Sunday, March 30, 2008

Baby girl...
More than 4 months have passed since you left my belly for a brighter, and perhaps a more roomy world. You are so big now that it is hard for me to fathom that you were ever inside me. Yet, many nights when I am in bed and nearly ready to fall asleep, I will swear to myself (and to your dad) that I felt something in my stomach that felt just like you kicking! Of course, it isn't real....and no, we don't have a sibling incubating in there (not yet!) but I think that once you've felt your child move inside you....your body never forgets. Though four months have passed, and though you've grown and changed so much, there is still a string connecting your heart to mine and I am so comforted and fulfilled by our link to one another.

almost ready for a walk, March 2008

The past four months have taught me why nearly every mother I know says...."Now this, THIS is my favorite stage!" like they've never said it before. They say it because it's true. You are blossoming overnight. Each day brings a new accomplishment, a new little trick. What I like best is your response to things. For one thing, you smile immediately when smiled at. It's a smile that takes over your whole body and causes you to kick and squirm as the delight makes it's way from your lips to the tips of your toes. You also startle easily. Your dad thinks this is funny because you get it from me. I almost jump out of my skin when someone sneezes in the booth behind us at a restaurant and I nearly faint if someone pops a balloon unexpectedly. You are the same way. Your little arms fly up as if to say, "WHOA!"
You are very loud now. Gone are the days of taking you to quaint, candle-lit restaurants and having you sleep while we enjoyed dinner. You are a little car alarm, a little blaring alarm squeal and scream and test all different pitches and tones with your vocal chords. Every once in a while, you stop to crack up at what an amazing voice you have. It makes us smile to hear your voice and I find myself looking forward to the day when you can say ma-ma or da-da even though I don't want to rush a singular second of your life.

daddy's look alike, March 2008

You are a huge baby Einstein fan these days! After crazily googling phrases such as:
Pros and cons of baby Einstein
Is baby Einstein linked to ADHD later in life?
Infant vision problems linked to watching baby Einstein videos
etc, etc, etc
I finally caved and popped Baby Bach in the ol' DVD player (you know, just to see how you would react.) Well, you might as well have requested popcorn and a box of Sour Patch Kids. You were tickled. Your eyes would bug out in utter amazement as a colored truck drove itself across the length of our television screen. My eyes were bugging out, too. Only mine were bugging out thinking of the multi-millionaire stay -at- home mom who got to the tippy-top of the financial ladder by filming brightly colored toys from the Dollar Store rolling across a black background.
{Why, my sweet, didn't I think of that?}
Anyway, thanks to our dear family friend, Mr. Google, I don't let you watch it very much...but when I do, you totally enjoy it. You have even developed a favorite part. You squeal and kick each time the chicken clucks his way from the left of the tv to the right. Then a little girl appears and says something to the effect of, "When I see a chicken, I go bwack, bwack, bwack," and at that point you are so thrilled that you melt right into your bumbo seat. I practically have to scrape you out of it with a spatula.

sitting in daddy's chair and in your bumbo chair, watching baby einstein, March 2008

This weekend while we visited with Pop Pop and your Unky and Aunt Libby, we decided to watch the footage that we've taken of you on our new video camera. I didn't know how good it would be to watch I felt like we had about one hundred tiny little 30 second clips here and there of this and that. Once we got the video camera hooked up to the tv, the memories started to play back on command. The first clip was from when you were just 2 days old. You were more tiny than I recalled and I looked more worn out than I recalled! Yikes! We continued to watch and I became so thankful for videos in addition to the thousands of still photos that we have taken of you. The videos capture your smallness, your coos, your cries. They forever preserve the voices of a mommy and daddy who are giddy with excitement and down-trodden with sleep deprivation. We had fun watching the footage from late November up to the present... and we all laughed until we were sick at the insane amount of times that I said, "Let's see your pretty smile," while I was filming. I said it multiple times each time I taped you. I said it more times than one could possibly believe. I said it in a crazed, new mommy tone, too. If I had to throw out a number of times I said it...I would say 200.
{And I would be being conservative!}
You will make fun of me for it when you are older. I just know it.
The other thing that had all of us slapping our knees was the unbelievable number of times your dad was on camera in his ratty orange polo t-shirt. It must have been a big coinky-dink, but it cracked us up that he had it on almost every single time he appeared on the tape.
Know what other annoying thing we did on each clip? We got a shot of the dogs just staring up at that camera.
We promise to improve out videographer skills before your first dance recital. We really do.

