Thursday, December 31, 2009

quick hello

It's always hard to keep up with blogging when you travel. Our days have been stocked full of Christmas activities and family time and visiting friends and traveling around the state to see people. It's been nearly impossible for me to find the time - but on this early morning, either Abby is still sleeping, or I can't hear I'm gonna send this quick blog just to make myself feel better.

We have so much to document about our trip so far, and its not over yet. I left my camera cord in Boston, so I can't upload any of my pictures yet (wha-wha).

Our travels down here went well. Abby didn't sleep at all on the planes and passed out for the 15 mins on our layover - so she was a tired duck by the time we got to Little Rock. Of course, then, we took her to my aunts house where both our families and friends had gathered and she was passed around and admired by those folks until she just couldn't keep her eyes open any more. She's such a trooper. My aunt and uncle put together a lovely dinner and Kyle and I really enjoyed seeing all of our family in one place. It was raining when we got here and the rain turned to a thunderstorm. I've said it before, but I miss those and it was kinda neat to get one right away.

Driving back to conway in the rain wasn't quite as fun. For all the fun northerns make of people who can't drive in snow....driving in a downpour like that one is much harder - in my humble opinion. But, we eventually got to Kyle's parent's house and put Abby down for the night. We weren't far behind.

Christmas Eve and Christmas were busy but great. But, I'm going to save those days to talk about later - when I have my pictures. For now, it suffices to say that Abby had a great time, got lots of thoughtful things and by her third Christmas (and third city that day - whew) she had the unwrapping part of the holiday down pretty well.

We've spent our time since then hanging out with Kyle's family, then mine, then visiting Billie Jo and Ricky, and several other friends. Abby got to meet baby Avery and baby Pratt and I know we all thoroughly enjoyed watching the kids play. :) We've got 4 or 5 more visits to make today before Kyle flies home friday morning. I don't leave till Sunday because I wanted to spend as much time as possible in AR...but truth be told, I'm a little nervous about traveling with Abs by myself. I know things will be ok - it's just nice when you have help.

And then I hit the ground running - back to work on Monday. Sigh.

Abby has enjoyed being around everybody - she has no shortage of people waiting for their turn to hold her - and she's actually done very well with meeting so many "new" people. She's had all kinds of new foods. We've thrown caution to the wind a lot - she's had her first mexican food, marshmallows, vanilla wafers, popcorn, reese's peanut butter christmas trees, and all the various dinners we've had. The kid has been eating a TON though. I don't know where she puts it, honestly... We'll get back into our normal routines soon enough. She's not had a bottle since we got to Arkansas, nor has she had any formula. She decided that milk and water are great - and we've been going with it. Now we just have to figure out what to do with this formula we don't want to take back with us. I'm proud of her though.

While I've enjoyed our time with our family very very very much, it's exhausting. Even with rest and fun and game nights and date nights and all the good things we've done - it's just tiring being away from your home. Living out of suitcases and all. I'll be glad to return to our little spot in the northeast even though I always miss this home of ours as well. It's a funny spot to be in. Two homes.

But more on that another day. More on everything another day - I need to remember to document Abby's first real Christmas. For now, I've gotta go wake up the baby and the husband. Our next visit-date is in 30 mins and I'm the only one up.

I'll write soon!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I posted this on facebook already, so many of you will have seen it. But I think it warrants a second look. :)

Poor Abby - she's been noted for her lack of locks since day 1. Around 6 months old, she started to grow some peach fuzz on top of that noggin. Over the last few months, her hair has grown, some is still too short, parts are a little long, everything is uneven and usually sticking out in odd ways.

But yesterday marked the day I've been looking forward to for a loooong time. Abby's first ponytail. :)

It may be small, but its a start.

Pigtails are next baby girl - you just wait.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


We knew it was supposed to snow today, so we went out yesterday to get some much needed shopping done and to run a few errands. We got home and settled in for a long winter's nap.

When I woke this morning, I was surprised that there wasn't more snow. The snow that we did have was like powdered sugar - tiny little iceflakes that were blowing every directions. Because the snow was so powdery and dry, it wasn't sticking to the trees like I'd expected. Nevertheless, the plows were slow to get running and after seeing our street looking like this - we decided we wouldn't be making it to mass this morning.

