Real Food Friday: You Are What You Eat

This is the first in a weekly series all about eating and eating well. Here you will find more than recipes; I’m actually going to teach you how to eat healthier (and how to want to). Enjoy!

What did you eat today?

Was it food? Was it real food?

Did it come from a drive-thru window? Or was it one of those frozen meals you bought from your grocery store’s freezer section? (I can assure you that even though the box might claim that it is “healthy” it most certainly is not.)

As I was whisking together the milk and flour for the macaroni and cheese that I ate for lunch a few days ago, I became so inspired to share just how easy it was to throw together an actual meal. Even better though is just how much better it tasted than that mac-n-cheese that comes from a box with a packet of powdered neon orange “cheese”. Because that stuff? It ain’t cheese. I admit that I have eaten that in the past but I never will again and I’m hoping that you won’t either.

Just like any change that you decide to make in your life, the choice to eat better, to eat healthier, is going to be tough at first. It’s going to require some effort on your part. You’re going to have to break old habits and start new ones. You’re going to have to start thinking differently about the things that you eat and learn which things are food, and which things, sadly, are not.

Start small with one change at a time. Stick with it and you will soon start to notice that your body is craving the good stuff. Not to brag, but I have eaten more than a pound of strawberries in the last two days. I just can’t get enough of them. I’m so addicted that I am going to grow my own next Spring.

I’ve always loved fruit, but I never really liked just picking up an apple or a strawberry and biting into it. Apparently I’m not the smartest person in the world because it took me a lot longer than it should have to realize that I can slice them into bite-size pieces. That has made all the difference for me. Because of one simple change, I eat fruit every day, several times a day.

When you eat better, you feel better. When you eat junk, you feel like junk. And when you eat foods that were created in a factory instead of grown in the earth, you just don’t feel your best. Our bodies were designed to be filled with foods that are all-natural. Processed foods are just not a good match for us.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have sweets, or whatever food your weakness may be. You can have a brownie; just make sure that it is one that you made in a mixer with ingredients from your pantry and not from a Little Debbie box.

It’s not all or nothing. You can make changes without giving up everything that you love to eat.

So tell me, what did you eat today?

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A Look Into My Day: Monday, September 19, 2011

9:25 am

Everett wakes up first, as he does most mornings. He nurses and Emily wakes up. We laze in bed for thirty minutes or so, watching an episode of Phineas and Ferb before we get up and start our day.

10:23 am

Second diaper change of the day. Everett is content to play alone for a few minutes while I stuff the clean diapers that have been piled up on the floor for a few days now. Mornings are his best time of day.

11:04 am

They swing. This is the first of three times that we play outside today. Both of them love to be outdoors. It doesn’t matter how fussy Everett is, I can simply walk outside with him and he is instantly calmed. Emily would play out here all day if I would let her, but it is not cool enough yet and the gnats are still a nuisance.

11:23 am

Maggie is in her usual spot on the back of the golf cart. There is never a time that we go for a ride that she is not with us. Today we ran out of gas and I had to call my father-in-law to rescue us. We only had to sit and wait for a few minutes but in that time, Emily needed to use the bathroom and I was holding a sleeping Everett in my arms. It’s always something.

12:00 pm

Everett naps. There are two loads of laundry that I race to finish, not including the load still in the dryer or the diapers that still need to be washed. I have to be quick: I never know how long Everett will sleep. Maybe 10 minutes or maybe an hour. This nap lasted for about 45 minutes – that made for one very happy mama.

12:17 pm

Emily’s imagination amazes me at times. Today she made her daddy a bowl-of-goldfish birthday cake with pink utensil candles. It is not his birthday but this girl loves birthdays and parties and balloons and celebrating. I think we will have a party soon just because.

12:33 pm

One of the rare times that she is both still and quiet. I don’t remember what she is watching but it is probably either Dora, Phineas and Ferb, Max and Ruby or Bubble Guppies. The stillness doesn’t last long.

12:41 pm

Everett wakes from his nap. I wind up the mobile in his crib to buy myself just a few more minutes. I slice an apple to eat while I sit and feed Everett. Before the music stops playing he is already crying out for me. Patient he is not, but I can’t say much about that since I’m the one he got that from.

1:03 pm

Everything goes into his mouth. Every. single. thing.

1:06 pm

Books are her favorite playthings, and I couldn’t be more proud. On repeat these days is “Oh, The Places You’ll Go”. I don’t have this one memorized entirely yet but I have a feeling it won’t be much longer.

1:28 pm

Lunch time! I’m probably the only person in the world who eats this combination. It is weird but I love it so and I have been eating it for as long as I can remember. Macaroni and cheese (from scratch! made with a roux! and real cheese! no processed foods here in our house) with peas and tuna. It really is delicious.

