Yesterday was a good morning - a little lazy, a little productive, a little fun.
The girls and I got up and played downstairs while daddy slept in a little bit. We decided to make a fun breakfast, so we pulled together our resources and had fun with it. Abby was a pretty good little help in the kitchen.
Our Squirrel breakfast. I wish I'd taken a better picture, but the phone was all that was handy.
Abby was quite pleased with it....although I think her favorite part was "raining syrup" on the little critters.
After breakfast, we woke up daddy and I decided to play. I haven't picked up my camera this whole month. I'm not sure why - but it's probably a combo of being sick, being busy, the days being dark and short and just feeling uninspired. But yesterday, I decided I would try to take some snapshots to get the juices flowing again. And we had a fun time.
I let the girls play around on my stripped-down bed and I just snapped. Most of the pictures weren't as technically spot-on as I like - but it doesn't really matter. The blur and the grain, the blown out spots and the missed focus - it all captures that morning pretty well.
And that is something I need to remember. I sometimes feel like if I can't produce an image that is technically sound AND beautiful, then I shouldn't show it or share it or keep it. But I need to remember that sometimes, it doesn't matter if my ISO was too high or if my processing is ambiguous - it's more important that I have captured the memory of my girls playing together.
That being said, a few of my favorites from our Saturday morning shoot.
After our shoot, it was more play time, more laundry time, lunch time, nap time, and then we all went and ran errands. It was a good day, as Saturdays should be.
There are about a ba-jillion things I want to teach you. Some are more important than others. For instance, if you ever have a stained coffee pot - you should know that swirling ice, salt, and a lemon wedge inside will clean it, but that's probably not as important as knowing something like - don't hold grudges. Because grudges? They're useless and only hurt you. But - that's a discussion for another day. Today, I want to tell you a few things about politics.
You won't care about politics for a long time. My first political memory was when I was in 4th grade and my teacher took a poll of who we each wanted to win the presidential race. Bill Clinton, being from Arkansas, easily won our little class election, but I remember my teacher asking us why we voted for who we chose. Most, if not all of us, answered "because that's who my parents are voting for" And, you know what? When you're 9 -that's probably ok. But, my teacher's point was that we should never base our opinions just on what the people around us do - we need to learn to think for ourselves, and to think critically.
She was a great teacher.
Your Grandpa is a moderator - he is very good at navigating the waters of strong opinions and simultaneously not offending anyone and not compromising his points of view. It's a skill, an art, perhaps, that not everyone has. I remember when I was in middle school, he taught me that the best way to win an argument was to completely understand the other person's position. You have to know the arguments against your point of view in order to effectively defend them. This is how I convinced them to let me have my first kitten. I wrote a long letter of all the arguments they had against my pet-ownership and provided counterpoints to those arguments. In the end, they were left speechless and I got a kitten.
(ok, maybe they wren't speechless, maybe they were stifling their laughter at my seriousness and dedication and desperate plea for a feline companion. But, I got one in the end, so it matters not.)
I'm getting off track.
Here's what I want you to know.
When you grow up - don't accept what other people say without thinking about it. Especially in the realm of politics. If you like a candidate, know why you like them. Also? and maybe more importantly? Know why other people don't. Research things. And just in case this is still an issue a decade from now - "research" is not the same as "google"
Be informed. Be smart about your opinions.
And when you can do that? When you know not only what you believe, but why? You can stand your ground with confidence.
That being said, don't be afraid to listen to new information, or to change your mind. Always be openminded and respectful of different points of view. If you are informed, you won't be threatened by people who think differently than you. And you will always be surrounded by people who think differently than you. It is what makes this country so great. It's ok to disagree with someone, as long as you know why you disagree with them and that you do so respectfully.
I will try to teach you these things. Both of you. Because they're important. A person who can think critically will do well in life. So, file this away, and know that your daddy and I will do our best to raise you so that this comes naturally to you.
