Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Okay honestly - this is getting Ridiculous....

This is me --- finally checking in, what - NINE MONTHS later? HA! Well, I have decided to not let my lack of a 12 month letter stop my blog updates any longer!! Just so you know - I DID in fact write the letter - I just never had a chance to "finesse" the letter... You see, the 12th month was by far insanely harder to write than the previous 11 because every time I started to type and recollect over the past year, I was sitting at my desk weeping for really no apparent reason. It was too emotional for me! There - I said it. I had a baby and now I am a baby - BOOM. DONE. Honestly, that kid has stirred up some very emotional feelings, most of which I can't really even put into words - so when I try - I cry. (hey at least that rhymed)... Anyway, I have decided to let that letter go in terms of this here blog and MOVE ON!

Moving on!

This last weekend Elliette and I attended the 3rd Annual Apple Picking Party a friend at work throws every year and we both had a great time... Elliette is getting to an age now where she can attend "Lady" parties with me! Someday, we will be able to come to them without a backpack of distractions!

Here we are on the wagon heading over to the Orchards

Here she is taking a bite out of an apple --- she was getting a little cranky, so I threw this at her and she was totally content for the ENTIRE time I walked around picking apples!

And finally, here she is on a big ass pumpkin... OR IS IT A TINY BABY!!??

Lovely ladies, Last Lovely Day of the Year*, and a Lovely Little Lady to share this all with!

*Obviously, that is my negativity speaking and yes - I wholeheartedly believe it!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Birthday Fun!

Well - we are gearing up for Elliette's most awesome birthday of her life! But since it's her first - I can set the standards at a reasonable level.... Although - because this is me we are talking about, this birthday is going to be excellent and over the top. I mean - have you seen me camp? I camp with a FULL KITCHEN and make Bananas Foster French Toast for Breakfast....

Anyway, I have been getting my crafty on and making centerpieces and table cloth decorations. It's actually been pretty fun and may help me get in the mood to start thinking about planning a wedding! I have a coworker's wife making me a sweet cake that is going to be AMAZING - it may even include multiple tiers. We have family coming in from all over and tons of friends coming out to see the birthday girl in person. I can't wait to see how many friends and family we have at Davannis. I am sure we will be at capacity of the party room and then some. SO FUN!

On that note of party planning, I have been getting the now dreaded question - "WHEN'S THE BIG DATE???" and MAN! I have no idea! Really - I am NOT in a hurry to start this process. I still need to have the "talk" with my Dad - where he turns into Daddy and I have to ask for money and feel 16 again. I am sure in the end everything will work out, but I feel bad in these uncertain times we live in taking large sums of money from anyone - especially my Dad who works for himself in the remodeling business. Not too many people are doing cosmetic changes to their houses these days.... BUT, I can't sit here and be engaged for 3 year waiting for the market to change, so I think he may have to dig into his secret stashes of money that he hides in his sock drawer... We will make whatever he gives us work. I can't justify taking out a personal loan to get married and any savings we have needs to be saved for emergencies. It's tough - I want the awesome gathering of friends and food and wine, but it's a tough time to do that right now. We will see what it ends up being after I talk to my Dad. Once I get the dollars all lined up - I will set a date to set THE date. I may even get crazy and plan something for this summer!!

SO -if anyone has any ideas for a fun summer wedding idea - let me know. The best one I have heard so far is a couple that rented an old Boyscout Camp for the weekend and had their wedding there. I like that idea - but it may be a little too "rustic" for what I want. I need a fun, inexpensive way to have all of our friends and family gathered to watch us get married and have a fun party. Seriously - ANY ideas are welcome!

We went to an Art Opening over the weekend and were tempted to buy like 10 different pieces. We already have 1 painting by this Artist and it just so happens that he is a friend, so we will see what happened over the weekend and see if the 3 we LOVED are still around... If you have time - check out his stuff at the Roslux Art Gallery. Scott Wenner is the Artist - VERY amazing stuff...

