We finally bought our Christmas tree, last night. It was freezing cold, and Emersen cried the whole time in our dear friends' Jeep...but it was worth it. We brought the dvd recorder, so we definitely have footage of our baby picking out a Christmas tree! A big shout out to our most amazing pair of friends in the universe, The Smiths. Without them, we wouldn't have a Christmas tree. Their jeep saved the day! (Thank you both from the bottom of my heart, you are both incredibly and wonderfully amazing family to us.) They also forced Paul to listen to Christmas music, which he hates and I absolutely love. I don't blame him for not liking it though, quite a few years working the holidays in a grocery store where the holiday music starts before Thanksgiving and doesn't stop until after New Years would drive anyone crazy. However, I did get a giggle from him while I lip-synched the words from the Alvin and the Chipmunks rendition of Christmas Christmas.
So as I sit here typing these prose, just having finished re-decorating the tree with some incredibly sentimental ornaments I dug out of a box I can't help but feel excited about Christmas again. As your grow up, your imagination falls by the wayside to more realistic ideas and (hopefully not) pessimism about certain things like paying for Christmas, waiting in lines at the grocery store that would rival a ride at Disney World and the like.
Although there is no love lost between Santa and I. No one ever spoiled the surprise for me, and I'm sure my sister figured it out way before I did she didn't say anything either. It definitely was not some tramatic childhood incident. I think it was the year I was old enough to recognize my dad's handwriting that did it for me. It was a present that said "From Santa" in my dad's tell tale block handwriting. He tried to convince me that he was just the "writer of labels" and Santa had actually dropped the gifts off that night. My parents did an excellent job each year, making sure we made Cookies For Santa, and left carrots for the reindeer. Sure enough, the next morning the cookies and milk were gone and the carrots had been eaten. (Cookies and carrots?! My poor dad...)
I love Christmas, I love helping out a less than fortunate family and making sure they have dinner and benefactors for gifts. Last year, we went shopping at Toys R Us for gifts to give to Toys For Tots. I was hugely pregnant, and we had three huge bags of toys to give but the bin was gone! We hunted down the person responsible for making sure the donations got where they needed to be and donated them. This year, God pointed me to a woman who's misfortune was just too much for my tiny budget to handle and so I sought out the help of my husband and his Chaplains. They figured out a way to give this woman and her family of eight children a Christmas dinner and gifts for all the children. What a blessing, and true miracle for them.
Emersen's first Christmas is going to be huge, over the top and out of control. Her first birthday is going to be the same. But hey, if forty year old men get earrings and fifty year old women get tattoos because "they are only that age once" then my baby can get all the things I want for her because next year is not her year of firsts this year is!
This is what happens when you leave your freshly laundered clothing on the floor for your precocious eleven month old to explore.
Having the laundry on the floor would seem like a bad idea, but it makes me fold it faster knowing she'll be 'round to destroy it if I don't get it folded and put away!
We still haven't gotten a Christmas tree, and that may seem like a bad thing but let me tell you I am not anxious to put up a tree with ornaments and pine needles all over the place with my one year old toddling around. However, some things must be done, because the happiness will out weigh the inconvenience...right?
This dog, and this baby are in LOVE with each other. She laughs when he kisses her, and he loves that she can rub him in all the ways he wants! This is what I walked in on after I'd left the room for a moment!
This past Thursday, my two favorite neighbors and I decorated Christmas cookies! Emersen got to help, and Jason did too! (Jason lives next door, upstairs!) We had a bowl of flour on the table to coat our rolling pins and mats with so the dough wouldn't stick. Well, to Jason it looked like snow (because someone said it did...ahem...me...ahem) and everyone including Emersen got a hefty dose of "snow!" (Maybe some of Emersen's snow was her mom's doing...) Each kiddo had a blast, and when all was said and done we had some glorious cookies...that we didn't end up taking pictures of because they were eaten too fast!
Nunchuck baby! This is one of her favorite toys at Mattie's house! They are foam, and apparently lovely for chewing! She loves their house so much, because Jason has all these toys that aren't technically for babies, but fun nonetheless! Little matchbox cars, nunchucks, train sets and the like are all fair game at their house!
Mommy says "Emersen, show me your teeth!"
