Our Noble Pursuits

Living the good life. And writing about it.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of the Year Reflection

As 2011 draws to a close, I am, of course, spending some time reflecting over the year, as most of us are prone to do about now.  And because most of the year's events were dramatically overshadowed for us by our one big addition to the family, I would have to say 2011 was really quite good to us.  Any disappointments, setbacks, and bumps in the road we may have experienced pale in comparison to the blessing we received on June 29, 2011.  There are times I still can't believe she is really ours...that she is here with us for the long haul, that we get to keep her and watch her grow and change and develop.  A year ago I was dreaming of what my little girl would look like, how her little personality would take shape, what traits she would inherit from me and from David.  And she is so much more than I ever dared to dream.  The way she has changed me - has changed our family - is so much better than I ever imagined.

So that's what I've been thinking about as I look back at 2011.  It's been a year full of the biggest of changes, but also the best.  And speaking of our baby girl...

Somehow another month has passed and we've gone from having a tiny little newborn to this big girl...

It doesn't seem possible.  Annie seems to learn something new every single day now, which is fun and exciting for us as well.  She's in that stage that I understand from many to be one of the best, where she is content to sit on a blanket and play with toys, but isn't mobile yet so we are fairly well assured if we leave her on that blanket and walk out of the room she will still be there when we come back.  And we are enjoying every minute with her.  Along with turning 6 months old came another doctor's appointment and more immunizations.  Once again, Annie handled the shots like a champ.  She did the understandable crying when the nurses put the needles in, but she was smiling at her daddy by the time we got to the waiting room and flirted with the people waiting to see the doctor while I made her next appointment.  Here are her 6 month stats, for posterity's sake:

* Height - 27 inches (88th percentile)
* Weight - 16 pounds, 11 ounces (64th percentile)
* Head circumference - 43 1/4 cm (70th percentile)

Preciousness to Mom and Dad - 100th percentile (sorry, I got a little corny there, didn't I?)

Ready to support the home team in the big game against U of L.

So thank you 2011, for bringing all that you did into the Noble family.  I look forward to seeing what 2012 has in store.  Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Merry Christmas, Indeed

With all of the celebrating and traveling we’ve been doing this week I am just now finding time to sit down and write a Christmas post.  These last several days have been fantastic.  Watching my baby girl take in Christmas for the first time and loving on her and watching our families love on her has been so much fun.  Fun and busy in that way that the holidays are – but now that we are home I want to take the time to document what this season has meant for me, this first Christmas as a momma.

Playing with Grandma's Christmas tree...
And putting the ornaments she finds straight into her mouth.
This month we have visited Santa and listened to more than our share of Christmas music.  We have spent Christmas Eve with my family at my mom's house and five days with David’s family in Indiana.  I have wrapped gifts for a 6-month old and then “helped” her unwrap them, watching as she became much more fascinated with the wrapping paper than the toy inside.  We’ve done Christmas.  And we’ve done it up right.  I know Annie won’t remember her first Christmas, but I will.  And in my memory, it will be wonderful.

Opening gifts with Mommy and Daddy.
 The last couple of weeks, Annie’s usual lullabies of “Amazing Grace” and “You are So Beautiful” have been replaced by the more seasonal fare of “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger.”  And I’ve gotten choked up singing both of those songs to her, realizing a deeper meaning to them now that I have a baby of my own.  Something about holding your own precious infant really makes the visual of the nativity hit you.  And I’m reluctant to put those carols on the shelf for another year.  So maybe we’ll sing another verse tonight before bed, to sort of prolong that part of the season a little longer.

While we were at David’s parents’ house this week, we got a little Christmas gift from Mother Nature – snow!  I woke up in the morning to see white covering the surfaces outside and excitedly realized it was Annie’s first snow.  So, of course, we bundled her up (I was ill-prepared, so I had to put two outfits on her in the absence of a snow suit) and took lots of pictures.  Baby Girl didn’t know quite what to think of the flakes hitting her cheeks.  But she made quite the adorable snow bunny.

