Sep 30, 2011

Being One is FUN... And Long Over Due - Baltimore, MD - May 2011

Note To Reader: This post is about 4 months over due so as far as milestones go she's way further along now than she was at a year.  Please forgive me for being so late with this post!

I seriously can't believe it's been a year! It's amazing to me how much she's grown and changed in this first year. I mean a year ago she was less than 5 lbs and just under 17 inches long. She couldn't do anything for herself and the Hub and I were just learning how to do things for her. She took a bath in our kitchen sink, she was too little to go in the Baby Bejorn, She was swimming in premee sleep and plays, and she slept less that 10 feet from us.

Although sometimes I still sneak into her room to listen to her breath while she's sleeping, she has gotten so big. She's almost 19 lbs and well over 2 feet tall. She's wearing size 12 month in everything but swim suits. She takes baths in the big tub without any sort of baby seat. Although it's very messy, she can feed herself and she drinks from a cup. She's walking while holding onto things. She's generally a very happy baby, loves being social, and loves music and dancing. Her favorite time of the day is when Daddy comes home from work.  She is still learning the importance of sharing but I'm confident she'll get it eventually.

She still has just a few words in her little vocabulary, but is starting to mimic sounds we make, like when the phone rings or someone walks into a room she says "ah oh". In the last week or so she has started to make kissing sounds and was a very quick study when learning to blow kisses.

Here are her official 1 year stats:
Weight: 17lbs and 3 ozs (3rd%)
Length: 28 inches (15th %)
Head circumference: 43 centimeters (4th%)

And finally her last set of Butterfly Pictures.  
 El Brand New

 El 1 Month

 El 2 Months

 El 3 Months

 El 4 Months

 El 5 Months
***6 Month Picture MIA***

 El 7 Months

 El 8 Months

El 9 Months

El 10 Months

 El 11 Months

El 12 Months

it's safe to say that she has officially grown too big for the butterfly blanket Oh and she was not in a smiling mood the day I took her pictures.  She was cutting her first two molars, need I say more.  There were a couple of good ones this month, but I chose this one because she was in the same position, with her knees drawn up, as she was in her first "brand new" picture. What a difference a year makes.

The birthday celabrations started when her God Parents sent her a special birthday package that included som fancy new clothes and  a fabulous lady bug book.

 Her favorite parts though were the stuffed lady bug and the card

Mmmmmm!!!  Tasty!!!

 There were also a few special treats from her Granny that she got a little early so she could wear the outfit on her big day.

For the actual day we invited our good friends Megan and Nathan to spend the weekend with us at my Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Jack's home on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

The birthday girl and her daddy

Our little family

Practicing for blowing out the candles

"Mommy did you see all the presents behind me? Are they all for me!?"

The Birthday spread: Burgers with all the dixings and lots of extras

Me and my sweet girl!

She LOVED her birthday cake!

Getting ready to take a birthday boat ride with Megan and Nathan.

She was not a fan of the life jacket, but finally tolerated it.

We had so much fun sharing this big day with friends and family.  It's amazing how much we love this little lady and it's so wonderful for us to see how much others love her too.  She is a special little girl and we are so lucky and blessed to be her parents.

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Sep 15, 2011

I'm A PREGOSAURUS!!! - Baltimore, MD - Sept 2011

I've been trying to think of a cute way to announce this news, but in the midst of packing for our trip to Florida, trying to talk the Monkey into keeping her shoes on while riding in the car, and embarking on a house cleaning and organization project, I'm really at a loss, so I'll just tell it like it is.


and just in case none of those were clear, We're having another baby!!! Somewhere around the 27th of February we'll become a family of 4! We are super excited and can't wait to meet this little one, who we are affectionately calling....


And just in case you're wondering, much to the disappointment of some of our friends, we're not going to find out the gender of this little one. I know it may be hard to believe, but it adds a whole new level of excitement to the day of delivery.

I'm 16 weeks along and am pretty much out of the "morning sickness" phase and am entering the "listing" and "sleeping" phase. All in all it's been a super smooth ride so far and pretty much a carbon copy of my pregnancy with the Monkey.

Many more posts to come on the listing and nesting, but in the mean time, I'll use my friend Amy's list to keep track of our progress.

How far along? 16 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: -2 lbs (could only stomach liquids in the first trimester)
Maternity clothes? Nope
Stretch marks? Nope
Sleep: Last night I slept like a ROCK, but before that not so great.  My dreams are NUTS!!!
Best moment this week: When El gave her baby a bottle for the first time.  She's going to be a great big sister (even if she put it in the baby's eye)!
Movement: I think I feel little bump bump bumps, but the Hub thinks it may be too early.
Food cravings: Taco Bell and Root Beer Floats
Gender: Not finding out!!
Labor Signs: Nope
Belly Button in or out? Innie
What I miss: Sushi
What I am looking forward to: Seeing Robyn and Sarah next week!
Weekly Wisdom: Shine my sink! "FlyLady"
Milestones: Not being sick!

