Friday, October 29, 2010

Mirror, Mirror, Two Feet Tall

When Chris and I worked at Second Nature Blue Ridge we learned more about ourselves and our relationship in that six months than ever before and maybe even since then. I could start a whole separate blog about our adventures there, maybe even write a book. The amount of self-examination and reflection was overwhelming at times but lead to much needed discoveries and growth about ourselves - individually and as husband and wife. Yes, we were there to teach and challenge the youth to desire better, try harder, respect their values, discover themselves, and ultimately believe in who they can be - I challenge anyone, ANYONE, to do that with your whole heart and not walk away a changed person.

One of the methods that we were taught to use was to present the student's life as if they were looking in a mirror. It wasn't our job to tell them their behavior or choices were wrong because of blah blah blah... rather, it was our job to help them see and reflect on their choices that got them there, allowing them to then search out the destructive nature of their behaviors and hopefully find the will to change. (We were also encouraged to do this without emotional attachment, which for me and my background, I found to be next to impossible - if not for being "with child" this likely would have been the impetus for leaving SNBR eventually.)

A second part of this tool is to mimic the student's actions, tone, verbiage when engaged in conversation - heated, emotional, joyful, painful - to indicate to them that you understand, you hear them, and you are listening. For example, if I am sitting across from a student and they have their head resting on their right hand, I might rest my head in my left - as to mirror them. If a student uses a slang word like pot or reefer or maryjane, that is what I would call it in response rather than marijuana or cannibus - as to not appear above or better than them.

As interesting as all of this may be, and it is, my point is not to ramble on about SNBR - like I said, I could start a whole blog just for that...

Chris, Noah, and I were coming home from supper last night and Chris said, "I want to share an observation with you, more for myself than you, but I still want to tell you about it...". I immediately recognize these words as SNBR lingo and my attention is acutely focused on what he is about to say. He goes on to tell me that when he was changing Noah's diaper earlier in the day he started to get very fussy, for no reason in particular. Sometimes he doesn't care for the changing table, but Chris said that his fussing continued on into the living room when he was playing on the floor with him, and then on into Noah's room when Chris took him in there to play. While in his room Chris noticed that Noah was taking the folded clothes off of the stool and throwing them on the ground while making a growling type of noise and his face all distorted. He continued to watch him to see what he would do...

As he was sitting and watching it hit Chris like a lightning bolt that Noah was absolutely mimicking something he has seen before, most likely from one of two sources that he spends near about every waking moment with - Chris or Grits. Noah's brain computes: I am frustrated = this is what daddy/doggy does = clothes thrown (with meaning) on the floor.
At this point most of his behaviors are learned, something he has seen before whether we would like to admit it or not. It's that whole nurture vs. nature thing - just because nurture sounds like a nice and fluffy word doesn't mean that the nurture part always is. It can be ugly or nice, sassy or sweet, feisty or patient - whichever it is, he sees it, learns it, and repeats it. And that repeating part is the one the either makes us bubble over with joy or want to hide underneath the nearest table.

We've had a lot of lessons in parenting over the last year, but I think now that Noah is really starting to develop his own little sense of self, the lessons get a little personal. He is a walking (hypothetically), talking, fit-pitching, kiss-giving, laughing, adventurous, risk-taking, sassy, clothes throwing miniature of us. Me. Chris. People we allow to be a part of his life. Us.

Time to get our act together, it seems... we now have a reflection, about two and a half feet tall, that mirrors our every step.

Monkey see...
Monkey do.
E.V.E.R.Y. S.T.E.P.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Streak of Luck

Fact: When you turn one you are able to
run around willy-nilly (pun intended).
Myth: When running around willy-nilly,
the one-year-old does not pee on the floor.Fact: There are three extra disinfected tiles in our living arena.
Myth: Parents of said one year old will discontinue willy-nilly time.

Dear IKEA...

You complete me.
Or at least my home.

Chris, Noah, and I set off on an adventure Friday to find and bring back the coolest sink and cabinet this house has ever seen. As you can gather, we did not pass go or collect $200 (more like deposited) and headed straight for
the IKEA. (I may have a small crush on IKEA.) The first time I ever frolicked about the aisles I was toting a four month old on a non-wavering eating regiment and had to see what I could see in about 45 minutes. If anyone has ever stepped foot in IKEA or stood in it's giant shadow outside, you know this is an injustice. This could not be the case again... not when we meant business.

Enter: Grand Parental Units of the Ford persuasion. It just so happens that Grammy Nan and G-DaddyB were coming up from ATL to stay the weekend with us - so we met them there, traded Noah for their truck, and headed on to The Happiest Place on Earth.

We made sure to make a list and set a budget for all things we wanted to purchase - whether for us personally or for the bathroom makeover. Yes, IKEA's schtick is that everything is super affordable and will change your life, but "everything" could get quite pricey, especially when you are footloose and fancy free to move about the store. We are risk takers, but we need to retire sometime. What's the saying -
Champagne taste on a beer budget?