As wonderful as it is to spend time with family this time of year, it is also nice to come home.  And that’s where we are now.  Back to our own beds and dinners made in our own kitchen.  Back to Annie sleeping  in her own crib and playing with all of her toys.  And we’re liking that just fine.

Today is a big day for the Nobles – David and I celebrate four years of wedded bliss today, and Annie celebrates a half-birthday as today marks 6 months since our family got a whole lot more precious.  I’ll write more about both of those occasions later.  For now, I’ve got some being at home to do.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fashion Plate

One of the reasons I started this blog was to stop myself from posting so many pictures of Annie on Facebook.  I guess I just didn’t want to be one of those moms, who are constantly posting pictures and updates about my baby for all 800 of my closest Facebook friends to see.  But you know what?  I became one of those moms anyway.  It’s hard not to.  And being one of those moms is just fine.  But today, in the spirit of thinking that those of you who take the time to read my blog posts are a little more interested or invested in my life than the person I am “friends” with through social media but haven’t laid eyes on or spoken to in 20 years, I am posting some pictures here in an exclusive engagement. 

If there is one thing I have noticed about having a girl baby, it’s that clothing companies really go all out with some adorable stuff for them to wear.  And the holidays provide an excuse for even more crazy cuteness.  I happen to think boy clothes are cute too – mostly because they look like tiny men’s clothes and I really enjoy some miniature items – but girl baby clothes have this special element of preciousness.  And my mom and I can’t seem to stop ourselves from purchasing more and more cuteness for Annie.  So today, for your viewing pleasure, here are some photos of Annie’s attire this week – a different Christmas outfit or onesie for each day (and she actually went through 2 onesies today due to a case of the spit ups, but I didn’t snap a shot of the first one before things went awry in the dry clothes department).  

Monday: Precious outfit handed down from a friend.

Tuesday:  Going vintage.

 The velvet top Annie has on in the second picture is also a hand-me down...from her Mama.  Yep, that's a 35-year old piece of fashion right there.  And here's another picture to prove it (loving my mom's fancy pants in this one too...).  Oh, and this might suggest that, despite the fact that she clearly has some of her daddy's features (including those amazing eyes), she does look a little like me too.

Christmas 1976
Back to Annie's stylin'...

Wednesday: My 1st Christmas onesie, every baby has one.

Thursday: Any guesses who gave her this one?  It says "Who needs Santa when I have Grandma."  Indeed.
So there you have it, my most blatant look-at-my-kid-and-see-how-cute-she-is post to date.   Thanks for humoring me.  We'll be back soon with a Christmas post (or two).

Happy three days before Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Night Out

Friday night, I spent my first night ever away from Annie when David and I headed to Cincinnati for an extended date night.  And while I called my mom no fewer than 4 times to check in, it was really a great reminder to me that while David and I are now parents, we are still “David and Sarah” and time needs to be carved out for us to be able to focus on that. 
We were being complete tourists - taking our picture in the hotel lobby.
It’s all part of that whole finding balance thing, and I’m so glad we made time for it.  We were still back in our hotel room and watching t.v. in bed by about 10:00 and still woke up at 6:45 am sharp, but it was good to put our baby in the willing and capable hands of my mom and focus on each other for a little while.  We talked about something other than diapers and nap times and feedings (okay, I tend to be the one to bring that up far more than David any way, but I brought it up much less), and laughed and acted silly and remembered why we wanted to grow a family together in the first place.  It was wonderful and refreshing and fun. 

And the best part?  Having this sweet face waiting for us when we got back home early Saturday afternoon.

And speaking of that face, Baby Girl is growing like crazy these days.  Or maybe she’s just growing like normal and I’m noticing it more.  As I packed up most of her size 6 months clothes the other day, I saw the plastic tub that houses her newborn outfits now…and tears promptly sprang to my eyes.  As I looked at the tiny onesies and sleepers and even tinier socks I remembered how new she was when she wore them.  For some outfits I remembered specific outings where she had worn it – our day at the pool with our friends, our first trip to my brother and sister-in-law’s house, the homemade photo session we had at a nearby park when she was just shy of 2 weeks old.  Seriously, the way I was reminiscing you would have thought Annie was 16 instead of almost 6 months.  I can only imagine what my emotional state will be when she starts kindergarten or (gasp) goes off to college.  Or does the emotion get easier to contain somehow, the older your child gets? 