Til Next Time,
Bon Voyage!

Sep 12, 2011

Calvary, The World's Greatest Trade Center - Baltimore, MD - September 2011

 Yesterday morning I, along with so many other Americans, reflected on where we were 10 years ago when the New York City sky Line was forever altered by American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175,, The Pentagon was made the target of American Airlines Flight 77, and Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania, near Shanksville became the final resting place for United Airlines, flight 93 and its 44 passengers.

I was in my junior year at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and was on the rowing team. I'd gone to practice early that morning. I returned to my on campus apartment, took a power nap, and had just gotten out of the shower and flipped on the Today Show shortly after the first plane hit the first tower. I can remember being propped with my back against our couch, hair still in a towel with my knees drawn to my chest as the second plane swung into the television frame and in what felt like slow motion, it penetrated the second tower. The campus stopped, as we sat and watched in fear as the rest of that day unfolded.

The question I remember everyone asking that day and in the aftermath is "how could something like this happen?" and “where was God in all of this?” Yesterday morning when I read in our church’s order of service that the sermon would be based on Job 1, I didn't expect that after 10 years of wondering that I would walk away from the sanctuary feeling that I understood, even just a little bit better, 'how something like this could happen’.

NOTE TO READER: I don't claim to be any sort of religious authority so please read this with that understanding. I am only a child of God seeking to do His Will and know him better each day.

Before yesterday I'd only known of the "Will of God", which always begged the question, "How could God's Will allow something this awful to happen?" I'd never heard of God's Will divided into two parts.

First, there is the Perceptive Will of God, which is the fact that God's desire for us, above all, is to live sinless lives. Just as any parent wishes the best for their child, he only wants the best for us, His children. Second there is the Decretive Will of God. This part of God's Will I believe is where free will lies. To tie it back to the Perceptive Will of God, every parent desires the best for their child. We want to give them the world and then we want them to take what we've given them and become good, positive, God fearing, productive parts of the world. However, we live in a fallen, world that is full of sin, and our Heavenly Father has given us the choice. His Will for us is to choose a path without sin, but He knows us and has known us since before we were born.

"And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered." Matthew 10:30

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Psalm 139:13.

As much as he loves us and wants us to cast off our sinful ways and follow Him, that love for us does not trump his holiness. It is his Decretive Will that ensures that even as Gods creation our sins will not go unpunished. Our repentance is necessary for our eternal salvation. We must never forget that salvation is God’s greatest hope for his children.

I’ll close with this, as we reflect on September 11, 2001. We are still, 10 years later, searching for reason and meaning in such violence, devastation, and loss at the World Trade Center. We question where God is when we lose loved ones, and when bad things happen. We wonder how a loving God could allow this to happen. In this time of reflection, let us not forget that there was an even greater sacrifice given at an even greater “World Trade Center”.

Calvary is the world’s greatest “trade center’. It is the place where God traded his only son, sinless and pure, so that our lives could be saved in eternal salvation. He has endured loss and tragedy and He understands our pain but he also knows that it is for good, even if we can’t see or even fathom that good. God is in control!

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said,

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD.” 

Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” -Job 1:20-22

Now that is POWERFUL STUFF!!!

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Sep 10, 2011

Monkey Dancing - Baltimore, MD - September 2011

Monkey's favorite activity would have to be DANCING!  We're expecting a casting call for the next season of Dancing with the Stars any day now.

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Sep 9, 2011

I Love This Bar - Baltimore, MD - September 2011

Since the arrival of the Monkey, I've been keeping my ear to the ground for good, time saving products that would make daily life and household chores a little easier.  About 6 months ago I discovered this...
The Bounce Dryer Bar, and I immediately fell  in love!  It's just about the best thing to happen to laundry since... Well, since Mr. Brooks Stevens developed the first electric clothes dryer with a glass window in the 1940s.  Round and round and round... SO FUN!!!

All you do is stick the holder in your dryer, slide in the dryer bar and wait 2-3 months (depending on your dryer usage) for it to look like this...

Yep, it really says "replace" when it's time to put a new one in.  Until then, you get wonderful smelling, static free laundry without doing a thing.  

No more messing with those dryer sheets. No more finding them in your pants leg while you're in the middle of an important meeting. No more having to covertly remove them from a sleeve or pant leg before someone says "hey, did you know you have a dryer sheet hanging out of your shirt sleeve/pants leg".  Okay maybe this has only happened to me.

Note to Cloth Diaper Users: You will want to remove the dryer Bar before drying inserts or liners in your dryer as it makes them repel liquid even better than than an umbrella and will require you to strip your diapers once, maybe twice.  Yep, I've done this... MORE THAN ONCE!

