Say Cheese!

Just a warning – this is not a proper blog post, it’s more of a photo dump. Since I haven’t been keeping up with regular posts for a while, I’ve got tons of photos to share but very little time to write about what Odin has been up to. So here, in no particular order, are photos from May and June 2014. These were taken right around Mother’s Day in May.Odin Tux 1_CroppedOdin at Keri's_Cropped

And these are from Odin’s cousins’ birthday celebration.

Odin recently got a play house that lives in our backyard. He loves that house. He loves to ring the doorbell and put “mail” in the mailbox (he even raises the flag on the mailbox when there’s mail to go out!). He was so excited when Matt started putting the house together that he climbed in there with him and gave him a hug.

And here are some random photos that I really like so I’m including them.

Lunch with Aunt Christi!

Lunch with Aunt Christi!

Odin Steps_Cropped I’ll be back soon (I promise) with tales of our spring and summer adventures!

Springing Forward

It’s finally starting to feel like spring! I’m a big fan of winter, but I think it really overstayed its welcome this year. Odin is keeping us very busy these days. His favorite thing is still reading books, but he’s starting to show an interest in fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances. It has been great to get outside for walks around the neighborhood and at a nearby school. He runs around in our backyard, and since the yard is pretty lumpy, he falls down quite a bit but he doesn’t seem to mind too much. He’s saying more and more words, and is really good about saying “please” when he wants something.

Rocking on his pirate ship

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In March, my parents and Christi, Ted, and Mirah came over to our house to celebrate my mom’s birthday. It was a nice gathering, though it was punctuated by Odin falling out of the house (he leaned on the front screen door and must’ve bumped the latch because it opened and he fell out; he was totally fine and didn’t even cry, but it was definitely dramatic) and I nearly dropped the ice cream cake as I was carrying it to the table. Luckily everyone (and the cake) survived, no worse for wear.
Janie-Odin-Bob 03-22-2014April has been filled with lots of playing, reading, and trips to the playground. Odin definitely loves to climb and jump, which makes me think he will probably be a bit of a daredevil (like I was when I was little). I picture him loving the fastest and highest roller coasters and wanting to go on them again and again. I only hope that he doesn’t require too many trips to the emergency room (and I hope any trips he does make are for minor things!).20140419_120150_2_Edges

Odin smiles a lot, which of course makes me smile a lot. But he’s also very sweet; he will pat your back very gently while giving you a big hug, he gives kisses (which are much less sloppy than they used to be), and he loves to laugh.

Last week I was off because the college was closed for spring break – one of the best perks of working in higher education is having days off when the college is closed. It was great to get to spend time with Odin and we made sure to take advantage of the extra 20140414_162049time to read and visit the playground, which Odin loved. What Odin didn’t love was getting his first “real” haircut. He cried and screamed through the whole thing, and even tried to buck his way out of the chair. It was traumatic. All the other parents were looking at me with expressions that said I am so sorry you are watching your child go through this, and also I am glad it’s your child who is freaking out and not mine. Of course, I wasn’t the one who was traumatized, but they understood that it was difficult for me to watch Odin become so upset. The haircut lasted all of four minutes, though I’m pretty sure in those four minutes everyone in the room aged about a year. Afterward, Poor buddyonce I got Odin back in his stroller and he stopped crying, he wouldn’t even look at me. I think he was in shock, and he was probably pretty mad at me for taking him to a strange place and having some random woman get up in his personal space and do suspicious things to him with scissors. I tried to get an “after” photo to send to Matt, but Odin just wasn’t having it. His dissatisfaction with his haircut experience was clearly conveyed by his expression. He was so upset by the haircut that I then stopped and got a tiny cup of ice cream for us to share. He’d never had ice cream before, so I thought it would be fun for him to try it, and if he liked it I hoped it might cheer him up a bit. He made a strange face as soon as I put the first bite in his mouth, but only because it was so cold. He promptly opened his mouth again for another bite – he loved it – and by the time we finished our little treat he was all smiles.

Easter was a fun day, and Odin got to run around with his cousin Mac, which was fun to watch. Odin clearly looks up to Mac and follows him around. They get so excited when they get to play together that they end up just laughing and jumping up and down. Odin also wore a seersucker outfit, which was a hit with the family.

Looking forward to more spring adventures!

Time Marches On

Here we are in March, with snow on the ground and spring on our minds. Matt and I are looking forward to taking Odin to the playground a lot more once the weather warms up a bit and the ground isn’t so snowy. Strangely enough, we got to take Odin to the playground on Saturday when it was nearly 70 degrees; then Sunday night it snowed about 7-8 inches. Go figure. Odin loves to climb at the playground and go down the slides. Now we need to find a playground close to our house that has swings, because he loves to swing.

