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Honoring Biscuit: Special Books

This week our friend, Gina, sent us this unexpected and wonderful gift, shown below on the right — the book, Dog Heavenby Cynthia Rylant.  It is a wonderful book that is  also wonderfully illustrated.  I had not heard of this book before receiving it earlier this week.   Reading this book brought tears to my eyes.  This book discusses all that happens to our furry family members in Dog Heaven.  We love it.  Thank you, Gina for this thoughtful gift.

Here is one of my favorite passages from this book, Dog Heaven, “Dogs in Dog Heaven have almost always belonged to somebody on Earth and, of course, the gods remember this.  Heaven is full of memories.  So sometimes an angel will walk a dog back to Earth for a little visit and quietly, invisibly, the dog will sniff about his old backyard, will investigate the cat next door, will follow the child to school, will sit on the front porch and wait for the mail.  When he is satisfied that all is well, the dog will return to Heaven with the angel.”

I like the final passage from this book, Dog Heavensays, “They [dogs] will be there when old friends show up.  They will be there at the door.”

Biscuit is always welcome to come back to see us anytime; and when it is our time, we look forward to seeing Biscuit again when we show up to see him.

We also received some book recommendations from blog readers, shown below on the left — Mayas First Rose by Martin S. Kosins; and Little Dog Like You by Rosemary Sutcliff.  As such, Doug ordered these books for us to read.

In a nutshell, Mayas First Rose by Martin S. Kosins, is about a wonderfully moving chronicle of Martin (author) and Maya’s (furry family member) deep bond and it is a story that a person can relate to who has lost a treasured furry family member.

Another blog reader suggested reading  A Little Dog Like You by Rosemary Sutcliff.  This book is also about a deep bond between a human and a Chihuahua, while discussing the painful discrepancy between the life spans of dogs and humans.

I look forward to reading these books to help me with my healing process.  We are so grateful for the kindness and support that we have received during this time.  It is our hope that Biscuit and his story touched your lives in some way.  Thank you.

 

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Photo Books: Our Weddings

I recently made photo books of our wedding and my sister’s wedding, in addition to several more photo books.  (We already have albums from our wedding, but I wanted to make our own wedding photo books, creating narratives of this special day.)   I made these photo books through Artifact Uprising.  I think that they turned out really well.  Each wedding photo book is entirely black and white, keeping with the timeless, iconic, and elegant theme of each wedding.  There are roughly seventy images, 140 pages, included in each photo book, which are printed on matte art paper, with thick white boarders around each image, along with a partial exterior dust jacket.  (You can view the inside of a sample book here.)   Each book contains one image on the right side and a blank page appears on the left side.  This way, the viewer can focus on one image at a time.

It was quite an undertaking to select, prepare the images, and determine the sequence for each photo book.  However, I am very thankful that I made these books, which make wonderful heirlooms.  This item had been on my list for quite a long time, and I am really glad that this is now completed!

Now, my parents have copies of these two wedding photo books; my sister and brother-in-law have a copy of their wedding photo book; and my sister’s in-laws have a copy of my sister’s wedding photo book.  Everyone loved the photo books!  A few images of our wedding photo books are shown below!

 

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Helpful Books for Forging a Creative Path

books for creatives

I have shared some ‘Good Reads’ on the blog in the past.  However, I thought it would be helpful and useful to share the books, along with a brief synopsis and thoughts for each book, that have been especially helpful to me in pursuing a creative path.

 

Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland

I first read Art & Fear during college and I have read it many times since.  This is one of my favorite books.  It explores the way art gets made, why it often does not get made, and the difficulties that arise along the way.  Most of all, this book helps to reshape your perspective and overcome your fear and attain your goals.

 

Ways of Seeing by John Berger

I also first read Ways of Seeing during college and I have read several times since.  Ways of Seeing is a collection of seven essays.  Three are pictorial; four are textual.  All essays are about art; how art is seen; how it is valued; how it is used; and what we can learn from looking at art.  I found this book very informative.

