Sunday, December 12, 2010

Have An "Ice" Day

This weekend was pretty busy for us. We celebrated Grandma Karen's birthday with dinner at Sugarhouse BBQ. If you have not been there, you must go! It is delicious! I have some plate with Beef Brisket and Smoked Turkey and sides of mashed potatoes and baked beans. And it came with a HUGE piece of cornbread with honey butter. It was so much food and it was a good price. I ended up giving some to Ryan, Byron, and Spencer I had so much food left. But it was really good I wish I could have eaten it all.

As you can see from below, Grandpa Great Jim and the Birthday girl Grandma Karen ordered ribs and since they, like me, couldn't finish, Ryan and Gabe got to enjoy their leftovers.

The ONLY things I will say about the place is, don't go if you are looking for a quiet meal-the place is LOUD! And it felt a little cramped to me with lots of tables kind of squished together.


Today it was chilly but fairly nice outside so Ryan and I took Gabe over to the school. He had a little bit of a tough night, waking up frequently, but we think it was from all the shots he got on Friday at his 15-month check. (SIDE NOTE: After his visit on Friday we found out that he is 27.5 lbs which is 80% for his age and 2 ft 8 in tall which is almost 72% for his height. So he is big but growing at least he is proportionate.)

But as the day went on, he seemed to be doing better. And by this afternoon, we figured we would take a chance on a visit to the park. Gabe was cooped up all day today and so we thought he could use a little time outside.

Having fun at the park!

And finally for your viewing pleasure, I give you Gabe walking. Ryan loves to chase Gabe and as you will see, he likes it too. Gabe has been walking since he was 13 months but ever time I have tried to get video of it, he gets angry or starts crying. So today was perfect because he turned out to be in such a good mood. Much love to you all!

We love Christmas time

I told you I would post again soon! SEE! I can keep my promises. We started the season off by taking a visit to Valley Fair Mall. Valley Fair has stepped up their game and have done a lot of remodeling and revamping. And now that they have the GIANT tree up and a bunch of lights, it really very pretty. So we went to check it out and snapped some cute pictures too.

And of course, no December would be complete without a visit from THE SCARIEST MAN IN THE WORLD....SANTA! I am not sure why little kids are so terrified on a man that is just trying to give them free candy but it makes me feel safer in a way-you know what they say about strangers and candy. BEWARE! But luckily he didn't have to sit with Santa long and we were back to running around Ryan's office at the Air National Guard Base. Yay for sugar!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Famous Mr. Ed

So this video shows Gabe walking but only a little bit. It makes me laugh more than anything. We are asking Gabe what a horse says, just in case you can't understand what I am saying. I hope it makes you laugh as hard as I did. Love to you all. More to come very soon!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Men Always Look Good In Uniform

Not only does Gabe support voting but he is also a proud supporter of our military. And might I add that both my men look quite handsome in uniform!

Also today Gabe and I went to the school across the street to play. It was so nice and I just couldn't keep him cooped up inside. He played for about an hour and a half and I was having so much fun, I forgot to take pictures while we were there. But I did get this one when we got home.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


A-HA! See?!?! I told this little guy gets into everything. Ryan and I were sitting in the kitchen and within 60 seconds Gabe did this. Gabe, after this mess, you owe me. I want to be put in a nice old folks home some day-one that will clean up after my messes as well as I clean up yours.

Also as a friendly reminder, Gabe wants to remind you to do the following...

Monday, November 1, 2010

A VERY Belated One-Year Birthday


My Sweet Baby Boy,

I don’t think I should be calling you a baby much anymore. My guess is that if you really understood me when I call you “baby” that you would point your chubby little finger at me and squawk. You are so incredible Gabriel, even when you are cranky. And instead of being my precious baby, you are now my wobbly little toddler.

In the time leading up to your first birthday your Dad and I pushed you so hard to get you to walk, but you were not having it. You were content with crawling and cruising. You would stand on your own in the middle of the room, which was a huge improvement.