2:07 pm

Emily plays in the sandbox while Everett and I just hang out. I can’t wait to see them and photograph them playing in it together next spring.

2:11 pm

This boy is very attached to his pacis. If there isn’t a toy or food in his mouth, there is usually a pacifier in there. Especially when he is tired, like he is now.

4:00 pm

Daddy is home early and we go out to play again. He finds a lizard and Emily tries to hold it but the lizard is too fast and scurries away. We ride to the store to buy gas for the golf cart and stop to visit with Pop & Granny.

7:16 pm

Everett takes his last nap of the day while I do nothing for the first time all day. Denny and Emily are outside and the house is quiet for the first time since we woke up in the morning.

7:18 pm

Dinner is on the stove and in the oven and there is nothing left to do but wait for it to finish.Tonight we have party chicken, rice, and green beans.

8:00-ish pm

My baby nurses to sleep. This is an hour before his usual bedtime but he is just so sleepy today. Not enough naps.

8:17 pm

Washing the day away. I am so blessed to have two children who love water as much as mine do. Bath time is always an adventure, never a chore.

9:27 pm

Setting a routine has helped Emily go to bed (and go to sleep) in her own bed with no fuss at all. We’ve been doing this for a few weeks now and I love having some down time with her at the end of the day. Dinner, bath, pajamas, two books, prayers, kisses, glass of water, lights out. Sometimes she gets up one last time for “more kisses”. I know she is just delaying going to sleep but her Daddy and I will never say no to more kisses.

*I stole this idea from another blogger and I think it is just genius. It inspired me to get out my camera and just take pictures of my kids doing what they do. Photographs don’t have to be posed and can be taken every day, not just at special outings or on holidays. I have been so inspired by this project and I hope to do it every month or two, just so I can remember what my life was like with my littles.

Tuesday Morning

Everett stirs next to me and I silently wish for five more minutes. Just five more minutes…..

But it is soon clear that he is awake for the day. I roll over and look at the clock. 10:14. I must be dreaming; this is two hours later than normal. Two more hours of sleep, so why am I still so tired?

We lay in bed together, him cooing as he tries to talk to me but he is too young yet to speak any words. And somehow I understand everything he says.

His coos turn to fusses turn to cries and I lift my shirt for him to nurse. It won’t always be this easy to feed him, I think in my head. I remind myself to stay here and enjoy the now instead of wishing for the days ahead when he is not so needy.

I get up to grab a diaper and I glance at the temperature outside. Seventy-eight degrees. Not hot but not nearly cool enough yet. Another day of shorts and t-shirts and one less day of jeans and cardigans. I am so impatient in my wait for fall.

I tend to wish the days away, always looking to the future. I used to be waiting for my baby to be born and now I’m waiting for him to grow up. Waiting for the seasons to change. Waiting for change in general. Why can’t I ever just be happy with what I have right this minute? Why can’t I ever be satisfied?

Some day I will. Some day.

But for now, I will love him for who he is, even if I am absolutely not a fan of  this teeny-tiny baby stage.

I look over at his big sister still sleeping next to him. She found her way into our bed overnight as well. We really need a king size bed. I’ve never admitted it to my husband but I actually love sleeping with my children. If it weren’t for his protests, I’d invite them into our bed every night. I love having them close by and knowing that they are safe, warm, secure in my arms.

I have to wake her up. She has become a late sleeper, just like her mama. Just like her mama used to be. Before I became a mama.

I finally convince her to get out of bed and I start thinking about breakfast. I remember that I need to go to the grocery store but I put it off for tomorrow when I can leave one of them behind. That means one more day that I have to make it through without any chocolate. Some people are addicted to alcohol, or drugs, but I am addicted to chocolate.

I finally decide to make brownies – from scratch. My need for sweets finally overrules my laziness and I gather ingredients from the pantry. Emily wants to help so badly, bless her little heart, but I am at a stopping point. The melted butter is cooling. The next step is to add the eggs but not until the butter is cool. I leave the kitchen for just a minute and come back to find an egg scrambled in the still-too-hot butter. There are no more eggs. There will be no brownies. I want to be mad, but I just can’t. She was only trying to help her mama. Her shirt says “mama’s little angel” and she is. She is so beautiful inside and out.

I flip through my recipe book in hopes to find something, anything that I can make. The only thing that doesn’t require eggs is fudge, but there is not enough powdered sugar. So I make a glass of chocolate milk and call it good enough.

Tomorrow’s grocery store trip is becoming more fattening by the minute as I think of all of the (chocolate-y) things that I will buy. I eat to deal with the stress and there is so much of it. Being needed so much by two different people. Trying to figure out how to balance my time between them and still leaving time to tend to the house.