Hope you all had fantastic weekends and the daylight saving time change didn't throw you off too much!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Elliette - Month 11

Month 11

Dearest Almost-not-a-Babygirl Elliette,

This is my last month with you as a baby. My last 30 (actually less since February is a short month) days to enjoy the thought that every day you wake up – it’s your first time ever being alive on that day. I mean – after March 13th, I can’t say that – THIS is your very first (insert Holiday here). It will be your SECOND. The magical “firsts” will slowly become “seconds” and then who knows – maybe I will stop even keeping count! It’s been a tough month for me knowing that right around the corner is your FIRST BIRTHDAY. It’s exciting obviously, because you continue to amaze me with your personality and curiosity. But it’s also bittersweet because you can’t go back! You just keep on getting more and more independent and self-sufficient.

In fact, this week, you officially became the OLDEST baby in the infant room. WHAT? The oldest boy Sullivan went off to the toddler room, leaving you there to teach the little ones all the big kid stuff you have learned in your short little 11 months. I will admit that I cried on the way to work that day, because it was just a reminder of what is to come for you in a few short months. You will be moving into the toddler room before I know it! I understand it’s part of the process, but I guess I just wasn’t prepared for the emotional toll it would take on me! I am sure this is just the beginning of a very emotional and rewarding journey of being a parent.

I know it always seems that each month I write about how THIS is the biggest month for development yet – and how DIFFERENT you are, but that is just because every month I think that you couldn’t possibly change anymore - but you do! And of course, this month is no different.

You have gone from crawling to running on all fours, and that is only if there is nothing for you to cruise alongside of – because that is your preferred method of getting around. You use WHATEVER you can to cruise across the room. Usually it’s furniture, but you also have started to use our legs. Every once in a while I will be doing something and I don’t notice you hanging on to me standing there until I go to take a step and I am stuck! You cling on and sort of walk with me wherever I go. It’s definitely not long until you won’t need my leg or the furniture to walk around. You will just walk. And be a big kid. Oh god… I can feel the tears… Does this get easier?????

As you get older, your food needs are changing too. At daycare, they have been trying to transition you (me) to the hot lunch program. At first, I was not on board. I have been trying for MONTHS to get you to try food that had texture and you would just turn your nose up at it. I just assumed that you were not ready yet. But Mary, your teacher would try every week to explain the benefits of the program and I would put it off. Finally, I gave in and you are now officially eating what all the big kids are eating - like full on meals! The other day, they told me you ate FISH! You are getting better about trying stuff that feels weird, but you are still very picky. If it’s a bread type item – you love it. If it’s crunchy – you love it. If it’s a vegetable or fresh fruit, you will NOT go there. I am just going to try and keep my cool and offer them to you anyway. Maybe you will get crazy and decide to eat them!

This transition has been the hardest adjustment for me. When it was all bottles – it was so easy! Then, even when there was some baby food mixed in, at least it was pre-made and I knew it was healthy and easy to bring along. It’s this next stage of real food that is so hard for me. I am constantly trying to think of foods you will eat, but it’s hard! It needs to be quick and easy to make, but also healthy. I have started to make some stuff in big batches and then just re-heat them throughout the week and in theory that would work – but really, you only like things for 1 day. I gave you tater tots one night and you couldn’t get them into your mouth fast enough. I gave them to you the next day, and you wouldn’t even eat one! You tried to give them all to Lena! Trial and error I guess! I just hope you are getting enough food to grow big and strong and as we work into the next level of eating, it’s going to be harder and harder to know for sure.