You were communicating so well. You were pointing at things and letting out squeals to get what you want. It is cute to see you get excited when you are able to communicate what it is that you want. And although sometimes you are trying to get toys or your blanket, mostly what you want is food. Food is a good motivator for you.

On your first birthday we had a party for you at Grandma Great & Grandpa Jim’s house. They were not able to be there but they were kind enough to let us use their home and backyard. We had pizza and a dragon bounce house and lots of family and friends over to play.

For me, however, the best part came when it was time for cake. You weren’t sure at first why we put such a delicious and large piece of cake in front of you. But very quickly you decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth and began to shove handfuls of cake into your mouth. And quickly your hands became mittens of blue frosting. It was this that upset you and started the screaming. When you no longer could separate your fingers because they were so caked with frosting, you kind of freaked out. So while I dished up cake and ice cream, Aunt Becca and Nicole took you upstairs to wash you off.

Also somewhere during this period of time, “someone” started a cake fight. And just for your info Gabe, it was not I. But needless to say, lots of people ended up with blue frosting all over. And also, just because I feel the need to have it documented somewhere, I was trying to stay out of the fight and YOUR FATHER shoved frosting in my face. So someday Gabe, when you see me get even, you will be able to understand why.

It was shortly after your birthday Gabe that things got crazy in our lives. Many people who read this blog, and someday you, understand why I have not been posting. It is not that I have been too busy for you but more, things have been darkened by a certain event in our lives. One that I fear, will hurt on of the most important relationships that a person can have-the bond between siblings. Some day Gabe, when you are reading this post and get curious, I will explain anything that you have questions about. Your Dad and I will tell you what happened and why this past little bit of time has been one the most wonderful and most awful times of my life. But you need to know Gabe, that the light that you continue to bring into our lives is what helps us to keep on doing what we are doing. We want you to have the best, even if when can’t give that to someone else.

And you need to know Gabe, that your sister Sera loves you. I am sad that she does not get to see you grow and learn every day. And it breaks my heart to think that right now, you probably have forgotten who she really is. But Sera loves you Gabe. When you have grown I want you to know that she asks about you every time we talk to her. She wants us to send her pictures of you and she tries to talk to you on the phone. I hope that the bigger you get, the more of her you will be able to remember. And I pray ever night that her absence from your life is only for a short period of time.

The day that we saw Sera leave at the airport, September 27th, was the day you took your first real steps. Before that time you had made little lunges towards thing maybe accidentally getting a step or two out of it, but it was that day, after we had seen Sera off and were back home, that you walked. It makes me cry, right this very moment, for two reasons. One, because it was something we had been trying so hard for and it was amazing to see you finally achieve. And two, because I know how badly Sera wanted to be there with you when you took your first shaky steps in this world and she missed by about an hour.

Since that day, we have not been able to slow you down. Our primitive baby proofing has proven to be amateur at best. And if there is something we don’t want you into, that is usually the first place you go. You shove your toys under the kitchen sink. You pull potholders and other utensils out of the drawers. You put crackers in the clothes dryer. You get boxes of cereal or Hamburger Helper out of the cupboard. Or my personal favorite, you unroll all of the toilet paper off the roll, play in the toilet, and then proceed to march out of the bathroom with the nasty toilet bowl brush in your hand. Learning to move with you and have a good defensive strategy is the main focus of your Dad and I. In fact, as I am typing this your Dad is in the kitchen installing child lock to the cupboard under the sink, which is sure to piss you off in the morning.

Your favorite game is peak-a-boo but not in the traditional sense. Oh sure, we can throw a blanket over our heads and yell loudly, “Gabe, where is Mama?” And soon enough you yank it off, along with a few hairs, and smile proudly as we proclaim “HERE I AM!” But even better than that, I will lay on the floor so that I am looking away from you and ask “Gabe, where are you?” and you giggle as you sneak up along side of me and peak your face around my head so that I can just barely see you out of the corner of my eye. I then clap and say, “There you are Gabe!” and you smile a clap too.

