Our Noble Pursuits

Living the good life. And writing about it.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

13 Months!

Does anyone know what time it is?  Yes, it’s monthly update time again!  I've debated whether to continue doing this updates, now that we have passed the one year mark.  And I think I've decided to keep doing them as long as I have material - meaning, as long as Annie keeps having lots of new things she learns and accomplishes on a monthly basis, I will keep writing the updates.  It's fun for me, and, hopefully, enjoyable for you readers too.

We got around this weekend to taking some pictures of Annie to commemorate her first birthday while David’s parents (and his dad’s fancy camera lens) were in town.  So this post will show off some of the amazing shots my talented husband and his talented father took.  And while I don’t think they are seriously considering starting their own business, I think you’ll agree that they certainly could if they wanted to.  I couldn’t be happier or more in love with these pictures.  Or my family.

And here are some changes Annie’s been displaying this last month…

Mornings start earlier around here than they used to.  A few months ago, Annie was sleeping from 7 or 7:30 at night until about 7:15 on the dot in the morning.  Then summer came and she got older and the sunlight started to stick around longer and bedtime became closer to 8 most nights.  But she would still sleep until 7:00 or sometimes even 7:30 in the morning.  The last few days, though, she has decided the day is a wastin’ and she needs to get up earlier.  First it was 6:30, then yesterday it was 6:15 and today it was 5:45.  I was able to coax her back to sleep with some milk at this morning’s wake up session, but that didn’t last long and she was up for good again a little after 6:30.  Maybe it’s teeth.  She’s teething like mad, with the front of her clothes literally soaked with drool.  So maybe her teeth hurt.  But the early morning wake up call the last couple of days in particular seems to work for her – she’s been in an incredibly good mood both mornings.  Ah well, Mama has had a really good run in the time-to-myself-in-the-mornings department, and we still have a baby who sleeps far better than average from what I understand.  So who can complain, really?

July 2012 - Ashland Estate

July 2011 - Ashland Estate (We look a lot more tired in this one!)
I may have mentioned before that Annie has never really been a super cuddly baby.  She’s been active from day one and has always sort of acted like you were cramping her style if you tried to hold her for very long.  Lately, though, she is adopting a new philosophy when it comes to cuddling.  Basically, if it’s her idea, it’s cool.  But don’t try to force her into it.  One of my favorite things she will do now is come up to me while I’m sitting on the floor and crawl in my lap.  Sometimes if she is standing in front of me playing, she will turn around and sort of back into my lap, feeling for me with the backs of her little feet.  And she is content to sit there for quite a while sometimes, playing or taunting the dog or laughing at her daddy.  It’s among my favorite developments ever.  That and how she will lay her head on my shoulder when I’m holding her now.  Bliss, I tell you.  Bliss.

Now that Annie is completely mobile, walking around – and almost running – like she’s been doing it for years, her favorite game is chase.  When she wants you to chase her she will look over her shoulder at you and sort of stomp her feet in place, with a big grin on her face.  The stomping feet are, apparently, Annie’s international symbol for “crawl on your hands and knees or walk while crouching down real low if you are my mommy and you seem to always have bruises on your knees from running into things or falling, and pretend you can’t quite get to me, then when I stop and laugh at you, pick me up and kiss my tummy a lot.”  It is giggle and squeal inducing for her every single time.  I must say, it gets a lot of giggles from me and David (manly, masculine giggles, from him of course) every time too.

If you ask Annie “where’s Annie?” she will point to herself.  If you ask where Annie’s nose is, she will find it for you.  If she sees David’s truck pull in the driveway she points out the window and says “Daa-dee!”  And she has started to do a little of the plaintive, “Mama” whining when she is tired or sad.  It is so fun to watch her start vocalizing what she recognizes and what she knows.  Her list of words is slowly growing.  She knows “ball” and said something yesterday that sounded an awful lot like “cat,” while pointing to our cat Cooper.  I know there will come a time when she will talk us to death, but for now, I am really eager for her language to develop.  I have a feeling she has some important things to say!

