Friday, December 30, 2011

Audrey - 12 months


You are one year (and 2 days) old my sweet girl, and my-oh-my, what a year it has been! But before we think back on the whole year, let’s talk about this past month. You have made great strides in the last month, and you walk everywhere now! It amazes me how quickly it happened. When I wrote your last letter, you were taking 7 or 8 wobbly steps consecutively, but you still preferred to crawl. Now, you walk (or run!) everywhere, and with such confidence! Everywhere you go you have to be holding something in both hands too. Most of the time, it's your socks. It amazes me how much you love to play with socks and shoes since you hate to have them on your feet!

You are such a smart little peanut! When asked, you correctly point to your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hair, fingers, toes and belly button! You love your belly button! You even love to find Mommy and Daddy's belly buttons. When you point to your mouth, we ask you what's inside and you stick out your tongue too!

You are definitely not a baby anymore. You communicate with us more and more every day, and you KNOW what you want! You correctly sign "milk" and shake your head "yes" and "no." If you want milk or your diaper changed, you go right to the stairs (and start to climb if we forgot to close the gate.) Your vocabulary includes "hi," "mama," "dada," book," "bye bye," "up," and "baby." Baby sounds more like "baba" but "hi" and "bye bye" also include a little wave. You even put two words together and say "Hi, Dada!"

You love when we sing the ABC's or the Itsy Bitsy Spider and you do the cutest like bouncing dance to it. You've even started "singing" with us.

You are holding strong at 8 teeth. The 9th one is just under the gums and Mommy has been expecting it to pop through for the last month. Hopefully it comes through soon, because it really seems to be bothering you. We've been brushing your teeth at bath time and you love it. Santa brought you a new big girl toothbrush, and you even like to brush them yourself now!

Sleeping has improved this month. One night you slept from 8pm to 6:30am! I wish that would happen more often, but you have been giving us 8 hour stretches for the most part. When we get to 4am, you don't want to go back to sleep, but we'll tackle one thing at a time. We have a good bedtime routine and you go down for Daddy easily, and you take a good 2-3 hour nap in the middle of the day.

You are starting to wean yourself, and only nurse at 4am, nap time and bedtime now. When you do nurse it's only for about 10 minutes too. You love food and eat like such a good girl. Breakfast is usually cheerios, yogurt, oatmeal and blueberries or toast. You LOVE yogurt! Lunch and dinner are usually whatever we're eating. There's not much you don't like, with the exception of potatoes, which Mommy can't even believe! (How can you be my daughter if you don't like potatoes?!) You like to feed yourself, but you haven't quite mastered the spoon yet. We started giving you a little bit of whole milk with dinner last week and you LOVED it! Unfortunately, you didn't sleep very well those few nights and we think you had an upset stomach. Your doctor suggested we start with 1% and work our way up to get your belly used to it.

This month included a lot of Christmas activities. We decorated the tree, decorated the house and made Christmas cookies. You loved all the decorations! Your first Christmas was a three day event that left you (and Mommy!) exhausted, but we all had so much fun watching you. Mommy especially enjoyed experiencing Christmas through your eyes. It was magical and filled Mommy's heart with so much joy!

You have so many new toys now that you don't know what to go to first! You really love your tea set from Auntie, your cell phone from Mommy & Daddy, and your Fisher Price Learning Home from Grammy and Grampy though. You also have 5 or 6 new baby dolls to hug and kiss and cuddle. Not to mention that there's not room for any more books on your bookshelf, you have so many now!

At your 12 month well baby visit, you measured 30 inches long and weighed in at 23 pounds, 5 ounces! You are now in the 80% percentile for height and the 90% percentile for weight! (You had a new nurse this time and Mommy didn't think she measured you carefully enough, so I think you might actually be a little bit taller.) You had 3 shots, which you weren't happy about, but otherwise the visit went well. The doctor seemed impressed at how advanced you are cognitively and physically, not to mention you gave her a great big hug! I was not surprised. Mommy knows what a smart little girl you are already!

At 5pm on the night of your birthday, Mommy had a good cry. Exactly one year ago, the doctor had put you on Mommy's chest and I held you for the first time. In that moment, it all felt surreal. I couldn't believe you were mine. Now, looking back, I get so emotional. I never could have imagined in that moment how much love and joy you would bring into my life. I can't even come close to describing it in words. You filled a part of my heart I never knew was there, my sweet girl. I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to be a mother, but particularly, to be your mother. You teach me more than I try to teach you and you love me more than I try to love you.

Watching you grow this past year has been the most wonderful, awe-inspiring experience of my life, and Mommy feels so blessed to have had this time at home with you. Daddy and I look forward to watching you continue to grow, learn and explore the world around you. You are a sweet, adventurous, expressive little girl and I hope you never lose those qualities.

