Our Noble Pursuits

Living the good life. And writing about it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


There is a new phase going on in our house.  A phase during which Annie likes to cling to my pants or grab my hand and lead me around.  It’s precious and certainly makes me feel important.  But it makes doing practically anything – making dinner, putting clean clothes away, picking up toys – sort of impossible.  And the part of me that likes order and having things done at certain times honestly gets a little frustrated by the delay.  But I’m trying really hard to take a deep breath, look down at the little blonde head leaning into my knees, and remember that she won’t always want me like this.  

There will come a time before I know it when she will prefer lots of things to taking Mama by the hand and walking anywhere.  There will come a day when she won’t want to be stuck to me like glue – when Dora the Explorer and coloring books and dolls will be far more important ways to spend her time.  And I will think about these exact days I’m living right now with nostalgia.  With tears in my eyes, no doubt, I will miss these moments.  And so, I let her lead me from room to room, pointing out stuffed animals and books and toys she doesn’t want to play with without me.  I make dinner with one hand while all 24 pounds of her perches on my hip with her legs wrapped around me like the sweetest tree frog you’ve ever seen.  I leave the toys in the floor until after bedtime, because really, they can wait to be picked up.  And I try, just as I have for the last 17 months, to treasure the moment.  The moment of her being so happy to just be with me.  Because it’s a fleeting condition, and will be replaced by little girlness in no time.

 And now, some pictures of our Thanksgiving weekend.  We had a wonderful time with my family on Thursday and then David's family the rest of the weekend.  Once again, I am struck by so very much we have to be thankful for.

This just in...Annie sometimes allows clips in her hair now.
Trying on one of Papa's hats.
Taking an important call at Grandma's.
Happy girl.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What's In a Name?

Recently, one of the mommy bloggers I read – Ilana at Mommy Shorts (if you don’t read it, you simply must.  It’s different than most mommy blogs.  It’s really really funny) had her second baby.  And the day after the blessed arrival of daughter #2, she posted an explanation of the baby’s name.  I’ve seen other people do this – have both read naming stories and listened to them from my friends and acquaintances.  And every single time I do it makes me feel like I should have a better naming story for Annie.  Fact is, Annie is Annie because it was basically the only girl’s name David and I could agree on.  It is a name I have loved for years and it was the only name that came up in our baby naming discussions that didn’t get an “Are you kidding?” stare or scrunched up eyebrow from David.  (Mind you, I gave plenty of stares and eyebrow raises to some of his suggestions too – the name “Jazz” comes to mind…thus the even greater miracle that we both liked the name Annie.)

We arrived at her middle name the same way – just because we liked the sound of it.  I came up with a couple of options and then asked David if he thought we should name our child Annie Claire or Annie Kate, and he responded, “Well, one of them sounds like a dessert.”  Not wanting to saddle our baby girl with that, we went with Annie Kate and never turned back.  And she is such an Annie Kate.  Truly, the name we picked just because we liked it suits her perfectly.  I honestly can’t imagine her being anything else.  She isn’t even an Ann or an Anna.  She is an Annie through and through.  I can’t explain to you the difference really, but the more she comes into her own and shows us that spunky, sweet personality of hers, the happier I am that we didn’t name her some other derivative of Ann and just call her Annie.  She is an Annie, and nothing else would have done her justice.
Annie is a Cool Cat, yes she is.
Is this some Fall fun or what?
But I do sort of wish I would have a better explanation one day when she asks why she is named what she is than “Eh, we just liked the sound of it.”  My mom’s middle name is Annette, so the Ann part of Annie’s name is sort of in my mind a way to honor my mother.   And my niece goes by Kate, so technically her middle name is a family name.  But there is no deep tradition or history behind her name.  And I so love the naming stories I hear, I just sort of wish we would have given Annie one of her own.

Before we knew Annie was a girl, we also had a boy’s name picked out.  We actually had two names and decided on one over the other with a naming story of sorts.  Our boy’s names were either Noah or Jonah, with James as the middle name whichever way we went.  James is David’s middle name and both he and I had uncles we never knew who were very important to our families named James.  So right there was some history and tradition.  We really liked Noah James, but Noah is like one of the top 10 baby boy names in the country or something, and we were looking to be a little more unique than that (although honestly, I think it is still my favorite boy’s name ever).  And then I realized that if we went with Jonah, that first part of the name “Jo” would pay tribute to my dad, whose middle name was Joe.  And the decision was made.  Jonah James.  Obviously, we didn’t end up needing the boy’s name, but we had one – and not just any name, a name rich in heritage and honor.