Happy Tuesday, friends.  Enjoy your week!  I know we will.  Annie and I get to visit Grandma's house later in the week while David attends his yearly guys only camping adventure.  So I'm sure we will both be a little spoiled in the days to come.

Monday, July 23, 2012


We've been battling some illness in our house lately.  Apparently, there is a stomach bug raging through Lexington and the Noble household was not spared from its assault.  First Annie got it, then David got it, and then right when I was feeling very self-important about the strength of my immune system, it hit me in the middle of the night last night.  Ugh.

This weekend, we all felt well enough to go car seat shopping.  How can she be this big?!?
She kept trying to put her shoes on over her footed pjs and insisted I help her out.
 But even as I sit on the couch eating saltines and drinking Sprite, I am fully aware that what has run its course through our house this last week is nothing compared to what some we know and care about are facing today.  Specifically, we have friends from college, Kendrick and Molly, who are living the unthinkable.  Kendrick was David's roommate in college and stood up for him as a groomsman in our wedding.  Kendrick and Molly have two children.  Their daughter Izzy, who is four, has stage 4 cancer.  Every time I think about their beautiful, spirited little girl, I want to cry.  Because sometimes life isn't fair.  Because no child should have to endure what she is living today.  15 months of treatment - chemotherapy, surgery, sickness.  And no parents should have to watch helplessly as a disease like cancer changes the face of their family.  Becomes so prominent in who they are and how they live their lives.  That just isn't fair. 

And, of course, as a parent, my breath catches every single time I read or hear news about Izzy's condition.  It catches because I fear it could happen to us.  Out of nowhere, a diagnosis that changes everything.   And I look at my girl, hold her tighter, kiss her sweet face, and whisper, "God, please protect her."  Because that's one of the things these types of stories do.  They make you grateful and fearful all at the same time.

I wanted to post about Izzy to ask you to pray.  If you are a praying person, please pray for Izzy.  Ask others you know to pray.  Pray for her healing.  Pray for hope and courage for that sweet little girl and her parents.  Pray for strength for the whole family as they walk a path that has to take a toll.  Pray that somehow, some way, this will get better for them all.  If you would like to follow Izzy's progress and learn more about her and her parents and big brother, please visit www.izzystory.com

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Things that Freak Me Out

As Annie grows and becomes more of a person (as opposed to a baby) I am discovering there are things that sort of freak me out about that.  Having a child who is old enough and developed enough to be considered a toddler is kind of blowing my mind.  As ill-prepared as I felt to feed and change a newborn and as overwhelmed as I felt by the concept of swaddling (seriously, how do nurses do it so fast and perfectly?) and bathing a baby, there’s a whole different level of freaked-out-ness that comes from having a walking, talking KID in your house.  Here are just a few of the things that freak me out about having a toddler (and you will notice, fear of her doing anything actually related to walking don’t even make the list).

I don't recall giving my o.k. to this whole growing up business.
Talking – To this point, Annie’s vocabulary is still pretty limited.  She says “dada,” “mama” (with, of course, much less regularity), “bye bye,” “na na” (for banana) and various other repeated syllables, the newest of which is “la la.”  But as for actual words, she still isn’t saying many.  As I’ve mentioned before, she utters syllables that sound to this mama an awful lot like “Jackson” and “thank you,” and has “uh oh” completely mastered.  And recently she has started speaking French, mumbling “D’accord” (French for “okay”) as she motors down the hallway.  But where are the other words going to come from?  Am I supposed to be teaching her words?  I try to sit down with her flash cards or the giant books of “Baby’s First 100 Words” that she was given for her birthday, but her attention span is good for about five words and pictures before she is reaching for something more interesting to her.  She doesn’t watch television yet and won’t sit still for many books, so what does all this mean for her language development?  We talk to her and sing to her CONSTANTLY (so much so that her first sentence will probably be, “Enough with the songs already!”), so I hope that means we are doing our part.  But are we?