This past weekend marked your second Halloween. We celebrated with a parade with the other kids from your daycare on Friday and a visit you my work and your Dad’s work later that afternoon. You got a lot of candy on Friday and everyone thought you were almost too cute for words. Saturday we celebrated by going to Grandma Karen & Grandpa Chad’s church for a trick-or-treat parade which brought in even more candy. And after that we went to your cousin Cameron’s birthday party, which about did you in. By the point, you were so overwhelmed with candy and kids and NOISE NOISE NOISE, that you would periodically throw yourself on the floor and scream “Mama!”

It was raining Saturday night so we didn’t take you out with the neighbor kids but the did get to see you in your cute costume and you even got to partake in a few of the treats the you collected. And I will say it here, I think you are the CUTEST Yoda to ever walk the face of the Earth or any other planet for that matter.

All in all Gabriel, these have been a couple of crazy months for us all. You talk more and more. We can’t understand most of what you say but you first three words were: Dada, Mama, and Puppy. You followed quickly with Hi, No, Grandma, and Night Night. You walk and borderline run almost anywhere you go. You play games with us and like to turn the pages when we read to you. And clap and smile, even when you hear the crowd doing it during a Jazz game that your Dad and I are watching on T.V. You will mimic Grandpa Chad’s silly laugh which makes all of us laugh even harder.

I want to thank your grandparents Gabe. Your Dad’s parents, Grandpa Scott and Grandma Linda and my parents, Grandpa Chad and Grandma Karen. It is amazing to see all that they do for you and how much they love you. I know that you make them just as happy as you make your Dad and I. And I want you Grandma Linda and Grandpa Scott to know that we hope they are able to come down and see you as much as they would like, now that they are retired. We want them to have an amazing relationship with you because you are one amazing little boy.

And you are truly just that Gabe-my little boy. Not so much a baby but a little boy who loves making messes, being loud, acting silly, and giving kisses to his Mommy and Daddy. I hope that you never getting tired of giving me kisses Gabe because I cannot seem to give you enough. I am sorry for not posting all of this sooner, but I know everyone understands. I love you Gabey-Baby. Happy Belated One-Year Birthday!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Will Return...I Promise!

Sorry to all my family and friends! As many of you know Ryan and I have been dealing with some personal issues involving our daughter Sera. Suffice it to say that involves her moving to Hawaii this past Monday night. Things are still in process with all of that and I will let know you know more when I can. (I am not sure how much I should really say on my internet blog because you never know who reads it.)

Today is Gabe's 13 month birthday and I have still not posted about his AMAZING 1st birthday yet. Someday I will explain to him why there has been this lapse in posting and he will be cool and understand and then we will shotgun a beer together.

So I promise I am not gone, just trying to keep my head above water right now. Happy 13 month Birthday Bubba! I will post your 1 year blog soon and update everyone on your progress because you are a BIG BOY now! My tiny little toddler, I love your guts!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

11 Months


You have made leaps and bounds in this past month Bubs! I mean, look at you climb the stairs. You are faster now and it takes both your Dad and I most of the time to contain you. You are always on the go and trying to explore new things. Most recently, the stairs. We try hard not to let you play on the stairs because they are dangerous but the more we try to keep you away, the more you love them.

You love unrolling the toilet paper in the bathroom. You love putting things in Freya's dog dish. You love taking books off the bookshelf. You love anything that makes noise...LOTS OF NOISE! Pots, bowls, toys, your own voice. If it is loud, you are allk about it.

You clap and wave. You say Dada, Mama, Bubba, and we think you also say No. And you think it is so funny when you shake your head no. You blow raspberries when I ask for kisses or when you don't want to eat something.

Speaking of eating, you have really started to enjoy real food. Now that you have 4 teeth-yes 4!- you want to be eating whatever the rest of us are eating. Bread, noodles, veggies, cheese, and fruit. You love fruit! It is not a surprise that you like fruit but it is fun to watch you try new food. You new favorite is cantelope.

