Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Let it Snow!

I knew we wouldn't have to wait very long to use Emily's new sled (we do live in Michigan after all), and sure enough, we got a few more inches last night.  Instead of feeling my normal disappointment with the snow though, I experienced it in a new way by taking Emily out in all her snow gear and letting her go wild.  We learned that she likes her sled a lot, but that she could do without cold, wet snow and she especially doesn't care for being contained in a snow suit that makes it difficult to crawl.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Although Emily is only days away from her first birthday, she experienced her first Christmas this year.  She was completely overjoyed and eventually overwhelmed by all the fun of unwrapping presents and playing with family members and lots of new toys.  We spent time in Pennsylvania with my family, and then traveled back to Michigan to celebrate with Eric's immediate and extended family.  We made frosted cut out cookies, gave Emily baths in the sink, and went for walks in sunny, snow-free PA.  We went to church on Christmas Eve, opened Christmas pajamas, and ate Christmas breakfast casserole (twice!).  We played with more ball popper toys than I could have imagined were in existence, dealt with our fair share of temper tantrums, and all wanted to just close our eyes and take naps on occasion.  But I also got to watch the wonder in Emily's eyes when she experienced Christmas traditions for the first time, got to see her interact with cousins, aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, grandparents and lots of other friends and family that she doesn't get to see nearly enough.  And most importantly, I got to tell her the story of Jesus' birth as she went to sleep on Christmas Eve, hopeful that one day she'll understand the real meaning of the holiday, and experience the joy of her Savior's birth.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Emily is Happy (and she knows it)

As an addendum to Eric's post yesterday, let me say that babies who fall asleep in the store and the car on the way home and then proceed to think that is all the napping needed for the day do not make for very happy babies.  But, in contrast, babies who are well rested and well fed are often very pleasant and enjoyable as Emily demonstrates in this video.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Power Shopper She's Not

Since Sarah had to break down our bathroom door, we decided to take the opportunity to give our bathroom a bit of an upgrade.  Today, Emily and I decided to tackle the new countertop and sink project.  Together we first browsed the selection at Lowe's.  While I examined the sinks, Emily guarded the tape measure and contorted herself into various positions that the shopping cart diagrams had crossed out and deemed UNSAFE and LIKELY TO CAUSE SEVERE DEATH.  After that, we headed to Menard's to see whether their selection was better.  However, Emily soon made it clear that one home improvement store is about her limit.  She quickly progressed from relaxed to sleepy to full on nap mode, as you can see here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Eleven Months Old!

Dear Emily,

You are getting closer and closer to your first birthday - what a crazy thought!  For now though, let me recap the past four weeks for you.  I feel like there have been quite a few highs and lows, so we'll start with the lows first and get them out of the way.  First, we were all very, very sick with some sort of virus earlier this month.  I think you started it, as you had that unfortunate vomiting in the pool incident.  And, for the next week after that, there was much coming out of you and not a lot at all going in.  In fact, it got so bad at one point that your parents began to worry about you getting dehydrated and took your limp little self into an after hours pediatrics clinic.  But, you slowly perked back up (only to catch a nasty cold about a week ago, but we'll get to that).  Your dad and I were also quite ill for about 48 hours, and let me tell you that it is not easy to take care of you when I barely feel well enough to sit up (let alone chase you around).  But, I made it through and we're making it through your sinus infection (or whatever is currently ailing you).  I would really just like our whole family to be healthy for a period longer than two days.  That would be nice.

Also, you are currently  incapable of being in a room by yourself, sometimes even of being in a different part of the same room by yourself, without completely falling apart.  I don't recall ever leaving you on a doorstep or locking you in the basement or doing anything else that would give you the slightest reason to doubt that I will indeed come back for you (okay, well there was that incident with the bathroom door, but it was an accident and I saved you eventually).  But yet, if I step away from you - even momentarily - you scream and cry big alligator tears.  The doctor says that this sometimes happens with first kids, that I should ignore you and let you cry, that eventually you WILL learn to be on your own and entertain yourself.  But, the thing is, once you get all worked up like that, it is very hard to calm you down and you are more clingy than ever.  Also, the doctor doesn't have to look at this face.