Funny story - I was folding laundry and putting away Abby's clothes in her room and she was "helping" me by putting all the socks back into the laundry basket one at a time, and I told her "Abby, it doesn't look like we're going to make it to church today, what do you want to do?" And I Kid you Not - she went to her bookshelf and broght me this little book titled "Let's go to Mass" Hilarious. Later, she spent about 15 mins taking my car keys and trying to reach the doorknob on the front door with them. Genius.

Anyway, since we were pretty much snowed in, I decided to put on my "good wife" hat and make Chili. I mean, what kind of snow storm would it be if I didn't provide my family homemade chili? ...and hot chocolate of course.

While we were out and about yesterday, we snagged a little snow suit for Abby. I'm glad we did! After her nap, we decided to venture out and try to snap some pictures. Here's Abby all ready to go. Confused, perhaps, but ready to go.

Abby was not a big fan of the snow. when you think about it - It's a lot to take in! I mean, last she checked, everything looked normal, and now everything has been consumed by this white stuff that is everywhere, and we want her to what? Stand in it?? This picture is the only time Abby really touched the snow - and even then it was just on the porch.

Kyle was so kind as to steal the camera from me to take a few pictures of his little ladies.

We thought we would try putting Abby in the snow again - as soon as I started to kneel down, she started grabbing at my shoulder and screaming. Poor thing, I'm sure we've traumatized her. ;)

This is where we live. Home sweet home.

I love this picture of Abs because it conveys her mood at the time so well. Jaw set, eyes scanning, one hand on daddy's shoulder for reassurance.
gotta love this.

daddy kisses - she was really kissy today.


After about 15 minutes outside, I couldn't feel my fingers and Abby had kicked off one of her boots and my camera battery had died, so we decided to come in and warm up. I snapped this picture of Abby playing with my phone - it cracks me up. She looks so old to me.

After we put Abby down for another nap (some days she takes one and some days two - we're at that awkward in between stage). Kyle was a super husband and cleaned off my car for me. He started to shovel the driveway too when the landlord drove by and told him that he had hired somebody to come plow it for us within the hour. So, Kyle came back in.

About an hour later, our landlord comes by to say that the plow guy bailed on him and asked if Kyle wanted to come help him shovel the driveway. So, Kyle did, because Kyle is nice. It's one of those New England rights of passage, y'know?

And the best part of today was when we found out that I'm off work tomorrow! Yay! This is good because I, of course, could use the time to work on several projects. Maybe we'll go play in the snow tomorrow too - we'll see.

And lastly, I'll leave you with this short video of Abby. She didn't want to sit up, so her hand motions are a little limited - but I think you'll get the idea. :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

sweet baby mine

Yesterday, Abby had been put down for a nap before I got home for work. That's fine and dandy so I went about getting a few things done while she slept. About an hour after she fell asleep, I hear her crying on the monitor. My standard practice is to give her 5 or 10 mins before going in because often she'll fall back asleep.

But, yesterday I guess I kinda missed her and it sounded like she was pretty much awake, so I went upstairs. At the top of the stairs I paused to listen and didn't hear her. I was kinda sad, but I didn't want to wake her, so I turned to go back down. But then I heard her crying again.

So, I opened her door and saw Abby just lying on her belly crying/whining into the side of her crib - oblivious that I was there. I put my hand on her back and said "good morning, Abby" and she instantly was on her feet with her arms outstretched towards me.

I picked her up and because she was still whimpering a bit, I rocked back and forth and let her put her head on my shoulder. She doesn't do this a lot, so I soaked it up. After a minute or so of breathing in sweet baby scents, I noticed - she was sleeping.

She hasn't fallen asleep on me like that - with her arms wrapped around my neck - ever. I slowly made my way over to our glider, and I was sure I would wake her, but when I sat down, she didn't stir.

