while Mimi and Papa babysat Alex. He was in a goofy mood all night and it continued when we arrived home too. Here's Michael chasing him in his crib with the giant monkey. Love Alex's laughter:)

Then Christmas morning came and we sat around and opened some gifts. This is a tree ornament Alex got from Mimi and Papa... next year we'll put up a Christmas tree so we can hang it. This year we kind of skipped that part. Despite the lack of a beautifully decorated tree, Santa wasn't picky and 'dropped off' still lots of gifts for everyone.

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Later in the day, we had a few friends stopping by our house and hanging out for a bit.

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By the evening, we decided to get out of the house for some fresh air and check out the National Tree by the White House. We will have to start a tradition where we take Alex there each year. DC is not as famous as NYC for its Christmas decor, but it's still unique and worth exploring during this special time of the year.

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Monday was another beautiful day so we drove to Mount Vernon and visited the estate. Lots of people had the same idea and we almost gave up when it took us forever to find parking. We ended up walking around there and enjoying the beautiful views and decorations. I like this picture of us by the Christmas tree, only that Alex was ready to go down for a nap and was enjoying his milk instead of posing for the camera like mommy and daddy did.

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I have to say one more thing, and maybe the MOST important thing of all. Besides gifts, lights, decorations, foods, the most special part of Christmas is whom we celebrate. Baby Jesus' birth was and still is the most precious gift any of us, human beings could have ever received. I really liked what my pastor said during the Christmas eve service when he summarized this extraordinary holiday into this: "He (Jesus) came to our place, so He could invite us back to his.' Happy Birthday, baby Jesus, thank you for coming to this world!

Friday, December 23, 2011

10 months

So, as I type right now, Alex is trying desperately to grab the container of nuts on the china cabinet behind me.  Needless to say, things around our house have changed a little bit since my last blog post, two months ago.  I know I had originally said that we were going to change to a more bi-weekly or even monthly update, but this seems to have gone a bit beyond that.

Since my last post, Alex has started crawling.  In fact, he's going quite a bit beyond crawling to pulling up on the furniture and even moving around it a bit.  He's also discovered stairs.  He thinks they're great fun to climb on and up.  The result of that one is that the gates we put at the tops of the stairs to keep him from bouncing down them aren't sufficient.  Instead, we're going to have to start looking for ones appropriate for the bottoms too.  In the meantime, I guess we can continue to put furniture and boxes in front of them or just keep running for him as he tries to ascend.

He's still a healthy and happy little(-ish) boy.  At his last checkup he was 27 pounds and 31 inches long.  That's 95th percentile if you're curious.  However, even with him being that big, as he's started crawling and moving around more, some of his baby fat-based chubbiness has gone away.  He's not really gained any more weight than before, but instead looks like someone's stretching him.  He's also not looking any more like me than before, in fact he keeps looking more like mommy (as this post shows).

That being said, we think he's gotten more of my personality.  He can be a rather intense and focused little one, when he wants.  But at the same time, he seems to have a goofy sense of humor (though I think a lot of babies and toddlers have that).  He also loves buttons and knobs and blinking lights.  My parents always tell this story about me as a little one: when they needed a break, they would just put me in the playpen right in front of the stereo.  I would then proceed to spend a good amount of time playing with and turning the knobs.  I suspect Alex would do the same thing.  He definitely likes the stereo we have.  Oh and he's figured out how to turn on and off the clock radio we have in the basement.  I really like the video Feli posted of Alex ignoring his toys while going for the remote control on the table.

He's still sleeping through the night, which is very nice.  He tends to head to bed around 6-8, give or take, and then will sleep to 6 or 7 AM.  After that, his schedule is a bit more squishy.  He's still taking about three naps per day, one an hour or so after he gets up, one mid morning and one mid afternoon.  Of course, that tends to change a bit from day to day.  In fact this morning, we have no early morning nap and are hoping to hold off for the 10am nap.

Feeding time is definitely becoming more interested.  He's started to feed himself and sometimes won't eat unless it's that way.  He still seems to eat just about anything Feli and I feed him, which tends to make mommy very happy.  However, he definitely loved to eat fruits and cheese.  And of course he likes to chew on the occasional stick as well.  Yesterday, he and I were walking around the city after having played at the local playground.  When we got home, mommy found that he'd been chewing on a stick the entire time.  I guess he got his minerals that way.

Through it all, he's still remained the easy to handle, happy little guy that we've grown to love.  It's been a fun 10 months watching him grow and mature and flourish.  We're definitely thankful for him and couldn't ask for a better fit for our small, but growing family.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Comparing Notes (part one)

Michael found a bunch of photos he has been saving on his computer and shared them with me. Last night I couldn't stop digging through them, especially the old black and white photos he had scanned a while back. Lucky me, my dad was into photography as I was growing up so I have lots of black and white (and a few color) photos revealing my own childhood, in a totally different part of world. I am very thankful for my dad who took the time and energy to learn how to develop films, there were no expensive, fancy, smart DSLR cameras back then. I don't think I would be as good as documenting Alex's childhood, all ten months of it so far, with so many pictures (oh, and videos!!) if the camera wouldn't do pretty much all the work for me... I basically point and click at this photogenic baby of mine, him and the camera are the only ones working or posing.