Emersen says ":P"
Okay, so the point of this picture was to show you her cow outfit! I couldn't resist. It was on sale on Black Friday and it's just so adorable!
Well, that is all for this installation. Emersen is napping and I want to take advantage of that fact!
This weekend, Paul has been gone on a retreat. It was his turn for duty...major bummer!
So, Emersen and I have been hanging out playing with her toys and generally just passing time! We did go do some Santa shopping last night, and we shared a Subway sandwich. She loves to eat! It's hard to believe she can eat pretty much whatever we eat, and she only has one tooth!
She's getting closer and closer to being a walking baby! She will take a maximum of two steps toward something, like the couch. Sometimes if she's in a good mood, she'll take five steps toward me if Paul sets her up just right. Although right now she mostly just tries once, and if she falls she sits down, puts her head on the floor and whines. It's her brand of throwing a fit! I think it's very cute, at least for now!
One night this week, Paul and I made baby back ribs for dinner. (Our favorite) Only, instead of using store bought sauce, we made it from scratch using his grandmother's recipe. It was delicious, and my house smelled like a smoke house for days afterward. Emersen also equally enjoyed the ribs, as evidenced by the huge amount of grease on her face from me letting her chew on a bone. (Just like the dog!) She had a grand time just licking the goodness off of it. At one point, she was so excited about the rib bone she started jumping up and down and dropped the rib. Well, Cooper immediately sensing something delectable was on the floor bounced over and ate it in a half second. Emersen saw this and just teared up and started wailing. Before one tear could drop, I had another rib in her hand and she was just jolly as can be! This whole cycle happened two or three more times before I had to cut it off because the dog didn't need any more rib bones!
Sharon and Jordan came to play the other day, and Cooper was in heaven! He's definitely the kind of dog that wants to be pet constantly, and the babies crawling all over him are like a doggy massage! In this picture, Emersen is desperately trying to get at Jordan to kiss her! She's the sweetest baby, always wanting to kiss and snuggle. I love it so much! Of course, Jordan was having none of it! That just egged Emersen on even more.
As you can see, Cooper's bum is still a bit shaved from his unfortunate bum illness. I've talked to the vet and his bum is healing nicely. There aren't any residual effects from the infection he had and he's looking great. Although his coat could be a bit shinier...the vet recommended Salmon Oil capsules. We'll try brushing him more often and getting him groomed first...then we'll start with the stinky fish pills!
This baby makes me so happy, I just want to squeeze her! When she goes to bed at night, usually around eight I stay up and spend some time with Paul. Then, around nine thirty I start thinking about her and how much I miss her...even though she's only in the next room! It's crazy to think how fast a year can go by. It's like blinking! The first week, we weren't sure if she'd come out of the hospital because of the jaundice...now we are watching her walk! It's a feeling of accomplishment, and of sweet memories. I want to keep her in my arms forever.
Parenting is a wonderful job, but to do it well is to watch your children walk away from you secure and content. I just didn't think it would happen so fast!
"Come near this turkey leg, or I'll go ninja baby!" is definitely the quote for this picture!
She had a blast with all the fun and colorful foods on her little tray. I have to give my bestie Nicole a shout out because she bought that little blue high chair specifically for Emersen so she could sit at the table with us on Thanksgiving! I nearly cried, and realized for the millionth time this year that it is my friends who I am truly thankful for. They've supported me in more ways than I can think of. It's not easy having a baby while away from your family! My friends have stepped up and become my family, taking on Emersen as their own surrogate niece! Playing with her so I can just take a shower, or fold the laundry! This Thanksgiving, I am truly thankful for all the people in my life!
Here she is actually eating the whole shebang! She liked my stuffing the best, and of course the sweet potatoes. The turkey was a close third and for some reason mashed potatoes are not her favorite. She'll eat them, but not as willingly as sweet potatoes!
This is baby and daddy after a bath at Nicole's house! After being so in to her dinner, she definitely needed hosing off!
The whole day was awesome, we had a great day and for the first time in awhile I felt like I wasn't missing out on anything at home, because I was spending time with people who we love and who love us back!