You have become a little social butterfly this month. You love to be around people and other kids, and I have noticed a little flirty head tilt when you are introduced to people as if you are playing hard to get… but you always have a sweet little smile as if to say – don’t stop… I love it. You are still a pointing machine and your favorite thing to do when we wake up in the morning, is look over the edge of the bed to find the dogs so you can point and say “dog” and laugh. It’s adorable! You also have totally mastered the high 5, which is just the cutest, cutest, cutest thing ever. You really try to get behind it and make it SLAP! You are also getting very good at waving on command. HOWEVER - I think my favorite new trick, is the dancing. OH MY GOD child, you are a grooving machine! It must have been all the beat-box dancing your Daddy has done with you, but you have the beat inside Love, and we couldn’t be happier… No matter what the music is – on TV, on your toys or even something we sing – you start bouncing and wiggling that little baby bum! If you are sitting, you sway back and fourth with your little arms and you always have a very serious look like it’s totally uncontrollable. You just have to let out the beat!

You got to travel yet again this month! We went back to the Papa Wawa Lodge, but this time we took friends. You of course went to bed on cue every night without a hitch, no middle of the night wake ups and you were just a perfectly behaved little angel. I swear you make everyone around you want to have babies because you act like you could do no wrong. You always seem to save those “moments” for when it’s just Daddy and I. I appreciate that though, because I really want our friends to have babies soon!

It was also an exciting weekend at the Lodge because your Daddy surprised me with an engagement ring!! That’s right Elliette – your Mommy and Daddy are finally going to be married! It’s never been a major concern of ours. We love each other, and when we thought about starting a family, it wasn’t important to us to wait until we were “official”. Once we got pregnant with you, we didn’t want to get married just because of that – we wanted to wait until it was right. Mostly because we didn’t want it to take away from the big event of your arrival, and it would seem like we were only doing it because you were coming and we didn’t want that. Now, we are so glad we waited, because how cool is it that you get to be a part of such a special day for your Daddy and I? It will make that day even more wonderful…

The Highlights of Month Eleven:

- You have finally crossed the line of standing at the stairs to climbing them. It was so crazy – one day, you were just hanging out on the bottom step, banging it with your hands not at all interested in the potential danger – and the NEXT day (literally) I was trying to entice you (I know – IDIOT) to try and you just got it. BOOM. You went up all of them. It was pretty incredible. And now, the baby gate is our new best friend.
- Your sleeping has been less than perfect this month. And I say less than perfect, because you pretty much have always been a perfect sleeper. I am not sure if it’s because you are on the verge of major changes or if its your teeth, but it’s definitely not awesome… Thankfully it’s only been a few bad nights.
- Speaking of teeth, your mouth has completely exploded. Seriously, you went from 3 teeth to 5 and I think there is a 6th making it’s way out. The top 2 have forged their way out – and my god, child – let’s hope they shrink by the time they are visible when you smile, because they are HUGE. Like chipmunk style. If they don’t, we will just have to add Buck Tooth Belly to your list of nicknames… I promise we will still love you!
- We have started to brush your teeth and you LOVE it. It’s funny because I can’t get you to open your mouth to show off your teeth without you screaming bloody murder, but throw a little baby toothpaste on a finger brush and you open up that mouth wide! Gotta keep those massive teeth healthy!
- You have started to become a little more uneasy when we leave you in a room alone. It’s nothing crazy, but we have definitely noticed you being more attached to us. I am not complaining, because forever I just thought you were indifferent about your parents because you never went through that separation anxiety phase. Now, I feel a little closer to you because I know you need me - and not just someone.
- Your favorite toys right now: your Farm and all the animals that go with it, your finger puppets, books – especially one’s that have actual paper pages and not hard cardboard ones, dog toys, computer cords, baby gates and the garbage can in the laundry room. It’s a good thing you are having a birthday soon so you can get some new toys!
- Current foods you will eat: All crunchy stuff – especially graham crackers, jelly sandwiches, tater tots, pasta shells with cheese, cornbread muffins, waffles, cheese chunks, carrots (barely), English muffins, applesauce, and your very favorite thing in the entire world – YOGURT.
- You have finally started to use a sippy cup the RIGHT way! It took you a while to figure out how to tilt it up to get the stuff to come out. You haven’t quite mastered the sucking part because it’s way different than a bottle, but you bite down on the spout and you get some liquid so for now, that’s enough for you!
- You are starting to get frustrated when you are trying to communicate, but just don’t have the words yet. I might try to teach you a few symbols in sign language to see if that works.

