Wednesday, December 4, 2013

recent chaos called LIFE

I don't know how or when I became such a brainy mess, but I am. I have literally lost my mind. I have always been and now, I am everyfreakinwhere. Work is busy busy and there are days I forget don't have time to eat or take a break if I want to get out on time to pick up my babe. Thanksgiving, birthday parties, family gatherings, holiday gatherings, football games, ahem, war damn, Christmas cards, decking the halls, new family traditions with the kiddos... and somewhere in there I have to shop for gifts? I had a bit of a moment of panic last night when I realized that Christmas is upon us- 3 weeks, actually- and the outside of our house is not even decorated. Not one single bit. My Christmas cards are in, but not addressed... Our tree is up, but not a present is wrapped, if at all bought. Auburn won the Iron Bowl last weekend, to everyone's shock and amazement. It was wonderful and consumed my weekend. Now we go to the SEC Championship game this coming Saturday- an unexpected surprise, but a surprise nonetheless. So much for Christmas shopping. Ri has had a crumby cold since Friday (in which I had to sleep in her crib. I know, it was as awful as one would imagine), and threw up all over Chris and the sofa last night. Well, at least we have gotten over the fear of the first time that would happen. So we can forget shopping this week, as well.
Looks like I might need to take to the internet this week and pray that my goodies arrive my Christmas Day. At this point, maybe even wrapped.

But I look back at this post and see all the things that used to matter so much to me at Christmas and how much they don't anymore. It is now about making memories and doing things together. I care much more about our upcoming trip to the Polar Express, meeting Santa, going to the Church of the Highlands Christmas Service, hosting my first annual Mommy+Mini Holiday playdate, baking, painting and the list goes on. I could without gifts for myself anymore. Watching my little one make holiday memories is gift enough in itself.

So if you are reading this and get a Christmas card from us, with your address scribbled across the front, know it was in the true spirit of Christmas that I decided you would rather see the card than my perfect calligraphic penmanship across the envelope, that will indeed wind up, rather immediately, in the trash.

Slow down from the hustle and bustle and just take in the meaning of it all. 'Tis the Season... May all your days be merry and bright.

25 days of Children's Christmas Books

I never grew up with an advent calendar, though I wouldn't mind starting one maybe next year. This year, I am eager to pull out all of my favorite children's Christmas books that I remember from childhood and start collecting some new ones to read with Ri. Instead of the advent calendar, why not read a different Christmas book each day/night of December? We always ended Christmas Eve as a family reading the Polar Express and then the Christmas Story out of the Bible. Here are my top 25 children's Christmas books this year. Some are definitely for Ri's age group and some we may not make it through 2 pages, but hey, consistency and spirit are what its about.

1. The Polar Express
2. Bear Stays Up for Christmas
3. The Night Before Christmas
4. The Small One
5. Christmas in the Manger
6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
7. Olive, the Other Reindeer
8. A Christmas Carol
9. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
10. God Gave Us Christmas 
11. The Christmas Wish
12. Santa's Favorite Story
13. The Pajama Elves
14. Olivia Helps with Christmas
15. Happy Birthday, Jesus!
16. Dream Snow
17. Madeline's Christmas
18. The Jolly Christmas Postman
19. The Nutcracker
20. The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy
21. The Snowman
22. The Snowy Day
23. A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree
24. Hello Little Snowflake: A Christmas Miracle
25. The Christmas Story

Thursday, November 14, 2013

twelve months

In Ri's twelfth month of life, she really did some growing. Her attitude just came alive- she will let you know when she doesn't like that you took something away that she wanted (which is usually your iPhone or coming in from outside. Mid-September she decided she wanted to try and feed herself with her fork (still a ways to go on perfecting it, but nonetheless), she will say a good many words on command (Tay Tay, Abbey, Copper, LiLi, GiGi, ball, blue) and says "Hey" to everyone and waves everywhere she goes. I noticed one day that she was doing something with her fingers while sitting in her highchair. I looked it up and she was signing "more." It was awesome. I had tried for a while to get her to use it and it didn't seem to click. I know they have been working on it at school so I guess it finally did!
Ri love love loves to do what Mommy and Daddy do- especially brush her teeth! She will also use her brush to try and comb Mommy's hair, and she will try and put blush on my face when she sits on the floor next to me while I do my makeup.
She is in to pushing the cart at the store, as well as her stroller. It is a royal pain in the ass to allow her to do it since she still isn't walking. So you have to hold her while she "pushes," which in turn wears you out. The best bet is to wear the baby bjorn and let her push. Which is what we did on our first family trip to the zoo this month! She liked watching the monkeys and called the giraffes "Cop Cop" but other than that, just wanted to push the stroller.
She can definitely walk, but is still too fearful to go more than a few steps on her own. She is getting tired of using her hands though so we are currently upright, walking on our knees.