On Friday, Nicole (the brave soul that she is) and I went shopping! We hit WalMart first! I couldn't believe the things I saw once five a.m. hit. Video game consoles flying through the air, and a rush for digital picture frames that would have the people in the running of the bulls screaming for sanctuary. It is all very disheartening when you think about all the poverty in this world, while you are watching others around scramble for the last V-Smile baby video game console. However, I kept my head down got what I wanted (A newborn cabbage patch doll) and we got out of there by five after five. Next we hit up Toys R Us, Gymboree, JoAnn Fabric and the Navy Exchange. We were home by eight! Paul and Emersen were both still sleeping soundly!
All in all, we had a blast and I ended up getting all the things I was really wanting for Emersen's first Christmas and birthday.
Here is Paul and Emersen getting some much needed housework done on Friday morning! She loves doing anything she thinks she isn't supposed to, so helping daddy do the dishes was a huge treat for her! (Or so she thought!) Emersen's buddy Jake came over on Friday night because his daddy was playing poker with Emersen's daddy and some of their friends. They both gave me the same look when I said "Hey Babies!"
Well, this is all for now. I have some house cleaning to avoid and some laundry folding to procrastinate on doing!
This has been a week of "mommy can't fix it, but it will feel better soon." YIKES!
Emersen acquired her first bruise by trying to reach for a toy, and since her whole body followed behind her as she reeeeaaaached when she missed her forehead smacked into the toy. It was so sad, and I felt so awful! She just fell to the floor, and cried with her head down on the floor. Had I the presence of mind to grab the camera, I would have. The way she just lay there was so pathetic, it needed to be on film (well, you know what I mean). I scooped her up (instead of grabbing the camera) and cuddled her to me. I said "Mommy wants to fix it, but I can't! It will feel better soon, I promise!"
You can kind of see the remnants of the bruise on the right of her forehead. It's all but gone now, and although I'm sure she's forgotten how badly it hurt. I'll never forget the look on her face when she realized it hurt!
Cooper has also had his fair share of the down side of life lately. Suffice to say, and to save you a lot of rather gaggy moments...he's going to be fine but is on antibiotics and prednisone along with the rather fashioable cone collar he has to sport until his bum is healed. The most pathetic portion of this whole episode is the fact that he won't even move an inch without one of us helping him. He will stand there until I lay him down, or if I send him out to pee he'll just walk around trying to sniff the ground and getting his conehead stuck face down. Life can teach some pretty cruel lessons! Something both baby and dog have learned this past week.
If you click on this picture, you should be able to see Emersen's first tooth! It's so tiny still, and hasn't really stuck all the way out yet but it is definitely there! If I tap my finger nail on it, it makes a sound! That qualifies it as a definite tooth! We've also learned the joys of a diaper box...thanks to Nicole S.
I love all my friends so much, they don't mind entertaining my baby while I shower! Of course, if I don't shower and we go out in public together the smell may get to them...so it's most likely in their best interest to let me bathe!
You can't really see it in the picture, but her shirt says "Miss Behaving!"
Yesterday Paul came home for a minute to look for something he thought he left at home.
I was holding Emmie, and she lit up when she saw him! She knows what time he usually comes home, so if he shows up any other time it's like Christmas to her! (Even though she's never had a Christmas!)
I know Paul appreciates these precious moments as much as I do. When your baby just throws her arms around you as far as she can and lays her sweet head on your chest ten seconds longer than you think she will it's heartwarming!
That's right folks, we have been married for five years! It's a huge milestone! We "celebrated" by spending yesterday completely separate from each other! Actually, we did not celebrate but we each did something we love doing. I painted ceramics with Nicole S. and Paul went to play poker! It was so nice to be able to get out of the house without Emersen. I love that baby, but once in a while I like to relax and paint and get involved in something that is not baby.
Paul did get me five gorgeous red roses, one for every year we've been married. They are so pretty and smell fantastic! Speaking of the center of my universe, here she is getting into some crazy mischief! She is standing on her car seat, trying to get at something I told her she could not have on the ottoman! The look on her face says "What mom? I didn't do it!"
Lately she's been getting more and more confident with standing and trying to walk. She does not yet want to stand up on her own, but she has taken a few practice steps toward something. I'll count her first steps when she takes them in the middle of the living room!
