Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cartoon of the Week: Turkey Day Edition

So funny :)

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with family, friends, or as I know many of my nurse friends will be doing... with patients at the hospital. Be thankful and grateful for all you have. Remember, a lot of nurses, health care workers, etc. are missing their families so they can take care of yours. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, it's only fitting that I share a list of things that I'm thankful for. Let's get right to it...

  • My health. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm one of those few people in the world who has been blessed with the metabolism of a 10-year-old. My dad was the same way, eating whatever he wanted and not gaining a pound until he turned 45 years old. Well, I've got another 20+ years to enjoy myself before I should probably start reeling things in. Plus, I was fortunate enough to walk away from competitive football without a limp or constant headaches. I'm thankful that I'm healthy enough to play in the yard with my daughter whenever she wants me to.
  • My job. Being that I've been employed with the same company since I graduated college, I guess I'd really call it my "career". I know that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who don't have "somewhere to be" every weekday, and I know that makes it all the more difficult to provide for their families. There are countless souls out there who have been canned after putting in years and years of blood, sweat and tears with the same company all for the sake of the bottom line. Having a constant, reliable source of income has become one of the most important things you can ask for these days... and I'm thankful that I have one.
  • My dog. Mommy B and I rescued Scarlett (formerly Georgetta) just over three years ago, and I have to say that I'm so happy to have her around. If Mommy B and I hadn't gotten the craving for smoothies one day, we would never have stumbled upon the Greatful Goldens Rescue and found our crimpy-haired little mutt. Fast forward three years and we're "stuck" with a walk-obsessed, gecko-killing, couch-sleeping, co-dependent family member. Wouldn't have it any other way.
  • My daughter. She is without a doubt the love of my life. Now that she spends 98% of her waking hours walking/running around the house, she is so much fun to be around. I'm thankful for how happy and healthy she is, and how enlightened she is by the world around her. She just walks to walk, exploring everything in our living room and beyond. I now call her our little giggle monster... because that's all she does. She giggles at everything - when I come home from work, when her dog comes running towards her, when we cover her head with a soft blankie, when she lays down with her Pooh Bear in her crib, when I hold her by the hands and toss her onto the pillows on the couch and when I blow raspberries on her belly after she gets out of the bath. I want so much to protect her as she grows up, but hope she learns to become independant (like her mommy) at the same time. She'll learn to work for anything she wants... but I'm thankful to be able to provide everything she needs until then.
  • Baby Meibers (aka #2/lil sib). I know how hard it can be for some people to get pregnant just once, and even harder to get pregnant a second time. But I'm thankful that Mommy B and I have been able to give the gift of life to yet another child. Even though he/she is still a good ways away from being born, I'm thankful that everything appears to be normal and healthy thus far. Even though Mommy B can't relate, I know how thankful I was to have an older sibling... to teach me what to do (and what not to do) with each passing year. I know that my older brother loved me with all his heart as we grew up together, and I'm thankful that "Number 2" will get to experience that as well.
  • The weather. OK, I know this one is kind of lame, but I can't help it. I went to pick Alli up from daycare with the top down because it was 73 degrees outside. Being a Damn Yankee, it's still a little strange not having snow on the ground this time of year... but I'm getting used to it. There's something to be said about walking outside at 10pm on Thanksgiving Eve and it feeling more like September. I'm thankful that Mommy B and I get to live somewhere so beautiful that it truly warms the soul.
  • My family. Even though Mommy B and I aren't spending Thanksgiving with our extended family this year, at least we get to spend it with each other. I know there are thousands of military families who aren't going to spend this Turkey Day with the one(s) they love the most because they have been called to duty - either by their human superior or their godly superior... if you know what I mean and I think you do. I know that our extended family is thinking about us, and if everything goes as planned we'll be seeing them in less than a month. I'm thankful that we have such a great relationship with our extended family and that we get to see them as often as we do.
  • My wife. My soul mate, period. She was the love of my life until she produced a daughter that I just can't get enough of... but I think she's strangely OK with playing second fiddle for a while. She has stuck by my side through thick and thin, taken leaps of faith with me when all we had was a wing and a prayer and been my better half for a majority of the time. She has been my number one superfan since the day we met. She cheered me on for each of my football games and track meets back in college and still does to this day as I interview for another job at my company. She is the best mother in the world, and I know she'll continue to be even with two crazy kids running around. I'm thankful that I've not only found someone who makes me truly happy every day, but that I get to spend the rest of my life returning the favor.

