Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving in Wyoming

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with Ryan's family at his parent's home in Riverton, Wyoming. Ryan grew up in this small town in a cozy house on a large piece of land out in the country. I love that house and all the memories it holds, both from before I met my husband and after. Though the way of life in Riverton is much different from what I am used to, I love visiting there and just escaping from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world. I love my in-laws, who are all wonderful people and such fun to be with. All of Ryan's siblings and their spouses were able to come except for one, his youngest sister Melissa and her husband Seth, who we missed a lot. But the rest of us had a great time stuffing our faces together, sitting around visiting, watching movies, watching the two grandbabies play and just enjoying each others company. It was a nice, long, rejuvenating weekend, and Ryan's family has so many great holiday traditions. Here's the breakdown:

Wednesday - We left around lunchtime to make the 5.5 hour drive...not too fun since many of the roads in Wyoming are very long, straight, and lonely with nothing but sagebrush on either side, but we were excited to get there. Thankfully Thomas was very good and we made it through without him being too miserable. When we got there it was great for him to get to play with his nearly-3-year-old cousin Julia. They were so cute to watch together!

Thursday - Turkey day! Ryan's family has so many delicious traditional foods they make for holidays, and the cooking is a huge family activity. I'm not much of a cook, so I'm sad to say I wasn't much help in the kitchen, but Ryan's mom and sisters are masters. The menu was huge! We had turkey and stuffing of course, pork roast, mashed potatoes & gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberries, the family favorite frog eye salad (a fruit salad with marshmallows, whipped cream, pineapples, mandarin oranges, and little "frog-eye" pasta), and one thing I have dreams about: potato rolls. These rolls are so soft and buttery, I say they're bits of clouds from heaven. I could eat a meal of these alone. Oh, and we had lots of pie of course! Pumpkin, pecan, apple and cheesecake too. So yeah, um, I'm not getting on the scale til Christmas is over.

Friday - Getting our Christmas trees! This is a wonderful tradition that I look forward to every time we go to Wyoming. The day after Thanksgiving we drive up to the mountains near Dubois, Wyoming to cut down Christmas trees (its totally have to buy passes and everything). We usually meet up with some family friends of the Laidlaws and build a fire, roast hot-dogs, make smores, play in the snow, and take the four-wheelers up into the different trails hunting for the perfect tree. They're not as picture-perfect as the farm trees you can buy at the stores, but its endearing when they're a little bald or scraggly in places. I had lots of fun buying Thomas all his winter gear for this trip: snow pants, snow boots, hat and gloves, and his big fat winter coat. Needless to say, he could barely walk when I got him all bundled up, but he was a happy little camper with cute rosy-red cheeks, waddling around in the snow and falling down every two seconds (the boots were a bit big). It was also his first time sledding! And he LOVED riding the four-wheelers...every time you took him off he would run back up to it and try to get back on! We went back home, had left-overs and went to bed early. Christmas tree hunting is tiring!

Saturday - I was totally spoiled. Ryan agreed to watch Thomas and we girls decided to hit some of the after-Thanksgiving sales. There's not a ton of shopping in Riverton, but we had lots of fun and each bought ourselves a bunch of cute new clothes. After we got back, Ryan's mom and dad babysat Thomas for us so we could go on a date. We had dinner at a pretty good little Mexican place and then went to see the movie Enchanted...which I LOVED! I have been dying to see this film, and it was just fantastic! I was grinning like an idiot the whole way through. It took some convincing to get Ryan to see it - he's notorious for avoiding anything that looks like a "chick flick" - but even he admitted that he really liked it! If you haven't seen it yet, you gotta. It was a very clever, funny, romantic, feel-good kind of movie...and I have to admit, I'm a sucker for anything that involves people breaking out in song! I can't wait til it comes out on DVD!

Sunday - We left in the morning and were sad to say good bye. Its always nice to go back to your own home of course, but its hard to say farewell to your days of vacation! We had a truly enjoyable time. I am so very thankful to have such a wonderful husband, such a wonderful, beautiful baby boy, and both of our wonderful families!