 

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

I have read The War of Art several times and this book is a practical guide for thriving in the creative world.  This is another one of my favorite books.  The wisdom in The War of Art can be used to help you accomplish any goal you set for yourself.  The key is beating resistance, a force that keeps one from living up to his/her potential.

 

This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love by Tama Kieves

I read This Time I Dance several years ago for the first time.  Tam Kieves is a former attorney who chose to leave practicing law and follow her true calling, writing.  Her story, which she shares in this book, about her career transition, is very inspiring and insightful.

 

The Power of Patience by M.J. Ryan

The Power of Patience offers many different ways of looking at patience and practicing patience each day.  I really enjoyed this book.  I found this book easy to read and filled with helpful information and various perspectives concerning patience.  Being creative, I have learned, requires a significant amount of patience and fortitude.

The portion of this book that resonated with me discussed patience in relation to receptivity.  Here is a quote from this book.  “However, the receptive energy of patience is real work!  It takes an effort to not simply run off and do something for the sake of doing it, to live in the unknown for as long as it takes without becoming angry, bitter, or depressed.  It may look like nothing on the surface.  But underneath, within ourselves, we’re lifting some heavy timber.”

 

Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance by Johnathan Fields

I enjoyed reading Uncertainty.  In a nutshell, this book is about managing the creative process, particularly with regard to entrepreneurial pursuits.  In this book, Jonathan Fields draws on his own experience of success, transformation, effort, and uncertainty and provides guidance on how to face our fears and use them to propel us forward, rather than hold us paralyzed.  Not only is this book motivational, inspiring you to take courageous decisions, it also provides practical advice on how to deal with the fear and take steps to avoid disaster.

 

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

In Daring Greatly, Brene Brown presents her findings on the concepts of shame, weakness, and vulnerability.  Defining vulnerability “as exposure, uncertainty, and emotional risk,” Brene Brown has stated that “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”  Brene Brown maintains that this feeling is the crux of most of our meaningful experiences.  Ultimately, she writes, it is not a weakness; everyone is vulnerable, we all need support via friends and family.  Trust and vulnerability go hand in hand.  Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice,” she writes, “we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen.  This is vulnerability.  This is daring greatly.”   When we choose to dare greatly, the rewards are vast: We feel more loved and are more loving, we feel worthy of that love, we choose our path and commit to it with daily practice, and we live with courage, engagement and a clear sense of purpose.

 

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamontt

I read this book again last year while on vacation.  This is one of my favorite books chalked full of wisdom.  Below are a few of my favorite quotes from this book.

“You may need someone else to bounce your material off of, probably a friend or a mate, someone who can tell you if the seams show, or if you’ve lurched off track, or even that it is not as bad as you thought … But by all means let someone else take a look at your work.  It’s too hard always to have to be the executioner.”

“And I don’t think you have that kind of time either.  I don’t think you have the time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good enough at it, and I don’t think you have time to waste on someone who does not respond to you with kindness and respect.”

“The best thing about being an artist, instead of a madam or someone who writes letters to the editor, is that you get to engage in satisfying work.”

 

Inspired and Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work! by Tama Kieves

I read Inspired and Unstoppable last year, which is a follow-up book to This Time I Dance!  Tama Kieves contemplates in this book that the way to success is an ‘inspired path,’ not a linear one.  In this book, she brings her ideas and actions together to help others choose to follow an ‘inspired path.’  I found the sentiments in this book insightful and helpful.

 

Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon

Art Inc. offers a concise guide for anyone seeking to start or enhance their career in art, with actionable tasks and helpful tools.  Lisa Congdon’s writing is clear, easy to understand, and inspiring.  I especially enjoyed the interviews with other artists that appeared throughout the book.  I also enjoyed reading the information relating to exhibitions and gallery representation.  Overall, the information contained in this book was very helpful and informative.