I hope that everyone reading this has a wonderful Thanksgiving. Even if you can't spend it with your family, just think about everything you do have to be thankful for... you'll be surprised what you come up with if you think about it for a while.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Things I Love...

  • Hearing Alli talking in her crib in the morning as our alarm clock... I mean, if we have to be woken at 6:30 am, at least it's to the sweet babbles of her chatting with Pooh Bear about her night.
  • Antibiotics and ear drops that help to ease the pain of an ear infection... glad to be getting our baby back to normal.
  • Giggles while she's in her daddy's arms. Melts my heart.
  • Her toothy smile. I thought I'd miss that gummy smile, but this toothy one is too adorable too.
  • My husband. Period. There are a million reasons why, but I won't bore you. He's just the best.
  • Feeling our second baby moving around in my belly... and chatting with him or her about their sister and how goofy she is, yet how much she'll love them and protect them always.
  • Laying Alli down at night. After we've read a book, walked to the bathroom and brushed our teeth, then gone back to her room... she actually reaches for her crib, cuddles up with Pooh, and winds down and falls asleep on her own. What a wonderful feeling.
  • Football season.
  • Alli hugs. If you ask her to give you (or more likely to happen, one of her stuffed animals) a hug, she gives a both arms-huge-compassionate hug.
  • My forever friends and family. The girls who have stuck by me through good times and bad, know that I'm not perfect but love me anyway, and the family who has always been there and given me everything they possibly can... I'm only who and where I am today because of all of you.
  • Charleston weather. It's going to be in the mid-70's all week.
  • The fact that in one month, we'll be making the drive to Ohio to spend Christmas there for the first time in five years. We haven't been able to make it home since we've moved down here, and we're thankful to get the time off this year to be able to do it. Maybe Alli will get to see snow!
  • Alli's high-fives, and how she'll do them no matter if that's what you really were wanting or not. The other day, she was eating an orange and I had my hand under her chin to catch any pieces that may fall out, and she just kept slapping my hand to give me five.
OK, I know there are more things... but for now, this is my list. We've got a beautiful weekend to go enjoy =)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Out of commission

As avid Followers can probably tell, we've been out of commission for the past few days - thus the lack of posts. It started last week when we started painting the house. As soon as Alli went to bed and Mommy B and I had dinner, we pulled out the paintbrushes, rollers, tape and ladders and painted until the wee hours of the night - which is about 11pm for us these days. Our mission: paint almost our entire first floor (which thanks to our open floor plan includes our breakfast area, dining area and TV area), our main entry way (which includes a 2-story foyer), up the staircase and the second floor hallway (which runs the entire length of the house).

We planned everything out early last week: which walls we were going to paint each night, which colors we were going to use on each, and how we were going to paint the second story walls that can only be reached by using a 30-foot extension ladder. That last part basically boiled down to me climbing up what felt like a rickety ladder, taping the areas I could reach, making another trip up with a brush and bowl of paint to get the edges, and making a third trip with the roller to cover the larger areas. Once we had those areas painted, I had to make return trips the next day to remove the tape.

Even though it was a lot of work, Mommy B was a great teammate. She helped tape and paint the edges first, then I followed behind her with the roller. I didn't let her up the big ladder - not with our next child on the way. You don't really notice how many scuff marks there are on the walls until you're a foot away from them with a paint brush in your hand. I wish I had the total square footage that we covered in the first two phases, but that would require way too much effort. Put it this way, we've almost gone through an entire 5-gallon bucket of paint - and we haven't done a second coat on anything.

