Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Take Two

Jess and Eric arrived in town today, so we had Christmas on Drew's side of the family right away.  Basically we all hung out and ate and opened gifts and had a great time.  So, this is just going to be a big photo dump for memories.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Annelise's First Christmas

We decided to celebrate our family Christmas on Christmas Eve this year since Drew has to work Christmas Day.  And, Annelise doesn't understand the whole Santa thing and that he's supposed to come Christmas Day yet.  Annelise must have been a good girl because Santa brought her a pretty neat gift.
I ordered this activity cube a few months ago and have been so excited to give it to her!  She's still warming up to it, but I really think that she's going to like it.

After we let her play with the cube for a little bit, we opened her stocking.
She got a few things for the bath tub, and a bunch of books.  After her stocking, we opened up gifts and then took a few more pictures.
We always have the family party for my side of the family on Christmas Eve.  Annelise was a little shy at first, but eventually opened up and explored some.
"Can I have some of that, Auntie"
We've had such a great day and I'm really looking forward to a couple years from now when Annelise understands what Christmas means and is excited about it.  Of course, Jesus is the reason for the season!  I already have plans to buy her a cute nativity scene for next year!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tragedy at Sandy Hook

Tonight, my heart is heavy.  It's so hard to form words for how I feel after the events that have transpired today.  How do you talk about a classroom of kindergartners that had their lives ripped from them?  How do you talk about the adults in that school that lost their lives trying to protect young ones?  How do you talk about all the grieving that is being done in the town of Newtown, Connecticut?

I didn't learn about the shooting until around noon today.  I instantly turned on the news and stayed glued to it for most of the day.  I watched Annelise playing on the floor and cried.  Tears flowed from my eyes as I imagined the pain that those families must be feeling.  But, I can't imagine.  I can't imagine the pain of losing my child.  I can't imagine sending my child to school only to learn that I would never see them again.

Before Drew and I had Annelise, I would often question my decision to have kids.  I asked Drew on multiple occasions if it was fair to bring children into the crazy, messed up world that we live in.  It hurt me to think that my children would grow up with events like what happened today at Sandy Hook Elementary going on around them.  It hurts me to think that, one day, my child could be involved in a senseless act of violence.  As a parent, I'm supposed to protect my child.  I'm supposed to shield her and keep her safe.  How can I do that if she's not even safe at school?

My prayers go out to the people of Newtown, and all of those affected by this hateful crime.  My prayers go out to all of those who are forced to remember other crimes of the past.  Most importantly, my prayers go out to those who lost their lives today.  I pray for healing, not only for the victim's families, but healing for those who could commit crimes like these in the future.  We need these tragedies to end.  We need peace.  We need love.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Eight Months

Dear Annelise,

The growing and changing that you have done this month just astonishes me!  This has been such a big month for you.  I keep going back and forth between wanting to speed everything up, and wanting to slow everything down.

You had your first Presidential election this month.  Mommy and Daddy went and voted and you just looked around at everything.  We got you a sticker, but you much preferred to pick at mine.

We've had some relatively warm days here this month, and one day I decided that I needed to take you to the park to swing on a swing before winter came.  I put you in the stroller and brought Maya and we walked to the little playground by our house.  I put you in the swing and I could tell that you were a little hesitant about it at first.  After you realized what was happening, you loved it!!!  It was windy on the day we went, and you kept trying to stick your tongue out and "catch" the wind.  You were smiling and giggling up a storm.  Now, I'm even more anxious for spring to get here so that we can go back to the park.
Solids are going very well.  You love to eat Puffs and your pincher grasp has gotten very good.  You really have liked everything we've given you, and you are so eager to eat.  I can't sit down and eat anything without you trying to make a grab for it.

You went on your first road trip/vacation this month.  We drove down to Georgia to visit Uncle Eric, Aunt Jessica, and Wes for Thanksgiving.  Mommy and Daddy decided to drive overnight and we hoped that you would sleep all night.  You did amazing!  You fell asleep about five minutes into the trip and slept until we had to stop and get gas.  You ate, played for about half an hour, then fell back to sleep until we got to Uncle Eric and Aunt Jessica's house.  Amazing!!  The trip back home went just as well.  You had a great time while we were there and loved watching Emma and Wesley play.  Your sleep regressed a bit, but that's to be expected.