Mommy taught me to put my arms in the air and say "Touchdown" but I like to just clap at everything.

Such a big girl all of a sudden!

Some things I don't want to forget:
--Ri will twirl my hair when we rock at night, while she lies in my arms and drinks her milk. She will make little cooing noises and babble a bit to try and keep herself from nodding off. 
--Ri is the best snuggler/hugger ever. She wraps her arms around your neck, puts her head on your shoulder and will pat your back (I guess I have subconsciously done that to her).
--Ri loves to say Mumm-uh, wait for you to say "Rilynn" and she will say Mumm-uh again, over and over. If we are in the car with Daddy, she will go back and forth between the two of us. 

rolling over both ways – 5 months
sleeping through the night – 3.5 months (sleep trained)
first tooth – 1st two in 1st week of being 8 months
sitting up – 6 months
getting to a sitting position on her own and staying there – 7 months
belly crawling – 6 months
real crawling – 6 months (one day shy of 7 months)
standing – 7 months
cruising – 8 months
first word – 7 months (Da-Da)
waving bye bye- 7 months
first steps – 10 months
walking – 12 months

Monday, November 4, 2013

my girl with the tude... and life lately

Ri started walking during her 1st birthday party. Cliche, I know, but it is true. She was so tired and ill tempered that she forgot to pay attention to the fact that she was walking around whining, and just kept going. Life has not slowed down since. Seriously, it is like as soon as she hit one, this independence surfaced in the form of stubbornness, whining, disobedience and hyperness. Sometimes I just stare at her like a deer in headlights thinking, 'my God, what happened to my sweet angel? Where did she go?!'
I know she is just practicing her new found skills and all, but seriously, pitching a fit when she is not allowed to push our cart, much less some other stranger's cart, at EVERY store? I have already tried "time out" and got laughed at. I popped her hand and got laughed at. I need parenting classes.
But on the much lighter side of it all, my babe is still the most fun and spunky child. She is alarmingly attentive to what you say. Like, keep-my-mouth-shut-because-she-WILL-repeat-it scary. Here are the words we are saying as of almost 13 months:

Buh Bye
Guhl (girl)
Kiki (kiwi)
CopCop (our dog, copper)
Abbey (which sounds just like when she tries to say Apple and Happy)
Ka Ka Ka (very loudly- is her saying Quack Quack when she sees a duck)
Pumpk (pumpkin)

Other developmental milestones:
Ask her where certain people are in pictures and she will point to them.
She waves buh bye to people and will blow them a kiss. If someone goes by on a bicycle or in a car, she waves and says "buh bye".
Ri will get in your face, squinch up her nose and shake her head side to side to give you an Eskimo kiss like I always give her.
She loves for you to act like you are going to get her and chase her around the house.
Her favorite things: Copper, puffs, blueberries, her wagon, pushing her stroller/grocery cart, pictures, the remote control, car keys and the iphone.
She loves to get Copper's ball and give it to him. We are working on the throw. 
She loves to sit in her little chair with one of her babies and her blanket for "snuggletime"

We are entering into the month of November and thoroughly enjoyed October's changing of the leaves, welcoming brisk in the air, Pumpkin Spice Lattes and pulling out my boots. The Pumpkin Patch with the kiddos was a new event for both of us, and Halloween was an evening of playtime in costume (not for us, but for the children, of course).
I am already gearing up my Christmas gift list in my head, bound and determined to get great gifts for everyone, while not going broke, AND be finished at least a week before Christmas. Is it doable? We shall see. Luckily, Ri still has a thousand toys from her birthday that she hasn't even noticed yet so they may get re-wrapped under the tree before that excuse is null and void. But I will save all of that goodness for another post.