But I have to say, the house looks great. This whole project was three-fold: 1) cover up all the scuff marks on the walls from the original owner moving in and out and us moving in, 2) cover up the original boring antique-white that the builders used on the house, and 3) give the main living spaces a fresh look and making the white trim really pop. Well, mission: accomplished. We picked a color that was subtle enough that you probably wouldn't notice right away if you hadn't been over in a while, but made enough of a change that things we didn't notice before look much better.

We hit a few bumps along the way though - not with the painting, but with Alli. Since we'd been staying up later than normal, Mommy B and I were starting to feel the effects by last weekend. That's when Alli decided she would get sick. Booo! OK, it wasn't really her choice, but she's been feeling and looking all-around miserable. She woke up a few times a night, just sobbing in her crib. We would go in to check on her, and she would be drenched in sweat. During the day, she just wanted to be held and everything seemed to make her cry. She was still eating, but wouldn't play at all and screamed when we tried to put her down. She was running a 102.5 fever for a couple days even though we tried to keep her on a steady dose of Tylenol and Motrin. We couldn't tell if it was a lingering ear infection (diagnosed on her birthday 3 weeks ago), more teeth coming in, a stomach bug (she was very gassy and had a few "messy" diapers) or a virus of some sort. Mommy B and I even joked last night that it could be Scarlet Fever or Hay Fever - we had tried every remedy we could think of, so we had to make a joke about something.

A couple nights ago, she awoke around 2:30am and was absolutely miserable. We tried more medicine, changed her diaper, walked her around the house, numbing liquid on her gums, more milk in her bottle, you name it. I was walking around with her in my arms with her head on my shoulder, just crying her little eyes out. I was about 30 seconds from plopping her in the car and driving around with the windows cracked until she fell back asleep - it was the only thing I thought might work. But we walked back into her room and she began reaching for her crib. I placed her down on a dry spot and she immediately stopped crying and went to sleep. Thank God.

There isn't a worse feeling in the world than knowing your child is in discomfort and you've tried everything you can to make them feel better to no avail. You can't help but feel like a bad parent - especially because Alli is still at the age where she doesn't understand what's happening to her or why. She looks to Mommy B and I to "make it all better", and there isn't a more disappointing time in my life when I can't do that for her. Mommy B took her to the doctor today and I hope that they can figure out what's wrong with her.

So - as you can tell Mommy B and I have had a rough past few days. We took Monday night off from painting to recoup a bit, but were back taping the upstairs hallway (final phase) last night. Alli had a better night's sleep and hopefully we can get our smiley, happy baby back soon thanks to the advances of modern medicine. I guess we'll have to see what happens.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cartoon of the Week

Our painting project is going... well, it's going! We are exhausted from it, to say the least. Since Wednesday night, we've spent every single night after laying Alli down for bed taping the walls, moving furniture, painting trim, up on ladders (Eric, not me!), and using the roller to get this project finished. We've stayed up until 11 or later each night... which may not seem like much, but, when Alli is up right around 6 or 6:30 like clockwork each morning, it gets even more exhausting. We are completely done with the downstairs, the entry way, and up the stairs. I have to give Dad-E a lot of credit for that... the ladder he got up on to paint and tape made me scared to death... just hearing it rattle and creak. I can't imagine being up there with a paintbrush and paint, trying to balance and not make a mess. He did a great job.

We are close to running out of paint (even after purchasing 5 gallons!), so instead of pulling a Lenny like this cartoon, which would be a lot easier and quicker, I ran to Lowe's today and got another gallon and a few more rolls of tape. We have the upstairs hallway to do.. and we're just going to tape off Alli's future room while we're at it. We'll be so happy when it's finished... and it really does look so great, it makes everything so clean and neat, feels like a new home! Almost there...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More talking... or Q & A?