Do I still tear up so quickly because I’m new to motherhood or because of hormones or is this the way I’m going to be for the rest of my life?  I’ve been pondering this a lot lately, and I suppose only time will tell.  I mean, it’s not like I mind the emotion or the tears…I’m just wondering how long it will be before I can sit through a Pampers commercial without needing a box of Kleenex (that Christmas one with “Silent Night” playing while they roll through this series of pictures of babies sleeping will get me till the end though, I’m sure).
Sleep in Heavenly peace, indeed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Finding Inspiration

I feel like I’m kind of falling down on the job, blog-wise these days.  But I also figure, with the holidays fast approaching, my readership has probably been a little busier these last few weeks as well and perhaps my absence hasn’t been noticed.  Frankly, I’ve had a little problem finding inspiration.  Obviously, Annie is a living, breathing, cooing source of blog-worthy fodder, but for some reason I have been wanting to write something meaningful.  And finding that something has been a little difficult.

It isn’t that things haven’t been happening in our lives.  Or that I haven’t been learning lessons.  Or that Annie hasn’t been changing and growing and my role as a mother hasn’t been changing right along with her.  But sometimes those kinds of things are easier to just live through and harder to write about.

Baby Girl is really rockin' this whole sitting up thing now.

So the best I can do for today is promise some real winning blog posts in the near future.  With Annie’s first Christmas less than two weeks away, her 6 month “birthday” right after, and our 4th wedding anniversary on the horizon, there should be some good stuff coming.  So bear with me.  I’ll get my inspiration back and bring you blog-writin’ like you’ve never seen…or at least better than I’ve brought in recent weeks.

For now, a couple of pictures documenting recent happenings in the Noble household.

Annie went on her first hiking adventure last weekend.  I’m surprised it has taken David this long to convince me to take her.  And we picked the coldest day of the year to do it.  But she seemed to think it was, um, an okay experience…and she looked cute as can be in our baby backpack.

And Annie also met Santa for the first time.  She didn’t cry or whimper or act upset in any way.  But she also didn’t bring out her pretty smile for the occasion.  I’m not sure whether she was overwhelmed or underwhelmed, but whatever her feelings, she didn’t think Santa or the guy taking the picture (who kept trying a Donald Duck voice to get her to smile – which I thought was a little misplaced with a 5-month old…but who am I to judge?) deserved even the slightest grin.  The picture still turned out cute, though.

Santa is coming to Annie's "school" on Friday, so there will be another photo op.  Maybe she'll be a little more impressed by him then.

On our agenda in the coming days, David and I are taking our first overnight trip sans baby.  My mom is going to watch Annie one night while we take a little tiny trip to Cincinnati.  Then the holiday madness begins!  Should be fun…and inspirational.

Friday, December 2, 2011

She's Got Skills

Annie reached the 5-month mark earlier this week, and along with this age marker, she has developed some new “tricks” and talents.

Annie working it...oh my!

1)     Chatterbox – Annie has definitely discovered that she has a voice.  The first things we hear in the morning from her crib are not cries, but squeals and squeaks and “ohhhs” and “ahhhs.”  However adorable you are imagining this to sound, multiply that by about five.  She laughs and giggles and generally entertains us as she learns what she can do with her voice.  I keep waiting for that first “mama” or “dada” to pop out (even though I know she won’t know what she’s saying).  So far, the most we’ve gotten is something that sounded very much like “hi!”  I think I may go ahead and claim this as her first word.  After all, my first words were, reportedly, “Barry Manillo” and I’m pretty sure they must have been uttered in similar fashion to Annie’s “hi.”
Pretty sure there was a squeal accompanying that smile.

2)     Little Miss Active – Simply put, holding Annie is work now.  If she’s sitting on your lap, she suddenly decides she wants to be standing.  If she’s standing, she wants to sit.  Her arms and legs are in constant motion and all that activity is making her one strong baby.  This makes changing her clothes much more of an event.  If she decides she doesn’t want to bend her elbow so it can be shoved into a shirt sleeve, well, it’s just not going to happen.  