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Watching Dad and the dogs in the distance

Over President’s Day weekend, we stayed in a big house at Bethany Beach with a large group of Matt’s family. It’s a trip they’ve been taking annually for many years, but this is the first time I’ve gone and it was the first time in a while that Matt went. We had a great time relaxing, talking, reading, watching Olympic hockey on TV, and enjoying the freedom of being away from home for a few days. Plus, a late-night game of Risk was played, yummy food was eaten, and interesting conversations took place.

It was the first time Odin had ever been to the beach, so he had the opportunity to go out on the sand and see the ocean. The sand was slightly damp (it had lightly rained the day before), so it was the perfect consistency (not dry, where it would just slip through his fingers, and not too wet, where it would be super messy) for him to pick it up and study it in his hands. He never tried to eat it or put it in his hair or throw it, he just wanted to investigate it by looking at it closely. It was fun to watch his facial expressions as he considered what the sand could be.

We look forward to many more trips to Bethany Beach with Matt’s family. We had a lot of fun, and it’ll be even better when Odin is big enough to really enjoy the water.

We’re trying to keep up with all the new things Odin does now. It seems like he does or says something new every day, so it’s fun to experience his new accomplishments. He’s walking like a champ now (and he’s very fast when he wants to be), still loves to climb, and is saying more and more words. It’s amazing how much kids his age can understand, and we’re continually surprised by the things he can do.

Matt got Odin a little chair and also a bean bag chair, which Odin seems to like. Though I have to admit I’m a fan of the bean bag chair myself.

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A few of his most recent photos…He has a very serious expression sometimes while he’s pondering things. I love that his day care provider captured this one of him staring off into the distance, apparently thinking very important thoughts.

Odin 2

I’ll write another post soon to share more photos as the weather gets warmer!

Recent Events

I realize I haven’t posted anything since Odin’s 1st birthday post. Here we are in February now, and I’m terribly behind on sharing things from the past two months.

In late November I took Odin to a 1st birthday party for James, the son of my coworker. There were probably five or six other small children there, and Odin was clearly overwhelmed at times. But he had fun, got along with everyone just fine, and even had his first experience in a ball pit, which he found interesting and seemed to like.

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Christmas was a fun time, though busy. We spent Christmas Eve with my family at my parents’ house in Laurel, and then Christmas Day at Matt’s parents’ house with his family, including aunts, uncles, and cousins. One of my favorite things about Christmas with Odin this year was having him sit by our Christmas tree at home and open a gift with Matt and me. He was actually more interested in the dog crate a few feet away than in unwrapping his gift, but we made it work and it was a nice memory to make.

Here are photos from Christmas Eve; we spent most of the day at my parents’ house, which was nice. We could eat, lounge, open gifts, and not be rushed.

At Matt’s parents’ house on Christmas Day, there were more people since Matt’s family is bigger than mine. We had another fun day and Odin got more experience with opening gifts and generally dealing with controlled chaos.

We had a great Christmas with our families; we’re grateful they are close by.

On December 30, we took a trip out to Oakland, MD, to visit Matt’s Aunt Barb and Uncle Patrick, as well as Matt’s cousin, Rachel, and two of her kids, Josh and Marissa. They actually live in Kentucky, so we don’t get to see them very often, but Barb and Pat have a house in Oakland they plan to retire to in a couple of years, so we went to see them while they were visiting there. The kids had a good time playing and I think Odin charmed everyone. His favorite activity was opening the kitchen cabinets and pulling out cookbooks and plastic storage containers. It’s amazing how efficient a one-year-old is at making a mess. It snowed the whole day there, so by the time we left at 8:00 p.m. (it was still snowing when we left), it was a dicey drive home through the mountains. But we made it home safe and sound and it only took an hour longer than usual due to the snow and road conditions.

Odin’s day care provider sent us these photos in January – apparently Odin is enjoying all kinds of ball pits these days. This one, however, due to its taller design, caused a fantastic and funny static-charged hair situation.

Another recent event is that Odin has been walking up a storm! He seems to love having the ability to motor around on his feet, and he has gained confidence with it in leaps and bounds (though I’m thankful he’s not leaping or bounding yet!). Also, he’s a climber. He has tried several times to climb up onto the back of the couch and stand up there. We have to pay attention – he’s quick!

