Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My Teacher is 18 Months Old

Last Thursday, we took Landon to see his first fireworks display. I honestly didn't think he would even stay awake long enough to see them. Most nights, around 7:30, he is ready to go to sleep so I figured he would be out before the party even started.

So we planned many attempts to keep him distracted and awake.

We played outside and went for a walk.

And just about the time I thought he was going to crash...

Cousin City arrived!!! (Side Note: For some reason, Landon calls Mason "City." Strange, but cute!) Landon lights up when he sees Mason.

And around 9:30, he was doing this:

And then the show started! I figured it was going to be a hit or miss. He has never liked loud, sudden noises and since fireworks are loud and sudden, I figured he would be terrified and we would be out of there as soon as possible. 

I was wrong. 

He barely moved for an entire twenty five minutes. When Tyler asked him what he thought, he responded with a whispered, "Wow." 

There are few things better than watching your child enjoy and get excited about something. Whether its fireworks or watching a "Toot Toot" drive down the road, Landon has been teaching me to simply enjoy what is happening right in front of me instead of constantly looking at what is going to happen next. 

Landon, I am a firm believer that you teach me more than I teach you. Thank you :) 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

In This Family, We Love.

Who would have ever guessed this sweet, innocent face would ever have to be corrected?!

This calm, sleepy, relaxed baby has turned into a rambunctious, full of energy, very busy (very healthy) eighteen month old. 

He isn't perfect.
There...I said it. And sometimes, he makes "bad choices".

He drops food off of his high chair.
He throws his toys when he gets mad. 
One time, he tripped and fell and got so frustrated he walked across the floor, picked up Cookie Monster, and threw him across the room (side note: He is really good at throwing things. I'm guessing he gets that from his quarterback papa). 
And sometimes...he just doesn't listen.

Most of these are rare, and I understand he is only eighteen months old, but he is never to young to learn the difference between a good choice and a bad choice.

And, I must admit, it can be quite comical to watch because he usually gets mad about really silly things, like not being able to open something or if his blocks fall over when he is stacking them. 
I'm not saying he has an anger problem because he is completely sweet 96% of the time...He is just a little boy who is trying to figure this world out. 

So, as his parents, we are doing our best in guiding him so he chooses a good, productive path.

With that, I give you this:

The Toy Hospital!

Whenever Landon throws a toy out of anger, it goes to the toy hospital. 
The idea is after he throws a toy, he has to pick it up, take it to the toy hospital, and the toy has to stay in the hospital for a whole day so it can heal and feel better. 

As of right now, I don't think he really cares. He usually puts the toy in, says, "Bye!" and toddles back into the living room. But, I'm hoping as he grows, he starts to understand that anger and violence is not the best choice, especially when it is at someone else's expense. 

When Landon was five months old, I wrote about him learning the idea that everything has value and an identity. You can read about that here! I like to think he is beginning to understand that in the Kleeberger family, we love and respect the people in the world and the idea of the Toy Hospital goes along with this. 

So Landon, your toys are your favorite things right now. Most of your friends are plastic batman cars and stuffed Sesame Street characters. But one day, you are going to have living, breathing friends and it is essential that you show them love. And even if someone is not your friend, you must still show them that same love. Practice with your toys now...and maybe someday, you will thank Papa and I for creating a toy hospital.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Don't Catch Me Mama

Recently, Landon has become inthralled with slides.
It all started in Texas when we went to a water park.

He was leery at first, and refused to budge unless I was holding onto his hand, but by the end of the day, he was going down slides by himself! As soon as he would slide into my arms he would say, "Mama? More?" He had a blast.

And he was exhausted by the end of the day...

Fast forward to a few weeks later, and Landon is STILL fascinated with sliding boards.
I love biking to the park with him. As soon as we pull into the parking lot, I can hear him in his bike trailer saying, "slide slide slide slide." His little, chubby legs can't get him over to the slide fast enough.

He knows to climb up the steps and slide down while I wait to catch him at the bottom.
Or when Tyler goes with us, one of us goes to the top with him and the other waits at the bottom for him...there is no way of him falling or hitting his head or scraping his elbows or knees. He is completely safe because we are right beside him.

However, this particular day, I was by myself.
Everything was going great. He was content with this small slide and was having a great time!


