Saturday, August 25, 2012

Olympic Fever

I don’t know about you, but we got into the Olympics around here. Well, the girls and I did anyway. I relished in the opportunity to show both Amelia and Annie some seriously kick-ass women. I looked up the gymnastics, soccer, volleyball, and swimming events with women and DVR’ed them to show the girls during the day. Having grown up an athlete, I know how truly valuable sports are for young girls and how important it is to feel strong and powerful as a female. I really appreciate the Olympics for providing the best kind of chance to show the girls how awesome strong girls are!
Amelia absolutely loved the gymnastics. Of course. I did too! We learned all about the girl gymnasts and called them by name. Just like the rest of the country, she was mesmerized by their talent.
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“She’s AMAZING.” Amelia whispered watching Gabby Douglas vault.
It was a solid 10 minutes that she watched the first gymnastics heat before she was inspired. The next thing I know, she’d put a blanket on the floor and was using it as her own vault. She’d run across the living room, put her hands down on the blanket, and . . . throw herself on the floor.
I really shouldn’t even try to explain it.

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Annie served the part as supportive sister, who’d clap when Amelia was done. Both hilarious and sweet. But not to be outdone, Annie wanted in on the action.

She has tricks too.
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 Golden.

50 Things About Annie at 12 Months


*Note: I started this right after Annie’s birthday and just now posting. Some of these things have changed and I’ve noted the updates below.

1. Though born into the 90th percentile for size, she is now in the 39th for weight (19 pounds, 1 ounce).
2. She is 29 inches long, ten inches longer than she was at birth. (43rd percentile)
3. She has a smile reserved just for mischief.
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4. She is a smart ass, already trying to get others to laugh.
5. She hates milk of any kind, in any form, at any temperature, with any flavoring added. Except breast milk. UPDATE: She likes Vanilla Almond Milk! Slowly mixing it with regular milk.
6. She’s still nursing. :/ UPDATE: She’s totally weaned! No issues whatsoever! :D
7. Annie sleeps with a glow worm given to me by a student the semester I was pregnant.
8. She does not like being changed.
9. She pulled herself into the tub, going over the edge head first. When I found her, she was sitting in the there smiling the above smile.
10. She tries to climb on and get into everything. (note the smile)
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11. She pulls on her hair when she’s tired.
12. When she’s pulling on her hair, she makes a distinct noise, “uhhhhhhhhhhhh.” She also makes this noise when she plays with anyone else’s hair. Pulling hair is the only time she makes this noise.
13. She says a few words, like hi, hey, Dada, and Mama. She also has a word for dog, naturally. When she says hi, it’s “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii” and “Heeeeyyyyyyyyyy”
14. She giggles when I make voices at story time.
15. When Annie gets excited, she squeals, gasps, and pants like a dog.
16. She loves to climb into her sister’s bed and to play in Amelia’s room. 
17. She is starting to play with a fork and spoon at meal time, pretending to eat with them.
18. She loves spicy foods.
19. She doesn’t love making signs with her hands to communicate, but it’s usually pretty obvious what she wants.
20. She has a goofy grin that she flashes just to be silly.
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21. She ditches her friends to get close to the camera. ha
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22. She has the same expression as her sister when people sing “Happy Birthday to her”
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23. When she’s tired, Annie puts her head on my shoulder and tucks her arms under her chest.
24. She loves to dance.
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25. She has 8 teeth.
26.  She loves, loves, loves blowing raspberries not just for fun but also in context when she dislikes something.
27. When she’s done eating, Annie very quietly holds her arm to her side and drops pieces of food to the floor. When you tell her to stop, she raises one eyebrow, smiles a tiny little grin . . . and drops it and starts giggling.
28. She is the fastest crawling baby I’ve ever seen.
29. She loves to be chased
30. She’s a good sleeper.
31. She is a trooper of troopers and can go longer past bedtime without melting down than . . . another little girl.
32. She hates shoes.
33. And refuses to have anything in her hair.
34. She walks.
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35. Amelia is her favorite person and Annie squeals and laughs at everything Amelia does.
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36. She cannot be trusted with goldfish because she’ll shovel ten in her mouth and try to keep them in her cheeks.
37. She mostly grunts and points when she wants to talk.
38. She runs, yelling “DADADADADA” when Justin gets home from work.
39. And only says “Mama” when she’s angry or upset, “MA-MMMAAAAAAAAAAA!”
40. Next to Amelia, Mollie and Luke are Annie’s favorites.
41. She sleeps either in fetal position or sprawled out on her back.
42. She has hardly any fear. And I’ve already caught her standing on chairs.
43. She does not love going to bed.
44. She thinks she’s totally charming.


