Saturday, January 6, 2018

Fav fam pics plus

January 2012

In an effort to catch up, I'm posting some of my favorite pics. Despite illness and major home improvement projects, we have had some memorable moments, so I'm happy to post them here and now for record keeping. Sure, most of these pics are of my precious little boy. Most days, our lives feel like they revolve around him, but he's our miracle baby and I wouldn't have it any other way. We just love him tremendously.

 Frolicking in the snow in our backyard. He loves that he can use his beach toys in the snow.

 Super pink cheeks after an hour of sledding in the snow.
Sweater made by his Grandmother, complete with fire engine buttons!

With the birthday boy "L" at an indoor, inflatable, bouncy venue.

On the move in the glow-in-the-dark room!

 Best buddy "D" (but blurry. Sorry "D")

Pizza lunch with "B, J and D"!

 Crocus in January?!

 His winter essential: the angry bird hat.
We were introduced to the angry bird craze by his Pre-k buddies.

 At my husband's request, we toured a few Elementary Schools. I was happy just to enroll him at the school where his Pre-k buddies were all going, but I obliged. Here he is at the one school closest to our house. He's thrilled that he got to handle all of the animals in their fun science department.
This may have sealed the deal. (More on all the school enrollment drama in a later post.)

 Love is in the air!
The little Korean girl in his class said she "LOVES Liam" and
ran to snatch the seat right next to him.

 Counting the school party loot. Love him, his smile, his hair, that bench, the floor...

  Love the two men in my life!

 Little Liam earns his third stripe!

 Loving how his new haircut is turning out.

 He can spend a good half hour to his cousin Yvie.

 With his Pre-k buddies on the "forbidden" rooftop.

 His favorite alligator see-saw that sits up to five excited little buddies. Two had already fallen over.

 Inside his best buddy"D's" backyard "clubhouse."

 Extreme sliding at his best buddy "D's" awesome jungle gym.

 At home or at a Church function, he helps out whenever and wherever he can!

 Enjoying a popscicle one hot Spring afternoon after school.

 After his "Pizza Pajama Party" at school. Brought to you by the letter of the day...


January 2012

Before & After

It is the end of an era, for Liam's hair that is. Good bye to mommy's favorite little surfer boy hair. Hello to Liam's favorite short hair.

It is no secret that I have always loved Liam's long hair. While other mothers usually go short with their children's haircuts, mostly to make life easier in the mornings, I kept Liam's hair long. I didn't mind the long untangling sessions. He had never stepped foot in a barber shop or hairdresser because I always chose to trim his golden hair myself. I have only four hairs on my own head so that is partly the reason for my fascination with long hair (on anybody, really). I sure enjoyed running my fingers through his long, silky hair. Well, that is all but a distant memory now.

Truth be told, Liam had been growing tired of the long hair. He tells us point blank that he wants to "be just like daddy", short hair and all. One day, I decided that his hair needed trimming. He was not his usual cooperative self and not in good spirits at all. That should have been my cue to leave it for later or for another day, but despite his constant complaining and ill humor, I went through with it anyway. Big mistake. I mean I made a mistake and took off a little too much on one side and the front was crooked. It was the best I could do under such circumstances. I swept up the hair and disposed of it. I came back and saw more hair on the floor. I was sure I had swept that side of the floor. I look up to see Liam hiding in a little corner with scissors in hand. Gasp! I don't know how, but I had forgotten to put the scissors away first like I usually do. He had just chopped off a bunch of hair from the back of his head. It wasn't terribly noticeable, but it looked really messy. After my initial horror, screams followed, mostly mine. I know that I shouldn't have reacted that way. It's just hair, after all. I was just really disappointed and mostly shocked to see him holding my sharp, pointy, hair-cutting scissors.

The following week on President's Day to be exact, we went to daddy's barber shop just a couple of blocks away from where we live. My husband loves that barber. He's this sweet, old middle-eastern guy who was trained in France. It's an unpretentious shop with no frills and by the looks, it has been there for decades with the same old dated look. He rested a plain wooden board on the armrests of the chair and prepped Liam for his first hair cut ever in a barber shop.