Unfortunately I can't show the bathroom amazingness because the project hasn't started, but I can show a couple of other purchases: our
zigzag shelf and hook rack.

Note to self (and others): Measure before you go.
This shelf is supposed to be horizontal -
good thing we like the end result.

We installed this at 10:30pm - it's just that good.

There will be more photos to follow - just wanted to throw a splash of color out there.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Twelve: Round Two

Alright. It's kind of fun having a "toddler", I'll admit - even if he doesn't toddle (that's a real word - no red squiggly line) real well and is starting to practice for the Troublesome/Terrific/Terrible/Transformative Atti-Twos. I love him to pieces - sometimes so much my heart aches. I love to watch him play and discover, figure things out, test his limits (he is quite fond of this one), and wonder what is going on in that little brain of his. His imagination already runs wild, I can see it in his eyes. Most days are filled with laughs and games and looks of mutual adoration, often started off with a good morning smooch from the little guy - but I will confess we are entering the phase where the discipline part is kicking into gear, and I am not sure yet how good we are going to be at this part. More to come on that at a later date...

I love being a mama, especially to this little guy:

Noah's Birthday Invite that never got printed or sent...whatever.

...and even if he does call me "Beb", here are a few (or twelve) reasons why, in no particular order:

1. He loves Florida State football - not so much the arena in which it is played, just the team itself. He loves them so much that he had an anal volcano ALL over his seat, shorts, hands, and Grammy Nan just as we were pulling into our parking spot for the game. Perfect. I recently heard that the "adventure only begins when everything else has gone to s#*t" - wise, wise sensei.

Exhausted much? It's hard work being a Nole.
Sidenote: He's worn this jersey every game day except Oklahoma.
We aren't superstitious.
2. Clap on - (clap-clap). Clap off - (clap-clap). Noah has the clap down to a patty cake. I even fed him pancakes the other morning and when I was telling him what it was he started clapping. And the part where you "throw it in the pan" he starts to duck for cover from tickling fingers.

3. Wagging. Taking a walk with a wagon - wagging. This kid loves all things wagon - riding, snacking, pushing, throwing - if he can do it in/to a wagon, count him in.

Wagging is whoa-some for the wandering wagger.
Look closely - it was chicken pox season.
He is riding in his Quarantine Wagon.
4. White boy can dance - well, as rhythmically as his genes allow. The best is that once he starts flailing his arms to the beat he expects everyone else to do the same. And we do. The other day Chris said, "Why does he think that just moving his arms is dancing?" - to which I responded by showing him, in close proximity to his face, the flailing about that we've been inherently teaching for the past 12 months when anything resembling a tune is played. And to that all he could say was, "Oh...".

Go Pack - only when in the presence of Uncle D...
5. Noah plays peek-a-boo now - where he is the "peeker". He will play with most anyone anytime he has something to hide behind - sometimes even himself in the mirror (obviously my favorite to watch). Fair warning: if the object is mobile, watch your face. You've been warned.

6. We have had enough parties to get us through until he's three. Yep, three celebrations of Noah's first year of life: Fairhope, Clyde, and Ten Mile. Each one full of love, laughs, friends, family, food, and fun. The Fairhope party is where we gave him his very own chocolate cake - I have been told since the day he was born that his first cake MUST be chocolate so it shows up in the pictures. And show up it did:

'Scuse me, sir. It is not your birthday.
Please step away from the cake.

I think he liked it.
Finger-lickin' good.Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere.
Clean up, clean up, get the chocolate out of your hair.
(Pay no mind to the green gob-lin doing the spraying.)
"diss?"Party numero dos at the Giusti casa. He's not very excited about it.Noah and GiuGiu - she knows how to get down.Mason's face says it all - ha! Love it.
We are thankful for everyone who helped us welcome Noah Matthew into the world a year ago and for everyone who has grown to love him since. We are beyond blessed with the family-by-blood and the family-by-love that surround us.

7. Noah took his second trip to Boone, NC to hang out with Aunt KD & Uncle Dan - and he let us come along, too. Sleeping in the closet went better than before, the little doggies were slightly more tolerant of the other four-legged creature in their midst, wedding things were accomplished, autumn weather was enjoyed, Florida State football was watched, and Green Bay shirts were worn.

Football & snacks with daddy -
sounds like a good Saturday afternoon combo to me.

