Sunday, July 31, 2011

Natalie's Book

One of my July goals was to catch up on Natalie's scrapbook.  With August beginning tomorrow (whoa!!) I have been working frantically on my digital pages over the last week or so.  I'm all caught up (with the exception of some swimming pictures I took last weekend)!  Here they are!
(Warning: there are A LOT!)


Hooray!  Now, I didn't get to her traditional scrapbook of her professional photos...but hey, baby steps, right?  I'm proud of what I got done!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dwindling Summer

The countdown is on.  I have only a couple of precious weeks left at home with my little girl....then our summer will be over.

It has been such a special summer for me.  For once, I didn't fill my days away from school with tutoring kiddos, lesson planning, or overhauling my classroom library.  I didn't take classes, tackle my large stack of papers to file, or learn new technology strategies to implement while teaching.  Even though I get my summers "off", I usually spend a large portion of my break working....thinking....planning. 

Not this summer.  This summer, it was for us.  For my baby girl and me.
I never want to forget these incredible months at home with her.  Exhausting and frustrating at times, yes.  But it was hands down the best summer of my life.

We didn't go on vacation or spend hot days by the pool.  We didn't chase down the ice cream truck (well, maybe once...) or go boating or play at the park.  But in the absence of these classic summer traditions, we found new ones.

Snuggling every morning in the earliest rays of sunshine.
Sitting outside on hot nights, when that stifling night air was all that would calm a fussing baby.
Countless hours spent in the rocking chair in her room, singing lullabies and cuddling close.
Laying on the floor, side by side, exploring and playing.  Reading books.  Singing songs.  Shaking toys and holding stuffed animals.
Watching her change and grow - starting as a tiny helpless babe, and then emerging with more personality, more independence, and more beauty each and every week. 
She has learned to smile, laugh, roll, recognize voices and faces, yell, control her wobbly head, sit up in her exersaucer/high chair/jumper, bounce, reach, and grasp.  A true testament to just how amazing babies are.  I am constantly in awe of how fast she learns and changes.  It's incredible.

Yes, this summer has been different.  Different and wonderful.  And now each future summer will be sweeter and more special and full of memories waiting to be created.  Best of all, it will be all ours
Until next summer, sweet girl....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Weekend Randoms.

Not much happening around here this weekend....
Just the usual cute baby stuff:

Yes, Daddy put the onesie on her head.  Yes, I took a ridiculous number of pictures.  No, we don't have anything better to do on a Saturday morning.  I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

I got away for a little while today to try on bridesmaid dresses with the girls.  Mark's brother is getting married this fall, and we're both thrilled to be a part of the wedding.  Thrilled about this post-baby body in a bridesmaid dress??  Notsomuch.  But so happy for Nick & Brandi!  The best part was coming home after 5 hours away.  I'm not usually away from Natalie for that long....she was in her exersaucer when I got home.  When I walked in, she smiled, laughed, giggled, bounced, and squealed!  Cutest. Thing. Ever.  Man, did that make my whole day.  I think the only thing that will get me through the day when school starts is knowing that that sweet little happy baby is waiting for me when the work day is over.

Bedtime tonight was a struggle.  You see, I've gotten into this not-so-good habit of rocking Natalie before naptimes and bed.  It's not so much that she needs to be rocked, it's more that I enjoy the quiet snuggle time together.  So, in MY need to have sweet snuggly rocking time with my baby -- I've created a rockabye baby addict.  She now won't go down for bed unless she's rocked.  As in rocked until she's completely asleep.  Also, if she doesn't take a little 30 minute evening nap, she's a fussy mess by bedtime.  If she does take her evening catnap, she has a hard time settling down before nine o'clock.  Oh, the mysteries of babies and motherhood.  Most of the time, I feel like I'm just trying to figure out what the heck I'm doing.  And just when I figure something out, there's a new hurdle to tackle.  I have a feeling this is just the beginning... :)

The best thing about bedtime?  Bathtime comes first... :)

The girl loves her rubber ducky.