Good Read: Healing Books After Loss

A few weeks ago, I wrote about some special books concerning our tremendous loss of Biscuit.  Well, I recently finished reading all three books: (1) Dog Heavenby Cynthia Rylant; (2) Mayas First Rose by Martin S. Kosins; and (3) Little Dog Like You by Rosemary Sutcliff.  All three of these books were really helpful, and I recommend them all.

I greatly enjoyed Dog Heavenby Cynthia Rylant.  It is a wonderful book that is  also wonderfully illustrated.  Here is one of my favorite passages from the book, Dog Heaven, ”Dogs in Dog Heaven have almost always belonged to somebody on Earth and, of course, the gods remember this.  Heaven is full of memories.  So sometimes an angel will walk a dog back to Earth for a little visit and quietly, invisibly, the dog will sniff about his old backyard, will investigate the cat next door, will follow the child to school, will sit on the front porch and wait for the mail.  When he is satisfied that all is well, the dog will return to Heaven with the angel.”  I hope that Biscuit will come back and “visit” us.

I also greatly enjoyed Mayas First Rose by Martin S. Kosins.  This book illustrated the wonderful bond between man and dog.  This story reminded me so very much of our relationship with Biscuit, which was like no other.  We would do anything to help Biscuit as Martin did for Maya.  This story brought tears to my eyes, but reminded me that we are not alone in our strong love for our furry family members.  I highly recommend this book, and this author is from my home state, Michigan.

I also loved the children’s book entitled, Little Dog Like You by Rosemary Sutcliff.  In this book, sadly, Pippin, a little Chihuahua, passes away.  What is so moving about this story is that Pippin finds his way back to his Mom in this touching story.  I sure hope that Biscuit will come back to us in some form.

We recently had a special ceremony to honor our little Biscuit whom we miss very much.

 

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Honoring Biscuit: Special Gifts

Over the weekend, Doug and I received some wonderful and thought gifts in honor of our little Biscuit.

Doug’s parents sent us a very thoughtful gift — a custom engraved memorials stone shown on the left below, which we will display at our new forthcoming home.  It is very true — Biscuit will always be in our hearts.

Additionally, Kim Levin sent us a very thoughtful card and one of her books, shown below on the left, entitled, Saying Goodbye: Remembering Your Pet’s Life.  Kim has also been gracious enough to share with me her story of her beloved Charlie.  Hearing other people’s stories of loss of their furry family members has been very helpful, as Biscuit was our first furry family member.  If you are interested in receiving a copy of this book, feel free to contact Kim Levin.

Thank you for your kindness and generosity during this time.  These are wonderful and thoughtful gifts.  It really means so much to us.  We are most grateful.

 

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Little People and the Passage of Time

I love documenting our little family; and Alex, someday, will have a treasure trove of photographs (including books of photographs) and videos to revisit and relive. She now understands, very well, that the iphone is used to take photos and videos. Currently, while I try and take a video, Alex tells me, “I want to see! I want to see!” and she also says, “No photos today, Mama!” making it difficult to take videos and photos of her even though Alex thoroughly enjoys looking at videos and photographs of herself. I am grateful to be able to document this time together, especially during this pandemic, that seemingly feels endless some days, especially during this winter.

Recently, I was looking back at photos of Alex when she was a baby. It seemed so long ago, but not so long ago all at once. (I am not sure if there is a term for this feeling.) At the time, the sleepless nights seemed endless, the teething seemed like it would last forever…and then poof, it was over. All of these little physical, development, cognitive, and emotional changes happen right before our very eyes, but we cannot always see the changes until we look back. Similar to how things in life somehow make more sense after we look back and reflect on them. Something heartbreaking that I realized, too, is that as your child grows, those past versions of them fade away. While we are so fortunate and very grateful to have a healthy child, who is developing and growing up, each day, month, and year with her feels like a gift and theft simultaneously. So, all we can do is savor these moments. Being present in it all, is the best, even during the really rough days, which we have had our fair share of during this pandemic, especially this winter. I find that I almost can take a photograph in my mind of those moments that I want to remember forever. It is quite a journey, and I would not trade it for anything.

