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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from our cherubs, Alex and Victory!  Alex had her first Easter Egg Hunt yesterday at her play school; she is pictured below just after we finished her egg hunt and we were on our way to dinner!  (Doug and I helped Alex find some eggs.)  She had a good time and she received a sweet Easter basket after the egg hunt!  The Easter Bunny is ready to visit our cherubs on Sunday, and we are excited to celebrate Alex’s first Easter!  Wishing you a wonderful Easter weekend!

By the way, I am taking a spring break from the blog next week, and I plan to be back the following week!

“It is spring again.  The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” — Rainer Maria Rilke

Happy Friday!

 

Nine Month Snapshot: Alexandra

I cannot believe it is already time once again to do another post, Alex’s nine month blog post!  The time is going by so quickly right now!  Alex has now been an ‘external baby’ as long as she was an ‘internal baby!’  The theme this month, summed up in one word, is teething.  Alex’s top, middle two front teeth came in!  As of this writing, both of her front teeth have cracked through the gums, thankfully!  She has been uncomfortable with these two teeth coming in.  This month, she has even ‘personalized’ her crib — she has made teeth marks all along the top perimeter of her crib.  Had I known, I would have bought some protectors, but it is too late now!  Victory also had issues with her teeth this month; she had a recent dental, whereby it was discovered that her middle two lower teeth were loose and they were pulled as a result.  Victory healed up well, thankfully.  So, one of our cherubs is gaining teeth, while the other cherub is losing teeth!  Alex is still really, really into Victory and wants to pet her insistently and crawl after her all the time!  Victory, is adjusting more with Alex being mobile!  However, Victory is much quicker than her sister, Alex, and can out run Alex in a heart beat!  However, Victory still makes her daily morning and evening rounds with Alex, which is so adorable!

Alex is well and she is sickness free, for the time being, which is great!  She is standing up on her own for a few seconds, at a time, and she is pulling herself up on everything in sight!  She still loves her walker!  (Victory is still sacred a bit by the walker!)  Alex loves crawling all over our house and getting into everything!  She loves our cook books in the kitchen and she loves my photo albums in the living room!  She also loves the door stops and Doug just replaced them all through the house to a more ‘child friendly’ type of door stop.  She also loves to chew on my keys and crocs, and we plan to get her a pair of her own crocs!  She even likes to be crawl around the deck and look out over our neighborhood!  We are in the process of getting our decks cleaned, flowers planted, and our outdoor furniture out in the next couple of weeks!  Alex has been out to eat several times during this month, and she has done really well!  We now have a bag with all of her ‘going out to eat gear!’  We even got Victory out to eat with us a few times, as the weather, for the most part, has been relatively nice here!  We have done quite a few walks together, this month, which has been great!  Alex still likes to try a variety of foods, which is great!  She still really loves vanilla yogurt, probably her favorite food right now!  She is also such a big girl drinking from her sippy cup!

Alex is really big in size and she always lets you know how she feels, without hesitation!  When we were at the doctor’s at the end of March, for a check, to make sure Alex’s pneumonia had indeed resolved, she was off the charts with her size.  She seems to continue to grow and grow!  We go to her nine month appointment next week, and we imagine that she will be even bigger!  Some mornings, she just looks and feels bigger.  My arms definitely get a work out these days, as a result!  The doctor said most people will think Alex is over a year old based upon her size!  I feel like I birthed a little giant some days!  We just ordered her some new spring and summer clothes, as we bought a lot of clothes before she was born, not knowing how big she would be — so our stock pile of clothes did not last as long as we anticipated!  We now know what fits her well (she has a long torso like her Daddy) and what type of fabric she likes to wear!  We also look forward to the outdoor pools opening next month, and we are signing Alex up for swim lessons since she is finally over all of her sickness and it is now warmer outside!  She is enjoying bath time more these days, so we hope that she will take to the water!

Our days are getting more predictable with time, which has been nice.  Alex usually takes two naps, or one long nap a day these days.  Alex is still getting up once a night to eat, and we hope that we can get her sleeping through the entire night soon.  She still goes to bed early and she is an early riser, so Doug and I are on her schedule, as a result.  She is also doing really well at her play school and appears to be developing well.  She is making different sounds and loves to make her “o” sounds and she rounds her lips when making this sound, which is just really cute.  She has learned how to give kisses, which are more like licks, which I love!

