Monday, March 30, 2009

Everything About You, I Love

There are an assortment of pictures in this post--some from Magson's birthday, some not. And a big thank you to AJ for taking a handful of them! I was so busy at his party, I didn't get quite as many as I would have liked.

My Dear Magson,

Your birthday celebration started out with a bang, and not the kind of bang that sounds like clapping and fireworks and party blowers; unfortunately, it was not that kind of bang at all. Instead, it was the kind of bang that sent me yelping for your safety. It was a painful bang to your sweet baby head and my mother heart.

I had spent the day cooking and cleaning, getting ready for that evening's family dinner celebration. I unstrapped your seat and tray that we attach to one of our dining room chairs so I could give it an extra good clean, but there was so much on my mind that I forgot to strap it back to the chair before I sat you in it for dinner. Yes, you fell off the dining room chair while still strapped into your baby seat and hit your head pretty hard on the ground. I'm so sorry, baby boy.

I wouldn't mention it at all because I'm embarrassed at the number of injuries I've caused you lately--remember the vacuum? But you're going to wonder about the big red bump on your forehead when you look at your birthday pics someday, so I figure I needed to get that out of the way--whew.

(BTW, I also want to expound on the vacuum incident. Obviously, I didn't intend to vacuum you up, but without further explanation you might be imagining me running you over, when really I was in a tight spot between a bed and a wall and you and Maggie were right at the foot of the vacuum. To avoid running you both over, I made the mistake of lifting the vacuum from the floor so I could spin a 180 and continue. But I didn't turn it off, and as I lifted the vacuum, the suction that normally has a hard time picking up crumbs, inhaled your foot quite forcefully. It's about better now, but I still kiss it multiple times a day.)

Moving on... some of the things I really want to remember about you as a one-year-old include how you were much more interested in the streamer and balloon decor than opening up presents at your party. Maggie kept sweetly prodding you to take interest in the festivities.

"Magson--sweetheart--come open your presents, Magson," she'd say again and again.

For the most part, you ignored her and gave your undivided attention to a green balloon.

And by the way, Maggie absolutely adores you. She talks about you nonstop whenever you're not there. She was behind all the party decorations. We got your presents wrapped and cake baked way early because she just couldn't wait. You two have formed such a sweet bond and I melt every time I watch you two play together.

You love to sneak into the office and pull all of Daddy's important papers from his desk and imput all the wrong numbers into his spreadsheets.

I can't keep my eyes off of you with your tongue ever poking the air; your eyes so dark and deep; your Gerber baby smile; the way you slurped up your birthday ice cream with your hands, how you loved your less-than-glamorous teddy bear cake, the way you show off how you can walk like a big boy with the help of your push toy, maneuvering yourself out of tight corners and making sharp turns. The solid, healthy weight of you in my arms. The way you rest your head on my shoulder when you're sleepy. Everything about you, I love, my birthday boy.

PS. Magson is now an official walker! He took his first step on his birthday and last night ventured to take five wobbly steps!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Know...

He's the most precious baby you've ever seen and I didn't tell you a single thing about him in my last post--so sorry! I was exhausted and frustrated with my computer that night, and the only two words that popped into my head were "heaven sent." Isn't he, though? Gosh, I couldn't get enough of him.

This cute family lives in our neighborhood and goes to church with us. They adopted Handsome Baby Boy about two months ago and I couldn't help but feel the love when I was with them. Dad was so kind, patient and full of great ideas, and mom was gorgeous, loving and stylish. Top that off with the most mild tempered (and beautiful!) baby ever and you have one lucky me! I loved every minute with these guys.




Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Scarlet

Meet my beyond gorgeous cousin Scarlet who is like a sister to us Allred girls. She is one of the sweetest and most beautiful people I've ever met--really, truly. Lucky for me, she squeezed me into her visit home to WA. (She recently moved to GA.) I only had her for an evening, but we packed in the fun with a photoshoot, Thai food, crocheting hats, listening to music, and catching up. I took her to the airport at 5am this morning and miss her like crazy already! It's obvious from the photos that she is an exquisitely beautiful girl, but behind her turqoise eyes, thick red hair and olive skin, is a sparkling personality, a contagious giggle, and never a more lovely person. She's got it all!