Maybe that is why I would like Annie to have a naming story…because if she was a boy, she would have.  But you know what? Regardless of how we arrived at her name, she is named perfectly.  And no matter whether there is some deep special meaning behind that name or not, there is deep special meaning about her.  Of that I am sure.
Of course, the item she spotted in the Target check out line that she had to have was a Barbie princess doll.  Uh oh, and so it begins.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Halloween 2012

This year, our little ladybug from last year transformed into a little pumpkin for the Halloween festivities of 2012.  Although Annie still isn't old enough to really get the full effect of the holiday, she had fun at our two Halloween activities and made quite the adorable walking, jabbering jack-o-lantern.

Here's our little pumpkin getting ready to take off for some Halloween fun this year...
And, just for the sake of taking a good old trip down memory lane, here's our little ladybug last year...

A few days before Halloween, we sort of crashed the costume parade of the neighborhood next to us, the neighborhood where several of our friends live.  It was fun to have a chance to dress Annie up and let her prance around a little before the big night.  I think you'll agree she seemed to be having lots of fun.

Heading over to the costume parade.

Stella, Audrey, and Annie
Annie and Daddy,sizing up the competition.

Stella and Annie showing how to rock some playground toys.
 Then, on Halloween day, we dressed her up again for school, where they take the kids around the building to "trick or treat" in the other classrooms.  I'm not sure there was much treating, as 16 month olds don't care so much for candy yet and what teacher in her right mind wants a bunch of toddlers hopped up on sugar.  But she once again looked cute as can be.

Halloween night, we loaded up in the stroller and headed over to Annie's friend Audrey's house for dinner with our friends and Annie's.  Once dinner was over, we loaded up and headed over to another friend, Ellie's, house for dessert.  The short walk from one house to the other was pretty much the extent of Annie's trick or treating for the night, and it was unfortunately raining for that.  But we all had a great time and we figure there are plenty of years of real live actual honest to goodness trick or treating ahead.

Annie and Stella catch up on some gossip.

Stella, Ellie, Audrey, and Annie

Our sole family picture from the night...after Annie shed the pumpkin belly.

Hope your Halloween was as fun for you as Annie's was for her!

Monday, November 5, 2012

16 Months

I'm a little behind schedule in posting lately.  I have Halloween to cover still, but even before that, I need to chronicle Annie's 16th month here in her online baby book.  Like all the months that have come before it, Annie's second October was full of activities, new adventures, and lots of learning.  She is settling in to her new classroom at daycare very nicely and is showing us every day what a big girl she is becoming.

Annie started out the month with a week-long bought of the yuckies.  What we initially thought was a reaction to her 15-month shots ended up being roseola - a virus that causes a sudden high fever, irritability, vomiting, and then, as the last symptom, a red, non-itchy rash.  After three visits to our pediatrician and a phone call or two to my brother, it was the rash that finally signified what we were dealing with.  And by that point, it was pretty much over.  It was really, in the grand scheme of things, no big deal, but it gave me the chance to get in a few uncharacteristic cuddles while our girl was (unfortunately) feeling less than her best.

As much as I hated seeing Annie sick, I very much enjoyed being able to have moments like this.

The rest of the month was much better, though.  And as usual, Annie learned some new things in October.  I think the biggest advances for Annie this past month have been in the area of vocabulary.  She has added short phrases (I guess you would call them that) like "all done" (which she pronouces as "ah-doh") and "night night" to her repetoire.  She also does a lot of repeating these days - both words and sounds.  And if she hears you singing, she is pretty likely to join in with her own version of a melody.
Our little Raven.  Go AU!

Trying on Mommy's shoes is, apparently, hilarious.
In addition to showing advances in her ability to communicate verbally, Annie is also demonstrating her understanding of sequences and routines.  If you ask her if she needs her diaper changed, she will often either lay down in the floor for you to change it (you know, just in case you already have a diaper in your back pocket) or go into her bedroom and stand in front of her changing table.  If she hears the word "bath" in the evening, she will run to the bathroom and throw back the shower curtain, sometimes even starting to pull off her clothes in preparation for some tub time.  When she is hungry, she will also sometimes go to the cabinet where she knows some of her snacks are, picks out something, and then stands by the kitchen counter reaching for a spoon.  She's growing more and more independent these days...and with that, she grows more and more opinionated. :-)

Being silly with Mommy.

She exerts her independence every day now by insisting on carrying her own lunch box from the kitchen to the front door before leaving for school.
It's funny how much less I worry about Annie doing the "right" things or developing "on schedule" as she gets older.  In the early months, I consulted my collection of "Your Baby's First Year" type books all the time, to see when she was supposed to roll over or get teeth or eat solid foods.  Now, her development is just a fun and amazing thing to behold.  Kids just grow so darn fast.  I'm growing less and less interested in rushing it.

Just in case it takes me a while to get to a Halloween recap - here's a shot of our little pumpkin.