Then, he decided he wanted to try a different slide. 
A slide that required him to step up and then sit down. Not to mention it was inclosed, so there was no way for me to help him from the ground. 

So I thought to myself:
     I can't NOT be there to catch him when he slides down. What if he can't stop himself...duh, he can't stop himself, he has no idea how to do that. He will fly out of the slide and he could hit his head. 
     But if I'm at the bottom, he won't be able to step up into the slide and sit down on his own and if he tries, there is no way he is going to make it without getting hurt.
     But, he really wants to go down that slide. He is even signing, "please." Ok, Vanessa, don't be a helicopter parent. 

So, I helped him into the slide, he sat down, and down he went! 


Without me! Without me at the bottom to catch him! And guess what, he didn't fall, he didn't hit his head, and he went down about a dozen more times, without me there to catch him.

I decided then, this won't be the last time I have to let him go and do something where I may not be right there to catch him at the bottom when he falls. There will be times where he won't need me, even if I think he does.

He is going to be eighteen months in two days! And for some of you, that probably doesn't seem like a big deal. But for me, it is huge! He is already half way to being two years old! He is getting to be more and more independent.

I know this is only the beginning and I'm learning to take deep breaths as I watch him discover and try new things for himself. I'm learning I can't always be right there to catch him when he falls down and I can't always protect him from every little thing, because he has to learn what works and what doesn't work, even if that means scrapes and bruises here and there.
However, this doesn't mean I won't be here when he comes running to me to pick him up and hold him.

At some point, I'm going to have to let this little baby go and experience the world, even if that means he goes without me.

*Somebody send this to me when he is going off to kindergarten...*

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It's Time To Turn The Page...

Fifteen months and thirteen teeth later, and we are DONE with breastfeeding.

I would be lying if I didn't say I was a little bit excited for this chapter to be over, but a part of me (and Landon) is sad this part of our story has ended. I feel like I no longer have a baby, but a toddler!

I once wrote about my breastfeeding experience here!
It was an experience I pray I am blessed to have again, but none will be like the experience I had with my Landon Shae.

I doubt I will be nursing our next baby on top of a mountain in Southern California.  I remember hiking with Landon for the first time when he was just two months old and I was sure he was going to have a melt down while we were a deep four miles into the woods, but he didn't! In fact, he slept most of the time. And when we reached our destination (a beautiful waterfall), he happily nursed, and then laid on nature's floor and looked around. Who says you have to give up hiking when you have a baby?!

And I highly doubt (although wish) I will be nursing our next baby while sitting on California beaches multiple times a week. I remember sitting on the beach, looking out into the water while Landon was nursing and thanking God for such a beautiful life. There was something so peaceful about holding this sweet baby and looking at a gorgeous creation.

Now that we are done, I can't help but feel proud of myself.
It is an amazing feeling knowing that I was able to completely sustain his eating life, until he was six months old. He has grown and developed into such a healthy, little boy and I know thats because of the nutrients I was able to give him.

And I believe Landon and I have the bond that we do because I chose to nurse him. He depended on me and was able to trust that I would provide him with a full tummy whenever he needed it, even if he needed it multiple times in the middle of the night. And now, he trusts that I will feed him three meals a day and pick him up when he needs me to. He knows I will always come back to get him when we leave him somewhere without us, and he knows that I love him unconditionally.
I've said it before that the first time the two of us really connected was when he latched on for the first time. It was the first time we made eye contact and it was the first time I really felt like he was my baby.

I will miss nursing a calm Landon who was content just looking at me and playing with my hair, and I will even miss nursing a crazy Landon who would try to talk and laugh and pull my hair.

This was a beautiful experience that I will forever cherish.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dancing Away With My Heart

Landon and I like to have dance parties together. 
So, tonight while Tyler was at his meeting, Landon and I had a dance party.

They usually consist of us just jumping around the house, spinning in circles, and Landon hanging upside down.

While we were dancing, "Never Grow Up" came on (Thanks to Taylor Swift Pandora).
Landon relaxed, put his little forehead against mine and said, "ahhhh."

And we slow danced during the entire song.
He laid his head on my shoulder and we moved around in a circle. 
It was blissful and I wanted to soak up every second of the moment because I know Landon won't always let me hold him and dance with him.
But for now, and hopefully a few more years, he will let me scoop him up, and dance with him while he rests his head on my shoulder.

