Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Feel the burn

Anna has decided that playing with the monkeys on her Exersaucer bar is sooooo 2011.  Pull-ups are what all the cool kids are doing in 2012.  Please also note her double chin ... I love having a baby that's finally in a double digit percentile for weight : )

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Growin' Like a Weed: Month Nine

I keep saying how close we are to crawling, and one day Anna will make an honest woman out of me, but until then, we have a lot of scooting, a lot of push-ups, and two bottom teeth.  That said, I'll take an adorable, laid-back and happy baby that's a great sleeper over a fuss-bucket early crawler any day : )  We had a great nine-month check-up and Miss Anna is meeting all of her milestones; you'll notice that she dived into double digits in her weight percentile and is still a string bean in length, and, of course, 110% perfect!

Nine Month Stats:
-- 16lbs, 4oz (15-20th %), and a 3lb, 1oz gain over 3 months
-- 27 1/2 inches (50th %) and a 1 1/4 inch growth over 3months

Nine Months!!

The blooper reel ... enjoy that flexibility while you've got it!

Months 3, 6 and 9 ... I still can't get over how she changes so quickly!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Days with Dad

Anna and Dad had a big time while Mom was away ... they hung out and played A LOT, went out to lunch, checked out the pet store, and kept Mom up to date the entire time! I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful husband and Anna is lucky to have such a great Dad! n

Blowout!  Chewing on a toy while waiting for a diaper change : )
Big girl eating lunch with Dad at Flipdaddy's (fitting name, ha)
Afternoon snack after the afternoon snack
"Mom has her camera phone flash figured out, Dad, maybe she can give you lessons when she's back ..."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gaining perspective

This past weekend I spent the first two days in over nine months away from my baby. It was a weekend full of friends, fun, relaxing, eating, drinking, and most importantly, recharging and finding perspective.
The group of friends was comprised of six ladies that met in the fall of 1997, which means that we've almost known each other for 15 years. Seeing that number makes me feel OLD, but like a fine wine, our friendship seems to only get better with age. You may recall that we embarked on a journey to San Francisco last year and had big plans for our future escapades. Well, turns out that between that trip and now, four of the six of us have had babies and we needed to stay closer to home. And, in the words of Dave Matthews, "it's not where you are, but who you're with, that really matters."  So, with Cincinnati being a good middle ground for the crews coming from Nashville, Lexington, Louisville and Columbus, we started with a spa day, threw in some fabulous dinners, peppered it with shopping, and generally enjoyed lounging, catching up, and being together without any responsibilities. 

Yes, I missed Anna dearly, yes, I felt pangs of guilt as I left on Saturday, and yes, I have the best husband in the entire world for letting me slip away for a little R&R. What I gained though, was perspective. We shared stories of old times, caught up life, commiserated about hectic schedules, discussed how others make being a Mom and working full time "work," and drank wine, champagne and margaritas, and simply enjoyed each other's company.

And then something happened and the weekend ended with tears.

As we arrived back in the hotel lobby after Sunday's dinner, there were two people also waiting for the elevator: a man and a younger girl in a wheelchair wearing a cheerleading outfit, who also had physical disabilities. As one of the elevator doors opened up, they approached and then the man looked back at us and asked "want to ride with us?" I think we'd all been a little hesitant because of space concerns, but also because we'd all just had a few margaritas each. As the doors closed someone asked the pair if they were in town for a conference. The man replied "yes, it was JamFest and they have a cheerleading competition with a category for disabled participants ... and we won first place, the grand prize!" We cheered as he declared their victory and held up the medal the girl wore around her neck. The door opened on their floor and I had to step out to allow for enough room as they exited. As a friend and I got back on the elevator I could feel tears forming and said to my friends, "that just makes me want to cry, they were soooo sweet, and it's just not fair." But, as I was finishing the sentence, a friend interjected with "but, she's led such a full life." And that was so very true.