A few images of the girls over the past two-and-a-half-years are shown below.

Snapshot: Fall 2020

It has been a busy fall here, despite COVID-19. We have been taking advantage of the fall weather to get out and about, in a safe manner, before it gets too cold and winter really sets in! And, I am doing my best to stay on top of editing our photos, which is not so easy, but it will be my gift to Alex someday.

Alex got a new balance bike as a gift, this fall, from her Grandma and Grandpa, which she enjoys! We also got her a big wheel type bike, which she can peddle. Alex is a very active little girl! We are doing yoga with her, which she throughly enjoys, and she does a great downward dog!

We made multiple trips to the Maryland Zoo and the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve, which Alex loves! She greatly enjoys seeing and naming the animals, and she especially loves feeding the animals! Now, when we read her books, she tells us all the animals she has seen at the zoo! We also went to the apple orchard to pick apples, which Alex enjoyed! We took Alex back to the petting farm, and she enjoyed all of the animals and activities, including riding a horse! We, of course, went to the pumpkin patch, and annual tradition, with our fur girl, Victory! We also took the girls, recently, to a contactless dinosaur exhibit, which was a great hit with Alex, and it was so fun to bring Victory with us, too!

Additionally, this fall, Doug designed and built a custom train table to run his Lionel trains! He did a great job! It has been a long-awaited goal, which has, finally, come to fruition! Doug can continue to share his love of trains with Alex!

We also celebrated Victory’s ninth birthday! We celebrated Halloween with the girls, and they were matching Crayola red crayons! Doug carved our annual Halloween pumpkin, and Alex did “contactless trick-or-treating” in our neighborhood! She walked for two hours straight! She was a trooper! Alex had no idea what she was finding, the candy at the houses, which we tossed when we got home! She had fun on her Halloween scavenger hunt, nonetheless!

I cannot believe it is the end of November already! Doug is cooking our Thanksgiving dinner — I am sure Alex will help prepare our dinner, which she affectionately refers to as “cookin!” Over Thanksgiving, we are planning to also put up and decorate our Christmas tree, including putting up other Holiday decorations! Alex is learning about Christmas, so this is our first Christmas together where she is beginning to understand this concept! We got advent calendars for both of our girls: one is filled with little pieces of chocolate; and the other contains little dog treats! So, I know that will be a hit with the girls next month as they count down to Christmas!

Alex is changing all of the time, and it is amazing to witness! She is becoming an independent little girl who is dressing herself and putting on her shoes and coat all by herself! Alex and Victory are each living their best life! We hope that you have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving! We are grateful for our many blessings, even though things look and feel a lot different this year.

A few photos from our fall are shown below!

Twenty Three Month and Twenty Fourth Month Snapshot: Alexandra

I completed the monthly snapshots of our beloved Alex during her first year.  Here is the snapshot of Alex’s twenty third month and twenty fourth month!  Alex is two, already!  We cannot believe it!  (You can view Alex’s thirteenth and fourteenth months here; Alex’s fifteenth and sixteenth months here; Alex’s seventeenth and eighteenth months here; Alex’s nineteenth and twentieth months here; and Alex’s twenty first and twenty second months here).

