Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas, everyone!
What a week it has been! We have had such a great Christmas season, filled with family, great food, new traditions, a really excited one year old, TONS of presents, and two very blessed parents.
We spent last weekend with my family in Dallas. I have a rather large family on my mom's side and we always have fun getting together on the Saturday before Christmas. We had a surprise party for my aunt, went to see Avatar, battled the Grapevine Mills mall and lost, played a precarious game of Wahoo!, visited my dad, step-mom, cousin, and granny, drank lots of coffee, and mostly just hung out. It was quite laid back and fabulous.
I spent Christmas Eve at the store tending to the last-minute customers (read: men) and even braved the grocery store to pick up a few last minute things (p.s. the store sales for December have almost DOUBLED last year. Are you kidding me? We are so blessed).
We planned to go to Christmas Eve service with Tom and Beth but the roads were a bit too icy for Dan's liking, not to mention all the services in town were cancelled because of the weather, so I made a veggie pizza and we wrapped presents and watched bull-riding. Not a tradition I plan to keep next year, but being together just the three of us was a fun treat.
Christmas morning we woke up and opened presents, let miss priss take her nap, then headed off to Nana and Papa's house for awesome food and presents o'plenty. It was such a great day and so fun to watch Grace get excited about the littlest things. I know she didn't understand everything, but she helped open most of her gifts and loved the tissue paper.
Here is our week in pictures:
Playing at Mimi's family Christmas

After she opened all of these, we found another 10 presents under the tree with her name on them. Round two of gifts came after her second nap.
Among her favorite gifts: an Elmo plane. The propellers in the front really spin! Thanks Aunt Kimmie!

Our yearly tradition. Dan and I sit on the couch whilst being surrounded by our gifts. We go around one by one and open presents for about three or four hours. I'm not joking. This year it only took us two because we had a short window while Grace was sleeping. Favorite gifts: a MASSIVE necklace with pearl beads, hand painted ornament, and checkered coat. The loot. How are we supposed to teach Grace the true meaning of Christmas when this is what we bring home? Only three boxes worth this year. Beth "did not go overboard." You be the judge.
Our favorite present of all
Nana and Gracie girl

Surveying the loot.

What is this cold, wet stuff on my hand?

Her new chair with matching ottoman. What every one year old needs.

She had such a happy day. Merry Christmas, sweet pumpkin.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thirteen months

Thirteen months! Wowza... Here is what you are up to these days, little Miss...

You love to open and close everything; drawers, doors, and shutters are a few of your favorites.

You have six teeth- four on top and two on bottom. You are so cute and look just like a reverse bugs bunny. You got all four teeth on top within two weeks of each other. It was neat.

You are quite into sharing everything. We have to taste your food, hold your toys, then promptly give them back.

You are completely finished with bottles. And we are down to nursing twice a day.

You are walking everywhere. After PDO I have been letting you walk beside me on the sidewalk to the car. It takes us about ten minutes because you have to stop and wave and smile at everyone.

You say "uh-oh" and "uh-uh-oh" after everything. It is my most favorite thing you do right now. You also say baby and "doy-doy-doy" and "eeeeehhhh!!!" Instead of bye you say dye-dye-dye and wave your hand out in front of you instead of to the side. So close to avocado...

Elmo is your favorite toy and nobody better get in your way when you are watching Sesame Street. When the theme music comes on, you grin from ear to ear and start dancing. I am a bad mom and let you stand right in front of the t.v. to watch it.

You still take two long naps a day and they are my sanity. I love you, but mama gets very little done without those naps.
You say "mmmm" after you take a bite of something and raise your eyebrows.
You are becoming such a daddy's girl. You would sit in his lap all night and watch Sesame Street if I would let you!

You absolutely love books! You have three that are your favorite right now and you "read" them all the time. Your favorite book has a picture of a baby and when I tell you to find the baby you keep looking until you find the page and then look up and smile at me. You little genius.

You have the sweetest smile and it melts my heart to listen to you and your daddy make each other laugh.
Little snow bunny
Tami bought you a baby for your birthday and you can't get enough of it! You put it in your stroller and push her around and when I tell you to give her kisses you open your mouth and slobber all over her.
Talking with Daddy when he came home from his trip. You absolutely lit up when he walked in the door.

You keep life from being boring, sweet girl. We can't wait for the next thirteen months!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A little friendly competition

I'm competitive by nature. It's in my blood.
So I should not have been surprised when the compare and contrast "mommy competition game" landed on my front doorstep about, oh, two days after Grace was born. You know exactly what I'm talking about.

"Johnny is walking and talking and the Dr. said he is the brightest kid he's ever laid eyes on, and I don't want to brag, but really he is...blah, blah, blah."
"Oh really? That's wonderful. Jenny is only three months, but already she's eating steak and potatoes and speaking in full sentences, Italian and French, and I've just about got her potty-trained."

I used to hear conversations like this (well okay, maybe not exactly like this) and think to myself, I will not be one of those moms! But I seem to find myself more and more, especially lately, caught up in the mommy competition.

An acquaintance was going on and on (and on and on) about her little girl and all the new words she was learning, sounds she was making, steps she was taking, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah...
The conversation went something like this.
Me, outloud: "Oh really, that's wonderful!"
In my head: "Grace is in the 97th percentile for height. Ha."
Me, outloud: "Wow! Impressive little girl!"'
In my head: "Grace is awesome. Your child is sub-awesome. She will never reach Grace's full awesome potential."

