the music is in me

The Christmas music season has begun for me.  And thank goodness!  It was about time.  Christmas music makes me happy and this time of year I need all of the happy I can get.

This time of the year every year, I get sad.  Maybe I get SAD?  Either way, I find it hard to stay happy.  This year though, I have a bouncy, smiley, silly little 16 month old who brings me such joy that it balances out the harder moments.  For this, I am so thankful.  Besides it being this time of year, I also have a lot on my plate.  Work is busy, which is good.  School is busy, which is mostly good.  I have a great workout schedule, but it makes my Tuesdays and Wednesday last from 5am-10pm.  6am-9:30pm of that is away from my house.

I am trying to schedule into my crazy schedule more “loved on” time.  This includes family time and friend time.  I am grateful to have friends who don’t mind meeting me after 8pm, when Link is asleep.  I don’t want to take away any more time than I already do from him.

Justin and I out at a wedding sans Link.

The new photos on our living room wall. They bring me great joy!

A sleepy boy after many Thanksgiving activities.

Video of our little drummer boy. He loves to play the drums!

I am getting more and more excited for Christmastime though.  I have purchased most of our gifts online (thank you Amazon!)  I am excited to head to Nebraska and spend more time with that family.

And so… the countdown continues!

19 days until Christmas 2012.1: Justin’s mom’s side
20 days until Christmas 2012.2: Justin’s immediate family – Pat, Ron, Justin, Link, Amy, Collin, me (this date?)
24 days until I graduate!
25 days until Christmas 2012.3: My immediate family – Mom, Dad, Justin, Link, Ashley, Peter, me
26 days until Christmas 2012.4: My mom’s side
27 days until we head to Nebraska to begin Christmas 2012.5: Justin’s dad’s side

Eesh.  🙂

15 months and Halloween!

Link turned 15 months old October 20, which means we are almost to the next month marker! We had his 15 month checkup, which went fairly well.

At Link’s 12 month checkup they had to draw blood, and they did not do that well, so it was very traumatic (for mommy too!).  Our smart little boy remembers that too well, and has a hard time at the doctor now.  He cried the minute he saw the room, then when the nurses came in, then when they measured his head, then when the doctor came in, and so on.  He was just so scared that he was going to be in so much pain again.  Oh just thinking about it makes me sad and angry!

Link likes our doctor though, so he did pretty well showing off for him.  Link told Dr. Khoury that he is one (you ask how old are you, and he holds up 1 finger).  Then he gave Dr. Khoury “five”.  Then the Dr. asked if he played peek-a-boo and Link immediately put his hands over his eyes.  “That answers that” the Dr. said.

Link’s stats: 23 pounds 3 ounces, 30.25 inches tall, and head size was 18.75 inches.

The doctor was very pleased with Link’s vocab (20-25 consistent words and 5-10 sign language words) and everything else!  We talked a little about discipline, and the Dr. said that we might be able to try techniques that are usually for older kids since Link “is smarter than most kids his age”.  That was totally a proud mommy moment!

Two shots, and then the appointment was over.  Even though it was pretty terrifying for the poor boy, he was strong and brave, and recovered quick after the shots.

Then last week was Halloween!  Link is still too little to go out trick-or-treating, but we got him dressed up in his costume and spent the evening at my parent’s house with Justin’s parents also.  Link went as ‘Link’ from Zelda, the video game.

I made the costume, and had a lot of fun doing it!  What a great ‘mommy’ project!  You can see more pictures from Halloween here, including some of Link’s best friend Liam, who was a lion!  The cutest little lion I have ever seen with an adorable mommy lion.

We are now truly in November, and I am just itching to start the Christmas music.  It’s strange because I really have been a Scrooge about buying gifts this year. I don’t want to do it, I just want it to be over with, but yet, I am in the mood for Christmas.  Scrooge is a classic after all, so it isn’t the worst thing to start out the season as.  I will come around, and be the end-of-the-story-Scrooge.

And so the countdowns begin…

1 week until Cities Sampler
2 weeks until Thanksgiving (and I get to see Amy and Collin!!!!!!)
6 weeks until Graduation
7 weeks until Christmas


On the first weekend of Christmas…

Weekends in December have always been crazy, but now with a little one they are even more exciting!  This was our first fun filled weekend to start off the holidays.

Friday was normal. Grandma Pat watched Lincoln during the day while mommy and daddy worked.  Then we had dinner with Pat and Ron and spent some quality family time afterwards (which consisted of me doing laundry!)

Saturday Justin went and got the oil changed for me, which was wonderful so I could spend some time with Lincoln.  Then I went to my last class of the semester.  We then had game night with my parents!

Sunday was the packed day.  We started off the day praising the Lord – which is how we should start every day!  We went from church to downtown Macy’s to sit on Santa’s lap.  Lincoln had just woken up, but we managed to get a wonderful smiling photo:

I was a proud mama!

After Santa, we headed over to the Benson’s home for Game Day.  Justin played games with Richard and friends while Link and I spent time with Elizabeth and Liam.  It was a wonderful time!  My favorite part of this was when Lincoln would do his very high-pitched squeal (he apparently gets that from his Aunty Amy) and Liam would get scared and cry.  It was very cute.

We finished our outings for the day with dinner at Applebee’s with Pat and Ron.

Link, Justin and I then spent some time at home playing.  I figured Lincoln would be a bit cranky since he had such a busy weekend, and he started off that way.  It was time to put his pajamas on, but we had Naked Time first 🙂  This is where Link plays in just a diaper, which he loves.  I put him on his tummy and he was playing with some toys, and then all of a sudden HE ROLLED OVER!!  I stood up and cheered for him while both Justin and I teared up a bit (sorry honey, but you did!) Lincoln was so proud of himself and smiled and giggled!  We had been waiting for him to do this for so long, but since he had tummy problems for awhile, he just wasn’t in the mindset to do that.