Yesterday, a man ran in front of our car after the light at the intersection had turned green. I slammed on my breaks to avoid running him over and he braced his hand on the hood of our car and gave me this look like "sorry about that!" and walked off. I was pretty annoyed. Y'know, I tend to dislike running over people. Abby then asked, "Mommy? Why did that man almost hit us?"
The rest of the conversation when like this:
Me: "I don't know, but he wasn't being very safe"
Abs: "Yeah, he shouldn't go in front of cars. That's dangerous."
Me: "yes, it is. You are absolutely correct"
Abs: (thinking)..."maybe we just need a cage."
Me: "A cage?"
Abs: (still thinking it through)..."Yeah...a cage! Yeah. We'll just get a BIG cage, and put it at the end of the sidewalk. Theeeeeen, all the people will walk into the cage and get trapped."
Me: (laughing) "Well, ok, but how will they get to the other side of the street?"
Abs: "They can't. They're in the cage. But they wouldn't go in the street"
Me: "Ok, sounds like a good idea to me"
Abs: "Yeah! We just need to find a cage. A big one. Maybe at Target or somewhere."
People of Boston, you've been warned. We're looking for a cage.
Tuesdays are playgroup day. Abby loves playgroup. I came home and was surprised that she was still sleeping when it was time for us to get ready to go. I went upstairs to wake Abby and get her dressed, and I found her like this. So sweet.
She fell asleep reading her new books. Since it was time to get ready for playgroup, I decided I would go get Elizabeth ready first and let Abs catch a few more winks, because I just could not disturb such a sweet picture.
But then, I found Elizabeth was also out for the count. With two sleeping beauties, I found that I did not have it in me to wake either of them. Especially after such a traumatic morning of the dr. visits, blood draw, and shots. They needed sleep. But, Abby was going to be so sad about missing playgroup. What to do?
Elizabeth woke up first. We played together while Abby continued to rest. And I tried to figure out how I was going to explain to her why I did not wake her up for playgroup when I know that 1) she looks forward to it so much and 2) the only reason she even took a nap was because she knew she had to sleep in order to go play with her friends afterwards.
Abby eventually woke up, and was, as predicted, devastated that she had missed the chance to go see and play and run and romp with her friends this week. Her bottom lip pouted out, her head hung limp, and her eyes were watering. She said, "but I took a nap! I did, I promise!"
I did what any stellar mother would do and told her that I was sorry, that we would go next week, and that we could go get ice cream.
Because ice cream fixes everything, and I figure that's a healthy message to engrain early.
my hipster in training here....getting ready to go
It was bedtime when we LEFT to go get ice cream. We got caught up in chores, and cooking, and dinner, and talking with my parents, and getting everyone dressed etc. A promise is a promise though. I'm sure nobody thought poorly of me bringing in my 3 year old and baby at 7:30pm and feeding them yogurt and sugar (ok, E just had fruit). Mother of the year right here!
But, y'know what?
It was fun. And that yogurt was amazing. And she wasn't sad anymore.
Happy 9 months to you! 9 months is a great age. On one hand, you seem so little still - definitely still a baby. Yet. On the other hand, you are getting bigger and stronger and more interactive every day. Your personality is shining through now and it makes you seem older. Then, when I remember that 9 months is only 12 weeks away from you turning 1...I always recount it in my head -Wait, that can't be right - 12 weeks? 3 months? and she's one? Let me count again.
But it's true.
So here are your stats at this juncture in your little life. At 9 months, you are 18 lbs and 29.25 inches long. You wear size 3 diapers and mostly 9-12 month clothing. You have enough hair to spike up and tousle, but not enough to put in a bow or anything. You have two teeth - front and center, on the bottom. Your eyes are still a little hard to describe, but they are a kind of brown and green combo. They look grey in some lights and have flecks of blue in other lights. It's odd, and neat.
