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!