Someone really likes her own reflection these days.
Eating - When Annie's diet was exclusively liquid, I had a good handle on how much she was eating. She had five bottles of roughly the same amount of formula per day and I could pretty much rest assured that she was full.  Now, she won't even eat baby food and insists on eating "big people food" instead.  She drinks whole milk and water and does pretty well with all of that...or at least I think she does.  We will eat dinner and it will appear that she is eating a good amount of the chicken or sweet potato or whatever else I put on her high chair tray.  She will throw a few bites to the dog every now and then, but it appears that a lot of it goes in her mouth.  But then I lift her from her high chair when dinner is over and enough food drops off of her lap or rests in the chair itself to feed her all over again.  Let's just say I feel less than sure that she is getting three balanced meals per day.  Can a kid make it on Yogurt Melts alone?

Annie's Tricks - Okay, so where do kids pick up the things they pick up?  How does she know how to give a kiss?  Who taught her where her nose is?  Why does she feel that she must close the door to her Cozy Coupe every time she gets in it?  How does she know that's just what you do with a car door - plastic or not? I know she learns this stuff from watching us - and the others around her - but it is crazy how much she secretly knows how to do!  She's like a little sponge...and that's just wacky.   And causes me the tiniest bit of anxiety.  It's great that she's picking up cute and useful tricks, but how long will it be before I catch her in the pantry with a tub of frosting because she saw me do it?  (Not that I would ever do that...that's just a for instance).
A nice look, isn't it?
That's just a start to the list.  I'm sure I will check back in later with many more reasons toddlerhood feels a little like a map-less journey.  But for all the uncharted territory that I know is ahead, this age is so much fun. 

Friday, July 13, 2012


People are forever saying that Annie looks like David.  And for a long time I couldn’t really see it.  I mean, I could see similarities but at the same time I had seen my own baby pictures enough to know that she sort of kind of looked a little like me too.  Yes, she has her daddy’s blonde hair.  Yes, she has her daddy’s blue eyes.  Yes, she has her daddy’s amazing long, perfectly curled eyelashes.  But her hair has a slightly strawberry blonde tint that his doesn’t.  And her eyes are sort of blue-gray instead of clear blue.  And, well, the eyelashes are exactly the same…bless their perfectly formed eyelash-having hearts.  The point is that I saw Annie as looking like, well,  Annie.  

David in a dress, right there.
 But now, somehow, I can see the similarities between David and Annie so much more.  But it’s as if I think David looks like Annie instead of vice-versa.  Does that make any sense?  He will look at me a certain way and I will think, “You look like Annie.”  Or he will flash this expression at me and it will be, in my mind, an “Annie face.”  Clearly, David has dibs on these things, being older and the source of the DNA in her that created them.  But for some reason, in my mind, I think of them as things he got from her.  A little weird, right?

As I type this, I realize I’m sort of talking jibberish here.  But it’s Friday and our cats woke me up meowing plaintively from the kitchen at 5:00 a.m. AGAIN, and Annie has been sick two-and-a-half days out of this week, and it’s raining outside, and I spent a stressful morning run today convincing myself that the pain in my side was not from improper breathing techniques but something far far worse, and our house is on the market which means we have to keep everything straight and clean and orderly at all times, and I just finished drafting a big proposal at work, and, did I mention it’s Friday?  So jibberish is pretty much the best I can muster right now.

All I’m saying is, I get it now people.  I get that my sweet, big eyed, chubby cheeked, tiny nosed, bow mouthed precious girl looks just exactly like her daddy.  With a little bit of my dad thrown in somehow.  And those two together make one darn cute baby girl.  In my humble opinion.

Oh, and before I sign off, a new favorite Annie trick.  She has this touch-and-feel book of animal babies that has pretty much always been a favorite.  Which means you can get about 6 pages into it before she rips it from your hands and smacks the dog with it, instead of the standard 3 pages.  Anyway, one of the pictures in the book is of a monkey and the monkey’s tummy is actual fake fur that you can touch (thus, the touch-and-feel aspect of the book).  After pointing out the monkey to her and reading the words above the picture, which stated the noise a monkey makes (“ooh ooh, ahh, ahh”)  I asked Annie, “What does a monkey say?”  To which she looked at me, grinned and drew her little mouth into a tiny circle and said “aah, aah, ooh, ooh.”  I’ve never been more proud.  And she continues to perform this trick…when she feels like it.  We are working on adding “what a cow says” to the repertoire.  Right now she makes the mouth shape of “moo” but doesn’t say it.  So be sure to check back on those developments.