As I drove home in the wee hours of Monday morning so that I could arrive before Anna woke up, I got teary-eyed again. I was excited to see my baby, grateful l I have such a wonderful husband and father to my child, and extremely thankful for the life I've been blessed to live. It all hit home as I turned into our neighbourhood. To rephrase what a dear friend had said less than 12 hours earlier, I've lived a VERY, VERY full life. And, I'm thankful I took two days away to remember just that. I was crying tears of joy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Letter to Anna: Month Nine

Dear Anna,

I can't believe you're nine months old today! You're three-fourths of the way through your first year of life and I have a feeling these next three months will FLY by. Your nine-month "birthday" falls on Valentine's Day, and there couldn't be a more fitting coincidence since you're the sweetest girl I know.

This has been and will be a month of independence for all of us. We left you with your first non-family babysitter last weekend and you had a ball. We lucked out in finding a "teacher" at your school that lives in our neighbourhood who is in college for early childhood development. When word got around that Miss Brooke was coming over, the other teachers gave her a hard time for having such a "challenging" charge and jokingly told her not to work too hard. On the same token, I'm gearing up for my first two nights away from you and will be embarking on a girl's weekend this Saturday. We have a spa day, shopping, dinner out, and tons of catching-up and fun on the agenda.  I know that you and your Dad will have a big time hanging out and playing while I catch up on some R&R.

You're *this* close to crawling and know that you'll be shooting past us faster than a lightning bolt any day. You can get up on those knees in no time and are great at moving backwards or in a complete circle, you just haven't figured out the forward motion yet. Although your Dad has demonstrated the act of crawling to you several times, there's no rush on our part because goodness knows we have a ton of childproofing yet to be done around the house. Your teachers reported today that you spent the better part of your tummy time doing push-ups, so maybe you'll decide crawling is overrated and you want to go straight to walking. Or weightlifting. Just please stay away from the spray tans. 

You're becoming more social by the day and were cited, twice, this month for causing a disturbance in the crib room during nap time. Apparently you thought it was party-central and attempted to rouse the other babies by sitting up in your crib and laughing at and/or talking to your friends. You're a big chatterbox and at times it truly sounds like you're having a "real" conversation with us. You even go as far as leaving dramatic pauses, talking in whispers, and often hit your point home with kicks or bounces of excitement.

You continue to ham it up when we're out to dinners or in public in general. It takes you a few minutes to warm up, but once you find a captive audience, you really put on a show. You seem to hone in on the older women and younger girls that find you especially adorable and will make eyes at them, laugh like you've just heard the best joke ever, or smile with general delight. You think you are hot stuff in a high chair when we're out to eat and cannot wait for the day that you can eat what we're eating.

It won't be longer until you're ordering off the children's menu as you finally sprouted your first tooth this month. That's right, you have one lone pearly white that's working its way up and another one should be along shortly. You've seemed to do well with teething and I hope it keeps up. The first night we could feel your tooth through your gums we cheered as a family and it was all I could do not to stick my finger in your mouth when I checked on you before I went to bed later that evening. I'm telling you, we're obsessed with everything Anna, even your teeny tiny teeth!

Your physical beauty continues to amaze me and it will come as no surprise to me when you break many a heart later in life. You have the most beautiful big, dark, soulful eyes I've ever seen and eyelashes that most adults would envy. Your hair is jet black and filling in nicely; it's finally long enough that a few strands hang over your ears these days, I think this means barrettes are in your future and I have a feeling you're ready to accessorize. You're still petite for your age, but are plumping up nicely, although you continue to be longer than you are wide you are still perfectly proportioned.  You're wearing 9 month clothing and as soon as we run out of size 2 diapers you'll be sporting size 3s.  It seems like every time I do laundry I'm adding to the "too small" bin and I'm still not used to your ever changing wardrobe. 