You started crawling at 8 months, and 1 month later you are very quick. You can climb stairs, pull up, and cruise furniture. On occasion, you pull-up and let go and stand your ground for several seconds unassisted, until, like a cartoon who has run off a cliff, you fall once you realize that you're no longer holding on. You love to follow your big sister around, it's adorably cliche of you. Abby will crawl on all fours to be on your level, and you will happily follow her lead, grinning with your eyes closed and laughing all the while.
You really are pretty happy. When you smile, your whole face squints. Your eyes close, your nose wrinkles, your smile spans your entire face. It is utterly heart melting. In church on Sunday, daddy was holding you and you were watching people go by for communion. You were content and just watching the world around you. I was walking toward you, surrounded by other people, and you didn't see me right away. Then, you did see me, but you didn't immediately notice it was me, but after about 2 seconds you did and you broke out into this huge smile. Just because you were happy to see me. Keep that up kid, and you may just get spoiled.
You like to play. You have learned to clap, and are very proud of that. At night, when I put you in your crib to slip your sleep-sack on before feeding you a bottle, you clap. I lay you down and you look up at me and say "aaaaaaay" and clap. Because you're excited about the bottle. It's pretty cute. When you laugh, you first smile, and then you smile bigger, and then you smile with your whole face, and your whole body, and when you can not physically contain the smile any more, it slips out in a stifled laugh - but once that happens, you lose it and you just laugh and laugh and giggle. I tickle you a lot.
You love to knock over blocks. You love to knock over anything. You like to undo puzzles that your sister had worked so hard on and destroy train tracks that she has meticulously put together. I see this being the theme in your relationship. Abby takes it in stride. She usually complains about your recent destruction, but then we all laugh and say "she's just playing Destructo!" And Abby thinks playing destructo is pretty fun, so then she will encourage you to continue to destroy things while she calls you "destructo-E" Of course, at that point, you usually just want to go find a penny to chew on or something. It's fun seeing you explore your world.
Of course, you already know that mom and dad's iphones are the cool toys and will take any chance you can get to douse one in slobber. Gotta watch you there.
You babble now. Most of the time, you say "da-da-da" but you also use that appropriately when your daddy is around. You will climb into his lap and say "da-da!" You only say mama when you're crying - but it's at least consistent! If I hold you close to my face and say "E, say 'ma-ma' " You will look at me and whisper "da-da-da" and then you sqint-smile and laugh to yourself. Abby has been trying to teach you how to say her name, she's hoping that you will call her "bab-bab" or "Babby" She thinks the B will be easier than the A sound, and she's probably right. You are starting to catch on to some signs. We've taught you "up" "all-done" and "please" You seem to recognize them, but you are not mimicking them yet. Well, you are kind of mimicking "all-done" You are not yet waving yet, but you haven't had very much modeling for that either, so we'll work on it. :)
Food. You have not met a food you don't like yet. Your sister used to clamp her lips shut and turn her head and sit there if she didn't like something. You've yet to do that. There are things you like more than others - but you've eaten everything we've offered to you. You've had: oatmeal, yogurt, sweet potatoes, squash, edamame, broccoli, green beans, peas, spinach, carrots, pears, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, pasta, ravioli, olives, chicken curry, rice, beans, fish, tuna, crackers, cheerios, ....and I'm sure more that I'm forgetting. You love anything mixed with yogurt. You like trying to feed yourself, and you're getting better at it with small finger foods. You really like berries. Chicken curry was your newest adventure and you liked it a lot. You're starting to get the hang of your sippy cup, but you also just like to shake it...and drop it.
Your sleep is pretty good. 90% of the time. You nap well. You take 2 naps a day and they range from 1-2 hours usually. You go to bed around 7, sometimes earlier. You wake up between 5 and 6 most days. Now, I don't really mind, because I'm usually up then anyway and I like seeing you before I go to work. But, I'm not going to tell you that because I think you should learn to sleep until 6 or later. Emphasis on later. Think about it, ok? You might like it if you try it.