sitting by mommy while she reads, March 2008
I am greatly enjoying the 4 month old you. I am wishing, once again, that I could freeze you right at the age you are now.
Time is breaking the speed limit and I am trying hard to remember all the scenery from this trip that is your life. In the blink of an eye, I will be sitting as this computer composing a letter to you as a 5 month old, while you lay sleeping in pajamas that are growing snug.
I feel like I would cry and protest your growing up so fast if I wasn't so darn excited to see you bloom. The wonder of who you will become makes the passage of time endurable.

asleep in your carseat, March 2008

Know this baby girl....I love you like crazy.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dear Spring,
Are you caught in traffic? Can't find something to wear?
You are late and we have been waiting ever so patiently. Please hurry. We would like to take a walk with you.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hope yours was hoppy!

Ella & her basket.

She's a fan of Easter!

Surrounded by all the little gifts the bunny left her! (and seemingly not phased by the fact that he didn't leave her a slicky suit!)

Excited about wearing her big girl shoes to church.

Loves a good camera....just like her momma.

A book with her name & mine! It's bound to be a favorite! (It's one "H" away from being perfect for us!)
Hope your Easter was happy, too. We enjoyed a leisurely morning. We had a delicious breakfast of bagels and coffee. We even got to church EARLY! The service was extremely moving and we got to see/hear it all because Isabella was quiet as a mouse. We had a late lunch at Tommy's family's house and enjoyed visiting with everyone and hunting eggs in the living room as it was snowing huge flakes outside. Now we're home and we're all heading to bed early. Easter wore us out.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


When I was in second grade each student was assigned to bring 6 dyed Easter eggs to school for the class egg hunt. On the day of the hunt I brought in my six eggs. 3 of them were dyed the regular old PAAS colors (of course, I had used that nifty white crayon on them prior to dyeing so that after they soaked in the chosen color, I could pull them out to find my cute little stars, hearts, and smiley faces tattooed all over them.) The other three had the ever-so-beautiful plastic shrink wrap sleeves on them. Did you have those? They were like a little plastic cuff with cartoon-y figures on them and you slipped them onto the egg and then lowered it into boiling water so that it "shrunk" around the egg, tight as can be. So, I was very, very proud of my eggs when I turned them into the teacher to be hidden by the room moms. My pride was dashed when Jason Taylor got one of his eggs out. I swear to you, I can still remember it with vivid detail. Mutli-colored and vibrant, so shiny it looked like he had dipped in five or six shades of glorious fingernail polish. It was seriously beautiful. So beautiful that our teacher, Mrs. Wilson, declared it the prize egg the minute she laid eyes on it. I felt like crying because I wanted her to pick one of my eggs as the prize egg...and then I felt like my world would end if I wasn't the one who found that gorgeous egg. I didn't find the egg...pretty sure I was too busy keeping an eye on my classmates to make sure they didn't find it! All this to say that every Easter thereafter I've been trying to duplicate Jason Taylor's prize no avail. If only I had called his house after school that day to ask his mother just how they did it!! This year, the egg dyeing was very important because we will keep these eggs and always put them in Ella's Easter basket to remind her of her very first Easter. To be able to keep them, we did the whole "blowing out" of the egg through needle holes on both ends. She slept while Tommy and I sat at the kitchen table and blew our brains out! We blew out the yolk and whites of 9 eggs...which is no easy task...but after they've been rinsed and dyed, they will keep forever. (Providing she doesn't smash them when she's a toddler.) The entire process had us laughing and, of course, Tommy had to turn the blowing thing into a race to see who could blow their egg out the fastest. (He won.) And.....I'm fairly happy with how they turned out. I wish they were a little more muted...more pastel-ish and eastery....but I wanted them to be Jason Taylor-ish, too...and it's hard for an egg to be all those things. I like that they are shiny, like fingernail polish and maybe next year (we'll do the same hollow egg thing and keep them because Duh! next year will be her first, first the first one she doesn't sleep through) I will add some white which would probably produce a lighter shade of colors.
As I said before, we blew out nine eggs and you might see that there are only 8 pictured. That would be because my husband ignored the warnings on the package and mixed all the colors together resulting in a near black and very scary looking egg that had to be thrown away.
Easter eggs, March 08