Your sleep is definitely improving!  I am so proud of you because you weaned yourself from the swaddle.  I was so worried that putting you to bed without being swaddled would be a nightmare, but since you've become mobile, you prefer to sleep without it.  You like to be able to roll and move around.  The minute I put you down to bed, you roll onto your side.  You usually spend most of the night, or naps, sleeping on your belly.  I think that all of your new sleep positions are absolutely adorable!
You are now officially a mobile baby!!  You roll from belly to back, and back to belly now.  You can put yourself into a sitting position from a laying position.  And . . . you crawled for the first time while we were in Georgia for Thanksgiving!  You also started pulling up on anything you can get your hands on.  I have been waiting for you to crawl for two months now and I love watching you move around.  It is so amazing how you get better and better at it everyday.  Your favorite thing is to crawl over to the entertainment center and spin the volume knob on the receiver.  We'll be getting a new entertainment center soon that has some doors on it so that you can't get to the buttons.  Sorry!  You even know that you aren't supposed to play with it.  When you're crawling over there, you put your head down in a determined little crawl and practically sprint there.  Once you get there, you pull up onto your knees and then start spinning the knob.  When I come over, you look at me and grin.  It's a good thing you're so darn cute!

I was so surprised that you clapped for the first time a few days ago.  I don't really clap that often around you and you all of a sudden did it.  You've been giving high fives for a little bit now.  Now, you clap often when you want us to be proud of you for something, usually after you crawl a little ways.

Still no teeth!  You chew on things a lot, but I don't feel or see anything on your gums.  I think that your teeth might be starting to move around towards the surface some because you've been whiny and clingy some days.  That's not very typical of you.
I haven't really talked about it too much, but we're still breastfeeding very well.  I never thought that I would enjoy breastfeeding as much as I do.  I love that time that we get to spend together.  I feel so close and connected to you, and I feel my heart just swell with love when we're snuggling as you nurse.    You have started to tug at my shirt and put your head on my chest if you want to nurse.  I think it's adorable.  I am so, so thankful that breastfeeding has gone as well as it has with you.

I just transitioned you to 12 month clothing, but they are still a little big on you.  You are still wearing a size 3 diaper.  I'm assuming that you are around 18 pounds.  I look at you and can't believe how big you've gotten, but you still look so tiny to me when you stand up.

Every day, I don't think it's possible for me to love you more than I do, but then tomorrow comes and I love you even more.  I want nothing but the best for you.

Love you always,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving in Georgia

I had every intention of blogging during our trip to Georgia, but things just got busy and I didn't.  So, I'll just recap the trip and throw in a few pictures.

Saturday Evening/Sunday
I had been so nervous for this road trip for weeks. I really had no idea how Annelise would do traveling that far in the car. We decided to leave when Drew got home from work and drive overnight. I hoped that she would sleep all night, making every one's travels much easier.

When Drew got home from work, we packed up the car and headed out. We got on the road right before 8 PM. About five minutes down the road, Annelise was sound asleep. Drew started off driving and I napped off and on. We made it to Metropolis before we needed gas. And boy, did we need gas. I'm pretty sure our car was running on fumes at that point.

Annelise woke up while we were getting gas, so I feed her a bottle, she played in her car seat for about half an hour, then fell back to sleep again.

Drew made it to just past Nashville, about 4 AM before he got tired and needed to switch. That means that I drove through the mountains. That's a little scary doing that for the first time at night and while tired.

We made it to Jess and Eric's house shortly after 8 AM, which means we got down there in just over 11 hours. Not too shabby!! And, Annelise slept practically the whole time!

We spent the majority of the day hanging out around the house and visiting. We went to dinner at Uncle Maddio's. It's a pizza restaurant that has a bunch of specialty pizzas. Drew had a steak and blue cheese pizza, and I had a turkey panini. After dinner, we went grocery shopping for the week.

Eric had to work, and Jess had a dentist appointment and some other things to take care of, so Drew and I made plans to go visit with some friends of ours.  Ryan and Rachel used to live near us, but moved down to Georgia a couple of years ago to be near her family.  We went over to their house for lunch and to visit.  Jackson, their son, is seriously adorable!  He loved Annelise and kept wanting to bring her toys.  He really wanted to hold her too.  So sweet!
Rachel sells Scentsy, which I really didn't know much about, so she started showing us some stuff and giving us her little sales pitch.  During this time, Annelise started to get fussy and I thought she was just tired and ready for a nap.  So, I tried to snuggle and rock her in the hopes of putting her to sleep.  I was sitting on their couch and Annelise threw up all over me.  I mean, she really threw up.  My child has never puked like that.  It was all over her, me, their couch, their floor.  I felt awful!  And I looked and smelled pretty awful too.  I always have an extra outfit packed for Annelise, but Rachel had to give me some clothes to change into.  I was so embarrassed.  She acted fine afterwards and didn't seem off at all after that.  Weird!