Now...on to Christmas!!! =)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Tommy Update

One of the reasons I decided to start blogging was not only to stay in touch with family & friends, but also to encourage myself to write things down for myself. I have never been good at keeping a journal, but since Thomas was born I've begun to feel more and more how important it is to write things down, since there are so many important and wonderful events and milestones I want to remember! So every once in awhile I thought I would do a little update on Thomas.

Thomas will be turning 16 months on November 10th. I know its the coined phrase of every mother, but how fast the time goes! I don't know what happens to the days...I can still remember being an expectant mommy, and now I have a toddler! And he is such a big little guy (little big guy?)! Every time we go to the doctor for his well checks, I am always excited to find out how much Thomas has grown. He had his 15-month well check a couple of weeks ago, and when the doctor started talking to me about Thomas' growth chart, the word he used was "phenomenal." Tommy definitely has all the Laidlaw and Kotter tall genes...he was 33.9 inches tall, which puts him in the 95th percentile for height. Like any mama, my buttons were bursting! Although, I've never needed the doctor to tell me Thomas is big for his back definitely feels it! And complete strangers are always asking me how old he is, and then say they're surprised he's so young. Plus, I am already buying him clothes in the 2T size. I bought Thomas a new sleeper the other day in a 2T, and when I showed it to Ryan on the hanger, he said "That'll be way too big for him!" But the first time Thomas wore it, Ryan realized Thomas almost completely filled it out! I am so excited to see one day how tall Tommy will grow. Ryan and I are both 6 feet tall, and we both have some crazy tall people in our families: fathers, brothers, grandfathers, uncles and cousins who range everywhere from 6'2'' to almost 7 feet! So it will be fun to watch and see. But I don't want to wish his babyhood away!

When they weighed Thomas he was 25 lbs and 10 ounces, which put him in the 61st percentile for weight. Since the percentile was so much lower than his height I was worrying and wondering out loud to the doctor whether I was feeding him enough. He told me, "He's tall and skinny...nothin' wrong with that!" But truly, I know he's definitely eating enough...sometimes it seems all I do all day is feed that kid! He's very sturdy, has cute chubby legs and a big round potbelly, and he kind of has his daddy's stocky build oldest brother Josh always calls Thomas "the brick." "Thomas the Tank" is a popular name for him too.

Thomas is acquiring lots of fun new hobbies as he gets older...its so amazing to see all he can do now as opposed to last year at this time! He's been walking really well since before his first birthday, and now he loves marching, stomping, dancing, and running. And his new favorite pasttime, which has his mom constantly on her toes, is climbing! On the toilet, into the tub, on top of the couch, on the coffee table, everywhere he can get to while mom's back is turned! I am just waiting to find him on the countertop one of these days, or on top of the refrigerator! So I am having to work extra hard to keep a watchful eye on him. (Note added 11/28: Um, yeah, I should've knocked on wood. He's long since accomplished the feat of making it to the tabletop/countertop. He gets up there so fast its scary!)

He also has the cutest habit of saying "mommy, mommy, mommy" over and over. I just love to hear him say it, and even when I'm feeling pestered and frazzled, its just so adorable I can't help but smile! He says "mommy" so often that sometimes he calls Ryan that, even though "dada" was his first word. He knows how to say "daddy" and has said it a lot before, so we are trying hard to teach him the difference and are always quizzing him, "Where's Mommy? Where's Daddy?" He's very talkative and is always trying to tell us things in his own little language, its so cute. He says all kinds of words now, I can't even think of them all. He's been saying "mee-mee" all the time lately, which I think means "binky." Yes, at 16 months, he is still glued to a goal is to get him off the paci completely before he hits 18 months, and I must admit I am dreading it! But I definitely need to do it before I get to the point where I have to deal with potty-training too...oh my goodness, potty-training?! How can I even be thinking about that already? My little boy is growing up too fast!

Ryan and I are incredibly blessed to have our sweet little Tommy...he has brought so much joy into our lives, its hard to remember a time when he wasn't a part of our family. I love him so much! And even though it seems such a short time since we brought him home, brand new and tiny, this new question has started buzzing around inside my brain..."When is Thomas going to get a sibling?!"