Mom-guilt.

Tomorrow she and I will have a date. We have only had one other since Everett came along and it is time. She needs it but I need it more. I am still not used to having to put her needs second, Everett’s first, mine third. Everett comes first because I must quieten his cries as quickly as possible. I don’t do well with crying.

She deserves better, more. I just don’t know how to give it to her just yet. I’m learning. She is learning. She’s learning how to do more and be more independent and it breaks my heart to see her growing up so fast so all of a sudden. But grow up she will, no matter how hard I try to slow her down.

I love this age. I wish they were twins so they both could be 2 1/2. Oh, how fun that would be……

 

 

I’m linking up with Heather’s Just Write project. You can read more here.

Letters To Emily

During Emily’s first year of life, I wrote a letter to her each month. The first 6 letters are here, on this blog, and the last 6 letters were posted on my other blog after I moved. I am putting the 6 letters from my other blog here so that they will all be in the same place…..

Month 7:

Emily,

Time sure does fly when you are having fun. Or when you are just being an easy baby. And seriously, turning 6 months old was the best thing that has ever happened to you (and me) because ever since that day one month ago, you have been wonderful! You are a better sleeper, a better eater, you are happy almost all of the time and you are so incredibly fun!

You’ve started sleeping in your crib for naps and at night, and now you are sleeping like a champ.  Really, you love this new freedom and you love being able to stretch out in your own space. I hated you not being right there beside me at first, but I am finally over it and I’m sleeping much better too now, thank you very much. You are growing up way too fast and becoming so independent these days. And you are so unbelievably smart that it blows my mind sometimes.

On September 9th, you got up on your hands and knees for the first time, and then you were scooting and belly-crawling all over the place. Then on the 26th you started crawling and you have been on the go ever since. We have had to rearrange some things and put stuff away because you are into everything!

 

Also on the same day you started crawling, you waved bye-bye for the first time all by yourself. Such a smart girl! And if those weren’t enough accomplishments for one month, you learned how to give kisses a few weeks ago, plus you learned how to dance. It is so funny watching you start grooving anytime you hear music playing.

And you’re pulling up! You started off pulling up on me and daddy when we were on the floor playing with you, but now you pull up in your crib, on the couch and on the coffee table. You’ve even tried standing up in the tub but that didn’t work out very well. Before I know it, you will be walking – but please don’t rush it!

This past month our dog Pookie had puppies, and you love playing with them! You don’t really understand just how fragile they are and you can be a bit rough with them, but I know you love them. You also have been spending more and more time outside lately since the weather is so nice, and you just have a blast playing in the grass and the pine straw. And of course, you still love rides on the golf cart. We ride every morning to get the mail and then again when daddy gets home in the evenings.

 

You are still eating solid food 3 times a day, and you still do NOT like peas. You do however like plums and yogurt, which you tried for the first time this month. You are extremely attached to your sippy cup and you will chug all of your water or juice at one time if I let you. You still have your boo-boos every 3 hours, but these days you seem to want to play around more than you want to eat – unless you are tired. Then you just fall asleep all cozy and warm in my arms. Those times are my favorite parts of each day.

Although we didn’t get out much this month, we have a lot of things planned in the next few weeks. I can’t wait to see what October will bring for us and what your accomplishments and discoveries will be. I love you my silly, sweet baby girl!

Love,
Mommy

Month 8:

Emily,

October has come and gone and I’m so sad to see it go. It was one of the best months we’ve had together so far. We did so many fun things this past month and as you are getting older it’s so amazing for me just to see how you react to the different things that we see and do.


Your little personality is really starting to show. You have always been impatient and now you are starting to have an attitude, so you have temper tantrums and fits several times a day now. Most often this is when I am dressing you and/or changing your diaper. You are a busy girl and you don’t want to be still, not even for a minute, so I have to hold you down to get your diaper back on and chase you around the house to get you dressed. You know exactly what you want and you are not afraid to let anybody know. I don’t know ow you learned to act that way, but it sure is hilarious to see you squeal and kick and swing your arms when you are mad.

This past month we have stayed home most days because you really do not like to be away from home and you really, really do not like to be in the car unless someone is in the backseat with you. It is just way too stressful for me to take you anywhere so most of the times that we went out it was because somebody else went with us. However, you still love to be outside and on days like today when the weather is nice we sit outside and play with the dogs and we go for very long rides on the golf cart.   


There were a few places that we did go last month, like the Savannah Civic Center to see Playhouse Disney Live, the Statesboro fair, the pumpkin patch, and to the Halloween street festival. There we saw lots of people dancing in the street to Michael Jackson’s song “Thriller” and we saw your cousins Haley, Beatrice and Whitaker. 