The momma loves the girl.

Hope you're having a great weekend -- and staying cool!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

{five months}

I have no idea how five months have gone by so quickly.

My little sweetheart is growing so fast.  She continues to change at lightning heart can't take it!
I simply cannot get enough of her toes.  One day, when she's grown, she will ask me why I took so many pictures of her little feet...

Wouldn't you?  Yum.

She is so fun!  She laughs and giggles and smiles often now. 
She also lets me know when she's had enough...

At five months, my sweet Natalie:

*Is still an excellent sleeper.  The girl has known how to sleep since day one.  She goes to bed around 8:30, and will sleep until 6 or 6:30 the next morning.  She naps 3 or 4 times a day, for a total of 15-16 hours of sleep time in a 24 hour period.  Perhaps I shouldn't put that in writing....some will start to wonder why I don't get more done in a day...
*Wants to be upright more and more.  Instead of laying on her back on a blanket, she now prefers to be sitting up.  Her favorite places are her exersaucer, her Jenny Jump-Up, or in her high chair with toys on the tray.  She still isn't a big fan of her bumbo.  She arches her back, and she always spits up a ton when she sits in it....don't know why.
*Eats 5 times a day.  She used to eat every 4 hours, but we're right around every 3 1/2 hours now.  When she started sleeping longer at night, I had to shorten the time between feedings so I could still fit in five nursing sessions a day.  I still love breastfeeding.  However, she has become much more "distractible".  I have to feed her somewhere quiet.  I tried to feed her in the car a couple of days ago, but she kept turning her head to look at the sky, trees, dashboard, rearview mirror, etc.
*Is now "playing" with her toys.  She looks at things closely, shakes her rattles, giggles at her baby dolls, and puts everything in her mouth.  I keep watching for a tooth, but nothing yet.
*Still gets swaddled when she sleeps.  Yes, I know that babies are "supposed" to stop being swaddled at three months.  But my baby LOVES it.  Swaddle, paci, and it's off to dreamland in five minutes flat.  Why would we give that up?!
*Has tons of expressions, and pays more attention to ours.  When I stick my tongue out, she looks at me with this really confused and serious face and can't keep her eyes off of it.  When I make a pouty face, she giggles. :)
*Is rolling like crazy!  She is a PRO at rolling from back to belly, but sometimes gets stuck there and can't get back over.  She will roll to her side and wiggle if she is trying to reach something. 
*Reaches for EVERYTHING.  We call her "busy hands" because they are constantly in her mouth, pulling out her paci, pulling mommy's hair/necklace/camera strap/etc.  She also opens and closes her hand and scratches at things with a different texture, such as the couch pillows or the chair in her room. 
*Likes when we dance and sing songs about her.  Yes, we make up songs about Natalie. :)
*Lights up like the 4th of July when her daddy gets home from work.  *Melt*
*Has an enormous collection of nicknames - including little angel, sugar britches, peanut butter, little lady, baby monster, stinker pants....and all her cousins call her "Baby Natalie".
*Continues to be very flexible and laid back.  She is easy to travel around with and run errands, doesn't mind if we get off schedule a little, and pretty much goes with the flow. 

As she grows, I fall more and more in love with this little girl.  She is my heart, living outside of me.  So happy to be her momma.
I love you, Baby.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Not So Sure

Natalie had her first solid food last night - as in VERY soupy cereal/breastmilk combination. 
The verdict:  undecided.

She didn't seem to love it....but didn't scream either.  Lots of funny faces and gag noises.  We'll keep trying. :)  Well, I will.  You probably  noticed in the video that daddy wasn't going for it either.  After she "ate" she spit up a couple of times in a row.  Daddy said "She's spitting up.  She's spitting up!!!!" like she's never done that before.  He decided she didn't like it and we should wait at least a week before we try it again.  We'll see about that...