After we visited with them for a while, we went back to Jess and Eric's and ordered chinese food for dinner.

Eric had to work at home and Jess and I went and did some shopping.  They have a consignment shop near them, Once Upon A Child, that has a TON of clothes, especially girl clothes.  I've been waiting to get Annelise's 12 month sized wardrobe until we went down there because I knew that I could get a ton of clothes for very little.  Jess and I had a ball picking out clothes for her.  I managed to get 29 items and paid a little over $150.  I seriously love everything we got for her, and some of the stuff still had the original tags on it.

Drew, Jen, and Emma arrived that night from North Carolina and we visited for a little bit before all heading to bed.  Emma has gotten so big!  It's crazy how much these kids grow in between times seeing them.

Jess asked me to take some family photos for them for their Christmas cards, so we all went to Stone Mountain.  We went to a couple of different spots to take pictures, then went inside to take advantage of some of the stuff that is offered there.  By the time we went into the attraction part of it, it was starting to get dark.  They did a lighted parade, which was neat to see.  We took the train around the mountain, but since it was dark you couldn't see it anything, which made it pretty lame.  We stopped at a place called Spiced Right that my friend Whitney recommended.  Unfortunately, by the time we got there, they were out of ribs, brisket, and some sides.  It's hard to judge a BBQ place that is out of some of the main staples of BBQ.  What we had was pretty good though.

Ahhhhh, Thanksgiving.  We decided to eat more towards lunch because then all the kids could participate.  That was all fine and dandy except that my child would not take a morning nap and then was cranky all morning.  I finally got her to sleep, and then the food was ready.  I was so bummed that Annelise missed out eating her first Thanksgiving meal.  I seriously had to fight back tears.  I know that she won't remember it, but I want the memories and pictures for me and to show her when she gets older.

After she woke up, I put her in her special Thanksgiving outfit and took a bunch of pictures.
The onesie basically says it all.  I am so thankful for my precious little girl.  God has blessed us so much with the gift of her.

Jess wanted to get one of Wes's Christmas presents that was a Black Friday special at Walmart.  So, Jess, Jen, and I went to Walmart around 7 to get ready for the sale that started at 8.  I've never been Black Friday shopping.  Before Drew and I got married, I worked in retail and always had to work that morning, and last year I was pregnant and tired.  I was amazed at how psychotic people get about it!  Jess got the present she was looking for and we were home in record time.  Drew and Drew went to Dick's at midnight to get some ammo to go shooting the next day.  And my Drew got a new pair of tennis shoes.

The guys woke up bright and early and went shooting.  Earlier in the week, Jess made a cute fleece blanket for Wes for a Christmas present and I really wanted to make one for Annelise too.  So, Jess and I left all the kids with Jen and went to JoAnn's to get the fleece.  We found some super cute patterns, stood in the fabric cut line forever, and then came home.  I made one blanket that night and it came out really cute.

Drew, Jen, and Emma went to visit some of her family for the day.  I made the other blanket while they were gone.  We all didn't really do much and just hung and visited.

Drew, Jen, and Emma left late morning to go visit some more family and head home.  Drew and I took our time getting packed up and ready to leave.  Eric and Jess bought a new dishwasher, and after a huge fiasco of getting it delivered, it finally arrived and Drew helped Eric install it.  We got on the road around 3 PM to go visit a friend of mine in Knoxville.  I'll save that visit for another post.

The drive back home was pretty uneventful, and we were so happy to back home.  Traveling with a baby is hard work and I think that we were all glad to be able to get back into our routine.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Oh Mr. Sandman

While I was pregnant, I'm pretty sure that I prayed everyday that I would get a good sleeper.  I mean, I really, really prayed that my baby would sleep and wouldn't fight me about it.  My prayers weren't exactly answered the way that I would have liked them to be, but Annelise isn't too terrible and she's getting better.  Sometimes.

When we first brought Annelise home, she slept next to our bed in her Rock N Play.  She loved it, she slept well, and us parents were pretty happy.  When she turned four months, I knew that it was time to start working on transitioning to her room and to her crib.  And this is where I blame every single one of my parent friends for not knocking some sense into me.  Why didn't anybody tell me what a bitch transitioning to the crib is?  Huh???  Why didn't anybody tell me that I should work hard on having her sleep in her crib from day one?  Huh???  I mean, I'm not saying that I would have listened, and that she would have been in her crib full time from the start, but a little warning might have been nice y'all!