Such a busy girl.  She's got things to do, toys to play with.
3)     Thumb Sucker – For a while now, everything Annie has touched has gone straight to her mouth, so that’s nothing new.  But recently, among the items making their way to her gums is her own thumb.  This shouldn’t surprise me, because both David and I were thumb suckers as kids.  I know people talk about this being a bad habit – and I remember having a friend growing up whose parents had such a hard time breaking her of it that they eventually paid her to stop (and I remember it being quite a pay out) – but it really is cute to see.  It doesn’t seem to be much of a habit for Annie yet, more like just something that happens when her hand gets in a certain position.  So I’ll suspend putting an orthodontist on speed dial for a little longer.

4)     A Rude Little Habit – In addition to finding her voice and her thumb, Annie has also realized that she has a tongue.  And she is not afraid to stick it out at you.  Her daycare teacher told me that sometimes kids do that when they first start to feel their teeth coming in.  I still haven’t detected any white bumps on her lower gums, but she’s sticking that tongue out every chance she gets.  So maybe it isn’t a sign of teething, but rather an indication of how she feels about us…Just so everyone can laugh at me and get an idea of how neurotic I really can be, the first time she stuck out her tongue happened to be about half an hour after I gave her her first helping of baby food – carrots, to be specific.  So, instead of thinking, “Oh how cute, she has a new ‘thing.’” I thought, “Is her tongue swelling?  Is she allergic to carrots?”  Yeah, um, she’s not allergic to carrots.  She just realizes there’s a tongue in her mouth and she can control it.  Silly Mommy.

5)     Sit Up Straight – Just this week, Annie has been sitting up unassisted.  She’s not to the sitting up straight stage yet, but she’s got that tripod thing with her arms out in front of her going like crazy.  For some reason, this – more than anything else – makes me feel like she’s growing up too fast.  I mean, what happened to the baby   who needed me to support her head all the time?  Now she’s sitting up on her own!  That’s crazy talk.

In addition to all of these new developments, I feel like Annie also knows that David and I are different from everyone else.  She is friendly and happy to see new people and is especially responsive to her daycare teachers, grandparents, and our friends whom she sees often, but she seems to know that Mama and Daddy are special.  That’s pretty cool, I must say.  And she’s really close to hugging us now – I know she doesn’t mean to, but sometimes in her general excitement she inadvertently puts her arms around my neck and presses her face against mine, and there’s really nothing like it.

Oh, this face.
Can't get enough of it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Reflecting on Thankfulness

I know it seems really obvious to write about family at the holidays - but that's what I'm going to do.  Because there's a reason why it's obvious.  There's a reason why people talk family this time of year.  Nothing makes you more aware of the blessings of family like these last months of the year.  Maybe it's because you see family more.  Maybe it's because the absence of those who aren't there is more obvious at the Thanksgiving table.  Maybe it's because sharing a first holiday season with a new addition shows us how special tradition is.  Whatever the reason, Thanksgiving was even more special for me this year.
Loving the Jenny Jump-Up.
I realized this year that I miss my dad a little extra on Thanksgiving.  He was really a Thanksgiving kind of guy and, although he wasn't the type to choose a favorite, if he had I think Thanksgiving may have been his favorite holiday.  Whether it was singing "The Doxology" as a family before the Thanksgiving meal or having us all go around the table and say one thing we were thankful for (this idea was kind of met with grumblings the year he had us do it, but he and I liked it), he really got the spirit of Thanksgiving.  My dad was really good at being thankful.  He would laugh a little harder at my brothers' jokes around the table and seemed to smile a little bigger at his grandchildren.  And I missed that a lot this year.