We are looking forward to enjoying our spring and summer with Alex and Victory!  We cannot believe Alex turns one so soon!  We have some fun ideas and plans for her first birthday!  This month has been full of some exciting changes and Alex will continue to keep us on our toes.  We love our girls and we are embracing it all, and we feel extremely blessed!

A few highlights from Alex’s ninth month include:

-she loves crawling all over and getting into things — she is getting into everything (my purse, photo albums, cook books, Victory’s water bowl, etc.) and putting everything she can get her hands on into her mouth!

-she is pulling herself up and standing on her own balancing herself for a few seconds at a time!  She also loves to pull herself up on Doug and myself and then she balances herself, which she thinks is fantastic!

-she is afraid of strangers, people she does not recognize, and she then cries when held by an unfamiliar face, which we think is pretty normal right now.

-she is sleeping well in her crib in her sleep sack, while still getting up one time a night to eat most nights — we hope to get her sleeping through the night soon!

-we are almost done with finishing our baby proofing; and we recently ordered Alex a bigger play yard and play mat for our main floor, which she, hopefully, she will like, along with some new fun toys Doug picked out!

-she is still making lots of different sounds and she loves to laugh and giggle!

-she is still ‘throwing raspberries’ often, and she thinks it is hilarious!  It is not so funny when she throws raspberries when she has food in her mouth!

-she has learned to give ‘kisses!’

-she loves going for walks!

-she loves music!

-she still loves to be read to each day!

-she still finds the mirror to be very captivating and intriguing!

-she loves to play with her toys and now she likes to pick out her own toys to play with!

-she is enjoying eating and trying new foods and she likes to feed herself and she likes to share her food with Victory, many food droppings find their way to the floor!

-she is still very alert and observant!  She still loves to interact with other kids and observe them!

 

A few highlights I would like to remember:

-photographing and making videos of Alex — I want to remember and capture as much as I can!

-remembering her pulling herself up and standing on her own (for several seconds) for the first time!

-remembering that she is never afraid to let us know how she feels!

-remembering her determination!

-remembering how she is learning to give ‘kisses,’ which melts my heart!

-remembering her trying the ‘big girl’ swing at our neighborhood park for the first time, shown below!

-remembering how intrigued she is with my buttons on my clothing and necklaces that I wear.

-remembering that she likes to have her back rubbed once we put her in her crib to help get her settled.

-remembering that she likes to hold her bottles now to feed herself and she appears to be right-handed, but time will tell.

-remembering that she always likes to hold a burp cloth while she has a bottle and when she falls asleep.

-remembering her giggling when she gets the soap lathered on her during her baths.  She is so ticklish!

-remembering how she giggles so hard when she is tickled behind her ears!  She finds this hysterical!

-remembering our bedtime routine where she just laughs and giggles before bed during which she loves to crawl into our laps and give us hugs right before bed.

-remembering our walks together around the neighborhood in her Bugaboo, which she loves!

-remembering how we say, “It’s time for sleepy time,” and then Alex makes the biggest smile!

-watching her explore her environment — which has grown ten-fold for her because she is really on the move!

-watching her ride on her Daddy’s shoulders, which never gets old!

-watching her try to chase Victory in order to try to catch up with Victory!

-greeting Alex in her nursery each morning.  It is and adjustment to see her standing and making teeth marks all over the top of her crib!

-loving how she smells after her baths!

-loving how her hair is so fluffy and soft against my skin!  It keeps growing and growing!  It will be neat if she gets some curls, but we will have to see.

-loving on her long, velvety and smooth body!

-enjoying our morning time together, where Victory joins us each morning whereby she licks her sister, Alex, from head to toe!

-loving her giggles!

-marveling at her smile — she has the most wonderful smile that melts our hearts, and now we can see all four of her teeth!

-admiring her eyes — they are the prettiest deep blue eyes I have ever seen!  I think she might have her Great Grandma Rose’s eyes, and we gave Alex the middle name “Rose” in honor of Doug’s beloved Grandma Rose.

-loving her long and lovely dark eye lashes!

-loving her rosy red cheeks!

-knowing on the days that I feel totally exhausted, that I will someday really miss these early days, and I need to remind myself, at times of this fact.  The daily exhaustion is improving, some.

-still asking myself what will I miss about this time of my life when it’s all gone?  This question keeps everything in perspective.

-most of all, we are cherishing getting to be Alex’s parents!