“You will never have this day with your children again.  Tomorrow, they will be a little bigger than they are today.  This day is a gift.  Breathe and notice.  Smell and touch them.  Study their faces and little feet and pay attention.  Relish the charms of the present.  Enjoy today.  It will be over before you know it.” — Jen Hatmaker

This above quote is so true.  Our time with Alex is flying by.  Babies do not keep — Alex is turning into a little girl before our eyes.  This year has been really fun with Alex, and we have done our best to keep things as normal as possible for her during this time, as the last third of her second year has been impacted by COVID.  However, COVID has not stopped Alex.  She loves her books, and she goes to sleep with them and she wakes up with them in her crib.  She is still very curious about everything!  I think her favorite phrases are, “Help please,” and “What’s that?”  She has a big personality and is so strong in every way!  This spring we got rid of Alex’s paci, for good, cold turkey, after making it through quarantine/lock down!  For the first week, she would say, to us, “Where’s ‘pat pat!’  We told her that ‘pat pat’ went to help another child.  Then, she seemed to have forgotten about it, thankfully!  She also got her first hair trim this spring, and I kept a few locks of her hair for her Promptly Journal, which I do my best to keep up with.  Alex also loves to pick out her clothes, socks, and shoes each morning!  Alex’s car seats are now forward facing, and she seems to enjoy her car rides more, as a result, along with having more space for her legs and feet!  We also are transitioning her to the Stokke chair, as she is getting too big for her high chair.  She is also, currently, cutting her two-year molars, which is no fun.  We were able to get her into the dentist this month, as her spring appointment was rescheduled due to COVID.  She did fairly well, and her teeth are looking good, thank goodness, and I hope she got Doug’s teeth and not mine!  Before we know it, she will have all 20 of her baby teeth!  We have her two-year doctor’s appointment coming up — I am sure she will be off the charts, again, with her measurements!  We are already transitioning into size seven Pampers!

This spring, we got a small pool as our pool was not open, and Alex loves to play in it!  However, our pool did open late, with many restrictions and limitations, due to COVID.  Alex loves going to the pool — she has absolutely no fear of the water!  She is a little fish!  (A few videos of her in the pool are shown below!)  So, we get Alex to the pool several times a week, to take advantage of this time, so she can do some swimming, and we recently even got her to wear her goggles for a period of time.  She is learning to tread water a bit, currently, and she loves to jump in the pool!  Alex also really loves music, and she especially loves to dance to music, which she asks us to put on for her everyday!  This is still her favorite song, which we listen to daily!  She also loves art, especially painting!  She also loves to build with her Legos and Magna-Tiles with her Dada!  But her favorite thing to do is to look at books and spot objects, letters, numbers, and colors, etc.  She is recognizing more colors, letters, and objects everyday it seems!

Additionally, we celebrated Father’s Day at the end of June at home!  Doug set up Alex’s pool that day, and we all had fun!  Alex loved opening Doug’s Father’s Day gift we picked out for him, of course!  We also celebrated the Fourth of July at home.  Doug got Alex some sparklers, but they were not a big hit with Alex this year.  During this time, on these hot summer days, we have enjoyed taking the girls to get ice cream at Vaccaro’s and Rita’s, which they both truly love (and we eat our ice cream together in the car)!

Importantly, during this time, we celebrated Alex’s second birthday!  We cannot believe she is two-years-old, already!  It was quite a journey to parenthood, so we will always celebrate Alex’s birthday, as it is a very special day for us!  This year, due to COVID, we had Alex’s birthday celebration at home with the four of us followed by a trip to the pool, and take out for dinner!  Alex had a great day and we all had a nice time together!  She loved her rose cupcake we got her, as she ate it all up!  We had Alex’s second birthday cake, a butterfly cake, made at the same place as last year, on a smaller scale.  And, we also got Victory an unfrosted vanilla cupcake, which she loved, too!  (We were supposed to be on vacation this past week, over Alex’s birthday; perhaps, we can try again next year.)  And, we just finished putting all of the magnets on our fridge capturing Alex’s second year!

Alex is her own little person, and the time is going by so quickly, especially this second year.  Even though this pandemic is awful, it has been nice to have this period of time together that we would not have otherwise.  Alex is changing all of the time.  My favorite time of the day is putting her to bed at night after she is done playing.  We sit together in the glider and read books, and she spots letters, colors, and objects.  Then, she will cuddle before I put her in her crib.  I know this time will pass, but it is simply the best holding her in my arms, with her head pressed against my chest and I can feel her smooth, soft skin along with her damp curly hair.  I know one day, she will be too big for this, so I savor our present.

