Sunday, May 31, 2009

The escape artist

So perhaps it was a lofty goal to assume we could contain all-things baby in the den, including the baby herself, and leave the rest of the house to be a proper grown-up place, complete with sharp corners & breakable things.

We're off to baby-proof the rest of house.

This is what the ever-increasingly-non-effective baby gate should look like

Here she is cleverly pushing it out of her way so she can make a break for it. She actually pushed it over this far, you know, for good measure

Scaling the wall...I mean step

I'm off! The tongue is out for extra speed!

Take that!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Photos of the week

Our Summer Cherub

Wiped out after a fun filled afternoon at the pool

Thrilled to play with anything that's not her toy. Bonus when it's expensive and breakable

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dear Isabelle, May 2009

Dear Isabelle,

Your dad and I are having a hard time keeping up. It seems like every day you are discovering something new about yourself, new things to do, and new boundaries within which to explore.

You're now 9.5 months old and a very busy little girl. A couple of weeks ago you perfected clapping and waving 'bye-bye.' Your continued love of walking grows and it's clearly your new favorite activity - you'd walk all day if you could. Walking may be second only to going up stairs, which you'd take two at a time if your little legs would let you. And when you're doing things that require bravery, like walking along the baby gate - not holding onto mama or daddy's hands - you scrunch your nose, squint your eyes, and blow out of your mouth (a little bit like a weight lifter doing a heavy bench press). It helps you to concentrate. Our favorite new discovery of yours though, is dance. You've really got the moves and it delights me that you don't even need music just dance because you're happy.

You're a great eater...far gone are those first days when you spit out carrots. You eat virtually everything with little to no hesitation. If you're not so sure about something, all we have to do is put a tiny piece of toast on top of the spoon full and it will go down every time (like a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae). When you're done eating, you let us know in the not-so-subtle way of blowing the food out from your lips. Hey, we get the message! You've completely bypassed the sippy cup stage and will only drink your water through a drinking straw.

Generally, this is how we spend the day...
6:00am and not a minute too early - you are ready to get a jump on the day. Sometimes you've been up as long as 45 minutes playing in your crib by this point already.
We go downstairs and play... You pull toys out of your basket, knock your stack of books down, and of course push your lion cart all over kingdom come. And...mama has her coffee.
7:00am bottle
8:00am breakfast
9:00am nap
10:30ish you're up at at 'em again! We play more and you come in the kitchen with me while I make your bottle.
11:00am bottle
12:00pm lunch
1:00ish nap
2:30ish you're up and we're ready to make our way out of the house.
3:00 small bottle - We run errands, meet friends, direct contractors working on the're my mini-me in the Ergo. You love being involved in whatever action is going on. Sometimes we go to the pool or to the nursery at the club and you no doubt will find a new friend to play with.
4:30ish back home for your dinner
Then we play some more, go for a walk in the park behind our house, think about dinner for mom & dad and decide on ordering in, etc... Your patience begins to thin somewhere between now and 6:00, which leads us up to bath time.
6:00pm bath - you used to love this but I've noticed this past week you find the whole thing a bit overrated. All you want to do is stand up and walk and the bath just isn't big enough.
6:30ish bottle & bed - mama loves the night time routine. The lights are dim and you are sleepy and still while I give you your bottle in the glider. When you're done with your milk you dig your head into my neck and give me a big bear hug, crawling up to wrap your tiny arms around my neck. It's my personal heaven and I prolong it as long as possible. I carry you to the crib, play your lullaby, give you another really long hug while we sway to your music, then it's a kiss and a squeeze, and I lay you down to sleep.

You have an extensive vocabulary (and by vocabulary, I mean sounds). Much to daddy's delight, "dada" is one of your more established words. I'm still waiting for that "mama" but every time I enunciate "ma-ma," you reply "dada" enthusiastically. Your gorgeous blond hair is growing longer and thicker and - for the moment - we've settled on hazel as your eye color. Your two bottom teeth are growing in more and it looks like your top teeth might sprout any minute. All in all you are one big, squirmy bundle of sunshine and your dad and I can't get enough.

We love you,

mama & daddy

Friday, May 15, 2009

My wonderful husband...

...and of course Isabelle, made this sweet video for me for my first Mother's Day. I'm so grateful for them. Enjoy!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Home to Missouri for my best friend's wedding

Just seems like yesterday we were 12 year old girls, spending summers hanging out at each others' houses, at the lake, going to camp or ordering grilled cheese sandwiches and pickles at the country club!

Her big day!

Working on my Matron of Honor speech - I work best under pressure (it's true!), as in the morning of the wedding.
Ali and Allan
The gorgeous bride!

The wedding party!