Here are some captures of life in October!
Chillin in the shirt she made at school. Her first art project to bring home to Mommy. 
Taking a wagon ride with her buddy, Evan, during the Auburn halftime show.

Snuggling with her god-mommy!

In our matching Auburn tees! Cracks me up, she looks like a boy here. Grow, hair, grow!!

Failed attempt at a kiddo pic

The whole gang! Very blessed that all of us get to watch our kids grow up together.

Our little rascals.

My punkin. 

My Tom Jones Pottery Jack O' Lanterns collection is slowly but surely growing larger. I get excited every year when it is time to pull them out of storage!

I also got a much needed girls night out in October for my friend's bachelorette/lingerie evening. We all had a blast but definitely knew the next morning why we don't do it more often...

And last but absolutely not least, my little owl in her Halloween costume. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

eleven months

PRETEND We are just a few weeks shy of our cupcake's first birthday, when in actuality, I forgot to post this until days from her first birthday...
    I am just in awe of this past year and it's blessings. I could not see our lives without little Rilynn, and wonder how we got by before she came along. I am feverishly planning her first birthday party. Some people totally get my enthusiasm for a one year-old's party while others look at me like I am insane. Let me just tell you, Ri is the easiest, happiest baby on the planet (at least according to me) and I completely believe she is deserving of a big ole birthday party, whether she will remember it or not.

I also write this with bittersweet emotions for other reasons... Ri is completely off the bottle. I was going to start weaning her off but she took to the sippy so quickly that we literally just stopped the bottles completely in a day. It is much much easier without the bottle, but I am still kind of sad to see those damn things go. And I have since realized that sippy cups are a. more expensive, b. just as time consuming to clean. Ri was lazy for a while about holding her sippy if we were in arm's reach. If she didn't think I was watching, she would drink it by herself but if I was right there, she would fake like her arms didn't work. Smart one, kid. However, the day she started MDO, which was 3 days into the month, she came home holding her own sippy. So strange the things they will do when they are away from home.

Loves to sit in the mornings with her puffs and milk to start the day before breakfast

I am a bit sad about MDO but also very excited that she will get 2 days a week with kids her own age. We haven't been in a "group setting" since January when she was so tiny and got so sick at daycare. And she has literally been 100% healthy since then, so I am praying and praying that her little immune system is strong enough to combat all the new germs she will soon encounter. But watching other kids will help with her development, she will get art therapy and music and a daily bible lesson. She will be right by our house and my office so it will really be convenient as well.

Ri's new "tricks": Motioning "come" to the dogs, but also uses it for non-moving objects and when she wants more food. Her favorite book is Moo Baa La La La. Ask her, "What does the cow say?" and she will go, "Mmmmmm" since she hasn't figured out the lip movement of "moo" just yet. She points at everything and loves to "sort through" things- I will fold laundry out of the dryer as she stands there and hands me clothing items one at a time. She also loves to pull items out of my make-up bag, purse, her diaper bag, the tubberware cabinet and the lower shelves of the pantry door where I keep her snacks. She will pull something out, and then put it in my face as if to say, "Look Mommy! Look what I have!"
Sometimes she will pull her pacifier or teether out of her mouth and try to put it in my mouth. She thinks that is a hilarious game. She will feed Copper puffs and will sometimes tease him by holding it out to him and then quickly putting it in her mouth.
She started putting items BACK into their container halfway through the month.
She knows where her bellybutton is and will point at it.
She knows how to flip through the pictures on the iPhone and that the circle button on the front will light up the screen (scary, I know).
She is pointing at everything and wants you to name it- especially the ceiling fans and lights.
She has a bathtime routine- bath, point at the pictures of herself on the wall while I wrap her in a towel, brush her teeth and then she likes to turn off the light switch herself when we leave the bathroom.
She can now blow you a kiss, says Momma and means JUST me, and holds her arms out and pumps her fists in and out when she "wants more" or wants you to pick her up.
Baby Babble is the best DVD on the planet and she literally squeals to get in her car seat to watch it. She knows there are dalmatians that show up on the screen when you first turn on the DVD player so she immediately starts pointing at the screen, saying "Ca Ca" even before I turn it on. The 101 dalmatians commercials on Disney Junior are her favorite thing EVER but she is mesmerized by the songs at the beginning and end of shows like Little Einsteins, The Hugglemonsters, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (she likes the dancing at the end and will kick out one leg like Mickey does), and Special Agent Oso.