And so I rocked her, and then I sat still listening as her breathing became slow and heavy. Soon she was breathing little baby snores. I sat there for five minutes, and then ten, and fifteen - all the while soaking up the utter sweetness that is a sleeping baby.

Forty five minutes later she started to stir. My shirt had a big drool stain on the shoulder and the one side of Abby's face was bright red with shirt/sleep lines all over it. Her eyes were still sleepy and her hair still tousled. But, when she turned her head and saw that I was there and that I was holding her - she broke out in a huge grin. :) Then she started talking to me as if to say, "Heeeey, how did I get here?"

She went from 0 to 60 in no time and before she could finish a yawn, she was grabbing books off the nightstand to read. We sat there and read four or five of the Christmas books I have out before she wanted down to read the books by herself.

I don't know if or when it will happen again, but for forty five minutes yesterday, I sat with my little girl asleep on my shoulder and counted my blessings and breathed in the sweet smell of her hair and I just couldn't believe that I'm a mom. Her mom.

A year later, and its still sinking in.

Friday, December 18, 2009

friday at last

It's finally Friday. Specifically, Friday the 18th of December - the day I've been looking forward to with some anticipation since late October. Why? Because it marks the last meeting I had scheduled for the semester and is the last day in the busiest week of the year (so far). And I made it. Did I get everything finished? No, everything is never finished - but I got the important stuff done, and I met all my pre-Christmas deadlines. I still have a few straggling cases that are in limbo for one reason or another - but the bulk of my december work is done. Stick a fork in it. Done.

And I'm tired. But I'm happy. Today, now that the stressful part of work is behind me, is the first day that I allow myself to look forward to next week (eek! next week?) and all the Christmas festivities that entails. There's still a lot to do, of course - HA - there's everything to do. But that's ok. I know it won't all get finished because, again, it never does. I'll forget to buy a gift for somebody, our Christmas cards will be late, I'll forget to pack Abby's favorite book. And at the end of the day - it's fine.

Kyle is still working on wrapping up some odds and ends for school, but he hasn't had class after work for about a week. This means that we've been able to eat dinner as a family just about every night this week. It's really nice! I try to have dinner about ready when he gets home and after he puts up his coat and kicks off his shoes, we're ready to sit and eat. Abby usually finishes before us and we just let her crawl around under the table or in the living room while we catch up and talk about our days.

Then we put Abby to bed.

Now, most of the time, we would both sit back and watch a few TV shows - but most of our shows have ended their seasons. Kyle has been working on different projects - but I find that I'd rather work early in the mornings. I could clean, but that's best left for the mornings and the weekends too. So, what does this all mean? It means that after Abby goes to bed at 7 - there has been nothing worth staying up for. And I've taken advantage of that. 3 nights this week I've gone to bed before 8pm. I fall asleep on the couch (I love my couch) and then when I wake up around 2 or 3 am I take myself to bed.

It's been Great. But I've needed it. I'm exhausted at the end of the day. Just plum tuckered out. I'm up at 5:30 most days and I don't get to take a deep breath until Abby's asleep for the night. ...I know, I know, it's the life of being a mom and I don't really have it *that* hard - but I still get tired.

Anyway. I'm really glad its Friday.

I'm looking forward to a weekend of preparation for Christmas and our trip home - maybe I can be productive this weekend, that'd be nice.

I'll leave you with this picture of Abs that I think pretty sums up the week. And I'm sure many babies sleep this way - but I like that it has been well noted that this is how I slept as a baby too. Have restful Fridays. :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Boston sibling fun

So I'm running behind on my blogging, and I don't have a lot of time to spare at the moment - but I wanted to give a quick account of some of the fun we had while my sister and brother came to visit. :)

Jennifer has been to Boston a few times, but this was Michael's first time here - it was his first time for a lot of things - first plane, first subway and trolley...the list goes on for a long time. It was obviously very very cool that they came to visit.

So here are a few of the things we did. On Sunday afternoon, we tried to beat the rain and show Michael a bit of downtown. He and Jennifer had no problems jumping right in...

Here's their action shot in front of one of the trees downtown.