But, Drew and I trudged on.  We managed to get her sleeping in her room in her Rock N Play.  That was actually pretty easy.  Then, I worked on transitioning to her crib for naps.  That was a challenge, but we (read - I) did it.  Then, came nights in her crib.  O.M.G!  That has been a battle.  She still doesn't sleep all night every night, but we're getting better.  We had to trial and error a bunch of different things to figure out what would work.  We eventually landed on swaddling and a sound machine as the magic combination.

Now, we're working on breaking her of the swaddle, and putting herself back to sleep.  Now that she's starting to become more mobile, and her hands are out of the swaddle, she's starting to sleep in some of the cutest positions.  I seriously have been waiting for this time!  I love when babies sleep in cute ways. I mean, really love it!
Here you can just barely see the bottom half of her.  I'm pretty sure her head must have been right up against the rails.  Not sure how that is comfortable, but she slept like that.
As soon as I lay her in her crib, she turns on her side, and then later, she'll roll onto her belly.  I'd also like to point out that my child thinks she's pretty slick.  In the 7 1/2 months that she has been alive, she has never once rolled from her back to her belly.  I know that that is a pretty tough task because she has to use a lot of effort and momentum to swing herself over, and I never really pushed it too hard.  The first time she rolled from back to belly, was in her crib.  Drew watched it on the monitor.  She also did it a bunch of times afterwards, but only ever in her crib.  Silly girl would never do it while I was watching her.  She finally did last night for me.  She'll push up on her knees in her crib too.  If she crawls for the first time in her crib and I have to watch it over the monitor, I might just be a little bitter about that.  Girl just needs to crawl for me!

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Today was probably the last warm day until next year.  It got into the mid-60s, and I couldn't let today go by without taking Annelise outside one more time.  I packed her up in the stroller, put Maya on her leash, and we set off to the park.

Annelise got to swing on a swing for the first time today, and she had a great time!  She was all smiles and was giggling like crazy.
It was pretty windy while we were there, and she tried to catch the wind with her tongue.  So cute!
I can't wait until spring is here again.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Seven Months

Dear Annelise,

We have had so much fun this month!  You are blossoming into this smart, funny, affectionate, adorable little girl.  I get so excited to wake up every day with you because I never know what new thing you're going to do.

Currently, I'm waiting for you to crawl.  You have been pushing up on your knees for a whole month, and I was so sure that you'd be crawling by now.  Nope, not yet!  I can tell that you want to; I see your little brain thinking about and trying to figure it out when you've pushed up on your knees.  You get so frustrated because you want to move, but can't yet.  You are rolling from your belly to your back a lot more, but still not rolling from your back to your belly.  Once you are on your back, you do a little "baby crunch" and wait for me to pull you up.  You get so mad if I don't pull you up fast enough.  I know that you will be so much happier when you figure out how to make these movements on your own.

You have really started to enjoy sitting on the floor on your blanket and playing with your toys.  I used to pull out three or four toys, which I rotated around, and let you play with those, but one day, I pulled those out and then left your toy bin on the floor with you.  I played with you for a while, but then went in the kitchen for a minute.  When I came back, you had dumped your toy bin over and were digging around in it.  So, ever since then I've just put your toy bin on the floor and dumped it on its side for you.  You really like being able to dig through it and pick out the toys that you want to play with.
Well, a monthly letter can't go by without me talking about your sleep.  Little lady, I really do think that you're out to kill me some nights.  Thankfully, you are now sleeping in your crib all the time.  However, you refuse to sleep through the night.  I know that you can because you used to do it.  So, why won't you sleep through the night anymore?  What happened to my sweet baby who slept all night?  Naps are still going well.  Occasionally there will be a small hiccup, but you usually get right back on track.  Daddy and I are working so hard on getting you to sleep well at night.  We've started putting you to bed at 7 PM and we've noticed a small difference in the earlier bedtime.  As of right now, Dad is in charge of bedtime.  He changes you, puts your jammies on, and then sits in your chair with you and lets you drink your bottle.  Once you are finished with your bottle, he swaddles you up and rocks you to sleep.  We've decided that he is going to try to put you back to sleep when you wake up in the middle of the night.  I think that seeing me gets you more worked up and harder to put back to sleep.  On the nights that Dad came in, you fell asleep easier and faster.  So far it's been going better.  We just need to teach you how to put yourself to sleep.  I know that you can, but we need to teach you to do it consistently.