To say that Liam was super excited is an understatement while I, on the other hand, felt so uneasy that I even had a difficult time taking a deep breath. Liam thought it was weird that he had to sit on a wooden board, but he quickly got over it. I, however couldn't get over the fact that he was getting his beautiful long hair cut short, so I cried. Yes, the grown woman crying at the barber shop was me. It's just that it seemed like with every cut he was looking more and more like a big boy and not my baby boy anymore. Understandable, no? He reached over and wiped my tears and gave me such a lovingly look that it just melted my heart.

The barber was great and very patient both with squirmy little Liam and his mama with the constant picture taking. Liam looked like an old pro often times giving the barber pointers. He actually thought that the barber would forget to cut the front so that his hair would not hang over his eyebrows. Ha!

Here is a picture diary of his experience:

 Getting ready for his big boy haircut at the barber

Just a few seconds before this shot, he whispered to me "Don't cry, mommy. I love you."

Concerned Liam: "Why do I need this girl clip?"
"Okay, but don't forget to cut my hair in the front."

 No fancy chair for my little Liam.
He got to sit on a wooden board on top of the regular barber's chair.

 Liam having a good time at the barber. Daddy's reflection!

"That's what I'm talking about!"
Lookin' good so far! Thumbs up from Liam!
(Whoa! Check out the poster in the background!)

Mommy's precious boy already looking so much older.
(The boo-boo on his face happened when he sneaked down to our basement and
fell while on the treadmill. He wore his Darth Vader mask to hide his boo-boo.)

Almost finished!

Ah! The clippers!

 He could hardly stand the "tickling" of the clippers.


He loves his new short hair cut! Even though Mommy shed a few tears, I like it too my sweet little boy! Excellent choice. Thank you Michel!

I was thumbing recently through a celebrity magazine and I saw an adult version of Liam's long hair. (Shudder!) All I can say is that we definitely made the right decision in cutting Liam's hair. Farewell to Liam's long hair and thanks for the fun memories!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I know that I have a lot of catching up to do on this blog. Life happens and you have to roll with the punches and I have had my share.

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining because I am really not, even though I have many valid reasons to do so. But before I update this blog, I want to jot some thoughts down, you know for posterity's sake and maybe also for my own sanity. I just want to put things into perspective.

We are very happy to own our very own house with a backyard and all. It may not be a "dream" house, but it is to me. With tears in my eyes I say that I have waited my whole life to have what I have now- a family and home of my very own. I honestly do feel like I have it all: a wonderful husband, the best little boy, a house with a grassy backyard in the best school district in New York City that's walking distance from Church, good food, great friends and family. Sometimes, though, I really can help but think that it has all come with a hefty price for me.

Ever since we moved out of Brooklyn, it seems like there has been one difficulty right after another with little time to recover before the next challenge comes along. To recap: my hospitalization for a kidney infection, my severe allergic reaction to a poison ivy and poison sumac incident, hail broke our rear car window and dimpled our whole car, Hurricane Irene dropped a tree on our house, the never ending home repairs, computer problems, costly auto maintenance and repairs, medical bills, repeated strep throat infections and now I have enlarged lingual tonsils that when infected make it difficult to swallow and breath. [I had an MRI of my throat done last week which "didn't show anything that could be considered cancerous" so that's a relief, but my ENT still wants me to have a biopsy under general anesthesia in the next week or so. I am sad, disappointed, scared, but oddly enough hopeful.]

They say we shouldn't compare ourselves to anyone because we all face different challenges in our lives. I beg to differ. I can think of a number of people who lead normal happy lives with very little, if anything, rattling their cages. I have played by the book, as they say, and still encounter difficulty after difficulty, enough to make anyone throw their fists up into the air in anger and weep inconsolably. Sure, I've made mistakes along the way in my life, we all do. When I am faced with yet another challenge, or hurdle as I now like to call it, I can't help but take another look back at my life and count the times I have been happy and at peace. Sadly (or thankfully depending on how I am feeling) there appears to be a handful of happy moments. Then, while in the middle of these happy moments, quite suddenly, it felt like the rug is pulled out from underneath me. It feels like this happens repeatedly in my life and I'm left to wonder why. I don't know, maybe I am one of those unfortunate people now who are always up against something. We all have a friend or know someone like that. It's almost as if I am made to be an example for others. It is not a good place to be in, but nevertheless here I am.

Some would say that maybe I am being punished for past mistakes, my attitude, selfishness, or my lack of foresight. Well, I don't feel like I am being punished. Honestly, when the going gets rough, I do sometimes feel like I am being punished, but I quickly correct myself.