Not sure what to think of her new moccs

Checking out Daddy's new "beep" with Cop and Aunt Jess

I love the way she sits

Very sharing
She is NOT a picky eater. Matter of fact, she has yet to turn a single thing down that we have placed on her tray. The girl can eat, and I honestly believe would eat all day long if she didn't have to sit still to do it. She is a busy body though so I guess she burns it all off and that would explain how tiny she is. She eats 3 meals a day as well as a snack and gets 4oz of milk with each. I give her a sippy cup of water throughout the day. She still only has 2 teeth so we still do a lot of baby foods, just chunkier blends, and then soft table foods like hamburger meat, light fish, pulled chicken, fresh deli meats, soft veggies and pasta.

She is great with her walker now. At first, she would get beside herself when she would back it into a corner and couldn't figure out how to get it out. Bless it. She is flying through the house these days. She will stand and hold a toy in both hands. As soon as she realizes it, she becomes a little weary and grabs on to the nearest thing. She is a lover of climbing, and took her first 3 steps at the end of the month. She will take a few and then plop down to her knees, which explains her very bruised kneecaps. It is going to be any day now that we are off and running. Goody.

We are still sleeping like a champ, at night that is. She has suddenly taken naps out of her equations. We went from 3 to 1 tiny nap so we are trying to get back on track with that. As for nighttime, however, that has helped us push her bedtime up just a bit.

Ri rode the new carousel at the mall, met her Aunt Jenn from Ohio and attended another buddy's birthday party.

We had our first weekend of college football. Can't believe how much she has changed since the last time she wore her Auburn gear.

We are beginning to open and close cabinets, and are intrigued by swinging a door back and forth. She shut herself in the dark in the guest bathroom not too long ago. That was fun. How do you tell an infant to move away from the door so I can open it and get her out?! So yea, we are finishing the babyproofing this week.

And she is also doing a bit more independent play where she doesn't have to be right by my side. Many days when we get home from school, she goes straight to her room to pull her babies out and independent play for a few minutes (while I am peeking around the corner taking pictures of her loving on her babies). I die.

I am telling you what. This kid is the best thing since sliced bread. No, she is way better than even that. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

the shore life

Crazy life has kept me from dishing on the shore life- our 1st family vacay to the beach! We went to our beach of choice, Orange Beach, AL for the last week of July to celebrate my MIL's 50th birthday. That was all she wanted- a week at the beach with the babe. We had a blast. My in-laws are super cooks so we naturally just ate in the condo every night for dinner and just hung out. During the day we lived in the sand. Ri and I would play in her baby pool under the tent and occasionally go down with the fam for a dip in the ocean. Ri was never against the ocean, but by the end of the week, she LOVED it. She was digging the sand from day one and apparently liked the gritty texture because she continuously tried to eat it. This was also the trip where we discovered just how much Italian she actually inherited, and although she won't ever be as dark as her daddy and uncles, she definitely tans very very well. I, however, came back looking like I hadn't even seen the beach since I sat under the tent the whole time.
Lisa's actual birthday day called for a day on the boat. We spent some time at Pirate's Cove & then the rest of the day at Pensacola Pass. Ri loved everything about everything EXCEPT that damn life jacket. I am talking screaming.bloody.murder all the way from The Wharf to Pirate's Cove. Needless to say, I was ready for a multiple bushwhackers once we arrived.
The car ride to and from the beach went exceptionally well. I would like to say it is all because we swapped her to a convertible carseat the day before we departed, and it was the first time I popped in her Baby Babble DVD. She watched it on repeat the whole way down and the whole way back home. It is god-sent. Go get it! We are now on disc 2 and it is like a special treat for her to get in the car because it is the only place she gets to watch it. I have not had an issue getting her in the car seat since. Can't rave enough.

She preferred to be naked than to wear a wet suit. Don't blame her a bit.

Her first glimpse of the ocean