In all of our time spent at home you have mostly played all by yourself. You are a very independent little girl and you can keep yourself entertained for hours when you are in a good mood. I try to play with you but when I get down on the floor with you, you just ignore me and crawl away. You crawl all over the place and pull up on everything and play with all of your toys, and your favorite “toy” is paper. You love to look at magazines and rip the pages out and crinkle them in your hands. This month you learned how to go from crawling back to sitting, and you learned how to cruise along the couches and around the coffee table. I think you have made more laps around that table than Richard Petty made in his entire career. 

My favorite part of this month was that you didn’t use a pacifier at all! You will NOT under any circumstances take a pacifier. If I put one in your mouth you spit it right out and you won’t open your mouth for me to put it back in. At times it would be really helpful if you would still take it, but I am so glad that you weaned yourself off of it so early. I did not want you to be 3 years old and still taking a paci!


This month you are still eating three solid meals a day, but you still prefer to have your milk. I have a feeling that you are going to nurse for a long time, but that’s ok with me. I love those times and I wish that it took you longer than 10 minutes to eat. Sometimes I miss the early days when you would nurse for 45 minutes each time. Breastfeeding you is the only time I get to hold you and cuddle with you and I know that it will all be over too soon.


You love being a big girl and I love to watch you grow. I am so proud of you and all of the accomplishments that you have made so far. It’s just getting better and better each day. I love you higher than the mountain tops, baby girl!

Month 9:

My Emily,

It is 12 days after your 9 month “birthday” and I am just now finding the time to write this letter to you. November was the hardest, most trying month for me as a mother. It’s not your fault that you are so difficult; the blame is entirely mine. You are completely spoiled rotten and it is I who has spoiled you. But the good news is that we are changing things and we are going to get along so, so much better from now on.

When you sleep in the big bed with Daddy and I, you will scoot all the way to the top of the bed until your head is touching the headboard. You do NOT want to be covered up and you try to get as far away from the covers as you possibly can. You also love to snuggle with Daddy because he sleeps without a shirt on and his skin in so warm and cuddly.

I know I’ve talked about your sleep issues before so I’m not going to go into detail again this month. But I will say that the napping in my arms and the not sleeping through the night are things that have caused my patience to wear extremely thin most days, and by the time I write next month’s letter, you will be as good of a sleeper as any 10 month old should be!

Aside from your dislike of sleeping for more than 3 hours at a time, your only other complaint is baby food. You just will not eat the stuff, and I can’t say that I blame you. I had been making all of your food but we switched to jarred food and you hate it. However, you do like your yogurt and oatmeal and you love to eat the food on mine and Daddy’s plates. You are such a little beggar every time you see either of us with food! And so far, we haven’t found any table food that you don’t like.

And instead of turning your head away from the spoon or just simply keeping your mouth closed to let me know that you are finished eating, you fling your arms wildly and get food EVERYWHERE. Like this.



Your favorite thing to do (and mine too) is to give hugs and kisses. You are such a loving soul and you give Daddy and I squeezes and tons of kisses every day. Every afternoon when Daddy walks in the door from work, he picks you up and you wrap your arms around his neck as tight as you can – it is the most precious thing I have ever seen! You also love to give kisses to your Glow Worm, your baby doll that your Granny gave to you, and any other toy of yours that has a mouth! I hope you stay this cuddly and sweet forever.


In November you celebrated your first Thanksgiving and you loved eating all of the yummy food. You met a few relatives that you had never seen before and although you slept through most of it, you had a great time with your Pop’s family. 


At this point, you say mama, dada, bye-bye, dog, and uh-oh, even though most of the time it is just “uh”. You wave bye-bye when nobody is going anywhere and most of the time when someone actually is leaving, you won’t wave or say bye-bye at all. You crack Daddy and I up since you are such a silly girl all of the time. You blow bubbles with your mouth when you are sleepy and you play peek-a-boo with Daddy’s belly. We have “screaming” matches with each other to see who can be the loudest and who can hold out for the longest time. You dance to the snowman on our coffee table that sings “Jingle Bells” and you love music. You won’t be still long enough to watch tv at all anymore unless Yo Gabba Gabba is on.

You continue to cruise along the furniture and pull up on everything that you can get a grip on. You are a great crawler and you can crawl faster than I can. You always crawl away in the middle of diaper changes and I have to chase you down to get your diaper on. You follow Daddy and I everywhere we go and you are very curious about everything. You love to explore and check things out and you are into everything. I cannot take a shower unless you are taking a nap because you either crawl right into the shower with me or you get into something that you shouldn’t every. single. time.



