I just cannot believe how fast this whole parenting thing goes. Whoa.
My NINE month old daughter is up to the following:
Tries to sit up from laying down. In actual sit-up style. Crawls all over and loves exploring! LOVES mommy & daddy ... quit saying "dadadadadada" generalized and says "mama" or "ma" with me or when looking for me somewhat consistency. Squeals with delight when I return from an outing sans baby, hence melting my heart. Has crawled up the bottom stair platform with standby assist and can crawl steps with moderate assist. Can pull herself up from sitting position onto furniture. GOT BIT IN THE EYE by a little demon at the mall. Plays "peek a boo" and clearly thinks it's the bee's knees. However, she keeps eye contact with me most of the time as she peeks around the blanket. Drinks from a sippy cup and bottle with set up and occasional min assist Loves books! Especially those with touchy-feely things. Has a real baby doll that laughs and Hazel stares at her and laughs right along with her like two little friends do. It's adorable. Loves other kids! Especially boys. She stares and laughs at them at the mall. Or climbs on them. Oh no. Is still working on the whole sleep thing. Talked to her pediatrician today and he recommended letting her cry for 5 minutes, comfort, cry for 10, comfort, cry for 15, comfort, and cry for 20, sleep. He said to do this for a few days, and she will be cured. Apparently it will help her establish good sleep habits for the rest of her life because she needs to learn how to put herself to sleep. Great. Welp - we've had 1 nap since then, and let's just say we're 0 for 1 in the following of that sweet little regimen. We had a little "crafternoon" the other day with a friend and her two kiddos - thanks to Anna for the easy crafty idea! I had intended on doing this months ago but got discouraged when I didn't have an exacto knife and regular scissors would not suffice. To save time this time around, I just used the older picture. I'm so glad I did! I didn't realize the mohawk was so out of control. I miss it.
As with most families with large and chopped up extended families, we had a lot of rounds to make this year. I reckon this makes it fun as it gives me an excuse to truly rock out to the Christmas tunes for an extended period of time. As always, it ended up being a very wonderful love and family-filled month. Christmas began in St. Peter on the 10th and will end this Friday the 30th. We spent the Friday before Christmas Eve with my extended family in Stillwater, having a less traditional lasagna feed and gift exchange. Oh boy! This was even more splendid considering that little Haze has not reacted from me eating dairy in the past 2 weeks, and hence it has returned to my diet in full force. HELLO CHEESE! I can't believe I went 9 months without you. Apparently my body forgot how to digest it during this time, forcing me to reduce it to a minimal to moderate intake from here on out. Live and learn.
Christmas eve morning was brunch at my dad's - our traditional cheesy scrambled eggs, pancakes, hashbrowns, and mimosas, followed by a large pile of presents and smiling children. It ended, naturally, with tired, crying children of all ages. It never ceases to amaze me how this little family of my dad with 3 daughters has turned into a full fledged familial party. Rock on! That night was another tradition for my other family - my mom, brother, and their significant others - dinner at the glorious Red Lobster on Christmas eve. This tradition began 21 years ago, believe it or not. This is where the dairy binge truly took off - clogging these ol' pipes RIGHT up. It did not disappoint at the time, but cheddar biscuits, blue cheese dressing on a salad, and crab Alfredo proved to be the perfect storm. I'm still not sure if I regret the decision. At this point we had had 3 Christmases in 24 hours - and as wonderful as it is seeing family and having the opportunity to enjoy the holiday with them - I know we are SO blessed and would never complain about having a lot of people to love - we were flat out zonked by Saturday night. Christmas day was a day to recuperate and focus on the real meaning and how blessed we truly are. This was the first Christmas that I can remember not having a larger family celebration on the day. Hazel, C.J., and I slept in (Ha! Obviously that's a joke.), opened gifts from Santa, made a nice breakfast, and then went to church. After church Hazel took a long nap, and Ceej and I played a game of Scrabble and watched the Christmas Story. P.S. - Did you know this movie was on repeatedly for 24 hours on Christmas day? I mean, seriously, that is some fame. Anyway, it was a perfect day and I have zero complaints. Well, besides the fact that I did all the shopping this year which meant that C.J. didn't get me anything. NOT A THING - not even a card and ornament which we've done every year for the past 10 years - because he "ran out of time". I was over it by the night before and how I managed to refrain from being passive aggressive and crabby all day is beyond me.
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you felt as blessed as you are!
Hazel had her first acting debut as the one and only Jesus Christ - big shoes to fill for a rookie. She did great and totally passed as our newborn male Savior. She was all smiles up there and enjoyed stealing the show at a local nursing home.
