May 12, 2016

Arwen Mae - 11 Months


What a big month! You have gotten even more comfortable pulling yourself up and you are now letting go and standing for a while. You can also bend down and pick something up while still holding on to furniture. You also can get down from standing much more gracefully. 
This is the first toy you really snuggled. I'm pretty convinced you only snuggle toys because I make such a big deal out of it, but it is just so cute! This little seahorse's belly lights up and plays soothing music. 

You love being silly. If anyone laughs, you laugh right along too. We were eating at a restaurant and someone sitting next to us started laughing and so did you! 

A typical day - you in your high chair, smiling at us, food all over your face. You have gotten a lot better at eating and you loooove string cheese (in small bits of course). For everything else, when you are tired of it, you will drop it on the floor for Moose to eat. With string cheese, if you lose a piece, you will search for it! 

Snippets from our Washington DC trip. It was your first plane ride and you did well considering we were stuck in the plane waiting to take off for an hour. On the flight back home, we tried to get in an earlier flight, but that early flight was cancelled, so we ended up on a 9pm flight. You were super good for that as you took a bottle and fell asleep. I got cuddles, you got sleep. Win.Win :)

I can't believe how big you are getting. You are truly turning into a toddler and I'm not going to lie, I do miss my squishy baby. I so wish I could go back in time (but with less hormones, please) and hold you, sleeping, on my chest. Those first few months are just so rough, but full of so many incredible moments/memories. This age, though, this age is so fun and amazing and all the things I thought about being a mother. I hope you know, Arwen Mae, you are always loved. 

And a GIF for your viewing pleasure: 
video

April 28, 2016

This is why I document

This article hit me right in the heart. So true. [Copying in case the link breaks at some point]

Last night, I sat down to do something I get to about once every six weeks. It was a journal entry for my 8-month-old daughter. I bought the leather-bound beaut when she was about 8 weeks old, didn’t write my first entry in it until 12 weeks, and it’s been sporadic. But it’s very special to me. Some of the pages reveal dried up tears from the early days when I would wax poetic about life and love to her.
Every entry starts the same. A brief rundown of what she’s up to, some stats on her size, sleep, and eating patterns. And then… the tears. “I want you to know that no matter what you do, whom you love, where you go, I will always have your back.” Or these words I almost choked while writing last night: “I am always your mom first, before I am anything else. You will be many things before my daughter — you will have days, weeks, stretches of time where you want and need to push my aside. But darling girl, I will wait.”
Inevitably, I always end up in tears by the end of the entries and I think that’s okay. I also rarely get a chance to put pen to paper and that’s also okay. Because as a mom, I’m busy. My plate is full. But even in the stress, among the piles of dishes and laundry, the unmet deadlines I have to cram in after she’s in bed and my husband is tucked in to a deep slumber, it’s all okay. Because now I’m a mommy. And my heart is so full.
In the early days, I blamed the hormones. But the more I get to know my daughter, the weepier I become about her. First time she slept through the night? Amazing. And sad. First time I felt teeth cutting through her gums? Relief. And sadness. Crawling, and now standing up on her own… I am beaming through the tears. Last weekend my husband and I realized — to his delight and my terror — that we have to start planning her first birthday.
And so it continues. On toward the next new development with a heart that is so overflowing, it sometimes feels heavy. That’s the best way to describe it. Yes, there are hard days and stressful moments. But the essence of motherhood is what keeps me going through it all. What keeps me waking up and going to bed with a grateful spirit. Because now that I’m a mommy, I’m the sappiest, most sentimental person I know.
I love the way she waves at me (and the world), massive eyes full and bright and seeking. I confess I hold her too long after she’s fallen asleep in my arms. In the kitchen, my husband is cooking dinner and I should go. But I need five more minutes, okay, make that six. Or ten. To hold her and be still with her, watch the rising and falling of her chest.
I feel guilty when I’m taken away from her, whether it’s to work or do something for myself. Not guilty because she’s spending time with her father, a family member, or a trusted sitter. Guilty because within moments of the sweet release, my unfettered feet hitting the pavement, the warm sun on my face and my arms free to carry a purse, or a coffee, instead of a child, it hits me. Something’s missing.
I confess I spend too much money on her. Buying things she doesn’t understand or appreciate because we can’t yet communicate about any material possessions she might desire. I’ll have to curb the spending when she’s older, and no, she doesn’t need yet another hair bow or pair of fancy shoes, or noise-making toy. But I splurge from the corners of my wallet every extra ounce I can squeeze out. Because I want her to have things that she can look back on and remember with the same kind of sentimentalism I will.
I confess to putting her before you. Yes, that’s right, if you are reading this, my daughter comes before you. I will whip a boob out in public to feed her and I don’t care what you think about it. I will stop what I’m doing to care for her even if that means your text messages go unanswered for hours or days. I will cancel our plans if her nap or mood doesn’t allow it. Does that mean it’ll always be this way? Of course not, she’s a baby. But! When her needs become less permeating and more spread out, it will still be true in a way. Because when she’s 13 and she gets her period on her skirt at school, I will drop everything to figure out a solution for her. And ditto when she’s 22 and gets evicted because her roommate forgot to pay the rent. And if she has her own children someday, forget it. I’ll be there every step of the way.
You see, now that I’m her mother, I’m a lovesick, pathetic creature. I’m strong, smart, and capable in the real world. But for her, I’m just melted wax. The thought of her, now sleeping quietly in the next room, fills my hurt to bursting. I confess it’s just too much. I’ll keep writing in that journal, when I’m not bent over my computer working, or my kitchen sink doing her dishes, or the side of the tub fishing out her precious toys. When I get the fleeting moments to jot down how I feel about her, I’ll do it. So she’ll know. But I’ll never forget. When I’m old and gray and looking back on life, I’d rather have the memories to show for it, than nothing at all. 
The thought that she’ll one day pick up and leave me reduces me to tears. Yes, there are a few rolling down my cheeks right now. But even if there was only one letter, not a journal full, I’d just want her to remember this: “…no matter what you do, whom you love, where you go, I will always have your back.” And I will always, always love her. More than anyone else ever could.
Read more: Confessions of a Sentimental, Sappy Mom http://www.momtastic.com/parenting/552187-confessions-sentimental-sappy-mom/#ixzz47Aa4qLkv 
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April 10, 2016

