Kieran’s First Christmas (5m4w)

(Wow, where has half of January gone?  There is SO MUCH I wanna blog about, but there just doesn’t seem to be time these days!)

The Taylor side of the family on Christmas Eve at Grammy &   Grampy Gorman's HouseKieran’s first Christmas was really lovely.  Grampa John, Great-Grandma Cat and Uncle Oin came out to spend time with us.  We enjoyed Christmas Eve at Grampy & Grammy’s house with Aunt Cassie, Cousin Grant and Great Grandma Nonny.  (Uncle Kurt was still stuck in Belgium due to a horrific series of winter storms.)  It was a lovely evening that ended with family pictures in front of the Christmas Tree.

Kieran contemplates the crudité on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day was a casual affair at home.  We watched football and hung around the house.  I made lasagna for dinner, and Grammy, Grampy, Nonny Aunt Cassie and Cousin Grant joined us here to partake.  We had munchies before dinner, which Kieran thought were fascinating.  (One of many clues that he’s probably ready to start solids any minute now.)

After dinner, Kieran entertained us all by playing with his blocks, showcasing his newly developed ability to sit up unassisted.  We’re loving his ability to do this, as it opens up myriad other toy and playtime options.  There’s not terribly much you can do when you’re always on your back!  Of course, it helps when there’s someone there to help you re-stack your blocks if you ask nicely.

I love my tidy stack of blocks!They're great for knocking over!Won't someone help me re-stack my blocks?

Daddy however, has a mean streak on occasion.  I have to admit, we had to stop laughing before we could help him up.

Yes, like this.  This is how they should be stacked!Daddy is SO mean sometimes.That wasn't nice, Daddy - even if it was funny!

Uh oh.  Getting a little wobbly....And then sometimes, Kieran gets a little *too* excited about his blocks and knocks himself over!

Baby overboard!

Merry Christmas, Daddy!We ended the evening with pictures around the tree, once we showed Kieran the pretty lights and what Mama did with all the handprints and footprints she made two weeks before.Inspecting the tree with Mama and Daddy.

All the ornaments were Kieran's hands and feet!Kieran seemed to approve of Mama’s craftiness, and was happy to gift Grammy & Grampy and Grampa John a set of handprints and footprints for their own trees.  Family pictures commenced directly because both babies were about at the end of their good moods.

Merry little Taylor family including Grandma Cat, Grampa John  & Uncle Oin!Merry little family.Merry Gorman Family: Grammy Jeanne, Nonny, Auntie Cassie, Cousin  Grant & Grampy Tom

A big hug for Uncle Oin before bedtime!Happy Daddy, Tired Baby.

Then it was a big hug for Uncle Oin and a snuggle for Daddy before heading to bed.  Presents from friends would have to wait until Boxing Day.  (And another blog post…)  It was a wonderful day filled with laughter and love.  A perfect first Christmas for our little boy.

Thanksgiving 2010 (5m-1d)

After the first volley...What an incredible weekend.  We had a house full of family for Thanksgiving.  Aunt Juanita flew in on Thursday morning and joined her son Glenn, his girlfriend Katie and their two boys (from Sacramento) to surprise Grandma Cat for her 75th birthday on Thanksgiving.

We had a total of 13 adults, 2 toddlers (Glenn’s boys Glenn Edwin [2yo] and Greylon [1yo]) and two babies for Thanksgiving Dinner.  Grampa John, Great-Grandma Cat, Grampy Tom, Grammy Jeanne, Great-Aunt Nita, Uncle If Kieran at 16lb fits, the 21.5lb turkey should too!Oin, Auntie Cynthia, Aunt Cassie, Cousin Glenn + Katie, and our friend Sibyana.  There was plenty of food, and everyone seemed to enjoy dinner.  I made  good use of multiple crock pots once again and had everything served at 6:00.

Our turkey this year was 21.5 pounds, 5.5+ pounds heavier than Kieran!  Ridiculous pictures were had before I got to fooling around with the turkey.

Juanita stayed here with us, along with Dad and Grandma.  Oin and Cynthia Kieran's ready to start cooking!stayed at a timeshare, and Glenn and his family stayed at the Hilton.  (Oin and Cynthia will be here with us for their last night in Vegas.)  Kieran stayed with us in our room in the pack & play.  That went better than I expected, but I was afraid our squeaky bed would wake him up every time one of us got in or out of bed.  (Well, that and Paul’s snoring…)  Kieran’s (ah hem) schedule is mostly shot to hell, but we’re hoping we can maybe tweak things Surprisingly fun times with Great Aunt Nita!as we put them back to rights.  I’ve got him d0wn for his third nap of the day as I type this.  (We actually managed four by the time the day was over!)