I on the other hand was upgraded from an Angel (back in 2008) to Mary! I could not be more happy. Hazel has changed my life in so many wonderful ways.
My sweet girl is 8 months old! I just can't believe it. I have a little tendon issue in my wrist, so I won't be typing much (so sorry, faithful readers). A quick little update on her my beautiful daughter and very best friend:
Says "mama" occasionally!! YIPPYYYY!!! Mostly it's "ma" or "mm" or "boogwoohdblah", but I know what she means. Crawls ... it began with a backward worm thing and now she will get into the plank position and creep forward. We're working on this one. She improves every day. Has 2 cute little teeth. Sucks at night lately (sleeping has been an issues lately). Loves finger foods and enjoys feeding herself. Laughs like CRAZY at her silly daddy. Still loves baths and splashing and playing with (in the form of chomping on) her animals and letters. Has stranger anxiety and is terrified of certain people ... like my dad. Poor guy barely gets a stare down before she starts bawling.
Now for the semi freak out part. If you are a true blog-stalker, you will have noticed that I blocked all readers for about 3 hours yesterday. This is because I all of a sudden got 7 emails about comments on posts from years back. I FREAKED OUT and thought I was being crazy-stalked, like almost murdered. You are now pleased to see that I have re opened my blog for your viewing pleasure. This is because I could not sleep because I was thinking about being murdered, and I came down to inspect a little further of my murderers, who turned out to be fellow graduate students. I see now that I am probably safe, and again trust the world. AMEN! If you haven't noticed my fan base under the "Graduate School Barbie" post from 2010, please explore it. I'm expecting an email from Matt Lauer inviting me to be a guest any day now. It's been fun reading all the posts from grad students and brings back fond memories of my grad school days. I mean, I've been officially done with all things studying for 14 days now, so I can barely remember what it was like.
I have been listening to The Help on my iPod - yes, months after the movie has been out, we do not move fast here, people - and I am in love. It's so wonderful. It has been a life saver as little Hazel becomes the HAZELMONSTER in the night. Mostly she wakes up and wants to be rocked, so I rock her for 30 min to 2 hours, whenever she falls asleep deep enough to stay asleep for more than 10 minutes. Not sure if it's teeth or Satan - but it's been going on for a bit. However, now that I have my beloved book to listen to, I bolt up with a smile when that little whine comes across the baby monitor and I can get back to snuggling my peanut and listening to my book. It's almost finished, but have no fears - I have reserved a Jodi Picoult book on CD (Sing You Home) to be picked up tomorrow. Fall zipped by, but we sure enjoyed it! Haze loves anything that crunches, so the leaves were a hit. Now we have a layer of snow. I never minded the snow or winter, but trying to hold a round girl in a puffy coat while wearing gloves and a puffy coat is nearly impossible. Also, it is too cold to run or walk with the little one outside, and we haven't done so since the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving with elementary cooking. I'm pretty much over this cold already and rip roaring ready for spring. Thank goodness we have the mall to power walk in. Hazel loves the Children's Museum here in town. Here we are playing away: We also have a Christmas tree! I wanted to begin a tradition of cutting down a tree with our little family, but C.J. talked me out of it. After all, walking out in the cold snow holding a slippery bundled baby, not to mention (observing) the whole chopping/dragging thing sounds more like torture than tradition. Maybe next year. Probably not. Our Christmases began with a 3 day adventure in St. Peter with C.J. extended family. Tons of fun seeing everyone! Here is Hazel meeting Santa for the first time. She didn't even cry - I was so proud!
I'll conclude this excessively long post with some BIG NEWS - I have passed the NBCOT ... ANNNNDDDD (PAUSE FOR EFFECT) I HAVE A JOB!! Woohoo!!
After being crazy in love for a decade, we officially became a family on May 23, 2009. We are thrilled to be married and enjoying this exciting time in our lives! Ceej worked as a Journeyman plumber and is now bidding jobs for a local plumbing company, and Em graduated from UW-Madison in December of 2008 and is in the Masters of Occupational Therapy program at the University of Minnesota to be completed in the Fall of 2011. Our sweet baby Hazel Leann arrived April 1, 2011 (no foolin'!) and is the biggest joy and blessing we didn't know we needed. Life isn't perfect, but it sure is wonderful - We're truly enjoying every new second of God's awesome plan for our lives!
Pictures credit to Forever Photography (family/baby) and McManigal Photography (wedding).