We call you "E" 95% of the time. We still call you E-train as well. On occasion, we call you Elizabeth, but a lot of the time you're just getting a random word out of the nickname generator. Some of our common ones are E-biscuit, E-trade, Munchkinette, Little miss mae, E-mae, E-monkey, Liza-mae, Lizzy-mae. Abby calls you "chicka" all the time...usually in the context of "Hey miss chicka chicka, what do you think you're doing?" It will be interesting to see how your name, the most nicknameable of names, evolves as you grow.
You, my dear, are a joy. It brings me joy to watch you grow and learn and explore and love. Your sister loves you more than anything and I'm so happy that you love her back. Your daddy and I feel like you were always meant to be part of our family and these last 9 months have just felt "right" in a lot of ways. We love you, so much. As your sister would say, we love you "more than pickles and more than biscuits" And that's her way of saying - there is nothing bigger than that kind of love.
All day Saturday, I was making a mental list of the things I wanted to blog about and composing those posts in my head. And then I blinked and it was Monday. That's the way things go.
Life moves quickly, huh?
So, this past week was a pretty normal week for us. Abby, however, got pinkeye from...who knows where. The poor thing just had goopy red eyes for a while, but they didn't seem to bother her too much. Just in the mornings, when I would help her clean off all the crusties that had formed overnight. On Saturday night, she told us that her throat hurt. Actually, she didn't tell us that. She just refused to eat dinner, only wanted to read half a book before bed, and then said "I don't think I can say my pwayers tonight. My mouth hurts." And then she pointed to her throat. She woke up Sunday with a rash of some sort all over her. Poor thing. We put some cortisone on her and went to church, but she was so so uncomfortable. We got her to nap, but it was worse after her nap and she was freaking out about it. Long story short - it's almost gone now and Abby's convinced that lotion is God's gift to little girls. We're not 100% sure what caused it. She had a bubble bath with a new soap, so it could be that, or maybe it's part of the pinkeye stuff, or maybe she's allergic to something else. No way to know for sure. We're just gonna skip the bubble bath for a while and hope it all goes away.
My sore throat is back, or, more likely, never really went a way. Kinda not fun, but whatever, I can totally deal with a sore throat.
E had her 9 month appointment this morning. She's 18lbs, which is about what Abby weighed at 1year...which explains why E is wearing some of Abby's old 12month clothes now. She got a blood draw that didn't go very smoothly, but we all survived, and shots on top of that. Poor kid had a rough morning. I'll write more about Elizabeth in a little bit - I want to attempt an actual 9-month post for her.
Abby has developed a strong(er) desire to help with things...and more specifically, to help with things all by herself. The difference is that, now, she's actually pretty good at stuff. This week she helped me put away her laundry by hanging the shirts on hangers - I was impressed that she did it right - and she was pleased as punch. She only got a little miffed when we had no more clothes, but one more hanger. She went around searching for something to hang. She ended up taking off her pants and using those. :)
She's also helped me make dinner every night. No matter what we're having, she wants to help in some way or another. She's great at the simple things like pouring liquids, stirring, putting things into the pot or pan. She just loves it. We can't put anything into the microwave without her running over "I Want to push the Buttons!!! Me! Let me!" and if you even think about cracking an egg, you'd better be prepared for assistance. She's also very good at washing. She loves to wash strawberries, and she's very good at it. Very thorough. A few nights ago, she made her own supper. Strawberries, crackers, and a few wedges of laughing cow cheese (which Abs calls butter). It wasn't a bad supper actually. I mean, I was initially a little concerned when she said "I made my supper, stwabewwies and butter" But the pride she has when she helps prepare something is so awesome. Also? She'll eat more if she helped make it. She's never been a very picky eater, but she enjoys eating what she's "cooked" for us even more.