Lately these two have been inseparable. Although, that cup does have some baby treats in it, and wherever the treats go...Cooper's nose is sure to follow! She will lean over to him and try to give him an open mouthed kiss, and he licks her first then she giggles! It's so adorable!
I love it every single time she laughs! It brings the happiest tears to my eyes. Our baby laughs! Our baby is happy! Whatever we are doing, we're doing it properly because she seems very secure in who she is.
Her hair is starting to have the most curious wave to it! Am I going to have a curly haired red head?!? I hope so, because that face could only be made cuter with curls! I guess we'll have to wait and see! Her hair is getting thicker by the minute, and it seems like every morning I pick her up and see more hair!
This video shows just how many faces she can make in 25 seconds!
This past weekend, Dena (Paul's mom) came to visit! We had a great time. It started off with the Chaplain Corps Anniversary Dinner on Friday, and not only did it mark the 233rd anniversary of the Chaplain Corps but it also marked the first time I left Emersen with a babysitter who wasn't a relative! Nicole Smith (I know, but still...no relation!) is a very dear friend of ours and she was Emersen's first babysitter! I was naturally nervous, more so because I wasn't sure how Emmie would handle having someone else there to comfort her. Someone who wasn't Paul or myself. Turns out, all concern was for naught. She did really well! Nicole played with her, and had a grand time. She was upset after Valerie left (she brought my dress and stayed awhile) but all was okay after Nicole fed her one of her favorites foods...a pickle! I don't yet have any pictures from the dinner, but it was a fantastic night. We met Admiral James Simons, and his Chief Of Staff! Chaplain Brown ( a man near and dear to our hearts, we were stationed with him at Cherry Point) met Dena and insisted she and I meet the Admiral. What an honor! This is not normally bestowed upon sailor's wives and moms! Shortly after dinner, there was a cake cutting ceremony and man the cake was tasty! Once we had eaten our cake and made the rounds, I was ready to get back home to my sweet girl and my feet were KILLING ME! Stay at home moms don't typically spend the day in four inch heels you know! Although, I was feeling like such a lady in my dress, heels and freshly manicured fingernails. (Thanks Mom!) Saturday we spent shopping! Well, at least a little bit of shopping, and some printing of portraits for Mom to bring back to Texas with her.
We also found a skosh of time to spend hanging out on the floor with everyone's favorite tiny friend. She was more than willing to ham it up for the camera! I know that doesn't shock a single person out there who also knows this baby's mom! Emersen really took to her Grandma! It wasn't long before they were hanging out, laughing and playing with her Elmo that she loves more than any of the other thousand toys she has! (Although my old cell phone is a close second.) We went to lunch at Famous Dave's where Emersen ate and ate and ate! Apparently, she really likes barbeque! Hmmm...there must be some of Paul's genes in there after all! On a completely different note, Emersen has a deep love for Arrowroot cookies, and since we ran out before Nana could ship us some...I broke down and bought her Biter Biscuits. (They have a few too many chemicals for my liking, but hey...they keep her entertained for about twelve minutes!) Although Nana did save our lives a couple days ago by shipping two boxes of the naturally made practically chemical free Nabisco arrowroot cookies. (Thank You Nana! Even though you are in Cabo San Lucas right now, swimming up to a bar in a pool and we are freezing our bums off in the rain!) As you can see from the grime on her face, she had a great time with the biscuits, chemicals and all...and I had a "great" time scrubbing her cheekies!
It's that time again! Most of you will remember that every so often I take Emersen's picture with her Build-A-Bears. The most recent addition is Chilly The Penguin and his little friend. Build A Bear sends coupons, or we'd never even entertain the idea of purchasing these overpriced, but incredibly adorable and soft friends. I believe this is the fourth or fifth picture in the series so far. I can't believe how my tiny baby has grown! Those bears used to be bigger than her! Then there was the picture where she looked like one of the stuffies! I'll continue to mark her growth with these bears as long as she'll let me! Now, I know you can't see her precious face in this picture...but her face wasn't the point! The purpose of this photo was to show you her first pair of shoes! Real shoes, with rubber soles and velcro (God Bless the inventor of that stuff!) to keep them on! They are precious, and just a size two! They were also on sale, so I bought another pair in the next bigger size! Nothing like the realization of your little girl growing up than watching her walk around a store with her shoes on! My how time flies when you are having a blast!
