Saturday, January 28, 2012

9 months old.

Oh Ellie. You are getting to be such a big girl!! At night Daddy sometimes says, "I love you so much, and I'll love you even more tomorrow!" Somehow it doesn't seem possible, but every day we do.

In your 9th month of life you accomplished many things. You........

-grew a 5th tooth! A 6th one is peeking out now as well.

-learned how to sit back on your bottom from lying on your tummy. Now when I come to get you after a nap, you are usually sitting up smiling and waiting for me.

-started pulling up to standing. First in your crib, then in the tub one night, then anywhere your little starfish hands could reach!

-became a real crawler.

-started having baths in the tub instead of the kitchen sink.

-started to reach for the pages of your Touch and Feel books on your own (favs: That's not My Bunny, If I were a Giraffe, and Usborne Touchy-feely Penguins)
-favorite toys: blocks - but this time knocking over towers, the plastic popper from our neighbors Bob + Julie, your new stacking cups, toy soldier rattle, and anything that crackles.
-emerging skills include waving bye-bye and giving kisses.

-at the very end of the month, on 1/24/12, you were diagnosed with your first ear infection, and began your first-ever course of antibiotics :(
- and the big one - bigger even than pulling up and crawling - you look at daddy every morning and say, "Da-Da"!!!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pinning Away

Like most people I know, I have been trying to make some of the things I pin on Pinterest. I saw that Audrey had pinned this gorgeous scarf sometime this fall.

Not wanting her to know I was being sneaky, I didn't pin it on any of my boards, but followed the link to the pattern and got a-knitting. I couldn't start it until I was finished with Ellie's stocking, so on Christmas Day she opened a two-thirds finished scarf still on the needles, but she didn't mind! I finally finished it last week and gave it to her this weekend.

My friends and I made these ornaments with our daughters on Dec 22nd. I have no idea how the Pinterest one looks so good - after we all tried with our under-one-year-old babies we figured it must be fake. Oh well - it's the sentiment that counts!

Ellie is not a baby that wears many headbands. I don't particularly care for the giant, larger-than-the-child's-noggin bows that some moms put on their babies. But these little flowers are too cute!! They make lovely adult headbands as well. Audrey and I like ours more than Ellie likes hers.

This weekend I started on this knitted herringbone cowl. It's VERY long and I got bored after I cast on 165 of the 220 stitches, so mine will not be as long as the one pictured, but it will still work. I also started with some random yarn I had lying around, but I don't have the heart to take apart what I've done thus far, so, if I ever finish it, it will be cheap acrylic aqua yarn, not the deliciously soft ecru alpaca the pattern uses.

Now for the big finish! Audrey loaned me one of her sewing machines so that I might have an easier time making little dresses, etc for Ellie. Can you believe this is her spare machine?!? (Aud has some wicked sewing/quilting skills.)

The one I had been using belonged to my Grams and, judging from the user manual, was purchased circa 1971.

Once I had the bobbin correctly threaded (which took MUCH longer than it should have), the whole dress only took about thirty minutes to make! Then I quickly made some fabric-covered buttons and learned how to make button holes. Here's the finished dress - I hope it doesn't look too 'home sewn'!

The best part about this particular project for me was the vivid memories it brought back of my mom. She sewed all of my Easter dresses until I was ten or so, and even made me a dress for Winter Formal one year in high school. The sound of fabric shears, the humming of the machine - I could see her sitting at her little sewing table making pillows or curtains or a table runner for the dining room - and thought of how happy she would be that I am trying to do the same for Ellie.

What's up next? I might try sewing this travel chair or making these penguins.

OMG!  I <3 penguins!!
all non-personal images via Pinterest

Monday, January 16, 2012

Photo of the Day

Helping mom with the laundry, rockin' a new pair of jeggings.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

8 months

Ellie turned eight months old on Christmas Day. Despite all the other things going on around the house, I actually remembered to take her monthly picture!

Keeping her in the chair long enough to take a few pictures has become quite a chore, so I'm really glad Pete was able to be in the room with me or these might not have happened. I really think Ellie's going to be one of those girls who wants to go skydiving on her 18th birthday - she loves to try to jump/roll/dive off the edge of any raised thing.