We are so grateful for this journey.  We are incredibly fortunate that we get to be Alex’s parents — it is the best job ever!  She is a bright, beautiful, amazing little girl!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from Alex’s twenty third month!

 

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty third month — Alex watering our plants!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty third month — Alex swinging!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty third month — Alex and Doug talking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some iphone images from Alex’s second birthday celebration!

 

 

 

 

There has been so much change in a year’s time!

 

 

 

Here we all are at age two!

 

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty fourth month, her second birthday — Alex on her birthday surprised with her gifts!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty fourth month, her second birthday — Alex and Victory together on Alex’s birthday — Alex feeding Victory treats!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty fourth month, her second birthday — Alex having her cupcake on her birthday (she was not a fan of the candles lit!)

 

A few iphone images from Alex’s twenty fourth month!

 

 

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty fourth month — Alex swinging on a bar with all of her strength!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty fourth month — Alex swimming with no fear!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty fourth month — Alex jumping into the deep end of the pool!

Twenty One Month and Twenty Second Month Snapshot: Alexandra

I completed the monthly snapshots of our beloved Alex during her first year.  Here is the snapshot of Alex’s twenty first month and twenty second month!  (You can view Alex’s thirteenth and fourteenth months here; Alex’s fifteenth and sixteenth months here; Alex’s seventeenth and eighteenth months here; and Alex’s nineteenth and twentieth months here).  Alex is changing all of the time and she continues to grow like a weed and she has the loveliest hair curls — I think we might be getting close to her first hair trim in the near future!

Joan Didion said, “Life changes fast.  Life changes in the instant.”  This is so true, especially now.  Life as we know it has changed, greatly.  Things are very different due to COVID-19.  This post is different than Alex’s other blog posts, as during this period of time, we were in quarantine, which continues.   We have no idea when Alex will return to school; however, she is doing daily Zoom sessions with her class, which she enjoys.  I know that I will miss this time together, whenever this period ends.  We fell into a daily rhythm, early on, and we spend as much time as we can outside together, while embracing the nice weather, which has vacillated between warm and cold weather this spring.  Alex loves to run outside and burn her energy, always.  Alex loves spotting puppies and other animals, while on our walks.  Our Governor left one State Park open, which we frequent.  Alex absolutely loves throwing rocks with her Daddy into the river!  We have found new trails and places that we have never been during this time, as everything is closed.  During our walks and hikes together, Alex loves collecting sticks and she is in love with storm drains and water run off reservoirs — she finds them fascinating!  She also absolutely loves to do bubbles, too.  (We made sure we stocked up on bubble solution during this time, which has been hard to come by, along with other items, which we take for granted!)

Alex continues to change all of the time.  Her favorite song, currently, is “Skip to My Lou” — she absolutely loves it, and she dances to it as well!  She does not watch television, but she does like watching a few clips, at a time, of the Super Simple Songs.  Alex loves to FaceTime as well!  One of Alex’s favorite things to do is doing the Highlights “Find It” pages.  She is captivated with finding the items in the pictures; and she also enjoys greatly looking at her books asking us and telling us what is contained in the pictures.  Alex also loves looking and learning about animals in her Ranger Rick Cub magazine.  She is learning to count and she recognizes some letters, already!  She is talking more each day, too!

We celebrated Easter at home with Alex and Victory!  They seemed to have a great time with their Easter baskets!  We also spent Mother’s Day at home filled with beautiful weather and a fun walks together, along with take out for dinner!  I am so grateful.  I still cannot believe Alex is almost two-years-old!  The time is flying too fast and we are doing our best to savor it.  Due to the COVID-19, we cancelled her birthday plans, this summer, and we will celebrate at home together instead.  And, we will also likely cancel our vacation plans as well.  I will always remember this time for many reasons.  We will have many stories to share with Alex, someday, when she is older, from this time together!  I do my best to capture our time together via photographs.

