Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ode to baby girl, part 2

(Looked up quickly the first ode to baby girl.... March 2013) 

Sitting with Isabella today... I have so much to do, but had to pen these words to hang on to the beautiful feeling that's in my heart:

Baby girl is not so much of a baby anymore. No longer tiny and curled up in my arms.

Now, as she sleeps - her head resting over my heart - she stretches out. Her feet dangling over the side of the rocking chair.
Back and forth. Back and forth. Softly slumbering. Softly snoring.
Those long eyelashes are tightly closed now. Down for a nap. Naps won't last much longer. Rocking baby girl to sleep... softly slumbering... softly snoring. Hold on to these days. 

They will not last much longer.
Rocking baby girl to sleep. I must get up to clean. The housework is calling. Ringing in my head. But rocking baby girl to sleep is tugging at my heart. Hold on to these days... just a minute longer.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pre-Christmas post

The past month has been a complete whirlwind - hence no posts in the past month!

After Isabella turned 2, we turned her car seat around to facing front.  It was no big deal.... Mercer was so excited (at 1) to turn around, but we got no reaction from her.  A couple of things about Isabella:  she is really talking up a storm. She says SO much.  It's not always clear, but we can usually understand what she wants / needs to communicate.   

She LOVES to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and it's about the cutest darn thing I've ever heard!!  

She's potty training (may have mentioned this already).  She stopped for awhile, but now, she's into it again.  I have to write this because I was not fast enough with the camera.  She likes to strip down naked to sit on her little potty (sometimes she'll still have socks on).  But - one day - she was running around the house with a pirate's eye patch on and went potty naked + patch.  It was one of those "I wish I would've caught this on film" kinds of moments... you know - the type of photo you submit to her high school year book.  Oh well.  Opportunity missed~

We spent this Thanksgiving at home.  It was just the 4 of us, which we've never done before.  But- that meant that we carved out the type of day that we wanted to have:  go to the Gobble Jog in the morning, cheer on the joggers at the top of the street, put Isabella down for a nap, then move into making food.  Admittedly, we bought some tasty Thanksgiving food prepared from Harrys, but still managed to make a few dishes.  We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner.... and are thankful for our two (not always perfect, but very loving) kids! Very thankful!

The next morning, we packed up leftovers, hiking gear, baby stuff went to a state park.  Unicoi has these cabins that you can rent that are unique... barrel cabins.  Sort of kitch-y / sort of rustic... definitely unique.  Isabella's favorite thing about the cabin was - of course - the unobstructed stairs.  She had free reign over those and made Todd / myself nervous quite a bit!

We went for a lot of hikes at the park including a night hike.  We also went to the neighboring Anna Ruby falls for a paved, but still nice hike to the top.  It was chilly, but pretty close to a perfect day weather-wise!

We played Ping-Pong.  We letterboxed.  We built a fire and cooked s'mores indoors!  We also signed Mercer up for the Junior Ranger program and completed several of the activities.  It was actually very nice to get away and go into the woods instead of into the malls~

My birthday came and went.  Just another day.  I actually made it to yoga / Todd picked up the kids... but that was the only "unique" thing that happened.  Guess I'm officially old?

Isabella and I were sick for a few weeks / we couldn't kick our colds that we got around Thanksgiving.  She and I both went to the doctor when the 3rd week hit.  (At week two, the pediatrician said to give it another week & call back).  They did not diagnose her with anything when she went.  They just prescribed her an antibiotic.  My doctor at least explained the few things that could happen when you have a cold for 3 weeks / ruled out anything serious and gave me an antibiotic as well to clear out my bronchitis. 

Mercer has been playing basketball for the City league on Saturdays.  It is a HUGE step up compared to the very recreational league he used to play in at a nearby church.  He's one of the youngest kids on the team (6-8 year olds) but the coaches says he's got a lot of potential.  He's got some natural athletic ability and is competitive.  They say that by the time he's 8 and in this age bracket - he's going to be phenomenal. (We have some photos stuck on the camera -- just uploaded a week later.  Photos showing Mercer watching the ball in play, rebounding, and actually taking a shot~)

Other than that - the only thing that's been happening is that Todd has been working a lot on a couple of deadlines and I've been working a lot on school papers / grading / wrapping up the semester of chemistry.  One fun thing related to teaching... on the last day of school, I bought some dry ice and we did random experiments in class just to blow off some steam.  Mercer benefitted from this - as I brought the leftovers home.  :) 

Todd and I BOTH survived - but we're pretty worn down through it all!  Sorry the blog post is late (and short on photos), but.... here it is.  A Christmas post will follow soon~ 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Isabella turned 2 last week!