As Mommy B mentioned in Alli's 12-month stats post, she's been "talking" a lot more lately. She's got her regulars - dada, mama, dog and ball. She's been working on some new ones and they are getting clearer each day - yah (yeah), nah (no), tank do (thank you). Some of these words aren't always prompted, but they are funny to hear nonetheless. Here's a good story about it:

Yesterday, I "worked from home" in the afternoon and we made a family trip to Lowe's to satisfy Mommy B's latest nesting desire (painting two-thirds of the house). There were a few things we needed to pick up, and I thought Alli would enjoy 1) getting out of the house for a bit, 2) watching Elmo on the DVD player in the car, and 3) people-watching at a hardware store. We'd kill two birds with one stone - entertain Alli for a while and pick up our needed supplies. Well, I was kinda right.

As anyone who has ever been in a home improvement store knows, they stock the shelves from the floor to the ceiling. This means there is plenty for Alli to play with/poke her eye out within her reach. I was on a mission, so I didn't really let her wander around and get into stuff that much. And the fact that I thought we'd be sending Alli off to college by the time they mixed up five gallons of paint didn't help the situation. She just wanted to run around and throw power-tools into the isle and I wouldn't let her down to do so. Obviously, this pissed her off - and rightfully so for a curious almost-13-month-old. Good times for everyone.

We finally headed to the checkout and Mommy B took over while I paid. Alli made a B-line for the sliding exit doors because I guess she wanted out of there pretty bad. She stopped at the closed door (which I guess doesn't open for midgets), wondering why it didn't open for her. When the "magic door" finally opened, she was so shocked that she just stood there for a few seconds. As the doors started closing, she stuck her hand out and got it smashed in between them. It really wasn't as bad as it sounds, but it obviously scared her a lot. I took her from Mommy B and within 30 seconds, she was fine again.

While walking out, Alli found a large stick that she apparently really wanted to take home with her. Mommy B picked her up and we tried to sweet-talk her into giving it up so we could leave. Well, she wasn't in the negotiating mood after the sliding door incident. This prompted Alli to start swinging the stick around like a club and caught her mother upside her dome piece (that would be her head for older Followers). Of course, that prompted me to grab the stick out of her death-grip - which in turn, prompted a mini-meltdown.

There we were, walking through the Lowe's parking lot with our painting supplies and a screaming toddler. We loaded everything in the car and fired up Alli's Elmo DVD. Naturally, the crying immediately stopped while Mommy B and I climbed in the front seats. Apparently whenever Elmo is around, all is right with the world. I turned around and asked her, "Are you okay now?" Alli looked at me for about a second and replied, "Yah."

Mommy B and I looked at each other and laughed hysterically. We couldn't believe that 1) she appeared to understand what we asked her, and b) responded with what sounded like a perfectly viable response. She did more of it later on that evening - appearing to actually answer our yes/no questions with her "yah" or "nah" responses. Looks like we could be in serious trouble here very soon...

Nesting already??

It's project time!! Dad-E and I have talked and went back and forth for a long time about painting our downstairs/entry way/up the stairs/hallway upstairs area. For those of you who have never been inside our home, we have a pretty open floor plan downstairs. Meaning, if you're going to paint it, you're going to be painting a lot of wall... leading into the entry way, up the stairs, and down the hallway upstairs... as it's really all connected. It's a big project. So needless to say, we've been putting it off. We painted the kitchen (ugh! those are the worst to paint!), and one accent wall downstairs and figured that would do. Well, I don't know if it's nesting kicking in already, or my mom's insistent pleas for the last three years, but, we've decided to get it done. At first, we thought of hiring someone to do it and paying for that as each other's Christmas present this year (we're so romantic, I know!). However, after coming to the realization that having two kids in daycare next year will be more than our mortgage payment, we decided we're not 90 years old, we're two able bodied twenty-somethings... we can handle this!

Yesterday as Alli napped, I started taping. Ugh! Awful. Dad-E and I ventured out to Lowe's, where Alli had a mini-meltdown (more on that in a later quick post!), got all our supplies and five gallons of paint, and we were ready. We picked quite a neutral color, it goes well with the whole house, matches the accent wall, and really, you can hardly tell we painted. What? All this work for nothing? It honestly looks so much better already! The scuff marks from moving in, throwing tennis balls against the wall to our puppy back in the day, all covered. Dad-E and I put Alli to bed last night and got to work. We painted for about 2 hours, just talking, listening to music, and realizing what a great team we make. In life, in parenting, in painting. So, while we still have quite the journey ahead (in both finishing this painting job, and in life!), I'm happy to know I have the best partner around.