If the old picture of me would have the same quality as Alex's, I think it would be hard to tell who's who. Alex looks very much like me, don't you think so? Both him and I were so cheeky and round:


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One of my favorites photos of me is this one where my very young, good looking dad was holding me. I thought the photo of Michael and Alex was a great comparison... although obviously Alex already has a funnier side than I had... look how serious I was lol.


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It's kind of amazing to see how big of a difference it can be from one generation to another. Sometimes it makes me wonder how is it going to be when Alex's will be an adult.... well, kind of scary thought because that means I will be old but most probably a very, proud, happy mom still:)


Friday, December 16, 2011

Flip Friday

It's 9 pm and the video I am posting today is something I recorded a few hours earlier. Alex was playing by himself in the living room with whatever he could get his hands on. As you can see there are a lot of bright color toys laying around that make great sounds and can play music and have fun claps to bang on. At one moment I started recorded him but I couldn't see what it was behind the toys that he was determined to get! I was intrigued what could be more interesting than the toys... See the video to see what a daddy's boy Alex is!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Old Town Alexandria

It's been a mild December so far, giving us the chance to spend lots of time outside, either at the playground, walking around town, running errands or enjoying scenic places around DC. Last Friday, my mommy friend Roxana had the idea of going to old town Alexandria and getting some fresh air while walking around and doing some window shopping. We were joking how our husbands who work during the day (to whom we are very grateful to by the way!!), love us even more when we do that kind of shopping... no credit cards involved.

It was a beautiful, crisp day and the four of us enjoyed the beautiful area there. Here are some of my favorite shots I got that day.The boys by the waterfront, although Alex wasn't too happy with mommy taking pictures and not pushing the stroller.

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This is my new Romanian friend Roxana, whom also is married to an American, whom also has a boy (just a few months older than Alex) and who lives just outside DC. We became buddies right away and we see our little guys falling for each other too.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Flip Sunday it is...

Yet again I didn't manage to post the usual Friday video. I might have to change the rule of the 'Flip Friday'  to 'Flip Random Day'. This way I will not feel bad for always being late. Yes, I think I will do that and see how it goes.

Anyways, here is a clip of Alex (wearing his cute dinosaur pj's) feeding himself. He is into the stage where he likes to be a 'big boy' and take the food to his mouth and not just his food... .I don't like the messiness babies make when they attempt to feed their little mouths, so I was trying to hold off on this as long as I could. Maybe the fact that one of my (early) Christmas gifts was this amazing floor cleaner which makes washing the floor such a easy breezy job, Alex gets to play more with food now. He has such a satisfaction in his eyes when he gets to actually find his mouth.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thanksgiving Week

I realize this entry about our week in Knoxville is a little bit late but then again, it kind of fits in with how updates show up on Alex's blog... a few days late. I did want to post a few glimpses of our fun days in Tennessee and show Alex's first video. He got a hold of the Flip and off he went, recording his first video segment. Alex had a blast visiting Mimi and Papa, especially that his cousins were down there. Charlie was a great gang leader, behaving well and helping out as much as he could. Alex is already looking up to him!

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The weather was gorgeous all week so the boys had lots of fun outside. Tractors and cars helped out in keeping these active boys entertained and happy.

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This next photo for me seems to represent the future for us: Charlie leading the crowd, Henry always going for the adventure part and Alex, wanting to imitate Henry while hanging on for his dear life. Oh boy, fun times ahead once Alex joins his cousins...

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Alex would make a great cowboy, wouldn't he? Charlie let us borrow his awesome hat and pose with it.

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We also managed to get a few family shots right before Michael and I went on a little date later that day. It was nice of Mimi to babysit Alex for us and on top of that to gift us with tickets to a Knoxville Food Tour.

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Beautiful aunt Julie and Alex posed for the camera as well. Look at both those smiles!!

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With three beautiful grandsons like these three musketeers, anyone would be as smiley as Mimi and Papa.

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And finally a little preview of what's ahead... Merry Christmas everyone!

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The conclusion is made by Alex as he grabs the video camera from Michael's hands...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Flip Friday

It looks like this blog is becoming a lot of 'Flip Friday's entries. I don't know really what I can do to get my act together and be more active about blogging. There are so many funny moments and stories I want to capture at the time when they happen but then I got distracted and busy with other things and never come around to do it. Well, one thing I do right  and I am not ashamed to brag about it: I  take pictures, lots of pictures of our little guy playing, eating, crawling, doing the funniest faces and all. I post these pictures on regular basis on Facebook or Picasa.

I was looking through the videos and I decided to dig through some of the earlier ones. Alex is only nine months old but looking at some of these early videos, I couldn't believe the change he went through in just a few months. I mean, just look at these cheeks!! He's still a 'chunky monkey' (yet another nickname for him) but he's thinned out since the trip to California back in June when I filmed this. I liked how intrigued he seemed to be about his hand and fingers. Now he's into 'blinking lights and buttons' just like someone else I know.