Her "official" stats from her 2 year doctor's appointment (she's such a little nugget compared to her big brother!!)

Her height is 33 1/2" (41%)
Her weight is 23 lbs, 14.4 oz (15%)
 -- note -- she did expel a lot of food the morning of her doctor's appointment.... getting something bad out of her system.  She's probably really at 24 lbs, but we'll log in the one the doc took.
Her head circumference is 19" (72%)

and.... on to the fun stuff:

She is feisty and fun.

She has the sweetest little voice when she says "Hi mommy."  (The hi is upturned and upbeat  the mommy is low and serious.  Don't know why she says it like that, but it makes me smile every time.)

She is bossy. "Come.  Sit."  (she wants you to sit on the floor so she can back up and sit in your lap)

She is loving. She will randomly come and plant a kiss your cheek or head.  Often, she will reach up with her little outstretched arms for a hug too.  

She wants to be helpful (Mercer used to as well) and she is independent - wanting to do stuff on her own.  "I help.  I do it"

She gets excited when she sees you after a period of time where she has not.  Todd walks in the door, "Daddy!" running and hugging him.

She is active and we are tired, but we are so grateful to have her in out lives!

Rose Marie came into town last week to hang out with us and the kids and to help ring in Isabella's 2nd year.

We took muffins and fruit to daycare on her birthday.  Isabella got to try blowing out candles.  She gets the idea of blowing, however, it was hard to direct (and project) it all the way to the candle.  When the candle(s) did eventually go out - either with my help or occasionally on her own.... Isabella would immediately say "more."  Relight the candles.  Blow them out.  "more."  Relight.  Blow them out.  "more."

That night, we celebrated at home with some fancy cupcakes.     This series captures the essence of her trying to blow out the candles... can you see the reason why she wasn't blowing them out too hard??  She was trying to do it through a smile!  :)

Mercer wanted to get Isabella a dog.  She loved it - but doesn't have the hang of walking it yet.  She was mostly dragging it.  We got her a doll that she can feed and it goes potty.  Isabella likes the doll.  Mercer likes changing it's diaper.  Rose Marie got her a bouncy horse.  We'll find a picture to add for that one.  It's cute!

The celebration continued into the weekend.   We made appetizers and dinner and had some friends over.  The theme:  hungry caterpillar (and butterflies).  Isabella went through her candle-blowing "more" thing, but really enjoyed diving into the cupcake!   (There are a couple of pics that are pretty funny aside from all of the icing on the hands and face shots - like the little girl Lorili who is super excited when Isabella is trying to blow out the candle and the one with Mercer's friend, Owen, cheering Isabella on with the barking dog birthday song card that Uncle Jim & Aunt Becki sent down! Glad it made it into the photo reel~)

Two.  What a whirlwind it's been.  How wonderful to have spent the last two years chasing this fantastic little girl around!  The last series of photos is Isabella holding the doll that Mercer gave her when he first met her.  Exploring the face:  eyes.  mouth.  (love!)

Technically, she is no longer a baby - she informed me a couple of weeks ago "I not baby."   ~oh - a dagger through the heart~


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Another baseball season is over. Halloween. Neighborhood art festival.

Todd coached Mercer's baseball team again this year -- this season, they were called the Sharks.  

Mercer moved up to a new league.... it was QUITE an adjustment.  The teams and parents seem to be more competitive.  The rules changed a bit and the kids are hitting differently - some off of a fast pitching machine / some with "coach pitch."  The amount of time committed during the week increased with 1-2 practices per week or 1-2 games per week.  (Basically, there were 3 days a week committed to games and practices.... Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.)  Everything is stepping up... including the snacks - 3 or 4 items included in the parent-provided snacks sometimes!  