After this project, it'll be time to tackle Alli's future new room... I wish she was old enough now to tell us what color/theme she'd like, because I'm sure we won't feel like changing it in another couple years when she is able to tell us boss us around.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My new favorite thing

I don't recall when it really started, but Alli began recognizing Mommy B and I's faces from a very early age. I don't know when the "typical age" for that type of thing is, but Alli certainly seemed to pick it up pretty quickly. Probably because she was stuck in the house with just Mommy B (and me when I got home from work) for close to 4 months before she went off to daycare. Since we didn't (and still don't) have much help around, Alli didn't really have too many different faces to learn those first few months.

I think she pretty much had our faces ingrained in her head by the time we started taking her to daycare. This was naturally a good thing because we could tell she knew when she was being handled by a "stranger" versus her mommy or daddy. The point I'm trying to make is that even from when I first started taking her to daycare, she would smile at me when I walked in to pick her up.

In the beginning, I would walk in to find her either lying on her back on the floor playing with a mobile-type deal with dangly toys for her to grab or in a rocker being fed a bottle. I would walk over and kneel next to her so she could easily see my face, and she would smile that big gummy smile I sometimes miss these days.

After a while, I would come in to find her sitting up in a Bumbo chair or lying on her stomach trying to crawl. I would lie down on the floor in front of her so when she lifted her head slightly, she would see my face and smile that big, jack-o-lantern smile that we used to think was so cute. I began calling it her "Pick-up smile".

Once she learned how to crawl, I'd walk in and she'd spot me from across the room and it was off to the races. She would crawl over to me and pull herself up on my pant leg as fast as she could. Sometimes, she would even grunt or let out an "Ahhh!" when she recognized me and began making her way across the room.

Now that she's walking, she makes a mad dash for me when I walk in. She gets to my pant leg and holds her arms up for me to pick her up. Her face lights up so big when I come in, it can be seen from outer space. This has become my new favorite thing. I look forward to picking her up from daycare all day long just so I can see that expression on her face for a few seconds each day. I don't think she's so miserable at daycare that she's elated to see me because it means she gets to leave... but rather she just loves us so much that she's just that happy to see me. Yesterday, Mommy B and I walked in to pick her up together, and she actually started crying when she saw us. She made a B-line for my leg, pushing other kids out of the way if they crossed her path. I'd like to think that she just missed us so much that she was overcome with joy when she saw us walk in.

The other reason I love picking her up is because I get to be the one to take her home. You can't help but feel like you're "rescuing" your child sometimes when you pick them up from daycare. You're returning them to their proper caregiver and their proper home - that sounds like a rescue, right?

Well, Mommy B is starting a new job at the hospital in a couple weeks, and her hours are going to change dramatically. She'll actually be working 5 days a week and will be getting off each day at 2pm - which means she'll most likely be picking Alli up each day on her way home from work. While I'm super-excited for Mommy B and her new position, I can't help but think about all the Pick-up smiles I'm going to miss going forward.

I still get one when I get home on the days Alli stays home with Mommy B, but they're not quite the same. When I pick her up from daycare, I feel like Super Dad - scooping her up in my arms and flying her home in the fast convertible (I haven't put the top down with her in it yet). It's become a time of bonding for us... even though she doesn't know it yet. I know I'm going to miss it, but I'm happy that Mommy B gets to experience it now. She's missed out on a lot of that time over the last nine months. After all, I'll still be taking her in the morning - so I have that going for me.