 I'm not so sure about this whole "spoon" thing...
 Hey!  What's that??
 Do I actualy have to swallow this?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blankie Baby

She's developing quite an affection for her pink blanket these days...

She likes to wrap herself up in it.

And chew on the soft, silky edges.

We play peek-a-boo with it and she giggles and grins.

And Mommy puts the blankie on her head...because, well, it looks cute. :)

She also likes to rub her little face on it.
Sweet blankie baby!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Choosing Happiness

We've had some unfortunate luck over the past year....seems like bad things like to come all at once, doesn't it?  I don't consider myself to be a negative person.  I try to stay positive and "hang in there" when things aren't going my way.  But, sometimes, the negative things gang up on me and get me in a less-than-desirable mood.  Haven't we all been there??

In the past year, we've dealt with (in no particular order): identity theft, unemployment, Mark's eye injury (+7 surgeries), a break-in (Mark's truck), Mark's truck breaking down, termite infestation, broken computer that ended up needing to be replaced, rough labor/delivery and c-section followed by a week in the hospital, and accumulating debt (from all aforementioned problems!).

I've been thinking a little about luck, and happiness, and how much easier my life would be if things would just stop. going. wrong.  I've been lamenting about our latest "unexpected expense" - the demise of our computer.  I feel like we can't catch a break!

The problem is, I've been waiting around for luck and happiness to just come along and happen to me.  I finally realized (a little late, maybe) that happiness is a choice,  and if I want to be happy - then, well, I should just go ahead and get on with it!

So, in an effort to choose happiness, I've decided to try to focus more on the good, and much less on the not-so-good.

Here are the sweet, simple joys I tried to focus on a little more today:

*A great night's sleep last night - for me and for Natalie.  Makes our day start so much better when we are both well-rested!
*Watching my sisters' babies swoon over my baby.  I mean, these kids go nuts when "baby Natalie" is around.  Picture slobbery kisses and singing songs and head-patting and lots and lots of baby talk.
*A long nap....long enough for mommy to finally clean the basement!
*An easy crock-pot dinner.  Mom coming over for dinner and loving on her grandbaby likes it's her job.  Watching said grandbaby smile at her Mimi like it's her job. :)
*Rocking my baby to sleep.  Nothing, nothing, on this earth beats it.  It's like an instant high when her little body melts against my chest, her breathing slows, and her eyelids flutter as sleep finds her. 

Look at this little darling....who wouldn't be happy when you look at this sweet face all day!?

Happy weekend, friends.  Stay cool!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

On My Mind

All kinds of things running through my mind tonight...

My heart has been heavy the past couple of days....I just can't seem to get this family out of my mind.  To have such a beautiful baby boy, and then to watch him suffer...seems unbearable to me.  Finding out about little James' prognosis had me in tears, rocking my own sweet girl a little longer tonight before bedtime.  If you've been following their story, too, you should check out these pictures and video that they just had taken of James.  So beautiful.  Click here to see it.

Thanking God for a HEALTHY baby tonight, and praying feverishly that she'll always stay that way.

On a lighter note...I've got to get going on my July goals!  All I've done is pull a few maternity tops out of my closet and put them in a pile.  I better get myself in gear if I want to accomplish these all by the end of the month.  I'm hoping to start tackling the basement tomorrow...

Pretty soon I'll be heading back to school.  I can't believe that the summer has gone so quickly - I'm starting to get anxious about getting my classroom ready for the new school year.  I am a little nervous about my large class size this year....there were 27 kids on my list in May, so I'm hoping there weren't any more added over the summer!  Let the planning, organizing, bulletin board making, and laminating begin!  I'm looking forward to a new school year (as I always do) but nervous about all the changes that will come - especially being away from Natalie.  Not gonna go into that though....

Hoping to get some blogging inspiration soon -- this post was a little bit all over the place.  Natalie will be FIVE months old next week (WHAT?!?) so I'm sure that will give me plenty to write about. :)

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