You are growing up so fast and I know that you will be walking so very, very soon. You will be a toddler, a big girl, and as much as I will miss these days when you are still my baby, in a way I will be glad to welcome a new stage in your life. I love you baby girl, even on the bad days when I am not the best mommy that I can be. I hope that someday you will get the chance to love someone as much as I love you.

                                                                                                            Love, Mommy

Month 10:

Dear Emily,

Unlike last month’s letter which was 2 weeks late, this one is being typed early since I actually have time to do it. Right now you are napping in your crib and you are becoming a pro at sleeping – just like me! Seriously, you have become a fabulous sleeper in the past few weeks and I for one could not be happier about this. The crying-it-out that the doctor recommended was a huge success and you are now able to go to sleep all by yourself, in your bed, without crying or fussing at all. It only took 4 nights for you to get with the program; the first night you cried for 25 minutes, then 15 minutes the second night, and only 5 minutes on the third and fourth nights. And no crying since then (well, there have been a few whimpers here and there). You sleep straight through the night for ten to twelve hours, plus you take two naps every day! Hallelujah!

Since you are sleeping more regularly now, I am finally able to put you on a schedule, which I think helps you sleep better too since you know what to expect at all times of the day. We have routines at nap time and bedtime which help you to settle down and get ready for bed, and most of the time you are actually reaching for the crib before I ever lay you down. Every night before bed we do the same exact things, in the same exact order.

First, you get a bath, then we put on your pajamas, I nurse you, and then you eat oatmeal or cereal. Then I brush your teeth and we tell Daddy goodnight. We go in your room and turn on the lamp, and I pick out a few books to read. We sit in the rocking chair and I read to you, and then I turn off the light, turn on your lullabies, and I hold you in my arms as we slow dance to the first song. You put your head on my shoulder and I rub your back and run my fingers through your hair. Then as the song goes off, your head pops up and you begin reaching for the bed, making it a struggle for me to get the last few kisses of the night. This is my absolute favorite part of the day, when I hold you so close and you are so sleepy and so still. It only lasts for a few minutes but it is so sweet that I almost cry. I hope that I never forget these moments.

This month has been a month of milestones for you. Of course, the sleeping is my favorite, since I actually get to sleep now too. But you have finally also learned how to feed yourself. I didn’t mention it in last month’s letter, but until a few weeks ago you would NOT put any food into your mouth. If you found a piece of trash on the floor, straight into your mouth it would go. But if you were given food to eat, you would just play with it and you never even attempted to put in in your mouth. Dr. Z had never heard of this and we don’t know how you knew the difference, but I think you were just being difficult on purpose. You wanted to put things in your mouth that weren’t supposed to be there to make me crazy, and you didn’t want to feed yourself so that I would have to do it for you. You little stinker – you are so smart!

It all started on December 13th when Daddy gave you a rib bone to gnaw on while we were at Granny’s house for lunch.

Then the next day I gave you a graham cracker and you ate it! Ever since then you have been feeding yourself a little bit more every day, and two days ago you ate your goldfish crackers all by yourself for the first time! You still only have those two bottom teeth but somehow you manage to chew everything up.

You are becoming very brave and very excited about standing up without holding on and walking. You try every day to stand up without pulling up on something, and you’ve done it a few times already. The first time was on the 19th, and ever since then you have managed to do it once or twice a day. You also are getting very good at keeping your balance and you will let go and stand by yourself for a very long time. You took your first step on the 13th and you have taken a lot of steps since then, but never more than one or two at a time. Most of the time either Daddy or I will hold your hands while you stand up and then let go and try to get you to walk. But yesterday was when you really wanted to walk by yourself for the first time. All day long you would stand up, let go of the furniture, and try to take a step. You did it over and over and over again and you took a lot of steps, but you fell down a lot too. One time, you took 8 steps in a row!I have a feeling that by this time next month, you will be walking!

You are beginning to recognize a lot of words in addition to the words that you already can say. You know what I mean when I say diaper, bath, mama, daddy, no-no, uh-oh, dog, hungry, thirsty, cup, juice, kiss, Emily, and bye-bye. When someone tells you hey you now wave hello and when you have something that you shouldn’t, I can say “thank you” and reach out my hand and you will hand it to me. You will look around when we ask you “where” something is and if I ask if you want boobies, you will pull on my shirt to try to get to them. You are such a smart girl!

You learned how to clap on the 30th and you are so proud of yourself for doing it! When you see me or Daddy clapping you will clap too, and if someone on tv claps you will clap along with them. You’ve also learned to associate the word “yay” with clapping. Sometimes you get so excited when you are clapping that you start flapping your arms and you fall down!

Some of your favorite things this month are books, “big girl” baths, pushing things across the floor, and taking things out of drawers. You will crawl into your room and pull your books off of the shelf and look at the pages and point at the pictures. You love books and I hope that one day you will love to read them.