But I have to say, nothing beats that big ol' smile she gives me each time I walk in to pick her up from daycare. I know it won't stay that way for much longer, but I'm cherishing it while I still can.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cartoon of the Week

Alli tries to drink and walk... it's just about hilarious. She doesn't really "walk" anymore, she runs... so her running with a bottle or sippy cup in her hands is just so fun to watch, we laugh at her and tell her she could get pulled over for the reckless driving. She laughs and laughs, not knowing what in the world we're talking about. She has a few other new cute tricks she's been doing for awhile now... we just haven't gotten to mention them yet. After her bath is over, if you hand her the brush and tell her to brush her hair, she does. It's so adorable, and she really is getting a lot of hair to finally have something to brush! She also gives wonderful hugs these days. Our little parrot must take it all in... because literally whatever we do, she does. When she gives you a hug, if you pat her on the back, she pats you back. It's so funny. One night, I was giving her a hug and about to put her in the crib, and I patted her 3 times. She then patted me 3 times. I patted her one last time, and I got my one pat back. It was so cute. Anytime you stick your tongue out at her, she sticks hers back at you too. She's gaining more and more personality each day... we say we can't wait until she can really start talking, but, we're actually quite afraid to hear what she'll have to say.

Fifteen Weeks!

We're already 15 weeks along in this pregnancy... and it seems to be flying by. Everyone has told us this second pregnancy will go so much faster... especially because we'll be chasing around a toddler, which won't give us much time to even think about the fact that we're pregnant! That has totally been the case. I feel like people have asked how I've been feeling... umm, tired? I am always tired, have been since even before Alli was born, so I doubt I can tell the difference between being tired from pregnancy, or just tired from having Alli around! The two things that have really bothered me so far about this pregnancy are these two common questions/comments that keep coming up from strangers/family/friends/co-workers...

1. Did you plan this??
Hmm, we're not 17 and reckless. We are married and know how the whole baby making process works, so, I'm pretty sure we knew what we were getting into. We may not have expected it to happen this quickly, but we had discussed in length that when we started trying, it was a very real possibility that it could happen right away, and if it did, we'd be okay with that. So, here we are. And we're thrilled. Yes, we may be exhausted and very busy for awhile, but, it'll be so nice to have the diaper stage, the bottle stage, the sleepless stages... all relatively over within the next few years.

2. I sure hope this one is a boy!
Why? Just because we have a little girl, you automatically assume this one has to be a boy for us to be happy? I know it's cliche to say, but working in pediatric nursing, I can honestly say that with everything I see at work each day, I truly only hope for a healthy, happy baby. We would both be thrilled regardless of this baby's sex, and I find it hurtful and hard when I hear people make comments about the gender. Why does it matter to you if it's a boy or girl, will you not love it as much if it's not a boy? I can see Alli being so happy with a sister that would be close in age, that could potentially be her maid of honor someday, her best friend... or, happy bugging a pesky little brother, and fiercely protecting him someday in a way only an older sister could. Either way, Eric & I will be happy, too.

Our little lady's first birthday bash

I know we're pretty behind on blogging about Alli Ru's first birthday party, but, to say we've been busy would be an understatement. Anyway, no excuses... here we go!

Both Dad-E's parents and my mom and grandma all came into town on Thursday the 27th, Alli's actual 1st birthday. They all got to see her sporting her new moves of walking all over the place, which none of them had seen yet, and we all just got to visit and catch up. The following day, mom, grandma and I went out to get some last minute things for the party, came back home, and put my grandma to work cutting up cheese, pepperoni and olives to make these cute ladybug snacks! My mom and Eric were also busy cutting up the strawberries, which Aunt Gena ended up helping a LOT with later when she got into town too, and both snacks turned out wonderfully! Thanks for every one's help and support!

So as I mentioned, Aunt G, Uncle Rob, best buddy Anneliese and their faithful dog W came down from Charlotte on Friday to spend the weekend with us. It was great to see them, and Dad-E enjoyed some male bonding time while Gena and I tried to catch up on the sleep we'll never actually catch up on ever again, but, both of us sure like to try.