I couldn't really be too mad that he ruined a precious hollow egg (that one of us worked very hard to blow out) because he had come home from work with these....
red roses, 11 for me, 1 for baby girl, March 08


daddy's little sports fan, March 08

The poor Cats. We were all sad today. So, so close they were! Maybe next year!

cheering with daddy, March 08


sleeping beauty, March 08

Today I was getting ready to run some errands and I put Isabella in her pink Boppy chair that we keep in our bathroom specifically for when we are getting ready, showering, etc. She doesn't bounce around in it at all, in fact, she usually falls asleep. So after I was done in the bathroom I walked around the corner to our closet to get dressed. I was halfway into my jeans when I heard a boom (seriously, a loud boom) followed by hysterical crying. My heart fell to my feet as my mind tried to fathom how in the world she made it up and over the side of this bowl-like seat? She doesn't roll over yet, doesn't grab things yet, nothing. I took off running (only to slip on the carpet and fall because I had one leg in my jeans and the other out). When I got to the scene I realized that the entire seat cushion had slipped off the frame and had fallen through to the tile floor beneath it which seems nearly impossible given how tightly the cloth is stretched over the frame. I swooped her up and tried to soothe her while checking her head for a lump. (The fall was less than six inches, and the cushion/pillow was between her head and the tile...but given the boom I heard, I was upset to say the least.) So I am crying, and she is really crying. I'm telling her how sorry I am, I'm rubbing her head, I'm rocking her. She calmed down pretty quickly but then my mind started to race with snippets of things I have heard in my lifetime about head injuries...
"...may seem like nothing at the time, but turns out to be very serious..."
"....just laid down to try to get rid of the headache and then slipped into a coma....
".....seemed fine after it happened but later became very lethargic..."
So, I proceeded to call Tommy (whom I had just talked to prior to the accident and had told me he was just stepping into a meeting.) He knew something must be wrong when he saw that it was me. I sobbed through an explanation of what had just happened. He assured me that he thought she was fine given that the cushion had prevented her from making contact with the tile. After a few minutes of him soothing me, I got off the phone and gave her my own mini version of a physical. Everything seemed to check out OK.
She even smiled. Check.
She didn't wince when I rubbed the back of her head. Check.

(This all happened before noon.)

Fast forward to 7pm this evening. My mom came to have dinner with us and we were all sitting on the floor playing with Isabella. I was showing mom how she can pull up/ sit up by doing this elaborate routine that I do with her (that she loves!) wherein I go..."Oooooooooone, Twooooooooooooooooooooo, and then on Threeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...I pull on her arms and she sits up and cackles. We do this ten times a day (What To Expect... says that a 4month old baby should be able to pull up and keep their head level with their body...which she can do.) So......we're doing it for Gigi...we're really showing off....we're smiling and laughing.....

do you see where this is headed?

She jerks one hand out of my hand and goes backwards ....again, only 5 or so inches but...bumps her head on the same spot again...and this time it is all my fault.
And again, she is crying and I am holding back tears and trying to soothe her.
Guilt swallowed me up whole.
I felt more than terrible.
I felt awful.
It was one of those moments that I've written about before where I felt way too young and irresponsible to be someone's mother.
I felt so inadequate.
Again, she calmed right down with some rocking and consoling...
but my heart ached for the rest of the night.

