Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Head Hurts!

I had no clue how much my life would change when Emily was born.  I mean, everyone told me it would, and I knew in some abstract way that it would, but I still marvel at how much is different.  One of the main differences is much more worrying thinking I have to do on a daily basis.  Take today, for example.  Here are some of my thoughts: Should I give Emily one or two naps today?  How much sleep did she get yesterday?  Will she take two naps if I try putting her down twice?  Should I let her feed herself her oatmeal this morning or take the easy way out and do it myself?  Is she getting enough vegetables?  Did I close the gate to the stairs (this one's been echoed about a dozen times)?  She's outgrowing all her 12 month winter clothes!  Do I spend the money to buy larger winter clothes even though it's almost spring?  Is she getting another tooth?  Does it hurt?  Does she need orajel?   She's still not saying very many words - is that normal?  Should I consult a book?

And on and on it goes.  Now, I realize that I have a natural tendency to overthink things.  And I also know that Emily's my first baby, so I tend to worry more about well, everything.  But seriously, being a good parent is a HARD job!  So thanks, mom, for making it always look so easy.  And now, finally, a question for me: what do I want to eat for lunch today?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Our furniture is endlessly exciting to Emily recently, and she loves to climb on and off of it over and over (and over!) again.  Here are some of the things she's been doing while exploring our chairs and couches lately.


Watching a little Elmo...

And playing with some friends...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

An Eleven Month Year?

I've never really liked the month of February.  In fact, if I had to pick a least favorite month, I think that it would win, hands down.  There are several reasons for this.  First, I'm always so ready to be done with the snow and the cold and slush and the wind chill readings in sub zero temperatures.  I enjoy seasons, all of them, but winter always lasts longer than I'd like.  And this year, with record snow accumulations in West Michigan, I'm definitely ready for spring.  To be able to step outside and, instead of shuddering and burying deeper into my coat, feel the warmth of the sun and the gentle breeze.

Also, I'm sure all the caregivers out there will echo my view that it is so much harder to parent during winter.  Especially when you have a child like mine who, when it was slightly warmer last week, toddled gleefully up and down the driveway dozens of times and had to be carried into the house kicking and screaming when it was time to come in.  It's easier to do just about everything in the summer.  Sure, there are the obvious things like taking walks, going to the park, and perhaps even the swimming pool.  But also, you don't have to spend almost ten minutes bundling yourself and your kid up every time you want to go anywhere.  Seriously, sometimes it's easier to just stay home than take that quick trip to the grocery store.  And soon, home can feel a bit like a prison!

Also, Valentine's Day is in February.  Yes, I know that it's only one day.  But, it's often supposed to be the best thing about February. I'm a romantic at heart but starting in high school I never seemed to have someone to spend the day with (one time I almost delayed breaking up a guy I knew I didn't want to be with anymore just so I could be with someone on Valentine's Day).  And now, I have something close to the world's best husband and father.  He's superb in so many ways, but he hasn't ever wanted to celebrate Valentine's Day.  I know it's commercialized and I know he shows me that he loves me every day of the year in so many wonderful little ways.  But still, if there's no big huzzah for Valentine's Day - what's the point of February?  Anyone for March?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Thirteen Months Old!

Dear Emily,

Even though your dad beat me to the punch, I can't let this day pass without writing my reflections on this past month.  You sure are becoming quite the fun little girl, and you've had some significant recent accomplishments.  First, you are no longer getting any of your nourishment from formula.  You still have a small bottle before bed, but it's filled with milk, and even though your pediatrician seems to be pretty stern on the "no more bottles after one year" rule, I'm okay with you having that for a little while longer.  Mainly, this is because you always, always go to bed easily and I like that.  We also read stories together before bed, the same two stories every night: The Going-to- Bed Book, and the classic Goodnight Moon.  If I don't read these stories, you begin to look around for them, and you actually pay attention to the entire book as I read to you.  You've also been enjoying your baths as a part of your bedtime routine, and you are getting so smart!  You've learned, all on your own, how to turn the shower on as the bath water fills the tub, and how to put all of your bath toys back in their bag at the end of your bath.

You've been enjoying new and messy snacks.  One of your favorites seems to be ritz crackers with cream cheese and jelly on top.  You also seem to want to eat anything on my plate.  Somehow you are convinced it is better than is on your high chair tray, even if it is the exact same thing!  Also, you are sporting the pigtails look more frequently, and even though it may be time for a haircut, I can't quite find the nerve to do it yet.  Despite the growing evidence to the contrary, sometimes I still think of you as my little baby.

Also, as your dad mentioned with great excitement, you are walking!  I don't know if I've ever been prouder of anyone in my life than I was when you took off just this past weekend and decided that crawling was so last week.  We've been encouraging this for weeks, but somehow it just clicked for you, and you are so pleased with yourself when you toddle across a room.  Other reasons to love you are that you always pat people when you hug them, you often lean over in the bathtub and try to lap up the water like a kitty would his bowl of milk, and if I tell you to "shake it, shake it" you will begin to rattle whatever you are holding.  My next goal is to work on this communication thing.  Oh, I know you can tell me what you want through pointing and various inflections and volumes of the words "dat" and "doh".  But, I'm excited for you to say "ball" and "baby" and "banana" and a whole host of words that start with letters other than "B".

It's been another big month!  I am daily challenged and humbled and blessed by your presence in my life.  I praise the Lord for your health and happiness.



Sunday, February 1, 2009

Welcome to Toddlerhood


Let me just start by saying that your mother is going to be mad that I'm stealing her spotlight by posting this on the same day as her usual monthly post. Before she wins you over to her side, let me just say that (a) you're my daughter too, and (b) who do you think it was that started this blog? So there.

Now that you can walk, I suppose you are officially a toddler.  I cannot believe you have come so far and that your mother and I have managed to keep you alive for so long.  In college, Uncle Brandon and I had pet goldfish which routinely died for no apparent reason.  I marvel that not only have you stayed alive and healthy for much longer than all those goldfish put together, but you know and do all kinds of amazing things for which I can take little or no credit.  When I thought you were ready to start crawling, Uncle Jeff and I spent hours with you in our specialized crawling readiness program. It was all to no avail, you just sat there watching us get in funny positions and make weird faces. That's why part of me is not at all surprised that you have learned how to do so many things without me teaching you. You know how to wave, play peek-a-boo, brush your hair, "write" on paper, open and close doors, walk(!), "talk" on the phone, be exceedingly cute, and so many other things.  This may not seem impressive to you, but last year at this time all you did was lay there and occasionally poop.  I can only assume that your amazing progress is the result of a combination of the gifts God has given you and wonderful parenting by your mother.  I have no idea what to expect from you in the coming months and years, but I'm grateful that God has given us such a wonderful little girl as yourself, and I'm looking forward to sharing those months and years with you.



She Walks!

Lately we've been encouraging Emily to walk. We would plunk her down on her feet, and encourage her to just take some steps to her toys or to Mommy. Her response was always to take one or two steps, and then gracefully lower herself to the ground, where she would revert to her trusty crawl. I always thought that watching Mommy and Daddy or maybe her little toddler friends walk all over the place would make her realize that walking is a faster and far superior form of locomotion. Well, this weekend something clicked, and she has decided to try walking more than a few steps to get from place to place. With all the encouragement we give her, Emily is quite proud of herself, as you can see in these videos.