Saturday, party day!, rolled around, and Alli slept for almost 3 hours before the party. I guess she knew she'd need to build up her energy... but she was quite groggy and in a daze when she woke up about 15 minutes before her guests were set to start arriving. Oh, and did I forget to mention the fact that when we took her to her one year check up on Friday, they told us she had a double ear infection? So, needless to say, even though she really didn't have any symptoms, she probably wasn't feeling 100%. Right around 3pm, Alli's party guests started arriving. We had Dawn and Dave and their kids Austyn and Zane, Alice and her son Simon, Rob, Gena & Fi, Pops & Tatsy, Grandma C & grandma great, Aunt Katie & Zack, and our great neighbors Mike, Brittany, Lily & Porter. Our first order of business was giving Alli her present from us... the shirt announcing to our friends and family that she was going to be a big sister. After the congratulations were done, we opened some presents... good lord, the girl got a lot of stuff. We're very grateful and thankful for all our friends and family being so generous. Then, it was cake time! Alli wasn't sure what to think of it all... and I brought the smash cake out with a candle, which she tried to grab. Mike, our great neighbor, jumped in and grabbed her hand away... which she was totally startled by and wasn't sure what to do. We then had to coax her into putting her hand in... but after that, she was shoveling it in. Grandma C had to take it away from her after a little while... we didn't want her to have a stomach ache on top of ear infections! We also had the older kids set up to paint pumpkins with finger paint... I think they had fun with that. All in all, it was a great time! We're glad we got to celebrate with so many close friends and family, even though we aren't "home" in Ohio where a lot of other family could have come as well.

Happy 1st Birthday to our lil lady bug... we love you!

Alli's birthday cake!

Alli checking out her smash cake


This is pretty good!

Family photo!

Zane, Alli & Austyn playing on the ladybug train box!


My homemade banner!

One Year Pictures

We took Alli downtown to Hampton Park and had Sterling Pickett take her one year pictures. She had some great ideas and we had a happy, cooperative lil camper for the photo shoot. I can't believe how big she is... it just doesn't seem like it's possible.

Here's a few of my favorites... but they're so hard to choose from, I love them all!

I'm thinking we'll need to schedule at least a little mini session with Sterling again here soon to get a few cute ones for potential Christmas cards... (Dad-E will be thrilled when he sees/hears this, he just loooves how many pictures we have... and is already worried, as are many people, about this "poor 2nd kid not getting half as many pictures as Alli had...")

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Life after walking

It's hard to believe that Mommy B and I have been posting in This Space for almost a year (OK, ten months or so). So much has changed in that time, and things continue to do so at an almost alarming rate. I faintly recall posting updates about how Alli increased her mommy milk intake here and here, and thinking it was such a big deal. It's funny when you look back - so many little things that you thought were important then are commonplace now. So I decided that it might be a good time to talk about some of the other things that are new with our pride and joy.

* Mommy B and I have been saying it to each other for a while, that as soon as Alli would be able to walk, she'd be a much happier kiddo. Not that she was ever grumpy to begin with... but she's such a curious little squirt that we knew once she'd be able to get anywhere she wanted to check things out for herself, she'd be in heaven. And I have to say we weren't far off on our guesses. She walks everywhere now - all over the house, up the stairs (with our help still), around the yard, up and down the driveway and even into the street if we let her get that far.

Her stride is more under control than it was just a week ago. She doesn't flail her arms around quite like she did her first day or so, and definitely falls down much less. Another thing she likes to do is when she comes walking towards you (sometimes almost running), she'll almost stop her feet but keep leaning forward. The result is her falling into your arms, similar to a forward-facing trust fall. It makes her giggle endlessly, and of course I get to steal a hug - which is always a treat.

* She loves being tossed up in the air. This also makes her giggle endlessly, even if it usually results in having the hiccups for a little while. My former teammates from my college football team would be amazed at how great my hands are when I'm catching a child instead of a football. Needless to say, I played defense back then...

* When I'm not tossing her in the air, she loves leaning over backwards when I'm holding her in my arms. I'll sometimes wiggle her around or swing her from side to side, and the giggling continues. And what child doesn't love the occasional blood rush to the head?

* She loves her some Pooh. She has a stuffed Winnie the Pooh in her crib and has slept with it since she was two days old. Once she was old enough to crawl, she would crawl over to him, grab him by the arms, and chomp down on his nose. When the teething began, Pooh's nose became our savior. Now that she's older, we put her down in the crib for bed and she immediately crawls over to Pooh to begin playing/chomping on his nose. There have been times when she's dangled him over the side of the crib and accidentally dropped him, only to have Mommy B or I have to retrieve him for her.