It's hard to describe how it made me feel but the closest thing I can compare it to is this:
You know how when you hurt your toe and you spend the rest of the day trying to guard that toe from getting hurt any worse? It feels to you like everything and everyone is about to hit your sore toe? Well, that's how I feel now. I'm handling her with kid gloves, with that "I-just-came-an-inch-from-rear-ending-the-60,000$ bmw-in-front-of me" weak, jittery-ness.
I'm the one who is supposed to keep her safe.
And, twice in one day I've let her get hurt. I'm hoping she forgives me easier than I forgive myself.
And I'm so dreading the first time she wipes out on pavement. Tommy will have to scrape us both off the sidewalk.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

We're waiting for the Easter Bunny...

Isabella Grace, Easter, March 08

I did a session with Isabella (and her dad!) on Saturday using my new studio lighting. I am still working on several shots and will add them soon, but you can view some of the others by clicking here.
I did a black/white Easter rather than pastels. I know it's extremely non-traditional...but I like it. The basket liner with her name on it is pale green/white gingham but I decided to take it out for the photos (in the nick of time, too, as she spit up in the basket just minutes after I removed it!)
Anyway, we will dye eggs tomorrow night and then we'll be ready. I have totally enjoyed gathering some Easter basket goodies for her. I realize it might be a bit she is just 4 months old and surely won't get into the whole basket joy. But I will. And, I will take pictures for her so that she can see that she did, indeed, have a first Easter Basket.

Speaking of insane...are we the only lame brains that tuned into the season opener for the Bachelor last night? I haven't watched it for several seasons but decided to watch this season. A few thoughts about it: (I'm so hoping someone else watched it and will validate here!)
~one girl played a clarinet for him. Really? Seriously? (not that there is anything wrong with playing an instrument, it just seemed a little akward.)
~one girl listed her profession as "hot dog vendor." Tommy and I agree that we will later find out that her dad owns Oscar Meyer or something. (again, nothing at all wrong with being a hot dog vendor...we just think there might be more to the story there.)
~one girl got absolutely smashed (and proceeded to give the bachelor her undies) Again, seriously?
~one girl arm wrestled the bachelor. I still can't fathom why.
~one girl (apparently to impress) bit the side out of a beer can. Lovely.
~one girl used the "L" word on the first night.
See, if you didn't tune missed some interesting stuff.
I told Tommy that when each girl got out of the limo I wanted him to say one of three things...HOT, DECENT, or UNATTRACTIVE. He agreed.
(Before I make him sound like too much of a homer, I should mention that he was going along with my little game because we have watched nothing but ESPN for oh, say, 7 months straight. He owes me some shows and it just so hapens that I picked the ol' Bachelor.)
Anyway, hot, decent, or unattractive. The first girl gets out (whom we have since picked as the winner and who received the first impression rose) and he hesitates and then says, "hot." I then get mad. I should have never given him the word hot as a choice. It is way too........too........jealousy-inducing. (I made that word up.) So, I say, "You know what, let's go ahead and change "hot" to "pretty." I can deal with "pretty" better than I can deal with "hot".
For some reason after that, he hardly gave out any pretties. Mostly decents with a few unattractives thrown in for good measure.
Question: How much of that is juiced up for television. For example: Do they choose a handful of the girls and say,
"I'm sorry, but you've been chosen to make a fool of yourself to boost our ratings. Your assignment: Tell him you love him approximately 4 minutes after you meet him."
Lib, Al, you remember a year or so ago when I made us all act out how we would get out of the limo and walk up and greet the bachelor? It still makes me laugh.


We celebrated St. Patrick's Day yesterday with a little green. Since I'm a big fan of balloons...that's how I usually decorate. This was the balloon that greeted Tommy when he got home. (I would've taken a picture of the green beer...but it turned out more deeply yellow than green.) He reported that it tasted just fine, though.