This was a wonderful weekend to start off our season.  I am looking forward to many more days of wonderful family, friends, and God’s blessings.

Traveling with an Infant

For Christmas this year, Justin, Lincoln and I will be traveling to Nebraska to visit Justin’s family.  A handful of them have met Link already, but many have not.  I am so very excited to see them all and introduce them to the newest Gehring!

The drive normally takes 8 hours, but with Link I’m assuming 10ish.  We will need to stop and feed him every so often, and as a nursing mom, I prefer to stop somewhere comfortable where I can nurse him either in a restaurant or in the car.  This will take about a half hour each time, hopefully we can make just 2 stops.  I’m assuming sometime during the trip Lincoln will poop 🙂  I will not leave him sitting in that, so we will need to stop and change him.  We do hope he will nap most of the time, as the car usually puts him to sleep.

Along with the driving, traveling also entails sleeping in a hotel.  We will be bringing the pack n play along, which he is used to sleeping in.

I will provide new toys for him that he hasn’t seen before.

For me personally, I’m planning to bring foods I can eat.  I love Nebraska cooking, but I will likely not be able to eat any of it this year.

Any advice for traveling with Lincoln this year?

A Happy Holiday Season

I have been a bit of a Scrooge this year as the holidays are approaching.  I refuse (and I say that lightly) to listen to Christmas music.  I don’t like or want the snow – not that I ever do.  Plus I have no interest in shopping for people’s gifts.  I think part of the problem may be that I am very focused on Lincoln, and all I want to do is things for him.  This isn’t a bad thing.  It’s just usually at this time of year I am doing things for me…

A typical Amber Christmastime:  The season for me normally kicks off with the Cities Sampler release day.  I immerse myself in the beautiful music while planning to start the Santa season.  For the past seven years, I have spent ~5 weeks leading up to Christmas working with Santa.  I have loved that job since day 1.  Thanksgiving occurs, which stops the Sampler listening and begins the Christmas music.  Then I spend many glorious days preparing my shopping lists, purchasing more gifts than necessary at higher amounts than needed, and I finish off wrapping these gifts. At work for the past 2 years I have helped plan the Christmas Party!  I thoroughly enjoy heading to Grandma’s/Aunt’s/Nebraksa/Parents’ to open gift and spend family time.  One thing you should also know about me, which shows why I love Christmas so much, is that my love language is Gifts.

This year is a bit different.  I didn’t go to the release day because my wonderful bestest Nikki won tickets to the Sampler Listening Party where I was able to reserve my copies of the CD.  Therefore on Nov. 17th I did not start listening to the Sampler.  (I didn’t actually start listening until this week!)  As Santa geared up, I did not.  This year I am just doing the scheduling.  While I have loved working with the people at Santa and have truly enjoyed holding this position for 8 years, I do not miss one bit of it.  I am not on the Christmas Party committee this year.  Thanksgiving came and went, along with a bit of snow.  I enjoyed the family time, but did not enjoy the snow.  I am fearful of driving with Lincoln in it.  I am a very good driver, but other people are not.  Christmas music has still not started.  I haven’t purchased a gift – nor do I really want to.  I love to give people gifts, but this year money is tighter, since having a baby is expensive, and I just worry.

Ultimately, the Christmas season will bring me great joy and cheer.  I will buy the gifts that I need and want to buy.  We are not strapped for money, we just need to watch more closely how we choose to spend.  Alabaster will probably not be buying all of his kitty/dog/bird cousins a gift this year.  And unlike most years, I could care less what I get for Christmas!  All I want is for Lincoln to be happy and healthy, and to get the things that he needs.

So instead of being excited this year about my gift giving and receiving, or Christmas music, I am simply joyful towards life.  I have an amazing family, an uber supportive work environment, and the husband and child that I have wanted for so long.

Christmas for me this year is a time to truly understand the gift that Jesus was and is.  I have been blessed incredibly these last few months and I am happier than I ever have been.  The holidays will be a time for me to share that joy and happiness with others as best I can, to do it for Lincoln and for God.

Christmas 2009.2-2009.4

This weekend was so very full of Christmas!  Fortunately, that makes me very happy.

Sunday morning Justin and I headed over to my parents to open gifts with them and my sister.  Probably my favorite gift of that Christmas was the Gap candles that are not made anymore.  If you know me, you know that I hate candles with a passion.  One day last November though, I walked into a Gap, loved the scent, and bought a candle.  I told my mom to get me some for last Christmas but they sold out too fast.  I waited all year to get these candles again, only to find out that they wouldn’t be using that scent again.  I found some online and sent the link to Mom, and yesterday I opened 10 of them!

After that, we headed over to my grandma’s house (my mom’s side) to open presents and have dinner with everyone there.  I received some much needed bath towels as well as some cash for Justin and me.  My little cousin Sierra received an American Girl doll, which was the highlight of everyone’s day.

Then it was off to Justin’s parents to open gifts with them and his sister.  I received some great gifts, including my much wanted complete series of West Wing as well as a bit of student loan debt reduction.  Justin received some great gifts there also, as well as a fisheye lens for his camera which I am STOKED about.  I have always wanted one of those, and now we have them.

It was a full weekend that felt much longer than it was but led to much exhaustion today.  I have to finish work today, work tomorrow, and most of the day Wednesday and then it is off to Nebraska!