Well, it's this mommy's bed time! I have to be careful with bedtimes because I never know when my little monster (sweet baby girl during the day, monster at four a.m.) will wake up!
I've always known that babies enjoy making fools out of their parents. Mom says one thing, baby does another. Dad claims one thing, baby proves him wrong. Well Emersen does this to me constantly! I thought taking her to the pumpkin patch would freak her out. I thought being put down around pumpkins would be something she'd absolutely hate! Boy was I wrong. She loved it!Here we are sitting on this huge pyramid of hay, in front of some corn. What you don't see is the fact that there were almost fifty kids jumping up and down on this structure! It was totally insane. I don't know why we thought going to the pumpkin patch the day before Halloween was a good idea! Of course, it's been awhile since any of us (Mom, Dad, Paul and myself) have been students at a school that took field trips! Regardless of all the mayhem, we had a wonderful time. I know the sign says no climbing, but the employee said we could sit her in it, I swear!
That day we also went up valley to see Grandma Neuman. We stopped at Dean and Deluca to show Emersen some of the finer things in life! She enjoyed smelling the cheeses, and picking out honey with Papa.
And here is one last picture, because there are so few of Paul and I being affectionate toward each other!
Never in my life have I ever felt so helpless as I have in the last 72 hours. My baby has been sick. Apparently when a stomach virus takes over your baby's immune system the effects can last and last and last. Emersen started this whole nightmare with a fever on Friday. I thought she may have started teething (finally!) so I gave her cold things to chew on, Tylenol and tepid baths (which she let me know she could have done with out thank you very much) and lots of mommy snuggles.
Turns out, when your baby has had a fever for two days and then starts throwing up, your mommy instincts kick in and says "Emergency Room, Now." Unfortunately, two a.m. Sunday morning is when those instincts kicked in for me. Paul and I took Emersen to the E.R. and we were seen fairly quickly, considering we were the only people there. (Praise God) The doctor there examined her, and told us that 102.5 degree fevers where typically indicative of viral infections and there were no medications we could give her to cure it. We'd have to wait it out. He prescribed us some Tylenol so we wouldn't have to stop and by any and sent us on our way.
After a full nights rest, and some Pedialyte she was looking much better. (Here's where life and lessons go hand in hand.) So, I decided to nurse her for a little while because she had to be hungry, she hadn't eaten in almost twelve hours! As soon as I stopped nursing her, every single drop of milk was soaking my hair/shirt/shorts. She threw up, again. Lesson Learned.
So, continue that day of packing and cuddling because the next morning we are to fly to California to see Nana and Papa! Emersen was doing fine, the fever was under control and she was playing normally.
Cut to Monday morning. I called our pediatrician, just to be on the safe side. I let him know we were getting on a plane in a few hours, and I wanted to be absolutely sure we weren't doing something horrible to our baby. The pediatrician told us as long as she was keeping fluids down and having wet diapers without a high fever we were good to go.
And we were! Emersen made it through the flight with little fan fare. Of course, this is her third trip and fifth time flying so this is old hat for her. The little varmints sitting behind us however, were obnoxious and their parents were even more so for not doing something about it. I mean, I even let one of the little ones play with Emersen's toys. (When I pulled them out of the diaper bag to organize it, his eyes got as big as saucers! Other babies toys are like manna from heaven! The mom didn't even acknowledge my efforts to help make her life a bit easier.
So, the drive home was also uneventful, thanks to Darlene and her giant SUV! After getting lost for a few minutes in the airport trying to find our luggage, we get to the vehicle and are on our way. Emersen did quite well our first night home. It was rough putting her in the play pen since her crib is at a different level, she wasn't too sure about being put down so far!
Last night was a different story. Emersen's whole torso was covered in a rash! During the day it didn't look so bad, but when we were trying to get her bathed that I felt the need to take her to the emergency room here in Napa. The rash was creeping up her face! Her FACE! We don't mess with the face! Dr. Sprinkle was awesome. He walked in, and officially declared her rash "something everyone gets when they are a baby" and gave us benadryl to ease her itchiness. Another mommy lesson learned. When your baby has a fever for a few days, she's most likely going to have a rash afterward! B
Phew. Emersen is much happier today, less clingy and warming up to her Nana quite nicely! I'll be updating again soon, probably from home with plenty of pictures!