Lucky man, Zach

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

People, Places & Things

We have had a very busy month. Our furniture arrived in the beginning of April, Isabelle went from crawling to walking with a push cart, we bought a car, we went to London for a wedding at the end of April, Isabelle caught her first bad bug, and I went to Missouri while Oma came to baby-sit. Lots to catch up on indeed!

{On the go!}

Here she is on April 4th, 8 months old - the day our furniture arrived from NYC - crawling up a storm!

April 19 - a good illustration of her crawling style. She cutely tucks one leg under with each crawl, cleverly making the transition to sitting position quite easy. One might say this is her "Dutch efficiency" shining through.

She's been pulling herself up to standing, holding onto furniture, since December but it has been since about the middle of April that she decided she preferred walking - firm grasp on anyone's finger who was willing to go in circles with her - to any other form of transportation. When we returned from the UK at the end of April, she received a lion push cart that she now loves to push and walk (and walk and walk) with all over. I can see she is delighted by her pseudo form of independence. I wonder who she gets that from?

She loves going up and down stairs. With quite a lot of strength for a 9 month old, she will guide whoever is holding her hands back to the stairs once she's made it up and down them. She wants to go up and down and up and down - she's a work out to say the least!

{Bon Vivant Isabelle}

The kid can eat, that is for sure. She has taken to most things I've made her with the exception of a recent chicken/yogurt situation that I experimented with. As suspected it's better to stick to the recipes.

I've pretty much followed this book to a tee and Isabelle has enjoyed all of the recipes. And, at 9 months, she enjoys fish (salmon and hamour), chicken & eggs, whole grains & the wide spectrum of fruit and veg. Here's to hoping she won't have Fruity Pebble cravings at 30 like her mother.

{London - April 24, Isabelle's 9 month birthday!}

All she wants to do is...

...and walk

...and walk

Photo booth at Toby & Kate's wedding

With Oma...who at 93 years old still rocks the dance floor. She danced and danced and danced and had a lovely time being the matriarch of the wedding.

It was on this night that baby Isabelle caught a rather mean virus, which was the first she's been really ill. The following 10 days were really unpleasant. She had a few days when she didn't want to eat or drink anything (which put an end to breastfeeding for us, which we were weaning down anyway. Maybe that's why she got sick? Who knows, but nothing is scarier than a baby who won't willingly drink anything.) We had plans to go back to Missouri as I was MOH in my friend's wedding. Over a series of emotional days, the swine flu broke, our baby girl was still unwell, and I had to make the difficult decision to cancel plans to go back to the states. However, things took a turn for the better a few days later; Isabelle was much improved, the swine flu was less of an uncertainty, and by divine intervention we were able to have Richard's mom come over to baby-sit for a few days. I was able to make it back to Missouri after all, and I'm grateful because it was really special to be a part of my friend's wedding.

So I'm going to tell you that door to door, the journey home was about 26 hours. I tell you this so that you feel sorry for me - the mother who had never been away from her baby more than 4 hours and had to endure a 14 hour flight, before a lay-over and another 4 hour flight and a 3 hour drive home thinking of and missing her baby girl. I continuously felt like I had forgotten something because the feeling of having only a purse in hand had become completely foreign to me (no diaper bag? no toys? no baby?). Now that you're feeling sorry for me, let me confess - while I teared up more times than I can remember, it is so easy to travel without a 9 month old. And I watched movies from start to end for the first time in, well approximately 9 months. Given this first opportunity to indulge in uninterrupted movie watching, I watched five movies on the 14 hour flight. I didn't sleep at all - not a wink. I watched Bride Wars, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Paul Blart the Mall Cop (don't ask me why - I wasn't thinking straight), Changeling and Marley & Me. Back to back.

So while I'm confessing, I have to also confess that I was a bit confused by my emotions while in Missouri. I really think there was a part of me that thought I would collapse, unable to handle being so far away from Isabelle while in Missouri, as weird as that sounds. But I surprised myself and took comfort in knowing she was in the good hands of daddy and Oma. I actually really enjoyed myself while home and felt a little bit "back to normal," for lack of a better term. Don't get me wrong, my return flight couldn't have come quick enough but I survived. I think it was great for Isabelle to have some time with daddy "at the top of the pecking order" as he puts it, great for Richard, great for Oma and good for me to have had this little trip.

And I came home to the best Mother's Day present EVER. Isabelle and Richard made something very special for me that I hope to be able to share with you if I can figure out how. But here is a part of it...

Who we're dancing to this week: Haley Bonar, Queen of Everything

Who I'm reading: Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea
I don't normally put books that I'm reading up here, but I thought I'd mention this one for those of you who are interested in getting unique insight into the struggle going on between young, western educated Muslims and their conservative, traditional society - particularly as it relates to young women. I really enjoyed this novel and recommend it to anyone.