I couldn't believe what was going on in my mind. Why couldn't I just smile and nod my head? Why did I feel the need to justify my child (to myself, mind you) and throw her poor little girl into my comparison death trap? Competitive, I am, but mental cruelty towards a child (and her insanely annoying mother), well quite honestly, it's just not my style.

Really this all started several weeks ago when I ran into some friends at United who have a little girl about two months older than Grace. L said to A, "Say avocado," and I thought "What the hey?" and then there A goes, "a-ba-ca-do!"
I froze for a second thinking, "Grace, chin up! Sit up straight, and for Pete's sake, quit chewing on my purse and drooling! Oh heavens, why did I put the brown bow on you? You look so much cuter in pink...Say da-da! Say ma-ma! Say anything!!!"
Crickets chirping...
The rest of the United trip I tried to persuade Grace to say "avocado," but to no avail.

This episode, and a few others much like it, have left me wondering where and if I've gone wrong with Grace.
You see, when it was all about comparing percentiles and baby pictures and milestones, we were ahead of the pack, if not right there in the middle of everyone. But as she's gotten older, the comparisons are more about measuring development, language, and personality. And while my child is absolutely adorable and has a very funny personality, she is not exactly saying "avocado" in the produce aisle, if you catch my drift. She's just not ahead when it comes to the language game. A few words and her new French is all we're working with here.
And then I worry that it's because I wouldn't fork over the $200 bucks for your baby can read dvd's. Should I have made flash cards instead of letting her watch Sesame Street? Do I not read enough books to her? Should I actually use the Science Spectrum membership I bought a month ago?

I don't want to be that mom. I want so much to be gracious and caring and to really listen to what I'm hearing, not just wait for my turn to talk about how great my baby is.
With most friends, I can do this. I can listen or read about what is going on with their baby and be excited and compare in the most genuine sense of the word with no worries or competition behind it.
It's the strangers I seem to have trouble with...

The sane, logical, realistic side of my brain tells me not to compare. Grace's development is right on track. What works for us doesn't work for everyone else. Babies develop at such different stages and each child's brain is unique and need not be compared. Don't start this competitive thing so early. There are bigger problems in the world to worry about. It's okay to know in your mind how great your baby girl is and not share that information with anyone who has an ear to listen...

The crazy, insane, unrealistic, (much larger) side of my brain tells me that I should spend $200 on the your baby can read dvd's and then maybe she'd be saying avocado and impressing the pants off of everyone she meets.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who has fallen prey to the proverbial mommy comparison trap...

Saturday, December 5, 2009


So I'm a little late posting Grace's first Halloween Pictures. It completely slipped my mind until I looked in a folder last night and saw all of her bumblebee pics. So, a month or so later, enjoy our Queen Bee.

My sweetest friend Kristen and her baby girl Evyn. Evyn went as a preacher's daughter. Notice the mini skirt and baby high heels! I love that little pumpkin!

At the last minute, I grabbed a couple of cheesey pirate costumes from the store. Dan and I aren't huge Tech fans (we don't dislike them, we just didn't go to Tech) and were unaware that we looked like we just came from the game. People kept asking us how the game was and we didn't figure out what they were talking about until halfway through the night.
The Queen Bee
Nana and Papa met us up at the church's Fall Festival.

We went to eat with Kyle, Wendy, and Brooke after the festival. Grace LOVES Brooke and thinks she is just about the coolest thing walking. She kept leaning in to give her kisses.
Look at that sweet smile! I remember when Brooke was Grace's age. Time flies. Maybe one day Grace will have enough hair to put in a side ponytail!
Well, Happy almost Christmas and a late Halloween. Somewhere around January, I am sure I will get together Thanksgiving pictures...

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Dan and I spent the weekend after Thanksgiving in Scottsdale, Arizona celebrating our seven year anniversary and first trip away from the pumpkin. We took a total of four pictures...

To be honest, I have no superb highlight reel to show you... We mostly just relaxed and hung out. Our view was awesome and if it weren't for the golf course and mountain in the background, it could have passed for a place in Mexico. We ate at some great restaurants, got an awesome couples massage, took naps, went to bed early, woke up late, won and then lost $20 bucks at a casino, and did some shopping. Dan thought he was in heaven when he found a mac store and was able to set up an appointment for them to help him with his computer. And I thought I was in heaven when I shopped at Anthropologie after finishing lunch at Chessecake Factory. It's the little things.

What a great weekend. I learned three things while we were gone:
1. I have severely underestimated the restorative power of uninterrrupted smooching and four nights of uninterrupted sleep
2. It is possible to actually watch your hind end get larger if you eat with no abandon
3. I had no idea how much we would miss this pumpkin as much as we did.

I only had one meltdown. Luckily, we were able to fly back a little earlier than we planned on Tuesday and spent the rest of Tuesday night playing with the princess. I wish I could have captured her face when she saw us. It was absolutely priceless.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

one year pictures

Alisa took Grace's one year pictures last Wednesday on her birthday in Tom and Beth's backyard. We had a blast- she absolutely loves the camera. Here are our top 25 or so favorites... Alisa, you are something else.

And now for the Rainman portion of the program...

Alisa, this one is for you. My sweet goat girl, doing her goat-y thing.

What a fun, special day. Way to grow, Gracie girl.