But once again, I was struck by the perfection of the timing of Annie's arrival into our family.  Last year, just before Thanksgiving - the first one my family would spend without my dad - we announced to my family that she was on her way (except to my mom, I had announced that to her the day after the home pregnancy test came up positive).  Our big news made the holiday a little bit brighter, at least for me.  And this year, Annie's presence at my mom's brought some additional sweetness back to the holiday for me.
Sitting up like a big girl.
Oops!  Maybe we aren't quite there yet...
As much as I wish my dad could have been there to share Annie's first Thanksgiving, I can see that having her there made his absence a little less obvious to us all.  It seems God knew we needed her to fill up a little of the void he left.  And for that, I am abundantly thankful.

I don't mean for this post to be a downer - because it isn't to me.  Missing family doesn't always have to be a sad activity.  Because missing someone just brings to light how much he meant to you to begin with.  My dad meant a lot to me - he meant a lot to my family.  And through missing him this Thanksgiving season, I can see the countless ways he enriched all of our lives...and will continue to enrich my daughter's life as she grows and learns about him.  We have much to be thankful for this year. Oh so much.  And my dad would have been the first to point that out.

The holidays can really wear a girl out.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's Christmas Up in Here

Christmas has come to the Noble household.  The tree is up.  The mantle has been decorated.  Annie's new stocking has been hung by the chimney with care.  This is earlier than we usually decorate, but I just couldn't wait any longer to make the house all Christmasified.  Here's how we are celebrating this year...

The pictures are a little grainy because I took them with David's phone.  I can't figure out what's wrong with our actual camera.  We must remedy that before the holidays get in full swing!  (Not that they aren't already...at least from the looks of our place).

On the top of my list of things to be thankful for today is having a husband who puts up with all my holiday excitement, which is in real overdrive this year.  Apparently, it doesn't matter much to me that Annie won't have a clue what's going yet since she's still too young to grasp any of it.  And yet, I'm still excited to share all of this with her for the first time.  She thinks the lights on the tree are pretty interesting.  So that's a start.

Annie gets double holiday points for posing in front of the Christmas tree in her "My First Thanksgiving" onesie.

Happy Thanksgiving week from the Nobles!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Giving Thanks

As any of you who have read this blog before already know, I’m kind of a holiday tradition freak this year.  And in my constant awareness of possible new traditions (yes, I know that’s an oxymoron, new tradition), I have found inspiration in some other blogs that I frequently read.  I figure I would be flattered if someone blatantly stole an idea that I wrote about on here, so other bloggers must feel the same way, right?  At any rate, I stumbled across an idea the people over at Young House Love have used the last couple of Thanksgivings (I would put a link to the blog here if I was tech savvy enough to know how to do that.  As it stands, feel free to google it and I’m sure you can get connected to this clever and creative couple’s page).  It’s basically an idea for a “Thanks” jar – a place where your family can drop in daily thoughts of what they are thankful for.  The talented DIY-ers I stole this idea from bought an inexpensive glass jar and used etching cream to make it look all classy and store-bought.  I decided that wasn’t really the look I was going for.  Instead, I wanted to make the Noble family “Thanks” jar a touch on the tacky side…and off I went to the dollar store to make it happen.

I was envisioning some sort of ceramic turkey in jar-type form.  Maybe something like this…

Photo of Weavers Turkey Cookie Jar- Large

I had no idea how hard such a thing is to find.  I’m certain I’ve seen it at least 12 times when I wasn’t looking for it.  But a week before Thanksgiving didn’t turn out to be the best time to search for turkey-themed pottery.

My first stop was Dollar King, a store I had never actually set foot in before.  I love the concept of these types of stores – I mean why wouldn’t you want to be able to pick up both Homer Simpson stickers and a 1960s-era plastic rain bonnet all in one stop – and for $0.99 each?  But alas, Dollar King did not have a single Thanksgiving-themed item, much less a turkey jar.

So I headed next door to Gabriel Brothers, a cross between TJ Maxx and, well, Dollar King.  Gabriel Brothers also failed to deliver in the ceramic turkey department, but I did happen upon this little gem…

Yes, that’s right.  It’s a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle nutcracker.  Just what every holiday mantle needs.  If it wasn’t for his missing hand (or whatever it is you call turtle appendages), he just may have found a new home at our place.