Happy weekending!

Monday, July 9, 2012


It seems that Annie learns something new every single day.  Things I don't even know how she knows.  She is clearly paying way more attention to us than we think she is...which is sort of a sobering thought!  Here are just a few of the new things Annie has learned in the last few days.

1.       Keys - Even at the not-so-ripe age of 1, Annie knows what to do with keys.  She has a certain key (a single key on a bottle-opener keychain…classy) that, whenever she finds it in whatever toy she dropped it in last, she walks it over to the front door and reaches as high as her 30 inches self can reach in an attempt to place the key in the keyhole.  Yep, she’s a genius (and for the record, I just misspelled the word genius and had to delete and start over…clearly, she didn't get this from me).

2.       Tech savvy - She knows that pushing a button on my I-Phone makes the screen light up.  She hasn’t quite caught on to which button it is yet, but in the last few days she has given David and I great entertainment by stealing my phone (that part isn’t so entertaining) and whining until I push the button that makes the picture on the screen light up (again, that’s not so entertaining).  She will then carry the phone around (now we’re getting to the entertainment) until she realizes the screen has gone black again (which, for you non-I-phone users happens after about 20 seconds or so), at which point she retraces her steps back to me, hand with phone outstretched, wanting me to make it light up again (insert Mama and Daddy’s chuckles and looking at each other saying, “She’s smarter than we are.”)  These are the beginnings of understanding cause and effect, are they not?

Okay, so she hasn't learned this  yet - but she loved climbing on the potty.

3.       Hand jive - She doesn’t have to see you do the hand motions to Itsy Bitsy Spider to know to do them herself when she hears the tune.  And oh how cute is her attempt to do that weird finger and thumb crossing motion that you do for that song.  The girl has skills.  She loses interest right before the rains come down and wash the spider out, but I think that’s the boring part of the song too.

Play time can get a little dangerous sometimes...for Mama and Daddy, that is.

I'm afraid it won't be long before she is outsmarting us.  It won'g be long at all.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

12 Months!

I know I've already done multiple "it's Annie's first birthday and I can't believe it" type posts.  But this one is sort of for the record books...a wrap up of what she learned in her twelfth month, just like all the other monthly posts.

It seems to me that Annie suddenly decided about half-way through this past month that she wanted to be a big girl.  Literally overnight she went from walking a few steps between me and David to standing up in the middle of the floor and going anywhere she wanted.  And that's just the beginning.  Month 12 was a big one for our baby girl.  Here are a few things she learned to do or just decided it was time she show off for us...

Walking - As I mentioned already, Annie decided about a week and a half ago to become a full-fledged toddler.  She is everywhere now and seems particularly fond of walking around while carrying something in both hands, like she's trying to prove how good she is at balancing acts.  She's something else.

Dancing - Annie has the toddler bouncing dance down pat now, and likes to show it off almost anytime she hears music.  She has one specific musical toy that really gets her grooving and her favorite song appears to be the very song I walked in to during our wedding, from Handel's "Water Music."  She's a classy girl already.

Teeth - In her twelfth month, Annie's little gums finally decided to let a tooth through!  Actually, two of them.  But, as her pediatrician said, Annie clearly didn't read the book on which teeth should come in first, because instead of sprouting the bottom two front teeth, she decided to make the upper teeth on either side of her front teeth her first.  Sort of like fangs.  You can't really see them unless you pull her lip up, so she doesn't look too obviously vampire-esque.  And the whole process of teething hasn't been terrible - just some extra fussiness and a tiny fever.  We consider ourselves very lucky so far.