Okay, now on to the highs.  I've written a lot (and given you a lot of grief) about being a poor napper.  The thing is (and I've hesitated to write this lest I jinx myself) you are currently a champion napper!  Seriously, you still have a few problems napping other places as you demonstrated over the Thanksgiving weekend at grandma and grandpa's house, but in general, you go down fine, are quiet right away and I frequently have to wake you up after an hour and a half or two hours.  You are taking two naps a day and still sleeping 11+ hours a night and that, my baby girl, is fabulous.  Your father and I attribute much of this to your blankie, whom you love and cuddle while you sleep.

Also, you do a lot of cute things now.  My favorite new thing is that you dance to music.  And, it can be just about any music from commercials on TV to the Jonas Brothers half-time show to all of your musically inclined toys.  You can be sitting or standing and you start to bounce up and down - your little head nodding to the beat.  It's pretty adorable.  And, you're slowly learning games.  You initiate peek-a-boo to pass the time when I change your diapers, you will (on occasion) raise your arms when I ask how big you are, and you will high-five people with a big, toothy grin when they ask for five.

I can't wait for your words to come so that you can tell me what is wrong when you are upset (and also that you love me, which will be even better to hear).  I also can't wait for you to walk on your own (you are getting closer - once you can balance there will be no stopping you).  But, I'm loving you more every day and watching you learn things and observe everything with your big, bright blue eyes is one of the things I love most about life right now.



Monday, November 17, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words

Eric and I enrolled Emily in baby swimming classes at the YMCA because our peanut loves the water.  Little did we know that the instructors have pretty high expectations for these kids, including teaching them to flip from their tummies to their backs and float by the end of the class.  They also find it plausible that if the kids keep up their lessons they could swim on their own by the age of two.  That's all well and good, but I was just hoping to have some fun splashing around with my baby.  Emily loved the first class, although she's not crazy about being on her back anywhere (including the water apparently).  But, she wasn't feeling very well before the second class, and the photo above shows her uncertainty about what's to come...

Most of the class went fine, and she did quite well with the skills but near the end she got sick in the water and the whole entire pool had to be evacuated because of us.  That was the beginning of a pretty awful week for our family as we all experienced a gastrointestinal virus of some kind.  Thankfully, we're all recovered now and eager to tackle the water again tonight.  Here are some of the my favorite pictures from last week:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ten Minutes

Do you know how long ten minutes is?  Perhaps it's a stupid question, but my concept of how long ten minutes really is has changed since having Emily.  Before, ten minutes was nothing.  I could (and did) easily waste ten minutes on a regular basis.  But you see, ten minutes is approximately how long it takes Emily to sit in her high chair and drink her bottle and this is one of the only times during the entire day (naps aside) that I have to get things accomplished without a two foot high ankle hugger following me around.  And now, I am amazed at how efficient I can be!  I can fold an entire basket of laundry in ten minutes.  I can unload and re-load the dishwasher in ten minutes.  I can vacuum the entire downstairs in ten minutes.  I can become completely rejuvinated by sitting with my feet up on the couch sipping hot chocolate.  And, I can write an entire blog post, which is what I've done right now.  Hooray for ten minutes!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ten Months Old!

Dear Emily,

You are ten months old today! Your uncle Jeff frequently exclaims how big you are when he sees you (though he does see you on a fairly regular basis so I'm not always sure where the shock comes from). But lately I have to agree. I simply can't believe how much bigger you are becoming. I look back at pictures from a few months ago, and I'm shocked by your sheer size, by the things you can do now that you couldn't then, by the incredible amount of hair you are growing! Fall has come to Michigan, and you have enjoyed partaking in a few traditions: exploring pumpkin patches, crawling through leaves, and sitting in hay to name a few.

You have begun to get your first two teeth this month, and while that's exciting and will help you chew foods (right now if I give you finger foods they just sit in your mouth for a long, long time), it seems to be making you a little cranky and uncomfortable. Also, they are taking a long time. You have been getting your first two teeth for a few weeks now, and I wish they would just hurry up and come all the way in.

That picture of you in the high chair there, that's often how you like to view the world. It's amusing, and you also do this in your stroller when we go for walks prompting strangers left and right to approach me and tell me how tired you are, how much you need a nap, and how I better hurry up and get you home. Clearly these people are not familiar with your wily ways (and why they feel the need to give me such advice is beyond me) and a few seconds later your head will pop up like a jack in the box and, eyes gleaming, you'll smile at me like it was all a big trick on your part.