Doug and I are very grateful for our little girl and our little family!  We feel so fortunate and our hearts have grown so much since Alex’s arrival, and I feel as though a part of me has been awakened.  We look forward to seeing Alex’s little personality continue to develop and unfold.  Below are a few images: Alex’s monthly portrait; Alex and Victory’s monthly portrait; followed by photos of Alex throughout this month; and some iphone images during her ninth month with us!  You can read our birth story along with viewing images from Alex’s birth here; you can read Alex’s first month snapshot here; her second month snapshot here; her third month snapshot here; her fourth month snapshot here; her five month snapshot here; her sixth month snapshot here; her seventh month snapshot here; and here eighth month snapshot here.

The monthly photos are getting a bit more tricky; Alex is in her laundry basket this month because she kept crawling away.  I tried to use her walker, and she kept jumping up and down, scaring Victory, who started to run away.  So, I tried placing her into her seagrass laundry basket, where Alex had to balance herself and it worked!  I just have to find a way to capture Alex and Victory for a few more months in order to make it to a year, chronicling this special year via this photo series!  It is definitely more tricky to photograph them together these days!

I have been working on further revisions on my long-term photography project with my mentor in between everything; and it has been quite a bit of work keeping up with Alex’s monthly photos; printing of the images; creating her photo book for her first year; creating blog posts; and writing Promptly Journal entries.  However, this time will only happen once, and we want to record and remember it, so we are going to keep going with this process through the first year, where so many changes occur, sometimes seemingly over night!  I will always continue to photograph our little family to document our time together, but I am not, yet, sure how that will look for us after the first year with Alex!

 

See how much Alex has grown as compared to last month!

 

 

 

See how much Alex has grown as compared to last month!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from this month!

(The image immediately below is one of my favorite images of Alex).

 

 

 

 

 

A fun video!

Do you have a Nickname?

Do you have a fun nickname?  Funnily enough, our baby Alex already has a nickname!  About two months after Alex was born, Doug came home from work and, while I held Alex, Doug greeted her and he proceeded to pull Alex’s pants at the waist band, (Alex was wearing a cotton onesie with matching cotton pants with an elastic waist band), and she subsequently let out the loudest cry, her face became beat red, and she was very, very upset, as a result.  Ever sense, Doug has referred to Alex as “britches,” and the nickname has stuck!  What an unlikely nickname!  Also, Victory has a couple of nicknames, “Tory” and “Ms. T.”  Victory knows her nicknames very well, and she always responds to in kind!  I sometimes catch myself mixing up their names, especially when I am tired.

Doug also has a nickname for me, “Big Cheetah,” which has stuck for the past almost fifteen years!  And, Doug is my “Panda.”  The ‘cheetah and panda’ is a metaphor for our relationship, and we even had a cheetah and panda displayed atop our wedding cake!  We also have a collection, that has been put away, due to Alex’s arrival, comprising a menagerie of cheetahs and pandas that we have acquired over the past fifteen years!  Maybe Alex will like to play with them some day, as some of the cheetahs and pandas now reside in her nursery!  We are not sure what animal metaphor represents Alex, yet, but she seems, thus far, not to be a “panda,” but time will tell . . .

 

ASPCA: Dog Fighting, A Fighting Chance

Today is National Dog Fighting Awareness Day.  The ASPCA recently contacted me and asked me to share this information with you, kindly asking you to take a stand against the barbaric practice by taking legislative action in support of the HEART Act while also posting on social media to help spread the word.  As way of background, the HEART Act is important legislation that would help victims of dog fighting by decreasing their length of stay in temporary shelters and allowing them to be rehabilitated and re-homed faster.

As a result, the ASPCA would love your help in raising awareness by doing a blog piece or sharing one of the following, listed immediately below, on social media anytime during April 2019:

  • Today, I’m helping the @ASPCA fight for victims of dog fighting and put an end to this barbaric practice. Visit ASPCA.org/AFightingChance to give dogfighting rescues a #FightingChance
  • In honor of National Dog Fighting Awareness Day, sign the HEART Act, which helps victims of dogfighting find loving homes quicker: ASPCA.org/AFightingChance @ASPCA #FightingChance

Thank you so much for your help with this important cause helping these dogs have a fighting chance!

 

 

The above image is courtesy of the ASPCA.

Loving Spring 2019

Happy spring!  We hope that it will actually feel more and more like spring on a consistent basis soon!  We have, however, had a few beautiful days here that we have really enjoyed outside!  Below are some items I am loving!