45. Pancakes are her favorite.
46. She almost always insists on eating whatever is on my plate.
47. She is a complete smart-ass.
48. She’ll stop crying to giggle if you try to make her laugh.
49. She loves hugs and kisses.
50. She cries when we tell her No.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A year gone

When Amelia was a baby, I kept my eye on her first birthday like a sprinter eyes the finish line. It was always in my sight, always my goal. Make it through the first year. Get to the finish line. Keep a steady pace. Don’t. Stop. Running. The summer after Amelia’s first birthday was like one long, triumphant victory lap. From there forward, every time I’d see a mom or parents with a baby, I’d think to myself, “Haha SUCKER! My kid’s ONE. I made it to the other side. Alive, dammit!” And I’d pity them with their drooly, sleepless monster.

And then on July 12, there was Annie.

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And we began our love story.

That sounds silly or melodramatic I know. But only through Annie’s babyhood, did I begin to heal from Amelia’s. Annie slept 4 hours straight in the hospital and then for 9-hour blocks once we were home. She fell asleep willingly, easily. She nursed quickly, efficiently and smiled socially at 2 weeks. She cried in the arms of anyone else and settled happily with me—every single time. She’d nurse in bed with me in the pre-dawn hours and snuggle into my body and fall back asleep. For hours. She rolled over at two weeks (!!), sat up at 4.5 months, and took off on her hands and knees by 7 months. She took her first steps the day before her birthday. Everything on time. She turned away mashed and pureed baby foods in preference for adult food straight from Mama’s plate at 6 months. She stayed healthy and we only took her to the doctor ONE time for illness. She’s never taken medication, formula, or a special diet. Everything on time or ahead.

As a newborn, she’d cry every evening uncontrollably. I’d put her in my carrier and walk around the neighborhood with her on my chest. She’d be quiet by the time we got to the end of the driveway, watching the trees, and settling in to sleep by the end of the block. Yes, she cried, but it was predictable, and most shockingly for us, fixable too. Always fixable. Always knowing that I could soothe here was revelatory for me. After that newborn phase, she hardly cried ever and always because she was provoked and always fixable. I took her to Amelia’s gymnastics class every week from the time she was 10 weeks old and the other moms always remarked that they’d never heard her cry. She’d just sit in my lap, happy, laughing, playing. I never worried about taking her anywhere or being out past her nap or bed time because she didn't fall apart or meltdown. I could take her with me to coffee with a friend without sweating it a bit. She’d get tired and fall asleep in my arms, wake up, and smile contentedly in my lap until we left.

She only ever got up in the night once to nurse and then would sleep in. Even during the 3 am feeding, when I looked at her, she'd catch my eye and begin to smile and laugh, sending milk spraying and me scolding through a smile. She was just . . . happy. All of the time. Predictable and flexible, cuddly and loving. And with the best smile ever. Ever.

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She can be relied upon for a solid 2 naps a day and when she wakes up, she sits in bed gabbing and laughing until someone goes in to get her. Everyone who spends an hour with her falls in love. They say things like “SO sweet,” “melt your heart,” “easiest baby!” And I always have to chuckle because they’re talking about my baby. When her first tooth came in (on her 7 month-day!), she had a couple restless nights. And that’s it. Very little fanfare and then there were teeth. If a stranger catches her eye, she waves and smiles, her whole face exploding in happy-ness until they have no choice but to melt into a reel of silly faces and noises.

Rather than an a victorious yet treacherous obstacle course finish line, her birthday just kind of . . . arrived. Much to me own ignorance and denial. I still think of her as my little, teeny baby, even as I see her toddling around me. Even when I catch her playing in the toilet or having climbed into the bathtub, or in the dishwasher, I still think of her as the easiest baby ever and my sweet little angel.