I love you to the moon and back my sweet, sweet girl!
Love Always,

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Since I shared some of our Christmas card outtakes, I thought I'd share our actual Christmas card too. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Card Outtakes

I'm sure you've all seen the photo on Pinterest that was the inspiration for my Christmas cards this year. It was not quite as easy to capture as I wanted it to be! I did get a couple nice photos and our Christmas card is so cute, but today I thought I'd share a few of the outtakes.

"We're inside, Mama! I don't want to wear a hat!"

And when I did manage to get her to keep the hat on,
the lights went in her mouth and she decided to get
in some crazy position!

After only about 5 minutes she was much more interested in looking out the window than anything I was doing to try and get her to smile at me!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Audrey - 11 months


At 11 months old, you are a force to be reckoned with! You are walking more and more every day. If you want to get somewhere quickly, you still crawl, but you are more sure on your feet and confident every day and it makes Mommy so proud. We jokingly call you "the mischief maker" because you're into everything, but you are just curious and investigating.

You were a little pink owl for your first Halloween! We didn't take you out Trick-or-Treating officially, but we did go to a few family members' houses to show off your costume. You were so incredibly adorable and Mommy was really proud of her first real sewing project.

Even though you were born in a snow storm, you experienced your first October snow storm and built a snowman with Mommy & Daddy! You hated the snowsuit and pretty much everything about being outside in the snow. Hopefully, that will change once you get used to it!

We tried finger painting this month, but you weren't really all that into it. Mommy had to put you hand in the paint and then onto the paper. You were more interested in squishing the paint between your fingers, but you had fun so that's all that matters!

Mommy didn't get any pictures of your first Thanksgiving, but you loved your turkey dinner! We spent lots of time visiting with family, especially Auntie, Uncle Ryan and Blake. Blake was baptized while they were here and you were such a good girl! You love your cousin so much and give him the sweetest hugs and kisses!

You still have the 8 teeth you had last month. We had a little teething break, which was nice. I can feel your 9th starting to come now, but it's still under the gums and hasn't broken through yet. Sleeping hasn't really improved much. You are still up twice a night for the most part, but you tend to go right back down after you've nursed.
Speaking of nursing, you are starting to show less and less interest during the day. Mommy is definitely okay with this. We've just about made it to Mommy's one year goal and you are eating 3 meals a day now. We're going to cut down to just nursing at nap times and during the night and slowly phase that out too. Mommy has treasured this time with you my sweet girl. I love the closeness we have developed through this time together, but you are a little girl now and don't seem to need it anymore. To be honest, Mommy is ready to wean too. It's time.

The holidays are coming up now and Mommy is so excited to share this beautiful time of year with you. We went to the Christmas tree farm to get Grammy and Grampy's tree while Auntie, Uncle and Blake were still here. We had so much fun and got the biggest family tree yet - 13 feet tall!

Next month you will be one year old already! I don't know where the time goes, but Mommy is so proud of the sweet little girl you are becoming.

I love you to the moon and back sweetie!
Love always,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Owl Costume Tutorial

...alternately titled, "Audrey's First Halloween," or "Mommy's First Sewing Project." :)

I wasn't sure if I was going to dress Audrey up for Halloween this year. She's only 10 months old. Let's face it: she's not going to remember and she can't eat candy. But my mom bought her a really cute owl hat for the winter, so I decided to make her an owl costume.

I found some inspiration on pinterest, dug my mom's old sewing machine out of the basement, got a sewing machine crash course from my gram, raided her cloth room (yes, she has a whole room full of fabric!) and got to work!

My main goal was for Audrey to be comfortable. We didn't actually take her trick-or-treating, just to a few family members' houses, but she's still only 10 months old. It wouldn't be much of a costume if she pulled all the different parts off.

So the owl hat my mom bought from The Children's Place was my main inspiration.
Cute, right? Again, purchased, not made! This is my first sewing project, remember? Anyway...

First, I found some inspiration for the actual owl costume via pinterest here and here. I didn't use their tutorials, but it got me started.

Next, I found a hand-me-down shirt that was given to Audrey that I didn't mind sewing over. The shirt was a size 24 months and she's only wearing 12 months, so it was a bit big, but that gave me room to put a onesie underneath it to keep her warm and the length made it more like a little dress.

On a regular old piece of paper, I hand drew a feather template at about the size I thought would look good. (Real technical, I know!)

Then I had to decide on fabric for the feathers. There were 3 shades of pink in the hat and Audrey had a pair of leggings in the darkest pink color, so I decided she would wear those with the shirt. Upon raiding my gram's cloth room, I found scraps of cloth in both the medium pink and light pink from the hat. YAY! Who doesn't like free?