 

 

1. Justin’s Peanut Butter — I recently tried this peanut butter, and it is really great — I highly recommend it!  Victory loves it, too!  (Victory recently had a dental and lost two teeth, poor girl, and we used this peanut butter to give her pain and inflammation medicine, and it worked!)

2. Journal —  I have been using this journal, and I really love it.  It has wonderful inspirational quotes included as well!

3. Tommy John’s Air Brief — These are my new favorite undies that Doug got for me recently!  (Doug also got a pair, to try, and he loves them, too!)  (My past favorite undies here and here are, unfortunately, no longer made.)

4. Dare to Lead — This book was a great read!  It is a wonderful actionable handbook on creating a space for better work and more fulfilled people.  Brown writes, “One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100 percent teachable, observable, and measurable.  It’s learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart.  Easy?  No.  Because choosing courage over comfort is not always our default.  Worth it?  Always.  We want to be brave with our lives and our work. It’s why we’re here.”

5. Diono Car Seat  — We love our Diono car seats, and, importantly, Alex seems to love them, too!  These should last us a good while, unlike our infant car seat!

6. Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion— I really love this lotion!  It is wonderful and I use it everyday after I shower.  There is no scent, no oily residue, and it keeps my skin really hydrated!  I highly recommend it!

Happy Spring!

You can view other things I love here!

Interview: Lydia Sohn, Writer and Minister

Interview with Lydia Sohn, Writer and Minister

Recently, I had the opportunity and pleasure of interviewing Lydia Sohn, a writer, minister, and speaker who lives in San Diego, California with her husband and young son.  I fell in love with Lydia’s blog last fall, when I discovered her wonderful blog chalked full of wisdom, that I look forward to reading each week.  Below, Lydia shares her thoughts on creativity!  You can learn more about Lydia here.

 

KATHERINE CARVER: How did your journey lead you to becoming a minister and writer?

LYDIA SOHN: It all happened very naturally.  Neither were careers I considered for myself, even up until my college years.  Looking back, of course, it makes complete sense because spirituality and writing were always sources of great joy for me.  And then I experienced a lot of resistance towards the ministry once I did have an inkling that might be the path for me.  I grew up in a fairly conservative church with only male ministers around me.  I didn’t even think women could be ministers for most of my life, much less young women! 

Writing as a profession came with less resistance but there was still a lot of self-doubt.  I thought one had to be a bookish introvert with certain literary tastes to be a “real writer” but I eventually discovered that to be false as I began to write regularly and for the public.  With both of these careers, one step simply followed the next and the outcomes unraveled organically. 

 

KATHERINE CARVER: What artists/writers inspire you?

LYDIA SOHN: Julia Cameron was really the first artist/writer to release the writer within me through her books, The Right to Write and The Artist’s Way.  Prior to reading those books, I relied upon a lot of external validation to legitimate my craft.  Those books empowered me to write simply because I wanted to and for no other reason than that.  She suggests these powerful exercises that help the artist with every person emerge. 

Before Julia Cameron though, my writing style had been greatly influenced by Lauren Winner and Anne Lammott because both of them are spiritual authors who activated a latent desire and potential within me to articulate my own spiritual journey. 

More recently, I have been so greatly nourished by Elizabeth Gilbert and her ideas about creativity.  Much of her ideas about creativity are in her book, Big Magic, but she also riffs on these ideas a lot in her talks, interviews and podcast.  She’s similar to Julia Cameron in that she believes that what we long to write about pre-exists so it’s not something we have to think up but rather, listen closely and download.  I find this idea to be incredibly liberating because it takes the pressure off of us to produce amazing ideas.  We just need to follow our curiosity, observe where it takes us and then document it. 

 

 

KATHERINE CARVER: Do you have any rituals and/or practice that you implement while writing?

LYDIA SOHN: Yes, I rely greatly on time-blocking to get all of my writing done.  I am a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique.  I discovered it when I was juggling a lot of different projects and it’s the only thing that has enabled me to keep writing and a full-time job while at the same time, raise a small child.

 

KATHERINE CARVER: Do you have any favorite, go-to books for inspiration?

LYDIA SOHN: I definitely have a canon of books that have changed my life and return to whenever I want to be re-grounded.  Included in this canon are Eckart Tolle’s The Power of Now and Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak.  A book that radically helped my marriage is Alison Armstrong’s The Queen’s Code.  Another book that was a godsend is Intuitive Eating.  I struggled with an eating disorder after I graduated from college and that book put my debilitating struggle to an end.  It also transformed my entire worldview and moral philosophy.  You have to read the book to know what I’m talking about. 