It snowed this weekend. Finally. We got around 4-6 inches probably, which is like the perfect amount. Abby LOVES the snow. She likes winter more than summer. I don't know where she came from or how that happened, but she gets SO excited about the snow. So, after it had stopped coming down, we got the girls dressed and we all went outside for a bit. Abby went outside and flopped down on the snow - belly down- and said "look! I'm swimming in the snow!" And she was. Then she buried her face in the snow and came up saying "look! I have a moose-stash!" And she did. And did it bother her that there was now snow going down her coat? on her neck? in her nose? Not a bit. She flipped over and started making snow angels. She did laps in the backyard. Kyle shoveled a big pile of snow at the bottom of her slide and Abby slid down again and again into the pile - burying herself each time. It made me cringe to watch, but Abby? She's a winter baby. The only thing she requires is hot chocolate when she comes in - and that I can do.
K, I gotta get back to work, but I'll update about Elizabeth next. Have a fab Tuesday.
The antibiotics have helped me a good bit, and I'm mostly human again now. I still have a cough and residual sniffles and the occasional sore throat - but those things are minor and I'm feeling a lot better now.
I've even tiptoed back to trying to be minimally productive at home. I took out the trash and took down the christmas tree yesterday. Major movement, there. It won't be long before I'm going to have to admit that all of our suitcases are still waiting to be unpacked and put away. Next thing you know, I'm going to be cooking dinner again and everything.
Being sick is rough.
My feeling better has been casually correlated with my getting my computer back as well (the crowd cheers). Lucky for me, the problem was that my adapter had blown a fuse and my magsafe board needed to be replaced as well. Easy Peasy and we're back in business. I'm happy that I didn't lose all my pictures and files liked I'd feared. Maybe now would be a good time to look into backing up my computer on occasion. Maybe.
The girls are good. Abby is happy to be back in her routines again. She will occasionally ask me, "Am I still in Boston?" Just to check, y'know? Over vacation, she became obsessed with the Lion King. She's now memorized most of the song "I just can't wait to be king" and she sings it all the time. It's really very funny to watch her. On the plane home, she crushed up a yogurt bite, smeared it across Kyle's forehead and said, "Look! Just like simba!" Fun stuff.
Elizabeth is faster everyday, and stronger. We lowered her crib down finally. She can get where she'd like to go. She's pulling up to her knees and feet when we let her. If I hold her hands, sometimes she'll take a few assisted steps, but I don't think she'll walk outright for a good while. Last night she started clapping. It was the cutest thing ever - and she's SO proud of herself too. I have a video of it, but if I posted it, you would all die of cuteness, so I may just keep it to myself. Or maybe I'm just too lazy to upload it. Either way, trust me, adorable.
My other favorite thing E does is let us chase her. She'll start crawling, and the whole time she's laughing and gasping and nearly hyperventilating from excitement because she's anticipating being chased. She'll slow down long enough to take a quick glance behind her and when she sees me on all fours crawling fast toward her - she screams and does a little cartoon-like jump and tries to crawl faster and faster. It's completely addicting to see her so excited and happy and playing.
Abby has entered the "why?" stage. It's crazy. It's like, she turned 3, and BAM - "WHY? WHY? WHY? WHHHYYYYYYY?" And I always thought I'd be good at this game. Like, ok, kids ask why all the time because they're curious! They're trying to figure out the world, what's the big deal? Just answer their questions and be patient.
But, you see, it's not like that. I mean, sometimes it is. Sometimes Abby just wants to know WHY something is because she doesn't know and she's figuring it out. But, most of the time, "WHY" is just a word that she automatically says. Such as:
Abby: "Can I have a banana?"
Me: "Good morning, did you have a good sleep?"
Me: "Abby, would you like milk or water?"
Abby: "WHY? Oh. Milk, please"
And when she's on a why-spiral of questioning me, it takes about 7 turns before I'm out of answers.
Me: We're going to the grocery store
Me: Because we need milk
Me: Because you like milk and we ran out.
Me: Well, you like milk because it taste good and we ran out because you drank it all.
Me: You drank it all because there's no more left.
Me: Because there was only 1 gallon.