You are such a happy baby Gabe. You enjoy being outside in the sunshine. And you really like it when the wind blows in your face. Your Dad and I will take you with us when we go Disc Golfing and you sit in your stroller and smile, laugh, and kick your legs. Very rarely will you fuss when you are outside. The grass and leaves are some of your favorite things and when you pull some off a tree or out of the ground you smile like you just won a gold medal.

You get bigger and bigger each day Gabe. You are devolping and I am still sure that we are on the verge of you taking your first steps. You can pick things up and throw them to us. You cruise around the furniture like it is what you were born to do. And music...Gabe you love music. It doesn't matter what type it is, you like it. And we love sitting around the table as a family and playing games while you sit in your high chair and we listen to music.

I am shocked when I look at you and see a little boy who is almost one. At times I still only see the same little face I brought home from the hospital. You have the same big blue eyes that strangers constantly comment on. You have the same big round head with almost no hair. And you have the same sweet smile that is infectious.

I love you so much Gabe. Your Dad, Sera, and I cannot imagine what life would be like without you. You make all of us so happy. And with this next month already started and your 1st birthday approaching, we are all trying to take in these precious moments where you still like being our baby boy. Happy 11 Month Birthday Bubs!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Secret Code

I really felt like I needed to write to Ryan today. So forgive me Internet. Forgive what is sure to be the most annoying blog you have ever read on my website. But with kids, work, and family, I never get to write about the man who is helps me hold my shit together.

You hear all the time that to make a marriage work you need romance, candles, flowers, and private dinners for two in dimly-lit French restaurants. But after being married for 3 years I have realized that although those are nice, they aren’t what keeps us going. (Yes Mom! I know…you are going on 28. But let’s be honest, lots of people don’t make it past 2 years, so I am going to praise myself.)

Every couple has their own secret language. Their own lexicon — phrases that have come out of some shared experience and have become an inside joke for them. I think it is that type of bond that really makes a marriage work. Knowing each other so well that you can communicate an entire feeling or moment with a word as simple as “Tam-poon.”

Allow me to explain. Ryan and I went to a restaurant close to our home one night for dinner. Towards the end of our meal, I had finished but Ryan was still picking at his steak. Our waitress, clearly distracted, came to the table and asked to clear our plates. I handed her mine but Ryan said, “I am still working on mine. Thank you.” The waitress then absent-mindedly grabbed his plate and began to remove it. Ryan held on and said “I am still eating.” But the waitress was looking in the other direction and kept pulling on his plate. Ryan then said very loudly and in one of the saddest voices I have ever heard, “But I still want it!” The waitress then realized what she was doing and apologized.

We can still look back on this moment and laugh. It was the look on Ryan’s face combined with his tone of voice added to the fact that his was holding onto his plate like a hungry kitten that made the situation so funny. And now when we want to describe a pathetic situation all we have to do is look at each other and timidly say, “But I want it.”

This is not funny to other people. In fact, you are probably reading this and wondering why you are still reading . But it is moments, like those, that in a very strange way make you closer as a couple. Those moments that you share and you can always look back and laugh about. They are what make my marriage stronger. And they always end up making me love Ryan a little more.
Ryan is an incredible man. Yes we have romantic dates and flowers. But I appreciate even more the special friendship we have together. He makes me smile and we always end up laughing even when things are not going okay. So to Ryan: thank you for being my friend and my husband. Our secret language may never make sense to anyone else but you will always know the following:

“By the rules that bind us…”
“Cause you’re the Queen of the Night”

Although we may NEVER make sense to anyone else, at least we have each other.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

4th of July Fun

Not only did this 4th of July mark Gabe's first 4th but we also got Sera this year as well. Ryan gets Sera every even year so we were really looking forward to this holiday. Sera is so much fun and Ryan and I miss having her around. We feel very lucky that it was Ryan's year to have Sera because we were needing to spend some extra special time with her.