 

 

KATHERINE CARVER: How do you not let fear hinder you from beginning a new endeavor?

LYDIA SOHN: I have so much fear and so much doubt when I’m about to begin a new endeavor!  What soothes my anxiety is a belief that what will be will be.  Another Elizabeth Gilbert idea I love is that we as artists and designers of our own lives must do what we can on our ends but we have to let God (or the universe, whatever metaphysical reality that resonates with you) take care of the rest.  The way she puts it is, “our labor is the contribution to the miracle.”  In that way, I do my due diligence by being faithful to my responsibilities and then let God take over the rest.  If it’s meant to be, it will unravel accordingly.  If it’s not meant to be, doors will close fairly quickly.  God is so good to me in giving me really helpful signs to guide me and show me which endeavors I’m supposed to pursue and which I’m endeavors I’m supposed to let go of. 

 

KATHERINE CARVER: What inspires you to keep going and what keeps you motivated daily? 

LYDIA SOHN: What inspires me to keep going is a sense of deep joy and fulfillment I derive from my work.  I do the work I do now—ministry and writing—because it fulfills me so much and I feel that they are the perfect channels for expressing my interests and strengths.  There is perfect alignment with my internal desires and my external work so it’s easy to just keep going.  My work becomes a grind when there’s misalignment in some way or I’m over-working.  Whenever I notice myself avoiding or resenting my work, I take those as clues to look closer to see where I’m misaligned with a certain project or whether I just need some more rest.

 

 

KATHERINE CARVER: How has becoming a mom impacted your creativity, writing, and ministering?

LYDIA SOHN: Parenting is the most awe-inspiring and at the same time, challenging experience of my life.  This experience then, inevitably provides abundant material for me to reflect, write and preach about.  It has been said by many parents that our love for our children gives us a clarifying lens through which to understand God’s love for us a little more.  This has most certainly been the case for me.  Whereas before parenting, I spent most of my life striving to earn God’s love and favor, I soon realized after I had my son that God’s love and favor have been with me from the very beginning, and is non-negotiable.  In that way then, my life is no longer a test with loaded temptations but rather, a generous gift for me to enjoy. 

Being a working mom has also helped me to create better boundaries.  I am much better at saying “no” to projects or commitments I’m not fully passionate about because if I’m not protective of my time, I will wear myself down and subsequently, hurt my family.

And finally, because I’m a type-A kind of personality who derives a lot of satisfaction from work and productivity, parenting has forced me to slow down and trust in the process of life; to focus less on producing and focus more on being present.  I know I only get one chance to parent each phase of my son’s life and I won’t ever be able to rewind time so this reminds me to be here fully. 

 

 

KATHERINE CARVER: You help people cultivate their authentic selves.  What advice do you have for others trying to do this?

LYDIA SOHN: Oh my goodness, I teach an entire workshop series on this so it’s hard for me to encapsulate it here now.  In a nutshell, the theme is: march to the beat of your own drum.  Stop measuring your value and worth based on others and social expectations.  Follow your joy and align with your own values, not others’.  And if you don’t know what those are because you’re so disconnected from your true self, observe what lights you up and fulfills you and start doing them.  Take small steps and slowly, those small steps will open up an entire path for you.  I’m going to release some workbooks that give step-by-step instructions on how to do all of this so subscribe to revlydia.com if you want to be in the know about those workbooks. 

 

KATHERINE CARVER: You have some of the most thoughtful blog posts, which I find to be especially helpful.  How do your blog ideas come to you?

LYDIA SOHN: They come to me in exactly the same way that Elizabeth Gilbert and Julia Cameron describe.  I don’t sit down and think them up.  They come to me at the most random and odd times, like when I’m driving or at 5 a.m. in the morning.  They are, of course, ideas I’m experiencing in my own life so those ideas are not external to me but the way those ideas coalesce together and show themselves to me feel like a process that’s external to me. 

 

 

KATHERINE CARVER: One of my favorite blog posts you have written was on the topic of surrender.  How has a practice of surrender impacted you personally?