Monday night I made the mistake of letting her have Pooh to play with right before we headed to the bath, and she refused to let me have him before she got in the tub. I'm talking scream-in-your-face, take-him-and-I-make-your-life-miserable type of upset. So, I caved in and Pooh went into the tub with her. I'm not really sure that was a good idea, but I figured he probably needed a bath too. He spent the rest of the night in front of the fan to dry off while she slept without him.

* She's been eating grown-up food for a while now, and we've only found one thing she doesn't like. Truth be told, it was actually her teachers who found out. We still get a daily sheet that indicates what she ate/drank, when she napped, and her diaper changes (and their contents). As Mommy B and I have mentioned many times, Alli doesn't shy away from food... ever. In fact, it's become so normal for us to see "All" written next to each of her meals that we really only notice when she doesn't eat all of something.

Her school has four weekly menus that they rotate. One day, they gave her an English Muffin for breakfast, and that night I noticed they wrote "Refused" next to it. It was the first time in her 10+ months of life that she's ever refused anything. Mommy B and I just chalked it up to her not feeling well that day. Until about a month ago, she again refused her English Muffin. I don't know how they prepare it, but it's obvious that she doesn't like it - which is saying a lot for someone who can devour two hot dogs, a cup of diced fruit and multiple handfuls of Crunchies for dinner.

* The sippy cup war is finally over - and has been for a while. We decided that the best way for her to get used to her sippy cup was to just send her formula in one or two to daycare, and have them force her to take it when she eats. Apparently her teachers don't take no crap, because she was taking a sippy cup at home with no problems within a week or two. She still didn't like them much and we could tell that she would still fight with them from time to time.

So, Mommy B decided to get some bigger cups that have a straw that pops out of the top. We thought she might have an easier time with something that she doesn't have to work so hard for. Well, she took to them like a duck to water (or an Alli to the ocean). We just open the top so she can get at the straw, and the rest is history. And now that she's completely onto whole milk (yet another change she could have cared less about), all we have to do is send her cups with her to school, and they take care of the rest. I have to say, buying water and mixing formula was getting a little old... and the fact that her school provides whole milk during the day makes my life a lot easier.

OK, I think that's enough for today. More to come soon, I'm sure.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cartoon of the Week

I feel like this is probably her buddy Fi telling her to slow down and not run at full speed like she's been doing. It has just been incredible how she took off one day and has never slowed down. I was at work the following 3 days in a row after she really started officially walking, and I would call and text Eric on those days while I was at work asking, "Is she still walking??" And naturally, he'd reply, yes, she's fine honey. But of course, I couldn't help but think she might have forgotten how to do it. I think it's safe to say she's got it down.

Happy 2nd Halloweenie!

What a difference a year makes... last year, our Halloween was celebrated by us passing out candy to our few trick-or-treaters that venture down our dark cul-de-sac, while still very much learning what to do with our 4 day old infant.

This year, we packed up her new wagon (birthday present from us!) and ventured out into the neighborhood. Wow, there were a lot of kids trick or treating in the neighborhood! We had no idea, seeing that the 3 years we've lived here, we barely get any coming to our house. We realized it must be beacause our cul-de-sac is kind of out of the way, and there are so many great houses right around the pool area, it's like jackpot central for kids wanting candy. We visited a few friends, then ventured over to Nelliefield, the neighborhood next to ours, to see some of Dad-E's friends from work too. All in all, she did great... was really getting good at digging in and getting the good stuff (for us), haha, and even at one house, she had some candy from the house before and instead of taking some, she put the candy she had in her hand in the next neighbors bowl when they opened the door. The woman laughed and laughed, Dad-E said she's the best trick or treater ever, giving candy instead of taking it! She even said her "tank tu" a few times, which made us so proud. What a cute little Kangaroo our Ru made... and a perfect costume for her.