Month 8 was HUGE development-wise! Every day we are amazed at the things this girl is doing, she makes every day things funny and enjoyable. Ellie can get pretty much anywhere she wants by crawling now. After Thanksgiving, when we arrived home from Pennsylvania we let Ellie stay up a little later than usual because she'd been in her car seat for ten-and-a-half hours. I was sitting on the basement floor and got her to scoot towards me, but it was pretty slow. By the end of the week she had made serious progress with her speed and coordination. Her tummy is still on the floor, so it is more of an army crawl, but she can move pretty fast when she wants to - as you can see here:

We could see her upper two front teeth for a few weeks before they broke through her gums - but they did just at the end of the month, on Christmas Eve day: two big, chicklet-sized incisors.

Last month Ellie started making this fantastic, nose-wrinkling, giant grin. We love it when she is happy enough to give it to us - I was happy that she showed it to Carl and Estelle when they were visiting. Ellie's favorite toy this month was her big box of blocks. She loves to dump them out and pound on the empty box, or bang two blocks together.

Ellie's babbling has gone from canonical /bæbæbæ/ or /dædædæ/ to variegated /deɪdægəgə/. She wakes up from naps and starts babbling instead of crying and is still a chatterbox in the morning when she wakes. She is generally a very happy, very content baby and she makes every day brighter!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Sad but Necessary Thing

On October 6, 2005 we adopted our black lab Hannah from the Kentucky Lab Rescue. On January 7, 2012, we surrendered her to their care again as she is no longer allowed to live with us. It was one of the hardest things Pete and I have ever done, but it was the adult thing to do, and we are confident in our decision.

Remember the three antibiotics Pete was on around Christmas? How I said they were not for his throat? They were for a dog bite. From Hannah.

Christmas Eve day, about 10 minutes before Audrey and Andrew were to arrive for the evening, some friends of our dropped by to wish us a Merry Christmas. (Hannah has always had very bad behavior at the door. When she would see the UPS truck drive down the street - even if it didn't stop at our house - she would race to the door and bark like crazy. We put a basket on our front door for the mail because she would snatch the mail out of the delivery person's hand as it was placed through our slot. Our work with Barkbusters was not helpful in this regard - Hannah was really good at ignoring commands.) So our friends dropped by and knocked at the door and Hannah went berserk jumping and barking. I was in the kitchen and Pete was in the basement. Thankfully, Ellie was upstairs napping. Pete ran upstairs to herd Hannah into the basement. He tried to grab her collar and suddenly I hear the most horrible scream ever and there's blood on the floor and Pete has grabbed his arm and is headed for the dining room to sit down.

I got the dogs in the basement and let our friends inside. It only took one look at Pete's wrist to know that he needed stitches. So I got out our gauze and medical tape, wrapped him up, and our friends took Pete to the ER while I stayed home with Ellie and waited for Audrey and Andrew to arrive.

Three hours later Pete arrives home with two stitches in his wrist and directions to clean and change the wound twice daily, and take a giant horse-pill sized antibiotic twice daily. He also was instructed not to do any heaving lifting, including Ellie, and not to get it wet - so he couldn't help with Ellie's baths - for 10 days. Luckily, the bite missed an artery and tendons. (Those of you with keen eyes might have noticed his bandaged arm in some of our holiday pictures.) He also tells us that the Health Department is going to visit our house to check Hannah, a standard procedure following all dog bites.

Thus began our Christmas weekend. Monday after Christmas we got a notice from the Health Department saying that Hannah was quarantined for a week. After the week we had to show them proof of her rabies vaccine and we were free to do with her as we pleased. Tuesday after Christmas Pete went back to work and was in Louisville seeing some accounts when he decided that his arm looked red and swollen enough that he should call the doctor. Monday night I had marked him with a red pen so we could see if the redness was moving up his arm. Good thing he went to the doctor - he had cellulitis, got a shot of a different antibiotic (in the bum!), and a prescription for a third antibiotic to be taken for two more weeks. The doctor put a second, different colored pen line on his arm at his appointment so we could track the redness once Pete had started this second course of medications.

Luckily, the new antibiotics seemed to do the trick - the redness and swelling were dramatically reduced. I don't think either of us realized how swollen it was until it returned to its original state.

Now Hannah. We knew before Pete even left for the ER that we would have to get rid of her. We cannot have a dog that bites in our house. It is as simple as that. Ellie is more mobile by the day and the chance of her getting bitten or one of us getting bitten again, in a more severe way, is too great. Once we had the all clear from the Health Department we called the Kentucky Lab Rescue to set up a time to drop off Hannah. The woman told us Saturday at 9:00AM. Pete spent a good amount of time on the phone with her, telling her Hannah's history and assuring her that she would be a good pet for an adult-only household. We asked if we could bring her things with us so that she wouldn't be too scared - her bed, collar, food bowl, etc. - and the woman thought that was a great idea. By the end of the phone call Pete and I were both in tears. Hannah did a bad thing but she is not a bad dog. Unfortunately, biting is a non-negotiable issue for us.