Alex still cuddles with me before bed and she sits with me in the glider where she loves to spot items in her Highlights and her books with me before bed.  She is sleeping and napping really well these days, thankfully, and she is eating well, too!  Everything is always changing and it is all so fleeting.  What I will remember from these months is how she wakes up talking to herself in her crib, while looking at her books, which she loves.  She is entertaining herself more in the mornings, which is great, especially during this time of great juggling between everything!  Victory and Alex are closer than ever.  Alex’s new hobby is feeding Alex from her high chair!  Victory, I believe, has no complaints!  Alex and Victory are always up for an outing and adventure!   We took the girls to get ice cream on more than on occasion, and we all ate our ice cream in the car together!  Alex is becoming her own little person right before our very eyes, and she is looking more, and more like a little girl!  I feel so fortunate.  It has been such as journey.  We are doing our best to embrace the now, the present.  We are so grateful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from Alex’s twenty first month!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty first month — Alex riding her Roadster!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty first month — Alex trying the Peloton for the first time!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty first month — Alex and Doug throwing rocks into the river together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A few iphone images from Alex’s twenty second month!

 

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty second month — Alex dancing on her hands to Redbone!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty second month — Alex feeding Victory some food!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty second month — Alex and Doug flying a kite together!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty second month — Alex running over a bridge!

Nineteen Month and Twenty Month Snapshot: Alexandra

I completed the monthly snapshots of our beloved Alex during her first year.  Here is the snapshot of Alex’s nineteenth month and twentieth month!  (You can view Alex’s thirteenth and fourteenth months here; Alex’s fifteenth and sixteenth months here; and Alex’s seventeenth and eighteenth months here).  Alex is changing all of the time and she is still growing like a weed!

How is our little girl already twenty months old!  The time continues to fly by very quickly!  I cannot believe we will have a two-year-old in short order!  This is such a sweet time, and there has been so much change in these last two months.  Alex is finally sleeping consistently throughout the night and it has really made a difference.  Since birth, Alex has not been the best sleeper at night.  Right now, her sleep is consistent and predictable, and I am honestly getting the best sleep since before she was born.  Her hair is getting longer, and she still has her lovely curls.  We can even do little pigtails now!  She is not a picky eater, and she is willing to try anything.  She is also working on getting her two-year molars.

Alex is quite outgoing, she has a sense of humor, and she is fun and adventurous!  She has the cutest laugh and giggle!  She is dancing up a storm and she loves to dance (she makes up her own dances) on the hardwood floors at home!  She loves music and she makes up her own songs, which she sings, and it is so endearing.  She still loves her bath time and she loves practicing going under water and blowing bubbles during this time!  She has even started to take a few showers with me, and she loves it!  She also is really into balls right now — she loves to throw them and play with them!  Alex is also captivated by her Daddy’s trains, shown below!  She still loves to read her books, she loves for us to read to her, and she enjoys going to the library and bookstore.  A favorite book right now, is the “I spy” books!  She loves looking at her books, and she frequently says, “What’s that?”  She is spending more time on her own reading her books and playing, which is great!  She also loves coloring.  She made the cutest Valentine for us at school and we gave the girls Valentine gifts, which they loved!  Alex loves going to school and she enjoys learning and being with her friends at school.  Alex is learning to count numbers and she is saying more words and she seems to comprehend and understand more and more each day.  Her favorite that phrase is, “What’s that?”  Alex still loves to be outside and go to the play grounds.  She is quite curious; and, she never forgets anything!