Just as my love for Amelia was fierce and protective, heavy and rebellious because of her painful problems, my love for Annie is sweet and giggly, soft and enamored because of her mellow normalness. It’s only been through Annie’s first year that I have managed to grieve and reconcile Amelia’s first year. It is literally through mothering her that I have recovered. Having Annie has made me understand why people love babies. Sucking on her cheeks and getting huge, sloppy kisses have made me inclined to the drooly, raspberry blowing baby-folk. And now that she’s one, I shall look at people with tiny babies and think, ‘damn. I wish I had one too.’

 

Happy birthday sweet angel baby. You have been the apple to my pie, milk to my cookies, the Annie to my Amelia . . . 

Annie

and it is impossible for me to love you any more.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Go Fourth

Despite the fact that I can barely hold my eyes open for a minute, I have to mark the day. THE DAY. It’s the fourth anniversary of the day Amelia was born and the day I became a mom. Amelia’s fourth birthday. FOURTH BIRTHDAY! It’s kind of crazy really. Things have been so hectic that I haven’t had much chance to think about it much or figure out how I feel about my little baby girl being such a big kid. Since last Sunday alone, we’ve crammed about 6 months worth of illness, stress, work, and general busyness including but not limited to finishing up a rough semester AND leaving for a week long vacation the next day. Add sickness, birthday, and a nice root canal and you’ve got about half of the craziness of our week. Never mind the midnight pukefest the night before we left for vacation for Amelia, and um, the BABY that just adds to life’s insanity . . . but I digress.

Because it’s Amelia’s birthday! yay! My baby girl is just turning into such a big girl. In any case, it was a little unusual this year because we are actually out of town right now, on the real day. Even though she’s now 4 and in the height of birthday party appreciation, we figured a week at the beach is much better. Always.

It was a pretty big day. And even though we are away from home, we did our best to make it extra special.

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Complete with cupcake liner streamers. In addition to cheery decorations, there were also some presents waiting . . .

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Followed by a pancake breakfast, Annie’s nap, and then . . .

DSCN4338Beach Day! Amelia is a beach baby. That’s all there is to it. She’s been asking every second since an hour before we arrived to go to the beach and even on the shortest walks to the sand, she just kind of drifts . . . towards the water. It pulls her in. There is some kind of soulful connection she has with the ocean because she can’t stay away and it so clearly calls to her.

it was a fun afternoon ocean side. Amelia pretty much stayed in the water the whole time, save for a short lunch/sand-play break.

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Annie loved the beach too. Sister Love. Heart.

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Then we got ready for a pizza party with friends.

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Complete with wings and ribbons.

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Met our friends Megan, Molly, and Lola for pizza. Molly is Amelia’s dear friend and the two of them are quite the pair.

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Nice photo bomb, Annie!

Speaking of Annie, she LOVES birthday parties.

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After pizza, it was back to our beach house for cake!

What kind of cake, you ask?

Ice cream cone cupcakes! Too fun.

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Amelia’s quiet, excited smile as we sang.

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Cheers!

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Hand puppet ROAR!

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Busted! Annie eye-balling Amelia’s cupcake.

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Friends.

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Strong girls!

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Beautiful Baby  Girl.

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I’m so glad she was born. I am so glad she is exactly her. Because she is pretty amazing.

Happy Birthday Sweet Love. Thank you for making me a mama. Your mama. Because I’ve never loved a single thing more.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Shenanigans

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If you've ever wondered what it's like at our house, it's a lot of this.

In and Out

So I waited to post Annie’s 9 month pics until I had her stats from the doctor. The plan was to talk about how much she’s grown and I was going to plop down her weight in a glowing moment of breastfeeding triumph. And then I took her to the doctor today and the babychild has dropped down to the 25th percentile in weight (17 lbs 12 ozs) and 41st percentile (27.5”) height. . . what? WHAT? W H A T?

Okay, in the big scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. I know this. Just like the pedi said, she’s not skinny or underweight. I mean, she’s not a tiny baby or anything.