We went to Veteran's Memorial Park in West Jordan on Saturday July 3. There was a HUGE carnival with rides, food, a movie in the park, and of course, Sera found the petting zoo right away! There were goats, bunnies, sheep, a pony, and the cute pig. Sera said that is was really hairy but I still think it was pretty cute! And a special thanks to Ryan for getting this cute picture. I had to wait outside the pen with Gabe and Linda.

After Sera spent a couple hours riding on rides with her Grandma Linda, we all settled in to watch the movie flushed away but as you can probably guess, we had more fun playing then watching a movie. And Ryan being the great guy that he is, went and bought a glow stick and some flashing devil horns which Sera thought were AWESOME!

And even though it may not look like it in this picture, Gabe loved them too! It was so much fun hanging out at the park with our family, Grandma Linda, and our neighbors Jay, Rosie, and Logan. We snacked on chips and cookies and just had a great time watching the kids hang out.

And when it finally came time for the fireworks, I will admit that I was a little worried about how Gabe might react. But let me tell you something Internet, this picture below says it all! He sat in Ryan's lap the whole time and could not take his eyes off the fireworks. No crying or screaming. He was hypnotized by all the lights and sounds. It was cute to watch Ryan and Gabe share that moment together while I got to cuddle with Sera while we watched the fireworks together.

The next day on July 4th we decided to take a family trip to Hogle Zoo with Grandma Linda. It was great to be able to spend so much time with Ryan's mom this past holiday. It made everything even more special. Linda is always so much fun to be around and it is great to she her relationship with the kids.

And of course no trip to the zoo would be complete without a ride on the carousel. This time Sera decided to ride the kangaroo because...wait for it...she wanted to slide down the tail once the ride was over. She is always good for a laugh. Her sense of humor is truly one-of-a-kind.

And Gabe also got his first ride on the carousel. We chose something a little less exciting and went on the peacock. Gabe was having a great time until the end of the ride when I smacked his head on the giraffe. OOPS! But eventually he forgave me.
When all was said and done, I felt like the weekend was way too short. We had so much fun with kids and I wish we had another couple days. Thanks to Linda for coming down and spending the time with us. We could not have asked for a better holiday weekend!

Friday, July 9, 2010

10 Month Birthday


Oh our Sweet Baby Boy! 10 months has gone by so quickly. And you are getting bigger and brighter all the time. I know that in your 10 month picture you are not even awake but we take what we can get these days. Whenever I pull out my camera you automatically think it is something you should be eating. So we sneak pictures when we can of when you are restrained like in the picture below.

As you can see in this picture you were so happy to see me. Over this past month your emotions have become much more intense. And your facial expressions are so vivid. You have the most expressive little face and it is becoming easier to tell what it is you want or need. And let me tell you, that smile kills me every time. It's getting really hard not to spoil you.

This past month you have really started to be fascinated with everything you shouldn't. It can be the T.V., the dog dish, or something like baby powder, but you must have it. We have become pros at getting the baby gate up quickly before you can get into the kitchen and destroy. But even when you are being naughty, you are as cute as ever.

You are also talking more and more. And guess what my little Angel??? MA MA MA! That's right! You have finally started to say it. I am still unclear if you really understand that I am MaMa but just like DaDaDaDa, I am taking what I can get. You have also started using the Ba, Na, and Pa sounds. I am hoping that soon enough it will become real worlds.

Also you have started "cruising" which means any day now you are going to walk. You will grab the couches and go from one end to the other. You will also do the same with Entertainment Center. It is so cute to watch you go. But the down side is that you are having more bumps now. It seems like at least once a day you are bumping your head on something. In fact tonight, you were attempting to throw an empty soda bottle over the baby gate into the kitchen and it slipped from your hand and hit you on the head. You cried for about 30 seconds and then went right back to smiles.