Me: Because I only bought 1 gallon. Because I can only afford so much milk at a time. Because my job only pays so much per month and because we can only finish so much milk before it expires because you can only drink so much milk in a day and we can't always have milk at the ready, because sometimes, SOMETIMES, we just need to go to the store.
So, I've developed a strategy for breaking these cycles. When I run out of answers, I just ask, "WHY are you Abby?" It makes her laugh. And she has always given me the exact same answer every time. I do not know why she answered it this way, but the first time I asked, she says "Because I'm Abby and I'm a helper and I can wash things!" That's her answer. Every time.
*shrug* It breaks the cycle, so whatevs.
My point is, things are fun around here. :)
I'm hopefully going to work on getting my pics uploaded from our trip and I'll finish documenting all of that fun-ness soon. Till then, have a good wednesday.
Well, 2012 blogging isn't off to a great start, huh?
Actually, 2012 itself hasn't started off all that well for me.
I've been sick for a week. Today, I woke up with the slightest of appetites and my headache is less. I think those are both good signs that the antibiotics I started a few days ago are working.
I'll be back soon to finish our christmas stories and to get back into the swing of things.
Did I mention my computer died as well? My laptop that I use 99.999% of the time? Hopefully I'll get it back this week too. And between having a computer again and not being pitafully ill, I bet I write more.
How to recap the past 10 days? From the beginning, I suppose.
The girls and I flew down to AR last week, Kyle came a few days later. The trip down was mostly uneventful - Abby and E did great on the flights - especially considering that one of them was over 4 hours long (whew) I was glad to have Brittany's help for sure.
We got to Little Rock and had a nice lunch with both families - I spent the night with mom and dad and the next morning, mom, the girls and I drove up to Ft. Smith to spend the day with my sister. Jennifer had a whole day of train stuff planned for Abby's amusement. It was a lot of fun. We had lunch in an old train car turned diner, we played on and in the trains at the Trolly Museum, we rode the old trolly and then played at the park until it got dark and then we rode the Christmas Train through the park of lights. The whole day was awesome, and Abby was thoroughly thrilled with it all. Also, she was exhausted. We drove back that night
The next few days were filled with Christmas prep. Kyle got in late Friday night. The girls got all dressed up for Christmas mass, and we had a nice time there. Kyle and his siblings were given the task of carrying the "gifts" up to the alter before communion. I was holding a bowl and Abby said she wanted one. I hesitated, but we decided she could do it. She carried a little bowl of wafers all the way down the aisle by herself. I was sure she was going to spill them everywhere, but she didn't. :) She did throw a fit after that because she wanted to go play in the (near) life size manger they have set up. This led to her screaming for the whole church to hear "But I Wanna go see baby Jesus NOW!" #winning
We drove to my parents house and waited for Santa to come. We put out cookies, and we sprinkled the reindeer food in the yard, and we waited. Abby came in the next morning and was speechless at all the presents under the tree. Santa brought her all the things she asked for - a toy dog, kitty, doll, and playdoh. Aaaaaand, about a suitcase worth of other stuff. There were so many presents that Abby asked to take a break mid morning. She said, "I think I just need to go wash dishes for a while" And she did. After she'd done some washing, she came back and opened the remainder of her gifts.
After Christmas 1, we drove to Conway where we had Christmas with Kyle's family. After a fun morning of even MORE spoiling for all of us - we had a nice lunch with the whole family. We let the girls take a little nap before hitting the road again for the evening. After they woke up, we drove down to Grandma's house for the extended Armstrong festivities. Abby was wired of course - it was a lot for a 3 year old to handle. She basically just ate cookies all evening.
It was nice to see my side of the fam and introduce them to Elizabeth. E is crawling now - I can't remember if I've mentioned that or not, but she's quite mobile and getting faster everyday. This trip was also Elizabeth's first time to meet her name-sake - my grandma. I think the two of them hit it off pretty well. :)
As the excitement began to wrap up, we drove the girls back to Conway for the evening. It was a lovely day. Busy, as always, but still good. We filled every second of it with family, and that's about perfect.