You graduated from the baby bathtub this month and you love taking a bath more now than you did before. You play with your toys until the water is cold and your fingers and toes are all shriveled up. Most of the pictures that I took of you this month were taken in the bathtub or in the highchair because those are the only times that you are still and can’t crawl away! Usually when I try to take pictures of you, you climb on me and try to take the camera, but I have learned that if I have a diaper in my hand you will crawl away and let me take a few pictures. You hate having your diaper changed, but I think that is only because you are a busy girl and you hate to be still!

You have a few toys with wheels on them that are made to push, but it really doesn’t matter to you. If you find something that will move, you will push it all over the house. Whether it is a shoe, a remote control, or a toy, this keeps you entertained for a long time.

You have learned how to open drawers and cabinet doors and if I don’t stop you, you will take everything out and throw it on the floor. We are definitely going to have to put some locks on so that you won’t get into anything that can hurt you (or that you can hurt).

You accidentally learned how to drink out of a regular cup when you got my cup off of the table. You held the cup just right and you didn’t make a mess at all!

One of your favorite people (besides Mommy and Daddy) is your Aunt Makayla. I think it is because she is a big girl and she is closer to you in size than the rest of us. When you see her your face lights up and you love to play with her. You will follow her everywhere she goes when she is here or when you are at her house.

You also love dogs and you got to pet your Nannie and Pa’s dog Lucy when we were at their house a few weeks ago. Then we saw Hershey at the Fordham Christmas and you loved on her a bunch too. I wish that we could get an inside dog for you but Daddy says no to that, but sometimes we let Magnum inside so that you can play with him.

December was also the month of your First Christmas! You met Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus on December 6th at a local antique store.

Then we started celebrating on the 12th at your Nannie and Pa’s house with Nannie’s family. The next celebration was on the 19th with your Granny Hulsey’s family at your Great-Granny Jane and Great-Papa Fordham’s house.We went to look at Christmas lights with Granny and Pop on Christmas Eve and we actually got out of the car and got an up-close look at the lights – you loved them! Christmas Day was the busiest day ever, and we had four Christmases that day (more on that later). Then we wrapped up Christmas at your Great-Grandmama’s house on the day after Christmas. You were great at opening presents but I think you actually got tired of it. You got so many toys and a lot of it is still in the original boxes, hidden in your closet for you to play with later.

We ended the month by also ending the year. It was your first New Years’ Eve and I am so proud to say that you were awake and celebrating with us at midnight! We held you off on your evening nap as long as we could so that you would stay up later on New Years Eve night. But unfortunately for Daddy and I, you didn’t sleep any later than usual on New Years’ Day.

We had quite a month and I must say, it was one of the best we have had together so far.I am so proud of you and all of your latest accomplishments and I love you very, very much!

                                                                                                            Love, 

                                                                                                            Mommy

Month 11:

My Emily,

Once again I have put off writing your monthly letter for so long that I can barely remember what happened in your eleventh month. Honestly, we didn’t do anything that was very exciting or memorable since it was so, so cold that we stayed cooped up indoors for most of the time. You hate to be inside, and you love to be outside, so January (and the half of February that has already passed) has been a bit miserable for us all. 

You spent the first few days of the month practicing the walking that you started doing on New Years Day, and you have not slowed down ever since then. You absolutely hate to be still and I have to hold you down in a death grip to change your diaper. And feeding you isn’t easy either since you have to sit down in your chair to eat, which most of the time ends in you screaming and me chasing you around the house with a spoon. Most of what you eat right now is goldfish crackers – even though I really don’t like feeding those to you, if they are all you will eat then they are better than nothing. Eating isn’t really one of your favorite things to do these days and I don’t know how you manage to survive on what seems like only tablespoons of food per day, but somehow you do.

I’m thinking that maybe all of these new teeth that you are getting are throwing you off and you’re not quite sure how to use them yet. At the end of the month you had five teeth – you got your fourth one of the 21st, and your fifth tooth on the 30th. You are a champ at cutting teeth and unlike the first two teeth that kept you (and Daddy and I) awake all night for several nights in a row, these newest teeth haven’t interrupted your sleep at all. Hooray! You are sleeping for about 10 straight hours at night now, and you take two naps on most day. You are sleeping better than you ever have before, and so am I baby, so am I. (Thank you God.)

In January I started taking at least 1 picture every day (which ended up being at least 20 every day) and so there are TONS of pictures of you from this month. Pictures of you playing, pictures of you plundering, pictures of you just being silly. And I am so glad that I have these pictures so that I can remember you and these times with you. You are growing up so fast and I feel like I don’t have a baby at all anymore. You walk and talk and you understand things that I tell you. You climb and you run and you help me around the house. 

