Smiley Time!

My son is over 14 months old now. I’m still not sure where the time went, but this stage of his life is a ton of fun. He’s exploring the world, expanding his mind, pushing his limits, and testing mine to see where the lines are. It’s been so fascinating watching his growth and development, passing through all the stages from infancy to toddlerhood. Lately there have been lots of things that just make my heart explode into a million tiny rainbows with smiley faces and google eyes. Here are 10 of them, and feel free to post your own in the comments! This is a happy post!

1) Hugs. I get on my knees, stretch my arms out, and ask, “Can I have a hug?” A big grin spreads on his face and he walks over to me, colliding with my midsection and hugging me with his ear to my chest.

2) Saying “da-da, da-da, da-da” on repeat when I walk in the door from work. He knows when I’m home and he’s excited to see me. Even if he’s not jumping up and down and squealing with delight like some kids I can tell he looks forward to his time with me.

3) That wide-eyed smile when his favorite song plays. Yes, he has a favorite song. No, it’s not The Wiggles. It’s “The Incomparable Mr. Flannery,” by Clutch. Huh?!?!? I started playing this song when he was only weeks old, as I held him and danced to it during the stir-crazy longest, most brutal winter of our lives last year. Ever since then, all it takes is that opening guitar lick for him to break into a grin.

4) Picking up books, bringing them over to me, and climbing in my lap while I read them. I’m thrilled that he likes books. I’m ecstatic that he wants me to read them to him. I turn into a big ‘ol softie when he climbs over my leg and into my lap, sitting legs folded, with full attention as I read him a story.

5) Playing my drums. This kid’s already got rhythm, and he loves exploring the different sounds that all the drums and cymbals make. He’s super fascinated by the double bass pedals; I can see the gears in his head turning as he tries to figure out the mechanics.

6) Playing peek-a-boo around corners. I hide around a corner, wait a few seconds, and poke my head out. He can barely contain his excitement as his limbs shake and he practically dances in place. We can play this game for quite awhile and never get bored.

7) Bed “falls”. Holding him, I make a falling noise and start to tip over like a tree. I can feel him clutch on to me and brace for impact, all with a huge smile on his face. We land on the bed and he explodes into a fit of giggles. If this tree fell in the forest not only would you hear it, but you would want it to fall over and over again.

8) Saying “Hi” when getting out of the car. It’s become our ritual. The car stops, I get out, open his door, and greet him with an enthusiastic “Hi!” and wide eyes. That infectious smile shows up again, along with a flurry of waving and kicking as he knows he’ll be in my arms shortly.

9) Eskimo kisses. Similar to hugs, all I have to ask is, “Can I have an Eskimo?”, and he’ll saunter over and nudge my nose with his nose. Grandpa taught him that. 🙂

10) “Eating” Legos. He’ll pick through his box of Duplo Legos, carefully selecting the one that “tastes” the best, then slowly place it in my mouth until it sticks. “On second thought, this one tastes better. Let me take that one out of your mouth, Dad. Here, try this one!” And so we go. 🙂

Alright, assuming your heart hasn’t completely melted into your shoes, it’s your turn! Post your moments and let’s keep the happy going!!!

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Learning to Fly

The house is more silent than normal tonight. Most people would say that’s a good thing, but it just makes me sad. My father-in-law left to go back to Illinois today after spending the last 10 weeks with us. Back when I was still considering the job offer, he volunteered to travel out here with us and help with the move transition. An extremely generous gesture for sure; this decision was one of the reasons why I decided to take the risk on relocating my family. It’s one thing to move for a job, but it’s an entirely different thing to move across the country to a place where you don’t know anyone and your wife and 1-year-old son are completely isolated while you go to work. So needless to say his support was priceless.

And support he did provide. He endured 4 days of travel; over 2,100 road miles; 3 nights in a hotel with me, my wife, my son, 3 cats, and a dog; 28 nights in an extended stay hotel with us; the stress and strain of moving in a house and unpacking boxes; surviving the holidays; caring for his grandson while we adjusted (and also while we fought)…..all while being just as isolated from family as we were. He’s not just a father-in-law, he’s practically a saint.

And we all knew the arrangement was temporary. This isn’t his home, this is our home. We (or more specifically, I) chose to move 2,100 miles away from our entire family and friend base. So once we got settled and the roar of the holidays died down, we knew the training wheels would come off and we’d be on our own. But that doesn’t make it any less scary and any less sad. So now the real work begins. It’s time to band together as a family and put down new roots. It won’t be easy, but no one said it would be.

So thank you, Dad, for all your help getting us out here, getting us set up, and everything you’ve done. Travel safe, and we’ll see you in a few months.