Our St. Patty's dinner table...complete with a little leprechaun in a bouncy seat to watch us eat.

She had too much green milk and passed out early.

**Thanks for the emails and comments about my new blog decor. I'm still getting used to it...but I think I like it.
Staci H. I am so glad you are finding so many useful ideas here! Congratulations on your new little guy. He's a cutie. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Hard to believe that we just took a stroll around the neighborhood this afternoon with short sleeves on when this is what it looked like less than a week ago. Isabella seemed to enjoy her first real snow. (She likes bright things!) And, as you can see from the photos...I let her sit by the windows and watch it fall.

backyard snow, march 2008

watching snowflakes from the bumbo seat, march 2008

snowday entertainment, march 2008

watching snowflakes from the exersaucer, march 2008

Pepper always has loved the snow! He would stay out in it until his paws were frostbitten if we would let him.

Pepper in the snow, March 2008

As pretty as it was, we are very ready for Spring. Today's weather was a big teaser for us. Ella and I met Blake and Palmer for a quick lunch at Panera today and there were people eating outside! I could hardly believe my eyes! There wasn't a Northface garmet in sight. Spring is flirting with us, if I may be so bold!
I am looking forward to Easter. (I love Easter Baskets because my mom, er..the bunny used to give me such great things. One year I seriously got a Michael Jackson slicky suit that went "swish, swish" when I did the moon walk and a folder that was shaped like a Wacko Jacko record on top. I was elated! Who knew the guy would later dangle his first born over a 10-story balcony?) Anyway, I am looking forward to filling her Easter basket with some baby goodies. I am going to be trying some new Easter egg techniques a la we will see how it goes.
We have to fill our family eggs for the upcoming neighborhood hunt, too. Although, after checking the weather just now, it looks as though our Easter outfits will need to be thermal.

This year, Spring will also bring a wedding. A very special one, at that!'s getting so close!

bridal shower fortune cookie, e&j, march 2008

Saturday, March 08, 2008

dedication luncheon photos + old, random photos

We are snowed in. 12 inches! It's been quite nice. We've all spent lots of time together. I have gotten lots of housework done (ie mopping, dusting, sweeping, etc.) I dread the day when Isabella wants to go play in the frigid temperatures. I will need a long extension cord for my space heater! Even as a kid...I took a couple trips down the hill with the tube and then I was knocking on the front door for my mom to let me in! I'm not a fan of the cold. (Dad, remember when you paid for an all night ski pass for me and I took one trip down the bunny slope and then headed for the lodge and spent the rest of the night by the fireplace?) Tommy and I have said, more than once this winter, WHAT are we doing here? We must move to Florida or California quickly! I know, I know...the seasons. We'd miss them terribly! But this winter and it's ugly, dreary days have caused us to lose perspective. Speaking of how we hate winter...our baby has her first cold. Keeping with the theme, I over reacted. Was it pneumonia? Something worse? Emphysema from that one time we sat sort of near a guy smoking a cigarette?? Nope, turns out it's just a little cold...most likely from Noah's Ark...the gym nursery. Seriously, her tiny cough and congestion are pitiful.
We are expecting to be snowed in again tomorrow which is fine with us. It's March Madness, you know.

The first section of photos below is from the dedication luncheon last Sunday. The next set is a random group from the past couple of months. I have been going through pictures trying to put them into chronological order. I ordered 380 4x6 dating from November to February that I must write on the backs of and put in albums. Maybe a project for tomorrow morning? I love pictures. I could look at old ones over and over. In fact, I do.