Speaking of tricks (and treats), you also experienced your first Halloween. I wasn't about to spend $25 on a costume that you would wear one time, but I did pony up the $3.77 for an outfit on eBay, and if I do say so myself, I think it was an excellent selection.

You weren't feeling particularly well on Halloween, but you did enjoy finding the leftover candy the next morning and protested loudly when I tried to take it away from you (but not before snapping this picture!).

Finally, this has been a month of transition as I have gone back to work part-time. It's been great though, as you now usually get to spend one day of the work week with your daddy, two days with me, and two days playing with your friends down the street. Frankly, you seem to be having a blast with this arrangement and now I can honestly say that I enjoy (even treasure) the days that our just ours. Thanks for being my sweet little peanut - I love you more than words can ever say!



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The things we do for our kids...

This morning was an interesting one in our household. It started off ordinarily enough: I woke Emily up in the morning (after she slept 12 hours!), gave her some breakfast and then set her down in the living room to play with some toys while I went to the bathroom. I made sure to close the door tightly and latch it because Emily has taken to pushing that door open when one of her parents is trying to have two minutes peace. Sure enough, I soon heard her pawing at the door and when I went to open it and rescue her, I could not. No matter how hard I tried or how many times I wiggled the door knob, I could not get the door to open. I was stuck in the bathroom and my daughter was quickly losing her cool on the other side of the door.

I considered the facts: it had to be approaching 8 o'clock and Eric should be coming home soon, so I kept fiddling with the door knob when suddenly I panicked. Had I closed the door to the basement steps? Was Emily's 15 seconds of silence because she had fallen? Swallowed something she shouldn't have? Learned to walk, open doors, and was now running out in the middle of a street as a speeding truck approached? I knew I couldn't wait any longer. What if Eric went out to breakfast with his night shift cronies as he has mentioned to me that he might do one of these times? So, I searched the bathroom for a blunt object, settled on a plunger and began beating through the door. My plan was to make a small hole, reach my hand through and try to open the door from the other side. I made the hole all right, but it still wouldn't budge, so I kept going. Soon enough (after a LOT of pounding and wood chips flying) I had created a hole I could fit through (with some considerable squeezing). I rescued my sobbing baby, surveyed the damage, and not two minutes after I was freed Eric walked through the door to quite a scene!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

We are family!

Having my side of the family visit from Pennsylvania is always a treat. My mom absolutely adores Emily, and the feeling seems to be mutual. My sister, Elsa, also enjoys every moment that she gets to spend with her favorite (okay, and only) niece. I love it when they visit because living so far away has gotten exponentially harder for me now that Eric and I are building a family of our own. We wish that we could be closer to both sets of our parents, and are hopeful that one day circumstances will allow us to do so. Meanwhile, we'll travel east as much as we can and welcome our families to come and visit whenever they can (hint, hint). Here are some of my favorite pictures from their recent visit!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy, Happy, and More Happy


I thought I'd write you a quick note before you get the idea that your mother is the only one writing to you (after all, let's not forget who started this here blog).

Today you have been extremely happy.  Not only did you go down for your morning nap without so much as a single peep (nearly unprecedented behavior), but upon waking, you discovered that most everything you encountered in your little world is cause for either smiling or giggling.  To wit:

  • oatmeal with applesauce

  • your Momma

  • making really high pitched sounds of different kinds

  • keys

  • the couch (I'm not sure why)

  • Oscar

  • yours truly (that one I understand)

  • yours truly doing push-ups

  • peek-a-boo (you always like that though)

  • those same toys that you spurned only yesterday

I attribute a good part of this to good napping (something your mother and I have been trying to tell you since day one).  I am glad to see that you enjoy life so much, and I hope this is the start of a trend.  I certainly think you're going to be a happy and fun little girl as you grow up.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Praise Be to God!

