Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Giggles and Hugs

Baby Max is 10 months old today! Isn't that unbelievable! In 2 months he will have been alive for a whole year. That bewilders me that I will have a one year old baby on my hands in what will probably feel like 10 minutes.

Yesterday I took Max to meet some friends at a place down the street called Giggles and Hugs. Vomit, right. I've driven past this building a million times all decorated in primary colors to get the attention of the kiddos. It's only 2 blocks from my house and I can literally walk there in less than 5 minutes.

But the thing is that I never wanted to go there. No matter how close and convenient it might be, I just thought it looked like a place full of snot-nosed kids that would give me a head-ache. And why would I take a baby to a kids' restaurant? It just didn't make sense to me.

But it has been pouring rain here for a week and we haven't had any outside time. Plus with the holiday season in full effect, I haven't wanted to deal with crowded malls filled with frantic shoppers. So yes, when a friend asked me to meet at Giggles and Hugs yesterday, I promptly said yes and even looked forward to the outing.

What I quickly learned about this restaurant/kids' playground, is that it is perfectly suited for the kids AND the parents. I'm still learning the ins and outs of the baby community, but this establishment like many others definitely had the parents in mind from the get-go. And the prices are reasonable too!

The parents can sit at tables and order delicious entrees while the kids play in a safe, vibrant playground. There weren't very many people there and we had a blast. I could just let max "go" without having to watch his every single move because it was a huge baby-proofed land.

He attacked tonka trucks, held on to the jungle gym, and tipped over little horsies. The size of all the furniture was perfect for him to pull up onto his feet over and over again between falls. This was the equivalent to disneyland for babies and Max had so much fun exploring all of the terrific toys.

The best part of our time was the most exciting "first" for Max. He stood up all by himself for 3 seconds without holding on to anything. He pulled himself up to the standing position and just let go and balanced himself with his arms out wide like an airplane. He was so proud until his short-lived standing spree was over and he fell back down onto his little bootie. I couldn't believe my baby boy stood up for the first time and I was so happy to be right next to him enjoying every second.

We also had fun going to our friend Rachel's 1st birthday party. Max loves his sweet girlfriend and tried to take every toy she held out of her hand. Too bad for Max because Rachel does not part with her toys easily. I think this picture sums it up, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to see Marc with two babies in his arms. Of course it wasn't his idea to hold both babies at the same time. ;)

Friday, December 17, 2010

I'm so touched!

If you've ever read my blog, I'm sure it comes as a surprise when I talk about anything other than baby Max. And in typical new-mother-fashion, I will definitely talk about my little elf on most every post. But sometimes, like today, I am touched for a different reason.

I didn't know I could view the statistics of how many people read my blog until a few hours ago. I thought I was just writing this mostly for myself, and my family members might take an occasional gander to see an updated photo I have attached. But today I was stunned to learn that I have readers from 10 different countries including Norway, Malaysia, and Hong Kong to name a few. I'm shocked that people around the world are taking interest in what I have to say!

I only started writing a blog in the first place for two reasons. The main reason is that I wanted a journal to chronologicalize my pregnancy and baby Max's entrance into the world. I know myself well enough to know that I will forget all of the important moments if I do not record them. If you look at Max's completely empty baby book that I have continuously been meaning to "get to", I have proven my point. I'm not the scrapbooker type of gal and need to utilize modern technology to be more efficient. So I didn't begin writing here for anyone else to read besides myself, and hopefully Max would enjoy reading it one day in the future.

The second reason I began blogging as opposed to writing in a traditional journal is quite simple. My speedy typing skills trump the tedious and tiring art of writing by hand by a long shot. There is no way I could crank out a quick blog entry if I had to guide a pen over paper to write every single word. So typing on my mac has made it more realistic for me to tell Max's story and record random thoughts about what's going on around us.

Speaking of Max's story, he got his 6th tooth yesterday! I told him that's enough. Surely six teeth are all he needs to get through life. But this tooth was different from the rest. He slept like a rockstar after too much partying and I barely noticed the little edges cutting through the gums. Maybe he had so much fun with grandmom and granddad in Dallas that he was too exhausted to notice that his mouth ached. If only all the teeth could be so simple....yeah, right!

Another huge development is blowing me away. Not only is Max pulling up onto his feet on every piece of furniture he comes across, but he is taking steps by himself while holding onto the coffee table, couch, and of course my pant legs. He's about to take mobile to the next level and I'm still not encouraging it. He's not even 10 months old yet and I'd really like him to be over a year old before he is walking all over the place.

I'm learning really quick that the busier baby is, the busier mommy is. I'm loving every single minute of it and I'm touched that people around the world are enjoying our story!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dallas Cowboys 50th Anniversary Alumni Reunion

Cowboys and DCC alumni from the past 50 years took the field during the half time performance in the game against the Eagles on Sun. Not only did I get to see the new Cowboys stadium for the first time, but I got to groove on the turf with ring of honor legends Roger Staubach and Randy White....just to name a couple. It truly was an honor to be there!