Arwen Mae - Ten Months

Last month, it was a little difficult to come up with some developments and new things that you did, but apparently you were just going through a growth spurt because you learned SO many new things this month! In fact, one day, I looked down and you were just crawling! I called to daddy and we just watched in amazement as you just made your way across the room. I wonder if you knew how to crawl this whole time, but was just waiting for the right moment. 

We'll start with the sad news of the month. You had your first ear infection. You had a cold and that morning, you woke up from a nap and just wouldn't stop screaming. We called urgent care, but the next available appointment wasn't for another 1.5 hours, so we walked around the house for that 1.5 hour timeframe. Note, you are about 25 pounds. This picture was right before we left. 



As mentioned, you pull up on everything! You constantly go between Moose's chair, to the window, to the couch, to Moose's crate. We are certainly chasing you around now and once you start walking, we will really be chasing you! Also, you have enough hair for the cutest ponytail/spout on the top of your head! 


It was your first Easter! We went to Church, then Gram W., then Uncle G & Aunt M's house. You did really well and loved showing off your dress. I mean... I loved showing off your beautiful dress. 



I also celebrated my first birthday as a mother! Is that a milestone? We celebrated by going to The Butterfly Place with Aunt K & Uncle B and your cousin. It was really warm, but very cool! You loved watching the butterflies zoom about. I loved trying to take pictures of the butterflies zooming about ;) It was really wonderful to spend the day with you and I hope to make that a tradition - Mommy and Arwen day. 

Arwen, this stage is amazing. You learn new things every day and you are developing SUCH a little personality. One day you came home and all of a sudden you would scrunch your nose and blow out/in through your nose and smile (I should get a video!) and although I probably shouldn't encourage it, I joined in. It was just too cute! You are getting into that stage where if we laugh, you laugh and if you do something that makes us laugh, you will do it over and over. 

This stage is also terrifying because you fall all the time! Even if I am right there, you sometimes just fall right over and I feel so bad! I know, you'll get bumps and bruises and I can't keep you in bubble wrap, but just know that when you get that bump or bruise, I'll be here to wipe away the tears and distract you. Usually with food. 


A little behind the scenes for you! Now that you move all over the place, I can't do these alone! Also, we got new couches. 

March 5, 2016

Arwen Mae - Nine Months

It was nearly impossible to get you to look at me and make sure you weren't going to fall off the couch, so this picture was the best I was going to get this month. Photographer mommy will just have to deal with it.

Many fun and exciting firsts this month! You went sledding and absolutely loooooved it. We got a video, but I just haven't been able to find time to edit it. I will post it when I can, but here is an action shot in your sled. Daddy was a trooper pulling you all around the yard!