LYDIA SOHN: If I didn’t practice surrendering in my life, my whole life would be a major struggle.  I love to control my life and its outcomes.  Part of this is a sign of healthy self-confidence because I really do see myself as the agent and artist of my own life, which I believe God has bestowed upon all humans to craft as they wish.  At the same time, I have to hold this truth in balance with the other truth that there are some things in life we can’t control.  Along with that, God’s ways and perspectives are so much greater than our own so I continually remind myself to trust that my life will unfold according to God’s timing and ways rather than my own.  As frustrated as I get, it is ultimately marvelous that there’s something so much bigger than us with a greater wisdom and perspective who always guides us. 

 

KATHERINE CARVER: What is your favorite quote and why is this your favorite quote?

LYDIA SOHN: I just love Marianne Williamson’s famous words, “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” Of course, the entire paragraph from which this sentence comes from is amazing but this little sentence is the one that always stays with me.  One’s inner light is a theme in almost all religious traditions, including my own, Christianity, and Jesus says something similar to Marianne when he says, “You are the light of the world.  A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.  No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-16).

The reason why I derive so much comfort from these words is because I struggle a lot with the “who am I” kind of thinking.  Who am I to be doing what I love and pursuing my dreams when there are so many people struggling and suffering out there?  This kind of thinking probably derives from my conservative Christian background that glamorizes suffering and sacrificing your dreams and comfort for the sake of others.  Intellectually, I know that this is all crap and that life doesn’t actually work like that yet of course, it’s a long process to let go of entrenched beliefs one was raised with. 

 

KATHERINE CARVER: What advice do you have for living a creative life? 

LYDIA SOHN: Follow your joy.  If you don’t consider yourself a creative person or don’t know where to start, I would recommend beginning with small projects so as to not overwhelm or intimidate you.  Try the Pomodoro Technique.  So if you want to write, just do it 25 minutes a day on a random subject like what your kitchen looks like in the morning.  If you want to dance and have stopped, just do it a few minutes each day or once a week.  As hard as it may be, try to detach yourself from what others think of your work.  It’s natural that we should want to refine our crafts but don’t let others’ perception of your work determine whether or not you pursue it.  If it gives you joy, then that’s the whole point, the only point. 

 

 

All images are courtesy of Lydia Sohn.

You can read more interviews here.

Memories: Photo Magnets

Happy Friday and Happy Spring!  This is how Alex feels about it being Friday and officially spring, shown immediately below!  She, thankfully, appears to finally be feeling better and she is hopefully on the mend.

We recently redid all of the magnets on our refrigerator, shown below.  Victory even made a quick appearance!  I took everything off of our refrigerator and started fresh, while Doug made sure my first rows were level to keep everything lined up well.  We started in the upper left corner with photo magnets beginning from when we found our we were pregnant with Alex and chronologically we are currently at the lower right through month eight with Alex — we are clearly running out of room, as there is only room for one more row of photo magnets!  If you like photo magnets, I highly recommend Fox Print.  The photo magnets hold up well, we get them printed in color and black and white, depending upon the image, and it is fun because you can easily keep things current, as they are easy to remove and move the photo magnets around on a magnetic surface!  Currently, I have my favorite images printed once a month.  It is also neat to see the progression visually, in one spot, highlighting our time with Alex and Victory!  It is always a great conversation starter in our home as well!  (When I go through a big update again, I will keep the photo magnets for Alex to have some day; and, I will not go as low with the photo magnets, as she is starting to go after them — why I did not foresee this, I have no idea other than pure exhaustion.)

Happy Friday!

 

 

 

 

Eight Month Snapshot: Alexandra

I cannot believe it is already time again to do another post, Alex’s eight month blog post!  The theme this month, summed up in one word, is headway, literally and figuratively.  The changes this month feel big.  Alex is on the move and there is no stopping her!  She is literally chasing Victory with all of her might and she is crawling as fast as she can, as she really wants to ‘play’ with Victory.  Alex seems pretty persistent and determined, and we will see how her personality unfolds.  Victory is a little more apprehensive since Alex has become mobile!  I am sure Victory isn’t sure what to make of Alex who has always been somewhat stationary since she came home from the hospital!  We know Victory will adjust, in time.  Alex still lights up and giggles when Victory enters the room or when she spots Victory from her high chair.  It never gets old!  She still loves to give Victory treats, and thinks it is so neat when Victory licks her hand to get the treat!  Doug is currently getting some final gates to put up in our home.  Alex is quick and she now likes to pick out her own toys and she loves that she is able to move and really explore her ever-growing environment!