You see, I believe that there is a purpose and reason for all things. Nothing is set in stone, meant to be or fate. I don't believe in it. We make our own choices, for good or ill. Sure, bad things happen and many times it's not our fault. It appears though that there is a contingency plan for when bad things do happen. Suddenly, I get the help I need to survive it all: family, friends, the good word of God through scriptures and the words of His counselors, mouthpieces and humble servants, going to Church, Temple worship and most definitely- prayer. In another time and place, I chose my lot in life because I knew what the rewards, or blessings as I like to call them, would be for choosing my path. I believe that somehow I knew it would all be worth it in the end!

So, "grin and bear it with dignity and a sense of gratitude for the lessons to be learned" has been my mantra lately. I think it is a good and healthy perspective for me right now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spotlight on Liam

I would like to take a moment to put the spotlight on Liam. Yes, this blog has turned out to be mostly about him anyway, but before I get to his most recent stint, I wanted to include a couple of memorable events from his baby years that I had failed to mention before.

Mommy and Liam (7 months old)
(Photo courtesy of Kristen Somody Whalen/ All rights reserved.)

When Liam was only seven months old, we were invited by a dear friend from Church to participate in a photo shoot by Parenting. The photos would be used as stock photos for that year. To our knowledge, only two photos were used (see below). One of Liam's photos appeared for an ad in Parenting magazine and another photo was used in Baby Talk magazine for their monthly advertisement section (meaning, the same photo appeared every month). It was such a fun experience.

The above picture of Liam (mommy "photoshopped" out) was featured in "extras" advertisement section of Baby Talk magazine throughout 2008.
(This is a scan of the magazine ad.)
(Photo courtesy of Kristen Somody Whalen/Baby Talk Magazine/ All rights reserved.) 

 This picture of Liam (from the same photo shoot) was used to advertise the "Beautiful Baby Week" from the Live with Regis and Kelly morning show. This ad appeared in the February 2008 issue of Parenting Magazine.
(Photo courtesy of Kristen Somody Whalen/ All rights reserved.) 

Also fun, (more for me than for Liam because he was only 4 months old at the time) was a TV segment on a live morning show. We were modeling a snap n' go stroller for a Mother's Day segment and we got good air time. We are featured up close starting at 1:08.

Fast forward to December 16, 2011- Liam's second photo shoot ever . We heard about this one through my husband's job. They needed some models to pose with toothbrushes that look like mini light sabers. Knowing Liam's fascination for all things Star Wars, we gladly accepted. We were informed though that the ads (with the volunteer models, Liam included) are NOT for regular commercial use but intended for "internal" purposes, meaning they will only be seen in dentist offices. Still we thought it would be a fun experience and it certainly was! The commercial ad features a professional child model.

So, these are all of the photos that I took that day. The professional shots were taken with a green background so that the ad agency's "photoshopping" process would be easier. I can't wait to see the finished photos. I do hope that at least one of the photos he was in got picked for the ads.

Liam was shy a first, but warmed up a bit when he saw the other boys having fun. I brought his Darth Vader costume along for the photo shoot just in case they would need it which in fact they did.

dum dum dum      dum  da  dum      dum  da  dum...

 Liam overheard that Darth Vader would come by later for a few photos and he could hardly stand the wait. After every round of photos, he would immediately race to the door to see if he was coming. When he finally appeared with a Stormtrooper, well I thought Liam would just burst with excitement. He ran and grabbed a light saber to "battle" with him. Then, he begged me to slip his little Darth Vader costume and I could not have put the costume on fast enough.

 Moments later when it was time to take pictures with them up close, Liam couldn't help but stare, making the picture taking somewhat challenging at times. When he was asked after the photo shoot what he though of these adult-sized Darth Vader and Stormtrooper, he said that they were "a little bit creepy". Yeah, it's one thing when you see them on TV and quite another when they are there in person towering over you, just a little too close for comfort.

While we are on the subject, I have asked him about his fascination with this particular villain and his militia. He says that he thinks their costumes are really cool, which makes me wonder. They really should make the heroes costumes better looking than the villains costumes!

By the way, the GUM Star Wars toothbrushes are now available in stores everywhere. We really like the light saber toothbrushes that light up for a whole minute to indicate when the child is done brushing. Excellent feature. The spin brushes and the other standard brushes with the Star Wars characters are also a huge hit with my little Liam.