It was your first Valentine's Day and we had a mini photo shoot! We actually had two - one with your cousin as it was around her first birthday. You two are going to have so much fun growing up together. I am so glad you will have a cousin friend. 
When trying to remember all the things you did, I forgot to mention in your little picture update that we found you love balloons. You will hold them, look at them, bounce them, let go and watch them. We'll have to make sure you have some for your birthday, which is coming up entirely TOO SOON. 

You also love to read books. It quiets you down most of the time and you are now fully invested in flipping pages for us. Sometimes too much excitement and you just want to turn all of the pages! As I mentioned in your photo update, you love to go into carts. You just kick your legs and look around. 


 Arwen, I love these moments and I am trying to treasure them and soak them in as much as I can. I know I won't always be able to say or do things that will make you laugh. In fact, I'm sure I'll get an "Oh Mom, stop embarrassing me" one of these days, so for now, I will tickle your cute, round belly and say things like "Are you eating your sock?!" with an incredulous tone and dance around singing the I've-got-a-naked-baby song just because these little things won't last. I'll always be your Momma and I'll always be there for you and I really hope that I will at least be able to lessen the pain of future heartaches. I live for your smiles and giggles baby girl. 


February 7, 2016

Arwen Mae - Eight Months


Yes, it is true. You say Dadada much much more than anything else. Here is proof. (Note that I stopped to film this, no car accidents here!) 

As for movement, you get up on your hands and knees and move forward mostly. You like to 'crawl' on the couch and your crib, not so much on the floor. When you are 'crawling', you put your face into the ground, push your butt in the air and move forward. One day I put you down in front of the stove to make you a bottle and I looked down and you were closer to the stove! You got so excited to see your reflection, you butt scooted your way towards the "baby in the stove". More proof.

The most exciting thing that has happened this month is your first real snow! You weren't too pleased, but you liked it better when we took you out later this month. You didn't mind the snow falling on your head and daddy took you sledding (but that's for next month's recap ;) ).

The least exciting part of this month was your first fever!! Daddy and mama were sick first and we knew you were getting the same thing as you were super cuddly. As it got later, your cheeks turned bright red like a clown and you started to get super fussy. We checked your temp and it was 101.7 and called the doctor. Just FYI - babies start getting fussy and uncomfortable once they hit 101/101.5. At least, that is what our pediatrician said. It was, as others have told me, so cute, but so sad at the same time. 

Daddy and I look at each other pretty much every day in disbelief of how big you are. You, my munchkin, my chickadee, my chicken, my baby girl are so incredibly special and so SO loved. 


January 3, 2016

Arwen Mae - Seven Months

One of your most exciting achievements this month is how much you bounce! Now, when you get excited you bounce up and down, whether you are standing or sitting. It is absolutely adorable. You are almost ready to crawl. We put you in bed on your back towards the end of the crib and when we find you in the morning, you are at the top of your crib on your belly. So, you may be crawling, but we haven't seen it officially.  

This month was super busy as it was your first Christmas! It was a wonderful, busy, overwhelming day for everyone! Both sides of the family came over (in shifts) to our house and we enjoyed so much family time. Uncle Jon was able to come out and was greatly surprised by how big you had gotten! I can hardly believe it either. 

Your hair is growing so much, so fast! The back of your head is starting to grow even more now that you can sit up by yourself. In some lights it is strawberry blonde. I'm excited to see whether it is curly or straight and what color it ends up being. 


You also love to pat things. You learned how to hit your piano on your bouncer. You also love to pat your high chair tray when you have food all over your hands. It splashes everywhere, but makes you so happy. You are getting much better at eating and chewing. You sometimes open your mouth and just chew and swallow, but most times you reach for the spoon and put it in your mouth with a little help from mom. We just found that you loooove pumpkin. You finished those jars of baby food fast! 



I love these faces you made. You are so silly and funny and such a perfect fit for our family. You love to be tickled, turned upside down, and tossed into the air. You know mommy and daddy are silly already and love when we are super silly. Oh sweet girl, you are growing so fast. 

January 1, 2016

Daily Photo Project 2016


I am going to attempt to take and/or edit pictures once a day for the whole (leap) year! I tried this once before and it fizzled out, but I am hoping with my two new favorite, ever-evolving subjects, I might make it longer this year. Click here (same link as above) to view the gallery! This link will also be located on the sidebar to the right of my page.



2016 is bound to be full of firsts with Arwen! We already know she's going to take her first steps this year as well as her first birthday. Her first plane ride will definitely be this year too! I can't wait to photograph some memories this year.

Also, new year, new design! Hope you like it! And yes, I am looking for a new banner for the blog title. I plan on taking a good picture of ice cream sometime this year :)