Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

This is not Stella's first Christmas, but it feels like it. Last year, we were snowed in, hadn't slept for more than a few hours in a row for a month, and were still figuring out life with an infant. Frankly, it's all a blur. This year has had lots more notable firsts: first trip to Santa, first stocking, first time being interested in opening presents and immediately playing with their contents and our first time really getting to be Santa--having the tree and stockings ready for Stella in the morning.

Getting ready for Christmas morning! You probably can't tell, but there aren't any ornaments on the bottom half of the tree.

Stella and her stocking. More pictures of my craftiness here

Christmas presents!

Dad and 13-month-old Stella. What a difference a year makes!

Happy holidays, S&B readers! More Christmases to come this week as we head to Texas to visit my parents....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

From our family, to yours: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and may you have a wonderful New Year!

Um... yeah.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The sincerest form of flattery...

If they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then not a day goes by these days that Stella doesn't flatter Sarah or I. In the last couple of weeks, she's taken to trying to imitate our behavior, often with humorous results. For example, as seen in one of the photos in Sarah's previous entry, Stella now joins us for our evening tooth brushing. Sure, she only has six teeth, and sure I'm pretty sure she doesn't actually touch any of them with her toothpaste-free brush, but still she's pretty dedicated to oral hygiene.

Also, recently, while feeding her one of her favorite snacks, Mum Mum, Sarah and I started singing her a modified version of the "Meow Mix" song: Mum mum mum mum, mum mum mum mum, mum-mum... When next thing we know, she's singing along. Again, her timing and rhythm left a little to be desired, but it was still entertaining.

Here's a couple of videos showing some other skills she's picked up by watching us...

Notice how she goes back a couple of times, until she finds a song she likes. This is something she does with some of her toys too, repeatedly hitting a button until she finds something suitable. What type of music does Stella like? Well, I can't speak for her, but I'm pretty sure she'd say something to the effect of "it's gotta have a nice beat that I can dance too."

Unfortunately, in this video, what you can't see is that first she pulled herself up on the entry table, and grabbed the keys off of it. Usually, when Sarah comes home, she throws her keys there. And, apparently, Stella's realized that the keys are supposed to be used with the door knob and lock. Unfortunately for her, she hasn't learned the difference between a key and the car lock.

Entertainingly, we've also walked outside a couple times recently to find the trunk open. Apparently, when playing with the keys, she occasionally hits the button to pop the trunk.

Sadly, as I type this, Stella is sleeping off what has been a fairly rough day. Last night, Sarah and I woke up to the sound of Stella throwing up. Over the course of the morning, she got sick a couple more time, and eventually Sarah ran her to the doctor. The Docs have assured us that its just a 24 hour stomach bug, and she does seem to be through the worst of it. Still, not a fun day for the baby. Or for mom, who happened to be holding Stella when she vomited.

Here's hoping tomorrow is better. And, here's hoping Stella starts imitating me folding laundry.

...Actually, she already does, but it mainly involves tossing the clothes around the room.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Morning Reflections

It's Sunday morning. Tyler's day to sleep in, my morning to spend with Stella. While I sometimes wish that Stella had a "snooze" button, these are nice mornings. We pad around the house, she plays, I drink coffee, we have some breakfast. It's quiet, dark, and Stella's in good spirits after a good night's sleep. Peaceful. A nice way to end the weekend.

Me and my one-year-old!

It's been a few weeks since Stella's birthday. She's jabbering a lot, "sharing" things, starting to put toys into things instead of only taking them out. She hasn't started walking yet--I think she thinks she has a good thing going by having a parent to steer around the house. She's still obsessed with cats, dogs and animals. And she's often full of surprises. At the zoo we're always convinced she'll love the leopard--a big cat that tends to hang out right by a big window. But it's different every time. Last time (on her birthday) it was the gorillas that were her favorite.

Stella and the gorillas at Woodland Park Zoo

She's still an inconsistent sleeper--giving us a few good nights before something like teething throws her off again and we're back to at least one wake up in the middle of the night. And she's still pretty reliant on her pacifiers (which we probably need to start easing out of her routines).

Still a bit Soothie-obsessed. She starts the night with 7...usually most of them end up under the crib.

After she turned one we turned her carseat to forward-facing. In Stella's world, this has been a good development. We can look back and see her, and I think she can see more out the window. She rarely falls asleep while driving anymore--there's too much to look at!

Big girl carseat!

Last night someone asked me what Stella's temperment was like. Sometimes I'm surprised at how much she's still like the tiny little baby we were just getting to know a year ago. She's engaged with the world, alert, social, full of laughter, loving, curious, independent, stubborn, and active. She's just more able to express her emotions (both happy and frustrated) and move herself around.

She often goes through her box of stuffed animals, picks her favorites, and then gives them hugs and gentle pets. It's pretty adorable.

When I reflect on this first year, the main thing I think of is "more." More laughter. More fun. More songs and silliness and heart-filled-to-the-brim happiness. More time spent on the floor--reading, playing, cleaning up food that fell there. And the other side of that, too. More exhaustion, more self-doubt--am I doing the right thing for Stella? Enough? Too much?

Sometimes I get anxious for the next stages--I can't wait until we can talk, draw together, interact in new ways. But I have to remember to enjoy this moment--this just over one-year-old girl who's experiencing so much and learning something new everyday. It's too easy to romanticize the past and idealize the future. And right now--most the time--it's pretty wonderful, too.

Riding high like a big girl!

My two favorites

It's a busy season--Stella's birthday, Thanksgiving, and Tyler had a birthday this weekend, too. A year ago we celebrated by having a few friends over. We wanted to mark the occasion, but going out with a 2-ish week old seemed too daunting. In the past year, Tyler has continued to remind me of what an amazing husband and father he is. He's with Stella a lot, with all the joys and challenges that brings. He's playful and fun and loving--she's such a lucky little girl. I know the next year will continue to be filled with all the same "more" that we had this year, and I can't wait to get to share it with Tyler and Stella.

Teethbrushing time!

Stella seems to be developing her dad's love of haberdashery:

When I saw Stella "helping" Tyler with this little project, I had to snap a picture. It reminded me of this picture from my childhood:

Another set of helping hands....30-odd years ago....

Fortunately for us, Tyler and I have also had some fun baby-free moments. We decorated our Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas in 2009! Since this photo was taken, all the ornaments have been moved to the upper two-thirds of the tree...

And had a fantastic dinner out to celebrate Tyler's 34th. We try to do a monthly date night, but it felt like it'd been too long since we'd been able to sit across a table from each other and just be together--not noticing the things that need to be done around the house, not listening for Stella, just out together. It was so much fun, the food was delicious, the wine almost too drinkable. And I had a moment where I was describing something to Tyler and knew he knew exactly what I meant, how I felt, and I felt so known and loved--amazing. I'm a lucky girl.

And last night we attended our friends' annual themed Christmas party. This year we were tasked with becoming rock stars:

Our version of Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistable" video

Well, early Sunday morning is slowly turning into late Sunday morning. Stella should be up soon, and it's probably time to finish my coffee, finish this post and hop in the shower.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Spoon Girl

I've been meaning to do a blog post since Stella's birthday. But life has been busy. So here's a little glimpse at Stella these days.

Mmmm. Applesauce!