Odin still loves books. He often will bring us a book he wants us to read to him, and sometimes he just sits on the floor and flips through books on his own (which is funny and cute to watch because it’s like he’s actually reading the way he flips the pages and pauses on each page). While at day care recently, he decided he wanted a book, so when he saw some on a table, he didn’t let anything stop him from getting to them! That’s my boy.

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Well, that’s what Odin has been up to the past two months or so. I’ll try to post a bit more regularly so that I can better capture the details of events. We’re looking forward to spring!

First Birthday

We celebrated Odin’s first birthday by having family over for a very casual party. With our house, that meant a lot of people crammed into a very small space. But everyone was a good sport about the sardine-like circumstances, and I think a good time was had by all. Odin was blessed with a lot of toys and books, so he loved it. Generally, though, he seemed a bit bewildered by the large group of guests at his party, and seemed even more confused when we all pointed cameras and cell phones at him to capture his first taste of cake. He did great; he wasn’t fussy at all, just quiet at times, taking it all in.

Birthday Cake

Odin seemed to enjoy his birthday cake, but I must say he was a particularly un-messy cake eater – we only had to wipe his hands and face a tiny bit afterward. I had seriously considered letting him dig into the cake with no shirt on so his clothes wouldn’t get too much food on them, but we didn’t even pull up his sleeves and he didn’t get any cake on his clothes at all. Go figure.

Eating Cake

Why is everybody looking at me?

Much of his party was a blur – in fact, the vast majority of the photos we took are blurry – but it was lots of fun nonetheless. Here he is opening a little fire truck from his Grandma Janie and Grandpa Bob – it’s the perfect size for his little hands!

Fire Truck

Right away Odin was interested in the books he got as gifts (he was interested in everything, but that boy really does seem to love books). Matt sat and read to him after he had finished opening all of his gifts.

Odin & Daddy Read

Thanks to our families, Odin’s celebration was fun. It’s nearly a month after the fact, and I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that he’s one year old! I sure do love this kid.

First Birthday

One Year Post

I still need to post about Odin’s birthday and Christmas, and I’ll do that soon. But this post is for me.

Odin is a year old. It’s bittersweet to acknowledge that my little peanut has grown so much. Each parent has a special relationship with each of his children, and while words could never do it justice, I’d still like to try my best to capture some of my favorite things about my relationship with Odin.

Over the past year, I’ve gotten to watch Odin’s personality begin to take shape. He is an incredibly sweet boy, and is quick to smile and laugh. He is laid back and generally rolls with the punches. He’s an observer; when in a new place or situation, he likes to sit back for a minute and take everything in. His pensive expression shows that he’s thinking hard and processing what he sees. In this way, he’s like me; I’m an introvert by nature, and it’ll be interesting to see if Odin is also, or if his personality shows more of a mixture of Matt and me. But based on my observations during his first year, I won’t be surprised if it turns out he doesn’t care for surprises – his mama doesn’t like them either.

It’s hard to capture in words the details of my relationship with Odin; perhaps if I were a better writer or simply more eloquent I wouldn’t find it so difficult, though I’m sure any parent who has attempted it has probably encountered similar difficulties. It’s like writing about how your favorite piece of music makes you feel, or how the smell of the ocean in the summer instantly takes you back to your favorite childhood memories. How can you capture those feelings and experiences?

The challenge is in explaining how Odin looks at me and slowly smiles, as if that particular smile is a secret smile just for me. Or how he lays his head on my shoulder to give me a hug, often right when I really need one. Or how he gives the slimiest (yet the sweetest) kisses. Or how when I read to him at night before bed, he sits on my lap and wiggles until he’s snuggled in tight. Or how when I’m feeding him a bottle before bed he ever-so-gently touches my arm and runs his fingers over my wrist like a whisper. He breathes so slowly and calmly as I hold him for a few extra moments before putting him into his crib, and sometimes he looks up at me with an expression of pure contentedness and love; at these times he always lets me give him kisses without squirming or stirring at all. These are such special private moments for me, where we get to just be with each other. I know as he gets older these moments will begin to change into different experiences, but over the past year I have come to love not only the laughs and the cute moments, but also the quiet and calm moments spent in the rocking chair or holding him before bedtime. These moments. They’re what I hope I will never forget.

Tonight, as I sat in the dark with him while he drank his bottle before bed, he held the bottle himself (he doesn’t need help with that) but when he was about halfway through, he reached over with one hand and held my hand. It occurred to me that this is an experience I’m going to have over and over as a mother. There will be a lot of times when even though I’m so happy and proud of Odin for being independent and achieving something on his own, I’ll always love the times when he stops and remembers his mom. Many more bittersweet moments to come, no doubt.

It has been an incredible experience getting to know my son. I’m a very grateful mama.

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