Many of you know about my struggles trying to balance being a good mom with wanting to continue to work part-time outside the home.  It's been a trying process, frustrating at times, and occasionally it seemed hopeless that anything would work out (especially with Michigan's economy these days).  But, I'm so profoundly happy to report that God is faithful, and He's answered my prayer in a way that I didn't see coming.  I interviewed this past week for a part-time position as a payroll coordinator at Calvin Theological Seminary and it went well, but God had slightly different plans in store for me.  The end result is that I will be working in the Admissions Office at the Seminary on a part-time basis and starting the week after next.  It's a position that I'm really excited about and I'm glad that God opened this particular door.  Praise Be to God for His faithfulness to me and our family!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Like Mother, Like Daughter

When I was about Emily's age, my mom introduced me to my baby blanket. It was a gift from someone (my mom doesn't remember who) and I have had this blanket for 27 years. It still comes out to comfort me on rare occasion, and my younger sister (who is a junior in college) has an identical one that she still sleeps with every night. I've tried introducing Emily to a few stuffed animals in the hope that one of them will spark her interest, help her sleep better, and serve as her very own "comfort object". But, until recently, nothing worked. Then one night, as I was feeding Emily right before her bedtime, I covered her with a blanket just like the one I have. She held on tight, and I let her sleep with the blanket that night. Ever since then, I have put the blanket on my shoulder as I rock her for a few minutes before naptimes and she will put her head on my shoulder VOLUNTARILY! This in and of itself gives me cause for great celebration, but the blanket has even more super powers. Apparently it can also help Emily fall back to sleep after she wakes up early from a nap, as she has done twice in the last week or so. She cries, reaches for the blanket, and after a few minutes is sleeping again. This may not seem like much, but to me, it is nothing short of a MIRACLE. And so, as my sister said, "Emily is officially part of the family". Below are pictures from this morning: how I found Emily in her crib when I went in to wake her up and on the floor right before she ate breakfast.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Nine Months Old!


You are nine months old today, and you keep going full steam ahead!  I frequently tell people that you have two states of being: incredibly energetic and asleep.  I don't know how you do it.  Sometimes I'm ready for a nap in the morning before you are just from chasing you around.  Do you think maybe you could take it easy for a little while?  But then again, your boundless energy (and we're not talking about energy in the way that all kids have energy - you put all the other babies I've ever watched to shame) is part of what makes you well, you, and I would not change you for the world.

You love to explore, and will take off to other rooms of the house all by yourself (though you do seem to want me to follow and whining ensues when I don't).  In fact, you love to be chased, and will try to outcrawl me all the time.  You also find real humor in peek-a-boo and that's handy for diaper changes (which you hate).  You have also developed a real knack for finding things to put in your mouth that shouldn't be there.  Here is a list of things your father and I have had to fish out of your mouth just in the past week:

a) paper

b) cat food

c) rubber band

And, those were only the things I could identify.  I mean, your dad and I aren't exactly neat freaks, but I vacumm - I do! often! - and you still manage to pick up all sorts of things I missed.

You are eating more and more real foods, including bananas, cantaloupe, crackers, cheerios (oh my goodness do you love cheerios!), broccoli, oatmeal, and yogurt.  This is fun, but it's also messy and you don't seem to enjoy being cleaned off after meals.  Just so you know, I'm not trying to cause you any angst or consternation while I wipe your face and hands.  I'm only trying to protect the furniture!

You've learned to wave this month, and it's pretty cute.  The other day I put you in your high chair for breakfast, set some of your beloved cheerios in front of you and watched you begin talking and waving TO YOUR CHEERIOS!  Not your mother.  No, your head was definitely directed downwards as you chatted up your breakfast.  You are also "cruising" now, and walking along pieces of furniture.  I suppose that means that walking can't be too far behind, but I'm not quite ready for that level of mobility yet so take your time.

You are becoming so much fun, and your dad and I love spending time with you.  Napping continues to be a struggle, as you are seriously trying to drop down to one nap a day sometimes.  I try to reason with you - tell you that all the baby books say that you will be taking two naps until you turn one (at least!) but you'll have none of that and continue to remind me that you are unique and you'll do as you please.

It's hard to believe how big you are getting and watch you ever so slowly turn from a baby - my little, precious baby - into a girl, but there's no denying it.  You are growing every day and I can't wait to keep watching as you do.

I love you, peanut!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What is she looking for?

As you can see, Emily is clearly very interested in something behind the couch.  Any guesses?  The first correct response wins a personal card from Emily!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Anyone need a size large t-shirt?