Current Nicknames:

- Belly
- Belgian, Belgie
- Miss, Little Miss, Missy or Missy May
- Baby Girl
- Sass or Sassy Pants
- Punchy
- Munch or Munchy
- Sweets

T-minus 1 month to go my baby. One more month to try and get in all the snuggles, and nuzzles that I can while you are still a baby. I know it seems like I am trying to hold on to you, but it’s just that I only know you as this baby and it’s hard to imagine you not. It’s a scary world out there and I want to be able to protect you from it all. The older you get, the harder it is for me to keep you safe. I know that you are going to grow up no matter how I feel, and honestly, I can’t wait to see you grow into a toddler and then to see how you develop into a little girl, because you are one special kid. But that doesn’t mean that a part of me won’t always have this aching sadness when I think about the first few months of your life. Those months of getting to know you and watching you see everything for the first time were so wonderful and life changing. I just hope I can hold onto these memories forever because they are so precious to me… I love you so much sweets…


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Elliette - Month 10


Dear Belly Bear,

Today you turned 10 months old. 10! Double digits! Which means, 2 months from now – we will be having an OFFICAL birthday party for you because you will be one whole year old. Oh my god… 1 year old!! NO WAY!!!! But I cannot dwell on that – because I still get to have you as a baby for 2 more months. I will take whatever I can get – because you are such a sweet awesome baby. I wish I could freeze you right now because I don’t want you to keep getting bigger. I want to keep you in my pocket and always be able to snuggle into your wonderful chubby sweet smelling baby neck. God I love that neck…

But as is goes - you are changing every day – becoming more and more of an individual. You love to laugh and you love to be silly which is a good thing because your Dad and I are ridiculously goofy like 85% of the time and you fit right in! We sing songs that we make up to you and I get the feeling that you wish you could jump right in and take the chorus. We play peek-a-boo and chase the baby, both of which make you squeal. You love it when one of us holds you and we run after the other person. You think it is SO fun to “chase” us. I also make you “chase” the dogs and you get a kick out of that too.

Your development is just unbelievable these days. We show you something and you totally try to do it! You can learn now – which is just so crazy to us! Before, I would do something and you would watch, but you didn’t have the ability to attempt it yourself. Like on your standing Jungle toy – we could not get your to understand how to make the balls go in the loop track. But then recently, we showed you again, and you figured it out! At first you were forgetting to let go of the ball so it would not actually work, but now – you are like a professional! It’s just the little things like that that make me swell with pride. You are real. You really are going to grow up and scream at me someday and someday you are going to have babies of your own that will grow up and scream at you. Totally crazy…

Speaking of learning new things, we have been busy trying to turn you into a circus baby wondering what new trick we can teach you next! Recently, you have become a pointing MACHINE! You point at EVERYTHING. I think this has to be one of the cutest things you have learned so far. It’s also a cool way to feel like I am able to interact with you. You point at something and I can tell you what it is. It’s like your way of asking, “what’s that?”. You now have started to make a sound when you point at stuff that sounds a bit like you are trying to say, “what’s that”, but we will have to see if you keep saying it. You have also started doing the classic “SOOOO BIGGG!!” which is adorable as well, even if it’s a bit… traditional for your Daddy and I. We are really hoping for the high 5 to stick – it’s a little touch and go, but you will get there. Once you start talking, I can’t wait to see what tricks we get you to do!