I love the Boston Commons theater - it's got the huge movie scenes all over and quotes on the ceiling and wall. On Saturday night we went to the movies -

We walked around and looked at the holiday lights
(mmmm, negative space, mmmmm)

The tree in the Commons.

Probably the best part of our Sunday afternoon trek was the random Christmas parade we ran across in the North End. Now. It was great. Marching bands and Shriner cars and passing out of lollipops - but this is what confused us...
Toy Soldier, Snowman, Gingerbread man, Rudolph...and two dinosaurs?
It was pretty random -but at the same time, it made us happy because that's kinda how Boston is - nothing matches, and few things make sense, and everything is kinda old and dirty. So it was perfect in its own way. Then Rudolph jumped the beaten path to come meet Abby.

sibling shot

Michael didn't quite see eye to eye with some of the locals.

Abby break!

Here's Michael at the holocaust memorial - the steam, representing the gas chambers is always most impressive during the winter months.

my brother the model
(ignore the scary man in the mist behind him)

pretty sister

Abby break 2!

We took Jennifer & Michael to Mike's where we loaded up on goodies - this is what every stroller basket should look like -at all times. Mmmm, Mikes.

I've got many more pictures - but my time is out. I'll post more another time.

Until then, it was just really awesome to have them come visit. It was the best birthday present Abs could have asked for (if she could ask).

Monday, December 14, 2009

one whole year

Dear Abigail,

All of the cliches are true. All of them. Time flies when you're having fun. They grow so fast. It seems like just yesterday. They change before your very eyes. Your life will never be the same.

It's all true. This last year, your first year, has been amazing. You're amazing.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was scared. But as I came to grips with the idea that I was going to be a mom, I got more and more excited about the idea. I daydreamed every day about what life would be like with you here, and its safe to say that you've exceeded all of my expectations.

I've thought about what I wanted to write to you here for a long time. What am I going to write to Abigail on her first birthday? The more I thought about it, the more I realized I have so much I want to say to you - but they boil down to two things.

The first one is Thank You. I want to thank you.

Thank you for changing my life. Thank you for just being you. Thank you for being such a good-natured and easy newborn. Thank you for giving me the experience of being a first time mom. Thank you for all the times you've fallen asleep in my arms, for each and every smile. Thank you for letting me comfort you when you're scared or upset. Thank you for playing with me, laughing with me, dancing with me, traveling with me - for doing everything with me. Thank you for making me and your daddy laugh every single day. I want to thank you for everything that has happened in the last year, because you have been the light of our everyday since the moment you entered the world.

The second thing that I want to tell you is I Love You.

I know, it's a given, I'm your mom. But, one day, you'll be reading this when you're older and I want you to have some sense of how much I love you - and always have. Words are not enough. Nothing is enough to describe how much you mean to me. But, maybe an example will help.

It happens at the most random times, but it happens everyday. Maybe I'm washing bottles at the kitchen sink and you're sitting in the living room reading your books or playing by yourself. I look over my shoulder to check on you and see you sitting there, flipping page after page and then you look up and catch me looking at you. And you smile at me. I can't tell if what happens then is melting or exploding, but maybe its both. My heart swells up with love. It swells up to the point that sometimes I get a lump in my throat, or shivers down my spine. It always bursts out of me through a smile back at you though. I guess what I'm trying to convey, is that the love I have for you is too much for me to contain.

This is why moms brag about their kids.

Abby, we've had an amazing year. You've gone from completely helpless to exploring and learning and understanding more and more around you. By new years day, you will have been on 14 airplanes in your 12 months of life. You've been to celtics and red sox games. You've seen the freedom trail more times than most people. You've been to the beach and played in the sand. You've been halfway around the world and seen kangaroos up close and personal. You've been on a big boat, gone swimming, and had your picture taken by the Sydney Opera House. You've gone apple picking in the fall in New England. You were baptized when you were only 2 weeks old and we've enjoyed taking you to church every week. You've been a very busy baby.

During your birthday weekend, I thought I would cry. But I didn't. Part of me was too busy to dwell on how sad it is that you are no longer a tiny baby. But, really, a bigger part of me just realized that I'm just too excited about what the next year will bring to be too sad about you getting older. I teared up one night as I put you to bed, but not because I was sad, but because I just couldn't contain my love for you - and that time, it chose to spill out in a few tears. Happy tears though. Very happy.