This month we have also started you on more solid snacks. Things like bread, bits of lunch meat, chunks of cheese, green beans, Oreos, Goldfish crackers, and lots of other things. You seem to love solids even more than your baby food. And it is so cute to watch you shove all these new foods into your mouth. You will smile and clap and it is so much fun. P.S. Your favorite thing so beans straight from the can. That's my boy!

Gabe, you bring so much joy into my life. I know that I say this to you EVERY birthday blog but I don't think you can ever hear it enough. You have a the greatest personality and so many people love you. Perfect strangers will stop and smile at you. They comment on your big blue eyes and your infectious little grin. It is nice to see that it isn't just your Dad and I that think you are adorable.

I see you learning more and more every day. You love your blankie. You hate having your diaper changed. You like the sound of your hands and feet slapping on kitchen floor. You like playing catch with your Dad. You love things you can stack or things with wheels. You LOVE music! But most importantly you love your family. And Sweet Baby Gabe, WE LOVE YOU TOO! Happy 10 Month Birthday!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mick Jagger

This post is dedicated to my father, Chad Paulsen, who always reminded us that no matter how much we complain and yell and beg, sometimes...You Can't Always Get What You Want. I think that there is one person in my life right now that really needs to learn this same lesson.

I saw her today at a reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she would meet her connection
At her feet was her footloose man

No, you can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
And if you try sometime you find
You get what you need

I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she was gonna meet her connection
At her feet was, footloose man

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well you might find
You get what you need

Oh yea-ay (hey-hey-hey, oooh)

And I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singin', 'We're gonna vent our frustration
If we don't, we're gonna blow a 50-amp fuse'
Sing it to me, now

(You can't always get what you want)
(You can't always get what you want)
(You can't always get what you want)
But if you try sometimes, well you just might find
You get what you need
Ooh baby, yeah, ooh

I went down to the Chelsea drugstore
To get your prescription filled
I was standin' in line with Mr. Jimmy
A-man, did he look pretty ill

We decided that we would have a soda
My favorite flavor, cherry red
I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy
Yeah, and he said one word to me, and that was 'dead'
I said to him

(You can't always get what you want) well no!
(You can't always get what you want) tell ya baby
(You can't always get what you want) no
But if you try sometimes, you just might find, mmm!
Mmm! you get what you need
Ooh yes! Woo!

(Instrumental & choir) Ooow-ooh!

You get what you need
Ooow, babe!
Ooh, yeah

I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well, I could tell by her blood-stained hands
Say it!

(You can't always get what you want) yeah!
(You can't always get a-what you want) ooo-yeah, baby!
(You can't always get a-what you want)
But if you try sometime, you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need

Ooh, yeah!
Ooh, baby!

Ah, you can't always get a-what you want
No, no baby

You can't always get a-what you want
Tellin' you right now

You can't always get what you want, mmm!
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find, that ya
Get what you need
Oooh, yeah!

I'm tellin' the truth, babe

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Walk In the Park

This past week before everyone I know got sick with the illness that "Plague Monkey Spencer Larsen" brought around, we spent a lovely Tuesday evening with Grandma Karen, Aunt Becca, Sera, Gabe, Ryan (Who had the plague at that point.), and myself. We went to Veterans Memorial Park right by the West Jordan City Hall. It was so nice to spend our one night a week with Sera outside and playing. I feel bad that Ryan was sick but he took one for the team and spent most of the time lying on a blanket while the rest of us played.

We took lots of pictures that night. Becca loved taking Gabe the every spot at the park. And Sera, being so grown up, played with some kids her own age. I try not to hover over Sera when at the park because she would rather play with kids than with me or Ryan. But she did occasionally swing by and say hi.

This picture is of Aunt Becca and Grandma Karen pushing Gabe in the swing. As you can see, Gabe "thrilled."

And then it was Mommy's turn to push Gabe. And again...he could hardly contain his excitement.

Here we see Gabe enjoying some time in the grass. He kept trying to crawl away from us and we kept chasing him down. Just look at his bright blue eyes! If he wasn't so cute, I might not chase after him...JUST KIDDING BUBS!