I feel so honored, privileged, blessed, lucky, excited, and joyful to be able to have moments like this with this precious boy. And not only is he a precious boy, he is MY precious boy. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Child Is Hilarious

Landon is a little boy with a big personality and an even funnier sense of humor. He does the funniest things and his imagination is really starting to shine.

He loves standing at his kitchen, and pretending he is stirring a pot. After he is done stirring, he tastes it and says, "mmmm." And then he WALKS ;-) over to me and says, "Mama" with the spoon pointed at my mouth because he wants me to taste it too. After I taste it, he says, "mmmm" again.

Needless to say, I think he is the most adorable, funniest. sweetest baby ever to exist.

Tonight, Landon and I were on our own for the bedtime routine. Tyler had his weekly ministry team meeting.

7pm rolled around so I started Landon's bath water. He likes watching the bath tub fill up so I underdressed him and stood him up by the bath tub. When the tub was done filling up I took Landon's diaper off. In the time I folded the diaper and threw it away (in the trash can right beside the tub), Landon walked right out the door, to his walker and literally started running away from me. I chased him and yelled, "Landon Shae, get back here right now. It's time for your bath." He, of course giggled and shrieked and kept running to the opposite side of the house. As I turned the corner, I found him squatting down, peeing all over the floor. I couldn't help but laugh at him. I walked over to him, knelt down beside him, and said, "Landon, that was not a good choice." But, I couldn't help but say it with a smile on my face and a chuckle in my voice. He gave a loud, belly laugh and took off back through the house and met me at the bath tub.

His bath went great, he got his PJs on, I nursed him, and we read Goodnight Moon. 

Before I laid him down in his crib, I told him how much I loved him and I told him nothing he does will ever make me love him even any less...even if he peed on the floor.
He wrapped his little arms around my neck and hugged me. And! He initiated a kiss too, which is rare.

I just love the person this tiny human is becoming.
I love him, and knowing he loves me back is the the best.

Monday, January 13, 2014

True Life: I grew up as a PK

For those of you who are not familiar with the term, "PK" it means, Pastor's kid.
There are plenty of stereotypes that come with being a PK and I believe when Tyler told his mom he was interested in a girl from Pennsylvania and she was a pastor's kid, she responded with a worried, "Oh dear."

However, I like to think I wasn't just another pastor's daughter who rebelled against the church, never stepped foot into a church after going off to college, and got a bunch of tattoos and piercings.
(I guess I did end up with a tattoo......)

I actually loved my church family and felt they were just a natural extension of my actual family. I looked forward to going every week and I maintained some relationships that I formed with that community.

At the same time, there were plenty of things I didn't particularly like.
     I felt like I was put under a microscope and expected to be perfect. I knew if I made a "bad" choice, it would be talked about more than normal only because of the family I came from.
     I was referred to as "gospel girl" which didn't necessarily bother me, but it was annoying.
     Not only was my dad's job at the funeral home demanding, but a lot of his free time was taken up by deeds that had to be done at the church. But, I should add, he rarely missed any of my brother and I's events.

I didn't see myself marrying a pastor. I didn't have an idea of what I wanted my future husband to do as a career, but I didn't see him being a pastor.

And here we are...
Tyler is a pastor and I am now not only a pastor's kid, but a pastor's wife.

It is a beautiful thing, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have it's struggles.
     I feel like our family is under a microscope.
     Tyler has to go to meetings that take up some of our evenings and preparing teachings takes up a lot of time.

But, I am once again, blessed to be apart of a community that feels like family. It is a familiar, childhood feeling being around these people.
I am learning what it means to be a pastor's wife and I luckily have many women surrounding me with encouraging, uplifting, and loving words.

Last night, we had an event for one of our sister churches. There wasn't childcare provided so I was anxious to take Landon. He doesn't sit still very well and he likes to talk and giggle. But, to my surprise (with a few exceptions), he was on his best behavior. He was content eating crackers, playing with whatever I could find in his bag, and looking at the people who were looking at him. And he loved watching his Papa play music.

I also discovered he knows how to use a pencil. As I watched him drawing with his piece of paper that was support by a hymnal, I thought to myself, he is living the life I grew up in. I can't count how many pictures I drew during my dad's sermons. I was impressed that his scribbling lasted fifteen whole minutes!

This is his first church, service, masterpiece. 
I'm excited to see how his drawings evolve over the years.