I love the mountains...I love the rolling hills...I love the Noah and all his simple thrills...
8. Noah has always been a great sleeper - I mean, phenomenal. During his twelfth month he decided that not only is he going to be a great sleeper, but he think he likes being a night owl as well. Down between eight and nine (usually), wakes between eight and nine. Yes, please. Sign me up. AND he still takes a beast of a nap or two during the day - two plus hours per nap. So for those of you (Aunt Meg) who said that "all babies wake between 6:30am and 7am because they are babies and that is what they do and I should just go on and forget about not being a morning person" - you are welcome to sleep in at my house any day. Knock on a big ole piece of wood...
Sleepy McGeeface
9. For the first time in his life Noah got to have all four grandparents all to himself for a whole weekend! We went down to Pensacola/Tallahassee/Fairhope over Labor Day weekend to go to a football game, John Mayer concert, and to celebrate Noah's first year with all of our FL/AL family. While 'beb' and daddy were with Aunt Kelly and Uncle Paul, Noah was hamming it up with his four grand parental units. Scary thought, I know. The amount of sugary love in that room must have been stifling.

A whole lot of this was happening...
while chaos ensued.We look pretty wild, eh?Prom Pose
Watch out - that's how babies happen.

(On prom night? What exactly does that mean?
This post must be running way too long.
Almost over, I promise.)

10. Sippy cups are old news, we have moved on to the straw in this house. Blessing and a curse: 1) He wants to get his grubby little hands on everything with a straw - my drink, your drink, the people at the next table's drink. 2) He has "forgotten" how to tip his sippy cup and drink on his own. Convenient. 3) Meltdown will occur when straw-drinker does not immediately surrender said-drink to the boy. Public spectacle = Slightly embarrassing.

11. I mentioned this before, though I feel it is worth listing here as well. We are ween-ers here in the Fab Ford Fam. No more boob for the little one. He decided it was for babies and very easily and naturally moo-ved on. Amen? Amen.

Any suggestions of how to get him to drink this instead-
without putting chocolate in it?

12. And last, but certainly not least, as this one is probably the biggest milestone of all - for all parties involved: Noah spent his first night away from us and his bed. BIG step - more for us than him. It was very strange not having him with us and felt like we were being irresponsible at times - like we had left him somewhere on accident. Mama Bo and Papa Bo took him with them over to the Giusti house for a few days so that Chris and I could get the house together for Noah's party and spend a little bit of time just the two of us. We went to the climbing gym, to a movie, dinner, and just relaxed. It was wonderful to have the together time, but it felt even better to have Noah home.

That's a whole lot of little boy lovin' right there.

Wow. Big month for our not-so-little guy. It's hard to believe it's been a year (plus) since he changed our lives and hearts forever. Our love for him is worldly and imperfect, yet mighty and unconditional. I would easily give my life for his, my tears for his pain, my joy for his sadness. If knowing that I could protect him from hard lessons and uphill battles would provide for him the best possible outcome, I would - but I know better than to think I know what's best. We love him more than there are stars in the sky, but only his Maker knows that count...

The next update is just around the corner... but here are a few blogs to be looking for: 180 South, 3 Cords, Etsy (gulp)...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Home Rejuvenation

We are no where near finished with all that we want/needs to happen to bring our house up to speed, but let me say that a couple of cans of paint and a seasoned painter can work miracles. I will put Before-and-Afters up later, but here is a small glimpse of our not-so-new, newly glorious digs:
The mantra of my life...
It's gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiney day...Noah is supervising - must be a paternal gene.
That's all for now - can't give too much away. As soon as my living room is out of my kitchen and office, I will post the final results. Prepare to be blown away - if you've been here before. And if you haven't, why the heck not and get your hiney here ASAP.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day One

We are in the middle of house "rejuvenation" here at the Ford Casa but I wanted to take a minute and relieve a couple of folks who are pining away for a glimpse at Noah's birthday celebration. We had friends, family, food (I'll post more about that later), gifts, cold weather, laughs, tears, warmth, and thanksgiving for our little guy on Sunday here at our home. I am very grateful for the folks who came to celebrate Noah and for the many more who love our kid who couldn't be here.

Anyway, here are a few photos, courtesy of Marc Penrod of Lenns Focus and his son Lucas (you MUST check him out at his blog - his passion for capturing beauty in it's simplicity and natural setting is very evident - thanks, fellas!):
Look familiar?His shirt says "ONE" on it - his mama made it for him.
More party photos to come.
For now, enjoy these and this random thought I had while driving home from Nashville yesterday:
I wonder if truck drivers spend the same amount of time and money sprucing up the cabs of their trucks like executives and administrators with their own offices? Does the size of the window or view matter as much? Do they have desktop do-dads that they paid way too much for? Is there steering wheel and chair ergonomical?

Something to ponder.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Dear Readers (all 4.5 of you),

I am sorry to announce that you will have to check back at a later date for the monthly update of the boy. You see, his mama is dealing with the heartbreaking realization that Noah is no longer a "month" age - as today is his birthday - he can now use that four-letter Y word. As soon as she is done wiping her tears and keeping them out of the pumpkin muffins and s'mores cupcakes (and cleaning, mopping, vacuuming, tidying, cooking, crafting, etc. for his party) she will gladly (well, maybe gladly) provide you with the latest and greatest of Noah.

Until then, let's reminisce:

Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Plenty of cuteness and birthday goodness to come.

The Ford Fam