This month, she has really enjoyed playing with water bottles, shown below, along with her toys.  She especially loves knocking down her blocks!  Doug just got her a whole new block set with letters and numbers that she is enjoying.  (Doug is in charge of all of Alex’s toys.)  Alex is also often pulling herself up in addition to crawling around!  Additionally, she is on the move and she loves her new walker that we just got her as well, although Victory is a little apprehensive about it!  She is still eating a variety of foods and she loves to feed herself, and her pincer grasp is getting better each day, and she is usually successful in getting the food into her mouth most of the time!  One of her favorite foods that we always keep with us on hand are the puffs!  She absolutely loves them!  Alex also moved into her ‘big girl’ car seat, shown below, that we got for the cars, and, so far, she seems to like the extra space and she is much happier riding in the car!  (Our infant car seat did not last as long as we had hoped — I had no idea she would be this big!)  She just keeps growing.  She is already about 22 pounds and she is in 24 month clothes for the most part, heading to toddler size before we know it!  It is unbelievable!

Additionally, we are also making more headway with our schedule, and we have more of a schedule these days, but each day is unpredictable, of course.  She still goes to bed early, even with the recent time change.  We hope, eventually, she will go to bed a little later in order to sleep in a bit later in the mornings.  She still takes naps each day and she is out of the swing and in her crib for naps, which is great!  Alex is taking the best naps that she ever has, which is very much welcomed.  Alex still usually gets up once a night.  We packed up the baby gear she no longer uses along with clothing that no longer fits.  Unfortunately, however, it has been a rough month with illness (again).  Alex has pneumonia, and it took a little bit to get her diagnosed, including a chest x-ray.  We are now on the third antibiotic in an attempt to get rid of the infection and she also has a virus in addition to the pneumonia.  Earlier this month, Doug and I did a week of nebulizer treatments with Alex prior to her being diagnosed with pneumonia.  It was absolutely awful.  Alex cried, cried, and cried, and we had to nebulizer her five times a day, no less!  We felt like it was torture for all of us and I think we were all very exhausted by the end of that week.  We are so glad that we are done with those treatments, for the time being, and we just hope that she gets all better soon and we do not end up having to see a specialist.  (I likely caught her virus, and it has been terrible getting over it.)

We are really ready for spring to arrive, and we hope that it really shows up soon, as spring is officially next week!  We look forward to better and warmer weather to get our cherubs out for some outings!  Doug got us tickets for our first Pups in the Park as a party of four, and it should be fun!  This month has been full of some exciting changes and Alex will continue to keep us on our toes.  Our baby Alex is worth everything that we faced on the road to get here; and, I would walk that road a thousand times over.  We love our girls and we are embracing it all, and we feel extremely blessed!

A few highlights from Alex’s eighth month include:

-she is mobile and she is getting into everything and putting everything she can get her hands on into her mouth!

-she is sleeping well in her crib in her sleep sack!

-in short order, we are on our way to finishing our baby proofing.

-she is still making lots of different sounds and she loves to laugh and giggle!

-she is still ‘throwing raspberries’ often, and she thinks it is hilarious!

-she loves music!  And, she especially loves it when she is sung to and loves to hear the ABC song!

-she still loves to be read to each day!

-she still finds the mirror to be very captivating and intriguing, especially after a ‘melt down!’

-she loves to play with her toys and now she likes to pick out her own toys to play with!  We don’t have to set them all out anymore!   She really loves when her Daddy builds her a tower out of blocks that she quickly knocks down and she thinks it is the best!

-she is enjoying eating and trying new foods and she likes to feed herself and she likes to share her food with Victory, many food droppings find their way to the floor!

-she loves playing with her water bottles after dinner on the kitchen floor, which usually keeps her occupied for enough time while we clean up!

-she is still very alert and observant!  She still loves to play with other kids and observe them!

 

A few highlights I would like to remember:

-photographing and making videos of Alex — I want to remember and capture as much as I can!

-remembering her crawling for the first time!

-remembering how she sleeps with her legs tucked under her with her bottom in the air!

-remembering that she likes to have her back rubbed once we put her in her crib to help get her settled.

-remembering that she likes to hold her bottles now to feed herself!

-remembering that she always likes to hold a burp cloth while she has a bottle and when she falls asleep.

-remembering her giggling when she gets the soap lathered on her during her baths.  She is so ticklish!

-remembering our bedtime routine where she just laughs and giggles before bed during which she loves to crawl into our laps and give us hugs right before bed.