In our house, Eric and I share most of the chores.  As most of our family and friends can testify, we don't often follow the proscribed gender roles when it comes to household duties.  You're just as likely to find Eric cooking dinner (on the days he doesn't work) as you are to find me mowing the lawn.  You're just as likely to find Eric cleaning the bathroom as you are to find me taking out the trash and recycles.  But, when it comes to laundry, that has always been my domain.  There are a few reasons for this.  First and foremost this is because I actually enjoy it.  I get a good deal of satisfaction from freshly folded and laundered clothes.  The other reason though, is because Eric doesn't see the merit in folding.  In college, he would often live out of a laundry basket, pulling clean clothes out of one every day and putting ditry clothes into another.  Neither one of us are super concerned with the appearance of our clothing, but I do prefer to wear mine without wrinkles, and since I detest ironing, it makes sense to spend a few minutes to fold them.

At any rate, I digress.  My husband keeps his t-shirts on the top shelves of his closet and as he's gathered more and more from races and other events, they have simply stopped fitting no matter how I push and shove.  So I told him he must sort through them and get rid of the ones he hasn't worn in the last two years.  This, friends, is what I found.  Just let me know if you need a t-shirt!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Today, after Emily was done eating lunch, I set her down on the family room floor by lots of fancy toys.  Then, I remembered that Oscar had been sitting patiently by the back door waiting to come inside.  I left Emily where she was, and went to let the cat in.  On the way, I noticed a bug on the kitchen floor and stopped to gently trap it and set it free outside squish it.  When I came back to where I left my peanut, she was nowhere to be found.  Before I could panic though, I heard squeals of delight and this is what I found:

I guess potty training will be a breeze if she already likes the toilet so much!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Reading Rainbow

One of the things I looked forward to the most about having a baby was reading together. I pictured a little one snuggled up next to me as we re-read some of my childhood favorites and explored new children's books together. When Emily was very little - only a few weeks old - she would fall asleep while I read to her. But now, despite my persistent attempts, she screams and squirms every time I try to hold her on my lap and read a book to her. Last week we went to the children's section of our local library, and Emily had a blast playing with the toys scattered on the floor while I looked around at the thousands of books they had available. Soon, Emily came and found me and very selectively pulled three books off the shelf I was perusing. Her choices were a small hardback about a young duckling named Gossie, a Dr. Seuss classic entitled Yertle the Turtle, and a colorful selection called Heaven is Having You. She happily played with her books (okay, she tried to eat them) all the way home. Still, this seems like progress to me!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Eight months old!


At first, I didn't believe the people who told me that your babyhood would fly by; that I would find myself a little wistful for how small you used to be.  But now, that's exactly what I'm doing.  And this is how people get tricked into having more babies.  They remember the smell of a newborn, how cute the first smile is, how adorable the tiny fingers and toes are - not the screaming, the dirty diapers - did I mention the screaming?  But I digress.   This has been the month of mobility.  You began to crawl the day after you turned seven months old, and you haven't looked back since.  It's been great, because you are getting much better about entertaining yourself, but you also get into everything!  See exhibit A:

In addition to being able to get around the house, you can also pull yourself up onto almost anything.  In fact, I think you'd be an excellent rock climber, though I'll never let you do something so dangerous.  See exhibit B:

We joined the YMCA this month, and it's been good for both of us so far.  You get to play with your little friends, and I get an hour to myself to work out and take a shower that lasts longer than 3.7 minutes.  You also really enjoy the pool there, and splash around in the shallow end watching with wonder as other kids run and swim all around you.  Your dad and I often wonder what sports you will enjoy as you get older.  One of your dad's very favorite things to do is play basketball, and I must admit that you are showing some early signs of interest in the sport.  Last week I captured your very first dunk on camera!  See exhibit C:

You've also started sticking your tongue out a LOT this month, which I think is a sign of concentration.  This is also something your daddy does when he concentrates.  In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I saw you both doing it at the same time and it made me smile inside.  See exhibit D:

Peanut, you are growing into such a lively, animated, adventurous, and truly adorable child.  You are so full of life, and it's so much fun to see you grow and learn every day.  You can frustrate me by not napping or being unusually fussy, but you can melt my heart (and everyone else's) with a single adorable smile.