Saturday morning Pete and I were somber as we loaded up in the car. I brought a box tissues with us. Hannah loves a good car ride - especially when she gets to sit in the front seat - so she was as happy as could be. Once she had her fill of her head hanging out the window, she curled up in a tight ball on the seat. Our Hannah Pooch. When we arrived I had a mini-breakdown. All these gorgeous dogs - yellow and black labs, retrievers, mutts - I'm the one who wants to adopt ALL the dogs, not give one back!! Hannah was excited to see all the other dogs and eager to play with them. I think she thought we were at the dog park. Michelle, the woman we spoke to on the phone, arrived shortly after us and was as nice and understanding as she could be. She took Hannah's records, and information we had typed out about her, along with her other things, and put them inside. She then suggested that she take Hannah for a walk up the street to their new 1-acre play area so she wouldn't see us driving away. I think the walk was more for us than Han, but we agreed and they set off on a walk. We got back in the car, cried a little more, and drove home.

It has been very quiet in our house these past three days. Not seeing Hannah's face at the bottom of the stairs when I come down in the morning will take some getting used to, but we made the right decision. We know we did.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

My Missoni Babe

It is finally cold enough for Ellie to wear her Missoni for Target unionsuit. LOVE IT!!!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Christmas 2011 - a week we won't soon forget.

I had written one giant blog with tons of pictures and too many words when I decided I should edit them down a bit, and separate it into three blogs. So here you go!

So Many Visitors!

Lessons and Carols

Christmas Day

So many visitors!

Ellie was lucky enough to have her Grandpa Crawford and Estelle visit the 19th through the 22nd.

Pete worked really hard and late the week before they arrived so that he could spend most of the afternoons home with us.

Ellie got to make gingerbread cookies for the first time - an annual tradition for me and Pete!

We opened presents under the tree with them Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday after Carl and Estelle left, I hosted a cookie exchange. However, in all the excitement, I failed to take a single picture. Suffice it to say that we had a great time! There were five mommies and five baby girls all together and we finished off the afternoon by making hand print ornaments we had seen on Pinterest. Then it was time for all the darling babies to whisked off to their homes for their afternoon naps.

Pete got home from Dayton Thursday evening and mentioned that he had a scratchy throat (note the foreshadowing).

Friday Matt and Jen came by while they were in town/on their way to Jen's parents. Again, we opened presents under the tree. By 'we' I, of course, mean Ellie.

Then we all went to an early dinner at Pazzo's, where Ellie tasted her first-ever cheesy bread!

It was love at first bite! (why yes, that is a cutie nutcracker-bapron)

Lessons and Carols

Christmas Eve day was spent baking, cooking, and prepping for Audrey and Andrew to arrive for the night. We noshed on heavy hors d'oeuvre before going to the lessons and carols service at our church.

The service didn't start until 7:30pm, which is already half-an-hour past Ellie's bedtime, but she did pretty well. Pete only had to walk to the back of the sanctuary with her once, but never had to leave. I sang in the choir and was a little sad not to be sitting with my family on Ellie's first Christmas, but had a very small solo in one of our anthems - What is this Lovely Fragrance - and I thought Ellie (and Pete and Audrey and Andrew) would like the surprise of seeing my name in the bulletin.

Singing all the carols and anthems I've sung all my life took on an entirely different meaning this year because it was my first time to know what it is like to look down on my own sleeping babe and feel that life is perfect. I got a little teary-eyed when the women of the choir sang Still, Still, Still. The second verse of "sleep, sleep, sleep, he lies in slumber deep...." gets me every time! If you're not familiar with this lovely German carol, here's a link to the Vienna Boys Choir singing it on You Tube:

At the end of the service, once the Christ candle had been passed to light all the little hand held candles in the sanctuary we sang Silent Night (pretty standard fare for any lessons and carols service). Thank goodness this was a congregational hymn that we sang while seated (so I was hidden in the choir loft). By the time we got to the third verse with the "loves pure light" part I was crying the big, ugly tears. The combination of being a mother, but no longer having my mother, and having Audrey and Andrew with us, but being far away from my brothers, and Pete not feeling well was just too much for me! I was happy and sad and completely overwhelmed. Then before I knew it it was time to stand up and sing Joy to the World and blow out the candles and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I was so anxious to get out of that choir loft and squeeze my little girl. She really is the only present we needed.