But no turkey.  So I gathered all of my hopes of a tacky “Thanks” jar and headed to Walmart.  Surely Walmart would have what I was looking for, right?  Wrong!  There was not a single piece of poultry pottery in the place!  But my trip to Walmart did lead me to two important conclusions: 1) Thanksgiving useless stuff is eclipsed entirely by Christmas useless stuff.  If I had been looking for a Santa head or snowman or gingerbread house to drop my “I’m thankful for…” cards into I would have been swimming in options.  But turkeys, cornucopia, and the like really get the short end of the gaudy trinket stick.  And 2) If you want me to buy a candle, any candy, just slap a $1.00 price sticker on it and add the word “holiday” to whatever scent it is and we have a deal.  While I would not have batted an eye at a cinnamon or cookie-scented candle today, thanks to the clever marketers who decided to sell “holiday cinnamon” and “holiday vanilla cookie” scented items for one dollar a piece, I am now the proud owner of two more candles I don’t really need.

Anyway, to make what should have been a short story even longer, when it became clear to me that a rational woman doesn’t really go to more than three stores to find an ironic holiday item, I decided I would have to improvise for our “Thanks” jar.  So one glass jar, a packet of stickers, and two placecard packets later, here is the Noble Family Thanks Jar, ready to be filled with proclamations of our thankfulness…
I figured it would kind of holiday things up to write what we are thankful for on Thanksgiving-themed paper.

And while I made a bigger production than necessary out of finding the item that would hold our documented blessings, I think the idea is such a worthy one.  Some days it is much easier to be thankful than others and some seasons of our lives make our blessings far more obvious than they might be at other times.  And some times thankfulness is more of a choice than a natural response to our circumstances.  But if there’s ever a time to pause for just a few seconds each day and actually think of one thing to be thankful for, it is now.  So that’s what we will do, David and I.  From now until the end of the month, I hope we will write down one thing each day that we give thanks about.  And then at the end of the experiment we can take out all those individual pieces of paper and read them and see just how many ways we are blessed.

This one’s an obvious blessing…
Her "I just woke up and you're taking my picture" face.

Enjoying her first rice cereal experience.

I’m excited to see what else we can come up with.

Friday, November 11, 2011

We've Come a Long Way, Baby!

The little ticker in the right-hand corner of this page tells me that Annie is 4 months, 1 week, and 6 days old today.  It’s funny how the last 19 weeks have seemed like both a hundred years and about two seconds all at the same time.  And by the way, when will I stop measuring time in weeks?  That was a habit I picked up while pregnant and I can't seem to break myself of it when it comes to talking about baby age.

A dear friend of mine had a baby on Tuesday (if you are reading this Melissa, which I’m sure you are not because you do, in fact, have a newborn to care for - Congratulations again!) and that happening has made me all sorts of nostalgic.  So nostalgic, in fact, that I almost decided to finally type out Annie’s birth story for today’s post.  But then I decided that kind of thing is probably best left for some sort of milestone – like her first birthday or my first Mothers’ Day or something.  Or at least a time more than 4 ½ months after it happened.  I have a feeling perspective is going to make that story even sweeter.

And what a sweet story it is.