(click on the picture for a larger view)

dedication lunch table, march 2007

cousins, march 08

your party, march 08

visiting with family the night before the dedication, march 08
(the big empty corner in the great room is due to the fact that we pulled the big armchair into the kitchen so my 90 year old grandma could be in the kitchen where the action was.) Also, I did clean off my desk (left corner of photo) before the party. Another also...the bulb is not burned out over the's just that my dad insists on unscrewing it so it doesn't shine too brightly on the baby! He does it every time he's here, don't you Pop Pop??

the cake I made for ella's dedication lunch, March 08

o l d p i c t u r e s

pepper, ella, abby, february 08

abby kate and isabella, lil a d pi roommates, February 08

keeping your tootsies warm like mommy does, february 08

baby chase, February 08
(not a baby anymore, ONE)

your first new years eve. it was crazy! december 07
(These would be all those empty frames I mentioned several months ago! They are nealry all filled now!)

your baby slippers from aunt b, December 07
(they made me melt)

balloons from family and friends to welcome you home, November 07
you saw 'em for the first time!, January 2008
your parents have a sick sense of humor, huh?, January 08

sitting like a big girl...all by yourself, February 08

toes barely touching on the new exersaucer, February 08

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Mmmmmm...Does it get any sweeter? For more,
go here

Wade and Jack, March 08

Monday, March 03, 2008

It is too late and I should be in bed...but I am up with a sort of nervousy, antsy stomach. Could be that I shared a cup of coffee with Tommy at 11pm....which is way out of character for me (for both of us really) but it sounded good, given the sudden drop in the temperature. I had the windows open all day and am now covered in clothing with a space heater humming away nearby. So...maybe my body is revolting against a morning beverage for a late night snack. I have always been totally grossed out by the whole "breakfast for dinner" idea. I think I'd rather skip dinner altogether if I had the choice of eating eggs or eating nothing.
Or....maybe, perhaps, quite possibly...this nervous stomach is because Allison will be having her baby via scheduled c-section in just a few hours. The thought makes me woozy. Not the surgery, but the meeting. The seeing for the first time the life that somersaulted inside of you for so long. The first breaths, the cries, the thanks going up to our God in bucketfuls. The bond that almost immediately forms up. The cord being cut and strengthened all at the same time. It's the world's largest cocktail of emotions with a cute little umbrella included for good measure.
She'll be drinking that cocktail at 7:30 am and I am nervous for her, excited for her, and really just plain antsy. I wish I was there. I would cryyyyyy...oh, I know I would. I can't even catch a glimpse of that universal white receiving blanket with the pink and blue stripes without getting weak in the knees. Still to this day, when I see one on tv, when I spot one in the pediatrician's waiting room, when I turn the page to find one in a Parenting magazine....I am transported back to our own delivery room and before I know it, I am sipping on my own cocktail of emotions again.
Anyway, before I drift off tonight, I will be praying for a healthy baby tomorrow morning. I can't wait to get the call that reveals boy or girl. Another baby to add to our little family- by- marriage brood. How incredibly blessed.

WADE SYBRANT arrived healthy and happy this morning...looking very similar to his handsome big brother JACK CHRISTOPHER. We love you guys and will see you in April.

We had a big and busy weekend around here. A little shopping in our old town, dinner with good friends on Friday night with lots of laughing and nodding our heads in agreement as they have a baby girl just 16 days older than ours. Running around like crazies on Saturday. Cooking with my moms until late, late Saturday night. Isabella's dedication and lunch party on Sunday. A four generation photo shoot with mom and grandma. Lots of great stuff to post about. But, I am really only thinking about my better half this evening. Unfortunately, he has picked up some sort of funk and has been under the weather....sleeping in absurdly long stretches, sniffing, clearing his throat, and looking pitiful. He has that throat thing where it never feels wet, you know the one. yuck.

the space between, February 08

Babe, I have missed you these past two days. I think of a million things I want to tell you while you are sleeping off your sick. Every lid is too tight and the remote acts wonky. I have to resist the urge to "wake you up to check on you" because I really just want to wake you up and keep you up (AND check on you, of course.)
When you finally stumbled out into the daylight this afternoon with your pillow induced mohawk, I was so happy to see your face. Ella's tiny bow lips curled with recognition as she spotted if to say, "Hey, I know that guy....but I can't place the hair." We've both missed you. We are looking forward to a cleared up, geared up you.
Feel better, love.