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I mean, she’s the picture of health. (And absolute adorable-ness, no?) I know that her weight and growth are not medical emergencies or any indication of failure on my part. I know that there are small babies. I know all that. I KNOW IT. But DANG. I thought Annie was going to be that chubbalicious baby. She was HUGE at birth and I so reveled in how big she was, just as I’d worried about how little Amelia was. (Interesting fact, Amelia was bigger at 9 mos than Annie) And now that I’m looking at the above picture (please try to look at without smiling—impossible), I can see that she is a little juicy nugget. . . but the confession is that I was totally disappointed. GAH. I feel like I feed her ALL THE TIME. I’ve finally been able to carve some freedom for myself by cutting out a couple nursing sessions now that she’s eating regular foods, but I’m going to have to add another back. I just don’t want to worry about her weight or worry about her losing weight. It makes sense that her weight has slowed down because she’s moving around so much and constantly in motion now that she crawls . . . but I certainly don’t want her to lost weight or drop off the chart.

Our little runt. . .

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  While I was taking these pictures, she (of course) started wriggling away . . .

DSCN4191And in just a tiny second, she was like this .

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I’m glad I had the camera—that was first time she’s done that! As you can tell, she was pretty proud of herself. Over the past month, she’s starting pushing herself to sitting position on her own. I walked into her room one morning to find her sitting up and screaming. She had no idea what to do with herself. As soon as I said, “Look at you!” and started clapping, she smiled and celebrated too.  Less than a week later, I found her standing in her crib! Also screaming then because she was stuck and really didn’t know what to do with herself. lol. Down her crib mattress went to the lower level seeing as her progress appears to come quickly. I haven’t found her standing up again, but she is definitely pulling up on things. When I stand her up in the crib, it’s complete celebration on her part.

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Seriously. She celebrates and celebrates.

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Sometimes she celebrates so much that she slaps the crib rail and loses her balance. lol

All the same, standing on her own and against everything she grabs is just around the corner. Sitting still in mama’s lap is over and chasing the dogs, her sister, and toys is her thing. The big question for me these days is how soon will she walk? With Amelia, every milestone came on slowly and with much fanfare. Annie, on the other hand, just kind of does things and keeps going. There’s not a lot of warning with her progressions. Will she walk before her birthday?? I wonder.

At 9 months old, Annie is a little character. Probably the biggest part of her personality is how much she laughs. The kid thinks everything is just HILARIOUS. And everything her SISTER does is downright criminal in its humor. All you have to do is raise your eyebrows at Annie and she giggles. Or have Amelia say/do just about anything, and she’s in stitches. She finds happiness in the little things and shows her excitement readily. For example, when she’s eating something that she loves, she celebrates after every bite. She is not reserved with her happiness at all and I love that. I LOVE that. It’s easy to make Annie happy and excited and that is fabulous. It never get old, watching her bounce in her highchair every time she gets a graham cracker.

The second probably most prevalent part of Annie’s personality is her attachment to the Mama. That’s me! ha. This babygirl loves her mama. LOVES her mama. Without exaggeration, I can tell you that when I return home from working for a few hours, I open the door, and Annie bursts into tears. Every. Time. When I run to the bathroom to pee and change out of my work clothes (read: change out of my exhausted bra), she bawls huge, drippy tears. I have to literally run and change and run back to her and scoop her up. And then she’s quiet and smiling. Even with her dad whom she adores she gets cranky for mommy. And then once in my lap, quiet and happy. I know babies like that can be annoying to everyone else because nobody likes the baby who cries when anybody-but-mom holds them, but I’m mostly okay with it. :) I mean, there’s nothing wrong with a baby loving her mama, is there? *snicker*  In the morning (usually around 530), I bring her into bed with me to nurse and sometimes she just curls up against me and falls back asleep. With her mama. And even though I can never go back to sleep when she’s in bed with me, I relish the warmth of her little body against me and the sound of her breathing against my chest and I revel in the fact that we fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. It’s pretty obvious that we are totally smitten with each other. And I have no plans for a change.

I have other pictures to post too, but it’s late and heaven knows my little alarm clock doesn’t really care if I go to bed late or early, if it’s Monday or Saturday. She’s consistent like that.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012