So then I traced the feather template on both of the fabrics and cut them out. I started with 20 feathers in each color. I don't know how many I ended up using, but I did cut more, and the number you'll need will depend on how closely you overlap them and the size of the shirt.

Once they were cut out, I overlapped the feathers, alternating the colors, and pinned them in place. I sewed them on one row at a time, starting at the bottom. I just used a straight stitch because that's all I know how to do, so nothing fancy! I must admit, sewing on to one side of an already assembled shirt, without sewing through the back side, got difficult near the top. I just tried to keep a flat surface where I was sewing and went slow.

When I got to the top, I sewed some feathers around the neckline too. Then, I put the sleeve on a piece of paper and drew a wing template.

I decided to use the medium pink for the wings, but then they looked a little plain, so I sewed some of the individual light pink feathers onto them before attaching them to the sleeves.

At this point, I realized I couldn't sew the wings on without sewing the front and back of the sleeves together. Shoot! At first I thought well maybe I'll use fabric glue, or hot glue, but then I found some no-sew hemming tape in a drawer. Perfect! If you've never heard of it or used it, it comes on a roll and looks like a white mesh. You put it between two pieces of fabric, iron, and it essentially glues the two pieces of fabric together. Easy peasy!

So I cut a piece of the no-sew tape the length of the wing. I put the tape on top of the sleeve and lined the wing up on top of the tape. Then I just ironed over the wing! Make sure you can't see any of the tape before you iron. If you iron directly on the tape you'll end up with a mess of glue all over your iron.

And that's it! Done!

Not bad, if I do say so myself! Especially for my first time ever using a sewing machine! And if I thought it was cute when I finished, I just about died from cuteness overload when we put it on her!
Is she not the cutest little pink owl ever or what?! Super fancy costume? No. Made with love? Absolutely! And way cuter than any plastic store bought costume!

I hope the tutorial was helpful. If you want to get fancy, I guess you could do the back of the shirt too. Audrey is 10 months old. Totally not necessary for her in my book! If you have any questions about what I did, please feel free to leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer them!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Audrey - 10 months

My sweet Audrey,

You are 10 months old! I am in awe every day at how smart you are becoming. Your little giggle melts my heart and that smile - oh that smile - it lights up my life!

Two more teeth this month brings your total up to 8! You don't seem to have any more coming right now and Mommy is very grateful! I don't think we've had a real break since you started teething. Your hair is also starting to fill in a little bit. It's so light that you still look like a baldy, but as the person who washes your cute little head every night, I know it's growing now!

We have started a new sleep routine since your 9 month well baby check up. Instead of Mommy nursing you to sleep, we nurse, then do tubby time, then read books, then Daddy puts you down to sleep awake. You are doing amazingly well with it and go down right away! You are still up twice during the night and Mommy is still nursing you back to sleep then, but that's next on our list to tackle. One thing at a time! You are sleeping in your crib all night for the most part though, which is wonderful!

Not only do you stand unassisted, but you took your first steps this month!! I still wouldn't call you a "walker" just yet, but on days when you're feeling brave (and definitely not when we're trying to get you to do it) you'll take a few independent steps! You love your little pushable lion too and push him around like a pro! Very, very soon you'll be cruising around on those twinkly toes.

Mommy loves the fall, so we spend lots of time outside this month. We hiked Mt. Greylock, played in the leaves and went apple picking! You were so cute trying to pull the apples off the trees and didn't want to leave.

When we ask you to clap your hands, you do so without being shown what to do. Mommy is amazed at how much you are showing us you understand. You can pick your baby doll out of a pile of stuffed animals when asked and you'll "shakey shakey" your sprinkles on command. You also love scarecrows and demand to be brought around Grammy and Grampy's house until you've seen them all!

You LOVE to read more than anything else! You'll pull every single book off your bookshelf, surround yourself with them and "read" them one by one. You will occupy yourself for long periods of time like this. You definitely show preference for any book with animals in it, so much so that Mommy wonders if some day you might have a career involving animals.
You love to get into things you aren't supposed to. You have learned to shake your head "no" to Mommy when she tells you not to do something and proceed to do it anyway. You also climbed all the way up the stairs (with Mommy following you to see what would happen). The house is now complete with baby gates, cabinets locks and outlet plugs!

You are silly,


and curious,

and Momma loves you to pieces!

To the moon and back sweet girl!
Love Always,

Monday, October 17, 2011

natural bridge

We are blessed to live in an area filled with natural beauty. Natural Bridge State Park is one of those places I love to go when I want to get outside. It is home to the only naturally formed white marble bridge in North America. A few weeks ago, my hubby and I strapped Audrey in the ergo and took her up there for her first visit and a nice little hike!
Shadow Family
She loves her Daddy!
Not bad for the self-timer!
Shoulder ride!

my loves

Is she my mini-me or what?!