Love you, Scarlet!






Monday, March 16, 2009

Good Morning, Sunshine


This is Magson right after waking up. Between his big eyes and his "leedle leedle" bubbly growls, he's pretty much irresistible.

Maggie, in the morning, is quite the conversationalist and likes to parrot how I interact with her. Take the other day, for example. Still in my pajamas, I got myself situated on the floor with them and a magazine, in the mood for a late start. Magson’s in my lap, sliming me with snot and drool and tears, when Maggie comes up.

“Mommy. Don’t move. Don’t stand up. Don’t go anywhere. I’m going to get a comb for your hair. Do you understand?”

“Yes," I smile, as I stick my head back in Real Simple, having a hard time concentrating on the article I'm reading--do I really talk to her like that, I wonder?

She comes back with a used toothbrush and starts making me pretty. Startled, I dash my eyes from the page and look at the toothbrush that’s now out of my hair and headed for my mouth.

“Open wide!” she enthusiastically chides as she hovers me into claustrophobia. I dodge the toothbrush only to have a toy cell phone smashed to my ear.

“Say hello!” she says six times.

About then, I decide to stand up and re-enter the land of grown-ups with an entirely new perspective of what it’s like to be a kid—my kid.

It was an enlightening start to a brand new day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Brain Clutter

Here are some of the thoughts that have been hogging my brain today~

*slow computer
*new schedules
*when to exercise?
*i'm all over the place
*bedroom train wreck
*project overload
*my turn for date night
*weekend photoshoot rained out
*my clothes are slimed with baby snot
*cooking rut
*time crunch
*third-night leftovers

Sometimes I wish I could highlight the above and send it to the recycle bin. Wouldn't it be so refreshing if with the drag of the mouse, we could make all the mind clutter vanish into cyberspace? And then click undo when we're ready to tackle it? I'll be honest, this week has been a little off for me. It started on Monday when I slurped Magson's foot up into the vacuum (it's healing nicely, by the way), and then there were computer problems and camera problems and just a lot of change! So, I've been rearranging my routine, which I seem to thrive on, and I'm trying to get back into my groove. I'm inching my way there...

On a cheerier note, I started editing last weekend's photoshoot. I had a little fun with my post processing and thought I'd share. I was going for an "aged photo" look. I don't know that I'll do this very often, but it was fun to try something new. Anyway, these guys were great. We had blah weather, so many of the shots were taken indoors, which was a little more challenging for me, but very fun! Below are just a few!




Monday, March 9, 2009

Good News and Bad News

The good news is I found a fun new picture place.

The bad news is it was freezing today, so Miss Maggie and I couldn't bear to be out long.

The good news is I got to photograph a cute family this last weekend.

The bad news is my camera battery died, like for good, before I could get their pictures uploaded to my computer, and they'll have to wait for my new battery to arrive before they can get their sneak peek. That is, unless I can figure out how to get my memory card to directly link up with my computer. Help! Anyone?

The good news is we got Maggie's bedroom all squeaky clean for playtime with her preschool friends tomorrow.

The bad news is...(and this is hard for me to write...) that while I was vacuuming I didn't dodge Magson as well as usual and actually sucked his foot up in the vacuum. No joke. It was terrible. His foot looks terrible. A huge chunk of skin got ripped off, making him a handicapped crawler and walker. If you're feeling like a bad mom today, I welcome you to top that. Who vacuums up their kid?

The good news is we got a new sofa this past weekend for real cheap!

The bad news is there's even less floor space in our living room for hosting a dance and movement-themed preschool tomorrow morning.

The good news is Maggie really wants to go to college, like today, and makes me laugh all the time by saying things like this:

"Hey, Mom? Guess what? I got a message from my sister. She was speaking Chinese! ...And she was in Mexico!"

The bad news is she's growing up too fast.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Come With Me

If you were to sit with me on the grassy side of the Neckar River that travels through Heidelberg, Germany, you’d be sitting at a favorite spot of my childhood. For on the grassy side of the river, you can look up and see the most spectacular view of the Heidelberg Castle. It's so breathtaking a sight that when as a less confident and self-absorbed teenager I'd treat myself to its company, all my fairy tales seemed possible. The only impossibility in those moments was to overlook how fortunate I was to live out my youth in a most picturesque European city.