 You are infatuated with your daddy and it is so sweet to watch the two of you together. Every morning before he leaves for work you follow him around and cling to his leg and you cry when he finally leaves. Your face lights up like the sun when he comes home in the afternoon and no matter how cold it is outside, he bundles you up and takes you out for a few minutes. This is probably your most favorite time of the day. Not only do you love daddy and being outside, but outside is where the dogs are. And you LOVE THE DOGS. You pet them and they lick you and you just squeal! You spend a lot of time each day looking out the window at them, and every time you hear them bark you will say “doh!” (dog) and get so tickled at hearing them. I have been trying to get daddy to let us have a smaller, less hyper inside dog, but no suck luck yet baby girl. 

I can’t believe how quickly time is passing us by. I love you my Emily, my baby girl. 


                                                                                                      Love, Mommy

Month 12:

Dear Emily,

You are 1 year old! This past year has been the best, but also the hardest year of my life. You have brought so much joy to my life, and because of you, I finally know what real, unconditional love feels like. I am so proud of you for all that you have accomplished in these 12 short months. I am also proud of myself for keeping you (and myself) alive, proving that I can do this. We have both grown so much and not a day goes by that you don’t amaze me with something new that you have learned. Slow down, baby girl, slow down.

In February, you learned how to get down from the couch all by yourself. Now only if you could learn to get up there all by yourself, we would all be much happier. You LOVE being on the couch, but that’s probably because you love to get my cup which is usually on the table beside the couch. You think it is so neat to drink out of mommy’s “big” cup, and it’s a good thing there is always water in it because it always gets spilled.

You can now say say ball, all done/all gone (you say the same thing for both and you use your hands), cow, and either no-no or Nana – I can’t tell which it is. If you want to go somewhere you will get your jacket from your room and bring it to me or daddy. You are aware of when you wet your diaper too – you will look down at it and try to pull it off. When I am changing your diaper you sometimes get away from me and you have peed on the floor a few times. You know when you are peeing because you will squat and look down at it and then run away as soon as you are done. I have had to shampoo the carpet a lot lately, but I am glad that you know what is going on down there. Hopefully it will help when you start learning to use the potty!

Right now, your eating habits are not the best. You hate to sit still for anything and you just will not sit in your highchair to eat a meal. You eat a little bit and then you want to get down. Usually you just eat a little bit of everything all day long, plus you still nurse 4 or 5 times every day. You love to do it still and it is the first thing that you want to do when you wake up in the morning. I am proud of us that we breastfed for a whole year, and although I am not looking forward to you weaning (whenever you are ready), I can’t wait to not be tied down by it anymore.

And plus, there are the 6 teeth that you have now. You got your sixth tooth on February fourth (I think!) and even though you rarely ever bite me, when you do, you bite hard. You look so funny with teeth in your mouth. They almost look like they don’t belong in there because teeth are for big girls, and when I look at you I don’t always see you as a big girl. You’re still just a little baby to me! When you first got your teeth, you didn’t mind me brushing them, but now you won’t let me anywhere near them. You are extremely independent and you want to brush them yourself, so I let you hold the toothbrush in your mouth and I hold your hand and brush as quickly as I can. You can really be difficult sometimes!

But sometimes you are the easiest baby in the world. You can play by yourself while I do things around the house and you are fine with that. You still go to sleep on your own at night and at nap time (even though last week you would NOT go to sleep without being rocked. I don’t know what was up with that, but I kind of miss it now) and you sleep for about 10 straight hours at night. Some days you take two hour-long naps, and some days you take one long, two – three hour nap. And some days, we take naps together.

One of your favorite things to do now is go riding – on the golf cart, in daddy’s truck when we go look at the cows, and in your wagon and car that you got for your birthday. We keep your car inside and you will just go sit in it and look at me and daddy, asking us with your eyes if we will push you around the house. We do this a lot. You also love to listen to music on You tube. Daddy started this around Christmastime when you wanted to hear Jingle Bells over and over and over. Your favorite songs are Five Little Monkeys, Rain Rain Go Away and If You’re Happy And You Know It. When those songs are on you clap your hands and swing your arms and bounce up and down – you just get so excited!

What else happened in February? You got sick (and so did Daddy & I) with a stomach virus. You didn’t let it slow you down, though! Then….

We went to Grandmama’s house……

….and you found a paci to suck on, even though you haven’t had one in months!

You played tug-of-war with Daddy.

I finally started learning how to properly use my camera and I took tons of pictures of you.

You celebrated your first Valentine’s Day.

We went to the park.

You finally let me get a picture of your teeth.

You drove the golf cart.

You wore the dress that I made you.

You got into everything.

Then you got into everything at Nana’s house.

You stuck out your tongue…..