Anyway, Melissa’s new addition has really made me think a lot about our newest family member and how fast the time is going.  I know I’ve written about this before and just be prepared, I will undoubtedly write about it again, because there’s just nothing like watching this little person change literally every single day.  Just a few weeks ago, it seems, she was sleeping relatively motionless in a tiny bassinet at the foot of our bed (a short-lived arrangement), and now I go into her room in the mornings to find that she has wedged herself against the slats of her crib in her sleep.  Just a few weeks ago (at least in my mind) she could barely focus her eyes and I would kind of freak out about how they looked sort of crossed a lot of the time.  Now she makes eye contact with me from across the room almost the second I walk into daycare to pick her up and gives me a big old smile, waving her arms and squealing.  Do you know how good it feels to see someone get THAT excited to see you?  There’s nothing like it.  But she used to be too little to do that.  Not anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the changes.  In fact, if I were to be truly honest I would have to admit that the newborn stage was really pretty hard for me.  This 4 month and beyond business is lots more fun.  But there’s still nothing like a tiny person being nestled against you.  As tiring as it was, I already look back on those stretches of time at night when Annie simply wouldn’t sleep unless one of us was holding her with fondness.  I can only imagine how many more moments like that I will get nostalgic and sappy about by the time she’s a year old.
That ceiling fan is still so interesting.
Yesterday, as I put a box of rice cereal in my basket at Target (yes, we are starting down the road to solid foods this weekend), I was struck once again by how crazy time is.  Just over 4 months ago I barely knew where the baby aisle was in Target and now I’m quite the efficient shopping mama.  And I actually caught myself smiling at the boxes of newborn Pampers, as if to say, “I remember when.”  Is that silly or what?  Of course I remember it because it was only a few months ago that I was standing in that very spot on my hour out of the house while David watched Annie, wearing the same capri yoga pants that I wore every day during my maternity leave and one of about four shirts I had in a rotation, frantically deciding between Pampers and Luvs and feeling a little overwhelmed by that simple decision.  But oh how it feels like a lifetime ago some moments.  And then the next moment it doesn’t.
Celebrating LJS Day 2011 - the one day of the year we allow ourselves to eat Long John Silver's

I guess all of that is a big part of why I am doing this blog thing.  As I chronicle the bigger and the tinier moments of our first year with baby girl I am able to reflect on what makes each stage special and look back just a month or two later to see how far we have come.  And in these last 4 months, 1 week, and 6 days, we’ve come a long way, baby!

From here…

… to here, in fact.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meeting Milestones (and I don't just mean Annie)

Our girl had her second round of vaccinations on Friday.  I know those are far harder on me than they are on Annie.  She cried very briefly and kind of gave the nurse the stink eye, but by the time we got back out to the reception area she had regained her composure for the most part.   We don’t tend to care so much about where Annie rates on those percentile charts (I care a little, but David doesn’t see the point in comparisons like that so long as she’s healthy – and he’s right on that score), but just for the purposes of posterity, here are Annie’s 4 month stats:
·         Height – 24 ¾ inches
·         Weight – 13 pounds, 14 ounces
·         Head circumference – 41 cm

So we have a healthy, happy (now that those shots are over!) baby girl on our hands.  And I continue to be so thankful for that.
Hey, that bunny keeps getting smaller!
Annie likes tummy time a little more these days…which means she will stay on her tummy for about 5 minutes before letting me know she is unimpressed, instead of the 30 seconds it used to be.  And about once or twice a day she shows us she can roll over from tummy to back.  I’m still not sure she realizes she’s the one making that happen, but she likes the cheers she gets when she accomplishes it.

Annie has also found her feet…which is adorable, but makes diaper and clothing changes a bit more of a challenge. As does her new-found super human strength.
She'll love me for posting this semi-nudey pic some day.
And her voice!  She has definitely found her voice.  She loves to make noise – really loves it.  It cracks me up when she starts in with her squeaks and squeals and vowel sounds when the adults in the room are talking – as if she has something to contribute and you best be listening to what she has to say.  And she is reportedly one of the biggest “talkers” in her daycare class.  Hopefully that doesn’t mean she will someday be one of those kids who has to sit in a desk right by the teacher so as to avoid disrupting the other students…I don’t think we have to worry about that just yet.  

Many of you have asked me how my mom is doing with the whole Annie going to daycare thing, since she was handling childcare duties for me when I first went back to work.  She is doing great, probably secretly kind of enjoying having her days free again…although I know she loved taking care of baby girl for those 4 weeks.  And she still gets her Annie fix about once a week when she comes over to do some housecleaning for us (God bless her.  And yes, I realize that I am completely spoiled.) and picks up Annie from “school” a little early to spend some quality time with her.  Annie loves hanging out with Grandma, that’s for sure.  And I love that she loves that.  I am so excited that Annie has such a great relationship with her all three of her grandparents.  Those are relationships I know she will treasure as she grows and I can’t say enough about how thankful I am that she has them.