However, it has been a tough winter filled with sickness here.  Alex missed at least a week of school as she had fevers, a double ear infection, and bad cold.  It took multiple rounds of antibiotics to kick the infection.  I then got run down taking care of Alex, and I got strep, the flu, pink eye, and a bad cold all in quick succession.  Then, Doug got a bad cold.  This all happened over a six week stretch.  We just cannot wait for spring to come fast enough, and it’s almost here, technically!  Victory and Alex bonded during all of this sickness, as she is so attentive to everyone in our home.  As a result, there are not as many photos taken during this time, as I did not feel well.

Once everyone felt better, we took Alex to the train store to get a few things for Doug’s train set up.  After much work, Doug has nearly finished his train set up, a passion of his, and he can run three trains simultaneously!  And, it is so sweet, because each night, Alex asks to go up and have Doug run the trains!  The trains have never been run so much, ever!  It is so nice Doug can share his passion with Alex!  (A brief video is shown below).  Doug even got Alex a girl’s conductor’s hat, and Alex loves to conduct in only her diaper, of course!  We are working on getting Victory to come up during this train time, but she is not yet comfortable.  So, we bring Victory up during this time, only to have her leave!  So, we are working on it!  For Valentine’s Day, Doug got Alex an Ikea train, which she loves and she is pretty good putting the track together and ‘running her own train’ liker her Daddy!

We also took Alex to Port Discovery, a children’s museum, with her little friend from school.  Alex had a great time.  It is one of the neatest and most interactive places that I have been to for kids.  As you will see in the images below, there was a large slide, four stories high, and one had to be five years in order to go down the slide.  So Doug broke the rules, and they climbed up to the top together, as he knew Alex would love it.  They reached the top, and Alex sat right down on the slide; and, thankfully, the museum worker let them go down the slide even though Alex is clearly not five-years-old.  It was neat to watch them go down together!  Alex still seems to have no fear and she is pretty adventurous!  There were so many activities for the children, and Alex really enjoyed pretending to be a cashier and pressing all of the buttons on the cash register checking people out with their food!

We were finally recently able to get Alex back into swimming lessons after everyone got over being sick!  She still loves it!  Doug and I take turns going in the pool with her!  And, we now have Alex on a wait list for a gymnastics class since she is so active and loves to climb!  That should be fun as well!

We also went with Alex on a school field trip to the Maryland Science Center, where she had a wonderful time with her class!  Alex loved the Kid’s Room and she especially loved the dinosaur exhibit!  She had a great time exploring, as always!

We were fortunate to get some fun outings in, described above, before things really changed out here late last week due to the COVID-19.  We hope you are all staying safe.  It is a really crazy time, isn’t it?  We will have to be really creative to keep Alex occupied, while finding safe ways for her to burn her energy!  Most everything is cancelled out here and work schedules have been modified greatly for many people.

Alex still cuddles with me for a little bit before bed and sits with me in the glider.  She no longer falls asleep in my arms outside of her being really sick.  It is a reminder that everything is always changing and it is all so fleeting.  What I will remember from these months is how she wakes up talking to herself in her crib, and it is so captivating.  She is entertaining herself more in the mornings, which buys us a little time!  However, she loves to and prefers to play with us!  How she greets Victory in the morning with a big smile and wave, whereby Alex says, “Hi Tory!”  I always love her big smile, which melts our hearts.  Alex also loves to run up to us, and she gives us hugs on our legs, while we are standing.  It is so sweet.  And, she is always up for an outing and adventure!   She is becoming her own little person right before our very eyes!  I feel so fortunate.  It has been such as journey.  We are doing our best to embrace the now, the present.  We are so grateful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from Alex’s nineteenth month!

 

 

Here is a video from Alex’s nineteenth month — Victory being such a good ‘big sister’ to Alex!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s nineteenth month — Alex feeding Victory some treats!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s nineteenth month — Doug and Alex running the trains together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from Alex’s twentieth month!

 

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twentieth month — Alex coloring!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twentieth month — Alex at her swimming lesson!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twentieth month — Alex and Victory sitting together during a dinner together outside!