Note to readers: This is really late but Nikki has been bellyaching about me posting Clark's one year update and threatened to not be my best friend anymore if I didn't hustle. So I started typing just to get her to quit her bellyaching, and it turned into an ridiculously long post. So be sure to properly hydrate and take breaks if needed, and my feelings will not be hurt if you make the wise decision to jump ship now. Just don't tell me if you did jump ship or my feelings might get hurt.
I've been procrastinating updating the ole blog because I know its going to be nearly impossible to cover everything we've been up to in the past month and a half. Not only did we drive halfway across the United States and back, but we survived the biggest snowstorm that 2011 has ever seen and celebrated Clark's first birthday in a huge way. The majority of the past 50 or so days have been spent on the road and living out of suitcases and pack and plays, but they were some great days, nonetheless. So now that we are back in the comfort of our own home and the familiar sound of Jake barking every six seconds at absolutely nothing of importance, I am going to attempt to recap the last month of Clark's first year of life.
The days between December 6, 2010 and January 6, 2011 were nothing but insanely fun. Well I can't say nothing but fun, because some days were exhausting, emotional, and extremely sad. But in large part, all of us Rice's had a lot of fun. Aaron finished his last exam on the 17th and when he finished, we threw our hands up in the air because that meant he only has one more semester of school. Ever. In his entire life. This is the home stretch, people, and it feels so right. Aaron was long gone to the library for every minute of every day for about three weeks, so that left me and the Clarkimus to fend for ourselves. We did a lot of playing and when we weren't playing, we played some more and thats about it. I think it was in those three weeks that Clark went from toddling, to walking, to running, to a full out sprint everywhere he goes. The kid is always in a hurry everywhere he goes, which means he falls a lot, and each fall precedes a dramatic my-world-is-falling-apart episode, and its really all pretty awesome. He loves to run...straight into trouble. He runs to the bathroom to stick his hands and whatever he has in his hands in the toilet. He runs to the fireplace and puts the rocks in his mouth. He runs to Jake's dog food bowls to ingest some of Jake's food. He runs to the trash can and knocks it over. He runs away from you when you tell him its time to change the diaper. He runs and just doesn't stop. You would think I would have lost about 40 pounds since he started walking, but it just didn't work out that way for me.
Over the past month, Clarkimus really started embracing bath time. Its really fun to say, "You ready for bath?" and watch him run to the bath tub because its the most amazing place on earth. Some other things he's loving at the moment are goldfish (the edible kind), all of his new toys he got for Christmas and his birthday (which I just realized how expensive this time of year will be for the rest of our lives), being outside, his extended family who spoiled him rotten for a solid month, riding on 4 wheelers, playing hide and go seek, being chased by a monster, his MSU cowbell (Go Dawgs!), spinning around in circles, kicking balls, smacking his lips, stomping the floor, climbing on anything and everything, green beans, Quaker oatmeal, blueberries (nothing has changed there), rough housing with Aaron (and I mean serious rough housing), slapping people in the face (which is not okay and we are trying to nip it in the bud), opening and closing the dryer door, hitting Jake in the face and trying to eat Jake's nose, watching Baby Einstein, drinking the heck out of some whole milk, running around naked, using his sippy cup (finally!), playing with his buddies, making new noises, building an even stronger relationship with Jake, taking some serious blows to the head when he falls down, eating some of Aaron's textbooks, swinging at the park, his big boy car seat that lets him face forward, filling up his diaper with contents that could evacuate a small country, experimenting with all sorts of new exotic foods, climbing stairs, and playing an awesome game that consists of crying to get picked up, and then crying because he wants to be put down immediately, and repeat this nonsense 493 times in a row.
The twelfth month also brought with it a few temper tantrums that I never would have expected. He does not like for you to take something away from him (like a rusty nail he found and wants to chew on or a golf ball cloaked in a spider web he found in the corner of the garage) and he will let the entire population of Taylor, Mississippi know if you try. It started amidst all the holiday traveling and I attributed the tantrums to being overtired or him being off his schedule or if all else fails, blame it on teething. The Shark grew four molars this month, which had to be miserable, so I tried to be sympathetic. Really, I did. I made every excuse in the book because I could not believe our Clark could be such a turd sometimes. But now that all the teeth are in, we are back home, and our little routine is back on track, he continues to throw the dadgum tantrums and I guess its because he's one now and I have to just deal with it. The only way we deal with these tantrums is just to ignore him until he gets distracted by something different. If there is another fool proof method of handling tempter tantrums, hit me up immediately, por favor.
Clark got to spend some much needed quality time with his aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great grandparents during his twelfth month of life. He learned how to wrap everybody around his little finger pretty quickly and it wasn't long before he had his aunts and uncles walking him around outside in the 12 degree weather just because that is what he wanted to do at the time. Somehow he convinced his Geez (Aaron's dad) to take him out on the four wheeler 19 times a day for about two weeks, and now every time he sees a four wheeler (which is quite often in our neighborhood), he has a meltdown and has to sit on it or he might pass out from sheer excitement. He got to go bear hunting with my dad. He ate his first Memaw's Christmas Eve dinner with my family. He discovered sweet tea. The entire time we were in Hattiesburg, he played his little heart out from the second he woke up in the morning until the very second we put him to bed, which left one very exhausted mama at the end of the day. (But not too exhausted to enjoy a glass or wine or two with some other Rice women. My sisters in law are pretty great. You should know them.) And the day we got back from all of our holiday travels, almost a foot of snow dumped out of the sky and Clark got to put his snow boots on (which were really his New Balance tennis shoes wrapped in Walmart bags).