…and made me smile.

You had your very first birthday party.

You were beautiful…..

…..and mischievous…..

…..and unsure.

You smelled the flowers.

And you were loved. Oh, how much you were loved.

My baby girl, you will always, always be my baby girl. I hope that we have many more years together, you and I. I love you more than you can ever know.

Love, Mommy

Back

I don’t know why I ever moved my blog from here to there. I don’t know why I ever stopped blogging. So much regret exists in my heart for not writing more. All I ever wanted was for Emily’s life to be well documented. I wanted her to be able to look back and know what life was like when she was too young to remember it. But I failed her, and not only her, but I have failed her little brother as well. He is four weeks old today, and I haven’t taken nearly as many pictures as I should have. I haven’t written anything about him except for how he came into this world. There is so much that I need to share. So many memories that I need to store here for safe keeping. I will do better. I have to do better. My children deserve it.

Major Moves

Have you ever heard that song by Hank Williams, Jr.? No? If not, you seriously should. I had never heard it until I met Denny, but it is a perfect song for us. City Girl meets Country Boy, he makes “major moves” to be with her, la la la, you get the picture. Well, actually I’m the one who ended up moving to the country, but whatever. It still describes our dating days perfectly.

Anyhow, (how in the heck did I get that far off track?) this will officially be my last post here at WordPress. I’ve gotten everything set up at my new bloggy home, and from now on you can check in on Denny, Emily and I over at blogspot. See you there!

Month 6

Emily,

How has half of a year already passed since you first came into my life? At times it seems like a it was a lifetime ago that Mrs. Jill placed you on my chest, but at the same time it feels like it was only yesterday. I remember our first few days together and I can’t believe how far we’ve come. Just 6 months ago, you were completely helpless. You couldn’t do anything besides eat, sleep, poop and cry. In such a short time you’ve learned to smile, laugh, hold your head up, roll over, “talk”, eat solid food, sit up, and you know exactly how to get what you want. I think you’ve got both your Daddy and I trained very well.

August seemed like such a long month. Lately you have had a terrible attitude and it’s all due to the fact that you can’t seem to get enough sleep. Within an hour or two of waking up in the morning, you are so tired and ornery that I don’t know what to do with you. Well, I do know that you need a nap, but you just aren’t really a fan. To get you to go to sleep, I either have to ride you on the golf cart or nurse you, and pray that it will work. Then if you stay asleep once I lay you down I consider it a miracle. You just want me all of the time, and I am hoping that this phase passes quickly. I think there were a few days this month that I cried more that you did. You are beyond spoiled and it’s all my fault, but hey, I am willing to do Whatever Works. And in doing that I have created a monster.

In between those sleepy moments, you are absolutely delightful. You are so much fun and you are becoming more and more independent every day. You love toys and books and especially getting tickled – it makes you squeal! You still love to get a bath, but lately you have been trying to sit up in the tub and it’s not really working out. It’s a bit slippery, and you are still a bit unsteady, but you refuse to lay down at all. I swear you must think you are 5 years old sometimes.

In the past month, you have become the most curious little creature that ever lived. You are into everything you can get your hands on. I have to be especially cautious when I am wearing you because before I know it you have found something to get into. Also, you can scoot like a pro and get just about anywhere you want to go in the blink of an eye.

Not only can you scoot, you can sit up like a pro! At first you could only maintain your balance for a second or two, but now you rarely ever fall over anymore. You make lots of new sounds, like ga, ba, bla, ma and da. You even say mama and dada sometimes and I can’t wait until you know what those words mean. Because then, hopefully instead of whining to get my attention, you will simply call my name.

One of my favorite things from this month has been the way your little personality is beginning to show. You are becoming a little person and it is so fun to watch! You have a wonderful sense of humor and I think that you are going to be a little comedienne, since you are so funny! You make the funniest sounds and blow raspberries with a mouth full of food. You know what you like and what you don’t like and you are always sure to let us know. You are just growing up way, way too fast.

This month you drank out of a cup for the first time, and you mastered it within just a few seconds. You are such a genius, I swear you are gonna cure cancer someday.

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You sit up all of the time now, and you love it! You can finally play with the toys that I have been waiting for you to be big enough to play with.

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Your Granny & Pop gave you your very own pair of sunglasses (that other pair you were photographed in were loaners) that at first you loved, but now you won’t leave them on for a second!

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And this was the month that we got our first wrap and sort of learned how to use it. You sometimes prefer to play with in instead of be in it.

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I can’t believe that the first year of your life is already halfway over. And I also can’t believe that I have a little less than 6 months to plan your first birthday party! Yikes! I love you so, so very much. More than you will ever possibly be able to wrap your head around.

Hugs and Kisses, Mommy.