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Posts from the ‘Personal’ Category

Ten Month Snapshot: Alexandra

I cannot believe it is already time once again to do another post, Alex’s ten month blog post!  It has been a busy month, and it is not always easy to keep up with everything, but we are doing our best!  The theme this month, summed up in one word, is affection.  Alex is now giving us kisses and hugs regularly.  It is the sweetest — she crawls up on us and then stands up to get herself level with our faces and then she opens her mouth wide and then leans her lips onto our lips!  Then, she giggles and thinks it is just too funny.  She is giving us lots of hugs, too.  She can even ‘high five!’ and she can shake one’s hand as well.  She also really enjoys her story time.  As pictured below, in the evenings, Doug places her in her crib and then reads to her with Alex standing up, perched over her crib looking at the pictures.  Otherwise, if she is in our lap, when we read to her, she just wants to eat the books and grab all of the pages!  So, this has become a nightly ritual at bed time!

Alex likes her gated play area containing some of her toys, which we affectionately refer to as her ‘baby jail’ comprised of this gate and this play mat.  She loves to play with her toys, (she is really into balls right now and she is playing more with her toys instead of immediately putting the toys and everything in sight in her mouth), and she likes it even more when one of us plays with her, and she often demands one of us be with her playing!  If we are in a pinch, Victory will serve as her ‘play buddy’ in her ‘baby jail’ or in her nursery, buying us a little time to get some things done around the house.  Victory, fortunately, will cooperate!  Alex is still very aware and into Victory!  I think that Alex wishes that Victory would just sit still and literally play with her!  We are trying to teach Alex, as much as we can, to be gentle with her fur sister, Victory.  Hopefully, when Alex can understand more, she will be able to be a little more gentle with Victory.  Victory is not too keen on Alex ‘charging’ her, even though Alex means well.  Alex is currently learning what ‘no’ means.  Victory has been incredibly tolerant with Alex, which we are very thankful.  Alex is still growing like a weed and she was literally off the charts with her size when she was at her nine-month doctor’s appointment.  She is healthy, thankfully, and she is doing really well.  She had two more teeth crack through her gums this month, with more on the imminent way.   Alex is crawling all over and she really likes to and prefers to be standing vertical.  She is curious and loves to get into everything in sight!  She is balancing herself on her own more and for longer periods; and, just before Mother’s Day, Alex took her first step just before plopping down!  She literally seems to be moving right along.

Also, during this month, we celebrated our first Easter together, and it was fun.  Alex also had her first Easter Egg Hunt at her play school, which was fun, too — we helped her of course!  Both Alex and Victory got their own Easter baskets on Easter morning and they seemed to enjoy their Easter morning together!  We also just celebrated our first Mother’s Day as a family of four, which was really special!  Doug and I had a date night this month, which was nice.  We aim for one date night a month right now, if we are lucky!  Also, this month, Doug and I somehow finished getting our gardening and decks ready for the spring and summer months; and Alex and Victory are enjoy going out on the deck together overlooking their neighborhood!  Doug is also currently finishing some more baby proofing, which seems to never end!

We are looking forward to enjoying our spring and summer with Alex and Victory!  We cannot believe Alex turns one so soon!  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 tenth month include:

-she took her first step this month, which was exciting!

-she is standing and balancing herself more each day!

-she still loves crawling and getting into everything in sight!

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

-she loves being with her fur sister, Victory, and loves when Victory joins her for a meal, while Alex eats in her high chair.  Alex creates lots of ‘droppings’ that Victory helps herself to!

-she is making lots of different sounds and she is getting louder with her sounds!  She still likes to laugh and giggle, too!

-she is very ticklish and she lets out the cutest giggles as a result!

-she still loves going for stroller rides outside!

-she loves her bed time routine and Doug usually plays with her, gets her ready for bed, and reads a few stories, which Alex loves!

-she likes bath time more and loves to splash in the water and play with her toys in the water!

-she is eating well and cheese was introduced this month, and she absolutely loves it, along with Victory, of course!

-she is still very alert, curious, 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 taking her first step!

-remembering her sweet kisses and hugs!

-remembering her giving us some ‘high fives!’

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

-remembering how Alex likes to close her bedroom door continuously.

-remembering how Alex loves to crawl all over us, like we are her ‘human jungle gym.’

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

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

-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 grab/pet Victory’s fur!

-greeting Alex in her nursery each morning, as she is ready to start her day early no matter whether it is a week day or morning!

-loving how she smells after her baths!

-loving how her hair is so fluffy and soft against my skin!  It keeps growing and growing and she is getting a little bit of wave in her hair in the back!  It will be neat if she gets some curls, but we will have to see.

-loving on her long, velvety and smooth body!

-loving her giggles!

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

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

-loving her long and lovely dark eye lashes!

-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.  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 tenth 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; her eighth month snapshot here; and her ninth month post here.

(The monthly photos are still tricky; Alex is in her laundry basket again this month because she kept crawling away.  I just have to find a way to capture Alex and Victory for a couple more months in order to make it to a year, chronicling this special year via this photo series!)

This month I have also been working hard on further revisions on my long-term photography project with my mentor in between everything; and it is 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 images immediately shown below capture our first Mother’s Day together).