On January 6, we celebrated the birthdays of Clark Rice and Debbie Rice in Hattiesburg. Every time the thought occurs to me that Clark shares a birthday with his grandmother, I smile. I think its awesome. For the first time in 365 days, Clark experienced his first taste of processed sugar when we gave him a cupcake. He went his entire first year without eating sugar or dessert of any fashion, so I was halfway expecting him to flip out over the cupcake we put in front of him. He was mildly amused at best. He stuck the tip of one finger in the icing and then realized it was stuck to his finger and then tried his hardest to shake it off. To be honest, I'm glad he didn't like it. You see, I have zero self discipline when it comes to dessert, and I do not want to pass that trait on to my spawn. So the less processed sugar he has as a young chap, the less likely he is to be a sugar fene like his madre. We celebrated his birthday again nine days later in Oxford with a cake the size of Neptune. (I have no idea how big Neptune is. The word came to me because I just watched an episode of Sid the Science Kid on PBS Kids. Surely Neptune is bigger than a cupcake, and that is the point I was trying to make.) All of Clark's friends came (both of them) and most of his family and we all celebrated his first year together. Arnie grilled some burgers on the Big Green Egg and I would have to give the party and the burgers an A+.
Here is a summary of the greatest year of our lives: Clark Randall Rice was born on January 6, 2010 at 7:08 p.m. after a pleasant 12 hours of labor and a brutal, torturous two and a half hours of delivery. We brought him home from the hospital on January 8, 2010. We had a consistent flow of family and friends visit and I didn't have to cook or clean for about a month. When he was four weeks old we took our first road trip to Jackson and Hattiesburg for everyone to meet him. When he was six weeks old, we started doing a flexible version of Babywise. At 12 weeks old, he started sleeping through the night. The day he turned four months old, he started waking up five or six or 75 times during the night and did so for the entire fourth month. At four months (I think) he started rolling over and almost rolled off the bed about twenty times before we learned to not leave him unattended on a high surface. When he turned five months old he started sleeping again and never looked back. We spent month number five on the coast where he started eating solids and spent every day on the beach or lounging in a pool. He started sitting up by himself during this month too. Oh, and the most important thing that happened during month number five was when two of the coolest guys on the face of the earth were born to my best friend, Nikki Bonhag. We came back to Oxford when he was six months old and he started crawling and Aaron started his final year of law school (both of these things were equally important in my book). When he was seven months we went back down to Hattiesburg so Clark could watch his Uncle Ryan marry his Aunt Bek and he finally got to meet his cousin, Isaac. When he was nine months old, he weaned himself of nursing and started drinking formula. During this month he also started walking, which quickly turned into a fast sprint by the time he was ten months old. By ten months he was pretty much off of all baby food and eating human food. When he was 11 months old, he celebrated his first Christmas and not quite two weeks after that, he turned one.
Now that Clark is 380 something days old, I guess its natural for me to be a little sentimental. When I think back on what a crazy, cheerio infested year it was, my first thought is to give Clarkimus props for handling it so great considering he was given two parents that didn't have a clue what they were doing and still don't. He was born into this world to a mom who has a sick obsession with his naked bum and a dad who constantly tries to explain to him the fourth amendment every chance he gets. I would have to say the theme of the year was "I don't know" because those three words were verbalized no less than three million five hundred thousand times over the course of the year. I'm grateful that Clark is so quick to forgive, because if he kept a record of all the stupid things we did or said to him, I'm pretty sure he would hit the highway with his thumb in the air waiting for a less insane set of parents to pick him up.
Oh what a learning process it all was. Learning how to change a diaper, make him laugh, how to comfort him when he falls down, how to teach him words, how to discipline him...all of these are things we learned and will have to continually relearn in the days ahead. But so far, we've done ok. I would probably give us A+. I'm not even going to ask Clark what grade he would give us. I'm kidding...I think he really likes us. Especially when we ask him if he wants a blueberry.
This year is bound to be just as crazy as the last. At some point in 2011, we will move to a different city and we have no clue where that will be. And if it is in the good Lord's perfect design for our lives, maybe another baby will be part of the craziness that is our lives. In a few months Clark will probably start communicating in a less babbling sort of way. Aaron will graduate law school and take the beastly Mississippi Bar Exam. Hopefully after that he will get a job and we can buy things like shampoo and toothpaste without stressing out about it. All I know is Arnie, Clark, Jake and I are ready for whatever journey God takes us on.
I'm going to skip the pictures part of the update because I think this post is already too dadgum long without them. And I smell something suspicious either coming from the Aaron's side of the room or Clark's diaper and I need to investigate immediately. But click here and here to look at some of the most recent pictures I posted on facebook (you don't have to have a facebook account to view them).
Nikki challenged me to do something she is doing on her blog and I'm thinking about joining her. In short, you are given a topic and you share whatever you want to about it on your blog. The first topic was marriage and her post about it was nothing short of amazing. Read it here. But it would be WAY outside of my comfort zone and I not positive its going to happen. I've accepted this about myself, but I'm not exactly on my A game when it comes to expressing my thoughts on paper and these would be topics that I'm not super comfortable sharing with the entire world. Not that the entire world reads this blog, but surely you get my point. So if it happens, be prepared for anything. If it doesn't happen, you will continue to read about Clark's (or Aaron's or Jake's) bowel movements and nothing of significant value whatsoever. Either option is fine, hopefully.
Ok, thats enough for now. Have a good day.