There's a song I've been listening to a lot in the car lately, "Heart of the World" (by Lady Antebellum) and a line in the song seems even more appropriate today as I write to you … it says, "you'll never not be my girl … love is the heart of the world." I can't tell you how true that rings for me, especially on this Valentine's Day. You will always be my girl and your love is the heart of MY world. I wish for you that you always know how loved you are, and by so many; and especially that you'll never not be my girl.



Monday, February 13, 2012

Will you be my Valentine?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ain't to proud to beg

Milo had been awaiting a stray puff or yogurt melt when I went to get the camera,
but scurried off by the time I returned.  Needless to say,
they now understand the new importance of dinnertime.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Can I get a wetnap?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sunny Days!

What's this green stuff??

And what's that bright light??

This is so much fun!!

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!

We tried to get a few shots on the park bench in our neighborhood,
but we were both nervous with the concrete ...
The subject, however, was tickled pink!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ready to take OFF

Anna's working diligently on her crawling and we're getting *so* close it's crazy!  The excitement level goes through the roof when she gets herself on all-fours and it's nothing short of totally adorable.  But maybe I'm biased : )

Pure excitement!! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Funny: I'm Elmo and I know it!

One of our favorite past times is making up new lyrics to songs with Anna's name or behaviors inserted.  A recent fave involved "When I walk into school I'm the cutest baby there, I've got a smile on my face and I'm not afraid to show it ... I'm ANNA and I know it!! ... Tickle, Tickle, Tickle, ... Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle, ... I work out!"  So, of course I'm in LOVE with this video.  The lyrics are MUCH more appropriate than the original artist's : )

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What's Cookin': Linguine with Clam Sauce

A few years ago on the ski trip (where we don't ski), Amber and I planned to offer a vegetarian option on pasta night, but like usual there were mass amounts of food, and another dish literally wouldn't have had a serving plate to stand on.  Amber had sweet-talked her mother into handing over the recipe to begin with, so I think I may have been sworn to secrecy regarding the fact that she shared with me.  I can't remember exactly, and honestly this recipe is too delicious, way too easy, and soooo affordable that I'd feel guilty not sharing with my six readers.  Notice I didn't throw healthy into the description, scroll down and read the recipe and you'll see why.  Everything in moderation, right?  Throw a salad into the mix like we did and you'll get your greens.  Use whole grain pasta, like we did, and you'll get an extra dose of fiber and protein in your day.  After you eat this dish, I promise you won't care about the extra calories. 

Nothing smells better than EVOO, butter, and garlic cooking!

Except maybe this finished sauce, waiting for noodles!

I forgot the fresh parsley at the store ... it bugged me that the plate lacked
something green, but I powered through and ate it anyway ; )

Linguine with Clam Sauce

1 pound linguine noodles, fresh is best (we used whole grain)
1/3 cup EVOO
1/2 stick butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced (more if you're a garlic lover like me)
4, 6 1/2 ounce cance of minced clams, including their liquid
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped parsley (I forgot this, but the dish survived)
dash of red pepper flakes
splash of white wine (optional)
grated Romano cheese

In a large pot of boiling, well-salted water, cook linguine just until tender. 

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat oil and butter until butter melts.  Add garlic and cook until golden, but watch to ensure it doesn't burn.  Stir in the clams with their liquid, oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.  Cook just until heated.  Add a splash (or more) or white wine if you choose. 

Drain linguine, return to the pot, add the clam sauce and cheese and toss until well coated.  Serve with extra cheese and red pepper flakes.

Great with a loaf of oven-hot french bread or garlic bread. 

Notes from Amber's Momma:
-- This recipe easily doubles, triples, etc.  When you get into doubling, tripling, a helpful hint is to open all of the cans of clams first, then start everything else.

-- This recipe is top secret and the Momma-Love ingredient cannot be recreated.  So if your recipe tastes really good, but like a little sumpin' sumpin' is missing - it's the Momma-Love.  (this is soooo true, and why I added the white wine, ha)

-- This recipe will get better with age, i.e. the next day ... good luck having that opportunity.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: A is for Anna