And not even the Monkey can resist yummy smelling, static free laundry!  In the great words of country music singer Toby Keith "I love this Bar"!

Til next time,
Bon Voyage!

Sep 5, 2011

Mater Strikes Again!!! - Baltimore, MD - September 2011

Mater Strikes Again! 
Yeah, I know, you thought her name was Kitty Sticks, but she has an alter ego.  She's a Super Villain... 
(Doesn't she look like s super villain?)

"Mader" is the destroyer of all things tomato!
LOOK OUT!!! She'll strike in the still of the night, 
or the broad daylight of the afternoon.
Roma's or vine ripe, cherry or giant stake tomatoes she isn't picky. 
No tomato is safe!

Till next  time,
Bon Voyage!

Sep 2, 2011

It's Vacation Time - Baltimore to Bermuda and Back - August 2011-

Last week we embarked on our first BIG family vacation with the little one in tow. Some of our friends told us we were crazy for taking her with us and that it would be way more work than vacation. Well on the flip side of the trip, I'd have to completely disagree. We had a BLAST and having her with us was so enjoyable and so fun!  She is really a funny kid and CRAZY social, so a cruise ship with a million people to say "Hi...Hi...Hi.." to and wave at put her completely in her element!

The Trip: A 5 night cruise to Bermuda aboard Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Sea.

We used Inner Harbor Travel to research and book our trip, and our travel agent Ted was a wealth of knowledge and had actually taken the cruise himself so he had a ton of great tips

On the last night of the trip we were talking about what the best parts of the trip had been and decided there were a few "best parts".  One great part logistically was that the cruise  left from Baltimore, which meant our commute to the port was literally 20 minutes and made it a super easy taxi ride. Second was the fact that we didn't have to make our own bed, clean our room, and their were fresh towels twice a day. Third is that there was food, both healthy and not so healthy, whenever we wanted.  I jokingly said to the hub that "for our next vacation we should hire a housekeeper and a chef and just hang out at the house, it be a little easier to pack!"

There really was only one part I could have done with out and that was the mind blowing sea sickness on the first night because I thought I was too cool to get sea sick and didn't put on my scopolamine patch or "Scōp" patch. The problem was rectified on day 2 and we were "smooth sailing" for the rest of the trip.

So as I said the trip was 5 nights (6 days), so that broke down like this:
Day 1: Baltimore, Maryland 12 noon - Boarding / 4:00 PM Embark
Day 2: Cruising
Day 3: Kings Wharf, Bermuda 11:00 AM Docked
Day 4: Kings Wharf, Bermuda 1:00 PM Embark
Day 5: Cruising
Day 6: Baltimore, Maryland 7:00 AM / Debark the ship 9:30AM

As always I wish I'd taken more pictures (or maybe I'll add to my list of people to hire for our next, vacation photographer) but I think we did a pretty good job of capturing our adventures.

Day # 1
From our Balcony - "Bye Bye Baltimore see you in a few days".

Cruising is fun because we get to stay up late!

Day # 2
"Bermuda here we come!"

 El LOVED the Towel Animals that our housekeeper left for us each night - A Bunny

We spent a lot of time in the solarium...

No rowdy kids and a snack bar and drink station, how can you beat that!?

The Pools were wonderful and always full of life and people.

The Windjammer salad bar was AMAZING!!!

And the Windjammer buffet had anything and everything we could have wanted!

Day # 3

Bermuda was a British settlement so it was fun to find the Red Phone Booths there.

People Watching at Horseshoe Bay Beach

Our little lady didn't care for sand, 

but was cool with people watching from her towel in the shade of our umbrella.

The beaches were beautiful

Day # 4
Sight seeing around Kings Wharf, Bermuda

Everything was SO colorful , from shop fronts to flowers, to street signs, it was a BEAUTIFUL place!

This is the "kissing gate" that I made the hub kiss me under (he he).

That's a BIG boat!

That's a beautiful smile!

That's our little family

It's hard to tell from the photo but this towel animal was a dog, or in El speak, a "gog" (one of her favorite animals).  She sat and pet it for about 5 minutes occasionally saying "Arff Arff"

Day # 5 
Our stateroom had these great Monkey sized shelves that were great for storing and easy access for her toys.

Playin' in her p.j.s

Hanging out on the big bed

On the final night, after dinner, we found this little guy "hanging out" in our room.  Our housekeeper was FANTASTIC.  A monkey for our little monkey.

I wish I'd gotten pictures of us in the "Fancy Dining Room" because it was beautiful and our waiter and assistant waiter were GREAT!

If you can't tell from the pictures, we really had a wonderful time.  We're definitely fans of the "family vacation" and are already thinking about our next adventure. Who knows where we'll end up

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!