 

 

 

Thoughts: Mother’s Day

 

I cannot believe Mother’s Day is already upon us.  All mothers and mother figures deserve to be celebrated on Sunday.  Mothers that have been blessed with babies; mothers who’s babies left too soon; mothers who are waiting to meet their special baby; mothers who are yearning to become a mom; fur moms; and those who are mother figures.  We need all types of mothers to help us through this life.  The journey towards motherhood is not always freshly paved.  The path towards parenthood, for us, was filed with unexpected twists and turns, which made for a long and complicated journey.  There were previous Mother’s Days where our hearts ached after experiencing loss.  As a result, we are so very grateful for Alex and Victory and for this season together.  This is our first Mother’s Day as a family of four and my heart will never be the same.  I feel so thankful that I have the privilege of being a mom, which I never take for granted.  So wherever you are in your journey, you are worthy of every celebration held in your honor.  Happy Mother’s Day, to every type of mamma out there!

“In all the world, there is  no heart for me like yours.  In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.” — Maya Angelou

Favorite Podcasts

I love to listen to podcasts, when I have time, which feels few and far between these days!  I often listen to podcasts when I am out on walks with Alex and Victory or during the evenings when the house is quiet and I am able to work on trying to keep up with the editing our family photos!  It is a nice break to listen to something interesting, for sure!

Below are some favorite podcasts I am enjoying, which all can be found on your phone podcast app.

 

 

Family Secrets Podcast: When Dani Shapiro accidentally stumbled upon a massive secret that had been kept from her all her life, she dove into discovering everything she could about how that secret had shaped her reality and her destiny.  Then she started talking with other people about their family secrets.  Dani and her guests explore the power of family secrets and the ways in which discovering – and revealing – the truth can liberate us.  (I absolutely loved Inheritance, by Dani Shapiro, the memoir this podcast is derived from).

The goop Podcast: Gwyneth Paltrow and goop’s Chief Content Officer, Elise Loehnen, chat with leading thinkers, culture changers, and industry disruptors—from doctors to creatives, CEOs to spiritual healers—about shifting old paradigms and starting new conversations.  There are so many wonderful and insightful interviews on this podcast!

The Lively Show: The Lively show is hosted by Jess Lively and this is a weekly podcast designed to uplift, inspire and add a little extra presence to your everyday.  This show covers areas such as blogging; business; career; design; food; money; and motherhood.  There is also a YouTube spin-off of the Lively Show here.

Cultivate Your Life Podcast: Whether you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or in need of some refreshing truth, each week Lara Casey will brings practical tips, starting steps, and good news about how to grow what matters in your life—right where you are.

Against the Rules Michael Lewis: Journalist and bestselling author Michael Lewis takes a searing look at what’s happened to fairness—in financial markets, newsrooms, basketball games, courts of law, and much more.  There are fascinating stories on this podcast.

Ted Talks Daily Podcast: This podcast discusses thought-provoking ideas on every subject imaginable — from Artificial Intelligence to Zoology, and everything in between — given by the world’s leading thinkers and doers.  These talks on this podcast are very interesting.

Happy Monday!

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 her 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 . . .

 

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).

 

 

 

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.”

Family: Integrating Your Furry Family Member

So Victory’s life (as well as ours) got turned upside down when Baby Alex entered our lives.  We knew everything would change, but we really did not know what that change would feel like until Alex got here.  We are now starting to get the hang of things, even though Alex is constantly changing.  Doug and I always were aware and wanted to be sure that Victory was not left out, as she is a family member, and she was here before Alex.  So, we have done our very best to keep Victory involved and included, like she always has been for the five years she has been with us since rescuing her prior to Alex.  We wanted to be sure Victory felt like her place was still her place, if that makes sense.  What has worked for Victory during this life transition is always keeping Victory included and involved in our daily living; not making too many changes with her routine; making time for just Victory without Alex; and loving her as always.

I think Victory knows she is included, even though things have changed for everyone.  Victory now crosses the bridge in our neighborhood when we go on walks with Alex; prior, Victory refused and we carried her over the bridge each day, for our walks, for the past five years, so we think Victory wants to be included and not left out whatsoever!  (In the past, we hired trainers that came to the house, and nothing worked to get Victory to go over the bridge using her own legs except for Alex!)  Victory still always loves to be in the photos, which is great, and we always give her the choice to stay for photos!  She has adapted well, and she is very tolerant of Alex, thankfully!  As shown in the image below, Alex is getting to know her sister well, even picking up her front paw!  Normally, Victory would not allow another person outside of Doug and I to do that, so we consider this progress, as Victory knows how she likes things and she can be very particular at times!  (For example, each time it snows, Doug has to dig out a potty pad for Victory so she will go potty; otherwise, we will walk around for what seems like forever, as she does not want her body to hit the snow during potty — who can blame her, right!)

Victory has even learned the word “sister” and she knows that Alex is her sister and she will go running to her when we tell her to go see her sister!  Alex lights up, smiles, and chuckles each time she sees Victory whether that be when she spots Victory from her high chair or when Victory enters her nursery, etc.!  As a daily ritual, Alex loves to give and Victory loves taking little treats from Alex whether that be from the palm of her hand or from her tummy!  We really are looking forward to the spring and summer for some outings and adventures together, as the weather here has not been conducive for taking the two of them out together this winter; and spring, fortunately, is only about a month away, thank goodness!  So, we feel really fortunate and we are delighted that our cherubs love each other, Victory appears to be integrated with everyone in our family, and it will be fun to witness their relationship continue to develop!  Who knows, at some point, when Alex is in a toddler bed, Victory might even want to sleep with her some day!