The boys were ALWAYS concerned about the snacks after the game -- sometimes more so than how they were playing!  They won a few games overall and tied one as well.  Mercer kept wanting to change to the other teams that were winning earlier in the season... but by the end of the season, the Sharks started to get the hang of it and was happy to be a part of that team.  One thing that Todd did that was fun for all:  he held a parents-vs-kids wiffle ball game!  I thought that was pretty creative and something both parents and kids would remember for a long time!  (kudos~)

Isabella would NEVER sit through a game.  Luckily at the field where Mercer played, there was a little playground next to it!  Baby girl is active!  She is tough.  She falls down and gets right back up.  On the flip side, she has some hypochondriac tendencies.   (Todd reminded me that Mercer went through this phase too.)  If something lightly brushes her hand, she starts to whimper and complain that it hurts until you will kiss the "boo boo" or pat her on the head and tell her she will be OK.   

The kids enjoyed Halloween over the course of a couple of weeks.  Mid-October, we went to Chattahoochee Nature Center's Halloween Hike.  The hike consisted of stops along one of the trails that featured talks about different animals on the way.  (there were people dressed up in animal costumes that talked about features of that animal). 

No flash photography was allowed so the only photo that somewhat came out / that's posted from the hike was before all of the sunlight had disappeared.  Isabella - in her usual fashion - would demand a response from those dressed up in animal costume. "Hi" -- accompanied by a wave.  An even louder "Hi" would follow if no response.  Then a yell "HI" until the person in the animal costume would say hi back.  It made those in our group laugh!  


There was a bonfire, a drummer and acoustic instruments that could be played, and children's activities.  Isabella pretty much colored while Mercer tried out everything else.  It was a pretty fun event.

We went to a few parties this year and got some good mileage out of the costumes.  At one of the parties, Isabella discovered candy corn.... and she liked it.  (I think she has had a piece of candy once before - her daycare teacher begged to give her something once.)   

Isabella is able to reach most table tops and even things that may be on the edge of a kitchen counter.  Someone had a bowl of candy corn on a table.  Quick little hands went into that bowl... a fist-ful of candy corn was grabbed... and transferred to a little mouth all in about 1 second flat.  I moved the bowl to higher ground.  She kept returning to the same spot looking for it.  Holding up her arms in a "where did it go?" fashion!  

On Halloween night, we went to a neighborhood party and then we split up.  Todd and Mercer did the serious trick-or-treating up and down the street.  

Isabella is still too young, but I did the thing where planting healthy-ish "treats" at a few people's houses on our way home from the party so she could participate / they could see her in her cute little outfit.  Mercer picked out the theme this year:  Isabella to be Minnie Mouse and he would be Mickey Mouse.  We introduced him to Wizard Mickey (from Fantasia) and he was excited to have a wand, a robe, and a cool hat. 

At the end of this Halloween series:  Isabella blowing kisses and waving goodbye.  This is so typical... and so cute!! 

Here's a quick pic from my office (my part-time green building job).  Nice view of the city - oh yeah - and a big black cat stuck to the window! 

Our neighborhood also had their annual art festival this past weekend.  We "helped" color the street with chalk the night before.  Last year, we went on a farm tour and missed most of the festival.  This year, we stayed most of the day.  

The most memorable thing that we did at the festival this weekend:  Mercer built a one-string cigar box guitar!  He got to pick out his box.  He got to pick out the dice that went on the front.  He chose the color pic that he wanted.  Here are some pics of that awesome experience.   

The guy reaffirmed each decision Mercer made with - "yeah - that's a cool box" or "that's my favorite color too."  The guy had so much positive energy and joy to share in the making of the guitar.... it was a special thing for ALL of us - not just Mercer. 

He's been playing with it non-stop since.  It was much better than buying a kids guitar (which he has mentioned in the past that he was interested in) or a pre-made cigar box guitar that the guy was selling.   

I refer to Isabella often as "Baby Girl."  She somewhat aggressively told me earlier this week:  "I not baby."  Oh... how crushing!!!!!!  She will be 2 soon~  There will be a post about her birthday coming up soon!