Speaking of grandparents, Annie got a little visit from her Papa and Nana (David’s parents) Friday night and Saturday.  Not only are they loving, devoted members of the family, but they can also do quite the musical number too. 

And finally, as an update to my last blog entry, I am happy to report that I actually ran this morning.  Yep, I laced up the old running shoes, turned on the old I-pod, snapped on the sports watch (and actually got a few feet from the house before realizing the old sports watch needed a new battery, at which point I had to go back inside to get a backup), and I was off.  This was all helped in large part by the fact that Annie didn’t really get the daylight savings time memo and woke up at 5:00 a.m. for a little snack before falling back asleep for a little while.  But whatever, I’ll take it.  As I was feeding her and deciding that I now had no excuse to not run, I realized that this little person who I thought was holding me back from exercising again (and I mean that in the best way possible) ended up being the one to give me the jump start I needed to make it happen again.  Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gettin' Back on the Horse (Metaphorically, of Course)

The time has come.  I have to just do it.  No more excuses.  I have to get back on the exercise wagon.  Have to.  Not because I still haven’t lost a few pounds of baby weight (although I haven’t) and not because my clothes aren’t fitting quite like they used to pre-pregnancy (although they don’t).  I have to get back to an exercise routine because I need it.  I need to feel healthy.  I need to feel strong.  I need to feel like I’m doing something for myself.  And if you had told me a few years ago that I was going to make this statement I would have looked at you like you had three heads, but I need to do it because I actually miss running.  I miss how it clears my mind.  I miss how it makes me focus on how my body is working.  I miss how it gives me time to think, to make mental lists, to size up where I am and what I’m doing.
See, I used to do this thing.

And David and I would sometimes train and run together.
Photo: Just before the Columbus Half-Marathon/Marathon, October 2009

I actually hesitated to write about this in a blog post.  Writing about it somehow makes me feel accountable to actually do something about this, to actually lace up the old running shoes and get out there again.  It makes me feel like I have to pack the gym bag and hit the treadmill on my lunch hour because someone who read this might ask me if I have done that.  But maybe that’s what I need – accountability.  Lord knows not feeling accountable to anyone hasn’t helped my motivation thus far.

But now that Annie is here there is a whole other complication to exercise.  Getting up in the morning to run isn’t hard just because I’m tired or it’s cold outside or I’d just plain old rather stay in bed.  It’s hard now because (confession time) I love to be the one to see Annie’s smile when she wakes up in the morning and the thought of not being there for that makes me sad.  It’s hard because I already only see her for about an hour in the morning before one of us has to take her to daycare and the thought of having that time cut in half by an outdoor run or trip to the gym is kind of difficult to handle.  There is mommy guilty, yes.  But more than that, there is just the desire to spend as much time with her as possible since I can’t be with her most of the day.
Ladybugs have to eat too, you know.

A friend of mine told me early in Annie’s life something that I think of often in times like this.  Something I have kind of made my mantra.  Something that I need to internalize in this specific situation.  Happy mama equals happy baby.  I know that the happier I am, the more “normal” I feel, the better equipped I am to be a good mom to Annie.  I know that she needs me to be my own person apart from who I am to her because that’s the only way I will have the energy, inspiration, and motivation to be the best mama I can be for her.  And if being my own person means going for a run three days a week, the small amount of time I sacrifice to do that will be well worth it in the end.  I know that intellectually.  I believe that philosophically.  But I haven’t been able to make myself actually do it…yet.
That's a pretty happy baby right there.
So here I am, publicly vowing to TRY to make this whole exercise thing happen in the coming days.  (I just forced myself not to hit the backspace key several times and change that “days” into “weeks.”)  Hold me accountable, blog-reading friends!  Remind me that I am right when I say that having my own interests will benefit my daughter in the end, even if it means Daddy is the one who picks her up out of her crib some mornings.  Remind me that it is good for Daddy and Annie that I stop being sort of selfish about those kinds of things, because Daddy really wants to see that smile all by himself sometimes.  Remind me that all we are really talking about here is about 45 minutes of “me” time…because sometimes perspective is something I am lacking when it comes to my baby girl.  And in return, I will consider myself accountable.