We’ve enjoyed the rest of the weekend, just hanging around the house, talking and laughing – wherever Aunt Nita is, there is always laughter.  Kieran has Lemme taste your nose, Grampa!been such a great little guy – smiling and laughing for everyone.  I’ve been trying to take pictures with everyone, saving memories as best I can.  There have been many tears, most of them happy. I wish mom could have seen this, her kids and her grandson; her daughter as a mom and her son as an uncle.  But Dad (Grampa John) is enjoying Kieran to the max, Having a snooze with Great Grandma Catso that is really great to watch.   Watching my grandmother playing airplane with my son and then later taking a snooze with him in the recliner have been some of the episodes of happy tears this weekend.

What a difference a year makes.  Kieran will be 5 months old tomorrow.  He has been such a blessing to us, in what would have been a really tough year.  Things aren’t perfect for us, and we have a tough road ahead in a lot of ways, but we have SO MUCH to be thankful for.  We’re looking forward to spending a family Christmas focusing on love and togetherness and starting the new year as a family.

Clicky the piccys to see more pics than you probably want to – but many of them are absolutely adorable.

Oh yes Mama, we need onions for the stuffing...A happy Kieran the morning after with Grampa JohnOh hi Mama!  I didn't see you there!There were serious tweets to be sent!Kieran modeling his new dinosaur hat from Auntie LisaKieran and Uncle Oin on Sunday morning

Kieran has a cousin! (12w5d)

As of around 7:30am PST this morning (4:30pm Belgium time) Kieran has a cousin. No word on name and no pictures yet, but he arrived healthy and full-term. By all reports, Mama and baby are doing fine.

Paul and I thrilled for Cassie and her fiancee Kurt. We remember how we felt almost three months ago when our own son arrived. The overwhelming joy, happiness, fear and relief. And the love. Oh yes, the love.

What hit me most this morning when I woke up to hear Paul calling his grandmother to report the good news (delivered within minutes by Grampy via Skype) was the joy in his voice for his little sister. For all their squabbling and bickering, he loves her something fierce. He is so proud of her, watching her from half a world away, forge her life on her own terms. And now she’s made a little family for herself. We couldn’t be happier for them.

Family Photos in the Park (7w5d)

Today we all went to breakfast and then went to a park a couple blocks from the house for a family picture session. Tom and Paul scoped out the best location they could in the noonday sun with shade for the Grandmas to sit in while shots were set up.

The pictures came out great, although we all were a little wilted towards the end. Mama and Kieran both got a little sun… oops. We never take Kieran out in the daytime like this, but next time we do, he’ll certainly have his hat on and sunscreen on any exposed skin – that’s for sure!

Click on the pictures to see the whole album of Kieran’s parents, grandparents and great grandparents together for the first time!

Always with the hands in his face, even still...Both sides of Kieran's familyGrampy Tom is such a jokerKieran is starting to grab and hold onto things!Mama and DaddySarah's Grandma Cat & Paul's Grandma Nonny

Meeting folks (7w1d)

Kieran’s had a busy couple of weeks, with lots of folks coming to meet him!

Kieran has had visits from our friend Lisa (with her boyfriend and daughter in tow), our friend Sibyana, my co-worker Caroline and her daughter Hannah, and just last week: our long-time friends Eric and Jenn. (I took Kieran out to a work luncheon when he was 1 month old, so he’s met my local co-workers and two Board members already as well.)

But this weekend is a biggie: Grampa John and Grandma Cat are coming to meet Kieran for the first time! They’re coming out Saturday through Monday, and we can’t wait. They’ve kept up with Kieran’s adventures through this blog and through Skype video calls, but we’ve all been looking forward to their first visit now that we’re more settled into a routine here at home. I am immensely looking forward to introducing my Dad to his grandson. There will be pictures and video for sure.

Speaking of pictures, we’re gonna have a little informal photo shoot on Sunday after breakfast with Paul’s parents. I want to get pictures of Kieran with his grandfathers together. (Hrm, I wonder if we could get Nonny and Grandma Cat together too – pics of Kieran with his great-grandmothers… well, 2 out of 3 of them.) But family pictures will happen on Sunday, which will be great.

Kieran has quite the full weekend though, because on Friday he gets to meet more of Mama & Daddy’s friends: Joe and Rachel will be in town for Rachel’s birthday. So we’re meeting them for lunch!

Then in September (hopefully) we’ll have two more first-time visits: Uncle Oin + Auntie Cynthia in early September and Kelly (Gnoam) and her daughter Kara (and HOPEFULLY husband Peter too) late in the month. Neither of those have been confirmed yet though.

That’s all I know of for visits right now. We’d love to see more friends though – Kieran’s a very outgoing guy and likes making friends!