Fall has fallen all over our front lawn! Today we spent the better part of an hour playing in the leaves outside. The fall colors here are so amazing! Growing up in Napa, we saw plenty of "seasons" but here in Washington there are definitive seasons. You know when spring has sprung and can hear the quiet calm of winter. Emersen was so much fun to watch in the leaves! She thoroughly enjoyed being sat in the middle of the leaves, and having the other kids throw them on top of her! I thought for sure she would be terrified, but then again babies are constantly making liars of their mommies and daddies. We spent the afternoon walking to the grocery store to get pepperoni, and playing with the neighborhood kids. The weather was not nearly as biting as it has been lately. The sun was shining, the clouds were wispy and the kids didn't really need their hats. Although, Emmie in a hat is one of the cutest things I've ever seen so of course she had to wear it for a couple of the pictures I took! She's really such an amazing baby. Not really one to explore the taste of things like carpet lint and sticks, I usually don't have to worry about her putting things in her mouth which is such a blessing. However she does love clothing tags and definitely puts those in her mouth whenever she can find them! (Which I'm sad to say is pretty often...but I know that shocks none of you what so ever!) This face and gesture is most commonly seen when someone says "Hi Baby!" She reaches that chubby little hand out and smiles big. It's absolutely precious. (But I'm 100% biased!) We've all trampled through fall leaves, seen the colors and heard the crunch under our shoes but experiencing Autumn through my daughter's eyes is such a miracle. She crawls away from me, to get to a tiny pile of leaves she can call her own. Away from the other kids, and from me. Just to shake a leaf and see it fall after she throws it on the ground. Knowing she is secure enough to move herself away from me swells my pride. Seeing that she has the confidence to navigate between two kids that are light years bigger than she is, through a pile of leaves much larger than she is lets me know I'm doing the job the right way. I love raising my baby!
During my last visit home, Pete (the pastor of CrossWalk if you don't know!) and Rodney (the youth pastor of CrossWalk) were about to make an important journey to Nairobi. Pete talked about the needs of all the orphaned children, and how most teenage girls don't have feminine products because they can't buy them. He also talked about the raw open sewage running through the streets, and how at best the children have flip flops to cover what...? Their feet? I don't think so. In lieu of making a cash donation, I decided to run out to Target and buy three pair of boys shoes and three pair of girls shoes. I also purchased about ten or so packages of assorted female products. This little boy on the right hand side of the picture could be wearing shoes that I bought! It's an incredible feeling knowing that ten dollars could change someone's life. These days, people say they "can't afford" something. Guess what that means? It means they don't want to. For me, spending the money wasn't the hard part. Shopping DEFINITELY wasn't the hard part. The hard part was thinking about the kids who needed the shoes. They needed the ability to walk to school without getting their feet covered in excrement. Having done this felt amazing. Just one sliver of time, and one fraction of the money I have and someone's life is completely different. What a rush! Okay, on a completely different subject! Lately, Emersen and I have been doing tons of reading! She is into "kissing" the characters after each page I read! Right now, her favorites are Sesame Beginnings books. They have baby Cookie Monster, baby Elmo, baby Big Bird and baby Zoe. Talk about adorable! I say "Kiss Elmo!" and she leans over to give Elmo a great big (read: wet) kiss! She never misses either. She knows exactly where each character's face is. She also loves books that rhyme, or books that have us point to body parts. Most of her board books (books that have hard pages so they don't tear!) are from Target's 1.00 bin. $1 is practically nothing, so each time we visit Target we have to look and see if they have new books. I buy them when we do, because one dollar is such a small price to pay for how much fun she has!
We have also been trying new foods this week! She's had a blast with everything from English cucumbers to homemade chicken noodle soup. Tonight we had meatloaf, but she ate so fast I didn't have time to take a picture before she was begging for me to give her more. To end this post, I have a couple of pictures of her eating! (Beware, it gets a little messy!)Cucumber Bliss!
Chicken Noodle Nummy!
And of course a bath after all that food because she was super messy!