Your crawling is unbelievable. You FLY across the floor at warp speeds to get at something that is clearly dangerous. Which means, we have totally had to step up the baby proofing. We have installed some locks on stuff and some corner guards. But really nothing can keep you 100% out of trouble. You are SO curious and love to explore now. It’s like the minute you hit the floor you are OFF! Your favorite thing to get into is the TV stand. We always say “NOOOOO”, but you constantly try anyway. It’s like a magnet. You also like to get into the dog beds and try to tip over the garbage can in the laundry room. It’s amazing how fast you are able to get places. We look away for a second, and BOOM you are into some naughty stuff. We have like 4,000 baby toys out in the room for you and no matter what – you always want the stuff you can’t have – why is that?

Along with all this crawling you have been doing, you have been learning the art of cruising. You have pretty much mastered this as well. You can go from like 3 pieces of furniture, to a toy, to one of us and back to the couch. We have even caught you standing on your own a few times, but I don’t think you knew you were doing it. It seems like whenever we try to get you to stand, you get scared and reach out or fall on your butt. So when you do it without knowing, we try to tell each other without being too obvious about it because we don’t want you to get scared and stop!

This last month has been filled to the brim with family and events and traveling. I felt so blessed to be able to share all of these moments with you and your Daddy as a family. This was our first year as a 3-person unit, and it all seemed to be so much more special because of that. We started off the season with a Christmas Eve Eve night at Papa and Wawa’s house. We actually brought over your puppies and all of our presents and we spent the night there. We woke up early and opened some gifts and then we had to head out to South Dakota to see the rest of your families.

On the way there, we had a little bit of bad luck and we had to put some air in our tires. It was so cold that none of the air pumps at the gas stations were working, so we drove all over Albert Lea looking for one! Thankfully, we found one – but just as we were getting ready to get back on the interstate – you…. threw up. BIG TIME. Like 3 cups of whatever was in you. I thought it was because you had been coughing so we just changed you and kept on going.

We showed up a little (3 hours) late to Christmas Eve at your Great Grandma and Grandpa’s, but we got there in time for you to light your first candle and that made it all worth it. As a little girl, I have many memories of that Christmas. One of my most favorite memories is the lighting of the candle for someone who is not with us, but you are thinking about. You lit yours for your cousin Eli, and Mommy and Daddy both lit theirs for Baby Maggie and her Mommy and Daddy. It was so nice to have you be a part of that night – even if we missed most of it. Someday, Christmas Eve for you will be very different, but I really want you to have some memories of this too…

The next day, we woke up on Christmas Day at Namba’s house. We opened up our stockings and you had your morning bottle. And about 15 minutes later, you threw it up. ALL OF IT. ON ME. And so began the next 36 hours of our lives. You would throw up and it was usually on me. So the whole puking in the car thing wasn’t just cough induced it would seem. You had the full on flu – front and back door. For 3 whole days, I don’t think you had any real food – just Pedialite. You just sort of laid on me and had NO interest in toys or other people. I secretly loved every minute of you being sweet and sad and needy. I know you felt awful, and I didn’t love that part – but it was so nice to just snuggle with you for days in a row. It was like I had a 2 month old again – but without the screaming…

We had Christmas with Namba, Uncle Mik, Grandpa Jim and Grandma Judy, somewhere in there, but it definitely was not the memory-filled day I had been envisioning… Next year will be MUCH better I think. You still did try to open gifts and you wore the most adorable Christmas outfits I could find. And now that you are feeling good – you sure are enjoying all your new toys!

And after all of that – your Daddy and I STILL were not scared off from traveling with an infant! This time – we decided to go even FURTHER away! For New Years, we spent the week at the Papa Wawa Lodge with all your cousins. You did great traveling there I think partly due to the fact that your DVD player was totally awesome. The Lodge was great – even though this time it felt a bit smaller with all the babies everywhere! You went sledding for the first time with Eli, but you both kind of just sat in the sled like stuffed peppers sucking on your nukkies. I am not sure if you really enjoyed it, but everyone else sure got a kick out of you two cuties!