The most exciting thing that has happened this month is that you've started eating solids.  You have had pickle, lemon, avocado, cucumber, zucchini, banana, raspberries, chicken, mashed potatoes, green apple, pancakes, peaches, plums, green beans, carrots, and pork.  The only things that you didn't really like were avocado and raspberries.  I think that the avocado was too mushy and the raspberries were too citrus-y for you.  Other than that, you LOVE being able to eat.  If I sit down to eat something, you always want some.  You act like a little bird opening your mouth wide for me to put something in it.  If I'm eating a sandwich, I'll pull off little pieces of my bread and give it to you.  I've started giving you puffs and you do the bird mouth with those.  You even make an "mmmm" sound!  So cute!  Daddy gets very anxious when you eat with us.  Sometimes you bite off more than you can handle and you gag on it.  Dad freaks out!  He gets so worried that you're going to choke.  I've had to explain to him that gagging is normal and that you're ok.  It's cute how he worries so much.  We both love you so much and don't want anything to happen to you.

I love how excited you get when Dad comes home from work.  When you see him, you start smiling and scrunching your nose and kicking your legs.  You love him so much.  I know that it's only a matter of time before you are glued to his side when he comes home.
You have become attached to your pacifier.  You can go without it, but you do like having it.  I miss being able to hear you chatter as often, so I try to pull it out if I can.  You go to sleep with it, but spit it out during your time sleeping.  You have gotten very good with playing with it in your hands, chewing on it, and putting it back in your mouth.

You love it when I toss you in the air.  Lately, I've even added a spin to it and you love that even more. Dad will balance you on his hand in the air and you get the biggest smile on your face.  We've started singing the "Hokey Pokey" song to you as we dress you or put you in your sleep sack.  You grin when we shake your body to it.  You also "dance" by rocking your upper body from side to side.  When we notice you doing that, we sing, "Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, yeah"  You smile at that too!

The biggest sound that you make is still some variation of "mom".  You'll say "ma", "mom", "mama".  Sometimes you'll say "na" or "da".  It's still just a lot of shrieks and deep "monster sounds" as I call them.

You are wearing 6-9 months clothes and a size 3 diaper.  Occasionally, I'll put you in a 12 month outfit.  You'll be transitioning to those soon.  My guess is that you weigh slightly more than 17 pounds.

I love you so much!  You are so much fun to be with, and everyday is a new adventure.  There have been challenges, but everything is worth it for you.  I give everything to you so that I can see your beautiful smile.  Nothing makes me happier than when you grin at me!

Love you always,

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Any holiday as a first time mom is a big deal, and Halloween is no different.  I've had Annelise's costume stashed in her closet for a month now, and she finally got to wear it today.  I didn't want to go too crazy because she is still young, and we planned on just staying at home.  But, I couldn't let the day go by without dressing her up and taking scads of pictures.  May I present to you, my cute little dino!
After we took a bunch of pictures outside, the trick-or-treaters started showing up, so we came back in the house to hand out candy.  Annelise just sat by the door and watched.
She was over the hat about two seconds after I plopped it on her head.  She was gracious enough to let me get a few pictures of it though.

The little dino feet slippers were the best part of the costume to me.  Adorable!!

We have a ton of candy left over!  I really anticipated that we would have a lot more trick-or-treaters than we did.  Guess we'll be eating leftover candy for a while.  I'm sure Drew is sad!  Ha!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Four Years

Another married year has flown and Drew and I celebrated our four year anniversary today.  So hard to believe!  The traditional fourth anniversary gift is fruit or flowers.  Since I knew Drew wouldn't really appreciate flowers, I had an Edible Arrangement sent to his work.  Him and his coworkers happily munched on that all afternoon.  It was pretty much destroyed by the time he got home.

Drew brought home some gorgeous flowers for me.
I can't believe that we've been married for four years.  We've been through a lot in that short amount of time.  I'm excited to see what the future has in store for us!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall Traditions

You can't let the fall season go by without at least one trip to Edward's Apple Orchard.  My mother-in-law, Debbie, called me this afternoon and asked if Annelise and I wanted to go out there with her.  I jumped at the chance because I've been wanting to take Annelise.  And who can turn down apple cider donuts??

I decided to wear Annelise while we were there.  I'll tell you what, I love being able to wear her places.  It makes it so easy to move around and I don't have to worry about navigating the stroller in tight places.  Plus, since they were busy today, I would have had to take her out of the stroller when we went into the store anyway.  Then, I would have had to carry her in my arms.  Baby wearing is definitely where it's at!

I gave Annelise a slice of an apple while we were there and she happily gnawed on it while Debbie and I shopped around.

I hope that we'll be able to squeeze in a trip to the Pumpkin Patch before it gets too cold outside.  I love fall and all of the fall stuff that goes with it!