-remembering our walks together around the neighborhood in her Bugaboo, which she loves!

-remembering how we say, “It’s time for sleepy time,” and then Alex makes the biggest smile!

-watching her explore her environment — which has grown ten-fold for her because she is on the move!

-watching her feed herself for the first time!

-watching her ride on her Daddy’s shoulders, which never gets old!

-watching her try to chase Victory in order to try to catch up with her only to have Victory hop on the sofa!

-greeting Alex in her nursery each morning.  It is and adjustment to see her sitting up waiting for one of us!

-loving how she smells after her baths!

-loving how her hair is so fluffy and soft against my skin!  It keeps growing and growing!  It will be neat if she gets some curls, but we will have to see.

-loving on her long, velvety and smooth body!

-enjoying our morning time together, where Victory joins us each morning whereby she licks her sister, Alex, from head to toe!

-loving her giggles!

-marveling at her smile — she has the most wonderful smile that melts our hearts, and her little lower chompers now show when she smiles, most of the time!

-admiring her eyes — they are the prettiest deep blue eyes I have ever seen!

-loving her long and lovely dark eye lashes!

-loving her rosy red cheeks!

-knowing on the days that I feel totally exhausted, that I will someday really miss these early days, and I need to remind myself, at times of this fact.

-still asking myself what will I miss about this time of my life when it’s all gone?  This question keeps everything in perspective.

-most of all, we are cherishing getting to be Alex’s parents!

Doug and I are very grateful for our little girl and our little family!  We feel so fortunate.  We look forward to seeing Alex’s little personality continue to develop and unfold.  Below are a few images: Alex’s monthly portrait; Alex and Victory’s monthly portrait; followed by photos of Alex throughout this month; and some iphone images during her eighth month with us!  You can read our birth story along with viewing images from Alex’s birth here; you can read Alex’s first month snapshot here; her second month snapshot here; her third month snapshot here; her fourth month snapshot here; her five month snapshot here; her sixth month snapshot here; and her seventh month snapshot here.  The monthly photos are getting a bit more tricky; Alex is on the move and she tries to pull on Victory’s legs and then Victory runs away, and Alex crawls after Victory, and so it goes…I just hope to capture these photos through 12 months!

It has been quite a bit of work keeping up with Alex’s monthly photos; printing of the images; creating her photo book for her first year; creating blog posts; and writing Promptly Journal entries.  However, this time will only happen once, and we want to record and remember it, so we are going to keep going with this process through the first year, where so many changes occur, sometimes seemingly over night!

 

See how much Alex has grown as compared to last month!

 

 

 

See how much Alex has grown as compared to last month!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from this month!

(The image immediately below is one of my all time favorite images of Alex).

 

 

 

Cone of Shame

 

Winnie Au’s Cone of Shame Kickstarter project raises awareness and funds for rescue dogs with urgent medical needs.  The funds pledged through the campaign enables the printing of twelve images as a pull-out notecard set.  Each set includes twelve 5×7 inch notecards, printed on a beautiful extra thick uncoated stock, with a wraparound cover and embossed logo (designed by Four&Sons).  Please check out the Kickstarter page and video (including behind-the-scene footage) to bring this project to life.

All proceeds will be donated to Animal Haven, a no kill shelter based in New York City.  Their Recovery Road Fund helps pups with extreme medical conditions get the necessary treatment.

You are welcome to donate, if this cause and project sparks something within you.

Happy Friday!

Accept: Quote of the Day

 

It has been an incredibly chaotic week here, and I came across this quote this week from one of my favorite books by Rachel Snyder, that really resonated with me, and maybe it will with you, too.  Happy Thursday!

Accept – Recognize what you can change and what you can’t.  In every moment, accept that everything is as it should be.  Accept that your body is round and fat and glorious.  Just love it.  Accept that you don’t do things the way everyone else does.  Just embrace it.  Accept that sometimes your belly hurts, sometimes you don’t have enough money to pay the light bill, sometimes life is hard.  Just cry and move through it.  Accept that you can’t do it all — and who would want to anyway?  Accept a kind word.  Don’t apologize.  Accept a gift — no matter how big, how small.  Say Thank you without embarrassment.  Accept that life isn’t always fair and find the wonder in that, too.  Don’t accept things that aren’t yours, like misdirected shame and blame.  Like credit for someone else’s accomplishment.  Like disrespect.  Accept everything you are and nothing you are not.”