If you were to walk with me along the popular path that snakes up against this river that's held a castle's reflection since before AD 1214--the river that carries paddle boats, cargo boats, passenger boats, kayaks, and a family of ducks, we might daydream together, for it is impossible not to on a leisured stroll in this setting. Visions of what it might be like to bring my future fiancé home to Heidelberg one day was a favorite fantasy that often sent my young heart fluttering.

I'd frequently imagine the things I'd someday point out to this mysterious fiancĂ©. He’d see that the river was a place for all cutouts of people: intellectuals lost in either political discussion or a philosophical book, lovers oblivious to the people-watchers’ obvious stares; artists coloring the city's designated wall; bikers leashed up with their panting dogs, soccer players skillfully dodging family picnics in a spontaneous and carefree game; sophisticated Germans; carefree Americans; the energetic young; the worn elderly; and in the humid summers that sent my curly hair afrizz, even sunbathers fit in. Topless or bikini-covered, they'd doze atop beach towels or blankets. If it was a weekday, they’d sun soak on their lunch break or after hours. On the weekend it was a longer affair. Regardless of where the sun clocked, their sun-kissed bodies faced the castle.

Ah, the castle. If you were to come with me to the castle from the bank of the river up the steep cobblestone road to its ruins, you’d be in the company of a happy girl, for the castle always had a cheering affect on me. Even when my masquerade prom was held there and I attended without a Romeo, I couldn't help but enjoy myself in the fancy dress my mother so skillfully made, with wings, even. I was going for a Drew Barrymore, "Ever After" look. Fitting, I thought.

A more casual evening at the castle happened on a Monday night with my family. We played an Allred game of soccer on the beautiful grounds, which ended in laughter and a family photo of us stacked in a funny pyramid. My mom even played. It was a rich day that left in me a strong desire to be with my family forever.

Every summer, there were three nights the castle was set aflame, a reenactment of the three historic times when the castle was damaged by fire. After the castle would “burn” for a few minutes, fireworks were launched from the Old Bridge, quite the sight against an ancient backdrop.

So, if you'd like to imagine a place I'll always love, think grassy side of the river. Think prom in a castle. Think cobblestone. Think fireworks and fire. Think family. Think diverse. Think old world and picturesque. Think all of these things, and you'll have come with me home.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bonjour, Baby!





I apologize for bombarding you with more photos of my kids. I'm looking forward to photographing some new subjects this month, so I'll be mixing things up soon. Until then, above are some fun ones of Magson. They make me want to say, "Bonjour, Baby!" Lucky for me, he hasn't boycotted my camera yet. He has, however, excelled at keeping me away from the computer. His secret weapons include tearing apart the printer, pulling at all the cables beneath my desk, which often results in turning off my computer, and finally, knocking down our external hard drive. Deep down I'm thankful he demands my attention when he's awake, but on the surface it's really frustrating!
Lest you look at the photos and think he's all charm, here are some more things he excells at:
  • Pulling hair. Yesterday at church a handicapped lady got on the floor to play with him, and he said thank you by ripping at her hair and clawing at her glasses.
  • Backdiving. At any given moment, if he doesn't get his way, he jolts backwards without any reservation, often knocking his head against a doorway or the ground or anything hard.

  • Eating. I'm ashamed to admit that this boy isn't quite one year old yet and has tried chocolate chips, ice cream, french fries, brownies, cake...you should see the look he gives me if I don't share. It's impossible to resist.

  • Tower Destroying. I'm quite certain Magson feels the purpose of a tower is for everyone to admire how quickly he can knock it down. This will do wonders for him in Kindergarten, I'm sure.

  • Teasing. Anytime I tell him not to do something, he complies for a few seconds and then does it again and laughs at me. Standing in the bathtub, biting me while nursing, and standing up in his high chair, all included.

  • Snuggling. As aggressive and "rebellious" as he is, he's quite the snuggler. Totally love this kid.

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