Mimic - They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and if that is the case, Annie is flattering us all over the place.  From eye blinks to words to skills like blowing on her food, Annie loves to do whatever Mommy and Daddy do.  Among her favorite words to imitate (although David thinks I'm crazy to think there's a difference between the varying ways she says "da") are Jackson (our dog's name), thank you, and bye-bye.

Climbing - Oh my goodness, does this kid have no fear.  In order to ride her dinosaur ride-on toy, she climbs up on the seat and then puts her legs down on either side of it.  She also got a Cozy Coupe (those toddler cars you see everywhere) for her birthday and she will spend a long time getting in and out of it, instead of actually letting you push her around in it.  She's quite the dare devil these days.  We're bracing ourselves for her teenage years.

Comedian - Annie seems to have caught on to the fact that we laugh when she does cute things.  Now she will fake a cough, yell out suddenly, or make a certain facial expression, just because she knows it gets a chuckle from us.  She thinks she's the funniest person she knows...and she loves it when you show her that you agree.

Annie's stats...

And now, for the official baby-book type of stats, here's what we found out at Annie's well baby visit yesterday.
* Weight - 20 lbs, 14 ounces (47th percentile)
* Height - 30 inches (77th percentile)

So it looks like we have a long and lean little one, just like her daddy.  She handled her three immunizations like a champ, but was a little traumatized by the finger stick they had to do to test her blood for anemia.  She was all good once we got back to the car, though. 

Our little one is not such a tiny one anymore.  She seems to change every single day now.  It almost feels like she looks older when I pick her up in the afternoon than she did when I dropped her off in the morning at daycare.  Does this ever slack up?  Or do I just need to buckle up and hold on for the ride?  I'm thinking the latter is probably the case.  And the ride, it is such a fun adventure!

Happy 4th everyone!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Big One

We have been celebrating for days around here.  And this post is going to be really heavy on the pictures, as I think they tell the story of our weekend way better than I could in words.  A little girl only turns one once in her life, you know.  So we did this one up right.  We greeted Annie with a balloon when she woke up Friday morning...

We had a fancy outfit for "school" on Friday...

And a personal escort via stroller to school instead of the standard ride in the car seat...

I had taken the day off from work to prepare for her party, so I was able to pick Annie up from daycare at 1:00 and be with her on her exact first birthday at 1:39 pm.  (Yes, I know, I'm a sap.  But I'm okay with that.).

Then, in the afternoon Annie engaged in a little birthday music on our piano...check out those page turns.  She is clearly a natural...

We wrapped up her birthday with dinner out and a normal bedtime, as there was a big day ahead on Saturday.  Lots of our friends and Annie's came over to our very hot, very not at all shady backyard for a birthday party in the noon sun...in 100 degree heat.  Everyone was so great to brave the heat to celebrate our girl!  We had lots of water toys set up for the babies and the adults tried as best they could to follow the shade as it moved across our backyard.  Eventually, the scorching sun was too much for me and I gave the okay to move the party inside (which I was only resistant to because we simply have no room for 30-plus adults and little ones...but it's a great house, you should buy it!).  Annie handled the singing of Happy Birthday like a champ and seemed relatively unfazed by the sea of smiling faces, watching her eventually get around to digging into her cake.  Truth be told, I think she was really pretty fond of the attention.  I plan to do a more comprehensive (photo-wise) post soon about the party itself, but here are a few snapshots of the fun our baby girl had!

A big, huge, whopping thanks to my mom for helping me plan, prepare for, and execute the best first birthday party I could have asked for.  And much appreciation to my in-laws for traveling in a variety of storms to be here to help us with set up and with the celebration of such a special day.  And many many thanks to our friends who showed us such kindness by caring for our baby girl and joining us to celebrate her.  My heart is full after a weekend like this. 

While there are moments I get a little sad, thinking of how fast time is moving and how unbelievable the changes are that take place in Annie daily, there is so much of me that is so very proud of her independence and growth.  She is truly like a little person now, not just a baby, with a personality as individualized as yours or mine and a spunk and energy that few can keep up with.  And I continue to feel so blessed that we have her, that she is ours.  There is truly no one else like her.  Happy birthday to our baby girl!

A little Then and Now comparison.