This has been long, I know. And I have so much more to tell you, but I'll save it. If you're ever reading this in the future, I just want you to know that this past year has been the most amazing year of my life and it is only because of the joy you have brought to it.

I speak for your daddy too when I say that we love you more than you will ever know.

Happy Birthday baby girl,
Thank you & I love you.




Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Party!

It's 2am, and I'm trying to stay awake long enough to get this post written because we have so many friends and family who live far away who would have loved to be here today. I'm going to have to save my feelings about Abby turning one today (yesterday) for another post, because you know that one is going to be lengthy....

So let me tell you about Abigail's 1st Birthday party. For those of you who couldn't be here today, let me show you our party.

All day, Michael and Jennifer and Kyle helped me get things ready. The party started at three, and by then we were all set. Abby's Winter ONEderland theme came with decorations and themed food and all. So, here are some of the things we had...

cupcakes, of course!


snowflake and snowmen sandwiches

hot chocolate station with candy canes too

Abby made hot chocolate party favors for everyone!

The cake :)

chair decor

its a winter ONEderland

another cupcake shot

As the guest started to arrive, we all snacked on food for a bit and then got Abby settled in to open presents. Goodness gracious did she have a lot of things! Kyle and I think Abby got more presents today than our entire family gets on Christmas. All of you out of towners took the spoiling of my child quite seriously, didn't you?

Abby was a little bit overwhelmed by the room full of people and the copious amounts of tissue and wrapping paper around her and spent most of the gift opening time, being very still and rather silent. She looked at things and sat with us, but wasn't so intrested in the unwrapping process.

part of the loot (yes PART)

opening things

who doesn't love a sparkly party hat?

Abby got lots and lots of books - and, if you missed it, we loooove books. I'm very excited about all the new things we have to read now - and Abby is too. She also got some seriously cute clothes and some much needed winter-wear - and of course, Toys! I want everyone to know, that even though Abby may not have the attention span for unwrapping 700 gifts - Kyle and I were truly touched by the generosity of everyone. We were prepared to have a wonderful day with Abby without many gifts, if any, and - we were just stunned at how much she got. So, again, another big thank you to everyone who was so generous.

Abby listening to her Little Einstein card from mommy & daddy. She listened to it over and over and over...

And when we took the card away - hilarious.

silly daddy

After we opened allll the presents, we took a little break and regrouped for a bit. Then, it was cake time! We lit the candle, sang happy birthday, and let Abby have at it. She turned out to be rather dainty about the whole cake smashing. She took her time, in true Abby fashion, studied it bit by bit and slowly got more comfortable with it. She actually ate very little of it - but she did manage to get icing all of me and Kyle. By the way, I have a video of the singing that I'll post later.

Here are some of the cake pictures

After cake and clean up, we all played and visited and took pictures for a while. Eventually, it was time for everyone to leave. It was then that Abby decided that she felt comfortable enough to turn into her normal chatty self. Once everyone left, Abby crawled over to her pile of new things and "read" each book by herself. She just sat there, surrounded by books, picking them up one at a time, exploring them. It was fun to watch her.

reading a new book

sitting and sorting through everything by herself

So, again, things were great. I couldn't have asked for more (well, except that all our families could have been here) But it was SO wonderful to have Michael and Jennifer with me today. It meant a lot - and it made the day extra extra special.

Here are Abby's friends that came to the party. Reese in the middle, and Emma on the right.

And finally - this is the least blurry of a million pictures we tried to take of the 3 of us. It just wasn't happening - but, here we are - our little family of three.

After the party, we cleaned up and put Abs to bed. Once she was down, Kyle stayed home so Michael, Jennifer and I could go gallivanting around the city. We walked around the commons, looked at lights, and saw Up In The Air (cute movie). It's been a long day. A long, wonderful, memorable, and lovely day.

more later. for now - goodnight. <3
for those of you on facebook, there are more pictures on there.