Of course, this trip did not go off without a hitch either… Mr. Eli started to feel pretty awful, and was having trouble breathing. He ended up getting a nasty fever too and his Mom and Dad decided they needed to go home and get him to a doctor. Turns out the poor little guy had pneumonia – so it was a good thing they decided to get him fixed up. Then in the middle on nowhere northern Minnesota, we ran out of formula for you – but thankfully we were able to make it until we drove through Duluth. Man – babies are TOUGH!

And of course approximately 18 hours after we got home – you got sick too… Daycare called and they told me you had a fever – so I drove as fast as I could to come and get you since Daycare has NEVER called during he day so I knew it must have been bad. I got there and you were the sickest I have ever seen you. You had a fever of 103 and were lifeless. I cried the whole way home because I was so scared! I got you into the doctor and you had an ear infection. So we got you on antibiotics and stayed home with you all week. You also started a TOP TOOTH teething session that week so you were particularly miserable. But finally we are all on the mend. Your tooth has come through, and I can’t wait to see what that turns your smile into. Hopefully this was the last of the sickness for a while…

The Highlights of Month Ten:

- You are starting to make some super amazing sounds that could very easily be mistaken for real words. I am pretty sure you think you are holding very intense conversations, but I am still trying to understand you. You know who “Mama” and “Dada” are and you say “dog” and point to them.
- Your hair is totally out of control these days. When I was pregnant I had assumed that you would have a full head of hair based on the amount of reflux and heartburn I had, but no. You were a baldy – but lately it seems your hair is taking off! It is however, coming in pretty crazy – and by crazy I mean sticking up all over. Your Daddy loves to try and give you Mohawks and mess it up all big so he can see what you are going to look like when you have even more!
- You love to take 2 toys and bang them together. You especially like to do this if the toys are hard and they make noise. You will sit with a bunch of toys around you and just trade off which two you clang together.
- You still love your standing Jungle Toy and now you have mastered the loop track which has made you love it even more. You also have figured out how to make that monkey sing to you, which is equally annoying and adorable. Annoying because by now, your Daddy and I have memorized the words and they sort of suck, and adorable because you now groove and dance a little whenever it starts.
- We are up to 3 teeth now, which to me is crazy. I think it’s now time you stop getting more. They make you look too old!
- You are still a texture freak and anything that has chunks is NOT going in your mouth. I have had to blend a few of the stage 3 baby foods down so you will actually eat them.
- Your snacking has gone to a whole new level. If it’s crunchy – you love it. Graham crackers are your most favorite, but you also eat Cheerios, puffs, and these little Gerber cheese things.
- You still adore your pink blanket and I actually went and found a couple more just in case something horrible happens. I brought one to Daycare and they have basically thanked me every day because now you sleep like a champ as long as you have your soft little buddy to snuggle.
- You are starting to really want to interact with the dogs now, and it’s been hard to keep an eye on all 3 of you all the time. You have tried to sneak up on Lena when she is sleeping and she doesn’t really like that, so we have to kind of corral all you when I can’t watch your every move. I am hoping eventually you will be able to have wrestling matches though!

Current Nicknames:

- Belly
- Belgian, Belgian Waffle or Waffle Maker
- Miss, Little Miss, Missy or Missy May
- Punky
- Baby Girl
- Crabinstein
- Crankzilla
- Sass or Sassy Pants (what can I say – you have been sick a LOT this month and sick babies are not very happy!!)

Well just as quickly as one month comes to an end – another one begins. It’s amazing how fast this journey has gone and how wonderful it has been. I am forever different now for having you. You make me a better person and every day I strive to be a better Mom. We are lucky that you were such a good and happy baby because now I am sure you will have a couple of brothers or sisters. I think about having more babies and it’s exciting because I want you to grow up in family with dynamics and other kids, but right now, I want to focus on you and all of the amazing parts of YOUR personality. Some day there will be more babies to have, but right now – I am so glad that I have this baby because I couldn’t ask for a better one…