And finally we have a video of Gabe and his new favorite thing: a balloon. All day we have been listening to the same squeals of delight. I secretly keep hoping that the balloon will pop but I haven't gotten lucky...yet...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Let him eat cake!

Tonight we spent the evening at my Mom and Dad's house. Mom usually does a big dinner on Sunday and so we decided to join them. It was my favorite meal: Pot roast, carrots, mashed potatoes with gravy, and salad. YUM!

I was in charge of dessert and so I went with my standby: strawberry short cake. Ryan doesn't care for more sweet stuff but he does like strawberry short cake. And while we were are enjoying our after dinner treat, my sister made the mistake of giving Gabe a taste of whip cream. His eyes got wide and he started going after her plate like a moth to a flame. He was a baby on a mission. So after we all finished our cake we made sure that our plates still had whip cream and strawberry juice and then...we let Gabe take care of the rest!

As you can see, he wanted to eat the plate along with what was on it.

Hope you enjoyed your Sunday evening as much as Gabe obviously did. Love you all!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

9 Month Birthday

Happy 9 Month Birthday!!

As you can see Bubs, your 9 month picture is not like your previous birthday pics. You are not lying down and I am certainly not trying measure you. You would not have such a thing. Around our house now, if you are not standing, then you are crawling to place where you can pull yourself up. In this past month you have gone from my cute stationary cherub to a lightning-fast howler monkey of doom. And please know, I say that with all the love in my heart.

I am not sure where the past 4 weeks have gone but I can probably guess that you had something to do with it. You love taking things that you shouldn't have and either shoving them DIRECTLY into your mouth and crawling away with them and throwing them across the room. Your chubby little fingers always seem to find something the grab and then cling to with a grip I can only compare to the Jaws of Life.

You are fixated on my hair, my cellphone, my jewelry, the remote control, and about any beverage that we leave out. And of course, the more we say "No" the more you seem to want it. And once you grab it, believe you me, we have to pry your five Anaconda Strength fingers from around it all while trying to avoid getting bit by your 2 sharp teeth. And when we finally are able to force you to let go, you scream like you were just forced to look directly into the sun for five hours straight all while the "It's a Small World" song plays on repeat in your ears.

You have become stubborn and are gaining a certain amount of independence. You want what you want and you want it RIGHT NOW DAMN IT! DO NOT MAKE ME TELL YOU TWICE WOMAN! But you laugh more too. And it is becoming easier to make you smile. As you learn and grow you are beginning to see the world in a whole new light.

You are learning more and more each day. You can now wave Hi and clap your hands. You definitely are familiar with your name and know when we are talking to you. And you say "Da da da da da" like it is the only word that you will EVER need to know. Your father loves it when you say this-he feels so special. And I will admit here, that as cute as I find your babbling, I wish you would say Mama too. But I know that day is not far away.

You are growing bigger and stronger too. And are eating so much and losing that baby fat that I love. Your chubby little legs are getting more muscle and thinning out. I knew this was going to happen but it is a little sad to see them go. You are becoming a little boy and less of my tiny baby. And because of all this moving and growing, you are beginning to really value your naps which remind me that no matter how big you get, when you sleep, you will always look like my precious tiny baby.

You love exploring your surroundings. You want to climb over, crawl into, and look at everything you can. This past month you have really started figuring out your world and how things work. And sometimes this works to your advantage while other times you get yourself stuck and are not quite sure how to get yourself out.

But no matter how much you grow and how smart you get, I have realized that you will forever be my little boy.

So happy 9 month birthday Gabriel. You are crawling like mad, standing up, "talking" all the time, and I simply cannot get enough of you! You have taught me so much about love and I cannot wait to see you grow even more. Please never stop smiling at me and always continue to learn. You make me proud and have given me the best 9 months of my life.

Happy birthday Bubba!

Love always, Mommy