The weekend began with a trip to "the ranch" where baby Max got to hang out in the Cowboys Cheerleaders' locker room. He clearly loved it as you can tell. Regina and her kids were barking like a dog to get Max's attention for this picture. It had been a long time since I danced for hours on end in that studio, and it was definitely a new dynamic to walk in there with my baby. Like any good mom, I had my son's future in mind when we snapped that shot....bragging rights!

Sat. night we had a lovely dinner at Mi Cocina where I had a blast catching up with my old buddies and making friends with girls I had never even met before. It's so few and far between to be a part of this elite club limited to a number in the 500's. If you think about it, that is a very low number compared to all the girls in the world who would love to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.

I especially love making friends with girls that cheered way before me because they have the best stories about the DCC history. We could compare notes for hours on how things have changed! None of us can believe how small the girls' poms are today. The girls from the 70's think we had it soooo easy in the 90's with a smaller version of the biggest poms. But now, we all agree that the current cheerleaders have such a light, fluffy sparkle in their hands that they hardly qualify as poms.

You may wonder what the big deal could possibly be. Cheerleaders have been carrying poms in their hands for years while they danced and maybe size does not matter. But the truth is that size is everything in the sport of cheerleading. When you are dancing for hours night after night in training camp and can't feel your numb arm muscles because they are so tired, it would mean the world to be able to drop a pom or at least have one a fraction of the size. So yeah, we compare notes about every little detail of every single change from then til now and it is fascinating!

We spent the whole entire day on Sunday at the brand new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. That arena is so crazy/huge and could be its own city. When you look up at the big screen, you are certain the ball could fly in your face if a player doesn't catch it. High definition on the movie theatre above the field puts that old jumbo-tron at Texas Stadium to shame. According to Texas standards, if it's bigger, it must be better, right! You can see the cheerleaders so clearly that they better not forget to pluck an eyebrow or they might look lopsided!

My favorite part of the whole entire weekend was at the end of our half time show. As I walked off the field, I took some moments to focus on the fans and remember my own experience as a DCC. It has been over a decade, but the memories came back as if it were yesterday. I looked at the celebratory uproar and soaked it all in. I just waved and waved and waved. And smiled of course. And waved. And waved.....

And when I walked back into that tunnel for the last time that weekend, I had tears in my eyes. I honestly could not believe I was so lucky to be there. It was a rare opportunity to enjoy the moment that I may not have done when I was a cheerleader. It's such a different experience at this point in my life.

I'm not a person full of regrets. I believe we live and learn, and if we make mistakes that somehow shapes us to be a better person in the future. But if I had to do it again, I would have done something differently. I would have taken out school loans and quit all my jobs to enjoy being a cheerleader in college. It would have been more than worth it to be one of America's Sweethearts for another year or two while furthering my education. It sucks that I have always been so fiscally aware and financially responsible!

Oh well, at least I still get to enjoy being a cheerleader with the alumni every few years. I can hear the tune in my head right now...."We are family!"

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Up Up and Away....

I need to write about our last trip before we go on another trip tomorrow. Geez, when your baby is a frequent flyer it's tough to find time to blog about the last trip we went on. Or the last two trips. We're always going somewhere! Let's see what has been going on briefly so I can go to bed......

First of all, my parents came to visit. Well, grandmom and granddad were only here for a few days, but it was long enough for two major events. First event: our washing machine flooded water all the way down to the first floor of our complex. We aren't completely sure if our washing machine broke or if we possibly had a stoppage in the pipes that caused a problem, but the good news is that we don't appear to be getting sued. I was soooo nervous about what would happen after that disaster. Regardless, that prompted us to get brand new washer/dryer that we really love so I guess there's a bright side.

Second event: Max got his fourth tooth the last night of my parents visit. Granddad was up for hours in the night and probably holding his grandson the very minute that tooth came in. Awwww, isn't that soooo sweet!

The next week Marc and I took Max to Florida for a truly wonderful Thanksgiving. Almost every day I rode bikes or went swimming. The weather was absolutely perfect and we enjoyed our time immensely.

One of the highlights was taking Max to ride his first pony. Yes, that is correct! Max rode a pony! Isn't that incredible that this little baby has gotten to do so much in his short life! We all enjoyed riding horses, but I especially liked watching Max focus on his new farm friend, Connor. I can't get over the fact that his baby Ugg boots match his little horsie. It doesn't get any better!

Also grandma and grandpa taught Max to drink out of a sippy cup so he doesn't always have to drink out of a shot glass. We went out to some nice dinners and had the best time with family. And grandpa was ecstatic to see Max in the new, authentic Steelers jersey he got him. It was such a fun week and the Newhaus clan spoiled us rotten!

After returning home, Max got his fifth tooth and I got sick for 3 days. Ugh, I was worthless. Thankfully, Marc was a huge help and put Mr. Mom into full force. That was tough, but I am feeling well enough to get on another plane to Dallas tomorrow for an early Christmas celebration and a cheerleader reunion.

Too bad babies don't get frequent flyer miles. Obviously it wouldn't make sense since Max flies free, but would that be great for me. I could write a book or two about traveling with a baby. I've done it so much by myself that I thought it was a breeze with Marc's help. That extra set of hands makes all the difference.

Here we go again....up up and away......Goodnight!